Happy Ent

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About Happy Ent

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    Godfather of the Weirwoods
  • Birthday 07/01/1968

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  1. Random links for visual inspiration: Arkfall, seen from Viri by hairless Nonmen and -women in the foreground. 40 seconds into the Valerian trailer: https://www.cnet.com/videos/valerian-trailer-is-a-feast-for-the-eyes/ . (Number of horns and colour is wrong, otherwise v. good.) Boris the Animal in MiB III makes for a pretty good skin spy. See 13 seconds in and even better in the final scene:
  2. I’ve spent many a happy night in entire role-playing and tabletop wargame campaigns based on that premise. Durin’s bane and his ragtag low-leadership Orcs and Trolls attack Lothlorien, possible flank by Dain Ironfoot. Beautiful. Small skirmishes from hastily assembled Elven armies from Mirkwood or Rivendell. Encounters with Gondorian/Rohan, and with Saruman’s elite. You can give Durin’s Bane the chance to turn/recruit any of Galadriel, Saruman, or others as various sub-objectives. (Alternatively, if Galadriel gets the Ring, she takes over.) Final battle is with Sauron and the might of Mordor.
  3. 1. In terms of facts, I learned nothing new. This is not Harari’s problem, but mine—I know a lot of stuff already. So the book is simply not informative for me. 2. Harari’s editorialising/message/flowery prose/perspective just plain annoyed me. I detest Malcolm Gladwell’s books for much the same reasons. I was looking for a popular science book on human history and genetics, not about an opinion piece on the human condition. Again, other readers may love that—it’s simply not a genre I enjoy. I found it dumb and patronising.
  4. I read Dawkins’s autobiography recently, I found it surprisingly good. (It’s certainly not a genre I like, I find people dull but ideas interesting. But Dawkins’s book worked for me anyway.) Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science.
  5. Just walk away from Gladwell. Logicomix is great (I know one of the principals, Papadimitriou, quite well.) I tried to read up on human population genetics recently. I find this endlessly fascinating, the science is progressing at breakneck speed. Mindblowing stuff, clearly still in development. A brief history of everyone who ever lived: The Stories in Our Genes, Rutherford. I liked this one best. Recommended. Sapiens: A brief history of humankind, Harari. Didn’t like this at all, and did not finish it. Unrecommended. Troublesome Inheritance, A : Genes, Race and Human History, Wade. This was OK, though I knew most of it already, so I can’t say how useful it is. Not so much prehistory as I had wanted, mostly about how to think about inheritance and genes.
  6. In this, and many other questions, there is no doubt that Deutsch is aware of the fact that he contradicts widely held opinions. This particular issue (which is tangential to the present thread, at best) is one of those where I’ve come around to his point of view, kicking and screaming. But it’s really a mind-blowing book. Almost everything he writes is poised to elicit the reaction “WTF? That can’t be right!” And then he convinces you, half of the time. His positions are laid out incredibly clearly, because he really wants you to avoid the pitfall of “oh, this sounds good, and mainly reaffirms what I already thought”—one of the most dangerous sources of miscommunication and bias. Deutsch really wants your disagreement. It’s a fantastic, infuriating, and very enlightening little book. I was very impressed.
  7. There is nothing about open markets, and almost nothing about technology.
  8. He was highly influenced by the tribal societies of New Zealand, where he wrote the book.
  9. The only place I’ve seen this question (an apparent paradox: how can selective pressure for social conformance select for creativity?) even adressed is David Deutsch’s mind-blowing The Beginning of Infinity, which I highly recommend. (Half of that book is utter nonsense, the other half is mind-blowingly insightful. And nobody agrees on which half is which. It’s a spectacular book.) (Deutsch also has an answer to the question.)
  10. rec.religion.wingless-balrogs
  11. The SPD needs to go full nationalism. Protect their own working class against the globalist, neoliberal elite. Strict border controls, zero immigration from MENA, strict secularism, principled defence of free speech, tough on law and order, clear preference to citizens over non-citizens, draconian assimilation policies, minimal welfare payments to non-citizens, make naturalisation very hard, no double passports, and very generous repatriation incentives for migrants. Strong focus on knowledge in education, over inclusion. Principled rejection of identity politics and all other forms of essentialism. (Not sure what to do with the Euro, though. It is a terrible idea, but helps Germany. So from a parochial point of view, it can stay.) All of this, though painful, is entirely compatible with social democratic ideals. Thilo Sarrazin (SPD) lays out most of these points in his books, in a perfectly social democratic fashion. The AfD would just die, and the working class (and even the precariate) would immediately start voting SPD again. Ideologically, the SPD should advocate Popper’s Open Society, not Soros’s.
  12. Bashrag are trolls.
  13. Interestingly, the only song that I actually, unironically liked (in the sense of actually seeing myself listening to it outside of ESC) is doing pretty well with the bookies! This would be the second jazz waltz (after the Danish entry Dansevisen many years ago) to win. Score is here, if you want to noodle a bit yourself: https://www.scribd.com/document/347812805/Amar-pelos-Dois-Voice-with-Piano-accompaniment-Portuguese-English-translation
  14. The article mentions that dragons were engines of war in Tolkien’s early writings. Where can I read up on that? Is that in History of Middle-Earth somewhere? (I ask because of the dragons in R Scott Bakker’s Eärwa universe, which I assume are engines of war.)
  15. I stopped reading at “Now, I know what you’re going to say: but Balrogs have wings! Sure, they have wings.” Think of the children before you share this crap!