Happy Ent

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About Happy Ent

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    Godfather of the Weirwoods
  • Birthday 07/01/1968

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  1. Another PHD thread (it rhymes with dread)

    Let me carefully suggest to leave that observation out of a letter of intent or interview.
  2. Another PHD thread (it rhymes with dread)

    For Sociology at KU, the web site is here: http://www.sociology.ku.dk/phd-studies/application/. As you can see, there are no openings—I don’t know that department, but I’d be surprised if there are many per year. If an opening appears, expect hundreds of people to apply per position. Unless you are an exceptional student with stellar grades from a top university, have a solid research plan, and preferably a peer-reviewed publication or two underway, you do not stand a chance unless you have already made yourself visible to the grant holder (who will be your supervisor). You’ll just disappear in the other applications. (I could be wrong and only speak from the experience I have from managing another ph.d. programme in Denmark, which also includes sociology studies.) Also, think of the process from the POV of the department/supervisor. Every single failed ph.d. student is a very strong demerit for the school and the grant holder. They get measured on failed students (which translates to a failure for the school/supervisor). It is a major career problem to have a student fail (not to speak of the very uncomfortable report to be written about the failed project to the original funding source, which was secured in cutthroat competition. “Dear science council. I screwed up. I know you gave me millions, and I spent the money to hire a student who never finished. What can I say?” If you can secure your own funding, maybe just half of it, from abroad or some other funding agency, the game typically changes completely. Universities are measured by the amount of external funding they can secure, so if you come with half a position (say, half a million Danish kroners), the ph.d. programme is strongly incentivised to supply the remaining money. To summarise: Either (1) be unquestionably and demonstrably brilliant so as to secure a position using meritocracy, (2) hook up with the potential supervisor so that they know they can trust you with their project funding, or (3) find your own funding.
  3. Another PHD thread (it rhymes with dread)

    1) Yes, you are insane. But that is a prerequisite. The real question is if you are qualified. I cannot evaluate that. 2) Copenhagen U follows the very strict guidelines that the Danish Ph.D. programmes have to operate under. (I recently governed a Ph.D. programme in Denmark, though not at Copenhagen U.) You can read up on the details at phd.ku.dk. (Some details are handled differently at the faculty or programme level, so you need to follow some links.) In particular, Danish regulations enforce a very strict deadline, and there are strict funding requirements. This is not as pleasant as it may sound. (It means that the system will strongly encourage you to hand in your thesis on time, and make sure you take the necessary courses. Half-yearly reports make sure of this (by kicking you out.) The system itself is strongly incentivised to make you pass (by giving the University money when you graduate), so the incentive structure is kinda weird. Because of the funding requirements, it is almost impossible to start a Ph.D. in Denmark without external funding. The department needs to guarantee your funding (in particular, your salary) for the entire duration (typically, 3 years). From the perspective of the prospective student, this is very bad news, unless you are among the select few who has secured such funding. Danish Ph.D. salaries are very high compared to other places, so basically somebody needs to provide funding for a comparatively very well-paid employee. The department will not have that kind of money floating around. The main source are individual researchers at the department who have won the funding lottery and can open a project to operationalise the money in connection with their project. This would typically be announced on the departmental web site or the faculty’s Ph.D. School. To sum this up: Ph.D. studies are about securing funding.
  4. US Politics: Opening Pandora's Box

    No, and you deliberately misquoted me. To see the extent or your moral corruption, Anti-Targ, let’s recall what I said: Islam is a terrible, terrible set of ideas. In particular, it is at variance with Judeo–Christian values as enshrined, for instance, in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. You then quote me for Islam is a terrible, terrible set of ideas. In particular, it is at variance with Judeo–Christian values In the middle of sentence! Removing a restricting clause—there wasn’t even a comma! I have no words for that kind of behaviour, Anti-Targ. This is a deliberate misrepresentation of a carefully worded statement (which goes on to be even more careful). Please do not do this again. Discourse only works if we aren’t lying about what others think. Mormont and least quotes me correctly, but thinks I’m wrong. Fair enough. As I said in my original post, don’t trust me on Islam. Or Trump, Bannon, or Breitbart. Instead, trust Muslims. The UN Declaration of Human Rights enshrines the secular Judeo–Christian values of the West. This is not me, or the West saying it. (We, after all, think that these rights are universal. We are wrong about that.) Instead, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC, think of it as the predominantly Muslim countries, including the non-crazy ones such as Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia). These countries explicitly resist the UDHR exactly for the reason I describe. If things like actual quotes sway you folks (and the ease with which people like the Anti-Targ lie through their teeth makes me doubt the value of honestly attributing positions to others in the first place), here’s one: This then, after many years, led to the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam from 1990, which is a very good source for reading up on exactly where secular, Judeo–Christian ethics differ from Islam. In the most Islam-friendly framing you can imagine, namely authored by the OIC. These are not my words, or Bannon’s, or Trumps. These are the best source for the Human Rights under Islam, as formulated by current, Muslim countries (including the non-crazy ones), and understood as a contrast to Judeo–Christian values. I am not making this up. They are. You can get a full picture at the Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo_Declaration_on_Human_Rights_in_Islam, which I encourage you all to read. (To the extent that facts sway you at all.) Many denizens of this thread seem to be utterly ignorant of exactly the clash of ideas that seems to inform much of what’s going on under Bannon. To reiterate: Bannon, I, and the entire Muslim world can easily be wrong about this. I’m not trying to convince anybody that “we” are right, even though there are hundreds of millions of us. In fact, I dearly hope we are wrong. But one cannot be ignorant of the existence of this position, nor its very real effect on the world right now. As an aside, the lack of civility, and the level of tribalism and intellectual dishonesty in this thread is galling. Please stop misrepresenting the positions of others, including mine. Moral and intellectual progress can only happen in an atmosphere of benevolent, honest criticism. It never happens by misrepresentation. Good: say what you mean. Defend it. Bad: say what others mean. Attack that.
  5. US Politics: Opening Pandora's Box

    I don’t know. This doesn’t seem like a correct representation of my viewpoints, so you lose some Brownie points with me already. (I know for future reference that I cannot trust you to represent the viewpoints of others correctly.) To meet you half-way, I’m sure that a good case for the latent antisemitism of the Left can be reduced to their (completely open) antizionism. And there probably is a reason for antizionism that is not ultimately based on antisemitism. (It may be based on ignorance, or religion, or a broken moral compass or a thousand other bad reasons that are not antisemitic.) But I think there’s way more to it. I’ve met relatively few people in my life that I’d classify as antisemites. Most were Arabs, and though they would nominally be Left (in that they voted for the Left), they don’t count. Those non-Arabs I know that are antisemites where classical Leftists. I know way more antizioninists than that, mostly on the Left. I’ve never met a conservative antisemite (who wasn’t an Arab) as far as I can remember. But the history of antisemitism in the Left is old and known. Much like homophobia, another problem that riddled in particular European communism in the 70s. But none of that is the point. Clearly nobody would deny that it is easy to smear the entire Left as antisemites if guilt-by-assiociation or cherry-picking are valid arguments. You can paint the Left with that brush, you can paint Israel itself with that brush, you can paint Breitbart with that brush. It is not the stuff of reasoned discourse. It is beneath me and you. Nobody here does that. Except with respect to Breitbart, where that mode of reasoning seems to be on the table. If Breitbart, Bannon, or Trump are antisemites, it should be easy to establish. A cursory glance at their stated politics and actions clearly establishes that they are not. That cursory glance may be mistaken, as such glances often are. I am traditionally very paranoid about antisemitism, and prone to overinterpretation of signals that may have just been antizionism or general xenophobia or hatred of medial elites, academics, or bankers. So I should be a soft target for convincing somebody, even falsely, of somebody elses’s antisemitism. But one would need to provide better arguments than Breitbart (who is a flaming semitophile) starting Breitbart (which is openly pro-Israel and pro-Jewish) attracting alt-right icons like Milo (who is a gay Jew) and Jews like Shapiro (who is one of the most visible targets of antisemitism) and producing Bannon/Trump (who are openly pro-Jewish and pro-Israel) and immediately implement pro-Israeli policies by openly appealing to Judeo-Christian values (as a good thing, unlike this board), and utterly detest the most antisemitic people on the planet (Arab muslims), — that they are antisemites because the alt-right (which is an ill-defined body of people) also includes anti-semites. I wouldn’t accept that argument from a 10-year old.
  6. US Politics: Opening Pandora's Box

    No. And no, I don’t consider myself to be woefully uninformed, but am alway happy to learn more. However, by your standards of argumentation I seem to be some kind of expert. Is the whole case for the perceived antisemitism of Breitbart and Bannon really made in terms of guilt-by-association and obviously malicious misrepresentations? Is that really all we have? Who would ever take such an argument seriously? Whenever I take the time to dive down into the intellectual swamp of the anti-Trump movement I come away increasingly distressed.
  7. US Politics: Opening Pandora's Box

    Remember that Obama had Angela Merkel’s phone tapped. Awesome then, awesome now.
  8. US Politics: Opening Pandora's Box

    We discussed the US voting system a few threads back, and there’s a good article in New Republic about the recent recount case involving US senator Jill Stein, Comp. Sc. election security expert/hacker extrardinaire Alex Halderman, etc.). Long and informative.
  9. US Politics: Opening Pandora's Box

    So does the Left, so that doesn’t get us anywhere. Really. I’ve been on the Left all my life. The only antisemites I’ve ever actually met are on the Left. It’s a very big problem for us. As far as I can tell, Breitbart and Trump are a strong shift of American politics towards philosemitism, in particular a unflinching support of Israel. I think this is great news. (There’s little enough great news as it is.) In particular, the US has stopped its anti-Israelic policy under the Obama administration (which is one of the very few things that I disliked Obama for) and taken a very hostile stance towards the most antisemitic people on Earth: Arab Muslims. So, from this particular perspective, the Trump/Bannon administration does good things both on practice and in theory (in that their rhetoric is compatible with what they actually do). Andrew Breitbart was strongly fuelled by his love for the people of Israel, and his opinions continue to inform the current administration (maybe via Bannon, maybe via the son-in-law… I don’t know this.) One can obviously disagree with this (and the Left, who I consider to be latently antisemitic, does), which is fine—we all have different, valid opinions and can and should disagree about who should be driven into the Mediterranean—, but to label this as antisemitic seems strange to me. In particular, if it’s just based on hear-say. I’m a bit shocked by that. Antisemitism oughtn’t be a label tossed around lightly. And remember, dear friends: Arguments aren’t soldiers.
  10. US Politics: Opening Pandora's Box

    That is a grotesque statement. One of the very few positive things that I can see in the Trump/Bannon-administration is their very open distaste towards Islam. I share this completely. Islam is a terrible, terrible set of ideas. In particular, it is at variance with Judeo–Christian values as enshrined, for instance, in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Trump/Bannon are strongly fuelled by this worldview, as is most of the Islamic world. (See the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights.) This is not something they make up, it’s something Muslims “make up.” (In fact, neither sides makes it up, it’s a straightforward conclusion open to any informed observer.) Judeo–Christian values are incompatible with Islam. So say 45 Islamic countries. And so say Trump and Bannon. (I say so as well. I may be wrong and would be happy to change my mind on this, since I don’t normally enjoy being of a mind with either of these people.) In particular, a strong stance against Islam is entirely compatible with philosemitism. (I self-identify as a philo-semite of alost ludicrous proportions.) Are there people who hate Jews and Arabs equally? Sure. Find me some, I’ll debate them. But it’s a stupid mode of discourse to engage with positions that nobody holds that you can argue with.
  11. US Politics: Opening Pandora's Box

    This is one of the issues where I don’t follow the argument at all. Breitbart is a Jewish publication, to the extent that this adjective makes sense at all. It was founded by a Jew, and some of the best-known writers or former writers (I’m thinking of Milo and Ben Shapiro) are Jews (the former only half, the latter very much). And note that this are not accidental Jews, they are inserting their Jewishness into their publishing activity. Of course, Breitbart is a very conservative Jewish publication. But it is still very, very Jewish. Uncompromisingly Zionist. Strongly and explicitly in favour of Judeo–Christian values. Bannon, too, is all of this except for actually being a Jew. How that adds up to antisemitism is beyond me. Unless you cherry-pick, in which case I can easily taint the entire Left as antisemitic. And then some. In fact, and I say this with a straight face, I am confident that there is a more honest case to be made for the Left being antisemitic that Breitbart being it. Both in cherry-pickable quotes and in the open and honest antisemitism of the uglier of their followers. But I’m happy to learn more. I admit that I’ve only ever read Milo and Shapiro on Breitbart, and some pieces of the original Andrew. And I am on the record as saying that I haven’t figured out Bannon at all, so I’m eager to learn.
  12. His Dark Materials sequel trilogy: The Book of Dust

    I expect some overly didactic stuff with cool fantasy elements. Sounds perfect.
  13. German politics xth attempt

    Those of you who live in Germany: to which extent do you associate Steinmeier with Schröder in your mind?
  14. German politics xth attempt

    Very minor tangent to this thread. (Since I follow Swedish politics very closely.) The Sweden Democrats, which are the Swedish version of the “anti-immigration party” (strict immigration, socially conservative, nationalist, social democratic), split from their youth organisation SDU in 2015 over internal struggles. (This boils down to integration politics. The Sweden Democrats favour so-called inclusive nationalism, or “open Swedishness,” where becoming Swedish is an active choice that society should welcome and enable. Their youth organisation was dominated by ethnonationalists, where “being Swedish” is an inherited quality, like “being African–American.” This is one of the big divide among anti-immigration parties in Europe. The Sweden Democrats had 12.8% in the last election and hover between 16% and 25% in polls.) A few days ago, the SDU people have registered a new party, so if they play their cards right there might be two viable anti-immigration parties after the next election (not to mention those established parties that have become anti-immigration over night.) The name of the new party? Alternativ för Sverige.

    I give up. I have never, ever followed any line of reasoning even close to that. (I love Pinker to death, but I am not swayed by appeal to authority either.) Now the case against Bannon is based on, and I shit you not, “a passing reference” to Evola (who, I kid you not, “inspired” the Italian fascists from the 70s). Wow. By that reasoning, I am a fascist. Anybody who ever used the koncept of the Great Lie (die große Lüge) quotes Mein Kampf and is therefore a fascist. Look people, I don’t give a flying fuck about who thinks Bannon is a fascist. If he were one, I’d be perfectly happy. I consider fascism a completely legitimate political position, that I just strongly disagree with, much like Communism or Islamism. But I want to understand what Bannon thinks. I want to hear his world view, preferably in his own words. This is because I care about ideas. I don’t want to know who labels whom with that. That game is not about ideas, but about social signalling. Most people are stupid and care only about that. It forms an important role in society. And I’d be happy if many people virtue signalled their distaste for fascism, or any other totalitarian ideology, because I share those views. Please go ahead and do that, on Facebook or Twitter, or even here. To me, it’s just noise. I don’t care. You are all intellectual children to me. I’m not interested in hearing somebody represented by their bad arguments. I want to hear good arguments. In particular, from people I disagree with. I want the steel-manned version of Bannon’s arguments. I want to know the best interpretation of what he wants and why he wants it. I completely realise that I am in the minority with that desire – most of you care about identifying the worst representation of the other side. I don’t, in fact I find that psychological mechanism extremely unbecoming and highly unenlightening. Surrounding myself with bad arguments make me stupider (but strengthens my social cohesion). I want to surround myself with good arguments makes me smarter (but weakens my social cohesion).