Sunday, September 17, 2017

How to Argue with Floating Tribes of Gravity Skeptics

Humans do a lot of wacky crap, and we argue with other humans about our wacky beliefs.

These arguments get pretty heated (“NO! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ARGUMENT WARMING!”) because people VOTE.  And how they vote can change the course of our societies and our planets.  And also, everybody else’s beliefs are pure hogwash.

(Buries face in hands) We’re all gonna die.

When I argue with people, a lot of my arguments hinge upon "Why doing X THING will be more EFFECTIVE at Z THING" instead of "These are the Actual Scientific Facts" or "Doesn't it anger you when (your group) LIES TO YOU?"

This is my argument because people’s BELIEFS are more powerful than FACTS.  I will talk about Science Deniers only briefly, because there are a whole lot of folks who believe most science, just not (whatever science they don’t believe).  Thankfully, there’s nobody on the planet who disbelieves gravity.
Oh, boy. Yes, there is. (Buries face in hands) We’re all gonna die.

There are Flat-Earthers, and Holocaust Deniers, and people who disbelieve a whole lot of things that shouldn’t really be disbelieved at this point in history.


The actual point is to provide you with some excellent writing about arguing.  Arguing should reveal and expound upon differing points of view, which theoretically results in a change in belief from one side or the other.  But that’s not what’s happening anymore.  Your racist / sexist / supremacist Uncle Lenny isn’t going to be persuaded by your hot argument EVEN IF YOU TYPE IN ALL CAPS AND INCREASE! THE! FONT! SIZE!

Because (are you ready for it?) Science tells us that facts don’t persuade people.

Here is a video that explains this.  
We like videos.  
Videos do not require reading.

Everything else good in this post comes via a link.  Behind each link is a texty texty article, which may require some reading.

An excerpt:
“A man with a conviction is a hard man to change,” Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schacter wrote in When Prophecy Fails, their 1957 book about this study. “Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point … Suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before.”

Here is a little bit of text and another video, which is also very good (depending on how tribal your beliefs are, I guess):

It’s called,How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail”, and here’s the most basic takeaway:
If corrective facts only make matters worse, what can we do to convince people of the error of their beliefs?
From my experience,
1. keep emotions out of the exchange,
2. discuss, don't attack (no ad hominem and no ad Hitlerum),
3. listen carefully and try to articulate the other position accurately,
4. show respect,
5. acknowledge that you understand why someone might hold that opinion, and 6. try to show how changing facts does not necessarily mean changing worldviews.
These strategies may not always work to change people's minds, but now that the nation has just been put through a political fact-check wringer, they may help reduce unnecessary divisiveness.”

Lastly, this very good and kinda sad post from Kayla Chadwick: I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People.

The article opens with an auto-run video that can either be watched, or paused and ignored so you can focus was on her excellent text.
My takeaway:
“Our disagreement is not merely political, but a fundamental divide on what it means to live in a society, how to be a good person, and why any of that matters.”

My desire for the world at large, while we are screaming toe-to-toe at “Radical Snowflake Libtards” or “Ammosexual Cuck Wingnuts”, is to just focus on the science that will allow us to advance the overall health of the planet.

Accomplishing that is gonna require some arguing.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Political Post with Bad Language: About Antifa


I was caught pretty flatfooted this week while decrying the Nazi hate on full, ass-showing display in my country.  I had multiple people ask me versions of the question, "Well, what about Antifa? Why I don't see you saying the same thing about them?"

Before this week, I hadn't heard of Antifa. I got help from friends in trying to define them, but CNN today posted an article that seems to have comprehensively done it for me.  So, thank you, CNN.

To ALL, this article is worth reading.


*** CNN: Antifa activists often don't hesitate to destroy property, which many see as the incarnation of unfair wealth distribution.

"Violence against windows -- there's no such thing as violence against windows," a masked Antifa member in Union Square told CNN. "Windows don't have -- they're not persons. And even when they are persons, the people we fight back against, they are evil. They are the living embodiment, they are the second coming of Hitler."

Crow explained the ideology this way: "Don't confuse legality and morality. Laws are made of governments, not of men," echoing the words of John Adams.

"Each of us breaks the law every day. It's just that we make the conscious choice to do that," he said.

Antifa members also sometimes launch attacks against people who aren't physically attacking them. The movement, Crow said, sees alt-right hate speech as violent, and for that, its activists have opted to meet violence with violence.

Right or wrong, "that's for history to decide," he said. ***


*** CNN: But Levin argues the violence is giving ammunition to racists -- and is anathema to the Antifa mission.

"It's killing the cause -- it's not hurting it, it's killing it, and it will kill it," Levin said. "We're ceding the moral high ground and ceding the spotlight to where it should be, which is shining the spotlight on the vile."

Levin, who for decades has attended rallies at both extremes to study radical groups, said he put his own body between an Antifa member and a Klan member when Antifa protesters attacked with knives at a February 2016 a rally in Anaheim, California.

"No, it's not OK to punch a Nazi," Levin said. "If white nationalists are sophisticated at anything, it's the ability to try to grasp some kind of moral high ground when they have no other opportunity, and that's provided when they appear to be violently victimized. That's the only moral thread that they can hang their hats on. And we're stupid if we give them that opportunity." ***


Anybody who destroys somebody's private property is an asshole.
Anybody who screams at and terrorizes a private citizen trying to go about their daily life is an asshole.
Anybody who STARTS violence is an asshole, and is DEFINITELY COUNTERPRODUCTIVE to the cause they espouse.


Antifa seems to be made up of people who are fairly wrong in the head. I kinda understand how they got that way, but they are so self-centered that they are acting out their frustrations in public like a toddler.

Toddlers are sincere, but can't reason their way out of a tantrum. Toddlers don't think about effectiveness; they don't think about what they WANT to achieve and HOW they want to achieve it. Toddlers just know what they want and rage when they don't get the instant gratification.

If you replace the word TODDLER with ANTIFA, that is now my current understanding about Antifa.

And they are STILL NOT AS BAD as the Fucking Nazis.

If I see a hate-fueled brawl between Antifa and the Fucking Nazis, I am not rooting for either. I am rooting for the entire lot to be teleported to a deserted island where they can finish it away from the rest of us who are trying to build and improve human society.

If you finished reading all this, you can be a proud member of the "I Read an Entire Reddoch Ramble! Club". I'm proud of you, and a little bit sorry for you, but you're my people.

Also, fuck Nazis.

The official United States position on Fucking Nazis should be this:
"We, the people of the United States, with credit to Smeagol from Lord of the Rings, take the following position on Fucking Nazis: "Leave now, and NEVER COME BACK!"

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Hooters Versus Popeye's

Reddochs, driving on the freeway:

Me: Hey! Next exit - Hooters!
Her: I just GOT you chicken.
Me: (disappointed face)
Her: (unaffected by disappointed face)

Me, 60 seconds later: Hey! Next exit, Popeye's Chicken! How can Hooters even compete?
Her: They can't, especially if Olive Oyl wears that tight blouse and rolls her sock down to show some ankle.

Sunday, July 30, 2017


FIRST OF ALL, I read this AWESOME post from WalletHub:

And it was SUPER-INTERESTING.  Not just as a "Ranking", but as a measurement of quality of life.  First of all read the article right now.  It’s a good article and it’s not going to kill you, I promise.  

If you haven’t already done so, follow the link and scroll to the bottom. Look at the indicators they use for their Methodology - the factors they used to QUANTIFY what is essentially their view of what provides a good quality of life.  

THIS IS FASCINATING, YOU GUYS!  Have you ever seen a definition of Quality of Life*, much less one that ranks it by city?!  Or breaks it down in a way that makes you look around at your s#itty apartment / tract home / McMansion and say, “Heyyyyy, maybe I should move  somewhere else”?
* (Quality of Life: the standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group.  Still worthless without another season of Firefly.)

Among 2017’s (62) Best Big Cities to Live in are fifteen cities in California and Colorado, two of the many states* in which I have been a long-time resident.  The Bureau of Unnecessary Statistics tells me that is twenty-four percent of the 62 Best Big Cities!
(*I have lived in California and Colorado, the two best states that begin with the letter C.  Suck it, Connecticut.  You have ZERO Best Cities.)

#4 San Diego, CA
#5 Colorado Springs, CO
#9 Denver, CO
#10 San Jose, CA
#16 San Francisco, CA
#17 Aurora, CO
#21 Sacramento, CA
#29 Los Angeles, CA
#40 Riverside, CA
#42 Anaheim, CA
#50 Oakland, CA
#51 Bakersfield, CA
#55 Santa Ana, CA
#56 Long Beach, CA
#58 Fresno, CA

Let’s assume you read the article and looked at the graphics and stuff, because they’re great.

As a low-level Statistics geek, I really wanted to see their formulas, but I can’t because they’re super-secret like KFC’s spice recipe.  So is the WalletHub base data. I asked.  A nice lady from WalletHub was kind enough to share some of the raw data anyway, provided that I don’t share it with YOU.  For the record, the WalletHub raw data is spicier than KFC.

This data enables me to make a comparison between San Francisco (Audience: “Booooooooooo!”) and Oakland (Audience: “Yaaaaaaaaay!”), and a parallel comparison between Denver (Audience: “ . . . “ *stoned*) and Aurora (Audience: “FFFFUUUUUU. . . “ *stuck in homicidal traffic, commuting from Denver*).  I can make these comparisons because both Oakland and Aurora are Best Big Cities that are considered suburbs of the more famous Best Big Cities of San Francisco and Denver, but which both get really ticked off if you say that to their faces.

Aurora: “Hey Man, knock it off, okay?  I’m a hunnert fifty-four POINT ONE square miles, okay?  You know how big Denver is?  ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-FIVE.  People like you always make a GIANT FREAKING DEAL about POINT NINE MILES!  I! AM! NOT! A! SUBURB!

Oakland: “Cool it.  I am F*&%#ing TWICE THE SIZE of San Francisco.  I would shoot you, but I’m trying to be better.  Take the F^@# off.”

Oakland and Aurora each totally have a point.  BUT: Oakland and Aurora are totally each suburban big cities living in the shadow of their more-famous neighbors.  More statistically significant, though, is the fact that these are the cities I want to compare, okay?!  Because I want to.

Let’s look at some non-proprietary Census facts, shall we?
Oakland: 78 sq. mi 405,000 population
San Francisco: 47 sq. mi 860,000 population
Aurora: 154 sq mi 325,000 population
Denver: 155 sq mi 3.5 million population

So we can see that beyond a shadow of a doubt, Denver has, by far, the highest population of men with this damn haircut.

(Picture courtesy of me Googling “What’s that one damn haircut that every single guy in Denver has?” and then this picture comes up, courtesy of a place called My Hair Trip Salon Denver.)

Also, any idiot can see that my comparison between the cities involved will completely fail to be statistically significant - and that idiot would be correct, but he’s still an idiot.

Also also, since I moved from the Oakland area to the Denver area, The Denver Beard has just appeared on my face.  Nothing can take away the OAK-LAND!, though.

Let’s do some actual statistics-based comparisons from the secret stash of WalletHub Hidden Figures.

Oakland vs. San Francisco Cost of Living and Median Income: San Francisco scores just three spots lower than Oakland for affordable cost of living, somewhere very far down at the bottom (think: the BEST score is at the Top of the list, and the WORST score is on the floor because it has had too much to drink and has lost its grip on the bar).   News Flash: San Francisco is Not Affordable!  Also, Pope is Wet! and Water is Catholic!  Also, Oakland Is Not That Affordable, Either!

However, San Francisco can’t really get much higher on the list for Median Annual Household Income.  There’s GOLD in them thar hills!  Oakland was just a smidge richer than Aurora and Denver (which were nearly identical to each other - Aurora and Denver were ONE expensive dinner away from being the same income number).  So this ends up more as a comparison of San Francisco versus the other three cities.  The data says, “If you want to play in San Francisco, you PAY to live in San Francisco”.  And it also says, “If you want to play in the other three cities, you can afford to!

*** Special Shout-Out to San Jose, #10 on the 62 Best Big Cities List, for being the only Best Big City where a highly-paid single, cuddly, software Engineer with a new Tesla Model S cannot afford to buy a home.

The data also says that San Francisco residents have the lowest Debt Per Median Earnings of ANY of the 62 Best Big Cities.  San Francisco has HALF the debt ratio of the next Best City on the list.  San Francisco is BALLING - that’s how they can afford to be San Francisco.  Ranking-wise, Oakland isn’t far behind SF on the Debt Chart, but Denver and Aurora are. Denver is about in the middle of the Debt Race, while Aurora scores dead last.  Aurora could have been sent to prison for life in the early 1900’s.   Aurora residents carry about as much debt (per income) as San Francisco, Oakland, and Seattle residents combined.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Aurora is where all the parents live, and they’re paying for their college kids to go to school in Denver.  Aurora parents need to ask San Francisco parents for a loan.

Some scores of interest!  Just our Four City Rankings (Best to Worst):

Job Opportunities:
Denver 1
San Francisco 2
Aurora 3
Oakland 4
Quality of Public School System:
Aurora 1
Oakland 2
San Francisco 2
Denver 4

Violent-Crime Rate per 1,000 Residents:
Aurora 1
Denver 2
San Francisco 3
Oakland 4

Cost of Living:
Denver 1
and Aurora 1
Oakland 3
San Francisco 4

Housing Cost:
Aurora 1
Denver 2
Oakland 4
San Francisco 4

Best Baseball Team EVER:
Oakland 1
San Francisco 2
Denver 3
Aurora *crickets*

Aaaaand, just about every category that has to do with Culture: San Francisco #1, Aurora #62.  For reals.  Look at the list.

I have one last Best Big City statistic for you:
  • We now live in a world where the safest Best Big City is New York, New York.

Next: We compare completely made-up statistics for Gotham, Metropolis, Coast City, Central City, Atlantis, and Riverdale!