1380: "Manual for Civilization"

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*Kat*
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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby *Kat* » Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:36 pm UTC

dtobias wrote:I'm another who's only vaguely aware that something called "Animorphs" exists, but knows nothing about it.

This comic looks as if, rather than consult "experts" to get a book list as stated, they perhaps conducted an Internet vote, something that is often prone to hijacking by some organized fandom or other flooding it with votes for their favorite series, whether it is Harry Potter or Ayn Rand's books.


I considered that, but the Animorphs came out more than 20 years ago. Its been at least ten years since I last saw an Animorphs reference anywhere and I was pretty into the books when they first started coming out.

I'm also not getting the connection between Brian Eno and Animorphs. I ran a google search to see if he had had something to do with the series and came up empty.

So basically I don't get this one.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby JudeMorrigan » Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:54 pm UTC

*Kat* wrote:I considered that, but the Animorphs came out more than 20 years ago. Its been at least ten years since I last saw an Animorphs reference anywhere and I was pretty into the books when they first started coming out.

I'm also not getting the connection between Brian Eno and Animorphs. I ran a google search to see if he had had something to do with the series and came up empty.

So basically I don't get this one.

He's mentioned Animorphs before in this comic. I think it really is just a cherished childhood memory for him. And, well, this is a comic strip and not a serious call to action. I'm pretty sure the cognative dissonace between preserving civilization and a children's series is the joke. I think you're looking for too much of a connection.

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StClair
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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby StClair » Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:02 pm UTC

After my time (born at the start of the 70s; most of the books in this series were published after I'd graduated from college).

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:07 pm UTC

I think I read an animorphs book or saw a couple of episodes of the TV show or something... My recollection is of Power Pack with the serial numbers filed off...

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Silhalnor » Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:09 pm UTC

westrim wrote:I've had that feeling before, but then it turned out to be Disquis. Perhaps you bought something from the store and that required account formation?


I haven't bought anything. Most likely I made an account fairly recently to post something (can't have been too long ago considering what password it's using) and then changed my mind at the last second.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby ps.02 » Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:26 pm UTC

Silhalnor wrote:Most likely I made an account fairly recently to post something (can't have been too long ago considering what password it's using) and then changed my mind at the last second.

Maybe it was a preemptive strike after learning the bitter lesson that if you'd only bothered to create an account when you first started reading Slashdot, you could have had a 4-digit ID instead of a 5-digit ID.

...Or am I just projecting? (Yes, "my ID is so much lower than yours" used to be a thing. Shocking, considering the demographic there, eh?)

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby screen317 » Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:35 pm UTC

bgriff wrote:The Andalite Chronicles was pretty good but The Hork-Bajir Chronicles was the best book I ever read as a kid.
So glad this got a mention in this thread. HBC was my favorite spinoff.

zukenft wrote:not particularly funny...I was expecting a civilization 5 joke or something. *thy built order shalt be scout, scout, monument, granary...*
Worst build order ever.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:44 pm UTC

DR6 wrote:
cellocgw wrote:Why an English dict? Let's start clean with a sensible, self-consistent language. ( not Haskell)


But then you'll be left with no options...


(jk).

That's no reason to go with one of the worst ones... I propose Middle Chinese, Esperanto, Latin, Lower German, Japanese, Solresol, Unish, Sindarin or Quenya. You can always think like this: if they start from scrap they can't really do worse than English.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Zinho » Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:45 pm UTC

ps.02 wrote:
Silhalnor wrote:Most likely I made an account fairly recently to post something (can't have been too long ago considering what password it's using) and then changed my mind at the last second.

Maybe it was a preemptive strike after learning the bitter lesson that if you'd only bothered to create an account when you first started reading Slashdot, you could have had a 4-digit ID instead of a 5-digit ID.

...Or am I just projecting? (Yes, "my ID is so much lower than yours" used to be a thing. Shocking, considering the demographic there, eh?)

If that's something you care about, drop on by SoylentNews, we've still got some 4-digit IDs left. It's like that other site you mentioned, but without the corporate-imposed usability problems. Red is the new green 8-)

*edit* While I'm posting I should probably throw in my recommendations for the library:
CRC Handbook of Physics and Chemistry
Machinery's Handbook
The CRC manual is a must-have; it would be a great base from which to restart an engineering culture.
I'm willing to consider alternatives to the Machinery's Handbook; it would be great to not need to re-invent the standards for fasteners, but I'm not confident that our rebooted technological society would be best-served with part sizes standardized to fractions of inches. Is there a Metric reference that serves a similar purpose on the other side of the pond? It would need to also serve as a practical manufacturing reference, so a catalog of DIN part references wouldn't be sufficient.
</Zinho consults LMGTFY>
Yep, there are a couple, seem to be hard to find, though:
Tabellenbuch Metall (apologies for the Amazon link)
Newnes Engineers Reference (out of print?)

Anyone got other alternate manufacturing references?
Last edited by Zinho on Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:13 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby da Doctah » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:18 pm UTC

NemeSys wrote:Alright, enough bloody nonsense about Animorphs (whatever the hell those are), time to get serious. Books to preserve should civilisation collapse? I'll start with The Feynman Lectures on Physics and The Oxford English Dictionary, though initially we're going to need basic survival skills to get us through the tough early years, emergency medical knowledge, agricultural information, and engineering and electronics know-how to rebuild transportation, communication, and power systems. Got any good titles along those lines, anyone?

The entire run of Foxfire books, and David Macaulay's The Way Things Work.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Muswell » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:19 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:Well, at least he didn't list "Master and Commander" or Sookie Stackhouse :twisted:

I would certainly go for Discworld above most series , excluding length < 5 books.

Tho' my youthful self probably would want Tom Swift + Tom Swift, Jr. series :mrgreen:



I agree on the Sookie Stackhouse, but what have you got against Master and Commander? There are some sweet ship-to-ship actions, particularly in the early ones (along with my particular favourite, Shannon v Chesapeake in "Fortune of War") and a ridiculous proportion of the more unrealistic battles are actually based on real actions. What more do you want (other than dragons, obviously, though the Temeraire series has taken tedium to new heights of late)?

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby mobiusstripsearch » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:26 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:
NemeSys wrote:Alright, enough bloody nonsense about Animorphs (whatever the hell those are), time to get serious. Books to preserve should civilisation collapse? I'll start with The Feynman Lectures on Physics and The Oxford English Dictionary, though initially we're going to need basic survival skills to get us through the tough early years, emergency medical knowledge, agricultural information, and engineering and electronics know-how to rebuild transportation, communication, and power systems. Got any good titles along those lines, anyone?


Why an English dict? Let's start clean with a sensible, self-consistent language. ( not Haskell)

Books: Principia Mathematica. As many late 19th-early 20th century engineering texts as possible. I have a few which cover things like design and fab of gears, bolts, screws in great detail; steam engine design;p aircraft wing design. Drawings of sewing machines, weaving looms (which led to punch cards, which led to IBM... :mrgreen: ), Eli W's cotton gin, clock making so we can still determine longitude.
Those, along w/ formulas for indelible ink and (sadly) high explosives should be a good start. Oh, and design of electric dynamos, as those are about the most reliable electricity source (assuming any rivers still exist).
So start raiding those used-book stores now!


I second Principia Mathematica. The preservation of Calculus might do more to rebuild society than the preservation of any other knowledge. Well, if we assumed a total collapse, perhaps a book on iron working or making fire would be nice.

But what morals would we inculcate to this new world? I think the question gets more interesting if we assume some limit like "What fiction would we give to a world if we could only give one book?"

Pound for pound, I'd preserve Shakespeare or some good science-fiction. Anyone for Dune?

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Showsni » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:45 pm UTC

Still have a full shelf and a bit of every Animorphs book in order in my room. Now, obviously we assume that they're going to preserve the other Chronicles books, but what about the Alternamorphs? Are they worth keeping? Should our nascent civilization be given the responsibility of becoming the sixth Animorph? (Not counting David, of course.)

I used to buy these religiously. I still remember when I was first introduced to the series - staying with my friend's grandmother in Reading, they had a rack of books in the supermarket, and one of them was number six. Reading that synopsis was my first introduction to the series. I bought them all as they came out in the UK, saving up my pocket money then badgering my parents to visit every WH Smiths we passed on family holidays in case they had one I didn't have yet. I got number 17 as a Christmas present one year. I remember when the UK editions changed the title pictures from clouds to fingerprints (number 19 onwards). I remember which ones our local and school library had - most of the early Cassie ones, number 2, a few others - meaning those were last to join my personal collection, as back then I used to just borrow them. Finally, they stopped printing them in the UK after finishing the series, but without giving us the last few Megamorphs/Chronicles/Alternamorphs! I had to track them down for myself, ordering them from foreign countries. I finally completed my collection with the Ellimist Chronicles, long after getting all the ohers. A fitting place to end, where it all began...

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Crissa
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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Crissa » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:40 pm UTC

I only know of the books because I was in a book club in the 90s... Also, the really bad TV show...

...And references to them were splattered all places catering to a certain fetish.

-Crissa

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Angua » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:43 pm UTC

Primary Surgery, volumes 1&2 and primary anaesthesiawould be on my list.
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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby RhynoD » Thu Jun 12, 2014 12:14 am UTC

My friend is borrowing 1-7. And yes, that's seven copies of Megamorphs #2. Because they all have different cover art so, you know, they were a buck forty, so why shouldn't I just have all of them.

*Kat*
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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby *Kat* » Thu Jun 12, 2014 12:28 am UTC

Angua wrote:Primary Surgery, volumes 1&2 and primary anaesthesiawould be on my list.


I nominate everything by Dr. Suess because these high end books won't be worth squat unless there are some low end books that will teach a kid how to read!

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby WriteBrainedJR » Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:57 am UTC

The previous reference to Animorphs in xkcd was deleting them from a hard drive. This makes me wonder: does Randall love Animorphs, hate Animorphs, or hate that he loves Animorphs?

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby teelo » Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:04 am UTC

This comic and thread has made me want to find a second hand copy of the ellimist chronicles. I read that in high school a long time ago, and remember it was a great book.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Silhalnor » Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:10 am UTC

ps.02 wrote:Maybe it was a preemptive strike after learning the bitter lesson that if you'd only bothered to create an account when you first started reading Slashdot, you could have had a 4-digit ID instead of a 5-digit ID.

...Or am I just projecting? (Yes, "my ID is so much lower than yours" used to be a thing. Shocking, considering the demographic there, eh?)


But would you have known to make a 4-digit ID? I've never heard of this thing before but it sounds amusing. Could you use any ASCII character? I can just imagine the confusing names you would get if you could. Smiley face would be the best. No, wait... "carriage return" or... "backspace." Yes, this would be quite amusing and so extremely abusable. Maybe it could be made into some sort of a game. ASCII Wars? Hmnn... I can't figure out how to produce these characters now. Used to I could hold alt and type out the numeric code but that doesn't seem to work here. But then it has been years since I last tried this. Could just be the fact that I've long since switched to Linux but I'm not sure.

With the kinds of screen names I come up with I have almost never had problems with not having my chosen name available. What kind of person would pick something weird like "Silhalnor"? I mean, other than me. Probably a lot of people, actually, but the available name-space once you've hit nine digits is (apparently) large enough that anyone who would pick a name like this is far too likely to pick something else instead. The one time there has been a collision was on RuneScape back when I used "Thrack" as my name.

As for the actual topic this thread is about I would of course pick an engineering book but I don't know any good ones off hand. Certainly not anything that hasn't been mentioned already. Maybe a book on social engineering, it's not my strong suit but I expect it would be very helpful post societal-collapse. We are, after all, very much social creatures so the ability to construct a functioning social group out of the remnants of the collapse would be extremely valuable. All the better if you can arrange for everyone else to crown you as royalty. Until you die that is.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby 5th Earth » Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:58 am UTC

I have the peculiar distinction of having been involved on a (nominally) Animorphs-themed roleplaying site, but never read any of the books. Everything I know about the series I got from weird genre mashup RPs.

I've had http://animorphsforum.com/ bookmarked for a while but haven't done anything there. I have this vague notion of seeing if anyone from the old days is still there, (the original site is long gone, AFAIK the above is the only still active Animorphs community) but "the old days" is about 15 years ago now which is a pretty long time.

On topic, I would recommend texts on organic farming. Non-industrial food production is going to be an issue long before people start worrying about physics.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Klear » Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:00 am UTC

Let's just troll them by leaving them only House of Leaves.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:48 am UTC

Silhalnor wrote:But would you have known to make a 4-digit ID? I've never heard of this thing before but it sounds amusing. Could you use any ASCII character?

I think you misunderstand: a Slashdot UID is different from a username. Anyone can pick whatever username they want (I think they're limited to alphanumerics though), but UIDs are assigned consecutively in the order in which you joined. The first user had UID 1, and last I looked they were up in the seven digit ranges now. Having a low UID means you've been around a long time.

This forum has UIDs too, but unlike Slashdot, they're not publicly displayed, at least not in an easy to find place, but if you snoop around the URL of someone's user profile page, you can find it. Mine is 61530. ps.02's is 388271. Yours is 466066.

Hahah, suck it 6-digit n00bs.

(Cue davean to pwn us all with his awesome one-digit UID that's even lower than Randall's. Or Shoofle, the oldest extant mod besides them. Or maybe the oldest extant non-moderator user, James. Or maybe even the ghost of the dearly deleted first user, whoever that was).
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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby levron » Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:33 am UTC

NemeSys wrote:Alright, enough bloody nonsense about Animorphs (whatever the hell those are), time to get serious. Books to preserve should civilisation collapse? I'll start with The Feynman Lectures on Physics and The Oxford English Dictionary, though initially we're going to need basic survival skills to get us through the tough early years, emergency medical knowledge, agricultural information, and engineering and electronics know-how to rebuild transportation, communication, and power systems. Got any good titles along those lines, anyone?


should literature be included at all because A) while it takes understanding of physics to apply physics and do engineering, does it take knowledge of great art to create great art? would society not produce literature on its own, if we did not provide it with examples? and B) including works of literature means essentially including a lot of ideas about how society should be structured, what is valuable and what isnt etc. Is that ethical, since we would be imposing our current views and biases on future society? (especially since scholars currently believe in cultural relativism). Especially considering that it would be difficult to create a collection of great literature that does not introduce ideas like racism, sexism, and homophobia, which may not otherwise develop in future society. Even works that combat these prejudices would necessarily suggest they exist.

also to be clear: I think literature obviously has cultural value, the question is whether or not OUR literature would be valuable to THEM

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Silhalnor » Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:13 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I think you misunderstand: a Slashdot UID is different from a username. Anyone can pick whatever username they want (I think they're limited to alphanumerics though), but UIDs are assigned consecutively in the order in which you joined. The first user had UID 1, and last I looked they were up in the seven digit ranges now. Having a low UID means you've been around a long time.

This forum has UIDs too, but unlike Slashdot, they're not publicly displayed, at least not in an easy to find place, but if you snoop around the URL of someone's user profile page, you can find it. Mine is 61530. ps.02's is 388271. Yours is 466066.

Hahah, suck it 6-digit n00bs.

(Cue davean to pwn us all with his awesome one-digit UID that's even lower than Randall's. Or Shoofle, the oldest extant mod besides them. Or maybe the oldest extant non-moderator user, James. Or maybe even the ghost of the dearly deleted first user, whoever that was).


Ah! I see. I had noticed that she/he had the 5 character username "ps.02" and so assumed that that was what he had meant despite the contradictive 5-digit wording. I guess it was just a coincidence.
Haha, how did two people manage to get accounts before Randall himself? Also, wouldn't it actually have started at 0? The only reason I know of to start with anything other than 0 in computing would be if we had a signed integer and made us some nice forbidden negatives. Well, unless we're being user friendly but I don't think we need that for UIDs. Or XKCD.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Klear » Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:10 am UTC

levron wrote:also to be clear: I think literature obviously has cultural value, the question is whether or not OUR literature would be valuable to THEM


Their anthropologists are probably going to be as curious as ours are.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Tova » Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:11 am UTC

The explain xkcd entry for this one is possibly the least convincing I've ever read.

It seems random to me, with the compulsory reference thrown in (I sometimes wonder whether people a decade or so in the future will look back and laugh at the internet's reference fetish).

Did anyone else find the opening phrase "I'm music's Brian Eno..." a bit strange? Did "I'm composer Brian Eno" or "I'm musician Brian Eno" not fit into the panel?

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby orthogon » Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:16 am UTC

Klear wrote:
levron wrote:also to be clear: I think literature obviously has cultural value, the question is whether or not OUR literature would be valuable to THEM


Their anthropologists are probably going to be as curious as ours are.

The literature would be valuable to the anthropologists. The question is whether the anthropologists are valuable to the post-apocalyptic society at large.
Welcome back, btw! I was beginning the think you'd left the forum altogether.

Tova wrote:[...]Did anyone else find the opening phrase "I'm music's Brian Eno..." a bit strange? Did "I'm composer Brian Eno" or "I'm musician Brian Eno" not fit into the panel?

Yes, I meant to point that out too. It's modelled on the phrase "I'm Television's Joe Bloggs", (try Googling "I'm Television's" with the quotes) but for some reason sounds totally unnatural when applied to music.

[ETA] Seems like tvtropes ought to have an entry for "I'm television's ...", but fortunately for our collective productivity, it doesn't.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Plutarch » Thu Jun 12, 2014 12:23 pm UTC

*Kat* wrote:I'm also not getting the connection between Brian Eno and Animorphs. I ran a google search to see if he had had something to do with the series and came up empty.

So basically I don't get this one.


I agree. Eno really doesn't seem to fit in here. I see he is a member of the board of directors of the Long Now federation, but nothing I've ever read about him suggests he'd have any particular affinity for Animorphs. I presume Randall is a fan of Animorphs, but it seems a bit odd just to transfer that enthusiasm onto Eno. Having started his career in an English glam rock band in the early 70s, I wouldn't be surprised if Eno had never heard of them. (Like me. I've never heard of them. But I am a big fan of Here Come the Warm Jets)

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Envelope Generator » Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:18 pm UTC

Plutarch wrote:
*Kat* wrote:I'm also not getting the connection between Brian Eno and Animorphs. I ran a google search to see if he had had something to do with the series and came up empty.

So basically I don't get this one.


I agree. Eno really doesn't seem to fit in here. I see he is a member of the board of directors of the Long Now federation, but nothing I've ever read about him suggests he'd have any particular affinity for Animorphs. I presume Randall is a fan of Animorphs, but it seems a bit odd just to transfer that enthusiasm onto Eno. Having started his career in an English glam rock band in the early 70s, I wouldn't be surprised if Eno had never heard of them. (Like me. I've never heard of them. But I am a big fan of Here Come the Warm Jets)


As one of the public faces of the foundation Eno is a natural choice of speaker for an occasion such as this. Also... all I know about Animorphs is what I've read in this thread and at Wikipedia, but I got the (possibly mistaken) idea it's a pulp fantasy franchise and as such totally at odds with what I know of Eno's cultural interests (and incongruous with the philosophical underpinnings of the Long Now thing), so the joke would be in the absurdity.
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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby rastronomicals » Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:42 pm UTC

>>>>>Aww. I was hoping we would rebuild civilization using Oblique Strategies cards.

Honor thy apocalypse as hidden intention.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby VapidFrobie » Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:00 pm UTC

WriteBrainedJR wrote:The previous reference to Animorphs in xkcd was deleting them from a hard drive. This makes me wonder: does Randall love Animorphs, hate Animorphs, or hate that he loves Animorphs?


He was deleting his old fanfic, which was probably an embarrassingly bad attempt at giving the series an actual ending when he was just a kid.

I just finished the entire series off a couple weeks ago. I've temporarily dropped all my original writing projects to write 3k words worth of WMG on TVTropes for the series (mostly on how Tobias is a neurotic schizoid), and I'm 18k words into writing book #55 with plans to continue it to #59 and another Chronicles book because it just can not end the way it did. No. Just no. So much squandered potential. #54 was great as an epilogue novel, but the second half... You can't just randomly introduce a new villain out of nowhere with no foreshadowing solely to ambiguously kill off all your characters. Just no. I think Applegate was depressed at the time from stress, exhaustion, and having a baby while trying to keep on top of a book-per-month contract with Scholastic (for two different series, no less), and just wanted it all to be over. I dunno. It would certainly explain the tone of the whole endgame.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Whizbang » Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:10 pm UTC

I think that, just for fun, we should include a library of Role Playing books.


All in English, of course, since we've decided that we don't want to leave anything else in English because English.

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby mathmannix » Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:07 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:I think that, just for fun, we should include a library of Role Playing books.


Good point. For that matter, I like the thought that, if only a few written works survive our civilization, they would probably be something like the Harry Potter or Twilight series. Or worse, HP/Twilight fanfic. Whatever human or alien civilization discovers and translates them might have all kinds of wrong ideas about earth...
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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Klear » Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:39 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:Welcome back, btw! I was beginning the think you'd left the forum altogether.


Thanks! Nah, I just stopped for a while because I was busy. Eventually the "4.5 Degrees" thread pulled me back in. Can't resist a good flamewar =P

ps.02
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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby ps.02 » Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:44 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Hahah, suck it 6-digit n00bs.

Pfhorrest for the win! Anyway, yeah, the reason the UID "matters" ("mattered"?) on Slashdot is that it is displayed prominently with each comment. (Here, your "join date" could fulfil the same function.)

Silhalnor wrote:Also, wouldn't it actually have started at 0? The only reason I know of to start with anything other than 0 in computing would be if we had a signed integer and made us some nice forbidden negatives.

There are a lot of circumstances where starting at 1 is handy, so that you can build interfaces in which you can cast your value as a boolean and see whether it has been properly defined. (In many/most languages, if you implicitly or explicitly interpret an integer as a boolean, zero is false and anything-but-zero is true.)

Sure, you could always have a separate flag ("has this information been correctly filled in yet") or a datatype rich enough to support an undefined or null value separate from zero -- but if your integer range is arbitrary anyway, IMO reserving zero for this purpose is a nice shortcut.

ObComic: I got nothin'. Not sure I've even heard of the Animorphs outside xkcd. And trying to come up with a really concise list of boostrap texts, I keep running into the thought that thanks to the printing press, we have so many millions of copies of all the important stuff, scattered all over the world, that I just can't think what sort of event would wipe out so much of it that we'd need to make agonizing choices about what makes the top 10, or even the top 1000, and what doesn't. Would no university library escape the annihilation?

Same goes for the scenario where you assume everyone's going to be savages and the cache "artifact" won't be rediscovered until hundreds of years later, by which time computers and paper books alike will have gone to dust. Why not load up an e-reader (how much does one of those hold? Surely more than a handful of textbooks) and engineer some sort of battery that won't leak significant amount of its juice for a long term?

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Coyoty
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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Coyoty » Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:44 pm UTC

Aren't they really saving an andalitual for civilization?

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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:26 pm UTC

ps.02 wrote:ObComic: I got nothin'. Not sure I've even heard of the Animorphs outside xkcd. And trying to come up with a really concise list of boostrap texts, I keep running into the thought that thanks to the printing press, we have so many millions of copies of all the important stuff, scattered all over the world, that I just can't think what sort of event would wipe out so much of it that we'd need to make agonizing choices about what makes the top 10, or even the top 1000, and what doesn't. Would no university library escape the annihilation?

Maybe it's more of a carving things in stone is expensive, let's limit it to 10 books and hope that at least these stone tablets would survive.

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Whizbang
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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby Whizbang » Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:29 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
ps.02 wrote:ObComic: I got nothin'. Not sure I've even heard of the Animorphs outside xkcd. And trying to come up with a really concise list of boostrap texts, I keep running into the thought that thanks to the printing press, we have so many millions of copies of all the important stuff, scattered all over the world, that I just can't think what sort of event would wipe out so much of it that we'd need to make agonizing choices about what makes the top 10, or even the top 1000, and what doesn't. Would no university library escape the annihilation?

Maybe it's more of a carving things in stone is expensive, let's limit it to 10 books and hope that at least these stone tablets would survive.



Stone can crack and fall apart or get buried.

We should write them on the moon.

But meteors.

I know! Send a capsule into a long orbit that will eventually crash back onto earth in 10,000 years. It is a given that the capsule is capable of surviving the crash landing.

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drachefly
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Re: 1380: "Manual for Civilization"

Postby drachefly » Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:59 pm UTC

Principia Mathematica? Oh hell no. Modern intro physics textbooks would be way better. Unless you meant Bertrand Russell's Principia instead of Isaac Newton's, in which case, uh, oh-kay? We can dump that in there too I guess, but I can't see it as a high priority.


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