• 45 Posts
Joined 9M ago
Cake day: Jul 13, 2022


Meat consumption isn’t as damaging to the environment as what certain people perceive it to be. The problem lies in the unethical, capitalist practices of the meatpacking industry and its derivatives. We’re overproducing meat.

So no, a vegan diet isn’t an obligation but what is is reducing our meat consumption and stop feeding the animal-industrial complex.

A Critique of Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate” (2002)
This is a book that I had put on my reading list a few years ago but couldn't tackle until last month. If I were to read it sooner, I wouldn't have known how to respond to the author's arguments with anything other than contempt and unjustified hostility. In his book, Pinker addresses the good ol' nature-nurture debate—whether our behavior is innate or taught to us. While the book and its writer aggressively tries to portray his book as scientific and descriptive, it becomes quickly clear that it is more likely an attempt at making a (political) point. Before delving into the review, we should be aware that this a layman's guide and not a veritable scientific work, so it will inevitability contain inaccuracies and oversimplifications, especially given that Pinker didn't make any research himself but simply relied on others' hard work and research; I can play the referencing game too and find equally authentic research that refutes his. Nevertheless, this 500-page book isn't to be taken for granted, as it took me an entire month—a month that I can't take back—to wrap my head around its premise.* Hence I am writing this exhaustive review and sharing it with my fellows so you don't have to read it. *It took me an equal amount to write a review (this is an excerpt, the full text is 12 pages long). It comes naturally with scientific attitide an exceptional obsession with “neutrality” and “moderation”. Pinker paints his beliefs as being on “the middle ground”, a common strategy to gain the trust of the reader, yet it never made sense to me since 1) why should centrism be deemed necessarily good; and 2) how can one measure opposing views on a fictitious spectrum and deduce its middle point? Pinker will constantly boast his supposedly empirical, scientific attitude—that of rationalism, objectivity and disinterest. Relying solely on his own writings, I will argue that the science he's praising isn't insulated from culture and politics. I highlighted the most reflective passages of this book and classified them into two categories: the red highlights which correspond to criticizable statements, and the yellow highlights which correspond to potentially meritorious statements. The ratio of red highlights to yellow ones should make clear my opinion on this book: approximately 80 reds to 40 yellows. In the following passages, I will examine some of the arguments in a detailed manner; but to give a generalized observation, while the the general theory that Pinker roots for isn't nonviable per se, the intricacies of his argument are deeply erroneous. “Every society must operate with a theory of human nature,” Pinker introduces the purposes of this book with these words. A theory of “human nature”, among other mythologies, is what keeps human society glued together; it is through this theory that we justify the existence of said society. Our worldview, according to Pinker, has been infested with nasty theories that completely relegated the role of nature in favor of nurture as a source of human behavior in the last centuries. This modern worldview is represented by three doctrines or pillar: the Blank Slate (or tabula rasa ; Man is born void of a priori qualities), the Noble Savage (Man is inherently good), and the Ghost in the Machine (Man is the cumulation of a free mind/soul and a mechanical body). Those doctines that emerged from liberal Enlightenment philosophers are indeed quite susceptible to heavy criticism. However, indiscriminately invoking them onto nurture proponents lacks nuance, since proponents of nature could (and did) also cling into those same doctrines (we will look into this later). Pinker, as a matter of fact, unwittingly (?) assumes that “[t]he Blank Slate naturally coexists with the Ghost in the Machine, too, since a slate that is blank is a hospitable place for a ghost to haunt.” What an attractive hypothesis—for a moment there I thought I was reading a children's book. However, the Blank Slate matches with its proclaimed “companion doctrines” as much as opposite doctrines. Marxist materialists are atheists, empirical and simultaneously proponents of the Blank Slate. A large number religious people, fundamentalists especially, may believe in an innate human nature and in mind-body dualism. Even more interesting, neuroscientists Charles Sherrington, John Eccles, Roger Sperry, and Benjamin Libet as well as physicist Roger Penrose were all dualists. And if the Blank Slate invokes the blankness of Man, then how is it compatible with the Noble Savage which implies the inherent goodness of Man? Pinker replies that virtue is heavily correlated to terms conveying blankness: clean, fair, immaculate, pure, spotless, unsullied… Against the Ghost in the Machine, it is interesting to mention that Pinker is a staunch proponent of the so-called “computational theory of mind”. “It is not the same as the “computer metaphor” of the mind, the suggestion that the mind literally works like a human-like database.” Key expression is “not literally ”. But in principle, it is since it tries to “explain [human] minds… using some of the same principles.” The backlash against this theory isn't because it literally assimilates computers to human minds per se; it's rather because it assumes how the human mind must be functioning based on the artificial, manmade logic of computer engineering. This ambiguity of Pinker's language will be a constant theme throughout the book. He then discusses artificial intelligence. He mentions at the time (2002) recent technologies that “have written credible short stories, composed convincing Mozart-like symphonies, drawn appealing pictures of people and landscapes, and conceived clever ideas for advertisements.” (As a side note, this shows how AI hasn't seen remarkable progress for decades but are nonetheless advertised as “the technology of the future.”) “[A]ccording to the computational theory of mind, [the] capacities [for judgement, reflection, and creativity] are themselves forms of information processing and can be implemented in a computational system, [basically Artificial Intelligence].” Unfortunately for Pinker, those computational systems do not follow the same logic as humans when creating “new” work. I think, at least when speaking of art and literature, it is not merely the act of creating itself which constitutes human creativity, but the process of creation. It isn't just the result, but how we created such result. However, in a weak attempt to avoid criticsm, Pinker backtracks on his statement: “None of this is to say that the brain works like a digital computer.” This is incoherence at best. “The mind cannot be a blank slate, because blank slates don’t do anything.” (Chapter 3). This is how Pinker criticizes (and defines) the Blank Slate. For Pinker, the Blank Slate signifies that there is no basic cognitive structure in the mind; or more precisely, that there is no mind at all. I take this as an intentional distortion of notions he disagrees with. The Blank Slate, as it is usually and contemporarily conceived, shouldn't deny the existence of primordial mechanisms in the biological design of the mind; rather, the inherent blankness refers to how those mechanisms are to be used. In other words, it is the content which is blank, not the structure. Two points can be deduced from this standpoint: 1) there is a universal biological design; 2) racial discrimination based on biology is refuted. If the Blank Slate is (correctly) defined and characterized as the foregoing, then funnily enough, Pinker would be a proponent of the Blank Slate. This whole debacle and misinterpretation, he invokes, is aimed against so-called extremists who want to erase biological features from the conception of human behavior: “My goal in this book is not to argue that genes are everything and culture is nothing—no one believes that—but to explore why the extreme position (that culture is everything) is so often seen as moderate, and the moderate position is seen as extreme.” From this quote, Pinker implies that the majority of people—academics and nonacademics alike—support a twisted notion of the Blank Slate, which is a false assumption. I don't think this incoherence is an innocent mistake from Pinker's end, but a malicious attempt to disfigure his political rivals under the guise of science. Pinker then transitions to neuroscience. In a respectable attempt to dismiss the mind-body dualism, he argues (read: cites experts) that thoughts and emotions are the product of physiological activity in the brain; put elegantly, “the brain *causes* the mind, or one can say that it *is* the mind.” I am not sure if he realizes the implications of such statement. I personally don't disagree with Pinker on this point, but I'd like to offer a more nuanced perspective. I think that the mind doesn't exist per se ; it is an attempt at empirically locating consciousness in us, and thus to justify our consciousness. So we got used to relate notions such as consciousness, mind and reason to the brain but the reality is that [the brain alone cannot constitute the mind](https://iai.tv/articles/why-the-mind-is-not-the-brain-auid-1139). That being said, the creation of the mind (and its assimilation to the brain) is a natural feature in conscious beings, and so, in my opinion, it remains valid despite its objective incoherence. What I actually have a problem with is the example Pinker gives to the foregoing: “When a surgeon sends an electrical current into the brain, the person can have a vivid, lifelike experience. When chemicals seep into the brain, they can alter the person’s perception, mood, personality, and reasoning.” Indeed, this is all factually correct yet deceiving. The activity of internal processes such as hormone and neurotransmitter secretion in normal occasions (i.e. not initiated within a laboratory experiment or a surgery) is heavily related to our environment. To be concrete, the bodily mechanism which regulates behavior doesn't matter as much as the environment, the root cause of behavioral changes. Hormone shifts simulated in an isolated bubble (think surgical operation or laboratory experiment) silences the role which environment plays in those processes. For his argument against the Noble Savage, Pinker notes that, contrary to old studies, indigenous, primitive tribes aren't as peaceful as they were previously illustrated. He proceeds to showcase a graph which compares male deaths percentages caused by warfare in different tribes to that of 20th century US and Europe: ![](https://lemmy.ml/pictrs/image/18b2112f-8578-436d-9416-e62b453c182d.jpeg) He comments: “Many intellectuals tout the small numbers of battlefield casualties in pre-state societies as evidence that primitive warfare is largely ritualistic. They do not notice that two deaths in a band of fifty people is the equivalent of ten million deaths in a country the size of the United States”. Ironically, what Pinker in his turn does not notice is the fact that percentages (and generally statistics for that matter) do not show the full truth. Pinker assumes that statistical percentages in practical contexts are proportional, yet nothing guarantees that those tribes growing in population size will also accrue in warfare deaths; in fact, the Huli people numbering over 250,000 people, has a significantly lower warfare death rate than the Jivaro whose population is estimated between 15,000 and 50,000. This is to show that more factors—namely cultural and historical—contribute into warfare deaths and help offer a nuanced picture. For instance, several indigenous tribes in the Americas partake in ritualistic wars which feature a limited number of combatants in proportion to the size of their population. I agree with Pinker on the notion that warfare violence is (though not always) a predominant feature in human societies around the world, but his perverse techniques he uses to push forward his beliefs are flawed at best. My distaste in Pinker largely derives from his tainted colonial rethoric and sympathy for cultural homogenization. In chapter 4, he argues that “traditional cultures change, too,” and willingly “borrow” the innovations of neighboring cultures. This isn't particularly a wrong statement, but we must take into consideration the very specific case of colonialism and how colonial practices diffused cultural innovation. In a case like this, the colonized culture wasn't in the fullest sense borrowing from its colonizer. The colonized, regardless of their opinions, weren't in a bargaining spot to accept or refuse cultural difgusion. Further, in the traditional sense of cultural diffusion, there is an exchange of ideas and traditions at the moments of contact. In the colonial framework, there was only a one-way diffusion. Even imperialist occupation of foreign peoples' land weren't as culturally rigid as colonialism: Ottoman turks took from Arabs, Persians and other groups; the Manchu from the Hans; the Romans from the Greeks; and the Mongols from whoever they occupied… “nor did the Plains Indians ride horses before the arrival of the Europeans.” True, but this stems from the simple fact that there were no horses on the continent before the arrival of Europeans. Llamas and alpaccas, the closest animals in the Americas to resemble horses, were already domesticated then. Another bigoted misconception. Further, Pinker dissimulates his eurocentrism with talks of universal morality that the entire human species can achieve. I concur from a theoretical point of view. But how is this to be achieved? And which morality is thre "right" one? A supporter of the enlightenment and liberalism, Pinker would contend that Western democracy and secularism are the way to go, as evinced by his writings. “liberal democracies appear to be the best form of large-scale social organization our sorry species has come up with so far. They provide more comfort and freedom, more artistic and scientific vitality, longer and safer lives, and less disease and pollution than any of the alternatives. Modern democracies never have famines, almost never wage war on one another, and are the top choice of people all over the world who vote with their feet or with their boats.” (Chapter 16). (There is another quote that affirms his view on universal morality but sadly I didn't highlight it and can't find it anymore.) Pinker is so confident in his “universally recognized” statement; a brief look at the footnotes and references shows exclusively American, British and French writers. So much for universality. Pinker largely avoids quoting non-Western scholars because whoever disagrees with him is probably irrelevant and may be easily dismissed to the peripheries of the academic and political worlds. Pinker's universe consists mainly of people who agree with him—everyone else can just go to hell. This is the biggest reason why I gave this book one star; the author attempts to control how "democracy," "morality," and "civilization" are to be defined. That he can inconsequently dismiss entire works of scholarship because they do not conform to his terms and rules is tyrannical. We have democracy, you do not; we are moral while you are not; we are civilized and you are savages. This is even more apparent in his chapter on politics. I don't see any problem in mixing politics with science, because this is what usually happens in reality. We make scientific theories not in isolation of our societies, afterall. Yet it doesn't make sense from Pinker's perspective. Sixteen chapters earlier, Pinker promised that “for the most part I will try not to advocate particular policies or to advance the agenda of the political left or right,” since the scientific attitude is objective and neutral, isn't it? “it is Lewontin [geneticist] and Rose [neuroscientist] who insist that their scientific beliefs are inseparable from their political ones,” but not Pinker, because unlike all other beings he is entirely disinterested. However, chapter 16 removes the cloack of benevolence which hides Pinker's political agenda. “Marxism is now almost universally recognized as an experiment that failed, at least in its worldly implementations.” To back up his claims, he exclusively makes reference to authors from the Western hemisphere: Alan Bullock (British), Daniel Chirot (French), (British-American), Stéphane Courtois (French) and Johnathan Glover (British). Going through their works, these are the authors who were mainly behind the claims that communism generates famines, that communism was behind the deaths of one hundred million people, and that communism equals Nazism. He concludes based on this that “the nations that adopted it either collapsed, gave it up, or languish in backward dictatorships.” I leave this for you to scrutinize further. I am contented with proving Pinker's discrepancy and him failing to conciliate between his science and politics. “The social sciences were taken over by the doctrine that social facts live in their own universe.” Ironically, it is he who has fallen into this trap. “It is a brute fact that greater rewards will go to people with greater inborn talent.” This is true until one reintroduces the nuance: the greatest source of inequality is property and inheritance. Privileged individuals born into wealthy families get a better start than those who were born into the working class. Until the right to property is abolished, there can't be a truly meritocratic system. To add to the salt, Pinker inserted in the appendix of the book a list of human universals programmed onto our biology. Among them one can find economic inequalities, property, males dominate public/political realm, and other similar notions. I should note that all of these are “surface”-level phenomena observed by ethnographers. Put in blunt terms, those “experts” do not follow any scientific basis in assessing what is an actually programmed universal; they simply observe from the outside and call it an experiment. This is a backhanded attempt to justify reactionary fantasies. From politics I move to contemporary philosophy, and precisely postmodernism. Because if we are to slander Marxism and anything that goes against capitalism and liberalism, we may as well bring in postmodernism. Pinker, unsurprisingly, conflates postmodernism with absolute relativism. However, to be a postmodernist is not to consider all opinions and theories as being equally valid and thus interchangeable with one another. This is an intentional misunderstanding of what postmodernism essentially is. To quote one [blogger](https://scribe.rip/postmodern-perspective/the-wiki-effect-on-why-postmodernism-is-not-relativism-ff21a32b4f6c?), >“...it is not surprising that we postmoderns are constantly viewed as trapped within an inescapable relativism or some form of anarchy. This perception is a complete misunderstanding of the postmodern perspective itself.” “What we postmoderns have realized is that the framework wherein something is or is not truth is always changing and adapting to produce systems of “truths” that will better equip us to cope with our always changing historical conditions. In this sense, we postmoderns are pragmatic, but not pragmatic about discrete instances of truth, pragmatic about the rules we establish as a society and that circumscribe the limits wherein something is or is not regarded as “true””. In his [lecture](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP79SfCfRzo), Rick Roderick also retorts, >“Since there's no the “right way,” then any way is as good aa any other… Derrida isn't compelled to hold that view and he doesn't… and no one holds that view.” Derrida himself says, >“there's not a trace of [relativism] in my writing. Nor of a critique of Reason and the Enlightenment.” If postmodernism acknowledges the plurality of interpretation and truth-making, it doesn't attempt to hold all of them at an equal pedestal. Again, I have to remind the readers that some of the premises presented by the book are appealing. For instance a universal framework that governs the biology of human beings is logical; we humans are diverse enough to differ in oir core framework. When homosapiens migrated to different continents, they have been separated and insulated for a relatively short period of time which wasn't enough to make of each group a separate species. Today, globalization has ruptured this isolation, rendering the biggest factors to human differences cultural. Of course, there are as well differences in individual traits that are governed by genetics. But as Pinker rightly argues, those genetic differences do not necessarily extend to ethnic groups. “Human nature is a scientific topic, and as new facts come in, our conception of it will change.” (Chapter 10). Moreover, Pinker makes a great point when arguing that the Blank Slate isn't necessarily a humanistic and progressive theory. Behaviorists and the CIA in the early 20th century attempted ethically controversial experiments on human beings. Also (and the the following wasn't addressed by Pinker), European colonialists believed they can westernize their colonial subjects. On the other hand, the contradictory statements, the falsifications and the tainted eurocentrism make this work hard to digest. As one goodreads user said, if the book was two hundred pages and focused just on brain science, it'd be one thing. The trouble is that it ends up reading as if Pinker gathered every single study that seemed to support his position and threw it into a blender, and then threw in a number of screeds against groups he has a bone to pick with. Some of the irritations I experienced were the misquotations of Pinker's biggest rivals, Lewontin and Rose. The two sceintists made the claim that the role that each of human anture and han environment play is not dissociable from the whole (they offer the metaphor of a cake whose ingredients mix together complexly to achieve the desired taste). Pinker agrees that human environment and nature interact in a complex relation—for he does not aim to dismiss environment afterall. However, confusingly, he rejects the claims of Lewontin and Rose: “The mistake lies not just in ignoring interactions with the environment—Lewontin and Rose already knocked over the straw men who do that. The deeper mistake, as they see it, lies in trying to analyze behavior as an interaction between human nature and the human environment (including society) in the first place.” (Chapter 7). I was left incredulous by this claim and so I had to check if Lewontin and Rose really said that. Note that Pinker only referenced their work in the footnotes and not directly quoted them. It turns out that this was a malicious manipulation of their argument because in fact, they propose a more radical theory of interdependence between nature and nurture. They didn't see the interaction as a "deeper mistake," but only as not sufficient. More flagrantly, our author also fabricated inexistent quotes. One quote he associated with Susan Brownmiller wasn't present in the book he referenced. This only shows how little we can trust Pinker with what he quoted and referenced throughout the book. And this should be sufficient to strip Pinker from all authenticity. Finally, what do we learn from all of this? What message was Pinker conveying? I am not sure. He says at the end of his book that agreeing with what was posited doesn't force people to change their worldview. I am inclined to believe that Pinker, by disguising his book as a scientific treatise, wanted to slander people he found irritating (social scientists, marxists, postmodernists, religions...) There are obviously more points to make about the book and its (de)merits, but proceeding any further would be an overkill. The book is two decades old, and many references are half a century older which, in the world of science, is considered anachronistic. If you value the nature-nurture debate, my only advice is to read more recent works.

Idk if it helps, but there used to be a person here who’d mess with CSS.

Check @ier’s community.

Do you think law is an ideal mechanism to remedy the environmental consequences of State capitalist practices?

huh weird, I accesed it like normal, maybe because I have cookies and JavaScript disabled. Can you please try accessing it via https://12ft.io and reply to me back?

Paradoxically, the phenomenon of piracy (but also theft and similar crimes) is an integral feature of the capitalist system, even though such an act is deemed illegal and damaging to the values of free market.

Now the act itself does not intrinsically possess a revolutionary character. When browsing r/piracy, for example, one can notice that users who partake in piracy rarely have emancipatory sentiments in their philosophy. They operate from within the capitalist system and genuinely believe in the values maintained by capitalism. Their identity as pirates depends on its existence. Video games and movies today are the product of the capitalist system and, I suspect, they are the biggest source of ideological diffusion. Book piracy is a bit different, because pirates relate the activity to a noble idea or cause which is the openness of knowledge and the means to accumulate it, a sentiment that gives way to social consciousness.

It would be an overgeneralization to say that systemic “barter economies” never existed, they would probably emerge at certain instances like the case you’ve mentioned, though this article focuses on pre-tokenized economies. Still, the premise of this “gift economy” seemed shallow as described by the article. In a survivalist community, free and equitable distribution would be essential for the survival of said community; I’d assume each member had a certain task to accomplish (e.g. carpenter, food gatherer, fisher… etc.) in a way that makes them dependent on each other. So it’s not in the proper sense bartering, since one isn’t exchanging his services for another fixed commodity but is instead continuously and indefinitely providing; but nor is it a simple gift because of the interdependence of the members.

The Barter Economy is a Lie
Do you think a gift economy is practical in modern times?

International Stability and its Domestic implications: a Revolutionary Perspective
*“Seventy years ago the world witnessed the conclusion of two months of intense multilateral diplomacy, with the signing of the Charter of the United Nations. In one of the defining acts of the twentieth century, representatives of 50 countries endorsed the formation of an international organization created in the hopes of preserving peace and building a better world for all.”* This is what one author [wrote](https://web.archive.org/web/20220711064200/https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/reflection-role-united-nations-ensuring-secure-prosperous-and-equitable-world) in the UN chronicles. Ignoring the occasional regional conflicts that pop up every decade or two, the world order under the aegis of the UN saw, generally speaking, long periods of peace in most places in the world. Indeed, this is a remarkable change from earlier centuries that witnessed long, brutal wars for global dominance within a fragile multipolar world. And whenever today conflicts and wars do arise, the rule of law seems to thrive as a legitimate regulatory force. This, considered by itself, is usually and predominantly seen as a positive thing. But another perspective, a problematic one, emerges when we contextualize this aspect of our contemporary world. [Fears from rising authoritarianism](https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2022/global-expansion-authoritarian-rule) in the last two decades are nothing less than real. The dictatorships of the 21st century have become a constant, problematic theme in international relations. When Western thinkers thought that the fall of the USSR in the 1991 signaled the victory of liberal democracy, they soon [realized how far from the truth they were](https://thebulletin.org/premium/2022-11/its-a-different-kind-of-world-were-living-in-now-interview-with-political-scientist-francis-fukuyama/). Modern dictatorships, despite economic struggles (i.e. sanctions), are flourishing and expanding their political power on the international scene, posing problems to the utopian world order that the West professed. In fact, discontents of populations around the world are growing in proportion with authoritarianism, and this phenomenon extends to the nest of liberal democracy, [the United States](https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/03/us-rightwing-dictatorship-2030-trump-canada). Popular protests against governmental oppression and capitalist inequality are noble and valid, but they are incapable of simply changing the system. That is due to a crucial fact, which is the stability of the unipolar world order. The increasing legalization of the international system has made our world less prone to change. In such a world, States can now focus on domestic issues without being bothered by foreign affairs as much as they used to. As the supreme and only legitimate power within national frontiers, the State prioritizes preserving the status quo over enhancing the living conditions of its population. To our detriment, the new world order has largely removed the role of revolts in changing this status quo. The modern State with its superior logistics and powerful military can neutralize subversive movements at ease. The cycle of governance enabled by revolutions from the bottom-up and external conflicts was ruptured at the dawn of the 21st century. Revolutionary change is harder and harder in this day and age. Paradoxically, international anarchy is the only guaranteed way to achieve prosperity. Our world is complex: progress sometimes necessitates stagnation and, inversely, progress may sometimes turn out to be regression. This is why we must analyze every step and decision and study their long-term consequences. Thus stability, in our case, is protecting the tacit dystopia that late stage capitalism is.

There used to be but they were all bullied by Facebook’s lawyers to shut down. Since then nobody bothers creating another proxy, it’s a dead end.

Embrace the de-facebook lifestyle and live like a free hunterer-gatherer unconstrained by modernity.

If you know his email address you can ask him to post his lectures on another more accessible platform.

Post-talk discussion: Is Technology, namely the Internet, compatible with socialist ideologies? And do you think that the internet was inherently flawed that it would inevitably transform into a centralized, abusable instrument even if implemented in a socialistic environment?

Extinction and extirpation play an integral role in the environment. As paleontologist Grant Zazula once said,

Extinction is essential for evolution to be possible. Environmental change works like that too. It might be detrimental to one critter, like warming climates and forest expansion was for woolly mammoths, but it created a great opportunity for giant ground sloths to multiply and expand.

The problem lies with the direct causation that human activities incur on different organisms. The planet is more resilient than we might think, though this doesn’t mean we should abuse it.

I saw this post too a while ago. Has it been addressed since then?

Given the polarization on lemmy some people might unjustly downvote your post for ideological reasons. So I hereby share another video on myths surrounding the soviet union to balance it out.

I will check your video when I have time and (maybe) write my impressions.

Edit: I had time to check it out and it was alright. This is more focused on Putin’s Russia than the Soviet Union. The term “myth” is inaccurate. This tells us more how the past can be differently interpreted and how narratives as social constructions are a source of power.

She mentions the Soviet Union and the German Reich being “allies” which is entirely false. It takes more than an aggression pact to form alliances. And this strenuous debate on who’s the hero of the war, WW2 was a collective effort; if the USSR didn’t join the war then the allies would’ve lost but if the USSR was facing Germany alone it wouldn’t have stood a chance. There’s nothing wrong in sharing the victory.

least repeated question on asklemmy 🤭

There was a poster on reddit promoting fediverse alternatives to mainstream social platforms. It caught my attention and so I signed up on lemmy whilst not yet fully grasping what was meant by “federation” and “decentralization”.

On a side note, there’s this nostalgic sentiment to my early days on this platform. It was a novel experience, and this is where I fell into the rabbit hole of privacy and libre culture. Lemmy’s content was a huge rupture from what I used to consume on reddit.

This article highlights quite well the social constructions of South/North and West/East divides and how fluctuant they are as concepts. Basically there's no fixed, objective divide.

I’m not very knowledgeable in this field, does chatGPT always give accurate answers?

Edit: also, sometimes people seek cited research from scholars and professionals regarding topics with no straightforward answers. I’m not sure how credible AI is in such cases.

Despite the recyclability of the modules, the process in which materials are separated can be tedious and requires advanced machinery.

It’s not a matter of if the solar panels can be recycled or not, the facts imply that Lebanon, like many third world countries, has no interest or not enough awareness to recycle panels. Lebanon lacks a proper recycling policy. It seems to me, from what I’ve read, that the only reason Lebanese citizens are investing in private, renewable energy is its affordability and abundance compared to other means. But once their economic crisis is resolved, most of them surely will go back to the old ways.

BTW, that link was informative, thanks. Do you have anything similar regarding the batteries and inverters?

Children of Men (2006)
What a wonderful movie for a wonderful story. This is a dystopia, but not your typical, mass-produced totalitarian cesspool movies. This dystopia is, according to Mark Fisher, “specific to late capitalism.” When humans stopped giving birth, the world as we know it fell into disarray and chaos. What interested me was the numerous ways the last people coped with this collapse: there was the religious/spiritual repenting and Christian revelaation stuff, there was the revolutionnaries engaging in activities deemed "terroristic" and there was the nihilism of the elite. Late capitalism was tacitly enmeshed into the film, showing those advertisements of platonic figures all over the place, and concealing the implicit totalitarianism hidden behind apparently democratic institutions.

Depends really, but for the sites I used to access it worked perfectly. I think it all falls down to the mechanism employed by the website to protect the paid content.

https://12ft.io/ to bypass pay walls

https://www.deviceinfo.me/ shows you the info a typical website extracts from your device

https://www.e-ir.info/ has some cool, free articles in relation (virtually) to the field of International Relations.

You’re not wrong, but you’re not much different than doctors when you try to hide the symptoms of an underlying issue with substances. I support self-treatment, but when this involves medication and chemical subtances then it’s a shit decision.

If this is what you want take some advice from experts. Either way what you really need is therapy.

Short but thrilling. We started this year with a bang! Quite literally. A prosecutor wakes up in the middle of the night to the voice of an officer reporting to him the shooting of a villager, marking the beginning of a thrilling and mysterious crime investigation amidst the perturbation of the administration. As the title of the book implies, the author narrates his life as a prosecutor appointed in the Egyptian countryside in the form of a diary extending over twelve days. This is not a simple work of imagination, but it was inspired by the author's actual career and experiences. Critics I found online regarded the book as a satirical work, but one, instead of laughing, becomes quickly saddened if not enraged by the social crisis which the world fell into. While the book's main focus is the crime investigation, many themes emerge in the background: - Contrast between Civilization and Nomadism: The prosecutor, who grew up in the the city, severely criticized the countryside and the peasants that he had to work with on a daily basis during his perpetual, hard work. Sometimes he describes them as being brittle, at other times uncouth; sometimes as ignorant, and at other times backward. The author of the book was born to a peasant father and an aristocratic mother, which explains the clash between the two worlds in his thoughts and works. - Apathy of jurists: The prosecutor's reaction to the gendarme's report of the crime was relief because the investigation won't take much time, for the perpetrator is unknown and the dying victim is unconscious, and so he considered the matter a “simple incident.” The indifference of the prosecutor clearly appears as well as that of the gendarmes and other specialists who repetitively see the atrocity and ugliness of the human corpse after its death, becoming only as valuable as any other inanimate object like the pieces of wood and the molds of clay. - Rigidity of the law: this is the result of imposing foreign ideas and principles on the rural society. In one of the entries, the writer told the story of the illiterate peasant who pleaded his innocence against a judgment in absentia. The judge rejected his request because the deadilne to do so expired: “ignorance of the law excuses not.” The litigant marveled with disapproval, as how could he, a simple-minded creature that had never set foot beyond the borders of his village, have known the code of Napoleon. Similar events occur repetitively in this book to the point they become a norm. Although the prosecutor in his diary mocks this situation, he doesn't refrain from acting in the same way in his cases. - Administrative corruption: The system imposed by the state does not apply to the state, nor to its administrative bodies and employees protected by nepotism. The surprise inspections of the police stations and the court treasury is mere ink on paper, and holding administrative officials accountable is unheard of. The prosecutor expresses his loathing for the kleptocratic agents who were appointed in the capital, while he rots in the arid countryside due to his lack of strong relations with the senior politicians. - Inheritance of oppression: The prosecutor recalls the humiliating treatment of the sheriff to the mayor of one of the districts, knowing that the latter will carry with him the same humiliation and will bequeath it in his turn to his subordinates and from the subordinate to to the lower subordinate and so on until it reaches “the core of the population”. This is the comedy (or tragedy) of the Egyptian legal system as recounted by Al-Hakim.

It was obvious his works were of an anticommunist (and antifascist) nature. But, I precise, his argument against communism was supposedly its inherently totalitarian aspect as he wrote at some point in 1984. This was even clearer in Animal Farm which is his allegory of the Soviet Union.

At some point in 1984, he negatively tells about some indoctrinated kids who reported their parents to the authorities. Which, ironically, resembles his actual behavior, a big ass proof that ideology doesn’t demarcate totalitarianism.

Ironically, literally 1984.

Edit: Assuming this is true, I’m not sure whether Orwell realized the contradictions between his actions and what he wrote. Most of his works consisted of an active denunciation of totalitarianism and indoctrination, yet his acts ressemble those of some of his characters.

Maybe use sticky notes and once you finish your book you can rercreate them with a digital tool.

Did you check the spam folder?

If yes, maybe you can try using an intermediary instance from Simplelogin.

Given the upvote ratio, some people are privacy enthusiasts until China intervenes.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of torrents and streaming websites crammed with ads, I propose using the Android app Cloudstream which offers TV-and-emulator-friendly UIs and provides video sources from popular websites thanks to extensions

Edit: best part is that the app is open source and has 0 ads and trackers

I see that I’ve misunderstood the question. I was talking about my experience on other mainstream platforms.

genuine conversations without repetitive inside jokes and shallow expressions. It’s as if we replaced meaningful thoughts with words and expressions that do not personally relate to the speaker.

Books written by authors from the Global South.
Hello, we're nearing the end of the year and I'm looking for non-personal suggestions to fill my bucket list with. The theme I'm going for is indcated in the title of this post. Non-fiction humanities is preferred but I definitely wouldn't mind other genres. Also, I don't want to restrain myself to one side of political spectrum, the more diverse the better. Thank you in advance!

Why is there an obsession in making lemmy an overpopulated platform. Social platforms with big userbases tend to degenerate quickly and it makes moderation harder than it already is.

I am quite content with the slow growth and modest amount of activity on lemmy. If I weren’t I would’ve still had a reddit account. Less is sometimes more and vice versa.

Seconded. The app has a radio suggestion feature and a quick picks that recommends music based on your most listened to songs. It’s a yt music front-end with no ads and no tracking.

You can find it on f-droid and github.

I see what you mean. For instance, if you search for “main” you will find dozens of indistinguishable communities for each instance. That’s understandable but one may wonder to what extent it could reach in the future, but I think ultimately @poVoq@slrpnk.net’s right.

Can you elaborate please, it would be a good opportunity for the community to debate and learn.

The future of dictatorships in an era of space exploration
This is my personal take on what possibilities could space exploration and colonization offer to authoritarian regimes in extending their control and consolidating their rule. Hypothetically speaking, with how space and transport technologies are progressing, we may encounter a second phase of globalization which connects planets and galaxies together within an ecosystem maintained by big intergovernmental, law-making organizations (I'd call this the international sphere/order 2.0) . Subsequently, the territories of a given State may be distributed on several planets and bodies. Now, let us assimilate this futuristic reality with more concrete elements. We've encountered in this century few examples of dictatorships' aggressive behavior in consolidating their power and mitigating revolutions. This was manifested in the construction of new capitals restrained only to the elitist classes and the governmental bodies; this is notably the case in Egypt, Myanmar and Brazil. The logical reason behind this initiative is to reduce the possibilities for popular uprisings to topple those tyrannical regimes. For instance, Egypt's new capital is located in the hit desert 45 km away from Cairo (former capital and big centre for lower class); if a popular uprising was to be born in Cairo, it would be virtually impossible for it to reach the capital. Tying the strings together, a post-space-exploration dictatorship may establish its capital on a remote body away from the revolting populace, thus squashing the phenomenon of rebellion once and for all. This is of course assuming that the lower classes would still have limited access to the outer space, and I don't see that as far fetched with the ever-increasing inequality. The same thought process, I argue, could be applied to the sphere of international affairs and politics in many respects. Access to space is like the birth and expansion of civilizations but this time it's in a wider, spatial cadre.

What’s a book that you passionately criticize but still recommend it?
For me, it's a non-fiction by Ahmet Davutoglu (Turkey's former PM) titled "Alternative Paradigms". Without entering into extensive details, Davutoglu contrasts the Islamic and Western worlds from a philosophical and political aspects in assertion of the theory of the clash of civilizations in the globalization era. While there's some merit to his postulations, there are many discrepancies. That being said, I find myself recommending it because it has some truth even if misguided, so I always suggest to read it with caution and scutiny.

We have to make the concepts of decentralization and federation clearer to newcomers
In the last two days I witnessed three separate instances where a new user doesn't understand that lemmy is bigger than just lemmy.ml They would either vent or attack lemmy for say its moderation or users' opinions when in fact they're only criticizing lemmy.ml It's perplexing how they end up on lemmy.ml when [the instances page](https://join-lemmy.org/instances) doesn't put lemmy.ml on top. Is it because of the high userbase? If that's the case, devs still got to make it absolutely clear on their website how lemmy functions as a whole. Maybe insert extra dialogs when trying to sign up and move the "join a server" button to thr bottom of the page so people would scroll through and read.

What's your opinion on this? Is curing hereditary diseases on a genetic level a scientific possibility? If so, why there's a focus on supressing those diseases or their symptoms?

(available on [libgen](https://libgen.rocks/ads.php?md5=8FDCC7DB0FD00C666C331641440D2F92) ;) This book is a reality check for us modern people. In today's day an age, Science and the Scientific method are glorified just like religion was in the Medieval Ages to the point of pure nonrational belief. But this seems contradictory to the ideals of Science, no? What happened to the objectivity, to seeking the truth, to be the last frontier facing the prejudice and dogmas of society? Contemporary scholars have enough data that suggests some of your most beloved, influential scientists had plagiarized, modified or even faked their experimental results that they claimed to obtain: from Galileo Galilei, to Newton, to Mendel and others more whom science textbooks seemed to forget. And day after day, dozens of cases of fraud emerge, while hundreds more if not thousands of fraudulent researchers pass unchallenged into the walls of fame. And the scariest part is that the medical domain is one of the most susceptible environment for fraud and neglect to the truth and to the health of innocents. The scientific community has always brushed off these cases as the "bad apples" that do not reflect the integrity of Science. But Broad & Wade see this issue from another grim perspective. After a thorough and extensive research, they deduced that in fact the problem lies within the core of Science, the conventionalist Scientific Method. Invented and developed by the philosophers and sociologists who looked at Science “from the perspectives of their own disciplines”, the conventionalist method fails to do its supposed function of self-policing whether through replication, peer review, or the referee system. “The philosophers have said they are objective, so scientists strictly forbid any reference to subjective experience in the scientific literature. The sociologists have said they are disinterested, so scientists disdain any overt manifestation of competition or credit-seeking. The historians have said that science is the defense against unreason, so scientists deny with a passion that human passions have any place whatsoever in their work.” (Ch.7) Broad & Wade, giving along the way numerous, vivid examples of the types of fraud that took place systematically, criticized the practical discrepancies of the Scientific method and blamed the Scientific community for turning a blind eye to them. Criticisms vary from opportunitism and careerism, to dogmatism and elitism among the scientists. The authors do not try to mistrust Science per se. Instead they aim from this book to highlight an alternative way into looking at Science and its method. And I believe they have done a pretty good job. ⭐ 4.5/5 If you plan to read the book, please let me know your feedback!

Piracy? We’ve heard numerous times what r/books thinks about it. But how does c/books view it?
"Piracy" here is used in the context of books and all sorts of manuscripts. r/books have three main arguments against it: - It is technically theft - It damages the author's job and income (as well as the publisher, illustrator...etc.) - Why go through the tedious path of pirating books when you can borrow the books from a library legally and for free. What's your reply to those arguments? Are they satisfactory?

“Trust Me, I’m a Scientist”: How Philosophy of Science Can Help Explain Why Science Deserves Primacy
This thread caught my attention regarding the philosophy of science. I've read through the comments and discussions, but I want to move the arena to lemmy's philosophy community. What's your opinion on the Scientific Method? Do your perceive its usefulness in the practical world? And are the flaws in Science the result of this method or the individual causations of the scientists themselves?

[QUESTION] Is Russian media banned on YouTube?
I was looking for some RT documentaries about cultural and nonpolitical stuff, but even those are banned. "Video isn't available in your country". Even with TOR, it's not working.

To what extent are you commited to a certain book?
Basically, sometimes one may find out too late that a book isn't quite up to one's taste. The book might not be gripping enough due to many factors. In such case, would you quit reading it? Does the amount of progress you put in make a difference? Or would you be nontheless determined to complete despite not feeling any meaningful connection?