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Maybe it'd be fun to do a thread where we post cryptographic intelligence, that is, we invent ciphers for others to decrypt.  You may make rules about not using given automated tools, if you like, but by default, anything goes.

6 12 21 20 20 5 18 19 8 25 9 19 2 5 19 20 16 15 14 25
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Oh, yes cougar.  
That's alright grasshopper, I think you sell yourself short.


Let's see:



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I don't think this was suppose to be hard, but I worked on it awhile and didn't figure it out.  Probably overthinking.  (Sorry.)


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When this coronavirus situation finally ends, the U.S. will find itself in a terrible position in terms of deficits and debts. What is there to be done? What solutions have you seen that make sense to you?

Source: https://reason.com/2020/09/21/americas-debt-will-be-twice-the-size-of-the-economy-by-2050/
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That would call for actual auditing which would mean actually funding the IRS, and nobody wants that.


Seems like it would pay for itself pretty damn fast. The revenue from the rich actually paying taxes would more than cover the cost, I'd think.  I'd be down for it.


Oh absolutely! Many studies have demonstrated that time and again. But I'm reminded of the old adage that “the law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread."


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President Trump's has nominated judge and law professor Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court seat recently made vacant. Have you followed the news at all? If so, what do you think of her chances of getting into the highest court of the land as well as her qualifications and philosophy? If not, is that because you think that she won't get in after all? Or for what other reason?

Story: https://www.npr.org/2020/09/28/917554001/amy-coney-barrett-a-dream-for-the-right-nightmare-for-the-left

Personally, I'm wary about her views on Obamacare and abortion rights, both of which she's staunchly opposed to and likely will go out of her way to eliminate. However, she appears well qualified and ethically squeaky clean. I think that it's more likely than not she will be confirmed and wind up on the Supreme Court.
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> I'm wary about her views on Obamacare
Here's a sneak peak of how she might vote in such a case:
Spoiler: Don't expect her to strike down any part of Obamacare except the individual mandate, which has already been neutered by Congress.


You're trusting that Barrett is going to rule based on an objective understanding of the law rather than right-wing ideology, though. Isn't that naïve given the circumstances, though? Trump and the Republicans want Obamacare murdered. All of it. She's a hired gun. Why should she betray those that are inherently going to give her the job that she's dreamed of?

Look at past Supreme Court rulings with Gorsch and Roberts particularly, and you already have conservative political activists saying that they're too independently minded and insufficiently hackish. They don't automatically accept whatever the conservatives want all of the time, and that's something that they're expecting to get with Barrett. A bobblehead for their side.

Granted, Barrett's record is rather squeaky clean as far as ethics goes. But we're talking about Donald Trump, the modern modern conservative movement, and the Republican Party, here. They could sell residents of the Sahara Desert sand, for crying out loud.

Wouldn't you at least feel tempted to obey Trump's whims if it meant your own dream job, personally?


>Wouldn't you at least feel tempted to obey Trump's whims if it meant your own dream job, personally?
Once she is appointed, she is on the court for life.  She has no obligation to obey Trump's whims.

>Why should she betray those that are inherently going to give her the job that she's dreamed of?
There is no betrayal.  She isn't promising how she would rule on any case.  Indeed, such a promise would be black-letter judicial-ethics violation.

>They don't automatically accept whatever the conservatives want all of the time, and that's something that they're expecting to get with Barrett.
Not really.  They're expecting a vote against Roe v Wade and a justice with a conservative judicial philosophy.  Such a philosophy would entail ruling against the Texas v. California challenge to ACA, as explained in Prof. Adler's blogpost linked in >>6908.


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i am making this thread for the pres. debate
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If they had nominated Tulsi Gabbard, I would have definitely voted for her.  Now I'm still undecided whether to vote for Joe Biden, Jo Jorgensen, or Donald Trump.


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Maybe the next debate will be held remotely via Zoom.


Who decided that sanders should be jobbing for the democrats.


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With recent news about allegations against powerful men garnering attention worldwide, there's an interesting question: do you believe the twenty-six sexual assault allegations about Donald Trump? Or are they, uh, trumped up? Is a conspiracy happening?

Recent Story Context: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/09/amy-dorris-sexual-assault-trump-accusation.html

I'm also curious if those who disbelieve the allegations against Trump agree that celebrities M. Jackson, R. Kelly, and H. Weinstein are/were innocent of the charges against them as well, or if we have somewhat of a gap in terms of ideology/party.

My personal 0.02$ is that the sheer number of allegations against these figures means that they likely are guilty, although the one exception that I'm genuinely not sure what to think of is MJ (he was, after all, found 'not guilty' in a court of law).
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Wrong thread, I think you were looking for http://ponyville.us/townhall/res/6777.html


Honestly I CTRL-F'd for Corona.


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I come from a state that has a really large, militarized police presence. The police where I am from are probably a lot different than the ones you're used to, and know. They have a lot of power, a lot of wealth, and they patrol every street corner, have cameras on every street, drive around in tanks, and haunt the skies with helicopters.

I've personally been singled out and targeted by police, due to the color of my skin. I didn't imagine it, and it has happened to me more than once. I come from a very diverse place, no less - a place where there are a lot of minority people who are just like me - who are afraid of the police, because the police are not there to protect us, and at times, do not even pretend to be protectors.

I wanted to vent, in part, but also to share my feelings on the Black Lives Matter movement, and maybe explain why I think their concerns are legitimate.

In the United States, we have many different kinds of police officers. In small communities, your police might be truly excellent. It doesn't make any sense to reduce funds for a small police force, patrolling a neighborhood in which they live.

But the police force here, where I live, has a budget that is about as large as the combined Swedish armed forces, with as many personnel. It has a navy larger than half the world's navies.

And it gets that money, in part, by squeezing the people. The police union is outrageously powerful where I live. There is almost no accountability for their actions. And unlike your police force, perhaps, it is not local people patrolling local streets. It is outsiders, who have no attachment to our neighborhoods, and thereby little sympathy for our neighbors.

I don't ask for you to change your mind, when people say "defund the police." But keep in mind, the police where I live aren't held accountable for their actions. The police where I live are always shooting innocents, always taking money through innocent, uninvolved people through civil forfeiture, and constantly violating people's rights.

The anger on the streets, and in the hearts of the people here, is real. It is very palpable. And I think, Black Lives Matter has been a really large net positive in my community, for how it has opened a dialogue between my community, my neighbors, and the police.
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I don't think it's a matter of lack or excess of resources, more how police are using them. Resources shouldn't be used on tanks and cameras and lawyers that let you get away with murder, they should be used for community outreach programs, training for non-lethal means of apprehending criminals, and organization that doesn't allow for a no-knock level raid to have gotten the green light for a tiny drug bust. I think decriminalizing drugs would be a huge step in the right direction, as well. I mean, look at how many resources are put into the war on drugs. Look at how much police activity involves the policing of drugs, how many prisoners we have over drugs. It seems like we're just wasting money and ruining people's lives for no reason. I think we could easily fund rehabilitation programs and non-lethal apprehension with the money we'd save decriminalizing drugs. Hell, we'd even put a huge dent in gang activity, since they'd be muscled out of the drug market by legitimate business.


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>Resources shouldn't be used on tanks
Most police departments get their tanks for circa $5 from the US military (surplus / outdated equipment).  Of course, the police still need to spend money on gas and maintenance, but stopping the police from buying tanks isn't going to free up a lot of money.

>Resources shouldn't be used on ... cameras
I disagree.  I think every police officer should be equipped with a body camera while on duty on the street, and that the video footage should be made publicly available in the event of use of deadly force.

>lawyers that let you get away with murder
Lawyers are also necessary to prevent innocent officers from being wrongly charged.  The problem is more in the law (e.g., qualified immunity should be reformed by Congress, or states should establish tort actions (for state and local cops) that aren't subject to qualified immunity) than the lawyers.

>I think decriminalizing drugs would be a huge step in the right direction, as well.
I agree, at least for things like marijuana.  I'm not sure I'd want to completely decriminalize selling heroin though.  Maybe allow use only by existing addicts and in a heavily regulated environment to keep used needles off the street and minimize harm to society.


All good points. I agree.


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Usually, transitions of presidential power are peaceful in America.  Some fear that this one might not.  There is some speculation that Trump might try to illegally stay in power if he loses and need to be removed by force.  There is also some speculation that Democrat-controlled states might try to stage a coup (if Biden loses) by sending the wrong delegates to the meeting of the Electoral College.

What are your predictions?  Are you worried about massive amounts of violence, potentially up to the level of a civil war?  Are you prepared for such an eventuality?  
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Whooooooooo, boy, there's so much post-truth alternative facts here in what you said that I'm not sure where to begin to debunk things.

I guess I'll start with:
>"And, of course, the foreign powers thing seems to be nothing but conspiracy theory and paranoid delusions at this point, anyway"

See, at the very least, this: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/17/fbi-director-russia-election-meddling-416839

And then this: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/09/trump-lawyer-rudy-giuliani-worked-with-an-active-russian-agent-to-discredit-joe-biden/

And it really goes on.


Your first link is just one guy's opinions, and moreover not him suggesting collusion.
He's saying Russia is doing what quite literally every other nation, including the United States, does.
Hardly justification for a four year witchhunt that hasn't seem to have managed to produce a drop of evidence I've seen thus far.

Your 2nd link is an accusation that some Ukranian parliament member is a Russian spy, which I have to say I find myself looking on with skepticism. Maybe it's because of how often that label had been thrown around during the last 4 years, again without any evidence seeming to show itself.
Moreover, this article is of questionable quality I have to say. If they're saying that the accusation of impropriety Biden is a "baseless allegation", it rather reveals some significant bias.

I think anyone with a neutral eye can say that there is at least enough evidence in regards to Biden and his son to say it's hardly "baseless".
Intentional? Abnormal? Worthy of action? Those are different questions. But, I think anyone can see the potential for a conflict of interest when you're withholding millions of dollars until a nation fires the guy investigating your son.


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What are your predictions?

Trump wins.  Political drama.

>Are you worried about massive amounts of violence, potentially up to the level of a civil war?

Not really.  Maybe I should be.  I've heard smart people saying they are thinking about an exit strategy from America if things get bad.  (But isn't politics always like this?)

>Are you prepared for such an eventuality?

Prepared for civil war?  No.  I understand about respecting states but in civil war the target of respect is poorly defined.  I have been trained for war a bit, but it didn't take very well.  I'm not much of a fighter.


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It's September 20th. That means that it's now the one year anniversary of the 'School Strike For Climate' protest events of 2019. Those received immense media coverage back then, but recent talk about the anniversary has been far more muted. Greta Thunberg's activities get some coverage, but not nearly as much as during last year's demonstrations.

Details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_2019_climate_strikes

Do you personally think that the protests on behalf of the environment really meant anything? Did they seem more like a grand performance than something of substance? Or, alternately, are you feeling positive that younger generations are going to turn things around in terms of environmental protection?


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>Do you personally think that the protests on behalf of the environment really meant anything?
No.  People were already aware of climate change, so not it's like it helped raise awareness.

>Or, alternately, are you feeling positive that younger generations are going to turn things around in terms of environmental protection?
Yes.  In particular, I'm optimistic about new technologies for extracting carbon from the atmosphere.  Also feeding seaweed to cows to reduce the methane content of their burps and farts.


>Do you personally think that the protests on behalf of the environment really meant anything?
No. If anything, I think the protests, at least the more disruptive ones, are a net negative.

> Or, alternately, are you feeling positive that younger generations are going to turn things around in terms of environmental protection?
Progress tends to do this automatically, I'd say. So, yeah.
Then again, I also don't really buy in to a lot of the doomsday predictions.

If some nations end up industrializing, it could balance things out, but I think the improvement of technology and a fair bit of social and legal pressure will mean things get cleaner as we go on.


>protests on behalf of the environment really meant anything?
I'd be open to something that tries to answer the general question: do protests further causes?

They reliably make people upset.  Or bring to the surface expressions of anger by those against a given movement.

>>6845 >Progress tends to do this automatically

is the counter-claim, and it may follow that protest is needless or even slowing of progress.

Suppose you have to find cases where things were bad but nobody made a peep.  Did the problems get solved as quickly, or even quicker?  Of course, I can see the difficulty -- if there's no evidence of complaint, how do we judge were and when progress is wanting?

So I don't know yet.


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Should high schools teach basic gun safety, marksmanship, and firearms technology?                                                                                 
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Those are interesting points, but I still wonder about multiple things.

That most gun owners are hard libertarians or hard conservatives, yeah. That's the core point. What if, as would most likely be the case, the dictatorship IS a "libertarian" and "conservative" dictatorship? One that is is attacking minorities in order to "spread liberty"? After all, it's very easy to damn LGBT people as being "enemies of religious liberty". Same thing for atheists, Jews, and Muslims. They're "threats to Christian freedoms".

Feminists? "Danger to free masculinity". Etc. It goes on.

In terms of the hypothetical assault on the transgender support group meeting, the issue is still there that the U.S. Gestapo would be the fairly elected patriotic representative claiming to act on the behalf of gun owners, doing God's will and the will of the popular majority by taking out a hating minority. A minority that's been condemned numerous times by the NRA. And that U.S. Gestapo would be made up of deputized gun owners themselves. Strong, god-fearing, patriotic Americans working to "save the children" from those that would take away their liberty.

You're really saying that most gun owners would act in the defense of that transgender group? Despite the NRA? Despite the will of the people in their elected representatives? Despite the will of God? Despite that those transgender individuals are the "enemies of freedom"?


>What if, as would most likely be the case, the dictatorship IS a "libertarian" and "conservative" dictatorship?
It is impossible for that to be the case. In fact, a dictatorship can't possibly be libertarian or conservative.

The moment a dictatorship occurs (right or left wing) is the moment that gun owners revolt.

If the government starts rounding up LGBT individuals, the overwhelming majority of gun owners would come to fight the government and defend the LGBT community.

>You're really saying that most gun owners would act in the defense of that transgender group?
Yes. Absolutely.

>Despite the NRA?
Most gun owners actually dislike the NRA. The NRA plays too many political games.

>Despite the will of the people in their elected representatives?
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>If America becomes a dictatorship, then the number one most enthusiastic power base in support of the government is going to be, well, hardcore right-wing activists.
>People who are most likely to believe in replacing pluralistic, multicultural democracy with a theocratic, domineering authoritarian state.
Definitely not.
Frankly, this is a presumption made in ignorance.

Most 2A big supporters are massive pro-freedom types. Maybe they're less inclined to care about matters far away from them, as is only natural, but nonetheless hardly some goose-stepping authoritarians as you seem to presume.
That presumption is something I can only interpret as ignorant stereotyping based on false information. It is something that does not seem to reflect the reality I have experienced as someone within that community.

Incidentally, in relation to the NRA, most gun owners I know hate that organization, but support it by simple virtue of at least sometimes fighting for our rights.
But that may well be dependent on if you mean the lobyist group or the more 'club' like part of it.

> It defies credulity in the extreme to claim that that the exact same gun owners damning "social justice warriors", "cultural Marxists",
Leaving aside the immediate issue that I do not think some major facet of the 2nd Amendment supporters are actively "damning SJWs", those are authoritarians anyway, so how does that help your case?
Is an authoritarian of a different 'team' "just"?
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Black open carry activist Deon Kay was shot and killed in the Washington D.C. area Wednesday, September 2nd by police. While details are still sketchy and initial reports may be wrong, it's thought that officers stated that they feared for their safety after Kay had 'brandished' his firearm. They fired despite Kay, reports state, having his back facing them while fleeing the scene.

Besides being yet another story as a part of the broader 'Black Lives Matter' phenomenon, this gets to a major, core point in American politics. It's an issue with strong passions. Many questions but few answers.

>Why are only certain classes of people, in effect, allowed to exercise their 2nd amendment rights?

In the U.S. today, particular individuals, especially African-Americans, feel that they must be armed to defend themselves. And common sense seems to indicate that they should be able to do so. Yet broader U.S. society looks down upon people who carry weapons if they don't 'look the type'. This goes beyond skin color and tends to also include LGBT individuals, Jews, Muslims, and many others thought to not be welcome in terms of 'gun culture'. The National Rifle Association in particular has a membership known for hostility toward perceived dangerous interlopers. Why is this? And how can these double-standards and inconsistencies be solved?

Is there just a natural, innate viewer reaction to seeing the image here:


That wouldn't happen if it was a white open carry activist? If so, how do these perceptions get fixed? Or maybe they're not fixable?
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Well it is a factor, but OK, your'e right. We haven't discussed that yet. But the rest of my statement still stands.


Things appear more complicated than that. It's not a "no, they aren't" denial so much as a "most gun owners aren't extremists and aren't in league with the NRA's minority-baiting, so what's happening is that the small fringe is spoiling the broader group's image". Which might be wrong. But there's a distinction.


People say a whole lot of things. If you lsiten to the radical Christians, they will relay you their experience about how horrible homosexuality is. if you listen to extreme racists, they'll rant about how bad a given race is, and give you a pile of anecdotal instances where they were right about their prejudice. If you listen to a sexist, they'll tell you how every woman in their life was a callous gold digger.

I have little interest in such things. I prefer evidence. Especially if you expect me to judge people for your presumed experience.

>and when given the answer "because cops and 2A supporters tend to be racist", they respond "No they aren't."
If you ask me "Why is the sky blue", and I tell you "It is because of the tears of God", would you just accept that at face value, believe that is completely true?
I would hope not.
People will always, universally question claims.
Especially if those claims run contrary to their own knowledge.

I have not known 2A supporters to be as a group "racist".
I am not convinced there is a significant issue of racism in police.
I have seen no evidence to suggest that this influences black open carry.

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Should people who post things like this, either as original content or by the obligatory "copy and share if you believe" at the bottom of each edition, be allowed to vote?  Does their voice matter an equal amount?

Imagine there were only ten of you in a room and you were trying to decide something, perhaps about masks, and one of the ten people opened up with this diatribe.  At what point is it reasonable for the other 9 people to just say "That person doesn't get to influence our decisions."?
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Is democracy worth it?


"The best argument against Democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."


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This is one reason why the American federal government is set up as a Constitutionally limited republic with elected representatives beholden to the separation of powers, what with a bicameral legislature and an independent judiciary. In contrast to a pure democracy. Those don't work out so well.

But, yes, I do think that our system is worth it, broadly speaking.


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This is a politics-allowed supplement to http://ponyville.us/pony/res/1055628.html

Please keep in mind the high standards of /townhall/.
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I think a push for a 'right to discriminate' would more of a legislative push than a judicial push.  I don't think there is anything in the federal Constitution or any state constitution that would protect a supposed 'right to discriminate'.  Any judicial proceedings would be limited to whether existing statutes prohibit discrimination, not whether the legislature may enact new laws to prohibit it.

>The Supreme Court is a stupid system that should be abolished. We have a council of 12 elders that get to decide who can get married.
I think you misunderstand the role of the Supreme Court.  The judicial branch is supposed to simply apply enacted laws to individual cases.  The justices on the Court aren't using their own policy preferences to decide things like who be able to get married to whom (or at least they aren't supposed to be; like all humans, the justices are imperfect and biased and sometimes make errors).  Ideally, you could have a judge who vehemently hates gays nevertheless rule in favor in gay rights if the law requires it.

Judicial nominees should be evaluated primarily based on their ability to even-handedly apply the law.  Nominees who are skilled at legal reasoning and who have the ability and inclination to set aside their own political preferences when judging would make good judges regardless of their party affiliation.

>pretty bad for people of color. Just bad bad bad all around because of what the Republican party is and always has been.
Actually, back in the 1800s and early 1900s, the Republican Party was the party in favor of black rights, and the Democratic Party was the pro-slavery/pro-segregation party.  Things flipped in the 1950s/60s.


Ok granted. But it seems needlessly nitpicky to point out that things were different hundreds of years before anyone using this board or maybe even anyone using this board's grandparents were alive.

You can add "always has been for the lifetime of most human beings alive today" if the wording really bothers you, but it appears to me you're just trying troll.


What do you make of the strident libertarian notion that there's a reasonable-ish argument to be made, though, that the first amendment protects a 'right to discriminate' because of freedom of religion. If someone is, say, a fundamentalist Muslim who believes that Jews are the sons of apes and pigs, refusing to serve them at a certain company, isn't that a sincere expression of their innate freedom of expression? And restricting their discrimination means squashing their sincere religion? Is that really a good idea given the first amendment?

I'm not a libertarian myself, or at least not a dogmatic one, so I don't agree personally, but then I don't think it's an opinion that's necessarily to be dismissed out of hand.


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Given the maelstrom of politics around the coming vaccine's development and the numerous corners that have been cut with speed put over safety, will you feel comfortable getting the anti-coronavirus injection when it does come out?

Will you wait?

Or will you decide not to get it in a while, if ever?

Personally, I... I honestly don't know.

News Source: https://www.npr.org/2020/09/18/914513816/trump-now-claims-every-american-could-have-coronavirus-vaccine-by-april-2021
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I'll probably have to get it for my job so my feelings about it are irrelevant, but I doubt enough will be available for me to get it before it's been in circulation for a fair amount of time.


It's only a deadly disease for really old people and for those with serious immune system problems.

The probability of death once infected is upper-estimated to be 0.2% or 1/500 on average in the US (Math: deaths (~200k) / confirmed cases (6.75m) (*10) to get lower estimate of actual cases = 0.002). It's significantly lower for those who are healthy and young.

Not to mention that by the time the vaccine is available, we'll already have basically reached herd immunity.

And on top of that, something that nobody actually acknowledges is that the virus isn't going away. Like... it's always going to be a problem, vaccine or not. Some evolved form of it will live on as just another strain that we'll get herd immunity to in the same way we do the flu.

The only reason its doing so much damage now is because it's new.

So if the vaccine becomes mandatory or free, whatever, I'll get it. But I don't see any need to.

There is one thing good that has come out of the virus: People have started washing their dang hands and wearing masks when they're sick, something I think the US should have been doing for a long time.


I'm not taking it until the long-term effects are known and it's been examined by scientific groups outside of Trump's influence.


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Should drilling the third hole or growing certain plants really be felonies with significant prison time?  Are too many potentially benign things over-criminalized?


Over-criminalization is a serious problem and should Biden win, I'm glad that we're likely to get some movement on the issue. Step one is eliminating qualified immunity. Sue the living daylights out of government jackboots.


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Do you believe the Collatz Conjecture is true?

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2 -> 1 -> 4 -> 2 -> ...


It appears to be empirically true.  I would have to think on it awhile.


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I've been working on trying to prove it for a few years now. Though I'm only really making progress on half of the proof so far, that half being proving that cycles are impossible in a hailstone sequence unless the only odd number in the sequence is 1.

The other half that will definitely be a much greater challenge to prove is the idea that an infinite sequence that just climbs up and up forever is impossible.

The difference between the two is that cycles can be defined in a compact manner as a functional relationship between a number in the sequence and itself. Infinite sequences can't be defined compactly so easily, making it more difficult to find any sort of rigid statement about such a sequence to grapple with.

However, despite all of this, my hunch is that the Collatz Conjecture is absolutely true. Just to give a rough probabilistic "proof", we know that 3n+1 always results in an n that is coprime to the previous n. Assuming that the prime factorization is basically random after every 3n+1, there is always a probability that the prime factorization will be composed entirely of 2's, at which point it's over.

I could go on and on about all kinds of features and patterns in the hailstone sequence.

For example, a fun little relationship between the definitions of different odd numbers and how many divisions by two come before it:

(Where N is a whole number)
- Any n that can be represented by 6N+1 is always preceded by an even number of divisions by 2. (except at the beginning)
- Any n that can be represented by 6N+5 is always preceded by an odd number of divisions by 2. (except at the beginning)
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