Alpine

(no subject)

Given a triangular lattice which has had a number of nodes selected, is there a good algorithm for determining the minimum spanning tree which connects all the selected nodes? Or is this something which needs to be brute forced?
Alpine

Decluttering

Looking over my bookshelves, I've decided that although Orson Scott Card and Robert Asprin are fine authors, and although the ten or so German translated versions of their books that I own are undoubtedly also fine, I'm unlikely to read them at any point in the near future. I don't want to throw them away, and I suspect that passing them to the local charity shop is likely to result in that, as they're somewhat of a niche interest in the UK. So I thought I'd mention them here, in case anyone was interested in possessing them - if so, drop me a line.
Alpine

(no subject)

The house is being attacked by baby birds. On Saturday, there was one sitting on the driveway looking small (which we left for its mother or for cats to find), and this morning one has hidden itself in our cooker's extractor fan (which we'll probably also leave as the alternative of dismantling half the kitchen doesn't appeal). Silly birds.
Alpine

(no subject)

Carrie and I have designated the smallest bedroom in the house as the space room, with a view to painting the walls purple with lots of colourful planets, stars, comets and space detritus. Over the course of the recent holidays, this plan has progressed, resulting in a massive sun filling the ceiling, surrounded by purple walls just waiting to be filled.

It looks awesome, and part of me wants to bounce about excitedly painting celestial bodies. Unfortunately, getting this far has robbed me of all available energy. So I may well have a nap instead.
Alpine

Musings on the Hugo nominations

BEST NOVEL
Neptune's Brood - I would preferred to have had a more proactive protagonist and am not quite convinced by the economics of slow currency, but nonetheless found this novel of forensic accounting fascinating.
The Wheel of Time - I have many fond memories of reading through the original volumes even if lack of time means I have not read the series completely.
Ancillary Justice - An interesting society well described largely makes up for a protagonist whose goals self-confessedly make no sense.
No Award
Parasite - The Feed trilogy were compelling reads, but failed to have meaningful climaxes or to properly explore the questions they had raised. The initial reviews of Parasite make me suspect the same is true here; I have therefore not bought myself a copy.
Warbound - I failed to get into part one of the series, and likewise failed to get into part three.

BEST NOVELLA
Equoid - Engaging exploration of a Lovecraftian beastie. Unlike the other nominees, I have interest in rereading this novella, so it takes top place.
The Butcher of Khardov - Surprisingly well crafted tie-in fiction.
No Award
The Chaplain's Legacy - A predictable plot and pedestrian writing mar some interesting world building.
Six-Gun Snow White - I'm sure that there's something that the author wanted to say with this novel, but I didn't understand what it was.
Wakulla Springs - This was a beautifully written but the fact that the fantasy elements could be excised without anyone noticing means that I do not think it is suitable to win a Hugo.
Alpine

Bees mean Hives

Our house has a hole in the wall where a outflow pipe used to live. While sealed off on the inside, the outside was left open to give a nice little passageway into the cavity. And the steady stream of bumblebees entering and leaving said cavity leaves me in no doubt that they've taken advantage of this to build a hive.

I'm not quite sure what to think about this. On the one hand, bees are awesome, and having planted a variety of bee attracting plants, it feels a bit churlish to complain that some have turned up to take us up on the offer. And unlike some kamikaze wasps I could name, these bees seem to be quite happy to bimble about, minding their own business.

On the other hand, part of me worries that they'll slowly spread throughout the entire cavity and turn the house into a massive hive. Or, more plausibly, cause problems by bringing stuff into the cavity which the cavity was not supposed to hold, causing untold cost to repair and replace.

So what should we do?

Nuke the bees from orbit - it's the only way to be sure.
0(0.0%)
Try and persuade the bees that houses are for people and not for insects, fuzzy and awesome though they may be.
2(20.0%)
Commend the bees on their industrious production of hexagonal cell insulation, and leave them to get on with it.
4(40.0%)
Stick a webcam into the hive to observe what is going on, and evaluate the feasibility of installing a honey-tap.
2(20.0%)
Bow down to our new buzzing overlords.
2(20.0%)
Alpine

(no subject)

The record of contact details on my phone confuses me.

Things were simple when I was young.  You had a piece of paper, and when you had a phone number you wanted to keep, you added it.  Every now and again, you got fed up of the lack of structure on your piece of paper, and wrote it out again.  With the advent of computers, things became even simpler, because the 'writing it out again' step could be skipped.

Now matters have become more complex again.  My phone has decided the time of passivity is past and is actively going out and collecting information on my behalf.  I've got phone numbers of barely remembered school friends, birthdays of children where I didn't know the parents had got together and addresses which people will have moved on from before I would expect to see people again.

I'm not sure that I dislike it, perce.  It does mean that I'm likely to get the information that I need, and saves me the effort of having to curate my own list.  But I do miss the control - the certainty of knowing that the information I want has carefully been written down somewhere.  That my records have permanence, and won't randomly be deleted when my phone decides that something it found online is better.
Alpine

Whispers of my muse

Roman emperors, so it is said, had slaves whose job it was to ride behind them in parades, whispering 'you too are mortal'. After lots of recent good news on the games front, I've had an playtest experience along those lines. 'The King Is Dead' had been substantially reworked, and I'd been looking forward all day to wowing people with its significant improvements. Instead, every single one of my alterations proved to make the game variously flatter, more complicated, less likely to terminate and with less skill. Can we say 'oops'?

It's kind of nice to have such experiences from time to time. It highlights just how well the playtests normally end up going, and has given me useful data about how 'The King Is Dead' should be developed next, even if said data is 'anything but the current form'. As a result, I left Swiggers happy, and even the realisation that I'd left my laptop at work and had to go back to the office on the way home to receive it has failed to dent my spirits.
Alpine

(no subject)

Think about the things that are important to you. Perhaps you care about creativity, family relationships, your career, or having a sense of humour. Pick two or three of these values and write a few sentences about why they are important to you. You have fifteen minutes.
Alpine

(no subject)

Apropos of comments about gender balance in panels, I've just realised how male dominated board games design is. I've playtested a lot of different designer's games, and can think of only two times that I've playtested a game designed by a woman. There are more out there, it's true, but proportionally there don't seem to be many. I wonder why that is.