Running Commentary 11/23/2020

Running Commentary 11/23/2020

Hello,

Hello,

I am genuinely planning to add more to this newsletter than just Mandalorian-Bird-Warframe-Links over and over, but not this week, sorry.

Watching…

The Mandalorian Chapter 12 released Friday, and it brought with it the return of many familiar faces. Here are my notes. SPOILERS

Faceoff between the Razor Crest and a TIE Fighter | Screenshot
  • Car chases! Aerial dogfights! Excitement! There was an impressive amount of vehicle action this week. The shot of the Razor Crest and the TIE Fighter flying at each other, which I picked for this week’s screenshot, was one of the coolest spaceship shots in the franchise.
  • While Djarrin didn’t get as far as Caladan in this episode, I was correct that this week had some Dune. :)
  • No one gets added to the List this week, as there aren’t really any new characters introduced here.
  • Carl Weathers directed this episode. He’s done some directing before on TV shows, but that’s not his main thing. He did well, this episode was great.
  • Baby Yoda is not a qualified electrician.
  • Nice to see Blue Guy again.
  • The lab at the end seemed to be full of Phase I Dark Troopers, or at least something that looked like them.
  • I believe that, at this point, we’ve seen everything shown in the Season 2 trailers. So who knows what we’ll have for the next half of the season?

Bird of the Week

This week’s bird is Australian. I think that, at least here in the U. S., most people’s knowledge of Australian birds is limited to emus and cassowaries, those alien/prehistoric things that fit the general image of Australia as the land where all the weirdest things in the zoo came from. We know budgerigars, though we call them “parakeets” instead and only people involved in the pet trade much care where they came from.

But yes, while Australia has no deer or squirrels or bears, they have the same general sort of birds found in the rest of the world: turkeys and ducks and kingfishers and parrots and various passerine birds, such as the Crimson Chat.

If I saw this bird out my window, my immediate guess would be that it was a woodpecker, due to its coloring. But, it is in fact a honeyeater. Those are a family of perching bird most commonly found in the South Pacific, where they fill the same general niche as hummingbirds do in the Americas. The Crimson Chat also eats a great many insects, which they eat from the ground in a manner similar to the American Robin. Like the robin, these birds can walk, rather than hop. Also like our robins, these birds will be wrapping up a migration south right about now, although, being Australian, they’ve flown south for the summer.

Warframe

The Deimos Arcana update came this week. I haven’t been able to try everything new yet, but I’ll give my thoughts on some things.

  • The glaive changes are great. Using them is a lot smoother, and being able to catch a fair amount of enemies in their explosions gives them some good AOE potential now. I’d say they’re a specific tool, like the gunblades, but quite powerful. Try and farm the Glaive Prime while it’s unvaulted. Also, some of the buffs apply to the Wolf Sledge, if you have that.
  • The Chroma changes are also good, though his 1 still isn’t very good. It’s like the Kuva Nukor crossed with the Hystrix, but it does much less damage than either of those, it blocks you from using your melee weapons, and it costs energy. Honestly, I’d make his 1 an Exalted beam weapon, but that would be part of a more proper re-work.
    His new passive is that he can triple-jump. That’s mostly only useful in the open worlds, but that’s already where Chroma gets used, so that’s fine.
  • The Steel Path daily missions are good. I have consistently been able to find squads, and there’s a steady source of Steel Essence now, replacing one farming point set well back in the progression. Teshin selling Umbral Forma will probably be better than getting 1 per year in Nightwave, but they’re still pretty hard to get.

I haven’t tried any of the new weapons yet, or played the new vault missions. Expect thoughts on those later.

An Account of Human Costs | Luc Sante, Places Journal

New York City, the largest city in the United States and one of the great metropolises of the world, has no local source of freshwater. The water used by its millions of denizens is stored in massive reservoirs located “upstate”, in the less populated regions of New York state. The land under all that water was once farmland and villages. Here, Luc Sante takes an appraisal of the losses suffered by the people who once lived in those Catskill valleys.

The Love Life of John Doe | K. Raghasudhan, Clarkesworld

Second-person perspective fiction, about a man bargaining with a Matrix-type AI to save his lost love.

The Bailey Ball, a Dangerous Amusement Park Idea | Andy Mulvihill & Jake Rossen, Slate

Excerpted from Action Park: Fast Times, Wild Rides, and the Untold Story of America’s Most Dangerous Theme Park, the tale of an infamous New Jersey amusement park, this piece tells of a ride that even Action Park’s mostly non-existent safety assurance team didn’t allow the public to…enjoy, I suppose.

You’re Using Disinfectants Wrong | George Zaidan, Reactive

[VIDEO] From Ingredients author George Zaidan comes a quick guide to what a disinfectant is, how they differ from other cleaning products, and how to use them to effectively kill germs. 6:11

The English Word That Hasn’t Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years | Sevendj Nurkiyozova, Nautilus

A look at the word “lox”, which means smoked salmon in English and has referred to salmon for millennia. Also a neat introduction to etymological archaeology.

A Nameless Hiker and the Case the Internet Can’t Crack| Nicholas Thompson, Wired

Thompson recaps the chronology of an as-yet-unresolved investigation into the death of a hiker known only as “Mostly Harmless”.