Friday, October 13, 2017

Why do corporations feel the need to virtue-signal?

The main goal of a private company is to make money. That's it. As crude as that might sound, that's just the core of our economic system (and it's actually a fact that's even taught in university economy courses; personal experience). Whatever other goals a company might have, those are secondary to that of making money.

Therefore a company should always strive to do things that maximize income and minimize losses. Less scrupulous companies might resort to underhanded shady tactics, playing with fire with regards to the law, other companies may be much more honest and always play by the rules, but the bottom line is that whatever they do, the main goal is to maximize profit.

One thing that will not maximize profit, but instead will potentially cause diminished income, perhaps even losses, is a company taking a socio-political stance, and openly advocating for a certain political view, especially if controversial. In other words, when they engage in virtue-signaling. That's because when they do that, they alienate a significant portion of their potential customerbase, potentially driving them away. Rather than maximizing their potential customerbase (and thus profit), they are deliberately cutting off part of it. Which makes absolutely no sense. They are deliberately alienating part of their customers, and thus cutting their own profits, for no benefit.

But that's the power of virtue-signaling, ie. showing your moral superiority. I believe that it's quite literally a mind-drug. As in, when you virtue signal loudly to a public, when you exude your own moral superiority by loudly proclaiming how some people around you are morally inferior, it actually physically gives you a chemical rush. I bet that if it were measured, it would be noticed that it causes the brain to induce endorphin, dopamine and/or some other hormone production.

When individuals do it, they are just making themselves assholes. However, when a company does it, they are doing it at their own expense, potentially alienating their customers and cutting their profits. Yet some of them still can't help but do it anyway. (And the funny thing about virtue-signaling is that once you engage in it, you can never back down, take back what you have said and apologize. You have to keep doing it, no matter how much it harms you or your company. It's an addictive drug of the mind.)

For example, the company Campo Santo, creators of Firewatch, recently decided to DMCA PewDiePie for his let's play of that game. Not because of anything related to that video (which was published a year or two ago), but because of a completely unrelated video where he utters the N-word in the heat of the moment during an online game session. Representatives of Campo Santo went to social media to boast how they DMCA'd him because of that, and they encouraged all other companies to do the same.

The ratings of the the game on Steam started immediately plummeting, with people flooding the rating system with negative reviews.

I will never buy that game, nor anything from that company. I don't care how good that or any of their future games may be, I will never buy them, out of principle.

Recently, Bethesda, of all companies, decided to do some virtue-signaling of their own. They made an official tweet post about their new game Wolfenstein II, which reads "Make America Nazi-Free Again", with a video that has the message "not my America". It couldn't be clearer that they are alluding to Trump and the current regressive leftist rally of calling everybody who disagrees with them "nazis".

They are alienating a significant portion of their potential customerbase... and they don't even care. While the game setting is an alternate universe history where nazi Germany won, and is in control of the United States (and has been so for many years), they could have just stayed out of the whole political debate and said nothing, and let the game be what it is. Nobody would have minded, and they would have probably enjoyed the game just fine.

But no. They had to virtue-signal, potentially pissing off a large portion of their customers.

Whether this will have any significant effect on the sales of the game will be seen (it might not), but personally, out of principle, I will not be buying the game. I don't care how good it might be; it may be the best video game ever created, and I would still not buy it. There are literally hundreds of other games out there for me to play. I don't need this one. I won't be playing this one.

I did buy the previous Wolfenstein game, and I thought it was ok. I might have bought this one as well. But that's it. If nobody else, they lost at least me as a potential customer. I will never buy the game. I hope they are happy.

Ubisoft Montpellier, a subsidiary of Ubisoft in France, really got their virtue-signaling dopamine rush when in the last E3 conference they boasted how the cast of their upcoming game Beyond Good and Evil 2 is so "inclusive" and "diverse" and "multicultural" and whole bunch of other SJW buzzwords. It really sounded like sermon in the Church of Progressiveness. (And no, it wasn't tongue-in-cheek, or humorous, or light-hearted, or just some kind of side quip. It was presented 100% seriously.)

That speech alone gave me so much nausea that I added the game to my list of games I will never be buying out of principle. I loved the first game, but I don't care how good the sequel might be. It may be the greatest and most mind-blowing game in history, and I still wouldn't care. I'm not buying it. They lost me as a customer.

My advice to companies? Just stay out of politics. Say nothing related. Don't take a stance. Don't try to virtue-signal. Make good games for all your customers; don't alienate a demographic just so that you can get your dopamine rush.

Obama was more of a "Hitler" than Trump is

The regressive left, especially in the United States (but pretty much also everywhere else), the media at large, leftist celebrities, and pretty much everybody who hates Trump, is comparing him to Hitler, and constantly bringing out how much of a "racist", and "sexist" and a myriad other buzzwords he is, and how he is worse than Hitler and commits atrocities, and what not.

Yet they have very little to show for it. If you ask them what exactly has Trump said or done to deserve all those accusations, the evidence is quite bleak. So he banned the citizens of certain countries from entering the US... hardly an atrocity (especially considering that those exact same countries have banned the citizens of Israel from entering theirs, something that no regressive ever acknowledges or pays attention to). He wants tougher stances and enforcement on illegal immigrants... something that pretty much every prior US presidents has done as well, very much including Obama (you can find several of his speeches on tougher immigration policies and enforcement online).

The fact is that Trump has not done much in terms of atrocities.

The fact also is that Obama did.

Read, for example, this article by The Guardian: America dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016. What a bloody end to Obama's reign

That's right, over 26 thousand bombs. Not during his entire 8-year presidency. During one single year.

Some sources claim that approximately 90% of deaths caused by those bombs were civilians.

How about Obama giving Iran the means to build nuclear weapons? How many regressive leftists do you see talking about any of this? (And I'm quite certain that hell will freeze over before Trump gives any Islamic country nuclear weapons.)

So far Obama has been much more of a "Hitler" than Trump has. Obama's death toll is significantly higher. Yet no regressive is willing to acknowledge any of this.

Friday, October 6, 2017

"Fat acceptance"

As with so many things, when it comes to virtue signaling, and anything related to the social justice ideology, "fat acceptance" might have had a somewhat reasonable point, to one degree or another, but it has evolved into a completely ridiculous denial of reality. And, likewise as often happens with these things, the original idea is being used to justify the ridiculous extreme. In fact, they are even calling it "fat pride" now, as if there was something prideful about being obese.

The original idea stems from the desire to end "fat shaming" in our society. Kids making fun of, or even harassing, obese kids. Adults making nasty remarks and having all kinds of prejudices about obese people. And so on.

Fine. Some degree of decency and good manners could be expected of society. We shouldn't be making fun of, or shun, or harass, anybody because of how they look, or any other sort of external characteristics. If they have some kind of personal problem (such as a health problem) that may or may not be solvable, that's one thing, and possibly worth of serious discussion, but treating them badly just because of some physical characteristic is not acceptable. As long as they aren't hurting anybody else, we shouldn't be attacking them in any way. I can get behind that.

But the "fact acceptance" movement has gone well beyond that, to absolute ridiculous extremes. It has transformed from "I know I have an obesity problem, please stop making fun of me, it's very hurtful and it isn't helping" to, effectively, considering obesity to be an innate characteristic of the person. In other words, in the same way as your skin color may be innate, or eye color, or hair color, or the size of your ears, or the shape of your nose, or your height, or the size of your head, these "fat acceptance" advocates seem to be promoting the idea that weight is a completely equivalent innate characteristic. In other words, in the same way as you can't help your height, or the length of your arms, likewise you can't help your weight. They don't even use the word "weight"; they use the term "body shape", as if it were indeed an innate characteristic.

Moreover, and more dangerously, many of them are advocating for the concept that people can be healthy at any weight. Here is where they are going full reality denialist. I'm not even kidding; some of them really and truly are promoting the idea that morbid obesity isn't unhealthy.

Of course we know as a scientific fact that morbid obesity increases the risk of all kinds of diseases, many of them by several orders of magnitude. For example the risk of diabetes is enormously increased; the more obese the person is, the higher the risk is. (Some studies estimate that people who are medically considered obese are 80 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people who are not medically overweight. The risk only becomes higher the more overweight the person is.) And diabetes is not just a minor nuisance; it's a rather serious disease.

And that's only one of the common obesity-related diseases. The list of them is quite large. By the age of 40 or 50, the vast majority of morbidly obese people are on one or more medications for conditions directly caused by their obesity.

Some more cynical people say "they are not healthy; they are dying". That's actually not very far from the truth. Morbidly obese people do have significantly lower life expectancy (sometimes by as much as 20 or even 30 years).

And the thing is, obesity is a choice. It's not an innate physical characteristic. It's not a congenital condition. It's not something that you can't help. It's a life choice. And more importantly, it's not irreversible. No matter how morbidly obese you are, it's still not irreversible (even though to such a person it might feel so). Many life choices do cause irreversible, or only partially reversible damage, but obesity is not one of those. If you are still young enough to be relatively healthy, it is perfectly possible for a person to lose all of that extra weight, and decrease the risk of all obesity-related diseases significantly. In fact, even if you do already have some obesity-related disease, it's often reversible by losing weight. For example, if you have type 2 diabetes that is caused by obesity, dropping all that weight very often cures the disease.

Of course nobody is saying that losing weight and becoming fit is easy. But it's still a choice. It's not a congenital condition that can't be helped.

The "fat acceptance" movement is dangerous because it's telling obese people that they are fine as they are, and don't need to lose any weight.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Brexit is probably not going to happen

The people of the United Kingdom voted for the country to leave the European Union. That happened in June of 2016.

Almost a year and a half later, the United Kingdom is still in the EU, with absolutely no signs of leaving yet.

And it's likely not going to ever happen (unless something like a total collapse of the EU happens, which may well be a possibility.)

One would think that since they decided to leave, it would be a rather quick process, taking maybe some weeks, a few months at most. But apparently not.

It actually would be a relatively fast process. The EU cannot force a country to stay in the union. (Of course the EU could act like the organized criminal thugs they are and try to impose sanctions on UK for leaving too soon, but the UK is rich enough and with enough connections to the rest of the world that they could well just ignore those pitiful threats. Seriously. The UK would have absolutely nothing to fear from the EU mafia.)

The problem is, the majority of politicians governing the United Kingdom don't want to leave the EU, so they have a dilemma.

They could just ignore the referendum and give their people the middle finger. However, short of doing that, they are doing the next best thing: Come up with delay after delay after delay, and reason after reason after reason why "it's not that simple" and why they can't leave just yet. It's happening very soon, we promise! Just not yet. Be patient. Any day now.

Of course the EU mafia itself is putting as many roadblocks as they can into the process, and even go so far as extorting the UK. The UK could just ignore those threats, but of course they won't. And Theresa May is already talking about an extension of a whopping 4 years, up to 2021.

The excuses just keep on coming. It's "complicated", they say, when trying to lull the populace into complacency. It's happening "any day now". Just not today. Nor tomorrow. Nor in the next 4 years. And probably not even after that. Pretty much effectively the UK is not leaving the EU, no matter what the population voted.

And this is the UK, one of the most powerful countries in the world. What hope do we, the smaller countries have? Finland, in particular, has always been so afraid of everybody else that they will never probably even organize such a referendum for the fear that people will vote the wrong way, and the EU mafia will then extort Finland. Meanwhile we are paying exorbitant sums to the EU in this insane protection racket, and taking in economic migrants that the EU is sending us, because we are too afraid of saying no (like Poland did).

I wish other countries started leaving the sinking ship. Maybe, maybe, Finland would then get the courage to do so among the others.

Monopoly corporations like Google getting away with anything

One of the unfortunate side-effects of huge megacorporations that effectively have a monopoly status is that they can get away with pretty much anything (as long as it's not outright illegal), no matter how much their customers and users may protest.

For example, some time ago Google announced their "YouTube Heroes" program, which would allow certain users (who are not employees of google, but just private citizens) to, among other things, mass-flag videos.

I think the YouTube's advertisement video for this broke some kind of record by having almost a million dislikes, and something like a 99% dislike-to-like ratio. It caused a controversy storm, and hundreds of critical videos. (The original video has comments disabled, which is quite telling. They probably got tired of all the criticism and attacks.)

So, what happened? Google just ignored all the negative feedback and went ahead with the project anyway.

And do you know what's scarier? People just stopped talking about it eventually. Almost nobody even remembers that anymore, much less talks about it. In other words, people, even the harshest of critics, effectively became complacent, and Google got away with it. The only thing Google had to do was to simply ignore their users and their complaints.

More recently Google announced that they would start putting "offensive" videos in a restricted mode, where these videos will exist, but will be effectively invisible. They will not appear in any lists or search results, and the video itself will hide everything, including the author. Comments will be disabled. The only way to see the video is if you have a direct link to it.

Again this caused a shitstorm, and an enormous amount of criticism. And once again Google simply ignored the criticism and went and implemented in anyways. And once again people simply stopped talking about it, and thus became effectively complacent, and thus Google got away with it.

Of course Google isn't the only corporation doing things like this. Whenever a huge megacorporation has an effective monopoly status, they can get away with basically anything (that's not outright illegal). Microsoft gets away with it all the time, especially with Windows. Big social media websites like Facebook get away with it all the time. Valve gets away with it with anything related to Steam. The list goes on.

The scary thing is, as commented, that people complain about it for a while, but then they just become effectively complacent, allowing the corporation to get away with it. The only thing that the corporation needs to do in order to achieve this is to simply ignore the complaints.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Difficulty in accepting that 0^0 is not 1

In the same way as it seems very difficult for some people to accept that 0.999... = 1, it appears that likewise some people have really hard time accepting that 00 (ie. zero to the power of zero) is indeterminate, rather than 1.

No matter how you try to twist it, the expression 00, in itself, is indeterminate in mathematics. In other words, it has no value. The expression is, in some sense, invalid. It simply has no meaningful value of any sort.

The reason why some people are so adamant that it must be 1 is that if you take smaller and smaller positive values of x, the expression xx approaches 1. In other words, the limit of xx, as x approaches 0 (from the positive side) is indeed 1.

However, limits are not the same thing as the value of the function at that point. Just because the function might approach a value as the variable approaches certain other value, doesn't necessarily mean that the function itself has that value at that point. (With many functions this is the case, but there are functions where this is not the case.)

The question of the value of 00 comes most often indeed with limits, as that's sometimes the result of certain functions. And the importance of it being indeterminate is especially large in these situations, because you can't simply assume that the answer is 1.

It can be tempting to think so, however. There is, in fact, a very large family of contiguous functions for which, taking two such functions, f(x) and g(x), which themselves approach 0 when x approaches some given value, the function f(x)g(x) does indeed approach 1 when x approaches that value.

You might try things like x2x, or sin(x)cos(x)-1, or a myriad of other combinations of functions which approach 00 when x approaches a certain value (0 in these examples), and they all indeed give 1 as result. (It can in fact be proven that this is the case with all functions that have certain smoothness characteristics.) It can thus be tempting to generalize and think that this is always the case.

However, there is a reason why 00 is considered indeterminate, not 1. There are, of course, counter-examples.

For instance, the function x1/ln(2x) approaches 00 when x approaches 0 (from the positive side), but the limit of the function is not 1, but rather e.

There are, of course, infinitely many such counter-examples, but just one is enough to demonstrate that the temptation of assuming that all such limits approach 1 will lead to incorrect results.

Yet, like with the 0.999... = 1 case, some stubborn people will try to invent new mathematics to try to make 00 always equal 1.

Is "affirmative action" hurting Asians?

Legalized racial discrimination... eh, sorry, I mean "affirmative action" (which must be one of the most obnoxious euphemism for discrimination ever) may in some cases actually discriminate against non-white people (even though, in general, "affirmative action" is always and everywhere created to discriminate against white people, especially white men).

You see, since pretty much the beginning of time (or, rather, since universities have existed), universities have admitted in students based on personal merit: They need to have demonstrated proficiency and knowledge, and the ability to be able to pass the demands of a higher education degree. This usually means good scores in lower level schools (eg. high schools), as well as high scores in a demanding entrance exam.

Nowadays, however, this purely meritocratic principle is being targeted by the political correctness cancer, because it causes an imbalance. For one reason or another, probably because of culture, upbringing and the living environment, certain kinds of people tend to get better scores than others, and be more proficient at schools. The most probable cause for this is that certain cultures value studying and high scores a lot more than others, and thus entice and encourage their children to do so.

Because not all cultures are the same (no matter how much the multiculturalists love to pretend otherwise), some cultures produce more well-learned people than others. Which in turn causes an "imbalance" in university admissions when it comes to how many people of any given cultural background pass the entrance exams.

Because in the modern day this kind of meritocratic system is an evil that must be purged, some universities are engaging in student quotas. And because one of the most prominent defining characteristics of these different cultures is race, the quotas are race-based (regardless of the actual cultural background of the applicants). This is somehow A-ok in the modern society, and somehow not racism. But whatever.

This, however, has a slightly ironic and unintended consequence. You see, people from the eastern parts of Asia tend to live in a culture that values quite a lot studiousness and hard work, which increases their average level of education. And indeed, east Asians have always fared extremely well in university-level education.

So well, in fact, that they tend to be over-represented in universities, compared to their percentage in the general population. In many western countries, proportionately speaking, there tend to be much more Asians in universities, especially in their technical branches, than in the country as a whole.

Well, in some cases this has created the ironic side-effect that racial discrimination... eh, sorry, "affirmative action", is discriminating against high-scoring Asians in university enrollment. See for example: Asian American groups file racial quotas complaint against Harvard University.

On that note, it would be interesting to know how many people admitted to universities via racial quotas (rather than merit) actually graduate, and what their scores are. But I doubt any such university is eager to publish such statistics.