Shared posts

27 May 07:00

fard: Word of the Day

fard: to apply cosmetics to the face.
27 May 04:00

Feel Old

'How long are you going to keep this up?' 'Statistically, only four or five more decades.'
24 May 21:34


24 May 07:00

gormless: Word of the Day

gormless: lacking in vitality or intelligence; stupid, dull, or clumsy.
25 May 22:01

Phoenix trees.Trees that live on after toppling and that can...

Phoenix trees.

Trees that live on after toppling and that can create new trees from branches of the original with their own roots and everything. Not to be confused with nurse logs which are dead fallen trees that provide a great environment for new trees and plants to grow in. When the original finally decays you end up with a neat straight line of trees.

23 May 00:00

Tatooine Rainbow

by xkcd

Tatooine Rainbow

Since rainbows are caused by the refraction of the sunlight by tiny droplets of rainwater, what would rainbow look like on Earth if we had two suns like Tatooine?


A planet with double suns would have double rainbows.

Or rather, quadruple rainbows. Our rainbows here on Earth are already double rainbows—there's a second, fainter bow above the main one. You can't always see this second rainbow, since the clouds need to be just right, so people get excited when they see one.

The area between the two rainbows is darker than the area outside because raindrops reflect light more strongly in certain directions. That region has a name, by the way—it's called Alexander's dark band.

The first and second rainbows are the only ones you can see easily, but there are actually many more bows beyond those two, each one fainter than the last. Rainbows are formed by light bouncing around in raindrops, and the different bows are formed by different paths the light can take. The main rainbow is formed by the most common paths through the droplet, and other paths—where some of the light bounces around in more unusual ways—make the fainter second, third, fourth, and even fifth rainbows.

Usually, only the first and second rainbows are bright enough to see; it was only in the last five years that anyone took pictures of the third, fourth, and fifth rainbows.

Rainbows appear on the other side of the sky from the Sun, so to figure out what a double rainbow would look like on a planet with two suns, we need to figure out where the suns usually appear in the sky on that kind of planet.

There are planets with two suns out there, although we didn't know that for sure until recently. Double-star planets come in two main varieties:

In the first kind of system, the two stars are close together and the planet goes around them far away. This kind of planet is called a circumbinary planet. In the second kind of system, the two stars are farther apart, and the planet orbits one of them[1]Not necessarily the bigger one. while the other stays far away. This kind of planet is called [the other kind of planet].[2]I'm sorry, I've just never learned a good word for these.

If you lived on [the other kind of planet],[3]Sorry. the two Suns would spend most of the year in different parts of the sky. Depending on how big they were, they may also be very different in brightness. If you were orbiting the larger star, the smaller one might be no brighter than the Moon,[4]Which would still be bright enough to cast a rainbow! or even look like an ordinary planet or star.

Tatooine, in Star Wars, looks like it's probably a circumbinary planet. The two stars appear pretty close together in the sky and similar in color and size, so it seems reasonable to guess they're actually near one another, with Tatooine orbiting both of them. Two suns would create two overlapping rainbows. The main bow of the rainbow is a circle about 84 degrees across, centered in the sky exactly opposite the Sun.[5]This is why you never see more than half of a rainbow above the horizon. If the center of the rainbow were above the horizon, it would mean the Sun was below it behind you, so there wouldn't be sunlight to make a rainbow in the first place. The farther apart the two suns were, the farther apart the rainbows would be. If the two suns were 84 degrees apart, the main bows of the two rainbows would barely touch.

A pair of suns 84 degrees apart would be possible around [the other kind of planet], but not around Tatooine-type[6]If Star Wars had just used the other kind of planet, we could use its name for them and solve this problem. circumbinary planets. The reason is simple: A planet orbiting two stars can't get too close to them or its orbit becomes unstable. If it gets too close, the irregular tugging from the gravity of the two stars as they orbit will eventually cause the planet to crash into one of them or get flung out of the system.

For a system with two similar-sized stars, this "critical radius" is around six times the distance between the two stars.[7]This is a very rough number; it can range from four to eight depending on the exact arrangement. We've found a lot of planets close to that critical radius, which suggests that maybe they slowly migrate inward until they reach it and are ejected or destroyed. Strangely, we haven't found many big Jupiter-sized planets around binary stars in general; we should be seeing them if they're there, so the lack of them is a mystery. This means that the two suns would never get more than about 20 degrees apart in the sky:

This tells us that the two rainbows in a Tatooine-like system would always overlap.[8]Assuming the raindrops are made of water, or something with similar refractive properties. The colors would blend together where the bows crossed, and the dark bands would too.

I suppose doubling all the rainbows would also double the number of pots of gold at the end of each rainbow.[9]Come to think of it, do our rainbows have one pot of gold or two? I've never really thought about it. And it's not just pots of gold; I guess we'd need to rethink all kinds of rainbow references.

Overlapping rainbows would be beautiful, but definitely a lot more complicated.

23 May 07:00

jimjams: Word of the Day

jimjams: extreme nervousness; jitters.
22 May 19:56

#746 Trig Newton

by treelobsters
19 May 21:35

Where the Veil is Thin









Suggestions for liminal, in between spaces where we can hedge witch and open up to the spirit realm contacting us:

*in doorways
*at midnight or better, 3am
*truck stops
*at the turn of the season, between seasons

Additions welcome!

*abandoned train tracks
*hospitals - life, death, and birth

*foggy weather


* Alleys
* Abandoned buildings/places
* Old Homes
* places where two different trees grow together into one tree
*places where sidewalks don’t quite fit together right.
*the median between roads
* old sidewalks cracked apart by tree roots
* places with lots of graffiti from lots of different people and times, all painted over each other
*trees that are growing sideways out of a cliff, defying all laws of physics. or a tree that got cut down, but the tree is still growing out of the stump
*overrun/wild gardens/lawns
*normally busy places (grocery stores, schools) when there is no one there (like at night or on a snow day)
*airports (airports, man. don’t even get me started on airports)
*pretty much anywhere that 1) people don’t go there/people used to go there but they don’t anymore
2) lots of people come and go all of the time, places of travel
3) places being reclaimed by nature, or places that have always been nature
4) unnatural places, places that don’t quite make sense but exist anyway.

Bus stops
Subway/train stations (especially at night)
Clearings in the woods
The edge of the woods
Hallways with lots of doors, if that makes any sense.

Being in these all makes so incredibly anxious

When one senses something they can’t explain, it can be anxiety-inducing. Once you know what is going on, can explain it with some cosmology logic, and learn to control it, being open or closed to it or turning that sense or magic on or off, that anxiety might go away. Might not. That sensation might be your body’s preferred mechanism for alerting you of the hedge, of the liminal space. I get a definite feeling of my stomach dropping in these places, just a hollow place opening up in my sternum. From there, I can freak out and get faster heart rate, increased breathing, dilated pupils, ears hearing every tiny noise, or I can say: “Not right now, you,” and focus on other thing in this world instead of the next.

I’ve noticed that back rooms, empty hallways, and quiter parts of school buildings, especially high schools, are very active spaces

19 May 15:43

Tough talk?

by Jessica Hagy


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The post Tough talk? appeared first on Indexed.

18 May 07:00

embonpoint: Word of the Day

embonpoint: excessive plumpness; stoutness.
18 May 22:01


by Jessica Hagy


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The post Incentives. appeared first on Indexed.

17 May 15:37

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Time Prank


Hovertext: Anyway, Happy New Years 2032!

New comic!
Today's News:
16 May 04:00

Laser Products

16 May 07:00

botryoidal: Word of the Day

botryoidal: having the form of a bunch of grapes.
13 May 07:00

trophic: Word of the Day

trophic: of or relating to nutrition.
05 May 12:25

Succubi Image of the Week 434

by TeraS

One of the characters in the Planescape universe is a Succubus who calls herself Fall-From-Grace. She is a Lawfully Neutral Succubus who owns the Brothel for Slating Intellectual Lusts. For me, at least, she’s the most interesting kind of Succubus there can be, one that has come to realize that she can be more, will be more, and in doing so, has found her own path in the universe.

I found a lovely work of art that I think gives a glimpse into her character, her strength, and most of all, the truth that she holds within herself. “I am more.”

Fall-From-Grace by SirTiefling

Fall-From-Grace by SirTiefling

This work is by the artist SirTiefling on DeviantArt and you can find the original page with this work here and this artist’s page can be found on DeviantArt here.

What strikes me most about this art is the haunting look in her eyes. It seems to me that the life that has lead her to this moment is reflected in them so very strongly. There is a force of will, of pushing against her own self, what she was expected to be and overcoming that in herself. But there also in her expression seems to be the constant reminder, ache, presence of her own nature that keeps tempted, pushing, trying to push her back towards what she was in the past.

In giving that look, her pose, the outstretched hands and wings, there’s a unspoken power there that just calmly says: “I shall not.” For me, that’s just an amazing reflection of her character, her story, and it is told well.



11 May 14:57

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Path of the Hero


Hovertext: Peril lurks behind every bacterial infection!

New comic!
Today's News:
11 May 13:28

Facebook biased?

What? You can’t be serious!  I know we rip on Facebook a lot, but the idea that 63% of Facebook users consider it a news service is frightening.

Among Facebook users, 63 percent consider the platform to be a news service, according to a Pew Study. - New York Times

That’s not to say that people don’t get news from Facebook.  We know that they do.  But when did people give up on the process of getting informed?  I mean actual pursuit of information and knowledge.  Hanging out on Facebook, browsing US weekly in the checkout aisle, and watching John Oliver really shouldn’t count.

Seriously though, it’s fine.  You can read or not read whatever you like.  At least you can on a non-biased platform.  And I’ll step up to Facebook’s defense on this one and say that as a closed private network they can serve whatever the heck they want.  If conservative publications want more coverage, all they have to do is pay.

11 May 16:05

A society built on trust.

by Jessica Hagy


The post A society built on trust. appeared first on Indexed.

09 May 23:47

#745 Improper Fractions

by treelobsters
09 May 07:00

larruping: Word of the Day

larruping: very; exceedingly.
08 May 07:00

oenomel: Word of the Day

oenomel: something combining strength with sweetness.
07 May 07:00

quaff: Word of the Day

quaff: to drink a beverage copiously and with hearty enjoyment.
02 May 16:49

A Mere Wrecca

by Zak Sabbath

Participants in- and gawkers at- the tabletop RPG scene will have noticed a theme in commentary on D&D and its ilk: Played in the default style, D&D doesn't come out like Tolkien, and this is the subject of much wroth and writhing. For instance, Burning Wheel--one of many attempts to remedy that and the world's accidentally funniest RPG--introduces itself like thiswise:

Like the old grand-daddy RPG, Dungeons and Dragons, Burning Wheel is nothing more than a template—a trellis for the vines of imagination to grow on. But unlike it’s [SIC] predecessors, this system is versatile and powerful; it can handle any fantastic situation with consistency and accuracy.... 
Without being hokey or gimmicky, the system attempts to create an accurate portrayal of the model that inspired all of these games, epic fiction. Initially my mission was only to build the proverbial “better system,” but my true motive emerged as the system took root. I wanted to construct a game that could create better stories—something closer to the thrilling narratives that we all grew up on and that still grip our imaginations.

One of the very many absolutely undyingly adorable things about this intro is the author's faith that everyone of literate age grew up on "epic fiction" and not, say, Conan or Fafhrd & Grey Mouser or Arzach or James and the Giant Peach thus justifying his game's desire to be "closer" to a model he presumes all stabgames aspire to.

JRR Tolkien himself addresses just this kind of confusion in his lecture on Beowulf...

Nearly all the censure, and most of the praise, that has been bestowed on Beowulf has been due either to the belief that it was something that it wasn't, for example, primitive, pagan, Teutonic, an allegory (political or mythical), or most often, an epic; or to disappointment at the discovery that it was itself and not something that the scholar would have liked better--for example, a heathen heroic lay, a history of Sweden, a manual of Germanic antiquities, or a Nordic Summa Theologica.

At the heart of the concern that D&D isn't a Tolkien epic is the figure of the murderhobo--the greedy engine of unplotted terror that haunts the dreams of aspirationgamers everywhere. Urban Dictionary:

Murderhobo: The typical protagonist of a fantasy role-playing game, who is a homeless guy who goes around killing people and taking their stuff. The term originated in discussions of tabletop role playing games by authors seeking to create games aimed at styles of play not supported by traditional games like Dungeons & Dragons.

Typical forum post dredged up by random googling:

The murder hobo has been a problem for RPGs for years. These characters have no purpose or reason aside from killing people, taking their stuff, and then buying better tools to kill more people with. While we all admit these characters are a problem, we don't always have a suggestion for ways to fix them.

Typical blog dredged up by random googling:

If you feel you or players at your table are at risk of allowing a murder hobo (or worse a pack of them!) to flourish then follow these simple steps to inject genuine character and pathos into your game...

Heavens! A pack you say?

Notwithstanding the fact that even Robin Laws seems to not grasp the awesome storytelling possibilities of murderhoboes, intelligent gamers have long been aware of them. However, it's interesting to note Tolkien, the sore spot and source-point of all these dreams of morally-redemptive mythopoesis, himself creeps up to the edge of a similar complaint against Beowulf:

The plot was not the poet's; and though he has infused feeling and significance into its crude material, that plot was not a perfect vehicle of the theme or themes that came to hidden life in the poet's mind as he worked upon it. Not an unusual event in literature. For the contrast--youth and death--it would probably have been better, if we had no journeying. If the single nation of the Geats had been the scene, we should have felt the stage not narrower, but symbolically wider. More plainly should we have perceived in one people and their hero all mankind and its heroes. 

This at any rate I have always myself felt in reading Beowulf; but I have also felt that this defect is rectified by the bringing of the tale of Grendel to Geatland. As Beowulf stands in Hygelac's hall and tells his story, he sets his feet firm again in the land of his own people, and is no longer in danger of appearing a mere wrecca, an errant adventurer and slayer of bogies that do not concern him.

...and if you're fun you immediately go Who's this wrecca? Tell me all about this motherfucker. And if you're really fun you have access to Bosworth's Anglo Saxon Dictionary:

Wrecca, Wræcca: one driven from his own country, a wanderer in foreign lands, an exile, a stranger, pilgrim.

From wrecan--to drive (out) or to avenge--like the Swedish vrak--trash, the Icelandic rek--anything drifted ashore, related to wreck, of course, and wretch and wreak (as in vengeance or havoc).

Wrecca. Good name for a game.
05 May 19:34

The IKEA effect.We love it more if we made it. Or, more...

The IKEA effect.

We love it more if we made it. Or, more scientifically perhaps, the IKEA effect is ‘the increase in valuation of self-made products,’ when we have put more effort into it. 

Watch Dan Ariely do a great job explaining some experiments that lead to this conclusion, or read the full paper, The “IKEA effect”: When Labor Leads to Love (pdf), Norton, Mochon, Ariely HBS working paper, 2011.

Turns out, if we’ve put effort in ourselves we’re also likely to think that others will like it even more just as we do—usually not the case. But for us at least, more effort = more love.

Dan points out that kids are the ultimate expression of the IKEA effect: they’re very hard, they don’t come with instructions and they take a lot of effort…

Also see The Betty Crocker Effect, or ‘the egg theory.’

02 May 07:00

jeremiad: Word of the Day

jeremiad: a prolonged lamentation or mournful complaint.
30 Apr 07:00

prink: Word of the Day

prink: to fuss over one's dress, especially before the mirror.
29 Apr 20:31

Okay; I’ll try it.

by Jessica Hagy


The post Okay; I’ll try it. appeared first on Indexed.

27 Apr 12:34


by Author


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