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joined 2022 October 07 10:42:11 UTC


User ID: 1512



0 followers   follows 0 users   joined 2022 October 07 10:42:11 UTC


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User ID: 1512

Looks like a lot of libertarian-ish stuff in the National and ACT agreement which sounds good to me.

I agree with Musk when it comes to the ADL specifically, but it seems unfair to blame "Jewish communities" more broadly.

Read the Odyssey. Enjoyed it but not as much as the Iliad. It gets a bit slow once Odysseus makes it back to Ithaca. There are some colorful adventures along the way, and the greater presence and activity of women is notable. Some parts have a sort of "world's first fanfiction" vibe like when it wanks off some of the characters a bit too much.

On the other hand I find myself opening up the Iliad again to read random passages.

I've gotten into the habit of temporarily leaving the room or shifting to another conversation if people start talking about the kind of stuff that gets me heated.

I was in a similar place and eventually met my now-wife online in my mid 30s.

The lack of clarity around this is part of the reason it lost so badly. At least on the center and right there's also been some perception of the Voice as a possible Trojan Horse where in a few years a left wing government could give Aborigines a veto (or something less dramatic but still disruptive) and the High Court would shrug and say "Well, the constitution says Aborigines have a 'Voice', that could mean anything, so this is constitutional".

I'm glad this lost despite the overwhelming support from most institutions but like all one-sided election results I get the impression (anecdotally) that people are reading too much into the result - on the left that Australians are all racist or heartless or at least misinformed, on the right that we've heroically stood up to say no to wokism or some such.

As much as I'd like to believe that Australians are categorically opposed to this kind of thing, the voice was polling 60-40 or better earlier in the year, so its failure probably comes down to swing voters being unhappy with the details - or lack thereof. I believe the median voter wants to help Aborigines - but they don't want to spend too much money on it or give a political blank check to the government.

It's a left-wing/socialist paper I think.

jpost.com seems reasonably good for the Israeli POV.

Yes, during some of the action scenes I was reminded of gangsta rap (specifically Wu-tang clan ain't nothing to f' with) - youthful bravado and violence accompanied by a long list of shoutouts.

Though I dunno if I'd want my ancestor to be known as "guy who didn't do much then got killed instantly by Hector". No doubt there was some valor in just having been there.

Remote work is good if you're experienced and don't need a lot of hand-holding.

Hmm, not Scott's best work I'd say (and it was early days for him) - but "Hector, driver of sports cars" got a laugh.

Fagles is my first and only read of the Iliad so I can't really compare it to anything else - when I said I compared translations I meant the first dozen lines, not that I read multiple versions! I did consider trying a prose version, but I figured that since it was written as poetry it should be read as poetry. I did find Fagles very readable, it's all modern language. If you enjoyed the excerpt above you'd likely enjoy the rest of it.

War brides and loot goblins: The Iliad

(Epistemic status: The Iliad is 2700 years old and practically a field of study unto itself. I doubt anything I have to say here is original.)

(You can skip this paragraph if you're familiar with the story). The Iliad is an epic poem composed in ancient Greece by oral poet(s), first written down around 700BC and attributed to an unknown poet called Homer (along with the Odyssey). It describes events towards the end of the Trojan War - a legendary event occurring hundreds of years earlier where mainland Greeks travelled to Greek Anatolia with the ostensible goal of rescuing/re-kidnapping Helen, a beautiful woman who'd been taken away by the Trojan Paris. Notable characters on the Greek side include warrior Achilles and his close friend/possible lover Patroclus, ineffectual king Agamemnon, and got-his-own-spinoff Odysseus.

Recently after a lifetime of mostly reading sci-fi and fantasy I was thinking that I should catch up on some of the classics. After comparing a few translations of the Iliad I went with Robert Fagles' version as it seemed the most energetic. (People like to say that the Iliad was meant to be listened to rather than read, but I'm not an audiobook guy). With the high and mighty reputation of Homer I was expecting an eating-your-vegetables experience where I might be encultured but not necessarily entertained, but it was actually rather engaging. The story is mostly (rather violent) action with a bit of drama and pathos and was clearly composed as popular entertainment first and foremost. Some sections get a little repetitive (there's a bit too much back and forth action - it starts to feel like a long MOBA match after a while) but overall it was both enjoyable and an interesting insight into bronze age society. I have a few scattered thoughts, some of which touch on culture war issues.

  • Tropes. Some things I think of as Hollywood tropes are already present here. Random fighters die instantly and reliably in a single hit while major characters get injured if not missed entirely. The few that die get just enough time to make a dramatic speech before death. On the other hand they hadn't come up with quippy one-liners yet - when characters try to dunk on each other they make speeches.

  • Names. An interesting difference from almost all modern media is that almost every single character who dies in battle, no matter how minor, gets named, usually with their father's name and often even a mini-bio as well. This does get a bit repetitive at times but also takes the cost of war more seriously than the typical Hollywood mowing down of faceless mooks. One interesting exception to this is that the dozen Trojan soldiers sacrificed by Achilles for Patroclus's funeral pyre are not named - perhaps their deaths were not heroic enough.

  • Morality. Ingroup-outgroup morality is very strong here, as well as an absence of altruism in the modern sense. The characters don't see anything wrong with looting random cities, slaughtering men and taking women as slaves, nor with summarily killing (or human-sacrificing) prisoners or desecrating their enemies' bodies - indeed they tend to boast about these things. Achilles just barely softens a little at the end, with bribery required. The Trojans are worried that they might be sacked and killed/enslaved, but they don't seem object to this on moral grounds. Meanwhile both sides show a great deal of concern over protecting the bodies of their fallen comrades, even at great risk to themselves.

  • Loot. The characters are obsessed with loot and on multiple occasions get killed or injured while trying to loot their enemies' armor mid-battle. They also send people back to base with loot mid-battle instead of trying to win the battle with their full force. Even the god Ares, fighting in the battle, stops to loot one of his victims - I guess even gods could use a spare set of armor.

  • Gods. The gods are involved surprisingly directly and frequently in the story, going so far as to redirect spears and arrows or even fight in the battles personally. Most often the gods seem to be used to explain events that in modern times would be attributed to good or bad luck - oh your chariot broke down, or your spear missed? Must have been the interference of Zeus again. They also seem to think character's thoughts for them at times - something that formed part of the basis for The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, if I recall correctly.

  • Women. Human women play little role in the story except as prizes - an explicit goal of the Greeks is to take the Trojan women as slaves/war brides, and both the Trojan war and the Iliad itself start with disputes over the possession of women. At the funeral games a woman, 2nd prize for one of the events, is even rated as being worth only 4 oxen, compared to a 1st prize cauldron worth 12. (This may have been intended as a joke, perhaps implying that this woman was not so desirable - another woman is also part of the first prize for the prestigious chariot race). It's interesting that the goddess Athena is portrayed as something of an ass-kicking girlboss, unlike any of the human female characters.

  • Theme. The theme could perhaps be summarized as "War is harsh and tragic, but at least it's glorious. Also you can really load up on loot".

One thing I speculate about - for a long time Homer was prestigious partly because you had to know ancient Greek to read him. Then there were various English translations (famously Alexander Pope's rhyming translation), but they weren't so easy to read, so there was still some prestige from the effort. I wonder if relatively easy/readable translations like Fagles have hurt the prestigious nature of Homer and, along with feminist opposition to the very unfeminist portrayal of women in the story, contributed to the apparent decline of the classics in academia.

I'll leave you with an excerpt from the end of book 20, which reminded me a bit of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian:

Achilles now
like inhuman fire raging on through the mountain gorges
splinter-dry, setting ablaze big stands of timber,
the wind swirling the huge fireball left and right—
chaos of fire—Achilles storming on with brandished spear
like a frenzied god of battle trampling all he killed
and the earth ran black with blood. Thundering on,
on like oxen broad in the brow some field hand yokes
to crush white barley heaped on a well-laid threshing floor
and the grain is husked out fast by the bellowing oxen's hoofs—
so as the great Achilles rampaged on, his sharp-hoofed stallions
trampled shields and corpses, axle under his chariot splashed
with blood, blood on the handrails sweeping round the car,
sprays of blood shooting up from the stallion's hoofs
and churning, whirling rims—and the son of Peleus
charioteering on to seize his glory, bloody filth
splattering both strong arms, Achilles' invincible arms—

I've only watched a few of these but for me it was primarily a way to vicariously relive the excitement of seeing or playing something awesome for the first time. Probably a parasocial element too, like streaming.

I typically sit cross legged.

Try sitting with your feet flat on the floor. This provides better support.

If you liked Jonathan Strange I can recommend Piranesi by the same author - also good but much shorter and tighter (though on the downside, from my point of view, the homoeroticism moves from subtext to text).

The library of Slaanesh by Qiaochu Yuan.

In Australia it's potential illegal to even question someone's claim of Aboriginality.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eatock_v_Bolt

For gaming get the best GPU you can afford[1], 16GB RAM, and a decent SSD. You can skimp on the CPU a bit as long as you get a 6-core at least.

[1] check benchmarks, focusing on raster performance. I wouldn't worry about ray tracing at this budget level.

Tried it on Gamepass but didn't really like it. Feels like 50% of the game is loading screens, menus, and inventory management, and the other 50% is pretty bland combat.

If the class is mandatory, asking him that risks him retaliating against you if he gets offended.

Test test 123

What are some examples where your see this in action on the real world?

Did they become more ethnically homogeneous and develop higher inborn disposition for intelligence over the course of that time?

Basically yes! Many things happened since 1AD to impact northern European genetics, including the church ban on cousin marriage (leading to less clannishness), harsher punishments for violent behaviour, and the accidental pressure for high IQ in Jews due to usury laws.