February 8th, 2023
Don’t tell me you’ve heard this joke before.
Don’t tell me you’ve heard this joke before.
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I am seeing this joke everywhere now!
Not seen this before – expecting to see it everywhere soon…
I think this is pretty well known – although I never knew there was a actual name for it. Unfortunately, these days, in addition to the “psychological effect”, algorithms on places like YouTube do the same thing “in hardware”, by ACTUALLY presenting us with more and more content that the algorithm decides is similar to what we’ve already watched or read… Unfortunately none of the algorithms is going to present us with “similar but OPPOSING” points of view… because, of course, “people prefer to read or watch things that agree with what they already believe”. It would be nice if there was an actual option on places like Facebook to automatically present both supporting AND OPPOSING content based on what we watch.
I like it – “Face the facts, you’re all wrong”-Book.
In the novel “Earth” by David Brin (published 1990) he portrayed the word in 2040 that definitely has problems, but also people doing smart things to solve the problems. One of the smart things is laws that the internet *must* do something like the option you want.
I expect many people would still just ignore the information that doesn’t fit their ideology, but I think such laws would help reduce the polarization.
Kieth, unfortunately, if they actually did that, it would likely purposefully invoke strawmen. Here’s a doctor of whatchamacallit that agrees with you. The opposing position is held by Crackppot McDumbDumb.
I am currently sat in a cafe in Krakow. Did the death camps yesterday and in the weak sunshine and -10 temp, I have never been to a more disconcerting and depressing places. The paradigm for the ingroup/outgroup homicidal tendencies of the killer ape that is man…
M27Holts: I fail to understand why people should visit the death camps. One of my friends has been planning to visit Auschwitz for years, and is hoping to achieve it this year or next. I can understand why survivors, and relatives of victims (or even relatives of perpetrators!) might want to visit such a place, but not people, like my friend, with absolutely no connection. I understand that Poland is a nice country and well worth visiting in its own right, according to that friend, who has been there on business trips, but not yet anywhere near the death camp.
(My friend is not Jewish, Gypsy, disabled or Gay, btw, just an Englishman from Plymouth.)
(Cue for joke by M27Holts: Surprised that SoG has any friends!)
Son of Glenner: I thought that way too. Then I visited Sachsenhausen and changed my opinion completely as I realized just how personal the horrors had been. What did me in was the room of shoes followed by the room of suitcases followed by the boxes of glasses. Completely innocent objects, if one didn’t know the context. No picture can convey the absolute horror of seeing the scale in such mundane things as shoes and suitcases. And that was one of the “good” camps, not geared for murder on an industrial scale. *shudder*
I’ve also heard this called the Balalaika Effect, after an incident (possibly apocryphal) in which someone who had never heard of a balalaika before, found out (I forget how), and suddenly started noticing them everywhere.
In the early 90s, I spent a many months working at a German air force base an hour north of Munich. I had many opportunities to visit Dachau, but I didn’t.
I couldn’t. I grew up with parents who had survived the Holocaust. My mother’s parents were murdered in Lodz, Poland. My father’s first wife and two daughters, and his parents, had been murdered in Lithuania. My very existence is because he remarried after the war. I heard stories about it from almost the day I was born. I had already heard too much. His daughters’ names were Lena and Pescha.
There’s a word, the same in Yiddish and German, that I’ve known all my life because my parents used it: “vernichten”. It translates as “annihilate”, with the German negative “nicht” corresponding to the Latin negative “nihil”. It was repeated frequently by my parents: he wanted to annhilate us.
I went to an English Protestant elementary school in Montreal. Other kids had “the boogieman”… I went to sleep frightened that Hitler would get me.
Is there something like generational post-traumatic stress disorder? If so, I have it. It doesn’t stop me from functioning but it does affect me in numerous ways.
My parents were each affected in different ways. My mother was paranoid that everyone wanted to cheat her in some way. My father became excruciatingly gentle; he literally would not kill a fly. He would open windows and shoo the fly out. He’d say “Es will auch leben”… “It also wants to live”.
As I grow older, and testosterone becomes scarce, I grow more emotional. As I write about those memories my eyes well up, a moist indicator of how much I would want my parents rewarded for their suffering. Sadly, Yehu is a myth and cruelty is an integral part of the mechanism of evolution. That’s all there is.
Laripu – yes, there is such a thing as getting a PTSD from something that you haven’t experienced personally but someone close to you has. Exists in my family too. In our case, the villain is Stalin – famine in Ukraine, one family member sent to gulag. I’m still affected, and I’m only a grandchild to great-grandchild of the people who lived through or died in that. It takes generations, plural. I wish I had something comforting to say but I’m afraid I’m not good at this.
SOG. My wife’s maiden Name is Rolfe and (according to her genes) she has links to European Jewish Heritage. The death camps have always fascinated her, so this trip was to satisfy her need to visit the places she had read so much about. I didn’t want to go, but I supported her. She will accompany me to the small town in Germany where a 88mm shell fired from a Das Reich Jagdpanther cooked my paternal grandad alive in his Sherman Firefly…I will drink copious amounts of german beer to salute my brave grandads sacrifice..Peace Brothers…
Laripu. Aye mother nature obeys the cold hands of physics. On wednesday night we were involved in a heated discussion with a bunch of Polish students who, on hearing our trip to the death camps, asked us why we had just enjoyed eating our superbly cooked leg of pork, using the philosophical gambit that Abatoires are death camps for cattle/pigs/sheep thus equating us as omnivores as equivalent to SS , oblivious to and part of the systemic and industrial liquidation of fellow mammalian species.I made no defence as apex preditor as I suppose I am guilty as charged…
M27Holts: Good point by your Polish students! As a former eater of animal flesh, even after thirty years of veganism, I still bear the same guilt as you, apex predator that you are! Re your grandad, we can only hope that his death was instantaneous. Like Divizna, I wish I could say something more comforting.
But we cannot go through life self-flagellating, so have another litre of German bier to salute your grandad.
M27, I suppose there’s an argument to be made that we’ve evolved to be omnivorous, and also to have the capacity for either great cruelty or great kindness.
The industrialization of food production has succeeded dramatically. In the western world, the level of starvation is a tiny fraction of what it was 200 years ago. That success has made us much more populous but also resulted in huge amounts of environmental damage. So I suppose there can always be ill effects from good causes. Vice versa too.
I had a vegan friend once, who criticized factory farming by calling it “a daily holocaust of chickens”. This didn’t make me more sympathetic to the plight of chickens. It made me angry that she compared methods that give people the food they need to live, with methods of genocide. Her rhetorical trick was an attempt to vilify the eating of flesh by comparing it to the Holocaust. The logic: Since both the Holocaust and factory farming entail lots of killing, factory farms are as bad as the Holocaust.
The Poles you met seem to me to be doing the reverse. The logic: Since eating meat is normal, and since both that and the Holocaust entail lots of killing, then the Holocaust wasn’t all that ethically bad. That’s the same rhetorical trick in reverse. “Don’t blame us.”
The solution to both is that the two are not commensurable. Killing animals for food isn’t killing people to remove them from existence. _This_ isn’t _that_.
I like your prescription: pork shank and beer. Food is food and people are people. Let’s squeeze a little happiness out of this miserable existence before we’re squeezed out of it by evolution, or a comet, or nuclear war, or our own waste, or just by reaching our “best before” date.
Divizna, I sympathize with your family’s experience in the Holodomor. It gives you understanding, but it’s a terrible thing to be given that understanding.
When I was a child, perhaps nine or ten, I remember my mother pointing out some Armenian people and telling me “they’re the only ones who understand us”. In my childish ignorance I replied “What do you mean, do they speak Yiddish?” 🙂
She didn’t explain well, only that Armenians were killed in large numbers. I found out years later that Hitler felt that the lack of consequences for the Armenian genocide indicated that Germany would have no consequences for his plans. “Wer redet heute noch von der Vernichtung der Armenier?” – he said.
The Holodomor, the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust should be taught together. I think that eventually Putin’s war in Ukraine will also be in that list.
My guess at an extreme distance, is that the Polish students were on the same side of the argument as your defender of chickens. They don’t see it as “the food people need to live”, because it isn’t. They don’t see it as what keeps us from starving, because it certainly is not that. They see it as a brutal tolerance of sentient animals forced to endure terrible conditions their entire lives, for the delectation of a population that happily closes their eyes to the grim conditions. Maybe because Jehovah gave us dominion over those animals.
Re: Industrial farming
Laripu, you write well.
It’s DARWIN DAY today. The greatest man who ever lived.
Here is a proposal for at least reducing the consumption of animals while allowing people to eat stuff that *tastes* like meat.
which is linked to from this
Which has a bunch of articles on ways to use technology to cut environmental damage
including articles on microbial production of meat-like food, such as this one.
I went to Auschwitz about four years ago and experienced the ambivalence which I imagine many do. It is impossible to stand on that railway line and view through the glass the piles of suitcases, spectacles, shoes and hair without weeping, but there is also a lurking guilt that you have simply made this place of such horrors another tourist attraction along with the visits to the wonderful Krakow centre and the Warsaw Old Town.
As I have no belief in anything like a ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ in humans I cannot pretend that those poor victims of this place have any awareness or appreciation of my presence long after their deaths but I still felt some kind of urge, even duty to come.
‘To bear witness’ has overtones of religion of course and in this case is essentially a romantic notion but that’s as near as I can get, I think.
If not for the insentient dead then maybe for the sentient living; for Laripu and those like him who continue to suffer in the aftermath of this unimaginable mindless horror and to say that, in whatever minuscule way, I went a bit out of my way to express my shared humanity and empathy in defiance of the barbarity before me.
James, all the links you gave show good ideas and ought to be implemented. I fear that any good thing will bring with it new problems. For example, plastic packaging replacing glass reduced breakage and meant that transport would use less fuel, because weight was reduced… But plastics are endocrine disruptors and are polluting everything, from the oceans to umbilical cord blood. Fetuses grow with the presence and influence of plastics, right from the start.
I think the ultimate problem is that we’ve been a very successful species, so successful that there are too many of us. Nature’s way of reducing our numbers, as Malthus predicted, could be horrible.
Will science and technology fix the problems, or will the problems multiply until the population falls to a manageable level? Let’s take this topic up again in 200 years and see. 🙂
Laripu, re: plastics
The other day I heard on the news about a test made in New Zealand (I think) where they put a filtering device on top a six-storey building to collect airborne pollutants and found incredible amounts of nanoparticles of plastic floating in the air. Most likely blown in from the sea, was the conclusion.
Very hard to impossible to get rid of the stuff by now, since it is literally everywhere. The Atlantic shores around here are always freshly littered with dumped objects large and small though people organise cleanup parties twice a year ;(
I visited Culcheth on Saturday with a mate, we were meeting a friend who usually comes drinking with us in Manchester. We arrived at 1420 ish and entered the local taphouse at 1500. About the time we entered the taphouse a transgender 16yo girl was stabbed to death less than 800m away in a local park. And the geezer we went to meet was questioned later that night because him and his mrs saw the girl in the park when they were walking their dog ay 1400…
And…is the Beider-Meinhoff effect being played out in the skies above North America?
I’m not opposed to eating products of microbial fermentation – far from it! Especially considering that yeasts are microbes. Vitamin B12 is one of the nutrients we’re often short on if we don’t eat flesh, but it’s actually produced by microbes and passed on by their hosts. Let’s see what we can do with that – extra credit if the fermentation doesn’t require laboratory conditions.
But as a way to produce imitation cheese … we’ll see, but I doubt yet another imitation cheese is the long term answer. Or whatever imitation animal parts.
The protein we need has been here for millennia. We don’t need industrial processes, we just need to learn how to eat better.
Donn, re B12 in one word: Marmite
marmite, marmite, you brits spread it like butter
it’s hailed as a good hemorrhoid salve
by wumpus mumpywumpers
and if it weren’t for marmite
we could’a lost the war
well, that’s ok, it’s not ok
based on what it is used for.
Marmite, nutritional yeast – B12 added, may as well take pills. There are natural ferment sources, tempeh the only example I know of – but apparently there’s a lot of variability there depending on how it’s made, and it isn’t well understood. That’s what I’m talking about – forget about how much is tempeh like chicken, that’s a dead end; let’s look for tempeh that has its own interesting character and nutritional qualities.
Seaweed – nori seaweed sushi wrapper can have some B12, but maybe no one wants to eat that much nori. What about other types of seaweed?
I like Marmite. Good under strong cheddar cheese then toasted…
Donn, since you asked for B12 production by fermentation doesn’t require laboratory conditions: that’s where it comes from before it’s added to Marmite; tempeh (fermented soy beans) isn’t exactly produced under lab conditions either.
Marmite… an acquired taste I quess. Some love it, some hate it, and never the twain shall meet 😀
“Marmite”: Other brands of yeast extract are available.
SOG. This site hasn’t exactly got enough people reading the comments to put Vegemite out of business. I Still prefer Marmite anyway as I have sampled both. Unless of course your scots spread brown boot polish on toast to try and trick their kids into a cheaper alternative…
Right, I’m sure it’s possible to produce edible fermented foodstuffs that naturally contain useful B12. That as far as I know isn’t marmite, and it isn’t most widely available tempeh, but I expect something like that is going to be more useful and interesting in the long run than imitation cheese or bacon.
Donn, the B12 in either Marmite and tempeh is an addition and as far as my friend google says, from the same industrial sources as the pills.
Somehow I see Marmite everywhere now.
Right. Get your white bread. Toast one side. Apply margarine to the other side, then marmite,. Slice extra strong cheddar cheese, apply over marmite. And place under grill until golden brown…voila propah cheese on toast…
It’s news to me if anyone is fortifying tempeh with B12. It can occur naturally, but because of bacterial contamination, not from the Rhizopus fungus that primarily creates tempeh. Typically that’s Klebsiella pneumoniae, but if one were going to do it on purpose, there would probably be better alternatives. To my knowledge, no one’s doing it on purpose.
You probably have to grow up eating Marmite to like it. I find it useful as a yeast nutrient when home-brewing beer. But as a food? Eh.
I do like anchovies though. And sardines, herring, and mackerel. Aldi was out of my favorite herring in mango sauce, so I guess that makes me hard of herring.
Fresh mackerel? Try sgombro al aceto some time if you haven’t already. Sadly one has to recite the Lord’s Prayer or some such nonsense in order to time the parboil step properly, so I’m somewhat handicapped, but it’s good anyway. Peel the skin off – not everyone does, I think, but it’s a good idea.
Donn, as it happens, I was forced to memorize the Lord’s Prayer in school around 55 years ago, by a horrible battle-axe of a teacher named Mrs Cleland. Can you point me to an English recipe that you like? I could always time myself thinking the Lord’s Prayer, and then use that time for the parboil step.
I’m certain the fish will not taste significantly different without god. 🙂
I also memorized Yeats’ The Second Coming at the time, but that was entirely of my own accord. I still like it. It probably doesn’t influence fish either. Maybe chicken schnitzel? “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, sizzles in my frying pan with some corn?” 😀
Arbroath Smokies are good…ask SOG…