Geneology, what's that

posted much too late at:
So, instead of sleeping...
It turns out that absent bastardy and immigration, our pateralinnear system of naming would eventually winnow down our family names until there was only one.
Assumption (false): Every child is either legitimate or takes his or her father's last name.
Assumption (false): in the case of marriage, every woman takes her husband's last name.
Assumption (False): Across a population, you will get the same number of girls as boys.
Assumption (False): In the case of marriage, before getting married the subjects will have different last names.
Based on these four assumptions, you can show that eventually any given family name will die out with a single exception. That exception is whichever family name ends up being the universal name.

Let's take a look:

For Abe Smith, half of his descendants will be boys and half will be girls. With the four assumptions above, the girls don't matter for carrying on Mr. Smith's last name. None of their children will be named Smith.
For the boys, all of their children will be named Smith. The sticking point is that not every boy will end up having children, and some of the boys will have only female children.
Here, let's look at an example. I'll be using coins and dice. Mr Smith and his descendents will each have 1d6-1 children and each of those children will have a i in 2 chance of being female. Abe, being odd, started a tradition within his family. Each child carries his or her father's first name as his middle name. I'll bold each child who ends a line of the Smiths.

Abe Smith 2 children
Barry Abe Smith(2), Bianica Abe Smith
Carl Barry Smith(1), Christine Barry Smith
Darla Carl Smith

Hum.. that was less than satisfying... lets try again.
Abe Smith (4)

Barry Abe Smith (2), Bianica Abe Smith, Bethany Abe Smith, Betty Abe Smith

Carl Barry Smith (4), Christine Barry Smith(4)

Dennis Carl Smith(5), David Carl Smith(3), Douglas Carl Smith(2), Dominique Carl Smith(0)

Epheram Dennis Smith (0) , Ezekial Dennis Smith (2), Ernest Dennis Smith (3), Eustice Dennis Smith(1), Erika David Smith (2), Elsie David Smith(2), Ephemeria David Smith (1), Evan Douglas Smith (3), Erin Douglas Smith (3)

Francine Ezekial Smith(0), Fatima Ezekial Smith (4), Frank Ernest Smith (0), Fred Ernest Smith (4), Felicity Ernest Smith (0) , Frank Evan Smith (2), Falstaff Evan Smith(1), Francis Evan Smith(2)

Gregory Fred Smith(0), Galahad Fred Smith(1), George Fred Smith(2), Giselle Fred Smith(4), Giddion Frank Smith(5), Gabrielle Frank Smith (4), Gabe Falstaff Smith(0), Gia Francis Smith(5), Gloria Francis Smith 1

Isabella Galahad Smith(3), Isaac George Smith(0), Irma George Smith(4), Irving Giddion Smith(5), Ira Giddion Smith(2), Ima Giddion Smith(5), Ionia Giddion Smith(0), Irene Giddion Smith(3),

John Irving Smith(3), James Irving Smith(0), Janice Irving Smith(5), Jessica Irving Smith(4), Jem Irving Smith(5), Jurt Ira Smith(4), Joan Ira Smith(1)

Ken John Smith(0), Key John Smith(1), Kelly John Smith(3), Kyle Jurt Smith(0), Kelsie Jurt Smith(3), Kyra Jurt Smith(5), Konstance Jurt Smith<(5)

Lisa Key Smith(4)

In this case, Abe isn't going to be alive to meet the last member of his family to carry his name, since she is his Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Granddaughter, but she is still there, the final bearer of the noble Smith name. (She also has an incredible passel of assorted cousins, on the order of 9500 of them (the average of a d6-1 is 2.5, and this is 10 generations later, so 9527 people in the last generation, and 15900 descendants total.)

quick and dirty game design

I'm Alton Browning your chess set:
No Name
(note this game is playable under your constraints, but it is improved by the addition of paper templates.)

The goal of this game is to control as many of the squares on the board as possible at the end of play. This is similar to the game Cathedral, though with distinctly different piece shapes.

Required pieces:
1 8X8 chess board.
16 pawns
2 Kings
2 queens
4 bishops
4 rooks
4 knights

Split the pieces into color coded groups. Assign each player a color, choose a player to go first (possibly have one player hide a pawn in one of their hands and the other player guess which hand it is in. If they guess, they are first if they fail they are second.)
Lay out the chess board. Orientation is not essential.

Play sequence:
The players take turns putting a piece on the board. The player who controls the most squares at the end of the game wins.
A piece controls every square that it could legally move through in a regular game of chess.

a. Bishops may be played on either color square.
b. A pawn in it's player's second row controls both squares it would be able to move to in a regular game of chess.
c. If your opponent has a pawn in his 4th row, you may play a pawn adjacent to it in the same row. That pawn controls both the square behind his pawn and the square directly in front of itself (the en passant rule)

No piece may be played in any square controlled by a piece of the opposing color.
A player may play his or her own pieces in squares he already controls. Doing so interrupts the line of control for that piece. Even for knights.

Ending the game:
The game ends when either both players have no more pieces to play or when one player has no legal moves to make that do not block his own lines of control.

Count the number of squares each player controls. The player who controls the most squares wins.

If two or more opposed pieces would control the same square, then that square is no longer available for scoring.

(alternately, control goes to the player with the most pieces capable of controlling that square. In the case of a tie, compare the values of all pieces. The player with the highest total control value for that square gains control of that square. In the case of a tie, that square is no longer available for scoring.
King 6 points, Pawn 5 points, Bishop 4 points, Rook 3 points, knight 2 points, Queen 1 point.
This rule makes scoring much more complicated in a game that should be a quick play. Thus it is optional.)

If the points are tied, the player with the fewest remaining unplaced pieces wins. If that is also a tie, the the game ends in a draw.

question thingyish

Initially posted hereabouts:

Acquired from reannon
Choose one word to describe me ... just one single word. Leave it in my comments.

Then post this message on your journal (or not) and see how many strange and interesting things people say about you.

damned inadequate grapes
Note to self take two:
Taste the damned grapes before buying them. 2 of the last 3 sets of grapes I've bought have been less than satisfactory. 2 of the last 3 sets of grapes I've bought, I bought without trying one first. These sets overlap 100%.

who needs twitter?
As an aside,
Mary Louise Parker? Incredibly hot as Amy Gardner.


Initially posted at

Hey, anyone got a group of 8-10s they'd be willing to play test this against? I'm looking for this to be a challenging CR 10.

Bael Demon Huge Neutral Evil Native Outsider

Hit Die 12 (12d8+36)*4 (356) Init +6 Bab 12

AC 26 (10+6dex+12 nat –2 size), FF 20, T16 Spd 30

Attack Slam +19 1d8+12+Bael Fire (1d6 unholy + 1d6 electrical)

Full Attack Slam Slam +19 2d6+13+Bael Fire (1d6 unholy + 1d6 electrical) + 2 Smash +14 1d8+9+Bael Fire (1d6 unholy +1d6 electrical)

SV Fort 15 Ref 18 Will 12

AB Str 28 (+9), Dex 22 (+6), Con 16 (+3), Int 19 (+4), Wis 10, Cha 15 (+2)

(Su) Baelfire Aura As a swift action, a Bael Demon can release a portion of the dark power he wields. A seething carpet of black fire laced through with purple lightnings flows out from beneath his feet. All creatures within 10 feet of the demon takes 3d6 points of damage split evenly between unholy and electrical damage. Every round, the demon can spend a swift action to maintain the bael fire. If he does so, the damage increases by 3d6. He can maintain the aura for at most 3 rounds, at which point the aura fades. The demon cannot summon his aura for two rounds times the number of rounds he had it out (ie 2 rounds if he maintained it for one round, 4 rounds for 2 and 6 rounds for 3. A character caught in the baelfire can make a dc 18 fortitude save to take half damage.

(Sp) Mindfire. As a standard action, a Bael Demon can target a creature within 100 feet. The victim must make a DC 18 will save or lose 1d4 of his lowest level spell slots. He loses an additional 1d4 slots each round until mindfire is dispelled or the victim runs out of spell slots. Each spell level lost inflicts 2 points of damage to the victim, 0th level spells counting as ½ level each. Mindfire’s Caster Level is 12th.

SQ DR 10/Cold Iron or Good, SR 18, Resist Energy (Electric) 15, *Unholy Toughness A Bael Demon has 4 times the number of hit points an outsider of its hd would usually possess.

Concentration (Con) 22, Sense Motive (Wis) 15, Spot (wis) 15, Search (Int) 19, Listen (Wis) 15, Knowledge The Planes (Int) 19, Knowledge Arcana (Int) 19, Use Magic Device (Cha) 17, Tumble (Dex) 21, Intimidate (Cha) 17, Bluff (Cha) 17, Spellcraft (Int) 19

Feats: Improved Natural Attack (Slam), Power Attack, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Great Fortitude

CR 10

On the theory of "Better late than never"
Happy Mother's Day to all of you it applies to.

Zoe's Tale

A little while ago I received my first ARC, a copy if Cory Doctrow's Little Brother which I talked about here:
and here:

Turns out that ARCs are addictive, and now I very very much want one of the ARCs of John Scalzi's Zoe's Tale (and the next Promethean Age book by Elizabeth Bear. I love the story construction in that series of books. My dad had a hard time following what was going on, but personally? I though that she did it just right. She captures the non-linearity that is part of what the fae are supposed to be about without it becoming boring like some stories that try to show the difference in the worlds.)

Conflict and dissent

Reposted from an earlier comment thread.
Conflict and Dissent != Divisiveness. Ask any of the women who left feminism during the 2nd wave's height because of folks like Dworkin. Tamora Pierce, probably the best feminist YA author out there for longer than either of us have been alive, was chased out of the movement by these folks. There is a strong strain of exclusionary tactics in the feminist movement, and while it isn't solely or even originally a second wave thing, that is where they were honed and polished. Hell, it is even built into some of the common terms used by 3rd wave feminists, and to a large degree, at the center of the current problems that women of color are having with the "leaders" of mainstream (read white) feminism. (See: any time that "ally" is used to describe feminist men. Ally is a great term in certain contexts, but in general discussions of feminism, it falls short, it excludes men from the category of "feminist." I can be an ally of the LGBTQetc community, I can be an ally of black rights movements, I can be an ally of women's rights movements, I can be an ally of of folks seeking to avoid religious persecution, I can be an ally of any group that I am not, myself a member of. But I can not be an ally of feminism via feminists, because I am a feminist.

Aldoni Notes 2


There are things that the Aldoni have words for that appear in no other known race's languages. Concepts that naturally evolved species never develop words for, not because they don't experience them, but because they are such a basal part of their experience that they have no need for the words.
One example is uveason. Thorwald's translation of the Charlthose Universal Aldoni Dictionary equates uveason with altruism, one of half a dozen words in the Aldoni language that can be thusly translated. Uveason is not altruism. Uveason is to altruism what a metastatic tumor is to a wart. Roughly it is the tendency of a sentient species to expend lives and materials in an effort to protect or save an individual or small group of individuals completely out of proportion with the value of that individual to the group as a whole. The fact that humans will put a hundred people out in the mountains in the middle of winter searching for a single lost hiker, that losing six searchers to the hazards of the search doesn't stop the survivors from deploying the next time a lone hiker gets lost in hostile terrain, that us uveason. It is the complete negation of the survival value of altruism. Every naturally sentient race, even the Malar, does this. Among every culture bearing species in the Aldoni Archives, only the created races lack this tendency. The Aldoni have a word for it because they see it in others though they lack it themselves.

Herald Times. run by brain dead monkies.

Initially at:
*edit* I got the name of my local paper wrong. Guess who almost never reads it.
Okay, small newspapers frequently have no fucking clue about what they are doing with the internet. That's really understandable, the big ones are only (occasionally) marginally better. The Herald Times, Bloomington Indiana's paper, is extra special stupid.
Not only do they use a registration wall for most stories, guaranteeing that the won't be the internet's preferred linkage source for stories that happen even in their home town, but they use a paywall, insuring that even if they are the only people covering a given story, no one will direct traffic to them over their writing. Oh, and to make it extra special? Unlike the paper in my fairly podunk home town, where they kept the stories up for a week and then put them behind the paywall? The HT? In their distinctly finite wisdom, the HT puts current stories behind the paywall, so even were I interested in reading their site to check the news and decide if I wanted to follow up with their print edition I wouldn't be able to do so. This cuts off their potential page views, which makes the internet look like a poor job by the numbers, which makes it hard to sell net advertisements and lets whoever is in the position of "Prime Internet Usage Discourager" say that the internet just doesn't work for newspapers. Way to poison the well dip-shit.

more little brother

For those of you who aren't willing to pop out 18 bucks for a YA novel on my recommendation, Cory Doctorow has put it up under a CC license on his website.
Go, download, read it, buy a copy so you have one to hand off to some YA in your life who needs to read this book. If you want to go to your flbs to get a copy, it will not be shelved in the SF section, or at least it is unlikely to be there. Instead, it will be with the rest of the YA books.

Go, read, buy, share.

internet people don't think things through

From an anonymous poster in a thread that I'm not really up to discussing right now:
"Rape is second only to murder in terms of the worst things that can happen to someone"

Oh ye of little imagination. Rape is awful, horrendous,and vile. Rapists deserve basic human rights only because we can't take them away from anyone without becoming the monsters we would stop. That said, rape is the tip of the iceberg for horrendous things that humans can do to other humans.

house cleaning

Generated at
Gah, still not done with my Obama rally post. Synopsis: If you were within driving distance and didn't come, you missed a generational event. (Sure it is one hat has been happening around the country, but still.)

Instead of writing, I've been looking for things to delete from my harddrive. A big category there is spreadsheets. I create lots and lots of spreadsheets. Unfortunately, I started using computers back in the bad old days of the c64 and DOS. As such, I tend to use "clever" acronyms and abbreviations for file names. Combine this with my tendency not to label things in working spreadsheets, and you get files like "SDF3" which is 2 columns and 5001 rows of apparently random numbers. The only thing I'm sure of about this file is that it has nothing to do with the third Super Dimensional Fortress. Here, let me quote some of it:
1.402430872 0.913841367
-0.331321315 1.268895612
-2.311537313 -0.385620794
-0.536622055 1.526090536
-1.182823193 0.533562803
-0.290976065 0.202439158
-0.167693012 -0.163485932
-1.63426872 1.074571794
-0.912138318 -0.006605608
-1.564336346 0.934234433
-0.624270597 -1.667912168
-1.735030256 -0.686883448
There are no formulas in here to help me figure out how I got those numbers or what I had intended to do with them. I should really use the extended file name stuff to give, ya'know, extended descriptive file names to things.

words words words

this was first seen at
Ladies and gentlemen, some of you, though possibly not any of the folks who read this journal since my audience is fairly small, are self proclaimed label haters. I run into them whenever I read a political or philosophical discussion online. They say things like "I hate labels, I'm not an X, I'm just a human." Guess what? Human = Label... (you know, there isn't really any way to demonstrate the one letter at a time pounding on the keys that I used to type that "label")
Labels are nouns.
Nouns are descriptive words.
If I say "Sabrina is a Cat" I am saying that there is a category of things that we call cats. They have a list of traits, some essential, some non-essential, and when I call something a cat, I am saying that it has the essential traits and may or may not have the non-essential traits. I'm not oppressing Sabrina by saying that she is a cat. My usage of the word "cat" to describe her? It doesn't force her to take up all of the assorted traits that people associate with cats. It doesn't keep her from wagging her tail like a dog when she gets excited. (This is quite amusing. She grew up with dogs. She uses several pieces of dog body language. She also uses pieces of very similar in form but opposite in meaning cat body language. Hilarity ensues.)
Reality informs nouns, not the other way around.
When you start talking about the nouns attached to human endeavors, people suddenly lose sight of the fact that they are nouns (or adjectives derived from nouns.) The word doesn't shape you. It gives you a handle by which to start making it clear to others what it is that you are, but it is merely that, a handle. It is, in essence a short hand, so that you don't have to go about handing out "this I believe" 4X6 index cards in microprint.

Also? On a mostly unrelated note, dissension is not divisiveness. The first is immensely valuable in any situation where you are searching for a truth with a group of people. The second is not.