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Subject:Daemon by Daniel Suarez - Hypernow Reloaded.
Time:12:00 am
Gragg felt the tingling of the Third Eye on his stomach and back. The Third Eye was another of the miracles that Sobol had bestowed upon him. It was a form-fitting conductive shirt worn next to the skin—but it wasn't a garment. It was a haptic device that helped him use his body's largest organ—his skin—as another, all-seeing eye. An eye that never blinked, and an eye that could see around him in 360 degrees or halfway around the world, if he wished.

It worked by sending tiny electrical impulses to excite the nerve endings in his skin, much like a computer monitor projected pixels onto a screen. The microscopic electrical impulses represented data — from blips on a radar screen to full-blown visual displays. But what amazed Gragg was how the brain learned to accept input from this new source as if it were just another organ. Just another eye.

He felt the networks around him, but he could do more than just
feel them.


Before you question the farfetchedness of this tech, consider this. That's right, Navy SEAL receiving sonar input with his damn tongue. Neuroplasticity for the win.
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Subject:I'm surprised __marcelo hasn't said anything about this.
Time:02:32 pm
Current Mood:pleasedpleased
After tens of thousands of years, this man-made ecosystem has produced a more perfect predator, with skills expertly adapted to thrive within that system. Indistinguishable form the dominant species, unencumbered by the constraints of sociability, uniquely endowed to manipulate members of society by preying upon their outmoded empathy ... THIS is the sociopath. That we have characterized sociopathy as ‘mental illness’ until now is hardly surprising. No doubt the Neanderthal saw the prominent chin and sharply rising forehead of Cro-Magnon man as some kind of physical deformity as well. My aim here is to demonstrate that, far from suffering from any ‘personality disorder’, the sociopath, on the contrary ... represents the next step in human behavioral evolution. - Professor Charles Xavier, X-Men: Noir #1.


So Wattsian. I love it. And Jean Grey is Jean Grey in all possible universes -- with all that that implies.

------------------------------------------

I'd like to explore the concept a little more though. I think a book called The Mask of Sanity put it best: "... a subtly constructed reflex machine that can mimic the human personality perfectly ... ". The theory is that clinical sociopaths are a possible output of unspecified evolutionary pressures. What I *will* assert is that they were uniquely suited to a particular niche in space and time; to wit, populations both dense and high, relatively fast travel and relatively slow communications. That sounds a lot like the Western world circa 1890< x <1940. Anyone with game theory where their morals should be would likely do very well for themselves in such a setting.

One of the common traits of the sociopath is that he is a phenomenally agile liar but really can't be arsed to keep track. They'll calmly tell an utterly different lie when asked the same question two weeks later. Being able to get out of Dodge and not have to worry about a telegraph or phone call alerting the next port makes things a lot easier.

As is widely accepted, evolution is slow. Adaptations tend to lag behind the pressures they emerged to face. Examples are numerous among us homo sapiens: hunter-gatherer bodies trapped in a world of malls, McDonalds and sofas, appendixes that haven't been necessary for millenia, immunities to diseases that are long-extinct (well, that last one ain't so bad) and so on. The sociopath and all attendant traits is, I suspect, the same. It belongs to a narrow window in human civilization that is already closing. Essentially instantaneous world-wide communication, cameras everywhere including everyone's pockets, Google and Facebook, to say nothing of international law enforcement; all these are things that make being able to fuck people over and get out from under less and less viable. Just ask Scott Peterson or Ted Bundy.

Paradoxically, this means that the modern sociopath only has two viable life-paths: small-town dweller or corporate/political shark. The former inhabits a closing but still usable window, the latter can ascend to the top of the human food-chain, act publicly and be venerated for it. Win-win. As a subspecies, they'd be vestigial but as individuals? Top of the world, ma!




(EDITED at 12:16AM for blatant carelessness if not outright idiocy. That bit about evolutionary pressures? Eaarghhhh. Thanks, kali921.)
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Time:01:59 pm
"This word plays as what many religions call 'faith'." Her face was radiant, but tranquil now. "The peace that defies understanding." She smiled apologetically. "Except, of course, it doesn't. Scan it, and the mechanics are transparent: one foot down hard on an entrained neurochemical feel-good pedal -- with cognitive, aesthetic, and cultural echoes linked to the context in which the training was acquired."

I glanced at Remedios; there were silent tears moving down her face.
They wouldn't lock up the mother, or institutionalise the daughter. They'd kill this child, if they had to. That was the only reason she'd helped them program the death of Grace Sharp.

"Now, this is what the Buddhists call 'enlightenment'." Jane closed her eyes and smiled serenely. "Similar raw pharmacology, but the higher-level components are different. There's a kind of heavily self-affirming cognitive myopia: every mental tool which could expose the true nature of the state is explicitly negated." - "TAP" by Greg Egan
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Subject:There is only time for the easy part.
Time:06:42 pm
Any god that wants human worship is an insecure narcissist. Any god that needs human worship is a parasite. Of said worship, both are inherently undeserving. - me
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Subject:Creatures of Light and Darkness doesn't get *nearly* enough love.
Time:01:09 am
Since a gene pattern can be constructed to satisfy the parents’ specific wishes and substituted surgically for the nucleus of a fertilized cell, she is liable to see anything born and often does. Being old-fashioned, all that Megra’s own parents had wanted was a cobalt-eyed doll with the strength of a dozen or so men, so that the kid could take care of herself in life.


There's some characterization for your ass.
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Subject:Emphasis mine.
Time:11:37 pm
Current Mood:uncomfortableuncomfortable
So I think what we need is a much more disciplined approach, which means using the methods of the perceived ‘enemy’. It’s kind of the opposite of the ‘60s. The hippie was conceived as a kind of wilting anti-matter negative of the traditional image of the soldier. What we need now is a Don Juan role model, a shamanic soldier priest who can cope with what’s going on, to deal with the type of energies we’re up against in the jungles of our democractic cultures, where the new word for demon is ‘corporation’, where mind-devouring glamors are used in advertising, where sigils become logos and warlocks are called spin doctors. Because you can’t go into this like a little child, like Syd Barrett on mushrooms, dancing with the faeries. The faeries here are dangerous. - Grant Morrison, "One Nervous System's Passage Through Space


This is useful information. Thank you, Grant-Morrison-of-2004.
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Subject:Screw all those guys, I'll stick to misquoting myself, thank you very much.
Time:01:00 am
After an inevitable valley of obsolescence, technologies start to become more useful with age. This phenomenon comes into play roughly three generations after the last generation to grow up with that technology has died - me


The exception would seem to be computer systems. Sure, a 1985 or 1995 computer system is fairly useless by today's standards. But that's not different technology, that's just an older and lesser version of the current variant. I would however argue that vacuum tubes are both Van Eck and EMP-proof.


-------------------------

In unrelated matters, I recently saw the first two episodes of The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Torchwood season two. I'm either losing my critical faculties or those are some pretty decent shows.
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Subject:If there's a better description of Lady Shiva's life ethos, I don't even wanna hear it.
Time:11:59 am
"I am connected to those I kill, a T-shaped joint where their lives intersect mine, the line of their lives terminating in the contact while mine continues on to the next orthogonal encounter, toward the promise and threat of becoming the terminating arm; of the moment when Death no longer follows but stands pitilessly before me, expanding or contracting everything I ever was or will be for Her own unknowable ends." - The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
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Subject:What he said.
Time:10:51 am
If war is just politics by other means, then it follows that t3rrorism is PR by other means. - me
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Subject:Minds broken for ... oh god please shut up. Just ... shut up. Shut the *fuck* up.
Time:05:23 pm
In humans, pain in the right context starts to look a lot like sacrifice. Sacrifice in the right context starts to look a lot like meaning. And once you're at that point, you're ripe for the recruiting - me
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