large city

A Series of Very Unfortunate Events

Context: Our Dragonkin wizard, Werebear Fighter, and Elf bard had hitched a ride with a cloud giant in his floating tower on the way to a large city. A dragon worshipping cult arrived, to witch the Dragonkin convinced them he was the god of dragons reincarnated. The leader wanted proof and a gift of some kind.

Werebear (ooc): Oh we got apples from that guy back in town. Weren’t there seven apples? And seven cultists?

Dragonkin: Oh yeah, good idea. So I tell the cultists that I’ll bestow my power on them through these apples.

(The cultists believe the lie and eat the apples, flying off on their giant vultures except for the leader, who is standing on the edge of the clouds)

DM: You see the leader eat the apple and slump over falling off the clouds.

(All of us question this)

DM: the other cultists all slump off their vultures and fall far down the ground. You check the bag of apples to find a note at the bottom saying the apples can help you fall asleep if you need.

(Cue all of us dissolving into shocked laughter as we realize we had accidentally murdered 7 pacified cultists. The DM later explained that the whole situation had been a massive coincidence, as the apples had been a random number he picked and the 7 cultists had been rolled for at random.)

Well what had happened….

We’re playing an underdark campaign; party includes barbarian (me), monk, fighter, and cleric, and we’ve been taken to a large city. We’re not welcomed of course and I’m a CN dwarf barbarian. The cleric, a drow tells me not to get into trouble. Naturally I make my way to the closest tavern.

DM: So you enter the tavern and take a seat at the bar. While you’re waiting on your drinks you hear a group of loud Duergar boasting in the corner.

Me: Do they look tough?

Monk: Don’t…

Me: DO THEY LOOK TOUGH?!

DM: yeah they’re pretty huge

Me: I go over to the table and challenge their strength!

Monk: WHY?!

Me: I’m a barbarian no one’s tougher then me!

DM: alright so you go over to their table and challenge them all to an arm wrestling contest. Roll for strength for all 3.

Me: Aw yeah! Let’s do this, rolled 16, 19, and 20.

DM: You beat them quite easily, they all howl with laughter and say. “Lugo! Get out here we’ve got a tough guy!” The largest Duergar you’ve ever seen steps through the back door, he’s so huge he shouldn’t really be considered a dwarf. “So you think you’re tough?”

Monk: See! this is why you don’t do this! You’re screwed man.

Me: I ain’t scared lets get it!

DM: Roll strength, my man I’m just saying walking a way is always an option

Me: Rolls a nat 20

DM: Whelp, You square up to arm wrestle and destroy the guy. You slam his hand on the table so hard it breaks the table. The room goes silent all the Duergar in the room just look at you.

Monk: You’re so screwed they’re going to kill us all and it’s all your fault!

DM: The Duergar start cheering and start to carry you off chanting “Bring him to the temple of Asmodeus.

After being taken to this temple they make me a champion of Asmodeus and I get covered in tattoos and become the leader of a sect of barbarian Asmodeus followers. The rest of the party meets up and they all stare at me. The cleric is the last to show up and just goes bananas.

Cleric: What did I fucking say! What did you do?!

Me: I’m huge now, and I kinda lead a pack of Asmodeus worshipers.

Cleric: I fucking hate you so much.

Me: I’m huge though.

The rest of the party just busts out in laughter, me and the cleric now butt heads on everything, it’s great this campaign is going to be hilarious.

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-INTERMISSION: The Eyes Which Overlook Hesitation-

A single throne in front of a large window overlooks the city. Behind the single, yet imposing seat, a holographic screen materialized, revealing a six-petaled flower head AI with a rather annoyed expression.

Flowey: Great. Just great! We lost two of our better soldiers to the stupid ERG, Muffet failed, that other human’s still alive SOMEHOW, and furthermore, you can’t even RESET now!

???: Nothing we can really do about that, dear Flowey. Muffet knows what would happen if she fails again, and overall, it’s not even that big of a loss. I will say that I knew I should’ve taken the cutting route, but I didn’t want to ruin the new shirt with their blood.

It seemed like the one sitting on the chair didn’t seemed that fazed. In fact, it almost seemed like they were…not even concerned about the matter at hand, especially given the blatant sarcasm at the end. Flowey’s expression transitioned from annoyed to worried.

Flowey: Chara! This is SERIOUS! It may not be that way right now, but what about LATER?

Chara chuckles, with a faint smile on their face.

Chara: I wouldn’t worry too much about that, Flowey. This would be an interesting duel between two determined souls. But for right now….

We’ll just have to see what happens NEXT.

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eggson-bren  asked:

Have you seen the video where the woodpecker hitches a ride on a man's car in Chicago?! So cute!! I couldn't figure out where to submit it to you but I thought you'd like it. The bird's behavior is also quite strange to me.

I have seen that video! But unfortunately, it’s not so cute– this video depicts a yellow-bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), one of the few migratory species of woodpeckers in the world.

Like many migratory birds, sapsuckers breed in forests and rely on them for food to fuel their migration. And also like many other migrants, large cities create a “light trap” that can confuse them on their migration. Hungry and seeking food, this exhausted animal descended to a large city where it was unequipped to move around and perch: woodpeckers don’t have anisodactyl toes like most other birds, and are best suited to propping themselves up on a nice tree trunk.

From the sapsucker’s behavior in this video, it is clear that that the bird is either exhausted, or injured, or both. In the wild, sapsuckers can be more confiding than other woodpeckers– but not to the point where they’ll fly up to a city bus and rest there in front of dozens of commuters. It is also incredibly rare to see a woodpecker merely hanging like this; sapsuckers are especially active foragers, systematically checking their sap wells for sweet snacks or insects.

So, yes: I’ve seen the video, and I have a hypothesis I’m fairy confident explains the bird’s behavior. But it’s not a happy story: just like millions of other migratory birds that pass across the Untied States twice a year, this yellow-bellied sapsucker probably died unnoticed on a street or sidewalk.


(obligatory @why-animals-do-the-thing tag, since this is in their wheelhouse)

nytimes.com
Opinion | Is It Time to Break Up Google?
Let’s face it: The biggest tech companies are monopolies.
By Jonathan Taplin

In just 10 years, the world’s five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place. 

They’re all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. in classic economic terms, all three are monopolies.

We have been transported back to the early 20th century, when arguments about the “curse of bigness” were advanced by President Woodrow Wilson’s counselor, Louis Brandeis, before Wilson appointed him to the Supreme Court. Brandeis wanted to eliminate monopolies, because (in the words of his biographer Melvin Urofsky) “in a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people.” We need to look no further than the conduct of the largest banks in the 2008 financial crisis or the role Facebook and Google play in the “fake news” business to know that Brandeis was right.

While Brandeis generally opposed regulation - which he worried inevitably led to the corruption of the regulator - and instead advocated breaking up “bigness,” he made an exception for “natural” monopolies, like telephone water, and power companies and railroads, where it made sense to have one or a few companies in control of an industry.

Could it be that these companies - and Google in particular - have become natural monopolies by supplying an entire market’s demand for a service, at a price lower than that what would be offered by two competing firms? And if so, is it time to regulate them like public utilities?

Consider a historical analogy: the early days of telecommunications.

In 1895 a photograph of the business district of a large city might have shown 20 phone wires attached to most buildings. Each wire was owned by a different company, and none of them worked with the others. Without network effects, the networks themselves were almost useless.

The solution was for a single company American Telephone and Telegraph, to consolidate the industry by buying up all the small operators and creating a single network - a natural monopoly. the government permitted it, but then regulated this monopoly through the Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T (also known as the bell System) had its rates regulated and was required to spend a fixed percentage of its profits on research and development. In 1925 AT&T set up Bell Labs as a separate subsidiary with the mandate to develop the next generation of communications technology, but also to do basic research in physics and other sciences. Over the next 50 years, the basics of the digital age - the transistor, the microchip, the solar cell, the microwave, the laser, cellular telephony - al came out of Bell Labs along with eight Nobel Prizes.

In a 1956 consent degree in which the Justice Department allowed AT&T to maintain its phone monopoly, the government extracted a huge concession: all future patents were licensed (to any American company) royalty-free, and all future patents were to be licensed for a small fee. These licenses led to the creation of Texas Instruments, Motorola, Fairchild Semiconductor and many other start-ups.

True, the internet never had the same problems of interoperability. And Google’s route to dominance is different from the Bell System’s. Nevertheless, it still has all of the characteristics of a public utility.

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