No, Sabine, Capitalism Is Not Good and Your Explanation Is Nonsense.

After her misguided video about trans people, I was still willing to remain subscribed because I interpreted it more as poorly thought out than malicious, but the latest video by Sabine Hossenfelder made me unsubscribe, it is garbage and I do not want to waste my finite time on her. She might be an accomplished and competent physicist, but outside of that she talks bull – and I am not all that interested in astrophysics.

It is not garbage in the sense that it contains all invalid information (AFAIK). Still, it is definitively garbage in the sense that the conclusion – as summed up in the title – does not follow from what is being presented. It is disappointingly intellectually lazy and poorly argued.

I am not going into an in-depth analysis, I will try to be as concise as possible.

She is basically saying a bunch of good things that temporarily coincided with capitalism being the predominant economic system, declared a causal relationship between those good things and capitalism (completely failing to prove for example that it was capitalism that caused the Industrial Revolution and not the other way around), and called it a day. Several times she mentioned that there were and are bad things happening too, but she either handwaved them away with “that’s another story” or explained them away with “it means we are doing capitalism wrong”.

That is what made me so angry because the same line of reasoning can be used to prove that “socialism is good” too. In fact, that is exactly what some tankies are doing  – they point out the good things that happened in the USSR sphere of influence, handwave the genocides and human rights abuses away as “doing socialism wrong” and call it a day too. I am not willing to give them a pass for this spurious reasoning, and I am not going to give a pass for it to someone arguing against them either.

This line of reasoning could also be used to prove both that capitalism and socialism are bad, just by switching things that are talked about and that are waved away.

As someone who experienced firsthand both “badly performed” socialism and “badly performed” capitalism, I am of the opinion that both words are so broad that without excessive contextualizing they are both essentially meaningless.

This video is a study of cherrypicking.

Views of Tampere from Pyynikki

Guest post by Ice Swimmer

Tampere is the second city in Finland. It’s been called many things, including Manchester of Finland (short form: Manse), the City of Women and the Sauna Capital of the World*. Before this spring it was a city I visited in order to have fun with my friends who live here. Now it’s my hometown.

The city was founded on an isthmus between two lakes, formed by an esker. The lakes are connected by a channel of rapids that were dammed and provided power for the textile factories, paper mills and other industry. The textile industry led to comparisons to Manchester and to a lot of girls and women moving to Tampere to work for Finlayson (founded by a Scotsman, James Finlayson) and other factories.

These pictures are from a Sunday walk to Pyynikki Sightseeing Tower and Nature Reserve, which are on the esker, in the middle of Tampere, next to the city centre.

First, we take a look to the east from the tower, towards the city centre.

© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Then we take a very touristy angle and look northeast. The big tower is Näsinneula (Näsi needle), the highest building in Finland (168 m), the amusement park is Särkänniemi. The lake is Näsijärvi. This picture is taken May 8th and there is still some ice on the shores.

© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I talked about the two lakes. This is the other one, Pyhäjärvi (Sacred or Holy Lake one of the many lakes with the same name in Finland). We’re looking southeast from the tower and we can see a part of the woods of Pyynikki and parts of the city centre as well as the northeastern corner of Pyhäjärvi.

© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Then we take a look at the northwestern parts of Tampere. The peninsula is a mostly residential area, parts of which are called Niemi (peninsula), Lentävänniemi (Peninsula of the Flying) and Reuharinniemi (the tip of the peninsula, a free translation could be Cape Rage).

© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The following pictures are taken from the Nature Reserve.

First, a sign that says on the top “Place for sightseeing” or “Scenic view” and below that “Dangerous slope”.

© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Both are true. You can see Pyhäjärvi through the trees and yes, taking a few more steps could spoil your day.

© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This place is a short walk west from the previous place. A bench is safer…

© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This view is to the southeast from the rocks, over Pyhäjärvi. I bet the apartments in the buildings by the shore are somewhat costly. I think the chimney belongs to the former knitted underwear factory (Suomen Trikoo).

© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This is a view of one of the roads that go through the woods in Pyynikki. This one is Tahmelantie.

© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This concludes our trip in Pyynikki. As you were able to see deciduous trees didn’t have any leaves yet. Now, about 2 weeks later the leaves in birches and willows have come out just about fully. I’m hoping you got a little inkling of what Tampere looks like.
* = The public saunas in Tampere are popular places, also for the locals.

Greening the Balcony – Part 1

Guest post by Avalus. I am looking forward to the continuation(s) and once again I render my robe and put ashes on my head, this should go up a month ago.

A new project by me, Avalus. I use my balcony each year to grow veggies and some flowers, but I never thought about sharing this. Charly encouraged me to do so, so thank you very much for this opportunity! Similar to Full Fish Ahead, this will be some poorly held together train of thought with many pictures that will be written at random intervals and you all hopefully find interesting and worth your time reading. Comments are very welcome, as I learn something new every year I change my balcony in a lush green jungle (or in 2018, more like a dry brown savannah). Also, I hope to inspire people to green up their spaces, if they can!

So, this is my balcony, roughly 2 by 5 meters, facing south on the lofty hight of seventh floor and as of now, already pretty full of plants!

© avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

But how did I get there?

I started in late winter and early spring with the pregrowing the slower plants. Tomates and peppers mostly but also some older seeds that I expected would not germinate anymore were put in the earth*. For pregrowth I use these 2 old fishtanks that I got from a garbage pile, the seeds are planted in egg cartons and some leftover paper pots, as soil I use cocosshell soil. This foto is from late march, you can also see a sprouting avocado and a taro plant grown from a leftover from cooking.

© avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

*That is why there are some beans growing on the right. Also, the old cucumber seeds just took some four weeks to germinate, in between I bought new ones and they just took four days and now my friends with gardens and family will get gifts of cucumber plants. XD

From last year, a broccoli and two romanesco plants have endured the winter. I thought about tearing them out but then they began to bloom and instantly attracted pollinators, so they stay and I decided to side the broccoli with pansies. Later, this one will be used as a support for peas, that I planted around it.

© avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Then, in early April I got to work cleaning the old pots out. I kept about half of the soil but mixed it topped it off with newly bought earth. For that I use peat-free planting soil although one really needs to look at the content table, as I found out a few years ago. And in the past years, this was also more expensive but this year they did cost the same. All hauling was done from a local garden centre with a hand drawn trolley, which was exhausting as I needed some 240 litres and I don’t own a car. If I lived somewhere else or was not as able bodied this would be a major problem and I would definitively need the help of friends.

© avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

My main growbeds are these half transparent outdoor boxes, I bought some six years ago in a large hardware store. They are mostly in the shade and have held up wonderfully. The lowest 5 cm are filled with porous ceramic balls to store water, on the backside I drilled a line of small holes at 10 cm as an overflow.

© avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Others are just large planting pots, buckets or plain balcony boxes and we will see more of them later this year.

Now, at the start of May, the tomatoes are finally gaining strength, as do the mangolds and the cucumbers. Both of which I apparently did not photograph in their boxes. Planting all of these will have wait though until the ice-saints, a series of days around 15th of May, where temperatures might fall deep here in central Germany. Most of the tomatoes will be given away as well, I will just keep nine of them, as that is usually enough to satisfy my tomatic needs.

© avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

So, what will I grow? Tomatoes, peppers, aubergine, cucumbers, strawberries, lettuce, carrots, radishes, beans, onions, garlic, peas, sweet potatoes and potatoes along with a load of different herbs and some flowers for the bumbles and the bees like tagetes, sunflowers and calendula. From th last years there is Indian canna and lavender. This sounds like a heck of a lot, but the last years showed that with the right combinations these plants work well under the conditions of my balcony in summer. Over the months there will be changes as plants ripen and get collected and replacements will be seeded, grown and planted.

Why do I do it? This is of course not enough to sustain me by a long margin, but I very much do enjoy having plants around me and growing at least a bit of sustenance. It also helps me to appreciate much work goes into farming at least a little more. I cannot collect my own rainwater and the soil is bought, so there are some environmental impacts, of course, even if I try to minimize them. All in all, it just makes me very happy to eat my own grown food and gaze upon thriving plants.

And to finish this instalment, here sprout the first beans, nasturtiums and peas!

© avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Happy planting, everyone!

Enjoying a Quiet Evening

My mother spent only one day in the intensive care ward, then she was transferred to standard care and so far there are no complications. I had enough peace of mind to take out my little chainsaw and work a bit again on the wood that needs cutting down to size to make knife handles. This is one of the pieces – a rootball of unknown species, probably willow and either Salix cinerea or Salix caprea. I have never seen the tree in question, I stole the rootball from the garden of a nearby derelict abandoned building (former asylum for mentally handicapped) where it was dug out and partially burned during some works. I hope to get some interesting pieces of wood out of it. I had to hammer quite a few stones out of various crevices first though, otherwise, it would destroy my chainsaw.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I did not work too much, however. I needed a rest after tackling the pile of firewood. It was a bit less in the end than I hoped for – approximately 3.200 kg – but still, I was tired after working on it daily for over a week. Small pieces are now in sacks of 12 kg and larger pieces are neatly stacked near the house. It will get rained on even though I covered it a bit, but that is not a big problem. Once wood dries, it does not take water in very easily and it does dry again very quickly, so I know from experience that it easily dries in the cellar in a few days with the waste heat of the oven.

So when I was done with what little work I felt like doing, I made a little fire and we sat with my father and we baked sausages for dinner. I started the fire with a ferrocerium rod and I was a bit surprised by how easily a tuft of dry grass has caught fire from these sparks. At least I know for certain that I am not selling useless crap with my bushcraft knives.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

After dinner, I tossed some more wood on the fire. Mostly wood that is not suitable for heating the house, like rotten pieces of a palette, tree bark, etc. It made a bigger fire over which I have put an old baking tray across two fireclay bricks. And I filled that tray with dried iron rust.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This is the step that I have had no pictures of when I wrote about my DIY buffing compound. I went with the baking tray instead of a can/pot this time because I wanted to be able to stir the material during the calcination process. I assumed that that would allow oxygen to access it easier and thus the end product should contain more red hematite and less black oxides (probably wüstite and magnetite). And I think I was correct. The ochre-colored lumps heated up very, very slowly, then they finally started to disintegrate into black dust that has turned into red hematite with further heating and stirring. You can see the color change in the last picture. The sun was much lower at that time and thus the lighting conditions were different, but the color change of the material in the tray is real. Also evident in that picture is the disintegration of the lumps.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

According to the forecast, tomorrow the weather should be nice. Thus I will spend it by cutting as much wood for knife handles as I can. It needs doing. As it is, the wood takes up a lot of space. When I cut out the usable bits, I reduce a huge log into a few small blocks that fit into a shoe box. The rest goes into bags and onto the pile of firewood that will get used up during the winter.

I am also thinking about offering some of the nice pieces of wood for some symbolic price in my shoppe. It is highly improbable that I will use all that I have.

Some Small Good News

Small in the grand scheme of things, but huge for me. I was highly strung these last few weeks, and even more so this weekend and today. Some of that pressure is off my shoulders – for now, anyway.

My mother’s right hip completely collapsed. She has been on pain medication for several years now and nothing was helping anymore. A year ago she was offered hip replacement surgery, but she declined due to the risks involved at her age. I have tried my best to tactfully warn her that she should go on with the surgery because the pain will only get worse and eventually unbearable, but I was perhaps too tactful. Last fall the pain did become unbearable and she decided to go on with the surgery. Her state was so bad that she got fast-tracked and instead of a two-year waiting period it was just a few months. And today she had the surgery.

I have just got an SMS from her that the surgery was successful, she is OK and in an intensive care ward. Not due to complications but due to her advanced age – it was arranged beforehand. I hope the rest of her convalescence goes well too and she will be relieved of the intense pain at least. The reduced mobility is a problem but I did not mind helping her to put shoes on and helping her down the stairs when she had to leave the house – inside the house, she was relatively mobile for I have foreseen this and when we renovated interiors I have made the ground floor without barriers. There are solutions to help with reduced mobility and one can get used to it. No one can get used to pain that gets worse every day.

There is still a war in Ukraine, a mass shooting in the USA twice a week, a new potential pandemic looming whilst the last one still did not end and a climate crisis without apparent care from the powers that be but forgive me, all those problems paled into insignificance to me this last week. In a way, I was glad I had the huge pile of firewood to sort out. It kept me busy and there was no risk of injury if I were distracted.

TNET 46: In a Highlander’s Shoes

I do not know why the algorithm recommended the Fandabidozis channel to me, but it did. I think (although I am not sure) that it first recommended one of the videos in which he shows the crafting of some of his historically accurate-ish equipment.

I have enjoyed his videos in which he explores 17th-century equipment of the Scottish highlanders and this one is probably his biggest and best video project.

Open thread, you can talk whatever you want, just do not be an a-hole.

Previous thread -click-.

TNET 45: Baelin’s Route

This is a kickstarter funded short film made by a group of New Zealand actors.

It is not the mostest originalest story ever written and it does contain a lot of fanservice to fans of their Epic NPC man series that probably does not resonate with audience outside that particular circle.

But I liked it and maybe some of you will too.

Open thread, talk whatever you like, just do not be an asshole.

Previous thread.

Deadlier Than Chucking Nuns – And Legal!

In my last rant about the stupid “weapon” law in Germany, I mentioned that nuns chuckers are illegal to even own and use as training equipment. Similar restrictions apply to kusari, monkey’s fist, and several other weapons that are essentially rope/chain with a metal weight attached to the end.

Today I would like to expound more on the stupidity and nonsensicality of this law. Because when I mentioned that I used to train with nunchaku, what I did not mention was how I started. I did not have nunchaku at first, and it took me a long time to make them because I first had to get my hands on some suitable wood, then a piece of chain, then to figure ut how to make them, etc. This shortly after the fall of the iron curtain when buying even simple things still could be challenging, the internet did not exist and I was a kid with zero money anyway.

But what I did already have was jumping rope. So I took it, tied several knots on the rope to adjust the distance of the handles at the desired length, and voila! I had perfectly suitable training nunchaku. Not for training combat, but certainly for training flourishes, which is what I did. It also had the added benefit that the handles did not have too much mass to them, so even when I hit myself (which did happen at the beginning), it was never anything even remotely dangerous. It was also a great workout, much more fun than using the jumping rope for its original purpose. And then when I finally got some real nunchaku, I already had some muscle memory to use them safely. Which I did. And since the nunchaku weighed more than the jumping rope, the workouts got even better.

And remember, the reason why nunchaku are banned in Germany is that they can be used as an effective garotting weapon (no they can’t), and the reason for banning ropes/chains with weighted ends is because they are highly dangerous impact weapons by generating momentum by slingshot/whip effect (at usual length,  they don’t, it is just angular momentum like with a hammer, the only benefits to the wielder are that there is no shock transfer to the hand and compact size).

But guess what – jumping ropes, even with handles from metal and adjustable rope length, are legal in Germany! A thing that would be both much better for garotting than nunchucks and that could generate a lot more momentum than an illegal monkey’s fist keychain!

I will leave you with that thought.

How Many Nuns Would Nunchucks Chuck…

… if nunchucks could chuck nuns?

I am going to ramble a bit about my pet peeve nonsensical weapon bans and regulations around the world. I am in no way a freedom absolutist in this regard. Weapons are dangerous objects that definitively need to be regulated, and the more dangerous a weapon is, the stricter regulations regarding its accessibility to people should apply. There should be background checks, aptitude tests, mandatory training, and licensing for all firearms. But banning hand weapons is useless and oftentimes downright silly and makes no sense whatsoever.

Take for example the titular nunchucks. I have trained with nunchucks as a kid, I have never hurt my self and I never broke anything either. It was great fun and it was beneficial to me. They are great for hand-eye coordination, great for training speed, and spatial awareness, and it was a good workout too. What it was not – despite me not knowing it at the time – was useful combat and martial arts training applicable for self-defense. Nunchucks are a terrible weapon, although they are better than nothing (not better than running away).

To my great surprise a few years ago, I have learned that nunchucks are banned in Germany. Not only to carry around but to own or manufacture. You will not find Karate or Kobudo class in Germany that trains in their use, not officially at least. That is daft, especially with the reason given – they can be used as a garotting weapon. Well, theoretically, maybe, but they would be awfully ineffective for that. That is not what they are designed for.

And since I have already sold knives to people in Germany, I have looked into laws regarding them a bit and those are too silly squared. Knives that can be opened with just one hand are banned to carry. Knife with a fixed blade can be carried if one is currently performing an activity facilitating its use – like fishing, hunting, or mushroom gathering – but I have read some stories about knives confiscated on the way to a forest, so it can depend on how pissy the policeman you have encountered feels that day. And balisongs are banned to even own, just like nunchucks. I did not dig too deep into that, but whatever the reason, it is just silly.

Because balisongs are really, really bad pocket knives. Their advantage over other pocket knives is that they are very easy to make, but that’s it. They cannot be made very sturdy, their very construction means the blade will be always a bit wobbly. They cannot have any meaningful handguard so when stabbing something with them, there is always the risk of your hand slipping on the blade upon hitting some resistance. And several other things make them bad. The only thing they are really useful for are the same things that other small pocket knives are useful for – cutting food, opening packages, and so forth.

When watching some random videos on YouTube recently I have learned that flails and maces are allegedly illegal in parts of Canada too. And again, I fail to recognize the reasons for this.

In the UK, the reasons given for these imbecilic weapon bans are to prevent gang violence. It does not seem to work. You can ban nunchucks and kusaris, but you cannot ban keychains. You can ban knives, but not screwdrivers. You can ban maces, but not spanners, and hammers – and guess what, the gangs are using these everyday objects exactly for that reason.

I suspect that these weapons were made illegal because they were portrayed as very deadly in 90s action flicks. If so, then legislators enacting these laws should learn the difference between a movie and reality. Bruce Lee movies are NOT documentaries!

But OK, when these laws are in the EU, they are very silly, but at least they are somewhat consistent with the overall culture. But when they are enacted in the USA, their silliness condenses into a black hole of daftitude.

Now one can say that nobody actually needs weapons like nunchucks, maces, or similar and I should shut up about this. I disagree, but I won’t argue against that right now.


TNET 44: Manscaped

I am not going to embed any of those or link to their site, but I have got an awful lot of ads on YouTube lately for the products in the title and I totally do not get it. Like, at all, on so, so many levels. It is a male-centered effort similar to the one that convinced women they should shave their legs.

At some time in our evolution, our species has decided for selecting for hair that grows almost indefinitely on our heads and to a very limited degree on other parts. It is a sad fact that cutting/trimming or excessively grooming head and facial hair is a necessity, otherwise it would get too big and entangled and would impede normal function. Those are our species’ equivalent of peacock’s tails or irish elk’s antlers. And I do get why someone would opt for regular shaving instead of regular trimming for whatever reasons – convenience, aesthetic preference etc. We have to chose there one of several options.

But I completely do not get why I should shave my chest or my groin. And I won’t. Regular hygiene is sufficient to keep me comfy and non-smelly and there is absolutely no health benefit to shaving body hair. In my case, there is even a downside which also the reason why I have a beard – I have sensitive skin and I react badly to shaving. However, that is not the point. We are the only species that is capable to alter or even downright mutilate perfectly healthy bodies for mere fashion. I will never understand why some people feel the need to inject pigment into healthy skin, or pierce and cut healthy functional organs in order to put pieces of metal in them. Oftentimes in a manner that impedes normal functioning and sometimes even endangers health.

I am not saying people should not be allowed to shave their balls, tatoo their faces, or pierce their tongues. Your body, your choice, just do not expect a compliment from me and we will get along just fine. But I find it ridiculous if it is a personal choice, doubly ridiculous if it is a fashion trend and several orders of magnitudes ridiculous if it is a concentrated effort of a company to sell me products that I neither need nor want. Unfortunately, they will probably succeed in convincing some, even though not me personally.

Open thread, you can talk whatever you want, under the condition of not being an asshole.

Previous thread.

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know, it’s late.

No, I didn’t have a hangover. It’s just that we spent a lot of time together. Turns out that keeps me from the computer.

©Shivia, all rights reserved

We had a very quiet New Year’s Eve with good food (more come Tummy Thursday), Dinner for One (and Dinner for Brot), a German New Year’s Eve tradition, and some socially distanced cheers with the neighbours outdoors. The little one got told to put on shoes, and she complied in the most adolescent way possible:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

I have also been very nasty to Mr: I told him exactly what I want for my birthday and then I refused to order it myself because seriously, he can’t rely on me always doing the internet shopping. Turns out, he’s a big boy and can actually do it if there’s no wife to dump it on. At least I hope so. I’ll see when my birthday comes around…

Speaking of gifts: This is what Mr got for Christmas*:

I definitely love Rüdügür (the cleaning robot. The aardvark is called Schnuffelchen and greatly enjoys her ride). I tell him to start cleaning when I go to bed and in the morning it’s clean. Though he also forces us to be tidier: no more “just put it on the floor”, no more cluttering the kitchen table, because the chairs need to go up there.

So, I hope you all had a nice and relaxed end and start of the year, and that 2021 will have us all vaccinated and out and about again.

*No, we don’t do that “beggar yourself for Christmas” thing. At the end of the year we’ll look into our finances, see what the Christmas bonus was, see what larger items we want/need and then call it Christmas gifts. One year Mr got a new fridge and I got a power drill.

TNET 43: Chess Anyone?

I did not know that there was an Online Olympiad for People with Disabilities, but I think it is a good idea.

The chess community has a long and unpleasant history of sexism and elitism, so it is good to see that the problems are being recognized by the current top chess brass and some progress towards the sport being more inclusive is being made.

I have learned to play chess at the age of five before I learned to read. I have always thought that I am no good at it because I was mostly playing with my father and my brother, neither of whom I could defeat with any reasonable frequency. I still could not beat my brother well into my thirties. That did discourage me a lot, especially since my brother – who was a competitive player, albeit not a top one – remarked often “OOH, you are starting with Italian today”. This always irritated me because I was never able to remember the names of beginnings, except those where the name was logically bound to the position on the board (like King’s Gambit, Four Knights). My memory does not work that way, rote memorization was always nigh impossible for me.

Anyhoo, in the spring of this year, I have created an account on and I started to play regularly. And since online gaming does match people with opponents of approximately the same strength, I am not losing all the time. And I have found out two things. First – I am definitively not at a competitive level, no surprise there. Second – I have Dunning-Kruegered myself, I am not as bad as I thought – I am in the top quintile, so I could probably win four out of five matches with random casual players.

If anyone is interested in chess and would like to play, let me know.

Open thread, talk whatever you want, but assholery is not allowed.

Previous thread.