The Economics and Politics of Climate Change

 

 

The world has unfortunately fallen behind on its promises to turn back climate change. While the Paris Accord seemed to be a step in the right direction, things have fell apart since the US split off. Meanwhile, the rapidly increasing supply of renewables in China appears to have been cut short by a sudden decrease in funding for environmental efforts. While hindsight is 20/20, the events that have followed make sense, as there is still much to do before we can think about collecting as a whole to fight climate change.

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Why the Democrats will be Screwed in 2020

 

 

 

As two major democratic debates occurred this week, I couldn’t help notice a monotony of voices coming out from social media talking about each of the candidates. This monotony appeared to be fairly worrying, assuming you’re a Democrat. In fact, after this past week, I can say with almost certainty that I believe that Donald Trump will be elected to another term. My reasoning goes as follows:

Recall in 2016 the major split in the democratic party. We had Sanders, a person who greatly espoused socialist ideals, who was heavily popular with younger generations, in contrast to Clinton, who was a fairly standard democratic candidate with wide support from those older generations who were familiar with her from her previous escapades. Now, the natural take to get the higher percentage of the left-leaning base is to take the runner up in the VP position and hold a Clinton-Sanders ticket (colliding interests here, but take in mind we’re more focused on winning the vote than staying towards a specific sect of leftism). What happened instead was we had Clinton-Someone else who I don’t even remember, and Sanders fans were shut out. This caused a big hub-bub for Bernie bros, many of whom refused to vote for Clinton in defiance. This, along with a Republican resurgence in the rust belt, is very likely why Trump won in the first place.

Many outlets much bigger (and probably more well-researched) than I called early on that if the Democrats could not unionize properly by 2020, they would suffer defeat to the GOP yet again. And yet, if the Democratic Debates have shown us anything, they still haven’t gotten any closer. Factions have been drawn in the sand, whether they be the classic socialist-leaning Sanders/Warren section, or with Kamala, or Gabbard, or the traditionalist Biden. Twitter and other social media are probably the most at fault here; I see a pretty regular barraging on pretty much all candidates, and I can tell you that its not exclusively coming from the right (though I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the “Did you know that X candidate did Y” were actually attempts at false-flagging). And, just as before, I see comments such as “If [Candidate] ends up winning the primaries, I’m not voting.”. What the Democrats don’t seem to realize is that they no longer have this luxury. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that, if this fractioning continues into 2020, the party is pretty much damned. What will occur in 2020 is practically the same as 2016, but in a vacuum; we now know for sure that Trump will be the incumbent pick and that the weight of the GOP (including most of if not all of the resurgence from 2016) will be behind him. The only way for the Democrats to win is if they unite in full force behind whoever happens to win those primaries.

Now, they could still come back from this by pulling an all-encompassing ticket a la a Biden-Warren or something among the like, but a Biden-O’Rourke or Warren-Sanders isn’t going to get them the votes they need. Despite all of this, I think it will still be interesting to see which direction this goes in the future, but I think given its current state the Democrats are in big trouble.

 

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. As an added bonus, you’ll also receive the Top 10 Tools I Use on a Daily Basis to help better manage your workload and do higher quality work in a shorter amount of time. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

Why it’s Impossible for the Illuminati to Exist

 

 

Since conspiracies tend to be fairly popular lately, I decided to give my own take on one of the most popular conspiracies of all. Pretty much every group has some variation of the “centralized power” conspiracy, where one large group owns the majority of the world in secret. Some popular examples include the Illuminati, Freemasons, Bilderberg Group… though typically nowadays these are either straight up unnamed or just referred to as “them” when used in a serious context. Of course, all of this is pretty unsubstantiated poppycock, and I wanted to go at least a bit in depth as to why this could truly never work.

The first reason is that people always tend to have ulterior motives when allying themselves economically with others. For examples of this, we can look at early price-fixing cartels; while cartels are now illegal in most capitalist countries, the cartels tended to naturally dissipate over time. There tend to be some pretty logical game theory reasons for this; if everyone is charging the same amount, that means that if you charge even a bit less you’re going to steal all the market share. And, as it turns out, that notion is quite tempting.

The second reason this conspiracy tends to fall flat on its face is that, when it does happen, it tends to become apparent very quickly. When we look at the Eastern Bloc during the height of Communism, it came as no surprise that a large number of political officials were colluding against the general populace. While the majority of people preferred not to speak on the matter, it came as a certainty to almost everyone that it was going on. Compare that with conspiracies like the Illuminati or the Freemasons, where the evidence is minimal and the believers are a vocal minority, and we can see a clear red flag.

And, in the case of real organizations shrouded in secrecy (such as Bilderberg), it is heavily unlikely that a group of people that diverse in terms of position will agree to collude fully with one another. This somewhat relates to the second point in that people will always have their own motives; often these motives will in at least some way conflict with another person, especially if that other person happens to also be rich or run a massive corporation. Look at GAFA; while at some level Google and Apple might be competing just to avoid monopoly law, they also just plain want to take in market share and profits in fields related to their expertise. While we might like to think greed is the reason these organizations exist, the reality is that it’s actually this same greed that prevents them from existing. Remember; everyone in the game is a human just like you. Well, unless you think they’re a reptilian. Then I really can’t help you there.

 

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. As an added bonus, you’ll also receive the Top 10 Tools I Use on a Daily Basis to help better manage your workload and do high-quality work in a shorter amount of time. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

Confronting My Old “Alt-Right” Posts

Around 2014 there was a big kerfuffle in the gaming industry. As was revealed, a cabal of journalists were getting together to promote certain games while ignoring or outright blaming others. This lead to a massive outcry within the gaming community that the media within their sector was actively working against them. Not only that, but they were working towards a sinister agenda; a “politically correct” culture where things deemed too risque were outright ostracized and banned. As this problem began to expand outside of gaming, a few well known, pro-free speech figures at the time allied itself with this fledgling game community in order to expand their own voice. This movement became known as the “Alt-Right”.

Of course, the alt-right ended up taking on quite a few more political positions rather than simply “free speech”; however, when I wrote about it back in 2014, it seemed like the so-called “SJW Agenda” was a real, genuine threat. And so, to my high-school sophomore 2smart4you mind, this all seemed to make a lot of sense.

Now that both the world and I have changed a lot, I wanted to go back to some of the points I made in these old pieces to see if I do still believe in what I said.

 

The first article I made on this was on August 20th, 2014; right around where this movement all began… ironically, coming out of a simple piece of internet drama. Before it was the Alt-Right, it was Gamergate; and before it was Gamergate, it was the “Quinnspiracy”, centering around a very specific case of a game developer by the name of Zoe Quinn who released a (truthfully) awful game by the name of Depression Quest, only to have an ex-boyfriend reveal on launch day that she had been cheating on him with several men, some of whom were in the games journalism industry (quite the launch day, I’d say).

I’d actually say the writing on this article is quite rational and objective. At this point in the story I didn’t really have any bias either way, and so I pretty much just dumped a shit-load of evidence (which unfortunately most of is now deadlinked) that seemed to point out that Quinn was in fact having multiple relationships and was in fact using her contacts to censor any discussion on the topic. To this day I don’t believe anyone involved in this catalyst event really disagrees with the fact that Zoe Quinn was in fact utilizing her power to discredit people who were speaking negatively of her.

And then we get to Part II written about a month later on September 19th. By this point the Quinnspiracy has graduated formally into GamerGate, and things have gotten a bit… involved. Firstly, in the article I praise Milo Yiannopoulos and Breitbart for “brilliant journalism”, which I wouldn’t be caught dead doing today. From there, we get more (mostly deadlinked) evidence… though this time around things feel a lot more fickle. While to this day I find the images from GameJournoPros to be pretty fishy, most of the bad apples here were people no one really liked in the first place, and the majority of the content appeared to just be general discussion of the game journalism industry. The 4chan infographic I post in the article also isn’t quite the most stellar proof of anything suspicious going on.

When it comes down to the argument that Gamergate was inherently misogynistic, I really don’t believe that to be true; especially in the early days. Perhaps after the movement got co-opted by Breitbart and Co. things could have spiraled downhill, but I know that I personally (as well as many others who were involved in the movement around this time) didn’t have any hate against women or other minorities within gaming and simply believed that a wider censorship was going on (which had already been proven with the Quinnspiracy).

 

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I also wrote this call to action, which I might have gotten a little *too* into

 

This point comes to a head in my Part III, where I end up recognizing that the movement has spiraled out of control, and thus I excuse myself from talking about it further. In the article I describe how the movement became a catfight (it really was), which was probably how it was able to be co-opted into the wider Alt-Right movement. Of course, while this was my last article for Gamergate, it was not my last article that delved upon Gamergate’s critical touchpoints. Five months after I wrote the final Gamergate article, I wrote “On Equality” Part 1 and Part 2, which stray away from censorship this time to instead face the wider issue of social justice.

In “On Equality”, I’m mostly complaining about the shoving of diversity into entertainment as well as a little bit of affirmative action put in for good measure. This is a bit of a tricky subject, cause there’s nothing really wrong with what the article says; in fact, it really doesn’t say that much at all. It’s very diplomatically written, but at the same time I don’t think there’s been any sophisticated evidence that affirmative action or diversity in entertainment have a negative effect or is otherwise creating more social conflict.

 

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Yeah I… don’t know what I meant by this.

 

I also mention the term “Radical Feminism” for the first time (a word I use to diplomatically address SJWs), which I bring back in my next social-justice-related piece called Opposing Fronts. This is probably the worst piece of the bunch. First of all, it’s written in a very condescending tone, yet the point it’s getting across is very basic: “there are communication issues among what counts as feminism”. To be honest, I don’t even think I knew what feminism was at this point. Second of all, the article is very clearly an “attack on the SJWs” and rather just throws in the Men’s Rights section at the very end to keep things balanced. The simple fact is that this article is disingenuous and really didn’t need to be made. Yes, there are crazies out there in the world, but as I write in the article, they’re a very small minority. Did this even need to be written?

At this point, I don’t write about these subjects for another year, until the Hollywood Reporter Ghostbusters remake article comes out. To be fair, this HWR article was real fuckin’ dumb, and I don’t think anyone really disagreed with me on this point. This article by myself was much of an improvement from Opposing Fronts; here, I called out the argument directly, and didn’t shy away from my opinion with some other diplomatic garbage (although some of the article lacked evidence to the points it was trying to make). It’s also worth noting that by this point in time, the Gamergate movement was fully absorbed into the Alt-Right; so I do take some time in this article to address this and bash their new anti-minority slants (which were now truly defined and obvious).

My last article taking the side of the “intellectual dark web” was actually written only two years ago, back when I was still doing Monday Chats. The article was in response to Google’s Ideological Echo, the big pastebin that caused all this to become quite a stir yet again (ironic that I called the example of the diversity problem in my On Equality series “The Google Dilemma”). I’m not really sure why I felt the need to make a response to all these things, but I suppose I did it anyway. I’m surprised this is the most recent one of the bunch, since this is actually the one I least agree with. While my writing here is god, I go way easier on Damore than I would have now. While there are obviously biological differences between the sexes, all the ones that Damore brings up a pure pseudo-science. And while certainly there is issues with subverting honest debate (as we’ve mentioned before), the overall pastebin seems to be more orientated towards purposely starting drama and giving some fire for the Alt-Right.

So, in conclusion, I can still back up most of what I said about censorship and debate but not much about the post-gamergate alt-right ideologies. A lot of these posts were very much wishy-washy as well, which is another thing I would rather avoid in newer posts.

 

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. As an added bonus, you’ll also receive the Top 10 Tools I Use on a Daily Basis to help better manage your workload and do high quality work in a shorter amount of time. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

Why Neighborhoods Turn Bad — and Stay That Way

 

 

What we think of when we see a bad neighborhood usually sticks in the present. We just see the gangs, the dilapidated housing, the food stamps, and be done with it — saying “This needs to change” without putting too much thought in how it started in the first place.

 

But in order to truly stop something, you have to prevent it. And preventing something involves looking at it from the very beginning. When we look at neighborhoods that become dilapidated, they usually become this way due to poor economic conditions — either companies begin to leave, or the economy gets bad, or some sort of major event occurs that causes a particular region or people to go under.

 

From here, people begin to develop certain habits. They begin to save less and spend more. They begin to commit crime to survive — small at first, but gradually increasing over time. These acts cause them to further fall into the pit. While in some instances, the growth of these actions on a community scale is small, other times they increase exponentially, and it is with these exponential increases that you get to the creation of long-term ghettos. What causes this exponential increase is something that needs further investigation, but is outside the scope of this article.

 

Once this behavior spreads far enough, it becomes commonplace. Once it becomes commonplace, it is taught — either formally or informally — to future generations. This is what causes these areas to linger for such a long time — not because of current conditions, but rather because past conditions have shaped the future.

 

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. As an added bonus, you’ll also receive the Top 10 Tools I Use on a Daily Basis to help better manage your workload and do high-quality work in a shorter amount of time. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

The Curious Problem of Solving Transphobia

Welcome to another website exclusive! I figured that the last thing Medium and LinkedIn need a more pseudo-philosophical political conversations, so I’ve decided to keep this one (mostly) to myself.

I find the problem surrounding transphobia to be fascinating. In the way of stereotypes, I see three different categories: that of racism/sexism, that of homophobia, and that of transphobia. Racism/sexism is mostly built into specific societies based on significant historical events, i.e. America and the Atlantic Slave Trade. While there is noticeable periods of genders or races recognizing that other sides are “different”, mostly hatred between groups is only built up after significant events. However, once we get into homophobia, things get a little more complex. While there’s no biologically rational reason for rampant racism/sexism, homophobia is likely a biologically driven fear caused by the need for a species to continue to reproduce over time. Of course, this is no issue in modern day humanity, but one would reasonably assume that it would be built up over a very long time. It’s also worthwhile to note that the trend of homophobia waxes and wanes; while bisexuality was much more welcomed in something like Ancient Greece than it was in 1950s America.

But now comes a particularly strange issue. Transphobia is different because transsexuality itself hasn’t really even existed before. While gender dysphoria and simple substitutes such as drag have been a reality for a while, biological sex switching is a completely different ballpark.  This, in turn, can create a significant cognitive dissonance in a person; which is a lot harder of a problem to solve than the previous two.

In my opinion, if we want to mitigate transphobia over time, we need to do so by reducing the amount of cognitive dissonance associated with transsexuality. In all honesty, I don’t have a clear answer of how to do this; but we’ll need to use some way of normalizing the idea of gender not being a simple two way street, but rather a wider scope where people can be dotted around, much like race is considered by most now. I see transsexuality as a major breakthrough in changing the gender discussion, and I believe in the next 20 years or so we’re going to see a long of conflict – and resolution – in the way that it’s headed.

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. You can subscribe to it here.