Trainers assign ______ to defend a gym when they…
Hmmm, I gave Wailord the smallest space, didn’t I?
I decided to sit down and guess the current populations of (a) each US state and (b) each sovereign country. Given how often I work with this sort of data, I’d expect to be pretty good at this by now. I think I definitely did do pretty well, at least for the US. Below’s a map summary of results of where my guesses landed, although, of course, if you wish to try this yourself, you should probably not continue reading yet.
North Dakota turned out to be the state for which I most overestimated the population, at 131% of the actual population. I attribute this to overconsidering the effect of its recent boom. I’m not sure how to explain how I underestimated Connecticut’s population so substantially; it was the extreme in the other direction, at 61% of the actual population.
I was really, really shocked when I consulted the list of actual populations and found out Madagascar was over 6 times as populous as I guessed it would be. Kuwait was a mighty surprise too. The most populous country that I failed to guess the population to within 80% to 125% of the actual was Argentina.
Interestingly, my knowledge that Bahrain was ridiculously densely populated didn’t end up actually helping me, because I had no good mental estimator of how large Bahrain as an island was anyway.
Hank Green recently released a video titled “Sports are Dumb” (with a thumbnail that says “Sports aren’t dumb?”, to preface the content of the video), suggesting nerdy-types should attempt embracing sports more, a video of surprisingly bad quality compared to what typically comes from Hank Green. All in all, the video takes part in a recent trend of treating anti-sports academic types as having shallow, impulse reasons for their avoidance of sports, when there are multiple solid reasons for not partaking, or even being actively against, sports.
Arguments in the video are not very good. The video makes it seem like eventually generalized hand-waving will stop and a concrete reason for supporting sports will eventually be pronounced, but the hand-waving pervades the entire video punctuated by occasional not-very-justified raw thoughts. Let’s note the problems in the parts of the video that are points.
1. No one is required to give a reason for being uninterested.
Hank’s claim that it’s hard to rationalize being against sports is multiply problematic: there are good reasons to be against sports which Hank conveniently occludes by pretending he can’t come up with anything, but even before this, people shouldn’t have to explain why they are uninterested in something.
Imagine if someone asked you if you wanted to come see the movie tonight, you said you weren’t interested, they asked you why, and you can’t come up with much beyond that you just didn’t feel like it, and that someone judged you for being unable to come up with a reason for lack of interest. Beyond the difficulty of translating gut instincts, the fact that there are usually too many things in the world one could be involved in, and not the opposite problem, means that the burden of justification should be on being interested in something, not being uninterested. “Caring about stuff is good” is an empty statement—there’s only so much care any particular individual can give, so giving more care to one thing is taking away care from another. People don’t have a deficit in things to care about; people have an excess. “You should care more” is never more than “You should care about this instead of that”.
2. There is good reason to not just be uninterested in but against sports.
Hank alludes to the experience many nerds have of being bullied by more athletic types, and claims lack of interest in sports is due to internalizing feelings against sporty types. As for lack of interest itself, there’s the above, but even on top of this, I claim both that (1) sentiments against sports are completely justified for academic types and (2) there are real-life, tangible ways in which the major sports harm society at large.
This post consists of 16 charts, showing the top 12 countries and the top 12 cities in 8 Pokémon Go statistics: XP, Distance Walked, Pokémon Caught, Trainings, Battles Won, Berries Fed, Hours Defended, and Legendary Raids Won, as measured by the sum of the quantities of the top 25 players in the country or city, according to the last release of TL40 leaderboards. I used a convention that for a player whose statistic is “Not Disclosed”, I used the number for the next highest player that isn’t “Not Disclosed”, and if there isn’t such a next highest player with quantity disclosed, I used “0”.
Different people define regions of the United States differently. Here’s where I draw the boundaries for 22 regions. Ample notes follow.
This is a list of my favorite songs of the four metal bands I most frequently listen to: Amaranthe, Dragonforce, Dragonland, and Nightwish. Some commentary on my thoughts comes after the list for each band. This commentary is generally short, except in the section for Nightwish, for which it appears I am just gushing feelings even though I told myself I wouldn’t write too much.
It’s likely Within Temptation deserves to be here too, but I only recently started to have a liking of that band, and haven’t even listened to all the band’s music yet, so I don’t feel I should list out my favorites there yet. For now, I’ll just mention that I particularly like In the Middle of the Night, Memories, What Have You Done, Paradise, and The Truth Beneath the Rose.
There’s many more songs I like from most of these bands beyond the ones I’m listing here. For a song to make it onto the lists below, they have to be at least somewhat breathtaking. I considered adding Honorable Mention sections to these lists, but decided that would just make the lists too long. Also, numbering only starts somewhat down each of these lists, where I really want to point out the very best. I generally don’t like giving too many things a numerical ranking, because there should really be overlapping margins around these items; even where I start writing explicit numerical rankings, they’re still intended to be rather squishy orderings.
I have opted to follow more conventional title capitalization standards, even though the official names of many of these titles capitalize every word.
Finally, some songs I include in these lists are covers by the band of an original song by another band, which I decided I will list while not counting the song towards the total count of the list for the band.
Razorblade (8th track of The Nexus)
Supersonic (10th track of Maximalism)
Hunger (2nd track of Amaranthe)
Leave Everything Behind (1st track of Amaranthe)
Invincible (2nd track of The Nexus)
Call Out My Name (7th track of Amaranthe)
1.000.000 Lightyears (3rd track of Amaranthe)
5. Stardust (5th track of The Nexus)
4. Afterlife (1st track of The Nexus)
3. Automatic (4th track of Amaranthe)
2. Amaranthine (6th track of Amaranthe)
1. Infinity (12th track of The Nexus)
The Nexus: 6
Massive Addictive: 0
You may realize that my opinion of Amaranthe drops significantly for works after its 2nd album, The Nexus. I think my thoughts are best approximated as “it really got too much pop in relation to metal at that point”.
On a music video note, I like the double fade at the end of the video for Amaranthine.
And on a music-orthogonal note, I appreciate Amaranthe as a band where Danes and Swedes work together. I’m sure there was still plenty of room to continue the friendly rivalry, though.
The Harvard station is rather special among MBTA Red Line stations. It’s a double-decker station, and also much, much curvier than other stations. But most notable to me—and, as I’ve found out, not just me—is that the station manages to evade geographical sense. On the inbound platform, my navigational intuition tells me the train should be coming from the right, but instead the train comes from the left. There are also others among the geographically-inclined that agree that it really feels like the train should come from the right. And yet, this is not just a small discrepancy in intuition, where a direction is a mild angle off. This is a navigational intuition failure of 180 degrees.
The entrance I (and most of my friends) usually take to go down to the Harvard station platform starts right in the Harvard Square bend of Massachusetts Avenue (which the Red Line runs under), heading eastward, along the avenue. After going down an escalator or flight of stairs, the path turns sharply left, heading down another escalator or flight of stairs. Here, the path branches into two curved paths heading out: one to the left, heading to the 71 and 73 buses, and one to the right, arcing over to the platforms, along the way splitting into one path going to the outbound platform and one going to the inbound platform, which is under the outbound platform. So, like this:
Thus, one would expect, after mentally processing this path, that the train comes from the right. Yet the train actually comes from the left.
There aren’t floor plans of the station available online, at least as far as I can tell, so I returned to the station recently just to figure out what’s going on once and for all.
It turns out this is what actually happens.
That is, of the 180-degree discrepancy, only about 90 degrees are from miscalibration of angles and curves in the path: the first turn is sharper; the second turn is shallower. The rest of the discrepancy is due to where the platform actually is being only about 90 degrees offset from the mental model of where the platform is, specifically, before the bend in the route. And in fact, looking into the tunnel towards the right at the Harvard station platform, one can confirm that the path taken by the train turns left after entering.
Interestingly, once I entered the platform with my mind set on figuring out what’s really going on, the explanation unraveled itself without need of additional tools or a map. That one time, focused on the problem, was more useful to entangling this mystery than the entire 5 years prior during which the station just caught me off guard.