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All ten of them.
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[Error: unknown template qotd]Atrus. From the Myst games. The man can Write worlds. As the kids say these days, how cool is that?
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[Error: unknown template qotd] No.
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Nothing. It's all here. Show me any of those other answers and I can probably point you at an example of it. Most of those I've seen seem to be based on the idea "well, I am a shining example of this quality, so I think there should be more of it," which (even if it's true, and mostly it is) is not what I understand by "missing."

If more people used more of the love in their hearts, tried harder to understand each other, and to judge and condemn less, that would be good, but again, it's not "missing." And I am as bad as anyone else in that respect.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
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"SPEAK UP!!"
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[Error: unknown template qotd]I am either a Sheep, a Ram or a Goat, depending on which book you read. And yes, I have read that many books on the subject, and I have read the detailed descriptions of all the signs and the Sheep/Ram/Goat is indeed the one whose positive and negative traits most match mine.

Well, since Lil bothered to post on this question purely so she could iterate yet again her blanket statement of disbelief, I might as well put in my impartial findings. I have no investment whatever in whether Chinese astrology works or does not, not being Chinese or that bothered, but from what I have read, for me, it does. Make of that whatever you will.

And next time I post it will be next week. Bye all.
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Any they want to. Making people read books in early life frequently destroys the pleasure of reading for them, and guarantees moreover that they will neither enjoy nor learn from the particular books they are made to read.

Everyone should be encouraged to read--school libraries should be *huge*, and this moronic notion that reading is sissy/subversive/conducive to idleness/whatever the hell must be stamped out--but compulsory reading should be confined to textbooks required for the courses being taught, and a plurality of ideas should be made available without bias or compulsion to young minds at the time when they are most open. Thus the risk of intolerance and narrowness in later life may be lessened.

There is no one book that everyone should read. There are books of which I think a great deal, but that's different, and that was not the question.
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I do not know, and as far as I am aware neither does anybody else. If anyone does know the answer and can provide proof, they are very sensibly keeping it to themselves. Therefore, we are free to believe whomever we wish on the subject, or make up our own answers.

Numerous stories seem to exist from people who have been clinically dead or nearly dead and have returned to life, but apparently all such "evidence" is discounted on the basis that it is purely a physiological disturbance in the body affecting our perceptions and causing us to imagine things. How that differs from the "evidence" on which we base every single thought and action we initiate in life is a little unclear to me, but I'm not qualified to go any further in that area, nor do I wish to, and nor will I. I tried solipsism for a while, but then everybody started doing it so I gave it up. :)

I like (abstractly) the idea that when we die we are confronted by an entity who will judge us. Many people seem to believe that this judgment will be on the basis of how moral we have been, how well we have followed the rules laid down for nomadic desert tribes two thousand years ago, or how much we have denied ourselves (and others) in the way of pleasures of the flesh. This is where *I* see a lack of evidence. For all we know, we will be judged on how many foemen we have slaughtered and how much gold we have stolen, or how many cats we have fed and stroked and loved, or possibly how much pleasure of all kinds we have given to and received from others. According to this system, those who have strenuously refused to allow themselves or anyone else to be happy or to have fun will be granted an eternity of the same, since that's obviously what they like, whereas those who have suffered through no fault of their own will be set free. Or maybe there will be no judgment at all but what we make for ourselves, just like this world.

But I especially like the idea that those who feel themselves the most certain that they know what lies (or doesn't lie) beyond the grave will be the most surprised. And since the only logical basis for picking an answer to this question is "what do you want to think happens?", that's what I'll go with. Surprise.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
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Well, since you ask...


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"Young Frankenstein." (I'm assuming this means "went to see," rather than "I was channel-surfing and it happened to come on so I thought meh, why not.") I saw it fourteen times in a row on its first run. And even though I now have the DVD, if I heard that it was being shown at a reasonably local cinema, I would absolutely take the Countess and go. (Sadly cinemas in Britain can't afford to show old films.)

It was a revelation to me. I had never before realised that, while you can merely take the piss out of something you hate, in order to make a perfect parody there must be love. It's arguable that I would not be the filker I am if I hadn't learned this. Of course, I loved the source material too, which helped.

And I had forgotten, till I went to look it up just now, that it won Mel Brooks what surely must be his only Hugo. Fans had taste, even in the seventies.

I know there's a new version, but I don't know if I would ever want to see it. Second thoughts are not always better. Brooks and Wilder and their brilliant cast and crew created a perfect thing. You can't improve on that.
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[Error: unknown template qotd]Zen. Intelligent, articulate, dry wit, comes with own immensely powerful battlecruiser. What's not to like?

Oh, I don't know if I loved anyone when I was an early adolescent. Apart from the Doctor, and I never outgrew him. I do still find pleasure with Steed and Emma, Richard, Craig and Sharron, Jeff and Marty (both sets), Brett and Danny, and of course Number Six (though not Six: I think I outgrew him about ten minutes into the first episode, sadly) and a whole lot more. So maybe that's a no.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]"Life isn't fair."

Because that's what we're supposed to change.
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[Error: unknown template qotd]No, because (for one thing) the phrase "scientific explanation" is meaningless. I believe everything has a reason, and I believe that we will come to understand all the reasons, and science will be one of the most important tools for uncovering those reasons...but it is not the only one. Expecting science to explain everything is like trying to describe the world completely in terms of music.

I have often come across the arguments that (a) our brains are the brains of plains apes and are not equipped to understand the multiverse, and (b) if we ever understood everything it would be bad in some nebulous way, like maybe we'd all fall over and die because there were no more worlds to conquer, or something. I disagree.

(a) is like a proto-hominid saying that proto-hominids will never pick up sticks because their hands are the hands of proto-hominids and have no opposable thumb. If evolution teaches us anything at all, it teaches us that what we have is more than what we started with, and what we will end up with is more than what we have. Change happens. What we needed to pick up, we gained the ability to pick up. What we need to understand, we will gain the capacity to understand. The plains ape will be with us always, probably, but we do grow. May take another million years, and we may die off before it happens, but we do grow.

(b) is just poignant and wistful and all that stuff, but if we don't come to understand everything about how the multiverse works, how will we ever manage to create our own when the time comes? What's so great about staying in the box? It's sad and poignant when you get born, but it gets a lot better after that. At least, so I'm told. :)

These feelings of (a) inadequacy and (b) vague and free-floating terror are, I think, vestigial remnants of religious thinking. (Woo, watch the hackles rise.) We are, in many ways, comfortable being children, even if we refuse to believe in any entity to be a child of. The impulse to worship the 'verse is the impulse to worship a god, and the belief that the 'verse may be beyond our understanding, or that we should not try for some reason, is the foundation of worship.

I don't hold with that kind of religious thinking, especially among the non-religious. I believe intelligence, even ours, is or can be equal to the 'verse, and to the task of understanding it. But I think that great swathes of it have explanations that science will never find on its own. The way to make (a) a self-fulfilling prophecy is to focus on science to the exclusion of all else; to assume that science is the structure of the 'verse, and not simply one of the tools we use to determine that structure.
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[Error: unknown template qotd]Oh, let's see...

Stop being an arse. Stop using people. Get stuff out of your system now so you don't spend the rest of your life wishing you had. Stop worrying about finding Twu Wuv--you will, and she's wonderful. And forget about the day job. You're a writer, dammit. If starving is what it takes to make you get good, then bloody well starve, because when you're fifty it'll be too late.

How's that for a start?
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[Error: unknown template qotd]For lust of knowing what should not be known,
We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

From "Hassan" by James Elroy Flecker
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[Error: unknown template qotd]Steam train. Preferably not burning fossil fuel.

Teleportation is great for emergencies. I'd rather have a long, slow, comfortable journey, and live in a society where it was okay to do that.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
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Suggest to every world leader that I (in the persona of whatever god or principle they believe or profess to believe in) will be very displeased with all of them personally, in a distinctly hands-on fashion, if after a year from present date there is one person on the planet living in poverty or hardship (giving, of course, an achievable baseline to work towards, which I would be able to calculate being omniscient).

Poke a readily discoverable loophole in entropy which would enable, among other things, faster-than-light travel in real time.

Abolish, retroactively, diabetes mellitus (both types).

It would of course be a longish to-do list...I'd probably need a day similar in length to the ones God used, i.e. one-sixth of the time from the birth of the universe to 4004 B.C. Would that be a problem?

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