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2022 October

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2022 March

2022 February

2021 October

  • Vice-President Leni Robredo finally announcing her candidacy for the presidency yesterday injected an interesting bit of energy into the online opposition. A lot of people expressed support, even many of my friends who usually stayed silent during the regular political exercises. In theory, I remain neutral, as I like to give each candidate a fair shake during the campaign period and make my final decisions as election day nears (or on the day itself even!) But this year's slate is especially bleah and bereft of actual, exciting choices that it's easy to see where I will be leaning. It's easy

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2021 August

  • I read this article about how a US Democratic representative says his Republican colleagues are like WWE wrestlers (excuse me, they're called "Superstars") who behave differently in private versus in public. Basically their politics are performative, they act a certain way in public to appeal to their bases, but in private they don't actually really believe in many of the things they say in public. It speaks to a certain lack of integrity and deceptiveness. It's the kind of laying and salesmanship that I really dislike. Reading this article reminded me of supporters praising Duterte back during the 2016 campaign

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2019 May

  • I remember when playing the original version of Civilization back in the day, the "most advanced" form of government was Democracy, with the only downside of it being you can't declare war (because you had a senate that would stop you.) The other available forms of government were typically not very useful, but Democracy massively increased your trade output, so most often I would build the Pyramids (a wonder which allowed switching to any government immediately and without penalty), and spend the rest of the game toggling between Democracy and Despotism (for when I wanted to go to war). This

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  • The results are disappointing, but that's only because we expected better. Historically, those who have made it into the Senate did so mostly on name recognition. What does it matter if Diokno had the best resume of all the candidates, if many of the voters did not know who he was? How could he compete against someone who appeared on a hit primetime TV series right up until the start of the campaign period? Sometimes I think, things were simpler before we were woke. For me, at least. When I was younger I didn't care much about politics. Oh of

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  • The PH senatorial and local elections are on Monday. I almost didn't want to write the usual election post, mostly because I was annoyed with and tired of the electorate and the politicians and the system and all that. But we shouldn't give in to despair. Often when choosing who to vote, it will be difficult to find candidates who align perfectly with your values. You make compromises to prioritize those issues you think are more important. You settle on lesser evils to try to stave off the worse ones. It can be scary sometimes to make a judgment that

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  • From a friend's Facebook post: Less than 2 weeks to the elections, I want to share a hard lesson I learned from the previous one. Especially given that I've had formal lessons in rhetoric and logic. Do not believe that logical fallacies are fallacies. Or rather--understand that they are logical fallacies, but that the world does not run on logic and so any classroom lessons on what arguments are fallacious have no relevance. The only relevant matter is if people react positively to what you say. The people who respond to facts ARE ALREADY ANTI-DUTS. So forget about convincing more

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2019 March

  • Scenario: Someone I know, let's call him/her Person A, appears to be supporting Party B, who in my opinion represents some of the worsts traits of Philippine politics (including but not limited to corruption, patronage, personality politics, etc). Now, I like to be optimistic about people and give them the benefit of the doubt, so in a bid to understand I tried to list down some possible motivations for Person A to do so. There are I believe two axes to consider: - whether Person A believes Party B is good/bad for the country - whether Person A personally has

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2018 November

  • There's a lot of doom and gloom and bad news in the world these days, giving us ordinary folk little reason to be optimistic. Examples include: we are almost certainly too late to prevent climate change at all and social collapse is now an actual possibility Trump has begun taking steps to walk back a nuclear arms control treaty increasing trends of nationalism and populism threatening to walk back the gains of globalisation (i.e. Brexit) and diversity Elon Musk warns us of the existential threat of artificial intelligence locally, some friends of mine are largely pessimistic about the future of

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2018 October

  • Systemic change is difficult. I'm talking about software projects/systems, but there are a lot of parallels with societal systems too, like governments or states. I've been in large projects with hundreds of thousands of LOC where a lot of the code was painful to read and full of code smells and so on. It happens over time as projects get maintained by different developers and teams or different enhancements or changes are made. It becomes more difficult/costly for new developers to work on the project as things are brittle and may easily fall apart. I've also had the dubious pleasure

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  • Comic books and superheroes have always tended to skew towards liberal philosophies, given how writers and artists tend to support ideals like individualism and free expression. So it's not surprising that the derivative shows tend to lean the same way. Not only do many of the shows promote diversity, but many are becoming overtly political as well. Some recent examples. (Spoilers for current seasons of Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Daredevil follow) The current season 4 of Supergirl seems to be focusing on anti-alien sentiment, a thinly-veiled allegory towards the anti-immigration movement propagated in far right "nationalist" circles. Similar to

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  • A few days ago I read this great Reddit comment about how increasing hyperpartisanship makes it easier to influence the entire population. Quoting the relevant part: Once you've done that, you have a population that's easier to manipulate. You have, say, 30% that's 100% sure on both ends, and probably another 15% on both ends that are 80% sure, and a remaining 10% that could go both ways. The more you do this, the more the 15% will be set in stone.Then, the fun begins with manipulating the 10%. You know where they live (through facebook), you know how they

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2017 February

  • In The Open Society and Its Enemies, philosopher Karl Popper described this as β€œthe paradox of tolerance.” Here is how he put it:

    "Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right even to suppress them, for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to anything as deceptive as rational argument, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, exactly as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping; or as we should consider incitement to the revival of the slave trade."

    Free Speech and the Paradox of Tolerance

2016 May

  • We shouldn't have to keep telling people that Ferdinand Marcos was a terrible president and that the Martial Law he imposed was terrible for the country. Imagine if a significant percentage of German citizens kept insisting that Hitler was a great man and the more sensible Germans had to keep trying to educate them on why that wasn't true and why World War II was a terrible idea and that they wanted to elect Hitler's descendant to a position of national prominence. That's where we are right now with all these Filipinos supporting Marcos. (Why yes, I did open a

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