History

I have a gradually strengthening opinion that the best indicator that someone has absorbed the most important lessons of history is a great reduction of the frequency of asking “How could these people have been so stupid?” History is most learned when one grasps the conditions, forces, and influences that cause people and groups of people to take actions and support causes and leaders they have come to evaluate as reasonable that to one’s local context appears ridiculous. The recognition of these patterns during one’s life is history’s most valuable takeaway.

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Three Razors for Efficient Filler and Bullshit Removal

“We have robust networks of strategic assets that we own or have contractual access to, which give us greater flexibility and speed to reliably deliver widespread logistical solutions.” —Enron Annual Report a year before Enron filed for bankruptcy

A lot of people say a lot of words. Unfortunately, many people are often not conveying any substance through those words, often due to failure in communication, but sometimes on purpose, where the only reason for those words are to convince the audience of an elevated status of professionalism, morality, or other desirable trait, or to cherry-pick parts of an event to interpret in a desired light. Following is a means to filter speech to cut to actual substance in statements. In the extreme case, applying them will reveal that someone is saying nothing at all, merely flapping their lips.

When someone makes a statement for which a peer would just not voluntarily claim the opposite, no statement was actually made.

All such a person has said is what people knew someone in that position would’ve said in regards to the issue anyway.

When people make political or motivational speeches, they say many things for which they would take a certain side regardless what they actually thought; if they said that it would ruin their career or their standing, or work against their purpose. When this happens, you can’t tell whether they’re saying the such because they genuinely believe it or because they’re saying it to protect their position. The more unokay or outlandish the opposite statement is considered, the more indistinguishable the motivation for the statement is, and correspondingly the less predictable what action a person would really take or encourage is when it comes their turn to interact with the subject at hand with actions instead of words.

Here are some examples of this sort of empty statement:

We seek to carry out this operation with minimal collateral damage.

Follow your dreams; follow your passion.

We are aiming for the state of the art in technological infrastructure.

The government has no right to disallow a woman from having an abortion. (when said by a Democratic US politician)

The government has no right to require background checks on gun sales. (when said by a Republican US politician)

Note that the last two statements would not at all be empty statements if said by Republican and Democratic politicians, respectively; it would probably significantly hurt their political careers as a member of their party to claim the opposite. Thus if they did in fact make the opposite statement, then they are making a significant statement, as they apparently think the risk to their career is worth making the statement (ditto if rather than them making the opposite statement, it’s someone from across the aisle making the original statement).

The second statement among the five examples is empty contingent on the fact that the currently predominant advice to preach is to follow one’s dreams and passions. (And thus, “don’t follow your passion” is a substantial statement, and has been the core idea of several opinion articles one could find in the press.) If over time the voices of society shift such that the standard is to tell people to not follow their dreams and passions, then which statement is the empty statement could change.

In the previous US democratic presidential primary debates, when Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley endorsed a $15/hour minimum wage, but Hillary Clinton explicitly endorsed a $12/hour minimum wage in contrast to Sanders and O’Malley, Clinton was arguably making a larger statement than Sanders and O’Malley. She gave the number that is not the number most commonly heard chanted by the democratic crowd, and in doing so, she is hinting towards having reason to believe a $15/hour minimum wage is not a sound choice for the country.

Elsewhere in those debates, when Sanders claimed a differing opinion from Clinton regarding the acceptability of Henry Kissinger’s choices, Sanders was making a substantial statement, and if Clinton proceeded to defend her endorsement of Kissinger’s ideas, she would’ve also been making a substantial statement, since the goodness of Kissinger’s legacy is still a matter with substantial backing of both sides.

One doesn’t need to be able to back up one’s statement upon claiming what the crowd utters. One likely will need to when they claim against the crowd. (Or at least, they’ll need to be bluffing on an ability to back up their statement. See: conspiracy theories.)

Some people and organizations only ever say non-statements, or get quite close to that. When they do, it is important to remember that even though they may sound nice and sophisticated, you really have learned nothing about them, and you actually have no idea what they really do, so you should stay away from them.

It’s important to remember that even though pathological spewers of non-statements are usually at least in part at fault for wasting others’ time and attention, there is a substantial contribution of societal norm. An uptick in empty statements reflects a significant monolithification of society, and that people are making fewer bold claims because too much of society supports a certain idea, which usually means a substantial amount of society is providing support without awareness of the true background on context of an idea.

Here’s two similar razors with which to consider proclamations:

Someone who consistently reports on an entity taking an action and consistently does not report on that entity taking the opposite action prioritizes depicting the entity in a certain light over conveying the facts.

If the same claim would have been made regardless of the outcome of an event, there was no point in associating the claim with the event, and the real reason the claim was made was the likely effect of the association in the mind of the reader.

Cards Against Humanity: Solutions

You may be wondering why I’m compiling solutions for a game with such a high general valuation of raw entertainment over strategy. I’ve actually found that my enjoyment of this game has started to significantly decrease, and that I really no longer find Cards Against Humanity a worthwhile use of fun time, so I’m just cutting to the chase and looking through all the cards to see what’s the most this game has to offer. Some of these pairings are answers or slight tweaks I’ve seen played in games I’ve been in. The following is not a complete set of “solutions”, in that it exhausts neither the set of black cards nor the set of white cards.

Obviously, if you still enjoy the thrill of Cards Against Humanity, and you consider much of the thrill to be in the shock value of answers, you may want to hold off on reading the rest of the page.

Even more obviously, if you find the game of Cards Against Humanity to be too offensive to watch, you shouldn’t read the rest of this post either.

A recent laboratory study shows that undergraduates have 50% less sex after being exposed to a fetus.
A remarkable new study has shown that chimps have evolved their own primitive version of Auschwitz.
A romantic, candlelit dinner would be incomplete without a PowerPoint presentation.
Amputees. High five, bro.
And the Academy Award for silence goes to a mime having a stroke.
Before I run for president, I must destroy all evidence of my involvement with destroying the evidence.
Charades was ruined for me forever when my mom had to act out an Oedipus complex.
Coat-hanger abortions: kid-tested, mother-approved.
Dear Sir or Madam, We regret to inform you that the Office of Crippling Debt has denied your request for a reason not to commit suicide.
For my next trick, I will pull the hardworking Mexican out of America.
Having trouble with existing? Try oncoming traffic.
Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Open the doors and there is pedophiles.
Honey, Mommy and Daddy love you very much. But apparently Mommy loves child support payments more than she loves Daddy.
I am become the dentist, destroyer of a mopey zoo lion.
I drink to forget alcoholism.
I spent my whole life working toward my first kill, only to have it ruined by John Wilkes Booth.
If you can’t handle the violation of our most basic human rights, you’d better stay away from Cards Against Humanity.
I learned the hard way that you can’t cheer up a grieving friend with giving the tumor a cutesy name.
If God didn’t want us to enjoy eating all of the cookies before the AIDS bake-sale, he wouldn’t have given us AIDS.
In a world ravaged by foreskin, our only solace is September 11, 2001.
Instead of coal, Santa now gives the bad children teenage pregnancy.
Life for American Indians was forever changed when the White Man introduced them to smallpox blankets.
Lifetime® presents assless chaps, the story of kids with ass cancer.
My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of obesity.
Not giving a shit about the Third World + Pretending to care = The American Dream.
Shaft is a slippery slope that leads to balls.
Step 1: Black people. Step 2: Agriculture. Step 3: Profit.
Sunshine and rainbows would be woefully incomplete without the Great Depression.
That’s right, I killed geese. How, you ask? A murder most foul.
The class field trip was completely ruined by this year’s mass shooting.
The most controversial game at PAX this year is an 8-bit indie platformer about a fully-dressed female videogame character.
This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but with teaching a robot to love.
This is your captain speaking. Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for 72 virgins.
This month’s Cosmo: “Spice up your sex life by bringing children on leashes into the bedroom.”
TSA guidelines now prohibit survivor’s guilt on airplanes.
What am I giving up for Lent? Altar boys. 
What brought the orgy to a grinding halt? Child Protective Services.
What did the US airdrop to the children of Afghanistan? Dying. 
What gives me uncontrollable gas? Poorly-timed Holocaust jokes.
What never fails to liven up the party? An M16 assault rifle.
What really brings out the child in me? A miscarriage.
What would grandma find disturbing, yet oddly charming? Grandpa’s ashes.
What’s fun until it gets weird? A bunch of idiots playing a card game instead of interacting like normal humans.
When all else fails, I can always masturbate to dead parents.
When I was a kid, we used to play Cowboys and Reverse cowgirl.
When I was tripping on acid, fingering turned into finger painting.
When you get right down to it, an unhinged ferris wheel rolling toward the sea is just a windmill full of corpses.
With enough time and pressure, an ether-soaked rag will turn into some god-damn peace and quiet.

Pokémon Go Theme Gym Ideas

What’re the themes themselves? That’s for you to figure out.

Bellossom, Slowking, Politoed, Scizor, Porygon2, Steelix

Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan, Marill, Wobbuffet, Chimecho, Sudowoodo

Rhydon, Golem, Omastar, Kabutops, Swampert, Relicanth

Blastoise, Aggron, Shuckle, Jolteon, Claydol, Onix

Solrock, Lunatone, Zangoose, Seviper, Illumise, Volbeat

Pokémon Go: a 0xGG Journey to Level 40 Twice Over

Still zero money spent. Still zero third-party apps. Still 0xGG.

0. Contents [topp]

0. Contents [topp]
1. Introduction and General Statistics [ints]
1a. Preface [egbd]
1b. Level 40 Again [eity]
1c. General Statistics [gens]
2. Gym Statistics [dazz]
2a. Gold Gym Timeline [psyc]
2b. Stats per Gym [hype]
3. Notes [gbdf]
3a. Maintenance of Established Goals and Play Style [zer0]
3b. Thoughts on the Current Gym Coin Reward System [$$$$]
3c. MILOTIC IS SO BEAUTIFULLLLLLLLL [^_/~]
3d. Raid Optimization [3553]
3e. Espeon [4eon]
3f. Cars [4to5]
3g. Squirtle Community Day at Tufts University [shvl]
3h. Screenshots of Notable and Funny Moments [pics]
4. Thoughts on New Gameplay Elements [argh]
4a. Intricacies and Curiosities in Weather [boom]
4b. Nothing Good About It: Utterly Perverting the Concept of Friendship [xxxp]
4c. Devaluation of Rarity [unon]
5. Other Statistics [##%%]
5a. Bag Contents [brry]
5b. Most Represented Pokémon Species by Total CP [++cp]
5c. Catch Rates [%cch]

1. Introduction and General Statistics [ints]

1a. Preface [egbd]

Due to a variety of factors, this is a ridiculously long post, and also took me a ridiculously long time to write (even more the latter, due to factors like getting sick over the course of writing this post). In fact, while writing this post, I’ve earned another over 4.4 million XP above two Level 40s worth of XP, or in other words, almost as much as where I’d make the next post given my pattern (every 5 million XP) so far.

IMG_3409

As such, I will not make a 45 million XP update, and I might not even make a 50 million XP update. If I decide to opt out of the latter, see you again at Level 40 times 3, at 60 million XP.

Like my Level 40 post, this post will contain not only the usual deluge of tables and charts, but also plenty of thoughts and opinions on the game (sections 3 and 4).

Use the bracketed entities in section headers with Ctrl+f to quickly navigate to the section you wish to read.

1b. Level 40 Again [eity]

At 1858 on 09-19 (2 minutes before ESP worksession!), I reached 40000000 XP, via spinning the PokéStop for the Alchemist at MIT gym, just southeast of the MIT SIPB PokéStop, the first Stop I spun and the Stop that took me to Level 40. Since Level 40 comes at 20000000 XP, I’ve now accumulated two Level 40 equivalents in XP.

Since that was Day 754 of me playing Pokémon Go, and I reached Level 40 on Day 543, the second 20 million XP took me 211 days.

Here’s a chart of XP over time.

main

1c. General Statistics [gens]

Here’s a table of general statistics at 12 snapshots in time so far.

general_table

Here’s a comparison of the change in quantity of these statistics over the second 20 million XP versus over the first 20 million XP, both in total and normalized per day. Note that Berries Fed at Gyms, Hours Defended at Gyms, Raids Won, and Legendary Raids Won are statistics not available for increasing for much of the timespan of the first 20 million XP.

general_comparison_table

Here’s this data as a couple of charts.

general_chart_1

general_chart_2

Here’s a table of total catches per type at these snapshots.

type_table

Here’s that as a chart.

type_distr_chart

Upon level up, all of my Pokémon were fully healed. My six strongest by CP:

Kyogre (CP 3760)
Groudon (CP 3696)
Slaking (CP 3682)
Tyranitar (CP 3670)
Mewtwo (CP 3622)
Ho-Oh (CP 3613)

Continue reading “Pokémon Go: a 0xGG Journey to Level 40 Twice Over”