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  1. #28361
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    This is a nice piece from John Michael Greer, and I'm posting a long excerpt: A Neglected Factor in the Fall of Civilizations – Ecosophia

    One of the points he made has been given a name of its own, the Shirky Principle. Like most really revolutionary ideas, it can be summed up simply enough: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.”

    This is best understood by a specific example, so let’s consider the weight loss industry. This is a booming field, worth billions of dollars a year in the United States alone, and it’s backed by a constant drumbeat of pronouncements from government, health care officials, and the mass media. It’s also a total failure by every objective measure. The more money gets poured into weight loss, the more government and corporate programs push weight control, the more people go on diets and work out at the gym and gobble weight loss medicines by the handful, the fatter Americans become. Why?

    A thought experiment gives the answer readily enough. Imagine for a moment that somebody worked out a cheap, effective treatment for obesity: pop one pill, let’s say, and your metabolism resets itself to keep you thin. What happens? A lucrative industry goes broke, and all its stockholders and bondholders lose money in a big way. All the businesses that make money off people who want to lose weight, and all the pundits and influencers who tell people how to exercise and diet, have to find something else to do with their time. Thus it’s in their interest to fight obesity—but it’s not in their interest to win.

    That’s why steps that could have an immediate effect on the issue never get taken. It so happens, for example, that a stunningly large number of Americans are prescribed antidepressants by their physicians. It also happens that many of the most popular antidepressants have uncontrolled weight gain—up to 5 lbs. a month, every month, as long as you take the drug—among their common side effects. Has anyone talked about correlating obesity with antidepressant use, and explored the possibility getting people who have weight problems off antidepressants, or at least switch them to drugs that don’t have that side effect? Surely you jest.

    It’s also worth noting that in the United States, there’s a remarkably exact negative correlation between obesity and altitude. On average, the higher you are above sea level, the thinner you are. Just one of those weird statistical oddities? Not in a society that dumps oceans of untested chemicals into the groundwater, which flows downhill and ends up in the tap water that people drink. It would be easy enough to test tap water in different localities for chemical pollutants, and then compare the concentration of each pollutant with local rates of obesity, to figure out which pollutants are most likely to be messing up people’s endocrine systems; focused studies could then settle the matter once and for all.

    Of course nothing of the sort is being done, and it seems vanishingly unlikely that anything of the sort will be done. Partly that’s because it would inconvenience whichever chemical companies are producing and dumping the main culprits, but it’s also because the weight loss industry would suffer a devastating financial setback if any major cause of obesity were to be identified and removed. It’s so much easier, and so much more lucrative, to keep on pushing remedies that don’t work, and raking in the profits.

    (And if, dear reader, you’re about to pound your fist on the keyboard because you’re sure that the cure for obesity is diet and exercise, and fat people just need to be bullied even harder than they are already, I’d encourage you to stop and think about the subject for a change. Government at all levels, the entire medical establishment, the media, and the weight loss industry have been pushing diets and exercise for more than a century now, and flinging abuse at fat people has become a national sport in the US. Those methods have not worked. Doing more of them isn’t going to work any better. In fact, the more diets and exercise have been pushed, and the more bullying has been directed at fat people, the more common obesity has become What’s that saying about doing the same thing and expecting different results?)

    What’s true of the weight loss industry is equally true of the medical industry as a whole. It’s reached the point that the saying “a patient cured is a customer lost” is a bleak joke throughout American society, and for good reason. Old-fashioned notions of curing and healing were replaced long ago by what medical professionals call the “disease management” model: in effect, keeping you sick enough that you have to keep going to the doctor, without making you so sick that you lose your job and your medical coverage. That’s why so many pharmaceuticals these days have so many ghastly side effects. As computer geeks say, this is a feature, not a bug, since every time a side effect shows up, that’s another visit to the doctor and another plump bill.

    This sort of exploitation routinely rises to levels that would face legal charges in a less corrupt society. One friend of mine spent years suffering from asthma so serious that she had to make repeated trips to the hospital. A few years ago she read about the role that wheat allergy plays in some cases of asthma like hers, and decided to try removing wheat from her diet. Her asthma went away. At her next appointment, she related this to her doctor, and the doctor nodded and admitted that she was familiar with the syndrome. My friend, astonished, asked, “Why didn’t you tell me?” The doctor’s response: “We prefer to medicate for that.”

    No doubt they do prefer to medicate, and they have ample financial reasons for that preference. The fact remains that my friend had been burdened with a wholly unnecessary sickness for years, because her doctor was more interested in making money than in helping her patients. That’s the Shirky Principle in a nutshell: it’s so lucrative for physicians to fight disease that they are very, very careful never to win the fight.

  2. #28362
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    For example, discuss the hypothesis that the Feds instigated the J6 "Insurrection." Is that a wild conspiracy theory?
    From a cursory glance, I'd say it has elements of one. Specifically that those making the claim repeatedly refer to footage of Ray Epps and the fact that he wasn't as severely convicted as others, and this seems to be enough to accuse him of being a Federal agent.

    My questions would be "where is the evidence that he was employed by the FBI?" and "where is the evidence that the FBI had any plans on starting a 'fedsurrection'?", but this is fruitless because the nature of the theory means the answers to these questions are not reliable. I am almost certain the ad hoc response to these questions would be that "the FBI has covered it all up" or some variant thereof. The theory becomes unfalsifiable, so we arrive at an impasse. Unless there's some evidence I'm not aware of.

    The point is that whatever the hypothesis is, there must be a deducible, logical, observable conclusion that can be arrived at by assuming that hypothesis is true. Assuming truth without further evidence is mere conjecture. And repeatedly pointing to the observation that generated that hypothesis does not strengthen the argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jovan Dragisic View Post
    Is it circular reasoning to assume that people who like weird art might themselves be weird?
    Define "weird" as you mean it here. I'm not being pedantic; the definition is important so that a logical conclusion can be drawn. For example, if you reason that owning this art must mean you're a pedophile, the word pedophile has a definition with logical consequences, i.e., that that person has sex with minors. The question is where is the evidence that sex with minors has taken place.

    Circular reasoning means stating "If A, then B", and then asking "Why B?" with an answer of "Because A". This is a formal logical fallacy known as affirming the consequent.

    There's nothing wrong with individual suspicion and distrust in any of these scenarios. I don't need to know why a fire is hot to know that it will burn me if I touch it. But to treat them as true is groundless and illogical, and in my opinion just needlessly further divides people.

  3. #28363
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    This is a nice piece from John Michael Greer, and I'm posting a long excerpt: A Neglected Factor in the Fall of Civilizations – Ecosophia
    This is very interesting and I’ll be reading again (under the weather a bit.)

    I wonder how Semiglutide factors/will factor into this now. It’s already a turning into a cash cow (both on and off-label.) Some things that interest me about Semiglutide for weight loss (off-label) is that insurance is not covering it. It will cover if prescribed for diabetes. Also, I am amused at how effective it is for weight loss considering its mode of action. As a GLP-1 agonist/mimic, it acts by suppressing appetite.

    So basically this miracle drug that works when “nothing else works” proves the law of thermodynamics in weight loss: quit eating so much, fatass.

    On a side note regarding the above article, I do just assume obese people I see around me are on SSRI’s.

  4. #28364
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Schexnayder View Post
    From a cursory glance, I'd say it has elements of one. Specifically that those making the claim repeatedly refer to footage of Ray Epps and the fact that he wasn't as severely convicted as others, and this seems to be enough to accuse him of being a Federal agent.

    My questions would be "where is the evidence that he was employed by the FBI?" and "where is the evidence that the FBI had any plans on starting a 'fedsurrection'?", but this is fruitless because the nature of the theory means the answers to these questions are not reliable. I am almost certain the ad hoc response to these questions would be that "the FBI has covered it all up" or some variant thereof. The theory becomes unfalsifiable, so we arrive at an impasse. Unless there's some evidence I'm not aware of.

    The point is that whatever the hypothesis is, there must be a deducible, logical, observable conclusion that can be arrived at by assuming that hypothesis is true. Assuming truth without further evidence is mere conjecture. And repeatedly pointing to the observation that generated that hypothesis does not strengthen the argument.



    Define "weird" as you mean it here. I'm not being pedantic; the definition is important so that a logical conclusion can be drawn. For example, if you reason that owning this art must mean you're a pedophile, the word pedophile has a definition with logical consequences, i.e., that that person has sex with minors. The question is where is the evidence that sex with minors has taken place.

    Circular reasoning means stating "If A, then B", and then asking "Why B?" with an answer of "Because A". This is a formal logical fallacy known as affirming the consequent.

    There's nothing wrong with individual suspicion and distrust in any of these scenarios. I don't need to know why a fire is hot to know that it will burn me if I touch it. But to treat them as true is groundless and illogical, and in my opinion just needlessly further divides people.
    The Voice of Reason. Yes, needlessly dividing people is very bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnst_nhb View Post
    I wonder how Semiglutide factors/will factor into this now. It’s already a turning into a cash cow (both on and off-label.) Some things that interest me about Semiglutide for weight loss (off-label) is that insurance is not covering it. It will cover if prescribed for diabetes. Also, I am amused at how effective it is for weight loss considering its mode of action. As a GLP-1 agonist/mimic, it acts by suppressing appetite.
    Patients apparently lose as much muscle mass as they do fat. And the drugs can have pretty severe gastrointestinal side effects. Even just for body recomposition, this class of drugs isn’t equivalent to training, and never will be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiva Kaul View Post
    Patients apparently lose as much muscle mass as they do fat. And the drugs can have pretty severe gastrointestinal side effects. Even just for body recomposition, this class of drugs isn’t equivalent to training, and never will be.
    Yeah sarcopenia is a brutal side effect. The other side effects are interesting too. Not looking good.

    Unfortunately for the folks clamoring to get on this drug, sarcopenia is not a concern. For the same reasons building muscles to begin with isn’t a concern either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovan Dragisic View Post
    Oh, the Church is strong. It supports the commies turned Christian Democrats. The returned a lot of church property they confiscated in the 40s and so on.
    The relationship is strong, of course; but, it’s all customary and superficial in nature. They do it because it’s always been done, not because it has to be done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subby View Post
    I don’t know if you’re familiar with the term, but the current state of affairs has been classed as “Anarcho-Tyranny”. Where the criminals are allowed to live in anarchy and the law abiding are tyrannized. Demolition Man actually had a great portrayal of it. “We’re Police Officers, we’re not trained for this level of violence"
    That explains a lot. It feels a lot like Demolition Man. Pretty sure Dennis Leary is stuck in the LA sewer system. He and I share a birthday. I'll probably end up in the sewer eating a rat burger in my classic car, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Schexnayder View Post
    "The nearby community"... hmm... like a society? That in your view should have morals and standards that the community at large upholds? Sounds an awful lot like laws and law enforcement to me. And I have not once said that "authoritarian government styles" is the solution, so please stop insinuating that as my position.
    You and I probably define authoritarian differently, going by your posts. A community is not a state. I've tried to be very careful to stay with words like government and state to make that line clear. And the original post was in response to talk of warrants and the legal system. Yes, I think people, especially people in circles small enough to hold familiarity and accountability, are better at dealing with matters than states and bureaucracies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Schexnayder View Post
    I'm going to go ahead and assume that you think this applies to everyone and not just you.
    It does apply to all regardless of some people's inability to admit it. You are exercising your conscience and authority over yourself, too. It's weird to me that all these things you ask about, you just assume the state is the answer. The state prevents revenge, the state prevents the criminal from acting, etc. Justice subject to the whim of some judge probably appointed because of what they donated or because they played golf with the right people is so much better than justice subject to the whims of those directly involved. (/sarcasm) Why are you defending the failure? Other than fear of the alternative? Do you believe the state is actually doing these things? That the only reason we haven't descended into a dark age of chaos or a real life Purge movie is because of the state?

    Yet, most instances of people creating parallel systems are good. After Katrina, it wasn't the government that got in to help people first. We had a whole bunch of people stuck here in Jackson for numerous reasons. The colosseum (where a large number of them were) was in the neighborhood where I lived. The whole of Belhaven emptied their freezers and grilled and took food, clothes, even crayons for the kids. Doctors are figuring it out and more and more opening practices that don't deal with things like Medicaid and insurance. The Amish have done it for quite a while. If one is into society and cooperation, that certainly can be had without the state being involved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Schexnayder View Post
    But all it takes is a single disturbance in an undampened system for things to spiral out of control.
    Wow. So many thoughts. Maybe we need to develop better resilience then. Spiral how? More out of control than now? More out of control than the homeowner being arrested for shooting the burglar? More out of control than Drag Queen Story Hour? (Which, let me tell you, is some weird shit. Surreal.) More out of control than $8 eggs? Are we not already disturbed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Schexnayder View Post
    The best solution - in my opinion - is to have an objective agreement, managed and upheld by an impartial third party, that 1) defines the crime and 2) defines the consequence for committing that crime. This removes the emotion and subjects everyone in that society to the same standards.
    Agreement. Ok, so we agree that it should at the very least be an agreement. Ok, so in your version how does one opt out of this agreement? I'll happily hand over the tech, but the state has to let me go. No tax dollars, no say so on how I live. I take my ancestral home and my physical wealth. I will deal with only people who choose to deal with me, there's no mandate that I be rescued in any way. I seem to recall a woman getting murdered while holding her child for this some time ago so my guess is this isn't a real agreement. It's force. You use all this flowery language about cooperation and agreements but it's not.

    Look, I get that in some way a government in has to exist in the modern world. Interstates, national defense- I get that some people want these things. But the fact seems to be that any and every government no matter how limited will eventually become tyrannical. The problem seems to come in when that happens and there's a whole pack of you all state-loving fartknockers that don't want to go to the effort to put it back in its place. Those of you that want this shit have let it grow out of control. If you can't reign it in, I see no reason not to require its destruction until you all get your collective shit together. Some of us don't want to be told how to live and to eat the damn bugs and I see no reason to acquiesce just because you can't admit it's gone tits up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jovan Dragisic View Post
    So, are the cars worse now because of the female engineers?
    No, they are worse because of corporate and government efforts to attract what they perceive to be female engineers. Women are constantly being pandered to. It's so fucking trite and infantilizing. Those of us who have leanings toward male-dominated careers just didn't want the door slammed in our face. That's all. That has been turned into "well, if we make the wrenches pink we'll get more women applying." It's made it all soft and stupid. There's probably money to be made painting the wrenches pink.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jovan Dragisic View Post
    So is this worsening of the quality of cars your opinion or is it some kind of a demonstrable fact? I’m not trying to pull your chain, I really know almost nothing about cars.
    Depends on what you want. If you want autonomy or privacy yeah, cars suck now. If you want to fix your own car, yeah cars suck. If you want to survive a wreck cars suck. The tech is way up and the solidity is way down. So they can track your every move right up until they have to get the jaws of life to pull you out because you hit a cardboard box at 25mph.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Why? What the fuck are these people doing to us, and why???
    They are moving assets. Covid lockdown won't work but immigrant riots might stir up just enough shit.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Satch12879 View Post
    Notice the Tesla clientele. Do you think they have a GTO in the garage?
    No, they're clearly Philistines.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shiva Kaul View Post
    Patients apparently lose as much muscle mass as they do fat. And the drugs can have pretty severe gastrointestinal side effects. Even just for body recomposition, this class of drugs isn’t equivalent to training, and never will be.
    TNSTAAFL

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnst_nhb View Post
    This is very interesting and I’ll be reading again (under the weather a bit.)

    I wonder how Semiglutide factors/will factor into this now. It’s already a turning into a cash cow (both on and off-label.) Some things that interest me about Semiglutide for weight loss (off-label) is that insurance is not covering it. It will cover if prescribed for diabetes. Also, I am amused at how effective it is for weight loss considering its mode of action. As a GLP-1 agonist/mimic, it acts by suppressing appetite.

    So basically this miracle drug that works when “nothing else works” proves the law of thermodynamics in weight loss: quit eating so much, fatass.

    On a side note regarding the above article, I do just assume obese people I see around me are on SSRI’s.
    Feel better!

    Some insurances do cover semiglutide for weight loss, but most don’t. I’ve been around several people who have obsessed with weight forever and either get their insurance to pay or pay out of pocket. You are right, it suppresses appetite, but they also repeatedly throw up violently, typically within a day of the weekly injection, lose hair, and have no energy let alone they are malnourished.

    Yes, the laws of thermodynamics are batting one thousand.

  10. #28370
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    This is a nice piece from John Michael Greer, and I'm posting a long excerpt: A Neglected Factor in the Fall of Civilizations – Ecosophia
    This in an interesting piece, but I feel the author has severely twisted Shirky's original meaning and appealed to its inappropriate authority as a means of justifying belief in some pretty elaborate conspiracy theories. I think it's important to add context to "the Shirky principle". See one of his original TED talks here. What he basically argues is that institutions end up becoming devoid of innovation because they are inherently exclusionary (i.e., they can't hire everyone). In a way it's almost a humourous take on organizational politics much like the Peter Principle, and in fact the guy who actually came up with the name "Shirky principle" cites the Peter Principle as his inspiration.

    Shirky himself doesn't really talk about the weight of the fringe innovations he seems to find so valuable, nor does he give any profound examples to illustrate his point. I would argue that failure of a specific institution to innovate gives rise to alternative institutions that do; this is known as competition and is fundamental to capitalism.

    It's kind of funny how the phrase "Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution" gets this anti-corporate, anti-capitalist interpretation attached to it, yet Shirky's original assertion places economic power squarely in the hands of digital institutions. His example in the TED talk above mentions Flickr, and there are several instances of him talking about how "social media" will change the world. He's not anti-institution; he's pro-institution when it's an institution that suits his narrative.

    This is beside my point, but personally I think Shirky is full of shit. I think you can crowdsource solutions to relatively trivial problems (and I consider "app development" relatively trivial) and get adequate answers that the average person probably finds fascinating. I mean, photo-tagging? That's his argument? And a program that is essentially the equivalent of the Centerpoint Energy power outage tracker? That's a low threshold for achievement. Crowdsourcing more complex problems is just a lazy, trial by error, shotgun-blast-to-the face attempt at a solution with no responsibility or repercussion for failure. Medical diagnoses for example (there's a whole Netflix series about this): who ends up responsible if your "cure" doesn't work?

    All that aside, the piece also requires acceptance of a few nonsensical ideas like how weight loss is not related to diet and exercise and how climate change is a thing. That said, I think he makes a good point that we as a society fail to address new problems effectively, and that probably disincentivizes individuals from further engaging in solving those problems. I think he's articulated his position rather poorly though.

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