Running Commentary 11/8/2021

Running Commentary 11/8/2021

Star Wars; Visions ("The Elder"), Warframe (Nov 11 Update 30.9.0 Workshop), Cerulean Warbler

Hello,

I had an extra hour to write this newsletter. I don't have any real strong feelings about Daylight Saving Time. I think that as the seasons change, it's worth adjusting our schedules to make good use of daylight. DST is just a way to get everyone to do that all at once. Everyone but Arizonans, but they're notorious nonconformists down there.

Anyway...

Watching...

Star Wars: Visions

This week I watched Trigger's "The Elder". Here are my notes:

Still from StarWars.com
  • This short was okay, but not as good as some of the better Visions entries. It's another one which is mostly just a lightsaber duel with minimal context.
  • The strengths of this episode were the way it built tension leading up to the arrival of the old Sith on screen, and the dynamic between the two Jedi. The dialogue in this episode seemed better translated and less exposition-heavy than in some of the other shorts.
  • The weakness was the story itself, which was a bit thin. The old Sith's ship, for instance, is introduced as a plot point but then is destroyed before we can find anything out about it. The people on the planet are set up as shy, but Dan makes some friends with the local kids. But they leave halfway through and are never seen again. Ultimately, the only real thing that happens is a lightsaber duel.
  • This short had more of a takeaway, in the ending message about how everyone becomes old and weak eventually, than most of the other Visions shorts.
  • Add David Harbour to the List.

Playing...

Warframe

There's set to be a mainline update rolling out this Thursday, bringing some quality of life improvements ahead of the New War update still to come this year (?) A lot of the changes (forma changes, new augments, Nyx reworks) I've already discussed when they were revealed in the last DevStream. Besides that there will be a set of changes to dojo decorating, which I don't do, and some changes to the early game. Most helpfully, amps are about to get a lot cheaper. This will actually be good for a lot of older players too, since not everyone has a massive stockpile of Plains of Eidolon resources and sentient cores from running Eidolon hunts over and over for arcanes. Considering that arcanes can be farmed elsewhere now, the price changes are coming at an opportune time.

Also, I should mention, the alerts to claim Conquera rewards (in celebration of a successful month of Quest to Conquer Cancer fundraising on DE's part) are available through this week and the coming weekend. One mission awards 3 forma, and the other an Umbral forma.

Cerulean Warblers.png

Bird of the Week

This week we have a two-for-one special in the drawing. There are some birds that aren't sexually dimorphous; the males and females look the same. As far as the sexually dimorphous species go, they tend to have vividly colored males and brown, spotted females. But, in some species, the male and the female, though different, are both beautiful, so I draw them both.

cerwar-abundance-map-2020-en.png

The cerulean warbler is a small songbird that lives in the upper canopy of hardwood forests, especially those covering mountainous regions. They are primarily insectivorous. The males of the species are jaybird-colored, whereas the females sport a more muted turquoise-and-beige plumage. Like other wood-warblers, these are migratory. They breed throughout the interior east of the continental United States, with a few birds making it as far north as Canada. Their core range, though, is in the Appalachian and Ozark mountains. In the winter they reside in the northern reaches of the Andes. This habitat has recently seen much redevelopment into high-yield coffee plantations. As a result, the cerulean warbler is seeing the sharpest decline in numbers of any wood-warbler, though the IUCN does not list them as endangered, only "near-threatened". Nonetheless, conservation groups in both the US and South America have concerned themselves with the cerulean warbler's continued wellbeing.

The term "cerulean" comes from the Latin word for "sky", and has been used to refer to a sky-blue color or a deeper blue of the same hue. Cobalt (II) stannate, a pigment used by many painters to depict the sky, is often marketed as "cerulean blue". Alexander Wilson (the Scottish immigrant and pioneering American ornithologist who we discussed way back in the first Bird of the Week, on Wilson's Phalarope.) was the first to describe the cerulean warbler to science, giving it both its common name and its Latin one in 1810 as part of his project to describe and illustrate the birds of the New World. The species has always been cerulea, though Wilson apparently placed the bird in a few different genera before settling it in Setophaga, the "moth-eating" genus home to previous BotW alumni the Kirtland's warbler and the Blackburnian warbler.

See the full archive of birds on Notion

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Soaked Through | Denise Hamilton, Alta

Los Angeles, famously, has a paved river. To prevent flooding, the main river was locked into a concrete viaduct back in the early 20th century, while smaller streams were diverted into underground pipes emptying into the ocean. What few natural creeks remain in the L.A. metro area are mostly on private, residential land, where resource management enforcement is lax. As the important ecological role of wetlands becomes better understood, some people are fighting to preserve and liberate the creeks of Los Angeles.

An Invisible Fire | Jeremy Brown, Discover Magazine

A story from a physician about one of his patients, whose careless use of rust remover had earned him a hydrofluoric acid burn. Dr. Brown explains how hydrofluoric acid, a relatively weak acid, is especially damaging to human tissue, and he details how such chemical burns are treated.

Waterfox: A Firefox fork that could teach Mozilla a lesson | Liam Proven, The Register

"Mozilla was the power users' browser, even in the early days of Mozilla 0.6 and 0.7, when it became the default browser for almost all Linux distributions... ...Firefox doesn't need to be No. 1, but the Mozilla Foundation should stop trying to copy Chrome and try learning from its many forks and spinoffs."

In the Beginning, There Were Taxes | Michael Keen & Joel Slemrod, Lapham’s Quarterly

Excerpted from Rebellion, Rascals, and Revenue: Tax Follies and Wisdom Through the Ages, a history of taxes, from the ancient days of straightforward, no pretense plundering, to the slightly more civilized tribute, to the modern-day pooling of resources for (ostensibly) common causes.

The Bet | Anton Chekhov, trans. Constance Garnett, Berfrois

[FICTION] A selection from the Russian master's The Schoolmistress and other stories, which was first published in 1918. The story concerns a debate over the death penalty, which leads to a wager that years of solitary imprisonment would be tolerable if a large enough sum was paid in the end.

See the full archive of curations on Notion