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Topics - Stormthorn

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Adult Discussion / The Care and Handling of Statistics
« on: January 01, 2014, 11:03:41 PM »
Statistical data. Often cited in arguments. Often ignored. Comes up a lot in places on forums where people argue. But ignoring it is the wrong thing to do. Statistical information cannot be discarded as false simply because one disagrees with it or has yet to see personal action that backs it up. I, personally, have never seen China with my own eyes. Yet it would be monstrously foolish of me to pretend it doesn’t exist given the evidence to the contrary.

Instead, when considering things like statistics in matter of health or politics, one actually needs to peer closer. Up close, they can be examined for the tell-tale signs of an attempt to fool or manipulate. Running away from a statistic or denying it without evidence that it is bad simply makes one look foolish or willfully ignorant. For if believing a falsehood is bad, certainly the only thing worse is refusing to acknowledge the truth. And so I have a small guide here to help you all, and an excerpt from a little-known version of "The Emperor's New Clothes"

“So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, "Oh, how fine are the Emperor's new clothes! Don't they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!" Nobody would confess that he couldn't see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.
"But he hasn't got anything on," a little child said.
"Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?" said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, "He hasn't anything on. A child says he hasn't anything on."
"But he hasn't got anything on!" the whole town cried out at last.

To which the Emperor thought: “Mass media has misinformed these people. Good thing my personal panel of experts all agreed that I was indeed wearing clothes. Now THOSE are professionals who have data you can trust.”

Things to be on the lookout for:

Who collected/made the statistic – Some groups have agendas and may attempt to maliciously alter data or only report what is favorable.

Who you got the statistic from – Even less trustworthy are agenda-toting groups and news agencies who will try to cherry-pick statistical information. Generally this problem is unavoidable unless you get information directly from a site that compiles and reports data or also look up what the counter-argument side is reporting on.

The sample – Was a large sample taken? Was it representative or as close as possible? Self-report bias, the tendency of only interested or otherwise involved people to get involved and return surveys can be a problem here. If I mailed a million people a questionnaire about satisfaction with Obama most people will not respond. Of those that do, most will be that who hate or love him with apathetic people less likely to bother. If I sent 95% of my surveys out to Lubbock, Texas and the remaining 5% to other cities I would of course be skewing my results towards conservative responses because of the population trends in that city.

The questions – How a question is worded effects how people will respond. “Do you drink coca-cola” and “Is coca-cola the best soda ever” are VERY different questions and a lot less people would respond with an affirmative to the latter. If I was reporting my results as “the % of people who like coca-cola” and I asked the second question, I would have a lower number than if I asked the first.

Putting some of the above together I could end up reporting almost anything I wanted if I had an agenda. Let us use that survey that was mostly taken in Lubbock. Let us pretend that the only options are “Obama is better than Jesus” and “Obama is worse than Hitler.” I end up reporting:
“According to a recent nationwide survey 98% of people believe that Obama is worse than Hitler.”
I leave out that I forced any negative opinion to be stated that way, that I overwhelmingly only asked conservatives, and that a grand total of 500 people out of 1,000,000 responded (most were too lazy, didn’t care, or were offput by my question).

Also to consider is how the data was manipulated (here meaning how much math was done to it). A mean (average number of cats per household), direct report (# of pet cats in the US), or per-capita (cats per 1 million people) cant be manipulated if the data itself was collected properly. A report of “significance” is a lot more dicey. P<.05 and P<.005 look a lot alike, but are an order of magnitude apart. And a P value of .06 usually isn’t significant in a scientific manner but it means the data was 94% likely, we think, to be a result of the situation and not happenstance. If the data was about whether or not eating lead solder leads to brain damage and the results say “Yes” but only to p=.06 you may want to consider that you essentially have only a 6% chance of the report being wrong and a 94% of it being right and ending up with brain damage before you dig into that solder-dog (this is a silly and simple example, but you get the idea). Conversely, significance doesn’t mean the results MATTER at all. Some statistical procedures are flawed and will almost always be significant if you have a large enough sample as long as any difference exists. If the mean number of socks men lose in their lifetime is 68.223 and for women its 68.224 and I choose to round to three places then if I get a low enough P-value I can tell you that “Women lose significantly more socks than men” when the differences is actually trivial. If I ALSO had an agenda, I might word it as “Women are significantly more likely to misplace household items” or something like that.

Lastly, be wary of correlation data. Just because I can prove that a significant correlation exists between ice-cream sales and murder doesn’t mean ice cream CAUSES murder. In this case, I would be failing to account for the effects of the summer heat on my statistical model. I would also be claiming causation, which is a very sticky territory indeed.

Fun House / Personality types. Whats yours?
« on: October 09, 2013, 03:25:43 PM »

I would put this thread in general, but im a psychology type so I figured most people would go the opposite way and consider it funhouse stuff.

I am an INFJ by most tests. Occasionally I get INFP or ENFJ but usually INFJ, the rarest type. Ghandi and Hitler are both often assigned either this type, or sometimes ENFJ.
INFJs feel intensely, more so than they often let on, have keen insight into others emotions, and think deeply, sometimes so depe they torment themselves. They may want to hear other peoples problems and think on how to solve things. Honesty is those close to them is often important. They would rather hurt a friend with a cruel truth than spare with a lie.

Here is where I think the most reliable statistical prevalence data is likely to be found:

Your Art / A Conversation At Dusk
« on: September 25, 2013, 02:21:37 AM »
Authors note: Tried to come up with a format that worked a little in this forum box. Nothing very bad here but not something I think kids will enjoy much. Maybe. Who knows without reading it first. It probably has some issues with tense, because I didnt have a single tense in mind that the man and woman would share, but rather wanted them to "feel" very subtly different. That may have been a failed endeavor and if so I can just edit it to one tense. Either way, I think I managed to capture something here.

A Conversation At Dusk

Just after sunset in the park; long shadows and a red sky. The woman ground the toe of her shoe into the bark of the playground while leaning on the support beams of the swing. The awkward child anticipating a scolding. But no parents are around to scold.

 The sole other inhabitant of that other planet park in the middle of suburbia was a man who stood facing away from her. He was one step from the edge of the playground. It was just one tiny step to leave the ring of bark. He didn’t take it. Instead he fumbled for a cigarette and listened as the woman spoke for the first time in what felt like years of sunset.

“You know this was a mistake. This was my mistake.”

“I know. Maybe I shouldn’t have let you make it.”

The woman shook her head and looked up at his back. He held himself with tension like a man about to start and flee.

“This was my mistake to make. I knew you were going to be my mistake when we first met. You couldn’t have stopped this. I wanted it too badly. I wanted to misbehave.”

The man flicked his lighter as he listened to her; the tiny flame casting a pool of distorted shadows around him. He lit the cigarette but simply held it between his fingertips, watching the end glow. She spoke again to his back and now her voice seemed fragile like an old rubber band.

“Are you going to tell anyone?”

“Not right now. Not around here. Maybe someday…to a friend or lover. I guess I should try to make myself look like I wasn’t the bad guy when I do.”

“You…you aren’t the bad guy.”

Now he does take a draw on his cigarette and exhales smoke slowly into a swirling cloud. Silence yawns between them before he speaks again.

“Someone always has to play the bad guy. Everyone eventually needs to blame someone. It really should be me.”

She starts to interject something, a protest maybe, but he pushes past her words.

“Are you going to tell?”

“Maybe my sister. I don’t know. She would call me a slut but I don’t think she would hate me. Maybe I need someone to yell at me.”

“I always preferred rehabilitation to punishment. Did you like doing all this?”

“Yes. But not after. Not now.”

“Will you do it again?”

“Never. Not even if I found out he did it too. It just hurts me inside. Like something crushing my chest.”

“Then you sound rehabilitated to me.”

He turned to face her with the cigarette between his fingers at his side. It was too dark now in the park for either to clearly make out the face of the other. Despite the faint flow lingering in the sky and pouring off the nearby lights of suburbia they were just human shapes in a dim playground that had long since become too small for such games. She knew he couldn’t see her but bit her lip nonetheless, trying to will the tears not to spill down from her eyes. Trying to will her face back into a mask of composure.

“I wish I could kiss you goodbye. I wish I could say ‘See you later’ but I don’t think I will. I cant. That’s just how it works. I hurt people. I hurt the person I love most. Now I hurt you. I’m sorry.”

“I’m not the one you need to apologize to. You hurt yourself too. Start with that. Send me an apology in the mail if you get one to spare one day.”

“Maybe. Well…goodbye.” 

In answer he waved in the dark, his lit cigarette sweeping back and forth. He started to walk away then stopped and turned to speak over his shoulder. It was, he realized, a very weak parting line, as lines spoken in such situations went. Still, he knew that not speaking it would be an injustice.

“Get rid of those earrings I bought you.”

As the man walked off he seemed to transform into no more than the hot glow of his cigarette. A point of light in the gloom. The woman watched for some time before reaching up and taking the tiny platinum hearts out of her ears. Has such tiny things ever been so heavy in all of history? They fell down into the bark of the playground.

 The woman took a slow breath and felt the chill air fill her lungs. It might have been her imagination that it had only the tiniest hint of menthol cigarette to it. Either way she was glad for the chill because it made standing in one spot too uncomfortable. It told her it was time to leave. Slowly at first, and then with smoother strides, she left the playground behind and set out for home.

Gaming / Cookie Clicker
« on: September 05, 2013, 09:49:19 PM »

A lot of you already play. Now the rest of you can try to crash your internet with cookies.
A recently updated, but actually older, version of the game with some wierd expirmental stuff in it.

Your Art / Masks of Chrome (Part 1) [S,iV,Ma,L]
« on: August 29, 2013, 03:26:20 AM »
Note from Author: The first part of a novel length story. Do consider this a rough draft and subject to change at any time. The second chapter is also my stand alone story Professionalism in addition to being a key part of this story. I apologize in advance for the fact that the formatting from Word into this browser will probably make reading it harder.

The chapters themselves will be in Spoilers for space and character limits means this will be in several posts. If I get time over the next few days I may set aside the couple hours it will probably take to add paragraphs back into these (the forum doesnt like Tab i guess) and clean up some spelling and grammer.

Content and Legal Warning: This is a work of fiction containing sexuality, intense violence, mature themes, and strong language. I do, however, think anyone whos parents let them watch R rated movies will be fine. In addition, all rights are reserved by the author. This work is my intellectual property and may not be used or reproduced without my express permission.

Part 1: At Paranoia’s Poison Door

Prologue: Atrocity
Spoiler for Hidden Content:
The drone, unmanned and directed by its A.I. brain, watched the little girl play in the pre-dawn hours. Or rather, the girl was one of many things the drone was constantly looking at as it flew over the small Nepalese village near the Chinese border.
   The girl in question was the recipient of an expensive pair of cybernetic eyes, the result of a charity sponsorship, which had replaced her failing human ones. She took great joy in being able to see what others in her village could not and, at thirteen years of age, she had a strong sense of adventure now evolving under the influence of hormones. This was why she snuck out at night and stalked the streets or danced and played.
   The drone, placed in the sky by Fimbulvinter, had seen the girl before many times. It always ignored her because she did not have the face of a terrorist or an outlaw, and she wasn’t wearing any RFID tags to suggest she was an enemy, nor was she dressed as a Chinese soldier, and she certainly wasn’t in any No-Go zone. Fimbulvinter had used its status as a NGNP, a Non-Government Nuclear Power, and its armies of mercenaries to seize Nepal back from the occupying Chinese forces. Once it had done so, however, these drones became the cornerstone of their plans to defend their newly won protectorate state.
   Then something changed in the “Taka” attack/patrol drone. The list of acceptable targets and suspicious patterns changed in an instant and a second later a priority Call-In override was placed on all of the new targeting parameters. The drone had a new way of seeing the world, and the normal system, which required it to ask permission before firing on ambiguous targets, was effectively gone. And when these changes took effect the girl was now an enemy. It winged its way back toward her, the faint sound it made drowned out by the calls of insects and night animals. Then it struck, without malice, but with the smooth efficiency it was designed for. One rocket targeted just ahead of where she was running.
   One moment the girl played, the next moment she was a fading heat signature scattered across a dozen yards of village field. Then the small town erupted with panicked activity. All the drone saw was targets.
   “Tragedy struck last night in Nepal as dozens of border patrol drones being deployed by Fimbulvinter opened fire on Nepalese settlements. Fimbulvinter is claiming to be the victim of a terrorist cyber-attack while China and its allies are claiming Fimbulvinter itself is possibly behind the attacks. China has also requested permission from the UN and the United Corporate Commission to mobilize fighters to engage the drones, which are still active in Nepalese airspace, citing concern for civilian safety as their prime motivation. We will have more breaking news as this story develops.”
Spoiler for Hidden Content:

Site Suggestions and Bugs / Raise PM per-hour limit
« on: August 25, 2013, 03:35:00 AM »
This P-M limit/ Like aphids in my roses/ Eating joy itself

Turns out its easy to hit if your trying to converse with multiple people. Also, im sorry I threw a cookie at bob. It was oatmeal cookie.

Gaming / Saints Row 4
« on: August 21, 2013, 09:21:33 PM »
Just got this the other day. Very much like it so far.

I would complain that its just Saints Row 3 with more stuff and different weapon and character upgrade mechanices in parts...because it is (literally, built on top of Saints Row 3 down to the stores and fences on the street)...but the AMOUNT of new stuff, new assets, new weapons, new abilities, new characters, new vehicles, would make up 4 or 5 full sized DLCs at I can understand why this is a new seperate game.

I'm not sure if it is more wacky than SR3, but it certianly does things on a bigger scale with more empowerment for the player character. It also deals, overall, with the idea of the Saints completing a sort of transformation. Throughout the games they went from street gang, to street overlords, to multi-media empire of psychopaths, and now...they want to be heroes. Leaders.
The game calls out out on the hundreds of civilians you killed just driving poorly in the previous games of the series, but lets you have the cake and eat it too by putting you in a situation where the same behavior isnt as immoral now.

The big new addition is super-powers, which are fun is not particularly balanced. Cars dont matter as much once you can sprint at 300mph or run straight up skyscrapers. This would be the "Crackdown Problem" of mixing GTA with super heroes. Cars are now mostly for style or when you dont feel like micromanaging your super-jump, super-sprint, and wall running abilities.

One thing I want to give a plug to is the body motion of characters. If I land a super-jump after turning in midair AND I come down at a sharp angle my character touches down lightly and crouches as she slides back from the extra momentum. If I land straight down from greater than ten or so stories up she is noticably jarred by the impact and raises a cloud of dust. Sometimes clipping or momentum makes the motions look wierd but over-all they have a sense of a real human body moving through space.

Your Art / Stormthorn's Armaments
« on: August 18, 2013, 02:38:45 AM »
I plan on putting my weapon sprites here. For now, how about just one.

Hungering Wave
Hungering wave is designed to attempt to capture the clean lines and simple power of a shark moving through water. The redwood handle and red silk ribbon recall the bloodshed of a shark attack. This weapon is a glaive-guisarme with the foreward blade being designed like that of a kwan Dao.

A very small one.

And next, three "medium" weapons. I have the actual pixel versions and one thats 3 times bigger than these also available.


Crystal Edge

The Rusted Claw

Adult Discussion / Media still bringing up 9/11
« on: August 17, 2013, 10:20:39 PM »
Is this the right thing to do? Is it appropriate? Is it significant rememberance or a cheap trick? Should we move on? Can we?

Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Etc. / Elysium
« on: August 13, 2013, 08:12:39 PM »
Saw this today. A pretty good film. Dwells too much on its own sentimentality. I dont need the same flashback 5 times or more than about one minute of angsty goodbyes, personally.

The action is brutal and the whole movie very gritty. Matt Damon stars in this film (directed by the guy who did District 9) about humans living on earth in the slums of the future and their relationship to the proverbial 1% who have everything on a giant space station (Elysium) and get to be immortal. Dying after an accident at work, he contacts a coyote to try and breach Elysium with his plan being to get access to one of their med-chambers before the cops deport him. Elysium, however, has anti-shuttle weaponry in the hands of agents on earth and the coyote controlling the illegal shuttles wants Damon's character, a retired con, to pull one last job.

The film has a message, which doubtless hurt it's rating and sales for being too political, but is a good sci-fi story in the vein of other classics that had social commentary to make. The main problem is the villains being a bit too campy and the afformentioned hyper-sentimentality.

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