Because This Is The Most Important Thing To Do In Mid-Pandemic

As a quick note to my Patreon patrons, as of the start of July they will be charging sales tax on assorted, but not all, patron pledges, thanks to new legal requirements. This affects 36 states of the US and assorted foreign parts, in different ways for each, and may only affect certain parts of some pledges, and so forth.

Fuller details are here and will be e-mailed to you by Patreon on the 1st of June; I’m fiddling with settings and descriptions and so forth to minimize the impact to you, so I don’t recommend doing anything precipitate, please. But we’ll have to see how it works out for each individual in the long run.

If you don’t like it, please be assured that I don’t like it either. I can’t imagine that Patreon like it all that much, for that matter. But there’s nothing any of us can do about it, sadly, given “required by law”.

However, if you’d like to rise up in a bloody revolution, tear down the instrumentalities of extortion and oppression, and hang everyone with a favorable opinion of sales tax from the nearest convenient lamp posts, on the other hand, and have a viable plan to do so, do feel free to get in touch.

Shoot Them Later

If They Want To Leave, Let Them Leave

Malefactors in command of a docked starship are always to be permitted to depart if they request it. There are no ‘land-locks’ or armored space doors for a reason. Do not forget that even a tramp merchie or private yacht has point defenses against micrometeoroids, if nothing else, which can do a spectacular amount of damage if used at point-blank range; and, of course, every starship has a drive. While firing up a reaction drive inside a docking bay is of course suicide, it is Imperial policy not to play games of flinchy-flinchy with the desperate.

This applies no matter how clever the plan you have to disable the pd grid and drive systems and/or to board and storm is. Protection of the station and those aboard it comes first. The plan will work just as well when executed by a patrol cruiser a healthy distance from everything expensive.

– Orbit Guard Manual OG-134: Negotiations

Big Iron

INERTIA WARNING

MAGNETIC DRUM STORAGE IN USE
ACCESS BY AUTHORIZED TECHNICIANS ONLY

Magnetic drums rotate at 36 rpm when in use. Do not enter drum room unless steam valve is closed and padlocked, drive clutch is disengaged and padlocked, and spin-down is complete. (Governor ball check is insufficient; spin gauge must read zero.)

Inform supervising administrator before entrance and after exit. All keys are to be retained by responsible technician until maintenance is complete.

Full manual rotation must be performed to check balance before spin-up. Use auxiliary engine only; do not attempt to manipulate drums by hand. Steam release from head positioning servos may occur during zeroing and read/write tests.

EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN CAN NOT BRAKE DRUMS
CONTACT WITH ROTATING DRUM WILL KILL YOU

INERTIA WARNING

The Forgotten City

Once, there was a proud city whose towers touched the heavens. But the people of the city were not its equal in pride, and they grew afraid of the world, for it went on forever, and they believed that such reduced their measure, and the measure of their city.

They thought to make their fear their tool, and erected mighty walls and fortifications to keep the city safe, and hired many swords and ships to guard it against foes coming by land and by sea, and went forth by night to seek those already hidden within. But the more they prepared against the foes of their fancy, the more they supped on fear with their meat, and drink, and breath. They came to believe that it was strength, and so they fed it, even as it grew, until it became a great beast, and that beast devoured them from within.

There are no more towers touching heaven, for there is no city there any more. No foes came to plunder it, nor doom befall. Hollow, it was worn away by time, and the winds carried away its bones, and dust, and name. Books of lore tell not its tales, nor do the rains let fall their tears, nor even fallen stones remember it.

For that which does not live must die.

– A Child’s Treasury of Eldraeic Myth

Probing Further

In assessing the governmental and cultural structures of a world to determine whether contact should be made – or, indeed, further interactions carried through – it is best to approach from a cosmopolitan perspective.  The cultures of the greater galaxy vary widely, and we must not allow parochialism with regard to the details of any given culture to blind us to its virtues.  Despite this, a certain selectivity is required – in dealing with the pre-starflight civilizations which we are discussing, it is generally permissible for the Empire to deal with autocracies and suchlike, as such interaction can often serve to bring them closer to Imperial cultural norms in those areas.

However, an important aspect of pre-Contact study is the determination of so-called “intrinsic barbarian” cultures.  It is not the policy of the Empire to have formal contact or dealings beyond the necessities of the Accords with cultures whose values are fundamentally antithetical to its own, even when those values are in and of themselves not sufficient to have a world placed under exotoxicity interdict.

Note: this may prove particularly difficult when a given pre-Contact world is divided into multiple polities or cultural blocs.

– Imperial Exploratory Service, An Introduction to Contact

ahn-kel seeks ahn-ros for discreet encounter

No discussion of approaches to gender in the Associated Worlds would be complete without mention of the peculiar customs of the mourcalt of the Trailing Assembly.

The mourcalt‘s biology gave them an exceptional degree of sexual dimorphism, which is typically correlated with strong gender archetypes, as indeed it was in their case. When in time this proved unsatisfactory for later stages of their social development, and yet seemed difficult or impossible to overcome per se, the Assembly’s governance opted for an unconventional solution – purchasing an extensive memetic campaign to disassociate, as far as possible, the concepts of sex and gender in the mourcalt mind, and so far as was possible, to create a gender-concept that was free of existing archetypes.

The first part of this campaign succeeded magnificently. Citizens of the Assembly are now randomly assigned to one of eighteen genders at birth, and both ongoing memetic practice and cultural inertia ensures that this remains their psychosocial gender throughout life. (Indeed, this has succeeded to such an extent that mourcalt involved in the sexual marketplace must maintain an appropriate degree of doublethink in consciously finding a partner of a permissible gender for theirs, while simultaneously being unconsciously aware of them being the appropriate sex.

The second part, however, succeeded only insofar as the new genders were free of existing archetypes. Within the first few years of the new system, de novo archetypes for each of the new genders had come into being, and in the present day have hardened into rigid sets of behaviors, customs, and expectations for all eighteen genders (such as, for example, which genders may pair with which other genders for sexual or intimacy purposes, which are curiously disjoint sets), proving if anything even more binding on those claiming them than the old genders tied to biological sex were.

This gender-norming has led in turn to the rise of the ahn-gazet subculture among the mourcalt, which attempts to conceal and obfuscate all visible signs of the psychosocial gender and biological sex, permitting them to act as they please, and to the large number of mourcalt expatriates many of whom reject the Assembly’s gender system, were former ahn-gazet whose gender had become publicly known, or both.

– Unconventional Approaches to Gender Identity,
Makar, Melodion & Avila,
in the Quarterly Journal of Social Exosophontology,
vol. MMCCXIV, no. iii

Sim-Descartes

Well, last month was kind of crappy, productivity-wise, what with one damn thing after another going wrong in non-writing-friendly ways, even without the coronavirus.

Let’s hope this coming month works out better. In the meantime, I hope the lack of posting here has been in some way compensated for by my second venture into self-fanfic.


Proposition: A consequence of the theory of information physics (“it is bit”) is that it renders the simulation argument moot with regards to reality-as-it-is, inasmuch as ontogeny has no bearing on current status.

Defend or refute this proposition. If defending the proposition, explain how the presence or absence of a supervising entity or entities can be considered metaphysically irrelevant. If attacking the proposition, suggest an experiment capable of distinguishing a simulated universe from a self-computed universe.

[10%]

– Hexad Examination in Pure and Applied Metaphysics,
Imperial University of Calmiríë