"Archaeologists believe the object, made from swirling blue and white glass with a small 'crown' of white glass droplets, is a gaming piece from the Viking board game hnefatafl ('king's table'), or a local version of the game."
Tried bitters in my coffee, on the recommendation of one of the "try bitters in everything" articles that were apparently trendy a few years back.
Not bad. Just not necessary.
I think part of what went suboptimal tonight was that we've been playing UVG as a kind of surreal spaghetti western, and my players have adapted to that by looking at most situations in fight or flight terms.
Assuming people still want to play, I'll probably switch settings after next week. Mothership, most likely. Then, when (/if) we come back to UVG, I'll lean further into the weird and exploratory.
Very subdued UVG session tonight. My players doggedly avoided every potentially interesting encounter or opportunity I gave them. They've recovered the MacGuffin, and are making a bee-line for the bounty. Taking this as a sign that next week's session should be devoted to wrapping up this campaign. Gonna work up a final encounter and some potentially interesting consequences, and hope it's all small enough to fit in ~2.5 hours, yet still satisfying.
Still on the lookout for a good, New Yorker-esque deep dive (though preferably not book-length deep) on bitters. In the meantime, here's a shorter piece on some of the science behind their medicinal claims: https://www.sciencefriday.com/articles/the-basics-of-bitters/
"He calls it a 'chaos garden' […] The blanket of plants crowds out most unwanted species, including weeds; the cucumbers and squash and other flowering species attract beneficial insects that keep pests like 'squash bugs' at bay; the dense foliage increases soil moisture retention and reduces the need to water; and the plants tend to mature at different rates, allowing for several months of a diverse bounty rather than a monocrop that gets harvested all at once." https://civileats.com/2020/05/12/most-farmers-in-the-great-plains-dont-grow-fruits-and-vegetables-the-pandemic-is-changing-that/
This is a pretty understandable article about machine vision and neural networks.
southern foodways alliance debate
The Southern Foodways Alliance has been embroiled in public controversy. Former staffers & associates are asking John T. Edge to finally step down as the group's leader. Edge, a white man, has led the organization for 20+ years. Black folks especially point out that Edge practices gatekeeping, contributes to a bro culture & reaps rewards off of documenting Black foodways. Edge's response? "I'm listening." Dude, that's not an adequate response to the situation.
So happy to share with you: the first scifi story I've ever sold, appearing today in Strange Horizons!
- cryogenic exoplanets
If I'd had more experience going into this, I'd have probably found a way to smooth out the complexity of this set piece. My players were allied with a steppelander clan in a battle against an invading army. The goal was to deliver the central MacGuffin to a transdimensional gate while fighting en route. Activating the MacGuffin unleashed the goliath axolotl, which turned the tide of battle. They just eked through, but not without permanent consequences.
Finally got to use the visual aid I put together for the big combat set piece I arranged in the Ultraviolet Grasslands #ttrpg campaign I've been running the past few months.
@lrhodes The only book I read "about" Japan (as opposed to fiction set in Japan) is John Dougill's brilliant book on Kyoto. Of course Meiji would mark the end of Kyoto's reign as the capital, but as a general history of Japan written by a British guy who absolutely loves it there, it's something special. Here's a 2013 interview with the author http://blog.colinmarshall.org/?p=1272
In case anyone is interested, this book (which is Open Access) seems to cover a lot of ground: https://muse.jhu.edu/book/33578
Also gonna see if I can track down a copy of this: https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691000305/the-culture-of-the-meiji-period
Still open to suggestions, if anyone knows of something similar.
@lrhodes The professor I work for does a lot of writing on Japan, his bibliography has a bunch of interesting stuff, some of it on the Meji era: https://www.hist.uzh.ch/de/fachbereiche/neuzeit/lehrstuehle/dusinberre/team/dusinberre.html (lmk if you need access to something, I can probably get it)
Merveilles is a community project aimed at the establishment of new ways of speaking, seeing and organizing information — A culture that seeks augmentation through the arts of engineering and design. A warm welcome to any like-minded people who feel these ideals resonate with them.