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Happy Halloween!

The Labyrinth Index is here in time for Halloween, because 2018 just hasn't been scary enough!

US coverUK cover

The year: 2015, in an even worse time line than this one.

The place: The Palace of Westminster, London, and parts further west (a long way west).

The person: Dame Mhari Murphy, BSc (hons), MBA, FIC, DBE, styled Baroness Karnstein, member of the House of Lords and Chair of the House Select Committee on Sanguinary Affairs (ahem: vampires).

Her reporting chain: direct to the Prime Minister, his Dread Majesty N'yar Lat-Hotep, the Black Pharaoh—also known as Fabian Everyman MP, leader of the British emergency government of national unity known as the New Management.

Her mission: ... well, that's where our story begins.

If you're in Edinburgh, I'm doing a launch event (a reading and signing) at Blackwell's Bookshop on South Bridge at 6:30pm on Tuesday the 30th (tomorrow!); you can reserve a free ticket here.

Alternatively, you can buy the book in all good bookshops. Order the Kindle ebook here (for the US edition) and here (in the UK/EU)—they're published by different companies even though the launch is simultaneous. (Audiobooks: they're out now, from Audible! (First time I've had a simultaneous release in audio.) If they show up any time soon I'll put links here. Paperbacks: not 'til next year! Sorry!)

And if you want a signed copy, Transreal Fiction and Blackwell's Bookshop (Edinburgh) will be happy to ship signed copies locally or internationally.

440 Comments

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1:

The year: 2015, in an even worse time line than this one.

And you've had to work bloody hard to make it so.

2:

Unless somethings changed that isn't reflected on the page yet, audiobooks are releasing simultaneously with the print/ebook release. Both the EU and NA editions are available through audible.

Don't know about physical media releases though.

3:

Anyone else waiting up for their ebook preorder to become available?

5:

My brother confirmed my mailing address the other day, so I assume my copy is on its way from Toronto.

6:

How to pronounce Mhari ? M'hari ? Moyree ? Mary ?

7:

(Spoilers Ahoy. So many spoilers, you guys.)

I was deeply privileged to have received a signed copy of this when Charlie stopped by Bakka-Phoenix in Toronto; I drove up from the states for it.

The Labyrinth Index (along with it's immediate prior volume) goes a long way towards upping the stakes and revitalizing a series that, while incredibly engrossing on any individual outing, had started to grow a bit stale. If it weren't for the presence of the New Management, this would be a fairly standard Laundry Files novel, simply with Mhari in the place of Bob. And that'd be fine, but nothing we hadn't read before.

But the New Management is in fact in place. And that lends an entirely new twist to things. Mhari tries her best to hide it behind bravado, cynicism, and self-loathing in her journal, but she is clearly and obviously pants-shittingly scared of her boss, his High Priestess, the world around her, and ultimately of herself all the time. If previous Laundry Novels were like reading Good Guy spy novels mixed with Lovecraft, this one is like reading a BAD Guy spy novel mixed with Lovecraft; we are predisposed to like Mhari, to like her team members, to want them to succeed... but the context they want to succeed in is a context where they're Nyarlathotep's underlings and are trying to undermine and defeat Cthulhu's underlings, because Nyarlathotep and Cthulhu disagree on the precise nature of how humanity's enslavement is to be conducted.

Speaking of which, I take back some of the nasty shit I've said about Mike Armstrong in this space. He clearly does have some kind of plan regarding Nyarlathotep and is not simply resigned to being some kind of microscopic cog in his catastrophic as the Black Pharaoh raises his ghoulish trophy-case in the heart of the United Kingdom. (Sidebar: BOY, the Tzompantli is the Chekoviest Chekov's Gun that ever Chekoved. Can't wait to see THAT thing fired.) Mike's clearly got some sort of plan regarding what the novel refers to as "Extended Continuity Operations" and "the Resistance."

I still think he's making some mistakes. He's trying to play shadow games against Nyarlathotep, and that's a game you won't win. You cannot beat Nyarlathotep at chess. He's already fifty moves ahead of you and has not only already won, he's beat you at the best-of-three backgammon match you challenged him to afterwards. The only way to beat Nyarlathotep is to flip the board at a critical point and stab him in the neck. To change the game. I don't think Armstrong has the vision for that. I'm not sure Bob does either, or Mhari, or Mo, or Alex. MAYBE Persephone. Many of the Laundry Files protagonists up to this point have been institutionalists, and they're just not prepared for their institution to have failed them.

Bit of a digression. The point is, Armstrong is not the total quisling I've accused him of being.

This is an interesting book for us Americans to read, what with the plot revolving around the hijacking of the Presidency and all. It very, very much reminded me a lot of Austin Grossman's lovely Crooked, and the secret histories therein of the Sorcerer-Presidents who founded and guided the nation. Indeed, nothing in the Labyrinth Index actually contradicts Crooked, and I hereby declare that it is part of my headcanon that Crooked existed in the Laundryverse. The notion of the American President as a totem of power, occupying an office that by its very nature accrues mystical significance to it, is a good one. Charlie uses a light touch here, leaves us wanting more, and I think it works great.

I do have to say... I'm not super impressed with the Black Chamber. They come off as power-hungry idiots.

These guys have the power to make the whole country forget about one of the three branches of the American government and to reconcile the massive logical and historical contradictions this would cause in day-to-day life. They have the power to force Congress to unanimously approve their ridiculous thaumic engineering plans budgets unanimously. Unanimously! Congress couldn't unanimously pass a resolution declaring that water is wet. They feel comfortable enslaving high-flying captains of industry and important players in the military-industrial complex. They basically run the country already.

And they choose to blow a shit-ton of power on a cockamamie scheme to shuffle the president off to the side, exposing them to a counterstroke, for... very flaky reasons. I get that they want to sideline the president so that Cthulhu can slip into the space he occupies, and that the immense reserves of mana the President embodies represent a threat if not in their hands, but... here's the thing.

President Arthur is into his sixth year in office. There will be another election in less than a year. The Black Chamber can clearly make most of the US state dance to their whim. It seems to me that in this situation, the smart play is to force one of the major political parties to nominate one of their own as a candidate for president (if they can force Congress to approve stuff unanimously, this should be easy) and then force enough of the country to swing the election their way to vote for him. Similar to what the Mandate did, now that I think about it. Now they have their own guy in office, just in time to kick off the ten or so year timeline it'll take them to build their doomsday weapon.

Instead they burned a shit-ton of power on taking down the presidency RIGHT THEN. And I have to confess, maybe I'm a poor reader, but I'm having trouble grokking why.

For that matter, I'm wondering how the hell they're even gonna conduct another election now. What are the metaphysical consequences of President Arthur's term ending without another valid election resulting in another president? Does all that mana stored in him by virtue of his office simply vaporize? Can the Black Chamber just... wait him out, and then in January 2017 it's simply "ha ha, you lose?"

Anyway. Despite my carping, this was a DAMNED satisfying Laundry Files outing and I'm very, very eager to see where the series goes next as the Lovecraftian Singularity continues to unfold.

Final note: I would not have minded a lady president. Or an Obama expy. Reagan 2.0 was kinda meh.

8:

Just downloaded my Kindle pre order in NZ (from Amazon)! I’ve been looking forward to this.

Murcushio: really? Really? It’s _just_ come out and you’re posting spoilers?

9:

My understanding of the general etiquette around here (I usually only post in the book threads, which means once or twice a year) is that the book threads serve as discussion threads for said book.

Am I in error here?

10:

Mercushio@ 7
I'm not super impressed with the Black Chamber. They come off as power-hungry idiots.
Yeah, well, they are all-too-obviously modelled on the CIA ( & NSA ) & their amazingly stupid & self-defeating antics in the period 1960-75 (80) - see also Charlie's Merchant Princes/Empire Games series.

I THINK I've ordered & paid-for a copy from Transreal ....

11:

Yeah, well, they are all-too-obviously modelled on the CIA ( & NSA ) & their amazingly stupid & self-defeating antics in the period 1960-75 (80)

Yes, with the added twist that if you manage a particular industry/process you tend to be captured by the specialised expertise you bring in to run them—and as the Black Chamber were heavily into OCCINT (see "The Jennifer Morgue") they've long since been coopted by things that aren't very human.

On President Reagan-Lite: you'll notice that I carefully didn't specify the President's political party affiliation. That's because I didn't want it to be read in the context of present-day US politics (or to piss off whichever subset of my American readers would be annoyed by being forced to empathize with a POTUS of a rival tribal affiliation in the process of reading the book). If I'd made President Arthur female, or black, the reader would automatically infer that s/he was Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama with the serial numbers filed off, unless I added some other distinctive twist ... and even then a lot of readers would have missed it.

So what I went with was George Clooney as POTUS. Then filed off his serial numbers.

As for where the series goes next ... let's just say, there needs to be a 2-3 book wrap-up to conclude the tale of the Laundry vs. the New Management, and I am very hazy on the details. So in the meantime I'm working on a side-quest, a novel set in the Laundryverse under the New Management, but with none of the regular characters and, indeed, no sign that the Laundry even exists: it's all about what the civilians are getting up to. Hint: it's in discourse with the book "Peter and Wendy" by J. M. Barrie, the original novel-of-the-stage-play of Peter Pan. And it's dark: before Disney whitewashed him, Peter Pan was a psychopathic kidnapper ...

12:

Well, the spelling "Mhari" appears to originate from Scots Gaelic, in which case the "Mh" is a compound letter, and actually normally pronounces as a "V", on which basis it should be "Vari".

Given where she's from, it seems more likely that the "h" will be treated as silent rather than a pronunciation modifier, and she is addressed as "Mari".

13:

I've read it as being close to the pronunciation used by Scottish MP Mhairi Black. Yes, I know, slightly different spelling and all that, but an 'm for mother' one.

(It's similar to a variant pronunciation for the name 'Marie' - emphasis in this case on the first syllable - which is used in my family, but that's a Yorkshire version.)

14:

I'm calling it now as Tory propaganda. After reading about what The Mandate has in store you are supposed to start Thinking that JRM for PM and endless austerity aren't so bad...

15:

I have to confess, every time I see you mention Transreal Fiction I get it mixed up with Transreal Books, which is Rudy Rucker's self-publisher.

16:

Given the spelling, and her own statement that "my first name is a homophone of marry" I'd say that Mhairi is exercising her right to be wrong!

17:

'Homophone for marry' is pretty close to the way my family pronounces 'Marie' as it happens. Plenty would consider that to be the wrong pronunciation for that spelling too.

(No, I have no idea whether that's a Leeds area quirk or not.)

18:

Yep, there it is.

19:

Carlisle area too.

20:

Mhari... I figured it for an ... I think the right phrase is - aspirated labial. A "v" would be an aspirated, um, dental? For the latter, you (or at least I) put my top teeth on my lower lip, and sorta blow. The "mh", I'd put my lips together and blow.

Consider that I am given to understand that the Irish didn't have a "w" until late; if that's the case, than I can see the mh changing to a "w" sound.

Why, yes, I can pronounce Llanberis properly (and native Welsh speakers agree....)

21:

Let's see if this tag works:

22:

My only fear with the Laundry Files is that Bob(by) leaves the shower and discovers that was a nightmare.

On a more serious note, the entity called Bob Howard could also try godhood.

I didn't have the time to finish the book, reading the first chapters at lunchtime break. I also searched my now favorite character : Alex, apparently only mentioned, no action from his part. A question unanswered from the earlier books, Are him and Cassie a relationship?

I loved the unlikely and odd couple of road travel : The Rev/ Brains, they have a simple mission, was is the worse that could happen to them?

A final interrogation concerning the Laundry, is the moving of the siege to Leeds pursued?

I hope finish the book during the long weekend of November 1st.

23:

I always read her name as "M" "hari" as in Mata Hari.

Just ordered the book. Who knows how long it will take Amazon to even ship it. Last few books it took them weeks to even ship.

24:

Small typo in the UK Kindle edition at "loc" 4910: "then fly anohter 3000 fly another 3000 nautical miles"

25:

That's in the the US print version as well. There's a few other typos as well; "complementary" for "complimentary" in one place I remember. Mhari gets the name of Reagan National wrong, although that can be chalked up to an in-character error.

The uncorrected first editions will undoubtedly be collectors items!

26:

There's a few other typos as well; "complementary" for "complimentary" in one place I remember.

That is an example of words that are spelled correctly, and are too damn close for comfort. HA!

Go to Amazon, select the book, then "Look inside" and "search inside this book" on the word "complementary" to see the example. Chapter Three, Second paragraph.

"Sally from Guest Services is handing me my room card and explaining about the complementary wine tasting every evening when here gaze slides sideways and focuses on something behind me:"

27:

HA!

When retyping the example sentence I typed "here" instead of "her".

I love typos in my stuff. They are like the glitch in the Matrix when changes are made.

The Matrix - Deja vu
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_KmNZNT5xw

28:

Got a number of thoughts about the story, but for now, what I'm most curious about are BLUE HADES and DEEP SEVEN. What was the Black Chamber's plan for holding off them? Because never mind the necromantic blood in the water caused by mass deaths; what they learned about the Chamber's plans in this book sounds to me like something that would cause the Deep Ones to say This Is It and reach for their equivalent of the nuclear football.

29:

Just saying (thanks for the clear warning though, I avoided reading further):
Antarctica scientist allegedly stabs colleague for spoiling the endings of books
(Just downloaded kindle edition.)

30:
> Instead they burned a shit-ton of power on taking down the presidency RIGHT THEN. And I have to confess, maybe I'm a poor reader, but I'm having trouble grokking why.

I think their boss was just hurrying them along, despite having "difficulty focussing on minutiae such as street addresses and safe houses" (or elections).

31:

Bravo, sir, bravo! You went many places that I did not expect with this one. I enjoyed it very much.

One other typo for the paperback edition: it's US Park Police, not Parks Police.

A slightly more major mistake is that Bolling Air Force Base is now Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling and entirely lacks a runway, having been devoured by the bureaucracy and its hive cells.

32:

The deal with the OPA is that theyre obeying the edicts of what they see as their dread god, but the thing itself is more like a couple of cells scraped from the pudendal nerve of their dread god.its still smart enough to aim at what it wants, and powerful enough to kill any ants just hanging out in the vacinity, but it's easilly out matched by the avatar of the fully awake black pharo.

33:

Really enjoyed the book - managed to be blackly hilarious in some of the most unexpected places, which is an OGH trademark but one I've seldom seen so well executed!

One slight flaw that jumped out at me, though - no-one in DC calls it the Subway, it's always the Metro.
The Metro, of "Is Metro on Fire?" fame.

34:

Great book.
Needs a reread before actual commenting (and a proper blog post where to comment, probably); but: great book.
Much more on the (cosmic/social/personal) horror side that humour, though. A sometimes funny but definitely uncomfortable read... which I presume is exactly what OGH was aiming to.

35:

A slightly more major mistake is that Bolling Air Force Base is now Joint Base Anacostia

Keep in mind that The Laundryverse diverged from ours about 2005(?), Bolling/Anacostia merged in 2010. So may not have happened in their timeline (“That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.”)

36:

I was expecting to feel a lot of things on finishing my first rapid read-through of a late-stage Laundry Files novel.

I was not prepared for hope to be among them.

37:

On a completely irrelevant note, the first item in Funny Old World in this week's Private Eye has a dead squid attempting to fertilise a human woman - Bob and Mo take note!

Moderators please delete this if inappropriate.

38:

By the bye, is anyone going to be at World Fantasy, Windycon, or Philcon? I'm going to be at all three (and will collapse on T-day (US).... Throwing bid parties for DC in 21 at the latter two, working the con suite at night at the former.

Come say 'hi' if you are.

mark, aka Silverdragon

39:

There's a couple of things which either represent differences between words, or lack of local knowledge.

Eg. people flying into Reagan International, when Dulles is the international airport, and Reagan is Reagan national.

Otoh I'm chalking some things up to minor differences on purpose, like the skittle store in time square instead of the M&M store.

Also a few regional issues: DC folks thinking of the metro as 'subway'. These are folks who likely live in NOVA, and thus are used to above ground parts of the system. Hence people think of it as 'the metro'.

Further, the DC folks mentioning a 'Canteen'. It's gonna be cafeteria. Mess if military.

40:

After Jon's audience with the PM was glossed over, I was surprised when no deus burst out of her machina towards the end of the book.

But I'm picking up a disturbing pattern in the Mandate's behaviour - first with Mo in The Delirium Brief, and now with Jon and Mhari - in that he seems to be "collecting" women to use for a later date. Maybe I'm reading too much into his (His?) behaviour, but it seems pretty dodgy.

41:

Lovely book.
I am somewhat concerned that in this volume, the Pentagon is called the Pentagon. I distinctly remember it being called the Doughnut in some earlier book, iirc it switched to Pentagon as a result of some time-space-continuum-issues, but then reverted back to the Doughnut.
Or am I mixing up books?

42:

The Doughnut is GCHQ in Cheltenham isn't it?
Yes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Doughnut

43:

elfey1 @ 39: There's a couple of things which either represent differences between words, or lack of local knowledge.

Eg. people flying into Reagan International, when Dulles is the international airport, and Reagan is Reagan national.

In the "Laundryverse" Congress might have renamed Dulles after Reagan instead of Washington National. I remember proposals to close Washington National before Congress renamed it to honor Reagan. The official name is Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and it's NOT user friendly, with lots of NO FLY ZONES around it.

Also a few regional issues: DC folks thinking of the metro as 'subway'. These are folks who likely live in NOVA, and thus are used to above ground parts of the system. Hence people think of it as 'the metro'.

I don't actually live in DC, but I visit there frequently; usually parking at a giant Park & Ride structure in Franconia, VA (end of the line for the Metro). I've heard the "Metro" referred to as both, "subway" particularly closer in around Arlington & the Pentagon; usually in the context of explaining to tourists "take the Metro ... you know, the subway..."

Further, the DC folks mentioning a 'Canteen'. It's gonna be cafeteria. Mess if military

"Cafeteria" when it's a commercial establishment like K&W or Piccadilly or a school lunchroom. "Mess" is rarely used by the American Military other than for a "fraternal" organization such as an "Officer's Mess".

The old "mess hall" has been replaced by the "Dining Facility" or "DFAC" if it serves meals at fixed time periods ... or there might be a "Canteen"

The "Canteen" often include a small "PX/BX" (Post Exchange/Base Exchange) store; an all hours Food Court; Coffee Shop; Vending Machines plus Optical Services; Barber & Beautician and Concessionaire Sales ... kind of a military mini-mall.

I got an email from the Veterans Canteen Services just this week to inform me of the upcoming holiday schedule at the local VA Hospital.

44:

UriGagarin @ 42: The Doughnut is GCHQ in Cheltenham isn't it?
Yes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Doughnut

There was a time in the early to mid 60s when the Pentagon was known as "Disneyland East"; before Disney constructed Walt Disney World in Florida.

The comparable US Agency (or No Such Agency) would be the NSA Headquarters at Ft. Meade, MD ... affectionately known as The Puzzle Palace

45:

Finished it at lunchtime. Random comments:

* Damn. That was good. Thoroughly enjoying the slide into awful. If this carries on the end of the Laundry Files is going to make A Colder War look quite light and fluffy.

* I just love how Mhari is so, so much more self aware than either Bob or Mo on what she has become — and just how terrible that knowledge is.

* Iris calling Bob "James". Snicker.

* I line about Mo… Noooooooo!

46:

Eg. people flying into Reagan International, when Dulles is the international airport, and Reagan is Reagan national.

As someone who grew up spitting distance from that airport (in and around Ft. Belvoir), it will always be National Airport, not named after that person. There’s always BWI—Baltimore-Washington International, for those not from there, but a little more of a drive.
And we always called it the Metro.

My copy of the book hasn’t arrived yet, but I’m looking forward to see how Colorado Springs ends up. There were a few minor things off in “The Apocalypse Codex”, but nothing major.

47:

This timeline is already regrettably familiar with the American ambassador of The Laundry's timeline, under a different role.

And then there's the Alfärs' timeline, and the Coldiverse from Book 1, and then you've got the multiple timelines from Merchant Prince: whether intentional or not, we're looking at a metaverse that's similar to (and arguably more fleshed out than) Stephen King's.

48:

The Doughnut is the home of GCHQ in the UK. It appears from time to time, as they are a sister agency who specialise in SIGINT and own lots of big computers.

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

49:

Franconia has a Metro station now?
Okay, it’s been more than 30 years since I lived in the DC area, and they were still working on the Forest Glen station in MD when we moved from there (the Walter Reed Annex at Forest Glen, that is. Home of the coolest military housing). Anyhow, I went to elementary school in Franconia for three years in the early 80s.

And when did they start calling the NSA “The Puzzle Palace”? I always heard that in reference to the Pentagon, particularly the sublevels, confusing enough that maps were handed out. My mother, as a Health Physics Officer from Walter Wonderful, occasionally went there to check for leaky microwave ovens, and other things. She did the same at USAMRIID, in that case other things referred to making sure that isotopes used in the labs were handled properly. Also in Ft. Meade, but I don’t know where specifically.

50:

Asch, I completely missed that one and took the name for a subtle "This is sorta-kinda your universe, but not entirely" thing.
Time to reread the older parts of the series I think.

51:

If anyone’s interested in Forest Glen, here’s a couple links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Park_Seminary
http://www.operant.com/seminary/main_page.html

One building has a bit of Laundryesque history: http://www.operant.com/seminary/alpha.html
Half-way up the chimney, you can make out a skull and cross-bones. These are real! The story is that two physicians made a bet that the one that outlived the other could decide what to do with the remains of the deceased.
It was closed up when we were there.
For our year there we were housed in the former Library, which was across the street from the Pagoda:
http://www.operant.com/seminary/library.html

52:

Franconia is the end of the blue line. Lots of folks parking there to get in deeper into Arlington and DC. Used to have Yellow line service.

Also I used to live one stop out from Forest Glen, almost directly over Wheaton station.

Oh, another Britishism: Godbother isn't in common use.

53:

Bon Cheese on the new novel!

Note ~ this account is thoroughly compromised, hacked as bait and was used to track and...

And it's dark: before Disney whitewashed him, Peter Pan was a psychopathic kidnapper

Do the Fandango about Psychosis. Spoilers: Nope! Nope! Nope!

Was kinda irked at that one.

If you think that's clever, wait for the actual punch-lines. Code-Red-October ~ they're gonna crash the market so hard Osborne getting told off by his Granny on live TV is gonna look like a mild spatula burn. What is it about UK media? Guy has a massive Black-payoff and he gave them billions in pensions?

Is this some kind of code we're not allowed to mention or something?

[[[At least some of you get the Chabad / Fake Rabbit jokes. And yeah: not amusing. But nor is the new Brazil / Israel Ultra-Nas / Religious ties thing that just went down. .mil spec stuff, eh?]]]

Shame 0% of "SERIOUS BZNS" people took the Qanon stuff seriously, so we ended up with the facile 3-stroke plan:

1) Bullshit
2) Pipe-Bomb-FBI bullshit
3) Actual Stochastic Terror Event.

Warned yooooooou.

And you do nothing.

~

Actually: don't do the psychosis line. We're not actually Rabid Pony-Bunny Hybrids.

But.

Catiapilliars.

All about Scales, actually. Negative Debt. Pinng goes weasels.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/oct/31/has-new-ghost-subatomic-particle-manifested-at-large-hadron-collider

CBA even arsed to point to all the Future Events[tm] that we flagged. Boring little men!

But, Yep, the 60% of vertebrates dying off is kinda off. But check out Pew research, coal-funded Australian Coral scams and this years warming.


Meh.

Still love y'all though, psychotic apes.

Spoiler: It. Is. All. Dying. Pew Pew 30% MaGrue = not saving shit. $10.5 mil AUS using "what we learnt from shitty town-planning to orgasmiatrizse the scalar networrks effect of"... MBAs do complex ecosystems? >> $10 mil on a funded last tour of stuff.

~

Anyhow: that alien meme. Not original, kinda boring - placed it ooooh, 5 months ago. @Nexus Gallery: yeah, "closed entire telescope because of kiddy-pr0n on a workstation"... yeah. Might as well slap a huge notice stating "we're actively doing a PSYOP here".

Anyhow, actual summary: Peter Pan probably isn't as cathartic as you imagine. Nor accurate.


Heard of the "Samson Protocol"? Yeah, well: turns out there's a much worse one for the 0.01% and whitey brigade.

it's all about what the civilians are getting up to


Rule 101: there's always bigger Lions, Tigers n Bears.


p.s.


Bill / Het: you should probably check the Med / AUZ coral die off data for this year / projected. It's so far beyond "oh sit" territory it's not funny.

0-0000--- This is your world actually dying here folks. Not a drill.

54:

And it's dark: before Disney whitewashed him, Peter Pan was a psychopathic kidnapper ...

It doesn't take much of a stretch to turn Pan into horror. Ridiculous power with a mercurial, childish temperament. Someone's getting sent to the cornfield.

55:

Someone's getting sent to the cornfield.

Ah, but you forgot the actual lesson of Peter Pan.


Look, ok - read it, work it out.


Peter Pan will burn your MIND out if threatened, he deals in Sleep and Dreams and TIME, remember?

56:

> World dying

Well I figure if I rearrange my deckchair I can watch it from here, with some great scfi to read

57:

You'll note I didn't give links. The links are out there.

It's really fucking bad.

We're talking "might as well use those bioweapons on your neighbors bad (!helllllo Pakistan!!!) type stuff @ the Davos level.

This is from a 'virgin' (aka, not farmed, not pressured, not encroached) rain forest:

Climate-driven declines in arthropod abundance restructure a rainforest food web

Using the same study area and methods employed by Lister in the 1970s, we discovered that the dry weight biomass of arthropods captured in sweep samples had declined 4 to 8 times, and 30 to 60 times in sticky traps.

http://www.pnas.org/content/115/44/E10397

with some great scfi to read

Your face when you realize that scfi is literally calling out for Elder Gods to rescue you.


Ὠρίων

58:

Just saw this mini laser etcher; neat, but the writer brain is going over the ways it can be misused.
https://elegpia.com/products/engraver

Some idiot tries to ‘tattoo’ himself with it—body part of your choice.
In a similar vein; it’s set up as part of an alarm system, etches THIEF across an intruders forehead (would have to be faster for that).
and so on.

59:

Took some time out to read Charlie's latest. So labyrinth... you mean like the one Daedelus designed to hide and imprison the Minotaur?

There's the obvious thaumaturgical labyrinth built around the avatar of the God of Sleep, but there's also a labyrinth of power that is Imperial Washington, and of course there's the labyrinthine mission architecture Mhari has to navigate. But then it turns out labyrinths are symbols of the path from life to death which, as it turns out, is exactly the mission outcome for Derek, Pete and Jim and nearly for Mhari in the bowels of the pentagon. Then there's the relationship of the ancient order of freemasonry with labyrinths and in turn the masonic leaning of the American founding fathers. So how did Daedelus (and Icarus) escape from Minos, why by fashioning wings and flying away which is exactly what Jim and Arthur do. Of course in the case of Jim and Arthur enter a supersonic Deus ex Machina in the form of a 666 Squadron Concorde which saves their collective bacon.

Best Dan Brown novel ever!

60:

Hooray for spoilers!

61:

That's not a new idea, and it's still likely as mind-bogglingly misguided and dangerous and unfit for purpose in several ways, as that characterful video shows of the cubiio in the first link.

62:

@ 53 ( et seq )
Oh SHIT

JPR @ 58
That is a really really dangerous piece of kit.
At what range, in the open air, could it either blind or damage someone's sight?
[ I've had a complete fuckwit laser me from behind, whilst driving in traffic - it's amazingly distracting & dangerous, even at very low power ]
Quite frankly, I'd rather face a gun .....

Matt S @ 59
Labyrinths & mazes are also the "other way around - a jouney to life or even "salvation"
See: Here - Saffron Walden
and
Here, too Chartres.
The great Labyrinth at Saffron Walden is 1.5km long & yes I have walked it .....
But, quite deliberately, not the one at Chartres, though I've been there & seen it.

63:

Update
I note that the laser-cube engraver is supposed to have an accelerometer built-in, so it can't be used on the move - but that is probably hackable, though.

64:

On the move? So I can blind everyone on the train on the way to my employers first and final "take your laser to work day"?

65:

Don’t forget Solomon’s labyrinth. Then there’s the use of the word ‘Index’, so from the Latin one who finds out, points out or indicates. Put it all together and you have a hidden twisted path between life and death that points to?

66:

Just saw this mini laser etcher; neat, but the writer brain is going over the ways it can be misused.

It's actually TOTALLY ILLEGAL JUST ABOUT EVERYWHERE SANE as my friendly neighbourhood (bay area) laser radiation safety expert explains here, with all the grisly details (Phil is a fun guy to get ranting about crappy Kickstarter product health and safety over a few pints).

Hint: it's not just the eye-melting levels of (reflected) laser radiation that make this a nightmare product.

67:

At what range, in the open air, could it either blind or damage someone's sight?

Even if you use it in a photographic dark room (to prevent light leakage) and have an external power cut-out for safety, sooner or later you have to go into the room. At which point you're inhaling nanoparticles of vapourized whatever-the-fuck you were "engraving" with your Martian heat ray. What do ~5nm nanoparticles of aluminium do to human lung tissues, would you like to find out the hard way?

68:

I just got to the "laser shotgun" video half way down the post...

Very glad I don't live anywhere near that idiot.

69:

Lots of stuff in this book, I think there are lots of bits waiting for us to go 'oh, riiiight' later on.

Bit of a shame it was released on Oct 30th rather then the 31st, though :)

I must admit, I was a bit surprised at the apparent treachery of MA in the previous book, it seemed ooc for him. Now we see he is (probably) playing a much more devious and long term game. Will it work? I'm an optimist, I'd like to think that he's going to show the PM just how perfidious the British can be when they set their minds to it.

And it's always good to see Concorde get an outing again!

70:

Thanks to everyone commenting on the ‘laser cube’ for confirming my thought that it’s a Very Bad Idea.
I realized that the effective engraving distance appears to be less than a foot, but it’s still a frickin’ laserbeam. Imagining it linked to a cctv cam with eye-tracking and blinding people. Probably should be filed under ideas not to be shared.

71:

That video reminded me of an old guy I met years ago, who talked about when he used to do nightclub lightshows and made flashcotton dyed different colors so lasers (presumably legal ones) would cause it to combust. I don’t remember if it was the same color as the laser or complementary color, whichever absorbed the most energy/heat.

72:

Charlie
From your friend Phil's comments:
The Weird Shit (when you open up a closet that’s been nailed shut for four decades for some reason and there’s an unmarked box that sets off the Geiger counter,
Oh dear
Many moons ago, when working in research, we got a new ionising radiation detector ( A souped-up geiger-counter, efffectively ) - to make sure, essentially that we had nothing fogging all the photographic film, paper, etc we had lying around.
It was demonstrated & tested & everyone was happy ...
It was being carried along an office-corridor when it went bananas - bleeping & flashing + the needle going crazy. First thought , of course, was that it had developed a wiring fault / short-circuit.
Took it back & re-tested - OK. Went down corridor again - went mad again.
Determined that whatever "it" was, it was in THAT office, belonging to one of our less-liked senior management.
Took it into office - even worse, but the dnagerous radiation seemd to be coming from an innocent (decorative) old-fashioned pestle-&-mortar on a shelf.
Turned out, it had been used, many years before ( Like WWII period ) for grinding up materials for luminous paint & was a real health-hazard.
Said manager was even lees pleased when my offical immeidiate "boss" ( & a friend ) cheerfully told him ( And he was very sensitive on the subject ) "You know it makes all your hair fall out!" - he was very bald.
Never mind.

74:

Moved to the DC area just over 9 years ago for the job I'm still at. Pepole do call it the Metro (I keep dithering between subway and el, having grown up in Philly, lived in Chicago, and been to NYC a lot...).

Please note that a *lot* of folks in the area, including a *lot* of Metrorail operators, refer to it as National Airport. A lot of us REALLY dislike Ronnie Raygun.

My es used to give the statue of him at the airport a raspberry when we drove there.

75:

And the silver line, that will go to Dulles, is half completed (or more) - we're hoping it's finished by '21, if we get the Worldcon.

76:

She of Many Names! Glad to see you again - I was a tad concerned when you just vanished.

And yeah, calling on Elder Gods, from where we now, officially, are ruled by the Cult of (unreality tv_ Personality....

veryone's holding their breath about this coming Tuesday.

Oh, and about the Baron's cmt... would it be ok if I set up my deck chair in a lifeboat?

77:

As I've been saying since about 19, there is *no* such thing as "common sense", the only thing that's common is stupidity.

Meanwhile, I never did figure out why the techs laughed, when I tell them, when I'm in for a CAT scan, that they're missing half their warning label. It only reads "do not stare into laser aperture, and none of them have "with remaining eye".

78:

I haven't finished the book yet but I was just curious:

Between the tone and some of the time-jumping the book so far reads like a narrative inversion of books like Fight Club/Trainspotting or what the Guardian tends to call Lad lit but from an obviously female perspective. Was that your intention or am I completely off base?

79:

I haven't read either of those books (I'm not a fan of lad lit, or lad culture in general).

80:

JamesPadraicR @ 49: Franconia has a Metro station now?
Okay, it’s been more than 30 years since I lived in the DC area, and they were still working on the Forest Glen station in MD when we moved from there (the Walter Reed Annex at Forest Glen, that is. Home of the coolest military housing). Anyhow, I went to elementary school in Franconia for three years in the early 80s.

According to Wikipedia the station opened at the end of June 1997 as the southwestern terminous for the Blue line. IIRC, I discovered it as an alternative to driving all the way in to DC and trying to find parking on the Mall around 2005.

On weekends when I like to visit DC, "park & ride" (at least the park part) is free.

And when did they start calling the NSA “The Puzzle Palace”? I always heard that in reference to the Pentagon, particularly the sublevels, confusing enough that maps were handed out. My mother, as a Health Physics Officer from Walter Wonderful, occasionally went there to check for leaky microwave ovens, and other things. She did the same at USAMRIID, in that case other things referred to making sure that isotopes used in the labs were handled properly. Also in Ft. Meade, but I don’t know where specifically.

I don't remember when I first heard it, sometime in the late 70s or early 80s. Bamford published his book in 1982. I think he started his research during the 1975 Church Hearings

81:

Fair enough! Thanks for the response.

82:

Charlie,

I've tried to skip along in the thread to avoid spoilers until I've read the book, so I missed your comment @11 about the LaundryVerse and Peter Pan.

- Go for it.

No matter how you end the sequence you have at least two centuries worth of stories that happen before that end.

I still see Harry Potter having a beer in a pub, sitting beside Bob, and because of their Geas unable to see the other. There is also Danny Torrance having fish&chips at a table nearby. All those stories are in the LaundryVerse.

There are a huge number of people, groups, etc..., stumbling along, never seeing the Laundry or anybody else, all living through their own stories in the LaundryVerse.

83:

Oh great, OGH put cliff hanger in chapter 1:
"Mo, Dr. O’Brien, is unavailable. Or maybe I’m just too much of a coward to talk to her since she . . . changed."

So when do we find out what happened to Mo?

84:

Property has nine piers, a helipad and enough housing to accommodate a small army

So they've found the place that can host the army, but there's no army and no sign that it is owned by military. I wonder what they would like to do with this place, wink-wink, nudge-nudge. I've heard this shit reported on our news aggregator, now I have to witness it myself.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russian-trolls-jailed-defamatory-comments-finnish-journalist-jessika-aro-a8593631.html
[laughter stops abruptly] Oh the wonders of free speech...

85:

Page 306:

"...four Rolls-Royce Olympus engines...that power the Royal Navy's shiny new aircraft carriers"

Assuming you refer to the Queen Elizabeth class, they actually have two RR MT30's, which are derived from the Trent 800. The old Invincible carriers had the four marine Olympuses (Olypmi?), which aren't identical to the various versions of the Aero Olympus.

86:

Photographic darkroom? External power cutout? Aw, c'mon, live a little...

I've got various lasers capable of setting fire to things on the other side of the room while you're not looking, causing pain on bare skin, etc. By comparison with those, I am pretty confident that that wee cube thing won't do a blind thing to bare aluminium or any other metal, nor to a layer either of black paint or of soot on a metal surface. It needs to be something thicker and more thermally insulating, like a piece of parcel tape, that you have stuck to the metal surface, to get any useful result.

Metal is annoyingly difficult to effectively zap with lasers, which is why I have accumulated most of the parts to put together a Q-switched YAG in the hundred-watt range so I can ablate copper. That one will be invisible, so even more fun.

(My lungs are fucked to the wide already; ten years of living in a cloud of pigeon feather dust dense enough to knock out hard drives could well have something to do with that. Not to mention the tobacco smoke, the sulphur dioxide, the chlorine, the weird brown smoke of incredible density that I think was some manganese compound, the dust from drilling/hacksawing asbestos which is a really good DIY material when you're a wee kid not really strong enough yet to work more difficult materials, and goodness knows what else. Also, I have only one functional eye due to a congenital defect in the other one. I've read some of Phil's website and found it really hard going by reason of the attitude difference...)

87:

Bought it the first day. Discipline lasted until this morning, when I decided to blow off the day's to-do list so I could finish it. Is there a pub somewhere there in Edinburgh where I can leave something along with instructions, "The next time Charlie's in, the first pint's on me"?

88:

I'm pretty sure it's both too blatant and too small scale to be an actual state-level threat: this isn't the Russian armed forces, it's a paranoid survivalist millionaire (probably with a highly illegal sideline of some sort that accounts for it).

89:
She of Many Names! Glad to see you again - I was a tad concerned when you just vanished.
Likewise. Heart has been in the gutter (work and etc) and that cheered me up.

Ὠρίων - Time to fight, yes. [0]
Re that arthropods-on-(big-)island paper, yeah read it when it came out (also most of the other recent scary climate change papers), pretty depressing, though island ecosystems potentially suck even more than those elsewhere at dealing with rapid warming once they run out of mountain. (I don't know the literature well.)
(Me in 2016: "Since the panic seems likely to hit in earnest roughly 2018 (that's just intuition),..")
I finally read this: Understanding carbon lock-in (23 March 2000) and a few papers citing it; this and related work needs more exposure.

---
Re the new novel,
finished The Labyrinth Index last night, not enough sleep so tired today, as expected. :-)
There was a lot of grepping of this site's archives... (e.g. L1, DM's dice, etc)
Hopefully I can do a few comments without obvious spoilers:
Re Jon the phanged manic pixie dreamgirl, her antics made me laugh, and the combat sequence with the silvers on the road, oh my. Since she's both phang and not HSS, I will assume spectrum manifests differently. And the obvious Beatles crossover line currently has zero google hits! (both variants)

The PM is interesting. It is dangerously competent, and by our standards a bit playful. Looking forward to more of it.

[0] This keeps coming to mind. (Could be mapped to the Laundryverse):
The ship transmitted a copy of what in an earlier age might have been called its soul to the other craft. It then experienced a strange sense of release and of freedom while it completed its preparations for combat. Now it felt a strange, at once proud and yet humbling affinity with the warriors of all the species through every age who had bade their lives, their loves, their friends and relations goodbye, made their peace with themselves and with whatever imagined entities their superstitions demanded, and prepared to die in battle.
It experienced the most minute moment of shame that it had ever despised such barbarians for their lack of civilisation.

90:

Yes.

We'll spare you the details. Brutal it's been.

Let's just say we're not exactly...

Oh, FFS.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1057620518751428608

Go to 0:21

YOU DO NOT PUT FAKE STARS OF DAVID ON CROSSES: EVEN IN WW1 THIS WAS VERBOTEN YOU FUCKING NAZIS.

http://3mkn2qcrjf12wd7hu3hyocs1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Osborn-WW1-sm2.jpg

FFS.

AMERICA: YOU'RE SO FUCKING OUT OF ORDER RIGHT NOW.

91:

Oh, and you ***really*** don't want my opinion of Ms. J.K. Rowling changing her tabard to 1930's Brazil after *that* election.

From the 1937 Constitution, the authoritarian centralized regime (known as the Vargas Era) stimulated the expansion of urban activities and shifted the axis of productivity from agriculture to industry, laying the foundations of modern Brazil's economy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_Revolution_of_1930

I mean, if you know what's going on (hello her editor) she's basically coming out strong for White. Evangelical. Christian. Power.


Oooh. Probably not what her fans expected.

92:

And yes: It's very ironic since she did a number on Pewdiepie (c.f. earlier) for "being a Nazi".

Anyhow.

"Camouflage".

It wasn't an accident. They feed off the emotional backlash, it's how they do it.

93:

(minor spoilers)
If PHANGs can't see their own reflections and Jon can gorgonstare, wouldn't it be a pretty effective (and reusable) area denial weapon to make her gaze into a disco ball? A bit like the one in From Dusk Till Dawn, except opposite world.

94:

I’m surprised that the Franconia station is that new, as it seems to be built in that late 1960s-early 1970s style as many other of the Metro stations. I’m generally through there at least a few times a week. Hmm, Van Dorn metro is from 1991 and King Street from 1983. I would have pegged all three as from no later than 1979 myself.

95:

The book is great fun!


A typesetting error in my Kindle book had me confused though. In Slide 9 of the PowerPoint (around loc 1889) it says:
In excess of 109 directed human sacrifices (…)


The number seemed weirdly specific, and also very low in this context. My subconcious must have been working on it, as when I woke up this morning I realized that the 9 must be missing superscript formatting, and that it should read:
In excess of 109 directed human sacrifices (…)
Which makes more sense.


Not sure if this is the case in any of the paper editions too. (And hopefully my html-tags make this render correctly)

96:

A billion human sacrifices sounds like an un-optimized Dho-Nah curve to me, but you might be right about the text. (Of course, as the Laundry books have morphed into a particular kind of political satire the numbers might have changed...)

97:

I've spent some time checking the Google history for signs of this enterprise and I found out that this "secret base" dates all the way back to 2014. (It seems Google is one real search engine that can be used for intelligence gathering) Simply put, local government has been keeping an eye on it for at least 4,5 years, since certain other conflict with borders. I also found the article about some estate issues during the previous year - not really sure what to make out of it.
https://svenska.yle.fi/artikel/2014/01/29/forklaring-om-villa-i-sackilot-lamnades

What I did not find: any mentions of use of this land, including civil, military or financial. Which brings me to the idea that this issue wasn't actually anything of significance. It was, most likely, a part of European housing bubble that attracted a lot of investments in the wake of 2008 crisis, which included a person from Russia too. An empty villa, it can be used as a lair for an rich evil billionaire, but not much else.

What happened next, apparently, is that NATO saw a valuable property within the area of their interesting, and decided to raid the crap out of it. I wonder how much taxpayer's money they will be able to kickback for themselves just by acquiring it on their "suspicions" for the military use.
Two people were taken into custody after the raids — an Estonian of Russian descent and a Russian — and officers seized a stash of cash in multiple currencies, including 3 million euros, or about $3.5 million.
Business as usual, I presume.

98:

Your HTML is fine.

1 billion human sacrifices would be about 1 in 7 of the present planetary population though.

99:

Same error was in the Audio version.

BTW Charlie, you missed a golden opportunity to riff Jane Eyre after using parts of the same narrative technique.

100:

A billlion human sacrifices make sense in context. The number 109 does not.

101:

Aside from some issues that the proofreading phase should have sorted out, the latest Laundry instalment showed off finely honed storytelling skills and a welcome step back from an earlier tendency to turn all the knobs up to 11 for the climax. I rather enjoyed spending time with this surprisingly likeable bunch on the edge of a collective nervous breakdown. (However, I think the first chapter might not be a great choice of teaser: I had to overcome my reluctance to continue reading at that point, even though the book as a whole definitely hit the spot.)

This 2011 article, Compression Without a Common Prior: An Information-Theoretic Justification for Ambiguity in Language, seems to me to explain some of the dynamics behind the interactions with the entity behind the multitude of nyms that currently goes by Ọya-Iyansan.

102:

In excess of 109 directed human sacrifices (…)

My epub is showing the exponent correctly in iBooks on an iPad, FWIW.

103:

Wish I could do more than say 'sorry for the issues..."

Out of order? You mean, like broken into tiny bits, with the 0.1% scrambling to see who can grab most of the loose change?

The world is holding its breath until Tuesday night. The Malignant Carcinoma has gone full Trumopolini, with military movements, threats to violate the Constitution, and temporary "good phone calls" to screw with the markets.

104:

Good to know about the iBooks version, then I guess the print editions will be ok. Pity about the audiobook though – I hadn’t thought about a typesetting error spilling over to that version.

105:

And, appropos of nothing else, I have just come across an acronym I *adore*, which accurately describes the situation: Carla Schroder, of Linux.com, offers "The Internet of Gratuitously Connected Insecure Things (IoGIT, creatively abbreviated to pronounce as "idjit")"

I've emailed to thank her.

106:

109, not 109 as well in my Kobo epub.

107:

Like so-called "smart" electricty-&-gas meters, which are being foisted on the Brit public.
Not having one at any price ....

108:

The meters broadcasting, so that they can just drive by and read, rather than have to come inside, I guess. But my gas? electric? (I forget) co offered me an Internet Connected Thermostat!!!, and I told them were to get off. Right, I want some 16 yr old turning it up to 90F...

109:

A billion human sacrifices sounds like...

...an unacceptable project name. Please choose a less accurate one.

110:

whitroth
Talking about "smart" meters & what a rip-oof, con & vulnerable-to-hacking they are ....
Encapsulated in the comments as: "Smart People have Dumb Meters. Dumb People have Smart Meters."

111:

Out of order? You mean, like broken into tiny bits, with the 0.1% scrambling to see who can grab most of the loose change?

It's easier to digest something when it's been ground up into tiny pieces and marinated in acid.

The world is holding its breath until Tuesday night. The Malignant Carcinoma has gone full Trumopolini, with military movements, threats to violate the Constitution, and temporary "good phone calls" to screw with the markets.

The idiot's followers online are trying to make excuses why soldiers are better off in a desert a thousand miles away from a swarm of unarmed civilians rather than, for example, at home with their families for the upcoming (American) Thanksgiving holiday. So far all the excuses I've seen are pretty flimsy.

Having said that, I think it's a good strategy for him; he's got to do something loud enough to dominate the news cycle. If he doesn't the news will be full of the MAGA bomber, the Pittsburgh synagogue anti-semite, and the moron who shot two people for grocery shopping while black. Even the rabid base is having trouble ignoring this; the party can't afford to have their violent crazies so publicly visible the week of the election.

112:

How about Windows 10^9? Puts a fresh meaning to the Blue Screen of Death...

113:

*polite cough*

I won't link it, but you might be interested in the following search terms:

Guardian
£500,000
Fraud
Brexit
Movie


Seems some of Mr Stross' fans do play Chess.


*Be Seeing You*

114:

Technical nit picking from a gun nut: It’s established early on the Sam’s duty pistol is a P226. In chapter 8 (A Game of Vampires) he’s “holding his gun muzzle-down and safety off”.

The Sig P226 doesn’t have an external safety that the user can set. It has several internal safeties built into it but the shooter controls those by pulling the trigger.

115:

Great story!

Noticed one typo in the Kindle edition: "dick picks" rather than "dick pics" in one of the footnotes..........my job here is done.


Actually, one thought (POTENTIAL MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD):

These dread things that the old ones/outer gods/etc. are running from...what can possibly be worse than an infovore of the type we met in Book 1? It ate the whole universe. Like, everything. Everything in that universe is dead and shrinking into nothingness. And then it threatens other universes. Isn't that about as big of a threat level as we can get? From the descriptions we've gotten so far (IIRC), Case Nightmare Green isn't a threat against the entire multiverse (or the entire Mandelbrot Set, or whatever)--it's just a threat against our universe, and it actually sounds like a somewhat smaller threat mostly against humanity or possibly the solar system, as least for the period that the stars remain aligned properly to allow all of this to happen. Or, who knows, maybe I'm misunderstanding the scale of things, and Nyarlathotep could just slip into another universe (or into a deeper level of reality, or something), when an ice giant wandered by.

116:

So I've been thinking about the comment made about good eldritch gods. I don't particularly care for the attempt to try to map Lovecraftian deities by human standards of good and evil the way Derleth did.

I do agree that weakly godlike aliens could very well be indifferent to us and getting crushed by them isn't something to take personally. Of the Lovecraftian deities, only Nyarlathotep seemed to be capable of delighting in the suffering of humans which implies a kind of empathy. You have to understand the mental model of a victim to be able to take pleasure from hurting it. "I zapped the cloud mind with ten gigavolts of juice. It's glowing purple now. I don't know if it's screaming in pain or having an orgasm. This does nothing for me."

We were making the comparison of beekeepers and bees. If we stick with analogizing elder gods vs. humans with humans vs. bugs, consider Buddhists. Most humans don't care about bugs but some Buddhists made a point of sweeping the path before them so that they might not inadvertently crush a bug. If it were possible, such a believer would sincerely try to empathize with mites and microbes and all living things. Would it be impossible to imagine an elder god that would make that sort of thing a priority? It's perfectly possible for a weakly godlike being to decide having a close, personal relationship with any sort of thinking being is a fine use of its time.

Now usually in this sort of fiction if there's ever a chance for an elder god to truly contemplate humans, we get a lecture on how shitty we are. If the god doesn't speak then some mad worshiper will run us down. But there's another way to look at it. Despite how powerful the elder gods are, they can't live when the stars aren't right. But guess who can? Dumb old humans. Rather than looking at us as bugs, it's possible to consider us to be pinnacles of evolution, as sophisticated as minds can be without succumbing to the starry sleeping sickness. What's more, we can be taught. A wise elder god who tends to his humans will be well-served and protected while slumbering. We've got just the qualities one looks for in a proper servitor race.

That's not to say that the "good" gods are all sunshine and light. If the god in question is a fan of harmony and the proper functioning of complex ecosystems, humans will resemble an infestation. If organic practices can't control the disease, said god might say screw it and break out the nerve gas. To the people who can't figure out why the god is pissed, this could seem malicious, evil and unprovoked.

There's lots of jokes about human souls being scooby snacks for the gods. Well, you can still run with this even for the good gods. The "bad" gods want beef cattle. The "good" gods might be looking for milk cows. A healthy, thriving ecosystem with plenty of worshipers can be tapped in a polite fashion and is a sort of symbiotic relationship.

For the distribution of elder god personality types, I would imagine most are completely indifferent but dangerous (a giant crushing you as it turns over in its sleep) and only a few would actually care about us in any way, to help or harm. But they can all be stunningly dangerous in their own ways. Imagine a good god deciding that the best thing for us is not coming to harm and you end up with that classic scifi story... forgetting the exact name, "With Folded Hands" I think, where the robots save us from all dangers only to condemn us to a life of terminal boredom under house arrest.

If we look at the example of kabbalah mysticism, there's the idea that humans could try to use the holy magic, same as God, only you have to use it with pure heart. Any hint of avarice will burn your eyes out. So if you try to heal the sick and there's any slight possibility you might have pride in being known as the healer, that's it for you. Complete selflessness is required. If a "good" elder god holds to those standards, using their magic could be every bit as dangerous as giving ol' Cthulhu a call.

The TL;DR is I think keeping all the gods various shades of evil is a bit monochromatic. You can mix it up without weakening the impact of the story or bringing in boring Christian dualism.

117:

@ 116
Tell us something new, that we didn't know already?
Actually, the real question is - does this invalidate the original referendum, thus forcing a re-run?

118:

Murcushio: you may be right. And you did note there were spoilers. I over-reacted a bit, sorry.

119:

Glad I saw this before reading it, because I could imagine the character pretty clearly that way. I'm totally with the idea it's the real GC, there are plenty of very believable jumping off points in our universe that could have seen him elected in 2008, which is what you say in text explicitly. Devil's advocate, you could probably read the character as Obama believably, too. But not any other recent holders of that office, including Reagan.

Kindle version off the .au big river, only saw a couple of typos - the phrase "3000 nautical miles" is repeated, and there's an "is" instead of "it" not long after that. Sorry that's pretty arse proofreading on my part.

120:

I liked this one tremendously.

Excellent action scenes, notably the one on the road and the vampire and superhero team.

Also, I hate most romances, but I liked this one, possibly because the typical romance is between the female lead and a horrible man. Jim is a good guy. I hope RT (Romantic Times) takes notice.

It's possible I'm spending too much time in SJW spaces-- I found it a tremendous relief that America was portrayed as good enough. I'm very used to seeing the US attacked every time it's mentioned.

I'm wondering whether it's plausible that daily life for most people hasn't changed. I realize that the Lovecraftian powers want the human population and computer processing to keep increasing, but do they have the delicate touch needed to not break things on a huge scale?

121:

Something I'd totally use if I were an autistic mage would be a portable containment grid that I could vanish into if the outside world got too loud. Totally worth sinking a few months or R&D into if it saves me from sensory overload when I need it.

122:

The number seemed weirdly specific, and also very low in this context.

You are correct, and indeed, this mistake was spotted and I corrected it in the second pass page proofs! But it seems to have been silently dropped by something in the epub to kindle file format conversion pipeline.

123:

We already know Cassie & Alex are a thing; Alex refers to them as 'us' when he talks to the readers in Nightmare Stacks, and Delirium Brief has other characters describe them as boyfriend and girlfriend, say that they're in a relationship etc. Cassie's narration implies that they have a rather active sex life ("(Nothing to do in the prison camp) aside from being with Alex, and you can't stay in bed all the time"). They're both shown as familiar, affectionate and protective of each other. Etc.

*spoilers*

Obviously there's no telling what they're up to now, especially since Fabian seems to have taken the rank of All-Highest off Cassie. She might still rule the Host on his behalf, might not. If she's involved with the invasion of Syria and Alex is training as a battle mage they might live separately and hardly see one another, they could be living together as a happy young couple (or as happy as it gets under the New Management)or anything in between, they might even still have to hang around Camp Tolkien half the time for all we know. I guess it's conceivable in-universe that they've had a falling-out since Delirium Brief and are having a mini-version of Bob and Mo's issues or something like that, but since nothing's been said and there's no prior foreshadowing in that direction it would be pretty silly to assume so.

124:

At what range, in the open air, could it either blind or damage someone's sight?

Nominal specifications are 1600mW at 450nm. In the visible range, the maximum permitted exposure, assuming a 50ms blink reflex, is in the 1mW/cm^2 range (which is a lot higher than I expected - I only use the Mk I eyeball for fibre coupling up to a limit of a few µW/cm^2). Neglecting absorption by atmospheric water, that means that we need a laser beam with a 1/e^2 radius of 28cm (assuming a Gaussian beam, which is a distinctly dubious assumption).

Next up: focal parameters. The working distance is 155mm. There's no specifications on beam quality - but for a 2W blue diode, it's going to be M^2 >> 2, with a WAG of a 50µm spot size.

Collectively, that gives us a Rayleigh range of 3mm, which sounds about bang on for a claimed working distance of "150-160mm" on Kickstarter. Divergence is 12.5mrad

Put all that together, and you get a distance of 2.4m from the laser aperture - that's just to fall below the maximum permitted exposure, assuming a healthy blink reflex. It would still cause considerable discomfort, and would cause at the very least sufficient afterimages to leave you, temporarily, blind for seconds to minutes.

All that said, a few comments -
* Better a high power visible laser than a high power IR laser. You can *see* where all the dangerous reflections are, with this laser (spoiler alert: everywhere)
* Better a blue laser than a green one - your eyes are much less sensitive to the blue. The 2W green laser in my laboratory lights up the entire room with scattered light, and you can clearly resolve exposures down to around 100nW/cm^2
* If something like this was used or exhibited in the building, everyone associated with it would be fired without further question.

125:

I think you are missing something with the SA - he maybe a lot worse than a qusiling, from the last 2 books there is reasonable circumstantial evidence that he engineered the whole New Management take over from years back since before the events of the Fuller Memorandum. We know from the Delirium Brief that Iris in TFM was running a honeypot op for Black Pharaoh cultists, which means the SA is culpable for the sacrificed baby Bob sees during the finale of that book.

So if we take cold war spy fiction as a touchstone then that makes the SA one of those classic soulless spy masters who will do anything and literally sacrifice anyone to win the game.

This realisation is part why i have loved the last 2 books so much. The betrayals and double crosses keep giving me nostalgic flashbacks to Deightons Game, Set and Match triologies.

It also explains why the Black Pharaoh appears so much more on the ball than his rival Elder gods - he quite likely was summoned beforehand by the Laundry or some patsies, and so has had more time on this plane to power/level up. Whereas both the Nazgul and the Mouthpiece are obviously 2nd tier Jonny come latelies. Whether it was Cthulus or the Nazgul plan to be building a matroska brain over 10 years against competing Elder gods was pretty obviously a big 70's CIA style failure mode they stumbled into - neatly tying back to events in the Jennifer Morgue on a thematic level.

PS loved TLI so much I did a drive by big river review for it after 18hrs with no sleep - surprisingly it's pretty coherent if lacking in eloquence.

126:

Greg Tingey @ 107: Like so-called "smart" electricty-&-gas meters, which are being foisted on the Brit public.
Not having one at any price ....

What exactly does the "smart" meter do other than the utility not having someone walking meter to meter to read them?

We've had them here for several years. Got them some time after 1997; most likely around 2004 - 2005, cause I wasn't home then to notice when they installed it.

Several decades back the electric utility offered me a discount if I'd allow them to put in a special meter that would allow them to remotely shut off my hot water heater during "peak hours", but after I told them I have a gas hot water heater they rescinded that offer.

I can't really tell how the ones on the electric gets its information back to the utility, but I wouldn't be surprised if they have a way to carry it along the grid. I've looked at the 120 volt coming out of the wall with an oscilloscope and there appears to be a polling pulse about every 120 seconds.

Whatever information it sends them, they're not using it that efficiently, because it doesn't seem to alert them when the power goes off. I have to walk around the corner and find the pole where the breaker has tripped and call them with the tag number from the pole it's mounted on.

... and still have to watch out for their truck driving up and down the block looking for the tripped breaker to point out the correct one to the lineman.

Gas & water appear to have transponders attached to the meters that someone from the utility still has to drive past the house to poll.

127:

bsmithwins @ 114: Technical nit picking from a gun nut: It’s established early on the Sam’s duty pistol is a P226. In chapter 8 (A Game of Vampires) he’s “holding his gun muzzle-down and safety off”.

The Sig P226 doesn’t have an external safety that the user can set. It has several internal safeties built into it but the shooter controls those by pulling the trigger.

Even further technical nit picking: If a gun does not have an external, user selectable safety that can prevent the gun from firing even when the trigger is pulled, it doesn't have a safety.

The Sig P226 does not have a safety.

128:

It depends what's meant by 'a safety'.

You're correct that the P226 is like a revolver in that it doesn't have a user selectable safety, which is what almost anybody who's talking about guns refers to as a safety.

The P226 (and the whole series) have an internal safety that prevents the firing pin from moving forward to hit the primer of the cartridge and the sear blocks the hammer from moving forward until the trigger is pulled. There is also a spring that retracts the hammer from the firing pin.

129:

Really not good at this whole male gun thing, but...

The P226X5 does have a safety.


http://apdmarksmanshipteam.org/blog/sig-sauer-p226-x5-short-and-smart-review/

130:

Kobo uses an internal them-specific mutant version of EPUB 2. I'm pretty sure it doesn't use Unicode; my recollection is that it can't do super or subscripts without a lot of wailing and flailing to invoke non-EPUB/not-actually-HTML mechanisms.

This is a general problem; the EPUB specs, 3 more than 2, support everything; multi-volume works, all sorts of internal cross-references, HTML 5 full-Unicode content (so bidi at the HTML tag level), a comprehensive range of non-text media, you can stick your em-dash to its flanking n-width spaces with zero width non-breaking spaces if you want to, all that stuff.

NONE of the publishing platforms will pass this through unmangled. (Google mangles least, but it mangles. Kobo mangles much. Amazon may not mangle the epub (there's an epub embedded in all the recent .mobi file versions) but the actual mobi content gets mangled if what you fed the converter was an EPUB. And then none of the readers can be counted on to actually deal with the spec, or even just the HTML part of the spec. Stuff formatted purely for iTunes can carry through a lot of tad-looking book design, but you can't count on that to function on anything else.

And, well, EPUB is a big spec. Something that truly fully supported it would be a big job. I don't see anyone who thinks it's worth the money out there. (They are not obviously wrong!)

So in practice, what you get in an EPUB is a relatively minimalistic customary subset of the nominal capability, fragmented by platform. (an awful lot like CSS!)

131:

Note: given Host's (now) rather pacifist stance and the fact that blog regulars such as Martin come from the non-lethal sports side of guns, this could be a simple mix-up.

The P225x5 range is largely geared to the sport side of things, rather than the, er... "professional hit-man" side of things.

https://www.personaldefenseworld.com/2015/03/meet-the-sig-sauer-x-five-pistol-family/


Or you two could be old fuddy-duddies used to the old versions (pre 2015).

Who knows? Last time I used a firearm, you had to crank out the oil, rags and long brass rods to clean the thing.

132:

Something I'd totally use if I were an autistic mage would be a portable containment grid that I could vanish into if the outside world got too loud.
My kit includes earplugs plus high-end over-ear shooter's muffs, and improvised blinders using hands. Helps, for those senses (audio, peripheral vision) at least. I would have dug out a pair of (new) earplugs for Jon from my bag. Hope we see more of that one.

---
*Be Seeing You* And you. (Salutes camera.)
(American, finally looked this up; comprehensive video link for others like me not familiar with The Prisoner.)

133:

Aww, cutie.

Now, answer this: is WearSpace[tm] dystopian, satirical or active measures against directional audio advertizing? Spoilers: all of the above. (and cf earlier for links! Remember kids: only the rich get to be protected from environmental pollution!)

Anyhow, playing catch up? Should have got the Leon - The Professional reference. (Note: In USA, this has different title). Then you'd have tied it into current UK Labor Politics ("from the front") and abject failure mode spreading like wild-fire amongst the entire class (!hello ABC kitty!) and so on.


~


Anyhow.

Tick-Tock.

https://www.1843magazine.com/culture/what-the-world-is-watching/golden-dawn-girls-fascisms-feminine-side


Yep, because absolutely *no-one* has ever heard about flaxen haired ur-Women of Fascist doctrine before. (Pssst... that Tiger-Mom thing is also super-suspect).


~

On a serious note: I'd get those defenses locked in. Shit's going to get weird soon.

134:

The SA would possibly remark that it was games theory that won the Cold War and that the first (and just about only) rule of such open ended games is to stay in the game. Therefore a counter needs to be available for a god driven sequestration of government threat else you're out of the game with no way back. Given the only credible way to contain a god level threat is another god level threat the rest is a calculation in force parity and downstream consequences. A very Cold War calculation, but then that's the SA's vintage.

135:

What do you mean 'going to get...'? Things are decidedly weird already.

136:

"Metal is annoyingly difficult to effectively zap with lasers..."

Some years ago, walking through MBK mall in Bangkok, Thailand, one of the myriad small booths on about the 4th floor had a small laser engraving machine in operation. I think there was maybe 1/4" of separation between the laser aperture and the workpiece. The beam was not visible: all you could see was the engraving magically appearing on the workpiece. I don't remember if it was slewing the workpiece or the laser head.

I think, next time I'm in town, I'll wander back through and see if it is still there.

138:

There's a very explicit statement in this book that the SA still sees a way through this (or at least told Mhairi so). Obvious interesting question are:


  • is this true (or was he lying to Mhairi or she to us?
  • what is it? -- any clues to this one are well hidden. My money is on the "things that the Elder Gods are Fleeing from" -- might it be the extra-dimensional "police" after them for wrecking promising young universes
  • how long has this been brewing and have we seen any clues to its origins? I wonder about St Hilda's, forecasting ops and maybe Derek the DMs origin story, although it could go back to the
    original binding of the Eater of Souls
  • who is on the inside? -- looks like the SA, Persephone, maybe Iris and now Mhairi. Any more?
  • what constitutes success?


139:

bsmithwins @ 128: It depends what's meant by 'a safety'.

The P226 (and the whole series) have an internal safety that prevents the firing pin from moving forward to hit the primer of the cartridge and the sear blocks the hammer from moving forward until the trigger is pulled. There is also a spring that retracts the hammer from the firing pin.

That's not a safety. What's meant by "a safety" is a user selectable, external control that prevents the pistol from firing even IF the trigger is pulled.

An apocryphal story attributed to A. Lincoln has him asking his cabinet "If you call a sheep's tail a leg, how many legs does a sheep have?" The various members of the cabinet all answered a sheep would have 5 legs; to which Lincoln replied, "No. A sheep has 4 legs. Calling the tail a leg doesn't make it one."

The same applies to the Sig P226. Calling that arrangement a "safety" doesn't make it one. With a round in the chamber, if you pull the trigger on a Sig P226, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the weapon will fire because it has no safety.

140:

Off topic, mzybe.

To the whole audience:

Does this ring any bells? I ask on behalf of a friend:

"I remember reading a short story years ago. I’ve never been able to find it again. (Conan, help: It’s not “The Machine Stops” E M Forster.)

Set in the (then) future, humans had taken to living in rooms, all alone, never going out, and doing everything by “computer”, including having food delivered by machine. They had lost the use of their legs. I remember almost nothing else about it.

But looking back, it kinda foresaw some of what we have now…"

It doesn't ring any bells with me, but it might with some of you. 'Cause you are a lot more eidetic than I.

141:

"flange-bucket"

I don't know what this means, I don't know if it's in wide currency anywhere, but it was instantly recognizable as the worst accurate thing Mhari could think of to call that person.

142:

We don't know what the SA thinks constitutes success, so it's highly challenging to suggest what the end game might be.

My expectation is that nothing good will arrive; this is the Lovecraftian singularity, after all. Primordial chaos red in tooth and ovipositor all the way down.

So it has to be a plan to do something that gets rid of the elder gods, and to get rid of the elder gods you have to do it all at once on the downside curve of CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN, and we don't know -- there are conflicting canon statements -- how long CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN lasts. (I suspect that has something to do with the magnitude of the rate of population change.)

Plus is has to be something the superhuman intelligence can't detect or deduce.

My take is the SA is sincere (they do have a plan) and (if it's their plan) it's wrong. If it's Persephone's patron's plan, it might not be. (If so, it'll make all the sense (to us) of using prune custard to tempt a gecko.)

143:

Persephone's patron???!!!! Have I missed something?

144:

Just finished reading, and one part makes me think that Big C may have impressively apocalyptic stuff in mind:

Continue to prepare the chariots of our ascent to the heavenly spheres, that the weakening of the false vacuum shall proceed apace.

Weakening the false vacuum could be bad if it tips the vacuum into an actual phase change. Which, one presumes, would propagate out at the speed of light carrying the released latent heat with it and leaving a volume of who-knows-what.

https://cosmosmagazine.com/physics/vacuum-decay-ultimate-catastrophe

145:

That should release plenty of energy for an elder god to do whatever it is that they do with such things.

A nice painless way for those of us made of mere matter to undergo a total existence failure as well. Better than some of the alternatives!

146:

Better than some of the alternatives!

Put that way, I suppose you're right.

147:

I haven't namechecked Lovecraftian Roko's Basilisk yet, have I?

Put it another way: if this is the Lovecraftian singularity, when to complete the misery we need to posit a Lovecraftian Rapture of the Nerds — say, the Fungi from Yuggoth turn up and "upload" us all in their inimitable fashion, for subsequent vivisection and hot-porting (via Hans Moravec's thought experiment) to run in their own simulation spaces, in the same manner human behavioural scientists run rats in their own mazes ... well then, it follows that there must be a Lovecraftian Basilisk waiting in the wings, too, a causally disconnected malevolent godlike entity which will torment for all eternity those who didn't worship it well enough ...

(Am I raving sufficiently wildly, yet? Good! Then we're ready to begin!)

148:

Lovecraftian Roko's Basilisk

Yeah, but the Basilisk is vastly more horrible than a mere collapse of the quantum vacuum leading to a fireball expanding at c, leaving behind it ---

Oh, wait. What *does* the fireball leave behind it?

149:

Perhaps you have, or perhaps we differently understand the description of Persephone's capabilities in The Apocalypse Codex.

Persephone is unconcerned about K-Syndrome. We don't explicitly know why. We do know Persephone's early history is intensely implausible. One possibility -- what I think is the most obvious thing -- is that a very young Persephone was recruited but an outsider of some kind, and a complex, sophont one with objectives. (Probably one better able to comprehend primate social function than the Eater of Souls.)

Also note that for some reason, the two major -- Class 6 -- entities we know about are trying to use humans to get through the veil; for all their undoubted intelligence and power, they can't do that themselves. (or they can't do that themselves quickly enough to be first to the feast, and your consumption of souls affects your social status or your ability to eat the next runaway infant sophoncy cluster or something.) And the means to get through the veil are expensive; space infrastructure, mass human sacrifice, etc. it's hard to do.

If we're going to extend the biological metaphor a little, what we have here are organisms trying to introduce a widespread monoculture; an oak grove, say. There are a whole bunch of other strategies. Maybe Persephone has a patron who is kinda like the postulated pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer behaviour in our own species; let's plant some stuff, and come back later to harvest it. It it takes, the stars having come right, a month to make a new witch (who can make a new witch...), you could have a billion in three years. And we know a billion is enough to wake Great Cthulhu from a state of computational collapse.

Maybe there are a million already; it's not like we know what Persephone is up to most of the time. All being a witch does is make you mostly immune to parasites, you don't get overt powers, you're just a little safer. It doesn't show at all until harvest time.

150:

There’s enough ‘holes’ in her Legend to leave room for the interesting question of who she’s really working for. But she is also (it’s implied) a standing member of Mahogony Row as is Bob, the SA and Mo, so what does that tell us?

151:

Oh, wait. What *does* the fireball leave behind it?

Non-metaphorical meta-cosmological nothing, isn't it?

152:

Persephone is an External Asset, not on the official books as working for the Laundry.

I would suspect that to the extent Mahogany Row is a conspiracy, Persephone is part of it, but to the extent that it's bureaucracy, not.

(and the whole "UK has the best chance" thing about retiring to the UK is either flattering disinformation or seeming much like a mistake, though I suppose we don't really know how it's going elsewhere.)

153:

douglas clark @ 140: Set in the (then) future, humans had taken to living in rooms, all alone, never going out, and doing everything by “computer”, including having food delivered by machine. They had lost the use of their legs. I remember almost nothing else about it.

Might it have been Asimov's The Naked Sun?

154:

You're missing the possibility that the SA sees a way through this - but is lying to himself. If you really really want something to be so, it's easy to see the evidence for and ignore the evidence against. There is no way through.

155:

On an unrelated note, in a much earlier thread Greg Tingey recommended the book Take These Men by Cyril Joly. I bought it for my dad's 80th birthday, and he powered through the book and enjoyed it immensely. Greg, if it hadn't been for you, I would never have known it existed. Thanks!

156:

That's a rather different kind of beast than the readily-obtainable easy-to-use video-projector semiconductor lasers like that cube thing uses. Probably a sealed-tube CO2 laser, which the Chinese seem to have got mass-production down pat for, or possibly a YAG. It'll be one or two orders of magnitude higher power, ditto price, than the consumer semiconductor ones, which is what I meant by "annoyingly difficult". Just as easy to obtain (ebay, amazon) if you do have the money though.

157:

I look on Mahogony Row more as as a classic deep state network. With the senior auditors maintaining control over the hierarchical bureaucracy of the Laundry. As far as England being better set up to deal with a contagious outbreak that’s probably still valid given the geographical (sea border and minimal mega sprawl), technical (Scorpion Stare) and political factors (D notices) are still in play.

158:

No, weirder than that. They are, too; she's right.

(Good to see you back OI, was a tad worried.)

159:

Excession, if I remember?

160:

The strategy of using catspaws rather than just 'leaning in' may have something to do with the mass/energy problem of a hyper-intelligent (Turing complete?) entity thing trying to intrude into our spacetime. If it was not careful it'd run straight into the Bekenstein bound and whatever information substrate it's trying to run on would collapse into a black hole. Pretty sure that'd hurt even if it's on the level of getting your multidimensional pseudopods caught in the kitchen drawer.

That also gives an alternative etiology for K syndrome, that is it's actually due to practitioners neural circuits overloading the localised B-boundary and initiating a micro black hole which (being unstable) unloads in a shower of radiation with predictable effects. What I'd love to do is take a practitioner and sit them in a rowboat on top of a neutrino detector array to see what's happening when they actually 'do' computational demonology.

161:

So in the meantime I'm working on a side-quest, a novel set in the Laundryverse under the New Management, but with none of the regular characters and, indeed, no sign that the Laundry even exists: it's all about what the civilians are getting up to.

Awesome. The public awareness and reaction to magic has been pretty close to the front of my mind since the Annihilation Score. I'm still not clear, 3 books on from that, to what extent people are even aware of magic or how it is being integrated into daily life.

The proms were covered up but there are state sponsored superheroes and extradimensional elfen invaders, yet the few peaks we get into civilian life don't really give a clear picture. The president's address had to tell the American public that magic exists, hell he didn't even seem to be aware that the OPA existed (which may have been due to their influence I guess).

Can't wait to see how widespread knowledge of magic is being dealt with by the public of the Laundryverse.

162:

Can't wait to see how widespread knowledge of magic is being dealt with by the public of the Laundryverse.

By Christmas of 2015 (in Laundryverse time), nine months into the New Management, it's gone exponentially public/in the news/lots of activity at ground level, much as the whole alt-right thing was largely invisible to the general public in 2015 and everywhere by 2017. "Life comes at you fast." We're talking part-work magazine publishers trying to cash in with build-your-own encyclopedia of magic in 52 weekly installments with collectables (issue #1, out now, only £2.50, complete with free athame!)

Oh yes: to nobody's surprise, the New Management is continuing the previous government's austerity agenda (because it's a very good way of spreading misery and suffering) ... but coming up with innovative techniques for inducing the private sector to take up the slack, e.g. reintroducing (and updating) the 18th century Bloody Code and private thief-takers to apprehend supervillains who break the law. Only of course they don't want another Jonathan Wilde, let alone a superpowered version, so to ensure that doesn't happen they only deal with thief takers employed on zero hours contracts by the usual big outsourcing corporations like G4S and SerCo.

(It just about writes itself!)

163:

I think I've posted before here that 2 years or so back my supplier fitted new meters, with no mention of a "smart" meter even being available.

I've just received the first electricity bill since that's not had about double my "peak hours" usage (and this was the result of a visit from an actual "meter reader"). The intervening bills I corrected every one of, so the point is that "estimated billing" should always be checked.

164:

Yes, yes I do (oh and I have played the "Great Game" as well), but this is the first time I've ever mentioned Chess or explicitly mentioned the Great Game here.

165:

The scenario you describe would require the existence of the relevant hardware, in particular the pole-mounted breakers.

166:

It may be in the Asimov-edited anthology "Before the Golden Age", although it does in some respects sound like Asimov's own "The Caves of Steel" and "The Naked Sun", although I remember those as being less extreme in that non-Earth dwellers were hermits but still physically fit.

167:

The whole 'electricity lives up poles' thing is one of those dissonances I get from visiting North America — almost as odd as the giant parrots instead of pigeons in Melbourne and Adelaide.

168:

You got me thinking about infiltration.
Is there possibly another mode for an alien superintelligences to create a way to enter our universe, beyond those explored in past Laundry novels?
A lot of prophets and saints had odd experiences which convinced them that a divine entity had been in contact. The many bizarre religious rituals may come from garbled sets of instructions for preparing a portal.
In “American Gods” Loki intends to use the dead of the war as human sacrifices to boost the power of his group of Aesir. If the millions who die in ordinary religious wars can be harvested for a similar purpose, it might be enough to bring a host of tentacled things across.

In the case other universes partially overlap our own, maybe perceived as a fractal dimension with very poor “signal” reception across there might be moments where communication is possible with the minds of a few “gifted” individuals.
The erratic nature of the link prevents entities from jumping across and sequestering the brain and body of the hapless individual. But it might be enough to implant compulsions and beliefs, turning the saint/prophet into a rather imperfect proxy.
The messy, failure-prone process will not deter entities that are operating at time spans of millions of years; sooner or later, a useful proxy will be created without resorting to crude parasitic symbionts like those used by the Sleeper in the Pyramid.
This explains the messed-up nature of many “prophets” and the cruelty of successful religious founders. Religion is like the fragmented relics of virus genomes found in the human genome, records of partially successful enemy invasion.

169:

In cities, that is. That and the big external water tanks. Rural electricity poles are another matter: they're not worth trying to bury.

170:

Typo or alternate universe?

U.K. kindle edition, location 3454

“Offensive agencies focus on sending spies and actively sabotaging their rivals. In the UK, SIS, the Secret Intelligence Service, does the spying stuff; MI6, the Security Service, sticks to counter-espionage and anti-terrorism duty.”

Wrong way round? SIS Is MI6 and responsible for offence. Security Service is MI5 responsible for counter terrorism.

171:

Sorry, Charlie: But I'm getting more confused with what seem to me to be accumulating loose ends in your series. The biggest question I'm puzzling over is why the Black Chamber was encouraging Reverend Schiller to release the Sleeper in the Pyramid — especially if the Sleeper in the Pyramid is an elder god that competes with their elder god. Also, little things were left unanswered that drove me up a wall. For instance where did the dragon in Colorado come from? As a reader, I find these sorts of unexplained plot elements to be terribly frustrating.

172:

The Colorado dragon was always there. He woke up just now.

173:

Typo: MI6 should be MI5. (The names/roles are correct.)

174:

The biggest question I'm puzzling over is why the Black Chamber was encouraging Reverend Schiller to release the Sleeper in the Pyramid — especially if the Sleeper in the Pyramid is an elder god that competes with their elder god.

Probably because the earliest arrivals are at a disadvantage. If you have agents in place, or can convince your rivals to unleash their cosmic horrors in the right place, they suffer an unsuccessful spawning; just like the Black Chamber tempted Schiller to unleash the Sleeper in a spot where there was powerful opposition; they took out a rival agency, made sure The Sleeper was out of the game, and killed Schiller. Killing three gods with one stone is probably evidence of a diety-level mind at work.

175:

Sorry, meant to write "killing three birds with one stone."

176:

The biggest question I'm puzzling over is why the Black Chamber was encouraging Reverend Schiller to release the Sleeper in the Pyramid — especially if the Sleeper in the Pyramid is an elder god that competes with their elder god.

I assume that the Cult of Cthulhu took over (at least a good part of) the OPA some time between The Apocalypse Codex and The Delirium Brief. In the former a faction inside the OPA was backing Schiller, in the latter, he was effectively on the run from them.

177:

paws4thot @ 165: The scenario you describe would require the existence of the relevant hardware, in particular the pole-mounted breakers.

I believe the industry term is "fuse cutout". That would cover not only pole mounted ones like they have where I live, but whatever they use where the electrical lines are buried underground.

The utility has to have some way of isolating branch circuits, otherwise they'd never be able to safely work on them when repairs are needed.

The ones in my neighborhood look like this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/22/Cutout_fuse.jpg/250px-Cutout_fuse.jpg

https://www.macleanpower.com/assets/items/9B5E9F043568439B8F1CA65776E0ACE7.jpg

I call them "circuit breakers" because I've never seen the utility workers have to replace a fuse element. They appear to pop open before the fuse element burns out.

But I found this image of a UK version: https://www.cablejoints.co.uk/images/gallery/uploads/1497624644_Lucy%20Pole%20Mounted%20Cut-outs.jpg

178:

The Blues Brothers don't carry guitars.

Why would you keep beating a broken pinata?

Why would Mhari care about Xena? And if she did, why would she not know Conan was not a knock-off?

The other members of the team are just left dangling at the end while we get even more pages of her boring sex life.

Otherwise, pretty damn good all around.

Jon is a great character and finely drawn. However, I don't think I could take a whole book from her POV even if you could write it. The Secret Service agents were surprisingly compelling in their cameos.

Who is the President supposed to be? Clint Eastwood? Michael Douglas?

179:

Bellinghman @ 167: & 169: In cities, that is. That and the big external water tanks. Rural electricity poles are another matter: they're not worth trying to bury.

I think the "big external" tanks are to supply water pressure. Takes less energy to pump the water up to top of a building one time and let gravity supply the pressure to the individual taps than it would take to pump water up to the taps "on demand".

There's usually a big debate around here (US east coast) after every hurricane about "Why don't the electrical utilities bury the power lines where trees can't fall over on them and take them down?"

The answer is usually $$$. The electrical utilities are privately owned, for-profit, "regulated" monopolies. They won't take on the expense unless they're granted a rate increase IN PERPETUITY to cover the cost (which means a windfall of excess profit "forever and ever, amen" after costs are amortized).

Many local governments have rules that require NEW construction to have the utilities buried, but they are unable to force the utilities to replace overhead power lines in areas where they already exist.

180:

Wulf @ 171: Sorry, Charlie: But I'm getting more confused with what seem to me to be accumulating loose ends in your series. The biggest question I'm puzzling over is why the Black Chamber was encouraging Reverend Schiller to release the Sleeper in the Pyramid — especially if the Sleeper in the Pyramid is an elder god that competes with their elder god. Also, little things were left unanswered that drove me up a wall. For instance where did the dragon in Colorado come from? As a reader, I find these sorts of unexplained plot elements to be terribly frustrating.

That one's easy. The whole Schiller thing was a "rogue operation carried out by dissident elements within the Black Chamber", kind of like when the CIA murdered Kennedy.

181:

I think I saw that headling (I read the Buardian every day - news, not infotainment), but it hadn't hit.

182:

Good gods.... I mentioned a story last week; going through the weekend's posts (I was at World Fantasy, btw, working the consuite, of course), and some other posters thoughts, and one which led me to a closer than the novel I mentioned thought: Old One-Eye, Odin, is a good good. Who has one overriding agenda: dealing with the Jotun, and He's not loathe to use whatever tools he can to deal with them... including us. We may get screwed up, or over... but he's not trying to destroy us. We die, well, hey, fellow cannon fodder, welcome, at least, to Freya's Hall.

Oh! Ohh! Is what we *think* is Cthulhu actually another view of the World Serpent?

183:

And, just to add to this, I just saw today on slashdot that some idiot company is selling a lawer-powered bong - yes, the laser lights the weed, and it's 5mW, and they give you glasses to go with it, to prevent you from going blind while taking a hit.

184:

Long brass rods? Oh, hell, second reading isn't what I thought I read the first time; I was hoping you could mount it on a ship, sail up the Potomac, and give the WH a broadside.

185:

They've lost use of their legs? Sounds like Bradbury's The Last Pedestrian.

186:

The Malignant Carcinoma, if we don't take back at least the House? And de-gerrymander for 2020?

Horrid thought.

187:

A black hole, which then proceeds to evaporate, or Inflate, depending on the size?

188:

A tad confused here: the Great Game is, to me, the one played by the UK, and France, and Germany, and Russia....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Game

189:

Nah, “The Pedestrian” is about a guy who decides to go for a walk one night, gets stopped by an automated police car, and arrested for not being inside watching TV like a good citizen.

I don’t remember enough about the early Lije Bailey stories to know if they fit. I’d say it sounds like “Wall-E”, but I haven’t actually seen it, and I suspect there a number of similar stories.

190:

Black holes aren't really nothing; black holes are very sharp curvature in the space-time field. Collapse the quantum as postulated and you have neither space nor time, there being nothing there to support either. "An absence of the possibility of volume" is really tough to think about.

191:

5mW? All that'll do is illuminate it. You need about 300mW (at 808nm) or so before you can actually get something to happen, and even then it only burns an area a fraction of a millimetre in diameter, so you need some means of deflecting the beam to burn successive adjoining tiny dots, chasing the carbonisation around the edges for its better absorptive qualities. (Though it might work better with hash.) Just stick with the good old grid of resistance wire, or if you really want to be SF-techy about it use plasma from a magnetically directed RF arc.

192:

It's not Lije Bailey. Wall-E uses a similar premise, but it's not that either (the humans don't live in rooms all alone).

193:

I remember the short story, which I'm pretty sure I read in the 1980s, possibly in some best-of collection. If it's the one I'm thinking of, it's about a woman who lives in a single room with everything online (analog, not digital, IIRC), who talks to her friends on the screen, is tended by machines, just like everyone else. The crisis is something about whether to physically meet her friend/possible lover, and I don't remember the denouement.

That probably doesn't help much at all.

194:

Possibly The Machine Stops by E M Forster? It's not exactly obscure ...

195:

My US Print edition had the "anohter 3000 miles another 3000 miles" print error, which I liked finding - genuine printing errors, including a mis-spelled word, are real treats in these days of electronic typesetting.

Did note a Britishism in the wrong place, though: when attempting to escape from the Blues Robots, the realization that a "hire car" would open from the inside is made, which is not the term in general use in the US - the more typical phrasing would be "rental car."

196:

Note the nationality of the person (Mhari) writing up this account of her excellent team away trip.

197:

We'll do you a solid since the forces of 'good' seem 100% inept tonight.

The Graun is currently running a story on evul Leave.Eu using vids (via this joker: https://twitter.com/indy38195936/status/105951990920450048) that use the German - Egypt rape dialogue. They're claiming it was Leave.Eu (or clients) who made them.

Er. do a grep.

You'll spot we flagged it up when it happened 3+ years ago.

Now then now then now then, this is where it gets clever.

If you do some actual legwork, you'll find out who made the Xmas German Special (liveleak) then released it all over the usual spots (reddit, ZH, Facebook) waaaay back when and you can find the .tags in the metadata of when / where Leave.EU did more editing. And that one, my little chipmunks, is how you tie RU to Leave.EU.

Amateurs

I mean, really: Baited and Hooked and the dumb Librals still can't spot it.


In other news:

No NPR, Gamergate did go away, it got mutated. No, your memes are bad, WSJ attacks on people actually lead to radicalizing quite a few people. No, MF, your liberal ideas about the state of play are dumb.

BellingCatChappenhamHouse nonsense about where radicalization came from: 100% bullshit, doesn't even know that "red pill" has long been "black pill", if the Atlantic people are paying for this nonsense, you're totally fucked.

Death threats this weekend: 3, including an extremely annoyed "this is not a game" curse.

We know. So stop playing stupid games (MBS-Bi-Trump vrs old order) and start prepping.

We mean: DFRumuklous craptastic Chatola with Bannonz is problallyx gunna get you ganked.


~

The story is something else.


There is light

198:

Oh, and another free-bee:

If you're surprized about alleged attacks of "Black Youffs" on Synagogues, you probably shouldn't have squashed the major story that 4+ BLM activists were assassinated on the QT (most likely by police with FBI ident / help) when you're on tape going 100% out to squash them being heard / relevant because of issues in a different sovereign state.

And you probably shouldn't also resurrect dead memes that Farakakkaanan is "left" etc.


I mean: you're supposed to be shit-hot at this stuff, which is fine and dandy until you start lynching Afro-Americans to get it done.


That curse?


Ooooh, you do **NoT** want to know about BABYLON ABOVE type thoughts on those plays.

199:

and, let's make it an ODIN special.

Breaking up the BRICs is fine and dandy if you're providing a better service / society.

Survey says you ain't.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/8xjwpz/the-epa-page-that-provided-climate-change-information-is-just-gone-now


So, you've made it:

$ determines win status

or

Humanity index determines win status


This is, on balance, a very bad move.

p.s.

Told you Pakistan was next on the to-do list.

200:

I had a thought yesterday: since rational argument isn't working, what we need is a new religion. Not the slur "environmentalism is a cult" one, a real, honest-to-bob worship the deity one. And specifically, an elder god.

Something like this:

The god sleeps, but he is waking up. Your little lives don't disturb him, but 200 years work warming the planet is rousing him. Fear this! The old gods are not your friends, if you waken them they will kill you in multitudes, they will wreck your homes and destroy whole countries! In a double hand of fingers it will be too late! Change your lives now or the god will change them for you.

I'm sure someone better at writing could dress that idea up and sweep the world with a combination of true believers and rational people who agree it's worth trying.

201:

Wish that would work. Alas, people have found that minimalist religions, along the lines of "sprinkle with magic water, you go to heaven when you die, nothing else matters except tithing," and "say divine mantra with true devotion, go to [heaven], nothing else matters except tithing," are easier memes to spread. And yes, I'm being sarcastic.

The problem with this approach is that its adherents tend to think that climate change doesn't matter, cuz they're going to some paradise after death.

What I suspect will happen is that the more ascetic versions of religions will become increasingly prominent. Remember the stylites of the late Roman empire? That sort of thing. We're already seeing it with ultramarathons, although that's only a religious experience if you argue that running is religion.

Still, the Romans went through a phase of religion as conspicuous consumption, with their mega-temples (no correlation with mega-churches is implied. Really). Then these fell apart and were tarred with the notion that conspicuous consumption and lavish sacrifices were all very corrupt. Then more ascetic religious experience (like the desert hermits, the pillar sitters, etc.) took their place as the vision of holiness.

My guess is that, as endurance becomes more valued, religion will shift that way.

If not, well, there's always Santa Muerte.

202:

Er. Apart from the fact that "he" is going to be a hard sell, it's already out there.

http://oglaf.wikia.com/wiki/Sithrak


p.s.


Watching Americans / MF pontificate about how Climate News should be positive when 250+ environmental activists were assassinated last year (with a good 50% of those falling under USA friendly jurisdictions) is a bit sour.

"The White Man Dances on our bones".


p.p.s.

The AUS .gov is just pulling a full "fuck it, nothing matters, all the corruption" type play atm since the Coal-Coup got squashed. $500 mil for you war memorial! (from the Indig budget) $500 mil for you! (while we defund the #1 reef department in the world!), $500 mil for you! - Anyone in the mining industry.

It's stunning to watch the level of graft.


Hint: you need to spank them, they won't stop otherwise.

203:

As always Hollywood is ready to build your zeitgeist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVDtmouV9kM

204:

If you want a hint.

Just spent ~7 hrs watching the current Turkish eradication of resistance in N. Syria etc. Mostly Kurdish / non-ISIL factions and there's a lot of women in the mix.

The entire MBS Western journalist mummy-grasping-bed-wetting nonsense about bone saws is being done under ~6k people being executed.

I spit on your world.

205:

Too bad you're stuck suffering with the rest of us, regardless. Nice to have you back though.

206:

Triptych:

I'm sure @bellingcat and people like @AricToler etc could find a lot more Same joker as above.

The only question we have left is if this is naivety or deliberate.


If it's naivety, you're all dead.

If it's deliberate, you're all dead only the patsies get a nice cage.

I mean, seriously. Want to play nasty? Ok then.

207:

Not. Nice.

"Why did you come back?" is a fairly large clarion call to certain things being culled at the moment.

If the answer is "They cheated and knew what they were doing", the response is not going to be nice.


Gonna make Turkey look like the good guys (Nice rivers you had there. Shame about the region).

208:

Oh so some additional notes now after stewing on the books:

I like the implication that there are multiple US occult agencies within other agencies. It totally fits the history of rivalries between services and agencies.

I really want to see the Occult NSA and NASA groups, as it fits both would have them, as well as air force and army occult intelligence groups.

Reasoning: To start with, the Friedman's. Short bio: Mr. and Mrs. Friedman were the founding couple of modern cryptographers in the US. Both worked for the Black Chamber's only known competitor in the WW1 era US, Riverbank Labs. Riverbank Labs was funded by George Fabyan, a very rich and very eccentric man who was obsessed with the idea that Sir Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays and thus spent a lot of money on decrypting Bacon's ciphers. The Friedman's bonded over this work, but worked for different agencies.

Mrs. Friedman worked for a half dozen agencies, with most of it related to law enforcement (lots smuggling codes used by rum runners), and leading to the Coast Guard establishing a permanent code breaking group as part of the department of the treasury, which the Navy took over in WW2 and while still doing both criminal work for the FBI and war time work on Engima.

Mr. Friedman's work was less public, he ran the Signals Intelligence Service for the US Army. The SIS became the Armed Forces Security Agency, and the NSA, with Mr. Friedman being a founding leader of the NSA. He also was a prolific inventor of encryption devices, with the US patent office sitting on some of his inventions for 65+ years.

The Friedman's also were into the occult, trying to crack the meaning of the Voynich manuscript. Combine that with them breaking into Bacon's personal writings, and work on early computers, and it would be very likely for them to deal with magic. The shear number of agencies Mrs. Friedman worked for also describes the possible breadth of the US's occult groups, as the CIA and NSA, despite their intention to centralize those forms of intelligence, never did.

NASA, on the other hand, would be more cultist related. Jack Parsons is getting attention now, being a JPL founder who was heavily involved with Crowley and Hubbard. Parsons ran a lodge of OTO while being instrumental in the development of JATO rockets, and one of the founding owners of Aerojet, who was forced out when General Tire bought the rocket makers. He did the Babalon Working with L. Ron, after which later folks in the occult group said was the reason for UFO sightings. Considering stuff like 'Operation Snow white', its quite possible related cultists would get into NASA, especially regarding some of their beliefs. It would also fit as related to the Mi-Go, as lots of other lovecraft fiction has the Greys be Mi-Go.

I also like the implications on the history of the black chamber, which deals nicely with the Founding Father's huge Freemason association and the various crazy stuff in the design of DC.

The Mojo of the Big C overpowering other organizations (or such organizations being subverted/dismissed before hand) also makes sense.

209:

And now I want to see the Patent Office’s occult group (dealing with computer software patent applications) - they’re in with the Security Group I’d suppose

210:

@ 197
That twitter pagfe does not exist ( It says )
If you do some actual legwork
Oh: F F S - why not TELL US? In the meantime, assume 159% bullshit.

@ 202

Err, no - I suggest (AGAIN) that we are seeing a replay of the US "Gilded Age" ( Approx 1875-1900 ) LIKE THIS - except that it's being combined with another replay, of the period 1922-33, when fascism was on the rise.

211:

The Firefox extension I was using to block annoying comments is no longer updating. Does anyone know if there is another extension available for plonking those who deserve it?

212:

All good ideas, but let's not forget the USPS?

For starters, government postal services were set up in Europe in the 18th century to give the government a monopoly on transporting mail specifically so that they could open and read private correspondence (in search of treason).

The USPS had a somewhat different raison d'etre (how to bind twelve colonies scattered across a continental seaboard into a single nation) but it was also in the opening-your-letters-and-reading-them-in-search-of-blasphemy business, as witness the work of Postmaster General Anthony Comstock and his New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.

I nailed the USPS Postal Inspectors as a likely occult agency in "The Delirium Brief" because if they're opening the mail in search of condoms and porn, then of course looking for blasphemous and unholy texts would be a side-quest, and one they could continue pursuing even after Loving v. Virginia; and the national security angle should be obvious.

Similarly, the NSA ... for a UK analogy, it's important to note that the hardware side of work at Bletchley Park during WW2, notably the Colossus code-breaking machines, were developed by Post Office engineers: the Post Office ran the British telephone network until 1980 (when British Telecom was hived off it for privatisation).

The logical inference to draw from this is that communication networks attract authoritarian bureaucrats in search of a point of social control: and this tends to spin up monitoring organizations. In the United States, the multi-level and decentralized machinery of government means that organizations with competing agendas emerge, some of them operating on a national scale (the USPS, all postal deliveries everywhere) and others acting within a jurisdictional remit (guns, alcohol, tobacco, but on a federal level: the BATF) or a regional remit (the Texas Rangers) or sometimes both (the Massachusetts Highway Patrol).

Last time I looked this came to its logical culmination in the existence of an agency called US IC, the United States Intelligence Community — a federative agency with 17 members, all national intelligence services!

And here's the zinger from the wikipedia page, with citation:

The Washington Post reported in 2010 that there were 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations in the United States that were working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence, and that the intelligence community as a whole includes 854,000 people holding top-secret clearances.

If only they'd apply this sort of effort to fighting climate change and biodiversity collapse!

213:

It's perhaps inaccurate to call Trainspotting "Lad Lit" - I'd suggest that it most certainly isn't.

It's a tragedy, and very powerful. It's not aimed at sales to lads, it's more an attempt to show their life from their perspective; not about "living the dream", more about the far greater number of lows compared to the occasional high. Written almost as a coherent group of shorter stories, in the voices of young Edinburgh men, Irvine Welsh nailed it - the main character is a sensitive lad who's screwed up by the death of a sibling; another is one of the most believable psychopaths in literature (Begbie, made all too real by Robert Carlyle in the film of the book).

The film was good, but the book IMHO was better. Once you get past the fact that it's written exactly as people speak, it flows well - likesay they two lads, pure rockets they are, off tae the pub...

214:

Also copying from Wikipedia "a fuse is an electrical safety device that operates to provide overcurrent protection of an electrical circuit. Its essential component is a metal wire or strip that melts when too much current flows through it, thereby interrupting the current. It is a sacrificial device; once a fuse has operated it is an open circuit, and it must be replaced or rewired, depending on type."

So which parts of the devices you cite melt?

215:

I'd disagree with you about Trainspotting being "good". I did read part of it, and to me it came across not as being "people from Edinburgh council estates sounding realistic", but as a well-educated author making a highly self-conscious attempt to impersonate them.

216:

To each his own; I didn't get that feeling, but then I was in my twenties when it came out (our factory was on the southern edge of Pilton, so only a mile away from much of the setting...).

I enjoyed some of the later books, but they didn't have the impact on me of the first one.

217:

Speaking of the USPS, here's former Asistant Uninted States Attorney (ie, the federal prosecutor you see in court), defence attorney, and 1st amendment advocate Popehat on the subject of postal inspectors: https://twitter.com/Popehat/status/1055841248731222016 Terrifingly complete and correct investigation. A bit fond of making the rubble bounce in their complaints (report for the prosecutors to draft the indictment from).

218:

the more typical [US] phrasing would be "rental car."

At that level of just-barely-noticeable detail, "car park" is more often "parking lot" in the US.

219:

> car park

Oops. The narrator is British. I should have realized that.

Sorry.

220:

whitroth @ 186: The Malignant Carcinoma, if we don't take back at least the House? And de-gerrymander for 2020?

Horrid thought.

Listening to NPR on my home from voting this morning, one of the election day stories said North Carolina Democrats think they've got a shot at breaking the GOP super-majority in the Legislature. That would be good.

One of the first tasks for the new Legislature (2019) is to redraw the election maps once again after the Federal Courts rejected GOP gerrymandering for the second (or was it the third?) time. Even if they don't win an outright majority, Democrats in the legislature (in conjunction with a gubernatorial veto) could block highly partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina for at least the 2020 election ... which gives me hope the redistricting in North Carolina after the 2020 Census might be a little less prone to partisan gerrymandering.

221:

whitroth @ 188: A tad confused here: the Great Game is, to me, the one played by the UK, and France, and Germany, and Russia....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Game

Governments may have come and gone; India & Pakistan gained independence; some new players have joined, but the GAME continues.

222:

Troutwaxer @ 211: The Firefox extension I was using to block annoying comments is no longer updating. Does anyone know if there is another extension available for plonking those who deserve it?

Blog Comment Killfile was mentioned earlier when I was having a problem. It's been working for me.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/blog-killfile/?src=api

I generally try not to killfile anyone on the theory that I came to the blog to discuss ideas, so I should be open to new ideas, even if I find them disagreeable.

But there are some who are so overwhelmingly disruptive, there's no reasoning with them; you just have to block them out.

223:

Charlie Stross @ 212: The USPS had a somewhat different raison d'etre (how to bind twelve colonies scattered across a continental seaboard into a single nation) but it was also in the opening-your-letters-and-reading-them-in-search-of-blasphemy business, as witness the work of Postmaster General Anthony Comstock and his New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.

I nailed the USPS Postal Inspectors as a likely occult agency in "The Delirium Brief" because if they're opening the mail in search of condoms and porn, then of course looking for blasphemous and unholy texts would be a side-quest, and one they could continue pursuing even after Loving v. Virginia; and the national security angle should be obvious.

Despite aberrational diversions such as Comstock & COINTELPRO, the primary mission of the USPS Postal Inspectors is to protect the integrity of the US Mail; particularly to insure that people (and MOST particularly USPS employee type people) don't steal anything from it.

If you mail something in the U.S. it may get mangled, it may get lost, it may get read by the FBI, CIA, NSA or the FDIC (if they've got a court order), but it's highly unlikely anyone's going to just steal it.

Next time you go into a post office, look up the wall behind the "mail clerks". See those little armored one-way windows? Those are there for the Postal Inspectors to surreptitiously monitor the service counter. If you've ever been in the back end of a post office, you might have noticed workers won't even stop to pick up a penny from the floor. It's because you never know when the Postal Inspectors might be watching from their gallery overhead. They might not prosecute you for Mail Theft, but you will lose your job.

224:

Yes! Yes! Gojira!

As opposed to Pacific Rim, this time I will *NOT* see it in 3-D, so I can enjoy it. Pacific Rim, due to timing issues, we saw in 3-D,a nd that was dreadful - the fight scenes were a mess, like Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster on tv, with the incorrectly-taped-together broken tape.

Some, we literally couldn't tell what was going on, because if two levels of overlay is good, why, 9 ought to be so much better....

Now if the Big Guy would just come up the Potomac.

225:

The courts struck it down three times, but who's counting? It's not like all the GOP in the legislature will go to jail for a year or three....

226:

Since people there managed to touch upon a topic that is my professional area, I thought, it would be interesting to eliminate some illiteracy in this area and drop my own 2 lb anvil in the topic.

to paws4thot @214
There's generally 4 types of switching devices: circuit breakers, fuses, switches and disconnectors.
(Latter 3 items can be united together into one unit colloquially named "FSD".)
- circuit breaker is the most expensive, complex and important device in (regular) electrical net. It can be used as other 3 types at the same time and without any drawbacks, and also can be integrated with many other devices. It's primary function, though, obviously a breaking short circuits up to a certain capacity. It operates by disconnecting the live wires and suppressing the electric arc between them;
- fuse is a simple device, ofc, it does not disconnect anything except short circuits in certain proximity of it downstream. The overcurrent that flows through special pads melt them and then the arc gets suppressed by surrounding sand. Then you throw it out;
- this is why it is usually fitted with switches. These are the devices that can switch normal work load without risk of sparking and exploding of anything. They are equipped with arc chambers similar to CBs, but much smaller - that means they don't handle short circuit too well;
- finally you have disconnectors, a sturdy mechanical devices that simply disconnect two conductors. You do not operate the device under voltage, because this will happen.

to JBS @214
Modern domestic-use switching devices, naturally do not use anything more complex than FSD or cheap modular CBs for low voltage. Industrial applications, OTOH, are progressing quite far. Latest line models can take your standard old air circuit breaker design for 1000+ Ampere load and fit it with energy meter, power analyzer, harmonics counter, LCD, cool buttons, myriad of locks and protections, communication by Ethernet, bluetooth and even GPRS, so it rings your phone when your substation gets power failure. Many of these things are actually useful and can improve quality, avoid losses and fix problems.

The problem is, all this Christmas tree isn't really necessary for a civilian consumer, the best thing people probably can hope to get is check meter's integrity and some daily cycle variations nobody really cares about. The only reason they install this in your house is to increase expenditure and bury as much money as possible into the infrastructure. It works for economy, so why bother with questions. BTW, today's controllers are so cheap that they only increase cost by 50-100% instead of 3+ times as before, so nobody cares even about that.

to JBS @220
YOU DON'T SAY. I was quit a fan of already pretty old 2008 documentary about the Graet Gaem. It came out just in time.

227:

paws4thot @ 214: Also copying from Wikipedia "a fuse is an electrical safety device that operates to provide overcurrent protection of an electrical circuit. Its essential component is a metal wire or strip that melts when too much current flows through it, thereby interrupting the current. It is a sacrificial device; once a fuse has operated it is an open circuit, and it must be replaced or rewired, depending on type."

So which parts of the devices you cite melt?

https://www.macleanpower.com/assets/items/9B5E9F043568439B8F1CA65776E0ACE7.jpg

Just a SWAG, but it's probably the part labeled as "Fuse tube".

As I noted, the whole device appears to act like a circuit breaker with the protective element popping out of the "Upper contact" to interrupt the circuit. I've never seen line crew have to actually replace a fuse tube when resetting them. I suspect it may be a two-stage device with the fusible element only melting if the "circuit breaker" aspect doesn't function as intended, like putting a 20Amp Slo-Blow Fuse in line with a 20Amp Breaker.

The breaker will always protect the circuit ... until it doesn't and then the fuse blows.

229:

Oh I'm quite content with the USPS having such a division. Its one of those issues that attempts to centralize agencies usually result in multiple agencies with differing mandates, and such groups don't usually play well together. (FBI-CIA in the lead up to 9/11 is just one example). There's also a lot of overlapping mandates; For example, the NOAA Corps, NRO and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency have a lot of overlap all being responsible for mapping. (Also the NRO's mission patches are pretty lovecraftian, google: NROL-39)

Something I forgot to mention before that I enjoyed was the DD's briefing of law enforcement agencies as how comprehensive it was. The DC area is just full of overlapping jurisdictions.

I do wish we had a bit more on what seems to be the Black Chamber's involvement with NIST, hinted at by the Colorado bits.

Also, as mentioned by someone else, there's got to be someone in the Patent offices of most countries doing occult review, same as other forms of security reviews (If the USPTO sat on Friedmans cipher machines for 65 years, who knows what's being sat on). A fun example of the crank stuff they publish is US20050027316A1, a nuclear powered Resurrection Burial Tomb, whose inventor includes in his disclosure an ad from his campaign to be mayor of Syracuse, NY, as well as excerpts from a polygraph test about how a guardian angel helped him invent an anti-viral medication and how he's not committed the sin of sodomy.

230:

I do wish we had a bit more on what seems to be the Black Chamber's involvement with NIST, hinted at by the Colorado bits.

If the Dread Master of the BC's intent is to seriously mess with reality via "the weakening of the false vacuum", hooking up with an organization charged with defining fundamental physical constants might be a step in that direction.


For real:

https://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Constants/

"There will be an adjustment of the constants to provide the values for a revision of the International System of Units (SI) expected to take place in 2018."

231:

And I thought they only measured constants and defined units. I had no idea NIST were godlike entities with reality warping powers!

232:

Mercushio (#7):

Instead they burned a shit-ton of power on taking down the presidency RIGHT THEN. And I have to confess, maybe I'm a poor reader, but I'm having trouble grokking why.
Make sense to me. If the Black Chamber thinks Nightmare Green is going to arrive before the next Presidential election, they have to move before the election.

Twigging on a bit further about what the Black Chamber thinks . . . hell, it's a bureaucracy involved with some amazingly powerful authority figures they're trying to placate. One can hardly imaging a more fertile ground for bad decisions.

233:

So all in all, I liked it a lot. Some high points -

The return of Jonquil. It took me a bit to recall her, then I wondered why nobody was freaking out about her. Of course - none of the people in Labyrinth Index were involved in The Fuller Memorandum. I look forward to her first encounter with the Eater of Souls and the newest Auditor.

Conspiracy Theory Radio, done by people who don't believe it for a minute.

Watching the UK residents trying to copy with distance in the US.

Mhari being pushed and pulled by imposter syndrome and an unreliable authority figure. Sometimes they re-enforced each other, sometimes they counteracted, and sometime they just ramped up the pressure.

There were a couple of moments where I went “Hmm, is that a nod to Anno Dracula?” Sorry, don't recall the specifics.

234:

And now, some blatant speculation about what might be making the gods nervous.

Case Nightmare Green looks very much like the magic singularity, when power just goes up-up-up. Seven or eight billion people, all effectively gods. By contrast, all the current god-level entities seem to be (a) stable, and (b) living in largely depopulated spaces. Clearly no singularity for them, and no possibility of it.

What happens when the two collide? Maybe the gods are fearful of us - billions of us - competing with them on as equals. So what would the smart gods do? Well, it appears that Nightmare Green affects all intelligences in the locality. So if something already a god can get in on the ground floor of the singularity, it escalates as well. Aside from accumulating huge amounts of power in the process, it can now mop the floor with all those lesser gods and take over . . . well, everything.

Conversely, what happens to post-Nightmare Green if world if there's a sudden drop in population? Without the density of thought and magic, do we fall back out of the singularity? Maybe Nightmare Green turns out to be more of a hysteresis curve than a singularity. Yeah, from the bottom it looks like it's going to turn vertical, but instead it levels off and sometimes even falls back.

The same might happen with some other limiting factor involved. Maybe there is a conservation of mana principle or a Nivenesque destructive consumption of mana. For a few seconds we're all gods, we consume or convert all the mana, and boom everything drops back to ground state. Assuming, of course, that we didn't manage to destroy the ground during those few seconds.

235:

You've been told exactly where the intersection between pro-Trump and leave.EU psyops was in this case, and you were told 3+ years ago when they were pen testing it live on Reddit etc. That it went on to be used in Brexit shows you who was running stuffX.

If you need some eXtra proddingX:

#1 The Twitter account 'Facts Central' has been suspended; link rot / memory hole is activeXly enforced on certain topics; Mr Shipley no longer has an account (although, tbh, that's probably a personal delete advised by a lawyer if we are to believe the UK press - or he simply doesn't exist anymore, like his earlier incarnation).

#2 CNN and FoxNews are running this advert on prime time (embedded video):

https://twitter.com/DaveBcore/status/1057798671247556609

The 'motto' of QANON is that phrase (well, certainly the first 2/3rds, they've modded the last bit). And she's wearing a huge Iron Cross. And that picture of a .mil person behind her isn't quite as innocent as you might imagine. Investigate if you want, but that's QANON stuff being used on live TV for the 201 mid-term election. That might give you an indication that some people know / believe it has far more reach than internet trolls.

#3 Never tell a TIME beastie it's too LATE.

As for the rest, we'll leave you all alone.


But it was also a reminder that stuff 3 years ago is going to become pertinent. As if anyone reads our drivel anyhow. Little Drummer Girl is very confusing as well, we've heard.

236:

"I nailed the USPS Postal Inspectors as a likely occult agency in "The Delirium Brief" because if they're opening the mail in search of condoms and porn, then of course looking for blasphemous and unholy texts would be a side-quest, and one they could continue pursuing even after Loving v. Virginia; and the national security angle should be obvious."

Note that 'Loving v. Virginia' (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia) struck down state laws on interracial dating.

237:

And I thought they only measured constants and defined units.I had no idea NIST were godlike entities with reality warping powers!

Pay attention to the "defined units" bit. If NIST or its godlike controllers don't like the defined value of one, well, NIST can just edit the spread sheet. After, one assumes, performing the necessary rites, incantations and sacrifices.

238:

I await the Jonquil POV novel. I feel that she is terribly misunderstood at the moment.

239:

Dunkelzahn waking up would but a crimp in some ones plans :-) with of course Tom Hardy in Peaky Blinders Alfie Solomon mode as the voice.

240:

Yes she seems to have lost some levels when Bob met her she seemed quite the operator compared to the rest of the cult.


I think exactly what happened to Iris would be interesting and what the original plan was. I am sure that actually worshiping the black pharaoh was on the original plan.


Also turning your underage daughter out into a sex cult is super dark presumably MR Carpenter is the body buried under the patio.

241:

The issue wasn't ideas, but threatening language. It may have been meant artictically/theatrically, but I'm not OK with it and someone's getting killfiled with extreme prejudice.

242:

Sorry. Meant to type "artistically."

243:

American politics warning - Moderators feel free to delete if unwanted.

Colorado just elected the first openly gay man as Governor, and also first Jewish Gov. in CO. Also looks like the new state Attorney General is also Jewish, the Republican opponents tried smearing them with Willy Horton-ish ads.

The House is being called for the Dems, so who will be the new Speaker of the House? You know, 3rd in line for the Presidency. Hopefully not Pelosi, but still better than any Republican—particularly Ryan.

244:

D’oh! make that 2nd in line—not counting the President.

245:

Oh yeah, while I’m at it...

Colorado voted to remove Slavery as a punichment for crimes from the state constitution. There was actually opposition to that, on grounds that it’s ‘redundant’.

And passed a couple measures to end Gerrymandering, districts will now be decided by non-partisan committees.

Anyhow, goodnight.

246:

There might be away around it though. Given the lovecraftian singularity is a function of the region of space we’re bobbling through on our orbit around the galactic core, plus the computational power of nine billion people plus the Comp power of all those microprocessors. So:

Option 1. Generate a time locked singularity around the earth that takes us thousand years into the future. It’d take a lot of energy sure but it’d take earth back into a region of space less amenable to the elder gods. Hopefully they’ll slouch off roughly somewhere else to be born

Option 2. Find a survivable beta site through a gate and get a sizable chunk of the population there. I’ve always wondered what 666 were up to all those years. Surely not just weekly flights to keep tabs on the Sleeper.

Option 3. Use the trident SSBNs to launch a global HEMP attack, bonus points if it’s timed to coincide with a major solar storm. Anything not valvionic gets fried and things quiet down with the reduction in computational resources. There would of course be collateral damage, ehem...

Option 4. Something else entirely. Thing is it’s not just the SA, remember that the Laundry has been running a stealthed up think tank on Case Nightmare Green for 30 years (or more) and those guys may be crazy enough to think up something completely out of th box.

247:

What worries me is the the "democrats" gains are SO SMALL.
After insane amounts of money spent too - completely illegal in Britain & IIRC anywhere in Europe.
Also, the oft-remarked point that most of the US democrats equate to moderate tories in this country, which makes the R's ......
I meant what the fuck has happened in the US that this has occurred?
[ Come to that: Poland & Hungary too ]

248:

Dammit, I was thinking of the (not unrelated) case that struck down states' rights to ban contraceptive sales on grounds on invasion of privacy. Case name?

249:

Griswold v. Connecticut https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griswold_v._Connecticut

Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965),[1] is a landmark case in the United States about access to contraception. The case involved a Connecticut "Comstock law" that prohibited any person from using "any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception." The court held that the statute was unconstitutional, and that "the clear effect of [the Connecticut law ...] is to deny disadvantaged citizens ... access to medical assistance and up-to-date information in respect to proper methods of birth control." By a vote of 7–2, the Supreme Court invalidated the law on the grounds that it violated the "right to marital privacy", establishing the basis for the right to privacy with respect to intimate practices. This and other cases view the right to privacy as a right to "protect[ion] from governmental intrusion."

251:

“Option 2. Find a survivable beta site through a gate and get a sizable chunk of the population there.‘

Because that went so well in A Colder War didn’t it... :-)

252:

she seems to have lost some levels when Bob met her she seemed quite the operator compared to the rest of the cult

It's not that she's lost some levels, it's just that everyone else has caught up (or overtaken her).

253:

I meant what the fuck has happened in the US that this has occurred?

A bunch of things.

Firstly, they've got a first past the post voting system, like us, with all the drawbacks that brings.

Secondly, the supreme court struck down laws restricting campaign spending (because "freedom of speech" is baked into the US constitution) allowing big businesses to go full power ahead to push pro-corporate candidates.

Thirdly, you know what gerrymandering is? This election is full of it; a favorite tactic of unpopular republican incumbents is voter suppression (especially the non-white, non-rich voters who don't vote for them). In addition to redrawing electoral district boundaries, favorite moves include requiring state-issued ID in order to vote and then closing ID-issuing offices in minority districts (notably driving license centres), or requiring a street address in a format that doesn't exist (this one hits Native American communities in North Dakota, who live on reservations that don't have street names/house numbers recognized by the Republican-run North Dakota state government), or blocking people convicted of a felony at some point in the past from voting even after their sentence has been served (again: African-Americans are hit disproportionately hard by this).

And let's not get into all the racist campaigning—ads picturing Jewish Democrat candidates clutching bundles of banknotes was a particular high note in the past week: the Republicans went full ahead on overt anti-semitism this time round, not to mention Trump whipping up his base over this weird-ass "caravan" of refugee women and children menacing the US border from, oh, the middle of Mexico. You might have noticed the extreme right wing terrorist attacks in the past month?

This list goes on, but basically it's down to the Republicans rigging the game wherever possible because they're afraid their base (the old, white, poorly educated, and racist) is shrinking.

254:

I already used that solution.

I have (tentatively) got a better one in mind for the Laundry Files series-level story arc, but I'm going to sit on it and let it marinate for however many years it takes to get it absolutely perfect, because a 10-12 book series deserves a 10-12 book-scale pay-off at the end.

255:

It's worse than that. A couple decades ago, the U.S. Supreme court ruled that "money is speech." So anyone who wants can spend unlimited money in an election because laws which restrict election spending restrict the spender's constitutional right to free speech.

It's almost as bad as "corporations are people," an appalling Supreme Court precedent from the late 1800s.

256:

JBS @ 126 "What exactly does the "smart" meter do other than the utility not having someone walking meter to meter to read them?"

The UK spec for a "smart" electricity meter includes a remote cut-off switch. The entire "Energy monitor in your home" thing is a trojan horse for implementing fine grained network control that otherwise would be politically impossible. Technically very desirable; if the wind drops unexpectedly and a cloud crosses your solar farm you can cut-off exactly the right amount of load to maintain a stable grid, this can be done automatically & quickly. You can avoid cutting off people who require refrigerated medicines, and possibly even sell an "uninterruptible" tariff.

257:

@ 124
And EVEN WORSE ...
A hacker could easily cut you off, as well ....
All of this is, of course carefully never mentioned, even though it is "public knowledge" ....

258:

In Florida - it's expected that Amendment 4 is a win for Trump as more white males are currently restricted from voting due to felony restrictions than Black males

259:

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is also in Colorado, as well as a branch office of the USPTO. https://www.nrel.gov/about/ If I were a deity who needed power to run a set of computers, I’d like to have access to renewable energy research

260:

How 'bout the reverse of alla that?

Most humans, suddenly, with godlike powers? Or on the way up to that (I would assume it's not *ping*, magic god dust)... what do you think would happen in the US, not to mentioned the rest of the world?

I would be surprised if the death toll, including collateral damage, was under 1B.

Unless, of course, some outside Force took that moment to attack. You know that the call that cops hate most to respond to is a domestic disturbance....

261:

Ageed. I'm appalled that we *lost* seats in the Senate, which was *critical*.

On the other hand... some races are still too close to call, including Texas, Beto vs. Cruz, the man with the most punchable face in government.

And Georgia ain't over. Huge amounts of voter suppression by the GOP sec'y of state... who was *also* the GOP candidate. They tried to toss 360 registrations/early votes (really).

I'm hoping. And in the meantime, the Dems will start subpoena=ing, and hopefully toss Nunes out of the Intel committee on his ear.

And, oh yes, now that the election's over... it's Mueller time!

262:

Ah, but there's one small catch: businesses are "artificial people". If I can badger my Congresscritter, it wouldn't take a Constitutional Amendment, just a law, or maybe just a court decision, that "artificial people" are not citizens... and so have no reasonable expectation of free speech.

And if they don't like that one, why, I think I'll build a small biowolf cluster at home, run 10,000 VMs on it, each one running an AI, which I then incorporate, and so they should be able to register to vote....

263:

Also the map in the senate was really really bad for the democrats. The democrats won 2/3rds of the seats up for grabs. But they were defending 26 seats, while the republicans were defending 9. Further, the democrats included the most vulnerable, that is democrats in fairly red states who were elected last in the 2012 presidential election year on the strength of the Obama turn out. Combine that with the fact the Senate already favors low population red states over high population blue states, and winning the Senate was highly unlikely. (It was something like 45 million voted for democratic senators versus 30 for republican senators). Most flips in the senate got rid of moderates.

Also, Democrats usually are horrible about midterm turn out. The Republicans have a tight party discipline which gives them strength in the midterms. This election had a strong democrat turn out. Nationwide the turnout was really strong, with democrats having something like 9% higher vote. It's just the nature of first past the post combined with gerrymandering means Democrats need a high turn out to overcome the structural issues.

There is good news here. The biggest is democrats are awake, and 2020 with these numbers means the Republicans will struggle in the Senate. Further the redistricting and census won't be in the exclusive hands of republicans to shape districts. More states passed independent redistricting efforts which are changing politics.

264:

That's an absurd suggestion. It's more blacks, and lots of poor. A lot won't vote, but many will.

And it's not the GOP who pushed that. Hell, my late ex had to beg the governor's office to have her right to vote restored. That's what was involved, now everyone gets them automatically.

265:

About NIST, ISO, units and constants and so forth, probably totally unrelated to the Laundryverse, this is going on:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/11/metric-system-overhaul-will-dethrone-one-true-kilogram

I agree with the guy who says that things in the SI world are becoming way too esoteric. A kilogram pegged to the Planck constant doesn't have the intuitive appeal of a chunk of platinum.

BTW, I've never quite caught on to why the candela is counted as a fundamental constant. As a practical one it would be fine, but luminous stuff can be defined in terms of watts per square meter per steradian and such. If anyone can enlighten me as to this, it would be appreciated.

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

266:

Thirdly, you know what gerrymandering is? This election is full of it; a favorite tactic of unpopular republican incumbents is voter suppression (especially the non-white, non-rich voters who don't vote for them).

A key point here. GM did not spring up from the R's. It has been in force for decades (centuries) in the US. Mostly by the D's. It's just that when the R's took control of a lot of state legilatures in 2000/2012 they applied modern computerized statistics and big data to turn it from a reasonable advantage to a nuclear weapon.

D's and R's are equally at fault here. R's just did a much better job of using the weapon.

Not that I want either the D's or the R's to do it.

267:

I meant what the fuck has happened in the US that this has occurred?

The taproot? America has no politically significant left wing (in the traditional sense) and hasn't had one in decades.* What genuinely left-wing parties exist are minuscule and politically irrelevant. As such, there is no American analog to Labour.

For a corollary, imagine what the UK would be like if the Tories had been the most leftward party going back to World War II. Then, fast forward to the present, and imagine your only real party options are the Tories and the UKIP. That's approximately what U.S. politics is like.

* Prior to WWII, the U.S. did have no-shit socialists and left-wing groups of note, but they were end run politically when FDR co-opted some of their ideas into the Democratic platform in the 1930s. The good: doing so led to the New Deal. The bad: that, along with WWII supercharging U.S. corporate industry and the Cold War supercharging capitalist propaganda, precluded the formation of a politically viable, but genuinely left-wing party.

The echoes of this remain with us today as the core age cohort for Trump and the GOP consists of older Baby Boomers and the so-called "Silent Generation"--people who came of age after World War II, but before the Vietnam War and the 60s civil rights movements. Their minds were shaped during the most intense period of capitalist propaganda and so anything even remotely referred to as "socialism" is automatically anathema to them. As such, I don't expect to see any real structural shift in the U.S. political system until that age cohort dies off. Social democracy won't get a hearing until they, and perhaps most Boomers and older Gen-X-ers, are gone.

268:

Well... excerpt....

Speaking, very seriously, as a red diaper baby, with one recent exception, every single socialist, trotskyist, and communist party I've ever run into has the same relation to an actual political party that a fantasy sportsball league does to actually going and out playing: ZERO.

I starting going to the Democratic Socialists of America last year - the DSA that Bernie spoke so much about. It, in fact, is the only one I've ever joined, and am paying dues to. Among the things that impressed me:
1. They're working with Dem candidates.
2. They're knocking on doors, helping to register voters, and phone banking. Several candidates actually came to us for endorsement.
3. The first meeting I went to, someone asked about Congress, when they were "only" talking about County and state, and the young organizer's response was, "maybe in 10 years": actual realism.
4. At a recent meeting, someone asked why we don't run candidates, and several people answered: because the rules are rigged, such that it's incredibly difficult to get on the ballot if your're not a Repblican or a Democrat.

It's now coming up on 30 years since the fall of the USSR, and the end of the Cold War, and when the GOP tries to screech about COMMONISM!!!!!, people say, "so?", In fact, I saw in several places that the most searched for definition in 2016 was "socialism". It has a *lot* of attraction among young people.

The DSA membership is growing incredibly rapidly. Between
16 and early this year, the metro DC region one went from 200+ to well over 1200 paid members.

As Krugman wrote in a recent column, the country is much further to the left than politicians and staffers think (and, of course, the billionaire-owned media). The progressives who ran, and in many cases won, are shaking the old Democratic party.

But then, "extremist"? I think Bernie's a good followup to LBJ's Medicare, Medicaid, and the Great Society. And certainly, neither Clinton would have sent the troops in to desegregate schools in the South, as *Republican* President Eisenhower did.

One last note: the demographics are changing, rapidly. That's why the GOP is so desperate - if they lose control, they'll become a minority party. Like, I dunno, the Lib Dems?

269:

and hopefully toss Nunes out of the Intel committee on his ear.

Nunes is an R. So the R leadership gets to decide what committee(s) he is on. But even if he remains on it he will be in the minority and not get to decide anything.

270:

Okay, so Jefferson No-Regard Sessions is out. Donnie the Rump is going to try and kill the Mueller probe.
Come on Bob, give us some indictments!

Something I wrote elsewhere back in August:
Okay, calling it now. Been thinking for a while that Mueller is putting off charges against Trump. I’d thought maybe waiting until getting rid of him leaves us with Pence for as little as possible. Today I saw a suggestion that makes me think they’ll be announced closer to Election day (I’d guess after - wouldn’t want to be accused of trying to influence it), because if the Democrats are able to become the majority in the House, and name a new Speaker, she’ll be 2nd in line for President. Problem with this idea is there’s currently no reason to think that Pence is caught up in any possible charges against Trump, as far as I’ve seen.
The way things have been going lately, with all the convictions and plea deals, it seems to be looking like a RICO case, there’s the bribery, money laundering, fraud, and who knows what else. Is Cronyism a crime?
But, of course IANAL.

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

271:

About the candela: I don't know for sure, but I suspect that, at some point in the past, luminances could be compared to one another more accurately than they could converted to Watts, adjusted for frequency and sp on. So it was helpful to have a standard candela as a base unit. Later the conversion could be done accurately enough not to mess up any existing measurements in candelas and so it was. Similarly the meter and second were eventually linked by the speed of light, and more recently, the kilogram and second, via Planck's constant.

272:

I think Nunez is in the House, so the Democrats will have every advantage over him. I don't know if they can run him off the committee, but they can definitely make sure he is the least important person there.

273:
Despite how powerful the elder gods are, they can't live when the stars aren't right. But guess who can? Dumb old humans. Rather than looking at us as bugs, it's possible to consider us to be pinnacles of evolution, as sophisticated as minds can be without succumbing to the starry sleeping sickness.
Well, that's true as far as we know. But then, we would think that, wouldn't we? After all, we haven't died yet!

Perhaps the Laundryverse is the universe of Poul Anderson's _Brain Wave_, in which, recall, the orbit of the Sun around the galactic core moves us out of a field, (presumed to radiate out from the core and cover a substantial portion of the galaxy) that suppresses neural activity, so everyone and everything big enough to have much of a nervous system gets much much smarter, quite fast.

The Laundryverse is much darker, of course -- we might be about to move into one of those fields... oops goodbye the stars are wrong and now we've all gone the way of the dinosaurs (who were much smarter than they're given credit for: the neural suppression field killed them). Turns out we were just as vulnerable as the elder gods after all, but much less able to do anything about it.

274:

FUBAR007 @ 265
and imagine your only real party options are the Tories and the UKIP.
No, it's MUICH WORSE than that ...
The outer reaches of the US Repubs are openly fascist-to Nazi.
They have candidates/congresscriiters who would be in secure mental institutions in Britain ...
And christrofascists as well ....

whitroth @ 266
the demographics are changing, rapidly. That's why the GOP is so desperate
Yes: They have to rig/gerrymander the constituencies for the next election & hope that they / Pence can engineer a "state of emergency" / Reichstag Fire so as to turn over into a full-blown non-democratic system. And there's a good chance that they might still get away with it.

275:

Graydon, the fireball probably doesn't leave nothing behind it: it likely leaves less than nothing. It depends how much energy is released by the collapse (likely "a lot"), but if it's enough, its energy density will trigger immediate gravitational collapse. What the fireball leaves behind is lots and *lots* of black holes. (Which, under some interpretations, might be lots and lots of new baby universes. Collapsing the false vacuum might be a useful way to garden 10^70 or so new universes to eat. Shame about the one we had to destroy to make them, but, really one out of 10^70 is as near to nothing as makes no odds -- unless you're living in it.)

Note that the collapse doesn't have to be terribly large by historical standards to trigger this sort of thing: one much smaller than the drop that already happened will suffice, if whatever unknown magic thing triggered inflation does not re-trigger. (If it hadn't been for inflation and the fact that it was expanding so fast even without that, the mass-energy of the entire universe in a volume much smaller than a proton would *definitely* have been enough to cause our infant cosmos to recollapse. Neither condition obtains today.)

(This also depends on how the laws of physics change as the vacuum collapse proceeds, but it doesn't depend strongly on that, since the laws that will change mostly involve what particle families, etc, will exist: gravity proceeds as before, and that's what matters here. Only the decoupling of a new *really strong* repulsive force will save us: hopefully a short-lived one like the inflaton come again, or the interior of the fireball will just blow itself apart in very short order rather than blackholing on us...)

276:

Sigh.

Ok, Greg, it's much much much worse than you think.

https://twitter.com/haaretzcom/status/1060232414675587072

France putting 10kE penalties on *any* anti-Semitic website: defined by whom? [Note, and not fucking around: linking a 2012 site here via Tablet magazine almost cost Host a Law suit until a fairly large fucking Tiger turned up to scare them off. Tiger meaning "oops, Braaaainzzz" eaten]

https://twitter.com/mbueckert/status/1060277153835745283

Yes: because Canada, who has a long history of supporting Israel is *checks notes* more racist towards Jewish people than indigenous people. Approx 20,000 raped women, kids brutalized in schools and just out-right massacres are a bit confused at this.

You'd probably have to know a lot about international finance and so on for any other links.

Etc.

We're fairly convinced that the RU section of .IL support has had enough of "being told off" by Americans and going full on into ideological war.

But, bottom line: It's all bullshit.

No, really.

Bibi just came out for Genocide, so who the fuck cares anymore, right?[1]


[1] No, really. Look it up. Likud went full Jackson. Pro-tip: you have to win first before doing the glowing tributes to your majestic past.


p.s.

This is not the real weird (even the penis-bone sword). This is the prelude to the weird.

Hey, Rowling got on board the anti-Toad boat. That's how weird it's gonna get.


~


Nah, fucking with you: torture and sacrifice and slavery and horror: y'all fucked.

277:

And yeah.

If you didn't spot the + Senate = Moves to quell Meuller time, then you're a muppet.


He's a Republican, ffs.


Big Badda BING $$$$$$ spend time.

278:

Triptych?

I guess breaking an innocent soul was worth gigacide?

I mean... really?

Really?


Nah Mate.


Receipts:

October was the warmest on record in Russia; 6 to 10°C above normal in central Northern Siberia.

https://twitter.com/Sustainable2050/status/1059890104641171457

They're fucking around because they killed the world and they're worried that their last years might be "uncomfortable".


~


Nuke it from Orbit.

279:

Oh, and meta-comment.

Many will remember that the ultimate punishment / horrific Death inflicted on a Mind by another Mind in I.M. Bank's novels is recursive doubt / solipsism / Ego death.

Not telling you that this is being done on a large scale, but... You probably shouldn't have fucked with an O.C.P.

p.s.


The solution is easy! Your brain has to change!

280:

Come on Bob, give us some indictments!

It might be interesting if someone would pastiche 'our' Bob (ie. the Eater of Souls) doing an indictment (with or without extreme prejudice).

281:

Hmm, I suspect Eater of Souls vs. tRump would leave a very bad taste behind.

Meanwhile, my signed copy finally arrived from Toronto, on time even though the tracking had said it would be delayed a day. But it will have to wait; de Bodard’s “In the Vanishers’ Palace” was a pleasant surprise and demands to be read next.

282:

because the rules are rigged, such that it's incredibly difficult to get on the ballot if your're not a Repblican or a Democrat.

Ah, US democracy... one more state-approved political party than China has.

283:

Riffing on the theme of US government agencies that have paranormal divisions: how about the EPA.

* Established up by Richard "walking Eldritch horror" Nixon
* Obvious reason to get involved because of thermological(sp?) radiation
* Arguably an attempt by J Edgar Hoover (knowing he had a terminal disease) to create an TLA (three letter acronym) to ensure he survived in some kind of non-conporial state 🐙

284:

I second question from post #7: why couldn't OPA just wait for US elections and install their own president?

As one of my pet hobbies is looking for plot holes, here are a few other points I wouldn't mind getting an answer to:
1) I gather that the OPA's 'forget president' glamour also takes care of mentions of presidents in non-print media (movies, the Internet, etc.). Presumably this also extends to communication, including with people unaffected by glamour. But what about personal interaction with others? It is strange that outsiders haven't really noticed this for three months. I mean, governments and various institutions not to mention individuals around the globe should be getting pretty concerns, after less than 2-3 weeks this should have escalated noticed by the outside media.
2) I find it hard to believe the outside word could remain mostly oblivious to this glamour for 3 months. It seems implied that the glamour doesn't reach outside US. But what about:
2a) American citizens abroad? Travelling, exparts, etc.? Would tourists regain their memories? What about American expats, some of which stay abroad for months or years? I live in Korea, and I have many American friends, the topic of US politics, and presidency, comes up in conversations on a near weekly basis for us. If my American friends started denying knowledge of presidency, I think me and others would've started asking pointed questions well before 3 months period. If those people are unaffected, and as the time goes on, even if online media is subject to some consciousness warping, more and more people coming from abroad would start asking pointed questions pretty quickly.
2b) Foreigners in the US. Non-citizens, short term visitors (tourists, business people). Ex. travel agency in UK schedules a trip that includes going to White House, what happens to tourists? What when they come back?
2c) American embassies abroad. Personel is affected - but they do interact with other governments. Strange denial of president existence would become apparent pretty quickly.
3) Nobody on social media noticed American flag changing? Nobody upload a new flag to Wikipedia, causing an edit war, and spiraling into media attention?
4) the last one is perhaps more re:Delirium Brief, but how come the Mandate was imprisoned in the Tower of London? It is implied that humans had the ability to imprison Nyarlathotep already. Or at least one of his avatars... and doing this before wasn't a "big" deal. did I miss something?

In either way, I hope we will find out 'what is going on in the US' in the next book. Cities burning, huh?

Lastly, being a non-American Slavic person, I hope we get to find out more about the Chernobog stuff and what's going in the rest of the world!

285:

I noticed the mention that Nyarlahotep was also active in North Korea and somewhere else (Australia?).

If we are talking extra avatars with political ambitions then we have a brand new axis of evil :)

286:

A key point here. GM did not spring up from the R's. It has been in force for decades (centuries) in the US. Mostly by the D's.

Claiming that it's mostly D's is not true at all.

Both parties have done it, whenever they've had the ability, will, and leaders with sufficiently flexible morality.

The problem is that since 2010, the R's have been the ones with the most ability.

287:

He’s also ignoring that the Democratic and Republican parties’ political philosophies swapped sometime around the Depression. The Republicans haven’t been “The party of Lincoln” for a very long time, no matter what they claim.

288:

Not sure about the depression but it definitely happened by the end of the 1960s: a combination of LBJ's Great Society and support for desegregation driving the racist faction out of the Southern Democrats, and Nixon's support for the war on drugs and the Southern Strategy to suck them right across into the Republican party bedded the shift in.

289:

I’d say that’s when it became more solidified, but it started with FDR and the New Deal, and Southern Democrats objecting to the ‘Socialism’ of it. They split themselves off - see Dixiecrats, until the late 60s and went full Republican.

But then, I’m going by memory and haven’t had breakfast yet.

My point is that talking about Dems and Republicans, now and 100 years ago as if they are the same parties is false.

290:

Nixon's main reason for supporting the War on Drugs* was that it would allow arrests of Blacks and Hippies. But he is definitely to blame for the Southern Strategy (and it probably didn't take long for the racist Whites in the South to notice the War on Drugs and it's effects.)

291:

I have a question for those of you who are complaining about the results of the midterms: what exactly were you expecting to happen?

The consensus before the midterms was that Dems would take the House while Repubs would expand in the senate.

Good for Democrats
1. Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Arizona were close. This is big, since these were traditionally solid Red States

2. They flipped around 360 state senate seats. In 2014, Republicans took close to 1000.

3. They held on to Montana, which is a win in this map.

Good for Republicans
1. They kept and expanded their Senate hold. Trump did better in the Senate than any President except FDR, JFK, and Woodrow Wilson (whom he's tied with).

2. Trump did worse than 9 Presidents in the first midterm. He did worse than your average Republican, but better than your average Democrat post Reagan. Note that I'm only comparing the first midterm, not the second.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_midterm_election

3. 2016 wasn't a fluke, Rust Belt states are now swing states.

292:

David L @ 266: A key point here. GM did not spring up from the R's. It has been in force for decades (centuries) in the US. Mostly by the D's. It's just that when the R's took control of a lot of state legilatures in 2000/2012 they applied modern computerized statistics and big data to turn it from a reasonable advantage to a nuclear weapon.

It actually goes back to even before there were any "Democrats" or "Republicans". Named after Elbridge Gerry, Governor of Massachusetts. He was a partisan of the "Democratic-Republican Party" (which eventually split into the Democratic Party [Jacksonian], National Republican Party [anti-Jacksonian] and the Anti-Masonic Party). The opposition at that time was the "Federalist Party".

Oddly enough, Lincoln's "Republican Party" grew out of the "Anti-Masonic Party" rather than the "National Republican Party".

293:

Troutwaxer @ 272: I think Nunez is in the House, so the Democrats will have every advantage over him. I don't know if they can run him off the committee, but they can definitely make sure he is the least important person there.

I'm pretty sure Pelosi & whoever becomes the minority leader will agree to move him to another committee assignment. If he won't take the hint, the Committee Chairperson could put excluding him up to a committee vote. With Democrats in the majority it would likely pass, but that's a kind of "nuclear" option that you don't want to use that often.

With his "conflict-of-interest" track record, it might be worth it in this case.

294:

Greg Tingey @ 274: No, it's MUICH WORSE than that ...
The outer reaches of the US Repubs are openly fascist-to Nazi.
They have candidates/congresscriiters who would be in secure mental institutions in Britain ...
And christrofascists as well ....

It's not the "outer reaches"

Applicable clichés:

A fish rots from the head down.

One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel.

Rotten to the core (aka Beauty may be only skin deep, but UGLY goes all the way to the bone).

295:

JamesPadraicR @ 289: I’d say that’s when it became more solidified, but it started with FDR and the New Deal, and Southern Democrats objecting to the ‘Socialism’ of it. They split themselves off - see Dixiecrats, until the late 60s and went full Republican.

But then, I’m going by memory and haven’t had breakfast yet.

My point is that talking about Dems and Republicans, now and 100 years ago as if they are the same parties is false.

The "New Deal" had wide support in the south; mainly because most of the recovery programs were administered at the STATE level and the U.S. Department of Justice didn't look too closely into how Jim Crow affected the way programs were run in the south.

The Dixiecrats didn't come along until later - 1948. They partially split off from the Democratic Party when Jim Crow was challenged by African American Veterans from WW2. Truman appointed a Committee on Civil Rights and issued an executive order desegregating the military. There are an awful lot of military bases in the South.

The Dixiecrats proposed an alternative, segregationist "Democratic Party ticket" of Strom Thurmond & Fielding L. Wright. The split was expected to cost Truman the election in 1948.

296:

Ioan @ 291: I have a question for those of you who are complaining about the results of the midterms: what exactly were you expecting to happen?

The consensus before the midterms was that Dems would take the House while Repubs would expand in the senate.

I'm pretty sure the pre-election "consensus" was that the Democrats would probably take the House, while the Republicans would likely hold onto the Senate (trading Cruz's seat in Texas for Heitkamp's in North Dakota).

I'm disappointed the GOP did pick up seats in the Senate and I'm REALLY pissed off about Brian Kemp's BLATANT CORRUPTION in the Georgia Governors race.

297:

JBS
Is the Georgia election yet settled?
AIUI there is much questioning of the legality of the vote ....

IN THE MEANTIME
Good News, really good news
All it now needs is to find all the "priests" in Niger & similar places & castrate them ....
But, in the meantime, this is real progress - think it through in terms of both pressure on the food supply & global warming, just for starters.

298:

Oops, I forgot ...
JBS @ 294
It would seem that Matt Shea was re-elected You WHAT? As the losing Dem opposition put it: "I lost to a fascist".
Your cliche-list is apposite, but to quote a genuine commie revolutionary: "What is to be done?"

Oh yes, whilst I'm here, a n other web-blog I read daily has a superb piss-take on the US "electoral process" ...
Try this for size, Diamond Geezer at his best

299:

Complete with the obligatory commenter insisting that the US system is perfect.

300:

Meanwhile, yesterday in Colorado it was announced that future driver’s licenses will have a new option under gender. People who do not identify as either of the traditional options can pick X rather than M or F.
Though I predict ‘unforeseen consequences’, say when being carded at a bar, or pulled over by a cop, etc.

301:

Oh yes ......
A special H P Lovecraft halloween special - You Tube video, for "fun"

302:

Greg Tingey @ 297: Is the Georgia election yet settled?
AIUI there is much questioning of the legality of the vote ....

The last information I have (before I went to bed this morning) is that Georgia's Republican "Secretary of State" Brian Kemp declared the Republican candidate Brian Kemp to be the winner and has stated the margin of victory is sufficient that the Democratic Candidate will not be allowed to call for a recount or a runoff.

There were still some 50,000 "provisional" ballots uncounted, but before they can be counted, the voters in question will have to prove to Brian Kemp that they were in fact LEGAL VOTERS in Georgia. The deadline for providing that "proof" is today.

It will probably end up in the US Supreme Court where Brett Kavanaugh will have the deciding vote.

303:

JamesPadraicR @ 300: Meanwhile, yesterday in Colorado it was announced that future driver’s licenses will have a new option under gender. People who do not identify as either of the traditional options can pick X rather than M or F.
Though I predict ‘unforeseen consequences’, say when being carded at a bar, or pulled over by a cop, etc.

I'm not sure I follow that? What's the problem as long as the photo is at least as good as the average driver's license photo and the birth date shows the person is old enough to buy alcohol?

It won't make ASSHOLES in Colorado any more or less likely to bully people for being different, and why would anyone else (who isn't an asshole) care?

304:

JBS @ 302
In other words, they are going to declare the rigged vote legal & then hope that Brett K will do as he is required to do for the Rethuglicans ...
This is getting as bad as Dred Scoot - or is it?

305:

A simpler solution would be just to get rid of that field altogether since there was never any point even having it in the first place. Not just on driving licences but on everything. I tend to answer "Other" not because I have any personal beef with the standard categories, but because it's a required field and there isn't an option for "you're not going to be having it off with me so you have no trace of a reason to even think about it, let alone ask it; keep your nosey impertinent questions to yourself".

306:

I guess you have more faith in humans than I do?

307:

Agreed. It does seem unnecessary.

308:

Greg Tingey @ 304: In other words, they are going to declare the rigged vote legal & then hope that Brett K will do as he is required to do for the Rethuglicans ...
This is getting as bad as Dred Scoot - or is it?

Worse.

Pigeon @ 305: A simpler solution would be just to get rid of that field altogether since there was never any point even having it in the first place. Not just on driving licences but on everything. I tend to answer "Other" not because I have any personal beef with the standard categories, but because it's a required field and there isn't an option for "you're not going to be having it off with me so you have no trace of a reason to even think about it, let alone ask it; keep your nosey impertinent questions to yourself".

Just write in "Nunya"; i.e. None of your business.

JamesPadraicR @ 306: I guess you have more faith in humans than I do?

Maybe not. I just don't see how it will make things any worse, or how not doing it could make anything better. Evil people will still be evil and they're still going to do evil things no matter what letter is on someone's driver's license.

309:

JBS
You say worse ... in what way, please?
Dred Scott decision to US civil war ( Treasonous Rebellion II ) was 4 years, so are you predicting civil war there in a shorter period, or are you predicting a further doubling-down, in an attempt to provoke a state of emergency ( Reicstag fire ) etc ...
Or what?

310:

Oh, we guess that none of you here know this little bit: There's currently a huge oil issue that's caused prices to drop for ~10 or so days now, and it's not going to be sorted until mid 2019. (Saud is going bonkers over it & is increasingly thinking it's being setup / shafted, esp. with Iranian oil deals to RU etc).

The issue?

The Permian Bottleneck is the name.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/The-Productivity-Problem-In-The-Permian.html

https://www.dallasnews.com/business/energy/2018/10/11/think-permian-basin-pipeline-troubles-take-look-canada

*looks at camera*

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian%E2%80%93Triassic_extinction_event

311:

Dropped a link:

Saudi Arabia think-tank studying possible effect of OPEC break up: WSJ Reuters, 8th Nov 2018.

If you want to do the leg-work, there's loads out there on Turkey - Iran - China doing currency deals etc.

A cynical person might think that all this anti-BDS loyalty test stuff was actually about something else. If you listen to the bots, they now thrum with Indian flags alongside the Israeli and Brazilian ones.

312:

Ref point 4.

The speculation on the blog and I think semi-comfirmed by Charlie is that the Mandate was still levelling up/ manifesting over the events in the Apocalypse Score and the Delirium Brief.

I also rather suspect the SA's deal with him possibly had a metaphysical element that bootstrapped the mandate well over the power level of the avatars of the sleeper and later Cthulu.

I also rather suspect that Schiller got unlucky with factionalism in among the Nazgul losing out to Cthulu's faction. I suspect Cthulu's faction whilst metaphysically weak won on on a pure numbers level or via compromising more senior agents than the Sleepers.

The weakness of Cthulu's avatar is re-inforced by the fact that a mere minion of the BP can slap it around in the center of its power maze. Yes Mhari had a power up from her boss but the fact that he could set up the whole power play and carry it through shows how superior he was.

I would like to see some of the other Elder gods too as well as being curious on how the possible multiple avatars of the BP interact are they the same creature, allies or in competition?

313:

It's not caused by what you think it is, really. And it's not a good sign (c.f. death of insects, go look up dog semen). If you're mocking the fall of 'turning the frogs gay' man to the depths, whelp - well done.

ضحك الأرانب فوق الصفا مثل دم الجوف يوم القا

Very amusing posts here:

https://twitter.com/iandavidmorris/status/1060168336523382790

And here:

https://twitter.com/pompei79

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

*cough*


Anyhow, since you're all for Castrating Priests, esp for tonight, here's a thread:

https://twitter.com/Oniropolis/status/1060980123581800448


TL;DR

It's weird for you to imagine that Germany had (not really at all) "Islamic" type buildings in it. There's a reason for that, chuck.

Christians: hating bell shaped domes for aeons. It's a weird one. (c.f. El Cid).

314:

Thursday, I was in the middle of watching Babylon 5, season 4, episode 5: The Long Night, when I saw the book was delivered at the PO. I got it, cataloged it, covered it, and started reading.

Soundtrack on infinite repeat, while I read: Shpongle : Museum of Consciousness

I misted up many times as I read the start of the book. Last night I read well past my sell-by-date, then just finished tonight. I'll read through it again when I get up tomorrow.

Well done.

Absolutely devastating.

315:

WRT Georgia, parts of the US have a very visible rotten burrough problem.

Nothing on the scale of Old Sarum, but still ...

Unfortunately the US Constitution is a huge stumbling block to fixing this: there are advantages and disadvantages to making it hard to change your constitution (as opposed to easy enough that a single Reform Act can do the job), and this is one of the big disadvantages.

316:

I got to meet Charlie when he was at Bakka-Phoenix books. I said "I like your books!" He said "Thanks."

We're like best buds now.

~

I liked the reference comparing The Mandate to Stalin early on in the book. When Vik Choudry says "We're going to live!" after getting the Laundry's new digs ready in time, this echoes Beria's line when the Soviets were able to detonate their own atomic bomb.

Just another indicator of the horrific cruelty and injustice that's coming down the pipe for the people of the UK (and the world).

317:

Greg Tingey @ 309: JBS
You say worse ... in what way, please?

Dred Scott was before the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments were ratified extending citizenship rights to ALL who are born here, no matter what the color of their skin or whether their ancestors came here voluntarily or not.

Although Dred Scott was evil, inhumane and wrong; as bad as it was, it did not abrogate the Constitution. These acts do.

Furthermore, these are deliberate, wilful violations of citizens' Constitutional rights.

318:

A farewell to objects impends, and is available for general viewing. This so writes itself into CASE NIGHTMARE $_Colo[u]r

https://phys.org/news/2018-11-base-metric.html


Officials with the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) have announced that at a meeting to be held next week, four of the base units used in the metric system will be redefined. The four units under review are the ampere, kilogram, mole and kelvin.

[snip]

For those interested in the proceedings, the CGPM will be streamed live on the internet. Officials have described the meeting as marking the end of SI measurements based on objects.

[more snip]

319:

Thanks I've spent a super Halloween....

320:

JBS @ 317
Which explains why various US citizens groups will fight the DT propositions all the way to the US Supreme COurt .... where Kavanaugh has just been appointed.
So the 4-year contdown to the next Civil War in the US starts when the Trump/Kavanugh court re-defines citizenship in the US - right?

321:

That's a little grim, (but probably not far off from correct.)

322:

No-one reads this anymore, but:


#1 Paradise CA burnt down (hope Het is ok)

#2 End of WWI / Remembrance Day is 11/11, not 10/11, so no idea what you're all smoking watching all the pretty stuff THE DAY BEFORE THE ACTUAL SYMBOLIC ACTUALIZATION

#3 GE& and pensions went down: it's gonna snowball ladies!

Anyhow.

We didn't think you could actually get to a state where 11/11/2018, the 100th anniversary... was media gawked ON THE FUCKING DAY BEFORE, but hey.


Anyone awake out there?

p.s.


+10 for "Left anti-Semitic Zombies" via new Sasha Coehn-Bohen writer. Way to suddenly reveal that you weren't actually about edumacation, you were actually just a running actually racist stuff under the cover of a nice liberal left who thought you were progressive. Good going there Laddie.

323:

Blue / Gold Dress?

11/11 or 10/11?

CNN video faked or 100% PSYOP?

Seriously.


Y'all playing old Binaries when New Adventures Await.


Tick-Tock. On the Block.


p.s.

If you've not noticed that even running a good slice of ex-spook / .mil on a DEMOCRATIC ticket is only having minor effects, you're completely fucked. Oh, and the Mormons finally got Old Vulture Bones himself, Romneeey on a gravy ticket.


*Gritty Says: GE& Pension collapse = Student Debt Collapse*


Oh, and running the now undead Kissinger to China (with helpers) is just sad. Tragic.

"Brave New World"...

324:

Triptych.

They really are going to crash it all.

Mr President himself has even given up pretending.

325:

Kissinger to China? (again)

Murdoch to Sessions (sigh)

And don't even mention the UK, there's 100% dereliction of duty, .mil convoys where there really shouldn't be (**no, really: "The China Option"**) and basically all of everyone have given up even pretending they know what's going on.

~


I'm not fucking a Cat


326:

They really are going to crash it all.
They will try.

Mr President himself has even given up pretending
The DJT personality package and doubt don't get along well.

Yeah, reading attentively. (Heart still in gutter fwiw.) Still chewing on "The solution is easy! Your brain has to change!"
(US elections are still in play and possibly interesting; that's been distracting.)

Re the China Option, do you mean, from context, this, adjusted for now, or something else?
The China Option (1 Nov 2016)
Finally, Washington should play international poker, indicating that the continued growth of the North Korea’s nuclear arsenal would force it to reconsider its opposition to South Korean and Japanese nuclear arsenals. China may prefer not to disarm its ally, but in a world of second-best solutions, it might find the prospect of two powerful, nuclear-armed U.S. allies in its neighborhood even more frightening than the alternative.

327:

I'm reading some real moder horror, "Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment" by Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek left finance minister for 162 days in 2015. Yeah, the Eurozone is a nightmare, democracy is effectively dead, the beatings will continue until morale (and the economy) improves, and they'd rather drive countries fascist than admit they made a mistake.

Not fiction in the slightest.

328:

I'd say the switch starts with Teddy Roosevelt taking the progressives out of the Republican party in 1912 with his Bull Moose party, and ends with the flipping of most elected offices in the south from Democrat to Republican by 1990 or so.

329:

As an example of just how far to the left this country is, if you gamify your policy questions, 90% of the public is to the left of the Democratic Party (or was that 90% of Republicans?). Heck, on simple surveys, without going to lengths to dodge slogans, a majority of Republicans are in favor of Medicare for all.

330:

So I find myself wondering just why Fabian Everyman is far and away the most sympathetic character in The Labyrinth Index.

Snuck up on me, but plenty creepy.

331:

Greg Tingey @ 320: So the 4-year contdown to the next Civil War in the US starts when the Trump/Kavanugh court re-defines citizenship in the US - right?

Wrong. There is no 4-year countdown. The "next Civil War" started in 1954 with adoption of plans for Massive Resistance to Brown v Board of Education and Nixon's "Southern Strategy".

It's asymmetric warfare.

332:

RonaldP @ 327: I'm reading some real moder horror, "Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment" by Yanis Varoufakis ...

I've been working on that one for a couple of months now. It's a difficult read because I get discouraged after reading only a few pages ... especially since I already know how it turns out. Plus it makes me mad as hell, and I have to put it down until my blood pressure comes back down.

333:

Yeah, I bought it when it came out, and am only halfway through. Damn, I mean, Brexit is DUMB, but the Euro is a suicide pact run by madmen. Funny how the Tories did the right thing, staying out of the Euro, even though what they feared, a fiscal union, seems no closer that it ever was.

334:

I'd have to disagree. By 1980 or so much of the prejudice was dissipating, and things were definitely looking better. The older people who had planned the resistance to Brown V. Board of Education were rapidly aging out of the voting/planning pool, and racism was very much on it's way out.

Then came Faux News. And Rush Limbaugh. And Ronnie Raygun... all of whom desperately wanted a return to the 1950s (or earlier) and were willing to broadcast 24-7 to get it. So racism started building up again, and now it's once again a major factor in U.S. politics. (Reagan's removal of the Fairness Doctrine also played a major role in how this happened.)

By the late 90s we were again seeing the level of racism that existed in the sixties, and it's just been getting worse since then. But we had maybe 20 years where things weren't awful... but the return to racism, sexism, and violent white/male culture has been deliberately planned, plotted, and executed by (mostly) men who understood exactly what they were doing and why.

It's fairly easy to forgive a White person who'd been raised on a plantation or during Jim Crow for their racism - they had been raised in the practice from birth, it was all they knew, and a surprising number of those people went the other way when they had the chance - but people like Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh, the Koch Brothers... they knew exactly what a society with less prejudice looked like, they'd heard both sides of the question, they'd seen the steady stream of Blacks, Hispanics and women graduating from colleges and establishing good middle-class-or-better lives for themselves, and they still chose to throw over a better world for political power.

There is no absolutely no forgiveness for those people. None whatsoever. The curse of "Bob" is upon them, and they will be reincarnated as shit-ticks with human souls for the next billion years.

335:

Thought you guys may want to know these tidbits:

Around 5% of humanity lives in the top 20 megacities. Around 10% of the US population lives in megacities.

https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/10/urban-21st-century-and-megaurban-22nd-century.html

China and Australia are battling for influence in the Pacific
https://www.businessinsider.com/china-influence-pacific-western-countries-push-back-2018-4
https://www.businessinsider.com/china-took-over-abc-australia-radio-presence-in-the-pacific-2018-6
https://www.businessinsider.com/r-empty-hotels-idle-boats-what-happens-when-a-pacific-island-upsets-china-2018-8

I have a different view of what's going on in the Pacific. The island nations are using the rivalry between Australia and China and the mass number of tourists to develop. Who knows, they may become developed countries faster than India?

336:

He is a Magnificient Bastard, somewhat similar to Lord Vetinari. 'nuff said.

Problem is he's still hasn't done anything THAT bad, hell, the execution scene at the beginning is horrific, but then, the guy is described as a Da'esh sympathizer. Maybe we could use the Koch brothers and their ilk as PHANG fodder, too, I for one would feel some level of visceral satisfaction...

The Laundry protagonists are still thinking of themselves as the good guys, so they rationalize the horror away, and I'm not sure the Laundryverse would work with unsympathetic characters. Maybe when the Mandate starts to execute people for not worshipping him we might get a perspective flip...

As mentioned, at the moment he is somewhat at the Vetinari level.

As for the child sacrifice in Fuller Memorandum, human sacrifices might not be that unheard of in the Laundry. Why the manacles in 666 squadron...

337:

South Korean and Japanese nuclear arsenals
This is absolutely worst that can happen, but it seems like it is happening. Now, with new propositions. The nuclear war becomes real as never before. OTOH, it is a strange situation. China does have long-range nuclear weapons, but a few of them, and their short-range weapons only treaten the closest countries. IF US retreats from the threaty and starts to put missiles in front of China, it will not improve stability, at any scale, in any scenario, and will result in a conflict, a disaster.

And on a flipside, the US is going to be as vulnerable as everybody else in the event of global war. In fact, everybody is going to be vulnerable. WMDs do not dicriminate between friends and enemies, between military and civilian, between rich and poor. To hide in a shelter is useless if everything around it is destroyed and poisoned. This is a desperation, and I don't see how it can end well, there's only a bad options one after another available for the path US choses to follow.

338:

Adults in the Room

You lot are awful, all these books you remind me of that my local library doesn't have so I end up biking several kilometres to another branch to get the book. Just FYI, I don't need more exercise.

At least this is modern horror that I can read. Why fantasise about scary things when they're right here in the world right now?

339:

Troutwaxer @ 334: I'd have to disagree. By 1980 or so much of the prejudice was dissipating, and things were definitely looking better. The older people who had planned the resistance to Brown V. Board of Education were rapidly aging out of the voting/planning pool, and racism was very much on it's way out.

Then came Faux News. And Rush Limbaugh. And Ronnie Raygun... all of whom desperately wanted a return to the 1950s (or earlier) and were willing to broadcast 24-7 to get it. So racism started building up again, and now it's once again a major factor in U.S. politics. (Reagan's removal of the Fairness Doctrine also played a major role in how this happened.)

The racism didn't disappear, it just went underground to regroup. The "alt-right", the tea party and Christo-Fascism of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Mike Pence didn't just spring up out of nowhere. They've been there all along with a wink and a nudge and a dog-whistle.

Don't forget Goldwater's extremism in the "defense of liberty" ran concurrently with his opposition to the Civil Rights movement. Nixon's "Southern Strategy" worked because it tapped into racism that still existed. But not just in the south. Google "Boston School Busing Riots".

Prior to his 1971 appointment to the Supreme Court by Richard Nixon, Lewis F. Powell Jr. authored the notorious Attack on the American Free Enterprise System memorandum to blueprint how conservative business interests could use the courts to take over America. It's how the Koch Brothers brought us Citizens United.

Fox news didn't build racism, it just fostered a climate where racists don't have to fear censure for speaking what is in their hearts.

340:

Trottelreiner @ 336: Problem is he's still hasn't done anything THAT bad, hell, the execution scene at the beginning is horrific, but then, the guy is described as a Da'esh sympathizer.

But, IS HE? Or is Mr Kadir just someone who spoke ill of the new management?

341:

Nyarlathotep is a good boss. By Hitler's War standards (commandos were treated as ammunition...) or Laundry series standards, an excellent boss. Mhari interacting with Fabian Everyman reminds me of Bob interacting with Angleton in the early stories, only Nyarlathotep is being more forthright and kind.

This gets odder the more I think about it.

342:

I very much enjoyed the latest installment. Being able to get the USA to forget the president for a week or two would be a huge improvement on the current situation. One minor quibble is using the call sign WOCZ for a radio station in Colorado. Radio stations west of the Mississippi River begin with a K, so KOCZ would be more accurate.

343:

_Moz_ @ 338: You lot are awful, all these books you remind me of that my local library doesn't have so I end up biking several kilometres to another branch to get the book. Just FYI, I don't need more exercise.

Your local library sounds like it's behind the times. Around here the catalog is on line and if the book is anywhere in the system I can request it and it will be sent to the local branch that's within a mile of my house. And they'll email me when it's ready for me to pick up. Rarely, I have to get them to do an inter-library loan, but it works on the same system, just no renewals if it does turn out to be a difficult read.

I'm still waiting for my chance at The Labyrinth Index, but I expect to get my hands on it soon. The local system ordered 19 copies & I'm number 17 on the hold request list. They got copies of The Delirium Brief about two weeks after it was released, so that notification should be in my inbox any day now.

For Adults in the Room I ordered it delivered from the nearest local branch of a non-Big River book-seller because I already knew it was one that I was going to want to keep. I'll do the same thing when I'm ready buy a copy of The Labyrinth Index when the paperback comes out (even if they do have to have it shipped from the UK).

344:

I'm going to become a boogeyman for saying this, but Japan and South Korea getting nuclear weapons doesn't change things. While the statement "every new nation getting nukes increases the risk of a nuclear war" is true theoretically, it has not proven itself to be true in real life.

Every time another nation got nuclear weapons, there was panic that THIS would start a nuclear war. When India and Pakistan both got nuclear weapons, countries were screaming that a nuclear war was imminent. In fact, these countries getting nukes was the best thing that could have happened for world peace. Look how many wars were fought between these countries before nukes. Contra the Merchant Prince series, I believe that the chance of a nuclear war between these countries in the early 2000s was significantly less than 0.00000001%. In my opinion the panic had A LOT of racism attached to it; the subtext was "that only white men have the self restraint to avoid nuclear wars".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Pakistani_wars_and_conflicts

There were worries that the collapse of the Soviet Union would result in a nuclear war, but that didn't happen either.

Wasn't South Korea supposed to get nuclear weapons now that North Korea had them? Wasn't there supposed to be a war with North Korea by now?

Personally, I think that nuclear weapons are a waste of money for most countries, and for all countries beyond a few hundred. In the East Asian scenario, adding new nukes is worthless. I don't think that Japan, S Korea, or the Philippines will agree to host them. Most nukes will be probably be stored in Guam, or Vietnam if the country feels like irritating China.

I mean, the fact that China now has the same number of naval ships as the US is probably more destabilizing for the region, but most people are smart enough not to panic about that.

345:

Another thing, what makes you think that China CAN disarm North Korea? When I lived in Japan, the consensus I picked up was that North Korea was building its nuclear arsenal as a way to blackmail China just as much as the US. China is VERY unhappy that North Korea didn't implement Deng Xiaoping's reforms and joined the world community.

According to the Telegraph, China was working with Kim Jong Un's (KJU) uncle to replace him with a more sane leader

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/24/did-kim-jong-un-kill-uncle-brother-coup-plot-involving-china/

The nuke was KJU giving China the following message;

"We no longer need our mutual defense treaty. The US can't invade us, so we no longer have to listen to you. However, if you cut down aid and we collapse, then you'll have a lawless nuclear state on your border. Thus, we can do whatever we want and you can't cut us off in retaliation".

346:
While the statement "every new nation getting nukes increases the risk of a nuclear war" is true theoretically, it has not proven itself to be true in real life.
Uhm. Do you have statistics to support that, e.g. perhaps from a several hundred nearby timelines? :-) And yes, I agree with your #345 (appeared while I was writing this)

Anyway, the point of scaring China with the South Korean and Japanese nuclear bogeymen is to encourage them to intervene in the DPRK, up to and including regime change. Since they're not stupid and know this, it would have to actually be in their perceived best interest. (Including the risk of use of nuclear weapons by the DPRK.)
Both South Korea and Japan have extensive civilian nuclear power infrastructure, (In Japan, even after the Fukushima I nuclear power plant disaster), and are rich, industrialized and high-tech, so breakout would be quick. (3 months minimum to withdraw from the NPT)

347:

Another thing, what makes you think that China CAN disarm North Korea?
I agree, any such moves would be quite risky, and I'm sure DPRK has gamed them out, and added more uncertainty where appropriate. I just quoted that article because it was topical, basically asking OI for more information (assuming one interpretation) since a (google) search for military moves near DPRK was coming up dry.

---
I don't know the context (russian journalism?) but it made me laugh slightly for a moment. sleepingroutine, is this common?
https://twitter.com/FuMikechu/status/1061686192268136449
In google translation to English, "Never before has agent Donald been so close to failure.".
(As Putin approaches.)

348:

I had misread your comment, sorry.

349:

The interesting potential regional nuclear power is not Korea or Japan, but Taiwan.

Taiwan has indigenous cruise missile production and there have been ... improper nuke tech transfers from the US, some resulting in trials for US active duty general officers, in the past. Taiwan has an obvious need for an acknowledged deterrent but China is also utterly committed to regaining its rebellious province. (In much the same sense that it would be unthinkable for the US to return Maine and Vermont to Canada.) So an acknowledged deterrent is in this case not necessarily sufficient to deter invasion; China might want to try a blockade, and treating a blockade as grounds for nuclear retaliation would be iffy under the political circumstances.

350:

That's one of the questionable points; Mhairi is quite likeable[1], so we want to believe her assesment is right.

Of course, it could just be her justification for partaking in th execution.

Also, please note "Da'esh supporter" can mean a lot of things. "Somewhat unhappy with the carnage of Älfar bloodmages cut loose on Sunni neighbourhoods" is one of them...

[1] For an obligate occult serial killer...

351:

Mhari's rationalizations have rationalizations. I think Mhari's pretty good on facts but terrible on motivations, to the point of miss-attributing other people's.

It's unlikely anyone deserves to have their brain eaten. "right action" for a vampire isn't continued survival if you continue to classify yourself as human. (Note Mhari's assessment of what Pete is likely to do.) Mhari (comprehensibly) does not want to think about their preference for continued existence, and is quite good at not thinking about it.

352:

Why would they want to disarm North Korea? Traditionally, the way power has worked in this part of the world was that the ruler of Korea or Japan recognized the paramount power of the Chinese emperor, and in return they got their own ("subordinate") rule recognized, along with state-level trading rights.

I'm not saying history repeats itself, but it's like racism and slavery in the US--whatever we say, there's this history that keeps coming out of our actions. I suspect the Chinese would be very happy to have the US off the Korean peninsula, but they've dealt with up to three Korean kingdoms in their past, so I'm not clear on what their preference is about who comes up on top of reunification, so long as it doesn't cause waves in the ethnic Koreans in their northeastern provinces.

353:

Your local library sounds like it's behind the times. Around here the catalog is on line and if the book is anywhere in the system I can request it and it will be sent to the local branch that's within a mile of my house.

They can do that but it takes days, sometimes more than a week. And it costs them money. It's easier to just ride to the other branches or even the state library (where my local library card works just fine).

Doesn't look as though I can get the search into the URL, but the catalogue is public: http://library.bankstown.nsw.gov.au/Libero/bankstown/toolbar/

There are even ebooks! which I should probably explore.

354:

The racism didn't disappear, it just went underground to regroup.

Exactly. Then it surfaced again in the nineties, and things got ugly again. But we had 10-15 decent years where it looked, on the surface, like things were permanently getting better.

355:

I should note that an American Black person might tell this story very differently, but it looked the way I told it as I read the papers and heard what people had to say.

356:

Moz @ 338 & JBS @ 343
I have given up, utterly & completely on my local Library – which used to be one of the best in London – only City of Westminster were better than Waltham Forest.
Now, the main “library” must be at least 10 000 books short of what it held in 1964. There was a disgraceful cost-cutting exercise some years back & a mild scandal about pulping. At least one closure with others threatened, of course.
As you might expect in LBWF the unspeakable Cllr Loakes was involved – the slime who tried to close down both our superb & award-winning museums ( Apparently because culture isn’t for Labour voters – I paraphrase ) That this piece of slime is re-elected, when he stands as the exact opposite of everything William Morris stood for ( One of the Museums is THIS ONE – Morris’ childhood home ) is sickening.
He’s a sort of toned-down Labour equivalent of Rees-Mogg – screw you, I’ve got mine.
Now, the “library” is all touchy-feely & “wonderfully” computerised & 150% useless.

357:

I think that things were genuinely getting better, and there was a good chance that could have continued and even become 'permanent'. But politics is effectively a chaotic system with all the complexities of an unstable high-dimensionality ARIMA model with linearity or even continuity, and nothing is ever truly permanent in such a system.

In the UK, things were reasonably hopeful, despite the bigoted wing of Old Labour, until it became clear that extreme Thatcherism had stuck. I didn't notice the USA government truly degenerating in the political aspect until the second Bush, but had seen it doing so in the administrative aspect since Reagan. I have no good knowledge of state-level or congressional politics in the USA.

Anyway, the only reason that I find to approve (sic!) of Trump is that he has exposed the reality of the past 40 years or so of USA foreign policy to the world. He hasn't done anything that wasn't normal practice, but he has done it blatantly.

I have exactly the same opinion of Rees-Mogg and the other extremists in the UK, for exactly the same reason. The economic, social and political disaster we are now in was predicted 30 years ago, with the only real uncertainty was how long it could be kept under the carpet, and the VERY small possibility of an outside context event breaking the pattern.

I find the Laundry series less depressing than reality :-(

358:

Nyarlathotep is a good boss. By Hitler's War standards ... or Laundry series standards, an excellent boss.

Remember back in "The Fuller Memorandum" Bob was singing the praises of Iris's management style? Maybe she got it from her liege?

Good management isn't wasteful; it makes the best of the resources available to it, adapts flexibly to changing circumstances, and tries to keep its most effective subordinates happy because happy workers are more productive.

The Mandate is very (superhumanly) intelligent and has absolutely nothing to gain from bad management — at least, not obviously. He's clearly read (or even wrote) The Prince and is applying it to the fullest, at least the principle about it being better to be loved than feared, but if they don't love you, make damn sure they're terrified of you.

Also — a key point — non-computational magic isn't scalable. No venture capitalist in silly valley would dream of investing in it because it only scales as you add sorcerers (who are a scarce human resource that take decades to breed and train more of). Computational magic is of course vastly more predictable and scalable, but as "The Labyrinth Index" implicitly highlights, there are limits to how much of it you can deploy without dismantling a planet or two. Also, the computers aren't self-directing or effective at goal-seeking: human sorcerers are another matter, and if you keep them happy and motivated as they gain more and more power (because CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN) then you have a bunch of supportive, helpful, creative demi-gods to lean on when the tentacle hits the pentacle.

Mhari is at that uneasy tipping point where she isn't quite sure whether she's expendable or not. She hasn't quite internalized the realization that ultimately everybody is expendable, to Nyarly ... but some are more expendable than others, and she's valuable enough not to waste on anything less vital to national survival than [SPOILER], which she survives.

359:

Mhari (comprehensibly) does not want to think about their preference for continued existence, and is quite good at not thinking about it.

Elaborate metaphor time: PHANGs being very good at not thinking about their preference for continued existence is just like meat-eaters being very good at not thinking about their preference for hamburgers ... or anyone in the military or intelligence services being very good at not thinking about the implications of their occupation if someone in the diplomatic service fucks up.

It's like a secular version of original sin: just by existing in that way, you are guilty/complicit.

We're all very good at not thinking about the things we do in order to survive, or even just to eat that juicy hamburger in preference to a lump of tofu.

(And the Laundry is part of the deep state. By implication, everybody in it is a collaborator with the naked fist of state power, whether or not it is applied inappropriately. Nyarlathotep just brings the dilemma into stark relief.)

360:

just like meat-eaters being very good at not thinking about their preference for hamburgers

"Food" and "life" are synonyms.

The idea that one should feel guilty about that I consider a serious mistake, even more than the serious mistake of having a concept of guilt. The Ancient Bargain is work, and so far as I can tell most of the constructions of guilt around functioning as a predator exist to make sure that's work as does not get done.

But, yes, Mhari hasn't figured out that they're not human and a predator and that the boss' domestication project inherently implies (like any domestication projection) that there will be culls.

361:

"Food" and "life" are synonyms.

The idea that one should feel guilty about that I consider a serious mistake, even more than the serious mistake of having a concept of guilt. The Ancient Bargain is work, and so far as I can tell most of the constructions of guilt around functioning as a predator exist to make sure that's work as does not get done.

This is far enough down the line in the comments, so I think I can try to comment. I think many people are capable of empathy towards animals. For example, many people do not want to have harm come to their pets, and go to great lengths to avoid that. At the same time, in some cases, the treatment of animals grown for our food is causing them pain and suffering in addition to the fact that they are going to be slaughtered and eaten. The meat production chain is quite obscured to people eating the meat (as is of course the plant production chain, too), and many people do not think about the differences between how they treat their pets and how the animals they eat are treated.

I, for one, like to eat "happy meat", but it's kind of difficult to get reliably. I would kind of like a ritual honoring the animal after slaughter, but I'm not sure how to handle it in the current industrialised meat production.

The other thing is of course the guilt from eating meat and that contributing to the greenhouse gases, but it is in my opinion somewhat different than the guilt from killing and eating.

362:

The interesting potential regional nuclear power is not Korea or Japan, but Taiwan.

That interesting potential goes back fifty years or so:

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

Should the regional situation sour, it wouldn't be surprising if they were to dust off the old plans and restart the past programs.

363:

I'm going to become a boogeyman for saying this, but Japan and South Korea getting nuclear weapons doesn't change things.
No, it does, it does matter very much now, when it's been almost 30 years after Cold War and people are still thinking with old arguments. We don't know where's the limit to nuclear stability is. You add a bit to one cup on the scales and it does not snap. And then a bit more. And then again. And you say - "look, it's totally OK, it is NEVER going to snap, no worries". An of course at some point it does.

The problem is that nuclear weapons is not just A Big Stick. It is The Biggest Stick There Is. Years of practice with countries that somehow challenge US superiority have proven this. US has butchered multiple states in Middle East and Mediterranean, including most recent Libya case, and almost the case of Syria, but never as much as dared to reach out and touch countries that have nukes. Namely NK and Pakistan, or you know which countries. Mainly, I suppose, because no one out there wants to put his neck on the line and be responsible for any incident that can (an most likely will) result in, uh, nuclear explosion in uncontrolled environment. That's why we have nukes that are placed on EU soil, but do not belong to EU.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_sharing

This implies that every country that does have nukes, has a degree of independence - and US, AFAIK, does need no degrees of independence for anyone, much less their allies. Hence, in normal, Cold War or post-CW, it is absolutely impossible for such close US ally to get nuclear capacity officially, at the risk of embarrassing everyone around. Well, I know a couple of pieces of fiction where Japan did become a great nation capable of welding nuclear power to utmost capacity, but those remained in fiction. So, the primary reason why NK does not give up those, and nobody around does not want, too, is that immediately after that they will be open shop for pillaging by the rest of the neighbors. The nukes may go away, but the interests can not.

In my opinion the panic had A LOT of racism attached to it; the subtext was "that only white men have the self restraint to avoid nuclear wars".
Oh, do not get me started on this, because you can imagine how much "criticism" was given to USSR in 1986 incident. I've read some articles, many "experts", especially from Japan and US, did suggest very emphatically that those "communists" can't handle nuclear energy and should be promptly disarmed. So much for gloating about their technical superiority, they got exactly the same class incident 25 years later, with even more severe consequences (after all, Chernobyl did not floor the entire country's nuclear generation capacity).

Unfortunately, with the situation in economy for the last 10-20 years, the US started to relax one weapon limitation treaty after another, not to say about interfering functionality of those that still hold. This, of course, is accompanied with wide and broad campaign to discredit the idea of those limitations in general. Chemical and biological weapons are already pretty much uncontrolled in today's world. Even nuclear status is doubtful now as well. Now with IR-NFT in process being thrown out of the window, you can expect nukes EVERYWHERE. Nukes can end up aimed at EVERYTHING, just like normal weapons. I don't know, what generals in US are thinking, maybe they want to employ "kill with the borrowed knife" method. Maybe it is better for them if the other hemisphere would just disappear in a puff of radioactive smoke so they could sit it out unchallenged in splendid isolation.

364:

Whew that was a quite a post, and I thought I only started to get up some steam.

I don't know the context
There's a lot of proverbial anecdotes in Russian culture, especially ones connected to historical persons. Most of them are pretty simple and silly, but so they are attractive.

https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/soviet-spy-who-foxed-nazis-and-inspired-hundred-jokes-52828
The article also features the anecdote that the twit was referring too.

365:

You're assuming that US generals have any say in how these treaties are modified? My reading over the past few decades is that the politicians and lobbyists deciding these treaties have completely ignored the generals. Let me give you an example of how much say generals have in US military policy: The army was forced to buy tanks the generals say that they don't need because the lobbyists for the manufacturers want the tank money. If they can't control equipment funding, what makes you think that they can control nuclear policy?

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/12/18/congress-again-buys-abrams-tanks-the-army-doesnt-want.html

While I share your concern about how the world would look, this is a government that is not concerned about its largest cities being underwater in a few decades if it means short-term pain. What makes you think that they'd be any more concerned with a world where everyone had nukes?

366:

(And the Laundry is part of the deep state. By implication, everybody in it is a collaborator with the naked fist of state power, whether or not it is applied inappropriately.

You have reminded me of a friend who used to be involved in military R&D. He was convinced that he and his fellow researchers were "anti establishment" because they wore "edgy" T-shirts to work.

For the record I had seen edgier attire at childrens parties.

367:

You're assuming that US generals have any say in how these treaties are modified?
Considering that US politicians are so busy with their own electoral cycle, I would judge that they bear much more responsibility than they would like to admit. In any case, they are all in it together, and from this side of the crosshair it makes no difference.

While I share your concern about how the world would look, this is a government that is not concerned about its largest cities being underwater in a few decades if it means short-term pain.
I disagree, I don't think you do appreciate this fully. (Beside the point, climate change is not a short-term pain at all, it is a pain that lasts forever.) The war is a different thing altogether. There's not much people left who can appreciate what they are facing with nuclear weapons, and I am afraid they have no hand in decision making anymore. To share my concern, you should remember about how many people were aware about "total war" coming in 1912 or in 1936. They've had. Absolutely. No. Clue. Now, in my view, since 2014, it is on my soil, it happens to people who I know and understand, and there's no sea or ocean or mountain range between me and them.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph3YciNf6jI

What makes you think that they'd be any more concerned with a world where everyone had nukes?
A simple math. More nukes means more chances of all-out war, a chain reaction of hatred and death. They might become concerned, but it could be too late. This HAS already happened in several countries - obliterated and submerged into chaos - why should this be any better?

368:

The odd thing is that we do have massive conflict in terms of cyberwar, although no one has seen the utility of massive cyber-assaults on infrastructure yet.

One of the interesting things about current US administration is that prior to it, nukes were the ultimate argument for deferring to the US President. Same in Russia, I presume? In any case, with the current President (not named because he sucks up all the air in the room), people are realizing that yes indeed, you can talk back to the most dangerous man in the world. Not just that, you can sue his sorry ass. What's he going to do, nuke you?

That's the interesting dynamic going on. I'm not saying that nuclear war is a irrelevant, it's that people are simply ignoring that threat. The problem for the nuclear warlords is that using their weapons is mutually assured destruction, and do we really believe that Trump, Putin, or Xi are remotely suicidal? Just as non-violent warriors walk unarmed right up to their armed aggressors and win, there's a tremendous amount you can do to someone who's basically a nuclear suicide bomber who only wants to use the threat of blowing himself up to be powerful.

That is, incidentally, why the threat of impeachment is so much more powerful than actual impeachment. Cornered rats do irrational things. I'd rather get a bunch of certain someones out of power, then use judicial means to strip their families of all illegitimate wealth. That's even less pleasant than an impeachment, when you come to think of it.

369:

"Considering that US politicians are so busy with their own electoral cycle..."

This is why lobbyists set so much policy. Politicians need money for their elections. As the saying goes: "he who plays the piper calls the tune".

"In any case, they are all in it together, and from this side of the crosshair it makes no difference."

Dude, we're having an internet conversation. Neither you nor I are setting our nations' policy. As such, if we're debating policy, you write paragraphs speculating about the motivation of generals when the decision came from lobbyists (who have different motivations), it's useful for me to point this out.

"Beside the point, climate change is not a short-term pain at all, it is a pain that lasts forever."

Sorry I was unclear. To prevent global warming, the US government would have to restrict the sale of SUV's and McMansions. In other words, it would have to inflict short-term pain on its citizens. This is to avoid the long-term pain of global warming. No government has been willing to do this. This is the thinking here. It doesn't matter if the topic is the environment or world peace.

"To share my concern, you should remember about how many people were aware about "total war" coming in 1912 or in 1936. They've had. Absolutely. No. Clue."

I appreciate your concerns, I just draw different conclusions. I've already stated my conclusions, and the reasoning behind them. There's no need to repeat.

370:

to Heteromeles @368
The odd thing is that we do have massive conflict in terms of cyberwar
I don't really witness any of so-called cyberwar, other than usual flame war between stupid people doing stupid things. The military hasn't been sleeping for last decade. But there were several instances when it gets to pretty real espionage. The clock is ticking.
https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ukrainian-hackers-leak-personal-information-thousands-journalists-1559923

to Ioan @369
This is why lobbyists set so much policy. Politicians need money for their elections. As the saying goes: "he who plays the piper calls the tune".
I kinda may overstretch the definition here, but in my opinion, the reason the lobbisyts set military policies is because they area commanded by the same generals who then receive reward for their effort. It is a full cycle with positive feedback on all stages, a thing that sooner or later occupies all of the available space and goes beyond that. How far it goes, nobody knows.

To prevent global warming, the US government would have to restrict the sale of SUV's and McMansions. In other words, it would have to inflict short-term pain on its citizens.
I think I already expressed an opinion elsewhere that the fighing the global warming is not an institutional or even economical task, it is sociological issue of unprecedented proportions. Modern society in its current condition is completely incapable of solving such problem. Maybe next time.

But as Peter Watts noted in his recent blog entry about exactly that, there's hope. A crooked, perverted and uncertain hope, but there is, and you know his name. As a citizen of a country that lived through that same cycle at least once, I can confirm that the hope is there (I'm sorry if it sounds too cryptic).

371:

The only case I know of which was definitely cyberwar was Stuxnet, where the USA and Israel were targeting Iran. It was later repurposed to target Russia, but it's unclear who did that.

372:

Check out NotPetya, which only cost the world around $10 billion. I'd argue that the 2016 US election counts, although it's been aided and abetted by allies in the US.

The point here is that war is the continuation of politics by other means, so psyops and cyberwar and non-violent war that conduct war by other means still---e.g. they're about politics.

Note that I'm not claiming that the US is innocent in this, although I do know our media are sloppy at reporting on US exploits of other countries. My point here is that the fact that the US, Russia, and China possess nukes has not stopped the development and proliferation of other types of attacks, so we have to become more sophisticated when we talk about what nukes can and cannot do in political terms. For example, I don't think anyone is going to invade the US, because nukes. However, I do think that foreign powers will try to buy off and/or disrupt our powerbrokers by other means, as they have done, and the presence or absence of nukes is irrelevant, even if the result of these operations is equivalent to, say, nuking Washington DC in terms of how it affects the country.

373:

Thanks, hadn't seen that Peter Watts post.
A new piece in New York Magazine by David Wallace-Wells is good (i.e. well-written) too. I was hoping he'd write about the California fires, and he delivered.
In California, Climate Change Has Turned Rainy Season Into Fire Season (David Wallace-Wells, 12 Nov 2018)
November always marked the beginning of rainy season in California. Now it is fire season.
...
In the California of that future, every season would be fire season. In fact, that is already how climate scientists and firefighters are now describing the state’s wildfire season: year-round.
...
Against that possible future, the simple inversion of November from rainy season to fire season is a powerful poetic reversal — and a sort of map for how all of us will wake up to climate horrors in the decades ahead.

The "Escaping the Paradise Camp Fire" dashcam video loop embed is worth maximizing and staring at for a bit, for those who haven't seen it already. I do not like tunnels lined in fire.

Also re California wildfires, I haven't seen a direct link to this in the press yet (might have missed it):
Patterns and drivers of recent disturbances across the temperate forest biome (Open access html, pdf available, 19 October 2018)
It's fairly technical with limited pull-quotable material (though see figure 4), e.g.
An improved consideration of disturbance processes in future projections is important as our results highlight the considerable sensitivity of disturbances to the ongoing changes in the climate system.
(More research money please!)
(via)

374:

Interesting to see that I have come to the same tentative conclusion as P Watts - that the US will go to civil war during/in the wake of DT. Whilst California burns, at least partly because of climate change ( As well as stupidity in building in the middle of flammable forests, etc ) SCott Pruitt & his fuckwits are still in total denial.
Unfortunately, Pruitt is unlikely to die, screaming in agony in a burning car - that's for the suckers who believe him & Koch & Trump.

375:

Petya was criminal, pure and simple - and, while NotPetya was political, it could perfectly well have been private hackers pursuing a grudge against Ukraine. We can't say that it was definitely cyberwar.

Based on what I have seen, at least the USA, UK, Russia, Israel and North Korea have cyberware departments, and are very probably using them aggressively as well as defensively. But pretty well all of the so-called evidence for genuine (i.e. state-run) cyberwar is unsupported assertions from political enemies with a record of lying black is white. Yes, that includes all of those countries! And, in the first four, there are plenty of private people and organisations with a grudge against their countries' 'enemies'. The one example that has been claimed to be cyberwar by informed, independent sources is Stuxnet - though I would be flabberghasted were it the only case!

I don't side with the bigots and warmongers that claim that our use of social media to influence other peoples' opinions for elections is the support of freedom, but their use to influence ours is cyberwar. That sort of thing is just traditional diplomacy, updated. Live with it, or negotiate a proper diplomatic treaty to stop it.

376:

Petya was criminal, pure and simple

How can you tell? We're seeing organized crime taking over governments.

377:

IMHO, the US might go into a civil war in the wake of Trump, or in the wake of all the other right-wing types who are what I call fear-grifters; that is, they either dogwhistle or simple own a racist position. The U.S. is, like the U.K., undergoing a demographic transition, and we're in the midst of doing our demographic transition wrong, mainly due to Republican/Conservative* influence.

There are two ways around a civil war. Option One is simple; going 15-20 years without a civil war, at which point everyone will have a person of "mixed" race in their family, (it is currently the fastest growing demographic in the U.S.) at which point the same mechanism as currently holds when everyone discovers that they've got at least one, and possibly several Gay members of their family kicks in... what wasn't acceptable suddenly becomes acceptable "because I've always like Cousin Joe" and everyone realizes that their racist feelings either apply to their nephews (or don't.)

The other way around the problem is for the race-based fear-grifting to stop, and we all know that's unlikely, but it could happen under circumstances I'm unlikely to discuss publicly right now.


* There was a time when being a Conservative was one of several arguably acceptable political positions, but at this time it simply means "I'm a racist austerian."

378:

"Civil war" is an overrated term. I don't want to sound pretentious, but today's America shoots enough people to fill up the ranks for a small civil war already. The real civil wars you really would wish to talk about, can not really exist without outside influence long enough - usually it comes to a coup attempt, or unconditional surrender, or some sort of peace option. With foreign involvement, the losing side will keep getting resources until they are completely eliminated, and then may as well go underground - I personally can not see if in big country somebody would have enough influence to fight this war, unless they want to split the country forever.

On contrary, I can clearly see US getting a middle finger from a lot of it's "partners". I saw enough talks about "elites" being split over globalist and nationalist debates, too (and not even in a diplomatic way). Given that US policies usually have difficulties distinguishing between internal and external affairs, this may count as civil war also. We already have a lot of trade wars, but, well, whatever happens afterwards, I do not really dare to predict.

379:

All right, the truth is rarely pure and never simple :-) But it was used as plain ransomware, which is generally classed as a purely criminal activity!

380:

As I see it, the US is more likely to go through a Cold Civil War than an actual war.

"at which point the same mechanism as currently holds when everyone discovers that they've got at least one, and possibly several Gay members of their family kicks in... what wasn't acceptable suddenly becomes acceptable "because I've always like Cousin Joe" and everyone realizes that their racist feelings either apply to their nephews (or don't.)"

That worked so well in Brazil. That country totally doesn't have a Trump-like leader.

381:

Ioan @ 380
Or Poland, or Hungary, either .... ( Catholic christofascism on the revival, as opposed to the prod christofascism in the USA )

382:

There are more forms of complete internal breakdown than simple civil war, and I suspect that the USA (or, at least, it's governance) would disintegrate in preference.

383:

Schiff (D) will be the new Chair of the House Intel committee, and he's already said they're going to revisit Nunes' report, and fix everything that was left out.

Oh, that would be amusing: him on the committee, and hving to sit down and shut up, and everything he tried (and failed) to do overturned.

384:

A *lot* of us want the whole GOP (Great Oligarchic Party) RICO'd.

But about Pence... he was the head of Trumpolini's transition team. HE KNEW about Manafort a week after the election, because Rep. Cummings (D) sent him a registered letter warning him about Manafort, and Cummings has the delivery receipt.

He ain't gonna be no Nehemiah Scudder....

385:

They're coming. I'm actually surprised they weren't filed Friday.

Hmmm, Eater of Souls... of course, with the Malignant Carcinoma, I have doubts he has one - he's just a heel.

But not visiting the European cemeteries "it's the Secret Service's fault", and not doing Arlington here...y'all know I'm *not* pro-military. But, jeez, I want the papers that claim that he's a human being revoked, and deport him as a non-human invasive monster.

Deport him off the freakin' planet, and I ain't exactly picky as to how, or in how many pieces.

386:

They'd started moving that way during the twenties, since, as the party of business, they were HORRIFIED by the USSR, and SOCIALISM gaining power. A major part of the Cold War was "do everything we can to make them a failed state".... It *was* the GOP that was the anti-commie party (Joe McCarthy was GOP).

That wound up in the sixties. I've read that when LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act, that he said he'd just lost the South to the Dems for a generation.

Within years, pretty much ALL of the Dixiecrats were Republicans. Nixon's Southern Strategy was just that: racism via euphemisms.

Things *did* start looking up in the sixties and seventies. After seeing ourselves as the Good Guys in WWII, really and truly, a lot of the fifties and sixties was us young'uns *meaning* what we read and said. This, of course, didn't sit well with the wealthy. They'd knocked down the top income tax bracket from 90% in the fifties, to 72% in '72.

They funded the Jesus Freaks. They funded the funnymentalists. Then they pushed Raygun, who started, within his first year, the assault to destroy unions.

And the Dems *FAILED*, utterly, to support the unions in major ways. That's what lost the bottom half of the working class*.

At this point, I say that both Clintons, and Obama wound up being, Eisenhower Republicans... except folks argue with me, that Ike was more liberal. Certainly, none of them would have sent the troops into the South, the way Ike did in '55.

* Goddamn it, if you work for a paycheck, and I read that easily 2/3rd of Americans would go under with a $4k medical bill, you're *WORKIGN CLASS*. The right have made middle income working class think they're middle class, and so should identify with the wealthy.

It's all let's you and him fight, here, let me hold your wallets for you.

387:

Excerpt:
we are increasingly a nation of urbanites and suburbanites. Almost 60 percent of us live in metropolitan areas with more than a million people, more than 70 percent in areas with more than 500,000 residents.
--- end excerpt ---

Paul Krugman, at
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/08/opinion/midterms-senate-rural-urban.html

388:

Terrible example. A more appropriate one would be returning Texas to Mexico....

389:

ROTFLMAO!!!

For high amusement on the right side of the Pond... if it's not bad enough that the media is currently seeing Brexit as a disaster...

Excerpt:
Robert Mueller is seeking more information about Nigel Farage for his investigation into Russian interference in US politics, according to a target of the inquiry who expects to be criminally charged.

erome Corsi, a conservative author, said prosecutors working for Mueller questioned him about Farage, the key campaigner behind Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, two weeks ago in Washington.

Corsi said investigators for the special counsel also pressed him for information on Ted Malloch, a London-based American academic with ties to Farage, who informally advised Donald Trump and was interviewed by FBI agents earlier this year.

“They asked about both Nigel and Ted Malloch, I can affirm that they did,” Corsi told the Guardian on Tuesday. “But I’m really not going into detail because I respect the special counsel and the legal process.”
--- end excerpt ---

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/13/nigel-farage-mueller-russia-investigation-trump-latest-jerome-corsi-claim

390:

"Fire season" every year isn't really going to happen. Flammable material doesn't grow fast enough to provide a real fire season over large areas every year. What you are getting right now is a combination of too many no-fire seasons combined with millionaires building picturesque $10 million homes in fire-prone areas and failing to clear-cut for a couple of hundred metres around everything they don't want fried.

Once the big burns are complete the big fire seasons will die down. Folks will start planning to avoid losing a $10 million home to a future fire -- concrete can be chic, sprinkler systems are de rigeur and landscaped short-cropped swards grazed by goats are soooo Capability Brown don't you know?

Mud season, now...

391:

Haven't I been pointing this out in previous threads?

392:

"Fire season" every year isn't really going to happen. Flammable material doesn't grow fast enough to provide a real fire season

Maybe in California, but in Australia we burn everything from grass to woody weeds to bigger trees, and a lot of fire-tolerant plants actually growth spurt after a fire. It takes a few years of over-zealous burning to exhaust the plants and at that point you're really fucking things up but good. Even then some of the smaller, more vigorous plants will give you enough ground cover for a "grass fire"*.

What you need is a combination of fire and erosion, preferably strong winds rather than rain because rain just gives you nice silty floodplains full of seeds and we all know what happens after that.

* not necessarily grass

393:

Oh, PLEASE, let Nauseating Nige be extradited and be forced into a humiliating plea bargain!

394:

Here's kind of the way it goes in southern California:

Forest can be relatively fire proof if it's old ponderosa pine with lots of grass and herbs in between. If the forest doesn't burn regularly, firs and other trees grow up between the ponderosa, and the continuous canopy makes it a lot more prone to big canopy fires. Once burned, forests take a few decades to regrow enough to support another forest fire.

Then there's chaparral, which is shrub-dominated. The reason it's shrubs is generally that there's too little water in the soil to grow trees (water stress in the upper branches of trees). Some chaparral species do require fire to germinate their seeds, but in general, chaparral shrubs can live a century or more. They don't need to burn more than once per century. If chaparral burns more than every 30 years, species start dropping out, and a site burns more than every 10 years, it's gone.

Various versions of sage scrub grow on sites that are even drier or more fire-prone than chaparral. This tends to grow on salt-laden coasts, dry slopes, and so forth. When chaparral burns too much, it tends to get replaced by coastal sage scrub. Or, less often, grass.

Grass is the most fire resilient community, specifically annual grasses and weeds. They're dead when the fire hits, so as long as their seeds survive, they resprout. They'll come back regardless. Dead grass ignites really easily and burns really fast, which is why grass growing into scrub and forest communities is problematic.

Last week I saw some neat transition matrices, but those are hard to put into words. Basically, sage scrub is the most unstable community. Too wet or too little fire, and chaparral shrubs (or trees) take over. Burn it too much, or make it too dry, and the grasses and annual weeds take over.

Hope this helps.

395:

PREFERABLY at least a couple of weeks before "Brexit-day" so that we have a n other excuse to cancel the whole thing.
I'm beginning to think/hope that we are actually going to get a second referendum vote ....

397:

That willy thing... is really important.

'Cause if you can't do that, there's an alien on the loose.

Anyhow, here's a non-Caucasian woman climate scientist - guess what her major issues usually are?

I wrote about those bewildering times when guys man-splain climate change to me. I asked Twitter if I should publish it. They said yes. So I did. P.S. I am willing to bet my favorite lock of hair that my male colleagues do not have stories like this. Twitter, user Mary Annaïse Heglar, 12th Nov 2018


But, no..really.


They're supposed to kinda look around, wiggle, probe like wandering tentacles and when they get hard start dancing, right?


*intense look*

398:

look into that Massino chap's stuff for the Octopus / Fish .gif.

"Always be front-running"

PG&E shares sink 4 percent after Cal Fire faults utility for a dozen wildfires CNBC, 11th Nov 2018

Note: not the actual story.

The story behind the story (that is "no climate change - faulty PG&E transformer / not living up to contracts) which is behind a story (PG&E largest #3 stock holders are all pension funds, with #3 being it's own pension fund) behind that story (about how USA elec stuff HELLLLO ENRON are all hopelessly corrupt anyhow) behind that story (hello Mr Trump and his wildly insulting tweets) is...


No, really.


Men here. Can you move your willies like octopuses do? You know... motile and stuff.


'Cause if you can't, there's a new species in town.

399:

Australia has a whole range of transition patterns depending on local conditions. What we've been seeing for the last hundred years is the transition from managed fires to "no fires" (cough) which has led to a whole lot of plant community changes. Here's an author that likes to draw diagrams who looked at several different zones: https://www.anbg.gov.au/fire_ecology/fire-and-biodiversity.html

I also like this one because it's lamenting the loss of fire and what that does to habitat: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/10.1080/00049158.2014.882217

But my impression is that overall we need much more intensive management - more, smaller fires set locally by people who understand the local conditions and what they want to achieve(1). Big, unplanned fires are bad, but in Australia those seem to be the two choices. And we've... not chosen option one. The consequences of that are getting worse, sometimes dramatically, blatantly obviously worse.

It's getting harder to find times for big, official hazard reduction burns but at least we haven't had a major escape since ~2007: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/smoke-blankets-sydney-after-hazard-reduction-burns-across-the-state-20180413-p4z9jx.html

(1) we shall not mention the people who used to do that.

401:

**Deer Munching on Popcorn .gif**

That moment you watch all the people who killfiled you suddenly wondering why their penises went fully motile.


So into this right now.

402:

Greg Tingey @ 374: Interesting to see that I have come to the same tentative conclusion as P Watts - that the US will go to civil war during/in the wake of DT. Whilst California burns, at least partly because of climate change ( As well as stupidity in building in the middle of flammable forests, etc ) SCott Pruitt & his fuckwits are still in total denial.
Unfortunately, Pruitt is unlikely to die, screaming in agony in a burning car - that's for the suckers who believe him & Koch & Trump.

You're still making a mistake thinking a new US Civil war is in the future. It's already happening. It's been happening since Nixon.

403:

whitroth @ 385: Deport him off the freakin' planet, and I ain't exactly picky as to how, or in how many pieces.

Ironically, his grandparents were illegal immigrants to the US, and his grandfather was deported from Germany as a draft dodger.

404:

Elderly Cynic @ 393: Oh, PLEASE, let Nauseating Nige be extradited and be forced into a humiliating plea bargain!

Only if y'all will agree to take Cheato-lini iL Douchebag in exchange, lock him away in some deep, dark dungeon and lose the key forever.

405:

And this ends on a slightly more optimistic note:

Spain and Portugal are good examples of why this is so important. In these Mediterranean lands, humans have sustainably co-existed with flammable landscapes for thousands of year. However, the near ubiquitous depopulation of rural lands following the second world war has led to the proliferation of flammable vegetation that had previously been held in check by intensive small-scale subsistence agriculture.

...

But we can adapt traditional practices to help us live with fire. In the Mediterranean, people are already experimenting with different ways to manage landscapes, such as managing forests for cork and bioenergy, combined with prescribed burning and grazing.

https://theconversation.com/the-bitter-lesson-of-the-californian-fires-106842

406:

Men here. Can you move your willies like octopuses do? You know... motile and stuff.
'Cause if you can't, there's a new species in town.

Since it's important: no, but HSS male sexual imaginations can be fairly vivid and wild. I've certainly imagined having a prehensile penis and other more and/or less weird variations, and have also imagined having human female genitals. (There are places my imagination won't go, e.g. duck genitals[0] and lack of consent in general.)
The elephant penis was new to me. New imagination fodder.

[0] Don't see a link to this is in the archives but it's certainly been talked about here. Explosive eversion and functional morphology of the duck penis supports sexual conflict in waterfowl genitalia

407:

Too bad Rackham and Grove's The Nature of Mediterranean Europe is out of print, because the story about the Mediterranean is a bit more complex than you make it, and that's a really good book. If you can get a copy of it from a library, it's worth a read.

408:

Actually, let's get back to what's going on with the California grid companies and fire.

Here's the problem:
--Yes, power companies are responsible for billions of dollars in fire damage, dating back to 2007 in San Diego (which SDG&E got hooked for). There have been various attempts to fork the cost off of shareholders and onto rate payers. They've sort of worked and sort of not worked.
--It appears that both the Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire may have been sparked by power infrastructure, a downed line in the Camp Fire and a substation failure in the Woolsey Fire.
--Then there's climate change, which is making plants drier than they can survive readily, meaning that there's lots of crunchy fuel around.
--Then there's adapting to climate change, which in California means going to 100% renewable electricity for everything. We kinda need a grid for that.
--Then there's the problem that, if the power companies pay for all the damage they caused, they'd probably simply declare bankruptcy, leaving us with no grid. Or perhaps we make the grid a public utility (which would still be responsible for damage), or go to gas generators in homes, or....?

See the little problem? We need the electrical grid to go off petroleum, but these guys spark fires on a regular basis.

BTW, this is why I hope house batteries become a going concern really, really soon... Letting the grid go down for a few days or weeks without harming people would be really nice. And yes, it would be really good to underground as many electrical lines as possible, not that this would have stopped the Woolsey fire. Apparently.

409:

Moz @ 399
we shall not mention the people who used to do that. The same ones who killed off all the megafauna, I assume?
/snark

JBS @ 402
No - not there yet. Currently we seem to be in the phase of posturing, threatenings, beatings, occasional murders that characterised the period approx 1850-61 before the "first" US Civil War. Now, as then, it's the rightwing fascist types who are "leading" the running & shouting loudest.

BA @ 406
Ah, someone else got to mention "duck-dicks" - so I don't have to ......

410:

“Snark” is a funny way to spell gibberish, racist bullshit. Though I suppose it is coming to be a euphemism for exactly that.

411:

Hmph. You’d think that if I accuse a bloke of gibbering, I’d take care to ensure I had speeled it correctly. It was autocorrect, but that doesn’t really help, so it’s a great opportunity to admit fallibility is a basic part of being human and all that.

412:

if it's not bad enough that the media is currently seeing Brexit as a disaster...

Some of us predicted this before the referendum, and voted accordingly. I think that the negotiating ineptitude shown by the Con Party has actually made matters even worse!

413:

a great opportunity to admit fallibility is a basic part of being human

I'm quite good at that :) Both of that.

The whole "who killed the megafauna" question is interesting in a lot of places, but in Australia it has the added problem of explaining how the megafauna coexisted with humans for 30,000 years or more, then some species were killed off by humans about the same time as the climate and sea level changed. It's all very odd.

414:

Too bad Rackham and Grove's The Nature of Mediterranean Europe is out of print,

Yes, and even worse, it's not in the NSW state library either.

Sydney Uni has it though. I might have to tortu... make an arrangement... with a staff member.

http://www.opac.library.usyd.edu.au/search/?searchtype=X&SORT=D&searcharg=Rackham+Grove+The+Nature+of+Mediterranean+Europe&searchscope=4

415:

More puzzling than odd - that's what happens with environmental changes, though it's often hard to deduce exactly what caused what.

416:

Men here. Can you move your willies like octopuses do? You know... motile and stuff.

You could always adopt a human female's shape, and do some intensive field research - that's what a good scientist would do :-)

417:

On the one hand, nope, though that could be fun. As it is, it just wiggles.

On the other hand, if that's superhuman/geneengineered, what mods for women? And how easy would it be to change sexes on, say, an afternoon before an evening out?

And on the third hand (yes, that one), please, no. late teens/early 20's guys have been lighting their own farts for a long time, and I don't want to think what a prehensile cock would do....

418:

I do have to admit here that one of my grandfathers came here in '14. He'd been here in 1909, went back, but presumably push came to shove to avoid the draft.

My other grandfather was a Deserter from the Czar's Army, where he was an Oddifer (he played trombone in the band).

Coming from that stock, let me assure you that, as a child of the sixties, I have my own version of Alice's Restaurant, runs about 10-12 min, w/ 2 part harmony an' feelin'.

BUT I WAS VEHEMENTLY AGAINST 'NAM, AND THE MALIGNANT CARCINOMA, LIKE THE SHRUB AND CHENEY, WERE CHICKEN HAWKS. (As Phil Ochs sang for them, "someone's gotta go over there, but that someone isn't me").

419:

Bankrupt, no problem. Don't let them screw their workers and everyone *but* the stockholders. Instead, have the state take them over, and run them as state, not privatized.

Augh! Horror! SOCIALISM!!!!

420:

Bought Sunday. Finished Monday 6am; too good to put down. You, Mr. Stross, owe me one night's sleep.

421:

_Moz_ @413 said: The whole "who killed the megafauna" question is interesting in a lot of places...

Since I have fun with Growing Earth Theory(GET) the megafauna die off occurred when the Earth grew 10% to 15%, rapidly. Gravity limits how large an animal can grow. When they finally try to clone woolly mammoths they will find that they can't grow as large as before in our current one gravity.

The Expanding Earth, Why is Our Planet Getting Bigger? [FULL VIDEO]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydFItltGzUk

422:

Ty Bill and With for confirming male stuff.

(The reason it's important is due to some large contractually odd stuff about what constitutes "a human being" and if that's not in the spec, well, gosh darn are the Lawyers going to be busy).

Presented without comment (#276)

Israeli defense minister quits over Gaza truce in blow to Netanyahu Reuters, Nov 14th 2018

Take a look at the piccy.

Something absolutely mind fucked that man, and very recently.

423:

But if the planet was expanding, the surface gravity would be getting weaker...

424:

Oh, and Mr AF Neil is 100% fucked but hey. *Smiles @ host*

Please pass onto Cadwalla the Cat Dominatrix: ShareBlue fantasies are not your friends. Esp. not that total joke of a ginger lady who presents as "ex mil analyst" (she ain't).

Do a grep... told you about Soros... oh... 3+ years ago now. It's not a RU move, it's an American move.

Now then kiddies, do the work: when did the Soros gambit traverse to the RU side? (HINT: ZH, 6 years ago).


Srsly? We were all playing this like you were.... Experts.

p.s.

https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/oms_summary.pdf

Whhhooooooo boy. If you think that utilizing untested chemicals on prisoners is the "SHARP END OF THE SPEAR" have I got news for you.


p.p.s.

Yeah. Unfortunate we were blinded.


*eats mushroom*


We're going to burn your Minds out you psychotic fucks.

425:

There are places my imagination won't go, e.g. duck genitals[0] and lack of consent in general...

Yes, I expect we are all familiar with the hilarious but NSFW True Facts About the Duck. ("Oh, my...") Nature is a strange and perverse evolution engine.

426:

whitroth@ 417
Mr Banks had that as a regular occurrence, except it took IIRC a month or two to switch ...

Oh yes ...
Damian @ 410/411
Try HERE

And that's without referring to the sudden "disappearance" of the Moas from the Land of the Long WHite Cloud, either .... Or the extinction of the Horse in N America, before it's later re-introduction ......

427:

Oh yes
Labyrinth Index finally arrived from Tansreal today - I was getting worried that it had been eaten by a shoggoth en route ....

428:

Re Brexit and May-hem in UK gov't:
from the Guardian: "it is easier to be on the team that accuses the prime minister of failing to deliver majestic herds of unicorns than it is to be stuck with a portfolio that requires expertise in unicorn-breeding".
Now, I can't stop thinking about Equoid and EQUESTRIAN RED SIRLOIN ... :-)

429:

Not news. Everyone knows that Guy Fawkes was really trying to blow the Palace of Westminster because of a unicorn infestation in the cellars.

430:

*Just* saw a story, to the effect that Facepalm hired a PR firm to write negative stories against opponents... including Soros stories.

But, hey, who's setting up the betting pools?
1. How soon, and how many indictments Mueller will come out with?
2. Will the current UK government fall?
3. Will the current Israeli government fall?

431:

The big question to me is: what happens when the majority of earth's population catch K syndrome, or otherwise have their brains devoured by alien horrors?

432:

An brain eaten by K syndrome isn't one worth sacrificing so I expect people would be for the chop at the first sign of symptoms.

Either that or some sort of countermeasure would be put in place. I expect elder gods know a thing or two about that.

433:

We're a bit loath to post more details since we've had a serious smack down for the above. Punishment is real.

But look up Florida Senator Rick Scott. (Er... not a Senator, but included in the GOP "Welcome to the Senate" pictures which might ring a warning bell or five over whether they consider it still a Republic - find these, lock them down --- someone's plans were "solid" enough they thought the deal was sealed, now not so much: it'll tell you a little bit about how the top end is fighting).

You'll notice the Eye Thing.

Both have it.

It's a Mind-Fuck-Slavery-Deal.


Your Abrahamic G_D is not nice.

p.s.


All of this is true. As I warned Greg... it's all true[1].


[1] Remember Meta-layers though.

[2]

1: Not many. Do your homework on him and where he brokered deals before. He's been running Oligarch defense (US) for ages now - if you want some reality, check on the .RU / .IL Davos club members not being invited. Power really is so far above his grade these days, it's all theatre. (Someone put MF on suicide watch)
2: Nobody important cares (well, apart from one)
3: Depends on the US mega-billionaire spat going on (look up which billionaire was buying .IL companies vrs GOP donors vrs old school stuff)

434:

p.s.

For those sending outrage.

Look at the name


We warned you that we liked nominative determinism.


OH, and it's 1000-1 hilarious y'all this easy to front run when the horse has such a massive handicap.

435:

Bezos has it too.[1]

Nice helipad the US taxpayer is funding!

[1] G_D or Mammon? Who knows. Dissociative Weapons we hear.

436:

Since ENRON is an ongoing and long Abyss into "how to get yourself ganked", we'll give you this:


https://twitter.com/MikeTokes/status/1062908981281120256


Ignore the DEW stuff and his framing.

Explain the 2nd image of the car (with perfect vinyards / burn of 1 metre) behind it with 0% x dimensional damage.

Insurance job?

This is the old Merc / Hastings gig, now open to all.

437:

Haven't read all the posts, so apologies if this was already mentioned.

Anyways, there's an interesting new economics book out that folks here might want to look into: 'The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy' by Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), and Director of UCL's Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose.

Blurb: 'Modern economies reward activities that extract value rather than create it. This must change to ensure a capitalism that works for us all.'*

Based on a recent interview I saw, think this might stir up as much interest and discussion as Piketty's 'Capitalism in the Twentieth-First Century'. (BTW --- This book is shortlisted for the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award.)

* About time someone with appropriate credentials looked into this!

438:

Florida "governor" (or not) Rick Scott ... just from his Wiki entry, he really is a complete shit, isn't he?
I noted the following with interest: in total he spent $78 million of his own money on the campaign
TOTALLY illegal here & IIRC in any civilised country.
Oligarchy, for the corrupt benefit of themselves - it's unbelievably blatant, isn't it?

Which ties into SFR's post @ 437, quite nicely

439:

A few likely errors to report (page numbers are UK hardback edition):

pp. 73-74: Perceval leaves the room, but then is jarringly present again.

p. 98: "It's a lot like the interrogation suite back at the camp". Really? Complete with bisecting window partition, nozzles, paired cameras etc?

p. 118: Slide 13 has a duplicated bullet point (Enabling Act).

Probably some more as I work my way through it.

440:

Re: Econ book

Just watched the video below with the author. Comment at the end suggests that some of the content/perspectives will likely be used in the UK. Interesting, especially her comments about Adam Smith, rentiers and what financial media has been touting as 'wealth' creation as of the '70s. Good fodder for discussion.

'Mariana Mazzucato: The Value of Everything - making and taking in the global economy'

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

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