Monday, July 5, 2021

Confirming 385 Regiments & 450 Settled Worlds in 3025 Successor States

BattleDroids describes regiments as containing 108 BattleMechs (in 3 battalions of 36), and the regimental commander as Duke of a whole planet. MechWarrior 1st Edition counts about 450 settled worlds in the five Successor States. 

108 regiments * 450 commanders = 48,600 'Mechs

BattleForce 1st Edition says the Houses reorganized to 128 'Mechs per regiment (in 3 battalions of 40 plus an 8 'Mech regimental command group). If I recall correctly, it also says this new organization was copied from Wolf's Dragoons.

48,600 / 128 = 379 2/3 regiments

Wolf's Dragoons add 5 regiments plus Zeta Battalion to that total. 

379 2/3 regiments + 5 1/regiments = 385 regiments

Monday, June 28, 2021

[Mal] Was It Monkeys? [/Mal]

[As always, inactivity on my blog is consequent to inactivity in the rest of my life. Can't do anything in depth right nowInstead: UI complaints!]

Bright Mode

@ Google, Reddit, Microsoft, damn near everybody: why does background color still default to WHITE? How is "dark mode" not the standard yet? 

Cookie Jars

When there is the option for dark mode, why must I *add a cookie* to my browser to activate it? Is this really the most efficient way to handle it?

Here's a WTF moment from Comcast:

When you opt out, TrustArc sends your opt-out requests to the companies you selected. The company places a cookie in your browser to indicate you wish to opt out of personalized advertising when serving ads on pages you visit.

It is the Year of Our Lord 2021, in a nation where privacy is #3 and #4 in the Bill of Rights. How is "opt out" being turned into ADDITIONAL TRACKING?

I hear two of the major browsers now let you bar websites from looking at each other's cookies. Good first step! But... why are privacy and security still not *default?*

Shadow Sessions

On June 22, in "incognito" mode, I closed a subreddit tab, reopened it, and found hyperlinks colored with the "already visited" color. Not what I had visited that session, nor another session hours earlier, but from the day before. The next day, pages began pre-coloring "visited" links that I have never visited at all.

Mandatory Autoplay

Why does YouTube's autoplay default to "on?" Why do videos start playing as soon as their tab becomes active even when the tab loaded with the autoplay toggle in the "off" position?

Why does the video player sometimes load videos at lower quality than was selected (e.g., 240p when the label says "360p")? ...and the day after I start drafting this post, I heard someone messing with the external cable hookup, and the issue seemed to clear up...? Does that mean my gigabyte internet can finally play doublespeed 480p without making the connection drop?

Monday, May 11, 2020

The Spacecraft We Could Have Had

A well constructed discussion of where the space program could be right now with current technology, if we'd made more optimal choices.

Courtesy of Ashley R Pollard.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Map of FWL Military Organization

Made this ages ago.

The old HM:FWL book doesn't just have a map, and doesn't just list regimental deployments for summer 3025, it also has a list* of which provinces and worlds organize their military the way Marik does, or Oriente does, or Andurien does.

Seems like a pretty reliable way to start picking out smaller provinces.

*I forget which page, sorry. It's a purple(?) box in the bottom right corner of a right-hand page. [Next Day Edit: it's page 84, which also says
Across the Free Worlds, many minor variations of the three primary hierarchies exist, due to local government edicts and traditional grants and dignitaries. Below is the military organization used by each state. However, few states, especially the smaller ones, adopt the exact pattern set by their larger cousins. Note that one world is even listed twice.
Courtesy of Reddit user wycca. /Edit]

[Edit, May 15: somehow missed the Stewart Dragoons' Home Guards regiment on Stewart and Juggernaut regiment on Payvand. Now added. /Edit]

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Star Trek Episode Roller

I think I found this via Popfiend, years ago
In a perfect world, I could dissect all seven or eight hundred episodes to find the Star Trekkiest distribution of Starfleet missions, antagonists, motivations and NPC strategies. Such volume and detail is a sure recipe for burnout, though.

Each new Trek series self-selects what its writers thought was Trekkiest about the previous series, right? So maybe I can approximate the results of all that research by sampling episodes at random and taking different elements from each?

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There's a few other series I could mix in. Babylon 5, Farscape, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, Shakespeare... and heck, if even Doctor Who borrows from Battlestar Galactica...

But at some point we stray from the themes and structures essential to Star Trek. Like, your average episode of Firefly has a fistfight, a gunfight, a word fight, some kind of spaceship thing, and involves a moral or ethical dilemma. Not too different from Star Trek TOS. Except TOS also adds a good dose of scientific method to everything - whether the problem at hand is mechanical, social or philosophical, the crew feels it out systematically.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Orville Episode 12 - Fools Rush In

We still rely on the magic of editing; still start each episode a little stilted; and my delivery is still a little disjointed; but not as much as when we started.  On a good day - like I think we had for this recording - we cover everything we wanted to say without having to hold too closely to our prepared agenda. We could undoubtedly polish the product more with scripted repartee and rehearsed personalities; but for me, the point (when feasible) is to engage with the ideas as we're recording and choose my words as I go. When I can do that well then everything else follows naturally.

...before decrying Ready Player One, I should probably consider what (if anything) distinguishes it from "The Ultimate Showdown" and "We Come Together."

...and closing with "faithful listeners?" Yeesh. This is why we need a formal sign off.

I can't find that map of the east coast and I don't remember what it was measuring. Not simple poverty, teen birth rates, brain drain or gun violence - these aren't great for South Carolina, but they're more in line with regional trends than whatever I'm remembering.

Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) has so much empathy it's a crime, and the crew ignore a thousand years of sociological studies.

Available in podcast form at

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Orville Episode 11 - These Dimensions

Kirk-era Star Trek carried an almost Darwinian imperative for humanity to test itself against the greatest challenges available. The Next Generation refined that philosophy from a cosmic manifest destiny into a constant personal improvement. The Orville primarily casts such striving as a source of social capital.

It's an interesting inversion of the Next Generation episode "Tapestry." Star Trek doesn't often address career issues or office politics, and I'm glad we get some depth to Yaphit's perspective and get to see how the Captain and Executive Officer handle disagreement.

John Lamar (J Lee) and Ed Mercer (Seth McFarlane) prove themselves as leaders as they explore a piece of two-dimensional sci-fi. Hosts VanVelding and SkilTao discuss the comedic dimensions of the cast.

Available in podcast form at