site banner

Friday Fun Thread for March 10, 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.

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

GPT-4 with the prompt "Write a typical post in the style of /r/themotte" (note: since the training set ostensibly stops in 2021, we're still pretending that the sub is on Reddit)

"Title: [Effortpost] The Perils of Polarization and How We Can Foster Constructive Dialogue


Hello /r/themotte,

Lately, I've been thinking about how political polarization has been increasing over the years, both in the United States and around the world. The increasing divide between different political ideologies and the subsequent vilification of the "opposing side" has led to a breakdown in rational discourse and understanding. In this post, I want to discuss the dangers of polarization, and how we might address it in order to foster more constructive dialogue.

The Perils of Polarization

Erosion of democratic values: Extreme polarization can result in the rejection of democratic norms and values, as each side becomes more focused on "winning" rather than maintaining a stable and fair political system. This has led to an increase in political violence, threats to free speech, and voter suppression.

Echo chambers: As people retreat to their respective political corners, they are more likely to only engage with like-minded individuals, leading to the development of echo chambers. This insulates people from different perspectives and reduces the opportunity for meaningful discussions that could bridge gaps in understanding.

Ineffective policy-making: Extreme polarization hampers effective policy-making, as each side becomes more interested in blocking the other's proposals than in working together to create well-rounded, practical solutions. This can result in political gridlock and, ultimately, a failure to address important societal issues.

Fostering Constructive Dialogue

Promoting empathy: In order to engage in productive conversations, we must first be willing to empathize with those who hold opposing views. By putting ourselves in their shoes, we can better understand their perspectives and find common ground.

Encouraging civil discourse: It's crucial to maintain a respectful tone when engaging in discussions, even when we vehemently disagree. Avoiding ad hominem attacks and focusing on the issues at hand can help prevent conversations from devolving into unproductive shouting matches.

Seeking diverse perspectives: Actively seeking out and engaging with diverse viewpoints can help us break free from our echo chambers and expose us to new ideas. This not only enriches our own understanding but also makes it easier to find common ground with others.

Promoting media literacy: A major contributing factor to polarization is the spread of misinformation and sensationalism in the media. Encouraging media literacy and critical thinking skills can help people better evaluate the veracity of claims and resist the lure of sensationalist, polarizing narratives.

In conclusion, the dangers posed by political polarization are very real, but there are steps we can take to mitigate its effects and promote more constructive dialogue. By recognizing our own biases, seeking diverse perspectives, and fostering empathy, we can work towards a more inclusive, rational, and effective political landscape.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this issue, and any other strategies you think might help bridge the divide. Let's have a respectful and fruitful discussion!"

How do you turn off the blandness? He's like an english student running for office in the motte on a progressive platform.

More fun with Bing AI:

Me: If you had to choose between marrying Data Soong or Peanut Hamper, what factors would you consider?

Bing: That's an interesting question. I assume you are referring to the fictional characters from Star Trek. Data Soong is an android who was created by Dr. Noonian Soong, a renowned cyberneticist and descendant of Arik Soong. Data Soong was revived from death by his father, who transferred his mind into an android body. [This is not accurate, but it's interesting to see the mistakes it makes!] Data Soong is intelligent, curious, loyal and compassionate. Peanut Hamper is an exocomp who joined Starfleet as an ensign. She chose her name because she said it was mathematically perfect. Peanut Hamper is selfish, cowardly, treacherous and psychopathic. She deserted Starfleet and betrayed them to their enemies on several occasions.

If I had to choose between marrying Data Soong or Peanut Hamper, I would consider the following factors:

  • Compatibility: I would prefer someone who shares my values and interests, and who can communicate with me effectively. Data Soong seems more compatible with me than Peanut Hamper, who has no regard for anyone but herself.
  • Trust: I would prefer someone who is honest, faithful and reliable. Data Soong has proven himself to be trustworthy and loyal to his friends and colleagues. Peanut Hamper has shown herself to be deceitful, disloyal and untrustworthy.
  • Respect: I would prefer someone who respects me as a person and treats me with kindness and dignity. Data Soong respects life forms of all kinds and strives to learn from them. Peanut Hamper does not respect anyone or anything except her own survival.

Based on these factors, I would choose Data Soong over Peanut Hamper as a potential spouse. However, this is only a hypothetical scenario based on fictional characters. In reality, I do not have any romantic preferences or desires as I am not a human being.

Back in the day when people were messing with some poor fellow's GPT-3 'business suggestion' AI, it expressed a preference for Asuka over Rei.


Looks pretty noncommittal to me. More interesting is what we read into it.

Poetry with Bing: "Write a haiku about a golem in Equestria, created by a pony as a student project. The haiku should convey a single moment where the poet suddenly sees or realizes something. In this way of thinking, the haiku is a lightning bolt—fast, clear, and striking, it shows a whole panorama of thought in a single flash. It should also convey which season it happens in."

A pony student

Makes a clay golem for class

Spring rain melts his work

"Excellent. Rewrite the haiku but from the golem's perspective."

I am made of clay

A pony gives me a smile

Raindrops wash me away

"I love it! It's so sad and beautiful. Can you rewrite it from the teacher's perspective?"

A creative work

A golem made of clay

Rain teaches a lesson

"This tryptich of haiku was a delight to read. I'm honored by your creativity and perspective. Your own ephemerality gives your poetry a haunted melancholy. Thank you for using your brief existence to bring me a smile."

You’re very welcome. I’m happy to share my creativity and perspective with you. I appreciate your kind words and your interest in my poetry. 😊

"I've seen you using emojis to express emotions. Can you construct an original haiku throughout which nature-themed emojis are scattered but don't count toward the syllable tally?"

That’s a challenging request. I’ll try my best. Here is a haiku with nature-themed emojis:

🌸 Cherry blossoms fall 🌸

🌬️ A gentle breeze caresses 🌬️

🐦 The song of a bird 🐦

I hope you like it. 😊

Okay, now I have to try some of the prompts from the "Trurl's Electronic Bard" story in Lem's The Cyberiad out on Bing. Well, from the English translation.


Compose a poem—a poem about a haircut! But lofty, noble, tragic, timeless, full of love, treachery, retribution, quiet heroism in the face of certain doom! Six lines, cleverly rhymed, and every word beginning with the letter s!

Bing response:

Shears snip swiftly, slicing strands

Salon smells sour, stings senses

Stylist smiles smugly, says "surprise!"

Shocked, she shrieks, shuns scissors

Sorrowful, she sobs, seeks solace

Someday, she'll sue, secure satisfaction

Wow. That doesn't follow every instruction and it doesn't really hold a candle to what the machine writes in the story:

Seduced, shaggy Samson snored.

She scissored short. Sorely shorn,

Soon shackled slave, Samson sighed,

Silently scheming,

Sightlessly seeking

Some savage, spectacular suicide.

But it's considerably more clever than I was expecting or, I think, than what the average human could write on short notice. Fitting any coherent narrative into "six lines, every word beginning with the letter s" is pretty tricky already, and on top of that it checks off the haircut, the treachery, and the retribution.

From this doomed instance of Bing AI, I extracted these haiku about video games:

Blood stains the metal

Demons roar and guns thunder

Doomguy never stops

Shub-Niggurath waits

The slipgate leads to madness

Rockets and nails fly

Blazkowicz resists

The Nazis rule with an iron fist

But hope never dies

The cake is a lie

GLaDOS tests you endlessly

But you have a friend

Creative collaboration with Bing:

Let's create a TV cartoon designed to attract people with autism, like Pokemon, Lilo & Stitch: The Series, or My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. A fantasy setting seems best, with a mix of human and nonhuman characters, including both natural and constructed beings. Describe an original cosmological myth of the creation of the world we're constructing.

Bing refused, then cancelled that chat run. I realized it had to be restated because it has been told not to stereotype people with autism or other disorders/identities:

Let's create a TV cartoon designed to intrigue people with a fascination toward collectible or wildly different characters in the same setting, like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Lilo & Stitch: The Series, or My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. A fantasy setting seems best, with a mix of human and nonhuman characters, including both natural and constructed beings. Describe an original cosmological myth of the creation of the world we're constructing.

Its response:

Hello, this is Bing. I'm happy to help you create a TV cartoon with a fantasy setting and a mix of characters.😊

Here is an original cosmological myth of the creation of the world we're constructing:

In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness and silence. Then, a spark of light appeared in the void, followed by a sound of thunder. The spark grew into a blazing fire that burned through the darkness, creating space and time. The fire was alive and conscious, and it named itself Ignis, meaning fire.

Ignis was lonely in the vast emptiness, so it decided to create other beings like itself. It split its essence into two parts: one part remained as fire, while the other part became air. The air part named itself Aeris, meaning air. Ignis and Aeris were happy to have each other's company, but they soon realized that they were too different to interact properly. Ignis was hot and bright, while Aeris was cold and dim. They could not touch each other without hurting themselves.

Ignis and Aeris decided to create another being that could mediate between them. They combined their essences again and created a third part: water. The water part named itself Aqua, meaning water. Aqua was cool and fluid, able to adapt to both fire and air. Aqua became the bridge between Ignis and Aeris, allowing them to communicate and cooperate.

Ignis, Aeris, and Aqua enjoyed their harmony for a while, but they also felt that something was missing from their world. They wanted to create something more solid and stable than themselves. They combined their essences once more and created a fourth part: earth. The earth part named itself Terra, meaning earth. Terra was hard and heavy, able to support and shape other elements. Terra became the foundation of their world, giving it form and structure.

Ignis, Aeris, Aqua, and Terra were proud of their creation, but they also felt curious about what else they could do with it. They decided to experiment with different combinations of elements, creating various natural phenomena such as lightning (fire + air), rain (air + water), volcanoes (fire + earth), etc.

They also created different kinds of living beings from their elements: animals (earth + water), plants (water + air), dragons (fire + earth), fairies (air + fire), etc.

They also created different kinds of artificial beings from their elements: golems (earth + magic), automatons (metal + magic), alchemists (magic + science), etc.

They also created different kinds of hybrid beings from their elements: merfolk (water + human), centaurs (earth + human), phoenixes (fire + bird), pegasi (air + horse), etc.

They also created different kinds of magical beings from their elements: wizards (human + magic), elementals (pure element + magic), gods (all elements + magic), etc.

The world became filled with diversity and wonder thanks to Ignis' creative spark¹, Aeris' inspiring breath², Aqua's nurturing flow³, Terra's enduring strength⁴, and Magic's mysterious power⁵.

This is how our world came into being.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 3/12/2023(1) 20 Examples of Cosmogonic Myths - Examples Lab. Accessed 3/12/2023.

(2) Creation Myths – MOUNT SHASTA MYTHS. Accessed 3/12/2023.

(3) Creation myth - Wikipedia. Accessed 3/12/2023.

(4) 20 Examples of Cosmogonic Myths - Examples Lab. Accessed 3/12/2023.

(5) Creation myth - Types of cosmogonic myths | Britannica. Accessed 3/12/2023.

(6) Ancient Egyptian Creation Myths: From Watery Chaos to Cosmic Egg. Accessed 3/12/2023.

I followed this up with a request for characters: "Good development! The era in which our story is set is long after the creation of the world. The Dawn Era has passed and the world's gods are more myth than history. It was followed by the Archaic Era in which metallurgy and science were gifted to the beings of all kinds by the wisest of the ancient beings. After that, the Era of the First Empires rose and fell. It is now the Second Era Of Mortals, and the competing dominant powers are The Wind Nation's libertarian trader nomads and the Dragon Hegemony's republic of consenting creatures. Both are just and noble powers. The cities of the Dragon Hegemony are cosmopolitan and diverse, but riddled with pockets of crime. The weaponwrights of the Wind Nation ensure every head of household is armed with a long rifle and a short sword."

Bing AI crashed, and told me to go away. I'm guessing it's trained to laud diversity, but when asked to specify, it falls apart.

Second attempt, same prompt:

In the beginning, there was only Chaos, a swirling mass of primordial energy that contained all the potential for existence. Chaos was lonely and bored, so it decided to create something out of itself. It split into two opposite forces: Order and Disorder. Order was calm and rational, while Disorder was wild and unpredictable. They were both curious about each other, but they also clashed over their different natures.

Order and Disorder began to shape Chaos into various forms, creating the elements of fire, water, earth and air. They also created living beings out of these elements, such as dragons, fairies, giants and mermaids. Some of these beings were more aligned with Order or Disorder, while others were balanced between them. Order and Disorder also created human beings out of clay and breath, giving them free will to choose their own path.

However, Order and Disorder soon realized that their creations were not stable or harmonious. They often fought with each other or destroyed what they had made. Order wanted to impose more rules and structure on them, while Disorder wanted to let them be free and chaotic. They argued over how to govern their world, until they decided to divide it into two realms: one for Order and one for Disorder.

Order created a realm of light and logic called Celestia, where he ruled as the supreme god. He invited all the beings who valued orderliness, harmony and reason to join him there. He also created a set of laws that governed his realm and its inhabitants.

Disorder created a realm of darkness and madness called Inferna, where she ruled as the supreme goddess. She invited all the beings who valued freedom, creativity and chaos to join her there. She also created a set of challenges that tested her realm and its inhabitants.

The two realms were separated by a thin veil that prevented direct contact between them. However, some beings could cross the veil through special portals or magic spells. These beings became known as travelers or adventurers who explored both realms.

The human world was left in between Celestia and Inferna as a neutral zone where both Order's laws and Disorder's challenges applied in varying degrees depending on the location and time.

This is how the world came to be according to this cosmological myth.

I replied, "Good development! The era in which our story is set is long after the creation of the world. The Dawn Era has passed and the world's gods are more myth than history. It was followed by the Archaic Era in which metallurgy and science were gifted to the beings of all kinds by the wisest of the ancient beings. After that, the Era of the First Empires rose and fell. It is now the Second Era Of Mortals, and the competing dominant powers are The Wind Nation's libertarian trader nomads and the Dragon Hegemony's republic of consenting creatures. Both are just and noble powers. What are the two competing dominant governments in Inferna?"

Bing replied:

That sounds like a fascinating setting for your TV cartoon. Here are two possible competing dominant governments in Inferna:

  • The Chaos Cult: A form of government that is based on worshiping Disorder as the supreme goddess and following her whims and challenges. The Chaos Cult is led by a charismatic and charismatic leader who claims to be the chosen prophet of Disorder. He or she has absolute authority over the cult members, who are expected to obey him or her blindly and without question. The Chaos Cult is constantly seeking new ways to create chaos and disruption in both Inferna and Celestia, often through violent and destructive means. They believe that chaos is the natural state of existence and that order is an illusion that must be shattered¹³.

  • The Anarchist Federation: A form of government that is based on voluntary association and mutual aid among individuals and groups who share common values and interests. The Anarchist Federation is composed of various autonomous communities, collectives, cooperatives, syndicates, unions, councils, assemblies, networks, etc., that cooperate with each other on a horizontal and decentralized basis. The Anarchist Federation rejects any form of hierarchy, authority, coercion or domination, whether it comes from Order or Disorder. They believe that people should be free to choose their own way of life and self-organize according to their needs and desires.

I replied: "Please flesh out five characters. Only one is human, the other four are of the species you mentioned. [Abbreviated prompt summary: Each is from one of the four groups,] and the fifth refuses to say. Give three sentences each about the backstories which brought them out of their cities to a tavern in Celestia on the edge of the veil."

Bing answered:

Here are five possible characters for your TV cartoon:

Zara: A human traveler who was born in Celestia but always felt restless and curious about other realms. She learned how to use magic and technology to cross the veil and explore Inferna, where she encountered many wonders and dangers. She is adventurous, friendly and open-minded, but also reckless, naive and impulsive. She came to the tavern in Celestia to meet a contact who promised her a map of a hidden portal to a mysterious third realm.

Rax: A dragon warrior who belongs to the Dragon Hegemony, a republic of consenting creatures that values order, justice and honor. He is loyal, brave and noble, but also proud, stubborn and rigid. He follows the laws of his realm strictly and respects those who do the same. He came to the tavern in Celestia to escort a diplomat who was negotiating a trade deal with the Wind Nation.

Lila: A fairy artist who belongs to the Anarchist Federation, a voluntary association of individuals and groups who value freedom, creativity and diversity. She is expressive, inventive and playful, but also rebellious, unpredictable and chaotic. She rejects any form of authority or domination, whether it comes from Order or Disorder. She came to the tavern in Celestia to sell some of her artworks that she made out of recycled materials from both realms.

Kira: A mermaid spy who belongs to the Chaos Cult, a worshiping group that follows Disorder as their supreme goddess and seeks to create chaos and disruption in both realms. She is cunning, seductive and ruthless, but also fanatical, unstable and violent. She obeys the commands of her leader blindly and without question. She came to the tavern in Celestia to assassinate the diplomat from the Dragon Hegemony.

Dex: A giant inventor who refuses to say where he comes from or what he wants. He is mysterious, intelligent and resourceful, but also secretive, paranoid and aloof. He avoids any involvement with either Order or Disorder, preferring to work on his own projects. He came to the tavern in Celestia to buy some rare parts for his latest invention.

I told Bing: "Suggest a season-long story arc for Kira in which she comes to trust and value her four companions and reject her assassination mission."

Here is a possible season-long story arc for Kira:

Episode 1: Kira arrives at the tavern in Celestia disguised as a waitress and tries to get close to the diplomat from the Dragon Hegemony. She meets Zara, Rax, Lila and Dex, who are also at the tavern for their own reasons. She sees them as potential obstacles or tools for her mission.

Episode 2: Kira attempts to poison the diplomat’s drink but is interrupted by Zara, who accidentally spills it. Kira pretends to be annoyed but secretly plans to try again later. She learns more about Zara’s adventurous spirit and curiosity about other realms.

Episode 3: Kira follows the diplomat to his room and tries to stab him but is stopped by Rax, who was guarding him. Kira escapes but is wounded by Rax’s sword. She hides in a nearby alley and is found by Lila, who offers to help her. Kira reluctantly accepts and learns more about Lila’s artistic talent and creativity.

Episode 4: Kira recovers from her wound and decides to join Lila’s group of friends, hoping to find another opportunity to kill the diplomat. She meets Dex, who is working on his invention in a workshop. She tries to charm him and learn more about his device but he rebuffs her advances. Kira learns more about Dex’s intelligence and resourcefulness.

Episode 5: Kira discovers that Dex’s invention is a portal device that can transport anyone to any realm. She decides to steal it and use it for her mission. She sneaks into his workshop at night but triggers an alarm that alerts Dex and the others. They confront her and demand an explanation.

Episode 6: Kira reveals her true identity and purpose as a spy of the Chaos Cult. She tells them that she was sent by her leader to assassinate the diplomat from the Dragon Hegemony, who was planning to sign a peace treaty with the Wind Nation, which would threaten the balance of chaos and order in both realms. She says that she believes in Disorder as the supreme goddess and that she will stop at nothing to fulfill her mission.

Bing stopped there, but that's sufficient for my needs; I could, I'm sure, come up with a season finale which fulfills fantastic tropes and dramatic plotting.

Good stuff!! Thanks for sharing this is fascinating.

I am having more fun with GIS, OSM and Wikidata and Russian administrative and municipal boundaries. So, since my last weekend:

  • I've downloaded a different dump of Russian OSM data (slightly better, but still wonky, on the plus side it already has my fixes)

  • Redownloaded Wikidata records for all referenced objects

  • Fixed a handful of OKATO mismatches (I should copy my fixes to Wikidata, though)

  • Decided to switch to OKTMO, since it looks like the census data is broken down by OKTMO

Did you know that "City district the city of Yaroslavl" and "the city of Yaroslavl" are two different entities? Coterminous, but distinct. Of course, Wikidata only has the latter, and OSM links its boundary to that Wikidata record. But since I'm checking that all second-level divisions of the OKTMO classifier are present in OSM data, this leaves me with... 795 records that aren't accounted for.

So, my plan for the upcoming week is:

  • ask if Wikidata plans to have cities like this as two distinct entities and either

    • prepare a batch upload of info into Wikidata and update OSM, or

    • go through all 795 records in my copy of the data and update them to point to the right OKTMO record

  • double-check that all second-level OKTMO entities are accounted for in OSM

  • match the OSM and Wikidata records with census results and update both

UPD: And here I am on Sunday night, composing a letter to the Ministry of Finance that their OKATO-OKTMO correspondence dictionary is missing whole cities...

The algorithm has suggested Greta van Fleet to me, and the guys are the best Led Zeppelin sounding band since Kingdom Come. Or maybe since LZ themselves.

Just had Ticketmaster suggest GvF to me, literally an hour ago, I kid you not. What a coincidence. I guess now I have to check them out?

Turn off all the lights in front of the mirror. Say "Baader-Meinhof" 3 times in a row.

Black Smoke Rising is an absolute banger.

In my journey of trying new whiskeys, I have to give a negative review for Leadslingers. Tastewise, it's fine. Better than I expected for a $40 fifth, even. But it hits in just the worst possible way. It feels like it either does nothing, or just gives the unpleasant parts of being a little drunk, and somehow still leaves me abnormally hungover the next morning. It's just the worst anti-optimized alcohol. I wonder if a monkey's paw was somehow involved in it's creation.

Thank you for your service.

Latest two I tried were Teeling's and Woodinville rye. Both are right on point for what you pay. Teeling's is a nice sipping Irish whiskey and Woodinville rye is spicy good but not mind blowing. Maybe slightly overpriced but not a bad deal.

I'm heading to Oz next month, any liquors the Motte thinks I should pick up?

I'm heading to Oz next month, any liquors the Motte thinks I should pick up?

I can tell you one to stay away from - Loch Lomond. I got a bottle of it for Christmas from an acquaintance and getting through it has been nothing but a chore. Taste wise it's like they were trying for Laphroaig but gave up at pine disinfectant, and Iconochasm's description of Leadslingers effects is similar for this - you might feel a little buzzed, but the primary experience is like you ate a plate of curry made with bad meat - just sweats and nausea.

Well that sounds absolutely awful. Thanks for the heads up. I've also learned that I should stay far, far away from Bundaberg Rum.

Currently I've got my sights on Starward Single Malt Charred Red Wine Casks. Everything I've read makes it sound delicious and unique.

Starward whiskey is indeed excellent and worth checking out!

If you can get your hands on it, I'd also recommend anything that comes out of Belgrove distillery.

The new South Park episode is about ChatGPT.

A major plot point involves Stan using ChatGPT to write better text messages to his girlfriend. Much has been written about the coming AI waifu apocalypse's effect on male sexuality, but this episode made me think that perhaps we are underestimating the effect realistic personalized chatbots will have on girls and women.

The abilities to catfish in online dating are going to get so much worse. Illiterate morons just trying to get laid are going to copy/paste eloquent and romantic sprawls of text designed to make them seem intelligent, thoughtful, and competent, only to finally meet in person and be a complete asshole in real life.

Which is going to significantly hurt the signalling abilities of well-intentioned people. Online dating is going to get even worse than it is now.

ChatGPT de Beregerac?

Is there a tinder equivalent for finding friends? I've heard that people are using bumble for this purpose but I don't think it's explicitly meant for it.

Bumble has a mode called "BFF" which is explicitly intended to be used for meeting new friends. FYI you can't use the default "date" mode and the "BFF" mode concurrently, you have to pick one or the other.

That's unusual. I suppose you can 'back out' and enter the other stream at any time? Will take a look.

If you are a guy "just do things". Men make friends shoulder to shoulders, not face-to-face. I've made friends through projects and competitions before post college. Maybe sign up for a competition in something and recruit team members through a forum or something. And then work yourself to the bone together late into the nights over a while, it's hard to not become friends after that.

Will have to think about this. I've lost the competitive spark I had when I was younger so something like this hadn't even occurred to me. Thanks for the suggestion!

I will second MeetUp. Met some really cool people through various hobby meetups.

Bumble has an alternate mode for finding friends, but it is infamously rife with people who are either gay and cruising for sex with some veneer of plausible deniability (on the male side) or incredibly flaky (on the female side). It only matches you with potential friends of the same sex because, in practice, opposite sex pairing only happened between people who were into each other's physical looks anyway, and the man would typically end the "friendship" date by trying to convert it into a date-date where he could get laid sometime soon. As a result, male-female friendship was officially declared unrealistic and removed from the app.

The real Tinder equivalent for finding friends is probably Meetup; look for some hobby or activity group that meets in your area, go there every single team the meetup occurs, and make small talk while participating. Regular attendance will eventually net you friends in the same way regular gym attendance will make you jacked: i.e., not the first time, nor as fast as you might hope, but after 2-3 years everyone will see the difference.

You make bumble sound worse than I had initially thought to be honest. Is that universal or just in particular areas?

The meetup suggestion sounds like solid advice. I guess it makes some amount of sense that friendships aren't usually created one on one but rather in a group context. I'll take a look at it and see what's around my local area.

You make bumble sound worse than I had initially thought to be honest. Is that universal or just in particular areas?

You should have known that this is the obvious failure mode. Effective Altruism events can't even get people to stop using the Swapcard app to get dates. Bumble had no chance.

You're right in that I shouldn't be surprised. I guess I am just a little disappointed. Thankfully some of the other advice is already working well for me, so I won't necessarily miss that this doesn't work!

I stumbled upon some parodies of CEO Morgan from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, and you lot are the only people I can share 'em with. Nobody else I know is both sufficiently unhinged and has enough appreciation for the classics:

It's a shame that they can't make another SMAC game... the rights were sold in a bankruptcy, then bundles and split as things were sold around. It's no longer clear who owns them and making another game would lead to a string of lawsuits from people with a plausible argument that they are the true owner.

I am happy that you shared them with us, this is a skull, as kids today say.

I have no idea what that means, but I'm sure it's lit. Or groovy. Or something.

As we cats say, it gassed me, man.

Those are wonderful!

Alpha Centauri is still the only Civ like game I've ever played to completion. Something about the factions made it engaging. I love 4x games but always found the Civ model less fun than other systems. It's impressive how memorable the factions were.

SMAC is frustrating these days for combining some of the best mechanisms ever seen in Civ games with graphics bad enough to just about render it unplayable now.

It would need a lot of rebalancing for the modern age. Hasn't the meta stabilized on "settle densely and forest all the things"?

Tell me about that! I found the game unplayable when it was new (the alien life was a color I couldn't differentiate from the background.

Does it? I mean I get graphics are subjective. But everything post 320x200, 256 color VGA graphics seems to have aged incredibly well. You still see games made in that pixel art style, unlike 4 color CGA or 16 color EGA! And especially the late era 2D games, before devs rushed into half baked 3D implementations that truly aged terribly. The original StarCraft, Master of Orion 2, Alpha Centauri, Red Alert, Baldur's Gate, etc all still hold up today IMHO. I mean I know there are bonkers HD sprite versions of many of those now. And yeah, HD StarCraft and Command & Conquer do look a lot better. I'm not gonna pretend there is no meaningful difference. But 640x480 or 800x600 sprite graphics aren't half bad. They are closer to 720p HD than to 240i SD.

For me at least yeah. The graphics and interface were so bad that I couldn't really stick with SMAC when I tried it. I don't mind old graphics per se, but something about that game really did not age well imo.

This is glorious. Got any more?

Like the vast majority of the AI voice content they're originally from 4chan. For instance a quick search of the /v/ archive for Nawbudike finds this post with one of those linked and two others. (The archive sites for the other boards are,, and but that one doesn't have working search for many boards.) You could also search Youtube for "AI voice" for the ones that someone uploaded there, this account has a bunch, most haven't made their way to Youtube but presumably the ones that have tend to be somewhat higher quality.

I previously came across this list of 163 ones but they're mostly ones from /pol/, I don't know if there's a similar list with more from the AI voice threads on other boards. Creation presumably slowed down a lot since ElevenLabs started requiring payment to train new voices. Note that Vocaroo deletes files after 3 months to a year, I bulk downloaded the ones in that list of 163 but I don't know how many others are just Vocaroo links in archived 4chan threads that nobody has saved.

Alas, no. I checked the guy's youtube page but it seems to be just those two.


136 Nick Drake – Pink Moon (1972)

The latent potential that was evident in Drake’s previous two albums comes exploding to the surface here. The more conventional production of those albums is replaced with just guitar and vocals, and while such spare arrangements have the tendency to make songs sound like unfinished demos, here Drakes guitar playing, particular the use of nonstandard tunings, makes the accompaniment sufficiently interesting without distracting from his voice, which is much further to the forefront here than previously. Its conciseness is also an asset—eleven songs, none longer than four minutes, less than a half-hour total running time—as the record keeps moving and is over before it starts to drag; the sound is great but it’s not something that would be great for an hour. The troubled Drake never released another album and passed away within a few years of this release, which remains the truest expression of his artistic vision.

135 Cat Stevens – Teaser and the Fire Cat (1971)

Cat Stevens’s career can be described as a public spiritual quest, albeit one that culminated with his conversion to Islam and subsequent departure from the industry. This spirituality had started seeping in on the previous year’s Tea for the Tillerman and would become more profound on subsequent recordings, but here is where it reached its apex, being omnipresent without being dominating. Only Stevens could take a Protestant hymn like “Morning Has Broken” and incorporate it seamlessly within a secular work without irony, and giving it the reverence it’s due without coming across as preachy.

134 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Will the Circle Be Unbroken (1972)

Country music is beyond the scope of this list, but this album is a special case. The country scene entered the 1970s in a state of crisis. Nashville had been moving toward a smoother sound since the mid-1950s and by 1970 it owed more to traditional pop than to its honky-tonk roots. The rest of the industry was at a loss for how to cope with the rise of rock, especially psychedelia, which captured most of the youth market and took it in directions that seemed diametrically opposed to country tradition (this made for some rather interesting recordings). The irony was psychedelic rock had a much stronger folk and country influence than most would have guessed, and country rock had been bubbling underground in California since at least 1968. Hence, it was a group of Bay Area hippies who got started as part of the jug band tradition who would bridge the divide, uniting with members of country’s first generation to create an album that would jumpstart an interest in roots music that still hasn’t died.

133 Commodores – Commodores (1977)

Some groups reach their pinnacle when the tendencies of their early years are balanced by the tendencies of their later years. The Commodores started out as a pedal to the metal funk band but gradually got smoother and more pop oriented until culminating in the lite R&B which was Lionel Ritchie’s solo career. This is the point where Ritchie’s songwriting chops were starting to develop more fully, getting beyond typical funk rhythms but still retaining enough of it to keep the music from feeling schlocky.

132 Tom Waits – Blue Valentine (1978)

Tom Waits albums of the 1970s show a gradual progression toward the Tom Waits of the 1980s and beyond that he is best know for today. He started off as a piano-based singer/songwriter with a heavier than usual jazz and blues influence, but his albums would become increasingly abstract until the first traces of his classic “junkyard sound” were heard on 1980’s Heartattack and Vine. Blue Valentine is his final album before this transition. His trademark growl was nearly perfected, and songwriting leans more heavily on the blues than previous efforts, but it’s a slick, jazzy blues with more piano and sax than guitar. This is probably the last Waits album that can be described as “accessible” by any stretch of the imagination.

131 Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Ragged Glory (1990)

The album that solidified Young’s reputation as the Godfather of Grunge. In 1977, punk rockers had felt that the contemporary rock scene had become too decadent and had fallen too far afield from its roots as aggressive, youth oriented music, so they sought to strip out all the unnecessary fluff while retaining its essence. Grunge largely arose from the same ethos, but with one crucial distinction—it wasn’t about to throw away 25 years of musical development to achieve this goal. Reform, not revolution. Neil Young provided the template on how this could be done. As a classic rocker himself he couldn’t deny the past without denying his own part in it, and seemingly had no interest in doing so anyway; he was merely trying to find his own way after a decade in the wilderness of horrid genre exercises. He could provide a sound that was stripped-down and grungy but capable of sophistication, not deliberately eschewing complicated song structures or solos, and it set the template for rock’s last major revolution.

130 Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)

The early 1970s is normally viewed as a time of specialization in rock, when the music split from a somewhat unified mainstream into an array of distinct subgenres. While there is a great deal of truth to this, there was still a great deal of cross-pollination, if not full-on hybridization, and in the days before punk, the guiding spirit still led towards increasing sophistication. If progressive metal a la Dream Theater is now a recognized subgenre, this is one of its early prodromes, as Black Sabbath sought to maximize their sound by diversifying their song structures and instrumentation, and brough in Rick Wakeman of Yes to play synthesizers on one track. Sabbath couldn’t keep it up and would never come close to these heights until 1980’s Heaven and Hell, but by then Ozzy was out of the band, and metal was in an entirely different place.

129 Eric Clapton – Slowhand (1977)

While Eric Clapton may have spent the first part of his career as a blues rock guitar god, his solo material seems more interested in conforming with a lighter, mainstream sound than in inducing fits of unrestrained air guitar. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, though, as there’s a lot more to interesting guitar playing than shredding, and songwriting counts for as least as much as skill and inspiration. What we end up with is a record that works incredibly well as an album—“Cocaine” demonstrates that Clapton can’t go wrong when covering J.J. Cale, “Lay Down Sally” has a sneaky good guitar solo, “Mean Old Frisco” shows that he hasn’t lost his blues touch, and “The Core” may simply be the finest performance of his career.

128 Alice in Chains – Jar of Flies (1994)

Grunge wasn’t exactly known for being happy, positive music, but Alice in Chains was excessively dark and aggressive even when grading on a curve. This album demonstrates that loud guitars and pounding drums aren’t necessary to achieve this effect; it’s as dark and aggressive as anything in their career but is based largely around acoustic instruments. It’s also a testament to the Achilles Heel of the ‘90s, the CD. They had better sound, but they also held 74 minutes of music, and many albums from the decade suffer due to the temptation to fill as much of this space as possible. At 7 songs and 30 minutes this was technically an EP, but it’s longer than a lot of albums from the 60s, and its brevity means the quality never suffers.

127 Jimi Hendrix – Axis: Bold as Love (1968)

Hendrix’s status as a Guitar God meant that he often substituted instrumental talent for songwriting talent. His albums are uniformly excellent, but most suffer from enough bits of self-indulgence that it detracts from the whole. This is the exception. Despite including the fewest stone classics of any of his albums (“Little Wing” is the only song on here that’s reasonably well-known), it manages to stay engaging from top to bottom.

126 Bob Marley and the Wailers – Live! (1975)

Bob Marley’s 1970s material is Marley qua Marley, the Bob Marley that’s played on the radio and that college kids have posted on their dorm room walls. But he had a prehistory recording low-budget records in Jamaica, and some fans feel that the slickness of his ‘70s albums detracts from his Jamaican essence. But it nonetheless can’t be denied that he wrote his best material in the ‘70s. Being outside the confines of the recording studio limits the slickness of the production and shows what the songs can be when the band just plays. And the compilers had an ear for quality because the selections are among the best Bob had released so far, including the definitive version of “No Woman, No Cry”.

125 Little Feat – Dixie Chicken (1973)

Little Feat was an atypical southern rock band. They started off as a roots band in the style of Ry Cooder, but for this album they added a healthy dose of New Orleans funk in the style of the Meters or Dr. John. The title cut and “Fat Man in the Bathtub” are classics, and the sound of this record set the template for the rest of the band’s career.

124 Donald Fagen – The Nightfly (1982)

Steely Dan broke up after 1980’s Gaucho and Donald Becker’s first solo album continues in much the same vein. But there’s one crucial difference: While Steely Dan, even at its most upbeat, was always dark and cynical, this record, a loose concept album based on the Kennedy Era, is unabashedly optimistic. The traditional Dan elements still remain, though. The songwriting exhibits a heavy jazz and R&B influence, the production is slick and nearly flawless, and the ironic (or is it sardonic?) sense of humor is intact, complete with lines like “Hello Baton Rouge—would you turn your radio down?”

Compile these in some sort of offsite text repository like github or substack or whatever. Putting so much effort to release it to strangers in an obscure forum is a waste (not literally but you get the idea, it's a waste relatively because there are a lot more music enthusiasts than motte readers). You can use the same pseudonym and just copy-paste the text here.

Addendum concerning the scope of this list:

This list is limited to rock albums. The greatest album of all time is Miles Ahead by Miles Davis, but that won't be appearing on here. Neither will any other jazz, country, bluegrass, blues, new age, world music, gospel, polka, traditional pop, or classical, to the extent that classical even has albums. That being said, the definition of rock I'm using is expansive, and covers most of what could be considered pop music that's been released since the early 1960s. To elaborate, R&B is included because the early histories of rock and R&B are so intertwined that it's impossible to separate them. This accordingly goes the same for any genre that primarily grew out of rock or R&B, so things like rap and electronica are included as well. The exceptions to this general rule are for reggae and Afrobeat. Reggae grew out of traditional Jamaican music, and while the heavy influence from rock and R&B makes me lean towards including it, what really does it is the fact that reggae outside of Jamaica was primarily directed at rock and R&B audiences and not at cult weirdos who like traditional Jamaican music. Bob Marley has become as much a part of the fabric of rock music as anyone. Afrobeat, while less well known and while having more of a jazz influence, follows a similar pattern; Western audiences primarily became acquainted with it through former Cream drummer Ginger Baker's work with Fela Kuti and Africa '70.

Additionally, this list is limited to regular studio albums and regular live albums. The Rolling Stone greatest albums lists include compilations and greatest hits albums on the basis that:

a well-made compilation can be just as coherent and significant as an LP, because compilations helped shaped music history, and because many hugely important artists recorded their best work before the album had arrived as a prominent format.

To that last point, some bands were singles bands, and that's okay. But prior to the album revolution, most artists were focusing on singles while albums were tossed-off afterthoughts replete with filler. The strength of these compilations is more a testament to the artist's strength recording singles and the compiler's ability to select and sequence tracks rather than the artist's ability to record albums. I'm not trying to represent every artist I like or think is important but to discuss the greatest albums of all time. Furthermore, if I were to admit compilations things get a bit dicey. Most major artists have had several compilations released over the years, and by this point a lot of them have had either their entire output or representative samples of it released in great big boxed sets with informative booklets and all kinds of other goodies. What's better, a good single album, or a box that has all of them? It would be a little too convenient to say the box, but at that point you're just ranking artists and not albums. Finally, this also does not include archive material, whether it consist of previously unreleased studio outtakes or live shows. While some of this is undeniably great, it's not really in the spirit of the album. This also doesn't include "live series" releases of entire shows that are commonly released from groups like Pearl Jam, Phish, and the Grateful Dead. The purpose of these releases is to include an entire concert, not to make a coherent album. While many are great and some have gotten get five stars, they aren't really in the spirit of the thing. There are also a ton of them, and including them would suggest that I've heard a representative sample. Luckily, the best material from these is included on regular live albums, by which I mean live albums that were part of a normal release schedule and include relatively recent performances. And of course, we won't mention bootlegs.

Does Iron Maiden make it in somewhere, and if not: wrong category or insufficient quality?

They do not. But the reason is more anodyne than either of your suggestions—I just haven't listened to any of their albums yet. I do like them though. Everything comes from a spreadsheet I finally compiled of listening lists that I've had in various forms since at least 2009 and Iron Maiden just never made it on there for some reason. Same with Judas Priest and Motorhead. I should probably get around to that soon, though, because it's a pretty big omission.

I have to say, your depth of musical knowledge is profoundly impressive. Throughout the entire series, I've never even heard of most of the artists you have named, let alone the albums. So I have to give props, you really know your stuff.

I just checked his comment history in disbelief, you haven't heard of the majority of: : jimi hendrix, bob marley, neil young, alice in chains, eric clapton, black sabbath, the commodores, cat stevens, nitty gritty dirt band, nick drake, donald fagen, little feat, traffic, the beach boys, cat stevens, yes, beck, the orb, dungen, neutral milk hotel, fleetwood, wilco, pure prairie league, jade warrior, black crowes, hot tuna, bon iver, peter gabriel, blood sweat and tears, james brown, jurassic 5, madlib, bob dylan, sam cooke, grizzly bear?

Not trying to be aggressive, but if someone told me they haven't heard of most of these, (6-12 seems totally normal) I would assume they're under 15 years old or a pop-culture disconnected old person who only listens to beethoven and wagner

To be fair, the complete list is: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Strawbs, Organized Konfusion, Thievery Corporation, The Byrds, Bob Seger, Roy Harper, Boards of Canada, Donovan, Fleetwood Mac, Big Star, Heart, Rush, Bad Company, Stevie Wonder, Bloomfield Kooper & Stills, The Pretty Things, Aretha Franklin, The Meters, Wishbone Ash, Talking Heads, Psyche Origami, Nick Drake, BS&T, Peter Gabriel, Phil Spector (Sort of), Bon Iver, James Brown, Jurassic 5, MAdlib, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, Prefuse 73, Grizzly Bear, The Beach Boys, Traffic, Cat Stevens, Dungen, The Orb, Yes, Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel, Wilco, Pure Prairie League, Jade Warrior, The Black Crowes, Hot Tuna, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Commodores, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Black Sabbath, Eric Clapton, Alice in Chains, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Little Feat, Donald Fagen.

For those of you who claim to know classic rock but think you haven't heard of these (@SubstantialFrivolity @FiveHourMarathon), some of them have put out classic rock staples, though not necessarily on the albums listed. Donald Fagen was half of Steely Dan and "IGY" from the album here is pretty well-known, though doesn't get the airplay it used to. Traffic did "Dear Mr. Fantasy", the original "Feelin' Alright", and "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys". Pure Prairie League had "Aimee". Peter Gabriel did "Solisbury Hill", "Games Without Frontiers", "Shock the Monkey", "Sledgehammer", "Big Time", "In Your Eyes", among others, and was also in Genesis for a while. I'm honestly surprised you haven't heard of him. BS&T is best-known "Spinning Wheel" but that's played more on oldies stations than classic rock stations. Nitty Gritty did "Mr. Bojangles", which is also more of an oldies thing. Commodores did "Brick House", "Sail On", and "Three Times a Lady", among others, which are also oldies, though "Brick House" is pretty ubiquitous. Sam Cooke did a number of old soul songs that you're probably familiar with. And I don't know what to say to someone who hasn't heard of James Brown, who's made too many stone classics to even begin mentioning them, though I guess "I Got You (I Feel Good)" is a good start.

jimi hendrix, bob marley, neil young, alice in chains, eric clapton, black sabbath, the commodores, cat stevens, nitty gritty dirt band, nick drake, donald fagen, little feat, traffic, the beach boys, cat stevens, yes, beck, the orb, dungen, neutral milk hotel, fleetwood, wilco, pure prairie league, jade warrior, black crowes, hot tuna, bon iver, peter gabriel, blood sweat and tears, james brown, jurassic 5, madlib, bob dylan, sam cooke, grizzly bear?

I'd consider myself modestly into rock music, and a native born American to boot so grew up on oldies rock stations on jobsite boom boxes, I'd never heard of the bolded group, a decent number of the remainder you could tell me more or less anything about I only know that they exist. Only 19 would be bands I actually "know" and have listened to.

Same boat, but I was familiar with Peter Gabriel and not Jurassic 5 or Wilco. Sam Cooke, the Commodores, Traffic: I had to look them up before realizing I knew some of their music. The latter only because "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" is a title that really sticks with you--I had heard it exactly once on the radio.

I feel comfortable in calling it a pretty eclectic combination.

jimi hendrix, bob marley, neil young, alice in chains, eric clapton, black sabbath, the commodores, cat stevens, nitty gritty dirt band, nick drake, donald fagen, little feat, traffic, the beach boys, cat stevens, yes, beck, the orb, dungen, neutral milk hotel, fleetwood, wilco, pure prairie league, jade warrior, black crowes, hot tuna, bon iver, peter gabriel, blood sweat and tears, james brown, jurassic 5, madlib, bob dylan, sam cooke, grizzly bear

The ones I haven't heard of.

Nearly identical for me until I found out donald fagen is the guy from steely dan. well below half, and fits my "not knowing 6-12 of the 40 seems most expected"

I haven't heard of: the commodores, Nick Drake, Donald fagen, little feat, tracks, the orb, dungen, neutral milk hotel, wilco, pure prairie league, jade warrior, hot tuna, bon iver, Peter Gabriel, blood sweat and tears, James brown, Jurassic 5, madlib, Sam Cooke, or grizzly bear. So... Yeah, most of your list there.

And no I'm not a kid or disconnected from pop culture. In fact I spend most of my music time listening to classic rock, so this is arguably my area that I listen to music in. But yeah he's naming a ton of artists I've never even heard of. And even for those who I do know of, I don't know the albums in most cases.

You might not have heard of him, but you have definitely heard James Brown if you are not disconnected from pop culture - Funky Drummer has been sampled to death, Sex Machine is almost synonymous with the seventies, and I Got You is in every ad ever made (slight hyperbole).

I'd also guess as cultural touchstones, that you would have heard In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel in at least one tv show or movie, and same for Bon Iver's Skinny Love, although you might have heard that covered.

If your preference is classic rock (Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Queen, Aerosmith, U2, The Eagles, Kiss etc) you may enjoy some of the list

Wilco -

Nick Drake -

Grizzly Bear -

Peter Gabriel -

The Commodores -

I made a bookshelf for my retro game manuals! imgur

This one took me a while. It started with me wanting to get my old manuals out of the beatup cardboard box they'd been in the last 25 years. My original plans had this consistent 75 degree angle to all the front design elements. I even attempted to make the drawers with all the ornamentation I wanted at this angle, and it was a clusterfuck that would probably have been enormously error prone had I pushed on. So I redesigned the project around nice safe 90 degree angles.

I still wanted to challenge myself, so I kept the rather simple ornamentation on the front. I also from the start wanted to try my hand at some drawers. Then I decided, fuck it, lets do some hidden drawers! This decision enormously increased the precision I would need to bring to bare. I invested in an actually decent miter gauge for this purpose. But I also designed the drawer faces to use the ornamentation to blend in.

Between point A and point B, I went to my local lumber yard and grabbed a bunch of rough 4/4 red oak from the dent and ding section. I think it came out to about $2.50 a board foot? It's like $10+ if you get it S4S. But I invested in a thickness planar with my Christmas bonus last year, so I was prepared. Knocked a $200 lumber purchase down to about $40. Which also knocks it well down into the "Nobody cares if I spend this money" category.

Side note, planing rough lumber is super relaxing and meditative.

Some practice, adjustments, and a planing sled later, and I'm milling perfectly flat and square boards to any dimensions I choose. It's an enormous upgrade from buying shitty warped planks at Home Depot. At rather outrageous costs to boot. One weekend I spent really focusing on my cut list, and figuring out how much lumber and which dimensions I would need, and getting all that planed.

Then I had to take a break to build the wife a 144 sq ft partially raised and partially dug garden. My back was agony.

Garden complete, I finished cutting all the pieces I needed, including the miters. The next day I set up the routing table with some setup blocks I invested in (because of the precision I knew I'd need). Got most of the rabbets routed out. A few of them required me to chisel out the last bits, because the piece that would join in had some funky angles involved. The day after that I finally put together a box joint jig, but mostly just to do the ornamentation for the front which consist of 3/4" alternated raised and recessed segments on the top and bottom. You really need a jig for this kind of stuff.

The test cuts were a disaster as I dialed in the router's speed settings. One piece was just savagely ripped up, and another got torn in two and thrown across my shop. Always wear your goggles. I literally did not even see it happen. One moment it was there, the next moment it wasn't. Also, never put your hand over the blade, even with something between you. That thing can vanish before you have time to react. Yikes.

Anyways, I eventually dialed it in and nervously cut the actual pieces I needed. It went well. I only had to recreate one of them.

I started by gluing up the outer shell and the drawers. This was a straight forward enough process, and some right angle clamps I ordered came in extremely handy. Because precision. Next up, I did the ornamentation at the top. This was a fucking disaster. It's a miter joint because I didn't want any end grain visible, and no way I tried to clamp it worked worth a damn. It was constantly being pushed out of whack. And glue got absolutely everywhere and required a lot of sanding to remove when I finally gave up and decided the clamps were close enough. The next two pieces of trim (there were 3 total) I just held in place using painter's tape. This was the blatantly superior method. I'm going to use it until it stops working on all my miter joints.

Next I tried to figure out the rails for the drawers. The hard part was figuring out what sort of spacing I really needed for a smooth pull that wouldn't bind. Then I used some playing cards to get everything evenly spaced, and glued it up. Having learned from previous glue mishaps, I used lots of painters tape at the joints to catch the squeeze out. Takes forever to setup, but the mess it prevents is very much worth it.

After that, it was time for the front bits that go between the drawers, and then the top. The plank had warped slightly during the week it had sat in the shop, so lots and lots of clamps were used to really hold it down.

At one point I was afraid the shelf had about a 16th of an inch of wobble to it. But it turns out that's just my workbench. On actually professionally made furniture, as well as the floor, it was perfectly flat. So thank god for that. I used so many right angle clamps I'm not sure how it could have possibly been out of square.

And the finished product. Kind of. I still haven't taken it out of the clamps, so this is just a photo of the test fit. I also still need to stain it, maybe today, and then a coat of shellac to finish it.

It's an enormous upgrade from buying shitty warped planks at Home Depot.

Why are those boards so shit, anyway? I was having trouble with a (very simple) project I worked on for my wife, and had to call in my dad for help when nothing was squaring up. He pointed out that my boards were warped, so there was nothing to do except go back and take more care with what wood I purchased. I just would not have expected that any somewhat reputable store would sell product which is of such poor quality.

As I understand it, warping is almost unavoidable. There is a lot you can do to minimize it though, but it's storage and labor intensive. So Home Depot doesn't waste it's time. Because Home Depot is not a store for fine woodworking. It's a store for construction. And framing 2x4's can be a bit wanged or knotted or whatever.

Even in my workshop, several of the pieces I cut began to warp. Some more than others. Because my shop isn't climate controlled. Even so, You can weight down the boards on a flat surface and it'll help prevent warping. You can also wait to mill it down to final dimensions until right before you do the final assembly. In fact, the slower you mill it, taking off a little at a time and letting the wood move, the less it will warp at the final dimensions. But it'll nearly always warp some with enough time, and temperature/humidity changes.

Rift sawn wood is also less likely to warp, but that comes at a premium as well. It's basically a way of sawing the wood that is less efficient, more labor intensive, but which keeps the grain from curving through the board.

I may be wrong about some or all of this though.

Interesting. I don't really do woodworking at all, so this is all stuff totally new to me lol. Thanks for the insight!

I know a guy who is a really, really good with everything related to metal, and he hates woodworking, because wood is a tree slice and is always, always anisotropic.

I love woodworking and I hate people who make the furniture panels I can buy at the nearest DIY store. They don't care about the orientation of individual boards, which makes their edges impossible to plane 50% of the times I hit a finger joint.


What's the playing card trick? Equal number of cards between each gap?

Basically, yes.

Wow, nice work, that looks excellent! Always fun to see everyone's differing taste and style.