A Sheep Dog's Prayer

Saw this mentioned earlier today by the friend of a friend:
Lord, make my hand fast and accurate.
Let my aim be true and my hand faster than those who would seek to destroy me.
Grant me victory over my foes and those who wish to do harm to me and mine.
Let not my last thought be ‘If I only had my gun.’
And Lord, if today is truly the day you call me home, let me die in a pile of empty brass.

While it's new to me, this is apparently A Thing that has been around for a while - long enough to accumulate a t-shirt or two.


Item #: SCP-000

Object Class: Safe Euclid

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-000's DNS name and IP address locate a publicly known web site ("SCP Foundation") on the internet.  As it was is referenced by over 2 million different web pages and a popular independent video game at the time of discovery, actual containment is problematic, if not impossible at this point.  Instead, an active disinformation campaign (DI-████████) depicting SCP-000 as a "shared reality" fictional work is being pursued, with excellent results so far.

As part of new employee orientation procedures instituted as of ██/██/19██, SCP personnel are required to read orientation publication SCP-Alpha-1337 ("Shared Reality: Fact to Fiction") as they may be called upon at any time to support DI-████████.  D-class personnel, of course, are exempted from this requirement.

Description: SCP-000 is a website, reachable via the web address http://www.scp-wiki.net. It was initially published as a site purporting to be an exposé of the SCP Foundation, "a secret organization dedicated to containing anomalous artifacts and entities that can threaten the normality of our world."  The author or authors of the original web site content are unknown; however, the amount of accurate detail present on the original site strongly implies that at least one high-level administrator within the Foundation was involved in its creation.

After taking control of SCP-000, determination was made that elimination of the site would only result in certain common personality types taking this as proof of the Foundation's existence.  Instead, the SCP-000 site was repurposed and actively developed as a "shared reality" fictional work, designated DI-████████.

SCP-000 is being run as a wiki, which allows outside editing.  Allowing non-Foundation personnel to participate in the construction of the "shared reality" is an integral part of the DI campaign centered around SCP-000.  However, despite extensive monitoring, improved site security, and frequent changes in the hardware and software used to run SCP-000, unapproved articles taken directly from Foundation records have continued to spontaneously appear on the site every 28 days, concurrent with observed full moonrise at 25°20'41S, 131°02'05E.  These unapproved articles appear even when the hardware running the site is powered down, disconnected from all external systems, partially disassembled, and enclosed within an evacuated chamber equipped with a Faraday cage. As a result, while SCP-000 was initially classified as safe, the continued appearance of these articles has resulted in SCP-000 being reclassified as euclid.

Foundation folklorists, documentation specialists, and DI personnel may request assignment to SCP-000 for a period of up to five (5) years, during which time they will be responsible for releasing scrubbed and altered DI versions of Foundation records and assisting in the maintenance of the "shared reality" fiction.  Additional duties will include monitoring content for  non-Foundation edits that may indicate potential security breaches, and ensuring that information related to [REDACTED] (or related categories such as: [REDACTED]) does not reach active XK status in the population at large.  As of ██/██/20██, approximately four percent (4%) of Foundation records have been altered and released on SCP-000 as part of DI-████████.  These text-only records consist of 300+ hours worth of reading material.

While the ultimate goal of DI-████████ is to provide a screen of plausible deniability for Foundation operations, locating and identifying potential Foundation recruits (Addendum SCP-000-A) is a high-priority secondary goal.

Addendum SCP-000-A: Recruiting

As Dr. ██████ has shown, interest in SCP-000 correlates strongly with the basic personality type profiles [1] used to select Foundation researchers and field team members. Foundation recruiting efforts have seen positive results simply by considering repeated access to SCP-000 as a preliminary HR screening tool.  Over the past ████████ years, this has been reflected in a 22% increase in the number of recruits progressing past initial Foundation contact, a 14% decrease in the five-year attrition rate for new researchers, and an amazing 63% reduction in the number of kinetic interview terminations.

New recruits sourced through SCP-000 tend to show strong interest in similar media, for example:
[1] As Doctor ██████ commented, "SCP-000 is like crack cocaine popcorn for these guys."
[2] Several recent recruits felt the need to qualify this with the statement, "minus that last one, it was complete garbage".

“So comes snow after fire..."

"... and even dragons have their ending.” - J. R. R. Tolkien

China is braced for a wave of industrial bankruptcies as its slowing economy forces companies with sky-high debts to the wall, the country's premier has said. 
Premier Li Keqiang told lenders to China's private sector factories they should expect debt defaults as the world's second largest economy encounters "serious challenges" in the year ahead. 
However, figures this week revealed that Beijing is copying the Japanese tactic of ramping up public infrastructure spending to replace the steep slowdown in private sector investment. Fixed asset investment, a measure of government spending on infrastructure, expanded 17.9% during the first two months of 2014, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
As Peter Grant has pointed out, there is more to the story than just a few insolvent companies in China.    He has a much more detailed write up on the high points of the current situation that is well worth reading, if you have the time.  If you don't... well, the tl;dr summary is, as he puts it, "the signs don't look healthy".

We live in interesting times.

Libertarian Crowdfunding

agora.la is the first libertarian crowdfunding website. The traditional meaning of the word Agora comes from Ancient Greek and means marketplace. However today the word ‘agorism’ has come to signify not only a marketplace, but a larger movement concerned with spreading liberty through the means of free exchange between voluntary partners.  This mutually beneficial exchange is something that has become increasingly difficult, due to government interventionism in our markets. 
We believe that the best way to spread liberty is through making the government irrelevant... 
The agora.la team also believes in radical decentralization, and distributed networks, as a way to create a sustainable market based economy. We want to ensure start-up capital and other types of funding are available for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to see the world become the agora.
An interesting concept.  There are only a half-dozen projects for now; most are kind of "meh", but the Kawthoolei Teaching Hospital project looks intriguing.  It will be interesting to see what other campaigns start to show up here in the near future.

The site is being hosted by the same folks who hosted Wikileaks, and they are planning TOR integration (presumably because those pesky governments get all verklempt when you start cutting them out of the loop...)

Disclaimer: one of the founders is a friend of a friend (which is how I found out about it).  Other than that, and some curiosity as to how it will all work out, I have no connection to or personal interest in agora.la whatsoever.


"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." - Mao Zedong

Via Blue's Blog:

"Thus it ever was..."

A newly deciphered letter home dating back around 1,800 years reveals the pleas of a young Egyptian soldier named Aurelius Polion who was serving, probably as a volunteer, in a Roman legion in Europe. 
In the letter, written mainly in Greek, Polion tells his family that he is desperate to hear from them and that he is going to request leave to make the long journey home to see them... 
The situation seen in this letter, a young man serving as a volunteer in a military unit far away from home, facing tensions with his family and seeking leave to see them sounds like something that happens in modern-day armed forces. 
Although soldiers today have an easier time communicating and traveling back home (Polion would have had to travel for a month or more to reach Tebtunis from his posting in Europe), there are some themes that connect both ancient and modern soldiers, Adamson said. 
As my friend Chap G. pointed out, "Thus it ever was and is."

O Canada!

... what are you thinking?

I live in the frozen wasteland of Canada and get my news via the Morse code receiver in my igloo. Hearing furious beeping, I slid inside from the backyard curling rink to find myself facing the news that our gun control regime has given up the pretense of respecting civilian gun ownership and began moving guns from legal ownership status to prohibition.
The RCMP has repeatedly exhibited hostility towards civilian firearm ownership but has somehow remained in control of it in Canada. On February 26th, they began advancing a new phase of their goal of prohibiting firearms in Canada by re-classifying a line of guns (the Swiss Arms family) that were previously Unrestricted or Restricted, and made them Prohibited.
The government is not planning to pay out any of our brightly-coloured rainbow money to compensate owners during confiscation. There has been talk of reversing this stance, which would only mean wasting multiple millions of dollars of taxpayer money on the RCMP’s inability to classify previously-purchased firearms appropriately.
But wait, it gets better!
Not content to sit back on their wave of epic accomplishments in the name of public safety, late on Feb. 28th we Canucks are learning that a subset of CZ 858 rifles are now being moved to Prohibited status as well. The details are still coming out on this one, but one thing is clear: these rifles are common and popular, much more than the Swiss Arms family ever was. This means the RCMP is dropping their previous program of slowly confiscating obscure firearms to maintain a low profile.
This is effectively a frontal assault on the gun-owning public of Canada. In a distinctly un-Canadian fashion, they haven’t even said “sorry” while stating they were planning to steal our property.
Keep an eye on this. Expect to see the MSM making loud noises about how wonderful gun control is in Canada Real Soon Now™.


Started re-reading Digger last night.  A Hugo-award winning online graphic novel about a wombat and a dead god?  It was awesome the first time through, and is just as entertaining on a second perusal.

Go, take the time, and get to know Digger-mousie, Ed, Shadowchild, the oracular slug, and all the rest of the crew.

I just wish Ursula would let us know that Digger made it past the Vale of a Hundred Eyes on her way home.  I am pretty confident she managed to make it home, just as I am sure that it was not an uneventful journey.

We Don't Want To Take Your Guns...

... except we sorta do.