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Everything posted by Derantol

  1. Any tl;dr for those of us who don't have time to watch it yet? All I'm getting from your post is "FUTURE SOON" and a vague reference to what could be referred to as another industrial revolution, and I don't have time to watch the video at the moment.
  2. I fully agree with jerdge - but I think it's also important to differentiate between slander and genuine criticism. In this particular case, it doesn't look like there's any confusion; one comment of encouragement should never draw this sort of fire. But I think it's also important to be able to level with someone and tell them that something is wrong with what they're doing. That sort of thing is becoming harder to do in our society because so many criticisms are taken as insults somehow. I guess I'm saying that any system supporting free speech should especially protect critical speech that has a basis in fact.
  3. Since you'll be in the neighborhood anyway, I hear Forks, WA is a great center for paranormal... stuff, anyway. And Bigfoot is supposed to live in Washington or British Columbia, I think. Right?
  4. A friend of mine wrote this essay for a class that he took called "Confronting Moral Dilemmas." It's pretty funny - read past the first few paragraphs for the better parts. For what it's worth, he got an A on this paper. At the beginning of the term, I felt as though I had a coherent grasp on many concepts concerning morality. I have strong opinions concerning many of the issues mentioned in the course catalogue, and I was excited to take a class which would focus on moral dilemmas and allow me to explore concrete examples of controversial issues. In that capacity the class has been very helpful. Learning about the great philosophers and their ideas, particularly social contract theory, has made me examine and in most cases reinforce my opinions on a variety of moral issues. One of the strong points of this class was the literature we read and the in-class discussions in which we explored the ideas presented in the assigned text. Though a portion of the reading was difficult and somewhat inaccessible, the professor's guided discussions of the readings always ensured that everyone was on the same page. The fact that some readings were very dense social contract theories in the tradition of Rousseau and Kant while others were fictional short stories also served to add variety to the course work. Overall, this was a highly effective class that allowed students to expand as writers while receiving grounded, helpful critique from a qualified professor. However, I did not progress as much as a writer as I had hoped to by the end of this term. My main problem with essay writing, as it was in the beginning of the term, is quite simply time management. I write very meticulously and slowly, and so have had some difficulty completing assignments in the allotted time. The draft process also proved difficult for me to adjust to, because I edit as I write rather than writing a first draft and then refining it. A prime example of my difficulty with drafts is my research paper concerning the Death Penalty. My initial draft of the Death Penalty paper was poorly written and not well organized. I did not allow myself enough time to research the subject matter, and I was both physically and mentally drained when I began the essay. In some ways this was helpful as it forced me to revise and re-write a significant portion of my paper to complete my final draft. Had I written a first draft that I was happy with from the start, it would have been difficult for me to make changes for my final draft. As it was I was able to make several important additions to my paper, namely a paragraph discussing how the death penalty is not administered universally or fairly across racial or gender-related lines. Additionally I polished and refined much of the sloppy writing of my first draft. Initially, I thought that “Confronting Moral Dilemmas” was a course designed to help students understand the life and reproductive cycles of the Common European Mange-Donkey. I have always been extremely interested in equine biology, and so I jumped at the opportunity to learn about a specific subject in such depth. However, I quickly realized my assumptions concerning the course's subject matter were incorrect. Instead of mange-related fur deterioration and foot and mouth disease, we were discussing human rights issues! Since I was initially misled by the course title, the remainder of this essay will not discuss my experience in “Confronting Moral Dilemmas”. Instead, I will present my own research relating to the behavioral and reproductive habits of the Common European Mange-Donkey. For the sake of concision I will refer to the Common European Mange-Donkey simply as “The Mange-Donkey”. Of course, if I were writing an essay concerning multiple species of Mange-Donkey (i.e American Mange-Donkeys, Afro-Asian Mange-Donkeys) than a greater degree of distinction would be necessary. Mange-Donkeys are similar to standard donkeys, and both species belong to a greater family known as the Equidae family. This family also includes zebras, mules, and horses. Though horses look sleek and get most of the publicity, they also suck. Mules cannot reproduce, but they are great for party tricks, and zebras are more often striped than not. Mange-Donkeys, however, are in a class all of their own. It has often been said that being a Mange-Donkey is not simply a matter of genetics- rather, it is a way of life. While it is certainly true that Mange-Donkeys are most easily distinguished by temperament rather than appearance, there are still visually observable distinctions that set the Mange-Donkey apart from the standard donkey. Physically speaking Mange-Donkeys are differentiated from the standard donkey by large, moth-eaten patches of hair, a certain troll-like cunning in the eye, and a strong North Yorkshire accent present in the bray. If they serve dual duties as Slapping Donkeys, Mange-Donkeys may also exhibit such characteristics as a balding or hairless hindquarter and a tattered mane and tail. While it is commonly supposed that the Mange-Donkey came by its moniker because it is prone to a mange-like skin rash, this assumption is incorrect. The skin rash (known as “rain scald” or “mud fever”) is in fact common to both Mange-Donkeys and standard Donkeys, and is caused by prolonged exposure to damp conditions. In reality, “Mange-Donkeys” are known as such because they are half mange, half donkey. It is interesting to note that unlike most hybrid animals (mules, ligers) Mange-Donkeys can reproduce. I have devoted much time and effort into researching the etymology of the word “donkey”, but have not had much success finding accurate sources. As a result, I have formulated my own theory concerning the names' derivation and origins. To me, the most logical answer is that the word “donkey” is a diminutive of “Don Quixote”, the name of the Spanish knight in Cervante's novel. Somewhere along the line, a committee was called and an executive decision was made to get rid of the oats and the tea, leaving only “Don Qui”. This became further corrupted as the syllables were combined into a single word and the spelling was anglicized, ultimately evolving into the modern English “Donkey”. I feel that the skills I am lacking in terms of my writing abilities will all come simply as a matter of practice. The more papers I have to write to make a quick deadline, the more drafts I complete, the better and less frustrated I will be.
  5. What makes you say this? I won't argue that these values are normally important, but I know that I can cite at least one clear example to the contrary (Vox Populi) and several you could argue have set aside these goals, at least as they are presented here, for the sake of doing something else. And there are examples of alliances that more or less aim for these goals and yet still suffer - I'll offer up TDO as an example. TDO, at one point, had several hundred members. They have hovered between 100 and 200 for some time, while other alliances, such as IRON, MHA, and NPO have maintained much higher numbers. IRON and NPO both managed to keep higher amounts of members even during devastating war on more than one occasion, and even though MHA has lost a significant number of people in the last couple months, they're only just now sitting at the 400 mark.
  6. What is your personal opinion on each of the sanctioned alliances? In what ways might each of those alliances improve?
  7. Derantol


    I really like the look of this now! Good job.
  8. Derantol


    My suggestion is to move to the same color scheme as the other chart - one color for each side in war - because team color isn't overly important. Also, if you made little red triangles to substitute the arrows, it'd make it easier to see who declared on who at a glance.
  9. Derantol

    Survivor 9

    Given that this might affect some alliances, would it be possible to adjust the dates so that each set has ten days, with overlapping competitions for tribes? I don't want to make it too hard or anything, but it seems to make sense.
  10. I think the term is pescaterian, though I probably have the spelling wrong. Let your friends know their true label!
  11. Derantol


    One thing that I have been convinced of for quite some time is that Cybernations would benefit greatly from an introduction of some sort of scarcity in resources. At present, only two genuinely scarce resources exist - senate seats, which aren't exactly fought for tooth and nail, and members, which is fairly arguable as members that one alliance wants are vastly different than members another alliance wants. There's a reason that Starcraft games never last more than about an hour, and Empire Earth (for those who know the first EE game) can last for hours and hours, and it has to do with how the mechanics of those respective games force (or don't force) conflict. In Empire Earth, it is entirely feasible to take your corner of the map, fortify it, defend it, and simply build up until you have completely filled out the tech tree. On average, it takes me and my friends about three hours to go from the very beginning of time to where we stop teching up and start taking over the map. This is possibly because in your starting base, you get resources piles of 300,000, which would literally take several days of realtime at top speed in optimal conditions to completely mine out. Therefore, your only limits are how fast you can collect resources - which does *eventually* force you out, but only once you reach the last few ages where the stuff that you're buying is actually straining your income. Starcraft, on the other hand, gives you roughly twenty to twenty five minutes to completely collect all the resources in your main base. Each expansion base takes about the same or less time. Because of that, it is important to expand quickly, and it is important to expand more than your opponent, who you will likely end up fighting very quickly as you begin to expand. This strategy does work in EE as well, but not nearly as well, and it doesn't give you nearly the same kind of advantage that it does in Starcraft. EE is fairly similar to CN. Resources are really only limited by your ability to acquire them - in CN, aid slots are effectively the limit. In the standard setup these days, you can get on average 150-200 tech every ten days, depending on whether you are doing 3/50 or 3/100 deals. It doesn't matter how much money you're making - unless you want to pay exorbitant amounts, you aren't going to edge out your competitors in tech totals. The only advantage you can get has to do with your activity and your ability to choose reliable trading partners. Which - surprise! - is a feat that is more or less achieved by a large number of people. Unfortunately, there are a couple problems I haven't personally found a way to reconcile yet. Starcraft and EE are both different from CN in that they have a win condition - you do eventually win the game. CN doesn't have that, and that's the first problem. The other problem is that to create a balanced system, the scarce resource in question has to be desirable, but can't overbalance the game in that group's favor. Having sanctioned alliances was in some ways an answer to that, as having the alliance allows you a pip on the boards and a flag in the game, but most of CN has decided that being sanctioned isn't valuable. Senate seats are technically a scarce resource, but the tangible benefits of holding them aren't terribly potent in the first place, and the facets that are usable aren't being used in a way that makes the seats genuinely important to have - it doesn't matter who is an ally of who, rogues often get sanctioned either way, so what's the difference between, say, Fark or MHA holding a particular seat? Or TOP and RnR, for a non-allied comparison. I wanted to open a bit of a brainstorming session to see if anyone could come up with an idea worthy of the suggestion box. It'll get more traction (hopefully) if we get some of the discussion out of the way now and bring it forward with considerable support from the get-go. With that, ideas?
  12. An interesting thing to note in Shan's stats is that it indicates at the very least 2-3 years of decent nation creation and retention before the game threatens to get too sparsely populated. If we're trying to come up with a solution as a game community, we do have some time to fact check and do it right.
  13. Derantol

    War Stats

    It would probably be five minutes of additional work per update - basically making an excel spreadsheet and uploading it to imageshack. It would just be a static image - nothing like what UE used to have.It also probably wouldn't give the best indication of how a war is going - alliances joining or leaving would mask how much damage is actually being done. If you've got a spreadsheet with all the data kept in it, you could just have the chart of the alliances currently involved - it would give a good indicator of how well the coalition will continue to perform. So if you had GPA, TDO, and WTF in the war, and GPA left, the next update of a chart would only reflect TDO and WTF throughout the war, completely ignoring GPA's influence. It would be easier to predict how the war at present will continue.
  14. Derantol

    War Stats

    You mean there isn't a global war developing right now? Darn it, I got all excited for global meltdown. As far as the stats go, maybe a date for each pair of warring alliances indicating when that individual pair's war started, including the score for each on that day (kind of like what Schad is suggesting).
  15. For a point of reference, one of the reasons that Native Americans make their land claims is based upon their religion. For Christianity, a religion most people here are familiar with, the important parts of the religion in a nutshell are the ceremony, the scripture, and living by the moral guidelines set forth within the religion (each of these are more or less important given the denomination). Native religion, on the other hand, is very site-based, and there are many sacred sites that were taken away from them way back when when the governments here signed treaties with them, based on a lack of understanding of the importance of actual physical sites to their religion. I'm not going to try to argue one way or the other on this one, as far as what is right to do now, but I did want to provide some context to why Native Americans press so hard for land sometimes.
  16. Derantol

    Time Changes

    I remember when TOOL was fluctuating members in the hundreds for a while. You guys have changed a lot since then.
  17. Well, I'm not going to claim to be an expert on economics, but one thing that I definitely absorbed from the econ course I took last year is that inflation, in and of itself, is not bad. Inflation rates between 1? and 3? percent are signs of a healthy economy. If it gets higher than that, the inflation affects reliability in prices. If we experience deflation, that's also a sign that the economy isn't exactly in the best place. Overall, I don't think it affects what you're saying much; just be aware that inflation rising isn't inherently bad.
  18. Derantol

    Survivor 8

    I voted regular, but by regular I take it to mean at about the pace we've been having special events. I also took it to mean that we had something going on, not necessarily the same thing going on each time. I voted before I read... I like the variety, though. The Olympics format was really cool, I thought. Survivor is fine as well, but I think if that one was done too regularly it would lose its luster.
  19. What does "fraud" mean in the first article? I mean, leaving it ambiguous like that certainly gives you flexibility, but if you're defining aggression, you need to be more careful. With the three options you have there, you are bound to have left something out that very well could warrant an aggressive (but still justified) action. You could even make the argument that a period of stagnant peace warrants some sort of aggressive "fixing" of the peace, on the basis that having a particular type of war would keep people around.
  20. Well... from what I remember, every single time that someone suggests expanding aid slots in any way, the response is that it will increase the inflation of reps. Chances are, the next people up on the chopping block are going to end up paying more than the last ones anyway, so unless the aid slots are expanded to the point where even the top nations could be sucked dry sending out aid, the inflation will just increase.
  21. So people with at least a bachelor's in one or more of a selection of liberal arts degrees? Also, citation for evidence to some of the claims made would be nice. You *do* make quite a lot of unsubstantiated claims, and without that, it's hard to take this seriously. Finally, correct capitalization and punctuation would be nice. You actually did quite nicely on the spelling, especially for having the other errors there.
  22. I actually came to a similar conclusion after talking to several people in #nsa (including Vladimir and LordValentine, among others); while the divisions I found are divisions, they aren't class divisions, unless I want to destroy the meaning of the world class.
  23. Yeah, but my professor isn't going to look that far into these forums, I don't think. EDIT: Plus, MK doesn't seem to have lost members at the same rate that many other alliances have. The point would have to be adjusted to indicate that the players stayed around as opposed to leaving, since gradual attrition is the state of things these days.
  24. I have a hunch that if RoK simply desired to start a war, it would be because of NSO's polarizing nature, not just because they're weaker. I don't know whether I believe RoK/Hoo wanted war or whether Hoo was genuinely that offended by NSO's actions, but there are better targets to attack if you simply want some war practice.
  25. This evening, I had to write an essay for my online lit class that compared my culture to a culture we explored in one of the units that we did. I chose class, and chose to do a comparison to CN culture instead of RL culture. I procrastinated and I had a word limit, so this is the essay I came up with - 2 hours, and 1500 words (I think this one is actually about 1700 because I added in a couple paragraphs I took out for submission to class for the sake of length). There are some definite flaws in what I came up with, but it was the best I could do given the time and limitations. Since we all like a rousing discussion, how would you change/improve my distinctions here? Also, I'm supposed to cite GeneralOreo and Set_Vellar from R&R as research partners. Logs are to be had... somewhere. Ask them. Class, in some form, is present in nearly every civilization throughout human history. Tribal societies had a chief who rose above the rest of the tribe, whereas Rome was ruled by senators, and later emperors. Medieval Europe saw the rise of Feudalism, during which the peasants and serfs suffered for the good of their respective lords. Later on, beginning with the American and French revolutions, a new middle class was created; today, it could be argued that almost the entire “middle class” resides somewhere below the halfway point between the highest of the high and the lowest of the low. Class is a natural human division to make; humans tend to compare themselves to one another for the sake of evaluating their worth. Class is also present in other groups, in mini-societies present throughout today’s world. The media is a society in and of itself, with some stars rising above the rest to be universally loved, while others are ridiculed and burn out, creating a lower class among celebrities. Schools are another example of a society wrought with class; the “preps” and “jocks” enjoy a large set of privileges, while the most that a “geek” or “nerd” can hope for is that one of the “high class” students goes to them for academic help. And video games, specifically online video games, have cultures and divisions of class often unlike anything seen in normal human society. Cybernations, an online multiplayer game, is an example of one of these cultures. The game is what is called a geopolitical simulator; essentially, each player controls a nation that can interact with other nations (controlled by other players) within the game. The game’s relative simplicity allows the players to spend time working with the other players within the game, creating a society revolving around the game. This society, like any other society, has separate classes. In this case, there are three fairly distinct classes; the Inactives, the Actives, and the Power Players. Inactive players make up a sizeable bulk of the 22,000 members of this society. These players are those who join the game and play, but don’t interact much beyond the building of their nation. The most these players are likely to do is join an alliance (a contract between a group of nations to ensure security, among other benefits) and participate in alliance wars, in which two or more alliances go to war with each other. Active players are what amount to staff members within alliances. All alliances have some level of bureaucracy, as some alliances have grown to have nearly 1500 members in the past. These players are usually well-recognized within their own alliances, but are relative strangers to the community at large. Movement between the Active class and the Inactive class is fairly liable to happen, as the lives people lead outside of the game may influence their ability to play. Power Players are the true high class members of society. Numbering no more than about 100 at any given time, Power Players tend to be government officials of alliances, whether current or former, and are almost universally recognized. These players, even if they possess little hard power in the form of strong nations or a large alliance, usually have the ability to partially control most discussions they take part in, simply due to their recognition. A Power Player taking part in a discussion about Cybernations with mostly Active players would be similar to Bill Gates or Steve Jobs taking part in a discussion about computers with their employees who are working regular forty-hours-a-week jobs. This society (in which I would be considered an Active player) has distinct similarities and differences than that of the world in general. A comparison between the poem “Napa, California” by Ana Castillo and various threads from the forums at Cybernations clearly illustrates those similarities and differences. The first stanza in “Napa, California” talks about the work that Mexican laborers do in the fields. “We pick/the bittersweet grapes/at harvest/one/by/one” (561) tells of the mind-numbing simplicity of the job the laborers are doing. Similarly, as written in response to a blog entitled “22,557 cn players and…” by a member with the alias maxfiles, another member with the alias Ashoka the Great says, “Want to know what’s killing the game? Boredom. Those of us who have been around for a while are more likely to tough it out when there’s nothing going on… New players, however, hear about this war or that war from the past, wait for another to arrive on their doorstep… and get bored and leave when nothing happens.” When Ashoka references “those of us who have been around for a while”, he’s talking about most of the Power Players and a many of the Active players. Conversely, the new players that he talks about are the Inactives, those who join the game to wait for wars that usually take over six months to develop and take place. The Inactives are forced to wait for the tensions to build up between the Power Players, who are the ones in position to start wars. While there is certainly a similarity here, there is also a key difference. The laborer, crippled by the conditions he was born into, has no chance for upward mobility. Inactives, on the other hand, have a reasonable chance at growth into an Active player, and with the right personality, intelligence, and activity levels, even a Power Player. The defining feature of class in these societies is different; in real life, money and the ability to live well determine your class, whereas in Cybernations, time, intelligence, and distinct personalities are the currencies that the Power Players all possess. This difference is shown with the second half of the first stanza. “with leather worn hands/as they pick/at our dignity/and wipe our pride/away/like the sweat we wipe/from our sun-beaten brows/at midday” (561). The laborers’ dignity and pride are being wiped away by the labor they are forced to do; in Cybernations, a player can simply leave if they are dissatisfied with the position they are in. “In field/so vast/that our youth seems/to pass before us/and we have grown/very/very/old/by dusk…” (561-562) Lines 15-23 make reference to how hard the work is for the lower class. They are picking berries in a large field, so large that it seems as though they are growing older just while crossing it throughout the day doing their job. This particular part has striking similarities to Cybernations culture. In Cybernations, as maxfiles says in the discussion within his blog, “it is hard as hell to get upto a 20k ns nation, its not practical, and to get upto 100k ns… impossible.” The reference being made here is the ability to create a strong nation; most of the strongest nations have been around for several years, and every large war ends up being very destructive, so the chances of a new player having such hard power in their control are extremely low. In that sense, the field that is referenced to in the poem is present in Cybernations, literally representing a field of time between the new players and the old. This gap can seem just as insurmountable as the field that the laborers are picking, though the stakes are far lower in the case of Cybernations. The Spanish, on lines 24-28, is translated below as “Well then, what are we going to do, Ambrosio?/Well then, follow him, my good friend, follow him!/Mama!/Yes, well, what are we going to do, friend?/Follow him, Ambrosio, follow him!” In this section, it appears as though the narrator is making it known the few options that they have. All they can do is “follow him”, whoever “him” is. Cybernations culture, again, has this element. Any alliance is going to need to have active, intelligent members to succeed. Depending on the size of the alliance, it might need more or less. As such, Active and Inactive players alike have the best chance of success following Power Players. Power Players tend to attract other players to them, the surrounding group present in hopes of becoming a Power Player themselves, or to feel the power that the Power Player has at their fingertips. The more people a Power Player attracts, the more likely that group has intelligent members. Where there are intelligent members, there is success. So for an Inactive player to have any degree of success, they are almost required to follow a Power Player. Actives have better chances than Inactives when simply working together, but the probability of success is still much greater when in the presence of a popular Power Player. One example of this is the presence of an alliance called Mushroom Kingdom. Mushroom Kingdom (MK) is home to several high-profile members, but the most powerful, at least for a time, was a player by the name of TheNeverender, referred to as Archon. In mid-April of 2009, just at the beginning of a war that ended up shifting the balance of power in favor of MK, the alliance had 147 members. Archon became the figurehead for the forces of Karma, and in that process became arguably the most powerful ruler in the game. Now, in mid-August of 2010, MK has 218 members. While Archon is not the only person responsible for this shift, he, and other notable players, certainly hold some responsibility for the growth of the alliance. This is a clear cut example of players following the successes of a Power Player (or Power Players) and his accompanying Active players. Lines 29-35, “We pick/with a desire/that only survival/inspires/While the end/of each day only brings/a tired night/that waits for the sun/and the land/that in turn waits/for us…” illustrate how desperate the workers are. In this case, Cybernations is vastly different. Cybernations, as seriously as it is taken sometimes, is primarily a game, and as such is only played as long as it is enjoyed on some level. The Mexican laborers, members of the lower class, are forced into the position they are for survival. While real life and Cybernations hold some similarities in regards to class, the major differences – upward mobility and choice of participation – become the defining qualities. Castillo’s poem tackles a subject that I, as a member of the culture of Cybernations, can only identify with to a certain degree. Perhaps, with the example of Cybernations and other mini-cultures, we as a people can work for a society in which a person’s class no longer banishes them to the berry fields. By the way, this is why I amsg'd several IRC channels asking for Admin's full name. Apparently the owner of a website is to be included when citing it in MLA.
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