When I establish my Manufactory of Fine Psychocerametry, I shall seek out a fair plot of unimproved land. And hang upon it a shingle:

40 Acres and an Ass

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As previously, this thread will be a place where I post (and occasionally respond to) various issues.

Thinks like who I am, various policies / practices / interests. And in a moment, where things stand in migrations or lack thereof between various Mastodon instances.

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Some further profile migration :

I'm trying to rationalise settings between my various currently extant Mastodon profiles:

  • mastodon.cloud, my old primary
  • mastodon.social, a never-really-used secondary
  • and this, toot.cat, my new primary.

(There's another former instance on a now-dead server, keep reading.)

Things are slightly borked presently.

One convention I've followed is that ⭕​ typically indicates my active profile, ❌​ various inactive ones.


  1. Once you redirect a Mastodon profile, it's not possible to edit account settings further.
  2. To edit my mastodon.cloud profile, just to change one character in the account name, I had to un-redirect it.
  3. Redirections are only available once every 30 days. So that profile will remain w/o a redirection for another month.
  4. In the moments between clicking "edit profile" and "save changes", mastodon.cloud fell over again. so that profile is now in an undesired and indeterminate state.

Again, toot.cat is my new primary. mastodon.cloud is my old, deprecated profile. mastodon.social is another back-up account. And the since deceased mammouth.cafe was my original home on the Fediverse:

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Just a general note: if your approach to coversation is that you're going to club me over the head with whatever pre-formed, reinforced-concrete belief systems or ideology you've already ingested, formed, cured, and coated in diamond-titanium cladding, we'll be having Very Short Discussions. And likely similarly for relationships.

The more so if you're going to do so from ignorance or Telling Me What I Think or Who I Am. Also, come to think of it, in ignorance.

If you do wish to explore questions, even from widely differing sides, with an aim at uncovering some greater truth, or even simply understanding one anothers' viewpoints more clearly, there is likely to be far greater interest in discussion.

I do not claim to be right on All Things. More importantly, I put an extreme importance on Not Insisting on Being Wrong. That's combined with an (I hope) somewhat well-tuned Bullshit Filter, and, as I enter my senility, a somewhat diminished patience with same.

Put more simply, it's the difference between rhetoric and dialectic.

It's the old story of the Sophists versus the Philosophers, more at .

(I'm also a sucker for good stories, bad puns, cute cats (there is no other type), relevant news, arcane philosophy, and miscellaneous other amusements, etc.)

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For more on the Sophists, see the Stanford Online Encyclopedia of Philosophy:


I'd also recommend the HoP episode:

Audio: hopwag.podbean.com/mf/feed/6qa

J.M. Dillon and T. Gergel, The Greek Sophists (London: 2003).

G.B. Kerferd, The Sophistic Movement (Cambridge: 1981).

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COVID-19 Informational Resources

COVID-19 trends by region, country, state/province, U.S. metropolitan area, or U.S. county:

COVID-19 projections:

Financial Times Covid-19 tracker:

CovidTrends; New cases (weekly average) vs. total cases, by country:

Worldometers Coronavirus live statistics:

US realtime state Rt estimates and tracker:

The Economist excess mortality tracker:

Covid19 projections:

Imperial College London Covid tracking 7 estimation model (US):

Our World in Data Coronavirus tracker:

Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus map (US):

ArcGIS visualizer:

@rysiek 's "scary" National comparison grapher:

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Krell Power Systems Unlimited

Chief Scientist | Philologist | Staff Psychologist | Robot Wrangler | Power Systems Engineer
1610 - Present

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Timelord University
(Dates of coursework irrelevant.)

Krell Independent Study
1610 - Present

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Hard news and CWs: my practices and tips 

Having blown out a bunch of non-CW'd toots in the past day or so:

  • I don't obsess on p*l*t*cs and hard news, but I'll follow and comment, hopefully intelligently, on notable stories and issues, among numerous other topics. Unfortunately this may mean further amplifying major stories.

  • I do typically hashtag both general and US-centric, as well as other regional issues of law, leadership, legislation, campaigning, and litigation. Filtering the Usual Suspects should be effective. As hashtags aren't effective except on Globally listed toots, this creates a conflict in visibility and filtering.

  • CWs in long threads are not without consequences and have major usability issues. I avoid them for these reasons.

  • I do strive generally for substantive commentary. Hopefully there's some comfort in avoiding the Two Minute Hate / shriekfest.

  • I don't pursue unwanted conversations, and appreciate the same from others. If I note that I'm getting bored or tired of a discussion ... that's generally a sharp understatement.

In the event this toot isn't already filtered or blocked, some tips:

  • Yes, muting or blocking is entirely fair; tend to your own needs first. I'm a fan: toot.cat/@dredmorbius/10437158

  • Lists are a powerful feature of numerous clients. A curated feed of known trusted, safe, and personally-conformant profiles is useful. I make heavy use of lists myself (mostly graded by interest level).

  • Filters similarly.

  • Mastodon and Glitch-soc both allow adding, removing, and rearranging pinned streams. You don't need to have Notifications, Home, Local, or Global feeds visible if you find them unsettling.

  • I've taken to reconfiguring my own clients for broader and narrower views freqquently in recent weeks, sometimes seeking more content, sometimes less and a calmer feed.

  • Keyword filters can also be used, with varying effectiveness.

I reserve the right to discuss serious or heady topics. Some appreciate this, some not. Your response is your business.

I'm hoping my own toots will regress to more typical topics and natture. I fear that outside events may thwart this. While I'm not a slave to external events, I'm an active observeer and participant.

Thank you.

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re: Hard news and CWs: my practices and tips 


  • I generally detest horse race, ideological, and outrage topics or discussion.
  • Procedure, law, precedent, rules, and convention are spot on.
  • I'm mixed on identity politics. I feel much of this in reality addresses the two elephants in the room, class and power.
  • I absolutely acknowledge that badges which cannot be removed influence lived experience and opportunities profoundly, including ethnicity, gender, physical attributes, speech, and deeper signifiers such are religion, culture, and belief. or of social and political signifiers occupies much of my thinking.
  • I draw sharp lines at beliefs or advocacy in which identity is the sole or primary signifier, most especially of inclusion or exclusion from basic rights. And absolutely as a basis for oppression or violence. Individual character matters far more, and for any generally-acknowledged identity there are excellent and abysmal exemplars. Neither makes the other.
  • A specific Identity-orientation doesn't make you a good person. Being a good person makes you a good person. MLK was right, it is about content of character.
  • Everyone has flaws.
  • We're products of, but not slaves to, our environments).
  • Some flaws are forgivable or excusable. Some are not. Drawing boundaries can be dificult, but this doesn't mean it cannot or should not be done.
  • If at all possible punch up, protect the vulnerable or oppressed, speak truth to power, and hold it to account.
  • Be inclusive to the extent possible, but ...
  • Be absolutely intolerant of intolerance.
  • The ultimate service of a polity is to its own common weal.

I think on these (and far too many other) points constantly. My understanding has evolved considerably, much of it recently, in middle life.

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CWs and Weber's Monopoly on Legitimacy 

Max Weber defined government, in a much misinterpreted prase, as "the only human community which lays claim to the monopoly on the legitimated use of physical force". ALL TERMMS ARE SIGNIFICANT. Far too many readers focus on "use of physical force", but any playground bully, mean drunk, or capricious idiot can use violence. Government requires legitimacy, typically only bequeathed by the governed, and a monopoly on that legitimacy, meaning no other agent can make a countering claim within a given region.

The definition is reflexive and tautological:

  • An entity with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force is a government or state, regardless of what it calls itself.
  • A region with no monopoly on legitimacy is ungoverned.
  • An entity lacking legitimacy, regardless of what it calls itself, is not a government.

Rather than casting this as a monopoly on force, it's far more useful to consider this a monopoly on legitimacy.

The model is, as all models are, wrong. But it is, as some models are, also useful, in two principle ways.

One is that it provides a useful lens through which to consider govenment, governance, and polity, stripped of most ideological or structural biases. We can ask how, or whether, a democracy, personality cult, autonomous collective, theocracy, dictatorship, representational republic, monarchy, company town, oligarchy, or other forms have legitimacy and/or monopoly over use of force.

The other is that in being so widely misquoted, misinterpreted, and misrepresented, it is a highly useful bullshit filter for identifying those who are either ignorant of what they speak, or are intentionally attempting to mislead, in discussions of governance.

This includes virtually all Rothbardian/Randian/Misian Libertarians and their "nonaggression principle", notably Charles Koch and Penn Gilette, both of whom explicitly cite this as the foundation of their belief. From a false premise all that follows is false.

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CWs ... Weber's Monopoly on Legitimacy 

There's much else, of couse, to consider, and this includes pointing out omissions and issues with the definition.

Legitimacy in general cannot be merely asserted but is conferred, though not always willingly or consciously. Warlords and tyrants are conferred power through threats of or actual violence. Democracies and republics through will of the people expressed through votes. Theocracies based on the interplay of beliefs, rituals, and often, coercion, convincing, voting, or affirmation. Family and tribal units through birth or marriage into, tradition, and often simple acceptance. Sortition systems are based on chance, practice, and assent to both.

There's also the questions of what governments do, to what ends, by what means, how consistently or coherently, and with what effect, which go beyond Weber's definition. But he does establish the basis on which this occurs.

And of course, the mechanisms and consequences of loss or transfer of legitimacy, monopoly, or capacity to impose will.

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CWs ... Common Weal 

Common Weal, often written as one word, commonweal, but which I separate to highlight both elements. The notions are not frequently encountered and may seem old-fashioned. They are to me the essence of community.

The common element is clear.

Weal has connotations of both health and wealth, in the sense of overall welfare, sharing roots with will, "to wish, desire; be willing; be used to".


Common weal is the sense of a shared interest, striving, and achievement of health, weaalth, and prosperity within a society, that very real thing Margaret Thatcher so famously and falsely claimed did not exist. The only way a society can not exist is if it is not defined by a common weal.

The alternatives are a mob, separate factions, host-parasite, or predator-prey relationships

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CWs ... Common Weal 

But common weal is the critical and essential requirement for any viable governance, and in very substantial if not wholly the foundation of legitimacy.

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re: Tyops 

Fuck my inability to type on a soft keyboard without errors.

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I'm a believer in long-term, slow, productive and informative discussions. Necroposting is encouraged.

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Dear Googles: I hope you're giving a lot of hard thought to brownshirt-proofing your vast troves of personal data.

Just sayin.

Originally: web.archive.org/web/2017060410

(Obviously: all data collection and brokering services and systems are addressed.)

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Web Scrapers Claim to Possess and Sell Personal Data on 1.5 Billion Facebook Users on a Hacker Forum

The private and personal information of over 1.5 billion Facebook users is being sold on a popular hacking-related forum, potentially enabling cybercriminals and unscrupulous advertisers to target Internet users globally. ...


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I find it hard to say how I feel about people dying from something they chose for themselves. If you’re so stubbornly not vaccinating or doing anything else to protect yourself in the middle of a pandemic, you are actively choosing the disease, right? And not even just for yourself, but for people around you, and ultimately, you’re choosing to prolong the pandemic for all of society. That’s pretty awful. So is dying from a disease, but if you die as a consequence of your own choice to die from this disease, I guess that’s just a pretty horrible form of suicide with way too many side effects.

But of course there people weren’t fully informed; they were misinformed. They chose to believe people who lie to them. They trust people who betray them and are willing to sacrifice your lives to score some political points. They are the victims of a massive misinformation campaign that didn’t just start with the pandemic, but started way back in the 1980s. All of America is the victim of that, and much of the rest of the world too, but these people in particular. They are the dupes mobilised and sacrificed as part of the murderous political game that the Republicans and conservative media have been playing for decades now.

-- Martijn Vos

(Boosts welcomed.)


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Q: Isn't there something bigger than us? Something else?

A: Yes. Elephants.

Q: No, really.

A: Well, grain barges then.

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It has come to my attention that Mastodon, and/or OSocial, and/or the Fediverse, are no longer what they once were. They're being flooded by Normals. Or People who Don't Speak my Language. または私のアルファベットを使用しない人。

It's becoming like ... birdland.

Or worse: Facebook.

So, here's a thought for you: Facebook was once literally Harvard.

And whatever you think of FB or Harvard, it most certainly isn't any more. Which is a thought you might want to keep in mind. Because change.


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@dredmorbius I had a good cackle at this. Thank goodness he wasn't using comic sans... 🤣

@dredmorbius i think philosophy is actually far more rhetorical than logical. Will make a separate toot arguing this position.

@Gotterdammerung Would that be philosophy-as-practiced or philosophy-as-defined?

I'd argue that there's a great deal of what's cast as philosophy which is in fact rhetorical. Probably especially in the Continental school, in the past couple of centuries.

There's a vast amount that's really theology, starting during Roman times, and extending through ... at least the Renaissance, probably to at least the Enlightenment. (Speaking of Western tradition here.)

But there's also much, including quite a bit of the theological material, which concerns reason, logic, perception, and establishment of truth. Much of that's now been subsumed into science as opposed to philosophy, though not entirely all.

@dredmorbius both my good sir. Philosophy as practiced and as defined.

This redefinition of philosophy as a rhetorical practice led me to the following conclusion:

In Philosophy Proper, truth is absolute.
The history of Philosophical truth is contingent.
Therefore, there is no such thing as Philosophy Proper. Only philosophers!

CWs ... Common Weal 

@dredmorbius While you correct misunderstandings of Weber, perhaps it would not be amiss to correct a (common) misunderstanding of what #MargaretThatcher said: her argument was not to deny the existence of society, but to point out that it doesn't exist separate from individual men and women.


re: CWs and Weber's Monopoly on Legitimacy 

@dredmorbius Well... I'd say "from a false premise, we cannot assume the conclusion is true" (although it still could be, e.g. "the sun will rise tomorrow because the giant white stallions which pull it around the earth are very very reliable, believe me" proceeds from numerous false premises through questionable logic to a true conclusion) -- i.e. it does not at all establish the truth of the conclusion -- but I think that's probably what you meant.


On your actual point: YES.

re: CWs and Weber's Monopoly on Legitimacy 

@woozle Fair point. See justified true belief and the Gettier Problem.


Whilst the conclusions may be true, the argument is unfounded and may be safely and immediately dismissed, which is a tremendous timesaver.

@dredmorbius The caption wasn't visible in the thumbnail for this image and my (very stupid) brain thought:

"Oh, this must be Edward Snowden's brother: Edward Crack Den"

re: covid mitigation opponent deaths 

@deejoe Point.

Though murder still frequently entails death.

I'd also argue that many, probably most, of the participants are dupes, useful idiots, and the like. They're not the instigators, though they're being played masterfully by the instigators, and have been for decades.


the distributed nature of federation may avoid some of the problems with centralized servers

there will be no avoiding the problems of people working against each other

and change is unavoidable

plus ça change ...

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