Archive for March, 2017
So we’ve got a small but powerful token,
originally belonging to a powerful being, but taken by a flawed hero who didn’t know what he was getting in for,
and who is defeated, losing the item into the water.
This token comes into the keeping of an eccentric mortal for many years, giving them long life and vitality,
until they pass it on to a younger relative, and their health immediately begins to deteriorate.
The adorable, dark-haired, doe-eyed new bearer,
carrying the token on a necklace,
sets out to find someone else to take it,
but ultimately must take ownership of the quest themselves.
Along the way, they encounter endless dangers and obstacles,
finally facing their greatest challenge yet at a volcano,
and return the token to its source.
Featuring super idyllic, completely culturally stagnated hometowns,
raptors of unusual size,
Dramatic Tower Is Dramatic,
and tiny boats sailing into the sunset.
tl;dr – Moana is Lord of the Rings without the actual evil.
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Whoa, I just checked and I have 200 followers! And I think roughly half of you started following within the last year, so if you’re one of my new-ish followers, welcome! I assume you’re here for Poe Party, in which case you’re in the right place because I have no plans to stop posting about it any time soon (although I’ll probably run out of Clue parallels before too much longer…)
I also must give a shout out to the people who started following me years ago who have stuck with me through the changing fandoms: thank you! But if you still haven’t watched Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party, I would highly recommend it. If you share enough interests with me to have followed me thus far, you’ll probably enjoy it. I know you didn’t ask, but here’s the link. (And I promise no one is paying me to advertise this show. It’s just ridiculously fantastic and I want the whole world to know about it.) Also I’ll definitely keep posting about other stuff besides Poe Party, so don’t worry.
Anyway, I’ll probably lose followers again soon, but I’ve been hovering in the 190s for a while so I thought I’d take this opportunity while it was here. Thanks to all 200 of you for bearing with me and my weirdness. I greatly appreciate you all!
I do not believe the poeparty/clue parallels will ever run out. They’ll just become more obscure and mind-bendingly meta.
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I have posted about survivorship bias and how it affects your career choices: how a Hollywood actor giving the classic “follow your dreams and never give up” line is bad advice and is pure survivorship bias at work.
When I read up on the wikipedia page, I encountered an interesting story:
During WWII the US Air Force wanted to minimize bomber losses to enemy fire. The Center for Naval Analyses ran a research on where bombers tend to get hit with the explicit aim of enforcing the parts of the airframe that is most likely to receive incoming fire. This is what they came up with:
So, they said: the red dots are where bombers are most likely to be hit, so put some more armor on those parts to make the bombers more resilient. That looked like a logical conclusion, until Abraham Wald – a mathematician – started asking questions:
– how did you obtain that data?
– well, we looked at every bomber returning from a raid, marked the damages on the airframe on a sheet and collected the sheets from all allied air bases over months. What you see is the result of hundreds of those sheets.
– and your conclusion?
– well, the red dots are where the bombers were hit. So let’s enforce those parts because they are most exposed to enemy fire.
– no. the red dots are where a bomber can take a hit and return. The bombers that took a hit to the ailerons, the engines or the cockpit never made it home. That’s why they are absent in your data. The blank spots are exactly where you have to enforce the airframe, so those bombers can return.
This is survivorship bias. You only see a subset of the outcomes. The ones that made it far enough to be visible. Look out for absence of data. Sometimes they tell a story of their own.
BTW: You can see the result of this research today. This is the exact reason the A-10 has the pilot sitting in a titanium armor bathtub and has it’s engines placed high and shielded.
If you want to think scientifically, ALWAYS ask what data was included in a conclusion. And ALWAYS ask what data was EXCLUDED when making a conclusion.
If they have excluded information because “it doesn’t exist” or “it was too hard to get” or “it was good data but was provided by people we don’t like”, then that is a BIG RED FLAG that the analysis was flawed.
Another example of this is originally doctor’s thought smoking protected people from developing dementia until someone pointed out it was because smokers didn’t usually live long enough to get the most common forms.
Think very carefully when someone tells you “We didn’t have [X] when I was a kid, and I turned out just fine.”
I love how the people who did the original naval study gathered the right data, but misinterpreted it based on the unexamined assumption that the bullets or flak or whatever where selectively hitting just those parts of the plane, like that photo of the lightning strikes on the ocean with the caption, “Fuck these three fish in particular.”
Sometimes the world is subtle, and it’s only when you think it through that you realize hey, wait a minute. The bullets or flak or whatever should be randomly distributed. There must be some other explanation for those gaps….
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I assume you are probably already familiar with it, but if not I highly recommend Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney’s book Tracks & Signs of Insects and Other Invertebrates. It’s a fantastic guide with lots of detail about things like galls and egg cases and silken hides and whatnot. Great photos and explanatory text. Charley’s also awesome about responding quickly to mystery photos posted to Bugguide. Thanks for posting so much cool content! I’m glad I found your blogs. :-)Tuesday, March 28th, 2017
Hello there! Funny you mention it, I discovered Charley Eiseman yesterday while I was trying to ID some tricky galls I found in my yard last week. I only noticed them after I crouched down to investigate the harlequin bug eggs that were attached to a nearby sapling [link]. The pink caught my eye, and since I was in “excited insect egg” mode, I thought these were eggs of some sort. I’m new to trying to ID eggs, so that was my wild guess since I hadn’t seen any galls like this in person. Technically, they’re not not eggs?
I posted them to iNat [link], and didn’t get any IDs from people. The next day, I wanted to go back and check on the harlequin bug eggs, and I noticed MORE pink spikes on another leaf, and made another iNat observation [link]:
I am lucky to live in an area with a very active naturalist community. I was at a bioblitz on Sunday and met a guy I have been interacting with pretty heavily on iNat (I love introducing myself to people with my username and see how excited they get to meet me in person!). This guy saw my observation of these galls and identified the plant as a hackberry. Knowing the host plant is the most important step in doing these gall IDs, and after I googled “hackberry gall,” I saw a picture of my galls after scrolling for what seemed like forever:
Image is © Charley Eiseman, see his post about them here [link]. The image above is of the Hackberry Horn Gall (Celticecis cornuata) specimen he sent off to the entomologist who described this midge as a new species in 2013.
You cannot comprehend how excited I was to (1) ID this under-documented species (there is currently only one, not so great photo of these galls on bugguide [link]–I submitted my photos as an ID request because I kept getting yelled at for being wrong, but nobody’s commented on my page [link] so I might just add my photos anyway) (2) be one of the few people to see AND document it, and (3) specifically request an iNaturalist admin to add the species page because it wasn’t in the system yet.
Next steps: I’m going to go back out into my yard at some point this week and see if I can dig up the sapling these are on and move it closer to the house. I want to watch them hatch! Also, I have access to some pretty fancy microscopes at work, so I can dissect one under a light microscope, and THEN use the scanning electron microscope to get super high resolution images. STAY TUNED.
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