site banner

Friday Fun Thread for January 13, 2023

Be advised: this thread is not for serious in-depth discussion of weighty topics (we have a link for that), this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.

4
Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

Found this on HN: The Legend of Zelda cartoon overdubbed with Beavis and Butt-Head voices. I haven't really watched either and know of them via cultural osmosis, but I still laughed until I cried.

I, meanwhile, have watched both, and I was amazed they were able to put together a coherent storyline until it turned out to be a SeaLab episode. Then it all made sense.

2000’s era Cartoon Network/Adult Swim was truly great.

One of the local channels used to pirate Cartoon Network broadcasts when I was a kid and the time zone differences meant I only got to watch stuff from the dark age of animation. This really primed me for the 2000’s era Adult Swim.

Sseth, one of my favorite[1] youtubers put out a 'humorous' but rather accurate review of the (secretly) Russian[3] vehicle combat game War Thunder.

It's thirty minutes, but imo enjoyable if you like bizarre humor, sarcasm, quick wit and are interested in learning about games you don't know. Give the first minute a listen, I say.

TL;DR (in this case, video):

It's this Russian F2P military themed game with various game-modes - from arcade to simulation, featuring air, ground and naval combat.

The flight simulator, relatively unpopular mode is fairly good, doesn't cost a cent and is completely free to play. It can be played only with mouse, but not with all airplanes. Some high performance planes, especially agile jet fighters are too tricky to control with it, most props are fine. It also supports VR[2], which I'm tempted to obtain, only scared of the motion sickness.

Sim is very enjoyable, especially with friends.

The other game modes can be.. very frustrating, bordering on masochistic, especially for people who don't learn fast.

Graphics are good.

I enjoy the game because one can do well if one thinks hard enough and keep your calm, and it often puts me into a flow state that's relaxing despite being quite exhausting to maintain[4]. Flight sim apart, is not a game where you can 'shoot the shit' with friends much of the time. Especially ground, and I find out I can't talk much even during naval, where doing rough ballistic calculations in your head requires serious concentration.

E.g. the ground fights brutally punish inattention, lack of sleep, predictability, listening to loud music and many other minor sins. It rewards careful yet bold approach, skill - you often need very precise shot placement, being able to calc pythagorean theorem in your head (range estimation) and so on.

Correctly landing a first hit on a target exactly 2100m away if extremely satisfying - the guy counted on you having to shoot 3-4 times before getting the range..

This cinematic is made with mid range in-game footage ran through a filter. This official one shows high end graphics, what you might get if you buy a top of the line card and use custom cinematic settings.

On a mid range system, say, a 5 yr old gaming pc, the ground tak game looks somewhat like in this unexpected music video for "The Caissons Go Rolling Along" song, showing the makeshift tank destroyer M3, which used a 19th century artillery piece wrecking German WW2 armor. Extreme levels of skill required to play like that, some people manage that and ruin everyone's day.

If you don't want to pay, do not try to progress above rank III-IV vehicles, higher rank economy makes paying for the game a must unless you're a literal gaming god. Masochistic eastern-European schoolchildren have been known to get to the very top without paying a cent over the years though.

The game is competitive, thus exciting and enjoyable. It's also stressful, and the 'bad' reviews on steam are fairly funny.

[1]:Some psychologist could explain why is it that listening to him is so easy. Something about the cadence of speech ?

[2]: this blew my mind, some maniac with VR and HOTAS flying the most realistic control mode wreaking absolute havoc with dumb-fire rockets and helicopter. If you don't get the joke, helicopters with unguided missiles are the pinatas of War Thunder. Free points, they're too slow to avoid machinegun fire, too fragile, and generally have a lifespan measured in tens of seconds within 1.5 km of tanks. (that's about effective rocket range, mind you too)

[3]: they have good PR. It's registered in 'Cyprus', HQ'd in Europe, but owned by Russians, and I'm probably betting given that they were based there, and still hire people there, and that Russia is one of the world's largest sources of cheap software dev labor, they still constitute a great part of the workforce.

There's also the Russian bias which can be discerned from win rates at top tier and various controversies regarding armor spalling, ammunition detonation and such.

[4]: computer games are supposed to keep you keyed up, but I noticed that after playing late at night I end up actually feeling exhausted, probably due to the sheer demand of 'watch everything, listen for engine sounds, keep track of enemies /friends on the minimap, estimate lead/drop etc'. That is, more exhausted than I'd be had I been I dunno, reading online or posting.

EDIT:

speculation about 'Russian' bias; it's possible the company as a whole isn't pro-Russian, just that some asshole is editing the requisite XML files and sneaking it through version control system. It's the ultimate easy troll thing to do for a crypt-nationalist Russian. (not that other people don't play Russian tree but you get it).

I wanted to share a kind of an amusing intersection of a bunch of topics that's often discussed here, which include some minor culture war issues. A couple of weeks ago, a software developer who goes by Vedal started streaming on Twitch using an AI-run vtuber by the name of Neuro-sama. There is one AI to learn how to play the rhythm game Osu that would play on screen, while a different LLM AI (not OpenAI or anything close to it, I think) would read chat and respond to messages using TTS as well as as subtitles on screen. I'm actually not 100% sure how the vtuber model is controlled, but it doesn't seem to be particularly active, so it might just be a generic video game NPC cycle.

Amusingly, I think the first prominent Vtuber was Kizuna Ai whose persona was that of an AI, but was obviously puppeteered directly by humans.

I actually started watching the streams about a week ago, despite not having an interest in vtubers or Osu. It's essentially a public LLM chatbot with TTS and anime girl avatar, and so the "conversations" go like you'd expect, with plenty of nonsensical statements and wild inconsistencies both between statements and within statements. I think the creator was clever to use such a child-looking vtuber model as a way to lean into this, enhancing the sense that the audience is interacting with someone who's still developing mentally, because I've undeniably found it cute and funny at times in a "from the mouth of babes" kind of way.

But of course, in a public website like Twitch, you should fully expect trolls to do troll things, and one managed to get through by getting Neuro-sama to question the Holocaust. This (presumably - I don't think there's any official confirmation) resulted in a temporary ban of the Twitch account, which is still ongoing. This sort of thing was bound to happen at some point given the current level of sophistication of LLM. And Twitch sometimes has the etiquette of the streamer reading aloud a chat message before responding to it, which Neuro-sama follows sometimes, and unlike a human, her quotation-reading voice and regular-speaking voice are identical. It occurs to me that Twitch's ban was justified given that they shouldn't particularly care that it's an AI controlling the voice, as long as the on-stream persona is still saying it. This is something anyone who wants to run an AI vtuber would have to account for, and I'm guessing Vedal had protections in place that were circumvented, and if not, certainly they must be scrambling to put one together.

It's fascinating and amusing for me to see this play out in real-time. The concept of AI-run celebrities has been around for a while in science fiction, and we're transitioning into it being just plain reality. At least, maybe; 1 example does not a trend make, and the novelty might wear off with a few iterations. Still, I'm glad to see someone experimenting with this kind of thing, and I'm surprised we're already at the point where someone is able to crudely but successfully staple together some modules to make this AI-run e-celeb. Interestingly, since the streams are on the creator's channel, a lot of the conversations are about Neuro-sama's relationship with her creator Vedal, resulting in Vedal also becoming a sort of e-celeb.

Also, recently Neuro-sama started singing full songs on stream, which is more in line with AI celebs in scifi. I don't know how that is accomplished other than "cheating" by using some preset, even if the voice is generated real-time. I'm pretty sure whatever AI model they're using isn't figuring out the pitch and pronunciation of each syllable in these full-length mainstream songs as it goes.

But yeah, fascinating intersection of AI alignment, holocaust denial, online moderation policies, and weeaboo culture that I wouldn't have seen coming even just a couple months ago.

I'm glad to see there are still true heroes out there, even on a site as awful as twitch

Not sure how many Mottizens care, but I’m interested in your Super Bowl predictions. I think it’ll be San Francisco and Cincinnati. Cincy is really good with a QB that’s on fire and has ice water in his veins, and they’re PISSED at the NFL. SF just seems good, especially that D and especially if they get Jimmy G back. Plus, other than Philly, I think the NFC is kind of weak. I don’t trust Dallas or Minnesota to actually get very far.

It could also be the Bills for the AFC: great team, emotional, have the support of most of the country. But I am sticking with Cincy.

As far as winner, it’s a tough call. I’m inclined to Cincinnati but let’s see.

The Vikes had one of the most-fun, most-improbable seasons ever. But their o-line has been wrecked by injuries. Setting aside people lazily scapegoating Cousins too much, I just don’t think the backups and retreads up front can keep their offense going. And I also don’t know why Ed Donatell hates his secondary. Did Patrick Peterson kick Donatell’s dog? I’m struggling to come up with an explanation for the coverages called that in no way flatter a secondary that is not that fast. Ultimate Vikings horrorshow would be facing Miami in the Super Bowl and giving up 250 yards to Waddle and Hill, each.

Brady takes it to the house against the Bills, buffalo burns to the ground.

I think the Eagles find their way out of the NFC. I think they lose to one of the Chiefs, Bills, Bengals. If I had to pick one, the Chiefs are my bet.

Chiefs Niners would be my bet, but the niners already in the hole at halftime right now. There’s also 0 chance Jimmy G comes back to QB this season even if he’s healthy enough to play.

How do you notice yourself growing older? I have a mildly amusing anecdote to tell.

For the longest time I used to trigger the mommy mode in older women. The last three years have been spent working remotely, so I had much fewer reference points, but around the new year I had to deal with a few female strangers in their late forties (I'm in my late thirties myself) and the interactions felt a little off, but I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong.

And then it hit me: they were low-key flirting with me. Not in the sense of "how about instead of fixing the zipper on your parka I'll take you to the changing room", but the overall tone of the conversation swiitched from "oh, what a bright boy" to "oh, what a handsome man".

I don't know what triggered this: the beard, the broader silhouette I've gained in the gym, just the years piling up or everything together, but I am not sure how to handle this. I'd rather girls half their age (or half my age) tried to hit on the sexy daddy to match my wife's experience. Or perhaps they already do and I'm just too oblivious and only the women who are old and wise enough to lay it on thick get through?

Older men, especially in service jobs, are more competitive and irritated by my presence these days. In my 20s and younger most older men would dismiss me as a kid but I've noticed that they are trying to jockey for control with me much more the older that I get. If I act anxious or like I expect them to give me bad service (which happens all the time) they can sense this and act hostile toward me, while when I was younger they would be more comfortable with their seniority and just do their job without their ego getting in the way. I have to sort of consciously act respectful and passive toward cab drivers and servers and so on these days just to get an acceptable level of service.

I get more positive attention from fellow gay men though. I think gay men are attracted to masculinity and maturity and getting older has given me more confidence which all make me more attractive to others. A few years ago I was worried that I was getting too old for men to be attracted to me but once I started embracing my 30s and playing up my adult traits I actually became more attractive to people.

It's mostly the grey hair .

Honestly can't say I've noticed older women flirting with me, but then apart from grey hair I still look boyish in that I'm slender. Before I got really grey people were guessing my age wildly incorrectly, mid 20s instead of mid 30s.

What did they say exactly? I've had older women say stuff like this but I don't know think they were hitting on me because they've always been more than twice my age.

As I've said, I'm relatively socially oblivious, so I didn't remember anything specific, but I realized post factum the overall tone had been different from what I had gotten used to hearing.

"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." -- Mark Twain

It took me until 31, but he's right.

I also find I'm more and more set in my tastes and abilities. When I was younger, I wanted to do and often did what you were "supposed" to do, now if I don't like the normal way to do something I just refuse to do it. I don't do straight bar deadlifts because every time I do it I end up hurting my back. When I drink, I first prepare a 40oz liquid IV for when I return. I'm never going to really like IPAs.

What do you put in your liquid IV?

I wish Twain's comment was the case for all of us. As I've grown older, and I'm 35 now, I respect my parents much less. It was only after going out and getting more experience in the world that I was able to understand how selfish they were. That was a tough pill to swallow.

How do you mean selfish? Or actually, could you just expand on all of this if it's not too personal? I went the same route as FiveHourMarathon, so your experience is very alien to me.

My father was a police officer in a very dangerous city, and he wanted a "take home" car that he could park outside our house, to show people he was a police officer and so that he wouldn't have to drive to the station each morning to pick up a car. The police department that he worked at required police to live within the city limits to have this privilege, and so we bought a house in this city, and I went to school there. This meant that the public middle and high schools I went to were simply atrocious. Gangs, metal detectors, weekly fights, shootings, underage pregnancies, drugs, etc. Before moving into this area, I was a relatively sheltered child who had lived on military bases, so as you can imagine this was quite a shock for me.

My mother didn't work (and still doesn't), and really wanted to live the American dream of having a house with a picket fence and play housewife even if that house was only affordable to them due to the bad schools around it. Instead of getting into a lot of trouble as a kid, I simply shelled up and was very depressed and scared. Regardless of anything I was going through - we couldn't move since my parents loved having a house and I couldn't go to a different school because we didn't have enough money for a private school.

And I developed deep life long depression and still sometimes panic in large crowds due to the fights and riots I experienced while in school. After high school I often wondered why I was so emotionally immature and I think some of it had to do with growing up in this sort of environment. Regardless, I have taken responsibility for my life now and have my own family and children. As I look back upon this situation, I can't help but respect my own parents less and less as I age. It pains me to be around them, as they seemingly were very happy to sacrifice my happiness and childhood for their way of life.

You, a cop's kid, had to pay protection to bullies in school ?

US is kind of weird. I don't think this would've happend to a cop's kid in eastern Europe. Not that I've ever heard of anyone paying protection at school. People do get bullied. I went to a non-selective state middle school and got into a lot of fights over insults before I learnd to tune them out.

Was bullied a bit at the end of it but fortunately it was only one semester and it wasn't that bad. Maybe because I had a reputation for psychotic fighting if provoked, the guys who bullied me were cca 15 and 200 lbs each, I weighed maybe 140 at the time.

I think you're muddling "shelled up" with shelled out.

Yeah.. that's a phrase I haven't seen used yet, and "shelled out" looked like it'd fit there, so..

(also shift work makes me lose sleep, so..)

I probably didn't articulate it well enough. I didn't have to pay anything, and I didn't get bullied. The reason I didn't get bullied was that I basically shelled up and treated school like jail.

Every non-selective school is jail to people who aren't complete normies or social geniuses.

You just got a particularly harsh type of jail. I had the somewhat comfy German one where it's kinda shabby but overall not that bad.

You got the American one with race gangs and all that shit.

Your dad is slow, I guess.

"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." -- Mark Twain

It took me until 31, but he's right.

And then you have kids and find out your parents were parents and you were a child all along. My husband and I have gained a newfound awe towards our mothers now that we have a baby. Kinda-sorta towards the fathers. It’s like a circle. As a baby, your parents are everything, especially moms. They can make themselves disappear and reappear with a wave of their hands! Fricking magic right there. Then you grow to look at them as idiots who keep getting in the way of your genius, and then you have children and realize your mom’s a saint all along. Dad’s always been a cad, but a lovable one who’s better than your thought.

On the deadlift-backpain note, having a child in our early 30’s made us realize we should have started in our 20’s. Little poopface was kicking our butts physically before he hit 10 pounds. Both our backs are sore despite efforts towards proper posture and bending, one of my wrists is always tender from carrying the baby, my husband’s feet hurt from walking the baby around. I still think early 30’s is on the young side of adult, but it turns out to also be close to middle age.

My parents' favourite line when I was a kid was "I can't wait until you have kids of your own".

The rides at the fair weren't fun anymore.

I'm hardly old (25), but I feel as much for some reason.

At some point in the near past 18-22-year-olds stopped being categorized as young adults in my head and changed into kids subconsciously.

I visited my Alma Matter recently for some paperwork and thought "why do I feel like I'm surrounded by kids, no way these people are in college!".

Huh. That only happened to me re: women.

Susceptibility to hangovers. I’m an oenophile and have always been a moderate drinker. The supermajority of days I have a single glass of wine with dinner. But on social occasions in my 20s, three or four glasses over a long evening never caused me any discomfort the next morning. I usually cap myself at two or maybe three, now, because even three is becoming a gamble with worsening odds.

Just a fun anecdote about petty perfectionism.

I have a completely insignificant personal instagram where I only post photos of food I cook. I post my high-effort food as posts, and low-effort food as stories.

I am on my 98th post now, and have decided to have a post with my face in it for the 100th. I am not anonymous or faceless or anything. Just that I'd gotten used to not having my face in my posts and 100 seemed like a nice landmark.

But that makes my 99th post kinda significant. The last of an old era. So for a good 2 months, I have been cooking like a madman, and everything goes into a story, because it isn't good enough.

So here I am, agonizing about something completely stupid.

Have a good laugh at my expense.

This brand of perfectionism sounds familiar to me. My primary hobby is music, and I once spent an entire year (Sep 2019 - Oct 2020) working on a track. I was hellbent on the idea of making a hyper-detailed track where no two bars were alike, and aggressively cut everything that fell short of my very lofty expectations. After I was done with making it, I couldn't listen to it for a few months because I had heard it so much over that year that I was utterly sick of it. But despite the whole process driving me nuts, I'm now trying out something similar again with yet another track (which has been in the works ever since March of 2021 and is still not completed as of yet).

I've also tried my hand at story-writing, and I've tried to make sure that everything I write in it conforms to real-world science (sometimes spending days or months researching a specific topic to make sure I understand it properly enough to write about it). The sheer amount of music and writing and even game projects that I've thrown out because they failed to meet my absolutely unreasonable expectations would turn your hair white.

I relate my man. So many fully written blogs that I refuse to publish because they read like shit to me.

The motte is a great place place for me to dump out my trains of thought. At least it lives somewhere real then.

My life bucketlist has 'composing an album' on it, and I am a 100% sure that it will end up being the most challenging thing I've ever done.

couldn't listen to it for a few months

Hope you've come around to liking it. Sounds like a lot of love went into it.

conforms to real-world physics, science and biochemistry

Ahh man, I can't imagine how nightmarish this must be.


"Perfect is the enemy of good enough" is a fairly common quote.

I'd suggest a corollary: "Bad is better than nothing".

tho to be fair, this already exists: "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly." — G. K. Chesterton

My life bucketlist has 'composing an album' on it, and I am a 100% sure that it will end up being the most challenging thing I've ever done.

I've made (and released) a few albums myself. I think it's a good undertaking if you've got even a passing interest in composition or production - despite everything I've said about the laboriousness of the process, it's also very satisfying when things do go the way you want.

Hope you've come around to liking it. Sounds like a lot of love went into it.

Yeah, it's now one of my favourite tracks I've made.

Would you be willing to share it ? If not, I am just glad you came to love it.

What is compelling you to post all your food on instagram? Are you hoping to turn it into a career or do you just like doing it?

I don't have instagram, but sometimes I cook something and I just send my parents the picture. I get the urge to share what you've just cooked up. Discord at a gaming group I'm in has a 'food' pics channel too.

No one ever expected me to learn to cook or be good at it, but it did happen. I'm just too cheap to buy takeout and too fussy to do the typical male thing and just eat like a bachelor.

It is my primary hobby and I genuinely love it.

The restaurant business is horrible and I have a flourishing career I love. So, not swapping careers anytime soon.

I have been the type of person who loves anything and everything, so half commits to 10 different things at once at all times.

Cooking & food in general have been remarkably stable within this chaos and my Instagram is a sort of proof for myself. It is immensely gratifying to have portfolio of food you've cooked, while scrolling through the posts narrates your entire journey.

I kind of know what I am waiting for. I move to a new city (one where all my friends live) in 2 months, and am planning a huge house warming potluck. So I am sort of waiting for it happen.


If my present career bet pays off, I should reach FIRE comfortably.

At that point, I'd like to try a few food business ideas:

  • Granny cafe. Street food pop-up where a granny serves as head-chef 1 season at a time. Granny only need to work the first couple of month or so, the line cooks take over for the rest of the year. Once you reach sustenance, flip it over to some catering service. The goal is make hyper-authentic food and sell it to elite white people in hipster towns. Hard part is establishing supply chains for sourcing hyper authentic ingredients.

  • Write a food science book about regional Indian cuisines. Honestly, the entire area of non-punjabi Indian cuisines is not well understood. Think an Indian Fuchsia Dunlop. If the book sells, launch an associated Indian fine-dining restaurant. I recently visited a bunch of Indian fine dining restaurants when I was back home. The quality is terrible and the demand is there. It should not be that hard to displace them. (assuming the quality doesn't change for a decade or so). Think Indian Nathan Myhrvold

  • I have an idea around mixing education and the trades, with the restaurant business being one such trade. It involves finding loopholes for getting around labor laws and exploiting those to underpay teenagers to be economically sustainable. Teens learn the entire process, not just being line cooks, but their reduced productivity is made up for with the exploitative wages. I am strongly of the opinion that an altruistic setup for such a thing can be found, but the optics sound so bad, that I'll probably want to keep it under wraps until the first few teens come out visibly benefiting from it.

London has the best Indian fine dining restaurants in the world, but the problem is there’s an inherent tension between authenticity and the adherence to the French classical kitchen that forms the basis of all haute cuisine. Two or three starred Indian food will always taste, whether created by an Indian or a foreigner, like a chef cooking French haute cuisine using ‘Indian’ ingredients and flavor combinations.

Just like a neighborhood trattoria or taqueria can be better, and typically is better, than Italian or Mexican fine dining, so too is Indian food best from middle-tier establishments where the money is there to acquire quality ingredients without recipe pretension, at least in my opinion.

so too is Indian food best from middle-tier establishments where the money is there to acquire quality ingredients without recipe pretension, at least in my opinion.

Frankly, I would rate a good mom and pop shop ahead of some Michelin-star restaurant any day of the week. My observation of the high end food world is that it's basically people who are bored trying to keep it interesting for themselves, while losing sight of the fact that for anyone who isn't immersed in the culinary world all this going to be unbearably pretentious.

I don't even necessarily get mad at the chefs who do this stuff or the critics who eat it up. I would probably be bored with classic dishes too if I was in that line of work. But for me personally, I don't want creativity or "elevating" a dish. I just want normal dishes that are prepared with skill and care.

It is not just that. The food is creatively bankrupt too.

It is not surprising, because India has only ever had "professionally meticulous" culinary cultures in 2 places : Royal Mughal chefs and mothers who care a lot.

The former has leveraged this to the point where Mughal food is defacto fancy Indian food. It spurred the invention of dishes like Butter Chicken, Tandoori & Dal Makhni in the 20th century, but the entire cuisine has had a lazy 21st century. Nothing about the invention of the aforementioned dishes needed validation from French techniques. It as entirely grounded in innovating within the Indian landscape.

The latter is the underexplored bit. There are incredible painstaking home dishes cooked by women of the family that were never sold for money, but took the same amount of effort as any crowning jewel in a fine restaurant. Many of these are already 'farm to table' sort of recipes and need specific regional mixes to work. (eg: our village red chilli powder has 28 ingredients. Just the base chilli powder)

All Indian fine dining I've seen boils down to:

  • Mughlai / Punjabi / well-executed-classics : Atul Kocchar, Junoon,

  • British colonizer food / Mumbai Irani Cafe food - Dishoom

  • Expensive western seafood done in Indian coconutty curries. (The one bugs me the most. Get your head out of your asses and stop cooking mild Lobster & King crabs. You are bastardizing the entire cuisine by using the wrong fish. People struggle with Saba Miso too, but the Japanese don't swap out the Mackarel !)

  • Straight up just French restaurants with Indian ingredients.

None of these are bad per-se. At their best (top 5 in the world), the well-executed classics are worth the money spent. But, it's what I would feel like if all European fine-dining was Pasta & Pizza. After some point, it wears on you.

Now for the positives.

  1. I am liking what I am hearing from Roni Mazumdar and his restaurants. His NYC restaurants are all excellent executions of classics. If what he is saying is to be believed, then I am hoping he funds a restaurant that caters for less common Indian cuisines.

  2. On the french restaurant with Indian ingredients side, Gaggan comes close to practically turning that whole thing on its head by asserting his own strong personality as a chef. It has a "It is French, it is Indian, it is my food, fuck you" attitude, that I adore. He has been AWOL for a few years, I am really looking forward to what he comes out with.

  3. Regional cuisines are sneaking into $$ sign restaurants. Kathakali in Seattle does a marvellous job of executing malabar cuisine and sticking to it's guns with what's a tiny menu by Indian standards. I haven't been to Annapurna Marathi cusine in the bay area, but it is just nice to see a spot focusing on a narrow regional cuisine.

  4. There is a model to follow : East Asians. Japanese chefs have managed to carve out space for very narrow and deep explorations of Japanese ideas, implement them uncompromisingly in a manner that is aesthetically Japanese & win fine-dining accolades for it. From Shinto Omakase, to Soba shops to Niku Udon spots. The key is to give up the obsession with a French aesthetic. Modern reviewers only care about obsession & care in general, and not so much whose standards they live up to.

Next time you’re in London, check out BiBi. I first went because it’s five minutes from where I live but it’s unquestionably the best fine dining Indian food I’ve had, even though it probably contains significant amounts of your first, third and fourth points.

The head chef is a PhD physicist but it’s not cringe Blumenthal molecular dining (mostly). It’s just really good, a mix between traditional and creativity in the French tradition. It’ll surprise you in a good way.

Yo, Thanks so much for this reco.

The food looks amazing. I love the inclusion of actual home-style Indian ingredients like okra & sabudana. The presentation is in touch with Indian nostalgia, esp with the dessert on a stick. And I can see some underappreciated regional favorites like Dhokla, Galoti kebab & roomali roti on there.

They make paneer out of buffalo milk ! It warms my heart to see that.

Totally visiting it next time I'm in London. (why did you lot have to #brexit. I really don't want get a new visa. I might still swing by to see my favorite club play football, but maybe next year when we're actually doing well XD )

What does Instagram specifically add to it? I also like to have pictures of what I do for my hobbies, but they are saved offline, and I would add them to my website if I wanted to share them. By the way I'm genuinely curious and this is not a snark, it's obvious that when something that millions of people do baffles me there is a problem with my mental model of it.

I used to be of this opinion, until my community got spread across multiple continents. Instagram to me, is the least toxic social media platform that all my friends also use. A lot of us busy people who get forced into an 'out of sight, out of mind' sort of situation with friends. Instagram keeps you 'in sight' and 'on their minds'. A small exchange every few months keeps ties for times when you want to crash at their places when you visit, need help with something specific or just plain want to share in their happiness. Community is the most important thing for me and Instagram with least-bad solution to the logistical difficulties of keeping that community intact.

As for why food, it is a few fold.

  1. I don't like playing into the insecurity enhancing parts of social media. I worry that putting my face, body, career or experiences on there will pull out insecurities that force me to engage in activities that I don't enjoy, but still do for the optics. Even if brag-worthy, me projecting how well I am doing with my body / dating / career would just make others insecure. The 3 things I put on Instagram : food, music, hikes are places where I find peer pressure to be healthy, and I don't think it injects any insecurity into my community.

  2. Food is also the easiest way to make conversation. My mom and I bond on food. My friends message me for recipes all the time. Some just comment with heart emojis. It is an insanely effective social lubricant

  3. In big social groups, it is important to have an 'elevator pitch / have a thing'. It just makes your dynamic with the rest of the group easier. On trips, I get restaurant finding duty. In house parties, I am the chef. Your "thing" also conveys stereotypes that come with it. "The food guy" conveys warmth, giving, altruism which are values that I both espouse and want to convey.

  4. I love it and my monkey brain wants everyone to know I love it.

The "normie" spends an inordinate amount of time on social media. Especially young, urban, and {pattern} ones. In the socio/cultural/psychological space, one's social media account is an extension of part of that person. It's "just how things are done".

Within those circles, people will infer a lot from your social media. Not having one can be a signal of something (usually insidious), etc.

It's very strange to think about if you aren't accustomed to it, but that's how it is.

I would buy your Indian cookbook in a second. Hell, I'd appreciate any blogging or instagramming you do on the topic.

I'll probably start doing it properly once I move to my new place. My new roomates are also more camera savvy, so I might get their help to setup a mini studio.

My 2023 food targets are:

  1. Complete experimentation on tres leches shahi tukda. I am almost there with this one. When complete it will be hand crafted to be my favorite dessert. (Some places already do a similar dish....but all the variants i have seen so far are kinda lazy)

  2. Start experimentation on the grand veg biryani project. The goal is to throw every trick in book at creating something worthy lf the veg biryani moniker. I am presently playing with ideas around trumoet mushrooms, persian tadik, hainanese chicken rice & paella. But my main goal here is to finish identifying a worthy protein replacement.

  3. Find a bombil / snakefish equivalent in western markets. Bombil is a very unique fish & the pride of my family, but impossible to source in the US. I want to find the closest fish replacement.

  4. Make khawa poli & kaladi cheese. Both are some of my favorite hidden gems from back home. Impossible to find outside a few villages. Will be very hard to find the right recipe. Thankfully I'll know when its right, because the flavors are deeply embedded in me.

Entrepreneurial charity...

I'm pretty well off but I haven't given a lot of money to causes recently because they all suck. I mean, really, they suck. Many I've dealt with are just incompetent. To the point where they can't even cash checks in a timely manner or return phone calls. I shouldn't have to nag you to cash my $20,000 check. Others enable the very thing they are trying to solve. Breast cancer charities don't want to cure breast cancer. Homeless charities don't want to end homelessness. Many non-profits exist merely as grifts to employ non-productive college graduates. But the worst problem is that nearly every non-profit seems to be infected with the woke mind virus. Even if they were doing good work (which I doubt in most cases) I wouldn't feel good about donating to a non-profit that supports that stuff.

But I'm still an altruist at heart and I have more money than I need. So I'd like to go solo and do charity work on my own.

I've done a few things that are really minor like pick up trash or shovel the sidewalk near my house. But I think there are a lot of opportunities to do something bigger. What's something that a person could do with their time and money to make the world a better place. Something that doesn't involve interacting with any institution at all? Should I just straight up send people cash?

Entrepreneurial charity...

(...)

Something that doesn't involve interacting with any institution at all? Should I just straight up send people cash?

Invest in promising business, also ones unlikely to take off and become multibillion companies (that is covered by VC chasing another Google)?

Have you looked into Effective Altruism? The movement was literally built to directly solve your problem.

Hi I am interested in you funding me.

I have a unique expertise in gerontology, oncology and pharmacology.

I also work on the first true semantic parser, that convert natural language text to a graph representation that preserve meaning isomorphically.

I am a no bullshit human being focused on concrete results and my rationality allows me to see through the blind spots of the academic research and go beyond the state of the art.

For a start, I intend to write a blog about the first comprehensive optimal pharmacologic treatment for cancers.

How about you pay me once you've read it, if you like it, and how much depending on how much you see me as a scientific disrupter?

I am a no bullshit human being focused on concrete results

Which results you achieved already?

I also work on the first true semantic parser, that convert natural language text to a graph representation that preserve meaning isomorphically.

Can you link already existing code?

my rationality allows me to see through the blind spots of the academic research

please link examples

What are you trying to accomplish with your charity? You say

Homeless charities don't want to end homelessness.

so maybe you want to do something that will reduce homelessness or help people get out of homelessness. Maybe providing more permanent housing than a shelter? Maybe helping them get jobs (which could take a lot of forms)?

Other posters suggested getting involved with government somehow. Actually working on campaigns (or running for office yourself) isn't the only way to influence policy. There's also single-issue activist/lobbying organizations like FairVote. If there's some policies you believe in, maybe you could be working to convince other people of those policies, which may be preferable to getting directly involved in government.

Also, while I do feel the same desire to try to direct charity towards fixing problems instead of treading water dealing with them... even if they work structural fixes are slow and people are poor right now. Long-term fixes are important but I wouldn't completely dismiss the value of short-term band-aids.


(If you're writing any charity a check of any sizable amount, you may be missing out on the tax benefits of donating appreciated stock. See your brokerage for more information.)

If you want to just give people money, GiveDirectly is the most effective (in the EA sense) way to do it. A dollar goes much further in Rwanda or wherever than in the US.

What's something that a person could do with their time and money to make the world a better place. Something that doesn't involve interacting with any institution at all? Should I just straight up send people cash?

Maybe. I guess it depends what your goals are. The thing is that finding the 'right' people to hand cash to can be hard. Hand too much money to someone poor and they can easily end up worse off. Hand money to someone doing well, and you might not feel like you've really improved anything.

You could browse a sub like /r/entrepreneur or /r/sweatystartup, lurking to find random users who seem like they have drive, but capital is the thing holding them back. Could probably do the same thing with artists and writers.

Even people struggling with illness or disability. Find their passion and fund it. Gives them purpose, and probably helps them in a way most charities can't. There are plenty of charities out there handing out wheelchairs to cripples. But if that cripple loves woodworking, there ain't no charity handing out tablesaws and lathes.

Handing out free 3D printers to people wanting one is probably far more altruistic than giving the same amount of money to a charity that will shovel it into a bottomless pit.

Most charity revolves around surviving, rather than living. Once people start living, they tend to become a bit better at surviving on their own.

Handing out free 3D printers to people wanting one is probably far more altruistic than giving the same amount of money to a charity that will shovel it into a bottomless pit.

And to enable more sharing - maybe give fund to random hackerspace that has an idea how to use it.

The person who is most qualified to handle your money is yourself, although there are probably exceptions if you have a drug or gambling addiction. FTX investors learned that the hard way.

I think your intuitions that most charitable organizations will rip you off are correct. I’m not really sure how rich you are, but if you can afford 20000$ checks why not get involved in local politics instead? Even slightly improving you’re local government would be a hugely consequential charitable act relative to almost anything else you could be spending on.

I value my personal life enough not to do this. I live in Seattle where anyone to the right of Marx is tarred and feathered. I guess I just view local politics in Seattle as unredeemable although I do at least vote and support better candidates in small ways.

That’s fair, I accidentally replied to the wrong person below and didn’t realize that local meant Seattle.

Funding an underground/samizdat group seems like a good use of money. Seattle is reaching a critical point where the regime can't paper over the dysfunction any longer, and a group of smart people still moored to reality could find themselves having outsized influence.

Friedman's "keep sanity alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable," basically.

I have never lived in Seattle (just visited and not since 2019), and it aways struck me as one of the more functional American cities. Also wondering how much different Bellvue is politically?

How so?

I guess I'm modeling the average local government as...basically functional. Not much low-hanging fruit. It does paperwork, keeps the trees off the power lines, maybe hosts a festival a couple times a year. I don't feel like changing one or two of the names at the top would change much of that normal operation. The calculus is different if you've got a Sheriff of Nottingham situation, sure. But otherwise, what does that slight improvement look like?

I'm reminded of the corporate policy updates at my company. Every couple weeks, we'll get a mass email announcing that Policy Number Such-and-Such has been revised, and now if you submit a requirements compliance matrix, it has to have a row showing percent completion. Or if you make a purchase order, the form now has a field for which fiscal year we're in. Someone, somewhere, cares about this, and in theory expects an efficiency gain from the change. Would an outside shareholder care?

I know local government isn't and shouldn't be a business, but that's how I see influencing local politics. Getting one functionary elected rather than another isn't going to change the character of the government. It's more likely to generate a couple policy revisions, plus a bunch of "business as usual."

Oh, and political donations are possibly really ineffective. That doesn't really encourage me either.

So I didn’t realize that for you local government meant Seattle, which might be too big for you to have any meaningful influence. Although I will note that in general, every municipality has a mix of competent and incompetent politicians. At this level they really aren’t functionaries to nearly the same degree that any other politician you will encounter at the state or national level and having slightly better/less corrupt/smarter leadership really can improve quality of life for lots of people.

I think it’s also sort of ridiculous to assume that the city is competently run, you wouldn’t have any way of knowing unless you had worked for the city or had some political involvement. Corruption in municipal governments is absurdly common and only the most outrageous cases (such as this https://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-payscandal-arrests/mayor-officials-arrested-in-california-pay-scandal-idUSTRE68K40N20100922 ) ever result in prosecutions. This is historically how the us has worked (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tammany_Hall as the most famous example in the us)

Finally I said you should get involved. This involves donating money but volunteering is probably more important. The benefit of a donation is that it will make you specifically known to the politician you are supporting.

Ah.

I'm Texan, though @jeroboam is some variety of Washington resident.

I don't doubt that local governments have corruption. My favorite example is the Battle of Athens.

Running for office (or at least consulting, if you work in something more technical) is probably an effective way to increase efficiency. I would think it is more expensive, though. $20,000 is a few weeks' compensation; what's the minimum time you'd need to spend to secure any real influence? Say, over a small team. Spending a whole career in politics might be further than OP is willing to go.

Hell, I don't think I have the interpersonal skills to coordinate more than a few people. But that's why I avoid management like the plague.

Breast cancer charities don't want to cure breast cancer.

Being sometimes downstream of those charities, I can give some perspective - stop me if you know all this already.

Most people go through a lot of work and hardship to raise like 200$ and feel happy about it. Depending what I'm doing, a single experiment can cost 500 to tens of thousands of dollars and the vast majority of experiments don't work and are never published. So you could safely say the cost to society for a single paper including salaries, infrastructure and reagents is in the 7 figure range.

With that in mind, and given the fact that a lot of (especially high-impact) research doesn't fit nicely into a 'breast cancer' bin, how would you optimally like to see your money spent? In my experience, the money most often goes towards fellowships and whatever the student/post doc ends up publishing goes into their marketing materials.

What's something that a person could do with their time and money to make the world a better place. Something that doesn't involve interacting with any institution at all? Should I just straight up send people cash?

Yes. Fund my startup :)

To the point where they can't even cash checks in a timely manner or return phone calls.

Sounds like they are not spending much money on nonessential staff. That seems like a good charity to me.

I guess Effective Altruism is not on the table? I donate to Givewell's Maximum Impact fund.

I guess I have trouble believing that it works. If mosquito nets or Guinea worm vaccination or whatever can improve lives so cheaply how have they not been 100% funded by now? I know there are smart people working on this, but they also tend to be quokkas.

Okay, I'm probably being too dismissive here. I'll give it another look, but I do still worry about supporting wokism.

If mosquito nets or Guinea worm vaccination or whatever can improve lives so cheaply how have they not been 100% funded by now?

(1) People do not really care about poor people in Africa so much.

(2) Malaria and worms suck on a large scale[1] and you can (even efficiently) shovel much money into it before problem disappears ([1] about 1/3 of all people who ever died were killed by malaria - though that has massive error bars).

but I do still worry about supporting wokism

Depends on whether "helping poor people in Africa" counts as supporting wokism or "fuck you bunch of lying liars, I have done more to help poor people in Africa than 99.99% of wokes"

My better half’s great uncle, who at the end, was just living off social security, had wonderful end-of-life care at a non-profit, charitable hospice facility.

It was not woke in any way. Just made sure people without means could part this mortal coil with a bit of sympathy and dignity.

We were so impressed/moved we set up a monthly, recurring donation.

I don’t know if you’d ever hear back from anyone in terms of thanks, or that it structurally changes the world for the better, but it quietly helps people during a very difficult time that at that point in their lives can’t help themselves.

That's the absolute first time I've heard of such places not being horrible hellholes. Pleasant surprise.

member of my family works in another one and it is fine and definitely not "horrible hellhole"

also, I bet that media stories are biased toward horrible hellholes in this case - how you make story of regular one?

I guess I’m really glad we’re donating to the aforementioned one, in that case.

I think it makes it even more awesome that you are keeping that one going - as someone who is currently helping elderly family members look into that kind of thing, let me say thanks on behalf of the families your support has helped, in the hopes we will be as fortunate.

Thank you and best of luck.

You could check your local churches. Most of them will have a benevolence fund that is explicitly for charity to the needy and cannot be used for church operations or expenses. My experience has been that these are highly effective in the individual sense, because they tend to be operated by volunteers who have a lot of on-the-ground information. However they generally do very little EA-type "systems" work, for better or for worse. Since they are in charge of deciding exactly who to help, contributions are tax-deductible as well.

Haha. I live in Seattle. They'll spend it on buttplugs for preteens.

But that's a great idea in general and I'll look into it!

A church would?

I'm joking of course, but yes, the churches near me are ultra-woke.

Still, I would expect at least some to not be turboleftist. Even more in adjacent more rural areas.

Should I just straight up send people cash?

Depending on how much cash you're talking--yes! Go pay off someone's house, or student loans, or car... their reaction will be 1000% more gratifying to you than any check mailed to an institution. Even more if it's not some random stranger, but someone you care about (e.g. relatives, friends). For example.

In terms of contemporary ideals re: "effective altruism" this is probably not a great way to go, of course. Most people who can qualify for a loan will be able to pay that loan off on their own eventually, and the misery they'll go through to do it is pretty small by comparison with some of the other trials people have (hunger, homelessness, etc.). But if you'd like to prioritize people who will cash your check quickly, be effusively grateful about it, and not spend it employing humanities graduates who can't find a job peddling DEI for woke corporations, then I recommend thinking of people in your life who have a medium-sized debt hanging over them (and who aren't likely to resent your generosity--you do have to pick your targets with some care). Just go wipe that debt out and watch them grin.

(I feel I should add, as a mod, that there is a place where Zorba accepts donations to keeping the site up and running, too. Zorba has been pretty low key about it, which I think is appropriate, and I don't know whether this place counts as an "institution" in your reckoning, but--one more option among many.)

e.g. relatives, friends

beware of risk of people starting to queue for handouts - may be nice to do it anonymously

Do you use one of those self-control applications to stop you from e.g. wasting time on Facebook or reddit? I've been using one for a couple years, and I've noticed something. I usually keep the timer at a particular duration until I have a reason to change it, so right now it's at four hours and 17 minutes, it has been there for months. I set it a couple times a day.

I've noticed the time almost always runs out within a minute or two of me going to bed. I often seen it pop up (because it's done) literally as I'm getting up to to leave. Other times I check it just before going to bed and see it has like two minutes left.

I am curious if this happens to other people. Am I subconsciously timing my bedtime to sync up with the end of my blocking software's timer?

I am curious if this happens to other people.

Happens for me with alarms triggering at specific times.

Interesting! When I've tried using that software I've turned into a sort of digital bulimic, working hard for a few hours and then binging whatever was blocked long into the night. So I had the opposite problem.

The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante Review

My previous game reviews on the Motte:

Cyberpunk 2077

Terra Invicta

Wasteland 3

A (somewhat) short review for a short, but compelling game. I will try to avoid major spoilers because this is a game I can easily recommend, at a relatively low playtime with a relatively low price, especially on sale.


The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante is a text-based adventure game, where guide the life of our titular character, Sir Brante, from birth to death (or at least late adulthood). It might be more accurate to call the game an interactive novel, or more in the vain of adventure gamebooks (but no combat). Player reads about an event in Sir Brante’s life, and the player makes a choice for how Brante’s life will progress, some of which have more serious impacts than others. The game is obviously very reading heavy, though there are some nice illustrations too.

The game is set in the fictional Arknian Empire, a low-fantasy word that is roughly analogous to late 18th Century Europe in terms of technological and social development. The Arknian Empire has an extremely rigid, oppressive and perhaps actually divinely ordained social system – the “Lots”. The Noble, Priest and Commoner Lots. It’s an extreme form of feudal hierarchy, where commoners are abused and exploited by their social superiors, perhaps far more than happened in our real world. You play as Sir Brante, the commoner son of noble father and a commoner mother. Your father was born a commoner and earned his nobility through service to the empire (“Noble of the Mantle”), and not by blood or hereditary rights (“Noble of the Sword”), so the nobility is not granted to you. So Brante occupies a liminal space in society, not a noble, nor a lowly commoner, at a time of great social upheaval within the Arknian Empire (again, analogous to late 18th and early 19th century Europe). Stop here and play the game if this sounds interesting to you! Some spoilers ahead.

What The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante does exceptionally well is create an incredibly believable world and honestly is one of the best portrayals of social upheaval (and revolution...?) in a fictional setting. It highlights the moral complexities of reform and revolution. There are shades of grey everywhere – oppressor nobles, nobles supporting tradition as the believe stability is critical, nobles supporting reform, devout commoners supporting the social order, humanistic commoner revolutionaries, brutal, murderous commoner revolutionaries, the Church is undergoing a theological schism. The game also raises some other interesting themes and questions – destiny, family, duty, religion and many others. Just to give one example of how clever the writing can be in this game, the most powerful noble families (including the Emperor) in the Arknian Empire are not human but are Arknians, who are more or less light blue skinned “human” nobles of great beauty who are treated with the utmost respect and deference by all humans. It’s deliberately left ambiguous about the relationship between Arknians and humans, it’s possible (if not likely) that the Arknians are in fact humans, who are blue-skinned by virtue of extreme selective breeding/endogamy, and maybe more beautiful, smarter and stronger than 'regular' humans only because of access to superior education, medicine etc. I found this to be a pretty clever commentary on real world nobility, and high-status class more generally – the Arknians may or may not be humans, but what’s important is that the commonfolk and even the lesser nobles believe in the natural, perhaps even divine superiority of the Arknians over humans.

I think another brilliant element of the writing is how it draws you into the game’s universe. You play as Brante from baby, and you learn about the world along with him as he grows up, slowly getting fed titbits of information about the world and forming a coherent picture in your mind. As Brante forms relationships with his family as he grows, so will you get attached to them. This makes it all the more heart wrenching when the suffering does happen. The Brante family does struggle and suffer throughout the game, as the title promises. I’ll admit that I teared up a couple times playing the game.

The story has some strong parallels to real world historical events, including the Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution (the developers are Russian), and generally is critical about all kinds of ideology, radical and traditional. However, I think the game’s writing ultimately leans towards a Burkeian conservative gradual reform position ideologically, where the best outcomes and endings seem to arise from approaching the political issues in the game this way. This doesn’t significantly detract from the political commentary and critique the writing offers overall, though. The game also has a surprisingly Christian message or at least mentality that I think might go over some players’ heads – the Christian part specifically, not the religious themes in general. It’s hard to comment on this without getting to major spoilers, I will just say there is an implication that the societal problems within the game are at least partially derived from the fact the in-universe religion is basically an incomplete Christianity – Christianity missing some key features.

Unfortunately, like many story-driven choice-based RPGs, the game does fall apart a bit in the last third of the game, particularly in the last act, as the writers struggle under the weight of all the choices they have to account for. Some of the choices only have real impact on certain paths. The final act feels far too short for the events that it’s portraying, the choices and stats you need to get certain endings are maybe a bit unfair and I left feeling a bit unsatisfied. Still, this is a relatively small blemish on an otherwise excellently written game. The draw of the game I think not really having an “ending” per se, but this peephole it gives you into this highly believable if sometimes fantastical world.

I strongly recommend The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante to any one who likes text/reading heavy games or interactive novels. The game is relatively short, maybe a few hours long for your first playthrough if you’re not someone who agonizes over choices/restarts RPGs frequently like me. There are three main paths to play in the game, each with their own narrative arc for replayability, though the paths do converge towards the very end of the game.

You make it sound interesting, and then I have to remember that I loathe visual novels.

I'm still salty about suzerain. Some jokers sold me on it by calling it a simulation, and I liked the art style and writing and realized far too late what I had gotten into.

Damn them. Damn visual novels all to hell. Good writers should make books for me to read, not waste their time on games that barely qualify as such.

Well if you hate interactive novels you almost certainly hate this game. At least this game you pretty much know what you're getting into. Different strokes for different folks.

In this game's defence, it largely works because it is an interactive novel, and I feel the story wouldn't have nearly as much impact if it was a standard, uninteractive novel. I think plays to it the medium's strengths pretty well.

Hell yes, someone else who has played Sir Brante. The most positive ending I got was while playing a noble on the antirevolutionary path and beating Dorius Otton in a duel with the help of Grandpa from beyond the grave, convincing Gaius Tempest to enact reforms and getting the Brantes ennobled|| all in one playthrough. I didn't manage some minor things like ||saving the childhood friend or all family members etc.

There are three main paths to play in the game, each with there own narrative arc for replayability, though the paths do converge towards the very end of the game.

One might say there are six main paths - noble, priest and commoner both as pro- and antirevolutionary - and at least two "easter egg" paths (following the Path of Will as a priest and doing the anti-revolutinary commoner path so well that the entire revolt gets aborted)

One might say there are six main paths - noble, priest and commoner both as pro- and antirevolutionary

I was had a little mini-debate in my head about whether to say three or six main paths, but I went with three because I don't think pro or antirevolutionary are substantial enough to call them there own complete main paths, not to the same extent of the noble, priest and commoner are, at least. Most of the decisions for which side you land politically are only towards the very end of the game, and it's possible to play both sides until just before the end of the game, albeit with maybe slightly suboptimal outcomes. Basically, they're not "main" paths in that they don't have a long, separate narrative.

They're main paths in the way that if you want best outcomes you need to start making certain stat-related choices quite early on.

Right, it's more the outcome of the choices you make. The actual story events that you experience on pro and anti revolutionary "paths" are mostly the same however, it's just how you respond to it. Whereas the noble, priest and commoner paths all have almost completely different events and story arcs, only a small overlap. Hence "main" paths.

[Reposting from the Wellness thread because it’s also a fun thing to think about]

What would you add to your emotional-motivational memory palace?

A memory palace is an imaginative, spatial arrangement of visual objects, usually taking the form of a predetermined walking route or the memorized layout of a building. It is a 2000+ year-old memory technique used throughout antiquity and the Middle Ages. With practice you can memorize thousands of “items” placed within a spatial arrangement, and keep them stored for longterm use.

I’ve been thinking about how this technique can be used for an emotional benefit. Let’s say you wanted to craft the perfect space for understanding your own life goals. You want to enter this space in order to remember all of the important whys and what fors of your life. You might also want a space where you can remember all of the why I must nots. What would you place within your space? You can put anything in there: a person, a book, an album cover or image which reminds you of a song, objects which remind you of experiences and scents, anything.

As an example, if your raison d’etre were running, the palace might include:

  • Signs and symbols of your favorite past running experiences and paths.

  • Some people who remind you of the joys of running, or people who are fit from frequent running.

  • Salient images of the glory of continued running. Maybe you imagine a collection of gold objects which signal your progress, and empty spots in a trophy room which signal your future accomplishments.

  • Symbols of your favorite fantasies to use while you run (fleeing from zombies, racing against the clock to deliver an important message, chasing a wild animal or an attractive woman).

  • Some metaphorical reminder that pain is fleeting and laziness is never worth it.