From "Oh this has not gone well" (part 14) by Redditor "ThisHasNotGoneWell":
"Well," I started, how do I explain statistics, and not sound like the boringest boring person in the world, "In the world I come from people have enough free time on their hands, and they take games seriously enough, that people will study a game like a Mage might study magic. I had plenty of time when I was waiting for the pass south to clear, so I spent some time pulling the rules apart, figuring out the probability of any given hand. The other players might have a gut feeling as to how probable a given hand is, but I know the figures exactly. I'll also try to keep track of what cards I've seen played already. Between that, and having worked out the probabilities of each, I usually have at least an idea of how good my hand is compared to the others."
"Wait," she said, trying to wrap her head around what I'd just said, "So, you know what cards they have in their hand?"
"Not quite, I know what cards they probably have. And even if I don't know specifics, I'll at least have an idea of whether their hand is better or worse than mine, and that's really all I need."
"Don't humans have anything better to do?"
I thought of the many hundreds of hours spent playing videogames and watching Netflix.
I'm not sure when I first met Jordin. Probably Confrancisco in 1993, where I first met a lot of the California filkers. (Most notably Kathy Mar, leading me the next year to drive up to a small con outside Toronto where she was GOH. But that's another story.)
My favorite memory of Jordin was his debut of "Heart of the Apple Lisa" during his Interfilk Guest concert at ConCertino in 1995. Which, being in Westborough, MA, was right in the heart of Fred Small territory. Given that and the number of computer scientists in filk, the titters from the audience started almost immediately. When he hit the first chorus, you could literally hear the wave of laughter roll from the front row to the back of the room. I was seated about 2/3 of the way back, with a clear sightline to the rear doors into the ballroom. As Jordin continued and the gales of hysterical laughter began to crescendo, I could see people running in from the hallway to find out what was happening.
And the topper? Mary Kay had been worried how the song would be received and thought the jokes might be too esoteric. For a con a few miles from the famed stretch of MA Route 128 known as "America's Technology Highway", home to the offices of IBM, DEC and Honeywell, HP, DG, and--sorry, different filker.
My second favorite memory came while waiting to board a flight at Dulles. I was sitting facing the concourse, watching people walk by, as one does. I saw someone who looked like Jordin walk by. I didn't get up immediately; I first thought it couldn't be Jordin, he lives in Seattle. A minute or two passed, and I became more convinced it really was Jordin. I got up, started to walk down the concourse, got about two gates, and saw Mary Kay sitting near the end of a row of seats. I went over and started chatting, and of course Jordin returned from his perambulations shortly thereafter. Turns out they'd been overseas at an astrophysics conference and were connecting back through Dulles. He'd actually won a significant award at that conference, making me the first filker other than Mary Kay to hear the good news.
Jordin leaves us a long legacy of original songs from the heartbreaking ("Waverider") to the anthemic ("Fire in the Sky"), parodies ("Psi Nought", "Dawson's Concom", "Unified Field Theory"), Les Barker recitations, Off Centaur recordings and songbooks, and drawers full of punny T-shirts. He will be missed.
Liver Damage From Supplements Is on the Rise
Green-tea extract and bodybuilding pills pose a particular risk, study finds
You’ve probably heard that too much alcohol or excessive amounts of certain medications can damage your liver, an organ that helps your body extract the nutrients it needs from food and eliminate toxic substances from your blood.
But a new review suggests that many herbal remedies and dietary supplements can also harm the liver, including some that you can easily buy online or over-the-counter in drug or health food stores.
The study also found that injuries linked to those supplements are rising fast, jumping from just 7 percent of all drug-induced liver injuries in 2004 to about 20 percent in 2014.
Click headline for full article.
Here's how it happened; I went out for a walk around dusk, because I hadn't gotten any exercise that day, and I tromped around campus for a while playing Pokémon Go and about the fourth time the app crashed on me I decided I'd had enough exercise and started walking home. By now it was full dark, maybe 10 pm or 10:15.
I was tromping down the street full tilt in my usual "take no prisoners" pace, when I noticed a couple of police cars by the back dock of the Post Office, with their flashing blue lights on. As I came by I saw a white car pulled over in the glare of their headlights being searched by a policeman while a pair of young people sat stiffly on the nose of the police car with another policeman talking to them.
I would ordinarily have passed by, politely pretending not to notice these stressed people. But these are not ordinary times and I've been hearing things, and I started weighing things over in my head. The girl was white, very blond--the boy was wearing a red watch cap and I couldn't see enough of him to be sure of his color. A couple of my friends had mentioned the Power Of The Middle-Aged White Woman to keep cops from getting violent. Should I stay?
Could the police men even see me in the dark? I was wearing a white shirt; surely they could. Wait, now the boy turned his head and I could see he was white too. Maybe they didn't need me. Probably they didn't. I should go.
But I could feel the urge to turn around and leave, especially when the policemen kept glancing my way. Like a social repulsor field. And I thought: maybe I should stay just for the practice. Practice Being There. So I stayed.
The policemen glanced at me again. I reminded myself I had every right to be there, and to watch policemen doing interesting things on public property. I stayed. One of the policemen drove away. Mosquitoes came and expressed their pleasure that I had been so accommodating as to wear shorts. I asked myself what Judi would do. I stayed. A new policeman drove up and talked to the kids a while.
Then he walked over to me saying "May I help you?" Jimminy Christmas he was actually taller than me which doesn't happen very often.
I smiled and said "No thanks, I'm just watching."
He said "that's fine, you have every right to watch." (Ha. White Woman Privilege at work.) "I just wondered if you knew these juveniles."
I smiled and shook my head and said "Sorry, no."
He walked back over to the kids. My feet got tired and I leaned against a nearby stone wall. More talking. I wondered if there might be ticks in the lawn the stone wall was retaining. I hoped not. Presently he led the girl over to his police car. I moved a bit so I could see that he wasn't hurting her. She got in the back of his car. He drove her away. I sat back down on the stone wall.
After a while the boy was allowed to go sit in the driver's seat of his car. He smoked a cigarette. I stayed. And a while after that the remaining policeman got in his car, pulled out and drove away, and the boy did likewise and I went home.
I stayed for roughly an hour and came home with tired feet and new mosquito bites, and had Kip check me for ticks before I went to bed. (No ticks, whew; ticks really give me the creeps.) It was not an easy thing to resist the social repulsion field and all the voices in my own head telling me everything was fine and I didn't have to be there and I was probably embarrassing those kids or the policemen or both, and for nothing. But it was a lot easier for me than it would have been for someone who didn't have my advantages. And hopefully next time it will be easier still.
Because there will be a next time. I'm practicing.
Today, after landing and a cab, and an alarming phone call from the mobility scooter rental place asking when I was going to pick it up (it got sorted out and they delivered the scooter promptly) I went up to the desk... and they wouldn't check me in. Because my name wasn't on the godamned reservation. I checked my bag, sat down, and cried. I got maybe four hours of sleep last night and chock-full airplanes are not calming to me.
I got myself together and had a Slim Jim and a granola bar, used a wet wipe on my face and hands, and felt a little better. A lady came up to me. "Excuse me, I'm sorry, but I saw you crying a little while ago. Is everything okay?"
I explained what had happened and that I was mostly just tired, having anticipated a nap upon arrival.
"Do you have something to eat?"
"Yes, I have a bag of snacks, thank you so much." I squeezed her hand.
Little glimmers of hope and caring when you're feeing low are priceless. It will be my privilege to try to pass it on in a convention where so many can get swept by the wayside.