Daily Intelligence Summary: 18 – 03 – 2018

I might as well put here these bits of wisdom and wonder I come across. Some are a few days old, but they are all relatively recent and obviously relevant… for some reason.



Broadcasters told to stop perving on female surfers, Newsweek, 13.03.2018

While a number of female surfers normally wear shorts during their heats, others opt for bikini bottoms and the organization wants to ensure attention is directed away from the surfers’ backsides.

According to the report, women who surf wearing shorts will feature larger on screen than those wearing bikinis and all camera operators have been instructed to “exercise discretion” while shooting the women’s heats.

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The Guardian is really scraping the bottom of the barell here.

Among all the humiliating things one has to do to survive in the cutthroat and shameless world of Academia, being a criticaster of popular culture has to be the lowest point.  There are already a hundred theses on the unbearable sexism of Shakespeare or the colonialism of Kipling, so you’ll have to make do with a paper on the border-fascism of Plants vs. Zombies or the sexism of Super Mario. And forget about Elsevier or The Journal of Modern Literature, you’ll have to get published in The Guardian (and you’ll get paid according to how many people you trick into clicking the article):

Continue reading “The Guardian is really scraping the bottom of the barell here.”

A fiction writer, a mysanthrope, and a behaviorist walk into a bar…

One of the most known quotes from the horror writer H. P. Lovecraft is

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. These facts few psychologists will dispute, and their admitted truth must establish for all time the genuineness and dignity of the weirdly horrible tale as a literary form.

from his Supernatural Horror in Literature (1927.) Many people recognize it, and it’s a thought attributed to him even though the next sentence states he thought it was (or wanted to present it as such) common knowledge: “These facts few psychologists will dispute.” He didn’t believe he was discovering anything new.

In any event, I believe I may have stumbled upon Lovecraft’s inspiration for his famous statement.

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Armor as a weapon

Originally, in this post, I explained a small modification to the known AC system used in D&D up to advanced second edition. My goal was to reintroduce something that was lost when the game migrated from wargaming to RPG, but then, as a final afterthought, I made some calculations and discovered that, well, my changes made little (although not insignificant) difference. Preceding a post with a disclaimer like “what you are going to read may not be as useful as it seems” is probably not the best hook, but I still believe there are a few interesting bits here and I may also have unwillingly solved an ancient argument about AC vs. damage reduction that sometimes still rises from its grave (spoiler: there is surprisingly little difference in the long run unless you make a completely different system from scratch.) Besides, I’m a believer in the idea of publishing negative results, even if they are not as eye-catching as positive ones.

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Your culture on Decline: film edition.

Have you ever stood in front of a cinema complex, slack-jawed as you read the titles of the latest movies and the dreams and fantasies they promise, and thought to yourself, “I’d rather sniff nails than pay to watch any of these?” You are not alone. Have you ever wondered why old-time film critics, although sometimes pedantic, seemed knowledgeable and scholarly while the current critics, young YouTubers, and assorted criticasters seem kinda brain-damaged? It’s not a delusion, and you are really on to something.

Continue reading “Your culture on Decline: film edition.”