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      Welcome!   03/05/2016

      Welcome, everyone, to the new 910CMX Community Forums. I'm still working on getting them running, so things may change.  If you're a 910 Comic creator and need your forum recreated, let me know and I'll get on it right away.  I'll do my best to make this new place as fun as the last one!

Don Edwards

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Everything posted by Don Edwards

  1. What Are You Watching?

    The only Chicago-area con I'm at all familiar with is Windycon, which I happened entirely coincidentally to be in town for in 1989 or 1990. I was there for a two-week training program on some new software my employer was buying, and the convention was on the intervening weekend; I found out about it late Saturday evening. The fun thing was, Mercedes Lackey recognized me in the hall and answered a silly question I had asked her at Norwescon. That being one of two times I spent even a full day in the Chicago area. The other was in the fall of 1977 around Thanksgiving; for various reasons I can pin that one down precisely.
  2. Things You Find Amusing

    Also, what that can do to one's perspectives...
  3. Things that make you worried.

    That may the trick: small meals for a while, balancing their small size with increased frequency.
  4. NP Wednesday February 13, 2019

    Yeah, that's WELL down the list. First they need to recognize that this little bitty plastic chip is a data-storage device. Second it needs to be in good enough condition that WE could read it. Then they have to figure out how to read the storage blocks, which implies an electronics technology at least comparable to ours. Then they have to figure out how many bits are in a single symbol, and getting this right will imply that they use an alphabetic script*. THEN, finally they can start working on understanding the data in any individual block (record format?) at the same time that they start decoding the filesystem structure (file format). Once they get to that point, XML will help, of course - while Unicode will make things more difficult. Oh, and yes, the natural Rosetta Stone I was referring to is the Periodic Table. * Evidence suggests that the alphabetic script was invented from whole cloth exactly once in human history: every alphabetic script, whether in current usage or dead, is a descendant - in terms of the concept being handed down if not the actual forms - of Phoenician. If civilization falls so hard that that concept is lost for a couple thousand years, it won't necessarily be reinvented quickly.
  5. This Day In History

    If you remember that the ratios are 12 and 20, and also the first line of a certain nursery rhyme, you should be able to figure out the number of pence in a shilling.
  6. NP Wednesday February 13, 2019

    There's a natural Rosetta Stone for technological civilizations, even not-very-technological civilizations: humanity's first recorded stab at creating an instance of it was in 1817, and the modern and probably final form was settled in 1914 (additions since then have merely extended that form, not altered or rearranged it). There's at least one copy of it in most high schools, every encyclopedia set, and numerous other places. In every country on earth. Of course, they are pretty much all on paper, and the long-term survivability of paper is questionable. It's also in a few gazillion places on electronic storage, which has a similar issue. (Heck, I have a piece of electronic storage sitting on the edge of my keyboard waiting for my new tablet to arrive; if the print on one side faded, it would look like a broken piece of something, not an object in itself. And even if it remains readable in 10,000 years - questionable - would anyone be able to figure out how to read it? It's about the size of my thumbnail and has a capacity of 64 gigabytes.)
  7. Story Friday February 15, 2019

    Grace: "I'll tell you one thing about my transformations. If there is only one person alive who can physically harm you while you're in that form, it's probably me. Now either start being polite and respectful, or leave."
  8. Story Wednesday February 13, 2019

    IF (a big if) there is anyone who can do simple physical damage to Camdin in this form, Grace is probably one of those who can.
  9. Things that make you go WTF

    There's a TV show (also lots of episodes available on YouTube) called "Prehistoric Fossil Breeding". I'm pretty sure that "fossil" precludes "breeding".
  10. The Weather.

    For some people, it causes turned collars. Particularly beneath street lamps.
  11. Story, Wednesday January 30, 2019

    And there's so much evidence that he's wrong, beginning with the quite-old "heart" symbol... which looks very little like a heart, which is okay because if you see someone's heart they probably aren't a good romantic prospect... but does bear a strong resemblance to the rear view of a bent-over human female in prime mating condition.
  12. Story Friday February 1, 2019

    Heck, the reason I stop at five or six genders is NOT because I think everyone fits neatly into one of a few, clearly distinct categories. It's because I think the whole subject is about as clear, and as clearly delineated, as a fogbank - that there are six, or maybe only five, genders that one can reasonably clearly define the stereotypical cores of, with substantive differences between those cores - but those cores are themselves just approximations that not many people will precisely fit. This.
  13. The Weather.

    Yeah, achieving ignition is pretty easy. Everything you need to know has been public information, and assembled in a neat package, since 1998 http://www.fusor.net/newbie/files/Ligon-QED-IE.pdf (follow-up article http://www.fusor.net/files/EMC2_FusionToPost.pdf ) and is now available as a web page https://www.instructables.com/id/Build-A-Fusion-Reactor/ Reaping more electrical energy from it than you have to put into it, that's a bit more of a challenge.
  14. The Weather.

    Solar power may be cheaper than coal during the day, but coal is cheaper at night. It's expensive getting the whole planet out of the way, and I do NOT want the job of writing the environmental impact statement! Battery technology is not yet ready to do what would be needed to make solar or wind power a viable base-load power source. Maybe in a few more years...
  15. The Weather.

    That is a perfectly acceptable outcome. And frankly I'd like to see us using less fossil fuels, particularly coal because it's so polluting. Oil and gas, my concern there is that they are also quite valuable for a variety of other uses, such as lubricants and chemical feedstocks; on the other hand I think we'll eventually find ways to efficiently synthesize them from air and water, possibly but not necessarily with the assistance of plants - and gasoline and diesel oil still have several rather large advantages over electricity for transportation, at least one of which I expect will continue indefinitely (because it's about the human-interface side of the technology).
  16. Story, Wednesday January 30, 2019

    I haven't necessarily read all of every post... Mamase has clearly been trying to steer Nanase toward being a proper Japanese housewife (in America - she better accept some variation, even if she mostly gets her way!) and away from magic, through most of Nanase's life. Letting her hang out with a wizard like Edward would not support that aim... ...on the other hand, no-magic cousin Tedd would be safe in that regard. Tedd has associated with Nanase often enough, and recently enough, that he developed the "ugly cousin!" defense against the fact that his cousin was shaping up to be seriously hot. This typically happens in the age bracket when the boy has noticed that girls are interesting but hasn't yet figured out why. Also, he's associated with her often enough recently enough that he recognized her by name and hair color, and also the first in-comic time he saw her in person. Of course, this defense would not exactly make Nanase think nice thoughts about Tedd. Even more so considering that it started when she probably was going through a typical early-adolescent bout of body-conscious insecurity. (I've observed, indirectly, that the young female body starts developing adult features at one of two times from the point of view of the person living in that body: too soon, or not soon enough. Both cause the insecurity I'm referring to.) So, more recently prior to the comic start, they've probably seen each other less often than when they were, oh, ten years old. Particularly since he started spending a lot of time on the TFG. Now, they are interacting a lot for other reasons, and Mamase has given up on the keep-Nanase-away-from-magic plan. (Which is a good thing for many reasons. Besides the fact that it had obviously become hopeless... there's a truism in several universes that an untrained mage is a danger to himself and everyone in the vicinity.)
  17. The Weather.

    I've never seen that argument offered, except for from some extreme religious fundamentalists who deny a bunch of other science as well. Well, over the past 600 million years, global temperature has dropped dramatically during periods of high CO2 level, and risen dramatically during periods of low CO2 level. Also, we're currently in a period of low CO2 level - and the rise that we're assured will mean the destruction of everything is far less than sufficient to get it up to its average over that period. http://jeremyshiers.com/blog/global-temperature-and-co2-levels-for-last-600-million-years/ But how about a shorter term? Well, for one thing, the atmospheric CO2 level began rising about 7,000 years ago, when global temperature was rather warmer than it is today; in contrast, for the first half of that period the overall temperature trend was downward - then it spiked up for some unknown reason, after which it returned to a descending pattern. And before those 7,000 years? About a 4,000 year trend of generally rising temperature and declining CO2. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/11/does-co2-correlate-with-temperature-history-a-look-at-multiple-timescales-in-the-context-of-the-shakun-et-al-paper/ (Scroll down to the second graph for that time scale.) Closer looks at some longer time periods reveal that rising temperatures can cause the CO2 level to rise, with a lag of several hundred years - which lag is too short to be visible if you're looking at really long time scales and not at sufficiently fine detail. However, other longer time periods don't necessarily support that correlation. I won't argue against that because it's a valid concern. Now let me tell you why I do not trust the scientists that argue for climate change: it is because they are doing so in a manner that gives the impression that they are guarding the interests of very powerful people who want to be even more powerful. And I note that a very large share of them are funded by the main seats of power: governments. What do they propose we do to fight this climate change? Grant more power to governments to more heavily regulate - if not take over - more and more of the economy. Reduce prosperity overall, increasing the advantage of those who control the reins of government spending (or have friends or allies who do, or work for them) over those who do not. Restrict innovation outside their preferred channels, which would reduce risk of unexpected challenges to their power. And have we seen these proposals before? YES! In fact, they are the proposed response to pretty much every crisis, real or imagined, local or national or global, since Herbert Hoover became President, including the Coming Ice Age scare of the early 1970s. Sometimes even in detail - we (I was there for the Coming Ice Age) were supposed to fight the global cooling trend, or help prepare for it, I forget which, by reducing oil consumption for transportation and home heating. Which would have had all the effects described in the previous paragraph. But, if the CO2-causes-global-warming theory is right to a functional degree (in simple theory, it is, but real planets aren't simple, real planets with atmospheres are less simple, adding oceans and/or clouds removes simplicity, and biospheres, hoo boy!), would have been just the wrong thing to do about an actual Coming Ice Age. (About the same time, we were also Running Out Of Oil, and obviously needed to have the government ration it.) And then we get to data adjustment. There are legitimate reasons to adjust data... but it's strange that practically every adjustment of the data in government-sponsored databases is in the direction that supports the global-warming thesis. In fact, an interesting correlation has been discovered in some databases: the more CO2 there is in the atmosphere, the more they have to add to instrument temperature readings in order to get the "official, adjusted" temperature. In a linear relationship. This was found in both USHCN data and, somewhat less strongly, in some Australian data gotten from NASA: https://kenskingdom.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/adjustments-vs-co2/ This seriously smacks of "we know what the answer is, fix the data to match."
  18. Story, Wednesday January 30, 2019

    And I was thinking more along the lines of masculopathy - she hates men. Not fears (so not a phobia) but hates. Gay men are (I'm guessing she thinks) a bit less manly, so a bit less hated.
  19. NP Monday January 28, 2019

    This is relevant...
  20. NP Monday January 28, 2019

    Insufficiently creative in building a backstory. The closest thing to a seriously minmaxed character I had was a two-blade Ranger who was all about mobility and multi-attacks. D&D 4E gives a character 3 actions during his turn: a movement, a major, and a minor. He'd move on all three of them and between the major and the minor would get in at least three attacks - routinely. Backstory? Temple dancer. With a lot more going on as well - the name he goes by honors a murdered lover, and he won't name his family, his country, the temple he trained in, or the gods he once worshiped. (And I know why. I could write quite a long story leading up to his beginning his adventuring career - at one point I had about the first five pages of it written, but it got lost somewhere along the years.) Insufficiently intelligent in building a character and backstory that makes sense. There's a place for the adventurer with minimal adventuring skills: a campaign deliberately designed for PCs who are beginners and forced by circumstances to become adventurers, rather than choosing it from among other viable options and properly training for it before setting out. But other than that -- sure, a 7th level fighter might also be a gourmet chef, either left over from a previous career or chosen as a hobby and a way to get something more interesting than purple-worm-and-ochre-jelly sandwiches again... but he also needs to have been effective enough often enough as a fighter to reach 7th level, so there's no way for him to plausibly be worthless as a fighter.
  21. NP Monday January 28, 2019

    I personally never saw a conflict between gamist and immersionist styles in RPGs. I usually did both, simultaneously. A character doesn't have just a class, he also has a particular role in the party which may differ from character to character and party to party, even if the classes and levels are identical. A minmaxer will maximize certain abilities available to the class, and define the character's role to fit; an immersionist will let the role develop and maximize the abilities needed for that role - the result is about the same, with a character whose abilities are well tuned to his precise role in the party. Where I saw a conflict was when the player had one idea of their character's role in the party, and another player tried to push them into a different role. (Note: D&D4E categorized classes into roles - but that isn't what I mean as those roles are FAR too general. As becomes apparent when one considers a large party. Your two Wizards will both be effective but in different ways. Your two Rogues will have different specialties. And so on. Your two Leaders, a Cleric and a Warlord, will be vastly different.)
  22. The Weather.

    But see, THIS is the kind of discussion I want to see happening - and I don't. Or, very rarely. What I see far more often is one side saying "yes, there has been global warming, but there's nothing abnormal about it, and here's the science behind that" and the other side replying "yes there is too global warming, why won't you anti-science idiots admit it?" Which makes the latter side look like they are both anti-science and anti-constructive-discourse.
  23. OT14 as an actual tetrakaidecagon

    But isn't it more of a hypertetrakaidecahedron?
  24. The Weather.

    And I wish people would shut up about those idiots, and instead sincerely address the scientists who point out that this bout of global warming looks rather similar to the bout that ended a thousand years ago, and the bout that ended a thousand years before that or the prior dozen or so at thousand-year intervals (with a slowly-declining trend in just how warm things get), and that the evidence that humans EITHER contribute significantly to the cause OR can do anything to slow it is really weak... ... and that if the climate continues to repeat its past pattern, this warming is about over anyway...
  25. Things that make you worried.

    That fits what I was thinking: that the cat wasn't really eating the french fries, he was eating the salt and maybe the grease - and the french fries just came along for the ride. Cats have no interest in sweets as such. They can't taste "sweet". Which of course doesn't mean the sweets can't contain other things that cats DO like, such as fats and milk proteins.