This is an email from A Running Commentary, a newsletter by The Edwards Edition.

Running Commentary 9/27/2021

Hello,

It’s Fall! At least, it’s Fall in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. If you’re from the other half of the world, just go back in the archives and find an RC from the beginning of spring. But, where most people live, it’s Fall.

Each season has it’s pros and cons, but I’d say, as a Michigander, that Fall is my favorite. I’m biased as an orange lover, since this is the time of year with the most orange-colored things. Fall also has the best food, especially when you remember that most of Christmastime is actually during autumn.

Anyway…

Watching…

Star Wars: Visions

These all got released at once, but I have a weekly newsletter to fill, so I’m thinking I cover these one at a time for the next little bit, okay? First off, we have “The Duel”, from director Takanobu Mizuno of the studio Kamikaze Douga:

The Ronin | Image from StarWars.com

This first short film draws heavily on medieval Japan for its worldbuilding. I’m a bit on my back foot looking at this series since I’m not Japanese or that interested or knowledgeable in Japanese media, but the old samurai and ninjas era has had enough influence on American media, from westerns to Star Wars itself, that I was able to recognize some things. The lone wandering hero with a mysterious past who saves a village besieged by bandits is a fairly universal sort of story, I suppose.

The action here was pretty cool. The umbrella saber was a bit on the wacky side; I’m not sure if I’m relieved or disappointed that the titular duel didn’t actually feature that. The duel itself was done pretty well. The Disney era hasn’t really had as many great lightsaber fights as previous (there’ve been some) so this was a welcome addition to the franchise by that alone. But besides that, this really came off like a trailer for the upcoming Ronin novel, moreso than a complete story on its own.

Playing…

Warframe

It’s the end of the month, so there’s another DevStream to re-cap:

  • After a great deal of player complaints, DE is changing how mod slot polarizing warframes (and archwings, if anyone cares) re-sets their level. Rather than starting from new each time a player installs a forma, the warframe will retain its abilities and health/shield/armor bonuses in accordance with the player’s Mastery Rank, the same way mod capacity is already. This is a straightforward and very popular improvement.
  • Nyx is getting…not a rework, because her powerset is remaining the same. But her powers are getting buffed significantly. Her 3’s augment is allowing rolls, similar to Mesa’s 4 augment. Her 3 is also getting a range buff. Her 1 is getting the biggest improvement. For being the psychic-based frame, her mind control power was basically worthless, because of the combat asymmetry between players and enemies: Enemies have high health and low damage output, while players have low health and high damage. If an enemy gets just switched to the player team, its weak weapons aren’t able to do anything meaningful to the other enemies. So enemies under mind control will be getting a base 500% damage boost. That’s base, which means it should be mod-able even higher. Also, the base duration of the ability is getting a 50% boost from where it is now, and enemies under mind control will teleport along with Nyx the same way Wukong’s clone does. Overall, it’s looking like Nyx is gonna be viable again soon.
  • There are some events coming up next month:
  • Nights of Naberus is coming back. This time there will be a devil wing cosmetic among the rewards, to complement the angel wings released with the Valentine’s Day event from earlier this year.
  • DE’s running another cancer charity drive. Like last time, there will be fundraising goals that, when met, will unlock cosmetics for the playerbase. This year, that includes an over-the-shoulder energy ephemera that will look really nice on a lot of frames.
  • Hildryn’s getting a deluxe skin sometime in the future. It looks okay from the concept art, though I don’t play much of Hildryn and so probably won’t get it.
  • Protea Deluxe will be coming with a Tonkor skin. I’m not sure when a deluxe bundle came with a single-weapon skin rather than a weapon-class skin. I don’t think that’s a good move, and I especially don’t think anyone’s gonna want a skin for the Tonkor, which just isn’t very good.
  • Levarian will be getting some skins, apparently.
  • Some lighting and sound improvements are being worked on that should make things load faster. Good.
  • Crossplay and Warframe on mobile won’t be getting any firm timeline until after The New War.

Eating…

It may be autumn on the calendar, but until the leaves turn color and the earliest hints of winter chill sets in, we’re stuck in a weird transitory period between summer and fall. So that means it’s time for a weird, transitory-time dessert. This four-layer dessert is rich and fudgy like a winter dessert, but also chilled and whippy like a summer dessert:

Ingredients:

  • 1 9/13" pan brownies, prepared beforehand
  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2 packages instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preparation:

  1. Prepare the brownies. Any dense, shallow-in-the-pan recipe will do.
  2. Mix together the sugar, the vanilla, and the heavy cream.
  3. Whip this on high speed until it forms a thick, stable foam.
  4. Move the whipped cream into a separate bowl.
  5. Beat together cream cheese and powdered sugar until combined.
  6. Add back one cup of the whipped cream and mix thoroughly.
  7. Beat together the chocolate pudding mix and milk with a whisk.
  8. Spread cream cheese mix over the brownies, once they have cooled.
  9. Spread the pudding over the cream cheese mix.
  10. Spread the remaining whipped cream over the pudding.
  11. Serve immediately and refrigerate any leftovers.

Note: For neater presentation, prepare in separate jars or ramekins.

Bird of the Week

The Wallcreeper is simultaneously a common, widespread, and beloved bird and a bird that isn’t especially well understood. Long grouped with the treecreepers and nuthatches, the wallcreeper is now grouped alone in its own family within the songbird order. Like their former cousins, the wallcreeper is an insectivore prone to clinging to the sides of things; however, rather than the trunks of trees, the wallcreeper clings to steep cliff faces and the walls of castles and other weathered stone structures.

Wallcreepers can be found up in mountains and gorges throughout Europe and super-Himalayan Asia. These birds are thus not commonly sighted by people, but when they are spotted, their striking, unique appearance leaves an impression. They are mostly gray, but their wings are black with vivid red and white markings. Even when sitting or clinging, they will often flash these eye-catching wings open partially, giving them a somewhat moth-like appearance.

The wallcreeper’s binomial, Tichodroma muraria, is much like its English name. “Tichodroma” is a Greek term meaning “wall-runner”, the name first being given by J. K. W. Illiger, the founding director of what is now the Natural History Museum of Berlin. “Muraria” comes from the Latin “murus”, which is that language’s word for wall. That name was given by Linnaeus, who initially grouped it in the same genus as treecreepers. C. L. Bonaparte, the nephew of the French emperor who we’ve already met when we featured the Yellow-Headed Blackbird, described an eastern subspecies, Tichodroma muraria nepalensis, so named after the land of Nepal, though the subspecies is found through much of the species Asian range.

The Wallcreeper, by Nell Zink, is a neo-pulp romantic thriller about a couple of birders. I have not read it, but a wallcreeper’s (somewhat unlikely) demise as roadkill is apparently the instigating incident.

See the full archive of birds on Notion

Curation Links

Kids who grew up with search engines could change STEM education forever | Monica Chin, The Verge

A look at the generation gap between computer users from the PC era and those from the web era. Teachers are finding their students, used to finding things by Google search, entirely unfamiliar with the concept of a folder-within-folder file system

Valley of the Ragdolls | Elizabeth Donnelly, Topic

“What makes the Ragdoll cat different from other cats is a matter of temperament. Stripped of a desire for hunting, the Ragdoll has a languid, friendly personality. It is large and less agile than other cats, and has a regal feline elegance: its fur is silky, and long; it has piercing, ocean-blue eyes; and its personality could be called dog-like. This is a cat that greets you at the door and follows you from room to room, providing something like unconditional love.”

A Green Moon Problem | Jane Lindskold, Lightspeed Magazine

[FICTION] Jurgen Haines is a merchant engineer aboard Cat Station, in love with an astrogeologist too absorbed in her work to spend much time with him. So, he turns to Tatter D’MaLeon, who will solve anyone’s problem for the right price.

Facial Hair Is Biologically Useless. So Why Do Humans Have It? | Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, WIRED

An attempt to answer the title’s question from the hosts of the long-running educational podcast Stuff You Should Know, excerpted from their recent book of the same name. The answer, in short, is that beards and mustaches are ornamental.

See the full archive of curations on Notion

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