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The Military Technology

Forget Hashtag Activism: a Millennial's Guide To Nuclear Weapons Realism 258

Lasrick writes: Matthew Costlow is frustrated with his generation's tendency of "hashtag activism" and would like Millennials instead to get real on the issue of nuclear weapons. He writes: "Allow me to suggest a radical new mindset for my generation as it confronts the issues of nuclear disarmament, Russian and Chinese aggression, and nuclear proliferation: extreme humility. Instead of 'boldly' proclaiming the need to raise awareness, let's utilize our generation's greatest asset—access to data—and truly understand the issues before trying to solve anything. Instead of proposing 'fresh ideas' for their own sake, let's recognize that we are not the first generation to deal with these issues and probably will not be the last. Instead of studiously avoiding specifics or hard choices, let's face a messy reality and not simplify an increasingly complex world to bumper-sticker activism."
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Forget Hashtag Activism: a Millennial's Guide To Nuclear Weapons Realism

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    That will help.

  • Great Idea! (Score:3, Funny)

    by lazarith ( 2649605 ) on Thursday September 17, 2015 @05:39PM (#50545097)
    Great Idea! +1 Like
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 17, 2015 @05:44PM (#50545129)

    #nomorehashtags

  • is to "nuke them from space" Ha Ha!!
  • by rockmuelle ( 575982 ) on Thursday September 17, 2015 @05:50PM (#50545173)

    Data driven politics has a name. No need to reinvent it. Unfortunately, it's always struggled to get a strong following.

    -Chris

    • Re:Progressivism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jensend ( 71114 ) on Friday September 18, 2015 @12:48AM (#50546991)

      That's total bullcrap, motivated only by your partisan arrogance. The attitudes of the left towards e.g. food production and the entire field of economics are just as totally anti-science and devoid of consideration for facts as the attitudes of the right towards e.g. global warming. There is no party or movement that can claim the high ground here and there is not a single single member of congress who can be said to be on the side of data driven politics.

      And your assumption "my party is always right and we just need to work to get it a stronger following" is exactly the bullcrap herd activist mentality he's talking about here.

      Even using the term "progressivism" to some extent involves the same kind of problematic hasty and violent arrogance. As Chesterton said,

      Every one of the popular modern phrases and ideals is a dodge in order to shirk the problem of what is good. We are fond of talking about "liberty"; that, as we talk of it, is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. We are fond of talking about "progress"; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. We are fond of talking about "education"; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. The modern man says, "Let us leave all these arbitrary standards and embrace liberty." This is, logically rendered, "Let us not decide what is good, but let it be considered good not to decide it." He says, "Away with your old moral formulae; I am for progress." This, logically stated, means, "Let us not settle what is good; but let us settle whether we are getting more of it." He says, "Neither in religion nor morality, my friend, lie the hopes of the race, but in education." This, clearly expressed, means, "We cannot decide what is good, but let us give it to our children."

      The case of the general talk of "progress" is, indeed, an extreme one. As enunciated today, "progress" is simply a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative. We meet every ideal of religion, patriotism, beauty, or brute pleasure with the alternative ideal of progress--that is to say, we meet every proposal of getting something that we know about, with an alternative proposal of getting a great deal more of nobody knows what. Progress, properly understood, has, indeed, a most dignified and legitimate meaning. But as used in opposition to precise moral ideals, it is ludicrous. So far from it being the truth that the ideal of progress is to be set against that of ethical or religious finality, the reverse is the truth. Nobody has any business to use the word "progress" unless he has a definite creed and a cast-iron code of morals. Nobody can be progressive without being doctrinal; I might almost say that nobody can be progressive without being infallible --at any rate, without believing in some infallibility. For progress by its very name indicates a direction; and the moment we are in the least doubtful about the direction, we become in the same degree doubtful about the progress. Never perhaps since the beginning of the world has there been an age that had less right to use the word "progress" than we.

      Reaching solutions requires

      • a sincere realization of our own ignorance and the sincerity and rationality of our opponents
      • the willingness to engage in real and reasonable discourse with those we disagree with, working to find goals we can pursue with enough common cause that our pursuit will not require tyrannical coercion
      • consistent attention to the data and the best science in choosing means of pursuing those goals

      (Science does not prescribe goals, but describes possible courses of action and their likely consequences; many problems, from failed social programs to environmental disasters, could have been avoided had people listened to scientists from economists to ecologists about the unintended consequences of policies.)

      Unfortunately, I doubt any party in any Western nation is presently capable of any of these three things.

  • mmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpankiMonki ( 3493987 ) on Thursday September 17, 2015 @06:08PM (#50545287)

    As near as I can tell, hashtag activism occurs in cyberspace. REAL activism occurs in meatspace. My advice to millennial "activists"? Step away from the internet and do something real.

    (don't do it on my lawn)

    • As near as I can tell, hashtag activism occurs in cyberspace. REAL activism occurs in meatspace. My advice to millennial "activists"? Step away from the internet and do something real.

      (don't do it on my lawn)

      But your lawn is so much ... safer ... than those sandier "lawns" ...

    • Have you ever been to OWS and such? Meatspace is very much about hashtag activism these days, unfortunately.

      • Re:mmm... (Score:5, Informative)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday September 17, 2015 @08:21PM (#50546029) Journal

        Have you ever been to OWS and such? Meatspace is very much about hashtag activism these days, unfortunately.

        It always has been. Slogans have always been part of political activism. They've found the same political graffiti in several places in pre-Christian Europe.

        Just because it's given a new name, "hashtag" doesn't mean it's something new. I'll bet there were plenty of dilettante colonials who were saying "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death" when there were no British within earshot.

        It's not a new thing. Some people are Martin Luther King or Ghandi who will go to jail or starve themselves for a cause, and some people are Sarah Palin, who stands fast on the issues until she chips a nail or her gravy train gets stalled.

        • I agree that it is not a new thing per se, but I feel that the balance is getting tilted more towards it simply because of all the progress in communication tech. These things are ridiculously easy to organize and amplify now (in fact, quite a few are outright spontaneous). So the sheer number of them, and the amount of time people spend involved in them, is much larger.

    • REAL activism occurs in meatspace.

      #GoOutside

      PS: take your own advice, or STFU.

  • by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Thursday September 17, 2015 @06:10PM (#50545299)

    An article and summary using buzzwords and hashtag activism to suggest people should stop using buzzwords and hashtag activism about nuclear issues - just to make the OP feel like they did something more than using buzzwords and hashtag activism.

    P.S. Hashtag activism.

  • Limited nuclear attacks in a number of spots around the Earth are now assured, probably in five years or so.

    I look forward to the Buzzfeed articles explaining how EMP works are why half a continent has no working electronics - or I would if SF weren't the primary target.

    Good luck everyone! And don't forget to wrap at least one backup hard drive in aluminum [quora.com] foil [youtube.com].

  • On the internet no one can tell you're a Millennial, or from any other group, for that matter. I voted this article down as stupid, but it got through anyway. I'm sorry, but I'm not part of the echo chamber that âoeboldlyâ proclaims the need to raise awareness, nor do I assume such an echo chamber contains only Millennials.
    • On the internet no one can tell you're a Millennial

      Totally gave me the "chilling movie tagline" vibe.

      In #space, no one can read your #hashtags........

  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Thursday September 17, 2015 @06:14PM (#50545337) Homepage Journal

    Guess what, those old people milling about in Congress and running around Iowa trying to become President, when they were young they didn't trust anyone over 30. They were the generation of Rock N Roll and psychedelic drugs. They were so special that they were going to change the world forever and usher in a new utopian age.

    Now they're just old fogeys and the world still has war and poverty and nuclear weapons.

    • They were so special that they were going to change the world forever and usher in a new utopian age.

      And they did. Look at the US or the EU - or, for that matter, China. All are led by people who think they're building shining futures for themselves. That these shining futures always become nightmares for everyone else is neither accidental nor new. After all, if the parisians were comfortable rather than starving your Versailles could be a bit more opulent, whether it's personal wealth (US), new gold stan

  • by morethanapapercert ( 749527 ) on Thursday September 17, 2015 @06:31PM (#50545439)
    There is a basic, underlying, flaw in this proposal. It's the same flaw in human nature that makes all activism and even the democratic process less effective than it is in theory.

    Studying the history, reading and evaluating the various pundits, activists, experts and talking heads output is hard. Sure; any one of normal intelligence and education should be able (and willing) to do this, but it is human nature to take the easy way out if possible. How many people, even in political organizations, really pay attention to what the other guy is saying, attempt to understand what is being said and why?

    It is the real world equivalent of reading all the foot notes and reading all the citations mentioned in the bibliography. It's tedious and time consuming, even people whose job it is to actually do all of that due diligence stuff tend to skimp and cut corners if they can. Only Russell's teapot knows how many student essays and theses, how many scientific papers, how many campaign and floor speeches reference totally bogus or inapplicable bullshit, counting on the audience to not bother following up on them. I am convinced however, that it is a large number.

    This is just human nature, and I've come to simply accept it for what it is. So; rather than ranting on about how people should be doing X or Y, I try to ask myself Why don't> people do X or Y, How can I make X or Y the more desirable/rewarding choice than what the people are already doing?

    Why don't more people do this? Obviously because doing that is also hard compared to just ranting about what people should be doing. Frankly; I consider myself a smart person, but I haven't been clever enough to figure out a way to make active, diligent participation in the democratic process more desirable/rewarding than just sitting at home complaining about the politicians.

    • Studying the history, reading and evaluating the various ... experts.... output is hard.

      It's also really, really fun, once you get the hang of it.

      • Checking up on these things is also time-consuming. I've run down references before, and found they didn't say anything like what some people claimed, and it's been fun, but I can't do it for everything.

        • That's why you just skip the pundits, activists, and talking heads by default.
          Stick with history and experts, and you'll have better results.
  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Thursday September 17, 2015 @06:46PM (#50545511)

    Really what kind of idiot wants to dismantle a system that has kept the world peaceful for 70 years.

  • He writes: "Allow me to suggest a radical new mindset for my generation...blah, blah, blah....Instead of proposing 'fresh ideas' for their own sake...

    The fresh idea he's proposing is to stop proposing fresh ideas. I stopped reading there.

  • Millenial is completely wrong, and I RTFA and verified that they in fact spelled it correctly there, so what was written here wasn't copy/pasted. Whoever wrote this intentionally mispelled it. WTF Slashdot
  • by nichogenius ( 3606787 ) on Thursday September 17, 2015 @08:34PM (#50546079)

    The following irony scares the crap out of me:

    Hollywood has exaggerated every explosion or fireball effect that they have ever tried to use in an action film to the point it no longer resembles reality. The opposite is true with every nuclear weapon that Hollywood has ever tried to use in a film.

    My limited knowledge of movies confessed, I can only think of two movies that are even close: Godzilla 1998 has a fantastic opening sequence of nuclear tests, however their accuracy is only there because the footage is of real American nuclear tests. The other movie, where the effects were surprisingly well captured, was (don't laugh) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, though the realistic effects of the blast were completely undone in my mind when Indy's lead lined refrigerator was thrown several miles to safety when it should have been crushed like a tin can by the compression force of the shockwave. Don't get me started on the 4MT bomb that was detonated a full minute (by hovercraft velocity mind you) off of Gotham's coast in the latest batman. The heat damage from that would have melted glass and given 3rd degree burns to anyone exposing bare skin only seconds before the shockwave would have leveled most skyscrapers. Instead, Hollywood gave us a mushroom cloud clipart in the distance that could at best rival Hiroshima (keep in mind a yield difference factor of 200).

    This lack of appreciation for the true power of nuclear weapons is a huge problem with any real effort in nuclear disarmament or non-proliferation. I'm not sure if this is a problem of public ignorance, or if the scale shear scale of the destructive power of thermonuclear weapons is beyond the grasp of most humans. I would guess a combination of both. My recommendation to anyone who wants to get a true feel for their power is to watch the documentary titled 'Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie'.

    I would actually like to see a live action movie where effort is made into the accuracy of the effects of nuclear weapons. Why do people fear the radiation released by nuclear blasts far more than the damn blast itself? If you are caught in a nuclear blast, there's at least 5 likely causes of death that I can think of that would kill you long before the effects of any radioactive fallout are even noticed.

    rant over

    • There was Terminator 2, though with the artistic license that flesh is stripped to the bone leaving a distressed skeleton while the very weak fence it clings to is intact.

      There's even a very good depiction of AI and computers as far as movies go lol.

    • "I would actually like to see a live action movie where effort is made into the accuracy of the effects of nuclear weapons."

      I'd say Baltimore's ~20KT explosion in "The sum of all fears" film was quite spot on.

    • What about Dr. Strangelove?
    • I can assume you have never watched Terminator 2? You really should, it's a great sci-fi/action movie and has the nuclear blast you are longing for.
    • Why do people fear the radiation released by nuclear blasts far more than the damn blast itself?

      My mother once told me she would rather be in the blast radius so that she would be instantly killed than suffer a long grueling death due to radiation poisoning.

    • by Alioth ( 221270 )

      I recommend you watch "Threads" (made in 1983 when many of us thought nuclear war was imminent, but didn't really understand what it meant). However I wouldn't class it as entertainment, and it was not made by Hollywood (it was made by the BBC). Or "The War Game" (made for the BBC in the 1960s) or QED's "A Guide To Armageddon" (also made by the BBC in the 1980s). "A Guide to Armageddon" is available on YouTube.

  • by Any Web Loco ( 555458 ) on Friday September 18, 2015 @01:39AM (#50547127) Homepage
    What do we want!
    Evidence-based policy making!
    When do we want it!
    After a thorough examination of all the available data!
  • Because that'll stop nutjob regimes like North Korea, or a bunch of terrorists from using nukes to wipe out people.

    Right?

    How the fuck are people nowadays STILL this naive? (I'd use "fucking moronic", but I'm trying to be nice.)

  • Why do people keep using that word?

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison

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