11/10/21 – Magical or Real

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, November 10, 2021.




Choan ain’t touching that with a 30 foot Furryite prod.


  1. Rikard

    If events/person are placed on a probability curve, some persons will be att either extreme of the curve: terminally lucky/unlucky. So no, not magic. Just luck, which is a much harsher mistress.

    My ancestors allegedly had a saying that “Magic counters magic, enemies you can fight and the gods you offer blot*, but against luck man stands alone” (it doesn’t translate all that well because the concepts are culturally contextual ).

    *Blot is an offering to the gods. Not strictly speaking sacrifice, and not appeasment or acquiescence and certainly not subjugation or as a supplicant. Just an offering: “Here you go Frej, well done with the harvest this year!”, sort of.

  2. Coyoty

    Luck is an extension of quantum mechanics and chaos theory. Some people get stuck in the middle of strange attractors and subconsciously direct their flow. The results can be good, bad, or just weird. Mine tend to be good and weird.

    I like Rikard’s rationalization, too.

    1. Muzhik

      Your statement reminded me of the movie “The Cooler” (2003), about a man who is hired by a casino to act as a “cooler” — he stands near someone who’s having a run of good luck, and suddenly, the luck turns bad.

  3. Pete Rogan

    I’m just going to mention Larry Niven’s character Teela Brown from his “Ringworld,” and his exploration into whether luck was a self-reinforcing genetic characteristic of human beings. Not a path to go down; he concluded, logically, that lucky people would outlast everybody else, and that was the end of history. For if people can’t have bad things happen to them for no good reason, what’s to make a story of it?

    But luck in the case of Tesfay and to some degree the enigmatic Diller, luck’s been manufactured for them by the symbiont(s) without (much) detection. So it’s plain this discussion is a sidelight on perception, not reality. As far as we’ve been allowed to comprehend it so far, that is. Now I think I need a drink.


      Diller only got the symbiot recently.

      Not sure why the symbiot isn’t talking, having the symbiot available to speak for Diller would be useful.

      Could it be that whatever prevents Diller from speaking also prevents the symbiot from speaking?

      1. Pete Rogan

        That’s presuming Diller’s symbiont is the same one Tesfay ditched. But the indicated history shows Diller’s luck predates the ditching.

        For what it’s worth, not only do I doubt it’s the same parasite, I don’t think it’s even the same SPECIES. But we’ve nothing to go on past that point. We must wait and see.

    2. sighthoundman

      Don’t forget Rincewind. (Different universe, different [as in none] conclusion.)

      IRL, we have Pasteur, who was criticized as being “just lucky”. He responded that “chance favors the prepared mind”.

      I’ve also noticed in hockey (which has lots of chance events), the “lucky breaks” tend to go the way of the team that works harder. To the extent that I’ve begun entertaining doubts about “talent”.

  4. Night-Gaunt

    Is luck just a way of saying random chance or is it more to do with what we would call positive, negative and neutral probabilities? Is there any way to collate it into a viable whole for an algorithm to create a 3D flowing probability map? Would it be useful? Is there a way of producing positive or negative probabilities to use either inverting it for one person or over a wider field of people?

    Are there certain humans who have more of any of the 3 factors to study?

    Or is it better to let sleeping dogs lie? I’m not doing it so there it is.

    1. Coyoty

      It may have more to do with how you interpret what happens. A positive person may pay more attention to the positive things that happen and say he has good luck. A negative person may pay more attention to the negative things and say he’s got bad luck.

    2. sighthoundman

      Every study of chance events (that I’m aware of) has come to the conclusion that there’s no such thing as a “hot streak”. Basically, if you flip a (fair) coin enough times, you will eventually get 10 heads in a row, just because of probability. If you happened to bet on 10 heads in a row when it happens, you are lucky.

      Also, you’re in good company. Aristotle (random in the sense that I’ve recently come across some ancient philosopher who did say this, and it was probably Aristotle) defined luck as chance that we interpret as positive (or possibly negative).

  5. Fnordius

    I think the best way to interpret it is that when Tesfay means Magic, he means “stuff that we can use but not really explain,” and to him Diller’s luck is magic. The old mercs use it interchangeably with “things proven to be misunderstandings”.

    Translation chips do have their limitations.

  6. Meran

    Funny conversation.

    I recently had a run of good luck. It can actually be felt! It’s like riding a high wave, you can sense the direction. “Going with the flow” is a well known phenomenon, and only the very stupid go against such a flow.

    And it’s very easy to feel that the run of luck has ended. IN the good flow, you can do anything, ppl listen, and ~do. When the first person bows up, says NO you fuckwit, everything flows down the bad luck path for quite a while.

    The bad luck flow lasts SO much longer than the good one. It over balances. Darn it.

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