Next weekend is the Fourth of July holiday. I have no real plans to delay this newsletter because of that. It has been raining where I live for the past week, and it will probably rain for the next week, so I'll be stuck inside.
The Bad Batch
This week's was a good episode. Cad Bane is great, as always. Seeing him, the veteran bounty hunter facing off against Fennec Shand, who's new to the scene at this point, was cool.
There's intrigue on Kamino.
So Omega's importance to Kamino is revealed: the Kaminoans didn't mess with her, so her genome is the closest thing to Jango Fett's besides Boba's. Granted, she's still a mutant, but she's a relatively pure mutant. Still, I have some questions: Why does Omega need to be killed? They didn't kill Jango. And why can't they just clone someone else?
We'll see Boba later in this show, I'm guessing.
Based on the abandoned tanks, are Kaminoans not clones themselves? I suppose this isn't based on anything, but I had thought Kamino was a *Brave New World-*type society where everyone is purpose-grown in vats.
- This was a shorter episode than the last two, and it had less stuff going on in it. A lot of the narrative momentum the show's built up so far was lost here. I'm hoping that's because the story is taking a turn, not just slowing down.
- Loki and the Variant (whose name is Sylvie, apparently) get some time to talk, thanks to a really contrived need to charge their time-hopping device.
- Loki referred to Sylvie's mind magic as "enchantment" so I'm going to say she is indeed a direct reference to Amora the Enchantress. UPDATE: I just learned that a later version of the Enchantress was named Sylvie Lushton, so maybe that's who it is.
- Interesting reveal about the TVA. We'll see where that goes.
- Overall, I think this might be a weaker episode in the series.
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 0.5 cups water, boiling
- 5 cups water, cold
- 1.5 cups lemon juice (how many lemons this will take varies, though I'd get at least 8**)**
- lemon peel (see step 1)
- Take a vegetable peeler and use it to peel strips off from the outside of two of the lemons. Only cut away the part that's yellow. If you cut into the white part, it will release a really bitter taste that we don't want.
- Mix the peels with the sugar, then work the mixture with a potato masher. The sugar will collect oils from the peels. In citrus fruits, the aromatic oils in the rind contribute a big part of the fruit's flavor that will be lost if you only use the juice.
- Throw the peels and sugar into the boiling water, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Strain this syrup through a mesh strainer to remove the peels, then discard the peels.
- Juice your lemons until you've accumulated the necessary amount of juice. Strain any pith and seeds out through your mesh strainer. This will keep the lemonade clear and will help recover any crystallized syrup caught in the mesh.
- Mix the juice and the syrup into the cold water. If you're concerned about your vessel holding hot liquid, you can substitute some of the cold water for ice cubes, which will absorb more heat from the syrup. Just remember that it will take more than a cup of ice cubes to replace a cup of water.
- Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
I've had some time with Sevagoth enough that I think I can give my take on him: he's good, but just a little clunky. His powers synergize pretty well. His best one is his 3, which slows enemies and provides healing to the whole squad. His worst is probably his 2, which provides a set-up for his 1 and also has some healing to it but which really needs a lot of extra strength in the build to be effective at higher levels. His alternate form, which is the big gimmick for this frame, is okay. It can chew through crowds of enemies pretty well in most cases. Really, Sevagoth's biggest strength is survivability in solo missions. His self-resurrection is quite a bit better than Inaros's. Actually, Undying Will has a real place in a build for that, since it buys you a lot more time to attack 5 enemies. But that's a pretty specific case.
Besides that, we heard a lot from DE about some big changes coming in the next update. The rebalance between melee and ranged weapons is set to be a lot less severe than I thought it would be. Melee is only getting the upper end of the really good builds lopped off, as far as I can tell. Blood Rush and Condition Overload are both getting nerfed, but not into oblivion. Berserker is getting changed so that it can't be equipped on top of Fury or Primed Fury, so builds focusing on really, really fast flurries of strikes are gonna take a huge hit. The only melee weapons getting directly changed are the glaives, which seem to be getting an across-the-board nerf to damage.
On the other side, ranged weapons are getting a new system of arcanes, and some new "Galvanized" mods to bring the setup-payoff based playstyle melee has benefitted from to guns. The only gun getting a change in stats is the Kuva Nukor, which will chain its beam to half the nearby targets as it does now. So no ranged weapons or mods are actually getting buffed. Also, the disparity between primaries and secondaries (which are weirdly often stronger) is going unaddressed for now, so far as I can tell.
Another big change to combat coming is a rework of parazon mercy kills. Now, rather than appearing on random enemies, mercy kills will be restricted to just the heavy units and eximus (which is all they were ever much good for anyway). Any such enemy that is near death will open for a mercy kill. Impact procs will open them up sooner, stacking to where a mercy kill will become available after an enemy drops to 80% health. This will come in really handy on higher level missions. Of note is that enemies like bursas and Nox aren't on the list given of enemies open to mercy kills, so they're going to remain big problems in Steel Path mission.
Overall, it's looking like combat in Warframe is about to become a lot more strategic in the moment, rather than just in what gear you bring to a fight. Hopefully, this will bring some challenge to higher-level missions without resorting to plain bullet-sponging in the enemies.
One more thing got mentioned: there's going to be a system put in place to give stats boosts to a random frame each week, to encourage players to use frames that aren't part of their regular stable. This seems like a good idea, but we'll see how it goes. They tried something similar with Arbitrations, and people still tend to play those with their normal preferred frame.
Bird of the Week
This week we have another of my older drawings, but this is a good bird to know about, so I'm including it. The Araripe Manakin is a bird in the New World Flycatcher clade, and it breeds only in a square kilometer patch of northeastern Brazil. The bird is considered critically endangered, with less (possibly much less) than 1000 individuals alive today. The araripe manakin likely never existed in any great numbers. They were first described in 1998 by Weber de Girao Silva, a Brazillian college student who had heard stories of an unknown red-crested bird in 1996.
"Araripe" is the name of the plateau these birds live on, its name coming from the Tupi phrase for "macaw at the river". "Manakin" comes from the Dutch for "little man"; I'm not certain why, but these birds and their cousins tend to be anthropomorphized. In Brazil, they are sometimes called soldadinho-do-araripe, the "Little Soldier of Araripe". Silva formally named them Antilophia bokermanni, after zoologist Werner Bokermann, who had died a few years earlier. "Antilophia" comes from the Latin for "forelock" and was first applied to the Helmeted Manakin, which has a similar reverse-crest on its head.
Conjurer of Compression | Tekla S. Perry, IEEE Spectrum
Profile of Jacob Ziv, co-creator of a dominant form of lossless data compression. Ziv explains how pattern recognition allows for data to be shorthanded and later written back longform in the manner underpinning much of the internet.
The Human Thirst | Asher Y. Rosinger, Scientific American
Are you thirsty? Unless you currently are drinking something or have done so within the last hour or so, the answer is likely yes. Humans are thirsty creatures, more dependent on water than most terrestrial things. How we quench that thirst, and why we need to drink so often, is a more interesting story than you might expect.
An Evening with Batman and Robin | Alex M. Parker, Ordinary Times
A look at the cultural background of the Adam West-starring Batman show. Before the deliberately goofy '60s era, there were the laughably cheap film serials, which became objects of mockery on campuses across America.
The Strange Story of Dagobert, the “DuckTales” Bandit | Jeff Maysh, The New Yorker
And speaking of the '60s Batman show, here's something that seems like it would have been a part of it, if it hadn't been for Disney's copyright lawyers. In the wake of German reunification, a failed political cartoonist took on the persona of localized Scrooge McDuck and began bombing department stores.