Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Overanalysis: A Hypothetical Predator in Action

I came up with an idea for how a predatory version of a certain purple dinosaur could work.

First of all, Barney takes the form of a therapod dinosaur (2 legged carnivores including raptors and T-Rex), presumably a tyrannosaur himself. This implies his diet is carnivorous. This presents a problem: Walking down the street as a hungry dinosaur means he's likely to draw unwanted attention. So transformation/hibernation in a "harmless" state is a good survival tactic. That's why he turns into a stuffed animal.

Barney obviously wants to avoid adult attention. Adults, even those not knowing that they're facing, are still stronger, more experienced, and more intelligent than children are. Like other predators, Barney prefers weaker prey: children in this case. That's why he adopts the purple and green look as friendly humanoid dinosaur. He primarily transforms into this state in the absence of adults, and does little other than try to befriend children. He essentially uses a charm predator strategy, luring in and distracting prey to isolate them.

Now, Barney's humanoid form is obviously his primary hunting one. His head has jaws clearly big enough to devour children or swallow them whole, and he only takes that form when he's certain no adults are around. Barney also probably has little issue cleaning up after each victim, given he can clean himself each time he shapeshifts and has a magic bag he can easily hide or transmute any leftovers in (or perhaps souvenirs from previous victims, fetishistic totems similar to those taken by serial killers).

The lineup of children changes every few episodes, and this could be clear evidence of this tactic. It also implies that Barney convinces his victims to bring friends to replace those who have been eaten. Barney's always trying to reassure kids, hence the song and dance routine. Cult leaders, kidnappers, and creepy fellows in the back of vans often try the same tactic. He might also have some kind of supernatural hypnosis, mental suggestion, fey-styled glamor, or mind control, given he's always got a full group of "livestock." It also suggests there are limits to how many people he can control or influence at once, or he prefers smaller groups that are easier to isolate and manipulate. So, a stupid children's show just got a whole lot darker, thanks to overthinking it.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Kleptocracy Rising

As a system fails, a dedicated kleptocrat clade tends to form. In the US, this graph makes it visible. Not the large portion of veterans, largely due to service in WW2. Over time, that percentage is replaced by career politicians and lawyers. Notice how small the proportion of non-bureaucracy jobs decreases. That is how a republic dies: An invasion of lawyers who can't be bothered to obey their own laws.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Interesting Tech

Taking a moment from the socio-technical commentary to focus on some interesting technology. Human suspended animation trials are starting now, so perhaps it might be possible to 'sleep in' past a few awful periods? Likewise, human augmentation continues, without need for implants. The Aussie firefighter application seems a rather hot application for exo-robotics.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

American Tech Woes

The US tech sector is worried enough due to the death of net neutrality and NSA deliberately compromising their products (to say nothing of making it easier for Chinese or other foreign hackers). There's also the recent death of an anti-patent troll bill. This is what happens when lawyers and kleptocrats outnumber engineers, scientists, and programmers.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The Defense of Poverty

The economics of certain resources are such that the cost of retrieving them is not worth what they're worth. Indeed, wishful thinking guides much of the economy. While any money spent is arguably in hopes of some type of return, some returns are more feasible than others. From fossil fuels to minerals to whale oil, history has plenty of examples of this.

It also may be applied to military history. Some regions are simply so poor, so backwards, and so remote, influencing control there is harder than it's worth. This is why rural Afghanistan was, is, and will be among the world's backwaters. Even chasing fugitives into such territory may not necessarily be worth it. Some people likewise have little worth stealing. Perhaps insuring that all are poor means that there is little left to steal.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Economics of Dungeon Crawling

Hoarding of wealth has a deflationary effect on any group's economy. Just as the dwarves after Smaug hoovered up their wealth. The ease of capturing an asset often depends upon its relative value. In fantasy roleplaying games, the amount of money stolen by a bandit gang might be a pittance compared to a warlord's battle chest, which in turn is nothing compared to a dragon's hoard. Each becomes progressively harder to loot for any would be adventurers.

Now, the vitality of an economy is often characterized by the constant flow and transfer of wealth across several strata and several markets. Diversity is a hallmark of a healthy economy, like a healthy ecosystem. How might one get money flowing again when most politicians come directly from the plutocrat clade itself (if not serving it)? Writer Charles Stross has an idea relating to soft paternalism.

For example, ideas could include financing space colonization or fusion commercialization. The problems would be extremely costly, but also offer the greatest investments over the long term.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Asymmetric Charity

Disruption can work in both positive and negative ways. Indeed, the total effects of disruption can be seen further in the future. In an era of networked protests and open source insurgencies, new methods of construction and social collaboration also unfold. If one man can start protests that topple regimes, why can't another unleash an invention that helps millions?