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Messages - dubsartur

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In March, Lt.-Col. Eleanor Taylor, who commanded a rifle company in Kandahar in 2010 and served on the staff of Joint Task Force 2, Canada's most famous special operaions force, resigned her commission

I am sickened by ongoing investigations of sexual misconduct among our key leaders.

Unfortunately, I am not surprised. I am also certain that the scope of the problem has yet to be exposed. Throughout my career, I have observed insidious and inappropriate use of power for sexual exploitation.

Some senior leaders are unwilling or (perhaps unable) to recognize that their behaviour is harmful both to the victim and to the team.  Some recognize the harm but believe they can keep their behaviour secret. Perhaps worst of all are those in authority, who should know better, but lack the courage and tools to confront the systemic issue.

I have been both a victim of, and participant in, this damaging cycle of silence, and I am proud of neither.

I can't find a link to the full text, just endless articles summarizing it :(  Journalists own themselves so badly by not backing claims with sources as well as an oughties blogger.

The Canadian Forces became the Canadian Armed Forces under Harper.  In 2015 the CF launched Operation Honour, a crackdown on sexual misconduct within the force, under a general who is currently facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

The ability to change the environment in games is always fun!  When I was playing more games, up to 2010 or so, that was usually not possible.  Some games, like Warcraft II, did not even let you build or summon walls and other static barriers!

Humh, I guess that could be an advantage of a Near Eastern setting!  When buildings are either massive mud brick or flimsy wood and reed mats and curtains, short of high explosives it is usually pretty clear what a character can destroy and what they cannot. 

Most of us should be familiar with Sanderson's First Law of Magic ("An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic").  A while ago I stumbled across a blog comment which has also got me thinking:

Quote from: heteromeles
Actually, there's an interesting counter-take. It's a throwaway line in Tyson Yunkaporta's Sand Talk. He asserts that anyone can do magic, but that not everybody can do all the rituals, because that's about knowledge, and that is (for reasons good and bad) guarded.

I tend to think he's right, but his version of magic is basically what Trump was spewing for the last four years. It's not telepathy or levitation, it's forcing others to live in your made-up world, even though they know it's not correct. This can be used beneficently with blessings (getting someone out of a funk to do something they don't think they can do) or as a curse (to mess with someone's head). Sir Pterry called it Headology. Ritual, in the sense of keeping a bunch of complex systems working over time, looks like magic (and it does overlap with the above), but it depends on people knowing what the heck they're doing.

So far as I can tell, the Taoists have a really similar idea: any idiot can do magic, and magicians are the hucksters, fortune tellers, performers, carnie trash, and so forth. The Taoist priests work to heal people and to bring out the good in the changes of the world. They're working at a much different and higher level.

Now I realize fantasy tends to be whiffy about religion and with good reason, but just perhaps, it's over-glorified the "move fast and break things" aspect of magic, glorified the world-wreckers entirely too much, and made fixing complex problems too simple, magical, and dependent on the inner nature of the young, rather than the hard-earned skills of the old. There is something to be said for Yunkaporta's view, that any clown can curse someone, but that's not necessarily a miraculous thing. What's miraculous is keeping a place like Australia habitable for 50,000 years or so.

I am thkinking about this, but it has potential as an alternative to a Law and Chaos / History and Chance opposition.  It harmonizes with some modern (since Aleister Crowley) occult thinking which has to use a 'god of the gaps' argument that the altered states of consciousness are really the point and not just side-effects from calling down the moon or making someone passionately in love with you.

Here is an example of student politics in Canada.  All undergraduate students at most Canadian universities belong to a Student Society, which is most often a member of the left-wing advocacy group Canadian Federation of Students.  The society collects fees per member and redistributes some of them to various organizations (as well as usually providing a health and dental plan and gym membership, sometimes subsidized bus tickets, running a student union building with shops, office space, meeting spaces, the radio station, etc).  At the University of Victoria, one of those was the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group, and after an audit a few years ago discovered substantial accounting discrepancies at the VIPRG, they left the UVSS, lost most of their organizers, and refounded themselves under a new name.  The University of Victoria Students Society could not find a new research group to sponsor, so since then the UVSS has been trying to get quorum to pass a referendum to allow them to stop collecting money for VIPIRG and redistribute what they have collected since the VIPIRG left the UVSS.  Getting 15% of students to vote can be hard, especially in a pandemic when they can't put up posters offering "FREE BURGERS AND BEVERAGES" to anyone who attends the meeting, but its what the Societies Act requires.

The local student paper and the UVSS have takes on the story.

I like stories which show ways of being human around the world.  They are factual.  I do not understand how old media and corporate social media became dominated by stories which want you to get angry about a narrative out of American politics.  Grand narratives are always hard and journalists and random people on the Internet do not have the training and detachment to build them scientifically.

Its so pretty!  I wonder if there is anything that we could throw into it to make the plague year go away.

Mandatory link to Ada Palmer's "Ice and Fire"

My paper was accepted yesterday

I mentioned that more people died last year in BC of drug overdoses or tainted drugs than COVID-19.  In local politics, we have a situation with camps of homeless people in parks near the city centre, rashes of assault, theft, and arson by against and between them (everything from gasoline thrown on tents to burned buildings), and a municipal government whose plans to set up supportive housing are going more slowly than planned.  Cynics would say that part of the situation is the municipal police looking for a lever to push back against the "defund the police" movement.  One would think that bicycle theft would be down because ferry traffic to Vancouver, where the chopped-up bikes and cars are shipped overseas, is down but there are many people desperate for a fix.

Meanwhile house prices on southern Vancouver Island have been booming  We are finally zoning for more multi-family dwellings on lots and legalizing rented secondary suites but the changes are slow and cautious.

I also don't know why the NDP did not push harder on electoral reform after the 2019 election, other than that they were short on funds and scared of another election.

Edit: Keep in mind that the election was in on 21 October 2019.  So there were only four months before the pandemic hit, all of them in an Ontario winter when the party leaders were exhausted from campaigning.  And unless we were at those meetings, we just can't know what was said and offered.

I'm not qualified to speak about the voter base of the federal Conservatives, but I would point to two factors.  They are a very disciplined party which works hard to keep its wilder voices in private.  If the Liberals' doubletalk is promising voters social democratic policies but promising rich Canadians and multinationals that they won't lose anything, the Conservatives' is speaking to the mass of voters about keeping deficits low, house prices high, and naughty people in jail while convincing the religious radicals and the libertarians and the firearms fondlers that they will get some of what they want as long as they stay in the big tent. 

Second, the federal Conservatives are a merger of the old Ontario-based federal Conservatives and the Reform party which was a prairie based revolt party.  The merger created, for one brief and smelly moment, the Conservative-Reform Alliance Party.  So they have historical advantages in Alberta, and older Albertans have grudges against the federal Liberals in general and Pierre Trudeau in particular for threatening to redistribute their oil revenues.  When I was living in Alberta, in my riding the Conservative candidate got 60% of the vote without actually visiting the province during the election campaign.

Peak Chad behaviour.

Regarding Trudeau, has his public popularity actually received much of a backlash from some of his scandals, or is it more the case that people who were already opposed to him use it as an occasion to say "see, we were right" and people who were likely to support him are still going to support him because he's the leader of the liberals and they'd prefer a liberal leader who appears hypoctrical in power rather than a conservative of any kind?
Each time it has, so support was falling before the pandemic.  A lot of votes for the Liberals are instrumental, they and their spearbearers in the media tell stories about wasted votes.  Around 2013, it seemed like the NDP and Liberals might switch places, all it would need would be for the NDP to form government in Ottawa once.

Doug Ford in Ontario and Legault in Quebec are also doing well in the polls despite handling the pandemic with a fair bit of of callous incompetence.  But polls are not so reliable these days, especially in countries with less money in politics and more complicated party balances than the United States.

Part 3 on essentialism, identity, and history focuses on the historical context.  Essentialism was very fashionable around 1900, but then between 1914 and 1948 some things happened in the Old World which made the downsides of this approach more clear.  But in the past few years, the downsides of the identity model have also become obvious.  All models are false, but some are useful.

Shipping right now is just plain expensive, I gave up ordering anything from the United States.  I just sent something to Russia for 50 CAD airmail or 25 surface.

Stories and AARs / Re: "New Universe" main information
« on: March 08, 2021, 06:53:10 AM »
I like the Hagia Sophia and Venetian inspiration in the picture for Al-Khamuf.

The civilian Serious Incident Response Team of Nova Scotia decided that under the circumstances, the RCMP officers who fired five rounds at an occupied firehall with their carbines (Colt M4 clones I think) during the mass shooting at Portaupique did not commit a criminal offense.  The local fire department is not happy

My province, in the fullness of its wisdom, intended to space the two doses of the vaccine four months instead of four weeks apart to get maximum use out of their limited supply.  Of course, we could eliminate the virus in about two months with a COVID-0 strategy, no vaccines required ...

Here is a very BC story, about a man associated with the Hells Angels biker gang who died under suspicious circumstances and turned out to have lived a double life: he told two women he was away for business for half the week and alternated houses.  Both women want a share of his estate.

Deborah King says that Oxford will not be prosecuting recently retired Oxford University Professor Dirk Obink, who was arrested after Oxford papyri he had had exclusive access to turned up in an American private collection.  So it looks like there will be no full and open investigation.  I have heard some shady things about how Oxford and Cambridge interact with state power in the UK.

Parts of Greek and Roman Studies are deeply intertwined with the art market and all the lying and cheating and theft-for-hire that goes on there.

In 1e AD&D it was taken for granted that you bring a team of pack horses, mules, donkeys, torch-bearers, scroll-caddies, and hangers-on as you go up in level.  You just can't carry enough stuff on your own bodies!  The Dungeoneer's Survival Guide went into the logistics in Gygaxian fashion.  And yes, in the 3e games I ran protecting the horses and/or wagon was a common goal in many fights!  But the way you become so godlike so quickly in 3e probably means that the help become too squishy as you go up in level.

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