Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's not the 18th century any more...

“There comes a point in every man’s life when he must be tempted to spit on his hands, hoist the Jolly Roger, and start writing fanfic.”

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

That's the way to deal with grinches...

I'm going to kill you in your sleep, Mister Grinch

I say!

Paint the halls with blood and terror
Falla lalla la… la la la la…
What’s this? A bomb, addressed to ‘bearer’?
Myahahahaha… ha ha… ha ha…

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Giant otter cyberpunk epic. In space.

“No wonder you can’t mind-link with your space-suit, how the heck did you get a live eel stuck there? No, don’t explain. Yes, you can eat it now.”

Sunday, November 7, 2010

More Roller Coasters

“And this wall is built along the path of the Roman-era roller coaster “Nullus Gravitas” that originally served as the border between the legionaries barracks and the grounds of the temple of Bozeidon*, the god of pratfalls…”

*Actually, it was probably Nyuktune, Bozeidon was his Greek name.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A history of Ferris Wheels through the Ages

“Here we have the bamboo and silk wheel from the Fun Park of Emperor Bozhou, of the Honk dynasty. This wheel was known to have collapsed on two occasions, but it was rebuilt by the Ritual Clowns each time. A ride on it was one of the trials required for employment in the Fun Bureaucracy.

“The short-lived Honk reign was cut short by the Serious Rebellion, the Fun Park was destroyed by fireworks, and Bozhou’s red nose was ground to powder and scattered over its ashes.

...

“This wheel was to have been built by Archimedes at the command of the king of Syracuse, but it was converted into a defensive engine during the Roman invasion. Cicero claims that it was captured intact and shipped to the Circus Ludicrus outside the Emperor’s Summer Retreat near the Roman city of Florence, but there is no contemporary confirmation of this story.

“Leonardo da Vinci is said to have spent several years attempting to recreate this wheel during his residence in Florence, due to the popular tales about its abilities: it was supposed to be able to cloud minds, raise the dead, and reverse baldness, but of course later pictures of the great inventor clearly demonstrate that he can not have been successful in this endeavor.

...

“During the Derp period after the collapse of the tower of Babel, Ferris Wheels where frequently seen among the great cities of the Feral Crescent. Ur, Um, Huh, and Duh needed great building projects to show off their growing prowess in the new languages (which still had simple, quaint names like “Huh”, “Hurr”, and “What you say?”) [1]. Obviously the traditional works like towers and pyramids were considered to risky, so theme parks blossomed among the towns and villages.

“The primitive state of irrigation obviously made waterslides and wave pools impossible, but the engineers who survived the Babel disaster were able to quickly improvise Ferris wheels and drop towers from their memories of cranes and scaffolds.

...

“The Ferris wheels and other rides of Precolumbian Central America did not long survive the coming of the Europeans, and only their elaborate foundations remain. These were no amusement parks, instead the rides were tests of courage and skill, with spiked logs and huge stone balls[2] released onto the tracks of their wooden coasters in praise of Hahahapocthli and Ticklecoatl, the feather boa.”

-- Housepets

[1] "There’s debate over whether “Anchor What?” was part of a city-state amusement complex, or a religious training facility like those found in Central America. Traditionally it was said to have been founded by a lost vessel from the great Queng-Hohoho flotilla of military and merchant clowns during the Honk reign, but Whattish historians now argue that the Risible Emperor was inspired by their ancestors instead.

"The name, of course, refers to a classic Honkish practical joke involving a rubber anchor."

[2] "Despite the pop-science stories about alien intervention, these balls were obviously originally volcanic in origin, produced by geode-like crystallization around a seed, and only a small number were actually finished to trophy quality for the emperors and high priests. The average WeisGei or NyukNyuk monk kept nothing more than a common boulder to show for their death-defying ride."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Russian Peasant Arithmetic.

Professor Ferret here!

I just wrote a message on SLU I think I'll post here for posterity... explaining Russian Peasant Arithmetic. Here's the original message by Tess Whitcroft:

How to multiply

After writing down the numbers halve the first one and double the second, writing the new numbers below the preceding ones. If the number being halved is odd, just ignore the remainder. Repeat this operation as long as you can:

177 x 23
88 . 46
44 . 92
22 . 184
11 . 368
5 . 736
2 . 1472
1 . 2944

Now remove from the second column all numbers where the corresponding number in the first column is even:

177 x 23
88 . 46 < remove
44 . 92 < remove
22 . 184 < remove
11 . 368
5 . 736
2 . 1472 < remove
1 . 2944

Then add up the remaining numbers:

23 + 368 + 736 + 2944 = 4071


After a couple of requests for explanation, I ended up posting this:


OK, start with the number 177. In binary that's 10110001.

Dividing by two is equivalent to shifting one bit to the right. 177/2 is 88, that's 1011000.

So, here's what you're doing in binary (LHS is Left Hand Side, RHS is Right Hand Side):


LHS RHS LO BIT OF LHS RHS = 23 * 2^N
10110001 10111 1 23 * 2^0 = 23 * 1 = 23
1011000 101110 0
101100 1011100 0
10110 10111000 0
1011 101110000 1 23 * 2^4 = 23 * 16 = 368
101 1011100000 1 23 * 2^5 = 23 * 32 = 736
10 10111000000 0
1 101110000000 1 23 * 2^7 = 23 * 128 = 2944


Look at the third column I added. That's the LHS number in binary, reversed (read from bottom to top). So the process of dividing extracts the binary equivalent of the number starting from the low bit, by looking at the low bit of the value... the values where the number is odd have a low bit of 1. The values where the number is even have a low bit of 0.

At the same time you're calculating 2^n * LHS by multiplying it by two each time.

So what we've done is this:

177 * 23 is (2^0 + 2^4 + 2^5 + 2^7) * 23

By pulling out the values where it's odd, you've extracted:

2^0 * 23 + 2^4 * 23 + 2^4 * 23 + 2^7 * 23

And because multiplication is distributive... that's the value you want.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Caesar Salad with Russian Dressing

Tsarist Russia was the Zombie Roman Empire. The Soviet Union was the Robot Zombie Roman Empire. The new Russia is the Pirate Robot Zombie Roman Empire.

Friday, May 14, 2010

LOLFERRETS

Erland Aakre has lolferrets.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What Robert Anton Wilson heard in Beethoven's symphonies

Lord, use me.
Lord, use me but don’t break me.
Lord, I don’t care if you break me.

About Me

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I'm just this shapeshifting simulation of a critter originally from a little planet in the Slow Zone that you've probably never heard of.