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Reading Chinese Tea Leaves with Machine Learning - Unfolding What The Chinese Do Not Know That They Know - by Niklas Hageback & Daniel Hedblom

What to do when an authoritarian regime has complete control over media, knowing that their survival hinges on framing reality according to their political discourse and anyone daring to question it risks serious repercussions? Well, even in such hermetic environment, news (read: propaganda) still must relate to the actual conditions on the ground and the regime’s need to manage its subjects’ expectations. An insight discovered already during WWII when Allied intelligence analysts took German propaganda broadcasts at face value and arrived at astonishingly accurate forecasts of the development of the much feared V2 rockets. Or the observation of the remarkably repetitive hollow propaganda of the Sovietunion in the 1970/80s that rang so false vis-à-vis reality and gave the first clues to brewing troubles under a superficially stable surface which would spell its demise only a few years later, an event that took the world with complete surprise.
Today, the earlier ambitions to seek political domination by Nazi German and later on the communist Sovietunion have been replaced by an increasingly aggressive and authoritarian China trying to impose its dictatorial doctrine on the world. It is, much like its predecessors, portraying itself as an unstoppable force of nature against which any resistance is futile, but are these claims really true? To domestically question news from Chinese media outlets is virtually impossible but also international analysts face sanctions if critically examining Sino political and economic ’facts’.
By augmenting previously successful methods of analysing propaganda with the tools that artificial intelligence provides, such as deep learning and predictive analytics, Chinese propaganda broadcasts can be viewed through an entirely different spectra. Namely, what is it that the Chinese regime, probably unbeknownst to them, actually are conveying in their attempts to constantly realign their power narrative to an unbending reality, and then a for them deeply concerning picture starts to emerge.
The Tale of a Wunderwaffe That Vanished into Thin Air
When the war fortunes started to turn for Germany in WWII in 1943 after the humiliating defeat in Stalingrad, being thrown out of North Africa and increased Allied bombings over Germany itself, the Nazi regime noted and much feared faltering morale and war fatigue amongst its population. The German propaganda outlets then started to make boisterous claims about a coming wunderwaffe, an air bombardment vengeance weapon with the potential to change the outcome of the war, at least so they claimed.
We now know that this was no propaganda lie, they referred to the mythical V2 rockets and its predecessors, an impressive feat of German engineering, which if they had been deployed earlier and in larger scale might actually have saved Germany from an unconditional defeat, this according to some historians. Its chief engineer Wernher von Braun came after the war to provide the technical edifice of the US space program and is probably the only person that managed to be both a celebrated Nazi as well as an American hero of science.
However, at the time, the Allied at first did not know what to make of it, was it merely empty words to reinvigorate war fever in the German population, or was it actually a new sinister weapon nearing completion?
A group of Allied intelligence analysts were called to analyse Nazi propaganda broadcasts to ascertain whether it provided any clues. However, they could not find any historical patterns between earlier propaganda behaviour and ensuing actions and initiatives, it appeared to provide no apparent forecasting values. Instead, they attempted an indirect method, they reviewed each propaganda campaign in isolation, realising that there was likely no all-encompassing coherent approach, but that propaganda was deployed rather fragmented. Thus, this indirect method would only be applicable when the intended actions of the Nazis involved some pre-planning and deliberation, such as a launching a battle campaign or a wonder weapon. This as they would need to use preparatory propaganda as a mean to prepare and manage expectations, mainly of their own populations, and then seek to enhance and exploit the emotions attached to this forthcoming action. Of course, it meant that any spontaneous or unexpected reactions that might arise needed to be excluded as these would be difficult to pre-empt in a pre-planned campaign. However, by adjusting for such events, they expected this method of analysis to yield some prognosticative power. Whilst they were in the midst of a war, they recognised the method’s generic potential meaning that it could be used also for economic, political and diplomatic events. This propaganda analysis method would work best in dictatorships, where the regime has complete control over media, as none of their efforts would be domestically challenged, and therefore could be analysed without any rhetorical contaminations. The Allied intelligence analysts were ambitious on what details they might be able to discover, not only sought they to understand the German’s intentions, timing, nature and magnitude with the wonder weapon, but also its whereabouts, and the objectives assigned to them as well as the leadership’s expectation of its success and any opposition within senior Nazi echelons. So, what did they manage to find out?
First and foremost, they could conclude that the propaganda were no empty words, the Germans really were working on an unconventional airborne weapon with the potential of causing some serious damage and they were putting high hopes on it. This conclusion was made in November 1943, eight months before the commencement of the first rocket attacks. Promises about a new wunderwaffe had begun to appear in German broadcasts as early as June 1943, and from historical precedents they had never previously deliberately misled the German people in matters involving an increase in its firepower. However, they still had not been put into action. Why could that be? The intelligence analysts were able to infer that the prolonged delay, after it had been repeatedly promised, must have been due to delays in its timetable which were not anticipated. It appeared that something had unexpectedly happened. The analysts could even pin down the actual days on which something had occurred to cause the delay, as they noted that references to a wunderwaffe suddenly had dropped out of German propaganda broadcasts for ten days beginning 19 August 1943, and later, for seven days beginning on the 11 September 1943. They then learned about a British air raid on 17 August at a secret weapons station in Peenemünde by the Baltic sea and an Allied air raid in the Boulogne-Calais area in France which was suspected of holding launch platforms for the rockets. Searching for other reasons, and not finding any plausible alternatives, they eventually concluded that the bomb raids must have been the cause to the production and launch delays.
They were now equipped with some vital information, namely locations and level of efficiency of the bomb raids and how these had affected production status and launch platforms. These insights would prove important in how the Allied would counter the threat of the rockets and with that they caused the regime a crushing propaganda failure, as the Nazis, even Adolf Hitler himself, had high hopes on that these would prove decisive for the war. This was also a major intelligence breakthrough as the German had made considerable efforts in trying to deceive the Allied about the locations of the V2 rockets but instead inadvertently through their propaganda given away important clues.
This method of analysis was used to interpret other propaganda campaigns and came to prove successful in predicting an aborted offensive on the Eastern front and forecasting German diplomatic initiatives.
Repetitive Tales from a Stagnating Empire
The fall of the Sovietunion took everyone by surprise. There had been very few, actually no consistent predictions of its demise, surprisingly given that the monitoring and assessment of Russia and its satellite states employed thousands of analysts, not only working for Western intelligence organisations but also in academia, media, think tanks, and for various business interests. These Kremlinologists had, in various degrees, access to official statistics and records of shifting quality in terms of accuracy, sometimes being deliberately distorted, even falsified, satellite photos, and so-called humint, physically gathered intelligence including clandestinely collected from various sources. Yet, leading up to the events of 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequently the dissolution of the Sovietunion in 1991, historians have struggled to find any credible and consistent forecasts that correctly predicted the downfall. But it was not easy to predict as the dissolution of the Sovietunion and its ideological empire was remarkable in that it was not preceded by a violent revolution like that of 1917, no sudden coup d’etat, or as a consequence of a significant military loss. So, conventional wisdom discounted the possibility of an imminent collapse. And at the surface everything looked good, the 1980 summer Olympics in Moscow became a show piece of what appeared to be a well-functioning country. Whilst the living standard was lower than that of in the West and the economy had started to stagnate, these were difference of degree rather than magnitude, and the Soviet regime pointed out that it had no unemployment and an economy that was not burden by debts, much unlike Western Europe and the US that had suffered badly from the economic crisis of the 1970s.
However, there were a few that started to sense that not everything was what it appeared to be, foreign visitors to the Russia and the other Eastern Bloc countries was struck by the dullness and how lifeless these societies appeared. These previously so culturally vibrant countries appeared to have lost their spark, instead being replace by highly repetitive slogans dominating all public life with a kind of 1984 doublespeak connotation. This falseness by clinging on to empty platitudes that could came to mean really anything, and this changed frequently, some noted that it had turned the Sovietunion into a world without meaning, without events and without humanity. Such a psychologically detrimental environment does not go without negative consequences, something which the French historian Emmanuel Todd highlighted in his La chute finale: Essais sur la décomposition de la sphère Soviétique from 1976. He had studied official demographic statistics such as infant mortality rates, birth rates, life expectancy, and suicide rates, all of which painted a disturbing picture of a society in decline reflecting the culturally adverse attitudes that reigned not only among the population, but also the leadership. Todd described how the sentiment of the Soviet elite had started to shift in the early 1960s as a result of recognising the limitations of the communist system in delivering the ambitions set-out in the 5-year plans, and that they had ideologically given up with a mere focus of protecting their power privileges. As the state was so exceptionally totalitarian, there were little room to take a proverbial breather from the mentally suffocating environment, and with no opportunity to vent their dissatisfaction against a dysfunctional government, the negativity was turned inwards. Large segments of the population basically started to give up, to the point that national demographic statistics showed highly unhealthy trends, much to the embarrassment of the leadership. With dropping birth rates, declining life expectancy, raging alcoholism, and increased levels of suicide, all due to the same psychological root cause, the statistics highlighted a population that had given up on the system, and through radicalised means embarked on a path of collective self-destruction, as such the societal edifice began to wither away. In such a hypocritical atmosphere where words had come to mean nothing, the ideological foundation had been so watered out, and as the regime’s only interest was to hang on to power, so when attempts to reform from within, perestroika, commenced, the system collapsed quickly as it already had become so fragile through this intellectual corrosion.
The Morphology of a Dictatorship
Propaganda, whilst typically never referred to as such, is a key tool for a dictatorship to uphold its legitimacy, as it helps them to impose its worldview on its citizens. It highlights its aspirations, beliefs and norms, in all, the narrative around which it guides itself and that it expects its subjects to follow. For an analyst, it is a valuable source to understand the thinking and inner workings of an authoritarian regime and it becomes particularly interesting when things do not go according to plan and how failures in one way or another have to be communicated. Lies, half-lies, scapegoating and reframing can only gloss over misfortunes so much, so it is at these insertion points, the dictatorship’s psyche tends to reveal itself. Thus, there are, at a minimum, three important questions that an analyst should seek answers to when reviewing propaganda material;
· For what type of acts does the regime generally regard preparatory propaganda as necessary?
· What is its modus operandi to explain away misfortunes?
· How does propaganda prepare the population for hardships?
When studying how German propaganda during WWII was designed to counter events expected to come with negative consequences on its population, the Allied intelligence analysts could reverse engineer a suite of rules that the Germans appeared to apply;
· Reduce the possibility of shock effect, by hinting at the nature of the forthcoming action in gradually more explicit terms, combined with appropriate assurances;
· Manipulate blame-responsibility for the deprivation;
· Identify and reinforce the reaction pattern which the regime would like its own people to adopt when the prepared action takes place;
· Strengthens the public’s predisposition to accept demands to be made upon it by the regime in connection with the intended action;
· Lay the basis for moral justification of the forthcoming action, and;
· Prepare for a better understanding of the necessity for the forthcoming action by prior disclosure of estimates and expectations upon which it is based – either the real ones or chosen ones for their propagandistic value in achieving the desired public acceptance.
An interesting observation is that while propagandists are crafting rules to the point of being mechanical, they often become so bound by these and the doctrine they are endorsing, that they unbeknownst to them are forced into a predictable pattern which provides clues that can be deciphered to understand the underlying situation. After the war, it became evident that the Germans at no time had realised that they through their propaganda campaign had been disclosing important status on the V2 rockets.
The Tale of The Emperor’s (of the Middle Kingdom) New Clothes
When the Chinese Communist Party came under the rule of Xi Jinping, appointing himself to a de facto leader for life, the control apparatus and politicisation of pretty much all aspects of an ordinary citizen’s life have reached a totalitarian height not seen since the days of Mao Tse Tung. It has turned China into one of the most repressive societies in the world, where the tolerance for any forms of dissidence has become almost non-existent. The Chinese regime, like Nazi Germany and the communist Sovietunion earlier, has not been shy in proclaiming that it seeks to impose its worldview on the rest of the world, however unlike its predecessors, violence has for now at least, not been the preferred tool to achieve this goal, but instead using the size of its economy to allure and then as required black mail and coerce foreign countries and corporations to fall in line. So far, this strategy has had mixed success.
To independently ascertain and understand China’s economy has become critical as the regime’s political status, both domestically and internationally, and likely its survival, depends on it. However, that is not an easy quest, examining the composition of national statistics, economic and otherwise, can under the very flexible Chinese legislation be considered as prying on state secrets, something that comes with severe consequences. International reporters based in China have seen their work visas quickly withdrawn and been expelled from the country when they have critically questioned the official view of the economic situation. And international banks know well that their bank licences allowing them to operate in the country depends on playing along in the charade, with their macroeconomic reports always being in line with government numbers. There have really been very few, if any, studies that have attempted to understand the true conditions of the Chinese economy. It is remarkable as many of their statistics simply do not add up (deliberately or not), regional statistics and national statistics often looks unrelated, the export numbers they present sometimes does not tally with the corresponding imports in the recipient countries nor matching shipping statistics, their foreign currency reserves appear erroneous, and to many, China’s heavy borrowing given where they claim to be at the economic development curve lacks historical precedent, it should not really be necessary to borrow this much if the growth if supposedly so high. Also, some of the statistics are significantly tweaked, for instance migrant workers, a considerable part of China’s workforce, are excluded from the official unemployment statistics. Exempting this weak socioeconomic group would be the equivalent of US unemployment statistics excluding Afro-Americans and Hispanics. In all, many key statistics come across as unreliable.
Could Chinese propaganda then provide us with answers about its true economic situation?
Maybe, it is a reasonable assumption that they operate under similar rules when using propaganda to communicate current and future events, as previously Nazi Germany and Sovietunion, this as China also have total control over media, and whilst being totalitarian, they still need to manage the expectations of its citizens, especially when things do not go according to plan. Xi Jingpin’s regime has made monumental promises of a glorious economic future to the Chinese, however these are promises we anecdotally noticed that they started to backtrack on and downplay both in terms of deliverables and dates already some years ago, which was what piqued our interest in commencing this study.
By collating and analysing their propaganda broadcasts, the study sought to answer two key questions;
What is the actual status of the regime’s pet projects that they have claimed will propel China to its next elevated economic level, and to which so much resources and prestige have been invested? These include, amongst others, The Belt and Road Initiative, developing a new Silk Road trade route being under control by China, and The Greater Bay Area, that would in effect amalgamate cities in southern China, including Hong Kong, to form a gargantuan mega city, comprising of the equivalent of a Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Las Vegas as well as being Asia’s leading manufacturing and transportation hub turning this Greater Bay Area into an economic powerhouse.
Audacious and massive undertakings, no doubt, and key for China’s (economic) future, but are they all what they seem to be and are they going according to plan?
The other key question relates to the viability of the regime itself; it often boasts how it in one voice speak for the entire Chinese population of 1.4 billion (soon 1.3 billion). But under the increasingly repressive milieu that its citizens are being forced to adhere to, which is promoted by slogans parroted across media channels that come across as having little to do with everyday life, status quo is appearing unsustainable. Is this a Soviet situation in the making, where the regime is running dry on fortitude, the ideological vigour and dynamism is gone, and staying in power at all costs is now the only goal for Xi Jinping’s regime? One can for a while hide behind platitudes but when they start to deviate too much from reality, and no one any longer believes in them, merely paying lip service when required to do so, the corrosion of the fabrics of society has often already advanced too far to arrest and recover. A notion supported by some disturbing demographic statistics that China now share with the last stagnating years of the Sovietunion, where for instance birth rates now stand at a record low, defining the future of the Chinese population as aging and shrinking.
By leveraging the previous methods of propaganda analysis that were developed on the impressive insights of both psychology and the politics of authoritarian regimes, and through augmenting these with the analytical power that artificial intelligence can provide, including techniques for big data, deep learning and predictive analytics, we developed a model that aspires to detect underlying trends in propaganda over time. The collated and analysed material came from Chinese state media outlets, such as China Daily, Global Times and Xinhua from 2010, as applicable, onwards, but also referencing earlier Chinese propaganda campaigns drawing inferences of the actual outcomes of the initiatives they were set to promote. Basically, taking the Chinese regime’s propaganda at face value, the way they have chosen to present their view of events and how these unfold without being distorted by any 3rd party reporting. We adjusted for circumstances that specific propaganda campaigns could not have pre-planned for such as the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing trade war with the US. (The focus was on its English language media, which is the only language our model currently can analyse.) So, what did the analysis show then?
For the aforementioned projects that China has invested so much in and put great hope onto, there has been noted change in tone and reporting frequency since they were first launched to a degree that deviates from what historically would be expected. Some of the insights from our proprietary model, which can be applied generically, highlight the following key features;
· Frequency. Observations of both sporadic sudden drops in the frequency of referring to these projects in regime media, meaning that something gone awry due to unexpected reasons at times when certain announcements or developments were expected, but also an overall gradual decline of referencing them when such tapering off should not be expected, indicating that earlier set timelines and deliverables are being pushed forward or postponed.
· Euphemisms. An increasing number of euphemisms are being used to describe the projects. This typically happens when the realisation that a project to which much hope has been pinned on is likely to fail as a whole or in parts.
· Passive mode. The language describing the projects has overall gone from active to passive mode. This is another sign of a pessimistic outlook of being able to complete a project according to plan.
· Omission. Certain benefits that the projects were supposed to initially deliver are being omitted in media reports.
· Vagueness. Deadlines and deliverables are going from being precise to becoming vague, yet the propaganda assures that success is guaranteed, and the leadership are working tirelessly for the benefit of the people. Eventually, deadlines are usually dropped all together.
· Adjectives. A simple count of positive adjectives describing the projects shows a decreasing trend. They are instead described in a more muted tone.
To sum it up, much points to that the regime are trying to lower the expectations of what economic deliverables that the Belt and Road Initiative might bring in, these are being mentioned less and less in the media. It is currently rarely referred to in economic terms at all, and overall, significantly less commented than what would be expected, a trend that had already commenced well before the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and the trade war. It appears to be a project that the regime is preparing to withdraw from its narrative. The Greater Bay Area project shows similar characteristics, albeit playing out faster in time, given its much later launch than the Belt and Road Initiative, thus this project might come to be scrapped altogether or vastly re-defined to cover a much smaller scope.
Then what about the more general propaganda, are there changes to its sentiment?
There is a noted stagnation of the variety of slogans and contents used to describe the regime’s aspirations. The language has become simplified with sentiment going from active to passive, it now more often references to ‘defending’ something such as the motherland, etc, putting the regime in a defensive position. There is an increase in a ‘back to history’ narrative, mentioning historical occasions of suffering hardship and/or glorious endeavours, typically used as subtle references made to prepare the population that earlier promises of (economic) benefits might not materialise at all. Predictions about the future have gone from detailed to general and vague, with previous goals being pushed further and further into a distant future. Instead, there are attempts to refocus the narrative, providing highlights of cultural and moral superiority, and dropping economic aspects. There has also interestingly been a significant increase of the insistence of referring to ‘truths’. This is a prevalent feature when a regime needs to ensure itself that the buzz words its promoting really are accurate. It indicates that their narrative is being challenged by the population, but also to set matters straight amongst diverging party factions. Scapegoatism and blame games, both domestic and international, are propaganda features on the rise, a general blame on others for both specific mishaps but also as a general reference with the language describing these becoming more vitriolic.
Much like the last years of the Sovietunion, this is a regime losing its ideological vitality, being on the defensive both in front of its home audience where further repressive measures can be expected to quickly clamp down on any perceived dissident activities, but also internationally where the attempts to promote its world view has largely failed, and it will be expected to reduce such campaigns, seeking isolation instead. Propaganda is referring to slogans and platitudes so worn out that they by now really have come to mean nothing, or rather anything. The lifeless ideal the regime is promoting is taking its toll on the population with adverse demographic trends it will be hard to reverse in such quite literally sterile environment. In essence, there is little likelihood that the current regime will be able to reinvigorate society but will continue to maintain status quo with adverse consequences both for the overall economy and social dynamics further stagnating the Chinese society.
Niklas Hageback and Daniel Hedblom are consultants with a focus on predictive analytics and automated human reasoning, and they have a book shortly due for publication Blitzkrieg in the Digital Age - Weaponising Artificial Intelligence. Mr Hageback has also a keen interest in psychoanalysis and politics and his The Downfall of China or CCP v3.0? was recently published.
REFERENCES
George, Alexander L. Prediction of Political Action by Means of Propaganda Analysis (RAND, 1955).
Havel, Vaclav. En dåre i Prag : brev, tal, texter 1975-1990 (Stockholm, Sweden; Symposion, transl. Karin Mossdal, 1990).
Malia, Martin. Russia under Western Eyes: From the Bronze Horseman to the Lenin Mausoleum (Cambridge; Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000).
Thom, Francoise. Le Moment Gorbatchev (Hachette, 1989).
Todd, Emmanuel. The Final Fall: An Essay on the Decomposition of the Soviet Sphere (New York: Karz Publishers, transl 1979, original 1976).
Yurchak, Alexei. Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (Princeton University Press, 2005).
submitted by Niklas_Hageback to u/Niklas_Hageback

Classifying creatures

I love the sentiment behind the SCP foundation classification system but find it rather one dimensional (Edit: I have been informed that their classification system has been expanded, I was referring to the original system). The creatures studied by human paranormal researchers in my setting use a multidimensional model, known as EVCHR. Which stands for:
Exposure Risk - to what degree can coming into contact with the creature cause sickness or harm indirectly, similar to how from exposure to radioactive materials or animals carrying diseases zoonotic diseases. Vincibility - how vulnerable is the creature, what is needed to harm, kill, or drive it away temporarily. Capability - what level of superhuman physic or paranormal powers does the creature possess. Hostility - how hostile is the creature too human life. Reproducibility - At what level can the creature reproduce.
Each letter is graded on a scale from 1-10, the closer to 10 the more dangerous the creature is deemed to be.
For example, a low-level vampire who only kills criminals for sustenance would be given the rating E2V2C2H4R3. This is based upon the fact that you can interact with it without protective gear against contagion, that it possesses superhuman but highly limited powers, and has limited ability to reproduce, that it will only kill some humans, and refraining from murder when it has no need for blood.

Exposure risk

E1: Coming into contact with the creature does not result in exposure to toxins, radiation, or any other form of harmful area effects. The creature can be interacted with without the use of protective gear against contagion.
E2: The exchange of bodily fluids with the creature, being wounded by it, and or touching its skin, risks contaminating humans with harmful side effects. Such as physical or mental diseases, bodily transformation, a strong increase in antisocial behavior, or death. Refrain from touching the creature, preferably refrain from approaching the creature without proper protection.
The contamination cannot spread from one human to another, and the affected parties can, therefore, be treated without the use of without protective gear or other forms of protection.
E3: Proximity to the creature risks contaminating humans with harmful side effects. Such as physical or mental diseases, bodily transformation, a strong increase in antisocial behavior, or death. Only approach the creature while wearing proper protection.
The contamination cannot spread from one human to another, and the affected parties can, therefore, be treated without the use of without protective gear or other forms of protection.
Example: A cultist possessed by a lesser demon can cause demonic possession amongst people that come within a few meters of it. This possession is not strong enough to spread in between humans, however.
E4: The exchange of bodily fluids with the creature, being wounded by it, and or touching its skin, risks contaminating humans with harmful side effects. Such as physical or mental diseases, bodily transformation, a strong increase in antisocial behavior, or death.
The contamination can then spread from one human to another, and the affected parties must, therefore, be isolated from the general population and only interacted with while wearing protective gear.
E5: Proximity to the creature risks contaminating humans with harmful side effects such as physical or mental diseases, bodily transformation, a strong increase in antisocial behavior, or death. Only approach the creature while wearing proper protection.
The contamination can then spread from one human to another, and the affected parties must, therefore, be isolated from the general population and only interacted with while wearing protective gear.
Example: A cultist possessed by a greater demon can cause demonic possession amongst people that come within a few meters of it. This possession can then spread in-between humans, independently of the demon's presence.
E6: Proximity to as well as even seeing the creature or a photograph/video of it, without the image being partly or fully edited, risks contaminating humans with harmful side effects. Such as physical or mental diseases, bodily transformation, a strong increase in antisocial behavior, or death. Only approach the creature while wearing proper protection, make sure to at all times utilize equipment that hinders direct unfiltered sight of the being.
The contamination cannot spread from one human to another, and the affected parties can, therefore, be treated without the use of without protective gear or other forms of protection.
Example: A demon summoned to the mortal realm can cause demonic possession by simply standing within a few meters of a human. The infestation can then spread in-between humans, independently of the demon's presence. Looking directly at the demon will cause insanity, which can result in violent and self-harming behavior. This insanity is not contagious, however.
E7: Proximity to as well as even seeing the creature or a photograph/video of it, without the image being partly or fully edited, risks contaminating humans with harmful side effects. Such as physical or mental diseases, bodily transformation, a strong increase in antisocial behavior, or death. Only approach the creature while wearing proper protection, make sure to at all times utilize equipment that hinders direct unfiltered sight of the being. The contamination can then spread from one human to another, and the affected parties must, therefore, be isolated from the general population and only be interacted with while wearing protective gear.
E8: Attaining certain knowledge of the creature, such as its name of origin, risks contaminating humans with harmful side effects. Such as physical or mental diseases, bodily transformation, a strong increase in antisocial behavior, or death.
The contamination cannot spread from one human to another, and the affected parties can, therefore, be treated without the use of without protective gear or other forms of protection.
E9: Attaining certain knowledge of the creature, such as its name of origin, risks contaminating humans with harmful side effects such as physical or mental diseases, bodily transformation, a strong increase in antisocial behavior, or death.
The contamination can then spread from one human to another, and the affected parties must, therefore, be isolated from the general population and only interacted with while wearing protective gear.
E10: All who have been close to the creature physically, seen it directly, or studied classified lore regarding the being, must be liquidated immediately. All parties who have interacted with these individuals must be put under containment and observation. If signs of abnormalities occur, then these parties must be terminated as well.
The risk of spread is too strong and unpredictable to handle the phenomenon in any other fashion.
Example: All worshipers of the demonic god Mammon risks causing demonic possession in others, as well as summoning demons. They can also spread dangerous knowledge regarding Mammon to others. All followers of Mammon must be executed immediately, and people who have come into contact with them put into isolation and observation. After evaluation by an expert, these captured individuals will either be freed or executed.

Vincibility

V1: The creature can be damaged and killed using mundane weapons (weapons designed for fighting human enemies, mass-produced and distributed by mainstream weapons providers). Creatures with regenerative capabilities beyond humans are included within this category, as long as their regeneration is limited in speed and capacity to enable ordinary weapons to overpower it with enough force.
A creature that is given the status of V1 might be able to recover from damages that would have killed a human instantly and will recover from damages faster than humanly possible. But the same type of weapons that are used in human combat can overpower this regenerative ability if concentrated on particulate weak points or an overwhelming amount of force is applied.
V2: Creatures that require specialized weapons or equipment to kill and subdue. Meaning that ordinary weapons can be purchased but then need enhancing, or necessitating the special development of weapons which can rarely or never be bought from outside parties.
The weapons and tools needed are very or relatively affordable to produce, obtain, and maintain. Making prolonged and repeated combat with these creatures possible to sustain.
V3: Shares the main characteristics of V2. With the added complexity of the weapons and tools needed to fight the creature being very difficult or resource depleting to produce, obtain, or maintain. Making repeated and prolonged conflicts with the creatures difficult to sustain.
V4: There are no confirmed ways of killing the creature. There are known ways of incapacitating and imprisoning it. As a secondary trait, these creatures can be substantially damaged and hindered by ordinary weapons. Once the creature has been subdued, it can be contained through reasonable use of resources.
V5: Shares the main characteristics of V4. With the added complexity of the weapons and tools needed to fight the creature being very difficult or resource depleting to produce, obtain, or maintain. Making repeated and prolonged conflicts with the difficult to sustain.
Once the creature has been subdued, it can be contained through a manageable use of resources.
V6: Shares the main characteristics of V5. With the added complexity of the conditions need to maintain the creatures' imprisonment once it has been subdued, being too demanding to maintain for more than a handful of these creatures at a time. Meaning that even engaging in victorious combat with several of these enemies may result in resource depletion and inevitable failure to sustain their imprisonment.
V7: Cannot be killed, subdued, or captured through any known methods. The creature can temporarily be warded off by inflicting pain, fear, or distracting the creature through mundane weapons (weapons designed for fighting human enemies, mass-produced and distributed by mainstream weapon providers).
V8: Shares the main characteristics of V7. With the added complexity of special weapons being needed to ward off the creature. These specialized weapons are very or relatively affordable to produce, obtain, and maintain. Making prolonged and repeated combat with these creatures possible to sustain, but highly undesirable.
V9: Shares the main characteristics of V8. With the added complexity of the special weapons needed, being too resource depleting to produce, obtain, or maintain. Making sustained combat impossible.
V10: There are no known ways of killing, subduing, imprisoning, damaging, or hindering the creature. Direct conflict with these creatures must be avoided at all costs.

Capability

C1: Shares the physical and mental capabilities of a healthy non-augmented human. The creature's potential for violence can be matched through the deployment of a standard human combat unit.
C2: Shares the physical and mental capabilities of a healthy augmented human (humans enhanced to possess supernatural capabilities). These creatures can be assumed to possess the capability of destroying heavily armored vehicles and to cause damage similar to military-grade missile-projectiles
These enemies require a larger group of non-augmented human soldiers to match in combat, ideally given access to several heavily armored military vehicles. If an augmented human is available for deployment, it is advisable to attache him/her to the combat unit.
Example A: An ordinary orc possess the strength of five humans at peak athletic performance, enabling to overpower several humans by itself.
Example B: An elven warlock can manipulate one or more of the elements. Causing fire to engulf buildings, winds to throw tanks through the sky, and create other deadly works of wonder.
C3: Capabilities exceeding most if not all augmented humans. It requires several augmented humans, assisted by a large group of non-augmented to defeat in battle.
Some rare augmented humans can match these creatures in power, but it is ill-advised to allow a single augmented to engage the creature in combat without support.
C4: Possess capabilities far beyond all known individual augmented humans. It requires a large number of augmented humans joining forces, as well as a sizable army of non-augmented to engage in combat.
C5: The creature is only to be engaged if absolutely necessary. An army of augmented humans and a large army of non-augmented is required. It can conquer or destroy human nations single-handedly.
C6: These creatures' capacity for violence can only be matched by the combined armies of several planets. It, in turn, can summon enough force to render planets uninhabitable.

C7: No amount of non-augmented or augmented human force is capable of matching the creature's potential for violence. It requires the assistance of other non-human creatures on a similar level of strength to combat.
The creatures needed as allies to fight this enemy are rare and/or expensive to maintain cooperation with, but ultimately such allies are available. Conflicts with these creatures are inadvisable but manageable.
Example: The Vittra (a supernatural creature of the subspecies elves) Aelrindel Neriqen attacked the metropolis of New Västhuv. The city was largely destroyed before the blue-blooded Guinevere could be deployed. Guinevere was created in a laboratory from the remains of an old empire lost to history. The process of creating Guinevere had been ongoing for over 100 years before Mwaiwab attacked, and consumed an amount of money far overreaching the yearly budgets of several nation-states. It is unknown if the process of creating her can be repeated.
C8: Shares the traits of C7, with the added complexity that the non-human allies needed are extremely rare, unique, or exceptionally difficult or resource depleting to maintain an alliance with. These enemies are only to engage in combat when absolutely necessary.
Example: The demon Mwaiwab destroyed an entire continent before being destroyed by the summoning of an avatar of the god Móði. The summoning process required the sacrifice of a large but classified amount of humans, the ritual was performed by bombing two human cities with ritually blessed bombs while priests performed the necessary accompanying rituals.
C9: Shares the traits of C8, with the added complexity of non-human allies being too dangerous or resource depleting to require assistance from. Interactions with such potential allies are only to be made as a last resort.
The creature is on the same level of power as a demigod.
Example: The demigod of the elves, Zinrieth Zyiak, overpowered the military force of several planets. The interplanetary government eventually managed to contract the services of a demigod of Aesir decent, the enemy was defeated. The price for the service was the abandonment of sovereignty and embracing the Aesir demigod as the new absolut ruler of the star-system.

C10: The creature overpowers any potential human ally. The only respite is to flee from the creature, hoping that a supernatural force of equal strength will for its own reasons eventually engage the creature in combat - or that the creature will simply lose interest in attacking humans over time.
The creature is on the same level of power as a god, or it simply is a diety outright.

Hostility:

H1: The Creature is benign in its attitude towards humans, and will refrain from attacking humans. With exceptions for anti-social individuals that brake this pattern, similar to how human psychopaths break the pattern of human prosocialness. They can be engaged in mutually beneficial transactions and cooperation, without any extra precaution made that would not be needed when engaging with other humans.
If attacked or threatened the creature will use force to defend or avenge itself. Caution is still recommended in dealing with the creature.
H2: Will usually be benign in their approach to humans, can take offense from things humans would view as trivial or strange, and thereafter engage in murder, rape, or torture.
Example: Toeyar is a Kynfylgia, a minor deity serving as a household god. He will refrain from harming humans most of the time. But if someone desecrates his alter he will kill the person in question as well as three of its closest family members.
H3: Is naturally hostile towards most or all humans. By performing the rite rituals or partaking in rituals meant to show respect the creature can be made temporarily non-hostile.
Example: Orcs are born with a biological imperative to fight worthy opponents. They will attempt to provoke, threaten and scare humans on sight - to then proceed to kill said human.
They are driven to violence by a biological imperative called "war-instinct". They also have a counter instinct known as "peace-tired"(fredströtta), this will force an orc away from fighting an enemy that won't fight back. To satisfy its war-instinct an orc will scream at, push and provoke potential opponents. If the potential opponent tries to flee, the orc instinct will register that as the enemy trying to fetch reinforcement, the war-instinct will continue to rise and the orc can kill happily. The same if the potential opponent raises its voice, stands its ground etc. But if the potential opponent stands there and does nothing, the peace-tiredness will kick in. The orc will feel an immense loss of energy and sickness, needing to get away from this unworthy creature.
By allowing the orc to cause minor harm, such as pushing a human, and withstanding provocation without counter-action, the orc will be made temporarily non-hostile. If a human ever engages in combat with the orc, then the war-instinct will be fully activated by simply seeing said human and this technique of passivity will no longer function ( https://www.reddit.com/worldbuilding/comments/d0ylzf/want_to_drive_away_orcs_just_stand_there_and_do/ )
H4: Will attack some humans with the intent to torture, rape, or kill. Either for motivated by malice, sexual desire, need for sustenance, or the need for human suffering to fuel magical rituals.
The attacks are limited by the creatures' needs or inclinations. There will be periods of time in which it attacks no one, during these stretches of time the creature can be bargained with. Primarily selects its victim based upon specific criteria, such as only killing serious criminals, virgins, etc. Will kill other humans if they are perceived as a threat or a hindrance in the monster reaching some of its other goals.
Example: Vampires following the ethical tradition of Life through justice will kill humans when they need to feed their bloodlust, but once this need has been met they are non-hostile. They will limit their victims to human criminals of serious nature, such as murderers and rapists.
H5: Similar to H4, but will attack humans without an upper limit on the numbers of victims and never enters a period where it will feel it is unnecessary to create new victims. Still selects most of or all of its victims based upon specific criteria, meaning that most people remain safe.
Will also kill humans who do not meet its criteria for normal targets, if they are perceived as a threat or a hindrance to monster in reaching some of its other goals.
Example: The Olfrikr has a strong telepathic ability which they use to identify its targets. They wander from place to place killing murders, rapists and other serious criminals. Humans that have refrained from breaking the Olfrikrs sense right and wrong will never be targeted. The monster never sleeps, eats, or rests. It is never satisfied with the number of victims and will continue killing endlessly if not hindered ( https://www.reddit.com/worldbuilding/comments/dcfe67/fear_the_olfrikr_the_fiends_of_virtue/ ).
H6: Indiscriminately kills, rapes, tortures humans of all sort. The attacks are limited by the creatures' needs or inclinations. There will be periods of time in which it attacks no one, during these stretches of time the creature can be bargained with.

H7: Similar to H6, but will attack humans without an upper limit on the numbers of victims and never enters a period where it will feel it is unnecessary to create new victims.
H8: Will attempt to not only harm humans, but also at times hinder humans from reproducing or undermining the ecological foundations for human existence. These attacks on human existence will usually be tied to keeping a specific area free of humans, and the creature will see no general need to expand these areas.
Humans are allowed to live in these areas but under conditions of slavery and dependency on equipment for survival provided by the creature. With the surviving humans having their rate of reproduction and population size often controlled by these creatures.
Example: If humans occupy a planet that elves view as rightfully belonging to the elven race, they will invade and kill a large part of the population. Then terraform the planet to be unsuitable for human life, the surviving humans are thereafter given life support mechanism by the elves and are allowed to live on as free-roaming cattle in the form of hunter-gatherers. When elves need to fuel complex magic, then they will kill one or more of these hunter-gatherers in a ritualistic fashion ( https://www.reddit.com/worldbuilding/comments/bp3tg1/humans_as_cattle_belonging_to_elves/ ).
H9: Similar to H9, but wishes to make all areas unable to support humans life and force all humans into a state of servitude and terraform the entire world to be unsuited to the natural human condition.
Example: Elves who follow Biriir ina Barqo see it as the elven destiny to conquer all human planets. These planets are to be terraformed to suit elven life, and only a small group of humans are allowed to live on as human cattle.
H10: Wishes to exterminate all human life. Will attack humans without provocation. Refrains from violence against humans only out of temporary tactical reasons.

Reproducibility

R1: The creature is sterile, it cannot reproduce it all.
R2: The creature can reproduce, but rarely and under difficult and specific circumstances. Even under these circumstances, it cannot increase its numbers rapidly. These conditions arise very seldom, perhaps even centuries apart.
R3: Similar to R3, but the conditions needed for reproduction are not limited to occur on specific points of time. These conditions can be recreated at any time. Meaning that the creature can theoretically reproduce at any moment, but will often not have the material conditions needed to create more of itself.
R4: Without the use of special conditions, the creature can maintain a steady rate of birth, but at a substantially slower rate than humans.
R5: Without special conditions, the creature maintains a steady rate of birth at a similar level to humans.
R6: Without special conditions, the creature maintains a rate of birth similar to humans. With special conditions, it can enter into a state of mass reproduction, far out-competing humans.
R6: Without special conditions, the creature maintains a far higher rate of birth than humans. Under special conditions, it can enter into a state of mass reproduction allowing it to conquer and populate entire nations within days. These conditions are time-dependent, they can only be created during certain windows of opportunity.
R7: Similar to R6, but the conditions for rapid reproduction are not limited to occur on specific points of time. These conditions can be recreated at any date. Meaning that the creature can at any moment create the right conditions and swarm entire nations - but the material conditions for such mass reproduction are difficult to meet.
R8: Reproduces at an unmanageable high rate without special conditions. A single specimen of this creature can quickly create spawns of a multitude enough to swarm entire countries.
The rate of reproduction can, however, be overcome through ordinary military measures. Killing all known individuals of to the species within a given area will hinder it from spawning additional younglings within said area.
R9: Similar to R8 but its reproduction cannot be stopped by ordinary military measures.
This necessitates means of stoping reproduction beyond simply killing individuals belonging to the species, such as bombing or ritualistically cleansing an area the creatures have transformed to serve as a spawning pit.
R10: Similar to R9, but these creatures' reproduction cannot be hindered even by supernatural means available to humans.
Areas infected by these creates must be evacuated and sealed off.
submitted by GeAlltidUpp to worldbuilding

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