[ mood | hungover - u_b ]
Between NSA relevations, the TPP making moves towards enclosing our right to use computers away from us on the legal front, and other asymetric nonstate actors we are threatened, often from places we are not expecting to be threatened from. The world is becoming a complex place but so too is it becoming more dangerous, as we cede more power of our lives over to unaccountable robots. The story of 2013 is one of giving critical amounts of our lives over to these robots, passing a threshold that we may not be able to recover from at all.
Around June I travelled from Regina, Saskatchewan to Thunder Bay, Ontario to live and work with Maureen Croissant-Prairie, where she has been something of a patron and mentor for the remainder of the year. There's been a lot of obstacles since -- life has gotten in the way in many ways, of my becoming the musician I hoped to be with her help. But we have a band, and I've learned and grown since coming to stay with her. A lot of things fell through this year, but she was not one of them, and for that I am thankful.
The Harper Government has been a Problem. Negotiating away our rights in the TPP, and pressuring and delaying Elections Canada from being able to do its job in prosecuting members of the Conservative party who interfered with the last election here in Canada are but two of the many things I've been tracking throughout the past year that they have committed. We live in hard times to a large extent because of the ignorance, greed and institutional power involved in the PMO, and the decisions they have made. This isn't not something that happens in a far away land down in Ottawa and doesn't affect anything. Everywhere I've gone in the country I've seen the results, and everywhere I've gone I've encountered people who are getting screwed by their government. What it means to be Canadian has taken on a more sinister overtone, and by the end of the year I am sitting here, trying to figure out what possible actions would lead to stopping Stephen Harper and those around him from causing more damage to my future and anything I care about.
Finally, after traveling from place to place, and in particular going back to Saskatoon I've felt as though I really didn't have a 'home'. Saskatoon has changed -- even the parts of it which do resonate as something that I recognize, like the downtown bench by the mcdonalds, are being removed. The people who are involved with the parts I remember are either marginalized out of sight or lifted into a different life. The physical structures are slowly but surely being replaced and built around. I don't recognize it as what I would consider to be "Saskatoon". Regina, too. It always seemed like I was staying somewhere temporary, an outsider who could be removed, and who often was. Since I've left it's only gotten worse -- the curse of the traveler has grown on every step of the journey, and it's increasingly unclear, given the years passing by what isn't changing beyond my ability to recognize it, and to live with it.
But I realized one constant in my life, one place I can call home, consistently, beyond my stable point within an inertial reference frame, everything moving around it. It's the light at the end of the tunnel. The end is my home. I will make my way there, travels or not. That I can look forward to, more than anything else, 2014 or not.
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[ mood | down :/ ] **edit** this is now the full list
Books * Timothy Ferris - Coming of age in the milky way * jean-paul sartre, existentialism is a humanism, 1946 * the structure of scientific revolutions, kuhn * Confucus - Analects * Maureen Prairie - Crash and Burn, the driver story * Seth Lloyd - Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos * Ben Goertzel's - Unification of Science and Spirit Hyperrealism * ursula le guin, omelas * Richard Dawkins - The Selfish Gene * Milton Friedman - Capitalism and Freedom * Vattel - The Law of Nations, BOOK I. OF NATIONS CONSIDERED IN THEMSELVES.
[ mood | down :/ ]
Still living in what I consider to be a dark future world. You know, even in those science fiction dystopia novels, people still live on, and even while their homeworld crumbles, they lead lives, engage in conversation, drink.
One of the "look on the bright side" comments came from saskboy, who pointed out that things are better now than when the last great time of transformation occurred. One of the things about the Fire of London is that it provided a temporary repreive from the plague, which up until that point, had cursed urban man and lead to a sizeable dip in the amount of homo sapiens alive. Today we face a similar threat, albeit not yet materialized, in the end of antibiotics. It is doom, that we are looking, as a species in the eye. Which is notable because it was not long thereafter that I was proscribed some, due to an infection that puffed my hand right the hell up. There was no other antibiotic to proscribe, I was on the last layer of defence before drastic measures(possibly including losing my dominant hand?). Even so, being on antibiotics that reacted badly to me was down right scary, and doubly so because I knew that not only is the alternative worse, but that it is no longer more or less guaranteed to even work, and may not work at all, had I gotten the infection not too long afterwards.
I might be something of a reluctant protagonist. My choice, daily, is to give in to depression, or to drag this carcass up from the temporary comfort of dispair and fumble with what's left of the universe I do have control over into something that might yet weild better.
Another horseman beckons -- The Harper Government is playing with nuclear hellfire, with other players being Monsanto, Barack Obama, and Vladamir Putin. Russia has threatened war if the US does not stop killing the bees with a certain class of pesticide -- a pesticide that The Harper Government is choosing whether to legalize(and is looking like it's going to). Especially in the age where homosexuals and others face violence and persecution in Russia, we are choosing not to work with them to resolve our differences and to help soothe their internal problems, but instead are choosing to ratchet up selfishness and ignorance to the brink of global destruction.
The vacation mode wore off earlier, and I ended up actually working fairly hard for the first part of this quarter. It didn't matter, in the end most of it fell apart. The only consolation is I have not fallen far, as of yet.
Yet another one of the women close to me got raped. I am more or less completely powerless to do anything about it. The best I can do is realize that there's a connection between this continuing to happen, and my arguments with Eden and Natasha, and to look to preventing this from happening in the future in some way, somehow.
I did learn a little bit about the Rule of Law, though. And since so much of our lives involve law, as a formalized gateway into involving other people, one particular aspect of law common to my life, and yours, being copyright, I've had light shown upon. I choose somewhat arbitrarily between Copyright Maximalism and moderate, pro-user or other approaches. I do make that choice, but it is based on technical, rather than ethical grounds. I have to remember to relinquish some furvour, not that it isn't unjust, but becuase the choice is more complicated.
And, just as last quarter, you might expect some more details on where the hell I am, what I am doing here and how things have been going. It *still* doesn't matter. What matters is
"Negotiated in secret, the proposed text is bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine, and profoundly bad for innovation."-keionline.
What matters is that you are being lied to by the Harper Government, and that there are negotiations under way right now that seek to strip you of a lot of what you have left. What matters is that I have not made any visible progress in stopping this, and though I am now in a place with an MP hopefully sympathetic to stopping the federal government, it isn't enough.
This isn't even a question of the ethical and technical benefits of what they are offering. They aren't offering anything. They are meeting as far away from where you and I can verify what they are up to as they can, and making plans for us. They are conspiring take away our ability to control the basic mechanisms for the world we live in - our right to even manage L1 Cache -- every level of computing is threatened, and with that every level of society, of every nation involved, which given the parallel TTIP treaty in the atlantic, is practically everywhere. History itself is under threat</a>.
I know I talked about this last quarter, and the one before that, but it is a persistent, long term threat that continues to creep up on us. And I mean us -- this isn't a local problem, it's a problem for most everyone reading this, regardless of country you happen to live in. The shroud of secrecy that envelops it envelops it equally in tokyo to ottawa. Thankfully we have the EFF to at least be left out in the cold so we can know that something is going wrong.
And yet even the US government itself seems to be having internal problems defeating this treaty. Like the NSA, the USTR seems to have a mind of its own, in favour of big business, and not in any way accountable to what even americans want. They've gone so far as to keep the US congress in the dark of what they are doing, and the kinds of laws that they are not only going to be requiring US citizens be forced to endure, but that of its northern neighbours and the entire rest of the trading area. Either self proclaimed threats to publichealth and economy of Americans and Canadians are not enough of an incentive to do anything about it, or they are powerless. The treaty has shown clearly what side the Republicans are on, even after all the tea party hot air -- this reversal of priorities in the US is really interesting. At the top though, the priority does seem to be: get this through and agreed on as soon as possible, before the world figures out what's going on, and keep transparency minimal or nonexistent.
"[The TPP] would allow customs officials to seize medicine shipments on the suspicion of trademark infringement while they are in transit from an exporting country to their destination. Unjustified seizures disrupt the supply of critical medicines, which can have serious public health consequences, since they can lead to the unavailability or interruption of treatment. They also undermine the work of organizations like UNITAID, and could even affect countries that are not party to the TPPA."-UNITAID In other words, here's yet another example of Malaria and HIV being stymied by Microsoft(as it's one of the prime movers behind the TPP).
One of the things to come out this quarter is how the Tobacco industry is involved. Like Ford, it seems like the Tobacco industry has simply no place in deciding whether or not we have the ability to use computers freely in the future, or whether or not our ISPs are going to be required to spy on us. But because of the unaccountability of these secret negotiations their pushing their unhealthy requirements to keep governments from doing anything about their product actually does make it more likely that the TPP is going to go through, and is going to be pushed down the throat of smaller, developing nations. Not to mention how many lives are going to be lost to cancer because we can't more directly prevent them, due to this treaty restricting how governments can deal with tobacco. Tobacco is one of the low hanging fruit for increasing global health, right up there with malaria nets.
And by the way, as a former guy who would be responsible for making some of the technology to spy on you,and keep you from having your voice heard I'm kind of glad that I quit, knowing this is coming. I don't want to have any part in this. Not on any level. And I hope you would do the same, or at the very least stay on the inside and aid the rest of us in knowing what's going on via wikileaks.
In addition to some arguably stupid restrictions, such as the inability to market certain cheeses under certain names. Oh and the ability to play and the rules involved with certain games. Imagine if the concept of a FPS had been patented in '92. We would have just as of this year been able to get out of the 'wolfenstein' era.
Another facet of the TPP which is growing more clear with time is the increasing corpolitical movement towards unaccountability in the boardroom, in effect creating a class of people and entities that are above any national law. While this is true in practice for a few corporations already, especially in regards to smaller countries, this would codify fealty into the law of countries like Canada to the corporate masters. Democracy would be a joke, afterwards. If they don't like a law, they can simply have it removed, with no consequences. This is the end of the US, and Canada for all practical purposes. The rest is just window dressing, similar to the differences between a real culture and the cultures put on display at mosaic and folk fest. The US Constitution itself is being threatened here, along with the environment on every level.
The TPP is just yet another example of the culture of secrecy the Harper Government has been pushing down on us. Not only is our government forbidden from giving us information, but we're forbidden from even knowing that they are intending to incorporate censorship right into the very internet and all of our computer hardware that we own. Which sounds a little radical until you realize how far *surveillance* has gone on the lately. This treaty enables very, very dark outcomes, such as criminal punishments for somethinga process running your computer without your knowledge is doing. ie, they'll be able to lock you up for life with no recourse, even if you have a trial, which you may not have because the right to a trial is one of those things that national courts have but which will be subject to the whims of the corporations at the higher level tribunals.
"The next 'trade' treaty will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This is a huge treaty with only a small part covering trade. Most of the agreement (according to leaks) sets down a new kind of regulatory structure [what does that mean?] for the giant corporations that would supersede the ability of any country to rein them in. The treaty is being negotiated in secret with only business interests “at the table.” Representatives of others with a stake in the outcome are not part of the process. Groups representing the interests of consumers, labor, human rights, the environment, democracy or even smaller and innovative companies that might want to compete with the giant multinationals are not part of the negotiations."-Campaign for America's Future
Things like Google's projects with books, are threatened. Like the Library of Alexandria, our access to the worlds books, digitized(and likely thrown out, thereafter), is about to be burned. Books will be stopped at borders, and if you are reading something the government doesn't like, or even if the border guard doesn't like, it will be stopped from reaching you. These are not the way open and free societies treat books. No wonder your local chapters is stocked mostly with fluff.
Patents on surgical methods. People are going to die, unnecessarily. Despite enough growing evidence that Patents are not promotive of innovation as other methods, the TPP would create a class of them so that some doctors can prevent other doctors from treating patients. Just wrong.
Another facet is that it's not a treaty about trade, but 'imagined trade' and 'imaginary property'. Profits that 'could' happen, if they fail to happen, the government can be sued. Have a bad day? Sue the government. Bank fails and needs a bailout? Get a bail out and then sue the government. All to protect preconceptions of who owns what imaginary property.
The treaty locks in bad law in the US, and makes it the standard in the pacific.
Some prominent people who might be counted on as a voice of reason, including this guy who wrote the textbooks that taught me economics, doesn't seem to get that this isn't about trade, and it's the non-trade aspects of this that are dystopian. The "non-trade barriers to investment".
The enclosing of the public domain continues, with even public domain work, if DRM locked, will be protected by law against our using it or having access to it. This is a good way to kill a culture, between that and history, and libraries(being killed elsewhere, via budget cuts and DRM restrictions).
Thanks at least to wikileaks we can know this is going on and what is being negotiated but...with our own government against us, and having already caved things are pretty late in the game at this point. By the time of the next election, assuming Mr. Fixed Elections has it when we think it's going to be, it will be too late -- the treaty will have been passed, and the law might have even been included in the next omnibus bill or two, with scarcely any debate. All we can do is reach out to those of us in countries still not yet decided on the TPP(I know you're out there). While we dohave a voice, and a large assortment of groups could be mobilized, it's not looking good.
If you know someone in Brunei, Chile, Japan,Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Canada & the US and to a lesser extent Mexico and Australia are kind of lost causes, but if you can reach someone in one of those other countries, please try to help them understand that our governments are organizing against them. To crush creativity and innovation in their countries so that the lazy incumbants in the US can maintain global hegemony.
A small consolation, however, in these dark times. There is an end to all of it and though I keep forgetting, I'm going to start calling this end 'home'.
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This is easy pickings on the internet. I do not really know any other life, at this point, and I feel I am not alone in this -- today our society *is* the digital one, to a huge degree. While work life has intruded I have always felt that my 'true' society is the global one, the one over IRC and XMPP, expressed over a text console. Perhaps with a detour or two into the agora. But as people flow in and out of spending a lot of time being social in this way, it is easy to be left as one of the only ones awake in 100 square km.
When you put down the robot, everything gets eerily quiet. Cults prey on this silence.
"one of the defining marks of a cult is to control the surroundings of the members. This makes it easier to control their minds. They are constantly warned of the dangers of being away from the other sect members at all possible times...All people and things outside of their bubble are evil - and thus avoided"
This is where the great internet filter bubble comes in. Cults don't even have to do this anymore -- Google will do it for them. Even without search engines, just selecting for common surroundings seems to do the trick. There is a scam for pumping stocks where you send an email to 1 million people claiming a stock will go up, 1 million that a stock will go down. Half the time you get it wrong, but that's OK. You make a prediction to the people you got the prediction 'right' in a similar fashion, and recurse until you have successfully made 20 odd correct predictions to 1 person, and then give them another prediction which would require a great deal of trust, which you have appearingly gained, given you 'successfully' predicted 20 market moves in a row, which is the hook for a scam move. Simmilarly -- you can have a great deal of control by merely selecting for people, in a world of 7 billion, almost by default. Especially where people do not have a lot of control to start with in their life, where financial and other insecurity is common, the appearance of stability can be attractive.
The dangers outside of the KULT were certainly highlighted. Dystopic views of the future[ie the present] may have been justified by recent history, but the view of danger had the side effect of casting other things outside of the group, and its promise, in a light that made them look spooky.
"They absolutely cannot be friends with or have contact with a person outside of the sect unless they are recruiting that person into the sect and are endlessly told of the dangers of doing such a thing."
I think this is a lot easier to fall into, if the group reaches anything close to the dunbar number of people. It's not even that you would have to choose -- just that conveniently, all of a sudden everyone around you is part of the same clique. I am unfollowing/unfriending 10 people a week just to keep my online social life in some semblance of control. No matter how good your tools are -- sooner or later you will find you have to choose who to associate with. If your group insulates itself, by nature of this choice, from the rest of humanity, no matter how intelligent or interesting you are as individuals, you will suffocate.
"They are warned of the dangers of getting a secular education (lest they be corrupted) told to avoid critical thinking, and to embrace groupthink"
I think 'avoid critical thinking' is a hard one to not cultivate. Thinking is hard, math is takes patience and effort, critical thinking is not trivial. Unless you specifically reward people, with status or smiles, for being critical, affective death spirals can happen. It doesn't help that there is a great deal of abuse and turmoil in education systems. I gave up on the system myself and had it not been for bitcoin I wouldn't have recommended education very far at all. Bitcoin complicates things, but I am very bitter at education for what I feel to be good reasons -- the only problem is that there are few alternatives and netsweating may not always produce optimal outcomes.
As far as groupthink goes, shared illusions do arise in cults. Cached thoughts are one, reasoning from authority is another. You can try to be critical and still fall into it.
"Any books, lectures, etc outside of those specifically approved by the movement leadership must be avoided at all costs. This way, information can be spoon fed to the members very carefully."
...and books, lectures, etc that are encountered can be digested within the cult's paradigm. There are graduations of control, and especially when group interests are at stake, a group with a model of itself might very well increase the level of that control, either planned or unplanned.
"So the constant goal becomes to spend as much time around other members as possible. Even if one has to quit a job to do so."
If you are rewarded for participating in a group, and the rest of your life involves suffering, it's not hard at all to see how this would happen. In the case of the KULT, having a group where socially rejected people congregate, almost any amount of social reward will be sufficient. And in a world where people are increasingly digitally connected, being rejected need not even be unlikely. It might just be a consequence of scarcity of available attention.
"Everyone in the sect is good. Everyone else is evil. There is no in-between. "
More specifically -- all you need is the first part to get this ball started. A presumption that everyone in the tribe is good will start this off. There exists evil in the world, and once you notice this, and if you 'know' that your tribe isn't included in that, and you 'know' you yourself do not have an evil side, it can be a matter of risk preference how much of the rest of the world you are willing to interact with, or perhaps even so much as let live[why let evil survive?], balanced only against your will to do evil harm and your means to do evil harm, the risk aversion of the group, and the perception of the group on the evil involved with violence and its ability to taint members.
"Absolutism/Literalism ...Complex issues are made into very simple ones. Because they have been trained to see only in black and white, members of cults are very hard to reason with since they have trouble understanding complex real life issues."
Going into new social situations where you have no social currency is very stressful. It gets worse the more excluded and different you are. One of the things some cults and cliques have going for them is that they are open to new members, and are pleasant to people enough to give a Halo effect.
"The more one can immerse themselves into the cult the more righteous the person is in the eyes of the other cult members."
I think it was in the Rise and Fall of Western Civilization that they talked about this in detail(I wonder if my memory is serving me here?) -- it is common in underground communities, once they get big enough, for there to be people who specialize in expressing the ideal of the respective culture. They may not hold jobs, but they'll be held up as an 'ideal' that others strive towards as they are able to dedicate their time to cultural activities and because they are not as restricted as the rest of the group by outside social conventions, they can more fully focus on expressing, either by look, dress, actions or thought, or even other means, in a way that people that have to survive in other social circles are incapable. This goes up to and including permanent disfigurement and 'peacock tail' like self-nerfing. This can be tied to productive activity, too -- in work settings, the person who puts in 14 hour days is seen as more righteous, and can be rewarded beyond mere monetary compensation, in terms of status, and we don't see anything wrong, in and of itself, in that. It is a sign of a meritocratic group, and by itself this trait isn't necessarily harmful. It's only in the context of everything else listed here that it is a dangerous one.
"The use of thought-terminating cliches, catch phrases or words that are designed to end a conversation or controversy. ...Phrases that when invoked can’t be questioned...People in cults speak almost entirely in these kind of cliches"
These problems are the staple of George Orwell's works. Doublethink and language simplification happen when powerful entities get big enough to warp how we see language. "Sean Kennedy is the Fucking Man", "Don't hate the media, become the media", "Microsoft is Evil", "To the moon!". These kinds of meme shorthands are ubiquitous online. Reddit has some tools for monitoring the use of cliches in groups as large as a few million, but really, this is probably the easiest to catch yourself. There are tools you can use to create word clouds. If you could extend them to make phrase clouds, and you find a cliche or two popping up...its time to turn up th critical thinking knob.
"Confession...This creates an environment of fear and leads to more control over the members. They can also be berated with the thought terminating cliches"
I think the root problem here is actually the loss of privacy. While the loss of privacy for powerful people is no doubt one good way to keep those at the levers of power honest and not deceitful or malicious, privacy does protect against this fear.
One way this can start is by openness, which is slowly required to be increased as the group becomes increasingly rigid and paranoid. Openness which startus free anonymous disclosure. Unfortunately, the more information is revealed in this fashion, the less privacy you have left. There has been speculation that sooner or later, we are going to know who Satoshi is. Even just by discussing abstract technical matters, the idiosyncracies in his written text will identify him.
Both by the safety of anonymity(from IRC or even just the lack of logging), and out of pure boredom, we share. Once this process of sharing begins within a group, it can become expected, and the levels of sharing required escallate until it reaches the point where it is a feared activity, and used by the group for compliance, rather than information exchange and social bonding.
I think this is a feature of memory -- with time memories degrade and fish tales escallate. Fish tales that give the teller, or those he associates with status could very well be selected for in an environment shielded from verification, which the cult might provide. I think in stories, to some extent, and notice that the longer ago a story dates from, the more incredulous it seems to uninterested bystanders
"Cults tend to engage in religious hairsplitting. There is no room for disagreement even on small issues where noone is necessarily wrong. Typically small issues are lifted into sacredness and can not be called into question. Also an exaggerated reverence for the leadership is demanded. This makes name droppers raise in status within the cult."
Name management seems to be one of the more tractable ways of assigning status. It's not the only one, but for organizations with increasingly fragile information processing capability, it is understandable that they will rely on easier to verify without permission of the group methods, and methods that are 'safe' such as relying on authorities within the group.
"I mentioned this earlier, and there is some overlap with Isolationism, but I wanted to add that common sense is thrown out the window and seen as hostile to the cult."
I think we can rerphase this. Without access to evidence or the commonsense priors of other groups, even rational people are going to slowly accumulate very strange and seemingly maladjusted priors. Similar to how genes in a species that is not subject to a certain selection pressure will not be kept as much as genes which are over time, even deep seated ideas will slowly degrade when confronted with an environment with enough social emphasis on other ones.
"One’s personality must be purged and made to conform to a group template that is usually pretentious. All forms of individuality must be de-emphasized"
Another example of something that we kind of take for granted in meatspace -- the acceptability of individuality, and the capacity or ability to express it, is not always available online. Myspace provided a fairly standard lens to view people, facebook seems in some ways to have narrowed that lens further. Smaller social ladders might be more tractable to understand, relative to complex entities like corporations with their own inner politics and factions, and subfactions within them.
"Abuse...Former members of cults often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances."
Abuse happens for a lot of reasons but in groups that have cultlike features there are patterns of abuse that can be shielded and protected from outsiders and from being resolved internally. This allows them to continue to iterate, even if you personally are able to keep yourself from being victimized. When you deny problems and view things in black and white, everything shy of outright evil is permitted, and significant suffering at the hands of sadistic and sociopathic elements can be swept under the carpet and away from public view.
"Denial of Problems"
I think this can be expanded upon. I've gone as far as to list 'intractable problems' as an interest on some social networking platforms. But there's more to it than that. Problems where your social status is at stake are fear inducing. Problems where materials necessary for survival also. In the case of cults, if your social status is tied up with the status of the group, attacks on the group are fear inducing also. Like nostalgic memories, if you can abstract away these connotations, problem solving can be enjoyable and rewarding, if stressful and difficult, but with these factors, it can sometimes be easier to just try to ignore and deny the problems exist.
In short, the KULT with its semblance of promoting of critical thinking, learning and individuality did not exhibit the worst of some of these traits. But I recognize all of them. There may be some confirmation bias colouring my vision here, but I would be surprised if the future doesn't look recognizable as containing what we would call 'cults', with features as described above.
[ mood | anxious ] I Am A: Chaotic Neutral Human Barbarian/Sorcerer (3rd/2nd Level)
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn't strive to protect others' freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it. Chaotic neutral is the best alignment you can be because it represents true freedom from both society's restrictions and a do-gooder's zeal. However, chaotic neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it seeks to eliminate all authority, harmony, and order in society.
Race: Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.
Primary Class: Barbarians are brave, even reckless, and their warrior skills make them well suited to adventure. Instead of training and discipline, barbarians have a powerful rage that makes them stronger, tougher, and better able to withstand attacks. They only have the energy for a few such displays per day, but it is usually sufficient. Constant exposure to danger has also given barbarians a sort of 'sixth sense,' the preternatural ability to sense danger and dodge attacks, and their running stamina is legendary.
Secondary Class: Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.
[ mood | annoyed >:/ ]
Looks like since Intel released a bunch of better drivers this year, Ubuntu has been backporting them as far as...12.10. So the upgrade tried to use the old drivers, which were utterly broken. The new drivers worked like a charm. Unclear how free they are but if you install the experimental ppa drivers it seems to work.
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[ mood | rebellious ]
Although it was a MPAA-produced, silly movie, Accepted, it's got me thinking.
I remember being in the spot the main character found himself -- nervous about getting into university. I was lucky, in that there was a lot of choice available to me. I was accepted into 5 universities (without applying further), but I'm pretty sure some of my peers were not so lucky. And in retrospect, it seems like University was just as important to my long term success, what success I've eeked out, anyway, as I thought it would be(ie very). The grain of truth in the movie is there are a lot of opeople who are both nervous about getting accepted into university who have a hope of getting into the ones they desire, and also some who are nervous who will be turned down.
At least as of 2007, there was some discussion on making a futures market for this situation, to help students offset the risk of acceptance, but from the perspective of the student the important aspect of this is really that it functions as insurance.
That was in 2007, we're in 2013: Peercover has fundamentally disrupted insurance(although like Bitcoin and Napsters's affect on finance and music, respectively the effeccts effects are still being widely distributed) -- to the point where it is now possible for classes of people, such as "people desparate to get into university" as I was, at one point in my life, to organize temselves into insurance pools on a global scale.
If you're a student who is serious about your worries of how much your life would suck if you did not get into university, you join the pool [link forthcoming] to the extent you are driven to succeed, you choose a premium level and I belive your premiums go into escrow. If you go on to get accepted, you lose the money but gain acceptance. If you are accepted, you gain the consolation of some capital to help you invest in yourself so that you can meet your goals.
Of course the university acceptance insurance pool is going to accept some lemons. That is OK -- because there's going to be a fee that accrues as profit to the ones administering the pool. Half of this fee will go to a fund to invest in hackerspaces and startups that seek to disrupt the education system, democratizing it so that maybe if you can't get accepted -- at the very least you have the additional consolation of chipping away at the base of the ivory tower, making it easier for everyone to be educated, free from the constraints of social stratification. Bonus: you'll be doing your part to enable the intelligence explosion
[ mood | awake ]
It's the end of the quarter and I'm sitting in ohmbase waiting for someone else to show up to a potential gaming night (unless g/f wants to hang out).
What has happened in the last 3 months?
I think a better question is what hasn't happened in the past 3 months. For example, I've done pretty much nothing at all to push back against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I've been in Thunder Bay, working at three or four different directions...none of which really measure up to any potential progress at all on that front, besides honing skill and/or tools which might come in handy later. The people around me by and large haven't heard of it, though in this NDP-friendly area they are and remain mostly aganist Stephen Harper and his government(so local campaigns have a slightly different flavour than they would in God fearing Saskatchewan). Of course, Canada joined on to this formerly secret treaty a year ago but there remains a struggle to impose its draconian restrictions on the rest of the world that I am simply not taking part in right now. Humanity's hope flickers by my inaction. I need to make some changes in my life, and soon.
On the upside, I found out about Petrov Day, which is now going to be a yearly tradition. Individual people can make a difference, and Petrov Day should remind us of that.
I came upon an epic moment of real connection, but still haven't located Thomas Kuhn's rumoured computer program, which if TPP and other restriction of computer technology gets too much further won't be worth much anyway here.
I'm finding the stuff I'm learning at less wrong is causing substantial inferential distance between me and other people, and in particular, the women in my life. I'm having to start from scratch each time, describing science as a Good Thing, as opposed to magic, and magical thinking. I might as well be on mars. I'm starting to think that I'm just not destined for a happy, fulfilling relationship before a heart attack whisks me away.
Speaking of which, I've been having chest pains and dizziness spells lately. More frequent with time, too. Despite dating a heart specialist, and living with a former nurse, I am on the waiting list to see a doctor and there are deep structural problems in the Ontario healthcare system such that I suspect that I should probably focus on living with passion and meaning in my life rather than expecting to be able to do anything about it, though there's a good chance of survival even so. I need to be careful about what I spend my time on, so that the rest of my life counts. As of yet, we are all mortal, and I've got bigger fish to fry.
I've been aware of NSA/CSIS/CSEC surveillance for quite some time, long before the current leaks and haven't really thought anything of it, but
one computer scientist makes a good point; Computer Scientists have an ethical responsibility above normal people to both be informed about, and to not participate in mass surveilance, and to develop tools and support the development of tools to circumvent the surveillance where it occurs. With knowledge comes responsibility, and we should not merely be passive when it comes to this.
I guess lastly, though I think my musical skill has been honed, thanks to Maureen Prairie's hospitality and guidance, and though I have been able to help both the local hackerspace survive, and the local startup progress as far as it has...in the end I do not see Thunder Bay ever becoming a home to me. It has been good to be here, and I'll be here for the time being, but like Outlook, I don't fit here.