Friday, February 18, 2022

Statistically speaking...

... I continue to visit the California COVID-19 dashboard, nearly every day.

The total number of cases, total number of hospitalizations, and test positivity rate are continuing to fall very rapidly in the last 10 days or so.


The absolute numbers, both state-wide, and in my county of residence, are STILL higher than they were at the PEAK of last summer's wave.

Be careful out there, everyone! Get those vaccines, get those boosters, wear a GOOD mask when you're in an indoor space, or even in a crowded outdoor space.

Take it from someone who did all that, and is still working to recover from a bout of COVID himself...

Friday, February 11, 2022

Repairing the Tonga cable

Wonderful article on Reuters (with lovely and very informative graphics) about the work to repair the Tonga cable: The race to reconnect Tonga

The 827 km (514 miles) cable from Fiji to Tonga is one of 436 active undersea cables that connect the globe.
Most cable damage occurs due to ship anchors or fishing trawlers and occasionally environmental factors such as earthquakes.

Faults are common and typically most traffic would be rerouted to another cable. However, in Tonga’s case, there is only one cable connecting the country.
The fibre optic cable isn’t easy to fix. A technician splices the glass fibres and uses glue to attach the new section of the cable. This fibre optic splicing can take up to 16 hours and is the most crucial aspect of the repair work.
A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) may descend to the seabed to inspect and help bury the cable, although they can only work to a certain depth. In the case of the Reliance, the vehicle can descend up to 2,500 meters.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

A couple fun gaming articles

Happened across these for various random reasons, and enjoyed them.

  • Meet the hundreds of horse girls running Red Dead Online's kindest posse
    In early 2020, when the global response to Covid-19 mandated national lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, online gaming had a huge boom. Friends celebrated birthdays inside Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Gamers introduced family members to browser party games to keep in touch.


    "Quarantine happened and a lot of people weren't able to see their horses," Farace explains. She was frequenting a Facebook group of horse-loving gamers at the time, and a post caught her eye. "Red Dead people were like 'let's have online trail rides!'"

    "With RDR2 having some of the most beautiful horse models in video games, topped off with beautiful motion captured animations and a breathtaking wilderness, it's a blast to take pictures in this game." It was by uploading her photos to the Rockstar Social Club that Sunny met another member of The Rift and started joining in on trail rides.
  • The Notorious Board Game That Takes 1,500 Hours To Complete
    The game itself covers the famous WWII operations in Libya and Egypt between 1940 and 1943. Along with the opaque rulebook, the box includes 1,600 cardboard chits, a few dozen charts tabulating damage, morale, and mechanical failure, and a swaddling 10-foot long map that brings the Sahara to your kitchen table. You’ll need to recruit 10 total players, (five Allied, five Axis,) who will each lord over a specialized division. The Front-line and Air Commanders will issue orders to the troops in battle, the Rear and Logistics Commanders will ferry supplies to the combat areas, and lastly, a Commander-in-Chief will be responsible for all macro strategic decisions over the course of the conflict. If you and your group meets for three hours at a time, twice a month, you’d wrap up the campaign in about 20 years.


    “Every military division has a sheet of paper, and on it you’ve got a box for every battalion. It’ll tell you how many guns you have, but more interestingly, it’ll also list the fuel and water. Every game turn, three percent of the fuel evaporates, unless you’re the British before a certain date, because they used 50-gallon drums instead of jerry cans. So instead, seven percent of their fuel evaporates,” explains Phipps.


    We’re in the midst of a tabletop renaissance. Global board game sales have boomed over the past few years, and a renewed interest in the hobby has seeped into coffee shops, video game publishers, and publications like ours. Despite that, the classic hexagonal historical war-game—the true bones of the industry—are a dying breed. This is the Catan generation: millennials weaned on the crisp, instinctual gameplay perfected by the German masters. Phipps has fond memories of the late-’70s “the golden age” of war-gaming - where publishers routinely tried to out-convolute each other with their designs, because surely, the more complex a game is, the grander it must be. “After that golden age the designs got better,” he says. “But at the time there’s this sense of excitement, everything is new and possible.”

Monday, February 7, 2022

Cartographer humor

Ah, delightful: Sea Chase.

References, for you mapping nerds out there (pretty sure none of you read my blog anyway):