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#3224546 Manny Pacquiao v. Floyd Mayweather

Posted by PhillyB on Yesterday, 11:58 PM

i've never sat down and watched a fight before. i'll find a place to go watch this one.


probably the last great fight in boxing history.

#3224532 an effort post on memorials to the enola gay and vietnam vets and what it say...

Posted by PhillyB on Yesterday, 10:50 PM

I've been meaning to post about this at detail for a while, since the whole Chris Kyle debate started up. As usual, these things have much deeper roots than the initial glances given to them by the spittle-flecked paragraphs that tend to be dedicated to them in tinderbox dialogue. In the course of this post I will look at the controversies that surrounded the Enola Gay exhibit in the Smithsonian in the mid-90s and the one that surrounded the Vietnam Veterans Memorial a decade before and draw a connection between the and American commemorative culture in the present. Maybe it will shed some light on the angry Chris Kyle thread and why people are behaving as they are.


We'll start with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Basically in the early 80s this dude named Scruggs watched Deer Hunter and had a ton of horrible flashbacks from his time in 'Nam, and after he recalled a bunch of his buddies going down he lamented to his wife that there was never assembled any kind of memorial or place of collective memory/healing for the guys who died over there. And then he decided to build one, getting together with his buddy Carhart, and within a couple of years they had collected massive amounts of funding, sponsorships from congress, and even a plot of land on the National Mall, right across from the Lincoln Memorial. The powers that be decided to sponsor a design competition, which seemed the best way to get a ton of ideas in from all over the U.S. Great idea, right?


WRONG! Awful idea. It started out well enough. They got like 10,000 entries or something like that and then whittled it down to a 1000, which they displayed in a warehouse and picked through with a committee, and then narrowed that down to a couple dozen. They finally selected one and called its designer, an architecture student at a university in the midwest somewhere named Maya Lin. They met with her and then decided to go with it.


But when they released the plans to the public there was an absolute fuging outrage over the design. It was set in this giant V, basically set into a flat landscape rather than rising above it, and consisted of two polished slabs of granite containing the 58,000 names of the deceased. It was deliberately low-key, avoided making a political statement, and simply commemorated the lives of the men who gave their lives, and nothing more. the slabs were polished to be reflective to allow each individual to bring his or her own interpretation or memories to the wall. Everyone liked it, except for the people who hated it, and there were a lot of them. Carhart freaked out when he saw the design and famously called it "a black gash of shame." Senators called it a "nihilistic slab of stone" and veterans across the nation roared in furious protest that their honor was being besmirched by submerging their memory into a patch of grass, a shameful hole in the ground instead of rising above it as part of American national memory. There was enough of a hubbub that they designers eventually appeased them by adding an American flag in the center of it and two patriotic soldier statues that made it a more patriotic statement.






A decade or so later the Smithsonian Institute decided as part of the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII to develop an exhibit featuring the Enola Gay, the B29 Superfortress that dropped Little Boy on Hiroshima. The plane had been sitting disassembled in various parts of the U.S. for decades, but it was brought back to Washington, restored, and integrated into an exhibit carefully developed by the Smithsonian's committee, comprised of board members and historians. They composed a thoughtful exhibit and released a preview of it in 94, and mother of god everyone fuging blew UP. (no pun intended)


Basically the panel had made the fatal error of creating something contemplative. The design situated parts of the plane together with its bomb in the middle of a circular room which displayed ground zero, and the panels of the room were filled with information and photographs about the mission, the bomb, its development, the victims on the ground, and tons of artifacts, like a melted lunchbox and a rosary fused from the blast. Significant portions of the exhibit were framed around questioning the decision to drop the bomb, both from a historical perspective as well as a present one. The country fuging rioted and called for the heads of the panel. It was the most un-American thing they'd ever seen. "There is no room for ambiguity here," was the line. The message was pretty clear: don't call into question the morality of something the Japanese ultimately caused themselves and besmirch the soldiers who died to finish this thing.



(^ that's a cartoon that came out around that time)




So here we have two massive controversies in recent public memory about representation of the American past. Both were improperly represented in the minds of many Americans, both for not being patriotic enough. In fact, the Vietnam monument's response was pretty tame by comparison; people like Lynne Cheney took over the reins on that Enola Gay snafu, and turned it into a public crusade against "politically correct" interpretations of history that focused on pure historicism and not values-bolstering, monolithic patriotism (does this sound familiar at all?) So the overarching question is: why were these things such a big fuging deal?


The answer is that stakeholders in status-quo cultural and political norms or ideals have found that patriotic mindsets are one of the most effective ways to maintain those ideas and their prevalence in the American public. That is to say, America would go down the drain if the liberals had their way and made people question innate goodness of their own history. That's not a crack on conservatives, it's the literal truth and in fact it's a facet of nation-building that has strong historical backing. It's nothing new. In the case of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, it makes more sense, if you're looking for patriotism to be engendered in citizens, to commemorate the past as timeless and sacred, as patriotism, not sorrow or suffering. In the case of the Enola Gay, it makes more sense, for the same reason, to commemorate the past as timeless and sacred (for indeed WWII was the Good War as none before and none since) than a deflating moment requiring inspection and reflection.


The American commemorative landscape is filled with memorials to a grand American past, and they're all skyward, monolithic, and bear no illusions to anything other than the grandeur of Americanism. Ideas which do not fit into this framework are undermining American values and patriotism, the product of a disaffected academic Left which seeks to destroy the sacred and make it into the profane. It's a tenor that's wracked the ears of the American patriots for decades, since the education system began shifting focus from political to social histories, valuing critical historicism of the past over framing pasts to suit the present. Is it any wonder the culture warriors, the preservers of American goodness and exceptionalism, the Lynne Cheneys and the Bob Doles and the Tom Carharts, fought so strongly to oppose these things?


The reason that matters now is because we're seeing an extension of the same problem with Chris Kyle.






This problem does not have short roots. Americans have been looking for ways to consecrate the past for two hundred years. A young nation without centuries of national heroes found motivation to extol the Lincolns and Washingtons in new ways, embedding them in their national past in new light, entwining them with American exceptionalism, with cultural idealism. The conflicts of the 80s and 90s were nothing new insofar as their roots merely bearing fruit, but the nature of the conflict had also changed. The post-Vietnam era saw a massive fragmentation of America's self vision in a way that no period before had ever experienced. 1645-1945 was this massive progression of American Americanness up a totem and then all that got stuck in a swamp and hadn't really found a way out. The anger, the rage, came largely a result of this dissonance; America's glory days in the afterglow of WWII had been replaced, and a nation longed to return (perhaps an insight, too, into why the Enola Gay's questioning was treated with such inconsolable fury.)


So ultimately, given that this hasn't really changed in the past twenty years, the reason Chris Kyle's legacy is an untouchable thing (as Jesse Ventura found out) is the exact same reason the Enola Gay's legacy is untouchable and the same reason the Vietnam War Memorial's representation needed to be more "patriotic." The fact is there's something at stake when we question the innate goodness of national character as manifest in the harbingers of its goodness. Questioning the decision to drop the bomb is as much an attack on Paul Tibbetts Jr. as a question of the rules of engagement are an attack on Chris Kyle, both of whom are merely Soldiers in the Line of Duty.


And let's be honest, who wants that? Is it any wonder people get so mad when you even make mention of that fact that we maybe possibly idolize "the troops" in our culture? Is there anything more deflating than the idea that "American exceptionalism" which has manifested itself in our exploits  in war could actually be up for debate? Is there anything more psychologically abusing than taking the archetype of the True American, in his selflessness, his courage, his embodiment of gleaming ideal - and exposing it, or supposing to, as not only wrong in that instance, but also a lens into a fundamentally flawed archetype?


Can you blame the Texas school board for wanting values-based history curriculum that promotes patriotism over historical scholarship? That poo is painful. It's damaging to the American psyche and visions of self. It validates that post-Vietnam fragementation of belief in the greatness of the Stars and Stripes. It makes us need Chris Kyle to be real more than ever: in a cultural crisis forty years in the making, he is one of our saviors, one of the Good Guys.


Who wouldn't want to take out the bad guys who insist upon bringing him down?

#3223830 House of Cards

Posted by PhillyB on 29 January 2015 - 10:50 PM

obvious spoilers ahead






agree, i think it peaked too early. should've saved that milestone for the end of season three. it'll have to involve some serious shifts in focus to stretch on with the current character dynamics.

#3223818 House of Cards

Posted by PhillyB on 29 January 2015 - 10:29 PM

Feb. 27th...I was sad to find it's not being released on Valentine's Day like last year. 


once again they're dropping it squarely in the middle of an incredibly busy semester knowing full well i'm fug my grad school schedule just to binge it… selfish bastards

#3223730 Rivera up for Coach of the Year Again

Posted by PhillyB on 29 January 2015 - 08:47 PM

fug no are you kidding me? 

#3223523 Josh Gordon's (or at least his publicist's) journal entry

Posted by PhillyB on 29 January 2015 - 04:04 PM

are you offhandedly suggesting that wasn't deangelo williams constructing quasi-academic prose in support of his thesis?

#3223505 2015 Blizzard: Northeast Edition

Posted by PhillyB on 29 January 2015 - 03:44 PM

You asserted the authority of the pillar of the scientific community.  I cited an ongoing phenomenon of how the scientific community is subject to the failings of human ego in spite of the rigors of the scientific method.  You've effectively addressed none of those points and claimed umbridge on the matters of statistical evaluation/methodology.


ego helps upend existing claims. ego wants fame and fortune, upending current doxa would lead to plenty of both.


regarding prior widely-held scientific beliefs, i find them solid boosters of the method: they're proof that science can kick out old ideas when the evidence ceases to support them and move on to new ideas, even opening up to simply having no fuging clue.


again, these things generally require having a clue what science is, what it does, and how the scientific community works irl to understand.

#3223384 2015 Blizzard: Northeast Edition

Posted by PhillyB on 29 January 2015 - 01:53 PM

So.... I am handing you a golden opportunity to take on the majority of severe critiques held by skeptics, and you are dropping the ball like it's a hot potato.


Don't Stop Believin'


i don't have enough knowledge about climate science at that level to simply engage in a response. i also don't have the time to dig up data to throw back at every claim made.


does this make me a fool? well, i'd say we all do this quite frequently. if somebody comes in and tells you aliens created the nazca lines in peru, are you going to go dig up all the archaeological journal articles on the area's construction and study up on archaeological principles of tool debris and cultural diffusion because you can't refute the claim in good faith without it? no, you're probably going to place some measure of faith in the processes that archaeologists go through to determine these things.


i am doing the same with climate science. i'll always be cautiously skeptical about any claim, since none of them are absolute and all can be overturned with new evidence, but my experience in the scientific community is constructed such that any chinks in the armor of an idea are swarmed like freaking piranha and you can bet your ass if any legitimate evidence was unearthed to show that it's bullshit or all the idiots before forgot their hypotenuses that post-docs and chairmen and NSF fellows from here to oxford would be tripping over each other to be the first ones to submit it.

#3223360 Breaking News - Gettlemagic Selects Defensive End on the first Round.

Posted by PhillyB on 29 January 2015 - 01:37 PM

only if we hit a sale at tiffany's in free agency for offensive weapons.

#3223344 2015 Blizzard: Northeast Edition

Posted by PhillyB on 29 January 2015 - 01:24 PM

Third time's a charm for posting this?  Let's find out.


In the discussions surrounding the subject of climate change (or lack thereof), we are seriously lacking some critical thinking skills when it comes to answering some basic questions that hit at the heart of its problems of considering it a science.  The discussion should begin with a consideration of the fidelity of the data that is supplied to the modeling predicting armageddon.  In reality, the concept of temperature as a measurable entity is less than 3 centuries old.  Given the spans of time being considered for these theories, this can be a problem with establishing a baseline of comparison for statistical analyses as has been the norm for this practice.


Let's consider how the instrument of measure was developed and then dissemenated over the span of 3 centuries.  Sources of error include frequency of measure and reporting, line of sight error, cross-observer error, etc.  Even if we managed to get everyone on the same page for how to use this new instrument and reliably collect and report this data, it was still only available to mostly western regions until the end of the industrial revolution.  In some cases, 3rd party reporting was taken on good faith to provide accurate and reliable data with no measures ensure that its fidelity was not compromised.


Over time, we of course refined our instruments to remove the human error to more consistently collect and report the results from a wide swathe of area.  This refinement's payoff should show up in a dramatic decrease in variance to allow for more precise assessments/analysis.  We would have to account for how previous instruments' variance affected measurements and how/if this could be corrected to make it useable for current modeling.  Many in the field of climatology would claim that this can be properly vetted in the form of tree rings, ice cores and the like.  Question is this: what are we comparing this to?  Getting to the root of the matter is accepting a circular reasoning that both forms of measurement corroborate each other while we have no means of corroborating it with temperature as we have no means of measure for comparison. For those of us that have seen Idiocracy, it plays almost perfectly to how the roundtable of how "Brondo has what plants crave!"  It is as this point that a field that claims to be a science begins to operate more like a religion/faith.  We'll hit on the social aspect of that later.


Let's assume that none of that matters.  We'll go forward with the assumption that the concept to instrument creation to instrument-fine tuning to dissemination to reliable collection and reporting was instantaneous around the world starting three centuries ago.  Can we account for possible bad actors to manipulate this data for their own ends (careers, political maneuvering, vehicles to create industries for monetary gain)?  Not long ago, there were a number of skeptics that were asking for the raw data from the UAE (a primary driver of global policy via its influence on the IPCC).  In conducting their own independent research, their results didn't match up with what was being touted as canon.  Much like a Masonic Lodge would do, the UAE hoarded the information while castigating anyone daring to sully their integrity. 


I liken this to a parent walking by a bathroom door where smoke is wafting from it.  They knock on the door knowing full well what is happening, but are giving the benefit of the doubt in the event that perhaps there was something amiss unknown to them.  Immediately, the parent is met with, "JUST A MINUTE!" while the sounds of scrambling ensues from within (an obvious attempt to eliminate any indicting evidence of doing anything wrong).  Obviously, the parent continues to knock more insistently while the kid scurries even more.  It wasn't until the hackers got tired of waiting that they kicked in the door and caught the UAE with their figurative pants down with whatever evidence remained from their prior scrubbing.  Raw data prior to "corrections" by adding hockey stick matrices, email chains noting intent, clear lines to the IPCC with political operatives in the mix providing a mountain of damning evidence to destroy their credibility.  Yet... even with the political backtracking preceding the retroactive explanation of this evidence seemed to suffice for the masses.  After all was said and done, a number of key players in this mess remained from the UAE to influence the IPCC with a continued churning of data not met with any more scrutiny in light of everything that was exposed.  Too much math.  Doesn't affect me.  Leave it to the experts to sort out (who happened to be the inmates running this prison).


Let's assume that none of that chicanery ever happened.  Let's assume that the fidelity of data collected over a span of 3 centuries was pristine to the point of being of little question.  Like any other statistical analysis common to today's science, the raw data must undergo a process of normalization for the purposes of removing obvious mistakes (outliers, out of scope points, artifacts, etc).  Like all people, looking at mountains of columns of figures can get tedious and introduce highly likely chances for missing crucial information.  These scientists increasingly rely on programmers to perform the vetting of raw data and further lessening the discipline of getting intimate with their craft.  Like perfecting an instrument's reliability, a programmer-client relationship takes time and considerable effort to get exactly what is needed from a computer program.  Much of the time, a client doesn't know what they want much less know how to ask for it.


Related to this is a means of accounting for a moving target of a data set.  As urban sprawl continues to grow, so does the affect of the urban island heating effect on various data collection centers around the planet.  Perhaps a nearby geological event has occurred that isn't known about affects the data.  How this is reflected or even considered in most computer models is largely unchecked.  Most are more interested in teasing the means of crunching the numbers to get a desired result (hardly a scientific methodical approach to practicing science).  A better and more practiced means of providing a clearer picture regarding the fidelity of the normalized data would be to compare the median with the mean.  Yet, piles of journals that are cited and used for vetted support continually refer to solely the mean of data for regional analysis. We've effectively changed the goalpost from measuring deviance from a fixed point in time/space to measuring deviance from presumed variance that is increasingly unreliable as we "dig further into historical data".


In the midst of all this, we haven't even considered that reliable measures of CO2 coinciding with reliable temperature measures only existing when the industrial revolution was in full swing.  Does anyone see a problem with this?  Exactly what baseline do we have as a means of comparison over centuries of time for the purposes of statistical analysis?  As we swing the predictive analyses from years to decades to millennia the variance due to lack of reliable measures quickly becomes larger than predicted variance by several factors.  If the deviance of global mean temperature varies by a half degree when we are no more than two centuries removed from its collection, we've already compromised the prediction by exceeding the expected variance in most models.  Hence, the bar for scientific excellence has been reduced to "Meh... good enough!"


You know what?  Let's throw all that out.  Let's assume that the instruments are perfect, the people collecting and analyzing the information are perfect and any bad actors that are seeking to impose their ends to deviate from actual findings are not in the picture.  Let's have a look at how people operate in day-to-day life.  We all remember a time when we have an epiphany in our youth that explains everything.  As we get older and obtain more experience, much of the time, we are faced with the horrible reality that life is far more complicated than we can imagine.  Hence, whether it be due to perceptual limitations, a desire for peer acceptance, a need to be or do something important for others around us... we get caught up in protecting our investments of time and energy that molded our psyches.  Kuhn and his colleagues very eloquently laid out how the social aspect of scientific discovery is not immune to this human fallibility. 


What we have here is a discovery of how CO2 radically warms immediate and controlled environments, labelling it "Greenhouse Effect", and widening its scope to a planetary scale with presumptions of validity in the absence of other players of variance.  It would have the potential of being an actual science if we could engage in empirical experimentation that can be reliably reproduced with expected results.  Instead, we have yet to even understand our controlled biodomes well enough to make them sustainable for a mere decade.  In spite of the stark evidence to the contrary, we have soldiered on like good children of the faith to prove that the Earth is flat, regardless of the mounting anomalies that continue to pile up. 


As a collective we WANT to believe the hyperbole.  We constantly ENGAGE in spinning and re-hashing stories of "worst snowstorm ever" and "hottest year on record" regardless of the facts.  All of this and more is why I would mandate a class of "Lying with Statistics 101" if I were king of America and implementing common core. 


What it boils down to is this... at the very best of intellectually honest discussions, what we are engaging discussing climate change is speculative thought experiments with heavy aids from computers through models fed (in large part) by fallible human data collections while molded by perceptually lacking variable input.  Computers have proven to be incredible tools.  However, to drive forward without realizing the shortcomings of how these prediction machines operate, we are effectively throwing out educated guesses with no viable means of testing them reliably.  THAT is very likely why the variance exceeds the predicted change so radically in so many models.  Moreover, to extrapolate the predictions with the data collected over this sliver of time to a cycle that runs hundreds or even thousands of times that span (while interesting, it's all we've got) is madness to grant it the status of canon the way it has these past two decades.  IF one is to be honest, we would say that we are guessing to the best of our abilities with the means available to us.


When AGW is assumed to be unassaillably true to the point of mortgaging our childrens' collective futures, we've recklessly gambled with something that doesn't belong to us.  If we are standing on a mountain-side road with a vehicle that may or may not be barrelling towards us and our kid with ill-intent, is it advisable to chuck our kids over the side thinking we've done so for their safety?  Of course not.  Yet, that is exactly what we're doing!


A century from now, people will look back at this history and ask how the hell could an entire populace be duped into this kind of hysteria.  By then, it will be another round of whatever cause fueled by whatever intent having the mass of humanity chasing down a rabbit hole to nowhere.


oh jeebus. that still doesn't answer the question. why haven't 97% of scientists figured this out? why is it you can see these weaknesses and they can't? do you realize how incredibly fuging competitive scientific inquiry because its very fulcrum is falsifiability? do you realize how many grad students are chomping at the bits looking for existing material to revisit and prove wrong? do you realize how many prizes would be won by proving climate change wrong? do you have any experience in cohorts doing scientific research?


it doesn't take long being in such an environment to realize how hopelessly simple the "they're all just biased" statement is. it rings hollow to anyone who's actually stepped foot into research processes and been surrounded by people whose work they couldn't just offhandedly dismiss as part of some big human delusion.


i don't expect to change your mind. i suspect nothing can.

#3223332 let's talk about chris kyle

Posted by PhillyB on 29 January 2015 - 01:16 PM

Where do comparisons between Calley and Kyle fall within the context of this thread?


i'm not comparing them whatsoever, i'm saying that there is a precedent for morally being able to call into question ROE and thus the individual soldier without "hating the troops." the difference is chris kyle has become a soldier-hero and is therefore untouchable, whereas calley has been begrudgingly left in the mud by all but a few who remain insistent upon decrying the liberals who ruined true war with their journalists and politicians.

#3223043 let's talk about chris kyle

Posted by PhillyB on 29 January 2015 - 02:26 AM

I don't necassarly think I could stomach the bullshit that I'm sure is protruding from every orifice of some posters in this thread by judging what read from a few post on the first page.


If you're hating on Chris Kyle for what he did during the Iraq War you need your head checked.


FIRST NOTE: if you want to be upset with the Politicians/political party that lead us to invade iraq you are completely justified(I swore off Political parties and voting after Bush got elected to a second term and have no interest in giving a damn about them). but to be angry at a soldier that does his duty, honorably and admirably would honestly piss me off enough to disassociate with you if this were a face to face and not a forum. 


Chirs Kyle was a soldier, a damn fine one.  If you want to disagree with why he was over in iraq fighting that is fine. but what he did, saved american lives, if nothing else then other american soldiers lives. when you sign up to the military, you literally sign your life away to the US government. you are told where to go and what to do as long as you are in the military.  it's was not Chris Kyles fault for being in Iraq, that was a choice made by the US. and its not his fault for doing what he did. he did an outstanding job that he was given to do by the US government, a job decided for him to do by the US government.


you want to blame someone for Iraq, blame Bush, blame the republicans, blame the US government Machine. but do not Blame the soldiers that fight.


you don't think rules of engagement and individual action during a conflict should be up for debate? should william calley be excused from criticism because he was sent to son ky by the u.s. govmnt? we agree that power-bearing structures like the military produce the combat behavior of the individual soldier, but doesn't the collective behavior of soldiers simply recreate and reinforce the structural whole? doesn't it stand to reason that criticizing that structural whole include criticizing the techniques employed by those same men on the ground?


but that's the problem with frenetic military culture. it deifies the troops to an extent that makes criticism of them or any aspect of their actions literally traitorous and leads to such statements as "you must hate the troops" and "if you won't stand behind our boys, feel free to stand in front of them." it's counter-productive and incredibly exasperating to anyone who actually does care about our troops and finds it super shitty that they're placed in situations where they have to construct ROE to begin with.

#3223032 that was fun while it lasted..

Posted by PhillyB on 29 January 2015 - 12:54 AM

what in the living fug 

#3223006 Greg Hardy feels sorry for Matt Ryan

Posted by PhillyB on 28 January 2015 - 11:54 PM

this thread is not about greg hardy

#3223001 trying to remember a war movie...

Posted by PhillyB on 28 January 2015 - 11:50 PM

i saw this thing years ago, probably in the late 90s or early 2000s, and for the life of me i can't figure out what it is. iirc it was a vietnam war movie and as the protagonists moved through the jungle on patrol and had a bunch of poo happen to them they would flash back to before the war and explain how they each got there. there was this black guy who was a preacher and caught his wife cheating on him and killed her, then this dude who joined up to get a job when his employer fired him for stealing to impress a chick at a party, and so on… i remember this big burly white guy goes renegade in the jungle and when the find him he's gone bonkers and the one guy pretends to hug him and then blows his brains out with a revolver.


what fuging movie am i talking about because i've been searching for this poo all evening on google and i've come up empty.