Nine lives

The guardian cat

Not long ago, I created an NPC for my level 3 D&D party to encounter. The NPC is a little kitty in a basement beneath an abandoned tower full of magical treasures. As soon as the party began to take any items from the basement, the cat turned on them, swiping its little claws at the ankles of the daring adventurers. Two floating weapons assaulted the party together with the cat to prevent the party from stealing anything. [Read More]

False dog whistles

When saying what you mean is not enough

Lately I have been thinking a lot about why it is so difficult to disagree with certain progressive ideas—you disagree on one point, and this is interpreted to mean that you must hold an opinion you do not have. For instance, if you suppose that the earnings gap cannot exclusively be attributed to discrimination, you must hold the opinion that women are inherently worse performers in the workforce. I find this line of reasoning incredibly frustrating. [Read More]

Amsterdam time

Why we should use cities, not timezones, to indicate time

We will meet at three o’ clock GMT, the first of May. [sic] This is a subject on which I am extremely pigheaded. Often, when I am planning an online meeting with people who live in other timezones, they wish to choose a time and date using the GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) timezone. And often, that causes misunderstandings. The cause behind the misunderstanding is normally daylight saving time (henceforth called summer time). [Read More]

Improving En Pyssant

How to improve the performance of a Python program

I have been working on En Pyssant for a while, a Free Software chess engine written in Python. The engine part of the program is not (yet) complete, but the rules of chess are wholly implemented. My primary goal in writing this engine is to use everything and the kitchen sink to learn new things: Maybe the program does not need a full testing and benchmarking suite, but I have implemented it anyway. [Read More]

How we conduct ourselves

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956) More and more often, I find myself having to defend my political opponents, or having to argue against those whom I presumably agree with. [Read More]