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Axebeak

MMCJawa's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 5,645 posts. 1 review. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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Alexander Augunas wrote:

This is just my opinion, but the extent of changes that I'd like to see in a Pathfinder 2.0 is a restructuring and reclassification of the fundamental rules on how things like combat work.

Like, you don't need to reboot the whole game to clean up the combat section so rules are better organized within the text. (And really, the fact that rules are all over the place isn't really Paizo's fault—they were largely copying WoTC style, and you can't blame them for wanting to keep things as samey as possible during a time where Paizo wasn't known for game publishing.)

Exactly.

To be honest, most of the frequent complaints revolve around a handful of spells and corner rule cases, and a few specific classes (such as the wizard and fighter). You could probably do everything that Alexander talks about, and clean up the those problem areas, and still leave the game intact enough that folks could play there favorite APG or OA class or use Bestiary 3 without a problem.


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Well...a cleaned Core Rulebook with a redesigned layout and a few minor tweaks to the rules wouldn't be too bad, especially if it was similar enough to the current version that you wouldn't need to buy new books.

Realistically...with Starfinder coming out, I would expect such a book until Starfinder itself is decently fleshed out. At that point, between popular unchained rules, well received mechanics from other hardcovers, and whatever they do with Starfinder, the developers would have a pretty good idea of what a Pathfinder 2.0 looks like.


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So uh...did anyone else's volume show up in their downloads under "Taldor, inc", and not in the Strange Aeons AP section of their downloads?


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KarlBob wrote:

I didn't know he had started in on whales and dolphins now. That's a big jump from 'There's something wrong with our pterosaurs'.

Speaking of pterosaurs, I like the way he draws their wings. Whether he's right or not, there's something satisfying to me in the idea that their wings folded up neatly when not in use.

Edit: I just followed his link to pterosaur.net. Despite his claims to the contrary, to me their wing drawings don't look that much different than his.

I hope that his use of Photoshop-style digital fossil manipulation doesn't prejudice the rest of the paleontology community against it too much. Trying to rearrange bones from a photo of a fossil that you've never seen in person seems less than ideal, but it makes sense to me that simultaneously examining the physical fossil and reassembling the bones in 3D with Photoshop or CAD-style modeling software might reveal some things that aren't obvious from the fossil itself.

From what I understand, his ideas of wing shape are based solely on the photoshop technique, and are not really something supported by available evidence

As for his technique, people do regularly use UV lighting or CT scanning to identify or clarify features hard to see in the fossil. The problem with the photoshop method is that, without viewing the fossils in person, you can't determine if the "feature" being identified isn't some random artificial scratch or other feature introduced by prep, or simply image artifacts from pixelation or lighting issues. Without side by side comparisons of fossil and image, the method is worthless. David Peters doesn't do this...the images he analyzed are often random pictures from books and scientific papers. He routinely has trouble telling apart real versus fake features by using these images and these methods.


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Thomas Seitz wrote:

Sun,

I think Snart is staying off the team until someone decides to mess with the timelines.

Although Snart IS suppose to somehow become part of the Legion of Doom...


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The problem was that this crossover ep also happened to be Arrow's one hundredth episode. Hence it had to do double duty as a retrospective on the show's past 4+ seasons (hence the simulation that allowed them to bring back various dead characters), AND as a crossover. HOping the LoT ep tonight will be more like the Flash ep and give everyone a bit more to do.


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Cole Deschain wrote:
What's your favorite extinct marine mammal?

Probably the giant fossil walrus Pontolis, which was the size of a elephant seal but has a long skull more typical of what you would see in a leopard seal. A scary combination.


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books like this make me really wish I had the money to keep up my AP and RPG line subscriptions and also subscribe to the CS line :(


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Aberzombie wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Also I think Cisco IS going to go villain at this point. His vibe moment was misinterpreted: He is the bad guy in that scene.
Didn't they already fulfill that little bit of vision prophecy? When he and Caitlin duked it out while she was being overcome by the Killer Frost persona. He was definitely the good guy in that sequence.

I think Disco and Caitlin were in different outfits..I think that is still to come.


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Aberzombie wrote:

Hate to say it, but.....the writers are really f$#!ing this up.

** spoiler omitted **

I've got Arrow and Legends set to record, but I'm not sure I'll even bother to watch them.....

You kind of have been stating something like this on most episodes. Maybe...if you don't like the show much, you should maybe tune out? I hate-watched Gotham for almost two years before finally pulling the plug, and I am so glad I did.


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Set wrote:
Greylurker wrote:
Revelations for Stein I think is important for Barry. It shows that while Flashpoint did screw over a lot of people, not all the changes are bad ones. Hearing that news is just the thing Barry needs to perk him up.

Or make things even worse, since now he can't 'fix' things for people like Cisco and Caitlin, without effectively murdering Stein's daughter.

It's just made things messier, since now he's got a reason why the timeline can't just be reset (and Caitlin has to stay Killer-Frost-in-waiting and Dante Ramon has to stay dead), since Barry now knows someone that will cease to exist (and a friend who will be hurt by that) if things get 'rebooted' again.

Actually are we so sure Barry is responsible for Stein's daughter? Stein starting getting the memory flashbacks IIRC AFTER the 80's trip where he yelled at his younger self for not valuing his wife enough.

Flashpoint divergence begins...what when Barry is 8 or so? Stein's daughter looks about the same age or maybe even older than Barry. That means she would have been born pre-flashpoint timeline reset. I think it's going to turn out in the LoT episode that Stein himself caused that ripple, not Barry.

Also I think Cisco IS going to go villain at this point. His vibe moment was misinterpreted: He is the bad guy in that scene.


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Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Feral wrote:
*Wally going to HR for training makes zero sense. He's got no experience with metas, no scientific background, and no combat skills. It'd make more sense for Wally to join the military or something.
I interpret it as desperation. No one else is giving him a chance, so Wally goes for the other member no one takes seriously and has to prove himself.

Plus Wally has interacted the least with H.R. He's probably interpreting him as equivalent to the versions of that character, who are way more competent.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Why does phylogeny matter? I see the more esoteric type biologists arguing over it all the time but... why?

Evolution is the backbone of biology. To reference a well known quote: "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution"

To understand how things evolve...you need to know what they are related to and what the common ancestors of groups were. This means that you need to know the the evolutionary tree for a group (the phylogeny) before you can figure out anything.

A good example are snakes. There is a lot of debate over how and where snakes evolved. Everyone agrees they are lizards, but what lizards are most closely related to them, and how fossil snakes fit into the picture, influences how we think snakes got all their features that make them "snaky". If you think the oldest snakes are all terrestrial burrowing animals, than snake limb reduction and other features were probably a consequence of adaptation to living underground. If you think they are close relative to the ancestors of mosasaurs, this would suggest that the common ancestor of snakes was aquatic, and that limb loss is related to convergence on an eel-like form. Phylogenies provide us with ways of testing these ideas.

In my own work, I have used phylogenies to determine where fur seals and sea lions evolved and how they spread through the world oceans, how seals simplified their teeth and lost the ability to chew, and how the ability to echolocate evolved alongside the ability the hear at high frequencies. I can't really imagine any of my studies as being possible without the use of some sort of phylogeny at some stage of the research.


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KarlBob wrote:

Great thread! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

What are your thoughts about the ReptileEvolution.com controversy?

David Peters is an utter crank and doesn't know the first thing about evolutionary trees or how to construct and interpret them. I actually have been recently checking his blog because in the last few weeks he has started adding whales to his large reptile tree and has been reporting amazing (read = crazy) results, like dolphins and baleen whales not being related, or that dolphins are related to tenrecs.

As an example, a recent blog post had him post the idea that a group of very early baleen bearing whales were actually toothed whales. This idea was based solely on the fact he didn't know what modern whale jaws looked like and basically didn't realize what side was "up" and was "down" in a fossil specimen, so he misinterpreted the jaws badly. This is what happens when you don't actually look at specimens or bother to learn anything about the biology of organisms, but still somehow think you can not only state radical new ideas of their evolutionary relationships, but in the same breath dismiss the work of every other biologist and paleontologist in the field.


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To be honest...that party would have problems in almost all the Inner Sea, outside of maybe the Shackles or Katapesh...


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I think this was probably the fall finale...probably won't get another episode until January, so they wanted to tie up a lot of this season's plot lines before the break.


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189birds wrote:
Ayyy I'm currently studying natural science with the intent to go into paleontology! Have you done any work involving marine reptiles (either extant or extinct groups)?

Not really, but I would like to. I do try to go to the talks at the vert Paleo meeting, but it seems they are usually up against another session that I need to go to. Their definitely cool animals though, and If I get my own lab I definitely want to expand into sea turtle research at the very least.


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Crusinos wrote:

Okay, here's a question that bugs me...

Do marine mammals see a different light spectrum than humans do?

A lot still remains to be learned, but it appears that both pinnipeds and whales have reduced sensitivity to short wavelengths, and probably couldn't see UV wavelengths very well, although they still seem to be able to distinguish between colors. Manatees have had even less work done, but probably have land mammal vision and lack any sensitivity to UV light (not that a manatee really needs much in the way of eyesight to graze on seagrass or other aquatic vegetation).


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David knott 242 wrote:

From the geography of Golarion, Arcadia has the same disadvantages relative to Avistan that the historical Americas have had relative to Europe. These disadvantages manifested as reduced resistance to disease and a lower level of technology.

However, the different history of Golarion has allowed Arcadia to overcome those disadvantages. The major epidemics that would have wiped out most of the population of Arcadia would have occurred about 5000 years ago, and trade with Avistan would have started much sooner than in our world -- so it would be hard for at least the eastern part of Arcadia to do anything but keep up with Avistan.

It is also likely (though not mentioned in any official source) that the northwestern part of Arcadia is already in contact with Tian Xia and is progressing in lockstep with that continent.

If the mountain barriers do not slow down the Arcadians too much, some cultures in the middle part of northern Arcadia could be combining technology from Avistan, Tian Xia, and their own innovations in very interesting ways.

A lot of the geographical issues with Arcadia, that plagued the Americas...can pretty much be handwaved away by gods. "Oh horses aren't here? BOOP Now they are" Etc. Disease? There is a cleric spell for that.

Also if anything Geography HELPS Arcadia. In our world the Pilgrims didn't have to sail through a ruined archipelago full of monsters and ancient discarded magics to reach the shores of North America. That's going to severely limit cross Arcadian Ocean trade and colonization.


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Slasher movies are (usually) my go to "background noise/images while doing other things" choice.


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Obligatory word of warning that Wikipedia can be useful, but articles on relatively "popular subjects" often attract edits that are more based on pop "knowledge" or speculation than fact. See that notation about Cain being the "father" of goblins as an example.

Also, If I recall from the top of my head, the the celtic languages are a derivative of the ancient proto Indo-European language. It's not so much that Celts influenced the Indus valley civilizations, as the other way around.

Ancient household gods may have been the source of goblin legends, and that of other household spirits. but it's like a giant game of telephone...a thousands of years of reinterpretations and cultural changes have resulted in entities fairly distinct from there proto-origins. The "classic fairy goblin" is a pretty late invention, something that was later redefined and expanded upon to form the "Tolkien" goblin that pops up in DnD and modern fantasy books.


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It made good background entertainment while cooking, but I got to say this just mostly has me stoked for the new episodes coming next year. Between having seen most episodes many many times and the uh...at time dated humor...I am really looking forward to seeing what the new episodes will be like.


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to throw my own 2 cents in, and as someone who also has spent a lot of time reading and researching folklore, Catholics didn't really have anything to do with demonization of Hobgoblins. Rather, the demonization was more of a Puritan/Protestant influence, and actually happened rather late (IIRC around the 1600's). Before this time, Hobs were just dumber and more mischievous house spirits.


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Werthead wrote:
Quote:
I'm totally willing to accept it as a story premise. But then the story ceases to be science and becomes a miracle tale.

Well, some parts of quantum theory do allow for the idea that time is very much not as straightforward as we perceive it and that perception of time is malleable is well-known (the way it seems to speed up as we get older, for example, even when it remains exactly the same).

I'm wary of going down the route of saying that something isn't science fiction just because it features an extreme extrapolation of ideas. In that case, any story involving FTL at all isn't science fiction, any story featuring aliens isn't SF and we're left with very little that is SF (in terms of recent films, not very much at all, as even THE MARTIAN and GRAVITY feature very loose grasps of the laws of physics).

Pretty much. Under that definition science fiction really doesn't exist, it's all just futuristic fantasy. You would be hard pressed to find science fiction that doesn't run up against some loose interpretation of science or have certain logistical details handwaved away.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

More cellular than anything but here goes...

What would happen if you took CRISPER and swapped the DNA of your cells out for the DNA your cells had when they were younger?

No clue...genetics/cell biology is pretty outside my wheelhouse.


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

Just had a thought: Is anything at least in principle capable of reef building using silica (or silicate minerals) instead of calcium carbonate? Closest thing I can think of to this are stromatolites.

During parts of the Mesozoic at least, the dominant reef builders were sponges that relied upon silicon to build their skeleton. There are still a few species left of those groups, but they are rare and limited to deep water. They are not successful today because diatoms (a type of microscopic algae plankton) also use silicon to build shells, and basically "steal" all the silicon in the water column at shallow levels, leaving not enough for the sponges.

Anthropogenic climate change is probably not going to impact diatoms enough to remove them as competitors and allow sponges to take over shallow water reef building.


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Crusinos wrote:
Quark Blast wrote:
"CBDunkerson wrote:

Rather, {Google} concluded that no current technology could get us back down to 350 ppm atmospheric CO2 levels. Which is true.

Not being able to stop CO2 levels from growing is a completely different thing, which they apparently weren't looking to attempt.

Crusinos wrote:
They found that not only would green technology not bring atmospheric CO2 levels down, but that green technologies wouldn't even slow the rise.

We just made 400 ppm CO2 for the entire year (official numbers aren't in of course since we've got another month to go but no one expects there to be a drop below 400 ppm), so CO2 levels are not dropping despite the massive deployment of green tech.

I think no matter what we do globally that CO2 levels will see a significant decrease (and green tech a significant deployment) by about 2040. Paris Agreement notwithstanding one way or the other.

You know what 3 of the top 10 selling cars are in China?
SUVs, including #1; the other two may be 9th and 10th but they are also the fastest growing.

Ask yourself how many new cars are expected to hit the road** in India the next 5 years. That increase alone will put more CO2 into the atmosphere than any reduction we might see in America and Europe combined.

** The road being made from oil of course!

This makes a lot of sense for China to do, from a pure infrastructure standpoint.

China and the U.S. have something in common: Massive amounts of land, while populations remain concentrated along the coastal areas. The result is a very large amount of territory that is, relatively, sparsely populated. Electric cars are not really that good of an idea at current for most of either nation simply due to that population spread.

This is part of what hinders the industry in both nations; from a pure infrastructure standpoint, it is practically impossible to build the necessary support...

If most of the population is centered in certain regions, wouldn't that make electric cars and efficient public transit even more useful? I get that the infrastructure doesn't make sense for parts of Wyoming or such. But the vast majority of the coastal populations of California, New England, NY, Washington D.C. don't need to travel to Wyoming every week. You can improve and development infrastructure in one area a certain way without applying it evenly to the whole country.


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Jaçinto wrote:

So I felt like throwing some characters together for whatever might come up in the future, or who knows. I want to really cut loose and be something evil, or bordering on it. Something monstrous. I had a skim through Horror Adventures for ideas and I am having a few issues. While some things look neat, from lovecraft horror, to demonic/diabolic stuff, to Friday the 13th slasher stuff, I always have to stop and think about the issues pathfinder has had. By which I mean, stuff that may look neat but is ultimately trash. I lack the system knowledge to just know what is out there and what is "better" while still being fun. So, using the horror adventure archetypes, can anyone help brainstorm some ideas and help me avoid the junk? I was looking at Hangman and Bloody Jake, but at the same time they seem like they might be trash overall for a player even though they feel neat. So any ideas would be nice. Lets discuss and figure this out for someone that wants to play something other than the good guy, and rather someone villainous. Of course, I need to still be able to play in a party with others.

Not asking for full builds. Just to discuss and figure this out. Oh and if corruptions are not just throw away trash, I would love to figure them in as well. Though I do hate that for SOME reason you can't play your character anymore when corrupt enough, because that totally makes sense...

A good chunk of the archetypes really in this book are designed more for GM use, to build thematic villains for a horror campaign. I don't think I would consider Horror Adventures as a player focused splat book in the same way Occult Adventures or the Ultimate line is.


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Wrath wrote:

Corals can colonnise further south (Southern Hemisphere), or further north (northern hemishere).

You may find their distribution changes, but extinction won't happen most likely. There's plenty of shallow ocean around the edge of continents that allows them to get light and the right temperatures.

We'll see some loss of diversity though. Further from the equator, the less light intensity. The symbiotic algae in Corals need that light and the corals need the algae. So some of the more light sensitive species may vanish I reckon.

The thing I worry about is less temperature, but the lysocline and overall more acidic oceans. The lysocline is a depth in the water at which carbonate is dissolved faster than it can precipitate, due to the PH of the water. Basically anything that builds a shell beneath the lysocline has to spend a lot of energy into producing a shell, to make up for the constant dissolution.

Currently the Lysocline is at something like 4,200 meters beneath the ocean surface. However during the PETM it rose as high as 500 meters. The PETM is a popular period in the earth history to study because it's a period of rapid global warming associated with a major spike in CO2. THe more CO2 that is pumped into the ocean, the more acidic the ocean gets. Reef building corals have pretty specific environmental tolerances and it wouldn't take much shift in ocean acidity to cause a die off.

I am not saying that the Lysocline will be so shallow it will exist at the surface, but a sudden shoaling of this line would indicate overall an increased acidity in the oceans. That's going to play havoc with a lot of ecological communities, and corals already have to do deal with algal blooms from agricultural run off and changes in the community structure from overfishing.


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Which brings up the question of what happened to corals (first appeared 542 million years ago) during past periods of high CO[2] (like the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, ~55.5 million years ago)?

The dominant reef building organisms have actually changed quite a bit over time, with different groups taking over the role after major extinctions. Scleractinian corals, which are the dominant group today, evolved in the Triassic but only became important parts of the reef building community during the Cenozoic. Various other groups, many either now extinct or reduced in importance, have been the dominant reef builders in the past. These include different coral groups, sponges, calcareous red algae, and even clams.

During the PETM..we do see a decline and eventual loss of coral reefs, beginning at low latitudes and moving north through time.

Not all Scleractinian corals builds reefs. Some are more "solitary" and also do not construct as hard of skeletons. It's possible that these forms ended up giving rise to the post PETM (Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum) reef builders. It's hard to say because interpreting the evolutionary relationships of coral is really really difficult, since the soft anatomy doesn't preserve and there are only so many features you can use on a coral skeleton to interpret their evolutionary relationships.


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Chris Lambertz wrote:

This is a great question! New flagging options are pretty deeply embedded into the forums architecture, and the Tech Team is quite backed up and unlikely to be able to implement this before we decide how to we're going to treat political threads going forward. However, I feel the following might be more effective:

Quote:

"Breaks other guidelines" becomes "Reason not listed"

o When selecting prompt in the modal the user is presented with the option to flag as normal or to provide feedback in text box that is passed along to community@paizo.com as needed (This prompt text should say, "Help us understand whats happening" or similar)
I am curious to hear what folks this about this—from my perspective it seems more user friendly than a call to open up an email app/tab to contact us at our inbox, and that folks might be more compelled to explain their reasoning behind flagging (occasionally we come across "Breaks other guidelines" posts that are fairly ambiguous).

I too approve of this idea


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odds are they are laying the groundwork to give a reason for Curtis to turn to a tech approach. They are just really really taking there sweet time about it.


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Among those two options, Golarion. Because it's inclusivity is tailored towards our world.

Ebberon has a more nuanced worldview, and I approve of generally a more "gray" moral setting, where good and evil is present in all the races and the true nature of gods is more ambigous. I do ultimately prefer this approach in contrast to the more old school DnD approach that Golarion usually tends to follow, where entire races can be almost entirely evil and there is zero ambiguity often on whether a god or faction is evil. However, given that goblins and orcs are not "real", a more nuanced portrayal of them can't be seen as actually progressive in the same sense in how Paizo tries portrays race, gender, and sexuality in their products.


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Nightwing would be interesting in the sense that...both Supergirl and him are in some ways living in the shadow of their more famous relatives/mentors. Also he just seems to be more likely someone showing up TV versus Batman.


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I dunno...I like Savitar because they seem to be going with him not being a Meta in this interpretation but something else, something no longer human.


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Hama wrote:
Greylurker wrote:

Nobody else laughing at the referance to the Vigilante her cousin used to work with. All costumes and gadgets.

I think that is the 2nd wink towards Batman we've had this season.

You think they are setting us up for a Batgirl team up.

When was the first?

Gotham was name checked in the first episode of the season.

Now we just need Fox's Gotham to be canceled so the batman characters can show up on Supergirl. I'd love to see Nightwing pop up on the show as a reoccurring character.


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Cole Deschain wrote:
Thoughts on how well extant species will adapt to ocean acidification?

I totally forgot to reply to this yesterday:

I think coral reefs are basically $#%@. Ocean acidity will basically mean that a lot of calcium using critters won't be able to build there shells. Ocean acidification is probably the single most troubling climate related effect that we will be experiencing in the next century. The real question is just how badly things will be effected.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
To MMCJawa: Were you as excited about Tiktaalik as I was?

Tiktaalik was definitely cool, especially since it sort of "spurred" further re-examination of other fossils which have changed how we think animals "conquered" the land.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
As for why Us and not them, as the dominant species? My guess is humans possessed some sort of mental quirk, not necessarily greater intelligence or curiosity, but some feature that allowed us to become more adaptive and out compete other hominids.
I recently read a hyopothesis that H. sapiens' early domestication of dogs (from wolves) could easily have allowed them to outcompete other hominids -- they come to raid your caves at night and you have early warning; you raid theirs and have a lot of fangs backing you up.

Maybe...although you could argue that employing domestic animals in such a manner shows a certain ability to exploit novelty that maybe was lacking in our relatives.


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CBDunkerson wrote:
Any thoughts on sightings of 'Pizzly' and 'Grolar' bear hybrids in recent years and what impact the transition from primarily marine to terrestial habitat will have on Polar Bear development? Will they adapt and remain a separate species or be 'absorbed' into the larger Grizzly population?

It's a bit worrying. Polar bears are actually embedded within Brown bears...that is a population of brown bears in Asia was the direct ancestor of all living Polar bears. So hybridization is not surprising and I expect we will see more of it as Grizzlies expand north and as Polar Bears continue to forage further inland.

The one bright/hopeful point is that Polar bears, according to genetic and fossil evidence, branched off long enough ago that they have managed to survive climatic periods with an ice free Arctic summer. My guess is continental populations died or were interbred out but populations "stranded" on arctic islands may have survived and adapted, and provided a source population when climate got cooler. Of course, those populations didn't have to deal with human persecution/pollution/overharvesting of prey species. So who knows whether they will fare as well during our current warming.


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Patrick Curtin wrote:
Here's a question. I came across some folks dissecting a harbor seal last night. They were removing large masses of worms from the seal's interior. I think they said they were lungworms? Have you ever heard of them? I was curious since there seemed to be an awful lot of them getting pulled out of the poor little feller, like huge tangled masses of white worms. Is this common?

not uncommon. Most wild animals have pretty large parasite loads, which mostly don't seem to impact them to much. I haven't done many whale dissections so I haven't seen this as much as other people have, but I know porpoise facial sinuses are usually loaded with worms. So yeah..."fun" stuff to deal with if you deal with a lot of recently dead marine mammals (another perk of working with fossil!)


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Patrick Curtin wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Patrick Curtin wrote:

Are you applying to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute? Because I need some RPG players in my neighborhood! If you are, look for the security guard who wears RPG/geek T shirts.

Not aware of any relevant job openings right now. However I did apply to the University of Rhode Island, which is at least in New England?

Sadly that's a full hour+ from my location. Oh well, keep an eye out. Woods Hole is a lovely place to do marine stuffs.

Plus they got This bad Larry. The pics don't do her justice, she is a huge ship.

Yeah hopefully I will have the chance to visit that area sooner than later. I know we want to do a New England data collection trip at some point, and one of the major whale hearing specialists is at Woods Hole, so anything is possible.


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Kryzbyn wrote:
What are some common misconceptions about sea life (like sharks having to stay in motion)?

Something I constantly deal in my line of work is the idea that dolphins are magical special creatures that are saints in cetacean form. I even had a former labmate who believed that dolphins come from another mystical plane of existence.

Dolphins are animals...much like any intelligent and social animal they engage in tons of behaviors that really are not very "nice". Including infanticide and killing porpoises for the lolz.

Also something that bothers my colleague. People calling manatees fat. They actually have very little blubber, which is why they are so vulnerable to sudden cold spells in Florida. They look "fat" because they have large guts to process plant vegetation and also super thick bones, which act as ballast.


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Kilrex wrote:
Which sea mammal has the easiest spine to rip out?

As someone who literally helped do this in human anatomy lab, none of them, not without a lot of tedious and hard labor cracking vertebrae.


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Patrick Curtin wrote:

Are you applying to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute? Because I need some RPG players in my neighborhood! If you are, look for the security guard who wears RPG/geek T shirts.

Not aware of any relevant job openings right now. However I did apply to the University of Rhode Island, which is at least in New England?


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

I have heard often about the bad health effects of spilled oil (and more recently oil dispersants) on birds and marine life, but what about the health effects on people? Like for instance, what if you were one of the workers trying to help clean up the Deepwater Horizon or similar spill, and you fell overboard into the (oil and possibly dispersant contaminated) water? And possibly ended up ingesting and/or inhaling a bit of it before you could get out or be pulled out? The mainstream news media don't seem to have said anything about this during recent spills.

Edit #1: But I did find this. So at least one scientific/medical article has appeared on the subject (and presumably more -- too late right now for me to do a major Google and/or PubMed search).

Edit #2: Unfortunately the above article doesn't address specific route of exposure (vapor inhalation vs skin contact/immersion/ingestion/etc.).

Well oil and other chemical spills are nasty for all life. It's just that humans can read a MSDS and know how to handle it safely, something a seal or pelican can't benefit from. I wouldn't jump into an oil slick naked to save a penguin or something, but I think most rescue volunteers generally have the training and equipment to minimize their own health risks


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Tacticslion wrote:
Many questions

Two super powers: Shapeshifting, just because it basically is so overall useful. And teleporting, because it would seriously reduce the amount of money I spend per year visiting my parents and museum collections/birding

Gestalt Superhero: lets go with Dr. Doom and Aquaman. I mean Doom is already a gestalt of Sorceror and super scientist, so why not throw talking with dolphins on top of that.

I'd probably take either the CW DCverse or the MCU. But I would prefer to be in this world, where I wouldn't have other superfolk to compete with or worry about.

Probably Druid..maybe with a few levels of wizard. I tend to get along better with critters than people and getting a animal buddy is appealing to someone stuck in a tiny studio apartment. I'd probably go elf if I had a chance because I never hear about elves worrying about losing a few pounds

Hierophant...so I could work toward becoming a god MUAHAHAHA

Monster? no clue probably a dragon of some sort?

NPC? Quinn maybe? he seems pretty kickass

Setting: They all kind of suck to live in honestly. Too many evil gods/demons/despots/monsters. I guess as a high level mythic character...lets go with Deep Tolguth, because dinosaurs are awesome. Or Numeria because android are also awesome


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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
More and more evidence indicates that as late as 50k years ago there may have been as many as 4 Homo species (H. sapiens, H. neandertalensis, H. denisova (?), and H. floresiensis), do you think interbreeding among species is the main reason our species came out on top? And there's even evidence of another unknown species showing up in genetics of some of Oceania's peoples, and there is also evidence Homo erectus stayed around as late as 75k years ago in some places. To me this is one of the greatest paleontological puzzles existing, and it actually keeps me up at night thinking about it. So what's your take on it?

I think Interbreeding with other hominids was a byproduct of us being so successful, not the reason for. There may have been civil interactions that resulted in the occasional pairing, or adoption of infants and refugees from one species to another, but too many interactions between cultures of uneven technology levels in our more recent history doesn't make me optimistic that past interbreeding was of entirely a romantic nature.

As for why Us and not them, as the dominant species? My guess is humans possessed some sort of mental quirk, not necessarily greater intelligence or curiosity, but some feature that allowed us to become more adaptive and out compete other hominids. We may have also benefited, in at least some cases, from being better suited to a warmer climate and not dealing with historical legacies tied to be adapted to ice age Europe or a small tropical island.


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Rednal wrote:
What do you think is the coolest method of communication that aquatic life uses?

Cephalopods do some pretty cool stuff with rapid color changes.


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Sissyl wrote:
Sometimes, I wonder about the spectrum of possible dinosaurs... It seems to me that with few fossils found, it is understandable that a single bone gets you a new species... but they all seem to look pretty much the same (excepting the armored dinos). Am I right in suspecting that quite often, drawings of a new dino are merely that way because it's what the complete fossils looked like? I mean, in hundreds of millions of years, there should have been more diversity, right?

Certainly a lot of species are not known from much material and so people tend to default to better understood close relatives. And we don't know much of the soft anatomy for most dinosaurs...they could have been way way freakier and bizarre looking (See All Yesterdays by Darren Naish). Also I think certain "memes" get established in paleoart, which leads to animals being drawn in similar ways which maybe makes them seem more similar than they really are.

I do think that their are probably a lot of weird dinos still out there to be found, and things we don't realize as being as weird as they probably are.

For instance, Growing up, we knew practically nothing about Therizinosaurs, since most of there species hadn't been discovered yet and those that were were misidentified. The fact that a large group of dinosaurs which looked like the misbegotten offspring of a sloth and a turkey were roaming across two continents for a considerable period of the Cretaceous without being detected is pretty amazing.

Spinosaurs are another odd group that we didn't really know a whole lot about until recently. Even though Spinosaurus was known from before World War two, no one realized just how weird it was, beyond having a sail. It wasn't until Baryonx was described in the 80's did people realize that they had weird crocodile like heads and massive forearms, and maybe were some sort of weird experimentation in fish eating.

So I think dinosaurs were pretty diverse, but yes we are probably not picking up that full diversity...the fossil record is what it is, and most species simply are not known from much material. Given all the discoveries since I was born I expect that diversity will continue to expand and be even weirder.

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