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Thread: Really trivial stuff that amuses you...

  1. #11221
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    The weather dice are kind of cool when you need a random number in a game, but don't want the players to see what the number actually is. RPGs with dice tend to make the players jumpy about real high numbers or really low ones. The icons hide that part. I believe in having the players see almost all dice rolls or make the rolls themselves and evaluate it themselves. I have special tables for skill rolls where the players know what the action is and what possible outcomes are, but have the numbers arranged non-linearly (but with the same probability) so they can't gauge the results based on a number. They tend to be actions you can't (or shouldn't) act out but you also shouldn't know how well you are doing. Hide in shadows or move silently vs. intimidate or bluff. The players can act out a bluff but don't really know how well they are hiding.

    I can't tell you how many times I've had players act out a bluff and I have simply said, "That was awesome! Don't bother to roll the dice."

    One time I had a player act out moving silently and hide in shadows, which was a virtual laugh factory. He totally failed his roll against people who has successfully hidden themselves from the party. From an in-game perspective, it was successful for the wrong reason and incredibly humorous. The hidden enemies stepped out of hiding when he passed them, obviously perplexed as to what was happening but not ramped up enough to attack. They tried to arrest him, but since they exposed themselves to the party, that didn't work. The party captured them and tied them all up.

    I have next week off. As a funny trial run I will roll these in the morning and see which is better, the weather man or the dice.
    Solfe

  2. #11222
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    That's fine, and there's nothing wrong with emotional arguments per se,
    I think that arguments for a specific mode of action that are not based on considering the real outcome, should not be invoked for courses of action with life-threatening consequences.

    Appeals to emotion dominate our public discourse. Rational thinking needs a resurgence... or perhaps a "surgence" would be more accurate.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  3. #11223
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    Earlier today, I was changing the brakes on my car when the phone rang. I answered it as I was expecting my son to call. No him, but a scam caller. I am not sure what they were expecting me to do, but I put them on speaker as I continued to change the brakes.

    "Clang, clang, clang? What did you say?" They didn't stay on the line for long.

    I didn't even get to use my favorite line: "My social security number is 7. All zeros and a 7. I was only of the first people to get one."
    Solfe

  4. #11224
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post

    I didn't even get to use my favorite line: "My social security number is 7. All zeros and a 7. I was only of the first people to get one."
    I used to tell the Radio Shack clerks, who always wanted a phone number, that mine was 3. Much like your SSN, it was a very old phone.
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  5. #11225
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    That's fine, and there's nothing wrong with emotional arguments per se,
    I think that arguments for a specific mode of action that are not based on considering the real outcome, should not be invoked for courses of action with life-threatening consequences.
    Unfortunately, real-world decisions often carry both powerfully emotional and life-threatening consequences. A proper risk/benefit discussion needs to acknowledge the emotional aspects of the problem, and it's a poor doctor who doesn't get involved in that.
    You clipped off the bit of my original post in which I said that the emotional arguments for people meeting up needed to be balanced with information about the consequences of such actions.

    Grant Hutchison

  6. #11226
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    I used to tell the Radio Shack clerks, who always wanted a phone number, that mine was “3”. Much like your SSN, ...
    Hah! I remember that!
    You spent $1.49 and paid cash, they still wanted your address and phone number. I hated that. All it got you was one more of their catalogs in your mail.
    Because of that policy, I never bought anything at Radio Shack if I could get it elsewhere. (Of course, there were some things that you could find only there, but when that happened I always grumbled about the intrusion.)

  7. #11227
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonM435 View Post
    Hah! I remember that!
    You spent $1.49 and paid cash, they still wanted your address and phone number. I hated that. All it got you was one more of their catalogs in your mail.
    Because of that policy, I never bought anything at Radio Shack if I could get it elsewhere. (Of course, there were some things that you could find only there, but when that happened I always grumbled about the intrusion.)
    I always looked up a person from high school that I didn't like and gave them that information. The demographic information was sort of correct.

    My wife had this funny gag when men asked for her phone number. She called the FBI downtown and got the local number for the missing person's department. That's the number she'd hand out.

    Her younger sister had to deal with cell phones, so she'd tell guys that she would put it in their phone. She'd search for "mom" in contacts and replace that name with her own.
    Solfe

  8. #11228
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Unfortunately, real-world decisions often carry both powerfully emotional and life-threatening consequences. A proper risk/benefit discussion needs to acknowledge the emotional aspects of the problem, and it's a poor doctor who doesn't get involved in that.
    I didn't mean we ignore emotions as a topic of argument.

    You clipped off the bit of my original post in which I said that the emotional arguments for people meeting up needed to be balanced with information about the consequences of such actions
    Sorry. I guess I let my own emotions run away with me!
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  9. #11229
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    Yesterday, the neighbour I don't like was on his roof, cleaning out his gutters. I was on my way out to pick up a take-out pizza with the friend who'd come to fix my computer, and I made sure to let Graham know what was going on in case he heard sirens.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  10. #11230
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I didn't mean we ignore emotions as a topic of argument.
    But in terms of public health, emotional arguments are influential arguments in themselves. Because people's emotions affect their health, and affect their health-related behaviour.
    Back in March on the "diseases and epidemics" thread, I kept banging on about the behavioural aspects of epidemic control measures--we need to take into account people's emotional responses if we are to have successful control measures (which address both Covid and non-Covid morbidity and mortality). So imposing entirely logical restrictions on people's lives in order to limit the spread of disease can have paradoxical results in terms of increasing other sources of illness, or decreasing people's compliance with imposed measures. It's a delicate balancing act, and being aware of people's emotional responses is an important part of that.
    My own little part of the world has done something quite interesting with regard to the vexed topic of Christmas--the government has relaxed the travel and gathering restrictions a little for a five-day period, but has devoted its subsequent messaging to encouraging people not to travel or gather, because of the associated transmission risks. While some have characterized this as "mixed messaging", I suspect it's a rather canny bit of war-gamed behaviour modification--the locus of control for individuals and families now resides in not exploiting the relaxed guidelines, rather than in violating tight guidelines.

    Grant Hutchison

  11. #11231
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    But in terms of public health, emotional arguments are influential arguments in themselves. Because people's emotions affect their health, and affect their health-related behaviour.
    Back in March on the "diseases and epidemics" thread, I kept banging on about the behavioural aspects of epidemic control measures--we need to take into account people's emotional responses if we are to have successful control measures (which address both Covid and non-Covid morbidity and mortality). So imposing entirely logical restrictions on people's lives in order to limit the spread of disease can have paradoxical results in terms of increasing other sources of illness, or decreasing people's compliance with imposed measures. It's a delicate balancing act, and being aware of people's emotional responses is an important part of that.
    My own little part of the world has done something quite interesting with regard to the vexed topic of Christmas--the government has relaxed the travel and gathering restrictions a little for a five-day period, but has devoted its subsequent messaging to encouraging people not to travel or gather, because of the associated transmission risks. While some have characterized this as "mixed messaging", I suspect it's a rather canny bit of war-gamed behaviour modification--the locus of control for individuals and families now resides in not exploiting the relaxed guidelines, rather than in violating tight guidelines.

    Grant Hutchison
    OK. Put that way, I understand. The goals are logical, but the methods of achieving them involve emotions of the "audience".

    I guess I meant, the goals should be fact-based. My response was poorly thought out... which has a certain irony. And by irony I mean D'oh!
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  12. #11232
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    OK. Put that way, I understand. The goals are logical, but the methods of achieving them involve emotions of the "audience".

    I guess I meant, the goals should be fact-based. My response was poorly thought out... which has a certain irony. And by irony I mean D'oh!
    If it can be shown that people are happier when certain policies are enacted, and so someone says we should enact those policies because then people will be happier, is that a fact-based goal or an emotion-based goal?
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  13. #11233
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    If a Buzz Lightyear costume with full face helmet was an acceptable substitute for a face mask, I'd consider it. As it stands, cloth masks are more like a ninja costume and mine makes me feel fat. It hasn't fit in a long time.

    On a related note, I should dig out my suit of chainmail. I made it when I was in high school. That really doesn't fit me.

    (No, I do not have a Buzz Lightyear costume or a Ninja costume, that's for laughs. I do really have a suit of chainmail. That is actually kind of sad.)
    Solfe

  14. #11234
    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    If a Buzz Lightyear costume with full face helmet was an acceptable substitute for a face mask, I'd consider it. As it stands, cloth masks are more like a ninja costume and mine makes me feel fat. It hasn't fit in a long time.

    On a related note, I should dig out my suit of chainmail. I made it when I was in high school. That really doesn't fit me.

    (No, I do not have a Buzz Lightyear costume or a Ninja costume, that's for laughs. I do really have a suit of chainmail. That is actually kind of sad.)
    I know someone who went to Costco with a Mandalorian helmet on.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
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  15. #11235
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    If a Buzz Lightyear costume with full face helmet was an acceptable substitute for a face mask, I'd consider it. As it stands, cloth masks are more like a ninja costume and mine makes me feel fat. It hasn't fit in a long time.

    On a related note, I should dig out my suit of chainmail. I made it when I was in high school. That really doesn't fit me.

    (No, I do not have a Buzz Lightyear costume or a Ninja costume, that's for laughs. I do really have a suit of chainmail. That is actually kind of sad.)
    You are hereby cordially invited to wear your suit of chainmail to my pumpkin hurling contest. Assuming it ever happens again. You wouldn't be the first!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  16. #11236
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    You'd certainly be welcome at faire! And one of today's projects is going to have to be making myself a bigger mask; the pattern I've been using lately feels too small when I wear it.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  17. #11237
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    I don't want to take the Dave Prowse / Darth Vader thread off the rails, but it reminded me of a recurring joke among my old friends.
    A group of us, including my late friend Brian, went to see The Empire Strikes Back when it was originally released. At the moment of the Big Reveal, Brian and I both sighed and said, "Oh, God," in identical tones of weary disgust.
    Since then, that's been a stock phrase among the survivors of our little group, whenever anything surprising happens. Most recently, three of us climbed above a cloud inversion in the Scottish Highlands, just five metres from the summit of our chosen hill. So there we were, suddenly under a clear blue sky, gazing out over a pristine cloudscape dotted with protruding snow-covered peaks. After a moment's pause, all three of us sighed wearily and said, "Oh, God."

    Grant Hutchison

  18. #11238
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    Simon's school is offering the kids a Zoom meeting with Santa Claus, because we live in the weirdest timeline.

    Yesterday, Simon's Zoom on his school Chromebook decided that he didn't want to go to class; he wanted to talk to his Aunt Elaine. Which is undoubtedly true, but he couldn't, and she was at work anyway. But he couldn't log out of her meeting. He couldn't shut down Zoom. And the school tech people have shut down the bit where you can force-close a program for some reason, which I didn't even know you could do. He was unable to log into class. Free accounts on Zoom cannot access a live human for help and must deal with the chat bot, which couldn't understand the problem we were having, much less answer it. Eventually, his teacher contacted the school tech support person for me, and we set up a Google meet on Simon's computer. I went to log in to Zoom . . . and it automatically sent me to Simon's classroom. The repairman problem strikes again.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  19. #11239
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    I put the Christmas tree up on Sunday and it's dropping needles all over the floor.

    It's fake!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  20. #11240
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    A ridiculous moment teaching today. We were reading a news story about Anthony Edwards being the first draft pick for the NBA.


    My student got stuck on a word: "Enbeah". I realized he tried to sound out NBA and corrected him. A moment later he said, "So that's how you do it?" I said yes.


    He read the next sentence, "A, n, t, h, o, n and y e, d, w, a, r, and d, and s was the first draft pick. Gee, Mr. Phil, this is fun."
    Solfe

  21. #11241
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    A ridiculous moment teaching today. We were reading a news story about Anthony Edwards being the first draft pick for the NBA.


    My student got stuck on a word: "Enbeah". I realized he tried to sound out NBA and corrected him. A moment later he said, "So that's how you do it?" I said yes.


    He read the next sentence, "A, n, t, h, o, n and y e, d, w, a, r, and d, and s was the first draft pick. Gee, Mr. Phil, this is fun."
    Thats pretty awesome.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  22. #11242
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Thats pretty awesome.
    I'm lucky he didn't call me "Mister f, i, and l." He's fun kid. He used to call me "Miss Phil", I corrected him several times then realized I was his only male teacher so he was just doing what he was taught. To get over that, I started calling him "Mister Jones" (not his real name) so that he got to see how those titles worked. That worked pretty well.

    But then I made a mistake. He asked me why everyone misspelled my name, "Phil" instead of "Fil". I stupidly gave him the real answer, a little history lesson about language. He memorized it. His speech teacher went nuts when he commented that a word had an aspirated p. She accidentally fueled it by telling him about different types of phonemes. He memorized this, too. And it comes up a lot now.
    Solfe

  23. #11243
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    I'm lucky he didn't call me "Mister f, i, and l." He's fun kid. He used to call me "Miss Phil", I corrected him several times then realized I was his only male teacher so he was just doing what he was taught. To get over that, I started calling him "Mister Jones" (not his real name) so that he got to see how those titles worked. That worked pretty well.

    But then I made a mistake. He asked me why everyone misspelled my name, "Phil" instead of "Fil". I stupidly gave him the real answer, a little history lesson about language. He memorized it. His speech teacher went nuts when he commented that a word had an aspirated p. She accidentally fueled it by telling him about different types of phonemes. He memorized this, too. And it comes up a lot now.
    Reminds me of some of the stories from my introduction to linguistics class I took in college (it was a fun elective). We were studying how kids learn language, and watching videos of little kids as they learned new rules of language, and then proceeded to apply them incorrectly to various situations.

    One of the ones I recall was our teacher (named Pam) talking with a friend. The friend's little girl comes in and is introduced to Pam. Apparently the little girl knew a different lady named Pam and was originally confused, but then explained back to her mom that "this was a different kind of Pam".
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  24. #11244
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    I worked with a guy who was from Tunisia. He learned French there and followed up with a degree in Moscow. He came to English via Arabic, to French, to Russian. Callers to our call center said he had the most beautiful accent. But sometimes things would go really wrong for him.

    We had a troubleshooting script where the consumer was to lubricate a part with Pam or other cooking spray to make assembly easier.

    I heard him say, "Rub some ham on the product. Yes, ham. No, P like Hig. Yes, ham. No, ham. Er, PAH-am."
    Solfe

  25. #11245
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    Which is why Pepsi is Bebsi in Arabic.

    Grant Hutchison

  26. #11246
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Which is why Pepsi is Bebsi in Arabic.

    Grant Hutchison
    "B" and "P" seem to be ambiguous in Korea as well. When I was there -- holy cow, almost 50 years ago! -- you could see highway signs with distance to either "Pusan" or "Busan" within a few kilometers. Same city at the southern end of the peninsula.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  27. #11247
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    "B" and "P" seem to be ambiguous in Korea as well. When I was there -- holy cow, almost 50 years ago! -- you could see highway signs with distance to either "Pusan" or "Busan" within a few kilometers. Same city at the southern end of the peninsula.
    It might be misleading to say they are "ambiguous," because to a Korean the different sounds are clear to understand. The problem (and this happens with Chinese as well) is that we use different ways to distinguish between plosive and other consonants. In English (and my other other languages) we distinguish them by whether they are voiced or unvoiced (you can hear a vibration from your throat in B but not in P). While in Chinese, for example, they are generally distinguished by whether air is expelled (aspirated versus unaspirated). Interestingly, in English, we generally aspirate a P but not a B, but there are exceptions. When we say "SPeak," the P is not aspirated (you can test this but saying "peak" and "speak" and putting your hand in front of your mouth and feeling if air is coming out). So for a Chinese person, the P in "speak" will sound like what they consider a B.

    We also see that in languages like Thai, where for example the H in Phuket indicates that it is aspirated, so many English speakers make a mistake by pronouncing it as if it starts with an F sound (I think this is correct).
    As above, so below

  28. #11248
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    Yes, I think the issue in Korean, as in "Arabic" (there are so many dialects it's probably dangerous to generalize), is that there is no contrastive voiced/unvoiced bilabial plosive (a "b" opposed to a "p", changing the meaning of a word). Arabic has only a voiced bilabial plosive and a voiceless labial fricative, and so "hears" p/b and f/v as essentially the same sounds, because they don't change meaning. Whereas Korean has three contrastive bilabial plosives (plain/tense/aspirated) but doesn't "hear" voiced/unvoiced. Meanwhile English has complementary aspiration of the "p" sound--we always use one or the other, in a regular way that doesn't change meaning, and we're therefore largely deaf to the difference, despite using it consistently.

    The issue of road signs in Korea is probably one of transliteration rather than pronunciation. There are several different systems of expressing Korean sounds in the Latin alphabet, and the "plain p" sound is transliterated as a "b" in some and "p" in others. ("Tense p" turns up as "pp" and "aspirated p" as "ph".)

    Grant Hutchison

  29. #11249
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    "B" and "P" seem to be ambiguous in Korea as well. When I was there -- holy cow, almost 50 years ago! -- you could see highway signs with distance to either "Pusan" or "Busan" within a few kilometers. Same city at the southern end of the peninsula.
    The first of the two characters in "Beijing" and the last of the two characters in "Taipei" are the same - they are both 北.
    A: "Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other"
    B: "The two sides of this triangle are things that are equal to the same"
    C: "If A and B are true, Z must be true"
    D: "If A and B and C are true, Z must be true"
    E: "If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true"

    Therefore, Z: "The two sides of this triangle are equal to each other"

  30. #11250
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21st Century Schizoid Man View Post
    The first of the two characters in "Beijing" and the last of the two characters in "Taipei" are the same - they are both 北.
    Transliteration, again; there are several different schemes to render Mandarin in Latin characters. Taiwan still uses the Wade-Giles transliteration scheme for proper names, whereas mainland China uses Pinyin. In Wade-Giles, Beijing was Peking, as many will recall.

    Grant Hutchison

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