Pinned Post: Looking at My Stats and Revisiting My #RPG #Copyright Posts

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The quarantine has me doing a bit of blogging lately, which means I’m also looking at my stats. With respect to my posts regarding copyright and RPGs:

The posts are broken into two separate issues. Part 1 and part 2 are about the copyrightability of RPG stat blocks, and part 3 (not relevant here) is about the OGL. As to the first issue, to date, part 1 represents ~30% of text by page count and has 17,037 hits (edit 10/20/2020: 17,667 hits), whereas part 2 (70%) has only 704 hits (edit 10/20/2020: 802 hits). Moreover, part 1 spends much of its text on going over basic copyright principles that don’t represent the actual argument. It’s clear by the stats and the basis of the criticism itself (often peppered with personal insults) that the vast majority of (non-lawyer) criticism I’ve received is from people that have read only 30% (at most) of that argument. I know it’s long, convoluted, and at times poorly written (mostly because it targets two very different audiences); and you’re under no obligation to read it (or even care about it). However, it’s all connected, and if you’re going to criticize it, you should probably understand it first.

Or not. Free speech and all that.

Endnotes:

  • Part 3 has only 703 hits (edit 10/20/2020: 849 hits), which is surprising. I thought it would be the most read post.
  • Part 3.5 provides necessary clarification and correction to Part 3.
  • Part 4 answers frequently ask questions and addresses frequently raised issues.
  • Over on a lawyers-only subreddit, the attorneys seemed to want to discuss only my side note on patentability of the Shadow of the Demon Lord initiative system. I guess it’s great that they all agree that my argument is trivially correct, but Rob Schwalb has seriously hijacked my glory. I let him have it when I saw him last February.
  • Stat blocks for the 5e Monster Manual are here.

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Good Watch: At Close Range @SeanPenn @hbomax @RealKiefer @CrispinGlover #GoodWatch

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Based on a recommendation, I’m finally watched At Close Range (1986). Here’s IMDB’s tagline:

Reunited with his career criminal father, tough teen Brad thinks he’s found his ticket to an exciting life of crime, only to find out he’s wrong.

As much a part of the movie as anyone.

It started with music that stabbed me in the heart, which continued throughout the movie where the music had to be subtle. The cast is phenomenal but young. So was I in 1986, so it brings me back even though I’ve never seen it before.

As for the movie itself, it’s a sad tale about a kid with no discernable future becoming mesmerized by his absentee father, and the wad of hundred dollar bills he generates from his criminal exploits. As one might expect, everything falls to pieces. It’s based on a true story, though I have no idea how far it drifts from reality.

Definitely worth two of my hours.

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Aft-Firing Weaponry and Canon @StarTrek @starwars @kesseljunkie #StarTrek #StarWars

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My favorite episode of Star Trek, any series, is Balance of Terror from the original series. It has absolutely everything that a Star Trek episode should have, and it, along with my favorite Star Trek movie, the Wrath of Khan, inspired the best episode of Strange New Worlds to date, Memento Mori. For some reason, Balance of Terror keeps coming up in my social media streams. Several people keep saying something that prompts me to volunteer this information.

Or posting a silly meme.

But this post isn’t about Star Trek.

I set my mind to rewatch the episode but kept procrastinating. Yesterday, I was watching the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I love both of those movies. It occurred to me that none of the X-Wings, Tie-Fighters, etc. had any aft-firing weaponry. That would have been quite useful when being chased during the attacks on either Death Star. The Millennium Falcon sort of did, but only if there was at least one other person on the ship available to mad that blaster. (If I’m wrong, I’m sure Kessel Junkie will correct me.)

But wait! This post is about Star Trek!

This led me to finally re-watch Balance of Terror (re-watching Memento Mori will follow soon) in which I thought there was some background chatter stating that the aft-firing torpedoes are ready. (Note: I may have been mistaken, but there were mentions to aft-firing weapons in the background charter of several episodes, most clearly at 17:02 of Arena.) It also led to a cascade of thoughts regarding the hubbub about violating canon. I love the FASA Star Trek RPG, and it annoyed me that the Constitution Class starships didn’t have aft-firing weaponry. In fact, they made a big deal out of it. It was a glaring weakness in most Federation ships, and a big deal when some did. But it’s not all about an RPG. Star Trek the Motion Picture also suggested that the Klingon ship (also captained by Mark Lenard) having an aft-firing torpedo was a big deal. He thought it would surprise his enemy.

Right emotion; wrong guy.

And then there are those star dates that were completely made up, and the fact that the Romulan ship in Balance of Terror wasn’t capable of warp travel (22:10) yet traveled in interstellar space. In the two episodes I mentioned, there was an inconsistency. In Arena, Kirk comments that diamonds are “perhaps the hardest substance known in the universe” (30:10), and Spock confirms this by stating, “diamonds, the hardest known substance” (41:32), yet Spock points out only four episodes earlier in Balance of Terror that “cast rodinium . . . is the hardest substance known to our science” (21:26). Canon is shit. That’s unfortunate in most (not all) cases, but it’s true. You can’t rely on it. However, one theory says that there’s no such thing as a canon violation because Star Trek First Contact rebooted the franchise, rendering “canon” a nonsense concept.

I love to see Strange New Worlds show aft-firing phasers, see everyone lose their shit for the canon violation, and then lay into them for their ignorance. If everyone now realizes that the Enterprise has aft-firing weapons, that’s fine too. It gives us one more reason to say Star Trek ships are better than Star Wars ships.

Just roll with it and be happy when stories are well-written.

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An Old Commercial @StarTrek #StarTrek

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s a commercial advertising Star Trek Enterprise. I never saw it.

This commercial is from 2000 or 2001. Why does it look like it’s from the 80s?

I’m old.

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Hate Always Beats Like/Love @Nickelback #Caturday #haters

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This is a Caturday post, but in the most roundabout way possible.

The other day, a music video hit my Facebook stream. It was a video I had never seen, and song I had never heard. The video was Nickelback’s This Afternoon. The video quickly arrives at a scene in which someone brings a band they’ve kidnapped to play at a party intending to prove that “the Nerd Brigade knows how to rock.” The organizer is disappointed to see that the band is Nickelback. This is a brilliant moment of self-awareness that’s lost on society today. No one seems to be able to laugh at themselves anymore, especially when it comes to politics and religion.

But that’s not my point.

This got me thinking, yet again, about how everyone hates Nickelback. There’s even been a “scientific study” done to prove this is the case. And yet, Nickelback was, as of January 25, 2017, the 11th Best-Selling Band In History. How do you explain the discrepancy? It’s simple: This is yet another example of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. A bit more formally, this is yet another example of the statistical fallacies people commit when analyzing data. In the YouTube generation, a single point of data is often used to extrapolate a broad rule. Confirmation bias also plays a factor, of course, and people don’t appreciate the fact that their specific search command loads the data. For example, if you Google “eating sauerkraut on ice cream,” you’ll find plenty of stories on it, and if you leave your blinders on, you’ll ignore the fact that almost all of those stories are reporting the same phenomenon originating from the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania region.

But again, I’m drifting from my point.

The truth is that Nickelback is, in fact, very popular (or at least was), and is probably still well loved by those that grew up with it (much my love of Rush, Fleetwood Mac, etc. doesn’t fade with time). So why is it that the only people you see in your streams are the haters? Consider this: How many of you (myself absolutely included) have criticized people for talking about home much they like CrossFit, veganism, or, well, Nickelback? Anytime someone does, they get blasted. There are countless social media posts asking which fan group is the most annoying of the bunch. That drives positive comments underground. On the other hand, we welcome the hatred people spew for just about anything. It’s probably seen as “edgy” or “raw.” It’s really just dickish. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be allowed to be dickish. Here’s another example, and it’s the one example where hate is criticized.

As a free speech nut, I’m completely fine with you spewing your hate; I just have a problem with the weakness society has embraced allowing your hate to cause them to self-censor themselves. No one’s opinion is more entitled to be voiced than any other’s. The second we abandon that principle, everyone will be censored. You need support for that assertion? Look around you, America. It’s everywhere. But the fact that this phenomenon favors hate is a bit disturbing and explains how we get the impression that beloved things are largely hated.

Full disclosure: I shamelessly admit that I like (don’t love) Nickelback. It may appear that I’m trying to do the same thing, saying I like Nickelback because everyone else supposedly hates it, thus turning around the attempt to sound counter-culture on itself. However, I’ve often said that when asked about guilty pleasures. Nevertheless, Nickelback is not a guilty pleasure. I’m far from alone.

If you don’t like Nickelback (or anything else), that’s fine, but holding them up as a poster child for what’s wrong with music is stupid. If there’s something wrong with modern music, it’s a trend among all the bands, but there’s isn’t. Popular music is popular because it’s what people want to hear, and not all of it is as formulaic as is claimed. Take it from this old fogey: No one cares what the old people think. As a demographic, you don’t have a lot of disposable income, but even if you do, you aren’t spending it on new things. Don’t become your parents. Stop hating on what the young-uns want. You’ll be dead soon, and the only people left will be the young-uns. While you’re at it, stop basing your worldview on one video or article.

Nickelcat?

With that in mind, fuck you guys. I like cats, and I’ll post about it (and anything else) whenever I want. Your hate has no power over me.

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Connections @BBC #physics #science #engineering #history #tv

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Look at me. Ending my streak of posts after an entire year, and the very next day posting every day for a week. Will it last? (No.)

I recently rediscovered the BBC show, Connections, hosted by James Burke. I used to watch this with my dad when I was a kid. This is a show about the marvels of science and engineering throughout history and, more to the point, their connections to one another. That is, a technology over here gets merged with a technology over there, and voila! A new invention. 

It’s enough to drive you mad.

I apparently remember it extremely well, because I find myself saying the host’s lines before he says them. Nevertheless, I’m relearning a lot of material. I recently learned about, and wrote a post on, the Cistercian numerals. To my recollection, I never heard of the Cistercian monks before learning about their numbers, yet they were mentioned in the one of the first few episodes, so my memory is exceptional, but not perfect. (My short term memory is failing, which is very unsettling.)

Another thing threw me off a bit. In the first episode – which is a bit scary, by the way – the host describes the New York City blackout of 1977, which left several planes circling overhead with nowhere to land. The flight he expressly mentioned was flight 911. A spooky an odd . . . connection.

Whether your academic or professional background is in science (like me) or history, this is still a fascinating and relevant show.

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Waking Up #health #fitness #gym

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Last Friday, I mentioned that I’m finally headed back to the gym. Despite the difficulty of doing so, there’s one thing working in my favor. My body is naturally waking up every morning at least 80 minutes earlier than necessary to get me to work on time. I don’t even sleep in on the weekends. I noted that there’s a reason for this.

I’m a very private person, but in an odd way. Much of what you might think should be private, I have no problem sharing, while things you routinely blab about, I keep to myself. Still, one thing that exemplifies my privacy kick that will come as no surprise is that I always keep my shades drawn. In my last residence, this meant that the sun never made it through. Last January, I bought a house, and the — what do you call them? — window treatments keep prying eyes at bay but allow the sunlight through.

Poop.

Well, by now you should all know the meme. Sunlight impacts your sleep cycle. It wakes you up more gradually than a jarring alarm clock. I arguably don’t need an alarm clock, but if I rely on it to wake up, it makes getting out of bed far more difficult. Sunlight really works better.

If you’re having trouble getting up in the morning, consider different coverings for your windows. It really works.

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Cake @TheAndrewNadeau #aging #happybirthday #birthday #cake

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No, not them!

I don’t really celebrate my birthday, but . . . .

Go ahead and check, motherfuckers!

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In case the tweet is ever deleted.

I’m About to Turn 54 @blink182 #aging #happybirthday #birthday #music

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Once a decade for an entire year, I get to make myself the subject when I sing Blink 182’s What’s My Age Again? Today is the last day of that year. Sing it for me as well. See you in 9 years.

0:57

I’m still a child.

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