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paulkienitz's Journal
paulkienitz's Journal
December 1, 2020

Arecibo was our best tool for tracking near-Earth asteroids... which we need to do.

Arecibo was not just a telescope, but a radar dish. With radar we could accurately measure the distances to solar system objects, and get substantial information about their surfaces. Without those measurements, we cannot plot asteroidal orbits accurately enough to ascertain when there's a threat of collision.

We need to build a new radar facility. But this time, instead of a single giant dish we can make a hundred normal-sized ones working in tandem.

November 6, 2020

I said from the beginning of this that I would gladly make peace and cooperate with conservatives,

so long as they stood with me against fascism. I am thankful to all who have done so... though the vote totals show that they ended up being an awfully small fraction of the 2016 GOP voters.

November 4, 2020

last night my partner was saying she's done trying to save America from itself

She was in a mood, and in that mood she was saying no more activism, no more trying to make things better -- if America wants Trumpism it just deserves the suffering it's going to get.

She feels better this morning, but those words aren't forgotten by either of us. We could make excuses for blue collar suckers before, but now we really can't. Trump was voted for by millions and millions of purblind assholes who saw everything that he did in the last four years and learned absolutely nothing from it. You can't justify or rationalize that as hope or ignorance, this was a choice made with open eyes, even if the brain behind the eyes is choosing not to see.

I believe adults bear a level of moral responsibility for their own willingness to be duped by cons and conspiracy theories. Being tricked and lied to does not let you off the hook -- especially not after you've seen the results and haven't changed your mind.

My respect for my fellow citizens is probably the lowest it's ever been... and it seems unbelievable that just twelve years ago a solid majority of them behaved in the exact opposite way and reaffirmed every platitude about what America could be.

February 22, 2020

Bloomberg is acting as a stand-in for Trump

In the passive way he took these attacks, he ended up in the role of a paper shooting-gallery target with Trump's face pasted onto it. The real message was "This is how I will take down Trump."

February 21, 2020

I think I am coming up with a one-sentence definition of fascism.

Over the last three years, I've had to put a lot of study into the nature of just what fascism is. I've had to conclude that it is quite distinct from authoritarianism, though naturally they overlap frequently. What exactly qualifies someone, or some movement, as fascist? I think the essence of it is the division of the populace into "right people" and "wrong people". Here is my definition:

Fascism is the advocacy of privileging one cultural group above other cultural groups within a populace, both through the power of the state and through extralegal means.

Any group that uses "blood and soil" arguments -- that is, saying that a given area of land rightfully belongs to one ethnic group and other groups should have lesser rights there -- qualifies as fascist, if the movement is willing to use forceful coercion to obtain such an end. It does not matter if they are otherwise not authoritarian.

Willingness to use threats and violence is part of the requirement. If a group claims that they have special rights to something but is willing to use only nonviolent protests, they aren't fascist.

Communist regimes -- no matter how totalitarian -- generally do not qualify as fascist, because communism lumps all of the people into a single cultural group to suffer equally.

Democratically elected regimes do qualify as fascist if they allow some kinds of people the right to vote but not others.

Nationalism is closely related to fascism, but a distinction can be drawn.

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Bay Area, California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 1,296

About paulkienitz

Software engineer who thinks a lot about the future. http://paulkienitz.net/future/
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