Current location: California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 21,221
Current location: California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 21,221
I'm a very dangerous fellow when I don't know what I'm doing.
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Anyone who thinks I'd be better off without meds is welcome to take me in for the experiment. All I require is an internet connection, some plain food (rice and beans will do; I'll find or grow any other food I need) and somewhere to sleep. For all I care it could be a shack in your backyard and a pile of clean rags.
I'm always ready to reestablish a reputation with some local community as an off-my-meds eccentric but mostly harmless dumpster-diving semi-homeless guy. I may be living in your shack (or not) at various times, or hours, but I might also disappear for weeks at a time and if you are any kind of compassionate person you will wonder if I am dead or held against my will somewhere. Probably not, I'm just wandering, oblivious to clocks and calendars.
My grandfather was a similar sort but his obsessions and compulsions were useful to the Army Air Force during the Second World War, and later the space program including the Apollo Project. (My own obsessions are rarely useful, not in this society.) My grandfather's doctors prescribed amphetamines. He lived 90+ years, so drug abuse obviously wasn't a problem.
It would be interesting to know a little more about him but mental health issues were kept deeply in the closet in past days. Intriguingly, mathematician Paul Erdős used amphetamines too. (That drug has no appeal to me at all. Blechhhhhh.)
The drug warriors always claim drug use is the cause of problems when it's usually the other way around. Sure people can slide down the slippery slope of addiction and abuse, but for the most part drugs are very useful for many sorts of chronic health problems including mental illness.
Nevertheless I think our culture could reduce drug use by being less cruel to people who are different in some way and by treating addiction as an ordinary public health problem.
Robin Williams was taking these meds to keep himself out of some unimaginably terrible mental state. The odds are these drugs didn't put him there, they were simply not working, the same way an antibiotic might not work against some infections, or a few aspirins might not effectively treat some sorts of pain.
Posted by hunter | Sat Nov 8, 2014, 12:02 PM (0 replies)
Free shade and "fuel" for employee and customer vehicles, all in one.
It's already reality in some places. My own community has a few solar parking lots.
Nobody should have to buy fuel to drive to work or go out shopping.
I'd personally prefer a world where legs either natural or electrically powered artificial were the dominant form of transportation. Nevertheless, electric scooters, motorcycles, and automobiles are still much preferable to the stinky fossil fueled machines most of us now drive.
Example of electric legs:
Similar machines have also been built as exo-skeletons for people suffering paralysis.
Ordinary walking (even for those whose natural legs don't work or are lost), solar powered rail and bus and doorstep self driving car transportation, and very comfortable high technology sailing ships... these are my utopia.
Posted by hunter | Mon Nov 3, 2014, 07:12 PM (2 replies)
Don't need to explain that.
A health care provider asking for a hug and a drink and a laugh when they get off work on a dead baby day isn't asking too much.
And yes, some sorts of health care professionals are simply assholes (the cold surgeon stereotype...) but maybe if they weren't thick-skinned assholes they wouldn't be able to do their jobs. I'd want a heart surgeon who is a good mechanic. His bedside manner wouldn't matter so much if it didn't interfere with his work.
On the other hand, I once had personal work experiences with a heart transplant surgeon who was such a humongous asshole it did interfere with his work because nobody wanted to work with him. He eventually got fired for his abusive behavior toward other hospital staff, especially women. My supervisor had us all documenting his bad behavior.
I used to work closely with transplant techs. OMG, in a relaxed break room setting they were a clique of Addams Family Gothic. Some of them even dressed the part in subtle ways. I think I understand... removing usable body parts from brain dead people who are still warm... I cannot imagine doing that. But that's what they do to save the lives of others who still have a chance of survival. Underneath the thick black body armor the transplant techs were among the kindest, most gentle, altruistic people I've ever met.
I'm not in the medical professions any more, maybe I'm too sensitive for that, but I have immediate family who still are. I prefer computers. If something goes horribly wrong you can halt the system and revert to previous images for as long as fixing the problem takes. Human beings, so far as we know, don't have backup copies.
Posted by hunter | Mon Oct 20, 2014, 02:48 PM (0 replies)
Too many people want language to be their reality.
Telling stories is so much easier for us than collecting the data and doing the math.
Storytelling languages often get confusing because words are often created and applied to natural phenomena and objects before they are understood.
An example would be the assertion that electrons have a "negative" charge. It doesn't matter much to the math, but the storytelling language implies that the common "ground" of one's automobile is a sink for electrons, not a source. Yet the "negative" ground is actually the electron "source" using hydraulic analogies of electric current, and these storytelling hydraulic analogies themselves have their own limitations. Comparing the electrons in a copper wire to water in a pipe introduces some very serious misconceptions about the nature of electromagnetism.
As a kid I built a relay computer, all "Direct Current," conceptually easy, right? DAMN that machine gave me some nasty shocks, as bad as anything I'd gotten playing with AC powered vacuum tube equipment.
How?, I wondered. With the relay machine disconnected I could touch both terminals of the DC power supply and feel nothing. But at finer levels of understanding one recognizes that all circuits are Alternating Current. In the case of an older flashlight, two "D" cells, a switch, and an incandescent bulb, the AC effects are negligible. As soon as a circuit gets more complicated, they are not.
The first transatlantic telephone cable was a horribly expensive failure because the "scientific" stories it's designers and financiers believed did not reflect reality.
In higher education undoing these misconceptions caused by rote memorization of "facts" expressed in the languages of storytelling is often more difficult than teaching a more accurate representation of reality in the languages of math and science.
If I was teaching astronomy to younger kids, I'd start with the visible planets, hopefully in a clear dark nighttime sky setting with a few planets visible. And then I'd build up from that observational foundation. A kid sitting in a classroom who has simply memorized the names of the "nine planets in our solar system" doesn't really know anything. It's just words.
Posted by hunter | Mon Oct 20, 2014, 12:15 PM (0 replies)
The big difference between us and chimps is we tell very intricate stories about what we do. When we created oral history, stories passed down from generation to generation, maybe 50-100,000 years ago, human civilization began to evolve rapidly. And then, when we created writing, that's when the modern technological revolutions began. There's simply too much human history and technology now to hold it all inside the heads of our bards.
I don't know why we feel "alone" and wonder about intelligent life in outer space when we share this planet with a large variety of very intelligent beings similar to ourselves. A shocking majority haven't recognized these intelligent beings yet.
I think it's time we did.
Some animals are not so different than we were not long ago by nature's long measure of time, and it's not so clear yet that the developmental pathway we followed will assure a positive outcome. I suspect the human race will be remembered only as a freakish layer of trash in the geologic record.
For now we ought to be protecting the cultures of our intellectual kin on this planet, the great apes, the cetaceans, the elephants, many of the birds, etc., in much more sophisticated ways than we "humanely" treat other animals of lesser intellectual and cultural complexity.
A chimpanzee deserves to live as a chimpanzee, with many of the same rights of self-determination as we demand for our own selves. And an orca deserves to live as an orca, and an elephant as an elephant.
Posted by hunter | Thu Oct 9, 2014, 04:38 PM (2 replies)
Sharing a shitty apartment owned by a shitty slumlord in a dangerous neighborhood, eating shitty overpriced processed food, that's got to be better than sleeping rough and eating out of dumpsters, otherwise why would anyone work?
I actually believe non-abusive government jobs paying comfortable living wages, along with a generous welfare system, ought to compete directly with the crappiest employers.
Nobody should be forced to tolerate an abusive employer for fear of rough living on the streets.
Addicts and unemployable mentally ill people ought to be provided safe humane shelter, a place they can call their own, with plenty of opportunities for improving their personal situations and at the very least establishing themselves in such a way they are not a danger to themselves or others.
Posted by hunter | Tue Sep 2, 2014, 11:05 AM (0 replies)
Language evolves. I'd rather be on the cutting edge of my language than be trapped in the fetid backwaters of some dictionary or middle school grammar text.
The meaning of the phrase "Politically Correct" has been destroyed by assholes I have no respect for. The phrase is dead to me. Useless.
Anyone who uses the phrase "Politically Correct" today, especially as right-wing code-talk, is speaking dead fish.
I don't speak dead fish.
If I'm uncertain what someone means when they say "Politically Correct" then I'll ask them to clarify.
If they are simply being right wing assholes then I won't be shy telling them what I think.
The language of the streets, especially in my community, is always evolving. Minority communities are always bringing something new to the language table. One of the most remarkable things about the English language is its ability to assimilate words, grammars, pronunciations and cadences from other languages.
I live in a community that is a hotbed of language evolution. Forty percent of the kids in our public schools do not speak English at home. The English speaking black community has many gifted ways of storytelling too. The average high school "English" accent in my community incorporates much from other languages, especially those of Mexico, Asian, and African origins.
My wife and kids are language chameleons adapting their own language to the situation. Full academic Ivy League and Stanford English, West Coast "Spanglish," to generic wherever-you-are-from California Spanish. My wife and one of my kids also do a very good Missouri/Southern Illinois and Irish English too. Not consciously. They simply adapt to their audience. I'm always astonished by this innate skill. I sit quietly, invited spouse or dad at the conference table, wondering what sort of beings these are as languages shift about.
A few family friends, and my father-in-law, can do simultaneous translation in multiple languages. They've made good money for that too. Alas, my own listening and spoken language skills are utterly, hopelessly, fossilized into mushy mid-twentieth century American Television English with a slight Wild West twang.
My own language is watered down vanilla Dennis Weaver, except when I write.
Posted by hunter | Fri Jul 18, 2014, 03:51 PM (1 replies)
The house under construction is plenty visible on google maps if you want to be a voyeur. (Zooming in made me feel dirty...)
It seems entirely possible the property once belonged with the previously existing house and was later sub-divided out and sold.
Nevertheless, overhead power lines running through backyards are long obsolete.
Most weird about this story, there's a fucking freeway in the backyard. That can't be good for property values. Power lines seem trivial in comparison.
I think if we went back in time to the 1930's and showed some San Fernando Valley resident this article they'd probably hang themselves in utter despair for the future. Where are the flying cars? Where is the glittery emerald city lit by electricity too cheap to meter, with lush gardens irrigated by unlimited desalinated seawater? "
It's simply not possible to pick sides in this story. There's just too much 21st century world-gone-mad in it.
Disclaimer: I've lived in the San Fernando Valley. I escaped once, then returned briefly, and then escaped again. My parents and all my siblings have similar stories. My parents are hard-core isolationists now. They live in a tropical rain forest and drink and bathe in water that falls on their roof. They eat local pigs, goats, and produce. If this civilization ends they'd first notice their telephone wasn't working, their internet was down, and there was no mail in their Post Office Box. Other than that, life would go on.
That's my own imaginary refuge. My wife's sailing skills are much better than my own, and maybe I could learn too, but I do own an accurate plastic sextant and a few very robust timekeeping devices for navigation.
Our family was in the San Fernando Valley because some of my ancestors liked horses and Hollywood. Later, one of my grandfathers was an aerospace engineer who built titanium stuff for the Apollo project using skills he'd somehow absorbed by osmosis from the bad-boy geniuses of World War II. His World War II job, as an officer in the Army Air Force, was keeping "eccentric" people deemed essential to the war effort out of jail.
Eccentric was the "nice" word for alcoholics, drug addicts, homosexuals, non-whites, non-Christians, uppity brilliant women, socialists, people with suspect national loyalties, and any other non-white-male-protestant who could do science or technology or be a pretty face in war propaganda.
Posted by hunter | Mon Jul 7, 2014, 06:18 PM (1 replies)
I express my displeasure with the current political system in different ways, and I do it quite openly... my use of Linux and Open Source software is just a small part of that.
But no way in hell do I think there is little or no difference between the political parties. Obama is a competent leader for this train-wreck of a nation. If John McCain or Mitt Romney had been elected the consequences would have been catastrophic; not for the uber-wealthy, but for the people who struggle day-to-day all over the planet.
The world is still cleaning up from the wreckage of the Reagan-Bush-Bush looting of the world economic system.
I do not care for Jerry Brown's or Barrack Obama's gritty "realistic" and Democratic style of politics and management, which hearkens back to FDR's saving capitalism from itself, but that's better than the kleptocracy of the modern Republican party or the false consumerist "Progressivism" of Ralph Nader. (Or, let's just say, Apple Computer and Tesla automobile.)
I divert my own cars, clothes, and computers from the salvage stream, and I rebuild them to do what I want them to do.
My television is strictly a movie player, Many of those movies I find in thrift stores, trade with friends and family, or rent from the RedBox. I do pay for movies at the theaters, and I do purchase new DVDs of excellent movies, so I am not a total deadbeat when it comes the movie industry.
I rarely see television commercials unless someone reposts them here on DU. I NEVER watch television "news" because it's a waste of time.
If a person doesn't exercise an ability they lose it. I exercise my Freedom of Speech and Association regularly.
I know the NSA has many photos of my naked ass and they can kiss those.
Posted by hunter | Sat Jul 5, 2014, 11:24 AM (0 replies)
Why does it happen? Why does it keep happening?
Maybe people are mostly irrational. But maybe I'm wrong
No worries, I've survived many existential conflicts far worse.
Safely eat, drink, sleep, be happy.
It's not over until it's over.
Posted by hunter | Sun Jun 29, 2014, 07:47 PM (0 replies)