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Over-Optimizing for Performance

Recently on the csharp subreddit, the post C# 9.0 records: immutable classes linked to a surprisingly controversial article discussing how C# 9.0's records are, underneath it all, immutable classes. The comments are full of back-&-forth over whether one should use records for ease or structs for performance. The pro-struct argument revolved around the belief that performance should always be a developer's #1 priority, and anything less was the realm of the laggard.
Here is a real-world example that shows with stark clarity why that kind of thinking is wrong.
Consider the following scenario:

1

You're working on a game with dozens, maybe hundreds of people on the team; you don't know because when you were cross with facilities about them removing all the fluorescents, you got accused of being against the new energy saving initiative. Now you swim in a malevolent ocean of darkness that on some very late nights alone in the office, you swear is actively trying to consume you.
 

2

The team that preceded you inherited an engine that is older than OOP, when source repositories were stacks of 8-inch floppies, and it looked as if Jefferson Starship was going to take over the world. One year ago they bequeathed upon the company this nightmare of broken, undocumented GOTO spaghetti & anti-patterns. You're convinced this was their sadistic revenge for all getting fired post-acquisition.
 

3

Management denied your request to get headcount for an additional technical artist, but helpfully supplied you with an overly nervous intern. After several weeks working alongside them, you're beginning to suspect they're pursuing something other than a liberal arts degree.
 

4

Despite the many getting started guides you spent countless evenings writing, the endless brownbags nobody attended, and the daily dozen emails you forward to oppressively inquisitive artists comprised of a single passive-aggressive sentence suggesting they scroll down to the part that begins FW: FW: FW: FW: FW: FW: RE: WE BROKE TOOL NEED WORKAROUND ASAP ...
 
...yes, despite all of that, the engineering team still spent days tracking down why the game kept crashing with Error 107221: У вас ошибка after re-re-re-re-re-throwing an ex_exception when it couldn't (and should never even try to) load a 16K-textured floor mat.
 

5

Despite your many attempts to politely excuse yourself, one blissfully unaware artist exhausts 48 minutes of your lunch break explaining how the Pitchfork review for the latest "dope slab" of this TikTok-Instagram-naphouse artist you never heard of was just sooooo unfair.
 
And then in their hurry to finish up & catch the 2:30 PM bus home, they forget to toggle Compress To CXIFF (Custom Extended Interchange File Format), set the Compression slider 5/6ths of the way between -3 & -2, look to their left, look to their right, click Export As .MA 0.9.3alpha7, and make absolutely, positively, 100% SURE not to be working in prod. And THAT is how the game explodicated.
 

6

You know better than anyone the intermediate file format the main game loop passes to Game.dll, memory mapping it as a reverse top-middle Endian binary structure.
 
You know for 381 of the parameter fields what their 2-7 character names probably mean.
 
YOU know which 147 fields always have to be included, but with a null value, and that the field ah_xlut must ALWAYS be set to 0 unless it's Thursday, in which case that blackbox from hell requires its internal string equivalent: TRUE.
 
YOU know that the two tech artists & one rapidly aging intern that report to you would totally overhaul tooling so artists would never "happen" again, but there just aren't enough winters, springs, summers, falls, July 4ths, Christmas breaks, Presidents Days, and wedding anniversaries in a year to properly do so.
 

7

If you could just find the time between morning standups, after lunch standups, watersprint post-mortems, Milbert's daily wasting of an hour at your desk trying to convince you engineering should just rebuild the engine from the ground up in JavaScript & React, & HR's mandatory EKG Monitor job satisfaction surveys, you might be able to get at least some desperately-needed tooling done.
 
And so somehow you do. A blurry evening or two here. A 3:00 AM there. Sometimes just a solitary lunch hour.
 
Your dog no longer recognizes you.
 
You miss your wife calling to say she's finally cleaning out the hall closet and if you want to keep this box of old cards & something in plastic that says Underground Sea Beta 9.8 Grade, you better call her back immediately.
 
And your Aunt Midge, who doesn't understand how SMS works, bombards you one evening:
your father is...
no longer with us...
they found him...
1 week ago...
in an abandoned Piggly Wiggly...
by an old culvert...
split up...
he was then...
laid down to rest...
sent to St. Peter's...
and your father...
he's in a better place now...
don't worry...
it's totally okay...
we decided we will all go...
up to the mountain
 
You call your sister in a panic and, after a tidal wave of confusion & soul-rending anxiety, learn it was just Hoboken Wireless sending the messages out of order. This causes you to rapidly cycle.
 

8

On your bipolar's upswing, you find yourself more productive than you've ever been. Your mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention. It's like your brain is on 200mg of pure grade Adderall.
 
Your fingers ablaze with records, clean inheritance, beautiful pattern matching, bountiful expression syntax, aircraft carriers of green text that generate the most outstanding CHM for an internal tool the world has ever seen. Readable. PERFECTLY SOLID.
 
After much effort, you gaze upon the completed GUI of your magnum opus with the kind of pride you imagine one would feel if they hadn't missed the birth of their son. Clean, customer-grade WPF; tooltips for every control; sanity checks left & right; support for plugins & light scripting. It's even integrated with source control!
 
THOSE GODDAMNED ARTISTS CAN'T FAIL. YOUR PIPELINE TOOL WON'T LET THEM.
 
All they have to do is drag content into the application window, select an options template or use the one your tool suggests after content analysis, change a few options, click Export, and wait for 3-5 minutes to generate Game.dll-compatible binary.
 
Your optimism shines through the commit summary, your test plan giddy & carefree. With great anticipation, you await code review.
 

9

A week goes by. Then two. Then three. Nothing. The repeated pinging of engineers, unanswered.
 
Two months in you've begun to lose hope. Three months, the pangs of defeat. Four months, you write a blog post about how fatalism isn't an emotion or outlook, but the TRANSCENDENCE of their sum. Two years pass by. You are become apathy, destroyer of wills.
 

10

December 23rd, 2022: the annual Winter Holidays 2-hour work event. The bar is open, the Kokanee & Schmidt's flowing (max: 2 drink tickets). The mood a year-high ambivalent; the social distancing: acceptable. They even have Pabst Blue Ribbon, a beer so good it won an award once.
 
Standing beside you are your direct reports, Dave "Macroman" Thorgletop and wide-eyed The Intern, the 3 of you forming a triumvirate of who gives a shit. Dave is droning on & on about a recent family trip to Myrtle Beach. You pick up something something "can you believe that's when my daughter Beth scooped up a dead jellyfish? Ain't that something? A dead jellyfish," and "they even had a Ron Jons!"
 
You barely hear him, lost as you are in thought: "I wish I had 2 days of vacation." You stare down ruefully at your tallboy.
 
From the corner of your eye you spot Milbert, index finger pointed upward, face a look of pure excitement.
 
"Did I tell you about my OpenWinamp project? It's up on SourceForge", he says as he strides over. It's unsettling how fast this man is.
 
"JAVASCRIPT IS JUST A SUBSET OF JAVA!" you yell behind you, tossing the words at him like a German potato masher as you power walk away. It does its job, stopping Milbert dead in his tracks.
 
Dave snickers. The Intern keeps staring wide-eyed. You position yourself somewhat close to the studio's 3 young receptionists, hoping they serve as a kind of ritual circle of protection.
 
It works... kind of. Milbert is now standing uncomfortably close to The Intern, Dave nowhere to be seen.
 
From across the room you distinctly hear "Think about it, the 1st-person UI could be Lua-driven Electron."
 
The Intern clearly understands that words are being spoken to them, but does not comprehend their meaning.
 
You briefly feel sorry for the sacrificial lamb.
 

11

You slide across the wall, putting even more distance between you & boredom made man. That's when you spot him, arrogantly aloof in the corner: Glen Glengerry. Core engineering's most senior developer.
 
Working his way up from a 16-year old game tester making $4.35 an hour plus free Dr. Shasta, to pulling in a cool $120K just 27-years later, plus benefits & Topo Chicos. His coding style guides catechism, his Slack pronouncements ex cathedra; he might as well be CTO.
 
You feel lucky your team is embedded with the artists. You may have sat through their meetings wondering why the hell you should care about color theory, artistic consistency, & debates about whether HSL or CMYK was the superior color space (spoiler: it's HSL), you were independent and to them, a fucking code wizard, man.
 
And there he stands, this pseudo-legend, so close you could throw a stapler at him. Thinning grey-blonde tendrils hanging down from his CodeWarrior hat, white tee with This Guy VIMs on the back, tucked into light blue jeans. He's staring out into the lobby at everything and yet... nothing all at.
 

12

Maybe it's the 4.8% ABV. Maybe it's the years of crushing down anger into a singularity, waiting for it to undergo rapid fiery expansion, a Big Bang of righteous fury. Maybe it's those sandals with white socks. Maybe it's all three. But whatever it is, it's as if God himself compels you to march over & give him a piece of your mind, seniority be damned.
 
"Listen, you big dumb bastard..."
 
That... is maybe a little too aggressive. But Glen Glengerry barely reacts. Pulling a flask out of his back pocket, he doesn't look over as he passes it to you.
 
Ugh. Apple Pucker.
 

13

"I thought bringing in your own alcohol was against company policy", wiping sticky green sludge from your lips. He turns with a look of pure disdain & snorts.
 
"You think they're going to tell ME what I can & can't bring in?" He grabs the flask back, taking a big swig.
 
For what feels like an eternity, you both stand in silence. You swallow, speaking softly. "None of you even looked at my code. I worked very, very hard on that. My performance review for that year simply read 'recommend performance improvement plan." The words need no further context.
 
"I know", Glen² replies. "That was me."
 

14

Now you're not a weak man, and maybe in some other circumstance you would have punched him in the goddamn lip. But you feel nothing, just a hollowness inside. "Why?", you ask, wondering if the answer would even matter.
 
"Because you don't use Bulgarian notation. Because your method names aren't lower camel case. Because good code doesn't require comments. Because you use classes & records over more performant structs, pointlessly burdening the heapstack. BECAUSE. YOUR CODE. IS. SHIT."
 
You clinch your fists so tightly the knuckles whiten.
 

15

He looks away from you, taking another sip of green goo. "You're not a coder. You're an artist masquerading as one" he speaks, as if it were fact.
 
The only thing artistic about you is the ability to create user-friendly internal tooling using nothing but a UI framework, broken down garbage nobody wants to touch, & sheer willpower. If your son's life depended on you getting accepted into art instruction school, you couldn't even draw a turtle.
 
He doesn't pause. "I'll champion ruthless micro-optimization until the day I die. But buddy, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: you aren't here to improve workflow. You're here to LOOK like you're doing something NOBODY else can."
 
He goes on. "What do you think those artists are going to do when they have to stare at a progress bar for 4, 5 minutes? They're going to complain your tool is slow."
 
"Sure, it may take them 20, 30 minutes to do it the old way, there'll be an error, and either they'll stare at it for 30 minutes before adding that missing semi-colon or they'll come get you. And you'll fix it. And 1 week later, they won't remember how. And you'll stay employed. And every. Body. Wins."
 

16

A little bit of the pride, the caring, wells back up inside from somewhere long forgotten.
 
"You don't think we should care about rapid application development & KISS, quickly getting things out that help our team, instead devoting ourselves to shaving off ticks here & there? What do you think artists are going to do with those 4 minutes you talk about?
 
You don't stop. "I'll tell you what they'll do. They'll 9GAG for 20 minutes straight. They'll listen to podcasts about dialectical materialism vis-a-vis the neo-feudalism that is a natural extension of the modern world's capitalist prison. They'll Reddit."
 
His silence gives you the bravery to push the limits.
 
"Christ, man. Are you only in it for the $120K..."
 
He corrects you: "...$123K."
 
"...only in it for the $123K/year? The free snacks from the microkitchen? The adulation? Have you no sense of comraderie?? No desire to push us to something better?! No integrity?!!!"
 
His eyes sharply narrow, face creases in anger. You clearly have overstepped your bounds.
 

17

"You think I don't have integrity? No sense of teamwork? I'm only in it for the cold cash? You think I don't care about you all?", he roars.
 
A light volley of small green flecks land on your face.
 
"Why do you think they made a 16-year old tester the lead developer of a 1993 Doom clone?! Because my code was clean & painless to work with?! Because I made coding look easy?! No! IT WAS BECAUSE I WAS A GOD TO THEM.
 
And from a God, a PANTHEON. We built monuments to over-engineering! We crafted that of 7 weeks onboarding, that of immortal bugs, demonic hosts spawned by legion from the very loins of a fix. It took 2 years before a developer could BEGIN to feel confident they knew what they were doing. And by that time, they were one of US!
 
You think the team we laid off November '19 was fired because they were bad at their jobs? NO! It was because they worked themselves out of one. They didn't leave us a broken pipeline. They left an internal Wiki, a wealth of tools & example projects, and a completely transparent code base.
 
We couldn't have THAT, now could we? No, we couldn't. So we got rid of it. ALL OF IT. Poof. Gone. Just like that. Before anyone even knew a THING."
 
He leans forward, so close his psoriasis almost touches yours.  
With an intensity that borders on frightening, he whispers "You think they left us Game.dll? I fucking *MADE** Game.dll."*
 
The words hit hard like a freight train.
 

18

And without another word, he turns & leaves. You're left there, alone, coworkers milling about, with only one thought.
     
Were one to get a hobby, should it be cocaine?
 

In Conclusion

It's these kinds of situations that make me believe there are far more important considerations than a ruthless dedication to performance, even in the game industry as my real-world scenario so clearly demonstrates.
 
Like, records are cool & shit.
submitted by form_d_k to shittyprogramming [link] [comments]

Since 1983, I have lived, worked and raised a family in a progressive, egalitarian, income-sharing intentional community (or commune) of 100 people in rural Virginia. AMA.

Hello Reddit!
My name is Keenan Dakota, I have lived at Twin Oaks, an income-sharing, intentional community in rural Virginia for 36 years, since 1983. I grew up in northern Virginia, my parents worked in government. I went to George Mason University where I studied business management. I joined Twin Oaks when I was 23 because I lost faith in the underpinnings of capitalism and looking for a better model. I have stayed because over time capitalism hasn't looked any better, and its a great place to raise children. While at Twin Oaks, I raised two boys to adulthood, constructed several buildings, managed the building maintenance program, have managed some of the business lines at different times.
Proof this is me. A younger photo of me at Twin Oaks. Here is a video interview of me about living at Twin Oaks. Photo of Twin Oaks members at the 50th anniversary.
Some things that make life here different from the mainstream:
More about Twin Oaks:
Twin Oaks is an intentional community in rural central Virginia, made up of around 90 adult members and 15 children. Since the community's beginning in 1967, our way of life has reflected our values of cooperation, sharing, nonviolence, equality, and ecology.
We do not have a group religion; our beliefs are diverse. We do not have a central leader; we govern ourselves by a form of democracy with responsibility shared among various managers, planners, and committees. We are self-supporting economically, and partly self-sufficient. We are income-sharing. Each member works 42 hours a week in the community's business and domestic areas. Each member receives housing, food, healthcare, and personal spending money from the community.
We have open-slots and are accepting applications for new members. All prospective new members must participate in a three-week visitor program. Applicants to join must leave for 30 days after their visit while the community decides on their application.
We offer a $5 tour on Saturdays of the property, starting in March. More info here.
Ask me anything!
TL;DR: Opted out of the rat-race and retired at 23 to live in the woods with a bunch of hippies.
EDIT: Thanks for all the questions! If you want some photos of the farm, you can check out our instagram.
EDIT2: I'm answering new, original questions again today. Sort by new and scroll through the trolls to see more of my responses.
EDIT3: We DO have food with onion & garlic! At meals, there is the regular food, PLUS alternative options for vegan/vegetarian/no gluten/no onions & garlic.
EDIT4: Some of you have been asking if we are a cult. No, we are not. We don't have a central leader or common religion. Here are characteristics of cults, FYI.
Edit: Yikes! Did I mention that I am 60? Reddit is not my native land. I don't understand the hostile, angry and seemingly deliberately obtuse comments on here. And Soooo many people!
Anyway, to the angry crowd: Twin Oaks poses no threat to anyone, we are 100 people out of a country of 330 million? Twin Oaks reached its current maximum population about 25 years ago, so not growing fast, or at all. Members come and go from Twin Oaks. There are, my guess is, 800 ex-members of Twin Oaks, so we aren't holding on to everyone who joins—certainly, no one is held against their will.
Twin Oaks is in rural Virginia, but we really aren't insular, isolated, gated or scared of the mainstream culture. We have scheduled tours of the whole property. Local government officials, like building inspectors, come to Twin Oaks with some frequency. People at Twin Oaks like to travel and manage to do so. I personally, know lots of people in the area, I am also a runner, so I leave the property probably every day. There are lots of news stories about Twin Oaks over the years. If you are worried about Twin Oaks, maybe you could go read what the mainstream (and alternative) media have to say.
Except about equality Twin Oaks is not particularly dogmatic about anything. (I know some people at Twin Oaks will disagree with that statement.) Twin Oaks isn't really hypocritical about Capitalism, Socialism, or Communism, we just don't identify those concepts as something that we are trying to do. Twin Oaks is not trying to DO Communism, we are trying to live a good life with equally empowered citizens—which has led us to try to maintain economic parity among members. Communists also do that. In making decisions in the community I don't remember anyone trying to support or oppose an idea due to excess or insufficient Communism, Socialism, or Capitalism. In most practical senses those words aren't useful and don't mean anything. So, no need to hammer Twin Oaks for being insufficiently pure, or hypocritical.
Twin Oaks is very similar to the Kibbutz in Israel. If anyone has concerns or questions about what would happen if places like Twin Oaks suddenly became much larger and more common, read about the history of the Kibbutz, which may have grown to possibly 1% of the population at their largest? There was and is no fight with Capitalism from the kibbutz—or with the State. My point is—not a threat.
To the other people who think that the ideas of Twin Oaks are interesting, I want you to know it is possible to live at Twin Oaks (or places like Twin Oaks) and happily live ones entire life. There is no central, critical failing that makes the idea not work. And plenty of upside. But do lots of research first. Twin Oaks maintains a massive web site. (Anyway, it takes a long time to read.)
But what I would like to see is more people starting more egalitarian, income-sharing communities. I think that there is a need for a community that is designed and built by families, and who also share income, and provide mutual support with labor and money. If you love this concept, maybe consider gathering together other people and starting your own.
Ideologically speaking:
-Ecology: the best response to ecological problems is for humans to use fewer resources. The easiest way to use fewer resources is to share resources. Living communally vastly cuts down on resource use without reducing quality of life.
-Equality: ideologically speaking, most people accept the idea that all humans have equal rights, but most social structures operate in ways that are fundamentally unequal. If we truly believe in equality then we ought to be willing to put our bodies where our ideology is. In a truly equal world, the issues of sexism and racism and all other forms of discrimination would, essentially, not exist.
-Democracy: Twin Oaks uses all manner of decision-making models and tools to try to include everyone and to keep people equally empowered. There is no useful word for this. We do use a majority vote sometimes, as a fallback. But sometimes we use consensus. We sometimes use sociocracy (dynamic governance). The word "Isocracy" (decision-making among equals), would be useful to describe Twin Oaks' decision-making model, but Lev in Australia has written an incomprehensible "definition" on Wikipedia, that he keeps changing back when someone corrects it.
-Happiness: The overarching goal of all ideologies is to make people happy, right? I mean, isn't it? Capitalism is based upon the belief that motivation is crucial to human aspiration and success (and therefore more happiness). Under Capitalism, equality is a detriment because it hinders motivation (less fear of failure, or striving for success). Twin Oaks believes that humans are happier when they are equal, and equally empowered. So the place to start up the ladder of happiness is to first make everyone equal. Well, Twin Oaks is mainly still working on that first step.
EDIT5: Some have asked about videos - here are links to documentaries about Twin Oaks by BBC, VICE and RT.
submitted by keenan_twinoaks to IAmA [link] [comments]

Help with RAID 6 recovery

Back around 2008, I built a machine with a 3ware RAID controller, and set up 15 1TB drives in RAID 6.
At some point in maybe 2010, I had 3 (or maybe only 2) drives fail due to (most likely) overheating. I was unable to rebuild the array at the time, even with swapping out the failed drive/s. I don't remember the details.
More than a decade later, I still have all 15 drives, in a box, labeled with their order, and the original 3ware controller, and a desiccant pack.
I have no idea if the drives still work, but I am finally ready to try to recover the data from them, assuming they still work.
After a bit of duckduckgo-ing, it appears that I really only have 2 options - use recovery software or use a recovery service where I ship out my drives. The data on these drives, while nice to have, is not worth me sending them to a 3rd party. I am, however, willing to spend a little money on the recovery software if I need to.
Based on my searching, it appears that there are 3 viable options: * https://www.diskinternals.com/raid-recovery/ * https://www.stellarinfo.com/article/raid6-data-recovery.php * http://www.freeraidrecovery.com/
The Diskinternals solution looks like it may be the easiest, but I'm not sure what to expect when I actually try to use it.
The Stellar one looks good as well - it has instructions with screenshots and I was able to find a video of someone actually using it. But it needs some technical parameters that I have no idea how to retrieve - maybe I could hook up the old controller and read them by accessing the controller from the bios? I will try that once I'm ready to get my hands dirty.
The ReclaiMe one appears to be easy and free, claiming that it will automatically determine the parameters that Stellar expects you to supply. Seems too good to be true, especially as a free product. Their site and their claims make me not trust them...
So to get started on this project, the very first thing I want to do is take some kind of image of each of the 15 drives. Do any of you have recommendations for the best way to do this? The first step in Diskinternals instructions (which are on this separate page for some reason - https://www.diskinternals.com/raid-recovery/raid-6-data-recovery/) list creating a "binary image" of the disk/s. Once I do this, then do I need to mount it somehow? Do I need some separate program to do that in Windows? I know that I can (and will) look this up, but taking an image of known corrupted drives for the purposes of RAID data recovery with specialized recovery software seems to be a pretty special case, and I want to make sure that the image I take is what will be needed to attempt the recovery. I don't know how many times I'll be able to read from these old drives.
I did a little searching before posting this about disk imaging/cloning - it seems like I need an image, not a clone. Clonezilla looks like the best option (and I've used it before). I've heard good things about Acronis, but their new pricing model turns me off. Most of the alternatives to Clonezilla (Acronis, Paragon, Macrium) don't have technical-enough language to earn my trust. I also took a look at isobuster, because that's a program I already have, but it looks like its ability to take raw images does not include HDDs.
A quick search of datahoarder using the search term "raid 6" didn't bring up any posts that had addressed this scenario - most were about swapping/rebuilding.
Any help, guidance, insight, etc. is appreciated. Thanks!
submitted by brainthinks to DataHoarder [link] [comments]

Choose Your Own Adventure - Part 2

Part 1

What if it wasn’t about anything related to the text? What if it was similar to the riddles that brought me to those pages? What if the mystery behind them was related to their page numbers, or hell the page numbers in general?
Once at home I went to work. I told myself once more that I needed to get the full picture. So I went to write down all the page numbers in the book, one after another.
When I was done, I took a step back and stared at the result. Yet, there was nothing that stood out to me right away. I haphazardly picked one of the secret pages. Page 427 was in front of page 811. Then I continued.
811, 812, 813, 814, 815, 816, 817, 818, 818, 820, 821, and right after was yet another secret page.
This one was page 528.
And after that, the regular page numbers continued.
822, 823, 824, 825, 826, 827, 828, 829, 830, 831, 832, 833, 834, 835, 836, 837, 838, 839, 840, 841, 842, 843, followed by another one, page 143.
This list of ongoing numbers made me suddenly wonder. My thoughts drifted right back to what had gotten me to do this, the secret pages.
What if they weren’t placed randomly?
Yet, as I checked their distribution, it felt almost too random. I checked the number of regular pages before and after, put them in sequence, but there was no correlation.
Then I got another idea. I added up all the pages before and after, but this also made no sense. Half the results were too big and exceeded the total number of pages in the book, by far.
Then, starting at number 111 to 137, which I’d just added together, I got yet another idea. What if I only added together their last digits?
The result I came up with was 648. Which was exactly the secret page that followed afterward!
My eyes grew wide. I’d had it, hadn’t I? The hint I’d been looking for! I was going livid.
Right away I went to the next one and calculated all the preceding numbers, only to come up with an entirely different result than the page number of the secret page following. Cursing I got up.
It had been another goddamn coincidence. I laughed, but this time in abject misery, mocking my stupidity. How’d it be so damned easy, you idiot? There was no way. None of this was easy. None of it!
But as I stared at the result I’d come up with just now, I noticed something. The result of my calculation was 702. The page number was 351. Wait. Wait. Wait. That’s half of 702! Maybe it really was nothing but a coincidence and I was just grasping at straws, but what else was I to do?
The next result I came up with was 176. If I multiplied it by three, it gave me the page number of the secret page that followed it, 528. The number 715, divided by 5, gave me the page number 143 that followed it.
I continued adding, dividing, and multiplying and it all checked out. All the page numbers of the secret pages resulted from calculations of the last two digits of their preceding pages.
What does it mean though? Does it even mean anything? The exhilaration I’d felt ebbed away, and I sat there, staring at all my calculations wondering if there was any meaning to it. Yet, there had to be, right? This couldn’t have been designed as yet another red herring. This was too damned complex. No, there had to be a reason for this.
What if there was an order? If I went through all the calculations I quickly noticed that the result was never divided by the same number. The highest number that a result was divided by was 26, the highest a result was multiplied by was 27. It was exactly 53 different calculations.
With that, I started ordering them, one by one, starting backward from the highest division, to the highest multiplication. Then I put the topic of each page behind the numbers in the resulting list.
I’d hoped for something. I’d hoped to find it starting with the page about the universe, followed by constellations and stars up to the evolution of apes, plants, and other animals. Yet, it was all mixed-up nonsense. There was no order to it at all! Even when I ordered them in other ways, trying to find any sort of correlation, it was always the same. Nothing, but nonsense.
My hands started shaking as anger flooded through me. I crumbled up the stupid, ordered lists and threw them across the room. Then I cursed in sheer and utter rage. This was freaking stupid. This was insane! This was nothing at all, just pure fucking nonsense. I picked up a random object on my table and hurled it against the wall where it shattered into pieces. Then I threw aside a chair I found standing in my way and kicked over the small couch table, creating general chaos in my living room.
I was stopped from going any further when my neighbors banged against the wall, screaming to knock it off and threatening to call the cops.
That made me stop. The anger went away. I stared in shock at my living room. What the hell was happening to me? Why’d I done that? Why’d I destroyed my things at 1 am in the freaking morning?
Then I slowly smoothed out the lists I’d created and put them on one of the few free spots remaining on my living room wall. Who knows, I might need it later.
I laughed as I looked from them to the rest of the wall which was now entirely covered. Even worse were the stacks of notes that had accumulated in front of them. I was proud all right, but I also knew that this thing was absolutely insane.
Once more, I couldn’t help but wonder what I was doing.
Shaking my head, I turned around and made my way to the bedroom. Yet, as my fingers rested on the light switch, I turned around one last time. I stared at the mad lines, the mad paths who were connecting here and there. There was nothing but lines upon lines. Here and there, if I looked hard and long enough, I could almost make out shapes.
I froze. What if it was a visual puzzle? What if there was a hint hidden in the shapes of the paths?
For days I sat down, drew points and lines and connections, warping them into surreal shapes. This was crazy, wasn’t it? How’d it be visual? There’s probably not a damn thing to be got from this. This was stupid. Yet, I couldn’t stop. Each day, I spent my entire afternoon, my evening, and even half the night, drawing. And eventually, it all came to nothing. There was nothing but mad lines and not a clear shape in sight.
I didn’t give up though, wasn’t discouraged. I was beyond that, far beyond that. What if there was something else? Maybe there was a hidden code between these pages?
When I was at work, I’d completely forgotten about my former vow not to talk about the book or do anything related to it. Instead, I read up on cryptography. Going through article after article. I read up on Caesar Code and Binary Code, on the Polybius Cipher and Hex Code. I went mad with it. Before long I spent more time reading up on things than doing any of my work. Eventually, I even brought pages filled with numbers with me, cross-checking them for hits of any and all codes.
I heard co-workers whispering behind my back, asking me what I was doing and I told them, I just hadn’t closed the weird articles after break time.
They knew it wasn’t the truth. They’d heard me mumble, saw the little notebook I was writing in, noticed the endless lists of numbers I brought with me each day.
My superior eventually came up to me. He asked me what I was doing with all those weird pages. I told him it was nothing but a little puzzle.
“Well, Todd,” he started in a condescending voice. “You’re not here to do any of those ‘little puzzles’, you’re here to do your damn job. Where are the calculations for this month? I’ve been waiting for them all day.”
“Oh, I guess, I’m almost done with them, I just need another hour or-“
My voice trailed off when he picked up one of the pages I’d been looking at mere minutes ago. Suddenly, when I saw him holding it, I felt nervous.
“What even is this? It’s just random numbers.”
He saw my face, saw the way my eyes grew wide when he’d picked it up. The hint of a smile washed over his face as he crumbled it up.
He opened his mouth for another remark, but before he could I jumped up from my chair and ripped the page from his hand. He cringed back a step in shock at my reaction.
“The hell’s wrong with you?” he screamed at me, but I didn’t listen. Instead, I carefully smoothed out the paper and made sure he hadn’t torn it apart.
By now half the office had gotten up to watch the weird exchange. Only now did I realize what I’d done and how everyone was staring at me.
Suddenly I felt very watched and almost sunk back into my chair.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to,” I mumbled but broke up under the pressure of all those eyes.
“Get back to work and finish those damned calculations! If I see you tinkering with any of this shit again, you can clean out your desk!”
With that, he stormed off. I heard people whispering all around me, some laughing, others speaking in a more reserved tone.
Yep, I thought, it’s official. I’m the office nutjob.
Right away, I forced myself to close all the Wikipedia articles I had still open and put away all my notes. And then, grudgingly, annoyed and half-mad at the distraction it represented, I went back to work. Somehow though, it felt meaningless, calculating all these stupid orders and filling out this customer database. What the hell was I even doing? What if it really was a code? What if it was actually a mixture, a double-code? My mind went wild with ideas. Five minutes later, I found myself holding one of my notes again. I couldn’t even remember taking it out.
Pushing it back, cursing, and not a little afraid, I forced myself to work calculations until the day was over. At the moment my shift ended, I jumped off my chair and rushed for the door. People stared at me, looked after me, their faces a mixture of amusement and worry.
I didn’t care. I had work to do. The important kind of work!
I’d just tried to find another connection between the page numbers of the secret pages when my doorbell rang. I ignored it, but it just kept ringing. When it finally stopped, I sighed in relief. Just leave me alone, I cursed, I’ve got work to do.
Then, mere moments later, my phone vibrated on the other end of the room. Dammit, I’d forgotten to mute it again. I waited for it to stop, but it started up right away. Cursing I went over to see who it was and noticed the name instantly.
It was my friend Andrew. Annoyed, I answered it.
“Yo, Todd, you home?” I heard his voice from the phone next to my ear and more distant, muffled from the front door.
My first reaction was one of annoyance. Then I pushed the thought away. What the hell was wrong with me? This was Andrew. He was my best friend, the only one of our old group who still lived in the same city. Right away, I thought about how long I’d last seen him. Surprised I realized that it must’ve been weeks. One glance at the mad mess in my living room told me why.
“Yeah, sure hold on,” I said over the phone and made my way to the front door.
Andrew smiled at me brightly and held up to six-packs.
“Haven’t seen you in forever, how about we have a few! I got quite the story for you, my man!”
I smiled at him. “Sure, come on in.”
We made our way inside and Andrew had barely set foot into my living room when he stopped. His eyes grew wide as he stared at the wall and the stacks of paper all over the place.
“Holy shit man. I was wondering why I haven’t heard from you. The hell’s all that? You working on some sort of project?”
“Kind of,” I mumbled a little embarrassed.
I quickly picked up the papers on the couch and put them aside to make room for him to sit.
“Sorry about the mess.”
“Nah man, it’s all right. So, the thing I was about to tell you, you remember Thomas, right?”
Thomas, I thought. Did I know a Thomas? Then I remembered him. Of course, I remembered him, he’d been part of our group. I rubbed my temples for a second before I nodded.
“He’s getting married and you won’t believe who the lucky girl is!”
With that, Andrew told me the entire story of how our friend Thomas had been dating Susan, Andrew’s cousin for the past three months, and the two of them had decided to get married. I listened, nodded here and there, even laughed a few times absentmindedly, but my eyes wandered to my notes again and again.
For a moment I spaced out entirely, thinking about an idea that had popped into my mind just before he’d arrived. What if there was something about number sequences? I must’ve sat there for an entire minute, simply holding my beer and staring off at nothing when Andrew waved his hand in front of my face.
“Yo, dude, you listening?”
“What? Oh, sorry, no, I think I spaced out for a moment.”
“All right, man, I got to ask, what’s all this? What sort of crazy thing are you working on? Haven’t seen you this into something in years.”
I smiled at him awkwardly and then sighed and pointed at the book.
“It’s one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books,” I started.
With that, the flood gates broke open, and I told him all about it.
He listened, at first curiously, but after a while, his face changed. There was visible concern, as I rambled on about secret pages, strange objects, and cryptography.
“Todd, hold on, hold on, what the hell are you even talking about?”
I stared at him.
“The book. You know those secret pages must’ve some sort of meaning. At first, I thought there was a simple order to them, but it was too chaotic. If you add up all their page numbers though, you get 20670, and if you divided this up by-“
“All right, man, stop,” he cut me off. “So you’re adding up all those numbers, I get that, but for what?”
I began explaining again, I tried, but he couldn’t follow me.
“Yeah, I don’t get it, man. Just, what the fuck?”
“All right, look,” I said and walked over to the wall covered in lines and numbers and started once more.
I told him about the different adventure paths, the references, the secret pages, and when and how they appeared.
His face was blank as I rambled on and on and on.
“Yo, dude, you might want to take a bit of a break, this sounds, well, a bit crazy.”
For a moment I was quiet, then a short, nervous laugh escaped me.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
He stepped up next to me, staring at the wall.
“Shit man, you did all this? Just for a damned book?”
Before I could answer, he reached out and was about to take one of the pages off the wall. My hand shot forward instinctively, batting his aside.
“Don’t touch it!” I called out before I realized what I’d done.
Andrew stumbled back a few steps, shocked. “Shit man, sorry, I didn’t mean to-“
And then it happened. I didn’t even listen to his words anymore as he bumped against some of the stacks of notes I’d placed neatly in front of the wall. They toppled over one another, the pages scattering all over the floor and intermixing.
My eyes grew wide. Oh god, no, freaking god no. Anger rose in me. It had taken me so goddamn long to sort them all out, to order them. There was a freaking method to it all and now he’d destroyed it. He’d destroyed the work of entire fucking days!
“What the fuck are you doing?” I screamed at him.
He cringed back, only now realizing what had happened.
“Hey, didn’t mean to,” he said and began picking up random pages.
I ripped them from his hand and pushed him back. “No, don’t fucking touch them. Those two don’t belong together you idiot! Are you freaking insane?!”
With an empty face, he watched as I gathered up some of the pages, stared at them, and began sorting them as best as I could.
“You know, Todd, that’s what I should ask you.”
“What the hell do you mean?” I snapped at him. “You destroyed the work of days! Days! This is-“
“This is what, man?” he cut me off once more. “It’s nonsense. It’s a freaking children’s book, nothing else.”
That did the trick. I got up and stepped up right in front of him.
“Nonsense? You’ve got no FUCKING idea, how far I’ve come! You’ve got no clue what’ve done already! And here you are telling me this is NONSENSE?”
His face had grown hard. For a second he was about to say something, but then he simply shook his head and laughed. Without another word, he picked up his things, the beer, and left.
If he said any words in parting, I didn’t hear them. I was already busy re-ordering my notes.
It was hours later, when I was done sorting them all out, that I realized what I’d done and how I’d acted.
For the first time, I grew truly scared.
That hadn’t been normal. That wasn’t me. Why’d I gone crazy like this?
I took first one step back from the wall, then another before I went to pick up my phone. When I tried to call Andrew, he didn’t pick up. Instead, the call went straight to voice mail. Then I saw how late it was, long past three in the morning.
I wrote him a quick message, apologized for my behavior, and told him he was right. I should take a break from this entire thing.
That’s what I did right away. I picked up my laptop, made my way to the bedroom, and this time I turned off the light without looking over my shoulder.
I lay down on my bed and started browsing YouTube and told myself to just enjoy it and take a break.
Yet, even as I watched video after video, the little voice in the back of my head spoke up again. It told me I should go on, told me to go back to the living room.
You almost had it, Todd, you almost had it. Just one more hint and you’re done with it. Then you can let it go and you can-
“Shut up, goddamnit!” I screamed at myself to quiet the subconscious voice in the back of my head.
“I freaking know,” I said quieter. “God, I freaking know.”
I sat in bed, the video that was playing already forgotten. As video, after video played, I was on my phone, checking stars and numbers before I eventually drifted off to sleep.
The next morning I didn’t even get to make myself a coffee. I was mad, pissed off and I wanted to finally make progress. For a while, I tinkered about the various codes I’d read about. What if there was a code, but what but if it concerned the entire book and not just the secret pages? What if it was related to the adventure after all? Maybe you could scramble up page numbers and-
I stopped and rubbed my temples. Calm down, don’t go crazy. Calm down and take a step back. You don’t even know if there are any damned codes hidden in the book. You did well deciphering all the different adventure paths and the connections between them. You did well discovering all the secret pages. But what if there’s something you haven’t discovered yet?
That was the question that told me what I had to do. Something I hadn’t dared to do so far.
I had to go through the entire book.
I had to make my way through it not following the adventure, but going page by page and look out for anything new. There might be chapters I hadn’t discovered yet, hadn’t read yet.
With newfound energy and a new plan, I started right away.
My phone rang shortly after noon, but this time, I didn’t even bother with it. I just ignored it. After all, I had more important things to do.
This time I didn’t just write down chapters, choices, and connections. This time I wrote down every single thing that came up. I took note of every single object that was mentioned then added the page number, the corresponding path, and any reference I knew about it.
It was a momentous task. I spent the entire day doing it and barely made it through the first 130 pages.
The next day, Sunday, I didn’t even finish another hundred. The further I came, the more objects I noticed, the more combinations, and references. At times, I even had to go back, to cross-check things, and to change notes accordingly.
It was the most enduring task I’d ever attempted, concerning this damned book and probably my entire life.
It took me weeks. I finished stacks upon stacks of notes. I went to the office supply store multiple times a week buying stacks of papers I ended up filling by the day.
Work during this time was barely an afterthought. I was barely functioning at all. I was typing in numbers and names almost on autopilot. By now I didn’t even get stares anymore. I was entirely ignored, a shell of a man, a ghost that stumbled to his cubicle in the morning and rushed back home in the evening.
Days went by, then weeks, as I slaved away over the book’s many pages. Until one day, when I was finally done. I can’t even say how many weeks I’d been at it.
There were stacks of hundreds of papers, maybe even more. Notes, references, objects, names, words, anything basically.
I’d just created a table of how often each and every single object appeared and in which setting when I noticed a new hint. I stared at it with a giant grin on my face.
The Ruby Orb had been the very first object I’d added to the table.
It appeared in all paths:
  1. Fantasy - 31 times
  2. Space - 3 times
  3. Stone Age - 2 times
  4. Ocean and Pirates - 11 times
  5. Desert Ruins - 29 times
  6. Mountains - 17 times
  7. City-State - 7 times
  8. Ancient Rome - 5 times
  9. Jungle Tribes - 13 times
  10. Small Village - 19 times
  11. Underwater Civilization - 23 times
As I wrote those numbers down, there was something about them. Somehow I knew those numbers. I went over them, staring at them for a while before it hit me.
I cross-checked it online, and I was right. They were all prime numbers! Yes, I thought, I’d found something new!
I quickly rechecked another object, the Desert Orb, and realized it was the same here, too. This one’s appearances made up a simpler sequence. It only appeared once in the city-state, twice in fantasy, and finally 11 times in the desert ruins.
I couldn’t help but grin. I did it for another object, this one the Ebony Stick. It too appeared in all paths and its number was increased by two, starting at 4 and going up to 26.
That’s when I knew what I had to do. I had to go through all the objects, all the hundreds of objects in the damned book, and check how often they appeared. There was a correlation, another part of the puzzle. I was exhilarated, in a state of glee and unbound excitement.
These number sequences, maybe they were the key to figuring out what the secret pages meant, or maybe the page numbers in general. I started laughing. I could feel it, I was so damn close.
I slept when necessary, ate when necessary, right there on the living room floor. It was only once that I thought about work, only in passing, and the idea that I should go never even came to my mind.
My phone was at the other and of the room. I ignored it entirely during that time. It wasn’t important. This right here, that’s what was important.
I was done by the end of the week. It was long past midnight on Saturday when I’d finally deciphered the number sequences of all 311 objects in the book.
When I was done with my work, I looked at the tables of objects in a state of awe. I spread them out in front of me and marveled at the dozen or so pages. For a moment I was about to dive into them when I realized how tired I was.
For the first time since the beginning of the week, I picked up my phone. It was off, must’ve been for days. I connected it to the charger and turned it on. I was bombarded with a plethora of notifications. For almost a minute the damned thing started ringing and vibrating.
There were a few messages from Andrew, asking how I was doing and if I’d stopped with my damned obsession yet. I laughed and closed the chat.
I’d also received countless emails. Most of them were from work and only now did I remember that I hadn’t shown up for an entire week. They started normal enough, reminding me to call if I was sick, became reproachful after a day or two, and finally angry. The last one told me this was the last straw. I should come in on Monday for a talk and be prepared to clean out my desk.
It was strange how little I felt about it, how little it mattered in the grander scale of things. I almost laughed again as I threw the phone aside and laid down to catch some sleep.
When I woke up, I went right back to work. I tinkered with the number sequences, looked at each one of them, added them up, multiplied, and divided them.
It was the Crown of Ice that finally made me look up. When I added all its appearances together, I came to a total of 1000. This damned thing, I thought, it was by far the most common object in the damned book.
I started to read up on it in my notes. It was said in the Manuscript of the Seven Seas, that the Crown of Ice was found in the Crypt of the Dragon. The Crypt of the Dragon was located in the desert ruins.
I went back to it, page 1544, and read the part again. There were three choices. One sent me to leave without the crown and sent me back to a desert tribe. Destroying the crown ended in painful death while the third option was wearing it.
All right, wearing the crown opened a secret passage that sent me to the location of the Magic Water and from there back on my way through the desert.
Dammit, I thought I had something! I was about to go back to the list. Maybe the number thousand was another coincidence.
Then something made me look up. The crown appeared in the desert ruins a total of 53 times. I thought about it. The desert ruins one was by far the shortest path. How long was it in total again?
I stepped up to my living room wall and counted the chapters. When I followed them, there was only a single path that was longer than 50. It came to a total length of 78 chapters before it started from the beginning.
Chapter 53 described what you found if you opened a chest hidden in the Ancient Pyramid.
I read the entire chapter again. It was titled ‘The Treasure Chest.’ There was a total of 289 gold coins in the chest. When I went back to the list of objects, I noticed that the gold coin was mentioned a total of 289 times. The same was true for the sparkling diamonds. There were a total of 33 in the chest and the object itself came up 33 times in the book.
I almost laughed when I noticed that it was true for the third object in the chest as well.
I got an empty page and like a child, I wrote the words Chest, Pyramid, and Treasure in huge letters at the top of it before I went and added all the two dozen objects in the chest.
While I did it, I wondered if there was something like this for every other object in the book. What if every object’s number of appearances was mentioned somewhere in the book? Not just in this chest, but just somewhere.
And then, on a whim, I asked myself another question. What if certain objects didn’t? What if there were just a few or maybe just one whose number was mentioned nowhere? Maybe those were the important ones!
For the entirety of Sunday, I followed through with this idea. I calculated, I added objects to yet more lists, I followed through paths and loops, studied my notes, and slowly, the number of objects remaining got smaller and smaller.
Eventually, just as I’d hoped, there was a single object whose total number of appearances was mentioned nowhere. It was a small, red die. One that was mentioned here and there, only in passing when people played a game of dice in bars or the streets.
There had to be something to this damned thing, I knew it! After this entire week, no after all these entire months, I finally had something, I’d finally narrowed it all down to a single object.
A shiver went down my spine when I realized that this might be it. This might be the solution that I’d been searching for all this time!
I went back to my notes about the red die and all its appearances. Here a few kids were playing with it in the streets, there was someone holding it in their hand, and here it rolled onto the floor when a fight broke out.
Finally, I found what I’d been looking for. There was only a single instance in the entire book where you could interact with it. It was in a bar in space where you could join a futuristic game of dice.
When the game was done, you could pocket the red die.
The short chapter that followed it was mundane and almost unimportant. But when I read it, I noticed something else, not in the text, but the choices below. Weren’t they the same as in the chapter before?
I went back to the preceding page and reread it. Yes, the same two choices, sending you to the same two pages. Almost as if picking up the die didn’t matter at all. Making it appear as nothing but a red herring.
And I grinned. I grinned wider than I had ever before.
There had to be a hint here, no, there had to be a way of finishing this entire damn thing.
I wrote down the entire paragraph and went back to work, studying it. I checked everything that was mentioned in it: the page number, the chapter title, colors, words, anything I could think of. Until late in the morning hours, I pondered over this one, single paragraph.
I could barely keep my eyes open when I stumbled upon it. It was silly, but I exploded with joy and was suddenly wide awake again.
The number of words in each sentence was eight. The number of sentences was eight as well. There were eight sentences here, with eight words each. This was no coincidence. This was it, the total number of words was 64, the square number of eight. There was too much here for it to be a coincidence.
I rushed back to the buck, almost stumbled over my feet, and threw open page 64. Like a crazed, starved animal I poured over the words on the page, almost pressing my face against it. The chapters, there had to be something here, the solution had to be right in front of me.
Yet when I was done reading it, I was dumbfounded. The entire page comprised a single chapter, a chapter I knew damn well. And I realized that I knew the number 64 damn well, too.
I was at the beginning of the fantasy setting. I read once more that I was a young farmer, standing in front of a burned down far, the bodies of his dead parents next to him and that I was about to set out on a grand adventure.
For the next three hours, I analyzed every single word in the paragraph, every single one and I found as many hints as I could search for. I went back to the die paragraph and slowly I came to another conclusion and then another. The number of certain letters corresponded with the number of other objects in the space path. If you put certain letters from certain words together you ended up with yet another number. I followed every single one of them, but each one ended at another mundane position in the book. I slaved away over those as well, reached and analyzed them and I found more hints, more connections, more clues. And the longer and the more deeply I analyzed them, the more I could find, if only I wanted to. There was almost an endless number of nonsensical clues and hints if you wanted so. They were all leading me on, leading me around in a circle, on and on and on and on.
And I sat there, over the damned book, over hundreds, if not thousands of pages of notes. I sat in front of an entire wall covered in information and I laughed. For long, terrible minutes I couldn’t stop laughing.
This was all crazy. This was all entirely and utterly crazy.
And finally, it clicked. At this singular moment it finally and ultimately clicked.
There was no solution. The book had no solution. It finally made sense.
I’d slaved away for weeks, no for months, and all I’d done was to walk in circles, continue from one hint to another, only to be sent back to the beginning. The entire damned book was a loop, a loop of loops with secret loops that sent you to more secret loops.
And then, for the first time in months, I closed the book and put it away.
After that, I slowly went and took down all the mad pages from my wall, stacked up all the notes, and put them together in a box in an almost apathetic state.
I was done.
All of this had been utterly meaningless, a fundamental waste of time.
That night, I didn’t sleep. I lay in bed, contemplating a lot of things. My life, my work, the book, and why I’d been so taken by it. Yet, as with the book, there was no solution. There was nothing to it all.
The next day, with the book in my backpack, I made my way back to the store.
It felt as heavy as the world, an endless number of possibilities all resting on my back.
I knew I had to return it, I had to get rid of it before it might throw me into another crazy fit.
When I entered the store, the old man looked up.
“Can I help you with,” he started but broke up, a surprised look on his face.
“Well hello there, young man. Haven’t seen you in quite a while.”
I only nodded, took down my backpack, heaved out the book, and brought it to a rest in front of him.
“I’d like to return this.”
The old man probed me for a moment.
“We’ve got a no-money-back policy,” he said and pointed at a small, almost illegible sign behind himself.
“Yeah, that’s fine, I just want to get rid of it. I’m done with it.”
“So, you got your reward then?”
I couldn’t help but laugh a little. “Guess so.”
“What was it?” the old man asked curiously.
“It’s meaningless, there’s no end to it. It just goes on forever.”
“Oh,” he mouthed with an expression of surprise.
“You ever tried it yourself, old man?”
“Did once, when I was younger, but I got nowhere. Was too damned hard for me.”
“There’s one thing I’m wondering about. Who the hell wrote a thing like this? I mean, it’s freaking insane. How’d’you ever write something like this?”
“Well, to tell you the truth, there’s something I didn’t tell you when you first came in. I originally bought the book from a street merchant, half a century ago. He told me a few things, and I learned a few more over the years from other people.”
“Like what?”
“There’s nothing but rumors of course. The merchant told me it was written by the Devil himself. Then someone told me it was supposedly written by Machiavelli back in the day, to confuse a man who’d wronged him and drive him mad. There was also a guy who was convinced it was the work of aliens. The most plausible thing I heard is that there’s no single author, but that it was written over the course of centuries, with each new writer adding to it and extending it, making it better and ever more complicated.”
“Heh, sounds about-“ I started, but the old man raised a hand and pushed his head forward, towards me.
“There’s one more. Someone else told me it was written by no other than God himself as a big, giant joke about our earthly existence itself.”
I laughed, but it was a weak laugh. Nothing but a giant joke, that fit it damn well, didn’t it?
And as I stepped out of the store and stared at the city surrounding me, watching the urban bustle, I began thinking.
People were hurrying past me, on their way to work, cars and buses rushed down the streets. As I watched it all, this ever-repeating bustle of civilization, I realized that it was all another never-ending loop. On and on and on we all went, doing the same thing over and over and over again.
And as I walked on I started laughing. Maybe that was all right and maybe it didn’t matter. Who knows, maybe the book was true.
Maybe all of this, all of life, all of existence, just like the damned book, was nothing but God’s big, giant joke.
submitted by RehnWriter to TheCrypticCompendium [link] [comments]

A Guide to using the Steam Controller in 2020 (Guide and support thread).

A Guide to using the Steam Controller in 2020 (Guide and support thread).
Hey there! My name is Spork, and I'll be guiding you on how to use (or keep using) the Steam Controller for Rocket League. After Rocket League was taken off the steam store, I figured old or new players could use a guide on how to use the SC (steam controller) on both PC launchers.
Even if you don't use the steam controller, I encourage you to read and upvote this post. ***MODS, STAY AWAY FROM THE DELETE BUTTON FOR ONE SECOND***. I am not asking for karma or internet clout. I ask people to upvote this post so that people looking for this guide on google can see it and make their day easier. *This guide also includes details that can help your controller problems when transitioning to the EG launcher (i'm looking at you, Nintendo Switch Pro Controller).\*
I have around 300 hours of use with this thing, and I'd like to say I'm pretty familiar with how it works and I want to help you out.
There are 2 guides for this controller, one for the Steam platform and one for the Epic Games platform.

It's Glorious.

Steam Launcher Guide

If you bought the game previously on steam, great! Your controller will be much more powerful and easy to use. Here's a brief guide on customizing your steam controller for Rocket League:
Steam Controller Configuration VS In Game Bindings
Using a generic gamepad configuration
One of the benefits to using the steam controller is that it works with virtually EVERY game due to what I like to call Dynamic Firmware Customization. Using the controller configuration tool in Big Picture mode, you can change the bindings that the controller will emulate. For instance, if you want to play a game that doesn't support controllers, you can change your bindings to emulate a keyboard or other device. The best part is, Steam will automatically update the firmware of your controller to match these bindings, which means there is no external communication through steam. Essentially, your computer thinks that the steam controller is actually a keyboard and therefore communicates with your game directly. This can help reduce latency with the game that you're playing. However, Steam must be open for this to work, otherwise it acts as an HID device with very basic keyboard/mouse inputs called "Lizard Mode". (See https://www.pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Controller:Steam_Controller for details). There are some technical workarounds, but I don't bother with them.
So, when you launch up rocket league, your steam controller will load up a default configuration (most likely XInput) to act as a generic gamepad. (There is one exception to this, but I'll cover that later). By default, the Grip buttons are set to A, X, B, or Y. Personally, I like to set them to bumpers for air roll and powerslide. Here is an example of my configuration:
Don't worry about anything that looks confusing like \"Action sets\". These settings can be useful only when you are very familiar with your controller.
You'll see that I've set each button on the controller to act as a normal gamepad. Each button is bound to a controller output instead of an In-Game action. The steam controller will act as a normal gamepad, meaning that you can change your actual in-game actions in the Rocket League settings.
Additionally, you can upload your configs to share with others. If you want to browse these configs, just click X on this screen to see configurations the community is using.
You can customize your controller in this way by navigating to this screen:

Don't worry about Controller Options, they are on default settings. The real changes you can make in that menu are related to Steam In-Game Input mentioned later.
The best part is, you can customize other controllers this way as well (but it isn't optimized with real-time firmware changes like the steam controller). To do this, simply navigate to your settings on the default Big Picture homepage and go to Controller settings. From there you can enable "Xbox Configuration Support", "PS4 Config Support", etc.
It's also possible to change these settings in game using the Big Picture steam overlay. Just click the steam button (also known as the guide button) to bring up the steam overlay. You will see a controller configuration option in the menu. (Note: you must launch your game from big picture mode for this to work).
Using Steam Input
Rocket League also supports something they call "Steam Input". This means Rocket League allows you to configure your in-game controls using the steam configuration tool. When this setting is enabled, your configuration will look like this:

Notice now that the controller config changes actual in-game actions rather than a controller input.
This allows for fuller customization of your in game controls using actual in game actions instead of controller bindings. For instance, here is a config I made experimenting with Gyro controls for mid air movement:

This configuration allows me to move my car in midair by physically rotating and moving my controller, without pressing any buttons.
If you want to change your config to or back from Steam Input, just follow these steps:
1: Click X on the config screen to browse configs.
2: Select the "(LEGACY) Official Psyonix Bindings" for normal gamepad emulation, or select "Rocket League Standard Controls" for steam input. If you have a previous configuration using steam input or regular input saved to your account, you can switch to these configurations as well.
https://preview.redd.it/rssop1diyjq51.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=6a436748fde0deb49dd8f5502c8e6a2342a380d6
There is one downside to using steam input: latency and lag. Because your game now has to communicate with steam to get your inputs (instead of communicating directly with your controller) it takes more time to register an input. Additionally, the game will require more resources to communicate with steam in the first place and can make your game slower. I recommend using a generic gamepad configuration for this reason, but if it doesn't bother you, go for it. If you wish to completely disable steam input, navigate back to the controller setting screen I showed before:

https://preview.redd.it/8m7zh7cgzjq51.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=cd8231b7a9b917588565691f335fdc63012d510e
Navigate to the setting highlighted and change it to "Forced Off".
https://preview.redd.it/3fsjo9n6rkq51.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=31eeee245883b675688b4c11785188f6098c58f1
This will make it so only generic gamepad configurations work with rocket league. If you need more help with this topic, psyonix has a support article here: https://support.rocketleague.com/hc/en-us/articles/360015501594-Steam-Controller-Configuration-Beta-
That's it to using the steam controller on the steam version of Rocket League! If you want to know more about the steam controller, there are many guides on YouTube to help you customize your controller further.
EDIT: Something important to note that was brought up by u/TheLadForTheJob is that using the big picture steam overlay can have an impact on performance in you game. I recommend that you launch the game in big picture mode when customizing your controller, but outside of that launch the game OUTSIDE of big picture mode for a boost in performance.

Epic Games Launcher Guide

Now, obviously, the Epic Games version of Rocket League does not recognize the steam controller as a gamepad. It's hard to set up the steam controller to work with games that use launchers since the application launch script is different than, say, a DRM-Free application. It is possible to use the steam controller for the EG version of Rocket League, but not in the way you think.
I tested several different methods with the EG version of Rocket League and these were the best solutions I could find.
Edit: The best option is to download and use SteamGridDB Manager, an application that automatically adds games from your other launchers into your steam library and launches them with the right scripts. I've tested the most recent build of this app (0.4.2) with Rocket League and it works flawlessly. It will add a Non-Steam game to your library that will launch rocket league with the right scripts so you have access to online play and the EG online services. You can follow the guide about using a generic gamepad configuration in the steam guide above to customize your controls after you add the EG version of rocket league with SteamGridDB Manager. The launch process is a lot simpler than the solution below. If you want to know more about how to use this app, visit https://www.steamgriddb.com/manager to learn more. However, if you don't want to use this application, feel free to follow the guide below:
ADD THE EPIC LAUNCHER AS A NON-STEAM GAME:
Many people when trying to use the steam controller with games from other launchers like epic games, they'll navigate to the .exe file of their game and add it as a non-steam game to their library. This works (at least for me) about 1/5th of the time. It flat out doesn't work with Epic; if you try to launch the RocketLeague.exe file that epic installed, it won't connect you to the online service.
What you'll want to do is add the epic games launcher to your steam library as a non steam game. This allows you to run the epic games launcher with predetermined configurations using steam. When you launch it, it'll tell the controller to switch configurations and act as a gamepad. Then, when you launch Rocket League from the Epic Games launcher, it will be recognized as a controller.
The steps are as follows:
1: Navigate to the bottom left of the Steam window and click ADD A GAME, then click Add a Non-Steam Game...

https://preview.redd.it/4f7psyu2lkq51.png?width=310&format=png&auto=webp&s=122911b18df1d45f114f259f53750f7601da8d32
Once the window is open, select the Epic Games Launcher:

If the Epic Games Launcher does not show up in this list, click BROWSE... and navigate to the .exe file of the launcher (EpicGamesLauncher.exe). A common filepath for the launcher is C:\Program Files (x86)\Epic Games\Launcher\Engine\Binaries\Win32 or Win64.
Once you've added the Epic Games Launcher to your steam library, click on it and select Controller Configuration. (This setting might not appear if your steam controller is not on. If the controller is on and you still don't see it, launch in big picture mode and follow the instructions found in the Steam Launcher portion of this guide for configuring your controller.

https://preview.redd.it/p8ydzbb2nkq51.png?width=1074&format=png&auto=webp&s=f16db4941a1c819cab40bb5795c66bfd84c9564b
You should now see this screen in a window:

https://preview.redd.it/we60yb2fnkq51.png?width=1270&format=png&auto=webp&s=6b9a7e6e9bdbb55c4991f3145422850616963921
Make sure to click "BROWSE CONFIGS", then TEMPLATES, then scroll until you see a configuration that is named "GAMEPAD". Apply that configuration so that it looks similar to the picture above. From here, you can change your controller bindings (ex in the picture I changed the grip buttons to be each bumpers). Make sure to export your config and save it as a personal binding in case something happens to it.
Click DONE to save your config and exit this window. Once you have done this, you will be able to play Rocket League using the steam controller on the Epic Games Launcher!
Make sure to launch the epic games launcher from Steam:

If you don't launch it from steam, the controller config may not work.
Then, launch rocket league from the Epic Games store with your mouse and/or keyboard. Once you load into the game, the steam controller should be recognized as a gamepad instead of a mouse and keyboard!
While I've made this guide specific to the steam controller, This guide may also work with other gamepads that the Epic Games Launcher does not recognize. If it can be recognized by Steam and is configurable (ex: the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller), these steps can be repeated to get your gamepad working with the EG version of Rocket League. I will try to post a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller-specific guide to help those transitioning to the EG launcher or brand new players that want to play on a computer instead.
Edit: u/TheLadForTheJob posted a comment detailing how you can shorten the launch process with specific launching scripts attached so it launches rocket league automatically. This is similar to the SteamGridDB Manager solution, but without the actual application. I encourage you to check out his comment: https://www.reddit.com/RocketLeague/comments/j3kk85/a_guide_to_using_the_steam_controller_in_2020/g7f1pbz?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

Conclusion

I hope you found this guide helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment and we will try to help you out. I've tried to make this guide as comprehensive as possible, but if you think I missed something or got something wrong, post it in the comments so I can edit this guide.
Feel free to share your steam controller configurations as well to help new players!
Your friend,
SPORK
submitted by TheQuintessent to RocketLeague [link] [comments]

Type me please :)

How old are you? What's your gender? Give us a general description of yourself.
I am 15 and male even though I'm not exactly sure about that as I get older I've kinda started to question the gender binary. I often describe myself as a walking contradiction in that I can have a lot of energy and generally make good impressions on strangers but also have crippling social anxiety because of overthinking and am really awkward in interactions with people that I won't never see again, and even though I love being seen as an individual and the concept of individuality i also have a fear of rejection and a desire to fit in in some ways to give only a few examples.
• Is there a medical diagnosis that may impact your mental stability somehow?
I have moderate ADHD, but that's all I've been diagnosed with.
• Describe your upbringing. Did it have any kind of religious or structured influence? How did you respond to it?
My upbringing has been pretty free. I have had free reign of the internet since I can remember for better or for worse, and my parents are I'd say slightly less strict than average. I've been lucky enough to generally not have any religion forced on me, and would call myself an atheist, though I would probably join the satanic temple if that counts. I was a "gifted child" in elementary school and my parents very much nurtured this, and my teachers also did, which made my earlier years pretty positive, as it gave me kind of a feeling of being special. Currently I get into the occasional lowkey philosophical conversation with my dad, and am monitored pretty minimally unless I have a ton of missing work. I very much like not having had a super structured environment and have been thankful for it.
• What do you do as a job or as a career (if you have one)? Do you like it? Why or why not? I want to be a psychology major, because I think it would be very interesting to learn more about how people work and understand them better, and also to be able to diagnose myself accurately. But primarily I don't want a big office job, and the human mind seems so interesting and hearing others' experiences to expand my perspective and to help people sounds nice so it seems like a pretty perfect job for me, or also going into psychological research is also very appealing to me.
• If you had to spend an entire weekend by yourself, how would you feel? Would you feel lonely or refreshed?
I would probably feel really relaxed and liberated. I love the silence of late night and having that all day would be great. I love being home alone. I'd spend some time just thinking about whats going on in my life and what I can do in the future, maybe blast some music and sing along to it, and talk to myself really loudly. Overall yes please sign me up.
• What kinds of activities do you prefer? Do you like, and are you good at sports? Do you enjoy any other outdoor or indoor activities?
I like acting because it's interesting to try to figure out what a character would say and be thinking in a scene and i don't really get stage fright despite my terrible social anxiety surprisingly probably because I started acting at a young age before the overthinking got too bad. I feel guilty whenever it makes me feel like a show off though. I also really enjoy going on long hikes, and again listening to music or just thinking. I guess depends, I like outdoor activities if they're pretty lowkey, but absolutely hate all sports. My sport of choice is track/cross country because it doesnt require hand eye coordination and I'm actually decently good at it. Indoor activities are nice too though, i enjoy relaxing inside for sure. Additionally, at night I often will write big paragraphs about whatever idea pops into my head and post them to my "spam" instagram account with 13 followers.
• How curious are you? Do you have more ideas then you can execute? What are your curiosities about? What are your ideas about - is it environmental or conceptual, and can you please elaborate?
I'd say I'm very curious, but I'm bad at pursuing my curiosity. I am always thinking of new things that may be interesting to research, but only end up looking up a quarter of them. I have kind of phases in interests. My most recent one has been myers briggs, hence this post because of my obsession with correctly typing myself over the past few months. I also enjoy looking up philosophical questions, like reading articles on philosophy, and I really like this one guy billbeteet on tiktok and thinking about them. So I'd say conceptual even though a lot of my ideas are also more grounded like how bread companies should sell the end pieces separately at a lower cost.
• Would you enjoy taking on a leadership position? Do you think you would be good at it? What would your leadership style be?
I would want to take a leadership position more preventatively than to get a feeling of power. I would be pretty lax, but I also want my ideas to be heard because often times my brain gets into this mode of wanting things to go my way. So again, preventatively so I could make sure my ideas got heard, and so that things would go "right." I am very open to other ideas, and if someone else's idea is better I am not afraid to admit it and go with that.
• Are you coordinated? Why do you feel as if you are or are not? Do you enjoy working with your hands in some form? Describe your activity?
I am not coordinated at all, I mean I have decent handwriting because in 4th grade one day I was like "hey I should have good handwriting" I can't catch a ball to save my life though, and have slow reaction times, so I suck at sports as I already said. I often bump into things as well.
• Are you artistic? If yes, describe your art? If you are not particular artistic but can appreciate art please likewise describe what forums of art you enjoy. Please explain your answer.
I am casually artistic I guess, I used to be more so in middle and elementary school. I was obsessed with all things anime in 6th grade, so that gave me a decent base, and now when I do draw I'd say I'm above average though not by a lot. I'm not the most creative artistically however, and when I do have ideas my brain sometimes will come up with reasons why its not a good idea or it's too much of a cliche or something like that, so I guess that's part of why I don't draw too much because I don't have enough good ideas. I am decent in performing arts as I said earlier, but again, I'd say just slightly above average for my age. I generally tend to lose interest in a form of art when it becomes more work and less of just a creative fun outlet if I am not extremely interested in it. I dropped out of band because I did not want to bother with the more complicated musical theory because I did not want to pursue a career in music, so I didn't want it to be so serious. I like indie and r&b music generally.
• What's your opinion about the past, present, and future? How do you deal with them?
I am sometimes embarrassed by how much time I spend dwelling on stupid socially awkward shit I have done in the past. On one hand I want to say it's in the past, but sometimes it is kind of interesting to me to consider what I could have done to change a situation or a comeback to save myself from embarrassment (and they're really good too, just a few days/weeks/moths/years late) In the present I spend most of my time observing others, and occasionally coming up with scenarios for strangers' lives, or just observing people at school in general. I'm not at all a thrill seeker, even though when I can work up the courage for a roller coaster I like them. I also spend a lot of time thinking about self improvement, even though i rarely implement them lol. But I also plan for the future to an extent, even though I never like to narrow down my options in planning. I have had no idea what I wanted my future to look like until this year.
• How do you act when others request your help to do something (anything)? If you would decide to help them, why would you do so?
It really depends. Of course if it benefits me, then yeah. Or if its inconsequential enough for me yeah I'll do it. But I don't usually go out of my way for others. If they have good reasoning just in general or need the help enough I'll also do it.
• Do you need logical consistency in your life?
Absolutely. I can't stand arguments that contradict themselves, and I beat myself up for my own hypocrisy very often. I need reasons behind actions, even though sometimes I have trouble putting my own into words. I try to avoid acting on impulse but also often overthink actions so much that the only way to get myself to make a decision is to just impulsively go for it. Rejection therapy haha.
• How important is efficiency and productivity to you?
haha funny question, I need efficiency in everything. I hate extra steps or having to do more than is needed a lot unless I am interested in a topic in which case I will learn everything I can. But generally I do stuff as quickly as decently possible. However, I am terrible at getting myself to do any sort of schoolwork that I am not interested in because of this, so I am not productive unless I like the assignment. So yeah I love efficient and to the point stuff, but am not very productive in most cases, so I can't really judge others for not being productive if not.
• Do you control others, even if indirectly? How and why do you do that?
I wouldn't call myself manipulative and if I do feel controlling I feel incredibly guilty most of the time. However, sometimes I get into a weird state of wanting someone else to do one thing in place of another and pressuring them to do that if I think its better especially if I care about them, but I wouldn't say I'm controlling.
• What are your hobbies? Why do you like them?
I doodle casually occasionally, I like writing long paragraphs about stuff in my notes app when inspiration hits, I also like going on walks and thinking about stuff. Again acting is cool sometimes even though I'm bad at the social aspect of it. I also sing pretty casually, in my school jazz band last year, and chorus this year. I love thinking about stuff because I guess it kind of connects me to my elementary school years, and kinda gives me self validation that I am smart because getting so much in elementary school and now so little validation of that topic has caused me to doubt myself a lot but also thinking about stuff just is cool to see new perspectives on stuff and sometimes come up with bizarre stuff just for fun. I also have been just kinda naturally talented in performing arts in that I have a "naturally good" singing voice so i'm not too embarrassed about that so its more fun, and i get some compliments occasionally about it which is cool. Kinda same with acting in that I understood that you have to really get into a character's head from a young age, and I often will have specific ways that I see specific scenes and lines playing out just by looking at a script so thats kind of fun to play out, and pretty no stress as well.
• What is your learning style? What kind of learning environments do you struggle with most? Why do you like/struggle with these learning styles? Do you prefer classes involving memorization, logic, creativity, or your physical senses?
My favorite classes are english and history because I love analyzing texts and possible motives and connections behind stuff and my english teacher says that I make a lot of conceptual connections very quickly. So logic and creativity are my favorite things to use in learning. I like when I have somehting that I can think about thoroughly that is open for interpretation, where subjects like math and science where there is generally going to be only one answer are less interesting to me, and I don't have the motive to build up the base in those topics to get to the actual interesting stuff. I hate rigid learning environments that won't let me do things my own way, especially because I typically think my way is better. I also suck at turning stuff in on time, I am much more "quality over quantity."
• How good are you at strategizing? Do you easily break up projects into manageable tasks? Or do you have a tendency to wing projects and improvise as you go?
I always wing it. Making a plan takes so much time and I typically don't even follow plans anyway, so I don't see much reason to do one for me. I can make pretty good decisions if presented with a new problem in a project, but I don't strategize too much in the long term because life is too unpredictable for that and I often end up not liking a project initially and changing it.
• What are your aspirations in life, professionally and personally?
I don't want to really accomplish too much. I don't want to be rich or own a company or anything, or have kids. I want a quiet life in a small remotely located house in europe where I live with a significant other and spend most of my time researching stuff and talking to my s/o and going on walks and stuff. I want to work in psychology, and live fairly comfortably, but have also been fortunate enough to have been told i will be set for life money wise so I am not very ambitious career wise. Just a steady casual job in psychology that interests me and I can learn from is good for me. I guess some would be pretty furious at my ideal life and lack of real motivation to contribute to society, but I don't really see myself getting to be a ceo by working, nor do I have the drive to do so most likely, so might as well spend my time on something that interests me, and live a relaxed life.
• What are your fears? What makes you uncomfortable? What do you hate? Why?
I am deathly afraid of heights, I can't even go near any large fall. I am extremely cautious in general. I am made uncomfortable in situations where I can't think of anything to say or things are completely out of my control. I am also made uncomfortable by people who make stupid remarks to try to get to you that are too dumb to reason with because in their heads they would have "won" and thought they got to me, and if I try to reason with them they just take that as me being "triggered" oddly specific but those people I hate so much. I hate when people just won't listen to logic at all in that neighborhood too, or when they can't give me a good reason why I should do something. I also hate some parts of social interactions that I just suck at like I can't make eye contact because I assume that the other person assumes it means something, and I don't know where the fuck to look when someone is talking to me or let alone passing me on the street like i dont want to look at them but just looking straight ahead is so weird and suspicious. I just generally assume people notice my small motions more than they do in social interactions which makes me hyperaware of everything I am doing and just makes it really unpleasant especially if I don't know someone. There is also nothing I hate more than someone who dances around stuff to try to preserve my feelings and I wish people were brutally honest with one another all the time because I think it would make so many interactions feel so much more genuine.
• What do the "highs" in your life look like?
The highs of my life all relate to a complete lack of stress, or having some sort of mental breakthrough for myself that gives me a new perspective on something, which often relieves stress, so yeah, stress. I love casual situations where I can just talk about whatever with my few close friends, or when I am just sitting peacefully on a hill listening to music and thinking without anything bugging me saying I have to get out of there to work on something. Just being able to think without worrying about anything is amazing.
• What do the "lows" in your life look like?
Contrasting the highs, stressful, when I've dug myself into a difficult hole to get out of, when I have to take life more seriously than I usually do. When I didn't do homework for a month and had a pile of 30+ missing assignments, when I did something shitty and had to face reality and own up to it when I am so unused to taking anything so seriously and also was embarrassed about it. I hate when things get too serious or real.
• How attached are you to reality? Do you daydream often, or do you pay attention to what's around you? If you do daydream, are you aware of your surroundings while you do so?
Not very, I am often observing my surroundings when out in public walking or something, but I often will daydream to an extent as well while walking. In school I often can zone out thinking about something and miss a lot about a class. I also get distracted very easily when trying to focus on stuff and my mind drifts to something more interesting always when I find something to be boring. However, sometimes in new social situations i get really nervous and almost paranoid in which case I am very aware and awkward about what I do and as I said before, hyperaware of my movements.
• Imagine you are alone in a blank, empty room. There is nothing for you to do and no one to talk to. What do you think about?
I would probably first think through the events that led me to that. And I guess then the future, or if I would want to get out or not. Eventually I'd probably get to existential stuff and maybe start thinking about things that could have changed the earth's track completely, and maybe then start wondering about aliens, or just what else could be in the universe.
• How long do you take to make an important decision? And do you change your mind once you've made it?
I take forever to make pretty much any decision, I am incredibly indecisive. I will take minutes to order at a restaurant, and constantly am creating every possible situation that could come out of something, and have to think through all of that before confidently making a decision. As I said earlier, I'm at the point where I kind of just decide to do stuff because thinking it through takes too long. And yes if I get new information I will go through the whole process of weighing the pros and cons again.
• How long do you take to process your emotions? How important are emotions in your life?
I don't think about my emotions much. I'd say I'm pretty progressive politically, and I generally either assume the best or worst in people, no in between, but my moral compass is open to new information I guess, and I don't really think of emotions first in too many situations, even though I do like the feeling of helping others.
• Do you ever catch yourself agreeing with others just to appease them and keep the conversation going? How often? Why?
Only if I need someone to like me for some reason, otherwise I state my mind and absolutely DESPISE sugar coating. I do occasionally feel pressure to fit in however, for example I started wearing more trendy clothes this year because I needed new clothes so I just decided to buy trendy stuff because it would improve my image i guess and i needed new stuff anyways. I have a constant battle in my head with loving being an individual and wanting to know what it feels like to fit in perfectly.
• Do you break rules often? Do you think authority should be challenged, or that they know better? If you do break rules, why?
I break rules that I don't think should exist, and think that abusive authority should be challenged, or even just overly assertive authority should be. I do have a certain respect for authority that genuinely respects those that they are above, and recognise them as human beings as well. I think that anything that is wrong or hurts the innocent or just overuses power for no reason should be challenged. When I break rules I do it less as a statement, but more just because I consider the rule to be stupid and unnecessary, or overcontrolling.
Ok so I just spent like an hour on this lol hopefully I can get some responses from this.
submitted by potumatlu to MbtiTypeMe [link] [comments]

./play.it 2.12: API, GUI and video games

./play.it 2.12: API, GUI and video games

./play.it is a free/libre software that builds native packages for several Linux distributions from DRM-free installers for a collection of commercial games. These packages can then be installed using the standard distribution-provided tools (APT, pacman, emerge, etc.).
A more complete description of ./play.it has already been posted in linux_gaming a couple months ago: ./play.it, an easy way to install commercial games on GNU/Linux
It's already been one year since version 2.11 was released, in January 2019. We will only briefly review the changelog of version 2.12 and focus on the different points of ./play.it that kept us busy during all this time, and of which coding was only a small part.

What’s new with 2.12?

Though not the focus of this article, it would be a pity not to present all the added features of this brand new version. ;)
Compared to the usual updates, 2.12 is a major one, especially since for two years, we slowed down the addition of new features. Some patches took dust since the end of 2018 before finally be integrated in this update!
The list of changes for this 2.12 release can be found on our forge. Here is a full copy for convenience:

Development migration

History

As many free/libre projects, ./play.it development started on some random sector of a creaking hard drive, and unsurprisingly, a whole part of its history (everything predating version 1.13.15 released on Mars 30th, 2016) disappeared into the limbs because some unwise operation destroyed the only copy of the repository… Lesson learned, what's not shared don't stay long, and so was born the first public Git repository of the project. The easing of collaborative work was only accidentally achieved by this quest for eternity, but wasn't the original motivation for making the repository publicly available.
Following this decision, ./play.it source code has been hosted successively by many shared forge platforms:

Dedicated forge

As development progressed, ./play.it began to increase its need for resources, dividing its code into several repositories to improve the workflow of the different aspects of the projects, adding continuous integration tests and their constraints, etc. A furious desire to understand the nooks and crannies behind a forge platform was the last deciding factor towards hosting a dedicated forge.
So it happened, we deployed a forge platform on a dedicated server, hugely benefiting from the tremendous work achieved by the GitLab's package Debian Maintainers team. In return, we tried to contribute our findings in improving this software packaging.
That was not expected, but this migration happened just a little time before the announcement “Déframasoftisons Internet !” (French article) about the planned end of Framagit.
This dedicated instance used to be hosted on a VPS rented from Digital Ocean until the second half of July 2020, and since then has been moved to another VPS, rented from Hetzner. The specifications are similar, as well as the service, but thanks to this migration our hosting costs have been cut in half. Keeping in mind that this is paid by a single person, so any little donation helps a lot on this front. ;)
To the surprise of our system administrator, this last migration took only a couple hours with no service interruption reported by our users.

Forge access

This new forge can be found at forge.dotslashplay.it. Registrations are open to the public, but we ask you to not abuse this, the main restriction being that we do not wish to host projects unrelated to ./play.it. Of course exceptions are made for our active contributors, who are allowed to host some personal projects there.
So, if you wish to use this forge to host your own work, you first need to make some significant contributions to ./play.it.

API

The collection of supported games growing endlessly, we have started the development of a public API allowing access to lots of information related to ./play.it.
This API, which is not yet stabilized, is simply an interface to a versioned database containing all the ./play.it scripts, handled archives, games installable through the project. Relations are, of course, handled between those items, enabling its use for requests like : « What packages are required on my system to install Cæsar Ⅲ ? » or « What are the free (as in beer) games handled via DOSBox ? ».
Originally developed as support for the new, in-development, Web site (we'll talk about it later on), this API should facilitate the development of tools around ./play.it. For example, it'll be useful for whomever would like to build a complete video game handling software (downloading, installation, starting, etc.) using ./play.it as one of its building bricks.
For those curious about the technical side, it's an API based on Lumeneffectuant that makes requests on a MariaDB database, all self-hosted on a Debian Sid. Not only is the code of the API versioned on our forge, but also the structure and content of the databases, which will allow those who desired it to install a local version easily.

New website

Based on the aforementioned API, a new website is under development and will replace our current website based on DokuWiki.
Indeed, if the lack of database and the plain text files structure of DokuWiki seemed at first attractive, as ./play.it supported only a handful of games (link in French), this feature became more inconvenient as the library of ./play.it supported games grew.
We shall make an in-depth presentation of this website for the 2.13 release of ./play.it, but a public demo of the development version from our forge is already available.
If you feel like providing an helping hand on this task, some priority tasks have been identified to allow opening a new Web site able to replace the current one. And for those interested in technical details, this web Site was developed in PHP using the framework Laravel. The current in-development version is hosted for now on the same Debian Sid than the API.

GUI

A regular comment that is done about the project is that, if the purpose is to make installing games accessible to everyone without technical skills, having to run scripts in the terminal remains somewhat intimidating. Our answer until now has been that while the project itself doesn't aim to providing a graphical interface (KISS principle "Keep it simple, stupid"), still and always), but that it would be relatively easy to, later on, develop a graphical front-end to it.
Well, it happens that is now reality. Around the time of our latest publication, one of our contributors, using the API we just talked about, developed a small prototype that is usable enough to warrant a little shout out. :-)
In practice, it is some small Python 3 code (an HCI completely in POSIX shell is for a later date :-°), using GTK 3 (and still a VTE terminal to display the commands issued, but the user shouldn't have to input anything in it, except perhaps the root password to install some packages). This allowed to verify that, as we used to say, it would be relatively easy, since a script of less than 500 lines of code (written quickly over a week-end) was enough to do the job !
Of course, this graphical interface project stays independent from the main project, and is maintained in a specific repository. It seems interesting to us to promote it in order to ease the use of ./play.it, but this doesn't prevent any other similar projects to be born, for example using a different language or graphical toolkit (we, globally, don't have any particular affinity towards Python or GTK).
The use of this HCI needs three steps : first, a list of available games is displayed, coming directly from our API. You just need to select in the list (optionally using the search bar) the game you want to install. Then it switches to a second display, which list the required files. If several alternatives are available, the user can select the one he wants to use. All those files must be in the same directory, the address bar on the top enabling to select which one to use (click on the open button on the top opens a filesystem navigation window). Once all those files available (if they can be downloaded, the software will do it automatically), you can move ahead to the third step, which is just watching ./play.it do its job :-) Once done, a simple click on the button on the bottom will run the game (even if, from this step, the game is fully integrated on your system as usual, you no longer need this tool to run it).
To download potentially missing files, the HCI will use, depending on what's available on the system, either wget, curl or aria2c (this last one also handling torrents), of which the output will be displayed in the terminal of the third phase, just before running the scripts. For privilege escalation to install packages, sudo will be used preferentially if available (with the option to use a third-party application for password input, if the corresponding environment variable is set, which is more user-friendly), else su will be used.
Of course, any suggestion for an improvement will be received with pleasure.

New games

Of course, such an announcement would not be complete without a list of the games that got added to our collection since the 2.11 release… So here you go:
If your favourite game is not supported by ./play.it yet, you should ask for it in the dedicated tracker on our forge. The only requirement to be a valid request is that there exists a version of the game that is not burdened by DRM.

What’s next?

Our team being inexhaustible, work on the future 2.13 version has already begun…
A few major objectives of this next version are :
If your desired features aren't on this list, don't hesitate to signal it us, in the comments of this news release. ;)

Links

submitted by vv224 to linux_gaming [link] [comments]

How to prevent customer cancellations

Customer retention is a goal every business owner should be obsessed with. At the end of the day it's cheaper to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one.
But how do you ensure that your customers keep using your service?
Are there any simple, yet effective ways to reduce or even prevent churn?
As it turns out there's one simple strategy you can use to keep your customers around even if they're about to leave your platform. Let's explore what it is and why it works.

Why you should obsess over customer retention

As already stated in the introduction it's important to focus on customer retention when building a sustainable business.
Acquiring customers can be an expensive endeavour. If you're not (yet) in a position where your product grows through Word-of-Mouth you're likely spending a good portion of your revenue on paid ads and marketing to drive traffic to your service. Only a few of your thousands of visitors will eventually try your product and convert to become a paying customer.
Optimizing this marketing and sales funnel is a tricky and costly activity. Think about it for a minute. Who finances your learnings and tweakings of such funnel? Correct, your existing customers.
That's why keeping your users happy and around is one of the most important business objectives.

Why customers are churning

If you think about it, there's really only one reason why your customers are leaving your platform:
Your product isn't a crucial part of their life anymore
While this sounds harsh I'd like you to think about all the services you're currently subscribing to. Now imagine that you can only keep one. What would you cancel? Probably everything except the one you can't live without.
Of course, the preferences are different from person to person and they change over time. And that's the exact reason why people cancel their subscription with your service: Their preferences have changed and they might want to take a pause from your service or need something else entirely.

"Churn Baby Churn"

Now that we know why your customers churn, it's time to get into their shoes and think about ways to keep them around.
One of the "industry" standards is to send out a survey once they're about to leave to gather feedback and convince them to stay. Some services offer coupon codes if for example the user has clicked on the "it's too expensive" option in the survey.
Other tactics are more on the "dark patterns" side of things. Hiding buttons, asking double negative questions or using other techniques to make it nearly impossible to leave. Needless to say that customers of businesses practicing such tactics aren't the ones who spread the word on how awesome the product is. Quite the opposite.
But let's take a step back for a minute and ask ourselves why this "should I stay or should I go" question has to be binary in the first place. Isn't there something "right in the middle"? Something where a user can stay but somehow go at the same time?

"Wait a minute... or a month..."

The solution to this dilemma is dead simple and obvious, yet rarely used: Make it possible to pause the subscription.
Yes, it's that simple. Just offer a way to pause a subscription and get back to it once your users current circumstances have changed.
Now you might think that it's a really bad idea to let users pause their subscription. They'll pause and never come back. So essentially it's a "passive churn" as they haven't left the platform yet but might never use it again. The stale user data is sitting in the database and your dashboards are still showing hockey-stick growth. Furthermore it's a huge implementation effort as pausing and resuming subscriptions isn't something considered business critical and hence wasn't implemented just yet.
Those are all valid concerns and some of them might turn out to be true even if you have a "pause- and resume your subscription" system in place. But let's take a seconds to look at the other side of the equation.

Why pausing is a good idea

They very first thing that comes to mind is the COVID-19 pandemic we're currently in. A lot of business scaled back and hence had to cancel subscriptions to their favorite SaaS tools to cut costs. A common "save the customer tactic" used here was to get in touch with the business owner and offer heavy discounted year long subscription plans. That way businesses could reassess if they should really quit and leave the huge discount on the table or just go with it and double down to benefit from the sweet, discounted multi-year subscription deal.
Letting business put their subscription on hold would be another strategy that could be used to help retain and eventually reactivate your users during this pandemic. Put yourself into your customers shoes again for a minute. Wouldn't you want to pay it back in the future if your supplier lent you a helping hand and wasn't "forcing" you out the door?
Even if your customers pause their account you still have their E-Mail address to reach out to them and keep them informed about your product. In fact you should use this opportunity to stay in touch, ask them how they're doing and providing something of value along the way. That way you keep the communication "warm" and your business stays on "their radar". There's a higher likelihood that they think about your service when times have changed and they're about to scale things up again.
Having a way to pause a subscription is an action that's usually taken with some level of consideration. If your customer wants to quit (s)he'll just cancel the subscription anyway. Offering a way to pause for the time-being is another option your users might just not have right now, so they're forced to make a very binary decision and therefore they just quit.
What you should also think about is that pausing a subscription doesn't necessarily mean that you'll lose revenue for sure. There are different and very creative ways in which you can implement the pause. My gym for example simply extends my membership for the amount of months I put my membership on hold. In the summer I make use of this feature since I do my workouts outside anyways. However those 3-4 months I "save" are simply "added" to my contract. I just have a little bit more control about how and where I spend my time with sports. You can get really creative here and invent other ways for this mechanism to work if you really want to ensure that you don't lose revenue.
A last, important point is that you can use this functionality as a competitive advantage and "marketing material". Be sure to add the fact that people can pause their subscription to your list of product benefits. Add it to the copy right next to your "Subscribe Now" button. Addressing objections and concerns right before the call-to-action is about to happen will drastically increase your conversion rates.

Things to keep in mind when going down that path

Now you might be excited and eager to implement this strategy in the near future but before you do so I'd like to call out a couple of things you should keep in mind when implementing it.
First of all: Keep it simple. There's no need to jump right into code and implement this functionality end-to-end. Do it manually in the beginning. Update the database records and the subscription plans for people who want to pause their subscription by hand. Maybe you find out that very few people want to make use of this feature. What you definitely want to put in place is your new copywriting. As discussed above you should ensure that your marketing website is updated and reflects the recent change you just introduced.
Next up you want to have an automated follow-up E-Mail sequence / Drip campaign setup for pausing customers. Keep in touch. Ask for problems they had with your software and help them succeed in whatever they're up to right now. You might want to jump on a quick call to gather some feedback as to why they paused and understand what needs to be in place for them to come back. If you do this, please ensure that you're genuinely interested in the communication. There's nothing worse for a user than composing a reply and shooting the E-Mail into the marketing void.
A very important, yet often overlooked step is to have a tool in place which deals with "passive churn". Such a system ensures that the credit cards on file are up to date and chargeable. There could be an overlap between your users pausing their subscription and their credit cards expiring. You don't want to make them look bad because of that. You could even think about a "concierge service" which onboards them in person once they'll come back. Combine this with a quick update on all the new features / updates they missed and are not yet familiar with.
Lastly you absolutely don't want to make it hard for your users to pause their subscription. As mentioned above, avoid dark patterns at all costs. And more importantly: Don't penalize them for pausing. Messages such as "We'll retain your data for the next 60 days" are inappropriate in the day and age of "Big Data" and access to Petabytes of storage for a nickel and dime.

Your challenge

I'd like to challenge you to think about adding the possibility to pause a subscription. Is it suitable for your business? Would it help you retain and reactive more customers (especially in the current situation we're in)?
If you're about to add it, keep in mind that it doesn't have to be complicated. Start with a simple E-Mail form your users can fill out to let you know for how long they want to pause. Just make sure that you follow the best practices outlined above and that you advertise that it's now possible for your customers to pause their subscriptions.

Conclusion

Customer retention is one of the most important metrics every business owner should focus on. It's the existing customers who finance the Customer Acquisition Costs that are necessary to bring new users into the door.
It's almost always cheaper to keep your existing customers happy than to lose them and acquire brand new ones.
Unfortunately a lot of SaaS services only offer a very binary option for their subscription plans. As a user you're either in or you're out. You stay or you leave. But what if a user wants to take a pause for a few months because of current changes in life circumstances?
Offering a way to pause a subscription is a simple, yet effective way to retain and eventually reactive your existing customers. Remember that a pause is temporary. If you follow-up with them on a continuous basis and help them succeed they'll eventually come back. Maybe even as a raving, more loyal fan of your brand.
I hope that you enjoyed this article and I'd love to invite you to subscribe to my Newsletter if you're interested in more, action-oriented posts like this.
Do you have any questions, feedback or comments? Feel free to reach out via E-Mail or connect with me on Twitter.
This post was originally published on philippmuens.com
submitted by pmuens to indiebiz [link] [comments]

[PimpMySims4]LGBT Mod V3.0.7.9 (17.10.2020) - Courtesy of comfywit

Hello beautiful people! Have you missed me? I definitely missed you guys! I'm finally back with a little update for you guys!!! This is a relatively small update, I mostly focused on fixing bugs you guys have reported, but I did throw in a few goodies too! I have updated a few interactions to add more in depth gameplay that I hope you will like.
Now when a gay or lesbian sim is in a hetero relationship and they come out to their partner, there is a chance they will be hurt/upset that they didn't tell them sooner. I also added a new computer interaction, new aspiration, and a new trait! I have a lot more planned for a big update, but I probably won't release that until next month. As always, please give me your feedback; I want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly!
******
The LGBT mod adds many LGBTQ+ gameplay traits to your game which provide new interactions and buffs to create a more in depth experience for your sims. It also adds lot traits, events, and holiday traditions. This mod is a work in progress, and will periodically have updates for bug fixes and to add new features.
Traits When you add any of the LGBT sexuality/gender traits to a sim, they will now automatically also receive an In The Closet trait. If you include the optional homophobia file, this will prevent homophobic/transphobic sims from being uncomfortable around sims that haven't come out yet. - Ally - Aromantic - Asexual - Bisexual - Demisexual - Gay -Gender Fluid - Lesbian - LGBT Activist - Non Binary - Pansexual - Transgender - Drag Queen/King
- Questioning *NEW\*
Included in optional file: - Homophobic - Transphobic
Interactions LGBT interactions can be found under the LGBT Mod menu when you click on another sim. All LGBT sims can use the following interactions: "Ask About Sexuality/Identity" "Ask About Pronouns" "Get Excited About Pride" "Encourage to Come Out" "Come out as..." "Discuss Current LGBT Issues" "Ask to Donate to LGBT Charity" "Recall Encounter with Homophobic Sim" "Encourage to Be Open Minded" "Research About LGBT Community" (Computer interaction)
"Write An Article About LGBT Rights" (Computer interaction) *NEW\* ...and more!
Depending on your relationship with the other sim and/or their traits, these interactions could have different results. Some interactions will give your sim and/or the other sim positive or negative buffs/moodlets! Each trait has exclusive social interactions as well, some may only appear after talking to sims for a certain period of time.
Social Events LGBT Meetup This event allows you to invite any (or all) sims with a LGBT trait to hang out. It is a free event and there are no rewards, it is just a great way to meet sims in the community. Coming Out Party This is a goaled event. You can come out to your friends can family in a festive environment. You can earn money as a reward upon completion. LGBT Charity Gala This is a goaled event. Host a gala to help raise money for a LGBT charity. If you get gold on this event you will receive a new gameplay trait, LGBT Activist, which gives you two new interactions: "Talk about Protesting for LGBT Rights" and "Ask to Join Cause" which has a chance of turning other sims into LGBT Activists as well. (Note that city living is required for some of the goals in the event to be completed) LGBT Protest This is not a goaled event. You need city living in order for this event to work. You simply invite other sims to a lot and start a protest. (You may have to click on sims and select "ask to join protest" under friendly > political career to get the protest started). Drag Show This is a goaled event where you can win money and also the Drag Queen/King trait. The goals are mostly performance based, so it gives you the freedom to run the show how you'd like.
Lot Traits LGBT Hot Spot The LGBT hot spot spawns LGBT sims in your world to that lot (as long as you have given sims the LGBT traits). Gay Hot Spot The gay hot spot spawns gay sims in your world to that lot (as long as you have given sims the gay trait). Lesbian Hot Spot The lesbian hot spot spawns lesbian sims in your world to that lot (as long as you have given sims the lesbian trait).
Holiday Traditions Pride Spirit This holiday tradition is completed by using LGBT interactions with other sims, so you can make your own pride holiday (I figured this was better than an event because it will come up every year on the calendar).
Aspirations
LGBT Activist *NEW\*
This aspiration is for sims who wish to advocate for LGBT rights around the community. This aspiration does require you to have City Living and Get Famous in order to complete the goals.
Optional Files The Homophobia file is automatically included in the zip folder. If you do not want any sims to experience homophobia or transphobia please delete the file. These traits were created for story telling purposes only, as some people like their game to reflect reality or wish to defeat homophobia in game. The LGBT Protest Signs Override file is also optional. This will replace all protest signs with Simlish signs protesting for LGBT rights. If you do not wish to replace them all, delete this file.
Known Issues Some people have reported an LE when lesbian sims woohoo, I have tried my best to fix this but it keeps coming back. It is not game breaking however, so you can just ignore it for now.
****** There are a few secret experimental features in this mod that I haven't mentioned above, if you come across them let me know! Now go have fun and tell me what you would like to see added to this mod in the future!
Installation Instructions (UPDATED, PLEASE RE-READ) 1. Delete all previous versions of this mod. 2. Download the mod from the link below. 3. Move ZIP folder to your mods folder 4. Extract files from the Zip folder using a program such as Winrar or Winzip (if you have multiple folders within your mods folder, make sure the .script file is no more than 1 folder deep). 5. You can delete the ZIP folder now if you want. You can also delete the Homophobic trait if you wish. 6. Start your game and in your game settings make sure mods are enabled and that script mods are on. If they are not, check the boxes and then restart your game. 7. To give/remove sims LGBT traits you simply click on the sim you wish to give a trait. 8. Under the settings in the LGBT Mod menu you can select what trait(s) to give the sim. You can also remove the traits from a sim this way. 9. Enjoy!
submitted by maksimko12 to TS4_Rebels [link] [comments]

Neo-Atheists, Atheists, militant Atheism and everything in between: Caged by Abrahamic Monotheism

Neo-Atheists, Atheists, militant Atheism and everything in between: Caged by Abrahamic Monotheism
Nupur J Sharma | 7 September, 2020
Before we proceed further, there are two things that ought to be stated outright. Firstly, the purpose of this article is not to encourage desecration of the Quran or any other Islamic scriptures or doctrine. The sole purpose is to provide an understanding of the core matter at hand, in light of the online battle between ex-Muslims and Hindus. And secondly, most obviously, the author does not believe that all Muslims are Jihadis or terrorists. Now that we are done with formalities, let us jump straight to the matter.
Steven Weinberg, the great American physicist and a Nobel laureate, once remarked, “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil, but for good people to do evil – that takes religion” and since then, this quote has almost been weaponised by Atheists around the world to condemn religion as an outdated concept that is using violence to maintain its relevance in a world that has outgrown the need or the desire for its tenets.
The New Atheism movement started in the mid-2000s with the ‘four horsemen for Atheism’ – Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris – gaining immense popularity. The core tenet of New Atheism is that religion was created in an attempt to explain how the world works at a time when science had hardly made the leaps that it has today. Thus, at a time when science has progressed, religion’s validity has expired, so to speak. There are several other claims that New Atheists make which we will examine in the course of this article, however, the central theme remains constant – Religion, any religion, has outlived its validity.
The New Atheism movement, however, ushered in another remarkable trend. It essentially espoused that being an Atheist was not sufficient. Atheists must ‘scientifically’ counter the theists and expose their dogmatic ways wherever they are found.
What started off as an attempt to infuse scientific discourse and composed debate on the question of Religion, soon became a free-for-all with the influx of several ex-Muslims, like Armin Navabi, Harris Sultan and others, who simply assumed that the function of Atheism was ‘desecration’ without the consideration that criticism for every religion would have to differ based on the genesis, nature and context of that specific religion itself.
Armin Navabi, Iranian Ex-Muslim who is now an Atheist first tore up and spat on the Quran. Following the support he got from Hindus, he proceeded to willfully desecrate the Hindu faith. The underlying reason for doing this, per Armin, was that all faiths should be desecrated equally, however, that is not where this saga began.
It has already been established that the saga of desecrating the Hindu faith started with another ex-Muslim, Abdullah Sameer, shielding the Muslim community after the Sweden and Norway riots, getting called out by Robert Spencer and then, proceeding to draw a false equivalence between Hindus (who were calling him out online) and Muslims (who were burning the world).
Soon, after the spat between Robert Spencer and Abdullah Sameer, Sameer started posting offensive images of Hindu Goddess Kali. Along with him, several other ex-Muslims like Harris Sultan and Armin Navabi started talking about how Hindus are just as bad as Muslims because they were calling them out on Twitter. On the 3rd of September, Armin took things a step further and shared the same image of Maa Kali.
Only a couple of hours before posting this distorted picture which showed Goddess Kali in a sexual epithet, Armin was retweeting and talking about the #DesecrateTheQuran hashtag.
Given how this spat started, one can easily assume that this entire episode was orchestrated to falsely equate Hindus and Muslims post the Sweden and Norway riots by the Muslims. However, for the purpose of this article, I will not be delving into that aspect. What needs to be analysed, however, is the surmise that gives rise to the notion that desecration of all faiths, in equal measure, is a desirable outcome of Atheism.
It is in this spirit, that Harris Sultan, while speaking to ‘Hindu Atheist’ Kushal Mehra question OpIndia for covering Armin’s desecration of the Quran but being silent or even outraged, by his desecration of the Hindu faith.
At the heart of it, is the supposition that all religions are equal and thus, all religions should be desecrated equally and it is this ill-informed position that needs to be challenged.
Dissecting the ‘All religions are equal’ claim The notion does not really stem from Atheism itself but the notions of religious pluralism that assumes that not only do all religions claim that their truth is the ‘only truth’ that exists, but that all religions are based on the principles of Universal Truths and thus, these are the two tenets that need to be dealt with if religions are to co-exist peacefully.
Religious Pluralism essentially says that firstly, all religions must acknowledge that certain truths exist in other religions as well, thereby declaring that it is not only their own religion that is the ‘only truth’. Further, it says that all religions must acknowledge that every religion teaches basic universal truths that have been taught since before the advent of religion itself.
When one delves into the principles of religious pluralism as a construct that can enable religions co-existing without sectarian violence, it becomes important to ensure that all religions are brought down to the same surface level and hence, the claim that all religions are the same takes a beastly proportion where cultural context is often lost.
For the purpose of this article, we will focus on Islam, Christianity and Hinduism since the question we eventually want to answer is- why is it permissible to desecrate Islam and not desecrate Hinduism?
At the very outset, it suffices to say that no other religion in the world, at this point of time in history, lays out a doctrine for the torture, subjugation, conversion and humiliation of all the people who refuse to believe in their faith, other than Islam.
This question of whether all religions are equal and whether Islam is inherently a religion of peace was discussed at length in an interview with Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer. He said in the interview that Islam as a religion indoctrinates its adherents to slay the Kafirs where they see them. They lay out the doctrine for religious warfare and strict rules as to what is to be done with the ‘spoils of war’.
No other religion in the world has left behind a trail of mangled bodies, blood and gore in its wake as much as Islam and what is worse is that this carnage was sanctified in their religion, in fact, it is one of the necessities of their religion. Moral relativists and apologists of Islam often say that Islam is a religion of peace and it is its adherents who have distorted the peaceful version of Islam.
They also say that the Quran is a peaceful text that essentially takes people closer to universal truths, just as other religions do, but it is the Hadith that twists the meaning of the Quran and ebbs people to commit violence in its name. None of these claims hold scrutiny, according to Spencer, since there exists no version of Islam that does not lay out a doctrine for the subjugation of Kafirs. In the interview, Spencer quoted verses of the Quran that themselves asked Muslims to slay the Kafirs and strike their neck.
As Mr Spencer talks about the verses of the Quran that ordain its followers to slay Kafirs and Polytheists, one has to wonder how can a religion that is at odds with Polytheism be equal and aspires for the same goals as that of a Polytheistic religion? When Islam is at odds with Polytheism and the religious texts explicitly mention the subjugation of any Polytheist faith, how accurate is it to say that all religions are exactly the same since neither Christianity (which is also an Abrahamic religion) or Hinduism (which is a polytheistic religion) say anything that remotely resembles Islam.
We can further classify this argument between Abrahamic faiths and Polytheistic faiths. In the conversation with Robert Spencer, it was clear why Islam took over 500 years to find footing in India and countries like Europe fell to the onslaught of Islam far quicker than India. The Quran presents itself as completion and correction of Christianity, said Spencer, which also gives us a window into just how vast the difference between the Hindu faith and Islam/Christianity really is.
Hence, to essentially say that all religions are equal and aspire towards the same universal truths is a fallacious statement that is made by the people who either harbour malice, or ignorance.
What the desecration of the image of Maa Kali meant for Hindus A familiar grouse that was expressed by the Neo-Atheists is why Hindus were celebrating the desecration of the Quran while they felt outraged when Armin Navabi desecrated the Hindu faith by sexualising Maa Kali. The underlying issue with this question that seems to baffle the Ex-Muslim Atheists is that they, almost militantly, follow the tenet that all religions are the same, a question, that we have debunked earlier in this article.
When we have concluded, with adequate proof, that all religions are indeed not the same, one has to then understand the cultural context to truly understand why Hindus were celebratory, or even supportive, when ex-Muslim Atheists desecrated Islam and went after the same Atheists when they sexualised Kali.
From what I understand, the backlash against Armin Navabi first started with him sharing the sexualised images of Maa Kali and was exacerbated with his follow-up tweet that essentially told Hindus to put Maa Kali in a Burkha if her sexualisation was offending them.
What Armin did was to reduce the divine, with no provocation whatsoever, to a basal, human upheaval of hormones. To ask Hindus whether they would want to masturbate to a deity they consider their mother or even say that he “simps for Kali” which essentially means that he would put the deity on a pedestal to get sexual favours in return. This tirade did not come from a place of understanding but from a place of militancy of thought that had no cultural context whatsoever.
When they ask “how is the desecration of the Quran different from the desecration of Maa Kali”, the simple fact remains that the ex-Muslims grew up in a household that deeply believed in the tenets of Islam, as per their own confessions. Their draw towards Atheism or even anti-theism comes from being told that if they do not follow exactly what the Quran says, they will go to hell.
Or that apostates deserve death and if they do not follow the tenets of the Quran, they too, like apostates would deserve death. From being told that women don’t deserve respect or can even be beaten up because the religion accords a sub-human position to women. It is a faith that is largely considered the root of violence and militancy across the world, a faith that has claimed countless lives in order to stay relevant in the modern age.
Hence, since their anti-theism or atheism comes from their experience of religion growing up in a household that followed Islam, they understand what they are desecrating, to begin with. They know, that when they tear the Islamic scripture, what is the extent of the ideology and what those pages say, in very specific terms.
However, for most monotheists, barring a few who can be debated on their ideas of universal truths and not just anti-theism, the idea of Hinduism is too abstract to even understand what the religion’s basic tenets are. This was, in fact, admitted by Navabi himself in a podcast he did a year ago. How then is it acceptable to critique a religion one doesn’t understand simply because it is a religion and the anti-theist believes in the desecration of all religions, even though they are by no way equal.
Further, what the western anti-theists and atheists, a significant chunk of them being ex-Muslims, don’t understand is that there is a cultural context to the outrage of Hindus. For thousands of years, Hindus have been subjugated by the Islamist invaders who have raped Hindu women, beheaded our kings, murdered our children all for the ultimate goal of the establishment of the Caliphate. There are countless tales of how the Islamic invaders murdered Hindus and kept their wives, mothers and daughters as slaves – the spoils of war.
The barbarity was so perverse, that Hindu women often chose to jump into the fire and give up their lives after Hindus were defeated in war, lest they were taken slaves by Islamic invaders. You might wonder why they didn’t simply slit their wrists instead of stepping into the burning fire – well – they did not want their corpse to be desecrated by the followers of Islam who had laid siege on their land.
The brutality is not just limited to Islamic invaders. In the modern political landscape of India, Hindus were humiliated during the partition as well. One recalls how the Khilafat movement claimed the lives of countless Hindus during the Moplah massacres by Islamists and even the Direct Action Day, spearheaded by Jinnah. After the countless deaths of Hindus, our own, MK Gandhi, asked Hindus to simply lay down their lives if the Islamists chose to claim it.
During partition, Hindus were mutilated and their women raped. At the altar of ‘secularism’, which the Atheists love to espouse, India decided to not conduct a full exchange of population, a suggestion that was made by various luminaries at the time including Dr B.R. Ambedkar, and thus, began another cycle of subjugation in modern India. This year itself, we saw riots by sections of the Muslim community and aided by the Left against the Hindus.
The saga of brutality continues to this day not just in India, but also, against the minority Hindus of Pakistan and when India decided that the minority Hindus could take refuge in India, their natural home post-partition, the Islamists ran riots yet again. They stabbed a Hindu over 50 times simply because he was Hindu and chopped off the arms and legs of another before burning him alive.
Since the Atheists and anti-theists love to ally with the Left, the obvious question that will be thrown after reading this article is – what about the Muslims who died? Let me preempt that question and say that in every war, both sides suffer losses, but war is defined by those who start the war, and Hindus, have never started one.
With centuries of subjugation behind them, when Armin says that Hindus must put their Goddess in a Hijab if they are offended by the cheap sexualisation, he triggers an all-too-familiar sentiment – convert or die, worse, be raped.
For centuries, whether they were Islamic invaders, or the Muslims post-partition of Pakistan and Bangladesh, the domestic Muslims who still employ this tactic or even the Muslims of Pakistan who till date subjugate Hindus, this trope has been used to humiliate Hindu women and their faith. For centuries, these were the options given to Hindu women by Islamist barbarians – wear a Burkha, convert to Islam or be raped or killed.
This is exactly the sentiment that was invoked by Armin – He essentially said that he will reduce our Goddess to an object of cheap titillation, a disrobed woman, humiliated because he can. And if Hindus did not want him to cheapen their mother, they should make her wear a Hijab.
While it is unclear that this was the intent or not, however, it is clear that internalised misogyny, Hinduphobia, hate for Idolatory and the unbridled urge for the subjugation of Kafirs is so strong, that even after leaving the faith, the barbarism towards polytheists remains.
Hindus saw what Armin did as not just the humiliation of their deity, but also Iconoclasm that the community is far too familiar with. For the Hindu, there is absolutely no difference between their Idols being desecrated by the Islamic hoards and being buried in the steps of a mosque, their Ram Temple being demolished by invaders to build a Mosque and then deny them their rights and what Armin did. Essentially, it was an outsider, an Islamist, perhaps, who desecrated their faith and presented the remains as an offering at the foot of Abrahamism.
One simple account of the hatred Muslims had for idolators comes from a poetic account of what Ahmad Shah did at Sidhpur, available in Mirat-i-Sikandari, the history of Gujarat, written by Sikandar ibn-i-Muhammad alias Manjhu ibn-i-Akbar in the first quarter of the sixteenth century. He marched on Saiyidpur,— writes the historian, on Jamad-ul-Awwal in AH 818 (July/August, AD 1415) in order to destroy the temples which housed idols of gold and silver.
As quoted by Sita Ram Goel in his book, ‘Hindu Temples’, the poetic account is as below:
He marched under divine inspiration, For the destruction of temples at Saiyidpur, Which was a home of the infidels, And the native place of accursed fire-worshippers.— There they dwelt, day and night, The thread-wearing idolaters.— It had always remained a place for idols and idol-worshippers, It had received no injury whatsoever from any quarter. It was a populous place, well-known in the world, This native place of the accursed infidels. Its foundations were laid firmly in stone, It was decorated with designs as if drawn from high heaven. It had doors made of sandal and ud.— It was studded with rings of gold, Its floors were laid with marble, Which shone like mirrors. Ud was burnt in it like fuel, Candles of camphor in large numbers were lighted in it. It had arches in every comer, And every arch had golden chandeliers hanging in it. There were idols of silver set up inside, Which put to shame the idols of China and Khotan. Such was this famous ancient temple, It was famous all over the world. By the effort of Ahmad, it was freed from the idols, The hearts of idol-worshippers were shattered with grief. He got mosques constructed, and mimbars placed in them, From where the Law of Muhammad came into force. In place of idols, idol-makers and idol-worshippers, Imams and callers to prayers and khatibs were appointed. Ahmads good grace rendered such help, That an idol-house became an abode of Allah. When the Sultan was free from Saiyidpur, he marched on Dhar in AH 819 (AD 1416-17).
One has to understand that for a Hindu, what Islamic invaders did to their temples and their idols is no different from what Armin Navani or any of the other ex-Muslim Atheists did to the image of Maa Kali. In both cases, the iconoclasm was exactly the same. In both cases, the followers of Abrahamic religion (yes, Atheist is also an Abrahamic, Monotheistic religion, which I will explain later in the article), desecrated the idol that they sacred. An idol and a faith that did absolutely nothing to deserve the kind of humiliation that it received except the fact that it chose to exist and fought, fiercely, the attempts to convert.
The urge to desecrate Hindu idols comes from the basic contradiction between Hinduism and other monotheistic religions. The icons of Hinduism are expressionist while the monotheistic religions are mostly suppressionist. While Islam and Christianity are political ideologies, Hinduism is that which depends on its adherent’s experience and spirituality. While all you need to understand and even criticise Islam and Christianity is a study of their text, what you need to criticise Hinduism is experiencing and ultimately, working up to understanding its scriptures.
While Christianity and Islam focus on a binary value system, Hinduism has multitudes of value systems that can even be at odds with each other. That Islam and Christianity both function on the basic premise that any human emotion is to be suppressed, Hinduism believes that it is to be celebrated and expressed, and it is this expressionism and the lack of binary value systems that Abrahamics find so difficult to rationalise.
The binary model simply does not work with Hinduism and thus, the frustrations of a suppressive culture is often expressed by desecrating symbols of an expressionist, spiritual religion.
Essentially, when Hindus say that Abrahamics do not understand Hinduism enough to criticise it, they mean that until they have gone through the experience of being Hindu, there is no text that they can read and claim proficiency in the religion, unlike Islam and Christianity. To top it all, other than the painful ignorance of Hinduism itself, the Atheists and anti-theists who have denounced Islam do not understand the cultural context of the Hindu communities struggle with Iconoclasm and thus, have not the faintest idea of the scars that have been inflicted time and again.
For a Hindu, an Atheist is only deepening the scars left by the religion they claim to have denounced. For a Hindu, what the Atheist does is no different from what the adherents of Islam did to his idols and temples. And this cultural context cannot be ignored simply by repeating the “all religions are equal” trope, because they are certainly not.
Why Hindus endorse desecration of Islam but not of Hinduism 20-year-old Yazidi girl Israa, who had been rescued from ISIS, burnt her hijab as she was surrounded by the Kurdish forces in 2019. The image, that powerful image, became one of the symbols of resistance against the Islamic forces.
Israa is helped by female Kurdish fighters after being released from IS fighters (Image source: metro.uk) In her interview, she had said that she felt suffocated the first time she was asked to wear it and she wished she could burn the ISIS terrorists just like she burnt her hijab.
Why did Israa feel suffocated with the Hijab and why was burning that Hijab such a powerful sentiment for her? For that matter, why is burning the image of Adolf Hitler such a powerful image for Jews? Why does a Yazidi celebrate when symbols of her oppression are destroyed?
Because the hijab symbolises and is a manifestation of her oppression. Her scars. It symbolises the very people who took away her dignity, her faith, her family, her community, her temple, her everything. It is a symbol of those who pushed her and her family to darkness. It is a symbol of those who she wishes to destroy, not because she hates Muslims, but because the staunchest followers of Islam destroyed her life and desecrated on everything she and her ancestors held dear.
Given the history of Hindus and their subjugation by Islamists, the sentiment mirrors that of Yazidis. When symbols of oppression are destroyed, Hindus are bound to support that as an act of defiance. It becomes even more pronounced when that destruction of oppressive symbols comes from those who claim to have left the faith of Islam.
It is essentially seen as a validation of vindication of their pain. The reason why Armin got support and coverage when he desecrated the Quran is for the very reason that a Yazidi woman would burn her Hijab or be jubilant when someone else does. It was a destruction of the symbol of centuries of oppression. It was an act of defiance, the same defiance felt by Hindus. It validated the angst felt by Hindus.
Now, imagine claiming that the destruction of the Hijab by a Yazidi is the same as the destruction of the symbols of Yazidism. While Islamists consider Yazidis as devil worshippers, would it be fair to assume if a Yazidi is happy about the destruction of the Quran or even that of the Hijab, she has to mandatorily be accepting of the destruction of her faith when has done nothing to receive that ire?
This analogy is exactly what is needed to understand why Hindus supported the desecration of the Quran by Armin and not the desecration of Maa Kali. Hindus saw their vindication in an ex-Muslim recognising that Islam is a religion that has the potential to subjugate non-believers because that premise has been responsible for their own humiliation for centuries.
On top of that, it helped them reinforce that what the Left has been telling them to almost gaslight them, about Islam being a religion of peace is not true – and this came not just from Hindus, who were the victims, but also people who used to be Muslims and have since left the faith.
Then came the inexplicable desecration of Maa Kali and it jolted Hindus from their stupor. They wondered why an Atheist ex-Muslim would desecrate their faith when they had done nothing to deserve that ire. Armin tore the Quran because his experiences taught him that he did not want to endorse the ideology in the Book. What was his experience with Hinduism that drove him to desecrate Hinduism? Nothing except the notion that all religions are equal.
Hindus would endorse the desecration of the faith that subjugated them and reject the desecration of their own faith that has been subjugated by the oppressor.
Interestingly, Atheists seem to not have the bandwidth to grasp the fact that by desecrating Hinduism, they have only cut the branch that they were sitting on.
Their aim in desecrating Islam was that its tenets are inconsistent with the modern age values that the world espouses. However, one of the tenets is to slay polytheistic religions and as a result of that, idols are desecrated. Essentially, the Atheists ex-Muslims seem to have done exactly what their erstwhile religion ordained them to do, it was only cloaked with Atheism and not Islamism.
The ire of Hindus was expected, and necessary because for far too long, their faith has been desecrated for no fault of theirs, simply because the Abrahamics cannot accept polytheistic faiths. Saying ‘enough is enough’ is important.
The shaming of Hindus when they voiced their disgust We have already established why Hindus were disgusted and outraged at the conduct of Atheists against Hinduism and the depiction of Maa Kali, however, what was more unpalatable is the response of the Atheists, ex-Muslims and Hindus to that outage. Outright, Hindus were labelled “just as bad as Jihadis” for protesting against the blatant disrespect for their faith, for no good reason.
What is essentially wrong with this assertion is that first, the ex-Muslim atheists and Liberal Hindus were trying, rather hard, to draw a false equivalence between Hindus and Muslims. That is almost the same as drawing an equivalence between Jews and Nazis when a Jew criticises the desecration of its faith by ex-Nazis. Or saying that a Yazidi is “as bad” as an ISIS terrorist because they differentiate between the burning of the Hijab and the ruination of her faith by the very people who enslaved her.
What the Atheists and Liberal Hindus essentially wanted was to submit to the whims of those who clearly have no idea of the cultural context of Hindus or worse, know and don’t care. Personally, I believe it is the second because I have seen several videos where these ex-Muslims discuss Hinduism and I find it hard to believe that they would have no idea of the cultural context.
Essentially, the Atheists ex-Muslims and Liberal Hindus wanted Hindus to submit to the desecration of their faith, quietly, demurely, or they threatened to label them just as bad the very people who raped, subjugated, murdered and forcefully converted them to Islam. The manipulation in this tactic is staggering.
Essentially, this is akin to telling a victim that she must not voice her opposition to what the perpetrator did against her or she will become just as bad as the perpetrator himself and because the victim harbours such visceral hate for everything that her perpetrator stands for, she would somehow be brainwashed and gaslighted into silence.
The debauchery of this argument was further exposed when some of the Hindus started telling their fellow Hindus that Hinduism is a tolerant religion and hence, any and all desecration must not be responded to aggressively. What they wanted to tell Hindus is that they should accept the desecration of their faith to display how tolerant they and that if they don’t, even their words of protest would be right compared to those who were murdering and burning down entire cities because they were offended.
Perhaps the overtly erudite Ex-Muslims and Hindu Atheists and liberal Hindus need to pay attention and read Karl Popper. He says:
“Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.—In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant“.
Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance is an apt description of what Abrahamics and Liberal Hindus want pious Hindus to follow. Essentially, these elements want Hindus to be tolerant to a level where the intolerant reign over the tolerant and the tolerant espoused by Hindus dies along with them. Certainly, one can see how that is a principle that has never been one that can be followed without the complete annihilation of the community that wishes to be tolerant to the level of their own destruction.
It is essential to understand here that Islam took over 500 years to find footing in India because of the deep faith that Hindus held. Despite the barbarity heaped upon them, they refused to submit to the rule of Islam and held on to their faith despite all odds. When the Liberal Hindu and ex-Muslim Atheists want Hindus to inexplicably let go of that faith in the name of tolerance, what they do is create a situation where they leave the faith open to the onslaught of Abrahamics – the intolerant.
Does the last standing major pagan religion in the world deserve to be annihilated on the basis of hollow principles like tolerance? This is a question that Hindus need to ask themselves without consideration for what Abrahamics believe they should do. But under no circumstances should Hindus be played by moral pleas of tolerance and in no manner, should they be manipulated to believe that their words can be deemed just as violent as rampaging mobs burning the world down.
Freedom of Speech – The hypocrisy of it all Neo-Atheism and especially, those by Ex-Muslims and Ex-Christians are essentially based on two concepts that they consider the axiomatic truths – Universal value system and binary value system, as discussed before, that draws heavily from the Enlightenment philosophy. Essentially, this means that Atheists believe that there are certain universal value systems that are to be accepted without any question. Individual rights, the dominance of man over nature, freedom of expression, overt reliance on logic and essentially, rejecting everything that is not “real”. The binary logic sees everything in black and white and is a concept of absolutism.
Essentially, Atheism gives no room for any deviation from what it believes to be the ultimate truth and/or the ultimate value that is to be espoused. When ex-Muslims criticise Islam for its dogmatic practises, they must essentially declare that all religions are to be treated the exact same way since their binary logic does not allow them to understand a construct where a religion like Hinduism can have multitudes of value systems.
When they talk about freedom of expression, they must be absolutists because any limitation means that they are being thoroughly non-binary. For Atheists, they must desecrate Hinduism if they desecrate Islam because since one religion is problematic, all religions must be equally problematic. If one religion has Jihadis who burn the world down, the other must also have the same kind of adherents even though there is no empirical evidence to prove the hypothesis.
The beliefs of Liberalism and Atheism come from the enlightenment age which had no scope for the understanding of Hinduism since it was aimed at overthrowing the dogmatic Church. Thus, Hinduism and its criticism thereof simply remains a product of the Abrahamic lens that is donned by Liberals and Atheists without really the consideration that none of these principles applies in totality to Sanatan Dharma.
In that sense of absolutism, freedom of speech and expression is also meant to be absolute according to most liberals and atheists, however, just as any absolute ideology, this too suffers from its inherent hypocrisies.
Every culture has its natural limits to freedom of expression that draws from the cultural context of that particular society. For example, one would not go to Israel and name their child Adolf Hitler because there is a contextual limit to FoE that comes into play. Similarly, one would not use the “N-word” in the USA because attached to it are tales of suppression and one has to give due importance to the cultural and societal context before being an absolutist as far as FoE is concerned.
This was proved remarkably well when in a podcast by Kushal Mehra, who calls himself a Hindu Atheist, three ex-Muslims refused to use the “N-word” even when the subject came up. The ex-Muslims on that podcast included Harris Sultan who is now equating Hindus to Jihadis because they would not roll over and accept the desecration of their harmless faith.
If Harris Sultan was indeed an absolutist when it came to freedom of speech, he should have ideally had no problem with using the N-word rather openly. He did not because Sultan seems to be more clued in and respectful of the cultural context of the country he lives in and more importantly, the culture he has adopted as his own.
Extending the same rationale, one has to question the Atheists that if they would not demand absolute FoE to use the “N-word” because of the history of subjugation attached to that word or would not expect a Jew to ‘tolerate’ anyone ‘hailing Hitler’, why would they then expect unbridled and unrestricted freedom of expression when talking about Hinduism?
If these ex-Muslims would not call Jews ‘just as bad as the Nazis’ for voicing their exception to their faith being desecrated in the same manner as Hitler did, why would they say that Hindus are as bad as the Jihadis when Hindus were voicing their exception to their faith being desecrated in the exact same manner as the Jihadis did?
To take this a step further, their wails of ‘freedom of expression’ became a loud shriek and words such as ‘Mujahindus’, drawing an equivalence with Mujahideen, were thrown about. Atheists posture as the arbiters of morality but here they are, conflating people trolling a person on social media with cast distance between them with actual terrorists. Speech is now violence we are to believe. And such people pretend to be FoE absolutists.
Abhijit Iyer Mitra calls Hindus opposing the sexualising of Maa Kali ‘Mujahindus’. The amusing aspect of this is the fact that Abhijit Iyer-Mitra himself does not hesitate to abuse the parents of individuals he disagrees with. Coming from him, it is especially difficult to accept such an argument. The other argument, presented by Kushal Mehra is that people in India do not understand how neo-atheists in the West operate.
I humbly disagree with that assertion. We understand perfectly how neo-atheists operate in the West. Neo-atheists in western countries are overwhelmingly oriented towards the Left and suffer from delusions of their own. In the current context, just because they get a kick out of abusing our Gods, it does not mean that a deliberate provocation ought to go unchallenged.
There also seems to be an insinuation that Hindus ought to be fearful of the mockery neo-atheists are capable of. With due regards, there is absolutely no reason for us to be fearful of them. Instead, they are the ones who ought to be careful with regards to the manner in which they use their speech. One does not know when cancel culture strikes them down. Also, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra and Kushal Mehra are good friends of mine but I am extremely disappointed with their ideological stance on the current debate revolving around atheism and freedom of expression.
The hypocrisy of Harris Sultan is particularly astounding. He was recently threatened by a Muslim for his criticism of Islam. The offended Muslim had actually threatened to hurt Sultan’s family and had made it clear that he was aware of the atheist’s address. Hindus have done no such thing. Harris Sultan has personal knowledge of the fact that Hindus and radical Muslims are not the same. Even so, even he peddles the delusion of equivalence between the two.
Why it is perfectly okay for Hindus to endorse desecration of Quran and oppose abuse of Hindu Gods At the very outset, it ought to be mentioned that the foremost loyalties of Hindus ought to lie with their Gods and Goddesses and not to concepts such as freedom of expression and other such things. It is perfectly permissible, even rational, for Hindus to not tolerate the abuse of the Devis and Devtas. There is no decree that FoE ought to be the foremost priority of Hindus.
Atheists might value FoE above all else, and we have already established that they are not the FoE absolutists they pretend to be, but Hindus are under no compulsion to prioritise FoE over their Gods and Goddesses. It is also perfectly rational for people to have one set of rules for the out-group and completely different for the in-group, there is nothing wrong with that.
Atheists do not have the authority to decide what is permissible and what is not. For them, insulting someone’s mother is crossing the line. We share the same sentiment. The only problem here is that we consider our Goddesses to be our mothers as well. Therefore, their insult towards our Goddesses invokes the same emotions in us that an insult to their mother evokes in them. They have no business dictating the relationship we share with our Gods and Goddesses.
It also ought to be mentioned that neo-atheism is intrinsically Abrahamic in its approach. It arises out of the enlightenment worldview that was ingrained in Abrahamic philosophy. It is no surprise then that modern atheism has a distinctly protestant approach to it. Furthermore, it also ought to be mentioned that the fervour with which modern atheists approach politics is the same as a devotee approaches religion.
Neo-atheists have merely substituted religion with the political ideology of their choice. Instead of proselytising on behalf of a religion, they proselytise to convert their people into their favoured political ideology. Instead of Gods and Goddesses, they want people to believe in absolute FoE, the rules of which they wish to dictate as the evidence clearly by the current saga, and the precepts of liberalism** ... continued in comments**
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