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PSA: Please don't nominate the Laundry Files for a Best Series Hugo Award (this year)

It's the time of year when nominations open for the various genre fiction awards, and some folks announce what they've published that is eligible (while others bite their lips and refuse to tout for votes in what is essentially a beauty pageant).

I only published two works of fiction in 2017, both novels—"Empire Games" and "The Delirium Brief", books 7 and 8 in the Merchant Princes/Empire Games and Laundry Files series. As such, they're highly unlikely to make the best novel shortlist in the Hugo awards. However, since 2016 there's been a new category, "best series". Please do not nominate the Laundry Files for the best series Hugo award in 2018.

(Explanation below the cut.)

The rules for the best series Hugo award stipulate:

Previous losing finalists in the Best Series category shall beeligible only upon the publication of at least two (2) additional installments consisting in total of at least 240,000 words after they qualified for their last appearance on the final ballot and by the close of the previous calendar year.

This means that if series X is shortlisted in 2018 and loses, it won't be eligible again until two more installments amounting to 240,000 words have been published in a subsequent year.

There is a significantly better chance of either series winning the award at a British—or Irish—worldcon, such as the one in Dublin in 2019, simply because the worldcon attendees will include more of my UK readers. However, a nomination in 2018 would probably lose (there are plenty of very good series works by American authors: consider Max Gladstone or Seanan McGuire, for example) and thereby disqualify me from eligibility in 2019. That'll be the last chance for the Merchant Princes/Empire Games series (I don't currently have any plans after book 10, "Invisible Sun", comes out in 2019), and probably the last chance for the Laundry Files for a long time (I'm taking a year off to recharge my creative juices after "The Labyrinth Index", so two more books would take us through to 2021).

So: if you think either these series deserve a Best Series Hugo Award, please don't nominate them in 2018 (2019 is okay). And if you think they're crap and don't deserve a Best Series Hugo Award, why are you even reading this?

Footnote 1: This PSA is necessary because, despite me asking people not to nominate the Laundry Files for the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Series, I didn't ask loudly enough: it barely missed the shortlist, and having lost would subsequently be ineligible in the years of eligibility of "The Delirium Brief" or "The Labyrinth Index", which I think are the strongest works in the series to date.

Footnote 2: Of course, this is only about the Best Series Hugo. The Best Novel award has no affect on eligibility in other years or other categories.

116 Comments

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1:

There really does need to be an option to preemptively decline specific nominations.

In such a case you'd still want to tell people not to waste their efforts.

2:

I ... completely forgot I could decline the nomination?

However, declining a nomination is rather more stressful than not being nominated in the first place. (I don't like having to second-guess myself.)

3:

If 2017 was Bujold's year to lose a Best Series Hugo, then I'd say 2018 is Jemisin's year.

For myself, I like that the Hugo awards now can reward ultra long form works in a way that wasn't possible earlier, but I'm definitely unsure about the subsequent nomination clause. I get why it's there, to block the same series to dominate the category unless they earn it, but at the same time it opens the field for gaming the nominations, in order to get the nomination for the "best" year. I hope it's possible to find a better version in the future.

4:

2018 is either Nora, or Max, or maybe Kameron Hurley.

Middle-aged white males like myself are currently unfashionable. I'm not shedding too many tears over this change in status — for too long we've been undervaluing and ignoring women and people of color. To the extent that I have a competitive streak that manifests as a desire to win shiny trophies, I also have a sense of fair play that tells me the trophies are worthless if more than half the competitors are hobbled.

I don't think you can effectively legislate against gaming the nominations for "best" year unless you also figure out a way to remove inherent bias from the pool of voters, and that's a hard problem (as the ongoing issue of dealing with the puppy slates demonstrates). Note that in this PSA I'm asking nominees not to do something that might prevent my work competing in future—rather than a positive (saying "vote for meeee").

I could have stayed silent and simply declined to be shortlisted if nominated, but if I do that, the votes that could have gone to other works would be wasted. So I think it's more honest to say it openly. If the WSFS move to change the rules to prevent this sort of thing, that's a matter for the voters.

5:

Requiring two full novels in a year for a series for a nom seems an odd and unfair as put a lot of stress on the author and seems open to gaming where publishers hold back publishing.

As a Pro in this area (member of SOC's and I should be Chair of a large unions SOC next year) it seems that worldcon rules after decades seem to be drafted by amateurs.

Reminds me must buy a laundry files T shirt for next conference in brum and see which branches get the joke.

6:

It's not two novels in a year, it's at least two novels of the appropriate length over any duration. There could be a ten year gap between the first nomination and the next volume in the series, then another ten years for something that takes it over the word count thus making it eligible for nomination again the following year.

7:

Won't "Invisible Sun" be book 9(6) of that series?

Anyhow, another year in which I haven't read nearly enough to have much opinion for noms. Only four that would be eligible: "Empire Games" & "The Delirium Brief", "The Stars Are Legion", and "The House of Binding Thorns". Enjoyed them all. Currently reading "Six Wakes", which is off to a good start.

Rather off-topic question—not expecting an answer, but When will Zen Cho have a new book out? Want moar.

8:

That really disappointed me. Lois got my vote, that was one of the two that my vote wasn't the winner.

9:

While I'll be voting for Hugos, I won't be nominating. I don't read much new until the Hugo epubs hit my iPad. And since Barnes & Noble, in their infinite wisdom, decided to eliminate their New section in Science Fiction and throughout most of the store, I'm not buying as much either. Now almost all my book purchases are through Apple's store or through the various Bundles, I avoid buying physical books EXCEPT for a very small number of authors, Mr. Stross being at the top of the list (now that Sir Pterry has moved on to bigger things).

10:

The Vorkosigan Saga DID win the inaugural Best Series Hugo, and in a near landslide (it won in five passes, not six like all the other categories).

11:

I think you misunderstood the phrase "Bujold's year to lose". That's a colloquial way of saying "only Bujold could have caused Bujold to lose". (And she didn't...cause or lose.)

To actually lose (the implication is), Lois would have had to do something to turn the voters against her. Like, murder someone, or start a slate, or grope Connie Willis. (And none of those would have guaranteed a loss--she might have had to do all three.)

I'd like to think Charlie is in the same boat--I certainly can't think of any currently-running series that I'd vote for over Laundry, now that Vorkosigan has won. But, sadly, my personal tastes are not always 100% aligned with the rest of the Hugo voters.

12:

Thank you, Charlie. This is a fine request and a kindness to your readers. It means I will use all the slots on my nominating ballot for other works I like, and not waste a slot on the Laundry Files this year.

13:

I'd like to think Charlie is in the same boat--I certainly can't think of any currently-running series that I'd vote for over Laundry, now that Vorkosigan has won.

Off the top of my head?

Max Gladstone's Craft sequence. Genevieve Cogman's Invisible Library series. Nnedi Okorafor's Binti books. N. K. Jemisin. Kameron Hurley. At least two different series by Seanan McGuire aka Mira Grant. I can see GRRM's Game of Thrones having some support (although the series of Hugo wins for best short-form media probably reduce demand somewhat). I'm pretty sure — having recently begun chewing on his work — that Brandon Sanderson is a solid contender. In future years, look to see Yoon Ha Lee, Malka Older, and Ada Palmer show up in the best series list (once their respective third and subsequent in-series books show up — they're all at book 2 right now, with book 3 coming soon).

The best series Hugo is likely to be even more susceptible than the best novel Hugo to popular sentiment ("author X really deserves a Hugo") because even if the latest book in series isn't the best, the series as a whole gets to win. The "best novel" Hugo also has a little bias towards youth/novelty these days — once you've been around for a decade you're an old has-been (ahem). But I suspect the best series award will redress the balance because it takes time to write a substantial high-quality series.

14:

Side note: it is not obvious what defines a series. Are Connie Willis's time travel books a series (Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Black Out/All Clear, etc)? They share a setting, but there's little or no character continuity. Would Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion books constitute a single overarching series, or a bunch of smaller series works? And given that those books were typically 50-60,000 words — barely more than a novella by modern standards — do they even count?

15:

Hopefully those shit-tossing Rabid Puppies don't see this, and decide to use your books to troll the Hugos again.

16:

The only one you mentioned that I've read is Yoon Ha Lee, who does a better, scarier, and weirder job of writing about war than most of the "complaining authors" who consciously sit down and write "military science fiction." She definitely deserves many prizes. (Unfortunately, I've done a poor job of following the field in recent years.)

The only other people I can think of are David Gerrod, who would definitely deserve a series Hugo if he ever finished the Chtorr books, and possibly Charles Gannon, who's done a very good job of mixing science fiction and mayhem in his "Caine Riordan" books.

17:

Quick note; Yoon Ha Lee identifies as Male.
Another writer whose books I have waiting patiently in the TBR pile.

18:

Oh. Sorry. Thinking back, I don't know how I got the idea that Yoon was female... My bad.

19:

Well, the first time I read a Yoon Ha Lee story was on Tor.com a few years ago, their bio said she at the time.

20:

I'm happy as long as I'm using the correct word for the present situation.

21:

Oh, I'm sure some people have other series they'd rank higher. I'm just not sure I do. There are several you mentioned which come close, but fall at least a hair short, IMO. But there's a couple I don't know yet, so...maybe my opinion will change after checking them out.

So, um, thanks for the recommendations. And for the extra year to catch up on my reading. I suspect I'll still vote Laundry in 2019, but we shall see. :D

22:

This post raises the issue that's been bugging me a bit about this new award - when exactly should a series that is ongoing be nominated? Another example that comes to mind for me is Steven Brust's Taltos series. He just released book fifteen in the main series (Vallista), and has indicated there'll be four more. One could nominate now, based on Vallista, or one could wait for the series' conclusion. What to do, what to do...!?!

23:

This post raises the issue that's been bugging me a bit about this new award - when exactly should a series that is ongoing be nominated?

The answer seems to be, "whenever the fans want to, as long as a work continuing the series has been published in the year in question". There's certainly no requirement for a series to be definitely completed. I'd forgotten the Vlad series; yes, it should definitely be a contender — although I think Brust may be a little obscure? (He's not published in the UK or outside the USA, AFAIK, which doesn't help as the worldcon becomes increasingly international.)

24:

No, there is no obvious definition on what constitutes a series, and that's by design. It's up to the people nominating to come up with the definition by Brownian motion. As long as there is some sort of continuity ("unified by elements such as plot, characters, setting, and presentation") between works, it's fine.

And shorter works can definitely make up a series. If you read the committee report before the award, they explicitly discuss series created out of novella and novelette length works. There were some people who took "volume" too literally, but that was changed to "installments".

The reason why series aren't focused on the finish year is that many series does not have an obvious finish. The Vorkosigan books are a series of largely independent stories. The Laundry is more obviously a coherent narrative in a rolling series, and then you have something like Jemisin who reaches a proper series ending.

25:

Well, to me "a series" is a number of stories set in the same "world", and normally using one or more of the same characters. Worked examples:-

OGH
Laundryverse clearly is.
"Merchant Princes" (re-title if applicable) clearly is
Liz Cavanaugh stories should be; certainly will be when/if we get number 3 (but possibly not eligible for this Hugo even then?)
Freyaverse similarly.

Ken MacLeod
Fall Revolution, Engines of Light and Corporation Wars are; I can't think that his other works are.

Iain (M) Banks
A case could possibly be made for the Culture, but certainly not for his contemporary fiction.

26:

Any idea how he deals with the author's gender for his early works?

Just asking because an old friend of mine I hadn't contacted in a while is now a trans woman, and while I immediatly called her with her female name, at the moment I'm using his old name and gender for memories from 21st Chaos Communications Congress and like (err, I'm not coming to Leipzig this year).

There is another trans man I know who quite often talks about his old self with his old female name, but I don't know much about Korean names.

Funny thing is, I was somewhat hysterical when the old friend told me, I had just learned another old friend of mine from university was living in a homeless shelter, but I get the impression she was indicating I might be trans myself. Err, let's stop it there, I'm quite sure she is wrong in some ways, but I guess in Greg Egan's "Distress" I'd be one of the people describing themselves as "asex", not because of lack of sexual desire (I'm as flirty with woman as ever), but because I think simple dichotomies don't describe some people.

Speaking about identies, no info on the picture of your ancestor still, but I might start some genealogy in Poland in the future. Though I'm still not sure if one of my relatives there was really called "Itzhak Krawczyk"...

As for the TBR pile, err, no shelves still? And I'm discovering I have a TBRA pile, e.g. "to be read again". Might be time to re-read Huxley's "Island" after 23 years, for example...

27:

To the extent that I have a competitive streak that manifests as a desire to win shiny trophies, I also have a sense of fair play that tells me the trophies are worthless if more than half the competitors are hobbled.

Our sports psychologist would have been chuffed to bits with that statement, because it’s healthy competitiveness.

Anyway, holiday in full effect, turkey stew impending, fourth Library novel just finished, and I’m torn between Paper Magicians (pun intended), Toby Frost’s “Pincers of Death”, or the latest Expanse novel... I hope everyone finds themselves in as pleasant a situation at this time of year.

(Regarding series, I’ve got a fifteen-year-old who is rather keen to see the next Patrick Rothfuss and the next Scott Lynch)

28:

A young trans friend has expressed her joy at her Granny’s Christmas present; for years, she gave “him” a body wash (advertised in the UK as being irresistible to women, aka “Lynx”). Now that Granny and the family knows that she’s trans... she’s sent her more of the same ;)

She’s still her grandchild... and Grannies can have a wicked streak of humour.

29:

Might depend somewhat on the circumstances, self-identified gender[1] doesn't equal sexual orientation, the trans man who still sometimes mentions (and uses) his female name is still in the hots for Legolas, though then Jackson's Legolas is quite androgyn.

So maybe Granny knows something else, and it's her way of saying:

"Go on lass, now is the time, get me one nice daughter-in-law, but not one of those dumb butches or one of those boring femmes, I'd go for one of those nice short-haired somewhat too slim ones, hair maybe dyed red, green or blue, reads Ballard, Pratchett or Banks, can do a mean Pogo, voice somewhat bass, you know the type..."

Please excuse my body typing, I just got somewhat carried away.

Maybe I'll visit my cousin some time soon, I borrowed her "The Hobbit" when I was in my early teens, later on she listened to "The Cure", Therapy and Bob Marley, which might or might not tell you something. She said her daughter always likes visitors, though she can't read so it might be somewhat early to return the favour with some Tolkien myself. And then, I might go for Lem, Lovecraft, Cordwainer Smith or Ballard, which are the principal authors I remember when turning to SF some time later, but as mentioned, it might be too early. Guess I'll stick to a cheap China 100x microscope. ;)

[1] Sorry, I don't know the correct term, and I guess googling would take too long, also, there are different trans subcultures using different terms; I guess I'm something of a "cultural conservative" and obsessive-compulsive nerd at heart, so when people hazzle about "political correctness" I think that much of my "political correctness" is just politeness and trying to be exact, e.g. using Afroasiatic instead of "Hamito-Semitic", there is a Semitic language group, but no Hamitic one...

30:

I can't guess about tactics; among other issues, it's not clear how buyers of books map to Hugo nominators and voters. However, simply declining the nomination might not have worked; rule 3.2.2 says "A work shall not be eligible if in a prior year it received sufficient nominations to appear on the final award ballot." Just imagine the arguments over whether "The Laundry Files books 1-8 (plus novelettes?)" are the same "work" as "The Laundry Files books 1-9 (ditto)"; I would NOT want to be the Hugo administrator stuck deciding that question -- and unlike cases where the nominators/voters are considered the final arbiter (e.g., was Apollo 13 a Dramatic Presentation rather than a documentary), this looks like it would have to be the admin's call.
Note that I am not a rules geek and have never administered the Hugos; the above is an educated guess with no authority behind it.

31:

Any idea how he deals with the author's gender for his early works?

No idea, other than what's been mentioned, and what Wikipedia says. I did listen to an interview with him about writing, I don't remember gender being talked about. And I know nothing about Korean naming conventions. Japanese names are safer ground for me. Actually, Japanese trans issues are something I've been gathering a few research materials on for a poetential writing project—which I ought to get back to.

My experience with Trans people is pretty limited. Everybody's different (of course), asking about previous lives seems to be rude to offensive, or not a problem.
From my synagogue I've known a couple kids who have come out as trans in the last few years, in ther teens. In one family they had adopted identical twin sisters from an abusive background. One was very 'girly' and the other a tomboy, who was very protective of his sister. Another is from a pair of boys adopted from Central America, she always liked to dress up in princess dresses and her mother was fine with that (not so sure about the father).

As for TBR piles/shelves, I should admit mine's more of a TBR room. I've a massive case of Tsundoku, buying way too many books than I'm likely to be able to read.

32:

And, oh yeah, geneaology is another thing I ought to get back to.
One of theses days...

33:

As has been noted before by me, B&N are interested in selling best sellers, and everything else is trivial to them. And, as they ad DRM AND HIDE ebooks, it looks like I'm going to have to figure out where to put more physical books, and/or find epub vendors.

34:

Oh, hell, yes, Stephen should have at least had a nomination for those.

And folks, for all the mentions of authors at the top of your lists, thanks. Since we lost Larry Smith (large bookdealer at central and east coast cons), I can't just walk up to him as ask him what's new that I might like. Sally, his widow's, slowing getting there, but not enough time to read it all....

35:

Ah, well, I have a problem with your "sports psychologist"... but then, their job is "Doc, I wanna kill, eat dead burnt babies, veins in my teeth. Kill, kill, KILL!!!"

I also have a problem when there's something - and too many masquerades (and my related Center at work) are guilty of giving out too many awards, which devalues all of them.

36:

I don't think Max Gladstone has published two books in his Craft series since he was nominated last year. Also, I think both Lecke and Jemsin are more likely to be nominated in Best Novel

McGuire has a novella and novel in her October Daye series, but they were published together under one cover. Would that count as two installments? Her InCryptid series could be nominated instead.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Sanderson's Stormlight Archive get a nomination. 1632 has a small but dedicated fan base; they might be able to get it nominated.


Robin Hobb's Fitz and the Fool series could be nominated.

37:

Err, there is a family story of one of my father's father's relatives locking up a Jewish peddler in a wardrobe as children, if it turns out he was one of your or Charlie's relatives I apologize in advance. Though then, according to the same story they were punished by their parents, and the peddler might have been one of my father's mother's relatives...

In general, some stories my father tells just don't align that well with what I know about Eastern European history. On my grandfather's side there are stories about a conflict with Russia, but then he says my grandfather's family stayed in Prussian Posen during the 19th century.

My grandmother's family being converts keeping some practices, e.g. brit milah or names seems like a possibility and might explain some things, but I guess I'll have to do some independent research. An alternative explanation might be a genetic tendency towards phimosis.

Might make a story some day, for some other reasons I'm thinking a lot about dissociation these days, and dissociatve amnesia is one variant:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychogenic_amnesia

You could also look at Stockholm syndrome.

We all know what Eastern European history looks like, so maybe one way to survive in God's Playground

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God%27s_Playground

was to constantly reinvent oneself and just "forget" certain things. And the next generation putting together the puzzle and getting a strange picture, sometimes correct, sometimes distorted.

Have to go to bed now, I wanted to watch Charlie's talk from warpzone tomorrow, here's a link I found:

https://events.ccc.de/congress/2017/Fahrplan/events/9270.html

There might be some live streaming BTW. I might send a link tomorrow.

38:
Ada Palmer ... at book 2 right now, with book 3 coming soon

Point of order, book 3 in that series came out last week. Is good, have not finished yet so cannot comment on tolerability of inevitable cliffhanger...

Also now has uk publisher so this and first two are available in uk print/ebook editions - recommended.

39:

Also I see book 1 is only £1.99 on kindle at the moment.

40:

if it turns out he was one of your or Charlie's relatives I apologize in advance

Speaking for myself; No worries.
As far as I know my Great-Great Grandparents were farmers in Lithuania. But that's just my maternal grandmother's family, I know basically nothing about my grandfather's family.

41:

My mother (seriously into her sewing, knitting, spinning, and now weaving) describes it as SABLE - Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy. My book-buying is starting to look similar...

42:

Then IMHO you either don’t know many sports psychologists, or you don’t know any good ones.

The popular fictional view of the American ideal appears to be “winning is all that matters”; a generalisation, possibly wildly inaccurate, and also an unhealthy approach to getting the best out of people. Our psychs were interested in helping us to get the best performance out of ourselves on the day it mattered; and in helping us to develop that performance most efficiently. No need for “red in tooth and claw”.

By way of comparison, I’ve been to the School of Infantry, and no babies were risked or harmed. It was also a completely different approach, completely different perspective.

43:

Same with my mother, though she doesn't spin, plenty of projects for the future. So long as it keeps her going.

The grammar of that last line of mine above is teeth grinding. Hit submit too soon.

44:

Not much risk then. Both of my paternal grandparents stem from Posznan, but theit families moved to Recklinghausen in the Ruhr sometime in the late 19th century. They thought about returning to Poland after WWI, but stayed because of their children.

My father is from 1921, and my brother and I were quite amused when we talked about his linguistics sessions at university and my father mentioned there was one Chomsky/Chomski active with the communists in the Ruhrpolish community at the time. Err.

As for further history, there are quite some relatives of my grandmother still around Posznan, though I have no idea how it goes back from there. Problem is, Krawczyk (kraviec + czyk, e.g. "tailor's son") is quite a common Polish surname, which is why I mention it here. But it's not that easy to trace for the same reason.

My grandfather's surname, OTOH is somewhat less common, even in Poland, so it's quite probable somebody with this surname is related. Which is why I have developed a habit of not mentioning it on the net in most circumstances since about 2008; I'm thinking about establishing a somewhat sanitized facebook account under my real name soon, I get older and want to keep track of some people I know, but not in forums. I was quite active on German usenet in the very late 90s/early 00s, and I still remember my brother talking about googling me. He's a teacher now, so, err, guess I'll keep the Trottelreiner pseudo for quite some time, in case anyone wonders, it's from Lem's "Futurological Congress":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Futurological_Congress

Whatever, IIRC my father says he saw records of his name going back to the 17th century near Posznan, but then, it seems to be much more common around Warsaw, which would tie in with some of my ancestors "putting up arms against the Russians but never joining the struggle":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January_Uprising

If I didn't say so before, it's complicated, and if this hell of a year taught me anything, it's I might trust my family, but I shouldn't trust their memories. But it also taught me a talent for self-deception is quite normal in HSS, so I guess my family might be quite normal in that regard.

Sorry, one other thing this year taught me I should open up somewhat more, where I have seen strange oscillations since kindergarten...

On my mother's side, well. grandmother Westfalian, grandfather Silesian. Where the Westfalian side might originally be from Swabia. And one of my relatives on that side used "rincewind" as a username in the early 90s, so I guess the geek comes from both sides in my case.

As for Chalie's talk, live-streams might be available at

https://streaming.media.ccc.de/34c3/

There were ways of asking questions after lectures in the past, but I have found no irc links or similar.

45:

The mere idea of "Sports Psychology" gives me the all-over cold shudders.

The aversion therapy I was subjected to between the ages of 11 & 14 stuck very well, though, of course, that was not its' intention .....

46:

As for Charle's talk, there'll be a livestream at

https://streaming.media.ccc.de/34c3/halla

Talk starts at 11:30 MEZ (German time), 10:30 Greenwich or 5:30 Washington time.

For those wanting to ask questions after the lecture, you can do so over irc or Twitter:

irc: #34C3-hall-a @hackint
Twitter: Use the hashtag #halla

More with:
https://events.ccc.de/congress/2017/wiki/index.php/Congress_Everywhere

As for me, seems there is no "Congress everywhere" near me, so I'll watch it from home. Which is somewhat sad, as I told a friend during a quite stressful phase this summer, we're a social species, and there are things best done together.

47:

"although I think Brust may be a little obscure"

It was interesting what authors were available when I lived in the USA, and what was obscure there. Brust was on the shelves in the shops, for a change, which was nice.

The other notable thing about US bookshops was that British authors were less available... but in the detective novels section American authors writing novels set in a fictious country they called England were quite popular. Rather odd. Their "modern England" was very much not the multi-ethnic England that Ben Aaronovitch writes about, I do wonder if that's why he's not done so well in the USA when he's a best-seller elsewhere in the English-speaking world.

48:

"rather keen to see the next Patrick Rothfuss"

Alas, I think it grew so large in order to accommodate all the hopes placed on it that it has vanished into its own event horizon.

49:

Worry not - many use “Performance Psychology” instead. It’s really all about skill acquisition, retention, and demonstration (including under stress); and might as well be about “flying an aircraft” or “driving a car”.

I bumped into a former team psych of ours at the airport - she was heading off to a conference in the States, run by the USAF...

50:

Don’t worry, the UK has a wonderful example of it too. There’s a TV detective series set in rural England, where nearly everyone is middle-class and white. Rather like an Agatha Christie novel, it’s a safe space for readers of the Daily Mail and Daily Express...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midsomer_Murders#Controversy

51:

novels set in a fictious country they called England were quite popular. Rather odd. Their "modern England" was very much not the multi-ethnic England that Ben Aaronovitch writes about

Unless they really try most people get a very narrow view of "other places". One reason I hang out here is to get a view of the UK and EU that I will not see on the news. Neither is comprehensive but together they form a better view than either alone.

My fall back stat on all of this is that the 3 most visited cities in the US by tourists from other countries (maybe from outside of North America) are New York, Las Vegas, and Orlando. And none of these are very representative of the country as a whole. Putting it mildly.

Heck I live in Raleigh, NC. And we're a definite bubble for the state as a whole. And Raleigh itself has several bubbles. Without naming names one of the adjacent town is locally known as the local "Stepford". See:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stepford_Wives_(1975_film)

52:

Let's put it this way: I know *no* "sports psychologists". The one psychologist I know is Bill Higgin's (of Fermilab, and the fannish group GT) wife, Kelley.

I should also note that my interest in sports approaches zero as a limit, except for two "sports" (and I put that in quotes deliberately) where it's in negative numbers: boxing, and American football.

53:

Statistically Midsomer is one of the most dangerous places in the world, barring locations with an active and ongoing civil war, to live.

54:

The other notable thing about US bookshops was that British authors were less available... but in the detective novels section American authors writing novels set in a fictious country they called England were quite popular. Rather odd. Their "modern England" was very much not the multi-ethnic England that Ben Aaronovitch writes about, I do wonder if that's why he's not done so well in the USA when he's a best-seller elsewhere in the English-speaking world.

Authors are told to write what they know. I expect that for most Americans the "England" they know from detective fiction derives mainly from Agatha Christie's writing.

55:

Without naming names one of the adjacent town is locally known as the local "Stepford".

Hah! Would that be the area known to locals as a "Containment Area"?

56:

Apart from the murder rate, though, it avoids the charge of inaccuracy through its choice of setting. There are plenty of pretty villages that have essentially become retirement colonies for the casts of Agatha Christie novels. It is a self-perpetuating situation because the presence of so many of these people makes it too expensive for normal people to get a house there any more, plus their habit of driving to a town to do all their shopping kills off all the village's shops, right down to the very last one that used to sell daily items like milk and cigs and newspapers. It also makes it too weird for anyone who is not an amelanic mutant to feel comfortable living there, so they prefer not to. Modern England is here, but it's very unevenly distributed.

57:

American expectations of social unrest, crime and murder rates don't really apply to the rest of the world in real life. I read recently that US police have killed over 900 people this year. If the British police had killed nine people in a single year there would be questions asked in Parliament and demands for Something To Be Done Harrumph.

58:

Re: picturesque English village life -- It also makes it too weird for anyone who is not an amelanic mutant to feel comfortable living there, so they prefer not to.

Oddly enough many small villages in the UK (at least ones within striking distance of large towns and cities) will have visible numbers of well-off residents of Asian, Indian and African extraction. The key factor for owning a property in such circumstances is "well-off", not skin colour. There's also a good chance the local vicar will be a CofE or CoS import from an African seminary. The family that owns and lives in the castle[1] just up the driveway from my Mad Friend Norman's place north of Glasgow is Asian, for example.

[1] A sixteenth-century fortified tower that was knocked about a bit by succeeding owners, culminating in an all-out architectural assault by the early Victorians accompanied by the creation of an artificial loch out front.

59:

To be perfectly honest, watch Al Jazeera English. It's a totally different channel to the Arabic one, different content and different intentions.

They basically pinched half the decent journalists from CNN, NBC, BBC & DW to run their international channel, and it does some really good stuff.

Except for Qatar. That's a perfect place, nothing bad ever happens there.

60:

Aversion to Sportsball? Not hard to instill, is it?

61:

Yes, that's why I made the comment about modern England being unevenly distributed. (I'm purposely not talking about Scotland because (a) I don't know it, but (b) I do realise that the same kinds of generalisations don't necessarily apply.) Both diverse and non-diverse kinds of village population exist, but which kind you're more likely to encounter depends on how close your sample village is to London and places like it.

62:

Doubly-&-trebly reinforced from 10 to 5 years ago, of course!
The overwhelming total State Propaganda exercise over the "XXXth olympiad" in London was truly scary, if you were paying attention.
NO DISSENT WAS ALLOWED. EVRYONE LOVES Big Brother The Olympics - someone with a facial condition (frozen muscles) was arrested & held by Plod, because there was some fucking race or other & he just stared at it with no emotion & they "thought he might be a tewwowist".

Every time the unspeakable fascist crawler Coe (note) is mentioned, even now, I get the creeps.

( note: Statement of fact: Coe, of his own volition, voluntarily publicly associated with a member of Franco's Fascist Grand Council. And the so-called "Team Games Ethic" is, to my eye, functionally-indostinguishable from fascism, anyway. )
P.S. Note how I refer to Coe - a title inplies "honour" & he has none, for reasons previously stated.

63:

Well...

if I might quote Alan Bennett "according to the Economist there were over 400 deaths in custody" (between 1999 and 2009) "...with no convictions for murder or manslaughter".

Also, for any controversial UK police shooting you can think of, can you recall any policeperson being charged with (let alone convicted of) an offence ?

64:

Yup. Not often enough (the killing of Harry Stanley looked particularly suspicious), but occasionally:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Ian_Tomlinson

65:

And the jailing of two Plastic-Plods for, effectively, being accessories before the fact to murder, too ...
Avon & Somerset force .....

66:

Was there any evidence that the people who died in police custody in the UK over that period had been maltreated, beaten or assaulted by the police to justify charges of manslaughter or murder? A lot of people who spend time in police cells are often under the influence of drink and/or drugs and not in the best of health, mental or physical. There are also suicides, something the police do make efforts to prevent.

The number I quoted for Americans killed by police officers this year doesn't include people who die in police custody in the US, that's almost certainly quite a high number too. Very few of the nine hundred plus killings by American police this year have been adjudged to be murder or manslaughter.

Americans really don't like having the levels of violence they take as granted being pointed out to them -- a murder rate of 5 per 100,000 per annum compared to places like Japan where it is about 0.6 per 100,000 per annum. They usually try and disguise this by pointing to suicide (a serious social problem in Japan) or otherwise pretend that America's violence problem isn't really a problem because, well, Alan Bennett said something about what happened in the UK over ten years ago.

67:

I expect that for most Americans the "England" they know from detective fiction derives mainly from Agatha Christie's writing.

I suspect that it mostly comes from movies. Going all the way back to the 1940s. With a splash of docudramas we seem to generate and inhale about the Royals. Especially anything related to Diana or a wedding.

68:

A lot of people who spend time in police cells are often under the influence of drink and/or drugs and not in the best of health, mental or physical.

Good point. ("Linda, are you dead?") If you have enough people together anywhere, sooner or later someone will die. People who have just gotten arrested are much more likely to have serious problems, chronic or acute, than the population as a whole. Offhand I don't know where to find information on deaths in custody broken down by nation, year, and population; does anyone have that? Ideally we should be able to parse it both by per capita (entire population) and per capita (people arrested), since not every nation arrests people at the same rate...

The more I think about that the more different ways to ask the question arise.

69:

Indeed, many Americans seem not to. I offended someone deeply by pointing out that if guns don't kill people, then Americans kill people a lot more than other nationalities do. I've resisted using this argument since, because the standard response seems to be "it's black people who do that".

70:

the standard response seems to be "it's black people who do that".

Last time I took a serious interest in this subject (which was a while back) the numbers suggested the murder rate in the US was biased slightly towards white people rather than black, proportionally speaking. Part of this is due to the lower number of black people who own guns or are into gun culture and shooting as a hobby and part of it is that mass killers are overwhelmingly white -- Timothy McVey, for example murdered over 160 people in one bombing which biases the numbers for that year significantly. The most recent large-scale mass murder in Las Vegas was an old white guy with lots of guns who killed fifty people. Sandy Hook, another white guy, and so on.

71:

I'll have to remember that. Useful summation of statistics.

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, but back before Canada had any gun control* our murder rate was about 1/10 that of America. Even the bits of Canada with lots of Americans weren't as violent. Which leads me to believe there's something about American culture that encourages/accepts a high murder rate.


*Eg. a kid could walk into a hardware store and buy ammunition 'for my family'.

72:

I’m not sure handguns have historically been readily available in Canada. Like England, or most commonwealth countries, the law has never really been happy with guns owned for ´defence’ against others. Provinces of Canada may have varied, of course.

Rifles for hunting were fine, of course. And ammo for the same.

But I agree that the real issue is cultural, rather than merely legal.

73:

Good point. Travelling so can't check my original research, but I'm pretty sure I was looking at "legally available" rather than "easy to find and purchase".

Of course, if there was little supply because there was little demand that would also say something about the different societies.

A bit hammed up, but here's a Canadian legend of the 'Wild West':
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r00yaFwZ5bc

74:

.. American jurisprudence on guns makes no sense. The obvious reading on the second amendment is "Swiss style universal militia", not "The right to bear militarily useless handguns everywhere"...

But of course, the straight-forward reading would have required black neighborhoods to be armed to the teeth, and the entire history of gun-control in the US is racist as all hell.

75:

Para 1 strongly seconded.

76:

Re: Deaths in police custody - data

Haven't read this UK report yet which btw includes suicides up to 2 days after release from police custody.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/655710/Deaths_in_police_custody_A_review_of_the_international_evidence.pdf

77:

Cont'd: Deaths in Police Custody

Start on pg 120 - summarizes all of Europe. Homicides are the least likely cause of death while in police custody. Suicides are pretty high overall and often occur before the detainee even goes to trial, e.g., Norway - 91% of deaths occurred pre-trial (suicide). FWIW - suicides are highest among child abusers/molesters.

However, the largest proportion (57.8%) of deaths while in police custody are labeled as 'Other' which is utter laziness/wilful misrepresentation/ignorance on the part of whoever pulled these data together. From undergrad days: unwritten rule in psych-soc data collection that once your 'other/misc' pile is greater than 15%-20% of total responses, you must investigate/parse/re-code that pile.

http://wp.unil.ch/space/files/2016/05/SPACE-I-2014-Report_final.1.pdf

78:

you must investigate/parse/re-code that pile.

I suspect that the people who wrote the report are 2 or 3 levels removed from the data collectors. And the data collectors in many situations like this have a built in bias to NOT be very specific as the specifics are about "them".

79:

Which leads me to believe there's something about American culture that encourages/accepts a high murder rate.

Exemplified by the "stand your ground" laws, IMO. British jurisprudence typically says that violence in self defence has to be the last resort and must be proportionate. If you use a gun to subdue someone, that person had damn well better have been on the verge of actually killing you. In the US apparently they just have to be black and in your general vicinity. It amuses me in a bleak sort of way that Police in the US are occasionally killed by homeowners quite legitimately because of a conflict of "rights: homeowners have the right to shoot anyone breaking in, Police have the right to break in...

Mind you, I am still aggrieved at the token punishment doled out to the yahoo in Aoteraoa who was hunting illegally when he shot and killed someone. Served 11 months of a 2.5 year sentence. Mears had been illegally spotlighting deer with friends from the back of a ute near the Kaimanawa Forest Park campground on October 22. He had mistakenly identified the headlight worn by Miss Ives as the eyes of a deer and shot her in the head at a distance between 15 and 26 metres. Justice John Priestley told Mears he had "failed to exercise the judgement and commonsense" of a responsible hunter and his actions were of "sheer carelessness and stupidity.". But not so careless and stupid as to make his crime worth treating seriously. I am being forced to rethink my position that motorists who carelessly slaughter pedestrians and cyclists are treated unusually leniently.

80:

I am still bemused by the difference in weapons laws between Australia and Aotearoa, because in my home country the general approach seems to be "if we're not having a problem with it then we won't ban it", where in NSW either they've had a lot more problems or they just like banning things. When I first arrived I was at a railway station where there was a huge advertising billboard listing all the different weapons that are banned here. They didn't quite ban slings, but everything from the obvious flick-knives and nunchucks to slingshots and swordcanes. Personally I am a big fan of not banning nunchucks - those take a lot of training and practice to use effectively and the failure modes are self-defeating (often involving blows to the testicles). We should *encourage* their use.

But yeah, in NZ I used to carry a slingshot and 10-odd 12mm ball bearings as part of my cycle touring and tramping kit, because they're fairly easy to use and very effective against possums. Note that the first shot will normally just annoy the possum, causing it to stop and look at you while you reload and hit it again. Once it falls out of the tree you can treat it in the approved manner. In Australia that would be good for "up to 14 years" which I assume is more aimed that the "no bombs, grenades or automatic weapons" end of the offence list. But I am not inclined to perform the experiment. I have enough trouble with my pocket multitool which has a 7.5cm blade when the legal limit is 7cm (I ground it short, but cops have twice eyeballed it and tried to confiscate it... because I have a magic talent for going camping in out-of-the-way places the cops visit to see who wants to escape notice)

81:

But of course, the straight-forward reading would have required black neighborhoods to be armed to the teeth, and the entire history of gun-control in the US is racist as all hell.

That's been my impression. Thinks like the Milford Act, for example.

Both Republicans and Democrats in California supported increased gun control. Governor Ronald Reagan was present when the protesters [Black Panthers] arrived and later commented that he saw "no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons" and that guns were a "ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will." In a later press conference, Reagan added that the Mulford Act "would work no hardship on the honest citizen."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulford_Act

82:

Charlie, I think I found a typo in The Delirium Brief: "McGuigan's little black dress is a far cry ..." should presumably read "McCarthy's ..." at the end of chapter 10 (page 388, UK hardback)?

Great story btw, thanks!

84:

.. American jurisprudence on guns makes no sense. The obvious reading on the second amendment is "Swiss style universal militia", not "The right to bear militarily useless handguns everywhere"...

But of course, the straight-forward reading would have required black neighborhoods to be armed to the teeth, and the entire history of gun-control in the US is racist as all hell.

The obvious reading was the accepted meaning of the Second Amendment up until 26 June 2008 when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller.

85:

Re: DC v Heller

The original amendment phrasing also made it sound as though women (or anyone not likely to make up the local militia) would not be allowed to bear arms, i.e., self-defense.

Do like how the SCOTUS decision provides a history lesson on how previous cases/interpretations led up to the current decision/interpretation including this bit that NRA-types neglect to mention:

'Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: ... '

86:

OGH's CCC talk https://boingboing.net/2017/12/29/llcs-are-slow-ais.html

Cory Doctorow "Stross's overall point, though, is an excellent one. The artificial lifeforms birthed by finance capitalism and technology are taking over, and they are consuming our political and deliberative processes."

87:

And what about the equally artificial life-forms spawned by the communist religion(s)?
This is not to say that Charlie is wrong, merely not wide-ranging enough, if you see what I mean ...

88:

Actually, much of what we call "communism", e.g. ownership of means of production by community, might be better called "socialism", e.g. ownership of means of production by state. Sorry to go K-Gruppe on you, but there might be a point later on, trust me, I know what I'm doing.

Marxism is a product of the 19th century, and it gestated in the context of German Kleinstaaterei. In this context, nationalism was the nationalism of the French Revolution, e.g. doing away with the aristocrats and priest and establishing some kind of "democracy", where said "democracy" might look like what the Ba'athist did in Iraq and Syria, Robespierre and Danton would have liked the stuff:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ba%27athism

(Actually I have the feeling quite a few Brexiters tried to appeal to a similar sentiment)

So nationalism showing up in the context of Russian, Chinese, Serbian and Latin American "communism" might reveal something of a design pattern. Funny thing is, Marx famously said he wasn't a Marxist, but AFAIK (it's been a while since I was part of that Marxist KULT session) there is the idea of the "withering away of the state":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Withering_away_of_the_state

Originally, IMHO, Marx presupposes a Capitalist "bourgeois" society with a French or British style nation state, where modern industry creates a "proletariate" that together with some disgruntled intellectuals becomes a "revolutionary class".

Where quite a lot of what we call "20th century Communism" was more of a "creating a nation state to overcome feudalism, with the intellectuals being bourgeois and revolutionary class at the same time". And quite some current "leftists" are more about "strengthening the nation state to reign in on capitalism, with us leftist playing once again bourgeois and revolutionary class at the same time, and by some wonder, social being determines consciousness, but we will not become like the ruling clique we want to control", which is more akin to social democracy. Or "Animal Farm", if you like.

I for one welcome our new corporate overlords. If everybody gets expropiated by capitalism and the state dies away, the revolution doesn't have to do it. We might just start thinking about how to do a revolutionary party soon.

(Please note, this is a thesis, I change my POV quite quickly, and then, I can't read Hegel and find it quite appropiate "Hegel" is contemporary German youth speak for somebody talking convulated, idiot bullshit trying to look intelligent and "deep", but well, there is always antithesis and synthesis. And one of the things history teaches us dialectics is quite common[1] if you look for it, though it might just be our hominid brains tendency to "think in opposites". but then, maybe some AI might get over that.)

[1] From what I can see on his twitter feed, OGH is quite enjoying 34C3. One of the nice things is you get a lot of interesting people to talk to, and I did some angeling in the past. So while watching some back entrance, I talked to a guy using the moniker "kami" about properity theology in 2013 or 2014, I guess. Funny thing is, in the Western World it's about strengthening the bullies, but in the context of the Developing Countries, this bullshit might have something of a empowering aspect:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology#International_growth

And kami mentioned that reminds him somewhat of 17th century Japan, where christianity was empowering compared to the shintoism of Edo Japanese feudal structure:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimabara_Rebellion

Well, it's just dialectics at work, maybe in Late Antiquity something similar happened, and we know what became of that one. And then Early Capitalism arose as an antithesis, and ATM we see what became of that one, too.

Actually, for a marxist, capitalism does away with feudalism and like. Everybody is equal, e.g. my landlord or my boss might think in feudal terms, but they get megalomanic and do away with the social contract underlying feudalism. And then we're just two capitalists having a contract, and while my side might be at a disadvantage with capital assets, well, you can do quite a lot with clever tactics.

Err, sorry, my ADS is showing lately, and when not in a depression it can be quite interesting but taxing. Lot's of interesting ideas showing up, but I forget them before I can write them down. And I just realized one way of framing last year[1a] is using Dialectical materialism, just as I realize S. J. Gould mentioned it concerning Punctuated Equilibrium. Err, sorry, back to the Brownian noise in my head[1b]...

[1a] Since I talk that much about it, part of the family part of it was my father breaking his arm and my aunt first of having a stroke and later of dieing. Actual emotional effects aside, it resulted in me realizing my immediate family as having a way of ignoring quite a few problems (my attention-deficit and depressions in the past being examples), having quite a few neurological and psychological quirks themselves and thinking of me as something of a genius and the black sheep of the family at the same time.

It's somewhat illuminating when you have a nice talk about Chesterton with a Polish Catholic, and your mother indicates you should be quite, he's very conservative, you know, and you might upset him. Err.

There were quite a lot of other things going on, I fell in love with somebody and contacted the girl again this happened the last time with aa few years back, actually writing it down it seems like not much happened, but I realized I sometimes have quite strong emotional responses to my environment in this context, too.

Err, sorry if I bore or annoy anybody, at the moment I think all this stress might have triggered a negation of the negation, e.g. it empowered me, and I passed the point quantitave changes result in a qualitative change in me. Though it might just be my old self returning after quite a few years on SSRI. ;)

[1b] Mind you, I'm not a Marxist, just like Marx. But my Epistemological Anarchism thinks Marxism appropiate quite a lot lately:

http://www.generation-online.org/p/fpfeyerabend1.htm

89:

Err, another thing I realize, when dealing with philosophers I always felt at something of a disadvantage as a mere biologist, and then you realize the guy you all looked up too was Feyerabend, and he didn't study philosophy either, he did physics:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Feyerabend

And he got footnote fever, too...

90:

Err, concerning Shimabara, some months ago I talked about it to a Japanophil friend[1], after another memo from management appeared that reminded me of a feudal society.

As for music, err, Atari Teenage Riot, Deathstar. Not that I was that much into them, but I just remember the guy in the KULT session mentioned above who called me and two friends Nihilists was quite into Alec Empire, and one of the two friends, the girl, err, woman I'm contacting again[2] had some fond memories of one of their concerts. Quite funny, her profile said she likes Ann Leckie, and I had the feeling we had changed in somewhat the same direction, though I might have been mistaken.

As it is, I'm not sure she remembered ATR when I mentioned I missed Alec Empire playing on 31C3. And as for myself, well, in the last few hours there were quite a few ideas popping up, problem is, arousal helps me to focus sometimes, but if it's too much, it either destabilizes "short term memory engrams" or stabilizes competing ones. Nice thing is, usually I repeat the thought pattern some time later, and they reappear, and maybe I can write them down.

[1] Who, BTW, is a trans man. Damn, I like how things run into one another all the time...

[2] Made somewhat easier by the fact in the end we decided to stay just friends.

91:

OGH's CCC talk https://boingboing.net/2017/12/29/llcs-are-slow-ais.html

Oh, yeah, I had way too much time on my hands tonight. *grin*

Thanks for sharing.

92:

According to that link, a transcript/discussion should appear here, real soon now ( Like tomorrow or Tuesday, I think ) ??
Might be easier than listening to the broadcast?

93:

Today is a holiday and i want time to add some links and tidy up the text, so I probably won't post it until tomorrow, but yeah, the transcript will be my next big blog essay. And as it runs to >7000 words, it'll be easier to read than to listen to.

94:

Looking forward to it. Actually, I know you were just joking, but your sentence about "shooting all sociopaths" got me thinking; leaving aside the fact "sociopathy", "antisocial behaviour", "impulsivity", "empathy" and "theory of mind" might all break down to several subcategories, maybe it would be better to screen for susceptible genotypes and make sure they don't become sociopaths:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23786983/

Thing is, low activity MAO would mimic the effect of some antidepressants, which might first of indicate a mechanism of action, e.g. it "protects" from the negative effects of stress, so you only get the positive ones, e.g. higher arousal.

On the other, well, I can think a couple of jobs non-sociopaths resistant to stress might be good for.

Two final notes, Aldous Huxley makes a similar point in "Brave New World Revisited". And the screening would be quite similar to what he proposes for "Peter Pan syndrome" in "Island"...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puer_aeternus#Peter_Pan_syndrome

(Err, damn, why do I have this image of Adolf on 4chan...)

95:

(Err, damn, why do I have this image of Adolf on 4chan...)

Hrm ...

Rather than shooting all the sociopaths, maybe we should figure out how to funnel them onto social media, then subject them to a kind of meta- version of a hellban, wherein they can interact with one another and a steady supply of contrarian bots designed as antagonists for their particular form of sociopathy? So they could hold vehement flamewars and circle-jerks to their hearts' content without bothering the rest of us (and while being under constant surveillance in case they start organizing real meatspace disruption instead of just sticking it to the bots).

Imagine the entirety of the NSDAP, trapped in a filter bubble of their own devising on 4chan, subsisting on universal basic income and only coming out in daylight hours to shuffle aimlessly around Lidl in search of €€0.49 cans of shit beer and frozen pizzas.

96:

8 Ace as a Nazi...

I am now imagining a whole rally of Nazis who are all 8 Ace, unshaven, ragged, stumbling and falling and vomiting and slurring "Shieg 'eil" into puddles of their own puke as they piss their pants.

Thank you for the stimulus to that imagery.

97:

You've just described EDL ...
I've seen a local "rallY" of theirs & the inevitable counter-protest ...
The latter of cours, with whom my sympathies lie, but - EDL are so obviously nasty little spoilt chidren, that I really think what they need is a the old-fasioned Victorian recipe of a good spanking, follwed by early bed without any supper (!)
That &/or a constant stream of mockery

98:

So what do we do about all the ones that get bored and leave...?

99:

Use those eyeball-gathering strategies in the bots to keep the necessary ones entertained.

100:

Humorous stroy of Police being called out and fixing someone's problem:

http://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/police-called-to-remove-man-from-telstra-store-instead-solve-his-internet-crisis-20171231-h0btca

(do not dial the police emergency number for tech support)

101:

To be fair, yours and Charlie's description also sound a hell of a lot like a bunch of soccer fans. Not that the personal involved doesn't overlap in quite a few cases...

102:

I don't like the Lidl part, but only because I quite like German and Italian lidl, especially since the former stocks rucola, which seems to help with my IBS.

Going for their need for stimulation, we might instigate a "cryptologically signed currency" they can only use to buy stuff on the forums, like little Ayn Rand, Stalin, Trotzki[1], Trump, Pepe the frog or Hitler badges. To get said "currency", they have to fill in forms we use for datamining, or do some of these thinks HSS minds are notoriously better at than AIs. Come to think about it, maybe I could crowdcompute my declaration of income.

Might be illegal under German law, google for skadi.net and thiazi.net[2], but we could try an US server.

[1] Err, I mentioned the Trotzkist I met whose comment about Kronstadt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kronstadt_rebellion

was "anarchists are petty bourgeois nuts"?

[2] Actually I read skadi.net a long time ago; googling for physical anthropology gets strange results, IIRC. Was quite illuminating in some ways.

103:

Different things come to mind...

Operation Franco-Assad: Instigate some low level conflict in some hellhole nobody cares about, e.g. Detroit, exacuate any remaining sane population and motivate said people to move there and "join the struggle".

Operation Dien Bien Phu: Motivate them to join a force you can then use as cannon fodder in one pet conflict of yours.

Operation Boogie Nights Deepwater: Use their thrill seeking behaviour to motivate them for jobs most people wouldn't do, me mentioning a movie about porn production and an oil rig being not necessarily the best example.

Operation Harsh Mistress: Use them to colonize Mars, if all else fails, they can act as fertilizer.

Operation Harsh Mistress with safewords: Use them to stage a "Space Cadet"-style scenarion, but NEVER EVER end the experiment. Might be interesting to sell them out as a control population for psychological or biological research, of course, you'd have to let them sign the waivers first.

Operation Ayrton Senna: Provide them with fast motorcycle and cars, but first of, let them sign organ donor cards.

Err, I better stop here, or some people might decide I'm a sociopath myself, er, ADHS is one risk factor, you know, and there is some overlap in the symptoms.

But maybe we could agree the vast majority of humans are sociopaths for most other people. They just aren't for their in group.

104:

Unfortunately true. I've always regarded football as fascism, whether it's the massed crowds of chanting morons, or the violence & thuggery on & off the pitch, any pitch.
Remember my mention of "aversion therapy" some time back?

105:

Trottelreiner:

“[1] Err, I mentioned the Trotzkist I met whose comment about Kronstadt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kronstadt_rebellion

was "anarchists are petty bourgeois nuts"?

I used to be in a band with a guy who played guitar in a legendary[1] early ‘80s Southend-on-Sea based anarcho-punk band called The Kronstadt Uprising named in tribute to events of March 1921. Nice bloke, great player, a little bit, err.... “damaged”, and he’d mellowed somewhat in his political views but would still I suspect have taken exception to that... :-)

[1] Well, in Essex/East London punk circles anyway...

106:

In case anyone is missing the full hilarity of the vision because they didn't get the 8 Ace reference: http://viz.co.uk/category/8-ace/

107:

Well, yes. Even more - given the press gangs in Britain at the time of the American Revolution, and the strong aversion to a standing army (note that the standing army of the US, pre-WWII, was 144,000 men), this was for "a well-regulated militia", with, I understand from a quote from one of the Federalist papers, intended to be under the control of the governor: which is, now, what our National Guard is.

I also understand that the NRA, in their headquarters, has, in the wall on the first floor lobby, the 2nd Amendment... but LEAVES OUT "a well-regulated militia". From what I read, back in the late seventies, as part of the counter-revolution, it became partly a lobbying agency for the firearms manufacturers, and partly for racists to keep down the ethnics. I mean, never heard them support the New Black Panthers.

108:

They tend to more-or-less throw some sops, at least, to the populace. The Capitalist religion, on the other hand... well, goolge the US Treasury Secretary Mneuchin, and his wife, Marie Antoinette.

109:

Y'know, She-of-many-names was sometimes impenetrable, sometimes amusing, and sometimes interesting.

She did not post long, rambling things that are such utterly confused, demonstrably bs.

1. Communism is a subset of socialist.
2. Socialism involves democratic social control of capital. Communism includes state control of production. In fact, in Stalinist and Maoist Communism, it included state control of the means of distribution, too.
3. Of course Marx wasn't a Marxist. He wasn't a follower, and his stated intent was a science... and I certainly don't call myself a Newtonist or an Einsteinist.
4. Having read a 300pp abridgment of Kapital back in my late teens, his analysis was spot on...and, with what the right has done over the last 30-plus years, is again spot on.

As a quote I've seen from Tuli Kupferberg put it, it was his prescription that didn't work well.

5. Socialists want to build up a safety net. True Capitalist religionists want to take *all* of it away. Please note the US *lack* of a national healthcare system. And the continual shortening of how long you can draw unemployment insurance. And the ever-increasing difficulty of getting welfare, or food stamps, etc.

6 Note that Marx expected the Revolution in industrialized countries with democratic traditions. He'd have been shocked at 90+% agricultural WWI Russia.

I'll stop here.

110:

Instigate some low level conflict in some hellhole nobody cares about, e.g. Detroit

The problem with that is even though Detroit is a mess compared to the rest of the US it is still majority populated by decent people. It's the jerks who make the news and they happen to have way more than the average city.

111:

NO
Socialist is a political stance, with its' own variations.
Communism is a lcssic religion
Marx's predictions did emphatically not come true, ifonly because people like Bismarck & Lloyd George cahnged the system ( As well as overtly capitalis companies starting employee pensions & health-benefit schemes ...
Etc ....

112:

Actually I was trying to sneak in a little movie reference:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynY2begPzoM

Though in Germany they changed the CIA guys to Swiss secret agents, and in the end they were sent to Zurich...

Err, as for the little argumernt starting, err, that's for later. For a start, can we agree that Communism is an economical theory, and a lot of what's taught as "economy" is isomorphic to religion?

The eschatology might differ somewhat, my favorite one is the interpretation of St. John Maynard, founder of the Holy High Keynesian Church, "in the long run we're all dead".

113:

Communism is a religion
It oppresses all the competing religion - check
It has "holy books" which are full of wrong predictions & bullshit - check
It kills millions in the name of the "holy word" - check
It has factions & sects & heresies - check

Do for starters?

114:

All "-isms" are religions, people just try and pretend they're not.

115:

My efforts to convert people to Botulism have so far been unsuccessful, and our temples keep being shut down by the health inspectors..

116:

I'm late to the party, but...

I consider the fact that making/accepting tactical nominations for Best Series a positive factor of the way the award is constructed (and argued the same when I was on the subcommittee to create it; I consider the "volume" factor a definate negative factor, particularly since it needlessly rewards authors like Seanan who publish more shorter novels and free short stories online every year per series, over authors like Martin who publish one 250k+ wc doorstopper every 4 years or so; the stories are the point, not the package they're stored in). What it does is encourage people to think about when a series is "done enough" to be considered for the award again, rather than nominating it every year where it is elligible and can get the nominations; thus the Adminstrator doesn't have to think or care about where the breakpoints are in a series, and nor are we trusting the publisher on these either; instead the fans (and by the power to decline a nomination, the author) decide.

Of Charles' series recs, I can certainly support the Craft series, at least two Mcguire series, Sanderson, and Ada Palmer (who having been nominated for best novel for her first novel and won the Cambell, is likely going to be very hard to beat next year after the fourth Terra Ignota book comes out. I personally like the Brust novels quite a bit, but they suffer from the incredibly long amount of time the series has been under construction, their number (depending on how you count it, 19, 23, or 24, I think), and the fact that while Brust is an excellent stylist, they have hardly been consistently at the same level over that period of time.

And yeah, I think one of the advantages to finally having a "Best Series" award is that it will serve as a pressure valve, allowing fandom to reward large bodies of work that could not win individually, as well as avoiding having an apples to oranges comparison (like when Wheel of TIme got nominated as a single work).

I do not choose to weigh in on what constitutes a religion at this time.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on December 25, 2017 11:28 AM.

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