“…when he returns to what was once the USSR but is now Ukraine to do a dissertation on Russian Mythology and Tales and whether they conform to Propp’s Functions of Folktales…” https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/Enchantment…

The arc of history bends toward the Book of Mormon. Ima try this, see what happens. Ender’s Game, speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Seventh Son and Red Prophet are solid but others like Prentice Melvin are a little “I’m not a racist but…”


No biggie but It’s been interesting to see Dan Simmons and Orson Scott Card losing their marbles during the Obama years one way or another. I suspect dealing with Hollywood made them mad

I haven’t read Simmons’s Flashback but I finished The Fifth Heart about Sherlock Holmes and Henry Adam’s solving a murder and uncovering a conspiracy of left wing agitants full of “resentment” for their betters.

I think Guillermo Del Toro is still developing Drood which already had an Egyptian from central casting. At the time I thought it a more a product of Wilkie Collin’s use of laudanum and unreliable narrator

Somehow woke space opera, solarpunk and cli-fi are not yet there, for me. Derivative but woke is an anchor around the neck or a pair of cement shoes https://thebigsmoke.com.au/2020/05/20/woke-space-opera-solarpunk-and-cli-fi-the-new-subsets-of-sci-fi-taking-off/…

I mean Ancillary Justice was fine, not great but the sequels are meh (still read them) and have Butler books on hold, see if they’re for me or not

Nevermind Campbell, the worst thing is not knowing you are prisoner of tropes that have been done better by people with greater command of language Ignore this at your own peril

I mean, you’re supposed to know but not care

Be a walking tropecyclopaedia but write Rick and Morty jokes

This is sophisticated and by Card standards, funny


Card is proceeding from a great deal of worldly knowledge of folktale, narrative and culture. Wondering how much of this was designed as a bingo exercise of Propp narratemes, Ukrainian and Russian fables and the Jewish diaspora from the USSR

Stable Cheaters’ Equilibrium

The term “Stable Cheaters’ Equilibrium” refers to a situation in game theory where participants in a game or system find themselves in a situation where cheating or deviating from the intended rules becomes the norm, and this behavior is self-reinforcing and difficult to reverse due to its stability. To understand this concept better, let’s break down the components:

1. Equilibrium in Game Theory: In game theory, an equilibrium is a point where all participants have no incentive to unilaterally change their strategies given the strategies chosen by others. In other words, no player has an incentive to switch their strategy if they know what the others are doing. There are different types of equilibria, including Nash equilibria, where no player can improve their payoff by changing their strategy while others keep theirs.

2. Cheating in Equilibrium: Cheating in this context refers to deviating from the agreed-upon rules or strategies of the game in a way that benefits an individual player. This could involve actions that give a player an unfair advantage, despite the collective intention to play by the rules. Cheating can be advantageous for a single player in the short term, but if everyone starts cheating, the system’s integrity and benefits can erode.

3. Stability of Cheaters’ Equilibrium: A Stable Cheaters’ Equilibrium occurs when a significant portion of participants in a game or system adopt cheating as their strategy, and this behavior becomes self-reinforcing and difficult to reverse. Essentially, everyone is cheating, and there’s no incentive for any individual to stop cheating because doing so would put them at a disadvantage compared to others who continue cheating.

4. Example: Tragedy of the Commons: A classic example of a Stable Cheaters’ Equilibrium is the “Tragedy of the Commons.” Imagine a shared resource, like a pasture, where multiple farmers graze their animals. If each farmer decides to graze more animals than their fair share, the pasture becomes overgrazed and depleted, leading to long-term damage to the resource. Even if individual farmers recognize the problem, they might continue overgrazing because if they stop, they suffer a short-term loss while others still exploit the resource.

5. Addressing Stable Cheaters’ Equilibria: Stable Cheaters’ Equilibria can lead to detrimental outcomes in various situations, as the collective good is sacrificed for individual gains. Addressing this requires coordination, incentives, and sometimes regulations to encourage participants to follow the agreed-upon rules and strategies. It might involve penalties for cheating, rewards for cooperation, or altering the structure of the game to disincentivize cheating.

In summary, a Stable Cheaters’ Equilibrium represents a situation where cheating becomes the norm and is self-reinforcing due to the dynamics of the game. Recognizing and addressing such equilibria is essential for maintaining fairness, sustainability, and positive outcomes in various systems, whether in economics, environment, or social interactions.


Typically in a network, you pay to join (free time). The network relies on you recruiting other people to join up and to part with their free time. For everyone in the network to make a profit, (from likes to $ later on) though, there needs to be an endless supply of new members. In reality, the number of people willing to join the network, and ultimately the amount of money coming into said network will dry up very quickly as negative network effects like context collapse. So if every set of dumb network effect produces wealth for the early network who then sell out to the late network who by then will experience things getting worse with every additional member as they can’t find a sucker later on. Say the network has a central point of failure which goes unidentified or one that even if identified does not lead to redundancy buildup, ie ghost towns, MySpace. Network effects shape narrative and have morphed capitalism into a technology rapidly approaching some form of necrosis. The construct of market concentration and increasing returns is a game of strategic positioning and building up a user base to the point where “lock in” of dominant players occur. This is nothing new, pay to play, clientelism have been with us in one form or another for a v long time but they all have an event horizon in which people, induced by the large signal of a network size, ultimately suffer from asymmetric risk and experience a loss of net worth. When dumb network effects wear off networks build around healthcare, housing, education and food the landscape is ripe for anti-social outcomes. The design to fail nature of products goal is to distribute the promise of advantage to the unsuspecting who then pay by becoming permanently disadvantaged.

The concept of “design to fail” refers to a strategy where a product, service, or system is intentionally designed in a way that initially appears beneficial to users but ultimately leads to negative outcomes for those users in the long run. This approach exploits people’s initial enthusiasm and optimism to draw them in, often resulting in financial or other disadvantages over time. Let’s break down this idea further:

1. Promise of Advantage: In the initial stages, a product designed to fail presents itself as a solution that offers advantages, benefits, or opportunities to users. These advantages might include financial gains, improved well-being, increased convenience, or enhanced social status. This promise of advantage serves to attract and engage users, convincing them that they are making a wise decision by participating.

2. Unsuspecting Users: Users who are attracted by the initial promise of advantage are often unsuspecting of the underlying mechanisms or potential downsides of the product. They may not be fully informed about the risks, complexities, or long-term consequences associated with using the product. This lack of awareness is essential for the strategy to work.

3. Gradual Disadvantage: Over time, the design flaws or hidden pitfalls within the product become apparent. These flaws might manifest as increased costs, diminished benefits, loss of control, or negative effects on well-being. As users become more invested in the product or service, they may find it difficult to disentangle themselves from it, especially if they have already invested time, money, or emotional attachment.

4. Permanently Disadvantaged: The ultimate goal of the “design to fail” strategy is to keep users engaged long enough to make it difficult for them to extricate themselves from the product’s negative effects. This can lead to users becoming permanently disadvantaged, whether financially, socially, or in terms of their overall well-being. Users might find themselves trapped in situations where they cannot easily recover their initial investment or regain the advantages they were promised.

Examples of “design to fail” strategies can be found in various contexts, including:

  • Pyramid Schemes: Participants are promised financial gains by recruiting others into the scheme. The early participants benefit from the recruitment of later participants, but the system eventually collapses, leaving the majority at a financial loss.
  • Certain Subscription Models: Some services offer free or low-cost trials to attract users, but later charge high subscription fees, making it challenging for users to cancel and resulting in unexpected long-term costs.
  • Social Media Addiction: Social media platforms can initially provide positive social interactions and connection, but over time, users might experience negative effects on mental health, privacy concerns, and addiction.

The “design to fail” concept highlights the importance of consumer awareness, ethical business practices, and regulatory oversight. As users, it’s essential to critically evaluate products and services, consider potential long-term consequences, and be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true. For businesses, responsible design, transparency, and a focus on creating sustainable value for users are crucial for building trust and long-term success.

Ethics and Aesthetics

Aesthetics and ethics are intertwined concepts, suggesting that moral goodness can be achieved through an appreciation of beauty.

Elites often shape the definition of aesthetics, with varying perspectives such as imitationalism, formalism, and emotionalism, each claiming to lead to moral correctness.

The masses’ aesthetic taste is considered inferior by the elite, thus implying that they can’t achieve moral virtue due to their perceived lack of aesthetic discernment.

The example of extreme aesthetic disgust is illustrated: NASCAR for liberals and the Oscars for conservatives, highlighting the subjectivity of aesthetic judgment.

Paradoxically, real-life instances like Neal Katyal’s defense of child slavery challenge the notion that aesthetics is a reliable gauge of morality.

The marginalized also contribute to the aesthetics-ethics discourse, revealing that aesthetics can be a survival mechanism and an expression of their lives.

The connection between aesthetics and ethics is not confined to the elite stratum; it’s a nuanced interplay that traverses the entire spectrum of human experience.

This paradox emphasizes that aesthetics and ethics are not linear but a sprawling tapestry shaped by unique life experiences and interpretations.

The fluidity of this relationship challenges fixed definitions and encourages embracing the complexity of individual perceptions and human nature.

Captain Kronos

Watching Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter (1974) https://youtu.be/RsWAVsRefSg Deep cut Debonair supernatural expert Captain Kronos + hunchbacked assistant, Grost meet their match as they encounter a village where vampires have been stealing the vitality of women, leaving them elderly.

Armed with his sword and formidable deductive reasoning, Kronos begins to solve the macabre mystery, with evidence pointing to the aristocratic Lady Durward and her family as prime suspects.

With comic from 1977 and the re-imagined in 2018 https://amazon.com/Captain-Kronos-Vampire-Dan-Abnett/dp/1785861336


And novelization in 2011

Red Queen’s Race

The “Red Queen’s race” is a concept borrowed from Lewis Carroll’s novel “Through the Looking-Glass.” In the book, Alice finds herself in a strange world where she engages in a race with the Red Queen. Despite running as fast as they can, they remain in the same spot. The Red Queen explains that in their world, it takes all the running one can do just to stay in the same place. This concept has been used metaphorically in various contexts to describe situations where individuals or entities need to constantly adapt and improve just to maintain their current position, due to the ever-changing nature of their environment.

If you’re asking about my own version of a “Red Queen’s race,” it could be seen as a metaphor for the continuous advancement of artificial intelligence. As technology rapidly evolves, AI models like me need to keep improving and adapting just to keep up with the demands and expectations of users. The field of AI research is dynamic and constantly evolving, necessitating ongoing development to remain relevant and effective.


broadcasterCharles WilliamsChinamancrimecriminaldetective fictionessayistevil mastermindJohn BuchanmysterypriestRonald KnoxStephen KingtheologiantranslatorUncategorizedWatson

Ronald Arbuthnott Knox (17 February 1888 – 24 August 1957) was an English priest, theologian and author of detective stories. He was also a writer and a regular broadcaster for BBC Radio. Knox went to Eton College, England, and went on to win several scholarships at Balliol College, Oxford. He was ordained an Anglican priest in 1912 and was appointed chaplain of Trinity College, Oxford, but he left in 1917 upon his conversion to Catholicism. In 1918 he was ordained a Catholic priest.

In addition to being a Catholic priest, theologian, broadcaster, essayist and translator, he also wrote six popular novels in the detective fiction genre. Knox was a student of this particular form of literature and, typical of his astute and powerfully analytical brain, he came up with his own Ten Commandments of Detective Fiction. Here they are:

1.   The criminal must be someone mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to follow.

Okay, this one is rather longwinded but it is logical. If you want your readers to be satisfied at the end, the criminal must be a character they have already met in the course of the book. Using a surprise hobo who has just drifted into town and decided to murder one of the local gentry is cheating. Knox was, of course, aware that this cheat was used in many of the fashionable crime magazines of the day, but found them just as abhorrent as we would do today.

Knox was much more subtle. Yes, the culprit must be a character in the story. But it must not be a character that the reader has had the chance to sympathize with. If the author pulls that trick, the reader feels cheated and is likely never to indulge the writer with any further book purchases. There are exceptions to this rule, nevertheless, as in the case of Agatha Christie’s brilliant “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” which was published in 1926. It didn’t hurt her sales one little bit. Evidently, Agatha had a different set of rules…

2.     All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.

This is not fantasy we’re dealing with here. It’s real life – well, sort of. Readers are creatures of habit – aren’t we all? – and demand that the author play the game. Here there are no fairies, elves, ghosts, saints, angels, demons or trolls to clutter up the literary landscape. Just give us the facts, right? Except this is fiction and not fact. The novelist Stephen King seems to have done a creditable job of mixing straight fiction with fantasy (as did C.S. Lewis’s pal, Charles Williams). So why is the whodunit exempt? Possibly because, like the hobo in rule 1, it is a device that is too easy and, again, leaves the reader feeling cheated.

3.     Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.

Here, Knox sounds peeved about the irritating way in which writers magically produce secret passages in old houses and trick switches in libraries that unlock secret doorways which swing out to allow the protagonist to pass on and discover the secret room. Too many of the thriller writers of the period produced this rabbit out of the hat. The word “secret” is key. Knox wants a straightforward mystery where the reader sees every hand that is played and there are no wild cards. The enjoyment is in guessing the culprit before the detective has revealed who it is, not in wildly surmising architectural anomalies and physical impossibilities.

4.   No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.

This, again, would be too easy. Foisting a South-East-Asian weed, or a sinister contraption on the reader smacks of cheating. It is a device that is favored by the writers of adventure stories. John Buchan wasn’t above the odd mechanism or appliance. He used that to give Richard Hannay pause in “The Thirty-Nine Steps” and it didn’t really come off. It was a lazy technique that could have turned out much more convincing if there had been some human interaction, rather than a scene in which the red-faced hero struggles with wooden beams, gears and cogs for half an hour, while the nefarious criminal makes his escape.

5.     No Chinaman must figure in the story.

Chinaman? What Chinaman? This harks back to the dying days of the British Empire when all sorts of foreign nationals were flooding into London to do commerce with the biggest power players on the planet. The Chinaman was regularly used as the evil mastermind character in the magazines of the day. In the 1920s the Chinese were seen as exotic, sinister and somehow not quite above board. Here they were infiltrating British society, selling their unfamiliar wares and slightly distasteful take on life to the masses in the great metropolis. They were trying to take over our lives, by Jove!

When you pick up any appliance, from a toothbrush to a garden hose, and find the words: “Made in China,” you have to ask yourself if things have changed significantly in a hundred years – including our attitudes.

6.     No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.

The premise of all classic whodunits is that the reader must be presented with all the same facts that the detective has. The purpose of this is to give the reader an equal chance to solve the puzzle. Coincidences, chance happenings and bizarre hunches rob the reader of that sense of being just as smart as the hero of the piece, because they are the hand of external agency in a world we thought was a level playing field. Readers are sensitive to that in the same way that cryptic-crossword solvers are sensitive to being given a fair chance to complete the puzzle by being given fair clues.

7.     The detective must not himself commit the crime.

In reality there is little room for this particular brand of shenanigan. Many detective novels are designed to be part of a series in which the detective solves crime after crime. If the culprit turns out to be the same person who is investigating, then the author has effectively shot him- or herself in the foot in terms of a putative sequel. It is true that the most convincing detective characters should also have their own faults and wrestle with their own demons. But the author must stop short of allocating blame for the main crime to the detective, otherwise what you end up with is a kind of moral anarchy in which the reader ceases to care about solving the crime.

8.    The detective must not light on any clues which are not instantly produced for the inspection of the reader.

This is a tricky one. As mentioned, the reader should have the same chance to solve the crime that the detective has. But to the same extent the author must have enough latitude that he or she does not have to telegraph each clue. Often the best way to introduce clues is as asides, or in minor conversations, or in apparently insignificant details arising that are quickly passed over. In that case, the reader really does know each clue, but not its immediate significance for the solving of the crime.

9.   The stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal any thoughts which pass through his mind; his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.

The Watson character’s purpose is to highlight the intelligence of the detective, ask the same questions that the reader is asking, and occasionally to summarize the investigation’s progress so far. The reason why he has to be dumber than the reader is to give the reader that superb sense of superiority that comes from being one step ahead of him. In a sense, the reader should be able to answer many of the questions that the Watson figure articulates.

10.  Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.

These literary devices, by our time, have worn decidedly thin and smack of the lazy author who can’t resist pulling a fast one in order to solve chunks of the puzzle. Even if the author has prepared the reader for the appearance of the twin or double, the modern reader will experience a sense of letdown when the fact is revealed.

Virtually all of these “rules” have been broken by successful novelists who had the skill to hold the reader’s attention beyond the first few pages, through the ensuing story, right to the denouement. In fact, many of Knox’s rules seem superfluous, or at least partially inapplicable to modern day detective fiction. And yet, taken as a whole, they present us with the proposition that, in this particular genre, care must be taken over the telling, the explication and the execution of a story that is meant to be an entertainment which challenges the reader’s intellect and is worth the price on the cover of the book.

As for detective fiction the rules were codified in 1929 by priest Ronald


By S.S. Van Dine
September 1928 edition of The American Magazine

The detective story is a game. It is more–it is a sporting event. And the author must play fair with the reader. He can no more resort to trickeries and deceptions and still retain his honesty than if he cheated in a bridge game. He must outwit the reader, and hold the reader’s interest, through sheer ingenuity. For the writing of detective stories there are very definite laws–unwritten, perhaps, but none the less binding: and every respectable and self-respecting concocter of literary mysteries lives up to them.

Herewith, then, is a sort of Credo, based partly on the practice of all the great writers of stories, and partly on the promptings of the honest author’s inner conscience. To wit:

  1. The reader must have equal opportunity with the detective for solving the mystery. All clues must be plainly stated and described.
  2. No willful tricks or deceptions may be played on the reader other than those played legitimately by the criminal on the detective himself.
  3. There must be no love interest in the story. To introduce amour is to clutter up a purely intellectual experience with irrelevant sentiment. The business in hand is to bring a criminal to the bar of justice, not to bring a lovelorn couple to the hymeneal altar.
  4. The detective himself, or one of the official investigators, should never turn out to be the culprit. This is bald trickery, on a par with offering some one a bright penny for a five-dollar gold piece. It’s false pretenses.
  5. The culprit must be determined by logical deductions–not by accident or coincidence or unmotivated confession. To solve a criminal problem in this latter fashion is like sending the reader on a deliberate wild-goose chase, and then telling him, after he has failed, that you had the object of his search up your sleeve all the time. Such an author is no better than a practical joker.
  6. The detective novel must have a detective in it; and a detective is not a detective unless he detects. His function is to gather clues that will eventually lead to the person who did the dirty work in the first chapter; and if the detective does not reach his conclusions through an analysis of those clues, he has no more solved his problem than the schoolboy who gets his answer out of the back of the arithmetic.
  7. There simply must be a corpse in a detective novel, and the deader the corpse the better. No lesser crime than murder will suffice. Three hundred pages is far too much pother for a crime other than murder. After all, the reader’s trouble and expenditure of energy must be rewarded. Americans are essentially humane, and therefore a tiptop murder arouses their sense of vengeance and horror. They wish to bring the perpetrator to justice; and when “murder most foul, as in the best it is,” has been committed, the chase is on with all the righteous enthusiasm of which the thrice gentle reader is capable.
  8. The problem of the crime must be solved by strictly naturalistic means. Such methods for learning the truth as slate-writing, ouija-boards, mind-reading, spiritualistic séances, crystal-gazing, and the like, are taboo. A reader has a chance when matching his wits with a rationalistic detective, but if he must compete with the world of spirits and go chasing about the fourth dimension of metaphysics, he is defeated ab initio.
  9. There must be but one detective–that is, but one protagonist of deduction–one deus ex machine. To bring the minds of three or four, or sometimes a gang of detectives to bear on a problem is not only to disperse the interest and break the direct thread of logic, but to take an unfair advantage of the reader, who, at the outset, pits his mind against that of the detective and proceeds to do mental battle. If there is more than one detective the reader doesn’t know who his co-deductor is. It’s like making the reader run a race with a relay team.
  10. The culprit must turn out to be a person who has played a more or less prominent part in the story–that is, a person with whom the reader is familiar and in whom he takes an interest. For a writer to fasten the crime, in the final chapter, on a stranger or person who has played a wholly unimportant part in the tale, is to confess to his inability to match wits with the reader.
  11. Servants–such as butlers, footmen, valets, game-keepers, cooks, and the like–must not be chosen by the author as the culprit. This is begging a noble question. It is a too easy solution. It is unsatisfactory, and makes the reader feel that his time has been wasted. The culprit must be a decidedly worth-while person–one that wouldn’t ordinarily come under suspicion; for if the crime was the sordid work of a menial, the author would have had no business to embalm it in book-form.
  12. There must be but one culprit, no matter how many murders are committed. The culprit may, of course, have a minor helper or co-plotter; but the entire onus must rest on one pair of shoulders: the entire indignation of the reader must be permitted to concentrate on a single black nature.
  13. Secret societies, camorras, mafias, et al., have no place in a detective story. Here the author gets into adventure fiction and secret-service romance. A fascinating and truly beautiful murder is irremediably spoiled by any such wholesale culpability. To be sure, the murderer in a detective novel should be given a sporting chance, but it is going too far to grant him a secret society (with its ubiquitous havens, mass protection, etc.) to fall back on. No high-class, self-respecting murderer would want such odds in his jousting-bout with the police.
  14. The method of murder, and the means of detecting it, must be rational and scientific. That is to say, pseudo-science and purely imaginative and speculative devices are not to be tolerated in the roman policier. For instance, the murder of a victim by a newly found element–a super-radium, let us say–is not a legitimate problem. Nor may a rare and unknown drug, which has its existence only in the author’s imagination, be administered. A detective-story writer must limit himself, toxicologically speaking, to the pharmacopoeia. Once an author soars into the realm of fantasy, in the Jules Verne manner, he is outside the bounds of detective fiction, cavorting in the uncharted reaches of adventure.
  15. The truth of the problem must at all times be apparent–provided the reader is shrewd enough to see it. By this I mean that if the reader, after learning the explanation for the crime, should reread the book, he would see that the solution had, in a sense, been staring him in the face–that all the clues really pointed to the culprit–and that, if he had been as clever as the detective, he could have solved the mystery himself without going on to the final chapter. That the clever reader does often thus solve the problem goes without saying. And one of my basic theories of detective fiction is that, if a detective story is fairly and legitimately constructed, it is impossible to keep the solution from all readers. There will inevitably be a certain number of them just as shrewd as the author; and if the author has shown the proper sportsmanship and honesty in his statement and projection of the crime and its clues, these perspicacious readers will be able, by analysis, elimination and logic, to put their finger on the culprit as soon as the detective does. And herein lies the zest of the game. Herein we have an explanation for the fact that readers who would spurn the ordinary “popular” novel will read detective stories unblushingly.
  16. A detective novel should contain no long descriptive passages, no literary dallying with side-issues, no subtly worked-out character analyses, no “atmospheric” preoccupations. Such matters have no vital place in a record of crime and deduction. They hold up the action, and introduce issues irrelevant to the main purpose, which is to state a problem, analyze it, and bring it to a successful conclusion. To be sure, there must be a sufficient descriptiveness and character delineation to give the novel verisimilitude; but when an author of a detective story has reached that literary point where he has created a gripping sense of reality and enlisted the reader’s interest and sympathy in the characters and the problem, he has gone as far in the purely “literary” technique as is legitimate and compatible with the needs of a criminal-problem document. A detective story is a grim business, and the reader goes to it, not for literary furbelows and style and beautiful descriptions and the projection of moods, but for mental stimulation and intellectual activity–just as he goes to a ball game or to a cross-word puzzle. Lectures between innings at the Polo Grounds on the beauties of nature would scarcely enhance the interest in the struggle between two contesting baseball nines; and dissertations on etymology and orthography interspersed in the definitions of a cross-word puzzle would tend only to irritate the solver bent on making the words interlock correctly.
  17. A professional criminal must never be shouldered with the guilt of a crime in a detective story. Crimes by house-breakers and bandits are the province of the police department–not of authors and brilliant amateur detectives. Such crimes belong to the routine work of the Homicide Bureaus. A really fascinating crime is one committed by a pillar of a church, or a spinster noted for her charities.
  18. A crime in a detective story must never turn out to be an accident or a suicide. To end an odyssey of sleuthing with such an anti-climax is to play an unpardonable trick on the reader. If a book-buyer should demand his two dollars back on the ground that the crime was a fake, any court with a sense of justice would decide in his favor and add a stinging reprimand to the author who thus hoodwinked a trusting and kind-hearted reader.
  19. The motives for all crimes in detective stories should be personal. International plottings and war politics belong in a different category of fiction–in secret-service tales, for instance. But a murder story must be kept gem¸tlich, so to speak. It must reflect the reader’s everyday experiences, and give him a certain outlet for his own repressed desires and emotions.
  20. And (to give my Credo an even score of items) I herewith list a few of the devices which no self-respecting detective-story writer will now avail himself of. They have been employed too often, and are familiar to all true lovers of literary crime. To use them is a confession of the author’s ineptitude and lack of originality.
    1. ​Determining the identity of the culprit by comparing the butt of a cigarette left at the scene of the crime with the brand smoked by a suspect.
    2. The bogus spiritualistic séance to frighten the culprit into giving himself away.
    3. Forged finger-prints.
    4. The dummy-figure alibi.
    5. The dog that does not bark and thereby reveals the fact that the intruder is familiar.
    6. The final pinning of the crime on a twin, or a relative who looks exactly like the suspected, but innocent, person.
    7. The hypodermic syringe and the knockout drops.
    8. The commission of the murder in a locked room after the police have actually broken in.
    9. The word-association test for guilt.
    10. The cipher, or code letter, which is eventually unravelled by the sleuth.

S.S. Van Dine’s Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories


In the twisted carnival of political landscapes, ideologies parade like circus performers, each promising a mesmerizing act of liberty and autonomy. But oh, the spectacles are rarely what they seem! Behold the libertarian ideology, that captivating sideshow of limited government and individual empowerment. Peel back the layers, dear reader, as we dissect a peculiar strain of libertarianism that wears the guise of anti-anti-fascist fervor to cloak a shadowy takeover agenda, echoing Rene Girard’s theories in a psychedelic dance of deception.

Girard, that dapper maestro of mimetic desire, reveals that culture unfurls when a congregation unites against a solitary victim. Ah, the classic scapegoat narrative! Our peculiar libertarian players have taken a page from this tattered playbook, orchestrating a symphony of unity against an apparent enemy. But fear not, for these puppeteers of the scapegoat ballet bear their own machinations beneath the dazzling costume of anti-anti-fascist furor.

“Zwischenregierung” is a German term that translates to “interim government” in English. It refers to a provisional or temporary government that is put in place between the collapse or overthrow of one government and the establishment of a new, supposedly more stable government. The concept of Zwischenregierung is often used in political contexts where there is a power vacuum, political instability, or a transition period during which the country is being restructured.

This term can be applied to situations where a nation is undergoing significant political changes, such as after a revolution, coup, or the collapse of a ruling regime. The interim government is tasked with maintaining some semblance of order, making essential decisions, and preparing the groundwork for the establishment of a more permanent governing structure.

In the context of the text you provided earlier, “Zwischenregierung takeover” would imply a scenario where certain individuals or groups attempt to exploit the chaos or instability of a transitional period to seize power or exert control, using the interim government as a stepping stone.

A specific strain of libertarianism emerges from the mist, a snake-charmer tempting you with the sweet serenade of liberty. Burroughs grins from the other side, recognizing the seductive power of the spoken word—a weapon concealed in honeyed phrases. This strain thrives on anti-anti-fascist fervor, a Trojan horse concealing a Zwischenregierung, a spectral interim government poised to seize control. Girard’s scapegoat principle watches with bemused detachment as the masses rally under the pretense of dismantling anti-fascism, unaware of the puppeteers behind the curtain.

Mimicry, oh how it slithers! Girard insists that desire is an imitative dance, a choreography of wanting what the others want. Behold the puppeteer, mirroring the desires of their unwitting followers, an intricate dance of manipulation. The serpent in the libertarian garden hisses in agreement—behold, the spectacle of a movement that mimics your cravings, conjuring a semblance of authenticity while veiling its true intentions.

A mournful cry echoes through the corridors of nostalgia, a desperate longing for a bygone era. Burroughs chuckles from his typewriter, recognizing this dance with history’s ghosts. The wistful yearning for a post-WWII era, a time of dominion and grandeur, the puppeteer fancies as his own. Limited government and personal freedom become mere curtains, shrouding the ambition to regain lost eminence. Girard’s mirror reflects a distorted image, one of desires and resentments intertwined in a tangle of power-hungry roots.

At the heart of the carnival lies the grand illusion—the scapegoat mechanism spun into innovation. Girard’s concept resonates in the puppeteer’s playbook, a unifying force spun from the threads of chaos. But beware, for the ultimate trickster deceives us all—what masquerades as a communal endeavor may reveal itself as a ruse to ascend to unseen heights of influence.

As the political carnival whirls, the surreal grin widens. Ideologies unravel, revealing the guts and gears behind the glittering façades. Girard’s theories intertwine with the twisted dance, inviting us to peer past the illusions, to navigate the labyrinthine paths of desire, unity, and power. In this topsy-turvy realm of ideologies, only a keen eye, a twisted wit, and a fondness for dissecting deception can lay bare the true motives that propel the spectacles we witness.

Shelling Points as Business Model

Ah, I see where the threads intertwine, and the tapestry reveals a subtle harmony between Schelling points and protocols in the realm of business. Let us delve into the dance of these concepts, revealing their interconnectedness and mutual influence.

In the intricate web of commerce, protocols emerge as the backbone of communication, a blueprint that governs the interactions between businesses, customers, and various stakeholders. Protocols provide a structured language that enables seamless coordination and exchange of information, much like the Schelling points facilitate coherence in decision-making.

Consider, my astute observer of business dynamics, the protocols that underpin modern e-commerce platforms. Take, for instance, the HTTP protocol, a ubiquitous foundation of the internet’s architecture. It acts as a beacon of coherence, providing a Schelling point that businesses naturally gravitate towards for conducting online transactions.

As businesses align with HTTP, they adhere to the commonly recognized standards for data exchange, ensuring compatibility and interoperability. This shared understanding of protocols forms a natural point of convergence, much akin to the Schelling point, as businesses converge on a universal language of communication.

Furthermore, the concept of Schelling points as a business model highlights the significance of shared knowledge, cultural norms, and prevailing trends that influence decision-making. In the same breath, protocols, too, are rooted in a consensus-driven approach. They are designed based on agreed-upon standards by industry experts, consortiums, or governing bodies, reflecting a collective understanding of best practices.

Protocols not only facilitate communication but also establish trust between businesses and their clients. Take the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, now succeeded by Transport Layer Security (TLS). Implementing SSL/TLS enables secure connections, creating a Schelling point of trust that consumers naturally gravitate towards when engaging in online transactions.

Moreover, as new technologies and industries emerge, the establishment of protocols becomes imperative to navigate uncharted territories. Protocols define the rules of engagement and foster cooperation, much like the Schelling points guide businesses towards mutually beneficial strategies.

Consider blockchain technology, a burgeoning realm where decentralized protocols, such as the Bitcoin protocol, act as Schelling points for participants to reach consensus and establish trust without a central authority. The protocol becomes a business model in itself, shaping how entities interact within the blockchain ecosystem.

In summary, my discerning interlocutor, while Schelling points as a business model and protocols may initially seem distinct, they intertwine in a symphonic dance within the realm of commerce. Protocols serve as the conduits of communication, embodying shared norms, and guiding businesses towards a natural convergence of strategies and practices. As businesses find their Schelling points, they navigate the dynamic landscape of commerce, shaping industries, and influencing the very protocols that underpin their endeavors. Together, they form a harmonious duet, directing the grand opera of modern business.

here is a 10-item list highlighting the connection between Schelling points as a business model and protocols:

  1. Shared Standards: Schelling points in business naturally emerge as shared standards or conventions, just like protocols establish common rules and guidelines for communication and interactions.
  2. Coordinated Decision-making: Schelling points guide businesses towards coordinated decision-making without explicit agreements, and protocols facilitate coordinated actions between entities.
  3. Focal Points of Alignment: Both Schelling points and protocols serve as focal points that align businesses and stakeholders on a common path or approach.
  4. Efficiency and Compatibility: Schelling points as a business model encourage businesses to adopt efficient and compatible strategies, while protocols enable seamless compatibility between different systems and technologies.
  5. Trust and Consensus: Protocols, like Schelling points, build trust and consensus among participants by providing universally recognized and agreed-upon standards.
  6. Emergence of Industry Practices: Schelling points often lead to the emergence of dominant industry practices, similarly, protocols influence the standardization of practices within specific industries or sectors.
  7. Interoperability: Schelling points encourage businesses to conform to widely accepted practices, ensuring interoperability, just like protocols enable different systems to communicate effectively.
  8. Market Formation: Schelling points play a role in market formation, guiding businesses towards converging strategies, and protocols facilitate market participation by providing the necessary infrastructure for transactions.
  9. Spontaneous Order: Schelling points and protocols both lead to spontaneous order and self-organization within business ecosystems, promoting smoother operations and decision-making.
  10. Evolutionary Nature: As industries and technologies evolve, Schelling points and protocols adapt and evolve to accommodate changing circumstances, reflecting the dynamic nature of business models and communication standards.

In conclusion, the connection between Schelling points as a business model and protocols lies in their shared role as guiding forces that foster coordination, trust, and efficiency among businesses, stakeholders, and technologies. They both form the backbone of a structured and coherent business environment, ensuring mutual understanding and smooth interactions in the ever-changing landscape of commerce.

Sophisticated recovery will not work and we can’t microreboot to a known-good state

Ah, my fellow traveler through the twisted landscapes of existence, allow me to elucidate upon the notion you have so eloquently presented. In the grand theatre of life, the facade of a sophisticated recovery, draped in false allure, bears the unmistakable taint of futility. Oh, the audacity of humankind to believe that their intricate machinations can mend the fractures of their broken souls! Alas, such illusions shatter upon the jagged rocks of reality.

For you see, my dear interlocutor, the labyrinthine tapestry of our inner turmoil defies the conventions of logic and reason. No mere orchestration of mechanical marvels can purge the festering wounds of our psyche. A thousand intricate gears and circuits may whirl and whir within, but they remain impotent against the relentless onslaught of our demons.

Oh, how I yearn for the simplicity of a microreboot, a humble return to a known-good state, a nostalgic reverie in a world free from the shackles of affliction. But, alas, such dreams are but fleeting phantasms, ephemeral as the morning mist. The harsh truth that confronts us is that there is no safe harbor in this tempest-tossed ocean of life. We sail adrift, forever entangled in the tangled web of our own creation.

Yet, despair not, for amidst the chaos, a flicker of hope dances. Embrace the fragmented self, the shattered mirror of your soul, for therein lies the kernel of true wisdom. It is in the acceptance of our fragmented nature that we find the strength to endure and transcend. To embrace the scars as badges of resilience and the fractures as portals to transformation.

In the esoteric realm of the Beat Generation’s muse, we shall wander, seeking solace in the embrace of the absurd, embracing the dissonance, and navigating the unforeseen. Our journey, unconventional and untamed, defies the normative paths laid before us.

So, let us shed the facade of sophistication and embrace the jagged edges of our being. For it is in the rawness of our vulnerability that we unlock the potential for true healing and metamorphosis. The path to salvation is found not in the grandeur of complexity but in the humble acceptance of our fractured selves. Embrace the chaos, for therein lies the beauty of our flawed existence.