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Running Commentary 9/13/2021

Hello,

I have some thoughts about Kellogg’s Raisin Bran. Famously, they boast of “two scoops” of raisins in every box. But a “scoop” is not a standard unit of measurement. It could mean anything. Business Insider checked how much raisins are actually in a box. As of five years ago, the answer was 1.25 cups, on average, in a roughly 9-cup box. (Standard deviation wasn’t provided by BI, but I’ll presume it’s pretty low considering Raisin Bran is a manufactured good, and such things are generally kept quite uniform.) That would put one scoop at 0.625 cups. But none of that really matters. “Two scoops” is just marketing speak, right? It doesn’t have to mean anything specific.

I would argue that “two scoops” must mean that two measures of some degree must be added separately. If a “scoop” isn’t anything specific, then “two” must be literally “two”. But I don’t think Kellogg’s is measuring out two scoops of any size into the boxes. I don’t think they’re adding raisins to the boxes at all really; they’re probably mixing raisins and bran in a big hopper, then dosing that mix out into boxes. That’s the most efficient way to do it. So I think “two scoops”, while not specific enough to be false advertising, is a weird claim that doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny.

Anyway…

Playing…

Warframe

I have both Gara Prime and Nidus Prime building at the moment; once they’re done, I’ll be all caught up again on frames. I’m thinking I’ll also farm up the Strun Prime and Magnus Prime, since DE appears to have put some special tricks in those weapons like I was hoping they would. But, as yet, I don’t have any of those. What I do have is Yareli, which I’ve played as some more after another round of buffs, and the Ghoulsaw. Here are my thoughts on them:

Yareli

At release, Yareli was really poorly received. After several rounds of buffs, she’s now in a state I’d describe as generally passable, with some niche uses. She does have a definite identity; she’s a mobility frame, in the mold of Gauss or Volt. She’s not very tanky, but her powerset makes up for that by keeping her moving, boosting her armor, and crowd-controlling enemies. While it’s true that there are better crowd-control frames, and while it’s also true that even the best crowd-control frames are less effective than map nukers like Mesa and Saryn, I can’t say Yareli’s take on crowd control doesn’t work. Her 1 is very, very simple. I’m not sure I’d call it crowd control primarily, sense, at one cast, you can only take out five enemies. But her 3 can deal with lower-level enemies already. Her 1 is more for tough enemies who’ll kill you if you can’t do something to them first. Say you happen upon a Nox. Just hit one, hang him up in the air, and use your guns. Yareli’s 4 is reasonably effective, moreso at distance and moreso against large crowds.

But Yareli’s main draw is her 2, which summons her surfing vehicle. This is what makes Yareli different than other frames. This is why you would play Yareli over other frames. Thus, this is the biggest problem with Yareli, considering it isn’t a very good power. Riding Merulina is only a viable option on about half of the game’s tilesets, and is only useful in a few mission types. If you’re running a capture mission in the Void to farm for relics, Yareli really shines, being able to quickly chase down the target and just as quickly get to the exit. If you’re running a survival mission aboard one of the new Corpus starships, Yareli will do fine, if you like her play style. But if you’re running, say, a mobile defense mission on Jupiter, you’ll not really have much chance to ride Merulina, since the Gas City tileset has too much verticality and gaps for Merulina to navigate it well, and since Mobile Defense as a game mode doesn’t call for quick movement through the level much anyway.

Since I have her, I’ll probably use Yareli again if I think to. I don’t dislike playing as her. But if you aren’t making a point of having every Warframe in your roster like I do, I’d say that Yareli can safely be skipped, especially considering how difficult obtaining her is.

Ghoulsaw

This weapon doesn’t do enough damage to be worth picking over other options. There, there’s my take in brief. While it has excellent visual and sound design, and while it has a really effective distance-clearing attack, and while it has high status chance and 100% follow-through, and while just grabbing a table saw and swinging it around is fun in the best Warframe way, the Ghoulsaw just doesn’t deal as much damage as other melee weapons, and once the novelty wears off, there’s little argument for equipping it. It does work on lower-level content, like the Sanctuary Onslaught and Relic-opening runs I’ve been doing this past week, as well as anything. But other things work better, and I just don’t see myself equipping this again in the future. Get it if you want the mastery and about a week’s worth of gimmicky fun, but know there are better options in the game.

Bird of the Week

This week we have a waxwing. What’s a waxwing? It’s any of three sleek-looking passerine birds classified together in the genus Bombycilla, which are named for the bare, red tips of the shafts some of their wing feathers that extend out of their plumage, looking something like drips of sealing wax. North America is home to the brown-and-yellow Cedar Waxwing. East Asia is home to the rosy-colored Japanese Waxwing, unique for having a red rather than yellow tail-tip. And the northern quarter of the world is home to this week’s bird, the large, gray Bohemian Waxwing.

Waxwings can often be seen catching small insects on the wing, especially near water. Their preferred food, however, is berries. They will eat hundreds of berries in a sitting if left undisturbed. This diet, being high in sugar, makes them relatively thirsty birds, especially in the winter, when berries are less juicy; waxwings have been observed eating snow for water. In early Spring, they will also feed on the dripping sap of maple and birch trees. Because overripe berries are prone to fermentation, waxwings have especially large livers and are more capable than most creatures of metabolizing ethanol. Despite this, late-season berry binges can result in the birds becoming drunk, to the point of colliding fatally with obstacles afterward.

The Bohemian waxwing can be found in Alaska and Canada during the summer, and in some northern states of the U.S. during the winter. They are also found breeding in Scandinavia and northern Russia, traveling in Winter down as far south as Japan, China, the Caucasus, and central Europe, including, yes, Bohemia.

Conrad Gessner first called the birds “Bohemian” when he wrote of Garrulus Bohemicus. The word garrulus, which today is the species name, means “talkative” in Latin, and was initially applied to the Eurasian Jay, which Gessner thought the waxwings resembled (though they, themselves, are not especially vocal birds). Gessner called them Bohemicus perhaps in reference to the actual region of Bohemia, or perhaps because they wandered about in a manner reminiscent of Bohemia’s Romani population. The modern genus name Bombycilla is Latin for “silk-tail”, which is the translation of the Bohemian waxwing’s colloquial German name, seidenschwänze, made by the French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot as part of his project to adopt Linnaean Latin binomials for all birds. Germans also sometimes call these birds unglückvogel, that is, “disaster bird”. This, and the Dutch name pestvogel, are a reference to the fact that these birds arrive in those regions at the beginning of what we might now call cold and flu season, when disease, and associated mortality, peaks for the year.

See the full archive of birds on Notion

Curation Links

A Decade and a Half of Instability | Ron Amedo, Ars Technica

A look at the 22 different messaging services Google has released since 2005. Some are task-specific, some are messengers attached to other Google apps, and some are meant to be all-encompassing ways to communicate with all your friends, family, and/or co-workers. So far none have made it more than a couple of years without being revamped, replaced, re-named, or retired.

Joe Alves Sets the Record Straight on the Supposedly Inoperable Shark of ‘Jaws’ | Brad Gullickson, Film School Rejects

A conversation with Jaws production designer Joe Alves, discussing how the struggles to get the model sharks to work affected the shooting schedule of the iconic summer film.

2021 Winners | BigPicture Competition

Care to look at some nice photos? Every year the BigPicture Competition names the best nature photography across seven categories. These are this year’s winners, as well as some of the runners-up.

“This Is Going to Change the World” | Dan Kois, Slate

In the wake of the dotcom burst, rumors began swirling about the next big thing. A book was being written about “IT”, a good, old-fashioned physical invention that promised to revolutionize human transportation. “IT” was championed by Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. “IT” might be a jetpack, or a flying car. “IT” was, the world finally learned, the segway. Dan Kois, a former literary agent who sold the publishing rights to Steven Kemper’s IT (since reworked as Reinventing the Wheel), a book about the development of a then-secret technology that kicked off the unfulfillable hype train that proved to be the segway’s downfall, wonders in this piece how much responsibility he has for killing the scooter for the new millennium.

See the full archive of curations on Notion

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