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#1275; Bean Juice to the Rescue

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I reject the premise of your question, on the grounds that it is actually afternoon

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CallMeWilliam
1 day ago
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how i spent the morning.
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Fighting authoritarianism: 20 lessons from the 20th century

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popular shared this story from kottke.org.

Do Not Obey In Advance

Yale history professor Timothy Snyder took to Facebook to share some lessons from 20th century about how to protect our liberal democracy from fascism and authoritarianism. Snyder has given his permission to republish the list, so I’ve reproduced it in its entirety here in case something happens to the original.

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.

4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of “terrorism” and “extremism.” Be alive to the fatal notions of “exception” and “emergency.” Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.

5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don’t fall for it.

6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don’t use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps “The Power of the Powerless” by V’aclav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czeslaw Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.

7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Bookmark PropOrNot or other sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.

10. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.

11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.

12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.

13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.

14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.

15. Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.

16. Learn from others in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.

17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.

18. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.)

19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.

20. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.

A great thought-provoking list. “Corporeal politics”…I like that phrase. And I’ve seen many references to Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism in recent weeks.

See also Five Steps to Tyranny and The 14 Features of Eternal Fascism.

Note: Illustration by the awesome Chris Piascik.

Tags: historylistspoliticsTimothy Snyder
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CallMeWilliam
9 days ago
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What if jobs are not the solution but the problem? – James Livingston | Aeon Essays

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Work means everything to us Americans. For centuries – since, say, 1650 – we’ve believed that it builds character (punctuality, initiative, honesty, self-discipline, and so forth). We’ve also believed that the market in labour, where we go to find work, has been relatively efficient in allocating opportunities and incomes. And

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CallMeWilliam
11 days ago
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Car Designers Work With Clay

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David K Gibson wrote about a surprisingly anachronistic practice in automobile design:

  • Before car designs are approved they are first modelled with clay.
  • Clay has the advantage of allowing iterations – the design can be added to, removed from, or changed around at will.
  • It’s also collaborative. Multiple individuals can stand around and work on it.
  • Each car company has its own proprietary blend of “clay” that it uses to make car designs.
  • Ford, to take one example, goes through 100 tons of the material a year.

Read more about the process of car design, and find out what happens to the clay models on BBC.

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CallMeWilliam
11 days ago
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The Lucrative Economics Of Brunch

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Meredith Heil outlined a chef’s perspective on weekend brunch:

  • Know how a lot of stuff closes on the weekend? That includes food delivery vendors. What you’re eating for brunch on a Sunday is probably leftovers from the preceding week.
  • Speaking of weekends, professional kitchen staff enjoy their time off too. The people making your brunch are the B-Team who don’t have the kind of seniority or experience to avoid the weekend shift.
  • Not that you need professionals making brunch food. A waffle, after all, comes from a waffle-maker. But while costs are low, the prices are almost as high as for a regular meal, making brunch a profitable offering for restaurants.

Read more confessions of brunch makers on Thrillist.

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CallMeWilliam
16 days ago
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Star Trek Mad Science

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popular shared this story from jwz.

prokopetz: Random Headcanon:

That Federation vessels in Star Trek seem to experience bizarre malfunctions with such overwhelming frequency isn't just an artefact of the television serial format. Rather, it's because the Federation as a culture are a bunch of deranged hyper-neophiles, tooling around in ships packed full of beyond-cutting-edge tech they don't really understand. Endlessly frustrating if you have to fight them, because they can pull an effectively unlimited number of bullshit space-magic countermeasures out of their arses - but they're as likely as not to give themselves a lethal five-dimensional wedgie in the process. All those rampant holograms and warp core malfunctions and accidentally-traveling-back-in-time incidents? That doesn't actually happen to anyone else; it's literally just Federation vessels that go off the rails like that. And they do so on a fairly regular basis.

Getting a link to a whole thread on Tumblr seems to be an impossibility, but these are some amusing replies:

So to everyone else in the galaxy, all humans are basically Doc Brown.

Aliens who have seen the Back to the Future movies literally don't realise that Doc Brown is meant to be funny. They're just like "yes, that is exactly what all human scientists are like in my experience".

...
Vulcan Science Academy: Why do you need another warp core

Humans: We're going to plug two of them together and see if we go twice as fast

VSA: Last time we gave you a warp core you threw it into a sun to see if the sun would go twice as fast

Humans: Hahaha yeah

Humans: It did tho

VSA: IT EXPLODED

Humans: It exploded twice as fast

...
Klingons: Okay we don't get it

Vulcan Science Academy: Get what

Klingons: You Vulcans are a bunch of stuffy prisses but you're also tougher, stronger, and smarter than Humans in every single way

Klingons: Why do you let them run your Federation

Vulcan Science Academy: Look

Vulcan Science Academy: This is a species where if you give them two warp cores they don't do experiments on one and save the other for if the first one blows up

Vulcan Science Academy: This is a species where if you give them two warp cores, they will ask for a third one, immediately plug all three into each other, punch a hole into an alternate universe where humans subscribe to an even more destructive ideological system, fight everyone in it because they're offended by that, steal their warp cores, plug those together, punch their way back here, then try to turn a nearby sun into a torus because that was what their initial scientific experiment was for and they didn't want to waste a trip.

Vulcan Science Academy: They did that last week. We have the write-up right here. it's getting published in about six hundred scientific journals across two hundred different disciplines because of how many established theories their ridiculous little expedition has just called into question. Also, they did turn that sun into a torus, and no one actually knows how.

Vulcan Science Academy: This is why we let them do whatever the hell they want.

Klingons: .... Can we be a part of your Federation

...
Let's talk about the USS Fucking Pegasus, testbed for the first Starfleet cloaking device. Here we have a handful of humans working in secret to develop a cloaking device in violation of a treaty with the Romulans. They're playing catchup trying to develop a technology other species have had for a century. And what do they do? Do they decide to duplicate a Romulan cloaking device precisely, just see if they can match what other species have? Nope. They decide, hey, while we're at it, while we're building our very first one of these things, just to find out if this is possible, let's see if we can make this thing phase us out of normal space so we can fly through planets while we're invisible.

"But why" said the one Vulcan in the room.

"Because that would fucking rule" said the Humans, high-fiving each other and slamming cans of 24th-century Red Bull.

...
Humans get mildly offended by the way they are presented in non-human media.

Like: "Guys, we totally wouldn't do that!" But this always fails to get much traction, because the authors can always say: "You totally did."

"That was ONE TIME."

There's that movie where humans invented vaccines by just testing them on people. Or the one about those two humans who invented powered flight by crashing a bunch of prototypes. Or the one about electricity.

And human historians go, "Oh, uh, this is historically accurate, but also kind of boring."

...
But when the Vulcans made first contact with Earth - "what the hell is that insane thing these aliens here have built, let's go look at it" - humans didn't look at them as an enemy or a resource or even an asset. No, the very first time humans met Vulcans, they tried to do the Vulcan hand thingy and they couldn't do it so they just offered a handshake, and then said "let's get drunk and party." THIS IS ACTUAL LITERAL CANON, REMEMBER.

Further in this vein:

I will never be over the fact that during first contact a human offered their hand to a vulcan and the vulcan was just like "wow humans are fucking wild" and took it

Note: Vulcan hand / finger touching is a sex thing.

...
My headcanon for startrek is that humans look, to vulcans, like a dog frathouse. Like signing on to a human ship is exactly that thrillingly loud and frustrating and fast and stupid and fun. The humans are going to dash off to a new sector to see if there are friends there and then they will jump up and down with delight and stuff their faces up against their new friends' genital array. The humans are going to bark for ten minutes at a rock. The humans want to chase things they can't possibly catch just because they like running around. The humans are madly passionate about their arbitrary group identities. The humans can be divided into new arbitrary group identities which they will then be passionate about. The humans want to stick their heads out of the window of their starship and go 'wheee!'. If you step on a human's paw they will act like you just killed them for about thirty seconds and then want more headpats. The humans can be immediately distracted from crucial duties by the appearance of a small animal. If you howl all the humans in earshot will howl louder just to show off. A human just humped your leg. 'Don't make it weird bro' the human says. Later the human will dig a weird bug out of the ground and eat it.

Previously, previously, previously.

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CallMeWilliam
17 days ago
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