Monday, April 11, 2022

Shot with plastic pellets- Stop TikTok's "Orbeez Challenge"

I was walking across my yard the other evening to get my SUP board from the shed when some random jerks drove by and sprayed me with an automatic plastic pellet gun. I'm not injured, but it was very upsetting and it left marks. I filed a report with the cops (physically harming someone against their will is battery), but since I didn't get the license plate of the car the guys probably won't get caught.

I've since learned that this is part of the TikTok "orbeeze challenge" to shoot strangers with pellets, film their distress, and derive sadistic pleasure and internet fame from making the video go viral. Of course this is happening on TikTok, the same shitty company that helped disseminate the "slap your teacher challenge" and the "eat laundry detergent pods" challenge. Apparently TikTok sees no moral problem with making money hosting videos of these dangerous and illegal things, rather than taking them offline and lifetime-banning and reporting the posters as they ought to.

I described my experience on social media, and it has been encouraging to see the near unanimous response that this is NOT an ok thing for people to do. I hope that will be translated to cracking down on it effectively.

Extending this to a general "hot take" on "what's wrong with the world these days?" I see this as a sign of a culture that has increasingly accepted the gross exploitation of its own people by companies and individuals as normal, maybe because of an obsession with money and fame at any cost. We need to nip this in the bud ASAP, both at the small scale level of individuals who do the dumb things, and at the large scale of the companies that enable and profit off it.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Good wavesailing session

 Hi blog readers. Although I don't post about watersports as much as I used to, I still do watersports. Windsurfing is still my favorite, despite the challenge of matching good wind, public beach parking, and time off work here in SW Florida. It all came together in late January, though, with a big cold front bringing NW winds and a good swell to Wiggins Pass State Park in Naples. Day one of the wind started with a dramatic switch from a warm southerly gale to strong, cool west winds; a switch accompanied by an unprecedented destructive outbreak of tornados in Lee County. I waited until the tornados were finished to go to the beach, and enjoyed some rocking conditions on my small 4.7 m squared sail and 83 liter "sinker" board. The next day was the really great one, though, with pretty strong wind from the NW and well-organized waves of about 10 seconds period. (That means there was some space between the waves, which helps for turning around, getting up to speed, etc.) I used my 5.7 Goya Banzai sail, and 106 liter Exocet Cross, with a 26 cm MUFin wave fin. I really feel comfortable on that gear and it's one of my favorite things to sail. I didn't do any super fancy things like trying flips or duck jibes, but I had some fun wave rides and little jumps. Here's the video:

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Context dependence, nuance, multiple contributing factors, and indirect effects

Anytime I look at what's going around on social media or popular media I end up cringing at the sort of black and white oversimplification of reality that it seems like 99% of us are guilty of 99% of the time. We always want yes or no answers, and good or bad classifications. However, in the real world the answer is usually "it's complicated," and good or bad is a matter of context and degree. 

Scoundrels seem to have become adept at using oversimplification to hide complicated, damning truths. Scoundrels are versatile, though. They are also adept at hiding simple truths by obfuscating with complexity. 

Be careful out there. 

Alternate version of the slide: