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Everything posted by Werthead

  1. The Farseer Trilogy #1: Assassin's Apprentice
  2. The Barbed Coil
  3. He is also Theresa May's "closest advisor", however unofficially, and there is a potential conflict of interest in his job working for an investment firm which directly financially benefits from shifts and decisions in government policy. This is actually an interesting situation to be in, as no former spouse of the Prime Minister has been in quite the same position (Cherie Blair was probably the closest, as a practising barrister whilst her husband was in office, but that was also a relatively public role with lots of scrutiny).
  4. I'm glad Netflix is making more shows like this and American Vandal which are actually (relatively) cheap and fast to make, so we can actually get a new season out every year rather than constantly having to wait 18 months between seasons (or closer to three years, hi Daredevil).
  5. Capital Investments owns 7.69% of Lockheed Martin and is its second-biggest shareholder (if I'm reading this right),so it's more than some negligible stake. As I said, I don't believe it's any way relevant to the decision to attack Syria (the moment of which was chosen by Trump, Assad and Putin, with May more along as a passenger), but it does allow an angle of questioning. The Prime Minister would have this covered, of course, by having had Parliamentary approval for the action.
  6. Iron Harvest just passed its Kickstarter goals. It's set in the world of the Scythe board game, which is basically WWI-but-with-mechs. The game takes a lot of inspiration from the original (and superior) Company of Heroes, definitely worth keeping an eye out for.
  7. Thoughts on the Prime Minister's husband working for one of Lockheed-Martin's key investors at a moment when their share prices are rocketing through the roof because of military action over Syria? In particular, this campaign saw the deployment of a new type of cruise missile developed and constructed 100% by Lockheed-Boeing and fired at $1 million a pop. I think we can conclude that this wasn't a reason for the conflict (Philip May's financial status unlikely to be high on the agenda of either Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin), but it's not the best optics for the PM's spouse to be financially benefiting, however inadvertently, from military action over civilian deaths.
  8. I spent the day coallating the new list. There were 237 authors on last year's list, we're now up to 344, so this has been a lot of work. Mostly from Jussi, obviously, but also AncalagonTheBlack and TerokNor, who provided some solid figures for German authors. I think we'll have to look at introducing some lock, maybe around the 200 mark, to keep this from spiralling out of control. With tons of indie authors now selling tens of thousands of copies I think trying to catch everything in the genre is futile.
  9. Last time I played Empire I was surprised that the AI wasn't as awful as I remember. Still not great but it gave me a run for my money a few times. Shogun II I think is the only one that has really good strategic AI, mainly because the shape of Japan funnels the enemy towards you and makes for a tougher game (unless you start at one of the two ends and "roll up" the entire island. Two weeks until Thrones of Britannia, so we'll see if the AI has improved any.
  10. It was weird they included Thief of Time, one of the weakest Discworld novels, but it's good they also had Night Watch in there.
  11. The UK and RoI were doing pretty well with their cross-border processes, even though one was in the Eurozone and the other wasn't.
  12. First official images and a rough release date ("late Spring"). Looking good. The filters used for the two different cities seem to work and Morrisey looks the part.
  13. Well, Brexit is going to cause problems for the NI/UK/RoI relationship. It's just up in the air at the moment just how big those problems are going to be.
  14. While it's not linked, joint Irish-UK membership of the EU greatly simplified the process of harmonisation on either side of the border and very easily meant that the border could be disregarded, which would not have been the case otherwise. The UK's withdrawal from the EU means "deharmonisation" of UK and Irish law, which will inevitably (if slowly) mean divergence and a complication of the relationship. George Mitchell is pretty adamant that joint Irish-UK membership of the EU made the Good Friday Agreement much more practical and maybe even possible when otherwise it wouldn't have been.
  15. The older thread on this topic got swallowed up in the forum update, so here's an updated version. I've been thinking for a while that an Atlas of ASoIaF, covering everything from demographics to religion to languages to military campaigns and geographical landforms, would be really cool, such as what Karen Wynn Fonstad did for the works of Anne McCaffrey, Stephen Donaldson and J.R.R. Tolkien before she unfortunately passed away in 2005. We're highly unlikely to get it, given GRRM's stance on not wanting to pin down such details beyond what we've already seen in the Lands of Ice and Fire maps and the World of Ice and Fire book. So putting together a speculative website seems like a reasonable alternative, which is what I did a few weeks ago. So far I've covered the following topics: Welcome to the Atlas of Ice and Fire Maps in Fantasy The Maps of A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones The Maps of A Song of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings The Maps of A Song of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords The Maps of A Song of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows The Maps of A Song of Ice and Fire: A Dance with Dragons The Maps of A Song of Ice and Fire: RPGs and Box Sets The Maps of A Song of Ice and Fire: The Lands of Ice and Fire The Maps of A Song of Ice and Fire: The World of Ice and Fire The Maps of Game of Thrones: Westeros on TV The Maps of A Song of Ice and Fire: Fan Maps So How Big is the World Anyway? Karen Wynn Fonstad and the Art of Fantasy Cartography The Size and Extent of Westeros The Size and Extent of Essos, Sothoryos and Ulthos A Political Map of the Known World Terra Incognita: Beyond the Known World The Population of the Seven Kingdoms It's Smaller on TV: Distances on Game of Thrones The Population of the Free Cities The Internal Borders of Westeros Details of the Maps: Roads, Mountains and Forests Valyria Before the Doom Unreliable Timelines and Confused Dates Wonders Made By Man The Seven Natural Wonders of the Known World Future topics include a historical series of maps and (once I've found a good way of doing it) maps of the cities and castles we haven't seen yet, such as Winterfell, Harrenhal, Volantis, Meereen etc.
  16. I thought the angle was going to be a fresh revelation that they'd found a copy of The Phantom Menace in Bin Laden's movie collection or something.
  17. Waiting for BattleTech at the end of the month (and maybe Thrones of Britannia a couple of weeks after that) so replaying some old games. First up, Ground Control, after I spotted it on Steam for £3. This was an RTS (very technically, a RTT) released in 2000 and was possibly the best-looking, most technically advanced game ever released at that point. Playing it now, it's astonishing how far ahead of its time it was. It had a fantastic 3D engine, flawless unit pathfinding, incredible attention to detail (the way you can zoom down to ground level and see your individual guys' spent magazine cases flying through the air is impressive now, let alone eighteen years ago), was amazingly well-optimised (my Pentium II 233Mhz with a Voodoo 2 graphics card - which was a bit creaky at the time - handed the game splendily). The UI is also, simply, the best ever created for any strategy game (including its own sequel!). Tremendously powerful, incredibly minimalist but it still puts formidable amounts of information and control at your fingertips. It also had insanely huge maps, great unit variation (including the best artillery ever seen in any video game, ever) and, although not a true physics engine, lots of ballistic simulations to make it feel like a physics engine, three years before they really existed. The fact it came out just two years after StarCraft and a year after Tiberian Sun is incredible, it looks at least 10 years more advanced than those games (and it looks far newer than Shogun: Total War, which it predated by a couple of months). In fact, if you can ignore the obviously old textures and the limited resolution size (although it does work in widescreen, at least), the game is pretty brilliant today. Even the story is decent. They definitely don't make them like this anymore.
  18. Weirdly, apparently during production a second season was discussed, and China was up for it, although whether he'd write a novel first and then they'd adapt it or they'd just plow into it was unclear. Based on the bafflement the show's been greeted by by some people and the fact that most people seem unaware it exists, it seems a bit of a moot issue.
  19. Hamilton was slow there as well. The SC lights were up when he came into the second-to-last corner, he even got a much better look at them than normal as he had to slow to pass through the debris. He should have twigged and pitted himself. It would have been a scramble but they could have gotten it done. We've seen other drivers do the same thing before. Hamilton was asleep all weekend. I think he'd written off the weekend and was planning to cruise it home and completely missed the idea. Not his sharpest moment.
  20. British Government Farcical Lunacy Lesson #13,207 Back in 2013 a company fraud expert registered a fake company in the name of Vince Cable, then business secretary in the Coalition, to show how easy it was to screw over Company House (as someone who used Company House on a daily basis for fact-checking, the amount of clear bullshit that goes on with that service is quite staggering) and set up fake shell companies and commit other fraud acts. He reported what he'd done to Company House and the government, as well as the press, everyone was very embarrassed and agreed to fix the problems (naturally, they have done nothing). A couple of weeks ago the same guy was abruptly - five years after the fact - pulled in and fined £12,000 for falsifying company information in this instance. Now, whistleblowers frequently face reprisals and this kind of thing is not completely unexpected. He also did very technically break the law in letter if not in spirit. What is truly ridiculous is that the government posted a fucking press release crowing about how awesome they are for catching this guy. The context is left completely missing. He told them he did it, otherwise they'd have never noticed and never have caught him! I don't know what drone wrote this press release but they should be ashamed of themselves. Unbelievable. "When?"
  21. Excellent race. Lots of great minor moments too, like Alonso's near-contemptuous pass of Vettel which left Vettel fuming but unable to do anything about it, and Hulkenberg driving a really measured race to deliver a solid result for Renault. Force India looking racy for the first time this season as well. Verstappen needs to calm down, he's being far too aggressive, but at least he knows now when he's ballsed up and apologised for it. Measured response from Vettel as well, thankfully. Bottas delivered the kind of drive he needed to at this moment. But I think Mercedes have to be looking hard at Ricciardo and wondering about the benefits of having him in the car versus Bottas. I can't see Vettel allowing Ricciardo to go to Ferrari or Ricciardo being happy being a #2 driver there. Williams look totally adrift though. A completely catastrophic result, and I think at least in part due to putting two inexperienced drivers in the car.
  22. If I had a Kindle, had any intention of getting a Kindle, or used dollars, sure
  23. I don't think the stories appeal to an audience full stop. More than any other "classic" SF series (apart maybe from Lensmen), Foundation is a badly, badly-written, characterless and sexist series rooted in a dubious central premise and shitty worldbuilding (no AI at all in this million-planet star empire, Isaac? Really?) which has its place in genre history solely from nostalgia.
  24. There was an interesting observation that video games were marketed to boys and girls reasonably equally in the first flush of gaming in the 1970s, but then after the great gaming crash they pivoted overwhelmingly towards men. I've seen the suggestion being that's because in the early 1980s you had the first guys who'd grown up with video games getting into making them, and women were relatively rare in the industry for a long time.
  25. Rome has moments where they use actual tactics but then lots of moments where they don't (the Roman tactic or throwing massed volleys of javelins into the enemy ranks before closing is usually missing from all depictions of Roman warfare). But then Rome only has a couple of big battle scenes in the first place.