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submitted by AriannaColleen93 to VerifiedTrader [link] [comments]

/r/reddevils 2020 Census Results

Thank you for taking part of the 2020 edition of /reddevils' census! We had 3,459 responses over the course of several days, and increase of .
Here are the results!
With a year passing, it's understandable that our user base has also aged. What is interesting is that while last year 59.5% of the userbase indicated that they were 25 and younger, only 46.1% did so this year. Given that there was also a large increase in respondents for the "26-30" age group, it seems that we had a lot of 25 year old folks responding last year. Here is a chart showing the break out by age group and also an age distribution graph. I've included also a year-over-year comparison this year. These do not represent percent change but rather simple subtraction. For example, the 4.1% increase seen in the "26-30" age group comes from this year's "26-30" being 29.17% of this years census responses vs. only being 25.07% last year.
Conclusion? We're getting old folks.
As with every census we've run, /reddevils is overwhelmingly male. 96.2% of respondents indicated that they were male which translates to 3,328 out of the 3,459 responses. The number of ladies here increased greatly compared to last year with 72, up from 28 in 2019. 18 respondents declined to specify their gender while 41 responded with another gender.
Our resident Wookiees have increased in number to 3, up from 1 last year and in the 2012 census. 2 respondents responded as being Non-binary as well as 2 indicated that they were Olesexual. Each of the following received one response apiece: Coca Cola Can, Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, Cube, Moderator, Divine Enlightened Energy Being, Two-Horned Rainbow Unicorn, Earthworm, Bisexual Leprechaun (who, surprisingly was not from Ireland but rather the Land Down Under), Absolute Chad, Anti-Virus, Attack Titan, Neymar, Ole-Wan Keaneobi, Parrot Lord, Frank Lampard, Optimus Prime, Potato, Slightly Under Ripe Kumquat, Gek (Geek?), Twin Engine Rafale Fighter Jet, Gender Is A Construct, Vulcan, Washing Machine, Wolfbrother, Juggernaut, Woolly Mammoth, Luke Shaw's Masculine Bottom, and Mail. There was also one respondent who deigned to use the "Other" option here to leave me a very rude message. Guess you can't please everyone.
Most of the reds are employed (75.3% across the Employed, Student Employed, and Self Employed categories), up from last years' 71.5%. Given the current state of the world, it is nice to see that most are still employed. Our student population has gone down, understadably, from 37.4% across the two student categories to 30.0%. A full breakdown of the year-over-year changes can be seen here. Our retirees increased in number from 1 last year to 11 this. Enjoy retirement sirs/madams.
As expected, the majority of /reddevils is UK or US based (25.85% and 25.93%, respectively). We have seen major changes this year, particularly in relation to Scandinavia, which saw the largest increase in percentage points year-over-year. I wonder what happened there.
If we're breaking it down by the regions I arbitrarily put into the census form, UK (England) is the clear winner for a second year running with 569 members reporting living in England and another 184 specifically saying they are in Manchester.
I received some feedback about covering large areas with a single region. This was largely driven by how few responses had come from these these regions historically. I'll include a few more next year but please do not expect me to list every one of the the 195 countries in the world. I've also received some feedback about not allowing any options for folks with family ties or had grown up in England/Manchester and had moved away. This will also be included in next years census.
Season TicketholdeMatches Attended
Overwhelmingly, most of us here are not season ticketholders (97.95%). We did see an increase in those who are, though it is fairly minor.
Most folks are unable to attend games as well. The number of fans who do go to many games (16+ per season) more than tripled from last year. You all are the real MVPs.
How long have you been following football/Manchester United?
Understandably, we don't have a whole lot of new fans. Interestingly enough though, we've had a large increase in folks who have started following football regularly in the last 1-3 years despite having followed United for longer than that. Putting on my tin foil hat, that at least makes me think we're more fun to watch these days.
How long have you been a subscriber to /reddevils and how do you usually access Reddit?
There are a lot of new-ish users with 63.6% reporting they have subscribed here for less than 3 years. We have a decent number of /reddevils veterans however, 154 users indicated that they had been subscribed for more than 8 years. It's good to see the old guard still around.
Unsurprisingly, Reddit apps are the most popular method to access Reddit by far. This is followed by Old Reddit users on Desktop, users of the Mobile Reddit website, and then New Reddit users coming in dead last. Long live old Reddit.
Favorite Current Player
The mood around this question was incredibly different than last year. Last year, many were vocal indicating that they had a hard time choosing due to our squad being shit. Victor Lindelof ended up being the by and large favorite with around a quarter of the votes, followed by Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford.
This year, it appeared that there were no such issues. Only 1 response in the survey indicated that they couldn't choose because our squad was shit while the vast majority either selected a player or indicated that they loved them all. Prime Minister Doctor Sir Marcus Rashford overwhelmingly came in first place with an almost 300 vote lead over second placed Anthony Martial. Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood were neck and neck for a while, eventually settling into third and fourth respectively.
Former crowd favorites Victor Lindelof and Paul Pogba fell down the rankings with Lindelof ending in 8th place and Pogba in 5th.
Favorite All Time Player
Wayne Rooney continued to the be the king of /reddevils amassing nearly double the votes of second placed Paul Scholes. Cristiano Ronaldo came in third after a very tight race with Scholes. Beckham came in fourth followed by fifth placed Cantona and sixth placed Giggsy.
Here is a year-over-year comparison purely on recorded responses. Most players received just about the same share of the votes as they did last year. The biggest changes came from Wayne Rooney (up) and David Beckham (down). The way the numbers land, it almost looks like Wazza was stealing votes from Becks! Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had more of the proverbial pie, again I wonder whats happened there.
My man Park Ji Sung came in 11th place, good to see that there are at least 58 Park lovers out there!
Now for a bit of fun. Someone asked in the Census thread how many of George Best's votes came from Northern Ireland. One user suggested it was all of them, the data on the other hand says otherwise. Only 10 of Best's 29 votes came from Northern Ireland. George Best tied for favorite player there with Wayne Rooney with Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo tying for 3rd place with 8 votes apiece.
I did this same exercise with a few other players. Here are the results:
  • While Scandinavians votes were joint-most for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (tied with the UK), he was not the most popular player among respondents living in Scandinavia. He came in second behind Wayne Rooney.
  • Roy Keane both received the most votes from the Republic of Ireland and was also the most popular player among Irish respondents.
  • Eric Cantona was not voted heavily by the French. The British, on the other hand, love him with 82 of his 218 votes coming from the United Kingdom. The majority of Cantona voters are older, with 134/218 being over 30 years of age.
  • Park Ji Sung received the most votes from the US (21) followed by the UK (19) and Southeast Asia (4).
  • Among respondents from the United Kingdom, Wayne Rooney was the most popular followed by Scholes, Ronaldo, and Cantona.
  • Among respondents from the United States, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, Wayne Rooney was the most popular. Scholes and Ronaldo alternated in popularity in second and third place. Beckham placed fourth in all three regions.
Thank you all again for your participation. We'll run one next year and see how things have changed!
submitted by zSolaris to reddevils [link] [comments]

2.9.3 Stable update!

2.9.3 Stable update!
What is up Depthians!
We are back with another monstrous update as this one incorporates five beta test builds, so we have a lot to cover.
If you want to dive straight into the massive changelog/dissertation Click
We should probably start with the biggest change to From The Depths in this update and that is the change of fuel and ammo storage.
Quoting Nick, our lead developer
The change is quite simple: "remove ammo and fuel as separate resources. Weapons will consume materials directly, fuel engines and CJEs will burn materials directly".
Before I dig into why I think this is the right thing for FtD, I'd like to explain a few details.
Energy, fuel and ammo are still needed for your constructs.
We have changed the "ammo barrels (etc)" and "fuel tanks" so they are just alternative material storage containers, but with the following properties:
--"ammo barrels" now increase the maximum possible rate of usage of materials as "ammo" for reloading guns. They still explode.
--"fuel tanks" increase the maximum possible rate of use of materials as "fuel" for fuel engines and CJEs, with the future stretch goal of fuel tanks being flammable.
--So ammo racking is going to remain a feature of the game- vehicles that need to reload a large amount of materials may need additional ammo barrels
Ammo and oil processors are replaced ship-wide with existing material storage containers of the same size. They'll be made decorative blocks so you can still use them decoratively in future if you want to.
The oil refinery will be repurposed (described later in the patch notes)
There are two main reasons why I think this is the right move. Why it's right for the business and why it's right for the player.
Let's start with why I think it's right for the player:
Ammo and fuel containers are currently purchasable as either "empty or full". This is confusing when considered in the context of the campaign, story missions, custom battles, multiplayer do empty and full tanks behave in these modes? I'd need an hour to study the code and a small essay to explain it. That's not good game design.
Localised resources, when considering just the moving of material (and energy, if you want), becomes infinitely more manageable. The supply group system and the transit fleet system are not intuitive and for a lot of situations, their usage becomes fiddly and too complicated. We've replaced these systems with a new supply system that is much more intuitive for moving materials and energy around.
The UI is less cluttered now that ammo and fuel bars are not shown. This is not a minor'll reduce the amount of data on screen by about 40% in a lot of the different views. It'll be so much easier to know at a glance if a particular fleet is running low on "materials" or doing fine. Is a transport ready to leave, or does it need to pick up more materials? Will a set of vehicles have enough materials for the next fight...this is so much easier with just one main resource type per vehicle.
When you or an enemy run out of ammo or fuel in a battle it's just frustrating. By combining fuel, ammo and materials for repairing you can guarantee that if someone runs out, the fight is going to be over quickly.
I imagine that deep down the majority of players would rather not have to create, stock and resupply fuel and ammo. I know that personally, the requirement to do this puts me off playing the campaign. By using a single material it still focuses the game on making efficient war machines, maintaining supply lines and growing your economy, but without the extra confusion of mat->ammo and mat-> fuel conversion.
Being able to assess weapons, engines and vehicles in terms of material cost and running cost is elegant.
Most grand strategy games and RTS games don't have localised resources, and many don't have more than 2 resource types to handle. Very few combine localised materials with multiple types.
Why it's right for the business:
The ammo and oil processors were created about 8 years ago. Boring single blocks that don't add much to the game. It's been our intention to add something similar to the oil refinery but for ammo creation. That's a lot of work and adds to the complexity of the logistical part of the game, which we feel is already a burden.
Making the localised resource supply system more user friendly to make it easy/natural/pleasant to move ammo, fuel and material around the map would require a lot of effort and, quite frankly, I'm not sure we'd ever manage it.
The complexity of the UI scares off a lot of our customers. The barriers to getting a gun firing or a boat moving will be lowered if a single material container can theoretically get everything working.
Running out of ammo/fuel in combat is a problem for our players. We want to find a solution to that, but it would take a lot of effort to do so. We also want the strategic AI to always enter a battle with enough ammo and fuel for the fight- that's another massive bunch of work.
The campaign's strategic AI has to work hard to get materials where it wants them. It's a bundle of work and added complexity to get NPC fleets to restock ammo and fuel as well.
We had proposed work to make resource dumps (from dead ships) contain ammo and fuel...again, that's more work, more bugs, more testing.
Certain game modes such as story missions, tournament mode, and multiplayer maps should theoretically allow the player to choose the amount of ammo or fuel stocked into their vehicles before the match begins. That's another bundle of work and added complexity we'd like to avoid.
Currently out of play units on the map can run out of fuel and will still continue to move "for free". It's exploitable and we don't have a solution to that...but if all the different out of play movement calculations are burning material, there will be no avoiding the cost.
The development effort can be much better spent polishing up other features that I actually believe in, rather than flogging the dead horse of logistical complexity in an attempt to make it interesting, approachable and fun for everyone (which I fundamentally don't think it would ever be).
Fundamentally I think that by winding back this feature we tie up a large number of loose ends and it results in a far more finished and enjoyable product.
And what's-more everyone on the development team agrees that we enjoy the game for fighting, looting and creating...not staring blankly at dozens of resource bars trying to figure out who needs to head back for more fuel and how long we need to wait for ammunition to process.
We've also simplified the resource transfer system. "Supply groups" and "Transit Fleets" have been replaced with a simple but comprehensive three-tier system. You can mark a vehicle as a "Creator", a "Cargo" or a "User". Creators fill up Cargos (and Users), Cargos give to Users (up to procurement levels). Users equalise their material with their neighbours, so do Creators, and there are a few handy transfers from Users back to Cargo and Creator to make sure they maintain their procurement levels as well. This system covers 95% of the way people were using the resource system and does it all semi-automatically. This simplification is much more possible now that materials are the only resource, as they invariably just need to flow from the resource zones to the front line, with everyone (Creators and Cargo) keeping what they need and passing the rest on. This new resource system also facilitates the long-range transport of materials from refinery to refinery, which is neat. The system also has an option, for Creator and Cargo types, to set their "supply chain index", so if you want to relay materials from output to output in order to accumulate them at a central location you can set the supply chain index to determine which way along the chain the materials will flow. It's all explained in the game.
After spending a lot of time with this new system from adventure to campaign and designer mode, the gameplay feels a little faster to get going and a little simpler for fleet management. As if you didn’t already know, you can shift+right click (with your supply construct selected) on the target construct / flagship of a fleet to keep supplied, keep holding down shift and right-click where you want to pick the resources up from and once again while not letting go of shift, shift+right click on the target construct/flag ship to finish the loop.
This would be done of course after setting up the settings Creator, Cargo and User.
Creator as an example is the harvesting construct, Cargo which would be the supply ship, User which would be a single target construct that uses the mats.
This will keep the supply ship target waypoint updated and therefore your supply ship will always head to the target construct no matter where it has moved to after setting up the loop.
You still need ammo and fuel boxes on your constructs, as these are governing the transfer rate / the speed that stock your turrets and fuel engine with the materials needed for them to run. You can run a construct without fuel or ammo boxes, however, once your APS clips are empty you will see a drop in your rate of fire as the material is not being transferred fast enough, this is the same for fuel engines and CJE.
Another change that goes hand in hand with resource management is the changes to fuel refineries.
In short:
Refineries on a force with greater than 1 million materials on it will begin refining the material into 'commodities' that are stored centrally. Commodities (AKA centralised materials) can be added by the player to any vehicle in allied territory, at any time.
Resource zones have a new feature too, and that is the ability to deactivate a resource zone on your owned tiles and if you own enough territory as you can see from the UI when double-clicking on the resource zone “Zone Deactivation”.
Custom Jet Engines, have had some additional parts and new features.
We have the new ducted air intakes which as you can see have different attachment points
These ducted intakes allow you to have your CJE enclosed inside your construct enabling you to pass ducting through to access airflow outside.
And as you can see in the pic below they are enclosed and making use of the air duct intakes.
You can also funnel the exhaust of your CJE's that would be under the waterline by using the two new connector blocks, a 90-degree corner and an extension piece which allows them to work as long as you funnel the exhaust out above the waterline.
PACs have also had a rework and new additions.
We now have the long-range lens which has a circular 10° field of fire, the close-range lens which has a circular 35° field of fire, the scatter lens which has a circular 30° field of fire, and the vertical lens which has a 10° horizontal / 60° vertical field of fire (good for AA). The other differences between them is the percentage of damage drop off at certain ranges, which is marked in their UI.
One other awesome change to the PAC system is that melee lenses do not need to be hooked up to the now called long-range lens. Simply setup your melee head and snakey noodle PAC tubes with a terminator on the end, then link up to your other melee lens via Q in the drop-down menu. The scatter lens also deserves some attention here, as it can double up the number of beams if we increase the charge time max x4 at 30 seconds. The PAC system has had many tweaks which you should check up on in the changelogs.
Shields have also had some love. Projector shields reflect and laser scatter modes are now merged and have also had a slight buff to ricochet chance. Ring shields armour bonus has also increased by 50%.
We also have some new additions to APS in terms of coolers.
From left to right we now have an L shape, 4 way and a 5 way cooler.
We now have some new wide wheel additions too for all you land vehicle lovers.
The next biggest change would be steam engines even though other changes will be implemented in this update. We are once again rehashing the whole system, which will be released in the following updates.
I had asked Weng a number of questions as to why the change was needed, why are the parts expensive, when and why would you use steam over fuel, and this is what he had to say:
Reason why steam changes are needed:
  • Steam was previously totally unbalanced and arbitrary. For example, 9 small boilers with 1 small piston was the optimal steam setup, which was more efficient and denser than almost all other engines; and turbine power generation only depended on its pressure, so compact turbines were always optimal.
  • It lacked many critical info in its UI.
  • It was hard to control the usage of steam

What's good with new steam:
  • A bit more of realism and complexity
  • Larger steam now generally have better efficiency and density than equivalent smaller steam
  • More useful info such as total power production, performance over time
  • Possibility to regulate steam usage with valves

Pros of steam compared to injector fuel:
  • Denser and more efficient
  • Even denser with turbines
  • Easier to fit into irregular space
  • Provides a buffer with flywheels or steam tanks
  • More efficient when used for propellers
  • Doesn't require fuel containers, uses material directly from any type of storage
  • Computationally less intensive
Cons of steam compared to fuel:

  • Still hard to regulate, so it's only useful when the power usage is constant or there's a buffer energy storage
  • Turbines waste energy when batteries are full
  • Crankshafts waste energy when reaching speed limit
  • More susceptible to damage (injector engines can often still run fine even when half of it is gone, steam can stop working when a single pipe is destroyed)
Why cost of parts is hilariously high: Steam engines have better efficiency and density (many players seem to forget that one) than injector engines. So a higher initial costs makes it less overpowered.
(In my opinion, the potential waste of energy is a major drawback of steam and justifies for its high potential power. But iirc Draba said that injector engines would be useless on designs that require a lot of power if steam doesn't have higher initial cost, which also makes sense.)
Problem with new steam that can't be fixed:
  • Many old designs are broken due to low power output
  • More complexity
Problems that can probably be fixed but I don't have a solution:
  • Inefficient steam engines are ridiculously bad (a bad steam engine is like 30 PPM and 50 PPV, while a good one is around 600 PPM and 110 PPV) (I tried to fix this and spent like 40 hours on that, but I only managed to make it easier to build a mediocre engine)
  • Cannot be simulated to calculate a stable power output, like fuel engines do (actually it's easy but would take a lot of time to do and I don't think it's necessary)

Another massive change is the detection rework which I also left a few questions for Ian AKA Blothorn to explain the system and how it works.
Why a change was warranted:
  • Different types of detection weren't well balanced--for instance, visual components had better accuracy than IR and vastly better range.
  • Detection autoadjust used an incorrect formula, so optimizing adjustment was both mechanical and tedious.
  • Trackers having much better detection ranges than search sensors meant that detection was very binary--if you could see something at all you could usually get a precise lock (barring ECM, which was only counterable by large numbers of components).
  • Needing both sensors and munitions warners made reactive missile defence difficult on small vehicles.
  • There were a number of other inconsistencies/imbalances, e.g. some visual/IR sensors working through water, steam engines producing no heat, etc.
Overview of the new system:
On the offensive side, each sensor type now has a role in which it is optimal, and large vehicles are best using a variety to cover their weaknesses. Visual probably remains the default for above-water detection--it remains impossible to reduce visual signature other than reducing size. IR is better against fast vehicles, as they have trouble avoiding high IR signatures from thrust and drag. Both visual and IR are weak in rangefinding (although coincidence rangefinders are adequate for most purposes); radar is correspondingly strong in range and weak in bearing, although it often offers better detection chances against vehicles that don't pay attention to radar stealth.
On the defensive side, there are two approaches. Most obvious is signature reduction--while it is deliberately difficult to avoid detection entirely, reducing signature reduces detection chances and thus degrades opposing accuracy. At short ranges, however, this doesn't work well--detection chances are likely high regardless, and low errors at short range mean even sparse detections can give a good fix. Smoke and chaff can be useful here: they increase detection chance while adding a distance-independent error to opponent's visual and radar sensors, respectively.
ECM, buoys, and radar guidance have also been reworked. Buoys are more powerful, becoming more accurate as they get closer to the target. While their base error is high, at long ranges a buoy at close range can beat the accuracy of any onboard sensor. If you worry about opponents’ buoys, ECM can now intermittently jam them--except if they are connected to their parent vehicle by a harpoon cable, in which case they don't need the vulnerable wireless connection.
Most blueprints should need no modifications under the new system, although a few may want a few more or less GPP cards. The one exception is water interactions--IR cameras, laser rangefinders, and retroreflection sensors can no longer work through water, so submarines that used them underwater or vehicles that used them to detect submarines will need to replace them (likely with buoys). Vehicles that predominantly used visual detection should also consider adding a greater variety of sensors--in particular, visual camera trackers tied to AA mainframes should likely be replaced with IR cameras. Also, radars and cameras can take over missile and projectile detection (radar is required for projectile detection), so munitions warners can be removed/replaced with additional sensors.
Last but not least a sweet little addition to our build menu prefabs.
Please do make sure you go through the changelog as a hell of a lot has changed!
submitted by BaconsTV to FromTheDepths [link] [comments]

Jeph's attempts to represent every major marginalized group in the United States have absolutely wrecked this comic, and ended up accurately representing nobody. not a great writer. I know we all have fond memories of QC in its "glory days," but participating in the reread I've started to realize something. Jeph's ability to write a good story is limited to what he himself experienced in his formative days and while he was writing the early strips: life as a mid-twenties-something guy, pining after attractive girls that came and went from his little indie music scene.And he does it well, because he's drawing on what he knows. The dialogue is realistic! Comics don't all end with a shitty-punch-line delivered by a sp0rk-holding-rando...because Jeph probably didn't interact with people like that. The main characters come off as real people because most of them are probably based, consciously or not, off of people Jeph really knew and interacted with.
It's also real. There's plenty of dialogue that reads as entitled, or would now be considered entirely unacceptable in Jeph's writing. See Sarah's "rape/hump" dialogue. This is how Jeph and his friends *probably* spoke. I know that I threw around the word 'rape' much more casually when I was young and immature than I do now. (It also bothers me that Jeph tries to hide the fact that he's grown out of this mindset, but that's a different post altogether.)
Or look at Faye's alcoholism storyline - probably the best writing the comic has seen. It's compelling and readable because it's something Jeph himself has dealt with - he knows those feelings of helplessness and addiction. It's true to life, and as a consequence the writing is almost naturally well done.
And it makes sense! Because things proceed like a person's life often does, for Marten. People come, people leave. You fall in love with one girl, she leaves and you meet another. It's realistic because it's based in reality. It's fun because it has goofy situations, interesting characters, and a "very-pretty-if-you-don't-look-too-hard-at-it" sci-fi angle.
Then we come to today.
Look at how the cast has changed. Aside from having no protagonist, there is not a single main character that Jeph can really relate to on any real-world-experience level. As far as I know, he does not identify as a woman, as a person of color, as someone who is queer, or as someone who is transgendered. There's nothing wrong with that or writing about it, but it's definitely going to make writing characters who *are* living those lives a little harder to write. You don't have the dialogue to draw on. You don't have those interactions with other characters as lived-experiences to draw on.
So you've got two choices. You either write what you *imagine* them to be and sound like, or you do your research. Let's talk about the first, and more problematic of the two options, first. I would encourage everyone to go check out /menwritingwomen for some good examples of why it can be this way. Even if you're doing your best to write it realistically, it's probably going to come off as often-times awkward sounding dialogue. Effectively every female character in the comic has been reduced to this. When they're not serving Jeph's purpose to represent their marginality (May opining the life of a convict, Roko having a dissociative episode, Brun acting emotionlessly and/or discussing clocks, the list goes on) they're acting like Jeph probably *imagines* women act around other women. Because Jeph has never *been* a woman alone with another woman, and he doesn't know the intricacies of homogenous gender conversations of the opposite sex more than a cis-gendered woman could explain had by men alone. It invariably turns to stereotypes - boobs, appearances, relationships.
It also gives you characters, even if you represent them well, who are defined by the one characteristic you created them for. Brun is my favorite example for this. Do we know *anything* about this girl? We know she's an out-of-work bartender, enjoys clocks , and has autism. We know *so* much about her autism and almost nothing else about her because that's probably what Jeph has to draw on. I don't know that he's ever met someone with autism, let alone spoken with them about their life and experiences. We also know that everyone wants to fuck her, but that's its own weird can of worms that I don't really want to address right now.
So what's the alternative, if you want to write about a person who is different from you? I don't think that artists should be constrained and I also think representation is really important. I think that Jeph's *intentions,* to write a comic that accurately represents the lives of members of marginalized groups, *especially* considering everything that's been going on in the United States is an admirable thing. And he actually does hit some elements quite well, actually. I know this sub likes to bash on the realism of Clinton's perceived sexual revelations, but queerness doesn't require foreshadowing to appear in someone's life and Jeph understands this.
But, if you're going to do it, do your research. Be forewarned that from this point onwards, I'm speaking *solely* on theory. I don't get the sense that Jeph has ever researched the communities and issues he's trying to write about, save for the woketwitter threads he reads. Everything he writes now reads like it came out of a 15-post-long twitter thread explaining the virtues or disvirtues of this and/or that. I do not get the sense that he's ever strived to understand anything more than the broad-strokes of an issue, know the key-phrases and topic catchphrases, and sets off to write about it. For starters, *talk* to these communities. Reach out, past Twitter and Deviantart, and get a real understanding of what you're writing about. Meet transgendered people. Work with children with autism. Work with convicted felons. That's what good writers *do* when they want to understand the subjects they're writing about. Yes, that's hard when you're trying to represent *everyone,* so maybe it's time to scale back and focus in a little harder on one issue that's important to you, Jeph.
Here's how I want to conclude this: Jeph wants to represent the marginalized in his comic, and he wants to offer sincere political commentary. I do not believe he does it just for the woke points (although, yes, his Patreon is the specter that will always loom over him). But if it's going to be at all quality, Jeph needs to narrow things down tremendously. Choose your target, do your research, and continuously write about that character, giving them the chance to develop naturally. Otherwise, it's going to be more of this herky-jerky bullshit forever.

Edit: Read comments, decided to add a bit more.

A lot of this comes from Jeph's mixed attempt at what he's doing. On one hand, he's admitted he's trying to make this comic a safe space for trans and other non-binary folk, which I think is great. On the other hand, he's simultaneously telling the stories of the lives of marginalized folks and write social commentary about the world as he perceives it.
And there's nothing wrong with that...except for that you end up with, frankly, shitty storytelling and messages that don't come across very clearly. He has these intense lead-ups, like Faye coming out to her mother, or Roko's dissociative episodes, or Elliott confessing his attraction to someone who (as far as he knows) is a straight man. And then it just...gets resolved. No difficulties, no problems, just smooth sailing. And hey, if Jeph just wants to tell a friendly story there's nothing wrong with that, but it isn't really telling the stories of the marginalized. Because the truth is that those stories usually don't have happy endings. They don't usually end with accepting parents, or a problem that can be resolved with a snap of the fingers. They're oftentimes painful and they're intense, and if Jeph as an author is going to tell these stories then it is his responsibility to tell the truth. I think doing anything else is irresponsible, frankly. He's giving his readers, many of whom are younger and impressionable, a false sense of how these stories usually go.
And I don't agree with the, "It's just supposed to be lighthearted," angle either. Plenty of shows have managed to maintain a tone while handling serious issues. Adventure Time is a great example of this.
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Gravity's Rainbow Reading Group | Sections 66-69 | Week 20

Alright, home stretch foax. This section's a beast. Hang in there and keep sharing your insights! All together now...
Section 66
"You will want cause and effect. All right." (663) What an opening - it's almost confrontational, mocking our need for clear narrative structure and causality.
We discover that Thanatz was tossed overboard in the same storm that sent Slothrop off the Anubis and off on his adventure with Frau Gnahb. Thanatz is rescued by someone even stranger - an unnamed Polish undertaker (think on the etymology of that word) who happens to be a lightening aficionado. I'll stop here and comment that, earlier, when Slothrop fell into the water before and after getting on the Anubis, it brought to mind the river Styx in Hades - another underworld. It washes clean one's identity and memory. Makes you forget who you are. And there's traditionally a ferryman, Charon, to help people cross it. Can't help but think that's who saved Thanatz here, carrying him from the land of the dead to the land of the unliving, the preterite detritus of WWII.
(An aside: Speaking of Styx, has anyone listened to Mr. Roboto recently? That song has some Gravity's Rainbow vibes.)
Our undertaker here is inspired by the Franklin myth and is trying to get struck by lightening in order to experience that "singular point, [that] discontinuity in the curve of life" (664) passing from a rate of change of positive infinity to one of negative infinity in the blink of an eye. Seems there's something of a conspiracy among those who have been through this point of infinite inflection - a secret society of lightening heads who are aware not of another reality but of a new layer of reality laid on top of our own. Insight into a higher level of reality, of hidden systems.
We get an example of the content of the lightning-aficionado's publication A Nickel Saved and it's supposedly full of coded messages for Those Who Know, each part being a veiled reference to other topics that contain the true meaning, requiring a true paranoid's ability to see (make?) connections. For example, there are repeated mentions of April, Easter, and Spring - the season of rebirth. To an Amperage Contest and lightbulbs failing - Byron the Bulb's attempts to strike back, perchance? A screen-door salesman - what is a screen door except a permeable interface?
But our undertaker isn't interested in secret knowledge - he just wants to be a better businessman - and he deposits Thanatz on the shore and rows back off into the storm. Here, Thanatz meets a group of 175s - men formerly imprisoned in the Dora camp for being gay - who have formed their own solitary community in this isolated section of northern Germany.
I suspect some of this imagery may initially shock readers - concentration camp victims who want to return to their prison? Who set up their own 175-Stadt to recreate the conditions of their imprisonment? But think about it - just last section, we saw Katje, someone who's been used and abused by those in power, balk at the thought of being truly free because she had become dependent on systems of control. She had integrated those control systems as part of her identity, her sense of self. "She needs the whip," Blicero wrote of her (662). Just like Katje, these men became so conditioned to depend on a system of total control and rigid social hierarchies that they don't know how to function without it. Their 175-Stadt doesn't seem like such a ridiculously dark, inappropriate caricature now, does it? Because isn't that a central point of this book - that everyone has been conditioned to need control, to need Their System, to not know how to function without it? Slothrop was our perfect everyman from within this system, and look at what it took for him to actually be free (and even then, the ideal of America still has a colonial outpost in his head). But in their 175-Stadt, these men at least control their system of control. They built it, they staff every level of it, and it's entirely under their control. An isolated state, separate from the broader System. But is there a ruler in this system, a king? No, simply the figment of Blicero. His name, his specter, looming over everything. A system of control with no real king? We've seen that before.
Not only that, but this micro-society is not based strictly on the SS command from Dora, but what the prisoners inferred about the rocket command structure in the Mittelwerke. So even their "recreation" of their imprisonment is an approximation of a different system. I'd also stop here to comment that, is this imagery really as ridiculous/insane as it first appears? I'd say no, since the queeS&M community absolutely took inspiration from Nazi uniforms as symbols of dominance and control, repurposing it into fetishwear. But then, as in this 175-Stadt, the control is by choice, as is the submission. As we've seen elsewhere in this book (Blicero's Oven-State), turning submission into a fetish can be a form of rebellion, since it subverts Their means of control (fear of pain) and turns it into a source of pleasure. Is it truly control if you're choosing it? Enjoying it? No one said this book asks easy questions of its readers...
Thanatz keeps looking for answers, and gets swept up amidst the vast swarms of preterite Displaced Persons being shifted across the zone. What's concerning is that these supposedly-free, albeit displaced, people, are shuffled without purpose across the Zone, with minimal food, water, or medicine, being "herded into wire enclosure[s]" and shipped around in freight cars, "deloused, poked, palpated, named, numbered, consigned, invoiced, misrouted, detained, ignored" (669). It's almost impossible to miss the painful similarity here to the treatment of Jews and other victims of the Holocaust. Only here the mistreatment isn't out of some pathological hatred, simply a system without a place for so many people, and without the committed resources to actually, effectively help them. The thought is unsettling, since we like to imagine that only Naziesque hatred could prompt such brutal mistreatment, not apathy.
Finally, he's rescued by the Schwarzkommando thanks to his knowledge of Blicero and the firing of Rocket 00000. Here, we learn a bit more about what happened that day. Looking into Blicero's eyes, he saw windmills reflected, though none were in the area. Another four-way mandala, like we saw last week with Slothrop. Thanatz isn't in great mental shape by this point, and he's beginning to equate Gottfried and Bianca both as his children. Why? Because he felt some sense of responsibility to them? Because he failed them? Either way, the Schwarzkommando learn all they need from him about that fateful noon on the Heath, though we do not. The section ends with a simple touch of hands between Enzian and Christian, a moment of connection, of trust.
Section 67
Man, how do I even start summarizing this complete doozy of a section? As Weissenburger writes, "In this episode the narration begins to fragment." (344) Ya don't say... Well, here goes.
We being one serious trip of a section with Slothrop, as part of a rather unimpressive team of quasi-superheros (the "Floundering Four") fighting against evil ol' Broderick Slothrop amidst the factory-state (a Metropolis-like iteration of the Rocket-State with movable buildings?!). Broderick, in the role of comic book supervillain, keeps trying to off Slothrop, but our hero has a lucky streak just wide enough to keep him alive.
Right off the bat, we see another image of the chessboard - the whole factory-state is laid out in a grid, and it's all A Game of Chess, as der Springer already informed us, and our movements are limited. Crucially, "Your objective is not the King - there is no King - but momentary targets such as the Radiant Hour." (674) How can you win at chess when there's no King? How can the land be restored and the cycle renewed if there's no King to die and be replaced?
Slothrop is joined by a truly slipshod lot: Myrtle Miraculous, the only one who seems to have actual powers; Maximilian, a suave Black club manager who can flow with all natural rhythms and thus able to navigate any scenario with ease, and Marcel, a mechanical chess player (an embodiment of the Mechanical Turk, but crucially, one without the hidden human operator. No hidden Grandmaster lurking inside Marcel here - nope, this android's the real deal.
This section includes one of my favorite quotes from the book: "Decisions are never really made - at best they manager to emerge, from a chaos of peeves, whims, hallucinations and all-round assholery." (676) I can think of several times where I've been able to relate to that scenario all too well.
Their chances for success and failure are equal, but these opposing odds don't cancel each other out - instead, the two opposing forces just create a "loud dissonance". The crew undertake some truly hallucinatory adventures through the Racketen-Stadt which I will not attempt to summarize, as that would be an exercise in futility. But we are treated to flashes of Slothrop, "Broderick and Nalline's shadow-child, their unconfessed, their monster son," (677) getting locked in an icebox, piloting a mobile building through the grid-streets of the factory-state like a giant chess piece. One line really jumps out at me, here, that I think is important: "Their struggle is not the only, or even the ultimate one. Indeed, not only are there many other struggles, but there are also spectators, watching, as spectators will do, hundreds of thousands of them." (679) Makes me think of the "glozing neuters," mentioned earlier - of the masses of people who are just trying to live their lives, neither part of any conspiracy nor actively aware of being subject to one. Must be nice. At the same time, the idea of other, simultaneous struggles, is noteworthy - it brings to mind the concept of intersectionality, and how people realizing their unique, individual struggles share common sources, and common traits, which they can work together to fight.
We end this sub-section in an arena for these exact masses, where our heroes are on a stakeout, with Slothrop in full drag waiting in the Transvestites' Toilet for a message.
You may be wondering about the multiple instances of cross-dressing, in various iterations, throughout the book. Slothrop in drag and Blicero in a wig and merkin come to mind. One aspect, I'd say, is that it reflects a blending of two (as far as society is generally concerned) binary opposites. A crossing-over, a transgression against the status quo and an option other than 1 or 0.
Eliot, in his Notes on The Waste Land, wrote,
"Tiresias, although a mere spectator and not indeed a 'character', is yet the most important personage in the poem, uniting all the rest. Just as the one-eyed merchant, seller of currants, melts into the Phoenician Sailor, and the latter is not wholly distinct from Ferdinand Prince of Naples, so all the women are one woman, and the two sexes meet in Tiresias. What Tiresias sees, in fact, is the substance of the poem." (Emphasis mine).
Cue Crutchfield the Westwardman's world of only one of everything. Likewise, the women in Gravity's Rainbow often blend together, share traits or imagery. So do the men. The joining of the two sexes in Blicero, as well as Slothrop here at the end, is significant.
The Low-Frequency Listeners
The introduction here of the character of Rohr, the Keeper of the Antenna, specifically as a Jehovah's witness, was odd. It's such a specific subsect of Christianity. Then we see - he heard a man on the radio, dying, asking for a priest. Rohr says, "Should I have got on and told him about priests? Would he've found any comfort in that?" (682). In what? I had to look it up, but when I did, it clicked - Jehovah's witnesses apparently do not have priests, because they are all ordained. There is no separate priest caste in their church, and thus no Preterite/Elect division. In this section, we also learn that the Nuremberg trials are getting underway.
Mom Slothrop's Letter to Ambassador Kennedy
You start to feel even more sorry for Slothrop as you realize just how terrible his parents apparently were. His mom cares enough to at least write another letter asking Ambassador Kennedy as to what the hell happened to their son, but her letter quickly devolves into drunken ramblings complaining about striking workers and managing to make an innuendo about Jack Kennedy while also dismissing her love of her sons. Oof. Maybe Otto was right with his conspiracy of mothers...
On the Phrase "Ass-Backwards"
An entertaining linguistic debate between Säure and Slothrop on American idioms, specifically ones involving a reversal, as in the case of "ass-backwards". The section then slips into a story of Säure, in his youth, breaking into the home of a young woman, Minnie, who is unable to hear or pronounce umlauted letters, and thus manages to shout the word "helicopter" rather than "cute robber" well before the vehicle was ever invented. Her cry is heard by none other than a young aerodynamics student. The word is taken as a prophesy and a warning of the helicopter's symbol of the police state, with armed officers hanging out the sides, aiming down at their targets.
My Doper's Cadenza
It begins with a serenade from Bodine, and then an exploration of the tenement building "Der Platz" that is home to numerous drug addicts, dope peddlers, and general ne'er-do-wells. They are building an anti-police moat around the building, entirely underground so as to avoid detection, saving breaking through the street for the end.
Shit 'n' Shinola
Another idiomatic diversion for Säure. A beautiful line is tucked away in here - "from outside, the Hall is golden, the white gold precisely of one lily-of-the-valley petal in 4 o'clock sunlight, serene, at the top of an artificially-graded hill." (687) This building, the Schein-Aula (Seeming-Hall), suggests "persistence, through returns of spring, hopes for love, melting snow and ice, academic Sunday tranquillities, smells of grass just crushed or cut or later turning to hay..." (688) Yet again, imagery of spring, of a return to life from the dead season of winter, of the cycle.
We return to the Roseland Ballroom, where shit 'n' Shinola do actually come together. "Shit, now, is the color white folks are afraid of. Shit is the presence of death, not some abstract-arty character with a scythe but the stiff and rotting corpse itself inside the whiteman's warm and private own asshole, which is getting pretty intimate. That's what that white toilet's for.... that white porcelain's the very emblem of Odorless and Official Death." (688) Here Pynchon cuts straight to the point - the almost pathological fear of death and its connections to fears of blackness, excrement. Shit, Death, and the Word. Edwin Treacle hit on this back on p. 276 when he tried to show his colleagues at the White Visitation "that their feelings about blackness were tied to feelings about shit, and feelings about shit to feelings about putrefaction and death." The cycle of life is too organic, too messy. Better to replace carbon with silicon, to hide shit with porcelain, to treat people with dark skin as "other" or sub-human to avoid acknowledging that their non-European, communal ways of life were, in fact, totally natural.
An Incident in the Transvestites' Toilet
Not King Kong, but a small, costumed ape comes up to Slothrop, who's wearing a Fay Wray dress while waiting in the bathroom for a still-unspecified message. We get a Miltonic blank-verse poem (thanks, Weissenburger!) about the movie King Kong, written in the voice of Anne Darrow (Fay Wray's character). It's honestly quite good - I love the line "in your own stone living space" - the internal rhyme there sounds really nice, and I like the riff on living stone / Livingston, both of which have popped up previously. In the poem, Darrow talks about when she was tied up, hung by the natives as an offering to "the night's one Shape to come" (689), echoing both Greta Erdman's scene in Alpdrücken and the Hanged Man card of the Tarot (willing sacrifice, sacrifice that prompts a return, a renewal of the cycle). Darrow says she prayed, "not for Jack," her suave costar, but for her director Carl Denham, "only him, with gun and camera... making the unreal reel / By shooting at it, one way or the other-" (689). Throughout GR, we've seen a film motif, and this really brings it home. The analogy of a gun to a camera, both of which make the unreal real (a camera creates films that interpret real life - the "unreal reel", a gun makes death, which we've blocked away and tried to avoid, real and inescapable). The director is in control of the movie, the actors, the story, of how it works and what is told. Darrow ends by asking Carl to "show me the key light, whisper me a line..." - a key light is used in cinema and photography to not just shed light on the subject, but to do so in a way that provides form and dimension to the subject and the scene. So Darrow is asking for the director to literally give her form and definition, to tell her what to say next.
This ape, though, isn't so Romantic as ol' Kong though, and is much more direct. It hands Slothrop an anarchist's bomb straight out of the comics pages, and takes off. Slothrop freezes and is saved by a helpful transvestite who takes the bomb and flushes it down the toilet. But it explodes anyway, sending geysers of water up out of all the toilets. A Voice comes out of he Loudspeaker informing everyone that it was, in fact, a sodium bomb that explodes upon contact with water. Tellls everyone to get the "dangerous maniac" who threw it. That was supposed to be Slothrop, but he was saved by his indecision and the kindness of a stranger, who is now set upon by the other occupants of the toilet.
A Moment of Fun with Takeshi and Ichizo, the Komical Kamikazes
We now jump to a pair of comically-mismatched Kamikaze pilots stationed on a remote island well away from any conflict. One flies a Zero, the other flies an "Ohka device" which is basically a rocket-bomb with a pilot's seat. They get moonshine from their radarman, Kenosho, who mocks them daily for the lack of opportunities to fly to their deaths and who comes up with haikus that, while in the right format, really miss the heart of what a haiku is supposed to be.
Back to Slothrop, now, and a catalogue of the streets he's traveled down and what he's seen. We get a meditation on the absurdity of army chaplains, who worked for the Army and "stood up and talked to the men who were going to die about God, death, nothingness, redemption, salvation." (693) And it does seem a bit absurd when you consider that the Army that employs the chaplains is the same entity sending the men off to die. We see a bus driver (perchance our maniac bus driver from earlier?) driving through town in the night, his passengers looking out the windows, their faces "drowned-man green, insomniac, tobacco-starved, scared, not of tomorrow, not yet, but of this pause in their night-passage, of how easy it will be to lose, and how much it will hurt..." (693) Going back to the Waste Land, the phrase "I do not find / The Hanged Man. Fear death by water." is symbolic of a death without return (drowning) contrasted to the sacrifice/return symbolized by The Hanged Man. These poor passengers, it seems, aren't to expect any return.
Slothrop also, at this point, learns of the bombing of Hiroshima from a discarded Army newspaper, the photo of the atomic blast placed in poor taste next to an image of a pin-up girl. The bomb's mushroom cloud is compared to the Cross, to a capital-T Tree. But which tree? Is this a meditation on the deadly, unforgettable knowledge of how to split the atom, or of the tree of life, with the citizens of Hiroshima as a sacrifice made... but to what? I'm honestly not sure. Would love your thoughts.
Listening to the Toilet
As others have noted, this book in many ways is about the drug counterculture and hippie movement of the 60s/early 70s. This is the most overt in this section, in which we learn that listening for the cessation of the flow of water to the toilet in the pipes is a cue that a police raid is imminent - shutting off the water being a way to prevent the flushing of illicit substances. But it takes a special ear to hear the cessation of a subtle, pervasive white noise. What if the sun, in fact, massive furnace that it is, emits a constant, low-level roar that is so incessant we don't even hear it? What if eddies in the current of the Soniferous Aether cause rare spots of true quiet, where the noise is no longer transmitted and anyone in that spot can hear their own heartbeat it's so quiet? Interestingly, there are "quiet rooms" designed to absorb nearly all sound, used for precise sound calibration. I remember reading that most people can't sit in one of those rooms for more than 30 minutes or so because it's literally so quiet that you can hear the blood flowing through your veins, and people have even reported auditory hallucinations as a result. But why this digression? Maybe because we need to be asking what other white noise is out there that we've become completely deaf to? I think Roger and Jessica found a pocket of this quiet, early in the book, where the "noise" of modern society and all its associated obligations was muted by the War.
Witty Repartee
A return to our Komical Kamikazes, and a meditation on the ubiquity of the Hotchkiss machine gun across nations, independent of alliances. We get an image of a false King - an inbred idiot lying naked in a dumpster, attracting the attention of potential revolutionaries. But they can't decide if he's "a diversionary nuisance planted here by the Management, or whether he's real Decadent Aristocracy to be held for real ransom" (698). While the would-be revolutionaries are debating in the alley, sentries with the aforementioned Hotchkiss guns take positions on the rooftops, aiming down...
Heart-to-Heart, Man-to-Man
A dialogue here between Slothrop and ol' Broderick, with dear old dad interrogating his wayward son about a modern electric drug. Slothrop reassures him that he'd never shoot raw electricity - no, they dope themselves with waves. Major pre-Cyberpunk vibes here, with Broderick warning "Suppose someday you just plug in and go away and never come back?" to which Tyrone replies, "What do you think every electrofreak dreams about? .... Maybe there is a Machine to take us away, take us completely, suck us out through the electrodes out of the skull 'n' into the Machine and live there forever.... We can live forever, in a clean, honest, purified Electroworld-" (699). Matrix, anyone? Not to mention the waves of radio, TV, etc. and the simple, episodic, controlled reality they offer. Pleasantville also comes to mind, with all its commentary on the shows of the era.
Some Characteristics of Imipolex G
We learn that Imipolex G is the first erectile plastic, stiffening in response to certain electronic stimuli. The potential of a layer of controlling wires just under the outer layer of Imipolex, making it a second skin - a synthetic interface. Alternately, there's the potential to control it via a projection of "an electronic 'image; analogous to a motion picture." (700)
My gods, I made it through this section...
Section 68
Tchitcherine now, dealing with a spook, Nikolai Ripov, from the Commissariat for Intelligence Activities. His pal Džabajev has run off with "two local derelicts" (700) and is impersonating Frank Sinatra and wooing the ladies of the Zone. We get the line, "While nobles are crying in their nights' chains, the squires sing. The terrible politics of the Grail can never touch them. Song is the magic cape." (701) - Seems another example of folks recognizing the game, the Grail quest, for what it was and checking out - deciding not to play and just enjoy themselves while the Elect lose sleep over the endless searching.
Ripov explains to Tchitcherine how "the basic problem... has always been getting other people to die for you." (701) Religion used to serve as an effective control for that reason - death isn't quite as scary if you think you're going to heaven. But modern society has moved on, and needs more secular sources of control, like a commitment to "History" as if you're part of some great narrative, sacrificing yourself for some imagined end-goal of what society is "supposed" to be.
Seems Tchitcherine was doping on Oneirine theophosphate. Wimpe, his dealer, argues that a man is "only real at the points of decision. The time between doesn't matter." (702) Points man again - the moment of decision, of choice, that splits the future in two. Points of control. Contrast that to:
"Datta: what have we given? / My friend, blood shaking my heart / The awful daring of a moment’s surrender / Which an age of prudence can never retract / By this, and this only, we have existed." (The Waste Land, Part V: What the Thunder Said - emphasis mine).
Both are arguing that it's these key moments, irreversible junctures in our lives that make us real. Not what comes next, not what people say about us, just our moments. Integrate those moments, run them fast enough (say 24 frames per second) and you might even approximate something close to a person...
We learn that Oneirine apparently leads to "the dullest hallucinations known to psychopharmacology" (703) - hauntings of the mundane, the almost-normal.
Tchitcherine's Haunting
Tchitcherine hallucinates that Ripov is interrogating him, and he becomes fixated on the question of whether or not he was supposed to die. Seems like part of him wants to believe in life after death, in some hope for meaning, which goes against the Soviet doctrine and thus isn't exactly endearing him to those above him. Thankfully this is just an Oneirine haunting, except... wait, it's too real - no subtle violations of reality. He tries to escape, but is outnumbered. But no execution for him here - just a reassignment to Central Asia. A cold and operational death.
Section 69
"The dearest nation of all is one that will survive no longer than you and I, a common movement at the mercy of death and time: the ad hoc adventure." - Resolutions of the Gross Suckling Conference (706)
In other words, they seek a nation that does not function independently of its citizens - one that is not some separate identity with a quasi-personhood (much like how corporations are legally "people"). Rather, a nation that is inextricably linked to the people and that will die when they do. No immortality, no denial of the cycle or death.
But poor Roger's still dealing with Jessica, and now with Jeremy, too, who he's at least amicable with. But he's struggling with their acceptance of the System, their embracing of it. Jeremy's all about reassembling the rockets and firing them, asking "What else does one do with a rocket?" (note how disassembling it or at least not using the weapon isn't even an option...).
Jeremy's even so kind as to invite Roger to a fancy dinner with a bunch of corporate bigwigs, including folks from Krupp, ICI, and GE, and hosted by one Stefan Utgarthaloki, whose name should be a giant red-flag that something's amiss with this shindig. Roger picks Seaman Bodine as his date, the two having struck up a rather theatrical friendship, dress in their absurdist best (Bodine in the mother of all zoot suits), and join the party.
We get some insight here into the nature of rebellions, and the danger of them not only fizzling out or failing, but of being co-opted as a tool to "help legitimize Them" (713). Of either dying or "living on as Their pet" - it brings to mind the corporate branding of "rebelliousness" as cool, as "a phase" that it's normal to go through and eventually grow up from. Treating the idealism of youth, the desire to make the world better and to fight against the problems of the system before you become numb to them, as a normal phase of life is such an effective way to neutralize it culturally. How many people have heard the phrase "you get conservative [i.e. more resistant to change] as you get older"? How many of us have seen youth-led movements being dismissed as examples of immaturity, for example? Between that and companies stamping their logo on it (hello, Hot Topic), it's a way to change the cultural narrative around any movement against the status quo to one that's dismissive, just accepting enough to let people burn off their energy and eventually fall into line. Because how else can you continue to live a decent life in a society that refuses to change? You either go build a shack in the woods somewhere, die, or acclimate to the system and just focus on being comfortable yourself, not constantly fighting for change. It's a depressing thought, and I'm sure Pynchon saw a lot of that attitude in the 60s. I have to wonder - do non-industrialized societies have "teenage rebellion" as a normal part of life? Is that a part of human nature, like we tend to think, or is it an explicit reaction to reaching maturity in a system that is anti-human and anti-nature?
Anyway, back to the dinner party - between the depressing, anti-social music (kazoos?!) and the lavish dinner, things seem fine, but there's a plot against the Roger and Bodine. Fortunately a journalist, Constance, tips off Bodine that they might just be the main course of this feast, so Bodine cues Roger to begin the evening show - an absurd gross-out session that they planned in advance with the aid of now-deceased Pudding communicating via medium Carroll Eventyr. The pair recite an increasingly disgusting list of alliterative dishes, triggering "well-bred gagging" and guests to flee, though a few find it all quite entertaining. But it's enough to break up the dinner party and allow our heroes to flee.
Note: If you made it this far, actually read all this, thank you. Bloom warned me this was a longer section, and boy, he wasn't kidding. I think this is longer than some college essays I wrote... Damn fun, though, and I hope you've found my thoughts informative, interesting, useful, or if nothing else, sufficiently diversionary for a spell. I truly look forward to seeing what you other fine foax have to say on these labrynthine sections.
  1. In the lightning-aficionado's "A Nickel Saved" excerpt, are there any other references or hidden ideas you can find? I have to think there are.
  2. What is the meaning of the windmill reflected in Blicero's eyes? How do you interpret the imagery in this scene in general?
  3. 175-Stadt. Oven-State. Hund-Stadt. Rocket-State. Factory-State. We've seen numerous examples of specialized micro-states across the Zone, experiments in different forms of society. What are your thoughts on these? Are they hints at ways to find alternate societies, or manifestations of humanity's tendency to divide by category and put of fences?
  4. In the "Shit 'n' Shinola" subsection, Pynchon connects Jack Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Tyrone Slothrop. What do you make of this intersection?
  5. In "Streets," the bombing of Hiroshima is presented as being similar to the Cross, "it is also, perhaps, a Tree..." - the capitalized "Tree" here could be the tree of knowledge, the tree of life, the tree from which the Hanged Man dangles, or perhaps something else. What's your interpretation of this imagery?
  6. In Section 69, we see references to the Albatross, famous symbol from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. It's presented that Slothrop is the (now-plucked) albatross, but it's not clear who killed this bird, or who's wearing it around their neck. They? Any ideas?
submitted by KieselguhrKid13 to ThomasPynchon [link] [comments]

Unsure and Kinda Panicking

(Never actually used Reddit before and don't know how anything works so please excuse any bad formatting and whatnot)
Couple things first: I am 19 years old, live in a country where readily avaiable abortion is not an option (Latin America), and I am also AFAB non-binary, so please do stick to they/them pronouns when referring to me. Another fair warning, this will probably be long and rambly
Now, onto the actual proper post:
Basically, my mom has recently convinced herself that I'm pregnant, and considering that the idea has been something I've thought about a little for this past 2 months but mostly just ignored it, it's now become a legit source of constant anxiety.
Only two points my mom has really brought up are that
Now here's where I try to think rationally and say that she is wrong: She's considerably more pale than I am, and I haven't shown her my body recently at all for her to have an actual idea of what my breasts actually look like usually and Ever since I was about 13-ish years old, she has always made comments about my weight. And I mean always. Thankfully, it never really led to any EDs but now I definitely carry some big insecurities and outright feel disgusted with my own body a lot of the time. Still, phrases like "You look really big" and "You're overweight/fat" are not necessarily uncommon coming from her.
Here's where things get a little messy for me, because the two actual major things that could lead to a "You're pregnant" conclusion are
EXCEPT, that specifically with the first point, I have a fairly more likely explanation for: Birth Control and PCOS.
I started taking BC a couple months prior to turning 18. Mom decided it was time for my first appointment with an gynecologist, and so it happened. Turns out, I had PCOS (which frankly, made me feel better about a bunch of things, so that was nice) and was then prescribed regular hormonal BC pills to sort out my period and try to balance out my hormones. Now, I was studying abroad for most of 2020 in California, and ended up running out of the pills I'd brought with me, so I turned to Planned Parenthood for more, and after a quick test, was recommended a different type of pill. I had then switched from a 21-day pack of combination pills, to continuous use progestin-only pills.
I took my last pill on August 27th, the same day that I had a flight to return to my home country because of COVID making it too expensive and complicated for me to stay in the US. According to the various sources that I read, continuous use BC can make it so that when you come off it, it may take up to 3 months for your periods to return and be regular again. That, along with PCOS making my periods quite unpredictable, has me doubting the idea that pregnancy is what's stopping my menstruation.
As far as the throwing up goes... Honestly, I'm fully ready to chalk that up to bad, unseasoned food + very stressful weeks leading up to leaving the US because whenever I ate out or had someone else's food, it was fine, and the whole thing stopped about a week after I got home and started eating things I actually enjoy again.
So... all in all, I don't know. I'm geniunely scared of taking a test to confirm whether or not I'm pregnant. I absolutely do not want kids, and my family is pro-life, so if it were necessary for me to get an abortion, I'd have to do it almost entirely alone (partner is willing to help to the best of his ability, but after some very upsetting stuff he's said, I think I might end things between us soon).
Can anyone take a look at this and help me figure out how likely is it that I'm pregnant? Should I just bite the bullet and take a test?
submitted by scaredthrowaway001 to amipregnant [link] [comments]

Tech's Plan after Suppressing Wave One

I did not think we'd get here. COVID cases are in the single digits, and many cases are off-campus ( Test positivity rates are incredibly low ( I think we can say that Georgia Tech has navigated through it's first wave of COVID cases.

How did this happen? I'm not an epidemiologist, and even Dr. Fauci himself wouldn't be able to give you a 100% correct answer, because nobody can give you a 100% correct answer - there are too many unknowns. But, we can look at a few factors.

1.) Modified herd immunity threshold. Immunity is likely a real phenomena with COVID-19. Yes, there are now 7 confirmed cases of reinfection, but immunity is not a binary thing. It is not as if every person infected with COVID will either be immune, or they will be as unprotected as the rest of us. It's likely that the majority of COVID cases will gain some sort of immunity, and some will gain no immunity. For the sake of simplicity, let's just assume everyone infected with COVID at our campus has immunity.
Georgia Tech has, in total, around 900 positive COVID cases. There are ~14,000 people on campus if you wildly extrapolate from a few surveys taken on this subreddit - if anyone could find where the actual number is, it would be helpful. Additionally, around 5-10% of the US was probably infected in the original Feb-March surge, which would be 700-1400 people. This brings us to 1600-2300 immune people in a population of 14000.
The herd immunity threshold is given by (1-1/R0). Uncontrolled, the R0 for SARS-CoV2 is ~4. This means roughly 75% of the populace must be infected to gain "true immunity" - IE, you can do whatever you want, no distancing, no masking, etc. Obviously this is a bad idea. But, we aren't letting SARS-Cov2 spread uncontrollably. Mask compliance is high, people are trying to distance, people are washing their hands more often, etc. R0 is a function of environmental parameters as well - increasing distancing and hygiene decrease your R0. So what is the R0 with distancing and masking? That's a big question, but estimates from New York and Western Europe say it was somewhere around 0.8-1.1. A college campus will have a higher R0 than a typical state or nation, so we'll shift this up to 1.1-1.3.

This brings our herd immunity threshold to anywhere between 9-23%. We currently have in the range of 11.5%-16%, and some cases on campus may have gone totally undetected. Here's a twitter thread by an MIT data scientist if you want to read more about the "modified herd immunity" phenomena.

2.) The people who took the most risks have already gotten COVID. Anecdotally, and logically, this makes sense. People going to bars, frat parties, etc have already been infected, and that was our "first wave". Unfortunately, I don't know how to quantify this in any meaningful way, but it is probably a factor.

3.) Behavior change. People could've seen the surge in cases and decided to be more careful - get tested weekly, avoid indoor dining, go to the CRC early in the morning when it's less crowded rather than in the middle of the day, etc. This would lower R0 as well and aid with point 1, although again, I don't know how to meaningfully quantify this. But it is a possible factor.

If you made it through the above, congratulations.

The question now is what Tech should do. Frankly, I feel like I am wasting both money and time this semester. This is unavoidable, and not Tech's fault or USG's fault - just a virus doing it's thing. But, just as governments - those of New York, China, South Korea, Germany, etc - gradually eased back on restrictions as the first curve was crushed, I believe Tech can and should do the same. We should not throw the floodgates open and let all hell break loose - but I think we can slowly loosen the screws in a manner that improves educational experiences, and in a way that avoids a second wave. Remote learning sucks. At least for intro classes, there is far better free material on Coursera - made by people who know how to deliver content online and who have been doing it for years - as opposed to professors who were thrown into this a few months ago.

As we all know, many "hybrid" courses are pretty much all online. I'd suggest the OPTION - for both professors and students, mandates are a god awful idea - to have more in-person hybrid sections. This won't give me my money's worth - but it'll give us something. As of now, I have three hybrid classes - and yet have not had a single in person class. These classes can be conducted in a safe, distanced/masked manner, as to keep our R0 low and keep reaping the rewards of the "modified herd immunity" discussed above. This might be difficult to implement in the middle of this semester, but I think it can be implemented next semester, in the absence of mass vaccination until (in the most optimistic case) February-March.

Other things include opening up lounges in dorms. Also, I know visiting other dorms is technically banned, but everyone I know is ignoring that rule. Many people aren't even aware of that rule - might as well just get rid of it if compliance is close to nil. But, I'd prefer more in-person classes above all else.

This was a long post. Ultimately, COVID is a game of trades - we could lock everyone in their homes until there's a vaccine, but that would destroy our society. We could let everyone run wild until there's a vaccine - again, that would destroy our society. It's a multivariate optimization problem, where we are trying to maximize safety, education, and the student experience. I'm just a dude trying to help us find that maximum.

TLDR: COVID-19 first wave beaten due to number of factors. More in-person classes would be nice.
submitted by _neorealism_ to gatech [link] [comments]

MAME 0.223

MAME 0.223

MAME 0.223 has finally arrived, and what a release it is – there’s definitely something for everyone! Starting with some of the more esoteric additions, Linus Åkesson’s AVR-based hardware chiptune project and Power Ninja Action Challenge demos are now supported. These demos use minimal hardware to generate sound and/or video, relying on precise CPU timings to work. With this release, every hand-held LCD game from Nintendo’s Game & Watch and related lines is supported in MAME, with Donkey Kong Hockey bringing up the rear. Also of note is the Bassmate Computer fishing aid, made by Nintendo and marketed by Telko and other companies, which is clearly based on the dual-screen Game & Watch design. The steady stream of TV games hasn’t stopped, with a number of French releases from Conny/VideoJet among this month’s batch.
For the first time ever, games running on the Barcrest MPU4 video system are emulated well enough to be playable. Titles that are now working include several games based on the popular British TV game show The Crystal Maze, Adders and Ladders, The Mating Game, and Prize Tetris. In a clear win for MAME’s modular architecture, the breakthrough came through the discovery of a significant flaw in our Motorola MC6840 Programmable Timer Module emulation that was causing issues for the Fairlight CMI IIx synthesiser. In the same manner, the Busicom 141-PF desk calculator is now working, thanks to improvements made to Intel 4004 CPU emulation that came out of emulating the INTELLEC 4 development system and the prototype 4004-based controller board for Flicker pinball. The Busicom 141-PF is historically significant, being the first application of Intel’s first microprocessor.
Fans of classic vector arcade games are in for a treat this month. Former project coordinator Aaron Giles has contributed netlist-based sound emulation for thirteen Cinematronics vector games: Space War, Barrier, Star Hawk, Speed Freak, Star Castle, War of the Worlds, Sundance, Tail Gunner, Rip Off, Armor Attack, Warrior, Solar Quest and Boxing Bugs. This resolves long-standing issues with the previous simulation based on playing recorded samples. Colin Howell has also refined the sound emulation for Midway’s 280-ZZZAP and Gun Fight.
V.Smile joystick inputs are now working for all dumped cartridges, and with fixes for ROM bank selection the V.Smile Motion software is also usable. The accelerometer-based V.Smile Motion controller is not emulated, but the software can all be used with the standard V.Smile joystick controller. Another pair of systems with inputs that now work is the original Macintosh (128K/512K/512Ke) and Macintosh Plus. These systems’ keyboards are now fully emulated, including the separate numeric keypad available for the original Macintosh, the Macintosh Plus keyboard with integrated numeric keypad, and a few European ISO layout keyboards for the original Macintosh. There are still some emulation issues, but you can play Beyond Dark Castle with MAME’s Macintosh Plus emulation again.
In other home computer emulation news, MAME’s SAM Coupé driver now supports a number of peripherals that connect to the rear expansion port, a software list containing IRIX hard disk installations for SGI MIPS workstations has been added, and tape loading now works for the Specialist system (a DIY computer designed in the USSR).
Of course, there’s far more to enjoy, and you can read all about it in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page. (For brevity, promoted V.Smile software list entries and new Barcrest MPU4 clones made up from existing dumps have been omitted here.)

MAME Testers Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

Merged pull requests

submitted by cuavas to emulation [link] [comments]

An introduction to Linux through Windows Subsystem for Linux

I'm working as an Undergraduate Learning Assistant and wrote this guide to help out students who were in the same boat I was in when I first took my university's intro to computer science course. It provides an overview of how to get started using Linux, guides you through setting up Windows Subsystem for Linux to run smoothly on Windows 10, and provides a very basic introduction to Linux. Students seemed to dig it, so I figured it'd help some people in here as well. I've never posted here before, so apologies if I'm unknowingly violating subreddit rules.

An introduction to Linux through Windows Subsystem for Linux

GitHub Pages link

Introduction and motivation

tl;dr skip to next section
So you're thinking of installing a Linux distribution, and are unsure where to start. Or you're an unfortunate soul using Windows 10 in CPSC 201. Either way, this guide is for you. In this section I'll give a very basic intro to some of options you've got at your disposal, and explain why I chose Windows Subsystem for Linux among them. All of these have plenty of documentation online so Google if in doubt.

Setting up WSL

So if you've read this far I've convinced you to use WSL. Let's get started with setting it up. The very basics are outlined in Microsoft's guide here, I'll be covering what they talk about and diving into some other stuff.

1. Installing WSL

Press the Windows key (henceforth Winkey) and type in PowerShell. Right-click the icon and select run as administrator. Next, paste in this command:
dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux /all /norestart 
Now you'll want to perform a hard shutdown on your computer. This can become unecessarily complicated because of Window's fast startup feature, but here we go. First try pressing the Winkey, clicking on the power icon, and selecting Shut Down while holding down the shift key. Let go of the shift key and the mouse, and let it shutdown. Great! Now open up Command Prompt and type in
wsl --help 
If you get a large text output, WSL has been successfully enabled on your machine. If nothing happens, your computer failed at performing a hard shutdown, in which case you can try the age-old technique of just holding down your computer's power button until the computer turns itself off. Make sure you don't have any unsaved documents open when you do this.

2. Installing Ubuntu

Great! Now that you've got WSL installed, let's download a Linux distro. Press the Winkey and type in Microsoft Store. Now use the store's search icon and type in Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a Debian-based Linux distribution, and seems to have the best integration with WSL, so that's what we'll be going for. If you want to be quirky, here are some other options. Once you type in Ubuntu three options should pop up: Ubuntu, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
![Windows Store]( Installing plain-old "Ubuntu" will mean the app updates whenever a new major Ubuntu distribution is released. The current version (as of 09/02/2020) is Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS. The other two are older distributions of Ubuntu. For most use-cases, i.e. unless you're running some software that will break when upgrading, you'll want to pick the regular Ubuntu option. That's what I did.
Once that's done installing, again hit Winkey and open up Ubuntu. A console window should open up, asking you to wait a minute or two for files to de-compress and be stored on your PC. All future launches should take less than a second. It'll then prompt you to create a username and password. I'd recommend sticking to whatever your Windows username and password is so that you don't have to juggle around two different usepassword combinations, but up to you.
Finally, to upgrade all your packages, type in
sudo apt-get update 
And then
sudo apt-get upgrade 
apt-get is the Ubuntu package manager, this is what you'll be using to install additional programs on WSL.

3. Making things nice and crispy: an introduction to UNIX-based filesystems

tl;dr skip to the next section
The two above steps are technically all you need for running WSL on your system. However, you may notice that whenever you open up the Ubuntu app your current folder seems to be completely random. If you type in pwd (for Print Working Directory, 'directory' is synonymous with 'folder') inside Ubuntu and hit enter, you'll likely get some output akin to /home/. Where is this folder? Is it my home folder? Type in ls (for LiSt) to see what files are in this folder. Probably you won't get any output, because surprise surprise this folder is not your Windows home folder and is in fact empty (okay it's actually not empty, which we'll see in a bit. If you type in ls -a, a for All, you'll see other files but notice they have a period in front of them. This is a convention for specifying files that should be hidden by default, and ls, as well as most other commands, will honor this convention. Anyways).
So where is my Windows home folder? Is WSL completely separate from Windows? Nope! This is Windows Subsystem for Linux after all. Notice how, when you typed pwd earlier, the address you got was /home/. Notice that forward-slash right before home. That forward-slash indicates the root directory (not to be confused with the /root directory), which is the directory at the top of the directory hierarchy and contains all other directories in your system. So if we type ls /, you'll see what are the top-most directories in your system. Okay, great. They have a bunch of seemingly random names. Except, shocker, they aren't random. I've provided a quick run-down in Appendix A.
For now, though, we'll focus on /mnt, which stands for mount. This is where your C drive, which contains all your Windows stuff, is mounted. So if you type ls /mnt/c, you'll begin to notice some familiar folders. Type in ls /mnt/c/Users, and voilà, there's your Windows home folder. Remember this filepath, /mnt/c/Users/. When we open up Ubuntu, we don't want it tossing us in this random /home/ directory, we want our Windows home folder. Let's change that!

4. Changing your default home folder

Type in sudo vim /etc/passwd. You'll likely be prompted for your Ubuntu's password. sudo is a command that gives you root privileges in bash (akin to Windows's right-click then selecting 'Run as administrator'). vim is a command-line text-editing tool, which out-of-the-box functions kind of like a crummy Notepad (you can customize it infinitely though, and some people have insane vim setups. Appendix B has more info). /etc/passwd is a plaintext file that historically was used to store passwords back when encryption wasn't a big deal, but now instead stores essential user info used every time you open up WSL.
Anyway, once you've typed that in, your shell should look something like this: ![vim /etc/passwd](
Using arrow-keys, find the entry that begins with your Ubuntu username. It should be towards the bottom of the file. In my case, the line looks like
See that cringy, crummy /home/pizzatron3000? Not only do I regret that username to this day, it's also not where we want our home directory. Let's change that! Press i to initiate vim's -- INSERT -- mode. Use arrow-keys to navigate to that section, and delete /home/ by holding down backspace. Remember that filepath I asked you to remember? /mnt/c/Users/. Type that in. For me, the line now looks like
Next, press esc to exit insert mode, then type in the following:
The : tells vim you're inputting a command, w means write, and q means quit. If you've screwed up any of the above sections, you can also type in :q! to exit vim without saving the file. Just remember to exit insert mode by pressing esc before inputting commands, else you'll instead be writing to the file.
Great! If you now open up a new terminal and type in pwd, you should be in your Window's home folder! However, things seem to be lacking their usual color...

5. Importing your configuration files into the new home directory

Your home folder contains all your Ubuntu and bash configuration files. However, since we just changed the home folder to your Window's home folder, we've lost these configuration files. Let's bring them back! These configuration files are hidden inside /home/, and they all start with a . in front of the filename. So let's copy them over into your new home directory! Type in the following:
cp -r /home//. ~ 
cp stands for CoPy, -r stands for recursive (i.e. descend into directories), the . at the end is cp-specific syntax that lets it copy anything, including hidden files, and the ~ is a quick way of writing your home directory's filepath (which would be /mnt/c/Users/) without having to type all that in again. Once you've run this, all your configuration files should now be present in your new home directory. Configuration files like .bashrc, .profile, and .bash_profile essentially provide commands that are run whenever you open a new shell. So now, if you open a new shell, everything should be working normally. Amazing. We're done!

6. Tips & tricks

Here are two handy commands you can add to your .profile file. Run vim ~/.profile, then, type these in at the top of the .profile file, one per line, using the commands we discussed previously (i to enter insert mode, esc to exit insert mode, :wq to save and quit).
alias rm='rm -i' makes it so that the rm command will always ask for confirmation when you're deleting a file. rm, for ReMove, is like a Windows delete except literally permanent and you will lose that data for good, so it's nice to have this extra safeguard. You can type rm -f to bypass. Linux can be super powerful, but with great power comes great responsibility. NEVER NEVER NEVER type in rm -rf /, this is saying 'delete literally everything and don't ask for confirmation', your computer will die. Newer versions of rm fail when you type this in, but don't push your luck. You've been warned. Be careful.
export DISPLAY=:0 if you install XLaunch VcXsrv, this line allows you to open graphical interfaces through Ubuntu. The export sets the environment variable DISPLAY, and the :0 tells Ubuntu that it should use the localhost display.

Appendix A: brief intro to top-level UNIX directories

tl;dr only mess with /mnt, /home, and maybe maybe /usr. Don't touch anything else.
  • bin: binaries, contains Ubuntu binary (aka executable) files that are used in bash. Here you'll find the binaries that execute commands like ls and pwd. Similar to /usbin, but bin gets loaded earlier in the booting process so it contains the most important commands.
  • boot: contains information for operating system booting. Empty in WSL, because WSL isn't an operating system.
  • dev: devices, provides files that allow Ubuntu to communicate with I/O devices. One useful file here is /dev/null, which is basically an information black hole that automatically deletes any data you pass it.
  • etc: no idea why it's called etc, but it contains system-wide configuration files
  • home: equivalent to Window's C:/Users folder, contains home folders for the different users. In an Ubuntu system, under /home/ you'd find the Documents folder, Downloads folder, etc.
  • lib: libraries used by the system
  • lib64 64-bit libraries used by the system
  • mnt: mount, where your drives are located
  • opt: third-party applications that (usually) don't have any dependencies outside the scope of their own package
  • proc: process information, contains runtime information about your system (e.g. memory, mounted devices, hardware configurations, etc)
  • run: directory for programs to store runtime information.
  • srv: server folder, holds data to be served in protocols like ftp, www, cvs, and others
  • sys: system, provides information about different I/O devices to the Linux Kernel. If dev files allows you to access I/O devices, sys files tells you information about these devices.
  • tmp: temporary, these are system runtime files that are (in most Linux distros) cleared out after every reboot. It's also sort of deprecated for security reasons, and programs will generally prefer to use run.
  • usr: contains additional UNIX commands, header files for compiling C programs, among other things. Kind of like bin but for less important programs. Most of everything you install using apt-get ends up here.
  • var: variable, contains variable data such as logs, databases, e-mail etc, but that persist across different boots.
Also keep in mind that all of this is just convention. No Linux distribution needs to follow this file structure, and in fact almost all will deviate from what I just described. Hell, you could make your own Linux fork where /mnt/c information is stored in tmp.

Appendix B: random resources

EDIT: implemented various changes suggested in the comments. Thanks all!
submitted by HeavenBuilder to linux4noobs [link] [comments]

My Story. No tl;dr here. My hope is that you will read the whole thing

I pray that this finds you well. You don't know me. For that matter, I don't know you either. What I do know is the love of the Messiah, and it is evident that you do as well. What a friend we have in Jesus then, who allows us to be fully known to each other through a similar calling, to minister and bring the gospel to those outside the gates - the rejected, marginalized, excommunicated and hurting - those who would be called an abomination by some who seek to claim God and Jesus for themselves, while ignoring the weightier matters of the Torah - justice, mercy, and trust.
I only recently became aware of you, and I am moved to reach out to you. In writing this brief overview of my story, I am hoping to generate a discussion and allyship, because I have seen and experienced firsthand the destructive nature of the "traditional" theology in the lives of LGBTQ believers, myself being one of them. I do not believe that I need to go into much detail about these things, since what has been made clear to me is clear to you as well.
I am a thirty something lesbian transwoman from Texas (read - I have that double gay). I was raised in a traditional southern baptist home, and I came to know Yeshua as my savior at the ripe old age of 5, while listening to Billy Graham on the TV. By that point in my life, I was already in the throes of being refined into the missional nature of God's calling on my life, even though it would take another 25 years for me to understand what that might look like, and three more after that for me to fully submit to it. I was just two years old when my parents separated, and 4 when they were divorced. At the time, and indeed into my twenties, I blamed myself for that, despite my mom’s courageous effort to the contrary. My dad disappeared out of my life, only making himself present when it was beneficial to him. He passed away in 2017, and I am pretty sure he didn't make it into the kingdom, but I remain hopeful that I am wrong about that. Being raised by a single mother, I knew early that the church, while caring for her and I, didn't condone their divorce. I have witnessed and shared in the shame and disgust that she struggled with until the day my dad passed. So when I fully came out, and began my transition, I experienced the typical "there was a disconnect in your childhood that gave you over to a propensity to sin" argument, and it hurt. It hurt to be told that being trans was a product of "sinful" parents, and that there was absolutely no way for me to be God fearing unless I abandoned the things which certain people considered to be sinful, and stopped acting contrary to nature. For reasons that would become known to me later, this didn't sit right.
A great many things have happened in my life, and my filters through which I view the world have been shaped through these experiences. My parents’ divorce was one of those. I didn't know how to quantify it at the time, but reflecting on my childhood there were indicators that I was trans. I used to pray to wake up a female as a young child. I always knew I was different, but I had no idea how to tell anyone that I felt like my body was incongruent with my mind, and how much it hurt to look in the mirror and know that I was different from other girls. Add to this that my mom and I were living in a community where I was the only white kid in my elementary school. It was a recipe for disaster already. My mom, in a valiant attempt to introduce me to positive male role models, unaware of my secret struggles, enrolled me in the boy scouts. I was about 10 years old when I was raped by my tent mate at boy scout camp. It would take another 20 something years for me to work through that alone and by the grace of God I have been able to overcome the damage caused by that and forgive my rapist.
Sometime around the age of 12, I came out for the first time to my mom. It was 1999, and I was beginning to understand that my mind and physical body were not in alignment with each other. I sat down with her one night and cried and told her the truth, that I felt like I wasn’t a boy, but a girl. I confessed to her that I knew this was sin, and would surely be sent to hell for it, and I just wanted to be normal. She did the best she could at the time, and consoled me, cried with me, and for the first time told me that she wasn't sure that my feelings were sinful. At the time, the best information and wisdom that we could seek were available at the church, and so that's where I went, especially since my struggle was with so-called sin. We were attending and active in the drama ministry at our church, I was active in my youth group, and on fire for the Lord. At a Wednesday youth service, I met with my youth pastor and confessed my truth. As you can imagine, I was bible thumped right back into the closet that I had just come out of. I won't mention his name, because I have yet to have the opportunity to communicate with him my forgiveness for his reaction, but I am eagerly awaiting the chance to do so.
In the years that followed, I attempted to do what most of us have done. I escaped into hyper-masculinity, and fervently tried to "pray the gay away". I started lifting weights, playing football, and every other masculine thing I could think of. I even joined FFA, tried my hardest to become an “all American man”, and adopted the racist, misogynistic, bigoted views of my new "friends". (Note- I wasn’t raised this way, nor does God condone this behavior. I was acting out of phobic views for myself. I ask for forgiveness from my family in Christ who have been directly or indirectly harmed by my actions and supposed views, and I have repented of these things.) During this time, I secretly explored my sexuality, and began walking away from God. Even though I never denied Him as my savior, I might as well have by the way living. I continued to struggle with what I termed at the time "cross-dressing" ( I don’t care for this term anymore, because it sexualizes and fetishizes trans people) since there wasn’t a better term for it. I indulged in the excess of life, without much regard for the kind of damage I was doing to my soul, and God's heart. As I progressed though my late teens and twenties, I abused both drugs and alcohol, often to the detriment to those around me, and to myself even though I didn't know it.
I was 21 when my first child, a daughter, was born out of wedlock. I was in a toxic relationship, and the pregnancy was purely unintentional on our behalf. Neither of us wanted a child at the time, however due only to God's grace we didn't abort her. (Note 2 – I fully support a woman’s right to choose, and I believe that the government should have no say in what we as humans do with our bodies.) I am so thankful for His intervention in this, since that was a viable option at the time, and could very well have been the outcome. We separated and decided that the best thing we could do was to raise her to understand how she came to be, and that it was much better for everyone if her mom and I weren't together.
I was working on a geotechnical research vessel in Mexico when I felt the call on my life to become a firefighter. So, at 23, I left the oilfield behind and began my journey to be obedient to this calling. I attended fire academy and EMT school (both are required to be a certified professional firefighter in Texas) and graduated with a 4.0 gpa at the top of my class. Please bear in mind that my secret struggle reared its ugly head in my life the ENTIRE time. I was able to keep it secret though, because since the first bible beating, I was determined to keep my struggles a secret. I carefully crafted this "all American man" image over years and was able to keep it up through cleverly contrived myths and lies, to everyone, including myself. In 2013 I met my now ex-wife and began dating her, and we were quickly in love, and married in 2014. This is where it gets interesting, and I believe the moment that God began actively working me and shaping me into the woman I am today.
Before we were married, and for the first time since I was 12, I confided in another human about my secret. To my surprise, she encouraged me to explore this side of myself. I actually remember praying that God would bring me a woman who would accept me for who I was, so when she did, I instantly (and wrongly, as I would later find out) believed that I was supposed to spend my life with her. Even though on the surface we were the average cis-heterosexual married couple, we were anything but behind closed doors. Shortly after we were married, we experienced two miscarriages back to back. I didn't know any better, but our relationship was toxic and destructive for both of us from the outset. In 2015, we attended a marriage retreat for firefighter couples, and it was there that she confessed to me that it was her desire to open up our marriage to a third party. Since she was so accepting of my secret, I felt like I needed to reciprocate, even though it made me angry and jealous on the inside. This same weekend, we got pregnant with our son, who was born premature in February of 2016. We stayed married, and tried our hardest to keep up appearances, even though we led a secret life. Both of us were so well versed in hiding ourselves by this point, it came almost naturally.
Fast forward to July 31, 2017. The date is burned in my mind because that is when everything changed. I was serving as a Driveoperator in the fire department(it was a full time career for me, not volunteer), and part of that role was to "ride-up" or take the place of the station lieutenant in their absence. It was a day like any other, I left for work about 4:30 am, and we had our usual fight that morning, which had become the norm. I arrived at work, tried to put it behind me, and began my duties that day as an acting LT. About noon, we were called to a house fire in a neighboring territory, on a 2nd alarm - a call for more resources. We arrived and quickly fell into our roles on the fireground. This story in and of itself would probably take me an hour to tell, so for the sake of being brief, I'll get to the moment where I came as close to death as I have ever come. About two hours into fighting the fire, I was in command of the crews operating on the 2nd floor of the house when the building collapsed around us. I was hit by a roof beam and knocked down the stairs, dislocating my shoulder and breaking my nose. This is where I must stop and proclaim the mercy of the living God. Had that beam hit me just a few inches to the right, I would not be here today. I am convinced in that moment God spared me, and my colleagues. Mercifully, I was the only one injured out of about 6 of us present when the collapse happened.
During my recovery, I attempted suicide three separate times, and became heavily addicted to marijuana and amphetamines. I have since been healed of these things, and I am happy to go into more detail about any specifics of my life with you at another time. I am only briefly touching on them here so that you can have an accurate understanding of the thick mire of death that God himself reached down and plucked me out of.
In order to tie all this together, it was during my recovery that God began leading me down the path that would eventually lead me to this story that I am writing to you today. I began to question the position of the church about people like me, since the "official" stance didn't include one critical point. It failed to consider those of us who were already believers. As I began to come out, and lead a double life, my ex and I drifted apart, separated, and divorced. I came out for the second time to my mom, but this time she was determined to see my through this journey, as I was determined to see it through myself, understanding that we are absolutely forgiven of our sins by the blood of the Messiah, and in executing the judgement common to all humanity against himself he wiped away the bill of charges against us, and we were separated from our old nature as far as the east is from the west. To put it frankly, this has been the most abandonment filled journey of my life. That scared me, since abandonment was probably one of my biggest fears, after being abandoned many times in my past. However, I discovered that the further I got from others; the closer God drew me to Him. How could this be, this amazing love, that in my "sin", a holy God, would draw closer to an unholy and dirty human? I know now that I was being prepared by him for my new mission.
While I am no longer a firefighteemt, I have maintained that God's calling on my life is to be a spiritual paramedic on the battlefield of society today, and specifically to others like myself, especially to the ones who have resigned themselves to the sex industry, since that’s the only place that actively validates them( at least on the surface). Finding you, and reading about others like me is, in my opinion, absolute confirmation of 1 Peter 2, where we are taught that never is a prophecy of scripture to be interpreted by an individual on their own, but that people moved by the Holy Spirit do the will of God. I am thankful that God has raised you up as allies.
I want to make it clear that I do not have the “theology” behind being trans all figured out. This is a journey, and it has taken me thirty plus years to arrive at this point. What I do know is that we as trans people are created by God to live a life worthy of His calling. I also know that we are at a deficit when it comes to discussion surrounding us, and right now, the loudest voices in the debate are those who would argue that anything outside of the proscribed gender binary cannot exist, and that we are making an active choice to decide what our gender is. No matter what your views are on the subject, the most important thing that you can do is trust someone who tells you that they don’t feel like they fit into this binary. We struggle with trusting even ourselves, so when we “come out” and we are met with being misgendered, either intentionally or otherwise, it is destructive. We as Christians know that the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy, so we should not do these things. I would encourage you to stand up for your trans siblings, and likewise for the trans community in general. You can trust that God will deliver a word that will settle the debate, just as He is doing for the rest of the community. My prayer is that we will all see the good fruits that come from simply acknowledging the struggles that trans/non-binary people deal with, and knowing that even though you may not have the answer, you have a concrete, solid foundation for how treat your fellow humans in the way Yeshua treated those who were considered unclean by society.
To my trans guys, gals, and non-binary pals, I want to offer you encouragement in your struggles, knowing that others like us throughout the world are struggling with the same fight, and you are not alone. The enemy tends to lie to us to make us feel like we are the only ones who are fighting this battle, and I hope to dismiss that lie. You aren’t alone, we exist, we are valid, and we are loved by God Most High for exactly who he created us to be. My prayer is that you will find alignment between your heart, body, soul, and mind, and that you will be at peace within yourselves.
I love you all with the love that flows from the Messiah,
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