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Sympthsical's Journal
Sympthsical's Journal
October 27, 2022

Should DU boycott Twitter?

Now that Musk is taking control? Or is it ok to contribute to his success?

Why/why not?

October 21, 2022

Trevor Noah on Kanye

I thought this was pretty insightful commentary not only on Kanye, but how American media culture treats him. The media gleeful voyeur and shove microphones at the man, because they want the controversy. They want the, "How dare he be so hateful and crazy!!!! . . . . But isn't it delightful?"

Our politics are very similar in this way. When politicians say horrible things, you sometimes get the feeling that people are less horrified or upset than absolutely thrilled they have something titillating happening. It's how media culture brings our discourse into the gutter. (Cable news, looking at you)

October 12, 2022

The Lincoln Project documentary on Showtime is something

An organization full of money-grubbing right-wing grifters who turn out to be not so great people with their own monied interests at heart?

The hell you say. If only someone had warned people . . .

September 29, 2022

UC Berkeley groups ban "Zionists" from events.

(Note to mods: This is not about the I/P conflict but about freedom of expression and antisemitism on public American campuses)

But we probably should have a discussion about antisemitism on our campuses at some point.

And, of course, it's Jewish students who are placed in the crossfire.


Not only was the outreach process highly questionable, but the substance of the bylaw is antithetical to our school’s academic principles. UC Berkeley is “committed to ensuring freedom of expression and dialogue that elicits the full spectrum of views held by our varied communities.” In particular, our law school is driven by the acceptance and promotion of intellectual differences.

Yet at the urging of LSJP, some student affinity groups at Berkeley Law will now no longer hear from anyone who supports the State of Israel. Rather than inviting dialogue and education, LSJP has silenced a particular group of individuals: Zionists are forbidden from speaking on any topic with these affinity groups.

It is no secret that Israeli policy is little affected by the BDS movement. Instead, the consequences are felt by the Jewish students at Berkeley.

Here lies the sad but predictable outcome of the new bylaw: No matter our organization’s official stance, the Jewish students at Berkeley Law are left divided. If we publicly condemn the BDS movement and the bylaw, some Jewish students will feel we have strayed from our mission to be a welcoming space for all Jewish views. Or we can say nothing, and many other Jewish students will feel unsupported by their own Jewish community.

Can't pin this stuff on MAGA. And if you think the groups that foment this sort of thing stop at only "Zionists" then you haven't been on a campus in a few decades.
September 28, 2022

Didn't Read The Article Before Commenting? Science Says It Really Shows

Something on my mind with social media of late. There's currently an article where . . . most people just didn't read it. Like, at all. So I was curious and wondered if there were any studies done about how much people on social media actually are reading and processing the information available.

Of course there was a study.

A little bit of knowledge can go straight to your head, and not in a good way. New research has found that those who only read snippets of their Facebook newsfeed often think they know more than they actually do.

By glancing through article previews, instead of reading the full piece, many users overestimate their understanding of an issue, and this is especially true for those whose knowledge is guided by strong emotions - and, therefore, strong opinions.

"Because most social media users only have a passing engagement with posted news, exposure to political information on social media may simply create the illusion of political learning," write the researchers at the York College of Pennsylvania . . .

Unsurprisingly, those who read the full article answered the most questions correctly, while those who read the preview scored only one more correct answer than those who were given no information at all. Additionally, the findings suggest that people who read only the previews were far too confident in their knowledge. What's more, those participants whose cognitive style is more guided by emotion, tend to be more certain of their rightness.


Just something to keep in mind when scrolling along (particularly on Twitter). It's how misinformation spreads. Reading a summary or opinionated assertion about information isn't the same thing as real factual information.
September 25, 2022

I know how we can draw attention to food insecurity

Let's recruit someone to go down to Florida. Some wily mind with luciferian persuasive skills. Roll up to Ron DeSantis' place. Just wriggle in there. Maybe get on his staff. Some position of influence.

Convince DeSantis to steal food from a few food banks.

I bet we'd suddenly care about food insecurity real, real fast instead of the current crickets that seem to be greeting a profound issue that is affecting tens of millions of Americans every single day and has only been growing worse over the past year.

So, let's go. Can someone convince DeSantis to steal from a food bank so we can get Twitter to care about the issue?

September 25, 2022

EBT emergency funds expiring during historic grocery inflation

I volunteer with friends at a county food bank program some Saturdays, and this came up yesterday.

During Covid, California EBT started issuing an extra $95 a month to families and individuals. This extra allotment is set to expire on October 1st, 2022. The state has been sending out letters to people saying their EBT will be bumped up starting Oct. 1st citing "cost of utility" increases. However . . . (can you see where this is about to go?)

They'll still be receiving less money for groceries every month. This will be about a 15% reduction (it varies depending on number of people in household).

Last month, the inflation rate for groceries hit 13.5% year over year, the highest since 1979.

Just wanted to throw this out there for those who think inflation is no big deal/fake/media conspiracy/"I don't see price increases at my store"/etc. that I hear all the time.

People barely making it are about to feel some shafting.

On the plus side, we recently successfully recruited a farmer's market we've been after for awhile to contribute to the boxes. So, wewt. In food deserts, people have trouble getting cheap produce, so those who use our program are getting more fruit and vegetables. At least it's something, because we expect demand to start going up even further.

August 24, 2022

DeSantis flipped school boards last night

Perhaps lost in all the other elections. 21 out of 30 candidates for local school boards in Florida supported by DeSantis won their races with four others headed to run offs.

Local elections matter, even though national races get all the media oxygen.

I think a lot of this is Covid policy backlash. Parents were not nearly as keen on distance schooling as the teachers were. It's been like that even here in the Bay Area. Districts that supported longer stay at home policies faced much more backlash in their elections.

A lot of the battles people spend a lot of time on social media discussing on a national level get played out concretely in their backyards. Maybe time to focus more on that, or there will be more DeSantis and more changes like this.


August 24, 2022

US rents hit a record high for the 17th month in a row

I'm so glad I have a mortgage locked in at 1.99%.

Rents hit a record high in July for the 17th month in a row, putting ever more pressure on renters.

The national median rent hit a new record high of $1,879 a month in July, up 12.3% from a year ago, according to Realtor.com. While rents have been hitting new records for nearly a year and a half, there are some early signs that the market may be starting to cool off: July marked the sixth-straight month of moderating growth, retreating from a 17% year-over-year rent increase in January.

Still, rents rose by double-digit percentages in all size categories in July compared to a year ago, with monthly rents for studios up 14.3% to $1,555; one-bedrooms, up 12.2% to $1,745; and two-bedrooms, up 11.7% to $2,103.

The South and Northeast have seen the largest rent increases. Miami, where rents were up 26.2% from a year ago, saw the biggest increase among the 50 largest US cities for the 10th-straight month. Miami was followed by New York, Boston, Chicago, and Orlando.

July 12, 2022

Jill Biden's "breakfast taco" may have been an inside joke

Which the locals would have understood, but it didn't play well nationally when bereft of context.

I did some quick searchy searchy, because I wondered if breakfast tacos were an Americanized thing. Instead, I found this rather lengthy article about the origins - and epic War of the Roses level fight - over the origin of breakfast tacos.

Summarized: San Antonio (where Biden was) hates, hates, hates that Austin takes credit for popularizing breakfast tacos, when it was very much their own culinary convention for years.


So the speech writer may have been playing to the audience in the room, but on a national level it just looked like pure cringe.

The more you know.

(None of this story is important. I'm just bored).

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