Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Slashtap last won the day on July 16 2014

Slashtap had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

2351 Godly

About Slashtap

  • Rank
    JohnnyBear "'\ '( ^_^ )' /'''

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location

Recent Profile Visitors

3445 profile views
  1. Mods, feel free to move this to trading, single card discussion, or wherever the appropriate subforum is, if my question is in the wrong place. I'm trying to get an estimate on ultra Minervas. Since there are fewer copies in the world than data points needed to properly discern a pattern, I was hoping to get some community input. If you personally know of (not from hearsay, but YOU directly engaged in or YOU directly witnessed) a transaction involving an ultra rare Minerva, the Exalted Lightsworn, could you please tell me: -The approximate date of the transaction (I'd imagine more recent pricing would be more accurate pricing) -The price it was sold for -And if you happen to know who has it, and whether they are willing to sell it, that would be helpful as well, but not necessary. P.S. Is this the correct way to calculate how many exist in the world: Simply add up the number of YCSes that have taken place during that season, since only one is awarded per YCS? Does this method leave out or overlook anything? Thanks for your help.
  2. Neg 9

    Truth is told in theory, lying is not Not talking 420, but I'm Desiring Pot If ten is a cost, then why ain't your deck where your hand is? Keep 60 mained, based on what you call an advantage Catch me bodying a crew, that's spottin a fire Catch me lobbying for two, that's Pot of Desires
  3. Freestyle Friday

      I appreciate the support, but addressing these kinds of things is unnecessary. If you aren't careful, you risk becoming petty by starting back-and-forths with those types of posters. Personal attacks are innocuous and don't need to be defended against. Good criticism is worth listening to though. "Your idea sucks, here's why" type of comments - now those are worth entertaining.   Or in the case of this thread, "Your punchline sucks, here's a better verse" ;)
  4. Freestyle Friday

    Sorry that this is coming out of nowhere but just had to get it off my chest It's an itch I can't leave alone   Lightsworn is good for nothing but cheap thrills It's the only strategy that loses to meek mills I guess the two have that in common: weak skills This isn't a diss track, but I've been known to speak ill       I have a few hundred bars about Yugioh I'll drop one of these days punsforlife420
  5. People put way too much store in the concept of April Fools. Every instance of an April Fools joke I've seen done by a known website was obviously kidding and did not threaten for people who didn't get the joke to lose substantial amounts of real money. Konami would have to risk far too much to ever kid about an F/L list.   Anyway, I just came to share a Fun Fact. Serpent was banned for 10.5 years to the day. That's over twice as long as the average prison sentence. A duelist could literally commit a felony, do time, commit a second felony, do time again, and still have returned before SS came back. I guess Serpent's crime is worse than average.     Edit: Hurray I'm at threee
  6. Patrick Hoban And The Djinn Debate

    I'm disturbed that not one of the 43 (and counting) comments on that article even attempts to offer a counterpoint. The more I think about the ethical vs. unethical debate over Pat's move, the more I am convinced it is only unethical when defining unethical by the standards of the majority, as opposed to a universal standard that would always hold true. Granted, "standards of the majority" is a legitimate definition of (un)ethical according dictionary.com (definition #2), but I was hoping for more than that from Pat's opposition. Most comments are some variant of "I don't like you," but in harsher words, and that is not any sort of rebuttal to the points he made.   I don't say this with the tone of "we win, you lose" or anything of the sort. Sam and Pat are two of my best friends in the game and stand at completely opposite ends on this issue. I have nothing to gain by "siding with either homie" (pun intendendeeed). To paraphrase Pat, "argue to arrive at a better answer, not to win the argument." I am genuinely interested in what the absolute ethical difference is between creating advantages through deception in deck building, bluffing, and so on vs. creating advantages through deception over an agreement outside the game - and one that the rules of the game do not recognize, no less. I've been more than inviting to hear responses on this matter, but where are they?   (Allen: agree on all 3 points)
  7. Patrick Hoban And The Djinn Debate

      No, it is not that simple. The fact that Pat made sure to honor the agreement he proposed is what makes this case debatable and interesting. He asked to side out a Djinn and made good on the promise. Though, if he hadn't honored the agreement, there would still be a debate, just over a different issue.     No disrespect Adrian. Not singling you out but wanted to use this post as an example of what I think is wrong with this "debate," if it can be called that. Expressing how you feel about something has merit, but in the context of debate, it is not useful and even detracting. This post is a fair representative of "arguments" people are raising here-essentially just the sharing of feelings, which is incorrect regardless of whether you side for or against Pat's move.   More thoughts to chew on: the majority does not define what is sportsmanlike. I was criticized for inquiring about what my opponent played in top 64 before sitting down to face him (incidentally, he did the same thing, not that it matters). The critic was a lone, minority voice. Does his criticism become twice as correct if someone else had agreed with him? More viable as more voices join in? Does my action become immoral once the community reaches the tipping point and the majority find what I did scummy? What if a large number of people convert overnight, and tomorrow decide that what Pat did was a competitive move and nothing more? Does it suddenly become moral (assuming that it was to immoral begin with) if the majority now believe it is acceptable?   The majority being against the move might be incentive not to do it, if you were to write out some sort of sum involving (benefit of move - reputation lost). However, it cannot define whether it the move itself is wrong. Does what Pat did speak poorly to the rest of the community? Yes. I don't think anyone has really said that it doesn't. But again, that's the result of its effect on people, not the result of its inherent morality. Because if it were wrong, and nobody was fazed by it, that doesn't suddenly make it right. If I steal something nobody cares about and isn't missed, I still stole.   The other common argument brought up is the skill factor. While it is certainly more important to uphold an agreement when it promotes skill, the degree of skill promotion does not dictate the morality of betraying the agreement. What if the mirror became very very degenerate after siding out Djinns? Sneaking around the agreement would still be just that: sneaking around the agreement.   In summary, while Pat's move may reflect poorly to the community and Yugioh fans, and while it may spit in the face of "honorable, skill-based dueling," these points do not have relevance to the morality of the act. Allen may seem pedantic by getting into real philosophy with these recent posts, but one has to in order to truly justify (or disprove) the immorality of the act. Arguing from impact and consequences is no way to approach the philosophical issue of right/wrong. To use an extreme example: Attempted murder is as immoral as successful murder. Accidentally tripping someone over and accidentally tripping someone over and that resulting in a butterfly effect of killing 10 other people are both equally not immoral (assuming it was an unavoidable accident and not one of neglect)   I'm still not taking sides. Well, I am taking a side against arguing a certain way, regardless of which party does it. But not taking sides on the move itself. (Personally, I would not have been clever enough to ever think of the Djinn move, and if I had, I wouldn't have used it. But to play devil's advocate against myself, perhaps I would be irrational from a competitive standpoint to not do so, if rational from a reputation standpoint.)
  8. Patrick Hoban And The Djinn Debate

    Heard about this story through the grapevine (well, from Sam). This case intrigues me. Not because of the high profile of who is involved because it has shown me a gap in my philosophy. That is, I haven't yet made up my mind about what sportsmanship means or ought to mean and who to blame (or how much blame to assign each part) when a situation like this arises. I wrote to David Sirlin about the matter because he has made this kind of stuff his career and because he is a voice outside of the game from whom I felt I could benefit to hear.   I am going to share our brief exchange, not to convince you of any one side (as I certainly haven't decided for myself), but to offer some thoughts to chew on. There is such thing as being correct for the wrong reasons. Based on the emotional argument I am seeing while skimming through some posts, I think this may apply to some who have chimed in (assuming their position is correct).           A big picture question I'm wrestling with is: If a legal move gives a player an advantage, what is the criteria by which we define whether the move is acceptable or unacceptable? For instance, Sam's reasoning, which I think is very good, is that Patrick did not uphold the spirit of the agreement to play a skillful match. However, what makes this different from a deck building advantage, from learning about a tech and keeping it a secret? Playing 2 VE in the main certainly gave Pat an edge over those who mained 1 or 0 that weekend at Navy Pier, and that edge was not a skillful one. VE is "do not play Yugioh." What is the fundamental moral difference when this kind of deck building advantage is used during a game as opposed to before turning in a deck list? To what extent to we blame players, official rules, unwritten standards of play, etc.?   I'm not sure whether I'll check back anytime soon, but whether I do or don't, I'd like to apologize for posts I made in December and January.
  9. Thoughts on the "Health At Every Size" Movement

    Reply to Earl: If I'm understanding correctly, you're saying the group of HAES I'm responding to is a vocal minority misrepresenting HAES, in the same way feminism is often misrepresented by a vocal minority. I argue that HAES itself is the misrepresentation, and that overweight and obese people are the ones misrepresented. My two reasons are that I cannot find an HAES community unlike the misrepresentation, and because there is no evidence for HAES.     I disagree, but I'd have to hear more from where you're coming from to have a reply.     A few others brought this up to me as well. I write short essays to take breaks from work. When I turn it into a research project, it makes my break feel like work instead of relaxation. It's more a journaling process, and less so constructing an academic paper. I tried to limit the HAES statements and my responses to topics easily searchable. The HAES statements in particular are commonly seen by searching forums and social networking sites with the #HAES and related hashtags. This also returns to why I disagree with Earl. When you go through those sites, blogs, and everything, you find this is the norm for HAES. HAES is not misrepresented. Rather, HAES is the misrepresenting party.     Reply to "you're annoying/bro/neckbeard/stop posting"-type comments: I know I frustrate you because it sounds like your pleas fall on deaf ears, but know that your feedback is all taken into account. I hope to develop a clear writer's voice and to one day write professionally. That won't happen unless I see how audiences respond, both positively and negatively.
  10. Thoughts on the "Health At Every Size" Movement

      How philosophical. Why does anyone post anything? To refine their ideas. I want to see people's thoughts on HAES and on my response to HAES. My arguments aren't close to developed and probably have contradictions themselves. Discussion breeds refinement.   I respect everyone's right to reply as they please, though I think they'd do better to attack the points rather than the person (funny enough, that relates to HAES). I get that dgz enjoys playing my antagonist. Everyone has someone they love to hate. But infinite variations of "I don't like you" don't refute ideas. :)
  11. (dgz logistical note: I chose general forums over fitness because this essay is exploring a culture, it's not directly about fitness)   A week ago, I learned about a cult called HAES. Their beliefs fascinate me. I have written this piece about them. I’m not passionate about this subject or anything, I just find them amusing. I thought it’d be a fun writing exercise to dissect their philosophy.   HAES (Health At Every Size) is a movement that embodies the values of delusional thinking, self-indulgence, double standards, and bullying/hate speech. It masks itself under the guise of positive vocabulary, like self-acceptance and body love. In reality, HAES culture is saturated with individuals who are illogical at best, and dehumanizingly hateful at worst.   The following is a list of HAES beliefs and my response. My responses are not infallible, but merely point out the general flaw in their way of thinking. In case there’s any ambiguity, my points are against a belief system, not a body of people. You can be a cool person at any size or weight. Unfortunately, HAES misrepresents overweight and obese people as a whole, leading to negative stereotypes. I’m sorry to the decent people out there with size/weight struggles who have to put up with this nonsense.   HAES assertions about health; Slashy replies HAES: Overweight/obesity can still be healthy. -Define healthy. HAES: Bloodwork came out fine, see! -Syllogistic fallacy. All A are B. Therefore all B are A? Nope. Healthy people having good bloodwork doesn’t mean good bloodwork is automatically healthy. Bloodwork is no guarantee of health. Also, your bloodwork probably isn't good. There’s a reason they reject blood donations from people whose BMI doesn’t meet a threshold. HAES: BP/EKG came out fine, see! -Maybe it did. Having a normal lab value at one point in time doesn’t make the risk factors go away. The risk factors for obesity are well established. They are numerous, they are deadly, and they are irrefutable in evidence. HAES: There is a successful fat athlete who achieved X. -The dependent and independent variable both should be the same person, compared against himself. You can't assign two different people as the variables. It doesn't matter if a fat wrestler beats a fit wrestler. You have to prove that the fat wrestler performed better than had he been fit, otherwise there's no evidence being fat didn't hurt, let alone helped, the athlete's performance. Also, we're talking about the population, not exceptional professionals with exceptional lifestyles. HAES: I can run an X-minute mile, swim X laps, etc. (where X is some impressive athletic number) -No you can't. Regardless, it’s the same fallacy as the athlete example above. You have to compare times against yourself at a different weight and size. Lastly, health should be looked at holistically. Using one small component of athleticism, which in turn is but one component of health, is being super selective to prove a point. HAES: I can do X yoga poses. -I've seen the pictures. The HAES people do them incorrectly. Also, equating flexibility with health or athleticism is a notion I find hilarious and one physicians would not entertain. HAES: I'm big-boned. -You are regular-boned. Also, big-bonedness isn’t responsible for fat accumulation. HAES: I have a large frame. -Same as above. The areas of the body where fat accrues are distinct from the parts that grow as a result of frame. It's impossible to mistake one for the other, i.e., nobody is fooling anyone with this line. HAES: BMI is BS. -That depends on what use you're specifically referring to. For what BMI is meant to measure, it serves its purpose just fine. HAES: A BMI over 25 can be healthy. -For lifters and genetic outliers, yes. Regarding the second group, it will be evident in their frame, which again, is impossible to confuse with excess fat. HAES: I tried the calories in vs. calories out thing and it didn't work. -User error. Proper tracking and recording will help. HAES: Calories in vs. calories out doesn't work for some people. -That would violate Thermodynamics. HAES: Calories in vs. calories out has been disproven. -There is no study that has disproven Thermodynamics. HAES: Some people are unable lose weight. -This is not true about a single person who has ever lived. Again, Thermodynamics. There is a difference between unable and unwilling. HAES: I have a slow metabolism. -Actually, your metabolism is fast. Thin people have slower metabolisms. HAES: I refuse to be an anorexic who starves himself. -More syllogistic fallacies. If not A, then B. Anyone who doesn't overeat must be a starving anorexic. They love to go attack twigs. Twigs covered in straw. (Get it? Cause the argument is a strawman) Nobody is arguing that being emaciated is healthy. The absence of obesity is not starvation. Be regular sized. Live long. Prosper. HAES: I have to starve to lose weight. -No, just operate at a caloric deficit. There are studies on obese people who did actually fast a long time to rapidly lose weight. It’s an effective method, and doing it would probably grant a person enormous gains in self-discipline and mental fortitude. It isn’t necessary though. Weight loss is not some extreme and painful thing if you do it at a slow and steady pace. HAES: Must be nice to not have to work for your body. -Biochemistry is biochemistry. The process of fat burn and and muscle gain is the same mechanism that takes place regardless of the person. There are not bodybuilders who are achieving results with the magic of wishful thinking and happy thoughts. There is not some mythical being whose body can build muscle out of diet coke. Genetics might make the biochemical pathways activate more efficiently in some people than others, but this variance is nowhere near a range where you could assert that someone got fit without working for it. An excellent physique is achieved through hard work, and pretty much everyone has the genetics to do it. Only very rare anomalies like those with muscular dystrophy can truly say they can’t. The easiest path to results is anabolic steroid use, but even they have to put in the work. No one has ever gotten jacked taking steroids and sitting at home. Bottom line: your body will reflect how much you worked for it. HAES: I don’t want to look like those mass monsters or women with male-like proportions. -Going along with the previous point, getting to those extremes takes incredible work. It’s hard to achieve those figures even intentionally, so it’s presumptuous to think that you could unintentionally become that way through exercise. Regular exercise makes a person lean out. You have to go the extra mile to start looking like a builder. It doesn’t happen on accident. HAES: There's a paper about obese people having higher mortality after losing weight. -There is, but the study dealt with obese people without co-morbidities. Also, the mortality is caused by complications resulting from obesity. Losing weight isn't the cause, it's the catalyst. Think of it this way: a normal eraser can erase things you write. If I completely distort an eraser by soaking it in green paint, and then rub it over my paper, was it the eraser that failed to erase my writing and caused my paper to be covered in green? Lastly, have you ever seen a scientific model that repeatedly cited the same 1 or 2 papers to support its point turn out to be valid? Yeah, me neither. Scientists don’t cherry pick. HAES: My conditions are responsible for the way I am. -When they bring up conditions, they’re getting their order of causality mixed up. Obesity leads to the conditions, not the other way around. HAES: I have PTSD and am easily triggered. -A very commonly used defense without evidence. Also, the claim is downright offensive to people with actual PTSD. Go ahead and tell a rape victim that you equate her trauma with your desire for cake. Sidenote: Food triggers are real in abnormal cases like Praeder-Willi Syndrome. A dear friend of mine’s kid has it, and sometimes seeing people eat makes him cry. He’s also just a child. And yeah, there are dysfunctions involving leptin. Even for these genetic anomalies, it’s still healthier to not be obese. It’s just more difficult to avoid.   HAES assertions about norms; Slashy replies HAES: I don’t have to conform to society’s standards of beauty. -Of course not. HAES: I’m big and beautiful... -Ok... HAES: ...and that’s what a real woman looks like. Real women have curves. -Now we have a problem. You want to be free of society’s standards, fine. You want to celebrate your beauty regardless of your size, sure. But now you get to impose the definition of a “real woman” on others? Yeah, that doesn’t sound like a double standard at all. TIL big women are real and thin women are imaginary. HAES: It’s what’s on the inside that matters. -Inside/outside are a continuum; they aren’t distinct. Your appearance, everything from choice of clothing, makeup, hair, physique, accessories, facial expressions, and body language, all communicate something about who you are. Also, to say this cliche is in itself a concession since it essentially admits that the outside is doing poorly. HAES: Body love is a feminist movement. Being skinny is anti-feminist. -I’m so sorry to all the actual feminists who put up with this. I know what it’s like to identify with a group that gets misrepresented constantly. It doesn’t cross their minds that people could be regular sized for reasons other than conforming to society. I dunno, maybe it’s just a good thing to do for yourself. Last I checked, most people want to live a long, vibrant life. Furthermore, equating conformity with anti-feminism is a fallacy to begin with. Conformity is not a black-and-white thing. There are good kinds of conformity as well as bad. This group is a living paradox. They claim feminism, yet place their own special demands on how women ought to be. HAES: I love my body. Thin people are denying themselves because they don’t love their bodies. -It’s rather ironic to call it something like “body love.” Loving your body is not apathetically allowing anything to happen to it and being ok about it. It’s taking care of it. We take care of things we love. This argument also assumes self-denial is a bad thing, like some sort of mistreatment. If anything, self-denial is a GREATER form of indulgence. Delayed gratification is a part of every aspect of life. We exercise discipline, foregoing temporary pleasures in exchange for lasting ones. Self-denial is not for people who love misery. Rather, it’s a calculated move that maximizes long-term pleasure. “I’ll do something uncomfortable now so that I can reap benefits in the long run.” HAES: If you aren’t attracted to big girls then you aren’t a real man. -Similar to the “real woman” thing from earlier. It’s a wonder how they don’t smell their own hypocrisy. We shouldn’t feel what society tells us to feel, but somehow, HAES as a group gets to define what attractiveness is. Ok. To make it worse, a huge portion of this culture places demands on male attractiveness as well. Usually that means someone tall. HAES: Same as above, except used on an individual level. “YOU should be attracted to ME.” -I see this attitude frequently, and it’s fundamentally disturbing. I have yet to see someone from outside of the HAES movement express this. Being indignant that an individual person is not attracted to you, regardless of whether the reason is your size, takes a special blend of delusion, arrogance, and self-centeredness. Suddenly, people don’t have the right to have preferences. Fact: attraction is largely innate. It can bend here and there, and there are environmental influences at play, but for the most part, a person’s wiring will predetermine his or her feelings of attraction toward other people. Demanding that someone feel attraction when it is not there is not just unreasonable, but asking for the impossible. HAES: Society should change its definition of beauty. -You can feel the underlying frustration they have when they say this. Do they want to ignore society’s standards, or do they want to fit them? They say “don’t conform” like they don’t care, but they say “society should change” because they do. It’s ok to want to fit societal norms, but HAES advocates wouldn’t admit to such a thing. HAES: Being fat was historically attractive back when people struggled to feed themselves. -They love this argument, but there’s so much wrong with it. First, didn’t they say society’s standards didn’t matter? If society’s standards don’t matter, you don’t get to argue from societal standards. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. ;) Second, the societal norm was that fat communicated wealth, not beauty. Fat is associated with poverty now. It conveys the opposite in modern times, so the point collapses on itself. Lastly, the historical connotation of fat was for fatness, not obesity. HAES: Marilyn Monroe -She’s the most cited figurehead in the fat-and-beautiful argument. Again, the obvious rebuttal is that there shouldn’t be an argument. If you’re fat and beautiful, be fat and beautiful. Society’s standards aren’t supposed to matter to your feminist values. The added layer of fallacy here is that Marilyn Monroe wasn’t fat. Her measurements just get cited incorrectly because people have the freedom to post incorrect information on the internet. Her BMI was about 20. HAES: Boys like a little bit extra -Just wanted to call out Meghan Trainor for this song lyric. In the span of one song, she contradicts herself by preaching self-acceptance, followed by a need for validation from the opposite sex. If you care what the opposite sex thinks, then be real about it. If you don’t want to conform to anyone’s definition of beauty, that’s fine too. Either choice is respectable as long as you are consistent. You can’t have both. HAES: You’re brainwashed by the media. -Of course. And physicians are brainwashed by all those years of evidence-based medical education right? All that biochemistry they learn is a bunch of propaganda. HAES: You’re calling me ugly/This is hate speech. -HAES loves to use complaint as a substitute for logic. If you are critiquing their line of thought, to them, you aren’t debating a point. You’re attacking them personally. The points I’ve made stand regardless of whether the issue is body size or anything else. You could even replace fat with thin, and it’s still the same truths. You cannot demand only thin women are real women, you cannot claim dodging norms and being thin is equivalent to feminism, you cannot say screw norms and argue from norms, you cannot demand someone be attracted to you just because you’re thin, and so on and so forth. The rules of logic hold regardless of the topic. As long as they can convince themselves they’re being personally attacked, they can avoid the responsibility of confronting their logical fallacies.   HAES assertions about discrimination; Slashy replies HAES: Society is discriminatory against size. Society is oppressing me. It needs to be progressive and accomodate size. -Discrimination against size is theoretically possible and probably happens. However, most cases raised by HAES are not examples of discrimination. Real oppression is a terrible thing. Real oppression is taking away a people’s rights. HAES plays the oppression/discrimination card incorrectly. I can only imagine how much it must infuriate people belonging to actual oppressed groups. Here are some examples. HAES: I shouldn’t have to pay for an extra seat if I take up two seats. -If I have a big backyard and my neighbor has a small one, do I have the right to insist that I pay the same amount to have my lawn mowed that my neighbor does to have his? HAES: Charging extra for plus-sized clothing is discriminatory. -See above. More cloth, more labor, greater manufacturing cost, higher pricer tag. It’s just economics. People with longer hair require more shampoo. Houses with more walls require more paint. If there is more body to clothe, then more cloth must be purchased. HAES: Not being allowed on the horse/to ride the ride/to be hired for X position because my size/weight interferes is discriminatory. -Right, and I shouldn't have to take all these law courses to become a lawyer. Firms should hire me regardless of my lack of training. Stanford didn't accept my college application because they discriminated against my bad grades. They should have accepted me regardless. I have smoker’s lungs but should be allowed to compete as a professional athlete. I should be allowed to smoke in the proximity of people with lung cancer. I’m blind and would probably kill someone if I became a taxi driver. But I should be allowed to be one if I wanted. This logic simply doesn’t fly in other areas of life. They equate rights with universal entitlement.   Legitimate things HAES (usually) never says; Slashy replies HAES: I want to lose weight, but I haven’t been successful. -Failure is an honest and legitimate point. Everyone has things they want to do but haven’t been able to because they still suck. You improve by realizing you’re in control, keenly looking out for what’s not working and troubleshooting accordingly, and persisting in effort. However, most HAES advocates don’t concede this. They’d rather continue with pseudoscientific arguments about obesity being healthy and put down people for being thin. My friend Harry has a favorite saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, deny you ever tried.” This is literally what HAES embodies. It’s too difficult to just say, “I’ve tried losing weight. I couldn’t keep it off.” Instead, let’s “prove” that obesity is healthy. That way we technically haven’t failed! HAES: I don’t want to lose weight. It isn’t worth the tradeoff. -Another legitimate point that I can’t contest. In fact, that was why I was fat before. I let myself be fat because I enjoyed the benefits more than the costs. One of those benefits was eating lots of pastries. It was a calculated decision. I didn’t remain fat because I thought it was healthy, I remained fat because I enjoyed the benefits in spite of the consequences. An honest outlook leads to a rational worldview. Currently, I still make intentional “bad” choices. I don’t get enough sleep sometimes and generally don’t eat vegetables or do cardio, and I know these are subpar health decisions. I make these concessions because I feel they afford me other benefits. No one does everything perfectly. Everyone makes concessions in their life. Some people decide that losing weight is not worth the hassle for them. I get it. They find it easier to be obese and value the ease of their lifestyle more than the health benefits of losing weight. It’s just a concession, and one that isn’t self-contradictory. However, HAES advocates don’t admit to this. By defending that obesity is healthy, they can avoid admitting that they’re making a concession to their health.   Being honest with oneself leads to a consistent worldview. HAES is an inherently dishonest cult, hence all the inconsistencies in their philosophy. In examining their points, a few repeating themes come up that are the root of their denial. They don’t want to conform, they don’t want to admit to failure, and they don’t want to inconvenience themselves. A person who can admit these things, regardless of thin/normal/large, will avoid contradictory beliefs. Conforming is good, depending on what you’re conforming to. Standards of good health? I’ll conform to that. Admitting to failure, lack of control, concessions to health is just being human. Everyone should be able to admit their failures. HAES takes their denial to an extreme. “Obesity is healthy.” “My genetics prevent me from losing weight.” “Society should change its standards to match mine.” Anything explanation except for, “I failed.”   Those not familiar with HAES might read these things in disbelief. Do they actually think this way? I can’t make this stuff up. Every point I’ve raised here is not a caricature. They really say these things, often even more exaggeratedly. I didn’t just pick the weird, isolated stuff. These are their common beliefs. If you think their beliefs are scary, the narratives get even worse. The lengths they go to in order to bully dieters and impose their personal views on people trying to improve. Yeah, let’s attack a person for trying to improve his quality of life. They don’t want to be told how to live. Ok, that’s acceptable. Fitness freaks: don’t tell obese people to become like you. But then they degrade anyone among their own kind for attempting to diet down and change. So much for live and let live.   While HAES is by no means the most evil movement around, it is by far the most hateful group that preaches tolerance. Every other hate group is generally honest about their hatred. Even Westboro Baptist doesn’t preach love one day and hate the next. They’re at least consistent with their evil message. Only the HAES gospel straddles the spectrum in such a paradoxical manner. Only they can say, “Love me, accept me, accommodate me,” while harassing others with different lifestyles in the same breath. What curious times we live in.   Although I write this from the perspective of comedy and detached amusement, I acknowledge that there are individuals, both fat and thin, who have experienced true hurt as a result of bullying by the HAES brigade. I do not trivialize your pain. In fact, I hope that my light-hearted perspective can even help with that. Seeing how cartoonish their belief system really is can make them entertaining instead of offensive. After all, how many gay people actually feel offended by Westboro in this day and age? Probably not as many. They’ve become so extreme that they’re too funny to take serious offense to. Look at the HAES hate speech in the same light.   I’ll close with a simple final thought. The following is a list of the existing scientific publications containing evidence that supports HAES: -    
  12. How Do We Avoid Becoming Stagnant?

    Being the best is relative to who you're competing with. Perfection is objective and I don't have any plans of stopping.     This should be your epitaph
  13. Book Review! Farewell 2014 RIP in peace

      The post problems/receive advice model is undoubtedly useful, but there is more than one angle to approach a problem from. Using basketball once again. "Can someone watch my video and give me advice?" vs. "This is a book teaching 9 basketball strategies." Each of these two approaches offers wisdom the other does not, and if a person takes just one approach, he's likely to miss something important.   I'm not clear on your second point. This is not a motivational thread, if that's what you're objecting to. I'm promoting a resource with specific lessons I find helpful.
  14. Hey folks,   Happy new bears! Today I’m going to review a book I found useful. I found it after going through a lot of terrible books. If you want a good laugh, take a look at “Dating for Dummies.” The book I’m going to review is the exact opposite of that.   Academic disclaimer: I’m not being paid or receiving benefits in any form from the author or anyone affiliated with the book.   A while back I shared some thoughts I had on improving at social interaction with the opposite sex. While my initial piece I wrote is a motivational primer, I left it feeling like I painted an incomplete picture and then walked away. It was missing too much and it was too subjective. In terms that Yugioh players will understand, my thoughts came from a top-down, results-oriented perspective. “These are my experiences; here are the principles I draw from them.” That kind of thing.   Top-down thinking isn’t a bad approach, but its limitations are pretty clear. For example, imagine sending a kid who has never heard of basketball in his life onto the court. You pass him a ball, tell him to have at it, and then come back and check his progress later. He’ll probably pick up a lot of useful methods that books wouldn’t adequately teach him, but there will also be large gaps in his knowledge. There will be things he wouldn’t have discovered on his own and would have better learned from the literature (or communities like forums).   Dillon, a very accomplished tennis player, told me about a camp he attended with the state’s best junior players. These kids and teenagers were phenomonal. Dillon noticed in practice they all hit clean, powerful strokes from the baseline – the foundation of good tennis. Using brains to overcome brawn, Dillon delivered a dropshot to score a point against one of his unsuspecting practice partners. His opponent was in disbelief. “How did you do that?” This elite player had never seen a drop shot in his entire life.   Was he a bad player? No, he excelled for his age. But he was limited by his own experiences and training.   Or let’s take some staple metagame play like tribute setting Construct for Beast. How many of you actually figured that out on your own? If you did, you’re likely in the minority. A gifted player might discover it in 5 games, an average player in 15, and a novice in 30... or never. But what’s easier than that is just finding out from somewhere else, like an article. Taking in bottom-up theory from others lets you accommodate for deficiencies in your natural ability.   We live in the information age. We have a vast sea of crowdsourced wisdom and knowledge to draw from. To insist we navigate whatever thing we’re engaged in on our own is not just unnecessary, but foolish.   There are books on everything. But as I mentioned before, the problem is that most literature on most subjects is junk. There are a few subjects that particularly stand out in my mind where virtually no book is helpful or correct (dieting and the self-help genre). There are exceptions, too. Subjects where most books are correct (textbooks, sorta).   A rule of thumb to keep in my mind is: topics that anyone can claim to be an expert on (no degree required) are likely ones where lots of books filled with useless information exist. Dating is a clear example. Psychology is not as rigorous and objective a field as the hard sciences. Anyone can claim their method for romance works and you wouldn’t be able to deny it the way you can deny a more concrete claim like “how does HIV reproduce inside a cell.”   You gotta be very careful with who you choose to learn from and listen to. People like to do stupid things just because someone they admire tells them to (best example: Jenny McCarthy followers). While it may be easy to laugh at these folks, remember that the rest of us are committing this fallacy as well, just on a smaller level. Replace “celebrities” with “friends” and you’ve got the same thing.   Today, my book review is on Kezia Noble’s, “15 Steps to Becoming a Master Seducer.” Groan. I feel the eyes rolling already. This is such a cheesy, self-helpy title. There’s no way this can be good.   It’s a solid book. My best guess is she chose (or was made by her publisher to choose) this title because it would hook a larger audience and get the most sales. I don’t blame her. I’d make that concession too, if I were trying to move a book I wrote.   Get past the title, and you’ll find yourself poring over a concise, 200-some page manual full of tried-and-true theory. The reason I wanted to share this with dgz in particular is that it reads like a Yugioh article. There are sections where Kezia seems to channel the spirit of Pat as she talks about avoiding results-oriented thinking, treating outcomes as controllable rather than blaming luck and circumstances, and the importance of theory before practice.   One specific point she develops throughout is how to remain yourself in situations where it’s unnatural to. We’ve all experienced this confusion before: around a friend we’re comfortable with, we are hilarious, witty, confident, and full of quips and things to share. Around a stranger or someone we’ve just met, suddenly we’re grasping for things to talk about, asking boring questions, looking down at our feet, and running on an empty tank of humor. This has confused me all but too recently. Why do I come up with hilarious material just casually chatting with the guys but suddenly get caught in question-answer-question-answer mode with a girl I’ve just met like it’s an interrogation? This book provides practical solutions.   I am not going to try to re-teach what the book teaches, but rather just summarize a brief outline of topics you can expect to read about.   The flow of her writing is as follows.   1. She first discusses control and the importance of understanding how much of it you have. We see a parallel in Yugioh theory, for in recent years, the subject of tight play has taken more of the spotlight and the stigma against blaming losses on luck is ever increasing. (Personally I see it all as a utopian recovery from the apocalyptic Dark Strike era)   As far as influencing one’s “match outcomes,” the most important things  the section emphasizes are techniques to communicate strength and worthiness of respect. Apart from the content of your actual words, there are six pillars that form the “stage” you present. Leg position, arm position, hand position, eye patterns, face patterns, and voice patterns are those pillars.   A personal anecdote. In high school, we had our annual school-wide science fair one day. I was an upperclassman, maybe a senior. My courses exempted me from having to participate that year, so I decided to just browse different classrooms and look at other people’s projects. In one room, I decided to mimic the body language of the judges. I heard a student whisper to his friend, “Do they allow student judges?” as I walked by. I was less than half the age of the judges and not dressed in the appropriate attire. I didn’t even have the materials the judges had. However, I created an illusion with the arrangement of my limbs.   Kezia writes of her own anecdotes as well of people being mistaken as owners of a particular venue based on the way they were sitting. Body language is powerful.   We’ve all heard that most of our communication is done nonverbally. This knowledge isn’t just useful for gimmicks (like convincing people you own a place). It arms (pun always intended) you with real tools that will put you ahead in the professional world. It would be naive to think that our individual merit alone is going to determine our success (see Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers).   People get promoted for reasons apart from merit all the time, and a lot of the time the reasons aren’t even tangible to the one doing the promoting. A short person can’t do anything about tall people earning more on average, but body language is something you do have control over.   2. Kezia’s middle section describes 9 useful hooks in conversation. It’s essentially a sort of “choose your own adventure” web you internalize that makes it such that you always have something PRODUCTIVE to say when talking to a stranger. Your choice of 9 different things, in fact. Even outside of pick-up game, we’re all familiar with (and dread) those situations where we get caught in interrogation loops.   “What do you do?” “I’m a lawyer.” “That sounds cool. What kind of law?” “Criminal.” “Where’d you graduate from?” “Columbia.” “If risk weren’t an issue, would you choose any other career besides law?” “Pilot, I suppose.” “What’s the craziest case you’ve handled?” “A man robbed a house not realizing it was his own property.”   The above exchange sucks even though there are some seemingly decent questions in it. No matter how original a question you come up with, interrogation loops are awkward and usually tedious for both parties.   If you’re like me, you go into autopilot when someone asks you what you do and what your career goals are. You’ve answered it dozens of times and you’ve settled for canned responses. I actually straight up lie sometimes just to amuse myself and avoid talking on autopilot. I usually do it in a way where it’s clear I’m kidding (I often tell people I’m CEO of McDonalds).   The 9 hooks Kezia prescribes are: open questions, factual statements, opinion statements, challenges, humor, anecdote, task assignment, validation, assumption. There are a lot of specifics to know about each one and further paths they divide into. Like validation has positive and negative (“negs”). Humor has an underlying principle to amuse yourself, not others, to stand your ground if they don’t get the joke, etc. Challenges have serious and nonserious branches. Opinion has a pathway where you intentionally go through opinion->disagreement->defusion. Questions have high and low impact hooks. There are types of questions that you never want to say unless you’re politely shooing someone away, like ones that can be answered with, “yes,” “no,” “thanks,” “fine,” “over there,” a name, etc. I won’t elaborate as I’m not here to teach. In summary, she does a good job of covering the hooks in detail and what they actually look like.   For the hooks I was familiar with and already using, I found she had a good bottom-up explanation for why they work, how they interact with the human psyche, and how I could execute them more efficiently. For the hooks I wasn’t familiar with, I’ve added them to my arsenal, and I’ve been astounded by their effectiveness. I also learned there were methods I’ve used that are very counterproductive. The book helped me identify that as well.   3. The latter section is the one that makes me appreciate the bottom-up perspective the most, as it teaches a technique that would otherwise take me way too long to discover on my own through top-down trial and error. Kezia deals with the issue of the masks people wear (as inevitably everyone presents a facade to people they don’t know well yet), why they wear them (short answer: it’s easier to be disliked for your mask than be disliked for you), and how to get people to lift them.   An interesting difference in the sexes she points out is that men feel exposed when their mask is finally down, whereas women feel relieved. I’m not familiar with what this is called in academia. I’m curious to find studies on it. Maybe it’ll come up further in my training.   The very very end of the book deals briefly with escalation during a first encounter, primarily nonverbal and non-contact type. Basically not throwing away your progress by punting at the last moment.     Now to wrap it all back up, the reason I recommend this book as a solid read is 1. Its advice is practical and ubiquitous. It’s written for male-female interaction, but it’s applicable to professional and other types of interpersonal relationships. 2. It revolves around some of the most important general truths many of us have already picked up from playing card games, and presents how to apply it to human psychology.             -“What could I have done better” over (any other excuse). Apart from really unusual chance things (like she got back together with her ex in the day between when you got her number and when you texted her), there will be an explanation for how she responded, or didn’t respond.             -Theory Theory Theory. Kezia argues with a bottom-up approach.             -But some results-based logic as well. The book has several anecdotes, and also draws from survey data and extensive interviewing and in-field observations. 3. I sifted through a ton of trash to find this for you guys haha. There is some awful literature out there. This work is a relief from all the “well my friend said...” or “I did this...” “...and it worked” nonsense out there.   Sorry that I’m not relaying more detailed advice from this work. Again, I’m reviewing, not reteaching. I don’t want to steal the author’s thunder by paraphrasing her ideas into a tl;dr sparknote. It’s already bad enough that I downloaded it (oops, promise to pay you back Kezia). It’s well worth the read.   Appendix. Common objections and my responses. 1. PUA is scummy. It objectifies women. Your intentions on an individual level are what counts, not the reputation other people give to the activity. Like, $1 bills are known to be used at strip clubs. Should we stop using $1 bills? No, just use them on what your morals guide you to use them on.   No offense to readers who patron strip clubs.   PUA, at its core, is just a more advanced-than-average understanding of human patterns: how to interpret them and how to use your own to communicate specific ideas. There’s no requirement that you use it for a purpose you consider immoral. Everyone knows couples who met online or at a bar or through a cold-approach encounter. It’s just a way to meet someone and present yourself effectively.   2. Human interaction should be natural, not studied. Anything can be studied my friend. It may not sound appealing to hear that we are less complex than we think ourselves to be, but it is the truth. People are predictable and there are things you can do to improve your outcomes in social interactions. You would prepare for a job interview. You would read a book to prepare for a job interview. Why should you make an exception with your love (or hook up) life?   Also, we’re not looking at two opposite things here. PUA is not the antagonist of natural interaction. The purpose of studying human behavior is so that you can be your usual best in the most difficult, anxiety producing situations. If anything, you’re learning to fight against the UNnatural part of yourself by learning PUA.   3. Who is this kid and why should we listen to him? I’m not a pick up veteran or a player. I’m a type A introvert with my own mix of alpha tendencies and beta tendencies, just like the majority of men. I’m a bag of contradictions. I’m the best public speaker I know, but I don’t like talking to people. I know my league as far as physical attractiveness; it is not substantial. On paper, I shouldn’t be seeing much success at all. I do better than I should be because I improve the things I have control over.   And that’s the whole point: that this is for anybody. If a tall, dark and handsome man with a strong jaw, smooth voice, adonis figure, and 7-figure bank account tried to tell you these things, you would always be able to fall back on the excuse that they only work because he just has a natural advantage. But a 5’7” student who’s Asian, lives in a one-bedroom, and doesn’t look like he lifts? Then there is no excuse.   Each one of us can see way better results than we are currently seeing (in general, not just as it pertains to this subject). Physical appearance, personality, temperament, and wealth cannot doom you to failure. Uglys guys, pretty guys, boring guys, weird guys, nerdy guys, short guys, tall guys, rich guys, poor guys. They all have the potential to succeed.   Final thought for 2014. Nothing revolutionary, just a reminder. You are in far more control of your outcomes than you imagine yourself to be. And even if it really is luck holding you back, it is still so much more helpful to overestimate how much of your results you attribute to your actions.
  15. An Update

      I didn't get in the first time I applied. I had to transfer 2nd year. Mainly cause I had bad grades in high school. They care more about grades than other schools in the same tier. Everyone says straight As (in competitive courses) is the thing Rice wants most, with SAT being 2nd. I'm a pretty mediocre student so I'm not gonna try to advise much else on academics.     I know your post isn't an argument but I want to point out (for the love of psyc, and to procrastinate on some studying) that I'm technically not a narcissist. A narcissist is very emotionally present and takes cues from people. Admiration fuels a narcissist while insults destroy him. He tends to debase others. He commits social faux pases without being aware, like showing up late. I do think too highly of myself and don't take great interest in personal relationships, which is where the resemblance to narcisissm comes in.         Genetics determine very narrow things, that, for the vast majority of people, will not inhibit them from obtaining a good physique (barring unreasonably extreme definitions of 'good'). What you're describing is a very common misconception, one I dedicate a good chunk of text to in my work. Your maximum lean body mass, which part of your body you lose fat from first, the shape of specific muscles once they come out, and what you look like if you dont train and eat at maintenance are some major things that genetics determine when it comes to physique. The great news is none of those characteristics determine whether a good physique is possible for an individual, though they might affect how fast or slow the process moves.   Referring back to the paragraphs on decisions made for outward appearance: I am not saying that all people who are well-built have the virtues I described. There are those who use physique as a portal into their mind. Kind of like an artist who draws or sculpts something to express a thought in the tangible form of a picture or sculpture, these people train to demonstrate something about their mind in the tangible form of the body. As you suggested, there is an opposite group. They use physique not as a portal, but as a barrier, to their mind. For them, the muscles are a wall to hide an atrophied mind and lack of character.   That's fundamentally how I'd define what a "bro" is. A bro builds muscle as a dam to conceal what he lacks. He lets his training define his character. The opposite path is to build muscle as a bridge between the body and the inner character. This person lets his character define his training. While the bro is a clear exception, on the whole, I think being in shape implies better things about a person than expensive garments and other signs of wealth (cars).