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On the plus side, every time there's a cryptography advance I can do a version of this comic.
The power of streaks
A streak — achieving something on a schedule without missing a slot — has a remarkable pull over us when it comes to helping us get things done. As Seth Godin points out, streaks turn an activity into a game. And while we may have started out with the intention simply of completing the activity, our continued motivation can transfer to simply be the motivation of keeping the streak going.
If you’re into streaks or want to give them a try to achieve something yourself, you might like the Streaks app (which is how I knew I’d done 2 years without missing), Austin Kleon’s 30-day challenge, or the simple power of one-a-day.
Streaks can also have a dark side: if you break the chain you can think it’s not worth getting started again. For that reason, I like James Clear’s advice to never miss twice.
Release by ozma
As found at:
One should never bring a succubus to anger…
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Maybe we can fix conspiracies with The Blockchain.
Jim Nelson signing out after 15 years as chief editor at GQ:
We hear a lot about the Future of Media, about the inconvenient truth of disruption and the promise of this or that way forward. Sometimes I think no one knows anything. And then I realize the answer is as obvious as it ever was. See, throughout my years here, there was always something that was going to come along and revolutionize everything—the iPad, Vine, Facebook Live, IGTV—but to my mind, nothing ever replaced, or will replace, what happens when smart and talented storytellers put their hearts and minds together to create work they’re excited about. That’s the only key to the past and future of media, and the only thing worth aspiring to.
This is the idea that people across history budget on average about an hour a day for traveling. Originally observed by Yacov Zahavi, it came from the observation that even as our means of transport sped up, instead of traveling less each day we would just travel further. As in the sketch, this leads to a conclusion that the size of our cities increases partly according to how efficiently we can travel in and out—they generally increase to a size that maintains about an hour round-trip journey.
Cesare Marchetti observed that Greek villages and ancient walking cities, for example, as marked by ancient city walls, tend to share a radius of about 2.5km. Walking at a typical 5km/hr that makes an hour round trip journey. He also pointed out that: “Even people in prison for a life sentence, having nothing to do and nowhere to go, walk around for one hour a day, in the open.”
This is also known as the constant travel time budget hypothesis.
Also see isochrones. It might be interesting to look at these according to transport method…
Image adapted from: Marchetti, C., 1994: Anthropological Invariants in Travel Behavior, Technological Forecasting and Social Change , 47 :75–88, Internal Publication, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
Today marks my heart’s birthday and as such a small story to mark this day dearly. Words that, really, cannot say everything I’d like them to, but they are given…
For my heart, for always…
I don’t think, truly, I can put into words what my heart means to me.
Oh I have tried, many times before, to write something that managed to scrape the surface of things. To give an inkling of just what his presence in my life has meant to me. There are things that simply cannot be put into words because they are… just how they are.
That’s vague, clearly, but it is perhaps more accurate and correct than any scattered words in any sort of paragraph might be able to convey. No simple phrase can be created which is able to set out meaning in the clarity it should be.
Some may thank that the Queen’s Heart in the Realm’s stories isn’t quite the reality of my heart. They cannot see, or more precisely comprehend, that reality and the Realm aren’t really that far apart from each other.
After all, one’s heart, in any universe, is a constant.
Time passes, lives change and things aren’t quite as they were in the past. But in spite of this, beyond the trials and events that conspire to pull at the strings which connect two souls in space and time, one’s heart remains true.
Words say more than they appear to, a pause in typing brings the note in one’s thoughts that something isn’t as it should be. It is the oddity of being connected through the gift of Goddess, she knowing that two souls lost can find their way together.
This, more than all else, is what is cherished.
Not realized on that first hello, not sought out or planned for. Could it have been a scheme in Her plans for the universe that this happen, that the gift shared was always meant to be and would always be so?
Perhaps in the telling of the Realm, with his hand taming my scattered words, (even as I know he will be chuckling at my opinion of them), brings about something far more than otherwise could have ever been. A world brought to life, somewhere in the universe, the stories told giving but a fleeting glimpse of all there is.
But this really isn’t about my heart being my editor. He is my confidant in some ways, but more so, he is the way to light, to finding Goddess once more. Though he will always be as demure as I am about such things, in not being quite able to see what I can in him and vice versa. Still there is a metaphysical mirror we share in which we remind one another of our gifts.
And so we come to the gift itself.
The gift, in some small way, is that certainty in knowing him. To be completely sure that being family has made a difference in our lives, but those of our families near and far. Of sharing light in all of its forms from that first hello.
For in that gift, my words of thanks are for always…
If Sydney interpreted the symbol and chef correctly, “dangerously spicy” could mean most humans fall off the stool and start licking the ground to get the burning to stop, or it could actually mean they almost immediately need medical attention after ingestion. It’s probably not fatal, or it would have the downward red triangle next to it.
I was thinking about some universal icons that would make sense, and ultimately I came to the conclusion that such a thing probably couldn’t exist. In America, a check means yes, in Japan, a circle does.
Certain things could work. In a galaxy full of humanoid aliens, you could probably get a lot of mileage out of a generic skull symbol. Colors would be all over the place. Most humans generally recognize green as good and red as bad. Green is healing items, blood is red, taking cover behind red barrels is a bad idea, etc. But to people in some culture, (probably not first world ones, because we all play the same video games) but red could mean life because blood is red. And who knows what colors alien cultures would associate with what?
Fire pretty much looks like fire no matter who you are… unless your vision is entirely infrared. I assume fire looks really different in infrared. Probably not like little flickery tongues, but more of a flare at the bottom and a column of heat above it. With some wavy air currents mixed in. Of course, if you can only see in infrared, the monitor technology you’d need to replicate it would be entirely different anyway, so you could make different icons for them anyway, but you get my point. Could you see fire if you could only see ultraviolet? I assume you’d see something, but I also assume the fire icon you’d create for it would look different than a species that saw in the visible light spectrum.
So basically, on a station like this one, you’d basically have to just come up with some icons that everyone agreed on and somehow didn’t offend some race. (I mean, imagine if the ‘universal’ symbol for death was a gold cross or whatever.)
Something a little bit “evil” for this week’s succubi art. Perhaps that’s more in the expression, the post or more so, just the overall action captured in this art. But along with the “evil” there comes an undercurrent of sexuality that I think just works really quite well.
What I think works best here is the way she seems to be emerging from a fog, or otherworldly place. Her outstretched hand towards the viewer feels like a mixture of offering and action, the long black nails adding that bit more to the danger she represents.
Her wild mane of hair is wonderfully done as are the textures in her horns and wings. I’m not quite sure about her green eyes and the green skin tones however. That said, it does make some sense and it works to a point. Perhaps a bit more in the way of darker tones might have added to this work’s impact.
Regardless, an interesting succubus character most of all…
RIP Stan Lee. You gave us more than we could ever repay. The light you brought to this world will be sorely missed but the worlds you created will live on forever.
On this, the 11th day of November, those who cherish the souls past who have given of themselves for the future are remembered. The winds will blow, the chill will be in the air, but the moment to pause comes, as it should, as honours are given.
A Cold Remembrance
The dawn came cold this day
Snows not yet arrived
Fields of green marked with red
Old eyes seeing the past
Young eyes having not seen
The first to mark the end
To mark the beginning
A note of hope
A message of promise
From fallen hands sent forward
Twenty six times came
The promise not held
The hope in tatters
A message muted
But silence once more
The promise renewed
A hope offered
The lesson learned
But not all hear
And not all see
Thirty-four pauses now
Lives torn asunder
Brother against brother
The fires then doused
Perhaps the lesson learned
Again the promise made
The hope brought anew
Tears shed in memory
That some would see
Fifty-six times the day comes
Still more blood shed
Fates of too many given away
Until there is no more to give
Again we remember
Still more we promise
Those lost given honours
Words spoken to be heard
If for a short time
The promises lost
Hopes for the future remain
The fields scattered in red
A pain always remembered
Have we learned now
Can we truly remember
Is the lesson now understood
The page turns
And they hope we see
Ninety-two times now
The poppies remain
The fields still green
The markers still white
A flame eternally burning
The past repeating
Over and over
The hopes sent from beyond
If only we can hear and see
Sacrifices made for the future
One hundred remembrances
Words are spoken holding promise
Those from the first are so few
They need not shout
Their sacrifice speaks volumes
We are the ones to hear
Our lives shape the future
Their wish not to fall
Ours is to remember
And to have it be true
Morrigan Aensland by blueart
As found at:
“Surrender your delicious soul” would I think be the words Morrigan would be saying…
The Mercator projection
All maps involve decisions. Whenever you compress real life onto something smaller and less detailed you have to choose what to keep in and what to leave out. And in the case of printing a map of the Earth, you have to figure out how to get something that is curved onto something that is flat, and this involves trade-offs and decisions as well. 3 dimensional space just doesn’t flatten to 2 dimensional paper without choices.
In 1569 Gerardus Mercator created a map that brilliantly solved a pressing problem — that of being able to follow a straight line while sailing and it correspond to a straight line on the map. His map also did a good job of preserving the shape of countries. But to do this you have to stretch the areas at the top and bottom of the Earth. Because most of the land on Earth is in the Northern hemisphere, and because that land is generally further north than the land in the southern hemisphere is south, it has the effect of enlarging Northern countries such as Europe, the US and Canada, Scandinavia and Russia as compared to countries closer to the equator and in the Southern hemisphere.
Most world maps you see are still similar to Mercator’s projection. In fact Google Maps desktop used it until just recently. It could well be that this distorts our worldview by emphasizing Northern countries in size and therefore importance. When I see a more size accurate Gall-Peters projection I have to say it’s hard to argue.
HT: Paul Lewis
I’ve been trying to figure out what someone from a relatively low tech civilization could offer as currency to a higher tech one. I’m sure whole papers (or at least blog posts) have been written about this topic, but there’s only a few things I can think of, and some are dependent on the tech disparity.
If the high tech civilization has not just 3D printers, but something like matter replicators where you can build crap from the molecule up, the only things of real value I can think of would be information, power, labor and entertainment. The only physical material that would have intrinsic value would be things the replicators can’t recreate, like matter with a half-life shorter than, I don’t know, 40 years or something, like plutonium 241. Or maybe energon chips or zero point modules. Then that stuff would have potential value. Not that you’d want a bunch of loose change in your pocket made out of Californium 252. It would be asinine to use as currency.
If a civ does have matter replicators, information would still be valuable, like the plans to print your own Nintendo Switch, or the high tech civilization equivalent. In fact, if you had a civ with matter replicators and unlimited power, information like that would be nearly the only thing of value, I think.
If an advanced civ didn’t have matter replicators, then just about anything could be barterable. Gold has no intrinsic value. It’s a great conductor of heat and electricity and is nearly chemically inert, so it definitely has its uses. Humans generally go bonkers for it, but there’s every chance that an alien civilization could value some random material like aluminum simply because their planet has less of it, or because the aluminum cartel has told everyone that aluminum is desirable, the same way diamonds are here on Earth. Again, diamonds are useful in tools and other applications, but have no intrinsic value other than that we’ve decided as a race that they’re valuable.
Power is obvious. Any civilization would need power, (and let’s assume that the laws of thermodynamics hold true no matter your tech level) unless they’re at a point where they know how to generate so much that it’s moot. Dyson sphere level civilizations would have to be pretty embarrassed with themselves if they needed more power than 100% of a sun. Or… 99%, depending on the efficiency of their solar panels.
Then there’s labor. If your civilization has matter replicators, they probably have robot labor. I mean, we’re getting to that point. We have machines building cars, and in a few years those cars will be driving themselves. Amazon’s warehouses are full of industrial roomba things that carry stuff to and from shelves. Eventually all uber drivers and DoorDash drivers and UPS drivers will be replaced with robots, and we don’t even have matter replicators. But, if a civ has had a robot uprising like in Dune and their robots are no more advanced than roombas, then labor is something a low tech civ can trade on.
The only other thing of value a lower tech civilization can offer is entertainment. I drew Deus picking up a pack full of bars of something. I was thinking rhodium when I drew it, but honestly, let’s pretend those are fancy boxes full of thumb drives with terrabytes of human on human porn. Maybe some Hollywood movies and Buffy and Cheers and The Bob Newhart Show too.
The Diderot Effect
Coined after the French philosopher Denis Diderot’s remarkably titled essay “Regrets on Parting with My Old Dressing Gown”.
The gist of the effect is that we generally surround ourselves with objects that fit our current sense of identity. If we get something that doesn’t fit that identity we may find ourselves replacing the rest to match the new identity.
Poor Diderot was given a fancy new dressing gown and ended up replacing most of his possessions and ultimately living in poverty, to paraphrase a little.
The Diderot Effect was introduced by Grant McCracken, and I learned about it, once again, from Atomic Habits. Diderot also played a key role in the development of the encyclopedia as I learned from Seth Godin’s podcast, Akimbo,
Morrigan Aensland by さしすし
As found at:
Amazing detail in this Morrigan art…
These are a super useful trick to increase the chances of action, be it your own others. Essentially, a vague intention of “I plan to do that,” is much less likely to be followed-through on than if you get specific. It takes out the ambiguity of when and where you’ll do something because that’s already decided. For example, asking voters simple questions like how they’ll get to the polling station has been shown to increase turnout on the day. You can use this to your own advantage too — get specific with yourself to help you get things done, be it how and when you’ll workout, or when you’ll study or whatever.
Here’s a simple template for implementation intentions you could try:
I will [do X] at [time] in [location].
I learned this, and many more tips I’ll no doubt share a few of, from James Clear’s new book Atomic Habits, all about how to create good habits and break ones.
I‘ve been playing D&D since I was 12. At 23, I was in the US Air Force and looking for a game. I finally found a 2E game that had been in progress for several months. The established party was 10th level or so. I created an Elf Fighter/Mage level 8.
The party had commandeered an airship fro…