Recent posts by petesahooligan on Kongregate

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Can you be a woman just by saying you're one?

While the biological answer to this question is fascinating, I also think that it speaks to the power of gender identity. There is, of course, a growing movement to dismantle our traditional gender roles, and I’m personally okay with that. I don’t feel like my morals are challenged by someone that bends traditional gender roles, and it certainly doesn’t have any direct impact on my life. So when I say “dismantle” I mean it in the least destructive-sounding sense of the word.

There are power systems that would be damaged, though. There most endemic form of division we employ as a species are our gender roles. They come before age, race, or economics. It’s “heavy lifting” to rewrite these social codes… but they’re changing, and science is accelerating that change through surgery and medicine, as well as social and psychological progress.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Wiki Links

It’s fascinating how the route one direction is completely different than the route in the other. I can totally see the associations and this reveals to me a lot about creativity. The power of association and framing informs how we think and communicate. I can easily see, for example, a conversation that would start with LeBron James and conclude with Chrysler LeBaron based on the eight steps above… though the link between “white people” and “Italy” seems a bit tenuous.

I agree that zooming way out to some large, ubiquitous term allows one lots of re-entry points that are closer to the target.

While I don’t have it in me to do another Wiki Links game today, I think a fun house rule might be to disallow any geographical steps.

Stanwise, have you ever played around with Geoguesser? One of the fun arguments that often comes up when I talk to people who first play it is whether it’s permitted to use Google outside of GeoGuesser to find street and business names. (I say hell yeah… all’s fair.)

EDIT: For old time’s sake I played Geoguesser with Google-assist (another window) and got 21,083 points. That’s pretty rockin’.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Wiki Links

I couldn’t get it in five.

Diego Rivera
Man At The Crossroads (One of his murals that features, among other things, Charles Darwin)
Charles Darwin

At this point I thought I was home free… but it actually got real tricky from here. I traced backward from Homo Erectus to find likely overlaps and although there were plenty… hominins, chimpanzee, etc… they don’t necessarily link both directions. In other words, going from Homo Erectus to Diego Rivera would be a different and likely shorter path than vice versa. I think this is an interesting observation.

Evolutionary Developmental Biology
Animal Evolution
Homo Erectus


Can you get from Chrysler LeBaron to LeBron James in a handful of steps?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / American Shame: My Lai Massacre

Thank you for reaching to the common ground, crossbower.

All war is shameful, and any nation that engages in it must accept that events will occur that are not heroic. The North and South Vietnamese were also guilty of atrocities. The Canadians burned a small German town to the ground in World War 2… and I consider that pretty good evidence that ANY nation (even one as traditionally noble and egalitarian as Canada) is capable of conducting illegal operations during war.

You’re right. Nixon’s lasting (positive) legacy is the relationship-building between China and the USA… a pact that we enjoy today (for better or worse).

I surf or swim from time to time and sometimes the waves get kind of big. They don’t look too bad from the shore but as soon as you’re laying on your belly and look up to see 7 feet of water about to crush you, it changes your perspective. Waves look nice from a distance but then you get whacked with them and they hold you underwater. When you’re spinning underwater you don’t know which way is up, and maybe you have a lungful of air and maybe you don’t. The way to handle it is to relax and let the water settle down then you’ll pop right up… but that’s hard to remember when you need air and feel like you might drown. Panic (fight or flight) is easy.

I sympathize a great deal with the individuals that were held under the waves of battle. Although they were trained, they were still just ordinary boys from Iowa, Texas, Oregon, Connecticut… kids that wanted to be musicians or architects or teachers or athletes. They didn’t ask for the war, they didn’t want to go, but they did… and they were ostracized when they returned (if they returned)… and their souvenirs were the emotional scars of trauma before we had clinical words for it. That’s sacrifice, and I feel like the blame (if there is blame to be assigned) lies with politicians and military leaders that live under the denial of an infallible United States and unbeatable US Military.

My Lai is an important lesson in the cost of war, I think.

(Crossbower, that comic you linked to is pretty gnarly and interesting.)

EDIT: Thought you might get a kick out this… photo of my desk taken this morning.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Microfluidics and Electronic Noses: A Plausible Social Stratification

I think what Vika outlined is a pretty reasonable observation given the current liability laws in the United States. I feel like Europe and (to a lesser extent) the UK have less stringent liability laws.

If you consider for a moment a public swimming pool. The city has built, owns, and operates the pool. It’s the city’s responsibility to ensure that the pool is maintained to a reasonable level of safety. The word “reasonable” is important and infuriating… it is an interpretive word. A person using the swimming pool is going to presume that the water is not poisonous, and that the pump isn’t going to suck them underwater, and that there are no piranha, and so on. That sets the standard of reasonable safety.

Now when you put a lifeguard into the equation the power-balance changes a little bit. The lifeguard represents someone that is expected to be trained and prepared to offer aid to a person in a life-or-death situation. (That’s why they’re named “life guards.”) The lifeguard is a city employee, and their job is to save lives. If a person dies at the swimming pool, one of the first things everyone is going to ask is “what was the lifeguard doing?”

By introducing a policy or agent that will be providing an additional impressions of safety to a public environment, the agency responsible for installing that agent accepts the legal responsibility that comes with that agent’s role. If there’s a lifeguard, the lifeguard is expected to keep people from drowning… and if the lifeguard is playing Clash of Clans while Timmy inhales the deep end, the City will likely be held responsible (in whole or part) for Timmy’s death because the lifeguard was negligent.

So one of the critical questions in establishing liability is “were you aware of the risk?” If the City can claim that they were legitimately unaware that Timmy was drowning, then they couldn’t possibly be held liable.

If there’s no lifeguard, there can be no presumption of awareness and therefore no negligence. This is essentially why “use at your own risk” ordinances are so effective and wonderful from a libertarian standpoint. It allows us to hurt ourselves based on our own risky decisions. (Use at your own risk rules do not generally cover injuries due to poor maintenance.

If the roof collapses on your Fight Club meeting, the City wouldn’t be held responsible for your black eye from fighting but would probably be liable for the roof falling in because the building would be expected to be up to code.)

All that to say…

Sniffers would likely not be installed on public buses because of the additional liability it would introduce to the transportation agency. They would prefer to be responsible for getting a person from A to B and not responsible for keeping A’s flu from being transmitted to B. That’s a legal responsibility that they are unlikely to embrace.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Wiki Links

le snip – you’re both acting like jerks (if ya can’t behave ‘cordially’ then you should probably just ignore one another)

This thread can live and die by the merits of its content, thank you. Nobody needs you to come in and “judge” each thread, as if you were the arbiter of good taste and intellectual sophistication. You’re none of those things. You’re just a jerk.

Karma to Wrong in four easy steps.

Moral Evil


Topic: Serious Discussion / Wiki Links

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Wiki Links

Georgia Institute of Technology
African Americans in Atlanta
Tyler Perry
Janet Jackson

That was seven steps. Tenco, you nailed it in five. My earlier one was in five.

I wonder if all Wiki Links can be demonstrated in 7 links or less.

How about Beyoncé to Resonant Trans-Neptunian Objects.

EDIT: It’s not directly related but Dunbar’s Number might be somewhat relevant. Dunbar’s Number is the quantity of individuals that a person can maintain a social relationship with. That number, according to Robin Dunbar in the 1990s, is 150.

A variation of the Wiki Links game might be to only link chains of individuals, ala Kevin Bacon style.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / The next President Clinton

^ substance ^


Topic: Serious Discussion / Wiki Links

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Wiki Links

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Wiki Links

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Wiki Links

Okay, I totally did it but it wasn’t easy. Here’s my steps:

Red Guava
Indigenous Peoples of the Americas
Fort Apache (movie)
John Wayne

Five steps.

How about from John Wayne to Desalination?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Wiki Links

This may be fun and maybe it won’t be. Don, if this belongs in forum games or elsewhere, let me know. I figured this room might want to try it out.

The goal is to start from Wikipedia’s Pic of the Day (happens to be the Red Guava) and using only links within its entry, make a chain to… say… John Wayne, the actor.

How many steps can you do it in?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Full Body Transplants a Reality on a Personal Level

Sure, that makes sense. I wonder how a person might adapt to a body was was less responsive or reflexive than the one they used to have. If a body was more responsive, would they immediately have control of those new reflexes? Would the mind be prepared to immediately capitalize on the new skills?

I think it would. Imagine walking around with a heavy backpack, climbing over things while weighed down, or trying to make a small object out of clay while wearing mittens. If you take the mittens or backpack off, you immediately feel liberated. I bet it would be that quick with a new body. If you could jump higher with the new body, I think you’d be jumping all over the place.

A person’s identity and how they present themselves socially is largely influenced by how society treats them. This has some relevance to body transplants; if your new body were of a type that was culturally unaligned with your birth body it could lead to some interesting scenarios.

For example, what if your spouse had a body transplant? What if your mother were suddenly “younger” than you?

As a people how would we treat body transplants? Would we allow 9-year-old “children” to drink alcohol if they had the brain of a 50-year-old?

We might end up with different ways of expressing age. “I’m 24 biologically, 72 mentally.”

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Topic: Serious Discussion / American Shame: My Lai Massacre

I love my country for many reasons but I’m critical of it when it goes wrong.

Vietnam had a huge cultural impact on the American people. It was a changing point in how we identify ourselves. The United States is not peaceful nation… we are a powerful nation, and there is a responsibility to use that power to protect human rights across the world to a degree. Yet, we are not members of the International Criminal Court and do not recognize it as a lawful authority in the States or its territories.

American troops appear to have been responsible for war crimes in every conflict that the US has been involved in. I believe that these are caused typically by a breakdown in communication in highly disciplined armies. It’s certainly not exclusive to America… but America is involved with a lot of conflicts so our exposure to the possibility of war crimes is higher.

The impact of war, and particularly of wars that contain many instances of questionable rules of engagement (for America Vietnam, War on Terror… for Germany WW2… no militarized country is exempt), reaches far beyond the immediate victims and their tormentors. There is a cultural impact that occurs when a national public realizes, for example, that they are the aggressor in a situation… like a realization that the conflict is not clearly black-and-white, good-and-bad.

(insert follow-the-money material if you feel like it)

Karma, I feel like you owe me either an apology or an explanation.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / American Shame: My Lai Massacre

I paraphrased largely from Wikipedia and I composed it because I thought it was interesting.

I understand that the war was political, Karma. I was saying that my summary was not a political indictment and was in response to jhco’s hysterical reaction.

Crow, I wasn’t bragging. I think it’s shameful and say as much in the title of the thread. I summarized it here because I found it interesting and thought you might too. If you’re not, fine.

Karma, I summarized but didn’t plagiarize. I consider that a pretty strong accusation and feel a little insulted that you would insinuate it. Also, you’re “reasonably sure that I’m not a historian?” Why do you think that? And are only historians allowed to talk about historical events?

EDIT (AFTERTHOUGHT): I’m surprised you guys seem to be so upset about this. I’m wondering why.

Is it because are you are uncomfortable talking about things like this? Is it more distressing that it’s American troops?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / American Shame: My Lai Massacre

I think it’s an interesting footnote in history, and it’s a human tragedy. It has nothing to do with politics.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / American Shame: My Lai Massacre

In March 1968 the US Army killed between 350 to 500 Vietnamese civilians in a small area known today as My Lai. Company C (about 100 enlisted men) of the 1st Battalion went on a killing spree through two villages suspected of harboring VietCong militants. There were also some rapes reported. The victims included the elderly and infant children.

The legal outcome of this shocking crime was that 23 individuals were charged and one was convicted, a Lieutenant named William Calley. He served about 4 years of house arrest. Nobody else was found guilty.

The story broke in November 1969, about a year and a half after the event. It had a large effect on the American (and International) public’s opinion of the US’ involvement in Vietnam.

During the massacre there were at least three individuals that physically intervened to help the villagers and challenge or prevent the American atrocities. These individuals were initially shunned in the media and even denounced as traitors by some Congressmen. Later (like 30 years later) they were recognized and decorated for their attempts to stop the massacre (one posthumously).

The Company responsible had been suffering significant casualties due to land mines and boobie traps. The Company was instructed by HQ during their combat briefing to “burn the houses, kill the livestock, destroy food supplies, and destroy the wells.” The 1st Battalion wanted those villages clear of VietCong for good.

The Captain relaying HQ orders to his leaders to kill everyone in the villages as it was presumed that at the time of the attack all of the civilian villagers would be at the market (and not in the villages), and that the only people there would be VietCong. One witness claimed that they were instructed to kill anything that was “walking, crawling or growing.”

War atrocities committed by US troops had already been in the news. US Secretary of Defense at the time (Robert McNamara) had indicated through a report that American Troops “did not fully understand the Geneva Convention” but nothing else came of it.

Specific accounts of the atrocities are available online but they’re too gruesome and sad to include here.

Within military channels the event was first understood to be an unmitigated success with huge losses to the enemy. Any contrary evidence was buried. After some anomalies emerged, an investigation was conducted and concluded that 20 civilians were inadvertently killed during the action that otherwise led to 128 VC deaths. “Casualties of war.”

The second investigation was actually handled by Colin Powell (much later to become our Secretary of State). His investigation concluded that “relationships between US Soldiers and Vietnamese civilians were excellent.”

The third investigation was prompted by a letter written to 30 members of Congress by a witness to the event. 27 of the recipients ignored the letter but three didn’t. This investigation by Pentagon could not escape the media’s notice and the story entered the public realm.

Some of the soldiers present have since come out publicly to regret the incident with varying degrees of personal responsibility. The individuals who intervened to help the villagers are lauded as heroes both here and in Vietnam.

Today there is a memorial where one of the villages stood.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Agen obat aborsi kandungan 085600001673 / 2A7EF2FA obat aborsi asli samarinda - pontianak

I’ll take two Obat Penjelasans, please. Do you need my CC# or anything?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Full Body Transplants a Reality on a Personal Level

Okay, Don. If you could transplant your consciousness into an inanimate object, what would you choose?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Full Body Transplants a Reality on a Personal Level

I read somewhere a while back about self-piloting cars and what it may mean for future generations to “drive” a car. (“Back in the day we had to physically STEER the car to keep it on the road! And we could only do about 75 everywhere.”) The article’s premise was “your car may decide that you have to die.” Meaning, if your self-piloting smart car was on a crash course with another smart car full of children, a quick calculation may result in the two cars deciding that your life was the least loss and take you off the cliff to avoid the collision.

Is that irrelevant? Totally. But it has the same “oh, trip!” as seeing someone you knew was dead walk past you without recognizing you. They died suddenly last year and that’s them in the restaurant!

The cultural shock of being “you” when nobody really recognizes “you” will probably require some clumsy psychological preparation. Your clothes may not fit. Your voice will be different. You may be stronger or weaker.

There’s a significant percentage of lottery winners that end up blowing their new riches on stupid bullshit and go broke. I wonder what the percentage of people receiving a “full transplant” would completely redefine themselves emotionally and intellectually after the procedure, compared to what percentage maintained their previous identity and relationships. I suppose we can get a preview of that by looking at the trans community.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / 8 Stages of Genocide

Huh, that’s pretty cool.

It seems to me that the Allport scale is relatively subtle when compared to Genocide Watch scale. It’s almost like the stages that Allport describes comes before the stages described in the GW version… though the adaptation of Allport’s scale is pretty obvious. It’s like “Allport on Steroids.”

Allport, for example, doesn’t include “Denial.” I’m not sure why denial is included in the GW version but it could have something to do with warcrimes tribunals and the need to specifically identify what constitutes a genocidal act. Whereas the Allport scale may be more of a sociological taxonomy used in a variety of applications. In other words, perhaps the GW scale deals with specific legal thresholds.

Also, a significant different (and improvement, I think) is the inclusion of an appropriate intervention. Perhaps there are Allport scales that include remedies somewhere.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / 8 Stages of Genocide

I thought this was interesting and the type of thing that you guys might enjoy thinking about. In 1996 the group Genocide Watch created a document that outlined the eight stages of a genocidal act.

# Classification
Preventative measure

1. Classification
People are divided into “us and them”

The main preventive measure at this early stage is to develop universalistic institutions that transcend… divisions.

2. Symbolization
When combined with hatred, symbols may be forced upon unwilling members of pariah groups

To combat symbolization, hate symbols can be legally forbidden as can hate speech.

3. Dehumanization
One group denies the humanity of the other group; Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects, or diseases

Local and international leaders should condemn the use of hate speech and make it culturally unacceptable. Leaders who incite genocide should be banned from international travel and have their foreign finances frozen.

4. Organization
Genocide is always organized; Special army units or militias are trained and armed

The U.N. should impose arms embargoes on governments and citizens of countries involved in genocidal massacres, and create commissions to investigate violations.

5. Polarization
Hate groups broadcast polarizing propaganda

Prevention may mean security protection for moderate leaders or assistance to human rights groups…Coups d’état by extremists should be opposed by international sanctions.

6. Preparation
Victims are identified and separated out because of their ethnic or religious identity

At this stage a Genocide Emergency must be declared.

7. Extermination
It is ‘extermination’ to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human

At this stage, only rapid and overwhelming armed intervention can stop genocide. Real safe areas or refugee escape corridors should be established with heavily armed international protection.

8. Denial
The perpetrators deny that they committed any crimes

The response to denial is punishment by an international tribunal or national courts.

Here are a few places to take this (but feel free to offer your own):
• How might the stages of genocide be applied to transhuman groups?
• Can the stages of genocide exist independently?
• Where do we see emerging genocidal stages in the Western World?

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Think twice before you eat Chicken Nuggets from McDonald's!

Can that class also cover airborne pollutants?