Yet another world spirit sock puppet

Afraid I don't have a tweeter, but I'd love to see an RSS feed for the new blog!

Should we use qualifiers in speech?

When I was studying Lojban, I learned about the concept of "evidentials" such as

The intended usage is to make explicit how the speaker came to think whatever follows. Of course, this is different from hedging with phrases like "I could be wrong". I remember thinking at the time that it would be useful to port the use of evidentials to some English conversations.

What colour were the shadows?

What a beautiful experience that must have been!

What colour were the shadows?

I'd never have guessed snow. It's been too long since I've seen snow before late December or early January! Well done :)

What colour were the shadows?

The shadows cast on a green lawn by morning sun would be a bluer shade of green. If "the sun had not risen high" suggests it's still very early morning, the most likely color is the same but darker since now we're talking about artificial lighting, which still tends to be in the red-yellow part of the spectrum most often and leaves blue shadows just like the sun.

Somehow both answers feel too easy.

What colour were the shadows?

The sun had not risen high, and the shadows of the posts were long and stark on the lawn

How much to worry about the US election unrest?

IMO, the stakes are nowhere near as high as the candidates would have us believe.

In a normal election year, I'd say pretty confidently that it's at least 98% bluster: nothing will change all that much if A wins or if B wins. Most times I don't really even notice that there's a new president unless I'm trying to notice. With Trump on board, I'm still pretty sure that little of consequence will change (at least in the short term) if he does not win a second term. At the end of four years without Trump, I expect the larger federal government complex to be somewhat healthier than it is with him in office, and that's about it. I'm substantially less sure that he'll accept a loss gracefully, but I don't think there's really anything he can do about it. Even "his" "stacked" Supreme Court is bound by the law itself. If the (electoral) votes are for Trump, he wins. Else, he loses. It's pretty cut-and-dry. I've seen a couple of times now where somebody tried to have the results questioned (remember "pregnant chad"?), and still nothing has really changed. In the event of his loss, I expect he'll try to sue, make a lot more noise about the process being rigged against him (personally) using the same media that he cries about all the time, and eventually write a book have a book written about how unfair and broken this whole "democracy" thing is. Meanwhile, Biden will take power and start running things his way, which looks a lot like the old way (before Trump): still broken, but more subtly so. There will continue to be BLM protests as before, and (just like when Trump took office) there will be a rash of anti-the-new-president protests. Some of these will become violent (often after police provocation), but most won't. In a few months, we'll all go back to our regularly scheduled apocalypse. If Biden loses, I expect him to quietly concede the loss like a "good candidate" and go back to making a whole lot of no noise whatsoever like he was doing for most of the last few years, all while we get more of the "new normal" from the White House for another 4 years. The world probably won't end any harder than it already is doing.

And to be clear, Trump is not actually responsible for covid-19, or the orange skies, or Beirut blowing up, or racism and police violence, or named storms past the letter Z (or murder hornets, but they're not actually any more scary than those africanized honey bees from a while back, they've just got really effective PR). Only the details would have changed under another president. All this stuff will continue to happen under the next president, regardless of who "we" "select".

Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes?

Find a way to bet on the outcomes of intellectual performance, make that work public and entertaining in some way, and the bookies will figure out the rest. #slightlyGlib

I have discovered a new kind of unemployment.

I'm in shipping and I can confirm it's happening there too. I've actually been turning down promotions for about a decade now because I can see how fast most people burn out on the next level, both in executive and management tracks, from being asked to do multiple jobs at once. As recently as two weeks ago I was offered somebody's job right in front of him. I laughed right in my regional manager's face (from across the room; it's 2020 after all). As it is, I'm already doing three-and-a-half (much easier) jobs and picking up the slack (created by bad hiring practices) in another as needed. Getting promoted would mean doing planning work over the largest group at our location, being my own secretary, taking on a number of minor managerial tasks, and interfacing directly with two different chains of command (who often want different outcomes, of course). All this and I'd still be expected to cover for the position I'm in now from time to time. The pay increase for what amounts to each of my current jobs getting promoted while still having to retain almost full functionality in what I do now would be about $1K/month. The answer will always be no. Oh, and we have a hard time keeping entry-level workers because they are expected to work at least six twelve-hour days every week, again due to many years of bad hiring practices. There are promotions from that position in both executive and management tracks. Both involve adding a more focused and responsible skillset to everything else they were already doing. The pay increase is about $1/hr for executive, and I think they end up making less in the management track since they usually end up working fewer hours (except when we're busy, of course). I've seen countless people drop back down to entry level after burning out on the next level up. This, of course, means that many of our entry-level workers are highly skilled, which seems to have (upper) management convinced that we don't need to hire a larger workforce.

My father is a pastor who often complains that he has to be a spiritual leader, an administrator, and often what equates to a politician at the same time. In his case, the overload is a result of the church (on all levels from the institutional to the congregation) being in a partially-necrotic/zombie state that is unable to support the appropriate staff, unwilling to step in and take on the work to let pastors do the thing they trained for, and absolutely unwilling to consolidate resources and move on in a new form (I've noticed that churches tend to be extremely allergic to change).

My neighbor is a retired school teacher who was increasingly stressed out about being required to be teacher, counselor, security guard, and negotiator (with parents) in addition to all the constant retraining as technology becomes more and more integrated in the "educational" environment. Moreover, her teaching role was already badly over-constrained by the need for the students to do well on standardized tests as well as actually trying to learn something. Students of more and more widely differing abilities were being integrated into the same classroom. And all of it was getting incrementally worse every semester. She would have been entirely unprepared for 2020. As it was, she was already extremely motivated to get out of that situation before she burned out; many of her colleagues were less fortunate.

Definitely not just the IT industry, I'm afraid.

Rationality and Climate Change

Climate change is obviously real and getting worse. We are seeing the early effects already, and they are straining our emergency measures beyond capacity. Immediate and widespread systemic changes are needed to alter course.

I am powerless to effect such changes.

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