Why do we teach our children not to bully and to report people hurting others, and then as adults we try to stay out of other people’s trouble rather than helping them?

Answered Jan 6, 2019

I don’t get any impression of anyone teaching their children about bullying.

The parents of bullies are likely to be bullies, themselves. And so are likely to view that behaviour as acceptable.

Other parents are bullies, and expect their own children to just cave in and tolerate bullying, from anyone and everyone.

Spoiled brats bullied their way through childhood, and go on to expect to bully their way through adulthood.

Many people bully their spouses or partners.

I’ve seen people bully their neighbours over incredibly petty grudges. Including that the target simply wouldn’t be the bully’s personal friend.

There is bullying in education, from primary school up to university.

I recently witnessed a health care “professional” bully a patient.

I have encountered people who will start openly bullying, in the first conversation upon meeting a new acquaintance. In situations that were supposed to be about light socialising.

In any situation with money involved, you can expect bullying.

An employer will bully employees.

Employees will bully their coworkers.

I’ve seen businesses try to bully prospective customers.

The problem here is in your question.

People do NOT teach their children not to bully. And do NOT teach their children to intervene when witnessing bullying, up to, and including violent crime.

Parents very often teach their child to either BE bullies, or to look the other way, or to engage in victim-blaming.

And it often escalates to worse than looking the other way to bullying. See somebody being physically assaulted on the street? Pull out your phone and take a video. Not to aid the police in apprehending the offender(s), but just because it’s exciting to witness violence.

Why are other people so curious about my lack of children and choosing to be childfree at 38?

Answered Jan 4, 2019

It’s two time-based issues.

First, the biological clock.

No, they aren’t worried that you might miss the window of opportunity to have the fun experience of parenting. Rather, they are worried that you might get away with shirking an alleged obligation to have kids.

They need you to eventually have kids in order to validate their own lives. To confirm that, literally everyone has kids, and nobody has a choice. Because many of them actually refuse to believe that they themselves had any choices. Including making poor choices that they regret. Via contraceptive negligence, with the unplanned child they believe just “happened”. Or by buying into the societal script of deliberately having kids, because it’s just what every real adult supposedly does.

If you were say, 25, and didn’t have kids, they would still hold out hope of it “happening” eventually. If you said at that age that you never want kids, they will be condescending, and treat you like you just aren’t old/mature enough to grasp the compulsory breeding that you “will” engage in when you become a “real” grownup, like maybe age 30.

When you get past 30, they start feeling entitled to an explanation or apology for what is “wrong” with you. Or a reassurance you are now accepting your fate, and practically ready to have unprotected sex with random street bums, just to produce the required 2-point-5 kids.

The second issue is more general. It’s called, “settling down”. It’s largely based on the idea that, everyone’s life trajectory includes getting married, having kids, being trapped, and then never doing anything new, or making any choices ever again. It also includes things like remaining within a very limited geographic area, being stuck in a job you hate, and never pursuing any more formal education.

“Settling down” means that your life story is now over. And they want to see this happen to you as soon as possible. They will try to convince you that you have fallen behind schedule, and are immature, unrealistic, irresponsible, unstable, etc. if you don’t have the handcuffs on (yet).

The people who “settled down” long before 38 may feel personally insulted, and entitled to socially retaliate.

Should I write a note to the cashier at a supermarket to tell her that she’s kind and sweet and that I hope to get a chance to get to know her?

Answered Jan 3, 2019

I’ve worked at jobs dealing with the public, and experienced various inappropriate behaviours and attitudes from people who ranged from stupid to dangerous.

And your idea would definitely fall under “inappropriate”. Or to be more direct, creepy.

I was nice and sometimes quite friendly, but my motivation for being there was to exchange labour for money, not to socialise.

I encountered:

  • People who expected me to stop doing the job in order to hang out and socialise with them, just because they were bored. This included situations where I was paid strictly on how much I got done, without any hourly wage. So hanging out with them would have reduced my earnings.
  • People wanting “free” products or services, and failing to understand why that was unrealistic, and that I wasn’t there to owe them personal favours.
  • People who failed to comprehend that, while they were having leisure time, I was there to work.
  • A random guy (a customer I only met once) who directly asked if I would call him if he gave me his phone number.
  • Creepy vibes and harassment from men (and the occasional woman) up to the level of direct sexual propositions. My favourite was the charmingly intoxicated gentleman who said, “Ah pay you wa lick mah bitch’s pussah”. (I declined that offer).
  • Highly threatening attitudes in situations where it was just me, the customer, and nobody else.

When very young, I actually did allow a few people into my personal life, after meeting them at work. It was always terrible idea. They ranged from time-wasters up to dangerous.

I did have a couple of friends whom I met as coworkers. But a lot of coworkers are just completely annoying, so I prefer clear separation.

If I received a note like you suggest, I wouldn’t contact the person. And would try to avoid them in the future.

Dealing with the public (or with business-to-business customers) is constant stress from their constant bad attitudes and behaviour. Including mass refusal to respect basic personal boundaries.

Being kind, sweet, friendly, attractive, smiling, etc is not an invitation. You might think she is nice, but she has no reason to trust you or feel comfortable getting personal with you. She doesn’t know if you’re a stalker or rapist, but she will very possibly perceive that you don’t respect the boundaries of the situation (which is a red flag).

If object of your attention is physically attractive, she might be extremely tired of getting this kind of approach from random guys, when she is just trying to earn a living. Customer-on-cashier sexual harassment has even resulted in an expensive court case and organised labour action:

Are Businesses Liable for Sexual Harassment by Customers?


Hastings Women’s Law Journal 2000

How crazy is your mother?

Answered Jan 2, 1019

Everyone who actually has met my mother views her as a dangerous, mindlessly hateful sociopath.

Everyone who hasn’t met her projects their mommy-worship fantasies, and assume her to be a wonderful person. I have been persistently called a liar after describing her actual behaviour.

The most charitable interpretation of my mother is that she has stroke induced brain damage. Which causes a total lack of empathy, unprovoked rage, violence, and unrealistic expectations.

She had at least two known strokes before the age of thirty. And around age fifty, got her head scanned, and was found to have more lesions, where the brain tissue had died.

She knows that she has had multiple strokes, but has directly denied having brain damage.

She ought to have been forceably confined to a secure facility, and never released. I wouldn’t care if it was a psych ward or a prison. But she was never held accountable for any of her actions. And instead, was enabled to raise and abuse three children.

She also had very poor decision-making. As I’ve described in one of my other answers, she expected all of her children to continue living with her, after we were adults. And expected for none of us to ever be employed. And expected my father to continue sending her most of his income for the rest of her life. So effectively child support for children who were actually adults.

She also tried to gaslight me with the idea that I was severely mentally retarded, and that I lacked the minimal intelligence to ever work or live independently. I never believed this, but she persisted for years.

She has directly admitted to having criminally abused all of her children. But also refused to comprehend why anyone might form a negative opinion about this. And has also attempted to minimise or deny the severity of her behaviour. While admitting that she doesn’t remember large portions of her life.

Her level of violence had a risk of going all the way to homicide.

She has basically admitted to lacking any empathy for other human beings. And lacking any insight on the impact of chronic violence, and chronic psychological abuse.

She had a lot of violent fantasies, and loved hyper-violent war themed movies, which she would watch over and over. And would boast that her career aspiration was be employed as a mercenary soldier, because killing people would be fun. She would say this seriously, as if it were a perfectly viable and reasonable plan, and never admitted that it was just a fantasy.

She loved threatening to actually kill her children.

When I was thirteen, a neighbour tipped off the authorities, who started an abuse investigation. They were going to start sending a social worker to our home for periodic monitoring visits. She responded by grabbing all of us children, and moving to another part of the country, and even attempted to leave before my father got home from work that day. She also suggested that she was considering falsely accusing my father of molesting my sister, in order to justify running.

When I was a bit older, my sister started acting out by frequently hitting me, just because she was in a bad mood, and had learned by example. My mother told me that I was expected to tolerate it. My mentally ill brother put me in serious fear for my safety, and it was clear that my mother believed it would be perfectly acceptable if he assaulted me. A solid majority of women utterly fail to comprehend why I removed myself from that situation at eighteen.

She seriously believed that she could continue physically abusing all of her children after we were adults, and that we would just tolerate it. She toned it down somewhat after the legal investigation, and also when she noticed that my brother and I were physically bigger than her, but she never completely stopped hitting.

One time, when i was seventeen, I was driving (because she couldn’t drive), and she waved her hand in my face, just barely stopping short of repeatedly slapping me. While the car was moving, in traffic. So I had to explain to her that this was dangerous, and that she could find herself dealing with other adults if she caused a crash. She actually offered to sit in the back seat, basically acknowledging that she didn’t feel that she could control herself if I was within reach.

She has directly stated the intent to criminally abuse my sister’s children. My idiot sister still has contact with her, but set a strict rule on her kids to never be in a room alone with my mother.

While working in a rest home, she criminally abused one of the elderly residents, but managed to get away with it. And she didn’t even bother to deny this when I confronted her about it.

Both my father and my sister concur with my view that, my mother’s physical and psychological abuse was the main cause of my brother’s suicide.

If I were ever in the same room with her again, she would very possibly physically attack me.

Years ago, I spoke with my uncle (i.e. my mother’s bother), and he stated that, my mother was hateful, and prone to unprovoked violence, even when she was a child. She was born evil.

The last I heard (around 2005), my mother had the idea that I was tapping her telephone to spy on her. And she told my sister that, if I ever come anywhere near her, she will call the police, with whatever criminal accusation she can come up with, to try to cause me to be arrested/charged/incarcerated.

The entire female half of society still treats me like I am the bad person for daring to cut the umbilical cord. About fifty percent will deny that any mother would ever behave like she did. And the other fifty percent will blame me, and tell me that I caused and deserved it. I jettisoned the abusive mother many years ago, but I still have to live with the abusive society (or, again, just the female half). I’ve been told that I don’t have the right or even the ability to stay away from her.

As I said at the start of this answer, the only people who comprehend are those who have actually met my mother. And absolutely none of them want anything to do with her, either.

Why is there a disproportionate number of angry, aggressive lesbians?

Answered Jan 1, 2019

I think it’s economic. Both literally/financially, and also metaphorically/sexually.

One of the worst influences on girls and young women is the social message that, being female makes employment and financial responsibility optional. Don’t feel like working? Society will promise you a boyfriend or husband who has been trained to pay for your attention/presence.

Many many girls grow up with that adult model. They see their mother enjoying a nice, middle class life, without having to maintain a job.

This message leads to a massive sense of entitlement for many, many women.

Then, they become young adults, and figure out that they don’t find those breadwinning men to be attractive, or even acceptable.

Their desired sex partner pool is other women, who also feel entitled to avoid employment or financial responsibility. And who certainly haven’t been trained to pay a partner just to exist.

Those angry lesbians are partly motivated by a desperate sense of victimisation, merely because of the basic adult responsibility to work and support themselves.

This is obvious when you meet lesbians, and the first priority is to confirm that you are at the bottom-of-the-barrel financially. You had better be stuck at a minimum wage, 40 hours per week, no-skill, no-status job, living paycheque-to-paycheque.

Although, to be fair, this is the pervasive attitude among straight women, as well.

The second angle is about supply and demand, which has two sub-issues.

Homosexual women – especially single, available, attractive, sane, functioning adult homosexual women – are a tiny minority. And the really immature, entitled types look around at all of those masses of conventionally attractive, conventionally feminine women who are straight, and totally not available. And they feel frustrated and victimised.

The LGBTWhatever so-called “community” is very small in most places, and very clique-ish, and very competitive. Which leads to a scarcity mentality, where people get desperate, and frightened of never finding a partner.

The other sub-issue is about approaching vs. accepting/rejecting. Girls are trained to view sexual relationships as a deal where a woman puts herself on display, and then a man approaches/propositions, and then the women decides yes or no. This leads to tension, fear, and frustration among women, since nobody has been trained to approach and risk rejection.

A third angle is that, some lesbians feel absolutely miserable about being female. And blame this simple physical state for all of their social and personal dissatisfaction in life.

Lastly, there is the general principle that, regardless of orientation, romance, friendship, social, educational, or work contexts, most women basically hate each other.

What is the best wallet solution?

Answered Dec 31, 2018

I recently stopped carrying a regular wallet.

Now, I just have a little plastic card folder thingy that I got for free from the bank that I use. It has:

  • Driving licence
  • University ID card (which also functions as a city bus pass)
  • Credit cards (2)
  • Debit card
  • Supermarket discount card

Keys to my room, mailbox, locker, and bicycle go on a carabiner on my belt. Cardkey for the office and laboratory is on one of those thingys with a retractable string, that clips to my belt. The phone fits in the pocket of my jeans or fleece jacket.

What is the most ignorant thing someone has said to you?

Answered Dec 31, 2018

There is no lower limit to the ignorance that you may encounter.

A lot of this is economic. Other angles relate to general life trajectory. Examples of false but intractable beliefs:

  • No employer will ever pay more than minimum wage, to any employee, for any job.
  • No employer will ever pay for more than forty hours of work per week, and there is a law that says they don’t have to.
  • Employers pay employees simply to be physically present, and don’t have the right to even care if you got any work done.
  • If your job position is eliminated, the employer is legally required to give you another one (i.e. redundancy/layoffs don’t really happen).
  • All employees put forth the least possible level of effort that they feel forced into, while remaining barely employed.
  • Everyone lives paycheque-to-paycheque, spending down to zero dollars every two weeks.
  • People only live in low-rent, high-crime neighbourhoods because they enjoy the atmosphere, and everyone can afford to live in a nice area.
  • It is physically impossible to live in a modest, one-room studio apartment, or such a situation is equivalent to a cardboard box on the street.
  • There are zero armed robberies/assaults in high-risk workplaces. So the workers don’t have any excuse to be paranoid.
  • Street crime doesn’t really happen.
  • Jobs are all divided into men’s jobs and women’s jobs.
  • Chronic non-workers think that, anyone with any job can afford to hand them any amount of cash, as fast as they can spend it. This is known as “friendship”.
  • Many people think that the only possible leisure activity is watching television, and never heard of reading books.
  • Many people never heard of learning anything outside of a formal school environment/arrangement.
  • Everyone hates formal education, and only experiences to the extent of being coerced.
  • Going to university is considered bad behaviour, worthy of social punishment.
  • Students can sit in a classroom, playing video games, playing with the phone, and having irrelevant conversations while ignoring the teacher, and will still magically receive passing grades.
  • Everyone is obligated to tolerate sexual harassment, involving physical touching, in educational and workplace situations. Or maybe your aren’t even allowed to view it as harassment.  I’ve had women say this to me.
  • Many people have never heard of child abuse. Especially mothers who don’t love their children, and criminally beat them for fun.
  • Immigrants are all just on vacation, and have to go home real soon now. No matter how many years they have been in this country.
  • It is impossible for an adult to relocate to a new city. For university, or a job, or any other reason.
  • Everyone lives in the same town as their mother, because everyone still has the umbilical cord attached
  • Every decent person can call the Bank Of Mommy And Daddy to make a withdrawal, any time they are short on cash.
  • Everyone has a middle class background.
  • Everyone is married/partnered, because nobody is capable of living alone.
  • Everyone has unplanned children.
  • Everyone likes a certain sex act, including people who consistently refuse.

Another general principle is that, someone who lacks a basic skill, will believe that nobody has that skill. Also, people with low skill levels (e.g. poor literacy, vocabulary, general knowledgebase, etc.) are generally oblivious to this fact.

Many people believe that, their own first-hand experience of life is comprehensive, and that, nobody else has any wider (or even just different) life experiences.

A solid majority of people firmly believe one, some, most, or even all of these things.

What would be the worst weaponized bacteria or virus?

Answered Dec 28, 2018

Biological weapons have existed for many years.

In the middle ages, an attacking army would use siege engines to catapult corpses of animals and humans who had died of various plague diseases, over the walls of castles and fortified cities.

Two future versions come to mind.

First is an intense, but short term strategy.

You would want something which spread very easily, and killed people quickly. However, you might want to occupy the geographic area afterwards, and so need some way to keep your own soldiers and colonists safe.

With a virus, you would need an enveloped influenza. They spread easily, but also degrade quickly when sitting on a surface, or exposed to air.

With a bacteria, you would need something with multi-antibiotic resistance genes (that you could insert, and/or select for). However, you would also need to have either a better antibiotic (to give to your own occupying people), or some way to turn off the resistance genes (with drugs, or chemicals that you spray on surfaces, etc). Drug development is time-consuming, so your opponent could be working on it simultaneously. Turning genes on/off is complicated, even in controlled lab conditions.

Second, would be a “salt the earth” strategy. Which would be easier and simpler.

This means not only killing everyone in the target area, but also never occupying it, or using it. For this, you need a spore-former. Such as Bacillus anthracis – Anthrax. Or something in the same category, but even more obnoxious. These can last for decades in a harsh desert, and then sprout and kill in human-friendly conditions.

A third possibility is indirect. Humans are dependent on animals and plants for food.

Some microbes will target animal livestock, or will target food-crop plants. You could use either bacteria or fungus, depending on your exact target and timeframe.

This isn’t a bullet that can only be shot once, at one target. It isn’t a bomb that explodes, and then you never hear it again.

Biological weapons will be quite happy to turn on their alleged makers.

What are some of the dark sides of living in New Zealand?

Answered Dec 26, 2018

I’ll preface this by mentioning that, I lived for several years in Los Angeles in the 90s, so I know what an actual developed-country-hellhole is like. And will try to avoid comparisons, and just talk about New Zealand by itself.

In no particular order:

  • Domestic / relationship violence. Involving current, estranged, and former spouses and partners.
  • Child abuse, including violent abuse, sexual abuse, multiple-offender abuse, and homicides.
  • Poor people making more children that they are not prepared (financially or psychologically/behaviourally) to raise properly (see previous item).
  • Mass binge drinking culture. With the accompanying addiction, automobile crashes, violence, health hazards, etc.
  • A significant obesity problem.
  • A significant amount of amphetamine use.
  • Synthetic cannabis substitutes which are more hazardous than the real thing.
  • Criminal gangs sucking in already disadvantaged/impoverished young people, and financed by the aforementioned drugs.
  • Gambling, including the weekly lottery, and also high-velocity “pokie” machines.
  • Suicide. But let’s sweep that under the carpet with a law that prohibits news media from using that word in articles on that sudden death of a young person, without any medical description, and without any crime suspected (hint, hint).
  • Sexual harassment, and cavalier attitudes towards it, in both educational and employment contexts.
  • Economic disparities intertwined with racial/ethnic disparities.
  • An entrenched Treaty grievance industry.
  • Racism.
  • Anti-immigrant attitudes. Which will even be directed towards white, English-speaking immigrants.
  • Clean and green is an advertising slogan. Our level of farming is rather harsh on the environment.
  • Overpriced housing.
  • While the public health system is better than many places, there are serious problems with waiting lists for specialists/hospitals/scans/procedures.
  • Mass problems with public primary and secondary schools.
  • Mass problems with low literacy and numeracy skills.
  • And, of course, everyone’s favourite…
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome. There is something desperately wrong with a society where I, of all people, have been the target of this, repeatedly. And I barely even consider myself to be a functioning adult.

What are the diseases caused by bacteriophage viruses?

Answered Dec 26, 2018

As the name suggests, bacteriophages infect bacteria. They cannot infect humans, other animals, or plants.

However, some phages have genes that code for peptide toxins, which are then released by the bacterium host.

So the phage infects the bacteria, and provides the genetic information to produce the toxin. When you get infected by the bacteria (e.g. from contaminated water or food), it releases the toxin, which makes you sick.

This is kind of a symbiotic relationship between the phage and the bacteria species. The phage gets to spread and reproduce itself, and the bacteria receives information to become more virulent. When the toxin induces diarrhea, that helps to spread the bacteria host and the phage inside it.

Human diseases involving phage coded toxins include botulism, cholera, diphtheria, scarlet fever, and a few others. Here is a list.