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I know that 'auk' comes from Icelandic álka, but it still sounds like a word I would have awkwardly made up as a child as a name for some imaginary species.


1984 is a 1974 single by David Bowie, from his album Diamond Dogs. Written in 1973, it was inspired by George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and, like much of its parent album, originally intended for a stage musical based on the novel, which was never produced because permission was refused by Orwell's wife.


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Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
I know that 'auk' comes from Icelandic álka, but it still sounds like a word I would have awkwardly made up as a child as a name for some imaginary species.

Ha! The Icelanders are all about auks -- or, probably more accurately, they assume that tourists are. You can't walk 10 feet in Reykjavik without running across a dozen Bill Cosby sweaters and a stuffed auk.


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There is a theory that the purpose of motion sickness is to purge hallucinogenic poisons from the body. When the body feels motion but the eyes do not see it, the brain assumes it is hallucinating and makes the body nauseous in order to vomit whatever may have been ingested.


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Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
I know that 'auk' comes from Icelandic álka, but it still sounds like a word I would have awkwardly made up as a child as a name for some imaginary species.

Aukward.


The Status Crow wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
I know that 'auk' comes from Icelandic álka, but it still sounds like a word I would have awkwardly made up as a child as a name for some imaginary species.
Aukward.

Careful, before the international pun registry catches you!


Also, there is a syndrome some people have in which coming out of a dark tunnel into the light creates the uncontrollable impulse to sneeze repeatedly.

It is sometimes called ACHOO syndrome.


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Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
The Status Crow wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
I know that 'auk' comes from Icelandic álka, but it still sounds like a word I would have awkwardly made up as a child as a name for some imaginary species.
Aukward.
Careful, before the international pun registry catches you!

If they catch me, they'll punish me.


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The Status Crow wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
The Status Crow wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
I know that 'auk' comes from Icelandic álka, but it still sounds like a word I would have awkwardly made up as a child as a name for some imaginary species.
Aukward.
Careful, before the international pun registry catches you!
If they catch me, they'll punish me.

....... that took me a moment.


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Aniuś the Talewise wrote:

We don't know whether or not the pleistocene megafauna extinction was caused by human activity, either.

I read an article about how in eastern north america, Pleistocene megafauna populations were already on the decline before humans arrived in the region (which does not preclude the idea that humans may have finished them off, but it does preclude the idea that humans are solely responsible for the extinction of north american pleistocene megafauna; which sounds right to me because hunter gatherers are low population density and do not extract nearly as much resources from the environment as the higher density agrarian societies do)

AFAIK, I am not aware of any evidence for an significant overall decline in Pleistocene megafauna before the arrival of humans, or at least indications that the megafauna was on the way out before human arrival. It's probable that populations in some parts of the world were stressed due to climate changes associated with the end of last glacial, which would have caused regional droughts and other similar weather changes. However the climate change at the end of the last glacial was no different than what occurred in previous periods of warming during the Pleistocene, and we have no evidence of evidence of any major extinction waves associated with those changes.

There is also the asynchronous nature of the event. Humans arrive on different continents at different times, and these times tend to be associated with extinction waves. Islands...which support even smaller populations of large fauna are are presumably even more vulnerable to drastic climate change, mostly still have there megafauna until human arrival. Similarly, although the marine mammal record isn't great for the Pleistocene, what we do have suggests that marine mammals shifted range but MOSTLY didn't suffer extinction. The major exception is the Steller's Sea cow, which ranged down to central California during the Pleistocene and is pretty much a giant sausage that hung out near shore with no ability to protect itself from human hunters. The last relict populations in the Bering Sea pretty much only survived by hanging out near remote islands that people didn't access much.

As for hunter-gathers being too low density, Alroy and other have actually done experimental modeling which shows that hunter gatherers could pretty easily wipe out megafauna. The key is that humans are smart enough that we can utilize other resources and not depend on just large animals as food. That allows hunter populations to at least initially exist at high enough capacity to impact the populations. We also have an incredible ability to modify our environments, sometimes in such a way that native fauna can't deal. A good chunk of the current environment in Australia for instance was induced through the use of fire in ancient aboriginal hunting; originally the environment in parts of the continent were more lush than today, but selective use of fire favored certain plants, which in turn led to a feedback with local habitat. We also saw this in parts of the Great Plains. Loss of major herbivores itself would have seen feedbacks; Extinction of elephants resulted in brushier and denser forests, which may have impacted other herbivores. Decline in herbivores would have resulted in loss of more specialized predators and scavengers. And so on and so forth.

And keep in mind that the megafauna that was wiped out mostly were naive of humans, and many species may simply not been able to deal with humans. Combine that with slow reproductive rates and you have a recipe for disaster

Now that is not to say that every large mammal that died out, in for instance, North America, was a human casualty. It's possible some species died out from other factors; Stag-Moose might have lost out to the closely related living Moose when it crossed over Beringia. And I am still completely and utterly mystified why the Horse (and genetic studies show that at least one of the NA species was the same species we domesticated in the Old World) died out in North America but hung on in Europe.


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Aniuś the Talewise wrote:

The Great Auk was a large, penguin-like bird that lived off the coasts of western europe before it was hunted to extinction in the 19th century. Vikings hunted the auk.

also, it was the first animal to be called a 'penguin', though it was unrelated to what are called penguins now.

Fun penguin-related fact. There have been multiple records over the years of Humboldt Penguins in the wild from Alaska to Washington State. They are assumed brought aboard fishing vessels off South America and kept as pets, then released.


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Trigger Loaded wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:

The Great Auk was a large, penguin-like bird that lived off the coasts of western europe before it was hunted to extinction in the 19th century. Vikings hunted the auk.

also, it was the first animal to be called a 'penguin', though it was unrelated to what are called penguins now.

I recall reading that the reason it was hunted to extinction was because it was one of the first animals that people realized were becoming extinct due to human action. Which meant a lot of people went out and killed them to add their stuffed bodies their collections before they were all gone.

This was almost the fate of the Northern Elephant Seal and Sea Otter, which were both considered "doomed" species by scientists for much of the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th. Similar collecting tactics were also employed on the Caribbean Monk Seal, which did go extinct, although much more recently.


MMCJawa wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:

We don't know whether or not the pleistocene megafauna extinction was caused by human activity, either.

I read an article about how in eastern north america, Pleistocene megafauna populations were already on the decline before humans arrived in the region (which does not preclude the idea that humans may have finished them off, but it does preclude the idea that humans are solely responsible for the extinction of north american pleistocene megafauna; which sounds right to me because hunter gatherers are low population density and do not extract nearly as much resources from the environment as the higher density agrarian societies do)

AFAIK, I am not aware of any evidence for an significant overall decline in Pleistocene megafauna before the arrival of humans, or at least indications that the megafauna was on the way out before human arrival. It's probable that populations in some parts of the world were stressed due to climate changes associated with the end of last glacial, which would have caused regional droughts and other similar weather changes. However the climate change at the end of the last glacial was no different than what occurred in previous periods of warming during the Pleistocene, and we have no evidence of evidence of any major extinction waves associated with those changes.

There is also the asynchronous nature of the event. Humans arrive on different continents at different times, and these times tend to be associated with extinction waves. Islands...which support even smaller populations of large fauna are are presumably even more vulnerable to drastic climate change, mostly still have there megafauna until human arrival. Similarly, although the marine mammal record isn't great for the Pleistocene, what we do have suggests that marine mammals shifted range but MOSTLY didn't suffer extinction. The major exception is the Steller's Sea cow, which ranged down to central California during the Pleistocene and is pretty much a giant sausage that hung...

Hmm that's a pretty compelling argument and sounds plausible to me. Granted I was only examining the situation in North America and am not well versed on the matter (since my actual research question was 'would pleistocene megafauna still exist in Connecticut today if the genus homo never happened?)

Let me see if I can find the article I mentioned

ah yes, here it is


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In the early 70s, musician Neil Peart left Canada and tried to make it big in the London music scene, before becoming disillusioned and returning home to work at his father's tractor dealership. Less than a year after returning home, Peart answered an ad from a local band looking for a drummer, and the rest is history.

But, until then, I give you Neil Peart, Parts Manager.


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Speaking of Rush, I always thought that Geddy Lee was really short, given that he's shorter than the other members of the band. I was wrong. He's 5'10". Alex Lifeson is at least 6', and Neil Peart is 6'4".


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Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
Stuff

I'll try to get ahold of the pdf later; it's behind a paywall for me right now and I am working from home today. I'd have to see the paper's evidence, but I do wonder if the lack of strong evidence for overlap is a result of a poorer ancient archaeological record and Pleistocene fossil record. Also a good chunk of the classic megafauna I think was absent from the Northeast, thinks like camels, llamas, glyptodonts, etc were much more abundant at fossil sites in the east and west. A good chunk of New England was also buried under the Laurentide ice sheet, and probably only began withdrawing after humans were already in North America and having an impact.


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David M Mallon wrote:
Less than a year after returning home, Peart answered an ad from a local band looking for a drummer, and the rest is history.

That dude had class. There's an anecdote about a fan asking him, "How does it feel to be the greatest rock drummer of all time?"

Peart allegedly replied, "I don't know; you'll have to ask Stewart Copeland."


David M Mallon wrote:
Speaking of Rush, I always thought that Geddy Lee was really short, given that he's shorter than the other members of the band. I was wrong. He's 5'10". Alex Lifeson is at least 6', and Neil Peart is 6'4".

what a bunch of giants.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Port jervis has an elevation of 400 feet. meaning that the road gets really interesting for tractor trailers that can't go up or can't stop coming down..

Passenger trains to Port Jervis are technically an MTA service, but they are run by NJ Transit.


Freehold DM wrote:
David M Mallon wrote:
Speaking of Rush, I always thought that Geddy Lee was really short, given that he's shorter than the other members of the band. I was wrong. He's 5'10". Alex Lifeson is at least 6', and Neil Peart is 6'4".
what a bunch of giants.

Blackie Lawless of the heavy metal band WASP is also 6'4".


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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
David M Mallon wrote:
Speaking of Rush, I always thought that Geddy Lee was really short, given that he's shorter than the other members of the band. I was wrong. He's 5'10". Alex Lifeson is at least 6', and Neil Peart is 6'4".
what a bunch of giants.
Blackie Lawless of the heavy metal band WASP is also 6'4".

Jerry Only from The Misfits is 6'1". Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein is 6'3". Glenn Danzig is 5'4".


MMCJawa wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
Stuff
I'll try to get ahold of the pdf later; it's behind a paywall for me right now and I am working from home today. I'd have to see the paper's evidence, but I do wonder if the lack of strong evidence for overlap is a result of a poorer ancient archaeological record and Pleistocene fossil record. Also a good chunk of the classic megafauna I think was absent from the Northeast, thinks like camels, llamas, glyptodonts, etc were much more abundant at fossil sites in the east and west. A good chunk of New England was also buried under the Laurentide ice sheet, and probably only began withdrawing after humans were already in North America and having an impact.

Those are good points. I'm at a university and may be able to transmit a pdf to you by some means.

I've been busy attempting to construct a hypothetical world in which the genus homo never happened, and based on this paper I made the assumption that pleistocene megafauna were on the way out in the northeast anyway. It looks like I might have to take that assumption back.

Altho if humans killed off the horse in NA I do wonder why it still survived in eurasia.


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Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
Stuff
I'll try to get ahold of the pdf later; it's behind a paywall for me right now and I am working from home today. I'd have to see the paper's evidence, but I do wonder if the lack of strong evidence for overlap is a result of a poorer ancient archaeological record and Pleistocene fossil record. Also a good chunk of the classic megafauna I think was absent from the Northeast, thinks like camels, llamas, glyptodonts, etc were much more abundant at fossil sites in the east and west. A good chunk of New England was also buried under the Laurentide ice sheet, and probably only began withdrawing after humans were already in North America and having an impact.

Those are good points. I'm at a university and may be able to transmit a pdf to you by some means.

I've been busy attempting to construct a hypothetical world in which the genus homo never happened, and based on this paper I made the assumption that pleistocene megafauna were on the way out in the northeast anyway. It looks like I might have to take that assumption back.

Altho if humans killed off the horse in NA I do wonder why it still survived in eurasia.

I have heard the suggestion that disease may have played a role in NA horse extinction, but I don't remember what if anything this is based on.

It could also be that the horse populations in Eurasian were better prepared to deal with hominid predators as they evolved alongside them.

Although to be fair its not like...Horses have done that well in the Old World. Of 7 species of Wild Horse recognized by IUCN, only two species are not in risk of extinction, the Plains Zebra and the Kiang of central Asia. Most subspecies of Wild Horse are extinct and were so since the early modern era.


MMCJawa wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
Stuff
I'll try to get ahold of the pdf later; it's behind a paywall for me right now and I am working from home today. I'd have to see the paper's evidence, but I do wonder if the lack of strong evidence for overlap is a result of a poorer ancient archaeological record and Pleistocene fossil record. Also a good chunk of the classic megafauna I think was absent from the Northeast, thinks like camels, llamas, glyptodonts, etc were much more abundant at fossil sites in the east and west. A good chunk of New England was also buried under the Laurentide ice sheet, and probably only began withdrawing after humans were already in North America and having an impact.

Those are good points. I'm at a university and may be able to transmit a pdf to you by some means.

I've been busy attempting to construct a hypothetical world in which the genus homo never happened, and based on this paper I made the assumption that pleistocene megafauna were on the way out in the northeast anyway. It looks like I might have to take that assumption back.

Altho if humans killed off the horse in NA I do wonder why it still survived in eurasia.

I have heard the suggestion that disease may have played a role in NA horse extinction, but I don't remember what if anything this is based on.

It could also be that the horse populations in Eurasian were better prepared to deal with hominid predators as they evolved alongside them.

Although to be fair its not like...Horses have done that well in the Old World. Of 7 species of Wild Horse recognized by IUCN, only two species are not in risk of extinction, the Plains Zebra and the Kiang of central Asia. Most subspecies of Wild Horse are extinct and were so since the early modern era.

That's true, but the picture of the relationship between humans and horses (wild or otherwise) is entirely different during the modern era than it was during the palaeolithic, so I'm not sure if the modern condition of wild horses makes a good comparison.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:


Altho if humans killed off the horse in NA I do wonder why it still survived in eurasia.

Because what died off in North America wasn't the horse, but a small precursor called an eohippus. Horses were not seen in America until the Spanish brought them over to the continent, and lost a bunch of them.


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Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
Stuff
I'll try to get ahold of the pdf later; it's behind a paywall for me right now and I am working from home today. I'd have to see the paper's evidence, but I do wonder if the lack of strong evidence for overlap is a result of a poorer ancient archaeological record and Pleistocene fossil record. Also a good chunk of the classic megafauna I think was absent from the Northeast, thinks like camels, llamas, glyptodonts, etc were much more abundant at fossil sites in the east and west. A good chunk of New England was also buried under the Laurentide ice sheet, and probably only began withdrawing after humans were already in North America and having an impact.

Those are good points. I'm at a university and may be able to transmit a pdf to you by some means.

I've been busy attempting to construct a hypothetical world in which the genus homo never happened, and based on this paper I made the assumption that pleistocene megafauna were on the way out in the northeast anyway. It looks like I might have to take that assumption back.

Altho if humans killed off the horse in NA I do wonder why it still survived in eurasia.

I have heard the suggestion that disease may have played a role in NA horse extinction, but I don't remember what if anything this is based on.

It could also be that the horse populations in Eurasian were better prepared to deal with hominid predators as they evolved alongside them.

Although to be fair its not like...Horses have done that well in the Old World. Of 7 species of Wild Horse recognized by IUCN, only two species are not in risk of extinction, the Plains Zebra and the Kiang of central Asia. Most subspecies of Wild Horse are extinct and were so since the early modern era.

That's true, but the picture of the relationship between humans and horses (wild or otherwise) is entirely different during the modern era than it was during the palaeolithic, so...

What, we're just skipping the neolithic period now? /wink


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LazarX wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:


Altho if humans killed off the horse in NA I do wonder why it still survived in eurasia.

Because what died off in North America wasn't the horse, but a small precursor called an eohippus. Horses were not seen in America until the Spanish brought them over to the continent, and lost a bunch of them.

Wow...that is so incredibly wrong.

Eohippus (or more appropriately "eohippus" since it's probably not a monophyletic genus) was a member of a grade of early horses that gave rise to later species in the Eocene (close relatives were also hanging out in Eurasia at the same time). However, it's descendants were very much alive in North America throughout the remainder of the Cenozoic. In fact, North America has probably the best and most complete fossil record for horses of any continent, and we can see their progression from early cat-sized critter like Eohippus, to larger forest taxa, to longer-legged and fast moving animals much like the modern horse. The Horse lineage only went extinct in North America during the End Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions, which resulted in the extinction or extirpation of Wild Horse and the Stilt-legged Horse (and maybe more species...Pleistocene Horse taxonomy is a mess and ancient DNA has just made it more confusing).


I saw somewhere that our atmosphere had a seriously higher part oxygen during parts of the dinosaur ages than the 20ish % we have today. Is this true, and was this the reason they got so freaking big?


MMCJawa wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:


Altho if humans killed off the horse in NA I do wonder why it still survived in eurasia.

Because what died off in North America wasn't the horse, but a small precursor called an eohippus. Horses were not seen in America until the Spanish brought them over to the continent, and lost a bunch of them.
Eohippus (or more appropriately "eohippus" since it's probably not a monophyletic genus) was a member of a grade of early horses that gave rise to later species in the Eocene (close relatives were also hanging out in Eurasia at the same time). However, it's descendants were very much alive in North America throughout the remainder of the Cenozoic. ...

Didn't camelids also evolve here first?


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MMCJawa wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:


Altho if humans killed off the horse in NA I do wonder why it still survived in eurasia.

Because what died off in North America wasn't the horse, but a small precursor called an eohippus. Horses were not seen in America until the Spanish brought them over to the continent, and lost a bunch of them.

Wow...that is so incredibly wrong.

Eohippus (or more appropriately "eohippus" since it's probably not a monophyletic genus) was a member of a grade of early horses that gave rise to later species in the Eocene (close relatives were also hanging out in Eurasia at the same time). However, it's descendants were very much alive in North America throughout the remainder of the Cenozoic. In fact, North America has probably the best and most complete fossil record for horses of any continent, and we can see their progression from early cat-sized critter like Eohippus, to larger forest taxa, to longer-legged and fast moving animals much like the modern horse. The Horse lineage only went extinct in North America during the End Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions, which resulted in the extinction or extirpation of Wild Horse and the Stilt-legged Horse (and maybe more species...Pleistocene Horse taxonomy is a mess and ancient DNA has just made it more confusing).

Nonsense. Horses were created 6,000 years ago by a magical being who lives in the infinite expanse of water above the metal dome that protects the Earth. The "Eohippus" remains are from an entirely different "kind" of animal that flourished until the magical being opened up a window in the dome and flooded the Earth because some people were having sex with other magical beings.

Sheesh, haven't you read the science book?


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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:


Altho if humans killed off the horse in NA I do wonder why it still survived in eurasia.

Because what died off in North America wasn't the horse, but a small precursor called an eohippus. Horses were not seen in America until the Spanish brought them over to the continent, and lost a bunch of them.
Eohippus (or more appropriately "eohippus" since it's probably not a monophyletic genus) was a member of a grade of early horses that gave rise to later species in the Eocene (close relatives were also hanging out in Eurasia at the same time). However, it's descendants were very much alive in North America throughout the remainder of the Cenozoic. ...
Didn't camelids also evolve here first?

Yep...Camels not only evolved here but were pretty much ONLY a North American taxon until pretty recently. Camels I believe cross the Bering Sea land bridge sometimes around the Pliocene, so towards the latter half of the Age of Mammals. Similarly, they only crossed over to South America after the formation of the Panama Isthmus (probably), so towards the start of the Ice Ages.


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Sissyl wrote:
I saw somewhere that our atmosphere had a seriously higher part oxygen during parts of the dinosaur ages than the 20ish % we have today. Is this true, and was this the reason they got so freaking big?

Oxygen levels were variable over the Mesozoic, but from what I know were elevated compared to modern levels, at least at certain points. However there doesn't appear to be a link between oxygen content and dinosaur size. Dinosaurs DID use a much different system of lungs, having similar lungs to that of birds, which may be more efficient than mammalian lungs (this is far outside my expertise, so this is mostly stuff I have heard hear and there or remember from way back). The lung system is also associated with hollow bones, which may have helped compensate the large body size.

The biggest difference though between mammals and dinosaurs was reproduction. Dinosaurs laid eggs, and there is absolutely no evidence of live bearing in any dinosaur (or bird or croc for that matter). They seem to have mass produced young, and probably some species had very variable degrees of parental care, ranging from "none" to complex bird behavior.

Mammals in contrast invest far more care to their young, and larger mammals all seem to produce only single offspring (see: humans, elephants, rhinos, whales, etc), which may require a large portion of the year to just give birth to. In fact, there is a strong linear relationship between log body size and gestation and number of offspring. This makes really large mammals terribly vulnerable to things like drought, disease, etc, all in ways that dinosaurs might not have been.

There might have been other reasons to. Really big dinosaurs like the long-necked Sauropods may have had metabolisms that were slower than mammals, and allowed on their large body size to retain heat. They also might have been way less picky on food. Mammals actually have really elaborate dental and digestive systems for processing food; big sauropods probably just hoovered stuff up without processing, and allowed on hind gut fermentation to break down plant material.

ANYWAY, long story short:

Dinosaurs had very different biologies than mammals, and that is probably why they are able to get bigger than mammals.


Go is called both 'go' and 'igo' in Japan. In China it's known by the name wéiqí, and in Korea baduk.

In the west, Go spread through Germany and Austria first in the late 19th century, thanks to the work of Oscar Korschelt. He learned Go in Japan, which is why the game is best known in the west by its Japanese rules and Japanese name.


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There are two popular rules for counting territory at the end of the game in Go

In the Japanese rules, 'dead' pieces are taken as prisoners, and then each prisoner is placed in the territory of the player it came from, to reduce that player's points. After all the prisoners are placed, the territory points are counted, but not the points on which a piece already rests. The person with the more territory, after prisoners are placed, wins. (without placing prisoners, the person with the most territory and prisoners together wins, which is the same thing. placing the prisoners in seichi just makes it easier to figure out who's the victor)

In chinese rules, points that are occupied by pieces in territories are counted, plus prisoners taken by that player. There is no need or point to place prisoners in Chinese counting. This usually works out to about the same as Japanese counting rules.

The difference in Japanese and Chinese rules causes the game to be played a little differently. in Japanese rules, neutral points that provide no benefit to either side often exist at the end of the game, while in Chinese rules, those points can count for a side when taken, and so are taken during the endgame.

Another rule used in the modern era, called komi (this is the Japanese name/rule, I don't know what's the Chinese for this) is also used in scoring. Because black has an advantage by going first, extra points, usually 5.5 or 6.5 moku, are given to white. It is impossible to earn a half-point by playing and this only exists to prevent ties. In a close game where black is the victor it is possible for white to become the victor when komi is added.


white chocolate is basically cacao butter with sugar and milk added.

It may not be true chocolate, but it is still absolutely delicious. Give me 20 shipments.


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The person who made 'that feel' face was Polish. In polish this was known as 'to uczócie' 'that feeling' deliberately mispelled.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sissyl wrote:
I saw somewhere that our atmosphere had a seriously higher part oxygen during parts of the dinosaur ages than the 20ish % we have today. Is this true, and was this the reason they got so freaking big?

No...studies now suggest that Oxygen was about 10-15 percent... actually lower than today's. There was about 5x more C02 in the atmosphere which made the planet considerably more hot.... no glaciers or ice caps... and a considerably higher sea level which meant that most of the landmass that would be known as North America was under water. It was a considerably more friendly environment for animals that were cold-blooded.


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LazarX wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
I saw somewhere that our atmosphere had a seriously higher part oxygen during parts of the dinosaur ages than the 20ish % we have today. Is this true, and was this the reason they got so freaking big?
No...studies now suggest that Oxygen was about 10-15 percent... actually lower than today's. There was about 5x more C02 in the atmosphere which made the planet considerably more hot.... no glaciers or ice caps... and a considerably higher sea level which meant that most of the landmass that would be known as North America was under water. It was a considerably more friendly environment for animals that were cold-blooded.

Again not accurate. Berner 2006 found evidence for lower oxygen levels during the Mesozoic, but Glasspool and Scott 2010 as well as an earlier study by Bergman et al. 2004 show that for the most part oxygen values were much higher in the Mesozoic than today.

It's likely that climate played very little role in the dominance of the dinosaurs; Most Theropods and probably a good chunk of Ornithischian dinosaurs were endothermic to some degree ("warm-blooded", but this is sort of a misleading term to use when describing body temperature). Dinosaurs and Mammals evolved at about the same time, but dinosaurs may have achieved dominance by evolving from ancestors with a more upright gait and more efficient means of locomotion.

And while Mesozoic temperatures were certainly warmer than the climate in the Neogene (e.g. the last 23 million years), the Eocene was actually warmer than the latter half of the Cretaceous, and while glaciation was absent the poles and high latitudes would have seen seasonal snow fall and freezing temperature during parts of the Mesozoic. The Mesozoic is a HUGE tract of time and its innacurate to extrapolate one "climatic condition" for the entire interval.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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I just discovered this thread—so many interesting facts/discussions! L-L-Love it! "My" contribution:

The pickle industry's "man of the year" in 1948 was named Dill L. Pickle.

(I love the linked website for its cool trivia and puzzles. Please excuse me if it's been mentioned here before.)


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I learned a new useful word: vernacular architecture. This is a broad category of architecture styles that are developed as folk traditions, and are developed according to needs of the community and climate, and are not professionally designed by architects (at least not intended to be so), and serve primarily a functional role, not intended to be decorative.


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Avoid people who wear the kimono backwards, with the garment opening along their left side of their body. They are probably undead.

(seriously, wrapping the right side over the left is only used for dressing corpses, and I am seriously annoyed when some western cosplayer gets it wrong, because it's so easy and takes a single second of basic research to get right.)


While revisiting an old favorite manga of mine I noticed that one of the goods sold at the shrine was 'bear's paws' and at first suspected that it might be a non-translation tidbit thrown in by Viz, but it turns out that the original actually said kumade, which is a rake-shaped charm that is actually sold at shrines. 'bear's paw' is the literal translation for the name (熊手), but without any context translating literally like that can be kind of misleading.

It was a minor detail so not a big deal for the translation but still interesting to learn.

Also it turns out that pathfinder has a rake weapon called kumade.

It turns out that 'kumade' is what you call a leaf rake in general in japanese (at least it appears so to me), so I guess the translator was ignorant of the kumade charm tradition and thought it referred to a literal bear's paw? Oy.


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Aniuś the Talewise wrote:

Go is called both 'go' and 'igo' in Japan. In China it's known by the name wéiqí, and in Korea baduk.

In the west, Go spread through Germany and Austria first in the late 19th century, thanks to the work of Oscar Korschelt. He learned Go in Japan, which is why the game is best known in the west by its Japanese rules and Japanese name.

Go is extremely difficult to program for. Using the standard 19x19 board and the average length of a professional game (limit of 400 moves), there are approximately 1.0x10^1023 possible games.

There are about 10^80 atoms in the universe.

The biggest problem for programming a Go AI is that as the game progresses it becomes more complex. In Chess, as pieces are removed the game's possibilities become narrower, there are fewer possible moves to make. With Go, each move makes the pattern more complex increasing possible interactions between different sections of the board.

Another thing used in AI's is pruning branches. In Chess, sacrificing can be a big deal, but there are limits to what you want to sacrifice. For example it's easy to prune any branch that leads to the king being threatened in a move or two. In Go, large sacrifices can still win you the game, so almost nothing can be pruned from the decision tree.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Irontruth wrote:
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:

Go is called both 'go' and 'igo' in Japan. In China it's known by the name wéiqí, and in Korea baduk.

In the west, Go spread through Germany and Austria first in the late 19th century, thanks to the work of Oscar Korschelt. He learned Go in Japan, which is why the game is best known in the west by its Japanese rules and Japanese name.

Go is extremely difficult to program for. Using the standard 19x19 board and the average length of a professional game (limit of 400 moves), there are approximately 1.0x10^1023 possible games.

There are about 10^80 atoms in the universe.

The biggest problem for programming a Go AI is that as the game progresses it becomes more complex. In Chess, as pieces are removed the game's possibilities become narrower, there are fewer possible moves to make. With Go, each move makes the pattern more complex increasing possible interactions between different sections of the board.

Another thing used in AI's is pruning branches. In Chess, sacrificing can be a big deal, but there are limits to what you want to sacrifice. For example it's easy to prune any branch that leads to the king being threatened in a move or two. In Go, large sacrifices can still win you the game, so almost nothing can be pruned from the decision tree.

Go isn't the kind of game that can be won with brute-force analysis the way Chess is. There hasn't been a computer to date that can give a serious challenge to a human master of the game.


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It depends on the board size. Apparently Go has been solved for up to a 5x5 or possibly 7x7 board size, meaning a computer can always win on a small board. Checkers is also a solved game,


i've won against the computer several times in a row on those tiny board sizes even wiht my meager skills, but that may simply be not a very advanced ai.


Finland is the most metal country in the world with a whopping 53.2 metal bands per 100,000 people.

The map shows that the greatest metal bands per capita is concentrated richly in scandinavia, which is, of course to be expected.

Listening to conjectures of viking age folk music such as by Wardruna feels like listening to metal. But I don't know if it's because metal appeals to and has distant roots in traditional scandinavian folk tastes, or because anyone who attempts to create viking age folk music is bound to also love metal (the folks in wardruna for example are also metal artists). It could very well be both.

What would happen if someone brought metal to the viking age? I have the feeling that after the strangeness of the sound of modern drums and electric guitars wears off it might be well received.

Also Ibn Fadlan reports that the folk singing of the Rus sounded to him like the growling of animals. I don't know if that was a literal growly style that was used, or if that was just another one of his whiny hyperboles, but if there's a grain of truth in this then the harsh style of metal may appeal.


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The Atari Pro-Line Trak-Ball controller for the Atari 5200 was larger than the original Nintendo Entertainment System console, released in Japan the same year.


David M Mallon wrote:
The Atari Pro-Line Trak-Ball controller for the Atari 5200 was larger than the original Nintendo Entertainment System console, released in Japan the same year.

has flashbacks


circadian rhythms are controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus, a part of the hypothalamus which sits directly on top of the optic chiasm.

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