(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)

The Russian town of Oymyakon is one of the coldest inhabited places on Earth with winter temperatures often going as low as -65°C (-85°F) ; in fact, it gets so cold there that recent studies show temperatures tend to increase with altitude.


(626 replies, posted in Creations)

But seriously... wow dude. Congratulations to the both of you.

Isn't this the first current-FIYH-community baby? There will be t-shirts.


(626 replies, posted in Creations)



(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)

There are many causes for the French Revolution; one of them may be… a volcano in Iceland.

On June 8, 1783, The Laki volcano in Iceland cracked open and erupted for eight months, spewing an estimated 120,000,000 tons of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere. In addition to wiping out 80% of the country's sheep and around 20% of the Icelandic population through famine and poisoning, it resulted in a huge haze that spread over western Europe for months. This disrupted weather cycles; there were droughts, floods, and the following winters were particularly harsh. All this led to terrible famines, including in France where it helped worsen the situation of the population in the years preceding the 1789 uprising.


(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Jimmy B wrote:

If you Google search the word "Askew", the result page will be titled to the right. 

You know, from a corporation/monopoly/business viewpoint, Google is dangerous, but the team taking care of the actual website are freakin' cool people.

You leave Teague alone. He's magnificent.

I think you guys could record a commentary for TPM every month and there'd always be something to say or another angle to take it from. It's great.

(I also haven't seen the prequels in close to 10 years. I have no idea how it will go when I break the cycle. Let's keep it for when it's my turn to visit L.A.)

It's nice to see Ryan again, too. I'll try and not be super jealous of Owen because I don't like to geek out too much, but it's my yearly reminder that I owe this guy a lot.

It's also slightly illegal to have a 12-year-old on a podcast. But who am I to judge.

PS: Teague's Auralnauts' 3PO game is on fucking point.

PS 2: re-Watto's dice: I actually think his reaction is somewhat plausible. It's evidently a loaded die (it's Watto.) and he actually knows Qui-Gon's Force tricks ("I'm a Toydarian, mind tricks don't work on me."). So he knows what Qui-Gon did.


(35 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I'm really glad to see you're okay. Don't worry about us worrying, just take care of yourself. smile


(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Whoops, meant The Alias Men.


(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)

(you probably all know this already, but)

If you ever watch a film directed by Alan Smithee... this person has never existed: it's a fake name directors are allowed to use if they are so dissatisfied with their project they don't want their real name to be associated with it.

It's the only pseudonym the Directors Guild of America allows, and this came about with Death of A Gunfighter in 1968-69. Lead actor Richard Widmark was displeased with Robert Totten's work and had him replaced by Don Siegel. This resulted in a dispute where neither director wanted to take credit for the film, and the DGA decided to credit the fictional name "Al Smith", but it was deemed too common and was changed to Alan Smithee.

(it's also an anagram of "The Alias Men")

Alan Smithee has "directed" dozens of films (like Hellraiser IV or Heat and Dune for their TV editions) and TV shows as well (MacGyver's pilot episode, The Twilight Zone's "Paladin of the Lost Hour" episode) ... and some music videos as well (I Will Always Love You, which I just learned was directed by the very talented wildlife photographer Nick Brandt). There are also a few examples amongst comic books and video games.


(47 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I'd like to wish a very happy 20th birthday to the best game I've ever played, Half-Life.


You couldn't tell my life without talking about Half-Life. It was my first FPS. I was 7 when I played it for the first time. From this point onwards, not a week would go without me playing a bit of it. My brother showed me its map editor, at the time Worldcraft and then renamed to Hammer, when I was maybe 9. It developed into me making maps for Half-Life for the next ten years. It got me to join my first forum community on the internet when I was 12, a website called Le Site du Zér0 (roughly "The Noob Website"). I took part in contests, community projects, but the biggest part of it was just me making maps for myself, largely taking place in the Black Mesa research facility. I was more interested in the world that in the gameplay. I was fascinated by the universe the game took place in. I think I was 10 or 11 when I made nearly a full pre-incident chapter, having the play wandering through Black Mesa with nothing happening except scientists doing their thing. It pretty much looked like shit, and stumbling upon the files years later, I re-made it with better skills. It was nice.

I think I lost my shit when Half-Life 2 was announced. I think I even more lost my shit when I played it. It's the second best game I've played.

Not everyone agrees with this. I've had lots of people tell me this game has better mechanics, that game has better AI...

But the thing the Half-Life series does is make you be an active part of a movie. Your character has no identity, he doesn't talk. You're the character, not like other games do where your actions become the character. You're an active audience. You're watching a film and making it happening. There are no cutscenes. You're never (except ONE time in the whole series) out of your body. Half-Life is the most extreme execution of the first-person structure. And though its gameplay mechanics are interesting, the best success of Half-Life is its experience of immersion.

I get out of a Half-Life game like I get out of the theater, having watched a great movie. I ask myself questions about the story, about what I've just witnessed. Like a great film, it raises questions without answering them. Like a great film, it leaves you room for interpretation.

(seriously, who the hell is the G-Man?)

Twenty years later, my love for this series hasn't diminished one iota. It's part of my culture, it's part of my identity.

PS: to celebrate this birthday, the Black Mesa devs have released a first trailer for Xen, the final chapter of the Half-Life remake, scheduled to be released in 2019.

Abbie wrote:


I'm really curious to see this developed in a more appropriate thread. It's the second time I've seen this comment in a few days, and I'm not talented enough to understand why I should agree, because my instinct so far tells me I don't.

(undigested, rough instinctive take on said instinct: Fantastic Beasts lacked a proper narrative direction, but the second one was great.)


Anyway, godspeed William Goldman. I'm a late bloomer in all cool things so I discovered the Princess Bride only a few years ago but it immediately became one of my favourite films. I'm downright staggered how absolutely every aspect, every tiny cog in its machinery is tongue-in-cheek (Knopfler is a goddamn hero), but also simultaneously how strong its story is. The book which I read a bit later on only emphasizes it, with the added layer of the narrator being a whole character, losing himself in anecdotal memories and telling the story however he feels like doing.

The Princess Bride is absolutely great in its two medium; they are to me two distinct works of art that perfectly make sense and don't need to be compared. And while I'll revisit the book but maybe not that many times, the film is one that I'll watch over and over again and never get tired of. It's one of these films you know every dialogue by heart; it's music.

What I got out of Teague's point was deeply optimistic to me. Watered-down blockbusters are about to crumble. Couldn't make me happier.

You on a quest to become a Moby lookalike, Chrystie?

Also, what you said. All the fuck thumbs over here.


(35 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I've realized I've checked every new response here holding my breath, but never wrote anything myself. Felt like everything had already been told, really.

It has.

And it might be too late to add something. I loathe myself for it.

You guys know what the worst thing is? If Squigs has decided to end everything, we'll probably never know. This is the weird side of an Internet community. You care about people, but they may be one close window button away from never being heard from again.

- This is not true for everyone. If Tom stops giving news, I've been to his home. I'll take the next flight to the frozen pile of rocky shit that his archipelago is and kick his Norwegian ass. -

Now I don't know, Squigs. Forum says you haven't been online since october 3rd. That may be true, or maybe you check the forum anonymously from time to time.

But hear me out.

Every time I open a tab to this forum and magically allow this particular group of friends to keep existing in my life, I think of you. Where is he? What's he doing? Is he okay? I'll check for new posts in topics I'm interested in, all the while looking at this "Ok." thread and feeling something strange. We've never properly talked, posts of ours may have crossed and interacted, in the forum or in the chat. And I mean... millions of people come and go on the Internet every day.

But this here is a family.

Like every family, there is a whole spectrum of people. Like every family, you don't get to choose these people.  There are people you get along with, some you don't. They're not perfect. BDA is sometimes a quick-angered jerk. Tom a pretentious prick. Sometimes I don't understand a word Regan says. Owen is twelve.

But it's a family. That means I care. I don't get to define how much I care. I just do. I want these people in my family to be okay. I'm not sure I perfectly knew who Invid was, but then he was gone and I was deeply sad.

This is my family. I love you all unconditionally. That means also you.

I know depression. I don't know yours, everyone has their own. But I know mind numbness. I know the "average grey" color. That I don't like or understand who I am, and I don't want it. I didn't even choose it. Fuck this arbitrary universe.

But when a glimpse of light is emitted, I see that I wouldn't want to be, couldn't be, anyone else. Because it wouldn't be me. It's a strange paradox that falls purely under logic. If I weren't me, it wouldn't be me.

I have principles, logic. A way of thinking, however broken I believe it to be. It exists, and it gives me judgement. I believe some things are right, I believe some are not. Even when I don't feel like I like things anymore, I'd rather have them than other things. I just don't see myself as being worth them.

And it dawns on me, I'd rather have this than nothing.

Nothing is the absence of pain, of difficulty. Undecidedness, numbness. But it's nothing. It's beyond boring. It's the absence of anything. No thoughts. Not even darkness. Darkness is something, because you realize it's there. It's like that moment when you fall asleep. You never realize it, you never remember it.

It also reminds me of discussions I've had as a child with my dad about trying to figure out what's beyond our universe, if it's finite. That thing we call the néant, or void. What's it look like? "Well, nothing", my dad said. But I insisted, what if I were to look at it? What would I see? Black? Pure darkness? White noise? "Nothing."

That can't be right.

Assume you're staring at the end of the universe. You cut a hole in it. Tear it open. You stare through that hole. What do you see?


I didn't like that. Couldn't wrap my head around it.

And you know what? Years later, when I finally understood what it meant for the universe to be infinite, I was hella relieved. I didn't have to try and imagine that fucking void anymore.

However, the universe is infinite (far as I know), but our lives ain't. And so my dreaded void is still here somewhere.

Yeah, I'm fucking scared of dying. I want to see the universe unfold, that great big story. I want to see galaxies collide, stars fire up and die. I want to understand and know. Life is fucking unjust, you get the ability to understand things, and after a few years of mountains moving a few inches at best, you're gone.


But I understand all this because I live. Because I think, and learn, and love, and hate. Wanting this life to be gone would be a complete paradox.

I dream. I want dreams to be true. That fucking void doesn't dream. I don't want that void. I'd rather have dreams that never come true.

Be okay, Squigs. Break the cycle. Hike up a mountain. Get lost in wilderness. Look at nature, doing its thing without caring a bit about that silly species that asks itself questions. I'm not even talking about plants or animals, that get hurt in the process. I'm talking about mountains, giants moving at billions-of-years speeds. Light coming and going, water evaporating and condensing, laws of physics happening. Stare at our universe. Marvel at this whole thing around us, that created us, that was, that is, that will be. Those things way beyond us. The universe is alive. Even the coldness of space is alive. It is.

The humbleness it commands me fuels my life. Nothing matters at my scale, or any scale. Let's enjoy it and contemplate it.

And give us some news while you're at it.


(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Teague wrote:

Yo, I totally hadn't gotten there yet. You just taught me that piece of the world. Thanks. smile

Being a huge storm nerd finally pays off!

I'd be glad to continue this in a dedicated thread. Meteorology is great.


(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Temperature is also an antecedent to humidity, since warm water allows more evaporation (molecules mosh-pitting at the surface of water manage to escape it better than molecules not mosh-pitting) and warm air can contain more water vapor.

It's precisely what is happening to us at the moment in southern France: the Mediterranean sea is warm from the summer months, That's a powerful-ass fuel. Get in there warm air from the Atlantic, another mass of air coming from the opposite direction (creating a vertical force much like two meeting huge pieces of land created the Alps) and you got yourself huge rainstorms that last for days and create flash floods.

Temperature is the antecedent to everything. The only reason we have climate in the first place is because our pale blue dot is round and doesn't get as much sunlight at the poles than it does at the equator. It's the basis to everything.


(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Tropical cyclones don't exist near the equator.


Cyclones can only exist because of the Coriolis effect (among other factors like sea temperature, tropopause altitude, etc.): because Earth is a rotating sphere, air will not travel around it at the same speed depending on its latitude (same as us). Thus when such air moves up or down in latitude, its speed will remain unchanged but will now be different from everything else around it, and shift to the east or the west in comparison to the Earth.

That effect will naturally reverse its direction at the equator, as rotation speed has reached its maximum and will start to decrease.


The Coriolis effect (which is, by the way, a pseudo force, because it doesn't exist per se but is only a result of inertial laws) is well-known, but it took me a while to be able to visualize it correctly.


(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)

This channel is incredible. Lots of music theory and knowledge derived from popular music works, clear explanations coated in a bit of humor (the Lars Ulrich Disdainful Face in the video above killed me).

I may have linked to it in the Youtube recommendation thread a while ago... Probably got lost in the offering of the database to the Gods beyond.


(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Metallica's Master of Puppets has a recurrent riff that doesn't perfectly correspond to any kind of time signature; the band just plays it by feel.

Did you ever feel like something was off in that song's rhythm? I didn't. The measure feels right and is performed correctly in unison by the whole band, but though it's often transcribed as a 5/8 measure, it's not exactly the case. There's an added pause that permanently shifts the beat onwards.

I personally love that this beat is incorrect from a technical point of view, but the song still feels perfectly right. Something about the instinctive nature of music that can't be narrowed down to technical terms.


(1,427 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I don't know, I mean... If I were driving a truck, my number one concern would probably be if it fits bridges I pass. Aren't the drivers simply a bit careless and/or drunk and/or dumb?

PS: I still feel genuine empathy for the following minutes when the driver has to get out of their truck and witness their error in front of everyone around. Makes me wince.


(980 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Still waiting for posts in that thread that go "You know what? This was simply great. Nothing to add here."

Until then I still don't see how I can find the incentive to pick it up again. This show has slowly developed a standard of mediocrity.

Mom, I've become cynical!


(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)



(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)

That's the way I'll be answering my phone from now on.


(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)

All metals are crystals.

In fact, almost everything (natural, that is) that isn't organic is a crystal. Most rocks are.


(98 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Holy shit.