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Berlin trip

I've been quiet for the past week because I've been hammering on the redraft of "Dark State", the first book in my big fat post-Edward Snowden near-future SF trilogy. (Same universe as the Merchant Princes, set 17 years later, but still awaiting a new series title because, eh, series reboot.) For some reason I don't have much energy for blogging while I'm elbow-deep in the transmission tunnel of a novel: must be getting old or something.

Later this month I will be visiting Berlin. (That's Berlin, Deutschland, not Berlin, North Dakota. Sorry, folks.) Partly it's R&R—I've rewritten two novels since the beginning of September—and partly it's research (big hunks of "Black Sky" and "Invisible Sun", the second and third books in the trilogy, are set there, and I need to refresh my memory, walk some routes, and check out certain museums). But while I'm there, I'll be doing a kaffeeflatsch at Otherland bookshop (Otherland Buchhandlung Schmidt, Tress & Weinert GbR Bergmannstraße 25 10961) on Thursday November 20th from 7:30pm. (Facebook event sign-up here.)

I also intend to go here and here: guess which is for R&R and which is for Research? (Actually, that might not be obvious: Tropical Islands is like something out of a William Gibson novel—it's really mind-blowing, like an L5 space colony that has touched down on the East Prussian plains.) And there will be a pub meet-up announcement in due course!

44 Comments

1:

First apologies. I really hesitate to bring this up. Obviously, feel free to delete if you feel this isn't the time or place. Or if you intend to do a post on it, though I certainly wouldn't blame you for staying far away from it. But...

WTActualF is going on in SF? As in: A Report on Damage Done....

Been trying to wrap my head around it since I first read about it, but it seems to be getting worse. Massively disappointing for lots of reasons. Before all this I had wanted to read the author at the center of it, now not so sure.

2:

Looks like the Stasi museum is closed for renovation....or that what they want you to believe at least.

3:

You lucky devil. I hope you enjoy it all.

4:

WTActualF is going on in SF?

Oh, that!

Shorter version (for the peanut gallery): sudden meteoritic ascent of one of the best new SF/F writers (we're talking a likely Hugo/Nebula winner in the near future if she keeps it up) is overshadowed by gradual realization that either said young star has a track record of trolling that would (charitably) put Vox Day to shame, but has decided to repent, play nice and collect awards instead: or that a full-on sociopath has discovered the extremely small world of SF/F writers and decided to have toxic lulz with same.

More here and here. The other side of the coin: apologies by RH and BS.

For what it's worth I like BS's writing, and I thought RH was a hilariously bad (obvious) troll ... but (a) I never really came in RH's sights (the RH identity had an unerring way of getting under the skin of female trying-to-do-good social-justice-oriented writers, and especially ones with a history of depression: as a white male I was obviously a minion of the Great Satan and could expect no quarter), and (b) my response to that kind of attack is an eye-roll and a "fuck off already". (I have a prehistory of trolling on usenet in the early 1990s that might surprise some of you.)

5:

Considering there are famous writers who once committed famous murders, I don't see a reason why you cannot enjoy BS' writing, if it is good. I've never burned or even thrown out a book because I have learned something bad about the author.

To me RH was a toxic and forgettable troll, but what made her stand out was her many defenders. If she did not have big and middle sized people defending even her most bizarre actions, no one would have spilled that much ink on her, pro or con. My final take was that she should have the right to be as malignant as possible (in text), as long as everyone else was allowed to reply in kind (again solely in text) while hoping that we, The Just and Righteous, would not actually take advantage of that right.

6:

You could try going to Berlin, Ontario. Except they changed its name in 1916 to Kitchener.

I'm intrigued by the Berlin (Germany) setting. Will there be any more tips of the hat to Len Deighton? (I'm thinking of his Game, Set and Match trilogy, where a lot of the action took place in Berlin).

7:

Will there be any more tips of the hat to Len Deighton?

Not as such, no. This isn't the Laundry universe. On the other hand, it is a Cold War novel ... just not the Cold War in our recent history.

8:

Wow, that looks like an utter mess.

I've seen little evidence to support the notion that good art can't come from bad people. There actually seem to be many cases of artists who seem to have a deep understanding of humanity and with it a sense of love and compassion who nevertheless are total monsters in their home lives. To my mind, it's easy to reconcile someone being an excellent painter or composer and being an awful person. It's harder to reconcile someone who demonstrates an understanding of human emotions and needs and knowing the right things to do and then demonstrates no interest in following through with any of it in his own life. But it shouldn't be surprising because that's basically what a sociopath does, learn how to mimic the emotions and behavior of people and give them what they want. If a sociopath can deceive face to face, it shouldn't be any harder to do it in a book.

The thing with usual commercial art is that it's all a one-way conversation and if the artist is sharing deep, personal thoughts and feelings then you feel as if you know them even though you don't really know them from Adam. There's really no way for you to know how much of a person has even been put into the work in the first place. There have been some incredible cases of bloggers with long histories revealed to be false personas. I don't recall the name but there was a feminist blogger revealed to be a conservative man. The weird thing is the fake blogger wasn't even being used as a sock puppet to discredit feminist points of view, she was making coherent, pro-feminist points most people could agree with.

TL;DR: people be cray-cray.

9:

Read both sides: $5 on 'full-on sociopath'.

Forking over $ for RH's words would be rewarding such behavior. Nope - I'll pass.

10:

Your first link needs fixng.

I only brought it up because of your retweets this morning and previous ones.
I agree that questionable people can make good art, I'm more along with SFreader's point: Do I want to spend money on their work? I wasn't familiar with RH before this, but was with some of the supporters in another context, mostly via reviews on Tor.com. I do have some of BS's short stories on the ipad, which were free, so I'll give them a try eventually. If she's sincere with the apologies, and perhaps opens up more, that'll go a long way I think/hope toward repairing things.

Though with all the psuedonyms, I almost wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be another Gay Girl in Damascus, or more than one person. I don't really think that's likely, but the thought occurs.

11:

Link fixed.

BS is a really good fantasy author[*] -- would have been a shoo-in for a Hugo or Nebula before the very public revelation that she'd shit the bed (which will cause a bunch of people who would have voted for her to hold their noses and back away).

The apologia is a necessary minimum; for BS to undo the damage will take a lot of evidence of new-leaf-overturning, not to mention time. And I don't expect her victims to ever forgive her (nor should they). But in the final analysis, SF/F publishing is a business, and the proportion of readers who are plugged into the grapevine and will know about this scandal is far smaller than the proportion who will buy her work and enjoy it.

Nor is it necessary for SF/F writers to be good -- as opposed to vile -- human beings. I could name several who I wouldn't piss on if they were on fire, and whose work I refuse to buy: but it doesn't stop them being bestsellers.

[*] Which means, sorry: not a group effort. Group efforts tend towards the mean, not the extreme high end.

12:

Oh, visiting Germany and a German spa? In that case you simply have to visit the sauna. Not only is it the perfect time of the year, it's also a very German thing to do. ;)

13:

Having spent an unpleasant chunk of my morning reading the links here, and a fair few of the things linked from them, my (admittedly non-professional) analysis is the same as SFreader's; this person is dangerous and their apology is an insincere attempt to manipulate the situation now that they've been identified. So I'm regarding the whole affair (which I'd not heard of before today) as a warning not to give them any money.

As for the single person/group issue: I'm inclined to agree that the massive campaign of hatred and abuse is the work a single person. But I'd disagree with Charlie's assertion that the quality of the fiction supports this - yes, groups rarely produce high-end work, but two or three person collaborations often do, and anyway, why shouldn't the fiction be the work of one individual within a group?

14:

why shouldn't the fiction be the work of one individual within a group?

Given the level of sociopatic bile associated with some of the sock-puppetry, I'd expect arguments over ownership (driven by jealousy) to break out if that were the case. And speaking as someone with some experience of collaboration, I don't see two or more hands in BS's writing. (I might be wrong, but I've done that stuff.)

15:

There is a 50:50 chance that I will need to be in Berlin later this month and will stay there overnight on 20 November. If that happens, then I would very much like to come to the Kaffeeklatsch.

Is there a non-Facebook sign-up option? If not, I'll just contact the bookshop directly if I do end up being able to come.

16:

The problem is not sociopathic trolls, it's their fan clubs

17:

I don't know of a non-facebook option, and I don't do facebook myself. (Contact the bookshop?)

18:

Re: Group authorship - 'one apparent writing style' - comments/observations

My report writing style varies with the nature/subject of the report, target audience, what I've most recently read, requested doc/presentation mode (Word vs. PPT)and how I happen to be feeling at that time.

If I'm unsatisfied with how my report reads, and can identify the likely problem, I'll request a particular person to proof/edit that report. That is, get whoever is likeliest to pick up on what I think is wrong/missing and (hopefully) suggest a fix.

Then there are the large/fast-turnaround projects: correctly, fully completed and delivered on time means using a team of report writers. In these situations, one person - usually the most senior author and most closely involved in the project - does the 'final' edit/proof including tweaking for style consistency.

Quite a few companies have report writing 'best practices'.

There's also 'writing in layers/chunks'. This is similar to team writing but done by one person over a long stretch of time to avoid/minimize differences in writing style beginning vs. end of a report.

If a writing style is over-the-top or extreme/excessive in some particular way, it may actually be much easier to duplicate and/or derive a writing formula for it.

Group authorship could also be an interesting training exercise for would-be ghost writers, and fan-fic authors.

19:

FWIW, I wasn't suggesting that BS's fiction was collaborative, but RH and the various pseudos.

What I have trouble with is that the targets were her peers, according to her description of herself. It reminds me of the cliché of a self-hating Jew becoming a skinhead, or more realistically an abuse victim becoming an abuser with a good dose of BPD. I can imagine that with all the positive attention she'd been getting there came a realization that past actions could come back to bite, and went about it the wrong way, maybe not getting the best advice.
Like I said, it's disappointing.

20:

You've mentioned the collaboration not going well issue before, tending to be double the work for both parties and not financially rewarding. However, there are many other creative works that require more than one person and end up being good. Television, movies, even comic books. Would you say it's the strong editorial hand that unifies the efforts? And, in visual media, the performance of the actors and the work of the cinematographer would iron out the stylistic differences between writers that would be far more glaring in prose?

21:

However, there are many other creative works that require more than one person and end up being good. Television, movies, even comic books. Would you say it's the strong editorial hand that unifies the efforts?

Different media, different processes.

Also, different financials.

A network TV show today can easily cost on the order of $10M/hour for production; meanwhile, the script for that hour of airtime (really, more like 42 minutes) runs to around 5000 words. The BBC would expect to pay on the order of £10,000 for that length of script; the US TV networks somewhat more. A Hollywood movie is going to cost on the order of $100M/hour for production: dropping $100-250K on the screenplay is chicken feed.

At the same time, if you get it wrong with such a script you are looking at making an eye-watering financial crater. So editorial oversight, focus groups, multiple authors, script doctors, external consultants ... the whole lot gets trucked on-stage. In the case of the TV show, the scriptwriters are usually monkeys performing to the orders of the showrunner, who has overall control over the seasons story arc and the rest of the production. In the case of the movie, it's the director (with added meddling by the studio).

In contrast, total revenue for a midlist SF/F novel is on the order of $50,000 in the US market (for publisher and author(s)), plus about double to triple that again for the retail distribution chain. The authors make about $10-25K, depending on how it sells and in what editions. If you make US $100K from a novel, over however many years, then congratulations: you've arrived in the big time! (Although you're probably not quite on the New York Times bestseller list yet.)

Note that the novel is around 90,000 to 140,000 words, and yields about 2-3 times as much revenue for the writers as the 5000 words of the BBC TV drama episode, and a fifth as much revenue as that notional 20,000 word Hollywood movie script that makes it into production. Writing prose fiction is really badly paid on a per-word level. The flip side of this is that the folks paying the bills can in principle afford to split the money more ways.

Comics/graphic novels are somewhere in the middle. The word count is much more like a TV/movie script, the pay is much more like a novel, and you don't usually get many authors ... unless it's an ongoing franchise property owned by the likes of Marvel or DC, in which case control is exerted by the editor of the property.

22:

The fiscal restraints really helps to explain things. It sounds like they might be able to put together an ensemble writing group if the money were there for it but it's just not worth the effort at this point. We've seen all sorts of tie-in novels over the years and they have been fairly terrible, even if written by single authors. That seems to track with your thesis concerning collaboration. But it does make me wonder when it comes to these giant marketing machines like Harry Potter, how long until every part of the juggernaut is corporate-crafted? I take it the returns on wildly popular novels are higher, your Potters, Hunger Games, Twilight, etc. But the ideas for them don't come from within the studio: usually they are treated like bioweapons where a wild pathogen is isolated, then weaponized in a lab for enhanced effect.

I suppose the question is how much of the whole pot of money to be made from "cross-media franchise x" comes from the novels. If novels are only a few percentage points, it makes more sense to just buy the rights to whatever has proven successful in the market. Past a certain point, the conglomerates might want to just roll their own.

Still, it doesn't all seem to be reduced to formula. There have been a number of films trying to hop on the Rings/Potter bandwagon and very few that have actually succeeded.

23:

This has been a powerful, inadvertent lesson in memory and history. I went back to some ROH related threads that I commented on in Spring 2012. Much to my surprise, I stated that I found some of RoH "sharp and funny." I was more annoyed then with her defenders trying to wrap her in bubble-wrap to protect her from the evils of internet patriarchy and then use her as a proxy for their own related, but not quite identical enough concerns. On the other hand, I still found her a vitriolic personality who just wanted to see the world burn. I just did not judge her as harshly for that characteristic, probably because I was unaware at the time of how much damage she had done to more vulnerable people and communities than the ones we were discussing. As I learned more about her, I lost my half sympathy for her and now that's all I remember. So to remedy that: RH should have stuck to the first part of Dennis Moore's script and never started stealing lupines from the disadvantaged. Not completely evil, but who is.

24:

You mean as long as you believed she was making life hell for those you disliked, you went along with it. When you discovered she did it you people you sympathized with, you changed your mind. It's people like you who are the cheerleaders for people like her.

25:

suppose the question is how much of the whole pot of money to be made from "cross-media franchise x" comes from the novels.

You've got the cart before the horse.

There are maybe 60-100 big budget movies made per year, of which there are around 20-30 genre titles.

There are on the order of 3000 genre SF/F novels published per year. Of these, about 20-30 sell really well (by which I mean they go bestseller: the author's take-home isn't on the order of $50,000, it's more like $500,000 and up).

When a book or series goes gold -- and it's usually a series, that builds organically over a period of many years -- the TV and film studios begin sniffing around. Then they look into adapting it for the screen. Most of the time it never gets beyond a pilot episode script, or a movie script. But if it makes it into production ... having even a failed single-season TV series means every subsequent book in the series goes top-5 bestseller.

But it's the film or TV show that's the media franchise, not the books.

Rarely we see a TV or film franchise start up that generates its own book-publishing spin-off franchise. Star Trek. Star Wars. Doctor Who. Sometimes games do it -- but that's even more rare. What happens is that the rights to the books are spun off either to a publishing house or to an internal editorial/publishing subsidiary that rides herd on the continuity and consistency with the parent property. It shouldn't be underestimated: franchise novels (mostly Star Trek and Star Wars) are around 30% of the US SF/F market. Individual books make a tiny fraction of a percentage as much money as a movie or TV show -- but when you can pump out a hundred a year like clockwork, it adds up rapidly.

But. But. Hunger Games? Was a book first. Harry Potter? Was a book first. Game of Thrones? Was a book first. And they don't reduce to formulae, unless the formula is "take writer, let writer work for a decade perfecting their technique, exploit". Unlike Hollwood, which is all Save The Cat this decade.

26:

Dirk, criticism -- even harsh, sarcastic criticism -- is fine. If you publish your work for the general public to read you can expect some folks to not understand what you're saying, and others to violently disagree with it: it's part of the price of publishing.

The line that RH crossed was from trenchant criticism into bullying people, and fomenting internet witch hunts, and being involved in whispering campaigns. (Even then, I'm not sure whether RH was the main impetus behind the whispering, or just a willing volunteer pitchfork-carrier.)

Whatever the case, I'd urge everybody not to form a baying mob. That's what got RH into trouble in the first place: we should be seeking to put an end to that kind of behaviour, not engage in it ourselves.

27:

I've been there, and my perspective is that trolls like RH are mentally ill. It is their enablers, excusers and "fans" that I consider more morally reprehensible because they know better, yet still willingly join the pack of abusers. Without them the lone nut stays a lone nut and is clearly sick. They give a veneer of "respectable criticism" to what is effectively stalking and intimidation.

28:

I had half sympathy for her, but no sympathy for the people who said it was morally wrong to disagree with her. Sometimes she made a cogent point and sometimes she said something really wrong but in a way that made you laugh your ass off. And quite often she just had a boring potty mouth and/or way too vivid rage fantasies. Some VIP's wanted to brand her as an untouchable bard of truth and that was just not on, power disparities be damned. So I think we are probably in more agreement than disagreement here, Dirk, scary as that might be for both of us.

I also had forgotten how badly some, but not all of her famous, "powerful" targets reacted. They really should have not stooped to comment or at least committed all the way to full contact. Instead, many of them issued these half-hearted attempts to show they were 100% not racist/sexist/whateverist, which of course, were doomed to fail because nobody is 100% right on those issues. They could have just said: these are contentious issues that I struggled to articulate within a piece of entertainment. I too have worried about Criticism X, but it added some Positive Y and I felt the trade off was worth it. As an aside, I think saying I literally eat s*** in real life was unfair comment and insensitive to the scatophage community who deal with unthinking prejudice everyday.

29:

The most commonly given advice to someone dealing with sociopaths is: Disengage, NOW! You cannot 'win' an argument with this type because there is/always will be an exception in any argument (collection of facts) for them to exploit. Score-keeping is more important than understanding or nuance.

http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminal_mind/psychology/robert_hare/index.html


30:

Depends how far you are willing to go. Sometimes a psycho accidentally picks on a psycho

31:

From an undergrad psychopathology course of a very long time ago ... psycho/sociopaths are (1) very quick to spot each other and (2) would move away from/ignore each other because the other would not be 'rewarding prey'.

This apparently happens even in prisons ... Back in the 70s-80s when group therapy (for rehab) was all the rage, the most common interactions between psycho/sociopathic inmates (as opposed to psycho/sociopathic vs. other inmate types) within the same therapy group was 'how-to' interest. The group therapy sessions for psycho/sociopathic inmates were subsequently discontinued.

32:

Sometimes on the Net they are slow learners. They also have to uphold the expectations of their fan club, since this happens in public.

33:

Okay ...

Tying in this discussion to Charlie's original topic .. visit to the Stasi museum... located this item which sorta shows how the state can also become a sociopath... (excerpt below):

http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989/exhibits/memory/essay

"Using these sources within the context of leading up to the more well-known events of 1989 allows students to understand that the desire to protest was building up over a long period of time and were was not only a spontaneous phenomenon of 1989. This particular counter-demonstration highlighted the discrepancy between the SED’s progressive rhetoric and its repressive actions. The GDR state found it increasingly difficult to rationalize the distinctions it drew between the suppression of its own dissidents and the repression of Communist dissidents by reactionary elements during the 1920s and 1930s. Its own Party legacy had now come full circle. The Party itself was now providing the moral ammunition that would slowly prompt hundreds of thousands to take to the streets in 1989 and ultimately bring about the collapse of SED rule."


Also - thinking back to another topic that Charlie raised (robots in war/on the battlefield) - how about using robots in prisons, specifically for/among socio/psychopathic inmates? Since one of the key characteristics of socio/psychopaths is their ability to read/use others' emotions - using robots to look after such inmates' physical well-being would seem both prudent and humane. I'm assuming that there's something similar to the Stockholm syndrome that probably exists/arises among prison staff vis-a-vis prisoners ... and/or that constant interaction with socio/psychopaths can have an inoculating effect (prison staff become 'immune' to such behavior outside 'work') and/or depending on that individual's emotional make-up, working with socio/psychopaths is comparable to working in a war zone, therefore PTSD.

However, before robots could be used .. for humanitarian/legal reasons .. we would have to know the effects of isolation/solitary confinement on this versus other prisoner types because it could be argued that dealing with a robot (vs. a human being) would be comparable to being in solitary.

I'm sure there are tons of issues involved here ... so please feel free to have at it.

34:

States, even the best, are automatically sociopathic machines.
As for the kind of people who become prison warders, I have no idea. They are as alien to me as those who choose to work in slaughterhouses. I would rather starve than do either job.

35:


I may feel more inclined to comment further on this foul mess - as read from the links - when I've calmed down and feel less like foaming at the mouth and rushing around biting people on the leg on the grounds that..They Deserve It!

Electronic Life is complicated. There’s nothing new in Poison Pen Letters but the internet gives people who would be ineffectual beyond, say, their village post box an International Reach via the internet.


It’s as you said, " Whatever the case, I'd urge everybody not to form a baying mob. That's what got RH into trouble in the first place: we should be seeking to put an end to that kind of behaviour, not engage in it ourselves."

In my opinion...that is not so humble... RH has provided her own punishment since every time her work comes up for an Award in the near future, or her stories are assessed long after her death by Academia, her past history as a vicious predator " Poison Pen " assailant and bully will be factored into the assessment.

Would YOU want your life to be met by that kind of assessment? Would anyone?


One more thing? I'd urge people not to be too eager to .. Medicalise? .. R.H.


It may well be that R.H. is a psychopath or is suffering from some variant of Repetitive Compulsive Disorder but mental illness is far more complicated than you might suppose. I've suffered from two bouts of Stress triggered Clinical Depression and although I had encountered the condition in others from the time from the time that I was a child - and my Mother suffered it, to the point that she underwent Electric Shock Therapy, and afterwards scarcly knew who she was, and even had to be introduced to her own children- I REALLY didn’t understand the condition until I was on the Receiving end.


At the time of my first personal encounter no-one who knew me would have realised just how ill I was. You cover up out of pride. That is why, in my opinion, a London Met Police Firearms specialist shot herself dead on a police range with a police weapon a few years ago regardless of her passing all of the psychological testing and assessment.

We would need to know R.H. far better than we do to hope to make a sensibly scientific determination of her condition.

Still ECCCH!And also ICK! Nasty! Must run all of my poor Computers debugging programmes and anti malware systems just in case.

I blame Our Gracious Host for this!

36:

All I can add is that if she was the one who "outed" herself, then her apology is genuine. If I were on the receiving end I would tend to forgive her. OTOH, if it was someone else who outed her, then not. It's very easy to say "sorry" especially when your own behavior puts your entire career at risk in an unexpected manner.

37:

Dirk> I don't believe there was any self outing here, unless a third party was deliberately nominated. Whichever way you look at it the details are depressing.

Charlie> Were I able to withstand temperatures over about 25C I would love to visit that Tropical Islands place for a few hours. It looks as though it would be an interesting experience.

The closest I have come to that kind of thing was an attempt to visit The Eden project in Cornwall once. One look at the queue and I turned around and went somewhere else though.

For me tropical islands are ath their best when they are deserted, but with supplies and internet access '-)

38:

IMHO, sociopaths don't just change - they just change tactics. What I didn't see when reading the links was this one, which might both explain the behaviour and compliment the victims:

Just maybe, RH wasn't attacking from self hate, but instead was attacking the competition. The more of a perceived threat they were, the more they were attacked (after all, every competent, female, or minority fantasy author might be seen as diluting her "brand" / USP).

I'll now be buying and reading Tricia Sullivan, NK Jemisin, and anyone else on the victim list.

39:

I've known four prison officers; they were all realistic men, and three struck me as "good men and true" (I didn't know the fourth well enough to offer an opinion). Two were ex-regular servicemen; not posers or egotists, but the quietly impressive kind who had "been there and done that", and had nothing to prove to themselves or anyone else.

The personality type struck me more as "mentor" / "teacher", but that may have been because they were working with young offenders, and trying to get through to them. That description also fits another friend who did some youth offender work, in between her leading young soldiers up 6000m summits...

PS ref my comment above, I've already got three of Tricia Sullivan's books, it was a reminder to buy Shadowboxer...

40:

Another Day, another complication in the Study of The Human Condition ..NOW I begin to Understand IT! ...


" A virus that infects human brains and makes us more stupid has been discovered, according to scientists in the US.

The algae virus, never before observed in healthy people, was found to affect cognitive functions including visual processing and spatial awareness.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska stumbled upon the discovery when they were undertaking an unrelated study into throat microbes.

Surprisingly, the researchers found DNA in the throats of healthy individuals that matched the DNA of a virus known to infect .."

That sounds about Right in an Intuitive sort of way ..A Stupidity Virus! You just KNEW that it had to exist didn't you?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/virus-that-makes-humans-more-stupid-discovered-9849920.html

41:

Oh crap ... and here I thought it was age catching up with me! Here's a link/article that identifies this virus.

http://www.iflscience.com/brain/algae-virus-humans-found-drain-brain-power

Excerpt:

Acanthocystis turfacea Chlorella virus 1 (ATCV-1), that typically infects freshwater green algae can be found in the throats of otherwise healthy humans.

Okay - anyone know whether the OTC 'Chlorella' supplements contain this stuff/virus? (My understanding is that some viruses can lie dormant.)

43:

Re psychopaths, from Wikipedia: "James H. Fallon...

"Fallon, who himself has the neurological and genetic correlates of psychopathy,[1] has been categorized as a "pro-social psychopath", an assessment with which he concurs. In October 2013 his book, The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain, was released by Current (acquired by Penguin).[2]"

I've read the book, and recommend it. Too improbable for fiction: Fallon accidentally saw a scan of his own brain, and till then hadn't realized he was a psychopath.

44:

You'll have to read the actual supplement recipe and see what they do. I did a quick survey of some preparations.

Some said they treat everything in a way that would make me pretty surprised if there's anything resembling intact virus left (although it's not impossible). I'd also wonder just what the benefit is meant to be though. You're getting an odd mix of oligo-peptides and short chains of nucleic acids and... so? There's at least one site that says this is essential to let us get access to the micronutrients which is what you're presumably more interested in.

Some look more like they strain the algae and mince it up and strain it so there's no lumpy bits. In which case there's almost certainly the intact virus. And you're already stupefacted so you might as well keep on taking it unless they find there's a cure. (I could also add a question mark about the actual benefits of drinking what's essentially seaweed soup as a supplement?)

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