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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. Happy Ent

    Bakker LVI: the Rectum of Creation

    Moreover, the WLW was born as the result of lax enforcement of building codes. A hasty reading may misunderstand this as a presentist critique of pre-modern societies, and their insufficient organisation, bureaucracy, and command of materials science. It is not. For verily – Bakker knows his sources, he is nothing if not intertextual – we have in Deuteronomy 22:8 New King James Version (NKJV): Building codes ever have fallen within the compass of what is holy, what is exalted. Building codes are not merely read and followed. They are Witnessed. Thematically, the birth-and-death of the White-Luck Warrior by neglicence ties in with Ouroboros, the snake devouring itself. There is also a postmodernist reading in the tradition of Lacan, where the collapse of a building must be understood as an anti-erection. Then, the relationship between the WLW (the result of an anti-erection) to Psatma Nannaferi is anti-Oedipal; their eventual copulation an inversion of the complex. These books reward a close reading.
  2. Happy Ent

    Second Quarter 2019 Reading

    Also just finished. I wonder how many references I missed. Here’s what I found:
  3. Happy Ent

    TIAMAT'S WRATH - Book 8 of Expanse (SPOILERS)

    Thanks for noticing. I assume the authors are playing tit-for-tat. Whenever I voice a careful criticism of the way they treat their fictional flora on this forum, they just hit back harder next time. They should expect a perfectly spherical anomaly of green tentacles to appear in their living room next time. And after that: in their bedroom.
  4. Happy Ent

    TIAMAT'S WRATH - Book 8 of Expanse (SPOILERS)

    I took some time rereading parts of Abaddon’s Gate (and also book 7), trying to slowly make sense of the history and mechanics of Romans and Goths. Here is an excerpt from AG(3), where Miller shows Holden the summary of the previous war: Speculation 1 (fallen stars) A star “falling” or “flickering and failing” means something different to the Romans. The stars themselves in question didn’t explode or vanish. Instead, the Roman consciousnesses inhabiting those systems were switched off by Goth attacks, in the matter we’ve already seen in Sol system in book 7: Black sphere appears, and all consciousness is simultaneously switched off for a minute or two. Effect on Romans: the local consciousness of that star system just dies, the “node” of that network (an entire solar system) becomes invisible to the rest of the Roman hive mind. So, from a non-Roman perspective, those systems were alive and well. Frog analogues continued their quacking, photosynthesis went on like nothing happened. But everything connected to the Roman hive minds, including the Romans themselves, but also their technology, was switched off. Ilus is a good example of a “fallen star”. Speculation 2 (Roman counterattack) Here’s what the Roman’s did in the quoted passage, using the mechanism we’ve seen in TW(8). When system X “falls”, the Romans go to the system on the other side of the sphere from X. call it X'. System X' is evacuated, and the matter inside system X' is rearranged into a neutron star, which is spun so as to point towards system X. This seems within Roman capabilities. Then the weapon is fired at will towards X. We see exactly this happen in TW(8). The result is to tear the target system atom from atom. (As a side effect, the gate closes.) What I like: This explains where the energy comes from. I like it better than having the Alien Ring Station itself shooting entire star systems with “radiation and heat” enough to kill suns. In the Holden movie it just looks as if the station does the shotting. But what we see is the gamma burst of a collapsing neutron star on the opposite site of ring space. If true, the Human colony isolated in TW(8) is of course gone, since the star went out. (In the physical sense. Not in the Roman sense.) What I can live with: Why are there still trigger-ready neutron stars around? Well, why not. The Romans were in a hurry, I guess they built a bunch of those, managed to fire 3, got burned for it, and then switched strategy. What I don’t quite like: I still don’t quite understand why the neutron star in TW(8) fired, or rather: why protons were formed in that system. Was this an unintended side effect? Did the Goths know what would happen? Was it their intention? In my speculation, the star-killing and gate-collapsing event in TW(8) is an unintended side effect just based on weird alien space physics. The “tit” from the Goths – their angry reaction-and-escalation to the bomb ship – was their consciousness- and matter-removing attack into ring space.
  5. Happy Ent

    Persepolis Rising (Book 7 of the Expanse) - SPOILERS

    Amen. And people keep wondering why there are so few arboreal authors.
  6. Happy Ent

    Persepolis Rising (Book 7 of the Expanse) - SPOILERS

    Mixed bag. Two good chapters, but a lot of filler. Chapter 23 sees Drummer in the arboretum of People’s Home. The description seems to disregard the effects of various gravity schemes on plant physiology – hormone production under coriolis, in particular for auxins, ethylene, gibberellins, and cytokinins. This is a huge blunder in an otherwise well-researched series. Maybe it can be rationalised because Drummer refers to the trees as “experimental”. My theory is that the Trade Federation does have protomolecule access, and has used it to construct plant-based superwarriors in the void cities, to finally take on Laconia. Extremely intriguing. Chapter 26 pays some more attention to the forgotten voices of Medina, when we see a park with trees. Pollination is mentioned, but only with Victorian embarrassment. Clearly, Space Opera is still not ready for some explicit descriptions of insect pollination – half a generation after a lesbian kiss on Deep Space 9. Some lazy plant violence imagery remains (“like an arrow shot into a tree”, “cut the rot out of the tree”, …), which will probably forever haunt this genre. In the final chapter (52: Naomi) there is finally payoff after all this buildup, when we get some poetic imagery of anemophily on Freehold. Thank you for this, I cried.
  7. Happy Ent

    German politics xth attempt

    This is an interesting formulation. Allow me to start there. The desire of others to immigrate to Germany is a fact of life. The most important question for this generation exactly is “how to steer it and how to deal with the consequences.” (My solution would be to prevent it, to advocate resettlement, and double down on Enlightenment values and liberal democracy. Others will disagree and want to open the borders and advocate multiculturalism and the values of inclusion and tolerance. These are real questions, with incompatible answers, and where intelligent and decent people ought to disagree, just on pretty much every other question of politics.) These decisions will have repercussions that utterly dwarf all other political decisions, and have larger consequences for topic X than vice versa. (Because demography and culture will determine education, welfare, labour market, research, crime, terrorism, surveillance, etc. more than the other way around. The only question where they may be a two-way street is welfare. Germany can decide to no longer be a welfare state, and turn in the US, which might curb immigration from MENA. But I don’t really believe that. Even a laissez-fair FDP utopia will be a less shitty place to live in than all of Africa.) — Now, the above formulation makes it clear that the immigration question is the sine qua non for the future of Germany, and that the German electorate is completely correct in its intuition of being scared shitless about the very unclear signals they are receiving from their overlords. The only parties who do not get this are now in government, and write the newspapers. What could possibly go wrong.
  8. Happy Ent

    German politics xth attempt

    Jo, Loge, I get all that. I was merely trying to reconcile some widely differing polls about how important Germans view immigration. In some polls, it’s the most important question by a mile. In others, it’s way down the list. I don’t know how that happens, and tentatively suggest differences in wordings (refugee is a very positive word in German), which might trigger different reactions among respondents. I could be wrong.
  9. Happy Ent

    German politics xth attempt

    I’m finding very different answers about what the most important question was. https://interaktiv.morgenpost.de/probleme-bundestagswahl-2017/ and https://www.wahl.de/themen/btw17 tell me it’s immigration (including refugees, integration), while tagesschau has Education, putting “immigration of refugees” (arguably, a much narrower topic than Immigration) much lower on the list. My hunch is that (as in most Western countries) immigration is now the most important topic, which is documented by the FDP/AfD wins. I could be wrong. (Remember that the 2017 Chatham House poll has a majority of Germans, just like most other European countries, wanting all further migration from majority Muslim countries stopped. The German institutes don’t pose that question to the German electorate, so we can’t really compare. People don’t have strong views on immigration or refugees — many Germans are refugees, or have close family relations with refugees, and immigration could easily by a positive contribution. But people have strong views about Islam, not much caring about if it’s home-grown, migrated, or fled.)
  10. Happy Ent

    German politics xth attempt

    Honest question: Isn’t the FDP just the virtuous way of voting for strong restrictions on immigration? As far as I understand, the immigration policies of AfD and FDP are more or less the same (they want immigration to be handled like Canada, Australia, or the US is handling them). Since AfD is unelectable for many voters, they go to the FDP instead. No?
  11. Happy Ent

    German politics xth attempt

    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. Happy Ent

    German politics xth attempt

    An interesting point is that we (again) get confirmation that the Turkish diaspora is (at least) two groups. There are highly educated, secular, liberal democrats from Ankara who move to the US. US Turks voted overwhelmingly no. (So did UK Turks.) And then there are Turks from the Anatolian Steppe who fail to integrate into modern Turkey just as they fail to integrate into modern Europe. They make up the vast majority of continental European Turks. They voted yes, roughly 2 out of 3. (More in Belgium.) Europe consistently fails to attract migrants that are compatible with European values and labour markets.
  13. Happy Ent

    Podcasts and Organizing them

    Rubin is pretty good at letting his guests speak, which I find courteous. His disinclination to push back on things he disagrees with is very deliberate (at least that’s what he says). I think the result is pretty solid. I agree that it would be lovely if he had an unapologetic leftist (such as me) on the show. Maybe we can suggest that for his fan interviews. Also: arboreal perspective. It would be very long, though.
  14. Happy Ent

    Podcasts and Organizing them

    Waking Up with Sam Harris EconTalk NPR Politics Slate Political GabFest Rationally Speaking The Rubin Report
  15. Happy Ent

    German politics xth attempt

    Prue, you seem to know of which you speak, but is this quite right? My impression was that the new 2000 ruling allowed you to take German citizenship while retaining your Turkish citizenship. So the problem was not so much obtaining German citizenship (which was possible all along) but simultaneously keeping the Turkish one. The former impossibility of doing so prevented many German-born Turks of obtaining German citizenship because Turkish citizenship had very high value to them, primarily because of Turkish inheritance laws. Briefly put, your clan would suffer economically by your disavowal of Turkish citizenship, which is why you were socially disincentivized to take German citizenship. (The value of your individual vote for the Bundestag is dwarfed by the value of your clan to some piece of land in Anatolia.) At least this was my understanding. If I’m completely off, please correct me. This seems to be a dumb thing to be wrong about.
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