Research Projects and Data Sets

So I mentioned a week or so ago that I had gathered some data under a specific assumption, a sort of psuedo-hypothesis, and was confused about why it didn’t look the way I expected. Well, y’know, that’s because my assumption was wrong. That’s fine, live and learn.

I’ve had a nice little conversation with one of the professors in the process of sorting all this out. I take science somewhat seriously and the error I made is mildly embarrassing and serves to demonstrate just how easy it is to fall into little subtle traps in this sort of thing.

Let me back up, though.

I took most of a day off work the other day to speak to a different professor regarding their “research symposium” and how I might participate in it. There are a number of reasons why that didn’t work out, but it didn’t. Among them was a difference in academic disciplines. He was a finance professor and my topic/interest was more of an economic one. I wasn’t thrilled, but I set it aside and returned to the aforementioned project and figured it would sort out in the end.

In the resulting return to my data, I ended up emailing the professor from my Microeconomics class to ask how to do what I was doing, because it didn’t match up with expectations. His response is what prompted my previous post, and that’s the conversation I was referring to at the beginning.

Of course, there were some aspects of my prior data that were… less than ideal. If I’m really serious about this, though, then I can fix that by gathering the data myself, manually. I’m prepared to do that, and it’s a contributing factor in my last post about having time to write.

What I did not expect was for him to ask if I was interested in participating in the research symposium, and an offer to sponsor/advise me. I had set that thought to the side as something to consider in the future. I don’t think it’s especially visible in the text of this post, but I’m positively over the moon. I’m attempting to exercise restraint the best way I know how, by acting like I’m not. Set that energy and drive aside right now, and come back to it later when I need it. Otherwise, it will consume me.

Now, I did respond. I mean, of course. It’s an opportunity I look forward to with great enthusiasm. If it is possible to do so, I will share it here when it comes to fruition.

I must away, however, and get some other things done. Y’all take care, keep doing what you do. Excelsior or something.

BlaugustBOnlylogoIn case you haven’t heard, we’re in the middle of an event called Blaugust. The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

Tick Tick Goes the Clock?

You know that sound Wile E Coyote makes when he hits the bottom of the canyon and you see the little puff of dust? That’s about what this feels like, though it’s not a surprise. I suspected time to write would become an issue before the month was out.

So, one thing has become fairly apparent to me this week. Either I need a planner, or I need to set up a calendar category on my phone. The amount of time I spend every morning making sure the thing I’m doing is the thing I should be doing is becoming counterproductive.

Of course, it’s really not all that bad, it just feels like total chaos compared to my usual routine. That’s the point though. In order to improve myself and move past current limits, I must first find them.

Here’s the real deal though. Once Blaugust is behind us, I think my post frequency will have to be adjusted. At least in the short term. I’m already a little behind on posts and only pushing through because of Blaugust.

In fact, I’m going to cut this short here because I have no idea where I want to go with it and I’ve got something else I would rather be talking about than my scheduling woes.

Y’all take care.

Humans, Reddit, and the Internet

So I was speaking to Magimos on the Blaugust discord channel about reddit on Monday. What I said has been bothering me just a bit, because I was speaking about those things as though they somehow make Reddit unique, and I don’ think I agree with that statement. What I said was:

It’s a decent resource, sometimes, but you have to be somewhat familiar with the weird sort of reddit meta to find most of the good stuff. It’s most notable problem is bandwagoning and occasionally witch-hunting, though most of the major subreddits have rules against it. […]

Reddit is a strange thing. For all the interesting things I’ve seen and learned there, there are just as many strange and twisted bits lurking in the shadows. It reflects humanity very well, I think.

The first major issue is that everything a human does reflects some aspect of humanity. That’s a pretty broad statement and reddit certainly isn’t uniquely human.

I’m also not sure I agree with my statement that bandwagoning and witch-hunting are a specifically reddit-related issue either. First off, I have no real evidence to back up an assertion like that. I cannot think of any specific feature of reddit that would explain a higher occurrence of this than we would get on Facebook or any other social network.

I have not reason, then, to think that this happens more on one social network than any other. It could be true, but that was based on my experiences with that specific network when I don’t really use any of the alternatives. It’s an inherently biased anecdote.

Cyber-bullying, which certainly includes the behaviors I mentioned, is a very real problem. One for another post, I think.

Y’all take care, and for the love of all you hold dear, be kind.

BlaugustBOnlylogoIn case you haven’t heard, we’re in the middle of an event called Blaugust. The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

Blaugust – Staying Motivated

So this is a fairly strange topic for me to talk about because first and foremost I feel that everyone has different reasons for writing a blog. I cannot give you a reason to do it, if you don’t want to. You must find your motivation for your reasons.

I personally keep doing it because I currently enjoy doing it. I must enjoy it quite a bit too since I can always think of other things I probably should be doing instead, yet here we are. I really don’t have much better reason or motivation than that, but that’s me.

Now, I could leave it at that, but there’s this weird collection of satellite reasons that I started and continued doing it as well.

I can vaguely recall, now, the way it felt when I first discovered this particular outlet of expression. As an intensely private and somewhat reclusive individual, I didn’t really have much in the way of expression. When I first started, finding a way to direct my thoughts was a rather strong drug indeed.

That’s one of the reasons I keep doing it as well. It forces me to take things I’m thinking and feeling and render them in a more concrete and communicable form. A decent number of my posts are exactly that. This is no exception. It’s as much me analyzing my motivation as it is talking about it.

Something I’m less certain about is writing… ability? They say the number one predictor of skill or ability is the amount of time spent doing it. I’ve seen various studies and articles comparing tasks according to the “hours required for mastery metric.” This implies that the act of writing, blog posts or otherwise, somehow makes me better at writing. I’m not sure how strongly I feel about that.

Still, when someone compliments me on a particular paper or post, I have to ask myself how much of that compliment is due to this “practice” and how much of it already existed. Not that it matters, really, but there have been a few times where I received an assignment, not a lot unlike “here’s a topic, write 500 words.” Since that’s the general length I aim for with my posts, I have a “here’s a topic, write a blog post” sort of approach to it. It lends a level of confidence that I like.

Of course, I know I won’t be doing it forever. Everything ends eventually. I cannot let the unknown future prevent present progress. I spent most of my life in that sort of “analysis paralysis” and I’m reluctant to give it much room to move. There’s a time and place, but personal expression is neither.

Okay, good enough for me, class starts here directly anyway and I’ll probably go straight to bed when I get home. Those are some of the things that motivate me to continue, I suppose. So many other thoughts for another day.

Y’all take care, and be kind to each other.

BlaugustBOnlylogoIn case you haven’t heard, we’re in the middle of an event called Blaugust. The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

Something New – Rebel Galaxy Outlaw


So I went ahead and picked up a copy of this, because I was fairly fond of the original. They’re different in some ways and not others, but I figured I’d take the time to talk about it.

The previous game, simply Rebel Galaxy, was a strange title. It had a decided naval sort of playstyle, with space as a plane (for frigates like yours) and combat that revolved around broadsides cannons. It was heavily thematic, with a particular soundtrack and flavor that worked fairly well together.


First, instead of a frigate in third person, you have first-person control of a fighter-size ship instead. The frigates still exist as NPC ships, and they can be dropped with a fighter, but they have turrets. So many turrets…


Each ship has a different cockpit style and layout, though I haven’t save up enough money to buy a new ship yet. I’m still using the surprisingly versatile “dumptruck” called the Platypus, though I’ve been focusing mostly on story and/or ca rgo missions and avoiding combat where possible. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a group of more than two.

The content seems fairly story-driven. You don’t get to create a character, but play as a specific set individual who was present in the events of the previous game, though this one is technically a prequel, I guess? I honestly haven’t got that far, as I really wanted a better ship and get easily distracted.


By things like this guy. I was on my way to a quest destination and got attacked by some religious nutjobs at the jumpgate. I needed repairs really bad, and there was only one station in the system, suspiciously showing a population of 1. It ended up being this robotic butler/janitor/real estate agent wanting to sell me an empty station. I also couldn’t repair there but did come back later and use my ship savings to buy the station, which is it’s own serious of quests.

vista time.png

They tend to be somewhat time-gated. You’ll do a particular step then have to wait a while for him to call you and give you a prompt to return or check up on what you were doing. It tends to have pretty potent combat components to it, so I really need to do that ship upgrade. On the bright side, things tend to be a little bit less expensive and have a slightly wider selection of items. I’m kinda hoping this particular call will be a shipyard.

Overall I’d say I quite like it. There’s a lot I can’t go over all that well, like the different radio stations now available instead of the more limited soundtrack of the original. They did a good job of carrying over the particular flavor of the previous game while changing the playstyle and implementing some fan suggestions as well.

You can find a wide variety of videos from the developer on the Epic Games Store, where the game is. If you don’t like EGS, you can always check out the original on Steam.

Take care, space cowboys.

Epic Games Store – A Few Thoughts

So, it’s certainly no particular secret that I’m somewhere in the neutral to mildly positive territory regarding Epic Games, though I really need to check out Galaxy 2.0 also.

This is probably based on my general tendency to prefer the underdog, though I’ve long believed that Valve needed some form of competition. Still, Steam has been around so long that the list of QoL features it’s acquired is quite long compared to a relatively recent product like EGS.

This became readily apparent to me today. Longer-term readers may recall my hard-drive issues a while back. Well, I limped it along, but its seek error rate is steadily climbing. I figured I would go ahead and bite the bullet on changing the install location of EGS before it failed entirely.

I was initially going to criticize EGS for the absurdity that followed, but it appears to be more of a Windows issue. Because the drive is so flighty and changed letter designations, Windows refuses to uninstall anything that was on it. Likewise, if I try and re-install software that was currently installed on that drive, it simply fails saying that the install location doesn’t exist.

The end result being ctrl-F-ing my way through the registry editor deleting any reference I can find to the EGS. Rather agitating state of affairs if you ask me, but it wasn’t EG fault, I suppose.

Another thing I’ve eventually discovered is the inability to throttle the EGS’s download speed. I keep Steam pretty heavily throttled so it doesn’t lock down all the bandwidth, but I couldn’t find any way to restrict EG. Would be a nice basic feature to have.

Oh well, E1S group is almost full, so I’ll go ahead and wrap this up. Y’all take care.

BlaugustBOnlylogoIn case you haven’t heard, we’re in the middle of an event called Blaugust. The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

FFXIV – The Tankpocolypse

I go play a different game for two days. Two days! Somehow all the tanks in Eorzea picked that 48 hour period to call it quits.

To be fair, this isn’t a surprise, and probably not nearly as quick as it might seem. If anything, it’s more of a return to normal now that everyone got Gunbreaker out of their system and realized the healers weren’t as bad as everyone thought.

I noticed this when we queued for Eden normal as our usually Healer/DPS combo. All prior weeks this was an insta-queue, or close to it. While we sat there staring at our lack of group, it finally began to sink in. I switch to Drk to look at what I needed gear-wise, and my brother withdrew, switched to Gnb, and stealth queued while I wasn’t looking. Immediate pop, much to my chagrin. I ended up running all four as OT to his MT, and we made it work.

Of course, before all this, we’d sat in party finding trying to round up a savage group for about an hour. Never did get any tanks there either.

There are always other explanations too. Most of the “good” tanks are probably part of a static, and statics are super busy on reset day, I presume. We’re also pretty much right in the middle of a patch cycle, so it’s a bit of a content lull for everyone but the raiders. We’ve probably got a few more weeks before another major patch, I believe. It usually doesn’t drop until around the time the raid-tier weapon becomes available to the regular players. This one is seven token, so 7 weeks. For those that got a first-week clear, which isn’t me, that’ll be next Tuesday.

On the bright side, I’m sitting on a giant pile of tomestones and I already had the Drk weapon from all that Titania grinding I did, so gearing a tank isn’t an issue, I just have to run it some to knock the dust off. I wasn’t prepared to switch quite this earlier, or at all, really, I just figured I might need to at some point.

Oh well, life goes on, I suppose. It’s a nice change of pace for me, anyway. It’s always possible that this is a server or data-center specific issue as well, but I figure the reasons I listed are likely the major ones.

Y’all take care, and remember to check the party window before you randomly requeue for something.

BlaugustBOnlylogoIn case you haven’t heard, we’re in the middle of an event called Blaugust. The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

Long Live the Podcasts!

I’m slow on the developer appreciation this year, shame on me. I figured I’d take the time to go over the specific podcasts I tend to listen to since it’s a weird form of audio blog meets radio show. I don’t think these will be a huge surprise. Many of them are fairly well-known, but I’m loathe to leave anyone out. I’m going to re-edit this in the order in which I listen to them, typically.

Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe – Sunday/Monday
This is one of the other big ones for me. This is the single longest-standing entry in my current podcast list. It has been very influential in the time I’ve been listening. It’s probably been around five or six years now? It’s hard to keep track past a certain point. It’s all about science and critical thinking. A major contributing factor to my interest in research, and helped me understand the most basic ways to tell a good study from a poor one and why I should care to begin with.

The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps – Tuesday, if/as needed.
This one is a bit weird, and the second most recently added on my list. I don’t even remember why I added it, exactly. I think it was when I was trying to sort out all the Ayn Rand business a while back. It’s a pretty good podcast if you’re interested in this kind of thing. I use it to fill in gaps, no pun intended. I’m right around the beginning of “Late Antiquity.”

Political Rewind – Tuesday, if/as needed.
I use this one to fill in gaps as well. It’s mostly about local politics, and I probably only listen to one episode out of maybe three per week, but only when they have a topic I find interesting enough. It’s a podcast version of a radio show, I think, put out by Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Massively OP Podcast – Wednesday
Yep, I take the time to listen to Justin and Bree every week, pretty much without fail. Along with SGU, this is the other major stop for the week. It was Justin’s closing blurb for Blaugust last year that got me involved to begin with, so at the very least I owe them that much. The bottom line is that I can’t possibly keep track of every single MMO happening in the world, so I listen to the podcast to make sure I don’t miss anything big. I don’t even mind the sponsored episodes. Whatever pays the bills and all that. I can, will, and have side aside an episode I’m in the middle of to pull this one forward.

Freakonomics – Thursday
This is one of three that drop on Wed, but MOP gets priority. I’ve been with this one for a while too, even gone as far as reading the first book the wrote. I don’t know how I feel about it right this second, but it’s provided some interesting viewpoints and thoughts over time, especially with things like the “Secret Life of a CEO” series they had a while back. I’ve just been having a hard time getting into their content, especially since they moved over to Stitcher, but can’t put my finger on it.

Science Rules – Friday
This is Bill Nye’s podcast. My most recent addition, and one I have yet to decide if I like or not. Honestly, at this point I’m keeping it as filler material. I’ve considered downloading some music on Spotify to replace it. Like many, I grew up watching Bill Nye the Science Guy, in class even, but his newer stuff just hasn’t appealed to me all that much. I didn’t even make it through the first episode of Bill Nye Saves the World.

Think that about covers it. I don’t do a lot of driving on Saturday, so there isn’t really a slot there, so to speak. If I had to stop listening entirely I would bend over backward for SGU and MOP.

Y’all take care, find a way to show some of the creators you like a little love.

BlaugustBOnlylogoIn case you haven’t heard, we’re in the middle of an event called Blaugust. The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

To Science, or Not To Science?

It’s always interesting when I have a list of things I could write about, yet none of them feel right. This has something to do with the fact that I’m mildly preoccupied with a conversation I’ll be having with one of the professors this Wednesday.

See, while the college I’m attending isn’t a proper research university, it does have a “research symposium” sort of even that it does once or twice a year. I tracked down the, I dunno, “head professor” individual for the event that also hails from the business school, and was referred to someone else who agreed to meet with me once Fall semester got up and running. This was all back in May, mind you.

I feel woefully unprepared, however, with the meeting in a couple of days and no more of a nebulous idea of a project than I’ve had for months. Of course, the same could be said for the blog as well. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it, I just did it and figured I’d come out the other side all the better for it. It’s a sort of logic that was summed up well by Friederich Nietzsche when he said “that which doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger.” Of course, if you toe the line long enough, someday you’ll end up on the wrong side of it.

Of course, I have faith that they’ll find some way to get me into this thing, even if I’ve bitten off a bit more than I can chew. It’s a sort of litmus test for myself regarding how well I’ll react when it comes to something research related. To see if that’s a career option I’m interested in following or not.

Even if it doesn’t work out, though, I’ll have learned something. Sometimes that something is what not to do, but that’s still good to know sometimes. Guess we’ll find out in a couple of days.

Y’all take care, I’m just gonna sit here and brood for a bit. Then maybe I’ll start tomorrow’s post since I’m a bit behind.

BlaugustBOnlylogoIn case you haven’t heard, we’re in the middle of an event called Blaugust. The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

No Man’s Sky Beyond – Few Quick Thoughts

Running a bit short on time, but I think we can hit some highlights.

Overall the update seems pretty good, though it’s hard for me to tell what was and wasn’t in this update specifically.

Much of it, both good and bad, revolves around The Nexus. It’s a new player hub where you can actively see a number of other people running around doing whatever and occasionally speaking in local. The new tech trees, with most of the blueprints being purchased on the nexus with nanites or data fragments look pretty decent and work well. It’s nice being able to fly into space, summon the nexus, and get what you need and go.

The downside, though, is that the game is still fairly buggy. We ended up using the “experimental” branch to try and cut down on crashes. There was a particularly prevalent crash involving the nexus itself, where it would eject you shipless into space with great regularity, forcing you to reload. Yeah, there are workarounds, but it was annoying. Switching to the more frequently updated branch has stopped it, at least for me.

I also had some save-data issues. The game completely forgot I owned a freighter at one point, costing me everything I had stored on it. Likewise it forgot I owned a base. Both of these seem connected to specific functions of the nexus, which I haven’t tried since. I eventually replaced my freighter with a different one, and finally started building a new base this evening.

We’ll go over in more detail another time though. Y’all take care, watch out for those anomalies out there. They’re quite dangerous.