English Homework

PRETEXT: There’s English HW and I decided it might be a good idea to post something after a ton of time of not posting. This is not the longpost, by the way. This is probably very cynical, sort of irrelevant to the prompt, perhaps grammatically incorrect, and I did no planning or editing (other than this PRETEXT) although I did backspace a few times to actually make sentences or catch spelling mistakes (which I habitually do, although this was discouraged in the context of the assignment). Hence, no closure. And stream of consciousness.

 

Are you prepared for the next step? (20 min)

In this essay-thingy, I will attempt to answer a question in 20 minutes. This is for English homework, by the way. The question is as stated, “Are you prepared for the next step?” No planning or editing whatsoever (although my pride sort of cheats this by backspacing quickly) But I digress. One minute in. The real world seems like a whole new world. There is no obvious shelter that is provided, and you need to provide it yourself with your own hands and labor. It is this that this is very different from the circumstances that I face today. Of course, there is college to bridge the gap.

Bridging the gap is a very overused expression. In 3rd grade, I’m pretty sure they said that 4th, 5th, and 6th would be used to bridge the gap to junior high, and in 6th grade they said that junior high was the bridge to high school. In a sense, yes. In a sense, no. I did not really feel the accomplishment of actually crossing the bridge – it was so streamlined. It feels rather as if instead of crossing a discrete gap, a river to cross, I was seamlessly moving from one to the next. I’m pretty sure the bridge is supposed to have this effect. But I never actually feel as if I actually crossed this bridge.

School has been much the same for all these years. While the addition of the period system introduced a variety of teachers that I hold a varied amount of respect to, it really wasn’t so different from before. After all, in elementary school we had to go to different “labs” every week or so for “specialized activities”, and inclass we definitely did a whole host of things each day. It’s basically a schedule. Scheduling appears to be a very integral part of college and beyond as well.

The commitments were basically the same as well. There are school assignments to do each day, and there are extracurriculars. However, testing largely phases out in college, with just a final (which of course has been introduced in junior high, since I don’t remember having to test for finals in elementary school). The claim is that grades now count for high school instead of junior high, which is in a sense true (after all it dictates which college you go to to some extent) but these grades are essentially thrown out in college, and life starts anew. Then college grades are thrown out after you get your second job. These grades are really quite transient, and nine minutes.

It feels as if the world doesn’t really need any given person. And in a sense, this is true as well. Your achievements are essentially for naught after a while, and as the ages pass, you die. Those lucky enough to be an impact to society pass on their legacy. But this is such a chancey thing. How will I know that my legacy will carry on hundreds of years from now? Science is probably the best way to get “immortalized”, and even we don’t know how immortal this is, as science (at least renaissance and beyond) is such a new concept, it’s only about 500 years old. But other things of relative time have mostly faded away. I wouldn’t be able to name most of the Renaissance leaders of the time, for instance. But in their time, I’m sure they felt a lot more important than the scientists did.

So there is the question of how to get a good legacy. Perhaps science will go out of vogue in another few centuries, but who am I to judge? I’m sure people will forget of basically everything in the event of a post-apocalyptic society. They will remember those who brought back any semblance of civilization, and clearly I should try to initiate an apocalypse and save a small collective of people (I’M JUST KIDDING). But really, does it matter what we do? Of course, our hivemind would completely collapse if everyone had this mindset.

If nobody thought they had any commitments, then modern society would probably collapse within a few weeks, if not days. It’s really quite scary how we, who aren’t hardwired to be excessively social (of course, more social than lone warriors like tigers, but I’m talking social at the level of ants or bees) manage to live in such a fragile weave of society. We do have primal, hardwired tendencies – greed, for instance, but society has managed to utilize these tendencies to incentivize stability to a sense. Money is definitely something to go after – the embodiment of wealth. But nothing in our minds has the inherent desire to become intellectual, and it appears as if this value is declining with the rise of the corporate world.

War – it comes up, and this is mainly due to our primal warlike tendencies. We were not meant to live harmoniously as a society of seven billion. But we somehow managed to do so, albeit quite shakily. And this is why war happens.

But back to the question, as I have like two minutes left. Am I prepared to enter this extremely unstable world? Yes and no. Of course, the phrasing “unstable world” should already sound warning bells, and of course I am probably not ready to handle such a thing. But in the end, does it even matter?

There are a few things that would indeed transform this mentality. Immortality would be something that changes the legacy problem on its head, and even the small changes that you make over time would add up to a large amount when you multiply this by an infinite value. But it might eradicate desire, as people lose motivation. But time is up.

 

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A Quantum Leap

What an oxymoron. You know, how “quantum leap” in colloquial speech means “lots of progress” but quantum actually means small. Heh.

For those of you still eagerly awaiting for the post with a word count perhaps exceeding the total verbiage of the rest of my blog combined, this is unfortunately not that post. Notably, it is a more quantum post, both in size and by content. The longpost does not have significant quantum mechanics material.

Also, post restriction broken.

Disclaimer: I don’t claim to actually have formal knowledge of quantum mechanics. I won’t even claim to have any knowledge of quantum mechanics! So please be aware of any ramifications in using this potentially inaccurate information in serious applications, such as studying for a test, writing a research paper, or other life-changing events. Notably, much of this stuff was derived from a combination of websites and personal intuition.

Disclaimer 2: A lot of this stuff is review if you’ve already taken some sort of chemistry class. I’m sorry for giving you potentially inaccurate or redundant information. In addition, a lot of this stuff may be more focused on competitive-math-oriented subjects, so I’m going to repeat that information too. So that might be redundant as well.

It was a cool and rainy (if my memory holds on the weather that day) afternoon, about one year ago. In Honors Chemistry, we had been learning about orbitals. Now, the most important part about electron orbitals is not the naming. In fact, that probably holds for 90% of everything else, in that naming is generally not terribly important.

However, naming can be interesting, despite its lack of importance. In this case, orbital naming. No, not the s-orbitalp-orbitald-orbitalf-orbital naming (or else this blog post would be: sharp, principal, diffuse, fundamental. Ok this blogpost is done.), but the naming of each individual orbital.

We start with the s-orbital. I’m actually unsure what it’s named. Probably the 1-orbital. Since the names tend to be subscripts below the s/p/d/f designation, I think the only shape – that is, a sphere – would merely be an s orbital, sans subscript. Well, that was boring.

We could enlarge our orbital shell. The nth orbital shell can hold n supertypes (supertype being each individual letter/block) of orbitals. Yes, I’m being really nonrigorous with my naming. And that’s because naming is not important.

We call the s-orbital in shell number #2 the s2 orbital, the s-orbital in shell number #7 the s7 orbital, and so on. It turns out these orbitals are just larger spheres, with a bunch of inner spheres inside them. In a similar vein other larger orbitals are merely simple expansions, so I won’t delve too deeply into that subject.

The next one, the p-orbitals, is pretty straightforward as well. There are three types, the x, y and z. They are shaped like two-lobed thingies. I will now proceed to add a picture to this blog. This is unprecedented. Wow!

See? I was right about the s-orbital.

In other words, the p_x points in the x direction, the p_y points in the y direction, and the p_z points in the z direction. So far, pretty intuitive.

It’s interesting too, as all the p orbitals fit into a nice little compartament, along with the (not shown) s2 orbital.

Next, with some theory-crafting, although I’m guessing it’s well-explained already. Electrons, as you probably know, have several quantum numbers:

The principal quantum number, n, dictates the shell number.

The orbital quantum number, l, dictates what type of orbital it is. You know, the s, p, d, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, etc. thing.

The magnetic quantum number, m_l, dictates what shape of orbital it is. For instance, p -> p_x, p_z, p_y.

The spin quantum number, m_s, dictates which spin the electron is. As electrons are fermions, they have half-integer spins, i.e. either +1/2 or -1/2.

They are constrained by the following:

n≥l≥|m_l|

|m_s|=1/2

Notably, this gives us 2l-1 total orbital types per orbital. Moreover, this also produces the fact that there are 2n^2 electrons maximum in each electron shell. This also furthermore explains why the periodic table has 2 elements, 8, 8, 18, 18, 32, 32, … elements per row, in conjunction with the Aufbau principle. I always thought it was “Aufbau’s principle” but “Aufbau” means “filling-up” in German and therefore cannot really be in possession of a principle.

When l=0, we get the p_z orbital. When l=1, we get the p_x orbital. Or the p_y orbital. I’m not sure. The other one would be l=-1.

At this point, you ask yourself: why is p_z in the middle? Let’s keep going on.
D ORBITALS!

Come on, it’s not that complicated… yet.

We have five orbitals: d_xy, d_xz, d_yz all look like they have four lobes.

But what’s this? There’s ANOTHER d-orbital with four lobes? Yeah, d_(x^2-y^2). Are you even allowed to put such an expression in the subscript? Oh well.

Then there’s this fifth d-orbital that doesn’t have four lobes. Instead it has three balls stacked on top of each other, d_(z^2). Yay complications.

First, can you see any patterns? Unless you’re ridiculously good at inference, probably not. It took me up to the f-orbitals to figure out some meaningful trend. Why is this? Technically, I cheated here. The groups I picked are rather misleadingly grouped. As hinted in the earlier section, something is special with the z-direction. It becomes even more painfully obvious with the d_(z^2) somewhat sticking out. A few trends that you may notice, on the other hand: all subscripts are of degree l, so they’re all quadratic terms here.

Let’s reorganize the d-orbitals by the z-exponent.

5 d-orbitals and how they fit

I guess it might be somewhat a stretch to say that these clouds easily fit, along with s and p orbitals it would share. Although, I suppose the picture itself definitely does not fit the margins set by my blog. Darn.

So I’ll give instructions, by request, on how to view these oversized images. Open a new tab or window. Right-click the picture and copy the URL, and then paste it onto the tab. Your browser may have more functionality like “open image in new tab” when you right-click, so there may be more direct alternatives.

 

Yeah, d_(z^2) looks kinda like a normal p_z orbital with a donut in the middle. How confusing. Also, d_xy isn’t aligned to axes unlike p_x or p_y (while d_(x^2-y^2) is!) What gives?

At this point, the “Modern Chemistry” book stops here, leaving most students content and happy that they don’t have to learn more in chemistry. But this is rather unsatisfying. Exactly what causes this sort of behavior? What would the f-orbitals look like, and for that matter, the g-orbitals and beyond? How are they named, because they sure don’t look too consistent to me.

tada

Fun news! For the f-orbitals, two of them are named f_(x^3-3xy^2) and f_(y^3-3yx^2)! This obviously suggests some sort of pairing mechanism, and indeed this is the basis of the m_l being positive or negative. The other orbitals are named:

f_(zx^2-zy^2), f_(xyz), f(xz^2), f(yz^2), and f(z^3). The homogeneity condition still holds. The z-exponent thing also holds. (2 per z-exponent except when there’s only z^l.) Let’s try dividing out all the z’s and see what we get:

s: “1”

p: “1”, x, y

d: 1, x, y, xy, x^2-y^2

f: 1,x,y,xy,x^2-y^2,x^3-3xy^2, y^3-3yx^2

The pattern is pretty clear now, no?

Meanwhile, I’ll also try to describe the f-orbitals:

The two new f-orbitals have six lobes each. The ones with z^1 exponent have 8 lobes each, the ones with z^2 exponent have 6 lobes each, and the ones (or rather, I should say, one) with z^3 exponent has 4 lobes, all stacked on top of each other.

Since tabling seems to be a useful idea, we perform this again:

s: 1

p: 2 / 2

d: 3 / 4 / 4

f: 4 / 6 / 8 / 6

We know that those z^n orbitals all seem to have balls stacked on top of each other; it seems rather logical that the next one will have n+1 lobes, preserving the pattern.

But if we investigate the xz^(n-1) orbitals, for instance, we see that ALL of these double-lobes are stacked together. We can see the same thing start to form in the xyz^(n-2) and (x^2-y^2)z^(n-2) orbitals as well, with quad-lobes stacked instead.

And all of this stacking is iterated every time we multiply by z. With induction, we can probably name every single orbital…

Except for the orbitals with no z exponent to begin with.

Let’s take a look:

badly ms-painted work

They all have one layer, unsurprisingly (given that their z-exponent is zero). Starting from the p, d, f, orbitals, we see that the number of lobes increases by 2. They are equally spaced; anyone with decent math contest exposure should probably think about roots of unity at this point. [Root of unity: any complex number x satisfying the equation x^n=1 is known as a nth root of unity]  In fact, out of curiosity, let’s factor the d and f orbitals:

x^2-y^2 = (x-y)(x+y)

y(3x^2-y^2)=y*(rt(3)x-y)(rt(3)x+y)

When are these equations zero? For the former, (x-y)(x+y)=0 => x=y or x=-y. Look at the gaps between the lobes. Sure enough, these gaps exactly correspond with the zeroes! So the lobes can be seen as when the equation of the orbital is not zero. In fact, if we use the definition that these electron clouds are merely probability distributions (it could be possible that an errant electron is somewhere else; it’s just very unlikely), then we can see that the regions where the equation has a high magnitude exactly correspond with the regions where the electrons are “likely” to be found. I would also guess that this is how two electrons can share the same orbital, with such parity.

This makes naming future orbitals rather simple. We’re looking at every other root of unity of the 2(m_l) roots of unity. You may have noticed, especially with the f-orbitals, that the coefficients somewhat follow the binomial theorem. And this is no coincidence; if you are somewhat familiar with math contests, root of unity filters can easily kill certain problems. For example, this one:

What is nC0+nC2+nC4+…+nCn? (n is even)

If n were odd, that would be strange as 0,2,4… tends to not have any odd numbers in this sequence. It would also be easier, assuming that I typoed nCn as “nC(n-1)”, where you could easily invoke a symmetry argument.

However, there is another way.

Recall that the Binomial Theorem states that (x+y)^n = nC0 * x^n + nC1 * x^(n-1)y + … nCn * y^n. By plugging in (1+1)^n, we get the well-known fact that nC0+nC1+nC2+…+nCn = 2^n.

However, how would we extract out every other term? We can experiment and try (1-1)^n. Ok, that’s pretty obviously 0, but what exactly is it by the Binomial Theorem? It is equal to nC0-nC1+nC2-…+nCn. Still not quite there yet, but if we add the two up we get

2(nC0+nC2+…+nCn) = 2^n so our desired result is 2^(n-1).

It is a more complicated path to compute nC0+nC3+nC6+…+nCn (n is divisible by 3). Sure, you could do so combinatorially (really!) but it’s not much fun. Roots-of-unity filters are better in this case. If you don’t do math contests regularly, try this exercise out first. It’s admittedly quite hard if you haven’t seen this before.

[hide=Solution]

[SPOILER]

Darn this isn’t a forum.

Ok, so let the two roots of x^2+x+1=0 be w0 and w1. (They should be omega’s but oh well.) One property that you might notice is that w0^2=w1 and viceversa (w1^2=w0). You might think that property, that two numbers are squares of each other, is rather weird (or you may point out 0 and 1 being squares of themselves, but that’s slightly different), but it’s easily seen:

w0=w1^2=w0^4 => w0^4-w0 = w0*(w0-1)(w0^2+w0+1). So if w0^2+w0+1=0, it satisfies that property. Yes, w0 and w1 are complex numbers, easily seen with the discriminant of x^2+x+1 being negative.

The insight: Consider (1+w0)^n and (1+w1)^n, along with (1+1)^n. By the Binomial Theorem, only the terms divisible by 3 align with each other (giving you 1+1+1), while everything else cancels out, as x^2+x+1=0.

You get something like (2^n+(1+w0)^n+(1+w1)^n)/3 as your final answer. In fact, the fact that n is divisible by 3 was not even necessary for this problem. You could clean up 1+w0 and 1+w1 in this case (they turn out to become sixth roots of unity) but I’ll leave the algebra for later.

[/SPOILER]

[/hide]

That was somewhat of a tangent, sorry.

At any rate, what do the formulas remind you of? We have x^2-y^2, and xy. We have x^3-3xy^2 and 3x^2y-y^3. (If you think I’m scaling up and down arbitrarily, you’d be right, because as it turns out constant multiples don’t really affect anything.) Notably, they appear to “look” like expansions of (x+y)^n. However, there’s a catch. Both (x+y)^n and (x-y)^n have positive coefficients of x^2 and y^2 for instance. We wouldn’t expect x^3 and 3xy^2 to alternate signs either.

Insight: Expand out (x+iy)^n. The real part spits out one part of the orbital, and the imaginary part spits out the other. I guess motivation for this could be wanting to get opposite signs for x^2 and y^2 😛

However, it doesn’t answer a few important questions:

Question 1: How does this factor out into alternating roots of unity?

First, if you didn’t know, the n roots of unity have the form cis(2pi*k/n), because x^n=1 =>(r*cis(th))^n=r^n*cis(th*n)=cis(0)

cis(th*n)=cis(0) only when th*n=2k*pi => th = 2k*pi/n.

[cis notation: cos theta + i sin theta, i.e. polarizing rectangular complex numbers. Polar coordinates are easy to multiply as it’s just multiplying magnitudes and adding angles. Thus, [r*cis(t1)]*[s*cis(t2)]=rs*cis(t1+t2).]

So, this is equivalent to either Re((x+iy)^n)=0 or Im((x+iy)^n)=0. It may be more useful to convert x+iy into r*cis notation here (r^n doesn’t really affect things to be honest).

Re(r^n*cis(n*theta))=0 => cos(n*theta)=0 => n*theta = pi/2, 3pi/2, 5pi/2, …

In other words, theta should equal to (2k-1)*pi/2n, i.e. the odd 2nth roots of unity. Similar logic for Im, just use sin instead. Therefore, (x+iy) must have an angle measure equal to the 2nth roots of unity, so it must be a scalar multiple of a root of unity. Hence the gaps are where they are supposed to be. Yay.

Question 2: But I want a nicer formula!

Well, that’s not a question.

But sure. Do note that the polynomial looks like normal binomial expansion, except with every other term…

Wait this sounds like that root of unity filter I talked about earlier! It might not be so tangential of a tangent after all!

But wait. It’s alternating signs! Let’s root of unity filter again, with different filters.

(1+i)^n => 1 i -1 -i 1…

(1-i)^n => 1 -i -1 i 1…

This seems to work; the i’s cancel out, and every other term alternate signs as we want.

So, the proper polynomial would be ((x+iy)^n+(x-iy)^n)/2.

———————————

Now, this explanation is only satisfactory to a certain extent. For instance, it still doesn’t explain why the d_(z^2) orbital has that strange donut in the middle. Well, now is the time.

Actually, pop quiz because I feel like giving a pop quiz. And “since I’m such a nice person”* (*cue Bellotti) this pop quiz is entirely optional!

Here are some g-orbitals. Please name them, and give the magnetic quantum numbers of each. Have a nice day.

A

B

C

D

(Note: the weird gray sphere is the atom itself.)

[Answers:

a: z^4, m_l=0

b: z(x^3-3xy^2) OR z(y^3-3yx^2), m_l=+/-3

c:  z^2(x^2-y^2) OR xyz^2, m_l = +/-2

d: x^4-6x^2y^2+y^4 OR xy(x^2-y^2), m_l = +/-4]

It was a fine day, knowing what was the approximate shape of the orbitals and knowing every single name of every orbital! But then I stumbled upon this site http://www.uky.edu/~holler/html/equations.html and it was once again a state of agony. (As it turns out, the functions on the right are the wavefunctions themselves. I suppose armed with that information one could accurately construct models for all of the orbitals. However, the associated text to these equations, http://archive.org/stream/introductiontoqu031712mbp#page/n141/mode/2up, is supposedly an “Introduction to Quantum Mechanics”. It was also written in 1935, perhaps a decade after the leading scientists formulated quantum mechanics itself :P)

I have no idea how that’s an introduction. Either they had really smart people back then where even the average layperson knew triple integrals, or I guess it’s not really an introduction. But I digress.

Let’s try to tackle the donut problem. Why would there be a donut there? My best guess is that it’s sort of like a standing wave. You have positive and negative regions, but they just swap with each other, over and over again.

I’m out of witty captions today.

More f-orbitals

The gold regions represent positive and the red regions represent negative. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, they alternate ad nauseum.

Also, there appears to be a sort of rotational effect as well, centered on the z-axis (of course, what other axis is so special?). Meh time to learn about sigma pi delta phi bonding.

I guess I’ll end this post with an anticlimactic link: http://www.falstad.com/qmatom/

Enjoy playing with that app.

Restriction

of the post variety.

 

It’s a subtle one, but it exists. Mostly occured from a rather “coincidental” observation from somebody when this blog was 3 posts long. So I decided to “retcon” (probably misusing the word here) my posting schedule to fit this one. Some of you already know about this, but to those of you who don’t, I’ll just say that a) it leads to somewhat long posting breaks and b) I can’t just publish whenever I feel like it.

 

Also, while I do queue up posts, my queue of completed posts is stunningly small (read: queue size = 0). I do have half-complete posts though. As of last count, four.

 

This post will be fairly short, because I need to finish typing this post in around 3 minutes. Now 2 minutes. Also, I guess the previous post was unjustifiably long, and way too personal and nobody should care about that stuff. Although I suppose this post is as well. (although not “unjustifiably long”. Unjustifiably short?)

Endurance

I don’t have any of it. Either physical or mental, as I have basically concluded.

So today was the Berkeley Math Tournament. Here’s approximately what happened:

BART @ 7:30: Load BART ticket, look semi-awkward waiting alone for rest of team. Overhear some person arguing with the station employees (what is there to argue over anyway?), meet up with some of the team. Surprise! Some of the team members that we regrettably either “kicked out” or volunteered away due to space issues defected to other teams. Funnily enough, one of these members (Kr.Bh.) was kicked out on the grounds of lack of school loyalty during a previous math tournament, SMT. Oops. So anyways, meet up with them, board bus (fine, train) initiate cardplaying. Teach someone how to play Napoleon (and you should too here: LINK. Warning: seizure alert, sorry if your eyes get blinded. Oh, and it’s pretty long. You might want to skip over the rules for Prime Minister (a Presidents variation) but that’s a pretty fun card game (at least to our mathematical clique) so yeah. We’re (well I can’t actually speak for our group but this is my opinion) open to people who want to play cards with us… as long as you somewhat know what you’re doing. Different people seem to have different thresholds of this “knowing what you’re doing” quantity though.) We later on transition to BS poker because it’s easier to play on a train, with not as much card-throwing. No, a high card does not beat a pair.

Berkeley @ 8:40: Walk out BART station. Al.Xu. insists that we go one way, but RH.Wu. and the rest of us go to other way. Apparently Al.Xu.’s way involves an escalator, and ours involves stairs. Exercise! After much undue “paranoia” about cars running over us (so it was a very good position to stay in the center, lest some erratic car comes hurtling through the directed roads in the wrong direction, although I do suppose that if that happened we were all screwed no matter what our relative position, especially if we’re on the sidewalk) we reach the auditorium. Hmm. Life sciences for a math tournament. Ah well. Play more Napoleon (teaching He.Ma.) and thus Napoleon is gaining ground in the math community. Yay. (We managed to make Prime Minister the SFBA exclusive card game the year before, and Idiot the year before that. (Mao and Uno precede this, although neither are very SFBA-exclusive or math-exclusive. Although I suppose you could make the same argument for Napoleon.) Both instructions in the link above.) Late double breakfast: acquire orange juice (but importantly, the plastic cup!) Plastic cups are not biodegradable, and thus do not taste very good. I do not manage to actually eat it, just rip it up into shreds. Oh well. Team registration occurs, and the Berkeley people are apparently more receptive on esoteric team name selection than the Stanford people. (We sent “·” (U+00B7, Alt+183) for Stanford, and “☺” (U+263A, Alt+1?) for Berkeley. The Stanford people, to put it simply, were not very amused, and casted the name to “.”. Darn.) So anyways, we get t-shirts, nametags, the general stuff. Back to cardplaying.

Power @ 10:20: Yay combo power. Darn why did I pick extremely bashy stuff. Induction lemma, induction proof that uses induction lemma. Too much work for only 7 out of 90 points! Then write up 4 pages rigorizing something for 8 points. What time’s up already? Ok let’s just say that it’s equivalent to what we want to show, and get it over with. Not the best performance, but considering we basically dropped about 30 points already of unsolved problems (No, Je.Wu., #12 was not solved), 15/60 is pretty good, considering how freaking long each problem took. My hand hurts 😦

Expected contribution: 15 max, perhaps -2 for that other problem.

Team @ 11:30: Tried #10, give up too hard. Tried #9, give up too hard. Doesn’t look good so far. Ohey #8 is trivial. #7 is trivial. #6 is trivial. #2 is trivial and why did our team not get this earlier. #5 is a pretty quick mem, for a confirm. Oh, and relook at number #9, gee the calculation looks kinda bad, but YES WE GET IT IN THE LAST FEW SECONDS!

Oh huh so apparently I misread #6 😦 Consolation points for solving their intended question? Darn. That diagram was totally not symmetric.

Expected contribution: …36 what? (half a question for #5, #9 I suppose – calculation was partially outsourced to Pa.Ze.) This is out of the 8 correct = 72 points. (we did not get #10, and 42 was unfortunately not the right answer – though it was actually a semi-legitimate guess!)

Too much carry. Two good rounds in a row is a recipe for disaster. I haven’t been able to consistently operate throughout a full-day math tournament (including SMT in the year which I topped both subjects AT/geo; I basically slacked on team/power that year) so this looks like a bad sign. Also, I necessarily have to take significant ~30 minute breaks on the USAMO and other similar olympiad tests, or else really bad stuff happens, like when I basically space out during MOP test #2, getting 8/28. Oops.

(That 30-minute break thing doesn’t really work for these short sub-hour rounds.)

Indivs @ 12:20: Blast through first six questions. #7 takes some time, #8 takes even more time (1/3 of the test?). Then #10 was a pretty quick observation, and #9 I got a few cases but not very much else.

In theory.

As it turns out, I miss one problem for thinking that 47 is divisible by 3, one problem for disregarding the fact that 34 and 70 are not relatively prime, problem #9 for not seeing that a particular case was trivially winnable, and one problem for misinterpreting the wording of the problem majorly. gg

Ouch, that hurt. 6 => 12 contribution points there. 😦

———————-

So, that’s around 13+36+12=61 points out of a maximum of 300, so yep I’ve basically done my share and overdone by quite a bit. But at a cost of a pretty terrible individual round. Which is interesting in a team perspective:

Getting one team question correct is basically worth about four and a half questions correct. This is what completely roflstomped the SFBA A1 ARML team last year: the team round. (Their proportion is actually higher, rated at one team question per 5 individual questions) We got like 6/10. And that is bad – compared to most teams who got 8/10 or even better, that would be akin to throwing away one individual perfect score :O. Mediocre power round doesn’t help either, but I suppose there wasn’t too much improvement to be made there (Oh, and apparently there were some grading issues that caused us to get no points on #3? I don’t know). But anyways, the team round really really failed for us. I don’t think coordination was the big problem actually; we did satisfactorily well on the power round. My theory? We just get tired. Ok, maybe not “we” but at least I feel pretty worn out after going through the power round.  And thus don’t rely on me to get 8, 9, and 10 all at once, because that’s not how I roll usually.

———————-

Lunch @ 1:30: But no, that’s not the end of the tournament. Afterwards there was lunch. After another slight “snafu” where we only get  four bags of burgers, instead of five… and two of the bags don’t even have fries in them (Don’t get me started on the lack of ketchup on any of them), we finish them. The burgers were pretty good – they’re probably more worth it than McDonald’s burgers, although you still cannot beat Burger King onion rings, hah. (I have a feeling that my taste of taste is weird) For price comparisons, that cost us $6, fries (at least it should have) and drinks included. Eventually we get two more boxes of fries, and all is good. I’m actually unsure of how much a McDonald’s meal costs, but I’d hazard a guess of around $6 as well if you’re not going ultra-cheap. Seriously, these burgers were actually pretty decent. Especially the bread.

But anyways some people felt that the $6 cost wasn’t worth it, so they got their meal via other means, such as going out to downtown Berkeley and buying food elsewhere. Somebody got a sandwich, and that comes with forks and knives. Also, I think Berkeley is generally considered a greenish community, so of course these forks and knives were special – they’re BIODEGRADABLE! And biodegradable clearly equates to edible right? By the way, sanitation is not a problem as that knife was not previously used.

So I got a knife. Don’t worry, I was semi-bored and not actually hungry. At first I try using canines to etch out of the flat part of the knife, but that turned out fruitless (there was actually no fruit as well) and I only managed to catch a few biodegradable slivers. So clearly there had to be another attack point. Well, the serrations of the knife turned out to be small enough to be bitten off. Then start at the top of the knife and work down. Chew long and hard, and miraculously your saliva actually begins to dissolve the knife. The human body is amazing.

By the way, if you were wondering what it actually tasted like (because I assume a normal reader probably does not intend to replicate such a procedure), it tasted kinda planty. Not really like wood though, but it really did feel better than the plastic toothbrush I tried to digest about two years ago (which, by the way, I ended up spitting out because I could not dissolve it). I assume a good part of it was plant-based materials (cellulose?) so I should be fine. I aborted the knife-eating procedure after around a third of a knife, partly because the dissolving part admittedly take quite a while, and partly because the next round starts soon.

Tournament Round @ 3:00: Interesting idea, except the logistics of this event weren’t very well thought out. Lots of chaos as to organizing the 32 teams takes about 20 minutes to settle down. At 10 minutes per set, that’s a downtime of about 67%, which is pretty bad to be honest. Further rounds take a bit less time to organize, but are still time-consuming; in the end BMT overran its schedule by well over an hour, leading to many of the losing teams leaving early. Not so great on the contest morale in general. Now onto the problems:

First set: #6 is pretty trivial; it is about multidimensional things. Although this is partly due to prior experience; in particular I dabbled in the subject by myself for a few days last year, concluding that the n-cube follows (x+2)^n generation procedure. Thus the “number of 3-cubes that compose a 5-cube” is simply the x^3 coefficient of (x+2)^5, and that is easy enough to compute. [Similarly, (x+1)^(n+1) describes the simplex aka tetrahedron aka triangle, and (2x+1)^n describes the cross polytope aka octahedron, although you do have to fudge the formula a bit to get the component numbers. No other regular polytope generalizes.]

By the way, that ended up degenerating into philosophical discussion on noninteger dimensions, which are technically evaluable by using the gamma function extension of the factorial, and most probably I alienated half of my viewers who go to my school by typing up random arcane math stuff. Although I’m not sure how they managed to survive the earlier portion. Oh well.

The rest of the set is somewhat easy as well, as #5 is a demonstration of the Pythagorean Theorem, and so on. Whoosh!

Second set: Oops, I expended what little energy I had regained during lunch on the first set. Completely fail easy linearity of expectations bash, then timesink on a few earlier problems. We get something like 3 problems, which definitely doesn’t advance, and thus we become another victim of the single elimination system.

That said, the single elimination system sucks on general tournament morale as well; this probably contributes greatly to the evacuation of most of the losing teams; teams like us were only occupied due to the existence of a chessboard.

Chess @ 4:00: After losing rather unceremoniously (we were 4th seed who lost to 13th seed), we decided to play chess. First, we tried to do so in the auditorium on one of the lecture tables, but those tables are seriously small and unstable. That led to the development of a miniature version of chess (4×6). Here’s the setup:

RQKR

PPPP

xxxx

xxxx

pppp

rqkr

Maybe I swapped the queen positions, but that’s rather inconsequential.

Anyways, some rules: 1) Pawns cannot move twice on their first turn for semiobvious reasons 2) no castling 3) no enpassant 4) not sure how pawn promotion works, but since nobody’s ever done so before, that’s a moot point.

That game turned out to be a drawfest. Pawns locked places, queen trade rook trade rook trade pawn trade. Whee, a draw. I mean, I’m vastly incompetent at chess (mostly failing due to unwillingness to study opening theory) and believe that trading pieces is the best thing since sliced bread, and I managed to eke a draw.

Although, An.Zh. managed to win a game! Good job to him!

Later on, we migrate to more stable ground (right outside the auditorium) and we play a game of single-board bughouse. Basically, bughouse with two 4×8 boards. No queens (queens become royal kings) and rooks, bishops, and knights are distributed evenly. I think it was RNKB or RNBK, but I may be mistaken. But anyways, that lasts its course, and Aa.Li. comes up with a new variant:

So basically in this variant, the split board system semi-applies. However, each team controls a single color of pieces (why did I type “colour”?). You can only control pieces on your side though. This leads to a technique called “rook sniping” where you save up both players’ moves, and, in rapid succession, move twice to kill a piece without your opponent being able to react. (Actually, it’s not rook-specific, but rooks are pretty effective with this strategy… although the first piece to use this was a bishop if I recall correctly which took down a queen)

—————————-

Awards @ 6:00: Remember, the awards ceremony was supposed to END at 6:00. Good job to Je.Wu. for not carelessing in individual round, and getting something like 5th! And darn we get 3rd team, getting $50 gift certificates specifically to a particular math course which is severely underlevelled, and likely costs more than $50. Those crafty salespeople! We’d actually be more content with 6th or 7th team, who got USB drives instead. Darn, they get tangible prizes 😦 But anyways, despite the disorganization, all is well.

Then we eat dinner, and go back home on BART again. Much contact ensued meanwhile. Oh, and we barely caught the train/bus with several seconds before it left 😀

 

Wow, that was long, and certainly probably does not justify the “semi-long” designation given in the title of my blog. Oh well.

I might actually expound further on the endurance issue later, but I hope you get somewhat of an idea why I don’t have any of it in the example posted earlier.

Criticism!

Please feel free to criticize me at any point. I do become disillusioned when I’m actually correct you know, when I don’t expect to be correct. This post is written mostly** as an extended response to ellerej’s comments to my post on Language.

(**remark: well, the first part of the post)

I first briefly scanned his/her (If you like, you may clarify on your gender; I will assume that you are a male in the remainder of this post.) blog. Clearly he has forayed into the realm of linguistics much more deeply than I have, with pretty much all the linguistic knowledge I know comes from a rather haphazard fashion of reading random Wikipedia pages* (this extends to most other topics such as history or computer science or Minecraft physics, say). Therefore I will admit that I do not have a rigorous treatment on any of these subjects, and do not know of many terms and jargon used to effectively communicate on the subject. But that isn’t really the intent of posting such things. Of course it’s not going to be published in some linguistic/compsci/Minecraft journal, nor do I expect my thoughts to override other peoples’ beliefs.  I do like thinking, however, and thus I randomly synthesize various materials in my brain to create posts, no matter how erroneous it may be.

(*I try to minimize usage of Wikipedia while writing my posts other than to quickly find examples though, mostly relying on retained information from Wikipedia. Hence potential factual inaccuracies.)

On the other hand, the reader may ask, there must be something I’m good enough at. (Note that this is vastly different from the Rathian “expert”.) In particular, the Rathian expert is one which the general populace believe is well-versed with certain facts. I’m talking about people who actually are well-versed with certain facts (relatively speaking of course; I obviously cannot hope that anyone at our high school to be involved in forefront college research at any one subject.)

No, it is not any of the sciences, hard or soft. I find myself trying to justify many of these concepts to myself to ensure that things are true, and epically fail doing so. (confined to two things: 1) spend as little effort as possible while 2) getting a good grade. You know, MSJ A-range grade.) Yeah, point #1 isn’t particularly conducive to my attempts of justification, as I just go “fuuuuuuu I suck at chem I’m (too lazy to/can’t actually) prove this” or “fuuuuuuuuu this chem concept is too easy and is trivial, chem y u no get harder to prove”. Perfect recipe for defeat, except I’m not actually sad because I already expect the defeat. [That said, I seem to be handling this chemistry thermodynamic stuff unusually well, given how badly I fared when I did thermodynamics in physics. Conditioning? I don’t know.] So basically, I fail at chem. Apparently lots of people are failing worse at chem (gradewise, possibly concept-wise?) though. And they get really good homework packet grades too. [Yeah, homework packets are the reason why my grade isn’t as high as it should be. Let’s just say that I could probably improve about 6-7% with a better homework grade, oops. I also, for better or worse, decline certain inherent advantages given to us in tests, such as scientific calculators (which did not turn out spectacularly, but it could have been worse I guess).]

Well, that’s a lot of tangent for one paragraph. Let’s just say that I suck at writing too.

I guess you could say that I’m competent at math. That may be true. However, rarely can I solve problems that you guys throw at me in due time. I don’t work like that. Most likely, any math problem that you tell me to do will be stuck in a very long queue of things to do, and I will probably defer that problem until you forget about ever having asked the problem. This usually occurs for geometry problems that various people on gmail chat ask, and I will admit that I have a very real deficiency in that subject of math. In particular, my score distribution on the USAMO last year looked something like this: 7/7/0/7/2/7. That’s 28/28 for non-geometry (1,2,4,6) and 2/14 for geometry (3,5). [Or maybe I’m just too lazy to draw a diagram. This is true too.]

However, it is to my shame to announce that I can’t solve number theory on the spot either. This might not bode very well on pretty much any USAMO besides last year’s (Basically, last year was #2 #6 combo, #1 nt, #4 alg if I recall correctly), where the number theory and algebra coaligned with the #1/4 (the first problem of days one and two, i.e. the easiest problems).

Actually now that I think of it, I can do #1/4 geometry (take the USAMO the year before that). But that’s about all the geometry I can do. I guess I could possibly do #2/5 NT/alg as well. Not too stable I’d say.

Hmmm. And then there’s combinatorics, which supposedly is my impenetrable bastion. I guess possibly maybe.

Am I good at math? You decide. Although, to be fair, I’m not planning on making this blog much of a math blog (maybe concepts/olympiad strategy (do I even possess this!?) or something, but most likely not actual math problems), so that point’s moot. Still remember what was the original intention of this post?

 

Hah, I bet you scrolled up for that one.

 

As you can tell, I’m apparently very prone to digressing. And thus I suck at writing. Again.
So basically, we can establish that I am not going to be an expert at whatever topic I am writing my blogpost on [this blog at least]. That much is a given. After all, if I were an expert at a topic, why would I even bother posting new innovative ideas on a measly blog? Well, I can’t really imagine why someone would post something that doesn’t fall under one of the categories:

1) Personal stuff/sentimental/rants. You can’t really replicate this. While your experiences and mine may coalign mostly, I try to present these things in a different light. Not necessarily in a better light, a different one. Oh well, I guess that’s a start.

2) Things semi-independently found. Basically, without having had a formal treatment [challenge: ANY treatment] on a particular subject, talk about it. It’s a very interesting exercise and I encourage more people to partake in such an activity, especially since you can’t dwell in your comfort zone. It’s also a very interesting experiment from an outsider’s point of view as well, seeing perspectives largely unaffected by subject-specific discourse, although I’m not sure how isolated one actually can be from a subject.

3) Statistics, infographics, etc. Eh, this blog will not contain solely of statistics. I do enough of that on a daily basis already. Although, I do realize that some people like blogs filled with that stuff. Your choice I guess.

Hm, I think I covered too much under #1. Oh well.

 

Now that I’ve not-very-clearly outlined exactly the extent of seriousness my posts should be taken to, you may continue to criticize away 😛

Profit

A bit more on our English teacher. He enjoys tearing apart and dissecting the economic system that is currently in place. Out of scope of English? Probably. Thought-provoking? Why not.

So, first, we need to identify the flaw. As a broad generalization, the main problem is that corporations, governments, people generally have a lack of morality when it comes to a variety of situations. Now, I argue that entities usually have a further motive than just being immoral; it does not strike me that someone would just do immoral things because they were immoral, except for perhaps a few deviant cases with certain mental disorders. Nay. Instead, people do immoral things because there exists an incentive to do so. Since this is the economic system we’re talking about, this incentive comes in the form of making more money than you started with, i.e. profit.

As an aside, let’s just take the axiom that people do like incentives, by the very definition of incentive itself. Comes down all the way from billions of years of evolution, you know. [WHAT!? BIOLOGY? What is this heathen subject?]

And that’s our problem. The desire for profit is hardwired into our brains. However, this is only from the producer’s point of view. To the consumer, people are probably willing to pay somewhat more for certain possibly nonexistent benefits. Case in point: organic produce. However, I do not believe that people will just blindly pay more for the exact same thing (organic produce?), barring perhaps brand-name loyalty (only because you are assured that XYZ brand is actually stable at producing usable products). So, yes, Rath is correctly guided in exposing these things to us.

Wait. To tenth graders? To tenth graders who barely have any money whatsoever? [Unless you’re Richard of course. Because you’re Rich. AHAHAHA* *Note: not real name, but semi-commonly accepted as such. At any rate, not someone in our school, because our school’s poor.] While I do appreciate the awareness that this is generating, I somewhat doubt the amount of material that will actually transpire to our parents, let alone the world. I’d wager that about half of us would forget about morality concerns by the time we get a stable income, and the other half would actually support this immoral economy. Because profit is profit, and money is money.

Although, these human rights issues and whatnot are actually somewhat relevant you know. So the proper thing to do is probably to increase awareness. (No really?) While it would be nice to let everyone have access to all of these abusive factories, that would take a lot of time to see everything for yourself. (And you’d probably become depressed over time looking at the conditions.) So therefore we delegate this responsibility to certain independent “abuse agencies” or whatever you call those things. But exactly what incentive do these people get? Well, for one, many of these people are compensated somehow in money to do their job. However, since it’s usually public awareness groups paying them, the amount of money that they get is not that much, frankly speaking. Also, they could be easily “bribed” by the corporations that they’re inspecting, because more money is good. Paying off 100 people for, say, $500/hour costs less than paying off 100,000 people for $5/hour more. [Hint: $500/hour comes out to about $800,000 a year, which is a pretty respectable sum of money. And $5/hour is barely livable (by our standards anyways).] That, or they can just increase their prices, but I’m guessing their profits will take a great hit anyways.  Although, are there people who would stand the moral high ground regardless of how much money they were offered? Yes? I’d bet that if it really came to that amount desperation, those companies could probably hire a few hundred hitmen to dispatch those moralists, and still come out in the deep green. Heh. I wonder how they’d hide those expenses from public view, though, but it seems that they’re already doing a pretty good job at evading taxes and whatnot, so yes, I think it’s very doable for those companies.

[Great, now I hope that nobody’s going to murder me now. Post idea!]

So we could be hiring investigative agencies to investigate these agencies, and et cetera. The problem is that then there’d be way too much bureaucracy in the system, whether you like it or not, to ironically patch the current amount of economic deregulation. It’s a choice of two evils really. I personally don’t really like too much formwork myself you know.

So… what to do? You could institute, say, some sort of approval not unlike that “FDA Approved” Seal that occurs in food products, but  once again, you’ll have to monitor the FDA as well. And, well, food can have the tendency to kill, especially since we directly eat it. That doesn’t happen nearly as often with most other things, like electronics or stocks. Also, here it’s not the consumer that’s slaving away, so there’s less directness.

Even with such an approval, how many times have you heard of salmonella, mad cow, or some other pathogen (prions are pathogens right?) leak into the news, where people are KILLED in these events? Lots! Ok, maybe a few dozen or so, but still, an appreciable number. So clearly this approval business isn’t as accurate as we thought. Why would it be different for the electronic companies, especially when you’re dealing with an industry which has far more resources and a more sizable warchest to pay them off? This just doesn’t work.

In other words, this problem is way too endemic, and change is ridiculously hard given the inertia of the system. Publicity is a good start, but really now, most public statements go unchecked. It’s really hard to figure out what to believe these days. Seeing is believing, but it’s way too cost-prohibitive to actually see everything. So you have to rely on good faith of others, which may not always be very existent. And thus the world just keeps on spinning, doing everything it has been doing in the past billions of years.

Grass

The grass is greener on the other side.

I know, it’s a drearily hackneyed and cliched (ok fine “clichéd” for those diacritical elitists) expression, but instead of the classical interpretation, I have another dilemma that I face in school.

(Yeah, school. Awfully boring topic to talk about, but then again I’ve spent around a sixth of my life thus far in this institution, so most things that happen happen here. So you might get a bit lost if you don’t go to my school.)

You see, in many of my classes I’m placed in the worst class. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that these classes give a brutal amount of homework or the teachers are evilly sadistic (which I have had in the past, sure), but in my very humble opinion almost nothing occurs in class. This somewhat contributes to the fact that school is somewhat boring. Also, before anyone asks, I am not the person who takes non-honors classes because they are easy; the only non-honors class I’m taking is World History and that’s because there is no honors version (and is also mandatory). [I suppose you could technically make exceptions to Finite/Discrete and Multivar/Linalg, but it’s actually decently hard to get in the latter… especially as a sophomore.] But anyways, the evidence:

1) Rath, 4th period. This is a great big abyss of superficiality. Despite our English teacher’s great efforts to induce thought-provoking discussion, only crickets can be heard. Talk about zombie apocalypses, extremely tangentially related to the discussion at hand, and you get a five-minute nonstop torrent of chatter of the subject. (Zombies, not the poem that we’re supposed to be discussing) We discuss all the wrong things. Even when he manages to elicit an answer actually relevant to the material, you can nearly be certain that it’s devoid of interpretation of any sort.

I still remember the time when we had to comment on a piece of standardized education as an English project. It was so chock full of comprehension questions and absolutely no in-depth questions whatsoever. Yeah, that’s a good approximation to what our discussions are like. Even when Rath guides us. It’s pretty sad, really.

 

Oh, you might be wondering why I don’t initiate these discussions too often. randomguy64 actually hits the spot pretty close: I tend to skim over the material being covered, so am a bit reluctant to discuss potentially erroneous analysis.

2) Kuei, 6th period. Science is, by the nature of the material, fundamentally different from English. For one, there’s not much leeway of interpretation. Kuei teaches Chemistry, by the way, if it wasn’t semi-obvious.

Anyway, the problem here is that nobody except for a select few people in our class actually gets the material. Lectures also seem to go slower as well. Case in point: during the acid/base lecture, our period was uniquely the most behind, a full 2-3 subtopics behind. Which is about 5 minutes for a 30 minute lecture, so we’re going about 15-20% slower. Yay unproductivity. For this, you can’t really blame this on me: Kuei semi-prohibits the high performers from answering her questions in order to let the others to learn.

Also, there isn’t an unusually high class intersection between Rath 4th and Kuei 6th. (The exact figure is 5, if you were wondering.) 31 Rath students / 7 Honors Chem Sections = 4.4, which I’m sure falls under a 95% confidence interval if I was bothered to construct one, which I’m not.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

3) P.E. (Madsen), 3rd period. Once again, P.E. is very different from both English and chemistry. How does a P.E. class underperform? Well, it doesn’t, but we do form smaller groups when creating teams for various sports (basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc.) The kicker is that our team has always gone through a losing streak.

Soccer. Dead last.

Volleyball. 5th out of 6.

Basketball. 6th out of 10 (this is actually a pretty decent performance)

Volley Tennis. 5th out of 7.

And it doesn’t really comfort me that currently we’re going 2 ties 3 losses in ultimate frisbee.

Team selection is approximately random [read: teacher random], with the most influence an individual student can impart being partnering up with a friend or two.

—————-

What does this all mean? Well, I like to think of myself as competent at many things: English, Chemistry, and even (god forbid) P.E. I run decently fast, consistently running in the top 4 or 5. Maybe not as fast as you track mavens, but definitely not extremely slow. I’d consider myself fairly competent at chemistry, usually getting curve-worthy test scores in the top 5%. (After a bit of arguing, of course. Apparently I have a slight penchant for debate.) Also, my grade in English was the second highest grade in the period, which, by the way, is something like 6th or 7th in most other periods, i.e. our period fails. What is wrong? Let’s throw out a few ideas:

1) CONSPIRACY! It’s a conspiracy to make me fail. All the administration and P.E. teachers are trying to sink me… no.

2) NOT A TEAM PLAYER: Well, this could be a more reasonable explanation, especially when you consider my relatively anti-social tendencies (well, I do try to think that I’m fine at socializing to a marginal degree). However, there are a few problems with this explanation. First, I do fine on group projects. Group projects are basically the epitome of academic cooperation save for maybe in-class discussion. Projects that my group makes tend to score very high, and this trend even goes back to 9th grade, where our Greek myth video scored the highest in our period. A 92, or so I heard. I also heard that that’s a pretty bad grade in the other periods, reinforcing my point that I get pretty bad classes.

And even if it were the case, my behavior should not directly influence the class to the point that absolutely no discussion is occurring. This cannot be strictly endemic to myself only. Some other forces must be in play.

3) PROBABILITY. To be fair, the probability that this scenario occurs to someone is around (1/7)^2~0.02, so you could expect out of the approximately 200 honors students, around 4 would share this experience.

 

That reminds me. Probability isn’t on my side either.

Rath has assigned two big group projects to date. There are eight groups, and 31 students in our class. By Reverse Pigeonhole, at least one group has at most 3 students. And thus, logically, the groups are partitioned into sizes 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, and 4. Now, there is a (3/31) probability that a person is in a 3-person group.

Now what is the probability that you land in two 3-person groups in a row? That’s right, 9/961, which comes to about 0.0094. And guess who did?

Yep, me.

Or maybe it’s all a conspiracy by the insecure random number generator that Rath uses to generate groups! Maybe… (I hear it’s some fairly antiquated software; that would not be a stretch to say the least)

4) YOUR IDEA HERE. Well, I’m out of ideas as to why everything I’m in is dysfunctional. Your idea could be here today! Just comment/e-mail and maybe I’ll put it up.

 

<tangent>

Which is pretty funny. I’ll use a persistent strategy game as another example. In Grepolis, Ephesus World, my ocean is in the core 4 oceans (that is to say, O44 O45 O54 O55). It turns out the ocean I started in is the most politically unstable! Joy! In fact, you probably wouldn’t care [and yes, this is turning into an incoherent mess. Wow, I’m prescient!] but here’s my alliance history:

some random island alliance: Alliance recruiting strictly in the center. Fades away into inactivity.

THE UNION: Join the top-ranked alliance in O54. Also becomes inactive.

Chaos INC: Formed as a splinter alliance from THE UNION, taking the most active players, and becomes the top-ranked alliance in O54. However, becomes inactive.

Roman Legionnaires: Formed as a splinter alliance from D3th and The Pirates, taking the most active players, and I join. Becomes top-ranked alliance in O54, becomes inactive.

Lords of Loyalty: Top-ranked alliance in O44. Joined from a referral from someone next to me. Leadership inactivity, merging with Honour and Power (the top-ranked alliance in O55) and Eternal Soldiers (the top-ranked alliance in O45).

GUESS WHICH OCEAN WAS NOT MENTIONED. That’s right, O54.

ba dum tss

Further evidence: I haven’t been playing very hard in this game, so I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I’m only 22nd in our ocean individually. That would be 25th in O44, 33rd in O45, and (QQ) 41st in O55.

For crying out loud, it’s 29th in O65, 33rd in O66, 27th in O56, etc. etc., and these guys started significantly later than I did. In fact, most of the other oceans already have a unified alliance ruling over them. But not O54. Because we’re dysfunctional.

[Note: I’ll be somewhat impressed if you determine my Grepolis account from the information presented to you. Have fun guys!]

 

Edit-not-really: http://forum.en.grepolis.com/showthread.php?33903-Dear-Ephesus. You don’t say? (it should be obvious that I am not either YAYger or beohoff.)

<tangentception>

I didn’t edit that. It was an afterthought. I was going to say “EBWOP” but that would make even less sense.

</tangentception>

</tangent>

<tangent>

So I used to wonder why certain blog maintainers managed to write such long posts. I still do not know how they do so, because the stuff they write about actually makes sense. Maybe it’s because they’re actually ranting. Rants are hard when you don’t really have very strong feelings about a particular topic.

</tangent>