Friday, December 19, 2014

A step forward

This attempt by the Dutch anti-nationalists to crack down on Geert Wilders is actually an encouraging step on the European front. It means the multicultis have lost their popular support, the deception game is over, and they are now being forced to resort to naked force and open speech policing in an attempt to silence the opposition's leadership:
'The public prosecutor in The Hague is to prosecute Geert Wilders on charges of insulting a group of people based on race and incitement to discrimination and hatred,' prosecutors said in a statement.

'Politicians may go far in their statements, that's part of freedom of expression, but this freedom is limited by the prohibition of discrimination,' it said, adding that no date had yet been set for the trial.

In a written statement, Wilders says he 'said what millions of people think and believe.'

Wilders says authorities 'should concentrate on prosecuting jihadis instead of me.'

'I do not retract anything I have said,' Wilders, whose Party for Freedom (PVV) is leading opinion polls.

'In my fight for freedom and against the Islamisation of the Netherlands, I will never let anyone silence me. No matter the cost, no matter by whom, whatever the consequences may be,' he said.
Once they resort to the use of force, so can their opponents. If Wilders is jailed for nothing more than defending the Dutch nation against their invaders, many of his jailers will not likely survive for long. After all, if a Dutchman is going to be imprisoned for his thoughts, he may as well be imprisoned for his actions.

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Anti-game is anti-human

A fascinating article on the anti-GamerGate focus on narrative and how that anti-game perspective is intrinsically anti-human:
Life doesn’t have innate structure, even if you can awkwardly cram cylindrical tropes through square holes to try and illustrate relationships between things you experience and media you consume. But this gets even worse when examining other media. Films and novels are heavily rooted in narratives, because they must have a plot to carry them forward, excepting some very experimental films. Some songs carry a narrative, but you can’t have music that’s just someone talking. That might qualify as poetry, but even some poetry isn’t narrative, merely descriptive. You can have music without a narrative, and for centuries this was the most popular form of music. Likewise, games are another medium which can exist without any narrative at all. Just as music can be art merely for the composition, a game can be beautiful for its game mechanics.

A classic game that can qualify as art based on nothing but core mechanics.

One of the major problems with game criticism—the “subjective” kind that many detractors say is unacceptable—is that it is rooted in Narratology. Instead of focusing on the mechanics, and commenting on how well they work together, critics focus on the narrative and what the mechanics mean for the story, not what the story means for the mechanics, or even if the developer had the intention of making such a statement.

Personally, I love it when a game merges story and mechanics. In fact, I think the best way to tell a story is through mechanics, and not exposition or traditional narrative delivery. But that concept has been rejected by critics, opting to use Narratological deconstruction and insisting that this is the only way to evaluate media. When games naturally don’t pander to this benchmark, they receive failing marks. There’s a bigger reward for developers catering to this cabal of “journalists” than for catering to the actual audience. When the standards of the reviewer and their audience differ so greatly, the reviewer cannot be said to speak for their audience. Despite this flawed approach, proponents of New Historicism insist that all media must be evaluated this way. It conveniently allows them to cite Post-Structuralist reasoning to defend themselves from criticism of their methodology, since the reviewers subjective opinion and any conjecture they can express are consider to be at least as important as the media being judged, no matter how self-evident it is that the reviewer has missed the point.

Papers, Please tells a compelling, interactive story using its mechanics.

To a degree, it’s inevitable that this outlook supports “experimental” titles that don’t really fall into the bounds of “games.” It’s not a medium they’re capable of properly digesting, so content has to be restricted to something they can process. Funny, you never hear the opposition supporting non-narrative films, but they do support games that are top-heavy with narrative. It’s not actually about something “new” or “better.” It’s about something “different.” Labeling it “experimental” is the only way it can get a pass in the wrong industry. If held to the standards of a medium it actually belonged in–one with Narratological standards–it’d fall apart.

Ultimately what these ideas boil down to is an overarching philosophy called Anti-Humanism. This social theory comes as a reaction to Humanism, and the belief that it was too idealistic. While Humanism is all about free will, placing humanity and human actions at the center of life, and using rationality and reason alone to reach moral decisions, Anti-Humanism detaches humanity from inherent meanings (via Post-Structuralism) to “de-center” subjects and remove their agency. In other words, you yourself lack free will, since you’re a product of the world around you, and working towards an ideal self is futile. Interestingly, Nietzsche (credited as a “founder” of Existentialism, a philosophy that places great emphasis on human agency and the absurdity of life) often criticized humanism for being a form of “secular theism.” Anti-humanism finds itself equally religious in practice, but with a much more oppressive set of goals.

Gaming is the natural enemy of anti-humanism. When you play games, you yourself have personal agency. Only a player truly has free will inside of a game. You are playing by a ruleset, but you have choice within that ruleset, and likely have goals and motivations. These are informed by your situation and by the gameplay systems, but some of the highest-praised games have allowed you to set your own criterion for success, and provided you with a system open enough to facilitate that. Many strategy and 4X games are good examples of that. The belief that all humans are free and equal is a core tenet of Humanism, which Anti-Humanists reject.
The idea that the average individual has agency, of course, is anathema in the world of the Social Justice Warrior. Because then he would be responsible for his actions... and his failures.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Negative interest rates

One more check in the ICE box. Zerohedge cites Goldman Sachs concerning the surprise announcement of NIRP from the Swiss:
The Governing Board of the SNB surprisingly announced this morning that it will introduce a negative rate of -0.25% on sight deposit account balances at the SNB. The SNB's target range for the three-month Libor was also widened from 0.0% - +0.25% to -0.75% - +0.25%. In our view, today's rate decision simply underlines the determination of the SNB to enforce the minimum exchange rate target for the CHF against the Euro.

1. This morning, the SNB surprisingly announced that, on January 22, it will introduce a negative interest rate of -25bp on reserve holdings from banks at the SNB, above a threshold of 20 times the minimum reserve requirement. The SNB's target range for the three-month Libor was also widened from 0.0% - +0.25% to -0.75% - +0.25%. Over the last couple of days, the CHF has traded very close to the 1.20 level on the back of rising market volatility. The subsequent demand for safe investments attracted large capital inflows into Switzerland, eventually prompting the SNB to react.

2. According to the SNB, the measure is aimed at making investments into CHF less attractive. Although it is only banks that will have to pay the negative deposit rate, banks will pass on, to some extent at least, the negative rates to customers. It is noteworthy in that respect that some German banks - in response to the ECB's negative rates - have also started charging some clients negative deposit rates.

3. It remains to be seen how effective this measure will be and the SNB will continue to rely on FX interventions to defend the minimum exchange rate. But the measure in any case shows the determination of the SNB to maintain the lower bound for the CHF against the Euro.
When currencies are getting too strong and interest rates are going negative, this is a sign that the central banks are fighting against deflationary pressures. To fight inflation, you raise the interest rate, thereby encouraging people to save. To fight deflation, you lower it, thereby encouraging people to borrow and spend. Or, in this case, since the negative interest rate is only being applied to banks, it is to encourage them to lend. That points to the fundamental difference between fiat money and credit money. You can print paper, but you can't print borrowers.

The Swiss are trying to weaken their currency, which is strong against the Euro and the dollar, so they are trying to make it less attractive to investors in order to protect their domestic exporters. Russia, on the other hand, isn't trying to export, but is instead attempting to bring in capital that is frustrated at earning so little interest in the low-interest Western economies.

Widespread NIRP will dictate the eventual end of the credit money system as well as the banks. If you're being charged to save your credit money, you might as well pay someone to securely hold something more tangible.

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How to lose to SJWs

Here is an example of someone who is on the right side, but doesn't understand that you never win by spurning your allies:
I felt like talking about this topic because I’ve noticed the ease of which people will dismiss you, especially if you happen to be on the other side of the Anita Sarkeesian/GamerGate argument and you’re not a woman-hating bastard.

Honestly it feels like I’m supposed to just keep my trap shut sometimes.

Now let me get one thing straight. By “Other side,” I don’t include the sexists, the woman haters and those who argue in bad faith. I mean people who have valid critiques of Anita Sarkeesian and others like her. What I noticed from my petition post was the willingness of the people arguing for Anita to not even bother to ask what my own opinion on her were. Instead my post was met with “ugh” and Feminist Frequency videos. Not once was I asked, “Well why are you against Anita? Is there any particular reason why you don’t want her working on Mirrors Edge 2?” These questions weren’t even asked until I pointed out the fact that they were willing to automatically go in on the attack before even knowing what my reasoning was.
What he and other would-be moderates fail to realize is that the anti-GamerGate, pro-Sarkeesian, SJW side is not reasonable and is never going to be convinced by sweet reason. They have no interest in it and little capacity for it.

This is the same divide between dialectic and rhetoric that I keep pointing out to everyone. You do NOT fight a rhetorical battle with dialectic; in a rhetorical battle the only use for dialectic is in a rhetorical manner; it can be used to explode pseudo-dialectic poses, but that is the extent of its effectiveness. It is an intrinsically defensive weapon on the rhetorical level. This means you cannot win with it.

The primary difference between the Left and the Right is that the Left instinctively defends its extremists and the Right instinctively runs from them and leaves them out to dry. The latter is an appeasement strategy, and it works about as well as the infamous failures of appeasement we all know from history.

All appeasement does is signal to the SJW what buttons he needs to push in order to force an opponent to retreat. When you dutifully point out that "you don't agree with everything X says" or "don’t include the sexists, the woman haters and those who argue in bad faith", what you are accomplishing is not the inoculation of your argument from their extremist taint, you are telling the SJW exactly how he can rhetorically defeat you by painting you as the very sort of extremist you disavow. And remember, rhetorical victory is the entirety of their objective!

Embrace the extremists. Defend them. Refuse to permit them to be cut off and isolated. Allow them to play their role as the intellectual shock troops they are. That is how you win. Because if they're not taking the incoming fire, you are. And the shock troops are much better equipped psychologically to take it and survive than the average self-styled moderate.


The cowardice of Hollywood

This is how to how to make a corporation kneel, submit, and behave, everyone:
With theater chains defecting en masse, Sony Pictures Entertainment has pulled the planned Christmas Day release of “The Interview.” U.S. officials have reportedly linked a massive cyber attack against Sony to North Korea, which is at the center of the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy.

“We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public,” Sony said in a statement. “We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”

In announcing the decision to cancel the holiday debut, Sony also hit back at the hackers who threatened movie theaters and moviegoers and who have terrorized the studio and its employees for weeks.

“Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like,” the statement reads.

A few hours after making the announcent, a studio spokesman said that Sony had “no further plans” to release the comedy, either on VOD or DVD.
Christians aren't comfortable killing people who insult their faith and their Lord and Savior. That's one reason most anti-religionists are so much more inclined to attack Christians rather than Muslims. But no one was actually harmed in the cyber attack on Sony; all that happened was some information that the studio would rather have kept under wraps has been distributed to the public.

Perhaps entertainment corporations would be more inclined to show civility and respect to Christians again if some of us applied the lesson we've learned from the supposed North Korean example.

It is, of course, vastly amusing to see a Hollywood entity complaining about someone else seeking to destroy their spirit and morale. Isn't that exactly what Hollywood has been relentlessly doing to Western civilization since the 1960s?

It's not easy to make the North Koreans look good, but Sony somehow managed it. They're typical SJWs, paper tigers, able only to apply the heat but never to bear it themselves. No wonder people in Hollywood are always giving each other "courage" awards and talking about how brave they are. They are cowards and they know it.

If Sony had any balls at all, if they were truly convinced of their own rectitude, they would have released the film even if every theatre in America refused to show it. And the fact that they backed down after several sets of information were released makes one wonder what it is they are still trying to hide. From now on, we know that North Korea has an effective veto over Sony, if not the rest of Hollywood.

What a pity they didn't decide to target The Hobbit(ses) for the desecration and war crime that Peter Jackson let his wife commit on Tolkien's text. As with the Star Wars prequels, I saw the first one, and as a result, will not watch the second two.

Filmmaker Judd Apatow called it a "sad day for creative expression" and said, "When we cave to threats, it trains people to threaten us."

As I mentioned on Twitter, I'll take Hollywood's tears over the impact this will have on "creative expression" seriously on the day it releases a movie that sympathetically portrays Nazis rounding up Jews or presents a powerful emotional defense of KKK members defending their families and community from the depredations of black Americans. Until then, their tears are best seen as nothing more than a complaint that a new party has forcibly insisted on claiming the same sort of veto power that Hollywood's other interest groups possess.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Of books and games

Ken Burnside of Ad Astra Games chimes in:
So, one of my other gigs - beyond making Cool Space Combat Games, is being a science checker for SF writers for Baen.  I got asked by Vox Day to write a science article for their new anthology series "Riding the Red Horse" - which released yesterday. In its first day of release, it's done impressively - it's climbing up the paid Kindle listings and is a category leader in Military SF and SF in general.
Ken's "The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military Science Fiction" is a must-read for any science fiction author. And check this out... Ad Astra is about to come out with the Traveller version of Squadron Strike!

From the most recent review of RIDING THE RED HORSE: "I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of mil sci-fi short stories and essays on war. Each story left me wanting more of the universe in which it takes place (my favourite of the shorts was the last one: "Turncoat" by Steve Rzasa,), and each essay made me marvel at the genius of the respective author. I wouldn't consider myself a military theory buff, but the essays in this collections certainly awakened a hunger in me to find out more and explore the world of war-gaming."

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Ocean-front diplomacy

Never let it be said that Obama doesn't think ahead:
President Obama announced sweeping changes to U.S. policy with Cuba on Wednesday, moving to normalize relations with the island nation and tear down the last remaining pillar of the Cold War.

Under the new measures, the United States plans to reopen its embassy in Havana and significantly ease restrictions on travel and commerce within the next several weeks and months, Obama said. Speaking from the White House, he declared that a half-century of isolation of the Communist country “has not worked.”

“It’s time for a new approach,” he said.

The history-shaping overtures come after more than 18 months of secret negotiations with the Cuban government of President Raul Castro. The final touches appeared to be arrangements for a series of simultaneous prisoner releases.
It's probably one of the smartest moves of his presidency, if not the smartest. Cubans don't vote for Democrats anyhow, and no one gives a damn about them anymore since they're massively outnumbered by Mexicans now. It's all upside for Obama; no doubt there are plenty of big-money interests just slavering to snap up Cuban real estate.

I'd be astonished if he doesn't come out of it with a sweet post-presidential villa.

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Deutschland gegen Islam

The German and international media is going to have no more success disqualifying PEGIDA than the UK media has had in disqualifying UKIP or the French media has had in disqualifying National Front:
Its members have been dubbed the “pinstriped Nazis” and they refer to their demonstrations as “evening strolls” through German cities. But on Monday night, an estimated 15,000 people joined Pegida, or Patriotic Europeans Against Islamisation of the West, in a march through Dresden carrying banners bearing slogans such as “Zero tolerance towards criminal asylum seekers”, “Protect our homeland” and “Stop the Islamisation”.

Lutz Bachmann, the head of Pegida, a nascent anti-foreigner campaign group, led the crowds, either waving or draped in German flags, in barking chants of “Wir sind das Volk”, or “We are the people”, the slogan adopted by protesters in the historic “Monday demonstrations” against the East German government in the runup to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Associating themselves with the freedom demonstrations has given Pegida protests an air of moral respectability even though there are hundreds of rightwing extremists in their midst, as well as established groups of hooligans who are known to the police, according to Germany’s federal office for the protection of the constitution.

“The instigators are unmistakably rightwing extremists,” a federal spokesman said.

It was the ninth week in a row that Pegida had taken its protest on to the city’s streets in the eastern German state of Saxony.

Its first march, advertised on Facebook and other social media, attracted just 200 supporters. By last week the figure had risen to 10,000. By Monday night it had grown to an estimated 15,000.
Nine weeks to go from 200 to 15,000. At that rate, by the middle of next year they'll be on the verge of throwing the traitoress Merkel out on her fat ass. Once the first anti-immigrant party takes power and people see how much better things are with the Third World flow going the proper way, the other electorates will rapidly follow suit.

That's why you've got the English media freaking out about the rise of anti-immigrant parties in France, Germany and Sweden. Christendom will rise again. It's absolutely ludicrous to ever count out a faith that began with just eleven frightened, cowardly men who abandoned their leader. Christianity doesn't need numbers. It just needs the faith of a mustard seed.


Correia on guns, etc

An interview on guns in fiction:
Ryan: What are the common pitfalls in fiction where it’s clear that the author has never held or fired a modern firearm?

Larry: It isn’t just guns, but any topic where the reader is an expert and the author is clueless. The problem is that when you write something that the reader knows is terribly wrong, it kicks them right out of the story and ruins the experience for them. Guns are especially hard because they are super common in fiction, and there are tons of readers who know about them.

Most of these really glaring errors can be taken care of with a little bit of cursory research. Technical things can be taken care of by a few minutes on the manufacturer’s webpage, which will keep your characters from dramatically flipping off the safety on a gun that doesn’t have one.

Beyond that, however, is the actual use of the gun. The character using it should have a realistic amount of knowledge based on their skill, knowledge, ability, and training. If you are gong to be writing about a character who is a professional gunslinger, then you need to do some research to make sure that person does what a professional gunslinger would do.
And speaking of Larry Correia, Daniel somehow manages to abuse a writer at the Atlantic even more comprehensively than Larry's customary prison-raping of various Guardian contributors in The Wrong Corpse and the Highbrow Coroner:
Noah Berlatsky at The Atlantic declares science fiction dead of terminal nostalgia:

    Poor George Orwell wants his panopticon back.

He also quotes an important fresh voice in science fiction that:

“we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope.”

Then he spends the rest of the article writing about Marvel comic books and their related movies.

The thesis, that science fiction has lost its way in a retrospective swamp of camp nostalgia for Star Wars, Star Trek and comic books is a bait-and-switch, however:

    Science fiction is everywhere in popular culture, and it seems like it’s managed to be everywhere in the present by largely jettisoning the future.

Berlatsky has switched terms on the reader. He isn’t talking about science fiction as a genre, he’s complaining about pop culture, as if that has anything to do with the core idea factory of science fiction, which, and always has been, books.

It does not.

If the reader needs any more confirmation, the critic’s only example of a “current” science fiction writer whose ideas run counter to the prison of pop culture is…Octavia Butler, a prog-writer who has been dead for nearly a decade, and whose most prominent work is more than thirty years past its publication date.
The ironic thing is that Berlatsky may well have a credible defense in resorting to the example chosen. The corpse of the late Octavia Butler, as it rots and feeds the worms, is arguably producing more interesting, less noxious output than are the Pink SF writers giving each other awards these days.


Dr. Pournelle health report

From Jerry's blog:
    “Jerry had a small stroke. He is recovering well at a local hospital. Prognosis is good, though they’re running more tests and he’s expected to stay at least another day or two.

    “He felt well enough to call Mom [Mrs. Pournelle] from the hospital.

    “Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. More updates when we have them.”
They are permitting well-wishers to post comments, in case you would like to do so.

I can't say I know Dr. Pournelle well, but after working with him over the last two weeks to get "His Truth Goes Marching On" and "Simulating the Art of War" into RIDING THE RED HORSE, I found myself marveling at how sharp he is despite being 81 years old. Of course, it probably helps when you're starting with a mind that is around +4SD.

We did talk a little about the SFWA purge in passing; he was curious about my perspective on it. He was mildly appalled to hear what really happened, as you might expect, and thought the Board's action was both ridiculous and short-sighted. But he also saw the humor in the incident, and laughed out loud when I explained the actual nature of the technical violation.

It's such a pleasure to discover that a giant of one's youth is also a genuinely good man. Here is to his speedy recovery.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pity the poor troll

Poor Andrew Marston is sad that his trolling has rendered him unable to post things by people he likes, for fear that they'll be treated the way he treats others.
I actually thought about linking to a video of Emma singing and playing guitar. Don't get me wrong, this has little to do with the elections, in fact, I actually considered posting it the day after the election, but then I found out Larry Correia and his poo-flingers are searching for and conjecturing upon my posts elsewhere on the internet, and since linking to a video of Emma by Emma could put us in a situation where Correia or Vox could do a lot of damage, I am not linking to it.
Of course, there are a lot of things we could do. For one, we could let them know about how Andrew publicly bragged about posting pornography on the site of two underage girls:
If you had to confess to the most evil thing you have ever done, what would it be?

Yamamanama--I bet April Gaede knows the answer to that one... heh, heh... Oh yeah, Prussian Blue is on SomethingAwful. Lynx and Lamb's diary was hacked or something, because it was overloaded with porn. Gay porn. Gay porn involving old people. Gay porn involving old white people. In response, April Gaede only allowed one character (!?) in the guestbook. In response to that, people made 42 posts with one character each.

Yamamanama--Child porn? Yeah, OK. I actually posted some examples of the stuff I spammed Micetrap Records with in that thread about Who Is White? 

He also goes by the name of yama the space fish. The guy is a certified nut case who posts porn all over the internet. I saw a few examples of his work on some WP sights before the mods had a chance to pull it off. He is one sick bastard. He posted a picture of children having sex on one sight,and another one of two elderly men having gay sex on another one. Then after they were removed he tried to say they were just pictures of a chineese girl in a bathing suit.
Andrew quite clearly doesn't understand how "irritating people who can afford to pay for private detectives" works. Or that "annoying people with high-level connections at various Internet technology companies" is probably not a good idea. Or that all of that is completely irrelevant when he's already posted so many names on his own site.... Andrew doesn't really seem to understand how the Internet works. Now here is the punchline:
Andrew Marston aka Beardsley McTurbanhead
The fact that Blogspot turns a blind eye to your many harassment campaigns is sickening.

I'm sure it's a coincidence that comments on Silence Without have all disappeared now that Steve Sailer, Vox Day, and Andrew Bolt have linked to it.
You're projecting there, Andrew. I'm not harassing anyone. One single link to a blog site in the news that specifically mentions me by name doesn't qualify as harassment or trolling in anyone's book. You, on the other hand, were known for harassing many people for years before you ever discovered this blog. Now, perhaps you have forgotten, but I am literally publishing the book on 4GW,  and as you should have learned from the example of McRapey, I may be slow to start, but once I get rolling, I never, ever stop.

Burning question: Who's going to have a lot of explaining to do after I get off the phone with the police department? Child porn is not a joke to them.

A partial list of names: Alauda*, Arachnothera, Beardsley McTurbanhead, Chokley Carmichael, Clamps*, Comrade Questions, Daphis, Daphnis*, Freddy Foreshadowing, Luscinia*, Luscinia Hafez, Starshine, Sunlight, Will Le Fey*, Yama*, Yamamanama*, Yama the Space Fish.

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Counterparty risk

Robert Prechter warned of this. It doesn't matter if you traded right, if you can't cash in your nominal winnings:
Dear Client,

Please be advised that that most Western Banks have stopped pricing USD/RUB. As such, FXCM can no longer offer this instrument to our clients and will begin closing any existing client trades in USD/RUB effective at Noon EST today, December 16th, 2014, 

So for those curious why there appears to be a collapse in Ruble volatility in the past few hours which in turn has sent both stocks and crude soaring, the answer is simple: nobody is trading it! 

And this is what happened following the post: as soon as all those short the RUB (long USDRUB) realized they have to take profits, the USDRUB tumbled some 500 pips (!) in the process sending stocks surging.
We appear to have a full-blown financial war underway. I wonder how long it will take Putin to put the ruble on the gold standard. That's always been his trump card; it eliminates Russia's ability to play the money multiplication game, but in the end, will provide Russia with a sounder currency than the so-called currency of last resort.

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The randomness of scientistry

Science is finally turning scientody on scientistry... and the results are not as self-flattering to professional science as most scientists expected.
The NIPS consistency experiment was an amazing, courageous move by the organizers this year to quantify the randomness in the review process. They split the program committee down the middle, effectively forming two independent program committees. Most submitted papers were assigned to a single side, but 10% of submissions (166) were reviewed by both halves of the committee. This let them observe how consistent the two committees were on which papers to accept.  (For fairness, they ultimately accepted any paper that was accepted by either committee.)

The results were revealed this week: of the 166 papers, the two committees disagreed on the fates of 25.3% of them: 42. But this “25%” number is misleading, and most people I’ve talked to have misunderstood it: it actually means that the two committees disagreed more than they agreed on which papers to accept. Let me explain.

The two committees were each tasked with a 22.5% acceptance rate. This would mean choosing about 37 of the 166 papers to accept. Since they disagreed on 42 papers total, this means each committee accepted 21 papers that the other committee rejected and vice versa, for 21 + 21 = 42 total papers with different outcomes. Since they each accepted 37 papers, this means they disagreed on 21/37 ≈ 56% of the list of accepted papers.

In particular, 56% of the papers accepted by the first committee were rejected by the second one and vice versa. In other words, most papers at NIPS would be rejected if one reran the conference review process (with a 95% confidence interval of 40-75%).
What rightly concerns the writer is the fact that a purely random process would have resulted in a 77.5 percent disagreement, which is closer to the 56 percent observed than the 30 percent expected. And, of course, the 0 percent that the science fetishists would have us believe is always the case.

This is a very important experiment, because it highlights the huge gap between science the process (scientody) and science the profession (scientistry). Some may roll their eyes at my insistence on using different words for the different aspects of science, but the observable fact, the scientodically informed fact, is that using the same word to refer to the two very differently reliable aspects of science is incredibly misleading.


Homeschool or Die: Pakistan

4GW prefers to aim at soft targets:
At least 126 people have been killed, more than 100 of them children, after Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar, in the worst ever militant attack to hit the troubled region.

It was reported that one suicide bomber blew himself up in a room containing 60 children and a teacher was set on fire in front of pupils, with the children forced to watch.

The attack started with the gunmen, disguised as security guards, entering the 500-pupil school - which has students aged 10 to 18 - in the early hours.

The jihadists shot their way into the building and went from classroom to classroom, shooting at random.

Army commandos quickly arrived at the scene and exchanged fire with the gunmen. Eye-witnesses described how students cowered under desks as dead bodies were strewn along corridors. News images of the aftermath of the attack showed boys in blood-soaked school uniforms with green blazers being carried from the scene.

Around 160 children, aged 13 and 14, are being held hostage, with four gunmen still inside.  A police inspector said they had trapped the terrorists in the principal's office. Many of the soldiers involved in the rescue operation are trying to save their own children.
And the world looks on... and learns. The strutting, swaggering militarized police in America have already seen their own families targeted in Los Angeles and Colorado, but they haven't taken the lesson to heart yet and dialed down their confrontational tactics. And yet, how quickly the agents of the state stop strutting and swaggering when they finally grasp that their families are easily reached even when they live behind barricades and their children go to special schools protected with security guards....

It's a tragedy, to be sure, and in the West, the sort of easily avoidable tragedy that will nevertheless come to West in time, as we have already seen in New York, London, Madrid, and Sydney.

There is one answer, and only one answer. Mass repatriation. If it is not enacted, then America, and England, and Italy, and Sweden, and Germany, and every other country in the West will see its children subjected to the same jihadist violence. The East does not, and never has, practice the formal Western way of war. And they will prefer to target the soft targets, the women and the children who are incapable of fighting back. Note that this sort of soft-targeting is the very subject addressed by my story, "A Reliable Source", in RIDING THE RED HORSE.

"We selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females,' said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani. 'We want them to feel the pain.'" 

Speaking of soft targets: "Over 1,000 schools have been destroyed by the Pakistan Taliban since 2010."

The answer is not to fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here. It is to send them back over there so we don't have to fight them here.

UPDATE: Final count: "Nine Taliban terrorists attacked the Army Public School in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar today, slaughtering 132 children in the deadliest terrorist attack in the nation's history."

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Heroine of the pre-anti-backlash

Steve Sailer points out that the woman who is heroically declaring her support for Muslims in the wake of Muslims kidnapping and murdering white Australians is, to put it mildly, a mentally unstable, attention-seeking loon:
Below is the Australian Broadcasting Company’s interview with The Megaphone’s designated heroine of the unfortunate events in Sydney today in which two victims of a Muslim immigrant terrorist died.

But even before the murders actually happened, the media was moving on to the real story: its fears of a backlash against Muslims, and the one brave woman, Melbourne writer Tessa Kum, who courageously tweeted her opposition to this theoretical but widely hoped for / denounced backlash. 
What is particularly amusing is that this "Melbourne writer" is not merely a mentally unstable, attention-seeking loon, but an SJW of the SFWA variety. And, as we all figured was inevitable eventually, she's been one of the first of them to turn on John Scalzi and attack him for his unbearable whiteness, his privilege, and his undeniable racism:
I also didn't expect to see the white publishing scene – let's call a turd a turd – take on my Shovel of Oh You Are So Right Tessa and start digging graves with it.

Suddenly, you're all promoting Tricia Sullivan's new book.

Solidarity is for white women, hey.

There's John Scalzi over there, making a point of featuring Tricia Sullivan's work, and making an even larger point of deleting comments that 'drag in online drama from elsewhere'. You know John Scalzi, right? You guys fucking love him. He's generally a beacon for progressive reasonableness, a vocal ally, decent writer and I've seen him dance. People like him. He's a great guy. I've noticed that you, white person, are really championing him for his overt stance against G***rgater. He's a rich white cishet man in a western country, he has privilege coming out the wooza, it's ace to see him going in to bat against the G***rgaters.

Because doxxing is bad!

But not all doxxing!

("Not all men!")

Doxxing is okay if done to a PoC.

This is the message John Scalzi sends when he promotes the work of Tricia Sullivan. He has significant platform and volume and he ticks all the privilege boxes. The reach and impact of this message should not be dismissed or underestimated. It is tacit approval of her actions, taking the position that she should not be reproached but instead supported.

This lack of intersectionality undermines all the otherwise good work he has done. How can I take "We Need Diverse Books" seriously – which I really fucking want to, and do – when there are white feminists such as John Scalzi providing implicit support to a white woman who has shown not a moment of regret for what she has done to a person of colour?

I can't.... What makes this racist is the simple fact that you, white person, have not done this to your own.

Jim Frenkle, Vox Day, Harlan Ellis, Will Shetterly. For fuck’s sake, how many decades did you let Frenkle prey in the scene before some young uppity voice of dissent forced your hand? You let him sexually assault people. You fucking enabled him for years. But he’s gone! you cry. We got rid of him! Your hand was fucking forced. You wouldn’t have done a thing if one of his victims hadn’t stuck her neck out to ‘make a fuss’. He would still be employed in a position of power in this field if it was left to you, white person. But we got Vox Day out of SFWA! Holy shit, how many years did that take too? How many mouthy PoC’s publicly pushing their dissent did it take for you act? Years. Decades. Remember Elizabeth Moon and Wiscon? How long did you ‘consider all sides of the story’? How slow were you to act? How, when discussing the making and maintaining of safe spaces, ‘fair’ is it to give the voice of the privileged equal consideration as that of the oppressed?

Fucking hypocrites.
It would be tremendously amusing to be able to see this woman's face when someone informs her that I am a Native American of part-Mexican descent. The fact is that the only writer ever purged from SFWA was a PoC. How racist is that?

And I laughed out loud at this: "[John Scalzi] has privilege coming out the wooza." If nothing else, this should inspire some amusingly desperate tweets as McRapey hastens to abase himself in penance for his continuing to play life on the easiest difficulty setting. That should be everyone's standard rebuttal to Scalzi from now on. "Shut up, John, you have privilege coming out the wooza."

But to return to the primary subject, this is why no amount of Muslim-hugging and anti-backlash propaganda is going to stop the backlash and eventual Reconquista 2.0: Up to 20 students dead and 500 taken hostage as Taliban gunmen storm military-run school in Pakistan. Beslan, coming to a public school in your country soon.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Such a nice little song

Very special. It really just... spoke to me for some reason. Hard to say why.


Trigger warning!

In which a USN Commander, RIDING THE RED HORSE contributor, and new Castalia House Associate comments on the new military science fiction anthology:
If having your assumptions challenged and your mind blown could upset your delicate little psyche, you’re gonna want to click away right now.

If harrowing scenes of speculative, futuristic combat or stories about the men and women who fight for something greater than themselves fill you with dread, flee from here.

If center-right positions, hard science, or frank discussions of our past mistakes and future concerns make you want to hide behind your momma’s petticoats, you’d best stick to your internet safe-zone with all countervailing opinions neatly blocked away.

If the phrase “Trigger Warning” is something you watch out for and is itself a potential trigger for bad-thought . . . yeah, I got a book you’re gonna want to avoid.

However, if you can handle it and are a fan of kick-ass science fiction, of near-prescient analysis on what our future holds, or of some of the best writing you’ll see all year by great authors both new and old, well, for you I have your new favorite book....
Read the rest of it there. What do I mean by "new Castalia House Associate"? What that means is that Thomas May's very good first contact novel is now available in DRM-free EPUB and MOBI for Kindle format from the Castalia House store for $3.99. And by "first contact", I should probably point out that I mean "violent space combat" with one of the most unusual alien races yet encountered in science fiction. If you enjoyed "Within This Horizon", then you're going to want to read A Sword Into Darkness.

The reaction to the new anthology has been almost uniformly positive, which is encouraging, but I have to say that I was probably most amused by these two comments at Instapundit's.
  • Tom Kraman and Vox Day...lemme guess, more of that namby-baby, Dem/Lib/SJW kumbaya fluff... said no one ever.
  • Kratman AND Vox Day? Is the publisher TRYING to make SJW heads into IEDs?
The collection is Blue SF, to be sure, but it is moderately less Deep Navy Blue SF than you might expect, mostly because unlike the gatekeepers of Pink SF, Tom and I don't believe in ruthlessly enforcing our ideological perspective on every contributor. As Larry Correia has gone to considerable pains to point out in the past, it is the story is the point, not the moral or the ideological object lesson. And the general conclusion appears to be that these are very good stories indeed.


When trends won't hold

I think it is amusing that the U.S. Census Bureau still believes there will be a single political entity by 2044, let alone 2060.
New population projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that whites will become a “minority” by 2044, replaced by a “majority” of minority groups, mostly blacks and Hispanics.

The new projections, analyzed in a Brookings Institution report, show the huge rise of Hispanics, projected to make up 25.1 percent of the U.S. population in 2044, double African-Americans.

According to the analysis, the white will make up 49.7 percent of the country in 2044, minorities the rest. What’s more, by 2060, whites will account for just 44 percent of the country.
Imagine what the economy of the USA is going to look like when the white population has been halved, mostly due to their replacement by those famously productive Hispanics.... The only thing that is keeping the country together at this point is that the white middle class is still doing just well enough to maintain hope that things are going to turn around eventually. Once that hope is entirely gone, they will be willing to begin taking the risks that they are presently unwilling to take.

The government's primary means of control is based upon the threat of losing your job and your living standard. But once those things are already gone, there is nothing but raw physical force. And we know from 4GW theory how well force devoid of legitimacy and moral authority works in maintaining order.



That must be one of the things they learn in journalism school. Despite being a three-times nationally syndicated columnist with Chronicle Features and Universal Press Syndicate, I am unfamiliar with the term:
Kathryn Hendley, Alex Stock and Ryan Duffin—the three friends of Jackie’s who Sabrina Rubin Erdely falsely claimed discouraged from her calling the authorities—now tell the AP that they have all been contacted by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, who is “re-reporting” her original story.

This is a bizarre idea for a number of reasons.

First, Rubin Erdely herself continues to refuse to talk to the press—or, as she said of the UVa administration, she is “stonewalling.” So she is a hypocrite.

And second—why on earth would anyone talk to her? (The AP story does not disclose whether the three friends agreed to be re-interviewed interviewed.) She revealed her profound political bias in her first article, as well as a fatal lack of professionalism. She might improve on the second part, but she’s unlikely to change the first. In fact, she might be even more invested in proving the point that, whatever happened to Jackie, there is a larger “rape culture” at the University of Virginia.
Question: how does this woman still have a job at Rolling Stone? How is it possible that they haven't fired her yet?


The RED HORSE rides

I'm not sure there are the superlatives to describe how pleased I am to be able to introduce to you Castalia's new anthology of military science fiction and military fact, RIDING THE RED HORSE. Tom and I have been working on this all year, and between us, we somehow managed to recruit a very strong roster of contributors on both the fiction and non-fiction sides. It's now available from Amazon as well as from Castalia House.

As the editing was a collaborative effort, so too was the cover. JartStar was unhappy with his initial attempt, but he liked the concept, so he brought in Jeremiah, who did the covers for The Altar of Hate and The Book of Feasts & Seasons, and together they managed to bring it to life. Historically keen eyes will probably recognize the cover to which it is a thematic homage of sorts.  But as much as I enjoy working on covers, let's face it, it's really what is inside the book that matters. The contributors, and the pieces they contributed, are as follows, in the order they appear in the book. Many, if not most, of these names will be readily recognizable.
  • Eric S. Raymond: "Sucker Punch" and "Battlefield Lasers"
  • William S. Lind: "Understanding 4th Generation Warfare"
  • Chris Kennedy: "Thieves in the Night"
  • Vox Day: "A Reliable Source"
  • James F. Dunnigan: "Murphy's Law" and "Red Waves in the South China Sea"
  • Jerry Pournelle: "His Truth Goes Marching On" and "Simulating the Art of War"
  • Ken Burnside: "The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF"
  • Christopher G. Nuttall: "A Piece of Cake"
  • Rolf Nelson: "Shakedown Cruise"
  • Steve Rzasa and Vox Day: "Tell it to the Dead"
  • Harry Kitchener: "The Limits of Intelligence"
  • Giuseppe Filotto: "Red Space"
  • John F. Carr and Wolfgang Diehr: "Galzar's Hall"
  • Thomas Mays: "Within This Horizon"
  • Benjamin Chea: "War Crimes"
  • James Perry: "Make the Tigers Fight"
  • Brad Torgersen: "The General's Guard"
  • Tedd Roberts: "They Also Serve"
  • Tom Kratman: "Learning to Ride the Red Horse: The Principles of War"
  • Steve Rzasa: Turncoat
I should probably go ahead and point out that both "Tell it to the Dead" and "Turncoat" are set in the Quantum Mortis universe. And despite being one of the editors, as a longtime fan of military science fiction and a lifelong student of the art of war, I won't hesitate to tell you that this collection is one that you simply will not want to miss if you are even remotely interested in either. I hope you will find RIDING THE RED HORSE to be a worthy successor to the excellent anthology series that inspired it, THERE WILL BE WAR.

The initial reviews are in. Some selections:
  • RIDING THE RED HORSE features both military sci-fi short stories and nonfiction articles regarding the future or history of warfare. For those readers that don’t recognize it; the title is a reference to the second horseman of the apocalypse from the Bible’s Book of Revelation; the Horseman of War who rides a red horse. Some of the stories, “Sucker Punch”, “Thieves in the Night” and “A Reliable Source”, “Red Space”’ for example, are more Tom Clancy-ish techno-thrillers than outright military sci-fi. Others are more traditional military sci-fi, like “A Piece of Cake”, “Shakedown Cruise” and “Turncoat”, to name just three stories that feature high-tech space battles in the middle distant future. Other stories are more Earthbound, but just as high tech, or discuss war against highly modified “trans-humans, to name just two examples. The story quality is uniformly very good; two outstanding examples are “Shakedown Cruise” and “Turncoat”.... RIDING THE RED HORSE is a well done military sci-fi and military studies anthology, and frankly at $4.99 it is a helluva good value for your entertainment (and education) dollar.
  • Easy 5 stars on this one. An impressive collection of fun and well-written military fiction interposed with essays by military thinkers/historians. I was both entertained and informed throughout.... The essays are not navel-gazing; when their writers challenge conventional thinking on various topics, they do so with the voice of insight and experience. Their credentials are helpfully explained by an editor's introduction at the beginning of each entry, for both the essays and the fiction. That was helpful both to establish the authority of the essay writers to speak on their subjects, and also in helping me to become aware of some newer authors I hadn't heard of but whose work I enjoyed in this collection. The fiction entries are mostly military sci-fi to varying degrees of "hardness," with a couple Roman/Medieval fantasy type stories thrown in as well, but all deal with questions of tactics, strategy, and the human element in combat.... Highly recommended.
  • This is a first-rate collection, but more for the non-fiction than the fiction. The non-fiction essays by practitioners of various kinds can range from enlightening to quite frightening. ESR and Pournelle are excellent technically and Kitchener on the limits of intelligence was a masterly summary. For the non-fiction alone, I would recommend the book as a buy. However little you may agree with them, they will provoke real thought in you. On the fiction side, the stories are consistently serviceable, and occasionally exceptional.
RIDING THE RED HORSE is 443 pages and retails for $4.99. It is available in DRM-free EPUB and MOBI for Kindle format from the Castalia Store and from Amazon.

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hostages (13) taken in Sydney

Zerohedge: Only weeks after Australia broke up a plan by ISIS to publicly behead a member of public, reports suggest 2 gunmen are holding 13 hostages at a Lindt coffee-shop in Sydney, Australia. The terrorists have shown a black jihadist flag - which is not an IS flag - and has paraded the hostages at the windows. The coffee shop is directly across the street from the Reserve Bank of Australia.


So, how about those hard-working Muslim immigrants, doing the jobs Australians won't do!

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Rhetorical discourse with an SJW

A dialogue on Twitter, prompted by my tweeting a paraphrase of a quote from Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, specifically her explanation of how destroying men's values is the first step in exerting control over them:
Vox Day ‏@voxday
Build up John Scalzi and you've destroyed SF. Hail Anita S. and you've destroyed game review. Glorify Lena Dunham and you've destroyed TV.

Sam Fredericks ‏@Wyldawen
How are any of these things destroyed by differing perspectives? Are they that fragile?

Vox Day ‏@voxday
Yes, that difficult and fragile. Kill Man's sense of values and you kill his capacity to recognize greatness or to achieve it.

Sam Fredericks ‏@Wyldawen
If a man's sense of values of killed by a single differing opinion, either his values or weak or the man who holds them is.

Vox Day ‏@voxday
You're totally missing the point. It's about the STANDARDS. Fuzz the definition of "inch" and no one knows how tall anything is.

Sam Fredericks ‏@Wyldawen
That sounds very rigid and a self-defeating philosophy if one is interested in expanding knowledge.

Vox Day ‏@voxday
You don't seek to expand knowledge. You're just a deceiver who seeks to tear down and DISQUALIFY. You're not fooling anyone.

Sam Fredericks ‏@Wyldawen
You clutch your brittle twig and I'll ride the waves lifting us higher.

Vox Day ‏@voxday
Look at how many lies you've tried already. 1) false dichotomy, 2) "single opinion", 3) "self-defeating", 4) "expanding knowledge"

Vox Day ‏@voxday
And wrapping it all up with a false accusation and an appeal to progress. You are classic SJW scum.

Sam Fredericks ‏@Wyldawen
Do you love life?

Vox Day ‏@voxday
Don't try to retreat to false dialectic after that racist rhetorical performance. It doesn't suit you.

Sam Fredericks ‏@Wyldawen

Vox Day ‏@voxday
Yes, obviously.

Sam Fredericks ‏@Wyldawen

Vox Day ‏@voxday
First you'll have to explain how completely redefining standards and awarding mediocrity is "a single differing opinion".
You probably won't be surprised to learn that Mr. Fredericks promptly disappeared after that. You can learn a lot from this dialogue, a lot that is useful for future engagements with SJWs and other rhetorically minded individuals.

First, notice how he begins with a question, and a dishonest, passive-aggressive question at that. That is how I immediately knew he was not an honest interlocutor, even though I answered his question in the same manner as if assuming he was. You always want to draw the SJW in deeper and force him to commit, even when you know, beyond any shadow of a reasonable doubt, what he is.

Second, he tries another passive-aggressive dig, this time in falsely characterizing the subject and setting up a false dichotomy. Remember, SJWs always attack; they don't know how to defend their own positions due to the contradictory and oft indefensible nature of them. They HAVE to stay on the attack if they are going to come out on top and they know it.

Third, after I point out how he has failed to understand the point, he doesn't back off, but immediately switches to another attack, this time one that involves him claiming the philosophically superior position. What he wants is for me to defend myself, instead I point out, for the first time, that he is lying. Notice how he doesn't even defend himself against his lack of interest in "expanding knowledge", which is a non sequitur anyhow, but doubles-down, this time implicitly appealing to a nebulous, yet inevitable progress that is superior to the "brittle twig" of having traditional standards.

Observe that at no point has he made any attempt to actually make a coherent, rational case. It's all pure rhetoric, all meant to put him on a higher plane that permits him to pronounce judgment on me.

After I openly call him out, he suddenly retreats, realizing that I am aware of his game. He tries another approach, this one prosecutorial, despite it being a non sequitur even more egregious than the first. Then, I drop the r-bomb on him. Notice that he can't ignore this one. He doesn't mind being called a liar, he doesn't mind being called out as SJW scum, he doesn't even mind it being pointed out that his argument is incoherent rhetoric, but he can't ignore the r-word. It's magic, you see. Magic rhetoric.

Suddenly, for the first time, he needs to ask questions and have things defined. And that's when I kick him in the teeth, pointing out that he'll have to start defining all of his many rhetorical claims before I define my single rhetorical claim. There was no need for me to define any of the other assertions I made, because they are all coherent and explicable. But the racist charge makes no sense, which tells him that I not only recognize the game he is playing, but understand it and can play it better than him.

Which is why he throws in the towel and vanishes. After which, Aquila Aquilonis ‏comments in his stead: And that is how a Native American takes a scalp on Twitter. #DreadIlk

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VPFL Week 14

114 Gilbert Gamma Rays (8-6-0)
93 Bane Cornshuckers (9-5-0)

91 Boot Hill Bogs (3-10-1)
49 Greenfield Grizzlies (9-5-0)

73 Texas Chili Eaters (8-5-1)
54 Mounds View Meerkats (8-6-0)

62 RR Redbeards (9-5-0)
57 Clerical Errs (2-12-0)

57 King (7-7-0)
46 Favre Dollar Footlongs (6-8-0)

One game out of first, 14 points from scoring the most points, and I miss the playoffs. Well, I can't complain. It was a MAJOR choke job by D. Thomas, G. Bernard, and A. Morris, who scored 0 points, 24 less than estimated and 20 less than I needed.

It rather reminds me of the playoff game the year I had both Daunte Culpepper and Jeff Garcia, obliterated the regular season, and agonized over which one of them to start. I don't remember with whom I went, because it turned out it didn't matter, both of them scored next to nothing and I went one-and-done.

In the 2014 VPFL playoffs, the Chili Eaters are favored by a single point over the regular season champion Cornshuckers, and the Redbeards are favored over the defending champion Grizzlies.

Ladies and gentlemen, JOHNNY FOOTBALL! This is not a quarterback who is ready for the NFL. His second (third) interception was one of the worst I've seen in a long time.


John C. Wright explains the gatekeepers

It probably didn't surprise you to see that the SJWs at Amazon claimed the best books of 2014 included an incestuous child molester's chronicle of a nonexistent rape and a biography of a celebrity that contained no reference to the biggest scandal of the celebrity's life, or that their list was topped by a derivative, paint-by-numbers, race-based lamentation of life in America by a female minority. (The irony involved in calling a member of the most populous race and nationality on the planet a "minority" does not escape me, but this is the parlous state to which our language has been reduced in 2014.)

John C. Wright explains this bizarre inverting of literary quality, where excellent books are ignored and the literary equivalent of finger-painting with one's urine, excrement, and menstrual blood is praised as being not only exceptional, but the very best on offer:
Democracy also has a drawback: our liberty allows for such license, that no accomplishment is needed ere one is called accomplished. Eve our elitism is democratic: Anyone can be a snob!

All you have to do to achieve the paramount of the modern Decalogue is dishonor your father and mother; to be the modern version Horatio, all you need do is betray the ashes of your fathers and the altars of your gods. Hegelian evolution says that whatever comes later is better, right? Well, you come after your forefathers, and you are younger than your teachers, so you must know more.

To be a snob in the Old World you had to be born to a high family, or in the New, to earn a high place. But all you have to do to be a snob in the world of no-fault modern snobbery is look down on the giants who founded and fought for this nation.

The only way to look down on a giant is to turn your soul upside down, can call evil a type of good (tolerance, diversity, choice) and good a type of evil (intolerance, divisiveness, bigotry). And all you need to do to switch the labels on things, change the definitions so that the north arrow of the moral compass reads south, is to be a damned liar.

Yes, I do mean damned. So picture the modern Progressive as a dwarfish figure, head firmly wedged into a chamber pot, who looks down (what we call up) sees the clouds and stars underfoot, and sun and moon, and proudly imagines he is trampling heaven. And when he seeks to soar to higher places, overhead is a blank and cold earth, merely a roof of matter, impenetrable to his wit; and when he dreams of spiritual things his thoughts ascend to hell. The harder he tries to live up to what he thinks are higher ideals, the lower toward the central fire he sinks.

The short answer is that the elite of our culture are not a high elite at all, but the low dregs.

They do not sneer at us as their inferiors despite their embarrassing retardation in experiential, intellectual, philosophical and theological matters, not to mention their bad manners and sexual perversions: they sneer at us as their inferiors BECAUSE of their retardation.
Instead of the books recommended by Amazon, let me recommend a very good and seasonal book you may wish to consider in their stead, indeed, one by the very critic cited. But don't take my word for it, consider what some of the readers of Mr. Wright's The Book of Feasts & Seasons have had to say about it.
  •  There is really no way to rate this book with Amazon stars; Amazon does not have a way to indicate books which point to eternal truths and transcendent beauty. Speaking solely in terms of composition, the book has its flaws; shifting from more or less pure sci-fi with wit and much satire at the beginning to a conclusion full of sacred and solemn joy - while leaving in the sci-fi elements - and successfully carrying off each step without occasionally having your normally divergent themes try to separate like oil and water might be impossible anyway. That Mr. Wright on the whole pulls off this balancing act is a testament to his skill as a writer. I am giving it 5 stars because most of the stories within deserve 5 stars, because several of them are the closest thing I have ever read to a 21st century G.K.Chesterton, and also because that is the most emphatic way I can recommend this volume to your attention.
  •  I have read many of Mr. Wright's other works and in many of them, he hides his Christianity in parable. A parable is a tale that tells of Truth, but is veiled in a way that only those who know the author's intent can discern its deeper meaning. In THE BOOK OF FEASTS & SEASONS, Mr. Wright alternately dons and throws off the disguising cloak of parable and allegory, writing as plainly as an honest man is able and with an elegance that only a master of prose can manage.
  • This is a marvelous collection of John C. Wright's seasonal short fiction. Especially notable stories are "Pale Realms of Shade," a ghost story with a noir sensibility and a very satisfying twist (for Easter), "The Ideal Machine" for the Ascension, "Eve of All Saints' Day" for--well, you know what holiday that one is for! Finally, the two Christmas-themed stories, "Nativity" and "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus," are also especially good. At their best, these stories remind me of G. K. Chesterton.
  • A brilliant collection of mind-bending short stories. I liked all of them, loved three of them, and one of the three I loved stands as one of the best short stories I think the esteemed Mr. Wright has written (That's "Pale Realms of Shade", by the way). "The Meaning of Life" was hysterical. "The Parliament of Beasts and Birds" was an extremely clever parable story, something I very rarely see
I feel, on the other hand, that "The Parliament of Beasts and Birds" is the best short story that Mr. Wright has yet written, although there is one story that will be published in a collection next year that may surpass it. For me, it is a remarkable tale that combines the very best of Tanith Lee with CS Lewis in his Narnia mode. 

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The making of Kingmaker

This is a fascinating glimpse into the making of one of my favorite games, Avalon Hill's classic game of the Wars of the Roses, Kingmaker:
KINGMAKER, the board game for adults based on the political and military activity of the English Wars of the Roses, comes on the market in the autumn of 1974. Copies of the game reach the United States by the end of the year, and by the following summer, with the first edition of the rulebook and a bad review in Games & Puzzles behind it, the game s becoming a cult in some circles. Sufficient numbers of the game appear at Origins 1, America’s leading wargame convention, to prompt SPI, America’s leading wargame publishers, to start importing the game in quantity. Now Avalon Hill steps in. British manufacturers Philmar receive a characteristically scruffy letter from Baltimore. But the content is what counts. Avalon Hill like Kingmaker, they want to manufacture it under licence... now read on...

The Avalon Hill Company has a 20-year old reputation in Britain for producing wargames of quality. (Afrika Korps, Battle of the Bulge, Anzio). The enthusiastic offer from the American company to produce Kingmaker was a dream come true - like rolling a double six on the first throw! Not only did their interest assure a far wider audience for the game, but because they were manufacturing from scratch there was an immediate opportunity to put into effect the main rule changes and modifications which had either been suggested or had made themselves apparent in the first year of the game’s existence. Furthermore, these changes could be made with the help of a game design team whose experience and reputation could justifiably be regarded as among the best in the world.

So began four to five months of transatlantic correspondence in which the game was pulled apart and rebuilt - a process which is worth describing in some detail for the light it throws both on Kingmaker, for those who are familiar with the game, and on the ‘playtesting’ side of the game design in general, for those who may be developing their own games.

I had been fortunate in making contact with Don Turnbull at the time he was running the first postal Kingmaker game. It is a measure of Don’s ability and perception that he had started postal Kingmaker, something I had thought impossible, on the basis of the first rulebook. He was the ideal person to work with on the UK end of the game’s redevelopment.

The Avalon Hill developer was to be Mick Uhl, who we supposed would be overseen by veteran AH designer Don Greenwood. In earlier correspondence, and more recent meetings, Don and I discussed those ambiguities which still remained after the reworking of the rulebook. We had also examined every suggestion which had come from other players in the course of the previous 18 months. Most important of these was undoubtedly the rule on Parliament suggested by Charles Vasey, who is now the editor of the successful fanzine Perfidious Albion.

In basic Kingmaker, Parliament is the means by which a player who controls the King consolidates and strengthens his faction. The player summoning Parliament may dispose of titles and offices which have become available through the death of nobles in the preceding rounds, or which were above the permitted holding of living nobles. Since the titles and offices convey extra strength in troops, ships and castles, a Parliament held after a large number of eventful rounds of play could drastically alter the balance of play. A weak king could become strong immediately. Furthermore, since Parliament could only, under normal conditions, be held when there was only one crowned claimant to the throne, they tended to be rare, twice-a-game events.

Vasey wanted to make Parliament a chance for diplomacy and hard bargaining. Each noble was given a number of votes (seats) in both the Lords and the Commons. Then the proposed allocation of each title or office was voted on, first by the Commons and then by the Lords. The bargaining and diplomacy came in because few players were likely to be strong in both Houses. So players with minimal troop strength could hold the balance in Parliament, benefiting as they received a title or office as the price of their support.

Other refinements were added. The award of Bishops can only be voted on in the Lords, the secular Commons doesn’t get a look in. Charles Vasey’s Parliament suggestion highlights an important aspect of game design in general - the work contribution’ of a game’s units - or how much a unit puts into a game. In basic Kingmaker, towns and bishops didn’t seem to "work" very hard. A player might use a town he held as refuge once or twice in a game. It might serve to block road movement. A bishop might never be used as refuge. Vasey’s Parliament maximised the contribution of both towns and bishops by giving them another level to function on. Parliament itself was also "working harder".

Fascinated by the value of the ‘work test’, I began to apply it to other units and areas in the game.
It also serves to illuminate the process by which Avalon Hill games came to enter their catalog; there wasn't actually a small office of supergeniuses designing all of these games from scratch, as I had sort of imagined as a boy. Trivia question: what is the direct connection between the book published by the youngest male published author in the world and Kingmaker?


Saturday, December 13, 2014

"Women have no idea"

And here I thought we'd be more productive with women in the workforce. Tapping into that vast pool of hitherto untapped talent and all. And yet, Dr. Helen is unimpressed with her sex, nominally at work:
Apparently, rather than focusing on their own jobs, men are supposed to spend their time playing therapist to how women think and feel. And of course the author has no understanding of how hard it is for men to even interact with women at work, given all the rules and regulations. One “tip” in the article tells men not to be afraid of tears:

    When Paul Gotti of Cardinal Health gave performance reviews, he says that, without even realizing it, he was easier on female directors: “I didn’t want them to cry, to feel bad.” He recognizes now that this was no favor. They should have the feedback “so that they can grow too.”

    Ms. Flynn of Flynn Heath Holt says that her firm has found that men aren’t only afraid of tears but of getting in trouble with “the diversity police” for speaking harshly, or of women being “too high maintenance, or [that] she’ll ask a million questions.” As a result, “men are scared to death to give us feedback…. They’ll let women run astray and off course and be fired before they’ll take the chance to give them feedback.”

    Her advice: Be honest. That doesn’t mean you have to be blunt, adds Mr. Schwartz of the Energy Project, which is more than 60% female: “I’ve learned it’s a balance between honesty and empathy. Honesty without empathy is cruelty.”

Women have no idea what men in the workplace are dealing with when they work with women. And men, despite what the author thinks, are not there to babysit women by telling them to ask for raises, brushing away tears and “twisting” women’s arms to ask for her own promotion.
I suggest learning to refer to "equality" and to say "look, you're a strong, independent woman who doesn't need any help from a man to do her job" will be vital for many men in the corporate environment. Black knighting and ruthless compliance with all workplace regulations is the optimal way to circumvent the lunacy.


SJWs at Amazon

This is the description of the Amazon editors' choice for the best book of 2014:
Lydia is dead. From the first sentence of Celeste Ng’s stunning debut, we know that the oldest daughter of the Chinese-American Lee family has died. What follows is a novel that explores alienation, achievement, race, gender, family....
Do you even need to read Everything I Never Told You: A Novel to know how the book is likely to proceed? Notice how the battle we observe in Pink SF/F vs Blue SF/F is playing out in mainstream literature too. This is not merely the best novel of the year, it is supposedly the VERY BEST BOOK of 2014, yet at 4.2, it has a lower average rating than most of my books, let alone John C. Wright's.

Why? One guess. Style and SJW politics over story, of course. Compare the two most helpful reviews, one complimentary from a guy who got the book free, and one critical from a woman who actually paid money for it. Exhibit A:
How is it possible that this is a first novel? It is so exquisite, so marvelously perfect, so regally quiet and elegant that surely, it must come from the hands of a old soul author. But no. This is Celeste Ng's first novel, and in it, she has painted such a deeply felt, original story. This book shall remain with me for the rest of my days.

Everything I Never Told You is a story of secrets, of love, of longing, of lies, of race, of identity, and knowledge. The story begins with the death of Lydia, daughter of Marilyn and James, which is told in the first sentence and slowly revealed through the book. Why she did it drives the narrative, and yet, this story is bigger, grander than this central mystery. Marilyn wanted to defy society's narrow vision of her life and become a doctor, while James is trying to overcome humble beginnings and a society judging him based on his race. Together, they conventions, marry and create a family. Nathan, oldest son on his way to Harvard, Lydia, the middle sister and favorite one, and Hannah, truly growing up invisible. Together, Ng has created a complex, complicated family that rings so true on every page. There isn't a false note in the story.
Classic. Pretentious language. Overpraise for a debut - you know there is a non-zero chance we'll never hear about this writer again - defying society, ringing true, overwrought claims about how the book will live on in his heart forever and ever after, and to top it all off, the literary SJWs favorite praise: "There isn't a false note in the story."

Translation: this book is utter SJW bullshit and is full of false notes from start to finish, without ceasing. Remember, SJWs always lie.

And now, exhibit B:
Celeste Ng seems like a talented writer. Her style of writing is fluid and lyrical. For that reason, I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t, primarily because nearly all the characters are so overwhelmingly awful.

I know characters don't need to be good or even likeable to be compelling, but there has to be something to draw you in and make you care about them. That wasn't the case here for me at all. In fact, the adult protagonists are so awful I almost wanted to stop reading at times. The main couple comprises the most self-absorbed, selfish, emotionally abusive parents I've ever encountered. Before the death of beloved Lydia, they turn her into a proxy of themselves and basically ignore their other children. Post-mortem, they become even more entrenched in themselves and their needs and issues and continue their neglect of their children or even take their anger out on them. Toward the end, which hints at happier times for the parents, I didn't even care anymore. They didn't deserve anything better.

My other issue with this novel was its treatment of race. I understand that Ng wanted this to be a treatise on racial differences and the impact prejudice can have on people, but the way she chose to do this was not effective. She was both heavy-handed and uninspiring. She made it seem as if every single person this family encountered had never seen a Chinese person and was prejudiced against them. I find this hard to believe even back in the 1970's.
As I said, lies from start to finish. Not merely lies, but blatant and unconvincing lies. SJWs not only swim in shit, they want you to swim in it too, which is why they incessantly try to convince you that it's the purest, cleanest water you'll ever taste.

To conclude my case against buying into the ludicrous propaganda of Amazon's SJWs, note that two of the other 100 best books of the year are: Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned" by the Dunham Horror and Cosby: His Life and Times by Mark Whitaker, who somehow managed to avoid discovering anything about Mr. Cosby's reported pasttime of drugging and raping women in the process of writing his biography.

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Honor the martyrs

Christianity is being eradicated in the Middle East by the religion of the sword:
Four young Christians were brutally beheaded by ISIS in Iraq for refusing to convert to Islam, according to a British reverend forced to flee the country. Canon Andrew White, known as the Vicar of Baghdad, told the horrifying story how of the youths, all under 15, were murdered for standing up to the jihadists.

The vicar of the city’s St George's Church, the only Anglican church in the whole of Iraq, has had to leave the country for Israel amid constant threats on his life by Islamic State. In a harrowing interview with the Orthodox Christian Network, he said ISIS had killed ‘huge numbers’ of believers in Jesus.

‘Islamic State turned up and said to the children, “you say the words that you will follow Mohammad”’, he said, his voice cracking with emotion.

‘The children, all under 15, four of them, said “no, we love Yesua; we have always loved Yesua; we have always followed Yesua; Yesua has always been with us”.

‘They [ISIS] said, “Say the words.” They [the children] said, “No, we can't”.

‘They chopped all their heads off. How do you respond to that? You just cry. They are my children. That is what we have been going through and that is what we are going through.'
Honor the faith of the four young martyrs by reaffirming your own. And note this: "Iraq had 1.5 million Christians before the US-led invasion in 2003, but now all that are left are 250,000 who have been displaced from their homes in the north of the country by the advance of ISIS."

Eventually, there will be those who can do more than cry. I suspect it will not be more than 20 years before the new Martel appears and the Reconquista 2.0 begins. The Tenth Crusade will be fought in the West, in both Europe and America, and it will last decades.

The Norwegians are already taking action. The Swedes are waking up. The French are actively voting. And the Germans are rising. Slowly but surely, they are waking up. "The latest PEGIDA march on Monday drew up to 10,000 people."  PEGIDA stands for Patriotische Europäer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes. Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamicization of the West.

And soon the Saxon will begin to hate. That is when the anti-Western politicians will be removed from power. That is when the Western nations will rise. And that is when Enoch Powell's long-predicted Rivers of Blood will begin to flow.
The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils. In seeking to do so, it encounters obstacles which are deeply rooted in human nature.

One is that by the very order of things such evils are not demonstrable until they have occurred: at each stage in their onset there is room for doubt and for dispute whether they be real or imaginary. By the same token, they attract little attention in comparison with current troubles, which are both indisputable and pressing: whence the besetting temptation of all politics to concern itself with the immediate present at the expense of the future.

Above all, people are disposed to mistake predicting troubles for causing troubles and even for desiring troubles.... As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see "the River Tiber foaming with much blood." That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has all but come.
Now it has come. The statesmen of the West have failed. The preventable evils were not prevented. Now they must play out, as history shows that they have always played out.


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