Sunday, January 28, 2018

Friday, January 26, 2018

One trouble with having gone through a certain sort of adolescence is that one cannot read the samkhya sutra without thinking about it in terms of a Dungeons and Dragons encounter table.

"Efficient Causes! Roll 1d8:

1) Virtue. Evolve to a higher plane (gain one level).
2) Knowledge. Emancipate and reroll.
3) Dispassion. Immune to purusa; gain 'absorption in pakriti' quality.
4) Power. Automatically succeed on next roll.
5) Vice. Descent to negative material plane.
6) Ignorance. As Hold Person.
7) Passion. Roll on Reincarnation table.
8) Weakness. Fail next opposed roll."

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Fascinating paper on the longbow, and why it was not adopted to any great extent outside England and Wales.
A ruler who adopted the longbow by creating a culture of archery thus effectively armed a large segment of his population, which in turn created an opportunity that a usurping noble with an eye on the Crown could exploit. Such a noble could organize effective rebellion against his ruler by utilizing the large number of citizens with the human capital required for proficient use of the cheap and easy-to-produce weapon. A ruler therefore had to be confident in his political security to be willing to adopt the bow.
This explanation is of course wrong, as it was entirely due to our greater manly virtue and fortitude.

Modern analogues are left to the reader.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Amazing, if this research pans out and is verified - from the abstract:

We document Indigenous Ecological Knowledge and non-Indigenous observations of intentional fire-spreading by the fire-foraging raptors Black Kite (Milvus migrans), Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus), and Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) in tropical Australian savannas. Observers report both solo and cooperative attempts, often successful, to spread wildfires intentionally via single-occasion or repeated transport of burning sticks in talons or beaks.