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Messages - silverspawn

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Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: Today at 04:56:30 pm »
I always have to chose some text to use in html files for my students during class, and I've used a bunch of snippets from the books. No-one ever questions it, which i find very amusing. People are so used to just do whatever is asked of them in school.

I've also used a lot of short poems. Very handy to practice formatting.

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: Today at 04:41:10 pm »
And then I would carve out the symbolism as a partially separate but similarly important piece. The final book in particular. We have this Island at the center of the world where everything arrives sooner or later, and first the Baudelaire parents become the rulers and make it a bastion of technology, but it doesn't work and there is a mutiny and they're removed from their posts, and then someone else with the opposite philosophy comes into power, and he outlaws all technology and makes life on the Island maximally simple, with everyone wearing the same clothes and eating the same meals, and lo and behold, the people on the Island are far smarter than everyone everywhere else who is part of the bureaucratic system throughout books #1-#12, but even so, people again get dissatisfied and then there is yet another mutiny in book 13.

And then of course there's the sugar bowl with the ultra mysterious secret thing inside that's supposedly the most important artifact in the world, and we never learn what it is

and the weird questionmark thing in the ocean where we also never learn what it is

and all of the talk about how it's logically impossible to ever solve any mystery because basically everything connects to just more nodes in the infinite connected graph of the real world

... and then again insisting that all of this actually *is* the real world that you as the reader are living in right now

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: Today at 04:30:36 pm »
I think it's basically like a stylistic tool to highlight absurdity. By establishing this hidden common knowledge about what things really are and taking place in an alternate universe where people don't rationalize, the stupid things that people do (eg fashion and freak shows) seem all that more stupid. As a reasonable person, you can't defend fashion in the world of the books, and this is interesting because it calls into question how the books are different from the real world, and whether the differences are actually enough to justify the thing in the real world.

And I think it's also very autistic. But unlike Tarrantino who tried to rediscover how things work in the real world, Snicket has instead crafted an alternate universe in which everyone is autistic. But in both cases, the results is really special. Autism ftw.

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: Today at 04:26:12 pm »
I've thought a lot about what makes The Series of Unfortunate Event so interesting. (The books, anyway.) There are some characteristics you can notice, like

- Everyone always refers to everything by the same name. In the book with the freaks, first the circus lady sighs and says something like "violence and sloppy eating. The people will love that." And then lo and behold, everyone refers to the appeal of freaks as exactly "violence and sloppy eating", notably including both people who are disgusted by it, and people who enjoy it.

- Relatedly, everyone is extremely candid about their motivations. The fashion lady functionally says "I neither like experience of smoking nor the taste, and it's also very unhealthy, but cigarettes are very in so I'd like another". In the real world, people are rationalizing the hell out of stuff like that; someone who is fashion-driven will usually claim that there are other reasons for liking stuff. No-one ever rationalizes anything in all 13 books.

- It has extremely absurd elements while constantly claiming that it takes place in the real world, and explicitly pointing to things that are not story-like but real-life like. And then Sunny fights the villain lady's rapier with her teeth in Book #4 and climbs an Elevator shaft with her teeth in book #6, and there is a village of people who burn others at the pyre in book #7.

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 17, 2021, 10:40:46 am »
you're totally right, but I was using taste as including texture

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 17, 2021, 06:53:30 am »
Just tried a vegan meat sticks thingy and it was pretty meh. I know for a fact that some people have figured out how to emulate the taste well, but it sure hasn't arrived at my local supermarket.

I mean I technically don't 'know' how meat tastes since I haven't tasted it in forever, but I know that wasn't it.

Although if something did, in fact, taste like meat, I'm not sure if I would even want it. I very much tried this one out of curiosity.

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 17, 2021, 05:50:04 am »
Just think about how hard it is for many to make friends, especially those with low status or high social anxiety or both. If religion can provide that for you, suddenly it becomes much less surprising that so many people "believe" such crazy things.

And you can't just sidestep the believing part because you're not allowed to admit that it's just about making friends. And thus religion is the, dare I say logical? answer.

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 17, 2021, 05:42:34 am »
This also suggests that the real reason for the decline of religion has less to do with science contradicting the doctrines and more with the rise of alternative ways for how to build a network of friends.

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 17, 2021, 05:33:40 am »
Been thinking about Christianity and Buddhism.

I'm almost certain that the Buddha had several extremely profound and straight-forwardly true insights about how the human mind works that he made the foundation of his teachings. (e.g. the four noble truths).

On the other hand, as far as I can tell, Christianity doesn't have any profound insights it is based on. My now deeply Christian sister said it's the first religion to advocate compassion for strangers, but this is most certainly untrue; China had a popular utilitarian religion 200-400 years earlier.

But sadly, this seems to make a tiny difference at best. I've asked people who are Buddhist or know Buddhists about how much Buddhists seriously meditate, and although I was expecting something like 'not very much', what I've heard is worse than that. The average Buddhist seems about as likely to have understood or adopted anything about mindfulness than the average "Christian" is to offer you their other cheek if you randomly punch them into the face. This may only be a slight exaggeration.

And then there is the other perplexing thing that the genuine insights at the core of Buddhism are obscured by the utter nonsense about rebirth and karma, which seems to be almost as central as the four noble truths. It is perplexing to me how someone who seems to have demonstrated a genuine scientific mind when it comes to examining the human condition can then turn around and just make stuff up. All of the religions just make stuff up. And frankly I think the rebirth stuff is even worse than the stuff that other religions make up because it directly contradicts the core message. If you reject the notion of a constant self or soul (and doing just that is super central to the Buddhist teachings), then saying that you will be reborn as a whale isn't even false, it's ill-defined. If a whale is born, then there is no way to change the universe such that the whale is or is not you. It's not like the information about who it is is somehow encoded in the particles of its brain. There is no room in physics to remember whether an animal is or is not a reborn version of you.

There is also no room in physics for an immortal soul, of course, but at least the Christianity is **consistent** in postulating that such a thing exists. The notions of heaven and hell in the afterlife aren't in direct contradiction with anything else in the Bible, at least not as far as I'm aware.

And it's also stupid because the ultimate goal according to the text is to stop being reborn altogether, which is odd because being truly mindful leads to positive well-being under just about any circumstances, and the Buddha says as much elsewhere, so what the hell.

I've read that many Buddhist scholars have debated this question (i.e., since we don't believe in a soul, what is being reborn?) but of course, they have an impossible task there because they start from the position of having to make sense of it, when the obvious-but-unavailable answer is that it doesn't make sense.

Sometimes I wonder if the Buddha was just bullshitting everyone, maybe including it just as a way to motivate people to be altruistic (because how good of a person you are influences what you are reborn as). But as much as I would like to believe that, I really don't. Seems wildly unlikely.

Anyway now I'm making two separate points. Back to the first, my impression is that for something like 99% of people, religion is entirely or almost entirely about rituals and community, and that can be provided equally well with just about any doctrine. Publicly pledging to believe stupid things has an important signaling function; it conveys that you are on a certain team, and this is valuable for others who are also on that team. This can create a sense of kinship, belonging, and also material benefits through a network of allies. That's what religion provides, first and foremost. This is why there are studies showing that being religious (on the personal level) correlates positively with all sorts of things from lifespan to income to happiness (not 100% sure if those were on the list, but they probably are). And this signaling function actually works *better* the more more absurd the belief is (because then the incentive to believe it for other reasons is weaker) so you really don't need it to be based on anything true.

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 16, 2021, 11:37:37 am »
So much of life is about not being afraid of things

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 16, 2021, 09:16:00 am »
This is pretty great

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 16, 2021, 08:26:29 am »
Today I had a near car accident. Which is remarkable because I don't have a diver's license and only rarely let others drive me around.

Sounds perfectly natural so far. If you don't have a license, maybe it would be a good idea to let someone else do the driving.

no that's crazy

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 15, 2021, 04:20:02 pm »
Bad thing about believing in the multiverse is that I now keep thinking about how bad it has turned out in other branches of the wavefunction.

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 15, 2021, 04:19:23 pm »
Today I had a near car accident. Which is remarkable because I don't have a diver's license and only rarely let others drive me around.

The driver and i were having a conversation, then we paused because there was a difficult part, then he looked at some road signs and missed a car in front of him. I didn't say anything because I didn't register that it was dangerous (figured he still had time to change), but the third passenger did, and presumably that avoided the accident.

I'm not upset at myself for not giving a warning -- I don't drive, doesn't seem realistic for me to rapidly process whether or not a situation is dangerous -- but it seems like conversations pose more of a security risk than I had thought. We didn't talk about anything that required him looking elsewhere or taking a hand off the wheel. Presumably the conversation was partially responsible since otherwise he'd have looked at the signs earlier.

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 14, 2021, 05:39:26 pm »
As long as Biden doesn't show severe signs of dementia/illness/etc (which is a very real possibility), my guess is that an incumbent Biden who already beat Trump, along with a democratic establishment that should be slightly less incompetent this time, should probably beat Trump by a decent margin.

Will be curious whether Twitter unbans him.

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 14, 2021, 05:35:07 pm »
Slightly changing topics, the markets now think there is an 28% chance that Trump wins the election in 2024.

I would say there is a... 15%? chance that democracy doesn't survive the 2024 election.

I also think the results matter a lot, despite the fact that Trump will claim voter fraud regardless of result. It'll just be a lot more convincing if the result is actually close. And then he could of course also win outright.

Things to avoid:

Run Kamala Harris

Things to do:

Run someone else

Markets agree with my assessment.

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 13, 2021, 06:11:23 pm »
The Buddha was not lacking in confidence

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 13, 2021, 06:11:02 pm »
Oh monks, I've set out seeking the satisfaction in the world. Whatever satisfaction there is, that I have found. I have clearly seen with wisdom just how for the satisfaction of the world extends.

I've set out seeking the drawbacks of the world. Whatever drawbacks there are, that I have found. I have clearly seen with wisdom just how far the drawbacks in the world extend.

I've set out seeking release, freedom from the world. Whatever release there is, that I have found. I have clearly seen with wisdom just how far release from the world extends.

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 13, 2021, 02:53:06 pm »
The only thing chess doesn't have is RNG

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 13, 2021, 02:52:32 pm »
I would guess that chess contains more or at least comparable luck to starcraft I.

Something that comes much closer to no luck would be literal running

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 13, 2021, 02:50:27 pm »
Unrelated I feel the need to express that

Chess contains luck

Actually a lot of luck

Because people are too bad to search the entire tree

So they don't know whether moves are good or not

and sometimes you make a great move by total accident

The better you are, the less luck there is, but there is plenty of luck for > 99% of players

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 13, 2021, 12:42:12 pm »
There are so many attractive scenes to envision in that fantasy, e.g. my now deceased grandfather used to play chess and he taught me a bit but I wasn't very interested back then. But I'm probably better at it now than he used to be, so if I could go back...

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 13, 2021, 12:34:48 pm »
My greatest dream is to go back into my ~15 year younger self with my current brain intact. That way, I could

- fix every mistake and missed opportunity that ever happened and do everything way better
- prevent all of the bad things that have happened to people I know
- impress everyone by being ultra smart for someone my age
- achieve super high status in relevant circles even independent of age by presenting the important knowledge I've acquired from other people in the future. Since I can't admit to time travel, I have no choice but to pretend that I've come up with it myself
- lose all anxiety over not progressing fast enough in life
- get ultra rich by buying bitcoin

I must have spent dozens of hours daydreaming about this throughout my life. If only it were possible

Non-Mafia Game Threads / Re: The Necro Wars
« on: October 13, 2021, 12:24:20 pm »
absolutely unrelated, you were in my dream tonight. We were trying to find some train in Germany and all the trains were late and I was asking you how to find the train we need because you're a local and you looked completely lost as well.

Already funny because I dream about barely missing/barely not missing trains all the time. Not so much recently probably because I don't use a lot of trains these days, which is incidentally because of quote #3 (you can't rely on them for important things)

1) I realize I read this thread more than any other on forum

aw <3

2) Just the other day I was talking to my russian friend living in Germany and he was complainig about the trains a lot

Yeah, the train system is really bad; if you have a trip where you say, change twice, you have to assume maybe a 1/3 chance of arriving at your destination with a delay of 30 minutes or more. I think someone at some point screwed up designing the system, perhaps with the software, and no-one has been able to fix it.  But I'm told it's not this bad everywhere.

General Discussion / Re: Brag Board
« on: October 13, 2021, 04:44:15 am »
I've taken the gender contiuum test. After the test itself, there was a part where you were given 18 traits and had to predict which 9 of them scored higher for women than men across their dataset.

I got 100% of them correct :-)
Me too  :D

aw now I feel less special

but did you also guess which trait had the highest predictive power?

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