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Topics - Jasper

Literate Chaotic / Stories my boss tells me
January 16, 2012, 02:04:54 AM
Here's an abriged collection of the stories my boss Don tells me.  He's had a lot of adventures, to believe it all.  The odd thing is, whenever a bit of evidence comes up, it's always in his favor.   So I thought I'd start writing it down to keep better track.  I can't really tell how true these stories are, but I enjoy them and I can't disprove them.

Most recent story he told:  He's having a shipping container of random stuff being packed by his guys offshore to be sent here.  A collection of wine and guns in the mix along with furniture and other crap.  He tells them to keep them hidden because he could go to jail if it gets seen on inspection.  So, naturally, they drink all the wine, send the empty bottles, and pack the guns in plain sight.  It miraculously arrives, uninspected.  They are totally busted and he calls them on it.  Don tells this story with just the mildest opprobrium of his employees, no hint of a grudge.  I comment on the unbelievable nerve of stealing his wine and sending him guns, and he remarks that they're still in his employ, and they are good team, they just "have problems when they start drinking."  He smiles faintly as he says this.  He is always seemingly unperturbed by these sorts of offenses when recalling them.


A couple times he tells a story of his factory in Guadalajara, where some of his employees were smoking pot in the bathroom.  He decides to park a forklift in front of the door, and sprays fire extinguisher into the bathroom's air vent, putting an end to the siesta.  When they come out, he apologizes, saying that he mistook the smoke for a fire.  He seems to get a kick out of this.  It's a good story.  If I'd done it myself, I would enjoy retelling it too. 


Once, he caught a few of his employees using his personal bar at the factory to get some of the office girls passed-out drunk.  They then used Don's camera and computers to take naked photos of the drunk office girls in compromising positions.  These are the same guys who would would look at and save shitting girl porn on the company computers while on the clock.   They are mostly if not all still working for him.


This is my take on Don's dog, Boss, the generously named "guard dog" whose hacking coughs and goofy partial paralysis makes him unable to do anything but lie around, accept head scratches, and fart, used to be a beast back in Mexico.  Don says he'd attack bulls and lose.  Get thrown thirty feet through the air, come bounding back...  This dog is supposed to have been the runt of the litter, and Don told me one story where he saw a cat or something, and started pulling his wife so hard that she hit the ground, and got all her knees skinned off and she still held on to the leash because she's so insanely attached to it for some reason.  Now the dog's got a lot of dead nerves halfway down the spine, and he says he's been having some weird stoner veterinarian lady shock his nerve endings with electrodes.  He says that Boss was paralyzed from the waist down completely until this treatment, and couldn't even lift his leg to pee.  What's extra weird is that his wife Da treats Boss like he's her baby, always coo-cooing him, giving him treats, setting up nice beds for him, petting him all the time.  Like, the other day I'm working at my desk, and I start to hear this sound like a boar or a goat trying to cough up a tonka truck.  I look over and Boss is on his back, and Don's wife is tugging at his forepaws, and he's trying to bite her hands, all the while making this noise.  It isn't a dog noise at all. It is the sound of Boss laughing.  It's like an oink, if there was ever a pig that chain smoked for thirty years.  And the tired old beast follows her around like he's attached at the waist, loping around clumsily trying to lie next to her and whining for attention while she works. 

Soon I'll try and write up the story of how he escaped Puente Grande...
Or Kill Me / Information Threat
June 05, 2011, 01:55:20 AM
The name commonly given to our times is The Information Age. This is to denote that the main
characteristic of this period of history is the way in which networks and data manipulation have shaped
the world we live in. This is a fair assessment, but the name suggests a sort of benevolence and
renaissance that is somewhat unwarranted.

The contemporary age is something akin to, or perhaps the opposite of, the Dark Ages of the medieval era, where information on any subject was nearly impossible to acquire except by word of mouth or personal observation. Society hasn't lost any knowledge, and we have no difficulty in acquiring information. On the contrary, in recent decades humanity has created so much, so quickly, that it has outpaced itself. In academia, art, philosophy, music, and technology, we have created more than the sum of all mankind's advances up until now in the last century alone, and all of it is available for next to free, except all of the very newest material. Even then, media of any kind is cheaper than it ever has been.

Data consumption in industry, academia, and the private sector has increased by leaps and bounds. There is so much raw data in our environment right now that we can never comprehend it all, and any amount of verification in the data we do use is nearly impossible. If a person wants information on a subject , their challenge is to be able to critically select the most trustworthy source, but the nature of the beast is that it will always be a leap of faith, since the proliferation of sources, combined with the lack of authoritativeness in such an impersonal and anonymous environment is so difficult. Even if a person's name or a reputable publisher's logo is on an internet source, there is still no verification that it is legitimate, since anyone could misrepresent themselves. All we can do is trust to the goodwill of anonymous sources.

It's not dark anymore, it's so bright that you can't see a thing. The internet is not a light that illuminates, but a glare that blinds. And it's always getting brighter. We're in The Glare Ages.

Aside from the merely conceptual noise of the internet and mass media, actual noises are a
constant companion due to our technology. Highways can be heard miles away, even indoors.
Machines clamor and groan. Computers and phones whir and beep and jingle. Fluorescent bulbs
whisper endlessly. Clockwork ticks. Every item wears the sigil of it's licensed manufacturer. Humans
have created a world where they are hounded day and night by gibbering, howling, and moaning
machines, and have put up with it for so long that they've stopped noticing it altogether.

The Flobots said there is a war going on for your mind, but they're wrong. The war is already lost, and the enemy
has granted no quarter. Every consumer product is stamped with logos, every telephone pole is riddled
with flyers, every piece of food has stickers, and every email and web page is littered with
advertisements and propaganda, and there is no expression left that has not been co-opted, whether
poetic or prosaic. The information has won, and quiet has been abolished. We're addicted to noise, and
we've lost the ability, collectively, to survive without it. So is the problem to do with all of our
technology? What would we do without the the networks, the broadcast system, and data satellites?

Some will hasten to add that we'd return to an agrarian society. No we couldn't, bless their hearts.
Some would certainly try, but there are far too many people for the entire US population to subsistence
farm on what arable land there is. According to numbers taken from the CIA world fact-book and
an internet source on sustenance farming that I quickly checked on, the US has barely more than half of the arable land
needed for each person to subsist on the fruits of their own labor. Make no mistake, as long as we have
the population level of a developed nation, we're stuck with the economic trappings of one. And the
population is increasing.

The law of supply and demand states that the value and availability of any commodity in a free
market are inversely proportional. As a commodity becomes rarefied, it's value will rise due to
increased demand between competing . Even intangibles, such as services, can be treated in this way,
as shown by labor markets in action, most notably during the time after the Black Plague, when a
shortage of labor due to population decrease caused laborers to prosper. Attention is another thing that
can be treated by the law of supply and demand.

As our attention spans decrease, therefore, market forces will shape events so that attention is more fiercely sought-after by businesses and institutions who need your attention to get your money. Commercials and propaganda will become increasingly engineered to stick in the mind. Ever since the advent of psychological science, this has been an increasing trend. Advertisements are fine tuned and clinically tested to have the greatest impact on human behavior possible, with or without active awareness. Computers and cell phones demand more and more attention by simply being addictive. Facebook, YouTube, and legions of other time wasting websites that derive their income from advertisements are under pressure from their own bottom line to get as many advertisement clicks as possible, and therefore as much of your attention share as possible.

Our ability to pay attention since the so-called Information Age has dwindled to comical proportions
due to constant distraction and entertainment. Humans aren't suited to the environment they have
created. Denizens of this world have free access to unbearable amounts of information on every topic,
imaginable or otherwise. Access is elective, meaning that to find information, you must decide what is
wanted. Readers are free to select information that agrees with their worldview. There is a
scientifically documented behavioral trait of humans, relevant to the mass of information available to
us, that skews the ability to take into account evidence.

The findings show that if a person with strong opinions is shown evidence regarding those opinions, that person will tend to become more sure of their viewpoint regardless of what the evidence actually said. This factors into the Information Age in a profound way; Are beliefs going to continually polarize due to the proliferation of evidence? Such a phenomenon will tend to have terrible and systematic effects on any political climate. Essentially, it ensures that only the most immoderate voices are heard. And this will only add to the difficulty of
finding authoritative information.

When the chainsaw juggler misses a beat, his problems have only just begun. The way things
are going, it doesn't look like humanity will be able to deal with what it's done. We can't fight or eat
our way out of this problem. We can't legislate it away, and we can't protest it in front of columnized
buildings, demanding the plagues and woes be put back in the box. We can only push the envelope like
we always do. It is too complex and vast of a problem for your or I or any group of people to do
anything useful. Will exabytes be our epitaph? What does the endgame look like? All that can be said
for certain is that this will continue to be a problem that few see.

People don't talk about these problems because they don't have the words for it. It is a nebulous sense of things being wrong in some way that many feel but few understand. It isn't anomie, and it isn't a "kids these days" problem. The problem's source is economic and intellectual forces that have been at play for a very long time, and are only now becoming problematic. It's not that the system has failed, which might be a mercy. No, the system works better than ever. It's simply stopped doing what we need it to.
Thanks for the tip, LMNO. 

A movie about marquis de sade, done all with puppets.

Or Kill Me / WHAT??
May 02, 2011, 02:36:15 AM
It's the second dark ages.


It's the "so bright you can't see a damn thing" ages.  We're swamped with information.  We consume it constantly, as fast as possible, but there's always more.

And so much of it is COMPLETE SHIT.  More than ever in history it is readily apparent that most of the information humans generate is garbage.

The solution is not to shut it all off and pack it in.  Firstly, we can't.  Secondly, that would be quitting while ahead.  We're humans.

The only way to stop it is to make the machines SHUT UP.  Tell the spam servers to SHUT UP.  Tell AdWords to SHUT UP.  Tell the pop ups to SHUT UP.  Tell the mouthy bus driver to SHUT UP.  Call the talk shows and tell them to SHUT UP.  Tell your boss to SHUT UP.  Everybody and everything that is not feeding you timely, interesting, or useful information needs to SHUT UP, so I will now

I'm moving to Seattle after my transfer degree finishes up in June.

Until I get into a 4 year in the bay. 

That is all.  Move along, netizen.
A less wrong post I thought was interesting.

QuoteThe ability to loosen one's associations and build bridges between disparate ideas seems to help us solve problems not amenable to direct, formal computation: to intuit mathematical truths before sitting down to prove them, for example, or to recognize that a pattern seen in one system is reflected in another, totally unrelated system.  A state of mental excitation, even to the point of fervour, is also useful for overcoming akrasia, and promotes the quick thinking necessary when you don't have time to sit around and compute.  If this is the case, then there is considerable benefit to be had in learning to depart from rationality in a safe and controlled manner.  I say safe and controlled because, as we have seen, there are real dangers in overextending oneself; but with proper technique, I believe these dangers can be minimized while still reaping the benefits.
Or Kill Me / Madness and Apathy
April 09, 2011, 09:43:48 PM
This isn't a rant, but it's rant related. 

Maybe this isn't other people's observations, but I feel like when people are really excited and having irresponsible fun, even if I'm into it too, the effect I have on the crowd tends to be akin to a splash of cold water. 

My rants are angry, but in a calm, cold sort of way.  And even trying to ape the more fiery styles of writing comes off as sort of...freeze dried.

I guess I'm just filing a bug report.

Bug #0094242:  Can't get angry enough.  Suspected shortage of swap space in limbic system.  Status:  can not fix at this time
Ever since I got this phone, people from Colorado keep texting me and calling me Matt.  Sometimes they are mad at Matt.  Sometimes they bear good tidings for him.

I have tired of telling them I am not he;  I have begun to use the opportunity to make the world a stranger place.  I've begun saving the contacts and replying.

Or Kill Me / Pressure and Release
March 15, 2011, 08:00:59 PM
The City is a product of economic forces.  

The textile and iron industries of the 18th century, the rise of patents and the advent of steam engines making urban population growth inevitable.  

Trains made the city.  They were it's veins.

Trains also made rock'n'roll.  Trains rock, and trains roll.  Ask Johnny Burnette.  He met a dame, on a train.  "Get along, creepy little woman."

I hardly need to spell out who She was.  

People argue about where rock and roll came from.  I have a hunch it was made on trains by scary alcoholic hobos, mixing blues and country and everything that felt right.

That's what rock and roll is.  Everything that feels right, in a place where nothing does.

Rock on, PD.
Discordian Recipes / Weird Food Observations
March 11, 2011, 06:25:39 PM
I just noticed that day old coffee, microwaved until past boiling, and diluted with a bit of water tastes EXACTLY like powdered coffee.

ITT weird food observations.
Techmology and Scientism / Optics experiment
March 09, 2011, 03:15:04 AM
I have read that if you wear glasses that flip everything upside down, your brain will start to correct it.  And that if you take the glasses off, your vision will be upside down for a brief period.

I want to try this.  Can anyone point me in the right direction Re: equipment?
I have acquired some Cobalt(II) Carbonate for the purpose of manufacturing a blue flame.  I have played with it, and I have done an amount of web searching in vain hope of finding information on what, when it comes down to it, the best method is. 

Currently my plan has been to stuff some of it into a blank 12ga. shell and fire it from a shotgun, but I have hitherto been unable to determine, well, anything.   :oops: 

I could use a clue.
Literate Chaotic / Homo Altruis
January 23, 2011, 08:45:52 PM

Original science fiction.   In its current incarnation it's just a plot, actual scenes are not yet written.  Still, this is the longest story I've ever written, and my friends seem to like it.

Or Kill Me / That Wily Xeno Bastard
January 14, 2011, 08:04:45 PM
The long-suffering doctor heaved a sigh.  
I am a researcher, he thought.  Why am I always saving his ass?  
I could be reading a book.  I could be inventing a superweapon.
The doctor hated war, but more and more he was finding it was such wonderful stress relief to invent new ways to kill lots of people.  It was cathartic.  And then there was the crew...
He sighed again, hoping they would see him and gun him down where he stood.  But he knew they wouldn't.  The captain was making a scene, and had their full attention.  And nobody ever seems to notice the doctor until they need something from him.  It said a lot to him that even their own species had members who hated them all.  It was all he could do not to burst out in peals of screeching laughter, sometimes.  He was glad they bought that line about "we don't have emotions";  His excuse for constantly stonewalling them with a single raised eyebrow.

Creeping in closer, he accidentally tread on a twig, and they finally notice him.  They had already beaten the livid shit out of the captain, who was already unconscious.  He remembered seeing a clip of the propaganda that they have Earthside.  Ridiculous stuff, he thought.  Nerve pinch?  Apparently choking people wasn't a gallant way to save the day.  The mooks hefted their shitty sticks and came at him.  Time for the Deus ex Machina.  He smiled unpleasantly.
Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / Killing=Hilarious
December 29, 2010, 03:26:48 AM
Everytime you eat an animal you gain it's wisdom.

An addiction to lulz does not excuse it.

Nor does tradition or preference or habit.

Winning is a weakness, do you have it?

Live by killing and you will die.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

The violence in your mind becomes violence in your food.

In your life.


your CAR.

Your wife.

Your husband.

Your lover.

Your son.

Your daughter.

These are your threads.

Would you carve the flesh from the bones of your loves?

I've gotten myself into a weird place, mentally.  I've studied rationality, physics, psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, mathematics, ethics, BIP, and general philosophy, and I've begun to conceptualize the universe in some pretty non-anthropic ways.  For starters, I've started seeing human behavior, that is, all subjective experiences and outwardly observable behaviors, as the logical conclusion of molecules acting in concert to effectively repeat patterns.  I've started seeing life itself as a mere disease of matter.

This is probably terrible.  But is it incorrect?  Looking for feedback.  Maybe I'm just wigging out in response to the reproductive urge after being single for gasp three years.  I don't like feeling like a towering field of particles who seeks only the reiteration of its operating system in another field of particles.
You can help by posting recipes for pizza dough that don't give you crust with the consistency of saltines.

Dear sir,

You are a gentleman. Of this there can be no question.

However, I must lodge a single objection.  Namely, the evil thing in your signature.  Forgive me, but I must ask what it is, and why it is rasping in my ear sweet nothings and mind rending cosmic horror as I sleep.  Please ask it to stop.

Kindest Regards,
I understand what's happening now.  Don't you see?

Everyone should not become raging psychopaths the moment two irate old dudes stop being angry.

I think they should go back to being angry, or someone is going to kill somebody.
Or Kill Me / A Problem
October 07, 2010, 01:53:03 AM
Quote from: WikipediaCool (aesthetic)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Uncool" redirects here.

Quote from: Devo:  Through Being CoolGoing to bang some heads.  Going to beat some butts.

Quote from: Less Wrong...meta-contrarians are at risk of becoming too meta-contrary.

We became smart because of a social cognition arms race.  Part of the competition is who/what can be the coolest.

HIPSTERS are the result of this.

I think you should all feel very ashamed.

That is all.

Discordian Recipes / Culinary Theory
October 01, 2010, 10:51:19 PM
So I've been thinking.  I know there are good ways to juxtapose flavor, aroma, texture, and color in pleasing ways, but can any clever chaps give me some hints as to how to do it with temperature?  It seems a bit trickier.
GASM Command / WorryGASM
September 27, 2010, 09:05:44 AM
Inspired by:

I think you know what this entails.  Worrying memos, notes, and letters from nobody.  Because if we can make stressful things absurd enough to laugh at, that is a win.

Also:  What else should I add here?
Bring and Brag / Some sketches
September 26, 2010, 08:25:51 PM

Or Kill Me / Deaf Ears
September 26, 2010, 05:02:11 AM
Our mental states are codepentent.

America at large is a low-context culture.  You don't need to know a lot about your neighbors to get along with them.

I'm surrounded by people that I am perfectly able to relate with. 

Human interaction is a glutted market.

You live in a world where you don't rely much on human interaction to survive, and social opportunities are everywhere.

It's too easy to feel unimportant.

I have no constructive proposals.
Discordian Recipes / Sigmatic Drinks Expensive Tall Boys
September 14, 2010, 04:08:45 AM
I spent the last few months drinking beers, almost never the same brand twice.  I am reposting my notes on the subject here. 


Henry Weinhard Summer - Plain.  Tastes like "beer".  Above mediocre.
Full Sail Amber - Good with pizza, as I recall.  3/5.
MacTarnahan's Amber - Better than Full Sail, details hard to recall
Arrogant Bastard IPA - Challenging.  Hoppier than I'd like, but lots to keep my interest.
Devil Dog IPA - Wasn't bad, but even more hoppy than Arrogant B.  Made me feel bleary eyed.
Lagunitas Lucky 13 Red ale - Good.  Interesting aftertaste.
Alameda El Torrero IPA - Robust and flavorful. 
MacTarnahan's Winter HumBug Ale - A bit watery, very mild and not bitter.  Pleasant, but not exciting.
Drifter Pale - Smooth, slightly sweet, refreshing.  Paired seamlessly with a Caesar salad.


Black Butte - It was alright.  Same as many ales, better with pizza.


Session - Good!  Has an interesting pungency almost like licorice.
Mate Veza Black Lager - Drinking this as I post these notes, and really loving the smooth, frothy texture mixed with the distinct mouthfeel of Yerba Mate.  It's good! 


Paulaner Salvator Double Bock - Delicious!  I was pleasantly surprised.
Weltenburger Kloster Asam Bock - Another treat!  Starting to love Bocks.
Weihenstephaner Korbinien Doppelbock - Again, quite smooth, very flavorful, not bitter, just enough hops. 

Stouts (Muh fav'rit.)

Old Rasputin Imperial - Favorite.  Tastes like gold in beer terms.
Bison Chocolate - Sippable, tasty, pleasing.
Black Bear XX - No complaints, interesting character.
Sheaf - Didn't like it.  Tasted sour.
Sam Smith Oatmeal - Delicious, a bit filling. 
St. Peters Cream - Smooth and slightly flat tasting.  Good though.
Victory Storm King - Complicated, a bit hoppy, but in a good way.

I deliver to you, the Great Adversary.

I have an odd reaction to some things.  Occasionally, a thing I see or read will teleport me to the brink of pants-crapping madness.

Post them here.  I like going to that place.

To set the pace, I have this well-known sample:
High Weirdness / Be outraged. Or confused, anyway.
July 27, 2010, 09:54:46 PM
I found myself experiencing an odd mixture of the two.
Aneristic Illusions / Hypothetical Situation #001
July 25, 2010, 04:13:53 PM
Say you wanted to conquer the world.  What would be the most bloodless way to do it?  Assume arbitrarily high resources, but solutions that don't require absurd amounts of money, unlimited time, or absolute loyalty in hired help, are naturally better.

I'm partially asking this because I'm not sure it's possible. 

In celebrating six years of PDcom, I present to you a taste of how much I once sucked, as a person:

Quote from: Felix on September 30, 2004, 07:13:00 PM
Sometimes I carve K's into my apples and eat them.

And look smart the entire time, too. ^_^

Sigmatic at seventeen, ladies and gentlemen.   Bet you can't beat that.
Because corny dialog fucking rules.  8)

Mayor Wilkins: There's more than one way to skin a cat. And I happen to know that's factually true.

"But that isn't fair, sir!"
"Not fair? Why I'll show you what's not fair."
"Well, actually sir, you really don't have to."
"No no no, really, I insist. I said I was going to show you what's not fair and so I shall show you what's not fair. Why don't you come a little closer, Demolisher, so I can give you a hands-on demonstration, yesss."
-Demolisher and Megatron.

Dirk Anger: Every day I smoke two hundred cigarettes and one hundred cigars and drink a bottle of whisky and three bottles of wine with dinner. And dinner is meat. Raw meat.

Propaganda Depository / Forum Reading Music
July 05, 2010, 07:28:20 PM
Was thinking about making a mix cd for reading PDcom.  Mostly stuff without vocals to listen to while you take in the landscape of horrormirth.

If anyone's interested, I'll mail you one when I'm done.  Or just email a download link, depending. 
Literate Chaotic / Limits on Rational Agency
July 04, 2010, 08:45:37 PM
I'm interested in establishing where, in practice, rational (deliberate, systematic, and calculable) behavior ends, and animal (instinctual, survival oriented, primitive) behavior begins.  Is there a clear distinction?  Is there any such thing as pure rational behavior, and, in humans is there such a thing as pure animal behavior?  What are the fundamental differences?

This isn't a discussion about free will.  I'm not presently interested in philosophical free will, I am interested in the psychosocial roots of agency.  Is all behavior, from animal, plant, or person (or any biological entity) simply stemmed from animal drives?  Are humans just animals with a few added social cognitive faculties, in terms of how their agencies play out? 

This does tie in with the BIP, but I'd shy away from it because in my thinking this is more a practical problem, and less of a philosophical issue.  Meaning, we entities may have any manner of agency in psychosocial terms, but that says nothing of how we think about and perceive the BIP.  Regardless of the BIP and our relationship with it, the origins of our agency are still in question.

I'm going to link this discussion to Dok Howl's Shackles Tethers and Anchors thread, because it is partially what inspired this, and I think of it as somewhat required reading.

So I'd like to hear your thoughts.  Whence does human agency stem?  Can we really swallow the notion that everything we do comes from a place of animal instinct, augmented by recent cognitive faculties such as social cognition?  Or are we equipped with a pure rationality that can overcome any amount of organic inclination?  Where's the line?
Principia Discussion / Answers Only
June 27, 2010, 09:38:58 PM
Because questions aren't very useful.
ITT we make the list.  It WILL take a whole thread.  

Police not allowed to chase criminals

Banana Sex Cultists

Palin 2012

Touchdown Jesus Destroyed by an Act of God

Or Kill Me / Metaethics
June 08, 2010, 01:10:40 AM
Time for another Sigmatic Brand Wall Of Text®!

I have always striven to take into account all that I know about the world in my ethical observations.  I know, for instance, that before I was born there existed a long, sad, and vibrant history of human civilization and myth that, throughout recorded time, the most consistent sound has been the beating of war drums.  I know that we inhabit a naturally occurring planet that took shape around a star, which in it's own turn took shape from the remnants of a supernova, which in it's own turn was made possible by a cataclysm roughly 14 billion of our years ago.  I know that we are constantly on the brink of all out sci-fi dystopia or nuclear annihilation, and yet things are better than they have ever been in history.  There are laws in place that protect people's rights.  There are societal safety nets to catch us if we stumble, and we can talk to anyone in the world whenever we want to, instantly, at negligible cost.  The world is so complex and multifarious that it is harder than ever to conceive of an ethical framework that is relevant, complete, valid, and useful.  

Knowing all this, my moral ideal strives to balance a hugely complex worldview on extremely simple ideas.  The metaphor is that of a very jerky system of cogs that do not fit well, and wear down often, and are only kept functional with huge amounts of lubricant and upkeep,  The lubricant is humane sentiment and the upkeep is humor.    

My ideas about morality do implement a metaphysical basis.   And, perhaps shockingly, a form of metaphysical dualism.  I never liked Rene Descartes, perhaps because of his glib summation in the cogito, or perhaps because of his spiritual assumptions.  My form of dualism is that of energy and information.  Everything in reality is either energy or information, because if you read enough particle physics, you start to see that everything is composed of energy.  And if you think about it, the only thing that enables thought is the existence of information.  In my dualism I take energy to encompass time, space, and matter, and information to encompass any kind of system or arrangement, from binary data to metadata in the positions and behavior of neurons.  From this metaphysical basis I attempt to annihilate all the poor assumptions made of reality, from supernatural phenomena to the myth of unified rational agency.  

A certain amount of cognitive psychology also has a hand in my ethics.  I know that our brains have certain hard-wired "blind spots" in thought and memory.  What it all amounts to is the principle to not trust what our brains tell us.  

What this all culminates in is a somewhat boggled take on everything, a universe riddled with moral ambiguity, chaos, unknowability, and dilemma.   I am okay with this.  I find that the most pleasing levels of morality take place when one is the most confused and unsure.  Conversely, the most grievous things to have ever happened, happened when people were absolutely convinced that they were agents of divine mandate.   The infamous Stanley Milgram and Stanford Jail experiments are concrete evidence of this.  

Another inspiration for my ethos has been Kurt Vonnegut.  His sad, beautiful, hilarious take on humanity has always informed my opinion of morality, ever since I read Slaughterhouse Five and Breakfast of Champions.  I still believe what he said, "We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane."

I don't presume to take my ethos as universally good.  I am even a little wary of anybody who would ask me to believe in a universal good.  Things that are good no matter what are dangerous, in my opinion, and humans should not be trusted with them.  As Baron von Munchausen said in the movie, "Your "reality", sir, is lies and balderdash, and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever!"  I feel that way about things that are "good".  Should I want to be good?  If I am meant to be a good man, why is it so pleasing to light firecrackers?  Why does mischief, gallows humor, and jaywalking seem so enjoyable?  I'm not alone in this.  If I thought nobody would agree with my predilections, I would conceal it from the world like an embarrassing birth mark.  But most if not all humans have a gleefully malicious streak, or an impish urge to screw things up, or some malefic tendency or another.  We are not good.  We habitually abuse and torment each other.  We form armies and build nukes.  We make puns.  And we laugh while we do it all.  How we laugh.

My people are not good.  My people are bewildered and awestruck by the multitudes of informations and energies  that constantly play foil to human folly.  My people cry in chick flicks and laugh at catastrophes.  In short, they are so confused that they forget to mistreat each other.  From the hideously complex miasma of information and energy we emerged, too brief to become sure of anything and too brilliant to sit there looking dumbfounded.  Life is cosmic brevity, a disease of matter that lives on the edges of sustainability.

I'm the kind of asshole who wants to create AGI that are people.  Conscious machines.

Forget the how for now, what I want to discuss is rights.

In one sci fi novel I read, such machines were able to gain the rights of a person by acquiring a LLC to operate under;  The absurdity being that legal fictions have more rights than a conscious, thinking being.

Still no idea how to make a poll...

Thinking about trying to become a cop.  Sick to death of working sparse hours, shitty wages, no benefits, and no sense of accomplishing anything. 


Or Kill Me / What happened to me?
May 20, 2010, 09:17:41 PM
I don't understand anything, these days.  My friends are all used to my tired bullshit, the one thing that made my job good has been taken away, and I don't even know what I did wrong.  Just, one day, someone decided my job didn't suck enough.  I think things got too important, maybe.  I think we started making too much money, and it changed things.  The way money does...

But it makes me angry.  Why are we changing the formula that made our thing good?  Why are we punishing our success?  People love my schtick, and it just doesn't work this way.  It's wrong, but not so wrong as to be interesting.  Just even more tired than it ever was.  Do we really want this?

Maybe I'm the weird jackass in my circle, but now I don't even have that.  Sure, nobody took me seriously, but at least they laughed at my antics.  Now they just cough and look the other way.  It makes me want to die, I swear to god.  I can't even relate to my people anymore. 

Why is this happening?  What does it mean?  Who did I snub?  And most of all,

What do you think the future of fashion is? 

In the last twenty to thirty years, "fashion" has gone from


Or Kill Me / I saw a church sign today
May 14, 2010, 07:51:09 PM
on the way to work, yeah.  You know the ones.  They have cinema boards with movable letters, arranged to try and needle you with cute little platitudes as you drive by.  Today's precious gem was "What gives you significance?"

I know what they meant by it.  They meant that, without their god, my existence is warrantless and ignoble. 

But aside from that guilt ridden subtext, it's a cool question, isn't it?  What gives you significance?

I have my answers.  They fluctuate.  Sigmatic is my chosen pseudonym here because of several connotations, ranging from fictional characters to latin root words.  My identity as part of, and separate from, my direct control is of great significance to myself and possibly very significant to the world at large.  My life is significant, furthermore, because I find that (epistemologically speaking) the ideas and experiences life offers are of such magnificence and complexity and wonder that their sum could hardly be trivial in any sense. 

So I have to ask.  What gives you significance?
Aneristic Illusions / Lest ye become one.
May 12, 2010, 06:35:16 PM
I did nothing to merit or demerit this nation as my own.  I did not elect to be born an American.  Nobody did.  We all merely happened upon it, and so we are... Free?  Freedom is not a blank check though.  It is rather like a shovel.  You're just as free to dig as you are to build.  It just so happens it's easier to dig.  We are free to do with our circumstances as we see fit, until we stop thinking it is so.  Just as our warriors fight shadows and traps in the east, we fight our own monsters.  We fight lobbies and madmen whose wishes matter more because of the color of their money and the froth at their lips.  If they had their way, we would join our livestock in the feedlots,  Televisions set in front of the iron bars, bottom dollar slurry in our troughs, laced with medicine to make us more pliant.  We fight monsters.  There is no good news.  The forecast for this nation's well being is increasingly, inarguably, catastrophic.  There is only bad news and weird news.  Be careful what you ask, however.  Ask a scary question, and you will receive a scary answer.  Why can't the wars end?  What can the nation afford now?  When do we tend to our ill?  How do we adjust our consumption?  How do we reverse the oil spill damage?  What does the inter-party polarization, and the advent of the tea party mean for American policy making?  Is it still possible for a single nation to exist that satisfies the ideologies and standards of the majority?  Would any president, no matter how perfect, be able to set things right?  Should a nation as unstable and warlike as ours be allowed to possess nuclear warheads?  Just how deep is it, now?  Can we save ourselves?  If no, are we beyond the help of others?  Should we be trying to police the world at this point in our decline?   I shouldn't even have to ask. 

At this late hour it is not likely that a mainstream thinker would object that mass acts of terror are monstrous, and that such actions must have consequences,  Bombed buildings and suicide airplane crashes.  The "war on terror" is at least in principle a just cause, because to not fight it is to permit it.  It has not been a polite war, as polite as war ever gets,  But to not have fought it to begin with was equally unthinkable.  We could have fought it more economically perhaps, and we may, in time, be forgiven the judgment that made us undertake a second war on false premises in the name of fighting terror.  Our enemy is not like previous foes.  It does not require the good will of a people.  It does not need the funding of a government.  And it does not heed the conventions of warfare that exist to make wars bearable for noncombatants.  Make no mistake, they fight monsters.  And it is all too possible to fight monsters for too long.  To combat them, we have abridged our rights, spied on each other.  We have cultivated fear and hate to galvanize ourselves.  We have dealt with cynical corporate creatures to provide for the effort.  Now we have declared thought crime, as no lawyer may defend someone merely accused a terrorist.  All in the hope that these sacrifices will prove worth the price of final victory.  But how many more sacrifices can we make before becoming the very thing we fight?  Is this an enemy we can beat without descending to their abhorrent level?  If we are to defend justice, if we are to play at chivalry, let us not compromise our moral high ground.  If we are to fight in the name of peace, let it be with a clear conscience.  But it is too late for that, isn't it?  Every division was deployed with bad intentions.  Every campaign promise was made with the intent to renege if need be.  Every goal was set with invidious motives.  We no longer have claim to morality, or even practicality, in this war.

copypasted from Antilibertarianism because it wasn't really OT.

Maybe a mixture of lottery and approval voting would work.

Get a crowd of lottery-picked citizens, say fifty.  Some won't want to campaign.  Keep replacing the unwilling until you have 50 willing candidates.

Give them each a wad of cash and an advisor to help them put together and run a campaign.

Have a partial approval vote where everyone chooses the 25 they want most.

Put them all together and have each of them perform approval votes on each bill.

To enforce non-corruption, they are kept in nice accommodations, taken care of, provided for, and granted a sizable stipend after their term.  Corporate lobbyists must go through the voting public to have their interests advanced. 

I call it "Jesus Christ, what does a fucker have to do for some representation around here?"
Have you studied it?  What do you think?

Also, how do I created poll?
One or both of your hands are lost, and a medical research foundation is going to build you a neural prosthetic that can accommodate a variety of implements.  You get a set of robot hands for free, but you can design your own attachments for it too.

Me, I'd get a circular saw for the left stump and a pneumatic spike for the right.

What about you?
Or Kill Me / Primitivism
April 26, 2010, 04:31:32 AM
We all need to go back to the trees.  We all need to stop raping mother Earth.  We all need to stop being so damned modern, because modern values ruined everything.  Right?

No, not right.  Up your entire ass.  It is 2010, motherfucker.  The Future.  We have lasers and shit.  Yeah, toxic waste too, yeah.  Nukes too.  Sure.  But we also have the means to improve things now.  The technology to end hunger EXISTS.  The means to find cures for diseases and end them EXIST.  The means to make the world fucking WORK FOR ONCE is finally at hand and what do I hear people saying?  Back to the wilderness?  Fuckhead, there is no wilderness anymore.  Wherever you go there are machines in the sky ready to help you.  The least perspicacious observer can see that there are no perfect solutions, yet most cases of technology in society are doing more good than bad in the world.  On balance, it is constantly making our lives better.  

Let us speak no more of going back to the wild.  Let us now speak of sending more clenching pussy noises into space, of finding out how our universe works, and how to make our tenancy here somewhat more pleasant for everybody involved.  Who really cares about what nature intended anyway, if nature intends things like smallpox?

Or eat a lightbulb.