Running Commentary 5/23/2022
The leaves have come out here in Michigan, which has made birding harder, since I can’t see through the forests as easily. That said I spotted an indigo bunting yesterday.
I’ve gotten Gyre. Her farm wasn’t too bad compared to other recent frames like Yareli and Protea. But given that she’s such a late-game acquisition, I'm not sure what her unique selling point is to a veteran player with a roster full of other ‘frames.
I will say that Gyre plays pretty well. Like Caliban, she's a largely damage-dealing frame, but unlike Caliban her abilities work in concert with the player's weapons loadout rather than unconvincingly trying to replace it. If there’s a crowd of weak enemies her 1 will take care of those while you deal with the harder ones, if you have a gun with good splash damage her 2 will group up enemies nicely for you to use said gun most efficiently, and if you need to rush through a crowd, hit 4 and enjoy every enemy within melee range getting immobilized with shock damage. And then there’s her 3, which is just a straight buff to your crit chance, without needing to jump through hoops like you do playing Harrow, and which auto-re-ups every time you kill anything, which means it’ll last until you’ve cleared the room (or been caught be a nullifier, if you’re fighting Corpus). This is a good powerset, well-tuned to the game as it exists today. But, again, by late-game a player will already have their favorite frames, and I’m not sure Gyre will be bumping any of them from their dedicated loadout slots. The next frame after Gyre will be the 50th, and maybe there just aren’t 50 really unique playstyles, so maybe it’s not really fair to complain that Gyre is competent but boring, but that’s my take on her.
Anyway, here’s me testing Gyre out in the Simulacrum.
Bird of the Week
While last week I was somewhat surprised to find I had never featured a goose before, I am this week even more surprised to be featuring this space’s first sparrow. Kind of. The White-throated Sparrow is a New World sparrow, that is, a sort of mutant bunting not closely related to the Old World “true sparrows”, but the New World sparrows look and act quite a bit like the Old World sparrows, so they’re sparrows enough for most people.
White-throated sparrows are specifically a species of “band-haired sparrow”, of the genus Zonotrichia, ground-feeding birds that subsist on fallen seeds and small insects. They nest in Canada and New England, and winter in the southeastern US. Where I live they only show up during the migrations, as this one did in my yard a few weeks ago:
Sparrows tend to be thought of as boring birds, but the white-throated sparrow is the subject of ornithological research which has uncovered a number of surprises. For instance, in recent years it’s been reported that these birds have been changing their songs, swapping out their usual triple notes for double notes. And they have a very weird mating scheme. Like many birds, white-throated sparrows have a couple of coloration morphs: some, like the one I drew, have white-and-black stripes on the crowns of their heads, while others have tan-and-brown stripes. The two kinds have different behavioral profiles, with white-striped individuals acting bolder in attracting mates and tan-striped ones being more attentive to their nests. In most ways, the two morphs seem like two subspecies, except that they cross-breed, white-striped with tan-striped. Indeed they almost exclusively cross-breed; white-white and tan-tan pairs are almost unheard of. Some have gone as far as to describe white-throated sparrows as having four sexes.
The Feel-Good Recliner That Cures What Ails You | Debra Judge Silber, Smithsonian Magazine
As summer arrives, people will be spending more time outside. A lot of those people will be spending a lot of that time in an Adirondack Chair, the classic American outdoor lounger that developed in upstate New York. But the chair’s history isn’t all sunshine and lazy afternoons; some of the first chair-sitters were tuberculosis patients dependent on fresh air to live.
The Collection | Adam Roffman
[VIDEO] “Two friends stumble upon a unique and valuable piece of motion picture history in Omaha, Nebraska” (11 minutes)
America Did Too Good a Job at Saving Canada Geese | Marion Renault, The Atlantic
Strange as it may seem, Canada geese were once at credible risk of extinction. Nowadays they're quite numerous, and fond of living near people. Cities, like Rochester Minnesota, often struggle to keep their public spaces from being overrun by the loud and messy birds.
Hearts of Stone | Emma Newman, Tor
[FICTION] “Kerry —a.k.a Stonemaiden— is a monster. Or at least… she thinks she is. Ever since she turned her parents into granite statues, she lives in constant fear of hurting other people. To prove herself a hero–someone worthy of joining the Silver Helix–she embarks on her first field mission to Central London where she’s tasked with surveying a Russian diplomat named Kazimir Nazarenko. When she finally comes into contact with Kazimir, it becomes evident everything is not what it appears, leading her to question everything she’s been led to believe.”
See the full archive of curations on Notion