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About Xcalibur

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  1. Xcalibur

    "It's Just a Myth!" - Common Misbeliefs

    There's a common myth that everyone thought the world was flat centuries ago, and we only found out that it's round in the modern era. For the most part, this is false. There were in fact some ancient cultures that believed in a flat Earth, but round Earth was figured out in Ancient Greece and India, and the knowledge proliferated from there (it's not a coincidence that those were two of the most philosophically oriented civilizations). Europe at the time of Columbus 500+ years ago largely understood that the Earth was round, in fact there's a globe that dates back to the 1400's that leaves out the Americas because they weren't discovered by Europe yet. Columbus' whole idea was to circumnavigate the globe in order to find an alternate route to the spices of Indonesia & East Asia (and bumped into a new continent along the way), which would only be viable if they knew the Earth is round. Centuries later, with far better knowledge, a combination of contrarians, fundamentalists, conspiracy theorists, memers etc believe the Earth is flat, even though there are basic proofs that it's not: you can't see the Himalayan Mountains from far away, the sky flips upside-down when you cross the equator, and the constellations are different.
  2. Xcalibur

    Cool Writing Systems From East Asia

    There is truth to what you're saying. East Asia had woodblock printing long before the West, but it was Europe that invented movable type, a key breakthrough. Why is that? Because movable type is far easier to create with an alphabet than with thousands of characters. So yes, structural differences can be significant, but what I said still applies.
  3. Xcalibur

    Cool Writing Systems From East Asia

    This is accurate. Other scripts wouldn't be difficult to input with proper accommodation. For example, you could have a keyboard with radicals or hangul components, and the software would combine them into characters automatically as you typed them. Of course, that keyboard would have to be designed differently, ie you'd have to have multiple components per key, and the ability to easily shift between them to cover the whole system. Radicals for Chinese characters would be especially challenging, but as long as the most common radicals were easily accessible, it would be fine (you could have more complicated input for the rare ones). For a kana keyboard, you could have different shift keys for dakuten/handakuten as well as a shift lock for switching between hiragana & katakana. We get so used to our way of doing things, that we forget that there are other ways and means.
  4. Xcalibur

    Prince of Persia Palette Question

    I'd recommend asking in princed dot org.
  5. Xcalibur

    Cool Writing Systems From East Asia

    I can confirm, hangul is arguably the best-designed writing system in the world. It consists of elements/particles grouped together, each element representing a phoneme, so that each block is a syllable; in this way, it combines the advantages of an alphabet and a syllabary. Not only that, but the vowels & consonants are easily distinguished, and the design of the particles is similar to how the tongue is placed when pronouncing it. It really is superior, but it's only used in Korea, so if you're not into that language/culture it's not relevant. Chinese characters are built on a different principle than most writing systems. Instead of capturing the sounds of language, it captures ideas. This has certain benefits -- if you know the characters, you can read a text without knowing the language (historically, this helped unify China, which then as now is a huge region with different peoples and languages). It condenses meaning down into less symbols, and as someone else said, they have great aesthetic qualities. The main downside is that they're much more difficult to learn, it's alot to download into your head. But even that issue is alleviated somewhat by the system of radicals/components. All characters are formed from the same set of components, and these intuitively tell you the meaning and how it's pronounced. Chinese relies on these symbols entirely, while Japanese (which I've studied) combines them with a native syllabary; strangely enough, modern Japanese is written similarly to Bronze Age languages, with logograms for words and a syllabary for grammar. Our own latin script is pretty good, although not necessarily the best. It's ultimately derived from the Greek alphabet (as is Cyrillic), which came from the Phoenician alphabet, which in turn was derived from Egyptian hieroglyphs (which are logographic). So there's an entire chain of evolution reaching back to ancient times. Chinese characters have their own ancient origins as symbols etched onto oracle bones, which were used for divination. Gradually they developed from pictograms (which directly resembled real things) to more abstract forms; this can also be seen in the development of cuneiform, a script which despite its merits went extinct in antiquity. Inventions of writing were relatively rare, the breakthrough only happened a handful of times. While there are many writing systems, most of them can be traced back to a small number of originators. One exception may be rongorongo, a unique writing system from East Polynesia, discovered on Easter Island. As you've guessed, I've delved into this topic a fair amount, and this gave me an excuse to expound on it. I could say more, but that's plenty enough for now.
  6. Xcalibur

    Why Does It Feel Good To Kill In Video Games?

    I think one of the more interesting things about games is how they immerse you in situations unlike your real life, and let you explore moral choices and consequences. As a male human in particular, I find games satiate certain base drives and instincts I have that are ill-suited for the real world. Honestly, killing stuff in an FPS is fun, and so is conquering the world in a grand strategy title. Obviously, going on a killing spree is bad news (and the kind of bad news we've had too much of in recent years). And of course, waging aggressive wars and slaughtering people just for glory, wealth, and political/cultural mastery is orders of magnitude worse in a moral sense. Yet you can do these things in games without being a monster irl. I don't think there's anything wrong with indulging in such impulses, whether through games or other media. The key thing is to distinguish between entertainment and reality, and not take it to excess. Besides, I'm opposed to censorship in general, since it's fundamentally dishonest and puts shackles on creative expression. Naturally this means that some rather disturbing & upsetting things get published, but that's the way of things. Everyone has different limits, theoretically anything can be offensive to someone out there, so the only limit should be flat-out illegal content IMO. As for aggression in general, it causes quite a lot of trouble, but ultimately it's there to help us survive, as individuals, groups and as a species, just like our other innate attributes.
  7. Xcalibur

    Scary bedtime stories

    for those into this, I recommend the SCP series (Secure, Contain, Protect). it's crowd-sourced horror writing, with the gimmick that the stories are supposed to be documents from an agency (NGO or similar) tasked with keeping monsters, demons, and other nightmarish entities hidden and locked away. there's some legit good quality stuff there.
  8. Xcalibur

    Let's discuss the term boomer shooters....

    not bad. in this case it's just classification, but labels like "boomer", "zoomer" etc do in fact refer to a larger conflict between generations. that stupid "ok boomer" meme that used to be around is a prime example of this. I think partly it's because of accelerated social/technological change. it also has to do with issues like the middle east wars, the 2008 crash, etc in which younger generations had to pay for the mistakes of the older folks.
  9. Xcalibur

    Let's discuss the term boomer shooters....

    this is true. but it's also yet another example of inter-generational tension.
  10. Xcalibur

    Classification of "cheating" in games

    Ideally, you're supposed to take on the challenge the way the devs intended, using only the tools and methods they made available to you. In practice, it's not a big deal if you use savestates sparingly, especially to avoid repetitive, tedious play (eg doing the same easy thing over and over to get to the hard part). I think there's a big difference between judicious use of savestates vs savescumming, ie using them to brute-force your way through instead of playing properly. It's a matter of context and of degree. but even if you're playing by the rules so to speak, there can still be ambiguities. A great example of that is the final boss of Zelda II, Dark Link. First, you can trick the AI by standing in the corner (because they had to reduce AI to make the game fit on a cartridge). While seemingly legal, it feels like cheating because you're exploiting a weakness in the game that wasn't really intended (developer intent being an important concept). Secondly, you can use magic to give yourself extra health. while this is usually fair, in the case of Dark Link, you and him have the same HP, and the fight is intended to be mano a mano, a fight to the death between two evenly matched warriors. It only seems fair to keep the same HP, and not use magic to give yourself an advantage over your opponent, at least in that specific situation. Subverting the intended challenge, even if allowed to by the game, feels like you didn't "really win", at least to me. (and yes, I've beaten Dark Link fair and square, it's one hell of a fight).
  11. Xcalibur

    Favorite Rapper?

    Biggie & Big L are my two favorites. classic hip-hop was always my favorite genre, although I can't get into the new stuff for the most part.
  12. Xcalibur

    Thoughts of Energy Drinks?

    as others have said, they are poisonous garbage. sure, they might help you get through long hours, but the costs are not worth it. you'd be better off with coffee, or even chewing on coca leaves if you could somehow get them.
  13. Xcalibur

    What is the appeal behind Fantasy?

    sci-fi & fantasy are closely related, they're both forms of storytelling with extraordinary elements. the essential difference is that one uses magic while the other uses advanced technology.
  14. Xcalibur

    What do you think of the "boomer" meme?

    it has to do with friction and tensions between different generations. also what NoXion said.
  15. the red pill. the Matrix is a classic, but I've always objected to the 'battery' concept. the concept of humans as an energy source doesn't make sense, especially when they could use nuclear power instead. however, that wasn't the original plan. I read somewhere that humans were supposed to be used for processing power, but the execs thought we were too dumb to get that, so they changed us into batteries. humans as CPUs makes far more sense, because human intelligence is very different from machine intelligence. there are things AI can do far better than us, but the reverse is also true. so just as we use computers as useful tools to augment our intelligence, in a machine-dominated world, it makes sense that AI would use human minds as their laptops/smartphones instead. this is a really thought-provoking concept, and it's unfortunate that it didn't make the cut, and was replaced by a nonsensical explanation instead.