forty-three things tagged “pasta”

Men of Value by Robert Mitchell More Pasta

I have never given Jeff Bezos a moment’s thought before this week. I am always interested in extraordinary achievement and often admire it. I am fascinated by what extraordinary achievers understand, and how evolved they are as people.

Looking at him in his astronaut costume, and his cowboy hat, and his omega speedmaster moon watch, coming out of his penis craft, being greeted by his ling cod lipped girlfriend, dripping in oversized diamonds, I saw a man completely without a sense of irony. Not a man aware that he had been entrusted with the greatest fortune in human history to benefit all of humanity, but a small narcissistic buffoon, unaware that the universe is 10,000,000,000 light years wide and he had just spent $5,000,000,000 to fly sixty miles through it, so the whole world could look at him at once and see what a truly small man he is, and hear his Kermit the Frog voice declare that his big plan is to pollute space.

The Mess Britain Is In by Larry the Cat More Pasta

Saving this for a quick TL;DR of the shitshow

For those asking from around the world how Britain has gotten into this mess:

  • The Conservative Party has always been obsessed with Europe
  • This caused divides making the party hard to manage
  • Back in 2015 then Prime Minister David Cameron had an idea
  • He promised a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU if he won the election
  • He won the election
  • The referendum was held; 52% of people voted to leave the EU
  • David Cameron resigned
  • Theresa May became Prime Minister saying that “Brexit means Brexit”
  • It turned out that nobody actually knew what Brexit meant
  • She called an election and lost the majority
  • She couldn’t get the Conservative party to agree on a Brexit deal so she quit
  • Boris Johnson became Prime Minister promising to “Get Brexit done”
  • He called a general election and won a majority
  • The UK left the European Union in January 2020
  • Major Brexit issues remain unresolved and it has negatively impacted the UK economy
  • Boris Johnson was forced to resign in disgrace in July 2022 following a series of scandals
  • Liz Truss was selected to replace Boris Johnson by members of the Conservative Party
  • She announced a raft of unfunded tax cuts to “grow the economy”
  • The economy collapsed
  • She sacked her chancellor
  • She resigned


The Very Stable Genius by smiama6 More Pasta

McMaster: called him a dope with the intelligence of a kindergartner

Mattis: called him a 5th grader.

Mnuchin: called him an idiot.

Graham: called him a complete idiot.

Priebus: called him an idiot.

John Kelly: called him a f***ing idiot.

Tillerson: called him a f***ing moron.

Cohn: called him dumb as sh*t.

McRaven: called him the biggest threat to our democracy.

Bannon: called him a f***ing moron.

John Dowd: called him a f****ing liar and too dumb to testify.

Rupert Murdoch: called him a f***ing idiot.

John Bolton: “Trump has the attention span of a fruit fly.

William T. Kelley: (Professor at Penn) called him the dumbest goddamn student he ever had.

Fran Lebowitz (author): “Everyone says he is crazy – which maybe he is – but the scarier thing about him is that he is stupid. You do not know anyone as stupid as Donald Trump. You just don’t.

Tony Schwartz: (the ghostwriter of “The Art of the Deal”) called him a man with a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.

John Kelly: “He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life.”

Anonymous GOP Congressman in a Safeway Rant: called him an evil, really f***ing stupid Forrest Gump.

Mueller: called him Individual 1

And the rest of the world just laughs at him.

A List of Patriotic Groups for Old Mouthbreathing Ultra-Conservative Chickenshits by Unknown More Pasta

Like the badass below 🔥🔥🔥

Got this off Reddit. Unsure of the OP. Too lovely to vanish off the internet. We have a few of these in Des Moines and I swear I quiver in my immigrant slippers every time I see them 😰

  • 101st Chairborne
  • 1st Methanized Infantile Division
  • Al-Kabob
  • Army National Lard
  • Battle of The Bulging Stomach
  • Bozo Haram
  • Branch Covidians
  • Buffet Brigade
  • Bundesmeal
  • Call of Foodie
  • Chowed Boys
  • Cosplaytriots
  • Country Bombkins
  • Coup Klutz Clan
  • CroMAGAnons
  • Cult 45
  • Delta Farce
  • Delta Forks
  • Fryatollahs
  • G.I. Jokes
  • G.I. Jugs
  • Ghost bacon
  • GI Jugs
  • GI Sloppy Joe
  • Gravy Seals
  • Green Beignets
  • Green Buffets
  • Griller Warfare
  • Hamburger Harkonnen
  • Hez-bubba
  • Hezba-la-mode
  • Hogan’s Zeroes
  • Insulin Insurgents
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Irrational Guar
  • Kommando Soup Kräfte
  • Kool-Aid Brigade
  • Luftwaffle
  • MAGAhideen
  • Mayonnaise Militia
  • Meal Team Six
  • MephamphetaMarines
  • Mid-life ISIS
  • National Lard
  • Natty ISIS
  • Oaf Creepers
  • Operation Dessert Storm
  • Prone Boys
  • Q Cucks Klan
  • Seal Team Snacks
  • Semper Fries
  • Semper Fudge
  • Shock & Olive Garden
  • Slaw and Order
  • Snack Ops
  • Special Courses
  • Special Farces
  • Special Portions
  • Special Weapons And Toppings
  • Sporktroopers
  • Stormscooters
  • Supper Fidelis
  • TactiTools
  • Taking up Space Force
  • Tali-Born Again
  • Talibangelicals
  • Talibanjos
  • Talibubba
  • The Califat
  • The Double Chinfantry
  • The Eatstern Front
  • The Expandables
  • The Queens Lard
  • The Secret Circus
  • Traitor Tots
  • Traitor Trash
  • Traitortots
  • Trumpanzees
  • U.S Marshmallows
  • Vanilla Isis
  • Vietnom-nom-nom Veterans
  • Wal-Martyrs
  • Well-fedayeen
  • Whiskey tango food truck
  • Wide Supremacist
  • Yeehawwdists
  • Yokel Haram
  • Y’all Qaeda
  • Y’alliban

Our Crazy Calendar by @foone More Pasta

Someday aliens are going to land their saucers in a field somewhere in New Jersey and everything is going to go just fine right up until we try to explain our calendar to them

“yeah we divide our year into a number of sub units called ‘months’ made up a number of days, and they’re not all the same length”
“I guess that’s unavoidable, if your rotations-count per orbit is a prime number”
“yeah, our’s isn’t prime”
“but surely you have most of these ‘months’ the same length and just make the last one shorter or longer?”
“No… They’re different lengths following no logical pattern”
“and we further subdivide the months into ‘weeks’, which is 7 days.”
“ahh, so each month is an integer multiple of weeks?”
“that would make sense, but no. Only one is, sometimes”
“yeah our orbit around the sun isn’t an integer number of days, so we have to change the number of days to in a year from time to time”
“oh yes, a similar thing happens on Epsilon Indi 7, where they have to add an extra day every 39 years to keep holidays on track”
“yeah that’s how ours work! Although the ratio doesn’t work out cleanly, so we just do every 4 years, except every 100 years, except except every 400 years”
“oh, you number your years? What’s the epoch?”
“uh, it’s supposed to be the birth of a religious leader, but they got the math wrong so it’s off by 4 years, if he existed at all.”
“if? You based your calendar off the birth date of someone you’re not sure exists?”
“yeah. He’s written about in a famous book but historical records are spotty.”
“interesting. I didn’t realize your planet was one of the ones with a single universal religion, that usually only happens in partial or complete hive minds.”
“uhh, we’re not.”
“You’re not?!”
“yeah we have multiple religions.”
“oh but they all have a common ancestor, which agrees on the existence of that leader, right?”
“uh, no. Two of the big ones do, but most of the others don’t believe in him”
“well, on his birth. And yeah, we got it wrong by a couple years.”
“OK, fine. So, you have somewhat complicated rules about when you change the length of your years, and I’m scared to ask this, but… You definitely just add or subtract that extra day at the end, right?”
“… Nope.”
"At the start of the year? "
“nah. The end of the second month”
“I’m not sure, really.”
“huh. So at this point I’m dreading asking this, but how do you measure time within each day?”
“oh that’s much simpler. Each day is divided into hours, each hour has minutes, and each minute has seconds.”
“ok. And 10 of each?”
“10 hours? No. There’s 24 hours, 60 minutes, 60 seconds”
“… I thought you said you used a base-10 counting system”
“we do! Mostly. But our time system came from some long gone civilization that liked base-60 like 5000 years ago”
“and you haven’t changed it since?”
“huh. Okay, so why 24? That’s not a divisor of 60”
“oh because it’s actually 12!”
“yeah each day is 24 hours but they are divided into two sets of 12.”
“and that’s 5 12s, right, I see the logic here, almost. So like, after hour 12, it becomes the second half, which is 1?”
“No, after 11.”
“oh, you zero-index them! So it’s hours 0-11 in the first half, then 12-23 in the second half?”
“No. 12 to 11 in the first half, and again in the second half”
“please explain that before my brain melts out my mouth”
“the first hour is 12. Then the next one is 1, then it goes back up to 11, then 12 again”
“that is not how numbers work. And how do you tell first 12 apart from second 12?”
“oh we don’t use numbers for that!”
“you don’t number the two halves of your day?”
“nah, we call them AM and PM”
“I think it’s ante-meridian and post-meridian? But I’m not sure, I dont know much Latin”
“yeah it’s an ancient language from an old empire which controlled a lot of the world and we still use some of their terms”
“oh, and that was the civilization that liked base-60 and set up your time system?”
“that would make sense, but… No, completely different one.”
“okay, and what do you do to if you want to measure very short times, shorter than a second?”
“oh we use milliseconds and microseconds”
“ahh, those are a 60th of a second and then 60th of the other?”
“No. Thousandths.”
“so you switch to base-10 at last, but only for subdivisions of the second?”
“but at thousands, ie, ten tens tens”
“yeah. Technically we have deciseconds and centiseconds, which are 1/10 of a second, and 1/100 of a second, but no one really uses them. We just use milli.”
“that seems more like a base-1000 system than a base-10 system.”
“it kinda is? We do a similar thing with measures of volume and distance and mass.”
“but you still call it base-10?”
“so let me see if I get this right: Your years are divided in 10 months, each of which is some variable number of days, the SECOND of which varies based on a complex formula… and each day is divided into two halves of 12 hours, of 60 minutes, 60 seconds, 1000 milliseconds?”
“12 months, actually.”
“right, because of the ancient civilization that liked base-60, and 12 is a divisor of 60.”
“No, actually, that came from the civilization that used latin. Previously there were 10.”
“yeah the Latin guys added two months part of the way through their rule, adding two more months. That’s why some are named after the wrong numbers”
“you just said two things I am having trouble understanding. 1. Your months are named, not numbered? 2. THE NAMES ARE WRONG?”
“yep! Our 9th month is named after the number 7, and so on for 10, 11, and 12.”
“your 12th month is named… 10?”
“what are the other ones named after?!”
“various things. Mainly Gods or rulers”
“oh, from that same religion that your epoch is from?”
“uh… No. Different one.”
“so you have an epoch based on one religion, but name your months based on a different one?”
“yeah! Just wait until you hear about days of the week.”
“so yeah we group days into 7-day periods-”
“which aren’t an even divisor of your months lengths or year lengths?”
“right. Don’t interrupt”
“but we name the days of the week, rather than numbering them. Funny story with that, actually: there’s disagreement about which day starts the week.”
“you have a period that repeats every 7 days and you don’t agree when it starts?”
“yeah, it’s Monday or Sunday.”
“and those names come from…”
“celestial bodies and gods! The sun and moon are Sunday and Monday, for example”
“but… I looked at your planet’s orbit parameters. Doesn’t the sun come up every day?”
“oh, do you have one of those odd orbits where your natural satellite is closer or eclipsed every 7 days, like Quagnar 4?”
“no, the sun and moon are the same then as every other day, we just had to name them something.”
“and the other days, those are named after gods?”
“from your largest religion, I imagine?”
“nah. That one (and the second largest, actually) only has one god, and he doesn’t really have a name.”
“huh. So what religion are they from? The Latin one again?”
“nah, they only named one of the God-days”
“the third or forth biggest, I assume?”
“nah, it’s one that… Kinda doesn’t exist anymore? It mostly died out like 800 years ago, though there are some modern small revivals, of course”
“so, let me get confirm I am understanding this correctly. Your days and hours and seconds and smaller are numbered, in a repeating pattern. But your years are numbered based on a religious epoch, despite it being only one religion amongst several.”
“correct so far”
“and your months and days of the week are instead named, although some are named after numbers, and it’s the wrong numbers”
“and the ones that aren’t numbers or rulers or celestial objects are named after gods, right?”
“but the months and the days of the week are named after gods from different religons from the epoch religion, and indeed, each other?”
“yeah! Except Saturday. That’s the same religion as the month religion”
“and the month/Saturday religion is also from the same culture who gave you the 12 months system, and the names for the two halves of the day, which are also named?”
“right! Well, kinda.”
“please explain, slowly and carefully”
“yeah so cultures before then had a 12 month system, because of the moon. But they had been using a 10 month system, before switching to 12 and giving them the modern names”
“the… Moon? Your celestial body?”
“yeah, it completes an orbit about every 27 days, so which is about 12 times a year, so it is only natural to divide the year into 12 periods, which eventually got called months”
“ok, that makes sense. Wait, no. Your orbital period is approximately 365.25 days, right?”
“yeah. That’s why we do 365 or 366 based on the formula”
“but that doesn’t work. 365 divided by 27 is ~13.5, not 12”
“yeah I’m not sure why 12 was so common then. Maybe it goes back to the base 60 people?”
“okay so one final check before I file this report: Years are numbered based on a religious leader. Years always have 12 months, but the lengths of those months is not consistent between each other or between years.”
“don’t forget the epoch we number our years from is wrong!”
“right, yes. And your months are named, some after a different religion, and some after numbers, but not the number the month is in the year.”
“right. And when we change the month lengths, it’s the second one we change”
“how could I forget? After months you have a repeating ‘week’ of 7 days, which is named after gods from two religons, one of which is the month-naming one, and a nearly extinct one. And you don’t agree when the week starts.”
“nope! My money is on Monday.”
“that’s the Monday that’s named after your moon, which supposedly influenced the commonality of the 12 months in a year cycle, despite it orbiting 13 times in a year?”
“and as for your days, they split into two halves, named after a phrase you don’t really understand in the long dead language of the same culture that named the months and Saturday.”
“Yep. I took some in college but all I remember is like, ‘boy’, ‘girl’, ‘stinky’, ‘cocksucker’”
“charming. And then each half is divided into 12 hours, but you start at 12, then go to 1, and up to 11”
“all I can say is that it makes more sense on analog clocks.”
“i don’t know what that is and at this point I would prefer you not elaborate. So each of those hours is divided into 60 minutes and then 60 seconds, and this comes from an ancient civilization, but not the one that gave you the month names”
“yep. Different guys. Different part of the world.”
“ok. And then after seconds, you switch to a ‘base-10’ system, but you only really use multiples of a thousand? Milliseconds and microseconds?”
“right. And there’s smaller ones beyond that, but they all use thousands”
“right. Got it. All written down here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I just gotta go make sure I didn’t leave my interociter on, I’ll be right back.”

The tall alien walks back into their saucer without a wave. The landing ramp closes.

The ship gently lifts off as gangly landing legs retract. There’s a beat, then a sudden whooshing sound as air rushes back into the space that previously held the craft, now suddenly vacuum.

NORAD alarms go off briefly as an object is detected leaving the earth’s atmosphere at a significant fraction of the speed of light.

In the years to come, many technological advances are made from what was left behind, a small tablet shaped object made of some kind of artifical stone/neutrino composite material.

The alien message left on screen is eventually translated to read “Untitled Document 1 has not been saved, are you sure you wish to quit? (yes) (no) (cancel)”

Many years have passed, and we await the day the aliens return. They have not.

With our new advancements, we build space-radar systems and can see the many species flying around the galaxy. It’s not long before we realize they’re intentionally giving earth a wide berth.

Drone ships criss-cross the galaxy, but when they get within a lightyear of earth they detour around it.

We finally get a subspace radio working, and start working to decode the noisy traffic of a thousand civilizations talking to each other. We broadcast a message of greetings and peace

Less than a week later, the subspace net goes quiet. Our space radar reports the solar system is now surrounded by small vessels, suspected to be some kind of automated probe, and they’re blocking all radio traffic in or out. Even the pulsars go quiet, all radio waves are gone.

We focus on cracking the secret of FTL travel. The first prototype never makes it off the ground, as before the rocket can even ignite, it’s crushed by a small meteor

Forensic reconstruction suggests it was a sundial, carved from rock dug out of the far side of the moon.

Anyway if anyone wants to, like, draw or animate this or film this (or something inspired by it)? That’d be sweet, you don’t need permission from me, go ahead. I’d do it but I don’t have the time or skills. Just put like “based on a story by Foone” somewhere in the credits.

It’s always weird saying that because it kinda sounds like I’m implying I think this is like A MOVIE SCRIPT THAT’S GOING TO HOLLYWOOD! or something. I don’t, I just want to make sure everyone knows it’s free to adapt and remix and all that.

It amused me to type, I hope it amused you to read, and if it amuses you to make something based on it, go right ahead. I’d love to see it.

The State of American Healthcare by ThatsWhatXiSaid More Pasta

With some minor formatting. They add:

The average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in 2020 are $7,470 for single coverage and $21,342 for family coverage. Most covered workers make a contribution toward the cost of the premium for their coverage. On average, covered workers contribute 17% of the premium for single coverage ($1,270) and 27% of the premium for family coverage ($5,762).

It’s worth noting every penny of premiums is part of your total compensation, just as much as your salary. If you’re curious you can find out your specific amount on your W2 in box 12 with code DD.

Americans are paying a quarter million dollars more for healthcare over a lifetime compared to the most expensive socialized system on earth. Half a million dollars more than countries like Canada and the UK.

One in three American families had to forgo needed healthcare due to the cost last year. Almost three in ten had to skip prescribed medication due to cost. One in four had trouble paying a medical bill. Of those with insurance one in five had trouble paying a medical bill, and even for those with income above $100,000 14% had trouble. One in six Americans has unpaid medical debt on their credit report. 50% of all Americans fear bankruptcy due to a major health event.

So there’s a good chance you wouldn’t be able to pay for it, especially if you get sick enough to lose the job you depend on for insurance.

mediocre healthcare for free.

Except it’s US healthcare that’s mediocre vs. it’s peers.

The US has the worst rate of death by medically preventable causes among peer countries. A 31% higher disease adjusted life years average. Higher rates of medical and lab errors. A lower rate of being able to make a same or next day appointment with their doctor than average.

Comparing Health Outcomes of Privileged US Citizens With Those of Average Residents of Other Developed Countries

These findings imply that even if all US citizens experienced the same health outcomes enjoyed by privileged White US citizens, US health indicators would still lag behind those in many other countries.

When asked about their healthcare system as a whole the US system ranked dead last of 11 countries, with only 19.5% of people saying the system works relatively well and only needs minor changes. The average in the other countries is 46.9% saying the same. Canada ranked 9th with 34.5% saying the system works relatively well. The UK ranks fifth, with 44.5%. Australia ranked 6th at 44.4%. The best was Germany at 59.8%.

On rating the overall quality of care in the US, Americans again ranked dead last, with only 25.6% ranking it excellent or very good. The average was 50.8%. Canada ranked 9th with 45.1%. The UK ranked 2nd, at 63.4%. Australia was 3rd at 59.4%. The best was Switzerland at 65.5%.

OECD Countries Health Care Spending and Rankings (Source)

Country Govt. / Mandatory (PPP) Voluntary (PPP) Total (PPP) GDP Lancet HAQ Ranking WHO Ranking Prosperity Ranking CEO World Ranking Commonwealth Fund Ranking
United States $7,274 $3,798 $11,072 16.90% 29 37 59 30 11
Switzerland $4,988 $2,744 $7,732 12.20% 7 20 3 18 2
Norway $5,673 $974 $6,647 10.20% 2 11 5 15 7
Germany $5,648 $998 $6,646 11.20% 18 25 12 17 5
Austria $4,402 $1,449 $5,851 10.30% 13 9 10 4
Sweden $4,928 $854 $5,782 11.00% 8 23 15 28 3
Netherlands $4,767 $998 $5,765 9.90% 3 17 8 11 5
Denmark $4,663 $905 $5,568 10.50% 17 34 8 5
Luxembourg $4,697 $861 $5,558 5.40% 4 16 19
Belgium $4,125 $1,303 $5,428 10.40% 15 21 24 9
Canada $3,815 $1,603 $5,418 10.70% 14 30 25 23 10
France $4,501 $875 $5,376 11.20% 20 1 16 8 9
Ireland $3,919 $1,357 $5,276 7.10% 11 19 20 80
Australia $3,919 $1,268 $5,187 9.30% 5 32 18 10 4
Japan $4,064 $759 $4,823 10.90% 12 10 2 3
Iceland $3,988 $823 $4,811 8.30% 1 15 7 41
United Kingdom $3,620 $1,033 $4,653 9.80% 23 18 23 13 1
Finland $3,536 $1,042 $4,578 9.10% 6 31 26 12
Malta $2,789 $1,540 $4,329 9.30% 27 5 14
OECD Average $4,224 8.80%
New Zealand $3,343 $861 $4,204 9.30% 16 41 22 16 7
Italy $2,706 $943 $3,649 8.80% 9 2 17 37
Spain $2,560 $1,056 $3,616 8.90% 19 7 13 7
Czech Republic $2,854 $572 $3,426 7.50% 28 48 28 14
South Korea $2,057 $1,327 $3,384 8.10% 25 58 4 2
Portugal $2,069 $1,310 $3,379 9.10% 32 29 30 22
Slovenia $2,314 $910 $3,224 7.90% 21 38 24 47
Israel $1,898 $1,034 $2,932 7.50% 35 28 11 21

On ‘Deliberate’ Genocide in the Americas by CommodoreCoCo More Pasta

Responding to this chilling comment:

You are failing to understand genocide itself. INTENT, is the word, DELIBERATION. Deliberation to destroy an ethnic group. There was NEVER a deliberate attempt to destroy native culture in the Americas. In fact, you have laws since the 1512 protecting their rights and equalising them to Iberian Crown subjects, “Las Leyes de Burgos”.

Because, you see, unintentional genocide is A-OK.

I see I’ve been summoned. Your comments in this thread make it clear that nothing will change your position. It’s a difficult position to combat, because it’s in such a defiance of literally anything written on the topic in at least the last 50 years. You are not operating off the same foundations of evidence that others are, and for that reason I suspect they, like me, are not terribly interested in arguing. Because it’s unlikely your drivel will be removed, I’m posting some quotes and links for those who see this thread later and think you might have even begun to approach a point supported by any specialist on the topic. I do not intend these to be comprehensive; there are myriad examples of “deliberate attempts to destroy native culture in the Americas” in, well, literally any single book or article you can pick up about the era. Rather, because you’ve instead there never was any such thing, I’ve provided some obvious examples.

A primary goal of the Spanish colonial regime was to completely extirpate indigenous ways of life. While this was nominally about conversion to Catholicism, those in charge made it quite explicit that “conversion” not only should be but needed to be a violent process. Everything potentially conceivable as an indigenous practice, be it burial rituals, ways to build houses, or farming technologies, was targeted, To quote historian Peter Gose:

only by rebuilding Indian life from the ground up, educating, and preventing (with force if necessary) the return to idolatry could the missionary arrest these hereditary inclinations and modify them over time.

Francisco de Toledo, Viceroy of Peru, made clear in a 1570 decree that failure to comply with Catholicism was an offense punishable by death and within secular jurisdiction:

And should it occur that an infidel dogmatizer be found who disrupts the preaching of the gospel and manages to pervert the newly converted, in this case secular judges can proceed against such infidel dogmatizers, punishing them with death or other punishments that seem appropriate to them, since it is declared by congresses of theologians and jurists that His Majesty has convened in the Kingdoms of Spain that not only is this just cause for condemning such people to death, but even for waging war against a whole kingdom or province with all the death and damage to property that results

The same Toledo decreed in 1580 that Catholic priests and secular judges and magistrates should work together to destroy indigenous burial sites:

I order and command that each magistrate ensure that in his district all the tower tombs be knocked down, and that a large pit be dug into which all of the bones of those who died as pagans be mixed together, and that special care be taken henceforth to gather the intelligence necessary to discover whether any of the baptized are buried outside of the church, with the priest and the judge helping each other in such an important matter

Not only was the destruction of native culture a top-down decree, resistance was explicitly a death sentence.

The contemporary diversity of Latin America is not the result of natural “intermixing,” but the failure of the Spanish to assert themselves and the continuous resistance of the indigenous population. As early as 1588, we see letters from local priests airing grievances about the failure of the reduccion towns they were supposed to relocate native families to:

‘the corregidores are obliged, and the governors, to reduce the towns and order them reduced, and to build churches, take care to find out if the people come diligently for religious instruction and mass, to make them come and help the priest, and punish the careless, lazy, and bad Indians in the works of Christianity, as the ordinances of don Francisco de Toledo require, [but] they do not comply. Rather, many of the towns have yet to be reduced, and many churches are yet to be built, and a large part of the Indians are fled to many places where they neither see a priest nor receive religious instruction.

Reduccion was not a voluntary process, nor was it a question of simply “moving away.” Not only did it involve the destruction of native religious sites, it frequently involved the destruction of entire towns to repurpose building material and ensure people could not return. In fact, where we do see more voluntary participation in Spanish colonial structures, usually because of the political legibility and opportunities it provided, the resulting syncretism becomes an ever greater source of anxiety for the Spanish. Indigenous elites could selectively participate in Catholicism and game the system to their benefit- not something the state wanted to admit could happen.

These quotes come from Gose’s chapter on reducciones uploaded here.

I will also provide this section from the conclusion of Nicholas Robins’ book Mercury, Mining, and Empire; the entirety is uploaded here. The quoted chunk below is a summary of the various historical events presented in that chapter.

The white legend held much historiographical sway throughout the nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries, and in no small part reflected a selective focus on legal structures rather than their application, subsumed in a denigratory view of native peoples, their cultures, and their heritage. As later twentieth-century historians began to examine the actual operation of the colony, the black legend again gained ascendance. As Benjamin Keen wrote, the black legend is “no legend at all.

Twentieth-century concepts of genocide have superseded this debate, and the genocidal nature of the conquest is, ironically, evident in the very Spanish laws that the advocates of the white legend used in their efforts to justify their position. Such policies in Latin America had a defining influence on Rafael Lemkin, the scholar who first developed the term genocide in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. As developed by Lemkin, “Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor,” which often included the establishment of settler colonies. Because of the intimate links between culture and national identity, Lemkin equated intentional cultural destruction with genocide. It was in no small part a result of his tireless efforts that in 1948 the United Nations adopted the defintion of genocide which, despite its shortcomings, serves today as international law. The fact that genocide is a modern concept and that colonists operated within the “spirit of the times” in no way lessens the genocidal nature of their actions. It was, in fact, historical genocides, including those in Latin America, that informed Lemkin’s thinking and gave rise to the term.

Dehumanization of the victim is the handmaiden of genocide, and that which occurred in Spanish America is no exception. Although there were those who recognized the humanity of the natives and sought to defend them, they were in the end a small minority. The image of the Indian as a lazy, thieving, ignorant, prevaricating drunkard who only responded to force was, perversely, a step up from the ranks of nonhumans in which they were initially cast. The official recognition that the Indians were in fact human had little effect in their daily lives, as they were still treated like animals and viewed as natural servants by non-Indians. It is remarkable that the white legend could ever emerge from this genocidogenic milieu. With the path to genocide thus opened by the machete of dehumanization, Spanish policies to culturally destroy and otherwise subject the Amerindians as a people were multifaceted, consistent, and enduring. Those developed and implemented by Viceroy Francisco de Toledo in Peru in the 1570s have elevated him to the status of genocidier extraordinaire.

Once an Indian group had refused to submit to the Spanish crown, they could be legally enslaved, and calls for submission were usually made in a language the Indians did not understand and were often out of earshot. In some cases, the goal was the outright physical extermination or enslavement of specific ethnic groups whom the authorities could not control, such as the Chiriguano and Araucanian Indians. Another benefit from the crown’s perspective was that restive Spaniards and Creoles could be dispatched in such campaigns, thus relieving cities and towns of troublemakers while bringing new lands and labor into the kingdom. Ironically, de Toledo’s campaign to wipe out the Chiriguano contributed to his own ill health. Overall, however, genocidal policies in the Andes and the Americas centered on systematic cultural, religious, and linguistic destruction, forced labor, and forced relocation, much of which affected reproduction and the ability of individuals and communities to sustain themselves.

The forced relocation of Indians from usually spread-out settlements into reducciones, or Spanish-style communities, had among its primary objectives the abolition of indigenous religious and cultural practices and their replacement with those associated with Catholicism. As native lands and the surrounding geographical environment had tremendous spiritual significance, their physical removal also undermined indigenous spiritual relationships. Complementing the natives’ spiritual and cultural control was the physical control, and thus access to labor, offered by the new communities. The concentration of people also inadvertently fostered the spread of disease, giving added impetus to the demographic implosion. Finally, forced relocation was a direct attack on traditional means of sustenance, as many kin groups settled in and utilized the diverse microclimates of the region to provide a variety of foodstuffs and products for the group.

Integrated into this cultural onslaught were extirpation campaigns designed to seek out and destroy all indigenous religious shrines and icons and to either convert or kill native religious leaders. The damage matched the zeal and went to the heart of indigenous spiritual identity. For example, in 1559, an extirpation drive led by Augustinian friars resulted in the destruction of about 5,000 religious icons in the region of Huaylas, Peru, alone. Cultural destruction, or ethnocide, also occurred on a daily basis in Indian villages, where the natives were subject to forced baptism as well as physical and financial participation in a host of Catholic rites. As linchpins in the colonial apparatus, the clergy not only focused on spiritual conformity but also wielded formidable political and economic power in the community. Challenges to their authority were quickly met with the lash, imprisonment, exile, or the confiscation of property.

Miscegenation, often though not always through rape, also had profound personal, cultural, and genetic impacts on indigenous people. Part of the reason was the relative paucity of Spanish women in the colony, while power, opportunity, and impunity also played important roles. Genetic effacement was, in the 1770s, complemented by efforts to illegalize and eliminate native languages. A component in the wider effort to deculturate the indigenes, such policies were implemented with renewed vigor following the Great Rebellion of 1780–1782. Such laws contained provisions making it illegal to communicate with servants in anything but Spanish, and any servant who did not promptly learn the language was to be fired. The fact that there are still Indians in the Andes does not diminish the fact that they were victims of genocide, for few genocides are total.

Lastly, I would direct readers to the following article: Levene, Mark. 1999. “The Chittagong Hill Tracts: A Case Study in the Political Economy of ‘Creeping’ Genocide.” Third World Quarterly 20 (2): 339–69.

Though it talks about events a world away, it’s discussion of genocide is pertinent here. From the abstract:

The destruction of indigenous, tribal peoples in remote and/or frontier regions of the developing world is often assumed to be the outcome of inexorable, even inevitable forces of progress. People are not so much killed, they become extinct. Terms such as ethnocide, cultural genocide or developmental genocide suggest a distinct form of ‘off the map’ elimination which implicitly discourages comparison with other acknowledged examples of genocide. By concentrating on a little-known case study, that of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh, this article argues that this sort of categorisation is misplaced. Not only is the destruction or attempted destruction of fourth world peoples central to the pattern of contemporary genocide but, by examining such specific examples, we can more clearly delineate the phenomenon’s more general wellsprings and processes. The example of the CHT does have its own peculiar features; not least what has been termed here its ‘creeping’ nature. In other respects, however, the efforts of a new nation-state to overcome its structural weaknesses by attempting a forced-pace consolidation and settlement of its one, allegedly, unoccupied resource-rich frontier region closely mirrors other state-building, developmental agendas which have been confronted with communal resistance. The ensuing crisis of state–communal relations, however, cannot be viewed in national isolation. Bangladesh’s drive to develop the CHT has not only been funded by Western finance and aid but is closely linked to its efforts to integrate itself rapidly into a Western dominated and regulated international system. It is in these efforts ‘to realise what is actually unrealisable’ that the relationship between a flawed state power and genocide can be located.

Genocide need not be a state program uniquely articulated to eliminate a people or their culture. Rather, it is often disguised in the name “progress” or “development.” This connects to the Spanish colonial economic system, based on what Robins (above) calls the “ultra-violence” of forced labor in mines.

The Art of Node by maxogden More Pasta

A fantastic introduction to Node (for maybe someone coming in from Python or Ruby land.)

The Art of Node

An introduction to Node.js

This document is intended for readers who know at least a little bit of a couple of things:

  • a scripting language like JavaScript, Ruby, Python, Perl, etc. If you aren’t a programmer yet then it is probably easier to start by reading JavaScript for Cats. :cat2:
  • git and github. These are the open source collaboration tools that people in the node community use to share modules. You just need to know the basics. Here are three great intro tutorials: 1, 2, 3

Table of contents

Learn node interactively

In addition to reading this guide it’s super important to also bust out your favorite text editor and actually write some node code. I always find that when I just read some code in a book it never really clicks, but learning by writing code is a good way to grasp new programming concepts. is a series of free + open source interactive workshops that teach you the principles of Node.js and beyond.

Learn You The Node.js is the introductory workshop. It’s a set of programming problems that introduce you to common node patterns. It comes packaged as a command line program.


You can install it with npm:

# install
npm install learnyounode -g

# start the menu

Understanding node

Node.js is an open source project designed to help you write JavaScript programs that talk to networks, file systems or other I/O (input/output, reading/writing) sources. That’s it! It is just a simple and stable I/O platform that you are encouraged to build modules on top of.

What are some examples of I/O? Here is a diagram of an application that I made with node that shows many I/O sources:

server diagram

If you don’t understand all of the different things in the diagram it is completely okay. The point is to show that a single node process (the hexagon in the middle) can act as the broker between all of the different I/O endpoints (orange and purple represent I/O).

Usually building these kinds of systems is either:

  • difficult to code but yields super fast results (like writing your web servers from scratch in C)
  • easy to code but not very speedy/robust (like when someone tries to upload a 5GB file and your server crashes)

Node’s goal is to strike a balance between these two: relatively easy to understand and use and fast enough for most use cases.

Node isn’t either of the following:

  • A web framework (like Rails or Django, though it can be used to make such things)
  • A programming language (it uses JavaScript but node isn’t its own language)

Instead, node is somewhere in the middle. It is:

  • Designed to be simple and therefore relatively easy to understand and use
  • Useful for I/O based programs that need to be fast and/or handle lots of connections

At a lower level, node can be described as a tool for writing two major types of programs:

  • Network programs using the protocols of the web: HTTP, TCP, UDP, DNS and SSL
  • Programs that read and write data to the filesystem or local processes/memory

What is an “I/O based program”? Here are some common I/O sources:

  • Databases (e.g. MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Redis, CouchDB)
  • APIs (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Apple Push Notifications)
  • HTTP/WebSocket connections (from users of a web app)
  • Files (image resizer, video editor, internet radio)

Node does I/O in a way that is asynchronous which lets it handle lots of different things simultaneously. For example, if you go down to a fast food joint and order a cheeseburger they will immediately take your order and then make you wait around until the cheeseburger is ready. In the meantime they can take other orders and start cooking cheeseburgers for other people. Imagine if you had to wait at the register for your cheeseburger, blocking all other people in line from ordering while they cooked your burger! This is called blocking I/O because all I/O (cooking cheeseburgers) happens one at a time. Node, on the other hand, is non-blocking, which means it can cook many cheeseburgers at once.

Here are some fun things made easy with node thanks to its non-blocking nature:

Core modules

Firstly I would recommend that you get node installed on your computer. The easiest way is to visit and click Install.

Node has a small core group of modules (commonly referred to as ‘node core’) that are presented as the public API that you are intended to write programs with. For working with file systems there is the fs module and for networks there are modules like net (TCP), http, dgram (UDP).

In addition to fs and network modules there are a number of other base modules in node core. There is a module for asynchronously resolving DNS queries called dns, a module for getting OS specific information like the tmpdir location called os, a module for allocating binary chunks of memory called buffer, some modules for parsing urls and paths (url, querystring, path), etc. Most if not all of the modules in node core are there to support node’s main use case: writing fast programs that talk to file systems or networks.

Node handles I/O with: callbacks, events, streams and modules. If you learn how these four things work then you will be able to go into any module in node core and have a basic understanding about how to interface with it.


This is the most important topic to understand if you want to understand how to use node. Nearly everything in node uses callbacks. They weren’t invented by node, they are just part of the JavaScript language.

Callbacks are functions that are executed asynchronously, or at a later time. Instead of the code reading top to bottom procedurally, async programs may execute different functions at different times based on the order and speed that earlier functions like http requests or file system reads happen.

The difference can be confusing since determining if a function is asynchronous or not depends a lot on context. Here is a simple synchronous example, meaning you can read the code top to bottom just like a book:

var myNumber = 1
function addOne() { myNumber++ } // define the function
addOne() // run the function
console.log(myNumber) // logs out 2

The code here defines a function and then on the next line calls that function, without waiting for anything. When the function is called it immediately adds 1 to the number, so we can expect that after we call the function the number should be 2. This is the expectation of synchronous code - it sequentially runs top to bottom.

Node, however, uses mostly asynchronous code. Let’s use node to read our number from a file called number.txt:

var fs = require('fs') // require is a special function provided by node
var myNumber = undefined // we don't know what the number is yet since it is stored in a file

function addOne() {
  fs.readFile('number.txt', function doneReading(err, fileContents) {
    myNumber = parseInt(fileContents)


console.log(myNumber) // logs out undefined -- this line gets run before readFile is done

Why do we get undefined when we log out the number this time? In this code we use the fs.readFile method, which happens to be an asynchronous method. Usually things that have to talk to hard drives or networks will be asynchronous. If they just have to access things in memory or do some work on the CPU they will be synchronous. The reason for this is that I/O is reallyyy reallyyy sloowwww. A ballpark figure would be that talking to a hard drive is about 100,000 times slower than talking to memory (e.g. RAM).

When we run this program all of the functions are immediately defined, but they don’t all execute immediately. This is a fundamental thing to understand about async programming. When addOne is called it kicks off a readFile and then moves on to the next thing that is ready to execute. If there is nothing to execute node will either wait for pending fs/network operations to finish or it will stop running and exit to the command line.

When readFile is done reading the file (this may take anywhere from milliseconds to seconds to minutes depending on how fast the hard drive is) it will run the doneReading function and give it an error (if there was an error) and the file contents.

The reason we got undefined above is that nowhere in our code exists logic that tells the console.log statement to wait until the readFile statement finishes before it prints out the number.

If you have some code that you want to be able to execute over and over again, or at a later time, the first step is to put that code inside a function. Then you can call the function whenever you want to run your code. It helps to give your functions descriptive names.

Callbacks are just functions that get executed at some later time. The key to understanding callbacks is to realize that they are used when you don’t know when some async operation will complete, but you do know where the operation will complete — the last line of the async function! The top-to-bottom order that you declare callbacks does not necessarily matter, only the logical/hierarchical nesting of them. First you split your code up into functions, and then use callbacks to declare if one function depends on another function finishing.

The fs.readFile method is provided by node, is asynchronous, and happens to take a long time to finish. Consider what it does: it has to go to the operating system, which in turn has to go to the file system, which lives on a hard drive that may or may not be spinning at thousands of revolutions per minute. Then it has to use a magnetic head to read data and send it back up through the layers back into your javascript program. You give readFile a function (known as a callback) that it will call after it has retrieved the data from the file system. It puts the data it retrieved into a javascript variable and calls your function (callback) with that variable. In this case the variable is called fileContents because it contains the contents of the file that was read.

Think of the restaurant example at the beginning of this tutorial. At many restaurants you get a number to put on your table while you wait for your food. These are a lot like callbacks. They tell the server what to do after your cheeseburger is done.

Let’s put our console.log statement into a function and pass it in as a callback:

var fs = require('fs')
var myNumber = undefined

function addOne(callback) {
  fs.readFile('number.txt', function doneReading(err, fileContents) {
    myNumber = parseInt(fileContents)

function logMyNumber() {


Now the logMyNumber function can get passed in as an argument that will become the callback variable inside the addOne function. After readFile is done the callback variable will be invoked (callback()). Only functions can be invoked, so if you pass in anything other than a function it will cause an error.

When a function gets invoked in javascript the code inside that function will immediately get executed. In this case our log statement will execute since callback is actually logMyNumber. Remember, just because you define a function it doesn’t mean it will execute. You have to invoke a function for that to happen.

To break down this example even more, here is a timeline of events that happen when we run this program:

  • 1: The code is parsed, which means if there are any syntax errors they would make the program break. During this initial phase, fs and myNumber are declared as variables while addOne and logMyNumber are declared as functions. Note that these are just declarations. Neither function has been called nor invoked yet.
  • 2: When the last line of our program gets executed addOne is invoked with the logMyNumber function passed as its callback argument. Invoking addOne will first run the asynchronous fs.readFile function. This part of the program takes a while to finish.
  • 3: With nothing to do, node idles for a bit as it waits for readFile to finish. If there was anything else to do during this time, node would be available for work.
  • 4: As soon as readFile finishes it executes its callback, doneReading, which parses fileContents for an integer called myNumber, increments myNumber and then immediately invokes the function that addOne passed in (its callback), logMyNumber.

Perhaps the most confusing part of programming with callbacks is how functions are just objects that can be stored in variables and passed around with different names. Giving simple and descriptive names to your variables is important in making your code readable by others. Generally speaking in node programs when you see a variable like callback or cb you can assume it is a function.

You may have heard the terms ‘evented programming’ or ‘event loop’. They refer to the way that readFile is implemented. Node first dispatches the readFile operation and then waits for readFile to send it an event that it has completed. While it is waiting node can go check on other things. Inside node there is a list of things that are dispatched but haven’t reported back yet, so node loops over the list again and again checking to see if they are finished. After they finished they get ‘processed’, e.g. any callbacks that depended on them finishing will get invoked.

Here is a pseudocode version of the above example:

function addOne(thenRunThisFunction) {
  waitAMinuteAsync(function waitedAMinute() {

addOne(function thisGetsRunAfterAddOneFinishes() {})

Imagine you had 3 async functions a, b and c. Each one takes 1 minute to run and after it finishes it calls a callback (that gets passed in the first argument). If you wanted to tell node ‘start running a, then run b after a finishes, and then run c after b finishes’ it would look like this:

a(function() {
  b(function() {

When this code gets executed, a will immediately start running, then a minute later it will finish and call b, then a minute later it will finish and call c and finally 3 minutes later node will stop running since there would be nothing more to do. There are definitely more elegant ways to write the above example, but the point is that if you have code that has to wait for some other async code to finish then you express that dependency by putting your code in functions that get passed around as callbacks.

The design of node requires you to think non-linearly. Consider this list of operations:

read a file
process that file

If you were to turn this into pseudocode you would end up with this:

var file = readFile()

This kind of linear (step-by-step, in order) code isn’t the way that node works. If this code were to get executed then readFile and processFile would both get executed at the same exact time. This doesn’t make sense since readFile will take a while to complete. Instead you need to express that processFile depends on readFile finishing. This is exactly what callbacks are for! And because of the way that JavaScript works you can write this dependency many different ways:

var fs = require('fs')
fs.readFile('movie.mp4', finishedReading)

function finishedReading(error, movieData) {
  if (error) return console.error(error)
  // do something with the movieData

But you could also structure your code like this and it would still work:

var fs = require('fs')

function finishedReading(error, movieData) {
  if (error) return console.error(error)
  // do something with the movieData

fs.readFile('movie.mp4', finishedReading)

Or even like this:

var fs = require('fs')

fs.readFile('movie.mp4', function finishedReading(error, movieData) {
  if (error) return console.error(error)
  // do something with the movieData


In node if you require the events module you can use the so-called ‘event emitter’ that node itself uses for all of its APIs that emit things.

Events are a common pattern in programming, known more widely as the ‘observer pattern’ or ‘pub/sub’ (publish/subscribe). Whereas callbacks are a one-to-one relationship between the thing waiting for the callback and the thing calling the callback, events are the same exact pattern except with a many-to-many API.

The easiest way to think about events is that they let you subscribe to things. You can say ‘when X do Y’, whereas with plain callbacks it is ‘do X then Y’.

Here are few common use cases for using events instead of plain callbacks:

  • Chat room where you want to broadcast messages to many listeners
  • Game server that needs to know when new players connect, disconnect, move, shoot and jump
  • Game engine where you want to let game developers subscribe to events like .on('jump', function() {})
  • A low level web server that wants to expose an API to easily hook into events that happen like .on('incomingRequest') or .on('serverError')

If we were trying to write a module that connects to a chat server using only callbacks it would look like this:

var chatClient = require('my-chat-client')

function onConnect() {
  // have the UI show we are connected

function onConnectionError(error) {
  // show error to the user

function onDisconnect() {
 // tell user that they have been disconnected

function onMessage(message) {
 // show the chat room message in the UI


As you can see this is really cumbersome because of all of the functions that you have to pass in a specific order to the .connect function. Writing this with events would look like this:

var chatClient = require('my-chat-client').connect()

chatClient.on('connect', function() {
  // have the UI show we are connected

chatClient.on('connectionError', function() {
  // show error to the user

chatClient.on('disconnect', function() {
  // tell user that they have been disconnected

chatClient.on('message', function() {
  // show the chat room message in the UI

This approach is similar to the pure-callback approach but introduces the .on method, which subscribes a callback to an event. This means you can choose which events you want to subscribe to from the chatClient. You can also subscribe to the same event multiple times with different callbacks:

var chatClient = require('my-chat-client').connect()
chatClient.on('message', logMessage)
chatClient.on('message', storeMessage)

function logMessage(message) {

function storeMessage(message) {


Early on in the node project the file system and network APIs had their own separate patterns for dealing with streaming I/O. For example, files in a file system have things called ‘file descriptors’ so the fs module had to have extra logic to keep track of these things whereas the network modules didn’t have such a concept. Despite minor differences in semantics like these, at a fundamental level both groups of code were duplicating a lot of functionality when it came to reading data in and out. The team working on node realized that it would be confusing to have to learn two sets of semantics to essentially do the same thing so they made a new API called the Stream and made all the network and file system code use it.

The whole point of node is to make it easy to deal with file systems and networks so it made sense to have one pattern that was used everywhere. The good news is that most of the patterns like these (there are only a few anyway) have been figured out at this point and it is very unlikely that node will change that much in the future.

There are already two great resources that you can use to learn about node streams. One is the stream-adventure (see the Learn Node Interactively section) and the other is a reference called the Stream Handbook.

Stream Handbook

stream-handbook is a guide, similar to this one, that contains a reference for everything you could possibly need to know about streams.



Node core is made up of about two dozen modules, some lower level ones like events and stream some higher level ones like http and crypto.

This design is intentional. Node core is supposed to be small, and the modules in core should be focused on providing tools for working with common I/O protocols and formats in a way that is cross-platform.

For everything else there is npm. Anyone can create a new node module that adds some functionality and publish it to npm. As of the time of this writing there are 34,000 modules on npm.

How to find a module

Imagine you are trying to convert PDF files into TXT files. The best place to start is by doing npm search pdf:


There are a ton of results! npm is quite popular and you will usually be able to find multiple potential solutions. If you go through each module and whittle down the results into a more narrow set (filtering out things like PDF generation modules) you’ll end up with these:

A lot of the modules have overlapping functionality but present alternate APIs and most of them require external dependencies (like apt-get install poppler).

Here are some different ways to interpret the modules:

  • pdf2json is the only one that is written in pure JavaScript, which means it is the easiest to install, especially on low power devices like the raspberry pi or on Windows where native code might not be cross platform.
  • modules like mimeograph, hummus and pdf-extract each combine multiple lower level modules to expose a high level API
  • a lot of modules seem to sit on top of the pdftotext/poppler unix command line tools

Lets compare the differences between pdftotextjs and pdf-text-extract, both of which are are wrappers around the pdftotext utility.


Both of these:

  • were updated relatively recently
  • have github repositories linked (this is very important!)
  • have READMEs
  • have at least some number of people installing them every week
  • are liberally licensed (anyone can use them)

Just looking at the package.json + module statistics it’s hard to get a feeling about which one might be the right choice. Let’s compare the READMEs:


Both have simple descriptions, CI badges, installation instructions, clear examples and instructions for running the tests. Great! But which one do we use? Let’s compare the code:


pdftotextjs is around 110 lines of code, and pdf-text-extract is around 40, but both essentially boil down to this line:

var child = shell.exec('pdftotext ' + self.options.additional.join(' '));

Does this make one any better than the other? Hard to say! It’s important to actually read the code and make your own conclusions. If you find a module you like, use npm star modulename to give npm feedback about modules that you had a positive experience with.

Modular development workflow

npm is different from most package managers in that it installs modules into a folder inside of other existing modules. The previous sentence might not make sense right now but it is the key to npm’s success.

Many package managers install things globally. For instance, if you apt-get install couchdb on Debian Linux it will try to install the latest stable version of CouchDB. If you are trying to install CouchDB as a dependency of some other piece of software and that software needs an older version of CouchDB, you have to uninstall the newer version of CouchDB and then install the older version. You can’t have two versions of CouchDB installed because Debian only knows how to install things into one place.

It’s not just Debian that does this. Most programming language package managers work this way too. To address the global dependencies problem described above there have been virtual environment developed like virtualenv for Python or bundler for Ruby. These just split your environment up in to many virtual environments, one for each project, but inside each environment dependencies are still globally installed. Virtual environments don’t always solve the problem, sometimes they just multiply it by adding additional layers of complexity.

With npm installing global modules is an anti-pattern. Just like how you shouldn’t use global variables in your JavaScript programs you also shouldn’t install global modules (unless you need a module with an executable binary to show up in your global PATH, but you don’t always need to do this – more on this later).

How require works

When you call require('some_module') in node here is what happens:

  1. if a file called some_module.js exists in the current folder node will load that, otherwise:
  2. node looks in the current folder for a node_modules folder with a some_module folder in it
  3. if it doesn’t find it, it will go up one folder and repeat step 2

This cycle repeats until node reaches the root folder of the filesystem, at which point it will then check any global module folders (e.g. /usr/local/node_modules on Mac OS) and if it still doesn’t find some_module it will throw an exception.

Here’s a visual example:


When the current working directory is subsubfolder and require('foo') is called, node will look for the folder called subsubfolder/node_modules. In this case it won’t find it – the folder there is mistakenly called my_modules. Then node will go up one folder and try again, meaning it then looks for subfolder_B/node_modules, which also doesn’t exist. Third try is a charm, though, as folder/node_modules does exist and has a folder called foo inside of it. If foo wasn’t in there node would continue its search up the directory tree.

Note that if called from subfolder_B node will never find subfolder_A/node_modules, it can only see folder/node_modules on its way up the tree.

One of the benefits of npm’s approach is that modules can install their dependent modules at specific known working versions. In this case the module foo is quite popular - there are three copies of it, each one inside its parent module folder. The reasoning for this could be that each parent module needed a different version of foo, e.g. ‘folder’ needs foo@0.0.1, subfolder_A needs foo@0.2.1 etc.

Here’s what happens when we fix the folder naming error by changing my_modules to the correct name node_modules:


To test out which module actually gets loaded by node, you can use the require.resolve('some_module') command, which will show you the path to the module that node finds as a result of the tree climbing process. require.resolve can be useful when double-checking that the module that you think is getting loaded is actually getting loaded – sometimes there is another version of the same module closer to your current working directory than the one you intend to load.

How to write a module

Now that you know how to find modules and require them you can start writing your own modules.

The simplest possible module

Node modules are radically lightweight. Here is one of the simplest possible node modules:


  "name": "number-one",
  "version": "1.0.0"


module.exports = 1

By default node tries to load module/index.js when you require('module'), any other file name won’t work unless you set the main field of package.json to point to it.

Put both of those files in a folder called number-one (the name in package.json must match the folder name) and you’ll have a working node module.

Calling the function require('number-one') returns the value of whatever module.exports is set to inside the module:


An even quicker way to create a module is to run these commands:

mkdir my_module
cd my_module
git init
git remote add
npm init

Running npm init will create a valid package.json for you and if you run it in an existing git repo it will set the repositories field inside package.json automatically as well!

Adding dependencies

A module can list any other modules from npm or GitHub in the dependencies field of package.json. To install the request module as a new dependency and automatically add it to package.json run this from your module root directory:

npm install --save request

This installs a copy of request into the closest node_modules folder and makes our package.json look something like this:

  "id": "number-one",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "dependencies": {
    "request": "~2.22.0"

By default npm install will grab the latest published version of a module.

Client side development with npm

A common misconception about npm is that since it has ‘Node’ in the name that it must only be used for server side JS modules. This is completely untrue! npm actually stands for Node Packaged Modules, e.g. modules that Node packages together for you. The modules themselves can be whatever you want – they are just a folder of files wrapped up in a .tar.gz, and a file called package.json that declares the module version and a list of all modules that are dependencies of the module (as well as their version numbers so the working versions get installed automatically). It’s turtles all the way down - module dependencies are just modules, and those modules can have dependencies etc. etc. etc.

browserify is a utility written in Node that tries to convert any node module into code that can be run in browsers. Not all modules work (browsers can’t do things like host an HTTP server), but a lot of modules on NPM will work.

To try out npm in the browser you can use RequireBin, an app I made that takes advantage of Browserify-CDN, which internally uses browserify but returns the output through HTTP (instead of the command line – which is how browserify is usually used).

Try putting this code into RequireBin and then hit the preview button:

var reverse = require('ascii-art-reverse')

// makes a visible HTML console

var coolbear =
  "    ('-^-/')  \n" +
  "    `o__o' ]  \n" +
  "    (_Y_) _/  \n" +
  "  _..`--'-.`, \n" +
  " (__)_,--(__) \n" +
  "     7:   ; 1 \n" +
  "   _/,`-.-' : \n" +
  "  (_,)-~~(_,) \n"

setInterval(function() { console.log(coolbear) }, 1000)

setTimeout(function() {
  setInterval(function() { console.log(reverse(coolbear)) }, 1000)
}, 500)

Or check out a more complicated example (feel free to change the code and see what happens):


Going with the grain

Like any good tool, node is best suited for a certain set of use cases. For example: Rails, the popular web framework, is great for modeling complex business logic, e.g. using code to represent real life business objects like accounts, loan, itineraries, and inventories. While it is technically possible to do the same type of thing using node, there would be definite drawbacks since node is designed for solving I/O problems and it doesn’t know much about ‘business logic’. Each tool focuses on different problems. Hopefully this guide will help you gain an intuitive understanding of the strengths of node so that you know when it can be useful to you.

What is outside of node’s scope?

Fundamentally node is just a tool used for managing I/O across file systems and networks, and it leaves other more fancy functionality up to third party modules. Here are some things that are outside the scope of node:

Web frameworks

There are a number of web frameworks built on top of node (framework meaning a bundle of solutions that attempts to address some high level problem like modeling business logic), but node is not a web framework. Web frameworks that are written using node don’t always make the same kind of decisions about adding complexity, abstractions and tradeoffs that node does and may have other priorities.

Language syntax

Node uses JavaScript and doesn’t change anything about it. Felix Geisendörfer has a pretty good write-up of the ‘node style’ here.

Language abstraction

When possible node will use the simplest possible way of accomplishing something. The ‘fancier’ you make your JavaScript the more complexity and tradeoffs you introduce. Programming is hard, especially in JS where there are 1000 solutions to every problem! It is for this reason that node tries to always pick the simplest, most universal option. If you are solving a problem that calls for a complex solution and you are unsatisfied with the ‘vanilla JS solutions’ that node implements, you are free to solve it inside your app or module using whichever abstractions you prefer.

A great example of this is node’s use of callbacks. Early on node experimented with a feature called ‘promises’ that added a number of features to make async code appear more linear. It was taken out of node core for a few reasons:

  • they are more complex than callbacks
  • they can be implemented in userland (distributed on npm as third party modules)

Consider one of the most universal and basic things that node does: reading a file. When you read a file you want to know when errors happen, like when your hard drive dies in the middle of your read. If node had promises everyone would have to branch their code like this:

  .then(function(data) {
    // do stuff with data
  .error(function(error) {
    // handle error

This adds complexity, and not everyone wants that. Instead of two separate functions node just uses a single callback function. Here are the rules:

  • When there is no error pass null as the first argument
  • When there is an error, pass it as the first argument
  • The rest of the arguments can be used for anything (usually data or responses since most stuff in node is reading or writing things)

Hence, the node callback style:

fs.readFile('movie.mp4', function(err, data) {
  // handle error, do stuff with data

Threads/fibers/non-event-based concurrency solutions

Note: If you don’t know what these things mean then you will likely have an easier time learning node, since unlearning things is just as much work as learning things.

Node uses threads internally to make things fast but doesn’t expose them to the user. If you are a technical user wondering why node is designed this way then you should 100% read about the design of libuv, the C++ I/O layer that node is built on top of.



Creative Commons Attribution License (do whatever, just attribute me)

Donate icon is from the Noun Project

Some Laws of Software Engineering by GlobalNerdy More Pasta

Amdahl’s Law

The speedup gained from running a program on a parallel computer is greatly limited by the fraction of that program that can’t be parallelized.

Augustine’s Second Law of Socioscience

For every scientific (or engineering) action, there is an equal and opposite social reaction.

Brooks’ Law

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

Clarke’s First Law

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

Clarke’s Second Law

The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

Clarke’s Third Law

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Conway’s Law

Any piece of software reflects the organizational structure that produced it.

Cope’s Rule

There is a general tendency toward size increase in evolution.

Dilbert Principle

The most ineffective workers are systematically moved to the place where they can do the least damage: management.

Ellison’s Law of Cryptography and Usability

The userbase for strong cryptography declines by half with every additional keystroke or mouseclick required to make it work.

Ellison’s Law of Data

Once the business data have been centralized and integrated, the value of the database is greater than the sum of the preexisting parts.

The Law of False Alerts

As the rate of erroneous alerts increases, operator reliance, or belief, in subsequent warnings decreases.

Fisher’s Fundamental Theorem

The more highly adapted an organism becomes, the less adaptable it is to any new change.

Fitts’ Law

The time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and the size of the target.

Flon’s Axiom

There does not now, nor will there ever, exist a programming language in which it is the least bit hard to write bad programs.

Gilder’s Law

Bandwidth grows at least three times faster than computer power.

Godwin’s Law

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

Grosch’s Law

The cost of computing systems increases as the square root of the computational power of the systems.

Hartree’s Law
Whatever the state of a project, the time a project-leader will estimate for completion is constant.

Heisenbug Uncertainty Principle

Most production software bugs are soft: they go away when you look at them.

Hick’s Law

The time to make a decision is a function of the possible choices he or she has.

Hoare’s Law of Large Programs

Inside every large problem is a small problem struggling to get out.

Hofstadter’s Law

A task always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

Jakob’s Law of the Internet User Experience

Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.

Joy’s Law

smart(employees) = log(employees), or “No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.”

Kerckhoffs’ Principle

In cryptography, a system should be secure even if everything about the system, except for a small piece of information — the key — is public knowledge.

Linus Torvalds

Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.

Lister’s Law

People under time pressure don’t think faster.

Metcalfe’s Law

In network theory, the value of a system grows as approximately the square of the number of users of the system.

Moore’s Law

The number of transistors on an integrated circuit will double in about 18 months.

Murphy’s Law

If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.

Nathan’s First Law

Software is a gas; it expands to fill its container.

Ninety-ninety Law

The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time.

Occam’s Razor

The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct.

Osborn’s Law

Variables won’t; constants aren’t.

Postel’s Law (the second clause of the Robustness Principle)

Be conservative in what you send, liberal in what you accept.

Pareto Principle (a.k.a. “The 80-20 Rule”)

For many phenomena, 80% of consequences stem from 20% of the causes.

Parkinson’s Law

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

Pesticide Paradox

Every method you use to prevent or find bugs leaves a residue of subtler bugs against which those methods are ineffectual.

The Peter Principle

In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.

Reed’s Law

The utility of large networks, particularly social networks, scales exponentially with the size of the network.

Rock’s Law

The cost of a semiconductor chip fabrication plant doubles every four years.

Sixty-sixty Rule

Sixty percent of software’s dollar is spent on maintenance, and sixty percent of that maintenance is enhancement.

Spector’s Law

The time it takes your favorite application to complete a given task doubles with each new revision.

Spafford’s Adoption Rule

For just about any technology, be it an operating system, application or network, when a sufficient level of adoption is reached, that technology then becomes a threat vector.

Sturgeon’s Revelation

Ninety percent of everything is crud.

Tesler’s Law of Conservation as Complexity

You cannot reduce the complexity of a given task beyond a certain point. Once you’ve reached that point, you can only shift the burden around.

Weibull’s Power Law

The logarithm of failure rates increases linearly with the logarithm of age.

Wirth’s Law

Software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster.

Zawinski’s Law

Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

A Big Collection of Bog Bodies by Gabe Paoletti More Pasta

In many cases, you’re staring at the face of someone who lived centuries ago. That was their hair, their nose, their eye-lashes, their sleep. Very few things are more fascinating than this.

Borremose Man

The Borremose Man died in the 7th century BCE. He was bludgeoned to death from the back of his head and had a rope with a slip knot tied around his neck. It is believed that he was a human sacrifice. He was found in the Borremose peat bog in Himmerland, Denmark in 1946. Shortly after, two other, less well preserved, bodies were discovered in the same marsh. Credit: Danish National Museum/Wikimedia Commons

Tollund Man

The face of the Tollund Man. Credit: Sven Rosborn/Wikimedia Commons

Yde Girl

The Yde Girl died sometime between 54 BCE and 128 CE at an approximate age of 16 years old. She suffered from scoliosis and had long reddish blonde hair that was preserved by the swamp. She was buried with a ritually tied woolen braid around her neck suggesting she was killed as a human sacrifice. However, due to damage to the body at the time of discovery, the cause of her death is unknown. She was found outside the village of the village of Yde, Netherlands. Credit: Drents Museum/Wikimedia Commons

Grauballe Man

The Grauballe Man died during the late 3rd century BCE when he was around thirty years old. He was found naked, with no indication of any clothing around him. His neck was slit from ear-to-ear in a bog in Jutland, Denmark in 1955. His well-preserved hair was likely dark brown during his life but was turned red by the bog. Historians believe he was likely a human sacrifice. Credit: Sven Rosborn/Wikimedia Commons

Tollund Man

The Tollund Man was an approximately 40-year-old man who was killed sometime between 375 and 210 BCE. He was found with a noose around his neck, indicating he was hanged to death, as well as a sheepskin cap on his head. He was found in a bog outside of the Danish town of Silkeborg in 1950. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Damendorf Man

The Damendorf Man died around 300 BCE and had his body squashed flat by the weight of the peat that accumulated on top of him. He was found in a bog outside the German town of Damendorf in 1900 with a leather belt, shoes, and a pair of breeches. Credit: Bullenwächter/Wikimedia Commons

Bocksten Bog

The Bocksten Man likely lived sometime between 1290 and 1430. He was a tall, slender man, most likely in his 40s at the time of his death. He was killed and impaled with two wooden poles, one that went directly through his heart, to the bed of a lake that would later become a bog. This impaling likely happened after his death as he also has a large wound on his head. He was found in a bog near Varberg Municipality, Sweden in 1936. His hair was found perfectly preserved, and he was also discovered with a hooded garment and an engraved leather sheath. Credit: Peter Lindberg/Wikimedia Commons

Arden Hair

The Arden Woman lived during the 14th Century BCE and was around 20–25 years old at the time of her death. She was found in the Bredmose bog in Hindsted, Denmark in 1942. Police said the corpse was found in a ‘question mark’ shape. Her well-preserved hair was dark blond, drawn into two pigtails, and coiled around the top of her head. Unlike some bog bodies, she was found with garments and with no evidence of a violent death. Credit: P.V. Glob/Wikimedia Commons

Grauballe Man

The full body of The Grauballe Man. His hands were so well preserved that researchers were able to take the fingerprints of the over 2,000-year-old body. Credit: Colin/Wikimedia Commons

Bog Bodies

The Clonycavan Man was an Irish man who died sometime between 392 BCE and 201 BCE. He was 5’2, with a squashed nose, crooked teeth, and gelled-up hair. He was killed by an ax blow to the back of his head. The Clonycavan Man was discovered in 2003 in Clonycavan, Ireland when he was picked up by a modern peat harvesting machine that mangled his lower body. His rich diet, imported hair gel, and death near a hill used for kingly initiation led historians to theorize that he was a king who was ritually sacrificed after a bad harvest. Credit: Mark Healey/Wikimedia Commons

Kreepen Man

The Kreepen Man was a body discovered in a bog in 1903 near Verden, Germany. The body had twisted oak and willow branches binding his hands and feet. After its discovery, the body was sold to The Museum of European Cultures in Berlin but was destroyed when the city was bombed during WWII. Hair found at the site believed to belong to the Kreepen Man, date to between 1440 and 1520, but without the body, the genuine date of death is unknown. Credit: Andreas Franzkowiak/Wikimedia Commons


The Huldremose Woman died sometime between 160 BCE and 340 CE and was over 40 years old at the time of her death. She had a rope around her neck indicating she may have been strangled or hanged to death. There is also a laceration on one of her feet. She was found with an elaborate wool plaid cape, scarf, and skirt. She was found by a school teacher in 1879 in a peat bog near Ramten, Denmark. Credit: Kira Ursem/Wikimedia Commons

Weerdinge Men

The Weerdinge Men are two naked bog bodies found in Drenthe, the Netherlands in 1904. They would have lived sometime between 60 BCE and 220 CE. One of the men had a large cut in his abdomen, through which his intestines spilled out, which some historians believe indicates that he was cut open so an ancient druid could divine the future from his entrails. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Röst Girl

The Röst Girl is thought have died sometime between 200 BCE and 80 CE in a bog in the Schleswig-Holstein state of Germany. She was discovered in 1926, but the cause of her death is unknown because her body was destroyed during WWII. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Old Croughan

The Old Croughan Man lived sometime between 362 BCE and 175 BCE and would have been around 20-years-old at the time of his death. This torso, missing the head and lower body, was discovered in 2003 in a bog near Croghan Hill in Ireland. From his arm-span, it is believed he would have been 6’6. Credit: Mark Healey/Wikimedia Commons

Roter Franz

Roter Franz died in the Bourtanger Moor, on what is now the border of Germany and the Netherlands, sometime between 220 and 430 CE during the Roman Iron Age. The name Roter Franz (meaning Red Franz in English) is derived from the red hair and beard discovered on the body. He was killed when his throat was slit and had an arrow wound on his shoulder. Credit: Axel Hindemith/Wikimedia Commons

Bog Bodies

The Osterby Head was discovered in 1948 in a bog to the southeast of Osterby, Germany. The man whose head this belonged to lived sometime between 75 and 130 CE and was 50 to 60 years of age when he died. Evidence shows that he was struck in the head fatally and then beheaded. His hair was tied in a Suebian knot, indicating he was likely a free man of the Germanic Suebi tribe. Credit: Andreas Franzkowiak/Wikimedia Commons

Kraglund Man

The Kraglund Man was discovered in 1898 in Nordjylland, Denmark. He is believed to have been male, but there is little documentation, and the body has been lost. He was the first bog body to be photographed before being moved from where it was discovered. Credit: Georg Sarauw /Wikimedia Commons

Rendswühren Man

The Rendswühren Man was a 40 to 50 years old man who died in the 1st century CE. He is believed to have been beaten to death and was buried with his clothing, a rectangular wool cloak, and a fur cape. He was discovered outside the town of Rendswühren in Germany in 1871. Credit: Andreas Franzkowiak/Wikimedia Commons

Rendswühren Man

A picture of the Rendswühren Man taken in 1873, two years after he was discovered. Credit: Johanna Mestorf/Wikimedia Commons

Roum Head

The Roum Head was found in Himmerland, Denmark, and belonged to a man in his 20s who died during the Iron Age. The find was originally titled as “The Roum Woman” until traces of beard stubble were found on the face. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Haraldskær Woman

The Haraldskær Woman was discovered in a bog in Jutland, Denmark in 1892. When she was discovered, she was believed to be Queen Gunnhild of Norway, a quasi-historical figure from around 1000 CE who was said to have been drowned in a bog. Thinking it was their ancient queen, the Danish monarchy had the body placed in an elaborate glass-covered sarcophagus inside St. Nicolai Church in central Vejle, Denmark. In 1977, radiocarbon dating proved that the woman actually lived nearly 1,500 years before the revered queen, and likely died in the 5th century BC. She was around 40 years old at the time of her death. Credit: McLeod/Wikimedia Commons

Gunhild Glass

The Haraldskær Woman in her glass-covered sarcophagus. Credit: Västgöten/Wikimedia Commons

Kayhausen Boy

The Kayhausen Boy was a child aged 7 to 10 years old who is thought to have been killed died between 300 and 400 BCE. He had an infected socket at the top of his femur that would likely have made him unable to walk. His killers bound his hands and feet with cloth torn from a fur cape and stabbed him four times. His body was discovered in a sphagnum bog in Lower Saxony, Germany in 1922. Credit: Department of Legal Medicine, Universitatsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

State of the Village Report by Donella Meadows More Pasta

“If the world were a village of 1000 people.” This was written in 1990.

If the world were a village of 1000 people:

  • 584 would be Asians
  • 123 would be Africans
  • 95 would be East and West Europeans
  • 84 Latin Americans
  • 55 Soviets (still including for the moment Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, etc.)
  • 52 North Americans
  • 6 Australians and New Zealanders

The people of the village would have considerable difficulty communicating:

  • 165 people would speak Mandarin
  • 86 would speak English
  • 83 Hindi/Urdu
  • 64 Spanish
  • 58 Russian
  • 37 Arabic
  • That list accounts for the mother-tongues of only half the villagers. The other half speak (in descending order of frequency) Bengali, Portuguese, Indonesian, Japanese, German, French, and 200 other languages.

In the village there would be:

  • 300 Christians (183 Catholics, 84 Protestants, 33 Orthodox)
  • 175 Moslems
  • 128 Hindus
  • 55 Buddhists
  • 47 Animists
  • 210 all other religons (including atheists)
  • One-third (330) of the people in the village would be children. Half the children would be immunized against the preventable infectious diseases such as measles and polio.

Sixty of the thousand villagers would be over the age of 65.

Just under half of the married women would have access to and be using modern contraceptives.

Each year 28 babies would be born.

Each year 10 people would die, three of them for lack of food, one from cancer. Two of the deaths would be to babies born within the year.

One person in the village would be infected with the HIV virus; that person would most likely not yet have developed a full-blown case of AIDS.

With the 28 births and 10 deaths, the population of the village in the next year would be 1018. In this thousand-person community, 200 people would receive three-fourths of the income; another 200 would receive only 2% of the income. Only 70 people would own an automobile (some of them more than one automobile).

About one-third would not have access to clean, safe drinking water. Of the 670 adults in the village half would be illiterate. The village would have 6 acres of land per person, 6000 acres in all of which:

  • 700 acres is cropland
  • 1400 acres pasture
  • 1900 acres woodland
  • 2000 acres desert, tundra, pavement, and other wasteland.
  • The woodland would be declining rapidly; the wasteland increasing; the other land categories would be roughly stable. The village would allocate 83 percent of its fertilizer to 40 percent of its cropland — that owned by the richest and best-fed 270 people. Excess fertilizer running off this land would cause pollution in lakes and wells. The remaining 60 percent of the land, with its 17 percent of the fertilizer, would produce 28 percent of the foodgrain and feed 73 percent of the people. The average grain yield on that land would be one-third the yields gotten by the richer villagers.

If the world were a village of 1000 persons, there would be five soldiers, seven teachers, one doctor. Of the village’s total annual expenditures of just over $3 million per year, $181,000 would go for weapons and warfare, $159,000 for education, $132,000 for health care.

The village would have buried beneath it enough explosive power in nuclear weapons to blow itself to smithereens many times over. These weapons would be under the control of just 100 of the people. The other 900 people would be watching them with deep anxiety, wondering whether the 100 can learn to get along together, and if they do, whether they might set off the weapons anyway through inattention or technical bungling, and if they ever decide to dismantle the weapons, where in the village they will dispose of the dangerous radioactive materials of which the weapons are made.

On the Big Lie and the Dangerous Normalization of Fascism by kor_hookmaster More Pasta

I think because the normalization of Trump and his erosion of political norms over the last 5 years, many people don’t seem to see just how unfathomably dangerous and downright fascist this entire situation has become.

Donald Trump lost. He lost. That is irrefutable and indisputable. He has refused to concede. Not only has he refused to concede, he’s actively telling his millions of supporters that he actually won and that the opposition STOLE the election from him. He’s not saying there was some counting error or computer malfunction. He claims that a crime was committed. It’s absolutely inexcusable and outright seditious, as many in this subbreddit already know.

The founding fathers, for all their faults as men, were not stupid. Far from it. They understood how critically important it was that the absolute powers of a monarch (or a despot/dictator) needed to be diffused among many, and that those many separate entities would need to act as checks on one another. That’s why there’s essentially three branches of government in every iteration of democracies around the world; they each hold a fraction of the power that was once reserved for a sole monarch. This division is a check against corruption and the inherent nature of power to corrupt those who wield it. The only reason that democracy - any democracy, not just the American version - can survive is through a peaceful transfer of power. Without it, there is chaos. Several thousand years of recorded history taught the founding fathers that when absolute power is concentrated in one individual, when that individual dies or are overthrown, countless people suffer. Endless wars of succession and conflicts over who has the rightful claim to power plagued us for generations. Without a peaceful and legally delineated method to hand diffuse power from one individual to the next, there’s nothing to stop someone from raising an army, crossing the proverbial Rubicon, and grabbing the reins of power by force. That’s the real magic of a democratic system: that we all collectively agree that the power of the state is peacefully and legally passed down without bloodshed or recrimination. It’s something that only works because we all believe it does, much like the inherent value of money. It’s something we take for granted, but it’s really astonishing given most of human history.

There is a method baked right into the constitution for someone who thinks they lost an election if they believe it was unfair, or corrupt, or stolen: You take it to the courts - to the separate branch - for it to be ruled on. It’s the reason why the president-elect doesn’t just assume power the day after the election. If there’s a legitimate claim to malfeasance or miscounting, it goes to the courts, each side presents its case, and the judicial branch has the time to weigh the evidence and make a ruling.

This isn’t just hypothetical - it’s already happened. In 2000 the electoral college came down to one state: Florida. Gore lost to Bush by less than a thousand votes. The night of the election Gore conceded, and then in the following days as the picture became more clear, he retracted his concession and took the matter to the courts. It went all the way to the Supreme Court, and he lost. They made their ruling and gave the election to Bush. That’s the way it’s supposed to happen, it’s how the founding fathers designed it. No civil war. No bloodshed.

Did Gore claim that the Bush stole the election? Did he sulk away to his mansion and call himself the “real” president? Did he whip his supporters into a frenzy, tell them to “stop the steal” and unleash them on the capital building when the votes were going to be certified? No. He conceded. Not only did he concede, he thanked his supporters for their hard work, congratulated Bush, and told his people to throw their support behind the President-elect. Because that’s what you do in a democracy. It’s not because he’s some decent guy, it’s your responsibility as a participant in the electoral process.

You throw your hat into the ring. You run your campaign and try to sway the voters. If you lose, you concede. It’s not just a formality, it’s critically important to the health of the country as a whole. Every candidate knows this. Kerry conceded in 2004. McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012. Nixon conceded when he lost to Kennedy in 1960, and Nixon was an irredeemable piece of shit. (Skip to 5:50 to hear Nixon describe the importance of concession and uniting around the victor)

Each speech is essentially the same: thanking supporters, officially conceding, and throwing your support behind the new president-elect and urging your supporters to do the same. Candidates, even the irredeemably shitty ones, know that elections are vicious and divisive, so effort needs to be made to try and unite afterwards. No one man is bigger or more important than the whole.

People need to have faith in the process, that elections are fair and free, and that the candidate with the most votes (or electoral votes) wins. If they doubt that very foundational premise some of them will resort to violence. They’ll resort to violence because they’ll believe that the legal channels for peaceful resolution aren’t relevant. That’s why the insurrectionists on January 6th thought they were being “patriots”. It’s a mass self-delusion that was perpetuated and allowed to fester and grow because Trump spent five years gaslighting the country and refusing to concede an election he lost. They might be ignorant authoritarians, but they wouldn’t be storming the capital without Trump and his big lie.

Trump had every legal right to contest the results of the 2020 election in the courts. He did. Over 60 lawsuits filed in multiple states. It went to the Supreme Court. He lost every single one. Those lawsuits failed or were tossed out because there was legitimately zero proof of the massive fraud and theft Trump was claiming.

The recent Vanity Fair interview with Trump is probably one of the scariest things I’ve read in a long while. Among the never-ending predictable lies and bullshit we come to expect from Trump came the fact that he was disappointed in the federal and state judges he appointed that decided against him or tossed out his lawsuits. He was upset with Brett Kavanagh and the conservative judges on the Supreme Court for their disloyalty. THEIR DISLOYALTY.

This is surreal. It’s beyond the pale. The President of the United States is upset that a separate branch of the federal government didn’t show him sufficient loyalty. What the everlasting fuck is this fascist nonsense? The federal government is not a mafia family. Federal judges don’t owe anyone loyalty - regardless of whether they’re from the same party or if they’ve been appointed by someone. Your merit is not judged on your loyalty, especially when your very role is to remain impartial and interpret the law. Judges are loyal to the constitution, not the President! It’s in their very oath of office!

This is why Trump is such a threat. It’s not just his ignorance, his incompetence, his vanity, his vindictiveness, his narcissism. Those are all horrible qualities to have. He’s a threat because he’s willing to completely disregard and tear down the very bedrock principles of democracy (the separation of authority and the peaceful transfer of power) to serve his needs. His ego can’t handle a loss, so the constitution and everything that makes democracy a functional alternative to despotism and authoritarianism can burn.

Trump isn’t just the worst president in history, he’s a threat to the very fabric of the country. Because of the slow crawl of his erosion of norms, the frenetic pace of 24 hour news, the short attention span of our modern society, and a media obsessed with ratings over information, Trump has been allowed to get away with this behaviour. The fact that Republicans are lining up and falling over each other to supplicate themselves before this man should be a stain that should never wash off and should be their legacy. If there is any justice in the world, history will not be kind to these enabling sycophants who actively helped this cancerous growth.

I wish I was being hyperbolic, I really do. But there’s no other way to see that one political party and millions of Americans are not only fine with authoritarianism, but will actively cheer it on and promote its rise.

Sure, a case can be made that this was inevitable given the course of the Republican party for the last 30 years. Trump is a mutated strain of their brand of “conservatism” which doesn’t really seem to stand for anything at this point beyond the acquisition and protection of power. But Trump is still far more dangerous than the original pathogen: he’s a force that wants to ensure that facts don’t mean anything and that loyalty is the only currency that matters.

Sometimes I feel like I’m screaming into the void about some of this, but I feel like Trump’s antics and firehose of bullshit is causing millions of people to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Hell, they’re losing sight of the galaxy for the pebbles of sand on the beach.

The only way I see out of this is if he faces legal ramifications for what he’s done. If he’s permitted to get away with it, and run in 2024, and win? That’s the absolute nightmare scenario.

Enterprise Software - A Camel is a Horse Designed by Committee by Arvind Narayanan More Pasta

The point is, some products are sold directly to the end user, and are forced to prioritize usability. Other products are sold to an intermediary whose concerns are typically different from the user’s needs. Such products don’t HAVE to end up as unusable garbage, but usually do.

Jira and Confluence, which I use at work, come to mind as formerly amazing products which have gone down the shitter with unnecessary Enterprise™ feature-bloat over the past few years. I wonder if there’s a way out of this mire (maybe start saying “No”?) Until then, #jobsecurity I guess.

My university just announced that it’s dumping Blackboard, and there was much rejoicing. Why is Blackboard universally reviled? There’s a standard story of why “enterprise software” sucks. If you’ll bear with me, I think this is best appreciated by talking about… baby clothes!

There are two types of baby outfits. The first is targeted at people buying gifts. It’s irresistible on the rack. It has no fewer than 18 buttons. At least 3 people are needed to get a screaming baby into it. It’s worn once, so you can send a photo to the gifter, then discarded.

Other baby outfits are meant for parents. They’re marked “Easy On, Easy Off” or some such, and they really mean it. Zippers aren’t easy enough so they fasten using MAGNETS. A busy parent (i.e. a parent) can change an outfit in 5 seconds, one handed, before rushing to work.

The point is, some products are sold directly to the end user, and are forced to prioritize usability. Other products are sold to an intermediary whose concerns are typically different from the user’s needs. Such products don’t HAVE to end up as unusable garbage, but usually do.

OK, back to Blackboard! It’s actually designed to look extremely attractive to the administrators (not professors and definitely not students) who make purchase decisions. Since they can’t easily test usability, they instead make comparisons based on… checklists of features. 🤦🏽‍♂️

And that’s exactly what’s wrong with Blackboard. It has every feature ever dreamed up. But like anything designed by a committee, the interface is incoherent and any task requires at least fifteen clicks (and that’s if you even remember the correct sequence the first time).

Software companies can be breathtakingly clueless when there’s a layer of indirection between them and their users. Everyone who’s suffered through Blackboard will have the same reaction to this: try having less functionality!…

The grumbling about Blackboard has finally gotten loud enough that schools are paying a modicum of attention to usability when evaluating alternatives. Blackboard’s market share has dropped dramatically and this will probably continue. Good.

Here’s the kicker, though. It’s extremely likely that whichever vendor emerges on top will fall into the same trap. The incentives almost guarantee it. Once profs and students put down the pitchforks, committees will go back to their checklists, and feature creep will resume.

Blackboard is 20 years old. If Twitter is around in 20 years, let’s see how this prediction holds up. And now I have to go rescue a three-month old from an extremely cute and equally uncomfortable outfit.

How To Be A Snob: Drinking Alcohol by theferrett More Pasta

Once a year, I spend $75 on a good bottle of Scotch Whisky and bring it to Karla’s birthday party. Last year, I brought Talliskers; this year, I brought Cragganmore. I break open the bottle, and ask everyone to take a taste. In this way, we can slowly get an idea of the difference between the various kinds of whiskies. And so it came to pass that I was sitting there with Nate and Genevieve, snobbing it up.

“It’s not as peaty as the Talliskers,” Nate noted, sipping the Cragganmore with relish.

“And it has a really quick drop off the back end,” Geneveive sighed, swishing it around in his mouth.

Bill was standing there, looking confused and envious. “I don’t taste any of that,” he said, looking down in his glass as though he might be able to see the peat if he squinted hard enough. “I don’t have a really good palate. You guys all taste these zillions of things, but I don’t get anything.”

“Who says we do?” I asked. “We could be faking it. It’s really easy, and you can look all cultured without tasting a damn thing. Want me to show you how?”

Step 1: Smell the Drink.

Stick your nose into the glass. Sniff deeply, then close your eyes as though you’re processing a lot of things simultaneously. Even if you smell nothing, act as though this drink is a cornucopia of sensations and you’re sorting through all of them.

Do not speak. Scent is pretty easy to verify, so if you guess wrong then everyone will know what a yutz you are. If someone ventures their own review as to what it smells like, frown as though you’re too busy concentrating on this intense bouquet to interrupt it with stupid words. This automatically gives you the edge, since as a conneisseur you know enough not to discuss anything until the full tasting is over.

Step 2: Drink the Drink.

Take a mid-sized sip, then roll it around in your mouth. Don’t swish - that’s for chumps - but kind of splash it around on your tongue.

Then - and this is the most important part - hold the glass away from you at an angle. Freeze as though your entire body is concentrated upon analyzing this taste in your mouth. Narrow your eyes and look upwards as you pretend to process this beverage, taking your time as you give every impression of savoring the flavor.

After a minute, bob your head just a little, as though coming to a conclusion.

Step 3: Finish the Drink.

Swallow it and then open your mouth, breathing in. Some people claim they can feel the drink mutate upon their palate as the air rushes over their tongue; they are liars, but convincing ones. And now you can be one of them.

Nod again.

Step 4: Decide Upon Your Pronouncement.

Now, to understand how to be a proper snob, you must understand two things about taste:

  1. Taste is a bell curve.
  2. Nobody fucking knows what they’re talking about.

The first point is easy; you don’t taste everything all at once. There’s actually a rise and flow to the taste process, starting from when the food touches your tongue, building to the intense mid-section, and then dropping off into an aftertaste. In the case of a McDonald’s hamburger, what you’d taste first would be the squishiness of the bread and the oversalted burger, rising to the chewy dog food of the burger itself as you mash it around, ending with that greasy oil slick that coats your throat at the end.

You may never experience this yourself, but trust me when I say that it does happen. You just gulped some whisky, but the foodies experienced a three-act play in their tastebuds. So you must be aware of this flow.

The second part involves understanding that taste is an intensely personal experience, which is to say that you can say pretty much anything and nobody knows any better. In fact, unless you’re drinking with a sommelier who knows what she’s doing - in which case let her tell you what’s in it and nod a lot - then everyone is afraid that maybe they’re the ones who don’t know what they’re doing.

If you say, “I taste a faint hint of paprika,” they don’t go, “Wow, what a liar” - they become paranoid because they don’t taste it. Maybe you’re the guy with the super taste buds who catches everything. There they are, sipping this drink and only getting a third of its full bouquet, and if they really had the genetics to appreciate it the way that you do they would taste paprika.

You can say anything. You think people taste oak in a wine? Fuck no. Who the hell eats oak? These fuckers want you to think they’re walking around taking bites out of dogwood trees so they can tell what kind of barrel the wine came from - they’re awful, awful fakers. And if they can tell you what country the oak came from, the first note you should mark in their aroma is a seething, overwhelming bullshit.

So fake away! But there are guidelines.

First, if you’re faking it, everything is faint - you want to talk in terms of hints, notes, and shades. Give the impression that you only barely caught this delicate wisp of a flavor because you were concentrating so intensely back in Step 2. You want to let them tell you what the overwhelming taste of the drink is; it’s your job to bat clean-up and talk about shit they might have missed.

Second, some flavors are better than others. Paprika is actually a bad example, since that’s a spice. Generally, you want to only talk about flowers and fruits, with maybe some hints of leafy spices when you want to show off. (“Mint” is bad, but “oregano” can be gotten away with if you’re an expert.) The only exception is beer, where you want to talk about breads and chocolate flavors; starches are good for beers.

And remember: natural is better than fake.

GOOD: “I taste a hint of blackberry.”
BAD: “The tang of Fruit Roll-Ups.”

So pick a taste, and pick a place - which is to say it’s at the beginning or the end of the curve. (You never want to taste anything in the middle, where the intense flavors are. Remember, you’re picking up the transmissions from Alpha Tau.)

When in doubt, go with blackberry. It shows up everywhere.

Step 5: Making Your Pronouncement

When you speak, speak slowly, as though you’re coming to a conclusion. Then break out with it.

“I taste a hint of blackberry just at the finish.”

Either people will agree with you, or they won’t. If they agree with you, great! They don’t taste shit, either. You can now tell them you’re catching a splash of Strawberry Go-Gurt in the fourth and down, and they’ll just nod and stare. You have bolloxed a bunch of clueless snobs; take a bow!

If they don’t agree, then frown a little. They won’t ever say, “Bullshit! You fucker!” Instead, they’ll say, “Really? I don’t taste that…”

Stick to your guns. You caught it. Take another sip as though to confirm, repeat the process and say, “No. Still there for me. Not for you, though?” Then laugh about how weird taste is, that some folks catch things that others do. Then spend the rest of the evening nodding and agreeing with the other snobs, only occasionally venturing a guess, because if you spend the entire evening contradicting them then the game is up.

And that’s it! By the end of the evening, Bill had learned his lessons, and now he can stare quietly at the ceiling and then talk about the bouquet along with the rest of us awful, awful liars.

Now you, too, can fake anyone out. Remember: use this power only for good, never evil. Or to get laid, whichever comes first.

45 Jokes from The Laughter Lover by John T. Quinn More Pasta

Translation copyright 2001 John T. Quinn; all rights reserved.


Philogelos (The Laughter Lover) is a collection of some 265 jokes1 likely made in the fourth or fifth century CE. Some manuscripts give the names of the compilers as the otherwise-unknown Hierocles and Philagrios. Other manuscripts drop the name of one or other or both.

Although The Laugher Lover is the oldest surviving example, joke-books already had a long pedigree. According to Athenaeus 614d-e, Philip the Great of Macedon had paid handsomely for a social club in Athens to write down its members’ witticisms. At the dawn of the second century BCE, Plautus twice has a character refer to joke-books (Persa 392; Stichus 400).

Modern scholars such as Rapp and Baldwin have noted how women are infrequent targets of the humor - earning, in fact, attack under only one category of their own, “Horny Women”, a category containing just two jokes. Yet one may wonder, for instance, whether the jokes under “Misogynistic Men” have as their primary target the female sex rather than the men who hate them. Baldwin also remarks on the virtual absence of homosexual themes in the collection.

I have included in this selection all jokes in which women are mentioned or appear as characters. Also included are jokes that seemed particularly relevant for gender studies. I follow the Greek text edited by R.D. Dawe (Bibliotheca Teubneriana, 2000). All the headings, except the last one (“Miscellaneous”), have some manuscript warrant. I decided to translate the alternate versions of the same joke to underscore the fact that these jokes represent primarily an oral rather than a written tradition; the humor lies in the conceit and not in a canonical text.

Select Bibliography

  • Baldwin, Barry, trans. with commentary, The Philogelos or Laughter-Lover (Amsterdam, 1983)
  • Jennings, Victoria, review of R.D. Dawe’s text, BMCR 01.04.05
  • Rapp, Albert, “A Greek Joe Miller” Classical Journal 46 (1951), pp.286-290 & 318
  • Thierfelder, Andreas, German trans. with commentary, Philogelos, Der Lachfreund (Munich, 1968)



#27. An intellectual, falling sick, had promised to pay the doctor if he recovered. When his wife nagged at him for drinking wine while he had a fever, he said: “Do you want me to get healthy and be forced to pay the doctor?”

#43. When an intellectual was told by someone, “Your beard is now coming in,” he went to the rear-entrance and waited for it. Another intellectual asked what he was doing. Once he heard the whole story, he said: “I’m not surprised that people say we lack common sense. How do you know that it’s not coming in by the other gate?”2

#45. An intellectual during the night ravished his grandmother and for this got a beating from his father. He complained: “You’ve been mounting my mother for a long time, without suffering any consequences from me. And now you’re mad that you found me screwing your mother for the first time ever!”

#51A. An intellectual caught sight of a deep well on his country-estate, and asked if the water was any good. The farmhands assured him that it was good, and that his own parents used to drink from that well. The intellectual expressed his amazement: “How long were their necks, if they could drink from something so deep!”

#51B. An intellectual visiting his country-estate asked if the water in a well there was good to drink. He was told that it was good, and that his own parents used to drink from the well. The intellectual was amazed: “How long were their necks, that they could drink from something so deep!”

#53. An intellectual was eating dinner with his father. On the table was a large lettuce with many succulent shoots. The intellectual suggested: “Father, you eat the children; I’ll take mother.”3

#57. An intellectual got a slave pregnant. At the birth, his father suggested that the child be killed. The intellectual replied: “First murder your own children and then tell me to kill mine.”4

#64. An intellectual bought a pair of pants. But he could hardly put them on because they were too tight. So he got rid of the hair around his legs.5

#69. An intellectual checked in on the parents of a dead classmate. The father was wailing: “O son, you have left me a cripple!” The mother was crying: “O son, you have taken the light from my eyes!” Later, the intellectual suggested to his friends: “If he were guilty of all that, he should have been cremated while still alive.”

#70. An intellectual came to check in on a friend who was seriously ill. When the man’s wife said that he had ‘departed’, the intellectual replied: “When he arrives back, will you tell him that I stopped by?”

#72. An intellectual had been at a wedding-reception. As he was leaving, he said: “I pray that you two keep getting married so well.”

#73. The same intellectual said that the tomb of Scribonia was handsome and lavish, but that it had been built on an unhealthy site.6

#97. Upon the death of his wife, an intellectual was out shopping for a coffin and got into a big fight over the price. When the salesman swore that he couldn’t sell it for less than fifty thousand, the intellectual said: “Since you’re under an oath, here’s the fifty thousand. But throw in for free a small casket, in case I need it for my son.”

#98. A friend met an intellectual, and said: “Congratulations! You’ve got a baby boy!” The intellectual replied: “Thanks to buddies like you!”7

Men on the Make

#106. A professional beggar had been letting his girlfriend think that he was rich and of noble birth. Once, when he was getting a handout at the neighbor’s house, he suddenly saw her. He turned around and said: “Have my dinner-clothes sent here.”

#107. There was another man, just like the last one - a big talker, but in fact impoverished. By chance he got sick, and his girlfriend, coming into his place without warning, found him lying on a humble mat made of reeds. Turning over, he claimed that the doctors were responsible: “The best and most famous doctors in the city ordered me to sleep on a mat like this.”


#114. An Abderite saw a eunuch and asked him how many kids he had. When that guy said that he didn’t have the balls, so as to be able to have children, the Abderite asked 9

#115. An Abderite saw a eunuch talking with a woman and asked him if she was his wife. When he replied that eunuchs can’t have wives, the Abderite asked: “So is she your daughter?”

#116. An Abderite who was a eunuch had the misfortune to develop a hernia.10

#252. An unlucky eunuch developed a hernia.

#117. An Abderite shared a mattress with a man who suffered from a hernia. In the night, he got up to relieve himself. When he returned, he accidentally (since it was still dark) stepped right on the spot of the hernia. When the man let out a howl, the Abderite asked: “Why weren’t you lying down heads-up?”11

#123. An Abderite followed custom and cremated his dead father. He ran home and said to his ailing mother: “There are a few fire-logs still left. If you want to stop suffering, get yourself cremated on them.”


#145. When a jokester who was a shopkeeper found a policeman screwing his wife, he said: “I got something I wasn’t bargaining for.”

#151. When a jokester saw a pimp renting the services of a black prostitute, he said: "What’s your rate for the night?12

#151 (bis) A. When a jokester saw an ophthalmologist busy rubbing away on a girl, he said: “Watch out, young man, that you don’t, in healing her sight, ruin her ‘I’”.13
#151 (bis) B & #260. When a jokester saw an ophthalmologist busy rubbing away on a girl in her prime, he said: “Don’t, in healing her sight, ruin her depths.”

#262. A jokester went abroad; there, he developed a hernia. Coming home, he was asked if he had brought a present back. “Nothing for you - just a headrest for my thighs.” 14

#263. Someone needled a jokester: “I had your wife, without paying a dime.” He replied: "It’s my duty as a husband to couple with such a monstrosity. What made you do it?’


#159. A Kymean constructed a huge threshing-floor and stationed his wife on the opposite end. He asked her if she could see him. When she replied that it was hard for her to see him, he snapped: “The time will come when I’ll build a threshing-floor so big that I won’t be able to see you and you won’t be able to see me.”16

Rude People

#187A. A rude astrologer cast a sick boy’s horoscope. After promising the mother that the child had many years ahead of him, he demanded payment. When she said, “Come tomorrow and I’ll pay you,” he objected: “But what if the boy dies during the night and I lose my fee?”

#187B. A rude star-gazer cast a sick boy’s horoscope. After promising the mother that the child had many years ahead of him, he demanded payment. When the mother said, "I’ll pay tomorrow, " he objected: “But what if the boy dies during the night? Do I lose my fee?”


#197. An incompetent schoolteacher was asked who the mother of Priam was. Not knowing the answer, he said: “It’s polite to call her Ma’am.”."17

#201. A man, just back from a trip abroad, went to an incompetent fortune-teller. He asked about his family, and the fortune-teller replied: “Everyone is fine, especially your father.” When the man objected that his father had been dead for ten years, the reply came: “You have no clue who your real father is.”

#202. An incompetent astrologer cast a boy’s horoscope and said: “He will be a lawyer, then a city-official, then a governor.” But when this child died, the mother confronted the astrologer: “He’s dead – the one you said was going to be a lawyer and an official and a governor.” “By his holy memory,” he replied, “if he had lived, he would have been all of those things!”

#204. An incompetent astrologer cast a man’s horoscope and said: “You are unable to father children.” When the man objected that he had seven kids, the astrologer replied: “Look after them well.”18


#219. A glutton betrothed his daughter to another glutton. Asked what he was giving her as a dowry, he replied: “A house whose windows face the bakery.”


#227A. While a drunkard was imbibing in a tavern, someone approached and told him: “Your wife is dead.” Taking this in, he said to the bartender: “Time, sir, to mix a drink up from your dark stuff.”19

#227B. While an intellectual was imbibing in a tavern, someone approached and told him: “Your wife is dead.” The intellectual said: “Time, my good man, to mix me some dark wine.”

People with Bad Breath

#232. A man with bad breath, kissing his wife over and over, said: “My Lady, my Hera, my Aphrodite.” And she said, turning away: “My - o Zeus an ozeus!”20

#234. A man with bad breath asked his wife: “Madame, why do you hate me?” And she said in reply: “Because you love me.”

#239A. A young actor was loved by two women, one with bad breath and the other with reeking armpits. The first woman said: “Give me a kiss, master.” And the second: “Give me a hug, master.” But he declaimed: "Alas, what shall I do? I am torn betwixt two evils!’21

#239B. An actor who was a jokester was loved by two women, one with bad breath and the other with reeking armpits. One said: “Give me a kiss.” And one said: “Give me a hug.” But he declaimed: “Alas, what shall I do? I am torn betwixt two evils!”

Horny Women

#244A. A young man said to his libido-driven wife: “What should we do, darling? Eat or have sex?” And she replied: “You can choose. But there’s not a crumb in the house.”

#244B. A young man said to his libido-driven wife: “What should we do, darling? Eat or have sex?” And she said: “You can choose. But we don’t have a crumb.”

#245A. A young man invited into his home frisky old women. He said to his servants: “Mix a drink for one, and have sex with the other, if she wants to.” The women spoke up as one: “I’m not thirsty.”
#245B. A young man was hosting frisky old women. He said to his slaves: “Mix a drink for the one that wants it and have sex with the one who wants that.” And the women said: “I’m not thirsty.”

Misogynistic Men

#246. A misogynist stood in the marketplace and announced: “I’m putting my wife up for sale, tax-free!” When people asked him why, he said: “So the authorities will impound her.”22

#247A. A misogynist paid his last respects at the tomb of his dead wife. When someone asked him, “Who has gone to rest?,” he replied: “Me, now that I’m alone.”

#247B. While a misogynist was paying his last respects to his wife, someone asked him: “Who has gone to rest?” He replied: “Me, now that I’m alone.”

#248A. A misogynist was sick, at death’s door. When his wife said to him, “If anything bad happens to you, I’ll hang myself,” he looked up at her and said: “Do me the favor while I’m still alive.”

#248B. When a misogynist took sick and his wife said to him, “If you die, I’ll hang myself,” he looked up at her and said: “Do me the favor while I’m still alive.”

#249. A misogynist had a wife who never stopped talking or arguing. When she died, he had her body carried on a shield to the cemetery. When someone noticed this and asked him why, he replied: “She was a fighter.”23


#250. A young man was asked whether he took orders from his wife or if she obeyed his every command. He boasted: “My wife is so afraid of me that if I so much as yawn she shits.”

#251. The lady of a house had a simple-minded slave. But when she got a peek at just how thick his other head was also, she lusted after him. She put a mask over her face so that he wouldn’t recognize her, and played around with him. Joining her game, he had sex with her. Then, grinning as he usually did, he reported to his master: “Sir, sir, I fucked the dancer and the mistress was inside!”24

Other Ancient Jokes On the WWW

Permission is hereby granted to distribute for classroom use, provided that both the translator and Diotima are identified in any such use. Other uses not authorized in writing by the translator or in accord with fair use policy are expressly prohibited.

  1. An exact count is elusive because some jokes appear twice in the collection, often with minor modifications. ↩︎

  2. This is the only joke with homoerotic undertones. It was a common trope that a boy lost his desirability as a “beloved” when his beard filled in. I have adopted Baldwin’s suggestion of reading a further joke here in a play on the Greek word that means both “anus” and “gate”. ↩︎

  3. The main stalk of the lettuce is the “mother” and its shoots are the “children.” Mythological background helps color the black humor: Cronus swallowed his own children; Oedipus married his mother. ↩︎

  4. The father’s suggestion was likely the “common sense” attitude. Fathers in the classical world could indeed reject their infant children and have them killed. ↩︎

  5. Originally barbarian garb, trousers became fashionable in late antiquity. The intellectual here adopts this he-man style – but proceeds to pluck out the hair on his legs & groin in the manner of an effeminate. ↩︎

  6. The same jest appears in the collection as #26, but without the name “Scribonia.” The most famous Scribonia was the second wife of the emperor Augustus, whom he divorced on the alleged grounds of moral turpitude. Baldwin doubts the identification, conjecturing that the Augustan Scribonia would not have had a notable tomb. But reality hardly needs to intrude on a joke. Thierfelder noticed that in Philogelos the initial formula “The same” links two jokes with similar content – but thought #73 an exception to the pattern. However, if the joke’s Scribonia is indeed the famous one, the use of “The same” in #73 is not an exception, for both #72 and #73 allude to divorce and remarriage. Perhaps even we are to understand that the remark in #73 was made at the wedding-reception which is the setting of #72, where mention of tombs, and of Scribonia, would have been ill-omened. ↩︎

  7. The intellectual gives thanks for the congratulations, but the rest of us understand the thanks as a comment on how his wife got pregnant. ↩︎

  8. Abdera was a city in Thrace, whose inhabitants bore the brunt of dumb-ethnic jokes since at least the days of Cicero in the first century BCE. ↩︎

  9. The joke is missing its punchline in the manuscripts. “But do you at least have some grandchildren?” has been suggested as a possibility. It seems to me, rather, that the jest should hinge on the otherwise more-explicit-than-necessary mention of the missing balls, and I have completed the joke accordingly. ↩︎

  10. In the most common type of hernia suffered by men, some of the lower intestine enters the scrotum (which, of course, a eunuch lacks), distending it. For a joke on that swelling, see #262. ↩︎

  11. Part of the joke plays on “head” as “tip of the penis”. The collection plays on the obscene meaning of the word also in #251 & #262. Brushing up against an erect penis would have been a warning sign to the Abderite not to step down on the man. ↩︎

  12. In Greco-Roman antiquity, black-skinned people were often compared to the night. ↩︎

  13. The doctor is rubbing ointment into her eye, but the jokester foresees a more sexual sort of friction. My use of “I” aims to capture some of the pun in the Greek word which means both “eye” and “girl”. ↩︎

  14. A play on the obscene meaning of the word “head”, as in #117. ↩︎

  15. The people of Kyme, a coastal city of Asia Minor, are made the butt of more jokes in the Philogelos than even the people of Abdera. Strabo, at the start of the first century CE, remarks on the proverbial stupidity of the Kymeans. ↩︎

  16. Commentators have puzzled over the joke. I take it that the humor is quite simple, and hinges on the expression “it was hard for her” – the wife means only that she can just barely see him, but the husband misconstrues it to mean that she doesn’t like looking at him. ↩︎

  17. No wonder the schoolteacher was at a loss: there were six different names current for the mother of the king of Troy. ↩︎

  18. “Look after them well”: the astrologer insinuates that his client won’t be able to have another child, if one that he already has were to die. ↩︎

  19. The drunkard wants wine that is dark-colored as a sign of mourning – to the extent that imbibing after hearing such news is a sign of mourning at all! ↩︎

  20. Unable to find a suitable English equivalent, I have reproduced the Greek, in which “ozeus” is a word for “person with bad breath.” ↩︎

  21. The declamation is a line in tragic diction; however, no known Greek tragedy contains this line. ↩︎

  22. The joke depends on the fact that black-market goods, sold without the proper tax assessment, were subject to confiscation. ↩︎

  23. The bodies of war-heroes in archaic Greece were sometimes honored by being carried on a shield. ↩︎

  24. Dancing-girls often wore masks as part of their outfit. The “straight meaning” against which the punchline plays is this: the slave worries that the lady was unexpectedly inside the house, and so had caught him having unauthorized sex. In the middle of this joke, Dawe emends the text slightly and indicates a lacuna. I follow Jennings in preferring to ignore these changes. ↩︎

What David Foster Wallace Circled in His Dictionary by Slate Magazine and the Harry Ransom Center More Pasta

Ayn Rand the Philosopher by samiiRedditBot More Pasta

“Two novels can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other involves orcs.” – Kung Fu Monkey

Ayn Rand is to philosophy what Twilight is to horror fiction - being that the only people who like it have absolutely no experience of what the subject is really about and as a result have nothing to compare it to. Her influence only extends to the general public and she is pretty much ignored by academia, and even then she is more or less unknown outside of North America. I suppose that if you’re a fan you might think this is due to her ideas being so radical that they threaten the liberal elite of University Academia, who plot to turn the USA into a communist country, or whatever. However the reality is that it’s just really bad to the point of being actually quite painful to read if you know anything at all about real philosophy. Reading the woman is to philosophiers like watching CSI if you know anything about computers - just painful.

What Ayn Rand supposed is that there exists a absolute reality of the A=A. Essentially in her mind existence exists and everything that man does is merely the reordering of existence. She goes on to argue that things like art enable man to create metaphors in reality enabling their wildest metaphysical dreams to take flight. She’ll argue that things such as visual illusions, do not prove that that man can not trust their perceptions but rather their perceptions are always correct and any mistakes are mistakes of interpretation, rather than perception of reality. She argues that since you are able to draw absolute logical conclusions and concepts from reality, that the only valid form of logic is Aristotelian logic because it is the one most grounded in reality.

She argues that the ideal world is one where all men are following their own “rational self interest” that they have drawn from reality, which in her mind is represented via a perfect capitalist society, and that there exists a “conspiracy” to suppress men by making them “unsure” of reality. She’ll redefine terms like selfishness and altruistic towards this end. For example a moral individual is one who follows their own “selfish” interest to build houses or whatever but that this is always undermined by “altruistic parasites” who will loot the efforts these selfish individuals rather than going out and doing things for themselves, mainly because they envy the selfish.

Now, as far as philosophical views go this is a pretty loony view of the world. Here are some objections

Her views are over simplistic solutions to complex problems, for example even if you suppose that there exists an absolute reality then you’re still left with the problem of how you, as a subjective individual, reconcile your abstract ideas to it - these are the sort of problems that real philosophers attempts to address. Basically in saying “existence exists” you haven’t actually “solved” anything but merely misdirected attention away from the problem. It is like saying that to end war people should just stop fighting, yeah sure, that people would stop fighting might be a consequence but then how would people otherwise solve disputes? It is childish logic, essentially.

Her views are dogmatic, that is they are true because you believe them to be true rather than being able to prove it to be true. There is this attitude that no one shall enter the kingdom but through me, this is not the way philosohpy works - because philosophy is dialectical - but rather the way religion works. What she is doing in saying that reality objectively exists is to make her personal subjective views appear to be more concrete than they actually are. Which is what her true intent is: to turn her specific definition of what capitalism is into some weird religion for the gullible, and nothing more.

She simply makes stuff up, for example she supposes that the whole of 19th century Idealism is merely a conspiracy to make people unsure of their own existence so that they are easier to control by 'altruistic ’ dictators. She spends the vast majority of her time in her books simply constructing and then knocking down various strawmen, who are represented by her characters. For example Dr. Floyd Ferris.

Her work is just derivative of other better philosophiers such as Nietzsche, that she has simply rewrittern a bad interpretation of in order to sell her rubbish moral opinions. As a consequence you’re much better off just going to the source and cutting out the middle hag, espically since she seems to have a rather limited grasp of genuine philosophy, and much of anything in general. This is very apparent if you even have a basic working knowledge of philosophy.

She’ll just ignore her own arguments when they turn out to be inconvient. For example she’ll celebrate the triumph of the Apollo project which being a government funded collective effort is the very antithesis of everything she is about. Brushing it off with broad statments like: “It would have been done” etc. And everything about who she was, how she became who she was and how she lived her life point towards a high level of cognitive dissonance. In fact there are convenient loopholes in her philosophy that state that her arguments can be ignored based a emergency situation, such as being on a life boat etc.

But the greatest failing is that even if you subscribe to her “philosophy” and ignore the above, even then it still falls down by its own argument. For example suppose I give you $5 for a hotdog, now as a objectivist to suppose that some benefit has occured between both parties then you have to presume that money is actually worth something outside of a social context, otherwise nothing has been created in the transaction since at the end of the day all money is, is a abstract concept. To put this another way, if I gave you $5 for a hot dog then there would be absolutely no benefit to you if you are unable to spend it due to it not being legal tender. To quote Adam Smith: “All money is a matter of belief”, currency is only currency because of social and economic forces and not because it is instrinically worth anything. It is not linked to reality in anyway, at all, but is only symbolically representative of reality. Do you see how it defeats itself? if objectivism is followed to it’s logical conclusion then money is worthless, in a supposed capitalist utopia

In conclusion: Rand just wrote a very bad interpretation of Nietzsche for young adults. Where Nietzsche argued that the problem with society was that it was based in ideals, E.G., Christianity, that were essentially founded in nihilism and were therefore self-destructive because they were effectively internalizing resentment and suppressing human passions, and went on to argue that the cure to this was to be found in the “free spirits” being those able to break free from this endless pattern of idealized self-destruction by getting back in touch with their own human drives, who love fate, who are (or do not resent) the strong and who reject notions of absolute ideal truth. What Rand does is take this view literary and argue that rather than rejecting it you should buy into a ideal - that further that it is objectively the only ideal, there being only one reality - that is ultimately for the benefit of those at the top of the pyramid, that represent the ideal man - her interpretation of the free spirits - and that society should be constructed only for the benefit of these people. That all the problems of society come about due to rejecting this and suppressing the elite - who would magically solve all the world’s problems if they were given free reign to pursue their own selfish goals. Really, it’s like the difference between devil worship and atheism, the latter rejects religion itself while the former gives up and decides to join the comic relief.

–edit, Wow if I known that I would have made best of Reddit I would have actually spent more time editting the post for clarity rather than giving up half way through and deciding to go to bed. It’s a jumble to be sure.

Some Horoscopes by Unknown More Pasta

Aquarius (Jan 23 - Feb 22)
You have an inventive mind and are inclined to be progressive. You lie a great deal. You make the same mistakes repeatedly because you are stupid. Everyone thinks you are a fucking jerk.

Pisces (Feb 23 - Mar 22)
You are a pioneer type and think most people are dickheads. You are quick to reprimand, impatient and full of advice. You do nothing but piss-off everyone you come in contact with. You are a prick.

Aries (Mar 23 - April 22)
You have a wild imagination and often think you are being followed by the FBI or CIA. You have minor influence on your friends and people resent you for flaunting your power. You lack confidence and are a general dipshit.

Taurus (April 23 - May 22)
You are practical and persistent. You have a dogged determination and work like hell. Most people think your are stubborn and bullheaded. You are nothing but a goddamed communist.

Gemini (May 23 - June 22)
You are a quick and intelligent thinker. People like you because you are bisexual. You are inclined to expect too much for too little. This means your are a cheap bastard. Geminis are notorious for thriving on incest.

Cancer (June 23 - July 22)
You are sympathetic and understanding to other people’s problems, which makes you a sucker. You are always putting things off. That is why you will always be on welfare and won’t be worth a shit. Everyone in prison is a Cancer.

Leo (July 23 - Aug 22)
You consider yourself a born leader. Others think you are an idiot. Most Leos are bullies. You are vain and cannot tolerate criticism. Your arrogance is disgusting. Leo people are thieving motherfuckers and enjoy masturbation more than sex.

Virgo (Aug 23 - Sept 22)
You are the logical type and hate disorder. Your shit-picking attitude is sickening to your friends and co-workers. You are cold and unemotional and often fall asleep while fucking. Virgos make good bus drivers and pimps.

Libra (Sept 23 - Oct 22)
You are the artistic type and have a difficult time dealing with reality. If you are a male you are probably queer. Chances for employment and monetary gain are nill. Most Libra women are whores. All Libras die of venereal disease.

Scorpio (Oct 23 - Nov 22)
You are the worst of the lot. You are shrewd in business and cannot be trusted. You shall achieve the pinnacle of success because of your total lack of ethics. You are the perfect son-of-a-bitch. Most Scorpios are murdered.

Sagittarius (Nov 23 - Dec 22)
You are optimistic and enthusiastic. You have a reckless tendency to rely on your luck since you have no talent. The majority of Sagittarians are drunks. You are a worthless piece of shit.

Capricorn (Dec 23 - Jan 22)
You are conservative and afraid of taking risks. You are basically chickenshit. There has never been a Capricorn of any importance. You should kill yourself.

Friendly’s Staff Fails To Live Up To Restaurant Name, Writes “100% Sh*t Show” On Receipt by Chris Morran More Pasta

I read this story a long while ago and have been searching for it since. I have related increasingly exaggerated variants of it from memory every few years to friends who laugh nervously when I lose my damn mind to the “She just went home I guess” part.

To me, few things are funnier than stories of the wittingly incompetent and their inadvertent courage in this boring, rigged dystopia we live in.

A New Hampshire family says that after a night out to eat at Friendly’s didn’t go so well, a restaurant staffer decided to express their inner feelings through the increasingly preferred medium of the restaurant’s billing system, dropping the phrase “100% sh*t show” at the bottom of the dinner bill.

However, judging by the family’s recollection of the night, that phrase might be an accurate description of the service they received.

After waiting for about 30 minutes without service, they thought they finally located a waitress to take their order. But over the 45 minutes that followed, they were twice served other diners’ food, while theirs was missing in action.

“Come to find out, the waitress that had taken our order never submitted it she just left,” one of the customers tells WHDH-TV, “She went home I guess.”

The restaurant apologized and offered to pay for the family’s meal. And while this comp was reflected on the final check, so was the “sh*t show” remark.

“They had to have had it either entered into the cash register or they had a [expletive] show button,” says the diner, adding that she and her family aren’t offended or boycotting the restaurant and that they will go back to that Friendly’s in the future.

For what it’s worth, Friendly’s HQ released a statement to WHDH:

“[T]his type of behavior is completely unacceptable. We are investigating this with the restaurant and will take swift action. We hope we get the opportunity to rectify this directly with the guest.”

Thanks to Craig for the tip!

Using AWS Without Succumbing to Hype, FOMO, and Over-Engineering by Daniel Vassallo More Pasta

This is how I use the good parts of @awscloud, while filtering out all the distracting hype.

My background: I’ve been using AWS for 11 years — since before there was a console. I also worked inside AWS for 8 years (Nov 2010 - Feb 2019).

My experience is in web- sites/apps/services. From tiny personal projects to commercial apps running on 8,000 servers. If what you do is AI, ML, ETL, HPC, DBs, blockchain, or anything significantly different from web apps, what I’m writing here might not be relevant.

Step 1: Forget that all these things exist: Microservices, Lambda, API Gateway, Containers, Kubernetes, Docker.

Anything whose main value proposition is about “ability to scale” will likely trade off your “ability to be agile & survive”. That’s rarely a good trade off.

Start with a t3.nano EC2 instance, and do all your testing & staging on it. It only costs $3.80/mo.

Then before you launch, use something bigger for prod, maybe an m5.large (2 vCPU & 8 GB mem). It’s $70/mo and can easily serve 1 million page views per day.

1 million views is a lot. For example, getting on the front page of @newsycombinator will get you ~15-20K views. That’s just 2% of the capacity of an m5.large.

It might be tempting to use Lambda & API Gateway to save $70/mo, but then you’re going to have to write your software to fit a new immature abstraction and deal with all sorts of limits and constraints.

Basic stuff such as using a cache, debugging, or collecting telemetry/analytics data becomes significantly harder when you don’t have access to the server. But probably the biggest disadvantage is that it makes local development much harder.

And that’s the last thing you need. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you can easily start your entire application on your laptop, with one click.

With Lambda & API Gateway you’re going to be constantly battling your dev environment. Not worth it, IMO.

CloudFormation: Use it. But too much of it can also be a problem. First of all, there are some things that CFN can’t do. But more importantly, some things are best left out of CFN because it can do more harm than good.

The rule of 👍: If something is likely to be static, it’s a good candidate for CFN. Ex: VPCs, load balancers, build & deploy pipelines, IAM roles, etc. If something is likely to be modified over time, then using CFN will likely be a big headache. Ex: Autoscaling settings.

I like having a separate shell script to create things that CFN shouldn’t know about.

And for things that are hard/impossible to script, I just do them manually. Ex: Route 53 zones, ACM cert creation/validation, CloudTrail config, domain registration.

The test for whether your infra-as-code setup is good enough is whether you feel confident that you can tear down your stack & bring it up again in a few minutes without any mistakes. Spending an unbounded amount of time in pursuit of scripting everything is dumb.

Load balancers: You should probably use one even if you only have 1 instance. For $16/mo you get automatic TLS cert management, and that alone makes it worth it IMO. You just set it up once & forget about it. An ALB is probably what you’ll need, but NLB is good too.

Autoscaling: You won’t need it to spin instances up & down based on utilization. Unless your profit margins are as thin as Amazon’s, what you need instead is abundant capacity headroom. Permanently. Then you can sleep well at night — unlike Amazon’s oncall engineers 🤣

But Autoscaling is still useful. Think of it as a tool to help you spin up or replace instances according to a template. If you have a bad host, you can just terminate it and AS will replace it with an identical one (hopefully healthy) in a couple of minutes.

VPCs, Subnets, & Security Groups: These may look daunting, but they’re not that hard to grasp. You have no option but to use them, so it’s worth spending a day or two learning all there is about them. Learn through the console, but at the end set them up with CFN.

Route 53: Use it. It integrates nicely with the load balancers, and it does everything you need from a DNS service. I create hosted zones manually, but I set up A records via cfn. I also use Route 53 for .com domain registration.

CodeBuild/Deploy/Pipeline: This suite has a lot of rough edges and setup can be frustrating. But once you do set it up, the final result is simple and with few moving parts.

Don’t bother with CodeCommit though. Stick with GitHub.

Sample pipeline: A template for setting up an AWS environment from scratch.

S3: At 2.3 cents per GB/mo, don’t bother looking elsewhere for file storage. You can expect downloads of 90 MB/s per object and about a 50 ms first-byte latency. Use the default standard storage class unless you really know what you’re doing.

Database: Today, DynamoDB is an option you should consider. If you can live without “joins”, DDB is probably your best option for a database. With per-request pricing it’s both cheap and a truly zero burden solution. Remember to turn on point-in-time backups.

But if you want the query flexibility of SQL, I’d stick with RDS. Aurora is fascinating tech, and I’m really optimistic about it’s future, but it hasn’t passed the test of time yet. You’ll end up facing a ton of poorly documented issues with little community support.

CloudFront: I’d usually start without CloudFront. It’s one less thing to configure and worry about. But it’s something worth considering eventually, even just for the DDoS protection, if not for performance.

SQS: You likely won’t need it, and if you needed a message queue I’d consider something in-process first. But if you do have a good use case for it, SQS is solid, reliable, and reasonably straightforward to use.

Conclusion: I like to seperate interesting new tech from tech that has survived the test of time. EC2, S3, RDS, DDB, ELB, EBS, SQS definitely have. If you’re considering alternatives, there should be a strong compelling reason for losing all the benefits accrued over time.

A Timeline of Cruelty, Denial, and Ineptitude by Lloyd Doggett More Pasta

May 2018

The Trump Administration disbands the White House pandemic response team.

July 2019

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) epidemiologist embedded in China’s disease control agency left the post, and the Trump Administration eliminated the role.

Oct. 2019

“Currently, there are insufficient funding sources designated for the federal government to use in response to a severe influenza pandemic.” [Source: The results of a Department of Health and Human Services 2019 influenza pandemic simulation]

Jan. 22, 2020

“We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

Jan. 24, 2020

Trump praises China’s handling of the coronavirus: “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”

Jan. 28, 2020

“This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency…This is going to be the roughest thing you face” Trump’s National Security Advisor to Trump

Jan. 30, 2020

“The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on US soil… This lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.” [Memo from Trump Trade Advisor Peter Navarro]

Feb. 2, 2020

“We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

Feb. 7, 2020

“It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu… This is deadly stuff” [Trump in a private interview with Bob Woodward from The Washington Post made public on Sept. 9, 2020]

Feb. 10, 2020

“I think the virus is going to be—it’s going to be fine.”

Feb. 10, 2020

“Looks like by April, you know in theory when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”

Feb. 24, 2020

“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… the Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

Feb. 25, 2020

“CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”

Feb. 25, 2020

“I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”

Feb. 26, 2020

“The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

Feb. 26, 2020

“We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

Feb. 26, 2020

“Well, we’re testing everybody that we need to test. And we’re finding very little problem. Very little problem.”

Feb. 26, 2020

“This is a flu. This is like a flu.”

Feb. 27, 2020

“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

Feb. 27, 2020

“The ineptness with which the Trump Administration approached this problem is not only serious, it can be deadly if not changed in the approach.” – Rep. Lloyd Doggett [During a hearing, Rep. Doggett questions HHS Sec. Azar on Trump’s refusal to take this virus seriously, warning about mask and test shortages]

Feb. 28, 2020

“We’re ordering a lot of supplies. We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”

March 2, 2020

“You take a solid flu vaccine, you don’t think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?” [Trump to health officials who answered “No.”]

March 2, 2020

“A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”

March 4, 2020

“Now, and this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this. Because a lot people will have this and it’s very mild.”

March 4, 2020

“If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”

March 5, 2020

“I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”

March 5, 2020

“The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”

March 6, 2020

“I think we’re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down… a tremendous job at keeping it down.”

March 6, 2020

“You have to be calm. It’ll go away.”

March 6, 2020

“Anybody right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. And the tests are beautiful… the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.”

March 6, 2020

“I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it… Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”

March 6, 2020

“I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”

March 7, 2020

"No, I’m not concerned at all.

March 8, 2020

“We have a perfectly coordinated and fine-tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.”

March 9, 2020

During a news conference, White House officials said the U.S. will have tested one million people that week and thereafter would complete 4 million tests per week. By the end of the week, the CDC had only completed a paltry 4,000 tests.

March 10, 2020

“Just stay calm. It will go away.”

March 11, 2020

The World Health Organization categorizes the coronavirus as a pandemic due to its alarming spread and severity.

March 11, 2020

“It goes away…It’s going away. We want it to go away with very, very few deaths.”

March 12, 2020

“The system is not really geared to what we need right now…That is a failing. Let’s admit it.” [Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to Congress]

March 12, 2020

“You know, you see what’s going on. And so I just wanted that to stop as it pertains to the United States. And that’s what we’ve done. We’ve stopped it.”

March 13, 2020

“I don’t take responsibility at all.”

March 13, 2020

The Atlantic reports that less than 14,000 tests have been done in the ten weeks since the Administration had first been notified of the virus, though Mike Pence had promised the week prior that 1.5 million tests would be available by this time.

March 14, 2020

“I’d rate it a ten,” [Trump’s rating of his coronavirus response]

March 15, 2020


March 15, 2020

“This is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something that we have tremendous control over.”

March 16, 2020

“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment-try getting it yourselves,”

March 17, 2020

“The only thing we haven’t done well is get good press.”

March 17, 2020

“I felt like it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

March 19, 2020

I intended “to always play it down.” [Trump in a private taped interview with Bob Woodward, made public on September 9]

March 20, 2020

“I say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I say. I think it’s a very nasty question, and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.” [Response to reporter’s question: “What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?”]

March 22, 2020


March 24, 2020

“I’m also hopeful to have Americans working again by that Easter - that beautiful Easter day.”

March 24, 2020

“We’ve never closed down the country for the flu,” Trump said. “So you say to yourself, what is this all about?”

March 24, 2020

“They have to treat us well, also. They can’t say, ‘Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.’”

March 25, 2020

“The faster we go back, the better it’s going to be.”

March 26, 2020

The United States becomes the country with the most confirmed coronavirus cases. A title it keeps for the remainder of Trump’s time in office.

March 26, 2020

“Congratulations AMERICA!” [On Senate passage of third relief bill]

March 26, 2020

“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”

March 26, 2020

“We’ve had a big problem with the young, a woman governor from — you know who I’m talking about — from Michigan,”

March 27, 2020

“I love Michigan, one of the reasons we are doing such a GREAT job for them during this horrible Pandemic. Yet your Governor, Gretchen “Half” Whitmer is way in over her head, she doesn’t have a clue. Likes blaming everyone for her own ineptitude!”

March 27, 2020

“Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington. You’re wasting your time with him…”

March 27, 2020

“I want them to be appreciative. We’ve done a great job.”

March 27, 2020

“We’re doing a great job for the state of Washington and I think the Governor…he’s constantly chirping and I guess complaining would be a nice way of saying it.”

March 29, 2020

“Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door? How do you go from 10,000 to 300,000?”

March 29, 2020

“Unfortunately the enemy is death. It’s death. A lot of people are dying. So it’s very unpleasant.”

March 30, 2020

“Stay calm, it will go away. You know it – you know it is going away, and it will go away, and we’re going to have a great victory.”

March 30, 2020

“I think New York should be fine, based on the numbers that we see, they should have more than enough. I mean, I’m hearing stories that they’re not used or they’re not used right.”

March 30, 2020

“I haven’t heard about testing in weeks. We’re testing more than any other nation in the world. We’ve got these great tests…But I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.”

March 30, 2020

“We inherited a broken test — the whole thing was broken.”

March 31, 2020

“…it’s not the flu. It’s vicious.”

April 1, 2020

“They have to treat us well, also. They can’t say, 'Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.” [Trump’s response to governors who were pleading for medical gear and ventilators to treat surging coronavirus hospitalizations]

April 2, 2020

“Massive amounts of medical supplies… are being delivered directly to states…Some have insatiable appetites & are never satisfied (politics?). The complainers should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit.”

April 2, 2020

“…the Federal Government is merely a back-up for state governments.”

April 3, 2020

“I’m feeling good. I just don’t want to be doing – somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful resolute desk, the great resolute desk, I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don’t know, somehow I don’t see it for myself. I just don’t. Maybe I’ll change my mind.”

April 5, 2020

“FEMA, the military — what they’ve done is a miracle…And you should be thanking them for what they’ve done, not always asking wise-guy questions.” [Trump’s response to a reporter when asked about slow government response to coronavirus]

April 6, 2020


April 6, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 10,000

April 7, 2020

“So, you know, things are happening. It’s a – it’s – I haven’t seen bad. I’ve not seen bad.”

April 7, 2020

“You are not going to die from this pill…I really think it’s a great thing to try.” [Trump promoting Hydroxychloroquine, not FDA approved to treat coronavirus]

April 7, 2020

“That was a flu. OK. So you could say that I said it was a flu, or you could say the flu is nothing to – sneeze at,” [Regarding Spanish Flu]

April 8, 2020

“I read about it maybe a day, two days ago… It was a recommendation that he had, I think he told certain people on the staff, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t see it.” [Trump referring to Peter Navarro’s January warning]

April 9, 2020

“I couldn’t have done it any better,” [When asked if his coronavirus response could have been better]

April 11, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 20,000

April 13, 2020

“But I guess I’m doing OK, because, to the best of my knowledge, I’m the President of the United States, despite the things that are said.”

April 14, 2020

“Enough!” [When a reporter questioned his claim that his authority as president is “total”]

April 14, 2020

“[w]hen somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total.”

April 15, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 30,000

April 15, 2020

As Trump focuses on reopening, a leaked CDC and FEMA report warns of “significant risk of resurgence of the virus” with phased reopening.

April 19, 2020

“Now we’re going toward 50, I’m hearing, or 60,000 people [dead from the coronavirus]”

April 20, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 40,000

April 22, 2020

“If [coronavirus] comes back though, it won’t be coming back in the form that it was, it will be coming back in smaller doses that we can contain…it’s also possible it doesn’t come back at all.”

April 23, 2020

“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

April 23, 2020

“So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether its ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said, that hasn’t been checked but you’re gonna test it. And then I said, supposing it brought the light inside the body, which you can either do either through the skin or some other way…”

April 23, 2020

“You see states are starting to open up now, and it’s very exciting to see,”

April 23, 2020

Over 26 million jobless claims have been filed

April 24, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 50,000

April 26, 2020

“The people that know me and know the history of our Country say that I am the hardest working President in history.”

April 27, 2020

“I can’t imagine why,” [Trump’s response to the influx in poison control calls about disinfectant]

April 29, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 60,000

April 29, 2020

“It’s gonna go away, this is going to go away.”

May 3, 2020

“Look, we’re going to lose anywhere from 75,000, 80,000 to 100,000 people,”

May 5, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 70,000

May 5, 2020

Consumer debt hits an all-time high

May 5, 2020

“Well run States should not be bailing out poorly run States, using CoronaVirus as the excuse!”

May 5, 2020

“I always felt 60, 65, 70, as horrible as that is. I mean, you’re talking about filling up Yankee Stadium with death! So I thought it was horrible. But it’s probably going to be somewhat higher than that,”

May 5, 2020

“There’ll be more death, that the virus will pass, with or without a vaccine. And I think we’re doing very well on the vaccines but, with or without a vaccine, it’s going to pass, and we’re going to be back to normal,”

May 5, 2020

“I don’t want to be Mr. Gloom-and-Doom. It’s a very bad subject… I’m not looking to tell the American people when nobody really knows what’s happening yet, ‘Oh, this is going to be so tragic.’”

May 6, 2020

The Brookings Institution reports that children were “experiencing food insecurity to an extent unprecedented in modern times” and “40.9 percent of mothers with children ages 12 and under reported household food insecurity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Republicans block proposals to expand food stamps.

May 6, 2020

“Sporadic for you, but not sporadic for a lot of other people.” [Trump’s response to a nurse telling him that equipment supply has been “sporadic”]

May 7, 2020

Over 33 million jobless claims have been filed

May 8, 2020

“This is going to go away without a vaccine. It is going to go away. We are not going to see it again.”

May 9, 2020

“This is going to go away without a vaccine.”

May 11, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 80,000

May 11, 2020

“Coronavirus numbers are looking MUCH better, going down almost everywhere. Big progress being made!”

May 11, 2020

“We have met the moment and we have prevailed,”

May 14, 2020

“Could be that testing’s, frankly, overrated. Maybe it is overrated.”

May 14, 2020

“Don’t forget, we have more cases than anybody in the world. But why? Because we do more testing,”

May 15, 2020

"Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back. And we’re starting the process. In many cases, they don’t have vaccines and a virus or a flu comes and you fight through it.

May 16, 2020

“We’ve done a GREAT job on Covid response, making all Governors look good, some fantastic (and that’s OK), but the Lamestream Media doesn’t want to go with that narrative, and the Do Nothing Dems talking point is to say only bad about “Trump”. I made everybody look good, but me!”

May 18, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 90,000

May 19, 2020

“When we have a lot of cases, I don’t look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing… Because it means our testing is much better. I view it as a badge of honor, really, it’s a badge of honor.”

May 21, 2020

USA Today reports that home mortgage delinquencies surged by 1.6 million in April, the largest single-month jump in history.

May 22, 2020

Over 38 million jobless claims have been filed

May 27, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 100,000

May 29, 2020

“We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization”

June 6, 20202

U.S death toll passes 110,000

June 6, 2020

“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country…This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality.” [Trump referring to George Floyd, who was murdered on May 25, 2020.]

June 15, 2020

“At some point this stuff goes away and it’s going away.”

June 17, 2020

“It’s fading away. It’s going to fade away.”

June 18, 2020

“And it is dying out. The numbers are starting to get very good.”

June 20, 2020

“Testing is a double-edged sword… When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases, so I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”

June 22, 2020

U.S death toll passes 120,000

June 23, 2020

“Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would show fewer cases!”

June 23, 2020

“It’s going away,”

June 25, 2020

“The number of ChinaVirus cases goes up, because of GREAT TESTING, while the number of deaths (mortality rate), goes way down. The Fake News doesn’t like telling you that!”

June 25, 2020

“Coronavirus deaths are way down. Mortality rate is one of the lowest in the World. Our Economy is roaring back and will NOT be shut down. “Embers” or flare ups will be put out, as necessary!”

June 30, 2020

The U.S. has just 4% of the global population, but 25% of global coronavirus cases and the second-highest death rate per capita.

July 1, 2020

“I think we’re going to be very good with the coronavirus.” “I think that, at some point, that’s going to sort of disappear, I hope.”

July 6, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 130,000

July 7, 2020

“I think we are in a good place.”

July 7, 2020

The president predicted that in the next two to four weeks, “I think we’re going to be in very good shape.”

July 8, 2020

“In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November election, but it is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”

July 8, 2020

“I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking school [sic] to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”

July 18, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 140,000

July 19, 2020

“I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world”

July 19, 2020

“Many of those cases are young people that would heal in a day”

“They have the sniffles, and we put it down as a test”

July 21, 2020

“You will never hear this on the Fake News concerning the China Virus, but by comparison to most other countries, who are suffering greatly, we are doing very well - and we have done things that few other countries could have done!”

July 27, 2020

“America will develop a vaccine very soon, and we will defeat the virus. We will have it delivered in record time.”

July 28, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 150,000

July 28, 2020

“He’s got this high approval rating. So why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect – and the administration – with respect to the virus?” (Trump referring to Anthony Fauci)

Aug. 1, 2020

“Wrong! We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases,” (Donald Trump in a retweet of Anthony Fauci saying the U.S. has seen more cases than European countries because it only shut down a fraction of its economy amid the pandemic)

Aug. 3, 2020

“I think we are doing very well and I think … as well as any nation,”

Aug. 3, 2020

“They are dying. That’s true. And you — it is what it is.”

Aug. 3, 2020


Aug. 3, 2020

“Right now I think it’s under control.”

Aug. 3, 2020

“You know, there are those that say you can test too much, you do know that.”

Aug. 4, 2020

“…we have among the lowest numbers.” - White House Press Briefing

Aug. 5, 2020

“If you look at children, children are almost - and I would almost say definitely - but almost immune from this disease.”

Aug. 5, 2020

“We’re supplying the world now with ventilators. You go back four months, we didn’t have any.” - Fox and Friends

Aug. 5, 2020

“It will go away like things go away”

Aug. 6, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 160,000

Aug. 12, 2020

U.S. reports the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in one day since mid-May

Aug. 16, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 170,000

Aug. 19, 2020

New York Times report reveals that in December 2020 that Trump yelled, “You’re killing me! This whole thing is! We’ve got all the damn cases…I want to do what Mexico does. They don’t give you a test till you get to the emergency room and you’re vomiting,” at Jared Kushner during an August 19, 2020 meeting.

Aug. 22, 2020

“Many doctors and studies disagree with this!” (Donald Trump in a quote tweet of a Twitter moment stating that the FDA is revoking hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19 treatment, as they are “unlikely to be effective”)

Aug. 22, 2020

“The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”

Aug. 23, 2020

The President claims that ballot drop boxes are a “voter security disaster” and a “big fraud,” “possible for a person to vote multiple times” and that they aren’t “Covid sanitized.”

Aug. 26, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 180,000

Aug. 31, 2020

“We’ve done a great job in Covid but we don’t get the credit.”

Aug. 31, 2020

Over Six million Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Sept. 4, 2020

There will be a vaccine “before the end of the year and maybe even before Nov. 1. I think we can probably have it sometime in October.”

Sept. 9, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 190,000

Sept. 10, 2020

“I really do believe that we are rounding the corner. The vaccines are right there”

Sept. 10, 2020

“This is nobody’s fault but China.”

Sept. 10, 2020

“We’ve possibly done the best job”

Sept. 10, 2020

“We have rounded the final turn”

Sept. 10, 2020

“I think that we’ve probably done the best job of any country”

Sept. 14, 2020

Trump was asked if he is afraid of Coronavirus risk at his rallies: “I’m on a stage, it’s very far away, so I’m not at all concerned.”

Sept. 16, 2020

“If you take the blue states out, we’re at a level I don’t think anybody in the world would be at.”

Sept. 16, 2020

Reporter: “[The head of the CDC] said that the vaccine for the general public wouldn’t be available until next Summer or maybe even early fall. Are you comfortable with that timeline?” Trump: “I think he made a mistake when he said that. That’s just incorrect information.”

Sept. 19, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 200,000

Sept. 21, 2020

“Take your hat off to the young because they have a hell of an immune system. But [the virus] affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing. By the way, open your schools everybody, open your schools.”

Sept. 21, 2020

“We’re rounding the corner,” “With or without a vaccine. They hate when I say that but that’s the way it is. … We’ve done a phenomenal job. Not just a good job, a phenomenal job. Other than public relations, but that’s because I have fake news. On public relations, I give myself a D. On the job itself, we take an A+.”

Sept. 21, 2020

“In some states, thousands of people — nobody young. Below the age of 18, like, nobody. They have a strong immune system, who knows? Take your hat off to the young, because they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing. By the way, open your schools everybody, open your schools.”

Sept. 23, 2020

“I think we’re rounding the turn very much.”

Sept. 28, 2020

"And I say, and I’ll say it all the time: We’re rounding the corner. And, very importantly, vaccines are coming, but we’re rounding the corner regardless. But vaccines are coming, and they’re coming fast. "

Sept. 29, 2020

"Well, so far we have had no problem whatsoever. " [Trump referring to the thousands of people attending his rallies]

October 2, 2020

Trump and the First Lady test positive for Coronavirus. More than a dozen White House staff and aides test positive shortly thereafter.

Oct. 5, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 210,000

Oct. 5, 2020

“Don’t be afraid of Covid.”

Oct. 6, 2020

“Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu, Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!” [Source: Trump Tweet and Facebook Post, both were taken down]

Oct. 10, 2020

“But it’s going to disappear; it is disappearing.”

Oct. 11, 2020

“…We have done a “phenomenal” job, according to certain governors. Many people agree…And now come the Vaccines & Cures, long ahead of projections!”

Oct. 12, 2020

“Under my leadership, we’re delivering a safe vaccine and a rapid recovery like nobody can even believe. And if you look at our upward path, no country in the world has recovered the way we’ve recovered economically or otherwise, not even close.”

Oct. 12, 2020

“I went through it. Now, they say I’m immune. I can feel—I feel so powerful.”

Oct. 12, 2020

“When this first came out, if we didn’t do a good job, they predicted 2.2 million people would die, we’re 210,000. We shouldn’t be at, one, it’s China’s fault. They allowed this to happen.”

Oct. 15, 2020

“Excess mortality, we’re a winner on the excess mortality. And what we’ve done has been amazing. And we have done an amazing job. And it’s rounding the corner and we have the vaccines coming, and we have the therapies coming.”

Oct. 18, 2020

“He’ll listen to the scientists… If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression instead — we’re like a rocket ship. Take a look at the numbers.” [Trump referring to Biden]

Oct. 19, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 220,000

Oct. 19, 2020

“People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They’re tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots…Fauci is a nice guy. He’s been here for 500 years.”

Oct. 19, 2020

“They are getting tired of the pandemic, aren’t they? You turn on CNN, that’s all they cover. ‘Covid, Covid, Pandemic, Covid, Covid.’ You know why? They’re trying to talk everybody out of voting. People aren’t buying it, CNN, you dumb bastards.”

Oct. 20, 2020

Politico reports that The White House is considering slashing millions of dollars for coronavirus relief, HIV treatment, screenings for newborns and other programs in Democratic-led cities that President Donald Trump has deemed “anarchist jurisdictions.”

Oct. 22, 2020

“We are rounding the turn (on coronavirus). We are rounding the corner.”

Oct. 24, 2020

"Turn on television: ‘covid, covid, covid, covid, covid.’ A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don’t talk about it — ‘covid, covid, covid, covid,’ “By the way, on November 4th, you won’t hear about it anymore.”

Oct. 26, 2020

“Cases up because we TEST, TEST, TEST. A Fake News Media Conspiracy. Many young people who heal very fast. 99.9%. Corrupt Media conspiracy at all time high. On November 4th., the topic will totally change. VOTE!”

Oct. 26, 2020

“We have made tremendous progress with the China Virus, but the Fake News refuses to talk about it this close to the Election. COVID, COVID, COVID is being used by them, in total coordination, in order to change our great early election numbers. Should be an election law violation!”

Oct. 27, 2020

“So they brought it down now, immunity, from life to four months. And you know now with them, you can’t watch anything else. You turn on… COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID. Well, we have a spike in cases. You ever notice, they don’t use the word death. They use the word cases, cases. Like, “Barron Trump is a case.” He has sniffles. He was sniffling. One Kleenex, that’s all he needed. One, and he was better. But he’s a case”

Oct. 27, 2020

“November 4th. On November 4th, you’ll hear, “It’s getting better. It’s getting better.” You watch. No, no, they’re doing heavy COVID because they want to scare people, and people get it.” [Trump referring to news media]

Oct. 28, 2020

“Covid, Covid, Covid is the unified chant of the Fake News Lamestream Media. They will talk about nothing else until November 4th., when the Election will be (hopefully!) over. Then the talk will be how low the death rate is, plenty of hospital rooms, & many tests of young people.”

Oct. 30, 2020

“More Testing equals more Cases. We have the best testing. Deaths WAY DOWN. Hospitals have great additional capacity! Doing much better than Europe. Therapeutics working!”

Oct. 30, 2020

Nine million Americans have now been infected by the coronavirus.

Oct. 30, 2020

“Our doctors get more money if someone dies from Covid,” and so “when in doubt choose Covid.”

Nov. 1, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 230,000

Nov. 1, 2020

“Biden wants to LOCKDOWN our Country, maybe for years. Crazy! There will be NO LOCKDOWNS. The great American Comeback is underway!!!”

Nov. 2, 2020

“Joe Biden is promising to delay the vaccine and turn America into a prison state—locking you in your home while letting far-left rioters roam free. The Biden Lockdown will mean no school, no graduations, no weddings, no Thanksgiving, no Christmas, no Fourth of July”

Nov. 2, 2020

“We have more Cases because we have more Testing!”

Nov. 9, 2020

“If Joe Biden were President, you wouldn’t have the Vaccine for another four years, nor would the @US_FDA have ever approved it so quickly. The bureaucracy would have destroyed millions of lives”

Nov. 10, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 240,000

Nov. 11, 2020

U.S. hits a record 140,000 COVID-19 cases per day

November 11, 2020

Texas hits 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases

Nov. 18, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 250,000

Nov. 19, 2020

Last Coronavirus Task Force press briefing under the Trump Administration.

Nov. 24, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 260,000

Dec. 2, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 270,000

Dec. 7, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 280,000

Dec. 8, 2020

“Before Operation Warp Speed, the typical time [for vaccine approval] could be infinity.”

Dec. 8, 2020

Trump continues holding White House holiday parties despite guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to limit indoor gatherings and curtain travel amid the spike in virus infections. Masks are not required, according to guests.

Dec. 9, 2020

3,103 U.S. COVID-19 deaths in one day

Dec. 10, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 290,000

Dec. 14, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 300,000

Dec. 17, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 310,000

Dec. 22, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 320,000

Dec. 22, 2020

“Distribution of both vaccines is going very smoothly. Amazing how many people are being vaccinated, record numbers. Our Country, and indeed the World, will soon see the great miracle of what the Trump Administration has accomplished. They said it couldn’t be done!!!”

Dec. 25, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 330,000

Dec. 30, 2020

As recently as mid-December, the Trump administration touted an ambitious goal: 20 million COVID-19 vaccinations by the year’s end. A CDC tracker shows only about 2 million people have been vaccinated so far.

Dec. 31, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 340,000

Dec. 31, 2020

Trump tweets, “The Federal Government has distributed the vaccines to the states. Now it is up to the states to administer. Get moving!”

Dec. 31, 2020

HHS awards a contract to a private firm to review COVID-19 tests in an attempt to bypass scientists at the FDA.

January 1, 2020

U.S. surpasses 20 million confirmed COVID-19 cases

January 3, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 350,000

January 3, 2020

“Something how Dr. Fauci is revered by the LameStream Media as such a great professional, having done, they say, such an incredible job, yet he works for me and the Trump Administration, and I am in no way given any credit for my work. Gee, could this just be more Fake News?”

January 3, 2020

“The number of cases and deaths of the China Virus is far exaggerated in the United States because of @CDCgov’s ridiculous method of determination compared to other countries, many of whom report, purposely, very inaccurately and low. “When in doubt, call it Covid.” Fake News!” Fauci responds, "“The deaths are real deaths. All you need to do is go out into the trenches…”

January 3, 2020

Trump tweets, “The vaccines are being delivered to the states by the Federal Government far faster than they can be administered!”

January 4, 2020

CDC reports that 4.6 million people have been vaccinated.

January 6, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 360,000

January 6, 2020

Trump mob storms Congress. Officials reported at least 3,963 new coronavirus deaths in the US, a new single-day record.

January 9, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 370,000

January 12, 2020

HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced that the federal government would begin releasing vaccine doses that had been held in reserve for second shots, but no such reserve existed. His false announcement raised false hopes among state and local officials.

January 13, 2020

U.S. death toll passes 380,000

January 14, 2020

The Trump administration promised to have 20 million people given their first shot by the end of 2020. Two weeks later, they have administered just over 11 million.

January 15, 2020

12 million doses of vaccine administered.

January 16, 2020

U.S. death tool passes 390,000

January 18, 2020

Washington Post reports that emergency PPP loans were provided for organizations that spread misinformation about coronavirus and vaccination.

January 20, 2020

Each day in January, covid-19 killed an average of 3,100 people in the United States — one every 28 seconds.

January 20, 2021

Trump’s term in office saw over 25 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, over 400,000 of which resulted in death.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn into office.


On The Intellectual, Artistic, and Cultural Wealth of Pre-Colonial Africa by RegularCockroach More Pasta

The Alt-History YouTuber Whatifalthist decided to dip his toes into real history again and made a YouTube video in which he supposedly breaks down his top 11 historical misconceptions, in which he says a section entitled “7: All of Pre-Colonial Africa.” As a massive enthusiast of pre-colonial Subsaharan African history, I decided I’d take a look at this section, I thought it would be interesting to take a look, but what I saw was very disappointing.

He starts by making the claim that Africa was not a monolith and that the development of urbanized societies was not consistent throughout the continent.

Africa was simultaneously primitive and advanced. You could find places like Tanzania where 100 year ago, 60% of the land was uninhabitable due to disease, and the rest was inhabited by illiterate iron age societies.

Now, this section is true in a hyper-literal sense. However, the problem is that this statement also applied to pretty much the entire world in the pre-modern age. Every continent has large swathes of land that are either unoccupied or inhabited by peoples who could be considered “illiterate iron age societies” by Whatifalthist’s standards. In short, the presence of nonliterate societies is in no way unique to Subsaharan Africa.

Then, he posts the cursed map. I don’t even know where to begin with everything wrong with this image. Supposedly displaying levels of development (whatever that means) before colonization, the map is riddled with atrocious errors.

Maybe the worst error in the map is Somalia, which he labels in its entirety as “nomadic goat herders.” Anyone with a passing knowledge of Somali history will know how inaccurate this is. Throughout the late middle ages and early modern period, Southern Somalia was dominated by the Ajuraan sultanate, a centralized and literate state. While much of rural Ajuraan was inhabited by nomadic pastoralists, these pastoralists were subject to the rule and whims of the urban elites who ruled over the region. Mogadishu was one of the most influential ports on the Indian Ocean throughout the medieval and early modern periods. In modern Eastern-Ethiopia, the Somali Adal sultanate was another example of a literate, centralized, urban state in the Eastern horn of Africa. Ok, maybe he was only referring to Somalia in the era immediately before European colonization. Well, even then, it’s still inaccurate, as there were plenty of urbanized and literate societies in 19th and early 20th century Somalia. In fact, the Geledi sultanate during its apex was at one point even capable of extracting regular tribute payments from the Sultan of Oman. (Read about this in Kevin Shillington’s History of Africa, 2005).

He also insulting labels the regions of Nigeria and Ghana as “urban illiterate peoples.” This is especially untrue in southern Nigeria, considering that the region literally developed a unique script for writing in late antiquity that remained in use until the late medieval period. Northern Nigeria being labelled as illiterate is equally insulting. The region, which was dominated by various Hausa city-states until united by the Sokoto Caliphate, had a long-standing tradition of literacy and literary education. Despite this, Whatifalthist arbitrarily labels half the region as illiterate and the other half as “jungle farmers”, whatever that means. In modern Ghana, on the other hand, there existed a state called the Ashanti kingdom. How widespread literacy was within Ashantiland in the precolonial era is not well documented. However, during the British invasion of the empire’s capital at Kumasi, the British note that the royal palace possessed an impressive collection of foreign and domestically produced books. They then proceeded to blow it up. I’d also like to mention that he arbitrarily designates several advanced, urban, and, in some cases, literate West African states in the West African forest region (such as Oyo and Akwamu) as “jungle farmers.”

He also questionably labels the Swahili coast as “illiterate cattle herders”, and just blots out Madagascar for some reason, which was inhabited by multiple advanced, literate states prior to colonization.

Now, with the cursed map out of the way, I want to get onto the next part of the video that bothered me. Whatifalthist makes some questionable statements in the section in between, but nothing major, and actually makes some good points in pointing out that many of the larger, more centralized states in Western Africa were just as advanced as those in any other part of the world. However, he then goes on to say this:

“However, as institutions went, they were quite primitive. No African state had a strong intellectual tradition, almost all were caste societies without any real ability for social advancement. You never saw parliaments, scientific revolutions, or cultural movements that spread to the rest of the world coming out of Subsaharan Africa.”

Just about everything in this statement is incredibly wrong, so I’ll break it down one piece at a time.

“No subsaharan African state had a strong intellectual tradition”

This is grossly untrue. The most famous example of intellectual traditions in West Africa comes from the scholarly lineages of Timbuktu, but intellectual traditions in the region were far more widespread than just Timbuktu, with Kano and Gao also serving as important intellectual centers of theology, philosophy, and natural sciences.. In Ethiopia and Eritrea, there is a longstanding intellectual tradition which based itself primarily in the country’s many Christian monasteries. Because of this monastic tradition, Ethiopia has possesses some of the oldest and best preserved manuscripts of anywhere in the world.

“Almost all were caste societies without any real ability for social advancement.”

Keep in mind, this was true in pretty much every settled society until relatively recently. Even then, the concept that pre-colonial African societies were any more hierarchically rigid than their contemporaries in Europe and Asia is questionable at best. Arguably the most meritocratic civilization of antiquity, Aksum, was located in East Africa. Frumentius, the first bishop of Aksum and the first abuna of the Aksumite church, first came to Aksum as a slave. The same is true for Abraha, who was elevated from slave to royal advisor and eventually was given a generalship, which he then used to carve out his own independent kingdom in modern Yemen. These are, admittedly, extreme and unusual examples. Like in the rest of the world, if you were born in the lower classes in pre-colonial Africa, you’d probably die in the lower classes. This was not necessarily true all the time though. In the Ashanti kingdom, a common subject who acquired great amounts of wealth or showcased prowess on the battlefield could be granted the title of Obirempon (big man), by the Asantehene.

You never saw parliaments

Yes you did. Just for one example, the Ashanti kingdom possessed an institution called the Kotoko council, a council of nobles, elders, priests, and aristocrats.This institution is pretty similar to the House of Lords in Great Britain, and possessed real power, often overruling decisions made by the Asantehene (Ashanti King).

“You never saw scientific revolutions.”

I’m not sure what exactly he means by “scientific revolution”, but there were certainly numerous examples of scientific advancements made in Subsaharan Africa, some of which even had wide-ranging impacts on regions outside of the continent. The medical technique of innoculation is maybe the most well known. While inoculation techniques existed in East Asia and the Near East for a long time, the technique of smallpox inoculation was first introduced to the United States through an Akan slave from modern-day Ghana named Onesimus. This may be only one example (others exist), but it’s enough to disprove the absolute.

“Africa had no cultural movements that spread to the rest of the world.”

Because of the peculiar way it’s phrased, I’m not sure exactly what he meant by this. I assume he means that African culture has had little impact on the rest of the world. If this is indeed what he meant, it is not true. I can counter this with simply one word: music.

In the next part of the video, Whatifalthist switches gears to move away from making embarrassingly untrue statements about African societies and instead moves on to discussing colonialism and the slave trade.

“Also, another thing people forget about pre-colonial Africa is that Europeans weren’t the only colonizers. The Muslims operated the largest slave trade in history out of here. Traders operating in the Central DRC had far higher death-rates than the Europeans. The Omanis controlled the whole East Coast of Africa and the Egyptians had conquered everything down to the Congo by the Early 19th century.”

So, I looked really hard for figures on the death-rates of African slaves captured by Arabian slavers in the 19th century, and couldn’t find any reliable figures. Any scholarly census of either the transatlantic or Arab slave trades will note the unreliability of their estimates. Frankly, the statement that “the Islamic slave trade was the largest slave trade in history” sounds like something he pulled out of his ass. Based on the estimates we do have, the Arab slave trade is significantly smaller than the transatlantic slave trade even when you take into account that the latter lasted significantly longer. Regardless, is it really necessary to engage in slavery olympics? Slavery is bad no matter who does it. Now, I would have enjoyed it if the YouTuber in question actually went into more details about the tragic but interesting history of slavery in East Africa, such as the wars between the Afro-Arab slaver Tippu Tip and the Belgians in the 19th century, the history of clove plantations in the Swahili coast, etc. But, instead, he indulges in whataboutisms and dives no further.

The root of the problem with the video are its sources

At the end of each section, Whatifalthist lists his sources used on the section. Once I saw what they were, it immediately became clear to me what the problem was. His sources are “The Tree of Culture”, a book written by anthropologist Ralph Linton, and “Conquests and Cultures” by economist Thomas Sowell.

The Tree of Culture is not a book about African history, but rather an anthropological study on the origin of human cultures. To my knowledge, the book is largely considered good, if outdated (it was written in the early 50s), as Linton was a respected academic who laid out a detailed methodology. However, keep in mind, it is not a book about African history, but an anthropological study that dedicates only a few chapters to Africa. No disrespect to Linton, his work is undeniably formative in the field of anthropology. I’m sure Linton himself would not be happy if people read this book and walked away with the impression that it was remotely close to offering a full, detailed picture of African history.

Sowell’s book is similarly not a book on African history, but is better described as Sowell’s academic manifesto for his philosophical conceptions of race and culture. Ok, neat, but considering that the book only dedicates a portion of its contents to Africa and that most of that is generalities of geography and culture, not history, it’s not appropriate to cite as a source on African history.

This is ultimately the problem with the video. Instead of engaging in true research with sources on African history, Whatifalthist instead engaged in research with anthropological vagueries and filled in the historical blanks with his own preconceptions and stereotypes.

TL;DR: I did not like the video. I can’t speak for the rest of it, but the parts about Africa were really bad.

Sorry for the typo in the title

Thanks for the gold and platinum! Much appreciated.

Citations (in order of their appearance in the post):

  • Cassanelli, Lee V. Pastoral Power: The Ajuraan in History and Tradition.” The Shaping of Somali Society, 1982.
  • Chaudhuri, K. N. Trade and Civilisation in the Indian Ocean: an Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  • Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji. “Adal Sultanate.” The Encyclopedia of Empire, 2016, 1–3.
  • Luling, Virginia. Somali Sultanate: the Geledi City-State over 150 Years. London: HAAN, 2002.
  • Nwosu, Maik. “In the Name of the Sign: The Nsibidi Script as the * Language and Literature of the Crossroads.” Semiotica 2010, no. 182 (2010).
  • Mohammed, Hassan Salah El. Lore of the Traditional Malam: Material * Culture of Literacy and Ethnography of Writing among the Hausa of Northern Nigeria, 1990.
  • Lloyd, Alan. The Drums of Kumasi: the Story of the Ashanti Wars. London: Panther Book, 1965.
  • Kane, Ousmane. Beyond Timbuktu: an Intellectual History of Muslim West Africa. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016.
  • Bausi, Alessandro. “Cataloguing Ethiopic Manuscripts: Update and Overview on Ongoing Work.” Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.csmc.*
  • McCaskie, T. C. State and Society in Pre-Colonial Asante. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Brown, Thomas H. “The African Connection.” JAMA 260, no. 15, 1988.
  • Berlin, Edward A., and Edward A. Berlin. Ragtime: a Musical and Cultural History. University of California Press, 2002.
  • “The Mediterranean Islamic Slave Trade out of Africa: A Tentative Census.” Slave Trades, 1500–1800, 2016, 35–70.
  • The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Uprooted Millions. Accessed March 22, 2021.

250 Bullshit Words by Unknown More Pasta

Here’s some Buzzword Bingo based on these words by the same company.

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  • below the fold
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  • guru
  • headlights
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  • herding cats
  • high level
  • holistic
  • homerun
  • html5
  • hyperlocal
  • i _______
  • iconic
  • ideation
  • ignite
  • immersive
  • impact
  • impressions
  • in the weeds
  • infographic
  • innovate
  • integrated
  • IoT
  • jellyfish
  • knee deep
  • lean
  • lean in
  • let’s shake it and see what falls off
  • let’s socialize this
  • let’s table that
  • level up
  • leverage
  • like _______ for _______
  • lizard brain
  • long tail
  • low hanging fruit
  • make it pop
  • make the logo bigger
  • maker
  • marketing funnel
  • mashup
  • milestone
  • mindshare
  • mobile-first
  • modernity
  • monetize
  • moving forward
  • multi-channel
  • multi-level
  • MVP
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  • next gen
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  • ninja
  • no but, yes if
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  • out of pocket
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  • real time
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  • wizard

“All You Zombies” by Robert A. Heinlein More Pasta

2217 Time Zone V (EST) 7 Nov. 1970–NTC-- “Pop’s Place”: I was polishing a brandy snifter when the Unmarried Mother came in. I noted the time—10:17 P. M. zone five, or eastern time, November 7th, 1970. Temporal agents always notice time and date; we must.

The Unmarried Mother was a man twenty–five years old, no taller than I am, childish features and a touchy temper. I didn’t like his looks—I never had—but he was a lad I was here to recruit, he was my boy. I gave him my best barkeep’s smile.

Maybe I’m too critical. He wasn’t swish; his nickname came from what he always said when some nosy type asked him his line: “I’m an unmarried mother.” If he felt less than murderous he would add: “at four cents a word. I write confession stories.”

If he felt nasty, he would wait for somebody to make something of it. He had a lethal style of infighting, like a female cop—reason I wanted him. Not the only one.

He had a load on, and his face showed that he despised people more than usual. Silently I poured a double shot of Old Underwear and left the bottle. He drank it, poured another.

I wiped the bar top. “How’s the ‘Unmarried Mother’ racket?”

His fingers tightened on the glass and he seemed about to throw it at me; I felt for the sap under the bar. In temporal manipulation you try to figure everything, but there are so many factors that you never take needless risks.

I saw him relax that tiny amount they teach you to watch for in the Bureau’s training school. “Sorry,” I said. “Just asking, ‘How’s business?’ Make it ‘How’s the weather?’”

He looked sour. “Business is okay. I write 'em, they print 'em, I eat.”

I poured myself one, leaned toward him. “Matter of fact,” I said, “you write a nice stick—I’ve sampled a few. You have an amazingly sure touch with the woman’s angle.”

It was a slip I had to risk; he never admitted what pen–names he used. But he was boiled enough to pick up only the last: “‘Woman’s angle!’” he repeated with a snort. “Yeah, I know the woman’s angle. I should.”

“So?” I said doubtfully. “Sisters?”

“No. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

“Now, now,” I answered mildly, “bartenders and psychiatrists learn that nothing is stranger than truth. Why, son, if you heard the stories I do—well, you’d make yourself rich. Incredible.”

“You don’t know what ‘incredible’ means!”

“So? Nothing astonishes me. I’ve always heard worse.” He snorted again. “Want to bet the rest of the bottle?”

“I’ll bet a full bottle.” I placed one on the bar.

“Well—” I signaled my other bartender to handle the trade. We were at the far end, a single–stool space that I kept private by loading the bar top by it with jars of pickled eggs and other clutter. A few were at the other end watching the fights and somebody was playing the juke box—private as a bed where we were.

“Okay,” he began, “to start with, I’m a bastard.”

“No distinction around here,” I said.

“I mean it,” he snapped. “My parents weren’t married.”

“Still no distinction,” I insisted. “Neither were mine.”

“When—” He stopped, gave me the first warm look I ever saw on him. “You mean that?”

“I do. A one–hundred–percent bastard. In fact,” I added, “no one in my family ever marries. All bastards.”

“Oh, that.” I showed it to him. “It just looks like a wedding ring; I wear it to keep women off.” It is an antique I bought in 1985 from a fellow operative—he had fetched it from pre–Christian Crete. “The Worm Ouroboros… the World Snake that eats its own tail, forever without end. A symbol of the Great Paradox.”

He barely glanced at it. “If you’re really a bastard, you know how it feels. When I was a little girl—”

“Wups!” I said. “Did I hear you correctly?”

“Who’s telling this story? When I was a little girl—Look, ever hear of Christine Jorgenson? Or Roberta Cowell?”

“Uh, sex–change cases? You’re trying to tell me—”

“Don’t interrupt or swelp me, I won’t talk. I was a foundling, left at an orphanage in Cleveland in 1945 when I was a month old. When I was a little girl, I envied kids with parents. Then, when I learned about sex—and, believe me, Pop, you learn fast in an orphanage—”

“I know”

“—I made a solemn vow that any kid of mine would have both a pop and a mom. It kept me ‘pure,’ quite a feat in that vicinity—I had to learn to fight to manage it. Then I got older and realized I stood darn little chance of getting married—for the same reason I hadn’t been adopted.” He scowled. “I was horse–faced and buck–toothed, flat–chested and straight–haired.”

“You don’t look any worse than I do.”

“Who cares how a barkeep looks? Or a writer? But people wanting to adopt pick little blue–eyed golden–haired morons. Later on, the boys want bulging breasts, a cute face, and an Oh–you–wonderful–male manner.” He shrugged. “I couldn’t compete. So I decided to join the W.E.N.C.H.E.S.


“Women’s Emergency National Corps, Hospitality & Entertainment Section, what they now call ‘Space Angels’—Auxiliary Nursing Group, Extraterrestrial Legions.'”

I knew both terms, once I had them chronized. We use still a third name, it’s that elite military service corps: Women’s Hospitality Order Refortifying & Encouraging Spacemen. Vocabulary shift is the worst hurdle in time–jumps—did you know that a ‘service station’ once served oil fractions? Once on an assignment in the Churchill Era, a woman said to me, ‘Meet me at the service station next door’—which is not what it sounds; a ‘service station’ (then) wouldn’t have a bed in it.

He went on: "It was when they first admitted you can’t send men into space for months and years and not relieve the tension. You remember how the wowsers screamed?—that improved my chance, since volunteers were scarce. A gal had to be respectable, preferably virgin (they liked to train them from scratch), above average mentally, and stable emotionally. But most volunteers were old hookers, or neurotics who would crack up ten days off Earth. So I didn’t need looks; if they accepted me, they would fix my buck teeth, put a wave in my hair, teach me to walk and dance and how to listen to a man pleasingly, and everything else—plus training for the prime duties. They would even use plastic surgery if it would help—nothing too good for our Boys.

"Best yet, they made sure you didn’t get pregnant during your enlistment—and you were almost certain to marry at the end of your hitch. Same way today, A.N.G.E.L.S. marry spacers—they talk the language.

"When I was eighteen I was placed as a ‘mother’s helper’. This family simply wanted a cheap servant, but I didn’t mind as I couldn’t enlist till I was twenty–one. I did housework and went to night school—pretending to continue my high school typing and shorthand but going to a charm class instead, to better my chances for enlistment.

“Then I met this city slicker with his hundred–dollar bills.” He scowled. "The no–good actually did have a wad of hundred–dollar bills. He showed me one night, told me to help myself.

"But I didn’t. I liked him. He was the first man I ever met who was nice to me without trying games with me. I quit night school to see him oftener. It was the happiest time of my life.

“Then one night in the park the games began.”

He stopped. I said, “And then?”

“And then nothing! I never saw him again. He walked me home and told me he loved me—and kissed me good—night and never came back.” He looked grim. “If I could find him, I’d kill him!”

“Well,” I sympathized, “I know how you feel. But killing him—just for doing what comes naturally—hmm… Did you struggle?”

“Huh? What’s that got to do with it?”

“Quite a bit. Maybe he deserves a couple of broken arms for running out on you, but—”

"He deserves worse than that! Wait till you hear. Somehow I kept anyone from suspecting and decided it was all for the best. I hadn’t really loved him and probably would never love anybody—and I was more eager to join the W.E.N.C.H.E.S. than ever. I wasn’t disqualified, they didn’t insist on virgins. I cheered up.

“It wasn’t until my skirts got tight that I realized.”


"He had me higher 'n a kite! Those skinflints I lived with ignored it as long as I could work—then kicked me out, and the orphanage wouldn’t take me back. I landed in a charity ward surrounded by other big bellies and trotted bedpans until my time came.

"One night I found myself on an operating table, with a nurse saying, ‘Relax. Now breathe deeply.’

"I woke up in bed, numb from the chest down. My surgeon came in. ‘How do you feel?’ he says cheerfully.

"‘Like a mummy.’

"‘Naturally. You’re wrapped like one and full of dope to keep you numb. You’ll get well—but a Cesarean isn’t a hangnail.’

"‘Cesarean’ I said. ‘Doc—did I lose the baby?’

"‘Oh, no. Your baby’s fine.’

"Oh. Boy or girl?

"‘A healthy little girl. Five pounds, three ounces.’

"I relaxed. It’s something, to have made a baby. I told myself I would go somewhere and tack ‘Mrs.’ on my name and let the kid think her papa was dead—no orphanage for my kid!

"But the surgeon was talking. ‘Tell me, uh—’ He avoided my name. ‘did you ever think your glandular setup was odd?’

"I said, ‘Huh? Of course not. What are you driving at?’

"He hesitated. 'I’ll give you this in one dose, then a hypo to let you sleep off your jitters. You’ll have ‘em.’

"‘Why?’ I demanded.

"‘Ever hear of that Scottish physician who was female until she was thirty five? —then had surgery and became legally and medically a man? Got married. All okay.’

"‘What’s that got to do with me?’

"‘That’s what I’m saying. You’re a man.’

"I tried to sit up. ‘What?’

"‘Take it easy. When I opened you, I found a mess. I sent for the Chief of Surgery while I got the baby out, then we held a consultation with you on the table—and worked for hours to salvage what we could. You had two full sets of organs, both immature, but with the female set well enough developed for you to have a baby. They could never be any use to you again, so we took them out and rearranged things so that you can develop properly as a man.’ He put a hand on me. ‘Don’t worry. You’re young, your bones will readjust, we’ll watch your glandular balance—and make a fine young man out of you.’

"I started to cry. ‘What about my baby?’

"‘Well, you can’t nurse her, you haven’t milk enough for a kitten. If I were you, I wouldn’t see her—put her up for adoption.’


"He shrugged. ‘The choice is yours; you’re her mother—well, her parent. But don’t worry now; we’ll get you well first.’

“Next day they let me see the kid and I saw her daily—trying to get used to her. I had never seen a brand–new baby and had no idea how awful they look—my daughter looked like an orange monkey. My feelings changed to cold determination to do right by her. But four weeks later that didn’t mean anything.”


“She was snatched.”


The Unmarried Mother almost knocked over the bottle we had bet. “Kidnapped—stolen from the hospital nursery!” He breathed hard. “How’s that for taking the last a man’s got to live for?”

“A bad deal,” I agreed. “Let’s pour you another. No clues?”

“Nothing the police could trace. Somebody came to see her, claimed to be her uncle. While the nurse had her back turned, he walked out with her.”


“Just a man, with a face–shaped face, like yours or mine.” He frowned. “I think it was the baby’s father. The nurse swore it was an older man but he probably used makeup. Who else would swipe my baby? Childless women pull such stunts—but whoever heard of a man doing it?”

“What happened to you then?”

“Eleven more months of that grim place and three operations. In four months I started to grow a beard; before I was out I was shaving regularly… and no longer doubted that I was male.” He grinned wryly. “I was staring down nurses necklines.”

“Well,” I said, “seems to me you came through okay. Here you are, a normal man, making good money, no real troubles. And the life of a female is not an easy one.”

He glared at me. “A lot you know about it!”


“Ever hear the expression ‘a ruined woman’?”

“Mmm, years ago. Doesn’t mean much today.”

“I was as ruined as a woman can be; that bum really ruined me—I was no longer a woman… and I didn’t know how to be a man.”

“Takes getting used to, I suppose.”

"You have no idea. I don’t mean learning how to dress, or not walking into the wrong rest room; I learned those in the hospital. But how could I live? What job could I get? Hell, I couldn’t even drive a car. I didn’t know a trade; I couldn’t do manual labor—too much scar tissue, too tender.

"I hated him for having ruined me for the W.E.N.C.H.E.S., too, but I didn’t know how much until I tried to join the Space Corps instead. One look at my belly and I was marked unfit for military service. The medical officer spent time on me just from curiosity; he had read about my case.

"So I changed my name and came to New York. I got by as a fry cook, then rented a typewriter and set myself up as a public stenographer—what a laugh! In four months I typed four letters and one manuscript. The manuscript was for Real Life Tales and a waste of paper, but the goof who wrote it sold it.

“Which gave me an idea; I bought a stack of confession magazines and studied them.” He looked cynical. “Now you know how I get the authentic woman’s angle on an unmarried–mother story… through the only version I haven’t sold—the true one. Do I win the bottle?”

I pushed it toward him. I was upset myself, but there was work to do. I said, “Son, you still want to lay hands on that so–and–so?”

His eyes lighted up—a feral gleam.

“Hold it!” I said. “You wouldn’t kill him?”

He chuckled nastily. “Try me.”

“Take it easy. I know more about it than you think I do. I can help you. I know where he is.”

He reached across the bar. “Where is he?”

I said softly, “Let go my shirt, sonny—or you’ll land in the alley and we’ll tell the cops you fainted.” I showed him the sap.

He let go. “Sorry. But where is he?” He looked at me. “And how do you know so much?”

“All in good time. There are records—hospital records, orphanage records, medical records. The matron of your orphanage was Mrs. Fetherage—right? She was followed by Mrs. Gruenstein—right? Your name, as a girl, was ‘Jane’—right? And you didn’t tell me any of this—right?”

I had him baffled and a bit scared. “What’s this? You trying to make trouble for me?”

“No indeed. I’ve your welfare at heart. I can put this character in your lap. You do to him as you see fit—and I guarantee that you’ll get away with it. But I don’t think you’ll kill him. You’d be nuts to—and you aren’t nuts. Not quite.”

He brushed it aside. “Cut the noise. Where is he?” I poured him a short one; he was drunk, but anger was offsetting it. “Not so fast. I do something for you—you do something for me.”

“Uh… what?”

“You don’t like your work. What would you say to high pay, steady work, unlimited expense account, your own boss on the job, and lots of variety and adventure?”

He stared. “I’d say, ‘Get those goddam reindeer off my roof!’ Shove it, Pop—there’s no such job.”

“Okay, put it this way: I hand him to you, you settle with him, then try my job. If it’s not all I claim—well, I can’t hold you.”

He was wavering; the last drink did it. “When d’yuh d’liver 'im?” he said thickly.

He shoved out his hand. “It’s a deal!”

“If it’s a deal—right now!”

I nodded to my assistant to watch both ends, noted the time—2300—started to duck through the gate under the bar—when the juke box blared out: “I’m My Own Grandpaw!” The service man had orders to load it with Americana and classics because I couldn’t stomach the ‘music’ of 1970, but I hadn’t known that tape was in it. I called out, “Shut that off! Give the customer his money back.” I added, “Storeroom, back in a moment,” and headed there with my Unmarried Mother following.

It was down the passage across from the johns, a steel door to which no one but my day manager and myself had a key; inside was a door to an inner room to which only I had a key. We went there.

He looked blearily around at windowless walls. “Where is he?”

“Right away.” I opened a case, the only thing in the room; it was a U. S. F. F. Coordinates Transformer Field Kit, series 1992, Mod. II—a beauty, no moving parts, weight twenty–three kilos fully charged, and shaped to pass as a suitcase. I had adjusted it precisely earlier that day; all I had to do was to shake out the metal net which limits the transformation field.

Which I did. “What’s that?” he demanded.

“Time machine,” I said and tossed the net over us.

“Hey!” he yelled and stepped back. There is a technique to this; the net has to be thrown so that the subject will instinctively step back onto the metal mesh, then you close the net with both of you inside completely—else you might leave shoe soles behind or a piece of foot, or scoop up a slice of floor. But that’s all the skill it takes. Some agents con a subject into the net; I tell the truth and use that instant of utter astonishment to flip the switch. Which I did.

1030–VI–3 April 1963—Cleveland, Ohio–Apex Bldg.: “Hey!” he repeated. “Take this damn thing off!”

“Sorry”, I apologized and did so, stuffed the net into the case, closed it. “You said you wanted to find him.”

“But—you said that was a time machine!”

I pointed out a window. “Does that look like November? Or New York?” While he was gawking at new buds and spring weather, I reopened the case, took out a packet of hundred–dollar bills, checked that the numbers and signatures were compatible with 1963. The Temporal Bureau doesn’t care how much you spend (it costs nothing) but they don’t like unnecessary anachronisms. Too many mistakes, and a general court–martial will exile you for a year in a nasty period, say 1974 with its strict rationing and forced labor. I never make such mistakes; the money was okay.

He turned around and said, “What happened?”

“He’s here. Go outside and take him. Here’s expense money.” I shoved it at him and added, “Settle him, then I’ll pick you up.”

Hundred–dollar bills have a hypnotic effect on a person not used to them. He was thumbing them unbelievingly as I eased him into the hall, locked him out. The next jump was easy, a small shift in era.

7100–VI–10 March 1964—Cleveland–Apex Bldg.: There was a notice under the door saying that my lease expired next week; otherwise the room looked as it had a moment before. Outside, trees were bare and snow threatened; I hurried, stopping only for contemporary money and a coat, hat, and topcoat I had left there when I leased the room. I hired a car, went to the hospital. It took twenty minutes to bore the nursery attendant to the point where I could swipe the baby without being noticed. We went back to the Apex Building. This dial setting was more involved, as the building did not yet exist in 1945. But I had precalculated it.

0100–VI–20 Sept. 1945—Cleveland–Skyview Motel: Field kit, baby, and I arrived in a motel outside town. Earlier I had registered as “Gregory Johnson, Warren, Ohio,” so we arrived in a room with curtains closed, windows locked, and doors bolted, and the floor cleared to allow for waver as the machine hunts. You can get a nasty bruise from a chair where it shouldn’t be—not the chair, of course, but backlash from the field.

No trouble. Jane was sleeping soundly; I carried her out, put her in a grocery box on the seat of a car I had provided earlier, drove to the orphanage, put her on the steps, drove two blocks to a ‘service station’ (the petroleum–products sort) and phoned the orphanage, drove back in time to see them taking the box inside, kept going and abandoned the car near the motel—walked to it and jumped forward to the Apex Building in 1963.

2200–VI–24 April 1963—Cleveland–Apex Bldg.: I had cut the time rather fine—temporal accuracy depends on span, except on return to zero. If I had it right, Jane was discovering, out in the park this balmy spring night, that she wasn’t quite as nice a girl as she had thought. I grabbed a taxi to the home of those skinflints, had the hackie wait around a comer while I lurked in shadows.

Presently I spotted them down the street, arms around each other. He took her up on the porch and made a long job of kissing her good–night—longer than I thought. Then she went in and he came down the walk, turned away. I slid into step and hooked an arm in his. “That’s all, son,” I announced quietly. “I’m back to pick you up.”

“You!” He gasped and caught his breath.

“Me. Now you know who he is—and after you think it over you’ll know who you are… and if you think hard enough, you’ll figure out who the baby is… and who I am.”

He didn’t answer, he was badly shaken. It’s a shock to have it proved to you that you can’t resist seducing yourself. I took him to the Apex Building and we jumped again.

2300–VIII, 12 Aug. 1985–Sub Rockies Base: I woke the duty sergeant, showed my I. D., told the sergeant to bed my companion down with a happy pill and recruit him in the morning. The sergeant looked sour, but rank is rank, regardless of era; he did what I said—thinking, no doubt, that the next time we met he might be the colonel and I the sergeant. Which can happen in our corps. “What name?” he asked.

I wrote it out. He raised his eyebrows. “Like so, eh? Hmm—”

“You just do your job, Sergeant.” I turned to my companion.

“Son, your troubles are over. You’re about to start the best job a man ever held—and you’ll do well. I know.”

“That you will!” agreed the sergeant. “Look at me—born in 1917—still around, still young, still enjoying life.” I went back to the jump room, set everything on preselected zero.

2301–V–7 Nov. 1970–NYC—“Pop’s Place”: I came out of the storeroom carrying a fifth of Drambuie to account for the minute I had been gone. My assistant was arguing with the customer who had been playing “I’m My Own Grand–paw!” I said, “Oh, let him play it, then unplug it.” I was very tired.

It’s rough, but somebody must do it, and it’s very hard to recruit anyone in the later years, since the Mistake of 1972. Can you think of a better source than to pick people all fouled up where they are and give them well–paid, interesting (even though dangerous) work in a necessary cause? Everybody knows now why the Fizzle War of 1963 fizzled. The bomb with New York’s number on it didn’t go off, a hundred other things didn’t go as planned—all arranged by the likes of me.

But not the Mistake of '72; that one is not our fault—and can’t be undone; there’s no paradox to resolve. A thing either is, or it isn’t, now and forever amen. But there won’t be another like it; an order dated ‘1992’ takes precedence any year.

I closed five minutes early, leaving a letter in the cash register telling my day manager that I was accepting his offer to buy me out, to see my lawyer as I was leaving on a long vacation. The Bureau might or might not pick up his payments, but they want things left tidy. I went to the room in the back of the storeroom and forward to 1993.

2200–VII-- 12 Jan 1993–Sub Rockies Annex–HQ Temporal DOL: I checked in with the duty officer and went to my quarters, intending to sleep for a week. I had fetched the bottle we bet (after all, I won it) and took a drink before I wrote my report. It tasted foul, and I wondered why I had ever liked Old Underwear. But it was better than nothing; I don’t like to be cold sober, I think too much. But I don’t really hit the bottle either; other people have snakes—I have people.

I dictated my report; forty recruitments all okayed by the Psych Bureau—counting my own, which I knew would be okayed. I was here, wasn’t I? Then I taped a request for assignment to operations; I was sick of recruiting. I dropped both in the slot and headed for bed. My eye fell on ‘The By–Laws of Time,’ over my bed:

  • Never Do Yesterday What Should Be Done Tomorrow.
  • If at Last You Do Succeed, Never Try Again.
  • A Stitch in Time Saves Nine Billion.
  • A Paradox May Be Paradoctored.
  • It Is Earlier When You Think.
  • Ancestors Are Just People.
  • Even Jove Nods.

They didn’t inspire me the way they had when I was a recruit; thirty subjective–years of time–jumping wears you down. I undressed, and when I got down to the hide I looked at my belly. A Cesarean leaves a big scar, but I’m so hairy now that I don’t notice it unless I look for it.

Then I glanced at the ring on my finger.

The Snake That Eats Its Own Tail, Forever and Ever. I know where I came from—but where did all you zombies come from?

I felt a headache coming on, but a headache powder is one thing I do not take. I did once—and you all went away.

So I crawled into bed and whistled out the light.

You aren’t really there at all. There isn’t anybody but me—Jane—here alone in the dark.

I miss you dreadfully!

Fuckface on His Own Daughter by Unknown More Pasta

Conservative values we can al get behind ♥️🤮

She’s “voluptuous

She’s a “piece of ass”.

Perhaps I’d be dating her”.

She has “the best body”.

If I weren’t happily married…

Is it wrong to be more sexually attracted to your own daughter than your wife?

She’s hot”.

They have “sex [in common]".

Expressing shock that a gay Apprentice contestant wasn’t attracted to her.

Also of note: A teen pageant contestant complained to Ivanka in 1997 about Trump barging into the dressing rooms while the competitors were changing clothes. Ivanka’s response: “Yeah, he does that.

And listen to the 2016 testimony of Jane Doe, who claims Trump raped her when she was 13 at one of Jeffrey Epstein’s parties. Doe says that Trump communicated to the recruiter that he was interested in her because she was wearing a blonde wig and reminded him of his daughter.

Update: More family values for a Christian nation ✨:

“Aides said he talked about Ivanka Trump’s breasts, her backside, and what it might be like to have sex with her, remarks that once led John Kelly to remind the president that Ivanka was his daughter,” Taylor writes.

“Afterward, Kelly retold that story to me in visible disgust. Trump, he said, was ‘a very, very evil man.’”

A Most Horrifying Description of Rabies by ZeriMasterpeace More Pasta

Rabies. It’s exceptionally common, but people just don’t run into the animals that carry it often. Skunks especially, and bats.

Let me paint you a picture.

You go camping, and at midday you decide to take a nap in a nice little hammock. While sleeping, a tiny brown bat, in the “rage” stages of infection is fidgeting in broad daylight, uncomfortable, and thirsty (due to the hydrophobia) and you snort, startling him. He goes into attack mode.

Except you’re asleep, and he’s a little brown bat, so weighs around 6 grams. You don’t even feel him land on your bare knee, and he starts to bite. His teeth are tiny. Hardly enough to even break the skin, but he does manage to give you the equivalent of a tiny scrape that goes completely unnoticed.

Rabies does not travel in your blood. In fact, a blood test won’t even tell you if you’ve got it. (Antibody tests may be done, but are useless if you’ve ever been vaccinated.)

You wake up, none the wiser. If you notice anything at the bite site at all, you assume you just lightly scraped it on something.

The bomb has been lit, and your nervous system is the wick. The rabies will multiply along your nervous system, doing virtually no damage, and completely undetectable. You literally have NO symptoms.

It may be four days, it may be a year, but the camping trip is most likely long forgotten. Then one day your back starts to ache… Or maybe you get a slight headache?

At this point, you’re already dead. There is no cure.

(The sole caveat to this is the Milwaukee Protocol, which leaves most patients dead anyway, and the survivors mentally disabled, and is seldom done - see below).

There’s no treatment. It has a 100% kill rate.

Absorb that. Not a single other virus on the planet has a 100% kill rate. Only rabies. And once you’re symptomatic, it’s over. You’re dead.

So what does that look like?

Your headache turns into a fever, and a general feeling of being unwell. You’re fidgety. Uncomfortable. And scared. As the virus that has taken its time getting into your brain finds a vast network of nerve endings, it begins to rapidly reproduce, starting at the base of your brain… Where your “pons” is located. This is the part of the brain that controls communication between the rest of the brain and body, as well as sleep cycles.

Next you become anxious. You still think you have only a mild fever, but suddenly you find yourself becoming scared, even horrified, and it doesn’t occur to you that you don’t know why. This is because the rabies is chewing up your amygdala.

As your cerebellum becomes hot with the virus, you begin to lose muscle coordination, and balance. You think maybe it’s a good idea to go to the doctor now, but assuming a doctor is smart enough to even run the tests necessary in the few days you have left on the planet, odds are they’ll only be able to tell your loved ones what you died of later.

You’re twitchy, shaking, and scared. You have the normal fear of not knowing what’s going on, but with the virus really fucking the amygdala this is amplified a hundred fold. It’s around this time the hydrophobia starts.

You’re horribly thirsty, you just want water. But you can’t drink. Every time you do, your throat clamps shut and you vomit. This has become a legitimate, active fear of water. You’re thirsty, but looking at a glass of water begins to make you gag, and shy back in fear. The contradiction is hard for your hot brain to see at this point. By now, the doctors will have to put you on IVs to keep you hydrated, but even that’s futile. You were dead the second you had a headache.

You begin hearing things, or not hearing at all as your thalamus goes. You taste sounds, you see smells, everything starts feeling like the most horrifying acid trip anyone has ever been on. With your hippocampus long under attack, you’re having trouble remembering things, especially family.

You’re alone, hallucinating, thirsty, confused, and absolutely, undeniably terrified. Everything scares the literal shit out of you at this point. These strange people in lab coats. These strange people standing around your bed crying, who keep trying to get you “drink something” and crying. And it’s only been about a week since that little headache that you’ve completely forgotten. Time means nothing to you anymore. Funny enough, you now know how the bat felt when he bit you.

Eventually, you slip into the “dumb rabies” phase. Your brain has started the process of shutting down. Too much of it has been turned to liquid virus. Your face droops. You drool. You’re all but unaware of what’s around you. A sudden noise or light might startle you, but for the most part, it’s all you can do to just stare at the ground. You haven’t really slept for about 72 hours.

Then you die. Always, you die.

And there’s not one… fucking… thing… anyone can do for you.

Then there’s the question of what to do with your corpse. I mean, sure, burying it is the right thing to do. But the fucking virus can survive in a corpse for years. You could kill every rabid animal on the planet today, and if two years from now, some moist, preserved, rotten hunk of used-to-be brain gets eaten by an animal, it starts all over.

So yeah, rabies scares the shit out of me. And it’s fucking EVERYWHERE. (Source: Spent a lot of time working with rabies. Would still get my vaccinations if I could afford them.)

Each time this gets reposted, there is a TON of misinformation that follows by people who simply don’t know, or have heard “information” from others who were ill informed:

Only x number of people have died in the U.S. in the past x years. Rabies is really rare.

Yes, deaths from rabies are rare in the United States, in the neighborhood of 2-3 per year. This does not mean rabies is rare. The reason that mortality is so rare in the U.S. is due to a very aggressive treatment protocol of all bite cases in the United States: If you are bitten, and you cannot identify the animal that bit you, or the animal were to die shortly after biting you, you will get post exposure treatment. That is the protocol.

Post exposure is very effective (almost 100%) if done before you become symptomatic. It involves a series of immunoglobulin shots - many of which are at the site of the bite - as well as the vaccine given over the span of a month. (Fun fact - if you’re vaccinated for rabies, you may be able to be an immunoglobulin donor!)

It’s not nearly as bad as was rumored when I was a kid. Something about getting shots in the stomach. Nothing like that.

In countries without good treatment protocols rabies is rampant. India alone sees 20,000 deaths from rabies PER YEAR.

The “why did nobody die of rabies in the past if it’s so dangerous?” argument.

There were entire epidemics of rabies in the past, so much so that suicide or murder of those suspected to have rabies were common.

In North America, the first case of human death by rabies wasn’t reported until 1768. This is because Rabies does not appear to be native to North America, and it spread very slowly. So slowly, in fact, that until the mid 1990’s, it was assumed that Canada and Northern New York didn’t have rabies at all. This changed when I was personally one of the first to send in a positive rabies specimen - a raccoon - which helped spawn a cooperative U.S. / Canada rabies bait drop some time between 1995 and 1997 (my memory’s shot).

Unfortunately, it was too late. Rabies had already crossed into Canada.

There are still however some countries (notably, Australia, where everything ELSE is trying to kill you) that still does not have Rabies.

Lots of people have survived rabies using the Milwaukee Protocol.

False. ONE woman did, and she is still recovering to this day (some 16+ years later). There’s also the possibility that she only survived due to either a genetic immunity, or possibly even was inadvertently “vaccinated” some other way. All other treatments ultimately failed, even the others that were reported as successes eventually succumbed to the virus. Almost all of the attributed “survivors” actually received post-exposure treatment before becoming symptomatic and many of THEM died anyway.

Bats don’t have rabies all that often. This is just a scare tactic.

False. To date, 6% of bats that have been “captured” or come into contact with humans were rabid.. This number is a lot higher when you consider that it equates to one in seventeen bats. If the bat is allowing you to catch/touch it, the odds that there’s a problem are simply too high to ignore.

You have to get the treatment within 72 hours, or it won’t work anyway.

False. The rabies virus travels via nervous system, and can take several years to reach the brain depending on the path it takes. If you’ve been exposed, it’s NEVER too late to get the treatment, and just because you didn’t die in a week does not mean you’re safe. A case of a guy incubating the virus for 8 years.

At least I live in Australia!


Please, please, PLEASE stop posting bad information every time this comes up. Rabies is not something to be shrugged off. And sadly, this kind of misinformation killed a 6 year old just this Sunday. Stop it.

Real Programmers Don’t Use PASCAL by Ed Post, Copyright (c) 1982 More Pasta

Back in the good old days – the “Golden Era” of computers, it was easy to separate the men from the boys (sometimes called “Real Men” and “Quiche Eaters” in the literature). During this period, the Real Men were the ones that understood computer programming, and the Quiche Eaters were the ones that didn’t. A real computer programmer said things like “DO 10 I=1,10” and “ABEND” (they actually talked in capital letters, you understand), and the rest of the world said things like “computers are too complicated for me” and “I can’t relate to computers – they’re so impersonal”. (A previous work [1] points out that Real Men don’t “relate” to anything, and aren’t afraid of being impersonal.)

But, as usual, times change. We are faced today with a world in which little old ladies can get computerized microwave ovens, 12 year old kids can blow Real Men out of the water playing Asteroids and Pac-Man, and anyone can buy and even understand their very own Personal Computer. The Real Programmer is in danger of becoming extinct, of being replaced by high-school students with TRASH-80s!

There is a clear need to point out the differences between the typical high-school junior Pac-Man player and a Real Programmer. Understanding these differences will give these kids something to aspire to – a role model, a Father Figure. It will also help employers of Real Programmers to realize why it would be a mistake to replace the Real Programmers on their staff with 12 year old Pac-Man players (at a considerable salary savings).


The easiest way to tell a Real Programmer from the crowd is by the programming language he (or she) uses. Real Programmers use FORTRAN. Quiche Eaters use PASCAL. Nicklaus Wirth, the designer of PASCAL, was once asked, “How do you pronounce your name?”. He replied “You can either call me by name, pronouncing it ‘Veert’, or call me by value, ‘Worth’.” One can tell immediately from this comment that Nicklaus Wirth is a Quiche Eater. The only parameter passing mechanism endorsed by Real Programmers is call-by-value-return, as implemented in the IBM/370 FORTRAN G and H compilers. Real programmers don’t need abstract concepts to get their jobs done: they are perfectly happy with a keypunch, a FORTRAN IV compiler, and a beer.

  • Real Programmers do List Processing in FORTRAN.
  • Real Programmers do String Manipulation in FORTRAN.
  • Real Programmers do Accounting (if they do it at all) in FORTRAN.
  • Real Programmers do Artificial Intelligence programs in FORTRAN.

If you can’t do it in FORTRAN, do it in assembly language. If you can’t do it in assembly language, it isn’t worth doing.


Computer science academicians have gotten into the “structured programming” rut over the past several years. They claim that programs are more easily understood if the programmer uses some special language constructs and techniques. They don’t all agree on exactly which constructs, of course, and the examples they use to show their particular point of view invariably fit on a single page of some obscure journal or another – clearly not enough of an example to convince anyone. When I got out of school, I thought I was the best programmer in the world. I could write an unbeatable tic-tac-toe program, use five different computer languages, and create 1000 line programs that WORKED. (Really!) Then I got out into the Real World. My first task in the Real World was to read and understand a 200,000 line FORTRAN program, then speed it up by a factor of two. Any Real Programmer will tell you that all the Structured Coding in the world won’t help you solve a problem like that – it takes actual talent. Some quick observations on Real Programmers and Structured Programming:

  • Real Programmers aren’t afraid to use GOTOs.
  • Real Programmers can write five page long DO loops without getting confused.
  • Real Programmers enjoy Arithmetic IF statements because they make the code more interesting.
  • Real Programmers write self-modifying code, especially if it saves them 20 nanoseconds in the middle of a tight loop.
  • Programmers don’t need comments: the code is obvious.
  • Since FORTRAN doesn’t have a structured IF, REPEAT … UNTIL, or CASE statement, Real Programmers don’t have to worry about not using them. Besides, they can be simulated when necessary using assigned GOTOs.

Data structures have also gotten a lot of press lately. Abstract Data Types, Structures, Pointers, Lists, and Strings have become popular in certain circles. Wirth (the above-mentioned Quiche Eater) actually wrote an entire book [2] contending that you could write a program based on data structures, instead of the other way around. As all Real Programmers know, the only useful data structure is the array. Strings, lists, structures, sets – these are all special cases of arrays and and can be treated that way just as easily without messing up your programing language with all sorts of complications. The worst thing about fancy data types is that you have to declare them, and Real Programming Languages, as we all know, have implicit typing based on the first letter of the (six character) variable name.


What kind of operating system is used by a Real Programmer? CP/M? God forbid – CP/M, after all, is basically a toy operating system. Even little old ladies and grade school students can understand and use CP/M.

Unix is a lot more complicated of course – the typical Unix hacker never can remember what the PRINT command is called this week – but when it gets right down to it, Unix is a glorified video game. People don’t do Serious Work on Unix systems: they send jokes around the world on USENET and write adventure games and research papers.

No, your Real Programmer uses OS/370. A good programmer can find and understand the description of the IJK305I error he just got in his JCL manual. A great programmer can write JCL without referring to the manual at all. A truly outstanding programmer can find bugs buried in a 6 megabyte core dump without using a hex calculator. (I have actually seen this done.)

OS/370 is a truly remarkable operating system. It’s possible to destroy days of work with a single misplaced space, so alertness in the programming staff is encouraged. The best way to approach the system is through a keypunch. Some people claim there is a Time Sharing system that runs on OS/370, but after careful study I have come to the conclusion that they are mistaken.


What kind of tools does a Real Programmer use? In theory, a Real Programmer could run his programs by keying them into the front panel of the computer. Back in the days when computers had front panels, this was actually done occasionally. Your typical Real Programmer knew the entire bootstrap loader by memory in hex, and toggled it in whenever it got destroyed by his program. (Back then, memory was memory – it didn’t go away when the power went off. Today, memory either forgets things when you don’t want it to, or remembers things long after they’re better forgotten.) Legend has it that Seymour Cray, inventor of the Cray I supercomputer and most of Control Data’s computers, actually toggled the first operating system for the CDC7600 in on the front panel from memory when it was first powered on. Seymour, needless to say, is a Real Programmer.

One of my favorite Real Programmers was a systems programmer for Texas Instruments. One day, he got a long distance call from a user whose system had crashed in the middle of some important work. Jim was able to repair the damage over the phone, getting the user to toggle in disk I/O instructions at the front panel, repairing system tables in hex, reading register contents back over the phone. The moral of this story: while a Real Programmer usually includes a keypunch and lineprinter in his toolkit, he can get along with just a front panel and a telephone in emergencies.

In some companies, text editing no longer consists of ten engineers standing in line to use an 029 keypunch. In fact, the building I work in doesn’t contain a single keypunch. The Real Programmer in this situation has to do his work with a text editor program. Most systems supply several text editors to select from, and the Real Programmer must be careful to pick one that reflects his personal style. Many people believe that the best text editors in the world were written at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center for use on their Alto and Dorado computers [3]. Unfortunately, no Real Programmer would ever use a computer whose operating system is called SmallTalk, and would certainly not talk to the computer with a mouse.

Some of the concepts in these Xerox editors have been incorporated into editors running on more reasonably named operating systems. EMACS and VI are probably the most well known of this class of editors. The problem with these editors is that Real Programmers consider “what you see is what you get” to be just as bad a concept in text editors as it is in women. No, the Real Programmer wants a “you asked for it, you got it” text editor – complicated, cryptic, powerful, unforgiving, dangerous. TECO, to be precise.

It has been observed that a TECO command sequence more closely resembles transmission line noise than readable text [4]. One of the more entertaining games to play with TECO is to type your name in as a command line and try to guess what it does. Just about any possible typing error while talking with TECO will probably destroy your program, or even worse – introduce subtle and mysterious bugs in a once working subroutine.

For this reason, Real Programmers are reluctant to actually edit a program that is close to working. They find it much easier to just patch the binary object code directly, using a wonderful program called SUPERZAP (or its equivalent on non-IBM machines). This works so well that many working programs on IBM systems bear no relation to the original FORTRAN code. In many cases, the original source code is no longer available. When it comes time to fix a program like this, no manager would even think of sending anything less than a Real Programmer to do the job – no Quiche Eating structured programmer would even know where to start. This is called “job security”.

Some programming tools NOT used by Real Programmers:

  • FORTRAN preprocessors like MORTRAN and RATFOR. The Cuisinarts of programming – great for making Quiche. See comments above on structured programming.
  • Source language debuggers. Real Programmers can read core dumps.
  • Compilers with array bounds checking. They stifle creativity, destroy most of the interesting uses for EQUIVALENCE, and make it impossible to modify the operating system code with negative subscripts. Worst of all, bounds checking is inefficient.
  • Source code maintainance systems. A Real Programmer keeps his code locked up in a card file, because it implies that its owner cannot leave his important programs unguarded [5].


Where does the typical Real Programmer work? What kind of programs are worthy of the efforts of so talented an individual? You can be sure that no real Programmer would be caught dead writing accounts-receivable programs in COBOL, or sorting mailing lists for People magazine. A Real Programmer wants tasks of earth-shaking importance (literally!):

  • Real Programmers work for Los Alamos National Laboratory, writing atomic bomb simulations to run on Cray I supercomputers.
  • Real Programmers work for the National Security Agency, decoding Russian transmissions.
  • It was largely due to the efforts of thousands of Real Programmers working for NASA that our boys got to the moon and back before the cosmonauts.
  • The computers in the Space Shuttle were programmed by Real Programmers.
  • Programmers are at work for Boeing designing the operating systems for cruise missiles.

Some of the most awesome Real Programmers of all work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Many of them know the entire operating system of the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft by heart. With a combination of large ground-based FORTRAN programs and small spacecraft-based assembly language programs, they can to do incredible feats of navigation and improvisation, such as hitting ten-kilometer wide windows at Saturn after six years in space, and repairing or bypassing damaged sensor platforms, radios, and batteries. Allegedly, one Real Programmer managed to tuck a pattern-matching program into a few hundred bytes of unused memory in a Voyager spacecraft that searched for, located, and photographed a new moon of Jupiter.

One plan for the upcoming Galileo spacecraft mission is to use a gravity assist trajectory past Mars on the way to Jupiter. This trajectory passes within 80 +/- 3 kilometers of the surface of Mars. Nobody is going to trust a PASCAL program (or PASCAL programmer) for navigation to these tolerances.

As you can tell, many of the world’s Real Programmers work for the U.S. Government, mainly the Defense Department. This is as it should be. Recently, however, a black cloud has formed on the Real Programmer horizon.

It seems that some highly placed Quiche Eaters at the Defense Department decided that all Defense programs should be written in some grand unified language called “ADA” (registered trademark, DoD). For a while, it seemed that ADA was destined to become a language that went against all the precepts of Real Programming – a language with structure, a language with data types, strong typing, and semicolons. In short, a language designed to cripple the creativity of the typical Real Programmer. Fortunately, the language adopted by DoD has enough interesting features to make it approachable: it’s incredibly complex, includes methods for messing with the operating system and rearranging memory, and Edsgar Dijkstra doesn’t like it [6]. (Dijkstra, as I’m sure you know, was the author of “GoTos Considered Harmful” – a landmark work in programming methodology, applauded by Pascal Programmers and Quiche Eaters alike.) Besides, the determined Real Programmer can write FORTRAN programs in any language.

The real programmer might compromise his principles and work on something slightly more trivial than the destruction of life as we know it, providing there’s enough money in it. There are several Real Programmers building video games at Atari, for example. (But not playing them. A Real Programmer knows how to beat the machine every time: no challange in that.) Everyone working at LucasFilm is a Real Programmer. (It would be crazy to turn down the money of 50 million Star Wars fans.) The proportion of Real Programmers in Computer Graphics is somewhat lower than the norm, mostly because nobody has found a use for Computer Graphics yet. On the other hand, all Computer Graphics is done in FORTRAN, so there are a fair number people doing Graphics in order to avoid having to write COBOL programs.


Generally, the Real Programmer plays the same way he works – with computers. He is constantly amazed that his employer actually pays him to do what he would be doing for fun anyway, although he is careful not to express this opinion out loud. Occasionally, the Real Programmer does step out of the office for a breath of fresh air and a beer or two. Some tips on recognizing real programmers away from the computer room:

  • At a party, the Real Programmers are the ones in the corner talking about operating system security and how to get around it.
  • At a football game, the Real Programmer is the one comparing the plays against his simulations printed on 11 by 14 fanfold paper.
  • At the beach, the Real Programmer is the one drawing flowcharts in the sand.
  • A Real Programmer goes to a disco to watch the light show.
  • At a funeral, the Real Programmer is the one saying “Poor George. And he almost had the sort routine working before the coronary.”
  • In a grocery store, the Real Programmer is the one who insists on running the cans past the laser checkout scanner himself, because he never could trust keypunch operators to get it right the first time.


What sort of environment does the Real Programmer function best in? This is an important question for the managers of Real Programmers. Considering the amount of money it costs to keep one on the staff, it’s best to put him (or her) in an environment where he can get his work done.

The typical Real Programmer lives in front of a computer terminal. Surrounding this terminal are:

  • Listings of all programs the Real Programmer has ever worked on, piled in roughly chronological order on every flat surface in the office.
  • Some half-dozen or so partly filled cups of cold coffee. Occasionally, there will be cigarette butts floating in the coffee. In some cases, the cups will contain Orange Crush.
  • Unless he is very good, there will be copies of the OS JCL manual and the Principles of Operation open to some particularly interesting pages.
  • Taped to the wall is a line-printer Snoopy calender for the year 1969.
  • Strewn about the floor are several wrappers for peanut butter filled cheese bars (the type that are made stale at the bakery so they can’t get any worse while waiting in the vending machine).
  • Hiding in the top left-hand drawer of the desk is a stash of double stuff Oreos for special occasions.
  • Underneath the Oreos is a flow-charting template, left there by the previous occupant of the office. (Real Programmers write programs, not documentation. Leave that to the maintainence people.)

The Real Programmer is capable of working 30, 40, even 50 hours at a stretch, under intense pressure. In fact, he prefers it that way. Bad response time doesn’t bother the Real Programmer – it gives him a chance to catch a little sleep between compiles. If there is not enough schedule pressure on the Real Programmer, he tends to make things more challenging by working on some small but interesting part of the problem for the first nine weeks, then finishing the rest in the last week, in two or three 50-hour marathons. This not only inpresses his manager, who was despairing of ever getting the project done on time, but creates a convenient excuse for not doing the documentation. In general:

  • No Real Programmer works 9 to 5. (Unless it’s 9 in the evening to 5 in the morning.)
  • Real Programmers don’t wear neckties.
  • Real Programmers don’t wear high heeled shoes.
  • Real Programmers arrive at work in time for lunch. [9]
  • A Real Programmer might or might not know his wife’s name. He does, however, know the entire ASCII (or EBCDIC) code table.
  • Real Programmers don’t know how to cook. Grocery stores aren’t often open at 3 a.m., so they survive on Twinkies and coffee.


What of the future? It is a matter of some concern to Real Programmers that the latest generation of computer programmers are not being brought up with the same outlook on life as their elders. Many of them have never seen a computer with a front panel. Hardly anyone graduating from school these days can do hex arithmetic without a calculator. College graduates these days are soft – protected from the realities of programming by source level debuggers, text editors that count parentheses, and user friendly operating systems. Worst of all, some of these alleged computer scientists manage to get degrees without ever learning FORTRAN! Are we destined to become an industry of Unix hackers and Pascal programmers?

On the contrary. From my experience, I can only report that the future is bright for Real Programmers everywhere. Neither OS/370 nor FORTRAN show any signs of dying out, despite all the efforts of Pascal programmers the world over. Even more subtle tricks, like adding structured coding constructs to FORTRAN have failed. Oh sure, some computer vendors have come out with FORTRAN 77 compilers, but every one of them has a way of converting itself back into a FORTRAN 66 compiler at the drop of an option card – to compile DO loops like God meant them to be.

Even Unix might not be as bad on Real Programmers as it once was. The latest release of Unix has the potential of an operating system worthy of any Real Programmer. It has two different and subtly incompatible user interfaces, an arcane and complicated terminal driver, virtual memory. If you ignore the fact that it’s structured, even C programming can be appreciated by the Real Programmer: after all, there’s no type checking, variable names are seven (ten? eight?) characters long, and the added bonus of the Pointer data type is thrown in. It’s like having the best parts of FORTRAN and assembly language in one place. (Not to mention some of the more creative uses for #define.)

No, the future isn’t all that bad. Why, in the past few years, the popular press has even commented on the bright new crop of computer nerds and hackers ([7] and [8]) leaving places like Stanford and M.I.T. for the Real World. From all evidence, the spirit of Real Programming lives on in these young men and women. As long as there are ill-defined goals, bizarre bugs, and unrealistic schedules, there will be Real Programmers willing to jump in and Solve The Problem, saving the documentation for later. Long live FORTRAN!


I would like to thank Jan E., Dave S., Rich G., Rich E. for their help in characterizing the Real Programmer, Heather B. for the illustration, Kathy E. for putting up with it, and atd!avsdS:mark for the initial inspriration.


  1. Feirstein, B., Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, New York, Pocket Books, 1982.
  2. Wirth, N., Algorithms + Datastructures = Programs, Prentice Hall, 1976.
  3. Xerox PARC editors . . .
  4. Finseth, C., Theory and Practice of Text Editors - or - a Cookbook for an EMACS, B.S. Thesis, MIT/LCS/TM-165, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, May 1980.
  5. Weinberg, G., The Psychology of Computer Programming, New York, Van Nostrabd Reinhold, 1971, page 110.
  6. Dijkstra, E., On the GREEN Language Submitted to the DoD, Sigplan notices, Volume 3, Number 10, October 1978.
  7. Rose, Frank, Joy of Hacking, Science 82, Volume 3, Number 9, November 1982, pages 58 - 66.
  8. The Hacker Papers, Psychology Today, August 1980.
  9. Datamation, July, 1983, pp. 263-265.

“The primary directive of a government is to serve and protect its citizens. The primary directive of a corporation is to make a buck. When you give the duties of the former to the latter, failure ensues.” by @absurdistwords More Pasta

::Deadly pandemic rages::

Texas: “Let’s mismanage energy so thoroughly that our citizens are compelled to congregate en masse in heating centers designed to keep warm air and breath inside.” Here’s the problem with deregulation and privatization of public services.

The primary directive of a government is to serve and protect its citizens

The primary directive of a corporation is to make a buck.

When you give the duties of the former to the latter, failure ensues. Conservatives like to talk about running governments like businesses.

This is meant to drum up images of high corporate efficiency.

But a government that runs like a corporation is a failed government. A corporation, tasked with generating both higher profit and greater consumer satisfaction will work towards satisfaction ONLY insofar as it doesn’t impede higher profits.

If it’s one or the other, it will choose profit

This is a corporation doing what it is supposed to do. Theoretically the government’s choice should be the opposite.

It should work toward caring for people primarily, and if it is capable of recouping or exceeding its own costs then great.

But if public safety is at risk, money should be a secondary concern at best. In short, the govt model is “We’ll take care of you at any cost”

while the corporate model is “We’ll take care of you as long as it doesn’t cost us too much”

It’s clear why it’s dangerous to mix up these mandates.

Cause then people freeze to death over profit. It is understandable why government frequently needs to enlist corporations to provide specialized needs that the government can’t reasonably specialize in.

But that’s different than just ceding the whole thing to corporations and providing minimal regulation and oversight. It makes sense for instance that the government, without the equipment and resources to develop and mass produce vaccines, leans on corporations that already have the capacity.

But you don’t replace the Department of Health with Pfizer. Corporations are hostile to the things that citizens need from government:

  • Job security
  • Health care
  • Living wages
  • Civil rights
  • Equal access

They are hostile because those things impede maximizing profit. This is the reason that some of the most employee-benficial employment environments are within government.

All those equity-increasing initiatives that corporations have to be arm-twisted to adopt, like anti-discrimination policies, government just has to do.
If someone promises they’re gonna run a State like a business, they’re saying that they will prioritize making money over the needs of the citizenry.

They are saying they will reconstruct government to cut every corner, pinch every penny and deprive people of costly services
Texas decided that corporations should be responsible for civic infrastructure and now people are literally freezing to death in their homes…

The poor people of course.

The rich people are fine. Because they have money and that’s how capitalism works.

Just not government. A big piece of the failure to properly upgrade and protect critical energy equipment from extreme weather was that nobody wanted to take on a costly rehab that might jeopardize their competition with other companies and lose money and market share. So when the choice was between

  • “Ensure that citizens are safe, powered and warm”
  • And “Make sure Company X doesn’t beat us”

Guess which won?

So now we have a state which is not only shamefully and woefully unprepared for the kind of extreme weather that their own denial of climate change ensures will only increase…

But whose only option now is to rely on a stopgap that accelerates a deadly pandemic. IF as discussed earlier, a government needs to rely on corporations to fill gaps in critical public resources, then it’s IMPERATIVE that those corporations be compelled to operate under the governmental mandate and not the corporate one.

Which is why strong regulation is key.

We Ought to Live in a Society, not an Economy by BaldKnobber123 More Pasta

It’s important to state though, particularly since our current economic structure has pushed that “there is no such thing as society”.

That might sound insane, but it is not hyperbolic. In 1987, Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the UK, said that “There is no such thing as society. There is [a] living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.”

It was supposed to be on the people: they look to themselves, they help their family and their neighbor. Aid is individualized, then can be reciprocated. But, at the same time as “individuals” were supposed to be stepping up, Thatcher’s policies were stepping on them, especially the most vulnerable. This all making it harder to even look to oneself. Is it on the child to look to oneself? The child whose development was stunted by environmental pollution exacerbated by a history of systemic factors?

That has become one of Thatcher’s most famous quotes, this rejection of society in favor of individualism, a backbone of ideology that drove her move towards deregulating the British economy, towards privatizing the British services, towards turning the commons to the few, towards “tough to swallow” austerity measures. Meanwhile, today, Republicans meet with Biden to “compromise” by proposing relief 1/3 the size of the Democrats proposal (which is arguably lower than needed as is). The ever fading in, fading out, debt concerns rising again. Austerity does not work, but it is slow to die. An idea slow to die, but fast to kill.

Is it any surprise then that Thatcher turned on unions as well? They are not individuals, they are society, they are collectives. That she would work to disband the unions in the name of “economic growth”. A “growth” that she handed to the individuals - no not those individuals that needs it, but those at the top. Inequality took off in the 1980s under Thatcher, much like it did in the US under her buddy Ronald Reagan. No surprise. They both used economic theory crafted by the same bundle of Neoliberal economists: Friedman, Stigler, Hayek, Buchanan, etc:

A week after Thatcher won, Milton Friedman sent a letter to her saying “The battle has now begun. We must win.” Friedman would be an adviser to both Thatcher and Reagan, pushing his economic view of “freeing the individual”. Out of the tax cuts, the deregulation, the privatization, there was to arise the “free” market. A market that was never free up to that point, and has not been free since. Just transformed. What “individual” was freed?

Since then, there has only been a growth in the Precariat - a social class formed by people suffering from precarity, which means existing without predictability or security, affecting material or psychological welfare.

The promise didn’t deliver, except to those that knew they would be made richer. They all knew the rich would get richer. That’s why the basis was “trickle down”. Sure they would get rich, but it would eventually come down. It didn’t. Even in Thatcher’s own terms of “saving the economy”, it did not deliver..

Now, we are dealing with the fallout of that, the precarity of a society that denies itself. The failings of which, whether in Brexit or in Trump, were made material.

On American Meritocracy by BaldKnobber123 More Pasta

I find even many people who don’t vote Republican and don’t see themselves as conservatives use this type of response when discussing programs like Affirmative Action. They see themselves as arguing for the “meritocracy”, yet don’t recognize how fraudulent the idea of the US as a meritocracy is.

To keep with the Affirmative Action example, since it is one of the most prominent, they tend to get tons wrong about affirmative action, what it actually does for minorities, and the large amounts of “unspoken” affirmative action that exists for the wealthy and alumni (both of which are more likely to be white due to racial wealth gaps and the historical legacy of admissions):

At 38 colleges in America, including five in the Ivy League – Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale, Penn and Brown – more students came from the top 1 percent of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60 percent.

Roughly one in four of the richest students attend an elite college – universities that typically cluster toward the top of annual rankings. In contrast, less than one-half of 1 percent of children from the bottom fifth of American families attend an elite college; less than half attend any college at all.

At elite colleges, the share of students from the bottom 40 percent has remained mostly flat for a decade. Access to top colleges has not changed much, at least when measured in quintiles. (The poor have gotten poorer over that time, and the very rich have gotten richer.)

The children of the rich and famous received special treatment, as did the children of alumni. If your parent or grandparent had gone to the university, your admission chances were greatly enhanced. The thought was a family’s loyalty to the institution should be rewarded even though it created unfairness for first-generation college students. Ultimately, there would be a book by Daniel Golden entitled “The Price of Admission” that explained how Brown and other Ivies had risen to prominence in part based on “affirmative action” for wealthy donors and famous celebrities.

Documents unsealed during that litigation showed how Harvard privileged the applications of the wealthy, donors, legacies (that is, alumni offspring), and faculty children. As an example, the admission rate for legacies was 33.6 percent, compared to 5.9 percent for non-alumni applicants.

Under oath, the Harvard dean of admissions was forced to explain emails he had sent “suggesting special consideration for the offspring of big donors, those who have ‘already committed to a building’ or have ‘an art collection which could conceivably come our way.’”

At Brown, I saw similar practices firsthand. When the children of prominent people came to campus for admissions tours, the development office would call me and other faculty members to set up individual meetings with them. On many occasions, I met the children of famous politicians and media celebrities who wanted their son or daughter to get into Brown. I talked with them about the university, and sometimes wrote letters on their behalf describing the meeting. It was standard operating procedure at the university as well as other elite institutions to provide special treatment for offspring of the prominent and well heeled.

Last year’s survey of college admissions directors by Inside Higher Ed found that 42 percent of admissions directors at private colleges and universities said legacy status is a factor in admissions decisions at their institutions. The figure at public institutions is only 6 percent.

A new study notes that in the six admissions cycles between 2014 and 2019, 43% of white students admitted to Harvard were either legacies, recruited athletes, children of faculty and staff, or students on the Dean’s Interest List—a list of applicants whose relatives have donated to Harvard, the existence of which only became public knowledge in 2018. By contrast, no more than 16% of admitted students who were African-American, Asian-American, or Hispanic fell into one of those favored categories.

The Wall Street Journal reports that over the past five years, Princeton University admitted 30% of its legacy applicants, compared to 7% of the general applicant pool, while the acceptance rate for legacies at the University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, and the University of Virginia is roughly double the rate for the overall applicant pool.

Since Ivy League schools were overwhelmingly white for the bulk of their histories, giving special status to the descendants of previous attendees would seem to perpetuate an unjust history of discrimination. (Indeed, legacy admissions policies were invented to justify discrimination against Jewish students at elite schools.)

Meanwhile, the competiveness of these institutions has greatly increased over the past few decades

What race is most likely to have legacy to Ivy League universities? Racial wealth gaps? And racial income gaps? All this not even getting into the indirect benefits, such as better schools, repercussions of a racists justice system faced disproportionately by other racial groups, higher places on the racial wealth and income trends leading to more resources for test prep, the effects of poverty on development, etc.

Racial affirmative action and “racist unmeritocratic admissions” is a beautiful issue to tactically push as a wedge, yet there are more Ivy Leaguers from the top 1% than bottom 60% - as if the portion of smart kids in the bottom 60% is that drastically lower.

In face of that, some argue that affirmative action should just be income or wealth based (which should be included), but when there has been decades of de jure and de facto racial segregation creating living conditions, it becomes necessary to take into account the historical, and current, racial structures.

Poor whites tend to live in more affluent neighborhoods than do middle- class blacks and Latinos, a situation that leaves those minorities more likely to contend with weaker schools, higher crime and greater social problems, according to a new study.

The new research by scholars at the Stanford Graduate School of Education found that the gap separating black and Hispanic neighborhoods from white ones persists up and down the income ladder. A black household with an annual income of $50,000 lives on average in a neighborhood where the median income is under $43,000. But whites with the same income live in neighborhoods where the median income is almost $53,000—about 25 percent higher.

A recent, large study examining the effects of California’s ban on racial affirmative action for public schools found that the ban hurt Black and Hispanic students quite badly, while providing relatively little benefit to White and Asian-American students:

A comprehensive study released Friday finds that by nearly every measure, the ban has harmed Black and Hispanic students, decreasing their number in the University of California system while reducing their odds of finishing college, going to graduate school and earning a high salary. At the same time, the policy didn’t appear to greatly benefit the white and Asian-American students who took their place.

This isn’t to say the current affirmative action is perfect: for example, American Hmong and Chinese applicants both get treated as “Asian”, despite having different historical background in America and the average test scores and wealth differing dramatically between groups. As well as other inequalities between different Asian ethnicities. But, there are strong reasons for programs that recognize past discrimination and try to level overall playing fields for the future generations.

Given the racial inequalities in the US, the playing field is not equal, and if you treat everyone as equal, when some have significant advantages (on average) for their educational development, then all you do is strengthen the future divide by rewarding the current divide.

The Human Flamethrower by Unknown More Pasta

Surprising in many ways!

A dinner at REDACTED is an unforgettable experience, not to be missed. It’s a beautiful restaurant, the food is fantastic, and you’ll be thinking about it long after the meal is over.

We started with the Date & Almond Naan, which was sweet and delicious.

The Butter Chicken, known in some places as Makhni, was tender, moist pieces of dark meat chicken, smothered in a delicious sauce with tomatoes, honey, cardamom, and what I’m assuming was a pound of laxatives.

The Three Greens Saag was wonderful, and not loaded with butter or cream – just fresh and delicious kale, spinach and mustard greens. Hearty, bold and certainly capable of demolishing even the stiffest of constipation.

White dude working the tandoors: you go, sir. The Tandoori Prawns were cooked beautifully, seasoned to perfection, and tore through me with the awesome fury of the horsemen of the apocalypse, Bravo.

The Duck Biryani, a special not on the menu, I would say, is not worth it. It’s two cups of rice and a duck thigh, and we were surprised to discover later that it cost $28. My wife thought it was going to be around $8. My sense of remorse doubled this morning as it ripped its way out of me in a raging fiery whirlwind of poopy terror.

This meal was delectable, exotic, and incinerated everything in my intestines. My morning was an unforgettable thrill ride.

The exotic flavors and aromas of India came flooding back to me as I literally peed out of my butt.

4 stars for the truly delicious food and unimpeachable service, minus one star for expensive biryani, and for turning me into a human flamethrower.

Some Life Lessons by @sweatystartup on Twitter More Pasta

I’ve gotten a lot of bad advice in my career and I see even more of it here on Twitter. Time for a stiff drink and some truth you probably dont want to hear. 👇👇

College isn’t worthless for everyone. All of the successful folks who tell you college is worthless went to college. What does that tell you? It’s not about the learning, though. It’s about growing and learning how to sell yourself and your ideas.

Miami isn’t the next tech hub. It’s surrounded by a swamp. Construction costs are insane because of hurricane codes. Vacant land doesn’t exist. Property insurance has risen on average 20% per year for 5 years. Plus it’s hot AF. Ever been there in July?

Starting a business isn’t right for everyone. 95% of folks are better off getting a job. It’s hard AF. Decisions are critical and plentiful. Risk is for real. Stress can be crippling. Delegation can be impossible for poor communicators. Most folks don’t have what it takes.

Technology isn’t as far along as the media makes you think it is. We’re 5+ years away from autonomous vehicles. Alexa still can’t play the song I want 25% of the time let alone make decisions and “learn”. Robots fall on their faces when they aren’t on perfectly flat ground.

Real estate isn’t a good place to start. It’s terrible at generating wealth compared to other forms of entrepreneurship. Rich parents or a bankroll of your own? Sure. Everyone else? Start a biz or make money some other way. The odds are much better.

More on RE because this is important. Early in your career you need to double and triple or create cash from nothing. That’s hard AF to do in real estate. It’s good at growing your wealth over a lot of TIME. Early on you don’t have time. Do something else.

Don’t “just buy that first property”. I hear this so much but it makes me angry. Assets are overpriced AF right now and yield is tight. Overlevering right now is very risky. Look for cashflow, not appreciation. Cashflow is TIGHT out there right now.

Chasing your passion is a bad idea. And it’s the best way to end in heartbreak IMO. If you’re passionate about it so are other people. It’ll be competitive AF. You’re more likely to make emotional (and bad) decisions. Chase opportunity now and your passion later.

Getting rich quick isn’t possible. The media tells you the stories of the overnight successes. But that’s all bullshit. It gets clicks but it doesn’t work that way for 99.99% of successful folks.

Giving up is often the best choice there is. Too many people drag along projects with poor odds of success for far too long.

Money isn’t your most valuable asset. Time is much more important and unlike money you can never get it back. Use it wisely and cut people out who waste it.

You don’t need a new idea to start a business. Do something a lot of folks are already doing and do it just a little bit better.

The “blue ocean” strategy is bullshit. Competition is good. It means there is money to be made. The market exists. You can study it and figure out a strategy that has been proven to work.

Choosing your competition is much more important than you think. Who would you rather compete with? The group of folks with VC money and Stanford degrees or the guy down the street who used a fax machine?

Working hard isn’t going to get you ahead. A lot of people work hard for 70 hours a week until they die. Why do we glorify that? Making good decisions and working SMART is much more likely to make you successful.

You can’t have it all right now. There is a difference between rich and wealthy. Rich people buy nice cars they bought with their first check. Wealthy people buy assets that send them money every month so they can work less.

When everyone wants to buy something it’s too late. When nobody wants to buy something is when the smart money enters the game. “Be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy”

Building something that can add a little bit of value to millions of people isn’t the way to succeed. You’re way better off building something that can add a lot more value to a very small subset of the population. Riches are in the niches.

Changing the world without any money is a fools errand. You know who really influences the world we live in? The folks with money. Make money first, change the world later.

The real opportunities aren’t online. Being a digital nomad severely limits you from taking advantage of the largest barrier to entry that exists: GEOGRAPHY Real estate, service businesses, etc. Wrap in technology sure, but compete locally.

The biographies of tech unicorn founders won’t help you. Survivorship bias is terrible. For every one that succeeded thousands more failed. What are the odds again?

Software engineers aren’t going to be the leaders of the future. Folks who can look someone in the eye and build rapport and sell themselves and their ideas will. Learn to communicate if you want to set yourself apart. The next generation is severely lacking in this area.

There isn’t one way to win. What Elon Musk did to win won’t work for you. What I am saying here isn’t true for everyone. Get advice from a lot of people, apply what makes sense to you, learn, adjust, and do the best you can.

The key to success isn’t intelligence. It’s sales. If you can get uncomfortable and put yourself out there you’re half way there. If you can be compelling and attract others to your way of thinking you’ll win. LIFE is all about sales.

Going big is a terrible way to start. You’ll end up likely failing and going to get a job. Start small. Low risk. Learn and take opportunities as they come. Batting average > slugging percentage.

Business isn’t about who you know. It’s about momentum. Impress someone in a small way and you’ll get a bigger opportunity later. What you’re doing right now will look nothing like what you’re doing 10 years from now if you’re doing it right.

If it’s easy it isn’t worth doing. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. You show me a successful person and I’ll show you someone who embraces uncertainty and pushed back that self doubt to take a chance.

Books are overrated. Conversations are underrated. Experience is how you learn but it’s not necessarily how you get better.

Too much weight is put on the tail events when you make decisions. Often times one or two main levers determine 90% of your likelihood of success. Focus on those. The rest is noise.

A tailwind is way more important than your competence. Alpha is overrated. Get in on the right trend and everyone wins. Rising tides rise all ships.

You do well by being a jack of all trades. You do VERY WELL by getting really good at one thing and outsourcing everything else. Focus is critical and diversification is overrated.

Your emotions are messing up your decision making. Manage your ego and your self-doubt. It clouds your judgement.

Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing and if they are a self proclaimed genius they are lying. Every successful person is just figuring it out as they go along.

Open-mindedness is the key to success. The people who truly want to get better surround themselves with folks who challenge them. NOT the folks who only agree with them.

80% of folks have a negative attitude. Avoid them at all costs. Gossip destroys your mind and your productivity.

We don’t live in a world of scarcity. Everyone can win. Joe making money doesn’t mean John lost money. An abundance mindset will not only make you happier but also more productive.

It’s really easy to be a bear and act like the sky is about to fall. But 99% of folks who got wealthy did it by betting ON something, not against something. Bears get clicks. The media spreads fear. Positivity wins.

Understanding what you can control and what you can’t is underrated. Far too many people spend far too much energy thinking about and worrying about things they have absolutely no control over.

Changing your mind doesn’t make you look weak. It makes you BETTER.

Making a big decision while emotional is a recipe for disaster. Being able to avoid emotions and make decisions with logic is a superpower.

Nobody cares about you but a handful of people. Caring less about what people on the internet or even those you interact with daily think about you will serve you well.

Listening is great. But if you haven’t made it yet SPEAK UP. Status is a game. You have to play it. Opportunities don’t just fall on your lap. You have to carve out something.

Once you’ve made it, talk less. It’s easy to use past success to talk you into future success. Keep an eye out for blind spots.

People do business with people they like. Be likeable. Ask questions about them. Find out what they are into. Ask good questions.

Buying and selling isn’t logical. It’s emotional. The sooner you understand that the sooner you can use it to your advantage.

A supportive spouse will 10x your success. The opposite will 1/10 your success.

90% of folks in this world either aren’t competent or are emotionally unstable. Surrounding yourself (and filling your conpany) with the other 10% is the ultimate key to success.

Most thought leaders and influencers spend 99% of their time trying to sound smart. They purposely make things too complicated. You’re often better off getting advice from your grandfather.

Doing what you want to do when you want to do it is success. Time is wealth. Our leaders glorifying trading your 20s and 30s for earning and money isn’t in your best interest. It’s in theirs.

A LOT of the advice you get in this world isn’t in your best interest. It’s in the best interest of the person giving you the advice. Therefore you must always know the interests of the person you go to for advice.

There is no better way to live a fulfilling life AND make a lot of money than serving other people. Add as much value as you can to other people and you’ll be wealthy and happy.

Value and money aren’t always equal. Entrepreneurs are tasked with trading value for money.

Speculators make money by guessing properly and to make that money someone else does indeed have to lose it. Entrepreneurs get wealthy by adding value. The second is more rewarding, less risky AND more profitable.

You get ahead early in your career by saying yes to opportunities. Your life gets better when you get to start saying NO.

Insecurity plagues even the strongest among us. I’m insecure as hell in a lot of areas of life. Pushing through is where I get better and I encourage you to do the same.

Bad mentors tell you what to do. Good mentors ask the right questions so you can learn how to think for yourself.

Life is hard. For everyone. Social media makes you think everyone has it made. It’s a struggle no matter how much you have or how successful you are. Embrace the challenge and do what we all do: Try to live so that our kids can have a better life than we have.

Having kids is underrated. Every 60 year old I know cares about one thing and one thing only: Their kids and grandkids. Make the sacrifice now to reap the rewards later.

You can move to any city in the country and you’ll be miserable if you don’t accept one truth: The tribe makes the place. If you have good people around you you’ll be happy anywhere.

Most of our friends are our friends because of proximity. If you can make friends based on interests and find folks who want to get better and make you better you will be truly happy.

75% of folks don’t truly, deeply know anyone and nobody knows them. Get vulnerable and really get to know someone. What scares them. What they deeply desire. What makes them tick. And find folks who want to know you in that way and let them in.

Providing for your family goes way beyond money. Love and attention are often more strongly desired than food and water. Be present and explore, play and get to know your family on a deep level. Create a bond. And reap the rewards forever.

Goal setting is over-rated. It’s easy to write a list of things on a paper. Doing the work is what sucks and is hard and takes forever. And doing the work is the only thing that matters.

A positive attitude and a smile is a choice. And it will rub off and open doors and lead to a better life. Make the choice every day.

75% of people are filled with jealousy and hate. They are insecure. Smile at them and show compassion. And most importantly DONT TAKE WHAT THEY SAY AS FACT.

The folks who confirm your beliefs should be considered. But the folks who disagree and engage you should be treasured.

I wonder how many tweets I can add to this thread before I hit the limit? I’ll use this as a chance to say something important: I’m just a guy who thinks deeply about things and has experienced some success. Nothing I say should be blindly followed or taken as fact.

I’ve had success not because im special but because I’ve followed the path of least resistance. I was bullied heavily in elementary school. Athletically gifted (for a white guy) but wasn’t foolish enough to think basketball could get me a scholarship.

So I ran track and did several events. Nobody bothered me and I just did my thing. Got accepted to the Ivy League and was lucky enough to win an Ivy title in the hurdles as a freshman.

But I knew I could never be world class in that event. So I took up the decathlon. An event you haven’t heard of and less than 1,000 folks on the USA complete in a given year.

The best athletes were sprinting and jumping or playing football. So I, as a mediocre athlete, set records and was an all-american. USA championship qualifier, missed the Olympic trials by one spot.

All my smart friends at cornell were chasing tech startups. So I started a little service business called Storage Squad with a friend. Once again the competition was terrible and it was low hanging fruit.

10 years later and a 7 figure exit and we’re buying little mom and pop storage facilities in small towns that nobody wants. We do a few things different (mainly with technology) and we have a huge competitive advantage.

It’s easy and tempting for me to claim that I’m self made. But I’m not. And anybody who tells you they are is a liar. I had 10+ folks influence my life in those critical early years and make me a better man.

Managing expectations is the key to a happy (and stress) free life. Over-promising and under-delivering is a recipe for disaster. Sell in a different way. Make your value add clear and let the other party sell themselves.

Everything in life is a negotiation. If you can understand all negotiations are also emotional you’ll get a lot further. Figure out what it is the other person deeply wants. Hint: they often won’t tell you or even know how to verbalize it themselves.

It’s really easy after you’ve had some success to preach the extreme ownership and “anybody can win” mentality. This is bullshit. Most people can’t reach the bottom rung of the latter let alone climb it.

Spend a good portion of your time giving folks the initial boost they need to start climbing the ladder towards a better life. It’ll pay for itself 10x over in joy and relationships created.

Almost everything you regret in life will be the result of a decision you made while emotional. See a trend regarding emotions yet?

Greed is an emotion. And it’s the most dangerous of them all.

Enter every interaction with the goal to add as much value as you can and your world will open up. Enter every interaction with the goal to maximize money or anything else for yourself and watch yourself struggle to find wealth or happiness.

Curiosity is a bigger factor of success than intelligence. The folks who get excited to explore and learn and take steps forward into uncertainty win.

There are two ways to sell: 1. Overcome objections, figure out what’s holding folks back, talk about the positives 2. Find people who need what you’re selling more than you need their money, talk about the negatives, and let them sell themselves. #2 is best.

As a company you have three areas where you can compete: 1. Price. Undercut overtone. 2. Speed. Deliver quickly. 3. Quality. Be the best.

If you compete on price you will not be successful. You’ll create a stressful job for yourself. Never able to afford good help. Always putting out fires. Compete on speed and quality and charge a higher price.

That way you can delegate and build a healthy company. You can pay good help. You can afford proper equipment and resources. And you can scale.

Average folks spend their time putting out fires. Employee comes to them with a problem. And it’s get out of my way so I can fix this problem.

Successful business owners build systems to prevent the fires. Oh you have a problem? How would you fix it? How can we prevent it from happening again?

90% of folks in life play defense. Other people make decisions and they react. They are totally out of control. They complain, blame others and continue to react to their surroundings.

10% play offense. They make decisions that control their earnings, where they live, who they spend time with. They are in control. They don’t complain and they own up to their situation.

It takes time to move from playing defense to playing offense. One decision at a time for a long time. But it’s worth it.

Words of affirmation are stronger motivators for a large portion of the population than money. Praise loudly, often, and in public.

The market doesn’t care what you want or what you think will happen. It’s ruthless and it’s true. And it doesn’t give a shit about you or your ideas. To succeed in the market you must be selfless and search truth over being “right” in someone’s eyes. The ego is the enemy.

99% of people network all wrong. With their hand out. Help me. Do this for me. Introduce me. Me me me me! It’s not about you!

The way to win: Become a master at something and begin to help other people. Put in the work. Have a unique skill set. Then add value everywhere you go. Then watch your network explode. This is tough to hear right? Work first network later? Bummer I know.

Simple almost always wins. Simple businesses. Simple jobs for your employees. Simple structures. Keep it simple!

And another hard truth - Most employees WANT structure. They want guidance. They want you to set them up for success. Autonomy is great but business owners miss the make here and end up throwing employees to the dogs and setting them up for failure. Simplify the job.

If folks wanted autonomy and to make decisions all day they’d start their own businesses. And this leads to another point. Very few people think like you do. But you project your needs and desires in others. Stop doing that.

Your employee doesn’t want profit sharing and upside. He wants a paycheck he can count on and for you to tell him he’s doing a good job.

Status and respect is desired much more than money by most people. And it’s free for you to give. So give it lavishly!

More folks should start businesses like poker players play hands. What do I need to invest, what is the likelihood of success, and how much would I win?

They’d figure out picking the low hanging fruit and going after that first passive $100k a year is a lot more likely in sweaty industries without much curb appeal.

And folks should also re-calibrate how they think about earnings and success. How much money do you really need? I’ll tell you there are only three levels of wealth…

#1 - you can successfully feed your family and you aren’t worried about making rent, delivering the essentials to live.

#2 - you can go in a restaurant and order whatever you want without looking at the price.

#3 - you can travel and buy flights without worrying about the cost.

Beyond that more money doesn’t matter. So why do we chase millions or billions? Ego and status. Recognize it’s a fools errand and forget about the games around these two things. Because you can’t win.

You’ll end up buying things you can’t afford to impress people you don’t like. It’s real. Focus instead on making enough to do what you want to do and TAKING BACK YOUR TIME so you can spend it building memories with people who do know you and do care about you.

Trust is a funny thing. It takes years to build but seconds to throw away.

If your goal is to make someone else better amazing things happen. They reciprocate and a unique synergy happens. Those are the best relationships. Build them and charish them.

I went to the mountains yesterday and did some reflecting. I suggest every so often you turn off the input and sit alone with your thoughts. Clarity isn’t something that comes easily in a world of constant distractions. Do it. It’s worth it.

Everything in life is an opportunity. You get out what you put in. You can let it slip through your fingers. Or you can grab hold and ride it to the next level. When things change massive opportunity is created.

There has never been a time of more rapid change for so many people. As an opportunist you have a choice. Are you going to capitalize, add value and make a name for yourself? Are you going to start taking steps to lead to a better life? Or are you going to sit back and watch?

What is the meaning of life? I think it’s different for everybody and lucky for us we get to chose what really drives us. To some it’s seeing who can die with the most money and they don’t care if there is a wake of distraction left behind.

For me it’s seeing how many lives I can positively influence. And building unique, deep and meaningful relationships with a handful of individuals. I’m thankful this platform gets me closer to my goal. And thank you for following along and for making me a better person.

If you enjoy this kind of thing I suggest following a few others who think a lot differently. @baldridgecpa @fortworthchris @moseskagan @SullyBusiness @amandaorson @Keith_Wasserman @BrianColunio @scottyo21 @MattLasky @tsludwig @awilkinson @ShaanVP

Creativity and Vulnerability by @RaphaelBW on Twitter More Pasta

Okay. So let’s say you put your whole heart into something.

You dig into your chest like you’re carving out a pumpkin, you scrape out every little piece of your heart, all the gunk and seeds, the stuff most people would keep private, and you put all that heart inside a THING.

You give yourself fully to this thing, this holder of your heart. You craft it, you shape it, you nurture and massage it.

You lose sleep, you chew your nails to the nubs, you go out on limbs, you die on hills, it makes you sick, you care so much. You could die, you care so much.

But an incredible thing happens: when you put your whole heart into the thing, you give everyone else permission to put their hearts into the thing too.

Soon the thing is full of hearts, bouncing and glowing and bright. Overflowing with blood-pumping ventricles is this thing, all following the beat of your brilliant, messy, beautiful, ugly heart.

But here’s the catch: when you put your whole heart into something, it leaves you very vulnerable. Careful, be careful, that thing has your whole heart!

There is no border between you and the thing, no protective membrane. This thing is as weird and hilarious and emotional and gross and clumsy and righteous as you are.

And as the thing with your heart in it enters the world, as scared and as brave as you made it, this is the truth: some people will not like it.

It is not for everybody, your heart.

But for some people, it will be like the song that’s been playing on repeat in the back of their heads their whole life suddenly has a voice.

And those people’s hearts will become full from the thing that is full of your heart.

But then when your thing “fails” based on an arbitrary metric beyond your control that was never explained to you, it is very very hard not to feel like you yourself have failed.

You will feel like your whole heart was not good enough, you will not have the comforting fiction of “Well, it’s okay, because I didn’t really try this time.”

You will feel open and exposed and raw. You will feel betrayed. You will feel guilty. You will feel like you were responsible for all of those hearts and you let them all down.

And maybe, if you were someone different, you would put a little less of your heart into the next thing. You would find a way to be less honest, less vulnerable, less you.

If you were really clever, you could figure out a way to portion out your heart by bits and maybe even make a nice little career out of it.

But you already know now that when the next thing comes, you will put your whole heart into it again.

As if you could ever not. As if you even had a choice.

Users hate change by @sleepyfox on Github More Pasta

This week NN Group released a video by Jakob Nielsen in which he attempts to help designers deal with the problem of customers being resistant to their new site/product redesign. The argument goes thusly:

  1. Humans naturally resist change
  2. Your change is for the better
  3. Customers should just get used to it and stop complaining

There’s slightly more to it than that, he caveats his argument with requiring you to have of course followed their best practices on product design, and allows for a period of customers being able to elect to continue to use the old site, although he says this is obviously only a temporary solution as you don’t want to support both.

This argument is both incredibly entitled and terribly egocentric, as well as being wrong-headed on several counts.

Firstly: humans don’t resist change when it’s something that they asked for, they resist things being imposed upon them against their will. There is an incredibly persistent cultural movement in product design that “we know best”, this is a very parent-child style relationship: “Mother knows best”, that both disempowers and disengages customers.

Let me be clear: when I buy a product I am paying for what the product can do for me now. It fulfils a need that I currently have. I am not paying money out of my own pocket for a faint hope that the product may do something in the vague and nebulous future.

So: Product does X. I find that valuable. I pay $n to buy X capability. The product probably does Y and Z too, but I don’t care about that. I bought it to do X.

When you as a product manager or designer or PO or whatever decide that your product should do A, B and C too, I don’t care. I don’t want those features, I didn’t pay for them.

When you as a product person change the way that I have to use the product in order to do X, you are asking me to spend time, effort and attention to change my habits around X in order to do something differently, which may (or may not) benefit me in the future. In all likelyhood you made it easier for new users to learn X. I don’t care about new users. I care about continuing to use the product in the same way as I always do in order to do X, even if you have forced me to do it in a sub-optimal way.

Every change that you make to the product after I have bought it makes it more likely that I will leave your product and find something else that does X instead, because the cost to me to learn how to something different in your product is now not much different than the cost to learn how to do something in a different product.

The more times you force me to change my behaviour, the more badwill (being the opposite of goodwill) builds up. Eventually I’ll become so pissed off that I’ll move, no matter what the cost.

Secondly: Your change probably isn’t for the better. Not for me, not for the majority of existing customers. As stated above, the real benefit is almost always for new customers, who will find it easier to learn to use X. That’s even assuming that this isn’t a ‘branding’ change, which actually benefits no-one other than the expensive branding consultants that you just paid.

The vast majority of the effort that designers spend on look and feel, typeography, colour palettes, image choice and placement, tone of voice, button placement, size and style and a host of other things are of marginal value at best. The really hard stuff - like ethics, accessibility and knowledge architecture are almost always neglected in favour of bike-shedding. The popular rise of apps like Pocket and browser features like Firefox’s Reader View are proof that it is the functionality and the content that is important, not what colour the buttons are.

Thirdly: the idea that you can just tell your customers to suck it up is a relic of last-century marketing that relied on captive customer bases and lack of customer knowledge, awareness and community. Modern customers are, in the majority, well informed and highly vocal with other customers in their community. Unless you have a significant barrier to exit you’ll find that your established customer base leave the moment your competitors make it easy enough for them to migrate. Even the most impressively built and reinforced barriers don’t last forever. OpenOffice and Google Docs, coupled with a change in the way that offices work have meant that even giants like Microsoft are losing their heartlands of enterprise business software contracts.

We can no longer afford to be complacement with our customers.

The idea that it is impossible to support more than one version of a product presupposes that a) work is required to upgrade both versions simultaneously, and b) that the existing product isn’t stable i.e. still many bugs being surfaced. We have many known solutions for the second malady (q.v. software crafting) but the first problem overlooks a simple strategy: Extensible Product Portfolios (EPP).

The idea of EPP is thus: when you have a product that works, and an existing customer base - freeze it. Instead of a major redesign because ‘Material Design is so 2014’ simply leave the product the way it is, bar minor BAU and bug-fix work. Instead devote effort into building a new, next-generation product that addresses (hopefully) a new customer segment, and allow existing customers to add this new product to their portfolio for a incremental fee. This allows existing customers to self-select into a new product, protects revenue and reduces the risk of existing product customers leaving due to badwill.

In this way a team/organisation builds up a protfolio of products, all of them profitable, all of them long-lived. After the vast majority of customers leave an old product for ‘2.0’ then when only a small minority remain you can sunset the old product, perhaps offering customers a free upgrade path, or just leave it running indefinitely as it’s marginal cost of maintenance is now essentially zero.

This treats your customers like adults, gives them the freedom of choice and empowers them to use that choice in order to best satisfy their own needs.

TRUISMS (1978-1983) by Jenny Holzer More Pasta































































































































































































































































Obi-Wan by @SneakyNinja4872 on Reddit More Pasta

I’ve started reading the RotS novelisation and it’s already so good. Full credit to Matthew Stover:

"This is Obi-Wan Kenobi:

A phenomenal pilot who doesn’t like to fly. A devastating warrior who’d rather not fight. A negotiator without peer whofrankly prefers to sit alone in a quiet cave and meditate. Jedi Master. General in the Grand Army of the Republic. Member of the Jedi Council. And yet, inside, he feels like he’s none of these things.

Inside, he still feels like a Padawan.

It is a truism of the Jedi Order that a Jedi Knight’s education truly begins only when he becomes a Master: that everything important about being a Master is learned from one’s student.

Obi-Wan feels the truth of this every day.

He sometimes dreams of when he was a Padawan in fact as well as feeling; he dreams that his own Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, did not die at the plasma-fueled generator core in Theed. He dreams that his Master’s wise guiding hand is still with him. But Qui-Gon’s death is an old pain, one with which he long ago came to terms.

A Jedi does not cling to the past.

And Obi-Wan Kenobi knows, too, that to have lived his life without being Master to Anakin Skywalker would have left him a different man. A lesser man.

Anakin has taught him so much.

Obi-Wan sees so much of Qui-Gon in Anakin that sometimes it hurts his heart; at the very least, Anakin mirrors Qui-Gon’s flair for the dramatic, and his casual disregard for rules. Training Anakin—and fighting beside him, all these years—has unlocked something inside Obi-Wan. It’s as though Anakin has rubbed off on him a bit, and has loosened that clenched-jaw insistence on absolute correctness that Qui-Gon always said was his greatest flaw. Obi-Wan Kenobi has learned to relax. He smiles now, and sometimes even jokes, and has become known for the wisdom gentle humor can provide. Though he does not know it, his relationship with Anakin has molded him into the great Jedi Qui-Gon always said he might someday be. It is characteristic of Obi-Wan that he is entirely unaware of this.

Being named to the Council came as a complete surprise; even now, he is sometimes astonished by the faith the Jedi Council has in his abilities, and the credit they give to his wisdom. Greatness was never his ambition. He wants only to perform whatever task he is given to the best of his ability. He is respected throughout the Jedi Order for his insight as well as his warrior skill. He has become the hero of the next generation of Padawans; he is the Jedi their Masters hold up as a model. He is the being that the Council assigns to their most important missions. He is modest, centered, and always kind.

He is the ultimate Jedi.

And he is proud to be Anakin Skywalker’s best friend."

What’s the most common mistake people make when choosing their spouse? by LaTuFu on Reddit More Pasta

Child of divorce, professional who dealt with divorcing couples for many years, Adult who went through a divorce, remarried and volunteer counseling/mentoring for couples today.

Here are the most common mistakes I’ve seen (my own as well as collectively) in the failed and struggling marriages I’ve seen:

  • One or both spouses have unresolved childhood baggage issues that will rear its head in their adult relationships. Examples of these include (but not limited to) physical or emotional abuse/neglect in the home; sexual abuse; one or both parents had substance abuse/addiction issues; one or both partners came from a divorced or single parent household. Among the many reasons why this is such a significant factor is if you grow up in a dysfunctional environment, you have no idea how dysfunctional and unhealthy it really is. To you, its normal, it is all you’ve ever known. So if Mom and Dad resolved conflict by getting drunk, yelling at each other and then not speaking for days, guess what you have a chance of modeling as an adult in your own relationships?

  • Understanding what “marriage as a priority” really means. When you get married, your marriage has to be the main priority in your life. Not your career, not your spouse (i.e. don’t put them on a pedestal), not your kids, not your hobbies or your personal fitness. The fact is, when you get married, you no longer get to call all of the shots. Gotten used to staying up all night playing XBOX with your boys on weekends? Not going to work in a marriage for an extended period of time. You’re going to have to accept the fact that if you want to have a healthy marriage, compromise is your new word of the day. In some cases you may have to give things up entirely, or learn to say “no for now.” While this often tends to be more of a struggle for men, women can also struggle with this issue. I’m not saying that getting married means giving up you completely, or kiss all of your favorite activities goodbye. What I am saying is, if you want your marriage to be healthy, you now have someone else in your life who gets an equal (not dominant–equal) say in how you spend your free time.

  • Poor communication skills. A shockingly high number of adults lack basic healthy communication skills and conflict resolution skills. Its heart breaking to have conversations with struggling couples who won’t speak to each other with a kind word for any reason. Both spouses should feel that their marriage is the one safe place in the world for each other. Unfortunately, in many instances, it is the last place a spouse can go for emotional safety. If you don’t feel your partner is your first friend, your best friend, your most trusted friend, then something is broken in your communications with each other.

  • Vastly different backgrounds. Don’t get me wrong. Anyone can be successfully married to someone else if both people are committed to it and willing to work on it. But most of the time, that’s just not the case. Societal/familial pressures are real, and it is important to assess them if you find yourself in a relationship that is impacted by them. Are you dating a trust fund baby/very wealthy child and you are the Jack Dawson? Tread carefully. It makes a great movie, but statistically, Rose winds up marrying Cal far more often than running off with Jack, because she doesn’t want to deal with the family pressure or get cut off financially. Sorry, that’s reality, not the movies.

  • Similar to different backgrounds, different motivations in life. Do you know what your partner wants out of life? Do they aspire to be an artist who welds clown sculptures out of mufflers? That’s great, but will it support the two of you, and if it won’t, will you be okay supporting them while they’re making Pennywise the Dual Exhaust Killer? Do they want to be a stay at home parent? Are you okay being the sole breadwinner? What if it is the reverse?

  • One. Union. Combined. Together. This notion is one that I see a lot of guys–especially high wage earners who are the sole income for the family–stumble over. Whether you are religious or not, the fact is when you get married you are no longer two individuals. You’re one. The law sees you that way, the tax code (at least in the US) sees you that way, and society sees you that way. There is no such thing as “mine and yours” in a marriage. There is only “ours.” The faster you get that concept nailed down, the better off you’ll be. I’ve seen many marriages collapse just over this issue alone.

  • Marriage is not an event, its a journey. So many couples stop trying to pursue each other after the wedding day. Guys and girls do this. Stereotypically/historically, men tend to focus on their careers/making money; women tend to focus on raising the children and/or managing the household. (I realize not in every situation) Both spouses stop taking time to compliment each other, appreciate each other, go out on dates, weekend getaways, or generally just spending time chasing after each other. They take each other for granted and begin to drift apart. “We just fell out of love” is one of the most common phrases I hear in couples struggling, and the sad thing is, its one of the easiest traps to avoid.

  • Friends and family around the marriage. This is especially hard for people who come from dysfunctional families. When you get married, your new spouse automatically gets moved to the front of the line. In front of your parents, siblings, lifelong besties, etc. They’re great to have in your life, but all of them have to take a distant back seat to your new spouse. If you’re a guy who has had a doting mother all your life and she’s told you what to do, who to marry, where to go to college, etc, you have a tough job ahead of you. The Monster-In-Law stereotype exists for a reason. If your new wife turns pale when your Mom’s number pops up on your cellphone, you need to talk to your wife and find out what boundaries she’d like to have installed. If you are Daddy’s little girl and nobody has ever been good enough in your Dad’s eyes, its time for you to tell Dad that you’re so grateful for his love and support, but Jim is more than good enough in your eyes, so you need him to be in his eyes, too. And sadly, if you have friends or family members who are toxic to you or your marriage, you may be forced to make a very difficult decision in your life. Anyone who sits around bitching about how much they hate their life, their spouse, their kids or how you’re going to eventually feel the same way about yours–put distance between you as fast as you possibly can. We tend to adopt the attitudes of the company we keep. So if you spend all your time with negative people…guess where you’re going to be mentally?

  • Date to establish trust. Time is actually your friend, not your enemy. Do not ignore ANY red flag you see in a relationship. Examine it for what it is, then determine if it is something you can work through with the other person, or is it something they refuse to acknowledge or deal with? If you’re dating someone who is selfish and they refuse to see it, they will not magically become unselfish because you were kind enough to marry them. Red Flags ignored in dating will become the rocks upon which your marriage boat smashes in the coming storms. If there are multiple red flags and they won’t talk to you about any of them, walk away. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already moved in, share the bank account, the dog, and a car. Get out now. If they’re not willing to work on things that impact the security of a relationship today, you can count on them not working on them after you get married.

Marriage is not easy. It requires a lot of work sometimes, even when you are both on the same page, have great communication, great sex (which will happen very easily if the rest of the relationship is healthy by the way) and great chemistry. People get sick, they get laid off, their family members die, children get sick, get hurt in accidents, friends have affairs, get divorced…life is challenging and it impacts our relationships, sometimes in ways we’re not expecting or prepared for. If you’re not willing to value your marriage above everything else in your life, its going to be really hard for it to survive the day in and day out challenges of living.

What are Left and Right critiques of Liberalism? by TychoCelchuuu on Reddit More Pasta

Well, we could go on forever listing various critiques from both the Left and the Right, so I’ll just cover a few and maybe other people will stop by and list more.

The Left


There are lots of criticisms of liberalism from the Marxist and socialist corners. We could be here all day listing them, so I’ll just mention one that hits at the heart of liberalism, which is freedom. The charge is that the kind of freedom valued by liberalism is a very limited kind of freedom, mainly a sort of freedom to be an actor in capitalism. Think of this part from the Communist Manifesto:

And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at. By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free trade, free selling and buying. But if selling and buying disappears, free selling and buying disappears also. This talk about free selling and buying, and all the other “brave words” of our bourgeois about freedom in general, have a meaning, if any, only in contrast with restricted selling and buying, with the fettered traders of the Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to the Communistic abolition of buying and selling, of the bourgeois conditions of production, and of the bourgeoisie itself.

So what liberalism conceives of as restrictions on freedom, like for instance the sorts of measures that might be in place in a communist society, are in fact only restrictions on a warped notion of freedom that depends on the conditions of capitalism for its attractiveness.


Again, there are lots of criticisms that fall under this broad umbrella, and I’ll just mention one. Liberalism is very concerned with autonomy and autonomous choices, but many feminist understandings of autonomy move away from the traditional liberal conception of the isolated individual to a notion of autonomy that sees it as an inherently relational property which arises out of people being situated in certain ways in society. If this is our understanding of autonomy, much of classical liberalism makes no sense: for instance, the social contract model of the state, according to which consent from each person is what legitimizes the state, breaks down, because we can’t coherently speak of consent or any other function of an individual’s autonomy until we already have on the table the structure of society. If that structure includes the state, and presumably it does, then the state is somehow prior to the people consenting to it, which is bad news for liberals. We could draw links here to Hegel and communitarianism, which will come up later when we look at the Right.


In The Racial Contract Mills argues that social contract theory is predicated on white supremacy and that all the ostensibly color-blind theories of liberalism built around it are in fact just reifications of racism. Mills actually thinks liberalism can be saved in the form of what he calls “black radical liberalism” (this is a somewhat recent development - see here for instance) but one might disagree with him, and even if we agreed, I think this still counts as a critique of liberalism, right?


By this I don’t mean actual philosophical pragmatism but rather the view that sometimes, liberalism isn’t tenable simply because respect for individual rights will lead to consequences too dire to accept. So, this is just a straightforward consequentialist argument: the ends justify the means, and sometimes the ends will require adopting means other than liberalism. So for instance Arneson has advocated for an instrumentalist defense of democracy (see here) according to which there is a right to democratic participation only insofar as democracy is going to generate good results in that society, and if this isn’t the case, then there’s no such right (see also his article “On the Supposed Right to a Democratic Say”). We might call these people fair-weather liberals. They have something in common with the communitarians, insofar as the character of the society in question helps decide whether various facets of liberalism are appropriate.

The Right


This is what has its roots in Hegel, and we can see it in people like Taylor and Sandel, cited here. The broadest possible way of describing what’s going on here is that there are different principles fit for different societies, depending on the character of those societies. So if a society has illiberal traditions, it typically doesn’t make sense to come in with a liberal steamroller and tell them that they’re doing everything wrong and that they have to change. We might think morality simply doesn’t work this way, either because there’s no such universal morality in the first place, or because the way morality works requires it getting a certain foothold in the individual’s life in a way that makes sense to that individual and not all people in all societies will be amenable to liberalism, or whatever. Another facet of this critique (especially from Sandel) echoes the feminist point above: the idea is that it makes no sense to conceive of the individual outside the context of their society, and to talk about the rights and choices of that individual in any meaningful sense.

If you want any more detail on any of these answers, let me know. I’m not sure how much you know about liberalism: I’ve assumed a fair amount of knowledge on your part, and thus left out much of the details in terms of what parts of liberalism these critiques are attacking and how they hurt, insofar as they succeed. I’d be happy to fill that out, or anything else that needs filling out.

How many people were really being sacrificed every year in the Aztec Empire before the Spanish arrived? I’ve heard claims it was in the tens of thousands or much lower. by 400-rabbits on Reddit More Pasta

I’ll try and cover a few of your specific points, starting with the fact Apocalypto did not intend to portray the Aztecs, but the Maya. The film does (poorly) mash in some aspects of Aztec sacrifice, if only to further its goal of being colonialist apologia and torture porn. Fortunately, the sheer awfulness of the movie makes it a good jumping off point to talk about actual practices of sacrifice.

To start with, there were slaves in the Aztec world and a portion of them did come from slave raids. The whole notion of actual warriors going out to get slaves for sacrifices, however, is a bit ridiculous. While slaves would sometimes be used for sacrifices in particular circumstances, the majority of sacrifices stemmed from war captives. Taking a captive was considered a rite of passage for a young warrior and a requirement for military and social advancement. Note, however, that simply snatching up some schmuck from a podunk village was not a standard practice; the expectation was taking a captive in battle. Also, later in the Imperial phase of the Aztecs, certain opponents became so little regarded that even taking several of them in battle earned little more than a shrug, as this passage from Sahagun illustrates:

And if six, or seven, or ten Huaxtecs, or barbarians, were taken, he gained thereby no renown.

Conversely, taking captive from more formidable opponents, such as those from Atlixco and Huexotzinco (which were coincidentally in the hard-fought borderland with Tlaxcala), earned great acclaim. So the notion of Aztec warriors raiding villages too small to apparently even have maize fields does not make sense.

Once captives were taken there are some scant mentions of using cages. From the same book of Sahagun:

And there in battle was when captives were taken. When it had come to pass that they went against and conquered the city, then the captives were counted, there, in wooden cages: how many had been taken by Tenochtitlan, how many by Tlatilulco…

So using cages was a real thing, but there’s no indication they were anything but temporary measures. For instance, they were also used during the sale of slaves, or when holding prisoners during trials. Captives were not simply rounded up and kept indefinitely like cattle in pens. Instead, captives were treated, well, like slaves, to be housed by their captors until the time of their sacrifice.

Were those sarifices a public spectacle? Well, yes and no. Many of the sacrifices were public events, and some specifically so in a way that demonstrated the power of the Aztec state. Rulers and dignitaries of foreign, even enemy, nations would be invited to witness these displays as a form a intimidation.Apocalypto portrays these sorts of events as a wild bacchanal of primitives gyrating in a wild, unhinged frenzy. In fact, if we turn to sources like Duran or Sahagun, we see that even the most public and bloody ceremonies were highly regimented rituals of specific songs, dances, offerings, and adornments, each with its own meaning. There was an aspect of spectacle, but ultimately these were religious rites.

We can see the combination of somber and spectacle in accounts of the “gladiatorial” sacrifice which took place during Tlacaxipehualiztli. After weeks of preliminary rituals, captors would bring their captives to a particular calmecac, Yopico, in the Sacred Precinct. There the captor would lead his captive up to a raised platform upon which lay a large heavy stone. Tied to the stone and armed with a macuahuitl whose blades were feathers, the captive would face up to four elite warriors (and a fifth left-handed one if he managed to “defeat” the four), but would ultimately be sacrificed on that stone once he faltered.

So there’s certainly some spectacle there and the whole notion of “gladiatorial” combat evokes the Colosseum, but there’s some substantial differences. For one, there’s some dispute as to the “public-ness” of this event. Sahagun mentions no one but the priests and the warriors, which does not preclude the presence of others. Duran, meanwhile, says the “entire city was present,” although the location of the particular calmecac where the combat took place was a smaller building off in one corner of the Sacred Precinct, which present problems for mass viewing.

More importantly though, the intentions were different. Even this particular sacrifice, which was among the largest (dozens are mentioned as sacrificed over the course of a day) and the combat making it among the most dramatic, the core aim was not to provide tititallation, but serve both as a sort of graduation ceremony for warriors who had taken a captive and also a way of providing “sustenance” to the gods. On that latter part, just as important as the actual combat was the captor taking the blood of his sacrifice, collected by the priests in a bowl, and going from idol to idol having them take a “drink” from the bowl. Considering the symbolic impetus of Aztec warfare was to engage in battle in order to “feed” the gods, this act not only completed that divine onus, but the entire gladiatorial spectacle re-created the process of warfare/capture/sacrifice. This was not just bread and circuses, in other words.

Speaking of bread, Tlacaxipehualiztli accounts have direct references to the consumption of human flesh, with the captive being divided up for the home and neighborhood of his captor. Famously, the captor would decline to feast on his own captive, saying:

“Shall I perchance eat my very self?” For when he took the captive, he had said: “He is as my beloved son.” And the captive had said: “He is my beloved father.”

This passage from Sahagun does end, however, by noting that the captor might partake of someone else’s captive.

As we’ve already seen with the feeding of the gods, the notion of captives as divine sustenance was an important symbolic concept, so we can’t simply see the act of consuming a captive in nutritional (or even culinary!) terms. This was the mistake Harner made in his 1977 article, “The Ecological Basis of Aztec Sacrifice,” which Marvin Harris would proclaim as having “solv[ed] the riddle of Aztec Sacrifice” in his book published the same year, Cannibals and Kings: Origins of Cultures. Actually, Harner made a number of mistakes, but the strict cultural materialist approach they used is notable for excluding any cultural explanations of societal behaviors in favor of ecological causes. So already we have to understand that Harner and Harris were using a flawed approach to Aztec sacrifice.

The other thing we have to understand is that Harner was not a Mesoamericanist and did not have a thorough understanding of the society he was proclaiming to explain. If he did have a deeper understanding he might not have made so many glaring errors in his hypothesis. To briefly sum up his position, Harner believed Aztec society was uniquely protein deficient, seeing as how it lacked the large domesticated animals of Afro-Eurasia, which was made up of empires “based on economies with domesticated herbivores providing meat or milk.” In response to this, the Aztecs turned to preying on their neighbors to meet this dietary need. Harris expands on this view and tries to blunt criticism of how many sacrifices would have been needed to feed the vast population of the Aztecs, by positing that even if only the elites were engaging in cannibalism, that would be enough to sustain this “cannibal empire.”

Unfortunately for Harner and Harris, the foundation of their argument was flawed, because they were ultimately viewing the Aztecs through an ethnocentric lens. They focus, almost exclusively, on dogs and turkeys as sources of protein, with lesser mentions of waterfowl, fish, and wild game like deer and rabbits. Both disparage the use of tecuitlatl, the spirulina algae that was collected form the lake and pressed into cake, which is like disparaging McDonalds – it may be a food of subsistence for some, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t eaten by peasant and presidents alike. Indeed, their approach basically glosses over the innumerable foodstuffs eaten in Mesoamerica that are strange to the Western palate. Even as Harner quotes Cook and Borah saying “just about everything edible was eaten,” he refocuses on dogs, turkeys, and men.

Ortiz de Montellano, in his 1978 article, “Aztec Cannibalism: An Ecological Necessity?” to Harner to task by listing all of the various other protein sources in the Aztec diet which are attested to in the literature, which included iguanas, snakes, frogs, and salamanders, as well as various insects and insect larva. He further notes that Harner ignores the traditional Aztec staples like amaranth and chia, the former of which is a grain high in protein and the latter a seed with good protein and fat content. The fat content is key, as Harner and Harris see this as an important key to understanding Aztec cannibalism: it wasn’t just protein deficiency, but also fat deficiency. This ignores not only chia, but also crops like avocados. Ortiz de Montellano further notes that Harner does not address the fact that the core Aztec cities were the recipient of tribute bringing innumerable bushels of maize, amaranth, and chia to the populace, before noting that humans are actually a very inefficient source of protein and that the number of sacrifices required simply do not add up.

Increasing the number of sacrifices per annum is thus vital to Harner and Harris. Unfortunately, they rely on some dodgy numbers regarding Aztec sacrifice. Harner starts by taking an estimate from Cook of 15K sacrifices per year throughout the Aztec empire, on the basis of a population of 2M. He then revises this number upward, citing personal communication with Cook. The end result is Harner posits 250K sacrifices a year in a population of 25M. The problem is that we have no reason to think that an increase in population would lead to a proportional increase in sacrifices, yet this is essential to Harner’s idea of sacrifice as ecologically driven. Under his cultural materialist model where sacrifice is intrinsically tied to the dietary needs of the population, they must be proportional, but he is essentially pulling numbers from nowhere.

The problem is that our actual reports of captives taken do not support those numbers, though they are scanty and far between. Adding up the numbers of sacrifices mention by Sahagun in his book on ceremonies likewise does not add up to the numbers Harner needs, but we can likewise not rule out additional sacrifices going unmentioned. The truth is we do not have good numbers for how many people were sacrificed. We do not, however, have any reason to believe that the numbers of sacrifices in Tenochtitlan, which was the center of an unprecedented religious focus on sacrifice, would be replicated throughout other regions of Mesoamerica, even those areas subject to the Aztecs. As Brumfiel points out in her chapter “Figurines and the Aztec State: Testing the Effectiveness of Ideological Domination,” outside of the central Aztec cities, we see a markedly different archaeological profile of religious figures, which she suggests points towards a highly militaristic and sacrifice-driven state cult of war gods, which gave way to a more traditional model of agricultural deities and less sacrifice-focused practices in the countryside.

The end result is that we have no reason to accept Harner’s proposition that 1% of the total population of Mesoamerica was sacrificed every year, particularly since the late Postclassic is marked by a substantial increase in population as the same time he and Harris are proposing a life of cannibalistic subsistence. The Aztecs certainly focused on and increased the rate and importance of human sacrifice beyond what had been previously seen in Mesoamerica. None of the actual ecological or dietary data suggest their society needed to rely on cannibalism, and the focus on that aspect of their society tends to overlook other ways in which the Aztecs were a highly organized and functional pre-modern agricultural society, whose population boomed and whose marketplaces were stocked with non-people foodstuffs.

Aztec sacrifice was a complicated and, to the modern Western view, bizarre practice, but it was not the sole aspect of Aztec society. It was, however, neither as alien to practices found in Afro-Eurasia, nor a perfect analogy to them. It wasn’t sadists fattening up captives in cages; the practice had a logic to it. Aztec sacrificed evolved from a general pattern of sacrifice in Mesoamerica going back millennia, and the religious and social aspects of Aztec sacrifice were adapted to the realities of their time.

Iowa Is Awesome by @CockroachED on Reddit More Pasta

I am so proud to be an Iowan. Iowa is fucking awesome, and here is why:

  1. In 1838, before we were even a state, our Supreme Court upheld the law that in Iowa escaped slaves couldn’t be forced to return to a slave state. The same year it became law an unmarried women could own property. In most of the rest of the US either category having any rights was laughable and were considered property themselves.

  2. We were involved in a war with Missouri. The Honey War! was a border dispute that we Iowans may not have started but we sure as hell won.

  3. We were the second state in the union to allow interracial marriage (1851) almost a century before it became legal in the rest of the US.

  4. In 1851 Iowa legislated that, “the property of married women did not vest in her husband, nor did the husband control his wife’s property”.

  5. In 1857 University of Iowa, my alma mater (Go Hawkeyes!!), was the first state university to have a degree program open for women.

  6. For the American Civil War, Iowa contributed more men than any other state per capita. This despite the fact not a single major battle occurred on Iowan soil.

  7. Iowa outlawed segregated schools in 1868. We were the second state in the union to do it and we did it close to a century before the rest of America.

  8. Iowa elected the first women to public office in the united states, in 1869. That same year we were the first state to allow women to join the bar and we had the first female US attorney. This paved the way for Iowa to have the first female practice law before a federal court.

  9. Iowa was passing civil rights act, prohibiting discrimination in public, all the way back in 1884.

  10. Iowa was the third state (tip of the hat to Wyoming and Colorado for beating us to the punch)to give women the right to vote in 1894.

  11. Iowa has the first mosque in the US and the only exclusively Muslim cemetery.

  12. In 1953, amongst all the states of the union, only Iowa defeated a McCarthyistic legislative measure to impose a teacher’s loyalty oath.

  13. Iowa was the first to have an openly gay man run for a seat in Congress. And the guy was a Republican!

  14. In 2007, Iowa was the second state to allow full marriage to gays and lesbians.

  15. In Iowa we protect our children from from bullying due to sexual orientation AND gender identity.

tl;dr: And for the two part cherry on the cake…

16) 2008 Democrat Caucuses, Iowa became the first in the nation to select Barack Obama as their choice for president. This when almost all political pundits thought he wasn’t a viable candidate. For some perspective on the Iowa is 95% white. You have to go to the North Pole to find a whiter place.

17) Norman Borlaug is an Iowa native son, born and bred. Who is Norman Borlaug you ask yourself? Look him up! He was the greatest man who ever lived, a man who saved a billion lives (No hyperbole).

QED Bitches.

Pisces People by Aleister Crowley More Pasta

THE influence of Pisces upon the Sun does not make specially for strength, except in the last decanate, which is ruled by Mars. Otherwise, there is a certain softness and placidity which diminish the vitality. The Pisces type is extraordinarily psychic, more so than is the case with that of any other sign, but this manifests itself in an entirely passive way. The native depends upon intuition and impressions generally, and the active qualities of the soul which make the great mystic are rarely present. Rudolph Steiner is fortunate enough to have aspects of Uranus, Saturn and Mars, which increase his practical power. Picus de Mirandola is a more typical example of this sign. Unless the dignities of the planets concerned in this matter are extremely good, the native may suffer from illusions and be led constantly astray. There is in him a notable lack of correlation in practical details, and he is apt to leave things at loose ends. His constructions power being psychic does not exactly translate itself into the objective. In spite of this, however, there is a great deal of practical good sense in the composition, but sometimes the native will be accused of hypocrisy, owing to the extreme contrast between the idealism expressed and the course of action undertaken, and people not similarly constituted may take it into their heads to “read them a lesson.” The native is inclined to self-indulgence in emotional experience, and this in the undeveloped type very often takes the form of the abuse of alcoholic liquors or even occasionally of noxious drugs. This is partly due to the watery nature of the sign, and its ruler, Neptune, and partly to the soft {31} and seductive influence of Venus, who is exalted in the sign, and to its connection with the Moon.

There is a good deal of discontent in this sign, naturally caused by such conflict between the aspirations and the expression of the life. This often manifests itself in restlessness and in inattentiveness, and in attaching far too much importance to trifles, the least of which often appears to them highly significant. Even in external manner, the native, thought seemingly calm upon the surface, is full of tremor within, like the sea. The native is very fond of others and may be so solicitous as to their well-being that the result will often be trying to the recipient of his extreme devotion.

The constitution is, generally speaking, not particularly robust; the general health is good, but there is a lack of power to resist disease. The native is more susceptible than in almost any other sign. Michael Angelo and Sir Richard Burton had magnificent constitutions, but the Sun being in the last decanate of Pisces, the influence of Mars is able to correct the general weakness.

In the human body, Pisces rules primarily the feet, but his action extends throughout the whole body, over the lymph and all watery secretions of an excretory character, such as mucus. The principal diseases characteristic of this sign are oedema, ascitis, and dropsies in general. Another very common disease associated with Pisces is gout. In the consideration of Pisces as a rising sign, there is also danger of tuberculosis if the system is allowed to become depleted.

The following well known persons were also born with the Sun in the sing Pisces:

  • George Washington
  • Grover Cleveland
  • Victor Hugo
  • Ludwig II of Bavaria
  • Brander Mathews
  • William Jennings Bryan
  • William Dean Howells
  • Henry W. Savage
  • Enrico Caruso
  • Amelia Bingham
  • Rose Coghlan
  • Edward Stotesbury
  • Adolph S. Ochs
  • Margaret Deland
  • Percy A. Rockefeller
  • Isabel Irving
  • George H. Swift
  • Joseph E. Otis
  • Thomas Hastings
  • Oswald G. Villard
  • Van Hoogstraaten
  • Robert W. Goelet
  • Geraldine Farrar
  • Penrhyn Stanlaws
  • Mary Garden