Who I am –
Ratheka Stormbjorne. I am a human of the female persuasion, a rationalist, an effective altruist, one who would pit herself against death, dissatisfaction of values, dukkha, and other negative things beginning with ‘D’. Vegetarian. I’ve walked a strange path through life, and it’s ended with me living in the Bay Area of California, getting up to speed to matter in the pursuit of a world that doesn’t live under the sword collection of Damocles.
An anecdote that gives some idea of who I am, from a version of me who chose hedonism:
Long ago, I played the vanilla edition of World of Warcraft. I had made level cap with my shaman, and I had a place in a raid, but I was dissatisfied. Blizzard’s design choices largely pigeonholed me – the itemization clearly said, if you can heal, you will heal.
This did not suit me. I was invested in being DPS(Damage per second, a leg of the ‘holy trinity’: Tanks, healers, DPS) and while I could demonstrably keep up, I had healing spells, and so my fate was decided.
So I talked to the guild leader, asking about getting a different character into the raid. He said that could happen, but I would of course have to hit the level cap, and acquire 150 Fire Resistance (A fairly high amount, without getting set gear) before then.
My warlock was level 41. I got to work, grinding like a madwoman, running dungeons, tracking down every optimal piece I could. By the time of the next raid, a week later, I was level 60, attuned, and I had 185 fire resistance. The guild leader was *quite* surprised.
Not too long ago, a friend helping me improve the prose of a cover letter added the phrase, “I don’t come with speed limits,” to it, and it’s stuck with me as a fairly accurate statement. Once I’ve decided the direction I’m going in, I don’t really see the point in not going all-in. I’ll take steps not to burn out, but other than that… “Working because you want to is the best sort of fun!”
Why a blog –
I feel that, in my walk through life, I’ve learned some valuable things, at least some of which can be passed on. I’ve touched the world as lightly as possible for years, and I’ve moved beyond being the person who made that choice. I want the world to be better, and the only way to do that is to get involved in it.
Why, “A Ramjet Breaks Thorns”?
I tried out name after name, trying to find something that I liked well enough to put my words under. Everything seemed pretentious, or silly, or like it didn’t convey real things about me. One of the people in my life pointed out that Slate Star Codex, a blog I’ve read quite a bit of, and whose author I owe a debt of gratitude for some of the gears he gave me, was a near-anagram of the name of the author, Scott Alexander.
I fed ‘Ratheka Stormbjorne’ into an anagram generator, and got back, as the most interesting result, “A ramjet broke thorns”. It captures myself and my goals surprisingly well, except that the thorns are in fact still here. So, this blog is A Ramjet Breaks Thorns until we win, at which point it can become, A Ramjet Broke Thorns.