Brit living in Belgium and earning an income from building interfaces. Interestes include science, science fiction, technology, and European news and politics
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Oh My Fucking God, Get the Fucking Vaccine Already, You Fucking Fucks

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Hi, if you are reading this essay then congratulations, you are still alive. And if you are alive, then you have either gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, or you still have the opportunity to get the vaccine against COVID-19. And holy fuck, if you aren’t fucking vaccinated against COVID-19, then you need to get fucking vaccinated right now. I mean, what the fuck? Fuck you. Get vaccinated. Fuck.

The fucking vaccine will not make you magnetic. Are you fucking kidding me? It just fucking won’t. That’s not even a fucking thing, and that lady who tried to pretend the vaccine made her fucking magnetic looked like a real fucking fuckwad and a fucking idiot, so get fucking vaccinated. Jesus. Fuck.

The vaccine also doesn’t have a fucking 5G chip in it. What the fuck do you think a fucking 5G chip is, fucknuts? You think it’s like some invisible nanotechnology they can suspend in a liquid and then just put in your fucking blood and then it what, exactly? Fucking floats around in your body going on Instagram and telling the government you went to the grocery store? No one fucking cares where you go, you absolute fucking fuck-barf. Fuck off with that. Fuck.

Oh, you’re afraid of fucking side effects? Fuck you. You know what has fucking side effects? Fucking aspirin, fucking Tylenol. You could be fucking allergic to pineapple, you fucking fuckwit. Everything has side effects. You’re being a big fucking baby with a huge diaper full of fucking diarrhea, complaining about maybe feeling slightly tired for a day or two while your asymptomatic COVID case you get and pass to some innocent fucking kid could wind up killing them or someone else. Fuck you, you fucking selfish fucking shit-banana, you unredeemable ass-caterpillar, you fucking fuck-knob with two fucks for eyes and a literal poop where your heart should be. You want a two-month-old to wind up on a fucking ventilator instead of you, a fucking adult, getting a fucking sore arm for a day? What are you, a pitcher for the Yankees? A fucking concert pianist? An arm model? Get the fuck out of here! Fuck you. Get vaccinated. Fuck. Fuck you!

You think vaccines don’t fucking work? Oh, fuck off into the trash, you attention-seeking fuckworm-faced shitbutt. This isn’t even a point worth discussing, you fuck-o-rama fuck-stival of ignorance. Vaccines got rid of smallpox and polio and all the other disgusting diseases that used to kill off little fucks like you en masse. Your relatives got fucking vaccinated and let you live, and now here you are signing up to be killed by a fucking disease against which there is a ninety-nine-percent effective vaccine. You fucking moron. Go in the fucking ocean and fuck a piranha. Fuck. Fuck that. Fuck you. Get vaccinated.

Oh, you say you have a genuine allergy or medical condition that prevents you from receiving a fucking vaccine? That’s fine. I’m clearly not talking to you. I fucking love you. Fuck.

Look, if you have been forwarded this essay from a friend or loved one, then there are two possibilities. Either you are a normal, regular, sensible fucking person like me who got fucking vaccinated at the first possible moment, and this essay channels all your fucking rage and sadness and is therefore cathartic OR, and I really hope this isn’t the fucking case, you AREN’T fucking vaccinated, and someone sent it to you because you fucking fucking fuck, you need to get fucking vaccinated. And rather than being fucking offended that someone is trying yet again to get you to take the fucking vaccine, you should understand that someone fucking loves you enough to try one last motherfucking time to get you to take the fucking vaccine before you fuck off to heaven, or hell, or some in-between place that’s just like a fucking mall or something where everything is free, including and especially the soft pretzels. So, congratulations! There is ONE person remaining in your life who wants to fucking save you from drowning in your own fucking lungs, you fucking fuckshit fuckdick, so for god’s sake, get your fucking ass out of your chair, go to the fucking pharmacy, and get a fucking vaccine, you absolute conscienceless fucking fuck fuck fuck. Get it. Get the fucking vaccine. Fuck you. Fuck fuck fuck. Fuck. Fuck you. Fuck!

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ScottInPDX
21 days ago
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It's like they've been listening to my brain.
Portland, Oregon, USA, Earth
pdp68
21 days ago
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Belgium
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Joe Biden rounds off a successful month by shooting John Wick’s dog

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Pleased at the resounding policy successes in the latest month of his presidency, Joe Biden has decided to round off his run of brilliantly organised ideas by wasting the pet dog of local retiree John Wick.
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pdp68
27 days ago
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On inappropriate reactions to COVID19

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(This is a short expansion of a twitter stream-of-consciousness I horked up yesterday.)

The error almost everyone makes about COVID19 is to think of it as a virus that infects and kills people: but it's not.

COVID19 infects human (and a few other mammalian species—mink, deer) cells: it doesn't recognize or directly interact with the superorganisms made of those cells.

Defiance—a common human social response to a personal threat—is as inappropriate and pointless as it would be if the threat in question was a hurricane or an earthquake.

And yet, the news media are saturated every day by shrieks of defiance directed at the "enemy" (as if a complex chemical has a personality and can be deterred). The same rhetoric comes from politicians (notably authoritarian ones: it's easier to recognize as a shortcoming in those of other countries where the observer has some psychological distance from the discourse), pundits (paid to opine at length in newspapers and on TV), and ordinary folks who are remixing and repeating the message they're absorbing from the zeitgeist.

Why is this important?

Well, all our dysfunctional responses to COVID19 arise because we mistake it for an attack on people, rather than an attack on invisibly small blobs of biochemistry.

Trying to defeat COVID19 by defending boundaries—whether they're between people, or groups of people, or nations of people—is pointless.

The only way to defeat it is to globally defeat it at the cellular level. None of us are safe until all of us are vaccinated, world-wide.

Which is why I get angry when I read about governments holding back vaccine doses for research, or refusing to waive licensing fees for poorer countries. The virus has no personality and no intent towards you. The virus merely replicated and destroys human cells. Yours, mine, anybody's. The virus doesn't care about your politics or your business model or how office closures are hitting your rental income. It will simply kill you, unless you vaccinate almost everybody on the planet.

Here in the UK, the USA, and elsewhere in the developed world, our leaders are acting as if the plague is almost over and we can go back to normal once we hit herd immunity levels of vaccination in our own countries. But the foolishness of this idea will become glaringly obvious in a few years when it allows a fourth SARS family pandemic to emerge. Unvaccinated heaps of living cells (be they human or deer cells) are prolific breeding grounds for SARS-NCoV2, the mutation rate is approximately proportional to the number of virus particles in existence, and the probability of a new variant emerging rises as that number increases. Even after we, personally, are vaccinated, the threat will remain. This isn't a war, where there's an enemy who can be coerced into signing articles of surrender.

So where does the dysfunctional defiant/oppositional posturing behaviour come from—the ridiculous insistence on not wearing masks because it shows fear in the face of the virus (which has neither a face nor a nervous system with which to experience emotions, or indeed any mechanism for interacting at a human level)?

Philosopher Daniel Dennett explains the origins of animistic religions in terms of the intentional stance, a level of abstraction in which we view the behaviour of a person, animal, or natural phenomena by ascribing intent to them. As folk psychology this works pretty well for human beings and reasonably well for animals, but it breaks down for natural phenomena. Applying the intentional stance to lightning suggests there might be an angry god throwing thunderbolts at people who annoy him: it doesn't tell us anything useful about electricity, and it only tenuously endorses not standing under tall trees in a thunderstorm.

I think the widespread tendency to anthropomorphize COVID19, leading to defiant behaviour (however dysfunctional), emerges from a widespread misapplication of the intentional stance to natural phenomena—the same cognitive root as religious belief. ("Something happens/exists, therefore someone must have done/made it.") People construct supernatural explanations for observed phenomena, and COVID19 is an observable phenomenon, so we get propitiatory or defiant/adversarial responses, not rational ones.

And in the case of COVID19, defiance is as deadly as climbing to the top of the tallest hill and shaking your fist at the clouds in a lightning storm.

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pdp68
47 days ago
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Footballers can say it, but for England’s politicians, ‘sorry’ really is the hardest word | Marina Hyde

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The emotional maturity of the Euro 2020 players is in stark contrast to that of the prime minister and government

These days English people expect more from our football team than our government. Which is a funny old switcheroo, when you think about it. My apologies to the other home nations for making the “we” of this particular article the English – but All This is very much an English problem, and there’s no point kidding ourselves about that.

England Expects That Every Footballer Will Do His Duty. For the players, faultless competence is that duty, and – if it is not delivered – public apologies and contrition are in order from those who failed. And very promptly indeed. It’s not like we kick it down the road to a public inquiry that reports in two tournaments’ time. Since Sunday night, despite many being deluged by racist abuse, we have seen England stars break cover to apologise for their mistakes, for letting fans down, for not being quite enough in the moment.

Related: Manchester shows support for Marcus Rashford: ‘It’s evolved into something special’

Marina Hyde is a Guardian columnist

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pdp68
75 days ago
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Florida Man sues Facebook, Twitter, YouTube for account ban

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Golf fan has opinions on America's First Amendment and Section 230

A Florida man held a press conference at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Wednesday to announce the filing of lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and corresponding executives Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai – who runs YouTube's parent company.…

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pdp68
81 days ago
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Well done, the Register, for managing to not name the septuagenarian golfing enthusiast who usually files stupid lawsuits in pursuit of media coverage.
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Why grumpy old men will save politics

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Maciej Kisilowski is an associate professor of law and strategy at Central European University.

The dramatic return to national politics of Donald Tusk, the former Polish prime minister and European Council president, adds to a growing worldwide trend: veteran insiders throwing their hats back in the ring to challenge right-wing authoritarians.

In addition to Tusk, who announced on Saturday that he would lead the charge against Poland’s Law and Justice Party, other recent examples include Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is taking on the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, and U.S. President Joe Biden, who ejected Donald Trump from the White House.

While each of these comebacks is woven into its distinct national context, there are some commonalities as to why these veteran politicians may be particularly well suited to overthrow right-wing rulers.

To begin with, leaders like Tusk, Lula and Biden are well positioned to puncture the “invincibility myth” that surrounds many right-wing populists. That aura of being unbeatable — and concomitant narrative about the democratic opposition’s incorrigible weakness — is a key part of an autocrat’s political strategy.

In countries like Hungary, Turkey and Russia, where right-wing regimes are entrenched, state apparatuses keep busy making sure the on-the-ground reality matches this narrative. Politicized judiciary and law enforcement, state-controlled media and the “mafia state” of regime-friendly business networks are all laser-focused on making the formation of a viable and unified opposition all but impossible.

So who better to break this vicious cycle of self-fulfilling inevitability than a former president, vice president or prime minister — all with the proven ability to win tough elections?

Moreover, elder statesmen could, paradoxically, be even more eager to take bold steps than their younger counterparts in the liberal camp. While younger leaders may inevitably be prone to weighing the risks to their political careers for multiple election cycles down the road, veterans benefit from an immediacy of focus, doing whatever it takes, here and now.

“We are entering the field to fight this evil,” Tusk bluntly announced in his Saturday address to his liberal Civic Platform party congress. The 75-year-old Lula, currently the frontrunner for next year’s presidential ballot in Brazil, struck a similar note of preparedness, stating, “I usually run 9 kilometers a day, Monday to Friday … I need to get my legs ready to fix this country’s problems.”

Putting such promises directly into practice, the early days of Biden’s presidency were marked by an immediate flurry of activity aimed at dismantling Trump’s policies. Add to that a stunningly ambitious $1.9-trillion stimulus bill and serious headway on a host of other decidedly progressive policy measures, and Biden proves that there may be more than just political rhetoric to these statements.

The bold return of these veteran insiders should be welcomed. Playing a long game in a dying democracy can be disastrously misguided. A quick comparative timeline of such democracies — Brazil (two and a half years since the autocratic takeover), the U.S. (four years, at the end of Trump’s presidency), Poland (five years), Hungary (11 years), Turkey (18 years), Russia (22 years) — shows that the realistic ability to oppose the ruling regime diminishes with every day that democrats wait for “a better moment.”

Which raises an important final point: The allure of veteran insiders is, in part, a sign of the weakness in the younger generation of liberal politicians, who have been heavily influenced by the success of politicians like former U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The trouble is that while the Obama-Trudeau-Macron archetype seems to work well in normal democratic politics, there is reason to believe it may be less productive during times of consolidating autocracy.

Take Poland, for example. Since PiS’s 2015 victory, the country saw three promising but ultimately unsuccessful attempts to mimic this political model: Robert Biedroń, the openly gay mayor of the mid-sized town of Słupsk was — like Obama — an aspirational “first” and a challenger to the conservative glass ceiling. Szymon Hołownia, a liberal Catholic TV star, had built a large following by using his high levels of social media savvy. And Rafał Trzaskowski, the telegenic mayor of Warsaw who narrowly lost to PiS’s Andrzej Duda in last year’s presidential election, presented himself as a bookish, Oxford-educated polyglot, embodying the Western aspirations of Poland’s progressive society.

One of the reasons these challenges didn’t succeed is because, to a large extent, they’re playing the authoritarians at their own game — offering voters a similarly heroic story, just on the progressive side. When it comes to dislodging authoritarians obsessively focused on their own narratives, it’s perhaps no surprise that more empathetic challengers will have better luck. This is especially true in the current political context, marked by the uncertainty and trauma of the pandemic. Politicians who don’t have to prove themselves can focus on the voters, their fears and their needs — which is why the ruling party in Poland should be very worried by Tusk’s return.



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pdp68
82 days ago
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