• Random,  Science


    Test The Usual Colors of the Sky Why is the sky blue? Why are sunsets red? The answers and explanations to these questions can be found fairly easily on the internet. But there are many subtle “Wait a minute…”-type questions in between the cracks that seem to necessitate subtle answers and more “difficult” searching around the internet to find those answers. So, why is the sky blue? No, but first, what color is sunlight? Visible light generally is from 390 nm (violet) to 720 nm (red). Visible sunlight is a mix of these colors at the intensities we see in the figure above. , with maximum eye sensitivity at 555…

  • Random

    The Curiously Inscrutable Principles of Trade Mechanics of Europa Universalis 4 (aka another EU4 trade guide)

    Prologue   My goal here is to explain from first principles the fundamentals of trade mechanics in EU4.  This will not attempt to be a comprehensive guide on all aspects of trade, but it does attempt to be a comprehensive guide and tutorial on the mechanics of trade nodes and merchants.  I will try to explain the system from the ground up as well as communicate an intuitive understanding and interpretation.  I will attempt to be rigorous with the mechanics but will be more brush-strokey with tactics, strategy, and modifiers (since modifiers just complicate things and in application are a part of strategy).  My hope is to explain the basics…

  • Fiction and Fiction-related,  Random

    Cyberpunk Images: Japan and China

    IMHO, Japan is “fantasized cyberpunk.”  People (especially in the west) look at the night lights of Japanese cities and it makes them fantasize about cyberpunk, conjuring images from Neuromancer, Blade Runner, various anime, and the Matrix (the green Japanese-looking code on the screens).  China is real “high tech-low life” cyberpunk, because there’s actual low life in the midst of development and high tech, and it’s an actual dystopia.  Like, that last part isn’t an exaggeration – it actually is a dystopia.  It is utopian in its amazing, unprecedented growth out of poverty since 1979, but dystopian in its government, economic inequality, and environmental issues.  Japan on the other hand is…

  • Philosophy,  Random,  Science

    Arendt, Action, and Psychological Stuff

    I know next to nothing about Hannah Arendt except what I’ve read on Wikipedia and Reddit (archived).  Nevertheless, it sounds really cool. She defined the three human activities as labor, work and action, with two mutually exclusive spheres: the political and everything else. Arendt introduces the term “vita activa” (active life) by distinguishing it from “vita contemplativa” (contemplative life), which represents her understanding of Western society. There are only three human activities: labor, work and action. They correspond to the three basic conditions under which humans live. Action corresponds to the political actions of anyone… What’s striking to me (and I agree with it) is the stark division between the…

  • Happenings,  Random

    Hong Kong’s Infamous Kowloon Walled City Rebuilt as Amusement Park (Gizmodo)

    Hong Kong’s Infamous Kowloon Walled City Rebuilt as Amusement Park (Gizmodo)   “The juxtaposition of a high-tech Japanese toilet in an authentically grimy bathroom has to be seen to be believed,” he writes. I do have an objection to that, which is that you can find plenty of “authentic,” though perhaps not often grimy, Japanese toilets in modern Japan today.

  • Philosophy,  Random,  Science

    “In r/badhistory, the view that technology is linear gets poked fun of every once in a while. Why is the view wrong?”

    In r/badhistory, the view that technology is linear gets poked fun of every once in a while. Why is the view wrong?  Isn’t technology linear? Also, why is the west so dominant when compared to other once great civilizations?   Are you familar with the idea of local maximums? Imagine in a low spot between two hills. You can climb either hill. Regardless off what hill to climb, you are increasing your elevation. But one of the hills will not reach as high as the other. In evolution, its called a fitness landscape. Paths of technological development can be similar. A recent question on ask historians involved the development of…

  • Philosophy,  Random

    Variations of the Trolley Problem

    Variations taken from this comment on Reddit.  I’d like to give my amateurish comments on each variation.   Note that in all of these variations, the six people at risk are tied down onto the tracks.  This is different from the example when it’s described that the six people are on the tracks of their own free will (perhaps workers, perhaps just taking a walk on the tracks) but simply cannot hear the trolley running towards them.  Thus, we can assume that the six people have been tied to the tracks against their will. Most people would say not to push the fat person over the bridge to stop the…