vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
The best stupid pun ever.

But I don’t want to stop there. There a few deeper and more mysterious applications of this. The Lamb slain at the foundation of the world as a type of evolution.

That said, another, biologically more, philosophically less cf. colonials: more* ambitious take on the Nth Men story.
(Also he has thought out giant spiders :O :O :O||||~)


*2014-08-21 EDIT: The more I think about it, the more I think Bogleech is right. This is better in every way: humane where MAM was profoundly misanthropic, humble where F&LM was arrogant and certain, hopeful even in death where MAM and F&LM are ambivalent. This is what science fiction ought to be.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (g)
Start at the upper left and say the Jesus Prayer with each key (excluding those constituting the sign of the cross).

Read more... )
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers:
The holy Fathers were making predictions about the last generation. They said ‘What have we ourselves done?’ One of them, the great abba Ischyrion replied, ‘We ourselves have fulfilled the commandments of God.’ The others replied, ‘And those who come after us, what will they do?’ He said, ‘They will struggle to achieve half our works.’ They said, ‘And to those who come after them, what will happen?’ He said, ‘The men of that generation will not accomplish any works at all and temptation will come upon them; and those who will be approved in that day will be greater than either us or our fathers.’

Abba Copres said, ‘blessed is he who bears affliction with thankfulness.’
Building on this. A speculation on a buildup to the great apostasy.

tw: rape, depression, violence, body horror, middle eastern politics )

Clearly something is not being mentioned here, as it is of course much easier to paint Hell than Heaven. I must take some more time to think about this, but it is my intention that the Church is to be noticeably present throughout, if only as a very quietly hummed ison.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Someone posts a picture of a seal of a demon on Tumblr. I'm curious what the various bits mean. I pull up DuckDuckGo and pray for protection from heresy and delusion, a standard procedure of mine when I am about to look something up respecting occult symbols or demonology.

I fail to find anything explaining the meaning and I give up in a mix of mild awkward discomfort and despair that I would find anything worthwhile (morally edifying, finding the Holy Spirit at work in all things, casting some light on some scientific, mathematical or historical curiosity or other) respecting this sort of thing.

My prayer is answered when about a page or two later in my Tumblr feed I read a science article in which there is an insistence that the only thing distinct about humanity, language, is "a quirk of evolution", when it occurs to me to stop the beginnings of an attempt to formulate an objection to the implied "merely" and recite the Nicene Creed to see just what part of the faith the thing I was reading actually contradicted (spoiler: nothing).
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who had an inordinate amount of money, far more than anyone knew or could imagine, and for which he had no use. And there was a tiny island nation where he did some business, and there a great multitude ended up owing him much money, though he had no use for these debts and did not care to collect on them; and yet The System these many debtors slaved under could not forgive these debts, and though the man thought they were worthless paper this multitude could not save, or buy or sell or trade, for their debt was great and all that they earned was siphoned off by collectors who charged exorbitant fees and interest, and interest on those fees, and fees for calculating that interest, and so on, such that the man never saw any money from the multitude while the collectors grew in power.

And one day this man said, Enough! and purported to breach his contract with the collectors, and they sued him, and he filed a reply that admitted all the facts and contested none of the relief sought, and the collectors won default judgment and added him to the list of debtors. And at the first payment hearing that man agreed to pay, and received void cheques for a direct deposit; but when the payment came, the amount was so enormous that the flood of cash destroyed the entire nation's economy and sent it into chaos, and there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth, and many fled in vain to the outer darkness; but the man took hold of the entire System in his hands, and ruled as a benevolent tyrant, such that any who believed and switched over to his new system should never be in debt again.
vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
It occurs to me that when I indicate that I am a Christian that might mean all sorts of things to people who are not themselves Orthodox Christians. With that in mind, I wish to compile a brief list of the various heresies and paganisms I DO NOT subscribe to. Wherein I DO NOT believe in all sorts of things... )

I think that covers all the big stereotypical ones and anything else can be dealt with as it comes.

In the meantime, here's something I had not thought I would have needed to believe, but should.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
An Orthodox Christian Exposition of Islam
Truly il miglior fabbro, compared to my shoddy attempts at conveying the comparison.

tl;dr if you take Orthodox Christianity and replace the guts with all the guts that were rejected by Orthodoxy, while keeping all the trappings of Orthodoxy that aren't directly contradictory to the newly implanted theology (e.g. icons versus wholly transcendent, never-incarnate God), you basically end up with Islam.

A good deal of Protestantism (including what I've rejected in the past) goes the same way with the same replacements, but inherits radically different trappings. If Orthodoxy is Wolfenstein and Calvinism is Doom, then Islam is Map31 - old look and feel, new engine. (The analogy breaks down, obviously, when the "new engine" is the one with less features, functions and versatility.)

(That said, it's definitely worth a read if you have any interest at all in either Christianity or Islam. Also the reference to the Christian God as Allah in the end is, intentionally or not and at least to the eyes of this Western-raised near-English-monoglot, a brilliant inversion of the technique used in the Beatles' "My Sweet Lord". [2014-07-21 Prompted to re-read b/c of this. Definitely intentional given the progression from "God/Allah" to "Allah" alone.])

It occurs to me that one of the big rebuttals to the Protestant argument about the "fall of the church" also applies here: how did two movements so removed from each other in space, culture and time end up with such similar, independently arrived at conclusions, unless there was some kind of truth to it? But the analogy stops there: the "fall of the church" usually is in reference to preceived additions - Trinity, icons, liturgical tradition - but what we're looking at here is deletion in a sincere attempt to fit everything into a rational, logical order.

- The Trinity contradicts itself and borders on polytheism, so let's remove it. It is beneath God to come down to Earth as one of us human scum. (In Islam from the start; eventually you get more unitarian groups from the Protestant tradition)
- This old verse says no graven images, so let's get rid of all images.
- We need to standardize everything, so let's make "The Book" binding (no pun intended) so that everyone's reading the exact same law-reduced-to-writing and everything not in that book is treated as hearsay and optional, unreliable apocrypha.
- The wrathful, vengeful God of the Hebrews looks all wussied up in the New Testament, so that is clearly a later deviation. Let's go back to being sinners in the hands of an angry God.
- If God is all that is good, then things are only good because God wills it to be good. Therefore, any "moral compass" we may have in our hearts is only a temptation and a passion.
- The last 3 points, if taken without a deep underlying faith in the starting assumption of a loving God, strongly imply that we need to be as harsh and unforgiving as possible, to be maximally true to God's divine image. (cf. Westboro; Taliban every sharia jurisdiction that isn't actively trying to soften its image for some material or political gain/survival)



(also new tag for Christianity-related posts)
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
[2014-05-16 EDIT]Well that was spectacularly dumb of me. $1k/mo for everyone in Canada is thirty-plus billion a month not year. That said, if we took all our fossil fuel subsidies and gave it all to the poorest 25% of the population, that actually does net roughly $1k for every man, woman and child every month.


As a thought experiment as to what might conceivably work around here.

Every man, woman and child gets $1000/mo, non-taxable.
No questions asked. No rules about how to spend it.
You don't get it if and while you're in jail.
This is on top of our current health care system, but should replace many other tax breaks and support and industry subsidies and whatnot.
It is an opt-in system and you must apply for the payment each calendar month. You may apply on behalf of an incompetent dependant, or some other person who lives with you OR is a family member and has previously signed their consent in person.
Right to each payment expires after the end of the given month.
Must do this personally, with exceptions for armed forces and diplomats and similar.
Everyone must have 1 morning off from work per month to do this. A person who causes a missed payment will be fined triple the amount.
25% non-refundable income tax credit for payments unclaimed, which can be transferred to a family member or a corporation of which one is a shareholder, but you must claim the credit for the year of the missed payment.

This is $30 billion in payments before admin costs (and tax breaks).
Compare for baseline. How much lower can we go?

As a very rough budget:
Rent (or mortgage+strata+prop.tax+utilities): $1000 CAD
Food: assume $30 daily budget for each person. 30x30=$900
(But if you can cook, that's closer to $600.)
Electricity: $100
That's $2000 right there. Add another $100 for telecommunications and "other".
If a typical household has 3 individuals, that's $700.
Total cost is $21 billion.
Allowing cooking, that's $18 billion.
Hopefully any unit so shitty that it doesn't have a stove will go for less than $1000 per month.

Possible horrible exploits:
- keep people locked up and take their money.
(this kind of fraud happens for other things too.)
- pop out lots and lots of kids.
(presumably our laws against parental neglect still apply.)
- impersonate someone.
(admin can keep better records. obviously vouching must be allowed.)
- use the money for...
(this is a feature not a bug.)
- government-side: misuse those records.
(how much worse is this than income tax?)
- force people to stick together.
($1800/mo to every single person is simply not going to happen. Limiting it to per household would create the opposite incentive which is far more perverse.)
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
A perspective, for those of us who have long looked from outside and been baffled:
For non-Roman Catholics, it is almost impossible to comprehend the attachment a Catholic has for the Papacy and our reaction was highly defensive. In the past, when we came across serious works of history which contradicted the Roman Catholic position, we were skeptical and if we found that the author was Protestant, or the book came from a Protestant publishing house, it was given scant attention and if it contradicted a dogmatic belief it was dismissed immediately. Only Roman Catholic historians have a pure line to objectivity, especially when it concerns articles of faith. This is what Catholics are taught and it is this belief that will keep their faith inviolate. This teaching is best exemplified by Pope Leo XIII in his celebrated Letter to the Prelates and Clergy of France (September 8th, 1899). While encouraging them to the study of history he reminds Those who study it must never lose sight of the fact that it contains a collection of dogmatic facts, which impose themselves upon our faith, and which nobody is ever permitted to call in doubt. Cardinal Manning of England is even more blunt, The appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be divine. 10 At another time Cardinal Manning wrote, The appeal from the living voice of the Church to any tribunal whatsoever, human history included, is an act of private judgment and a treason because that living voice is supreme; and to appeal from that supreme voice is also a heresy because that voice by divine assistance is infallible.



An important treatise on how to make friends and influence people.
The distinction between customs and crimes has special relevance to female genital cutting (FGC), also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), the preferred term of advocates. For several years now, the age-old practice of “purifying” girls by excising some portion of their external genitalia has been a serious concern of NGOs, the United Nations and some governments around the world. Laws have been passed against FGC, and messaging campaigns have sought to educate the public about its many ill effects. But these efforts have not eradicated the custom. On the contrary, they have tended to further entrench it, because traditionally minded people concerned about external threats to their corporate identity do not like having alien elites meddle with what is sacred to them.

What has worked is an unusual NGO called Tostan, which means “breakthrough” in Wolof, the predominant language of Senegal. Tostan began in a few rural Senegalese villages in 1991, and now runs additional adult education programs in Djibouti, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Somalia and Gambia. Tostan was not founded for the purpose of ending FGC, but rather as a way to provide “informal education” to a population ill served by the formal schooling provided by most African governments. That schooling is authoritarian in spirit, based on rote learning and focused on preparing a small elite for university entrance exams.

Based in the villages, the Tostan program is rigorous. Students (called “participants”) are required to attend three classes each week for three years. Teachers (called “facilitators”) must be from same ethnic group as the participants. The method is to use local folk crafts and storytelling to impart practical information about agricultural methods, health and hygiene, and the management of money. When the participants graduate, they are numerate, literate in their own language, and eager to use their new skills to tackle old problems. Today, Tostan is best known for its extraordinary success in ending FGC. To date, the organization has been instrumental in the decision of 6,778 communities in eight African countries to abandon the practice. But as noted earlier, this was not Tostan’s original purpose, and the organization did not achieve it by staging mediagenic events or shouting from a public rostrum.

...

[Tostan founder Molly] Melching first encountered FGC in 1975 while visiting eastern Mauritania with a friend who had grown up in a small village there. During that visit, she met a local doctor who confided to her that he opposed “the tradition” but could not change the minds of his wife and mother, both of whom were intent upon cutting his daughter. Thus did Melching, after only one year in Africa, gain a sense of how hard it is to change a deeply ingrained custom. If a girl’s own father cannot keep her from being cut, what chance does an outsider have?
They did this not by degrading their former shaman based faith but by showing them that Christianity was the fulfillment of that faith.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Tempted to add, or at least reference, this in the Aornos setting.

That all said, a second opinion about that 3WC guy. tl;dr he's a dirty sodomite that "rape is legal in this sci-fi utopia" thing actually wasn't some super-meta take on patriarchy, nor the "true ending" to 3WC merely a reconsideration of the Confessor as an individual character, but what those things look like on a more obvious level.

A potentially helpful guide as to when a rape analogy might not be wholly inappropriate.

So with that in mind: "The most basic, most rudimentary spiritual need of the Russian people is the need for suffering, ever-present and unquenchable, everywhere and in everything."

---

And now, more RPG ideas so this isn't purely a linkdump.

"Alignment" system based on species' Fundamental Narrative.

Winnowing; Cummunion; __________

I propose Dialectic, but only for the purposes of the system for now. NB: this also posits humanity as the honour-obsessed tribal warrior race.

The D fundamental narrative in a nutshell: 2 opposing sides accumulate resources and merit. Resources is wholly abstract and includes numbers of individuals allied with a side as well as merit of otherwise equivalent resources. Our entire moral system is based on the honour bestowed upon the side that wins.

The fundamental assumption is that merit and resources are connected.

Evo-psych explanation: Fighting between groups over resources and territory has been the fundamental struggle of almost all our evolution.

Because of the impossibility of instant communication within a group, and the historical inefficiency of constantly dedicating and sacrificing numerous individuals in long-term processing of possibilities (cf. ants), we have required each group to develop a "head" to coordinate it. The coordination takes place through arbitrary tribal displays which became increasingly complex over time in an arms race against fraud and espionage. This is further complicated by a layer of pack-based system of mating and family groups.

Classified guide for deep-space agents: When dealing with the ones with the fleshy heads on stalks, please remember the following basic rules:
  • Do not ask a question directly any manner of direct question to which the human is privy, whether asked directly of the human or not, if the human did not initiate the contact to tell you the answer. A question must be couched in at least 2-3 key points of indirect phrasing to sufficiently distract their thoughts before the combat instinct kicks in and your query is responded to as an honour-challenge. Simple methods include using a descriptive phrase in place of a noun, or "baby-talk" avoidance of a pronoun, as well as turning the question into a meta-statement about how you feel about the issue at hand.
  • When a human accuses you of some terrible non-specific violence, it may be a simple figure of speech congratulating you for something you did well or they otherwise enjoyed watching. They do not mean any offence, but may take offence if they notice you cringing at their well-intentioned compliment (they are surprisingly good at reading normal body language even though they claim to rely greatly on their peculiar eye- and mouth-flaps and headstalk-waving).
  • If attempting to capture a human ship, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, SURROUND IT WITH OVERWHELMING FORCES AND ATTEMPT TO NEGOTIATE USING REASON. A statement that there is no rational alternative but surrender has a special meaning in their honour code as a licence to fight to the death of every living being in the area (cf. the catastrophic Galaga siege). Disable the ship by stealth and isolate unarmed crew members (risky - "the only unarmed human has had their arms cut off") or cargo (less effective - there have been cases where humans have jettisoned high-value cargo because of some thing or other triggered in their honour code) to use as hostages or bait.
  • If captured by multiple humans wearing non-matching colours, try to get one of them to state out loud a very specific means that is the best means of killing you, or even better, our entire people. This is extremely counterintuitive but many of our best agents swear by it: such a statement, once heard, is inadvertently accepted as a challenge, they will fight each other over which method is the best and you can escape in the confusion.
  • Do not let them see your fear. Humans have unfortunately assumed a deeply-ingrained fear response to the appearance of our own fear-response displays. Which would seem relatively harmless, except that, having evolved as a slow-moving apex-predator opportunistic scavenger, their fear response is attack.
  • Use the name they give you, however unpronounceable. Humans routinely slaughter people over perceived slights respecting names, killing human, myconian, aerealine, spacer, prosophosid or otherwise indiscriminately.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
I was not aware of this. tl;dr brown Aragorn is canon, God said it, I believe it, end of story


Ask versus Guess culture. (h/t [personal profile] conuly)
More judgmental commentary here. Given I had reblogged this with the tags "shame culture" and "guilt culture" I will admit I agree with this commentary.


one tab
the immediately following tab
Totally unintended.


Day 1 – I got a haircut today. It’s a lot shorter now but not working class short, not army short. Back at home, Sarah said that she liked it, that she could see herself playfully gripping tufts of my hair during sex. I said, “Why don’t we test that hypothesis?” and she obliged. God, I love her so much. If anything were to happen to her, I swear…

Day 2 – Sarah’s dead.


overlooked D&D monsters.
Also his comic (arbitrary example) is my Best Thing Ever of the whole week. (It really is.) (seriously.)


[personal profile] helarxe, I would be surprised to learn you had no part in the making of at least one of these alien races.
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
[The implicit setting is from my own private attempts to reboot the Avernum setting with closer attention to the details of living in a magically-powered cave ecosystem. I might post some of that here in the future. This particular post, however, is the direct result of trying to think of an analogy about reading texts free of the context of the traditions they were written within. Source text is this recipe for lemon pound cake.]

Milk is unusual and, shall we say, an acquired taste. The pig has just started farrowing and the wooly rats were recently shorn, so let's go with the pig; it would take quite some time to get an entire cup, though, we may need to get the dog in on this. Postscriptum: the dog was not cooperative. )
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
This grew from a passing thought that the Potterverse would make a lot more worldbuilding sense if Gryffindor and Slytherin were actually one and the same house. Added a side helping of a bit of an RPG thing that sprang up in my head on Friday.

Setting fluff )


Classes and mechanics, for explanatory value only )
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
We Don't Go There At Night
Rules & Guidelines:
  1. The story text should be the only text in your comic.
  2. Use the text any way you like.
  3. Your comic can be as long or as short as you choose, in any medium, on any subject.
  4. Your comic must be spooky.


The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang
We don’t normally think of it as such, but writing is a technology, which means that a literate person is someone whose thought processes are technologically mediated. We became cognitive cyborgs as soon as we became fluent readers, and the consequences of that were profound.
A thing that needs to be read. Fiction, if I recall.



Eating indigenously changes diets and lives of Native Americans
History and health came together one dark November evening for Marty Reinhardt at Northern Michigan University.

Reinhardt, a professor in the Native American Studies program, was helping to serve up fry bread, Indian tacos and other offerings at the annual First Nations Food Taster, a fund-raising event for the Native American Student Association, when he had an epiphany: “Would my ancestors even recognize this as food?”

Much has changed between Reinhardt and his ancestors. Indians have long since been removed to reservations, and diets based on seasonal hunting, fishing, gathering and gardening have been replaced by government-supplied commodity foods. Indians have suffered a crisis in diet-related obesity and health issues.

These disparate threads converged that evening in the Lake Superior port city of Marquette, Mich., as Reinhardt, of Anishinaabe Ojibway heritage, turned his question inside out, “I wondered if I could eat what my ancestors ate.”

The spark of curiosity soon evolved into a formal, university-sanctioned research study, the Decolonizing Diet Project — a year-long challenge to eat only foods that were in the Great Lakes region before 1602. The initial food challenge ended in March but the research into indigenous diet continues.
I remember during one of those days on campus in September where various clubs had their stands and one of them was the First Nations Law club and they were giving out free fry bread. I remember quietly politely accepting, but being less than impressed in the end and wondering what had been lost. The memory of that flavour is vivid, as is my post-dinner memory of my mother's very Chinese, very good cooking, and it is that contrast that makes me pay so much greater attention to this article.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Last time on Blazer-Sharp, Prattle-Ready, Brainless Steel Samurai Banana:
Which leaves us with this:
  1. Homosexuality is a sin because the homosexual act cannot be done in the context of a marriage, which to be blessed requires the union of two persons in Christ as the reconciliation of the two gendered halves of humanity in a way that embodies the unity of all those who would be saved, and without such blessing cannot amount to anything more than fornication.

  2. Homophobia is a sin because it divides people against each other, twists men's perceptions of affection, taints all relationships with inappropriate thoughts of sexual domination, isolates its perpetrators and victims in shells of hatred and shame, paralyzes men against any expression of love towards other men (and we're talking about a religion that's all about Love of a God traditionally marked with male Pronouns!), drives people to murder and suicide, and ultimately denies the creation of humanity in the image of the good God.


Here's a thing.

tl;dr By their fruits you will know them + It is not good for man to be alone = ?????

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

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