29 December, 2021

u/earlyy_bird on alcoholism


Drink once, feel a buzz. That was nice. Drink more, get drunk, whoa. Go to party, drink, drink, drink. Black out for the first time. Wake up to stories about yourself you dont remember. "You were so funny last night. Life of the party!" Cool. So you're charming when you're wasted. Become 'that guy/girl' and be the party animal you were always born to be. Get invited to parties because you're always funny to watch. Make drinking friends. Master the hangover. Teach yourself to throw up to feel better. This is a science now. You got a handle on this. Alcohol is the tool, you're the master. It makes you feel good, act charming, have a great time. Picks you up when you're sad and makes happy days even happier. Day drink for summer vibes, night drink for sexy times. Alcohol makes everything better.

Sometimes you do or say something embarrassing, but who cares? You're the class clown. Everybody is having a good time when they're laughing. Hear stories about yourself, maybe feel a little ashamed. Push it down, if they don't have a problem with you acting like that way then neither do you. Maybe you regret doing or saying some of those things but whatever, you can live with your shame. We all make mistakes.


u/9k3d on NFTs


I'm going to take a moment to talk about NFTs since I see people in here talking and arguing about them. NFTs have some actual use cases, but what people are currently doing with them on altcoin platforms is not one of them.

Below I will explain how the NFTs on altcoin platforms work on a technical level and I will explain why they probably wont even exist in 10 years. I will also explain why some of these NFTs are selling for such high prices.

Many of those NFTs that were sold for crazy high prices were not actually sold to other people. The person who bought those expensive NFTs is often the same person who minted the NFT in the first place. I will explain how whales can easily own very expensive rare NFTs for very little cost. They can just mint an NFT and sell it to them self for $500,000 worth of etһ. They will only lose the small percentage that the NFT marketplace takes and now they own a super rare NFT worth $500k and they will still have most of their etһ because they sold the NFT to them self. And there is a small chance that they might be able to to sell that worthless NFT to some fool who believes that it is actually valuable. Doing this also entices more newbies to mint NFTs in the hopes of getting rich. 

27 December, 2021

That Twitter Thread (On Criticism)


Art does not exist to be evaluated on a scale of “harm” to “uplift,” and if we want to talk dog-whistles, that right there is a huge one: it’s deeply anti-intellectual, and it centers a form of toxic individualism that evacuates solidarity/difference in favor of moral purity.

Also, relevant from other recent intra-community trans Discourse: the fact that something triggered or hurt you, personally, is real— but that doesn’t actually make it bad, or wrong, or Harmful (tm) because you *are not the center of the universe.* Other trans folk who have different experiences of gender and the world might be deeply seen by the art that you think is morally bad and harmful personally. To some extent, we know why this is common: traumatic stress forces your focus to be survival oriented, internal, and evaluative. It’s hyper-vigilance! However, what it is *not* is healthy or productive— especially when turned relentlessly outward to hold others responsible for your bad feelings as opposed to processing them, or saying “ouch, not for me.” (Which is not to say artists shouldn’t be cognizant of other people’s pain and the larger social implications of their work, so please don’t reduce what I’m saying here to “fuck it, who cares.”)

The other huge flaw with “the story harmed me” or flat harm-critique is the lack of acknowledgement that, if we’re using that metric, then your insistence on the story harming you is EQUALLY harming to the other trans folk for whom the piece was a revelatory story, or productive.

26 December, 2021

Intimate portraits of a hospital COVID unit from a photojournalist-turned-nurse


Steven Murray did not get the vaccine. "I thought that if I got COVID, I'd be able to fight it off like the flu. Boy was I wrong. There is nothing you could have told me to make me get the vaccine. After this experience, I'm telling everyone I know to get it now. The grim reaper was reaching out for me. I was scared."

But within an hour of being admitted, Murray says doctors told him he would likely not leave the hospital alive if he didn't get intubated — inserting a tube into the trachea to maintain an airway.

Stubbornly, he refused and now admits he was scared he would die if put on a ventilator.

He survived.

When health care staffers asked why he'd decided against getting vaccinated, Murray says he told them, "because I'm a dumbass."

Murray says he bought into what he calls the misinformation and politics surrounding the pandemic. He goes out of his way to share his story whenever he can, and "when I tell them, I'm like please, please, please get the vaccine. If you haven't gotten it, please." 

u/Snowypinkrose on experiencing COVID hospitalization


Sometimes it’s choking to death acutely but much more often it’s this slow burn that takes a couple weeks. It robs people people of all dignity.

We give you a ton of oxygen. Then that’s not enough, and your blood is becoming acidic, denaturing the proteins in your blood and slowly hurting your organs. Your ability to heal and fight is compromised. Your kidneys start to become damaged. We put you on bipap, hoping the machine will help force CO2 out of your lungs to reduce the acidity of your blood.

Eventually that’s not working so good either. We spend half a day watching your saturations drop. You’re exhausted. You can barely speak. The bipap mask muffles what words you do wheeze out. We start discussing the odds of you coming off a ventilator if we put you on it. We’re in a rock and a hard place. We are watching you breath harder and faster. Your body is going to go into respiratory failure.

We ask if you want to be coded. We ask that you say goodbye to family, because we might not be able to get you off the ventilator. Maybe you’re scared. Maybe you’re so exhausted that anything to help you not struggle to breathe sounds preferable.

We get you on the ventilator and spend a few hours to a day trying to get the sedation right so you don’t wake up and yank the tube out. We shove a catheter into your bladder. We put you in a brief. We place more IV’s cause many of the meds we are going to need to give are incompatible in an IV line.

You hover for a bit, but you start going downhill. Your labs are getting worse. Sometimes you may develop emboli in various parts of the body. Please don’t have a massive stroke. There’s not much we can do against the dying of millions of your cells in various organ systems all being starved of oxygen, exacerbated by tiny little clots that are clogging your capillaries.

The fluid is building up in your lungs. You’re drowning on dry land. You organs are starting to show a lot of damage. Your ability to keep your pressures regulated is plummeting. Your kidneys are dying. We need to get a fistula in you for dialysis. We have to get all the IV’s on that arm moved.

You don’t have that many areas to poke. The doctors have a central line placed, usually triple lumen so we can give multiple meds through one site. Your dialysis is working a bit, but not enough. You’re still going downhill. We go through the process of proning you, literally getting the fluid in the lungs to move in such a way that your alveoli aren’t submerged. The front of your body isn’t meant to take this weight. We turn you every 2 hours, a process that takes 4 nurses and respiratory therapy, in case the specially elongated ET tube used in proned patients dislodge. We pray you don’t code every time we move you.

You’re still not getting better. We update your family as best we can, we can’t call very often cause each of us has 3 of you that we are doing all this on.

Your labs are still getting worse. The doctors weigh ECMO intervention. Shit, do we even have any ECMO machines available? Fuck, do we have to get this person transferred to a different facility?

Oh! Another one of you died. Thank God, maybe we can at least get that machine onto you now so maybe I won’t have to go searching the hospital again for a body bag.

Fuck. You’re still going downhill. It’s been a few weeks now. Sores are developing on your body. The meds we are giving are harsh, and we are dealing with their consequences, and the consequences of all of your homeostasis being fucked up.

The doctors will call your family. Things aren’t looking good. If you have family far away, ask them to be ready to either say good bye over a phone or a computer screen. We can allow maybe one of you to the floor to say goodbye. They can’t for very long, it’s a dangerous last act of love.

You’re still declining. We are showing signs of neurological damage. You’re still declining. The docs tell your family there’s nothing more to be done. We may be able to help you linger but the odds of there being much of you left if we wake you up are remote. Maybe they decide to push through. In that case, we will eventually code you. Again. Did I not mention that? You’ve probably coded a few times so far. Maybe they let us let you leave with “dignity,” if you can call lying in a bed, unconscious, machines functioning as your organs, soiling yourself, sores developing all over you, if you can call any of that “dignity.”

Care fails. I’ve watched you dying. I knew you would die. It still hurts. I’ve fought minute-by-minute for you. Sat with you. Talked at you, hoping some part of you knows you’re getting my best and that your people love you.

One way or another, you end up in a body bag. After I get you to the morgue, it’s right back to the unit. I have 2 other people in this situation. And there’s another in the ER who needs your old room.

I have no hope this will stop. Your death was completely meaningless. And so will be the deaths of those who follow you. 

24 December, 2021

My Work Almost Crushed Her Family. Now I’m Welcomed at Her Table.


Even as Lori Anne and I both continue on the path to restoration, with much still to grieve and lament , our time together felt like a significant step toward understanding and wholeness.

“There is nothing ‘Hallmark’ about this level of harm,” Lori Anne later told me. “What you witnessed in our home is a miracle—but it was a bloody one. It also cost victims to commune and communicate with you, even as it may have cost you to commune and communicate with them.”

She is right. There is an immense cost to listening to survivors, to believing their voices enough to journey alongside them in pursuit of justice, to reckoning with our own complicity in a system that has further harmed those already victimized.

It’s costlier still to forgive those who have wronged you, to love those who are different than you, to offer a seat at your table to an unlikely and undeserving guest. 

18 December, 2021

Movies Are Worse Now Because Their Corporate Funders Are Risk-Averse


New Hollywood represented a changing of the guard, which brought ambitious directors and studio heads into a fragile alliance with big money for a short period — before big money won out. The fact that this period coincided with massive social upheaval and a shattered cinematic monoculture after World War II galvanized a golden age of American film.

But now that they’d been let inside, the big conglomerates realized how inefficient Hollywood was. While people like David Begelman were good for the motion picture divisions of studios, they presented a conflict for corporate investment. Over time, investors have developed more efficient means of judging what will be a hit, which diminished their reliance on studio heads like Begelman.

The entrenchment of multinational conglomerate control of film does not necessarily mark a divergence from the incentive structures of the studio systems — studios have always existed to make money. The real inflection point was when the studios’ funding and distribution came under the total control of investment capital, which was then able to exercise complete authority over what and how movies were made.

16 December, 2021

A QAnon con: How the viral Wayfair sex trafficking lie hurt real kids


But with limited immediate intervention from social media companies, the Wayfair conspiracy theory would become one of the fastest-spreading disinformation campaigns on the Internet, ensnaring concerned mothers, Tiktoking teenagers, racial justice advocates and people all along the political spectrum.

They didn’t realize they were amplifying a QAnon propaganda artist trying to convince the masses that President Donald Trump was saving the country from a ring of Satanic pedophiles.

And they didn’t know how dangerous child sex trafficking myths were about to become. That actual victims would be blocked from getting help. That women fearing traffickers would be driven to violence. And that the real children whose pictures were used in this ploy would have their lives upended.

One of those children was trying to make sense of what her dad was saying. 

This Terrible Book Shows Why the Covid-19 Lab Leak Theory Won’t Die


The through line in all of these possible scenarios is that there is no through line. There’s no overarching coherent narrative about when or how this “lab leak” happened. And in making that clear, Viral also shows why the very weakness of the lab leak case is also its greatest strength: The great part about suspicions—from a conspiracy theorist’s perspective—is that they don’t have to gel into any coherent theory. You can just have a bad feeling that becomes someone else’s job to resolve for you.

This is why the lab leak theory will never die, no matter how much evidence virologists are patiently accumulating on the side of natural origin. It’s all about suspicion and innuendo. And when one supposedly suspicious event is unpacked, it’s usually a long and boring explanation nobody wants to hear. Meanwhile, the theorists have already found 10 more things that seem spooky to them. Conspiracy theories, we’re learning, are even harder to eradicate than infectious diseases.

14 December, 2021

If We Can Report on the Problem, We Can Report on the Solution


So many creative solutions rely on people who are otherwise treated by public systems as powerless or even impediments. Our column headlined “Teaching Parents to Help Stop the ‘Summer Slide’” was about Springboard Collaborative, a Philadelphia-based organization that shows parents of all education levels — even those who can’t read — how to be effective reading teachers for their children. Schools in low-income communities often treat families as liabilities. They’re actually assets.

There were other columns that showed the impact of nonexperts, like one titled “Building for Real With Digital Blocks,” about a program that teaches people Minecraft so they can help plan neighborhood projects. Another, headlined “Hi, There. Want to Triple Voter Turnout?,” showed that the person most persuasive in bringing a voter to the polls is a friend who’s not involved in politics. 

12 December, 2021

‘Sea Slaves’: The Human Misery That Feeds Pets and Livestock


While forced labor exists throughout the world, nowhere is the problem more pronounced than here in the South China Sea, especially in the Thai fishing fleet, which faces an annual shortage of about 50,000 mariners, based on United Nations estimates. The shortfall is primarily filled by using migrants, mostly from Cambodia and Myanmar.

Many of them, like Mr. Long, are lured across the border by traffickers only to become so-called sea slaves in floating labor camps. Often they are beaten for the smallest transgressions, like stitching a torn net too slowly or mistakenly placing a mackerel into a bucket for herring, according to a United Nations survey of about 50 Cambodian men and boys sold to Thai fishing boats. Of those interviewed in the 2009 survey, 29 said they had witnessed their captain or other officers kill a worker. 

10 December, 2021

Zillow did not have metallic balls


  1. You cannot bootstrap off an existing dataset. Full stop. These datasets can contain implicit assumptions or associations that you are not aware of. This is the original sin of many a algorithmic risk underwriting startup.
  2. You are operating in an adversarial environment. Most folks in ML are used to working with pretty boring data—demographic data, handwriting samples, etc. That changes as soon as you introduce cold, hard cash into the equation. As soon as there is money to be made, fraudsters are going to be hard at work reverse engineering your model. Have you separated your fraud detection models from your risk underwriting models? Do you have systems in place to detect these fraudulent requests, and are you directing the right requests into the correct training pipelines?
  3. Startups underestimate how much money it will take to train the model. As previously noted, you should expect to lose 50% of your capital allocated towards underwriting. I suspect many startups drastically underestimate this amount, realize they are going to run out of money, which means raising capital under duress, which means extremely bad terms, which makes future success even less likely.

Rachael Denhollander on Josh Duggar


Everyone – EVERYONE else, from Josh’s own children, to a woman afraid to have him in the home, to his own wife, are bearing the risks and costs of his behavior. And they are being told it is godly and right to do it. 

Each man in the situation, from Josh’s dad, (who isn’t protecting his own grandkids or caring about the risks to anyone else), to the husband who decided it was fine despite his wife’s very justified fear, make the decisions. The women and children who pay the price, are expected to submit, forgive, and support, no matter how foolish or wicked the decision.

This is the exact same mindset that allowed this to happen in the first place, when so many were warning years ago that the minimization and sin-leveling were signs that this wasn’t in control and wasn’t being taken seriously. The cost and impact is being born by everyone but the perpetrator, and the men given free reign to be “leaders”.

This is abusive culture. This is toxic Christianity. This is not manhood. This is not womanhood. This is depraved.

And the worst part is, I know literally hundreds of women are the receiving end of this garbage. Josh, and this situation, aren’t the anomaly. They are the norm.  

08 December, 2021

Sen. Bob Dole's final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much'


None of this is easy – any more than finding a definition of freedom with which 330 million Americans can agree. This much we know. Too many of us have sacrificed too much in defending that freedom from foreign adversaries to allow our democracy to crumble under a state of infighting that grows more unacceptable by the day. Take it from Eisenhower and the dwindling band of brothers who fought under his command: “Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.”

And take it from me: Our history is rich with political debate and deep divisions, but collectively we share a common purpose for a better America. We cannot let political differences stand in the way of that common good.

04 December, 2021

Stephen Glass, the most notorious fraud in journalism, decided he would live by one simple rule: Always tell the truth. Then he broke that rule


Glass didn’t win over the crowd. The students later said they were impressed to meet him and glad to hear about the payments, but they felt he came off as introspective and a little meek. When I asked them in a survey if they would consider hiring him as a political fact-checker, most said they would not.

That day he told me about his wife, Julie Hilden, who had early onset Alzheimer’s disease. He didn’t mention that he was engaged in a new lie, one that he would later describe as “the biggest lie of all.” 

02 December, 2021