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Why Cruise Ships are My Favorite Remote Work Location (tynan.com)
355 points by bradly on Nov 8, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 311 comments

I too work from a lot of different places, but I find that I absolutely need internet to be productive. Pulling a Gem for instance, or checking Stack Overflow.

My favourite places to work are all-inclusive holiday resorts. Lanzarote and the Algarve most recently. Being all inclusive means there is no thought process in eating or drinking. Nor any need to shop, clean, cook.

The most difficult thing is finding out what the internet situation is in hotels - but this has vastly improved even in the last year. I generally call up reception, and travel with an ethernet cable.

Incidentally for an individual or a couple, Airbnb is generally far more expensive than a reasonable half-board hotel. I've only ever found Airbnb type stuff useful in capital cities.

I've been at my most productive working in:

- Wetherspoons in Slough

- An apartment in Cairo

- A bungalow in Lanzarote

- The lobby of the Apex hotel in Dundee (current)

Downsides are seeing a laptop screen in the sun (wear a dark shirt) and being surrounded by happy couples while on one's own.

(I'm back to Lanzarote for a week at the start of December if anyone fancies a coffee)

I'm gently surprised SO hasn't done a 6 month torrent of a stand-alone locally searchable SO. They could possibly do a monthly subscription download?

That'd help the people wanting to turn off the Internet.

EDIT: And, if you really need it, you can get Internet on a ship. It's hideously expensive, but that's okay. You just need to think before going online.

We release an XML data dump every 3 months. It'd only be a bit of work to make it presentable and load it into something searchable. http://www.clearbits.net/creators/146-stack-exchange-data-du...

In fact, that work has already been done: http://stackapps.com/questions/3610/stackdump-an-offline-bro...

If someone could make this into an Android app with wifi hotspot functionality that would be awesome.

I wouldn't mind doing that, but not what sure you mean with "wifi hotspot functionality"?

I'm not sure what the original poster had in mind, but what I'm guessing (and what I would want) is making it a web UI so access could be shared easily to other people or devices.

I took it to mean "put it on your phone and let the phone serve it"

Yep, this. So I hit a button in the app, fire up the laptop and enter a url like to browse the offline stackoverflow.

An example of similar hotspotting would be the ftp app on f-droid.

> at least 20-30GB of space

What would be good would be if there was an easy way to filter the local database for specific tags before putting it on the phone.

Why not just server it on your laptop, locally?

This actually sounds quite interesting. I might just go and do it. The question is, will SO approve?

Edit: I'm guessing SO probably won't have an issue with it.

I have used this iPhone app while programming on the trans-siberian express:


It works but the experience is terrible. I'd be happy to throw money at a better app, in case anyone here is bored... :)

Could it be converted into a ZIM?


Thank you. Stack Overflow is like the wikipedia of tech knowledge.

I know of at least one shop that does most of their work offline and keeps a local SO cache for exactly this purpose.

It would be really nice to be able to easily download whole (or parts) websites for offline use. One thing is SO, but maybe you also want the API of some specific library or language, some specific Wikipedia articles or whole topics on Wikipedia... does something like this exist?

The Algarve rocks for work, surfing, sunny weather...and not much else ;-)

Might head down for the winter again, would be my my 4th I think, and I still only grok about 5% of the language (Brazilian Portuguese is worlds easier for me to comprehend).

My remote work setup is simple: rent an apartment with high speed internet for a few months and dive in.

Would you mind sharing how expensive is to live in the Algarve? (i.e. renting an apartment, food, etc.) I only been there (Faro) as a tourist.

In the off-season, quite cheap, can rent an apartment for 300-500 euros per month, with high speed internet.

Finding that apartment is the tricky bit, you have to dig around on the net -- odd given that there are great swaths of empty apartments everywhere down there in the winter, which is of course the best time to be there, 16-18C, warm-ish water, etc.

Can I ask how you spend per day in Lanzarote? We were just there for a weekend and "splurged" on an €88/night property, but it seemed like we could have done just fine at €30–40/night. What an interesting place.

Probably around 50 EUR last time I was there, at a decent 3* all inclusive. In Portugal I was paying 60EUR a night half board at a five star.

I agree completely on the internet access. Very hard to work through issues without online resources nowadays. How did we do it before there was such great online help like StackExchange?

Last year, I spent about six months without regular Internet access. It was fascinating watching my muscle memory adjust, and it got me thinking about how I worked in the past. Not just StackOverflow (which I don't find very useful for what I do), but the tendency to immediately google for a library, or current papers on a class of algorithms, or a piece of code I can study to see the preferred idiom for something.

In some ways I was more productive than before, but I tended to reuse less code, and use less sophisticated algorithms and data structures to solve problems. Having good code around to read became a lot more important, as did having access to good books, and good man pages. (It reminded me why I loved OpenBSD so much in the 90s)

The most positive thing that came out of it was reading a lot more code; I realized one of the habits that had diminished most since sometime in the last decade was the habit of reading the source code for something when I had a problem with it, instead of immediately googling it.

It made me think that maybe younger programmers should try working without a connection now and then (say, for a week at a time). Also that open source has really changed things; there's so much stuff that I don't even think about writing myself now, because I know someone out there has already written and open sourced.

" How did we do it before there was such great online help like StackExchange?"

Books. And if you were lucky you would buy 2 or 3 so you could triangulate something that didn't make sense. At least that is what I did.

Also plenty of trying and iteration.

Try this.

Try that.

For hours on end. (Not sure by your question if you had done this or were just asking btw.).

When I bought a Unix system (mid 80's) it came with a bound set of maybe 10 manuals iirc. Getting other books was difficult I had to drive miles to a University bookstore to even find anything on Unix or C. Software wasn't free of course. It cost real dollars and was pretty expensive and came on floppies.

I hear you, and that's how I learned. :-) But I find it much tougher on the topics I'm learning today. Perhaps it's because the old stuff is hard wired because it needs to be, but I keep less of the new topics in long term memory because I can outsource that storage to Google?

Yeah the memory thing is a problem for sure. I've noticed that and it worries me.

A few years ago I built this php/mysql just to store things that I learned or figured out (correct syntax for rsync might be an example) so I wouldn't have to re google them. [1] But now what I'm seeing is that most things can be found by google quicker than in the format I am using the db for. (But it's still helpful because I can cut paste and edit). I also use a wiki to keep track of what I have found that is helpful. Putting something in the wiki seems to help a little.

My point is in the past there would have been much more memorization reinforcement (see [1] below) than today. My brain is totally getting lazy because it knows the answer is right at my fingertips one way or another. When I used to do the 3x5 cards [1] I typed it up, printed it, reduced it, pasted it and the act of creating and using those "flash" cards made me memorize the answers.

The other problem is the flood of information. To many cool and interesting things to test out and get the hang of. I remember back when I tried C for the first time (don't even think there was c++). Could work with that for a long time since there wasn't really anything else to play with. [2]

[1] Old way of doing this used to be 3x5 cards or those 8.5 x 11 plastic (can't think of the actual word for it) cheat sheets like "Unix Quick Reference". See: http://www.bookdepository.com/Unix-Inc-Barcharts/97815722239...

[2] I'm not a programmer but I do some programming to help with what I do. And have been doing it for a long time. So perhaps if I was doing this full time and my needs were different (instead of intermittent) this would be less of an issue for me.

Stop cutting and pasting and start typing. I try to copy from memory, but even writing it out while looking at the original still seems to help retention.

I actually do do that almost always. Habit started with books actually. Exactly true as far as learning and retention.

Noting even that when learning php somethings that I cut and pasted had weird invisible embedded characters that caused things to fail [1]. That was actually a pretty good learning experience trying to take something that appeared correct character by character and figure out why it wasn't working by stripping things down the the basics.

[1] Might have been on w3schools or something like that.

You're being generous about it being laziness. I'm blaming my own on old age. :-)

But seriously, there are pros and cons with this. On the one hand, by outsourcing certain aspects of memory, we can hold much more. It's kind of like learning to call APIs rather than re-writing everything from scratch. On the other hand, I believe that instant recall has it's advantages. (I think our generation can do math approximations in our head faster than the current generation, and that's an advantage)

I keep searching for stuff and finding old blog posts of mine I wrote after the first time I solved the problem...

and have little or no memory of writing... that happened to me only a few weeks ago. Pretty darn scary.

Old age, too much of the bottle, or both? :-)

A little of both I suspect ;).

We read the source code, reverse-engineered existing applications and hardware, wrote test harnesses, and implemented things ourselves. :-)

Think of the value added by StackExchange and other websites. The amount of efficiency the Internet has created is incredible.

I now find a lot of better answers through Github issues and personal blogs. I should remember to search Github code when I'm stuck trying to figure something out.

The point is similar though - need the cheap internet connection on both.

Books and Usenet.

As the article mentions, there is internet, it's just expensive. And big downloads can be done at an internet cafe in port.

What kind of stuff do you work on where you need to pull gems so frequently? Why do people need so many external libraries?

Over the last week I moved http://www.thebigeat.com/uk from PHP to Rails. That uses Geocoder, Carrierwave, Stripe, gmaps4rails, FriendlyId and Rakismet. I use Gems because they do what I need to be done. When they don't then I roll my own - I used to use Devise, but hacking around it just became inflexible and more work than my own.

Cruise ships are also an amazing alternative to nursing homes.

I did some work for p&o cruises, on a ship that focused on round the world trips. These was one old lady there in her 80s who had swapped a nursing home for the ship - and had been there for 3 years or so. The food was incredible, she had diffent company every night due to other guests coming and going, was treated like royalty by the crew (unlike normal nursing home residents), and had an onboard doctor and nurse when needed. And all this was cheaper than any nursing home. Inspired idea.

Probably about the same cost, according to snopes - http://www.snopes.com/travel/trap/retire.asp

They are also similarly priced, there was a discussion of this earlier this year on HN https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5806006

This is an insanely great idea. Cruise ships are incredibly quiet places. the lack of internet/expensive internet is a forcing function. Great way for co founders to spend time together if they're normally in different locations. We might just do this for a big push. Transatlantic cruises are very, very cheap and not crowded; and since it's not incredibly warm outside there's an added incentive to work. :)

Another benefit: take your spouses/partners; so long as they are able to let you work during the day while they hit the gym/spa/bingo etc. Everyone wins.

Only danger I see is eating too much.

To the eating part; if you aren't on "vacation" the gyms on cruise ships are ghost towns usually. Good way to fight to free food factor.

yes. also another tip I got that worked the last time we did a big family cruise: never take the elevators, always take the stairs. On at sea days we made it a point to walk at least 3 miles on the track outside on the ship. Managed not to gain any weight, which I counted as a win.

Most of the repositioning cruises are in November or April, which probably won't work for any employees with kids in school. I don't think you could make this mandatory if you have any employees with kids.

If it's not mandatory then you're splitting your team up for 1-3 weeks.

neither my co-founder nor I have kids. so it could work out well. not every technique has to work for everyone.

Some startups demand you travel for 2 weeks a year for "hackathons" in remote locations. I don't see the difference.

In my humble opinion, this is a shitty idea. There are other quiet places with decent enough bandwidth that don't have the costs or risks of a cruise ship. My favorite one is the study section of the local library. I've also gone out to a cabin in the woods that only had a satellite link. My neighbor has soundproof walk-in closet.

As for the risks of a cruise ship, if something goes wrong, your options are limited. I say this as a navy veteran that's had to deal with multiple things that go wrong on a ocean vessel. (Fire, flooding, engine failure, etc...) As a civilian, I'm very wary of cruises.

A better option, in my opinion, is an all-inclusive resort. My preference is Mexico. After going recently, my main takeaway was how nice life would be if everything were always taken care of for me -- cleaning, food, etc. It's going to cost more than a cruise, but cruises have all sorts of hidden/surprise fees that you don't have at a good all-inclusive resort. Our resort was calm, peaceful and full of couples, no rowdy partiers. Good internet access, the highest quality service imaginable, and some of the best restaurants I've ever experienced (where you can order whatever you want without the stress of worrying about cost!). If you go during low season, you can get a great rate, and some rain shouldn't bother you if you're there to work.

Our resort was calm, peaceful and full of couples, no rowdy partiers.

That reminds me of a funny experience I had in Cancun a few years back in Cancun. My wife booked a room at the all-inclusive Temptation resort because it had the best rate. When we got there, we were surprised to find that it was basically clothing optional. Be sure to check out the hotel website first if you want to avoid distractions!

What resort did you go to? Mind if I ask what the approx. costs where?


I booked it through Costcotravel.com. It's much cheaper in the low season. Paid $325/night total including tax; that's for two people and it included round-trip airport transfers ($120 value). If we were to have a dinner experience like what they offer in the US, it would easily run $300+ each time.

Add to that Turkey and Greece.

What kind of risks do you have on a cruise ship that you do not have in everyday life traffic, public places and outdoor activities ? Statistically, your cabin in the woods with nobody around is probably an order of magnitude more dangerous than a cruise ship ;)

Getting sick is a big one.

How many people die per 1,000 passenger miles?

Not really the right comparison, since you're not using the cruise for transportation.

Better question might be deaths/injuries/etc per day, as compared to living in a city, a cabin in the woods, etc.

What things can go wrong on a cruise ship that are very bad for people onboard? Isn't a life boat just a short run away?

I thought I'd share an interesting segment from Tina Fey's book regarding her honeymoon cruise when a fire broke out on the boat.

"In the event of an emergency, it is the entertainers who are in charge of the lifeboats. Because the rest of the crew has actual nautical duties, the kids from Fiesta Caliente are trained to man the lifeboats. If you ever have to get on a lifeboat, the person in charge of your safety will likely be a nineteen-year-old dancer from Tampa who just had a fight with his boyfriend about the new Rihanna video. James also told me that each lifeboat has a gun on it and that once a lifeboat is in the water, the performer–lifeboat captain is trained to shoot anyone who is disruptive. This is apparently legal in accordance with maritime law."

I worked on a cruise ship as an entertainer and can confirm this. Except for the gun part. We had lifeboat assignments and had drills each cycle before the passengers arrived. We were trained on getting people in, not what to do once in the water.

Wide-spread gastro-intestinal illnesses - google "cruise" and "norovirus"


It is important to distinguish among cruise outcomes - I'd rather experience a 24-36 hour power outage than a fire that resulted in passengers at sea in lifeboats, but there appear to be some narratives that conflate "our honeymoon was not what I had dreamed of" with "captured, burned, sunk, and destroyed" without any points on a scale in between.

Third party advice I'd heard on cruising:

avoid the very cheapest lines

choose an operator with a generally nordic background (not flag/registration, more company origin).

No power for 3-4 days. Google "cruise ship no power", it happens more often than you'd think

That means

-no showers

- no toilets flushing.

- No internet

- no hot meals


Norovirus by itself is enough to keep me off cruise ships. http://www.cdc.gov/features/norovirus/

Things can also go wrong sleeping in your bed at night.


read the comment to which I replied. it will put it in context.

2 incidents in 100 years, seems safe...

Those are only the two he mentioned off the top of his head.

And how many planes come down per year ? The probability of something like that is extremely low. Life is risky, you also have a theoretical risk of dying of a heart attack every second.

Going to the library doesn't get your room cleaned and our meals prepared.

The whole point of the suggestion is that a Cruise is an entire package of benefits.

Wow, I don't think this would have ever occurred to me, but it's genius!

I can go from London to San Juan in 14 days, for about £32 / day. That's cheaper than life at home.

Think I'm gonna book myself a cruise soon

Edit: Just exploring this guy's blog, and it turns out he's Herbal from "The Game" - an excellent book if you've not read it.

That was a terrible book! You might as well read Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

I've not read RDPD, but unless I'm mistaken isn't it a self help type book? (in the vein of 4HWW). Where as The Game a novel, you can't really learn to pick up women from reading it, so not sure they can be compared.

They are both self-help books disguised as pseudobiographies. They both make overt and covert attempts to direct the reader to buying more of the author's products, or at least buy into the author's bullshit. They are both filled with the kind of empty rhetoric that, in the wrong hands, are capable of ruining someone's life. They have both found the bottom of my trash bin. Perhaps I'm just bitter, but still, readers beware!

The Game isn't a novel, it's an account of the author's experience in the so-called seduction community. It's arguable as to whether you could learn how to "pick up" women from it, whatever that means. (it's not an instruction manual) It is a decent read though, Strauss is a talented author.

True, I didn't mean literally a novel, just that it reads like one (as opposed to a self-help book). I thoroughly enjoyed it, I quite like some of Strauss' other books too.

Does this include meals etc. ? Where did you find it ? Seems like a great idea indeed

Tynan is an all-round bad-ass, and most of what he writes is worth reading.

Thank you!

"Frankly, if you're not into bingo and ballroom dancing, you may find there's not much for you to do on the ship other than work or read."

What is happening to people? When you are insulating yourself from nearly every aspect of day-to-day normality just to be able to concentrate without distraction there is a problem and it's likely you are working to much. I'm all up for travelling but this just seems like an easy way to remove yourself from the world to get more done. Why not just check into a mental health clinic with a wifi dongle - you won't have to cook or clean and they'll be perfectly equipped to deal with you once the monumental burnout hits.

What if there's something I want to get done, and I have the time but I keep getting interrupted? I'll just go off somewhere with fewer distractions. That's what this is for.

I got the same impression from reading it as pastylegs did. To me, it sounded like the author does thing on the regular, as opposed to a one-off or rare type thing. If you have that much trouble creating a segmented space to work in your normal life, you either have too many distractions in your space, are too easily distracted, or have an unreasonable expectation of what it means to work.

Maybe they just enjoy working from a ship? The food, drink, sports and international travel are all attractive.

Lots of people sought isolation to do mental work. The writer's cabin is not a cliché by chance.

I'd agree with you if he recommended doing this constantly. But to me it seems like a great way to promote a healthy work-life balance most of the year, with infrequent work-vacations for times when you do want extreme productivity, and even a break from your social life.

This tactic seems like it could be more of a sanity-booster than anything, if applied responsibly.

OP touched on another great remote work idea: the RV. Find a smaller model in good condition and outfit it with a Verizon mobile AP and you're in business. Sadly, I didn't move into remote work until after I got married and started a family but if I was 22 again, this is how I'd do it. I'd spend my winters in South Texas, around San Antonio and Port Aransas. In the springtime, I'd head up to Southern Utah, places like Escalante and Moab where I could mountain bike and go canyoneering. In the summer, I'd head for the mountain towns: Telluride, Colorado...Aspen...Park City, Utah...Idaho...for more mountain biking and hiking. In the fall, I'd head south again and start it all over.

All of these places have easily available wifi, good food, great people, and lots to do after work. If you're smart about it, there are even nice places just outside of these towns where you can camp (< 14 days) for free and still have 4G cell service.

I think the RV is ultimately a better lifestyle. Biking, hiking, sightseeing, canyoneering, etc. appeal to me a lot more than being stuck on a ship with a sad crew and tons of vacationers.

I don't think I'd compare the two directly, though. Driving an RV is probably more expensive per-day even discounting the food and services on a ship and assuming very little depreciation on the vehicle (i.e. you got a deal used), and it's a lot more work. Between finding places to park/camp, run the generator or hook up power, empty the toilet, maintain the drivetrain, cooking, and the inevitable RV disaster-breakdowns RVing is a lot of work - a far cry from "saunter to the restaurant, pick a meal, eat it, come back to a freshly cleaned room and more food."

Like others here, my major concern would be access to the technical resources that are freely available on the internet like StackOverflow. I was curious and consulted the StackExchange API and license. They seem to indicate it would not only possible to pull down the site's entire contents but it also would be allowed under the CC license that is used. Although judging by the various throttles in place, it would take you roughly 11 days to grab all the data. So who wants to take the plunge, write up the scripts, pull the data, and then share it with everyone else?

The work is already down regularly:


I do not know what format it is however because I have not gotten around to using it yet.

It's always friendlier to first look for an official data dump before thinking about scraping - and in this case, SO does have one[1] :)

[1]: http://www.clearbits.net/creators/146-stack-exchange-data-du...

I wonder if Tynan would be as gung ho about working on cruise ships if he didn't happen to be launching a cruise deal aggregator site

I'm pretty sure it's the other way around: he wouldn't be launching a cruise deal aggregator site if he weren't so gung ho about working on cruise ships. http://tynan.com/cruisesheet

Yeah... this is my 12th cruise or so now. I really love them. For a while I was going twice a year pretty regularly. The cruise aggregator started as a way for me to find the best prices (because cruisehotsheet.com went down), and I decided to try to make money with it to fund access to better cruise data.

Also... I didn't post either of these... did one of my 2 minute cruise-internet email checks and was pretty surprised to see that I was on the front page twice.

Posts like this seem self-congratulatory, to me. Working in this field, we're well-compensated, and in a position of relative privilege based on that alone. Add to that the flexibility (when we have it) to not be tied down to a daily commute or an office/cube-farm, and we're living in another world entirely. We shouldn't forget this.

There is no honor in acting like you aren't privileged when you are. But moreover, cruises have a generally more glamorous image than the reality. You can often get on a cruise ship essentially for free, because they want you to spend money shopping and eating on the ship.

In case someone didn't get to the bottom of the article, the author also built Cruise Sheet, which helps you find the cheapest cruises http://cruisesheet.com/.

Perspective from David Foster Wallace - "Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise". Also known as "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again".

[pdf] http://harpers.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/HarpersMagazin...

However, I don't think this (somewhat critical) article should deter any would-be cruise goers, especially if you have work to engage you during the time.

My personal preference is 5 day stays in cat I to IV Starwood hotels in interesting places, during lower occupancy periods, with top tier status -- ends up costing $20-100/day all-in by gaming the points system.

I tend to go full Howard Hughes (not leaving my 2-3 room suite) for a few days, do some limited local exploration, etc. I feel a lot better having a separate bedroom and office. Free breakfast and lounge means effectively unlimited food, although local restaurants, room service, etc are options.

This week I've been at the Le Meridien Bangkok, probably my favorite hotel in town, for 5000 points/night, net, which is essentially $50/night in foregone cash back on credit card purchases, or about $100/night at retail. It cost me $50 to fly here from Singapore, where I couch surfed with friends for a few days, after 10 days in Bali with the girlfriend.

Less risk of fire, norovirus, my hotel is mainly full of nice Japanese people instead of either obnoxious partier spring break types or old dying people, 50M Internet, etc.

This was an interesting read. His arguments for why he likes working on a cruise ship are very much my arguments for why I prefer to vacation on a cruise ship:

(1) Internet access is "limited". I'll stick with "limited" because it's a mixed bag. It's been 5 years since I cruised, though not Mediterranean and was able to find flat rate per-day, however, the one day I broke down and purchased access I found it to be very unreliable (single shared satellite connection for the entire ship). This is the same for phone service. The last ship I was on had a ship-board cell "tower" that showed up as international and I can imagine even T-Mobile doesn't cover that in their zero roaming considering ship to shore calls were $9.00/minute from the suite. This also encourages my coworkers to think long and hard about whether or not to call me in an emergency.

(2) Everything is taken care of, including entertainment. I find it difficult to relax, even on vacation -- it's an exercise of planning what to eat, when to eat, what to see, what to do and when to do it. When "at sea", the cruise director provides a menu of what you can do and when. You pick. Very little energy is expelled in enjoying myself.

(3) When in port, same rules apply. You don't have enough time to plan some grand excursion, so you pick one or two things to do and head back. I always opt for a room with a window and have found that if the ship is oriented with me facing the shore, I can pick up free Wi-Fi from restaurants at shore for a fix (even when the ship is too big and has to be anchored at sea). This provides for a quick fix of internet and stretching.

Because there are many times of the day where there is literally nothing else to do, I find it's the only thing that slows my mind down. By day 7 or so I'm ready to be home again, and the weeks that follow my vacation are usually amazing. The time spent being forced to be alone with my thoughts results in me returning with new ideas, new ways to solve old problems and just a generally more positive outlook. It's the only vacation I take where I truly get the idea of taking time out to decompress.

I had no idea cruises were so cheap. I though they're ~$100/day. This is what it costs to get a cabin on a cargo ship.

It can be much cheaper than that to get cargo ship carriage:


I think many of the cruises leave on very short notice. That would bring the price way down.

The prices do not include taxes and tips. Tips are added to your bill. Taxes can easily exceed to cost of the trip.

OK, I have to be that guy. Barcelona to Casablanca is not a "transatlantic cruise".

Anyway, interesting idea if you can live without internet. Technically speaking, if you're in international waters (and not a US citizen, which is a long story), you won't even owe taxes on the work you do aboard.

Those could have just been two connecting ports of many.

In ship lingo it is. A trip from Florida across the Suez Canal and out to Singapore is also considered "Transatlantic".

Basically it just matters what your starting ocean is and if it's round trip or not.

Ugh. I meant to say Panama, and I'm wrong anyway. Derp moment. Disregard.

Thanks for coming back for that. I was scratching my head trying to figure out if there was some horrid route cruise ships took to get to the Mediterranean from Florida that involved them not going into the Atlantic.

"And then everyone gets out to help carry the ship over the Darien Gap..." or possibly,"Shackleton, the adventure."

Original author here... I wrote the post in transit between those ports. On cruises you go to a lot of ports... this particular one ends up in Florida (Florence to Florida, with 8 stops or so)

I can see how the lack of Internet is awesome for preventing you from checking Facebook / Twitter / HN all day. At the same time, I'm not sure how productive I could be without near-constant access to StackOverflow. :)

Feel like I've had my head in the sand. Dash is great - thanks

awesome, I clicked the purchase button and.... only for mac :(

Yes, why is this not mentioned more prominently?

Earlier this year I wrote about how shrinking my business size down to one (me) allows me to work from trains. Specifically, I wrote that post while on board VIA Rail's The Canadian, which goes to/from Toronto to Vancouver in four days. It was awesome, and if you know where to look, these trips are always 50% off.


I totally second this...

I took the Toronto to Vancouver train in 1984, and although I understand the details of that route have changed quite a bit since, it was a wonderful experience.

95% of the trip is through wilderness, with occasional stops in small cities that seem to just spring up in the middle of nowhere (Winnipeg...). Once past Thunder Bay, the train suddenly empties out a bit, so it doesn't feel crowded, and spending all day reading, in comfortable seats, with wilderness streaming by the huge window next to you is just wonderful. I found the other passengers quite interesting—I shared my four-seat "section" with a forestry student off to work in a lumbercamp for the summer, and learned a lot of interesting stuff about Canada, and forests... :]—and the vibe was very amiable and quiet. People were friendly, but there was a distinct lack of "chatterers" and most people seemed content to do their own thing most of the time.

Because the trip took five days, and there was basically no demand on my time, it felt incredibly unrushed, and combined with constant low-level "passive" distraction in the form of scenery, the wonderful light, and the soothing motion and sounds of rail travel, it left me feeling both incredibly relaxed and oddly energetic.

Extreme long-distance train travel is generally way underrated, I think; obviously it's not ideal if you're in a hurry, but if you have a few days, it's often a treat. Although the Canadian trip was the best, I've also traveled by train from Seattle to Boston, and it was a great trip too, for many of the same reasons (Amtrak long-distance seats are just amazingly huge and comfortable though).

I went London-Osaka by train and ferry, which was great fun, but the longest single train was two and a half days (Moscow - Shymkent) and I wouldn't've wanted it to be any longer, even travelling with a friend and a tablet. Possibly the scenery was more repetitive than yours - empty snowfields as far as the eye can see is beautiful for a day or two, but does become boring.

Yeah, there's a nice amount of variation of environments across Canada, which did help.

I was also well prepared for some isolation, with a big stack of books to read, pads of paper etc for writing on etc.

In a way I also think it was easier alone. Travelling with a friend can great fun, but to some degree it can also detract from the feeling of freedom... Because there were some friendly passengers, I never felt lonely, but I also felt completely free to stare out the window and think for hours on end. No pressure.

If somebody is blogging about their lifestyle you have to question it. Creative geniuses seem to vary in their response to distractions. Leonhard Euler claimed that he did important work with baby on knee. The inventor of the shape sorter (I forget his name) used to head off to a place of absolute quiet and stillness to conceive his inventions. John von Neumann turned the TV volume up in order to work. Go figure

Having been of a few cruises, I'd like to point out a few things:

1) Listed prices generally DO NOT include gratuities. Low level cruise employees like the cleaning crew, cabin stewards, waiters, cooks, etc. are paid ridiculously low wages, because cruise ships are registered to countries like Panama and the companies do not need to adhere to U.S. standards. I don't recall offhand, but for a 7-day cruise the "automatic" gratuity is, I believe, around $100 or so per person, so take that into consideration. You can remove the charge if you want to, but you'd have to be a pretty big asshole to do that :) Also, prices are based on double-occupancy, so if you go by yourself, double the fares.

2) Internet is expensive, slow, and charges by the minute). However, if you do this a lot, some cruise loyalty programs will give you free internet. I know Princess does this. Also, you're cell phone my work in certain locations. I'm a U.S. AT&T subscriber and I have full service in U.S. ports like San Juan and the U.S. Virgin Islands. If you can tether your phone, you'll get much faster and cheaper service that way than on the boat internet.

3) Don't get sick / injured. My wife stepped on broken glass while wearing open-toed shoes and got cut up pretty bad. The doctor on board used strips instead of stitches, and the cut reopened in two days, by which time we were already off the ship. The crew handled the incident terribly. The problem with the glass was not resolved quickly, my wife had to wait a fair amount of time for someone to show up with a wheelchair to take her to the doctor and the crew went into "don't get sued" mode really quickly. They gave us pushback when we refused to sign a liability waiver before getting treatment and we had some security guy who kept insisting to come into our room to photograph the shoes my wife was wearing at the time. When we complained the next day about the process, a nice woman sat down with us to hear out our complaint, but never really did anything. We were adamant about NOT paying for the care and it never showed up on our bill, so we let well enough alone. Three months later, they sent us a bill for $300 for the care. After we sent their HQ a letter in response, they ended up waiving the fee and giving us $100 credit towards our next cruise. Nice, but it was ridiculous in the first place since.

4) In regards to the above, had something worse happened, or they had refused to waive the fee, good luck fighting the cruise company in court. You're not only bound by typical consumer-crushing stuff like forced arbitration, but you're also getting into international legal difficulties. For big cases like the cruise that tipped over, it's worth the hassle, but for smaller claims, you're pretty limited in what you can realistically do.

All that said, I think this is a pretty cool idea and had always thought about how cruises could be a cool little work/vacation thing.

He says room service is "free", which suggests that he's not tipping. Someone pointed out down thread that this guy's a pickup artist (http://www.pualingo.com/pua-profiles/herbal-tynan/), which is empirically correlated with "asshole", which in turn is correlated with "does not tip".

You realize that this "tipping culture" is not that prevalent outside the US? In many countries, especially in Europe, service and stuff is paid market wages, and there's no reason to tip by default, just when you are extremely satisfied with the service.

Does the fact that I didn't know about "tipping culture" when I was first time in the US makes me an asshole?

Tipping and basic etiquette (particularly involving dining) is one of the fundamental bits of culture everyone should research when traveling to another country.

If you are in the US and received good service, but left crappy or zero tips then yes, you definitely leave a negative impression of yourself. Nobody will understand why you left a bad tip or just think "oh, he's a foreigner, he doesn't understand." They will just think you stiffed them. Or they will perhaps think - "oh he's from country X - they must all be cheap assholes there. I hope I don't get any more tables with people from that country."

Would it not be the same if I visited your country and was rude or insulting regarding some very basic and obvious part of your culture?

Would it not be the same if I visited your country and was rude or insulting regarding some very basic and obvious part of your culture?

People may differ about what is "obvious." Something that doesn't exist in my country and that I've never heard of ... is not going to be "obvious" to me.

If only there were some way people going to new countries could learn the basics about where they're going. I was thinking maybe an app, but connectivity is hard when traveling, so I'm thinking maybe a book. Sort of like a FAQ or a new user's guide. Maybe we could call it a guide-book?


Bullet point #1. I would consider that fairly obvious.

If you can't manage to stumble across #1 cultural tip then you obviously have not done much research. You shouldn't expect people to excuse your ignorance of their culture. That goes for any country - not just the US.

>"oh he's from country X - they must all be cheap assholes there. I hope I don't get any more tables with people from that country."

This is generally what happens. I have a few friends who are bartenders/servers and they loathe Australians.

Sorry on behalf of them! I knew about the tipping culture because my grandfather was a general manager for a branch of a US based multinational company and had to travel there a lot, and my father had traveled a bit to use scientific instruments there (like synchrotrons).

But to the average Australian - we have a very decent minimum wage and ridiculously good penalty rates (like, work a public holiday and you get double time or double time and a half). Tipping is just something that is non-existent, and I think people just don't expect that the US would treat people so much worse than we do...

"...I think people just don't expect that the US would treat people so much worse than we do..." The US would be in much better shape if your expectation was correct. Sadly, many Americans [1] think that tipping is a good thing for servers because if they work hard then they'll get good tips.

[1] I've lived in the USA almost my entire life, and have never understood why "we" are "Americans" when there are many, many other countries on both American continents that aren't "Americans". Why is there not a term for us that is more accurate and less Americentric (wait, really?).

Well, we call ourselves Americans too :) (here in South America), and we call people from the USA "Estadounidenses".

You might see on many left-wing president's speeches, they start with "Hermanos Americanos" ("American Brothers"), which definitely does NOT include the USA :P .

Scare quotes are unnecessary; nobody would confuse you with a cultural imperialist.

The country is called "The United States of America," so its people are "Americans." Similarly, people from "The United States of Mexico" (yes, that's its real full name) are called "Mexicans."

Languages evolve as an emergent property of people who speak them. Language usage is not subject to revision or control by self-appointed intellectual fairness monitors who unilaterally arrogate to themselves such an authority. Linguists call this practice "prescriptivism," and it is widely denigrated as (ironically) an imperialist tactic used by the power class to enforce their social position.

However, the principle itself is not limited to any particular political orientation; leftist prescriptivism is just as unsupportable in a linguistic sense as imperialist prescriptivism is.

Tipping etiquette is far from basic and almost downright intimidating. Even when I thought I had tipping at restaurants under control, I then lived in fear of embarrassing myself not tipping people in hotels and I'd stayed in a dozen hotels before I suspected that the maid cleaning the room expected a tip! Once got caught without change in a bathroom in a club in Hollywood and was so embarrassed that I handed over $10 foreign currency to a guy who handed me a towel - insane on every level.

Restaurant tipping in the US is fairly standard and shouldn't be too confusing or stressful. But I know exactly what you are talking about with other situations. For what it's worth, Americans are sometimes uncomfortable and don't know what the heck to do either! Hotels can be especially confusing.

Basically restaurants are the only place where tips are absolutely expected and you can make yourself look bad by not tipping. For anything else, if I'm not sure I usually just check a travel guide or go on forums and ask other people what they do.

I would do this if I travel to any country, just ask around at how you should behave if you want to fit in.

I've been to 30+ countries and the US is the only one where you'd need to research tipping beforehand. The notion that you'd need to hit up a forum to learn how to supplement certain wages in very specific situations in a hotel is pretty silly!

You even admit that locals barely know what's expected in some situations!

> Would it not be the same if I visited your country and was rude or insulting regarding some very basic and obvious part of your culture?

I'm not a prick so I'd shrug it off as someone being ignorant of the local customs.

Just leave a damn tip net time you cheapskate

I grew up reading Richard Feynman, and was particularly impressed by his dislike for tipping (both giving and receiving), because it matched my thoughts on it.

He was from the US, and I don't think he was being an ass-hole.

You answered your own question tho, didn't you? No, it makes you someone who comes from a different culture, and I think it would be safe to assume that the person to whom you're responding would agree.

(1) I have personally met Tynan, and he's not an asshole. In fact, he's quite sweet in person. Even if you read his blog, there's nothing assholish about it. He doesn't lie. He does his own thing.

(2) People who generalize about an entire class of people being "assholes" ... maybe should look in the mirror.

Generalizing about groups can be problematic. However, not so when you're generalizing based on what the group has in common.

The whole PUA thing is about manipulating vulnerable people so you can have sex with them. It's definitionally assholish. Assuming that a given PUA is an asshole is like assuming an Englishman speaks English. It's not a perfect correlation, but it's certainly the way to bet.

Or, perhaps the whole PUA thing is about offering a list of techniques of social interaction that some people intuitively aren't born with, and need actual coaching. Neil Strauss documents this pretty well in his "The Game" books about how he fell into pickup culture.

Such techniques of course can be abused by assholes against the vulnerable as well.

Nobody's buying it, man. PUA techniques are for the socially awkward the same way blown glass pipes are for tobacco smokers. What people claim and what the vast majority use it for are two different things.

All you have to do is look at the OP's profile to find this picture.[0] That sure doesn't look like some poor bloke who has trouble talking to people.

[0]: (slightly NSFW) http://www.pualingo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/herbal-ty...

Yeah. A fine example is this article about how a well-known pick-up artist upset that a country with good social welfare programs makes it harder for him to manipulate women into letting him fuck them: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/cockblocked-by-redist...

Also, excellent analogy.


She didn't accurately quote from his book and may have mis-represented key quotes that she pulls from it.

> But the book never stated that the pussy flow was blocked in Denmark, just that there was low quality, masculine pussy.

He sure isn't helping his case. All of the random claims of "socialism" and "left-leaning" don't help, either.

In fact, none of his clarifications actually prove she misquoted him, and each time he quoted his book in that post, it fit exactly with the original review.

From his language (referring to women as "the pussy" instead of as, you know, actual people) to his extreme generalizations of women and cultures, it's apparent the original review was spot-on for both Roosh's book and PUA culture in general.

I don't look like a "poor bloke who has trouble talking to people" because I learned pickup and learned how to talk to people. I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and be taken under the wings of the best PUAs. As a result I went from being a VERY shy socially awkward guy to being generally comfortable around people. Pickup changed my life for the better-- one of the best things that happened to me.

This echoes my experience with myself and acquaintances who learned pickup (though I only read a couple books). My fiancé even respects and uses PUA techniques for gaining social power as a female executive in a male-dominated industry.

The point is that at its best this stuff is about learning to evolve how you handle yourself with others to have more success in social endeavors. Ie. most things that don't involve staring at a screen.

What people claim and what the vast majority use it for are two different things.

True, but your implication has it backwards. Tynan is not part of the vast majority. He is an outlier, one degree of separation from Mystery(Erik von Markovik) and Neil Strauss.

The vast majority of people are unable or unwilling to be so ruthlessly selfish and sacrifice healthy, stable relationships on the altar of hedonistic sex-- even if they think that's all they want (and most will admit otherwise).

The dilemma is that guys who write about attraction and having sex with women tend to benefit a great deal by having a lot of experience with women. That's not very compatible with traditional monogamous relationships, so it will always be easy to attack them from this angle however irrelevant that angle may be.

Yet the photo of Tynan on the original post look nothing like the image you link to.


It is me, but it was taken probably around 2005, when I was 24. Funny how much things change over the years...

I know some awkward nerdy guys who took up DJing partly so that people in clubs open to casual sex would find them interesting and choose them over others. Does this make them assholes?

PUA strikes me as a "sales and marketing" technique to advertise yourself as an interesting casual sex partner. There are some asshats who manipulate, but then there are also high-pressure salespeople who manipulate; that doesn't make all sales and marketing unethical.

> I know some awkward nerdy guys who took up DJing partly so that people in clubs open to casual sex would find them interesting and choose them over others. Does this make them assholes?

I dunno if I'd call them assholes, but I do feel sorry for them.

Why do you feel sorry for them?

The whole PUA thing is about manipulating vulnerable people so you can have sex with them.

No it isn't.

Yeah! It's about empowering socially awkward people who just have trouble holding conversations! That's why it's called "pick up artistry": because you're picking up conversations!



I honestly wonder how far up your ass your head has to be to completely ignore just how saturated the PUA community is with terms designed to objectify, marginalize, belittle, and disparage specifically women, and just how many of the highest regarded figureheads of the community are throbbing dickholes whose only goal in life is to find a modicum of self worth by pandering to the most cliche stereotype of traditional, toxic masculinity.

> Yeah! It's about empowering socially awkward people who just have trouble holding conversations! That's why it's called "pick up artistry": because you're picking up conversations!

He didn't say the end goal is "picking up conversations". Mindcrime was almost certainly taking offense to the infantilizing attitudes expressed in the quote he included, not to its reference to sex.

For the most part, the end goal is sex, and sometimes it's long-term companionship. There's nothing wrong with either of those.


I honestly wonder how far up your _ss your head has to be to completely ignore just how saturated the feminist community is with terms designed to objectify, marginalize, belittle, and disparage specifically men, and just how many of the highest regarded figureheads of the community are throbbing c_nts whose only goal in life is to find a modicum of self worth by pandering to the most cliche stereotype of fragile, vulnerable femininity.


See? It's easy to disparage large groups!

I love how you automatically assume I'm a feminist or have some connection to the feminist community, despite me never proclaiming that. Is this another PUA technique? To fall flat on your face in an argument?

You're wrong.

Women aren't adults who can be held responsible for their own actions and decisions; they're vulnerable children who need to be protected at every turn.

If you (as a man) visit an Apple Store just to look around, and you walk out with a brand new laptop, you're a customer. You made a decision. Yes, Apple works very hard to maximize conversions, but you're an adult, and it's silly to shame and vilify Apple for "manipulating" a "vulnerable" man into buying their products.

However, if you (as a woman) choose to have sex with a man who reads tips about how to increase his chances of having sex, you're a vulnerable victim of manipulation. That mean, bad predator who took advantage of you needs to be shamed!

Western media is overflowing with tips for women to get what they want from men. And that's okay. :)

But if you're a man, don't you dare read tips about how to get what you want from women. That would be misogynist. You don't hate women, do you, mindcrime?

We are all adults responsible for our decisions. We also are all adults, responsible for how we treat others, and how it shapes their decisions. Responsibility is not zero sum.

The common name for the system in which men and women manipulate one another is called "patriarchy". (When you look beyond men and women, it's called "kyriarchy".) It's bullshit on both sides.

There are two reason it's seen as worse for men, both historical. One is the men have had way more power and are still substantially advantaged. The more power you have, the more responsible you are for a fucked-up situation.

The other is that people with less power are forced to be manipulative to survive. E.g., 100-200 years ago, when professional women were very rare, women focused a lot marrying well, because they didn't have a lot of other options. So there's a bunch of cultural hangover from that.

This thread is not the place for a debate about whether life has historically been (or currently is) easier on men than on women.

So I'll simply say that it shows a remarkable lack of empathy and understanding for you to call those desperate men who resort to PUA tactics "powerful". Almost by definition, they are acting from a position of weakness.

I realize it's currently trendy to break the world down into large, tidy, digestible traits (maleness and femaleness in this case), labeling one as "privileged" and the other as "oppressed".

Life's way too complicated for that.

The "let's not argue, so let me argue just a little" is bullshit.

As to your non-argument argument, I have plenty of empathy for the desperate. But I can still condemn them using what power they have to manipulate other desperate people.

Further: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-th...


> Many are quick to label casual sex as misogynistic, but this implies that women are inferior to men and can't be trusted to make their own decisions and must be protected from themselves.

A community dedicated to developing, sharing, and applying methods to manipulate women into sex being considered misogynistic is not the same as casual sex being considered misogynistic.

> (2) People who generalize about an entire class of people being "assholes" ... maybe should look in the mirror.

Why would you suggest that an entire class of people do something?

Wow, this is a pretty strong attack, for something that is likely just a miswording. Cruise passengers pay an automatic gratuity at the end of a trip. Much of this goes to your room attendant. So it's "free" in the sense that it's essentially included in the total price.

I am annoyed with this comment. You do not seem to realise that there are many parallels between the "PUA" community and the startup community. Both are about people striving to meet their goals.

You should read "The Game", by Neil Strauss. He documents the process of becoming a pickup artist, the people he met, the stages he went through. And as you read it, you will realise something - the only surefire way to becoming a successful PUA is to improve yourself, to become the best version of yourself, and at the end of it all, that's what these guys were trying to do.

Yeah, there are assholes. There's always assholes. But at the end of the day, this so-called "PUA" culture is about turning yourself into the best version of yourself you can be. And isn't that what all us startup types are trying to do? Rising to a challenge? Stepping into those shoes? Pushing ourselves beyond what we thought possible? Closing the deal?

There are more parallels than you think. Read that book. And don't be so eager to judge people. They're more like you than you realise.

>I am annoyed with this comment. You do not seem to realise that there are many parallels between the "PUA" community and the startup community. Both are about people striving to meet their goals

That also happens to describe the mob and the serial killers community.

One big difference between PUA culture and startup culture is that the former is generally more expressly proud of its misogyny.

I know I will get downvotes for this...

But "here comes the shaming language" ...

Let me know when you are as equally hard on women for learning all the PUA tip-equivalents (for their gender) from age 5 onwards, through to the Vogue Teen and then the Cosmo years.

EVERY SINGLE women's magazine you see on the shelves at the supermarket, has the equivalent of "PUA tips and tricks" in every issue. Such as "how to make him ..." or "What he likes in bed" or whatever. It is so prevalent, women aren't even aware of it, like a fish doesn't notice the water.

Let a guy start learning some evo-psych, learn how to dress better, work on his conversation skills, and quit being a supplicative schlub ... and the Holy Hand Grenade of Guilt and Shaming gets tossed.

> Let me know when you are as equally hard on women for learning all the PUA tip-equivalents (for their gender) from age 5 onwards, through to the Vogue Teen and then the Cosmo years.

See, here, where you gender stereotype "women" (and not a subset of them) as equivalent to "the PUA community", that's a good illustration of the problem right there.

> EVERY SINGLE women's magazine you see on the shelves at the supermarket, has the equivalent of "PUA tips and tricks" in every issue. Such as "how to make him ..." or "What he likes in bed" or whatever.

Lots do, but, no, not every single one does. (Leaving aside for the moment whether the things you describe are actually PUA-equivalent.)

> It is so prevalent, women aren't even aware of it, like a fish doesn't notice the water.

Actually, they do notice it. For some women, its part of the reason they buy the magazines (though, usually -- unlike for self-proclaimed members of the "PUA community" -- not usually a point of pride.) For other women, its a source of entertainment, something to laugh about (either among each other or with male friends.)

For other women, its part of the reason they object to many mainstream women's fashion & lifestyle magazines as reinforces of patriarchy and traditional gender roles.

But what is certainly not true is that they don't notice it.

> Let a guy start learning some evo-psych, learn how to dress better, work on his conversation skills, and quit being a supplicative schlub ... and the Holy Hand Grenade of Guilt and Shaming gets tossed.

No, only when they proudly label themselves as members of a community whose very name is about using whatever knowledge or skills they have to manipulate women into sex.

You can't really be surprised that people react to the labels you choose for yourself.

Cosmo is also full of patriarchal heteronormative bullshit, you'll get no argument from me there.

Punching up vs punching down.

On what bizarro world do you live where guys striving and taking efforts to improve themselves so that can appeal more to women counts as "misogyny"?

Congratulations on discovering human psychology. I don't have a blog post at hand exemplifying how bosses "neg" potential hires to get them at a lower rate, but I assure you, it is a Thing.

"Negging" is a negotiating tactic and you have failed to show how it is linked to misogyny in any way, shape or form.

You're fedorable. For such an expert on human psychology, you are having an awfully hard time understanding why you are not being well received here. You don't seem to be able to figure out how to get a bunch of nerds like us to like you, which should be easier than women since you are like us, right? And you're doing a great job at digging a deeper hole.

Yeah, I'm not trying to make you like me. I was just trying to stick up for a community which I don't think is as malevolent as the GP proposed.

FWIW, to be accused of misogyny is really offensive to me personally.

Have to say that you're not reacting particularly well to being "negged".

is this usual outcome?

> not reacting particularly well

What makes you say that? He's not the one throwing names around. What would constitute "reacting well" in your book? Agreeing with you?

Agreeing with me about what?

All I'm doing is pointing out that being "negged" just seems to be making him quite defensive and angry. I thought that having his self-esteem be reduced should make him more sexually appealing and available - but that doesn't seem to be happening.

Negging a man is supposed to make him angry. To a man, a neg is effectively a taunt. Which demonstrates that you all fail to understand what a neg is and what it's supposed to be used for.

A neg is more or less exclusively meant to be used on women who are exceptionally attractive AND who have an enormous ego because of that. It's meant for women who are always surrounded by fawning men who cater to her every whim because she is beautiful. Especially in an environment, such as a nightclub, where come-ons are frequent. And even then, it usually needs to be very subtle, used in context with as light a touch as possible.

enko claimed that "negging" is merely a universal, gender-neutral negotiating tactic. You're merely reinforcing the point that it is in actuality a deliberate tactic to undermine a woman's self esteem--to take her down a peg because she is perceived as seeing herself as superior to a man.

You're merely reinforcing the point that it is in actuality a deliberate tactic to undermine a woman's self esteem--to take her down a peg because she is perceived as seeing herself as superior to a man.

Right, but in practice it doesn't work like you seem to imagine it does.

The only reason you don't want to sound "anti-woman" is...professional advice against it. You may not understand exactly how that makes you sound like you're barely holding back the pent up misogyny.

"Not being well received here"?

A handful of feminists are accusing him of hating women for wanting to be more attractive to women. Nothing's new.

Just because people aren't standing up to a handful of feminist bullies ("fedorable"?) doesn't mean the community here doesn't like him. It just means that don't want to pick a fight.

I had to scroll all the way down here to see someone use the word "feminist" as a baseless insult. You guys need to step up your game.

Welp, congratulations! If you fail to see the misogyny in that blog post that means you're another venerable member of the PUA community who is proud of its misogyny.

If somebody harms people's self esteem to get something out of them, that person is an asshole. If that person is a boss, they are an asshole boss. If they are carefully studying how to be an asshole to women, I'm ok calling them misogynist.

I accept their rationalization might be different. But it always is. Everybody thinks they wear a white hat.

i can't believe what i just read

> On what bizarro world do you live where guys striving and taking efforts to improve themselves so that can appeal more to women counts as "misogyny"?

Its called Earth, where using ability to sexually manipulate women as the yardstick to measure your personal development is, for reasons which should be quite obvious, seen as misogyny (or, more precisely, objectification of women.)

I wonder...

Is it impossible for there to be such a thing as pick-up artistry amongst members of the homosexual community? I bet it's just a magical thing that happens in the LGBT community, where courtship is preternaturally effortless. Perhaps, it's not even a learned behavior, to attract sexual partners?

Are heterosexual women incapable of manipulative behavior? Is there no such thing? ...but if that's true, wouldn't that damage any purported premise of equality?

Why would a community that wants to date women be considered misogynists?

mi·sog·y·ny məˈsäjənē noun 1. the hatred of women.

Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women.[1]

misogyny n. hatred of or hostility toward women.[2, emphasis added]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogyny [2] http://www.thefreedictionary.com/misogyny

You see them as objects to be acquired, and not as individuals/friends. There are many "artists" (ergh) that are quite clearly misogynist.

The climax of the book was when Neil realized that indoctrinating yourself into the PUA community creates strange, robot like humans incapable of real connections and that lasting relationships are based on having real substance behind the facade and tricks of the PUA community.

It's strange how half the people who read this book ended up infatuated with the over-glamorized lifestyle of the "pickup artist" and missed the tale of the value of being yourself.

I think we interpreted the book in different ways.

Yes, he realised that the culture of trying to trick women into bed via tricks or routines was wrong, and the people who went down that path had flawed, weak personalities. It's interesting that on HN we tend to laud people who try to "hack the system" - but it's a shortcut, it's not real, and even if you succeed you can't handle it when you get there.

He realised that the real way to "win" women was to be yourself, the very best version of yourself you could manage. That is the central truth to which I was trying to refer. If you want to get the girls, be cool and confident and popular and successful. If that doesn't drive at least 50% of the startup community then I don't know what does.

I think we actually agree, except you have picked up a negative bias somewhere that I don't have. I liked that book very much. I have never been, nor want to be, a "PUA" but by god do I understand the sentiment.

Neil Strauss's "The Game" is what cemented my nagative views about PUA's

Want to elaborate on this?

For me that book shone a really bright light on a community, and its two types of citizens - the "wantrepreneurs" who would try to trick their way to success, and the really serious guys who changed their whole lives to succeed.

I saw obvious parallels between them and the startup community. And, yes, I suppose, serial killers and any other community who wants to succeed.

Curious as to what you found was negative and why.

There's just not a lot redeeming about most "pick-up artist" type characters. They practice their craft by relying on automatic human behavior using borrowed stories, magic tricks, or flat-out lies to establish trust.

In my opinion, diluting a relationship down to scientific behaviors and applying that to your relationships is dehumanizing and disingenuous. I don't want to associate with people like that.

Isn't your conclusion a bit of a stretch? Anyone who is a pickup artist is an asshole, and every asshole doesn't tip? Tynan is actually a pretty nice guy if you meet him in person.

If I found an asshole that does tip, would that destroy your theory?

If you're a pickup artist doesn't this imply a certain degree of dishonesty and manipulation? Not sure these are things a nice person engages in.

I'd wager that the most manipulative people in social settings are people with the most neediness but least experience, self-esteem, and emotional stability. And those are things most people wrestle with to some degree.

Since I imagine most guys come to the PUA community because those traits relegate them to a life of loneliness and zero ass, I would think that their real goal is to transcend those traits altogether and to become better people. It's what PUA nirvana must be.

An interesting reply. But doesn't seem to address anything about the question I posed and more an attempt to throw a positive spin on PUA.

I mean, what you suggest here is that people are manipulative and sad before they become involved in the PUA community, and that the joining of said community is an attempt to free them of these negative traits?

I get confused by this logic because as far as I can tell the PUA community endorses manipulative and dishonest behavior, so what you're suggesting is that these lonely, manipulative, people, can transcend their manipulative behavior through more manipulative behavior.

I get confused by this logic because as far as I can tell the PUA community endorses manipulative and dishonest behavior, so

A subset of "the PUA community" do that, but there is nothing inherent about "learning PUA" that implies any dishonesty or manipulation. More than anything, it's about gaining confidence, learning some basic etiquette, grooming essentials, and a little bit of other stuff. It's Pareto's Law in action... 80% of your improvement at meeting women comes from 20% of the "stuff" that could potentially learn from PUAs. Better posture, better clothes, a fresh haircut, smiling more, and not being scared of, or intimidated by, beautiful women, is the heart of PUA-dom.

And to be quite frank, these days, the "PUA community" has really outgrown it's roots and become the "male self-help and improvement community". Lurk on many "PUA" forums and you'll find guys talking more about how to start businesses and make more money, than the ones swapping "routines" or whatever.

as I can tell the PUA community endorses manipulative and dishonest behavior

I haven't seen anything "manipulative and dishonest" on Tynan's blog, nor in his books. Well, at some level everything we do to influence another person is "manipulative," but that's such a broad definition as to be useless.

Some people seem to be able to learn how to socially interact on their own. Others need coaching. Is it dishonest if it is coached?

All social interactions at some level of depth eventually involve pursuasion of a sort. The question is when does that become unethical?

"All social interactions at some level of depth eventually involve pursuasion of a sort. The question is when does that become unethical?"

Truly A question we all must answer for ourselves.

If you're a woman and put on makeup, doesn't this imply a certain degree of dishonesty and manipulation?


Figure 1: http://www.mendaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Katy-Perr...

Figure 2: http://cdn-www.i-am-bored.com/media/katyperrynomakeup.jpg

Picking up girls, and selling are very similar, and you can often cross use the techniques you learn.

Is selling dishonest? It is if you lie and shit. Is it manipulative? What the hell does that really mean? When we interact with the world and people, we are by definition manipulating it.

If you show up to a party and act retarded, you are manipulating people into thinking you're a retard.

If you show up to a party and act cool, interesting, fun, you are manipulating people into thinking you're that.

Is the latter form of manipulation considered "bad" because you aren't cool, interesting, and fun all the time? No one is 100% of the time, we all have different emotional states, at different times.

Why is selling yourself wrong then? There's pretty much nothing wrong with that as long as you don't have STDs (and even that's ok if you mention it) or are a serial killer or something.

It could just mean communicating effectively. An untrained person would do terribly if they tried to plead a case in court, even if they knew all the relevant facts, because they don't know how to phrase their arguments in the way lawyers want them. But learning to "speak legalese" isn't learning dishonesty or manipulation - it's just about phrasing things the right way.

Sorry, what could mean communicating effectively? Describing a 'pick up artist' as simply being a student of rhetoric seems a bit disingenuous.

If you're a pickup artist doesn't this imply a certain degree of dishonesty and manipulation?

No, it doesn't. More than any single other thing, "being a PUA" is about learning not to be scared of / intimidated by, women. And about learning not to supplicate and do stupid shit, in order to try to manipulate women into having sex with you. The thing is, most so called "nice guys" are far more manipulative than a PUA! They just aren't as honest with themselves, OR the person they're trying to connect with.

All PUAs are assholes. Not all assholes are PUAs.

1. That first statement isn't true, and you will never come close to proving it is. It's a broad generalization.

2. The comment you're responding to says, "Anyone who is a pickup artist is an asshole", which is synonymous with "All PUAs are assholes", so you haven't contradicted his point.

An interesting thought experiment would be to consider what you'd think of a female pick up artist.

Probably the same way, but being a female pickup artist doesn't carry all of that "constantly objectified in media" and "the subject of a steady stream of slut-shaming (but if she doesn't put out she's totally a bitch)" baggage that's there when a man is trying to manipulate a woman into having sex with him.

Author of the post, confirmed asshole, here. In most cruise ships you do not tip for anything until the end, and it is a flat rate. Enjoy.

That must be the worst argument I have seen in a long time.

The fact that he is/was [if you read his blog .. thats "was"] a PUA invalidates his experience/findings/credibility?

On cruise ships you tend to tip the staff at the end of the voyage.

I think you tip essentially a constant amount t on cruises. Room service is about as free as dining in the main room. The only time I would tip exceptionally is if someone went really above and beyond, or did something against policy, and in a lot of customer support cases, a cash tip separately is a better solution there. Or, if it is just exceptional service , calling the employee out by name to management a few layers above.

"2) Internet is expensive, slow, and charges by the minute). "

When I've been on cruises (this dates back to as early as 2002 iirc) I've always been concerned with this.

And there are times as well (when sailing) that you are out of reach by satellite and have no connectivity at all. Unless things have changed you aren't going to be streaming video or doing anything that requires bandwidth. Once again, from my experience, things could have changed as I haven't cruised in at least 4 years.

With respect to internet on cruises it's a totally YMMV. I was concerned enough about access that I actually tracked down and contacted the operator of the service [1] for the particular ship I was on (and they do this for many cruise lines) and spoke to an engineer to ask questions before taking a particular cruise. I wasn't going to rely on what the cruise ship customer service told me. One of the questions I had was "do you block any ports"? The engineer (quite knowledgeable not customer service but engineering) said they didn't but it turned out that (at the time) they blocked anything that carried voice or obviously video (like ichat, skype etc.). Have no idea if that is still the case.

But here is the strangest thing. Back in perhaps 2004 on a particular ship you couldn't (get this) connect by wifi with a Mac!.

That's right you had to have a windows machine to connect to the ships wifi. Made no sense. But true. Nobody on the ship with a mac could connect only PC laptops. Ended up having to use the crap in the "Internet Cafe" which made 1996 using AOL seem quick. Literally couldn't even get email during certain times since all ship traffic went through one pipe.

For the next cruise I also brought a PC laptop. (But on that ship I didn't need it).

[1] It was this company: http://www.mtnsat.com/

Was the cruise line Royal Caribbean?

Yep. RCL.

Have been cruising with them for over 15 years. Have a love/hate relationship with them (also, several of my friends work onboard a variety of their ships in the entertainment tech department).

> Low level cruise employees like the cleaning crew, cabin stewards, waiters, cooks, etc. are paid ridiculously low wages, because cruise ships are registered to countries like Panama and the companies do not need to adhere to U.S. standards.

On most major lines, the cleaning, etc. staff get reprimanded if they receive reviews from their passengers that are less than 5 stars. Even if it's only 4/5 (or the equivalent), they are expected to keep "perfect" ratings and are punished if they don't.

Cruises end up being a convenient way for my family to take vacations for a number of reasons (not the least being that my grandmother has limited mobility and cannot enjoy other vacation destinations as easily), but I always feel very guilty every time I go, because I see firsthand how badly the staff are exploited.

(Also, if you never want to go on a cruise line again, read the chapter in Tina Fey's "Bossypants" about her experience the one and only time she took a cruise.)

As for the (lack of) connectivity, I actually like this feature. When I go on a vacation, I enjoy being completely disconnected from the "real world". I find that, after a week of this, I wind up completely refreshed and come back to work more productive than if my attention had been split. But YMMV.

but I always feel very guilty every time I go, because I see firsthand how badly the staff are exploited

You have to consider any situation holistically. What you call exploitation is often a tremendous improvement over the alternatives those folks have in their countries of origin.

Go on the cruise, tip well, and be polite to staff.

> You have to consider any situation holistically. What you call exploitation is often a tremendous improvement over the alternatives those folks have in their countries of origin.

To consider the situation holistically would mean to look at the global system of capitalism bootstrapped by years of outright colonization and exploitation that lead to the situation where doing low-skilled manual labour is considered an improvement in lifestyle for otherwise healthy and able individuals -- rather than (say) getting free, high-quality education or vocational training and a reasonable share of the improvements in life style industrialization and science have enabled.

I'm not buying into the idea that not going on a cruise would improve things, and I'm not even saying don't go on cruises -- but why delude yourself that exploiting people is ok, just because someone else have set the stage for doing so? It doesn't stop being exploitation just because someone comes from a worse situation than they're in now. That just makes participating in the exploitation is a rational choice by the one being exploited -- it doesn't make it a moral choice by the exploiter...

This is Armenian Radio. Caller asks us, what is difference between capitalism and socialism? We reply, under capitalism, man exploits man; under socialism, it's just the opposite.

True enough. I've never considered socialism much of an alternative, but I do think both (modern) anarchism and communism holds great promise.

As for the more fundamental question of "why can't we just all get along?" -- we'll just have to keep working on it...

Once, there was a peaceful anarchic village, where everybody was perfectly equal and there were no laws or rules. People shared everything freely and never fought. Then, one day, the neighboring village invaded, killed all the men, raped all the women, and enslaved all the children. That was the end of that.

Even if somehow the whole world were to switch instantaneously to the state of anarchy, it would be a very short matter of time before someone internally decided to take over and enforce rules with the threat of violence. This person would then be the "government."

As for Communism, Armenian radio listener calls in and says, "We are told that true Communism is just on the horizon now. I ask, what is horizon?" We reply, "Horizon is imaginary line that always recedes as you approach it."

The fundamental misapprehension at work here is confusing two meanings of the word "system." There are systems created by humans, such as "the justice system of Japan." We can change those, since they derive entirely from human control. Then, there are emergent or natural systems, such as gravity. These cannot be changed simply because people decide they don't like them.

Capitalism is of the latter category. It is not a human-created system; it did not emerge from colonialism. It is merely the natural emergent behavior of actors under resource scarcity. As long as there are not enough resources for everyone to have what they want, there will be some variant of a market and capitalistic trade. It is not possible to alter this scenario simply because it doesn't seem pleasant; that's wishful thinking. All that can be done is to make the market more or less efficient.

The Soviet Union and North Korea, for example, have always had internal capitalist black markets, despite massive penalties. Prisons have internal black markets. Countries that try to control their currency's value have massive internal black markets for hard currency. Cocaine is readily available for a price almost everywhere in the world, despite massive and coordinated efforts to suppress that market.

The reverse also applies; in the absence of actual scarcity, it is impossible to enforce a market, since that is an emergent property of scarcity rather than a human-chosen system. Illegal music and movie trading online, for example, continue to grow despite massive efforts to prop up the market, because there is no actual scarcity.

I like the Communism on the horizon concept. I'm always suspicious of any government types who have a "better new way". They always have some new plan to get us to nirvana. That new plan always take a lot of funding, has no real scientific basis, no benchmarks, no accountability for the implementers, and no way to undo the damage once the plan fails. Despite the failures of similar masterminds in the past, the next plan will be the one that really fixes things and solves all our problems... always on the horizon.

it would be a very short matter of time before someone internally decided to take over and enforce rules with the threat of violence

Maybe, but then again that's what the conventional wisdom said about the Americans a couple hundred years ago. It was thought by intellectuals that so much individual freedom couldn't last very long. Yes, we've shifted pretty far toward socialism for the past hundred years. But I'd argue that if it weren't for the evil seed of slavery, we would never have had the Civil War and we wouldn't be dealing with the steady advance of the state.

> Capitalism is (...) not a human-created system; it did not emerge from > colonialism. It is merely the natural emergent behavior of actors > under resource scarcity.

1) I didn't mean to imply that capitalism emerged from colonialism, but that the current distribution of wealth an power within capitalism is connected to colonialism (among other things).

2) I don't think you're assertion of capitalism being "an emergent system" is correct -- capitalism is defined by having capital and private ownership over means of production. There are many other systems for regulating scarcity (artificial or otherwise) (eg: feudalism).

> As long as there are not enough resources for everyone to have what > they want, there will be some variant of a market and capitalistic > trade. The reverse also applies; in the absence of actual scarcity, > it is impossible to enforce a market, since that is an emergent > property of scarcity rather than a human-chosen system.

3) You imply that there aren't enough resources. While that may be true, I think the issue is more one of uneven distribution. This obviously also depend on your clause "for everyone to have what they want". I think the current system encourages aggregation without much regard for what individuals actually want (Who "wants" Foxxconn to dominate in certain areas of industrial production?).

4) Not all markets and trade systems define a capitalist system.

Note also that I specifically said modern anarchism. That doesn't necessarily define away the right to self defence. Communism certainly doesn't.

The main difference between the two, is that communism seeks to maintain a form of government, highly localized and highly democratic -- but with the option to retain such things as a police force and a justice system (reserve the right of the government to use violence such as detaining and investigation of crimes for the common good) while anarchism is generally more sceptical of any power structure and any use of force against the individual.

why delude yourself that exploiting people is ok

I don't accept your interpretation of "exploiting".

They have jobs. They get paid for their jobs. They're getting paid more by doing their jobs than whatever alternatives they had since this isn't slave labor.

You're redefining what "exploiting" means and you're casually throwing concepts around like the perpetual victim status of entire societies due to colonialization.

Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the USA were colonies too... we got over it.

If there's an evil in the whole colonial relationship, it's do-gooder Westerners who think they should care for and dictate to other societies rather than just letting them get jobs, sell their products, sell services, compete on the worlds stage, learn lessons, improve their lot, etc.

> Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the USA were colonies too... we got over it.

For Canada and the USA at least, I think it's a little strong to say that the indigenous inhabitants "got over it".

the crew went into "don't get sued" mode really quickly

I hate this kind of thing. Why do we allow this sort of situation, where fear of lawsuits results in worse response/care?

I don't know exactly what would need to change, but this the legal process at its worst.

Less people suing would reduce that. The problem is that people sue over everything, so why deal with the hassle when you can go into defense mode early and stave off frivolous court proceedings? I agree, it sucks.

1) In this case the cruise company was at fault, so that is why they went into "don't get sued" mode. No need rely on a stereotype here.

2) I'm not an American but I think your legal system is very good and many objective people do too: http://www.quora.com/Litigation-and-Lawsuits/Why-are-America...

3) I'd recommend anyone to watch Hot Coffee [1] which documents the lobbying and spin that encourages American citizens to think there is a problem with "frivolous lawsuits"

[1] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1445203/

With language barriers, the people we initially had to deal with had no real capability to determine fault. I think the security people who took down the incident report weren't even the same security who had to deal with the actual incident. I'd have to imagine their practices are standard and are along the lines of "don't admit fault; make sure passenger signs what we want her to sign". They acted as investigators and signing coercers and little more. Any decisions that were made were made later on.

I was more upset with them trying to bill us three months later. We had filed a formal complaint on our last day of the trip over the poor response and had spoken with one of the guest services managers for close to 30 minutes. So when a letter from the cruise line came three months later, I was expecting an apology, not a bill.

When this happened, my wife was in the final year of law school, so our response to the bill was probably atypical of a normal customer response, but even when they told us we wouldn't be responsible for the money and that they'd give us a credit for a future cruise, they still made sure to dismiss their liability and deny that they breached any duties.

One of the gross things with the incident was that another passenger started cleaning up the blood because no crew was doing it. Another passenger was a doctor and stepped in to help stop the bleeding while we waited for a wheelchair to take us to the doctor.

Which cruise line was this? I worked for a company which did supported telemedicine on cruise lines and I really hope it wasn't a customer of theirs.

Is there a movie based on the notion that anything that happens when you carry a cup of hot coffee in a motor vehicle is automatically your fault, and that 1000 burn injuries is no big deal when n >> 1000000000 cups served? I'd be more interested in watching that one, I think.

It would probably be more amusing for you to watch the movie where a guy gets handed a 190 degree cup of coffee (30 more than normal) in a flimsy paper cup.

The part where the cup disintegrates and leaves the person with 3rd degree burns on their crotch would be the highlight. The punch line would be the owner of the store saving $10 on coffee costs per month because he keeps the coffee too hot.

The problem is that people sue over everything, so why deal with the hassle when you can go into defense mode early and stave off frivolous court proceedings?

I suspect that going into "don't get sued" mode actually encourages lawsuits.

I read an article a while back that indicated the doctors with the highest rate of malpractice suits were not the ones who made the most errors but the ones who were the least empathetic. There has been at least one study that concluded insensitivity and poor communication after the incident was a major factor in the decision to sue.


One potential solution could be to adopt a UK-esque legal process whereby the loser of a tort suit pays the legal fees. If you risk paying huge legal bills by filing a lawsuit, you'll be less likely to do so unless the case is a slam dunk.

Low level cruise employees ... are paid ridiculously low wages

The service staff work for tips. No wages. No benefits.

I was shocked when I first heard this. I asked around, a lot. Everyone confirmed.

I personally hate the cruise ship experience. The master/servant dynamic makes me very uncomfortable.

My wife is from the Philippines and her friend works for Princess cruises and he loves it (he is a bartender). He gets to travel, meet interesting people, and he makes several times what he would make at home. I doubt the experience of the staff is much different from the experience of those working the same jobs back home, or possibly better.

I love it how everyone is extrapolating their personal cruise ship experiences -> every cruise ship in the world ever.


That their working conditions are only mostly terrible is sufficient for me to act on my values.

I'll give analogy. WalMart screws their workers, their suppliers, and their host governments (and by extension us tax payers). Not in every case. But enough to piss me off.

So, yea, I'm not shopping at WalMart. Maybe they're not all bad. Sorting it all out is too much work. Especially when I have plenty of options that are mostly good.

2) Internet is expensive, slow, and charges by the minute).

I worked remotely from a cruise ship that went around Hawaii for a week in 2007 (long story). I had a small Verizon cellular router that I set up in my room. It worked well enough, and I didn't have to use the ship's (presumably) crappy wi-fi, or pay by the minute or whatever.

Plus, when I'm coding, my bandwidth needs aren't that great.

I'd assume that using your phone as a hotspot today would work equally well in that scenario.

Now that T-Mobile has unlimited international roaming I can't wait to try this out on my next trip. It is only 2G but that is faster than ship internet.

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