Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I haz screwdrivers (but I lost my hat)

Shopping today, three stops, took the vast majority of my day, most important result: I have a whole extended family of screwdrivers and a screw-remover bit for the drill.

Before I got to the screwdrivers (it was the third of the three stops) I think I lost my hat at stop two.  There's a slim chance it will be found and returned.  More likely it'll be the third hat I've lost.  This is really annoying considering the lengths that I'll go to not lose a a hat.

But the important thing is I haz screwdrivers.  Phase 1 of try in vain to fix the washing machine can commence.

Back to getting the screwdrivers, after that I came across a stone wall topped with these nice flat stone looking things that might have actually been stone colored concrete.  It was broken, the underlying wall was fine but the stuff on top was parially broken and definitely in disarray.  Obviously I couldn't leave things that way.

It was hard work, I ended up taking my coat off to do it.  But it's as fixed as it can reasonably be without professional help.  (I'm sure as hell not a stone mason.)

After that I was exausted but not, thankfully, overheated.  I was, however, deperately in need of some form of hydrating substance  At first I thought, no problem, the place I foodshop is along this path.  Then I remembered that I'd already passed it because the Home Depot, the anti-union brainwashers that my sister once worked for who happen to be a good source when you're entirely out of scewdrivers was on the same road but closer to my house.

I wasn't going back, enough walking already.

I remembered that there was a place I had tried to go to once before that I hadn't passed yet.  Orange something.

It turned out to be Orange Leaf, a Frozen Yogurt place.  I walked in and felt like I was in Mirror's Edge.  The orange leaf logo's colors are white, orange and green.  So is everything in the room except for certain colors of yogurt and the toppings.

The yogurt was good.

Saw a gray bird shaped like an egret but larger and gray (Heron?) take flight.  It was pretty majestic.  This in spite of the fact that it pooped shortly after take off.  Antother of the same type was there too, but wasn't into the big, "Fly off majestically while discarding bodily waste," thing.

And eventually I made it home.

I didn't realize how ehauseted I was until I collapsed on the couch and didn't get up for [I have no idea how fucking long but it definitely felt like hours.]

This was all yesterday,  I never did get around to using the bought stuff to commence phase one of "Attempt to fix the washing machine in vain."

I'll have to do that tonight.

Monday, November 23, 2015

What planet? -- idea for yet another sci-fi setting (or is it fantasy?)

We start off in a city.  The setting is probably near future, near enough that the technology is basically recognizable as today's technology, future enough that it's plausible for it to be city in isolation even though our world is tending toward more connectedness.

Then in wanders a character who isn't quite right.  This is not the main character.  Sidekick at best, if that.  Ze looks a bit off, doesn't quite seem like the underclass person the clothing suggests, has an accent that's almost spot on, but only almost.

It comes out that this character is "a secret keeper who knows the paths between worlds".

Main character is incredulous, especially as the more the secret keeper opens up, the more clear it is that the secret keeper believes in magic and thinks science is nothing more than tracing the patterns on the surface of a much deeper and more complex entity.

But main character follows the secret keeper on one of the paths between worlds (semi-futuristic looking, but no more so than, say, the international space station) for some reason or another and in a certain room the friction they've been having over magic/not magic lights into an argument culminating in:

"You think you know everything just because you can repeat it in a lab; well if you're so smart tell me this: what's keeping us on the ground right now?"

*sort of "ptpht" sound* "Gravity."

"Right, your precious high and mighty theory of gravity.  Objects attract, so for us to be pulled down enough to walk there must be some pretty big object beneath us, right?"

"The planet," *pause* "obviously."

Secret keeper opens the room's windows.  They're on a space station with a multitude of habitation areas, from shallow domes to full spheres.  Some are opaque, some allow you to see inside.  Below them is a bit more station (it's not like they're on the very bottom level) and a total lack of planet.

It's not a spinning space station.  Centripetal force will not explain why they can walk in normal earth gravity.

"What planet?" The secret keeper asks.

* * *

The idea for the setting has a total lack of answers.  Whoever built the space station left it on automatic and did not leave a log or an owner's manual.  Well, for the owners manual, there was sort of something like that as it was designed to be easy to work with and to guide inexperienced people through whatever process is being done.

The secret keepers have been around for a very long time, maintain the station, and understand it better than anyone.  They're also completely convinced it's magic.

Everything that they use would seem to our eyes to be something recognizable as belonging in a sci-fi setting.  Their ritual cleansing after going to unclean areas is decontamination.  Their invocations are voice commands.  Their talismans are sci-fi gizmos.  Their ...

But, at the same time, even as you're tempted to look at them and feel superior because you know what they're doing is sci fi and they think it's fantasy, they know what they're doing.

They're very astute, very knowledgeable, fluent in the cultures of the various habitation pods, aware of the benefits of the scientific method, and running the entire space station as smoothly as can be expected given its diverse and difficult to manage population and the total lack of outside resources, and doing it all on a system that's strongly rooted in a worldview dominated by animism with various other religious and magical ideas assimilated into it.

Besides, when you're walking in the lower observation deck, nothing but very thick glass (well, probably some sort of plastic, maybe transparent aluminum) and a cobweb of metal structural supports under you, whom are you going to trust, the person who says, "There's clearly technology behind this, even though I have no idea what it is and thought it impossible three hours ago," or the one who can describe in detail the process needed to create and maintain a space like this and is telling you that said process is magic?

Plus, some of the habitation areas have dragons in them.  No, the math doesn't say that wings that size can support an animal that size.  The secret keepers have a simple explanation: Magic.  Dragons want to fly and so they've convinced the beckoning honeycomb to beckon them less.

Any sufficiently reliable magic would be as subject to the scientific method as mundane phenomenon, and without the ability to figure out if there are some graviton emitters (when you don't even know if there is such a thing as a graviton (we haven't found one yet)) in the "beckoning honeycomb", how do you know that it isn't working through sheer force of wanting things to come towards it?


Sunday, November 22, 2015

I am entirely out of screwdrivers.

Before we get to the meat of the post, let me first say that by some odd confluence of events probably at least semi-related to me looking for screwdrivers (and finding none) my email happened to open a message from Novemeber 29th, 2013 (I get notified whenever anyone makes a comment, you see):
I also think you are a good thing. I've been struggling with some of these issues myself and trying not to sink into hopelessness. [...] So I'm feeling hopeful and would like to offer through the internet to share it, if that is helpful to you.
Surprisingly helpful.  Thanks, Kay.  If you're still around.

Anyway, once my house overflowed with screwdrivers, big ones, little ones, flathead, Phillips (no apostrophe, the name includes the terminal "s", though you'd think there ought to be one anyway: Phillips') interchangeable ones where the heads were in a circle around the shaft, four ways were you could pull out the head, flip it, put it back in, or do the same thing with the entire shaft and then, possibly with the previously hidden heads, weird ones where someone actually thought it was a good idea to have the heads loose in a hollow cavity inside the grip and then have the grip twist off to get at them, really, really little ones, big ones, screw driving drill heads, all sorts of fucking screwdrivers.

Just recently I had a glasses sized one (not for my glasses, those are held together with twisty ties) and one of the four way ones in this very room and I cannot find either.

It's not actually why I was looking for a screwdriver at the present moment, but the parts that will almost certainly not fix the washing machine (but I don't know what else to try) have come and I need to be able to deal with screws to bring about the inevitiable failure.

This is poor form.  Very poor form.  Especially since (almost) every other part of a melted toolkit (it was too close the stove, the case is made of plastic, these thing happen) is sitting right next to the pieces I will need to use screwdrivers on, in the toolbox mostly where they belong, yet not one of the (I think) three screwdrivers are in evidence.
Tomorrow I'm going to have to get some screwdrivers and possibly screw extractors depending on the luck I have with dealing with the rusted to hell crap screws, which are in the way and stripped, tonight and tomorrow morning.

Also some wood and I think I need to make a

*searches the internet for ages*

fucking hell, I don't even know what it's called.  Good thing I'm thinking of making one instead of buying one.

Anyway, I am completely out of screwdrivers.

Imagine it said like this:

The need to let gamers tinker with controls on a non-trivial level, an example

I have the beginnings of a post on game design and how to not fuck it up that I have no idea when I'll finish.  I have a feeling that it's never going to be a top priority so it will grow and become more expansive in the background until I either abandon it or post it.

What inspired me to start writing was playing DMC: Devil May Cry.  Apart from the rampant misogyny and the somewhat less rampant fat shaming it's a pretty good game.  Of course, I say that not having finished it.

The Devil May Cry franchise actually started by accident.

The Resident Evil series had kind of a troubled history.  Resident Evil 2 started off as something with the same general setting, but was completely different in all other ways.  Fans have come to call that completely different never-released game, "Resident Evil 1.5".  For Resident Evil 3 there are some conflicting reports but, basically, what they had planned was completely upended when the PlayStation 2 was announced.  The upgraded what was supposed to be a minor side project game to become Resident Evil 3.

Resident Evil 4 is where we want to go though.  It started off as an idea to take the game in a new direction by setting it in the past.  A time of castles.  A time when you're not going to be saved by a surreptitiously thrown rocket launcher.  As this game developed, though, it changed.  It became Devil May Cry.  The other major contributing factor was a glitch that allowed for prolonged areal battles (even though the character couldn't fly) because you didn't fall while slashing someone with a sword.  The glitch was turned into a feature.  Thus the franchise was born.

A little while back there was a massive sale on selected Capcom games.  Only selected ones, and it was a steam sale and the first two games aren't on Steam anyway, but when I say massive I mean massive.  80% off massive.  I got the reboot, DMC: Devil May Cry.

So we come to why I'm writing this post.

* * *

I have sympathy for the limitations console developers have to face.  Consoles are nigh impossible to upgrade (and people who try void their warranties and are not the intended audience) and there are limited controls.  The plus side of a controller is that it's designed specifically to have buttons arranged in such a way that the game can access all of them quickly with minimal effort.  The downside is that it has fewer buttons than even the most basic pocket calculator.  (I've made a post about this before, though not the pocket calculator bit.)

23 keys on a "four function" calculator*, 12 on a controller if you count the direction pad as four buttons, 14 if you count the non-gaming buttons (the ones that let you start, stop, pause, and such and basically do stuff to the game rather than in the game), 16 if you count pressing the joysticks down.  The joysticks tend to be eight directional jobs, so they will in fact push you over the cheapest of cheap calculators getting you to 32, but only if you ignore the fact that they're fucking joysticks.

One joystick can be replaced by four direction keys (press two adjacent ones to get the intermediate direction), typically the arrow keys for left handed people and wasd for right handed people.  The other could be replaced by another four keys but why would you even consider that when you've got a much better option with the mouse (which is not limited to eight directions)?

Assume a two button mouse and now you've covered all but 14 of the controller controls and have somewhere between 97 and 101 keys left that you could map those controls to.

Except... 47 of those keys change (21 of them drastically) when you use shift and the number pad can also be used for scrolling so make that 151 to 155 keys.

You see the difference; console developers have 14 options, computer designers have ten times as many and change.  Lots of change  Maybe 11 times as many depending on the keyboard.

* * *

The people who made DMC used some creative tricks to get a whole whopping ten weapons into the game.  Ten weapons is a PC game number.  You map them to the number keys.  Always have.  (Consoles games tend to do more like four (by using the direction pad.))

Doing that on a console controller would leave you with ... well four, not counting using the joysticks to look around and move, nor the non-gaming keys.  Yes, counting pressing down on the joysticks.

They couldn't do that.  Instead they split the weapons into three groups (two groups of three, one group of four) and made it so you could cycle through the weapons in each group.

This is ... far from ideal.  It did allow them to get it done only using the direction pad, and two of the four buttons by your trigger fingers.  That left them eight buttons to work with, they only used seven of them.  Sort of.  Actually they used all eight of the remaining but one was only used in conjunction with another one to act sort of like a shift key because ... I don't even know.  Why not just have that button do the shifted function of the other button on its own and thus not need to use two controls at once?

But that's not really important, what does matter is that a keyboard does have the ability to have any of the ten weapons a keystroke away but does not have the ability to make "shift into one of three modes, cycle weapons in mode" anything but an awkward bit of crap.

As I said the last time I touched on this subject:
[Y]ou simply don't interact with a keyboard the same way you do with a console controller. I defy you to try to use a keyboard by holding it in your hands with your thumbs on top and your fingers underneath while playing a game where people are shooting at you, things are trying to eat you, or both.

Console controllers are made so that you can get to an extremely small number of buttons fast and with very little strain on the hands and fingers.  You can quickly hold down six controller keys at once with minimal mental or physical effort and hold that position, more or less indefinitely, without discomfort.  That's their advantage.

Keyboards are completely different.  They have a lot of keys with the idea that most of the time you'll be one keystroke away from what you want, the vast majority of the remaining time it will be but two, and only for really involved things (control alt delete) will you need to hold down three.  They have so many keys that you're almost never going to be forced to take shortcuts and thus can assign every important function its own key.  That's their advantage.

The people porting the game didn't make use of the benefits of a keyboard, basically, because they were lazy.

That's ... well it's not ok, which I was initially going to type, but it wouldn't be that bad if not for the fact that they also took steps to make the usually simple Unreal Engine control binding process so absurdly convoluted and Byzantine that you can't fix it.

I've looked into it, they've buried the controls that actually matter so deep that you'd basically have to take apart the game and then rebuild it just to have a button that means "Equip gun 3".  (Or, "I want the fucking ax, NOW!")

At the surface level the tinkering is trivial at best, and don't dream of using scripting to fix things for you because they're so afraid of people cheating that they've made it so you can't run fucking scripts related to keystrokes when the game is going on.

And the thing is, it has a good game inside of it.  It's not a thing where I can say, "This is great," because well, let me quote what I said at the top of the post, "Apart from the rampant misogyny and the somewhat less rampant fat shaming it's a pretty good game," so far at least.  Like I said, I haven't finished.

The rampant misogyny is largely in the cut-scenes (mercifully skippable) and you can usually see it coming and thus avoid it, which means that this could be a pretty good game, and I say that as someone who doesn't do much in this genre.  Burying the actual control structure so deep that all you can do is the trivial act of, "I'll change this crappy pseudo-control from being bound to X to be being bound to Y," screws it over.

I'll still play (I'm a story person, I need to know what happens, especially to Kat), but after spending much of the day relearning what little I know of computer programming to try to work around the stupidity of whoever made the fucking port only to find out that it won't work, I'm definitely taking a break.


* You can't really get one, even the cheapest crap throws in additive inverse (change plus to minus or minus to plus) square root, percent, and the three memory buttons.  Add in the digits, decimal point, functions, and equals and you've got 22 keys.  Usually the power button takes slot number 23.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Medicine, and, of course, money. But mostly medicine.

At some point, two weeks ago maybe, I crossed some wires and thought one appointment was at the time of day that actually belonged to another appointment and so missed my appointment.

Then I realized that I wouldn't have enough antidepressants to make it to next appointment.

I think everything was ready in time for me not to miss a day, but (in spite of me specifically asking to be notified) no one told me that.

Cue today, off my antidepressants for a day and a half, being reminded, forcefully, by way of pain that the only medication that works is also the only medication that has ever given me withdrawal symptoms.

I wondered if there was a list somewhere.  There is:
Commonly reported symptoms include flu-like symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, sweating), sleep disturbances (insomnia, nightmares, constant sleepiness). Sensory and movement disturbances have also been reported, including imbalance, tremors, vertigo, dizziness, and electric-shock-like experiences in the brain, often described by sufferers as "brain zaps". Mood disturbances such as dysphoria, anxiety, or agitation are also reported, as are cognitive disturbances such as confusion and hyperarousal.
In spite of sounding like it might be nice, "hyperarousal" means "fight-or-flight" state of mind.

So, let's see, headaches, sweating, imbalance sometimes, dizziness, vertigo, electric shock like experiences in the brain, mood disturbances, and sleep disturbances.  Surely that's enough to hit bingo.

"Brain zaps".  Never heard that one before.  Good term.  Maybe other medications have given me withdrawal symptoms and they were simply extremely limited in scope because I have a long history with brain zaps.  Then again I think prolonged sleeplessness and dehydration will bring them on in me (no medication discontinuation needed), so maybe not.

But I got my meds today and the withrawal ends really fucking quick.  Not quick enough, but by tomorrow or the day after I'll be back to normal.

Here's the problem: this wasn't a usual perscription, it was a stopgap.  So, apparently, the usual "prior authorization" thingy didn't apply.  Additionally it's the weekend and insurancey people aren't opened (fuckers) so, here's the deal.

This should have cost three dollars.  This did cause one hundred eleven dollars and thirty three cents.  Not making that suspicious-looking figure up: $111.33.  It would have looked even better if they'd discounted it 22 cents for aesthetic purposes.

I'm trying to get thousands of fucking dollars for house and school.  I didn't need to be put another hundred behind.

Especially since that 3 dollars is a flat rate (which is awesome, I say Medicaid for all) so normally I get three and a half times as many pills ($389.65 worth, maybe a penny more) for three dollars.

So this many pills normally costs me 86 cents, instead it cost 113.33 fucking dollars.

Still, tomorrow withdrawal should be over.  Fun.

Oh, really fun fact, that's the generic.  God only fucking knows what the damned brand name version costs.  If you want to know what Mainecare (Maine state Medicade) has done for me, consider that the generic didn't even exist when I started taking this and it is, again, the only medication that has ever worked even a little.  (And it works really well.)

Even something as simple as getting not-off my meds gives me money worries.  (Had to use a credit card that I had recently paid the fuck off and didn't want to get into interest bearing debt on it again until I was far enough out of interest bearing debt to have money to pay for things other than fucking interest.)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Expository conversation from random genetic-bottleneck-based dystopia setting idea

[A conversation at Ana Mardoll's got me thinking about this.]
[Italics person has broken into a secret library and is trying to find out the truth of the society's history.  Non-italics person comes out and starts correcting her, then the scene starts]

Who are you?

I'm the record keeper, the archivist, the librarian.  Take your pick.  Back before history was deemed heretical we were a respectable group who existed to help anyone and everyone learn about the past, do our best to record the present, and work to make sure those in the future would remember.

We didn't used to to be hereditary, we didn't used to be underground--


Well, when I talk about the group I say "we".  I'm the only one left, but I'm part of a group that stretches back to the beginning.  Not that you'd know about that.  I doubt you even know that there was a beginning.

Everything has a beginning.  Besides, there's no way things could have always been as wrong as they are now.

Smart one.  What else do you know?  Do you know why we call everyone who hasn't been outcast Dellidies?

Uh, it's the name of our people.  What else would we call them?

Well, originally, we were called "Aridellidies".  It means "the children of Aridell".  Actually it means "the two sons of Aridell" but the founders liked the way "Aridellidies" sounded, didn't want to have to make up a new suffix meaning "children, in general, of", and figured most people wouldn't care.

Do you know what the Aridell was?

They say it's the source.  The place from which all life sprang.  A sacred place.

It was a ship.

Ship?  Like the ones on the eastern ocean?

No.  A space ship.  And not some puny planet hopper either, interstellar.  It went between stars.

That's impossible.

Don't believe you can fly over the firmament?

Even if things hadn't stagnated, it would be hundreds of years before we could even reach the near moon.  It's impossible to go between stars.  The technology doesn't exist.

Doesn't exist anymore.  Did you ever wonder why none of the animals look like us.

Because we're not animals.

Because we're not from here.  Human beings came from elsewhere.  The Aridell was a twelve person exploration ship.  Something went wrong, and when they tried to send out an SOS--

A what?

Cry for help.  When they tried to send it out they discovered that every CRD--

What's with the three letter crap?

Communications Relay Device.  They let you send signals further than you could on your own.

Like the messenger stations?

But in space and with less mirrors.  And no people.  Entirely automated.

You could never automate something like that.

Why did you come here?  It's a crime to be in this place, it's a crime to even know about this place if you're not part of internal security, and even then they don't know where it is, otherwise they would have destroyed it.  So why risk everything to come here?

I want to know the truth.

Well I grew up here, I've read these books, I've listened to recordings, I've accessed computers, I've watched videos, I've looked at pictures, and I know that truth you're looking for.  I'm guessing you know, at most, what three of the five things I just mentioned are, so --rather than having to learn all that crap yourself-- why not listen to me?

Why should I trust you?

I haven't had anyone to tell the story to since I was five.  Why waste this chance with lies?  Will you listen?


Thanks.  They couldn't communicate with anyone to get help or repairs, they eventually figured out that there had been some kind of war, and the CRDs were probably destroyed as part of that.  The fact that they hadn't been replaced meant that that part of the frontier had probably been abandoned, and --like I said-- it was an exploration ship.  They were way beyond the frontier.

So no help was coming.

Exactly.  The good news is that they made it to Terra Nova.

The earth mother.

If you want to call it that.  It's not what the words mean.

I know that, but she's the earth mother.

I won't disagree.  Anyway, they were able to land without incident before the ship failed, and they found this world a paradise.  Compatible life.  Which they'd kind of expected, actually.  It was what the exploration had been about.  There were thousands upon thousands of colonized planets in the old empire, not one of them had life compatible with humans before terraforming; the possibility that this one would was what led to the Aridell being launched in the first place.

What do you mean, compatible?

Not at all curious what "terraforming" means?

Earth making.  I'm not stupid.

So you keep on proving, but you are ignorant ---no fault of your own--* so I never know what you'll know.  Anyway, let's get rid of more of that ignorance since that's why you came here.  We can eat a lot of the fruit and a lot of the animals, we can breathe the air.  Terra Nova didn't need to be changed, "earth made" if you like, for people to live here.  That's what compatible means in this context.

Better still, there were no predators and none of the local diseases could touch humans because we were different enough to be incompatible with those.

And predators are?

Animals that hunt down, kill, and eat, other animals.

Proactive scavengers.

I've never thought of it that way.  Yes.


With no real dangers, and a safe landing, the crew was safe, unscathed, and could live out their lives as they saw fit.  They just had to decide what they saw fit.  It was as was traditional in those days to have the crew evenly split between men and women.

What about people who were neither?

The founders were many things, and a lot better than the current rulers in a lot of ways, but they were by no means perfect and neither was their culture.  Anyway, even split.

Six women; six men.

Well remembered.  They eventually decided that they'd like to have kids, but they knew that the results could be catastrophic a few generations down the line so they set up a breeding program.  Unlike the current monstrosity participation was volunteer only.

It just so happened that they all volunteered, doubtless helped by the medical technology still available on the ship making having kids a lot easier.

What did they have on the ship?

Well, for one thing, they were able to use various components to create artificial wombs.  No one had to get pregnant, and that makes things a lot less dangerous.  Also, no one had to have sex, which made that a lot less fraught.

You're talking about magic.

No.  Technology the likes of which you or I have never seen.

To avoid genetics becoming unnecessarily linked, every possible pairing was made.

Six per person, thirty six children total.

Good math, but there was a set of twins, so thirty seven.  In the most simplistic theory six kids per person should mean a better than 98% retention of genetic diversity --and, even though they're discrete not continuous, the chromosomes do a pretty good job of following that pattern, binomial and all that-- but that two percent is about, though somewhat less than, a chromosome worth.  Of course chromosomes come in pairs, which changes things a bit.**

Is there a point coming?

With twelve people you'd expect to lose four or five chromosomes in the first generation, ignoring transposons of course, so it's only about a tenth of a person being lost.

Even so, when you've only got 12 people worth of gene pool to go around, losing a tenth of a person is kind of a big deal.  Sure, it's less than a 1% reduction in genetic diversity, but this is before the inbreeding even starts, so you get the idea.

And I'm waiting for you to get on with it.  You've been vaguely hinting that I'll get the answers I came here for if I listen to you drone for long enough.

Everything you want to know; yeah.  First generation, no inbreeding, obviously, second generation could pair off with whomever provided they didn't share a parent.  Breeding program still entirely voluntary as it was intended to be forever.  No one was ever supposed to be coerced into anything.

On with it, you are not getting.

Grammar, you are not doing it right.  Along side the "Let's not inbreed till we absolutely have to, and then only do it as little as possible" part of the plan was a second breeding program to deal with the problems inherent in inbreeding.

The biggest one is that it allows detrimental but non-survival-threatening traits to spread throughout the genepool until the preponderance of them becomes survival-threatening.

So the second program was to try to recognize and weed out those traits in a subgroup.  Since most of the traits in question are recessive it's impossible to be absolutely sure you got rid of them, but you can make semi-decent guesses by looking at the offspring, relatives, relatives of offspring, and so forth . . . under certain conditions, at least.

Thus the general population, whose only rule was as little inbreeding as possible, and the second group to make sure the non-bad genes would survive.

The pure ones.

Yup.  Here's the the thing that should really piss you off: they were never supposed to be set above the rest of us.

What were they supposed to do?

Just make sure the non-crap genes didn't get lost in the shuffle.  Every generation they'd have kids with the rest of us to get those genes back out there so we didn't all end up with autosomal recessive disorders, and with each other to maintain their own population.  Again, all of this was meant to be forever voluntary.

So when they demand conjugal rights to--

They're misusing the word "conjugal", are morally bankrupt, and ought to be shot.

You're violent for a book keeper.

You'd be amazed how much violence there is in books, especially the historical, religious, and historical religious ones.  Also, imagine the possible reasons that I haven't had anyone I could talk to these things about since the age of five.


Anyway, that was the set up: General population is made up of almost everyone, special population that exists to preserve and distribute good genes, which members of the general population were supposed to be inducted into, should they want it, if they demonstrated good genes and an apparent lack of bad ones, And everyone lives under whatever government we all agree to provided that said governance has protections and representation for minorities.

What about protecting majorities?

They started as a democracy, I don't think they thought the majority needed protecting.

So what happened?

At some point the "pure ones" looked on the rest of the people and what they saw there disgusted them.  We do have all sorts of problems that they don't.  The argument had something to do with inbreeding reducing intelligence unless you specifically selected for high intelligence or some such.

Records from that period are kind of hazy.  There had been a lot instability leading up to it, in retrospect it's simple to see that the conditions for a coup were ideal, then the records get hazy for a bit, and then my people rebuilt in secret as the "pure ones" tried to erase everything that didn't agree with their divine genetic right to rule.  By which point, as you might guess, the coup had already finished with success.

And that's your answer.  It started out as nothing more than voluntary gene pool maintenance in an attempt to survive --as a species, in the long term-- with an extremely shallow gene pool.  There was no political element, and the "pure ones" weren't supposed to be treated any differently than anyone else except in how they participated, if they so chose, in the ongoing breeding program.

Eventually they decided that, as the bearers of the theoretically good genes, they ought to be in charge, and they used the genealogical records they seized when they took over as a way to enforce their nice little class system.

Sure.  All my questions answered.

I like your sarcasm.  You'd be a good record keeper, but you're after more than that, aren't you?

I thought you knew everything.

Never said that; I just know more than you.


The records of how previous revolutionaries were crushed are kept over here.  I'd recommend reading them in depth so you don't repeat their mistakes.

[Exit stage somewhere]


* This is said without intended offense.  The record keeper grew up in the only library of accurate information on the planet, and for most of that time had only the records for company.  The record keeper could go out and act like a normal member of the under classes, but since any details about self, home, or history could get one arrested if said to the wrong person, most of the record keeper's life has been spent examining the records.

The record keeper assumes that everyone knows less, and further that revolutionary wouldn't be seeking out the records without ignorance of the truth as a driving force.  If revolutionary were not ignorant, it would mean she already knew what she needed to know, so why she have sought out the library?  So record keeper's reasoning goes.

** It has been so long since I did binomial distribution crap that I initially fucked up the odds on chromosome retention in the first generation.  Basically what you want to do is think in pairs (23 of them.)  Then you apply the odds that both members of the pair will be passed on (1-.5^6) as the probability, 23 as the number of trials, and get an expected value of 22.64051.  Now in practice if the the result is the usual 46 that's going to be either 22 or 23 because you can't have a 0.64051 chromosome passed on.  But we need those odds for when we expand to multiple people.

Now, 22.64051 is for the pairs that get their second member (doesn't matter how we choose first or second) so 22.64051 is the expected number of second members.  All pairs get at least one passed on, so we add 23 to find that we expect each person to pass on 45.64051 chromosomes.  Multiply by 12 people.  Now we have an expectation that 547.68612 are passed on in total out of the 46 * 12 = 552 we started with, which means we're losing 4.31388.

Again, you can't have a partial one (well . . . you can, but this math doesn't account for that) so four or five is what we expect to be lost in generation one.  Obviously it's possible none were lost and it's also possible that significantly more were lost.

All of the above assumes 46 chromosome individuals, which one shouldn't, but it's simplified a lot.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November financial post

Thank you to donatey type people.

Things still suck, still doomed, but the quantitative value of new doomed is 1/3rd to 1/4th less than old doomed.

Interesting thing: it actually turned out that instead of catching up on old debt the best use was paying the quarterly payment that wasn't due yet (though would have been due in a few days if I hadn't paid it.)  Finances can be strange.

Then the question is, where do things go from here?  We'll definitely make it through November, so that's good.  But the three month overdue stuff is still out there.  Plus the repairs on the washing machine which, if they don't go well could end up costing more than a new washing machine. 

So there was always a big unknown.  New doomed is at least $1,630 because that's what's been hanging over my head for three months, but could be more like ... uh ... $2,400(ish), I guess.


As always there's a donate button in the upper right if you'd like to send something my way.


November was the ninth month of the original Roman Calendar,  Hence the name that means, basically, ninth month.

The switch to 12 months, which wasn't exactly 12 months since a leap month could be declared by the high priest to keep thing on track (didn't work), added two months (January and Februrary)  That's how Ninth Month ended up the eleventh month.

The reform also reduced the number of days from 30 to 29.  Julius Caesar gave it back day number 30 because he thought that a regularly scheduled leap day was better than a leap month as needed given that the second system had utterly failed to work.

And that's the November we know today.  Ides on the 13th.