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Messages - tyrannosaurus vex

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Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: April 19, 2017, 04:19:43 am »
In the near but not too-near future, advancements in AI and robotics have rendered all jobs obsolete while solving global food, energy, and housing shortages. However, due to some very heated debates during this time of great progress, one of the automation systems' most sacred directives is that some labor must be preserved for humans, because "a person is nothing without work". Because of this, the AI has created an entire economy based on completely useless labor. Some people produce little plastic widgets, other people transport them, others deliver them, and others dispose of them in recycling centers so the process can continue. Anyone who shirks their responsibility is punished with the withholding of some luxury goods.

There are no distinct characters in this story. It just keeps going like that, forever.

But you know what?  This is just another man talking about abortion.  I'll just re-quote QG.

Most relevant statement ITT.

I just see absolutely no value in trying to convince the religious conviction out of someone in order to get them to stop believing anything. The amount of time and effort that goes into doing a thing like that on purpose is so immense and so likely to fail anyway that it's a fool's errand. No amount of biological or cognitive science is going to sway one person, let alone enough people to change the dynamics of the debate.

Maybe the need to do this arises from some weird desire to have everyone on the same page, or in thinking that a lasting truce cannot be built between opposing sides until they agree on some very basic facts that just happen to saw the legs out from under one or the other of them. But it seems to me that it's beyond useless to pursue any such goal. We'll never have a frame of reference common to the two sides that includes the definition of life or the existence of a soul, so it's a waste to even try.

What we can agree on is what to do about the situation we are in right now. Presumably, the anti-choice crusaders want to end abortion. It makes a lot more sense to me to show them how their current tactics are unlikely to succeed in that goal and give them an alternative that can succeed without any need to threaten their religious or moral convictions and also with a long-term understanding that simple prohibition is a failure of an idea no matter how strictly they imagine it can be enforced. They won't like the moral fuzziness of it, but at least it isn't a direct assault on their moral foundation. And the pro-choice side won't like the continued existence of a faction of people who pass moral judgment against a woman's basic bodily autonomy, but at least it's a moral judgment rather than a criminal one.

shit, i almost replied for real. Losing my edge in my old age.

You seem to be missing many of my points.

First of all, the thought leaders you dismiss as irrelevant or meaningless are the sources of the slogans slung back and forth at dinner tables. People who engage in this debate draw their conclusions by the shorthand of "Person X believes this way, and I like person X, so therefore I believe this way." They are not active participants in the formation of their own beliefs. They did not arrive at the conclusion that abortion is wrong for any reason other than because they have been conditioned to adopt that conclusion by some external force. The people who have something to say about it at the dinner table are, nearly invariable, just spitting out what they heard on Fox News or at church last Sunday.

In order to change such minds, it is pointless to rely on a competing ideology on the opposite side of the debate. You will not convince someone who believes fetuses are babies that fetuses are not actually babies no matter how airtight your argument is. Because every ironclad dogmatic religious pillar of identity includes a trigger to protect against undermining it, every attempt to directly confront the religious proclamation that "Fetuses are children" will not only fail, but it will have the ultimate effect of strengthening that proclamation in the mind of its believer. Besides, trying to argue a moral point -- even if you see it as a scientific one, they see it as a moral one -- against someone self-assured of their own moral righteousness is utterly futile.

The way past this argument is not through insisting that they draw a distinction between baby and fetus. Like I said: they're not going to. They just aren't. Drop it. Give up. That way lies madness, etc.

The way forward is in bringing their attention to the fact that if you want to actually decrease abortion, rather than just whinging about it forever while it goes on all the same whether legal or illegal, then put your investment in effective sex education, ubiquitously available birth control for everyone, and set serious penalties for rape - both social and criminal.

This line of reasoning has the benefit of removing the opponent's insistence on the stupid "crime and punishment" approach to abortion AND removing your own need to alter your opponent's moral framework. Let them go on believing that fetuses are babies. Let them think abortion is some kind of abomination before God. Who cares what they think? The point is they're no longer out for the blood of people who end up needing abortions for whatever reason, and as much as they might hate and spit and curse, they lose their momentum toward prohibition.

Well... no.

The argument that fetuses are not babies is of course made all the time. The "life begins at conception" and such ridiculousness is the anti-choice camp's counter to this argument. There will never be any successful attempt to convince them that fetuses are not babies, because anything that is sure to become a thing is as good as having become it already, at least whenever a person is inclined to believe that, which they are in this case. As far as any anti-choice person's ability to reason, there is no meaningful distinction between a fertilized egg and a baby. Even if physically they are as different as an elephant is from a ant, there is no difference morally, and that's all that matters.

Focusing the argument on the bodily autonomy of women, logically, is all that is left to the pro-choice arguer. It's unfortunate that this is one of the many, many exceptions to the conservative's crusade for "less government interference", but it is what it is. We are effectively faced with a situation where half of the country wants to rob women of their own bodily autonomy. Making it a question of bodily autonomy may not be the most effective way to settle the argument, but it's better than trying to drive some impossible wedge between "baby" and "fetus", which has been tried and proven to be completely useless.

Of course, the debate over abortion is not actually a debate over abortion. If saving lives was really the aim of anti-choice "activists", they wouldn't condemn all manner of not-fetuses to death at the slightest provocation in other areas. Their wailing over "dead babies" is just a charade they use because people are easily swayed by the idea of violence against defenseless children. There are many proven ways to materially decrease the rates of both abortion and of unwanted or underage pregnancy in general -- and if these people actually cared about eliminating abortion, they would champion these methods instead of simply calling for prohibition and punishment of abortion. But they don't like those methods, because while they are effective, they strike at the real motives behind the anti-choice crusade: they empower women, rather than constrain them to obedience and "modesty".

So I have to disagree with your assessment that the reason the abortion debate rages on is because the defenders of women's choice are doing it wrong. It rages on because there are theocratic monsters among us who are allowed to push their oppressive agenda as some kind of antidote to all the evils of the modern, liberated world. And as long as they exist, they will find ways to hate anyone who is too free for their liking, no matter what arguments are used against them.

Literate Chaotic / Re: Five word horror
« on: April 13, 2017, 05:02:04 pm »
Minutes pass slower than years.

Literate Chaotic / Re: the beginning of nothing
« on: April 12, 2017, 05:17:21 am »
I'd read more of this.

Thanks! There is a little more now, but not enough for a followup yet. I'll keep tapping away.

I like it, it feels like a blend of Phillip K Dick and Kafka.

I'm reminded of Foucault's Panopticon - that control over society is established by dividing us all up into little cells which are subject to observation and force. "Discipline", means control of our bodies, on the individual level... and this is what keeps societal order chugging along. It's how the current modality of power is preserved whole-cloth -- during your contact with The Power, you are very vulnerable, so you have to behave. You have to show, with your body, that you are docile, nonthreatening, submissive. And the theory is that if we are all subject to this correcting force, we have to internalize the rules, become good inmates.

Interesting concepts that might find their way into the story. I'm trying my best to avoid exposition on a large scale, but we'll see how well I manage to keep it engaging while only dropping clues about the bigger picture. I've written up a world background that's nothing but boring exposition to keep the story confined to a definite universe, hoping that will help. I Haven't yet decided whether to place the story in the middle of the Big Bad State's totalitarian heyday or around the edges either as it forms or decays. Probably depends on where the story ends up going, which at this point I have absolutely no idea.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: April 11, 2017, 09:06:31 pm »
At least it's good theater.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: April 11, 2017, 06:28:43 pm »
It seems that Trump, Putin, Assad, and half of the Republicans are bent on starting WW3. The only thing that keeps them from doing it is that they can't agree on how to go about it.

Literate Chaotic / the beginning of nothing
« on: April 11, 2017, 06:13:19 am »
just something i'm starting... not much here. posting to shame myself if i don't keep working on it.

They call cops "pigs", and that's what they've always called them. For as long as anyone can remember, anyway. It's a funny enough epithet, I guess, but the image doesn't really fit. Maybe it made sense way back when cops were dumb and fat and sloppy, if cops were ever dumb or fat or sloppy. If it was up to me, I'd call them dogs instead. They're a lot more like dogs than pigs. Strong. Persistent. Mean. Once a cop gets a hold of something or somebody, he won't ever let go. Loyal like dogs, too. Maybe even more. This country is rotten with corruption, but you no matter who you are, you can't buy a cop. Loyal, but not to anyone I'll ever know. But it isn't up to me, so cops are pigs.

The car rolled to a stop at the Business District checkpoint and the all the windows descended automatically. The glare of flashlights immediately flooded the interior and I tried to shrink into the rear seat, but I couldn't slouch any lower without looking suspicious. Sid was sitting up front at the console as the officer poked his pointy face in through the window.

"Route log, please." He asked, not politely.

Sid sneered and held the car's detachable navcom up at the officer's face, saying nothing, equally not politely. The blinking display was too close for him to read it, and she knew it. She was obviously looking for trouble.

He reared back disgustedly and his hand darted into the cabin to swipe the navcom out of Sid's. This was only the first checkpoint, and I was sure it was about to be the last. I held my breath as the officer scanned the navcom and his buddies scanned the car's occupants with their flashlights. No noise except the purring motor. We all sat perfectly still, hands visible and motionless, staring straight ahead at nothing. None of us made eye contact with each other, or with the cops. People had been shot for "threatening eye contact", right here at this very checkpoint, more than once. Really—they are a lot like dogs.

Navcoms are simple things. They just list the destinations programmed into a car along with every stop it had made in the past 48 hours and a record of all the ID chips that had been in the vehicle during the same period. It doesn't take very long to learn everything a navcom could possibly have to teach you. The officer outside the car was apparently trying to learn something the navcom couldn't teach him. Centuries passed.

"Mmmmm," the officer sang, finally. "You'll have to make good time if you're going to make it in time." The officer's tone said he was weighing whether or not to intentionally delay us so as to hand out citations for violating curfew, as if the navcom wouldn't report us anyway. Smiles stretched out behind the flashlights.

Sid's hands almost formed two fists, but she caught herself and forced her fingers to relax. "Yes. Sir." I heard the blatant sarcasm in her voice. I was praying it flew over the officer's head.

The officer's angled face appeared once more through the window, grinning a little. He eyes pierced Sid's for just a second before craning his neck to sweep the other three of us in back disdainfully, as the navcom in his hand found its own way to the slot on the console and replaced itself. He inhaled sharply, no doubt hoping to detect contraband, and his mouth straightened out of its grin as he failed. We knew the car was clean, but you can never know how much that really matters. The officer withdrew himself abruptly with "Well, what are you waiting for, citizens? Move along, we have a million of you to inspect tonight."

Grunts came from the other officers as the flashlights swept out of the cabin and away from the car, finally. Sid tapped the green "RESUME DRIVE" command on the navcom and the car lurched forward and rolled down the street.

This checkpoint scene replayed itself no less than five times that night, each one eerily similar to the last, right down the the sing-song disdain and pointy face of the officer in charge. A couple of times I even wondered if we we had driven around the block just to get another look at the same bunch of uniformed thugs. Not once did I catch a glimpse of where that epithet "pig" had come from. We got to Sid's place just before curfew.

Or Kill Me / Re: I am a cabbage
« on: April 10, 2017, 10:56:21 pm »

Gee, now I am horrified of katana swords.  :sad:

Don't worry Jester of Fools, never forget
Swords don't kill people; people kill people  :)

This is blatantly false. Trip Fisk knows better, and I trust a man with hair like that:

thank you for fixing that [/quote] issue, it was going to drive me crazy.

Literate Chaotic / Re: ITT: Original Story Ideas
« on: April 09, 2017, 05:44:07 pm »
150 years in the future, climate change has ravaged coastal cities, forcing massive migrations inland, and all the accompanying social and political upheaval is just beginning to fall back into some sort of normalcy. Left-leaning liberals have even diluted Red America, enabling us to finally tackle serious social issues, while science has cured cancer and other age-old diseases and disorders. New technologies in agriculture have nearly eradicated starvation, renewable energy has finally stamped out fossil fuels, and the resulting political stability has led to a period of peace and prosperity for nearly the whole planet. But then Coffee Rust sweeps in and in a single year wipes out the last of the coffee plantations. Synthetics have been developed already due to the exorbitant price of natural coffee, but they aren't the same. The global population tries to wean itself, but the stresses of hyper-modern life is too much and civilization collapses.

Literate Chaotic / Re: Unofficial What are you Reading Thread?
« on: April 08, 2017, 08:02:11 pm »
Just finished Isaac Asimov's Foundation.

I don't know where to begin really. I read it because I was looking for an enormous exercise in world building, of which the book does a capable job. It nearly completely lacks character development, which is probably something that a lot of people would find unattractive but doesn't bother me since I wasn't really looking for "human" stories as much as epic historical fiction. But... I still wouldn't call it "good".

For starters, Foundation was written in the 1950s I think, and it's approach to science fiction hasn't aged very well. All the technology is based on "atomics", showing the era's expectation that the atom would revolutionize human civilization forever. Everything from blaster guns to shaving razors are based on atomic energy somehow. It's somewhat adorable, but mostly just... ridiculous.

As far as characters go, the first thing to know is that they are all men. Women are present as caricatures and described invariably as either bumbling bimbos or conniving witches (a queen is nothing but a nag and an agent of her hostile father, for example). Also, I'm not really sure how this book is considered one of the best sci-fi stories ever written. Standards must have been a lot different in the 50s and 60s. All the dialog is written in the same voice as the narration, and all the characters speak with the same nuance and vocabulary. Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of who's saying what. Meh.

The historical arc is interesting, but suffers from a little too much exposition and some ideas presented as insightful are just silly. There's very little depth to concepts like religion vs. commerce, and everyone in the universe seems to behave as if programmed by an amateur psychologist. The book revolves around the notion that the future can be predicted by applying mathematical theory to psychology, but then it presents such a one-dimensional version of psychology that every character behaves exactly as expected. Every episode follows the same basic formula: The Antagonist sets up a scheme to undo the Protagonist, then the Protagonist outwits the Antagonist by way of some "psychological" trick that shows up at the end of the episode, leaving the Protagonist on top and the Antagonist out in the cold (or dead).

Seriously, how is this a genre-defining work? There's a whole series in this universe, but I don't think I'm going to bother with it. It's a disappointment because the concept is interesting. The execution just hasn't survived the years since writing. If anyone knows better and would suggest the later books, let me know.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: UNLIMITED Arizona Hilarity thread
« on: April 06, 2017, 03:33:22 pm »

Paul Penzone is closing Joe Arpaio's "Tent City". But don't worry, it isn't because the place makes a mockery of justice and reformation, or because it's inhumane or ridiculous. It's because the county can save $4.5 million per month this way. Never fear, good citizens, these criminals will continue being treated like shit, just in a different facility.

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