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Topics - Pentagathus

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Eeeurgh I just write this out and lost internet connection as I posted so lost the whole post reee.

Anyway, a while ago I read some of William Morris' odd fantasies which are set in presumably some kind of parallel world (the settings are very very vague, like an old fashioned fairy story) in which Christianity is a thing and the protagonists always come from Christendom and have some form of Christian traditions and morality. And it actually feels believable, like a real part of the world. Not the things people believe in but the belief itself and the impact it has on the characters and the world. And I realised that no other fantasy I've read has ever pulled that off - even those set in parallel worlds with some form of parallel Christian theology. I certainly can't think of any entirely fictitious religion which feels like anything other than the author trying to tick a worldbuiliding box.
Any other authors who manage this? Any thoughts on how to do it? Would it break the immersion to have a totally fictitious world with real world religions wadged into it?

Tabletop Games - The Game Room / P&P YouTube channels.
« on: December 31, 2018, 04:10:06 PM »
Sup peeps, was just hoping someone here would be able to direct to a channel or two with some decent quality P&P RPG content - streamed campaign sessions and shizzle.

Yo yo yo.
So this is fairly old news, and I'm sure many of you have heard about it before. I've heard about it before, but I'd never heard this much of the detail. It is apparently a lot worse than I'd imagined.
I'll post a link to the article with Bret and Heathers side of the full story, but for those of you who haven't heard I'll briefly explain. If you are already familiar or you intend to read the article anyway then I'd recommend that you skip this wall of text.
Here's the article
 Bret Weinstein was a professor of evolutionary biology at evergreen state college, and despite being a very liberal left wing person he got into some trouble with evergreens New diversity and equity panel (full article explains this much better than me). This ended up hitting the news after Bret refused to take part in a day of absence, which traditionally had involved black students and staff voluntarily excluding themselves for a day to make a point about what it would be like if they weren't there. However on this year the group of students who organised the day of exclusion decided that white people should exclude themselves, and Bret (who is white if you hadn't guessed) felt that this was wrong so he emailed the organisers to let them know it and he did not comply with their demand that he exclude himself. Obviously he was accused of racism over this, but quite surprisingly he was also confronted with a mob of students who shouted at him, intimidated him and his students and demanded his resignation. This was recorded by members of the mob and uploaded onto YouTube, where it gained infamy as a display of disgusting behaviour by SJWs/crazy lefties/whatever. Anyway, instead of these students actually being reprimanded in any way they had their demands acquiesced to and were encouraged to continue by the staff members who had been teaching them to "protest" in this manner to start with. Things actually escalated, with Bret and his students being physically threatened and somehow the college administration even allowed students to patrol the campus with portugaling baseball bats. Anyhow, it ended up with Bret and Heather (his wife who is also an evolutionary biologist and who also taught at evergreen) having to resign as they were refused to take a sabbatical. They opened a law suit and eventually settled for half a million, but they are out of employment, currently out of careers that they love and their former students have lost phenomenal teachers. Plus the college administration has afaik not admitted to any wrongdoing, not attempted to reign in these "protesters" (on the contrary these students are still being indoctrinated into these armadilloty viewpoints) and of course the college is still being supported by US taxpayers.

Anyway, the reason I wanted to open this thread is that (according to Bret and Heather) this whole debacle was actually encouraged and potentially engineered by the college administration and faculty members, which begs the question of what should be done to prevent university administrators from acting this way. Should there be more legal responsibility placed upon them? Is there enough already, or even too much?
Personally my feeling is that academic freedom should be paramount (or as close to as reasonably possible), and I'd generally be very wary of the state dictating how individual universities should behave. However it doesn't seem to me that university administrators are primarily interested in academic freedom, and I don't see how to encourage them to prioritise it without state intervention.
I know that Jonathon Haidt has been promoting a new ranking of universities according to their diversity of political/philosophical opinion among teaching staff (heterodoxacademy if you're interested) but I'm not sure how accurate such rankings would be, or how effective when it comes to actually convincing prospective students to enrol into highly ranked universities.
My own feeling of UK universities is that administrators are generally more interested in maximising revenue (which currently would mean cramming in as many undergraduates into courses as possible without increasing the resources required to actually teach those courses properly) and increasing their own salaries than increasing the quality of their institutions, but that is not something I have much evidence for.

Also I'm sure we've had threads on university political leanings before but I did a very lazy search and I also think it goes beyond that. And Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying are pretty damn awesome.

This post is a thing I am posting now so I don't forget to post it later, but will probably not finish right now. So it is rawww and wriggling unedited atm. Also this could probably have been posted in the science and stuff part of the forum but I'm more interested in the political/philosophical consequences currently.
This is an article I found pretty interesting, essentially it is trying to describe the phenomenon wherein an intolerant or inflexible minority can (or will) come to dominate a tolerant or apathetic majority. I should point out that whilst I found this principle very interesting, the article itself seemed very long winded and tedious to read to me, so if anyone knows of a better discussion on this principle then hmu fam. I also do not agree with all of the author's conclusions or suggestions.
The first example given is the prevalence of kosher soft drinks (in the US I think, but presumably all around the west) despite the fact the vast majority of folk are not Jewish (again in the US/the west). This can be explained by the fact that Jews will only drink kosher drinks, whereas very few people will refuse to drink a kosher drink, therefore since the price of production is not significantly changed it is more economical for soft drink manufacturers and marketers to just sell kosher soft drinks. Likewise the same principle applies to some extent to the sale of kosher and halal meat, although not to the same extent as a significant number of people in the west are opposed to kosher and halal meat upon the grounds of animal welfare (or sometimes simply due to antisemitism/Islamophobia) and also I imagine these forms of slaughter might be significantly more expensive.

This principle may have rather more significant implications than these examples however, particularly when it comes to politics. If it holds true in the case that there is an intolerant minority (in the sense that they will not bend of certain policies/ideologies) within a certain political movement or party whilst the majority of this movement/party is relatively tolerant or flexible then it would be seen that the views of this minority are dis proportionally over-represented within the movement/party. And to some extent I would say this does appear to happen within many left-wing political movements (although I'm not sure how true this appearance actually is) and even in the wider political landscape in the form of "political correctness gone made" (and in other forms too probably), wherein political or public figures are often very careful to avoid saying things that are not viewed as politically correct, despite the "fact" (apparent but not easy to truly determine) that the majority of the public are not usually that bothered about it, because a rather vocal minority are very bothered by it. I think in recent times we've been seeing a backlash against this, in the form of people becoming less tolerant of apparent political correctness and such like, which I would imagine is part of the rise of populist movements (Trump and brexit spring to mind).
An example of this that first springs to my mind would be a thing that happened during the (most) recent election of the head of the labour party (here in the UK) where Corbyn's rival (at this point iirc it was a two horse race) was accused of sexism after he said that Corbyn should be "rocking Theresa May back onto her heels" during prime-ministers question time. Now anyone with a functional brain should be able to realise this is a boxing metaphor, but the woman (an MP in the labour party ffs) who made the complaint thought that it was a reference to May's footwear (highheels) and so was a sexist statement. This could and should have been easily clarified without the need to apologise, but the "offender" who's name I cannot remember at all instead acted like an utter fanny and apologised and agreed that his comment was somehow sexist. Now I don't know if this a particularly significant example, but hopefully it illustrates the point.
An actually decent example might be the Stop Funding Hate campaign, which is an attempt to apply serious financial pressure to the Daily Mail (a rightwing armadilloheap of a newspaper that really does try to spread a fair bit of hate tbf) by encouraging people to boycott companies who advertise in the Daily Mail, and it has met with some successes so far. Now I don't know if  people who hate the daily mail are actually in the minority or not, and personally I'm one of them. But this campaign is somewhat worrying to me, how much will it take for a media outlet to be considered hateful by a group like this? Will this actually succeed in reducing the mail's reach or will it just cause their usual readers to pushback on movements like this?

As per usual I'm getting bored of writing this long arse rambling post. But I want to point to what I feel is a pretty significant logical error in the article - the notion that the Islamic empire converted regions that were mostly Christian or Judaic via this principle. I think this argument is flawed because it ignores the fact that the minority (Muslims) in this case were in a position of authority backed up by military power, and so they achieved gradual mass conversion of the populace not simply by being less tolerant than the majority but by being able to enforce their intolerance to a greater extent. Ie they were actually able to execute Islamic apostates and to declare that the children of a Muslim were always Muslims whereas Jews and Christians were not.
Also I was initially just going to post this paragraph as I thought these were questions worth discussing, so I might as well still post it:
"Clearly can democracy –by definition the majority — tolerate enemies? The question is as follows: “ Would you agree to deny the freedom of speech to every political party that has in its charter the banning the freedom of speech?” Let’s go one step further, “Should a society that has elected to be tolerant be intolerant about intolerance?”"

For someone wanting to learn and practice the maths. Particularly statistics, but other maths too.

Wagwan my good dudes, this topic was brought to my attention again recently thanks to good old anti-semitism (err sorry, anti-Zionism wink wink) on university campuses in the UK. So I thought I'd post a posty post and see what peeps think.

Personally I am not a fan of no-platforming in general, although I do agree with it when it comes to people advocating violence or sexual violence. Obviously if a private venue wants to refuse a platform to whoever they want then fair enough, but when it comes to universities funded largely by public money and with the aim to educate folk I feel it's a lot less than fair. For starters there's the right to free speech, although technically no-platforming doesn't infringe on it as such and this aspect isn't too important to me. My main problem with no-platforming is that it promotes intolerance towards alternative views and stifles debate when one of the major aims of any decent education system (imo) should be to promote the ability to debate and explore alternate views. I know in the popular media there is a trend to show political student groups as being opposed to free debate etc but since I've largely avoided these groups (partly through lack of interest, partly because at first glance at least my university societies do seem to live up to this reputation)  I don't actually know how fair this representation is.
I believe Boris' brother the Jo-man Johnson has suggested that an independent body should have the power to fine universities that it deems to be stifling free speech, which might be reasonable. Although to be fair I do see why universities would be reluctant to host more controversial figures considering the practical issues around security etc.

What do you fine fellows think about it?

(Also was considering expanding into the debate around anti-semitism vs anti-Zionism in UK universities and in general but it's a different topic which I don't know much about personally and I cba to write much more atm, but feel free to post a posty post about it here or in a new topic if thou wish).

Wagwan my good dudes, there may already be a thread for this kind of thing, in which case I am most horrifically ashamed.
Anyway, some super old stuff was found in a super old grave in Greece and its super fancy too

Sup crackers.
I watched another Joe Rogan podcast that threatens to blow my mind. He had Graham Hancock and some other dude who's name I've forgotten on, and they were talking about the evidence for catastrophic meteorite collisions in the past (around 12000 years ago, or maybe 12000bc, can't remember) and subsequent flooding and whatnot, and the possibility that these would have destroyed ancient civilizations (at a time when humanity is supposed to be only a hunter gatherer society) and quite possibly even the very evidence of their existence. They made a lot of interesting and apparently valid points, although I don't know much about meteor collisions or geology so maybe they were just talking armadilloe but whatever. The idea of catastrophic collisions and the damage this would cause certainly seems plausible, and could explain some weird armadillo. Would advise checking it out (is a portugaling long podcast though).
Anyway, that got me to look into Graham Hancock's theories a bit, starting with the ideas he proposed back in 1995 in "Fingerpints of the Gods", which seems  be before he had any suggestions as to what would have destroyed these civilizations. Still some very interesting proposals so far, and I'd never heard of or thought about  the apparent contradiction with what we classically think about (for example) the ancient Egyptians and the actual sophistication of architectural of the pyramids, let alone the logistics of building the bastards.
Some of the armadillo he was suggesting seems to be based on very circumstantial evidence, but it certainly is making me question what we really know about all this. And it's pretty awesome to think that Atlantis might have actually been real, even if there's no actual evidence. I know that even in medical science it's not exactly been uncommon for many researchers to stick to a largely accepted model even when there's a evidence that pokes big ole holes in it, and the idea that the same s true in archaeology certainly wouldn't surprise me. For example the idea that Gobekli Tepe (a large city of some kind with fairly sophisticated architecture made from pretty portugaling huge chunks of stone, that carbon dating has shown to be at least as old as about 11,000 years) was built by hunter gaverers just seems utterly absurd to me. Even if you take the founding of the place to be shortly after the advent of farming (which apparently would push back the consensus on when agriculture began I think) it still seems somewhat implausible that their society would reach such a stage so quickly.
Anyway, I haven't gotten around to any fact checking yet, but I wanted  share this crazy sounding armadillo, and I wondered if anyone here has looked into this shizzle?

Tl;dr Atlantis was real!!!! Jet fuel can't submerge a large landmass!

Announcements! The Town Crier! / It's Christmas
« on: December 25, 2016, 01:41:29 PM »

Just so you know.

Sup beeches, so it seems universal income schemes are gaining proponents at the moment (well they're set to be trialled in Finland, Canada and Utrecht) and I wondered what y'all think of the idea.
These schemes vary a lot in the details but essentially the idea is that instead of paying welfare to individuals who meet a certain criteria you simply pay a regular income to every adult citizen regardless of their own private income (generally these schemes still allow extra money for those at retirement age and for disability benefits). On the face of it it sounds unaffordable, but according to a group of UK economists/some form of money boffins (sorry I can't find the article at the moment so sourcing this is a bit tricky) a citizen's income of £71 a week (about twice this for over 65s and somewhat less for 18-21 year olds) cost very close to the UK's current welfare system, although social housing costs and disability benefit would still be necessary here and I'm not sure if they were included in the cost of this scheme, I shall try to find the source.) Since you don't need to pay for means testing, check up with claimants investigate benefit fraud etc you simplify the system and reduce the cost of this welfare scheme. Evidence from Canada's 1970s mincome  scheme (all residents of the trialled area who fell below the poverty line were offered a guaranteed minimum income regardless of whether they were already in work) suggests that this sort of scheme also significantly reduces strain on health care and would see a decrease in crime rate, saving money from the central budget which could (no solid evidence here, just saying it could) make up for the extra cost of this scheme. Analysis of the mincome trial also showed that this scheme did not generally stop people seeking work (teenagers in education, mothers of newborns and those close to retirement did tend to choose not to work) although I'm not sure if average work hours decreased for those on this scheme.

The proposed benefits of this scheme are mainly that it would make the system fairer (no one would be financially better off out of work), would reduce stress for most of the working age population by acting as a safety net and by allowing the option of reduced working hours (which may well benefit employers also as this is associated with an increase in productivity) and would allow for more people to do voluntary work and suchlike. It would also mean a lot of people wouldn't have to work jobs they hate just to get by, but the flip side of this is that there are lots of unpopular low paid jobs and so this could cause a labour shortfall in these jobs.
The major criticism of this scheme is obviously the fear that people would just choose not to work, but it generally seems unlikely as £71 a week is not a huge amount of money, and the evidence from mincome seems to support this. I suspect this scheme would cause a drop in average working hours a week but this doesn't seem economically detrimental, and should help to reduce unemployment rates as well.

Personally I was very skeptical of this idea at first, but if it proves to be financially viable I'd be very keen to see it implemented. I expect that at some point in the future a system of universal income would be pretty much a necessity for the developed world since automatisation is going to continue to reduce the value of human labour, but as to whether it's a viable option in the near future I think we shall have to wait and watch these upcoming trials in Canada and Finland.
I apologise for the general lack of sources, but I am a terribly lazy human being.

General Gaming - The Arcade / Runescape or other terrible MMORPGs
« on: March 25, 2016, 04:09:52 PM »
Anyone still find the time to play these? I decided to have a crack at runescape recently because nostalgia, and it was an awful idea, I forgot how mindlessly addictive I find these games.

Spamfest! / Bloody Terrible Game Designers are Ruining this Bloody Country!
« on: February 08, 2016, 05:30:22 PM »
As per jubals request. Some games designers need to be treated like lamed race-horses, it may seem sad at the time but at least it stops them reproducing and serves as an example to the rest.

Star Wars / Fan theories
« on: January 14, 2016, 01:47:33 PM »
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh I wrote a load of armadillo about my theories and then it crashed and aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggghhhhhhhh.

So this is a thread of theories, like how Jar Jar is actually a Sith lord or whatever else amuses or intrigues you.

Well I think Yoda knew about the plot against the Jedi, but let it happen anyway. I don't see how someone as wise as Yoda could be blind to the plot, or how the council would not have been more suspicious of Palpatine unless someone on the council was telling them to chill the portugal out.
But why would Yoda betray the Jedi? Because the Jedi were not what they pretend to be. They were not heroes and they were not compassionate, they never actually show any decency towards non Jedi. Throughout the films we see the Jedi through their own point of view, the only dissenting voice we hear is Palpatine's and we dismiss him because the Jedi have told us that the Sith are pure evil. IIRC the Sith only hate the Jedi because the Jedi perpetrated a genocide against them (a very long time in the past, but it's still important when you consider the conservative nature of the Jedi.) Children are indoctrinated into their cult from a very young age (8 year old Anakin is considered too young to start training, too young to be thoroughly brainwashed perhaps?) and are forced to lead a harsh life of austerity and relative social isolation. The Jedi train these children as soldiers, and makes use you them as soldiers whilst they are still children (Anakin has obviously seen and used violence by the start of AotC and according to what I think is still canon Jedi children as young as at least 14 fought in the clone wars) which is exceedingly disturbing.  Once they reach the status of Knight they seem to have no one investigating their actions, they are trained killers with little regard for ordinary people and who are happy to use mind control on any random alpaca (and lets face it, mind control is portugaling terrifying and a worse invasion of someone's rights than outright violence.) No one (apart from Anakin himself) seems to give a portugal that little Ani slaughters an entire village of sandpeople including the children, but of course slaughtering the genuinely dangerous Jedi younglings is unspeakably evil.
But even if you (or more importantly Yoda) still see the Jedi as good then just look at what they teach. Severe emotional repression and the avoidance of emotional attachment. Why? Because without these the Jedi are apparently prone to "turning to the dark side" aka going psychotic and killing without thought. Either force users are inherently prone to emotional instability or the Jedi lifestyle predisposes one to it (and I think this is far more likely), but whichever it is I think it's incredibly likely that Yoda will have seen many atrocities committed by Jedi (turned or otherwise) during his 800+ years of life. Even if he manages to keep faith with Jedi teachings it would be unsurprising if he wanted to curb the power/number of the Jedi, if he didn't then surely he would welcome the opportunity to become the sole leader of the Jedi and implement reform. Is he capable of betraying the Jedi? Well if he has succeeded in following the Jedi mantra of emotional repression and lack of attachment then yes of course, after all his colleagues sacrifice is all for the greater good.
So Yoda allows the Sith to make their move and destroy most of the Jedi, the fatal flaw in his plan was his overconfidence in his ability to defeat Palpatine and destroy the Sith. Thus after betraying his order and allowing their deaths for nothing he goes into exile, broken hearted and ready to die.

Also I don't think that using the Dark side turns anyone evil, I think that most Jedi turn because they are taught that tapping into the Dark side will start them on a path of no retreat, thus it becomes a strong symbolism of turning on their teaching and snapping a lifetime of their emotional repression and inhibition. The Jedi lifestyle is not at all balanced, it's hardly surprising if they find it difficult to find a balance. I've read that Mace Windu was able to tap into the Dark side without turning, he can't be the exception that proves the rule (because exceptions don't prove a rule, it's a stupid phrase.)

I've spent way too long thinking about stupid space magic, I should probably do something productive now.

Star Trek / The Force Awakens
« on: January 13, 2016, 07:20:39 PM »
Hai guys, surprised there's no thread on this already.
So I watched this recently and I thought it was good, after watching the old films again I feel like this trilogy could well be the bestest.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Tabletop Games - The Game Room / Tabletop simulator.
« on: October 28, 2015, 10:07:53 AM »
Sup bitches. So there is a tabletop simulator on steam which cam be used to play all manner of classic tabletop games online, from chess to war games and rpgs. Has anyone here got it and would y'all be interested in doing an exilian games night? I appreciate that we're all busy people and many of us live in different time zones but it could be cool if it works.

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