Nullary Sources

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Episode three of webshow ValveTime Database covered Prospero, a cancelled game from the ’90s that was one of the initial projects of Valve. They’ve managed to get some exclusive development screenshots and quotes from the game’s writer, Marc Laidlaw. The plan was for Prospero to be a third-person adventure game in a sci-fi/fantasyish setting “drawing on sources ranging from Myst to Borges,” which could’ve been cool.

Colin, however, had a different takeaway:

Colin: “pruh-SPER-oh”

Colin: uhhhh

'Ili: 😎

Colin: Read Shakespeare

Colin: “Ayyy-lif” oh god

'Ili: Ahahahaha SUFFER

'Ili: SEE WHAT YOUR LITERACY BRINGS YOU, BARRETT

Colin: I’m dying here

Colin: I’m so mad

Colin: oh god “theoretical mathematics”

Colin: oh no

Colin: NO

Colin: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

'Ili: AHAHAHAHAHA

Colin: “given the lambda’s connection to the half life universe”

Colin: Why did you make me watch this

Colin: Gamers are the leeches of creativity. I’m so mad

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Baseball’s craziest game?

Shane Tourtellotte writing for The Hardball Times about the July 22, 1986, baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Mets:

What did this game have that was so bonkers? All will be revealed in good time, but I can offer a few teasers. It had one of the most serious brawls baseball has seen in the last half-century, one that spelled the beginning of the end of the career of a well-known player … who wasn’t even in it! It had two ejections in two separate incidents even before the brawl. It boasted protests lodged by both managers. And most notably, it had a lineup manipulation so astonishing, it got several paragraphs of analysis in The Book.

This is incredibly long, but it’s also one of the best baseball stories I’ve ever read in my life.

Here are Colin’s live reactions as he was reading it:

Colin: what

'Ili: KEEP GOING

Colin: what

'Ili: KEEP GOING

Colin: oh boy

'Ili: IT GETS BETTER

Colin: Oh god putting pitcher in the outfield

'Ili: ALMOST THERE

Colin: LMAO

Colin: OMG

Colin: I CANT BELIEVE IT

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While on vacation last week, I heard an awesome Hawai’ian song by a band I’d never heard of before: “Nani Waimea” by Palolo, from their self-titled 1995 album. I heard it on the radio right as I was getting back to the hotel, and I immediately rushed up to my room in the hopes that the radio station had a song history on their website. They did!

'Ili: “wow that's a lot of chromatic chord changes for hawaiian music”

Colin: Love the bass work too.

Colin: Also even with all that chromaticism you’ve still got the regular turnarounds.

'Ili: Right?

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Revisiting the sad, misogynistic fantasy of Xanth

Jason Heller destroyed my childhood with this column for The A.V. Club’s Memory Wipe, where he re-read the first book of Piers Anthony’s Xanth series for the first time since he was a kid. He was disgusted by the rampant misogyny of the book that he was discovering for the first time, so naturally he went and wrote a piece to ruin it for the rest of us.

Here was my realtime reaction as I started it:

'Ili: wuh oh

'Ili: 70s sci-fi art has linked to an A.V. Club article called “Revisiting the sad, misogynistic fantasy of Xanth”

'Ili: I already know Piers Anthony has some creepy pedo undertones and sometimes outright overtones in his writing but should I go all the way and remove any nostalgia I have left

Colin: Maybe

'Ili: Okay that's a yes we're doing this

'Ili: OH MY GOD HE'S RIGHT

'Ili: First paragraph

Here’s how this article was supposed to go down: As a kid, I lived in Florida. Back then I loved the books of Piers Anthony—especially his humorous, bestselling Xanth series, which is set in a parallel version of Florida where magic and mythical creatures exist. For this installment of Memory Wipe, I was going to reread A Spell For Chameleon, the 1977 novel that started the Xanth series…

'Ili: This character, Chameleon, is a woman who cyclicly transforms between three forms.

'Ili: One is pretty but dumb as a rock, one is ugly but smart, and the third is average in both.

'Ili: FIRST BOOK

'Ili: ONLY REALIZING THAT'S KIND OF SHITTY RIGHT NOW

And the column gets into details even worse than this.

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No link found between saturated fat and heart disease

Sarah Knapton of The Telegraph on a meta-analysis by folks at Cambridge University:

The team, whose results appear in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, conducted a “meta-analysis” of data from 72 studies involving more than 600,000 participants from 18 countries.

A key finding was that total saturated fat, whether measured in the diet or the bloodstream, showed no association with heart disease.

'Ili: brb eating a stick of butter

Colin: It’s hilarious to me how absolutely little we know about nutrition.

Colin: This is why the question “What can we know and how do we know that we know it?” is important.

'Ili: I liked this part of the article, by the way:

Prof Tom Sanders of King’s College London said: …

"Studies like this just cause a lot of confusion and undermine sensible dietary advice by given in the UK which has had some degree of success in reducing heart disease in the UK.

"Indeed, death rates from cardiovascular disease have fallen by 55 per cent since 1997 despite the increase in obesity so we must be getting something right."

'Ili: THIS META-ANALYSIS IS WRONG BECAUSE REAAASOOOOOOOOOOOOOONS

Colin: That’s not

Colin: This

Colin: DID YOU NOT TAKE STATISTICS

'Ili: If he's a nutritionist, probably not.

Colin: looooool accurate :(

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Whoops, forgot what day it was and didn’t post a song yesterday. It’s part of the Nullary Sources charter that it’s always time for the Ka’au Crater Boys, so today we have their cover of “Under the Boardwalk” from their 1996 album Making Waves. The original version by the Drifters is of course  highly recommended as well.

Colin: It must suck to be my neighbor. was just singing “Under the Boardwalk” at the top of my lungs

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Female Representation in Desktop Dungeons

Rodain Joubert of QCF Design on adding female portraits to Desktop Dungeons halfway development:

Quite frankly, we wanted the women in DD’s universe to be adventurers first and runway models second. This adjustment turned out to be startlingly non-trivial – you’d think that a bunch of supposedly conscious, mindful individuals would instantly be able to nail a “good female look” (bonus points for having a woman on our crew, right?), but huge swathes of our artistic language tended to be informed by sexist and one-dimensional portrayals. We regularly surprised ourselves with how much we took for granted.

… Shorthands for the feminine kept crawling into our work when we weren’t paying attention – smooth skin, homogenised facial structures, evidence of makeup, you name it. Even characters who we thought would easily sidestep trouble (like the female wizard) simply looked like young, pretty women in grunge costume rather than hardboiled dungeoneers.

It’s a pretty honest assessment of where they succeeded and where they failed.

This isn’t especially related to the content of that post, but the trailer for the game on the front page of their site is fairly bizarre.

Colin: What on earth @ the end of that video

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NBA's Silver on openly gay pro athletes: "We fell behind"

If you haven’t heard, the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA signed veteran player Jason Collins to a 10-day contract in order to fill a hole in their roster. This is notable because in 2013, Collins publicly came out as gay. This makes him the first openly gay person to play in one of the United States’s four major professional sports leagues (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey).

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who took over the league from David Stern on February 1, had some strong words about this, as reported by Tim Bontemps for the New York Post:

"I have mixed feelings, because I’m enormously proud that the first openly gay player is playing in the NBA," Silver told The Post in a phone interview prior to Sunday’s game. "On the other hand, this is so long overdue that I don’t think this should necessarily be on the list of the greatest accomplishments of the NBA.

"This is an area where no one in sports should be too proud. Sports has led society in so many critical areas … this is one where we fell behind."

Colin: As he would agree, it’s sad that that that attitude is so surprising