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  1. I'm retiring this mirror blog, after the launch of my new website. I'm pretty sure very few people actually followed this mirror. My new blog is right on my new site's front page, and it has a new RSS feed. You can also get more frequent updates from me on Twitter and Facebook.


  2. MacThorstenson
    Latest Entry

    Marcus sighed as the student fell asleep on the other side of his desk. It was not a pleasant activity, interplanar travel, but this was the most efficient way he had found. Standing up, he slid a bookshelf aside revealing what used to be an unfinished storage space, similar to an attic. Now there was a large smooth slate in the middle, and three sleeping people laid on the side of the room. Then deliberately walking around his desk, he picked up the student and carried her through the doorway laying her softly on the slate. Then he pulled some chalk from his pocket and begun drawing around her. First there were two perfect concentric circles, then in each of the cardinal directions a glyph was drawn, and finally with practiced precision he began inscribing abyssal spells on the inner ring of the circle. When he was done, there was a spell circle capable of sending a soul to hell. To the completely uninitiated, it was about as interesting as a crappy mandala. 
     

    To those who knew the basics of magic, it was a masterpiece. Each glyph and word was placed with exacting precision, and while most wouldn't know what they said, they would know the skill required to do it freehand. 

    To those who knew the abyssal tongue however, and still had some humanity, this was an abomination. It was a tool perfectly crafted to kill someone, and remove all the usable bits of their soul. It wasn't a weapon like a sword or a knife, but was instead a butchers shop, honed over years and years of study to give the demons exactly what they wanted as efficiently and quickly as possible. 

    With a somber face, Marcus stood up off the ground and withdrew his wand. He walked around it once, ensuring everything was in its place before bending over, touching the circle with it and muttering the activation phrase. As he withdrew his wand, magma seemed to flow along the chalk lines, illuminating the room with a reddish glow. Faintly, screams of terror could be heard in the distance as the students body jerked twice and she exhaled for the last time. And then it was dark again, the circle having been consumed in the activation of the spell. 

    For the next person the process was much the same. He picked them up, lay them in the slate, drew the circle. To the careful observer the glyphs would have been different, as well as the words written, but the intention was much the same. Quickly and efficiently separate the soul from the body and send it off somewhere. This time however, Marcus sat cross-legged next to the circle. One hand on one of the glyphs, the other on his wand. He tapped the circle again, but instead of glowing the red light of hellfire, it briefly shone with a cold white light before disappearing. Marcus' eyes glowed briefly as he absorbed the soul into himself before transferring it to a ring for later storage. 

    The final victim was a middle aged delivery man. No family, minimal connections like the other two, Marcus had picked an adult for the extra power in their soul. The more they grew, the more power available. And he would need every ounce of power to travel to this plane. 

    He quickly repeated the process, except instead of storing the soul in a ring he braced himself and absorbed it. Slowly he began stripping away each layer of identity from the soul. He felt every fear the man had, every moment of boredom and sadness and whatever else he experienced course through his body.

    Usually this was why he chose children. There was less of what made them them! Every aspect of their personality was malleable and changing and so digesting their soul was like eating pudding as opposed to trying to swallow a marble. 

    Thankfully, this marble was bland. He had chosen well. Their life was relatively meaningless and incredibly dull, and so Marcus remained standing as he used the soul to fuel his travel.

    Slowly beneath his clothes his veins began to glow like they were filled with magma and a tattoo on his forearm shifted and twisted till it settled on a glyph loosely resembling stars and a void. Then, a door opened up behind him, revealing an inky blackness with a couple silvery specs of light. Stepping backward, he fell into it. Ready to journey again.

  3. The Silver Knight stared at the ______. For all that his friend had told him, he'd expected something... different.

    "Beautiful, isn't it?" she said now behind him, as if on cue. The Silver Knight simply continued to stare. Was she seeing something that he wasn't? When he looked at the ______, all he felt was... confused. 

    "Hey," the young woman said, her voice suddenly concerned. "You're shivering."

    All of a sudden, Silver realized he'd started to rub his arms without thinking. "Yeah," he replied, looking away from the ______. Somewhere in the last few minutes, the temperature had taken a plunge. Goosebumps had risen up on his arms, and he was barely able to keep his teeth from chattering. "Guess there's a cold spell. Weird."

    The woman studied Silver for a moment, her face unreadable. "It's... not that cold outside. The temperature hasn't changed at all, in fact."

    Silver blinked. What? The cold certainly felt real. Was it just a figment of his imagination? His eyes flicked back to the ______. It couldn't be that... could it?

    "So, what do you think?" asked the woman. Silver realized with a start that her voice and all the other sounds around him were slightly muted, as if he was hearing them from a long way off. "The ______ is pretty incredible, right?"

    Silver shook his head. "I... I don't understand."

    The woman cocked her head. "What's there not to understand about it? Look! The ______, the ______, the ______... even the ______ is ______!" She leaned closer in. Her expression no longer looked friendly. "You're the one that's not making any sense. The ______ is a good thing. A great thing, even. Why can't you understand that?"

    The Silver Knight took a step back. "What? I don't- That's not what I-" He cut off, feeling a sudden lurch in his stomach as he realized that they were no longer alone in the clearing. A small crowd of people were standing between each of the pillars that surrounded the space, their faces showing expressions which could only be described as hostile.

    "You hate it," the woman hissed, all traces of friendliness gone. "You want to destroy the ______, don't you?"

    "What?" stammered Silver, taking a step back. "No! I don't- that doesn't make any sense!"

    "I won't let you," the woman replied, her eyes narrowing. She stepped forward, pushing Silver further and further back. "None of us will."

    Abruptly Silver's backwards retreat was halted when someone behind him shoved him forwards. He cried out, barely managing to keep his footing as he stumbled. When the next push came, he had no chance. He fell to the ground, shivering, as the faceless crowd closed in around him.

    It was cold. So cold.

  4. ccstat
    Latest Entry

    Welcome to my liveblog of The Lost Metal! Intro post here, beware of spoilers.

    Chapter 5
    I only just now paid attention to the allomantic symbols heading the chapters, and it took me far too long to confirm that they are indeed just numeric. I recognize those symbols far less than I do the various glyphs and scripts of stormlight, and they are just too similar to one another for me to commit many to memory without more meaning ascribed to them than numerals. The “seal of the city” style border around them is a nice look, though. Or maybe it’s supposed to be a coin/medal of some sort? 

    If I were to guess, I’d peg Kath the governess as a cameo of some sort, but I’ve been distanced from the fandom enough to not recognize the name as someone in particular, if she even is a name drawn from fans rather than personal friends (not to disparage those fans who have become personal friends).

    Max is playing with a Soonie Pup, which makes me wonder how MeLaan and others react to that cultural phenomenon not only among the general populace but also the friends and family they are close to.

    A personal delivery from Harmony, containing a god-communing earring? You’ve got someone’s eye on you, Wax. The ominous part for me is the need for a second earring in addition to this one. How many piercings does Harmony intend for him to have? Does this newly delivered earring replace his usual one or supplement it? And that’s not getting into the question of what metal is on its way. Presumably ettmetal since that was mentioned previously in this book and is the only one (aside from the unavailable Atium and Lerasium) that the people of Elendel wouldn’t have ready access to. However, that’s not getting into the necessity for spikes to be hemalurgically charged, so the metal’s composition and history must both be taken into account. These things are not easily fungible, especially not special ones intended for a protagonist/champion.

    Huh. I just realized how weird it must be for people in the know to look at the Survivorist faith, in light of what Kel is up to. Although, I don’t think we have a good sense for how long the society he leads has been active in the cosmere, so it’s distantly possible that things are still ramping up at this stage. I admit I’m not super clear on the precise timeline between this book and Stormlight. I have in mind that it’s only a handful of years between whatever happens in Lost Metal and the beginning of Way of Kings, but I don’t actually know that for sure.

    Yes, the amount of baggage that accumulates when you travel with young children is a whole thing. That at least is common between Earth and Scadrial.

    “They’re not all slag for voting against you.”
    I like the use of slag as a derogatory term. Nice cultural color for a place with highly prominent metalworking and mining.

    Nice to know that Wayne has been helping to raise Max with the appropriate accents and outlook on life. At least they don’t let him babysit unsupervised.

    Huh. Has Hoid been hanging around Wax for two years now? That seems like a higher level of commitment than we generally see from him. Although, that’s not necessarily true, given his various appearances in different character’s backstories on Roshar. He presumably interacted with them for months to years at a time in a consistent role. Frequtent. carriage driver for Harmony’s chosen isn’t that big a stretch.

    Flying piggy back rides trump the regular kind any day of the week!

    Does Wax carry spent bullet casings just to stay on brand when he leaps away dramatically? Most people don’t just carry those around, and he has other bits of metal he could doubtless use instead. It’s got to be part of his “Senator of the Roughs” bit. What a ham.
     

  5. You could say that I'm getting ahead of myself here. You could also say that I haven't posted in months and should get back to my weird context things.

    Whatever. This is what I'm thinking about right now, so this is what I'm going to talk about.

    Artificial Gravity is a thing that exists. Or... well, rather, it doesn't. Not yet. It shows up time and again in science fiction without any explanation whatsoever, which is honestly fine by me. You don't have to explain to me why Obi-Wan Kenobi can jump into someone's starship wearing nothing but his jedi robes and stay glued to the floor - I'll just accept it as part of the universe. In some films (I'm thinking of Treasure Planet specifically rn) they'll have a generator for it, and I'll just be like "yeah sure that checks out."

    But I was thinking about it last night because I've actually been writing a bit of this space opera story recently (yes, you'll be able to read it - eventually. Maybe. Probably. Perhaps). I have artificial gravity on the spaceship everybody's on board rn, but I've been quite the stickler for outer outer space rules (namely the "no sound" thing, so far) so I figured that if people can still float around outside then I should probably have a good reason for them to stay glued to the floor on the inside.

    So here's...

    Artificial Gravity - How to Do It and Why It's Important

     

    Thing One: Why do we need gravity anyways?

    Gravity is important because we've all grown up on planets chock-full of it. We developed our bodies over millenia of evolution to exist in this up-and-down world, evolving bones, muscles, skin, blood systems, organs, etc. They all work in gravity because that's what we've evolved them to be.

    In space there's a lot less gravity than normal. When it comes to orbits what that means is that we send things going one direction really fast so that we counteract that gravitational force, meaning without an atmosphere things can kinda just stay up there for however long they want; but when it comes to deep space, there really isn't anything holding anyone down. You could be sitting completely still and still float around like a jellyfish. In many ways this is a good thing: it means we're no longer bound to two-dimensional travel, adding up and down to our repertoire of options.

    But, of course, in many ways this is also a bad thing. Like I said, we evolved to exist in a gravity-filled environment, so without gravity our body starts to do some funky things:

    • Bones begin to weaken. Without anything to hold up (because you're weightless), they get weaker and weaker over time.
    • Same for muscles. They atrophy. There's a treadmill aboard the ISS for this reason.
    • Some weird scud happens to our organs. Fluids don't do everything they oughtta in zero-g, leading to all kinds of problems.

    Astronauts spending six months aboard the ISS can deal with this. It takes a decent amount of physical therapy and training protocols, but we've engineered our mission lengths to get the most out of each person without getting them permanently damaged. The ISS doesn't need artificial gravity. It's honestly fine.

    It's when you get into much longer voyages that you start needing that kind of thing. Spending years in space could be irreversably damaging to your skeletal system, completely throwing your body for a loop. If you're living in my space opera galaxy, for example, and are taking a voyage from one star system to another without any form of >c travel, then dropping yourself off on the next planet could be really bad for your health.

    So what're some methods to achieve this sort of thing?

     

    Method Uno: The Halo Ring

    The foremost candidate for artificial gravity in more "realistic" science-fictions is centrifugal (that's the one I'm going to use plz don't fight me) force. You live on the inside of a giant spinning ring, and the tangential force of its motion gives you a nice downward force throughout your body. "Gravity" in this sense is a directional force without the same acceleratory properities, but it hits all the main problems of actually creating artificial gravity, such as...

    • Actually staying glued to the ground
    • Having the force spread throughout your entire body
    • Especially having the force spread throughout your fluid systems (in this case, primarily the fluid in your ears that maintain your balance)

    Honestly, it's a great choice. Maybe the numbers they give you in the game aren't accurate or even realistic, but the principle holds out. However, this prospect comes with one major problem:

    It looks stupid.

    Who the heck wants to ride giant wheels careening through space? I sure don't. Imagine trying to have a space battle like that! Wheel versus wheel. People would be laughing their faces off in the theaters, because the most important part of any space opera is that your everything looks awesome.

    So let's look at some other ideas:

     

    Method Dos: Linear Acceleration

    This one also somewhat speaks for itself. You put the spaceship sideways and have it rocked "upwards" through space towards its destination, pushing everything inside downwards. Simple, but effective. This gives the same effect as the Halo Ring, but without the necessity of making the whole thing just a really big circle.

    However, this is a terrible idea, because it's incredible inhibiting to the spacecraft's maneuverability. In order to have a space battle with someong heading towards you, both ships would have to stop and turn off their gravity to shoot at each other. The only way to maintain the artificial gravity during a laser fight would be if both ships were riding parallel to each other, which would make space pirating a lot cooler, but completely defeat the purpose of things like surprise attacks and such.

    This is a terrible idea.

    Lemme dump some more on you.

     

    Methods Tres through... Cinco, I think. I really should be going with french numbers, not spanish. All my spanish knowledge comes from Dora the Explorer.

    • The Magic Generator: It  c a u s e s  g r a v i t y. Sure, sure.
    • The Graviton Generator: Sorry Frustry, I already read your comment. No, I don't believe in gravitons. No, I will never use gravitons in anything I ever write. And no, nothing you could say would convince me that putting a massive particle accelerator in the floor of your spaceship would be cost-efficient enough to be worth having artificial gravity in the first place.
    • Put a black hole in the floor: Build a sphere around a black hole. This is a terrible idea.

    Kay, time for the idea that I'm electing to go with:

     

    Method Six (but it's said "seez" because french): The magnet suit.

    I came up with this out of nowhere last night and immediately began to consult the internet. The thought was simply "what if you just had magnet boots?", and I was somewhat disappointed to find that I was not the first to think of this. There's a whole page on Quora chock-full of the same answers shooting down this idea, kinda dropping my excitement from a hundred to five in about two minutes.

    These were the main problems they highlighted:

    • Magnet boots would not just keep you glued to the ground, but also make it really difficult to get back off of it. You'd have to awkwardly shuffle around rather than walk about.
    • Magnet boots would not subject your entire body to the force of gravity. Your bones and muscles might not atrophy due to the new force, but your internal systems (namely your balance) would be just the same as they'd be in zero-g
    • Maget boots would screw with the electronic systems on board.
    • Literally everything we have ever put into space is made out of aluminum.

    NASA apparently toyed with this idea for awhile, actually, but ran into all these issues and shot it down. Honestly, that's probably for the best: solving problems like those would not be at all feasible given our current level of space-ness.

    But I'm doing a sci-fi, and I can do whatever I want.

    So here are my solutions!

    • To fix the shuffling problem, you'd need to make sure the boots are electromagnets with a computer worked into them. Given the fact that my sci-fi computers could probably run fifteen games of GTA V on a drone's battery screen, the idea that there'd be a way to detect how close your boots are to the "surface" and increase/decrease your magnetic output accordingly is totally feasible (I think). The magnetic force would be strongest while your foot is up off the ground to generate this gravity, and decrease significantly while it's on the ground so that you can pick your foot back up again just fine. Essentially, you'd always be feeling the same amount of force on you at all times.
    • Add a whole suit to it! This is a terrible idea for modern astronauts (because who in the world would want to walk around in massive, bulky magnet suits all day?), but works just fine for my hyper-efficient space opera. If a computer can compute your foot's distance from the ground to output magnetic energy accordingly, then a lattice going across some underclothes exerting this force across your entire body is completely feasible. The only problem I can think of here is that your fluids wouldn't change at all, but.......... I'm going to ignore that so I can move on.
    • It's a giant spaceship. It's thicc as hecc. All the systems would be feet beneath the floor, and probably shielded by aluminum and lead and everything anyways.
    • It's a giant spaceship. It's thicc as hecc. The floor itself would not be made of aluminum.

    I dub my new creation the Gravity Suit. Yes, it's a terrible name. Yes, it's incredibly on the nose. Yes, you can shut up now. It'd probably be made of some magical supermaterial like carbon nanofoam (which is, funnily enough, magnetic), and have a built-in computer system to exert gravity across your body without any real margin of error. What's more, this suit could even account for the problem of going from one planet to another with two different gravitational forces by subtly changing your own personal gravity over the course of the trip, and it could also allow you to walk up walls and across the ceiling to most effectively utilize the ship's space.

    So... yeah.

    That's that. If you hate it then I guess you can yell at me in the comments. I won't care because I'm probably not going to change my mind about this.

    Cool luvya bye.

  6. To those whom it may concern:

    I wasn't planning on making a sequel to this post. Frankly, I didn't think there was much else to say.

    But then I was reading What If? 2 by Randall Munroe. This is not a paid promotion or an advertisement, but GO FRIGGIN READ IT. And the first one, for that matter. In one of the sections, he brings up in a footnote that the distance light travels in one nanosecond is roughly 11.8 inches: a distance, he notes, that is "frustratingly close to a foot," and then jokingly proposes we redefine the foot to exactly one light nanosecond.

    So of course I'm going to do that right here and now.

    First up, we need the speed of light. 299,792,458 m / s: a frighteningly strange number. In most science classes you'll round it to 300,000,000; or 2.99e8 if you aren't a casual.

    Next, we need to convert that to feet. I totally did this completely be hand and didn't use google converters to get 983,571,056.43045, which I'm going to round to 983,571,056 to give the future generations something to complain about.

    There we have the speed of light per second in feet; but we need to crunch it down to one nanosecond. To do that all you need to do is shift the decimal up nine slots, giving us about 0.9835... feet. I used another handy-dandy calculator series of hand calculations to get roughly 11.802 inches.

    Wonderful! We've successfully proven that Mr. Munroe was correct. Now we can move along to the cooler bits.

    So what happens if we redefine the foot to exactly one light-nanosecond?

    Well, my friends.

    The foot would go from how we know it today

    to just about almost as big as we know it today.

    In other words, I need a visual. Unfortunately, most paper isn't quite a foot on the long edge, so I found a 6-inch notecard instead (and completely on accident, too. I was planning on scaling one foot down to an inch but got lucky).

    So here's six inches:

    IMG_5646.jpg.dae468e8ae54af579e4baf11d4842771.jpg

    Compared to how long six inches should be:

    IMG_5648.jpg.8924c10c1a92c06011b71528a4e8749c.jpg

     

    So what happens to our other units when we make this conversion?

    Well, everything (in the imperial system) becomes approximately 0.0165% smaller. If we kept the mile as 5280 feet (which is the worst number), then the length of it would change to about 5192 Old Feet (si).

    I looked up the new feet-to-meter conversion, hoping it would be a bit closer to a 3:1. Now instead of 3 feet making up 0.9144 meters, 3 feet makes up 0.899 meters; which is so close to just flat-out 0.9. This actually comes out surprisingly close to simply 35.5 New Inches (si) (it's roughly 35.406). For all intents and purposes, we could simply say a meter is "three feet minus half an inch," which is way better than "so, like... three feet? But... wait. Is it more or less? *Looks up conversion* okay, so... one meter is 39.37 inches. So like... three feet plus three point three inches, I guess? Or maybe three point four... I dunno."

    So we did it, right?

    hahahahahahahahahahaha

    hahaha

    no

    No, there are more units in the Imperial System that we use all the time.

    Okay, but, for the record, I won't be going into all of them. If you want to, go ahead and multiply them by 0.9835. By all means, go redefine the "chain" and the "furlong" or whatever the heck a "twip" is. It's a bit more complicated to convert units of area and volume, so I'm going to go into those next.

    First up: the acre.

    This is defined as 4840 square yards, which is just about as unhelpful a number as it gets. It isn't even a perfect square: it's roughly 69 (nice) point 5701 yards across, assuming we have a perfectly square acre. That makes 208.71 Old Feet (si), or 2504.52 Old Inches (si) on edge, which are both numbers we can plug our handy-dandy converter onto. We get a brand-new acre side of 205.2666 Old Feet (si), or 68.4222 Old Yards (si). Squaring that, we get 4681.597 square yards for one acre.

    I was wrong. That number is just about unhelpful as it gets.

    But we'll get to fixing that later. Next up we have our primary unit of volume in imperial: Fluid Ounces. These are how we define pints, quarts, and gallons... and also "gills," apparently. A fl oz is roughly 1.7339 cubic inches, which is awful. Fortunately, it's still just math, and -

    WAIT! FADRAN!

    We can't just change the definition of a fluid ounce that easily!

    Why's that?

    Because it's defined by one 160th of a gallon, or how much space ten gallons of water takes up! If you changed the fluid ounce, you'd have to change literal friggin water: another near constant of the universe!

    Hrm. You're right of course, me.

    Of course I am.

    And beautiful.

    Oh, shut up. *Blushes*

    So now we've stumbled upon a new dynamic: fixing other imperial units of measurement. We've completely redone single-dimension units, but from what we've seen so far it's probably for the best that we do two and three-dimensional measurements individually as well.

    Let's go back to the acre real quick. It's a unit of area, which means it can be defined in terms of squares. That means that we should probably find a perfect square that's pretty close to current definition and go from there. Currently it's 4640 square yards, so we want to be in the high-ish 4000s ballpark. I looked up a list of perfect squares and apparently there's a perfectly good 4624 that we can use, or 68 * 68.

    I was curious as to how this stacked up in terms of Old Feet - y'know, to know how much the farmers have to re-measure their fields or whatever. 4640 Old Yards squared is... well, 4640 Old Yards squared. I don't really know how to visualize that. The same goes for 4624 New Yards squared, which comes out to roughly 4472.66688 Old Yards squared.

    That's quite a way's off, isn't it? Nearly two hundred (old) yards squared.

    So I went to the next perfect square. 4761. If we make the New Acre 4761 New square Yards, then it comes out to about 4605.183 Old Yards squared. Now we're only off by about 35 Old Yards squared, which I personally think is a great improvement

    But that's not all.

    Because you see

    4761

    is

    Spoiler

    69 * 69

    Spoiler
    Spoiler
    Spoiler

    Nice.

     

     

     

    So now we have to worry about gallons and pints and quarts and scud. Now, many of you should argue that we should just stick to metric units of volume instead of imperial. After all, one cubic millimeter of water (or "millileter") equates to EXACTLY one gram.

    Here's why you're wrong.

    One gram is not some magic number. It, as much as anything else, is a contrived unit. Now you might argue that one mole of a given element gives you its atomic weight in grams, and therefore the unit is still superior: but you're wrong AGAIN. You FOOL. I mean, look at Avagadro's Constant! 6.02214076×10^23? Do you call that clean? No! It, as much as anything else, is completely contrived. The gram is not magically equal to "exactly" something of something.

    Basically what I'm saying is that you can't hate on gallons for being "ten pounds of water," because a pound is just as arbitrary a number as a kilogram is. Are the numbers associated with it worse? Yes. Is the metric system still way more useful in every situation ever? Of course! But that's as far as the superiority goes: both systems are still completely arbitrary.

    'Course, the gallon was defined back in the 1800s. It needs some fixing, most likely.

    For y'alls information, the gallon was defined first in 1824 as the volume ten pounds of room temperature water takes up (room temperature so that it hasn't expanded or contracted; ten because that's a good number). It was then quartered into - you guessed it - a quart, which was in turn halved into a pint. A fluid ounce is 1/20th of a pint (and a gill is 1/4 of a pint). A gallon is 160 pints. 

    What this means is that we probably shouldn't change it, on second thought. It's based almost entirely on constants outside of the rest of the imperial system: and good constants at that.

    But I was curious, so I started by figuring out how many New cubic Inches an Old Gallon would be. Wikipedia tells me a gallon is 277.42 cubic inches (correct to five significant figures). That means 6.519768931 inches on edge. Plug in our converter and BAM: 6.41436427437 inches on edge, or 263.913 cubic inches. Personally I think that "almost 264" is better than "277 and a half-ish." Still... it isn't that great a number.

    It was then that I realized there was something else we could change in order to make ourselves a cleaner gallon:

    The definition of a pound

    because hoo boy is this one stupid.

    Take a good look at this:

    • Currently, a pound is officially known as an "avoirdupois pound."
    • It is equal to 0.45359237 kg.
    • It's also equal to 16 avoirdupois ounces. What is an avoirdupouis ounce? Arbitrary, is what it is.

    We can do better. But where to start?

    I decided to reverse-engineer this one. There isn't jack scud we can do about water's density (and believe me; people have tried), so let's use that. A gallon is roughly equivalent to 4.54609 Liters. That's pretty close to a better number: let's go from there.

    Let's redefine a gallon to 4.5 Liters. That's a good number.

    Next up we take how much water can fit in that (4.5 kilograms) and divide that by ten.

    A pound is now 0.45 kilograms.

    Math is fun!

    The New Gallon (si) is 274.607 Old Inches, or ~270.1 (270.0759845) New Inches. Much cleaner!

    Let's review:

    • The Foot has been redefined to "1 Light Nanosecond."
    • All one-dimensional units of measurement are reduced by 0.0165%, or to 0.9835 times their original size.
    • We overhauled the Acre, making it 4761 New Yards squared.
    • The gallon has been redefined to 4.5 liters. The pound has been redefined alongside it to 0.45 kilograms.

    Everything is better.

     

     

    :wub:VOTE FADRAN FOR 2022 PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL BEREAU OF WEIGHTS AND MEASURES:wub:

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    Hello, and welcome to my blog! I’m Trutharchivist, your rambler for today. And I want to talk about a specific point in the history of Judaism: the Age of Enlightenment onward, to this very day.

    I include about two or three centuries in the last period in the history of Judaism, because I think that some topics which rose at this era are still points of argument to this very day. At first, I thought to write on it all in one essay; then I realized that it’s going to be too much to talk about, so I decided to divide it to multiple essays, about Enlightenment, Haskalah and Reform, about the more inner religious world - Chassidus, Musar and Yeshivos, and about Zionism, Anti-Zionism and Secularity. This is the one about the direct effects of the Enlightenment on Judaism, starting from the Haskalah, with the next one probably being on how it led to Reform Judaism and different reactions to it.

    I can probably assume you all know what the Age of Enlightenment was about; but for my own sake, and for the sake of those who don’t know, I’ll try to explain. 

    It was an era, around the 17th-18th century, It was for a couple of centuries that modern printing existed and knowledge was relatively cheaper, free for everyone. This allowed more people to learn, and as something of a side effect, it caused equal rights to be given to many minorities, including Jews. 

    The thing is, up until then the Jews were generally secluded. They lived in neighborhoods of their own - ghettos, if you will; this is merely the Italian term for it, the negative associations came relatively late. They mostly spoke their own language - Yiddish or Hebrew - and worked in semi-autonomous communities, though they did have some contacts with the general population. The Enlightenment, and the Emancipation that came with it, changed that. Or, well, the possibility of emancipation. We’ll get to that. Anyway, some Jews, probably those with contacts in the government or the general non-Jewish population, joined the flow of knowledge and learned general science and philosophy. In time, those Jews became the Haskalah Movement - a movement bent on causing Jews to learn more about things outside the Torah. One such person, a prominent member of the Haskalah movement, was Moses Mandelssohn.

    Madelssohn was a German Jew, and a great philosopher at his time; he conversed with many gentile philosophers, won awards - surpassing Immanuel Kant for a prize, one time. He got special permission from the king to live in Berlin - and yes, most Jews didn't have this right this easily, sadly. He was also a G-d fearing Jew, well appreciated by at least some of the rabbis of his era.

    The thing is, though, in all that fame and renown and contacts with gentile philosophers... Well, he was somewhere in between, sometimes a complete outsider to the people he discussed with; a great example for this is the Lavater incident.

    Johann Kaspar Lavater was a Swiss Christian theologian who met Mandelssohn and discussed with him about his opinion on Jesus. Then, one day, he sent him a book of evidence on the truth of Christianity and asked him to either disprove the claims of the book or to convert to Christianity. Mandelssohn found himself trapped; if he'd prove Christianity wrong, it wouldn't do well with the people surrounding him, who were mostly Christians; if he'd refuse to dispute the book's claims, it will seem like Judaism has no answer; in short, Lavater has pushed him to the corner. His reply to that was a public letter, in which he says (among other things) that he thinks that one can appreciate the wisdom of another without trying to convert him. But a point has been made: it is hard for a Jew to both stay true to his religion and converse with Christian scholars.

    One more point I'd like to make, in relation to Mandelssohn, is what in the end became his legacy: a translation of the Torah (the Pentateuch) to the German language. He started on this project for various reasons: one, that Christian translations were bound to be Christian in nature, and unfitting for Jews as a result; two, that most Jews at the time studied a Yiddish translation of the Torah, which he saw as an unfitting language for its complexity; and three, to help Jews get closer to the general German culture by helping them learn German.

    Moses Mandelssohn was a great Jewish scholar and philosopher; he had a few things to say both about the Jewish Halacha and about philosophy, but he's remembered the most due to his translation. Remembered - and sometimes despised for it. You see, it worked; it did get Jews to learn German and be better integrated to the general culture. But it also had a negative impact on the religion. More on that later.

    The Haskalah movement, because of the aforementioned gap between Judaism and general society, adopted the motto "be a Jew at your home, and a person outside". All that was bound to cause a problem.

    Most of what I wrote so far is about Germany. This is because it was a huge center of enlightenment. Similar things happened in France, and to a lesser extent in easter Europe, in countries like Poland, Ukraine and Russia; in the Muslim countries - like North Africa, the Ottoman Empire and Yemen - the effects were less immediate, due to the Enlightenment being a European movement. It reached them via colonialism and education centres funded by European Jews, instead, and that actually made the Jews the enlightened people of this area, thus avoiding the gap the European Maskilim fell into. The Yemen Jews who accepted the Haskalah ideas mostly just estranged themselves from Jewish mysticism; the Jewish community in Babbel - Iraq of today - first accepted a school funded by French Jews, only to find out about the negative impact it had religiously and stop sending their children there. The North African Jews received French citizenship far easier than the Muslims around them, and many of them went to live at France at some point, though I don't know how they reacted to the ideas of the Haskalah.

    That will be it for today, I'm afraid. I planned on talking about much more, but I delayed quite a lot in delivering in my promise. So this is the first chapter in the series, I don't know how many more I will post.

  7. Chapter 37

    Felt like this resonated with the previous chapter of wanting the world to make sense. Kal  expresses this to his mother. To understand everything.

    Also Lirin's perspective to how he feels  responsible towards the city, to the people really resonates with Kaladin's duty to his bridgemen. They're his. Despite how they feel about him. he can't leave them to rot and die.

    The mansion act was quite intense. Massive respect to Lirin. Also proud that Kal stood up for himself, however unfortunate that Laral couldnt take his side, though understandably so.

    The truth is out, Kal discovers his father is a thief. An unfaithful act for the greater good. Lirin is devastated that its out in the open for Kal to see.

    Funny enough, seeing his father fight Lighteyes with words alone, with wit, makes him change his path to go to Khabranath. Not sure if its for the right reasons, but I kinda get it.

     

    Chapter 38


    Even at death's door, Kaladin is dabbling with his surgeon knowledge.

    We start to get a bit more out of Teft. He never answered who he was, only that he gave away hints of being a solider of sorts. Here we see him question some idea. Asks "why here?"

    The Envisagers had stories for what is happening to Kal, apparently. And Teft would have his last test to see if it was true.

    It was.

    In that moment, when Kal absorbs stormlight to slowly heal a bit of himself, it shaked Teft to his core. This explains all the previous sphere moments with Kal. How they were always dun, and why he gets surges of strength during runs. Whatever Kal is, Teft wasn't ready for it.

    And the Envisagers. They're gone, because of Teft.

    Who are you Teft?

     

    Chapter 39

    Shallan's anxiety and frustration are at a high. The previous stunt by Jasnah has not escaped her mind. Despite her ability to "capture" scenes, this was burned into her. And no matter how much she drew, it would not escape her mind. Apparently she did what Jasnah has asked of her, to read up on philosophies, and make up her mind on the act. The books agreed with Jasnah, however Shallan did not.

    She felt sick that she witnessed such an action, and that she stole the soulcaster. The chapter hints that she has a concealed weapon. Which is followed with her sketch of a scene burned into her mind. Not Jasnah's murder, but perhaps her own. In Jav Keved. With whom I suspect is her father. It states theirs blood around his corpse, so perhaps she did not use (This is just my theory its not confirmed) her shardblade. Perhaps he had one, and his death gave her a shard?

    Whatever it is, she is haunted by the guilt of Jav Keved. Perhaps her mind is finding ways to stay away from it? Perhaps that's why she was so keen on pursuing Jasnah. However she can't get rid of that guilt. She will have to face it one day, and we will discover what it truly is.

    Shallan discovers symbiosis while in her time out in the garden.

    Her attempts at the soulcaster were funny lol.

     

    Chapter 40

    Oh man, a bittersweet chapter.

    Kal's back in shape.. After 10 days only. It should have taken him much longer, if he was naturally healed, but he wasn't. Others might notice that.

    The team seemed to be in great shape despite him not leading. That was reassuring.

    He still questioned the war. It all seemed pointless. Yes, revenge and all, but it's all just so greed driven. It also shed light that the Parshendi never fought a war as big as this before. They seem to be dwindling, but Sigzil suggests they use the gemhearts for their own soulcasters. Who knows, they own shardblades, whats to stop them from having soulcasters too.

    Sigzil speaks quite a lot this chapter and finally makes Kal realize the true purpose of bridgemen. Finally after 40 chapters, he sees it. They are bait.

    I'm really curious where Syl goes from time to time. It seems important.

    The men seem happy, joyful. Eating and laughing together, even giving Rock a gift, a razor for his beard. But Kal is slowly going back to the man he was at the chasm. We're slowly coming back to ground one. His depression, his hopelessness will return, knowing that he can't save them if they're bait.

    Sigzil apparently attempted murder, possibly under his "masters" direction, but failed, and he is now here. He seems interesting. A lot of knowledge, he also knows a far away place called Marabethia, and apparently there exists greatshells that swim? That's really cool.

    Eyes of red and blue, a false hope for the Marabethian criminals. It was the same for Kal, he gave them false hope for a better future, despite their ends as bait for the army. He hated himself for not knowing an alternative, but Sigzil seems to understand, calling Kal a healer. A false hope for a happier life.

    But he couldn't carry those false hopes for long.

     

    Chapter 41

    Lirin states that somebody has to start. To step forward and do what's right. I feel this echoed Dalinar's current arc, of wanting to unify the people, and stop the needless war. However Kaladin also ponders on the morality of killing Roshone. His father seemed to have wanted to kill him during the operation, however didn't. He knew he was not a killer, and his morality, his sense of duty forbade him. This bit also acts as a companion to Shallan's current struggles with Jasnah. I don't know, that's just what I felt at least.

    However Kaladin shares Jasnah's idealism in this moment. Some people ought to be removed.

     

    Chapter 42

    Jasnah declares Shallan to be incorrect. It was funny to be honest. Shallah puts out her reasoning to condemning Jas, but she simply deflects it, however respects it.

    And now she's hearing voices... Could it be her taxed mind.. the soulcaster.. Or those spindly figures she sketched earlier.

    Urithiru.. Voidbringers.. What are you trying to find Jas? Is there something the historians have missed?

    I myself am trying to piece a small puzzle to what the Voidbringers were. They're so cryptic, and so far I have nothing other than they were a force rather than a being. If that makes sense.

    Oh brother, Kabsal's quite flirtatious. Very flirtatious.

    It's quite disheartening to witness Kabsal wanting to leave it all behind for Shallan, while Shallan has to leave everything here and go back home.

    Though they are playful, I sense tragedy with Kabsal. Perhaps at odds with what he truly wants.

     

    Chapter 43

    God, it's really painful to see Kal go back to being empty.

    Theirs new command with the bridgemen, and Bridge four got the worst out of it. Permenant chasm duty. Sadeas isn't happy with this "miracle" and wants Kal dead as fast as possible.. God what I would give to see Kal fight Sadeas right about now.

    Apparently Syl helped kill men before... interesting.

    His darkness is reflecting towards the team. He's very moody and Teft notices it.

    During Teft poking at Kal, he drops hints at Radiant teachings. After he brings up a motto, Sigzil sparks a crowd discussion about them. A lot of criticisms and hate were thrown at the Lost Radiants as they were, but this bothered Teft. He might have looked up to them in the past, for he scolds them for bickering about the Radiants. Calls the histories to be possibly inaccurate.

    Sigzil talks about a group of Yulay people wanting the return of the Radiants. Maybe this is connected to the group Teft was a part of?

    But at the darkness of the chasm, Syl's small light blazed the fires of hope again. Life before death. They were still alive. He didn't fail yet.

    He gave them spears and now it was time to fight, not for the army, but for themselves.

     

    Chapter 44

    Ah it gets worse, this hurts.

    Its the weeping. The world is dull. Kaladin is on the roof, just being. Not doing anything. Then he's visited by Tien, who brings sunshine with him. What a lad. He's adorable. And a really good craftsmen.

    Their mother also joins in, and they engage in a what she calls "Feasting on irregularity". Wholesomeness on the roof. A peaceful hour.

    Until it wasn't.

    The armies come, with Amaram himself, and it's time for collecting soldiers. Unfortunately there wasn't enough volunteers, so they used a list made by Roshone himself.. The last name shocked the entire square. He chose Tien, to spite Lirin. Revenge for the death of his own son.

    It was haunting, painful and tragic to see Tien lose all of his shine and innocence. He was petrified. And because of this pity tactic, it changed the course of everything. Kal's past incidents finally came to light here. He had to be brave, like his father. He stood up and joined the army to protect Tien, to be with him.

    This destroyed the family... Two of their sons gone to war, but Tien thanked Kaladin.

    It sucks, it just does. Roshone will marry Laral to secure favor. He will destroy Kal's family over his grudge.

    Despite his father's rage, due to losing two of his sons, Kal promises he will return with Tien.

    Lirin really gave off the vibe that he would have murdered Roshone right there and then if Amaram didn't hold him back.

    It's just dreadful to go from such a happy vibe with the roof scene, to this tragedy.

    I wonder if his parents are alive in the present. Could he face them, despite breaking his promise?

     

     

     

     

  8. Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers.

    Endnote
    I’ll admit I don’t really get this ketek. I’m going to have to think about it for a bit. It’s disturbing that it’s written by El, who in this case is noted to be a/the “Fused scholar of human art forms.”

    Is this endnote by Nazh? Who else would be collecting the keteks and writing commentary about singer interpretation of Alethi poetic styles? The typeface isn’t different, so we can’t positively identify it as Nazh by handwriting, like we can on the maps etc. 
     

    Ars Arcanum
    There is a disappointing absence of new information about fabrials in the Ars Arcanum. This being Navani’s book to shine and demonstrate her engineering, not to mention the discoveries regarding tuning investiture to different tones or rhythms, I would have expected an expansion of that section. 

    Everything else looks the same, with the exception of Stoneshaping. Even the Soulcasting entry looks identical to past versions, if my memory holds. I’ll need to do a careful comparison to actually be sure.

    As for Stoneshaping, Khriss makes comparisons to microkinesis from Yolen (which we only know of through WoB, none of it canon yet) and discusses Intent. Nothing that really stands out to me, honestly, except for the contrast between Soulcasting and Stoneshaping in their ease of manipulating stone. That part’s got to come down to spren, though. 

    The discussion of willingness, connection, and command feel basic, and I’ll need to think about how they apply (or not) to other systems if I’m going to figure out what Brandon is trying to convey here.

    She does note that Nazh is being embedded with the Stonwards. I wonder if I missed a cameo from him in this book.
    And “Foil, deep within his ocean,” is apparently a scholar with competing hypotheses to Khriss. He is seeking control of the aethers, so there’s our Aether of Night connection. I don’t recall if we’ve encountered this name before. 

     

    And that's the end! Thank you for joining me.

    I'll make a retrospective post soon to wrap up the whole liveblog experience.

  9. Hello frens! I have returned with some random ponderings, a life update, and some cute doggo pictures. 

    Life update first! I turned in my research paper Thursday, and now I have free time! It feels slightly weird. I’ve been able to spend more time on discord, as well as more time writing and editing cytoverse articles on the coppermind. It’s been a crazy week, what with Brandon’s video. 

    Spoilers for Brandon’s announcement video, just in case 

    Spoiler

    I’m debating wether or not to read the pre-readings and such and engage in discussion. (I’ve already read the first book’s first five chapters) On one hand, it would be fun to be surprised, (though I’d see the title anyway, from working on the coppermind). But on the other hand, I’d enjoy filling up the long wait with fun discussion and theorizing. I think I may just read all the pre-release stuff for SP 1, 3, and 4, since the spoiler discussion for #2 will be kept seperate.

    Doggos first!

    Spoiler

    My funky little pupper, Sammy, is back again

    3423FB74-6C55-4DCE-93B9-715C00B49FBA.thumb.jpeg.155a9dc5e0c0c02e2cb14858217d362f.jpeg

    57D05B30-C8C8-42D8-BA2F-0F774AC21C03.thumb.jpeg.1f14d1c6fd4f5bbbd87c84ab1a5e488a.jpeg

    Here’s two of my piano teacher’s doggos

    289B1433-9627-456A-AA9E-ABB8323BD400.thumb.jpeg.0396ae2f5d1356a961382dd90b557c38.jpeg

    090D1DD9-FD2D-42FF-A299-6F8D7486DEF4.thumb.jpeg.da3275a877b67213241385577dd264c0.jpeg

     

    I also have this random poem that I found and enjoyed

    CEC414D3-8AD8-41BE-B108-C2AC0C67AB39.thumb.jpeg.a1b2693862c9d55af79c18b2f744847c.jpeg

     

    So now for some random thoughts:

    1) It’s better to puke in the sink than to sink in the puke.

    2) I find it strange how my opinion on sleep has changed as I’ve grown older. When I was a lil kid, I had plenty of opportunity to sleep, with an early bed time, but I didn’t want to sleep. When I was around 14 ish, I had time to sleep, and the desire to sleep a bunch, and was a typical early teen who slept a bunch. Nowadays, I’m 16, and I kind of want to sleep. However, I don’t have a bunch of time to sleep. Sometimes it’s that, or sometimes I just have a  bunch of stuff I want to get done. (Like editing on the coppermind, or writing, or reading). I kind of wish I did more with my time when I was like 10-14, and had a bunch more free time. Now I have tons of stuff I want to do, and not enough time to do it. 

    3) Gouda cheese is delicious, and goes good on ritz crackers

    4) Sardines are also delicious, and go amazingly with saltines. They may look gross, but they are delicious.

     

    Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day!

     

    9C31DFE5-FCB7-49C5-AF82-61507425F0C4.jpeg

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    Storms in the morning, but the rain stopped falling around the afternoon.

  11. ***** Warning: Rhythm of War spoilers below *****

    While working on some updates to our "Interactive Map and Timeline of Roshar" I came across something that intrigued me regarding Rosharan units for distance.

    EDIT: I'm coming back to this a few months later because I've just received my 2021 TWoK leatherbound and, to my surprise, the scale on the Alethkar map (referenced below) is gone. That's right. The original Alethkar map had a north arrow and a scale. The 2020 TWoK leatherbounds have the north arrow removed but the scale remains. Apparently they made some kind of last minute change that wasn't included in the 2020 printings because in the 2021 TWoK leatherbounds both the north arrow and the scale have been removed. Weird! (there's also a white shadow behind the text on the map, making the blue font stand out much brighter--that's actually the more noticeable difference)

    I'm leaving this entire post as-is. That scale was really the heart of my speculation below, but I'm not surprised it was apparently wrong. Turns out my first "final thought" below (I think the scale on the Alethkar map is probably just an oversight, and that it's wrong...) was dead on. :) The scale was our best reference to what a Rosharan mile might be, without that there's much less substance here.

    That said, I quoted a lot of references to miles in the text. So perhaps when I have some time I'll circle back and make some fresh guesses!

    Some background info first

    @Paleo was 600px-Taipei_centered_azimuthal_equidistant_projection.gifworking on a tool to measure distance on the map by clicking two points. In the process, we realized that the grid overlay we were using was not correct. @Otto Didact was the first to realize that our world map of Roshar is a "azimuthal equidistant projection", which is an interesting globe projection where all points are at a consistently proportional distance from a chosen center point. It is perhaps best well known for it's use in the United Nations emblem, where the North Pole is used as the center point. You don't have to use one of the poles as your center point, though that's the most common use. For example, the one on the right, centered on Taipei. It's a great projection to use for Roshar because the the central area of the map looks accurate, as if seen from space. The distortion is worse along the edges. Roshar conveniently has all of it's land in one corner of the globe, so the distorted parts (of the full map) are off in the middle of the sea on the other side of the planet. The map we get in the books of course is just a cropped portion of the full projection.

    Anyways... We were looking into this distance measurement tool and realized the calculated coordinates for points toward the edges of the map didn't match up with the grid we were using. Oops! Conveniently, Oathbringer came with a beautiful map of Roshar that included the planet's grid. We just need to adjust things to match this map. And come to find out not only was our grid wrong, but the calculations weren't quite matching the Oathbringer grid either. We never did figure out what was wrong with the grid, so we'll have to make a new one from scratch. As for the calculations, it turns out we needed to pick a better center point. It's hard to say precisely what the center point of the projection should be. The IDEA behind the projection, is that a great circle passing through the center coordinate will appear on the projection as a straight line. We know the center point must be on the "prime meridian" of the map, because it's the meridian that appears as a straight line, but we don't know the right latitude. I used my globe of Roshar to draw great circles through different latitudes on the "prime meridian", and then sketched horizontal lines across the map looking for a match. Through this I found that the center point must be somewhere around 16 or 17 Rosharan degrees south of the equator. Paleo realized that 16 Rosharan degrees is the center point of the image file, so we went with that.

    Distance Discrepancy

    I've used my globe, linked above, to measure distances in the past... But I was never entirely sure of how accurate my projection for the globe was. (plus we realized the globe website wasn't quite calculating distance right through this) After working through everything above, I was quite confident with what we had. Our new grid, calculated mathematically was a pretty solid match to the one used on the Oathbringer map. We know the circumference of the planet is about 22,110 miles. So we should have distance measurements that are as accurate as possible.

    With that done, I wanted to check something that I've always wondered about.... The Map of Alethkar in The Way of Kings has a scale on it. So I was curious if our measurements would match this scale. I wasn't expecting it to match actually, because I've been under the impression that the scale was wrong. There is a new version of this same map in Oathbringer, and it has the scale removed. That has given me the impression the last few years that they were retconning some map details. Indeed, the TWoK version also includes a "North" compass heading that conflicts with the Oathbringer world map, and which the OB Alethkar map also removed. Curiously, however, the 10th Anniversary TWoK leatherbounds DID remove the compass but DID NOT remove the scale. So I was curious about what's going on there... Is it right or wrong? An oversight? Something else?

    One problem right off the bat is that it's not clear how the scale is meant to be used. Alethkar covers a sizeable chunk of the planet's surface, so a single linear scale can't really be highly accurate for the entire map. So we have to realize there's some margin of error built in. But I did find that the map of Alethkar overlays quite nicely onto the Oathbringer map of Roshar. From there, it was very easy to count pixels on the world map and compare them to known distances. For the azimuthal equidistant projection that we have, any line radiating from the center point as a constant scale. So given the circumference of the planet, we know the distance from the center point at 16 Rdeg South to the intersection of the prime meridian and the equator. If we count the number of pixels on the image, we have our distance/pixel relationship. Now I can draw a straight line (or line segment) at any angle through the center point, count the number of pixels to figure what the distance is. Meanwhile I can overlay the Alethkar map and count the number of pixels for the scale (in the same map). Here's what I got:

    Roshar Map.png

    So the Alethkar map's scale was for a total distance of 300 units. Presumably miles. Presumably Rosharan miles I should say, because it's an in-world document, which I'll refer to as "Rmiles" from here on out for clarity. Note also my use off Rdeg for Rosharan degrees--they use 200 Rdeg in a circle.I should also note that the "22,110 mile circumference" that we have is NOT entirely clear whether that's Rosharan miles or "real" miles. I tend to get the feeling that they use real miles, internally, and so it's probably that. But we don't know. For all we know, the two are equivalent.

    Anyways, what I've done in the image above is mark 300 mile long line segments. We know these are accurate because that's simply how the projection works. And they DO NOT match the scale on the Alethkar map by a significant margin. In fact, I found the scale to be 95% longer. Almost double in length. So what do we make of this?

    The very first thing I should say is that this could simply be an error. There are WoBs which clearly indicate that Brandon and his team had NOT entirely nailed down the details of the world map at the time The Way of Kings was written. Isaac notes in that particular one that the continent is 4000 miles across. It's currently at ~6400 miles across if measured through the center point. Depends where you measure from exactly, but it's definitely more than 4000 miles now. The scale WAS included in the leatherbound... but this could simply be an oversight. An error seems highly plausible to me.

    Rosharan Units of Distance

    But what if it's not an error? Then what do we make of this? You COULD take it as the discrepancy between "real" miles and Rosharan miles. What if the Alethkar map approximates 300 Rmiles while the segments I've drawn are just 300 real miles? Remember that the scale is... a bit ambiguous... The trick of measuring pixels like I did only works along lines radiating from the map's center point. The scale's pixel measurement that I did is not quite a radial line segment, and any measurements on the Alethkar map that are perpendicular to these radial lines will vary in consistency from left to right. That is to say, the scale of vertical measurements distorts as you move across the page from left to right. Where does the 300 mile scale apply? Unclear. But the margin of error shouldn't be SO far off. I'd be surprised if it's more than +/- 5%.

    So let's run with this notion that Rosharan miles are about 1.95 times the length of a real mile...

    1 Rmile = 1.95 miles = 1.95 x 5280 feet = 10,296 feet.

    I can't help but notice how close this is to a metric-like multiple of 10 as we would expect from Rosharans. Indeed, we know that they use ten inches per foot. Or rather, I should say they use 10 Rinches per Rfoot. And for the number of feet per mile we're really more interested in Rfeet per Rmile. BUT we know that Rosharan feet are just a BIT longer than real feet, and Brandon's use of the word isn't meant to imply something highly unintuitive. This is pretty straight forward though. If we imagine 10,000 Rfeet per Rmile we get:

    1 Rmile = 1.95 miles = 1.95 x 5280 feet = 10,296 feet = 10,000 Rfeet

    1 Rfoot = 1.03 feet = 12.36 inches = 10 Rinches

    1 Rinch = 1.24 inches

    In Khriss's essay on Roshar she DOES say that their units of measurement are larger than the cosmere standard equivalent units. And with these assumptions it's precisely what we get. Miles that are about twice as long as "normal". Feet that are perhaps something like 5% longer than "normal". (which matches this WoB--5% on top of 6'-4" adds 4 inches) Inches that are ~25% longer than "normal". (emphasizing once again that this is all very approximate, based on me measuring pixels on a world map... There's room for some variance.

    Textual Issues

    Unfortunately, there are a few references in the text that conflict a bit with this interpretation. BUT there is one that, in my opinion, affirms it. And it's possible that these references could be adjusted in future leatherbound versions as none of them are in TWoK.

    Quote

    TWoK Interlude I-1

    The Purelake extended in all directions, hundreds of miles wide, its glassy surface perfectly transparent.

    The Purelake is a little over 1000 miles across and 400 miles wide. For 2X long Rmiles, that would be 500 and 200, so this fits nicely.

    Quote

    WoR 69

    “Actually, I’m wondering how the trunk of a stumpweight tree got here,” she confessed. “They can’t possibly be native to this area of the Shattered Plains. Too cold out here. It might have grown along the coast, but a highstorm really carried it that far? Four hundred miles?”

    For 2X Rmiles, it looks like the eastern coast is only 150 Rmiles away. Could say Shallan's sense of geography is off... but with her photographic memory I think this is pretty unlikely.

    Quote

    OB 5

    Perhaps he could have flown all the way to Hearthstone if he'd been more practiced with his powers. As it was, he’d traveled over a thousand miles in half a day, but this last bit—ninety or so miles—had taken an excruciating three days.

    The distance from Narak to "not quite Hearthstone" looks to be about 1700 miles. That would only be about 850 Rmiles. Though maybe Kaladin's judge of distance just isn't quite right. Or maybe with error it's just barely over 1000 Rmiles.

    Quote

    OB 55

    Soon after he left through the Oathgate, everyone would slowly start to lose their powers. They’d be gone in an hour or two. Kaladin had to be relatively near—Sigzil had placed their maximum distance from him at around fifty miles, though their abilities started to fade somewhere around thirty miles.

    This one actually AFFIRMS the idea of 2X Rmiles in my opinion.

    I'm measuring the diameter of the Shattered Plains as about 170... The exact edges aren't clear, so it depends where you measure from. But it's definitely over 150 miles. That means the radius is 75 miles minimum. In the Words of Radiance finale, we see Lopen's arm heal back in the warcamps while Kaladin is presumably somewhere around Narak. Lopen was easily more than 50 miles away, and certainly more than the 30-mile limit where their powers supposedly diminish.

    But for 2X Rmiles, the Shattered Plains has a radius of perhaps about 40 Rmiles, give or take. That fits MUCH better with Lopen's healing. I'd go so far as to say that if this "theory" about Rosharan miles is wrong, this reference is an error.

    Quote

    OB 64

    “If you’ll all excuse me, I have to prepare for an appointment with an emperor a thousand miles away.”

    This is Dalinar going to visit Azir.

    Azir is less than 800 miles from Urithiru, so he's just plain wrong about that distance regardless. Though I suppose overestimating 800 miles would be more reasonable than for him to say "a thousand" when it's only ~400.

    Quote

    OB 83

    “The Shattered Plains ?” Yokska asked, aghast. “But Brightlord, that’s hundreds and hundreds of miles!”

    This is correct either way.

    Quote

    OB 93

    “I didn’t know of those until Kal told me about them. I used a portal between realms. Cultivation’s Perpendicularity, they call it. On your side, it’s in the Horneater Peaks.”

    “That’s hundreds of miles from here,” Adolin said.

    This is correct either way. (spoken from Shadesmar in the vicinity of Kholinar)

    Quote

    OB 108

    He looked back at her map and pointed. “Thaylen City,” he said. “If we continue this direction, we’ll eventually pass just north of it.”

    “ ‘Just north’ in this case meaning more than three hundred miles away from it, in the middle of a bead ocean.”

    [...]

    And the fact that they had to somehow escape from a ship in the middle of a sea of beads, reach the shore, then hike two hundred miles to reach Thaylen City.

    These distances seem to refer to real miles. The distance from Thaylen City to the coast of the bead ocean where they landed is about 200-300 miles. So this doesn't jive with 2X Rmiles.

    Quote

    DS 1

    Seeing him left her speechless. He lived thousands of miles away from her. How was he here? She stammered, searching for what to say.

    Reshi Isles is thousands of miles either way... Well, for 2X Rmiles it's not quite 2000 miles I think, but seems reasonable enough for her to say.

    Quote

    RoW 3

    Flying. It had worked. Not just in maneuvers and tests on the Shattered Plains, but on a real mission, flying hundreds of miles.

    Works either way.

    Quote

    RoW 27

    A thousand men at a time stood for their turn at the Oathgate, where Radiants transferred them to Azir. With a flash—a ring of light rising around the plateau—both men and banners were off, sent hundreds of miles in a heartbeat.

    Works either way.

    Quote

    RoW 111

    He was flying. Covering a hundred miles in less than half an hour.

    This is Dalinar flying from their base in Emul to Ishar. It's not entirely clear where teir base was (or precisely where Ishar was). I think this works either way though, eyeballing the area.

    Final Thoughts

    I think the scale on the Alethkar map is probably just an oversight, and that it's wrong...

    BUT I really like this idea for the units. I think it's safe to assume that a Rosharan foot must be similar in length to a foot. If Rosharan miles are supposed to be closer in length to miles, there's not a great way for Rmiles to be a 10X power of Rfeet. Again, assuming feet are fairly similar, using 1000 Rfeet per Rmile gives an unreasonably short Rmile. I think the best alternative idea is that they use 5000 Rfeet per Rmile. That means you just need Rfeet at 6% longer than a real foot to give Rmiles the length of miles. Increasing the foot size a bit more gives Rmiles a bit longer as well. Using a multiple of 5 like this has precedence in their units. We know that there are 50 Rosharan minutes in a Rosharan hour, rather than 100. So this seems reasonable... But using 10,000 Rfeet per Rmile is a really nice alternative that seems to fit with the scale on the Alethkar map!

    That said, there ARE definitely some quotes (mostly in Oathbringer) that would need some revisions if this is the intent. (and one that needs to be revised if it's not)

  12. AonEne
    Latest Entry

    I don't know why I made this entry. I wonder what its lifespan will be before blogs are killed. Chaos, Paleo, if you see this, I apologize for my randomness :D 

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    “Feel better” is something we’ve gotten used to saying to sick people. The meaning is clear: you are sick, and I hope you feel better.

    Let’s consider, for a moment, the implications of that phrase.

    ”Feel better” implies that one isn’t already feeling his best—and yet, aren’t we all feeling less than our best at all times? What would it even feel like to feel “best”? Would we even know? I don’t imagine such a thing is possible.

    Knowing that nobody is feeling his or her best should really give us freedom to be more flexible with that phrase. If nobody is feeling “best”, then it stands to reason that “feel better” is a universally applicable phrase.

    So I hope you feel better, friends—however you’re feeling now. 

  13. Social Media Total: 100% (2211/2211)
    Theoryland Review: 84% (997/1184)
    Events and Signings Review: 0% (0/397)

    Quote

    It'll be clear by September,

    So, turns out it was not clear by September. And it's not really clear by October, either. Such is life. But do have enough free time to get back on top of WoBs; Arcanum is completely up to date on the latest stuff, Theoryland review is well on its way to being done (I expect it will be completely done by the time Rhythm of War comes out), and I'm planning to use some of my eventual downtime to churn through the Events and Signings review by the end of the calendar year, if not sooner.

    In terms of the Theoryland review, I've got about fifteen WoBs so far I'm on the fence about; kinda vague or very slightly useful stuff that were initially excluded, and which I may or may not put into Miscellaneous events. They're mostly sentence-length excerpts from interviews that are mostly canned answers, and I need to do a little bit of work to see if we've got their topics covered sufficiently well. So you may see a little bump of really old stuff heading into Arcanum, soon.

    I'm intrigued to see how the release party events will go, in terms of work required. Previous signing tours would have quite a bit of audio, like 30-40 hours worth in total, but a very small fraction of that would be actual WoBs. But this format will encourage questions more so than a live signing; it's not like half the livestream "questions" will be "wow it's such an honor to meet you" like a real signing line would be. So the actual transcription work may take a lot longer.

    I'm excited to get this review completely done and be able to personally vouch for Arcanum to be comprehensive as possible. If you told me in 2017 that I'd still be working on this in 2020, I'd be like "wow what a slacker I turned out to be," which is kind of true. I'm looking forward to coming up with some new projects for myself once it's done, for sure. But for the time being, gotta finish up the old stuff, and the Rhythm of War release is a pretty good soft target for that. Don't think I'll make it, but that's okay. I'll have it done for sure by Stormlight Five.

  14. Here's a fun thing! On a whim, I decided to pull up my old Alleyverse scripts. They're.... baaaaaaad.

    Well, I mean, they're not terrible. Some of them are downright better than they have any right to be. Most of them are just plain half-baked or full of exposition or slightly nonsensical. Given it was my first set of scripts that I ever attempted, though, I guess they're good?

    They tend to get better over time, too, with the first three or so being really rough. Then 6 is actually pretty decent, though 7 lapses a bit into melodrama at a point. Don't ever get too cute, kids. 

    I didn't finish the series for a few reasons. One was some real-life obligations that ended up interrupting me; other projects became relatively more important, and I really didn't just have the time or mental energy. The series was also somewhat ballooning; my original plan of 10 episodes had already been extended to 12, and I was definitely thinking about needing to split it down further into 13. Given how I write, it probably would've just gotten longer and longer as I found my voice and the complexity of the whole thing had to be covered more and more.

    The show was also coming head-on to some pretty thorny questions that were... rather beyond the scope of a sequence of 20-page scripts. (The question of theology is trivial and is therefore left as an exercise to the reader. No, probably not.) I wasn't comfortable talking about those, at least not without a lot more discussion and being a much better writer.

    Finally, I knew the whole thing would need to get rewritten from the ground-up if I wanted it to be any good. So, bleh. The adaptation also significantly altered a few characters in a way that I later was less okay with; Drako in particular was significantly changed which I'm really no longer happy about. Mace was too, but Archer gave me the okay for that. (They're the best.) And Stenson was weird but I guess technically in the scope of creative liberty?

    Still! There's some really good moments in here. I'm basically still a fan of all of Episode 6 (a slightly off-base reference notwithstanding... young me, you are an idiot). Plus some other moments... where Stenson gets taken to the center of the city... and some I never got round to writing, where Caer [spoilers]. So, not entirely unsalvageable if someone is pretty brave.

    I'm going to try, at least, to find my plans for the future episodes. Or attempt to remember them. I remember some of it actually being pretty nice in my head.


    The whole thing is, basically, a very very loose adaptation of the first era. Emphasis on very. And loose. And adaptation.

    In addition, I took out all the explicitly fanfictiony stuff that is just 'here is thing from another work!' I always felt that the cool bits of the Alleyverse weren't the stolen magic systems or whatever, but the entirely original stuff; the 'lore', if you will. Some of it translated really well (some of the magic systems, for instance), and some of it didn't. The Warhammer issue kind of plagues Drako's character in a way that I still can't quite deal with in my head.

    I'm linking the whole sequence, warts and all. I didn't do anything to correct any mistakes (of which there are several, some I'm pretty sure were added by other people). Spelling or vocab or otherwise. Plus there's an alternate version of the first episode that I think I wrote to send to someone.

    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/142kzRuyKWMkoZuX9JEhTWMXPM3EaUiR5?usp=sharing All seven episodes.

    I had plans for a second series, too, based on the second era, with a very weird structure to accommodate the... scattered source material. But that was always more tentative.


    In the case you don't have time to read everything, here's a particularly interesting bit I found at the bottom of the very first doc. Modern comments in []. 

    This is the bit where I talk about what I did, what’s been changed, etc.

    My priorities for the adaptation go as follows (from most to least important):

    • Take out anything derivative
    • Tell a good story
    • Be faithful to the original

    Meta’s Three Laws of FFRP Adaptation.

    As a result, things have been changed.

    The most obvious: all the Sanderson stuff is taken out. Aons aren’t called aons, Elsecalling is a little different, all sorts of things. The Ghostbloods are called the Gilded Rose instead. Things like that. (Anything in bold still needs to be changed.)

    • Rashan and Caer are actually two different characters. (Hopefully that was obvious.) [This was for Plot reasons, as I recall. The original character does feel like two people shoved into one.]
    • Mace and Caer are friends. (Mace and Rashan will have a relationship closer to what happened during SDW.) [Don't quite remember why I worked it out like this but I'm pretty sure it was just so everything engineered together properly. Same as for previous.]
    • Drako and Storm are very different to their original counterparts. [You don't say.]
    • The Ghostblood split will be legitimate. [Because, uh, the plot literally makes no sense otherwise. I'm serious. What actually happened was mental.]

    Beyond that, all the major events will still take place. (Some actually happened in the pilot, or at least [sic] referred to briefly.)

    I’m thinking about moving Rhaizen’s assassination scene ahead of the meeting. It would start in media res, and all the other scenes would remain where they are. 

    Thoughts?

    Is the worldbuilding set up well? Is it accessible enough? Obviously there is still a big learning curve.

    I still don’t think the characters are distinct enough. Not a problem for Traceria, or Kalmar - with 16 (!) speaking roles it’s impossible to have everyone distinct - but it is something that needs to be tooled. [Did I really think you couldn't write 16 distinct characters? Like, at all? Hmmm.]

    The music reference is just a reference. Best-case scenario, someone would compose original music for the series. [Past me, you are an idiot.]

    Anyway. This was fun-slash-painful-slash-interesting to look at. Hopefully you enjoy reading!

    More content plausibly coming whenever, and implausibly coming soon.

  15. Here's less of a review of FMAB, but more of a character analysis on 3 of the show's most interesting protagonists. I would say, if you haven't watched this show, and want to go in entirely blind, there are some very mild general spoilers (Nothing specific). You have been forewarned.

    Spoiler

     

    Wyn Talks Anime:

    Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and Unorthodox Character Motivations

     

     

    When we discuss our favorite franchises or well beloved stories, we often point to things like good worldbuilding, streamlined plot, or powerful themes. But one thing that we consistently point to and continue to discuss even years after a story concludes are the characters. It would come as no surprise to anyone somewhat versed in fan discourse that two of the greatest contributors to these discussions are a character’s motivations and their character arcs. Within genre fiction, we often have archetypes for these sorts of things such as the ‘chosen one’ archetype common in early and middle era fantasy fiction. Now within manga, and to an extent anime, there is a genre called the Shonen manga, (literally meaning “Boy’s comic”) which often features a young male protagonist on a journey to ‘be the best/most powerful.’ Popular examples of typical modern shonen protagonists include Naruto, from the manga/anime of the same name; Deku, from My Hero Academia; and Goku, from Dragonball Z. However, within this world of shonen protagonists, a few stand out for their unorthodox motivations, Notably Edward Elric, Ling Yao, and Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.

    Edward Elric conforms to the Shonen Protagonist standards in many ways. He’s a young adolescent male with a unique affinity for his world’s magic system (alchemy), and a very single-minded goal. It is this goal and motivation that makes him so unique though- Edward Elric is attempting to atone. Edward Elric comes from somewhat standard anime origins, he has an absentee father (though at least, unlike some, he actually factors into the story), and has a somewhat idyllic childhood until the death of his mother. Ed, like any young child (age 11 at this point) is utterly distraught by this turn of events, and it leads him and his brother Alphonse on a dark path, where they break alchemy’s greatest rule. They attempt to resurrect their dead mother. This of course goes horribly wrong, and leads to Ed losing an arm and a leg, and his brother’s soul trapped inside an empty suit of armor. The events of this story begin several years after this point, with Ed and Al on a journey to discover the secrets of the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary alchemic concoction that might allow them to return to their original forms. 

    Atonement is not a motivation one sees very often for a main protagonist, particularly in anime. But part of what makes Ed so fascinating, is more than just his motivation, but the arc his character undergoes. How do you balance your desire to atone, with your own moral sensibilities? Which one outweighs the other? How often do you see a protagonist, particularly in a shonen, have their goals and what they want to attain actually challenged, and for good reason? How often is a protagonist shown that they’re going about this the wrong way? Edward Elric gets his beliefs challenged at every turn, whether it be his distrust of religion, or his faith in science, even his faith in alchemy. Of course this ends up entangling the protagonists in a plot that they must fight their way through, as is standard in shonen. The growth Ed goes through both due to his own internal struggle, and his quest to unravel the mystery of the Homunculi are huge contributors to what makes his arc so excellent.

    However, Edward Elric is not the only character with complex motivations in FMAB. He stands alongside perhaps one of my favorite characters in all anime- Roy Mustang. Roy Mustang is one of Fullmetal Alchemist’s primary side characters, and functions early in the show as a mentor for the Elrics as they navigate the intricacies of the “State Alchemists.” However he fairly quickly becomes a character in his own right, with one of the coolest alchemic abilities in the whole show (The ability to change air to fire). His motivations are a unique twist upon the shonen trope of ‘rising to the top’, by portraying Mustang as a jaded idealist, who has the desire to politically advance in order to once again, atone for past actions of both himself, and the whole military of Amestris. However, while a noble goal, Mustang is regularly shown to be willing to do more questionable things to achieve his aims than Edward. A point of reference for this would be the questionable morality/legality of his actions near the show’s conclusion. And it is a powerful heart wrenching moment once the protagonists and the viewers realize what achieving this goal will cost Mustang personally. Never before have I felt such sudden shifts in emotion regarding a character in a fictional work, as the audience can go from rooting for Mustang, to simply watching in horror in the space of a single episode. (Those of you who have seen the show will have some points of reference to what I’m referring to.) Yet despite all of this, Mustang remains a likeable character, with a noble goal.

    Ling Yao, on the other hand, takes morally grey to an insane level. Ling is a foreigner, from the superpower country of Xing, which is noted to lie just east of Amestris. He is one of the Emperor’s many children, who have been dispatched with a single goal- to find a source of immortality for the Emperor- With a promise of heirship for whomever should succeed. Ling’s character is defined by this ambition, and this desire. From the start, Ling is portrayed as a character who will go to whichever side will help him achieve his goals, and he certainly does not disappoint in that regard. He fills the role of a character much like Hondo Ohnaka in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Ling Yao is never really on anyone’s side, except his own. In this way he defies many of the expectations of a ‘rival/sidekick’ character. To compare him to perhaps the most applicable modern example of this archetype, Katsuki Bakugou from My Hero Academia. Bakugou spends much of the early show as a rival/antagonist for the main protagonist, Deku, yet he never feels as morally unpredictable as Ling Yao. Ling flits between sides in a way that the viewer understands, yet is continually surprising. And yet, despite the greyness of his character, he never stops feeling like a protagonist. 

    Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is full of characters with complex, unorthodox motivations compared to the standard for shonen manga, and for animated shows as a whole, whether they’re a 14 year old alchemist, a determined mechanic, an ambitious soldier, or two young heirs competing for the throne of a foreign land. There is a reason why Hiromu Arakawa’s manga and it’s 2nd adaptation are so well loved, and much of that can be attributed to characters who go above and beyond what the genre dictates, like Edward Elric, Ling Yao, and Roy Mustang

     

  16. Hey, so sometimes you post a theory and I comment on it, seemingly trying to dismantle it or saying I like it but then pointing out its faults.

    I understand how it might look and why you might find it annoying but please remember that just because I'm commenting on it and not simply saying that I agree with it doesn't have to mean that I'm opposing the theory. Just because I'm against it doesn't mean I'm trying to dismantle it. And absolutely none of them mean I'm trying to attack you personally.

    I will likely be putting your theory through the ringer but that doesn't mean I'm opposing it, otherwise I wouldn't also be providing corroborating evidences & support or put in my own observations to try to fill in the gaps, which you'll notice I often do. Most often, I'm just musing on the theories posted, commenting both on its strengths & weaknesses. If I'm commenting that's most likely because I'm enjoying thinking on your theory!

    We're all just trying to have some fun talking about the things we like here. Don't take it so seriously!

    I also often point out typos, which I understand can be annoying but they just kinda bug me! But okay, okay I'll stop. But I would prefer it if you spell things correctly in the Title Posts. I'm not talking about normal English words, we're not all native English speakers, mistakes happen, it's fine. I'm talking about the fantasy terms, I know this seems really weird, but the thing is that if you use a misspelling in the title, that just makes it harder to find your topic in the future unless I remember exactly how you spelled it. That being said, I won't bug you about it.

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    Ok so, this is being written as I'm listening to Revolver, which I must say is somewhat of a shift from their earlier work. Everything before it was somewhat similar, but not in a bad way. For some reason, certain songs reminded me of surf guitar instrumentals which I will occasionally listen to when I'm not in the mood for my usual playlist or my soundtrack music playlist. But I digress. Now, I've not listened to the Beatles much before this point (I know, I'm a heretic) but I definitely prefer Revolver over Rubber Soul. Both are good, but I like most songs on Revolver more so than on Rubber soul. 

    More to come (maybe)

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    Zelly
    Latest Entry

    Update #1: 

    What's good! Well, I'm good at getting enough sleep and drinking water.   My lunches and dinners were prepped, calorie counted, filling, and delicious, so yay. :D

    What's...so-so! So some exercise has been accomplished.  One strength workout and one yoga workout (yoga is crazy ya'll, I had sore muscles I didn't know existed). And went running!

    What's not so good! There is junk food everywhere. :o  Helped out at church Sunday night, they provided pizza for dinner. Only had one slice and no dessert, so I was okay with it.  Went to work on Monday, they had a potluck lunch.  I shouldn't have even gone to the room where it was, I had no reason to go there.  I told myself I was only going to look (my own lies are so ridiculous, why do I believe them???).   Didn't do too bad, had a few cheese cubes and veggies.  Then today.  Today there were boxes of free donuts at work. :(  I broke bad, ate not one, but two.  *mad at self :angry:*

  17. The Aquaman trailer that dropped a couple of days ago was great. I really, really, really look forward to this movie. The casting looks great, and I like a lot of the visuals (some of them feels unpolished though, so I hope James Wan uses the time he has got left before release to its fullest). 

    I wish we could see more of the villains though. I think both Orm and Black Manta has got potential and would love to see a bit more of them. I like what we have gotten on both Arthur and Mera though, so I have faith in that the movie will deliver on the other characters as well. 

    So, I think DC might have another good movie here, which hopefully makes them happy. Their universe won’t be in less of a mess though: what they need is good structure, and Aquaman, no matter how good, or how many sharks he throws, can help them there. 

    Linn to the trailer, if anyone missed it, or just wants to see it again:

     

  18. LUNA
    Latest Entry

    Prompt: A Genie offers you one wish, and you modestly wish to have a very productive 2017. The genie misunderstands, and for the rest of your life, every 20:17 you become impossibly productive for just 60 seconds.

     

     

    “Well, it was a nice day.” You kiss your sweetheart gently on the forehead and sigh as the last remaining seconds of 20:16 tick away. “See you at 8:18,” you say. 

    Then it happens. Every ounce of fatigue or hunger leaves your body. The face of your beloved is perfectly still, their expression exactly the same. The ticking of the clock on the wall has stopped. Once again, it’s 20:17. 

    You stretch your arms and walk to the table with the homework for the three doctorates you’re working on. The work is mentally stimulating and enjoyable, but it’s finished far too quickly. You check your pocket watch and see that not even one hundredth of a second has passed. 

    You knew it was too soon to be able to see any movement on the watch, but you can never quite help yourself from looking early on every 20:17. Time to move on. 

    You clean your home, do your budget, then go outside and fix a noise that your car was making earlier that afternoon. (Oh how you already miss afternoons.) Then you go back inside, boot up your computer (which magically speeds up to keep pace with you as long as you’re in contact with it) and check for any new orders. 

    You’ve set up a website for the small business you started called “Magic Elf Services.” People in your area can pay a modest fee on your site to have different tasks and odd jobs done by “The Magic Elf” at 8:17pm every day. It was a little slow to get started, but word has spread and these days you have a steady stream of clients. 

    The money that comes in from the business is nice, but you’re mostly grateful that it gives you a clear list of things to do. You print off your updated list of clients, step outside, and start making your way through the neighborhood with your to-do list. 

    There’s the apartments down your street where several neighbors have hired you to tidy up, do the dishes, and mop the floors. You do the windows too, just to see if they notice. There’s the large house across town that paid the “Magic Elf” to clean out the gutters. After the first dozen jobs are done, you manage to stop looking at your pocket watch. 

    As near as you’ve been able to determine in the past, 20:17 seems to last for approximately one normal year. But it’s not exact. For one thing, it’s hard to keep track of “time” when everything but you has crawled to an almost total standstill. For another thing, time seems to move differently depending on how “productive” your behavior is. One time you tried to spend all of 20:17 sitting at home in your pajamas, but that was getting you nowhere, so you eventually gave up and got busy. (Though you defiantly stayed in your pajamas the whole time.) 

    During 20:17 your body doesn’t get tired, hungry, sick, or injured. You’re essentially tireless and immortal for the duration of the “minute.” So sleeping or eating away your boredom has never really worked for you. 

    One of the houses on your list forgot to follow the instructions and leave a key for you to get in. At first you figure you’ll just send them an email telling them to pay more attention and that you’ll do the job tomorrow. Then you decide to go home, get your locksmith tools, and come back. 

    After finishing up all the jobs on your list, you go into several other homes and small businesses in the area, performing tasks you hope they’ll find helpful, and leaving a hand-painted business card at each one. (The business cards don’t contain your real name just in case somebody thinks “The Magic Elf” should be subject to breaking and entering laws.) 

    Speaking of laws, you head down to the local police station to pick up your case file. You’ve been in contact with a detective who’s been investigating corruption within their department, and your ability to investigate unseen and get in almost anywhere between the ticks of the clock has proven invaluable. You see that they’ve also added five missing person cases to your file this evening, which certainly raises your interest in the job. 

    You make your way through town gathering evidence, and start making your way to the outskirts of town. Since you happen to be out that way (and you’ve already solved three of the five missing person cases) you decide to swing by the stone castle you’re building and do some more work there. 

    The castle walls stand about 20 feet right now, but you know they’ll be much higher when you’re done. You’re far from any roads and pretty safely tucked away, so for now it’s your little secret. You’ve been excavating and moving all the rock yourself, which has been much easier than you first expected since your body doesn’t get tired or sore. You’ve also got a nice system of tunnels going underneath the castle, and you dig and build more of that network for a while. 

    All that time spent underground has left you feeling rather lonely, so you walk back home to see the face of your sweetheart. Their facial expression has moved ever so slightly since you last saw them, which is a comfort to you. Looking at them gets your imagination going and makes you dream up a story you’d like to tell, so you sit on your couch, plug in your laptop, and write a book. 

    After you finish editing the last chapter for the third time, you finally allow yourself to look at your pocket watch again. Three seconds have officially passed so far. 

    It’s gonna be a long 20:17. 

  19. LUNA
    Latest Entry

    I can really appreciate rainy days.
    Sometimes the sun is too harsh
    Or the snow too bitter.
    Give me days where the clouds,
              like my eyes,
    Are overcast and the fog,
              like my shoulders,
    Hang low.
    Something about bleak colors
    Cold earth, speckled windshields,
    That I embody.
    Melancholy
    Sympathizing with 
    Worms drowning in puddles
    Lacking the energy to save them.
    Empty bottles kicked beneath feet
    Only to be forgotten and left
    Sinking in the mud
    Indifferent to life and death.
    On days like these
    I imagine Mother Nature as
    A girl in a hoodie
    Walking through puddles
    Headphones in
    Music too loud
    And probably a coffee in hand
    Not to warm or wake her
    But because caffeine is a drug
    Required to keep herself moving.
    On days like these
    Stillness is equal to death
    Physical or mental
    the lines blurred
    Not unlike the horizon in the fog.
    On days like these
    I can’t tell Mother Nature and myself
    Apart.