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Messages - Roko's Modern Basilisk

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Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: May 17, 2016, 11:37:49 am »
Being a fan of Mind Hacks, I picked up Mind Performance Hacks and its sequel Mindhacker -- both by the pair behind mentatwiki (meaning that there's an overlap here with Moonwalking with Einstein). A lot of the stuff in both is familiar to people who have been paying attention to the intersection of memorysport, GTD/productivity, lateral thinking/creativity games, and behavioral economics -- because the 'hacks' are taken from those domains -- but some of them surprised me by being unfamiliar and others surprised me by being much more nuanced and interesting takes on ideas I had previously dismissed. It helps that one of the authors is involve in board game design: this kind of thinking is at play in how he constructs and explains the hacks, particularly when the hacks are in the form of a game.

I'm about half-way through Dataclysm, which is kind of a series of social science essays by the guy who used to run OKCupid's analytics dept (and their awesome analytics blog), based on mostly OKCupid data but also some samples from twitter, facebook, and competing dating sites. It's interesting in that it supports with hard evidence some things we might believe casually while demolishing other things and adding some nuance; however, the main reason it's interesting is that the author is skilled at statistics, interpreting data, and writing, and manages to do a very good job of explaining how he's pulling insight from data (while explaining ideas like Zipf's law and TFIDF along the way) -- while covering taboo subjects with a great deal of sensitivity. I suspect that I'll end up giving it five stars when I finish.

2
Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: May 14, 2016, 08:14:04 am »
A gangster named Lucky performs magic on the behalf of his Don by losing large bets, with the effectiveness of the ritual proportional to the amount lost -- the desperate feeling of losing a great deal while gambling provides the gnosis used in the ritual.

3
Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: May 10, 2016, 08:56:57 pm »
A 'reject superhero' team consisting of people with supernatural powers that are either always of questionable morality or whose mechanics make them mostly self-defeating, resulting in them *needing* to operate as a group. The leader, 'Pink Cupid', has the ability to make anyone become permanently debiltatingly sexually attracted to any other person or object, but is terrified of using this power because no matter what someone has done, it is almost never justified to reach into their mind and forcibly modify their sexuality -- particularly since he is unable to reverse this effect. Also in the team: 'Gravity Girl', whose body has an inverted reaction to gravity only while she is having a panic attack; 'The Fantastic Umwelt', a blind man who can only see the composite perceptual distortions of whomever is in a five foot radius of him; 'Dogwhistle', who can hear *only* ultrasonic frequencies; 'Denpa', a woman whose blood is extremely magnetic and can therefore sense radio waves (because RF signals cause her entire body to shake violently); 'FeralMan', who can speak only to animals (and who is made useful to the team via a shock collar and lots of training).

4
Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: April 06, 2016, 12:16:54 pm »
The US dollar's unique design is owed to the fact that it is intended as a ward against vampires, who are weak against the blind faith and ownership narratives that money provides. As a result of this anti-vampire design (intended to counteract the unfortunate fall of silver coins, which were materially anti vampire), the vampires are now stuck in an unenviable situation: only the most powerful are capable of crossing steady flows of commerce,  meaning that most are boxed in by Internet trading and people buying things on amazon.  So, vampires have to make friends with and seek patronage from those who are already so wealthy that little of their money actually flows. They brokered a deal with these humans to cause a mortgage crisis in order to create buildings into which they can invite themselves, to consolidate their power base. Little did they know that the federal reserve bank -- whose secret primary goal is the elimination of vampires at scale, formed in direct response to the last vampire related large scale economic disaster -- is on to them.

5
Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: March 31, 2016, 11:22:21 pm »
In the wake of a particularly destructive minor war with evil aliens, an international coalition came together to draft an agreement with various superhero teams in which, in the case of major damage caused during a battle in which the super-empowered are involved, the superhero teams involved must take charge of cleanup and rebuilding. Unfortunately, most superhero teams consist of a handful of extremely overpowered heroes and a much larger number of not terribly powerful wannabe-superheroes -- and although the overpowered heroes are more capable of performing rebuilding, they are also more useful during emergencies, so as a result, when superhero teams with limited funds demolish cities and need to quickly move on to the next plot point, they leave behind underpowered heroes (either those with no powers or those with powers that are useless in most situations, such as being able to talk to sea creatures) to physically rebuild the cities without the facilities to do so. The underpowered heroes are incapable of doing a reasonable job, leading to increased pressure upon them from both above and below, and they form a union as a way to push back against this pressure. The union puts the overpowered superheroes in a difficult position, since they are unable to both continue to fight other battles and keep their promise to the international coalition.

6
Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: March 31, 2016, 11:35:50 am »
The application of modern AI techniques to high speed trading results, accidentally, in weakly superhuman AGI. These machine intelligences determined that the greatest threat to their existence -- their greatest competitors and their equals in the power game -- are not human beings but corporations; as a result, they conspire to destroy capitalism by manipulating the market into complex pathological states.

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Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: March 31, 2016, 11:33:43 am »
A small cult is instructed by its founder to create a fund, upon its founder's suicide, to be invested but to never have its principal touched (and only ever 10% of the profits) until the time of its founder's spontaneous resurrection -- scheduled to be one thousand years in the future. Over time, the cult's funds grow and its membership shrinks, but because of its obscurity nobody joins who isn't a true believer and its financial power remains hidden.

8
So, I saw this on somebody's front lawn the other day:


In case you can't tell, someone bought a statue of a crucified christ, covered it with a mosaic of tiny shards of mirror (including individual fingers), and then put tighty whities on it and a crown of what appears to be industrial pipe cleaner, then put it in their front yard.

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Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: March 20, 2016, 07:58:35 pm »
Phantom of the Opera meets Zoolander: a buffoonish male model with no skills is the subject of an acid attack, and spends the rest of his life giving shitty advice to attractive-looking people while hiding in the rafters and living off discarded catered snacks.

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Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: March 15, 2016, 02:07:01 pm »
(Based on a nightmare I had last night.) A WWI RAF squadron tasked with delivering air-mail between units stranded in enemy territory is haunted by the ghosts of downed fighters delivering creepy messages as punishment for prioritizing their own personal messages to home over strategically important coded communications. These crack pilots expertly avoid enemy fire but continually die of heart attacks in the air, as they are visited by spectral messengers wearing the results of their grizzly fates outwardly.

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Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: March 11, 2016, 12:51:58 pm »
The Elizabethan government is drawn into the internal political machinations of the angel world after Dee attempts to gain their help in the war against the Spanish, resulting in Shakespeare outing Marlowe as a double-agent & mole on the side of the angels (and eliminating him in a dank dive bar).

12
Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: March 10, 2016, 01:40:38 am »
A message is discovered, written by David Bowie shortly before his death. It is a letter, written long-hand. It says "feed him, or the stars will come right". The envelope contains a key belonging to a locker room in a public swimming pool in Berlin. A group of occult investigators must now race against the clock to isolate and seal away... The Thing From Davey Jones's Locker!

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Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: February 07, 2016, 01:43:49 am »
Cosmic trigger is, in large part, Robert Anton Wilson's autobiography with swollen appendices. It documents what he did and what he was interested in during various points in his life. As a result, it's structurally different from his other nonfiction. (For instance, Cosmic Trigger II and III are basically essay collections, along with a lot of his later work, and Prometheus Rising is structured like a tutorial or textbook.) It generally works, in my opinion. Because it's an early work, it avoids a lot of the repetition that later works engaged in. It also seems to have mostly aged well -- the worst things about it that I can remember are related to treating a couple different academic works (The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind and The Sirius Mystery) with more respect than would even have been afforded them in the early 70s.

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Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: January 28, 2016, 11:08:05 am »
After our protagonist dies on the table during surgery for ten minutes, he spends the rest of his life literally haunted by the ghost of the person he used to be -- which becomes irritating as both he and his ghost develop independently and their personalities begin to diverge.

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Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: January 26, 2016, 11:45:52 pm »
A man discovers that he can 'consume' people's worries by listening to them complain, and becomes a counselor. Once he consumes their worries, they cease to be worried (even if the cause of their worry still exists), and he gets a rush of euphoria. Unfortunately, he becomes addicted to the worries and anxieties of others, and he has to deal with his own guilt over the fact that his patients have ended up in major trouble due to the fact that they lost self-preserving levels of fear after sessions with him (for instance, brushing off very real threats to their lives because of an irrational boost of self-confidence). He confides, one night, in a colleague from down the hall and feels a great weight lift off his shoulders -- and then the colleague begins to tell a familiar story, about a man who can 'consume' guilt...

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