Getting Quests Done – Warframe

So I’ve getting back into the groove on Warframe and had to get caught up on story missions. I was several behind due to the starmap update that happened a while back that changed how quests were obtained.

I finally bit the bullet jump and got it done. I have generally tried to avoid any sort of spoilers, and I don’t intend to discuss them at the beginning of the post. I’ll put them at the end with a warning.

I did complete all but one quest, which is on the final step, and all the junctions as well. Yay completionism?

In other news, my warframe part collection is well underway. I’ve acquire 15 new parts since the last time I brought it up. This includes several whole frames that I need to level up, Vauban and Rhino already built. Umbra Excalibur which comes mastered. Octavia, which requires more resources to build, and a smattering of other random parts here an there. This brings me up to about 47% complete.


Okay, time to talk about some quests. So, um, spoiler time, I reckon. If you care, I would suggest not reading further. I feel rather strongly that these types of story reveals are  best in context.


I had three main story quests that needed to be done. The War Within, Chains of Harrow, and The Sacrifice.

The War Within was somewhat emotionally strong. It has us tailing an individual against their will only to learn at the last second that they were luring us into a trap set by the Grineer Queens. They use a scepter to break our link with the Warframe. The result of this is that the Transference Station used to link our operator to the frame is burned out and we are unable to repair it.

The first big blow is that our ship AI, Ordis, says that without the power of transference we’re no longer the operator and we’re promptly purged from the ship. Thrown out onto a snow covered mountain in only a flight suit.

This is probably most brutal for longtime players like myself. Ordis is actually mildly annoying at first, but after a while he started to grow on me right? It was a constant, a fixed point that’s been with you since the beginning of the game, much like our guide The Lotus.

Eventually we come across a series of trials in the mountain that allow us to unlock the innate void powers within our operator, including transference. In addition to these trials there are several bits of repressed memory showing up, and choices you make that control the flow of the dialogue. I personally stuck mostly to the light/mid path.

After that you pretty much use your newfound powers to hand the queens their head, including a couple of final choices regarding their fate and the fate of the scepter.


Chains of Harrow is a more stand-alone type of mission, but one that had a very distinct sort of horror vibe to it. It saw us running away from a dark image that we can’t damage, but can certainly damage us.

It mainly boils down to a fellow Tenno named Rell that was cast out of group due to void sickness and went on to teach some humans and form a sort of religion. Being aware of his mortality he transferred his consciousness into the warframe permanently but this wasn’t enough to stave off the madness and he was ultimately bound in a derelict ship.

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It’s made rather eerie by the fact that all the missions are done in the dark. Messages are occasionally written on the floor or walls in blood. Alot of Rell’s dialogue is of a young voice studying emotion flashcards with his mother. The whole thing just has a slightly creepy vibe to it.


The Sacrifice is what’s bothering me though. In the prelude we walk through a ship listening to dialogue of two Orokin individuals, Ballas and Margulis. We learned previously that Margulis was caretaker of the original orphaned children exposed to the void aboard the ship Zeriman Ten-Zero. They had incredibly powers due to void exposure, but were extremely dangerous. It’s been implied that Rell was one of them, as was our operator.

The Orokin wished to destroy them, while Margulis wanted to cure them via transference. Allow their powers to be channeled in a controlled way via an outside vessel. These vessels would eventually become the Warframes. For her defiance, Margulis was executed, her last words being “My daughters, my sons… I want you to know… my last thoughts are of you.” I personally assume this refers to the Zariman children.

At the end of the mission we see Ballas free the Lotus from her… seat. She says she isn’t who he believes her to be, he says she’s bound, just like Margulis was. That he won’t abandon her a second time. She removes the helmet and they leave.

This has the immediate effect of no longer having our guide that we’ve had up till this point, The Lotus. She is replaced by a holographic recreation provided by Ordis in an attempt to comfort the operator.

The quest line itself has us reliving a series of events that transpired to a war hero. We find an orokin artifact that contains plans for a new warframe called Umbra Excalibur. When we attempt to use it, it forces us out and in the struggle to break free we witness a memory of the hero from his perspective. Restrained on a hospital bed, with two people in the room, Ballas and an individual revealed to be the hero’s son.

Ultimately it draws these little clips out over several missions and reveals many odd bits. Ballas, one of the people involved in developing the Warframes to fight against the Sentients, created them using a modified strain of the infestation. This strain is intentionally given to the war hero in the guise of treatment. These warframes were designed to be drones commanded by the Orokin, but ultimately proved uncontrollable. It’s ultimately revealed that the Zariman children could see inside these hybrids and were able to dull their pain.

The final cutscene is when the infection has run it’s course, and Ballas orders the hero to kill his own son. At this point we sort of befriend this semi-independent warframe and it allows us to control is via transference and we set out to kill Ballas. This proves quite difficult, as Ballas still retains control of Umbra, though transference allows us to override his control somewhat and stab him.

At this point I assumed Ballas was dead. The Lotus shows up, as a rather large sentient creature instead of the lotus we know. She says that this is what she is and picks up Ballas saying “Mother… I am coming home.” Umbra saves of from summary execution by sentient and then it’s over.

The whole experience left me somewhat stunned and confused. I can barely put this together on a good day, much less articulate it in an orderly fashion. It took two hours to write the quest synopsys with videos and wiki pages helping me piece the bits together and recount what happened where and in what order.

The big debate at the moment is how the Sentient Natah(Lotus) relates to Margulis. I dunno, I still don’t know how I feel about all of it. Dazed and confused much like I imagine the operator would feel as well. I don’t like the hologram. I’d almost rather have Ordis during my missions instead.

Sorry for the wall of text. I think I needed this though. The effort of writing it has been a great help in my own understanding of these events and how they fit into the greater whole of the Warframe universe.

“Great choice of weapons operator, please return-COVERED IN BLOOD-safe and sound.” – Ordis

The Curse of the Digital Marketplace

So I’ve been using Steam for several years now and every once in a while I swing by SteamDB.info and check on the stats for my account. They aren’t super accurate at times either. Games owned says 241, but that must include DLC and such cause my actual games library is showing as 192 on Steam.

  • Worth: $3317 ($1075 with sales)
  • Games owned: 241
  • Games played: 158 (65%)
  • Hours on record: 3,568.3h (148d for the curious)

I typically go long enough that I don’t have a good idea what it was last time I checked it. I’m also generally shocked about some of the things I do remember or have learned.

I mean, full retail price of my library is more than the last car I bought. Quick math says that’s about $17.28 per title. That’s probably super inflated by the titles I actually bought though. I think the price range breakdown demonstrates my purchasing habits fairly well. Curiosity aside, Steam says I’ve spent $1,920. Which is a lot closer to the minimum cost than the max cost.

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It’s quite obvious from this that I don’t often buy things at full retail. In fact, only one of those four was bought at that price. XCOM 2, I purchased at launch for full retail. ARK was from Humble Monthly, if I recall. MHW was a gift and NMS was purchased at 50% off. With that siad, it’s also worth pointing out that this is organized according to current cost I belive, not what I paid for it or what it launched at.

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I actually spent a little time playing with numbers and was surprised to discover that the 50+ and 0.01-2 brackets had average ratings well below that of every other bracket, which was right around 80% positive.

The thing is when I was buying physical games more than a decade ago, the idea of owning something I never played was incomprehensible. If I cared enough to buy a game it was because I intended to go home and play it, generally right away.

Today digital distribution has changed things, mostly positively I believe. Small and/or independent developers no longer have to fight for shelf space in store. I mean, sure, some “spots” on the shelf are still better than others, but a digital marketplace has theoretically infinite shelf space.

Resale and bundling has changed somewhat too. You get sites like the well known Humble Bundle that rotate through bundles built around a certain theme. These enable you to purchase 6-30 titles for as little as $15-$20. In a lot of cases it’s designed so that you spend the highest minimum amount to get something that’s popular and/or discounted and it happens to also include several other titles you may or may not want. There are plenty of others too, indiegala comes to mind.

Then places like Green Man Gaming, which is a third party seller of keys. I don’t know exactly how they make a profit, but it’s at least reliable and above the table, so to speak.

So here I sit, having never played 83 of the games I own. I literally haven’t played more of my Steam games that I think I ever owned for PS1. What a strange world we live in.

My Life of Gaming

So, I’ve been playing games almost as long as I can remember.  My parents bought me an NES probably around the age of 5 and I grew up as one of the Nintendo kids of the late 80s and 90s.  I played a lot of things, but there was a lot of Mario and Zelda in there, along with a variety of random odds and ends.  I also had an original gameboy, mostly used for Tetris in the early days.

Once the SNES era rolled around I stuck with Mario/Zelda and began branching out more. Notably some ARPG and plain ol’ RPGs. This is the period of time where game rentals were widespread and common as well, so I played an absolute unit worth of SNES games from all different genres. It quickly became about the RPGs though, they hit the sweet spot. While I certainly haven’t played them all, it would be tiresome to try and list them all here. In the latter half of this time frame I happened to acquire Pokemon as well, as did my brother.

This is honestly when I first remember engaging in co-op play with my brother. I mean, sure, we took turns playing Tetris, and on the SNES Tecmo Secret of the Stars, where we each controlled one of the two parties you could switch between. Secret of Mana and Pokemon quickly became staples.

Once the Nintendo 64 hit, I think it was the beginning of the slide away from console. I loved it and it’s games. I played a ton of Mario/Zelda as well as Mario Kart/Party and Smash Bros. The N64 just didn’t have the RPGs though. They were all over there on the Playstation thing.  I did also do that, mostly for the RPGs but not exclusively. Many an hour spent on FF7, FFT, and MGS among others.

Then, towards the late 90s I started dabbling in pc games. I don’t remember much in the early days, but there were a lot of A/RPG titles with some RTS sprinkled in. Notable titles would be Arcanum, Nox, Morrowind, and of course Warcraft 2. Now, Morrowind was especially unique, because I hadn’t really played anything quite like it before. Especially since it wouldn’t run until I downloaded a patch. Gotta love Bethesda, some things don’t change.

Somewhere along the way I discovered EverQuest. This was a game changer. I played so much vanilla EverQuest that I burned the original static UI into a CRT monitor. I also never got past the early to mid 30s level-wise, I was too easily distracted. I was in love with the idea though, it was everything I tended to play, but there were other people too!

Around this time things get difficult to track, but the short of it is that I went to a local community college and obtained a CIS degree with programming specialization.  During this time I continued dabbling with MUDs, MMOs, and started spending more time with single player RPGs.  Morrowind, specifically, comes to mind.  I tinkered with writing and game design a little bit during this time as well.

Then everything got weird because I moved out to Redmond, WA to attend the seemingly respectable DigiPen Institute of Technology.  Shared a building with Nintendo back then.  I didn’t make it past the first year for a variety of reasons, mostly a lack of dedication on my part and measure of disappointment with changes to the curriculum going on at the time.  It’s weird how certain games stand out during certain time periods of my life.  I remember briefly playing Shadowbane, as well as WoW and The Sims Online during this time.  I also picked up a MTG habit there for a while.  We were in the midst of Mirrodin when I played.  Loved me a good booster draft.

From there I just sort of dabbled with a wide variety of things, focusing heavily on the MMO genre but also some single player RPGs and a few odds and ends like The Sims.  I wasn’t a very social person at the time, so I tended to play mostly solo even in the MMOs.  Eventually I grew dissatisfied with what I was getting out of gaming and sort of quit.

I grew dissatisfied with gaming because I saw the various physical craft/hobbies of others and saw that they had a tangible thing as a result of their effort.  Then I looked at the games, especially the MMOs and figured not only did I not have a tangible thing, but I had very transient things.  They weren’t real, they didn’t matter, and they could be taken away by forces beyond my control at a moments notice.

So I just, quit.  Gaming lost it’s appeal.  I began tinkering with a wide variety of crafts and hobbies.  Jewelry making, lost wax casting, crochet, knitting, spinning, armchair philosophy, and witchcraft, just to name a few off the top of my head.  I tended to change focus every few weeks.  I would basically read/learn/absorb a ton of information, make a bunch of huge plans, hit a minor roadblock like lack of money and promptly burn out, get bored, then repeat the cycle from the beginning with some new thing that seemed interesting. Honestly this same cycle is a common feature in my life and I do the same thing with games now.

I did meet the woman that is now my wife at some point during this phase, and we also have three children.  Somewhere around the birth of the third child my wife, for reasons that are a mystery to me, bought an original Xbox 360 off someone on craigslist and I went to my brother, who never really quit, and borrowed a copy of Skyrim.  I’ve been back on the wagon since then.

I developed a strong co-op habit as well. When I play now I typically with with family/friends or every so occasionally, solo. Most of my gaming now tends towards MMOs and co-op shooters/rpgs.  I have learned in the past couple of years that I seem to favor sci-fi/space related games rather heavily, which is something I actually didn’t know about myself before.

I do have a Switch, though the kids play on it more than I do. I did play BotW, sans dlc, and I’ve assisted the kids with all/most of Odyssey at this point, including darker side of the moon.

As of the time of writing the only thing consistently on my to-play list is Monster Hunter World, which probably gets a write-up Sunday, and Warframe, because it looks like I’m doing a series or something.

Monster Hunting World – First Impresion

Looks like all the cool kids are playing MHW, at least until Tuesday when Battle for Azeroth drops.

This is my first serious foray into this franchise. I tried playing 4 Ultimate on the 3DS, but the controls made me feel rather ineffective with my starting weapon, the Insect Glaive. I chose this because it’s what I chose on 3DS and I really wanted to like it.

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So the controls I feel, are pretty good, as does my brother. A lot of it I think is having the mouse instead of the little tiny 3DS dot. I’m sure having a right joystick works pretty decent as well.

I do have a couple of gripes with the game to put up front though. Session management and doing story quests together are a real pain. Having a private session means that even if he sends me an invite, even if I can see it, the only way to succeed at joining is by using the session ID, any other method fails, often without telling you why in a way clear enough to know how to fix it.

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She’s entirely to happy to be here.

Joining each other on story hunts is also a pain. Generally one or both of us have to do half to three quarters of the mission so that we’ve “seen all cutscenes” or “advanced the story” then drop out of our quest and join theirs. I expected this problem, as it existed in the console version as well and I understand why they did it. It feels like they took a cheap way out though.

I also try not to look at NPC faces while they’re talking. The lip… missync?… is distracting. I don’t care so much, but some people don’t like that kind of thing.

Those things aside, I’m quite enjoying the game. My brother and I operate as a pair. I mostly just annoy it and occasionally get a mount and drop it for a second. He does most of the damage, sets the traps, etc. We’ve managed to get an almost 100% capture rate so far. Except when we get disconnected and I have to try and kill it myself.

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Now, it does get compared to Dauntless a lot these day, with good reason. They do feel very distinct from each other though. Dauntless has a more colorful and exaggerated art style while MHW stays closer to the realistic. MHW is also somewhat less forgiving in many ways. Dauntless lets you pick up downed allies while MHW not only doesn’t bother, but everyone seems to share the same revive pool.

My Blogging Process

Right, so I’m really new at this, but it’s “get to know each other week” and I figure my process actually says something about who I am.

First off is that after the prep week, where I was pretty much writing the same day I posted, I took Syp’s advice about scheduling and writing ahead. Within a day or so of the even launch I’ve been writing at least a couple of days ahead, sometimes as many as four to five days ahead.

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Probably took this picture to send to my wife.

You see, the thing is, I’m a routine oriented person. I function best in a structured and predictable environment. Now, I can function outside of one, but it amplifies my anxiety level quite a bit. Blaugust is a completely new thing that I wasn’t doing before, and I knew when I started with the intent of posting every day that it was going to be disruptive. I knew this and intentionally chose to do it. In a way, that’s the point of doing it. I’m forcing myself outside my comfort zone.

That’s where the schedule comes in. It’s my way of trying to apply order to the disorder that I brought on myself. It also offloads the need to remember to do it. I’ve been scheduling most posts, starting this week, to go up at 10 AM. I don’t know why I chose that time, I think some of my original posts were written in that timeframe, I dunno, doesn’t matter.

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I do not know why the cat chose to sit in the next box in the hay pile, she’s weird.

 

Now, this has a couple of drawbacks I picked up on as well. None of my content feels fresh to me. I sit down, I pour it out, add some pictures, and schedule it. When it finally does go up it feels cold and distant. Likewise when I have something on my mind, I have to choose what I want to do about it. Do I delay my scheduled post, put up a second post, save it for later, or just leave it sitting in my drafts with no particular intent? I actually have one or two of the later posts. Things I wrote because I needed to express it, not with any intent of sharing or posting it.

The second problem is that having several days of scheduled posts really takes the anxiety out of wondering what I’m going to post. That anxiety is important, it’s the thing that makes me actually do the writing. Without the anxiety I sit around, think about topics, turn them over in my head, but don’t actually write them because I don’t need to just yet.

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A rotor I changed a while back. This thing was a rolling death trap.

As far as the process of picking and individual topic, that’s been kinda loose. I’ve developed a sort of loose framework. Warframe is on Wednesday because they both start with W and I like that. Sunday is for something new I played that week (read, saturday morning) to try and encourage me to break up my routine a little and burn through my massive Steam library. Other than that, I try to avoid to many “me” posts or gaming posts in a row. I did a lot of gaming stuff last week and I didn’t like that as much. This week is a little heavy on myself, my thoughts, and my life due to the theme.

I typically reach a point right around 450-500 words where I feel like I’m talking to much and starting to lose focus on whatever it was I was thinking about or wanting to say to begin with. I try to find a way to sort of wrap it up so it doesn’t just abruptly end.

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Red babies are red.

Once I’ve done that, I go back through and start placing some images throughout the post. It just doesn’t feel right to post this giant wall of text. I honestly don’t think anybody cares or wants to read about it to begin with and that it evokes a sort of “omg, I am not reading all that” sort of reaction.

So, I don’t know, maybe this makes sense, maybe it doesn’t. I’ve been in a weird mood lately and I can’t tell if I care or not. I want you to get something out of it. I want it to have something of value. All I have is my thoughts and opinions though and I don’t tend to think of them as having much value to others.

Good luck guys, I’ll catch you again tomorrow.

Rabbits as Pets

I wanted to say rabbit farm, but then I had a mental image of someone trying to plant rabbits and grow them like a crop, which is kinda creepy. Rabbitry is, in fact, the technical term.

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So I haven’t mentioned it yet, but my wife runs a rabbitry at our house. Any time you see a picture of rabbits on my blog it’s almost certainly one of ours.

Now, it’s been my experience that not a lot of people have a pet rabbit. A lot of people like to look and comment on how cute they are.

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I mean, yeah, they’re fuzzy and adorable and typically pretty docile.  There are a lot of details many people aren’t prepared for though.

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Product image from Tractor Supply

Food – Rabbits aren’t especially finicky eaters. They survive on store bought pellets and timothy hay for the most part. The occasional spinach, celery leaves, and baby carrot is something they’re quite fond of too. Contrary to what bugs bunny did, they do tend to like carrot, but it’s not really a good food for them to be eating all the time. They have really sensitive digestive tracks and will eat anything vaguely like food, so it’s easy to feed them something that isn’t healthy.

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Poop – Wow, for such small creature they poop a lot. I’ve been told this poop makes good compost but I wouldn’t know. Most of it is dry solid fibery balls not unlike goat/deer. Anything else is typically a sign of poor diet and/or illness. There is one odd thing that’s more shiny and is usually in a clump called “cecal matter.” It’s a vitamin rich byproduct of their weird digestive system that they have to eat sometimes for proper balance.

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Yeah this exercise cage area is nasty.

Social behavior – Rabbits are fairly social creatures. It’s possible to have just one, if you give it a lot of attention, but it’s typically better to have at least two. Rabbits not given enough attention can get fairly aggressive and/or difficult to handle. Siblings or any pair of rabbits that have learned to coexist are typically referred to as a bonded pair.

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This is the same bunch as the last picture, but at around two weeks old.

Breeding – You’ve heard the phrase breeding like rabbits? Yeah, well, they tend to get business done gather quickly when given the chance. It can be quite entertaining to watch at times.

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Don’t let her fool you, this one is mean when she has babies.

Temperment – We have everything from sweet cuddly rabbits to mean cranky buggers that I’m about ready to remove from the gene pool if they bite me again. A lot of this can depend on the amount of attention they’re used to getting. Rabbits that are handled frequently tend to be more comfortable with it therefor less aggressive.

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Two weeks old babies from the one in the last picture. There were seven, two didn’t make it.

They bite! – Man does it hurt too. It rarely breaks the skin or draws blood, but it can happen. They’re natural herbivores so their bites tend to deal mostly crushing damage.

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Closer to three week old babies. That black one with the thick stripe is my favorite of this litter. It also has a white “collar” that isn’t visible here.

Those Claws Though – Totally different story here. These things are pretty sharp and pointy. The ends can be clipped, and that helps a little, but when they’re unhappy the kick/rake with their back legs much like a cat does and it does typically draw blood. I don’t generally handle them without a shirt on for this reason.

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Otter Mini-Rex, their fur is so silky

Breeds – We could talk all day about this and I still wouldn’t have any idea what we’re talking about. There are so many color names, pattern names, and attributes. I only know a little in this area. I do know that those floppy ears are called “lops.” Ours are specifically “holland lops.” The super fuzzy ones in these pictures are “lionheads” which have a subset called “double mane.” The one above is a mini-rex and they have the most wonderfully smooth silky fur. The occasionally come in the black and white “otter” pattern shown here. We recently had a set of babies called “BEWs,” short for Blue Eyed Whites. They command a pretty decent price as rabbits go. The ones with the head stripe, like my favorite in the three week old picture, are called a “vienna.” They’re a genetic wildcard of a rabbit, but typically have a recessive blue eyed trait, which is why we have them.

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Standard Blue Eyed White (Dragon?)

Almost all of our rabbit are pretty much dwarf pet breeds and not meat rabbits. We don’t do meat rabbits. That said, there’s a couple that I’ve come close to turning into stew after a good bite.

So I don’t know if any of you have rabbits, want rabbits, did but changed your mind after reading this, whatever. If you have any questions feel free to ask. There’s so much I didn’t cover here.

Link to my wife’s Facebook page.

Science, Skepticism, and Me

The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe. This podcast has been the single constant on my feed. While not the first podcast I ever tried, it’s been very instrumental in my choices and direction over the last five to six years.

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I totally stole this from the header of their webpage.

See, several years ago I got caught up in a severe incident in the workplace. We had a major problem that revolved around the loss of some critical process knowledge. It had been replaced with an extraordinarily crude system of anecdotes that didn’t really help solve the problem at hand.

Being a rather analytical person to begin with some of the resulting actions came somewhat naturally.  It started with recording information. We no longer really knew what was important, so we erred on the side of recording as much as humanly possible. This naturally leads in the (in)famous Six Sigma. Not a popular framework around my parts.

So here I am, learning how good science is supposed to work from a podcast while having a slightly more hands on experience with Six Sigma and minitab. This really helped drive home how important the method of collection and Gage R&R are.

I got to see first hand how you can take 100 data samples and run the math to find a correlation. Then collect another 100 data samples only to get a different and sometimes conflicting results. How those correlations can simple evaporate entirely when you use more rigorous collection methods and/or better controls. I didn’t just know it, I understood it.

I got to hear the anecdotes and test them. I got to see just how reliable they aren’t. How easily manipulated our perception of reality is. How I could get a complain, pretend to make an adjustment, then be told how much better it is, not because it’s changed, but because they think it’s changed. It led to a lot of questioning of how much of what we perceive is even real at all.

At some point in here we even had a sort of seminar from a guy named Todd Conklin on how organizations handle failure and how to maybe do it a little better. Was a good seminar with some similar themes to the other events, I even think I have one of his books around here somewhere. I’ve actually become rather fascinated with human error in general and enjoy reading the details of usually horrible events and how they happened. The most recent read was the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster.

Anyway, all these events together have lent a certain… color… to how I view the world. This is a rather highly charged subject at times and as such I don’t intend to discuss it often. Honestly if you want that kind thing I suggest you check out Neurologica. Dr. Novella does science and skepticism with more depth than I can honestly be bothered with.

I’m not really sure what the point of this post is anymore, it’s become a kind of backstory on part of who I’ve become. It remains an important background dialogue always running through my head. I don’t tend to talk about it much. The events in question, while ultimately contributing to a positive outcome, were a very negative experience at the time. Unfortunately I’m not in a position to discuss them in detail.