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12:34 AM
Colorful pictures make an otherwise boring scientific answer much more interesting.
12:46 AM
@HDE226868 I usually prefer to not use them, as I am that type of person just wanting the numbers, without any clutter.
But of course you get my vote
@Hohmannfan I've been that way, in the past, but for answers involving simulations (which is the most recent time I've used them), it's much easier to get the point across via images. Visuals make sense to more people than equations, in most cases.
1:37 AM
I complained in the past about there being fewer planet questions of late.
Tonight, there are many, and I'm in my element.
1:48 AM
@HDE226868 Is it just us two answering questions tonight?
@Hohmannfan Nope. Look at the desert question, and the slavery question.
2:07 AM
I've got a couple questions on the RPG forum about my homebrew tabletop game, but they might fit better in the worldbuilding forums.
Thing is... I suck at asking specific questions. So I'm in danger of being blocked. :/
So I'd like someone to look at them to see if I can't improve them or answer them here before I put them up as questions?
I can't figure out why I'm so bad at this! But I end up hashing it out forever instead of actually getting helpful answers, because people don't understand what I'm asking for... or something. I'm usually a much better communicator. If over-communicative.
There's GOTTA be some help for open-ended thinkers like me. >:/
@spicklesandwich They are really broad, but it may help to just ask about a specific scenario instead of the general case
But it's not specific scenarios I need help with.
It's in building /concept/. Like, 'How do I do multiplication', not 'how do I do this problem'. I can give specific examples, but the question is about the 'math', not the scenario.
I really can't think how I can be more specific than that. Is the question not clear?
I mean, I guess I can come up with a specific scenario that 'exemplifies' the issue, that maybe I'll get the question by answering... but really, if we understand the question, why can't we just answer it? Even if it's open-ended, it isn't that broad to me.
1 hour later…
3:27 AM
@HDE226868 (or anyone else who feels inclined), I have what might be a "101 - duh!" astronomy question, so before I ask on main I'll ask you. :-) Remember that star you suggested I put in a reflection nebula to boost its light output? How, or does, the nebula modify the color of the light? Does this have a simple answer or is it interesting enough to ask on the site?
3:54 AM
@MonicaCellio Scattering.
@HDE226868 I'm sorry; could you say that in a few more words? You mean some sort of spectrum-scattering thing like a prism?
Particles in Earth's atmosphere scatter light, which is part of the reason for blue skies and magnificent sunsets.
Sorry, connection issues keel kicking me out of the room.
Ouch, sorry to hear. Feel free to say "later"; it's not urgent.
A reflection nebula scatters light from nearby stars in the same way.
Okay, yeah, I'll have to get back to you on this.
Ok, no problem -- we'll chat when you're not having technical difficulties!
And thanks!
2 hours later…
6:28 AM
Q: Sandbox for Proposed Questions

ArtOfCodeWhat is the Sandbox? This "Sandbox" is a place where Worldbuilding.SE users can get feedback on prospective questions they wish to post. This is useful because writing a clear and fully specified question on the first try can be difficult. There is a much better chance of your question being wel...

6:53 AM
And I haven't got into the details of your questions on RPG, but questions that are too broad usually needs to be refined to provide some information limiting the scope. And it also a good idea to provide some objective criteria on which you are going to judge the best answer. People taking time to answer your questions thrive to provide the best answer to your question. But they won't know, until they know clearly what you are expecting.
4 hours later…
10:46 AM
@DaaaahWhoosh you only need to check up to the square root, not up to half
10:59 AM
@MonicaCellio If you come to London again we'll have to meet up :)
@spicklesandwich Ask about techniques to cope with the problem, not about solutions itself, and you might be ok. Make sure it's about building the world though. i.e. questions about how to handle it in the characters etc is not on topi
When moderator elections happen (we've no timetable for that yet) we'll probably get a similar number of mod slots to what we have now. Pro tem mods would need to stand for election or step down (each of us making our own decision on what to do). I know some of us are planning to stand, I don't know if all are. That shouldn't stop other people standing though :)
@spicklesandwich If you're looking for a solution to a specific case (for example a particular transition between 2 particular worlds with defined characteristics) then that would also be fine as a question although you should read the "idea generation" meta discussions for notes on stuff to avoid
@TimB well you guys do a great job, I don't see why we would prevent that to continue ;-)
don't feel like you shouldn't run. Fresh blood doesn't hurt
and it's not guaranteed that we'll all stand anyway
11:15 AM
well James and bowlturner seemed to show some interest in it. For my part, I think I'd say something similar to bowlturner. I would not be against doing it, but I don't know if I'd actually stand for an election.
be a bit of a boring election if we only have as many candidates as there are mod slots
if we come to that, I'll throw it in :)
3 hours later…
2:20 PM
@TimB Well I feel stupid now. Thanks for giving me some math to think about, now I need to go find out how to calculate the square root up front. I know how to tell if I've passed it but I can't think of how to get it initially
ooh, so I've plotted two lines, one that's x and one that's x^2, I figure if I can get the difference between the two at any point, that's how to find the square root
I think I did something like this in calculus, but it's been about four years since I did any calculus...
2:36 PM
now I'm calculating the difference between perfect squares and their square roots, looks like it's a function of some sort but I am so rusty
2:49 PM
? square root of a number is just a standard funciton, I'm not sure what you mean?
@TimB I don't know it, I'm trying to find it
if you are checking whether 10,000 is prime then square root it (100) and then check if 10,000 is a multiple of any number up to 100. (i.e in this case it fails at 2)
And after 2, you just have to check odd numbers
yep, in fact you just need to check primes
2:52 PM
this actually came up in the interview for my current contract :D. They asked me to write something to find if a number was prime. My first pass was a loop from 2 to n/2.
They asked why n/2 and I said it's a simple optimization, can be improved....then worked out that it was root(n) and explained why
@TimB But I don't know how to 'square root it' except by using a calculator
Checking divisibility on a precomputed table of prime-numbers up to $\sqrt(n)$ must be the fastest way
Or a table lookup :P
yep, one of the interview examples we looked at wanted "all primes less than N", so I was able to use the primes found so far to speed up finding subsequent primes
@DaaaahWhoosh Not sure what you mean. You're using a programming language?
Whatever you're using will have a squareRoot function. In Java it's in Math.sqrt() for example iirc
@TimB Not any more, now I'm just using pen and paper. I've switched from my computer science major to my math minor
use your calculator :D
If you really want to do it then it's surprisingly un-simple
In numerical analysis, a branch of mathematics, there are several square root algorithms or methods of computing the principal square root of a nonnegative real number. For the square roots of a negative or complex number, see below. Finding is the same as solving the equation . Therefore, any general numerical root-finding algorithm can be used. Newton's method, for example, reduces in this case to the so-called Babylonian method: Generally, these methods yield approximate results. To get a higher precision for the root, a higher precision for the square is required and a larger number of steps...
2:58 PM
no, see, this is how I have a good time. I've already discovered that the difference between successive perfect squares are consecutive odd numbers, whereas the difference between the differences between successive perfect squares and their square roots are consecutive even numbers
based on this, I can probably use some version of Gauss's sum-of-consecutive-numbers equation to come up with a function for square root
or, at least I can get the nearest square root of a perfect square, which is close enough for me
Anyone know when the new design might come in, the week's almost up...
@overactor we were too hard on them, they had to start from scratch
we won't hear anything till they are ready to update I expect
they're US timezone so it's still early morning on friday for them
true, but I want it now :(
3:33 PM
@TimB yes, definitely. I didn't yet know you (to look you up) when I was there; WB didn't exist yet.
My company has people in both Cambridges (UK and MA). Very occasionally we work together. Whether this means I'd ever get sent there is not clear.
(I report to folks in Cambridge MA, though that's not where I am physically.)
@bowlturner you around?
@James yep
@overactor they said they were going to make adjustments based on our feedback and post again. I don't have any more information than you do, but I'd guess not before Monday, just because posting on a weekend is less likely.
I am going to build some shelves this weekend, I want to cut the vertical support with the notches for the shelves themselves to fit into...what do I use to make those cuts?
3:37 PM
I'm trying to envision your set up and how much you have done. but routers and dado blades might be in the works
i am just using pine 1x8x8' boards for the sides and the shelves
and pine 1x2s will be screwed into the wall to support them on the back and sides
ok, and you are making permanent shelves right?
@bowlturner Yep, built ins
ok...the 1x2s won't be on the sides just the back
I picture would be really handy here! :)
3:39 PM
...good point let me whip something up in paint real quick
I'd just use a table saw, but I'm not much a fan of precision
:) a picture is worth a thousand words!
An 50x50 8bit colour image carries more information than a 1000 average English words
I dont have an actual picture on me, but this is the plan. This was actually a closet, its about 8 feet wide and 2 feet deep.
So the whole counter/shelf system actually sits in the closet.
I want to run the vertical boards from the ceiling and down the two side walls and then slot the shelves in
(the left side is a bar top and the right side is for an up to 50 inch tv :) )
3:59 PM
Thank you all for the feedback. We'll append the post above this week with design updates. — Kurtis Beavers Jan 25 at 13:58
@James if you have a router table, I'd probably use that.
Not that I'd blame them for being a bit longer
it's just...
4:09 PM
@bowlturner No router...but I am considering getting one...suggestions for what to get?
amazon.com/gp/product/… This is the one I bought myself
amazon.com/gp/product/… and I bought this one for my brother-in-law
I think both are good. I really like my Milwaukee and it can do all the things people use routers for.
I wonder if my wife will let me spend 300 bucks this weekend....
i may have to use the ol' table saw
But it's for a PROJECT! and it would cost less than paying someone else... ;)
I didn't understand the diagram but if the side boards are against the wall why not just cut them completely and fasten them to the wall in sections with a gap between them the right size to slide in the shelf?
There is that too.
4:17 PM
@TimB Because its harder and requires more toys to do it this way :)
if you specifically want a slot going part way into a bit of wood I just use a panel saw to cut in both sides of the slot then a chisel to do the "cross cut".
no idea how official that is
but if you going with the grain it's pretty easy
@TimB That would totally work too...
do the first chisel cut a little away from the final line
then tidy it up to the line
@James I had to answer the witches flying broom sticks with Monty Python...
I just couldn't resist
@bowlturner Obviously.
4:31 PM
Oh no, I think I've found another user I can identify by the things they say, but this time it is definitely not the kind of signature I like to see
yeah, it's just a user who seems to not be able to enjoy things of a certain subject matter, even when those things are interesting and educational
something mods need to keep an eye on?
no, nothing that bad, just sad to me
4:36 PM
@DaaaahWhoosh What sort of things?
@HDE226868 Things of a sexual nature... which I guess isn't the craziest thing to get offended about, but still, everything in moderation goes both ways
@DaaaahWhoosh "enjoy things of a certain subject matter, even when those things are interesting and educational." Sounds a lot creepier now :)
You mean this?
May I point out the obvious fact that the broomstick is a not really well hidden metaphor of a gigantic penis? The women of that time usually rode horses on special female saddles to prevent their private parts being touched. Riding a broomstick was a direct reference on their (accused) promiscuity. — mg30rg 42 mins ago
Sex ed on Worldbuilding?
@TimB Yeah, I thought that was interesting
4:41 PM
@TimB That particular comment seemed unoffensive but unnecessary.
I've mixed feelings on that comment. It's not really relevant to the question but is historically correct
it got flagged as offensive, which it wasn't really so I dismissed the flag
right, and I wouldn't mind if someone got offended on one such comment, but like I said I'm noticing a trend
but equally it's not relevant
it was more of the first case that bothered me, now finding a second case is worrying me. But like I said, it's not really anything to be actually worried about
I think I'm just offended by people that are offended
so do you offend yourself then? ;)
4:47 PM
@bowlturner I guess I do, but I get over it because I'm so darn handsome
so do I delete the comment or leave it. Thoughts?
which one? The flagged one, or the one by the person who probably flagged it?
As a comment, it isn't any more or less 'useful' than many others. and it's historically accurate. I'd tend to leave it.
@DaaaahWhoosh Well one of the commenters is 13 yo...
I was hoping more people would recognize and appreciate the Monty Python answer...
@bowlturner I appreciated it, I just don't know if it's ethical to upvote based on Monty Python references
4:54 PM
Well there is that. Some aren't quite so discerning. I might or might not upvote such a thing.
I'm starting to wonder if the question itself should be closed. It seems kind of idea-generation, kind of too-broad or opinion-based
but I feel like I'm being too disagreeable today, so maybe I'm biased
I also reread my answer and discovered I was missing an important word...
i recognised the python reference but I don't upvote on that alone ;)
@DaaaahWhoosh I'm thinking it's not a great question, but I think it fits. That may be why I gave a silly answer.
I think it's legit as a question, already got some half decent answers in fact
4:59 PM
As long as it is recognized, I am happy
@James so you have walls on each side already, want shelves to fill the space, and want to add vertical boards with slots to fit the shelves into? This was for a different problem, but did you consider this approach?
Here's another view of what that is:
a ladder?
Bookshelf-builders General Chat
anyone interested in joining a discussion panel for my will hicks story for the blog? going to use a google doc to break down the story and the worldbuilding behind it and have people comment/discuss then make a blog post from it
it's a bit of an experiment, but then so is the story :D
5:09 PM
shouldn't be much time commitment, just read the doc, leave any comments. I'll build the comments into the doc and then we iterate until nothing new to add. The idea is to develop a multi-person conversation about the process of creation
a bit like a group interview format
anyhow heading home now
@TimB lol
@MonicaCellio I actually plan to use something similar to that in a smaller closet
@TimB a ladder (to a loft) that backs onto a closet. The closet is left open so the under-stair storage is available from it; that's why you see clothes. I'm suggesting the "add strips to hold shelves" approach as an alternative to making slots; demonstrably it supports the weight of people, so should be fine for books. :-)
This might make it clearer what's going on:
(This is the page for the project.)
5:32 PM
Woot! I raised the dead!
5:42 PM
@bowlturner famous last words
I thought they were "hey ya'all watch this!"
6:17 PM
No, those are frequent last words, not famous ones.
6:32 PM
@bowlturner congrats! Err, about these zombies that just showed up...
6:48 PM
@MonicaCellio thanks, now if I could just keep them from getting dirt on the floor.
@bowlturner yeah, really -- that sawdust from the shop gets all over the place without their help! Hmm, maybe you could raise some dead trees? Don't want 'em to take root in your front hall, though.
Exactly! I get in enough trouble on my own without their help!
7:30 PM
I've posted a link in Universe Factory chatroom for anyone interested in joining the discussion panel

 Universe Factory

A room for those involved in Worldbuilding's blog and Podcast,...
7:45 PM
@bowlturner No no no, its Hold my beer and watch this
i never get any enlightened badges --- questions are all answered within 10 minutes of being posted, and I only check this site once every couple of hours at best...
@SerbanTanasa and yet you get plenty of high scoring quality posts
8:07 PM
the review queue seems especially urgent today, it doesn't usually stay so consistently at 5
No, there has been a lot of activity lately. even the reopen votes
8:20 PM
Today has been annoyingly busy...three production hotfixes, an update to one of our internal tools, 3 meetings...jeez
I may need an extra after work beer today.
You need more forging.
8:32 PM
@bowlturner I seriously wish I had more free time to get down there...
@James I hear you. I have a wood shop, right outside my door, and I don't get much time in there! If I didn't have Thursday evening set aside I'd probably never get to do that either.
would you guys like it if I asked some forging questions? I have been wondering how long it would take to make a sword
It depends. :) it really does, what quality are you looking for, what quality steel you starting with etc.
I could shape a piece of metal to be sword shaped in a few hours and a few hours more polished up. If you want a REAL blade with good steel and correct temporing etc. I don't know but I'd guess a couple days by a real blade smith, if he starts with good steel and doesn't need to fold the metal
aren't you supposed to fold the metal?
I learned about that.
Folding the metal was really to help lower quality steel by giving it more strength.
Good clean alloys just make that a lot of extra work, that isn't needed.
and allows for pretty Damascus steel paterning
8:44 PM
so, assuming the steel is lower quality, folding takes more time?
yes. lower quality steel that needs to be folded, will take more time. I suspect more time than just shaping the steel for each fold.
To fold you need to get it to forge welding heat then beat it over, thin it out and repeat adnausium until you are happy with the result. Or get tired.
so, assuming you have to fold a few times, at least a couple days, maybe more, for one decent sword?
That is my guess. My teacher used to work for an armorer So I'll ask him how long it actually took/takes to make a decent sword. Both old school and with good steel.
well, for a follow-up, is it plausible for one person to work on multiple swords at once? Would that be able to speed things up?
I'm trying to think of the computer science term for it, but nothing is coming to mind
8:53 PM
sort of
it might speed it up a little bit, since in theory you could have one getting hot while shaping the other. and then switch.
But it certainly won't be twice as fast
I was thinking of pipelining
yes, that is what I was trying for too
But that would work much better with multiple people as well.
you Could have one person tending the fire and the steel, and two or three shaping the swords, and you might maximize throughput
would you say it takes longer to heat than it does to shape? Is there a good ratio for those times?
A good fire with good bellows and someone tending it well (i.e. not talking to others and joking around) might be close to 50/50? Though most blacksmiths have multiple irons in the fire when working, so suggests that heating is a bottle neck.
The metal does cool off faster than one would think. At least from temps making it easy to shape
9:10 PM
well, I guess that's all I wanted to know. I was going to ask on the site, but now I have no questions left
so, thanks :)
Though so you know I think most swords where mass produced for armies and were NOT good steel, and were thus faster in order to outfit constripts
@bowlturner I don't know, didn't people sometimes have to bring their own weapons?
some times yes.
but often they didn't have swords when they did, unless it was from a relative
something in the family
yeah, and I guess it just depends on when and where. I'd like to think that everyone had a nice sword, but there probably were some shoddy ones out there
yes, but 'shoddy' is also relative. A piece of sharp metal that doesn't snap off when you hit someone is still better than a knife or hand to hand
9:19 PM
yes, that is true.
and a gun is probably better than all of them combined
yes, even a crappy dueling pistol, (at close range)
for one shot...
after the first shot, it's at least better than hand-to-hand
9:36 PM
@DaaaahWhoosh It absolutely would. The bladesmith that taught my class sometimes has up to a dozen blades going at once. Considering all the steps in the shaping, heating, grinding, hardening, tempering, grinding, polishing, sharpening process you can have various blades on various steps, plus there can be a lot of waiting, particularly for heat.
@bowlturner And piercing as that puts less stress on the blade
@James yes, but people don't always let you do that...
@bowlturner stubborn humans
I'm out of here. Need to try to stay ahead of the freezing rain coming this way on my trip south.
I think I read somewhere that in your typical medieval battle, you had a couple of nobles who had their own swords, probably reasonable quality, some mercenaries with some lower quality swords... or maybe a noble's old. And conscripts had to bring whatever they had
so no real mass production of swords
spears were far more common than swords I believe
it depends on the period a lot though
greek armies all had matching swords and shields for example, though the tech level was bronze
9:48 PM
yep, it really depends... in the late medieval, or later, the armies were full of mercenaries... often foreign (Swiss, German, Spanish).
well, as far as Western Europe was concerned
and those typically had war weapon
the other were going with spears and axes... or even hammers
hammers are good vs armour
axes aren't too bad neither...
but spears a better against mounted opponents ;)
well, pikes etc yes. long spears
for some reason, I like the bec de corbin
polearms in general seem to be better than swords when in formation, but for some reason the crow's beak is my favorite
whoa, they actually used it to attack with the side spike
I don't know why, but in that kind of category, I've always been keen on hallberds
10:04 PM
Lucerne Hammer ftw
Lucerne Hammer is essentially similar to the Bec de Corbin, except that people were using more the hammer side than the spike...
10:40 PM
@MonicaCellio Chat seems to be behaving itself now consistently for me, so I'll elaborate more on what I meant to say yesterday.
So, particles in the atmosphere reflect light, scattering it in different ways by wavelength.
A nebula is made up of gaseous particles, typically hydrogen (non-ionized in this case, I think).
Those particles reflect the light of nearby stars, scattering it in different ways.
This means that the starlight is transformed into a different color.
The result? Spectacular.
^ Messier 78.

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