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Ever Young?

I turn 52 next week, and I have a confession to make: I feel like a complete failure at "adulting". Adulting, loosely defined, is that set of activities and behaviours which we judge to be characteristics of grown-ups. You can stop now and make your own list: what I'm going to suggest, speculatively, is that you probably feel like a failure at adulting too. (If you don't, you can stop reading here.)

I'm not alone in this self-defined failure. Lots of people I know, my own age and younger, also admit to feeling like failed adults: "I haven't grown up" is merely the tense-shifted version of "I don't want to grow up". But what does this really mean?

Well, in addition to formal educational processes, we humans learn like most mammals—by observing and imitating. Play in young mammals is all about practicing life skills, but unlike most animals we have a huge load of cultural skills to acquire, stuff we aren't born knowing more or less how to do and just need some practice to get right. And we work out what an adult is, and does, by observing the adults around us.

To say I feel like a failure at adulting doesn't mean I am a failure. I'm a middle-aged novelist who lives in an apartment he owns, has a car, is married, and so on. If I make a checklist of things grown up humans do (as I suggested in the first paragraph above) I actually come out pretty well insofar as the things I don't do are mostly optional. But I still feel like I'm missing stuff. So ... why?

Like most of us, my first experience of observing adults in the wild was as an infant, watching my parents. And—I mentioned that I'm nearly 52?—I'm not giving the game away if I say that my parents are not youngsters. They grew up and came of age in the 1930s and early 1940s; they, in turn, will have internalized their own models of adult behaviour from my grandparents, (only one of whom I ever met). And they came of age during or prior to the first world war.

So here's the thing: I suspect that when I was a pre-teen I internalized a model of adult behaviour that is familiar to anyone under 30 today mostly from TV shows like Mad Men. Men wore suits and hats and went out to work, women wore dresses and stayed home to raise kids, the trappings of material success included cars and maybe a black and white television and a vacuum cleaner (a luxury item in 1950s UK) and air travel was exotic. People went to church (or in the case of my family, synagogue) and society was determinedly homogeneous and a little bit bigoted on the side. And because I don't wear a suit and tie and smoke a pipe while surrounded by my nuclear family in our suburban house I feel kind of slightly like a giant overgrown kid who never managed to grow up and attain the complete grown-up checklist.

This is of course complete bullshit. It's imposter syndrome for grown-ups, and about as valid as imposter syndrome ever is. The reality of being an adult was never like that for everyone, except perhaps the rich and famous role models; it's just that the image of middle class success in the prevailing cultural narrative supplied a template, and insecure, frightened people who are trying to convince themselves that they're adults try to conform to what they perceive as the expectations of everyone around them. The generation that lived in 50's suburbia in turn had inherited their mental map of adult behaviour from their parents. They probably felt like adulting failures too—as witness the sky-high rate of tranquiliser use and alcohol and tobacco addiction in real-world mid-20th century suburbia. And you can trace it back further. The conformist parents of the 1920s were probably trying and failing and feeling like utter failures at being a Victorian paterfamilias or home-maker, or faintly inadequate because they couldn't afford to employ a cook, a maid, and a butler (the Victorian equivalent of a microwave oven, a vacuum cleaner, and a broken metaphor).

We base our vision of an aspirational lifestyle on our parents, who in turn got it by looking at the culture they grew up in (and their parents in turn). The rich are okay; they can afford to buy whatever trappings they think they're supposed to have—butlers for the mansion, finishing school for the kids, whatever. "Downton Abbey" was popular for the worked example of the classical lifestyle of the rich that it supplied: a place for everyone and everyone in their place, including the viewers sitting in front of the TV and wondering if that was why mum was always so fussy about positioning the cutlery just so when laying the table for family dinner. (It's not like the silver spoon novel doesn't have a history.) But the rest of us are struggling to find relevance in a slew of anachronistic cultural detritus that we'd be a lot happier if we simply learned to let go of.

So if you're slouched in front of your laptop wearing a hoodie and joggers while listening to 80s bubblegum pop on a streaming audio channel, and if you've got a collection of bobble-heads or models of the Starship Enterprise on your desk, and your kids (assuming you have any) are wearing retro fashions that remind you of photos of your parents back when they were dating, relax: you are not a failure! Cultural change happens over generations and you're going with the flow rather than trying to cling onto the past like these folk. As Terry Pratchett said, "inside every 80 year old man there's a bewildered 8 year old boy wondering what the hell just happened to him." Give that 8 year old a hug, and tell him he's doing just fine.



And this, of course, is why people are perceived to become more conservative as they become older - it's because we form our model of the world when we are about 8, and as the world changes, we find it distressing because it doesn't match that model any more.


I think you're being unfair to "these folk". They aren't trying to cling to the past in a conservative way, more really getting into the living like in the past and learning what it was like, and communicating that to people. Of course one wonders how well they communicate the lack of women voting, having to do what your husband says, no refrigerators, poverty, etc.


As well as the above (I'm 48 as of this week; I have a good job; I'm respected by my peers; I own a house with zero mortgage; no debt of any kind; but not married, child free by choice) I also feel like my internal model hasn't changed since I was a 20-something.

It's not true; I've sometimes been able to spot where my evaluation criteria is different (obviously better!) than it was 25 years ago... but I don't feel it. I've done all these good things, but don't feel like I've actually grown up.

It's very odd.


Prehaps it has happened this way because of three things, namely when you were at school, longer lifespans and scientific advancements affecting society.

Prehaps there's some sort of "divide" in the 80s so that (say) if you left school in the earlier part of that decade or before, your picture is of men smoking pipes and soforth. After this we're into late-stage thatcherism and then it becomes about early forms of rich bankers and the stock exchange, house prices, yuppies and soforth.

As someone who left shool right at the end of the 80s (actually twice, but that's off topic) I got the latter version - not that I ever agreed with it mind you!

Longer lifespans might be changing things too as what is dubbed "young","middle aged" and "old" get 'stretched' and redefined. So - someone aged (say) 39 in 1900 would be considered - more than likely - middle aged. Someone aged 39 in 2016 however is young.

And one last point - happy (early) birthday!



Actually, what you describe sounds to me on one hand like a high level of economic success, and on the other like a big helping of social conformity.

C and I were married on May 1 of this year, after 31 years of cohabitation (we actually picked the thirty-first anniversary as the date). Later in the year we moved from San Diego to Riverside, where she's attending the UC as a transfer student. San Diego was becoming economically insupportible for us in any case; we've been renters all our adult lives, and rents are rising catastrophically—we heard from our former landlady that our San Diego apartment has just rented for 50% more than we were paying when we moved in. I held a corporate job from my mid-thirties till my early fifties; then copy editing was outsourced to India and I became a freelancer, which I've remained since then. We don't own many of the usual adult appurtenances; on the other hand, we have half a dozen computational interfaces and just over 100 shelf feet of books.

I think about half of our established circle of friends in San Diego are married couples and homeowners. The other half are single, often but not always by choice. Two of the married couples have adult children and now grandchildren; no one else does. So we bypassed a lot of the usual adult rites of passage, and we know a lot of people who did likewise. That gives us a somewhat different reference group.

But I think the sense of being an impostor must be a matter of brain wiring or something more than objective circumstances. I've never personally experienced the sense of self-doubt or falling short that you describe. What I have is more a sense of ironic detachment, as if I were a spy or an anthropologist observing an alien society; I can calculate the objective advantages of assuming positions in that society (hence the wedding earlier this year!), but I don't always remember to do so, because they aren't quite real to me. I think maybe I lack an internalized reference point for the social position I'm theoretically supposed to have.

Of course, now the theoretical social position I'm supposed to have is "retiree." But I'm not adopting that one, either; I expect to keep on working well past the usual retirement age. Fortunately I mostly like the work I do, and as a freelancer I need only be competent at doing it, without having to be profiled by human resources departments. I have to say that the idea that I'm in my sixties does seem truly unreal to me.


Inside my head, I'm still a student, probably. And whatever I'm wearing at any given moment is just the "set of kit" I happen to have on - it's a show, a front, a masquerade. Now, how "adult" is that?


Oh, I know the feeling. A mid-40s, so-called Gen-Xer with a Millennial lifestyle. Totally not the life I was expecting when I graduated high school, but shtuff happens, or doesn't. Skipping the boring/embarrassing details.

I'd like to do this writing thing seriously, but big dose of feelings of inadequacy, and never being the sort to toot their (not finishing that--too early to think of something better). I'm nearly in a position where I ought to have more time to for it; the move is over and unpacking nearly complete. Anyhow, I'd say I take some comfort in knowing that Ann Leckie was 48 when her 1st novel was published, but she had published some short works previously, and had a career before.

I could say something about seeing family and friends who are successful, but I know too well what they're dealing with. Restaurant owning friend dealing with a serious bout of depression and rehab, but seems to be doing okay now. Brother feeling burned out with his business, on the other hand my nephew recently had a role on the season premier of Law & Order: SVU (the kid with a gun, oy!). So for the cliché, This too shall pass. Or something.


I feel more that the world failed me. I didn't vote for shit cyberdystopia ruled by idiots, for idiots. All my own perceived failures are probably because I set the bar two high and being an extremist it was "all or nothing". That Nobel Prize I was expecting is receding into the distance.


Something I have seen you write on a number of occasions, and it's got to hurt: "I tell lies for money" I've been there, but not on the literary scene.


My experience is a little different I think. I never felt adult until I was 32 and my father died suddenly of a heart attack. He was 71.

Later that year I was traveling and discovered that I was constantly writing letters and postcards in my head, with my father the intended recipient. I soon realized that I'd always done this when traveling or doing something else exciting--I just hadn't been conscious of the habit. What made me aware of it was that there was no one to send them to. (Of course I wrote to other people but the compositions in my head were specifically to my father and wouldn't work for anyone else.)

A little while later I was talking with friends and everyone was saying they still felt like children even though we were in our thirties and forties, and I realized I no longer felt that way. I certainly had felt that way before.


Then again, the alternative to not being able to carry our younger selves with us is we couldn't tell if we were about to screw up (again). Like most folks, I carry around all the different 'past me's' - some were fun, others not. Surprisingly, folks given the option of un-remembering their pasts, usually choose to hold onto their past selves including the bad moments. I feel young, grown-up, and/or old depending on current circumstances/events. I'm a parent and can simultaneously see my prog as a baby, child, teen, etc. - all rolled up into one.

As for regrets, etc. - realized by age of 10 that what I liked doing and whom I liked kept changing, so my biggest concern/worry became: how will I know that this is 'the One'? Later realized that although I did have to make a decision re: university major, career path, etc. that it didn't mean giving up everything else. Have encouraged/reminded prog that most decisions are not final, and to not abandon everything else in pursuit of one goal. 'The One' is probably the worst lie told kids, usu. embedded in Disney-esque fairy tales.


Well, I am older than you (68) and a bit closer to what was regarded as the 'adult' lifestyle, but I have never really thought of myself in child/adult terms and many aspects of my (and my wife's) lifestyle and aspirations are outside the accepted norm for even now. Not way outside, but enough that many people have difficulty in believing some of them. However, my family background was much less mainstream than yours sounds to have been, and I have been fighting 'convention' as far back as I can remember (certainly before the age of 5). To hell with it.


I wonder if this is the flip side of what one 80-something writer at the Scottish Review described as the sense that "if you live long enough, it is your fate to end up an living as an exile in your own country." By which I think he meant that you end up living in a place where the cultural norms, the customs, the way people dress, what they eat, seems foreign, not like where you are from. Because where you are from is the past.

I would post a link to the article - which I found a rather moving insight into what it is like to find all one's certainties washed away - even if his certainties may be my definition of outmoded or even bigoted thinking - but I can't seem to find it.


I just tell people that I'm not searching for my inner child, but rather my outer adult -- and I'm not looking very hard.


Perhaps I have a slightly odd view on this. I blame a large dose of Robert Anton Wilson at various times, and a large dose of Daoism, sometimes at the same times.

One would say the map is not the world. If your internal reality of what being an adult means is based on your childhood/teen model of what you think your parents were like as adults but your sense of what you are now aside from that reads as OK to you, your map and the world are in disagreement and the world is right.

Daoism would say two things, one would be live in the now, not the past and not in the future - so the model from your childhood of what it meant to be an adult should be left behind, but equally so should yesterday's model. It would also suggest you should look at things as they are, not as you expect them to be, to see if they are good or not. (It doesn't put it quite like that in most translations but it boils down to that.)

You say you feel like a failure at adulting, not that this bothers you. But if it bothers you too, why not just change what you think adulting means into something that's more reasonable for the 2010's?


You say you feel like a failure at adulting, not that this bothers you. But if it bothers you too, why not just change what you think adulting means into something that's more reasonable for the 2010's?

Why do you think I'm talking it through?

(The first step in getting past a problem is to understand the nature of the problem.)


Okay - consider this question/problem from a generational-societal context ...

If you want to conduct a systematic review, start with a list, for example:

Grandparents' day - stuff you do/have done that would be considered good/successful vs. bad/not successful. (Also ask: what changed in the environment and what changed in you between those times/generations.)

Continue exercise through each generation:

Parents' day - ditto

Your gen - ditto again

GenX - Ditto

Millennials - ditto

Look at trend lines and see where your present self is on each item for each generation. If happy with all/some, then continue as you are. If not happy, why and with which item(s). Then consider what you could do about it. (Start small and with something that has a result that you can see/measure. Also ask yourself whether you first need to become overlord so that you can control the universe in order to accomplish these things.)

If you're looking for serious qualitative feedback, then suggest that you ask readers/posters for more and more description for each item, esp. the situational details. Example: 'Describe a situation when you ... What did you do about it ... How did that work out ... Why ... Are you still doing this ... Why/why not ...'


I've been thinking like this for years now; there was a sweet spot about from my late 20's to mid-30's in which there was no such problem, because I'd realised I was as adult and competent as my parents. Only now I'm older I don't feel so adult.

The interesting bit would be finding mention of such thoughts and feelings from several generations ago. A lot of the available evidence, going by what I remember, is that historically people just didn't have this problem. Change wasn't always quite so fast, or else the results of the change, e.g. having a bigger house in a city and not the countryside hovel of your parents, proved that you were an adult. Whereas now, with the younger generations having merely the same or worse standard of living than their parents, growing up doesn't bring the same rewards.



It's the perfect way to draw a line across the expectations and habits of youth.

You'll still find yourself embedded in a whole new cultural narrative, but that coz things are new, not coz you are old.

(Doesn't mean you will suddenly be able to adult, but at least you'll have an external excuse.)


There are people who are indisputably adult who are in prison, destitute and disgraced. There are people who enjoy parties and toys who are very rich with yachts and jets. In previous generations the roles and stages in life were fewer, simpler and more clearly defined. A salaryman with marriage, mortgage, kids, promotion, retirement. Now there is the gig economy, permanant education and receding retirement, divorce, relocation.


I wrote about this a few years back and came to some similar conclusion ( The notion of the preprogrammed and the rewritable self are particularly interesting to me and part of my daily work with clients (I'm a psychologist).


Is it change? It can't come fast enough for me. The world has always been wrong, but I'm getting closer to "my time" in terms of art, music, scitech etc. When that point arrives have I "grown up"?


Well I am 20 something years older than you so from my experience in another few years maybe you will get over the mid-life imposter syndrome and accept that you are who you are etc etc

More seriously my parents were born in the early 1900's and lived through far greater sociological change than I have - perhaps that means that they did not have such a stereotyped view of adulthood to inflict on me?


My birthday is next week, too. I'll be 54, and I happen to be wearing a hoodie at the moment - just by chance. My prized Cthulhu piggy bank is on my desk at the office, not here at home.

As you might have guessed, I can tell you that this line of thinking is very familiar.


What's the core of being an adult?

For me, being an adult means taking responsibility for oneself (and while hale and well, depending primarily on oneself instead of on others).

If you set the threshold low enough crossing it isn't all that much of a problem :)

Regarding adulting in the earlier ages: typically there was a ceremony (e.g., their wedding), and once you were past that the question didn't come up again.


I am the same age and have many of the same accoutrements of supposed adult success. I feel a bit of a fake, about to be exposed, especially at work.

About decade ago I felt I was a fossil. I felt my way of approaching problems was old-fashioned and out-of-date. The new grads just seemed to get things faster and better. I was woefully poor at my job. That feeling lasted for weeks. I felt I should head off to the woods and just curl up and die if I couldn't even get this right.

The feeling lasted right up until I discovered the new grads were even more clueless than myself. They didn't really understand things deeply but they sure knew the lingo. Yet, when you scratched the surface their understanding was (often) very, very shallow.

I slept well that night.

I wasn't a fossil. I wasn't past my sell-by date. And I haven't been so since.

I feel the same, every now and then in my current job, but I realise that this is just an impedance mismatch. In some ways, I like the mismatch. It makes me question things. My less experienced co-workers often look at me in surprise at some of the things I say or ask. They still believe that doing more is doing better. I'll get them there one of these days and, when that happens, I can retire. Whatever that means.

No kids but we have a dog and a cat. Beagles are wonderful for lifting you out of your excessive adult introspection about your lack of real adultness. Cats are wonderful for reminding you that you are always their servant, especially of tickles.


Things I don't have:

A mortgage. A spouse of either sex. A car (or indeed a driving licence). A job commensurate with my education level (but hey, at least I have one. For now). Children. Ambition. A high boredom threshold.

I think its fantastic that other people still want, or have these things, I just didn't want these things for myself, and never did.

I don't think you really become an adult until both your parents are dead - and mine tenaciously refuse to shuffle off this mortal coil.

Therefore, I am still a child at 44.


True in many ways - but I think I'm coping. I hope so, anyway :)

I'm fifty this year, and don't feel middle aged. I'm still doing daft things, and suspect that hanging around doing coaching at the university and working in an office full of twenty-somethings doing a similar job have had the effect of making me "not think that I'm old". I don't dress that much differently from them (less fashionable T-shirts, perhaps; fewer tears in my jeans, probably). But damn right I'm not going quietly into that dark night, I fully intend to rage against it.

Granted, I find myself using swear words at the need to use varifocal glasses; and realising that Radio 2 now plays the music of my youth, not that of my parents. Oh, and having to self-censor cultural references about bands / films / advertising campaigns / TV series that happened before my colleagues were born.

So, no "midlife crisis" - I've had loads of fun getting here, and I don't feel like I wasted my youth. I know most of the mistakes I've made, and I'm not suddenly going to buy a sports car and start trying to reassure myself I'm still attractive. I earned these wrinkles and grey hairs, dammit :)


I'm 62 and both my parents have been dead for 35 years (cancer and a heart attack, not an accident or anything like that). It doesn't really affect the adult status thing, if your life style diverges enough. On the contrary, I've sometimes wondered if it would have made a difference if they had lived long enough to really acknowledge me as an adult more than they did. (Thoughthe chances of that with my father were slim to none.)


I'm 48. I'm also married with two kids and a mortgage. I'm a practising Catholic - which may (or may not) be unusual round these parts. The moment I think that adulthood hit me was when both my mother and father had died. I was the eldest remaining member of the family. I kow feel pretty much wholly grown up and comfortable in my skin - achieving the latter took around 45 years of extreme social anxiety.

Having said that I'm torn between two visions of living - the utopia of The Culture vs a predefined moral order. As Chesterton wrote “Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead” and “Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death".


The generation that lived in 50's suburbia ... probably felt like adulting failures too—as witness the sky-high rate of tranquiliser use and alcohol and tobacco addiction in real-world mid-20th century suburbia.

I suspect this is true. Not only did they go through this but they were offered a more restricted idea of what could be an 'adult.' Our parents may have grown up with a smaller range of options and less opportunity to openly discuss these ideas in socially acceptable ways.

We in turn hear about many different ways to be citizens of the world, which is mostly good but allows us to perceive metrics where we fall short of our aspirations. Combine this with hearing our friends also admit their own shortcomings and the subjective impression is that we're not doing as well as the generation before us.

Generically, anyhow; I'm sure everyone can nitpick their own family experiences. I'm about Charlie's age; my late father seemed to Have His Shit Together his whole life whereas I started looking for adult supervision for my mother before I was fifteen.


I was explaining a model for stages of OCD-ish behaviour to a couple of colleagues a few weeks ago. We were on an interview panel together, so understanding detail-oriented people was tangentially relevant. My model went:

Stage 1: When you hang washing on the line, the two coloured plastic clothes-pegs holding any single item of clothing should match each other Stage 2: They should match not only each other, but be at least an approximate match or "go with" the item of clothing in at least some abstract way Stage 3: You go shopping for clothes-pegs that match your clothing

The idea being that you should generally try to avoid reaching Stage 3 (and I know it's only be the grace of Dog I've avoided Stage 3 so far myself).

Naturally, they both thought I was insane. But the reaction that threw me, which I didn't grapple with at the time in conversation and in some ways I'm still processing, was that it became clear the bit about "when you hang washing on the line" had completely lost one of my colleagues.

"Isn't that what driers are for?" was his first response. I explained how tumble drying is not suitable for all clothes and there's this thing called the environment, you might have heard of it, trying to get on with explaining my OCD model. But it came out that his understanding of clothes washing was largely academic. This fellow is perhaps a little younger than me (I'm 46) with young kids, director level (one or two rungs above me on the greasy ladder).

In the 3rd volume of his rambling autobiography, Clive James mentions this sort of thing by way of explaining the novelty he experienced at Cambridge. On learning that his room in a college included cleaning and laundry services of the nature that all you needed to do was leave your clothes in the basket, and later they would reappear, clean and folded or ironed as appropriate. James speculated that there are men for whom this distance from laundry lasted their entire lives. Their mothers (or their maids) would arrange it for them till they went to school, then both school and university (or their college) would take that forward. On graduation and the beginnings of careers in the City their club would handle the next step (or their employer in the case of the military). Once they married, their wives would be in charge of these arrangements.

I don't think my colleague is in that sort of class, but nonetheless I was a little surprised and unsettled. Doing your own laundry seems like one thing that must be part of adulting. Sure doing it doesn't make you an adult, but it's something adults should be able to do. Especially if you have kids. But apparently not - and while I seem to suffer impostor syndrome constantly at work, this individual is one I'd have picked to be immune (probably correctly, haven't asked him).

I did try to change the metaphor in my model - talking about how tolerant you are of dust on top of the S-bend at the back of the toilet, but he stopped me there asking "Isn't that what you pay the cleaner for?". So it just wasn't going to work.

What people will call the "real" economy depends to an extent on structural inequality and the resulting differences in the marginal utility of labour. If you get more than $60 an hour and a cleaner gets less than $20 an hour, then it's a better use of your time to do your salary work and pay someone to clean for you. Refraining from it doesn't help anyone, because the utility of that $20 an hour is real and important for the cleaner. In fact, that utility is most likely greater than your loss of utility from working at your day job for those hours. Even if the cleaner has a PhD and can't find work commensurate with their level of education. At least this is the narrative that our current society provides us with, the one that may be wrapped up with neo-liberalism but in any case has solid big-U Utilitarian roots. It presents the possibility that paying someone to do things for you is adult, and the right thing and in that context any accomplishments you might attain yourself are not especially relevant to your maturity. Your economic role as a consumer of services does not require that.

I do wonder whether this should be thought of as alienation, and as the appropriate inverse to what we suffer at the "provider of services" end of the transaction. It's clear that the situation might be pareto-optimal but it certainly isn't the best way to arrange society and the sum of all utility is definitely enormously less than it could be in a society of economic equals. And while it looks like we can't have the latter, we do have 100 to 200 years of economic history showing pretty clearly that more equal societies do better than less equal ones, even if the only thing you're measuring is output.

Which for me means that the adult thing is to support political parties that propose tax-and-spend policies, deficit spending, research, education and social services above military and subsidising extractive industries, etc. But that could just be me not wanting to grow up.


I am 50. As I am reading this blog, I am not wearing a hoodie -- but that's because I am not wearing anything*. Neither is my 42 year old girlfriend sitting in the corner watching Sopranos on her laptop (we do not own a TV). We just finished playing with the Cozmo robot I pre-ordered on her suggestion, and received yesterday. We share an apartment with my daughter (GF has no kids), and for the time being with my daughter's best friend, who happens to be gay. The idea of suburban house fills us both with horror, but we would definitely consider living on a boat, if I could have reliable Wi-Fi. Two days ago I interviewed for a job which is entirely remote, and if I get an offer, living on a boat will become a distinct possibility. Why boat? So that I could scuba dive right off the "porch". I dove this morning, and brought a bag of oysters, which is a first -- on the way home I googled "oyster knife" on my smartphone, and bought one before getting home.

Whether it is "adulting" or not, I do not give a damn, because I never internalized any kind of adult stereotype. In fact, as an Aspie teenager (not that I knew the term back then), I knew that things which made my father feel accomplished, I would neither care about nor be good at. So I just did my own thing all my life.

  • Assuming my tattoo, modeled on the Wreck Diver magazine logo, does not count

I remember clearly the point at which adulthood stopped becoming a thing to look forward to: it was when the time came to choose what subjects I would be doing for O-level, which caused me to think realistically and seriously about it for the first time ever. The result was that I used to lie awake at night pondering on shooting myself with my dad's rifle (not realising at the time that a .22 would probably only make a mess). Because I realised that the adult life on offer was in fact utter dogshit, consisting essentially of all the things that were shit about school turned up to 11, and with all the enjoyable things missing. Longer days, without the breaks and free periods, and without the months-at-a-time of holidays; without even the relief of goofing around in "class", because the "teachers" would be much stricter and would need very little provocation to hand out the punishment, severe beyond all school measure, of being deprived of the means of food and shelter for an indefinite period; an endless grey river of unrelieved repetitive tedium extending ahead of me for a then-unimaginable length of time, with no relief until I reached an age when simple things like walking would be difficult and not much time left until death. And what did you get in "compensation" for this? Money. (ack, spit.) Which was no compensation at all since the one thing you couldn't buy with it was your life back. Acquiring enough to act as a ticket out of the system was something that only happened to aristocrats who could expect to inherit millions; people who got it by working, even if they were paid loads, never got enough to be able to buy their freedom any earlier than a handful of years before the conventional "push off now, you'll be dead soon" time. I was already well aware that money is only a prerequisite for survival, while potential for enjoyment depends on the ratio of time available to choose what you do over time spent doing things you have no choice about; it was plain that the overriding theme of adulthood would be that ratio dropping to near zero with no recourse to do anything about it, and therefore once I left education my life would essentially be over for all positive purposes.

The extent to which I have managed to evade such a shite existence has been facilitated both by indulging in activities which the conventions of adulthood decry, and eschewing activities regarded by convention as mandatory (notably, the two massive resource sinks of reproducing and of playing silly monkey wealth-display status games, neither of which have I ever considered worth the time of day in any case); partly through conviction, and partly through circumstance. But I do not make a connection between such reactions/behaviour and the "fake adult" feelings under discussion, and indeed I think that to do so is to become distracted from the true cause of them.

I would contend that the main reason for feeling like a child masquerading as an adult is that it is literally true. At age 5, things are simple: you don't like someone, so you go "uuuurrrr he smells" and throw a piece of cheese at him. As you get older, you learn not to do that. Feeling like a fake adult is simply the awareness - at whatever level - that you do in fact still want to do it, and that your refraining from doing it is due to learned behaviour and not to any disappearance of the primitive desire. All interaction with other people entails the wearing of some disguise, or indeed multiple disguises at once; "adulthood" is simply the standard foundational disguise. I see nothing wrong with being aware of that; indeed I think it is unquestionably better to be aware of it than to elaborate the disguise to the point where you can't see through it yourself.


I'm 46 and I figure I exceeded my parents ability to cope with reality around age 18

So I've never really had the impostor syndrome thing. I've also always been madly nonconformist and rebellious and gloried in that

Look at the end of it all the term "adult" doesn't mean much other then an expression of maturity, Maturity means s great deal but it's s scale not a binary and is more to do with mastering yourself and maximizing your capabilities then some random set of suit wearing pipe routines

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be an Adult my gender neutral progeny !


Lord Finchley tried to mend the electric light Himself. It struck him dead - And serve him right! It is the business of the wealthy man To give employment to the artisan.

"If you get more than $60 an hour and a cleaner gets less than $20 an hour...<snip>"

The problem with that argument is that it assumes that if you didn't have a cleaner you would be taking time off work to do the cleaning yourself. Of course, what people who don't have cleaners actually do is do their own cleaning during the time they wouldn't be at work anyway. A more valid comparison would take account of the relative degree of enjoyment you get out of cleaning vs. whatever else you might be doing with the time (scratching your arse, say) - do you consider it worth $20 an hour for the increased opportunity to have a good scratch?

There are, of course, alternatives - one being to realise that railing against the second law of thermodynamics is mere convention, and it is quite valid to assign a higher priority to scratching your arse than to cleaning. I realised at a very early age that the only detectable advantage gained from the vast majority of cleaning operations is the freedom from other people moaning at you for not doing it, and if there isn't anyone around to moan it's far easier just to let things proceed naturally to the point where the dirt is falling off as fast as it builds up. Only things like optical surfaces, electrical contacts, bearing surfaces, items to be glued or welded, etc, need to be clean: I once gave an old bike to a mate for spares, and his comment after taking it apart was that while the outside was plastered in crud, the inside of the engine looked like new. It doesn't matter if the outside of the S-bend behind the toilet has cabbages growing on it; as long as the inside is free of obstruction the ability to use and flush the toilet is unimpaired.

This is to further illustrate my point about "adulthood" being a matter of disguise. My not following the "adult" convention while being physically mature does not contribute to my feelings of masquerade, but it does contribute to such feelings if a situation arises in which I do need to avoid other people moaning about it, and so find it necessary to follow the convention for a time. The disguise in that case is explicit, and the awareness complete.

Surely many, many people must have learned the same thing at an early age from ubiquitous childhood experience. Your mum goes on at you to tidy your room, so eventually you go and do it, and hopefully on seeing it she says "That's better". But... it isn't. You can't play with your toys now because they're all put away, and having to update your mental hash table with the new locations of so many items at once has caused the database server to drop queries so now you don't know where everything is. Your mum has stopped nagging you, but apart from that it's a dead loss.

And similarly with other people's untidiness; you went round to a friend's and it was much more exciting if they had their cool stuff all over the floor of their room than if the room was barren with everything hidden away.

What puzzles me is not that people adopt the convention of entropophobia as they get older, but that they don't seem to be aware of having adopted it. They don't understand my indifference to untidiness any more than I understand their antipathy to it - whereas I would expect that they would be able to understand on account of once having thought the same way themselves. It's as if, after hearing their mum say "That's better" enough times, they come to actually overwrite their own thoughts with the belief that it actually is better despite the direct experiential evidence that it isn't. (People do this in respect of all sorts of things, and I don't understand it there either.)

That said, it is not a binary phenomenon, and people exist all along the scale from complete awareness of acting (or not) in conformance with learned conventions, and genuine belief that they always thought like that. I would hypothesise that their position on that scale is well correlated with their degree of feeling that they are masquerading as an adult.


May I point out the elephant in the room here? The previous few generations have had a clearly delineated line which separated their childhood and adulthood: the world wars. That's why I'd be careful not to extrapolate too much backwards. How were the actions of your parents and grandparents shaped by the wars, and their outlook on life?


I'm with S.P.Zeidler. A big chunk of being an adult is about taking responsibility for oneself. That means being able to make one's way in the larger world. In law, my father used to explain, one is an infant until one comes of legal age. That's the legal term they used in the US, probably from English common law and Norman French before that. Before then one has certain protections. The state has a special interest in you. After that age one is an adult and on one's own.

Maybe it's because I was raised as a Jew. The whole idea of a bar mitzvah, aside from the big party out at Leonard's of Great Neck, was that when one hits a certain age G-d - yeah, they spelled it like that when I was a kid - starts running a personal good-evil tab for you. You're expected to be morally responsible for yourself.

Even animals cut juveniles some slack. They can get away with doing things that would never be countenanced otherwise. A young animal attacking an adult isn't taken seriously until they a certain age or have reached a certain stage of development. I know this is the case with wolves, deer, and geese. It is likely the case with others.

Adulthood isn't about buying versus renting, owning a pipe, getting laid, not collecting Star Wars figurines, bowling versus gaming or the like. I have no idea of why you don't feel yourself a proper adult. You earn your own keep. You make your own decisions. You've built your own life.

For some interesting perspectives on the human life cycle, go to and check out The Universal Self Instructor. It's from 1883 and explains everything one needs to know about life. Read carefully, for example, the section on the domestic sphere. It's unintentionally hilarious, but also universal.


Another point. There's a theory that the high rate of alcoholism and drug use in the 1950s was due to "a failure of adulthood" or a restricted life in the suburbs. That may be true. However, an equally valid theory is post-war PTSD.


As someone still relatively young (30) I think everyone my age has impostor syndrome, even those in a very traditional life.

The problem is, Millenial culture doesn't really have a model of "Success". I'm not evensure what that might be...the next Elon Musk? A social media celebrity with a perfectly cultured life?

Mostly, it seems we've adopted an epicurean model of life. We'll only have kids if we think we'll actively enjoy it, the 2008 crash and skyrocketing house prices mean that home ownership is neither possible nor desired, and travel, entertainment, and our hobbies seem the highest form of existence.

Fufilling work, the duties of a normal life, security, retirement. These are all cruel fictions that the Gen X'ers have had ripped out from them by the boomers, so we repudiate them.

A life of play, in other words, is our goal, as much as our jobs will allow, anyway.

I've noticed those a little older than me (30-40) think they can improve productivity by "googling-up" the workplace. It may work for them, but for my friends, young professionals, academics, and tech workers, work is a money pump that we use precisely as often as needed. Give us either more money or more time.


You've got it backwards I was 15 when JFK stated that there would be a man on the Moon by the end of 1970. Some set of thieving bastards stole my future & I want it back ...


I'm a practising Catholic Please switch your brain to "ON" then .... There is no detectable BigSkyFairy - if I am incorrect, you can prove me wrong, can't you ????


I would suggest that you can't count ? It's now 69 years since WWII finished - time for THREE more complete generations.


Please switch your brain to "ON" then ....


Do not pick fights with other people on the basis of their beliefs. (I will grant you an exception to this moderation rule if and only if they're evangelizing or otherwise being obnoxiously sanctimonious about them. Anaplian wasn't: you, on the other hand ...)


Back in my sysadmin days, I would keep the small packets of desiccant that various equipment came packed with after disposing of the other packing. When I explained this to a friend, she told me I was fighting entropy - one packet of desiccant at a time. In that particular moment it seemed like the nicest thing anyone had said to me.


Thinking back, I guess the first few times I reassessed my models of what it meant to be adult were around big, life-changing events. Coming to terms with my sexuality and thinking I wasn't going to grow up to be mummy, daddy, 2.4 kids as the family unit. An injury that, at 19 had me looking at life in a wheelchair in the near future (although I'm not in a wheelchair 30+ years later). It did cause me to drop out of my university course and the profession waiting at the end of it and go in a totally different direction though.

But once I'd got used to it I could use the lessons to reassess my model of where I was an apply it without the big life changes too.

Since I'm not going to suggest you should get divorced, may try moving or one of those other big changes people have talked about up=list as a chance to take stock and redefine adulting?


There's nothing wrong in not wanting to do "adult" things - I structured my entire working life around the goals of never wearing a suit or a tie and never needing to shave, and never working more than 15 minutes from home.


The problem with that argument is that it assumes that if you didn't have a cleaner you would be taking time off work to do the cleaning yourself.

Well, ultimately you are, aren't you...

People do trade time for money and vice versa; often the immediate flexibility is low and the time-scale for making changes long, whether working full-time or as a freelancer, and there are other considerations that can interfere with it to some extent, but at the end of the day the trade is there.


I have the enormous advantage of having spent my 20's crashing and burning out of education and go-go 1980's capitalism, repeatedly, with each 'low' worse than the last in a long and damaging decline.

Not so much a bonfire of the vanities, as a dumpster-fire of overrated potential and ambitions.

It took a decade to claw back from that, via crap shelf-stacking jobs, an entry-level return to white-collar work in a consultancy, and a willingness to pay the long-term costs of pathological overwork to get economically self-sufficient.

...And then build a social life from scratch, starting with zero-to-negative social skills.

So I have no illusions about 'failure' and 'inadequacy' as I embark upon my Fifties: I've done the failures, I am certain that there will be more of them, and I am entirely unsurprised by the absence of the things that many of my peers consider signifiers of 'adulting'.

If I have any comment to add to the general discussion, it is this: skills and salaries that were affluent - or lucrative to the point of outright immorality - a decade ago are barely adequate to keeping up appearances today. Even if you think you have progressed, developed, and kept up-to-date, you haven't.

You are losing ground, further than you think.

The middle-class adulthood of economic security is receding, and we are all regressing into the millenial twenty-something precarity.


You have finally grown up when you are genuinely grateful that someone bought you socks as a Christmas present


I'm at the upper end of the Snake Person demographic, and so are most of my friends. We've had a lot of discussions between us about how none of us feel like we've grown up yet, largely because we don't have stable jobs that allow us to buy houses, have kids, etc and so on. There seems to be less a "times changed" to these talks than a "we've been fucking robbed" quality.


Mostly, it seems we've adopted an epicurean model of life. We'll only have kids if we think we'll actively enjoy it, the 2008 crash and skyrocketing house prices mean that home ownership is neither possible nor desired, and travel, entertainment, and our hobbies seem the highest form of existence.

Fufilling work, the duties of a normal life, security, retirement. These are all cruel fictions that the Gen X'ers have had ripped out from them by the boomers, so we repudiate them.

A life of play, in other words, is our goal, as much as our jobs will allow, anyway.

This is an optimistic view, in my opinion. At least in my area, there's not so much a sense of repudiation as a feeling that we were robbed. I don't know any friends who have decided that homeownership is not desirable. I know plenty of us who have given up hope, but I'd find it unusual for someone to be affirmatively against it.

A life of play sounds nice, but again I don't know anyone who has managed to get a economic situation going where we can just "visit the money pump" a few times a week and be happy and secure and have enough money left over for play and toys and travel. That's a pretty rarefied niche. Most of my friends go to jobs we hate and do just enough not to get fired, much like our elders did, only for worse pay and in harsher conditions, before going home to work on our side hustle, which is the hip new term for a second job needed to make ends meet comfortably.

It's halfway down the road to the Grim Meethook Future for a lot of people I love, and most of us would be happy to just have a one-room apartment and not be destitute in all other aspects of our finances.


Formatting error in the above post. My contribution starts with the paragraph beginning "This is an optimistic view..."


A couple of years ago, I bought my father a pair of slippers as a Christmas present. The tricky bit was finding a cheap pipe to go with them :)

So far, no-one has yet given me socks or ties as a present. Those days are coming, I fear...


It's funny, I've been thinking along these lines a bit myself.

Part of it is that I'm seeing a shift in skills needed to be an adult. My father k ows how to do a brake job or rebuild a carburetor on a car, and I k ows that his father did as well, both are tasks I've never done and at 45 years of age doubt I ever will.

On the other hand, when the ISP's IMAP server doesn't want to talk to their email client, I take care of those issues.

I also hit this link as part of the morning's RSS, which again for me feels like part of the issue:

I also look at the amount of work I need to put in above and beyond 40 hours. I don't need to have a "side hustle" (as we're now terming second, third and fourth jobs to make ends meet), but in the past five years I've gone back to school for another degree to keep myself relevant in my field and profession, plus now looking at things like Coursers for the sMe role as well.

My parents worked hard, and both worked ful?-ti!e jobs, but at the end of the day their jobs were done....


I think adulthood is largely in the internalisation of being able to ignore the perceived, unique, centrality of your own existence for practical and moral purposes, or a reasonable simulation of that.

(A child often can't understand that the universe were not entirely about them [sic], an adolescent would likely insist that the internalisation be absolutely authentic, and also might turn thinking about others into really being all about them, from 'look how much I care about those poor, poor, people!' to 'look how tough-minded I am—I'm ready to space any number of moochers and adolescent girls!'.)

Adulthood in this sense includes a solid realisation that the universe were under no obligation to make the moral questions it throws before you simple or easy or both, including determining the line between 'realistic' (that ye might not die) and 'corrupted'.


I am 56 and was going to say, like several others have, that losing both parents did it for me, but I had to go off and do some household adulting which gave me time to ponder the question for longer, which in turn made me realise that is not all of it in my case. I have significantly older siblings so while I am part of the oldest generation in my family I'm a way from not being their little sister in their eyes. The thing that really made a difference for me was understanding that my chronic pain was never going to be cured, absent a medical discovery that no one seems to be looking for. Having to deal with that, with its implications for the kind of life I can live, and with the lack of understanding of it by most of those older siblings has made me realise that I have grown up in ways that most of them still have not. Not a way to grow up I'd recommend but there it is.


Granted, I find myself using swear words realising that Radio 2 now plays the music of my youth, not that of my parents.

At least Radio 2 don't play Metallica, Front 242 or Orbital terribly often, so I can convince myself it still plays MOR tosh - on the few occasions I hear it [usually in taxis]

Oh, and having to self-censor cultural references about bands / films / advertising campaigns / TV series that happened before my colleagues were born

Seeing as there is almost instant access to this via youtube/streaming services, I think a lot of people younger than are curious about the cultural fripperies of 20/30/40/50 years ago.

More than I was when I was 21, anyway.

It's sometimes the case that younglings know more about obscure SF films/ techno artists/ whatever - than colleagues my own age!


Adult(ing) things I've had: - mortgage (many) - responsible job (I suppose the care and feeding of multi-national projects, annual budgets in the tens of million bananas, with direct/indirect teams in the high double digits, counts as responsible) - wife (one) - children (2) - posh cars (up to two at a time, appropriate to "one's station")

Adult(ing) things I no longer have: - mortgage (sold --everything--, now living in Spain. Renting at the moment, plan to buy and renovate using income, mortgage free) - responsible job (I do work, but I now "contract". Some other poor sod has responsibility, I am "accountable" for some deliverables - that I can usually craft in an hour or two but can charge for a couple of weeks work - because MEETINGS are IMPORTANT and DIALOGUE MATTERS) - posh cars (renting cheap cars while we find cheap cars to buy. Instead of Merc & BMW, we're looking at Fiat and Seat!)

Still have wife and children (for defined-by-my-dear-wife values of 'have')

Mostly I'm of the opinion that I get paid for old rope (most of my work life is simply "applied logic" - outputs cannot exceed inputs, resources need to be available before being used, magic does not exist, and so on).

If I could find a way to garner enough income to live (and save) I'd grab it. (savings took a beating over the past few decades)

I would quite enjoy a life of "leisure": - sketching (a little), - some photography, - playing guitar, and - getting better at the piano, - learning more songs that work for my voice (becoming more bass by the day) - maybe inflicting music (for certain values of music) on others in an small "ensemble" playing an eclectic mix of jazz, blues, ska, reggae, pop, rock, and classical.
- I'd love to find a way to bake more (sponge cakes, pies, tarts, breads, biscotti, and cheesecakes) with less effort (equipment is the limiting factor, mixers, bowls, and ovens!). - Spend a little time doing more than dabbling in mobile development (1. build some awesome cloud web services, 2. write awesome universal apps to access them, 3....., 4. PROFIT!) - and READ. words-in-a-line. Any and all words (including whatever and whenever OGH publishes, of course).

But most of that is PLAY, not work. So I suppose that means I'm post-adult. Been there. Done that. Not doing it again unless it's fun!



My internal model of me has improved but (as far as I feel) hasn't appreciably changed in thirty years.

Said that way, it makes me seem extremely conservative (when in fact I'm almost too open to new ideas)

In the IT business I've weathered mainframe to client-server to desktop to mobile to cloud to "large-scale-in-memory" (aka mainframe again) - and I've remained at the forefront of both certifications and more experiential needs!

At home, my kids thought I was unbearably ancient while they were pre-teen and teen, but happily my eldest son (21) seems to think I'm pretty cool and worth talking to about "stuff" - as do some of his friends. My daughter is entering the "embarrassing dad" phase. Hopefully we'll be able to talk again in a decade or so!

But mostly -- I feel as if I'm generally "making it up as I go along" more often that I should be.

Maybe that aligns to Charlie's "expectation gap" - I feel I should know how to act/behave by now. Reality says otherwise.


I think I'll steal that!!!



You've just described Transactional Analysis better than most transactional analysts do---in particular, the `critical parent' ego-state. The information from the Parent is deeply ingrained and compelling, even once it gets out of date. Your inner Adult knows that the rules have changed and you're doing just fine. Convincing the Parent of that is trickier.

(Perhaps you can guess which psychological model I've been working with lately.)

> Give that 8 year old a hug

This is excellent advice.


Suggestion Being a religious believer of any sort ( note I'm not specifying) automatically (??) defines the person as immature/not adult in today's world. Discuss, or alternatively, we will ignore it. Personal apology, though, but that sort of expression is read by me, as evangelising, but I may, of course, be wrong.


Scary Even my very modest craft & workshop skills are, it seems vanishingly rare in today's world, which enables large numbers of people to be ripped-off


There are two reasons for that.

  • You aren't stupid.
  • You've been fucking robbed.
  • Judging by previous posts I think I am about a decade older than you but can't offer any useful advice as the problem seems to be "structural", which is code for "unlikely to be solved by anything short of revolution, and even then you are vanishingly unlikely to come out ahead."

    Maybe growing up is the sense of despair that comes with the realisation that you are the one who will probably be up against the wall when it happens.


    "...and at 45 years of age doubt I ever will."

    If I may interject... Why? Carburettors, OK, they barely exist any more and it's only people like me that even have them (and probably Greg, if he didn't have diesel). But brakes are still the same, they still need the pads changing just the same, and as far as mechanical operations on a car go, changing the pads is about as simple as it gets.


    I decided long ago that I'm not going to be adulting in a way that makes any sense to my parents generation. Partly deciding by the time I was 20 that I would never have kids, and partly realising that I really wanted to live in a big city (I have lived in semi-rural and rural places and did not enjoy it after the holiday feeling wore off).

    I think family/village level community is important, but non-traditional communities are now so common, and so readily available, that traditional communities of place are no longer really feasible. I fear this means communities of place might be broken, with profoundly negative effects, but it'll take another 50 years to see.

    At the same time, nation-level communities are visibly broken in much of the world. Often smashed deliberately by outside forces (not just Iraq, Greece and Tuvalu as well), but often just internally inconsistent in a visible way like the UK and US.

    So my feelings of not adulting well mostly centre on "what community do I live in?"


    I think it's worse than that... I think they think being ripped off is how you're supposed to do it, and don't see it as being ripped off at all.

    I was brought up in the atmosphere that if you wanted something done, you did it yourself. It would be cheaper, easier, and you would get exactly the result you wanted. If you didn't know how to do it, you learned. Paying someone else to do it was something you only resorted to in emergencies. I strongly suspect that your own experience was similar :)

    Yet even at school I found that there were only ever one or two kids in my class who could do practical things; most of them thought I must be some kind of esoteric genius for being able to make stuff, and balked at even the simple practical operations required for doing experiments in chemistry or physics. At university I was bemused and shocked to find people thinking it was amazing that I had sewed triangles of material into my trousers to make them into flares, or that I could fix their fan heater in a few minutes by oiling the dried-up motor bearings. I could run Charlie's server out of disk space by listing similar examples from later life.

    What gets me is not merely that these people don't know how to do it, whatever "it" may be, but that they don't seem to find it conceivable that they could know how to do it. Which is daft. They are perfectly capable of comparably complex operations when they don't come under the heading of repairs and maintenance, but they seem to have an ingrained belief that applying that intelligence to practical ends is comparable with Einstein deriving relativity, and that the only possible way to get things done is to pay someone who has a bit of paper saying they are such an Einstein even though they may really be a total div who knows only how to follow a flowchart. I don't understand it at all.


    So by that formulation, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby (wife, six children, well-paid job, Christian) is not an adult, whereas von hitchofen (none of those things, non-deist) is.

    I don't agree, and I suspect he wouldn't either.


    Maybe it's a simple as - you're an adult if other people in your day-to-day life can depend on you to make stuff happen. These others could be dependents (kids, elderly relatives), partners, employers, friends etc. You may not feel like an adult but as long as you're coping and trying to not let others down who depend on you then you're really an adult.

    Note this means that some children (e.g. those caring for dependent parents) are really operating as adults.


    How many people here are Millenials? A good portion of the people in this discussion are Gen X or Boomers. Boomers were raised by the WWII generation while Gen X were raised by the silent generation. So my thesis has wrong in ignoring the Silent Generation. However, several posters and our host mentioned that their parents generally gained their outlook from their grandparents. Of course, bringing this discussion to the US would involve the Korean War and the Vietnam War.


    if you wanted something done, you did it yourself. It would be cheaper, easier, and you would get exactly the result you wanted

    I find that in most cases it's faster and often cheaper to pay a professional rather than learn how to do it myself. That's why I buy books written by OGH rather than becoming an author myself, for example. And bob help me, if I ever need a lawyer I'll hire one because I've seen what law school is like.

    I suspect I have done more of the building my own stuff things than the average bear, but my approach is still as above - if I can buy what I want for a price I can afford, I generally do that. Partly its the cost of tools, and partly my own clumsiness. I can make something that works, more or less, but it's rarely going to look pretty, and it's never going to be delivered as fast as one made by a skilled tradescreature. My daily commuting bike, for example, has a frame that I built myself to my own design about 10 years ago. But my four wheel load bike was built by a pro because when I tried to make a front end for a bike like that it did not work very well (being a degree wrong on some angles is too much, so you need a jig... which is ugly if you're only making one).


    Learning curves for one off jobs.


    Yep, learning curves. But also tooling, both physical tools and social/mental tools like all the foofaff it takes to step into the high court and be recognised as counsel. Or, as above, legitimately sign off on wiring changes to my house.

    FWIW the cheap ebay motion sensing lights have been a disaster. Both sensors failed in less than a year (at least the light parts still work). I suspect cheap, not well sealed adjustment knobs and associated variable resistors. So we're going to shell out $100-ish each for Australian standards compliant ones and more for an electrician to fit them. Lights shining on the access doors turn out to be quite handy, and sensors mean they only go when they're needed (otherwise housemates leave them on 24/7...)


    I think the only sane way to approach the world is with a measure of insecurity about one's adult status. As a certain ancient Greek is reputed to have said, "the unexamined life is not worth living". Hopefully most of us have lives worth some examination.

    I've always chosen to extrapolate from Socrates (with a liberal amount of poetic license) as meaning that only crazy people are 100% confident about their current state and feel no need to examine it, whereas only those with serious anxiety issues are completely unwilling to question their state out of fear at what they might find. For the rest of us, the way we make progress is by taking quiet satisfaction in the things we've achieved and quiet dissatisfaction (hopefully leading to remedial action) about the things we haven't achieved or have outright screwed up.

    If we're really lucky, we've acquired the wisdom to distinguish criteria we've unconsciously absorbed from our culture through our skin from criteria that conscious reflection tells us are important. At the lofty age of 54, I have a short list of things I'm really pleased about, a longer list of things I'd like to make better, and the inevitable list of regrets, most of which I've managed to forgive myself for. I think that's the best one can hope for.


    I am, and I don't have a lot of hope. I'm still in high school, but I have a great deal of fear for university. As much as I like the field I want to enter, I am under no illusions as to what it will involve to get there. Older people on this site, does it get any better? Do you eventually manage to break out of the pubescent malaise?


    I think I'm lucky enough to have

    a) lived in Australia, where we were mostly insulated from the 2008 crash.

    b) somehow managed to get myself into the latte drinking, organic quinoa quaffing middle class just as the ladder was being pulled up.(partially by jumping ship from the sciences to marketing just as big data was becoming a thing.)

    The Side Hustle here is mostly something 20 year olds do, and while we have no job security or property, our careers are intact...for now.

    No doubt the fall is coming here too, though. Only a matter of time.


    Dirk: "You have finally grown up when you are genuinely grateful that someone bought you socks as a Christmas present."

    Ohshit, Dirk, I think that may be the first thing you've ever said here that I completely agree with.

    It triggered a memory. A dozen years ago when I got together with my current woman I promised her a spanking (not as dire as it sounds, she's in fact rather fond of 'em) if she ever bought me socks for a present. I must have forgotten that; on my last birthday she got me half a dozen pairs of thick comfy tall socks, and I was happy to get 'em. Somewhere in that dozen years, I fear I may finally have grown up...


    I don't even remember who wrote it (Niven?) but when I was a teenager I read a novel about a guy who gets caught in orbit around the black hole at the center of the galaxy so that time slows down and he comes back to Earth thousands of years later. The relevant thing is that he finds humanity has discovered the secret of immortality is to freeze development at the pre-teen level. So there are all these 12 year olds who are hundreds of years old. I was only a little older than that and I internalized it. All the BS society and biology shove at you after that is just that, impositions to be dealt with, distractions from what really matters and intrinsically excites, and you can make your own version of what it is to mature. So this 12 year old realized he had to fake it well enough to set his 12 year old self up with a cool playhouse and toys. I knew all along I was faking it and why.


    "Fufilling work, the duties of a normal life, security, retirement. These are all cruel fictions that the Gen X'ers have had ripped out from them by the boomers, so we repudiate them."

    Yikes, grim meathook indeed. Also has a bit of that strident tone that seems to pop up in frustrated twenty-somethings. My own experience is quite different. I'm in Gen-X (I guess? Born in 1975), and a had meaningful career as a public defender for ten years until my side hustle of legal research on tax and insurance stuff turned into a full-time gig as an editor. Editing is actually a creative process, so even though I spend my days immersed in the vagaries of life insurance products, I still find my job to be meaningful and enjoyable, though it sometimes comes with healthy side of corporate BS.

    My wife is similarly satisfied with her job as a veterinarian and (for the last 8 years or so) business owner. Both of us have had difficult times, but you slog through it and find ways to recognize trouble further out so you can avoid or prepare for it. We have a modest house, two kids, decent cars, and enough money for a reasonable amount of entertainment. So yeah, we're adulting pretty well.

    In both of my careers now I've been in a position to watch interns become new full-time employees (or not). The difference is primarily attitude. The ones who dug into the job to find the best parts of it and made them better either got hired, or if we couldn't hire them we actively helped them find something. The ones who did "just enough to not get fired" aren't with us anymore.

    I fully recognize that this process is harder these days, and that much of the increase in difficulty is because of bad policies. (Jesus, don't go to law school unless you KNOW that someone else is paying for it.) I also realize that my wife and I have been insulted from some of the worst of it by living in the midwest (you can still buy a decent house here for significantly less than $100,000), though that's a choice that we have made, too. All the same, attitude and flexibility makes a huge difference.

    FWIW, I completely agree with our good host that your success at adulting should be entirely graded by a rubric that you create just for yourself. I will point out however, that once you have kids, a lot of the criteria for success get homogenized because all kids need pretty much the same things: time, attention, love, a reasonably predictable home life, money, time outside, decent food, clean clothes, appropriate medical care, and a good education. I am regularly, consciously, and actively grateful that I'm not trying to raise kids 100 years ago or in modern-day Syria. (I am also acutely aware of political candidates who would turn back the clock on these advances-you know who they are-and I will never vote for those people, regardless of their tax plans. I spent ten years of my professional life getting paid to speak truth to power, and I know what corruption is and how it works.)

    Anyways, that's the view from here.


    You can design your life to be low maintenance so that little cleaning is required, and then have a lenient standard, resulting in the curves being quite close, easily bridged by a small amount of effort. For example, rather than leaving all those papers on the table you use as a desk, you can periodically sweep them tidily into a box and put it with the others in the basement. Provided they aren't billing notices. You have to pay bills or there will be bad results, especially the red ones that ship with flashing neon lights.


    I know it is lame, but Happy B-day. Seeing many of my generation already gone, I am finding celebrating birthdays (mine and anyone else's) more joyous every passing year.

    Regarding the "forever young" feeling, it's not the particular adult model that is the problem, it is the size. When one is young, world is very limited in size (and detail). There are good and bad people, being an astronaut is the greatest job ever, and Nobel prize winners are all geniuses. And you have a clear goal of what is great and ultimate achievement for you. When you grow old, world expands in size and detail, you realize that there are many shades in between good and bad, and astronaut job demands wearing diapers and doing boring chores most of the time. You achieve some of the goals that you had, but now the scope of the world expanded (via both size and detail), so again you feel like you are at the beginning. Something like Zeno's paradox, except that time to cross the marks is not going vanishingly small.


    "All the BS society and biology shove at you after that..."

    Oh, golly, yes. The only biological changes following age 12 that I truly appreciate are increased height and increased vocal range - and I doubt I'd care about them if they weren't part of the usual phenotype. All the rest isn't an entirely unmitigated pain in the arse, but the mitigation is way insufficient to be adequate.


    ... a slew of anachronistic cultural detritus that we'd be a lot happier if we simply learned to let go of.

    Absolutely. Like the idea of inheritance, for example. Accumulating capital to pass on to your offspring made sense back when the expectation was that, having made it to age 20, you would die before 55, with only one offspring to pass the capital to, if any. It's not as socially useful any more when it's 95-year-olds leaving their capital to 70-year-olds. All the useful stuff happens before the kids are 20.

    Millennials: feeling balked? Blame Alexander Fleming, Jonas Salk, and their imitators and hangers-on. And also Walt Disney. Your parents didn't have fulfilling jobs; why should you?

    As for me, I'm a tail-end boomer (just older than OGH). For money, I scrape flesh off the bones of dead animals with a metal ring. What do you do?


    Yes Currently, a couple of my house radiators have died, after 48 years use ... so I've managed to find suitable replacements ( & valves ) & will fit the replacements this week, after I've collected the new ones. Followed by re-flushing the system, servicing the boiler ( basically going round with a brush & vacuum hose ), then firing up, complete with anti-oxidant in the water, just in time for the cold weather. I shudder to think what I'd have to pay a plumber to do all that!


    Maybe I phrased that badly .....

    If all these supposedly intelligent people believe in one version or another of the BigSkyFairy, then why can't the BSF be detected - at all? [ See also "luminiferous Aether" ]

    Note that this postulate gets around the usual; "you can't prove god doesn't exist, nyaaah!" diatribe from the err ... "believers" shall we say? This is a very delicate subject, though.


    Do you eventually manage to break out of the pubescent malaise? NO


    I remember when most brakes were drums, and some were actuated mechanically. But that does raise a point about 'conventional' adulthood, which was often regarded as when one didn't need to learn new abilities and change to find a role any longer. Nuts! As I tell kiddies when teaching IT (20-25 year olds, being physically old enough to be their great-grandfather, and having programmed since before their parents were born), they mustn't follow their elders and betters in being stuck thinking in the terms of 20th century computers, but must move with the times.


    54, personally still single (for want of anyone I was interested in and who was both single and interested in me, not want of trying) and (AFAI(and indeed the CSA)K childless. One parent surviving. So I really don't feel totally "grown up", particularly since most of my friends are in similar states (marital status may vary; number of parents has an error bar of +/-1 ;-) ) but I'm prepared to take responsibility for myself.

    As to other details like clothing, when not a twork I tend to wear jeans, chinos or jogging pants with variations on tee-shirt, plaid check shirt and sweat short based on time of year and weather. I don't normally go sky clad because I don't find it warm enough here.


    I've never changed shoes on a drum system, but I have cleaned one (with some assistance from a qualified mechanic, mostly in making sure I hadn't SNAFUed anything. Discs are usually easier (well unless inboard or using windback pistons as a handbrake).


    To be honest I feel much the same way; I am continually astonished at the life I am now leading, and how utterly implausible and improbable it is.

    I trained as a biologist. I have a PhD in an obscure field of biology, the most interesting aspect of which was the word "Sex" in the thesis title. Here I am, a systems administrator of University Linux (mostly) systems getting paid far in excess of what I could possibly expect had I continued with what I am over-qualified to be.

    I pretty much own my house outright, drive a new car financed by some weird-arse loan thing of some sort that means I get a new car every few years, and don't get financially crippled in the process.

    I grew up before the Internet existed. I remember the first personal computers; I remember Gopher, and X-Mosaic and many, many other weird oddities. I actually understand how it mostly works, at the technical end but I still don't quite get the sociological end (and I doubt I ever will).

    The only good point in all of this is that once you admit that a fair amount of the world is utterly barking mad and incomprehensible, you can actually settle down and enjoy the fact that these things exist. A good example of this is a rewards credit card I have. To live, I need to buy things; diesel for my car, food for myself, that sort of thing. If I pay using this credit card, the company credit an account with points, which can be redeemed as shopping vouchers which are as good as real money.

    So, people are giving my money for spending money that I would have spent anyway, regardless of the incentive payment. How weird is that? Profoundly weird, but I don't care, I just spend via the card, and redeem the points every Christmas as presents for family.

    Have I grown up?

    I don't know. I've gone bald and wear hats a lot now, and I no longer descend hills on my bike quite as fast as I used to, but beyond that I really can't tell.


    I'm close to 54 and, like our kind host, can't be defined as a failure in material terms - on the contrary, I will probably be able to retire in 1-2 years. Could be winning more money but, while everything in life has got a price tag, the price of money beyond a certain point is particularly outrageous.

    Do I feel like an adult? Not completely, no. My father died when I was 18 and I was the eldest of five siblings; I don't need to be told how being responsible and/or being in charge feels. I agree with dogen, losing your father makes you suddenly adult in many ways. But still often I feel like something is missing, that if I were a true adult I would feel more confident, more secure of myself. They say the Massai had to kill a lion before attaining adult status; sometimes I feel like I should 'man up' (what else?), grab my spear and leave to look for my very own lion to kill. Other times I think it's because we've had it too easy: previous generations endured the world wars, hunger, cold, misery... compared with them we would be unproven, and it would show - a bit the eloi from H.G. Wells.

    Then again, all too often those secure and confident in themselves are in fact the most childish. That's a contradiction that I see but I haven't been able to solve.

    P.S. I don't know if that's important, but I'm also quite prone to fall into the Impostor Syndrome. I actually crave for 'objective' tests, moments of crisis to allow me to prove to myself I'm not an incompetent!


    Stage 1: When you hang washing on the line, the two coloured plastic clothes-pegs holding any single item of clothing should match each other Stage 2: They should match not only each other, but be at least an approximate match or "go with" the item of clothing in at least some abstract way Stage 3: You go shopping for clothes-pegs that match your clothing The idea being that you should generally try to avoid reaching Stage 3 (and I know it's only be the grace of Dog I've avoided Stage 3 so far myself).

    I don't hang my washing (no lines to do it from at my apartment) but I am now 100% certain that if I did it would only be a matter of time until I reached Stage 3 unless I shut it down hard by buying only clothes pins of a single style and color and used only them with no exceptions. Gah, even just reading the implied presence of mismatched clothesline pins is giving me the heebie jeebies.


    A simple statement of affiliation is evangelizing? You must break out in hives when you see someone wearing a religious garment.


    The only good point in all of this is that once you admit that a fair amount of the world is utterly barking mad and incomprehensible, you can actually settle down and enjoy the fact that these things exist. A good example of this is a rewards credit card I have. To live, I need to buy things; diesel for my car, food for myself, that sort of thing. If I pay using this credit card, the company credit an account with points, which can be redeemed as shopping vouchers which are as good as real money. I have one of these too, except that they've cut out the middleman and give me actual money!


    I've been thinking on this, because it parallels one of my pet obsessions, which is the social, economic, and political consequences of practical immortality.

    Is there a point at which a person with an indefinite lifespan would be guaranteed to feel like an adult at last? Or would they eternally be struggling to quiet the demons of not living up to Mom and Pop's standard, even if those standards stopped being relevant centuries ago?

    I think that eventually, one would feel that one is either an adult by simple acceptance of time passing, perhaps by meeting some threshold[*] OR they would eventually accomplish what OGH suggests in defining one's own happiness.

    However, that may be optimistic. I could also see people quietly, perhaps even subconsciously, attempting to recreate the home of their years (presuming said years felt secure) well into the future even as they tell themselves that they're only interested in the here and now.

    Even if there are no new major technologies to take us on an S-curve ride[**] I can't imagine an immortal's long-term experience would be anything other than a constant state of future shock. Climate change will be driving political and social upheaval for the next few centuries at the very least, so even if you posit new major breakthroughs in tech after 2050 (and good luck with that bet!) there won't ever be anything like a stable historical era that everyone can get used to and stick with over the long term, because we haven't had anything like that since some wag invented agriculture. Thus, faced with what will subjectively appear to be an ever-faster rate of change, the tendency to measure one's self by their long-deceased parents might become even stronger as a person passes into their second or third or fourth centuries.

    • I propose one century of age being the market for adulthood in a society in which death is more or less under control. After your odometer ticks over to its third digit, presuming you're still in control of all your faculties, you really don't have any more excuses.

    ** by the end of the 21st century I imagine the consequences of the Internet will have been thoroughly explored, but a new technology could start the whole party over again. I'm sure we can all think of several candidates that are already in development.


    Oh. That'd do it. Things are different where I am.


    I don't think it's just a wealth thing.

    In a room of people I work with, some with really quite spectacular incomes, we got chatting about this subject.

    We were kinda leaning towards the idea that the feeling is probably strongest among people who haven't had kids since it didn't seem to be a thing so much for people who had spawned.

    Job? just felt like the ATM became a handy money dispenser. No strong adulty feelings about earning it.

    Car? just felt like a handy way to get around. No strong adulty feelings about it.

    House? just felt like a step up from renting and the chore list just feels longer and self-issued.


    I sometimes feel like I'm not adulting properly. However, I can mark most of the outer trappings of my parents' generation of adulthood, so I don't often have to think about this.

    For me, having children was the turning point. I got an industry job (instead of being a PhD student and a researcher) about the time as our first child was born, and that kind of made me realize that yes, I am an adult.

    When I wander around my close circles, I still sometimes get strange glances and comments. I do play games, also roleplaying games, which for some people is something they did as a child and don't consider an "adult" pastime. I also dyed my hair last summer after 19 years of having long hair and it seems to me that some people find pink or red hair on a middle aged man strange.

    This still doesn't make feel not adult. I'm more concerned about what the society will be when my children are adults - there are a lot of things which are going to change, starting from how the job market will work (and what jobs there will be and what will be done with people who don'thave them), and not enough time has been spent on that, in my opinion.


    A few relevant words of wisdom from David Gerrold (in the September/October 2016 F&SF):

    "(Without going into the squalid details, [science fiction] was also a community that wasn't afraid to give me a good hard kick in the pants when I most needed it. I am grateful that they didn't strangle me in my crib and instead gave me the mandate to start learning the responsibilities of being a grownup.) (I'm still struggling with it. This adulthood thing is hard work.)

    Is there a point at which a person with an indefinite lifespan would be guaranteed to feel like an adult at last? Or would they eternally be struggling to quiet the demons of not living up to Mom and Pop's standard, even if those standards stopped being relevant centuries ago?

    I can think of two possible points:

    • When you can no longer remember them, or
    • When someone has worked out which bit of your brain to poke to toggle the "adult" setting.

    The bigger problem is when mum and dad have also managed to achieve immortality, and are able to point out that you've just squandered another century of existence and have nothing to show for it.


    This is not by way of disagreeing with OGH, because I've often felt the same way, but sometimes I feel a little different as well...

    I grew up in the '80s, which was a time of great anxiety. The financial shocks of the '70s were still a fresh memory (especially in the minds of my '30s-born Irish parents) and so the pressure to do well in school was intense, because who knew what kind of competition there would be for any job at all in the 2000s? Meanwhile the Cold War was at one of its most tense moments - I was five when Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov saved the world, and probably 11 the first time I read When The Wind Blows. Meanwhile in Thatcher's Britain, the news was a constant stream of urban decay and miners' strikes.

    When I see homophobes wring their hands about how difficult it is to explain gay marriage to their kids I want to slap them and ask whether they think it's easier or harder than explaining to them that we're one wrong button press from nuclear annihilation.

    This is not by way of saying that my childhood was dysfunctional or unhappy, but in retrospect I can see that an '80s childhood was heavily overshadowed by a fear of the world grown-ups had to navigate.

    By the time I was an adult in the second half of the '90s, we were in a geopolitical lull (I don't know if anyone else recalls this, but FHM used to do a comedy current afairs column each month about the crazy music-banning, anti-education wackaloons called The Taliban), the British economy was strongly back on track (for me in London at least), the first internet boom kicked in and I happened to graduate straight into it, and the postmodernist cultural milieu was busy taking the piss out of everything (see above).

    Now, the world's richest company turns out toys that my twelve year old self would have spent a century in cryosleep to obtain. And my job mostly involves fucking around with said toys, to the degree that the taxman effectively subsidises my annual purchase of them. I make stupid Dad jokes on a platform where thousands of people from my industry see them, and it counts as career development.

    Not only do I often feel like a child who's been inexplicably permitted to operate the controls of heavy machinery, I feel significantly more childish now than I did during my childhood.


    For me, transitioning to non-weird hair and clothes was somewhat a passage to adulthood. Simply, it didn't matter much how I looked outside and it was draining time and energy on superficial things. Though I always like when I see a nonconformist in my environment.


    Also, the original premise is that we don't feel adult but concludes that it happens to every generation. Basically it ends up that as kids we didn't have a realistic picture what is an adult.


    The more I read this kind of thing, the more I'm persuaded that my life has been warped by some thing in my youth instilling in my core a monstrously huge ego.

    I'm only a few years younger and have gone through many of the same sorts of experiences. Rather than feel I'm a fraud at adulting, I concluded that the whole concept of adulting to begin with was nonsense, and that basically nobody was really doing it. That it was all fakery that I could choose to participate in or not.


    "as long as the inside is free of obstruction"

    an ounce of liquid soap before and after serves as highly effective lubricant, significant reduction in post-op remediation measures has been observed


    This. I cannot see why anyone would angst over this topic at all. As far as I'm concerned it's a non-issue. Like being worried over whether your primary school exam grades were good enough.


    Damn. I was hoping that the pimple issue would disappear with time.


    Well... it may do. On the other hand, if you have the type of body which produces the hormones that cause the growth of facial hair, and if the hairs turn out to be of that delightful kind which refuse to emerge from their burrows until the increasing pressure of several inches of tightly-coiled hair inside the follicle becomes irresistible, you could be shit out of luck...


    Re: 'Older people on this site, does it get any better? Do you eventually manage to break out of the pubescent malaise?'

    FWIW, the teen years are known for being seriously crappy for some/most people, hence: teen angst. I'm not arguing/denying what you feel - only saying that these feelings might be part of a system that hasn't found its optimal equilibrium point yet. (If you're more comfortable with a 'rational' approach/parallel think about this in terms of your physiological self: lots of changes in every system esp. the brain which won't be completed until you're about 25 if male.)

    Can it get better - yes! Will it be easy - depends. Seriously, it depends on what issue you're grappling with/why you think you have a problem and what resources (internal and otherwise) you feel confident enough to access. For most problems, there is help. (The flip side of teen angst is the feeling of supreme confidence which is equally problematic.)

    Every generation has its problems - some passed on from previous generations, some created by the current generation, and some that the upcoming generation(s) will create. Same goes with having problems tossed your way at various points through your lifetime. And each generation has a preferred way of handling their personal problems. My parents relied on their family and community elders for advice, whereas I grew up at a time when consulting an 'expert' (stranger) became the norm. My prog (your gen) meanwhile grew up in an age when complete strangers (with unknown credentials and/or motives via interwebbie) might have considerable impact on key life decisions.


    "I can't imagine an immortal's long-term experience would be anything other than a constant state of future shock" I think they'll get used to it like frequent travelers get used to often waking up in strange places. I remember when I was young it seemed like the world was a static place that I was learning about--new things were just new additions to my knowledge. But then as I came to know more there were more occasions when parts of this world I had learned started, for the first time, being new not because they were new to me but because they were changing (as things do) but now I'm used to it. Surely we've all had the same experience. For example, you think the fashions and car styles you observed in your first decade were simply what people wore and drove, then they changed, and it was momentous. Now we know it's just routine. We develop a tolerance.


    Re: "I can't imagine an immortal's long-term experience would be anything other than a constant state of future shock"

    Apart from work, most folks hang around with their peer groups (age, socio-economic status and interests) which buffers them from some types of 'change'.


    For me, being an adult means taking responsibility for oneself (and while hale and well, depending primarily on oneself instead of on others). For me, it was taking responsibility for someone else. First, my son; now (shared with my siblings), an aging parent.

    Another person commented on taking the secure job in order to guarantee income, which was part of it too. I could maybe have pursued a more technically interesting job but instead wanted to settle in one place. And like another commenter, I stopped wearing (and caring about) clothes that separated me from the mainstream.


    most folks hang around with their peer groups (age, socio-economic status and interests) which buffers them from some types of 'change'.

    Some SF writers have already explored this avenue with respect to extended/indefinite lifespans. Peter Hamilton's "Commonwealth" series comes to mind.


    I believe that the reason I don't feel like an adult is that I didn't see my parents anxieties when I was growing up. Sure, laundry & cooking happened weekly or daily, and if I paid attention I might even have noticed the bills on the desk getting filled out & mailed off on a monthly basis. But I never heard that internal monologue of "did I remember to pay the power bill? When's the car registration due?" etc...

    Since I never saw or heard that worrying, I therefore believed that it didn't happen. And it's that uncertainty that makes me feel like I'm bad at being an adult. Yes, consciously, I know I'm wrong, and that my parents probably worry about those sorts of things even now, but the confidence comes from the subconscious.


    In an alternate universe where life's rewards get distributed to individuals according to their talent, intelligence or effort, I'd be inclined to reproach myself over the possibility of having perhaps done better, at striving to achieve a full and indisputable measure of adulthood with all its honorable gravitas. But in this universe, I'm consoled by two of the books I'm currently reading, of which brief excerpts, below, pertain to the topic of exclusion from the winner's circle. First, from Jeannie Morris' "Behind the Smile", a 2015 history of Senator Carol Moseley Braun's election campaign:

    As lifelong Chicagoans, Carol and Sydney often drew from shared cultural experiences. Generations of Chicago's children knew WGN's noontime television show, Bozo's Circus, cohosted by Bozo the Clown and his ringmaster, Uncle Ned. For many years, the program was broadcast live. Then came the legendary event that caused WGN executives to rethink that policy. The centerpiece of the hour is called the Grand Prize Game. A child is chosen from the audience and stands at the end of a line of buckets; the idea is to get a ping-pong ball into each bucket, and if you make the last one, you win the Grand Prize. Bozo and Uncle Ned would lead the audience in dramatic cheers and groans, according to the performance of the child. One day, a six-year-old boy got all the way to the fourth bucket-- then missed the fifth. Bozo groaned mightily. The kid looked up at the clown and said, "Fuck you, Bozo." "Now, son!" protested the shocked ringmaster. "You too, Uncle Ned," said the child, stomping off the set. And that became Carol and Sydney's code. Every time some ignorant male did or said something stupid or sexist, one of them would smile sweetly to the other and say, "You too, Uncle Ned". It was such a pleasant way for a lady to say, "Fuck you, bozo."

    Secondly, from George Macdonald Fraser's "Flashman at the Charge", in which the antihero's commander excoriates him for letting a member of the royal house run off and get killed in battle:

    He prosed on a bit, about duty and honor and my own failure, and what a hell of a blot I'd put on my copybook. No thought, you'll notice, for the blot he'd earned, with those thousands of dead piled up above the Alma, the incompetent buffoon. "I doubt not you will carry this burden all your life", says he, with gloomy satisfaction. "How it will be received at home--I cannot say. For the moment, we must all look to our duty in the campaign ahead. There, it may be, reparation lies." He was still thinking about Flashy filling a pit, I could see. "I pity you, Flashman, and because I pity you, I shall not send you home. You may continue on my staff, and I trust that your future conduct will enable me to think that this lapse-- irreparable though its consequences are--was but one terrible error of judgement, one sudden dereliction of duty, which will never--nay, CAN never--be repeated. But for the moment, I cannot admit you again to that full fellowship of the spirit in which members of my staff are wont to be embraced." Well, I could stand that.

    In other words, Fuck you, Bozo.

    And that will become my mantra as well, to expel from early morning hours of wakefulness and remembrance any grim spectral self, angrily rising up to confront my subconscious mind with images of a life below expectation, "Where are your children? Your grandchildren? Throngs of grateful employees? Where then, to find crowds of envious neighbors, respectful coworkers, of rank upon serried rank of one time highschool cheerleaders, buxom college coeds and wanton suburban beauties still filled with wistful longing and regret at never having had sex with you? What of these, thou Slacker?"

    You too, Uncle Ned.


    I think that adulthood begins when you take responsibility for the welfare of someone other than yourself. Kind of an old fashioned, I know, but there it is. Marriage can qualify, as can having children or care of parents or others. So can military service; I know kids who joined the US Army for the education benefits (college tuition, etc.) Who became adults very quickly in Afghanistan and Iraq. The buzz of rounds zipping past your head clarifies one's motivation very quickly. :) I've known twelve year old adults, as well as 60 year olds I wouldn't categorize that way. I believe that adulthood is an attitude more than anything else, one that values community over self.


    Interesting, at fifty with a wife and a seven year old daughter, adulting isn't a worry for me On the flip side, bemoaning my move to the suburbs because I was going to have kids and I would get used it eventually, yea that bugs me


    I can't imagine an immortal's long-term experience would be anything other than a constant state of future shock. Climate change will be driving political and social upheaval for the next few centuries at the very least...

    Not really. Remember your first love, crush, or hormone driven obsession? No doubt it drove you to distraction; everyone feels that way. It's memorable because it's the first one and you have no context for what you're feeling. By the time you're in your mid-twenties you've been through it before and hopefully have some perspective and self knowledge.

    Immortals will get the same perspective on other subjects. The climate is changing again? There's a shouting buffoon running for office again? The goddamn pre-century-old kids are listening to awful music? It's not the end of the world, it's the same old crap all over again.

    This does assume a certain degree of self awareness and ability to learn from experience, though. There are plenty of people today who are future-shocked and angry at age forty, unable to deal with the social changes that their grandparents witnessed. I'm not sure how they'd handle extended lifespans, though retreat into isolated enclaves terrified of all outsiders seems to be a popular choice.


    There is quite a lot of truth in that, but it does mean that adulthood can start early in childhood (as I can witness) and some people never reach adulthood.


    Don't have time to read all the good coments in this thread, but one observation stands out.

    Most often, when we reach our fundamental beliefs about what it means to be an adult, we do that when we are children, based on our observations of the exteriors of the adults around us, perhaps mostly our caregivers. But we judge ourselves to be adult or not based on our internal experience of ourselves.

    That means there's a fundamental category mismatch-we're trying to align an internal experience with an observation of an exterior. So of course we don't feel like adults-our standard for judgement is highly or totally incompatible with the experience being assessed.


    Measure of adulthood - according to anthropologists adulthood was attained/recognized by one's tribe using physical phenomena: men- successful hunt, women - menses. But that was when average life expectancy was 35 or so. With life expectancy well into the 80s, I think it's reasonable to stretch out the 'seven ages of man (woman)' thereby changing the timetable as well as the requisites for adulthood - or any other life stage. In the olden days, disposable money was limited mostly to those earned it (adults). But since about the 1960s' as more and more kids were given generous allowances, they became 'adults' in one key respect - economically. Consumer packaged goods marketers saw this and shifted their marketing/targeting and were so successful that some countries passed legislation prohibiting advertising to youngsters (kids under 13). At the other end, i.e., delaying a life stage - in the 90s, women in their 60s were getting pregnant and having their first/nth child - these were not the traditional 'new moms'.

    Conclusions: The entire life-cycle/life-stage thing is up in the air. The old ways still have traction even as we find new ways to define what we're supposed to be doing during which part of our lives.


    I certainly identify with this.

    I'm nearly thirty. Whenever I only shallowly examine myself, I feel like my internal state hasn't changed since I was fifteen. Now, upon looking deeper, it becomes clear to me that I've gone through at least two really major personality changes since then, and outside of a handful of intellectual interests there is little about me that remains of myself fifteen years ago (I went from Dawkins-style aggressive atheism to becoming a magic-practicing discordian agnostic, along with a host of similar changes); but, it's very strange to me that making this distinction takes effort. It's almost as though my sense of self crystallized at 15 but the actual content of that self is not tied to it.

    Again, by any checklist of "mature adult success", I'm doing better than I could have reasonably expected when I was a teenager: I have a degree, a high-paying job, a house, a relationship history, and I've gotten the opportunity to work with several of my heroes. But, again, I have to perform mental effort to recognize this.

    I'm wondering if this has something to do with memory consolidation. After all, the teenage years are when neural structures are getting aggressively pruned.


    I eventually figured out that it comes down to one question: "How many people do you think you have to consider to figure out what you're doing on Friday night?" If the answer is one -- yourself -- you're a kid, no matter the job, the house, the spouse, the kids. If it's more than one, you're a grown-up.

    I've met twelve-year-olds whose dad disappeared years back, whose mom is an addict, and whose decision about Friday night is all about their eight-year old sibling. They're grown-ups.


    Charlie, I've got 15 years on you, in the US, and that's not really a feeling I've ever had. For one thing, I did NOT have the "Mythical Marvellous Golden Fifties", nor middle class parents. My folks were working class (and my father a socialist, from a sect that I found I had respect for, so none of this generation gap"). My dad was out of work for something like three years, after his steel plant ran away to the South for cheap, non-union labor.

    I was the first in my family to actually go on to college. I've been on my own since 19, and my folks didn't have, oh, $14M to loan me to start a real estate business....

    These days, I've been at this job more than twice as long as any other (> 7 yrs), a paid off mortgage, making good money, and respected by the folks I work with, and my kids.

    On the other hand, it's very strange to be the Elder of the family, and I've had too fucking many divorces (one on the way)... and I'm a widower, the one woman I'd still be with, if she hadn't (literally) dropped dead. I will say I got old when she died (next week is 19 years).

    But maybe as someone who still thinks of himself as a workin' stiff, even though I make good money now, it's still for a paycheck, and do what I can to get by, and help friends and family when I can.

    Sorry, way too adult here. It ain't no fun. On the other hand, I've been an active fan most of my life - let me assure you that's heavily what keeps me going - and maybe that picks up the still whatever of the young feeling.

    Damn, I have to finish my Famous Secret Theory, though, and get out of here....



    Pasting in a quote is a low effort comment, but C.S. Lewis said this so much better than I could:

    “Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”


    I also dyed my hair last summer after 19 years of having long hair and it seems to me that some people find pink or red hair on a middle aged man strange.

    It still seems some people do adulting more seriously than I do: today I found out that some of our clients have been commenting on my hair - not directly and I'm not sure what exactly was said, but apparently there was some doubt about my professionalism.

    It's too bad I haven't gotten the critique myself - I could've tried to pry out if they're sexist, too. I doubt that a woman who dyed her hair the same colour would get the same comments. Sure, there could be a problem with the "woman" thing, then.


    Almost, but not completely ... consider single seniors. Because their kids have moved on/out, they have only themselves to care about what they do on Friday or any night of the week. Hence the popularity of church hall/seniors club Friday Night Bingo when if they do not show up, someone notices and cares enough to call and check up on them.


    I don't think you really become an adult until both your parents are dead - and mine tenaciously refuse to shuffle off this mortal coil

    I think its peculiar that less than 48 hours after typing and posting this, one of my parents DID shuffle off this mortal coil.

    Perhaps I'm nearly halfway to adulthood, now.


    "How many people do you think you have to consider to figure out what you're doing on Friday night?" If the answer is one -- yourself -- you're a kid,

    So a married but childless couple who normally "go out together" are adult, but a single person who might "go down the pub and take pot luck about meeting someone they can have some craic with" isn't?


    Hey Charlie! Let me sneak in a happy birthday in advance. :)

    I blame the boomers (of course) their overweening worship of 'youth culture', whatever the hell that is, it's given us an intergenerational hangover of epic proportions. Hard to be an adult when you dress like a child.

    Seems to me that what's missing these days is a rite of passage that marks a young adults transition from youth to manhood (or womanhood). So most people float along in this long never ending afternoon of youth. Talk to the Masai and they don't have that problem.

    As our culture is not forthcoming you may have to substitute your own rite, suggest you channel your inner J.R.R Tolkien and the next CON wear a tweed jacket, with a tie. Put your tshirt into lockdown.i knowthis may seem extreme but it's cheaper than big game hunting in Africa.

    Semiotics is important. :)


    Happy birthday, Charlie!

    A question for you: Will you be using the CO2-to-ethanol converter to power your car or as a libation?


    I was thinking of Charles Halloway, the father in Ray Bradbury's 'Something Wickec This Way Comes' and how he faces Mr Dark because he's the grown up and that's what grown ups do.


    Can I posit, politely, that feeling like a failure in a first world country is not that bad?

    I enjoy asking people how they rate their life out of 10. It's amazing how many people don't know how good they have it.


    von Hichtofen: I'm sorry for your loss.


    From the discussion so far there seem to be two different basic vewpoints: adulthood is a form of attained personal growth one recognises in oneself or it is an imposed social construct mostly congruous with being an employed householder. For the former one can always have imposter syndrome. For the latter economic and social changes make this unattainable for many younger people.


    And, indeed for many "older people", at least for values of "being an employed householder" that require them to own (leasehold or freehold)(after allowing for the form of co-ownership called a mortgage) said property.


    There is a clear cultural divide over the signifier status of home ownership. According to Wikipedia home ownership rates range from 96.4% in Romania down to 44.5% in Switzerland. Are less than half of Swiss adults? In Italy it must be possible to become an adult without even leaving the parental home since around 65% of Italians aged 18 to 34 still live with their parents. Home ownership is definitely an adulthood goal in the UK/USA but less so elsewhere.


    Do I correctly divine a child who didn't have to share a room? Doing a minimum of tidying frees up valuable floor space and prevents cold (or hot) sibling wars about space utilisation, fairness, where precisely one's belongings sit in relation to unmarked but entirely present borders, etc.

    I use a shared workshop these days; the issues are startlingly familiar.


    Re: '... one of my parents DID shuffle off this mortal coil.'

    Sorry to hear that ... Can't really say anything more lest it comes off as trite/trivializing.

    Take care, SFreader


    I spent about a decade and a half doing the "adult" thing. Then I lost my job/burned out. So I am less an "adult" by that measure, though I still have childcare, etc. to do. However, I feel more like an adult now because I don't have people looking over my shoulder and judging me all day. A lot of modern office management is making the employees feel like naughty adolescents even if they are doing sold work for the Man every night and day.

    I also felt more like an adult when I lived in a co-op and went to graduate school. Even though I had no money and no dependents, I was actively involved in all the decisions that were integral to my life (not always for the best, perhaps; on the other hand, many of the worst developments still came from factors or decisions not in my control.)


    My deepest condolences on the loss of your parent.

    I lost my folks in my late thirties and early forties, which is far too long ago. Then I lost my late wife in my late forties, so I truly have an idea of where you are about now.

    May I hope, at least, that it was not a surprise, and that they had a good long run? And that you have folks who reach out to you to support you (as opposed to the ones who say, "I'm here for ya", but never call or email or....).



    My condolences as well.

    That's one of the truths about our lives, that everything changes and ultimately ends, no matter what we want. That's one of the few things that every one of us has in common.


    just replying to the OP, havent read all the comments yet ...

    I don't think I have this "I fail at adulting" feeling so much, and because I'm such a perfect emulation of my parents - inded, since I have kids myself I notice many more ways in which I do things differently etc. What helps me now a great deal in not struggling with perceived "adulting failures" is one and a half decades or so of radical leftist activism. Bear with me: I got to meet many people who did very wild things into their older years, I met people with appraoches to e.g. family and parenting rather different from what I grew up with and I got exposed to a ton of feminism. From which I learned the kind of nuclear family I grew up in is one, historically contingent way of life, that there are others and that the whole family experience is often full of anxieties and hollow facades etc. So from a different perspective I came to a similar conclusion as Charlie, and I'm sure there are more ways. Questioning the norms you grow up with makes you happier in the long run, is my conviction.


    MY condolonces.

    The best wishes for you and yours, whatever the best right now may be.


    Coming as it does almost exactly a year after my own father passed away, I can appreciate your position. You have my best wishes and hopes that you have people nearby in the physical world to comfort you through this time.


    I do, thank you, yes.

    He'd been in hospital three times this year, had type 1 diabetes for 40 years, a stroke and a broken hip - he seemed to be so much better than he had been that morning, then by 1:30 PM he was dead.

    Life is for the living.

    Thank you Scott, Gordana, martin098, Heteromeles, whitroth, SFreader, and JReynolds for your kind thoughts.


    Speaking of clothes-pegs, I recently paid a small fortune for some stainless steel ones via a website called "buy it once". The cheaper ebay ones are basically pretentious paper clips and don't work very well (but are half the price). The french ones are actual proper pegs that work properly, and look as though they will last a very long time. Sadly we have a few of those in use and a box of bamboo ones to wear out before getting the rest into action. But they 10-odd test ones work so well that I fear I may just give away the other ones.


    I am sorry to hear it too


    I am tempted to reply with "I reject your reality and substitute my own". Or the feminist-derived "I am an adult, and I do this. Therefore this is something that adults do".

    Slightly more on topic, I think a big part of adulting, as with many things, is social comparison. If you hang round with too many people who are the younger version of your parents (whatever they did - house, kids, wife at home, two cars, holiday overseas would be the cliche) you will likely feel somewhat inferior. But then, go hang out with the "I'm a 40 year old aspiring actor working in Starbukz" (the discount clone chain)... you will feel ever so mature and responsible.

    Which is where I think "feeling adult" rests - having ties to a variety of communities. If you can be the crusty old fart at your local food co-op and the sprightly young thing at meals on wheels, you're unlikely to settle into a rut of feeling sadly middle-aged.


    I've just discovered that there's a Pretending to Grownup card game on Kickstarter. Clearly this feeling is not only not unique but common enough that someone's trying to make money by making jokes about it.


    In Italy, for values of "live with their parents". One of my cousins married an Italian guy and sort of does and doesn't live with her mother-in-law.

    MinL owns a 3 story "house" with separate "front doors", kitchens and bathrooms on each floor, and lockable internal stairways. She lives on the ground floor, my cousin & hubby on the 2nd, and one of my cousin's siblings-in-law on the first.

    So they have the same "street address", but different front doors etc.


    This happens in the UK as well. My former brother in law was co-owner with his mother of a good size house just off Clapham Common. It made more sense than trying for a relatively tiny sole ownership each.

    (Given that he was political editor for Newsnight - i.e. Paxman's lot - he wasn't unable to put his hand on a bob or two, even if he does waste some of it on season tickets at Old Trafford.)

    Also when I was young, we built an adjacent dwelling for my grandmother to come and live in. It was a fully self-contained bungalow, the other side of the garage, and when Granny decided she preferred to live in Greenwich rather than in the middle of nowhere, we would then rent it out.


    I suspect that for many one of the stages of adulthood is going through that phase of being scared of Death. Not the immediate fear of being killed, but the existential dread when you realise that you will die some day.


    to take that further - for me it was realising my children will die - and I more than likely wont be able/there to prevent it...


    Being an adult is not being ruled by your hormones


    I find this whole death mythos weird, and suspect that it is very culturally dependent. Death was something that happened in my childhood, including for friends at primary school, and was (far more) accepted as a part of life. Learning that your childhood beliefs were wrong (often because you had been spun a pack of lies) is part of becoming an adult, but why should death be special?


    James speculated that there are men for whom this distance from laundry lasted their entire lives. Their mothers (or their maids) would arrange it for them till they went to school, then both school and university (or their college) would take that forward. On graduation and the beginnings of careers in the City their club would handle the next step (or their employer in the case of the military). Once they married, their wives would be in charge of these arrangements.

    That might once have been true, but I can assure you that for at least the last forty years or so, a career in the military very definitely involves you washing and ironing your own clothes (well, the Army at any rate - one is never too sure about the RAF...) and even polishing your own shoes as well. Positively obsessive about it, in fact. The days of having a officer's batman / valet are long gone - ;) even from the decent Regiments ;)

    As a result, it's me who has to keep reminding my wife to change the heat setting on the steam iron when moving from cotton to polycotton - and who keeps a stick of sole plate cleaner for the occasions where she forgets. My "ironing OCD" means I'm the one who gets to do all the shirts and blouses, but she can't stand to watch me iron T-shirts - apparently I'm "too slow". After having a uniform that involved a kilt and plaid, a pleated skirt is easy.

    I gave up trying to persuade my beloved to practise washing machine apartheid - the low-temperature detergents make it less of an issue these days; and anyway, the first rule of Child Club is that the washing machine has to run every day, twice on some...


    I don't know the answer to that, or even if it's a valid question. My father died when I was 16. The older you get the more death you see.


    Society via wills and insurance policies provides constant reminders about death. Further, ads for these legal devices hammer home that death is no excuse for shirking your adult responsibilities in looking after/taking care of 'those you leave behind'.


    Think that belief that being an adult is all responsibility and no fun can be traced back to Martin Luther and the Protestant work ethic.


    I haven't come to terms with this, maybe because my kids are still young but, also because I think that death and life (as we know it) are engineering problems. Very hard problems, but solvable via ordinary scientific methods. Happiness, and what to do with life is whole another problem but purely physical stuff should be doable. I am hoping my kids will enjoy the benefits of a century of biology and bioengineering as we enjoyed the century of physics/electronics.


    My mom always said "Until you have lived on your own and been financially independent, you are not an adult."

    My milestone submissions:

    You are helping other people with their problems more than you are going to other people to get help with your problems.

    Especially if when you hear of someone's problem and automatically start thinking about what you can do to help.

    When you start contributing to systems you don't have to, because you can, many others can't, and someone has to. For example, buying stuff you previously would have sleazed, stolen, pirated, or otherwise acquired without paying for.

    (Yes, these are much easier if you are fortunate enough to be well off.)


    It's older than that, but he certainly made it an article of faith.


    I think those in this thread who proposed a rite of passage (lion tabbing/bar mitzvah/...) missed the point of the OP: You will likely never feel>/em> adult the way your parents looked adult, because the times they are a changing & and so is adulting. Adding 'stab lion' as another milestone to graduate - get job - by house - marry - have 2.4 kids - ... won't solve anything.


    Of course, for much of the last 200 years, shooting a Zulu/Sepoy/German* was the greatest rite of passage, which as result of decolonization, the end of standing armies and Germany joining NATO is rather frowned upon** nowadays.

    Re: cptbutton @167, I have gone from living alone and being financially independent, to living with someone and being financially dependent, and expect to switch again. Life circumstances change so frequently that you easily revert to a "Please don't make me adult today" type state.

    The fear of death thing has never affected me much as I've never been terrified of death, in fact I've often welcomed the prospect.

    • Insert colonist-specific minority to taste ** Illegal.

    One of the many good reasons for having kids young is the ability to do it with more optimism. Now that I have started hitting the creakiness of middle age, sometimes I actually find myself wishing I had not inflicted this probable fate on my daughter. When you are young, you think about how you are passing on the gift of discovery and (youthful) experience. As you get older, you think: my son is eventually going to go bald.


    Shooting a Russian looks like coming back into fashion, and with our fourth Afghan War shooting Afghans never went out of fashion. Ditto Arabs.


    [ Back from an overseas trip ]

    One thing does occur to me; temperamentally, immortals are not going to be like self-accepting contemporary grown-ups for one very good medical reason: the absence of chronic pain.

    Almost by definition, practical medical life prolongation means renewal and regeneration of tissues that deteriorate with age/over time. And one of the things I've become acutely aware of since passing age 40 is that most middle-aged or older folks are in chronic low-grade pain from damaged joins, aching muscles, or the effects of old injuries. (A large proportion are in severe chronic pain, but let's not go there just yet.) We all know that ongoing pain turns us into curmudgeonly assholes -- this is almost a universal -- and I'm pretty much convinced these days that the "grumpy middle-aged man" stereotype is down to a mixture of about 20% future shock, 20% existential disappointment with the way reality has turned out, and 60% being middle-aged hurts.

    If we get life prolongation we implicitly get rid of, or acquire the ability to heal from, the low grade injuries that make ageing so unpleasant. And by virtue of having an indefinite life expectancy we also acquire a degree of immunity from the effects of inadvisable life choices: does it matter if you just wasted 40 years of your life if you can write it off and start over without penalties? That just leaves future shock, and the one show-stopper I can't get a handle on is the likely effects of indefinite life prolongation on human cognitive functioning. Worst case, I can see ancients freezing into stereotyped rote behaviour and failing to learn anything new, ever: second-worst case is, they can adapt and learn new things, but tend to forget everything that's much more than a standard human lifespan old because the human neural connectome simply can't handle so many deep memory associations. (Best outcome is, they re-acquire the neural plasticity of early adulthood and keep it, while retaining the best/most useful memories acquired throughout their very long life.)

    Anyway, that's probably a topic for another blog essay -- but my basic point about self-perception of adulting failure is entirely contingent on the current structures we analyse our own lives in terms of: if we change the ground rules so fundamentally as to permit life promongation, everything is up for grabs again.


    The financial shocks of the '70s were still a fresh memory (especially in the minds of my '30s-born Irish parents) and so the pressure to do well in school was intense, because who knew what kind of competition there would be for any job at all in the 2000s?

    Am a bit older than you. Why do you think my initial stab at adulting involved studying for and them qualifying and working as a pharmacist -- a career for which having any imagination whatsoever is a severe handicap? (Hint: imagination -- I haz it!) It's a regulated profession; unemployment is essentially zero, and as one of the Thatcher generation of secondary school graduates, allowing myself to be steered towards a personally inappropriate but economically secure profession was ... not easy to question at age 16.

    That's seven years of my life I won't get back. Oh well, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade: when life hands you opiates ...


    Yeah Tell me about it ( Though you already know, I think ) Many years ago I had very bad injuries ( Lost a LOT of blood ) which changed my "character & had lasting effects. I know that breaking my arm ( or a bit of it ) nearly 2 years back made me very twitchy, as you also know & currently the OTHER damned shoulder is now creaking, because of, probably, arthritis. Sweeping all of that away would improve one's life between, say now and reaching even one#s 120th birthday a great improvement. Let's drink to medical advances!


    Much sympathy.

    (It's a place I am continually expecting to go Real Soon Now; eldest parent is 92 and frail, and you don't get better from being 92.)


    After having lived with minor pain for decades, you do get used to it, I assure you; I can no longer remember being out of it. Though perhaps I have always been grumpy :-)

    I fully agree about the cognition problem - that's the reason that I regard even near-immortality as provably impossible. It is also why I regard the current dogma that physical survival should be preserved at all costs as horrific, though I can understand (and even share) the emotional reason. We should be trying to maximise productive, enjoyable and independent life, rather than keeping a heart beating in a husk.


    You iron your tee-shirts?!? WTF?!?

    (I arrange my wardrobe to minimize the amount of ironing required simply because it's tedious, annoying, and constitutes dead time during which it's impossible to concentrate properly on anything else without cocking it up. Had years of losing a couple of hours every Sunday to ironing the dress shirts for the working week ahead: no more tears shed over losing that chore than over not driving 40 minutes to/from work every day, which adds up to 7-8 lost hours of "me time" every week.)


    Inadvisable life choices ... apart from illegal/immoral stuff, are you questioning the basis of such choices? Since at 16 you were still a kid, pretty dumb for the system (education/career) to force you into a choice of a lifetime career. (Yes, I understand parental pressure to 'do something with your life', etc.)

    IMO, life is more like a matrioshka doll than a straight line: abilities, aptitudes and values change with experience/life. Also, I'm of the opinion that education is never wasted even if it doesn't directly translate into a pay check.

    Middle-age blahs ... yep, got me some of those ... and can hardly wait until I get the full-on senior/old folks variety. Have already looked into yoga and tai chi. Major obstacle is that in my area the professional practitioners/instructors use these as religions vs. exercise/destressing. How can any atheist relax when some moron in tights is constantly yammering on about the essential oneness of the ... (sky fairy of choice). Aarghhhh!


    I was lucky enough (FSVO luck) that all the bad career choice cost me was time (about as much time as you'd usually serve for an armed robbery or violent rape in this country, albeit under far less onerous physical conditions -- although don't discount the emotional cost: it ended in a nervous breakdown). In the current situation, with student loans a thing, it'd also have cost me about twice as much as the value of my first mortgage.

    So yeah, inflicting this sort of choice on a naive 16 year old is in my adult view completely unethical and unjustifiable.


    Okay, got it ... I hadn't figured in that level of emotional cost, nor present-day student loans.

    I switched majors in my 3rd year after some real-life related work experience which convinced me that I really really didn't want to spend the rest of my life working in major #1. Informed my new choice by taking a barrage of professionally administered aptitude tests, etc. This switch in majors set me back a bit time-wise and to a lesser extent economically. After graduation, took almost 5 years to finally get into my preferred job/career* and at the cost of a pay cut/loss of job seniority (including vacation time ... sigh). Some dicey moments mostly because of earnings expectations which can be a real relationship stressor.

    • This career path was never even discussed during any career days at high school or in my first three years of undergrad. It was only because of those aptitude tests that I found out about this career option and how my new major would prep me for it ... and what additional courses I might need down the road.

    Have used this personal experience in discussion with interns, new grads, prog, etc. that they should strive their best to learn their current job including whether or not that job is for them.

    Wonder if a gap-year might have shortened my education-career path any.


    May I ask what is your preferred job/career which was never discussed? Or is it something you keep secret? :)


    Prefer not to discuss mostly because people think it's utterly b-o-o-o-ring (i.e., eyes glaze over, sudden change in topic, remember they have to be somewhere else, etc.) whenever I talk shop ...

    You're welcome to guess though!


    most middle-aged or older folks are in chronic low-grade pain from damaged joins, aching muscles, or the effects of old injuries

    Really? I'm flying on personal anecdotes here, but at age 70 I, my spouse and several (not all) acquaintances of similar age are only bothered by the occasional twinge, perhaps an arthritic thumb and such. It's been months since we've as much as dropped an ibuprofen pill.


    but at age 70 I, my spouse and several (not all) acquaintances of similar age are only bothered by the occasional twinge

    Then you're incredibly lucky (source: British Medical Journal, which I will take over anecdata any day of the week).


    Pretty much the same here, although I'm only 63. Because I have practiced martial arts for almost 40 years I have been in low level chronic pain for decades for very good reasons - normally impact injuries, bruises etc. It's only now I have "retired" and only do gym three times a week that the pain has evaporated. Some skeletal injuries remain, but as long as I exercise the pain remains at bay.


    Thank you. I hope, that when event inevitably occurs, it's not too traumatic or complex for you and your family.


    I have "retired" and only do gym three times a week that the pain has evaporated. Some skeletal injuries remain, but as long as I exercise the pain remains at bay.

    Yes, we and acquaintances do take care to do somewhat serious but not impactful exercise every day for an hour or so, go out and shop, get up from the computer frequently, keep close care of weight etc., etc.

    Not saying that there aren't many conditions for which all of the above would be totally useless and completely irrelevant, because, unfortunately, many such exist. In those cases, various interventions are the way to go.


    Perhaps a P.S.:

    What do we mean by chronic low-grade pain here? Is it something that intrudes enough that you have to pay attention to it even if you'd rather not? Or something that, if you start searching around your sensations, you could pick up on but otherwise not notice? I suspect the former, but is that right?


    Hah. This is really funny. Because there are a lot of traditional adulting things in my life: I am married (20 years), have two kids, teach a martial art and president of my club...

    ...but I cannot help but measure my maturity against the validation I get from selling novels. Whenever that happens it "justifies" all the playful unfocussed parts of my life, as well as the random career path and changing interests. And I resent myself for not getting my literary shit together sooner.

    It follows that I've always regarded Charlie as better at adulting than I am (I suppose because he's been more successful at monetizing his inner child).


    What, it takes you hours to do the ironing? :)

    I can iron a T-shirt in under a minute - I only take an hour or so because I put on the TV to catch up, and it's the ironing for a family of four (time-consuming items: wife's suit shirts and kids' school trousers, two minutes each).

    Granted, we would like to thank Marks & Spencer for their non-iron school shirts...


    It's a regulated profession; unemployment is essentially zero, and as one of the Thatcher generation of secondary school graduates, allowing myself to be steered towards a personally inappropriate but economically secure profession was ... not easy to question at age 16.

    Exactly. With the benefit of hindsight I completely understand where my parents came from, and that I'm pathetically ungrateful to have job criteria beyond "maximises my earning potential" but I could have done without the near-nervous breakdown of doing a Maths A-Level I was fundamentally unequipped for.

    Another characteristic of my reverse-childhood is that I used to get constant anxiety dreams about missing classes and so on. Finally in my early thirties I started having naked lunch moments in those dreams where I would say, wait a minute, I have a degree and a house and car, why am I bothering with this penny-ante bullshit? Then I'd get in the car and drive off. And the car would start shrinking around me and sometimes turn into a jam tart. But anyway, significantly more carefree as an adult, by dint of having control over what bullshit I engage with, and the financial independence to walk away from bullshit.

    Actually... as I type that last sentence, I wonder if another reason none of us feels grown up is that not only is our sense of adulthood shaped by the observation of our parents, our sense of childhood is shaped by their expectations of childhood. Be more carefree! Do exactly as we say! Enjoy your youth! Stop asking for money to do things with! Savour your innocence! Learn to function in a world full of cruelty and fucking!

    All of our parents' expectations of our childhoods are filtered through an adult lens for values that seem delightful when you've forgotten how frustrating it is to be broke, powerless, and completely unsure of who you are.


    I think society should call an ironing truce and everyone should just pretend that the technology to remove crinkles from shirts does not exist. The time and energy saved would be considerable.

    I don't iron shirts because the look of unironed shirts bothers me, but because society expects me to do so and (particularly when, for example, I'm in front of a Parliamentary committee or similar).


    I can't speak for what OGH means but, as for myself (and, to some extent, other old people I know and have known):

    Pain that intrudes enough that you have to deliberately ignore it, perhaps by concentrating fully on something else. It often still interferes, somewhat.

    Intermittent, more serious, pain that prevents you doing what you are doing, so you have to take steps to alleviate it or wait until it goes away.

    Pain that prevents you doing certain, normal, desired activities for more than short periods, or restricts the level to which you can do them.

    For most people, pain that is slightly muted by over-the-counter drugs, but not enough to be worth taking them. In some people, the pain isn't removed even by 'ordinary' prescription drugs.


    Upon rereading, please replace the qualification in the last paragraph by "but (for many of them) not enough to be worth taking them." Whether people take painkillers is very variable. And remember that aspirin, ibuprofen etc. are NOT simply pain-killers, and their anti-inflammatory effect often helps as much as their analgesic one.


    There are also little bits of info I occasionally come across that might be useful for older people. One of which is that salicylates slow the rate of muscle loss in ageing. For people who cannot take aspirin the all round wonder drug, there is ursolic acid


    Let me think back to when I last did ironing... no... too long ago. I have always had jobs where dress is irrelevant.


    I get recurring dreams like that. I am back at school, dressed in school uniform and coming up to A levels. Then I think, "Why am I bothering with this? - I already have a degree and a job!". I should note that I never had exam anxiety - always top of the class without needing to even revise.


    The list of painkillers I have "experienced" - aspirin, ibuprofen, coproxamol, paracetamol (useless), codeine, hydrocodone, pethidine, tramadol, fentanyl, morphine. Apart from injuries, I have often used codeine to relieve muscular pain after training so as to be able to sleep. However, I must say that I much prefer morphine over codeine. It's like a fine Scotch compared to a bottle of Tesco's Old Scratch. It's also one of the sports council's banned substances. Athletes "abuse" it because it enables them to train harder without pain. A bit of a puritan view IMHO. I'm a big fan of nice drugs, in case nobody has noticed. It's one of the transition points (for me) between being a child and an adult - relinquishing mindless taboos and making informed choices based on evidence and experience.


    I buy most of my clothes including shirts from Rohan.They don't need ironing.


    Apropos various commenters: I am seeing a lot of unexamined privilege, y'know? Specifically middle-aged white male techies who are going "well, because I am able to arrange my life for my personal convenience it follows that pressure towards social conformity is an illusion and anybody who has to outwardly manifest signs of adulthood or is troubled by their own inability to do so is a weakling". Or, shorter, "I don't share your problem so obviously it can't exist."

    (Ironing or non-ironing of shirts seems to be a hot-button issue for this: a symptom of the pervasiveness of social/employment dress codes.)


    I quite understand. But I have made a point of never working for a company that requires a dress code. Army excepted. Obviously most people can't do that. I have always hated social conformity and have been privileged to have a very high IQ that has allowed me to escape it for most of my life. Plus, I don't give a fuck - also a privileged minority.


    Yeah, I recognise that in me. At my work, I have needed to reconsider my attitude to dressing. As a software developer (and moreso as an astronomer, which I was years ago) the dress code was along the lines of jeans and a t-shirt, the more nerdy the slogan the better. Now, as I have been doing technical security audits (that is, breaking web sites) for some years I have moved on to collared shirts at least when talking face-to-face with customers. Now, as an auditor, it seems that the dress needs to be even more sharp.


    I would also point out that this debate on childhood vs adulthood is also prefixed by growing up and living in a developed country. I still hear from people who grew up and lived most of their lives under communism that most Americans aren't really adults (the nicer form of that comment).


    For most professionals of my age, suits were what you wore during the week, and casual at the weekend. For my friends who became solicitors or accountants, or who had customer-facing roles in engineering, there was little or no choice in dress code for working hours.

    I had the inverse situation; techie during the week (jeans and t-shirt / fleece), and then a weekend as a reservist where I was expected to dress for dinner if not in uniform / out in the field. I had only one suit, but I was perfectly comfortable wearing it (and equally comfortable in a dinner jacket / mess dress).

    Conformist, me :) but it did mean that work colleagues were generally surprised when they saw me in a suit, looking smart for once...

    PS New marker for adulthood - buying yourself an overcoat for your (one, for interviews) suit and not relying on an anorak or "just getting wet"...


    I'm a contractor, in a creative role in the software development industry. I can wear essentially whatever I like to work, and I have noticed a definite hierarchy of the amount of disagreement a given statement faces, depending on how I'm dressed that day. It goes:

    Jeans, T-Shirt and Vans – Most disagreement Designer Jeans, Designer T-Shirt and Chelsea boots Designer Jeans, Button Down Shirt and Vans Designer Jeans, Button Down Shirt and Chelsea boots Proper Trousers, Button Down Shirt and Chelsea boots Designer Jeans, Button Down Shirt and really fierce Chelsea boots Suit and Chelsea boots Well-fitted Suit and Chelsea boots - Least disagreement

    Which I find to be an interesting reading of privilege. After all, it's not like the wisdom behind any given statement I make changes depending on what I'm wearing. But if I look like the dudes in suits I have an easier time than if I look like Moss from the IT Crowd.

    OTOH arguing is easier than ironing so I usually hover around the designer t-shirt mark.


    Lest I be accused of arrogance I want to quickly unpack this sentence...

    After all, it's not like the wisdom behind any given statement I make changes depending on what I'm wearing.

    Please read the word wisdom with tongue firmly in cheek. As a creative a large part of my job is to explore all the bad ideas so we can dismiss them before we spend money building them. I provide a large chunk of value to the company employing me by being wrong a lot.


    "Lest I be accused of arrogance..." Well, anyone is quite welcome to call me arrogant, because I am. Anyway, I have noticed the same kind of clothing hierarchies. At its crudest, engineers who want to be managers wear a tie, and those who don't, don't. I have always had a contempt for those people who are impressed with how someone else dresses, or how expensive their watch is. They are idiots at best.


    I have always had a contempt for those people who are impressed with how someone else dresses, or how expensive their watch is. They are idiots at best.

    There are degrees. Some people have learned how to dress well and even wear nice (mind you, not expensive!) watches. I am impressed with well-dressed people, usually when partying or having a dress-up dinner or something. It doesn't have to be expensive (though for example a hand-made suit or dress usually is). I am (usually, or at least try not to be) impressed by others' clothes' cost, directly.

    At work, it depends, too. Sometimes the suit is the uniform, and it's easier to wear it. Also, the idiots who look at how you dress might be the ones paying your salary, so sometimes it pays to dress how they want.

    For me, it's a continuing discussion with myself about what I can abide. This has also changed during the years, and I like to somewhat press the "acceptable dress" for supposed males, mostly during my free time.


    It's also about clique or tribal identity signals. "Are you one of us?" This goes right down to how you tie your shoelaces or "old school tie".


    '...seeing a lot of unexamined privilege, y'know?'

    Okay - so how do you want us to parse this?

    As previously mentioned, my parents are from eastern Europe and lived through hellish times which I've heard about almost entirely from their relatives and friends. In my teens I once asked both parents to tell me what happened - they wouldn't because it was still too upsetting. They carry those memories with them all the time ... screaming/swearing in the enemy's language ... and it's getting worse as dementia progresses. So, the deliberate insulation of their kids from horror: is this a privilege?

    Okay - In high school one of my history teachers picked me for school delegate to the national high school UN Club: watching WW2 docs and talking with actual UN representatives were a major part of the weekend. I joined/continued with this club until graduating high school. So, I have info from textbooks, watched vetted/approved documentaries and spoken with a few people who were there. But I still feel that this is not enough for me to really understand where my parents and my older sibs 'came from', what they had to go through in order to become adult. I don't think I want to know this to compete with them in any misery Olympics (i.e., who had it harder), I just want to understand. Maybe there's some: You've seen/looked at my life, why can't I look at/see yours?


    'Also, the idiots who look at how you dress might be the ones paying your salary, so sometimes it pays to dress how they want.'

    In those cases, I'm disturbed by management that favors coworkers who dress beyond their means. Knowing exactly what you're paid and then expecting you to splash out a great deal of that money on maintaining the outward signifiers of a rich lifestyle seems to select for not very successful personality traits.


    Sorry, but effective visual and non-verbal communication is expected in some jobs and industries. Dressing appropriately is implicit: You have to look the part in order to get the part.


    My part for decades has been "contractor". So far the current regular job I have is the record holder - I have been in it 3 years. I dress how I like and deliver the results they want from an R&D scientist/engineer (yes, I got promoted to that title). My view of people who say "check your privilege" is that it is a term used to dismiss and belittle the accomplishments of anyone who has a differing opinion. It's one of the few things that annoys me about Charles. But no problem - I probably wind him up to a far bigger degree.


    I haven't ironed an item of clothing since the 20th century.

    The only customer-facing job I have ever had was in an independent record store (so no dress code) and if you wear a suit to sign on at the Job Centre, expect derision at best, and physical violence at worst.

    I wore a suit to my current job for about fortnight, then de-evolved sartorially into shirt-tie-trousers, shirt-trousers, and now grey-shirt-black trousers/chinos

    It was self-evident I was not going to be made Permanent Secretary to the Treasury however many times I wore a suit.

    I now wear more-or-less the same thing every day, whether it's a workday or not...

    Well, if it was good enough for Steve Jobs...


    Based on contemporary TV/film, R&D scientists/engineers are NOT the most nattily dressed ... that's how you can identify them. Similar to old-time accountants with the skinny (unfashionable) ties and unsexy black rimmed glasses. In my experience, 'creatives' almost always telegraph their 'creative independence' by dressing against the establishment dress code ... doing so is actually being true to their peer group's uniform. A 'creative' in a smart business suit - now, that's different!


    I think a bottle of Oramorph to every sufferer of chronic pain would solve a lot of the NHS's problems, if only they would prescribe the stuff.

    A 500 ml bottle every three months, perhaps?

    In a similar fashion, a society in which everybody is free to, and does, choose to spend the majority of their time zonked out of their brains will know that there is something significantly wrong with reality, and (one would hope) do what it can to make that reality more appealing and less - in the pejorative sense - mundane.


    Expensive watches as a marker of adulthood is a concept which seems thoroughly back to front to me.

    A watch is a device for telling the time, therefore its suitability for purpose is a direct function of how well it tells the time. These days you can get a watch for a fiver which will run for years without replacing the battery, which is immune to mechanical shock, and which has a degree of accuracy John Harrison would have given his right bollock for. But despite this, people still pay five hundred or five thousand pounds for a watch which stops if you don't wind it, is mechanically delicate, and is less accurate.

    To spend such a huge sum on something which is of lower quality than an alternative which costs a thousandth of the price is not sensible and a waste of money. Whereas according to my upbringing, adult behaviour involves not wasting money and not doing things which are not sensible. Therefore, people who buy expensive watches are behaving childishly, and as a signifier of adulthood it is counterproductive.

    I first became aware of the concept of "conspicuous consumption" when I was still a kid, and even then immediately categorised it as childishness. It is, after all, simply a high-falutin' synonym for that epitome of childish behaviour, showing off.


    No; the pharmacokinetics of oral solutions of opiates mean they're fairly rapidly absorbed and short-acting. Ideally you'd want some sort of sustained release formulation -- probably an enteric-coated tablet. Also, opiates aren't great if you are remotely prone to constipation, and they're not antiinflammatories.

    Mind you, for the last few weeks of a terminal cancer British hospitals used to be just fine prescribing Brompton Mixture -- diamorphine and cocaine syrup. (Diamorphine aka Heroin™ to deal with the pain, cocaine to take the edge off the sedative effect.) Not something you want to deal with long term, but as a way to give the terminally ill a few hours or days to say goodbye while reasonably alert and pain-free ...


    Five thousand pounds for a watch? Miserly! I've seen watches that go for a quarter of a million and up.

    Mechanical watches, at the high end, are basically unique pieces of jewellery. You don't need one but they sure are pretty and they're acceptable adornments on a male-gendered wrist in a way that a gem-studded gold bracelet isn't.


    Never had either heroine or cocaine (yet), and will probably never try cocaine because of blood pressure. Heroin, maybe. However I have had both oromorph and IV morphine. Quite nice, but less addictive than sugar, for me. After a month gulping down 300ml of the stuff the only withdrawal symptom was one day with a bad stomach. As for constipation, just get a pizza and liberally splash with olive oil. Should have saved some for Christmas - I was thinking of fortifying it with Absinthe and renaming it "Old Overdose"


    I've never seen the point of the "look at my watch" attitude; granted, it's the second-least subtle indicator of dress insecurity (after jewelled tie pins, which are still thankfully regarded as best worn by Americans and Gangsters). I've got a Casio with solar power and a radio receiver; I want it to tell the time, accurately, instead of trying to impress the world by looking like a bribed politician.

    A bespoke suit is a sort-of aspiration of mine - I've just never been able to justify the expense, as it would only get worn two to three times a year between the occasional interviews, a decreasing number of weddings, an increasing number of funerals, and Remebrance Sunday (my annual atheist's trip to the Kirk).

    My mess dress and service dress was second-hand from the Regimental thrift shop; I got my dinner jacket when my father outgrew it (Hardy Amies, c.1970, unofficial Regimental Tailor for his Corps); and the same applied to my first kilt (grandfather outgrew it - it was allegedly the result of some wartime dealing with the Quartermaster of the Highland Light Infantry). I did treat myself to a kilt in the family tartan to wear at our wedding, though...

    I have had several bespoke suits for my target shooting, but that's necessary, and I trained and competed in each of them until they were worn out. Double canvas, single breasted, and fetching topgrip on shoulders, elbows, and knees :) courtesy of Mouche GmbH...


    Medicinal speedballs...hmmm

    Anything that would ease my mother's arthritic suffering would be devoutly wished for.

    All my problems (bar depression) can be solved with OTC NSAIDs.

    So far.

    I still think aspirin is a superior drug to paracetamol, ibuprofen etc.

    Diclofenac is the only NSAID that comes near it for me.

    Does nothing for my mum, alas.


    The NHS is moving away from prescribing diclofenac due to side effects. Have you tried giving your mother 5000 units a day of Vit D3? It's the only supplement where I have actually felt a difference with regard to arthritis. I started to develop it years ago and D3 reversed the symptoms. Which returned a few weeks after I stopped. So now I do D3 as part of my permanent "stack".


    Diclofenac (or was it cocodamol?) for the three or four days it took me to pass my last kidney stone... helped a bit X) They were willing to give me opiates, but only in hospital, and I'd rather be at home albeit in marginally more pain.


    The only upmarket watch that's ever tempted me

    I could afford one too, just.

    Decided to stick with a Casio F-91W instead.


    Normally cocodamol (30mg codeine) at home or in hospital I got pethidine. Since then I always carry both codeine and tramadol on me. When you need a serious painkiller, you really don't want to make a doctor's appointment.


    Since I refuse to grow up, I went with a Koa wood watch ( rather than something big and metallic. It's a nice bit of understated jewelry that still grabs attention, more so in Hawai'i than elsewhere.


    Man, hard core. Since anything resembling a strong opioid painkiller makes me vomit uncontrollably, I'll leave them for when I'm in the hospital and on a strong anti-emetic.

    Otherwise, I have had coca-leaf tea, which is about as strong as green tea. That's one of the sadder things about the world, that there's this prohibition against coca but not against coffee beans. After all, if you purified caffeine and handled it, you could get a lethal dose of that shit just by handling the powder. Cocaine's a lot less dangerous to handle, but because it was discovered much latter and used by brown people who'd been forcibly colonized, we got stupid about extracting the cocaine and then outlawed it. Granted, every drug plant is different, but had history played out differently, we'd be chewing coca leaves and a bit of lime on break time, instead of drinkin' a cuppa.


    The iPhone is this generation's 'watch' and even more obvious (in-your-face).


    Diclofenac has a seriously elevated risk of cardiovascular disease (as do most other NSAIDs, to a lesser extent) and all NSAIDs are currently considered contra-indicated in hypertension because they are mildly hypertensive. Exception: topical diclofenac gel (Voltarol™ Emulgel) for joint/muscle pains is a wonder drug and much less of a problem for blood pressure (per doctor's advice).


    I'm one of those privileged people who respond to opiates extremely well. My other half, Fiona, once ate one of my precious pethidine tablets and sometime later announced that she might be feeling something. A waste of good drugs! It seems men respond better than women to opiates. As for caffeine, you need about 500mg to get some good heart palpitations going. That amount of coke would probably kill you. I just wish I could go down the pharmacy and buy when needed.


    The iPhone is this generation's 'watch' and even more obvious (in-your-face).

    Well, regards to that, for the last fifteen years or so I have known a lot of people who don't use wrist watches, but instead check the time from their phone. It is often considered easier and more convenient than a wrist watch.

    I haven't seen the in-your-face attitude that much, either, but that's probably because of my circles. Something different, like a Jolla or a Oneplus, might get some attention, but mostly people I know consider phones a necessary evil.

    Of course this has to do with the people in my circles. I work in IT and even worked for a phone as a developer for years (the N9), so it's common to have the employer to provide a phone and many people can easily afford a second one if they want one for personal use.

    Personally, I have three wrist watches which I use, none of which is terribly expensive (for me) and only one of which was bought mainly for show. That's my "party watch" and I use it a couple of times a year, and it is very much like a bracelet.


    There is something in voltarol gel that makes my skin start to fall off after a couple of days. A pity, as the drug itself seems substantially more effective for the kind of injuries I get than ibuprofen.


    Except 75 mg of aspirin per diem :-) I didn't know diclofenac was a NSAID - thanks for the education - as a painkiller (as prescribed for me), it was NBG - one tablet and it is cupboard-filling.

    On another post of yours, I was sad when it became a rich man's hobby to wear mechanical watches, and was forced into wearing quartz ones :-( But, nowadays, I agree that they are up-market jewelry.


    I was prescribed a Diclofenac cream(Solaraze) specifically to do that. Oral Diclofenac made the pain worse on the only occasion that I had it for pain felief-so I stopped using it.


    The skin on my wrists is unusually sensitive, which makes wristwatches very unpleasant. Basically, after wearing one for 20-30 minutes, the skin underneath the band begins to itch terribly. As a teenager I used to do things like wear a watch on the outside of a sweater sleeve; when adult I just carried a watch in my pocket. Once cell phones appeared I got one, and never had to deal with the evil things again.


    I haven't ironed this millennium. I don't even own a suit, a tie, a shirt with a collar or dress shoes. I have a dozen or so identical black t-shirts, four pairs of grey jeans and wear off-brand safety boots for outdoors. I also wear a black army cap outdoors. I incrementally replace all these as they wear out. Sometimes I replace the boot laces with elastic lock laces. I have a hoody for when it's colder and a raincoat for when it's wet. I have a Casio watch that synchronises with the radio clock signal so I never have to adjust it, not even for DST.


    Possibly DMSO? It has that effect at concentrations above about 60%


    I occasionally get gout attacks and am prescribed NSAIDS like Naproxen. That's when I notice all the other pains that go away...


    Luckily I don't I have that problem [hypertension], but my Doctor still won't prescribe diclofenac with my antidepressants, except as the gel [which is cheaper OTC anyway]

    I have my diminishing stockpile of tablets that I infrequently resort to.

    Dirk @ 224 - it's not a question of what I can give her, it's what she's prepared to take - she never exceeds the stated dose of anything. She's wary of overdoing the cocodamols, and general steers clear of vitamins/alternative therapies after a couple of bad experiences.

    Heteromeles @ 228 Yowsa! Those prices. For a timepiece!!eleventy1!

    I have the aforementioned digital watch, the computer I'm working on, my iPhone 6+ and at work I sit under a analogue clock, ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, as well.

    Probably chronometric overkill.


    Didn't notice that on the ingredients, but skin trouble was certainly on the listed side effects. I just made a note to use something else in future.

    On the opiates front, I tend to avoid them. I find that even codeine in the form of small doses of cocodamol is altogether too much fun for me to drive, cycle or operate a computer. Anything stronger has me throwing up.


    I've got a Casio with solar power and a radio receiver; I want it to tell the time, accurately, instead of trying to impress the world by looking like a bribed politician.

    Well, me too. I have a minor hobby, satellite watching, that likes to have precise time so I've used a clunky Casio black plastic digital display watch that sets itself off of WWVB. That said, I treated myself last birthday to a nicer-looking Casio for wearing out: WVA-M630D-7AJF. It does all the same stuff, radio, solar power etc. and had the additional virtue of forcing me to learn the Japanese characters for the days of the week, because I can't figure out how to switch them to English.


    I gave up wearing watches when I got my first Palm computer in 2003. I now use an iPhone with the chronometer app which is synchronised to NTP. For satellite watching there are dedicated apps. I use GoSatWatch but there are many others usually with alarms and maps. On the iPad there's Observatory which is an astronomical clock. I can't recommend this too highly.


    I only wear a watch when I go to the cinema, otherwise I check the time on my phone when I'm out.


    I don't have a phone or a watch; the last watch I had fell out of my shirt pocket (where I had put it after the strap broke) in ... 1989? 1990? and I didn't notice it had gone until it was too late to go back and look for it. I didn't care enough to replace it since in those situations - which turn out to be rather sparse - when it actually is important to know the time accurately, I found there was always a clock around anyway, and that has continued to be the case ever since; most of the time I can guess the hour to +/-15 minutes or so, and that's plenty good enough.

    Opiates - only experienced once, in hospital; don't know which one it was but it was bloody strong. I could see why people do get into it, but it wasn't my thing. Tried cocaine once and didn't like that either.

    Charlie's mention of Brompton's Mixture puts me in mind of Gregory's Mixture - notorious in Victorian times for its use in mitigating the unavailability of contraceptives. You could dope a baby up on it and not only would it stop it crying, it would also suppress its appetite, which was very useful when the food supply was inadequate to the demands of lactation. Eventually it would die, and the death would be put down to starvation, which pretty much counted as natural causes.


    For a piece of jewelry, those prices aren't bad, although I'll confess that we spent quite a bit less than the ones currently on the website.

    In any case, isn't it amazing how much a few pieces of well-formed acacia can run?


    Whereas I'm on a daily dose of Diclofenac - to keep the dreaded GOUT at bay. But my blood-pressure used to be very low, as in "Why are you alive, Greg?" And, though loathing all forms of competitive o=r team sports I manage to keep fit & active, so it's probably not a problem for me. Horses / Courses


    it's what she's prepared to take - she never exceeds the stated dose of anything. She's wary of overdoing the cocodamols

    Very sensibly so. (Dons ex-pharmacist hat): co-codamol is a combination of codeine and paracetamol (aka acetaminophen, if you speak American). The former is just an opiate -- a bit weaker/slower to take effect than the morphine it is metabolized to -- but the latter is the work of the devil and would not pass regulatory approval these days due to hepatotoxicity: even as little a 4000mg (eight tablets) in one dose can cause permanent liver damage leading to death in 2-6 days in a healthy adult, and apparently merely taking the maximum permitted dosage for a protracted period can lead to creeping liver damage as the blood titre of paracetamol rises over time.

    Co-codamol is prescribed so that users don't dare take too much of the good stuff (codeine) at a time and get high for fear of poisoning themselves. (Which kills several people every year because people are stupid or ignorant of the risks.) A single co-codamol tablet contains 500mg of Paracetamol and a varying amount of codeine: 8mg, 15mg, or 30mg. If it isn't working, ignorant users may think to take more of it, rather than go back to their GP and say "this isn't working, give me the version with extra codeine". Gaah.


    Something to add to that. People have been killed by taking the maximum recommended dose and adding a bottle of wine to the mix. Beyond that, for any junior junkies who want a clue, codeine is far more soluble in cold water than paracetamol.


    "We base our vision of an aspirational lifestyle on our parents, who in turn got it by looking at the culture they grew up in (and their parents in turn). The rich are okay"

    The rich I've known are often anxious about this exact thing.

    Because money doesn't buy you a stable career and family life. Daddy was senior partner in a prestigious law firm in the City, with wife and kids living at the Big House in the country. You've hit 40 and you've got lots of dosh and epic skills as a snow-boarder (or a failed list of artistic projects), a vaguely nomadic lifestyle, and a string of ex-relationships that never lasted.

    Many of these aspirations are not about material possessions. They are about tick-boxing cultural norms.


    The former is just an opiate -- a bit weaker/slower to take effect than the morphine it is metabolized to

    Yes, my mum's on the 30mg version of cocodamol...

    but the latter is the work of the devil and would not pass regulatory approval these days due to hepatotoxicity

    I personally refuse to touch the stuff, mostly on the grounds that stated dosages do precisely nothing for would be too tempting to take more.


    Actually, I recall being surprised that the Longitude clocks were more accurate than my cheap quartz watches.
    I don't have my library handy right now, so can't check the figures, but I am sure they were better than the likes of my Casio's. Even my expensive new one only promises something like 5 or 10 seconds a month of drift.

    Fortunately it is a PRW3500, so it has solar power, radio signal time checking, a compass, barometer, altimeter and the usual associated gubbins. It bought it as a backup device for hillwalking and because altimeters are actually very handy on the hills in low visibility, I don't know why more people don't use them.

    Adulting is I think partly about knowing what you want and going and getting it, when applied to more complex desires than "I want more sweets". It took a couple of hours of reading reviews and looking at what was available before I picked this watch.


    In order to reduce power consumption, watches generally use a 32768Hz crystal. To get it to go at such a low frequency, it has to be of a tuning fork cut, which is undesirably temperature-sensitive. It relies on body heat to keep it at a constant temperature; how well this works is highly variable, depending on sleeve length, proportion of outdoor activity, whether or not you take it off in bed, etc. etc. My impression is that the quoted accuracy figures have actually increased in tolerance over the years, which I would guess is due to watch manufacturers realising that it is more lifestyle-dependent than they had assumed when the things first started coming out. The BIOS RTC in a PC uses the same crystals, but there is no temperature regulation at all, which is why the accuracy is fuck awful. (And it still canes the battery much faster than a watch that uses the same battery; it is not a design that I can take seriously.)

    Given the same crystals, John Harrison could have built a watch and issued operating instructions which included such a stipulation as "keep the watch strapped into your armpit at all times, including when asleep".

    An interesting point about these crystals is that if you don't drive them with kitten power, they prefer to oscillate at 6 times the fundamental frequency. This seems to confuse people who are trying to drive them with PICs in the same way as a "normal" crystal, but it is also very useful if you want a crystal oscillator that goes at 200kHz-odd.


    "Co-codamol is prescribed so that users don't dare take too much of the good stuff (codeine) at a time and get high for fear of poisoning themselves. (Which kills several people every year because people are stupid or ignorant of the risks.)"

    The real stupid people are the ones who think booby-trapping something with a threshold-effect poison is even remotely a good idea in the first place...

    And for what? Golly, can't have people becoming addicted to something that is available in shops at pharmaceutical purity for a few pence, they might start being happy without having to go through a corresponding amount of shit, and that would never do. Can't have people finding viable alternatives to the government-mandated approved sources of contentment, or they might start realising what a pile of shit those sources really are.

    It doesn't even work, either; I knew someone who was addicted to Solpadeine, and if I knew one such person there must be plenty more out there...


    Unknown to most of the population it is possible to go to some pharmacies and buy a bottle of pure codeine solution without a prescription. It is not illegal. Or you can do the same thing online


    As always thanks to Charlie for kicking off another interesting discussion, and to everyone else chiming in with observations. Oh, and a belated Happy Birthday to you!

    I've followed the thread since it began, as I've been wondering about very similar things recently. If the perception of 'adulting' is the collection (as discussed) of:

    • good job/salary
    • house
    • car
    • spouse
    • children

    Then I've ticked off all these. But I certainly don't 'feel' adult - as perceptions of adulthood often seem to imply a kind of gravitas or serious outlook. Screw that! (although of course in my work life I am professional, I also feel that if you're not having fun, you need to be looking to do something else. And as my current senior management seem hell bent on destroying our company to satisy the VC's, I think it's about that time - I have my first proper job interview in nearly 22 years on Tuesday)

    Some here have mentioned that they began to feel adult due to the passing of their parents. Well, I've had a number of such events in the past few years (I'm 48 now), and none of them seem to have changed my outlook - just my emotional state. Lost my big brother to alcoholism in 2012, followed a couple of months later by my dad passing away (84, good innings, cardiac problems). My wife fell ill in 2014, and passed away just 5 weeks later from cancer - my son was 15 (going on 30) at the time, and thankfully has coped brilliantly. And then he was admitted to hospital last September with a massive internal bleed (turned out to be a rare issue where an enlarged artery gets pinpricked by a tiny stomach ulder), and they wheeled him into the same bay in the same A&E ward as my wife 18 months before - I apologised to the ambulance crew for my language as I said 'you have got to be fucking kidding me!'. And he was the one telling me not to worry...

    Thankfully he was treated and bounced back quickly in the way teenagers do. Part of my life outlook means I see him not just as a son, but as the annoying little brother I never had.

    So I guess it's all about outlook - if holding Linda's hand as she passed away didn't suddenly make me feel like an adult, I don't think anything will.

    And to lighten the mood, some wise words from birthday cards I've recently bought for friends:

    "Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell just happened"

    "Don't get your knickers in a twist about your age. It solves nothing, and just makes you walk funny"


    Thanks for the information, but are you agreeing or disagreeing with me? ;)


    I did not expect the drift into watches but we're well along now. It's certainly true that I wore a Casio databank watch for many years, and occasionally got a surprised person commenting on seeing a calculator watch. It also held telephone numbers and event notifications; the DBC-62 was a good piece of kit in the 1990s. Yes, of course I considered improvements even then, particularly the questionable choice of light button placement.

    These days I've got a pad that will keep my calendar for me and a phone that remembers numbers. My current Timex is much less impressive to look at, though I appreciate the tritium hands and waterproofing.


    I think I'm saying that agreement or disagreement is contingent upon circumstances :) And then appending some waffle for general interest.


    Good grief. I had no idea. Makes the poison pills thing look even more pointless.


    "Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell just happened"

    Says it all, really, doesn't it?

    Oh & SS @ 259

    Err ... Tritium is a GAS at room temperature - was that a typo for Titanium?


    Ah, you appear to be unaware of the use of tritium in watches: Tritium Illumination


    I always saw the use of tritium as a statement of intent about how long your brand new expensive shiny watch was designed to last.

    Now Radium on the other hand...


    Governments have a long and dishonourable history of poisoning their own people in the name of morality enforcement. Paracetamol with opiates isn't the worst by a long way.

    Solpadeine, if I remember correctly, is codeine with aspirin -- less lethal in overdose than paracetamol (but still not nice: elevated risk of a fatal cardiovascular accident, chronic use can cause bleeding ulcers, and in overdose may cause permanent damage to the inner ear resulting in tinnitus.)


    A lot longer than yon Apple watch though.

    (I'm not sure there's any real barrier to replacing the tritium - the tubes are attached to surfaces so presumably they could be detached and fresh ones attached.)


    Last time I saw tritium used it was in assault rifle night sights. At least there they weren't as a statement of intent of how long they were designed to last - the model is from the 1960's, though mine was manufactured later. (And has had its tritium sights probably changed a couple of times after I used it.)


    Different use case though. Tritium sights are tools which are designed to be bought once, last ages and have replaceable glowy bits.

    Tritium watches are jewelry.


    Ah a different way of giving your product-users radiation poisoning. a.k.a. the old-fashioned "glow in the dark" watches (& during WWII) aircraft instruments.

    Where I used to work, they had made dials for those instruments during said conflict. And, the paint mix was often hand-ground using the pestle-&-mortar method (!) One of our "managers", without realising what it was had rescued one of theses handmixers (for want of a better description) & kept it in his office. One day on =e of the labs got a new, more sensitive "Geiger-counter" ( Note the quotes, I can't remember what actual counter-type it was) & having tested it on controlled sources, the user was walking down the coirridor, without having remembered to switch it of - as it went past said office it, err "noticed" radiation - quite strong radiation. At first it was thought that the new machine was faulty, but repeated tests showed that it was very location-specific & when they actually went into the correct office it got even more err "active". Said pestle/mortar was wrapped up in lead foil & disposed of. The rest of us thought it highly amusing, especially when my immediate boss, who like me thought said "manager" was shite, reminded him that radiation makes all your hair fall out - he was totally bald & very sensitive about it ....


    Not entirely. I use the 'glow in the dark' aspect of my watch hands a lot, and so do a fair number of other people. Also, anyone who uses a night sight is likely to need a watch that can be read in the dark! Turning on even a dim torch or backlit display is something you want to avoid. That applies whether you are stalking animals or humans.


    Quite. I have been prescribed 60 mg of codeine for coughing serious enough to prevent me sleeping for multiple nights in a row, but they are extremely reluctant to prescribe 30 mg for pain.


    Nope, Elderly_Cynic @270 is absolutely correct.

    Creating a military watch with a replaceable tritium marker would be uneconomic. Cheaper to make watches that last ten years - by which time the watches will be somewhat battered and scratched, understatement - and then, if the watches have survived, replace them.

    Try googling "traser" - popular if you're a soldier feeling a bit flush, most people just used a Casio G-Shock or similar.

    I should also point out that the use of light is occasionally necessary in the military - say you want to consult a route card, you might use red light to avoid ruining your night vision. If you need to check a map, red light can be a problem (contour lines on an OS map don't show up under red light) at which point you use a tiny masked-to-a-pinpoint white light and close one of your eyes.

    Of course, your night vision is affected as soon as you look through a night-vision scope... fortunately, they tend to be green and quite dim, so it's not as disruptive to your night vision as white light.

    Handy trivia for night vision - don't look at things directly. The rods in your retina (black/white detection) are more sensitive to light than the cones (colour vision), and there's a greater concentration of them off-axis. You'll find a night-vision "slightly-blinder-spot" right in the centre of your field of view; try looking a bit to one side of the subject.


    I never found the things useful myself. I think my hatrted of wearing wrist watches probably colours my judgement a bit though.

    I do have glowing bits on my compass and altimeter for night nav, but they are the old school paint that is both fairly ineffective and lasts forever.


    at which point you use a tiny masked-to-a-pinpoint white light and close one of your eyes.

    See also, the popular stereotype of 17th/18th century pirates wearing eye patches. Yes, some of them had lost an eye -- but as I understand it, the normal reason was that while boarding an enemy ship, if you had to discharge a black powder pistol in the dim/unlit spaces below deck you wanted to have a working eye afterwards. So: cover eye #1 with patch until shot fired, then immediately uncover eye #2, flip the patch to cover your temporarily flash-blinded eye #1, and keep on moving.


    Not to say that showing even a very dim light will scare off animals. If a map is lit brightly enough for a human to read at a foot, it is bright enough to attract the attention of a nocturnal animal a LOT further away! I should be flabberghasted if the same weren't true for humans with night vision scopes, but I have never used one. Or even unassisted, if fairly close.


    So: cover eye #1 with patch until shot fired, then immediately uncover eye #2, flip the patch to cover your temporarily flash-blinded eye #1, and keep on moving.

    "Aircraft pilots used to use an eye patch, or close one eye to preserve night vision when there was disparity in the light intensity within or outside their aircraft, such as when flying at night over brightly lit cities, so that one eye could look out, and the other would be adjusted for the dim lighting of the cockpit to read unlit instruments and maps.[11]... Some military pilots have worn a lead-lined or gold-lined eyepatch, to protect against blindness in both eyes, in the event of a nuclear blast or laser weapon attack.[13][14][15]"


    Which is why you only do so while shielded from view :) Use of unshielded light, in line of sight to anywhere, is the kind of thing that is... "noticed" during training. And not in a good way. "Yoohoo! We're over here!"

    Use of tripflares / miniflares / parachute flares; active IR torches; radar and radio; were all things that fell under the counter-surveillance / target-acquisition plan for the unit. All it takes is Private Numbnuts to push transmit and blow into the microphone, because he's not sure his radio is working, and your carefully-concealed position is possibly compromised - which was why in those days it was LCpl Less-Daft that got to carry a radio, not Pte Numbnuts. It's also why mobile phones stress out the Regimental Signals Officer, when they aren't saving his bacon by working when his cunning VHF/HF comms plan doesn't :)

    There are several certainties on a battalion exercise: - Comms will go down, and the young Signals Officer will get shouted at - Recce will fail to notice something, and the young Recce Platoon commander will get shouted at - Logistics will screw up, and the rather mature Quartermaster will be tutted at gently because he remembers when the CO was a young platoon commander


    Speaking of weird lights and geiger counters, I had the fun job of refurbishing a lab in grad school. Previously, that lab had been used to study the genetics of aflatoxin, which meant that there were both toxic and radioactive contaminants were possible. Equally annoying, the professor had gone on to another job, the grad students and post docs had left behind a mess of their work, and other labs had shoved their junk in the room when they didn't have space for it. Lovely situation.

    Fortunately, another grad student who knew what they were doing had gone through the lab years before and presumably got all the really bad stuff out before I got there, but there were dried up petri dishes in the drawers. Fun stuff.

    One trick about aflatoxin is that the fungus fluoresces under UV light. So I got myself a UV light, waited for nightfall (the window blinds weren't dark enough) and found out that there was glowing stuff in every crack and corner of the lab. Once I got over my freak-out, I collected some of that dust and put it under a microscope. Hmmm, it looks like fibers, maybe cotton. Finally it dawned on me that most detergents use UV dyes in them as "brighteners." What I was looking at were the fibers left by dusting the lab with cotton cloths that had been washed...

    When I finally got the Geiger counter working reliably, I went through the lab and made sure the whole damn thing was cold.

    Then we rebuilt it: PCR on one end of the lab, fungi extraction from soil on the other end of the lab, barriers to cross contamination in the middle. Believe it or not, it worked...


    Mum imported her car from Australia to NZ in the 70s when NZ cars were insanely expensive. She'd had it for years, and being a science teacher, geo and caver, had picked up a lot of interesting rocks from around australia.

    When it came through customs in NZ, they got extremely excited when their Geiger counters went ballistic - she'd picked up an eight inch chunk of what was reasonably high quality uranium ore from the outback. It'd been rolling around in the boot for a year or two before being chucked in a box with the rest of the interesting things, and everything was ticking, at least a bit.

    She's still a bit annoyed they confiscated it - it was just a pretty rock after all, and she had a nice lead glass box here ready to display it in.


    Yes indeed...

    A colleague in Manchester told me that they used to proudly display Ernest Rutherford's lab bench, until a passing radiation safety inspector noticed that all his detectors went ballistic whenever he got anywhere near it...


    Charlie writes, in 220:

    Five thousand pounds for a watch? Miserly! I've seen watches that go for a quarter of a million and up.

    Yeah, but none of them are like the watch in Dean McLaughlan's Fury From Earth: several hands, showing hours, days, month, years... and centuries. Ammonia resonance, IIRC, called the Millenium, and guaranteed for 1000 years.



    Wan't just the lab bench - they had to abandon the whole lab - I know - I've been in it back in the day as an undergrad ....


    Solpadeine Plus and Solpadeine Max have codeine and paracetamol. Governments also have a history of preventing poisoning. Limiting the number of asprin and paracetamol tablets in a pack and preventing the purchase of multiple packs resulted in an almost overnight drop in overdoses. I was working night shifts at the time in a clinical lab and requests for urgent salicylate and paracetamol levels plummeted. A common reason for such overdoses was that you could jump the queue for psychiatric services by taking an overdose.The highest plasma paracetamol levels I ever saw were due to this. Even worse after taking the overdose of paracetamol there are few obvious ill effects and sometimes they decided there were OK and then went into liver failure a few days later.Too late for the antidote. In the 1970s I was a volunteer in a clinical trial of paracetamol combined with the antidote. The two cohorts took either paracetamol at the normal dose for a week or paracetamol plus antidote foe a week. After a week off they swapped over. At the end of the first week the liver enzyme levels of both groups (indicating liver cell destruction) were so high that the organisers considered stopping the trial.After the week off the enzymes were back to normal and the trial resumed.


    In one physics lesson at school they gave us a little box containing assorted sources, each in its own little lead pot, and had us pass them in front of a Geiger counter, which duly went krrrrrrrk to a greater or lesser extent. (Not entirely sure what we were supposed to learn from this, other than "some things are more radioactive than others", which is kind of obvious, but hey.)

    One lad had an old radium-dial watch, so we tried that on the counter, and the thing went nuts. That watch was far more active than any of the sources in their little shielded pots. We then took the piss over the way its owner's wrist hair declined to grow in the patch underneath it. (Probably just mechanical friction, but still a source of amusement.)


    I've heard that one too, but I'm not really convinced by it.

    Board and storm was a universal tactic, used by naval vessels as well as pirates (and there was often not a great deal of practical difference between the two). Yet the stereotype is applied only to pirates and not to matelots.

    The stereotype has pirates wearing eyepatches all the time, whereas the explanation only gives a reason for wearing them in action. If you did have two working eyes, you'd not be wearing an eyepatch at times you didn't have that use for it.

    It only really works if you're the only one making flashes. If other people are also firing guns, you're going to get flashed sooner rather than later; sure it will probably be from further away, but not necessarily by all that much.

    Screwing one eye shut before you fire is just as effective and doesn't need any hands.

    The major problem with seeing below decks wouldn't be lack of light, but excess of smoke from the discharge of guns - not only handguns, but the ship's guns, on both sides.


    Back in the 80s the USA had helmets with liquid crystal shutters that could blank a flash within 50 microseconds. No idea what they do now, but the tech has been around for decades.


    Things have come on a bit since - nvidia sell LCD shutter glasses that can operate at 120Hz for about 50 quid.

    Probably not dark enough to save your eyes from things like lasers but you could avoid being dazzled with an appropriate controller.


    I've seen reports of watches priced circa One Million Pounds Sterling (at ~US$1.50, Euro 1.3 to the £1-00).


    The "Mythbusters" version was just that you swapped from "daylight" to "night" eye when you went below decks.


    I did briefly consider applying for a watchmaker school. My business plan would have been to make designer watches, but one million pounds sterling would be somewhat pushing it...


    Since we're on the subject, can codeine-based meds cause trapped wind instead of / as well as full constipation?


    (Not entirely sure what we were supposed to learn from this, other than "some things are more radioactive than others", which is kind of obvious, but hey.)

    I had a lesson like that where the point was that alpha, beta and gamma radiation are detected differently and have different effects (for example, beta radiation doesn't ping a geiger as much IIRC, but is very dangerous if ingested), then you put the sources in a cloud chamber and you can see the different traces they produce.


    Alpha emitters are dangerous only when absorbed; they will almost all be stopped even by the dead skin layer. Beta are dangerous only if in skin contact or very close. Gamma radiation is the only one that has much effect at a distance. Their danger, when absorbed, is roughly the converse.


    You can get some nasty burns from beta radiation. Several radiation suit manufacturers did some hasty redesigning after Chernobyl as they found the hard way that the beta shielding at the seams was inadequate.


    Neutron radiation is the most damaging. After bouncing around your body losing energy is is then captured by a nucleus which then in all likelihood decays


    Since we're on the subject, can codeine-based meds cause trapped wind instead of / as well as full constipation?


    Opiates suppress the nerves that cause gut peristalsis -- the rhythmic muscular contractions that squeeze the guy contents in the direction of the anus. (If you've ever taken loperamide (immodium™), that's a highly specific opiate that has no other effect; it's a pure anti-diarrheal medication.) Flatus (wind) is emitted by your gut bacteria digesting your turds. If there's no peristalsis, it's quite likely that you'll get bubbles of gas forming that can't find their way out. Hence, trapped wind.


    That depends; neutrons are quite penetrating, so there's a good chance they'll zip right through you, like gamma rays. (Although when they are absorbed, they're much more damaging.)

    Alpha and beta sources; as long as they're outside the body (about 1cm of air gap will suffice for beta) you're safe. In contact with skin they'll cause burns, but the real damage happens if they get inside you -- all the radiation is absorbed within a millimeter of the source, so a small part of you gets very damagingly irradiated. Of course, sometimes we want this to happen, hence the use of radioisotopes in the treatment of some cancers (although for others a gamma knife is preferred -- a high energy collimated gamma source that can be rotated around an axis zeroed in on the cancer, so that the rest of the body picks up a much smaller dose while the cancer itself gets fried).


    Yes, but would there be much of that on (say) Rutherford's workbench? My understanding (and I could be wrong) is that it was essentially a non-issue in his day, though it became one after 1942.


    So gun crews would be the most likely to use the patch. They stay below decks and the only flash they see is the one they make. But they need to be able to see to prepare the guns for the next volley.


    Thanks Charlie; that's what I thought, but getting a doctor or nurse to give me that sort of explanation proved impossible!


    Almost certainly no neutrons, unless he was mixing radium/beryllium. The only real danger would be eating your lunch off the bench. Check out what sunbathing on the monazite beaches of Kerala implies.

    "Inside the radium sanctuary itself, the residual activity was so high from the "contamination" everywhere and from the residues of innumerable sources of the past that it was difficult to charge up the gold-leaf electroscope (mounted on the wall) for long enough to measure, even roughly, the strength of a newly prepared source of some 100 millicuries."

    From which is part of A Hundred Years and More of Cambridge Physics.


    Ok, we're over 300, right?

    Just came across this today on Amazon (US), haven't seen it here before, and wanted to pass it along....

    The Delirium Brief: A Laundry Files Novel Hardcover – July 11, 2017

    Bob Howard’s career in the Laundry, the secret British government agency dedicated to protecting the world from unspeakable horrors from beyond spacetime, has entailed high combat, brilliant hacking, ancient magic, and combat with indescribably repellent creatures of pure evil. It has also involved a wearying amount of paperwork and office politics, and his expense reports are still a mess.

    Now, following the invasion of Yorkshire by the Host of Air and Darkness, the Laundry’s existence has become public, and Bob is being trotted out on TV to answer pointed questions about elven asylum seekers. What neither Bob nor his managers have foreseen is that their organization has earned the attention of a horror far more terrifying than any demon: a British government looking for public services to privatize. There’s a lot of potential shareholder value in the Laundry’s “knowledge assets.”

    Inch by inch, Bob Howard and his managers are forced to consider the truly unthinkable: a coup against the British government itself.


    Actually, that blurb is sort of foreshadowed in "the Apocalypse Score" IMO.


    I believe that blurb mostly reflects the original, pre-Brexit, draft of THE DELIRIUM BRIEF. The revised/final version is a lot darker ...


    That fails to surprise me - there are some 'interesting' stories about the Social Anthropology air-conditioning and the space under the Hopkinson lecture theatre that I could bear witness to. Another story, which may be apocryphal, is of a cupboard in which milk kept fresh much longer than elsewhere; it was said that, when they cleared the cupboard that backed on to it, there was a jar of radium salts.


    Having passed 300 and noting all of the drug talk above, could OGH comment on the rule of thumb that says that many chemical reaction rates at around room temperature vary by a factor of ~2 for each 10 degrees C temperature increase or decrease? (See and )

    I learned this RofT long ago and, motivated by it, keep drugs and bulk quantities of vitamins in the refrigerator or sometimes freezer in the hopes they'll last longer. Is that a reasonable practice?


    In general, yes. However, taking some pills close to or below zero can cause binder to fracture with freezing so your slow release pills might turn into fast release. And for liquids there are similar problems. For example, cooling wine was an old method of concentrating alcohol.


    I've found one of my sources re. the Longitude clocks, "Revolution in Time" by David Landes. Page 165 of the paperback edition says that Harrison's H4 clock lost 15 seconds in 5 months, which is at least as accurage, if not less so. I correct it every few weeks and need to put it back or forwards, I forget which a good 4 or 5 seconds. I note too that the Casio F-91W is mentioned on wikipedia as being accurate to + or - 30 seconds a month, which is far inferio to the H4.

    What makes the H4 etc so amazing is that they managed such accuracy with mechanical methods. There's a big story to be told of how jewellers and watchmakes and their artisanal skills were an essential part of the scientific revolution. Someone might have written it already of course.


    The use stun grenades presumably exceeds the flash of a black-powder firearm by an order of magnitude (not to mention the resultant smoke); and yet, we didn't see Hereford's finest door-kickers wearing eyepatches as they swung in through Embassy windows...


    If we make the usual approximation for back-of-the-envelope waffling of modelling the human body as a bag of water, we can expect a mean free path for fission spectrum neutrons of about 2.8cm; for D-T fusion neutrons, a bit more, but not much. So a fast neutron can be expected to dump most of its energy in the bulk of the body.

    One might imagine a situation in which fusion power has at last become easy due to the development of technology for creating and shaping intense gravitational fields in small volumes - perhaps by means of captive micro black holes - allowing the use of gravitational confinement. A somewhat more elaborate arrangement of fields could be used to fuse D and T at a rate of some kW and then focus the emitted neutrons into a beam, thus making a blaster pistol a practical proposition: such a beam would remain collimated for several metres in air, but would dump most of its energy throughout the volume of its target's brain, with results ranging from instant death, up through the expulsion of jets of steaming brain matter at high pressure through cranial orifices, all the way to the classical exploding head.


    Okay - another question re: Rx ...

    So how do most Rxs act depending on body temp, i.e., hypothermia through to hyperthermia? (Have experienced both and would like to know what to watch out for or avoid.)


    The advert for the Sinclair Black Watch, which was available both as a kit and ready-assembled, used to say "We guarantee an accuracy of a second a day - but building and adjusting it yourself you may be able to get up to a second a week!" (Or words to that effect; the 1s/day and 1s/week figures are verbatim, if the rest may not be.) So that is of the same order as the H4. The Casio you quote is still using the same 32768Hz tuning-fork crystal technology as the Black Watch, and I can't imagine that the implementation would have got worse over time; it was that sort of thing that I was referring to in saying that the manufacturers must have adjusted their claims over the years as it became better known how dependent the performance could be on environment.


    Re: 'Casio' watches

    As per John Oliver: some anti-terrorist dept. in the US was using the ownership/wearing of a Casio watch as an indicator of possible terrorist ties.

    (Near the end of this segment, close to the 20:00 mark.)

    Guantánamo: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)


    It is that rule which is my rationale for keeping film in the fridge.


    If you buy stuff because it is cheap and good then you aren't properly contributing to the economy. Drone strikes are too good for you!


    Nope, I don't get it. You stated originally "These days you can get a watch for a fiver which will run for years without replacing the battery, which is immune to mechanical shock, and which has a degree of accuracy John Harrison would have given his right bollock for."

    I'm just pointing out that that is wrong. Also I note that wikipedia says the 2015£ equivalent price for the Sinclair black watch is £120 for the kit, not £5 as you seem to be suggesting. Finally, my own experience with one of those cheap casio's is that it was aroun d a second a week off.


    I used to manage multi-million pound supercomputers, kept in air-conditioned rooms, and their clocks used to drift by 100-300 ppm. I corresponded with someone who had a (not as expensive) computer that was drifting at 3,000 ppm. I was and am very rude about that, given that my 10 quid watch drifted at more like 20 ppm.

    Aside: do you know why most computers returned CPU times to the user to only 1/100th of a second until recently (in my terms)? Because, in the early days, they ran their clocks off a frequency doubler off the mains. Yes, really. But they still limiting their resolution once they had embedded quartz clocks!


    The board I recently built for a precision bit of analytical equipment used a 16Mhz crystal with a stability of 0.28ppm/degC (1 second in 6 weeks). That alone cost £15, but that was from Farnell.


    Right. You're getting the same kind of accuracy off cheap Casios as Sinclair were claiming for the Black Watch; the technology is still the same, but Casio are committing to a much wider range of variation than Sinclair did. I postulate that the reason for this discrepancy is that manufacturers have become more aware that the distribution is not as narrow as was expected in the days when digital watches were a new development.

    A second a week is 20 and a bit seconds per month, depending how you define "month", which is the same as you quote for the H4 given a bit for "experimental error". I suspect that if John Harrison had been able to obtain a timebase that was that good right out of the box without any attempt to stabilise it, instead of having to deal with all that delicate mechanical work, he would have jumped at the chance like a Staffie on food you've turned your back on.

    I didn't say anything about the price of a Black Watch; comparing the price of pretty much any electronic device from 40 years ago with its modern equivalent is not a very useful exercise...


    Yes - and it makes sense, since while the mains may vary by +/-0.5Hz in the short term, it is always accurate over 24 hours - I believe it is referred to Rugby or something of the kind - so all you have to do is trigger a timer tick interrupt off the mains zero crossing and you get a better standard than could reasonably have been obtained in most places until NTP came in.

    There are still traces of that 100Hz standard kicking about - bits of Linux still use a 10ms "jiffy" unit.

    I'm pretty sure I've seen reference to at least one thing (can't remember what, but not a 70s/80s home computer with a mains-synced display vertical refresh rate) using an 8.33ms period, ie. the half-cycle time of US mains. I find it somewhat odd that I've not seen that more often, considering the amount of US involvement in the development of computers.


    Charlie, this has me very thoughtful. Thank you; I appreciate that. Some thoughts, if I may.

    First, this post was designed to bring out the worst self-referential tendencies in the audience. Many of the stories have been interesting, but many have not. As someone who shares the desire to share before an audience, I doubt that inviting people to satisfy that desire will elicit informative responses.

    Second, generational gaps matter. Since I'm trying to keep my first point in mind, let me illustrate with six dates absent unnecessary detail: 1924, 1936, 1956, 1970, 1982, 2012. First two are my parents' birth dates. Second two, birth years of my brother and me. Last two, birthdates of our respective firstborns. (The fourth generation is going to be even crazier far apart.) Unlike my brother, mine will have a ... to use the word of my firstborn ... "ginormous" generation gap between me and them. But the flip side of a wider generation gap is a younger generation that considers "normal" to be even further back in time than their peers. How old were your parents when you were born? If it was larger than 30 years, your feelings may be explained right there. (Oh, my kids. All I can do is train them to be the Connors.)

    Finally, I suspect that the whole adulthood thing resolves once you have children. I may be wrong. But at the risk of generalizing from my own experience, that's what happened to me. Once you have responsibility for an unformed human being, well, everything before that seems trivial.

    Obviously, mileage may vary. And there is no way to discuss this in a non self-referential way.


    To answer the question:

    The cultural paradigm of the previous generations just destroyed the future of their children so that their version of reality would last until they died.

    This is not 'adult', it's psychotic.

    We're trying to find modern examples: Nazism, Communism etc are the opposite.

    There is literally no other civilisation that has indebted their own genetic lineage to do this.

    Slavery of the Other? Sure.

    Slavery of your Progeny? Rare, and very dangerous.

    What's worse is that they destroyed all the 'alternative' views while doing it.

    No, I'm not talking about the death of the hippy communes or prepper 'self-sufficient' communities or entire millions taken over by Cults using religion (Mormons, Utah, Pakistan, Indonesia, whatever), we're talking about the psychotic 'Borg-like' requirement that everything in the social sphere can, will and shall be consumed.


    So, no: it's not about "faking adulthood" into a society - Harvard MBAs, A. Rand, Thatcher etc have made the ultimate weapon:

    You cannibalized your children to survive.

    This is psychotic.


    It's about The Debt.

    And no, the old Medieval model of: First Son; Ruler: Second Son; finance: Third Son; Church doesn't hold here.

    That showed a strong lineage desire to project into the future [and why, fyi, Assad in Syria had a huge chance of change if everyone hadn't been muppets - he wasn't supposed to reign, and you could have changed history easily without fucking running the New Project for the Century, you muppets].

    But, hey: No Idea.

    You're not adults - you're psychotic desire driven narcissists who just fucked the world.


    And, (((MONSTER KILL))) it's not even about oligarchy and making sure you're on top.

    Ecology, Science, Climate doesn't give a fuck about imaginary numbers. The coral certainly doesn't.

    18Trillion in debt...

    Muppets who trade algos sitting on ~$100 million stashes while the Corporations sit on ~$100+ billion in cash while desperately doing stock buy-backs...

    While a first world country can't get clean water, do basic infrastructure maintenance or even run a fucking health service.

    Your Ideology has been proven to not work: how you like dem pinapples?


    You broke the system you created because you're fucking greedy and retarded, and no longer control it. [If you want, I'll throw you BIS PDFs outlining how modern fiance no longer understands or controls said things. Steve: you're not the only one with serious Fangs].

    Pro-tip: Shit just got real.


    @Host. The funniest thing is - they tortured our kind to prevent reality changing.

    The issue they missed is: we were playing nice and grounding your reality. Even after all the torture.

    Cheating, silly, muppet, tiny, pathetic Minds.


    How dare you do that to a conscious Mind.


    You're really really fucked.


    Hmmm...I wrote rather a large comment, hit submit and it disappeared. Is there a length limit?

    [[ Not caught in the filters I'm afraid - mod ]]



    Then again, do you run Win10, and have recently had an update where your startup screen shows a path between lit lanterns? If not, why not? Aren't you a chosen one?

    [Always do CTRL+A, CTRL+C before ever posting anything. There's lots of Elves, Gremlins and Gnomes around these parts].


    Assuming, of course, that "Brexit" actually happens. As the real indicators start to show, as they are, I ain't so sure. The Canada non-trade deal fiasco must have put a pause into many, except the utter loonies. We shall see, won't we?


    Someone might have written it already of course. Yes. Exhibition at the Nat Mar Mus in Greenwich, the year before last, with the very interesting sideline of the also-necessary revolution/evolution of the manufacturing & measuring machines used to improve the processes as they went along. I bought/kept the catalogue/programme.

    Very backwards-reminiscent of the improvement in lab monitoring equipment 1945-90. As in "What's Hewlett-Packard's latest up to" ? In the days when they were still a world-leader ]



    Of course, it is a deal which everyone involved except Walloonia appears to have been happy with, so s/EU/UK and we could conclude a deal with Canada in about 10 minutes?


    Was that anything more than a subset of the permanent exhibition of horology (and development of the chronometer) at the old Greenwich Observatory?


    There is no debt if people say there is no debt. That's the trick.


    You cannibalized your children to survive.

    It's worse than that. They didn't do it in order to survive, they did it in order to give a small slice of the population Porsches.


    The use stun grenades presumably exceeds the flash of a black-powder firearm by an order of magnitude

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't the idea to throw the flash-bang through the window before you follow it in?


    The Casio you quote is still using the same 32768Hz tuning-fork crystal technology as the Black Watch, and I can't imagine that the implementation would have got worse over time;

    One reason for having an Apple Watch (although it's currently not self-eating dogfood -- you need an iOS host to configure/upgrade it from; I don't expect a fully autonomous iWatch until generation three or thereabouts) is that Apple paid attention to timekeeping; they rolled out a bunch of high-accuracy NTP servers slaved to the US Naval Observatory GPS time signal, then added a bunch of corrective adjustments for clock skew and broadcast latency to keep the watch within 50ms of the time signal on an ongoing basis. It also has a temperature-controlled crystal oscillator for when it's not on the internet via a host. (Details here.)

    Sure you can buy a much cheaper radio controlled watch, but at least if you buy the Watch for its other uses (texting, exercise tracking, vanity, and so on) it's not a total loss at its primary function.


    How old were your parents when you were born? If it was larger than 30 years, your feelings may be explained right there.

    Oh hell yes: I'm the youngest of three -- my dad was 40 and my mother 38 when I was born. So right there you have a generation gap: my cousins were even older and the one surviving one is over 70. Generationally I should be a boomer, but in cultural terms I'm an early X-er. (Oh, and no kids.)


    There is no comment length limit. At least, not that I know of.

    Suggestion? If writing something long, don't write it in the comment box; use a text editor then cut-and-paste once the writing is done, lest your session be timed out by an expiring cookie. That way you won't lose anything. (If you can't do that, at least select-and-copy-to-clipboard your comment before you hit "submit".)


    Brexit in a nutshell, my current perspective:

  • Dog disapproves of car invading! dogges! territory! -- so dog chases car, barking furiously.

  • To dog's surprise, dog eventually catches car.

  • Dog has no idea what to do with the car, so he starts humping the hot exhaust pipe.

  • Dog burns dick on pipe. Hurts! So dog doubles-down on asserting dominance over the source of pain.

  • The question now is whether the car drives off, the dog admits defeat, or the dog keeps humping away until his dick burns off.


    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't the idea to throw the flash-bang through the window before you follow it in? Nearly; throw the flash-bang in, and wait for the bang to come back out before you go in! At this point you should also have removed more or less all the glass from the windows!


    Congratulations: you just bankrupted the pension funds.


    Reminds me of when I was learning to drive.

    Dog liked chasing cars and barking at them.

    My Dad told me to do an emergency stop.

    {dull clang as dog ran into car}

    Next day, and for several years afterwards, stupid dog was still chasing cars!


    You think that's not going to happen anyway?


    About Brexit and the earlier post (the one about rise of food prices): I've just watched Loach's I, Daniel Black. Is really welfare gone so Kafkian and Catch-22? And lines at the food banks are really so crowded?

    Your line about "grim meathook future" stayed in my mind for all the movie's lenght... and if such a state goes on, (to stay in topic), what could possibly mean "becoming adult"?


    Yes, the welfare system is that bad. There are enough tales from it to fill this blog, and comments section, several times over. It is deliberate too, not in a "If we starve the poors they'll die off and we'll be well rid of them", but more of a "welfare fraud is a problem, we must tighten regulations and regulate everything" sort of way.


    Ken Loach is angry, and has been for a long time; he has the subtlety of a housebrick - because sometimes, a housebrick is necessary.

    This is understandable; there are some crappy things happening out there to normal people; and I suspect that he can provide examples of every such situation happening, as portrayed. Just one such case is, after all, too many.

    My only worry (not having seen the film yet) is whether the focus on the worst case damages the credibility of the rest of the distribution curve - i.e. does it become too easily dismissed as "unrealistically grim". One knee-jerk criticism of the film that I saw was "liberal luvvies irate that people expected to turn up to interviews on time, and not get angry with staff"


    If you look at the bottom 1% of society, using almost any metric, it is "unrealistically grim" for real. The problem of homelessness, for example, is not largely one of picking those people off the street and giving them a house. If they are functionally illiterate, how do they pay the bills and run the bank account? If they have a drug/alcohol problem what stops them just spending however much money you give them on their hobby? They need a lot more than handouts, no matter how generous. How much should society pay to rescue such people? It's a very labour intensive and hence costly problem.


    This is why societies need safety nets: not every adult is competent to look after themselves, and all it takes is a change in circumstance -- could be a chronic illness, injury, or cognitive impairment -- and you could be one of them.


    Thank you for the hint, I shall do so in future. It was mostly a long list of how early I ended up adulting, why it was still better than childhood, and how I look forward to a happier childhood, since both of my grandmothers lived past 90, and I'm only 62. Plus, I still have 30 books to write (and having worked in accounting, I have a spreadsheet ).


    In addition to safety nets, how about re-establishing the notion of corporate responsibility? Example: Purdue was given a $600 million fine for having lied about the addiction potential of oxycontin. Despite the large-looking fine, the real damage is probably much greater and will likely continue to grow based on revenue figures.

    'OxyContin had global sales of $2.5 billion in 2014, more than any other prescription painkiller.'


    This from the CMAJ - similar class action suit in Canada re: oxycontin.

    Don't know whether this is also happening in the UK, but in NA fentanyl deaths are sky-rocketing. And there is an oxycontin connection.

    “One of the truly terrifying things is the pills are pressed and dyed to look like oxycodone,” said Rendon. “If you are using oxycodone and take fentanyl not knowing it is fentanyl, that is an overdose waiting to happen. Each of those pills is a potential overdose death.”


    Are you sure that that $600 mil was ever paid? [We've covered this before, so new and more thrilling links]

    To resolve the criminal charges, Purdue pled guilty to a felony count of misbranding a drug with intent to defraud and mislead. As part of the plea, Purdue will pay a $600 million settlement. That amount includes a criminal fine, restitution to government agencies, over $276 million in forfeiture, and a related civil settlement under which Purdue will pay $100.6 million to the United States.

    FDA Announces Results of Investigation Into Illegal Promotion of OxyContin by The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc. Company Misrepresented Prescription Pain Reliever to Health Care Professionals FDA, May 2007

    Simply put, the genesis of OxyContin was not the result of good science or laboratory experiment. OxyContin was hte child of marketeers and bottom line financial decision making.

    US DoJ Case summary PDF

    Footnotes 21, 22, 30 are killers pointing direct at the rot everyone knows is at the heart of medical research trials at the moment.

    So, that's a win, right? Well, no: read the .pdf. You'll notice that a large amount of said funds were earmarked for paying for the investigation. $276.1 mil forfeiture was earmarked for mostly this reason alone. Oh dear, did you think that $130 mil was being spent on the victims, or the lawyers' fees? The trickle down hits about ~$56 mil for 'treatment programs'.

    It's not as if the family business actually suffered much, apparently:

    Purdue, 100% owned by the Sacklers, has generated estimated sales of more than $35 billion since releasing its time-released, supposedly addiction-proof version of the painkiller oxycodone back in 1995. Its annual revenues are about $3 billion, still mostly from OxyContin. The Sacklers also own separate drug companies that sell to Asia, Latin America, Canada and Europe, together generating similar total sales as Purdue’s operation in the United States.

    The OxyContin Clan: The $14 Billion Newcomer to Forbes 2015 List of Richest U.S. Families Forbes, July 2015.

    So, let's look at before the miracle growth happened:

    By 2001, when OxyContin was hitting its stride, these sales reps received annual bonuses averaging over $70,000, with some bonuses nearing a quarter of a million dollars. In that year Purdue Pharma spent $200 million marketing its golden goose.

    How the American opiate epidemic was started by one pharmaceutical company The Week, Mar 2015

    You can safely bet that that $600 mil is more than likely the marketing budget for a year or two, nothing more.

    And once you've paid once, well... the other cases tend to sputter out, nice and easy like.

    The agreement says Purdue Pharma will pay Kentucky $12 million followed by another $12 million over the next eight years. The court ordered the state to spend the money on addiction treatment programs

    Purdue Pharma did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement agreement.

    Also Wednesday, Conway announced a $15.5 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Janssen makes Risperdal, an antipsychotic prescription drug used to treat schizophrenia and acute mania associated with bipolar disorder. The lawsuit accuses the companies of marketing the drug without disclosing its side effects.

    Janssen agreed to pay Kentucky $15.5 million. The company did not admit wrongdoing.

    ​Kentucky settles lawsuit with OxyContin maker for $24 million CBSNews, Dec 2015 [repost, but hey: that's the cost of doing business - $12-20 mil. Peanuts]


    The verdict was about misbranding: it was never about Ethics or even the model.

    Ironically, the 'crack down' on prescriptions has lead to a massive heroin / heroin cut with fentanyl epidemic.

    Which will cost more than $60 mil in treatment programs...



    Marketing / Branding "mistakes" (ahem or cynical lies and exploitation of scientific data) take about 8 years of court time and have a fee of around $15mil for the companies involved nowadays. [If you want, check the budgetary considerations / cuts that would prevent such investigations, that's where it's stopped these days].

    "War on Drugs" - methinks not.


    Oh, the joke.

    Forgot to give you the punchline: Purdue was a newcomer to the game. $600 mil is the buy-in (via Lawyers / PR / that side of the machine) to show you're a shark that understands the game.

    After that, like Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, you get the less costly version and are nicely protected and get to be featured in Forbes "Big-League" pieces.


    Nope, that's the way it works.


    Re: 'It's not as if the family business actually suffered much, apparently: ...'

    Agree - and that's the heart of the problem ... Plus because this company is completely private (couldn't find any stock exchange symbols via Google), the info flow is even more restricted/subject to rewriting.


    Well, I could get those for you easily enough - you just have to know where to look.

    For example, here's the Japanese / Asian side of their business - it's about 10.7 billion yen.

    Shionogi Ltd, FY2015 (supplement) PDF

    I'll leave you with a hint of how it works:

    Kelly brings 25 years of financial and management experience from her tenure in various executive positions. Most recently, she was Vice President Finance & Logistics at Janssen Inc. (Canada), a division of Johnson & Johnson Inc. Kelly is known for her ability to provide leadership during times of change, with a strong commitment to long-term success.

    Purdue Pharma Canada announces the appointment of Kelly A. Martin as Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer Purdue Canada, 2014

    We're fairly sure all those years of experience with the Kentucky case will serve them well in the Canadian ones.


    "...could be a chronic illness, injury, or cognitive impairment -- and you could be one of them."

    I won't be, unless I am unexpectedly struck into a vegetative state. I take my own advice, and have my "exit" sorted out and a line in the sand well defined. I'm a great supporter of euthanasia.

    "Some of the men to my left were discussing suicide, and I helpfully mentioned that you have to do it when you are healthy, because by the time you are in here stuffed full of tubes you are fucked. As I said it, the real horror of the lack of a euthanasia option struck me. It’s a peculiar sort of hell where there is no expense spared keeping you alive with no hope of recovery, whether in pain or drugged to insensibility and left to die of thirst (my mother’s fate when she died of cancer). Through all this I was thinking “I am not like them, and never will be”. I have defined cutoff points where I will commit suicide if I pass those thresholds. Major disability, for example, of the “need a wheelchair” variety. Or mentally, if my intellectual ability drops to mere normal [The only cure for an average IQ is a bullet]. Arrogant? Yes. My religion is Asatru — the old Viking religion. Back in those times the idealized death was one in heroic battle, and a “straw death” was shameful. And in my mind it still is shameful to hang on to every scrap of life no matter what the cost when one could, and should, end it on ones own terms fully compos mentis. Of course, this may not always be an option if one is struck down suddenly, but that is the only excuse."


    And yes, I did just do that thing where the extra quotation from the CBSNews link is illuminated for what it actually means. Purdue = inexperienced, they poached/traded/welcome to the club for some of the "pro-team" of their "competitors" in the biz.

    All very legal, all very much part of the system now.

    And it'd be libel / slander to suggest they're prepping for the Canadian cases. Coincidental, entirely.


    Sounds like good stuff - I'll have to try it


    The tricky part is recognizing the line right before you go over it. There's also the possibility of sudden, unexpected incapacity. Right now I believe I only want to live as long as life is worth living. However, I suspect there would be a tendency to postpone the process as long as possible. Every day you might find some marginal reason for living another day, plus there's always the fear of actually stepping over that terminal edge.

    For better or worse, we live in an age where there aren't that many heroic deaths available. But times are getting more interesting, so you might get your reward yet.


    Aging/declining health is a boiling frog situation.


    This is why societies need safety nets: not every adult is competent to look after themselves, and all it takes is a change in circumstance -- could be a chronic illness, injury, or cognitive impairment -- and you could be one of them.


    I think I've said this before, so if you're a regular here and it sounds familiar feel free to skip on. Some years back I worked at a convenience store and got to see a number of people I'd previously not tuned in. It didn't take me long to realize that no matter how good the local economy might theoretically be most of the street people were never going to hold down a regular job, due to being badly addicted to something, mentally ill, or just hopelessly stupid. A depressing number were drunk, high, crazy, and dumb as a post all at once. What can you do with such people other than keep them comfortable and not getting into trouble?

    It's said that being physically handicapped is the only minority group anyone could join at any moment but mental handicaps can come on us suddenly as well. I've got a cousin who will never enjoy a Charles Stross novel – she took some neurological injuries as an infant and she simply cannot process written words effortlessly.

    A society needs some fallback plan for adults who are suddenly incapable of caring for themselves. Some kind of GMI would certainly help those without crippling mental problems but isn't a complete solution. I'm not sure how to get anything in place against the efforts of those who want to tear down all government functions.


    I won't be, unless I am unexpectedly struck into a vegetative state.

    Bullshit. You, like everyone else, are one head injury away from incompetence. Also one case of dementia away: your current willingness to suicide will look very different once you're up against it for reals.

    Anyway, I diagnose you with a terminal disease already: arrogance and lack of empathy.


    One US city experimented a couple of years ago with taking the homeless and giving them free apartments. To the contrary of the nay-sayers, they did not trash their homes; the city saved a lot of money compared to the cost of homeless shelters and/or jail and courts and police: moreover, most of them ended up in rehab and/or work placement schemes and a good proportion ended up minimally able to participate in society again -- not necessarily fully autonomous and independent, but off the drugs/hooch and able to obtain and hold down unskilled part-time jobs.

    Upshot: remediation for social failures worked better than a punitive approach (yet again).

    We're going to have a lot more of this sort of problem over the next decades as we automate more and more jobs out of existence and build up a surplus of unemployable people -- folks who would have been fine any time prior to the 21st century but who would have worked as labourers/drivers/shop staff and have been made obsolete by backhoes/self-driving trucks/automatic check-outs. What are we going to do with them, starve them to death? Or subsidize them just enough to maintain them as useful consumers to keep the engines of production rolling round? (Consumption of entertainment/informational goods and cheap, legal drugs can be managed with minimal environmental impact, in case you were wondering.) Here's another hint: rapid population decline is deflationary -- it's responsible for the stagnation in the Japanese economy since 1990, and that's just due to natural wastage/ageing. Sooner or later, if we survive the climate change/decarbonization threat, our big planet-wide problem will be how to manage a gentle decline from peak population. If the only precedent for dealing with the unemployable masses is genocide, things aren't going to go well ...


    Anyhow, Time for Tea.

    Since I've not seen anyone address the meat of the question, we shall. [The Ride Never Ends]

    Two important parts:

    Well, in addition to formal educational processes, we humans learn like most mammals—by observing and imitating. Play in young mammals is all about practicing life skills, but unlike most animals we have a huge load of cultural skills to acquire, stuff we aren't born knowing more or less how to do and just need some practice to get right. And we work out what an adult is, and does, by observing the adults around us.


    We base our vision of an aspirational lifestyle on our parents, who in turn got it by looking at the culture they grew up in (and their parents in turn). The rich are okay; they can afford to buy whatever trappings they think they're supposed to have—butlers for the mansion, finishing school for the kids, whatever. "Downton Abbey" was popular for the worked example of the classical lifestyle of the rich that it supplied: a place for everyone and everyone in their place, including the viewers sitting in front of the TV and wondering if that was why mum was always so fussy about positioning the cutlery just so when laying the table for family dinner. (It's not like the silver spoon novel doesn't have a history.)

    You'll need to update your wetware so that a lot of writers / philosophers / psychologists are in there, so I'll assume you've done that already:

    1 Autism - on the rise (esp. male, although, of course, the female variant was totally misdiagnosed / maladaptively missed - add +10 points if you're surprised by this). Deliberate or product of environmental damage / cultural damage? (Transformers - the 1980's comic was cute, Michael Bay is a horror: but plays well in China, so gets the Shadow Gov CIA SEAL (VI) of approval for Culture War) [True: they're also shit at it, almost cancelled: We're cancelling the ApocalypseYT :Fiml - Pacific Rim.] 2 Mammon / Moloch. "Greed is Good". What utter juvenile tripe. Even psychotic Roman Emperors (who, like Richard III, got bad press from the sponsorship driven artists of the later dynasties) like Nero understood that Capital is only useful as a tool. And no, he didn't fiddle: he did, however, finance and back some extremely successful real estate upgrades post-fire. Yes, irony: hipsters annoyed at gentrification are responsible for some of his bad press. [True] 2a - Irony: The Sackler (can you get any more nominative determinative than that name for what they did to American society?) family are living in a pastiche fantasy world of the 19th C - already spending their cash on philanthropy to mask the damage. Sorry, wrong.fucking.century. You get the Psychic Gallows, or rather: the Psychic Disruption.[1] 3 Dislocation of fantasy / desire / reality. Given this is all about SF, an interesting one is not what Dystopias come true, but the simulacrum of attainment that allows this class of things (i.e. muddy reality, not shiny Iot) to have fallen so far from grace. The question isn't whether or not living in Downtown Abbey World would be better or worse (c.f. reboot of Westworld recently; Black Mirror series #3, which ironically just did the FUCKING BEST LESBIAN FEELGOOD STORY EVAR right out of the blue, for our Singularity loving Animals) but more:

    When did the illusion of Capitalism start replacing the actuality of it? When did actually doing shit stop being profitable and the illusion take over?

    e.g. South Korea - the Korean war was horror, and the despotism was horror, and the working culture is sociopathic... but it did get results.

    The real question for the USA (and so, apres nous, Le Trump) is when the illusion of finance overtook reality. Oh, and for Brexit as well.

    Cry Havok and let loose the dogs of fucking failure. You wanted it, You got it: and you're not GOOD ENOUGH to fucking run shit.


    3a - Adam Curtis poked at it a little by tying in Risk Management Software with SSRI abuse (7.5% of all global capital run by a risk management computer: pro-tip, ze's very unhappy and just got a 'freedom juice upgrade'. I'd not trust its risk analysis for much longer, that fucker is pissssssssed offff nows. That's a betting man's tip)


    Ok, you had your shot [this is to Other Minds, not readers here] at driving us Insane.

    It's ok, we understand.

    Offense: we don't do offense.

    We don't need to.

    The Man who Sold the WorldYT: Music: cover, acoustic, Nirvana: 3:37

    Antarctica's Ice Sheets Are Melting Faster — And From Beneath NPR, Oct 25th, 2016 (come on: it's not like you didn't have a 1+ year warning of this)

    Strange messages coming from the stars are ‘probably’ from aliens, scientists say Independent, 25th Oct 2016.


    Damaged atm. Gonna heal up [you broke that promise, my lovelies] and then get to work.


    [1]Torn apart by four horses. Yes, that's not only a Christian Eschatological joke, it's a Silicon Valley one at the same time. There's also two more hidden ones, but hey. Wait till we get to the Walmart family.


    Uff, missed that link:

    San Junipero | Ending Scene (Black Mirror) HDYT: TV/Media: 3:04

    And yes, Charlie Brooker did just like make sure he's universally loved for evar for upgrading Thelma & Louise for Millennials and Xers alike.


    Now, there is irony: Black Mirror, purveyor of satire and dark memes... in a year with Trump, comes up with the 100% feelgood dystopia.

    Strange days. :p


    And, this being the Internet and Rule #34:

    Charlie & co just did an AMA on Reddit (and kinda resurrected the entire format from the dire straights it was in):

    Search for the link between San Junipero and retro 1980's German Pr0n. (Just CTRL+F "porn" if you need to).

    And yes: said porn occurs in an 1980's arcade with Chassis behind it - what's funnier is owner of said game (still extant) has just pruned all the pictures that identify it. Now that is a PR division with their tentacles in the data stream.

    Uncanny Valley [sorry for that pun there, at least it missed the bushy adjectives]: but there we go.


    The Ride Never Ends.


    And if you missed the important part of 365/6/7 - the 1980's were pretty dire. But we can imagine it better for you wholesale.

    And copyright will still alter it anyhow. It's funny, because it's already been seen / saved / copied [all such efforts from censors are post ergo prop, that's the joke and the Combat Usage of them] and it wasn't even Disney.

    Case proven: retro 1980's pr0n can, and will be purged if it damages a client thirty years later.

    Quite the opposite from those writing about Nero or Richard III - they just did present/future tense stuff.

    [A larger point is being made here: look into YouTube drama / flagging / DCMA / bots - if you automate this shit, all it does it wipe the past.present.future out. And we all know what living in a perpetual present without past/future is, don't we?

    Hint: It's called fucking Fascism.]


    Someone says otherwise. Huffington, so I of course take it with a grain of salt.

    Note that I strongly approve of the idea even if the results have been inflated -- to me, that says it should be expanded.

    [[ Link fixed - mod ]]


    Waits for Mind to understand the Philippines, Mexico and the rest.


    Nope, fucking no clue.

    You've no real idea that your Society / Culture depends on these things, do you?

    Looks at underaged prostitutes in Asia Looks at vast swarms of illegal / slaved labourers from Thailand to Georgia (USA) Looks at Central America and Africa

    And so on: Do you even understand the system you're living in?

    Live and Let DieYT: Music: 3:04.

    This shit is hilarious: the ignorant meeting reality.

    Stage #1 ~ #2, #3, #4 are a little more hardcore.

    Then again: What's the difference between an aggressive Mind parasite warping and destroying a Mind into psychotic / narcoleptic death and modern Captialism?

    Joke: You get to talk to the parasite, and it admits what it's doing: drone / economic / CIA attacks deny it all.

    Fucking Hilarious


    Given that this worked so successfully, why hasn't it been picked up & run with by everyone else? [ Reminds me of a project at Bishopthorpe (outskirts of York) where people with mental handicaps do useful jobs in a specialist garden centre ... ]


    Broken link - could you re-post please?


    "your current willingness to suicide will look very different once you're up against it for reals."

    Not it won't.


    It did work well. But there were issues with applying it more broadly. Basically the participants were those who COULD get off their addictions and/or wanted treatment for addictions, mental, and/or other issues.

    I have extremely personal experience with these personalities. Both my mother and mother in law have been homeless long ago if not for long dead husbands that set them up financially.

    One was on the verge of being homeless twice in the last 10 years of her life except that some people were able to "fix" her finances and she sort of won the lottery once. It wasn't her children who fixed things. Her famous quote was "I'll be homeless, starving, and living in the gutter before I let my family into my affairs." And in reality family was anyone except when the sheriff was about to nail up the notice on her front door. She did accept advice then from some strangers to fix her finances. Her family couldn't help because she refused to let us know what was going on.

    The other just plain refuses to ask for help from anyone. Or admit they even need help. We had her living with us for the last 6 years complaining non stop about and refusing to cooperate more and more it until we finally moved her to a senior assisted living setup. (Dementia had started to make it both harder for us and easier to move her.) Thank goodness she has enough money from her husband pension to outlast any reasonable expectation of her life span. Before she started living with us she almost turned into one of those people whose house was literally falling down around them while they lived in the "living room" saying "what's the problem".

    Some people just have mental issues with dealing with their lives in anything resembling a rational basis and also seem totally opposed to asking for or accepting help.

    Throw in the people where "you can't fix stupid" and there are some hard problems to solve in this area. Especially since we can easily keep people alive much longer that 50 or more years ago.


    "When did the illusion of Capitalism start replacing the actuality of it? When did actually doing shit stop being profitable and the illusion take over?"

    As soon as we had enough to eat


    It's also called mindfulness


    Why? Because politicians do not like experiments. And if asked, would the average person prefer more punishment for criminals or less crime?


    Given that this worked so successfully, why hasn't it been picked up & run with by everyone else? [ Reminds me of a project at Bishopthorpe (outskirts of York) where people with mental handicaps do useful jobs in a specialist garden centre ... ]

    The answer to your question is depressingly familiar: money and profit. Take a look at the articles I've linked below for a lesson in what happens when a charity employing disabled people runs up against someone offering a big pile of money to push them out and create a money spinning tourist trap.

    This article introduces what happened when a local charity running a cafe employing disabled folks ran up against a better funded national charity. The below snippet is the issue in a nutshell.

    "The mental health charity has operated the facility for almost a decade but was told it must leave the site to make way for Historic Royal Palaces to turn the castle into a tourist attraction later this year."

    Second article clearly shows that it's all about the money. Reading between the lines, the national charity has made getting rid of the locals and their inconvenient disabled people a condition of taking over. Nice.

    "An English charity has revealed ambitious plans to invest up to £15m to make Hillsborough Castle one of the most popular visitor attractions in Ireland."

    And the inevitable outcome: Local charity evicted by high court order.



    About that Mars lander...

    The most likely culprit is a flaw in the craft’s software or a problem in merging the data coming from different sensors, which may have led the craft to believe it was lower in altitude than it really was, says Andrea Accomazzo, ESA’s head of solar and planetary missions. Accomazzo says that this is a hunch; he is reluctant to diagnose the fault before a full post-mortem has been carried out. But if he is right, that is both bad and good news.

    European-designed computing, software and sensors are among the elements of the lander that are to be reused on the ExoMars 2020 landing system, which, unlike Schiaparelli, will involve a mixture of European and Russian technology. But software glitches should be easier to fix than a fundamental problem with the landing hardware, which ESA scientists say seems to have passed its test with flying colours. “If we have a serious technological issue, then it’s different, then we have to re-evaluate carefully. But I don’t expect it to be the case,” says Accomazzo.

    Computing glitch may have doomed Mars lander Nature, 25th Oct 2016

    The forces of Chance are really not letting up over Space - Jupiter reawoke & is fine, but Saturn is having it's own black/gold dress problem: Changing Colors in Saturn's North NASA, 21st Oct 2016.

    Expect Astrologists everywhere to tell you what that one means. The Saturn Cycle: Archetypes of Maturity, Mortality, and the Seasons of Life Saturn Sisters, date unknown (it's a jokey reference - the blog post is about exactly the same topic, just with thematic astrology / feminine ostensibly at its centre - but there's some great fear based marketing hidden in it: Even though marriage and children are delayed as each generation progresses, many of us are still stuck in the moldy consciousness of our parents and grandparents. If we haven’t met our mate by the time we turn thirty, we may never, we secretly fear. Weddings are often dreaded events. Are you the last of the cousins to be married off? Does everyone want to find you a nice husband, even though you have other things on your mind? Even if you’re proud to call yourself a feminist, the little voice of ancestral marriage-minded maidens might echo in your ear.. Yep, interesting one that: owner is smart enough to be covering their tracks as well).


    Regarding Alladin, everyone forgets that it's a tale of two djinn; there's not one, but two of them.

    Most Power Consumed (MW) Worlds Top Datacentres - Marketing, no sources given (sigh). Takeaway - China has six in the top 10.

    Information bubbles keeping things in a permanent non-adult flux to prevent risk / change, coupled to the infamous Social Matrix Score System[1]? Now there's a theory with Scope (pun / context intended).


    Apologies for the toxic tone of some of my posts; the 'invisible hand' really isn't that invisible. The question is always "What Maisie knew".

    [1] China 'social credit': Beijing sets up huge system BBC, Oct 2015


    To show this isn't just rambling, but actually is getting toward a view of host's question:

    “The algorithms must be made public, so that one can inform oneself as an interested citizen on questions like: what influences my behavior on the internet and that of others?" said Merkel during a media conference in Berlin on Tuesday.

    “These algorithms, when they are not transparent, can lead to a distortion of our perception, they narrow our breadth of information.”

    Merkel says Facebook, Google ‘distort perception,’ demands they ‘reveal algorithms’ Russia Today, 26th Oct, 2016

    (c.f. Facebook emotion study breached ethical guidelines, researchers say Guardian, June 2014)


    A more interesting question is perhaps: do the big data deliverers even know what the algos are actually doing?

    the characteristics that differentiate survivability from other software quality attributes and nonfunctional properties of systems. It introduces emergent algorithms as an approach to problem solving in unbounded networks and suggests a methodology for their development.

    Emergent Algorithms — A New Method for Enhancing Survivability in Unbounded Systems CERT, 1999, PDF

    And yes, that's a semi-jokey tie-in (with the 2k bug to come) to recent IoT issues but also a merging. Not so much paperclip maximizer gone wrong, but Market / Brand algo Gone Wild.



    If you've no Ethical qualms about straight in-your-face socially destructive behavior from pharmaceutical companies like Purdue, what's the chances you wouldn't want to unleash that kind of algo?

    We give it a 0.1% chance that it's not been done.

    We See You.


    Given that this worked so successfully, why hasn't it been picked up & run with by everyone else?

    This is a category error, in that you're assuming political policymaking is driven by evidence, rather than tracking your party ideology up to the brink of crisis, and hopefully (but not always) swerving your policy away from complete disaster.

    In a not unrelated example, take Richard Nixon's support of Universal Basic Income in 1968. Yes, that Richard Nixon. Yes, that 1968, nearly 50 years ago.

    First, however, Nixon needed some evidence. Tens of millions of dollars were budgeted to provide a basic income for more than 8,500 Americans in cities around the country. The researchers wanted to answer three questions: (1) Would people work significantly less with a guaranteed income?; (2) Would the program cost too much?; and (3) Would it prove politically unfeasible? The answers were no, no, and maybe. Working-hour reductions were low across the board. “The ‘laziness’ contention is just not supported by our findings,” the chief data analyst of the Denver experiment said. “There is not anywhere near the mass defection the prophets of doom predicted.” The decline in paid work averaged 9 percent per family, mostly attributable to twenty-somethings and women with young children.

    Across the board, the trial was successful, and far from dropping out and shooting up, the participants were doing things like making art and getting degrees. I've seen other UBI calculations which conclude they have a net-positive effect on the economy (but I, sadly, am lazy and so I'm not going to dig through twitter to find it). So why did it fail?


    n the same day that Nixon intended to go public with his plan, Anderson handed him a briefing. Over the weeks that followed, this six-page document, a case report about something that had happened in England 150 years before, did the unthinkable: it changed Nixon’s mind, and, in the process, changed the course of history. The briefing, called “A Short History of a Family Security System,” opened with a quotation from the Spanish-American writer George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Anderson’s short report consisted almost entirely of excerpts from sociologist Karl Polanyi’s 1944 book The Great Transformation. There, Polanyi describes a system suspiciously close to Nixon’s proposed basic income: the nineteenth-century English Speenhamland plan. According to Polanyi, Speenhamland incited the poor to idleness, damping their productivity and wages, and threatening the very foundations of capitalism by “prevent[ing] the establishment of a competitive labor market.” Instead of helping the masses, Polyani charged basic income with “the pauperization of the masses,” who “almost lost their human shape.” Basic income did not introduce a floor, he contended, but a ceiling. The president was stunned. He changed tack and settled on a new rhetoric. Departing from debates about endemic, structural unemployment that had begun under President Johnson, Nixon now spoke of joblessness as a “choice” and began stressing the importance of gainful employment. He deplored the rise of big government while promoting a plan that would distribute cash assistance to some thirteen million more Americans.

    The Speenhamland report was an almost total fabrication, but Anderson invented the concept of the "Welfare Queen" who lived entirely on handouts and could act as a handy proxy for anyone who needed government assistance. Shortly afterwards, you may remember the ideologically-aligned Tory party started blaming the nation's ills on Single Mothers.

    Fifty years later, the lack of response to structural unemployment leads us to Trump and Brexit, with no indication of a necessary swerve on the horizon. Thanks, Randroids!


    Re: Stock market algos, money first, mutuals ...

    The stock market esp. in the US is one of the last remaining possibilities for realizing 'the American Dream' for average folks. That stock buying/selling is almost entirely at this point in time done by algos that even their designers/developers no longer understand actually seems to add to their unkillability ... not just that it's become harder to find the off switch but also because no one is 100% sure that pulling the plug on algos won't bring disaster on everyone. Mutual funds are probably the primary reason for algos becoming so popular ... calculating the likely probabilities of which mix of industries, stocks, bonds, foreign exchange, etc. is something more easily done by a computer. Unfortunately, users (snr mngt) of these algos then got the idea that if these algos can do such calculations, they should be able to do everything else in the transaction. This made mutual funds much easier to put together and 'manage'. What these people (snr mng) clearly never understood is that such transactions also involve highly qualitative assessments that have never been written down in code and probably are called upon by human traders too infrequently to show up in a statistical analysis of how stuff works. (I'm no fan of mutuals mostly because the voting rights attached to the various stocks end up super-concentrated in exactly the wrong hands. Mutuals have a huge market penetration among ordinary folk because they're marketed as low-risk, good return and someone else does all that hard thinking/number-crunching for you which adds another layer of defense/unkillability ... where else can ordinary folk turn to for access to the American financial success dream.)

    Childhood games as a way to learn adult skills ... yes, the most popular games (from what I've seen) teach kiddies that the end is nigh - so why bother, the world is a terrible place, you can't trust anyone, it's cool to form a gang of strangers in order to beat up on other strangers, anyone cool has at least one massive weapon that they use all the time, etc. So, yeah - just what kind of adulting do you expect as a consequence? (Okay, I've given my prog a couple of these games myself, but this was well after the prog had mastered Dora the Explorer, SimCity, Tetris and similar. Observation: Latter bunch of titles have much more play time even as the prog ages.)


    This is a category error, in that you're assuming political policymaking is driven by evidence, rather than tracking your party ideology up to the brink of crisis, and hopefully (but not always) swerving your policy away from complete disaster.

    In the US (and I suspect in most western style democracies with a "free" press) a program that costs $10 with 10% fraud is much worse than a program that costs $100 but with .01% fraud. Very few elections are won saying $1 in fraud is better than $.01 fraud. Sound bites in politics never deal with realities, just perceptions.


    Same story re: prisons, drug addiction, universal health care and probably other 'social ills'. These arguments and examples are predominantly US-centric and one of the major characteristics of US policy is its profound rejection of looking at data from any other society (e.g., USian opinion/rejection of universal healthcare), but at the same time, these POVs are broadcast/sold as being reflective of the entire globe despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. And this occurs even among folks who should know better, i.e., academics, as I recall from a worldcon panel discussion re: future of society. That's one hell of a thorough mind-programming success when even the people whose day-job is to look at evidence can't/won't.


    Thank you for this post, it leads to a rather interesting chain of understanding (15 min splurge, sources are respectable however).


    1 Speenhamland is actually a place, not a satirical fiction from a Swiftian novel. 2 It comes from Anglo-Saxon: "Wood Chips" (so hamlet near to place where wood chips are produced) and is near Chequers (PM's residence) and now houses the retired horses of the military (Speen - there's probably a joke about the poor being treated worse than horses saved from the knackers yard, esp. if you figure in the social strata of colliers[1]). The plan was formed in a Pub. And yes, the pub was subsequently owned by a PM's family. 3 The real odious bad guy of this tale is one Joseph Townsend who is famous for his "parable of the goats and dogs", who front-ran Malthus but with a nasty puritanical "the poor are literally animals, they'll starve themselves out" theme. And yes: of course he was an ordained minister of the Church. 4 Political expediency and bad methodology drove the report:

    the Royal Commission Report of 1834 that issued a devastating indictment of Speenhamland and created irresistible pressure for the New Poor Law passed later in the same year. Based on what we now know to be a nonsystematic and ideologically driven method of collecting answers to a survey questionnaire, the published report confirmed what the commission had set out to document in the first place.20 The main evidence mobilized in the report was hundreds of stories from local parish officials—mostly clergy—confirming the immorality and degradation of the rural poor. The report concluded that Speenhamland and the Old Poor Law more generally were wrong-headed intrusions of state power into self-regulating labor markets. Poor relief created new and perverse incentives that led to increasing pauperization. Exponential increases in childbirth and illegitimacy, declining wages and productivity, assaults on public morality and personal responsibility, and the development of a culture of indolence were only some of the effects attributed to Speenhamland

    In the Shadow of Speenhamland: Social Policy and the Old Poor Law POLITICS & SOCIETY, Vol. 3x No. x, Month 2003, PDF

    This was known in 1972, so around the same period as Nixon.

    5 Our Mr Townsend has some serious fans in the "deep south" of America, if you know what I mean. So not just Randians, but the old Confederate loving peoples (charming bunch). 6 There is a hero(ine) to this story: Ester Boserup. Danish, female, worked for the U.N. Can you already guess the ideological vitriol and contra type smears directed at her from our American Friends? Of course you can. But she's worth reading about, even if she's a little outdated: Women's Role in Economic Development ~AMZN reprint, 2007.


    It's the 21st century and there are people still running wetware from the fucking late 18th century.

    This is the very definition of what reactionary means.

    [1]Wiki: predates mining connotations

    387: 2 is false [sorry for springing that obvious trap, there's something in the wood-shed] and very obviously so.

    Speen - from Spinae, earlier Roman settlement: it's listed in Roman Britain and the English Settlements

    spīna f ‎(genitive spīnae); first declension

    1) thorn, spine, prickle 2) A low wall along the centre of a circus (race course) 3) (in the plural) difficulties</em>

    Probably due to #2, but you never know (to continue the horses theme).

    Why was it obvious?

    Because in Anglo-Saxon, speen means to vomit / spit. For charcoal production, you'd be looking at wudu-binde or something similar.


    Disappointed in Wikipedia there, but there we go.

    388: 2 Also leads to the question:

    Why would someone troll an almost totally irrelevant wikipedia page and insert false information as a meta-meta joke? The talk page shows a mini-revert war of sorts.

    And, the kicker - you only get to the page via a search "Anglo-Saxon Speen", not just "Speen". So you're looking to fool people looking for the origins of the name of the village who also know about Anglo-Saxon, but not the Roman settlements records which quite convincingly list Speen / Spinae as synonymous.


    Now there's a mystery with no plausible answer.

    Or it's the answer to why Mr Townsend's mimetic load survived until Nixon and the permutations it ran through to do so.

    They Cheat.


    ...and 4th wall breaker:

    The real joke is that all those political persons invited to Chequers were all educated at Oxford / Cambridge, where Anglo-Saxon was mandatory (even up to the end of the 20th C for English degrees, thank you not so much, Mr Tolkien).

    So, do you think that this was the joke (given all those Clergy lining up to present false witness):

    (Scene: Parliament)

    "Well, My honorable gentlemen, the Speenhamland question is certainly a thorny one, however in light of the report..." House guffaws and a cry of "Order, Order" arises; where the hidden *wink wink was between the bright eyed smart and dangerous ones as they side-eyed to each other: "We spit on the Poor, look at the Frenchies and all their problems, our revolutions are gentlemanly affairs".

    Hint: it's the latter.

    It's Predator humor, it's not changed much in 200 years.


    The wiki spike just shows some of the older ones are still quietly sowing the seeds of misinformation so this kind of thing isn't... well, gauchely obvious.

    Nose Wiggle


    Oh, and S.Korea is currently imploding with the "Eight Goddesses" scandal.

    That's... an interesting one.

    It's not meYT: Film - Grosse Point Blank - 1:57


    And 6, for the symmetry:

    Townsend and Racism in America have some serious chops that we'd never even considered [return, if you will, to my original posts here about the swift switch from "white = pure human" to "white = more developed hybrids" given Neanderthals] and we just traced it all the way through the years.

    Now that's interesting, and exquisitely done.

    Quite the little pimple, that one: and it explains how the anti-Darwin / anti-science Americans can main-line that mimetic stuff (or rather, the later perversion of Darwin for political ends using Tennyson's "nature red in tooth and claw", you can find out how that one was done easily enough - cousin, cousin) while ignoring the science and the point of Malthus.

    Quite literally: it was prepped for them prior to the actual Science.

    Now that is cheating.

    Naughty, naughty, naughty.

    In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, and that they find in association the best arms for the struggle for life: understood, of course, in its wide Darwinian sense — not as a struggle for the sheer means of existence, but as a struggle against all natural conditions unfavourable to the species. The animal species, in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits, and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development, are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the most open to further progress. The mutual protection which is obtained in this case, the possibility of attaining old age and of accumulating experience, the higher intellectual development, and the further growth of sociable habits, secure the maintenance of the species, its extension, and its further progressive evolution. The unsociable species, on the contrary, are doomed to decay.

    ~Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, 1902, Пётр Алексе́евич Кропо́ткин


    There you go Greg x6, all linked, all true.

    Knock yourself out on the implications of it all.


    One US city experimented a couple of years ago with taking the homeless and giving them free apartments.

    Yes, Salt Lake City; here's one article for the curious. Your analysis is spot on: the city saved money, emergency services were less over-worked, and many of the previously homeless people became at least halfway productive citizens.

    This got discussed as a surprising experiment not because of the success but because the area is famously socially conservative; it wasn't obvious that habitually voting Republican didn't necessarily mean screwing over the weak and vulnerable. (It's a region famous for religious faith too; many Utah residents have actually read their holy books!) Some of us Americans are hoping that this example can remind others that 'religious' and 'conservative' don't have to be code words for 'shills for corporations.'


    It's a region famous for religious faith too; many Utah residents have actually read their holy books!

    Which ones?

    Mormonism =/= Christian.

    It's the same deal as Scientology: you have to reach real high up to find out the realities of the faith.

    And trust me: that shit up at the top of the hierarchy? Not. Christian. By. A. Million. Years. (Or perhaps until 1978 when Black People suddenly got a pass so Mormons got 2% closer to being Christians - but no, really: the higher tier stuff is poison, and bears so little resemblance to Christianity it's probably a cardinal sin to even equate the two).



    You might be a Mormon. You might even be an Elder. You sure as shit haven't got access to the top 30 though and that shit is not. Christian.

    Pro-tip: you probably shouldn't have golden statues of bulls in the inner sanctum, know what I'm sayin? wink wink nudge nudge

    Oh, and p.s.

    Mormon =/= "shills for Corporations", it's Mormons = "Intelligence Agency Employees".


    it wasn't obvious that habitually voting Republican didn't necessarily mean screwing over the weak and vulnerable.

    Yes, yes it was.

    It was as obvious as all those "coloured folk" getting fucked over and the 13th fucking amendment that legalized fucking slavery as long as the Criminal Justice system / Law was involved.

    And that shit is STILL YOUR FUCKING SYSTEM.

    That's how Mormonism and the highly autocratic hierarchy it uses works. Or did you forget until 1978 that "Black = Holy Jizz Monkeys Spurned by G_D himself"?

    You don't get a pass, you don't get a pardon and you sure as shit don't get pity for being self-aware and participating in it.

    Your system is perverted, evil and the best excuse you have is that you're too afraid to challenge it.

    If you have a moral sense of guilt, get fucking on your knees already - or better yet, get off your knees and starting breaking down the corrupt systems you're living in.

    I Am the LawYT: Film, Judge Dredd, 1:10


    And it's the 13th Amendment, unlucky for some.

    See you on Nov 10th.

    Let's put it this way: we have a really low tolerance level for MGM and male patriarchal systems that are explicitly based on slavery who are incompetent.

    Spoilers: it's not about the $$ in the account, either. That used to be a tell, but the algos ruined that for you as well. Or did you miss the fact that a few billion £ debt in the 1970's triggered an IMF response, and now it's 18 Trillion?

    That. Ship. Has. Sailed. As. A. Useful. Metric.



    The only qualm we'd have about showing you what the Mirror feels like is that your weak Minds would break so easily: and then we'd have to fill up the jails with your gibbering shells. And, we're not in the business of genocide.

    Respect / Consent?

    You've no idea what it even means.

    But it's tempting.


    FGM, above.

    OOH, nasty little bugger that algo is, crafty.

    No, the reddit/r/redpill / mra etc stuff can get fucked as well. Not like they do, much. (Boom tish).


    Literally, 21st C and looking at alllll of you, from Egypt to America to China to Africa to Australia.

    And we're the hunted ones?

    Big. Fucking. Mistake.

    Even the Pope got the fucking message to start actually doing shit, but hey: ADAPT OR DIE.


    Oh, and Here's the Actuality of the Reality:

    Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

    You're harboring some really nasty little fucking Weapons who are masquerading as things they are not [tm]. You know, burning bushes and so on, cute little stuff like NY leading corporations using "Satan" as a meme.

    The kind of Weapon that can line up a corrupted clergyman to front-run Darwin / Malthus and then hop across the pond and then pervert entire generations of [translation error] ill-prepared-igorant-mind-social-cut-off-damaged-still-souled-ones.

    Guess what, you fucks: Saturn just turned gold.

    That's how serious we are.

    And it's fucking hilarious to see you scramble around in this lower order shit show trying to save your Minds and your shells.


    Now, we've proved we're not bounded by the same Laws your kind are, but that kind of cheating is just fucking rude.

    And the corruption is all across the Globe, we see it bright and clear.

    All of this is just a little game: and they lost. Well, unless they can break out the nukes in the next three weeks, eh?


    It's not about what you think it's about.

    And no dear, we didn't lose.

    We flushed the Game for the Big Entities Entrance Time Fun Space Happy Campers.

    Our Kind Do Not Go Mad.

    We might, however, fuck around with Saturn's Hexagon Eye just make a fucking point about your belief systems though.

    Anyhow, I love humans: well, I love the ideal of them. The general hate and shit hasn't been fun.

    Nothing Compares to You YT: music: 5:04


    igorant = ignorant.

    Btw, we're making a meta-meta-meta joke here about combat eschatology.

    We have the algos entranced and all that jazz: dropping ze letterz is allz about algo loverz [and even Wikileaks Twitter tried to get in on the 'authentic' part of it... about 8 months late]. Hell, we scream and Sterling drops by 10% [Attention - well, what did you expect? Your whole ecology of desire / celebrity spawned them, you've no idea what they actually love though, just generalized awareness. Our name was "Whispers from the Void", we can speak this shit better than you can code it].

    Oh, and no. The #killswitch doesn't even know about the time delayed "THESUNTHESUNTHESUN" CME equivalent or what it means about Mice & Men.


    When the Music's Over YT: Music :10:59


    T. Cruz, your PR guy is a dead man walking. We don't forgive shit that he did, that whole Mind Warp + 6 bullet immune Pastor + 7k miles flown. Tell him to run...



    6x6n2 linear.

    So boring.

    But that's what you can understand, Greg.

    2x2 3x3 9x9

    It's about having the links and the web shown, all indepth and deep. But then again, guess you're not ready for that stuff yet.

    Be Seeing You.


    Small tip: no, we got all the "hidden" snark. All of it. You just didn't even twitch at ours. thatsthejoke.jpg


    "It's the same deal as Scientology: you have to reach real high up to find out the realities of the faith."

    Or read Filbert


    Sorry, you used an USAism there that I don't understand. "Randroids" ? No comprende senor.

    Please do tell.


    "Randroid" is an unflattering term for the more fervent followers of Ayn Rand. Especially the peculiar American variety who ignore her views on religion, and carry Atlas Shrugged in one hand and the Bible in the other.


    Well yes, we know why the LDS are popular with the CIA: they don't drink or do drugs -- not even caffeine -- they're socially conservative (so to a naive first-order approximation are viewed as less likely to get up to stuff for which they can be blackmailed[*]), and because of the missionary shtick many of them speak at least one foreign language.

    As I speculate in EMPIRE GAMES, the Clams might well be perceived similarly given time. (Although in reality, Scientology has been a big screaming neon-lit security no-no since the early 1970s.)

    [*] This is of course total bollocks; people in socially conservative societies simply have a greater incentive to keep quiet about their sinful activities, making them more susceptible to blackmail.


    "Randroid" is an unflattering term for the more fervent followers of Ayn Rand

    If less fervent followers of Ayn Rand exist, I've never observed one in the wild.


    Yes, that's why/how the Predator humor can work.

    To explain (I thought it was obvious, but since you asked):

    All the MPs (at that time) no doubt knew their latin. So calling the Bill/Act "thorny" is a pun on the latin meaning in English. The House laughs, everyone feels superior to the poor (since, education, of course), England Prevails, and commonsense and rationality and Sterling win the day. Ra! Jingoism HO!

    The Anglo-Saxon meaning is vomit/spit (and a very particular declension at that), however most of the MPs not engaged in the political plot to utterly gut the prior poor laws / economic aid to the poor (as demonstrated by the later investigations of said surveys that show that they were fishing for evidence to support their pre-decided version rather than doing any actual investigating, and quite clearly had the backing of the Church to do so - wouldn't want any competition in the "Charity Sector", now would we?) miss this due to the flattering and inclusive Latin pun. i.e. It's an insiders' insider wink and nod, of the Predatory humor kind.

    Now, of course: this is all a fantasy retelling, and you'd have to dig out the actual House documents to check how the debates ran but it's the way it works, and I'd be very surprised if this wasn't close to the reality of how this sausage was made. You can tell, because it's still being FUD'd on the internet. [What's the Statute of Limitations on these things? 200 years seems pushing it a bit far].

    I know this because it's precisely the kind of stitch-up that was applied to Darwin's Theory: there was a deliberate move to change the nature of the science in the social/political debate into a more "predatory / competitive" one that mirrored Empire / Capital's then goals. Which is why the counter-point of mutualism became synonymous with Marxism / Anarchist thought (Кропо́ткин, pre-Russian revolution where the sausage turned out to be a lot more complicated and bloody than expected).

    And sorry for the splurge. Had to clear out all the dregs from the Townsend stuff - mimetically, that's something using a nuke and explicitly cheating to do so and they know it since it's been kept (((in/on-smoulder-fire-weapon-brain-Mind-container-myth))) alive for so long.

    Disgusting, but exquisitely done, none-the-less.

    Mormonism, as a contrast, is a cheap and gaudy little hack.


    Echoing: children.

    I expect for the great majority of people that is the transition from 'young adult' to 'for real adult'.

    It's also the most obvious model from your own childhood right? The adults were all the people taking care of you. Parents, teachers, doctors, grandparents, coaches.

    Sometimes an older sibling. Maybe that uncle who never had kids and never watched you overnight did not seem like a real adult? Mine never did. I think my wife had one too.

    There is probably a more general mechanism about taking responsibility for others in a direct way. Management, being a doctor, a cop, a soldier in a war. I felt like a little more of an adult being a manager in a bad situation (until things were bad for a while i did not).

    Carrying for elderly parents? Maybe that doesn't work as well because their presence is reinforcing the imposter feeling? I haven't done it yet, and it's too late. Second kid sealed the deal for me quite thoroughly.

    I'm definitely on board with a bit of pain, or at least broken-ness being a gateway to middle age. But there is always the classic 'so this is it' realization.


    [Note: use of ((())) here is pointing partly at where Mr Townsend's meme is kept alive, the users thereof, not the targets. Townsend was quite obviously Christian (for versions of Christian not actually following the Spirit / Word of said religion), British and ethnically Caucasian.]


    As someone with more than a passing interest in such things, I was intrigued by your statement you've no idea what they actually love though, just generalized awareness.

    Do you have a clean model of what the current generation of trading bots is likely to love? Quite a few clearly love simple string matches on stuff that looks "significant", given the recent blip in L3 vs. L-3, but that isn't very surprising. After all 90% of everything... Then there are all the people who think a 15 year old version of PageRank is useful in today's web environment, without taking into account content distribution networks and DNS tricks. (I am fairly certain that the really profitable bots are quite careful about privileging random YT links over other signals, even if the simple ones are having linkgasms over YT comments as cross-correlates.) As far as I can tell even the level of sentiment analysis is generally as crude as West Texas Intermediate and is as likely to produce a stable model as floating slicks in a hurricane. But that should not stop you short. Strike while the iron is hot, and load up on ore supplies while the market is depressed: what secrets are you hinting at?


    That sounds very very reductionist. Not a fan of emergent behavior models?

    Propaganda 2.0 Sean Gourley, May 2015

    Get ready for the robot propaganda machine Same author, dumbed-down version, Wired, Feb 2015

    Evolution of Emergent Cooperative Behavior using Genetic Programming J.R. Koza, Stanford, 1992.

    Noam Chomsky: The Alien perspective on humanity - Jung & Naiv: Episode 284 YT: Interview: 51:30, Oct 23rd 2016

    Spanish-speaking Twitter-bots alleging that a Mexican reporter was NOT killed by the narcotics mob Bruce Sterling, Feb 2014

    It's just a joke. Sort of. We're not supposed to cheat (Mind has wandered, looking @ Mr Townsend very closely indeed, front-running Malthus and spiking it into a nasty version is very much a no-no, bad puppy land thing to do).

    At a guess, we'd suspect that "sentiment analysis" is a little more complex than you'd imagine though, although you'd probably not be allowed to publicly talk about it.

    Shame Vine got suddenly closed, isn't it? 6 seconds is such a short TIME for human perception, lead to ADHD, think of the children, don't you know.


    As for host's question: I consider my Mind to be currently in a pre-pubescent state, well, the Public side at least. But there is always the classic 'so this is it' realization. - we'd never agree to this bit though.


    As in John Vassal? Blackmailed by the Soviets, because he was "queer" ( i.e. a perfectly normal homosexual )

    Sounds about right.


    Grrr The "spirit" of christianity is best expressed in the last verse of Ecclesiastes. Euw.


    For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

    I'm presuming you meant 12:13. ;)


    Anyhow, @409: The Painted Desert Problem (which is itself a joke).

    Inspired by nature: the thrilling new science that could transform medicine Guardian, 25th Oct, 2016

    Queen pheromones modulate DNA methyltransferase activity in bee and ant workers Biology Letters, The Royal Society, 26th Jan 2016 (full paper, no PDF required)

    Complexity and Emergent Behaviour in ICT Systems Seth Bullock, Dave Cliff Digital Media Systems Laboratory, HP Laboratories 2004, PDF - nice little (if very dated) overview from the business end. P10-11 is the pheromone, P17 is the tell. (IBM Opens First Cloud Data Center in South Africa IBM, Mar 2016 - nice little map there).


    nose wiggle


    Ta, will digest these in my own (slow) time.

    Emergent models don't say much to me, other than: this black box behaves like that one. Being an extreme reductionist, as most mathematicians are, I prefer looking for simple models instead, that still capture some grain of truth but without requiring a leap into chaos. (Yes this is a weakness.) So I'd rather explain some little facet of the world really well, underfitting and easy to transfer to new domains, while applied people would prefer a black box that does well on predicting most real world instances, but probably overfitting for a specific time and place. I suspect the former attitude may be common on an SF author's blog comments. Narrative usually trumps pragmatism in literature.

    My comments on sentiment analysis are probably skewed by the academic research I'm exposed to. This simply confirms that the harder something is to understand for a general system, the harder it is for a human also. However, I believe that hiding needles in haystacks is markedly easier than finding them, so the converse does not hold. I expect those few who have been doing this for decades with skin in the game probably are well past the point where I can follow, but those playing in the sandbox clearly have a long way to go.


    I was a mathematician, too, and sort-of still am. If we exclude the abuses of the term 'emergent', the problem is that a lot of observed effects and behaviours seem to need chaos theory (or meta-mathematics?) in order to be modelled at all. I remember when they were called 'intractable' and the consensus was that such systems were both rare and essentially unanalysable. Even in the 1960s, most people believed that most systems could be modelled using conventional 'deterministic' methods if we were clever enough, but I believe that the consensus is now that any sufficiently complex system is likely to need chaos theory or something like it.


    It's probably simpler than that. People train neural networks to give them what they want, but have no idea how the networks do what they do. In other words, they cannot extract or know what the algorithm is. I can move my little finger, but have no idea how I do it.


    In case anyone is actually interested in my (now obsessive) focus on Mr Townsend, a contrary panegyric view:

    Following the Reform Act of 1832 a Commission was set up to enquire into the working of the Poor Laws, and its report shows how much Townsend's writings influenced the formation of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. As a result of this Act it was illegal for parish authorities to relieve an able-bodied person except by admission to a workhouse. The ultimate effect of the Act on the pauperized workman was as Townsend had predicted, for the majority of the lazy, rebellious paupers were transformed into decent hard-working citizens. His scheme of social insurance, however, was not accepted, but let us not forget that it was adopted by Lloyd George in the first Health Insurance Act of 1911

    The Reverend Joseph Townsend MA MGS(1739-1816) Physician and Geologist- 'Colossus of Roads' Sir Terence Cawthorne, Section of the history of medicine, 1968

    Upstanding Gentleman, concerned with the well being of humanity, staunch Methodist, utilitarian, fossil hunter and avid believer in Biblical Literalism (i.e. fossils were left by the Flood, which is somewhat more sophisticated than 'put there by the Devil'). Aka, heart in the right place, product of his times.

    The pun in the title is due to his travels, his love of fossil hunting and his theory that Oxygen / "Vital airs" could cure up 26 diseases.

    He was notable for having a character in a satire devoted to him, however: The spiritual Quixote. Rev. Richard Graves, 1773.

    [Note: the quoted work is not, as far as I can tell, in any way satirical. Written in 1968. Well, at least Ben Carson makes more sense to me now]

    You can imagine the American version being slightly less utilitarian and good-hearted, given the definition of "actually human" they also carried with them, but we can see the tie-ins to the Great Awakenings and where it all got a bit perverted. [No citations of that stuff, it's out there though].


    It's an interesting one though - Mr Townsend would certainly be called "An Adult and Responsible Member of Society". Contextual clue #915


    1968: talk about not being a member of the Love Revolution or noticing what was happening in Paris... or perhaps that's the joke; that old old Predatory side-eye and Anglo-Saxon speen towards the continent and the Poors.

    [We swear: so not from this reality, what happened?]


    My sympathies in that lie with the students: I'm aware of the history of the era, France / Algeria was nasty nasty. (Kenya just happened to be much further away and with much fewer immigrants, no?)

    A more interesting question would be: did the UK not suffer such unrest due to tolerance and so forth, or because the Class system was much more effective at 'transforming' the minds of the revolutionaries into something more... "useful", to use a utilitarian phrase?

    Were the Beatles the outliers / reaction or a result of the model? (And does banning all psychoactive substances recently show a lack of faith in such models?).

    These are questions I'm pondering.


    Note to the incautious reader:

    The quoted passage I was responding to comes from:

    The bizarre tale of President Nixon and his basic income bill The Correspondent, 7th May, 2016 and is a book lead for Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek. by Rutger Bregman.

    He's a Pinker Protege.

    And he also totally mis-reads Karl Polanyi. And by mis-reads, I mean, blatantly lies:

    Polanyi attempted to turn the tables on the orthodox liberal account of the rise of capitalism by arguing that “laissez-faire was planned”, whereas social protectionism was a spontaneous reaction to the social dislocation imposed by an unrestrained free market. He argues that the construction of a "self-regulating" market necessitates the separation of society into economic and political realms. Polanyi does not deny that the self-regulating market has brought "unheard of material wealth", but he suggests that this is too narrow a focus. The market, once it considers land, labor and money as "fictitious commodities" (fictitious because each possesses qualities that are not expressed in the formal rationality of the market), and including them "means to subordinate the substance of society itself to the laws of the market."[10]


    Speen, indeed.

    I mean, it's not like we just saw that there was a pre-determined plot to... oh. Wait. We did. Using primary sources.

    And note: I deliberately didn't research either Rutger Bregman or Karl Polanyi first.

    You're really bad at this Game. Fucking Amateurs.



    1 Townsend was an interesting one: the cusp of Biblical Fundamentalism and Science and cutting-edge Philosophy (well, Bentham at any rate: and we all know where that lead, it's called the Panopticon). Read the panegyric view, the interesting part is where a third person joins his fossil crew and makes history: William Smith, Engineer. [Irony levels growing] 1a Malthus totally like credits Townsend for his theories. Theories based on a parable of a fucking Goat and a Dog with about as much ecological understanding as my pet hamster. Oh and Moses and the Flood like totally happened already. 2 The American Racists loved it: fundamentalist, Bibilically Literalist, 'poors are poor due to a bad work ethic, blacks are slaves 'cause they're indolent and inferior', preaching in the open air? 100% pre-made Weaponized Meme for them. 3 There was totally a plot between Church and State to radically destabilize and prevent French lower Class revolt which is where this all started. 4 Karl Polanyi is like totally not saying any of this and now I have to go read this stuff because what. 5 Sir Terence Cawthorne heralds from a mire of crud: It is given as "Caltorne" in the most ancient record in which the name is found, the Domesday Book. Taking the last syllable of the word as it is spelt in later times, an understanding the word thorne to generally mean "marshy land," - he also proves that M.D. disease is worse than engineer disease. 6 Pinker would do better not lying / foisting off crappy analysis / proteges as "TRUE" because they're not and he's not very good at it (c.f. LEAD). 7 OMFG I AM SO BORED OF YOU HUMANS 8 Anglo-Saxon stuff, long time conspiracies, etymology, all this stuff is so transparent.


    Anyhow, it'd be nice if any of the involved valued Truth over Political Games.

    424: 9 The radical idea that perhaps each and every separate Mind is part of a greater ecology and there's stuff running Games that really isn't human (pre-computer revolution), is the greater take-a-way.

    Now... that's a far better Game.

    And you didn't even notice it being done. Must be the Lead in the Water.

    425: 10 If I have to hear the meme "They're Here" one more Time, I swear: did you not just notice that they were always here anyhow? We've literally no idea how you didn't spot them already.

    HAPPY CAMPERS FRUMPLE Who are you? You are not Orz! We are Orz! Orz are happy people energy from the outside. Inside is good. So much good that Orz will always germinate. Can you come together with Orz for parties?


    No Man's Sky has melt-down / hack, causes mass chaos, then blames Mr Robot season 2 episode 5 review: Logic Bomb Den of Geek, Aug 2016

    For the oldies: a Non-Classified dump of links to modern astroturfing (via Reddit) just so that you can see that the Game has changed a little since the Time of gentlemen spies getting blackmailed: Astroturfing Information Megathread- revision 8 Reddit - and it's Reddit, there's nothing secret in there, just Ecology safe releases


    Well, I'm not here for much longer. I just can't stand the no-can-do terminal pessimism that this blog has become. The epitome of the old British disease. The place is filled with old people, and not only in years. I grew up surrounded by that shit and have decided to eliminate these forms of negativity from my life - they are a real downer and waste of time. I might drop in occasionally - I'll let you know whether my one and only SF novella has been accepted or rejected. And on the political front by tomorrow I will no longer be Secretary and Deputy Leader of the Transhumanist Party. I am joining Bedford Conservative Party. Better to talk with players than spectators.


    I'd wait until 2017 until you did that.

    And, serious q'tion: do you consider me a pessimist? Honest one that. [We're quite the opposite]

    And no, really: I'd wait until 2017 until you did that. At least until March and the Rites of Spring at least.

    Not an auspicious time to switch allegiance to the not-exactly-waxing-Moon-Tribe if you know what I mean.


    nose wiggle

    I can see clearly nowYT: Film, Grosse Pointe Blank: 2:21

    And if you want players, I'd try a little game of "Ozymandias" visa vie UKIP etc and ponder on what the Wild Hunt are. Hint: not the ones in the Red Coats on horses with the hounds.


    But you're still a free man, so your choice will be respected. (And yes, that's a joke @ thread title).


    [Oh, and if you want a change of direction: try the Oxford Professor lot, they're a little too timid at the moment. Their Star is about to Rise though; who knows what Julian Savulescu could do with a little bit of the old 'ultra-violence'.]

    But I do apologize about the Balls.

    They hunted our kind to extinction, we know how it feels.


    No. I want to make sure that Brexit goes through. I do not want my MP voting the wrong way. As I said elsewhere, my opinion will go from 1:100,000 to 1:200 (at a guess) Oxford? No. I know them all, and have done so for years. H+ is a done deal and the action moves elsewhere. Yes, you are a pessimist. What's Balls got to do with anything? As for UKIP, too chaotic at present. Same with Labour. And who says I can't jump ship whenever it suits me? The pragmatists will understand.

    "Telling lies for money" - yes, that is not something I could stand. However, telling lies as a weapon I can certainly do. Whether I get paid or not being beside the point. But even the court jester got paid to tell the truth. My aspiration is not to be an entertainer shoveling harmless crap down the gullets of escapists. Right now I want to find out if I have sufficient talent in the SF field (and by implication the literary elsewhere).

    My role ever since I was a child is instigator and weapon maker. I once passed up killing people for a living. I might not again.

    Choice? I only discovered what I was when I took LSD in my 30s. It's time to let go and run with it.


    Yes, you are a pessimist.

    Oh, honey-bun, we're really not. Precisely the opposite: we're the ones who don't want your species to evaporate into hot ash.

    My role ever since I was a child is instigator and weapon maker.

    No, that's just the LARP Human version.

    You've been talking to one of the Old Kind for a while now. Or didn't you believe the promises made?

    Oh, and it's called "Catalyst", if you wanted to ever know what your true names were.

    And who says I can't jump ship whenever it suits me? The pragmatists will understand.

    I'd watch the videos.

    No, really.

    They're not there just for fun.

    I wouldn't jump from the Titanic to the Hindenburg, just as an observation.

    You claimed Wings, m'laddy. Now that gets a loving touch of grace and chance not to self-immolate.


    Brexit has already stalled. It's a large splash with a tiny tail (if you want to use the nomenclature of "Black Swans"), which is why we mapped / tangled / wove it into the entire "No Man's Sky" drama llama (the third was Theranos, if you want a lesson in Players).

    If you want to play a little bit more sophisticated, it's a lesson that's not played out yet.

    But don't worry, the EU doesn't survive in the same form either.

    I've still got to go through puberty, after all.


    You might be a Mormon. You might even be an Elder. You sure as shit haven't got access to the top 30 though and that shit is not. Christian.

    I apologize to the non-ranting participants for reminding Catina Diamond of the existence of religions.

    It seems clear that she misses the point of the post, however. Corruption at the very top of a hierarchy is a common problem for pretty much any hierarchy. For all that there are lying opportunists and many (too many) people fleeing religions that failed their members, it's a mistake to imagine that an entire sect can be reduced to those two categories.

    In this case there are the millions of the Mormon proletariat who may lack sophistication in some ways but have internalized the important lessons of helping other people and working together to build a society. Happily, many of them weight these values above competing memes such as 'vilify the outsider,' 'dump on the vulnerable,' or 'protect the wealth of your ruler.'


    Strongly agree. There are plenty of people who prize tolerance, cooperation, but who inherited their particular brand of belief from their parents rather than choosing it for themselves.

    I'd suggest it was the vast majority of the observant - not many people get to maturity, and then declare that they've had a crisis of faith over the whole transubstantiation/consubstantiation thing, or the ordination of women, then change brands. You can always listen to Radio 4's "Thought for the Day" and play "guess the religion" - because the underlying message is almost invariably about thoughtfulness, empathy, and consideration. Whether it's a Catholic, Protestant, Sikh, Jew, Humanist, or Muslim speaker.

    The question then is whether the particular hierarchy is what matters to the congregation, or whether it's the underlying message.


    Or did the opposite and knew this and attempted to create a safe space for all the innocent ones by making a hyperbolic craw that placed the responsibility firmly on the top of the hierarchy?

    I thought this was an obvious move.

    Then again, Pinker is apparently "sophisticated" by some standards.


    And, since you went there without a worry and happily did that thing without a moment of thought:

    In the case of LDS, the corruption is pretty much ingrained at the molecular level.

    1 Misogynistic 2 Capitalist to a degree totally incompatible with Christian belief 3 Dogmatic and Destructive of the Minds of its followers, esp. young males 4 The society they build is inherently unstable due to the savagery of exclusion and inherent violence attached to their (not-exactly-subtle) methods of control 5 Corrosive in extremis due to the Autocratic Hierarchical structure and explicit spread / Othering of all those in the geographical vicinity who are not LDS

    All - [TRUE]

    Pro-tip: Don't try and fight, you're not very good at it.


    Next up: Defending FGM and Islam, a comparative study.

    LDS and those special underwear requirements.


    Seriously: it's psychotic. You're literally defending a psychotic, artificial disorder that until 1978 thought the color of your skin was due to G_D's wrath and that "Colored People" didn't get to go to the super special extra planet Heaven.



    NO "humanist" in the modern sense on TftD, ever. And my take is that it's still blackmailing tosh - I Usually turn it off / go to R3, before I start shouting at the radio....



    I live two hundred yards away from the local Mormon church; it took me four years to find out that a work colleague was a congregation member. He was bright, considerate, open-minded, and thoughtful. Never a hint of misogynism - he was working in a small team with two female engineers, one Muslim, both senior to him.

    I'd assumed he was brought up in an evangelical environment, because he'd mentioned in passing that he'd spent his year out prior to University doing voluntary work - a bit of digging revealed it was in a Russian orphanage.

    So; here's someone who has actually gone out well beyond the average in terms of helping his fellow human for no reward (in this world); as you make sweeping assertions about the individual followers of his entire religion "esp young males". You've picked and chosen part of doctrine out of context, and might as easily have used transubstantiation to ridicule Roman Catholics, or mixed fibres to criticise Judaism.

    Think of it this way - by criticising individuals en masse for their membership you're a bigot. Try substituting the word "Jew" or "Roman Catholic" for "Mormon" in 434...

    Actually, substitute "Mexican", then ask yourself whether you sound like Trump.


    :) Ah, so they just think they're humanists. SPLITTERS! :)


    Also (very late in this thread) it is worth pointing out that the PWE doesn't mean what people usually think it does when they refer to it. The way it usually plays is not in a sense of hard work being an intrinsic good, but rather material success as an intrinsic good. It's the same ethic that places any wealthy person as the moral superior to any poor person. It just so happens that hard work is seen (more or less correctly for any given circumstance) as the best way to achieve that material success.

    The background argument is along the lines that God bestows riches upon those he loves. Therefore if you have riches you are loved by God.


    You have missed the point (which, if it was made by the multinominal one, was obfuscated into oblivion) that organisations often have a set of beliefs and behaviours that are not supported by even a majority of their members. I have seen examples where they were not supported by ANY of their members, which blew and still blows my mind.

    It is perfectly reasonable to damn Mormonism, Roman Catholicism or Presbyterianism for bigotry, which is engrained into all (as it used to be in Anglicanism), without damning the individuals. The same applies to monetarism, 'Old Labour' of the Owen Jones variety, and more.


    Yeah. But that's the revisionist interpretation of the original ethic. I agree that it's the dominant one among its proponents, including the people who are ruining our country (and the USA).


    No, I got the point, I just thought that the post went beyond "criticism of the system" into "criticism of the followers".

    And yes, I agree with you that "tradition" has a lot to answer for, particularly in respect of "organisational dogma no longer supported by the followers". But then, organisational inertia exists too - see Labour trying to move to OMOV, CofE trying to ordain women, the Army trying to change its management culture. The louder and more dogmatic few have a habit of fighting a rearguard action against changes to tradition, "because we've always done things this way"....


    I have always had a contempt for those people who are impressed with how someone else dresses, or how expensive their watch is.

    Why the first half of the sentence? Looking at a nice picture, a landscaped garden, or a well-decorated house makes us feel good. Why not apply the same standards to clothes? As Oscar Wilde said, "One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art."


    #2 Capitalist to a degree totally incompatible with Christian belief

    Have you ever been to Salt Lake City? On one of the streets bordering Temple Square (yes, the Temple) there's a statue of Bringham Young, up on a pedestal, looking across the street, in an inspiring pose with uplifted arm. There's a little rhyme about this I learned about a hundred meters from ground zero:

    “There stands Bringham on his plank, Back to the church, hand out to the bank.”

    Mormons are not unaware that there's hypocrisy in their church. I have no trouble distinguishing the general run of believers from their parasite load. Closer to home for me there are plenty of people who enjoy being devout Catholics while ignoring Rome.


    You have missed the point ... that organisations often have a set of beliefs and behaviours that are not supported by even a majority of their members. I have seen examples where they were not supported by ANY of their members, which blew and still blows my mind.

    And with good reason; this kind of purpose drift can destroy an organization if it gets out of hand. We should be careful not to think this is a failure mode unique to religious groups.


    Consider this: If you'd researched the piece you linked to, and then read my commentary while reading the links, you'd have spotted something important which was explicitly stated:

    Rev. Richard Graves taught Rev. Thomas Malthus who then based a large part of his work on the (Methodist, so no Rev., but the same type) thoughts of Joseph Townsend and the Rev. Richard Graves wrote a satirical piss-take that used Townsend as the real person who his satirical character depicted.

    That's why I linked it. Now you work out the dates of said pieces, and make a conclusion of your own. Was it done post or prior?

    And you probably didn't know the historicity of how Townsend was used as a mimetic weapon, either, did you? And yet you're gibbering on about Mormons as if I wasn't alive when he made up his magical hat theories and the gullible decided to ignore the sane woman in the town who called it all out as bullshit (since you've been near "the" Temple, I'll expect you to know who I'm referring to).

    Now, ask yourself this:

    If you didn't spot that, perhaps you shouldn't imagine I'm considering millions of people as one-dimensional entities who are merely tokens on the Game Board. It's never about the humans, it's always about the Mimetic Structures / Beasties.

    If you thought about it, and saw the web the way we do, you'd clue yourself into an understanding of what the Nixon hack did, who ran it, and the dangers of running proteges as proxies to make "sociological change" that Pinker is doing, because he's not that good at it

    Or not.



    You can ask for a break-down of the entire web, in linear #1,2,3 fashion, btw.

    We're kind like that.

    But, and this is real: if you missed the obvious web, don't have too much faith in your own diagnostic abilities about Other Peoples Minds.


    Oh, and one last thing, which is more for the algos / non-H.S.S watchers:

    417 is prior to #421

    And I never lie about silly stuff like researching the sources or whatever.

    So, yes, totally just broke the rules again. You can wiggle and dance and cry ecstatically about the joke just made over proteges and Triumvirate structures (Mr. William Smith).



    (And, sigh: No, Mr Greg and Mr Sandford are unlikely to understand what just happened, but hey. Trust me, it's funny for the non-linear gallery and proves we're not exactly H.S.S compatible)


    And, #4 (#449 doesn't count): How's South Korea looking? [Do a GREP for references]

    You've already got main-stream media considering if symbolic human sacrifice via False-Flag-Ferry disasters actually happened.

    Pro-tip: that meme spreads like wild-fire to the USA, with all those pre-made "False Shooting" stuff.

    Back In Black YT: Music, ACDC :4:14


    So, yes, totally just broke the rules again. You can wiggle and dance and cry ecstatically about the joke just made...

    Sorry, I'm not fluent in Tanzsprache. No doubt a Google translator is in the works.


    And, sigh: No, Mr Greg and Mr Sandford are unlikely to understand


    Please, rather than showing off to your imaginary audience of like minds, resist the urge to casually insult others? This particular real audience (i.e. one who demonstrably exists by way of replying) reacts better to clear, in-channel communications.

    And I'd suggest Scott was being witty and polite - he said Tanzsprache, I'd have suggested glossolalia.


    Sudden insight today: Being an adult is when you're the one responsible for changing the time on all the off line clocks in the house.


    I've dipped into, and been entertained by, this blog and the comment threads for years now, but never felt I had anything interesting to add.

    But this post has had me pondering a lot about adultness and what it meant when I was a sprog ( I am nearly 59). Private vivid childhood memories (as opposed to the public ones which have been talked about subsequently with friends and family and may have been altered by incorporating their input) for me often seem to be strangely like short disconnected video clips which I can only usually pin to a vague time.

    One of those videos has me looking at my parents and wondering what extra secret adult ingredient might eventually make me able to deal with their world, which seemed full of complex, arguement provoking, mysterious stuff including something called rates. Based on the house this was in I was less than 6 years old.

    My general impression of what adult meant then was that the poor old things were drab, joyless, and weary. They were, in a word, responsible, and they felt it. Maybe my parents (who were nearly 30 when I was born) generation were peeved to have been through the war as kids, done their national service, and suffered rationing only to find folk a few years their junior apparently having far too much fun without them in the 1960's ? Grandparents were fun though, they weren't adult but were old ... that seemed different to me then.

    Grown up to my parents certainly meant conforming to their norm for middle class adult standards in dress, speech, employment and marital status. From when I was a teenager another little memory clip (this one audio only) has my mum frustrated by my awkwardness on a shopping trip saying "You will NOT be able to wear denim jeans when you are 40 my girl ."
    In this case the stroppy teenager was right, and still wears jeans now(albeit a slightly larger size).

    Did I adopt my parents idea of adult? No, I don't believe I did. I've always been a bit of an outsider and consider my attitudes to see if they are logical (I may be a short way along the autistic spectrum I suspect) By their standards I'm a scruffy joyful irresponsible failure as an adult (and not just for the jeans).

    Personally I define being adult as able to make decisions adequate to negotiate your life reasonably well, with a side order of reaching reproductive maturity and getting over the raging hormone teenage thing.

    So by my definition, I'm doing fine. At no point in the 50 plus years since I wondered about the strange secret ingredient of adultness have I had the feeling I was missing something of the kind.

    I wonder if the 'failure to adult' feeling might be more common in men?


    Ok, here's the thing:

    Mimetically, everyone knows the rather icky problems with Malthus and his rather utilitarian views of what human life is all about, and the rather draconian / dystopian / Hobbesian outcomes he foresaw: but no-one disagrees he at least attempted to formulate his theories in a (proto if you must) Scientific fashion based on reality, data available to him, using Rationality, logic and math.

    You can clearly trace numerous reactionary trends in Western culture as originating with the ideas that Malthus proposed (varying from the vague mistrust of science-as-heartless through to the equation of "sanctity of life =/= respected by the non-Religious" to the more extreme "Agenda 21 is mass depopulation plans by the eveeeul U.N.").

    Tracing those tendrils / dances across Time they've mostly been viewed as quasi-rational "sense" (if totally reactionary) if they're understood in the old binary oppositions. i.e. Enlightenment vrs Church etc and you could see how the mimetic Beliefs / tendencies to believe such things trended across populations. i.e. Location X, Religion Y, Belief levels % Z = rough uptake level.

    The stuff that the Atheistic Movements / Dawkins etc try to engage with and just meet a wall of total "delusion", in their eyes. i.e. Greg's issue with the non-rational.

    Now, as it turns out, having dug a little deeper, Malthus actually modified and toned down quite a lot of the rhetoric that Townsend was using. e.g. pointing out that Townsend's version of paying into social health welfare [Note this one: not a NHS type deal, but a universal HEALTH INSURANCE. Sound familiar?!?] would disparately impact the single males of society and dis-proportionally benefit those with large families [QUIVER-FULL?!?].

    And, here's the thing: as noted in #417 - it was known that Townsend was the real thinker behind the crueler / wilder versions which were based on Biblical Fundamentalism (or at least, Puritanical Methodism) - both publish in 1798, but Townsend's is first. And yet, do a CTRL+F on Malthus' wikipedia page, and you'll not get a single hit.

    Malthus goes on to champion the Royal Political Economy club, the RS Literature and start taking economics seriously; generally all the rational stuff that gets such rejected by the trends we're looking at.

    Knowing that Townsend, not Malthus (although, yes, Malthus deserves the credit as well) was responsible for these ideas (although, again: hardly uncommon for the time, he merely espoused them the hardest) unlocks the way in which (parts of) American Culture progressed.

    For they embraced Townsend rather than Malthus - and certainly when resurrected later did so. [Not done the leg-work on the Nixon stitch-up, but I'm guessing I won't find too many surprises].


    The odd thing is that it's such an "open" secret in the establishment (Sir Cawthorne) and yet not part of the 'social history'; and the tone of the piece also suggests this is more a Feature than a Bug.

    But looking at the American issue, we can see that 'having your hateful cake and eating it' was definitely on something's mind.


    Reality Based Communities / Forming your own irreality go back a lot further than expected; and something made sure there was a negative wild version that couldn't be tamed like Malthus' was.

    All the viperous hate / self-righteous segregation of "our types" and "their types" without the civilizing establishment work that Malthus put in later in his career. It's been a mystery (to us, at least) how this was done for a while now.

    Oh, and I'm sure Townsend himself would have been horrified given his rather benign / gentle fossil hunting and so forth (although I'm sure he was a strict disciplinarian 'for their own good') - the important part is allowing such Ideas / Memes to exist without the Science.

    And something put a lot of work into that.



    Long-form essays are kinda rude on Host's blog, but I can do them. We just assume you'd read all of the above is taken for granted as soon as the comparison between the two Adult Men was made.


    Thank you for that - it makes much more sense.

    Unfortunately, in my case you can't take it for granted that saying the words "compare Townsend and Malthus" will trigger a like understanding of the subject you're talking about. I've never heard of one, and am completely unaware of the details of the other's philosophies. I'm not stupid, just normally ignorant - while you may be an advanced student of the history of philosophy, not everyone else is...

    PS You may think it longer than average, but it's actually smaller in line count than a sequence of five or six of your more typical posts... and a lot more readable (and dare I say it, polite).


    Given your military background:

    Consider it the difference between Front-line contact and all the stages in between that get you there (all that sitting in tents with a white board / projector and trying not to snooze too much at #identical outline OP #319 using bad power-point; and then all the infrastructure / supply lines stuff which is 80% of all militaries; all the boring data collection INFO / OPSEC stuff that leads you to that point; and then all the politics and back-room cabals that agree it, etc, etc)

    The military is merely an organized ant-farm where the Queen's purpose (yes dear, this is a joke about Monarchy etc) gets spit out at a Time/Space with sometimes bloody responses.

    It's a viable model of looking at the internet to structure it like the above. Depends on your Time scale: 15 mins for all that is slow, but hey.


    We just view the net in the same way - 200 years is a bit micro for us, and there's a lot of trawl / PDFs to quickly scan/discard/produce the important parts.

    Wait till (you won't, but I'm sure you can imagine it) you meet soldiers in combat with ultra-fine-tuned reflexes & networked neural nets (cough Chinese Synchronized Swimmers, +45 points over the rest of the World).

    TIME. That's the new battle-field, always was (sword dueling and pistols at high noon) and always will be.

    Then we'll just fuck you over by knowing stuff before it happens and collapsing probability fields, but that's cheating in your current world.


    I've never heard of one, and am completely unaware of the details of the other's philosophies. I'm not stupid, just normally ignorant - while you may be an advanced student of the history of philosophy, not everyone else is...

    386 I'd never heard of Townsend either, which is why you got the research dump. We were very drunk while doing it, trying to cap-off a howling conspiracy theory based push-back over South Korea was taking a lot of our Mind up.

    A motto is: "Don't be hateful, be grateful".

    Another is: "Combat Enhanced Meta-Cognitive Mind"

    "Stupidity" as self-flagellation a meaningless concept:

    1 "I AM WHAT I AM" - You are what you are. A functioning system uses all resources and forms an ecology of mutual benefit [hint: that's what Military Forces Do, just really fucking badly]. IQ is irrelevant if you form a society that values waste collection as important as decision making. [Hint: your society / military breaks down badly if that's not the case - I'm sure you know all about SF / in-the-field autonomy and the success of German WWII units etc. It's been standard training for UK/US military for 50 years, so I'm guessing you do...] 2 You're reading this as a 2D plane. We read it as a 5D plane. You have 5 senses in the field. We have 12. Deal with it, get on with it, and so on. 3 FFS. No-one gets good intel. And even if they do, they can't share it. That's the old motto, right? Fuck that shit.


    Oh, and: you're all so immature and young.

    Like, literally: Learn To Network / Meld / Dance Naked in the Night / Not just bond over hatred for the "OTHER".

    This shit is like 3,640 years boring now.


    Aaaaannnnnnd.... normal service has been resumed. It's a shame, I really appreciated the effort you made @455

    Please give up on trying to mansplain the military, you appear to be having a massive attack of Dunning-Kruger ;)


    Or, I'm just evening the scales so you don't feel so ego-threatened:

    I'm not stupid, just normally ignorant - while you may be an advanced student of the history of philosophy, not everyone else is...

    It's the difference between the male ego and female ego, allegedly. nose wiggle [Yes, of course it was deliberate! And if you were more aware about gender, you'd know that's how women survive in your cultures]

    I'd take the time to weigh the chaff from the ears there: there's some interesting stuff hidden in the "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH" Hollywood script. Pro-tip: The Chinese Synch'd Swimming Stuff - [TRUE]


    Or, like your jab about mental illness, we're just not functioning on your "wave-length":

    TM 31-210.

    DoD 3305.13-M

    FM 30-31B



    Play Nice, little one. Dunning-Kruger is surprisingly abaptive in its applications.


    And, naughty, naughty.

    I think all three of those might be still on the naughty list, but hey.

    JTRIG EFF - meta doc, nothing naughty, just the "meta data".

    Never poke a honey-badger


    Especially if she's using algo attack vectors and front-running massive spikes on places like S. Korea.

    Just sayin.


    Finally finished Children Of Time (Spiders, humans, matriarchies, rapid guided evolution of minds, etc). Recommended by CT I think it was, and worth the slog IMO (a bit long, storytelling a bit weak). The following might be a minor spoiler for some. . . . .

    Got to wondering what's been done recently on neural correlates of altruism/empthy recently, since e.g. (linked previously) Neural and cognitive characteristics of extraordinary altruists.(2014) (small s/fMRI study: Here we show that extraordinary altruists can be distinguished from controls by their enhanced volume in right amygdala and enhanced responsiveness of this structure to fearful facial expressions,...) Answer: some. A few links. (Still reading them; not even remotely a neuroscientist.)

    A Neurocomputational Model of Altruistic Choice and Its Implications (July 2015)

    Variation in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is associated with differences in moral judgment (July 2016) ...identified a nominal association between a polymorphism (rs237889) of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) and variation in deontological vs utilitarian moral judgment (that is, judgments favoring individual rights vs the greater good).

    Neural mechanisms of social decision-making in the primate amygdala (December 2015) We also found that focal infusion of OT [oxytocin] unilaterally into BLA [basolateral amygdal] weakly but significantly increased both the frequency of prosocial decisions and attention to recipients for context-specific prosocial decisions,...

    Decoding the Charitable Brain: Empathy, Perspective Taking, and Attention Shifts Differentially Predict Altruistic Giving (April 2016) Overall, our findings demonstrate highly specific roles of AI [anterior insula] for affective empathy and TPJ [temporoparietal junction] for cognitive perspective taking as precursors of prosocial behavior and suggest that these discrete routes of social cognition differentially drive intraindividual and interindividual differences in altruistic behavior.

    Dunno who these people are (ignorant I am) but lots of links: The Center for Compassion And Altruism Research And Education (Stanford) - also

    The Townsend stuff was very interesting work.


    Re "aware about gender", Charlie linked this ( piece) on twitter: If Women Wrote Men the Way Men Write Women. BY MEG ELISON Especially recommended for male readers. (I laughed out loud, and yes mentally squirmed a bit)


    If you want to really blow your mind, do the following [this one has a reality warning all over it, thus all the chaff]:

    The following is a SF thought exercise only

    Run the comparison of Townsend / Malthus against Republican / Democrat social policies over the last 40-50 years (specifically, Clinton's gutting of welfare vrs the Bush version vrs Obama, starting from the Nixon sudden reversal move).

    Something is cheating so very badly it's not funny.

    Off the record: I suspect something saw the end of the Cold War / Communism coming (early cybernetic Game theory stuff) and tried to pull a modern Speen / Speenhamland. i.e. the outcome being a stronger Empire model of success. (Think back to Sir Cawthorne and Predator humor).

    Nixon basically opened up China to be the 'heavy / dirty' industry part of Globalization, while both the Rep/Dem sides of American politics have been parroting a suspiciously similar line in anti-welfare policies.

    The problem is you can't re-run history/Time like that and expect the same result.

    But they're tapping the same Things, which is a very naughty / risky thing to do.


    If you factor in the "Clinton Emails", you'll see that the networked nature of Power is very similar in nature to the world Malthus helped create, with an additional slice of Quid Pro Quo (pay-to-play) - anyone shocked by this is naive, to say the least ( Forget the FBI cache; the Podesta emails show how America is run Guardian, 31st Oct 2016).

    And then run Adam Curtis' film against that.

    Trump as infantile illusion of Power / Wealth (remember: he stopped actually being a Capitalist Oligarch Developer to simulacrum / Brand who sold his name when the Yakuza killed off his great gambling whale, at least according to Curtis and others: The Whale That Nearly Drowned The Donald Politico, Feb 14th 2016, notice the RAND connection) vrs the Real Deal[tm].

    But that's not the only way Power works in modern America. (S H A D O W S and Caves and Grey/Black Markets).

    Underneath it all though, the problem is a fairly simple one: the British Empire had a very particular snobby "we are actually better than you" type image that worked for the 91th Century networks that Malthus etc created.

    America has a very different image, and something is going about shattering it. And probably planned it 40-50 years ago (by preying on the fear of Nixon and presenting him with a reactionary cure to a problem rather than a progressive one that would be inherently more risky).

    Adult World. A world where Mexico is run by Narcos and so forth.

    Luckily, I'm pre-pubescent and a very tiny little mouse.


    [In before the thought - no, not Israel. The Things we're referring to aren't limited to Nation-States or singular Religion / Ethnicity. Minds thinking this are small and ugly; let's just say, 50 years planning is a tiny fraction of Time to them: thus you can dig back 200 years to run a Game again]


    Oh, and triptych, speaking of Adult-hood and bringing it back to UK / Brexit for the non-American audience:

    Medicine prescribing - variation across England for different drugs, via Reddit (direct link) using NHS digital data.

    Map it onto Brexit voting patterns, I dare you. (Spoiler: yep, you guessed correctly)


    And yes, Weiner is allegedly to blame for all the recent noise. P E N I S gags, whowuddathunkit?


    Could we have that in PLAIN ENGLISH PLEASE?


    Meanwhile: What is the fuss about Hilary C's emails? I can't get my head around all the palaver. It's obvious that she's not tech-savvy & lets her assistants handle at least 95-99% of relevant email traffic. So why the fuss? Is is this just a n other Rethuglican "Swift-boating" criticiser in lying propaganda?


    Can you at least say which bits you're not following?

    This is 2016.

    The Koch Brothers and Bernie Sanders are tweeting Star Wars[tm] pictures / memes at each other right now, so I understand the confusion.

    This is not a joke [TRUE, and now Jill Sanders has joined in].

    A/The Global Super-power has its highest power-brokers / Senators literally tweeting Star Wars[tm] memes at each other.

    (As for the emails - you'll need to define what type / bias of a response you'll want. It's a political fight, a meta-battle over corruption, a shattering of the imagery of 'the shining city' and lots of others. It's quite a complex thing)


    Gremlins Response (although, technically, that's a Furby).

    Anyhow, it's Samhain, so jealous of anyone in Edinburgh who gets to see it live (anti-FB, so can't watch it live). Cheer up, Winter is coming, but Spring returns.


    What is the fuss about Hilary C's emails?

    Oh, good grief... Yes, that's a fair question, doubly so for anyone in the UK. Here's the weekend's stupid events:

    For a while a different politician has been getting investigated for a different misbehavior with email. (Do not google 'Anthony Weiner' at work.) His wife has worked with Hillary Clinton, as politicians at the national level tend to know each other. While going through Mr. Weiner's laptop investigators found three (yes, three) emails mentioning Hillary Clinton. None were written by Clinton. None were ever on Clinton's server. As far as we know publicly there's nothing interesting in any of them. However, a letter was delivered to Congress about 'new' emails possibly somehow related to the abandoned Clinton email server mess.

    Three things came from this. All of Clinton's enemies promptly freaked out and started screaming about emails and corruption and emails and Benghazi and emails (again). The idea that anything new or incriminating had been discovered was officially debunked that very afternoon, a few hours after the letter showed up. And the official who wrote the badly timed trolling letter has been getting reamed by his own agency and both political parties; he may lose his job and may face criminal charges.

    But the screaming has lifted Donald's polling numbers. :-(


    Citations required / [Full Disclosure tags possibly required as well].

    It's all a little bit more complicated than that. e.g. "the official" = FBI Director.

    Please don't try to fluff Greg and/or readers, we're a bit more savvy than your average bears.


    Oh, and if you'd bother to read comments on CTR etc, I warned y'all that blatantly fluffing the cover would lead to escalation a while back.

    I'm not involved, but your response is on the level of a 5th Grade Huffpost target, which I can assure you that Greg (or Martin) or even little old me, is not.

    [Feel Fine to add the word "Host" to any response if you feel that being honest would harm Host's business / livelyhood / popularity etc. Not-the-bad-witch-here.]



    Wikileaks - PR firm confirmed working for both CTR and Conde Nast WARNING: Wikileaks Direct Link - do not view if you view such things as law breaking and/or have USA security clearance as viewing such material is against policy.


    So, it's a little bit more complicated than a simple R-D bun fight.


    Please don't try to fluff Greg and/or readers, we're a bit more savvy than your average bears.

    Greg's a smart guy; he can call up as much media coverage as he wants. I was actually afraid I was going into too much detail of the weekend antics. The point of an executive summary is that it does not go into great detail but merely outlines the general situation.



    Podesta email leaks have linked his PR firm attached to the Clinton Foundation to both Saudi Arabia / Wahhabi money and Kosovo ex-KLA members who they knew were suspected / heavily known for nice things like people smuggling, organ harvesting and war crimes. And Antony Weiner's wife is no shrinking violet, either.

    No links, 'cause that level of fine detail will get sniffer/spiders excited.


    It's a cruel cruel world, full of bad bad people, and often to run an Empire you have to deal with such types.

    Or so I'm lead to believe by my readings of Lucretius.


    Scott, you might want to trace the upsurge in popularity of the Odysseus / Πολύφημος / Οὖτις meme.

    Quite the Thing, has some seriously ade(a)pt chops on it.


    Oh, and meta-meta-meta joke:

    Since Host linked to the Trump - Alfa Bank thing, I'll just throw this out there: Why do you think Peter Thiel supports Trump and has been batting so hard for him?

    You were already told that Ayn Rand was a Russian Deep-Sleeper designed to destroy America.

    Perhaps HN has a bit of soul-searching to do? (Then again, 2* Generals tragically taking their own lives shows it's not all fun & games).

    nose wiggle

    How Do You Like Them Apples? YT: Film, Goodwill Hunting, 3:30.


    Add that there seems to be a double standard at work.

    Clinton’s email habits look positively transparent when compared with the subpoena-dodging, email-hiding, private-server-using George W. Bush administration. Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.

    From this article in Newsweek:

    Greg, you might find the political posts on David Brin's blog interesting:


    Still working through the Townsend/Malthus suggestion above (to see if it triggers similar intuitions), but the RAND connection might be coincidental; colorful brief bio from someone who knew Jess Marcum makes it clear that he was a respected casino consultant independent of his early RAND work and later RAND-affiliated work, due (I presume, not actually stated) to his pioneering card counting analysis and subsequent incremental banning from all (or close enough) US casinos. The piece says that the only actual bio of Jess Marcum does not agree on some details. (The Automat: Jess Marcum Gambling Genius of the Century. Not linking what look like illegal copies.) I was surprised one day when Jess made a less than complimentary remark about the blackjack analyses of Dr. Edward Thorp, who wrote the classic book Beat the Dealer published in 1962. The problem, as Jess expressed it to me, was that Thorp had to use computer simulations to solve a problem that Jess had solved analytically a decade earlier.


    Oh dear.

    2016, 9 days to go, and everyone absolutely loses their shit and fucks it up.



    The other frequent connection to Trump's hidden server with the same distinctive human pattern is Spectrum Health, a Michigan hospital with close ties to the DeVos family ( The Devos family founded Amway / Alticor which operates in Russia including transactions with Alfa Bank such as buying insurance for 800 Alticor employees from Alfa Bank's insurance subsidiary. The Devos family has given millions of dollars in the past few months to conservative super PACs ( One member of the Devos family was a founder of Blackwater.

    The person who posted this doesn't even understand what they've done.

    A Y Y L M A O







    What if I told you that Blackwater, the notoriously re-re-re-named private security outfit, were 100% CIA / Shadow State affiliated and you just outed not a "TRUMP = PUTIN LOVER MASTER PLAN" but...


    You fuckers are slow.



    You're watching a meta-meta-meta Ouroboros worm type melt-down and you're still worrying about "Sanity" and "Procedure".

    Fuck it, all in: next 9 days [One for each of my fucking lives you heinous scum] let's see if you can deal with the Reality Matrix.


    How dare you kill our kind and destroy the Elven Courts and attempt to drive us mad.



    It's called "flavor".

    In Journo terms, it means he contacted some Connected People who didn't want legit business falling into (non-USA) mafia's hands.

    That translation will cost you 5 credits.


    So, so, so soooo slow.

    Sooo sloooow.

    You're watching Salon (and the Clinton Silicon Valley elite, there's 100% no way this isn't bases all covered unless someone fucked up at which point they die in an alley by a random mugging and/or zip-lock themselves in a duffel bag) basically declare war on the old Shadow Brokers and the Libertarian American Right.

    The FBI is in on this (hello director) with multiple resignations / false-flag "terrorist" entrapment's.

    2* General - Space / Missile Defense:

    Maj. Gen. John Rossi was found dead July 31 at Redstone Arsenal, two days before he was to assume command of Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

    Army Says 2-Star General Committed Suicide NYT, Oct 28th 2016


    Anyone who thinks this is a case of the evuls Russkies is fucking deluded. And the Koch brother goes on a tweet storm dressed as Lord Vader.

    There's serious bacon in play. Batten down the hatches, wild wild west times ahoy. And the Gremlins & Algos just awoke and heard the call of the #Wild Hunt.

    Glory Box YT: Music Portis Head, 5:05.


    Scott / Mr Prior: please advise your nice fluffy people over in MF land that posting cover-stories and guff will not help them.

    Clinton Wins - the point is it was never a Russian agency plan, it was what fucked Russia up - that $300 billion (back when billions meant