March 2010


I’ve been playing the newest Borderlands DLC, The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, which raises the level cap from 50 to 61.  Four of us started out, all at level 50, and we were constantly creamed… we’d be going down the highway, all get wasted by Lance Probes, and barely get farther next time. 

Tooling down one of the many, many highways in the DLC

I think I complained about not being able to see your money past $10 million and how strangely demotivating that is.  Well, they sure fixed that problem– dying costs 7% of your cash, so I spent a fortune getting reanimated.

All this was pretty much hilarious fun.  The Dr. Ned zombies really weren’t hard enough… the game needed a solid challenge.  (Though it’s unpredictable whether any particular mission will be hard or not… there’s something to be said after all for Oblivion’s monster levelling.)

There’s bits that remind me of Grand Theft Auto IV… not so much the criminality as the amazing amount of driving.  Thank Scooter for afterburners.

I also finished my replay of Mass Effect, this time on Veteran level.  It is better that way… on the other hand, I do think combat is just not the game’s strong suit.  Halfway through the game or so, I had a strategy that took care of most battles– pretty much Barrier and Marksman with pistols only; use the other mass effects, plus cover, while they recharge.  I have a new appreciation for games that create weapons or tactics you’re eager to try– Fallout 3, Borderlands, and TF2 are all great at that.

Great article by Maciej Ceglowski  on scurvy– how the cure was discovered two centuries ago, then lost.  The Antarctic expeditions were plagued with scurvy, despite the best scientific advice of the time.

http://idlewords.com/2010/03/scott_and_scurvy.htm

The basic problem turns out to be that a solution was found (lemon juice) but no one knew why it worked– no one knew about vitamin C.  So the British Navy in the mid 1800s switched from lemon juice to lime juice, which was cheaper… not realizing that the limes they used had far less vitamin C.  And that in turn cast doubts on the citrus cure, and that led to more trouble…

I’ve read that damn PDF several times over, but sometimes you just have to sit down with a physical copy.  And when you do, you cringe at the number of errors.  Plus you can’t resist adding in a couple more facts.  (On the plus side: I’ve read the whole book and the spine isn’t even creased.  So that’s reassuring.)

Anyway, all this takes time, much more time than expected, but at least for now it’s back in Amazon’s hands.  

For months now I’ve been in a state where little things keep coming up that I think should go in the book.  But if anyone discovers anything new in linguistics in the next few weeks, I hope they shut up about it.

I got the proof copy of the LCK today.  If you’re worried– I certainly was– I’m glad to say that it looks like an ordinary trade paperback.  It’s 6″ x 9″, glossy cover, good paper, looks like the glue will hold up. 

I could probably release it as is (it’s taken long enough to get to this point), but hey, I’m a perfectionist… I’m going to read it over one more time and look for anything I can correct.

It then takes Amazon a few weeks to build the web page.  (Why so long?  You’d think they’d’ve figured this out by now.)

More bulletins as events warrant.  In the meantime, go watch the new OK Go video.

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