Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The difference between progressives and liberals

When it comes to political stances, all kinds of words and terms are thrown around, and it can get a bit confusing. There is left, right, conservative, liberal, authoritarian, progressive...

Two terms in particular are often confused and thought as interchangeable. Namely, "liberal" and "progressive". And both are often considered synonyms with "left-wing" (or "left-leaning".) In other words, if your political stance is left-leaning, you are thus a liberal and a progressive.

However, that is not the case. "Liberal" is not a synonym for "left-leaning". Rather, it's the opposite of "authoritarian". It's on an independent axis compared to the left-right categorization. A simplistic but illustrative way of depicting this is with the following "political compass" graph:

Depending on your political opinions and stances, you can locate yourself basically anywhere on that two-dimensional graph.

Where do "progressives" fall in that graph? They fall really, really up, in other words, extremely authoritarian, and the polar opposite of liberalism.

Modern feminism is largely "progressive", and they hold many opinions that go completely opposite to the core principles of libertarianism.

Progressives want to limit freedom of speech. They want to silence, censor, ban, and stop people from peacefully congregating and talking about subjects they do not like. They advocate for laws that will silence and punish those who express opinions they do not like. They advocate banning everything they do not like, from things that even libertarians can somewhat agree with, all the way to completely ridiculous things, and this goes sometimes to extents that are an affront to the core principles of libertarianism and free democratic constitutional societies.

More and more progressives are calling for laws to punish those with the "wrong" opinions, and laws to ban things they don't like. They want to control the public discussion, and censor everything they don't like. They want to remove people's ability to express their opinions, if those opinions are "wrong", to remove any platform they may have to express publicly their opinions. This goes blatantly against the core principles of freedom of expression.

Moreover, progressives want to reverse the burden of proof with certain crimes (in other words, rather than the accused being considered innocent by default, and the accuser having the burden of proving the guilt of the accused, they want to reverse this, and have the accused considered guilty by default, and prove his own innocence.) This is, once again, an affront to the very principles of libertarianism.

Progressives are also collectivists (while liberals are mostly individualists.) This means that they do not treat people as individuals, judging each person individually based on personal merit, but they always see people as members of a demographic group, and will judge people based on that group. They will assign privileges, responsibilities, rights and guilt based on things like gender or ethnicity, rather than the person's own merits. They judge people based on what they are, rather than who they are. They will, for example, assign blame on someone based solely on that person's gender and ethnicity, without any consideration to that person's merits. Or give some people more or less "rights" to something (such as a cultural behavior) based on their ethnicity. Moreover, they do not consider all people equal before the law, but advocate judging people differently depending on things like gender and ethnicity (such as judging white people committing crimes against black people more harshly than the other way around.)

This, of course, goes completely opposite to libertarianism, where judging people on their own merits completely regardless of things like gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation is a sacrosanct core principle.

All of these stances are highly authoritarian. Limiting people's freedoms, silencing, censoring and banning, punishing for "wrong" opinions, controlling the press, public forums and overall the narrative, reversing the burden of proof in criminal trials, and judging people differently based on their demographic, are all core authoritarian values, and the polar opposite of libertarianism.

This is why calling a progressive feminist a "liberal" is absolutely wrong. "Progressivism" is almost exactly the opposite of libertarianism. (While it's the opposite in the vertical direction of the graph, rather than the horizontal direction, it's still the polar opposite nevertheless.)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ahmed Mohamed's "homemade" clock

So there's this incident where a student, of middle-eastern descent, in a Texas high school made a "homemade" clock, put it into a briefcase, and then got arrested because they thought it was a bomb.

When one reads the headlines version of the story, one very easily gets the impression that this is an electronics genius who built an electronic clock from scratch, then went to his school to show it off, and then got arrested mainly because of prejudice and racism (a muslim brings a briefcase with a clock to school, it must be a bomb!)

This story got so much attention that even the president of the United States made supporting comments, and this kid was soon offered scholarships to the most prestigious universities of the country.

However, when you actually dig deeper, the story is a bit different.

Firstly, was calling the police to arrest him overreaction? Definitely. Americans especially, but in increasing amounts westerners in general, are scared shitless of terrorism, and we see this kind of ridiculous overreaction all the time.

Was there prejudice and racism involved? If it had been a white kid, would the same have happened? Was the police called because he was a muslim? Possibly, but I have my doubts. You hear news of similar ridiculous overreactions all the time, regardless of the ethnicity of the "perpetrator".

Secondly, he wasn't arrested because they thought he had a bomb. Both the school and the police knew perfectly well it wasn't a bomb. The reason he got arrested was because they thought he was playing a tasteless, even dangerous prank, similar to going to the bank with a toy gun: It doesn't matter how much of a "prank" it is, you will get arrested. You don't go to a bank with a toy gun, no matter what. In the same way, you don't go to a school with a fake bomb.

Was the arrest still overreaction, even in this light? Definitely. As said, western culture has become scared of its own shadow, and we resort to such ridiculous overreactions. However, the actual reason for the overraction is not as stupid as the headlines version of the story makes it sound.

Thirdly, the scholarships are themselves an overraction. The stories make it sound like he's some kind of electronics genius, who built a homemade clock from scratch in his home.

Reality is much more disappointing than that. In actuality he simply disassembled an alarm clock and put the pieces inside the briefcase, maybe just soldering a few wires, but that's it. This may not be something that every teenager does, but it isn't something especially ingenious or talented either. Any random teenager with even a modicum of interest would be able to do that rather easily. There was nothing special about it. I think that offering him scholarships because of this was a bit rushed.

(Not that there's anything wrong in offering scholarships to anybody. That's just fine. It's just that the reason why they offer scholarships to this particular kid is skewed and misaimed. Other kids in the same school are not likewise offered scholarships, only this one, and only because of this event, rather than because of actual merit.)

There is, in fact, a very real possibility that he did indeed deliberately make it look like a briefcase bomb, just for the lulz. After all, why would you disassemble an alarm clock and put its innards in a briefcase (moreover a briefcase that looks exactly like those used in movies where such briefcase bombs are depicted), even soldering some extra wires for additional effect?

The stories make it sound like he just wanted to show off his hobby. Is that really so? Or did he deliberately make it look like a bomb? After all, there is little sense in using such a briefcase to do this; he could just as well brought it in his regular backpack or whatever.

I am somewhat convinced that he did have a "briefcase bomb" look in mind when he did this little project. He probably didn't understand nor realize that in the modern western zeitgeist, this is a no-no. (It's a rather stupid no-no for certain, but still, it's something you can get in trouble for. He probably didn't understand this.)

Update: Digging even deeper, the situation is even more damning than described above.

Firstly, the notion that he's some kind of electronics genius who built a homemade clock from scratch, or even modified an existing clock, is completely busted. There are videos out there which you can find, where people take the same kind of clock and replicate his version by simply opening the clock, taking its innards, and just putting them into a small briefcase. And that's it. Zero electronics or engineering knowledge needed. The only skill required is the ability to use a screwdriver to remove the screws of the clock's case.

Secondly, he had a history of numerous pranks in that school. (Also his sister had such a history. There are some indications that their father may be somehow involved in this.)

Thirdly, when he first tried to play this prank, he was told to put it away, into his locker. Instead, he kept bringing it to several classes. The point that broke the camel's back was when he set the alarm of the clock to go off in the middle of a class. There was no "a Muslim with a bomb!" mentality. There was a "problem student with a history of pranks and disruptions was told several times to stop it, and he wouldn't stop it, and instead went and disrupted class once again." He was given plenty of opportunity and warnings to stop it.

Fourthly, he was finally reported to the principal, and the principal finally called the police because of zero-tolerance policies in that school. (Yes, "zero-tolerance" is completely stupid, but such policies tie the hands of the teachers and principals. They have to act accordingly, or risk suspensions or losing their jobs.)

Fifthly, the police did not arrest him because they thought he had a bomb. They detained him because he was uncooperative and refused to answer questions.

And playing this prank, which involved zero engineering skills, was rewarded by him being called to the White House, to the UN, and with scholarships to prestigious universities, and showered with free stuff from all kinds of companies.

So yeah. Our society can over-react in both directions, it seems.

And what happened when he noticed that he gets showered by free stuff by playing the victim card? He got greedy and now is suing the state for 15 million dollars. Yes, this kid who got to he White House, the UN, and got showered with prestigious scholarships and free stuff... got so "emotionally distressed" that he's now suing the state for a meager 15 million dollars grand prize.

Assuming he wins the case, where do you think that money will be coming from? The taxpayers. And where do you think that money will be away from? That's right: The education system (which is already struggling in Texas.)

When he was just an unruly schoolkid with a history of playing pranks, and not listening to his teachers, it was understandable. Now he's just a little piece of s**t.

Friday, September 25, 2015

"WeConsent" app

The rape culture in our society (not the imagined feminist "rape culture", but the actual rape culture) has now gone to such ridiculous extremes that some colleges are encouraging their students to use a smartphone app to make affirmative consent "contracts" before sex.

Yes, we are finally going this far. The feminist fear of "rape" has gone to this extreme.

But putting that aside, something particular stands out in that article:
But Jasmin Enriquez, 23, who was date-raped as a student at Pennsylvania State University, branded sex contracts ‘pure evil’, saying: ‘They are nothing more than stunts and money-generating schemes which distract from the real issue which is education. We need to educate students of both sexes. Informed consent is an ongoing, shifting process which cannot be encapsulated in a contract. A contract fails to safeguard a woman who might change her mind after signing it.’
Firstly, notice that it doesn't say "person". It says "woman". It's always "woman" and "she"; it's never "man", "he", or even "person". Because, you know, only a woman can be raped. (As we all know, even if it's the man who got raped, it's still the man who was the rapist and the woman who was the victim.)

Secondly, and more obnoxiously: "who might change her mind after signing it."

What is the problem that this feminist has against this "contract"? That it takes the power away from women to accuse the guy of rape afterwards, if she so decides.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Feminists do not understand "meninism"

There's a recent new meme called "meninism" making the rounds.

"Meninism" is a parody of feminism. It is to feminism what "pastafarianism" is to religion. It's not an actual thing; it's a joke, a parody. It's a parody of feminism (kind of like "what if men acted like radical feminists?" thing). It's deliberately over-the-top, and nobody is seriously a "meninist" (any more than anybody is seriously a "pastafarian".)

The funniest thing about it is, however, that many feminists do not understand that it's just an over-the-top parody, and believe that it's an actual real thing, an actual movement. They take it seriously, and attack and ridicule it, as if it were a real movement, a real sociopolitical philosophy held by some men.

The vast majority of religious people understand that "pastafarianism" and the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" are not a real thing, but just a parody of religion. Many feminists do not understand that "meninism" is not a real thing, but just a parody of feminism. This makes religious people smarter and more intelligent than feminists.

I suppose that in this sense the meme has been highly successful.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Re: 24 Questions Black People Have For White People

There is a video making the rounds because of the astonishingly stereotyping, and sometimes even nonsensical, questions being presented: BuzzFeed's "24 Questions Black People Have For White People". It has gained some notoriety due to how obnoxious and nonsensical it is.

But, I'm a white person, so I suppose these questions are directed to me. So I'll answer:

#1: "Why do you always make such horrible decisions in horror movies? It's not cool to split up."

WTF? I'm not in a horror movie. And what exactly does this have to do with me being white? This question is absolutely nonsensical.

As for fictional characters in horror movies making dumb decisions, it's because of the script. The scriptwriter decided to write them like that. Usually to cause conflict, tension and drama.

But what exactly does this have to do with being white? Are you saying that no black fictional character has ever made any "horrible decision" in a horror movie? I don't get it.

#2: "Why do you freak out when black people are cast to play white fictional characters."

I could throw the same question right back: Why do you freak out if white people are cast to play black fictional characters?

Accuracy is valued. I don't "freak out" if a black person is cast to play a white character any more than I "freak out" if it's the reverse. If the fictional character is famous and established, changing it to something completely different is bothering, especially to fans and purists.

However, the bigger cause for the dislike of this kind of casting is that it's often done for political reasons, to try to send some kind of political message to the viewers, to shove such a message down their throats whether they like it or not. And that is something worthy of opposition. We are not morons. We do not need to be told what we should or shouldn't think or like.

#3: "Why is a big butt and big lips considered attractive on a white woman, but they are unattractive on a black woman?"

I have never heard or seen this kind of attitude anywhere, by anybody, during my entire life. This is honestly and literally the first time in my life I hear this idea.

As for me personally, I'm not especially attracted by big lips or butts, regardless of skin tone. Anyway, I have no idea what you are talking about with that question.

#4: "Do you really think Miley is the one who invented twerking?"

No. Why?

#5: "Why am I supposed to teach you to twerk? I don't know how to twerk."

What? What are you talking about?

#6: "Why is it that white people always act like they have discovered a new trend when people of color have already been doing it for virtually years?"

I don't do that.

As for other people, who is doing that? And why does it matter? Who cares?

#7: "Why is it that when a black woman wears her hair naturally it's seen as inappropriate, but when a white woman does, it's praised?"

Same answer as to question #3.

You can have your hair however you want. Why should I care? Shave it off if you want, or use a mohawk. You are free to do with your hair whatever you want.

#8: "This is the hair I was born with, so you wearing it as a trend is not cute."

That's not a question. That's being a dick. People have the right to use whatever hairdo they want. You don't own hairdos. If you don't like other people looking like you, then it's your bad. Grow up.

#9: "Like, can you appropriate my student loans? Can you take that off my hands?"

That doesn't make any kind of sense.

The whole concept of "appropriation" is completely racist. You do not own something just because of your skin color. You do not have rights to something just because of your skin color. Claiming rights to something you didn't invent just because of your race, or shaming other people for doing something because of their race, is obnoxious racism.

If we are going the route of "you can't use something invented by people of my race", then you have to stop using cars, computers, and so on. (What? It doesn't work that way? Well, duh. It doesn't matter what the skin color of somebody who invented something was. That's completely inconsequential. Stop being such a racist.)

But even ignoring that, even if I for a moment accepted the notion of "cultural appropriation", the question still makes no sense.

#10: "Why is it that white crime is seen as an isolated incident, but black crime is a representation of my entire community?"

No it isn't. I don't care what the skin color of a criminal is. Everybody ought to be judged based on their own merit and doings.

"When we see a story on TV about a white serial killer, I don't automatically assume that all white people are serial killers too."

But you seem quite keen in assuming that all white people are racists. Hypocrite.

And who exactly thinks that if there's a story on TV about a black serial killer, all black people are serial killers?

#11: "Why does talking about race make you so uncomfortable? Is it because you will be perceived as a racist if you talk about race?"

Yes, that's exactly the reason. At least there's something you understand.

I am being assumed a racist simply because I'm white. If I start talking about races, that will only make those assumptions stronger. Personally I don't have a problem in talking about race all day long (although, to be frank, it would be really boring), but the modern society has made it really difficult.

#12: "You don't really believe that racism is over because we have a black president?"

You are right, I don't. Are you assuming I do? Why?

#13: "Why is it so easy for you to notice when there are no white people around, but you hardly ever notice when there are no black people around?"

Because we notice unusual things. Here like 99% of people are white, and thus everybody being white is normal, and thus one gets naturally accustomed to it. It's only when the pattern is broken when our brain starts noticing that something is different. This is not restricted to white vs. black people.

#14: "Why is your goal to be color-blind?"

Because I'm not a racist, that's why. "Color-blindness" in this context means that I treat and judge people completely equally regardless of what their skin color might be. I "do not see color" when I am in a social interaction with somebody, or form an opinion on somebody. What their skin pigmentation might happen to be is completely inconsequential to this.

A great person once said: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." I believe you know who this person was.

#15: "Why do you want to say the n-word so badly?"

I don't.

However, I do understand those who do. It's because most people are free-thinkers and do not like being told in an authoritarian, even totalitarian, manner what they should or shouldn't think or say. They don't like orwellian newspeak, where some words are banned and taboo. The more you tell to them that it's a bad word, the more they want to rebel against such authoritarianism. It's human nature. And I tend to agree with it. I myself don't like being told by progressives what I should or shouldn't think or say.

#16: "Why do you always want to touch our hair?"

Same answer as for #3.

Also, why would I even want to touch the hair of a stranger? That makes no sense.

#17: "Why do you feel like having one black friend makes you a cultural expert on other races?"

I don't. And I have never encountered such an attitude anywhere.

#18: "Is your only black friend comfortable being the reason why you can't be racist?"

I'm not a racist, and it has absolutely nothing to do with how many black friends I might or might not have.

"By that logic, then I'm not racist. I have a ton of white friends."

Oh, so you are admitting being racist? I just love this Freudian slip.

#19: "Why do you feel comfortable cursing at your parents?"

I don't. And WTF does this have to do with white people vs. black people? Are you saying that white people typically curse at their parents while black people don't? Are you stereotyping? (Also, I have never even heard of such a stereotype. Are you pulling it from your ass?)

#20: "Why do you kiss your dog on the mouth?"

Same answer as #19.

#21: "How come you can't pronounce black names like Quvenzhané but can say names like Schwarzenegger, Galifianakis and LaBeouf just fine?"

Because those are celebrities whose names are frequently pronounced on TV and everywhere, while that "black name" is something I have never heard before (and it took me quite some googling to find out how it's written.)

I can throw the same question back at you: Why can you pronounce those names, but can't pronounce mine? (I'm Finnish.) What? It doesn't work in this direction? Why not?

Do you see how that question is nonsensical (and has absolutely nothing to do with race)?

#22: "Why do you feel like all lion lives matter but black lives don't?"

This is actually a deeply offensive question. I value human life, all human life, over animals. If I had to choose between the life of a person and the life of a lion, I would choose the person, no questions asked, no matter who that person is.

You are not only accusing me of being racist, but moreover such an overt racist that I would consider lions' lives more valuable than black people's. My response to that is: Fuck you.

#23: "Why is it so hard for you to acknowledge your privilege?"

Ok, I acknowledge my privilege. Now what? What exactly should change about me or how I live my life?

This entire "privilege" thing is such a BS feminist buzzword. It's nothing more than a weak attempt at guilt-tripping people.

#24: "How does it feel to not be the spokesperson for your entire race at any given time?"

Say the people who are obnoxiously generalizing and stereotyping all white people, and asking them questions expecting white people to answer on behalf of all white people.


Monday, September 14, 2015

"Syrian" refugees

It seems that Europe has finally snapped, and lost completely any kind of sanity and control.

According to some estimates, at some border entry points where "refugees" from "Syria" are entering by the thousands, approximately 90% of these people have absolutely no proof that they actually come from Syria. And they are still just let in, without question, without control, and without monitoring.

Many of these "refugees" do not act much like actual refugees fleeing from a war, and seeking shelter on a neighboring country. Instead, they act exactly like Muslims like to act in Europe: Rioting, throwing stones, stealing, and raping.

If anybody thinks that every single one of these "refugees" actually comes from Syria, he's being just delusional.

And this unrestricted mass immigration wave will have lasting repercussions. Most European countries are incapable of sending "refugees" back, because that's "wrong", and will grant permits to most of them, simply because they ask for it. No proof of country of origin needed.

Let's see how much rioting and raping will increase in the near future.

Meanwhile, guess how many refugees rich countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have taken. Just take a guess.

Friday, September 4, 2015

When feminists attack their own: The story of Gregory Alan Elliott

I briefly mentioned in a previous blog post about a man who was sued by feminists for the simple reason that the man had criticized those feminists for their doxxing tactics.

I stumbled across a much more detailed description of that story posted by Karen Straughan on a YouTube comment. Because this excellent writing on the case cannot be found anywhere else, and would otherwise be simply buried under the literally billions of other YouTube comments, I decided to quote it here:
A feminist in Toronto named Steph Guthrie, who founded a non-profit called Women in Toronto Politics, put out a call on Twitter a year or three ago for artists willing to donate their work to her organization. A man named Gregory Allen Elliot, a father of four and a graphic/web designer, volunteered to provide her with free art work for her campaigns.

They connected over Twitter, met up in person, and arranged for Elliot to provide her with some art.

Then, BAM! A dude named Ben Spurr, who was incensed over Anita Sarkeesian's propagandist take on video games and her huge windfall on Kickstarter, made a video game app called "Beat up Anita", wherein the first several screens of the app indicated the game was a political protest against feminist hypocrisy. The preamble stated, amongst other things, that 99% of the objectified casualties in video games are male, yet somehow, video games, as a whole, are deemed misogynistic in their objectification of women. The game endeavored to treat a woman, Anita Sarkeesian, exactly like a man would be treated. Right or wrong, agree or don't, the intent of the game app was not misogyny. It was, essentially, saying, "let's treat Anita the way we treated Jack Thompson, since Anita is a feminist who is all about equality."

Anyway, Steph Guthrie and some of her feminist friends dug up Ben Spurr's information--his name, address, place of work, etc (he lived in a city not far from Toronto, incidentally). Over Twitter, they organized a campaign to "hold him accountable" for his misogyny. In a subsequent TEDx talk, Guthrie claimed that she "sicced the internet" on Spurr, and the audience applauded her. She and her friends released his details, and encouraged their followers to call his employer, to contact other potential employers in the area, and punish him for his misogyny. The even began talking about making a trip to his home town to poster it with evidence of his horribleness.

Mr. Elliot protested their tactics. He told them, over Twitter, that they had moved beyond justice and into vengeance. He tweeted at them that they were ruining a man's life over one perfectly legal "crime" that offended them. After they blocked him, he kept tweeting about it, and their friends retweeted his tweets, which made his tweets (which would have been invisible to them) visible to the feminists in their feeds.

Keep in mind, Mr. Elliot had been a big enough supporter of feminism and Ms. Guthrie's efforts to empower women politically in Toronto to volunteer his professional services to her for no charge. Having read all the Twitter logs, I could see nothing in his tweets that even disagreed with their position that Mr. Spurr's game was misogynistic -- his only objection was that these three women were prepared to completely annihilate a man socially and economically for the dire sin of offending them.

A very interesting thing happened in the logs, however, after the three women blocked Mr. Elliot. They began making plans to meet in person, to discuss things that could not be discussed over social media. A day or two after that, each of the three women tweeted at Mr. Elliot to stop directing his tweets at them (something he could not do, as he was blocked, but which the women's friends WERE doing every time they retweeted Mr. Elliot).

And then, what do you know? Mr. Elliot was arrested for criminal harassment of Steph Guthrie and her two feminist friends. The irony of this is, his harassment consisted of objecting to their own online and real life campaign of blacklisting and harassment against another person. Mr. Elliot had dared to criticize not their beliefs, cause or ideas, but their behavior and actions. One of the requisite elements of a criminal harassment charge is that the victim(s) must demonstrate that they have endured distress or fear for their safety as a result of the communications. It was alleged by Ms. Guthrie and her co-complainants that they were in fear for their safety because of Mr. Elliot's tweets.

As a condition of his bail, Mr. Elliot was barred from using the internet. This means that this father of four could not work in his trade as a graphic/web designer--he has been unemployed since his arrest. The trial has dragged on for two+ years since his arrest.

And in an odd twist, a few months ago, a private citizen violated judicial protocol to write directly to the judge in the case. This person (I will use "he", for simplicity) claimed in the letter that he was present at this in-person meeting between the three feminist complainants. He observed them conspiring to set Mr. Elliot up and make an example of him. He claimed at the conclusion of the meeting, every person had a set of instructions and a role to play in engineering Mr. Elliot's arrest.

Despite the egregiousness of this breach of judicial protocol, the judge ordered a stay of proceedings and instructed the police to investigate the allegations in the letter, as, if true, the allegations were of a serious nature: criminal conspiracy, perverting the course of justice, filing a false police report, perpetrating a fraud on the court, and perjury.

It has been my opinion that these women were never in fear for their safety. I read the Twitter logs long before the letter to the judge was made public, and it was clear to me from the conversations that these three women were planning on meeting in person to figure out how to fuck over Mr. Elliot but good. The fact that almost immediately after this meeting, they tweeted to him to leave them alone (despite him being blocked) seemed to me to be the feint in a complex combination of moves.

I've been watching this case rather closely, as given the nature of what I discuss online, and the fact that a finding of guilt against Mr. Elliot would set a precedent, I have serious concerns as to the potential implications on my own free expression. One of the most horrifying things is how certain unscrupulous people can manipulate a system that is weaponized and vulnerable to their exploitation, "because misogyny". For someone like me, a guilty verdict would make every comment I reply to through Disqus or Livefyre a potential criminal offence.

When the mainstream is paying any attention at all, they will condemn the harassment, doxxing, trolling of the one side, while completely ignoring even more egregious behavior on the part of the other. And I'm sorry, but as far as I'm concerned, sending poorly spelled, grammatically incorrect and completely non-credible threats to someone, or even "siccing the internet" on them, is not even remotely on par with having them charged with a felony for having the temerity to criticize you.

This is what the SJWs and feminists seem willing to do to people who don't agree with them. It's terrifying.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Visual simplification of user interfaces

There was a time, starting somewhere in the late 90's, and continuing for over a decade, of operating systems and programs using fancier and fancier looking graphics for GUI elements. This was true in all three major operating systems, and the majority of applications followed suit.

However, in later years, for some reason, there has been a trend into the opposite direction. Sometimes to the ridiculous extreme.

Consider, for example, the window decorations in Windows 7 vs. those of Windows 10:

The change into the opposite direction is just outright ridiculous. It goes so far as to be actually detrimental to usability. Of course every single fancy graphical effect is gone, and symbols have become nothing but one-pixel-wide straight lines, but that's not all.

In Windows 10 there is no difference in coloration between the title bar of the active window vs. an inactive window; it's always just pure white. (Applications are supposed to define their own colorations, which no application currently does, of course. Even then, it's just incomprehensible why sensible defaults can't be used.) Also, there is no border for the buttons (a trend that's absolutely detrimental, although it started well before Windows 10. However, now it has crept itself even into title bar buttons.)

Also notice that there is zero visual difference between menu titles (which are interactive elements) and the title of the window. They are all the same. You simply have to know that those are interactive menu buttons, as there is no actual visual distinction otherwise. (Also, in Windows 10 the "click&drag" areas around the borders, which you can use to resize the window, are invisible, outside the visible border of the window. Again, there is no visual indication of where the window could be resized with the mouse.)

The fact that window decorations are so utterly simplistic actually makes it sometimes very hard to use. When you have several windows open, one on top of another, all of them consisting of plain white background and one-pixel-wide borders, it becomes visually hard to distinguish between the windows. Sometimes it's even hard to see where the title bar of one window is. Needless to say, this wasn't a problem in Windows7.

Windows is not the only operating system embracing this trend. In the late 90's and the first decade of the 2000's, Mac OS X went into the direction of making fancier and fancier GUI designs, with all kinds of shiny graphical effects. Now they, too, have been going into the other direction. For example, just compare the upper left corner of Finder in older versions of Mac OS X vs. the current version:

Operating systems are not the only ones doing this. As a curious example, compare how the Google logo has changed over time. There has been a continuous trend towards simplicity there as well. Perhaps the most iconic version was the one used for longest, ie. the one used between 1999 and 2010. Then they simplified it, and simplified it, and simplified it... until the current version (from September 1, 2015) is just ugly. Not only are the shadows and lighting effects gone, but now even the font is a really ugly simplistic sans-serif that removes anything fancy even in the outline of the letters.

I really don't understand where this trend is coming from, and why everybody is embracing it. Sometimes you even see it in casual mobile games, with some games using amazingly simplistic graphics that look like they have been done in MS paint. (And, quite incredibly, a few of these games are some of the best-selling ones... which of course means thousands of copy-cats, who think that it's the simplistic graphics that sell the game.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

No altruism goes unpunished

Suppose that a semi-wealthy person gets into the habit of helping beggars. These beggars can simply go to that person's home, and get food or even money just like that. Word gets spread around among homeless people about this, and soon enough there's a stream of beggars.

This person then decides that he can't keep doing this anymore, because it's taking too much of his money and time, and the beggars are becoming a nuisance to the neighborhood. So he decides to politely ask the beggars to stop coming.

A very likely outcome of this is, at the very least, protest. At worst it could even go as far as violence.

Even if it's just protest, it's rather inappropriate behavior. It's almost as if when that person started doing charity, and he got known by doing that, now he, somehow, has some kind of duty to keep doing it. If he stops doing it, the beggars will start protesting and even rebelling. If he had never started his charitable work, nobody would care. It's only because he started the charitable work that he is now the target of protest, perhaps even violence. Moreover, none of his neighbors would probably be the target of this; only he is, because he did charity in the past.

There's this very strange psychology in the human mind, that if someone starts being altruistic, that person now somehow is duty-bound to keep doing it, and if he stops, he's somehow being a bad person, or at the very least a person deserving of protest and scorn.

Well, this psychological phenomenon isn't limited to individual people. It goes all the way up to entire nations, and even larger alliances of nations.

Europe is the perfect example. Because Europe has had this charity complex for some time now, it seems that everybody is now demanding Europe to keep doing it, regardless of whether the nations can afford it or not. If some nation doesn't want to keep doing it, it will be the target of protest, scorn and vilification.

Yet we have other nations that are at least as rich as most European countries, like Saudi Arabia, and nobody expects anything from those, because they haven't done any charity in the past. If, for example, Saudi Arabia denies access to refugees, nobody gives a flying fuck. They are the neighbor that never did any charity to begin with, and thus nobody cares about them. Everybody cares only about those who did charity in the past, and would want to stop now. Somehow, if you do charity, it now becomes your moral duty to continue it, by some strange twisted logic.