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Topics - Cainad (dec.)

The Lifespan of a Lie

The Stanford Prison Experiment is one of those mainstays of armchair psychology. I know it has heavily influenced the way I think about human behavior and situationism ever since I heard about it.


History has an annoying trend of being more nuanced and complicated than the version you heard when you were in high school.

The article isn't that long, but here's some out-of-context paragraphs for you to read and misinterpret:

QuoteWhile Zimbardo likes to begin the story of the Stanford prison experiment on Sunday, August 15th, 1971, when guards began harassing newly arrived prisoners at the "Stanford County Jail" — making it sound as if they became abusive of their own accord — a more honest telling begins a day earlier, with the orientation meeting for the guards. There, addressing the group less as experimental subjects than as collaborators, Zimbardo put a thumb on the scales, clearly indicating to the guards that their role was to help induce the desired prisoner mindset of powerlessness and fear.

QuoteIn surveys conducted in 2014 and 2015, Richard Griggs and Jared Bartels each found that nearly every introductory psychology textbook on the market included Zimbardo's narrative of the experiment, most uncritically. Curious about why the field's appointed gatekeepers, presumably well-informed about the experiment's dubious history, would choose to include it nonetheless, I reached out. Three told me they had originally omitted the Stanford prison experiment from their first editions because of concerns about its scientific legitimacy. But even psychology professors are not immune to the forces of social influence: two added it back in under pressure from reviewers and teachers, a third because it was so much in the news after Abu Ghraib. Other authors I spoke with expressed far more critical perspectives on the experiment than appeared in their textbooks, offering an array of reasons why it nonetheless had pedagogical value.

QuoteThe racial dynamics of the Stanford prison experiment, which have never been adequately explored, should probably have given reformers pause. Carlo Prescott, who had just suffered sixteen years of imprisonment as an African American, played a pivotal role in shaping the architecture of the experiment. Frustrated in part by the lack of black experimental subjects, he intervened repeatedly in the action, seeking to bring, as he put it to me, "an air of authenticity to boys who were getting $15 a day to pretend to be prisoners — all Caucasian, as you recall. [Ed. note: one prisoner was Asian American.] Some of the genuine things that shock you as a result of having your liberty taken and your ass being controlled by people who hate you before you even get there." Yet Zimbardo's account of the "situation" that engendered abuse left race out of the equation. He often used the word "normal" to describe the participants in his study despite the fact that they were hardly a normal representation of the American inmate population at that time. Analyzing American prisoner abuse as a product of race-blind "situational forces" erased its deep roots in racial oppression.
I've been workshopping an idea that I'm tentatively calling the magnet theory of social change (maybe better to call it the gravity theory, but it's a metaphor anyway so fuck it). The idea is that each of us has some amount of "magnetic" pull on our peers, as part of a greater social system.*

The society overall can be seen as a field of little magnets on a flat surface. Since politics is the subject of interest, you can imagine this flat surface has the Left-Right/Authoritarian-Libertarian political axes on it, or whatever axes you consider relevant at the moment. This spread also serves as a visualization of the Overton Window.

If you are super gung-ho about your views and pull yourself far to one side, you may be able to pull some number of people along with you, depending on your charisma and persuasiveness. But your pull on the overall field of magnets, on society generally, is dramatically lessened with distance. Likewise, if you become estranged from the pull of the larger society, you cease to care or be influenced by what the bulk of society cares about, as their magnetic pull on you has lessened. This is probably not a desirable place to be, unless you're into being a hermit or charismatic cult leader.


You can still move in the direction you want while maintaining your magnetic pull on those near you (in meatspace or headspace). Ways to do this include:

- Being chill and not being hard to talk to ("Don't get him started on capitalism, you'll never hear the end of it")
- Being rich and powerful so people are motivated to follow you

so yeah mainly just the first one is an option for most of us

What this DOESN'T necessarily include is reaching out to people who are on the far side of the society from you. This may be necessary if the opposition is (a) so intractable that it takes an unreasonable amount of energy for you to engage them, or (b) their preferred tactic is to feign reasonableness and waste your time with rhetorical games. Ideally, the magnet theory relies on the strength of the bulk of society pulling most people away from the ideas that suck ass, and allowing the fringe to be the fringe.

The more I think about it, the more this probably should be the gravity theory rather than the magnet theory. It's sort of an evolution of BIP "cog in the machine" thinking, which asked that you change yourself only so far as to effect change on your immediate surroundings, rather than futile grand schemes.

* This hinges on the general reality tunnel (which I've been using lately) that humans are a generally communal, cooperative species with occasional clashes of interest that take up a lot of our energy. This does not work if your reality tunnel mainly views humans as individual agents who are generally in conflict and only occasionally cooperate (a la Ayn Rand hyper-individualism).
Don't ask me shit

fukc you
Aneristic Illusions / November 2016: Hail Discordia
November 09, 2016, 11:55:27 AM
Oh, frabjous day!
Holy Strife has come to play.

Blood-stained goddess and hidden dagger,
One fucked-up forum's peals of disgusted laughter

Welcome back to 2000, Pee Dee Dot Com. It's like we never left, but it's bigger, meaner, and uglier than ever.
I could have posted this in Open Bar, but it falls into a level of sordid and inane human experience that I think warrants being cordoned off in its own thread. Not everyone wants to see the icky bits of some jackasses' life story. But this is PD, and some of you freaks revel in that shit, so here we are.

Allow me to frame the scene: there is a massage parlor in a town I used to live in, and I visited it on occasion. I have made regular exercise a part of my life and it seemed like a fair idea to get my stringy muscles tenderized every month or so, if only so that when the aliens from space come to eat us I will be all the more tender and delicious. I'm considerate like that.

Now, this particular massage parlor is staffed, as far as I can tell, entirely by ladies of Asian descent. The sign out front has one of those diagrams of feet with inexplicable pictures of organs on the sole. The more worldly among you will have already deduced what I am getting at here, based on the thread title and the scene I have just described. For those in the back, I will briefly explain: these businesses, usually dubbed "Chinese massage parlors," are somewhat notorious for providing services that can only loosely be described as "massage."

"Jack shacks" would be the more gauche way to describe it.

But I will HAVE YOU KNOW, dear readers, that I am a gentleman of the highest order and that my intentions were pure as the driven snow. My fucking neck hurts sometimes and I like having it kneaded like a French bread every so often, alright? I visited this establishment a half-dozen times while I lived in the area, and I found the services provided to be of good quality, and none of that funny business, in case I haven't made that perfectly clear. Masseurs and masseuses are trained professionals and associating them with jobs that fall outside their scope of work is unseemly and poor behavior. Also, this place was cheap, like really cheap. Very attractive to my wage-earning wallet. I paid for an hour or half-hour of massage as my time allowed, tipped generously (because really, no way the employees are bringing home enough based on that hourly rate), and said "thank you" in Chinese because I am polite and it seemed to amuse the nice ladies.

Fast forward, about three months later. I live very far away from this place now, but it just so happened that it was on my way back from a job site on this particular day. How fortuitous, I thought, because I had tweaked my upper back the night before, and was generally sore from a recent return to regular exercise after a hiatus. Additionally, I was running on about 3 hours of sleep and had woken up at an ungodly hour to drive for 2 hours to the job site. Laying still in a quiet, dark room while my muscles were plucked, stretched, and rubbed down with hot stones seemed like a heavenly idea.

First I lay on my stomach, and my back was worked on as it had been several time before. No surprises, and the hot rocks were especially welcome this time. Seriously, you should try it if you haven't before.

Then I flipped on to my back. Each masseuse seems to approach this phase a little differently, so I was ready for whatever. Or so I thought.

I should have clued in the moment my chest and stomach were caressed, rather than rubbed down. I am a bit ticklish and was focused on keeping my cool, however. Let the professional work, I say. Then work began on my thighs.

It happened so fast, I barely understood what was going on. That of course is not really true: I knew immediately what was going on, but it was quite sudden and my senses overloaded. My life up to this point had not prepared me for this situation. I couldn't think straight, and since I had been more or less holding still the whole time it seemed only natural to continue holding still.

And then it was over, just about as fast as it started. Faster than I would have thought possible, if I'm completely honest. So quickly that I thought, absurdly in my mental haze, that there didn't seem to be much point. Then the massage was completed as normal, I paid the tip, and said "thank you" in Chinese as always, and left.

All I can really think of, some time later, is that I really wish that time had been spent on my pectorals. They're still damn sore.
Propaganda Depository / Found an old project
March 29, 2016, 03:56:53 AM
Let me know if the attachment doesn't work. This is an incomplete draft of the second Intermittens issue I tried to make, but never finished to my satisfaction. I don't remember exactly when this was made, I think about 2011-ish.
what the hell is this

I love it. I must see more.
I just accidentally hit "Mark All Read"


I saw this on the internets and I decided to bring it to the experts here at PeeDee.

Why, Finland?

Put 'em all in one place for easy pickin's after we all turn into Morlocks. Good plan!
 :horrormirth: :horrormirth: :horrormirth:

I just placed a bid for the domain name, but I am not exactly hopeful.

Also, today I learned that is blocked by my usually pretty open workplace filter as "Cult/Occult"  :lulz:

QuoteFor 27 years it's been up there on the flat roof of Mark Gubin's building in the flight path of Mitchell International Airport. A sign painted in letters 6 feet tall tells people arriving here by air: "WELCOME TO CLEVELAND."

"There's not a real purpose for having this here except madness, which I tend to be pretty good at," Gubin said Tuesday when I stopped at his place in Bay View to see the sign.

The sign is in Milwaukee :lulz:
(blatantly stolen from tumblr)

Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / JUST A REMINDER
February 05, 2015, 01:55:04 PM


Yeah, I'm reposting, what's your problem?
Literate Chaotic / Don't Break The Chain
January 30, 2015, 04:32:23 AM
So I recently learned that there's this thing called "Don't Break The Chain"

I ignored most of the details but the gist of it is that you make one tiny little bit of creativity every day, and try to not miss a day.

This bit of creativity can be anything, but obviously an Internet forum is best suited to writing. And whatever you make can be really, really small. If you're writing, it can be a sentence. It doesn't have to be good in the slightest, or related to whatever you made the previous day.

I'd like people to start using this thread to post the Links in their Chain, as it were. If something causes inspiration and you'd like to expand on something, make a new topic and link back to the post in this thread.
Except for the guys who can actually bust into your house and/or kill you if they have a good enough story for the judge and jury.

I'm going to try re-framing the discussion about police brutality by referring to cops as the government. Because, you know, they are.

Since government is terrible and badwrong about everything, this should provide "interesting discussion" on the center of reasonable discussion that is Facebook.
The local grocery store chain has put the ingredients for s'mores on sale for most of the summer. These items are usually placed right next to each other, so that your tiny consumer pea-brain will quickly put the puzzle together and realize that yes, you are an easily-manipulated glucose-burning protein engine and are conditioned to desire things rich in simple carbohydrates.

What I'm trying to say is that I live alone and I impulse-bought a box of graham crackers, a bag of marshmallows, and a package of the sugary soft wax that most will recognize as Hershey's chocolate.

July the Twenty-Second, Year Two-Thousand and Fourteen:

I do not believe that my landlord would approve of my lighting even a small bonfire in the backyard. Even if I did, it would only highlight the fact that I purchased these items without any plans to share them. (For those unfamiliar with s'mores, I should clarify that the items used to make them are only generally available in large packages and are traditionally consumed at summer gatherings).

I also do not wish to use the microwave oven, as that would require me to go downstairs and possibly interact with the other people in the house. They wouldn't understand.

No, they would understand all to well and think themselves superior for not succumbing to the same circumstances which ensnared me in the grocery store. In the absence of dignity, discretion will suffice.

I have elected to roast the marshmallows over a candle, using a fork.

I have eaten three s'mores this night. I can't recall what I actually had for dinner.

July the Twenty-Third, Year Two-Thousand and Fourteen:

I have eaten another s'more upon getting home from work. There is a second marshmallow skewered on the fork, ready to be melted and applied to the other ingredients I have set out on the plate.

I suspect that the mere notion of having control over one's life may be the greatest of humankind's vanities. My fifth s'more in two days lies just on the edge of the Future, and I shall soon find myself reaching past that edge and tumbling into the Abyss of all meaning.
Charismatic cults rely on the leadership of, surprise, a charismatic leader who finds ways to keep their congregation close and intact. Discordianism has no leaders and retains its congregation by being such assholes that people can't help themselves but to stick around and show them all.

Cults discourage critical thinking. Discordians self-flagellate if they fail to criticize Discordianism.

Cults isolate members from their families and the rest of society by providing an appearance of being a safe, nurturing community. Discordianism routinely and vehemently encourages you to FUCK OFF.

I'm in a hurry so this post has no real conclusion, also because fuck you.
...because you'll have gone deaf after this FUCKING MASTERPIECE:

(it's an orchestra played entirely by people who are using instruments they don't know how to use)
Or Kill Me / It's not Wrong when I do it
January 16, 2014, 01:12:19 AM
It has been discussed at great length whether or not it is acceptable for members of oppressed or underprivileged groups to make statements about privileged groups that would normally be considered offensive or simply rude.

Typically, this takes the form of "fuck [straight/white/cisgendered/male] people" or some variety thereof, followed by a lengthy explanation about why such statements are dangerous from the privileged, but harmless from the oppressed. I fully accept and acknowledge that hate speech, or even merely callous speech, from the privileged creates a more toxic environment and leads to vastly greater harm in the grand scheme. Frankly, I don't gave a shit if a couple of pissants want to say shitty things about the various demographic categories I belong to. My skin is thicker than that.

However, there is a very sinister problem behind this kind of thinking. When you say "it doesn't matter if I say these things," what are you really saying?

You are claiming that your hurtful-sounding words are not actually hurtful. You are claiming that your words do not affect your environment in a meaningful way.

You are affirming, even celebrating, your own powerlessness.

This is a form of surrender.
So, something like six goddamn MONTHS after I said I would finish Gardens of the Moon "by next week" I finally actually finished it. Because I am a huge dork with the attention span of the Internet.

Honestly, once I hit the last third of the book it was much easier to finish. As is typical of big fantasy stories like this, all of the 537 characters had to be introduced and developed, and then all of the really cool stuff starts happening. It manages to end in a way that feels like a proper ending while still getting me interested in the sequel.

Naturally, I want to draw parallels with Bakker's Prince of Nothing trilogy, but really there are not many to be drawn, other than a lot of the very basic tropes that make up most fantasy series. Erikson's writing style is very different from Bakker's; much more direct and focused on the events of the story than on the twisted meanderings of the character's inner thoughts. A hell of a lot less overwrought prose, which makes it either more readable or less interesting, depending on one's tastes and mood.

In any case, I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. Looking forward to crawling my way through the rest of the series, hopefully at a slightly faster pace.
What you say: "I know you think X is true, but X is actually not true."

What they hear: "The person who told you that X is true lied to you. They're a lying liar who is filling your head with lies."

What they reply: "No way, X is definitely true, how dare you!"

The challenge: What techniques can be employed to get around this response?

Okay so in every other category I'm sure this map/article is totally biased and bullshit in every other category, especially for whichever states you like the most, but in this ONE RESPECT the facts are unassailable:

Massachusetts has the worst drivers in the country.

I, for one, would greatly appreciate it if LMNO would stop strutting around the sidewalks looking that goddamn fabulous and distracting all the drivers with his irresistible swagger. It's a public hazard.

Story is over a week old, but other than the Fox Detroit site, the story doesn't seem to be on mainstream news at all.

Power was shut off to "send a strong message" to customers who weren't reducing their energy use fast enough. In 90-degree heat, without warning to anyone.
Literate Chaotic / Transfer
July 23, 2013, 11:44:36 PM
Part One

"No, we can't give you another weekend off, Terry. They're suspicious enough as it is. Two chapters of their little organization have already resequestered themselves after our people followed up on your initial leads. There's no way they can know what you are, but they're not stupid. They know something's up."

My boss speaking, there. He doesn't get it, he can't possibly get it. Fucking spook.

Heathen. Betrayer of the Truth.

No, no, no, no!

"Listen, please. Just a day, half a day even. I'm slipping, and that freak is probably fucking up my wiring while I'm in here. It's been three fucking months, boss. I know for a fact that no one has been in for that long. The Conditioning was never meant to prepare us for this."

"The answer is still no, Terry. You're fine, you're just under a lot of stress. I understand how uncomfortable it must be in there with those weirdos,"

Getting more comfortable every day, god damn it. That's the problem.

"...But no one is more qualified. Even our agents with more field experience don't come anywhere near the level of compatibility you have with this subject. You've done a lot of good work already, but we need more time. I'll see to it you get double the standard leave once the job is done, sound good?"

Double time off... that does sound good. Maybe take the time to travel abroad.

Start a new chapter... No!

I let out a sigh, because I can't scream over the phone while I'm here.

"Okay... but look, even if I can't take a resting period, can I at least come in for a visit? Even just for five minutes."

A pause.

"A visit? You mean, like, just look at him for a bit?"

Look at who for a bit?

"Yeah, just a few minutes. I... I think I've got enough insight now to ask a few questions, might actually get somewhere this time."

Another pause. He knows I'm full of shit, but the request is so pitiful that he can't help but consider it. Big softie.

"Alright. Fine, we'll arrange a visit. See you tomorrow."

We hope this letter finds you well. We are writing to you regarding a certain Doktor Blight, who recently left several possessions in our care, with instruction to refer matters of his estate to you. More precisely, a shipping container was dropped off in our office parking lot in the middle of the night with a sticky note on the door which reads:

"Pls. direct all questions and concerns to Nephew Twiddleton. It's his mess to deal with now. -Dktr. Blight"

Note that we have no record or indication of Doktor Blight's current whereabouts or state of being; we are assuming that he has either passed or elaborately faked his own death to pawn off certain matters of interest onto you. The details are not our business, and we leave it to you to figure out specifics of the situation.

The container itself appears to be on lease from a nearby shipping company, so we advise that you deal with the contents as quickly as possible so the container can be returned. The contents that we have been able to inventory thus far are:

  • One (1) copy of the "D" volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica
  • One (1) burlap sack containing what appear to be several high-quality theatrical wigs in a variety of colors and styles
  • Several grams of silvery metallic pellets in an unlabeled ziploc bag
  • An assortment of optical glass lenses, carefully packed in foam
  • Four (4) Singer brand sewing machines
  • Two (2) wooden crates secured shut with heavy steel wire
  • Several locked filing cabinets

An overwhelming odor began wafting from the back of the container after the first few minutes of searching and logging the contents, so the remainder will be up to you to identify. Please respond ASAP.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Legal Firm
While your proposal is creative, we regret to inform you that our company will be unable to assist you in your "topograhical reassignment" of the greater Washington DC area. Your proposed designs to use our drilling and hydrofracturing technologies to create a series of small-scale earthquakes that would spell out the entire First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in the form of miniature mountain ranges is, unfortunately, not in line with our company's mission.

We should point out that, if we are reading your charts correctly, your plans require exploiting fault zones that are deeper than any such faults that have been mapped previously. As we do not have access to, nor have ever heard of, the proposed "HIMEOBS-grade drilling apparatus" you refer to on page 13, we could not reach these fault zones even if we were assured of their presence.

Additionally, we have found no records of the credentials, or even the existence, of your recommended "on-site supervisory experts." We have been unable to locate the people you refer to on page 24 as "Signor Richtedor" and "ECH Consulting, LLC."

In summary, we are sorry that we cannot help you in achieving your goals. We wish you the best of luck in all future endeavors.

TerraTech Industries, Inc.

Unwanted Attention

Sent by brynndragon:

    Guys who are obviously incompatible with me keep messaging me on OKC. How do I make them stop?

If you keep on getting poked
by matches made in Hades
Jocks and bros of middle age
who can't relate to ladies
Take the one who messaged last
Save his profile photo
Set it as your profile pic
and ask whose place to go to.

You're damn right this gets its own thread:

It's a follow-up about depression, and it's just as relevant as the previous one.
Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / Hey, YOU!
May 03, 2013, 03:45:18 AM
What in the name of "Bob's" salty orifices do you think you're doing?

You think this is a joke or something?

Cut that shit out. You'll get us all in trouble.
Assume the standard deviation is 12 fucks given, and I want a 95% confidence interval with E = 4,

then how many FUCKING TIMES, on average, do I need to answer the same goddamn question on the online homework system? :crankey:

QuoteTwice-monthly community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. Turn on your radio and hide. Welcome to Night Vale.

First episode is at the bottom of the list. Please to enjoy.
Discordian Recipes / Pot Roast
December 23, 2012, 05:07:52 PM

I can't say that I know enough about making pot roast to speak to the culinary correctness of this article, but the recipe is written in proper PeeDee Recipe format:

QuoteSomewhere along the way, it got common to treat Christmas dinner like Thanksgiving II: This Time Without Turkey—like a big showpiece meal for which amateur cooks are meant to serve up some impressive exotic culinary masterpiece far outside the bounds of their humble repertoire of comfort foods. Take a walk through the butcher section of your local supermarket during the week before the holiday, and you can see the evidence of this phenomenon: geese, ducks, whole beef tenderloins, sea scallops the size of your fist, 15-pound prime rib roasts, entire goddamn wild Alaskan halibuts with their friggin' heads sawed off—all of this where there used to be Jumbo Family Packs of ground chuck, chicken thighs, and meatloaf mix.

Fuck all that. It's a busy goddamn day, what with visiting relations and opening gifts and getting transported to an alternate dimension in which you followed your dreams or whatever; if your idea of a swell way to wind it down is to spend the evening in white-knuckle terror over the fate of your $300 prime rib, that's your business, but I'll be over here with the sane people, being sane, eating pot roast, and doing other sane things you wouldn't understand. (Prolly scratch myself some, too.)

And so on.
Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / A glimmer of hope
December 22, 2012, 08:47:31 PM

New Orleans schools ban creationist curriculum, shun Texas revisionist textbooks
Robert T. Gonzalez

QuoteSanity wins this round — at least for six schools in New Orleans. By a unanimous vote, N.O.'s Orleans Parish School Board voted on Tuesday to keep creationism out of its classrooms. Hallelujah.

"No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach any aspect of religious faith as science or in a science class," reads a measure released by the School Board earlier this week. "No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach creationism or intelligent design in classes designated as science classes."

The new policy also takes a deliberate stand against Texas's conservative revisionist curricula:

QuoteNo history textbook shall be approved which has been adjusted in accordance with the state of Texas revisionist guidelines nor shall any science textbook be approved which presents creationism or intelligent design as science or scientific theories.

"The conservative elements in the state have gotten stronger and stronger and more and more religious and farther to the right. I think it behooves us to take these steps to protect our kids' educational futures," said School Board Presdient Thomas Robichaux.

"To teach anything but scientific theory in a science class is just wrong for our kids. The Louisiana Science Education Act [enacted in 2008, the law has been described as "anti-science" by a veritable truck load of scientific organizations, and is responsible for shit like this being taught in science classes] is a direct attack on our children's future and this is a direct defense to that."

It's like Bill Nye says: creationism is not appropriate for children.
(Okay, the title of this thread is an atrocious sentence; bad example)

Stranded prepositions are nothing to fret about

There are numerous myths relating to grammatical dos and don'ts, many of which were drummed into us at school. The one that stubbornly refuses to budge from my mind is the diktat 'never begin a sentence with a conjunction such as and or but'. And why not, pray?*

Some of these groundless rules (termed 'fetishes' by Henry Fowler in 1926) have a long history. Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, some notable writers (aka Latin-obsessed 17th century introverts) tried to make English grammar conform to that of Latin – hence the veto on split infinitives and also the ruling against the ending of a sentence with a preposition (also called stranding or deferring a preposition).

These and other language myths are amazingly persistent, though, so who you gonna call? Oxford's Myth Debunkers, of course! To kick off this occasional series, let's try to zap the one about stranded prepositions and lay it to rest once and for all.

Basically, this "rule" about prepositions was invented by a bunch of twerps who were more interested in fighting over who had the biggest Latin-penis than in effective communication.
RPG Ghetto / Numenera (New tabletop RPG from Monte Cook)
December 07, 2012, 06:41:15 PM

So Monte decided to produce something that doesn't use d20 core rules (still uses a 20-sided die, though). This resulted in an explosively successful Kickstarter: $517,000 of $20,000 goal.

QuoteNumenera is a science fantasy roleplaying game set in the far distant future. Humanity lives amid the remnants of eight great civilizations that have risen and fallen on Earth. These are the people of the Ninth World. This new world is filled with remnants of all the former worlds: bits of nanotechnology, the dataweb threaded among still-orbiting satellites,  bio-engineered creatures, and myriad strange and wondrous devices. These remnants have become known as the numenera.

Player characters explore this world of mystery and danger to find these leftover artifacts of the past, not to dwell upon the old ways, but to help forge their new destinies, utilizing the so-called "magic" of the past to create a promising future.

I'm excited. I just need to find me some other tabletop players that are available, since all my friends have moved away.
#39 (link Not Safe For Work, obviously)

In order to find out if video games can qualify as art, we must understand what art is. Jimmy Brindle answers that question once and for all.
Forum archeology can sometimes be the best thing EVER.

I found this little gem while delving old forgotten crypts within the bowels of
Birthers want proof that Mitt Romney was born in America

It's only a soundbite news article, and the whole incident is no doubt a blip in the radar, but I got a chuckle.

another link:
I've done far worse than kill you.

I've bored you. And I wish to go on, boring you.

I shall leave you as you left me: marooned for all eternity, in the center of a dead forum.

Bored out of your mind.

I don't have anything to say here, except to click and watch this video OR YOU COULD DIE.
But really, I'm just too tired right now to be angry. So here's your chance.

What's your excuse?
Some DMs put a great deal of effort into crafting a large, detailed, and intricate world that their players will adventure in. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing. Indeed, there are many ways in which this can be seen as a very good thing, as it adds a great deal of depth to the experience of roleplaying a hero in a fantasy world. Busting down the evil lich's door and beating the shit out of his minions and stealing all his cool stuff can mean a lot more to some players if they're doing it for a reason beyond "get the XP and loot everything."

That said, your vast and epic setting doesn't mean JACK FUCKING SQUAT if no one wants to play in it.

You can have the biggest, most decked-out sandbox in the world, but it's gonna be one lonely sandbox if you don't remember that your players are supposed to be the most important group of four, five, or six assholes ever to stomp around in it.

It doesn't matter if that is completely unrealistic, or if your players are technically working at the behest of much more powerful people than them. Your players are THE most central thing to your setting, and not one nanosecond of the hours of brainpower you've put into crafting this setting and all of its grand cosmic machinations will ever mean more than a dried-out dog turd to anyone if you didn't craft it with the express purpose of being a place where a group of adventuring dorks can have a grand old time fucking it up and leaving their mark on it.

If your players are storming an Archmage's tower to recover an artifact for some other, more benevolent Archmage so that the good Archmage can keep vast and terrifying beings of cosmic horror beyond mortal comprehension from piercing the thin barriers between the Material Plane and the maddening Far Realm beyond, that's grand.

However, your players will NOT care or be even slightly happy about it if their role in this world-saving drama is to putz around for six hours doing jackshit while the rogue slowly and laboriously picks his way through the various locked doors and the ONE combat encounter that happens during the first three hours is completely piss-weak and lasts three rounds.

If you didn't want to write up a fun, well-balanced encounter where the Rogue, the Fighters, the Wizard, and the Ranger all have plenty to contribute, because you wasted all your time and energy on thinking up the "big picture" aspects of your beloved setting, then maybe you should fuck off with trying to be a Dungeon Master. Write up your campaign setting and put it online or try to publish it (LOL), so that some DM out there who actually gives a shit about entertaining his or her players and wants a convenient backdrop for their adventures can make use of it.

Or just write up the whole thing as D&D fan-fiction and post it on LiveJournal for all to ignore.

Just stop torturing your players. There's a goddamn reason none of them are making it easy to pull a group together anymore.
There's a new thing I want to try being brainstormed in GASM Command (in Operation Mindfuck). Go here, you bastards:
GASM Command / MailGASM v2.0
October 28, 2010, 02:34:31 AM
(Credit goes to LordOfGanza for the original idea; see the first MailGASM thread. My personal thanks to Dok Howl for rekindling my enthusiasm for Weirdness by Mail with his Disturbed As Fuck Mailing List)

Pre-Internet Discordianism, I am told, produced a great deal of its stuff by mailing weird text and art from one cabal to another and building upon what they'd sent each other.

I'd like to try and rekindle that old process, but with the assistance of modern technology.

Here's the basic idea:

I will start with a list of mailing addresses volunteered to me by anyone who wishes to participate. I will create some form of Discord-flavored weirdness (a bit of writing, a doodle, maybe a pic; who knows?) and mail it to someone on the list.

A few days later, I will post my little creation in PDF form on a shared Scribd account (if I choose to draw or write something by hand, I'll try and get as high-quality a scan as possible).

When the recipient of my letter gets it, they will make a post in this thread declaring that they've received the letter. They will then make their own addition to the letter (again, as a doodle, a bit of writing, an image, whatever) and mail it to someone else on the list. You can choose for yourself whether or not you announce to whom you are mailing the letter. Try to send it to someone who hasn't gotten it yet!

BEFORE mailing your own letter off, though, try to get a good-quality scan of it and post it as a PDF to Scribd after you mail it off. Obviously, this will be inconvenient or unfeasible for some people, but don't let that discourage you from participating.

The hypothesis here is as follows:

1) We potentially make a really cool bit of Discordiana using a method that has fallen by the wayside in recent years.

2) By posting our submissions as PDFs, we make it possible for someone who's too impatient to wait their turn to grab the latest version (or an earlier version, even) off of the Scribd account and make their own alterations, and mail THAT off. With any luck this will quickly make things really confusing as to which letter is the "original" letter and how many letters are going around at any given time. Hail Eris, and all that.

Anyone who wants to participate should agree to submit their work, both the physical letter and the electronic copy, under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License, described here:

If you're too lazy to click the link, it means you agree that people can make derivative stuff based on your work (which is kind of the whole point) as long as they credit you the way you want to be credited and don't try to make money off of it.
I personally don't care if you credit me or not; the point here is the creative process, not my personal ownership of my piece of it.

QuoteWASHINGTON — Nearly four years after the federal government began a string of investigations and criminal prosecutions against Blackwater Worldwide personnel accused of murder and other violent crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cases are beginning to fall apart, burdened by a legal obstacle of the government's own making.

In the most recent and closely watched case, the Justice Department on Monday said that it would not seek murder charges against Andrew J. Moonen, a Blackwater armorer accused of killing a guard assigned to an Iraqi vice president on Dec. 24, 2006. Justice officials said that they were abandoning the case after an investigation that began in early 2007, and included trips to Baghdad by federal prosecutors and F.B.I. agents to interview Iraqi witnesses.

The government's decision to drop the Moonen case follows a series of failures by prosecutors around the country in cases aimed at former personnel of Blackwater, which is now known as Xe Services. In September, a Virginia jury was unable to reach a verdict in the murder trial of two former Blackwater guards accused of killing two Afghan civilians. Late last year, charges were dismissed against five former Blackwater guards who had been indicted on manslaughter and related weapons charges in a September 2007 shooting incident in Nisour Square in Baghdad, in which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed.

So, who else is entirely unsurprised? :kingmeh:
link courtesy of a friend:

QuoteNEW YORK – Frito-Lay hopes to quiet complaints about its noisy SunChips bags by switching out the biodegradable bags for the old packaging on most flavors.

The company is switching back to original packaging, which is made of a type of plastic, for five of the six varieties of the chips. It will keep the biodegradable bags for its sixth variety, its original plain flavor. That's its second best-selling, after Harvest Cheddar.

So, normally I'm pretty lax about the whole recycling-composting-SAVE-TEH-PLANET jazz, but this is just silly.
Literate Chaotic / Thoughts on Reading
July 31, 2010, 05:47:41 PM
I've noticed a fair few people, myself included, express a frustration with their reading habits.

"I used to read a lot, but I jut don't seem to enjoy it as much anymore."

If you're anything like me, you likely lost your reading habits because you started doing other stuff. School or work started taking up loads of time and mental energy. Or maybe you just started to fill your free hours with something else, like video games, tv, or internet. Whatever happened, you suddenly found yourself putting books down partway through and not picking them back up. Reading became a chore.

This thread is about ways to deal with this problem.

I've had some success with the "brute force" method. If I find that I'm not reading for pleasure anymore, I read anyway. Force it down until you've re-acquired your taste for it.

Read stuff that's relatively easy. Pick a guilty pleasure sort of book or something that you read back when you still enjoyed reading. Harlequin romance, dorky sci-fi, cookie-cutter fantasy novels, mysteries, whatever. I know that for a while I was on a non-fiction binge, which eventually killed my ability to enjoy reading until I rediscovered the joys of Terry Pratchett and the like.

Don't try to choke down some really dense classic if you're picking up reading for pleasure up again after a long break. You want something that will give your brain lots of cheap and easy rewards, so that your brain develops a "reading = fun" connection in place of a "reading = work" connection.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?