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Messages - Roko's Modern Basilisk

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Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: November 10, 2016, 12:27:15 pm »
Fictionalized retelling of yesterday's events focusing on the pact Trump must have made with mephistopheles to pull this off being enacted by serial demonic posession of voters

Trump was elected via a pact with an egyptian frog demon. I unironically believe this.



Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: November 09, 2016, 10:23:40 pm »
A science fiction series where the protagonist is a goofy overenthusiastic nerd with no common sense / sense of self-preservation, surrounded by people who are constantly trying to get him to shut up / save him from himself / get him to cut to the chase and tell them if the alien he's poking is dangerous.

Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: November 07, 2016, 09:57:58 pm »
A stuntman is hired to stage a fake failed assassination attempt against a presidential candidate in order to boost his ratings. The stuntman gets promises that the campaign officials will let him "get away", but renege on the deal. The stunt succeeds, and the candidate wins the election; he's a fascistic figure and expands presidential powers. The stuntman manages to escape prison, and attempts to actually assassinate this president, now knowing that the "campaign officials" who hired him are actually CIA agents who were conspiring with the candidate to cause a coup.

Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: November 06, 2016, 04:45:33 pm »
The wotld is secretly controlled by two Skull-And-Bones-esque organizations modeled off of the fraternities from Animal House

I don't think it counts as original if it's true ;)

Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: November 05, 2016, 01:26:46 am »
A self-proclaimed superhero has intense psychic powers only deep into psychedelic trips; as a result, he ends up performing on massive scales the small actions that very stoned people usually perform. Because of the danger of a bad trip, a superhero team forms (from slightly less powerful supwrheroes) who essentially trip-sit him once every few weeks and gently guide his power use so that he at least has some positive outcomes. This is played for comedy, but the stakes are very high: these guys are essentially sweet-talking a hallucinating god.

Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: November 04, 2016, 11:35:46 pm »
During the construction of a subway tunnel in Switzerland, a large cave system is discovered with evidence of recent construction, but the bolts are made of an unknown material and are of a strange shape. After some investigation by veteran spelunkers, they discover that contrary to current archaeological canon, the neanderthals never went extinct: instead, a community of more than ten thousand moved deep into this cave system and survived, creating a flourishing technological civilization. The Swiss make contact with this civilization & attempt to normalize relations, having an exchange of diplomats. WACKY HIJINKS ensue as the children of neanderthal diplomats attempt to integrate into the Swiss educational system despite having a primarily fungus-based diet, no experience with meat other than ritual funerary cannibalism (the only reasonable means of corpse disposal in a closed underground environment), no familiarity with the concept of cooking (since fires are dangerous, food is primarily prepared with pickling and other forms of fermentation), a matriarchal lottery-based government (with lottery-based culling of the population), and a technological landscape based primarily around the breeding and cultivation of fungus and bacteria colonies. This fish out of water story becomes a romantic comedy when the diplomat's daughter & heir to one of the most powerful neanderthal line falls into a FORBIDDEN LOVE with the daughter & scion of a major Swiss banking family, just as knock-on effects of Brexit & Brexit copycats are causing pressures that suggest that the Swiss banking industry is in danger.

Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: November 02, 2016, 08:10:15 pm »
In the near future, content farms are replaced with edit farms: most articles are produced via spintax (i.e., a large set of recursive templates hooked into databases, such that a human being can put in a pitch in a special pitch format & the machine can create thousands of variations of articles based on that pitch), but the article-writing machines cannot distinguish between good articles and bad articles reliably and the volume is too big for general A/B testing, and as a result, hoards of poorly-paid independent contractors do the work of choosing which variations are best and performing light editing to make the result seem more human-like, before producing only hundreds of variations for A/B testing on regular readers. The plot involves an editor discovering a systematic coverup of investigations of the working conditions of these edit farms by the people who administrate the spintax systems, blocking articles on the subject from being printed.

Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: November 01, 2016, 09:15:53 pm »
In the mid-80s, an elderly english madam dying of AIDS opens up to a reporter trying to do a story on the crisis. However, the madam explains that she is a four hundred year old vampire who ran a brothel in order to siphon blood off laudnum-drunk men, infecting them with siphilis to explain away the knock-on effects of being preyed upon by vampires. She confesses that she was the whitechapel killer, having killed a couple of her girls who were going to go to the newspapers, but the laudnum in the blood had negatively affected her judgement, leading to some of the anomalies in that case -- she was in a constant delusional state, being essentially an immortal junkie. Because the immortality of vampires is related to a viral mutation of the immune system (supplemented by ingestion of lymphocytes -- leading to vampires sometimes eating pus instead of blood), auto-immune disorders are the one thing that can kill them.

Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: October 30, 2016, 09:47:38 pm »
A found-footage horror movie with the premise that a Jon Ronson expy who makes documentaries about investigating cults and painting them in a neutral light ends up getting enmeshed in a suicide/murder cult. His goofy footage gets less and less goofy as he realizes how hard it is to laugh off his extended isolation and various forms of psychological torture.

Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: October 29, 2016, 05:39:41 pm »
Finished Echopraxia last night -- it's a bit denser than Blindsight or any of the Rifters books, and I think I'll probably need to re-read it in order to really understand all of what went on.
I have mixed feelings on Watts, I loved Blindsight, but I guess I misunderstood a lot of what Watt's was trying to say. I interpreted a lot of Blindsight as an attack or even a parody of the concept of p-zombies and the whole qualia problem, but then
I heard this interview with him on auticulture where he's kinda supporting Chalmer and all that dualism stuff.

I think I heard the same interview -- and I was also totally shocked that Watts was supporting qualia. But later on, I heard *another* interview Watts did, with somebody who was into zany conspiracy theories about satanic ritual abuse, and I realized that Watts seems to sort of avoid disagreeing with his interviewers or something. Chalmers, despite his blind spots, is not a stupid person & plenty of very intelligent and worldly people buy into the qualia stuff, but Watts certainly *doesn't* believe that this interviewer was actually being ritually abused by nazi clown aliens in order to release his ESP, so he was probably just being polite.

Both Blindsight and Echopraxia basically come down to Watts trying to steelman ideas that he finds really dubious. The firefall universe, as hard-SF as it is, is full of as-realistic-as-possible versions of pretty wacky philosophical ideas. (He seems to do this a lot: Starfish is about the idea that in some situations the most appropriate person for a job is an anti-social psychopath; he did a conference presentation about the idea that the world should be destroyed; plenty of his blog posts are basically just considering the end results of what some really dubious one-off journal article was correct.)

Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: October 23, 2016, 07:30:27 pm »
A hardboiled / mystery story revolving around the candy industry. When a jelly bean heiress disappears, a private investigator is enlisted to to find out what happened to her; meanwhile, a terrorist group poisons & labels batches of particular type of candy (like in the Glico case) while getting manefestoes published in newspapers. The private investigator uncovers massive corruption & family politics in the (financially and literally) incestuous candy industry, and uncovers that the person who hired him died 20 years ago -- in other words, he was probably hired by the same terrorist group that has been trying to take down major industry figures, and that this group probably also kidnapped & killed the heiress. He follows this lead to the end, and eventually discovers that this group is, in fact, being funded by a minor candy company that couldn't compete with the big players. Embarassed by being tricked into performing corporate espionage, the private investigator attempts to commit suicide via a poisoned box of candy -- but it doesn't do anything.

Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: October 22, 2016, 03:52:18 pm »
Finished Echopraxia last night -- it's a bit denser than Blindsight or any of the Rifters books, and I think I'll probably need to re-read it in order to really understand all of what went on.

Last night I also read A Brief History of Vice, Robert Evans' summary of the ways that vice (mostly drugs, but also gossip, trolling, and prostitution) affected the course of history. As a history, it's not great -- it's short & written like a Cracked article without the links, and contains a lot of typos; it breezes over ideas that could profitably be covered in more depth and spends a lot of time on ideas that are familiar to people who read a lot about these subjects, along with repeating a lot of material from Evans' Cracked articles. In the end, with the exception of a section on Stonehenge, I had either already read his sources, read a slightly modified version of the chapter on Cracked, or had read most of the details he covers elsewhere. I still recommend grabbing the book because of its recipes: it serves as a sort of cook-book for legal (in the United States) drugs, and contains information about preparation that I haven't seen elsewhere. Recipes I intend to try include: bappir (a kind of cookie made as the basis for mash in Sumerian beer, as described in The Hymn to Ninkashi), bhang (an indian pot milkshake), soma (specifically: Evans read the part of the Hindu scriptures describing the way that Shiva liked to prepare soma, operated on the assumption that the drug in question was Fly Agaric, and followed the directions), and power balls (a kind of calorie-rich trail mix made by mixing roasted coffee cherries with ghee and wearing it in a leather sack around your neck while exercising).

I'm currently reading Hard-Boiled Anxiety, which is basically somebody doing Freudian psychoanalysis of three early authors of pulp detective fiction. It would have been better had it been written by Zizek -- it's pretty dry, all things considered -- but it's sort so I'll probably finish it.

Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: October 19, 2016, 09:44:01 pm »
A wacky comedy about a Hollywood agent who, by accidentally pressing "Reply All" instead of "Reply" twice, has accidentally sold exactly the same pitch to five different major studios. She can't back out because her boss is extremely proud of her for landing five lucrative deals on her first day (but is also clearly shown to be emotionally unstable, firing people for minor things while heaping praise on other people for similarly minor things), and so she must work with the screenwriter she represents (who is also a naive first-timer) to write five different screenplays based on the same pitch so that they don't look similar, all before a deadline intended for a single script. At the eleventh hour, the agent, who works a second job as a diner waitress, is overheard on the phone by a repeat diner patron -- a curmudgeon and loner who nevertheless always tips well -- and he explains that he is a retired former script doctor, and offers to help finish the scripts before the deadline in exchange for setting him up on a date with the owner of the diner, a heavy-set sixty year old chainsmoker. In the end, they make all the scripts on time & make a lot of money, the agent's boss comes into work after the deal is set and fires her for having an "ugly-colored scarf", and a few years later it turns out that all five movies are smash hits, making back many times their original budget & making enough money for the agent & writer to start their own firm.

Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: October 18, 2016, 01:13:02 pm »
A serial killer runs a "room escape" attraction in a tourist-driven area (Las Vegas, maybe). This attraction has many duplicate copies of the same room / puzzle, which is horror-themed, and (like the current wave of "extreme" haunted houses) multi-modal: the special effects extends to scent profiles. The serial killer, when he sees a customer who strikes his fancy, directs her to the room in the back with extra soundproofing and an electronic lock controlled from the observation booth. He locks her in until she starves to death, then cleans her skeleton with bugs & uses the bones as props in other rooms. He gets off on seeing the point at which people realize that they are no longer playing a game & solving the puzzle won't let them out.

Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: October 15, 2016, 05:51:42 pm »
Finally getting to read Echopraxia, Peter Watts' newest. It's a good follow-up to Blindsight. Where Blindsight used vampires and space ships to ask the question of "what is the benefit of consciousness at evolutionary scale, and does it still exist?", Echopraxia uses hive minds, bioengineered plagues, and sun-adjacent power plants to ask the question of "what is the benefit of faith at an evolutionary scale, and does it still exist?".

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