Trouble Thinking

May 30, 2012

Is Racial Profiling Tough But Sensible? No. You Idiot.

So this is the best. Some class act named Sam Harris has a radical idea to “reduce waste” during airport security. You will never guess what it oh wait no you totally guessed it’s “only hassle Muslims!”. So this is the dumbest fucking idea. There are a ton of reasons why it is dumb. Thanks to his decision to engage in a debate with Bruce Schneier there’s now a complete rundown of all the reasons why! Luckily, like most people who are conceited as all get out, he can’t figure out when he’s getting schooled so he put the whole debate up online for people to laugh at. Seriously it is embarrassing. He’s just sort of shifting topics every couple of minutes and doing ridiculous point-scoring complaining while this patient man is slowly peeling away the layers of his moronic plan to fuck with a security system he neither understands nor cares to learn about because any new information can only confuse the beautiful simplicity of his shitty goddamn idea.

Smart people can convince themselves of basically anything. It is a real problem, and it’s pretty obvious that Sam Harris has fallen into the trap of being just smart enough to come up with a convincing picture of something and just scared and lazy enough not to actually investigate it.Also, smart people always forget that just being smart doesn’t meant they have any intuitive understanding of statistics. Everyone is convinced that the way statistics work is: there is a correlation between A and B and then I am right, the end. As though that’s the limit of our ability to investigate. It annoys me that someone who claims to be a rational goddamn thinker representing atheism against the godful hordes is this stone dumb.

In case you’re too lazy to read here’s the basics of the exchange:

Bruce Schneier:

The topic of this exchange, and the topic I’ve tried to stick to, is whether it makes sense to implement a two-tiered security system at airports, where “Muslims, or anyone who could conceivably be Muslim” get a higher tier of security and everyone else gets a lower tier. I have concluded that it does not, for the following reasons. One, the only benefit is efficiency. Two, the result is lower security because 1) not all Muslims can be identified by appearance, 2) screeners will make mistakes in implementing whatever profiling system you have in mind, and 3) not all terrorists are Muslim. Three, there are substantial monetary costs in implementing this system, in setting the system up, in administering it across all airports, and in paying for TSA screeners who can implement it. And four, there is an inefficiency in operating the system that isn’t there if screeners treat everyone the same way. Conclusion: airport profiling based on this ethnic and religious characteristic does not make sense.

And while you’ve objected to bits and pieces of this, the only argument you have made for this profiling system is that it’s common sense.

Common sense is code for “I am mad and do not want to think about shit”.

This faux-tough thing is everywhere in modern political and social discourse and it is of course complete fuckwit nonsense. People like to posture about how they’re being “tough but fair” or “tough, unfortunately” or “doing what’s necessary” when referring to cutting programs for the poor, eliminating civil liberties, torturing people, profiling, or bullying. And it always hides the same lazy, frightened, stupid shit. You want to torture because you don’t like thinking about what torture actually entails and you just want to win already so let’s cheat. You want to profile because you don’t like thinking about the actual consequences to security but this line is long and this is dumb and you’re very smart so. Any time someone tells you they’re just being tough, you are about to hear some childish shit.

Related: yo, is this racist?


August 9, 2010

US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement… Manga Style!

Have you ever found yourself suffering from insomnia, and at 2am wondering to yourself.  “Gee, I really want to learn more about the military and political relationship between the United States and Japan… but it’s so difficult to understand without overly cute cartoon representations of the two countries explaining it to me through metaphor in an appealing visual format!

If you have, then like me, you should seek immediate psychological help. However, while you’re waiting for the men in white lab coats to take you to a better place, check it out!  Our prayers have been answered!

No, I am not kidding you. This is an official publication straight from the US Forces Japan Website

As a man who often thinks of the United States of America as a 5 year old ginger kid with a crazy bunny hood, this publication really speaks to me. The first chapter of a supposedly 4 chapter series on the military alliance between Japan and the USA can be found in it’s entirety here:

The technical term you’re looking for is ” Totally Bitchin’ ”

I can’t read Japanese, but nonetheless I’m astounded as to just how adorable a complicated and sometimes troubled relationship between our two countries really is.  I mean, come on, the little boy’s name is “Usa” and his Japanese friend is “Arai Anzu”. Say it 5 times fast in your best stereotypical Japanese accent, and you’ll get it.  It’s so precious, I just need to post a few more panels:

Who knew policing the world could be so cute?

If the USA and Japan are kids... where the hell are the parents?

I love it. Usa goes around killing all those North Korean cockroaches, and Arai Anzu says some stuff I can’t understand, but probably along the lines of “Thank you so much Usa for keeping us safe.  It’s great that your presence lends us so much political stability; in no way did our prime minister resign recently over controversies regarding his failure to make good on promises to shut down a US military base!”  Precious.

Then again, the more I look at that last panel, the more it looks like the United States is just some asshole kid stomping on bugs and shoving the corpses in girls’ faces.  Hmmmm…. lets not read into that. Moving on.

After this beautiful publication wins us the hearts and minds of every Japanese citizen, I think we need to expand the genre to resolve all of our international disputes.  Just think how much more susceptible Iran would be shutting down its nuclear program if we had an adorable booklet with USA-Iran character analogs explaining the situation in a carefree and non-threatening manner?  Illegal immigration got Arizona all riled up? Make a manga featuring “Mex” the illegal immigrant and “Ari Zona” the cautious but caring family-values oriented American who overcomes her distrust of Mex through a delightful 30 page cartoon adventure that unites the two in the bonds of love and friendship.  I mean, hell, this shit practically writes itself.

Anyways, enjoy the PR masterpiece.  If anyone actually has the skills and inclination to translate this, I’d like to see what it actually says.  I tried searching for a translation, but all I found were people debating which anime sucks the most on military forums. Swing and a miss on my end.

Until next time, stay thirsty my friends.

UPDATE: Apparently the good folks over at Manga Fox have scanned and translated this into English. Many thanks to joshuaism for pointing this out!  (People read this blog? Amazing!)

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