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Roger Burgess
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Roger Burgess

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This redheaded, black-bodied arthropod looks almost like a toy for a prank. Place it in the room of your unsuspecting victim and await their panicked screams. But it is actually a real animal.
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Doug Tyrrell's profile photoCorey-Jason Saile's profile photoWalter Phippeny's profile photoBAG GAB's profile photo
I remember sitting under a tree in Arizona...up from under the leaves crawled a centipede as big as this, but just one color...pretty freaky
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Pretty much.
Mike DeSimone's profile photoScott Cress's profile photo
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Mind · Blown.
Wacky algebra

In math you get to make up the rules of the game... but then you have to follow them with utmost precision.  You can change the rules... but then you're playing a different game.  You can play any game you want... but some games are more worthwhile than others. 

If you play one of these games long enough, it doesn't feel like a game - it feels like "reality", especially if it matches up to the real world in some way.  But that's how games are.

Unfortunately, most kids learn math by being taught the rules for a just a few games - and the teacher acts like the rules are "true".  Where did the rules come from?  That's not explained.  The students are never encouraged to make up their own rules.

In fact, mathematicians spend a lot of time making up new rules.  For example, my grad student Alissa Crans made up a thing called a shelf.  It wasn't completely new: it was a lot like something mathematicians already studied, called a 'rack', but simpler - hence the name 'shelf'.  (Mathematician need lots of names for things, so we sometimes run out of serious-sounding names and use silly names.)

What's a shelf?

It's a set where you can multiply two elements a and b and get a new element a · b.  That's not new... but this multiplication obeys a funny rule:

a · (b · c) = (a · b) · (a · c)

That should remind you of this rule:

a · (b + c) = (a · b) + (a · c)

But in a shelf, we don't have addition, just multiplication... and the only rule it obeys is

a · (b · c) = (a · b) · (a · c)

There turn out to be lots of interesting examples, which come from knot theory, and group theory.  I could talk about this stuff for hours.  But never mind!   A couple days ago I learned something surprising.  Suppose you have a unital shelf, meaning one that has an element called 1 that obeys these rules:

a · 1 = a
1 · a = a

Then multiplication has to be associative!  In other words, it obeys this familiar rule:

a · (b · c) = (a · b) · c

The proof is in the picture. 

A guy who calls himself "Sam C" put this proof on a blog of mine.  I was shocked when I saw it.

Why?   First, I've studied shelves quite a lot, and they're hardly ever associative.   I thought I understood this game, and many related games - about things called 'racks' and 'quandles' and 'involutory quandles' and so on.  But adding this particular extra rule changed the game a lot

Second, it's a very sneaky proof - I have no idea how Sam C came up with it.

Luckily, a mathematician named Andrew Hubery showed me how to break the proof down into smaller, more digestible pieces.  And now I think I understand this game quite well.   It's not a hugely important game, as far as I can tell, but it's cute. 

It turns out that these gadgets - shelves with an element 1 obeying a · 1 = 1 · a = a - are the same as something the famous category theorist William Lawvere had invented under the name of graphic monoids.  The rules for a monoid are that we have a set with a way to multiply elements and an element 1, obeying these familiar rules:

1 · a = 1 · a = a

a · (b · c) = (a · b) · c

Monoids are incredibly important because they show up all over.  But a graphic monoid also obeys one extra rule:

a · (b · a) = a · b

This is a weird rule... but graphic monoids show up when you're studying bunches of dots connected by edges, which mathematicians call graphs... so it's not a silly rule: this game helps us understand the world.

Puzzle 1: take the rules of a graphic monoid and use them to derive the rules of a unital shelf.

Puzzle 2: take the rules of a unital shelf and use them to derive the rules of a graphic monoid.

So, they're really the same thing.

By the way, most math is a lot more involved than this.  Usually we take rules we already like a lot, and keep developing the consequences further and further, and introducing new concepts, until we build enormous castles - which in the best cases help us understand the universe in amazing new ways.  But this particular game is more like building a tiny dollhouse.  At least so far.  That's why it feels more like a "game", less like "serious work".
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Roger Burgess's profile photoJohn Payne's profile photoGwen Patton's profile photoMichael Fridrich's profile photo
Don't be confused by my use of asterisks. I didn't feel like dragging out Charmap to locate a shelf operator just for the sake of a Three Stooges joke.  (Considering I did it from memory, I thought it pretty good.)
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Roger Burgess

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So, have a question:

I have a VM rack that's disconnected from the internet and need to put the new Fedora 22 on it, but the Live CD only comes w/ about 1.5GB of OS.  Is there a full 7-8GB DVD lying around?  My search-fu is failing me.

I'd really rather not have to manaually select RPM packages and import them into the environment one by one, I'd rather just grab the latest complete standard repository once a month or so and up date software that way.

Any suggestions?
pete travis's profile photoIgor Gnatenko's profile photoRoger Burgess's profile photo
Thanks! I'll be taking a look this weekend. 
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Roger Burgess

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Classes of Minds gone from CC: So I found the Convert 6e 'toons to CC 'toons document, and from reading the text it says to use the Limited Power Limitation, but doesn't really provide any other guidelines, so I came up with my own, just in case someone wants to use them:

Conversion from Classes of Minds (assumes a standard, humanocentric Supers game):
Limited Power
Human Minds ONLY (-1/2, Power loses about a third's effectiveness)
Alien Minds ONLY (-1 1/2, Power loses about two-third's effectiveness)
Animal Minds ONLY (-1, Power loses about half its effectiveness)
Machine Minds ONLY (-1/2, Power loses about a third's effectiveness)
NOT Human Minds (-1/2, Power loses about a third's effectiveness)
NOT Alien Minds (-0, Power is not significantly limited)
NOT Animal Minds (-1/4, Power loses about a quarter's effectiveness)
NOT Machine minds (-1/2, Power loses about a third's effectiveness)

Note: the numbers do NOT add up; this is deliberate.  Being able to affect ONLY human minds is very different from being able to affect EVERYTHING BUT human minds.

Me? I'm sticking with the simplicity of the 5pt Adder for adding classes of minds.
Loren Frerichs's profile photo
I have been thinking about how this should work in our StarHero (80% human) campaign.  The common non-human races would be 3 to 5 minus to the "effect roll" but machine or animal would require the adder to attempt contact.

Your chart would work well for converting most of the superhero campaigns I have played in to Hero6.     
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Question: Now that "Classes of Minds" is no longer in 6e rules, how does one model Mind Control (or other, similar powers), Only vs. Machines?  A -0 limitation?
Jason Packer's profile photoScott Baker's profile photoRoger Burgess's profile photo
I'm thinking of it like a combination of Mr. Fantastic and Batman: He always seems to be able to cobble up the right robot for the job just in time. 

Grab some wiring out of the wall, "Hey! this bench would make a good shield for my Defensebot", grabs cellphone from random passerby..."Mind if I borrow this for a bit?": car computers and cell phones make for great control chips, &ct. 

Don't want it to be painful for him to 'come up with' something, but want to play off the OIF limitation by sticking him in the wilderness or on barren planets or empty warehouses or out in the ocean and stuff.  If he's on a city street or on a spaceship he shouldn't be significantly limited.  I might even grant extra build points if he's especially creative about what he uses.  Eventually, he may just buy off the OIF and they can be 'packed away' inside his Android torso or something.

How 'realistic' it is isn't too much of a concern, I mean, he's an alien robot who's been sent (against his will) to go defend meat-bags from themselves.  Realism just crawled into the corner and shot itself.  He can summon robots when he needs them and he builds them (inhumanly quickly) out of available materials... how?  Who knows?  It just happens and takes him about a phase to do it.
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Minion Cards!
Minions show up in game for a few rounds and then disappear.  They should not be as complex as villains or the PCs.  So, simplified stats make a lot of sense.

They have ONE attribute, a CV value that covers OCV/DCV, Body & Stun for those minons who need it, a line for skills, a bit of space for powers/equipment and 3 hit boxen for getting whacked by heroes.

Christopher Meid's profile photoRoger Burgess's profile photoJason Packer's profile photo
I'd probably have some dedicated attributes like DEX for initiative, but more than anything would expand the Skills/Powers sections to allow for more space for things like martial maneuvers, gadgets or the like in short form (damage done, defenses granted, that sort of thing).
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"Fibonacci sequence hidden in ordinary division problem" #thinkers

Mind == Blown. 
If you divide 1 by 999,999,999,999,999,999,999,998,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999 (that's 999 quattuordecillion btw), the Fibonac
Jason Miller's profile photoFred Horein's profile photoRoger Burgess's profile photo
it'll work in any base, your program is a generator for the Fibonacci sequences in b16.  You could generalize it by just using a variable for the base.
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Delicious goodness.
What's your favourite old school Battlemech? 
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James Fox's profile photoScott Cress's profile photo
8th row 2nd column. An icon. Looking forward to the day when Battle bots is defined this way. Instead of the robots in a lexan cube the audience is. :)
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Neptune Station - Undersea Science Station map is complete!

This is an undersea dome complex structure, consisting of domes on top and sublevels beneath them, eventually cut into the seamount the station sits upon, many of the levels are at least partially embedded in quarried rock.

This map is usable in a modern/near or far future sci-fi game. Enjoy!
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Thomas Ulrey's profile photoRoger Burgess's profile photoBen McKee's profile photo
Traveller, or anything really. It's a map!

Question: you have a webcam or headphones w/ a mic?

Thinking about starting a campaign via g+ hangouts. 
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Roger Burgess

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4 per Sheet Minion Cards.  Slightly more room for powers, added a DEX and END stat.

+Jason Packer
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So you want to be a SysAdmin?

Here you go. Everything you need to get started running your own systems.

Short linux sysadmin screencasts containing tutorials, tips and tricks. Great for both novice and experienced Sysdmins.
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Have him in circles
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Systems Administration
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A Godless Liberal and avid Old School Gamer in the Information Age
I'm a proud father of two beautiful children and lucky husband to my wonderful wife.

Before my recent move to the fine state of Maryland:

I am late of the Board of NARAL Pro-Choice VA

I am a former Director of Communications of Progressive Democrats of America NoVA Chapter

I was the Co-President for the Presence Committee for the Loudoun County Democratic Committee

When I have a few seconds spare time, I like to play OSR style D&D and Munchkin.
Bragging rights
I rescue kittens from trees, puppies from runoff pipes and have saved the world thirteen times - this morning. I'm an international man of mystery who has divined the answer to the question of Life, the Universe and Everything.
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Roger Burgess's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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