Happy Ent

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  1. Bakker's TGO Excerpts II: Mining our Merest Fractions

    Mnedel, welcome to the boards. I don’t know of a philosophical overview, but the story itself is summarised at the start of each book.
  2. Bakker's TGO Excerpts II: Mining our Merest Fractions

    Folks: it’s a topos, plural topoi. We’re better than this. (Maybe Bakker himself made this mistake in the books? Then we’re excused. Bakker used “duel” for “dual” and “could care less,” and stuff like “you hast” so I don’t have too high an opinion on his English usage.)
  3. Bakker's TGO Excerpts II: Mining our Merest Fractions

    Good points both. I don’t know why Ishuäl is not a topos. Apparently the Nonmen are a good deal eviller than the Dûnayin. (Neither is cackling, hand-rubbing, Doofenshmirtz-like evil. They simply don’t care about the defectives or human slaves.) Attempt at rationalisation: Topoi don’t form just anywhere. You need the geography to be correct. Then you can construct a topos by just being locally sinful for a certain time. In other places: no topos. It’s like mining for gold. If it isn’t there, it isn’t there. But the Daimos observation is correct. Kellhus did study with Whathisface, so there may have been a perfectly prim way of entering. The mooring to a soul-trapping device is still fine, though. Question: It seem like an oversight that the Consult left no guards around in Ishuäl.
  4. What's annoying you today? Part the grievous

    To break the dystopian tenor of this thread: after months of annoyance I decided to make my Caps Lock key both Control (when used in combination with another key) and Escape (when tapped.) My life is now perfect. This is the best thing ever.
  5. Pilusmagnus, since you’re not a hardened Fantasy aficionado anyway, let me recommend The Expanse by J.A. Corey. This is science fiction, but otherwise seems to fit your taste. (I generally fail at liking science fiction, despite many attempts over decades. But I really like The Expanse.) Incidentally, the books are written by two authors under a joint pseudonym, one of them being D. Abraham (who has been recommended several times upthread already.) The other author is GRRM’s assistant. The books are extremely character-driven (in the sense that events would not come to pass were it not for the psychological make-up of the main characters), have very likeable characters, and a very immersive universe. (Near future, solar system partly colonised, no AI, no faster-than-light travel.) Tech feels like the first two Alien films. World-building (as opposed to immersion) is fine. Not much depth, great fun, exciting. And it’s currently being written, published reliably, and there’s also a TV show as far as I know. (I watch neither that nor GoT, for that matter.) Oh, and for the record: Bakker’s shit blows my mind.
  6. Bakker's TGO Excerpts II: Mining our Merest Fractions

    Great excerpts. I’m very excited. Favourite detail: Hehe. The Quya don’t pass the IQ test built into the design of the thousand thousand halls. The Dûnayin child finds this odd. The thousand thousand halls are a great concept. Appeals a lot to me. (I’m a graph algorithms researcher, so using instances of route finding in networks as a measure of computational efficiency is close to my heart.)
  7. Bakker's TGO Excerpts II: Mining our Merest Fractions

    Speculation on Kellhus’s Outside visit On the mechanics of soul trapping From the Ishuäl chapter, TGO: What I get from this is that established theory of soul-trapping (as known to Achamian) provides mechanisms for memory and faculty to visit the Outside, while some other part of the soul remains “fastened” to the Inside. It seems plausible that Kellhus has scienced the shit out of this and understands this mechanism sufficiently well to be able to visit the Outside (i) with his agency intact and (ii) to get back. We know from the elevator scene in the same chapter that souls can be trapped to bodies. I speculate that the head-on-a-pole in Kellhus’s flashback is such a device. In fact, we know the purpose of the head-on-a-pole: This is consistent with the first explanation: So: fear, a base urge, remains on the pole, trapped to somebody else’s head. Thus, agency-Kellhus does not “drip fear,” so isn’t tasty to the demons. Hence Kellhus has nothing to fear, he brings only memory, faculty, character—the tasty bits he left behind. The pole has dual purposes: it leaves the fear behind and serves as an anchor. How to enter the Outside I think we know: a topos. Just make a local hellhole by torturing lots of people intensely and over a long time. The Nonmen needed generations of unspeakable Gulag-like conditions. Kellhus knows what he’s doing, so he can probably set up something perfectly terrible and wait for five years or so. This would work well, plot-wise, because even Kellhus needs resources for building such a topos: time and innocent children, say. Even Kellhus can’t just enter the Outside willy-nilly. It’s a 10 year project or so. And very dangerous, of course. Summary So here’s what I think Kellhus did: Set aside some rooms somewhere remote, and institutionalise the most disgusting, immoral torture industry ever. So terrible are the ordeals visited on the innocent children, puppies, and baby seals, that the place becomes a topos within the (relatively short) time span of 20 years available to Kellhus. Use Sheönanra-like magic to moor your soul to the head of somebody who is at this time basically just a head on a pole, similar to the 10 wretches used in the elevator. Take a deep breath, and cross the threshold. Talk to the demons, kill a few of them. Time and space are warped, so it’s funky. But you have no fear, and you can get back, because there is a head on a pole behind you. (Comment: I love the idea from the previous thread that the head is Serwë, but I like my explanation better. Serwë wasn’t really on a pole.)
  8. R Scott Bakker's :The Great Ordeal (spoilers)

    I’m here, finally read the two excerpts, and the 340 posts. Good work, all. Kal, could you edit the very first post so at so link to both chapters?
  9. Masculinity

    Yes, that would be the prediction. I perfectly assume that they do. As I said, I can’t bolster that claim with data, and I admit to having a low threshold of acceptance for it because it seems so obvious to me. If I were Nature, I would have constructed sexual dimorphism like that. Put all the variance on one of the sexes. Let that one be the aggressive one, let the other be highly selective in courtship. Make the “selected” sex invest several orders of magnitudes less calories in reproduction.Nature could implement this, say, by giving one of the sexes a “redundant” copy of one of the chromosomes, while letting a good part of the genome be active in only the males (the Y chromosome)). I thought this was how it worked, but am more than happy to be corrected—I’d be spectacularlywrong about a very fundamental thing that that would something I’d need to remedy with all haste. It’s probably very naïve—I know very little about biology outside of pop-sci books—but good first approximations is all I’m looking for.
  10. Masculinity

    Altherion gives a good answer to this. But it contains a great question at heart. After some googling, I found this:http://evp.sagepub.com/content/7/2/147470490900700209.full.pdf, which also contains a readable introduction to what “standard deviation distance” should mean in the multivariate case. With those caveats, both table 1 and 2 summarise known psychological studies (“Big Five”, aggression) and come to the conclusion that the “deviation” (properly defined) is pretty close to 1 in both cases. I don’t know if this answers your question. Like Altherion says, it’s probably trivial to find hundreds of small traits (some protein mumbojumbo doing whatsitsname to phenotype Blah)that exhibit such behaviour, but I’m not sure how interesting they are. Speaking of overlapping bell curves, as far as I know men exhibit higher variance in pretty much every operationally significant trait where this makes sense. Roughly, men are diverse while women are the same. But I don’t have a reference for that.(This, of course, expected given the asymmetric investment into reproduction. So, as somebody who trusts in human evolution,I’m biased in favour of this description and may misrepresent the evidence.) This phenomenon alone would explain the observedoverrepresentation of men at both the top and the bottom of society without ever needing toappealto differences in means or cultural factors. Again, I’m biased in favour of this model mainly because of its elegance.
  11. What I still don’t understand is why we aren’t publishing more Bakker fanfiction. There is so much narrativeenergy in these threads, so much passion… Where is the story of the slightly clumsy, secretly beautiful Yatwerian adept who is wooed by two different Nansur columnaries, one dark, one light
  12. The Expanse optioned for Television Series

    As far as I can tell, the central technological conceit in The Expanse is that mankind has invented an incredibly efficient propulsion thingy, the Epstein drive, that makes interplanetary travel possible. Everybody has it. TheCanterbury could not work without it (it would never get anywhere). The opening paragraph of Leviathan Wakes, Chap. I,tells us about this: “[…] Then Solomon Epstein had built his little modified fusion drive […] hadn’t given humanity the stars, but it had delivered the planets.” Then the very next sentence describes the three-quarters kilometer long Canterbury. The Canterbury’s smaller scout ship, the Knight, does not have an Epstein drive, using what it described as a “fusion torch”.
  13. The Expanse optioned for Television Series

    What was the turn around sequence? What did I miss? (Honest question.)
  14. Folks, in principle this is an interesting topic, but puz-leaze… Nobody generates value by justworking hard, and you can’t seriously think that. Lots of video gamers would otherwise be very, very rich. Instead, you generatevalue by doing something that somebody else wants done. The amount ofeffort you put into thisis not important. Effort only becomes important when several providers compete to fulfil the demand. Then, all other things being equal,the provider with the most effort will be slightlyfavoured to fulfil the demand. (But this is not a given; there can be many other factors that determine this.) The function of money is not to remunerate hard work. It has never been. Instead, money is just a useful way of transforming differentials in utility functions into goods and services.
  15. I’ve tried to read up on this a bit now, and have at least one genuine question. How large is the expense of basic income (money just above poverty line paid per individual) compared to the rest of the cost of “maintaining” a human? In particular, does anybody know the cost per individual in health care expenses, and how much does a small room in social housing in the suburbs cost to construct and maintain? (I ask because my hunch is that 30-year old young bachelorsvideogaming in their parents’ basement isn’t much of an expense, and society could give less than a flying fuck about whether that person gets his Ramen noodles and Playstationfor free. But that 30-year old young man will turn 60 very soon, and develop treatable ailments. I tacitly assume that society will cover the cost of treating these ailments, which probably dwarfs the expenses of basic income. Thus, basic income may economically be a mirage compared to universal health care, and the main interesting question becomes how society develops the moral incentive to implement universal health care in a setting where the ostracisation of individuals from the work force is ritualised. But I don’t know the numbers, so this line of inquiry may be a dead end.)