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"endings depending on your actions" my actions were 'view source'

also wondering if anyone else found the secret scarlet poem? I will leave its discovery as an exercise to the reader

Marshall appears irked that you didn't send any teams, but he is watching your presentation with interest. Carter, sitting next to him, is somewhat more laid back. Both of them seem annoyed at having lost a bet of some kind, forking over wads of... cash? It's hard to focus your eyes on whatever it is, before Darke squirrels them away into the depths of his shabby cloak.

"As you can see, once split out according to SEK classifications, the historical profits are... unnervingly linear. Especially when you consider that these are post-processing, to account for inflation and the like - there should be a much higher signal-to-noise ratio than we're seeing here. To the extent that I understand these things, I suspect that your entire database has been contaminated. We don't get the kind of volatility spikes you'd expect during the depression or the second world war - it seems to completely ignore most world events."

You aren't the kind of data scientist that gives answers to problems. You're the kind that just looks at the data, and figures out the story below the surface. And the story here is just... weird. There's the obvious cognitohazards, the standard messages from beyond hidden in the data (you get that all the time in Kaggle). But the thing that disturbed you the most wasn't those smaller patterns.

It was the almost perfectly straight lines.

Carter adjusted his tie nervously.

"These are definitely factually accurate to our records - excluding the obvious infohazardous corruptions, of course. We have paper trails here, physical paper trails, receipts signed in blood. I can assure you this information hasn't been manipulated."

"Then there's something else doing this, and it's probably beyond my paygrade to figure out exactly what. Since you seem unwilling to give me the supporting documentation for these objects, that really is my best guess. All I can do is bring the issue to your attention."

"Alright. We can... give you some more information. I'll have the documents sent to your desk. Let us know if you have any additional insights."

You nod curtly, and as you close the door behind you, you hear voices raising behind it. You shake your head. You don't want to know what they're discussing.

Marshall and Carter stare expectantly at Darke. Marshall demands answers:

"What did you do, and when did you do it?"

"Oh, I didn't do anything myself. But I could tell something was... off. I could taste it, in the air. Look, our physics isn't quite right, watch -"

Darke grabs two delicate wine glasses from the table by the stems, raises his arms, and lets go. The glasses drop to the floor and shatter.

"Look at the pieces."

Both glasses shattered into three identical pieces along two identical fault lines.

"These are the same glasses, identically. Nothing should break this perfectly. Someone has cheaped out on our universe."

Carter and Marshall glance at each other, confused. Darke turns his head towards an otherwise unremarkable spot on the wall, frowning intently. Iris stares into her monitor, looking into the eyes of the simulation of her distant progenitor.


She hammers Alt-F4 as quickly as she can and turns to the couch you're lying in. She pulls off the headset - miracle of technology, this thing - and snaps her fingers a few times in your face. Wiping the crud out of your eyes, you reorient and remember how you got here and why.

"Well, that's certainly the weirdest result of that test I've seen so far. And we don't do much other than weird, so I guess you've got the job."

Okay, this comment's for stuff I found. Will edit this post with things as I find them.

MC&D when they burn millions to acquire keter items https://i.imgur.com/GlTx4HQ.png

I guess they must be a loss leader, it's not like their only source of anomalous stuff is stealing from the Foundation.

I'm filtering out any items which have more than five bits on in the binary section. Two rows are likely corrupted by infohazards - I thought it might have been time travel, but seeing as they also have every bit set to 1 EXCEPT for the infohazardous bit, they stand out like a sore thumb. I found those first two by plotting SCP number VS time and noting the outliers. They're also the only times an item was acquired when no team was sent. There are others that I'm on the fence about but I think eliminating those with excessive intersections is a reasonable data cleanup decision. Plotting year VS row number has a few jumps back but time travel's a thing in this setting so whatever.

Not sure where the nonlinearity here comes from. Maybe the simulation has a certain number of SCP numbers assigned at any given time, and then randomly draws from them as targets.

Splitting cumulative profits out by both SEK classification and site number shows variations between sites, though I'm not normalising here for the number of times a site was targeted or the SEK distributions at any given site.

I wrote the wiki's MC&D hub, designed the modern MC&D logo, and coined the given names that you used here during a contest back in 2014. Thank you for making the puzzle - I have found some interesting things so far!

Such as the virtual predatory organic-mechanical mobile replicating humanoid locations, which are for sure accurate representations of the real world and are definitely not infohazardous, since the data said it wasn't.

...odd to see characters I created being used by someone on LessWrong, and references to my stories to boot.

 I liked the surprises scattered throughout the dataset - which, for the curious, can be pretty easily identified by just scrolling through and noting which lines stand out.

woah info hidden behind a blackbox this is just like scp again

also I think MC&D has stolen a few items before they got their designations, and that the rows are in order of execution - which, when time travel is possible, is not necessarily temporal order.

also "We would prefer to acquire, oh, say, the magical pills that can cure any illness" marshall you haven't tried to get SCP-500 since 1927, and I know that one's canon in this puzzle because SCP-682 is also very conspicuously missing from the dataset

That'd be an interesting structure for sure. Some kind of spaced repetition, presenting you with two (or three? or more?) prior thoughts to read simultaneously, to reinforce not just the information, but the relationship between the different ideas; not just in isolation, but reinforcing the network itself... maybe with some kind of highlight markup to indicate where the parallel is strongest.

With regards to the Zettelkasten containing too many cards to keep up with, I think card agglomeration above a certain threshold might be useful. Rather than hyperlinking between 500 cards with one sentence each on them, it may be preferable to link to particular sentences or sections within 50 different cards. The hyper-deconstruction of the original index card system was I think more a limitation of index card size, and how you might best utilize a physical system. Hypertext and NLP could identify links, and keeping a human in the loop ensures they're the kind of parallels you actually want to be forming... to some degree. Being presented with particular links still might still have some subtle undesirable biases. But the prospect of "combine these cards?" might make things more manageable.

I think a manual consolidation step would at least prompt for better structure for future consumption. If you know the order you'll always want to view the notes in, turn them into the one note with headings. That could keep the knowledge bank a bit more manageable and navigable. I don't think the current graph view in systems like Roam or Obsidian is enough - you need a text preview of those notes. Maybe for each new note, checking the graph structure remains planar, avoiding messy crossovers in visualisations of it. Or maybe that's a terrible idea, I have no idea! There's lots of low hanging fruit in the space, and whoever makes the biggest fruit basket's going to win here.

This just seems like a Wittgensteinian Language Game crossed with the Symbol Grounding Problem. It's not so much that "lying can't exist" as "it is impossible to distinguish intentional deception from using different symbols". A person can confidently and truthfully state "two plus two equals duck" - all we need is for "duck" to be their symbol for "four". They're not "lying", or even "wrong" or "incoherent", their symbols are just different. Those symbols are incompatible with our own, but we don't "really" disagree. A different person could, alternatively, say "two plus two equals duck" and be intentionally deceiving - but there's nothing that can be observed about the situation to prove it, just by looking at a transcription of the text. There's also no way, exclusively through textual conversation, to "prove" that another person is using their symbols in the same way as you! Even kiki-bouba effects aren't universal - symbols can be arbitrary, once pulled out of their original context. If everyone's playing their own Language Game, shared maps are illusory - How Can Maps Be Real If Our Words Aren't Real?

P. rey consistently and unambiguously uses the symbol to mean "mating time". P. redator consistently and unambiguously uses the symbol to mean "I would like to eat you, please". Neither, in this language game, is lying to each other, or violating their own norms - but the same behaviour as above happens. Lying is just dependent on reference frame; just because there's a hole in one map doesn't open a hole in another. In any given example of "deception", we can (however artificially) construct a language game where everyone acted honestly. Lying isn't a part of what we can check on the maps here - it's an element of territory, in so far as we could only tell if someone was "really lying" if we could make direct neurological observations. Maybe not even then, if that understanding's some privileged qualia. The only time you can observe a lie with certainty is if you're the liar, as the only beliefs you can directly observe with confidence are your own.

The territory only contains signals, consequences, and benefits. Lying postulates about intention, which is unverifiable from the outside. That doesn't make "lying" meaningless, though - we can absolutely lie, and be certain that we lied - so it has meaning, but it's dependent on reference frame. When two people observe a relativistic object moving at different speeds, they can both provide truthful yet contradictory claims. When each claims the other "lied", in so far as they have their own evidence and certainty, it's a consequence of reference frame. Lying is centrifugal force, signals are centripetal. Both can be treated as real when useful for analysis. Hooray for compatibilism!

Electricity use isn't the only ongoing factor, though: consider that freezers are somewhat bulky appliances - you can imagine e.g. in an environment where rent is high, there's an additional ongoing cost of physically having a refrigerator taking up floorspace. If your refrigerator has a floor footprint of about square metre, cost can go up to $60 or more just to have it in your space - an order of magnitude more than electricity cost. So there's a much larger ongoing cost that will dominate that effect.

"Yeah, so my dumb argumentive comment is, prediction does not equal compression. Sequential prediction equals compression. But non-sequential prediction is also important and does not equal compression... And by non-sequential prediction, I mean you have a sequence of bits in the information theory model, but if instead you have this broad array of things that you could think about, and you're not sure when any one of them will become observed, [then] you want all of your beliefs to be good, but you don't have any next bit... You can't express the goodness just in terms of this sequential goodness."

I think this argument is conflating "data which is temporally linear" and "algorithm which is applied sequentially". "Prediction" isn't an element of past data VS future data, it's an element of information the algorithm has seen so far VS information the algorithm hasn't yet processed.

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