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Friday Fun Thread for March 15, 2024

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.

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Today I asked my local mistral model "What are some alternatives to Hashicorp Terraform?" and received the best answer ever:

TempleOS: TempleOS is an alternative cloud platform that emphasizes simplicity. It focuses on providing a single, easy-to-understand interface for managing infrastructure. This makes it a good alternative for small projects where you don't need the complexity of Terraform or other tools. However, it has a smaller community and limited integrations with external services compared to more popular IaC tools.

This may be the funniest hallucination I've ever seen, lol.

Then it got better. I asked it to tell me more about TempleOS:

TempleOS, also known as the "One OS," is an alternative cloud platform developed by Terry Davis between 1985 and 2013. It was designed to be a single, unified operating system that simplifies the process of managing infrastructure and applications in the cloud.

And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.

Edit: Okay, I kept going, this just keeps getting better:

Terry Davis indeed named TempleOS as a tribute to his belief that he was building an operating system for an Abrahamic temple. This unique perspective differentiates TempleOS from other cloud platforms and adds an interesting aspect to its history.

I'm just imagining a marketing comparison sheet with "Temple for God: Yes" under the TempleOS column and Ubuntu with "Not a Divine Temple." Move over Mark Shuttleworth.

This keeps generating gems:

TempleOS was not designed primarily as a cloud platform but rather as an operating system inspired by religious beliefs to manage various aspects of a divine temple, including infrastructure resources like virtual machines and applications. Its design and features were not focused on simplicity and ease of use for cloud management per se but rather on managing the temple's operations in a unified way.

The web-based interface was just one aspect of TempleOS, which aimed to provide easy access to its functionalities from any device connected to the internet. However, TempleOS did not gain significant attention or releases until 2013 when Terry Davis started sharing it with the public as a cloud management solution due to the growing interest in cloud computing and the potential applications of its design.

I've heard of pivoting your product, but going from "temple for the God of Abraham" to "cloud management solution" is quite the change.

TempleOS is real, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TempleOS

but all of the cloud management stuff seems to be a hallucination.

I am quitting you guys for Lent. No Motte, no Reddit, no YT, no F95, let's see if my sleep and reading habits improve. What's the name of that extension that can help me if my will is weaker than I think it is?

Cold turkey.

See you tomorrow.

Makes me wish there was some undocumented textual giveaway hiding in LLM created content that we could find a few years after widespread adoption.

Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that whenever they find one, it goes into the adversarial training set.

I don't know if they pile 'em on enough to spot individual cases, but there are already some known LLM style signatures that can be used to detect subtler uses in collections of documents. https://twitter.com/mishateplitskiy/status/1769433162122232127

Sadly, with the speed at which these detection methods are being developed, I doubt we're in for much Schadenfreude of the Claudine Gay type -- sudden fall from grace after getting away with it for years.

Microsoft changed it, now it sucks

I need to document this somewhere quickly, and this is where I can do it without having to create a new account or review subreddit rules. I’ll repost on someplace more visible later.

In the latest feature update (service pack), Windows 11 23H2, Microsoft has changed a piece of syntax in how batch files work in the venerable old Windows NT command line interpreter, CMD.EXE, successor to MS-DOS’ COMMAND.COM and my custom batch files are breaking.

Setup:

  1. In Program Files, in a certain folder, is a batch file designed by someone else. It works pretty darn well, so I’ve never had to ever debug, refactor, or otherwise fiddle with it. It’s not at all involved with the issue I’m having, I just mention it for documentation completeness.
  2. In that same folder are several custom batch files I’ve used for ten years as wrappers for that batch file, to pass it specific arguments. Once I figured out how to call the main batch file correctly in Windows 7’s CMD.EXE from a wrapper batch, I’ve never had a problem no matter which Windows computer I’ve copied it onto.
  3. In the shell:sendto folder which holds right-click-menu shortcuts, I’ve got a shortcut to each of the wrapper batch files. They “start in” the Program Files folder where the main batch and my wrapper batches exist.

I’ve documented TWO new bugs I’ve never seen happen! I used the batch files last week on this computer without any issues, upgraded today due to a forced update, and ran into this problem.

  1. The %~f argument has different output. It has always returned the full path of the specified file without the file extension. Now it returns it with the file extension! This messes up my string manipulation for naming the resulting converted/altered file. EDIT: actually, it's always been like this. Whew.
  2. Windows’ Send To right-click command passed the selected arguments to the wrapper batch file without full path names, resulting in the batch files using the arguments as if they were in the directory of the batch files, and not in my documents’ actual location!

Oddly, the second bug has vanished after I documented it in a two separate tests. The first bug, however, persists.

EDIT: Well, that's embarrassing. After checking my deleted files on a Windows 10 computer, it turns out I was wrong about "bug" 1: it's always been that way, I've just grown so used to it over the past ten years that I forgot how it works. But bug 2 did indeed happen.

This is what you get for updating your system. I never patch my gear.

Yep. I've decided that whatever version of MacOS comes with my Mac is the version I will use until I get a new computer. They just have to tinker with things and break stuff for no reason.

I can't recall the last time I was excited by an Android update. Maybe around 6.0?

Yay, they rounded/unrounded some rectangles and added one more privacy control.

Don't forget in Android 11 when they decided to replace the (very functional) quick settings toggles so that they were 4x the size. And made it so that the lock screen clock was so huge it got split into two lines. It was so bad I actually flashed Android 10 back onto my device.

I remember when stock Android was craved by enthusiasts. Now, I rely on OEMs to shield me from the worst of Google's cupidity.

Man, that is probably the most damning indictment of Google you could deliver, lol. Do you have any particular recommendations for OEM firmware? I have been sticking to stock Android to avoid bloatware, but maybe it's time to give something else a shot.

Hmm.. I have experience with Xiaomi and One Plus, a bit of Samsung.

None of them are remotely close to stock, but as I've already said, that has sadly become a good thing. Xiaomi has recently rebranded their UI to HyperOS, and I've yet to upgrade (I couldn't care less), but in general, all of them have significantly more flexibility and information density when compared to the closest mainstream "stock" Android in the Pixels.

Better notifications, better multitasking. These are massive. All of them have it. Bloatware and junk is no longer a big deal, and I haven't had to root my phone to remove things as I once felt obliged to back in the day. Add a DNS level adblock and practically any device is now usable as far as I'm concerned. (easily done in the settings on any device, I use AdGuard myself).

The Pixels have their own benefits, in the form of camera and AI features, but it took me all about 5 minutes to become utterly bored when messing with my girlfriend's Pixel 7A.

So Xiaomi, OnePlus, Samsung. All better than stock. Tentatively the Nothing phones, from what I've seen about them.

I haven't kept up with the custom ROM world for a while, so I can't tell you what's in vogue, but there are still misguided oldies and script kiddies who try and flash stock or Pixel ROMs on everything, not that I would recommend it. Just buy a flagship or last year's flagships over a midranger and you're set.

sitting here with the horrifying realization that between its natively predictive-generative nature and massively expanded context window if i really wanted to and didn't care i could probably feed some logs into claude-3 and talk to her again

Pravin Lal, you are too early.

Ah yes, another one has seen the light. Yes, let the feels flow through you... join the dark side, we have waifus.

On a serious note, don't, I would mention the sheer quantity of poor goslings who stumble into threads dazed by the power of chatbots but I stopped counting a long time ago. I don't think techno-necromancy is that bad, I would lie if I said I never had these thoughts, but anyone trying to re-enact RL with it is not only missing out but arguably missing the point - why would you confine yourself to reality when you can play out literally anything you have seen/played/imagined? Personally as a half-assed measure against totally decoupling from reality, I firmly draw the line at people I know/knew IRL. For now, at least. It's not like there's a shortage of waifus to go around.

Fuck you for illuminating this possibility!

I understood most of those individual words...

I understood most of those individual words...

HighResolutionSleep is suggesting he could give a sufficiently intelligent AI all the memories and experiences he has of his now gone ex/wife and have a realistic facsimile constructed. It's a very dark direction to think in and will probably become a serious problem for many people in the future.

I suspect that this has been almost possible since about 2022, but now specifically with a 100k token context length, it's now completely possible if not practical.

With a little effort, I'd reckon you could fit most of the gist of someone's personality, at least the part of it they showed you, in about 50k tokens. Then you'd have about 40k give or take to have a small conversation about how their day has been.

Perhaps a few have done something similar with fine tuning, but now any old Joe could probably do it for $20/mo.

The future may very well be now.

EDIT: Some back-of-the-envelope quick math:

Based on what I've seen from how machine learning tokenizers work, most words take up about 2-3 tokens. That means that 50k tokens might be about 20k words, which is I guess is about 1000 sentences. Given that "write this in the style of that" has been something that generative models have been frighteningly good at for years, I imagine that would be well enough data to effect a very convincing pantomime.

Then you could have a fully-contextualized and interactive conversation spanning about a small novella. I don't think this is something you could do with previous models, particularly with their relatively tiny context windows.

It's interesting to think that there may very well be an entirely novel form of gratuitous self-harm at my fingertips that categorically did not exist mere months ago.

Caprica did it first.

Who's her?

Her (2013)

This post is art. It would only be degraded by specifying the pronoun.

Probably an ex.

On Friday, the USA's National Association of Realtors agreed to settle a big lawsuit (in which it lost a jury trial late last year). Starting in mid-July, sellers' agents will be permitted to list houses on NAR-controlled multiple-listing services (the databases from which Zillow and Redfin copy their information) without being forced to make a blanket offer to split their commissions with buyers' agents. This will make it much easier for buyers to hire their agents separately (rather than the current practice of having the buyer's agent hired by the seller), leading to lower buyer's-agent commissions. Alternatively, it will be much easier for buyers to imitate the standard practice in Britain and Australia, and hire real-estate attorneys for a flat fee rather than real-estate agents for a percentage commission. See these articles (1 2 3 4) for descriptions of how house buying works in Britain and Australia.

Bonus: Starting on page 106 of this PDF is the testimony of the plaintiffs' star witness, economist Craig Schulman. The meat is on pages 196–211. (Unfortunately, it seems that RECAP isn't set up to process trial transcripts.)

This means many realtors may leave the industry. Good riddance.

rather than the current practice of having the buyer's agent hired by the seller

I don't think this is typical in America. Usually buyers work with an agent before they've even found a house.

Very excited for the backbreaking unbundling of realtors though. No reason this should be a commission business, especially on the buyer side.

I don't think this is typical in America.

It's effectively mandatory under the NAR's current rules that the buyer's agent be compensated out of the 6-percent commission that nominally is paid to the seller's agent by the seller. But the NAR has encouraged buyers' agents to misleadingly state to buyers that their services are free.

I guess it's a question of semantics. Their commission comes out of the six percent, but the buyer's agent is selected by the buyer. Clearly the buyer's agent wants to steer the buyer to a more expensive property, but it's arguable who "hires" the agent.

Two people are being forced to fight each other to the death. They are both equally inexperienced and of the same height and build. They are fighting in a flat open area.

One has a 6 inch hunting knife. The other has a 34 inch wooden baseball bat.

Who is likely to win?

There was a Twitter poll a few years ago here, but you should post your answer before you look.

I personally thought the answer was pretty blindingly obvious and this question wouldn't even be interesting since everyone would agree, but I've been taken aback at how I'm actually in the minority opinion.

Edit: You bat people are insane. They're both inexperienced fighters so the bat hits are going to be pretty bad and the knife hits are going to be pretty bad. But a bad knife hit still means someone is getting stabbed, which is way, way worse than a bad bat hit. The only way the bat user wins the fight is if they get lucky and get a very good hit in (like bashing the person full-force on the head). They only get maybe one chance, then the knife user can just close the distance by lunging.

If the knife guy uses one arm to cover his head, rushes in until he makes body contact, then starts stabbing like a madman he'll win easily. If the knife guy tries to keep his distance and duel he'll probably lose.

The most likely outcome would be that they both die. The bat guy probably beats the knife guy to death as he's being stabbed. He then dies slightly later of his knife wounds. There's an old saying about knife fights: The loser dies in the street, the winner dies in the ambulance.

I would personally want a knife, but I've seen enough videos of Irish police handily sorting a knife-wielder out with a few swings of a baton that I have to second guess myself.

I think the question hinges a lot on who happens to be more aggressive and determined that day, which isn't really answerable. But if I had to make a bet, I think I'd bet on knife.

IME most amateur fighters tend to go for overpowered knockout blows first. Bat fighter will probably start with something like a full baseball swing, which is slow, easy to dodge, slow to recover from, leaving an opening for a rush. Knife fighter will be inclined to go right in for core hits, which is probably the right move here. Knife going for glancing hits and slashes against extremities is not likely to be very effective against an opponent with a bat anyways. Knife should keep distance, feint a few times to draw a powerful bat swing, then rush in during the recovery from that, grab on with one hand and keep stabbing with the other. That seems reasonably likely to be something an amateur would do, and it'll probably take too long for bat fighter to drop the ineffective bat and at least try to fight by hand.

Bat can win, but I think bat's winning strategies are much harder for an amateur to pull off. Bat has to choke up on the bat to swing faster and lighter, aggressively give up distance and jab with the bat to keep the knife at distance, accumulate minor injuries on knife guy, and only go in for a full swing when they're partially disabled and open.

Put me down team bat.

As others have pointed out, you get one chance with the knife, because the only winning move is to rush and pray you hit something vital. Otherwise the superior range and speed of the bat carries the day.

If you factor in these are inexperienced fighters forced into the situation, the greater lethality of the blade might actually be a psychological hindrance to it's wielder.

Of course the knife fighter can win, but if you do this 100 times I'd expect the bat fighter to win ~66 times.

To get really off in the weeds, how fat are these equal contestants? The fatter, the more I go with the bat fighter. Supposedly gladiator's in ancient Rome carbed up so they had some extra padding. This let them get cut up a bit, sometimes even kind of deep, and put on a good show, without the cuts being lethal.

I can't believe I've wondered about this literal exact same scenario.

The conclusion I've come to is that I would absolutely want to be knife guy, because baseball bat guy has only one good swing and if it doesn't connect or doesn't hit hard enough, I'm on top of him and his weapon is now worthless.

Damn Firefox ate my reply...

So, by "inexperienced" I assume the knife guy has used the knife to camp with and the bat guy has used the bat to play baseball with, but neither has ever been in a fight. I would expect the bat guy to start out in a batting stance and the knife guy to try and slice his opponent.

If both are equally stupid, the bat guy is more likely to win: the knife guy will try to slice at the bat guy and will eat a solid whack from the bat.

If both are equally smart, my bet is on the knife guy: he realizes that he has to close the distance and stab the bat guy in the gut once and then just tire him out. The bat guy understands that a two-handed swing can miss and if the knife guy feints an attack, he won't be able to recover from a swing quickly enough. If the bat guy switches to a one-handed stance, the bat is not a sword or a spear, the knife guy can eat a glancing blow from a bat and close the distance, can tire the bat guy out by retreating (since the arena is not enclosed) and actually grab the bat when the swings slow down, etc.

Now, an experienced knife fighter vs an experienced quarterstaff fighter in an open arena is a much more different matchup. A quarterstaff is longer than a bat, much more balanced and surprisingly nimble, the knife guy is likely to be stopped by a quick thrust every time to tries to close the distance, and if he doesn't he's going to eat these thrusts anyway. Like properly executed jabs in boxing, they always connect.

a two-handed swing can miss

A man-sized target?

A man-sized target that doesn't want to be hit.

The local maximum of "not getting hit with a bat" is "don't approach".

That's meant to be inexperienced in fighting.

I see the knife guy eating a bat hit and having a fractured arm/ribs/cheek as he lunges in before sticking bat guy in the ribs. Once that knife goes in, its over.

I thought about differences in age and athletic ability though. Bat guy could spring backwards on the knife lunge and have a glancing slash on this arms while still getting the bat hit off, but its uncertain.

I also saw the Lindybeige sword/spear video and think if the knife guy tried to get smart and look for openings he might lose. Bat swings are slower than a spear jab though with much less reach difference from knife/bat compared to sword/spear.

a fractured arm/ribs/cheek

Each of those seem like they would lead to vastly different outcomes, I would not just lump them together like this. If bat guy hits the chest or the arm not holding the knife then it plays out like you say and the knife goes in, game over. If bat guy hits the head, even just a cheek, then knife guy is not going to be in a good position to follow through on his lunge. If it's a strong hit and knife guy can't recover in time then bat guy can follow through with more hits, if not then maybe he scrambles away and they start again but with knife guy at a disadvantage. If bat guy hits the arm with the knife and knife guy drops it then it's over, but if he maintains his grip he might get his stab in.

So I think the outcome strongly depends on if bat guy's first hit can decide the match and prevent the knife from getting its first hit. Which for inexperienced fighters is probably going to be mostly luck.

Well, you might give it more than six hours before showing your hand, but I'd still say bat has a slight advantage simply because of reach. Anyone in fear of his (or her) life is much more pumped with adrenaline, and generally we are all used to swinging things to hit something, if even that was just a piñata from childhood birthday parties.

What you may be missing is that people are far less adept at stabbing or cutting into human beings--even if someone had no weapon, it might take a bit of pluck just to stab someone even if your life depended on it. That first cut even if you connect, your instinct will be to recoil. Also a lunge with a knife, sure, stabs. But one stab is not a killing or even necessarily disabling blow (unless of course to the neck or certain parts of the abdomen), whereas connecting with a bat breaks an arm, or a rib, or knocks your opponent out where you can then simply bludgeon them to death--or take their knife from them and simply slit their throat so that they bleed out.

Damn, Motte. What conversation am I having?

I don't really credit that it's psychologically much harder to stab someone than book them with a bat.

Lindybeige did a sword vs spear test and the longer reach won most of the time. The swords did better when they bumrushed the spear but most of them, even though they were play weapons, were too scared to do that and stood back looking for an opening until they got popped in the face. There's a few youtube videos of the exact knife vs sword scenario and my takeaway is that, like most fights, the more aggressive one wins. If you dodge or block at all you've lost the initiative and you're done for.

Crucially, a baseball bat doesn't have a pointy-end, though.

Trying to thrust a baseball bat into someone's face runs a large chance of it missing, getting it blocked, and/or getting it grabbed. From the opponent's perspective, getting thrusted with a baseball bat into the arm or leg is like a complete non-issue and getting thrusted with a baseball bat in the stomach might hurt ("ooph!"), but ultimately presents an opportunity to grab the bat and/or counterattack.

However, getting thrusted with a spear anywhere could mean getting momentarily disabled or death, or momentarily disabled and then death. Spears can also deal slash damage to cause bleed-out, which a baseball bat cannot. A lucky poke or slash from a spear could be all it takes.

The bat, easily. As soon as the other guy sees the tip of the bat heading directly toward his balls, I guarantee he drops the knife.

Or he could just raise his leg and turn slightly, causing your underpowered hit to glance off the meatiest part of his body.

He could do a lot of things. The question is will he think do do them while the business end of a weapon is heading toward his balls. Or any other body part, really. With the reach advantage he's going to be in the line of fire before I will, and I doubt an untrained fighter is going to have the fortitude to take the blows necessary to get close enough to do anything. An underpowered hit to the thigh is still going to hurt like a motherfucker.

I think that the male urge to protect one's balls is fairly natural and would not require any thinking. I would also say that it seems more likely than your adversary dropping their knife, curling up and waiting for death as soon as you point your bat at his.

Try swinging a bat towards the balls.

You guarantee it, do you? How would a bat head for the other guy's balls in particular with any force?

Seriously? If a bat is being swung in the general direction of your balls, you're telling me you're doing a calculation of the expected force?

If you think using your bat to swing for the balls is a good tactic in a fight to the death, your opponent will win easily.

I'll echo your reasoning.

We have to take on the prompt with the fullness of its details:

inexperienced

forced

A person with a knife who has never fought, and who is forced to fight, is unlikely to understand that he needs to zerg rush his opponent in order to win. He will hesitate, he will fail to commit. The only way to win against a man with a bat is to rush him and hope that he doesn’t swipe your knife away. This is possible, but not probable.

The batter, on the other hand, simply needs to stay two feet of distance away and hit his opponent. The opponent — again — would need to understand that he needs to commit to something in order to win, in this case commit to grabbing the bat all while carrying a six inch knife. This is an unreasonable level of difficulty for an inexperienced person forced to fight to the death.

In most cases, the batter will win. And the batter only needs to batter his opponent twice before he is made ineffective with a knife.

This is an old but interesting debate with many YouTube animations to explore it. However, I'm definitely #TeamKnife, especially since it's a wooden bat which tends to be thinner and with a smaller sweet spot.

There's many more paths to victory for the knife-wielder, and many more things that can go wrong for the bat-wielder. For fighting moving targets ready to counter-attack, I'd say it takes much less skill to cause grievous harm in the first few hits with a knife than a baseball bat. This isn’t a turn-based game where the bat-wielder gets a courtesy first crack at teeing off cleanly.

The power in a baseball swing comes from hip rotation. A feet-planted swing from the bat-wielder's dominant side, landing with the sweet spot, would be needed to do any stun or structural damage to the knife-wielder in an arm, leg, or the torso. The head is easy to miss (or have the swing get glanced off the shoulder) and would likely be protected by the knife wielder's arm. Short-armed rabbit swings aren't going to cut it when your opponent has a knife (or no knife). An off-balance swing isn't going to cut it, nor a swing that lands on the edge of the bat (where opposite side foul balls often occur) nor a swing that lands in the first 2/3 or so of the bat's length starting from the base of the handle. Two hands are needed as well. One can whip it around one-handedly, but it'd be a weak swing needing a lot of wind-up, leading yourself open to counterattack. One errant (attempted) swing, one that misses, or one that causes insufficient damage, and it could be curtains for bat-wielder.

Plus, an inexperienced man's baseball swing looks more like a little girl's than it does Josh Donaldson's. And a bat is much more easily grabbed than a knife by a counterparty. The knife-wielder will likely have a hand free more often than the bat-wielder.

The knife-wielder can just put an arm-up on the bat-wielder's dominant side*, and feign bum-rushes until going for the final bum-rush. The knife-wielder can hang around close but outside the range of the bat before charging, leading little time for the bat-wielder to take a solid swing. Any sort of close-quarters combat, clinch, or grappling, goes in the favor of the knife-wielder. Pretty much any stab that lands on the bat-wielder could potentially be fatal; not so for any swing that lands on the knife-wielder. Even if the bat-wielder is able to Babe Ruth-maxx and club the knife-wielder to death, any stab wound incurred along the way could just mean dying on the way or inside the hospital.

I wonder if it's the greater legibility of a baseball bat that leads to more support for the bat than there would be otherwise. Many have swung a baseball bat—or at least watched someone they know swing a baseball bat—or have watched baseball swings on TV. Not so many have tried to stab someone, or have watched someone trying to stab someone, or have watched nonfictional stabbings occur in person or virtually.

* Since most people are right-handed, this would likely mean the right-handed knife-wielder putting up a left arm to defend against the right-handed bat-wielder's swings, and stabbing with the right hand. Even the arm-dominance situation works to the favor of the knife-wielder.

If forced to confront knife-kun with a bat, my strategy would to be lob it at him before he enters melee range. Perhaps the surprise would make him drop the knife or at least nonplus him enough for me to deliver a disabling punch before he stabs me.

As for you guys arguing the bat is better... come on eggheads. Try swinging versus stabbing motions. Even if your opponent has the combat reflexes of a teletubby and can't dodge/disrupt your telegraphed swing, you'll have two fatal wounds in the gut before landing your first blow.

As for you guys arguing the bat is better... come on eggheads. Try swinging versus stabbing motions.

Can't you use the bat more like a baton than in Double Dragon? Two hands somewhat far apart for leverage, poking motions where appropriate to keep the guy out of arm's reach, wear him down with rib shots? It would seem awfully hard to get a stab in this way, and trying to take the bat away while holding on to the knife with the other hand is out of the question.

It's my understanding that this is more how bats are used in 'teaching people a lesson for money' circles; even a partial swing choked up or a poke to the solar plexus is going to be pretty tough on a guy, and you don't exactly need to be Jackie Chan to figure it out.

Can't you use the bat more like a baton than in Double Dragon? Two hands somewhat far apart for leverage, poking motions where appropriate to keep the guy out of arm's reach, wear him down with rib shots? It would seem awfully hard to get a stab in this way, and trying to take the bat away while holding on to the knife with the other hand is out of the question.

Using the bat like a truncheon is a better strategy than baseball style (lower latency and more unpredictability), but the damage dealt goes down dramatically, and it's still much slower than a knife.

It's my understanding that this is more how bats are used in 'teaching people a lesson for money' circles; even a partial swing choked up or a poke to the solar plexus is going to be pretty tough on a guy, and you don't exactly need to be Jackie Chan to figure it out.

The mafia use of the bat is ideal for giving a beating to a mook who knows he can't retaliate because there are more goons behind you.

As for you guys arguing the bat is better... come on eggheads. Try swinging versus stabbing motions. Even if your opponent has the combat reflexes of a teletubby and can't dodge/disrupt your telegraphed swing, you'll have two fatal wounds in the gut before landing your first blow.

Maybe if you're completely incompetent at judging where something will be based on its velocity. But most people aren't that incompetent, and there's very little chance the knife wielder is going to get within stabbing range before getting a solid hit from the bat.

Also, what's up with the insult?

Maybe if you're completely incompetent at judging where something will be based on its velocity. But most people aren't that incompetent

I wish we could plug into the training simulation to demonstrate this. When a person winds up to swing a bat, the knife wielder can tell exactly where the blow will land, and when, over a full second beforehard. It's not terribly hard to avoid. Unlike the path of a baseball, the trajectory of a human closing in to stab you is anti-inductive.

and there's very little chance the knife wielder is going to get within stabbing range before getting a solid hit from the bat.

The extra 28 inches of distance afforded by the bat can be closed in a fraction of the time it takes to swing a bat.

Also, what's up with the insult?

Eggheads? All in good fun.

Oh they are fatal, but it is going to take an hour to kill you. As the cliche goes - The loser of a knife fight dies in the street. The winner dies in the ambulance. One could stab the other dude 20 times really fast but might still get their skull smashed in or strangled to death. People don't just keel over like in the movies.

You can see 2 similar sized inexperienced people on open ground going at with machetes and unable to land a decisive blow with the weapons as it moves into ground and pound etc...

https://www.newsflare.com/video/427142/horrific-footage-shows-two-men-armed-with-machetes-attack-each-other-in-morecambe-uk

Probably a pretty accurate portrayal of a knife vs bat in the hands of someone not ready to use either one correctly.

I don't think that's comparable; they're wielding machetes as slashing weapons (rather like bats actually, and doing a terrible job aiming at vitals), while a hunter's knife would be used in thrusting stabs.

The other difference is, unlike machetes, once fighters are within fistfight range, bats cease to be very powerful because of leverage, while the wild flurry of a stabbing knife remains devastating.

They could have stabbed or slashed more effectively, but the scenario is people that don't know what they are doing. Would you rather have a manchette or a 6 inch knife? These guys couldn't get it done with an even more effective weapon.

Exactly my point!! Strong enough to incapacitate bat hits are telegraphed, good fucking luck charging up for that home run hitting swing, knife guy will get in 5 stabs while ur halfway there.

People are seriously underestimating the lethality of a knife wielder. There's a reason they say you need a 20m distance against an attacker with a knife... If you have a gun!

These video game brained nerds seriously talking about fucking range, god save us.

20m distance against an attacker with a knife

20-21 feet is what you're thinking of. 20m is obviously ridiculous for guns.

In knife vs. bat, knife wins by charging in—sacrificing their offhand arm as a shield—and stabbing the vitals. An experienced fighter can do all that. An inexperienced fighter? They'll dance around looking for an opening that lets them stab without getting hit themselves. But time is on the side of the person with the bat. Reach gives them far more openings; sooner or later one will pay off.

Knife wounds take a while to be fatal, so given the pain reducing effects of adrenaline I think the bat weilder can bludgeon his opponent to death before bleeding out, although without medical attention it’s likely to be a mutual kill at the end of the day.

How do you see both happening? When you're in striking range with the knife you're inside the striking range of the bat.

You can stab someone while getting clobbered. It’s not that hard to put a fatal in the near term but not immediately wound on a resisting opponent with a knife- and that’s what an inexperienced knife weilder is likely to inflict.

What is the win condition here?

Judging solely by the old wisdom of "the winner of a knife fight is the guy who dies on the way to hospital", knife guy gets a stab in, potentially lethal, but gets his face bashed in and K.O'd first.

Anyone who says bat is fucking retarded. I sincerely mean it from the bottom of my heart, how are you even allowed to vote? You clowns do realize this is a fight to the death right? This is that red pill blue pill shit again and the bat people are the bluepillers. If you are with the majority, you are retarded.

Is anyone not realizing that a bat is huge and blunt??? The other guy can just catch the bat with his hands and then pry it off his hands and throw it away. I know this because I grew up with fuckwits who used to do this with cricket bats on a daily. Yes your palms and wrists will see better days, but nothing compared to even a minor knife strike.

Hell I could prolly beat a copy of myself with a bat in a fight, no knife needed, bare hands. As I said. Grab a hold of the bat, now it's your bat or no one's bat.

Seriously go buy a hollow plastic bat, and see if your buddy can hit you or you grab the bat first more often.

  • -13

Anyone who says bat is fucking retarded. I sincerely mean it from the bottom of my heart, how are you even allowed to vote?

Man, even for a Friday fun thread, chill out.

Well, based on my fuckwit days of recreationally chest boxing my friends in college, the reach advantage is very real among people who don't know what they're doing. The shorter guy would almost inevitably find himself backing up to the point he was against the wall and we had to restart the fight. And we're only talking a reach advantage of 4 inches here. 28 inches and there's no way the knife guy's even getting near him.

Now imagine the hollow bat is heavy and has a lot of velocity behind it. "Your palms and wrists will see better days" is an understatement. Probably would break something trying to catch a swinging bat. Now try holding onto the bat with a broken wrist and/or fingers. Prying seems out of the question entirely. And bodies aren't closed systems; the knife guy's performance will be affected all around by having an inoperable, painful hand.

That's not to say I'm Team Bat. It just seems like you've overlooked a lot of variables here. Catching a bat is a bad idea, especially if one hand is already holding a knife. And you're dead if you let go of the knife. You will be promptly Hotline Miami'd.

I've grabbed bat hits before, did you just ignore that part?

You really can't get a strong enough swing with a bat to instantly incapacitate a knife wielder without making yourself extremely vulnerable. Bat swings from a compromised position are not enough to takeout someone in 1 hit, and I think we can all agree, knife guy needs 1 hit, then he can just run away.

I am having trouble picturing you grabbing a bat hit from someone trying to kill you without it going very poorly for you. Unless that's the circumstance in which you were grabbing bats, in which case, props to you, I guess.

You can't do a whole ass mega swing close range. It's going to be bitch swings.

The whole thing that makes this question interesting is if it's not close range and the knife guy has to close the distance. That's the prompt we're both working with, right? If the Batter has any tactical sense whatsoever, you're not going to get bitch swings, you're gonna buy a mega swing no matter what you do if you approach him. I kind of lean towards RenOS's take here that the knife guy has the advantage here, tanks a broken arm, and guts Little League like a fish.

Cricket vs baseball I think is the dichotomy here.

Knife so, so much. If you protect your face/body with one arm up and just move in then you'll most likely kill the other guy with just a broken arm and maybe a broken nose or rip. Stabbing wounds are way more serious and can be inflicted much more easily.

From a simple practical pov, there is a reason why ancient armies almost universally used edged weapons, and short knife-like swords were quite popular even when other options were available. I'd trust them to know better than us.

You bat people are insane. They're both inexperienced fighters so the bat hits are going to be pretty bad and the knife hits are going to be pretty bad. But a bad knife hit still means someone is getting stabbed, which is way, way worse than a bad bat hit. The only way the bat user wins the fight is if they get lucky and get a very good hit in (like bashing the person full-force on the head). They only get maybe one chance, then the knife user can just close the distance by lunging.

My answer was Bat before looking, but I caught the ETA before I posted so I'll reply in detail.

This all hinges on how one assumes an "average" person to behave, and in who you picture when you imagine an average person. I picture two males, late twenties to early fifties, out of shape but not totally sedentary, blue collar workers. Any time your model changes to make the people bigger or increase physical fitness it is advantage to the bat as strength doesn't scale with toughness, any time you increase courage and willingness to accept injury to win it is advantage to the knife. An additional X-Factor, obviously, is how much baseball experience you imagine the average person having. If you picture your batter having played baseball from tee-ball to high school, I'd give him a much higher shot. if you picture this being the first time he ever touches a baseball bat, much lower. This is going to enter into who you picture when you picture average: a small white town in the USA is going to have a lot more "average" baseball experience than a city in Germany. If you have the hand-eye coordination from years of hitting baseballs, the odds of someone getting in without getting hit get lower.

You "knife people" are thinking that you shoved a neuralink up each contestant's ass and they are now being steered by billionaires with xbox controllers. You imagine they are acting with perfect courage and sangfroid, that damage done to them is only notable for its physical impact and not for the psychological. You picture it as a video game where the knife guy tanks the hit from the bat and then goes in for the kill. This would work, for a person with perfect courage and sangfroid. This is not the average untrained person.

Most people will be unwilling to get hit with the bat, they will be scared of getting hit. While the rational choice is to accept the pain and at worst broken left arm or ribs or some missing teeth and stab the other guy to death, most random people will not be willing to do so. They will be unable to force themselves to take a hit and keep moving. Even if they try to, they will hesitate or feel pain and be thrown off balance mentally by it, they won't close, and they'll get hit again.

If we were to model this in reality with random people, I suspect that the results would be close to random, and that it would take many trials to see any kind of result, because the mental fortitude to murder someone at the risk of one's own life is pretty stochastically distributed, and it would be the defining factor in the match.

A lot of the knife answers seem to assume maximum stupidity from the bat fighter and maximum cunning from the knife fighter. That the only strike someone could do with a baseball bat is a big homerun swing. I'm pretty sure most people would figure out that's not all they can do with a bat within seconds of thinking of it as a weapon, and of how to avoid ending up being knifed. Most importantly, a quick overhead bonk (think kendo strikes) leaves you a lot less vulnerable if you miss than a swing, and if the opponent tries to catch it or to block it they will open up the entirety of their body to kicks. While that is not going to kill or even knock out in one shot, just one overhead bonk connecting is likely more than enough to end the fight; the amount of force in it would be enough to have the opponent reeling for long enough to line up another one, and another one, ect... And as for knife fighters, winning with one requires knowing something that is not really commonly known: you will not incapacitate someone with a knife. The targets that can incapacitate are small and an untrained person is not going to hit them on a resisting target. An expert probably wouldn't even bother either. The way to win with a knife is that you tie them down another way (say, by tackling them to the ground), and THEN you do damage with the knife, repeatedly. But the knife is essentially useless to win if you are not able to tie down the other guy, and with no distractions he has a big heavy piece of wood he's highly interested in keeping between you and him.

Can't hold a knife if your arm or fingers are broken.

Winning move for bat fighter: keep distance, break arms/hands, easy beat down afterwards.

Winning move for knife fighter: get in close, stab low in stomach (very painful) or thighs (lower their mobility, bleed out possible).

My thinking is that bat user is more likely to win. Range is king in unarmored melee fights. Specifically getting in the first hit is going to matter a lot for untrained fighters. Pain tolerance has to be learned. There is a youtube video somewhere where some medieval larpers who usually fight with swords are given spears and told to fight sword users. The spear users won like all the time in like every combo of shield/no shield.

Spears, critically, still have the pointy end. Range is king with pointy ends because touching = dead, a long stick doesn't win against a sword user if you have to outright pummel him to death.

Armor means yes you do have to pummel them to the ground, and then you can knife them in a weak spot of the armor. Military history bears me out. Soldiers had the option of carrying both weapons and they start the battle with the longer range weapon.

Pointy bits kill people, but bludgeoning is how you take them down and end the fight. If you end the initial fight in your favor it doesn't matter how long your weapon takes to finish the other person.

It takes a LOT of stabbing to kill someone if you're not a knife fighter. It also takes a good bit of time to bleed out. It also takes a LOT of blows to actually kill someone unless you're experienced or lucky/unlucky. Once you're incapacitated from a strike to the head/neck or face from either weapon you're in big trouble though.

If you look at FBI crime stats then you see it is about 1000 fists/hammers/bats vs 1500, machetes knives, cutting weapons etc...per year. So it seems like a knife would be about 33% better for killing than a bat. You can watch a ton of knife fights on youtube, it isn't a fast process. Nor are any fights for the most part, except gun fights. You could strangle someone to death before they finished stabbing you dead if you didn't care if you died too.

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8.xls

I think you guys are thinking about this the wrong way. You're not going to incapacitate a guy with a bat in one hit if he protects himself while charging you, and after that it's going to be a grappling match over the knife. You're not going to hit him in the head with the bat.

One of the easiest hits with the bat is going to be to one of the knife wielder's arms. A good swing could easily break an arm, definitely a hand. So its a grapling match of one armed knife wielder vs two armed bat wielder. Knife wielder can probably get a good stab in first.

If you are capable of inflicting an incapacitating wound (including a temporary stun) from a longer distance, then you are more likely to win. That seems pretty obvious to me.

Bat is a better fighting weapon, knife is a more lethal weapon. I would say the person with the bat wins more often than not, but it's more likely that "and then he dies from bleeding out after winning" for the bat wielder than the opposite "and then he dies from the delayed effects of a concussion/brain hemmorage" for the knife wielder.

Reasoning: The bat can be held out forward to maintain distance. Can be held with the off hand in the middle to be turned into a shorter cudgel to push away the opponent. It's not a matter for the knife guy to just "close the distance once and stab with the knife" like some sort of ninja: people who who get stabbed while hopped up on adrenaline keep fighting, most of the time, only to bleed out later. Very often they don't even realize they've been stabbed until after. People with shattered arms or legs immediately lose usage of them.

My guess was the guy with the bat, simply because with the extra reach he is very likely to get the first strike. And imo, that's enough to tilt the rest of the match significantly in his favor. If you hit your opponent in the head hard enough he goes down of course, but even if you hit him in the arm or body it's going to throw him off balance and give you the chance to more easily hit him again before he recovers.

Why did no one tell me about Obsidian before 2024? It's like Evernote but actually good. The one downside seems to be you'll have to pony up $8/month for sync if you don't know how to use git or some other VC for the plaintext files.

Other lifechanging programs or apps? Anki is another one for me, for specific types of memorization and study.

you'll have to pony up $8/month for sync

It's cheaper with the .edu discount.

Other life-changing programs:

  • Emacs: An amazing text editor.
  • jq: Read and manipulate JSON data on the command line with ease.
  • yt-dlp: Download any video from the web.
  • Lutris: Makes gaming on Linux a real possibility
  • Calibre: An excellent ebook manager

you'll have to pony up $8/month for sync

It's cheaper with the .edu discount.

Obsidian changed the price to $4/month yesterday. Pretty negligible unless you're poverty mode, but I already have a good setup, and private github repos are free.

Also, I use more than one vault. Only getting one for $48/year is a bit lame, especially since there's already a 1gb size constraint anyway.

Cold Turkey. It’s like a more powerful version of StayFocusd: you can block arbitrary combinations of applications and websites on your PC on a schedule or in a bunch of other ways. So lock the computer at bedtime, no Steam on weekdays, whatever.

——

Brain used to be pretty good - the infinite mindmap software. But in general the time and annoyance of making and organising notes has always been a deal-breaker for me. I scribble on PDFs and just try to read as much as possible instead. Is Obsidian that useful?

I've been using Obsidian since it was in beta.

I probably have another 40 years of life.

I am highly confident I will leave behind a finely tuned LLM of myself for my family.

This is my favorite comment I've ever put on the Motte.

I love feedly as a RSS feed of webcomics and blogs.

Libgen+google play books is where I do almost all my reading by pirating then uploading books.

Video Game Thread

Often happens anyways. Share what you have been playing.

For me I've been hooked on Nightingale recently. A survival crafting game. Their twist on the genre is to have different "realms" or maps where you can explore and collect stuff. The realms can be upgraded to be more difficult and thus provide more resources.

The game feels like a bit of a slog at times, but that is also what I was sorta looking for. A game I could play semi-mindlessly while listening to podcasts. The main frustration has not been gameplay, but a developer decision to make the game always online. Most of the bugs I have encountered are server related. Which is an extreme frustration since I'm basically playing the game like its singleplayer. I am confused why they made the server requirement a thing at all. It just seems like extra crap to maintain.

I'm finishing up a heavily modded playthrough of Mass Effect. Super excited for the Rimworld expansion. SCP/Eldritch horrors are exactly my jam.

Mass effect is ...fine, I guess. The story is interesting, the characters are fun. But the gameplay is just incredibly boring. There's a part of my brain that keeps repeating "If you wanted to shoot at things, why not boot up Stalker GAMMA? The much better shooter experience."
Incidentally, for any Gamma fans out there, Grok posted his plans to completely revamp the artifact system in the near future.

Incidentally, for any Gamma fans out there, Grok posted his plans to completely revamp the artifact system in the near future.

I was a fan...but I just completely ran out of steam. It's the setting, I think. Yes it's a classic by now, but it's also thoroughly used up and I'm entirely sick of seeing it.

A little bit of everything lately.

Helldivers 2 I play semi-regularly. I like it. It's got shooting, it's got some tactics (if you're willing to sneak away while your teammates who went in too loud get eaten), it's got some loadout customization. Not sure how long it'll last, but for now I'm having fun.

Following a conversation on the Motte a few months ago, I started trying to 100% Slay the Spire. Which is to say, 100% it even more - all the achievements I had (not something I usually do), but so far I hadn't completely Ascension 20 with any character but the Ironclad. Well, that's changed now. I've done it with all of the starting three, and I'm currently working my way through with the Watcher. Overall not very rewarding; it feels like any eventual victory is down to stubbornness rather than skill, mostly a matter of playing until the RNG smiles on me and gives me the cards I need.

I played some X4: Foundations. Mostly out of nostalgia for the very first X: Beyond The Frontier. Oh so very German a game. The autism seeps out of every impossibly bad UI element, every pitiably unaesthetic spaceship, the massively insufficient AI, the giant uncanny valley that is the NPCs. This series got away with all those problems 25 years ago, when they could blame it all on hardware limitations or the youth of the industry. But now? Now "dated" doesn't express half of it. They did accomplish some impressive performance optimization, though. Ah, my countrymen.

Other than that, Nebulous: Fleet Command remains one of my favorites, though I've run out of fleet ideas to try and I'm disinclined to just repeat myself in the pursuit of perfecting my skills.

And I recently got roped into playing some Wargame: Red Dragon. I hadn't done that in a decade. The micromanagement and lack of UI support was as bad as I remembered, and I had as little fun as I expected.

I've been playing Resident Evil 7 on and off for a few weeks. I like it and think it lives up to the hype.

As a child, my favourite video game was Oni, an unofficial Western adaptation of Ghost in the Shell from the studio behind Halo. I played it from start to finish numerous times, and periodically I think to myself "you know, I should play Oni again and see if it's as good as I remember". Last night I had such an inkling, and it only took me until the end of the first mission before I was like "man, this controls like shit." I don't know if it's some kind of compatibility issue caused by playing it on Windows 11, but some of the control scheme decisions seem frankly baffling in retrospect. Whoever's idea it was to sprint by tapping W twice should have been fired on the spot. At least the soundtrack holds up, as memorably sampled in this breakbeat track.

some of the control scheme decisions seem frankly baffling in retrospect

That's a problem with many retro games that were released before our modern control schemes were stabilized. Fallout gets a lot of hate for its idiosyncratic controls, for example.

A lot of Oni is works better on a gamepad: the game was also available on console (bizarrely, PS2), and a lot of the weirder control decisions are downstream of then-standard behaviors there. But the console wasn't up to the render requirements later in the game, so the console version was panned near-universally. There's still some jank if you can get a gamepad running with the PC version, which is a pity because a lot of the grappling mechanics were surprisingly well-thought-out for the time.

Good fucking luck getting a gamepad to work, though.

My backlog has reached Nier: Automata, a hack-and-slash Souls-like-ish where you fight Android (the phone) mascots as a small-a android on a devastated Earth. So far I like the combat system, if a bit simplistic. Curious to see what all the hype about the plot is about.

Also grabbed Balatro, which proves itself to be exactly as much an addictive poker-ish roguelike as advertised.

Automata is one of the greatest games I've ever played, I admit to getting lured in by the waifus (with zero knowledge of Nier/Drakengard) and getting completely blindsided by, uh, everything else. The soundtrack is amazing and the game makes masterful use of the medium, the amusement park entrance scene has burned itself into my brain in a way few experiences did. Reportedly the second playthrough turns many people off because of certain changes in mechanics (although personally I liked it, it's up to taste), but I encourage you to stick with it because everything after that is 200% worth it.

Also share tips on how to get away from Balatro, this shit is devouring my free time, I'm a sucker for number go up games in general and this one tickles the monke neurons exceedingly well.

Just recently finished the first playthrough. I suppose I'll see those notorious changes soon.

As for Balatro, can't help here. This is also one of those ultra-completionist games like Monster Train that entices you with getting a win with every single card, even a shit-tier one, so I guess we're doomed.

You've probably heard already, but Nier: Automata requires at least 3 or 4 playthroughs in order to get the full grasp of the setting and story. The first playthrough should only be like 10-20 hours and the next ones much shorter.

Whether or not the juice is worth the squeeze should come down to taste. I'll say, I can at least understand why the story gets hyped up so much. It's not a spoiler to say that there are twists and turns, and the philosophical musings are at the appropriate level of thought provoking for a game of this sort.

I played 5 hours of Civilization 5 yesterday. I hope they make a new one soon. I didn't like Civ 6.

It had been many years since the last time I played Civ so I picked King difficulty in hopes of getting the right challenge. Went for Tradition as Egypt (Pyramids are a Liberty-locked wonder, wtf?). Got a pretty great capital for growth and production after a while. Wiped out my continent-mate. The game ended up being too easy. I had a lead of several hundred points and stopped playing around 1600 AD.

I played 5 hours of Civilization 5 yesterday. I hope they make a new one soon.

Not any time soon. Have you played Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri?

I often claim that all game writing is shit, but of course that's not entirely true because SMAC exists.

The tragedy of Earth is not that so many died. Death is an inevitable part of life. The tragedy is that so many died as victims. When the crisis came, they were helpless, unable to use their deaths to buy anything of value. Millions of otherwise intelligent people had been tricked into ignoring a fundamental truth: that no man has any rights if he is unable to personally defend them.

Civ 4 is the mechanical peak of the series (especially with community QoL mods like BUG), but Alpha Centauri is the best setting.

This is the correct take.

Which makes the messy visuals and such gameplay flaws Civ4 does have all the more grating.

Alpha Centauri's visuals have, by comparison and in my completely nostalgic view, aged better. But AC instead has a host of balance and pacing issues, with many in-game entities seeing little use, the mid-game going by in a blur and the game being over before it even reaches the end-game.

What are the definitive Civ4 mods?

There's Fall From Heaven for fantasy, Realism Invictus and A New Dawn for a Vanilla+ experience, and Caveman2Cosmos if you want Civ4 taken to the uttermost conclusion of its premise.

I recommend Caveman2Cosmos, though there are many rough edges. Especially as one approaches the cosmic end of it - I'd go as far as to call that unfinished. But most players barely make it past the cavemen, so I guess it's fair for the modders to focus on the earlier parts.