four elephants

I worked as a lifeguard at a pool in southwest Virginia that hosts some of the largest swim meets in the state. It draws in people from as far as NOVA, VA beach, and sometimes South Carolina during inter-state meets, and every where in between. During one such inter-state meet, a very starry-eyed ten year old approached my stand during a break between warm-ups. I asked her if she needed help with something and she just turned to stare amazedly toward the wall. She took in a breath and said in the most awe-struck voice, “The windows here are huuuuuuge.” before looking back to me with those same eyes and her jaw dropped. “Are they all like this around here?” I explained to her that no, the building was just fairly new and the designer wanted natural lighting so that it would be pretty. She continued to stare before looking contemplative. “I could stack four or five whole elephants in front of those windows and see all of them,” she frowned, “the windows at my pool are only big enough to see a baby elephant.” and then walked away. I do not know whether or not this child has seen any windows that stretch four stories before, but I am delighted that she uses elephants as a visual aid for the comparison of heights.

I get that a certain amount of ‘realism’ is helpful to fantasy but at the same time I feel that a lot of writers (me included) get bogged down in it, where what we really need more than 'realism’ is 'internally consistent rules’.

for example: Discworld. It’s a disc. Never mind that from our current understanding of astrophysics, that would be impossible. The fact is that the Discworld rests on the backs of four elephants, who in turn are standing on the back of a giant turtle.

In space.

You can’t 'realism’ that.

But it works, because it has internally consistent rules. Those rules apply to everyone who lives there and interacts with it. They are consistent. And they are logical, within their own context.

Important, because it doesn’t drain the wonder and joy out of a fantastical world by rooting everything in the mundane.

anonymous asked:

I know this is probably a lil ignorant but why do the women typically score so much lower than the men? (at least in terms of the top 6 for mens and top 6 for womens) I know that the quad revolution is a little unreasonable for the ladies because of the immense upper body strength quads require (please call me out if thats wrong) but I was just wondering why the womens jump composition is so different

Well, while it’s true that the quad revolution over at the men’s side has definitely widened the gap between their score and the ladies’, jump BV alone does not tell you the whole story. For illustration, I’m going to break down the difference between our two current free skate world records: Yuzuru’s Hope and Legacy at World Championships 2017, 223.20 points and Evgenia’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close at World Team Trophy 2017: 160.46 points. Total difference is 62.74.

The most obvious: PCS coefficient: The ladies’ PCS has a coefficient of 1.6 for the free skate compared to the men’s 2.0, so by default their PCS is already lowered by 40%. If you take Janny’s PCS of 78.06 and scale it up using the same coefficient as the men’s, her score would be 97.58 and that’s actually 0.50 points higher than Yuzu’s. Overall, PCS coefficient by itself explains 19.52 out of the total 62.74 difference in their scores.  

Second, also obvious: ladies are only allowed 7 jumping passes in their free skates compared to the men’s 8. For the sake of argument I’m taking the least valuable of Yuzu’s jumps: the triple flip, BV 5.3 and GOE 1.5, so that’s another 6.80 in his favor.

Three, even before the quad revolution took place, the triple Axel by itself already created quite the divide (only 7 ladies thus far have managed to perform this jump in ISU competitions). A triple Axel is worth 5.2 points more than a double and its maximum GOE after SOV conversion is 3 compared to a 2A’s 1.5 points. This gap is widened even further when you consider the fact that the inclusion of 2 triple Axels is almost a mandatory feature in the men’s free skates. Yuzu’s 2 triple Axels plus their GOEs give him an extra 13.58 points over Janny’s 2 doubles. 

Four, yes, the quad elephants in the room. Aside from the Axels, the rest of Yuzu’s jump BV is 24.06 points more than Janny’s and that is, needless to say, largely because he does 4 quads and she 4 triples. Because quads’ SOV is higher than triples, Yuzu also has 1.30 more in GOE from these jumps (only 1.30, mind, Janny’s jump GOEs are absolutely through the roof *cough* WTT inflationary magic *cough*). 

There is virtually no difference in BV for the rest of their technical content, only a tiny 0.30 extra for Yuzu because he has a sit spin with one change of foot while she has a layback. Janny, however, got 2.32 more on GOE for these non-jump elements.

And that’s 19.52 (PCS coefficient) - 0.50 (raw PCS) + 6.80 (extra jumping pass) + 13.58 (Axels) + 25.36 (quads) + 0.30 (spin BV) - 2.32 (non-jump elements’ GOE) = total reason why Yuzu’s WR FS score is higher than Janny’s by 62.74 points.

Now as to the reason why the quad has not taken over at the ladies’ event the same way it has in the men’s field, as you rightly pointed out, performing a quad does require considerable core strength, which is obviously not the ladies’ forte. As I mentioned earlier, even the triple Axel is a relatively rare phenomenon in the ladies’ event. Because of their disadvantage in physique, these more difficult jumps carry much more risk for the ladies. One, because the probability of success is low (throughout her career, Mao Asada’s success rate at the triple Axel is only 39.5% and her 3A is really already the best among all the ladies who have tried it so far). Two, because of the extreme rotational force as well as the incremental height and distance required, a fall on a 3A or a quad is a lot more damaging compared to a normal triple or double. Since the ladies generally have less stamina compared to the men, such a fall would be even more harmful for them especially in competition, where it would eat up the energy they need for the rest of their program. On the whole, such risk vastly outweighs the return on additional BV (extra GOE does not even come into play here, again because of the disadvantage in physique, a lady’s 3A or quad would be hard-pressed to hit any GOE bullet).

That is not to say I don’t look forward to more ladies trying out 3A and quads. Sasha, Elizabet, Rika, we believe in you! You can do it! Show the men what us girls are capable of, won’t you?     


STEP ONE: NAME IT AFTER SOMEONE YOU LOVE. or someone that loves you. whichever you’re better at driving away. this will make it both easier and harder to empathize with the creature in your bed but you can’t get rid of something that you can’t name. you can’t heal from something that you won’t vocalize. write it down once you’ve decided. realize that it won’t reach out of the page and strangle you. exhale.

STEP TWO: SAY THE NAME OUT LOUD WITHOUT CRINGING. this will hurt. your vocal cords will tighten with stress. your shoulders will meet your ears and enjoy the conversation so much that they’ll stay there, frozen, until your back pleads with them to come home. come home. now say it again. say it until it feels less like a wound and more like a loaded gun. the safety’s off, is this what you want? is this what you need?

STEP THREE: SCREAM. cry. buy dollar store wine glasses just to throw them on the floor. do what you need to because this is where you’ll begin to come to terms with the pent up anger this animal’s been obscuring. you were so busy looking at the blue, all of that sad ocean skin, that you forgot to point your finger towards the enemy. sometimes you need to look in the broken shards of what’s shattered and remind yourself that you’re the victim and this is not your fault. you can’t be blamed for the ugliness of your healing process when the thing you’re healing from is this persistent and invasive and completely uninvited. your recovery will never be more disgusting than the necessity it was born from.

STEP FOUR: STUDY THE ELEPHANT. sketch it, if you’re able. look at the curve of its trunk and the size of its feet and touch the tail once it doesn’t hurt your eyes to see, to understand. stroke the ears. kiss the head. your most intimate relationship will always be with the things that have hurt you. it’s the only sensation that’s yours, exclusively. you need to remember what the warning signs were before you turn the lights out, though. so pack a box with that knowledge and shove it in the closet. you won’t need it tomorrow. not until next winter, at least.

STEP FIVE: LET IT GO. you may read this and think, “if I could just let it go, it would’ve left by now.” and maybe that’s true. but maybe you have to rebreak bones so that they heal properly and maybe it has to get worse before it gets better. because at this point the elephant is begging to be released into the wild with the rest of the elephants. that’s right, the rest of them. because everybody has an elephant or two taking up space in their garage even if they don’t talk about it. but this isn’t about them, it never will be. this is about you and what you’ve had to live with. the thing you’ve spent so much time licking the cuts from. so, don’t bother to watch it leave. let it go. let it go.
let it go.

—  HOW-TO…, 13/30, Caitlin Conlon
GNU Terry Pratchett

Today, March 12, 2017, marks two years since the world lost Sir Terry Pratchett. I remember it well. I had only recently discovered his works, and I blazed through them laughing all the way. I wanted to meet him, even if I wasn’t sure what I would say. The news that I would never get a chance, the news that the worlds he had created were forever stilled, was painful in the extreme. I was already struggling to deal with what I can only hope to be the worst period of my life, and I was not in a place to deal with the loss for well over a year. Last summer, I had the chance to sit down and re-read all his Discworld novels (as well as a few other novels of his I’m particularly fond of). After putting down the last one at five in the morning, I spent the next hour writing this. It’s hardly an original idea, but I felt compelled to do so. Enjoy.

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beastofhearts  asked:

New follower here! I read your last replied ask and i was wondering...what is HPMOR? and what is the Discworld books? Another saga?

HPMOR is Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, also known as The Fic That Must Not Be Named because some of its fans (who like to call themselves “Rationalists”) are fucking terrifying and tend to dogpile people who criticise it or its author. It’s on Read it with caution. It has an interesting premise but it rapidly starts going against both the rules and the messages of canon as well as just… changing canon in general so the author can make up SCIENCE reasons for magic… even though magic has already been scienced successfully.

Discworld, on the other hand, is fantastic. It’s a world created by the late Sir Terry Pratchett and while some of his early books are… flawed, he improves so much over the course of so many books. Not all of the books cover the same characters, there’s multiple arcs, and multiple settings, the Disc is a flat world which is held on the shoulders of four elephants standing on the back of the turtle, travelling through space and - in it’s own canon - only exists because of magic. It’s hilarious. I started with Making Money (how one of the biggest cities on the Disc develop paper money) then went back to Going Postal (how one of the biggest cities on the Disc gets it’s postal service up and running, also featuring a criminal learning how to think of people as people, and dealing with corruption), and then I went to Thud! which is about the centuries-long war between Trolls and Dwarves and societal prejudices and societal and religious intolerance and identity and it’s so good, ok it’s so good. Then there was The Monstrous Regiment which covers a troupe of soldiers told from the perspective of a lass named Polly who signs up pretending to be male because otherwise she wouldn’t be allowed to sign up and over the course of the story various OTHER characters are revealed to ALSO be female and basically the majority of their militaries High Command turns out to be disguised women (and some who may be trans, there’s a general implication with some characters that they may just… prefer to be wearing the trousers and be called “Sir” than “Madam”. There’s also a big implication of lesbians. A very big implication of lesbians).

Pratchett also has the Witches series which is what I went to after this, specifically Tiffany Aching’s arc, which starts with The Wee Free Men, in which Tiff marches into Fairyland to get back her brother and also hits the Queen of Fairy in the face with an iron frying pan. She’s like eleven years old or something, it’s amazing. After this she begins training to be a witch. There’s also the Watch arc which is just… it’s centred around Vimes who is the most grumpy, curmudgeonly, angry, furious, drunken man in the city and he just… does his job. Works for justice. Knows he has flaws and tries not to let his prejudices affect things. Starts to cut back on his drinking. Starts to turn the Watch into an actual force. In Thud!, by the time of that book, he’s so so so anchored into this, an immortal demon spirit that everyone who knows of it fears is afeared of him! Because when the Summoning Dark tries to eke out the dark of him and make him do evil things Vimes has his own watchman inside his head to keep him from doing these things. To quote the book:

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Your grace.”

“I know that one,” said Vimes.  “Who watches the watchmen? Me, Mr Pessimal.”

“Ah, but who watches you, your grace?” said the inspector, with a brief smile.

“I do that too.  All the time,” said Vimes.

And he does. He has a Watchman inside his head and it is so powerful an immortal demon cannot break him. The Watch also has a wonderful lady werewolf named Angua, she is awesome and you will love her.

There is also Death, Death’s Granddaughter Susan, and The Death of Rats. Also The Death of Rats’ friend, Quoth, the raven.

Yes that is a pun within a name, within a sentence there. Pratchett’s writing is full of this.

There’s ALSO the wizards arc, which includes Ponder Stibbons, creator of the Disc’s first computer, and also the Librarian, who, by a fluke of magic, was turned into an Orangutan. And no, he does not want to be turned back. Being a great ape is very handy for getting around a library, apparently.

There is also a book about football, which includes the Wizards playing football, dwarf fashion, more stuff about prejudice, and also a football-AU Romeo and Juliet. No that is not a joke.

There is also Rincewind, he who is known for Potatoes and Running Away. Rincewind is best explained by reading about him. He’s one of those characters. He also has a many-legged and -toothed Luggage. Sometimes it eats people.

Oh, and there’s also a book where Vimes arrests two different armies, including one from his own country. He also arrests a dragon.

Basically, read Discworld. It’s fantastic. There’s no way I could ever cover all of it’s awesome in one post.


LEGO Creator Expert Carousel (10257)

Oh Boy, what a beauty it is. This set really captures everything LEGO is about: creative building, lovely details, sophisticated construction and most definitely a ton of fun.

I am also really impressed how well LEGO manages to keep everything secret this year. Except for an image of a store calendar earlier this week, the official press release today was the first impression of this set and that’s how things should be, because this way the wait is only one month (even less with VIP early access) until you can hold this set in your hands.

Press Release:

10257 Carousel, 2,670 pieces.
US $199.99 - CA $249.99 - DE 179.99€ - UK £159.99 - DK 1499.00 DKK
Available 1st June. (Early access for VIPs in mid-May is likely but unconfirmed.)

Discover the fairground’s star attraction with the Carousel!

Experience the majestic Carousel with a wealth of delightful features, including a large textile canopy, ornate reflective rounding boards with blue and gold detailing, reflective center panels, and a 2-tier deck comprising a raised boarding platform with handrail and a main platform with 5 buildable animal rides, including a white swan and 4 moving animals.

Turn the crank and see the elephant, tiger, flamingo and frog move up and down as the carousel rotates. This delightful LEGO Creator Expert model has an iconic elegance that evokes feelings of nostalgia, romance and adventure. Upgrade with LEGO Power Functions for fully motorized operation.

  • Includes 7 minifigures: a ride operator, mom, dad, boy, girl, grandmother and a granddaughter.
  • The Carousel features a large textile canopy, ornate, reflective rounding boards with blue and gold detailing, reflective center panels, two-level deck comprising a raised boarding platform with handrail and a main platform with five buildable animal rides, including a white swan and four moving animals: an elephant, tiger, flamingo and a frog.
  • Also features a sturdy, buildable base for easy transportation.
  • Buy your ticket at the booth, take the stairs to the boarding platform and choose your favorite animal ride.
  • Turn the crank and see the elephant, tiger, flamingo and frog move up and down as the carousel rotates.
  • Enjoy an ice cream, candy or a delicious hot dog as you watch the whirling carousel.
  • Accessory elements include a camera, ice cream, candy and a hot dog in a bun.
  • New decorated elements include printed tickets and printed storybook tiles.
  • Includes lots of molded golden elements, reflective golden labels and medium-blue/dark-blue elements.
  • Motorize the Carousel with the LEGO® Power Functions 8883 medium motor and 88000 AAA battery box (not included).
  • Collect and build an entire fairground with the LEGO Creator Expert 10247 Ferris Wheel.
  • Measures over 12” (32cm) high, 14” (38cm) wide and 13” (35cm) deep.

They say the world is flat and supported on the back of four elephants who themselves stand on the back of a giant turtle.
They say that the elephants, being such huge beasts, have bones of rock and iron, and nerves of gold for better conductivity over long distances.*
They say that the fifth elephant came screaming and trumpeting through the atmosphere of the young world all those years ago and landed hard enough to split continents and raise mountains.
No one actually saw it land, which raised the interesting philosophical point: When millions of tons of angry elephant come spinning through the sky, but there is no one to hear it, does it – philosophically speaking – make a noise?
And if there was no one to see it hit, did it actually hit?
In other words, wasn’t it just a story for children, to explain away some interesting natural occurrences?
As for the dwarfs, whose legend it is, and who mine a lot deeper than other people, they say that there is a grain of truth in it.

*Not rock and iron in their dead form, as they are now, but living rock and iron. The dwarfs have quite an inventive mythology about minerals.

– on the fifth elephant | Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant



Pondering about the fact that TGG consists of five cases and there are also five tasks for Sherlock to solve at Sherrinford in TFP …  I suddenly remembered that the number five … connected to cases … actually comes up a third time in Sherlock BBC. After taking a closer look at the scipts (thanks @callie-ariane ) I think I’ve probably spotted another rather intriguing and joyful pattern.

The five CASES of The Great Game

Sherlock receives four pips but there are five cases … the fifth and last case brings the story full circle to the beginning.

The five TASKS of The Final Problem

Sherlock is given four tasks … the fifth task can only be solved through the collected conclusions of the previous four.

The five  FUNNY STORIES  of The Sign Of Three

Sherlock mentions five ‘funny stories’ before he decides to tell the wedding guests about the case of the  'Bloody Guardsman’ and the one of the 'Mayfly Man’. Turns out that both cases are actually just one. But that’s not the point.

My focus lies on the five 'funny stories’ Sherlock just mentions randomly.

Under the cut for anyone who is interested.

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Pittsburgh, US

Young visitors peer against the glass at Pittsburgh zoo to get a look at a four-week-old baby elephant as it meets the public for the first time

Photograph: Andrew Rush/AP