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Ishtara Rothschild

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About Ishtara Rothschild

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  1. PS: Whatever happened to the planned avatar script limits? We need those back in 2008. I spend half of my SL time asking people to reduce their script load and helping them figure out which part of their resizeable no-mod junk or multimegatooldoohickeys runs 500 scripts and eats up 40 MB of memory. Not that it helps with recent lag issues, mind you. Why go through all this trouble as a sim owner if you might as well move to a mainland parcel, AR your neighbors for resource abuse and let LL figure it out? People buy full sims to get more value and less lag, not the other way around. They also buy sims and provide public hangouts to get higher traffic numbers, which has become meaningless nowadays. It seems residents are now meant to shop at the Marketplace and spend their time in Linden Homes or at info hubs. /me takes a deep breath and flounces off in a huff.
  2. Has any other sim owner noticed an unusual amount of lag in the last days? I run a public sim and always have 20-35 visitors, but until recently, the sim ran just fine. I haven't rezzed any new content as of late. On the contrary, I've removed a lot of content and replaced older builds with newer low prim content a few months ago. Afterwards, the sim ran smoother than ever before. Until now, that is. I can't do anything when the lag hits. The estate tools don't load and neither does the About Land dialog, so I'm unable to identify and notify or ban script-heavy avatars. I can't rez a script impact display because nothing rezzes. Sculpt maps and textures don't load either, and new visitors find themselves surrounded by grey blobs. Restarts don't solve anything. On the contrary, restarting a sim seems to have become a risky endeavour. Yesterday, a restart ruined two builds. All prims in the heavily modified no-copy linksets were moved to the same position and rotation, which has never happened before. Also, some scripts don't seem to run after the sim comes back up and I have to manually reset them. Whatever this is -- borked server code releases, new bugs that were introduced with mesh, or perhaps economy measures (I read LL are running more than 4 private sims per server nowadays) -- it needs to be reverted. I'm sick and tired of logging in for an evening of work or fun and ending up struggling to fix the sim lag for hours. If this persists, I might as well close my popular beach, move my shop to a mainland parcel and tier down, because this kind of experience isn't worth $295 per month. [/rant]
  3. You continue to misinterpret my position as genetic determinism. Gene-environment interaction is the opposite of determinism. The fact that environmental influences enable or disable parts of our DNA means that the environment is a much better predictor of human behavior and development than the genome of a person. But once again, the environment can only work with what is already there. So what you see as a contradiction is in fact one and the same point of view. Anyway, sorry that I don't reply to your points in more detail, but it's getting late here and frankly, I'm sick and tired of the bitchy snide comments from people like Syo and "Gene"Anne. This forum used to be a place where it was possible to engage in a polite and civilized debate, probably the only place of this kind in the SL forum landscape. Apparently, that is no longer the case.
  4. Maryanne Solo wrote: And what of those who disregard scientific fact & for whatever spiritual reason, choose partners, being close relatives, whereby permanent genetic damage is the result? Will this behaviour lead to genetic screening as the human race hurtles forward or has this type of belief already bought the advocates of this process their ticket to extinction? I don't think anybody wants forced genetic screening. Nature handles the natural selection part quite well, so let's just sit back and see which traits happen to be successful. The result might be quite counter-intuitive. As an atheist, I hate to admit it, but religious fundamentalist groups with rather odd beliefs and weird behavioral practices are often vastly more successful from a reproductive point of view than what I tend to think of as rational people. Just look at the negative birth rates in most Western countries. The greater religiosity in the USA (and, as a result, the strong opposition to sex education and abortion and the greater occurence of teenage pregnancy) might be one of the reasons that the U.S. still maintains a positive birth rate.
  5. Deltango Vale wrote: "I personally think it's naive to claim that we can alter human behavior at will by means of education." -------------------------------------------------- I think everyone would agree that the hard-nature and hard-nurture positions are equally untenable. Perhaps where you and I differ would be over the effectiveness of propaganda. I think it would be hard to deny that a government-sponsored campaign of propaganda is ineffective in shaping the beliefs, attitudes and behavior of the population. I think it would also be hard to deny that religious proselytizers, without recourse to physical force, are ineffective in spreading their beliefs. History seems to suggest that culture is very responsive to rhetoric. Paul, Augustine and Calvin were very influential men. Our old friends Goebbels and Harry J. Anslinger knew a trick or two as well. Of course propaganda can affect behavior, seeing that it often (perhaps always) appeals to people's fears. That includes religious propaganda. Especially the Abrahamic brand of religion plays heavily on fear. We are much more inclined to believe a claim of a fellow human being without any critical examination if this person warns us of something dangerous, which goes to show that instincts can easily override what passes as rational thought. Paul threatened with eternal suffering and damnation. Anslinger turned a harmless plant into a grave threat in the minds of the public, and Goebbels did the same with a minority group. The latter is a precondition for organized aggression btw. Before a war, the enemy needs to be dehumanized in the public perception, a process that anthropologists have dubbed pseudospeciation. A prime example for both political propaganda and pre-war pseudospeciation took place before the first Gulf War. A refugee Kuwaiti nurse testified before the U.S. Congress about an incident that had supposedly occured in her hospital in Kuwait City. She told that Iraqi troops, in the process of plundering the hospital, took more than 300 babies out of incubators in order to ship the incubators to Iraq. This was covered in every major newspaper, and the American public came to the conclusion that the Iraqi people must be some kind of inhuman monsters. At the time of the vote authorizing the Gulf war, which passed by five votes, seven senators cited this incident as the reason for their pro-war vote. A few months later, it turned out that this supposed refugee Kuwaiti nurse was in fact not a nurse, but the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. The hospital story had been concocted by a P.R. firm in Washington in cooperation with the U.S. government. The girl was instructed to lie before the congress, and congress fell for it. The American public too, judging by their 92% approval rate for the Gulf war. But unlike the made-up propaganda story, the news that this gruesome event had never occured were buried in the back pages of the newspapers. Luckily, there is also the exact opposite of pseudospeciation, which is known as pseudokinship. We are probably the only mammals that don't distinguish between kin and non-kin based on smell, but rather based on shared beliefs and values. Large-scale social structures such as nations would be impossible without this uniquely human trait, which is especially important for an organized military structure. Establishing pseudokinship is a vital part of basic military training ("every soldier is your brother"). This opposite of divisive propaganda also takes place after a war. When a nation reaches some sort of peace with a former enemy, the news are often flooded with articles about how these people are just like the folks next door, and all they really want is democracy and peace and blue jeans and fast food Alas, in case of the Iraqi people, the pseudokinship didn't last long. Not long after they had been turned into infant killers in the public perception, the propaganda machine made them into terrorists and used them as a scapegoat for 9/11. But I'm getting far off topic here, so I'd better stop now One more thing about religion: Isn't it interesting how much Christianity has changed over time, and how differently it evolves in different cultures (for example the Jamaican Rastafari movement)? It's a religion that has something for everyone and can justify pretty much anything from altruism and charity to violence and slavery, which explains its enormous success. People don't really adopt this religion, they rather modify it according to their cultural needs. Which again serves to show that there is something about different human populations that causes them to prefer and evolve different cultural traits.
  6. Celestiall Nightfire wrote: Ishtara Rothschild wrote: I'm not suggesting that less aggressive cultures are somehow "better" than the more aggressive ones. As far as technological and economic success goes, the more aggressive cultures have clearly faired better and achieved a lot more. Ishy, you've missed the point of my comment. There are no "less aggressive" or "more aggressive" cultures. There only more and less successful ones. All cultures, around the globe throughout human history, have displayed aggressiveness, including raiding, attacking, warring, and conquering. I guess we will have to agree to disagree on that point. There definitely are more and less aggressive human individuals. There are also more and less aggressive genetic phenotypes, the behavior of which can of course be altered by their environment within the limits of their genetic makeup (you can turn a pitbull into a lapdog, but that doesn't change the fact that he is more likely to respond to environmental factors that trigger aggressive behavior than a poodle. Pitbulls have, after all, been bred for aggressive behavior, and so have human populations that have evolved in environments with constant inter-tribal warfare and blood feuds. Which applies to most human populations). Depending on the prevalence of more or less aggressive phenotypes within a culture, the culture as a whole will act more or less aggressive and have more or less violent customs (think of cultural aspects like corporal punishment). Again, that is not a value judgement. It just is. All extant human cultures are successful in their relative environment, which is why they are still around, and the reason that they are successful is because they behave the way they do (of course they might be even more successful if they behaved differently, but nature only selects for "good enough"). The reason that some cultures were more successful in these endeavors, particularly in recent world history, is not because of some innate aggressive nature that overpowered less aggressive people's. The reason is due to technology and the etiology of diseases on a virgin population. Guns, germs, steel, transportation, technology. That's it. Period. It seems we keep missing each other's points. You seem to want to defend European imperialism, which is not necessary because I'm not judging it (although I can see that my original post might have come across as if I did). You just don't get it. Bushman tribes are not less aggressive than the Europeans that overran them. The Bushmen just didn't have the technology to be able to fight back successfully. I was talking about inter-tribal warfare. There was and is little to no warfare between different Bushman tribes, and also little to no violence within a single tribe. That makes them quite different from, say, Amazonian Indians, who very often wage war on their neighbors (and that without having any kind of technological superiority over them. That has never been a precondition for inter-tribal aggressivity and warfare, it only affects the outcome).
  7. Void Singer wrote: Ishtara Rothschild wrote: Would you disagree that all neural behavior is coded into the DNA of our neurons? How could these cells do anything that is not part of their DNA? you continue to surprise me, I really did not expect a reductionist argument. but ok, I'll play along. are the instructions for neural behavior of a cell different between say, a mouse, and an elephant? nope. so what is different? both the way they are put together, and the environment they inhabit. The connections that they form and the interactions between them determine a different pattern, even though they have the same building blocks. The genes that control the structural development of the brain are obviously quite different in humans, mice and elephants. We don't *learn* to grow those large frontal lobes. Even the parts of our brains that appear to be fairly similar in all mammals behave differently in each mammalian species. Our amygdalas respond to different threat signals, the information that our olfactory neurons send to our limbic systems differs in quality and is interpreted differently (for a human, a mouse doesn't smells like kin, rival or potential mate), and so on. What causes this different functionality if not genomic inter-species differences? Environmental influences can only shape our brains and behavior within the neural framework that is determined by our DNA. Again, I'm not saying that all behavior is predetermined and that there is only one possible outcome for each genetic phenotype. But ultimately, all developmental outcomes have their basis in our genome, and you can't teach a human to be a platypus. well good, at least we haven't lost you entirely to predetermination (that way lies madness), but you still seem to believe that the building material somehow decides what it will be used for. I'll agree that it can limit it from some applications, for instance a wooden plank, makes a very poor net. so while you can't teach a human to change it's form and be a platypus, you can teach one to actlike a platypus, just like you can use a plank to swat fish out of water. I've tried to explain that there is no genetic predetermination, because many of our coding genes act like rows of dip switches rather than having fixed states. Gene-environment interaction means exactly that very little is set in stone and almost all human development is shaped by the environment, but at same time the environment can only interact with existing genetic information (or with an existing neural framework that has developed as a result of genetic information). And no, I don't think that you could teach a human to act like a platypus. That would include living happily in a platypus habitat, fearing things that pose a threat to a platypus, craving a platypus diet and digesting it effectively, being sexually attracted to platypuses (platypii?), and so on. At best, a human could do a poor imitation of platypus behavior as s/he perceives it from an anthropocentric point of view. Which is of course quite a feat already, and only made possible by our immensely complex brains (which we grow because our DNA codes for their development). As for instinctual behavior: What do you think instincts are? Most people assume that this term refers to a fixed behavioral program, but we only see that in the most primitive organisms. If you smell rotten meat and start to retch, that's instinct. If you think that a hot casserole smells great, that's instinct too. Fear? Instinct. Joy and pleasure? Instinct. Sexual attraction? Instinct. Stress reactions? Instinct. Love and friendship? Instinct. The urge to pee? Instinct. Suppressing that urge because you're in a social setting where it would be frowned upon if you stood up and pulled down your pants? Again, instinct. I'm so glad you included that last one. it gives me three examples of learned behavior contrary to genetic predisposition. Not doing something because others frown up it is entirely learned, and entirely contextual. if you didn't know about, or weren't aware of it being frowned upon in that group, you'd have no reason not to, and probably would go right ahead and do it. Here's another, drawn from culture clash and personal experience... the smell of kimchi, which is regarded by many to smell "rotten", is regarded as pleasing by cultures that regularly eat it. You might argue that those people are genetically disposed to associate that smell differently, right? except that does not explain how their children when raised on a different diet (such as a few second gen immigrant friends of mine) can't stand it. This is easily explained by learned experience though. It also explains my hatred of the smell of bubblegum, which makes me nauseous, because I happened to have some during my childhood when I was deathly ill. And as a final example there is a particular culture in which spitting on someone is a form of polite greeting... there isn't any biological basis for the behavior, it's just what they're taught one should do. the same can be said of crossing oneself and spitting when something "evil" is mentioned by name. the trigger may be fear (a base instinct) but the behavior itself has no biological origin, and is entirely learned and passed on by social conditioning. I included my "full bladder" example to show that one instinct can override another. One could also mention a mother that overcomes her aversion to human feces when she changes the diapers of her infant, because the wellbeing of her offspring has priority over everything else, including her own infection risk and even her own survival. Your example of food with a rotten smell falls into the same category, imho. It was probably hunger that topped the aversion to this kind of smell at some point. Humans would rather eat something that smells disgusting than starve to death. And once one human individual had added kimchi to his or her diet, others adopted it too. This kind of behavior can be observed in many primates. They watch a fellow ape or monkey eat an unfamiliar kind of food, see that he doesn't fall ill, and decide to also give it a try. "Monkey see, monkey do" is just another instinct. As for strange greeting rituals, genetic differences between geographically distinct human populations lead to different modes of socio-cultural behavior through gene-culture co-evolution. It was my point all along that culture is a form of genetic expression. While you and I could learn to imitate this greeting ritual, we would probably never feel good about being spat at. In the same way, the people in your example might be disgusted by the custom of shaking hands, seeing that it involves touching the bare skin of a stranger (I don't feel very good about this custom myself and avoid it whenever possible. That's phenotypic variation for you. If neurotic aspies like myself became the prevalent phenotype, our culture would see a great many changes). Our entire complex social behavior is built on instinct. Contrary to popular belief, instincts don't force an animal to do anything, they are merely strong urges, fears, preferences and aversions. And of course there are many possible instinctual outcomes coded into our neural structure, which ethologists, neurologists and behavioral psychologists have dubbed prepared learning. so close, and yet so far..... YES built on, but NOT determined by. At best genetics only sets up a boundary limit of what's possible just as the laws of the universe say I don't get to snap my fingers and have badgers fly out my butt. and yet through clever application I can build a device that crams them up there and pushes them out when my fingers snap. I use that example exactly because it's shocking and ridiculous... and possible. our genetics are just raw materials from which we build an entirely new structure from.... a tree is not a house or a canoe or a park bench, but it can be made into those things. similarly a hammer may be made for building, but hand one to our nearest genetic cousin and I'll bet you money they use it to break things instead. So you agree that behavior is *built on* genetics? Earlier in this discussion, you disagreed with my statement that all behavior ultimately has a genetic *basis*, which is basically the same. I agree 100% with your statement that "genetics only sets up a boundary limit of what's possible". That was exactly my point. You can build a great many things out of legos, but you are limited by their shape and the number of available pieces. The end result can always be broken down into lego bricks, and there is nothing in it that is not made of legos. You've simply arranged existing building blocks in an interesting new pattern. Of course that doesn't mean that our genetic lego bricks are not continuously adapting and changing. There is another false notion that is very common (and considered politically correct), namely that humans have only evolved up to a certain point in ancient history. Our later technological and cultural development is supposed to be nothing but a learning process. But human evolution has never stopped. It's true that we haven't seen many morphological changes in recent millennia (because they were not necessary), but I'm willing to bet my right arm that our brains are quite a bit different from, say, a Cro-Magnon brain, and even from the brain of a medieval human specimen.
  8. These reverse-engineered grids are still small compared to the the SL grid, with less content, less infrastructure, a smaller user base and less functionality. Should they ever become a serious competition for SL, Linden Lab's lawyers will find ways to have them closed down.
  9. Tofu? :matte-motes-bored: Bad boys eat veal. Raw and still attached to the puppy-eyed calf.
  10. Well, there are Doms and Doms (especially when it comes to Dommes). Some are simply not compatible to people who don't agree with everything they say and think, and find that all other Dom(me)s they come across are wannabes and fakes. The other type doesn't turn BDSM into a religion and simply likes to have some kinky fun.
  11. Kenbro Utu wrote: I'm not a creep, but I am a weirdo. What the hell am I doing here. I don't belong here. That's my theme song.
  12. Melita Magic wrote: Ishtara Rothschild wrote: But I'm getting off topic. The Mexican culture doesn't differ that much from, say, the North American Catholic culture. Besides, the USA is a melting pot of cultures to begin with, so it's easy to fit into an existing cultural niche. An example for a vastly different culture would be Native Americans, who are still preserving their own unique culture(s) to a considerable extent even after several centuries. Ishtara, not to be rude, but where are you getting some of this stuff? Not sure what you mean by the "North American Catholic culture." I'm not sure there is such a thing. Also, just because there are many different heritages in the U.S. it doesn't mean it all melds any better, or that it's any different in that regard than anywhere else. People still isolate or integrate themselves and their ways as they do anywhere else. As for Native Americans, have you ever even met one? I've spent time on a Rez and in fact it's a battle to keep their languages and ways alive. It's all being eroded by popular culture and the casinos, and money. The kids do not have as much interest in the old ways and native language as most elders would like. Much like most other heritages I guess. It just seems sometimes as if you get this stuff from some idea you've formed rather than experience. I don't want to speak "for" any group, myself. But I mean, you could make that same claim about Oktoberfest. It doesn't mean I know much about my German heritage - it just means I like potato salad. But from the outside someone might see the polka dancing and yearly festival and think "wow, that heritage is still alive." Not so much. I have to admit that I don't live in the USA and have never met a Native American. I also have no idea to which extent North American Catholics practice Catholic rituals (church attendance, celebration of religious holidays etc.) and how their religion affects their socio-cultural morals and values. So that part was mostly speculation, just as you seem to be speculating that the Oktoberfest tradition has anything to do with my culture (it doesn't, because I'm not a Bavarian). Allow me to speculate about something different: If you were to emigrate to the Iran, how quickly do you think you'd adjust to the Iranian culture? How long would it take before you'd don a burqa and a veil? I for one think you would be completely incompatible to this culture. I further think that you would never consider moving to the Iran in the first place, which probably says a lot about the cultural compatibility of the people who *do* emigrate to different countries (meaning that they wouldn't emigrate to places with a culture that they cannot identify with).
  13. Syo Emerald wrote: Again Ish just wants to look more intelligent than anybody else and try to point out that Europeans were the bad guys Don't think too much about it. That's a very profound argument which clearly disproves everything I've said. (That was sarcasm of course. If you think that it was my aim to paint Europeans as the bad guys, you haven't understood any of my posts. There is no "good" or "bad" here. It's all a matter of situational context).
  14. Dillon Levenque wrote: Yes, that was sort of where I was going with my comment, which was offered mostly in jest. Almost everyone agrees that observable characteristics are a combination of environmental influence and genetic makeup. But only because environmental influence actively alters (the functionality of our existing) genetic makeup and neural structure. Almost nobody, it seems, agrees on exactly how much of each is involved in any particular case. There is no "how much of each" It's gene-environment interaction all the way down.
  15. I'm not suggesting that less aggressive cultures are somehow "better" than the more aggressive ones. As far as technological and economic success goes, the more aggressive cultures have clearly faired better and achieved a lot more. I mean, more peaceful or not, I wouldn't want to live in a Bushman tribe. I'm glad that the ongoing conquering efforts of my ancestors have led to huge nations and a great deal of cultural and technological exchange, even though our more aggressive traits can lead to social problems in times of peace. And as I said, if we were to completely lose these traits, we'd quickly be replaced by more aggressive cultures. I can only hope that humanity will grow into one single, planet-wide culture at some time in the future, and that we will manage to create enough wealth for the entire human population. At that point, it won't backfire on us when we lose our aggressive and competitive traits. Which will inevitably happen, seeing that females select for less aggressive and less masculine mates in less dangerous environments with lower mortality rates (Link).
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