GLOG Class: Barbarian (Revised)

I’m trying to revise the GLOG classes so that each is (1) defined more broadly/loosely, in a way that makes them interpretable in many ways and (2) has something to do both in and out of combat. Point #1 is probably best illustrated by the barbarian, so that’s where I’m starting.

The prototypical barbarian is a wild, unrestrained warrior from Foreign Parts, but the class covers much more than this: warrior monks, fleshy Terminators, dedicated assassins whose laser focus on the mission just won’t let them die, and maybe even Inigo Montoya could all be represented as barbarians. Continue reading

Objective Dog Ratings: The Irish Wolfhound

Because they’re not all good dogs, Brent.

Obviously, not everyone wants the same thing from dogs, but that’s not necessarily the same as saying that any dog is as good as the next, or even that any dog rating system must be subjective. If we’re going to entertain the idea that some dogs are simply better than other dogs, though, then we have to specify how that is.

What we’re looking for is a dog with a certain amount of wolfishness, a dog which is as close to being a wolf as one can get without sacrificing any of those essential characteristics which define a dog as such. Basically, a dog which a politically progressive, forward-thinking wolf would not be ashamed to know. They must be loyal, intelligent, and hardworking, they must have a sense of dignity, they must like humans, and above all they must be healthy. A dog which is perfect in every other way, but is unhealthy, is a bad dog, because it would not be good to be that dog. 

Unfortunately, I’m incapable of doing anything without taking it at least a little bit seriously, so ratings will be on a three-star scale, from ★ (Mediocre) to ★★★ (Good). It is also possible that some dogs will not get any stars at all. Those are bad dogs, Bront. 

I do not know which dog breed will turn out to be the dog breed, the dog of the gods, but I do have my suspicions (some breed of spitz-type, probably), and it’s important to note that this has nothing to do with how much I personally like a dog. Some of my favorite dogs will get no more than two stars, and some may even get just one star. This isn’t “Dogs which are the best at sitting in my lap and being petted,” or “Most Instagrammable dogs.” 

The Irish Wolfhound

Like other sighthounds, Irish wolfhounds are thin, wiry, and not a little bit tall. Indeed, wolfhounds are the tallest of the Tall Dogs. In personality, I have no complaints: they are intelligent, respond well to training, and get along with people so well that they often make terrible guard dogs. They are very unlikely to eat a small child, and that is a definite improvement over the Original Wolf™. 

Unfortunately, wolfhounds look unkempt and scraggly, like they just got out of a week-long bender. This is not a dog which cares about maintaining a professional appearance. They mostly die of bone cancer, which is less the fault of bad genes than of size (other large dogs are also prone to bone cancer), but they also have a predisposition to heart problems which does seem genetic in nature. 

Irish wolfhounds are perfectly adequate dogs, but they need to dress for the job they want, not the job they have, and their numerous genetic bottlenecks (with subsequent inbreeding) are also a cause for concern.

Rating: ★★ (Fine)

On Writing Scientific Papers

A long time ago, I read some articles on how to write a good scientific paper. This is a synthesis of those notes, presented in a better format than my old “bullet point of quotations” style from years ago. Keep in mind that this research was made for the purpose of writing fiction which feels like an authentic imitation of a scientific paper, and I do not necessarily advise writing an actual scientific paper based purely on what I have presented below.

The content of this post was drawn from:

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Regarding “Saber Smiths”

This was originally posted elsewhere, in December 2015. 

There are people (and companies) called “saber smiths” or “saber techs” (spaces optional), who make lightsabers. Most of the high-end sabers I’ve seen are $700-$900. There are more and less expensive variants. Sabertechs don’t sell film replica lightsabers (or at least they usually don’t) but are apparently skirting a fine copyright line anyway. The best blades are capable of displaying any color and can stand up under “heavy dueling, even against kendo bokkens.” However, one redditor advised against sound if you want to duel, because it is “just one more thing to break.”

Build logs are common among individual saber smith. Most of the company-level rivalry seems to be between Ultrasaber and Saberforge (which has a “custom saber showroom” in Oregon Cit). Most sabertechs, self-employed or otherwise, seem to be based in the United States.

Belt clips cost extra (e.g. $10-12). Sabers come with a plug meant to protect the LED in the hilt when the blade is removed (as when the hilt is resting on a stand, which sometimes comes with the hilt and sometimes costs extra).

Sabers are almost always build to order. 3-4 months may elapse between deposit (e.g. 30% of total cost, nonrefundable) and shipping, which may take 2-3 business days (U.S. domestic) or 5-10 business days (international).

As an example of the independent saber smith, Genesis Custom Sabers offers the Genesis Elite Custom Lightsaber, which starts at $1,500, with custom powder coating, custom-made LED bar graphs, easy removal of the saber’s bottom for access to the Micro SD card, and premium speakers. A “Genesis Elite Saber with Crystal Focus sound” costs $550 for parts, $500 for labor (most sabers take 2-4 weeks of 8-hour workdays), and $450 for design/art. Acid etching can add another $200-500, and 16GB flash drive holocrons sell for $200-260. Upgrades and repairs are performed only on GCS sabers and cost $55/hour, plus parts prices with a markup for shipping.

Already Dead

“Already Dead” is a 1,500 word short story about two people on a broken spaceship, each arguing that the other should take the ship’s last functional escape pod. It features arguments about and between loved ones, a conversation about responsibility, and one ongoing countdown to catastrophic failure.

It was released to the Creative Commons with an Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license after being funded on Kickstarter. Continue reading

Recommendation: “Sarcophagus” by Philip Hemplow

In the Shadow of Chernobyl, Dr. Victoria Cox is told, “a little vodka keeps away the radiation.” Don’t look for blood and gore or fast-paced thrills here, but rather a steady doling-out of Slavic mythology. Soviet history, and nuclear folklore. Even a Japanese cult gets a fleeting mention, among other name drops, and together they move slowly but inexorably, like crawling chaos, toward a divine and terrifying experience.

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Recommendation: A Bridge to the Quiet Planet

A Bridge to the Quiet Planet is a science fantasy novel about a pair of wizards who have been hired to take a wealthy passenger and his dangerous cargo on a one-way trip to another world, a planet-sized graveyard for dead gods. The setting is an interesting portrayal of a Classic Fantasy World that’s gotten out of the Middle Ages and through its Industrial Age, and is now sitting nice and comfy in the Space Age.
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The Cutting-Room Floor of “Super Change World”

[The original version of this post is from Tumblr, as a series of posts on my worldbuilding project, “Super Change World,” and is being posted here because of its relevance to worldbuilding in general.]

Not every idea that I have for Super Change World makes it into the final version, of course. Even the stuff that I’m posting here is subject to revision, especially in the details, and some things stuck around for quite a long time before I got rid of them. I want to talk about two of the things I’ve removed, why I removed them, and the lessons that you can take for your own projects.

I also want to say, since we’re talking about ideas which, by definition, I’m no longer using, that everything with a “Super Change World” or “SCW”-type tag is in the Creative Commons unless otherwise noted. A lot of things that I write about won’t be applicable to your project, but if you think that something I’ve written about looks real shiny and you want to take it, then please do so. This notice, or one like it, will appear periodically, but do not take its absence to mean that I’ve changed my mind.

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