statistical models



Did our Sun have a twin when it was born 4.5 billion years ago?

Almost certainly yes – though not an identical twin. And so did every other Sun-like star in the universe, according to a new analysis by a theoretical physicist from the University of California, Berkeley, and a radio astronomer from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory at Harvard University.

Many stars have companions, including our nearest neighbor, Alpha Centauri, a triplet system. Astronomers have long sought an explanation. Are binary and triplet star systems born that way? Did one star capture another? Do binary stars sometimes split up and become single stars?

Astronomers have even searched for a companion to our Sun, a star dubbed Nemesis because it was supposed to have kicked an asteroid into Earth’s orbit that collided with our planet and exterminated the dinosaurs. It has never been found.

The new assertion is based on a radio survey of a giant molecular cloud filled with recently formed stars in the constellation Perseus, and a mathematical model that can explain the Perseus observations only if all Sun-like stars are born with a companion.

“We are saying, yes, there probably was a Nemesis, a long time ago,” said co-author Steven Stahler, a UC Berkeley research astronomer.

“We ran a series of statistical models to see if we could account for the relative populations of young single stars and binaries of all separations in the Perseus molecular cloud, and the only model that could reproduce the data was one in which all stars form initially as wide binaries. These systems then either shrink or break apart within a million years.”

In this study, “wide” means that the two stars are separated by more than 500 astronomical units, or AU, where one astronomical unit is the average distance between the Sun and Earth (93 million miles). A wide binary companion to our Sun would have been 17 times farther from the Sun than its most distant planet today, Neptune.

Based on this model, the Sun’s sibling most likely escaped and mixed with all the other stars in our region of the Milky Way galaxy, never to be seen again.

“The idea that many stars form with a companion has been suggested before, but the question is: how many?” said first author Sarah Sadavoy, a NASA Hubble fellow at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. “Based on our simple model, we say that nearly all stars form with a companion. The Perseus cloud is generally considered a typical low-mass star-forming region, but our model needs to be checked in other clouds.”

The idea that all stars are born in a litter has implications beyond star formation, including the very origins of galaxies, Stahler said.

Stahler and Sadavoy posted their findings in April on the arXiv server. Their paper has been accepted for publication in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Stars Birthed in ‘Dense Cores’

Astronomers have speculated about the origins of binary and multiple star systems for hundreds of years, and in recent years have created computer simulations of collapsing masses of gas to understand how they condense under gravity into stars. They have also simulated the interaction of many young stars recently freed from their gas clouds. Several years ago, one such computer simulation by Pavel Kroupa of the University of Bonn led him to conclude that all stars are born as binaries.

Yet direct evidence from observations has been scarce. As astronomers look at younger and younger stars, they find a greater proportion of binaries, but why is still a mystery.

“The key here is that no one looked before in a systematic way at the relation of real young stars to the clouds that spawn them,” Stahler said. “Our work is a step forward in understanding both how binaries form and also the role that binaries play in early stellar evolution. We now believe that most stars, which are quite similar to our own Sun, form as binaries. I think we have the strongest evidence to date for such an assertion.”

According to Stahler, astronomers have known for several decades that stars are born inside egg-shaped cocoons called dense cores, which are sprinkled throughout immense clouds of cold, molecular hydrogen that are the nurseries for young stars. Through an optical telescope, these clouds look like holes in the starry sky, because the dust accompanying the gas blocks light from both the stars forming inside and the stars behind. The clouds can, however, be probed by radio telescopes, since the cold dust grains in them emit at these radio wavelengths, and radio waves are not blocked by the dust.

The Perseus molecular cloud is one such stellar nursery, about 600 light-years from Earth and about 50 light-years long. Last year, a team of astronomers completed a survey that used the Very Large Array, a collection of radio dishes in New Mexico, to look at star formation inside the cloud. Called VANDAM, it was the first complete survey of all young stars in a molecular cloud, that is, stars less than about 4 million years old, including both single and multiple stars down to separations of about 15 astronomical units. This captured all multiple stars with a separation of more than about the radius of Uranus’ orbit – 19 AU – in our solar system.

Stahler heard about the survey after approaching Sadavoy, a member of the VANDAM team, and asking for her help in observing young stars inside dense cores. The VANDAM survey produced a census of all Class 0 stars – those less than about 500,000 years old – and Class I stars – those between about 500,000 and 1 million years old. Both types of stars are so young that they are not yet burning hydrogen to produce energy.

Sadavoy took the results from VANDAM and combined them with additional observations that reveal the egg-shaped cocoons around the young stars. These additional observations come from the Gould Belt Survey with SCUBA-2 on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii. By combining these two data sets, Sadavoy was able to produce a robust census of the binary and single-star populations in Perseus, turning up 55 young stars in 24 multiple-star systems, all but five of them binary, and 45 single-star systems.

Using these data, Sadavoy and Stahler discovered that all of the widely separated binary systems – those with stars separated by more than 500 AU – were very young systems, containing two Class 0 stars. These systems also tended to be aligned with the long axis of the egg-shaped dense core. The slightly older Class I binary stars were closer together, many separated by about 200 AU, and showed no tendency to align along the egg’s axis.

“This has not been seen before or tested, and is super interesting,” Sadavoy said. “We don’t yet know quite what it means, but it isn’t random and must say something about the way wide binaries form.”

Egg-Shaped Cores Collapse into Two Centers

Stahler and Sadavoy mathematically modeled various scenarios to explain this distribution of stars, assuming typical formation, breakup and orbital shrinking times. They concluded that the only way to explain the observations is to assume that all stars of masses around that of the Sun start off as wide Class 0 binaries in egg-shaped dense cores, after which some 60 percent split up over time. The rest shrink to form tight binaries.

“As the egg contracts, the densest part of the egg will be toward the middle, and that forms two concentrations of density along the middle axis,” he said. “These centers of higher density at some point collapse in on themselves because of their self-gravity to form Class 0 stars.”

“Within our picture, single low-mass, Sun-like stars are not primordial,” Stahler added. “They are the result of the breakup of binaries. “

Their theory implies that each dense core, which typically comprises a few solar masses, converts twice as much material into stars as was previously thought.

Stahler said that he has been asking radio astronomers to compare dense cores with their embedded young stars for more than 20 years, in order to test theories of binary star formation. The new data and model are a start, he says, but more work needs to be done to understand the physics behind the rule.

Such studies may come along soon, because the capabilities of a now-upgraded VLA and the ALMA telescope in Chile, plus the SCUBA-2 survey in Hawaii, “are finally giving us the data and statistics we need. This is going to change our understanding of dense cores and the embedded stars within them,” Sadavoy said.

TOP IMAGE….Radio image of a very young binary star system, less than about 1 million years old, that formed within a dense core (oval outline) in the Perseus molecular cloud. All stars likely form as binaries within dense cores. (SCUBA-2 survey image by Sarah Sadavoy, CfA)

CENTRE IMAGE….A radio image of a triple star system forming within a dusty disk in the Perseus molecular cloud obtained by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. (Image: Bill Saxton, ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NRAO/AUI/NSF)

LOWER IMAGE….This infrared image from the Hubble Space Telescope contains a bright, fan-shaped object (lower right quadrant) thought to be a binary star that emits light pulses as the two stars interact. The primitive binary system is located in the IC 348 region of the Perseus molecular cloud and was included in the study by the Berkeley/Harvard team. (Image: NASA, ESA and J. Muzerolle, STScI)

BOTTOM IMAGE….A dark molecular cloud, Barnard 68, is filled with gas and dust that block the light from stars forming inside as well as stars and galaxies located behind it. These and other stellar nurseries, like the Perseus molecular cloud, can only be probed by radio waves. Credit: FORS Team, 8.2-meter VLT Antu, ESO

List of Free Science Books

Here’s an alphabetical list of all available free books. Note that many of the links will bring you to an external page, usually with more info about the book and the download links. Also, the links are updated as frequently as possible, however some of them might be broken. Broken links are constantly being fixed. In case you want to report a broken link, or a link that violates copyrights, use the contact form


  • A Beginner’s Guide to Mathematica
  • A Brief Introduction to Particle Physics
  • A First Course in General Relativity
  • A New Astronomy
  • A No-Nonsense Introduction to General Relativity
  • A Popular History of Astronomy During the Nineteenth Century, Fourth Edition
  • A Review of General Chemistry
  • A Simple Guide to Backyard Astronomy
  • A Text Book for High School Students Studying Physics
  • A Tour of Triangle Geometry
  • About Life: Concepts in Modern Biology
  • Acoustic Emission
  • Adaptive Control
  • Advanced Calculus
  • Advanced Learning
  • Advanced Mathematics for Engineers
  • Advanced Microwave Circuits and Systems
  • Advanced Technologies
  • Advances in Computer Science and IT
  • Advances in Evolutionary Algorithms
  • Advances in Geoscience and Remote Sensing
  • Advances in Haptics
  • Advances in Human Computer Interaction
  • Age of Einstein
  • Aging by Design
  • AMPL:  A Modeling Language for Mathematical Programming
  • An Introduction to Elementary Particles
  • An Introduction to Higher Mathematics
  • An Introduction to Many Worlds in Quantum Computation
  • An Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning
  • An Introduction to Mathematics
  • An Introduction to Proofs and the Mathematical Vernacular
  • An Introduction to Relativistic Quantum Mechanics
  • Analysis 1 (Tao T)
  • Analysis 2 (Tao T)
  • Analytic Functions
  • Astronomical Discovery
  • Astronomy for Amateurs
  • Astronomy Today
  • Astronomy with an Opera-Glass
  • Automation and Robotics


  • Basic Algebra, Topology and Differential Calculus
  • Basic Concepts of Mathematics
  • Basic Concepts of Thermodynamics
  • Basic Concepts of Thermodynamics Chapter 1
  • Basic Ideas in Chemistry
  • Basic Math: Quick Reference eBook
  • Basic Mathematics for Astronomy
  • Basic Physics
  • Basic Positional Astronomy
  • Basic Principles of Classical and Statistical Thermodynamics
  • Basic Principles of Physics
  • Basics of Physics
  • Beginner’s Botany
  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry (practice book)
  • Biology
  • Board Notes for Particle Physics
  • Book of Proof


  • Calculus
  • Calculus Based Physics
  • Celestial Navigation, Elementary Astronomy, Piloting
  • Circuit QED — Lecture Notes
  • Classical Dynamics
  • Classical Geometry
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Climate Models
  • Collaborative Statistics
  • College Algebra
  • Complex Analysis
  • Computational Geometry
  • Computational Introduction to Number Theory and Algebra
  • Computational Physics with Python
  • Conceptual Physics
  • Consistent Quantum Theory
  • Cook-Book Of Mathematics
  • College Physics
  • Crude Oil Emulsions- Composition Stability and Characterization
  • Curiosities of the Sky


  • Decoherence: Basic Concepts and Their Interpretation
  • Do We Really Understand Quantum Mechanics?
  • Differential Equations
  • Diophantine Analysis
  • Discover Physics
  • Dr. Donald Luttermoser’s Physics Notes
  • Dynamics and Relativity


  • Earthquake Research and Analysis
  • Earthquake-Resistant Structures – Design, Assessment and Rehabilitation
  • Einstein for Everyone
  • Electromagnetic Field Theory
  • Elementary Mathematical Astronomy
  • Elementary Linear Algebra
  • Elementary Particle Physics in a Nutshell
  • Elementary Particles in Physics
  • Elements of Astrophysics
  • Embedded Systems – Theory and Design Methodology
  • Encyclopaedia of Mathematics
  • Encyclopedia of Astrophysics
  • Engineering Mathematics 1
  • Engineering Mathematics with Tables
  • Essential Engineering Mathematics
  • Essential Physics
  • Exoplanet Observing for Amateurs
  • Experimental Particle Physics


  • Fields
  • Foundations of Nonstandard Analysis
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Calendars
  • Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics
  • Fundamentals of Analysis (Chen W.W.L)
  • Further Mathematical Methods
  • Fusion Physics


  • General Chemistry
  • General Relativity
  • General Relativity
  • Geometric Asymptotics
  • Geometry and Group Theory
  • Geometry and Topology
  • Geometry Formulas and Facts
  • Geometry Study Guide
  • Geometry, Topology and Physics
  • Geometry, Topology, Localization and Galois Symmetry
  • Great Astronomers


  • Handbook of Formulae and Physical Constants
  • High School Mathematics Extensions
  • Higher Mathematics for Engineers and Physicists
  • History of Astronomy
  • Homeomorphisms in Analysis
  • How to Use Experimental Data to Compute the Probability of Your Theory


  • Intelligent Systems
  • Intrinsic Geometry of Surfaces
  • Introduction to Astronomy and Cosmology
  • Introduction to Cancer Biology
  • Introduction to Chemistry
  • Introduction to Cosmology
  • Introduction to Elementary Particles
  • Introduction to General Relativity
  • Introduction To Finite Mathematics
  • Introduction to Particle Physics Notes
  • Introduction to PID Controllers
  • Introduction to Quantum Mechanics with Applications to Chemistry
  • Introduction to Quantum Noise, Measurement and Amplification
  • Introduction to Social Network Methods
  • Introduction to String Field Theory
  • Introduction to the Time Evolution of Open Quantum Systems
  • Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
  • Introductory Computational Physics
  • Introductory Physics 1
  • Introductory Physics 2


  • Kinetic Theory


  • Laboratory Manual for Introductory Physics
  • Laws of Physics
  • Learn Physics Today
  • Lecture Notes in Discrete Mathematics
  • Lecture Notes in Quantum Mechanics
  • Lecture Notes in Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Lecture Notes in Particle Physics
  • Lecture Notes on General Relativity
  • Lectures on Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Cosmology
  • Lectures on Particle Physics
  • Lectures on Riemann Zeta-Function
  • Light and Matter


  • Mag 7 Star Atlas Project
  • Many Particle Physics
  • Math Alive
  • Mathematical Analysis I(Zakon E)
  • Mathematical Biology
  • Mathematical Methods
  • Mathematical Methods 1
  • Mathematical Methods for Physical Sciences
  • Mathematical Methods of Engineering Analysis
  • Mathematics, Basic Math and Algebra
  • Mathematics for Computer Science
  • Mathematics for Computer Science
  • Mathematics for Computer Scientists
  • Mathematics For Engineering Students
  • Mathematics Formulary
  • Motion Mountain
  • Music: A Mathematical Offering
  • Mysteries of the Sun


  • Natural Disasters
  • New Frontiers in Graph Theory
  • Noise Control, Reduction and Cancellation Solutions in Engineering
  • Nondestructive Testing Methods and New Applications
  • Nonlinear Optics
  • Notes on Coarse Geometry
  • Notes on Elementary Particle Physics
  • Notes on Quantum Mechanics


  • Observing the Sky from 30S
  • On Particle Physics
  • Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces


  • Particle Physics Course Univ. Cape Town
  • Particle Physics Lecture Notes
  • People’s Physics Book
  • Perspectives in Quantum Physics: Epistemological, Ontological and Pedagogical
  • Photons, Schmotons
  • Physics Lectures
  • Physics Tutorials
  • Physics Study Guides
  • Pioneers of Science
  • Practical Astronomy
  • Practical Astronomy for Engineers
  • Preparing for College Physics
  • Primer Of Celestial Navigation
  • Principal Component Analysis – Multidisciplinary Applications
  • Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Volume 1


  • Quantum Dissipative Systems
  • Quantum Field Theory
  • Quantum Fluctuations
  • Quantum Information Theory
  • Quantum Magnetism
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Quantum Mechanics: A Graduate Course
  • Quantum Mechanics: An Intermediate Level Course
  • Quantum Notes
  • Quantum Physics Notes
  • Quantum Theory of Many-Particle Systems
  • Quantum Transients


  • Recreations in Astronomy
  • Relativistic Quantum Dynamics
  • Relativity: The Special and General Theory
  • Review of Basic Mathematics
  • Riemann Surfaces, Dynamics and Geometry Course Notes


  • Short History of Astronomy
  • Sintering of Ceramics – New Emerging Techniques
  • Solitons
  • Some Basic Principles from Astronomy
  • Special Relativity
  • Spherical Astronomy
  • Star-Gazer’s Hand-Book
  • Statistical Physics
  • Street-Fighting Mathematics
  • String Theory
  • Structures of Life
  • Supernova Remnants: The X-ray Perspective
  • Superspace: One Thousand and One Lessons in Supersymmetry
  • System of Systems


  • The Astrobiology Primer: An Outline of General Knowledge
  • The Astronomy and the Bible
  • The Astronomy of the Bible: An Elementary Commentary on the Astronomical References of Holy Scripture
  • The Basic Paradoxes of Statistical Classical Physics and Quantum Mechanics
  • The Beginning and the End
  • The Beginning and the End of the Universe
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Sun
  • The Convenient Setting of Global Analysis
  • The Eightfold Way: The Beauty of Klein’s Quartic Curve
  • The General Theory of Relativity
  • The Geology of Terrestrial Planets
  • The Geometry of the Sphere
  • The Handbook of Essential Mathematics
  • The Moon: A Full Description and Map of its Principal Physical Features
  • The Open Agenda
  • The Origin of Mass in Particle Physics
  • The Particle Detector Brief Book
  • The Physics Hypertextbook
  • The Physics of Quantum Mechanics
  • The Planet Mars
  • The Small n Problem in High Energy Physics
  • The Story of Eclipses
  • The Story of the Heavens
  • The Structure of Life
  • The Wonder Book of Knowledge
  • The World According to the Hubble Space Telescope
  • The Zij as-Sanjari of Gregory Chioniades (June 27, 2009)
  • Three Dimensional Geometry


  • Understanding Physics
  • Unfolding the Labyrinth
  • Utility of Quaternions in Physics
  • Uses of Astronomy

Adversarial Machines

There’s been some interesting developments recently in adversarial training, but I thought it would probably be a good idea to first talk about what adversarial images are in the first place. This Medium article by @samim is an accessible explanation of what’s going on. It references this talk by Ian Goodfellow, asking if statistical models understand the world.

Machine learning can do amazing magical things, but the computer isn’t looking at things the same way that we do. One way to exploit that is by adding patterns that we can’t detect but that create enough of a difference in the data to completely fool the computer. Is it a dog or an ostrich?

There’s been quite a lot of research into finding ways round this problem as well as exploiting it to avoid facial recognition or other surveillance. And, like I said, there’s been some interesting recent developments that I hope to talk about here.

How to verify sources and be persuasive

This is, seemingly, something that people either never learned how to do or forgot how to do the moment they left school.  It’s come up recently, so I figured I’d post another how-to, this one tailored to demonstrate how you can actually get to “the bottom” of all the sources you see flung around this hellsite and others like it.

This comes in the form of asking yourself and the source material a number of questions.

What is the source?

  • Is the source a newspaper article, a meta-analysis, or a piece of hard data?  Is it an opinion piece, yellow journalism, or hard reporting?  Accurately determining what the source actually is, at its core, is critical to determining its value and the weight it has.
  • If you’ve got this you’ve done your first job, having a reason for what you believe.

Who wrote the source?

  • How credible are the authors of the source?
    • This boils down to a matter credentials and ethics.  If an author has no credentials to their name you’ll be hard-pressed to trust their analysis of the data they’re given.  If they’re acting in unethical manners (not reporting conflicts of interest, investigating/reporting on only one side of the story, etc.) then you similarly have little reason to trust the veracity of their claims.
  • What organizations are attached to the source?
    • Almost as important are the institutions who aided in the research.  The better respected, more cautious, and more objective the organization is the more trust you can instill in the piece.  A solid and reputable organization would be the first safeguard against trash research,
  • Your job is to analyze the validity of the source

Where was the source published?

  • Was it online or in a magazine?  A scientific journal or a book?  The Times or Tumblr?
    • Similar to the organizations attached to the piece, this is another level that factors into the analysis.  A piece that made it through my clipboard from Word to Tumblr gains nothing from the process.  A piece that made it through the double-blind peer-review process holds a LOT more weight to it because it’s already been through probably 3 or 4 different revisions from experts in the field combing through things like statistical modeling, experimental design, and analytical validity.
      • Publicly-available research from a scientific journal is never the first draft.  You can expect at least 2 revisions for a variety of things, with 5 or more being uncommon but not unheard of.
  • Keep paywalls in mind when using sources, as you’re trying to give people a reason to believe you.  If your source absolutely depends on people having a full dataset but they need to pay $80 to see what you’re talknig about they’re not going to believe you past the abstract.  
    • Sourcing a book is fine, but make sure you present the wholly sufficient context from the book.  If someone questions the logic of your source the reply of “read the whole book” is a failing.  
  • Your job is to give people a logical reason to believe you, not give them a summer reading list.

Does it use the most recent data?

  • What qualifies as “the most recent data” will vary from field to field, as we’re not exactly discovering new things about Victorian England but we are discovering new things about Astrophysics and Neurology.  But it is important that you use data as timely and recent as possible for the subject matter.
    • Using the newest data keeps your points relevant, your facts grounded, and your argument compelling.  Using data on homicide rates from the 1970s is useless unless it’s part of a trend.  Hell, using crime rates from 2010 is already significantly different from today’s dynamic.  
  • Your job is to curate your data into its best possible form.

Who was the target audience?

  • Was the research pointed at people with PhDs in the field?  Or is it for middle schoolers?
    • You need to reconcile the differences between your target audience and the source’s target audience.  If the original source is a jargon-dense and 56-page piece of research you can bet your ass that you’re going to need to digest it and break it down for people.  
  • Your job is to make your sources palatable.

How are you using the source?

  • Are you planning to use this as a primary, secondary, or tertiary source? 
    • How you plan to use this determines how you present the material and should be decided by what the actual source is.  If you’re trying to use this as newspaper as a secondary source you’re doing it wrong.  If you’re trying to pass off a meta-analysis as a primary source you’re going to both get and use the wrong information and commit academic dishonesty.
  • Are you using it to refute a claim being made, support your own claim, or as an objective reference?
    • This will detail the level of “unpacking” you’ll need to do.  If it’s a blank observation the source and a summary of it should be enough.  If you’re using it as evidence you need to explain why it supports your claim.  If you’re using it to debunk a point you need to explain why it shows the other person wrong and why it’s a better source than what they used.
  • Your job is to use the source adequately and appropriately.

Who is your intended audience?

  • Keep in mind, some sources just will not garner any weight with different populations no matter what they say.  AnCaps will not put any stock in the Communist Manifesto.  Right-Wingers will never trust what MSNBC has to say.  Feminists won’t put any weight in what the Bible has to say.
  • It is your job to tailor your argument to be as persuasive and credible as it can be.

“But what if I find a source that doesn’t hold up through these questions?”

Too bad.  If you can’t find proper evidence for your viewpoint you need to change your viewpoint.  Presuming you’re dealing with a rational person (hard to find, I know), if you can’t convince them then that is your failing and you need to re-examine how solid your own beliefs are.  If they’re unreasonable then that’s got nothing to do with you, but not everyone who disagrees with you will be crazy.

Also, a final piece of advice: don’t get so locked into your perspective that you put on ideological blinders.

Please someone tell me why I’m wrong.

It’s possible to match a data set optimally with one parameter.

Model: y=sin(bx), where y is scaled such that all values fall between 0 and 1 exclusive. The difficulty of hitting every point rises with the number of data points, but that just means you need bigger values of b. The “model” will look like an almost fully filled space with a sin curve oscillating so fast it looks like a series of vertical lines. Yet it hits every single point (because in a large enough option space, I can do that) when possible or the exact midpoint when not. Plausibly 100% perfection is impossible in many cases, but a sufficiently close approximation probably is.

If this understanding of overfitting sin waves is correct, doesn’t that suggest a flaw in how we penalize complexity in model-fitting?

unhealthy zelda botw ramble

Playing Breath of the Wild feeling a little depressed, rambling

The game is beautiful. I want to lock myself up and get lost in every corner of the world. Avoid all responsibility, forget about being human.

But when I’m Link and I visit one of the many villages and see the NPC’s going through their repetitive lives, sheltered and unable to explore, I relate to them more than the hero. I sit at home reluctant to go explore the world due to fear and comfort. I only pretend to be a hero and revel in the virtual world where I can’t lose.

Even online multiplayer games with their competitive leagues and economies offer a more real experience than the farce of Zelda.

As an artist I can never create anything like this game or even hope be a part of production. AAA gaming is a terrible hiring environment with a large talent pool, worker exploitation due to the lack of unions and increasing contracting. 

The new money in gaming is the result of statistical models that draw from big data to exploit player addiction in a manner no different from casinos. This is evidence by loot crates, gacha, cool down timers, and the importance of always-online surveillance.

While playing Zelda I like to think it’s lovingly developed the way a master jeweler makes some engagement ring or whatever. And the developers are all amazing, happy, decently paid people. So amazing a product like this can exist in this age if really true.

and then i know that Nintendo is a giant corporation like any other, children are building Switch’s in China, conflict minerals used in technology fuels ethnic conflict in the Congo and whatever I’m just sitting here wasting time and growing older

the privilege of playing Zelda 

AI Death and You: A guide to why...

I think Tucker is gonna be ok……

  • Tucker lacks the necessary neural interface implants to actually integrate with an AI in the way the Agents of Project Freelancer did. So Epsilon did not “kill himself in Tucker’s brain” as Epsilon did with Agent Washington.
  • Epsilon-Church voluntarily deconstructed his memory based personality; not in a desperate and chaotic act of self demolition but in a calculated and organized act of self renewal.
  • Epsilon was not stupid or cruel and I don’t believe he would have fragmented if he had run through even one possible scenario in his statistical models where Tucker ended up damaged because of it. He would have found another way.
  • Tucker is significantly more resilient than anyone gives him credit for. He will be alright and he will not suffer the same sort of damage that Wash did.

I’m not saying it’ll be easy for him to accept that Church is gone (again) but the emotional fallout will not be a physical result of Epsilon’s fragmentation.


Summary: Alfred thinks he’s figured out the perfect way to put the squeeze on Ivan in the wake of the Sino-Soviet split. By making nice with Yao—what else? Because ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is tried and tested and completely foolproof, you bet.

Or: In which the world’s youngest empire has a conversation with one of the oldest. 

Notes: historical!hetalia. basically- the backdrop of Nixon Goes to China, and the Sino-Soviet split. not really shippyish, more like hard-nosed ‘what’s in it for me’ talk. takes place in the same continuity as the boy king.

1972, Beijing 

“Shit- I don’t get you at all—just think how much money you’d rake in from the tourists if you went and stopped being a hermit and threw your doors open tomorrow.”

And he wasn’t even being hyperbolic. The view was amazing; the way the ancient fortifications snaked across the undulating hills and mountains, a great stone dragon dozing amidst the snow-speckled landscape for miles and miles and miles—

“You have quite the one track mind,” Yao observes drily, “And you are very…cheerful today.”

Alfred grins broadly. He is in a good mood, and it’s not just the fine weather, or the boisterous atmosphere from the gaggle of reporters, government aides and other hangers-on around them.

Keep reading

seiya-starsniper  asked:

How many times do you think Savitar and Barry can do the nasty in a single hour? (Or frankly, Barry and any of the other speedster inclined clones. I bet they have a quick rebound time XD)

No one actually knows how many times they can go in an hour. Cisco asked, but upon receiving no reply he started working on a statistical model to try and figure it out.

The 12th House

“There are no bad houses.” - Dane Rudhyar, from “The Astrological Houses”

(taken partly from Dana Gerhardt)
Yes, the 12th house has been referred to as “the valley of miseries,” “the dark den of sorrow and horror,” the “portal of toil,” and the house of “Bad Spirit.”
The fact is, there is karma in this house. Things will happen to people who carry past-life debt. This happens to good and bad people alike. You wronged someone before, they wrong you now. It’s worth noting that this is the house of secret enemies, the evil doers that you don’t even notice or recognize until they’ve already finished their handiwork on you. The 12th house is the house of self undoing, frustration, anger, anxiety, confinement, slavery, sickness, and imprisonment.

There’s good here too. It is a veritable forest filled with the energy of divine unity. This is where the collective unconscious resides. Spiritual transcendence, intuition and compassion come together here to SERVE. It is the only way out of the negative matrix that this house is also capable of presenting. Undo the negative, karmic debt by being of loving service to all. The black and white of this house shows us that both saviors and martyrs live here. You have the ability to go one way or the other: a Ted Bundy or a Mother Teresa? Functions and gifts of the planets that reside in your 12th house and the sign that occupies your 12th house can make you feel shy, insignificant, anonymous - or you could suffer from delusions of grandeur. You could be an easy mark for predators or become a slick predator yourself. All of this can drive you to deception and addiction.

This is the house of things you cannot see. You can find difficulty in dissecting your own 12th house because you cannot accurately see its territory. All of its dangers are invisible to you either because of karma and hidden enemies or the perverted logic of your own subconscious. The 12th house, according to Ptolemy, corresponded to a part of the sky, just above the horizon, where stars were obscured by the “thick, misty exhalations from the moisture of earth.” The 12th house represents a colossal blind spot. When you approach the veiled gates of this house, come armed with a healthy suspicion of your own blind spots. Pay attention to what irritates or frightens you “out there,” because it’s quite likely this lurks in the shadows of your own nature, described by your own 12th house planets or signs.

Consider the case of a 12th house Mars. Mars is the archetypal warrior, representing the ability to set boundaries, be self-assertive, get angry when necessary. People with a 12th house Mars often have difficulty going after what they want. They’re outwardly gentle and agreeable, for the most part lacking Mars’ sharp attacks. You can cross them several times and get no reaction, but one day, someone, possibly you, will receive a full-blown Mars explosion. The 35-year-old computer programmer will disappear and a 2-year-old in tantrum will take his place. But the person acting out won’t know what hit you. He may have sent you vicious emails, vilified your name in the public square, but when it’s time for an apology, he’ll brush it off. To truly regret his actions, his 12th house Mars would have to reach consciousness first. 

Our 12th house planets and signs are like children with special needs. They’ve suffered a critical deprivation. In some way our early environment didn’t encourage or support their expression. They may be usurped, denied or shamed by our caretakers. Somehow we got the message they’re unsafe to express. With Mars or Aries in the 12th, I may fear the expression of my competitive drive or deny my selfishness. With Pluto or Scorpio, I may be too embarrassed to reveal my passion, my sexuality, my power. With Mercury or Gemini in the 12th, I may decide to keep my mouth shut. With Uranus or Aquarius in the 12th, I’ll cover up what makes me different, and keep my creative genius under wraps. With Venus there, or Taurus or Libra, I won’t know how beautiful, how sensuous, how artistic or loving I can be.

Whatever the rejected planet or sign, the subconscious awareness of its loss leads to a kind of victim consciousness, a conviction, in fact, that it’s morally right to feel sorry for ourselves. Weren’t we robbed after all? A businessman I know with a 12th house Mars was keenly aware of his inability to be self-assertive: “My mom co-opted all the anger in our house. I didn’t dare cross her. But then I never got to be me.” When he learned he had a reputation among his co-workers for being ruthless and cruel—his shadow Mars—he was actually thrilled. “Doesn’t it bother you that you might really be hurting people?” I asked. There was a momentary confusion in his eyes before they glazed over. Lost in the memories of his past, and unable to fit them with a different picture of his present, he spaced out and forgot my question. 

I like the modern view of the 12th simply because I’ve found it more useful and true. From the modern perspective, to redeem 12th house planets, you must first become aware that you have them. The next step is to choose—metaphorically—among the more traditional options: Are you going to put yourself in prison, a mental institution, the hospital, or a monastery? You can pace a prison cell of past mistakes. You can go crazy with frustration or anger. You can lie on a sick bed of wounds. Or you can get on your knees and appeal to a higher power. In this vast inner world, time and space have no meaning. In restructuring your 12th house psyche, you have infinite choices. In imagination, you can, like a young Dalai Lama, roam an inner residence a quarter mile long with a thousand rooms, enjoying this precious incarnation, and taking advantage of centuries of history and learning from vast inner libraries. Whatever your past, shining a light in your 12th can open a field of new possibilities.

When I look at an individual’s chart and see planets in the 12th, “doom” and “misery” aren’t the first words that come to my mind. I rather think that here lies a great gift, in fact, the true wealth of the chart. But it’s like a trust fund. The 12th house individual must come of age first, spiritual age. Ego might greedily appropriate the rest of the chart for its desires, but this house refuses to give up its goods so easily. There will be sacrifice; there will be immaturity, weakness, and whining; there will be a long journey requiring self-awareness, humility, and spiritual responsibility. However long it takes, the 12th house treasure will not disappear. Won perhaps over many lifetimes, it is deep and instinctive. The potential for a wide appreciation of its gifts is also huge.

I’m not alone in thinking this way. Michel Gauquelin, a psychologist who used statistical models to investigate astrology’s accuracy, discovered that while many astrology factors have no relevance, planets in the 12th house did have a strong correlation with an individual’s career success. Mars in the 12th house was often found in the charts of sports figures. Actors, politicians, and journalists showed Jupiter in the 12th; scientists and doctors, Saturn or Mars; painters and musicians, Venus; and writers, the Moon. This finding surprised even astrologers, who typically locate career indicators in the 10th. Contemporary astrologer Maurice Fernandez makes even stronger claims for 12th house planets. According to Fernandez, people who have positions of influence or fame will more often have an emphasized 12th house than a strong 10th. Since the 12th house rules both the collective unconscious and the masses, planets here indicate the potential to tune in to what’s popular and have an effect on a wide audience. They may also bear the burden of mass projection, sacrificing the personal life to become a product or symbol. Think of the different measures of fame the following 12th house Suns have achieved: Ghandi, Madonna, George Bush, and Rodney King.

As with any astrology factor, what really counts is what the individual does with it. I know behind every worried email I get about the 12th, lies someone with great potential for success. Since I’ve come to appreciate the special quality of 12th house planets, the rest of the chart seems to pale. Without question, this house of self-undoing, confinement, and loss is my favorite house in the chart.