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Messages - alai

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General Comments / Canadians on the radio, eh.
« on: January 29, 2022, 08:33:16 PM »
Lots of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell getting played on Irish radio recently.  Can't think why!

General Comments / Re: The Djoker: Nole or Novax?
« on: January 28, 2022, 10:36:13 PM »
I see the BBC is reporting "fresh doubts have emerged" about the timing of his positive covid test.  I don't know why they're "fresh" as such:  still seems to be that the serial numbers are out of chronological whack, which was reported a while ago.  I'm not sure quite why that'd argue for it being fake (granting the obvious suspicion of him having a motivation so to do).  Likewise I'm not clear if it makes any more -- or less -- sense of any of the subsequent events.

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 28, 2022, 09:44:45 PM »
To answer the presumably rhetoric question first, what's difficult is mainly a combination of two things: the lack of any clear statement (and indeed, several apparently contradictory statements) and the heated maximalism of the claims of Putin-mind-reading.

So you are saying it's "mix and match" (on some basis, feel free to clarify which, but I'm trying to walk before I run here), not specifically "re-annex the USSR, re-dominate the Warsaw Pact", as we seemed to be getting a couple of posts ago.  Am I at least warm?

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 28, 2022, 09:09:38 PM »
It was?  I took it to be a literal either/or, on the assumptions his exact intent might be whimsical, opportunistic, or unknowable.  So he's literally planning on fully (re-)annexing all of Central Asia, the Caucasian republics, the Baltics, and the other three former SU Eastern European countries, is that your contention?

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 28, 2022, 07:11:10 PM »
Poland's not going to agree to that at any speed, so the only way of forcing it to happen is for the US itself to withdraw.
Or, doing some more google-grade research, there's another theory that was doing the rounds during one of the various series of "Turkey Behaving Badly".  There's no provision in the North Atlantic Treaties for expulsion of a member, or even suspension.  But one might invoke the "treaty on treaties", declare some hapless too-far-east country to be in "material breach" of the treaty in some respect, and do it that way.

Sounds a remote possibility to me, and on the "honourable conduct" scale, it'd be somewhere south of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.  But out of deference to Syrian Kurdistan, I'm not going to go so far as say 'inconceivable'.

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 28, 2022, 06:38:13 PM »
Politically impossible, yes. But there's money involved with that, not safety concerns IMO. As for de-membership, I mean I don't even really know what that entails in brass tacks other than removing military bases and presumably the gravy train that goes along with the money flowing through them (services, contractors, etc). It's not like NATO will magically allow Poland to be conquered just because they shut down a costly military base there.
Easy enough to imagine when someone else's concerns are at issue.  Like I said before (but flipping the example around), imagine Russia-aligned Pennsylvania.  You're living in Ohio for the purposes of this alt-hist exercise.  Obviously I'm not going to be so ridiculous as to suggest it's nuclear-armed...  Obviously the Russia nukes are deployed to the rear in Quebec.

And as also previously noted, Poland is one of the minority of Nato members spending more-than-guideline amounts of their own money on their own defence.  So the idea that it's just a shakedown operation for US Keynesian multipliers seems both uncharitable -- even to the Poles! -- as well as implausible.  (But I admit I did once watch an entire congressional "oversight" hearing on the DoD, and indeed apart from a famous flameout from some attempted political posturing about Critical Race Theory, there was absolutely no "oversight", and it was wall-to-wall "why aren't you spending yet more taxpayers' money, entirely coincidentally particularising to what happens in my own district".  So I do understand to predisposition to perceive pork.)

De-membership is exactly the removal of the treaty commitment to not allow Poland to be attacked.  The commitment that a certain previous US commander-in-chief was openly scoffing at, despite being a clear and binding obligation in international law at the time.  It's the exact different between Poland and Ukraine's current and recent situation.  Poland's not going to agree to that at any speed, so the only way of forcing it to happen is for the US itself to withdraw.

What military bases Poland has is down to Poland, but the US, separately and distinctly, could start refusing to forward-deploy units there.

Putin wants to conquer Poland, and he wants to conquer to Baltics, or to at least have them under the constant THREAT of being invaded and conquered, [...]
That "at least" is doing a whole lot of work in that sentence.  Given that those countries pretty much feel that way anyway, the latter is trivially satisfied.  So that's a pretty big distinction you're breezing over.

General Comments / Re: Biden's choice for the SC
« on: January 28, 2022, 05:53:04 PM »
Most people don't say "as tall as possible" and then say 5'6" is fine. Dems will be lucky not to wind up right of Roberts.
Height is rarely referred to as The Dimension of the Possible.  See Bismarck, LBJ, and countless others.  It should go without saying.  It should especially go after I explicitly did say it, but equally I should have suitably lowered expectations by now.

Talking of expectations, on the likely result I'll freely stipulate I have very little idea.  538 opines that "That means that even Manchin and Sinema have 100 percent track records of supporting Biden’s judicial nominees," and even suggests it's not wildly improbable that up to about three Republicans might.  (Two "moderates", one "throwback", in their analysis.)  But I can catastrophise competitively if need be.  After all, this in the USA in the inter-coup years, and I've watched Homeland, et al.

Mind you, a zygote only a little to the right of Roberts would arguably be to the Democrat's benefit, given the court's track record.  And assuming for these purposes no revolutionary breach of legal continuity for the next half-century or so.

General Comments / Re: New trans laws
« on: January 28, 2022, 05:10:32 PM »
Which I know is not what you meant but makes a kind of sense with regards to many of the arguments you make with such certainty...
It's a brave person that says anything definitive about what EM does or doesn't mean.  In another thread he appears to be trying to argue that it doesn't matter if he's wrong about everything (which is handy, as he is!) because in the future the theocrats will build us all Cylon heavens, and most especially Cylon hells, liberally apply spackle (as Bill Byson tells me is the correct local idiom), and "make good".  But the error bars on that estimates are larger than the estimated probability, so yours is as good as mine, or indeed better.

I'd certainly not rule out the "lying for a good cause (or at least in line with my own prejudices)" interpretation, even self-consciously.

See, if transwomen are not women, then that opens the door to gay marriage is not marriage.
*cocks ear to the back of the room*  Oops, think you're losing the TERF crowd!

And that opens the door to "hey, how come the fundamentalist (read: unchanging for ~1600 years) Christians were always right about those issues?
Read:  blundering around in the dark for so long they don't even begin to understand their own history.  (And no, it does not.  Because of hilariously discontiguous syllogisms, and basic errors of fact.)

Surely you all see that?
Surely we all see through you.

"'s a way of marginalizing a normal person"
- Norm MacDonald (on the term "cismale")
Poor Norm, practically still warm in his grave, and being approvingly quoted by fascists.  And I thought Orwell had it tough on this forum.  Cis, also an adjective.  Also a very straightforward concept.  But I'll stipulate that you should be marginalised (if not that you're a normal person).

I measure "winning" by finding new TERFy stuff like that
Tee-hee, that idiolect of yours again!  Very much in line with the "did my own research" trope.  Scroll internet.  Find things that agree with feels.  Feel affirmed.  Repeat.

General Comments / Re: Biden's choice for the SC
« on: January 28, 2022, 04:41:28 PM »
So if he knew already who his pick(s) were - then stating the race and gender would just be stating something he already knows about his pre-screened candidates, rather than setting them as a criteria.
Probably.  But I don't understand the logic of announcing it in those terms either.  Unless they calculation is that it outrages the right so much -- OMG REVERSE RACISM AND MISANDRY -- that it pops some veins or ups covid risk factors sufficiently to swing some close midterms, even before he gets to the name.  Or conversely, it's a "breaking the sticker shock to them gently" consideration, if you want to read it entirely the other way.

As left as possible, and as young as possible!

The right long since stopped pretending appointments to the SC were anything other than a naked power grab.  Just a matter if the left -- and centre, and centre-right, frankly -- trouble to show up to try and stay in the game.

Did you miss the part about Joe Manchin? He's not going to accept some kind of ultra-lib.
Did you miss "as possible", even while quoting it?  There's a reason I didn't say "as left as imaginable", or "as left as theoretically possible".

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 28, 2022, 04:29:52 PM »
Not as accurate but easier to get the generally racist point across [...]
Anti-racist racism!  Whatever next.  You could just have said "South Asian".  Arguably even "Middle Eastern" -- a somewhat loose usage, but not as wildly incorrect as "Arab".  Or just "Afghan people."

Saying "Arab" is especially cringe-making because of its "polite word for Muslim" or indeed "I'm confused about the difference between Arabs and Muslims" connotations.

But my guess is what they really want, mostly from what I learned playing RISK, is to seize more territory like they did with Crimea and what they say they want is just the rationalizations they believe give them a good enough appearance of provocation to take it.
It's a popular theory, though not quite lurid enough for the British FO, hence the increasingly lurid "OMG INVASIONS AND PUPPET REGIMES" guff from that quarter, that even the Ukrainians say is over-excited nonsense.  (The British Tories have a cake ambush and a Baby Trump PM to distract from, after all.)  But the whole Russian strategy on Donbas relies on making out it's nothing to do with them, so pretty hard to get them to start demanding port cities, and rather upsetting for Ukraine if you start offering on their behalf.

Well his demands aren't actually undoable, it's just that the West won't do them. Why would they give up powerful threatening positions?
They're pretty politically undoable, given that Nato decision-making is -- supposedly -- by consensus, and most of the countries Putin's demanding withdrawal from are rather spectacularly opposed to the idea.  Never mind them being de-memebershipped, which is only on that list:  I've no idea if there's any mechanism for that at all.  From a US PoV, there's options of quitting itself, no longer honouring its Article 5 commitments (see also, the ruminations of The Former Guy), or generally scaling back its commitment of forces (... after years of scolding others to scale them up).

It requires quite the imaginative effort on my part to empathise with (let's say) the Polish government, but if the US "pulls a Kurds" on them, they'll have some reason to feel aggrieved.  They've joined a multinational organisation with a treaty commitment to defend against "an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe" (HINTHINTBYRUSSIAHINTHINTHINT), been shameless sycophants to successive US administrations, including supporting their more "military adventurist" antics, and now the Joe Rogan listenership is totally over that, and wants to defend their eastern border from...  maybe say France?

General Comments / Re: The Book Banning Begins
« on: January 28, 2022, 03:48:17 PM »
I'm not sure either.  I read that 1984 had been "challenged" by one of those school boards (possibly the Florida one).  Meaning what?  I dunno!  Some Concerned Citizens(TM) wrote a petition, but the school board didn't actually remove it from libraries?  Or what?

Sure, "just about anything" wouldn't be an appropriate inclusion criterion.  Or especially budget-compatible, I imagine.  Porn, Joe Rogan podcasts, etc, we can do without.  But one of the most influential novels in the English language?  (Says the BBC, and who am I to argue with the Beeb?  I have you lot to do that for me!)  Also came very high in a survey of books that people claim to have read, but actually haven't, according to a QIfact.

The booze thing strikes me as a striking case where the US's religious authoritarian instincts really tell on its incessantly bellowing rhetoric about personal freedom.  MLDA of 21?  "Dry counties"?  Making it illegal in federal fundamental law for over a decade?  Pretty breathtaking.  And yes I'm following you wildly off-topic here, but given that we've had bizarrely illogical Cardrants justifying such nonsense, an apt forum for it, at least.

Might you, if you look up "country with an unhealthy relationship with alcohol", you likely find the one I live in.  Or if not that one, various other north European booze-bingers I'm also familiar with to a degree.

I already defined it: the not-good. Any other detailing is irrelevant for the purposes of this axiom. All we have to do is to show that if there is a choice containing the possibility of choosing that which is not good, then you have suffering. What exactly that suffering might feel like, take the form of, or anything else, isn't material to the argument.
Seems pretty material to this amounting to more than it presently does, which is just Platonic tail-chasing.  "Suffering" has a perfectly serviceable natural-language meaning, and's been amply exemplified in this discussion.  If you can't get adjacent to that -- and you certainly can't this this sort of waffle about variations in the microwave background radiations from the Ideal -- then you're not even at the races.

Some of what they did was unscientific, in the sense of just saying things without caring about whether it matched observations, while others did indeed adjust for actual reality. Any kind of invention, for instance, especially in areas like metallurgy, engineering, medicine and other such ancient fields, required an attempt, seeing the result, adjusting, and trying new things. This is science to a T. They didn't have good general theories of anything, but then again we know more now and it's still hard to develop general theories. So yeah, there were plenty of people back then who legit studied nature to learn from it.
Plato.  Question was about Plato.  Any time you like.

This is like the modern misconception that people in the middle ages still thought the world was flat [...]
No, that is very unlike that, as that's straightforwardly demonstrable to be a misconception.  Whereas I've asked you a pretty simple thing, to back up your claim about Plato, and you're talking all around the topic.

[...] even though it had already been known going back to Ptelemy not only that it was round but to within a decent margin of error what its circumference was. That's not natural philosophy?
What that is, is exactly proving my point.  Plato asserted the roundness of the Earth ex cathedra.  Aristotle had some at least vaguely empirically themed actual arguments for it being the case.  Ptolemy actually measured the darn thing.  That's natural philosophy, and in a way that's actually en route to being recognisable as modern science.  See the difference?  Or are we just rounding all our contentions off to the nearest Greek beginning with the letter pi, and deeming that close enough for philosophical jazz?

General Comments / Re: The Book Banning Begins
« on: January 28, 2022, 02:16:28 AM »
What better way can you think of to educate these kids about the true horror of Holocaust without being even more graphic?
Wait, educating them.  I'm sure that wasn't on the menu, much less taking precedence other their parents' delicate feelings!

General Comments / Re: Biden's appeal on misinformation & disinformation
« on: January 28, 2022, 02:11:17 AM »
In light of US Surgeon General Murthy's comments around censoring Joe Rogan [...]
The word "around" doing all the work in that sentence, it appears.  Ermagawd, they're not just coming for our guns and your god, they're coming for our beloved misinformation!  By...  making ever-so-generic comments like "People have the right to make their own decisions, but they also have the right to have accurate information to make that decision with."  That the ScottF's and Seriati's of this world are utterly determined to read as authoritarian government overreach, and what was actually said be damned.

I was trying to think of reasons he wouldn't just go on Rogan's show himself and get the his message on the record:
To sit in the seat recently warmed by Robert Malone, yet.  Let's be reasonable here, and strike a fair balance between facts and lies!

Too late. Rogan has far more eyes and ears than all the major news networks combined and needs no endorsement to be considered "legitimate".
Apparently just as Jordan Peterson's the acme of "intellectualism" for some on the right, these days "podcast downloads" is the ultimate standard in "legitimacy" via populism.

Yet on the other hand, we'll (endlessly!) tut at people having a poor grasp of the facts when they get polled with questions evidently above their mathsing level.

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 28, 2022, 01:04:53 AM »
Professor Mary Elise Sarotte, author of "Not One Inch", on the eastward expansion of Nato being a failure and/or a betrayal...

"I hesitate to say what is inside Vladimir Putin's mind.  I don't really know if it really believes this, or just thinks it's incredibly useful to instrumentalise..."

Also theorises nothing will happen at least until after the Winter Olympics, as the Chinese complained about Russian antics in 2008, so Xi will get sulky if something like that happens again.  Gabriel Gatehouse earlier saying that local intelligence is that Russian forces don't yet have either the numbers or the stance to invade.

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 28, 2022, 12:50:54 AM »
The only serious constructive suggestion I might offer is if Europe really wants to be able to hit Russia they should go to war against fossil fuels. Put all the money and scientific expertise that would have been spent on newer and better weapons, bigger and more menacing militaries, into renewable energy instead. They can fight Russia and climate change and pollution at the same time.
I dunno if you follow any developments further to the left than Joe Manchin on this, but that kinda is the plan.  Unfortunately everyone -- aside from Joe! -- sees gas as the "stopgap" to that.

An outside the box approach that probably wouldn't amount to much is to just try to get Russia to tell us what they want, exactly. What cities. What swath of land. What ports. What is it you are trying to get out of all of this?
He's issued a laundry-list of demands already, and they're already well off the scale of what Nato and the EU could possibly countenance.  Not necessarily wise to encourage him to make more, especially ones that presuppose changing international boundaries -- something that he denies wishing to do.  (Any more than he already has.)

It'd take some Donald Trump level master negotiating acumen to pull off a win-win like that though.
His actual level of acumen, or the one asserted in that book he doesn't seem to have read, much less written?

When Jesus whipped the money-changers, was that love?
ITYM "if".  It was certainly the part that rapidly ended up heavily bookmarked by the hatey-er Christians when they started getting pouty about people reminding them the the Great Commandment, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and the Sermon on the Mount.  Y'know, all the woke commie stuff.

What do you think the future is when sex-based equality is overridden by gender-based equality? I mean, that was JK Rowling's point. The future I see if that happens is the concept of biological sex becomes meaningless. That's true equality isn't it?
What does "sex-based equality" and "gender-based equality" even mean?  The above just reads like you forgot to type the "in-"'s, or you're staring them in.  The TERFs often claim that "sex-based rights" are being eroded, but it's not like the right-wing theocrats like yourself would be in the least interest in those.  Should there be "special rights" for groups based on sex -- or gender, or race, etc?  Ultimately ideally no.  Question is rather, what protections do certain groups need pro temp until actual "true equality" is achieved.

I see you failed to read this thread's title. Please read it.
Your contributions are fairly strongly suggestive that you didn't, so you're really in no position to play thread-gamekeeper and thread-poacher at the same time.

I believe that all of the suffering, even natural catastrophes (like say, I dunno, maybe CLIMATE CHANGE) is due to man's free will, and yes, even earthquakes.
Earthquakes are anthropogenic, but you're not sure either way about climate change?  The parody-o-meter is twitching nervously again...

Simulation Argument tells us it's possible.
It seems to tell you something that's wildly different from what it tells everyone else.  Care to share how and why?  I y'know, a logical connected series of propositions, or some such normcore lamestream concession to the thread's title.  As opposed to using it as a series of random interjections.

Then maybe the Judeo-Christian view is wrong on that point.
This truly is theocracy a la carte...  Possibly the dessert cart.

General Comments / Re: The Book Banning Begins
« on: January 28, 2022, 12:00:53 AM »
I'm not even sure 1984 should be in a high school anyhow. Parts of it are quite graphic and even gruesome.
*removes Fenring's mask shock-reveals Florida school board!*

Not that I wasn't reading Stephen King at the age of 13...but still, it wasn't given to me by my teachers!
I can't testify first-hand about how US high-school libraries work, but in the conventional sort, the borrower has to fetch their own book off the shelf, rather than it being proactively handed out by the teachers.  (I read 1984 in secondary school, but I'm not certain it is was a set text, from the library, or my own copy.  O tempora, o memoria!)

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 27, 2022, 11:54:14 PM »
a large number of the woke crowd
Many of the woke crowd
By all means, please don't let the actual topic detain you from your customary wokeological maunderings.

General Comments / Re: The Book Banning Begins
« on: January 27, 2022, 11:13:42 PM »
The school boards red-flagging 1984 has similar angsts, IIRC.  Sex and violence in a dystopian novel -- you can imagine how shocked they must have been!

General Comments / Re: New trans laws
« on: January 27, 2022, 10:51:15 PM »
note: the EHRC, I'm told, is responsible for regulating the 2010 Equality Act in the UK
And earlier equality legislation.  I assume you were against them, before you were fore them.  And until you're against them.

you TRAs have lost in the UK
I have no idea what your standard for "winning" and "losing" might be, here.  Come back and crow when the UK legislates in favour of your "forcible conversion therapy all round" position.  Or anywhere else indeed, depending on how you feel about associating with them by way of your approval.

Why do you care.
Seems to be his USP.  As gay people are to Westboro, the trans are to EM's fundy-poiy-fascist-not-nazi church of one.  Even though it requires the most amazingly clumsy calumniation by cases.  Hates trans being for not being on cross-sex hormones...  or for being on them.  Slurs them for getting surgical procedures, and for not.

Haters, as they say, gonna hate.

General Comments / Re: coronavirus
« on: January 27, 2022, 09:12:00 PM »
Anti-vax or anti mandate? It matters which we're talking about. There's probably a direct correlation between religiosity and anti-vax sentiment. I suspect that correlation gets really thin when it gets to anti-mandate views but don't have any data to back that hunch.
If there were any logical consistency, the "we'd like a Christian theocracy, please" people wouldn't have any issue with the "mandating things" aspect, and that angle might be more associated with people that see themselves as more Libertarian, "small-government", and so on.

In practice people's beliefs are such a mishmash that I'd guess that the correlations are likely going to be less than the noise, beyond it being seen as a rather broadly partisan thing.

Likewise, I think you'd probably find a lot of anti-vax in the spiritual/granola/organic group, which is highly left-wing socially and politically, and yet 'conservative' in certain ways insomuch as they are very intolerant of things that interfere with their bubble and are very careful about what they eat, etc.
Definitely.  Though that association is getting weirder too.  These days you can be a vegan and a right-wing ethno-nationalist -- not even that original, that one, at the risk of Godwinning myself -- or a Capitol-storming organic-food neo-animist by religion.

General Comments / Re: coronavirus
« on: January 27, 2022, 08:53:43 PM »
For example, a significant portion of the population believes that you have a 50% chance of being hospitalized if you get covid and they behave as if those beliefs were true.
A significant portion of your posts reiterate that first talking point.  If "believe" means "guess when asked", then I recommend you don't watch any quiz shows, or you'll lose any remaining faith you might have in humanity.

The second is a blatant overreach.  Gallup didn't ask those people if they were the same ones enraging you -- sorry, no, eliciting your deep sympathy! -- by wearing masks outdoors, etc.

General Comments / Re: Biden's choice for the SC
« on: January 27, 2022, 08:45:27 PM »
As left as possible, and as young as possible!

The right long since stopped pretending appointments to the SC were anything other than a naked power grab.  Just a matter if the left -- and centre, and centre-right, frankly -- trouble to show up to try and stay in the game.

General Comments / Re: coronavirus
« on: January 26, 2022, 10:25:59 PM »
Love me some Clapton but I'm unaware of his political views, which is as it should be. Assuming they're anti-establishment, I hope there's not a petition to remove his content from Spotify too. Not that his estate would care much at this point.
He's not been especially politically active that I'm aware of, but if I were to make a hot take on his political stance over time, it'd be on the lines of, drug-addled racist rocker turned conspiracy-theorist member of the squirarchy.  So depends how you're defining "the establishment", which everyone has their own take on these days.

Heh, I had to look up his views. I suspect that the "mass psychosis" folks don't want him to shut up. As you say. I don't think anyone on this forum would cite him though.
Does seem like the sort of source that if you were influenced by, you'd rather want to launder that by upgrading to a slightly fancier version.  Or do the "I'm hearing that" or "everyone's telling me..." thing.

It's how Michael Jordan sneakers sell, and it's why I have a signed helmet from Pat Mahomes four feet away from where I'm typing this.
How bout them Chieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeefs.  (Though for the record I'm a recovering Bears fan.)

I'm one.  I'd rather he just play (or retire in his case) instead of commenting on anything outside of football (though this is arguably something any football player could legitimately comment on, particularly if they are asked since it *is* about them.) 
He was indeed asked in with his "day job" (woolly green bobble) hat on.  In a sense it's a legit question, as the league has different rules for the differently coviddy.  And clearly it puts him in an awkward position as if he refuses to answer it, we're immediately in the Novak Djokovic zone of smelling a rat, if he answers it truthfully there goes his medical privacy, and if he lies then he's a liar.  Or worse, he tries a "I'm the cleverest guy in the room" sort of answer, and it turns out he wasn't.

But when he starts banging on about the "fake White House" and scoffing that "it does look like" Biden got 81m votes, that's an unforced error.  To slightly mix sporting metaphors.  Obviously he's free to speak out what whatever he wants to, but whether he's wise to do so is another matter.  Then again, FL has three handegg teams, maybe one of them, perhaps one with an extremely old fly-half, might be in the market in the future...

General Comments / Re: coronavirus
« on: January 26, 2022, 09:25:57 PM »
Unless you're talking about songs that are very intentionally patriotic like Lee Greendwoods proud to be an American?
Officially called "God Bless the U.S.A."  Don't be pandering to the vast radical-Marxist secular conspiracy to remove god from the title!

"And I'm proud to be an American \\
Where at least I know I'm free"

Can't hear that lyric without reaching for my blue pencil.  Or my red one, indeed.  English teachers everywhere sobbing about long-lost referents...

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 26, 2022, 06:03:33 PM »
Bonus "Putin war aim" theory from Channel 4 News:  seize Mariupol.  This is Russian-speaking, and is part of the Donetsk region, so the obvious strategy there would be to (pretend to) use the Donbas separatists (see also:  Little Green Men).  As well as red meat to the Greater New Old New Russia base, apparently also logistically useful in relation to Crimea.  Port currently militarily blockaded by the Russians, by way of their control of both sides of the Kerch Strait.

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 26, 2022, 03:43:52 PM »
I'm not even quite clear which bad strategy you're arguing for in which hypothetical situation now.  Having clearly unwisely split the French forces to go on the offensive on (say) the French front, if Germany attacks on the Polish ones?  That's just doubling down on the initial blunder.

General Comments / Re: New trans laws
« on: January 26, 2022, 03:38:59 PM »
Some labels, words, and indeed entire sentences and paragraphs are definitely stupider than others, however.

I dunno quite how we got onto the Trolley Problem-- OK, yes I do.  The Brownian motion of EM's random darting from point to unrelated point to no purpose whatsoever.  But if we could get him to talk even about that for three posts running, we might be able to measure the exact size of his omission/commission cognitive bias.  Or high-minded deontological principles, as he might prefer to "stupidly label" those.

Insofar as it's diagnostic of anything, I've heard it said the only red flag is people that are a little too quick to answer, and untroubled by the dilemma if asked.  So what it says if one volunteers an opinion without being asked...

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 26, 2022, 03:22:04 PM »
Basic hex-and-counter-wargame revision, people!

If you split the French army between two entirely separate fronts, then the Germans don't have to fight on both at the same time, they get to pick which they think is the weaker...  your plan having just drastically weakened one of them further.  And you'll recall they did pretty well against the entire French army, as reinforced by the BEF (forward defence for the UK, so that part makes a certain basic strategic sense, in the way that a FEF in Poland would not have), rather than just roughly half of it.

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 26, 2022, 02:46:07 PM »
If France had tried to defend Poland, they might not have made the mistakes that kept them from successfully defending themselves.
Or more likely, accelerated the process.  See also, war on two fronts, division of forces, etc.

Honestly, the biggest deterrent to Putin invading is the collective memory of trying to occupy Afghanistan, and how much worse Ukraine would be potentially on that front.
Afghanistan kinda has form in that area.  Let's not make light of their track record!  But wholesale and long-term occupation sounds pretty grim, sure.  But there's all sorts of options that might be running through Putin's nasty little mind short of that.  There's the "push on Kyiv, install a puppet" theory the Brits have been floating.  There's pushing out from Donbas, maybe creating a corridor to Crimea.  Bear in mind there's a lot of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, and even some Russian citizens.  Not by all means all secessionists, but on average less outraged by the idea than the ethnic Ukrainians.  There's just continuing to rack up the tension to keep gas prices nice and high, and get attention for whatever unreasonable demand he happens to have that week.

Given the risks of escalation, I don't think war is Putin's preferred outcome. Whether or not he finds it an acceptable outcome is the question, which probably depends on his estimation of the US's ability to turn his army into dog meat.
He has to first estimate the US willingness, and that's by most calculations been pretty low for quite a while.  Lots of "don't vote for That Candidate, we'll end up in a war with Russia!" memes six years ago.  "No more foreign wars!" was a pretty popular sentiment even back when those were costing the US zero casualties.  What's the appetite for a conflict where the stakes very quickly start at 'entire forward-deployed armoured battalion killed or captured' and potentially escalate to "full nuclear exchange"?

I'll go off on a complete side tangent, but I always love this reversal of what they actually said. Aristotle was the one opining about scientific matters even though, unlike Plato, he never studied what was at the time natural science. Plato was the one to challenge preconceptions about the world and about words, suggesting that things may be far more complicated than we think, and that the only way to study it is - pause for drama - to do constant investigations. Aristotle figured he could just sit in a chair and determine how all of physics, biology, and politics work. And then Plato gets the reputation of pie in the sky philosophy. /rant
You must get to appreciate that a lot then, as I've never heard that particular contrary spin put on things!  I'll certainly stipulate that Aristotle did a great deal too much sitting in a chair opining on natural philosophy, but that was quite the cultural and occupational vice of the day (and since, in some quarters).  The bigger problem is that people were a little too impressed by a lot of the getting out of his chair he did do, and didn't trouble to do so themselves, instead preserving some of his howlers in aspic for a couple of millennia.  But we can't judge either by the standards of modern science, due to "not invented yet".  Whereas Plato's field-based work on natural philosophy is...  what, exactly?  Enlighten me!

Over and above getting out of their respective seats, there's obviously also the whole monism vs dualism thing.

Merely positing that free will entails suffering is not literally a blueprint for everything, so don't try to treat it as a mono-explanation. It's a point of logic, not a synopsis of all of existence.
Of logic!?  Sounds more like apologetics.  I'd think you'd have to construe "suffering" extraordinary broadly for the one to in any way flow from the other, and it does nothing at all to address suffering that's not contingent on any human chance.

(especially if the mere idea of a God makes you angry)
To speak for myself rather than Aris, I'm not at all vexed by the idea of a god, but (at the risk of exposing a weakness that the unscrupulous might exploit!) frequently so by terrible, terrible arguments for the existence of such.  And even moreso from terrible political and philosophical arguments that then get hung on it.  "Causality exists, so we have to forcibly conversion-'therapy' trans and gay people and criminalise reproductive rights."  (To briskly sum up two or three threads here, laid end to end.)

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 25, 2022, 11:25:53 PM »
NewsnightWatch:  British LibDem almost declares war...  on the wrong side.

"... we're on the brink of war with Ukraine...  and Russia involved."  Just about saved that one.

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 25, 2022, 11:24:31 PM »
Frankly I don't think we can deter Putin's invasion without paying too high a price for it.
That's the full-pot-value question, isn't it?  How much of a price are "we" prepared to pay.  And which of "us" do "we" think should be paying it?

We could also offer Putin trillions of dollars to not invade, that would probably work, at least for a while.
Danegeld, Danes...

Let's point out that massive fortifications and promises of defense didn't exactly stop Germany from taking a little stroll into Poland, Belgium and beyond.
In the interests of accuracy, neither Poland nor Belgium (on different borders in different directions, indeed) had the massive fortifications.  That was specifically France.

Wow, its kind of like offering guarantees to defend Ukrainian independence, huh? Worked great. Might have been necessary and morally correct to go to war in retaliation for the invasion of Poland, but what it most definitely did not do is stop the invasion.
Britain and France very clearly didn't have the military means to defend Poland -- France couldn't even defend itself, with Expeditionary Force help, and the UK only by dint of the Channel and such fortunate contingencies.  Nato pretty clearly does have the means to defend Ukraine (or would, if it had the political will).

General Comments / Re: coronavirus
« on: January 25, 2022, 10:10:54 PM »
If I read that right, you're saying because I'm human, a medical doctor can tell me what my reaction to the vaccine will be, because human biology is similar enough that we can predict it accurately despite not knowing the intricate details of any one person?
I'm saying a doctor can make a better assessment than you can of the matter of medical facts (and medical uncertainty) we were discussing.  i.e. whether (and when) vaccination is a net statistical benefit or a net risk as compared to (the probability of) getting infected.

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 25, 2022, 09:32:23 PM »
- A declaration that an invasion of Ukraine and any further violation of its border by the Russian army (beyond what is established in Crimea) will be treated as a declaration of war against the whole of Europe & USA, a promise to protect Ukraine's sovereignty as if it were our own.
I assume beyond Donetsk and Luhansk too, unless you're retro-declaring war immediately, or assuming that those were put down spontaneously during your coronation.

- Deploy (with Ukraine's permission of course) armed forces inside Ukraine, to defend it from attack.
Permission?  By assumption, you're god-emperor of Ukraine!  (Ireland sends cheese in humble tribute.  Grass-fed!  Ish.  The UK wonders aloud, "is this the Brexit we voted for?")

- Demand from Russia that either Russia return Crimea to Ukraine, or atleast offer monetary compensation for its crime in annexing Crimea. If it doesn't, more sanctions on Russia, and confiscation of Russian state property abroad, as well as the confiscation of the property of Kremlin-aligned oligarchs, in the united states and europe.
"How much for just the peninsula," to paraphrase John M. Ford.  Are we assessing this as cash-value of the region, regardless of the wishes of the inhabitants, or more by way of a sort of "fine" for violating international law?  Talking of which...

- Arm Ukraine and every other Eastern European nation with a couple nuclear weapons each, so that they can defend themselves if Russia attacks them.
In order lawfully not to exceed even your divine-rulerly powers, missing step here of either "all concerned give three months' notice of withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty", or else if you go with the Nato legal theory on this, "declare a state of general war".  (Probably also speed-acceding Ukraine to Nato, but that kinda implicit in what you set out anyway.)

General Comments / Re: coronavirus
« on: January 25, 2022, 08:46:16 PM »
The one thing we really don't know, is the delayed after effects of covid.

We already know there's long-term effects by way of permanent lung and other organ damage, as well as often-severe ME/CFS-like effects.  But those aren't "delayed" as such, and there's no evidence of them being associated with vaccination.  It's not impossible there might be delayed-action immune-response or auto-immune, which could arrive from either prior infection or immunisation -- hard to see a mechanism that'd be the case with one, but not the other, in either direction.  With the varicella-like dormancy, I don't think that's been observed in any coronavirus.  In that case it could in theory happen with live virus -- as it might be present in very small amounts which then replicates -- but not with non-replicating mRNA, even if suddenly mysteriously immortal.

Show me the people/person who know/s more about my body, about my reaction to medicine, how I handle being sick in general, how I handle being sick from the flu, how I handled being sick from covid (twice), my health, my age, my family genes, my daily life, my nightly life.
Call to the stand, anyone with a medical or biology degree.  Rebuttable with (extraordinary!) proof your biology if that of an entirely different species, as opposed to the one we have all the scientific evidence about.

He could, if "He" were speaking in what some people like to call "metaphorical" terms, or "honest hyperbole".  Or what the Cockneys in another bit of alliteration prefer to call "porky pies".

General Comments / Re: New trans laws
« on: January 25, 2022, 08:22:07 PM »
Maybe they'll make a RadFem out of you yet.  (Or make fascists out of themselves, one does occasionally wonder.)

General Comments / Re: coronavirus
« on: January 25, 2022, 07:13:25 PM »
It is a slightly different technology in that instead of the antigen source being injected, the body manufactures the antigen in the cell. Since COVID-19 is an RNA virus it is doing the same thing the virus does when it enters your cells.
A somewhat similar thing -- key differences being that it's not making the whole virus, just the spike protein, and isn't replicating.  Whereas the virus makes your cells make whole new virus envelopes, and hijackes the cellular machinery to make more viral RNA, then reassembles the whole thing to spread new virions.

It's worth belabouring the distinction as some antivaxers, whether out of sheer confusion or premeditated disinformation, are very keen to blur it.  The vaccinated are to be shunned due to "potential transmission or shedding onto others", as that infamous Florida (where else!) school put it.  Mind you, some "traditional" vaccines do actually work that way.

What do you think, the contents of the jab are going to lurk around in your body and.... do what exactly?
If they were, of course, their presence could be tested for.  Testing actually demonstrates the opposite, of course.  So any specific theories on these lines are pretty much going to have to be of the "vast conspiracy involving every government, pharma company, and medical researcher" sort, rather than the "they might all be wrong" sort.

I could see wondering what effects we might see six months in, or nine months in, to mass distribution.
Well, they wondered that six or nine months ago.  Now they've had time to come up with other talking points, and now they need them.  Some people have gone seamlessly from "it's too soon, they're not tested enough!" to "they're outdated!"

Its like saying "I decide for myself whether a seatbelt is a good idea, only I can decide!" Nope, we objectively know that both seatbelts and vaccines save lives. Click it or ticket. Sometimes yeah, we're going to erode your freedom to keep you alive.
It's a bit more like, I decide for myself whether to obey the road-traffic laws that're there to keep me from killing other people on the road.  Like which side of the road, stop signs, speed limits, vehicle roadworthiness, etc.  Aside from possibly killing your fellow vehicle occupants if you're a rear-seat passenger, seatbelt laws are way more of a "nanny-state tyranny!" provision, designed very largely to keep dumb and reckless people from killing or seriously injuring themselves than those are.

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 25, 2022, 06:28:08 PM »
After a sustained period of hand-wringing and telling other people what they should be doing, the political class here has rather abruptly run out of all rhetorical road when Russia announced a naval exercise in the Irish maritime EEZ.
Apparently there's a response to this in train.  Someone has decided to...  sail out to the exercise area in their yacht (yes, their yacht) and to...  hold up a sign telling them to please leave.  I shizzle ye not.

A very apt argument. Any conception of hard free will has to incorporate the option to pick poorly, and the consequent repercussions of that. No suffering means no choice, means no free will, means no loving relationship (I'm talking in Christian terms strictly). Therefore any conception of the universe as ideal, which includes free will, must necessarily value choice over things 'being nice'.
How did we suddenly get to "must value"?  I thought the claim was about what was even cosmologically possible?

But these Plato-themed discussions are entirely cart-before-the-horse.  "Ah, souls!" as the old student rag-mag joke goes.  Maybe we should study the universe as it is -- or at least, as it consistently appears to be -- rather than making vitalist assumptions and working backwards from there.

General Comments / Re: New trans laws
« on: January 25, 2022, 05:15:31 PM »
TERFs hahahahaha I told you so

You realize just how transparently obvious it is that if trans people instantly disappeared from the planet -- or your therapist successfully carried out some sort of successful conversion therapy on you specific to your transphobia, as opposed to your other issues -- you'd be equally enraged at this person for their "sexist" leftist progressive (cis-)male-exclusion?

Consciousness could never exist in a a universe without suffering
An omnipotent G_d could have created a world without suffering but then we or G_d would never notice as their would be no experience of we or I or G_d
You can't even have individuality without suffering?  That's a tad bleak.

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 25, 2022, 05:03:53 PM »
Just as an example of the information I am utterly lacking is what the actual situation is with NATO (U.S.) bases in Eastern Europe. Like, what are they doing, when were they installed, what is their ostensible purpose, etc. I would need to know this in order to evaluate Putin's complaints. It's entirely within the realm of possibiliy that they are peacekeeping bases and Putin doesn't like that they protect countries he'd like to threaten.
Purpose?  That's necessarily rather fuzzy, isn't it?

When they were installed is (relatively) easy enough, and likewise what troops are deployed when.  You might need to dig slightly deeper than the Western press, and into the upper levels of defence policy wonkery, though that's not a hard-and-fast distinction either.  But they're not "USA (doing business as Nato, Inc)", it is actually a multinational organisation, y'know.  Poland might have a US-led brigade forward-deployed there one year, and then an entirely different one from various other countries the next cycle, possibly with a different US battlegroup in another country by then.

They're definitely not peacekeepers, it's a mutual defence body.  By treaty it's explicitly defensive: "Article 5 provides that if a NATO Ally is the victim of an armed attack, each and every other member of the Alliance will consider this act of violence as an armed attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the Ally attacked."  OTOH, a jaded Russian eye is going to look at said "defensive alliance", and see a certain family resemblance to the participants in assorted "coalitions of the willing".

It's also within the realm of possibility that their main purpose to exist is to threaten Russia just on principle, flaring up tensions to justify large military expenditures in the Eastern Bloc area.
If you recall the Tony Soprano-like rhetoric from a certain Former Administration, most of the members don't even meet Nato's own guideline on spending.  (Not that contrary to that Fa--  fine fellow, that's "spending", not "protection money owed to the US", of course.)  Whether you consider that as "large" or not may also vary.  Granting that Poland and the Baltic States all do -- not entirely coincidentally you might think.  I was a little surprised to learn that the biggest spender (proportionate to GDP, which is how the guideline is framed) is actually not the US but Greece.  While Turkey, which has a huge standing army, is significantly below the 2%.  (Traditionally of course their main interest is in possible war with each other, so this almost feels like it should be in a separate column.)

For instance, is Russia potentially on the defensive in some respects, having to take action to prevent others seizing necessary assets of theirs, or is it the reverse, that they are greedily looking at assets they would like.
Greed and necessity are rather difficult to objectively tell apart.  "We want peace, but we need to achieve it from a position of strength!" -- every warmonger, since always.  Is Russia entitled to a warm-water port?  To have contiguous access to all its own territory?  To militarily protect the interests of all its citizens?  To ensure self-determination of areas with Russian majorities?  Russian sentiments on such matters and international law don't necessarily coincide -- surprise-surprise.  (Not something unique to Russia, of course, but there are degrees...)

Are old official (or unofficial) bargains made in the late 80's being broken by either side? Putin has claimed many times that the agreement the USSR made with the West when it gave up has been breached by NATO.
No (and yes).  Respectively.  Though they were more related to the reunification of Germany, than to the breakup of the USSR, which was far more of a self-inflicted...  injury?  Improvement?  Process?  Let's just just "thing", I guess.  James Baker and Helmut Kohl gave "assurances" to Gorbachev, but they weren't affirmed by Bush or by the Nato structure, so not really binding even at the time.  And definitely not in any treaty, so absolutely not binding on future Western governments -- much less the Eastern European ones, more to the point.  But this is a huge part of the narrative in Russia -- I'd say "understandably", clearly others feel that only sentences using every possible part of speech, conjugation and declension of the word "Hitler" can suffice -- and very clearly not some personal quirk of Putin.  If anyone, pin the start of in on Boris Yeltsin...  pretty much the person who did break up the USSR, if we're going to ascribe it to just a single individual.

Putin may want to bring back the good old days but the good old days methods don't work, But then learning from History is for losers   
A popular evaluation of Putin is that he's a great tactician, but a terrible strategist.  But that's also related to the question of whether he's acting in his own interests, or of his country's.

An omnipotent god creating a universe with so much suffering is a toxic idea -- [...]
It's an eternal mystery and/or we're sent here to be tested for some ineffable purpose...  by a tri-omni, who by definition can have no possible need to, benefit from, or purpose in doing so!

The biggest mystery to me is what the distinction between theodicy and regular-variety idiocy is.  But apparently it still keeps Divinity students in work, so economic modelling would suggest it'll continue, somehow.

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 25, 2022, 03:51:11 PM »
We are woke and meek, broke and weak.
So, current US policy -- nay, entire society! -- is terrible and wrong.  Cherry post situation normal.  But same question to you:  if you were US president, what would you do be doing?  Or even for that matter, if you were Agent Smith, and able to have a super-majority of (young, able-bodied, etc) mini-cherries acting exactly as you'd wish, what'd (all y'all) you do?

You needn't stint on telling the Europeans what we should be about.  L-wd knows there's plenty of blame to go around there.  The Irish reaction is especially darkly hilarious.  After a sustained period of hand-wringing and telling other people what they should be doing, the political class here has rather abruptly run out of all rhetorical road when Russia announced a naval exercise in the Irish maritime EEZ.  At which point the "nothing to do with us, we're neutral, someone else do something!" line completely explodes over everyone's face.  That means Ireland is the only party able to do anything about it...  and won't be doing anything about it.  Probably not even monitoring it, due to lack of capacity, and surfeit of general embarrassment.  "Hi, massive Russian fleet?  This is the LÉ Tiny Tiddler Patrol Boat...  would you like us to make you an nice cuppan tae, maybe?"

General Comments / Re: coronavirus
« on: January 25, 2022, 03:37:13 PM »
This isn't a vaccine in the way other vacicnes are.  It's different.  I've tried to argue that it isn't actually a vaccine, but was shouted down with a terrible jet fuel analogy.  Regardless, comparing this vaccine to other vaccines isn't really smart.  I hope to God there are no long term effects.  But I think it's a possibility.
I was biting my lip hard not to bring that discussion up.  Presumably by "this" vaccine you mean one of the mRNA ones.  Firstly, those aren't the only ones in existence, or even approved in the US.  I've certainly never heard of a vaccine mandate that says no, you can't just have a couple of belts of J&J, you have to have the dangerously experimental Windows-sploit gene-therapy non-vaccines.  There might even be nasal or oral ones developed in relatively short order (US approval I won't even speculate as to).  Secondly, it's a vaccine.  There are different categories of vaccine.  Originally you just got deliberately infected with an entirely different disease, sucked up the consequences of that, and gained collateral immunity from that.  Then the tech extended to dead virus vaccines, and to "passaged" virus.  Now we also have subunit vaccines, recombinant subunit, viral vector, and mRNA ones.  But they all work fundamentally the same way:  expose you to the antigens other than by giving you the full-blown disease, immune response, profit.

So lastly, how do they plausibly differ from "trad" vaccines (whichever of those you're describing as "trad" and which not) in terms of possible side-effects.  These could be short-term reactions to the vaccination event itself (anaphylactic shock, etc), medium-term consequences of the immune response (as also happens in the disease, generally much more seriously -- cytokine release syndrome and the like) or...  well, what?  The active mRNA component (which is the supposed basis for the differential anxiety) is verifiably eliminated from the subject's body in a matter of days.  So how can it possibly have a "too soon to say!" effects years or decades later?  Homeopathic molecular memory?  Nano camo gear?  Not only is the evidence against there being such effects, there's basic logic against it, too.

Well I've never said getting it deliberately was a good idea.  I wouldn't do that, and I wouldn't ever recommend anyone doing that.  But I've had it twice now.  Once in July of 2020 and then again just now through the holidays.
You are Novak Đoković, and we claim our $20 prize!  I dunno which "mandates" you might personally be affected by, but as I said to ScottF upthread, the ones I've actually seen any detail on and that were actually in effect anywhere, you'd be good to go for six months after confirmed infection.  If you're being given governmental grief on that sort of timescale, I have a degree of sympathy.

The distinction between getting it deliberately, and refusing vaccination and resigning yourself to getting it, seems fairly moot for most practical purposes.  If anything the first would be preferable for everyone else, if it were done in a way that could be isolated to those eagerly consenting to participate.  More power to 'em!  Sadly only practical for those with the means to organise their own tennis tournaments, and such like, so please don't construe this as an actual suggestion.

It's not calculus, but I'm a relatively smart person, and I know my body and all the other factors about me that allow me to make a intelligent decision.
But the only relevant such factor you've actually introduced into this discussion is 'and maybe there's a huge unknown-unknown risk that would utterly overturn the actual data as known to current best medical science, entirely topsy-turvy'.  Which is, to coin a phrase, "100% speculation".

"I" get to make "my" choice on this, cause it's about "me".  No one else in the world is in a better position of knowledge or authority to do it.
Authority, sure; knowledge, frankly no.

Maybe.  I'm not 100% against an employer telling it's employees they have to get the shot, or the government telling the military they have to get the shot.  I AM against the government telling the whole state, or the whole country they have to.  Or creating enough pressure to get it, (like arresting people at restaurants because they don't have the shot, or preventing people from going shopping cause they don't have papers) or disincentives NOT to get it. (Like I linked above to NJ governor Murphy did.)   That's tyranny.
No, what that is, is a rolling maul of moving goalposts, conflation, and hyperbole.

Going to a restaurant isn't an inalienable human right.  Does the government -- by whatever mechanism your local polity chooses for deciding to implement such things, in terms of which branch and level has that competence -- have the right and authority to impose quarantine measures?  Plainly.  Therefore to describe far lesser public-health measures as "tyranny" is just over-excitable silliness.

General Comments / Re: Putin... Why?
« on: January 25, 2022, 01:08:44 PM »
Threats of economic sanction have historically been not good enough, and right now even the US is already exempting energy from sanction threats which is the biggest lever.
In much the same way that the entire 45th US presidency makes great sense as a say to transfer funds from US taxpayers by way of a series of golf-club hotel-room rentals, the whole energy thing just seems like a massive win-win-win for Putin.  Antics on Ukraine's border drives gas prices up, Russia makes a ton of money.  Sanctions on the same gas would cause a huuuuge price spike...  and we'd expect them to be universally observed, and watertight?  Just doesn't sound remotely practically or politically workable to me.  Depending on exactly how bad things yet, which as I say is entirely opaque to me.  Best of luck to the rest of of you mystics!

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