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09 Aug 18:57

The BS Asymmetry Principle Also known as Brandolini’s...



The BS Asymmetry Principle

Also known as Brandolini’s Law, this is the simple observation that it’s far easier to produce and spread BS, misinformation and nonsense than it is to refute it.

In fact, the iSchool at University of Washington launched a course on Calling Bullshit with the first class being booked up within one-minute of registration. The professors, Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West have since written a book: Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World.

Phil Williamson in Nature also wrote a nice article emphasizing that we should take the time and effort to correct misinformation where we can. In it, he proposed the idea that “The global scientific community could…set up its own, moderated, rating system for websites that claim to report on science. We could call it the Scientific Honesty and Integrity Tracker, and give online nonsense the SHAIT rating it deserves.”

09 Aug 14:55

Cosmologist Genres

Inflationary cosmologists call all music from after the first 10^-30 seconds "post-"
07 Aug 13:49

The Little Misses – DORK TOWER 5.08.20

by John Kovalic

Dork Tower now Monday/Wednesday/Friday, thanks to reader support.  The next goal is a large-format Sunday strip! Help us reach four Dork Towers a week! You’ll get swag, commentary, bonus strips, community…and our everlasting gratitude! Enlist in the the Army of Dorkness today!

05 Aug 15:08

Everything Was Different

whoa

01 Aug 17:50

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Catechism

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
I have now locked up the catechism joke market.


Today's News:
01 Aug 16:39

Captain Action Vs. Taskmaster

by Ross


The Black Widow movie keeps getting its release date pushed back, unfortunately.  I'll have to wait a little longer to finally see one of my favorite Marvel villains in live action.   I think his power set can make for some amazing combat sequences, and hopefully the movie will not disappoint in that regard.
31 Jul 23:39

Freefall 3469 July 31, 2020



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29 Jul 14:40

Twin Deceiver by BlackTalonArtsAs found...



Twin Deceiver by BlackTalonArts

As found at:

https://blacktalonarts.deviantart.com/art/Twin-Deceiver-698576065

27 Jul 01:22

Schadenfreude Ah, that satisfying, superior, at once gleeful...



Schadenfreude

Ah, that satisfying, superior, at once gleeful and slightly sinful feeling when the aggressive driver that overtook you gets his comeuppance and gets flashed by a speed camera. That feeling is Schadenfreude, a nifty German word made up of schaden for damage, harm or hurt and freude for joy. Taking pleasure in others’ misfortunes.

I hadn’t thought much of it beyond that before reading some excerpts from Tiffany Watt Smith’s book Schadenfreude. She makes the compelling case to examine the moments where we feel superior at another’s expense as a small window into ourselves. A little twinge of joy when a colleague doesn’t get a promotion might reveal your jealousy at their situation, or perhaps a deep down resentment of unfairness. If the person who pushed in front of you in the queue drops their ice cream straight after buying it your secret twinge of joy might be a sense of justice and equity for obeying the rules when they didn’t. Schadenfreude can be a little boost to your own self-esteem.

For a mini-intro try Tiffany Watt Smith’s TED Ideas article: Do you secretly feel good when others stumble? 5 ways to make peace with this very human emotion.

27 Jul 01:20

Texts From SuperheroesFacebook | Twitter | Patreon | Tapas



Texts From Superheroes

Facebook | Twitter | Patreon | Tapas

27 Jul 01:19

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Cantor

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
Later, she goes maaaaaaaaad.


Today's News:
27 Jul 01:17

Hey, You Want To See Something Heartbreaking?

by Zak Sabbath
If you don't follow gamer drama, lucky you--here's a free dungeon by many of the most well-known authors in Old School gaming, and it's pretty good, too.

If you are up on gamer drama then most of the names will be familiar so, like I said in the title, heartbreaking.

Original post from 2016...


So here's what we did:

You know that old TSR module Palace of the Silver Princess?  Y'know...


When she came it was as exile, descending from tempestuous night in a silver ship. She fled the collapse of her shining principality in the Immeasurable Abide, an implausibly vast agglomeration of paradisiacal cosms beyond the outer void. All she loved of her glittering homelands was consumed by the tyranny that lurks behind all tyrannies: by the Manifest Density which waits at the end of time. An agent of that creed, the Hegemon Ankylose Dysplasia , driven by colossal lust, sought pursuit beyond the Abide but was prevented by his preposterous gravitas and the girth of his pride from passing through the furled dimensions and on to the lesser cosms where the world hangs.

...that one?

Anyway, I farmed out every page to a different DIY D&D Blogger and we rewrote it--I'm shocked with how well it came out. You can use the old maps, but the key has been completely renovated with all new stuff.

Tom Middenmurk wrote a brand new freaky princess legend, Kelvin Green gave us some sweet picture map rooms, Stacy Dellorfano made the Princess' chambers seriously fucked up, Raggi dreamed up some incredibly elaborate ways to screw (or at least frustrate) your players, Humza invented some classy ghouls, James Mal made one of my favorite new trick rooms, and a whole lot more.

Free of course.

So check it here:
Princess of the Silver Palace
by
Tom "Middenmurk" Fitzgerald
David "Yoon Suin" McGrogan
Zzarchov "Neoclassical Geek Revival" Kowalski
Barry "actual Cockney" Blatt
Natalie "Revolution in 21 Days" Bennet"
James "I invented the phrase Gygaxian Naturalism. Sue me" Maliszewski
James Edward "Lotfp" Raggi IV
Trent "New Feierland" B
Humza "Legacy of the Bieth" Kazmi
Ramanan "I make all those cool online generators" S
Reynaldo "Break!" Madrinan
Kelvin "Forgive Us" Green
Daniel "Basic Red" Dean (thanks for picking up the slack on the folks who didn't have time to finish their pages)
Anthony "Straits of Anian" Picaro
Jensen "I talk to Paizo" Toperzer
Logan "Last Gasp" Knight
Kiel "Dungeons and Donuts" Chenier (thanks for the layout!)
Stacy "Contessa" Dellorfano
Patrick "Deep Carbon Observatory" Stuart
Scrap "Fire on the Velvet Horizon" Princess
Ken "Satyr Press" Baumann
and me a little bit


Oh and ps: the ghouls in Trent's last room were invented by Humza, the credits are a little wrong.
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25 Jul 17:35

Art in the Stacks: Dewey-inspired artwork

by Violet Fox

Back in February 2020, I visited a library in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis to see their Dewey-inspired art, and I'm finally taking a moment to share what I saw!

The Anoka County Library has nine branches, one of which was recently renovated and reopened in 2019. The new building of the Centennial branch is bright and airy, with a lot of open space and windows, which made finding a place for artwork a challenge. The library system's executive director, Maggie Snow, was inspired by library art she'd seen in Sweden to purchase artworks from local artists that would be placed on the shelves. Eight pieces were selected to display alongside the library's collection, loosely themed on the Dewey Decimal Classification.

Each of the artworks are accompanied on the shelf by brief artists statements. I'll share three of my favorites.

"Shaman Paddler" by artist Wayne Potratz features a cast metal and stone tribute to the beauty of Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Its location is close to 977.675, the classification for the Boundary Waters.

Boundarywaters

 

"Garden of Words" by artist Karine Rupp-Stanko features paper blossoms spelling out the word "flower" in the seven most represented languages of Anoka County: Arabic, Dakota, English, Hmong, Russian, Spanish, and Somali. This artwork is located in the language section of the library's collection, the Dewey 400s.

Garden-merged

 

Finally, artist Cecilia Schiller's work, "Running Wild," is placed in the technology section of Dewey, the 600s. The finger-operated machinery "expresses in microcosm the interconnectedness of the world." So cool!

image from giphy.com

Read more about the Anoka County Library art project in this 2019 news article: "Art in the stacks: More than books on the shelves". If your library has Dewey-inspired art, please let us know, we'd love to feature it here on the blog!

25 Jul 17:32

Succubi Image of the Week 652

by TeraS

One of the thoughts about Succubi that appear sometimes is that a character is a half-Succubus or something similar. Most of the time their succubus nature is hidden away beneath the other part of them. That’s not always, but for the sake of story telling it seems to happen more often than not. For this week’s art a character who is part elf, but delightfully all Succubi in nature…

Succubus elf by Neus-Ku

Succubus elf by Neus-Ku

This work is by the artist Neus-Ku on DeviantArt and you can find the original page here.

I adore the Dungeons & Dragons vibe from this work, but more so, the expression of calm dominance I think tells a lot about her character. She’s not without her power, most likely has many a thrall or similar under her touch.

Lovely character design from her hair, pose, expression and look. She’s every bit the seductive creature she’s meant to be and being that this work just delights me.

 

Tera

25 Jul 17:31

Succubus Queen by M1karuAs found...



Succubus Queen by M1karu

As found at:

http://m1karu.deviantart.com/art/Succubus-Queen-694836388

25 Jul 16:55

Maskrat – DORK TOWER 20.07.20

by John Kovalic


Dork Tower now runs Monday/Wednesday/Friday, thanks to reader support!  Help us reach four Dork Towers a week! You’ll get swag, commentary, bonus strips, community…and our everlasting gratitude! Join the the Army of Dorkness today!

25 Jul 15:47

Survivorship bias So the story goes, as told by Stephen Sigler,...



Survivorship bias

So the story goes, as told by Stephen Sigler, Nature May 1989:

The US military studied fighter planes returning from missions to try to improve their survival rate and were considering adding heavy armour to those parts of the plane that tended to show the greatest concentration of hits from enemy fire, until statisticians pointed out the fallacy of that argument. The more vulnerable parts of the plane were those with the fewest hits; planes hit there tended not to return at all. The single most vulnerable part, the pilot’s head, was without serious scar in the sample of planes that returned.

It’s easy to draw correlations from what we see in front of us. But what we see usually represents just a small part of what has happened. Focusing on the evidence we can easily see at the expense of that we can’t leads to survivorship bias. To say it another way, when Bill Gates drops out of college and starts Microsoft it might seem like dropping out is a path to success for others too, but that ignores all the dropouts who didn’t create Microsofts and consequently you didn’t hear about.

Silent evidence — the evidence that we don’t or can’t easily choose to consider — is a term from Nicholas Nassim Talleb.

When trying to discover the veracity of the planes story I enjoyed Bill Casselman’s American Mathematical Society article on The Legend of Abraham Wald. The postscript points to some of the source behind the story including a mention of Stephen Sigler’s letter in Nature quoted above.

I covered survivorship bias before but like this story so much I thought it was worth doing again.

25 Jul 15:38

Simple Weapon Hairsplitting

by Zak Sabbath
I can't remember who wrote it, but there was a blogger post years ago about how every pre-modern weapon developed, from the dart to the bohemian ear-spoon, was developed for a reason. There weren't "good weapons" and "bad weapons"--they had niches they were meant to fill and they did. It's nice because it makes players think about what weapon they're using, and so think about the fight in more detail.

I used this idea a few times--in Demon City, for instance, because it's a game based on horror movies, nearly all weapons, whether a .45 or a flowerpot to the dome, do the same initial damage, but weapons that are better in a given situation vs whatever the other guy has get an advantage to hit.

Somebody recently commissioned me to write a "light and old-school but more tactical" D&D-variant and I used this same idea. The assumption in this game is all weapons do around d6 damage based on the user's class instead of damage by weapon type (in original Warhammer, damage is based on strength) but each has one or more simplified gamey rock-paper-scissors-style feature that make them better in certain situations. So instead of a flail making it easier to get past shields, a flail always ignores shields.

Some notes on these notes:

This game also includes a "block" option, which includes parrying or the like, so in games with no separate parrying step the rule would have to be slightly different.

If a weapon offers a bonus to block I'd usually just translate that into a +1 ac if the user is trained (aka a fighter).

Where it says "bonus" read "+2" in D&Dlike systems.

Cestus: Bonus to hit and damage at hand range (up to arm's length). Minus to both any other time.

Chain: Ignores blocks and shields. Maximum 4 damage. Can be used to grab or grapple.

Club or Mace: Bonus to knock an enemy in heavy armor prone.

Dagger: Throwable. +2 to hit and damage if used in a melee sneak attack. Maximum 4 damage otherwise.

Dart: Bonus to strike at throwing range (30' ish).

Flail: Ignores shields.

Garotte: Can only be used as a surprise or on a grappled enemy. Ignores armor. (Enemy must have a neck.)

Great Axe: +2 damage. -1 to hit.

Greatsword  Can’t be blocked by spears, staffs, pole-arms, can't be used in close-quarters. In a game without a block or parry I'd just make this work like the great axe.

Hand Axe: Throwable.

Heavy pole-arms (halberd, pike, etc): Bonus to damage at spear range (10-12')  An extra block per round at spear range. Can’t be used in close quarters.

Longsword, Shortsword, Scimitar: Bonus to damage and block at sword range.

Net: No damage. A net can be thrown up to 30’ and acts much like a grab on the target’s legs and can be escaped using the same kind of rolls. If the attacker doesn’t hold onto the net (like, they’re killed that round, for example) it can be escaped in one round.

Rapier: Bonus to strike unarmored or leather-equivalent-armor opponents.

Sling: It's basically free and doesn't look like a weapon. Maximum 4 damage but can hit two adjacent opponents at once if you sling a handful of rocks.

Spears and tridents: Throwable. An extra block per round at spear range. Can’t be used in close quarters.

Staff: Doesn’t look like a weapon. An extra block per round at spear range. Maximum 4 damage. Can’t be used in close quarters.

Lance: Bonus to knock a mounted enemy prone. Minus to hit if not mounted.

Warhammer: Bonus to knock a mounted enemy prone.

Whip: Harmless against armor heavier than leather. Maximum 3 damage. Can be used to grab or grapple at a bonus.

For bows: I stuck with the basic D&D idea. The light crossbow is the standard, the shortbow gives you two attacks per round but less damage, the heavy crossbow gives you the most damage but shoots every other round, the longbow gives you more damage than the light crossbow and the best range, but can't be used in close quarters.

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To keep it light, I didn't go nuts with the different kinds of swords (sabres and scimitars supposedly being better from horseback, khopesh swords being better for hooking limbs, etc).


For a non-western game I'd add the shuriken does less damage than a dart but can be thrown twice per round and the indian chakram does less damage but has a better to-hit.

17 Jul 16:36

Succubus by jtnyjtnyAs found...

16 Jul 17:20

A tutu does not make a good costume

by TeraS
Red Black Devil Tutu Two Piece Costume

Red Black Devil Tutu Two Piece Costume

Perhaps the most common thing I see when looking at what are supposed to be succubish costumes, is that many times the costume is nothing special that’s had a set of horns added to it.

It’s a really cheap way to gain some sales of something that might not be selling well, but it also, at least to me, seems to suggest that there’s a real lack of imagination. It becomes more so when the model doesn’t seem to be all that thrilled with the costume in the first place.

But there is a rather large surprise to anyone that ordered this costume and didn’t read the fine print.

This is called the Red Black Devil Tutu Two Piece Costume which sells for $90 US, but can be found for as little as $35 US at some websites. The costume comes with the bikini top and the tutu.

That’s all it comes with. The horns, pitchfork and stockings are not included and you only find that out if you take the time to read the fine print at the bottom of the page.

So, as a whole, you’d be better off to find a dress and buy a set of horns to go with it than to spend the money on this. It’s quite trashy, it isn’t sexy by any means either.

It’s an example of something that doesn’t come with everything needed, and more so, not coming with a tacky set of horns is… well.. tacky isn’t it?

Zero pitchforks out of five for obvious reasons.

Again, there’s better ideas out there to be found…

 

Tera

16 Jul 17:16

COVID Risk Chart

First prize is a free ticket to the kissing booth.
13 Jul 17:56

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Defuse

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
Why don't mad scientists make it so if you cut the wire it always blows up?


Today's News:
12 Jul 13:58

Sewer

by Bruce Worden

11 Jul 03:00

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Human

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
If your reaction is 'but it's easy to count the dots' you might want to check your motherboard.


Today's News:
11 Jul 02:50

Freefall 3460 July 10, 2020



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11 Jul 02:49

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Meaning

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
I'm informed this also works excellently for The Hobbit.


Today's News:
11 Jul 02:47

Aludemon by JowyAs found...

11 Jul 02:42

Acceptable Risk

Good thing I'm not already prone to overthinking everyday decisions!
07 Jul 17:55

Trust issues

by Brad Guigar

The post Trust issues appeared first on Evil Inc.

06 Jul 15:48

Bread Ahead – DORK TOWER 30.06.20

by John Kovalic

Dork Tower is 100% reader supportedJoin the Army of Dorkness today, and help bring more Dork Tower to the world! By becoming a Dork Tower Patreon backer, you get our everlasting gratitude (and also swag, commentary, bonus strips, and even more swag), but, critically, you’ll help us reach our next goal – three comics a week! HINT: we are VERY close!