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1:30 AM
I performed an experiment today for the sake of an answer, with some interesting results.
Running backwards felt exactly like I thought it would. Although I was surprised by how much I had to shorten my stride.
1:55 AM
Hi I updated an old closed question in the Sandbox in an effort to make it on-topic. I would really appreciate any feedback:
A: Sandbox for Proposed Questions

bruglescoThis Question has been Asked on Main and Closed. This is the Second draft. Why does changing dimensions give my super-villain super-powers AND extreme chronic pain? I have a super-villain who is from another dimension. Their world is just like ours only darker. On their world they are the Big B...

2:51 AM
@HDE226868 welcome to the life of a cornerback ;)
A: Sandbox for Proposed Questions

Incognitohow can I make a secondary heart feasible in a human body? I have created a being known as a homoculus, an artificial human made through unnatural methods. The horrific steps that led to its creation are too disturbing for any human being to know and remain sane, and will not be written down her...

7 hours later…
10:11 AM
@HDE226868 Walking backwards is good for ensuring you don't spill (hot) beverages though
Here it is - it won the ignoble prize just last year: sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2078152015300377
3 hours later…
1:19 PM
Q: Why Not An Answer flag is sometimes unavailable?

MołotYesterday I encountered an answer I thought was not really an answer. I clicked Flag, and got only three options: spam rude or abusive in need of moderator intervention Due to lack of any other flags available to me, I selected last one, and got it declined with description that's pretty ridi...

2:02 PM
@James Lest we go too far....
2:53 PM
@Green sounds like their main mistake was trying to say that "philosophy" is a "science", and not a branch of applied metaphysics.
@AndyD273 I just liked the response "You see, the purpose of life is not, despite what you think, to be a giant nerd all the time."
yup, that was a good line
The alt text is fun too
3:07 PM
@Shalvenay Oof, and running sideways is also not fun for me.
@Green See now those are my kind of people.
@James Yeah, maybe. I figured you to be the kind of guy for "Let's build fantastical systems that are based on reality but depart the text into really cool places", not a "Let's build fantastical systems that attempt to constrain reality and delude ourselves that our contrivance means anything at all" kind of guy.
@Green I went down that road. I'm really glad for Godel's work. He phrased his incompleteness theorem so brutally that I had to admit that the entire class of ways of approaching things I was trying to use was self-defeating.
and then that got me ready to really appreciate youtube.com/watch?v=qHnIJeE3LAI when I later learned about Alan Watts
Tarski too, but Godel was easier for me to appreciate.
@CortAmmon I love the Incompleteness Theorem so much. I don't think I've found a place where it's application, or at least acknowledgement, hasn't been unusually useful.
Well, once you give a hearty middle finger to the idea of "proofs," it becomes less useful =D
3:19 PM
Growing up, Nietsche and nihilism were these really scary things. "OH NO! There must be meaning in the world!" As an adult, nihilism, in various forms has proved to be exceptionally liberating.
I find I abhore "there is nothing" but adore "there may be nothing." Something about nihilism has to be self-defeating before I appreciate it
Perhaps that's how it was supposed to be
@CortAmmon "There is nothing" is a option-less phrase. "There may be something" provides a starting point and leaves open the possibility of options. The latter is a much freer form. Maintaining optionality is really important to me and I suspect for you as well.
Takes you down weird roads though. I once quoited Nietzsche "Truths are illusions that we have forgotten are illusions" to cheer someone up. The look on their face was priceless, though decidedly not the intended effect.
@CortAmmon For someone without a philosophy background, that's such an abrupt change in perspective. Humans, they desperately need their stories.
3:26 PM
I have a friend who loves to explore this. It brings him no end of wonder that humans need stories, know they are false but need to forget the stories are false in order to use them.
The instant the story is shown to be just a story, the story loses its power.
I've been playing with that one mathematically. I've got a thread to tug on suggesting why involving group theory. So far it's very satisfying to explore.
3:40 PM
BTW, @Green, were you wanting to discuss that article still sometime?
@AndyD273 I was.
I think the point of that article was "the proletariat is good at running things but they suck at politics. Until they get good at politics, they will continue to have the problems they have."
And any member of the proletariat who does acquire skill at politics and maneuvering will have to work really really hard at not being absorbed into the existing capitalist and capitalist leaning power structures.
With the idea that the capitalist structures are inherently bad?
So, I think my brain is trying to purge out the overly rambly structure that was either trying to hide that the author was getting paid by the word and is hoping to retire, or trying to use so many words that the reader would get distracted from the fact that the article doesn't have much of a point.
But we can use your TL;DCTR as a good place to start.
The bits I was kind of getting out of it were that socialist based companies tend to fail a lot, and it's capitalists fault for succeeding too much and messing up the system. But it did lead to a lot of side thoughts that I thought were interesting too
Also, I saw this last night, and thought it was a really uplifting example of a company here in michigan that values it's workers: Michigan business hands out $4 million in Christmas bonuses to workers.
Capitalism is not inherently bad unless your value system states that it is bad. Capitalism is merely good at what it is good at.
I find that as long as you accept that things like monopolies are the natural product of the free market, you can see why capitalism isn't bad. Of course, most big fans of capitalists find that to be a pretty bitter pill to swallow.
3:55 PM
@CortAmmon Agreed. It's also not a perfect system, and has some flaws that can become lethal if not guarded against. But, when managed the right way, I do think it has the most potential to do good.
Its great power is that it shifts a great deal of agency down to small scales. Its great weakness is that it is terrible at unifying the people to accomplish great goals together.
I do ponder, thouhg: do the socialist based companies fail a lot? Or do buisnesses fail a lot, and simply not get publicity unless they're socialist?
@CortAmmon I don't know. that was just something that got mentioned a lot in the article, which was mostly about coops and other business structures like that.
One thought that I had while reading that article was that full blown socialism and feudalism are nearly identical in practice; the government runs everything important, the workers work for the betterment of the state, sometimes/often over their own betterment
My own personal (non-scientific) opinion is that the power of co-ops is that it is easy to develop a culture like this youtube.com/watch?v=OqmdLcyES_Q . The failing of a co-op is that once you have such a culture, it takes a mighty strong personality to lead through hard times where you have to walk a narrow path.
(I use the link because I think I would fail to capture the proper essence if I tried to word it)
@CortAmmon That's a tautology, restating the definition of 'bad'...
@Mithrandir24601 What I'm trying to convey is that you can say "blue/green is bad," and thus believe the blue/green is bad... but unless you start directly with a phrase like "capitalism is bad," you will not find that capitalism ends up being bad. For all more reasonable good/bad statements, capitalism is just a tool to some ends
4:08 PM
Mainly, it is good at reducing poverty
But I'll have to pause this because I gotta go put out a fire...
away for a while
In a pure capitalistic environment (an ideal, not any realistic scenario), capitalism has the power that any self-sufficient entity can choose to be self-sufficient. In other environments, this is intentionally restricted to shape the direction of the larger society. Of course, where this starts to get interesting is that 100% of our capitalistic creations are dependent on the fusion power of the sun, and are indeed not actually self-sufficient. Thus we must always fall short of that ideal
@CortAmmon Simplifying an entire socio-economic system down to 'just a tool' in this case makes me really nervous. And "just a tool" for who and who's ends?
4:24 PM
I don't think people on meta.se like to read. My entry on the swag competition has gotten several downvotes...
@James That poetry of yours is not very approachable.
@Green ...freaking plebeians, can't appreciate fine art.
@James Your post isn't a gargantuan 15,000 pixel tall image which shoves all other answers away. Did you really think it was going to score well?
@Green What you describe is exactly why I like to think of capitalism as "just a tool." It leads to the questions "who and who's ends" and refuses to let you settle for just blaming the system.
@CortAmmon That is an exceptionally good point.
4:39 PM
I also find it works well in pathological cases, such as revolutions which replace the "whos". You can draw analogies to a firearm, which is also just a tool. If you abandon a firearm on the sidewalk, it itself is just a tool... but it should be rather evidently clear that you must consider how much control over the "whos" you just relinquished by leaving it there. You can also explore how it changes a person when you hand them all the firearms.
The capitalist version of that metaphor being something along the lines of "power corrupts"
and the love of money
4:51 PM
I'm going to head to lunch soon, but in the meantime, here's something for folks to chew on:
Q: Do we (still) want a site Twitter account?

HDE 226868The other day, another moderator and I were tossing around the idea of having an unofficial site Twitter account. Stack Exchange stopped making them a few years ago for various reasons, but we could still have an independent, community-run account, which would tweet out particularly interesting q...

@HDE226868 I both love and hate this idea.
(kinda like you ZING)
@James Yes, I both love and hate this idea, too. :-)
@HDE226868 I don't use twitter. Do what you will =p
@HDE226868 I don't know if I mentioned that I followed you on twitter the other day.
You can blame @MonicaCellio she retweeted your link to the Atlantic article.
5:35 PM
Hello guys. What do you think of holding a winter competition? For example, making up a superhero?
@James I saw, and followed you back.
@James As did Jeff Atwood, which definitely helped get visibility.
5:57 PM
Q: Do we (still) want a site Twitter account?

HDE 226868The other day, another moderator and I were tossing around the idea of having an unofficial site Twitter account. Stack Exchange stopped making them a few years ago for various reasons, but we could still have an independent, community-run account, which would tweet out particularly interesting q...

6:17 PM
@VerNick A winter competition to make a world seems like our style here. Characters, not so much.
This is Worldbuilding, not Characterbuilding. ;)
How would you build the rules for a Worldbuilding Competition!
@kingledion (DAMN YOU SIR! You're out of chat again!)
Anyway, how would you judge whether one world was better than another? What criteria would you use?
@Green Depth and consistency seem reasonable measures...I could probably think of others.
I am thinking you need categories, i.e. Fantasy, Sci-fi, Hard-science. I mean how do you compare the quality of a hard science world and a fantasy world?
@James But aren't contradicitons really nice things to make a world spicy?
@James No idea how to do that.
Not if they make the world make no sense. That whole suspension on disbelief thing.
Perhaps a richness metric but I don't know how you'd calculate that.
What if we went by a hardness of magic metric based on Sanderson's Law, to help categorize things?
> Sanderson’s First Law of Magics: An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic.
@CortAmmon Sanderson's Law rears its head again.
@dot_Sp0T we need a second day of christmas lyric today. Fail not ;)
6:33 PM
@Green (chocolate cocao %)/(population density of elves)*(LotR references) + 2(4th wall breaks)^(cute fuzzy animal companions)
@Green It depends on what you're going for, I guess and what the contradictions are/how they're done
@James a world made of cacao with no elves?
@Mithrandir24601 Wouldn't those elves be high as a kite with their cacao leaves to munch?
thats cocoa% divided by elvish population density.
Exactly - no elves means 1/0
If your world doesn't have elves you don't have a world.
6:38 PM
@James What if I have elves but no world? What then?
@Green You're like 96% done with your world, even if you didn't realize it.
@James Me thinks you have an unusual love of elves.
especially when they're the pointy-eared devils.
@Green Dont judge me!
@James Sitting on a high throne in a deep commanding voice I will judge you as I please little man!
@Green Ok, do you have an idea for topic of the competition?
6:49 PM
@VerNick Beyond making it about Worldbuilding instead of characterbuilding? No.
Okay....here goes.
We pick a panel of judges who will go through a list of WB.SE questions looking for especially interesting worlds (whatever the word 'interesting' means).
@Green Don't blow it.
Questions will be chosen from several different categories so as to not bias the competition towards those with a specialty in astronomy or some such.
What do you mean no? Do you mean we can't hold such competitions or you don't have an idea?
Let's say there's 20 questions.
Contestants pick up to 5 of those questions to answer. Questions that no one chooses will be dropped.
Prizes are awarded to each winner in the category.
The judges then pick an overall winner from the answer that best meets X_n criteria.
Thus, we get categorical winners and an overall winner.
Questions must have at least three answers in order to be considered. (The reasoning being that a question with only one answer isn't really a competition. We need at least three.)
So you mean we have to create 20 questions with different topics?
6:55 PM
@VerNick Or grab them from WB.SE. I think the topics should be diverse but clustered.
Like one cluster around astronomy, one around warfare, one around biology, one around politics, one around survival...and maybe one more that I can't think of right now.
(I'm sure I've missed a category that someone really cares about.)
An update to yesterday's tweet re the letter I received from an anonymous, judgy-mcjudgyface neighbor who disapproved of my dragon display and asked me to consider removing them: I have added more dragons.
I had to share this.
@James That feels like it should be on a t-shirt or something "I have added more dragons."
@Green So what's the goal? Answer the questions and in doing so create a world?
Also, make it the warcry of every DM, ever.
@James Yep.
@Green I played last night. My level 2 character met and befriended a copper dragon...after he wet his pants in fear at the sight of her.
6:58 PM
...or an aspect of a world. Worlds themselves are big complicated things. I wouldn't assume to create a huge world in a relatively short time.
@James A reasonable initial reaction when meeting an apex predator that considers you crunchy with ketchup.
@Green I have a high charisma, I flattered her into submission...or at least into not eating us.
@Green I can win this contest right now...
@James Is charisma a universal trait or one that applies just to humans?
@James AND!!! Elves are an instant disqualification.
All PCs have a charisma score.
@Green But...but... :(
@James NO!!!!
I'm just kidding. Elves are allowed, they just can't be in everything.
@Green But what if I add dragons and the elves ride the dragons?
7:02 PM
@James There's a handicap for elves added. Your score is inversely proportional to the number of elves in the world.
@Green Dungeons & Dragons^2: Now with more dragons!
@Green I feel like this contest is inherently biased against me.
@James Only because you've got this huge thing with elves. If you give up your love of elves, the contest won't be biased against you. ;)
(What a dick thing to say. @James i'm glad we're friends.)
@Green NEVAR!
@Green Ok, here we go: Magic, Animals, Astronomy, Warfare, Biology, Politics, Survival, Love, People, Elves & Dragons(lol), and a few more I will remember later :)
@Green :D
@VerNick I see that you included elves and dragons...and loooove
7:05 PM
@VerNick And, if you wanted, you could run the whole contest through WB.SE itself so the score keeping is transparent.
Just write new questions and it'll be fine.
You could have TWO competitions. One to write the questions and one to answer them.
Waaaait, tooo many ideaaaas....
@VerNick Then I should stop talking....because idea generation is my flow state.
ask @James, he's been on the receiving end of the idea firehose.
@AndyD273 too.
Ok, I write 20 questions(saying it's a competition) and say the winner will be one who gets most upvotes.
No, let's write one question for all topics. I think it will be more understandable.
7:09 PM
@VerNick If you want to write 20 questions that's fine. I think if you get other people to help you write the 20, the questions will be more diverse and more satisfying to answer.
@Green @VerNick This sounds like a pretty cool idea.
Ok, I need some volunteers for the future.
Free rep, anybody?
| Silence continues |
@VerNick I've done my part. I gave an outline of how to run the competition. That's most of what I'm good for.
@Green Thank you for ideas.
@VerNick No problem!
7:21 PM
Although I am new here, I have experience on other SE sites.
@VerNick Welcome to WB!
@Green Thanks :)
We are, well, unusual here.
We are just as likely to talk about the implications of earlier availability of jet aircraft on WW2 as we are to talk about space aliens that drift between solar systems....and ethical systems where parents don't own their children.
It's very diverse here.
I already have a few questions to ask.
@VerNick oh yeah? Do tell.
7:25 PM
I'll post them here after asking.
@Green ...we'll just go ahead and keep letting you believe that.
@James I am secure in my delusions of grandeur.
@Green Also, characters count as a part of worldbuilding, isn't it?
I still defend my first idea.
@VerNick No. Questions about the actions of a certain character are off-topic as are questions about stories set in a world. WB focuses on the construction of the world distinct from the story that happens in the world.
@James I'm gonna write a follow-up question to my 'murder rights on domestic abusers' question.
. . . Well. That's a question I wouldn't want automatically tweeted.
Or, well, tweeted, period.
7:36 PM
@HDE226868 my new one?
@Green I was thinking the old one.
@HDE226868 I'd have to agree. I can't remember if the old one made it HNQ or not. It probably did.
@Green 10k+ views. I'd say so. :-)
@HDE226868 Current working title: Market dynamics for NGOs who buy murder-rights to convicted domestic abusers
7:39 PM
This is the most active chat I've ever seen on SE.
@VerNick, so this is another example of the kind of macabre questions that show up on WB.
Q: Selling the right to kill one's convicted abuser: how could an NGO make this profitable?

GreenA free-market solution to preventing further domestic abuse This society has gone full-on free-market everything including the punishment of severe domestic abuse. As a check on the abuser, the abused is granted a perpetual (or very long, 20 years or so) murder-right on the abuser, and only the...

@VerNick and it's my favorite. Physics.SE's "The h bar" comes close.
The Awkward Silence (IPS chat) is incredibly active

 The Awkward Silence

Welcome to The Awkward Silence! Here, you can find the general...
@Green Congratulations on being the first person to ever use those words in that order.
@James It's such a fun idea (for me).
7:53 PM
Have we ever had a question about feeding a star so it doesn't burn out and go nova?
@James It feels like something that would be on WB but I've never seen such a question.
How would you handle providing the monsterous amounts of H2 required to make that work? Or, how would you remove the heavier elements?
I was thinking about the star being a controlled system the other day where you feed it whatever and extract whatever else to keep it stable...
like...solar recycling.
@James Ooooh. Mass transfer in binary systems is a thing. Algol is a famous example of that - two normal stars, but one accreting gas from the other, extending its lifespan.
Cool idea but the mass transfers would be tricky to do.
Ok I am going to have to write this up.
7:56 PM
Do you want artificial means, though?
@James be sure to specify tech levels.
@James You might also want to read up on very late thermal pulses. They might not help your particular setup, but they're still cool. I think I wrote an answer about those once.
Ok, have to go. I'll think about the competition and (maybe) post it. Bye!
Although, thinking back to the original mass-transfer situation. . . Supernovae don't happen because the star runs out of fuel; they happen because the core can't support itself anymore because it's mostly iron. And I don't think adding more mass will help. If anything, it'll speed the whole process up.
@VerNick Have fun!
8:06 PM
The mass transfer could, I guess prolong the life of the star it was taken from, not vice versa. So you don't need to add mass; you need to remove it.
@HDE226868 So, trade iron for H2 or He?
@Green That would work.
Do we have an alchemist in the house?
So I am thinking of a type II civilization with machinery made of unobtanium. Really the question would be about the process. What would you have to remove from the start and what would you have to add. Could you recycle the removed content for practical use/or put it back into the star.
@Green ^^ To simple? To broad?
8:25 PM
@HDE226868 Transporting that much mass into a solar system would be super tricky since the gravity of all that incoming/outgoing mass is going to mess with the orbits of any planets in the system.
@HDE226868 Fe is ful of H2... just need a bit of technique to break it up... what do you want to do? Inverse solar fusion? oO
@James I don't think the reference to Type II civ is needed. Just say you what type of star you have, and what your goal state for the star is. Allow responders to come up with their own process for getting the mass in or out of the solar system.
Add masses and time lines to add some constraints to the question. It will be really easy to get hung up on tech levels, so you'll need to be careful with that.
Perhaps a constraint regarding conservation of energy and conservation of mass. If you give the responders unlimited energy then who knows what kind of answers you'll get.
@Green This is why I want to make it a type II system, they have the energy available from the star, no more, no less.
@James I'm not sure you can solve this problem with the energy available from the host star, though I haven't done the math to be sure. If the approach is to remove iron from the star, you'll be lifting teratons of mass out of a huge gravity well. That's bonkers amounts of energy.
And escape velocity from a star is non-trivial amounts of energy.
@James The real reason wasn't the flattery, it was that you spelt of pee...
8:47 PM
On the second day of worldbuilding, my true James got around: to put two questions on-hold. And a beeeverage snohorted he
Or is that too specific @Green?
@dot_Sp0T Or, "On the second day of Wubbing, my true James gave to me: two questions held and a bev-erage snort-ed he".
Wait wait wait. This is a song about the site. Not one of your dashing, debonair and delightful moderators.
@James That's lucky... waiting for that one to show up might be a while
@Green i like that one and support it
8:55 PM
Q: Solar recycling or: How to keep your star from going nova

JamesI was in the shower the other day thinking about the sun going Nova, you know...like you do, and a thought occurred to me: Could you turn the sun into a stable, mostly closed system? Some details of the universe in question: The actor in this case is a type II civilization They have coloniz...

@James You may want to suggest an alternative to the first day of Wubbing. If it stays as is, your sinus are going to drown in all the soda pop you snort at the end of every verse.
Please don't make me snort any carbonated things...it hurts.
@HDE226868 The starboard I think proves my point on the twitter idea.
@James Just don't face the screen until after you swallow...
@AndyD273 That's what she said.
On the third day of wubbing uncomfortable closeness shared the three (of us)
8:58 PM
@dot_Sp0T That's terrible and you should feel terrible for writing it.
@dot_Sp0T Also, it's not up to your usual high standards; James fails to snort anything.
And you really missed the opportunity, I am drinking coffee.
Never mind. It was in the question.
FYI, though, the Sun is way too low-mass to undergo a supernova. You might want to remove that bit. Otherwise, +1, awesome question.
So James failed to snort anything, both literary and physically. So much disappoint.
@HDE226868 If you kept adding things to it but didn't take anything out the mass would keep increasing until it could go nova right?
I mean since we are ignoring getting the resources to keep feeding a star as it is...
I decided it did make sense to change the title though...otherwise I'd just get a bunch of answers from people telling me the sun can't go nova so my question is stupid even though they didn't read it
9:07 PM
@James Ah, I think I misread something in the body. For the second time. facepalm
I'm not astronomically minded today.
On the second day of worldbuilding, facepalmeth doth he
How bout that?
@dot_Sp0T Better.
On the third day of Wubbing, my true 'DE gave to me: three face-palms, two questions held and a bev-erage snort-ed he.
We can do that up to twelve and we got a Medium post
@dot_Sp0T Bingo!
9:22 PM
five golden stars! four mass deaths, three face-palms, two questions held and a beverage snorted he.
9:32 PM
FTFY; There were no five star posts...
@AndyD273 In chat? Ever? That seems weird. I'm sure I've seen posts with seven stars or more.
@Green I mean right now
@AndyD273 Oh. gotcha.
10:03 PM
Hooray! A new murder-rights question is up! I wonder if it will hit HNQ.
@Green <faceslap>ugh</faceslap>
@James Why are you slapping yourself?
@Green Because you exist mainly.
@James Pfft. I exist to keep myself occupied and entertained. That you slap yourself is just incidental delight to my own existence.
@Green heh. :)
10:20 PM
@James Besides, this is par for the course for me. I've written questions about parents not owning their children. Murder-rights for the abused isn't too big of a stretch.
11:12 PM
Fun thought experiment (that's not specific enough for a question):

What would happen if someone created a website, "timetravelisreal" dot com, and published the list of SHA256 hashes for the full text of each issue of the weekly magazine "The Economist" — which includes global economy statistics for all various countries — for the next twenty years?
(And they turned out to be accurate, obviously, for however many weeks you choose.)

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