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Profile: Epiphileon
User Name: Epiphileon
Forum Rank: Advanced Member
Gender: Male
Joined: Sunday, March 22, 2009
Last Visit: Friday, April 3, 2020 3:45:45 AM
Number of Posts: 4,242
[0.43% of all post / 1.05 posts per day]
  Last 10 Posts
Topic: It's Not the Virus that Scares Me.
Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2020 4:18:36 AM
FounDit wrote:
It is amazing and a bit depressing that so many are so foolish. I now live in a rural area and its a 25 mile round trip to a grocery store. Because of that, I tend to keep around a week's supply ahead at all times, picking up more as I use up what I have on a continual basis.

Although we live in what is considered rural we do have a town center that is only 7 minutes away with a grocery store but I've stopped using that one because of its pricing and the alternative, a family run regional chain is only 25 minutes away and it's a nice drive on state highways all the way there. Usually the only things I have a weeks supply of are milk, lunch meats and cheese, bread, and cereal. I try to buy everything else at Sam's Club and usually have a month's supply on hand.

What I find stunning is that three weeks on since I first noticed it people are still panic buying. Last week at Market Basket, my usual grocery store, I got the evil eye from the guy behind me at the checkout, my tact filters failed when I glanced back and notice his cart had what had to be the entire stock of various kinds of canned baked beans mounted well above the rim of the cart.

FounDit wrote:
So stay positive and don't let it get you down. We'll be okay in the end.

Oh I am by no means walking around in a funk, and I find the behavior of many of my fellow humans to be very heartening and encouraging, my sincere hope though is that we get through this without any serious disruptions from the lunatic fringe.
Topic: It's Not the Virus that Scares Me.
Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2020 3:49:55 AM
Sarrriesfan wrote:
I am sorry but the virus scares me more than any of this.
I’ll worry about what all this means once I have the luxury of not being vulnerable to death with a weakened immune system and a form of megablastic anaemia it’s a real worry for me.

I have spent 2 weeks in isolation already, pottering in the back garden to get outside but that’s about it.

No need to be sorry Sarrriesfan, your situation is very scary I can't imagine being in your position right now. It sounds like you're doing all the right things to keep yourself safe. Romany's suggestions are excellent and I sincerely hope you stay well and find things to bolster your mood.
For me when I find myself in dark places one of the things I try to do is restore my sense of wonder at wandering on the surface of a barely encrusted ball of dirty molten iron hurtling around humungous fusion furnace in space at 66,000 miles an hour in the vastness of the universe and the amazement that in the midst of all that, "I" exist and that I have the experience of being, an experiencing being. It is pretty mind-blowing.
Have a wonder full day!
Topic: It's Not the Virus that Scares Me.
Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2020 4:18:27 AM
Romany wrote:
Geez Epi - what the hell is unethical about sharing your fears/anxiety/questions about the Virus?

LOL yeah Rom, it just made my ethic meter a little itchy, and that probably has more to do with my response to this conclusion...
"No, what had scared me was that even though my area has a very low number of reported cases so far, that people are in a sustained and what appears to be a still rising panic over the situation.
It dawned on me then, if people are acting like this now, when in the U.S. we are still only at the beginning of the epidemic's expansion curve, what the hell is going to happen if it gets as bad as it could get?"
You see at that point my shopping strategy changed and although what I'm doing isn't outright panic buying I am buying stuff I normally wouldn't and building up my pantry and chest freezer stock against the possibility that the general population is going to lose it if things get really bad.

Romany wrote:
I shouldn't worry too much: Americans are behind other developed nations in it's reaction, sure. But they will have to the "two of the same item only" and "only a couple of people allowed into supermarkets at a time" regulations that apply elsewhere, that ensures people can't hoard as we are only allowed one trip for shopping a day...

A couple of points, one you have probably heard of the "tipping point" phenomenon. It was this phenomenon I had in mind when I referred to there being this much evidence of panic with such little provocation, does that put the tipping point for social order breakdown within the range of how bad the epidemic is going to get?
As much as I am generally a "stay calm and carry on" kind of guy this question concerns me.

Another point that comes directly out of the first is yes the U.S. was very slow to react, and even slower to take appropriate action on bringing the supply chain of critical equipment up to speed, and hasn't yet. It seems very likely at this point that there will be a critical shortage of ventilators. This, in my opinion, is the highest potential flashpoint, when doctors have to start letting people die for lack of equipment. In most other countries this is a tragedy in this country this could be a catastrophe. Why? Hmmm, let me think... Guns maybe? (sorry Rom I couldn't resist the sarcasm in that observation it is not directed at you.) You know what other stores are doing incredible business right now? That's right gun stores, a gun store owner just a few towns away from me was interviewed last night. He said he's done 8 months of business in guns and ammo in one month and although he is getting shipments every day now still can't stay in stock.

There are a number of other potential flashpoints or tipping points that could lead to some radical militia group of one kind or another deciding to do something stupid e.g. stealing equipment, kidnapping medical staff, raiding grocery stores, etc. Complete social order collapse would seem unlikely, but then wouldn't it always right up to the point it does?

This all depends on how steep the curve gets, and yes other countries' populations have dealt with it, and other countries have their share of self-serving jerks, but those self-serving jerks are not armed. In all the years that I have been aware of the social fabric of the U.S. I have never seen it as strained as it has been the last few years.

What tweaks my ethics meter is that the very act of posting such observations may actually contribute to the problem.

Topic: The 22,000-year picture
Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2020 5:06:20 AM
Romany wrote:

One of the positive effects of the global lockdown is that data-bases from all the main universitites, institutions, scientific associations etc. have now been made available to all.

Thanks Rom for this statement as a result of trying to find references to what you meant I discovered the Open Science Project, still looking into that. I was curious though if you have more information about what you're referring to?

I had recently discovered this source and have been meaning to post about it. Elsevier

Topic: It's Not the Virus that Scares Me.
Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2020 4:13:17 AM
There is plenty of reason to be concerned about the novel coronavirus, and the resultant COVID-19 disease; however, they are known phenomena, and are in themselves predictable. What is not predictable is the height to which mass hysteria fueled by either blatant, willful and/or negligent ignorance and stupidity may soar. I see a lot of people claiming it is a media-induced frenzy and granted, the media is being as sensational as ever about it but, no one in the media said to go out and by a year's worth of toilet paper, canned tuna fish, or peanut butter and jelly!

I'd ask what the hell is wrong with people but the answer is too depressing. I have attempted over the last three weeks to do my normal 0700 Saturday morning grocery shopping. The first week when I was confronted with empty shelves, freezers, and vegetable bins, I actually thought it was kind of funny, thinking that people would get over it once they calmed down. Well they haven't. This last week was also my once a month trip to Sam's Club, for those not familiar with this type of store it is a members-only giant warehouse store where things can be generally bought cheaper than in regular grocery stores, the catch is you have to buy everything in larger quantities, like cases of soup instead of cans, and in general quantities that most people would find intimidating and usually are used in restaurants or group housing facilities of one kind or another. I've been using them for years as it saves me money and greatly reduces the amount of time I have to spend grocery shopping on my weekly trips.

Like I said this epidemic is cause for concern and I have been rationally concerned, however, it came as a surprise to me that shortly after starting shopping at Sam's and seeing the extent of out of stock items, the vast stretches of empty racks usually packed with pallets of stuff, and the extreme limits on purchases of many items, (including dog food), I noticed that I had become emotionally agitated and had to stop and process what the hell was going on.

I've come a long way from my days as a wanna-be Vulcan so it didn't take me any time at all to realize that the emotion I was feeling was fear. It did take me a few minutes to process what I was actually afraid of. It wasn't the epidemic I had known about that for a long time and I feel like I am pretty well informed and acknowledge the probability distribution of the potential for how bad it could get. No, what had scared me was that even though my area has a very low number of reported cases so far, that people are in a sustained and what appears to be a still rising panic over the situation.

It dawned on me then, if people are acting like this now, when in the U.S. we are still only at the beginning of the epidemic's expansion curve, what the hell is going to happen if it gets as bad as it could get? Given the number of people I see saying that this is all overblown to begin with it seems likely that it will get very bad. I don't see how the answer to my question is anything but scary.

(ETA) I am now wondering about the ethics of posting this opinion, so that is a separate issue I would be curious to see if anyone else see's it as problematic.
Topic: tell about the son of 'man?'
Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2020 1:23:49 PM
And on the second day they added tomato sauce and cheese and the first pizza came into the world.
Topic: The Second Coming!
Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2020 12:37:43 PM
Peter H. messaged me on how to roll away the stone (delete cookies)and I'm back!
Topic: Can, and should, "sacred" be an atheistic concept? (The Sacred Relevancy)
Posted: Saturday, March 7, 2020 3:39:51 PM
Hope wrote:
As for the evolutionary question, I went back to see if there are any signs of religion being inherent in Chimpanzees, as humans share 98% of their DNA with them.

High Hope, You’re thinking of strictly biological evolutionary processes, I’m looking at the co-evolutionary processes of culture on biology. The fundamental unit of selection in biological processes is the gene and it is definitely a process that directly modifies DNA, co-evolution while within the same evolution paradigm operates at a higher level of observation the evolution of culture and cultures selective pressures on a population. TFD’s definition of coevolution is accurate but only partially. I found a much better synopsis at Wikipedia and here is the primary distinction.

*Dual inheritance theory (DIT), also known as gene-culture coevolution or biocultural evolution,[1] was developed in the 1960s through early 1980s to explain how human behavior is a product of two different and interacting evolutionary processes: genetic evolution and cultural evolution. Genes and culture continually interact in a feedback loop,[2] changes in genes can lead to changes in culture which can then influence the genetic selection and vice versa. One of the theory's central claims is that culture evolves partly through a Darwinian selection process, which dual inheritance theorists often describe by analogy to genetic evolution.[3]
'Culture', in this context is defined as 'socially learned behavior', and 'social learning' is defined as copying behaviors observed in others or acquiring behaviors through being taught by others. Most of the modeling done in the field relies on the first dynamic (copying) though it can be extended to teaching. Social learning at its simplest involves blind copying of behaviors from a model (someone observed behaving), though it is also understood to have many potential biases, including success bias (copying from those who are perceived to be better off), status bias (copying from those with higher status), homophily (copying from those most like ourselves), conformist bias (disproportionately picking up behaviors that more people are performing), etc.. Understanding social learning is a system of pattern replication, and understanding that there are different rates of survival for different socially learned cultural variants, this sets up, by definition, an evolutionary structure: cultural evolution.[4]
Because genetic evolution is relatively well understood, most of DIT examines cultural evolution and the interactions between cultural evolution and genetic evolution.

How I see coevolution’s effect playing out in the context of this discussion and atheism, in general, is that religion has been a powerful and nearly ubiquitous selective pressure for most of our civilized history. I do not believe that any specific part of religious experience is written into our DNA; however, my tentative conjecture is that the mental processes associated with religion have been heavily selected for. I kind of jumped the gun by introducing this notion concerning the concept of sacred. I am currently thinking about how to come back to the entire notion from an approach that begins more at first principles.

*Here’s the link to the Wikipedia article I know it’s not the greatest authoritative source but I feel like it was a pretty good overview of what I’m referring to as coevolution. My knowledge of the field is actually pretty dated at this point mostly relying on the original work of Lumsdan and Wilson in “Genes, Mind, and Culture - The Coevolutionary Process” with consideration of Richard Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene” as well.

Something is messed up with my account disallowing access from my regular computer so I’m writing in Google docs than copying that into the forum from my tablet which for some reason has no problem with forum access.

Topic: Desktop logon unsuccessful
Posted: Saturday, March 7, 2020 3:06:45 AM
The problem is not being logged off between sessions, the problem is that I don't seem to get fully logged in. I login it takes me to my profile page and when I go anywhere from my profile page it doesn't show me as logged in or allow me to post anything.
I've even tried clicking the add reply button on a forum thread and the result is it takes me to my profile page rather than the ad before I page.
I'm having to use my tablet to post which is much more tedious than posting from my desktop with a regular full size keyboard.
Topic: Desktop logon unsuccessful
Posted: Friday, March 6, 2020 3:50:01 AM
I changed my password on March 5th since then I have been unable to log on to either the dictionary or Forum site what happens is I put in my email and password and it takes me to my profile page but then when I try to go from the profile page to either the dictionary page of the forums it shows me as a guest and not logged in.