Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A step into the Metro

I speak, of course, of Metro 2033. Metro 2033 is set after WWIII, in the irradiated remains of Russia. It's like the Fallout series, but with more gas masks (the entire surface cannot be traversed without a gas mask, as opposed to Fallout where you can generally get around and only have to worry about not rolling around in radioactive stuff.


Much as I hope we don't stray down the path towards "everything is terrible and radioactive/etc" again, I feel like having a gas mask is kind of mandatory. If nobody else has any suggestions, the Israeli gas masks are cheap and look pretty good and presumably work.

I kind of dig the post apoc vibe, I think I'll have a region of the Wastelands as a steampunk version. Still need to work more on Raygun Gothic space marines with spacesuits made as a combo of old gas masks and diving equipment.

Tech Tuesday: slightly NSFW rambling edition

I'm really tired because of extra sleep that I haven't been getting needed to patch up far faster than most other people. So I'm mostly not going to bother trying to pick out a theme.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jun/25/oscar-cat-artifical-paws-pioneering-surgery  Kitty loses hind paws. Kitty gets fancy new prosthetics that mount to the bone and have the skin grow over the base of them to seal them in place, instead of having strap-on peglegs. I imagine this'll be how a lot of prosthetic limbs work, you get a permanent bone mount that they click onto, so there's no pain from putting pressure on your stump, the bones just carry the weight as they're supposed to. This'll be really handy with future mind-linked prosthetics.

.... I could have sworn I had more lined up than that.

I guess not, and I can't be bothered to go look for more, so here's some rambling on Simsense based on a discussion I had with a friend recently.

Simsense is artificially inducing sensory information; simulated senses. Usually it's found in things like Cyberpunk that aren't all grim darkness, all the time. Go to a movie, and if you've got the prerequisite implant or fancy brain-interface hat, you'll get a muted version of what the heroes are smelling on screen, or feel the wind or heat of the flames or chill of the rain. We actually HAVE simsense. A few tech tuesday's back, I discussed a new prototype prosthetic hand that had touch capability, and was reported by the user as being nearly the same as the real deal. It may be in its infancy, but it exists. If we have sensors that can pass on sensory info to the brain, with programming you can spoof those sensors and make simulated senses.

And I can basically guarantee that if it hits anything resembling widespread and usable without brain surgery, it'll be the porn industry that makes it take off. Think about it; Once things are understood well enough, it allows a LOT of possibilities for the porn industry. Try out what it feels like to have parts you aren't equipped with, feel like you're really there (no, REALLY really there!) with your favorite film star, play with your special someone's special places from anywhere with web access, things like that.

Sure, it'll get used right along with the Occulus rift and surround sound to make ever better, more immersive games (What I wouldn't give to have at least SOME sense of where and how I'm taking hits. Vests and stuff exist that can sort of do it, but they're loud and not at all precise and require you be wired in and stuff). But it'll be the porn industry who's there with the dollars to keep pushing the technology along at the.... leaking... edge.

Friday, April 25, 2014

No more surgeries

Got my neck muscles fixed up. Gotta wait a bit for them to heal to be sure everything worked, but they're as fixed as they'll get. Wanted the surgery done awake, but the doc decided to knock me out without mentioning it. I think I fell asleep in the OR the old fashioned way (everyone was getting stuff set up and waiting on parts after I was in the operating bed, sitting there comfy with nothing to do and a sizeable sleep deficit), and then woke up in the recovery room and was slightly grumpy about it. Was actually looking forward to being awake for the surgery.

Now, unless I have some kind of horrible accident that requires some fixing, I should be good for a good long while. Also, outpatient procedures are nice

Friday, April 18, 2014

Why I can't be a space captain

At least on something commercial. Somehow I think passengers might not care for me blasting Powerman 5000's "Blast Off to Nowhere" during launch so much.

Semi-related, they found an earth sized planet in the habitable zone. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tech Thursday; megadump

To make up for the past few weeks of not having much, apparently the internet decided to dump a crapload of interesting content on me and now it's taking up all my browser tabs. I was busy Tuesday and couldn't be bothered.

http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/scientists-regenerate-living-organs-first-time This is a big one, usually internal damage is basically permanent. Nothing on the inside of the body can really heal except for the liver. Even if it's just part of the body being revamped, it's still a heck of a first step.

http://gizmodo.com/handheld-jet-thrusters-make-any-sport-instantly-extreme-1562160699 Jet Booster bar. There is nothing that cannot be improved by jets/rockets. I look forward to all of the terrible stupid awesome things that people use these for. And the actual good ideas (like powered parachuting)

http://www.iflscience.com/technology/coming-soon-tabletop-fog-screens-3d-interactions Still not all the way to the free-floating holograms, but at least people are trying. Still cool.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1686304142/the-mini-mobile-robotic-printer miniature roomba printer. I wonder if they have anything in there to keep it from driving off the paper and inking all over other things?

http://www.iflscience.com/technology/glow-dark-roads-now-reality These would be really nice when it's rainy out and all the lines on the road nearly vanish in the dark.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2604543/Glass-without-glasses-Google-patents-smart-contact-lens-CAMERA-built-in.html?login More work on video contacts. I still think that the first version of a cyberbrain will be an implanted computer linked wirelessly to earbuds and contact lenses.

http://www.iflscience.com/technology/quantum-dot-technology-could-lead-solar-panel-windows More work on solar panels that aren't terrible and in the way. Solar's great, if it isn't expensive and space consuming.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Buy a Gun Day

Why does nowhere anywhere near where I live or work sell just AR-15 lowers? Is that so much to ask? I want to build the thing from scratch, but noooo. Going to have to expand my search radius.

Monday, April 14, 2014

As promised

Here's my rough approximation of an NCR veteran ranger. It sadly wasn't as cold as predicted, and I overheated pretty quickly and had to strip to down significantly to keep playing (Mostly my mask was fogging badly, it was humid due to rain).

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Tomorrow morning (or, later this morning), I shall be going paintballing. The weather is predicted to be 40-50 degrees and raining. So I decided I needed a hat/helmet wearable with my mask. Particularly if there's more surprise marble-sized hail tomorrow.

I'll be going dressed basically as an NCR veteran ranger. What's the point of going out and practicing if you can't have a little fun with it? Around 8 months out of the year I'm liable to have my duster on anyway.

Friday, April 11, 2014

GURPS melee combat; cut vs. thrust

One of the things that has always bugged me about GURPS is the melee combat damage rules. Namely, that you're better off trying to slash through armor with a sword than stab through it. Everything I've ever seen says hitting with the point is better for penetration.

First, a video, for demonstration purposes of stabbing working better than slashing against armor. We'll be looking at knives in particular, because I said so and am presently too tired to make the words work to explain why. Mostly because no matter the tech level, any character I build will probably have a knife, if not be an actual knife fighter.

By GURPS rules, all damage is the same, whether it's concentrated to a point or spread over an edge.

Now, to analyze the video. Those are very clearly all-out-attacks (strong, +2 damage), combined with reversed grip (+1 thrust damage). At ST 10 or higher, that +1 still isn't enough to put it on par in terms of damage with a swing, unless weapon damage modifies it.

Large Knives, without alternate grips, do Thrust impaling damage on a stab or Swing-2 on a cut, which puts the base damage output equal with either type for a ST 10 or ST 11 fighter. Beyond that, however, and the gap begins to widen substantially. At ST 13, a large knife will do 1d of damage thrusting, but 2d-3 of cutting damage; while both average rolls are the same, a good hit with a swing will do substantially more damage, 9 vs 6. The gap quickly widens from there, as swing damage improves at a much faster rate than thrust.

So, the rules say that against an armored opponent, you're better off hacking at them than using a pointy tip to try to get through. How do we fix this?

My first inclination involves reversed grip. On something like a knife, which can be swung much more handily than any larger weapon when reversed, change damage on impaling attacks to +1 Imp or Swing Imp, whichever is better, and implement Pick rules. In strong hands, this leads to knives being able to do a substantial amount of damage to overcome armor.

But it still has a problem; it leaves no distinction for getting through armor. I've seen testing on smaller knives where a dollar store T-shirt put over a chunk of cheap meat was enough to provide substantial protection. Un-clothed meat took drastically deeper slashes on a cut, but stabbing with the point and then cutting allowed for extremely deep wounds. The alternative is to give piercing weapons a small armor divisor, to represent their focusing of the energy. (.5) to (.75) would go a long way towards making points interact with DR in a more realistic manner.

Sci-Fi Friday: Reading Assignment

http://imgur.com/gallery/rO97N courtesy of Michael Z. Williamson's facebook, I believe. That and/or the Steampunk page.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gun shopping

I'm apparently in a deadzone of places where I can order the LW-15 lower receiver that I want (or any lower receiver, for that matter). However, I'm RIGHT next to a gander mountain (regular, not specialty gun shop) both at home and at work. They don't have anything worth looking at in their AR-15 section (nothing but carbine length forends, can't stand anything shorter than mid-length), but they DO have that Sig AR-15 'pistol' with the 'brace'. Have to say, that thing is actually comfy and handy as heck, even if it's basically impossible to use the brace with it as a pistol (can't get the sights to line up without a LOT of work).

Stupid SBR laws.

About time

Finally had the chance and cash to grab a box o' JHP for my pistol. It's been loaded up with bulk box FMJ for a while because poor college student. Woo job, if ammo stops being impossible to find and get, I might even be able to hit the range pretty regularly. I've already decided that 5-10% of my paycheck is getting set aside for ammo purchasing purposes and/or gun acquisitions.

Now I just need to get that pistol retention knife I want.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Farming character points

Building up ST, DX, working on IQ with the job, HT tends to come with general healthy living, so that's coming along too. Working on getting back my Combat Reflexes after too long of a hiatus without anything fun and exciting to keep them up all the way. Fit is on its way back, and I'll retrain my limited DR back. Bones should still be hardened properly, that doesn't go away so easily, but I've lost a few points of Karate and Karate (sport). Wouldn't mind working on wrestling/judo a bit more, if I can find someplace more real world. Guns, I can finally work on Guns properly now that I can conceivably afford ammo. Obviously Engineer (mechanical) will be going up with job experience. And of course, investing some points into buying off that bit of debt...

You lose a hell of a lot of character points when you aren't allowed to do things, if you're the type who semi-obsessively works for self improvement.

Feels good to start getting them back.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tech Tuesday: Space and Stuff

I found more space things the day right after the last space-themed tech Tuesday.

http://news.discovery.com/tech/robotics/robot-surgeon-enters-through-belly-button-140403.htm#mkcpgn=fbdsc17  Medical nanobots it ain't, but autodocs are always handy. Even moreso in space, because space.

http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/novel-therapy-allows-paraplegic-patients-regain-voluntary-movement I mentioned earlier stages of this one of the first Tech Tuesdays, when they were still testing it on rats. Nice to see it coming along. Space related because A) I said so and B) space brings all kinds of new fun ways to get broken.

And last but not least; Railguns. The Navy has officially announced it's going to be putting a railgun on a ship by 2016. http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=80055 Railguns were the talk of every future weapon show on the planet until about 5 years ago, when suddenly railguns just fell off the face of the planet. I took this as a sign that progress was being made. I was right. Reportedly, it can shoot a spike at Mach 7, and punch through 6" of steel armor plate. I can definitely see railguns as being a space-gun of choice, because explosives in orbit seem like a bad idea. Also, take up way more space and weight. Now I just want a man portable one that you feed ammo out of a big nail-gun roll.


I have a couple of great big neck scars from surgeries. One might get opened up one last time to reattach a muscle that either didn't get reattached or came unhooked almost immediately upon me being stitched up.

I kind of like them. But I heal fast. I never develop ugly, rough scar tissue, no matter what the wound. It fades away and turns back into normal skin in 2-5 years, depending on how huge the injury was. I don't expect these fancy neck scars to last long.

These neck scars, and the holes for the chest tube below them, however, look like angry eyebrows. I don't much care for that. So I think I want to get something subtle done to decorate them. A very thing, scar-tissue red line over the body of the scars (also to make them match), and then a little something else.

I'm quite partial to tribal tattoos, but I'd want something that A) means something and is earned (done, at least for the start, by virtue of it growing out of giant scars), and B) is related to a culture I actually have ties to, which pretty much limits it to German. Other ideas include Frankenstein stitching and zippers.

Any other thoughts? Subtle and symmetric are key. When I can be bothered, I might take a picture so people can see what said scars look like.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gaming: Book disagreements

Was just digging through GURPS books, trying to figure out sizing for different types of guns, and noticed a disagreement.

In Basic Set, a 5.56mm assault rifle is bulk -4, and a 5.56 carbine is -3. In High Tech, the assault rifle is -5, and carbine is -4. The higher bulk stats seem more realistic, to keep small SMGs and longer carbines and assault rifles from overlapping in size so much, but as a player I would undoubtedly want the smaller bulk, because nothing much good comes from high bulk.

I've noticed this across many systems and books, little inconsistencies between them in how things are handled that don't specifically say "the other book says this for genericness, but if you're using this book you obviously want more depth, use these rules". Does the more focused book's rules win out, or treat it as a case-by-case basis?

US Medical System

Definitely needs some manner of reforms. For example, with my first surgery, a bunch of muscle in my neck either never got hooked back up during surgery or came unhooked almost immediately thereafter. My neck was super tight and painful to use for anything on that side, so I suspect it never got reattached because they had a LOT of trouble with me (any time they tried to dial the anesthesia back to where they could work on me I'd start to wake up).

So, I have a problem that is pretty much exclusively the fault of the hospital. However, because of how the US medical system works, I get to pay if I want to make them fix it. That doesn't fly in just about any other industry.

I'm really hoping it doesn't get classified as a cosmetic surgery, because my neck feels wrong every time I notice it, and the spot in my neck where muscle should be is really noticeable, and I'm completely out of shape right now (when I'm in shape, I'll just have an enormous gap, because I always wind up with a lot of neck muscle).

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sci-Fi Friday

Apparently the makers of Ghost in the Shell produced an ad for Murphy's Irish Stout. It's fantastic, and if turned into a tv show I'd totally watch it.
The ad itself is not the most coherent of things, but it's stylish and gives a whole new meaning to the term "street samurai"

International Tabletop Gaming Day

I'd have written about this sooner but I've been busy all day.
http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php has a bundle of free RPG books to celebrate. If their servers are up, hop on by and pick some up.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Early thoughts on Fort Hood

Another mass shooting in a gun free zone? Stop the presses! Can't wait to be lectured about guns, tactics, and laws by people who know absolutely nothing about guns, tactics, and laws. 

Can we PLEASE stop banning the military from the carriage of arms? Even if it's rank limited, have to get promoted once or twice (and presumably still have to hit 21 before you qualify for a permit, as it is in most places). 

And that's all I'll say until a week or so from now when there's actual information out. I'll be keeping the victims and their families in my thoughts. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Martial comfort zones

It seems I'm not the only one looking to get away from the heavily sport-influenced Asian martial arts. Linoge, who is primarily responsible for getting me into following gunblogs, has started up Krav Maga, and is noting the sizeable differences from your typical Asian martial art, as they're taught in the USA.

http://www.wallsofthecity.net/2014/03/paradigm-shift.html shifting from one style of martial art to another is a significant difference if you aren't expecting it. It was a fun experience when I sparred with a friend who was trained more in kickboxing. Completely different arrangements of pads, the allowance of leg kicks and head punches, and grappling all made for an eye opening experience. Had I only collected pure Taekwondo to fight with, I would have been at a significant disadvantage. Luckily, the school at which I learned was VERY traditional, and has much less of an element of "tournament use only" about it, and comes with a side of hopkido and other such things. The sparring was always very gentle with lots of restrictions, but they were all restrictions only for safety purposes, rather than "this doesn't count for anything in tournaments so we're not going to do anything with it ever."

Linoge talks more about some of the more real world training with Krav Maga here, about a fun game of monkey in the middle.

There's a good looking Krav Maga school here in town, but it's on completely the opposite end of town from where I am now, and is probably about 45-60 minutes drive away. There's one vaguely close by, supposedly, but it's a mixed school with no functioning webpage.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tech Tuesday: Space edition

To start with, how do you get around in space? Not on a bicycle! Bikes don't work in 0g, although why you'd be bothering attempting to bike in 0g is probably as good of a question. Still, SCIENCE.

How do you go to space through really, really long trips? According to lots of science fiction, you use suspended animation/stasis/hypersleep/etc to nap away the lightyears. Suspended animation is currently being tested for a purpose closer to home, patching up people who are leaking.

I thought I had more tabs of tech things open. It appears I was mistaken. Phoning it in, ho!