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Messages - AgelessDrifter

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Spamalot / Re: MORTAL KOMBAT
« on: July 01, 2016, 10:20:29 PM »
I have a predilection for proffering preposterous profundities precisely to patronize plebeian prevaricators

a predilection forbidding meaning

Spamalot / Re: MORTAL KOMBAT
« on: June 30, 2016, 08:39:55 PM »
what is the purpose of meaning?

Spamalot / Re: Brexit / stock market
« on: June 30, 2016, 12:25:49 AM »
Thought about it, but I don't really have much money to play with and it happened to suddenly for me to get ready for it. Would be difficult from this side of the pond

No downside for you guys since you already live in the most expensive place in the country

Otoh no real upside since you can already get a year's prescription for a stubbed toe from the sound of it

I do hope it passes, though. Might draw away some of the population flow into Portland since we legalized last year.

General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones S6 [Spoilers]
« on: June 29, 2016, 10:35:55 PM »
Yeah I think they sacrificed readability thinking the tangled mess pattern looks more cool than it actually does. I'm actually more confused having looked at it than I was before.

I kinda wanted to try it when it first came out. Is it still on sale? :hmm:

Spamalot / Re: Tony Hawk still got it
« on: June 29, 2016, 07:28:05 PM »
Yeah I can only imagine how it's gonna feel for him when he finally hits that day where he just can't skate anymore. It made him his fortune *and* he used that fortune just to do more and more of it in crazier ways. I wonder if he even has other hobbies.

Spamalot / Re: Tony Hawk still got it
« on: June 29, 2016, 06:21:10 AM »
Oh yeah, I was only talking about the first video. He does wear down that hip landing on it over and over again.
Still, that type of hitting-the-same-spot-100-times injury is really painful even when the spot is padded, but he's definitely used to it--what I was trying to get across is that his biting it 12 times before landing it has very little to do with him being 48 and a lot to do with that just being a fucking crazy difficult thing to do. The guys that are going to like the x games and crushing a move like that in the first go are able to do it because it comes at the end of a routine they've practiced in its entirety 900 times a day every day for the last six months leading up to the competition

General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones S6 [Spoilers]
« on: June 29, 2016, 05:34:27 AM »
continuity's just not the word i'd've chosen

me either

Spamalot / Re: Tony Hawk still got it
« on: June 28, 2016, 10:28:35 PM »
I haven't skated once since I came to Japan. Really wish I had developed the balls earlier on in life to take those kinda hits. Even at 29 it's pretty hard to get motivated to risk breaking an ankle or worse just to do basic shit, let alone push the limit to try to do something actually impressive like that. But it's seriously addictive. If I have enough yard space when I get back I may build another half pipe

Spamalot / Re: Tony Hawk still got it
« on: June 28, 2016, 10:20:01 PM »
That wasn't really so bad relative to what I expected from you guys' comments. I guess taking into account his age it probably hurts worse for him than it would for someone younger, but even on his worse falls in that viedo he's negotiating the impact pretty skillfully

Being a good faller and being willing to get slammed that hard or harder over and over again is like 95% of the talent involved in being a good skater, I think. Even pros spend 85% of their time *not* landing shit correctly. It's why they're able to pull off such crazy shit when they do land.

General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones S6 [Spoilers]
« on: June 28, 2016, 08:07:37 PM »
Danny wasn't ruling.  Jon wasn't ruling.  Tyrion wasn't ruling (not really).  I mean, I could go on with almost every major character and you will see this season had no one really making any difficult decisions or scheming against anyone else.  Even Ramsey was barely governing.  When you compare that to the first few seasons, all you saw was people making ruling type decisions... Ned, Cersei, Joffrey, Tyrion, Rob, Tywin, Jon, Dany.  I suspect this is where the continuity may have shifted.

That's a really good observation

General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones S6 [Spoilers]
« on: June 28, 2016, 07:34:11 PM »
Somehow rape never even occured to me in that scene with the mountain and the scepta

Lately I just feel like I'm watching a completely different show. It's, like, an above average show, but it feels so disconnected from where it started that even though all this momentous shit is going on all of a sudden I find that I just don't really care very much. So much of what goes on between the characters seems so arbitrary or perfunctory.

I think it's less continuously told than it was, but I don't think the difference is *that* obvious.

edit: and I actually think this is 'testable' in a sense?

For example: pick a main character, examine their arc, is it consistent with previously known details and does it appear to follow from them?

Bonus points if it seems inevitable given them.

More bonus points if it seems inevitable *and* surprising given them.

It's a lot of little things. I don't think it's testable, anyway. One example would be Iron Maiden agreeing within thirty seconds after a token resistance to put an end to the entire way of life of her entire people even though she's aiming to be their queen and there's zero chance they're gonna be into that. 6 seasons of establishing that that culture of people is stubborn and prideful to a fault and then ten seconds of "hey look I'm a girl, you're a girl, your brother is kind of a girl, let's just abolish everything you've ever known," "what no way" "but actually yes way" "oh ok deal."

Literally nothing in the house of B&W made a damn bit of sense given the way it ended--the fact that everyone's confused about it makes that point for me. The t2 chases is a good example of a change in quality that has nothing to do with the presence of mystery in the show. Tyrion's b movie dialog throughout the season is another, but I guess that's more subjective.

Davos asking the red woman to revive Jon despite having barely known him, having historically and establishedly distrusted her magic and having nothing if not more reason to distrust it after Stannis' army was defeated even if he did know the details is another good example. Dany jilting her lover and then leaving him in charge of the kingdom she *just finally* won even though he's never been shown to have a knack for governance (and on the contrary has been shown to be fickle about p much everything except Dany, who as I said has just jilted him).

And it can all be explained away either with appeal to necessity on the part of the show writers or by enough small leaps of faith (like Ssalam's theory about why Sansa didn't tell Jon about Little Finger. Is it impossible? No, not at all--but for whatever reason the writers felt like it was enough to just have her say "sorry, my b" and leave it at that so we'll never know). Certainly the things with Davos/Red Woman, or Dany/Dario are the types of things that make "movie sense," ("well they're all good guys so naturally they'd _________,") but that's just not the feeling I'm used to getting from the show.

General Discussion / Re: spammer in our midst
« on: June 28, 2016, 05:15:08 AM »
You're not NOT supposed to like WBC's protagonist, I think. A lot of what's unrelatable about him to us is just standard Japanese pre-middle-aged-manness.

I really enjoyed Murakami's After Dark, and in retrospect I think it's probably because that book is more oriented on the female characters' perspectives than the males'. His attention to the male characters just feels too masterbatory. Even when they're losers they seem to constantly be having sex thrust upon them by bizarre but attractive women.  I really didn't like WBC very much at all, and South of the Border, West of the Sun was about halfway between the two. It started out ok because its narrator is a loser, but then it eventually loses that thread and starts to feel like a daydream being had by someone who wished they were cool enough to run a jazz bar instead of write novels and it p much stays that way for the entire book.

Re: Infinite Jest, I honestly don't know, Sear. Like I'm glad I read it, and there're certainly a lot of things I really liked about it, but it was also super unenjoyable at certain obvious points and although I kinda think that's intentional I'm not sure whether I think it matters.

It's kinda like this: you kinda get the sense that the reason that book is a novel instead of just a book of short stories is the same reason there's a castle with paintings you have to jump through in Mario 64 instead of just a bunch of unrelated levels and a level-select menu. I'm not really sure what that reason is. There isn't very much to do in the castle, but somehow its being there causes the game to leave a stronger impression on you when you finish it than if it weren't there. Except in Infinite Jest some of the paintings lead to 15 pages of descriptions of a tennis match in one unbroken paragraph. But still, most of the levels inside the paintings are really well designed and memorable.

Honestly a lot of the drive to finish that book was just sheer curiosity about exactly what the fuck he was going for with it. I definitely didn't *hate* it, anyway.

Agrul HoL was real good. I will say that I've gone back to reread it once or twice and didn't find it as enjoyable the second time around (no mystery), but the first time I read it was one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I've ever had. I wish I could read it again for the first time.

General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones S6 [Spoilers]
« on: June 27, 2016, 10:55:08 PM »
Lately I just feel like I'm watching a completely different show. It's, like, an above average show, but it feels so disconnected from where it started that even though all this momentous shit is going on all of a sudden I find that I just don't really care very much. So much of what goes on between the characters seems so arbitrary or perfunctory.

General Discussion / Re: spammer in our midst
« on: June 27, 2016, 10:34:30 PM »
i've still never opened infinite jest

I'm gonna go out on a limb based on your other media preferences and say you won't care much for it, honestly.

General Discussion / Re: Vote's in, England's out
« on: June 27, 2016, 10:30:33 PM »
Not necessarily, the Eastern states are ex-communist, they are not strangers of social safety nets.

I had actually thought that was exactly the point Agrul was making. Most first or second generation ex-pats I've know from Eastern Europe and Russia are deeply wary of socialism precisely because they are ex-communist.

The eastern bloc isn't a stranger to social safety nets, but they only met that one time at that party at eastern bloc's mom's house where social safety nets brought his friend Stalinism, who got way to drunk and tried to fuck eastern bloc's girlfriend on his parent's bed and then threw up all over the comforter. So they're not super tight.

General Discussion / Re: spammer in our midst
« on: June 27, 2016, 07:44:21 PM »
Oh and if you're reading SK already and looking for a series, seems like now's probably a good time to dig into Dark Tower if you haven't already. Definitely see about finding the original editions of the first three books though (they were republished with heavy editing after the last 3 were released, and it was stupid.) Maybe you won't hate the last three books as much as everyone else does. Then you'll be all prepped to fold your arms and frown through the movie when it comes out

But ALSO, you should read To Reign in Hell by Steven Brust. I've recommend this book every time there's been a book recommendation thread in the last ten years and afaik no one else here has read it. It's quick, well-written and entertaining. I've read it like six times and everyone I lend it to winds up enjoying it.

General Discussion / Re: spammer in our midst
« on: June 27, 2016, 07:37:39 PM »
I need a new book or series to read.

Finished both Stormlight Archive (nerd alert) books that are out currently. Read The Martian and Ready Player One in a few days - those were fun easy reads. Some cringey stuff in RPO but I loved the second half of it.

Tried reading IT by Stephen King - might finish it but it's so damn dark. Got about 300 pages into Infinite Jest and threw that one away. Maybe my expectations were too high because of the critical acclaim, but it wasn't nearly as funny or creative as the writer seems to think it is.

IT is easily one of the best SK books--I'd say plow on if you can manage it. I'll probably read it again one of these days--it's been a few years.

Infinite Jest.


Yeah that's all I can really say about it. I dunno, DFW is a good author, though--I'd recommend giving one of his books of short stories a try maybe.

General Discussion / Re: Vote's in, England's out
« on: June 27, 2016, 01:24:24 AM »
In reality it's a neo-liberal institution mostly run by former bankers.
tbf so is the entire planet except like NK

But in all seriousness that being the case, do you think (not rhetorical) that Britain leaving is going to result in them being any less neoliberal? Seems like it's more likely to just result in a neoliberal institution mostly run by British ex bankers instead of general Eurozone ex bankers

General Discussion / Re: Vote's in, England's out
« on: June 26, 2016, 11:57:05 AM »
Cameron is stepping down and the promised new referendum is beyond stupid. They're demanding that the Leave vote get 60% AND the referendum have a turnout of 70% of all voting-age Britons. So even if Out gets 60% of the vote, Remain can sabotage it by boycotting their own referendum.

The two requirements together are pretty dumb. That said, it was pretty dumb not to require more than a simple majority the first time around

General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones S6 [Spoilers]
« on: June 26, 2016, 12:06:17 AM »
Ramsey died because he thought he could tank with an archer guys

why am I the one pointing this out

General Discussion / Re: Get a Staffordshire Bull Terrier y/n?
« on: June 24, 2016, 07:42:22 PM »
Hmm, can't remember if I made a post when I first bought Euler

General Discussion / Vote's in, England's out
« on: June 24, 2016, 12:48:38 AM »
Or so it would seem. 93.5% reporting in, 52% for the Brexit.

JPY is the only currency gaining (Pound dropping like a brick). Fucking markets in Japan are frozen so the yen doesn't gain anymore while this thing smooths out (goddammit), but this is still great news for me--100JPY=0.992USD is the best exchange rate by far that we've had since I got here. brb bouta go empty my Japanese bank account.


One of the curious features of network science is that the same networks underlie entirely different phenomena. As a result, these phenomena have deep similarities that are far from obvious at first glance. Good examples include the spread of disease, the size of forest fires, and even the distribution of earthquake magnitude, which all follow a similar pattern. This is a direct result of their sharing the same network structure.

So it’s usually no surprise that the same “laws” emerge when physicists find the same networks underlying other phenomena. Exactly this has happened repeatedly in the social sciences. Network science now allows social scientists to model societies, to study the way ideas, gossip, fashions, and so on flow through society—and even to study how this influences opinion.

To do this they’ve used the tools developed to study other disciplines. That’s why the new field of computational social science has become so powerful so quickly.

But there’s another field of endeavor that also stands to benefit: the study of history. Throughout history, humans have formed networks that have played a profound role in the way events have unfolded. Historians have recently begun to reconstruct these networks using historical sources such as correspondence and contemporary records.

Today, Johannes Preiser-Kapeller at the Austrian Academy of Science in Vienna explains how this approach is casting a new light on various historical events. Indeed, the work has uncovered previously unknown patterns in the way history unfolds. In the same way that patterns in nature reveal the laws of physics, these discoveries are revealing the first laws of history.

Preiser-Kapeller has focused on medieval conflicts and particularly those relating to the Byzantine Empire in the 14th century, which was concentrated around Constantinople, a link between European and Asian trade networks. This was a period of significant conflict because of changing political forces, the plague, and climate change caused by a small ice age during the Middle Ages.

Preiser-Kapeller has reconstructed the political networks that existed at the time using surviving correspondence and other historical records. In these networks, each influential individual is a node, and links are drawn between those who share significant relationships. To be registered on the network, these links have to be recorded in correspondence with phrases such as My noble aunt or My imperial cousin.  He also records how these change over time.

Using standard algorithms to study various measures of network structure, Preiser-Kapeller found clusters within the network, identified the most important actors in a network, and examined how individuals clustered around others who were similar in some way.

How these measures change over time turns out to have an important link to the major events that unfolded later. For example, Preiser-Kapeller  says, the fragmentation of the political network created the conditions for a civil war that permanently weakened the Byzantine Empire. It ultimately collapsed in 1453.

These changes also followed some interesting patterns. “The distribution of frequencies of the number of conflict ties activated in a year tends to follow a power law,” says Preiser-Kapeller. Exactly the same power-law patterns emerge when complexity scientists study the size distribution of wars, epidemics, and religions.

An interesting question is whether the same patterns turn up elsewhere in history. To find out, he compared the Byzantium network with those from five other periods of medieval conflict in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

And the results make for interesting reading. “On average across all five polities, a change of ruler in one year increased the probability for another change in the following year threefold,” says Preiser-Kapeller. So the closer you are to an upheaval, the more likely there is to be another one soon. Or in other words, upheavals tend to cluster together.

That’s a rule that should sound familiar to geophysicists. A similar phenomenon exists in earthquake records: the more recent a big earthquake, the greater the likelihood of another big one soon. This is known as Omori’s law—that earthquakes tend to cluster together.

It’s no surprise that similar effects arise in these systems, since they are both governed by the same network science. Historians would be well within their rights to adopt this and other patterns as “laws of history.”

These laws are ripe for further study. While the complexity that arises from network theory in many areas of science has been studied for decades, there has been almost no such research in the field of history. That suggests there is low-hanging fruit to be had by the first generation of computational historians, like Preiser-Kapeller. Expect to hear more about it the near future.

Obviously super dubious of this type of thing for myriad obvious reasons, but it could still be fun to play around with as a heuristic and see what kinds of apparent patterns pop out. Even if it can't ever provide actual laws, (which I believe is beyond question,) it could still be thought provoking at least.

General Discussion / Re: Barnes and Noble failing would ruin books
« on: June 23, 2016, 10:13:08 PM »
that too obviously

Spamalot / Re: Fiancee and I are getting a corgi today
« on: June 23, 2016, 10:11:36 PM »
Oh, one more thing; you probably already have heard this, but it bears repeating: your corgi wants to be fat. Don't let that shit happen--they're prone to back problems as it is. If you give them lots of treats or food off the table (directly or not) or just in general give them any reason to have any stronger positive association with food than "it keeps me alive," you're inviting headaches for both you and the dog.

I give Euler treats these days (particularly the ones that are for cleaning their teeth), but when she was a puppy, I pretty much only gave her basic, usually dry dog food, and I highly recommend it. Corgis famously beg and connive like crazy (they're clever as fuck--they'll get your food once in a while if they want it bad enough) to get food, but Euler honestly doesn't seem to even realize that people eat food, and even at 6 she's still slender and active. That said, I just got word that the vet says she's strained her back a bit and shouldn't play fetch or go for long walks for the next month--they're just built that way, unfortunately, but if they get fat it's obviously only going to be much worse much earlier.

It's a thing. It's interesting that liberals are willing to throw the rights of everyone on the terror watch list, which is primarily just a big collection of US Muslims that may have vague links to radical ideological groups or family members, in service of making a tiny chip in gun rights protections. I suppose they don't really care about the right to bear arms so they figure it's not a right they feel bad about depriving anyone of.

Yeah while on the one hand it's nice to me to see them taking a firm stand on (anything) the guns issue after a mass shooting instead of leaving it at thoughts, prayers, passive aggression toward conservative Americans and a shrug, otoh a) I also think the no fly list is horseshit and tying other rights to it is actually a bad thing, and b) the fact that they picked such a limp-dick measure to throw such a fuss over makes it seem like the point here is really just to be seen throwing a fit rather than to actually make meaningful change. So in the end they're losing points with me rather than gaining them on this one.

That said, while I do fully disagree with the no-fly list's existence, /supposing/ one sees it as a legitimate thing, it only makes sense that people on it should also not be able to buy guns. In fact, supposing that, the gun rights ought to be the first thing to go, not the ability to travel.

General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones S6 [Spoilers]
« on: June 23, 2016, 08:13:22 PM »
Worth mentioning that there are a lot of symbolic shots and callbacks to previous seasons that are easy to miss.

The symbolism in the color is pretty on-the-nose-here (ice & fire) but I love this attention to detail.

Can't find it atm but there were similar parallel shots in the seventh episode with Arya and Sandor: where she's stabbed and walking through a sea of people who won't help her, and Sandor is walking through a sea of [dead] people he couldn't help.

I will say that this is a pretty cool thing that I totally did not notice. Good spot.

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