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Topics - Cramulus

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Apple Talk / Medieval Americans at War
« on: March 22, 2017, 02:27:29 pm »
If there was an American army during the middle ages, how would they be equipped?

Literate Chaotic / A Koan about Primal Chaos
« on: March 22, 2017, 12:48:14 pm »
Golden Rod approached the monk Nopants.

“Master Nopants, what can I learn by observing Primal Chaos?”

The master held up a pen. “Do you know what this is?”

“Yes, it’s a pen.”

The master said, “I use it to scratch my balls.”

Literate Chaotic / The Monkey Experiment
« on: March 22, 2017, 12:45:16 pm »
(originally posted on this forum here, but it's buried on page 4)

The Monkey Experiment
   There’s a famous experiment where they keep a bunch of monkeys in a room for an indefinite amount of time. There’s a big white staircase leading up out of the room. Every time a monkey climbs to the top of the staircase, he gets blasted back down the stairs with a hose. When this happens, every monkey in the room also gets blasted with water. This makes them very angry.

    Soon, the monkeys have figured it out: beat the shit out of any monkey that starts to climb the stairs. That’s the new rule.

    At some point, they remove a monkey and send in a new one. He learns the rule quickly: don’t climb the stairs. And if we’re beating somebody up, join in. One by one, they replace each monkey with a new one who has to learn the rule.

    At some point they can turn off the hose. The monkeys will reliably prevent escape. Policing the stairs has become a cultural norm. Eventually, they have this population of monkeys who are trained to beat up any monkey that tries to escape, but don’t even understand why.

    The experiment is run by interns who are paid in course credit. Occasionally, an intern finishes the semester and leaves. New interns join the team and everybody explains how to feed the monkeys and how to record the data. But at this point, none of the interns are from the original group, none of them have met the scientists leading this project. Most of the interns don’t fully understand the point of the experiment.

    The scientist who began the experiment left long ago. Other researchers were assigned to the project by an administrator in order to keep this valuable experiment running. None of the remaining scientists are actually authors of the paper, or even understand what it’s about. 

    The administrator supervising the project isn’t terribly involved with it. He just prolongs the experiment because it’s his department’s main source of funding. But he didn’t begin this project, he just inherited it from his predecessor, who is on a leave of absence and hasn’t been seen in some time.

    The company funding the experiment has a sum of money they spend annually on scientific research, mainly for tax reasons. But the person who reads and approves grants left last year. The last time anybody saw the man, he handed a huge folder to some new kid and said “make sure these stay funded.” Then he disappeared up a long staircase leading into the sky.


Or Kill Me / You're not conscious
« on: March 17, 2017, 06:13:37 pm »
I hate to break it to you, but you're not conscious. You're just running a program. Your habitual mind is driving your meat machine. Your reactions are mechanical. You are running on autopilot. You are a script in human form.

There's a part of your mind which can become conscious, but it's too much work for you. It might open an eye for a moment, learn something, make a decision, but then it goes back to sleep. The autopilot is in charge.

Your mind is a mansion. But you? You spend 95% of your life jerking off in the basement. You didn't even know there was an attic. Can you even find the way there?

Your mind is a crowd. The party is buzzing and everybody's doing their own thing. But you? You're in the corner on your phone.

Your mind is a like a menu with 300 possible things to order, but you? You order the same meal every night.

Your mind is an anarchist commune. It has no leader. It resists leadership and coordination. But you? You couldn't lead them if you tried. If you were a real self, you could coordinate the collective and accomplish something. But you can't do it, so you let them lay around and talk shit all day.

And every time you start to wake up, when you begin to move from that comfortable spot you've been resting in for so long, you get distracted. Something else pops up, and you forget. Your habitual mind is overbearing, every moment of the day it's bullying the lazy conscious mind into the background. Your habitual mind doesn't want to be examined. It doesn't want to be resisted. And it's stronger than your conscious mind, so it wins every time.

And even now, as you read these words, your habitual mind is revving the robot's engine. Don't you have an update to check? Isn't there something else you're supposed to be doing? These words are boring, and there are too many of them. And it doesn't even apply to you, because you're conscious. Other people walk around on autopilot, but not you. Right?

RPG Ghetto / HONEY HEIST: a free 1-page RPG
« on: March 15, 2017, 12:58:52 pm »
In HONEY HEIST, you play a CRIMINAL BEAR. You have two stats: CRIMINAL and BEAR

Link to full size image

the guy's website

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Post-Irony (& The New Sincerity)
« on: March 08, 2017, 03:44:29 pm »

I really enjoyed this youtube vid discussing "The Problem with Irony"

The video follows a train of thought from David Foster Wallace. It is critical of how irony has infused itself so deeply into pop culture and everyday human relations. The video talks about how "Irony has no redemptive qualities in and of itself. It can point out problems and deconstruct things, but it has no solution." We've begun to treat irony as a statement in of itself.

This resonates with me through my experience spending years and years trolling the Internets with you cats. I found that there long-term consequences of wearing an ironic mask for so long, playing a character until it blends into your real personality. It made me argumentative and contentious in my day to day life. People told me that when they were talking, they felt like I was just searching for a weak point to pounce on it.  I was full of criticisms, and I defended myself against criticisms by not believing anything, by not presenting a solid base that could be attacked. Sometimes it felt like all I had was a critical posture... I had built walls and a moat ... with no castle to defend.

David Foster Wallace didn't like how irony (which, like Satire, is often employed to intensify the The Thing you're criticizing) had become The Thing itself. It has no values, no statement, no castle to defend.

Wallace's counter-movement is called the New Sincerity.

Apple Talk / The Pipe Strip
« on: March 08, 2017, 02:57:57 pm »

I think a bunch of yous guys have seen this already, but it deserves its own thread.

I am in awe of how far they go with this joke. How does he keep going? This looks like a single take. This guy is tapping into something deep and personal and awe inspiringly sarcastic.

Is this man gifted or cursed? The ability to do what he's doing is a rare talent. The level of sarcasm he wields actually transcends sarcasm. What is the tradeoff for this power? Is he like a savant, who can just do this one thing perfectly? Or is everything he does just as beautiful and perfect?

One of the things that's so brilliant about this is how straight he's doing it. It's a comedy video but he's carefully avoided making any ancillary jokes or absurdities. He's so intense, unwavering. Laser focused on exploring this joke out past the fringes of all meaning.

The Philip Glass score is p e r f e c t

This video is like when you repeat a word so many times that it loses all meaning. And he's elevating that confusion into a holy moment.

I have watched the whole thing about 1.5 times now and it keeps getting better.

Techmology and Scientism / Plant Watering Reminder Gadget
« on: June 07, 2016, 04:39:01 pm »

The plants in my apartment kept dying, mainly because my girlfriend and I kept assuming the other one had watered them. So I invented a little gadget that tells us when the plants need to be watered. It’s super simple.

The gadget has 3 buttons and 3 LEDs. Each pair is linked to one of the plants in my apartment.

It’s only a timer, it doesn’t detect soil moisture or anything crazy like that. When a light turns on, it signifies that one of the plants needs to be watered. When somebody waters it, we’ll press the button, and it’ll reset the counter.

This fun little gadget only cost about $20 to make. It was a lot of fun to build!

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Laws, Social Media, and the Panopticon
« on: June 07, 2016, 04:04:33 pm »
One of the interesting things Junkenstein touched on in the Laws thread is the the intersection of law enforcement and surveillance.

The current incarnation of the justice system is based on some ideas that were kicking around the post-monarchial world and went through the wash a few times until they came out clean enough to sell. Namely the Panopticon.

The idea is that bad people will keep doing bad things when the authority isn't looking- so you should put prisoners in a place where they can be observed. Maybe it's that their prison cell faces a 1-way mirror and there might be a guard on the other side who gives them a demerit if they don't act right. Or maybe it's because they're picking up trash by the side of the road and they are constantly feeling the judgment of the public.

But the effect of observation is that it forces the person - the target of the discipline - to internalize a set of rules. They have to behave in a certain way to avoid reprimand, and eventually they internalize these rules. That's how you affect somebody's spirit, you make them build the laws inside of them, going through the motions with their body. Even if they're faking it, still thinking criminal thoughts, eventually this will be eroded by routine and discipline.

And that's how we built schools, prisons, the military...

And now we're in the social media era, everything can be uploaded, commented on, upvoted and downvoted.

There was a twitter account that this guy started on a subway in NYC, it was just supposed to document people who were taking up too much space, or doing asshole things that aren't appropriate for the subway. He wanted to shame people. And it turned into this really acrid account where he was just picking on people for the way they were dressed, etc. And eventually, the backlash came to him - somebody figured out who he was, and got his pictures up on Twitter. Then, anybody who saw him in public would take a pic and tweet it at that account. He used his phone camera as a weapon, and discovered it was a double-edged sword.

What rules are being enforced by the social media panopticon?

The terms of the transaction are: you trade some your privacy for access and community.

Years ago, I thought the way to deal with this was twofold:

1. Maintain the ability to disappear completely. At any time you should be able to kill your account and escape from whatever storm is chasing you. To do this successfully, you should avoid using your real name on the net. You should keep personal details obscured, and don't leave any channels open that you can't later close.

2. Chaff. Cover your social media with false cues and information. This way, anybody datamining you will get confused and the value of any given data will come under question.

Are those still good strategies?

My real name is on FB, it's easy to track me down... it's a bit harder to figure out my real name from here, so maybe the ability to disappear completely is more contingent on (a) how well you've compartmentalized, and (b) how motivated people are to connect the dots.

If I publish Chaff, it kind of gets in the way of the point of using social media to begin with.

and as I think about the steps you have to take to escape an angry wasps nest, I think to myself... what rules do I have to follow to avoid provoking the wasps to begin with? what rules has this panopticon made me internalize?  What rough edges have I actually sanded off, not just concealed? Has the presence of this social power refined me like a crucible, or restricted me like a warden supervising a chain gang?

Literate Chaotic / Danse Russe
« on: May 09, 2016, 08:46:25 pm »
William Carlos Williams, "Danse Russe"

If I when my wife is sleeping
 and the baby and Kathleen
are sleeping
and the sun is a flame-white disc
in silken mists
above shining trees,--
if I in my north room
dance naked, grotesquely
before my mirror
waving my shirt round my head
and singing softly to myself:
"I am lonely, lonely.
I was born to be lonely,
I am best so!"
If I admire my arms, my face,
my shoulders, flanks, buttocks
again the yellow drawn shades,--

Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / The Case Against Reality
« on: April 27, 2016, 06:53:38 pm »

This article manages hit some of our favorite check marks:

  [ x ] Inviting a barstool
  [ x ] Because Quantum

but it's still a good read.

Hoffman, a professor of Cognitive Science, asserts that we are not evolved to see "reality" - natural selection has developed sensory and cognitive apparatus suited for fitness and reproduction, not truth.


Gefter: People often use Darwinian evolution as an argument that our perceptions accurately reflect reality. They say, “Obviously we must be latching onto reality in some way because otherwise we would have been wiped out a long time ago. If I think I’m seeing a palm tree but it’s really a tiger, I’m in trouble.”

Hoffman: Right. The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions—mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.

Talking about what reality "really is" turns out to be a bit of a loop.  He says that according to physics, there is no "public physical objects". Ultimately the article posits that reality is subjective - I think he's claiming that our conscious experience is a type of reality, not merely an interpretation of it.

Apple Talk / Mother, Mother Ocean
« on: April 26, 2016, 02:45:28 pm »
Join me on a 5-minute trip into the Twilight Zone. From the “High Weirdness”  file, I present to you

“Mother, Mother Ocean”

This news clip from 2007 documents the mind-warping tale of a cthulhu-esque sea monster which attacked a woman in Rhode Island. It is simultaneously a hoax and a clumsy cover-up by the alien creatures which control our world.

Here are my favorite moments:

0:30 - This otherwordly entity, disguised as a human named Sean Daly, isn’t put together too well. I don’t know what it really is, but its not a human. There’s something *off* about him and I can’t put my finger on it.

He leads into the article with the perfect Lovecraftian hook: “Imagine swimming *mindlessly* in the late afternoon sun.” Swimming mindlessly.

1:12 - This woman’s acting is better than anybody else in the video

2:02 - a brief closeup of the couple’s hands, interlocked. This is meant to show us the tattoo on the webbing between his thumb and index finger. You guys seeing this? What is it? A scorpion? I think it looks like one of Lovecraft’s “Old ones” -

2:10 - The woman’s fiance is identified as Dennis, even though at 1:59 she called him Danny. Anyway, Dennis describes how he pulled his fiance away from the monster. In this thick Rhode Island accent he goes “So I grabbed it by the ass, uh, ‘rear end’…” <3

2:22 - “Rachel, swim, don’t turn around no matter what you heah”.

2:41 - Dennis describes the monster as having a head 'like a basketball’ - second time that verbiage is used. Dennis punches that thing right in the face. What a bad ass.

3:20 - A mysterious twist. The monster was attracted to the extremely high quantity of *blood* in the water. A mysterious guy named Joey Malo said he bled nonstop for over an hour. When the cameras show him, he’s wearing a hat, turned to face away from the camera, his face obscured. We never find out why he was bleeding, but apparently there was so much blood he’s still cleaning it off 3 days later.

4:00 -  I love the hand motions Dennis is making to describe the creature’s movement.

4:15 - Dennis describes the existential horror he’s faced since the monster attack: “I been goin to bed with things grabbin me, wrappin around my neck, choking, fightin’ underground, everything” - I just want to highlight 'fighting underground’ cause it’s just such a weird phrase.

4:30 - Pod person disguised as a human Sean Daly comes back to the studio and assures us that reality is okay, nothing is wrong. Consume, obey. Scientists say it must have been a tropical fish! This has the veneer of some Man in Black coming on the news and saying “There’s no such thing as UFOs… that was just … swamp gas.”

4:37 - Sean’s non-sequitur closing line, “Mother, mother ocean.” He says it reverently, almost like a prayer.

What is he? What was this? What the fuck did I just watch? This whole episode is very unsettling. We are floating on the surface of the water above a vast abyss, ignorant of its depths.

Apple Talk / Political Memes/Cartoons you Disagree With
« on: March 29, 2016, 05:36:10 pm »
I don't know about you guys, but I'm probably living in an information bubble. My facebook and tumblr feed are filled with progressive memes which make a silly caricature out of the conservatives and libertarians.

The other day, a libertarian friend* popped the bubble by posting a riff on the "Jesus is a socialist" meme...

*this guy is a small-gov libertarian who is employed by the TSA... wrap your head around that one

It made me curious to see some conservative/libertarian image-memes or political cartoons which are caricatures of great left-wing stuff I agree with.

What can you find?

Apple Talk / Unlimited Fedora Appreciation Thread
« on: June 26, 2014, 02:19:15 pm »

For some reason, my Net obsession of the week is fedora wearing MRA neckbeard atheist types. Can somebody explain how the fedora somehow became this perfect symbol of like ten different kinds of shitbag?

Bronies and Fedoras are like macaroni and cheese

oops, or Trilbys, whatever

fun fact

You know this guy?

[knowyourmeme link]

that's the grown up Pugsley Addams! (Jerry Messing)

Principia Discussion / Historia Discordia
« on: June 17, 2014, 07:51:15 pm »

I just picked up Adam Gorightly's latest book, the Historia Discordia. It's cool! It's basically a catalog of vintage Erisian stuff that was gathering dust in Bob Newport's basement, including a ton of original Discordian correspondences and tracts. Tons of lost writings by Mal-2. Great coffee table book for the Discordian archivist or researcher.

I've enjoyed tracing the evolution of a lot of the concepts in the PD. For example, there's that line in the PD about how Discordians don't have dogma, they have catma. And it turns out there's a whole little sermon about it that wasn't included in the PD and to my knowledge isn't on the net anywhere. There are a lot of 1st edition PD pages which were revised several times before the 5th edition we're familiar with. A lot of the jokes and 1-liners from the PD are referencing other Discordian documents which have been lost, until now.

For those of us interested in the genealogy of this whackadoo contraption, this is really satisfying. It gives a sense about what the first Discordian communities were like, and who the key players were. (something I've always been curious about) It's also pretty cool to see the early much rougher drafts of some of the texts we're familiar with.

Definitely recommend this for the archivists, collectors, and insane hoarders that get stuck in Eris' orbit.

[amazon link]

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