Sunday, December 26, 2010

Come to think of it...

Exposé is pretty much Strategic Zoom for my operating system.

We all know how much I love Exposé.

Strategic Zoom

After playing Supreme Commander, it's evident that Strategic Zoom is pretty much the best function in gaming ever. Now I can't live without it.

Civilization: Strategic Zoom
Homeworld: Strategic Zoom
Starcraft: No Strategic Zoom

I'll never be able to play it again. Like what the fuck, I can only see like 8 units on my screen at a time? I'll send my wraith to scout and it'll get lost and I'll never be able to find it again.

I bet after Advanced Warfighter, I won't be able to play even first-person shooters without Strategic Zoom.

Monday, December 20, 2010

D-NY, represent

First Responders bill:

Bill delayed, for the record.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Check out this concept:

It's fresh, friendly, good looking and absolutely useless.

I can only imagine trying to find my 2% in an aisle stocked with nearly identical yellow boxes typefaced with difficult to distinguish text. You know, of all the things she decided to emphasize on the box, it's the words "Drink ME I AM MILK". Thanks. This is not helpful from a consumer's perspective. Someone will be sorely disappointed when they walk home with a box of cheese instead of a stick of butter.

These things can be fixed; there are simple fixes. That's not the point.

These issues are things that should've been at the forefront of consideration but wholly overlooked. So many designers are preoccupied with making something distinct and beautiful that they forget about the importance of function of form.

It's worthwhile to make something aesthetically pleasing, but products are made to be used, not to be displayed in a museum.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I had foie gras once

It was underwhelming.

Somehow it looks a lot more appealing in pictures.

Anyways, here's an interesting article.

Windows 7 First Impressions

I'm finally running a modern Windows system on one of my own boxes now.

Hey, I am a Mac user after all.

First off, it looks very nice. Straight up one of the best looking operating systems around, though I do believe KDE has had that style for a long time now.

The problem with 7 is that there is never a new feature there that makes me think, "I wish I had that before" or "that's a really great idea". I got that feeling all the time with OS X. Or even with major revisions of Firefox.

I don't care about how much they've changed under the hood; I don't have lasting virus issues (which can be about 80% attributed to "not being a retard") and it just doesn't affect me as an end user.

What does affect me is their silly pop-ups that come up anytime I want to do anything. I understand the reasoning behind it, but (a) once some average user sees it come up a million times a minute, they'll just ignore it and click affirm to everything and (b) doesn't ask for your admin password to make modifications so while it might protect you from random internet programs, it doesn't prevent some guy from just screwing around with your computer. The Windows convention of always running as admin is dangerous, SUDO is a very good idea.

The new taskbar looks nice, but the latency from me hovering over an icon to it showing me what windows are open is aggravating. The worst part is, this is actually a good idea; just let me change the timings.

The new Start menu is stupid. I can't rely on the Search function to find what I need since it selectively indexes and I have no clue how it chooses to either. Then when it inevitably fails, I am forced to dig through all my folders to find what I need because it apparently never occurred to Microsoft that there are files I use often enough to want to keep in a location that is easily accessible while not often enough to be on the Desktop or Taskbar. Argue about indexing optimization all you want, all I know is that Spotlight never fails to turn up what I want (even if it's some text file in an obscure directory) while Search comes up empty quite often.

I could talk more, but my feeling has been conveyed. I think what Microsoft did was hire a lot of graphical designers in recent years, but neglected interface designers. Because Windows Phone 7 looks quite good. Bing looks quite good. Windows 7 looks quite good. But they all have tons of shortcomings in their functionality. This is why Google and Apple are running circles around, because at the end of the day Google's page-rankings give me what I want and Bing's doesn't.

Bonus story: This morning I wanted to check something in another browser so I literally opened IE 8, typed something into Bing search and pressed enter. This naturally caused Windows to come collapsing down around me as IE failed, and Explorer, and Task Manager, and every other possible program except (ironically) Firefox. Fresh install, brand new computer; should not be happening, Microsoft. No excuse.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I dimension the die!

What's the functional difference between rolling a 12 sided die and two 6 sided die? Well, for one you can't roll a 1 with two dice. More importantly though, you'll see a stronger regression to the mean with more dice.

Let's say theoretically we have a 10-sided die numbered [0,9]. Your probability of rolling a 5 is 10%.

If you have three 4-sided dice numbered [0,3], the probability of rolling a 5 suddenly becomes 19%.

If you flip 9 coins, the probability of landing 5 heads is now 25%. Moreover, the probability of rolling either 5 or 6 (the expected value is 5.5) is 49%. Of the 10 possible numbers, half the time you'll only get 2 of them!

I assume this is why a lot of boardgames roll two dice, because it normalizes the probabilities; you're 6 times more likely to roll a middle value like 7 over something extraordinary like 2 or 12.

With Betrayal, the rolls consist of up to eight 6-sided dice with two faces each numbered 0, 1 and 2. Basically 3-sided dice. Therefore we should see some strong regressions to the mean; for instance, if we were to roll five such dice the probability of getting at least a 4 is 79%. To roll 3 or lower and be beaten by a roll with 3 dice has a probability of 11%. To do so twice in a roll is literally a 1 in 100 proposition.

So basically Michael really sucks at rolling.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Plausible campaign platform?

No tax raises!

In order to pay for everything...

...we'll hire more auditors!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Irregardless, Penny Arcade is objectively good. Literally.

I was reminded of this comic today. It is one of the most profound series of web comics I've ever seen:

Gabe usually hits homeruns when he's on a fatherhood theme.

Much better than miscarriage comics.


I believe that the existence of a systematic problem with "welfare queens" has always been a myth perpetuated by Conservatives to channel money away from programs that don't involve oil or missiles.

...and hell, they're doing a terrible job with the missile things too; what good are they?

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Our disability claims system intentionally rejects the majority of claimants for their first application because they believe this deters fraudsters?

This is stupid!

Absolutely stupid!

Hey, government, guess what group of people have the most dedication and time to jump through your stupid hoops?

Hey, guess what group of people get fucked over the most?

Who was the fucker that came up with this brilliant idea?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Terse Messages

The United States is rush deploying some ships for training Westwards.

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), refueled and overhauled in 2005:

USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), upgraded in 2006:

USS Gridley (DDG-101), commissioned in 2007:

USS Stockdale (DDG-106), comissioned in 2009:

And they're probably picking up some new members in Pearl Harbor. This is going to be literally ship-for-ship the most modern, most powerful surface combatant group in the world.

The most logical explanation is that it's headed to North Korea's vicinity. You know, where Yokosuka's George Washington Group is already conducting exercises in the Yellow Sea.

But they're not signaling North Korea. Nope. This is a message to China: Get the North in line or we will raise such a shitstorm in your backyard that it's going to spill onto your front porch.

Speaking of China, wonder what they're up to?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Schooling Math

There are always people giving talks about math education.

I always hear, the way math is taught is boring.

Boring boring boring.

No, some people find it boring. But others will enjoy mastering the system.

The truth is, you can make math the Amazing Race and some people will hate it. The point is there are some things everyone needs to know, and if you have a good teacher, he/she will make sure everyone knows it.

Everybody should be able to understand up to fractions and algebra. It should be expected in that we expect everybody to be able to write coherent sentences. No, not everyone can do it with the same amount of effort, but that's just a matter of applying oneself.

Why? Because you literally need to know 8 things:

1) Addition and subtraction
2) Multiplication and division
3) What a numerator and a denominator is
4) Multiplication of fractions and inverse multiplication of fractions
5) Finding common factors; how addition and subtraction apply to fractions
6) You want to isolate the unknown in an algebra statement
7) If you move something to the other side, invert the operation
8) How to translate a word problem into algebra

From grade 1 to 8, we have eight years to teach this! EIGHT YEARS! Fractions might be hard for some people, but not literally "can't memorize 4 rules in a year of practice" difficult!

Look at the mathematical proficiency in China. India. Japan. Are their kids smarter? No, they're told to suck it up and work harder. Are their systems the best? Definitely not in all ways but with respect to math, it gets the material taught and it proves that the material can be taught.

What about people who need to know more math than that? Well anyone who needs to know more math than that is going to need to know a lot more math than that, and when you get to higher levels, looking at "boring equations" and learning "boring rules" is not going to go away.

Aiming to teach people how to formulate their own solutions sounds clever, but when your problem is fluid dynamics, nobody has the time or energy to rediscover the Navier-Strokes equations on their own. You get your stupid equations, you get your stupid rules on how to use them and you learn to plug numbers in. If you can't handle that, look into doing something else.

The curriculum is fine; if you want to overhaul the educational system it always comes down to finding the best teachers and attracting them. Overhaul that instead.

] ] ] ] ]

Like how after KyoAni made K-on, they didn't know how to unmoeblob their other works (Haruhi), Shaft is having a had time unwinding after they made Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei.

[Yes, I did just use "moeblob" as a verb]

Bakemonogatari (Ghostory)-

[I'm fascinated at how the title portmanteau translates into English]

keeps the best parts of (Zoku/Goku/Zan:) Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei (wordplay and reducio ad absurdum), while tossing the worst (opaque references to Japanese culture) and throwing in some of its own (staplers).

[My knowledge of Japanese culture goes as far as Dragonball Z]

After a terrible first impression (immediate and uplifting wind) I've decided it's pretty much great.

[That's not true; the first scene is awful, but my actual first impressions were internet pictures of floating girls and staplers]

[Which is actually a great first impression]

In summary, staples staples staples staplesta plestaples staplestaples staples staplestaplestaplestaples staplestaplestaplestaplestaplestaplestaplestaplestaples staplestaplestaplestaplestaplestplestaplestaplestaplestaplestaplestaplestaplestap-

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Blues

A logical consequence of creatures getting stronger, is that control magics have become more expensive.

This is Mind Control. It's 5cc. I hear it's quite a Limited bomb.

This is Control Magic. The original, as you can see, it costs a full mana less than Mind Control. What should you be demanding for 5 manas instead?

How about, repeatable effect?

How about, untap all your lands?

How about, search your opponent for Emrakul and beat his face in with it?

Oh well, at least it's not Followed Footsteps.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

How bad?

Crazy bad.

Let that be a lesson to you clever developers on embedding jokes in your code.

Or maybe not.

Just as Planned!

North Korea is pretty much succeeding in its plan of being a country so poorly run that no other country wants to take control of it.

Well played Dear Leader, well played.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Actually Paul Martin was pretty good

He balanced the budget and didn't rock the boat.

He wasn't perfect, but you really can't please everybody.

It's impossible for any country to have nothing but exceptional leaders, but every country needs plenty of stalwarts to keep everything running and making sure nothing breaks.

The problem was that he was no fun, not charismatic, people didn't like him.

This is the damn problem.

When leaders have fun, you end up in fuck nowhere Durkadurkastan for a decade.

So back to my point.

Here we are with Mr. Harper on the throne, slowly burrowing the country into the ground, screw by screw.

But you don't care, Canada.

At least he's not boring.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gundam Unicorn Episode 2

Anyone reading this probably knows that I am a fan of the mecha genre.

I also know that mechas are probably a bore for many people.

That's why I would never recommend Brain Powerd even though I enjoyed it; because robots aside, objectively it's a show that's 70% of the way there in terms of plot and characters.

That said, Gundam Unicorn is good.

You see, Gundam has always had a certain formula. Reluctant protagonist somehow gets finds himself piloting a extremely powerful weapon and gets taken into a conflict that he doesn't want to be a apart. Both sides are dicks, but he keeps fighting because he has people he wants to protect and along the way we see the personal tragedies of war and a message of hope at the end.

Yes, it is formulaic. Yes, there is a running joke about the consistently lax security surrounding powerful experimental weapons. But most good stories are derivative in some way; it's a matter of execution.

Gundam Seed is what you would call Doing It Wrong.

Unicorn on the other hand, takes all the unmistakably Gundam elements and hits all the high notes every time. We have high production values, great attention to detail and a suitably epic soundtrack that doesn't involve T.M. Revolution.

The first episode had the corrupt Earth Federation battling a resurgent Neo Zeon threat, our protagonist's colony is suddenly under-siege and he finds himself being the unlikely operator of a Gundam and joining the Federation's cause. This is the Ruy Lopez of Gundam openings.

By the end of the second installment, Banagher, has been captured by Zeon and is their prisoner on a colony sympathetic to the Zeon cause. The episode concludes with the Federation planning to assault the Zeon base and a side operation to rescue Banagher is being plotted by his friends.

Here's where the series distinguishes itself: In a lesser show, this would be an excellent turn of events. Our hero will be gloriously rescued in the next episode and the bad guys will be forced to retreat and regroup.


The series makes it clear that this is going to be a very bad thing. By all indications it looks as though the Federation will get thoroughly beaten down in the subsequent assault and though the rescue may be successful, Banagher, who had just witnessed his own colony being trashed in a battle between giant robots, will witness this new colony suffer through the same fate. Plotting that out is one thing, but to make you feel it, that's not such an easy task. I certainly know that I can't.

And it does it with some of the best looking mobile suit designs in the entire franchise: Kshatriya, Unicorn, Sinanju and even the ReZELs.

Downside: As it manages to slot itself comfortably into the UC multiverse, it becomes very hard to comprehend the meaning of many events without knowledge of prior happenings. Which is a massive amount of story encompassing Mobile Suit Gundam, Gundam 0083, Zeta Gundam, ZZ Gundam and Char's Counterattack. Not all of them having aged well or being strong pieces to begin with. Unicorn isn't entirely incomprehensible otherwise, but the story does suffer.

Gundam checklist:
A Gundam being hijacked by an unlikely protagonist: Check.
Gundam breaking free of its restraints amidst flaming ruins: Check.
Someone exclaiming "It's a Gundam!" to great shock and awe: Check.
A Char: Check.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I call it the Tunnel Boring Machine!

Because it digs and it bores.

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind (2UURR) (General)
Teferi's Puzzle Box (4)
Mindmoil (R4)
Spellbook (0)
Feldon's Cane (U)
Trash for Treasure (R2)
Inkwell Leviathan (UU7)
Simian Spirit Guide (R2)
Lotus Petal (0)
Desperate Ritual (R1)
Seething Song (R2)
Goblin Charbelcher (4)
Izzet Guildmage (UU/RR)
Mana Severance (U1)
Lightning Greaves (2)
Alexi's Cloak (U1)
Curiousity (U)
Ophidian Eye (U2)

Foil (UU2)
Pact of Negation (0)
Counterspell (UU)
Cryptic Command (UUU1)
Tangle Wire (3)
Winter Orb (2)
Static Orb (3)
Icy Manipulator (4)
Pyroclasm (R1)
Evacuation (UU3)
Washout (U3)
Volcanic Fallout (RR1)
Earthquake (RX)
Nevinyrral's Disk (4)
Oblivion Stone (3)
Platinum Angel (7)
Opposition (UU2)
Capsize (UU1)
Treachery (UU3)
Lightning Bolt (R)
Shock (R)
Char (R2)
Psionic Blast (U2)
Crushing Pain (R1)
Spiraling Embers (R3)

Crystal Chimes (3)
Recall (UXX)
Brainstorm (U)
Ponder (U)
Preordain (U)
Compulsion (U1)
Sensei's Divining Top (1)
Fabricate (U2)
Reshape (UUX)
Merchant Scroll (U1)
Mystic Tutor (U)
Fact or Fiction (UU3)
Gush (U4)
Intuition (U2)
Izzet Chronarch (RU3)
Mulldrifter (U4)

Grixis Panorama
Terramorphic Expanse
Scalding Tarn
Maze of Ith
Mishra's Workshop
Forgotten Cave
Remote Isle
Lonely Sandbar
Smoldering Crater
Halimar Depths
Seat of the Synod
Great Furnace
Steam Vents
Izzet Boilerworks
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Misty Rainforest
12 x Island
12 x Mountain

I've avoided any obvious broken-ness (e.g. Tinker, Lotus, Ancestral), most marginal broken-ness (e.g. Grim Monolith, Ancient Tomb, FoW) and anything that would cost $Texas in real life (e.g. JaceMS, Mox Diamond, Mox Opal) so it should be fair in power.

It also has a grand total of 5 creatures, one of them being Simian Spirit Guide.

Might proxy it for EDH to see how it plays out. I mean, Puzzle Box + Orb on the table has to be interesting.

Bonus: Find all the win conditions.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I was like oh boy Gibbs energy of mixing!

I understand physchem!

But then I actually watched the video and I was like, oh crap, Reynold's numbers, that's not physchem, it's fluids; I don't know what anything is going on in fluids!

Actually, I think it's equivalent to a parallel plates flow problem. Since the outside wall is stationary and the inside is moving, the velocity gradient means the "mixed" colours are actually discrete sheets overlaid on top of each other. If you turn it enough, the process will still become irreversible.

Vintage Magic is pretty hilarious

A fairly recent breakdown of Vintage Top 8s and the most popular cards they ran gave 216 Force of Wills in 54 top 8 decks giving an average of 4.0 Force of Wills per deck. Any other card with that level of dominance in any non-eternal format would be banned, except Force is the rebar keeping Vintage from exploding under all the tension.

Tezzeret.dec over the past year has pretty much evolved from "Are we sure that a Tezzeret is strong enough to warrant inclusion in the deck?" to "I think having Jace 2.0 x3 is the right decision".

Blue is so overpowered that all else equal, a card literally becomes stronger just by being blue.

If you crack a fetch and you don't have a basic island, you'll probably want that over a dual because Islands have shroud from Wastelands. Islands are broken etc.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

This video irritates me so much...

Argh! Learn to use a paintbrush properly, woman!

On music theory

I never noticed until recently how much music theory I've forgotten. But I'm pretty sure if I had an instrument just in my hands I'd be able to remember how things went.

I don't think I'm really unique in that respect; I remember in highschool there was a music theory test where they included a picture of a piano keyboard on the paper and people would come out being, "omg, piano keyboard was so overpowered, nerf paper keyboards".

Which, the silliness being as close to ad verbatim as I can recall, greatly amuses me.


Anytime I see an aeronautical piece of equipment contacting anything in a movie now, I am going to think, "Oh no! Crack propagation of scratches into catastrophic failure by metal fatigue!"

The exception is Iron Man; I will just continue assuming that his suit doesn't get scratched.

edit: To elucidate- given the same bulk material, surface smoothness increases stress cycles before failure. And this is true with roughness on the scale of angstroms, so visible scratches are huge.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Not better than squid puns after all

Well, I've given up on Oreimo because, this is just too stupid. I guess that didn't take long.

Besides, she's too much tsun and not enough dere.

On the other hand, Panty & Stocking is still amazing.

Maybe if Gainax had been the ones to do Powerpuff Z, it wouldn't be totally retarded.

This machine makes quite a nice flame

But crappy cellphone cameras are crappy.

It changes colour if you start burning metals.

I liked the oxidant dial, which basically went: Off -> Air -> Nitrous Oxide.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I watched the first episode of Ore no Imouto, which has basically turned my mind to mush, so I am going to collect my incoherent thoughts here.

To start, I've had to Pause to Recover several times during the episode, which usually happens for terrible shows but this one is...good? -Ish?

The opening is called Irony, which is (ironically) a more apt description of irony than the Alanis Morissette's own song, Ironic.

Unlike salt, which is, in fact, rather ionic.

Kyousuke, the main character, is voiced by Nakamura, who is notably the VA for Okazaki (Clannad) and Alto (Macross F). I bring these roles up because it means he's been a harem lead and a tsundere (respectively) before. Uh. Oh.

Kirino, main's sister, is voiced by Taketatsu who was Azusa. Yes, that Azusa.

*pause to recover*

Kirino is basically like having Haruhi for a sister. This one, not the BL one. Yeah, I'm calling that BL. Just look at them! Look at their hair!

In other words she's sociopathic. And a tsundere.

Also, she's a closet otaku.

*pause to recover*

Who pays for her eroges by modeling as a gravure idol.

*pause to recover*

"Why did you buy so many copies of the same thing?"
"As an offering!"

*pause to recover*

So, sucks to be Kyousuke.

On the other hand...

Maybe this is better than squid puns.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I don't even...

So is GQ some sort of welfare Esquire?

It's like a trainwreck, you just can't look away.

Though I am amused that Monteith is remains significantly more clothed throughout than his co-stars. Significantly.

Also, no doubt Grondin has found these pictures of Lea Michele's "tiny" breasts already.

Didn't see it coming

Insane drug laws + right to bear arms.

Who would've thought that was a bad combination?

Well played, America. Well played.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Canadians like chef Michael Smith too much

I spent the day watching Iron Chef America.

The outrage from Michael Smith losing is ridiculous.

First of all, Iron Chef isn't exactly serious business. I mean, I love Jamie Oliver and he lost. Oh well, time to move on. I don't respect him any less because of that.

Secondly, the show isn't that biased towards Flay. His record is 69% (lolol), which is good (~2 wins per loss) but actually puts him percentile-wise in the bottom-half of the Iron Chefs (not including Wolfgang Puck). And a 54-40 point domination is something I've rarely witnessed on the show, so Smith must've put on a really weak defense.

Thirdly the ingredient was a damn avocado, not elephant bushmeat. Don't act like it was super-weighted towards Flay, if you're a world class chef, you should know how to use something like that. Besides, Smith used canned tuna. Really? Really?

Finally, what's all this talk about the American judges not understanding Canadian cuisine? Come on, sauerkraut is more foreign than we are.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Interview with John Sculley

Followed a link to Cult of Mac:

The thing that separated Steve Jobs from other people like Bill Gates — Bill was brilliant too — but Bill was never interested in great taste. He was always interested in being able to dominate a market. He would put out whatever he had to put out there to own that space. Steve would never do that. Steve believed in perfection. Steve was willing to take extraordinary chances in trying new product areas but it was always from the vantage point of being a designer. So when I think about different kinds of CEOs — CEOs who are great leaders, CEOs who are great turnaround artists, great deal negotiators, great people motivators — but the great skill that Steve has is he’s a great designer. Everything at Apple can be best understood through the lens of designing.

Whether it’s designing the look and feel of the user experience, or the industrial design, or the system design and even things like how the boards were laid out. The boards had to be beautiful in Steve’s eyes when you looked at them, even though when he created the Macintosh he made it impossible for a consumer to get in the box because he didn’t want people tampering with anything.

In his level of perfection, everything had to be beautifully designed even if it wasn’t going to be seen by most people.

I can attest to the truthfulness of this on circuit boards; I remember when I first cracked open my 'book I was to exclaiming to people about how beautiful it looked in there. But FFS! What a waste of money.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Album Art: Take Two

This time though, I am posting covers that suck.

Keyar may check for approval:
[ ] Y
[ ] N

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


For the record, Grondin, this is small.

Monday, October 11, 2010


CiV is as of current broken in half on high difficulties.

Apparently it has REX syndrome worse than CivIII; you can keep settling onto tundra to happiness limit and it does not matter because they are powered by maritime food engine and you just run libraries/specialists in all of them.

The AI is also notorious for its terrible tactical awareness. This is counteracted by its production bonuses as you crank up the difficulty.

"This is feeling less strategic and more tower defense."

Interestingly enough, this runs counter to their selling points of less cities, more strategic combat.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Literal Civ4

<< 15:03:35: immortals are pretty hax
>> 15:03:53: raeps archers
<< 15:04:25: why does that make any sense
>> 15:04:50: YOU try fighting immortals with a bow and arrow
>> 15:05:00: you may have multiple arrows
<< 15:06:26: phalanx should
<< 15:06:39: actually
<< 15:06:45: they rape immortals already

>> 15:07:07: phalanx is a formation
>> 15:07:11: should've been hoplites
>> 15:07:15: it was hoplites in civ3
>> 15:07:18: dont know why they changed it­

<< 15:07:52: theoretically when athens builds a hoplite
<< 15:08:04: they are not literally building
<< 15:08:13: one hoplite
>> 15:08:27: lol
<< 15:08:49: they should pluralize everything to avoid confusion
<< 15:09:08: alternatively
<< 15:09:13: do 3 hoplites­ form a phalanx?
>> 15:09:44: you need two endpoints for a line
>> 15:09:47: so i guess 3 is sufficient
>> 15:09:54: it'll be a pretty shitty phalanx though
<< 15:11:47: but the thousand nations of the persian empire
<< 15:11:52: will also only have
<< 15:11:55: 3 immortals
>> 15:12:00: lol­

<< 15:12:14: each nation is contributing
>> 15:12:26: 0.003 men
<< 15:12:56: they can't spare too many
<< 15:13:13: they only have 3 pop/nation
>> 15:13:19: athens houses
>> 15:13:21: 4 people
<< 15:13:35: the 5th one
<< 15:13:37: is a dick
<< 15:13:41: and won't work

New Nano

The UI actually makes me want to seek out some album art for my songs; not like space is an issue on PMPs anymore.

Here are some covers that I like:

I'm giving a special mention to the Cowboy Bebop OST 1, because I love that they made it in the style of bebop era jazz albums.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Panty & Stocking Quite Something

Actually, quite good.

Also, I liked the BGM there. Apparently, Gainax is barely avoiding the banhammer from censors with this one.

Just found out that Cal U is in California.

California, Pennsylvania that is.

Fuck me!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Richard Stallman et alii are crazy et cetra

The usual arguments aside, has it ever occurred to these guys that software often needs to leverage proprietary technologies outside of the software realm entirely?

How are you going to deal with that kind of third party licensing?

Answer: you don't.

That's why GIMP will never support things like Pantone colours. Hell, they're barely competent enough to have CMYK support at all.

Good luck being taken seriously.

Also, Inkscape sucks and people should be ashamed of using it.

Who'd have guess that well paid developers make better products?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Anecdote of the Day

Differentiating things in Matlab will often give you fucked up results depending how you phrase the input.

But integrating in Matlab will usually give a fairly clean result that is often identical regardless of input. And one that's usually nicer than what you get manually.

Which is good because integrating is a hell of a lot harder by hand.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The real reason I quit music

I have too many friends that are musically talented.

There's Mr. Professional Composer Marius "Dickhead" Masalar himself. I will speak no more of him because his ego is doing just fine.

Axon is really good at piano and majoring in such; I guess it's all part of being in a music family.

Mike is godly on sax and then he just decides to quit for no reason.

Dan is dece, I think he's sax RCM 8; he's complained about losing auditions to people crappier than him because school bands tend to favor music majors. I envy his Super Action mostly.

I guess Crobert is pretty good at guitar, but not like Matt Tsang, who is Pretty Good at guitar.

And as much as I hate Kaiser, I was impressed with the diverse number of Not Easy¹ instruments he managed to pick up².

Justin is okay³, I'm giving a shout out to him just because bassoons are hilarious and amazing.

I'm not going to bother counting the number of people that finished Royal Conservatory on piano because among my Asian homies, that's not even an impressive metric anymore.

FFS, even Anya is RCM 9 piano and she's not exactly what I think of as musically inclined. Plus Serbian handicap etc etc.

At least with visual art I only have to compete with people that kick my ass on the internet.

In other news, if I found out Eeshan played Civ4 on Deity, I would've quit the game forever. Right there. Good thing he apparently sucks and doesn't know how anything works.

Or bad thing, I don't know.

1. {Sax, Piano, Flute} ⊂ "Easy"; {Violin, French Horn, Trumpet} ⊂ "¬Easy"
2. Competently AKA not half-assed AKA not like me
3. AFAIK reached level cap with RCM on piano, but bassoons are so much more interesting because if you ever picked up a bassoon you'd understand that none of the finger mappings make any sense. At all.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Apple Premium

The New Yorker has come out with a new iPad app.

It costs $4.99 an issue on the iPad.

But wait, if you subscribe to the magazine in paperback form, it's less than a dollar an issue.



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Civilization V

I think a problem with CiV is that it doesn't iterate on what made things work in the previous games.

It had a fresh new designer without the experience and talent of Sid Meier, Brian Reynolds or Soren Johnson.

As an example, consider Starcraft 2. After the competitive community discovered walling as an effective Terran strategy in the first game, Blizzard maintained it as a defining trait of the race in SCII with lowering Supply Depots. Unbalances can be patched out if the core gameplay is there.

Civ 4 built on Civ 3's successes and corrected degenerative strategies. Maintenance costs were introduced to stop settler fast expands. Wonders were weakened to stop wonder spamming. Overflow was introduced so people didn't need to micro their tiles for resource optimization¹. Of course this made certain old strategies nonviable, but their most devoted players were brought on board to playtest and make comments.

And they backpedaled when the changes were too much. Early prototypes had more natural terrain, but they went back to a more solidly defined tile system when it became confusing for players to understand tiles, which made it hard to develop strategies.

Of course Civ 4 wasn't perfect. Sushi engine was overpowered while most of the other corporations were useless (Standard Ethanol, moer liek Standard EthaLOL m i rite), Inca fast-expand is broken at marathon speeds, diplomacy was easy to game and cottage spam is...well cottage spam.

Hex tiles and new combat rules help fix Civ 4's stupid Stack of Doom mechanic. But where Civ4 fixed old mechanics, CiV gutted them instead. Corporations, religions and espionage are out entirely. Cottages were removed because the culture mechanics were changed. Civics are an entirely different mechanic now.

Perhaps most contentiously, diplomacy is entirely black boxed now. The old system had flaws, and maybe the new system is better. But if you want a serious strategy game, it's never a good idea to obscure mechanics from the players. Maybe they wanted the AI to behave more like people, but that was something Soren Johnson explicitly cautioned against when designing game AIs. If I wanted realistic diplomacy, I'd play Diplomacy. Against people.

CiV is still a new game, so it's a bit early to call it bad. But it's definitely a wait and see at this point.

Certainly good looking though.

1. You can still do stupid things though: barracks, swap queues @ 1 turn to complete, 2x chop, swap back @ chopping complete + whip => $texas. Which goes to show, you just can't keep a good scheming player down.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bird's Nest MkII

Aviva stadium in Dublin.

I for one think it looks pretty good.

From the sides in any case.

Hang on

TLC is still recording?

They're like 40 now.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Snow Leopard

On one hand, I got ~10gb of space back.

On the other hand, Exposé on 10.5 (which is the best thing ever) is kind of bad now.

Therefore I theorize that what they removed in 10.6 was actually 10gb of Exposé optimizations.

edit: Also, the spacebar to zoom feature on 10.6 Exposé is actually kind of useless; it's the same amount of key pressing to just select the window with F9 and Exposé out again if you grabbed the wrong app.

Friday, September 17, 2010

EFV is stupid

Congress is preparing to kill it and foot the cancellation bills if it fails the next round of tests.

Good riddance. Reliability issues aside, the thing is massive, has zero ground clearance, needs an engine with twice the power of an M1A2 and costs approximately a gajillion dollars per copy.

And it can't do anything that you couldn't do better with a Stryker on a purpose built landing craft.

Or buy a bunch of CH-53Ks instead, because those things are bomb.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Mio uses an Audix OM6.

Just so you know.
She also uses a lefty sunburst 1962 Fender J-bass with turtleshell pickguard, an Ampeg SVT-450H, AKG K701s, a Macbook 2nd Gen and wishes for a Boss GT-10B set.

No Thank You

T ainaka
H irasawa
A kiyama
N akano
K otobuki

Friday, September 03, 2010

Colour revelations!

I found out today that ultramarine blue refers to sulfur sodio-silicate blues in general, as opposed to just the blue for painting Ultramarines.

When a colour is called something like titanium white or cadmium yellow, it's pretty clear that the mineral composition is being referred to.

But sometimes it's hard to tell if you're just dealing with Crayola colours.

Boltgun metal though, no way that's a classic pigment.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Too bad it sucks...

I am going to find out what's in ACE:R by watching its trailer and posting my reactions as things happen in it.

0:00 'Kay
0:05 'Kay...
0:31 'KAY...
0:51 So those are the enemies...
1:00 What is that? What is that?
1:13 Omfg! Aquarion!
1:21 Lmao
1:36 Probably from Orguss, I dunno
1:39 Is that Freedom? Victory?
1:40 Nope, it's Destiny.
2:04 Yesss VF-25s
2:15 Lol wut
2:17 King Gainer is back
2:31 Arbalest!
2:42 So badass...
2:49 Deathsythe?
2:53 Oh yes! It's Crossbone!
3:22 Fuck this, where's Nirvash instead?
3:40 I think ACE 3 op was better.

Brain Powerd

So I decided to watch Brain Powerd, due to a combination of the catchy op and my desire for 90s character designs. I know I've made fun of it in the past (Andrew might've suggested it to me 5 years ago, and I made fun of him for it) but actually watching it I don't think it deserved a lot of flak it gets.

I mean, robot anime has really been going downhill recently:

Code Geass/R2: TRAINWRECK and bigger TRAINWRECK
Gundam 00/S2: Were I the director of a Gundam series it would turn out exactly like this and therefore, by definition, a TRAINWRECK

It was much better than any of those. I think it definitely inspired some of the imagery in RahXephon and probably some of the plot in Eureka 7 as well. And it's funny, what little submarine action took place was better than all of Blue Submarine No.6 so suck it, Gonzo.

Of course it's not the Eva killer that Tomino wanted it to be, definitely not as influential. The character relations shift virtually every episode, which isn't implausible per se since the intermittence between episodes are months or longer. But it doesn't make for good story telling. The cast is spread too large for substantial development and why does everyone in the show have an unfortunate background that's only exposed by shouting loudly in the midst of battle?

Considering the pedigree of its crew, it probably undershot its potential:

Tomino of Mobile Suit Gundam fame and originator of the real robot genre; this show is clearly a Tomino production. I mean, what's with him and children? Why are they always there?

Mech designs are by Mamoru Nagano, pioneer of the revolutionary movable frame concept. Notably, the Antibody designs were originally meant to be Hyaku Shiki but he submitted a revised design for the Zeta Gundam project.

Yoko Kanno provides the scoring and is super tank as per usual.

By the way, that op is just silly. That part with the volcano and the naked girl? How can you not laugh?

Monday, August 30, 2010


I've wanted to make this comparison for the longest time.



Here's a thought

The Greeks always depicted their soldiers garbed in nothing but bronze helmets fighting an ostentatious and over-clothed Persian army. The Trojans were portrayed in this manner too.

Of course in actuality, the Greeks were more strongly armed than their counterparts, clad in heavy bronze versus the wicker and leather of their Persian opponents.

If you look at this way, then you could argue that Miller's 300 is actually tongue in cheek to how the Greeks viewed themselves. A contemporary reductio ad absurdum of the Greek vantage!

Though the more likely explanation is that Frank Miller is a bigot and fetishist for overly masculine men.

Next time: Through deconstructionism, I establish that King Leonidas and his escorts are in fact flaming homosexuals.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Good Enough

I think I'm ready to draw my Kim Pine fanfic now!

Not actually.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A critique of selected Chinese history

God damn it, Qing dynasty; I knew we should've teched to Rifling.

Why didn't we build Scotland Yard with our Great Spies earlier?

What would've been a good way to solve the trade surplus was to trade tea for guns.

As opposed to tea for opium.

+1 relations with Victoria.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

M. Night Shyamalan!? Ffffuuu-

I want to go say outright that I'm not a huge stickler for source material accuracy.

E.g. Up in the Air was fantastic.

I also enjoyed Scott Pilgrim movie for what it was; it made me laugh and I had a good time.

But honestly, it had no characters.

And for being adapted from source material with a very strong cast, I can't help but be disappointed in that.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In favour of Japan

Rofl, this guy went to a brothel and played Pokemon with the girl
He bet his virginity and she bet the price
Basic 10k + extra from Pokemon

Peter: Lol, he won right?

Lol, yes
The girl had like Blissey/Garchomp/Metagross
She's fucking serious

Yo, shit
She's for keeps

I think they did 6v6
Oh ok, he posted the party
Girl's party
Dude's party
6v6 took them an hour and a half because it was
Slowbro vs SubPunch Poliwrath
Both had Leftovers and Slowbro didn't have Psychic

Peter: Where do I find a hooker like that?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

P = NP, casually

My startling MSN treatise on what NP is, and its implications.

Crobert: Does anyone believe that P = NP?

Peter: Probably less than the number of people who believe in perpetual energy

Wtf is a non-deterministic turing machine?
Wtf is a turing machine?
It's a gigantic tape ticker right?

Peter: It's a computer that stores data on infinite ticker tape

Ok, I kind of know what a turing machine is
What's a non-deterministic turing machine?

There's an artistic representation of a turing machine on Wiki
That wasn't there before
Where's this about non-deterministic turing machines?

NP stands for non-deterministic polynomial
I'm just not interested in complexity theory at all

I am not interested in Star Trek
...and I end up reading its Wiki nonetheless

Is Star Trek like Gundam?
Where it works out in theory-
...but not in practice?

No, it doesn't work out in theory either
Like, warp 10 was supposed to be unachievable asymptotic bound
Except in one episode they managed to do it in a shuttle

Crobert: Wtf

They ended up everywhere in the universe at once
...and began speed evolving into lizard people

Crobert: Wtf

Not even kidding
Okay, so non-deterministic turing machines
Pick the correct possibility everytime, assuming it exists

Time travel => P = NP
You also need to be able to travel time in polynomial time

Okay, I get it
Non-deterministic polynomial time means
The problem's in polynomial time if you make the right guess

Crobert: That's so lame

Peter: Which means solutions can be verified in polynomial time

Crobert: Well yeah

So the problems that you can't even verify in polynomial time
I guess those are fucked forever

Crobert: Yes

Peter: k

Crobert: What is such a problem?

Peter: Chess

Crobert: Source

Peter: # ^ Aviezri Fraenkel and D. Lichtenstein (1981). "Computing a perfect strategy for n×n chess requires time exponential in n". J. Comb. Th. A (31): 199–214.

Crobert: o ok

Peter: k, chess is fucked

Crobert: Is chess solved?

Peter: No, it's fucked.

What am I doing here?

I took that Facebook personality profile test. This is what it gave me on college majors that matched my personality:

1 Undecided
2 Graphic Design
3 Photography
4 English Literature
5 Culinary Arts
6 Art
7 Liberal Arts
8 English
9 History
10 Interior Design

What the fuck??

The highest science related thing is chemistry at number 14. Chemical engineering is down at number 31.

Also, apparently I'm fucking neurotic. Which, I guess would not come as a surprise to any of my close friends.

God. If I don't find a place to live next term, I'm going to just move to Queens and take up Modern Languages or something.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I recently came upon the under-demolishment part of the Gardiner.

It makes me a bit sad.

I know that elevated highways is now the headache of every metropolitan downtown in the world¹, but I kind of like them. I think they've got historical character, the products of early 1900s futurism.

Clearly we shouldn't be building any more of these; it's an archaic technology and, in hindsight, a poorly thought out design. But I think parts of it ought to be conserved. Perhaps a High Line approach is for the best.

1. Except maybe Shanghai, where the central government is constructing them at a furious pace. Decades behind the rest of the world², naturally.

2. Except the New York elevated rail network was getting torn down for being ugly and distracting at the same time they were proposing the elevated freeway system. Well played.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Holy carp!

The Economist:

AN OILY green algal film slops on the shore of Tai Lake, China’s third-largest freshwater body. Its foul odour drifts over nearby villages. By the water’s edge it is hard not to retch. Fishermen complain of dizziness. A clean-up campaign launched by the government three years ago has made little progress...Residents say algae-eating silver carp introduced with great fanfare this year have died.

The carp died? Carp??

Carp is about as invincible as fish get, that lake is uninhabitable.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


I hate you, America.

On Prop 8

From Slate:

Had the proponents of Prop 8 made even a minimal effort to put on a case, to track down real experts, to do more than try to assert their way to legal victory, this would have been a closer case. But faced with one team that mounted a serious effort and another team that did little more than fire up their big, gay boogeyman screensaver for two straight weeks, it wasn't much of a fight. Judge Walker scolds them at the outset for promising in their trial brief to prove that same-sex marriage would "effect some twenty-three harmful consequences" and then putting on almost no case.

Sounds about right.

Of course the decision will be appealed, so assuming they are granted audience with the Supreme Court, I would like to add two more points:

  • California’s previous rulings on gay marriage has informed rulings in other states (I can’t remember the states, Iowa maybe, no recollection on the Justices being cited), this strengthens the weight of their opinions.

  • Slate notes that SCoC Justice Walker’s opinion seems to be a direct appeal to SCotUS Justice Kennedy. The importance of this is that Kennedy under the Roberts court is regarded as the swing vote, and his recent voting record has been noticeably skewed conservative.

Also, shame on Stephen Harper, trying to move backwards when the rest of the world is following step.

Monday, August 02, 2010

I think it's about time we give the pentathlon another update

We can replace the pistol with the biathlon rifle.

Swimming and running can stay, but they will do so with 80lb packs on their back now.

Fencing is a bit archaic, we can replace it with something more contemporary. Like room clearing.

In place of show jumping, the event will conclude with a cross-country rally race in a Hummer through a minefield.


"I was front row at this concert and it was some of the best guitar shred I've ever witnessed. The guy next to me passed out from the sheer beauty of it and they had to take him out on a gurney. This audio doesn't do it justice. Panties were hitting the back of my head the entire show (too bad they were size 44). The augmented 13th diminished scales sound a little off, but it's because he is actually playing so fast, the sound barrier cracked and some notes were lost."

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Pause to recover

Sometimes when I watch Mad Men, I have to pause to recover.

But not like when I have to pause to recover while watching School Days, that was so I can mentally prepare myself for the next wave of terrible.

This, this is more like pausing to let the wit sink in; let it steep in my brain.

See, Mad Men is often tongue-in-cheek: a wry critique of the 60s just shrouded beneath the surface.

And it's actually hilarious.

Asides on the Dramatis Personae

Jonn Hamm: a handsome, handsome man. Also an asshole and a player.

John Slattery: For some odd reason, I always envision him as a porn actor whenever he shows up on screen. Being that Sterling is the playboy that he is, I guess I'm not too far off.

January Jones: Beautiful, and since they brought it up, I can see the resemblance.

Christina Hendricks: I'd say she's gorgeous, but that bust is much too distracting.

Julie McNiven: Cute, but as a minor character I mostly enjoy her consistent stream of sarcasm towards Pete Campbell's equally consistent ridiculous demands.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Office on Windows UI is shit!

Why should the big red x in the corner of my window close every instance of the application running as opposed to just terminating the active document? It's counter intuitive because the taskbar is already separating by documents, not applications!

Either tab that shit or run it like Adobe Reader.

Also, Win7 taskbar is pretty much a dock, but not as good. There, I've said it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Ultra Culture is my favourite movie blog because it's pretty much how things would turn out if I were a film aficionado and blogged about movies.

In fact, I waited to see what they'd post before deciding if I needed to actually blog about Inception.

Turns out, I've complained to different people about most of those points already, most notably 9 and 10. Actually, the only ones I didn't bring up (and still don't really agree with) are 1 and 7.

So here it is, better than I can express it.

He even made an Ocean's 11 comparison. Amazing.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010


This is the best caricature of DiCaprio I've ever seen:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Suck it, Stanley Kubrick



This is what I thought of when DiCaprio and Page started treading all over vertical and upside-down Paris. The stewardess scene in 2001 was gratuitously long because Kubrick wanted to show off his amazing special effects. A major technical accomplishment in 2001 was the construction of a 38' long revolving corridor for Dullea's run around the Discovery; Inception had a rotating 100' long hallway for the anti-gravity fight.

The entire set of 2001 was bulldozed after shooting because Kubrick was afraid that the pieces would get recycled for B sci-fi movies.

Contrary to popular belief, Paris was not in fact bulldozed after the filming of Inception.

If I ever wrote a screenplay, it would have 2 helicopters colliding in the Lincoln tunnel.

The scene would be publicized in all the trailers.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Some bands

...sound pretty bad without post production.

Others are even more amazing live.

Meg & Dia, they sound just like themselves.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Typography is getting too mainstream

I should pick up Lomography.

Fuck your strobes and umbrellas and lenses the length of a football pitch.

All I'd need is an LC-A.

Besides, Mio has one.

Other hobbies in consideration include the hatching and rearing of dwarf gouramis.

I think the Lomo is cheaper though.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sick burn

well girls
tend to have more flexible sexuality than guys i think
o O
i think it's because
girls are pretty
like i can't help liking guys
but i think about it intectually
technically, there's nothing really great about you guys
Peter [hhhhhh]:
that's harsh

What I have taken from this [entire] conversation is that girls prefer Rachel McAdams to most guys.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pecan Oil Extraction Guide

In response to Will's pecan extraction guide, I will write about a much more difficult process: the extraction of pecan oil.

Complete extraction occurs over two stages:

There is no cracking involved; this isn't the petro industry. Plus, the last time I checked, the cost of a cat cracker was approaching 2 billion dollars.

There are two methods to pressing: hot pressing and cold pressing. Unless you're a housewife with a wedge press and infinite amounts of time, you're going to go with hot pressing. C'mon you want be a man don't you?

The heat will affect the oil quality, but let's say we're targeting the massage oil market rather than the cooking oil market. So we'll go for maximum yield. The heat makes the oil less viscous and increases the yield.

First we start feeding our nuts into a screw press. As the press operates, the friction and pressure involved will heat up the seed cake. We pass the effluent oil through a filter and collect the product.

But we can still increase the yield further by the method of solvent extraction. In particular we need a non-polar solvent because washing out oil with water is just silly goosery. Let's use MIBK.

HAHA! Just kidding!

Let's use hexane, because everybody uses hexane for everything. Hexane is a good choice because it's relatively safe, volatile and unreactive. So we wash the seed cake out with hexane. Now we need to separate out the solvent again for recycling and because people don't want to eat/rub themselves with hexane. As much as I like flashing, I can't say that high pressures and temperatures are good for the product. Steam distillation is a much better choice because we can boil off the hexane at a lower temperature than otherwise and is an overall more gentle process.

Once we remove the hexane, we can easily separate the water from the oil because they are immiscible. The product is ready for bottling; for maximum freshness store in a cool dark place.

I don't have Twitter but...

@danidaly hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
hhhh #queenoftheamazons

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Worst random number generator ever!

Hillary = {|x| return nil}

So then if I do this: "Give me a number!"

I get back...nothing.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Gen. Mattis is taking Petraeus's old spot in CENTCOM.

That was an...interesting maneuver.

On Caddys

I can't decide whether I hate the CTS-V because its grill looks outrageous, or if I love it because Jay-Z would sound so sweet coming out of this thing.

Also, the new BMW 5s look good, and the F10 M5 should be just around the corner; though I'm worried that they're approaching the AMG's football pitch lengthed bonnet.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Elises are boatloads of ugly

This however, looks stunning good.

Disclaimer: Costs a gajillion dollars more.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

We all know Ke$ha is a rip-off of Uffie anyways...

It also helps that she doesn't look like garbage.

I wonder though, where a girl born in Miami, raised in Hong Kong, and based in Paris, would pick up an English accent.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Jess is pretty good

But Ness is my favourite drunk of the moment.

Because she gets so cute and bubbly. <3 <3

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Let's hold all future G8 summits exclusively in Russia.

We'll see how many protesters show up.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Speaking of LoGH

In one of the movies, Yang Wenli orders all the small ships take cover behind the big ships.

Who the hell does that? Screening destroyers with battleships?!

Master tactician my ass!

Here's a ramble

As I was driving home, I was thinking about drawing spaceships and how to go about it without being cliché.

It occurred to me that the bulk of it would be all sorts of modules cobbled together on a keel based on the necessity of functionality rather than constraints like gravity, hydrodynamanics or aerodynamics. Think of this from Star Wars.

But what if the front were shielded by a smooth angular plate, such that the radar cross-section was minimized from the front. Cheap conditional stealth. So then when engaging missiles, the standard procedure would be to turn in towards them, to minimize target size and radar reflections. Just like the days of yore.

Then I thought about how there's a certain romance to ships of a line, slugging it out with cannons and shot, that often brings space battles in fiction back to it. But how would you bring about something like that without being anachronistic?

Well, of course space is big, projectiles would have a lot of travel time giving the enemy time to respond and evade. So then the weapon of choice would be lasers. Photons. The fastest projectile in the universe. Lasers take a lot of energy and they only travel in straight lines, so you need a big powerplant and many many lasers to increase the probability of a hit (because space is big) and also to maximize the damage dealt in a first strike (because if you shoot, everyone will know where you are). The most efficient way of getting a lot of lasers into space and powering them all would be big battleships with big broadsides.

Countermeasures. What wrecks directed energy weapons most in real life is atmospheric conditions. Obviously if you discharge a gas in space, it'll disperse quickly. But what if you discharge colloidal particles? And they're charged so that when they disperse, not only will they stop beams by direct impediment, but they're scattered at a distance apart that optimizes wave interference from reflected beams. Except the colloid will render your own beam weapons useless, so in a head to head battle, neither side will use this unless they're looking to disengage. Like a futuristic smokescreen. Next is that big battleships move slowly, so even if they are turning in, to avoid missiles, it might not be fast enough. So we can have a bunch of smaller ships whose job is to screen the battleships and they will be bristling with point defense systems, rail guns perhaps or even smaller lasers to engage incoming missiles (the missiles can't be steathy because they'll be emitting radio waves, which can be homed in on). Destroyers.

Missiles have limited maneuverability, because to close the distance they would have to be traveling extremely fast, and to turn around would take too much propellant, which makes them easy to pick off. The corollary would be that if a ship gets hit by a nuke-tipped missile, they are done. Fighters are not useful because humans cannot take the gees and their reaction times are too slow when everything is happening at large fractions of lightspeed (and also, at lightspeed).

There would be development into some novel technologies, like photon cannons that shift frequency to get through the colloid shield or ships that are stealthy from all sides, but the previous represents the most practical and economical technologies of the time.

And that's how I would bring future fleet engagements back into the early 20th century.

Man, I should write a novel. It'll be like Legend of the Galactic Heroes, but sensible.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The last bastions of Liberal power

Looks bad, but let's zoom in a bit.

Uh..hang on.

Okay, wait, one more time.


Don't scoff though; Metro Toronto, Metro Vancouver and Metro Montreal comprise a third of the population of Canada and the combined GDPs of the cities proper amount to $500 billion in a $1.3 trillion Canadian economy, i.e. value disproportionate to their populations.

In other news, I hate Stephen Harper.

Stop spending money on stupid things. I like how people just assume the Conservatives have a balanced budget because they lowered taxes. Spoilers: no, they're not spending your money, they're spending my future earnings because one day someone is going to have to pay for all their crap.

Maybe if I vote Conservative for the rest of my life they can remain in power long enough for me to pass the buck to my children.

But my friends are adamant that it's a bad idea, so anyways...

Dear Mr. Harper, I don't want any more fucking prisons. What do we need them for? Oh yeah, because you're going to increase sentencing terms to be "tough on crime". You know what will be cheaper than 2 billion dollars worth of penitentiaries? How about paying competitive wages for Crown prosecutors? How's that for getting tough on crime? Other than that, I don't know why all your white demograph living in white suburbia is so afraid of crime (which has been going down for decades) anyways. I feel that these new prisons will not, in any shape or form, reduce the number of muggings I experience in any given week. Besides your plan is stupid, restricting the rights of released prisoners is going to make it harder for them to return to an honest living in society, it's going to make for more repeat offenders.

Also, screw all this military spending, we don't need an expeditionary land army. We need P-8s more than all the JSFs in the world. Afghanistan has just been a spec ops circus for the last 8 years anyways.

On abortions, gay-marriage and immigration, good on you! Way to bring social rights in Canada back to an 80s level!

In closing, I hate you personally and I refuse to believe in the moral integrity of any party that would disenfranchise voters¹ to gain power.

And Liberals, get your fucking act together. The conservatives are where they are because centrists hate Harper less than your fucking Michael Ignatieff, so it's your fault. For fuck's sake, what is wrong with the government that I'm yearning for the Paul Martin days? Yeesh!

1. Voter ID was implemented based on a Republican study that showed it caused a 5% gain because new immigrants and young people (a strongly left leaning demographic) are most likely to have difficulty obtaining ID. Voter turnout declined from 68% to 61% under Conservative rule.

McChrystal is damaged goods

Bring in Gen. Mattis; he's got a COIN background and Petraeus is not going back. Plus, he's out of a job and apparently everybody's got a hard on for him.

Yeah, there'll be consequences, but Obama's got to put his foot in the ground.

edit: So Petraeus is going back after all. Colour me surprised, but not disappointed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Meet you on Q+Bath"

That Scott Pilgrim movie better be filmed in Toronto or I will be cross!

What I actually want to talk about is that I hear a lot of people complain that O'Malley or Beaton's art is bad.


I can see how it might be off putting, that's fair enough; personally I hate the character designs in Ren and Stimpy, but Kricfalusi is not a bad artist¹.

The art is technically excellent. Good art isn't always about how accurately you can draw an arm. I challenge anyone who thinks they have the skill to put pen to paper and create as dynamic a cast as those two have. And it's not just about drawing characters, it's the composition as well, and both of them succeed at it marvelously.

I posit that no one who has the skill to actually pull it off, would dare say that Beaton or O'Malley are poor artists.

1. On the other hand, the animation in Family Guy is terrible. Terrible.

The Imprint: Establishing a high watermark for credibility once again!

"Following the second World War's end, the UN passed security council resolution 242 that ordered the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces," Cameron said, "But today, 43 years later, nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers reside in occupied Palestine, 300,000 of them in the West Bank. All of this in direct violation of the Geneva Convention, the European Union, and the United Nations."

Yes. Israeli settlers in the West Bank are violating the Geneva conventions. Also the European Union.

Remind me again why I'm paying a student fee for this?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

So I've been reading Scott Pilgrim



Up for drinks?