Poll Question...

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Ben Parrish

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Jan 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/21/99
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New game. Download, run.

You come across a quaint gift shop. Among the various goodies that are
sitting around are :

1. A mysterious silver charm which is reputed to have magical powers.
2. A People magazine.

#1 is required to get past the dra- uhh...the evil raisin monster.
#2 is totally worthless (in the context of the game, of course.)

Certainly you should be able to buy #1 and carry it around. Now, how 'bout
#2? Would you prefer the game say "There's no time to read this nonsense
now," or do you like a modicum of useless but realistic crap to interact
with?

--
Ben Parrish :: http://www.rvi.net/~bparrish

Michael Gaul

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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Ben Parrish wrote:
> You come across a quaint gift shop. Among the various goodies that are
> sitting around are :
>
> 1. A mysterious silver charm which is reputed to have magical powers.
> 2. A People magazine.
>
> #1 is required to get past the dra- uhh...the evil raisin monster.
> #2 is totally worthless (in the context of the game, of course.)
>
> Certainly you should be able to buy #1 and carry it around. Now, how 'bout
> #2? Would you prefer the game say "There's no time to read this nonsense
> now," or do you like a modicum of useless but realistic crap to interact
> with?

I think this question cannot be answered in general because two
principles
of "good" i-f writing are in conflict here. One is "Be Realistic" - if
the
player knows that every item he can carry along will be needed in a
puzzle,
this disturbs the atmosphere of the game. And a shop with only one
buyable
item would be quite silly.

The other principle is "Don't make the game too difficult". The player
can't tell whether the magazine is totally worthless (i.e. a red
herring)
or whether it will actually be necessary at some point.
As a player, I tend to carry *everything* with me, in case I might need
it
later. In large games, like "Curses" or "Jigsaw", near the end my
inventory
puts every flea market to shame. This however makes solving the puzzles
more difficult; there are too many distractors that lead my thoughts
away
from the "right" path.

My personal answer is: it depends on the kind of game you're writing. In
a difficult, puzzle-intensive game I would be very careful about the
number
of red herrings. In an easier game, where the fun emerges from freedom
of
action rather than from tackling puzzles, I'd code more "useless" items
to enhance realism and atmosphere. (But even then, to come back to your
"shop" example, I would make sure that the player has enough resources
to
acquire the necessary objects even if he first chose the "realistic
crap".)


Michael

What? You still want an answer to your poll? Okay, I prefer games with
many realistic objects and *very* *easy* *puzzles*. I like it even more
when the "red herrings" interact with the game's other objects. For
example:

> GIVE MAGAZINE TO DRAGON

The dragom browses through the magazine, mumbling comments like
"Oh, tasty!", "Naaah - too old!", or "Just why are all the women so bony
and skinny nowadays? <sigh>".

Den of Iniquity

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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On Thu, 21 Jan 1999, Ben Parrish wrote:

>You come across a quaint gift shop. Among the various goodies that are
>sitting around are :
>
>1. A mysterious silver charm which is reputed to have magical powers.
>2. A People magazine.

What's a People magazine? Apart from

> totally worthless (in the context of the game, of course.)

I'm not personally fond of red herrings of this sort. A shop full of
trinkets with one item that catches your eye is one thing ("careful where
you stick that thing, you could have someone's eye ou... Oh, sorry sir!").
A shop full of brik-a-brak in which two things catch your eye, only one of
which is useful, seems _incomplete_ in some way.

--
Den


Iain Merrick

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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Den of Iniquity wrote:

Hmmm... in several LucasArts games, they _really_ go for the red
herrings. For instance, in Monkey Island II there's a library with
dozens of books in it, _all_ of which you can read. (You only get a
sentence or two of description in each case, but most of the
descriptions are quite amusing.)

All this is good for laughs, but it can become irritating in at least
two ways:

- if the useful objects are indistinguishable from the useless objects,
it can be _very_ difficult to find them. (The Monkey Island II library
is a good example, if you miss the vital clues.)

- if you have to experiment with several useless objects before you get
your hands on the useful objects, replaying the game can become very
tedious - you're forced to plough through the same jokes over and over.
(This happens in Fate Of Atlantis, IIRC.)

I say go for the red herrings, but make it relatively easy for both
first-time players and people replaying the game to spot them and/or
avoid them.

--
Iain Merrick

Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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Ben Parrish (bpar...@remove.rvi.net) wrote:
> New game. Download, run.

> You come across a quaint gift shop. Among the various goodies that are
> sitting around are :

> 1. A mysterious silver charm which is reputed to have magical powers.
> 2. A People magazine.

These are two different games.

If they're in the same game, you've already done the work of communicating
a world where these items can both interestingly occur. So they're both
interesting.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

or...@isdn.net.il

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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[ I've been lurking on this group for about 5 years now. This is my first
post. Please forgive any grammar/spelling errors, as english is not my native
language (I'm from Israel) ]

In article <36A875...@cs.york.ac.uk>,


Iain Merrick <i...@cs.york.ac.uk> wrote:
>
> Hmmm... in several LucasArts games, they _really_ go for the red
> herrings. For instance, in Monkey Island II there's a library with
> dozens of books in it, _all_ of which you can read. (You only get a
> sentence or two of description in each case, but most of the
> descriptions are quite amusing.)
>

I do not consider these red herrings, because the *puzzle* is to find out
which of the books are important. If only the two important book were
takable, there would be no puzzle in the situation. I would compare this
situation with the scene from Balances where there is a winning lottery
ticket among a large number of other, identical tickets. I'm sure you'd
aggree those are not red herrings. The fact that the books in MI2 are a bit
more interactive and that each produces a unique, irrelevant message when
trying to read them does not mean they aren't there for a game-related
reason.

I think that the origianl poster's situation is similiar. If I would come upon
a shop in a game, where two items are available, and I can buy only one, I'd
consider it a puzzle -- I'll probably explore other parts of the game, looking
for a situation in which one of those can be helpful before buying one.

--
Oren Ronen
or...@isdn.net.il

-----------== Posted via Deja News, The Discussion Network ==----------
http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Discuss, or Start Your Own

Den of Iniquity

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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On Fri, 22 Jan 1999, Iain Merrick wrote:

> Den of Iniquity wrote:
>> On Thu, 21 Jan 1999, Ben Parrish wrote:

>>> 1. A mysterious silver charm which is reputed to have magical
>>> powers.
>>> 2. A People magazine.

>> A shop full of brik-a-brak in which two things catch your eye, only
>> one of which is useful, seems _incomplete_ in some way.

[examples of amusing red herrings snipped]


> I say go for the red herrings, but make it relatively easy for both
> first-time players and people replaying the game to spot them and/or
> avoid them.

Definitely. Perhaps I cut myself off a bit prematurely. What I meant to
say is that two prominent items in a bunch of tat - one of which is useful
- doesn't work for me as a 'fair' red herring. Half a dozen prominent
items in a bunch of tat - one of which is useful - feels much better. But
I agree that it should be easy to determine which is important, if not
immediately, then at least before the player gets into an 'unwinnable
state'.

--
Den


Wildman, the Cuberstalker

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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On Thu, 21 Jan 1999 21:45:04 -0800, Ben Parrish <bpar...@remove.rvi.net>
wrote:

>#2 is totally worthless (in the context of the game, of course.)
>
>Certainly you should be able to buy #1 and carry it around. Now, how 'bout
>#2? Would you prefer the game say "There's no time to read this nonsense
>now," or do you like a modicum of useless but realistic crap to interact
>with?

I prefer scarlet herrings to the reverse - where a useful item (or even
important one) is labeled "nonsense". I *have* played games where I spent
hours trying to solve a puzzle only to discover I needed that piece of junk
I left behind.
Of course, this only applies if there are no weight restrictions. In that
case, every item must be useful - otherwise, the game is a bit unfair.

--
Wildman, the Cuberstalker
Thank you, Microsoft, and please get out of the way.
Fight spam - http://www.cauce.org/
DO NOT SPAM THIS ADDRESS

Erik Max Francis

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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Ben Parrish wrote:

> 1. A mysterious silver charm which is reputed to have magical
> powers.
> 2. A People magazine.
>

> #1 is required to get past the dra- uhh...the evil raisin monster.

> #2 is totally worthless (in the context of the game, of course.)
>
> Certainly you should be able to buy #1 and carry it around. Now, how
> 'bout
> #2? Would you prefer the game say "There's no time to read this
> nonsense
> now," or do you like a modicum of useless but realistic crap to
> interact
> with?

It seems to me that adding new objects for "atmosphere" is well and good
to make things more realistic, but is this really more realistic? Out
of all everything in the gift shop, only two are concretified into
manipulable objects?

i.e., the player gets the impression that out of everything in the shop,
these two objects are the most important. So maybe, the player will
conclude, the _People_ magazine is important for something as well.

One too many red herrings spoils the pot.

--
Erik Max Francis / email m...@alcyone.com / whois mf303 / icq 16063900
Alcyone Systems / irc maxxon (efnet) / finger m...@finger.alcyone.com
San Jose, CA / languages En, Eo / web http://www.alcyone.com/max/
USA / icbm 37 20 07 N 121 53 38 W / &tSftDotIotE
\
/ Fear is an emotion indispensible for survival.
/ Hannah Arendt

Adam Cadre

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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Iain Merrick wrote:
> Hmmm... in several LucasArts games, they _really_ go for the red
> herrings. For instance, in Monkey Island II there's a library with
> dozens of books in it, _all_ of which you can read. (You only get a
> sentence or two of description in each case, but most of the
> descriptions are quite amusing.)

Why, thank you.

See, the fact that they had so many books to code meant that the
game designers were a bit hard up for material. So one day, I'm
hanging out in my dorm room when a couple LucasArts people (code-
named "Purple" and "T" -- apparently there's an overlap between
people who design computer games for a living and people who think
code names are kewl) come to visit my roommate, who was a tester for
them at the time. They drop off an alpha-test version of Monkey II --
and also a list of suggestions for books for the card catalog. So
my roommate fills in some, and I fill in some... and then a few months
later the game comes out, and I'm delighted to find that about half a
dozen of my suggestions have made it into the game. (And none of
Bret's did, which gave me something to lord over him for the rest of
the semester.)

On the other hand, he got a code name and I didn't. Life is so
unfair.

-----
Adam Cadre, Anaheim, CA
http://208.246.163.14/adam

Daniel Barkalow

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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On Fri, 22 Jan 1999, Iain Merrick wrote:

> Den of Iniquity wrote:
>
> > I'm not personally fond of red herrings of this sort. A shop full of
> > trinkets with one item that catches your eye is one thing ("careful where
> > you stick that thing, you could have someone's eye ou... Oh, sorry sir!").

> > A shop full of brik-a-brak in which two things catch your eye, only one of
> > which is useful, seems _incomplete_ in some way.
>

> Hmmm... in several LucasArts games, they _really_ go for the red
> herrings. For instance, in Monkey Island II there's a library with
> dozens of books in it, _all_ of which you can read. (You only get a
> sentence or two of description in each case, but most of the
> descriptions are quite amusing.)
>

> I say go for the red herrings, but make it relatively easy for both
> first-time players and people replaying the game to spot them and/or
> avoid them.

Personally, I think there should be lots of items which are potentially
useful, but not necessary; you need the charm for the dragon, but if you
have the People magazine, you can find out about the local knight
service, which you may be able to convince to handle your dragon
problems.

That is, every object should have a use, although not necessarily a
particularly good one. You shouldn't need anything that you didn't have a
reason to take when you saw it, and the distractors should be reasonably
clearly irrelevent to the puzzle at hand (or should work at least
partially).

I'd like to see a game that you can win without some important item if
you use a bunch of red herrings correctly.

-Iabervon
*This .sig unintentionally changed*


Ben Parrish

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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>to make things more realistic, but is this really more realistic? Out
>of all everything in the gift shop, only two are concretified into


Small gift shop. :)


Chris Carlson

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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You seem to me like somebody who enjoys reading Douglas Hofstadter.
Am I right?

--- Chris

On Fri, 22 Jan 1999 14:38:42 GMT, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin)
wrote:

J. Wells

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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On Fri, 22 Jan 1999, Ben Parrish wrote:

> Small gift shop. :)

Stationfall, of course, had a nice workaround to this; I, for one, was
perfectly willing to believe that the Patrol, in its nigh-cosmic
ineptitude, would stock the PX on Gamma-Gamma-Delta with a single vending
machine chock full of only two-three saleable items.

Ye gosh, I wish I could play those two for the first time again... :)

--Lluth/J.C.Wells


Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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Chris Carlson (cwca...@usa.net) wrote:

> On Fri, 22 Jan 1999 14:38:42 GMT, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin)
> wrote:

> >These are two different games.
> >
> >If they're in the same game, you've already done the work of communicating
> >a world where these items can both interestingly occur. So they're both
> >interesting.

> You seem to me like somebody who enjoys reading Douglas Hofstadter.
> Am I right?

If you'd asked me this during the Halting Problem thread, I would have
understood.

What brought it up now? I thought I was answering quite directly, albeit
with a polite assumption that the game in question did not suck.

Chris Carlson

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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Your response was without doubt a direct one.

My guess is actually the result of both reading that thread (as far as
I could without developing headaches) and your response to the poll
question.

Years ago, I spirited "Metamagical Themas" away from my mother, and
spent some time trying to understand the contents. It became a source
of amazement to me that this fellow existed in a world so suffused
with both creativity and logic. The response that triggered my
question to you was simply a 'trigger' that led me to think that you
lived in that kind of world as well.

Count me among the jealous.

--- Chris

On Fri, 22 Jan 1999 21:27:53 GMT, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin)
wrote:

>

Rene van 't Veen

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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Ben Parrish wrote in message <36a80...@news1.uswest.net>...

>New game. Download, run.
>
>You come across a quaint gift shop. Among the various goodies that
are
>sitting around are :
>
>1. A mysterious silver charm which is reputed to have magical
powers.
>2. A People magazine.
>
>#1 is required to get past the dra- uhh...the evil raisin monster.
>#2 is totally worthless (in the context of the game, of course.)
>
>Certainly you should be able to buy #1 and carry it around. Now, how
'bout
>#2? Would you prefer the game say "There's no time to read this
nonsense
>now," or do you like a modicum of useless but realistic crap to
interact
>with?
>
>--
>Ben Parrish :: http://www.rvi.net/~bparrish
>
>

I would want #2 to be realistic if the game goes for mood and
atmosphere. It would then make the game-world more complete and
'credible'. On the other hand: if one of the game's hurdles is
an inventory restriction of some kind, I probably wouldn't, it
would be to easy to paint yourself in corner as a player.

Now, in this particular case, a game-world model where *both*
a charm with a reputation of magical powers *and* a People magazine
are credible, co-existent objects is pretty hard to imagine.
Especially a game where the magical charm is the useful object
(It wasn't too hard to imagine a world where the magazine would
be useful and the charm wouldn't).

----
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat
---
(remove nospam to email me)

Rene van 't Veen - r.n_o_s_p_...@wxs.nospam.nl


green_g...@my-dejanews.com

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Jan 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/23/99
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In article <36A850A1...@rz.uni-potsdam.de>,
Michael Gaul <ga...@rz.uni-potsdam.de> wrote:

> What? You still want an answer to your poll? Okay, I prefer games with
> many realistic objects and *very* *easy* *puzzles*. I like it even more
> when the "red herrings" interact with the game's other objects. For
> example:
>
> > GIVE MAGAZINE TO DRAGON
>
> The dragom browses through the magazine, mumbling comments like
> "Oh, tasty!", "Naaah - too old!", or "Just why are all the women so bony
> and skinny nowadays? <sigh>".

I vote for this one! I love stuff like this... wish there was more.

Kathleen

-- Excuse me while I dance a little jig of despair.

The Freebern Family

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Jan 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/23/99
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Michael Gaul wrote:
> The dragom browses through the magazine, mumbling comments like
> "Oh, tasty!", "Naaah - too old!", or "Just why are all the women so bony
> and skinny nowadays? <sigh>".

Bravo, Michael! I applaud your style, and I agree wholeheartedly.

-r

Den of Iniquity

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Jan 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/25/99
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On Fri, 22 Jan 1999, Rene van 't Veen echoed other people's comments:

> Ben Parrish wrote in message <36a80...@news1.uswest.net>...

>> You come across a quaint gift shop. Among the various goodies that
>> are sitting around are :
>> 1. A mysterious silver charm which is reputed to have magical
>> powers.
>> 2. A People magazine.

> I would want #2 to be realistic if the game goes for mood...

What bothers me is how many people think that #2 is the odd one out.

There I am, looking for postcards of York to send short sarcastic messages
to people who have more interesting holidays than I do; I pop into a shop
I've not been in before because the proprietor seems to have cheaper
postcards than most. In among all the trinkets and pin-badges of Yorkshire
roses, St George's Crosses, minsters and old red telephone boxes, I spy a
small collection of magazines that seem to have parted company with a wad
of Sunday papers. Picking up a People magazine and noting that it's from
1994 or something, the proprietor draws my attention to a little,
tarnished, silvery, celtic whorl that's dangling from a thin thread
between her fingers. With a glint in her one good eye she breathily
whispers that the charm has magical powers. Recoiling rapidly from the
stench of her breath I fall backwards over the doorstep and out of the
shop; I'm halfway down Lower Petergate before I realise I'm still
clutching the People magazine...

Whoops, didn't mean to illustrate so much. Anyway. Indiana Jones mixed
20th century with magic. Why must we always see magic and dragons as
belonging to fantasy worlds so unlike our own?

--
Den


Iain Merrick

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Jan 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/25/99
to
Den of Iniquity wrote:
[...]

> I'm halfway down Lower Petergate before I realise I'm still
> clutching the People magazine...

BTW, 'Lower Petergate' refers to a street, rather than some sort of
scandal involving Lower Peter.

(I thought I'd better point that out, in case anyone got the wrong
impression.)

Magnus Olsson

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Jan 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/26/99
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In article <36AC7B...@cs.york.ac.uk>,

Iain Merrick <i...@cs.york.ac.uk> wrote:
>Den of Iniquity wrote:
>[...]
>> I'm halfway down Lower Petergate before I realise I'm still
>> clutching the People magazine...
>
>BTW, 'Lower Petergate' refers to a street, rather than some sort of
>scandal involving Lower Peter.

And, just as an interesting fact, the word "gate" has nothing
whatsoever to do with the usual English noun "gate"; it's the
Scandinavian word for "street". Street names ending in "gate" are
common in northeast England - a memory of the Viking occupation
(the Vikings made York their capital).


--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, zeb...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~zebulon ------

Iain Merrick

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Jan 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/26/99
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Magnus Olsson wrote:

> In article <36AC7B...@cs.york.ac.uk>,
> Iain Merrick <i...@cs.york.ac.uk> wrote:
> >Den of Iniquity wrote:
> >[...]
> >> I'm halfway down Lower Petergate before I realise I'm still
> >> clutching the People magazine...
> >
> >BTW, 'Lower Petergate' refers to a street, rather than some sort of
> >scandal involving Lower Peter.
>
> And, just as an interesting fact, the word "gate" has nothing
> whatsoever to do with the usual English noun "gate"; it's the
> Scandinavian word for "street". Street names ending in "gate" are
> common in northeast England - a memory of the Viking occupation
> (the Vikings made York their capital).

Yes. And the actual gates are called bars. This is nothing to do with
bars as in pubs, which are called pubs. Oh, those wacky Vikings!

Whoever founded the city of New York must have had these confusing names
in mind when they did so. Why else would they have called New York, New
York New York, New York?

Joyce Haslam

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Jan 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/26/99
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In article <78k665$2d6$1...@bartlet.df.lth.se>,

Magnus Olsson <m...@bartlet.df.lth.se> wrote:
> >BTW, 'Lower Petergate' refers to a street, rather than some sort of
> >scandal involving Lower Peter.

> And, just as an interesting fact, the word "gate" has nothing
> whatsoever to do with the usual English noun "gate"; it's the
> Scandinavian word for "street". Street names ending in "gate" are
> common in northeast England - a memory of the Viking occupation
> (the Vikings made York their capital).

Yes, and the northeast of England was a rather larger fraction than
one might think :-)

The Danelaw was all the area north of the Roman road Watling Street:
from Richborough in Kent through London and St Albans to Wroxeter
on the Welsh Marches.

Hence (?) the belief in the south of England that the north begins at
Watford.

Joyce.

--
Joyce Haslam imho e&oe Lancashire, England
http://www.argonet.co.uk/users/dljhaslam/infrm.html
for Gateway to Karos [INFORM 5]

Simon 'tufty' Stapleton

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Jan 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/26/99
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Joyce Haslam <co...@argonet.co.uk> writes:

> Hence (?) the belief in the south of England that the north begins at
> Watford.

Ever been to Watford? It's 'orrible. Quite enough to make you want
to turn around and go back to London. Hence "It's grim oop north".

Simon
--
_______ _______
| ----- | Biased output from the demented brain of | ----- |
||MacOS|| Simon Stapleton. ||Linux||
|| 8.5 || || PPC ||
| ----- | sstaple AT liffe DoT com | ----- |
| -+-.| (if you can't figure it out...) | -+-.|
|洵洵洵洱 |洵洵洵洱
------- -------

John Francis

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Jan 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/27/99
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In article <wz1zkhd...@davina.liffe.com>,

Simon 'tufty' Stapleton <nob...@no.bloody.where> wrote:
>Joyce Haslam <co...@argonet.co.uk> writes:
>
>> Hence (?) the belief in the south of England that the north begins at
>> Watford.
>
>Ever been to Watford? It's 'orrible. Quite enough to make you want
>to turn around and go back to London. Hence "It's grim oop north".

Funny - my wife alway says that Watford is the farthest *South* that
civilization reaches in the UK.

But then she's from Nottingham. We *met* in Watford, though. 25 years ago.

Branko Collin

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Jan 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/27/99
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On 26 Jan 1999 11:42:13 +0100, m...@bartlet.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson)
wrote:


>>Den of Iniquity wrote:
>>[about his home town]


>>> I'm halfway down Lower Petergate before I realise I'm still
>>> clutching the People magazine...
>

>And, just as an interesting fact, the word "gate" has nothing
>whatsoever to do with the usual English noun "gate"; it's the
>Scandinavian word for "street". Street names ending in "gate" are
>common in northeast England - a memory of the Viking occupation
>(the Vikings made York their capital).

You just had to rub that in, didn't you? ;-)

(For the moment generalizing all Scandinavians to be descendants of
the Vikings.)

--
branko
-- ik maak alles stuk

Joseph Fatula

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Jan 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/28/99
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David Given wrote:
>
> In article <78no6n$o...@fido.engr.sgi.com>,
> John Francis <jfra...@dungeon.engr.sgi.com> wrote:
> [...]

> >>Ever been to Watford? It's 'orrible. Quite enough to make you want
> >>to turn around and go back to London. Hence "It's grim oop north".
> >
> >Funny - my wife alway says that Watford is the farthest *South* that
> >civilization reaches in the UK.
>
> Watford? Good grief. I never thought civilisation got as far as
> Berwick-upon-Tweed. It's certainly not civilised where I am know (in
> Reading; though the existince of pheasants not far away is a good sign).
>
> I have a theory that civilisation is proportional to latitude. For
> example, Scotland, Canada, Japan, Sweden, and New Zealand. Perhaps it's
> the lower gravity.

I tend to think that anything east of Salisbury is a bit too rough for
me...


--
Flashlight: A case for holding dead batteries.


David Given

unread,
Jan 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/29/99
to
In article <78no6n$o...@fido.engr.sgi.com>,
John Francis <jfra...@dungeon.engr.sgi.com> wrote:
[...]
>>Ever been to Watford? It's 'orrible. Quite enough to make you want
>>to turn around and go back to London. Hence "It's grim oop north".
>
>Funny - my wife alway says that Watford is the farthest *South* that
>civilization reaches in the UK.

Watford? Good grief. I never thought civilisation got as far as
Berwick-upon-Tweed. It's certainly not civilised where I am know (in
Reading; though the existince of pheasants not far away is a good sign).

I have a theory that civilisation is proportional to latitude. For
example, Scotland, Canada, Japan, Sweden, and New Zealand. Perhaps it's
the lower gravity.

--
+- David Given ---------------McQ-+ "Hydrogen fusion, the sun makes shine
| Work: d...@tao.co.uk | Vascular pressure makes the ivy twine.
| Play: dgi...@iname.com | Because of Rayleigh, the sky's so blue.
+- http://wired.st-and.ac.uk/~dg -+ Hormonal fixation is why I love you."

Dylan O'Donnell

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Jan 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/29/99
to
dg@ (David Given) writes:
> In article <78no6n$o...@fido.engr.sgi.com>,
> John Francis <jfra...@dungeon.engr.sgi.com> wrote:
> [...]
> >Funny - my wife alway says that Watford is the farthest *South* that
> >civilization reaches in the UK.
>
> Watford? Good grief. I never thought civilisation got as far as
> Berwick-upon-Tweed. It's certainly not civilised where I am know (in
> Reading; though the existince of pheasants not far away is a good sign).
>
> I have a theory that civilisation is proportional to latitude. For
> example, Scotland, Canada, Japan, Sweden, and New Zealand. Perhaps it's
> the lower gravity.

s/lower/higher/ ? Oblate spheroid, and all that...

--
: Dylan O'Donnell : "Are not gross Bodies and Light convertible :
: Demon Internet Ltd : into one another [...] ?" :
: Resident, Forgotten Office : -- Sir Isaac Newton, "Opticks", 1706 :
: http://www.fysh.org/~psmith/ : "E = mc^2" -- Albert Einstein, 1905 :

Erik Max Francis

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Jan 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/29/99
to
Dylan O'Donnell wrote:

> > I have a theory that civilisation is proportional to latitude. For
> > example, Scotland, Canada, Japan, Sweden, and New Zealand. Perhaps
> > it's
> > the lower gravity.
>
> s/lower/higher/ ? Oblate spheroid, and all that...

Well, there's two competing factors -- the equatorial bulge will contain
more mass, so if you're closer to it (e.g., nearer the equator), then
you'll feel more weight.

On the other hand, though, the Earth rotates as a rigid body rotating
with constant angular velocity, so the further you are from the axis
(e.g., again, closer to the equator), then there will be a greater
centrifugal pseudoforce (if you naively pretend that you live in an
inertial frame, which we all do), and so you will feel less weight.

I don't offhand know which effect is stronger, and don't have any
figures in front of me. (Also the Earth's interior is _not_ at all
uniform, so it really matters where you take your gravity measurements
from.)

--
Erik Max Francis / email m...@alcyone.com / whois mf303 / icq 16063900
Alcyone Systems / irc maxxon (efnet) / finger m...@finger.alcyone.com
San Jose, CA / languages En, Eo / web http://www.alcyone.com/max/
USA / icbm 37 20 07 N 121 53 38 W / &tSftDotIotE
\

/ In the fight between you and the world, back the world.
/ Frank Zappa

Andy Scarfe

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Jan 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/29/99
to
In article <wz1zkhd...@davina.liffe.com>, Simon 'tufty' Stapleton
<nob...@no.bloody.where> writes

>Joyce Haslam <co...@argonet.co.uk> writes:
>
>> Hence (?) the belief in the south of England that the north begins at
>> Watford.
>
>Ever been to Watford? It's 'orrible. Quite enough to make you want
>to turn around and go back to London. Hence "It's grim oop north".
>
>Simon

I _have_ been to Watford. It _is_ 'orrible. It did make me turn round
and go back to Yorkshire. After all, Watford is considered a London
suburb these days, isn't it?
Andy
Andy Scarfe andy"bridgest.demon.co.uk

'Oh, don't try. Trying's the first step towards failure!"
Homer Simpson

Erik Max Francis

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Jan 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/29/99
to
David Given wrote:

> I always thought that the Earth's centripetal acceleration was
> trivial.
> There's only one thing for it --- do the maths (I'm allowed to, it's
> after
> midnight).

Yes, it's on the order of 10^-3 gee. The question is whether or not the
oblateness effect is more or less significant. Both effects are
"trivial" if you're only talking one or two significant figures in the
first place.

David Given

unread,
Jan 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/30/99
to
In article <36B2144D...@alcyone.com>,
Erik Max Francis <m...@alcyone.com> wrote:
[...]

>Well, there's two competing factors -- the equatorial bulge will contain
>more mass, so if you're closer to it (e.g., nearer the equator), then
>you'll feel more weight.
[...]

>I don't offhand know which effect is stronger, and don't have any
>figures in front of me. (Also the Earth's interior is _not_ at all
>uniform, so it really matters where you take your gravity measurements
>from.)

I always thought that the Earth's centripetal acceleration was trivial.


There's only one thing for it --- do the maths (I'm allowed to, it's after
midnight).

Centripetal acceleration = r[omega]^2
r = radius of Earth = erm. About 6e6 metres, I think.
omega = speed of rotation, in radians per second.

Right. The Earth rotates once every twenty-four hours, so that's
2*pi/86400 or 72.7e-6 radians/sec.

Therefore the centripetal acceleration is 6e6*72.7e-6*72.7e-6 = 0.032
ms^-2, and since 1g is 9.8ms^-2 that's 0.3% of a g. Not a lot.

Of course, I could be wrong (it is after midnight). Now all I need is the
polar radius of the Earth, and a slightly more accurate equatorial radius.

Is this on topic?

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Jan 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/30/99
to
David Given (dg@) wrote:

> I always thought that the Earth's centripetal acceleration was trivial.
> There's only one thing for it --- do the maths (I'm allowed to, it's after
> midnight).

> Centripetal acceleration = r[omega]^2
> r = radius of Earth = erm. About 6e6 metres, I think.
> omega = speed of rotation, in radians per second.

> Right. The Earth rotates once every twenty-four hours, so that's
> 2*pi/86400 or 72.7e-6 radians/sec.

> Therefore the centripetal acceleration is 6e6*72.7e-6*72.7e-6 = 0.032
> ms^-2, and since 1g is 9.8ms^-2 that's 0.3% of a g. Not a lot.

Half a pound, for me. You'd notice if it dropped into your hand.

> Of course, I could be wrong (it is after midnight). Now all I need is the
> polar radius of the Earth, and a slightly more accurate equatorial radius.

> Is this on topic?

"Small World".

Schep

unread,
Jan 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/30/99
to
David Given wrote:
>
> I always thought that the Earth's centripetal acceleration was trivial.
> There's only one thing for it --- do the maths (I'm allowed to, it's after
> midnight).
>
> Centripetal acceleration = r[omega]^2
> r = radius of Earth = erm. About 6e6 metres, I think.
> omega = speed of rotation, in radians per second.
>
> Right. The Earth rotates once every twenty-four hours, so that's
> 2*pi/86400 or 72.7e-6 radians/sec.

I'm sorry, pi is 3. Try again.

> Therefore the centripetal acceleration is 6e6*72.7e-6*72.7e-6 = 0.032
> ms^-2, and since 1g is 9.8ms^-2 that's 0.3% of a g. Not a lot.
>

> Of course, I could be wrong (it is after midnight). Now all I need is the
> polar radius of the Earth, and a slightly more accurate equatorial radius.
>
> Is this on topic?

What's a topic?

--
--Schep
Email address is scheplerAtpilotDotmsuDotedu.

Matthew T. Russotto

unread,
Jan 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/30/99
to
In article <36B28304...@alcyone.com>,

Erik Max Francis <m...@alcyone.com> wrote:
}David Given wrote:
}
}> I always thought that the Earth's centripetal acceleration was
}> trivial.
}> There's only one thing for it --- do the maths (I'm allowed to, it's
}> after
}> midnight).
}
}Yes, it's on the order of 10^-3 gee. The question is whether or not the
}oblateness effect is more or less significant. Both effects are
}"trivial" if you're only talking one or two significant figures in the
}first place.

I think you'll find earth's gravitational anomalies are greater than both.
--
Matthew T. Russotto russ...@pond.com
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue."

Erik Max Francis

unread,
Jan 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/30/99
to
"Matthew T. Russotto" wrote:

> I think you'll find earth's gravitational anomalies are greater than
> both.

Oh, I'm sure they are. I was considering averaged over the equator, and
averaged in a region around the poles (i.e., ignoring mass
concentrations).

After all, there _is_ a standard, constant acceleration due to gravity
which physicists use: 9.806 65 m/s^2. I can only assume that this is
arrived at by empirical means, since it has more accuracy than the
gravitational constant itself (which is [6.672 59 +- 0.000 85] x 10^-11
N m^2/kg^2). (Although I should point that the product of the
gravitational constant times the masses of bodies in the solar system is
known to much greater accuracy.)

--
Erik Max Francis / email m...@alcyone.com / whois mf303 / icq 16063900
Alcyone Systems / irc maxxon (efnet) / finger m...@finger.alcyone.com
San Jose, CA / languages En, Eo / web http://www.alcyone.com/max/
USA / icbm 37 20 07 N 121 53 38 W / &tSftDotIotE
\

/ Oh, what lies there are in kisses.
/ Heinrich Heine

Adam Cadre

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Jan 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/30/99
to
David Given wrote:
> I never thought civilisation got as far as Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Hey, I think I saw that on Cinemax.

-----
Adam Cadre, Anaheim, CA
http://adamcadre.ac

J. Holder

unread,
Jan 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/31/99
to
David Given (dg@) wrote:
> I have a theory that civilisation is proportional to latitude. For
> example, Scotland, Canada, Japan, Sweden, and New Zealand. Perhaps it's
> the lower gravity.

Has it occured to you that Japan streches through almost 30 degrees of
latitude? Tokyo is almost the same latitude as Los Angles, thereby blowing
your theory into little tiny bits. (I did not know this until I went
to Tokyo for most of last December...)

--
John Holder (jho...@frii.com) http://www.frii.com/~jholder/

Joyce Haslam

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Jan 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/31/99
to
In article <2aQs2.114$phj.17...@news.frii.net>,

J. Holder <jho...@io.frii.com> wrote:
> David Given (dg@) wrote:
> > I have a theory that civilisation is proportional to latitude.
> > For example, Scotland, Canada, Japan, Sweden, and New Zealand.
> > Perhaps it's the lower gravity.

> Has it occured to you that Japan streches through almost 30 degrees
> of latitude?

I wonder if the racial uniformity on the Japanese islands has
produced a social uniformity; or if they are as diverse as the
British islands.

What do a Cornishman and a Yorkshireman agree on? Their contempt for
London.

If Scotland achieves home rule, the Orkneys and Shetlands will refuse
to have any part of it.

> Tokyo is almost the same latitude as Los Angles, thereby blowing
> your theory into little tiny bits.

According to the great British press, LA is what Tokyo would be if
only it had lebensraum. If the papers are correct (and other such
miracles come to pass) the theory is buttressed not blown to bits.

> (I did not know this until I went to Tokyo for most of last
> December...)

What exactly did you learn in Tokyo? :-)
Is it not like LA?

Joyce.

--
Joyce Haslam Lancashire, England
This sig file does not conform to the DM

Neil K.

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Jan 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/31/99
to
Joyce Haslam <co...@argonet.co.uk> wrote:
> According to the great British press, LA is what Tokyo would be if
> only it had lebensraum. [...]

That wins the award for the most daft argument I've heard all day.
Admittedly, it's only lunchtime...

- Neil K.

--
t e l a computer consulting + design * Vancouver, BC, Canada
web: http://www.tela.bc.ca/tela/ * email: tela @ tela.bc.ca

Matthew T. Russotto

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Jan 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/31/99
to
In article <36B38874...@alcyone.com>,

Erik Max Francis <m...@alcyone.com> wrote:
}"Matthew T. Russotto" wrote:
}
}> I think you'll find earth's gravitational anomalies are greater than
}> both.
}
}Oh, I'm sure they are. I was considering averaged over the equator, and
}averaged in a region around the poles (i.e., ignoring mass
}concentrations).
}
}After all, there _is_ a standard, constant acceleration due to gravity
}which physicists use: 9.806 65 m/s^2.

Probably the acceleration due to gravity at mean sea level, which is
constant.

Erik Max Francis

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Jan 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/31/99
to
"Matthew T. Russotto" wrote:

> Probably the acceleration due to gravity at mean sea level, which is
> constant.

Given a radially symmetric Earth.

--
Erik Max Francis / email m...@alcyone.com / whois mf303 / icq 16063900
Alcyone Systems / irc maxxon (efnet) / finger m...@finger.alcyone.com
San Jose, CA / languages En, Eo / web http://www.alcyone.com/max/
USA / icbm 37 20 07 N 121 53 38 W / &tSftDotIotE
\

/ Whom God has put asunder, why should man put together?
/ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Matthew T. Russotto

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Jan 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/31/99
to
In article <36B4CA4D...@alcyone.com>,

Erik Max Francis <m...@alcyone.com> wrote:
}"Matthew T. Russotto" wrote:
}
}> Probably the acceleration due to gravity at mean sea level, which is
}> constant.
}
}Given a radially symmetric Earth.

Not even that is necessary. The mean sea level is a surface of constant
gravitational potential. And in fact, the earth's gravitational field isn't
radially symmetric.

TenthStone

unread,
Jan 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/31/99
to
Joyce Haslam thus inscribed this day of Sun, 31 Jan 1999 15:36:57 +0000
(GMT):

>In article <2aQs2.114$phj.17...@news.frii.net>,
> J. Holder <jho...@io.frii.com> wrote:
>> David Given (dg@) wrote:
>> > I have a theory that civilisation is proportional to latitude.
>> > For example, Scotland, Canada, Japan, Sweden, and New Zealand.

The Yugoslav republics, Siberia, and the United States (all included for
different reasons). Maybe what you really mean is historical freedom
from conquerors.

>> > Perhaps it's the lower gravity.

>> Has it occured to you that Japan streches through almost 30 degrees
>> of latitude?
>
>I wonder if the racial uniformity on the Japanese islands has
>produced a social uniformity; or if they are as diverse as the
>British islands.

Japan isn't exactly socially convergent, but except for the outer regions
(Hokkaido and Ryukyu (Okinawa)) it's probably more so than any comparable
space on Earth.

>If Scotland achieves home rule, the Orkneys and Shetlands will refuse
>to have any part of it.

Which is one reason why violent revolutions against foreign powers so
rarely succeed.

>> Tokyo is almost the same latitude as Los Angles [sic], thereby blowing

>> your theory into little tiny bits.

Of course, that latitude also runs near Gibraltar, is actually north of
Mount Everest, and also passes through Virginia Beach, Virginia (my
current location), thereby blowing into little tiny bits any theory that
latitude is any more than the most imprecise predictor of climate.

>According to the great British press, LA is what Tokyo would be if

>only it had lebensraum. If the papers are correct (and other such
>miracles come to pass) the theory is buttressed not blown to bits.

Tokyo is slowly conquering the entire central breadth of Honshu. I
don't know what exactly you mean that it has no lebensraum (space
for economic/residential expansion). Of course, nothing is quite like
Los Angeles.

-----------

The imperturbable TenthStone
tenth...@hotmail.com mcc...@erols.com mcc...@gsgis.k12.va.us

Erik Max Francis

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Jan 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/31/99
to
"Matthew T. Russotto" wrote:

> Not even that is necessary. The mean sea level is a surface of
> constant
> gravitational potential.

You sure about that?

> And in fact, the earth's gravitational field isn't
> radially symmetric.

Naturally. That was my point.

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Jan 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/31/99
to
Erik Max Francis (m...@alcyone.com) wrote:
> "Matthew T. Russotto" wrote:

> > Not even that is necessary. The mean sea level is a surface of
> > constant
> > gravitational potential.

> You sure about that?

He left out centrifugal effect, but is there anything else?

Ok, damping by friction and those damn continents sticking up in the way.

Erik Max Francis

unread,
Jan 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/31/99
to
Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> > > Not even that is necessary. The mean sea level is a surface of
> > > constant
> > > gravitational potential.
>
> > You sure about that?
>
> He left out centrifugal effect, but is there anything else?

He said that mean sea level is equipotential gravitational field
surfaces. I was questioning whether that is the case -- after all, mean
sea level could merely mean surfaces of constant radius.

> Ok, damping by friction and those damn continents sticking up in the
> way.

There's mass concentrations. Equipotential surfaces will not be
spheres, or even ellipsoids, though they'll be close.

Erik Max Francis

unread,
Jan 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/31/99
to
"Matthew T. Russotto" wrote:

> Depends on the context; there's more than one definition of it.
> Turns
> out the number for 'g' is exact, BTW -- it's just a standard, not a
> measured value at MSL or anywhere else.

Very true, I'm the one who quoted its value (and it didn't have an error
bar). But what I was saying was that the standard value is based on an
empirical result at least _somewhere_ along the line.

Joyce Haslam

unread,
Feb 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/1/99
to
In article <36b4db9...@news.erols.com>,

TenthStone <mcc...@erols.com> wrote:
> >According to the great British press, LA is what Tokyo would be if
> >only it had lebensraum. If the papers are correct (and other such
> >miracles come to pass) the theory is buttressed not blown to bits.

> Tokyo is slowly conquering the entire central breadth of Honshu. I
> don't know what exactly you mean that it has no lebensraum (space
> for economic/residential expansion).

I understand that Tokyo has far fewer golf clubs, back-yard swimming
pools, front-yard wide open spaces, four-bed four-bath ranch-style
bungalows than LA. Maybe I should just say it has a higher population
density. Hey I'm only chasing a demographic theory, not doing higher
algebra :-)

> Of course, nothing is quite like Los Angeles.

Amen.

Matthew T. Russotto

unread,
Feb 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/1/99
to
In article <36B4DEFD...@alcyone.com>,

Erik Max Francis <m...@alcyone.com> wrote:
}"Matthew T. Russotto" wrote:
}
}> Not even that is necessary. The mean sea level is a surface of
}> constant gravitational potential.
}
}You sure about that?

Depends on the context; there's more than one definition of it. Turns


out the number for 'g' is exact, BTW -- it's just a standard, not a
measured value at MSL or anywhere else.

J. Holder

unread,
Feb 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/1/99
to
Joyce Haslam (co...@argonet.co.uk) wrote:
> In article <2aQs2.114$phj.17...@news.frii.net>,

> > Has it occured to you that Japan streches through almost 30 degrees
> > of latitude?

> I wonder if the racial uniformity on the Japanese islands has
> produced a social uniformity; or if they are as diverse as the
> British islands.

Pretty uniform - despite being spread out across such a distance, the
entire country has a land area about the size of the U.S. state of
Montana. And 4/5ths of Japan is too mountainous to be habitable, so
the majority of the ~150 million people in Japan live in an area 1/5 of
the size of Montana. 37 million of them live in the greater Tokyo area.
Yes, there is a high population density there - the guide book I read
said the habitable parts of Japan average ~6000 people per square
kilometer. (Higher in Tokyo...)

> > (I did not know this until I went to Tokyo for most of last
> > December...)

> What exactly did you learn in Tokyo? :-)
> Is it not like LA?

Well the 37 subways lines make it very unlike L.A. - you can get anywhere
you want to go without a car. And the people are nicer, more polite, and
better dressed. In my suit, I felt like a slob. They really dress sharply,
even just to go to the store. And the food is incredible. (Provided you
like seafood. I love sushi, and went out to the conveyer-belt sushi
places repeatedly...cheap and plentiful!) It is an incredibly safe city,
as well, providing a very un-LA feeling. As a foriegner, I felt completely
safe wandering around the back alleys of Tokyo in the middle of downtown
in the middle of the night, carrying wads of of yen. Very cash-based.
Anyway, I could go on in great detail, and ramble away...

I also learn a few important phrases...

"Ohayo gozaimasu. Ogenki desu ka?" (Hi, how are you?)
"Watakshi wa John desu." (I am John.)
"Namae biru, kudasai!" (I'd like a draft beer please!)

What more could anyone need to say? Oh, except perhaps:

"Hoto-dogu ju-ko, onegashi masu!" (I'd like 10 hot dogs, please!)
(One of my friends I travelled with insiisted on learning this phrase,
so when his father asked him if he learned any Japanese, he could whip
out this one...)

Magnus Olsson

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Feb 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/1/99
to
In article <36B4DEFD...@alcyone.com>,
Erik Max Francis <m...@alcyone.com> wrote:
>"Matthew T. Russotto" wrote:
>
>> Not even that is necessary. The mean sea level is a surface of
>> constant
>> gravitational potential.
>
>You sure about that?

Depends on what you mean with "mean sea level", of course, but the usual
definition of "mean sea level" is what is more precisely known as the
geoid: a potential surface of the gravitational field.
--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, zeb...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~zebulon ------

Joyce Haslam

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Feb 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/1/99
to
In article <gJ9t2.133$phj.17...@news.frii.net>,

J. Holder <jho...@io.frii.com> wrote:
> > What exactly did you learn in Tokyo? :-)
> > Is it not like LA?

> Well the 37 subways lines make it very unlike L.A. - you can get
> anywhere you want to go without a car. And the people are nicer,
> more polite, and better dressed. In my suit, I felt like a slob.
> They really dress sharply, even just to go to the store. And the
> food is incredible. (Provided you like seafood. I love sushi, and
> went out to the conveyer-belt sushi places repeatedly...cheap and
> plentiful!) It is an incredibly safe city, as well, providing a
> very un-LA feeling. As a foriegner, I felt completely safe
> wandering around the back alleys of Tokyo in the middle of downtown
> in the middle of the night, carrying wads of of yen. Very
> cash-based. Anyway, I could go on in great detail, and ramble
> away...

That's very interesting; I wish you would go on.

I withdraw my remarks about Tokyo; it obviously is not like LA. In
fact, I've never before heard of a city where a foreigner could walk
about the city centre with wads of money at night in safety.

Neil K.

unread,
Feb 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/2/99
to
Joyce Haslam <co...@argonet.co.uk> wrote:

> I withdraw my remarks about Tokyo; it obviously is not like LA. In
> fact, I've never before heard of a city where a foreigner could walk
> about the city centre with wads of money at night in safety.

When I was there I remember seeing some people had small tanks containing
incredibly valuable prize-winning koi (carp) on their front doorsteps,
presumably for lack of room elsewhere in the house.

J. Holder

unread,
Feb 3, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/3/99
to
Joyce Haslam (co...@argonet.co.uk) wrote:
> That's very interesting; I wish you would go on.
[about Tokyo]

These stories reveal the most about how different it is to me:

My friends and I went out to a traditional Japanese restaurant - one
where you take off your shoes and sit cross-legged on tatami mats - for
a bento lunch. (Bento means lunchbox, although they are usually pretty
laquered boxes with compartments in which are rice, assorted smoked and
raw fish, types of seaweed and other things that I ate but have no clue
what they were.) It was a rainy day, so we had all brought our umbrellas,
just in case it should start raining again. After lunch, we got up and left.
About 2 blocks down the street, my friend realized he had left his umbrella
in the shop. He turns around to go get it, and almost runs into a lady
from the restaurant, who has run down the street to give him his umbrella.
Handing him the umbrella, she apologizes to us and says thank you repeatedly.
(I only know this because my friend is fluent in Japanese).

Later in the trip, we went to Akihabara, the electronics district. My
friend needed to buy a new hard disk. We picked up a 2 gig external SCSI
drive, and got distracted playing some games in the store. An hour and many
stores later, we realized that we had left his hard drive in LLaox (the store)
while playing the games, just sitting on the floor. Llaox is a very busy
place - eight stories jam-packed with people browsing the computer wares.
(There are four other Llaox stores in the area, one devoted to appliances,
one to stereos, one to musical instuments, etc.) We went back and the disk was
gone. So we go to the lost and found. Sure enough, someone has turned it
in, and we still have a hard disk.

Call me cynical, but in the U.S., there ain't no way either of those
events would have happened. I have a very favourable impression of Tokyo
from the three weeks I was there.

John

Irene Callaci

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Feb 3, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/3/99
to
On Wed, 03 Feb 1999 15:36:30 GMT, jho...@io.frii.com (J. Holder)
wrote:

Well, ok, I have to tell my story because, even now, I can't
believe this happened:

I live near Los Angeles. One morning on the way to work, I
stopped at a donut shop for coffee and a donut. I grabbed a
couple of dollars out of my purse but left my purse in my car
and left my car unlocked. I didn't notice that my purse was
missing until I got to work.

Upset at myself, and thinking that maybe the thief had simply
taken the money and thrown the purse in the trash, I went back
to the scene of the crime. Bad mistake. I was looking in some
trashcans in the alley behind the donut shop when three rough-
looking (to say the least) men wanted to know what I was doing
there. My heart started to pound and I thought to myself that
this was the stupidest idea I had ever had.

I explained that someone had stolen my purse but that I didn't
care about the money as much as I did about my daughter's
pictures or the hassle of replacing my driver's license and
credit cards. I told the men that I thought the thief might
have thrown the purse away after removing the money from it.
One of the men went away and came back with my purse, which
of course was empty. I thanked him and left, feeling myself
lucky to escape.

That night, I received a telephone call, saying that if I wanted
the contents of my purse back, I would need to pay some money.
"Oh, great," I thought. "These guys know where I live!" My heart
was pounding as I told the caller that I had already cancelled my
credit cards and replaced my driver's license. I said the only
thing I really wanted back were my daughter's pictures, but I
couldn't possibly pay money for them, since they weren't worth
anything to anyone except me.

Three days later, believe it or not, I received a package in
the mail. Inside were the contents of my purse (minus the money,
which was only about $3). My credit cards, my driver's license,
my daughter's pictures...everything was there. The thief (or
thieves) had even paid the postage!

Amazing. I still smile when I think about it.

irene

Andrew Plotkin

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Feb 3, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/3/99
to
Irene Callaci (ical...@csupomona.edu) wrote:

> Three days later, believe it or not, I received a package in
> the mail. Inside were the contents of my purse (minus the money,
> which was only about $3). My credit cards, my driver's license,
> my daughter's pictures...everything was there. The thief (or
> thieves) had even paid the postage!

ObSF: In Larry Niven's future history, people in Los Angeles carry wallets
with their address and a stamp on it. That way, a pickpocket just has to
drop it in the mailbox after he extracts all the money.

LucFrench

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Feb 3, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/3/99
to
>Irene Callaci (ical...@csupomona.edu) wrote:
>
>> Three days later, believe it or not, I received a package in
>> the mail. Inside were the contents of my purse (minus the money,
>> which was only about $3). My credit cards, my driver's license,
>> my daughter's pictures...everything was there. The thief (or
>> thieves) had even paid the postage!
>
>ObSF: In Larry Niven's future history, people in Los Angeles carry wallets
>with their address and a stamp on it. That way, a pickpocket just has to
>drop it in the mailbox after he extracts all the money.
>
>--Z


Pedantic Note: I believe the implication that this was standard throughout all
of Earth.

(Although not the Asteriod Belt.)

Thanks
Luc "Uranium and Vitamin Pills make a potent mix." French

Erik Max Francis

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Feb 3, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/3/99
to
Irene Callaci wrote:

> Three days later, believe it or not, I received a package in
> the mail. Inside were the contents of my purse (minus the money,
> which was only about $3). My credit cards, my driver's license,
> my daughter's pictures...everything was there. The thief (or
> thieves) had even paid the postage!
>

> Amazing. I still smile when I think about it.

Wow. Sounds like you encountered the biggest, bumbling, idiot thieves
in the United States.

--
Erik Max Francis / email m...@alcyone.com / whois mf303 / icq 16063900
Alcyone Systems / irc maxxon (efnet) / finger m...@finger.alcyone.com
San Jose, CA / languages En, Eo / web http://www.alcyone.com/max/
USA / icbm 37 20 07 N 121 53 38 W / &tSftDotIotE
\

/ Nationalism is an infantile sickness.
/ Albert Einstein

Mary K. Kuhner

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Feb 3, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/3/99