Rambling into the Void
by Ethan Alexander Shulman
This is where I yell at clouds.


Life and Purpose
June 23, 2021
Were advancing faster than ever and with humans experiencing the highest quality of life throughout history I'd say its been positive, so far. Despite this I really worry about our world, sure there's climate change and looming natural disasters but I feel were also losing the meaning of life. I hear people say sometimes they would rather be dogs or birds they see sitting around all day, able to survive by picking up the few scraps that come their way. I totally get it the escape from the daily life routine of work seems idyllic but it's always possible for example pan handling or dumpster diving you could live free like the animals its just outside our scope of dignity. If the daily life grind doesn't feel fit for us but living like animals doesn't either what are we looking for? Now I can't speak for everyone but I feel a lot of people are dealing with this struggle right now of what are we serving towards? I can't be sure but I think one thing is the feeling of purpose, a lot of jobs involve busy work that is redundant or useless that leaves us thinking 'Why are we here?'. This thinking definitely isn't new either I just feel with modern society while we are living longer it's only so we can be squeezed of more labour value.


Software Getting Worse
March 10, 2022
Recently left the computer on overnight to do a rendering, forgetting that I have Windows 10 update active hours set to 6am to 12pm of course it restarts and cancels the rendering losing all progress. Firefox for Android updated and now regularly crashes when switching between tabs along with a slew of other issues. Spotify seems to be pushing for the least accessible user interface possible by moving certain actions behind multiple clicks. Software is advancing more than ever yet it feels like these advancements do little to help users achieve their goals and are instead all about cementing control over the user. I think it might go past software, watching advertisements its all about the most eye catching buzz creating and rarely about raw performance data. As long as consumers buy based on emotions companies don't need to create the best performing product they just need to feed into those emotions. I'm not expecting it to get any better either, Windows 11 seems to have ads built into parts of the operating system. It also seems like as more and more software becomes cloud based it becomes slower and laggier as simple button presses require waiting for a server response. I guess this is all subjective, in a lot of peoples eyes software is probably better than ever. On the other hand open source apps like Blender, LMMS, Gimp, Krita are reaching modern standards and I can't be thankful enough and Open Broadcaster Software powers the live streaming industry, I'm sure both the streamers and the viewers appreciate it.


How is Alcohol Legal?
March 30, 2022
I've seen lots of discussion over the banning of vapes/e-ciggarettes as many governments have or are looking at regulating them just like the tobacco industry but what I haven't seen is discussion of the biggest elephant in the room. Alcohol damages your liver, kidneys, stomach, heart and brain, it kills more then the opioid epidemic each year. Why don't we view it with the same stigma? My guess is it doesn't smell or bother people nearly as much as smoking/vaping. One thing I'm happy to see is the stigma around weed fade away, growing up my small town christian community viewed smoking weed as some unbelievable act that would label you a drug addict. But alcohol or tobacco, both shown to take years off your life, completely fine and accepted. We know now cannabis is incredibly safe outside of the lung damage from smoking, I think the next step is creating a stigma around the negative effects of alcohol. I honestly don't think either should be illegal, does anyone actually believe this stuff stops people under 18 from smoking or drinking? I'm more asking how is alcohol legal when we are banning other drugs for being much less dangerous? I think the best thing we could do if we want to help prevent damage from drugs is educate people about the drugs because at the end of the day people are still going to make their own choices regardless of the laws.


Reddit Admins Suck
April 3, 2022
I could give lots of examples from Reddit history like firing AMA mod Victory or Spez's ban frenzy on how the current Reddit admins suck. But this recent event shows absolute lack of awareness, the past few days Reddit has been running an event called r/place where a giant 1000x1000 pixel image can be modified one pixel at a time every ~4 minutes per user. A huge part of this is the 'no rules' culture where people can draw anything they want, different communities fight over pixels to build images, logos and patterns leading to factions like Green Lattice or the Void. But lo and behold it was found that a Reddit admin chtorrr is abusing admin powers and has been modifying large parts of the canvas by themselves. Now a lot of people are calling for them to be de-admined and are assuming they are acting on their own, but another idea is that this is one of many admins who are enforcing hidden rules on the canvas. This admin previously removed a subreddit called 2Balkan4You which satirized balkan ultra nationalism and once again people are assuming this admin acted alone, could it be possible Reddit admin team(not just Chtorrr) could be doing a purge of 'unfriendly' subreddits? Is it also possible that r/place has hidden rules that admins enforce secretively? Anyone whos been paying attention to Reddit over the years knows they have gotten much more strict, most likely to attract shareholders after going public. Now r/place so far has been an amazing PR move for Reddit, attracting so many new accounts to be created, but I think all that publicity could go sour if r/place and Reddit itself turns out to be controlled behind the scenes. It seems the community is actively turning against Reddit as Chtorrr hasn't been banned and posts on r/place about the cheating are being deleted. This seems pretty negative from my point of view but I think a lot of people won't care.


Denial of Corporate Lobbying
April 15, 2022
It's kind of startling to me that people still aren't aware of the massive amounts of corporate lobbying throughout our governments or will even deny it exists when shown specific examples. It's kind of crazy but also interesting to me that this stuff happens all in plain sight, at least in my home country Canada we have a public registry of lobbyists. Searching for 'nestle' gives the following result:

We can clearly see Nestle corporation currently has 4 active lobbyists and with that they seemingly have free rein. Greenwashing, price fixing, using workers as political pawns and siphoning off water causing droughts. The lobbyists are here and the corporations are reaping the benefits.


Denial of Corporate Lobbying
April 18, 2022
Lichess is so good it should be a model of how game services should operate, free, lightweight, open source and you can play basic chess matches anonymously without creating an account. I'm really bad at chess never really played except for a few cases of playing the board game with family and friends but recently I've found myself queueing up for matches on Lichess simply because of how easy and low friction it is. Seeing this platform be viable for chess is amazing and I would love to see it applied to other areas like FPS games. I think a big part of why Lichess has worked so well is chess has a very strong community, I've noticed the community has values like good sportsmanship that are not present on other online gaming groups. But yea Lichess is surprisingly good so easy to just play a match of chess, no ads, microtransactions or other garbage, just chess and even if you don't want to play a match theres bite sized chess puzzles.


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