Ten of Me

Apr. 22nd, 2019 12:04 am
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[personal profile] skonen_blades
I often think I’d get more done if there were ten of me
A decaduncan horde increasing productivity
Multiplying output by an exponent of ten
A lumberjackish nerdy tribe of giant, bearded men

But maybe just opposite of this idea is true;
That tenfold problems would result with ten new points of view
Procrastination might be multiplied by ten as well
And who would be the boss of such unruly personnel?

Initial hierarchy terms would no doubt be contested
And secondary power structure motions all protested
Organizing such creative, moody, stubborn dudes
Would take too long to mollify and manage all my moods

And then, once calmed, we’d likely talk for hours about me
Marveling and tripping out at our first time to be
“On the outside looking in,” objectively inspecting
A living hall of mirrors taking stock and self-reflecting

Pleasantly surprised at parts and horrified at others
An oddly stoic wolfpack tribe of tall dectuplet brothers
Presumably at first we’d say exactly the same thing
Until we all diverged a bit and started differing

Becoming different Duncans in our own small ways unique
Would some of us grow stronger and would some of us grow weak?
Would battle for the leadership of Deca-Dunc emerge?
Would anger flare with fisticuffs or could we curb that urge?

And dare I wonder? Would lust bloom? Would we all shrug and say,
“Experimental orgies are the order of the day?”
Becoming a uniquely ‘me’ masturbatory pile?
A Mapplethorpe kaleidoscopian naricissiphile?

Or would instinctive hatred be the order of the day?
Uncanny valley instincts that repulse us all away?
Would we unite or kill ourselves or squabble needlessly?
Could we begin to even start a planned activity?

I’m pretty sure that even if we could, we’d get distracted.
As inspirational ideas through our minds were refracted.
Just like ten crystals making spectrums from a ray of light.
We’d come up with a hundred premises all through the night.

No, one of me can only be. There can be only one.
More than one of me would be too much for anyone.
So just myself. That will suffice. The work is mine to do.
But that’s just me. I’m wondering. Is it the same for you?

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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Ander: Human cleric
Dorritt: Human warlock
Himo: Wood Elf rogue
Kokai: Gnome Mage
Milo: Human Ranger

Alas, my notes seem to be incomplete. Well, no doubt I can reconstuct the missing material at some future date. Suffice to say we have descended into the city and had a few inconclusive encounters with locals.

There are far too many large dinosaur footprints in this city. Read more... )

Do I know anyone

Apr. 20th, 2019 05:22 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Who can turn a few reviews into epub books?

The opposite of dunning kruger

Apr. 20th, 2019 01:47 pm
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[personal profile] skonen_blades
The Dunning-Kruger study says that there are people who
Cognitively lack the needed self-awareness to
Recognize their lack of competent abilities
Who can’t objectively evaluate their faculties

Illusory superiority results in them
And misperception bias is what fast becomes the stem
From which they bulb and bloom into conceited, selfish flowers
Unearned confidence that gives them super smugness powers

Mistakenly their ego’s wrong and so misrepresents
Miscalibrating estimations of intelligence
In both themselves and everyone around them where they are
They think that they’re smartest and they think that they’re the star

Overcompensating for an insecurity
In NOT what Dunning-Kruger is. That’s just humanity.
No, Dunning-Kruger people really feel that they’re the best
When each objective metric says they’re not and fails the test

We all know people like that and who knows if we’re ones, too?
I like to think I’m not one but I’d hate to misconstrue
My own small estimation of my own intelligence
Probably not. My ego is the kind that self-torments

It makes me think that maybe there’s an opposite effect
Of brilliant people who have no idea that they’re perfect
They can’t compare their own brain to another one out there
So they can never really know what’s going on up there

They see the stuff that others don’t but never recognize
That they seem supernaturally intelligent and wise
Not impostor syndrome or too humble or too slow
But something in their cognizance just doesn’t let them know

I’ve met folks like this as well who seem to be unclear
That they’re the smartest person in the room or hemisphere
It’s obvious to some but since they never really show it
Not everyone who ever interacts with them will know it

They’ll never brag about the plethora of words they say
They’ll never spout conceited bluster in a gross display
They’ll never filibuster on and on about their brains
You’ll never hear them brag about their monetary gains

No, there’s a crew of people out there quietly astute
Adept, quick-witted, bright, effective, brilliant, sharp and shrewd
That honestly have no idea that they’re a step above
They’re interesting to me because they do remind me of

The problems in the world that we face with those that rise
To powerful positions in a web of noxious lies
Ambition’s tied to confidence and Dunning-Kruger seems
To be the central cornerstone of most of those regimes

There’s those that rule with altruistic wisdom, strength and fairness
Such instances of this occurring happen with a rareness
A touch of Dunning-Kruger helps the doltish to succeed
When all they need is volume, swagger, stamina and greed

So keep an eye and ear out for the ones that might be hid
The ones that keep their lights under a bushel or a lid
Who calmly solve a myriad of problems every day
But never think to put their stunning talents on display

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[personal profile] tcpip
With the Australian Federal Election called some ten days ago I've been putting together a couple of paragraphs per day on the most news-worthy items. The governing LNP has had a very rocky start with various signs of political nepotism, corruption, and dumping four candidates; it's somewhat amazing that they can still scrape together c47.5%TPP under the circumstances. Meanwhile, drawing heavily upon my studies in public economics, I've published a piece on the Isocracy Network on The Idea Size of Governments, which will be followed up with a piece of voting methods and social choice theory (a recent discussion with the Proportional Representation Society suggests that they are currently insufficiently bold to get out of their demographic decline).

Livejournal has turned twenty! I first started making use of it a few years later, in 2003, as a means to stay in touch with people whilst I was in Timor-Leste. Apparently, I've made over a thousand posts in that time. Of course, like many people, various reasons (e.g., changes in policy) these days I typically cross-post to Livejournal via Dreamwidth. It's pretty much the same technology but I do wonder whether the forking will lead to the technological decline of the former over the latter (consider what has happened to OpenOffice vs LibreOffice, or even older, Mambo vs Joomla). Still, whatever the fate of LJ there can be no doubt of its extremely important role in social media technology, many features are still not replicated by Facebook, for example. Also, on-point, LJ continues to survive whilst others like Google Plus did not.

Apart from this, I've had my nose heavily in the books (virtual and literal) as I revise for my economics exams. Not just economics of course; some higher education study and my test to be a Software Carpentry instructor was held this week as well (I passed, natch). I've had a couple of social events, including a Megatraveller game on Thursday night, and Brendan E. and Dan T., visiting today (we were also supposed to have Asher Wolf as well - next time!). Work and social events mixed well this week with Dan and I having both breakfast and lunch on Lygon St with Ann B from the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, discussing the possibility of an HPC Educator's conference. Breakfast was French, lunch was Italian, and it does remind me of a gorgonzola-stuffed mushroom dish I made earlier this week; it called for breadcrumbs in the stuffing and it just so happened that a couple of days prior I had made a bread loaf with tomato and basil; You know what that would be like two days later as the flavours seep through. One day I'll do my "pauvre mais élégant" cookbook.


Apr. 19th, 2019 11:00 am
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[personal profile] skonen_blades
Some angels have rectangular halos.
They’re called angles.
They see in lines and ninety degree turns.
They’re all about the hard lefts
They love a good tangent.
Being perpendicular and standing up straight
They’re total squares.
They fly in zig zags
Impossibly turning in a right angle
While the other angels loop in a lazy curve
These angled angels scare the rest of heaven a little
With their logic
They’re easy to confuse
But they’re like a razor when they’re right
The edgiest of the seraphim
They never cut corners
They are the logical arm of heaven
Their wings are sharp
Cutting through the wind quietly
Stealthily shark finning the clouds
The world should be a grid, they think
Corners make stability, they think
Circles roll away
Squares stay where they are
Angles are dependable
Curves are fragile
Their arguments are solid
But a little chaos and they’re lost
They work great within
The greater fabric of heaven
But it would become hell
If they tried to run it



Apr. 19th, 2019 12:59 am
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[personal profile] skonen_blades
Luck exists
But luck is not a plan

Luck works
But luck should not be a strategy

Luck helps
But luck can’t be relied on

Luck cannot be a dependable factor in your schemes

Luck is that glittering hobo that sharks in with a bonus round
Kicks the odds in the balls and keeps you from drowning
Luck is a talking fish
The curver of bullet trajectories
Patron saint of without-a-scratch
Guardian angel of the inebriated and the young
It’s the Vegas wet dream that sometimes comes true
Whether you believe in it or not
It’s a religion that doesn’t need followers
Masquerading as statistical anomalies
Science can’t name it
But it can’t control it
It Pucks, it Anansis, it Ravens, it Jokers, it Jack Sparrows
Luck rides people like a god wanting a piggyback
Before leaving with a snap of the fingers
Capricious as love’s arrows
Its ebb and flow is erratic
But it sure seems to favour a few


Luck has a dark side
Not unlike the force
There are those who can’t catch a break with both hands
And they’d trip if they did
Broken plates, popped buttons, missed busses
Engine lights, stubbed toes, surprise stains
More than just bad timing
There are those among us
Black holes of unluck
Who honestly
Through no detectable fault of their own
Invite the small disaster
Who don’t even realize their state
But that state is their entire life
They have nothing to whine about
Because they do not even know
Of their predicament
The bad side of luck
Weaves discordant music on some people’s schedules
Some more than others

But the wonderful thing about these two opposing forces
Is how often one turns into the other

Getting bumped up into first class on an earlier flight
But that’s the one that crashes
Missing the bus
Only to find the love of your life on the next one
Luck juggles with linear time
Deeply thrilled with not knowing what comes next

There’s never a winner
There’s always a winner

There’s never a loser
There’s always a loser

Luck is a quarter spinning in the air
That never comes down



Apr. 18th, 2019 03:21 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I think today will be the elderly dog next door's final day. Poor Dakota is very, very old for a dog and time has caught up with her.

Hugo Help Please

Apr. 18th, 2019 11:05 am
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Which twelve of my reviews in 2018 were the best?

A Child's Secrets

Apr. 17th, 2019 09:22 pm
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[personal profile] skonen_blades
You've started keeping secrets
Small things
But it's the beginning
Of feeling the pain of being a parent
Of being on the outside looking in
Of that separation

You are
of us
But you are steadily becoming more of
just you

The extension of trust is so important
Letting you have a secret is so important
Saying ‘okay’ and changing the subject
After you say you don’t want to talk about it
And making it look easy
Is very hard to do
And I want to do it

But it wrestles with my fear for your safety
And no one imagines the worst better
Than a parent

Of course I will respect you
Of course I’ll only press
A little (too much)

But it's so hard to feel
That you are now not ours
That you are now only yours

It's a wrenching that leads to an emptiness
That must be filled with something else
That has to be filled with something else
Before it takes over
And I push you away with my invasive questions
Before I break into a diary
And hate myself with every page I read

The process is slow
And resistance only worsens it
But I have to go with it

So I can be the place you want to come back to
And confide in
If you ever choose to



Apr. 16th, 2019 07:45 pm
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[personal profile] skonen_blades
You heron yourself in the dark.
You deluge your hunger with violin marshes.
You stuff your armour with reluctant frogs,
battlefield everything into your shaking fists,
and shove them icy into the thundercloud ocean.
Conduct that electricity into the brine
And ground yourself up
You’re a lightning-storm kite
Enjoying the beach-rain baptism
Soaking in the sky’s small hammers
You might not be a duck
But umbrellas are an insult
To the soft, dark ceiling
That slides in front of the sun
Like the heavy lid of a stone coffin
Bringing a dark end to dry, bright heat
Use your eyes to catch the drops
Like your childish tongue would catch a snowflake
Listen to the curtain
Tamping down the noise
Shuddering the air
And filling every hilarious joke
With your lips
Leave your turtle shell soul
On the blue headstone of the coastline
You’re timeless here
Eternally wet
Damp in the storm
With a steaming smile

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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
following a moan about the demographics of the authors whose work I review:

In 2018 only about one in four books I reviewed were by white dudes. On the other hand, that's still about sixty books by white dudes, which is more books by white dudes than got reviewed by any one
of Analog, IO9, Asimov's, Interzone, F&SF, Vector, SFS, NYRSF, Foundation, Lightspeed or Cascadia Subduction Zone in the most year for which I have stats.
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