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Messages - Cain

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So, as of last night:

The mice are back, in force.
A student has put in a formal complaint about me.
We ahave a squatter in the building, and management is attempting to pin it on me and my coworker.

And yet, none of them are as weird as Elder Scrolls dragons (though the Time Dragon comes close).

Incidentally, in Baldur's Gate 2, I sacrificed the Silver Dragon eggs for Irenicus's death, knowing full well it wouldn't work.  Does this make me a bad person?  Probably. But it was pretty funny.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: Celebrities in Politics
« on: Yesterday at 05:33:12 pm »
I would have preferred Martin Sheen doing a documentary on the Chartist movement.

Also, yes.  When you reduce politics to specatcle and celebrity, it should be no surprise that celebrities involve themselves in politics.  Personally, I don't think it's a good sign, but that could just be my general opinion that while, when averaged out, most people are sensible, most individuals are lunatics, and the more egocentric the individual, the higher the chances of lunacy.  It reminds me of Surkov, and his "managed democracy", only without the hierarchical template.  A whirling, postmodern playground for those with the shamelessness, media access and money to get in.  Brand poses as a revolutionary, while Cameron poses as...whatever the fuck he is posing as this week, and both are equally false and equally void.

Which is not to say celebrities cannot have political concerns etc.  Only that when it becomes an established part of the political culture, it's a sign of a fundamentally unhealthy political culture.

Literate Chaotic / Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
« on: Yesterday at 03:27:55 am »
Technically, it shouldn't because it would allow for another Universe to exist alongside the former one. 

Literate Chaotic / Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
« on: March 01, 2015, 09:24:20 pm »
Well, you've still got what, two days?

I'm unfortunately working night shift, which turns brains to mush, otherwise I'd throw some ideas around.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Re: Folk with Steam
« on: March 01, 2015, 09:21:44 pm »
Pimping for a friend is always acceptable.


When I'm back off my work computer, I will check them out.

Literate Chaotic / Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
« on: March 01, 2015, 04:51:58 pm »
Shit just got real:

This is your final exam.

You have 60 hours.

Your solution must at least allow Harry to evade immediate death,
despite being naked, holding only his wand, facing 36 Death Eaters
plus the fully resurrected Lord Voldemort.

If a viable solution is posted before
*12:01AM Pacific Time* (8:01AM UTC) on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015,
the story will continue to Ch. 121.

Otherwise you will get a shorter and sadder ending.

Keep in mind the following:

1. Harry must succeed via his own efforts. The cavalry is not coming.
Everyone who might want to help Harry thinks he is at a Quidditch game.

2. Harry may only use capabilities the story has already shown him to have;
he cannot develop wordless wandless Legilimency in the next 60 seconds.

3. Voldemort is evil and cannot be persuaded to be good;
the Dark Lord's utility function cannot be changed by talking to him.

4. If Harry raises his wand or speaks in anything except Parseltongue,
the Death Eaters will fire on him immediately.

5. If the simplest timeline is otherwise one where Harry dies -
if Harry cannot reach his Time-Turner without Time-Turned help -
then the Time-Turner will not come into play.

6. It is impossible to tell lies in Parseltongue.

Within these constraints,
Harry is allowed to attain his full potential as a rationalist,
now in this moment or never,
regardless of his previous flaws.

Of course 'the rational solution',
if you are using the word 'rational' correctly,
is just a needlessly fancy way of saying 'the best solution'
or 'the solution I like' or 'the solution I think we should use',
and you should usually say one of the latter instead.
(We only need the word 'rational' to talk about ways of thinking,
considered apart from any particular solutions.)

And by Vinge's Principle,
if you know exactly what a smart mind would do,
you must be at least that smart yourself.
Asking someone "What would an optimal player think is the best move?"
should produce answers no better than "What do you think is best?"

So what I mean in practice,
when I say Harry is allowed to attain his full potential as a rationalist,
is that Harry is allowed to solve this problem
the way YOU would solve it.
If you can tell me exactly how to do something,
Harry is allowed to think of it.

But it does not serve as a solution to say, for example,
"Harry should persuade Voldemort to let him out of the box"
if you can't yourself figure out how.

The rules on Fanfiction dot Net allow at most one review per chapter.
Please submit *ONLY ONE* review of Ch. 113,
to submit one suggested solution.

For the best experience, if you have not already been following
Internet conversations about recent chapters, I suggest not doing so,
trying to complete this exam on your own,
not looking at other reviews,
and waiting for Ch. 114 to see how you did.

I wish you all the best of luck, or rather the best of skill.

Ch. 114 will post at 10AM Pacific (6PM UTC) on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015.


Aneristic Illusions / Re: Anybody look at Ukraine lately?
« on: February 28, 2015, 10:32:53 pm »
Well, I'm sure this is a good sign.

I N THE 17th century, the area to the east of the Dnieper River was known as the “wilderness,” an ungoverned territory that attracted refugees, criminals and peasants — a place beyond the reach of the Russian empire. Today, this part of Ukraine plays a similar role, this time for Muslim brothers. In eastern Ukraine, the green flag of jihad flies over some of the private battalions’ bases.

For many Muslims, like Rizvan, the war in Ukraine’s Donbass region is just the next stage in the fight against the Russian empire. It doesn’t matter to them whether their ultimate goal is a Caliphate in the Middle East, or simply to have the Caucuses free of Russian influence — the brothers are united not by nation, but by a sense of community and solidarity.

But the brothers barely have the financial means for fighting or living. They are poor, and very rarely receive grants from the so-called Islamic humanitarian organizations. They must earn money for themselves, and this is usually done by force. Amber is one of the ideas Rizvan has for financing the “company of brothers” fighting in eastern Ukraine — the Dudayev battalion, which includes Muslims from several nations, Ukrainians, Georgians, and even a few Russians.

Yes, although even the "occult" elements of the murder have a pragmatic aspect to them.  So for example, Saturday night with no moon makes sense because Saturday night will be the busiest night for young couples in their car, and no moon makes the attack and get-away more likely to succeed.

Spezi and Preston, working from the FBI profile, believed the killer was impotent.  Thus the knife was a substitute penis, the choice of targets was to make up for his own inadequacy, and the ritualistic trophies also make sense.  Interestingly, the Italian police chose to disregard this profile when choosing their suspects with alarming frequency.  Thus one of the Sardinians, Salvatore, was actually bisexual with a rapacious appetite for sex.  Another suspect, the farmer Pacciani, was a convicted rapist of his own daughters.

Much of what interests me in the Monster case is not so much the Monster himself, but what investigating him reveals about the dark underside of the Tuscan countryside.  An area that prides itself on essentially starting the modern world, and of having the highest values of civilization, nevertheless has a brutal and blood-soaked underbelly.

For those wondering about this comment on FB:

This whole comment section is lail. Not the good kind of lail though. The kind of lail that makes you laugh until your throat is hoarse, and then you feel something like a small piece of vomit at the back of your throat, and you try to swallow to make it go away but you can't stop laughing while you do so and it turns into an almost choke. And then you finally get your breath back, but the feeling is still there at the back of your throat, and no matter how much you swallow or have to drink that small feeling and vague taste of vomit just wont go away.

I'm good.  My metaphors just get...strange when I'm on odd sleep patterns.

Also, there's a very good suspect for who the Monster is.  Amazingly good, in fact.  I guessed it might be him after the circumstances of the "Sardinian Trail" and the origins of the Monster's gun were discovered.

Basically, the Monster used a signature .22 Beretta with a notch that put unique markings on the bullet casings.  As it turned out, these bullets matched an earlier solved murder.  However, the murderer was in prison for some of the murders, and in a halfway house under supervision when others occured, and was not of sufficient mental health to be the Monster (who had shown himself to be an "organised" serial killer, in the FBI's parlance).

He was a Sardinian immigrant, who had killed his cheating wife and her lover.  Sardinia, as you may be aware, is incredibly clannish with a strong "honor culture".  They follow something called, well, the Code of the Brigand.  Rape and murder are justified under certain circumstances, as are stealing and kidnap.  Lots of Sardinians moved to Tuscany during the 60s, and made a name for themselves as smugglers, kidnappers and outlaws.

As you've probably guessed, the murder wasn't a one-man job.  Others were involved.  It was a matter of Sardinian honour, after all.  Oh, and money.  And someone related to the involved parties fits almost all the criterea for being the Monster - including attempting to burgle the house where the weapon was kept, which was recorded in a suppressed police report.

I dunno, I've always found that theory to be somewhat questionable.  You'd be amazed how high your risk of drowning is near bodies of water after drinking.  Not to mention the risk of exposure during the winter months.  And the smiley face is a very popular form of graffiti.  I'm not saying it's impossible, only that I have my doubts and that former police officers can be obessive about these sort of things, even when they are utterly wrong.

One of the big problems in the case of Il Monstro was that the Florentine Chief of Police and the Perugia Examining Magistrate were both conspiracy theorists.  I mean, off the wall conspiracy theorists, Satanic cults stretching back to the Middle Ages, Eyes Wide Shut sort of thing.  They followed this Italian blogger who claimed a group called The School of the Red Rose was behind the killings.  As well as several other killings.  And 9/11.

Just to point out at this stage, yes this IS the same examining magistrate who latched onto a witchcraft and sex murder theory in the case of Amanda Knox, despite ample evidence indicating that Rudy Guede's story (amazingly) is accurate.  He's ordered bodies exhumed, had journalists arrested and intimidated and overseen judicial witchunts on the basis of these conspiracy theories.

Mike T sounds like a man you don't want to piss off.  That's a fairly inspired bit of vengeance.

Hey Roger, maybe when Lilly is gone, you could apply for Jim's old job.  You may not be the management the plant wants, but you're the management the plant needs.

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