Sehkmet : The prologue.        
Cover Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 5 6 7 8 and 9 9 10 For full visual impact and to read text, download free pdf file at http://www.luciferlazerus.com Posted in D/s, Bdsm, goth culture Tagged: art, Bdsm, D/s, dominance, erotic, fetish, LuciferLazerus, masochism, poecatt, prose, sadism, Sehkmet, sexuality, submission, submissive, subspace, trance fetish, vamp […]
          Sketched Subspace Clustering        


Sketched Subspace Clustering by Panagiotis A. Traganitis, Georgios B. Giannakis
The immense amount of daily generated and communicated data presents unique challenges in their processing. Clustering, the grouping of data without the presence of ground-truth labels, is an important tool for drawing inferences from data. Subspace clustering (SC) is a relatively recent method that is able to successfully classify nonlinearly separable data in a multitude of settings. In spite of their high clustering accuracy, SC methods incur prohibitively high computational complexity when processing large volumes of high-dimensional data. Inspired by random sketching approaches for dimensionality reduction, the present paper introduces a randomized scheme for SC, termed Sketch-SC, tailored for large volumes of high-dimensional data. Sketch-SC accelerates the computationally heavy parts of state-of-the-art SC approaches by compressing the data matrix across both dimensions using random projections, thus enabling fast and accurate large-scale SC. Performance analysis as well as extensive numerical tests on real data corroborate the potential of Sketch-SC and its competitive performance relative to state-of-the-art scalable SC approaches.








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          Projections onto a Convex Body        
Given a point and an affine subspace , the projection of onto is the point such that, One can obviously define other notions of projection but the above is probably the most commonly used in geometry. If then the projected point is the unique point in such that the vector is orthogonal to . Also […]
          SubSpaceLand - Cayenne Klein - Dark Sensation (SD/404p/101 MB)        
SubSpaceLand - Cayenne Klein - Dark Sensation (SD/404p/101 MB)

          SubSpaceLand - Jessica Rox, Juliette Shyn - Moonlight For Two (SD/404p/252 MB)        
SubSpaceLand - Jessica Rox, Juliette Shyn - Moonlight For Two (SD/404p/252 MB)

          Quantum Tangle (Targon Tales)        
Quantum Tangle (Targon Tales)
author: Chris Reher
name: Mark
average rating: 3.90
book published: 2014
rating: 2
read at: 2015/07/13
date added: 2015/07/13
shelves:
review:
Quantum Tangle
Author: Chris Reher
Publisher: Chris Reher
Date: 2014
Pgs: 235

REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Summary:
Fly through subspace crossing unimaginable distances and when you awake you aren’t alone in your own skull. A subspace being has hitched a ride and is now attached to you. And they redirected your ship. You aren’t where you’re supposed to be. They need help. She needs help. You’ve been nominated. Her people are being abducted. Now you’re harboring a subspace alien in rebel-controlled territory while being pursued by both the rebels and the Commonwealth’s Air Command.

Genre:
Adventure
Fiction
Science fiction
Space opera

Why this book:
Space. Militaria. Reminds me of Farscape and SG1 with a little Body Snatchers thrown in.
______________________________________________________________________________

Favorite Character:
Sethran Kada and Khoe are both good characters. Though considering their experiences, the trap they walk into in the lead up to the climax is a bit on-the-nose.

Least Favorite Character:
The bad Dyad is a cookie cutter bad guy.

Favorite Scene:
The battle on Bellene.

Pacing:
The pace is alright.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
The aforementioned pre-climax trap that Sethran and Khoe walk into doesn’t ring true to the characters. Seemed like something they should have been expecting.

______________________________________________________________________________

Last Page Sound:
I was worried that I was going to be disappointed following the OOC moment but the author gathered it up and delivered a good finish.

Author Assessment:
I would give other stories by the author a case-by-case look.

Editorial Assessment:
Well edited.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
it’s alright

Disposition of Book:
e-Book

Would recommend to:
genre fans
______________________________________________________________________________


          The Atlantis Ship (Carson Mach Adventure #1)        
The Atlantis Ship (Carson Mach Adventure #1)
author: A.C. Hadfield
name: Mark
average rating: 3.65
book published: 2015
rating: 3
read at: 2015/05/18
date added: 2015/05/18
shelves:
review:
The Atlantis Ship
Author: A. C. Hadfield
Date: 2015
Pgs: 402

REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Summary:
Freelancer. Former War Hero. He hunts a ghost ship, a legend, a Dutchman, the Atlantis Ship.

Then, the object of his quest sails out of a wormhole and starts destroying everything in its path. Carson Mach finds himself against overwhelming odds on a mission across the galaxy. If he fails, all of humanity may pay the price. The mystery of the Atlantis Ship has to be solved.

Genre:
Adventure
Fiction
Military
Science fiction
Space
Space opera
War

Why this book:
Came to me on a read for review program.
______________________________________________________________________________

Favorite Character:
Carson Mach, ne’er-do-well, bounty hunter, troublemaker, washout, busted out of the service. He’s very Han Solo-ish, from the attitude that comes off of him to the bar fight with one of his bounty targets in his introduction.

Tululu, the vestan engineer. Love the line where Mach wonders if she is excited about her escape or if she is just insane as she pilots her small podship around the Black Swan Orbital.

Squid, the droid. One of Babcock’s many worker droids from his lone exile planet. This one was more companion and friend during his long lonely exile.

Least Favorite Character:
Admiral Morgan comes across as a bit of a cardboard cutout and cliche. And compared to Mach and his crew’s personalities, he seems to not be fully drawn in. The parts of the book where he features feel a bit like we are being lead by the nose rather than being told a story.

Character I Most Identified With:
Carson Mach. He’s a swashbucker. He’s what I’d want to be in that world. An excellent bit of escapism imagining yourself in his shoes.

The Feel:
This is a great mix of Trek, Wars, and Firefly.

Favorite Scene:
Love the open with the poor bastard out doing exterior maintenance on Orbital Forty as the Atlantis Ship wormholes in and destroys the station underneath him.

The Shawshank from the Commonwealth prison as a way to fill out the crew was great.

Tululua’s escape from the Black Swan Orbital.

Pacing:
The pacing is good, provided you aren’t drawn offsides by the occasional editorial lapse. The back-at-command with Admiral Morgan scenes drag on the pace of the story.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
The Captain sent to investigate the destruction of Orbital Forty being snippy with Admiral Morgan over subspace because she feels that she was sent on a wild goose chase that could have been taken care of by the natives of the local planetary system and, then, intimates to the Admiral that he isn’t in her chain of command and that she is really there to challenge the horan movements in the area. If that were the case, then, she would need to be in the area anyway and her one sentence earlier reticence about the mission to the Orbital Forty debris field doesn’t wash.

Mack and Adira’s interactions are repetitious.

Hmm Moments:
A coup in the fleet, Morgan going over his boss’s head due to his being frozen out of the command chain and put on the Atlantis Ship chase without any resources to carry out the mission. How this plays in relation to Mack’s hunt for the Dutchman isn’t clear yet. And then, the coup in wider circles playing out as well. The scenes that take place outside of Carson Mach’s presence drag.

The best scene featuring Morgan is the last scene in the denouement where he is trying to talk Mach into becoming Sky Marshal.

Why isn’t there a screenplay?
This could go big screen. Heck, it could be a series.

Casting call:
You’d have to reach outside of the obvious choices for Mach due to his similarities to Kirk, Solo, and Reynolds. Maybe Idris Elba.

Dwayne Johnson or Vin Diesel as Sanchez.

Clancy Brown as Babcock.

Jim Parsons as the voice of Squid.
______________________________________________________________________________

Last Page Sound:
Very nice.

Author Assessment:
The story is strong enough to overcome the editorial shorcomings.

Editorial Assessment:
The story needed a few more passes under the editor’s blade and a re-read or two from the author. The repetitiousness between Mack and Adira should have been caught by an editor.

The dialogue is very rough in places. The novel desperately needed to be edited another time.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
really good book

Disposition of Book:
e-Book

Would recommend to:
genre fans
______________________________________________________________________________

Errata:


          Optimization Algorithms on Matrix Manifolds        
Written by P.-A. Absil, R. Mahony & R. Sepulchre

Foreword by Paul Van Dooren
Constrained optimization is quite well established as an area of research, and there exist several powerful techniques that address general problems in that area. In this book a special class of constraints is considered, called geometric constraints, which express that the solution of the optimization problem lies on a manifold. This is a recent area of research that provides powerful alternatives to the more general constrained optimization methods. Classical constrained optimization techniques work in an embedded space that can be of a much larger dimension than that of the manifold. Optimization algorithms that work on the manifold have therefore a lower complexity and quite often also have better numerical properties (see, e.g., the numerical integration schemes that preserve invariants such as energy). The authors refer to this as unconstrained optimization in a constrained search space.
The idea that one can describe difference or differential equations whose solution lies on a manifold originated in the work of Brockett, Flaschka, and Rutishauser. They described, for example, isospectral flows that yield time-varying matrices which are all similar to each other and eventually converge to diagonal matrices of ordered eigenvalues. These ideas did not get as much attention in the numerical linear algebra community as in the area of dynamical systems because the resulting difference and differential equations did not lead immediately to efficient algorithmic implementations.
An important book synthesizing several of these ideas is Optimization and DynamicalSystems (Springer, 1994), by Helmke and Moore, which focuses on dynamical systems related to gradient flows that converge exponentially to a stationary point that is the solution of some optimization problem. The corresponding discrete-time version of this algorithm would then have linear convergence, which seldom compares favorably with state-of-the-art eigenvalue solvers.
The formulation of higher-order optimization methods on manifolds grew out of these ideas. Some of the people that applied these techniques to basic linear algebra problems include Absil, Arias, Chu, Dehaene, Edelman, Eld´en, Gallivan, Helmke, H¨uper, Lippert, Mahony, Manton, Moore, Sepulchre, Smith, and Van Dooren. It is interesting to see, on the other hand, that several basic ideas in this area were also proposed by Luenberger and Gabay in the optimization literature in the early 1980s, and this without any use of dynamical systems.
In the present book the authors focus on higher-order methods and include Newton-type algorithms for optimization on manifolds. This requiresa lot more machinery, which cannot currently be found in textbooks. The main focus of this book is on optimization problems related to invariant subspaces of matrices, but this is sufficiently general to encompass well the two main aspects of optimization on manifolds: the conceptual algorithm and its convergence analysis based on ideas of differential geometry, and the efficient numerical implementation using state-of-the-art numerical linear algebra techniques.
The book is quite deep in the presentation of the machinery of differential geometry needed to develop higher-order optimization techniques, but it nevertheless succeeds in explaining complicated concepts with simple ideas. These ideas are then used to develop Newton-type methods as well as other superlinear methods such as trust-region methods and inexact and quasi-Newton methods, which precisely put more emphasis on the efficient numerical implementation of the conceptual algorithms.
This is a research monograph in a field that is quickly gaining momentum. The techniques are also being applied to areas of engineering and robotics, as indicated in the book, and it sheds new light on methods such as the Jacobi-Davidson method, which originally came from computational chemistry. The book makes a lot of interesting connections and can be expected to generate several new results in the future.
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          Yours, mind body and soul         
i want to make slow passionate love with You...when time is not a factor and We can simply fold into each other slowly, like baking a cake from scratch, with care and joy.  Where no one exists but Us...no phones, no Internet, no television, no family or friends ...just Us, as if We were on a deserted island. 

i want Us to be able to stimulate every part of Our bodies, from head to toe and everything in between, taking Our sweet time with no goal in mind and with no end in sight.  i want to exhaust all the energy We have until nothing is left and We are drenched in sweat, hearts pumping hard and minds unfocused on anything but each moment of Our love and lust.

i want to laugh with You and see the lines in Your face and the huge smile You have when We are being silly together.  I want to walk along the shore and breathe fresh salty air and pig out on Our favorite food together.

i want to cry for You...to feel pain administered by You and feel pleasure from the pain.  i want to feel the sting of each blow and tremble with the whispers that You give me with Your hot breath on my neck.  i want to melt with You and float into subspace as though on a cloud. 

i am Yours, mind body and soul and cherish all the memories We have made and am titillated by the thought of all the memories We have yet to create.

Thank You for today and all past days You've shared with me...each sunrise i wake with You is a day i will surrender and though the wind blows and clouds drift across the sky, i will always be Your little butterfly.
          [Composer / Sound Designer Available] 20+ years of experience!        

@SubspaceAudio wrote:

Hi there, my name is Juhani Junkala. I'm a 33 year old musician from Finland. I have over 20 years of experience as a composer and electronic music producer. I also have a master's degree as a classical composer from Sibelius Academy, Helsinki (ranked top 7th music university in the world, 2016).

You probably won't find anyone else here with such a high degree of education in music, the years of experience or the inborn talent that I have. The amount of hours I've put into attaining my current skill set is INSANE and all that experience is available for you.

I have written music in all genres: everything electronic ranging from dubstep to ambient and everything in between. I can do all the usual game music genres, JRPG stuff and retro game music. I've also had the opportunity to write symphonic works that have been performed by orchestras. Don't be afraid to ask for obscure or experimental genres.

I can do sound effects in modern and retro styles and I can handle audio middlewares like Wwise or FMOD Studio.

I'm currently working full time as a freelance composer and sound designer so I can put in 8-10 hours of work per day if you're in a hurry. I'm good with deadlines. I can do both licensing and buyout deals and I can help you to understand the details in the contracts. I'm also a producer in a hobbyist game development team.

I've got lots of very happy clients from my previous game projects. Check out my game audio portfolio:

The first entry Skilly Shooterstars has over 92 000 downloads. It was featured by Apple on the front page of iTunes App Store.

Contact: juhani.junkala@musician.org

Homepage: https://juhanijunkala.com/

Posts: 2

Participants: 1

Read full topic


          The Subspace Emissary - Difficulty Change?        
Is there any way to change the difficulty in The Subspace Emissary once you start playing it? Or wou...
          Subspace Emissary Stays At First Cutscene        
Whenever I play subspace emissary it always stays at the first cutscene. All the missions can be played. It just stays at the...
          Help Me Please.        
So, I beat Super Smash Bros. Brawl Subspace Emissary with all crowns. I know there is hidden Characters. I unlocked Jijjlypuf...
          Star Trek: Horror and the Old Ones        
Somewhere in the Galaxy, the stars are right!

I got the new Modiphius Star Trek game the other day. I am not ready for a review, yet, but there is a lot of great stuff in the game.

It got me thinking about my terrible, horrible idea to mix Trek with the Lovecraftian Mythos and do a horror based Star Trek game.  I talked about this last year with my ship idea, the USS Protector, NCC-3120 and my idea for a Black Star game.



One of my favorite episodes of the TOS was "Catspaw" which naturally had some serious horror themes to it.  It is also notable for two other reasons.  First, it was written by Robert Bloch. Bloch not only wrote "Psycho" he wrote one of my other favorite TOS episodes "Wolf in the Fold".  He was associated with the Mythos circle through writers like  August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith.  Lovecraft's own character of "Robert Blake" was dedicated to Robert Bloch.  So his connection is as solid as they get.

Catspaw is interesting for another reason.  The main antagonists, Korob and Sylvia, are referred to as "Servants of the Old Ones".  There is no reason to doubt that these Old Ones are not the same as Lovecraft's. The idea of having the Mythos in Star Trek has appeal.  It also is not entirely foreign to Star Trek cannon.

Trek has dipped into horror many times over the last 50 years.  Here are some of the episodes I am using for inspiration.

"Wolf in the Fold" also has strong horror elements and postulates that Jack the Ripper was actually "possessed" by a malign alien intelligence known as "Redjac".  While Jack the Ripper is not Mythos, an alien intelligence is.  It is also one of my favorites too.



"Conspiracy" was one of the few stand-out episodes of the first season of TNG.  It dealt with an alien brain parasite invading the Federation.  It is too bad they never followed up on it more.  Given the time frame I am wanting to play in it is likely I won't be either, but still a great resource.

"The Man Trap" (TOS) scared the crap out of me when I first saw it. Ok, I was 6 or 7, but still.  I love the idea of an enemy that looks like everyone else.

"Schisms". This sixth season TNG episode put the alien abduction scenario to the test with aliens from a "tertiary subspace manifold" or for all intents and purposes, another dimension or universe.

"Night Terrors" from TNG's fourth season shows us what will happen if the crew can't dream.  Personally I wanted to Crusher to be a little more immune to this situation. I am sure she once had to do a 48 hour shift at Starfleet Medical back when she was an intern!

"The Magicks of Megas-tu" from the Animated Series deals with magic and witches. While not the horror implied by the Mythos, there is something to this that helps bring magic and science together.

And really, couldn't the monster from "The Thing" been a wounded Founder?

Dark Elf or Romulan cultist?
Over the years I have developed a few Trek adventures for different versions of the game. But mostly for the FASA version.

"Ghost Ship" was my pastiche of the Flying Dutchman featuring the Enterprise-B (long before I knew it was going to be an Excelsior class ship).
"Citadel of Never" was a similar adventure to a dead ship in a dead star system.
After "Event Horizon" came out I wanted to run a Trek adventure just like it, only replacing the ship with a Romulan one.

I love the idea of a fresh group of new Federation explorers running head first into the horrors of the Mythos.  Maybe they find Azatoth in the center of the galaxy or get a distress call from a planet near Yamil Zacara.

Sounds like a fun Halloween themed session.
          Masomessing lyrics.        
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMpwcyWq7TIA very cool tune. Paste the link in your browser and go watch. A favorite tune of mine, numb, by Holly Mcnarland.Posted in D/s, Bdsm, goth culture Tagged: Bdsm, D/s, death, dominance, erotic, fetish, sadism, sexuality, submission, submissive, subspace, trance
          She made me cry ....        
I started the exploration of my submission online, many years ago.  I had many friends, Dominant and submissive, who I chatted with for years.   One conversation had been one of those "profound talks" that I have thought about often.   A Female Dominant said to me one day "If you were to ever become my submissive, I would place you over my knee and spank you until you cried"  She asked me if I understood why she would do that, and I said "not to inflict pain, but to show your ownership, your Dominance over me .... it would show I was "willing to submit to her" ..

While I "knew the right answer", I don't believe I really understood it back then.  What I really was thinking, and didn't says was that, I didn't think it could happen. In pain maybe, but I didnt believe that I could ever be brought to an "emotional cathartic release crying" from a spanking, or any other kind of scene. It would imply a lot of trust. I could love, I could submit, I would trust - physically, without question .. but I wasn't sure about the emotional submission .. and it took 15 yrs to find that I could.

I am collared, to a couple who I have had several emotionally strong scenes, which has been part of the connection and draw i have with them.

A few weeks ago we attended an event together.  Her and I were going to do our 1first solo scene, just the 2 of us, to show off her personally made paddles.  The energy was high. I was floating, I had been in my "subspace" from the start of the event, and now I was in collar, on leash, and we were going to the dungeon party.  She is always beautiful, and exhibitionist me was excited even more knowing everyone was going to be watching and talking about us  oO( exhibitionist, attention slut .. same thing lol)

She tied me up pretty, she touched and caressed and brought all my senses alive .. then she began spanking, and I had a flood of energy release .. I felt like crying .. it was overwhelming .. and so I let it happen. I had so many beautiful sobbing tears ... and I thought about that conversation. Being made to cry from a spanking ...I was not only submitting physically, but emotionally giving all myself to Her at that moment (and it turns out, for a little over 2 hours!)  I have never felt more "submissive" , I have never felt more trust, and love, and connection ... I knew as the tears flowed that I trusted Her, that I was fully submitting to her, and they are feelings I will always cherish.
          Tng Episode 1.13: Datalore        
In which the crux of the biscuit is the apostrophe.

Memory Alpha says: Enterprise explores Data's home planet, Omicron Theta. They find his brother, and the dark secret he carries. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
Of course I'll have a lot to say about this one, because it's the first really Data-centric episode, and to me TNG is a show about Data. It also introduces one of my favourite characters, and one I feel is sadly underused, Data's villainous older brother Lore. In the early planning stages, the new android was going to be female (a gynoid, really) and a love interest for Data (so, um, presumably not his sister, although I suppose if you want to be really rational about it it's not exactly incest if there's no DNA or shared experience of a familial relationship involved) but Brent Spiner suggested the ol' evil twin routine. 
 

In doing so, he made a rod for his own back, because playing both Data and Lore involved a lot of costume changing, mental gear shifting and of course shooting every scene in which both appeared twice (three times in the excellent 'Brothers' where he also plays their father Noonien), with extensive use of body doubles and suchlike fooferaw. As far as I know, it's because this was exhausting for him that we don't see very much of Lore, and that makes me sad because, especially after 'Brothers,' I find Lore a really fascinating person (and his swan song, 'Descent,' peeves me both because it diminishes Data morally and it has Lore develop a sudden case of Supervillain Syndrome that seems a trifle jarring).

If I may, I wish that Nemesis wasn't about Romulans and Remans and poor Tom Hardy playing a shitty clone, I wish it were about a final showdown between Data and Lore. Brent Spiner wanted Data to die so he could be free of the role, okay, do that, but without the idiocy of having Data replaced by B4 who is played by Brent Spiner. Have Lore and Data ultimately both die, in a sort of mutual nemesis arrangement (only they can destroy each other), but Data's programming and memory live on in a resurrected Lal. Don't try to make it like Spock; make it like Dax, with the essence of Data continuing in a new identity. There should still be a part for Ron Perlman, though, because I freaking love Ron Perlman.

Failing that (you know, given the lack of time travel to enable me to change bad movies), I wish we could have an animated continuation of TNG, as there was for TOS in the 1970s, for which nobody would need to get into costume or makeup or a girdle (Frakes), they would just do the voices (Gargoyles and Patrick Stewart's performance as Lord Yupa in the Disney dub of Nausicäa make it clear that they are all awesome for this) - and the series could move around to anywhere in the post-TNG, DS9 etcetera world, pick up on any of our old friends, show how Data re-emerges through B4, see how O'Brien's doing teaching at the Academy, show Tom Riker rebuilding his life after getting out of jail, revisit some weird shit from TOS like Balock or Trelane if they felt like it, make crossover Sherlock Holmes/secret agent holodeck adventures for Data and Julian Bashir, the adventures of Wesley with the Traveller (now that'd be some weird shit) - and there should be several episodes all about what Lore got up to in between episodes, exploring the seedy underbelly of the Alpha Quadrant.

I'm so full of good ideas, everyone. THOSE ARE COPYRIGHT BY ME, OKAY? IF THEY TURN UP ON TV AND I DON'T GET ANY MONEY I'M GOING TO BE MAD.

But anyway, now it's time for 'Datalore,' which does have some good ideas in it, but also some really weird stuff, and is Unfair To Wesley.

There are a lot of 4s in the stardate Picard reels off at the beginning. They're approaching the Omicron Theta system, where Data came from, and although they're on the way somewhere, Picard wants to stop in for a few hours in the hope of learning a bit more about Data's mysterious beginnings. I know vast distances are involved, but you'd think that in the twenty-plus years Data's been around, most of that time serving in Starfleet, someone would have gone and checked up on the old homestead, at least to see if, you know, there are any more like him. Have they seen 'I, Mudd'?

Data is not currently on the bridge - Wesley is keeping his chair warm for him, though, and Geordi announces that they're twenty minutes from OT, so Riker tells him to slow down and prepare to orbit 'Data's planet,' as if he owns the place. He's puzzled that Data isn't present, and Picard, sounding amused, explains that he said he wanted to be alone - 'perhaps this is a bigger moment for him than we thought.'

When Wesley goes to check on him, though, he finds Data practising sneezing. His pained anticipatory 'aah... aaah' is actually pretty good. It's the 'choo' where he falls apart. I would like to know if Data has also tried burping and farting, or if those are a bit too rude for one as polite as he. You know, I once snurped. Sneezed and burped simultaneously. It was one of the most disconcerting sensations I've ever had. The burp went through my nose. I'm a weird sneezer anyway; instead of one big ah-choo I produce a rapid-fire series of 'ah-TSU! TSU! TSU!' mini-sneezes, often described as sounding like a cat. Usually six or seven, but I've got as high as ten in dusty conditions. 

Presumably dusty conditions still make people sneeze even in the 24th Century, but Wesley asks Data if he's got a cold, which people don't get any more and Data probably couldn't get even if he snorted rhinovirus. At first, Data doesn't know what a cold is, which seems like a bizarrely large gap in knowledge. I want to go and find out whether anyone ever mentions having a cold in the Sherlock Holmes books, but I am  too lazy. He tries again, and Wesley interrupts to ask how he can practise sneezing when they're arriving at his home planet - isn't he interested?

More than interested, fascinated, Data says; one might say he is agog, but he also finds sneezing interesting. I've always found Data's tendency to impartial multitasking rather endearing. In this scene I notice that the tight Spandex onesies were really not very conducive to the actors' dignity, because, if I can put this delicately, Data does not have a cold, but I think Brent Spiner is feeling cold. Anyway, Wesley tells Data that Picard wants to see him on the bridge... because Picard would rather send Wesley on a walk than just touch the badge on his chest that would let him speak to Data directly. If the idea is to keep Wesley usefully employed and have a little break from him on the bridge, I can sympathise.
On the bridge, Tasha reports that although Omicron Theta has an M-class environment, there are no life signs, not even vegetation, which Picard finds odd because the crew that found Data reported farmland there. Data arrives and Riker invites him to 'take her into orbit.' He says a simple 'No thank you, sir,' and stands beside the two senior officers looking out the viewscreen. As the BGM swells up, though, he suddenly walks forward, staring out at the planet that's filling more and more of the screen, his mouth slightly ajar, and Wesley and Geordi both look up at him curiously. Data seems to realise he's behaving oddly, looking back and returning to stand beside Picard and Riker.

You know how you notice stupid things sometimes? Brent Spiner's hair is very slightly messed up in this shot. He has a little tuft sticking up. I want to pat it down for him (my family get mad at me for my tendency to tidy other people's hair, but at least I don't lick my hand to do it).

Picard, Data and Riker discuss the expression 'Home, sweet home' and memories, and Data says his memories confirm the farmland detail. However, the colony was principally concerned with science.

Tasha speaks up to say that she doesn't see how Data can contain the memories of four hundred and eleven people, and he explains that he doesn't actually have the memories of all their experiences - only 'the knowledge they had accumulated.' This idea doesn't work too well for me. How do you separate the 'knowledge' in a human mind from all the rest, the sensory memories and emotions? Most of us don't have full synaesthesia, but we do have very associative minds, which is why you can use sensory triggers like smells to evoke memories. My knowledge, for example, of what the word 'brittle' means, is inextricably associated with my mother telling me that I could try to keep the little green plastic donkey cocktail decoration from my milkshake at the Melbourne Travelodge's restaurant forever, but it probably wouldn't last because that kind of thin plastic is very brittle. I may know what 'brittle' means in other words now, but I can't help thinking that if you take the cocktail donkey away,  the memory of the shiny transparent green plastic that looked like a jewel to me, and the thoughts it inspired in my six-year-old mind about the nature of 'forever' and what will and won't last, the rest won't stand.

I am aware of how stupid the words 'cocktail donkey' sound. I wish it had been a cocktail monkey, like the one in Clockwatchers.

If the sensory memories and emotions were there but Data just couldn't understand them or access them, that might make more sense. Or if he actually means they just loaded their journals and records into his brain, not their memories at all.

He explains that he is 'quite deficient' in some areas of human experience, such as sneezing, which  surprises Picard and tickles Riker. Geordi announces that they're entering 'close parking orbit' and Picard tells Riker to choose his away team, which he does by turning towards the back of the room and silently pointing at about three people, like 'you, you and you.' Picard tells Data this must be an exciting time for him (if you say so, sir), and he's tempted to lead the away team himself, except his first officer would object. Riker points out that he'd object because a whole colony vanished down there (and everyone seems remarkably unconcerned about that at this stage, with a considerable lack of 'Why did they vanish? Could the cause of their vanishing still be down there?'-type thoughts). He gives Data a friendly pat on the arm as he says this. As the away team heads to the lift (Riker apparently picked Geordi, Tasha and Worf - despite the fact that Geordi was at the front of the bridge when he was pointing to people at the back of it), Picard says 'Mr Data? Welcome home.' I notice Tasha smiles about that as the lift doors close.

Planetside, there are a lot of dead trees, and as Riker narrates, not even 'soil bacteria' are alive. What could do that to an entire planet? Geordi, oddly, reports that the soil looks 'almost completely lifeless,' which implies that there is still something alive in it, and I want to know what. Riker asks Data if this is the location recorded by the Tripoli, the vessel that found him, and he confirms that the contours of the landscape match the farmland he remembers (or that the colonists knew, because I don't think he's speaking from personal memory here). Geordi (who I think is supposed to be analysing the soil with his visor) estimates that this was farmland twenty to thirty years ago, and Data points out that he was discovered 26 years ago. So youuuuuung. Goddamn, it's bothering me that he's younger than I am now, and has a much cooler job. Geordi believes everything on the planet was already dead or dying by the time Data was found.

Data points out that he was found about twenty metres away, and leads the way. As they go, Tasha asks him if he knows why he was given the colonists' memories, and he replies that although he's always felt (felt?) it was done hurriedly, he doesn't know the reason. He shows the others where he was found, lying on a square stone slab that has been cut out of a more natural-looking (well, polystyrene-looking) rock face, with 'nothing but a layer of dust.' The first thing he can remember is opening his eyes. He seemed to be remotely activated by the same device that sent a signal to the Tripoli.

Geordi reports that the hollow in the rocks is as artificially formed as the slab, but camouflaged to look natural. This triggers a 'memory remnant' for Data - the colonists hid here from something, and in fear of being discovered, stored their important information in him (then put him outside? What? Why?). Anyway, Geordi finds some kind of trigger (he says 'Yeah, thought so,' which amuses me) and the secret door in the rock swings open. They all go in, finding an artificial corridor, and Riker finds a light switch. Tasha reports no life signs in here either. Everyone strolls along the corridor until they come to a round door, which Riker opens by pushing a button - he's good with switches and buttons today! 

Tasha walks through first, I guess because she's Security Girl and wants to assess the room (although she's just walking the same rather casual way she did in the corridor, not scanning around to make sure the place is clear of threats). As the BGM swells up to tell us this is important, the camera pans around a laboratory with all sorts of equipment, the instruments' lights still (or again?) shining. Data and the others follow Tasha in and look around. Data has only 'a vague impression' of undergoing function testing here. Riker notices a display of children's drawings, and suggests that they were posted by proud parents. 

We get a close-up on the drawings, all four of which feature a glowing, multi-branched star-like object descending low to the ground and human figures running away from it. In one drawing, some of them seem to be getting levitated up towards the star. One picture, signed 'John (initial I can't read),'  shows distinct cartooning talent and a surprisingly sophisticated use of perspective for a kid. Anyway, the figures in the drawings are obviously afraid, so it makes sense that Data says the subject matter feels 'familiar and dangerous,' but he is not sure what it is. The only other thing he can remember is an impression that a particular workstation was used by 'Dr Soong.'

Riker asks if he means Noonien Soong, and Data, who keeps remembering more than he says he does, says that he was known by that name here, but travelled to the colony under another. Geordi exposits that Noonien Soong was Earth's foremost robotic scientist - until, Tasha chips in, he tried to create a positronic brain as described by Asimov. He failed completely and disappeared, Riker continues - so he must have come here to try again. (Actually, it's not surprising he would fail to create a 'positronic' brain, since Asimov was just making up a word that sounded similar to 'electronic' but implied that it was the next step up from electronics. Still, if scientists and engineers didn't go around trying to really create things that science fiction writers made up just because they sounded good, we wouldn't have all sorts of cool technology today.)

(Here I have to stop and really wonder why Data's dad was given a name that sounds so similar to Noonien Singh, the Khan of the Eugenics Wars. Enterprise actually ended up tying this back in a reasonably clever way, implying that the Soong family were closely involved in eugenics  long after they fell out of favour and his name may have been a tribute to the GE superman. It still makes about as much sense as naming your kid Adolf when your family name happens to be Hilter. What kind of shit did he get at school? I guess my main point is that the Soongs are a strange, strange family - and while Noonien was in many ways a nice man, we'll come to see that he was also a profoundly odd one. You know, I also wonder why, once Data knows Dr Soong was his father, he doesn't start using Soong as a surname. Does he just like being mononymic?)

Data has been written up in several bio-mechanical textbooks - he said so in 'The Naked Now.' How is it not known that his brain is positronic, and why would people not have linked that to what the most famous roboticist in the world was trying to do? Anyway, Worf and Tasha go off to have a look around while Riker and the nerds stay to explore the lab some more. Riker pushes some more buttons and opens a cabinety thing that contains what appear to be clear plastic moulds for a man's face and chest  - and the face mould matches Data's features exactly. He looks very perturbed. Tasha calls to say the installation is big enough to hold hundreds of people, but it's empty. (She and Worf have apparently determined this in about thirty seconds.)

(The face and chest moulds were, of course, cast from Brent Spiner - and I have read that the person who put the plaster on his chest didn't think to shave the skin first, so he got an involuntary and rather painful chest-hair-ectomy when they removed the hardened cast.)

Geordi has found a door to what he thinks is a storage area. (Data very carefully sets down the face mould before going over to look.) It's full of swirly dry ice, which pours out and clears away when Data presses the buttons to open it. Inside, in bits, each nested in a cutout of foam, is another identical-looking android. To my enduring amusement, the section from the waist down to just above the knees is presented with, um, its back to us. Clenched.



So last week someone said 'dick,' albeit meaning detective, and this week we get to see a bare bum, albeit an extremely pale one not currently attached to anyone. And people think standards are falling.

Riker asks 'How many more Datas are there?', and Geordi, with absolutely no supporting evidence, says he thinks it's just these two - well, 'that and the real Data.' Data steps forward and carefully picks up the detached head, which has no ears attached and considerably more bouffant hair than his, and marvels 'Can this be another me? Or possibly my brother?'

Riker says, in a somewhat repressive/dismissive tone, that he honestly doesn't know, but Data is absolutely enraptured and says 'He needs assembly.' Riker repeats 'He?' which is kind of insulting, given that Data is just as much of an 'it' as what they're looking at, and points out that they don't know if this android can 'become alive.' Data needs to know for sure, since he never thought it possible that he'd find someone else like him.

Riker says 'Understood. We'll take it back to the ship with us.' Because even he is not totally invulnerable to Data Kitty Eyes - even if he does insist on calling his colleague's apparent brother 'it.' Sinister electronic chords on the soundtrack, which is reminding me oddly of the score from Labyrinth. How you turned my world, you precious thing!

Picard narrates that they've moved on from Omicron Theta and are trying to assemble the other android and make him go. For no reason I can understand, the hands and feet have been put into glass jars containing light blue liquid. Were they pruny? There is a montage of that bore Argyle and other goldshirts - and a blueshirt - assembling the parts while Data stands at a distance and watches, not actually participating. This seems like an odd choice. I would have expected him to be right in there, hands on. I also note that Lore has some very noticeable seams across his shoulders and down the sides of his torso, and wonder if Data has those too or has smoothed them off.

Beverly, who I guess is there to take care of the bio side of bio-mechanics, approaches Data and tells him 'Signal from the Captain. They need you at the debriefing.' Is Data's commbadge broken this episode? Why is everyone else giving him his messages? And why have they gone ahead to assembling the new android before having a debrief about his discovery? Data asks Argyle for his opinion - does he think 'he' will be able to function? Argyle says 'it' seems to have all the same components as Data, not that they know all the details of how he works. (That's a very non-commital answer.) Beverly pats Data's shoulders fondly (it's Pet Data Week) and tells him that they have their 'top specialists' working on it. Who's that, really, given that they haven't got much of a clue how Data works?

There's an odd bit now, as Argyle and Beverly awkwardly try to ask Data something that they don't state directly - they wouldn't try to disassemble him, of course, but if they should need to compare his construction with the new android's... Data seems to know what they mean and nods before he leaves. What are they asking him? To take his clothes off and let them have a look? And it's odd that they seem embarrassed about it. Argyle might since he's an engineer, but Beverly is a doctor; she must ask people to take their clothes off so she can examine them all the time. It's not as if they're asking just for fun, the way you or I might.

In the conference room, Picard is sitting jauntily on the table (ew, man, sometimes people eat off that table, I'm pretty sure it was redressed for the 'Guess who's coming to dinner' with the Klingons in The Undiscovered Country), anviliciously telling Riker that bringing the other android on board was the right thing to do. As Data enters, Picard tells him that if his 'duplicate' works, it could answer a lot of questions. Data's reaction to this interests me - he opens his mouth slightly as if he has something to say, but doesn't speak, nodding instead and closing his mouth before sitting down beside Riker. He seems to feel very uncomfortable. He will soon have reason to, as 'No Boundaries' Riker promptly asks him if the other android has a dick. Well, okay, he asks if it has 'all your... parts,' but he says it with such loaded pauses that it's hard not to assume he's asking about privates. And honestly? Seriously? When Data was sitting down, Riker was looking at his lap. Fortunately Data is more pure of mind than either Riker or I, and calmly answers 'Completely, sir.' 

Geordi, who seems embarrassed (maybe because he knows how what he has to ask is going to sound after bloody Riker's pervy question), asks 'Will we know how to turn it on?' Data seems to be about to answer that, when he's interrupted by Picard briskly saying 'All right.' He announces that 'legitimate questions about any of this need not be asked apologetically.' He tells Data that he feels uncomfortable about aspects of his duplicate, although Data certainly hasn't said so; I suppose Picard noticed his awkward manner as I did, but I think he's jumping to conclusions. Data might be uncomfortable because other people are making a big deal of what he thought was a happy discovery - their reactions are telling him it's weird when he thought it was just nice, and he must be the one in the wrong, since they're the humans. Boy, look at me project my own social awkwardness onto Data.

Picard goes on that 'we' feel uncomfortable too, and for no logical reason. Riker doesn't feel uncomfortable. Riker never feels uncomfortable. Riker just wants to see him an android's dick. But anyway, Picard, taking that middle-school principal tone that he sometimes uses, says that if it feels awkward to be reminded that Data is a machine, they should remember that 'we' are just a different kind of machine. And I'm sure your use of 'we' is not making Data feel more awkward or different at all. He suggests that they handle this as they would anything else. Geordi, sounding relieved, says 'Agreed, Captain' and Riker beams and knocks on the table, which I guess is manbear for 'Hear, hear!'

Picard then hands over to Data, who says 'a good starting point' may be the question of why he was given human form. Starting point for what? What's the purpose of this meeting again? Wouldn't a debriefing mean that the three from the away team describe the trip to Picard and answer his questions about it? Anyway, Data, you were given human form because your father was kind of a narcissist, but not without reason; you are awfully cute. Geordi, though, suggests that it was to make it easier for humans to relate to him, and Picard adds that his designer may also have been trying to show that human-shaped robots (HE'S NOT A ROBOT) need not be 'clumsy or limited' in their performance. 'You certainly operate as well as we do, Data.'

'Better in some ways, sir,' says Data, whom I love partly because it is impossible to patronise him. He may be the only person extant who has neither low nor inflated self-esteem. His self-esteem is exactly where it should be. Picard looks discomfited and hopes they are not still talking about 'parts.'

Riker chooses this moment to actually drag them back onto something resembling topic, handing over one of the drawings from the lab. He's still harping on the idea that they were displayed by 'proud parents,' but suggests that it could be a link to the disappearance of the colonists - perhaps the star-like object is just imaginary, but several children did similar drawings. Riker is keeping a studiously open mind as to whether the drawings mean anything at all - although they are obviously DOOM-LADEN and should raise far more suspicion than they do. If Worf were here, he'd want to shoot the drawings. Can't we find a happy medium?

Beverly's voice comes over the intercom, telling Picard that 'at this point we very much need Mr Data's help.' There is an exchange of uncomfortable looks around the table before Picard says 'He's on his way, Doctor.' He continues to look thoughtfully at the drawing while Riker and Geordi sit there wondering when they can go back to work. Well, Geordi wonders that, Riker wonders if 'so can I see its dick?' is a legitimate question or one he should ask apologetically. Note also how Data's best friend didn't ask him if he wanted him to come along.

In the room where Lore is being reassembled, Data discreetly shows Beverly the off-switch in his back, guiding her to feel it through his uniform. He says it operates almost as a switch, but I would say it operates exactly as a switch, and I think maybe Data learned his definition of 'almost' from Geordi. Apparently Beverly can feel some 'small projections' on his back. Can we all just think how lucky it is Tasha didn't accidentally hit that while she was hitting that? Data says those bumps are 'an android alarm clock,' and asks hopefully 'Is that amusing?' Beverly gives him a stony-faced shake of her head, and he explains that those time how long he remains unconscious. Not amusing, but it's a decent analogy.

Argyle comes over and asks Data if he's certain about them using these something devices. I really can't hear what the adjective is - it sounds like 'cheating.' Data assures him he will feel nothing, and Argyle says 'marvellous.' They want to see how Data's circuitry is connected, I suppose so they can hook up Lore's in the same way. Once Argyle walks away, Beverly tells Data 'I won't mention it to anyone. You have my word,' implying that he asked her to keep it a secret before we entered this scene. Data asks her, if she had an off switch, would she not want to keep it secret? (It's significant, I suppose, that he says 'would you not' instead of 'wouldn't you,' but that's a can of worms we'll open later.) Bev guesses she would. Anyway, that explains why Data was whispering.

In the next scene I guess Data and Lore have been moved to sickbay, where they are both lying unconscious (Lore is fully assembled by now) on beds with gadgety covers over them and magnifying panels in the tops. Oh, hey, nipples again! Jesus. Anyway, this helps Bev and Argyle see where everything joins up, and she closes the incisions in their chests.

Riker and Picard arrive at the sickbay, where Riker is doubtless disappointed to see Data has got his onesie back on. Argyle reports that looking at Data's guts helped, but there are still no signs of consciousness. Data is making funny birdy motions with his head, perhaps because he just woke up, and Riker gives him an odd look. He says 'It certainly is a good match for Data, sir,' and Picard, oddly, says 'Do you think so?' IT'S THE SAME ACTOR. Picard wonders aloud which one was made first, and Lore opens his eyes and starts his new life by telling a lie: 'He was.' Data looks very startled, and Labyrinthy synth music starts on the soundtrack, as Lore continues 'But he was found to be imperfect, and I was made to replace him.' Then his face produces something between a wink - towards Data - and a twitch, the whole side of it scrunching up. Data continues to look startled. Lore adds 'You may call me Lore' and smiles. Third cut to Data making the same reaction face, and scene

As the Enterprise steams on through the stars, we join Picard and Data in mid-conversation in the ready room. This is an example of an awkward convention of screenwriting, where people talk as if it wasn't possible for them to ask follow-up questions to the dramatic revelation at the end of the last scene. Picard is troubled by 'it' describing Data as 'imperfect.' Data says that human language often gives him trouble, and 'imperfect' might just mean that Data lacks some abilities Lore possesses. Picard thinks the point is whether 'you and it' possess roughly the same capabilities. Data very gently and politely calls him out on the use of 'it,' saying it implies that he is also a 'thing.' Picard apologises, and they get on with it with no hard feelings, and we ignore the fact that it would have been perfectly reasonable back there to say 'Pleased to meet you, Lore, and what do you mean by "imperfect"?'

Data says that Lore's use of syntax and grammar - and oh, let's not forget that the use of syntax and grammar is going to be a key point in this episode - suggests he was programmed with similar human memories to his own, and that they are about equal in physical strength and mental abilities (he does not say how he can tell - have they done tests?). Picard, then, has to ask 'a very serious question,' given what a close relationship the two appear to have - which Data anticipates, saying that his loyalty is to Starfleet, 'and to you, completely.' Aw, he is such a sweet boy. Come on, really, Jean-Luc, did you think he was going to say 'Stuff you now, I'm going to run away with my brother'? Picard thanks him, and says he was certain of that, though if he was certain, why did he ask?

As Data leaves the ready room, he finds that Lore is sitting in his chair on the bridge, getting a lesson in helm control from Geordi and Wesley. Riker is watching approvingly, hugging himself the way he does. I really like the fact that Lore has been dressed in the same colours as Data, in a dull gold wraparound jumpsuit and a black turtleneck. Worf comes over and watches somewhat less approvingly, but that could just be his face. (Tasha is staying up the back behind the big wooden horseshoe, studiously not thinking about threesomes or even sandwich hugs.) Data watches this with an unreadable expression.

Lore quickly catches on to how the ship is navigated, reeling off an explanation with a delighted smile, and Riker adds 'And the square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle?' Lore smoothly begins 'Is equal to the sum of the square of the two - ' but stops himself and ruefully says 'Something, which I once heard but never understood.' Either he just realised it's not in his best interest to appear to be more than a lovable innocent, or he didn't want to look like a Wizard of Oz dork. He wink-twitches again, and they are interrupted by Data stepping forward and saying 'All of which you will learn more about when the Captain has approved your being on the bridge.'

Lore asks 'Have I committed an offence?' and Wesley says, greasily, 'You will find there are many rules aboard starships that must be learnt.' I'm not even going to blame Wesley because he's a kid, but Riker, Worf, Tasha and Geordi have been standing here the whole time letting Lore be on the bridge without clearance, and who brought him up here anyway? Letting a noob do something he shouldn't and not warning him is kind of a dick move. Are they setting him up to be in trouble with Picard?

Lore smiles and says 'You're very clever, Wesley,' and here's where Brent Spiner found the right place to use his creepy smile from the pilot. I presume that Lore's take on the situation is that they are setting him up, and Wesley has just gone onto his personal shit list. Lore goes on, 'I now have duties to perform, correct?' 

Worf asks 'Were you ever this anxious to please, Data?' in a tone that suggests he finds eagerness to please highly suspect.

Data answers 'Never,' which doesn't seem like him at all. He says he judges Lore superior in that desire, and Lore blandly says 'Because I was designed to be so human, my brother; I enjoy pleasing humans.' But arguably, Data does too - he constantly looks for their approval and tries to elicit positive reactions from them, as when he adjusted Geordi's shaver for him, or hoped Beverly would be amused by his alarm-clock analogy. He doesn't have a very positive reaction to what Lore says; one of his eyebrows goes up skeptically. Geordi, though, thinks Lore calling Data 'my brother' has a nice sound to it.

Data says, 'You consider it... important to please humans?' Lore, with a great face-shrug: 'It's not important?' Data says enigmatically 'There are many things of importance, some more than others.' I do not know what he's on about, although I suppose he could mean that doing the right thing is more important than making people like you. Or he could mean, get out of my chair and stop sucking up to my friends, interloper. Anyway, he gestures for Lore to go with him, and they leave via the lift, Data casting a look back over his shoulder at his friends. I really like how his ambivalence is shown, going from his awe at the thought of making a family connection to finding he actually doesn't like his brother all that terribly much, especially when this means he's not the special one any more.

As the brothers get out of the lift elsewhere, Data calls Lore out: Commander Riker's question tricked him into revealing that he knows more than he was letting on. Lore responds 'Mm. He didn't seem that clever. I'll be more careful.' Data does not react at all to the implication that Lore is deliberately hiding the truth from the others, he just steams on:

'You tend to underestimate humans, my brother. Praising young Wesley on the helm, for example -'

'A child!' Lore says, with a scornful gesture, and Data has a very awkward line that while Wesley has a child's body, they have found him to be much more. I am also not sure what Data's line about underestimating humans means. Wesley is very clever, cleverer than you'd expect a fourteen-year-old to be. Lore recognised that. So? Lore humbly thanks Data for that information, and says 'You do care about how I perform. I pledge to be worthy of your teaching, my brother.' Then he wags a finger and smirks, 'Try not to be jealous of my abilities,' before walking away, leaving Data looking as if he would very much like to have a snappy comeback.

In Data's quarters, he starts Googling, and Lore asks what he's looking up. Dr Noonien Soong. 'Ah,' says Lore, grinning, 'good old "Often Wrong" Soong.' Data gives him a Look and he says 'A joke, brother.' Well, it wasn't even as good as the alarm clock line. I am distracted by the fact that Data appears to have some red lacquered boxes on a shelf in the background, and I want to know what they are.

Actually, Lore continues, Soong was a genius 'by human standards.' Data points out that Soong had destroyed his own reputation by making wild promises about his brain designs, almost all of which failed. Well, except for the two currently residing in their rather attractive heads, as Lore points out with a tapping on his temple (and a rather gratuitous 'knock knock knock' mouth-noise). 'Our beloved father,' he concludes in a distinctly 'welp' tone, before asking if he will soon have a uniform like Data's.

Data, perhaps wanting to assert his superiority in something, gives Lore a breakdown of how he got it - four years at the Academy, three as ensign, 'ten or twelve' as a lieutenant (oh, honey, I hate to tell you, your career advancement ends here, because Riker is just going to sit on his huge ass directly above you, stifling your opportunities for promotion because he just loves getting called Number One in a rich, mellifluous RSC voice) - which Lore calls a system designed to compensate for limited human ability. He says Data is starting to think like a human (well, thank you!) but they are completely different from them. He asks if Data can be truly satisfied with only the knowledge and memories of a few hundred colonists, when he could collect the knowledge of 'hundreds of millions of life-forms of every kind.' You know, in a parallel universe, Lore got picked up by the Borg instead of the Pakleds, he was presented to their Queen, they fell head over heels in love and lived happily ever after, and the rest of us were completely fucked. That's the universe where Riker's beard is everywhere. Honestly, I ship it.

Actually, I think Data's knowledge and memories gained through his own experiences mean a hang of a lot more to him than what he could 'collect' from anyone else. Anyway, talking about assimilating people gets Lore so worked up he twitches a bit more, just to reinforce for us at home that he's a bit unsound. Data asks, simply, 'How?' and Lore says they'll discuss that 'in time.' Data decides it's time for a little more calling-out, and asks whether they will also discuss the issue of which of them was made first. Lore smarms (standing next to a mirror, nice) that it would be foolish to underestimate Data. Yes, he was built first, but Soong made him so human that the colonists became 'envious' of him. Well that doesn't make sense; why would they envy your possession of qualities they already naturally had? I do buy that you are much more human-like than Data, because you are clearly much more emotional (and must have stolen that stupid chip out of pure spite and sibling rivalry).

'You lived among the colonists?' Data asks in wonder, and Lore says yes, until they petitioned Soong to make 'a more comfortable, less perfect android. In other words, you, brother.' I really like the variety in Lore's smiles; the current one shows a deep-seated resentment tinged with irony. He really is an interesting person. As with 'Hide and Q,' Deanna is not in evidence this week, and I would love to know what sort of empathetic readings she would have got off Lore. Would she have rumbled him faster than Data does?

Now Lore gets some lines that really irritated Brent Spiner, and have irritated a lot of viewers since, because they're completely inconsistent with how Data was portrayed to date. Lore points out that he uses human speech more easily than Data, and can use contractions. But as I've been pointing out with nerdy attention to detail, Data has been using contractions roughly a couple of times per episode since this show began. He doesn't use them as often as most human speakers, and has a more careful, formal manner than average, but he not only can use contractions, he's capable of adapting his mode of speech completely to fit in with a roleplay character, Sherlock Holmes, or his wiseguy role just last week. That degree of flexibility in the way he uses both his vocabulary and his tone and pitch of voice is completely inconsistent with not being able to say 'don't' and 'can't.' So it's lame. And if I may quote for a moment,
'The man who was talkin' to the dog
Looked at the dog an' he said: (sort of staring in disbelief)
"You can't say that!"
He said:
"IT DOESN'T, 'n YOU CAN'T!
I WON'T, 'n IT DON'T!
IT HASN'T, IT ISN'T, IT EVEN AIN'T
'N IT SHOULDN'T . . .
IT COULDN'T!"
He told me NO NO NO!
I told him YES YES YES!
I said: "I do it all the time . . .
Ain't this boogie a mess!"'
That's enough Frank Zappa for an episode with android butts in it. But the crux of the biscuit is the apostrophe. Lore decides to mock the way Data talks, and sings a snatch of 'Let's Call the Whole Thing Off,' a song which has mildly irked me since childhood because I have never heard anybody who actually says potahto. Then, as long as he's burning his bridges with the only person in the universe who has any reason to care about him, he decides to rip on him for being humourless. Poor little Data muses that this is true; he keeps trying to become more human and keeps failing.

Lore asks him if he realises, 'brother,' he can help him become more human (which is a wild change of tack from his earlier assertion that Data thinks like a human and they are completely different). Data, who is getting as close to ticked off as he gets, asks 'And do you realise, Lore, that I am obligated to report all of this to our ship's captain?' 

Lore smarms that he assumed as much when he began 'studying' Data. Then, as if the whole conversation in which he revealed himself to be a complete prick never happened, he asks to use his computer to learn more about the ship! And Data agrees, just telling him also to use it to write Picard a report about his life among the colonists! Oh, Data, I really hope everything sensitive is password-protected. Lore is totally going to read your diary and write insulting comments in the margins, then copy the pages about what happened with Tasha to the all-staff email list. Data tells Lore to write everything he knows about what happened on Omicron Theta, and Lore smugly promises 'a report of great detail and accuracy.'

And Data, as if the whole conversation in which Lore revealed himself to be a complete prick never happened, smiles and thanks him, then says he has to go to work! Lore, again, gets into Data's chair, as Data turns back before leaving to ask if there is anything else he needs. Lore smarms that he has more than he ever dreamed possible, and Data leaves him alone in his apartment.

Oh Data, you know I love you dearly, but you're a chump. An adorable, alabaster chump.

Lore swivels his chair like a Bond villain and starts speed-reading from the computer screen, with a happy little smile playing about his lips. (He's so pretty.)

Picard voiceovers that from a combination of the children's drawings and Lore's report they've worked out that a huge 'crystalline entity which feeds on life, insatiably ravenous for the life-force found in living forms, capable of stripping all life from an entire world,' and can you say life a few more times? was responsible for the destruction of the colony. It sounds like it'd be a good villain for a reboot of Sailor Moon. But it needs to be a princess, too.

Tasha asks how Data and Lore survived, and Riker says that Lore was disassembled at the time and Data 'wasn't yet alive.' Um, or they're androids, and the crystalline entity only feeds on biological life? Either way, Picard reasons that he was left outside because he was in no danger, and would be found by the first Starfleet crew to respond to the signal the colonists transmitted.

Or the first anything crew to respond to the signal, because how could they know it wouldn't be the Ferengi looking for loot or the Orions looking for slaves? I like the idea of Data being raised by the Ferengi; they would turn him into the universe's most powerful and devious accountant, but he would always have a complex about his little runty ears.

Tasha says that this was Dr Soong's way of leaving behind proof that his experiment worked. How did the other four hundred and ten colonists feel about that? 

Riker asks Picard how believable he finds 'that crystal thing,' and Picard says that with so little of the galaxy explored, it's at least plausible. Tasha moves over to her workstation and asks Data if he's expecting Lore to come to the bridge, as he left his quarters 'some time ago.' I have no idea why she even looked that up just now. I also don't know why Beverly is hanging out on the bridge, but  there she is, chatting to Data. Data asks Tasha 'To go?' and it just isn't believable that someone who asks a fragmentary question like that can't use contractions, either. Tasha says he went to deck four, and Worf chips in that he examined some tools and materials that Data explains were used in their construction. He claims this is no more sinister than a human looking for some antiseptic ointment, but he should check it out. Beverly asks, surprised, 'You're watching everything he does, Data? Is that the act of a brother?' He's his keeper, I guess. Also, Lore is hella shady. It turns out that the surveillance is on Picard's orders, I suppose since Data reported that pricky conversation to him. What a good thing Tasha and Worf kept such a close eye on the surveillance that they didn't report Lore doing anything until 'some time' later.

Tasha turns to Picard once Data is gone, and says 'Speaking strictly as security chief, how much can you trust Data now?' Wow, there's a loaded question. Picard doesn't answer immediately, and Geordi and Wesley both turn around with worried looks on their faces. For Data's two best friends, these two don't seem to have been spending much time with him during a difficult situation. Picard eventually says that he trusts Data completely, but everyone should realise that that was a necessary and legitimate security question. Tasha smiles and thanks him, because I guess she feels validated by her father figure.

Back in Data's quarters, Lore is pouring champagne (is it Chateau Picard?)  and adding fizzing powder from a small phial to one of the flutes. He hides the phial when Data enters, and announces 'Lesson number one in becoming more human: you must observe all human customs.' He does, dude; you're not teaching him anything. Lore explains that drinking champagne is a ritual for important events. He gives Data the doped glass and offers a toast 'to our discovery of each other - may it fill our lives with new meaning.' They each sip from their flutes, and Data makes a little face as if the taste is unpleasant. He tells Lore he has some doubt about the value of human customs, but his voice falters on the last word, and he realises something very strange is happening to him. He starts to wobble and leans his hands on the desk in front of him, as Lore decides it's time for his villain monologue.

'And let us toast also Dr Soong, who gave me the full richness of human needs and ambitions, a perfect match for my mind, my body.' As he finishes that wackadoo little comment, Data passes out on the floor. This fascinates me. What kind of chemicals can affect Data in this way? Can he get drunk, too? (Other than by the method established in 'The Naked Now,' obviously.)

'And let us toast also the Great Crystal Entity, with whom I learned to communicate,' Lore goes on. He kneels over Data's prone form and pointlessly tells him that, before he was disassembled, he earned the crystal's gratitude by revealing the way to the colonists. 'Can you imagine its gratitude when I give it the life on this vessel?'

Um... what form will that gratitude actually take? What does Lore need or want that the crystal can give him? If his motive is simply to strike back against humanity for rejecting him, that's strong and clear. The gratitude element muddies the waters. Is it just that it makes Lore feel special? And - and - how did he learn to communicate with a big vampire crystal that flies through space? That doesn't sound like something that just happens by chance. Did it put out feelers, or did he? Was Omegle involved?

On the bridge, Worf notices that 'Data' is sending a subspace transmission. Riker thinks it has to do with his research into Dr Soong's background, but thinks they should make sure. So, because he is treating Wesley like the cabin boy this week, he sends him to go and check, 'discreetly.'

And this is a time when it would make more sense to send Geordi, or even Worf. In a potentially touchy situation full of unknown quantities, he's going to send a callow kid instead of an experienced adult officer, much less a security person. Chump number two.

In Data's room, Lore, now wearing Data's onesie (that's the quick way to get a uniform like that), sends the Entity a voicemail, saying that it can identify him as 'the machine named Data.' He wink-twitches again, then hears the door chime. He lets Wesley in, and here we can see that Lore really isn't all that much of an evil genius, since he has dressed Data in his clothes but then simply left him lying on the floor for anyone to see.

Doing a pretty fair imitation of Data's mild, earnest manner, he says 'Glad you are here, Wesley,' and explains that 'Lore' suddenly attacked him and he had to switch him off. Wesley quite reasonably asks why he would do that, and Lore says it was because he discovered he was under surveillance. He twitches again, and I wonder what actually causes this tell in Lore. Is it just that telling lies or thinking about doing bad stuff (mmm, bad stuff!) causes some surge of emotion that affects him physically? I do like the fact that he has a twitch because it reminds me of Bishop's line in Aliens about the older series Ash belonged to, 'The A2s always were a bit twitchy.' Anyway, Wesley doesn't need to be unusually clever to find all this suspicious, and Lore tries to cover by saying he has been practising 'his facial tic.' This does tie in nicely with the sneezing practice from earlier, to allay Wesley's suspicions, it's just that Lore shouldn't know about the sneezing practice.

Wesley advises 'Data' not to imitate Lore, and weirdly says that if he'd said 'we've' instead of 'we have, I might have suspected you were Lore.' Lore agrees that 'I do use language more formally than Lore' (if they had just stuck with this instead of making out that Data couldn't speak in contractions, it would have been so much better - make it a habit rather than an inability) and sends Wesley back to the bridge to tell the Captain, because again, they couldn't use telecommunications technology, they have to send messages by boy. Wesley 'aye sir's him and leaves.

Lore touches his face self-consciously and goes over to a drawer, from which he removes a small instrument of Gallifreyan manufacture. He uses this to scan Data's face, making his cheek spasm (Brent Spiner does this very believably), then goes over to a mirror and runs the sonic screwdriver over his own face until the twitching stills. He smiles at himself happily. Lore has a nice smile sometimes.

What is the idea here, by the way? That Data's facial muscles are calibrated correctly and Lore's weren't, so copying Data's settings fixed the problem? Has he had a twitch all his life, or is it the result of his inexpert reassembly by Beverly and Argyle?

On the bridge, Beverly is still hanging out as if she doesn't have an office of her own, but she's actually going to have a useful idea so I'll allow it. She asks Wesley to tell her again how Data said he immobilised Lore. Wes says 'He told me he just turned him off, Mom - Doctor.' (Aw, okay, Wesley is cute at the moment.) As 'Data' enters the bridge, Bev calls him out on keeping his off switch a secret.  (For an episode in which so much calling-out is done, it's faintly tragic how few of the right questions are asked. Lost had this problem a lot of the time too; they even tried to suggest with one conversation between Sayid and, I think, Charlie, that the Island exerted some sort of curiosity-dampening field. As long as I'm talking about Lost, Lore would identify so hard with the Man In Black.) He says he changed his mind; 'if I cannot trust the bridge crew, whom can I?'

Geordi reports 'a bogey coming in on a five o'clock tangent,' which sounds so archaic. They pop their shields up just in case and send out a friendly greeting. The bogey is gaining fast, and appears on the viewscreen as, perfectly recognisably, the crystal star from the children's drawings. Lore can't help himself, and murmurs 'Beautiful, isn't it?' causing Wesley to look at him in shock and concern, and absolutely nobody else to register that Data just said something completely out of character (commenting on beauty, not just using 'isn't').

So the crystal is chasing the Enterprise through space. In the next shot, though, the crystal is just gently rotating in place and the ship is hovering near it. I know you're scientific explorers, but sometimes you are allowed to say 'fuck it' and stand off to a safer distance. Geordi enters the bridge and Picard asks him 'Did you get a direct look at it?' because once again their highly scientific method of finding out about weird objects in space is to have Geordi take a gander at it through a plain window. Geordi technobabbles a bit about the electromagnetic spectrum, and basically he doesn't know what it is.

Picard calls 'Data' forward and asks him if he can control Lore enough to question him. 'Data' says he'll need to examine him to be sure, and at this point Wesley feels he has to say something. He swivels his chair around, gets up bravely and says 'Captain, recommend you do not let - him - roam the ship freely.' Bravely, but kind of stupidly. Wouldn't it have made sense to say this to Picard where 'Data' couldn't hear him? Wesley's use of 'him' also makes it ambiguous whether he thinks Data has gone bad, or suspects the truth, that Lore is imitating Data, so I don't know how many Cleverness Points to award him here.

Lore brushes this off as Wesley being 'alert and responsible,' and invites him to come and see everything he does. 'Not if I have a choice,' Wesley says, seeing that it's not wise to be alone with this dude. (He doesn't explain himself to Picard, though, which would be sensible.)

Picard scolds him for being cheeky to an officer, and Riker piles on too, saying that Wesley will show the proper respect and he'll accompany him to make sure of it. Well, that's sort of a win for Wesley, because he doesn't have to be alone with Lore and he'll have a witness if he tries anything funny. It's also amusing to see Riker's Stern Dad manner. He can't really pull that off pre-beard. And nobody worries about the fact that Wesley, who normally thinks Data is super cool, has developed an aversion to him. And because Deanna isn't there, she can't pipe up on his behalf, saying that he's honestly worried rather than being snotty.

Back in Data's quarters, Lore is trying to manage the situation so Wesley and Riker don't approach Data too closely. He talks a fair bit of nonsense, actually, first expressing relief that his brother is 'still unconscious,' then pointing out that he's still twitching even while unconscious, then warning the other two to stay back in case 'Lore' senses they're near. While unconscious?

Cunningly, Lore now clicks the switch in Data's back repeatedly, so that he spasms but can't wake up properly, as he 'questions' him. He makes out to Riker and Wesley that 'Lore' wants to attack them and he can't control him if they stay, and urges them to leave - he'll bring a full report of what he says to the bridge. The chumps accept this and leave, because there is no such thing as restraints, and it hasn't been established as far back as TOS that Federation ships have brig cells with force-field doors. Lore drops poor little Data and straightens up, saying 'And you want to be as stupid as them, dear brother?' (He has a point.) Then, for sheer devilment, he kicks Data hard in the head, twice (in one kick shot, it is visibly the dummy head used in the finding-disassembled-Lore scene earlier, so I'm glad they got another use out of that), tearing a flap of skin from his forehead so we can see the blinkenlights inside. Lore makes creepy blissful faces, so I guess he's been wanting to kick Data in the head for a long time.

Wesley and Riker return to the bridge, where Riker reports that he swallowed Lore's story entirely. Wesley, still trying to get a grown-up to listen to his concerns, suggests, absolutely correctly, that Lore is pretending to be Data. Picard growls at him for speaking up when he asked for Commander Riker's report -
          TNG Episode 1.7: Lonely Among Us        
In which Data smokes a pipe and floats my boat.

Memory Alpha says: While transporting delegates, Picard and his crew are enveloped by a cloud that seizes control of their minds and alters their behavior.

My Review
And that's why I don't trust clouds. I have no real memory of this episode to go on, other than some blue lightning, and I think that at some point Riker comes off as a smug vegan. Since Riker looks like he lives on raw steak and ice-cream, I find this amusing. On with the show.

The Enterprise is doing a little diplomatic jaunt this week, carrying delegates from two alien races to negotiate with each other on a 'neutral conference planet' called Parliament. They come from two planets in the same solar system, and they simply hate each other's guts, a bit like us and the Martians I suppose. Since they've developed warp drive, they're eligible for Federation membership, but everybody's got to play nice in the Federation (well, despite the fact that the founding races, Vulcans, humans, Tellarites and Andorians have never really liked each other, except in a few cases where, say, individual Vulcans and humans have liked each other very, very much) so the point of the negotiations is to see if they can find some way to refrain from tearing each other's faces off long enough to be allowed in.

 Picard, Yar and Riker meet one party of the delegates in the transporter room. Because this is diplomatic service, they're wearing their dress uniforms, and Riker looks fly. The aliens all have cobra heads and hiss a lot. They immediately complain about being able to smell the other group, the Anticans, and are miffed that they were taken on board first, although as Picard explains, that's just because it was on their way. It turns out that the cobras' guest quarters are about a hundred metres from the Anticans', and that will not do at all, so Riker politely says he'll find them something else, no doubt feeling like a concierge rather than a badass space explorer, and leads them out. They add that they want to be upwind from the Anticans. They are on a spaceship. WIND?

Tasha, whose hair is looking nice this week, thinks they don't seem like promising UFP candidates, and Tasha Yar knows from assholes. Picard agrees that Parliament has a tough job.

On the bridge, Picard and Riker (back in their usual rompers) have some anvilicious dialogue about how the hostility between the two races is bewildering, and Riker didn't understand that sort of nonsense even when he studied Earth's history. One of the biggest sources of awkwardness in early TNG is that Gene Roddenberry had been told by too many people that he was a science fiction messiah of a better human race, and so he wanted his TNG crew to be high-minded and noble to the point almost of not having human frailties. Because if people like Kirk were awesome in the 23rd Century, imagine how much more awesome they would be after another hundred years' development! Practically perfect in every way!

But by the same token, it's just been a century, and major conflicts with the Romulans and Klingons are in their own recent past. There are people still alive who fought in those, even if they have a lot of age makeup on. Although it's retconny of me to bring it up here, they've got at least one person on board who fought in a recent war against the bloody Cardies. Have the Feds developed a mindset of 'We only go to war for pure and noble reasons, and any other reason for fighting is just silly?' If so, that seems to make them remarkably ill-equipped to deal with people who still see conflicts over religion and territory as a big deal. I'm not saying those people are right, but I am saying that chortlingly dismissing their enmities as nonsense does not help you to deal with them. At least it will give them something in common to bond over: they will both think you're a patronising git.

I am not rejecting Gene's message to humanity of 'It Gets Better,' either, because that's a message that we need in order to see the potential in ourselves and to keep believing that we really have hope. Millions of people all over this world have been uplifted and encouraged by that idea, and some of them have built cool whizzy rockets. However, I think that for humanity's progress in the Trek universe to be really meaningful, we need to be able to see that we are still capable of sucking as bad as ever, but more and more consistently choosing not to. If you can't imagine wanting to do a bad thing, not doing it isn't really that virtuous, is it? Fortunately, I think that Trek eventually ended up doing that, indeed, was freed up to do that by Roddenberry's senescence and death.

Imagine how hard Gene Roddenberry would freak out if you showed him 'In the Pale Moonlight.'

And on that cheery note, back into the episode. Data has picked up an unusual energy object, and it's that naughty cloud. It's travelling at warp speed, and it's nothing like anything in their records. Data says 'Intriguing' because they were trying to make that his 'Fascinating,' but really, it was not going to happen. Picard directs him to do a 'close centre pass' so they can scan the cloud properly, and then speed up so they still reach Parliament on schedule. He will later wish he'd just told Data to go round it.

Geordi and Worf are doing some kind of nerd job on the sensor arrays - Worf doesn't have to be there, after all, he's one of the jocks, but Picard has a policy of junior officers learning about everything on the ship. (I decided the other day that sometimes, the Enterprise is high school in space. You have the jocks, Riker, Tasha and Worf, you have the nerds, Data, Geordi and Wesley, and you have the faculty, Picard, Beverly and Deanna. It's just that, in future utopia, jocks no longer pick on nerds. Although as we saw with Riker and Data in 'The Naked Now,' they do sometimes make them do their homework for them.) Tasha calls through to check if there will be any problems with a closer sensor examination of the cloud, and nup. But the cloud, as they enter it, is changing shape. Spooky.

In the sensor maintenance room, Worf goes to check out an Okudagram panel, and while he's got his hand on it, blue lightning shoots out and wraps around him! He makes an absolutely hilarious 'wraaaa' noise and falls over in a faint. Geordi rolls him over, checks his pulse and calls in a medical emergency. I bet Worf will never want to do nerd work again. (This is also an example of a tendency they had in early episodes to try to show how threatening a threat was by having it take down Worf, the idea being 'He's a big burly Klingon! If they can beat HIM they're badass!' However, it happened so often that it just created the impression that Worf was a bit of a pansy.)

Beverly scurries in to examine Worf, who suddenly springs up and tries to attack her assistant. Geordi has to throw himself on top of Worf until Bev can sedate him - and again, if having a little dude like Geordi on top of him is enough to restrain Worf, he doesn't seem that tough. Bev and Geordi help him up, Geordi calling him 'big guy.' The assistant is okay, by the way.

Geordi reports the incident to Picard, saying that Worf just spazzed while touching the console, and he saw a momentary 'glow' when it happened. Picard asks if that could have been a visor malfunction, but he's pretty sure it was real.

Oh! The teleplay for this episode was done by the lovely DC Fontana! My friend lostsailors, who wrote the giant Lost do-over I linked to once, studied screenwriting under her at AFI. She didn't quite realise what a huge deal to nerds she was until I was wildly impressed to hear about her - she just thought she was a really cool older woman writer.

In the quarters of the Antican delegation, who look sort of like doggies, Tasha has summoned Riker for backup. There's a problem about the Anticans' diet. Their livestock has been beamed aboard and the Enterprise was going to 'preserve' the meat for them, but they want it brought to them alive. Riker says 'Then do so,' and undermines her in front of the dog alien by saying 'Lieutenant Yar was... confused.' (The pause really implies 'stupid,' doesn't it. Tasha makes a face, and I sympathise.) Then his Smug Vegan Line of the Evening, 'We no longer enslave animals for food purposes.' They still enjoy meat, but it's replicated - no animals need to be killed. Riker calls it 'as fresh and tasty as meat,' but later on we'll hear that quite a few people think replicator food isn't quite as tasty or nutritious, and some still insist on cooking and eating real food (O'Brien's mum, for example - no wonder he grew up to be such a big strong boy). The Antican calls their fake meat sickening and barbaric, which is as clunky as Daimon Dar going on about how ugly humans look (a gag that's repeated through the Duras sisters in Generations, by which time it was GETTING OLD). I would enjoy it more if his response was something like 'Where's the fun in that?'

Incidentally, under all that doggy makeup is the lovely Marc Alaimo, who will one day both delight and appall me as Gul Dukat.

In sickbay, Beverly has Worf on a bed and is putting on an unimaginably dorky headpiece-eyepiece thing which I can only hope has some diagnostic use. And, well, this happens.


I hope you didn't think I was joking about her headgear. I don't remember ever seeing that again, and I presume they decided that there is no earthly use in making a pretty lady like Gates McFadden look like a tragic poindexter. Bev doesn't react very much to the shock, just looks wobbly for a moment. Deanna comes in and, because she understands medical readouts? comments 'He's reading normal now. How did you manage that?' They seriously need to hire some nurses for sickbay; it always looks like Bev is the only one who works there in these early episodes, and Deanna is always hanging around for no reason except I suppose nosiness.  Actually, I like the idea that Deanna is just a very nosy person, so we'll go with that.

Beverly says 'Yes... normal...' in such a weird voice that Deanna asks if she's okay. 'Yes, perfectly. Both of us. Quite normal now.' She walks over to the display wall. And Deanna, who is so psychic, doesn't notice that there's something foreign in her friend's head. She's distracted just then, though, by Worf waking up and being belligerently confused. Deanna reminds him of what happened, but he can't remember the zap or his outburst. He asks 'What am I doing here?' (presumably he doesn't feel sick or hurt) and Deanna says the doctor will tell him, but Beverly just blanks both of them and walks off.

They're still flying through the cloud, and on the bridge Picard and Data are talking about how mysteeeerious it is. Data wants to keep investigating, and Picard says he loves a mystery, but this one has to wait until after they've made the Parliament run. 'Time and tide, Lieutenant LaForge!' he says, and Geordi takes them out of there at Warp 8.

In the Crushers' apartment (I'm just rejecting the word 'quarters' for some reason), Wesley is nerding on a little computer (dimensions of a netbook, but fastened to the table on a swivel) when Bev comes in, looking vague. He greets her, saying she's back early, and she says 'Yes,' then sits down and turns his computer around so she can read the screen. He explains that it's his physical sciences homework about dilithium crystals - starting to swivel it back towards himself - and she swivels it back, saying 'Tell me.' Wes is chuffed that his mother wants to hear about nerd stuff, because she isn't usually interested. Some dude thinks there's a way to make dilithium crystals more awesome. Bev asks 'Would that affect navigation?' and Wes says this is engineering stuff, not helm control. Beverly mutters to herself 'Of course, the helm is on the bridge,' gets up and leaves without another word, leaving Wesley very confused.

Beverly enters the bridge and walks around looking spooky - she's holding up her hands in an odd way.  She creeps 'This is the helm,' and sort of draws her hands away from Geordi's as he works the controls. She's wringing her hands like Lady Macbeth as she walks up to the ramp to tell Picard, in a stiff, artificial tone, that Worf is okay, and the problem was 'a temporary mental aberration.' Picard wants a better explanation than that, since Worf is one of his bridge officers and somewhat important, and she says she'll have to do some research because Klingons are unusual in their reactions. She goes towards one of the panels at the back and Picard redirects her to 'science station two,' next to Data.

Data, being a bright little button, notices that she's looking up helm control, not medical information, and asks her what they have to do with each other. (They're still trying to make 'Intriguing' happen, and here it doesn't even make sense; what she's doing is merely curious.) Bev ignores him, and he sort of face-shrugs and looks away. Just then the blue lightning travels from Beverly's arm into the control panel, and she wakes up. She's not sure what she's doing there, but tells the others she's all right, and she'll go and do the work in her office. Beverly, you dork, if you just found yourself on the bridge with no memory of how you got there, tell someone, because you are having blackouts.

'Beverly' means 'beaver meadow,' by the way.

Data tells Picard that his workstation is borked, and when he moves over to the one Beverly was using, its lights go out too. A very Indian voice from Engineering reports something wrong with the warp drive circuitry, and then the transporter consoles are malfunctioning, and it's all a bit suggestive of something wrong. This ship is less than a year old, it still smells like a new car, and as Data confirms for Picard, it's almost impossible that so many things would suddenly break down. I am happy to report that Brent Spiner seems to have settled down into what I think of as Classic Data - he's cut out the Mona Lisa smiles that were bothering me in 'The Last Outpost.' I'm very very fond of Data's calm, mild, earnest demeanour, so it's nice to see it coalescing. Picard wonders what the hell is going on here, and Data doesn't try to answer him, because it's that thing when a scene ends on a shot of the players just standing there letting the last line sink in, and over the last few days it's been really striking me how much you get of that in Star Trek.

In the observation lounge, Picard is miffed that there is no explanation for what caused the malfunctions - they've all been repaired, but that doesn't solve the mystery. Mr Singh thinks it was an electronic fault that travelled from one station to another, except that this doesn't quite make sense - those systems don't really interact in normal operations. The engineering staff are all puzzled by it (including Argyle, who gets name-checked despite being obviously not important). Picard wants a proper explanation before they reach Parliament. Data is sitting down at the end of the table next to a dead-looking potted camellia, and he raises one eyebrow thoughtfully, and I think 'nice' and then pull myself together.

Back in the Antican doggies' quarters, Riker is informing their leader that a couple of his lads were caught lying in wait with weapons near the other delegation's quarters. The leader (he never gets called by name, just Chief Delegate) explains that these are not weapons but tools, used to dispatch their food animals, but as Tasha points out, those animals are not even on the same deck as the other delegation. The delegate tries to sort of smarm his way out, but Riker tells him that all such tools and weapons will be confiscated from his people, because they don't want trouble on the Enterprise. Well, honestly, the Enterprise crew make enough trouble for themselves without any doggies joining in. As Riker and Tasha are leaving, the delegate gives his word that if there is trouble, his people won't start it. BUT, as he growls once they're safely out the door, WE WILL FINISH IT.

Both the Anticans and the cobra guys have weird electronic filters on their voices, by the way, and the way their mask-faces move is not terribly convincing. It's a praiseworthy attempt to make extremely alien-looking and sounding aliens, as opposed to the good old Star Trek standby of 'basically humans with funny ears and/or foreheads,' but the execution is a bit wonky.

On the bridge, Worf and his forehead report a problem: warp power is fading. Down in engineering, Geordi, Singh and Wesley (I thought Wesley was supposed to be learning on the bridge?) can't explain it. Wesley is still wearing that disgusting orange pullover; I miss the much more restrained grey one from 'The Naked Now.' Picard is baffled at so many things going wrong with a state of the art vessel, and asks Data to signal Parliament that they'll be late. But subspace radio is out!

In his ready room, Picard asks Data and Riker for their ideas. Data says that if the Enterprise were this fragile, she'd never have left spacedock (that's my contraction, not his - so far he is being a good boy with those). The problem isn't with the ship itself; 'an unknown adversary' is making these faults happen.
Riker: We have a saboteur aboard.
Data: I believe I said that. (And because it's Data, he sounds honestly puzzled, not snotty.)

Riker and Picard can't believe it would be any of their own people (because they haven't seen The Undiscovered Country), so they assume it's someone in one of the two delegations. Riker reckons they must be in the pay of the Ferengi, because they still have to pretend to take the Ferengi seriously, and Data points out that both planets have had some Ferengi contact. Picard asks if there are any other suspects, and Riker says that he sounds like a private eye.

No he doesn't. He sounds like a detective. I would say 'shut up, Riker,' but this leads to one of Data's endearing obsessions and some really adorable cosplay, so I'll let it stand.

Data asks what 'private eye' means, and Picard says it's 'a private consulting investigator who solves crimes.' Data thinks that would be an interesting occupation. Picard says probably not in fact, but in fiction detection can be fascinating. (Yes. My favourite detective writers are Dorothy Sayers and Ruth Rendell.) He says 'the immortal Sherlock Holmes' would have an interesting view of their case, and Riker says yes, but they'll have to solve it without 'history's greatest consulting detective,' so they each give Data one completely inaccurate idea about Holmes - a) a historical figure, b) immortal, although I suppose that comeback from the Reichenbach Falls was a good trick. You can see fascination flower on Data's face. (I love actors who can make thoughts appear on their faces so vividly.) He makes a little 'w' shape with his lips, as if about to ask a question, but then just tilts his head, and I want to know if this is because he is right now mentally Googling Sherlock Holmes and reading all the stories at once. Or does he have to look that stuff up at a computer terminal? It would make sense if Data had a wireless connection to the main computer.

Down in engineering, Wesley shows some technobabble to Singh, which he says is excellent. He dismisses Wesley, though, because he's meant to be in class now. Wesley brown-noses that he learns a lot more here than in school. Singh agrees, but says it's captain's orders. Also, he does not want to look at that sweater any longer than he has to.

In the Crushers' apartment, Beverly is wearing the first non-uniform outfit I've seen on her this season, a long soft-looking red dress (kind of a snuggie, honestly) and is sitting in a chair with her legs curled up, reading. She seems back to her normal self, and greets Wesley pleasantly, asking 'Solve any new problems today?' He thinks he was starting to, before he got sent off to class. Beverly says that he's just an acting ensign, and has to let the commissioned officers do some of the work. Wesley sits down and tells her he's learned 'a lot more than they understand,' and starts to give an example about dilithium crystals, but Beverly can't remember that they were talking about those earlier.

Back in engineering, this happens.


(I am not sure how much time has elapsed during the previous paragraph. How long was Wesley at his class for? Is Data currently mainlining Conan Doyle?) So Singh is lying with his head hanging down into the warp core pit as Worf comes down in the lift. He scampers over and checks Singh's pulse, then calls it through to Picard - as a security alert, not a medical one, because Singh is dead.

Honestly, I would still call Dr Crusher first. Look what she was able to do with Yareena; maybe he could be resuscitated. At least try CPR, you big lug. (Incidentally, reader, if you are ever in a situation where CPR is needed, please try to do it even if you are not quite sure how. If the person's breathing and pulse have just stopped, they're mostly dead. You can't make that worse. Anything you can do to get oxygen into their blood and move it around is helpful. And you know how in TV and the movies, they'll do CPR for a few reps and then say 'It's no good, s/he's gone'? That is bullshit. Keep going until the professionals take over. And do the chest pumps to the beat of 'Stayin' Alive' by the Bee Gees. Do not expect the person to come round - that almost never happens. Best of all? Take a course so you can feel more confident about doing it if you ever have to. PSA out.)

If Singh had let Wesley stay, either it might have been Wesley who got zapped instead of him, or there would have been someone right there to help him (engineering, like sickbay, seems to be mysteriously deserted, and I guess the extras budget this week went on alien masks instead). So that was a bad decision.

The Enterprise flies on, although rather slowly. Geordi and Worf are investigating Singh's death and Wesley is hanging about, still in that orange jumper. The readings on Singh's workstation indicate that they can return to warp, which bothers Wesley. The others suppose Singh had fixed the problem just before he was killed, but Wesley doesn't think that's possible. Who else could have corrected it, though?

Picard calls for Warp 6 and they haul ass.

In the doggy delegation's room, Tasha is asking some questions. The alpha dog says he's tolerating her questions because he needs to get to Parliament, but he's not interested in their shipboard problems. The peace conference will wait for them. Tasha asks what he was doing between 1800 last night and 0700 this morning, and he smugly answers 'Eating.' She reminds him that's several hours, and he responds that it was a large meal and 'a very interesting animal.' Tasha looks grossed out, possibly by his breath, and leaves. I am grossed out to think that Wesley is wearing that sweater for the second day in a row.

In Beverly's office, where Deanna is still hanging around being nosy, Worf arrives. Beverly says she called him to talk about his memory blackout, and he says that he still doesn't recall having one. Well, yeah. She now mentions her own blackout, finally, and Deanna says she's going to try hypnotherapy to elicit those memories, so she does have a professional reason to be there, and I apologise.

In the observation lounge, Tasha tells Riker that she believes almost all the delegates answered their questions with lies. Down at the end of the table, Data is smoking a huge meerschaum pipe, and says 'Imprecise, Lieutenant; they omitted certain truths, which in itself tells us something.' He is smiling slightly as he says this, but it's because he's impersonating a character. The interesting thing here is that Data has to be basing his performance on film or TV versions of the Holmes stories, because in the books, Holmes does not smoke that kind of pipe. I even found out why:
A calabash pipe smokes more cool, dry and mellow than an ordinary briar pipe, because the smoke, passing from the air chamber inside the mahogany, loses most of the heat, moisture and strength. Most of the heat and the moisture of the burning tobacco, stay into the mahogany, before the smoke enters the stem. This low center of gravity allows for the user to easily hold the pipe by the mouth alone, leaving his hands free. This advantage was often used by actors who wanted to depict their character smoking while permitting them to do other business simultaneously. That is why the character Sherlock Holmes, who never used this kind of pipe in the stories, is stereotypically depicted as favoring it because early dramatic productions, especially those starring William Gillette, made this artistic decision.
Thank you, meerschaumstore.com! This interests me because film and television are not usually acknowledged very much in TOS or TNG. Ironically for television productions, they seemed to be working on the assumption that humanity was going to advance beyond the enjoyment of on-screen entertainment, while live performances of drama and music seem to have remained popular - and of course interactive entertainment in holodecks becomes hugely popular in the TNG/DS9 period, to the extent that that muppet Harry Kim, in Voyager, couldn't imagine enjoying a recorded entertainment that wasn't interactive. (One of the few human touches in Enterprise that I found really effective was Movie Night.) The closest I can find to someone watching TV in TNG is this:


Can you even imagine something less like what you would expect Riker to watch for entertainment? Unless of course the little ladies are about to throw away their harps and perform 'Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag.'

My point, if I have one, is that movies or TV evidently played a part in Data's Holmes research, and he's either using the meerschaum because, like most viewers, he just assumes it's accurate, because why else bring in such a distinctive, even bizarre-looking prop that wasn't in the source material, or of course because he wants to have his hands free, like Gillette. Except he spends most of this scene playing with the pipe in one hand and using it to point at things, so...

At any rate, he's definitely absorbed the idea that Holmes needs to sound acutely smug. Tasha asks 'We can learn something from non-disclosure?' and he answers 'Indubitably, my good woman!' and sticks the pipe back in his mouth with a clack. I imagine Tasha's thoughts are a three-way split between 'I can't believe I hit that,' 'I'm going to actually hit him' and 'Kind of want to hit it again.' She gives Riker a little 'can you believe this' look, and he produces a fine early iteration of the Creepy Riker face.


You know how I said earlier that he was looking fly? He just lost all his points. That face is like an ice cube down my back. No, you know what it is, it's like someone else's warm, sweaty hand on my back, suddenly, when I thought I was alone. Blergh. Data, on the other hand, is preposterously hot in this scene, and I do want to emphasise the 'preposterous.' I'm not sure how it works, but it's working for me.

Anyway, Riker explains what's gotten into Data, and Data claims that he's now studied every Holmes case. (My favourite Holmesian thing is Neil Gaiman's story 'A Study in Emerald,' but you have to be familiar with HP Lovecraft too to get the full effect. Still, time spent reading Lovecraft is never wasted, so there you go.) He reckons that Holmes would say, during the previous night, something was afoot.

'A foot?' repeats Tasha, who evidently is not enjoying this anything like as much as I am. Riker giggles, so maybe he is. Data explains that although the delegates claimed they stayed in their rooms all night, the crew locator sensors show them moving here and here. (I think he's pointing to times when they moved, otherwise Tasha's following line doesn't make sense.) He emphasises his 'here's by tapping the stem of his pipe on the screen of a little swivelly computer, swivels it round for them to see, back to himself with a smirky flourish, and puts the pipe back in his mouth, clack! Never have I been so allured by a sequence of actions involving a little swivelly computer.

Tasha objects that that shows only that they moved, not what they were doing. Data deepens his voice a bit to say 'On the contrary, my dear colleague,' and I realise I'm labouring a point, but it's ridiculously sexy. (Ridiculously sexy is the only kind of sexy Data can be.) He gets up and walks towards her, expositing that on their return, both parties drew medical supplies consistent with treating minor wounds and abrasions. As he passes Tasha, she makes a little 'yuk' face and fans the air, so I guess the aroma of tobacco smoke doesn't do much for her. (I quite like the smell of tobacco itself, before it's lit. It's the smoke that smells so bad, especially when it gets stale.) He concludes that the delegates were too busy to have harmed the ship or killed the engineer, and are more interested in killing each other than any of the Feds. 'It's elementary, my dear Riker,' he concludes, puts the pipe back in his mouth - clack! - and adds a muffled 'sir,' realising that perhaps he got too far into character to be quite polite.

That was flipping fantastic. I had forgotten that the Sherlock Holmes stuff started in this episode until I did the rewatch. I can only applaud. In fact, I watched that scene two or three times because I enjoyed it so much.

Incidentally, what 'Elementary, my dear Watson' and 'Beam me up, Scotty' have in common is that they are never spoken in quite that form in their source texts. For some reason, though, they're so much more memorable than the actual similar lines that they've entered the folk lexicon, alongside 'Play it again, Sam.'

In sickbay, Deanna is hypnotising Beverly with a little blinkenlights device, and regresses her to the point where her memory loss began. Bev narrates what happened, concluding that she felt there was someone else there, and fretfully tells them to get out of her mind. Deanna tells the watching Worf that that's almost exactly what he described (although I imagine he said it a bit more vehemently and gutturally, and I'm actually quite sad we didn't get to see Hypnotised Worf). It's nice to see Deanna display competence again, but she goes on to ruin it in her next scene, reporting to Picard, saying that this confirms the sense of duality that she got earlier from both of them. Picard, like me but less crossly, asks why she didn't report it, and she says that she thought at first it was the kind of duality she often notices in others, because of our inner dialogues with ourselves. Good butt-covering, Deanna. Anyway, something invaded their minds.

Data clacks his pipe again, and Picard gently asks him to proceed without it. Data complies, looking quite disappointed, and Beverly and Deanna exchange 'isn't he precious' looks. Data presents it as 'incontrovertible' that it cannot be a family member, or any of their crew. Picard says that that's very unlikely (which is not exactly agreeing with Data). This means that they've eliminated both the delegations and the ship's regular complement as suspects. Picard asks what Data is suggesting, and he reaches for the pipe before remembering himself. (Deanna twinkles at Beverly again, so at least some of the Enterprise ladies are enjoying him.) He quotes Holmes' principle that when all other contingencies fail, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. (And I had remembered that as 'when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever etc,' but I'm not going to go looking for exact quotes now to win an argument with an android in 1988.)

Everyone looks confused, I suppose because Data has not stated what remains. There's a 'blop' noise from Picard's aquarium, and Data turns to look at it with a magnifying glass. He's just going to keep producing props, isn't he? I think they should let him keep the pipe. It would make an interesting impression on aliens during viewscreen negotiations, and could actually serve to undermine their concentration, as their eyes keep wandering away from Picard towards the lower right corner of the screen, thinking 'Is... is that an android smoking a pipe?' Always have something on your bridge just weird enough to be slightly unnerving, and never acknowledge or explain it, that's my motto.

On the bridge, there is something weird and unnerving, Wesley's sweater. He'd just better have changed the teeshirt under it, that's all. He's sitting in Data's chair while Geordi stands beside him, saying that the computer in engineering wasn't repaired, it just 'suddenly became all right.' That's a weird thing to say, and Geordi says that sometimes it's just the result that matters. Just then the helm and conn consoles go wrong, and Worf, who was sitting in the big chair, calls Picard onto the bridge. Geordi reports that they've just dropped to impulse power, and as Picard leans over his shoulder to look at the console, he puts his fingers on its surface and the blue lightning goes up his arm. Geordi notices the glow again, looks up and asks Picard if he's all right. Picard says that he's fine - 'everything is fine now.'

Sitting comfortably in his chair, Picard asks Geordi why he's dropped to impulse power. Geordi repeats that the helm control is messed up, and Picard jovially tells him 'You're wrong, look again.' And when Geordi looks again, it indeed appears to be fine. Picard gives him a new heading, 9-2-5-mark-3... 7 (he says the 7 as if it's an afterthought). Geordi questions whether he really wants to go back the way they came, and Picard turns to Riker, saying 'Isn't that what I ordered?' I said kiddle-ys, diddle I? Riker gives a little nod that I don't think Geordi can see from where he's sitting, but he murmurs 'Sir...' and follows the order. There is a really funny (to me) shot of the Enterprise pulling a sharp U-turn.

Riker says he's puzzled by this reversal, and Picard says he thinks they need to have another look at that energy cloud. To Riker's objection that they're running late for Parliament, he says he thinks an important scientific discovery awaits them there. Deanna, who I sincerely hope has noticed something is up, asks him to share his reasoning, and Data gets up from his seat, saying they obtained only minimal information from their earlier pass. Ri-ight, Picard says, so they need to go back for more.

He asks Deanna whether she thinks a captain should have to explain every order. She looks uncomfortable and says 'Of course not, sir,' and Picard smirks like Data playing Sherlock Holmes.

In a corridor somewhere, the big dog delegate is striding along angrily, demanding to see the captain, and HEY IT'S O'BRIEN! HI O'BRIEN! I SEE YOU GOT A GOLD UNIFORM! O'Brien is scurrying along behind, ordering him to return to his quarters. A cobra guy pops out of a door and they growl and hiss at each other over poor O'Brien's protests.

I love O'Brien, you guys. In case, you know, that doesn't come across.

Riker, Data, Deanna and Beverly are talking behind Picard's back in someone's apartment (I expect the Crushers', since that was already dressed for this episode). Data says a mere change of direction doesn't justify mutiny. Bev asks Deanna exactly what she's feeling, and she says it's just a sense that Picard has closed part of his mind to her. Awesomely, there is a model of an NCC-1701 shuttle on a shelf behind her. That has to be Wesley's. Deanna thinks Picard may be dangerous. And that, Geordi says (I couldn't even see he was in the room before this shot), means he could be relieved of command. That's Beverly's call as the doctor. Data points out that so far, Picard has done nothing to put the ship in danger. Bev needs more medical evidence to justify taking Picard down, and says Riker could do it as a judgement call, but he says he can only do that if all the senior officers believe it's really necessary. He still hasn't done anything really weird, but Deanna believes sooner or later he will. Beverly says she's going to order medical and psychiatric exams, and tells Will he'll have to back her up somehow.

Beverly and Will go to see Picard in his ready room, where he's staring out the window. Carefully, Beverly says she'd like him to come to sickbay for some examinations, and he lightly says, still watching the stars, that he'll be glad to when he's free. She says she'd like to do them now, and he turns and asks, quite mildly, 'Why?' Bev doesn't answer, so he asks Will what he's here for. Riker tells him Counselor Troi has recommended the exams too, and Picard asks, again, why?

Riker repeats what I suspect is a standardised speech for these situations, common as they are in Starfleet: 'It is my duty to inform the captain we believe he may be under some kind of alien influence which may constitute a danger to this ship.' He and Crusher are very stiff and formal and visibly uncomfortable about this. Quizzically, Picard says he considers it equally possible that all three of them are overworked and suffering hallucinations. He tells Beverly that all of them are to be tested, and asks her, slightly too close to her face, 'Doctor, are you aware everyone is behaving strangely?' (Yes, Captain, most weeks.) She says she's concerned about his sudden course change, and he snaps 'What's happened to your mind, doctor?' More softly he says 'The search for knowledge is always our primary objective.' Then he plumps down in his chair, puts his feet up on the desk jauntily, and says dismissively that he's really too busy for this kind of nonsense. Does he have to call security to take them to sickbay? No, sir, Beverly says very softly, and they leave. Picard returns to staring avidly out his window. Ve-ry busy.

I really liked how, throughout that scene, Patrick Stewart was just slightly off Picard in multiple ways, while still retaining a recognisable thread of Picarditude. He's a clever man.

Riker walks along a ridiculously dark corridor and gets snaffled with a glowstick noose around his neck. 'What the hell?' he asks, trying to free himself, and gets a 'Sorry. Wrong speciesss' from a cobra dude. Riker calls Tasha and asks for guards on the engineering deck, because the delegates are playing 'hide and seek' down here. What have they done with my dear O'Brien?

Picard is looking at his computer screen, with his chin in his hand, looking quite contented, when Beverly comes in. He's smiling faintly when he asks her what she wants, and she's very nervous as she hands him the results of the tests he ordered. (I am interested. Who does a psychiatric exam on Deanna? Who does a medical exam on Beverly? So far we haven't seen anyone else working in their departments. And if Beverly and Deanna are both required to undergo these exams, can they perform them on each other or on Will? And did they actually do new exams or just copy-paste the results from their last ones into a new form?) He takes the chip from her and drops it on his desk. 'You don't care to inspect them?' she asks, and he leans back and looks at her.

'Please, are you Jean-Luc?' she asks, leaning in towards him.
'He is here.' Creepy answer!
'The Jean-Luc I know?'
'And more.'
'The "more" frightens me.'
'And elates us. We wish you could understand the glorious adventure ahead.'
'You, and...?'
'Soon we'll both be home,' Picard says happily. Beverly straightens up, looking considerably wigged.

The Enterprise is nearly back to the cloud, and Riker voiceovers that he's convinced something from it is in the captain's head, but there seems to be nothing they can do within regulations. Why not? You're all sure something's wrong and he's directly acknowledged to Beverly that he's possessed by more than one entity. Pop a bag over his head. Have Worf sock him. Borrow that glowy noose from the jerks downstairs.

Picard comes out onto the bridge, and Riker asks him if they should begin the scientific tests he ordered. Picard smiles that they're already underway. He walks in front of the viewscreen and makes an announcement to the bridge: as they already suspected, when they passed through the edge of (vague gesture) 'this,' they accidentally carried away a sentient being made of energy patterns. It was terrified, feeling as if it had been abducted when it was drawn into the energy circuits of the ship. It moved from person to person, seeking help, but in ways they were unable to understand. (Well, actually it sneaked around.) Then it discovered the 'computer intelligence' in Enterprise's memory, enough to enable it to slow down the ship. 'It very much regrets the accidental death of Engineer Singh.' Accidental my foot. That was pure dickery. He's pacing all around the bridge as he villain-monologues this.

Riker and Troi step up and ask him if he's combined with this entity, if it controls him. Picard not-exactly answers that they've learned a lot about each other, particularly their shared love of discovery and exploration (and mystery, I suppose), and the entity offered him a chance to pursue this as no other human could. Riker demands to speak to the captain privately. Data, though, says he understands - that as an energy being, the entity could go anywhere at any velocity. Riker tries again to get Picard alone, and Data says that he sees no way for Picard to travel with the entity. Deanna, whether because she sensed it or did some actual deductive reasoning, says Picard is planning to beam himself and the entity out into the cloud.

Picard's transporter pattern, energy but no mass, will join the other energy pattern beings out in the cloud. He's already recorded his resignation to Starfleet. Riker says he refuses to accept this, and Picard asks how his resignation endangers the ship. Beverly jumps up and says she's relieving him of command because he has gone cuckoo. In response, Picard puts his hands on Geordi and Data's consoles and blue lightnings them. Blue lightning goes all over the bridge. Riker calls a red alert, and shouts 'Restrain the captain!' Data is trying, but can't move properly. Tasha, up the back, cries 'Where is he?' and Deanna says 'This is blinding me!'

You know, if Tasha were any cop (ha) as a security officer, I would think she'd have been sticking close to Picard, ready to make a move if necessary. There are all sorts of reasons why putting Tactical up at the back of the bridge is a silly idea, but it's particularly silly if the chief of security just stays parked behind it when a potential threat is actually walking around the room.

All the blue light seems to be especially bothering Geordi. Worf shouts out 'Captain! I'll help you if you let me!' That is so sweet of him! Riker bellows again for someone to restrain the captain, as Picard gets into a lift and leaves.

He lets himself into a transporter room, where the operator is lying on the floor groaning, puts the controls on timer like a camera and beams out!

More than an hour later, they still have no idea where Picard is. The transporter chief can't find the co-ordinates he used. (I bet O'Brien could, but that's not his job yet.) Geordi asks how they can settle for just leaving him floating around, and Riker grumps 'Give me a choice, then.' Data reports that he still has no sign of anything Picardy. Riker gazes out at the purple clouds for a long moment, then instructs Geordi to set a course to Parliament at warp 8.

Geordi asks if they're really leaving him, and just then Deanna jumps in with an urgent update. She can feel the captain, but only the captain, out there alone. Riker asks if the entity abandoned him, but Deanna says no, the combination just wasn't possible out there. (Energy entity: I'm sorry, it's not you, it's me. I hope in time we can be friends. OkayIgottagobye.) Picard is in trouble and needs to be beamed back. Riker objects that he is just energy now, and Data points out that he might be able to get back into the ship through its energy circuits, the same way the jerk entity got in. (I am not sure how this solves the problem of Picard's lack of mass, but then I'm not a physicist.) With no clear idea of where they should look for Picard, they approach the cloud.

Riker asks Deanna if she can get a psychic message to Picard, but she's no help. Geordi detects nothing new, and Riker tells him to go right up to the edge. Worf reports things are happening to his sensor controls, and then Deanna says something is here, she can feel it, so a Klingon using electronics detected the disembodied soul of Captain Picard before a Betazoid using psychic empathy. Geordi's control panel goes weird, and then, gloriously, lights up with a big blue P for Picard. I'm reaching for a 'mind your Ps and Qs' joke, but I can't quite get there. Data comes over authoritative (I love when he does this, incidentally, because it's a wonderful contrast with the cuteness and innocence that can make you forget he's, well, a grown-up) and calls them all to the transporter room where he thinks they may have a chance. In fact, he says 'Come to the transporter room, please,' because however urgent the situation, Data will always have lovely manners. They scamper.

In the transporter room, Riker calls Data's idea a 'wild theory.' Now, because I believe in evolution and sometimes have to justify my position to creationists who say godawful things like 'It's only a theory,' I am prickly about the inaccurate use of 'theory.' In a scientific context, it doesn't mean conjecture or perhapsing about. It's a generally accepted explanation for the known facts, which has long since passed through the stage of 'I think this is how it works' to 'loads of reputable scientists all over the world have checked and double checked this and agreed it makes sense, and we have simply oodles of evidence to support it.' Gravity is only a theory, put it that way. Firstly, what Data's got is a hypothesis that he's going to test. Secondly, it's Data; how wild is it likely to be? He's not given to making stuff up.

Anyway, Data explains that Picard's physical pattern must still be in the transporter's memory, since he was the last one to beam out from this room. He hopes Picard realises this too, because if he does, his energy pattern will have moved into the transporter relays. Riker wishes they had some sign he was in here, but guesses they'll just have to 'risk it.' Well, like performing CPR a bit ineptly, there is no way they can make this situation worse. If it doesn't work, Picard just remains lost to them. The feeling that it is risky to try is an illusion created by natural anxiety (so Data is unencumbered by it). I am so stoked that I managed to tie this back to my CPR rant earlier, because I didn't plan that at all.

A faint shimmery pattern appears over the transporter pad and they all gaze at it expectantly. It takes a while, but the shimmer resolves into a proper, solid Captain Picard. Both Troi and Data smile in relief and satisfaction - and despite my usual objections to Smiley Data, it's hard to think of two nicer faces to find smiling at you when you arrive home. Picard murmurs 'What the devil am I doing here?' Isn't it interesting how, long after a culture moves on from a particular set of beliefs, traces of them stick around in its language? Most of the days of our week are named after Norse gods, for example. 'Goodbye' is a garbled and smoothed out version of 'God be with you.' Picard is definitely atheist or agnostic, based on later events, but he uses 'hell' and 'the devil' for emphasis.

Riker smiles and says that sounds like their captain, and Deanna adds 'But confused. This Picard pattern was formed before he went out there.' So it lacks the memory of being out there - I suppose in the same sort of way that the programming and memories downloaded into B4 do not include the subsequent memories of Data going to his death, and motherjumper, I just acknowledged Nemesis. To put it another way, they've recovered Picard at the last point when he saved his game. The point is, can you consider what you get back really 'Picard' or 'Data'? Is a person just the sum of their thoughts and memories, so it doesn't matter if their physical form is destroyed and replaced? I jolly well hope so, because I love both Picard and Data like I love cats and cardigans. One day, these questions will torment poor Reg Barclay.

Picard remembers preparing to beam out somewhere, and people talking about an 'entity,' but it's all very vague and confusing. Data says it's not surprising that part of Picard's memory is gone, and he asks 'What are you talking about, Data? Is this still Sherlock Holmes?' Data pauses a moment, then says kindly 'Indubitably, sir. Indubitably.'

'Mm. At least you got rid of the damn pipe!' Picard says. Riker gently asks him to come to sickbay, where Beverly wants to give him a check-up because he's been looking tired. Tasha rushes in to say that there's a puddle of blood outside the cobra guys' quarters, and they can't find one of the delegates. Riker asks if this couldn't have waited, and she pauses to tell Picard that it's good to see him - the problem is that one of the ship's cooks has just been asked to cook reptile meat for the Anticans. Picard concludes that he does need a rest and walks off with a jaunty 'Take charge, Number One.'

To sum up:
  • O'Brien's changed his name as well as his uniform, from 'Battle Bridge Crew' to 'First Security Guard.' (I know you were wondering.)
  • Data!
  • That was quite possibly the least successful diplomatic mission I've ever seen.
  • I reckon this is the best episode of the first season so far.
Next time we skip back over to DS9, I must confess without much enthusiasm, because you don't really remember how dull S1 DS9 could be until you're in the thick, or rather thin of it. But anyway, we've got 'Captive Pursuit' and 'Q-Less' coming up, so at least you have some much better reptile makeup and a badass boxer moustache to look forward to.

               Linear Algebra         
    This course features a complete set of video lectures by Professor Gilbert Strang of MIT.This course is a basic subject on matrix theory and linear algebra. Emphasis is given to topics that will be useful in other disciplines, including systems of equations, vector spaces, determinants, eigenvalues, similarity, and positive definite matrices. The course content includes The Geometry of Linear Equations, Elimination with Matrices, Multiplication and Inverse Matrices, Transposes, Permutations, Column Space and Nullspace, The Four Fundamental Subspaces, Orthogonal Vectors and Subspaces, Properties of Determinants, Cramer's Rule, Inverse Matrix, and Volume and lot more...
              Active subspace methods in theory and practice: Or, does your model really have lots of parameters?        
    Science and engineering models typically contain multiple parameters representing input data---e.g., boundary conditions or material properties. The map from model inputs to model outputs can be viewed as a multivariate function. One may naturally be interested in how the function changes as inputs are varied. However, if computing the model output is expensive given a set of inputs, then exploring the high-dimensional input space is infeasible. Such issues arise in the study of uncertainty quantification, where uncertainty in the inputs begets uncertainty in model predictions....
              Warp Five Subspace Postcards 3: Star Trek So Good It Melts in Your Ears        

    Listener Feedback Show.

    Team Conference Room is back with a Warp Five completely dedicated to the listeners! Typically, Warp Five episodes feature discussion, analysis, and dissection of the finer details of the terrific Star Trek: Enterprise series; and these discussions then generate great feedback and comments from listeners. We love interacting with our audience, and we can't say enough about how much we appreciate you all!

    In this episode of Warp Five, hosts Floyd Dorsey and Jeffrey Harlan react to your reactions, analyze some well-thought-out topic suggestions, and read some new reviews. Find out if your review or comment is discussed in this round of Subspace Postcards, and please continue to send us your feedback. We always love to hear from our terrific listeners!

    Chapters
    Intro (00:00:00)
    Subspace Postcards (00:04:34)
    Show Topic: Development of Alien Societies (00:14:33)
    Show Topic: Vulcans (00:19:35)
    Show Topic: Most-Debated Episodes (00:21:24)
    Show Topic: The Pegasus and These Are the Voyages (00:25:19)
    Reviews (00:27:54)
    Closing (00:34:04)

    Hosts
    Floyd Dorsey and Jeffrey Harlan

    Production
    C Bryan Jones (Editor and Producer), Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer), Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer), Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer), Floyd Dorsey (Associate Producer), Mike Morrison (Associate Producer), Richard Marquez (Production Manager), Will Nguyen (Content Manager)


              Warp Five Subspace Postcards 2: Do They Still Send Care Packages?        

    Hot off the Subspace Presses from Hoshi's Station!

     

    In each standard episode of Warp Five, we delve into the minutiae of Enterprise. This in turn generates a lot of feedback from you, our loyal listeners, in the form of what we now call Subspace Postcards. Every so often when they start piling up, Hoshi downloads them onto my PADD so I can find some quiet time in the Conference Room to catch up on all of the mail with Will and our guests. We hope you enjoy the topics we've chosen for our second feedback show. Thanks for your support and for being such incredible, engaging and loyal fans of Warp Five.

     

    Recently I put out a feeler to the fans of The Babel Conference, Trek.fm's dedicated Facebook listener's page, and we have received an overwhelming list of incredibly diverse topics: from civilians serving on board the NX-01, to boldly going through the Great Language Barrier, receiving literal and digital mail from home to the edge of the galaxy, and speculating on The Wrath of Damar. Thank you everyone for sending in your ideas and if we didn't get to yours in this show, we will try to read your feedback on the next installment of Subspace Postcards!

     

    Hosts

    Norman C. Lao and Will Nguyen

     

    Guest

    Jeffrey Harlan

     

    Editor

    Matthew Rushing

     

    Executive Producers

    Norman C. Lao, Matthew Rushing and Christopher Jones

     

    Associate Producers

    Floyd Dorsey and Mike Morrison

     

    Production Manager

    Richard Marquez

     

    Content Manager

    Will Nguyen

     

    Chapters

    Welcome to the Second Subspace Postcards Show! (00:01:21) 

    Starfleet Civility Towards Civilians (00:04:53) 

    No Real Designs for Diplomacy? (00:14:57) 

    It All Comes Back to HOSHI! (00:20:15) 

    The Language Production Barrier (00:23:16) 

    The Wrath of Damar (00:30:21)

    The Romu-Illyrian War? (00:35:02)

    Care Package Day on the NX-01 (00:40:43)

    Hijacking Starfleet Subspace Bandwidth (00:50:43)

    Hernandez Has Her Orders! (00:56:18)

    Closing and Thank You For Listening (01:09:13)

     

    Send us your feedback!

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              Warp Five Subspace Postcards: Messages from Babel        

    Warp Five Supplemental: Our First Subspace Postcards Show!

    In each episode of Warp Five we delve into the minutiae of ENTERPRISE, which in turn generates a lot of feedback from you, our loyal listeners, in the form of what we would like to now call: Subspace Postcards. Every so often, when they start piling up, Hoshi downloads them onto my PADD so I can find some quiet time in the Sweet Spot to catch up on all of the mail. We here at Warp Five hope you enjoy the topics we've chosen for our first feedback show! Thanks for your support and keep sending us those Subspace Postcards!


    On a more somber note...when we recorded this episode, it was the evening of February 27th and it was this solemn Friday that we said goodbye to our very own, beloved and revered Mr. Spock...Leonard Nimoy. Will, Tommy and I discuss his passing and what he meant to us later on in the show. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Nimoy family and, speaking for the team here at Warp Five - Mr. Nimoy will always be forever in our hearts. We have been and always shall be your fans and in us...you will always Live Long and Prosper.

    Host

    Norman C. Lao

    Guests
    Will Nguyen and Tommy Kraft

    Editor
    Matthew Rushing

    Associate Producers

    Norman C. Lao and Floyd Dorsey

    Production Manager

    Richard Marquez

     

    Content Coordinator

     

    Will Nguyen

     

    Chapters

    Welcome to our very first Subspace Postcards show! (00:01:22)  
    The Lower Decks of 2151 (00:05:28)  
    A British Archer? A Vulcan Armstrong? What? (00:22:20)  
    Speculation is the Spice of Enterprise (00:42:43)  
    Designing for the Future (00:52:25)  
    He has been and always shall be...our Leonard Nimoy (01:15:54)  
    Closing (01:24:06)  
    Five Star Reviews!!! (01:27:08)  

    Send us your feedback!
    Twitter: @trekfm
    Visit the Trek.fm website at http://trek.fm/
    Subscribe in iTunes: http://itunes.com/trekfm

    Support the Network!
    Become a Trek.fm Patron on Patreon and help us keep our shows coming to you every week. We have great perks for you at http://patreon.com/trekfm

              Effective Invisibility        
    Some colleagues and I were recently observing that it is fortunate that some who have the power to turn invisibility also, inexplicably, have the ability to generate force fields as well. As incongruous and improbable as this may seem, it does seem to off set a superpower that otherwise would appear very limited indeed. In fact, I myself flippantly remarked that without the force field power, invisibility would “suck ass”. However, I couldn’t stop thinking that this was neither flattering nor fair to those with the power to turn invisible, and demonstrated a lack of thoughtfulness and resourcefulness on my part. I have taken it upon myself to correct this misperception of invisibility by offering these handy tips.

    1.)Know your role
    Okay, we all want to go toe to toe with Dr. Sorrow or Mechgorilla, but that simply isn’t what you do. Your role is to one of reconnaissance and advance scout. You’ve honed your observation skills, spiked up your memorization, familiarized yourself with a variety of radio and subspace communicators, maybe even learned Morse Code. Your stealth is your strength, and your chief weapon is information. Everyone will applaud how Tunnor or Laser Mace dealt the coup de grace but perhaps they wouldn’t have known Tigersaur’s weak point or The Sinadrome’s evil plot if you hadn’t been out there, doing the stealth work. If you get really good at this, you might even find yourself employed by several superteams at once, head hunted by the Righteous League or Team Alpha. Of course, you might grow tired of Smashtra and Z Trooper making fun of your noncombat role, and maybe you’ve hauled one too many heavy hitter out of one death trap too many and you’d like to step up your effectiveness in the field.

    2.)Learn Martial Arts
    It works for Iron Panda and The Hallow. They routinely face powered opponents with nothing more than athleticism and skill. And you wouldn’t really have to be as good as they are, since you have the huge advantage of being invisible to your foes. All you need is a few basic aikido moves for throwing people to the ground and you’d be quite effective. Of course, no matter how many hours you spent punching bricks to harden your hands (and yes, the Hallow does that), there’s only so much you can against Carno or Giant Kahn. So, you might want to skip ahead to the next point.

    3.)Pack Heat
    Arm yourself with as many firearms as you can tote without impeding your movement. So you don’t want to go the lethal route like Specter General and Rath, and certainly you're more employable if you don’t, and wish to carry rubber bullets and tranqs like Streetcleaner, do keep in mind that neither of those things work against androids, robots, or armored foes. No one’s going to fault you for carrying a clip or two of Teflon coated armor piercing rounds for “emergency use”. After all, you can’t shoot through manacles or locks witout penetrating ammo. If you wish to take out a sizable Power Loan, or if you can land a job beta testing for CosmaCorps or Yang Lee Inc. (which is allegedly how Beta Max does it) (and, of course, how he got his name), you can equip yourself with the latest in repulsors, plasma knives, stunulators, etc. Which puts you right on par with Z Trooper, Beta Max, Dr. Revolver, and others, only you’ll have one advantage they don’t; you can turn invisible.
              Podcast #332: Food Interlude from Jul 20, 2017        
    Artofescapism - "Surprising Power"
    Frank Boston - "Mambardo" - Tres Sueltos
    ~peace - "peace single edit handlebar july 2 2017" - ~peace: Will Austin. July 2 2017. Handlebar, Toronto.
    Ryan Little - "Sunday Service"
    N3rgul - "Nintenstomp!" - Subspace Cannibals
    Roger Plexico - "Six Flags" - No Man's Land
    Springtide - "Northern Soundscape One" - Sounds strange, weird, but unmistakably romantic (beta)
    Dr. Sparkles feat. The Pepperoni Brothers - "How To Make a New York Pizza" - Audio Cookbook
    Lemon Yellow Hayes - "Ice Cream" - FMA EP
    Aitua - "Lemon Meringue Pie" - Audio Cookbook
    Martin Phillipps - "Kaleidoscope World" - Live at WFMU for Surface Noise with Joe McGasko, 6/12/2017
    Flaccid Ashbacks - "Today" - Try The Soup
    Keshco - "Bounce Balls" - Audio Cookbook
    Rukmani Devi - "Dushmantha Aho" - Rukmani Devi Single Tracks
    Fog Lake - "Spectrogram" - Dragonchaser
    Monplaisir - "Détruire pour mieux rien être" - Choix et Déterminisme
    Rasalasad - "Postcard nature" - Inthiscipline http://www.wfmu.org/playlists/shows/73769
              S.P.O.C.K. - " ASSIGNMENT EARTH " 1997 HOT STUFF.        
     
    S.P.O.C.K. es una banda ya conocida por muchos amantes del synth pop que llegó a dibujar una larga disografía durante la década de los 90. Ellos son suecos y pricipalmente se componen de tres mimbros: Alexander Hofman, Christer Hermodsson & Johan Malmgren. Alexander, conocido en la banda como  Android, fue el fundador de la banda en 1988, mantuvo de manera paralela otros proyectos individuales tales como Hof The Man, Mr. Data o Namfoh, incluso colaboró en el cover "Lili Marleen" bajo la formación "Sofia Antenn", que aparece en el compilatorio "Synthetic Sounds from Accelerating Blue Fish" de 1989. Christer Hermodsson fue recluido hacia el año 1997 y subtituyó a Eddie Bengtsson (uno de los componentes de la banda Page, junto a Marina Schiptjenko), como teclados sobre los escenarios, ambos fueron posteriormente componentes de la banda Sista Mannen PÃ¥ Jorden. Christer fue compositor, productor, ingeniero, teclados, corista... tocaba como nadie sobre los escenarios! Hizo de todo: soul, R&B, techno, heavy metal, schlager, pop electrónico, incluso compuso 5 piezas clásicas para los Juegos Olímpicos de Atlanta de 1996!! Y por último, Johan Malmgren fue un componente de los míticos Elegant Machinery hasta 1992 y fue tripulante oficial de S.P.O.C.K. el 1 de Marzo de 1999. Más tarde formaría la banda Aaron Sutcliffe junto a Eskil Simonsson (de Covenant), donde solían hacer covers de Elvis Presley. Entre su extensa discografía podemos decir que solo llegaron a plastificar dos discos de vinilo, el primero en 1990 llamado "Silicon Dream", el más buscado y cotizado de la banda, en una tirada de 510 copias en el sello Accelerating Blue Fish. Y el segundo en 1997, este album LP Picture que aquí os presento, de carácter totalmente Synth Pop, limitado a 200 ejemplares en el sello Hot Stuff. También he de agradecer este aporte a Rodrigo (atmosferazentral) por colaborar en Cau, gracias compañero!!

    S.P.O.C.K.

    S.P.O.C.K. - Assignment Earth

    Sello Discográfico: HOT STUFF.
    Referencia:
    HS01
    Formato: V
    inilo LP, Picture Disc Album, Edicion Limitada
    País Edición:
    Suecia
    Año:
    1997

    A1.
    Not Human        
    A2.
    Alien Attack        
    A3.
    Out In Space        
    A4.
    Astrogirl's Dilemma        
    A5.
    E.T. Phone Home
        

    B1. Spooky        
    B2.
    Force Of Life        
    B3.
    Meanwhile...        
    B4.
    Space Seed        
    B5.
    All The Children Will Lead        
    B6.
    Romulan Ale



       
       
       

              Gadgets & Gizmos: The Star Trek Internet Communicator $24.95        

    Although it is unable to use "subspace" frequencies for instantaneous interstellar communication, this is the Star Trek communicator that serves as an internet phone. Faithful to the original design first seen in the original series, it plugs into a Mac or a PC running Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 using its built-in USB cable, allowing you to use it to make internet phone calls (requires broadband internet connection and your preferred voice-over-IP software).
    Limited Time
              My GOTY 2014        

    2014, for all its buggy releases and games that got too much hype, still had its shining games. I made the wanted to go through and name off my five favorites from this year. I may not have played everything (after all, I've hardly got the time for such a feat, much less the money), but these five games, even at the end of the year, still stick out in my mind when I think of 2014's games. So without further ado, let's begin...

    #5: Octodad: Dadliest Catch

    This was amongst some of the first games released this year, and one of the first major indie games to hit this next generation of consoles. I even did a Let's Play of this year back when it initially came out. Throughout these whole twelve months, Octodad has always managed to stick out in my mind as one of 2014's better games, mostly due its unique charm and humor. Wonky controls made the game much more funny and unique, which is something you don't hear about any game very often. It might not hit home with everyone, but it certainly left a mark on me.

    #4: Child of Light

    Granted, I've not finished it completely yet. I'm about 3/4 of the way through. Not only that, but I honestly do try to not give Ubisoft too much credit, given their behavior this year especially. But, credit where credit is due, Child of Light was a very well crafted game. The mechanics, though pretty simple, made the battles engaging and epic. The art style gave the game a very distinct look, and the music was quite pretty. The dialogue, though sometimes trying too hard to rhyme, was still cute in its own special way. I would normally tell you to dodge Ubisoft games for the time being, but with this, I'll make an exception.

    #3: The Wolf Among Us

    Walking Dead is good and all, but when compared to Telltale's other works, specifically The Wolf Among Us, it pales in comparison. The Wolf Among Us took what many people love about Telltale's Walking Dead games, and made it better. The story is rich and intriguing, the decisions difficult to make. The art style works with the game in every way, giving characters and the environment itself a kind of "pop" that sets it apart from other art styles. If you're a fan of Telltale Games ,or story rich games in general, you have little reason to pass this one up.

    #2: Wolfenstein: The New Order

    Nazis. They used to be what zombies are to video games today...overused. Yet somehow Machine Games took an old franchise like Wolfenstein, the grandfather of FPS games, and took all these older themes and mechanics, fused them with new ideas and technology, and made something absolutely gorgeous. Who knew William BJ Blaskowikz (hoping I spelled that right) could have a personality beyond a meathead mowing down Nazis. The gunplay is absolutely fantastic, and the story, surprisingly, is amazing. The world you inhabit, an alternate, Nazi ruled 1960s, is oppressing yet somehow still dazzling. And coming from Machine Games, who had basically no noteworthy history in the games industry, I for one am absolutely stunned at just how good it is. This is one I recommend to everyone.

     

    And of course, we come to the game that shall be described as my 2014 GOTY. I'll give you a hint...look at my username and profile picture...

     

    #1: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U

    To say why I loved this game is to say why I love this franchise as a whole. Ever since I first learned of this franchise and tried it for the first time, I've been hooked. I loved Melee. I loved Brawl. And yes, I'm one of those weirdos who thought Subspace Emissary was pretty awesome. Every Smash game I've touched I've always walked away amazed at what the Big N has pulled. Of course, this is no exception. Super smash Bros for 3DS and Wii U has the largest roster to date in the Smash Bros franchise, yet amazingly the game still feels completely balanced. There's no dominant strategy or character. In such a large cast, that's nothing to scoff at. This franchise has always been jam packed with content, and though I must say its Single Player content is a little lacking this time around, it more than makes up for it with its multiplayer. This isn't to say that the single player aspects were bad. They still have their charm and joy to them that I've come to be accustomed to. On the 3DS version, it is simply amazing how they managed to port a fast paced, action heavy game like Smash Bros into something the 3DS can handle..at 60 FPS no less. Oh, and rarely does it lag. The Wii U version has even more added, and there's no doubt that it will continue to occupy my spare time for the next few months and beyond. As a wrap up, I'll explain Smash Bros. this way...when the 3DS version initially came out, I plugged about 200 hours within the first couple of months before the Wii U version was released. No other game can say they've ever done that, not even some of my other favorites can say that. That's enough for me to declare this game, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/ Wii U, my absolute favorite game of 2014.

     

    Okay, the #1 spot was probably kind of predictable. Doesn't change anything though. I absolutely loved Smash Bros., and no doubt whenever the next one comes, the same thing will happen. But just because I name one game my GOTY doesn't mean there aren't other games to play. I've already named some, and surely you have your own favorites. Do share them, because I know there's plenty out there that I've not tried and may not even know about it.

    And now, we enter 2015...


              Comment on Trek Fan Film Axanar Sued by aleroe        
    Three of the four TNG movies were bad too. Nemesis was very much like the JJ movies. Generations and Insurrection were bad in a different way: trying to be deep and meaningful, but missing the mark. TOS episodes like Way to Eden and Omega Glory had the same problem, as did the first TOS movie.nnI think the difference with JJ was that making a stupid movie seems to have been a deliberate decision. "This is not your father's Star Trek" was their sales pitch. That meant abandoning any attempt at thoughtfulness and ignoring the universe's rules (e.g. communication across light years takes time, even with subspace; transporters have limited range) because "only geeks care about that stuff".nnThe result was that deus ex machinas were not a just sloppy resolution of the story, they were regular and frequent parts of the story.
              Geometries of Word Embeddings [ISL]        

    Real-valued word vectors have transformed NLP applications; popular examples are word2vec and GloVe, recognized for their ability to capture linguistic regularities via simple geometrical operations. In this talk, we demonstrate further striking geometrical properties of the word vectors. First, we show that a very simple, and yet counter-intuitive, postprocessing technique, which makes the vectors "more isotropic", renders off-the-shelf vectors even stronger. Second, we show that a sentence containing a target word is well represented by a low-rank subspace; subspaces associated with a particular sense of the target word tend to intersect with a line (one-dimensional subspace). We harness this Grassmannian geometry to disambiguate (in an unsupervised way) multiple senses of words, specifically so on the most promiscuously polysemous of all words: prepositions. A surprising finding is that rare senses, including idiomatic/sarcastic/metaphorical usages, are efficiently captured. Our algorithms are all unsupervised and rely on no linguistic resources; we validate them by presenting new state-of-the-art results on a variety of multilingual benchmark datasets.

    References:
    1. Geometry of Compositionality, AAAI '17, https://arxiv.org/abs/1611.09799

    2. Geometry of Polysemy, ICLR, '17, https://arxiv.org/abs/1610.07569

    3. Representing Sentences as Low-rank subspaces, ACL '17, https://arxiv.org/abs/1704.05358

    4. Prepositions in Context, preprint, https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.01466


     

    The Information Systems Laboratory Colloquium (ISLC) is typically held in Packard 101 every Thursday at 4:15 pm during the academic year. Refreshments are usually served after the talk.

    The Colloquium is organized by graduate students Martin Zhang, Farzan Farnia, Reza Takapoui, and Zhengyuan Zhou. To suggest speakers, please contact any of the students.


              Semináře        
    • MOdelling REvisited + MOdel REduction
       15. 5. 2017 (pondělí), 9:00, Sokolovská 83, K4, MFF UK
      Erin CarsonHigh performance variants of Krylov subspace methods and their behavior in finite precision
    • Necas Seminar on Continuum Mechanics
      15. 5. 2017 (pondělí), 15:40, Sokolovská 83, K1, 2. floor, MFF UK
      Piotr Minakowski 
      (Interdisciplinary Center for Sci. Comput., Heidelberg University): On the Euler system with variable congestion
    • Seminář aplikované matematické logiky
      17. 5. 2017 (středa)10:00, místnost 318
      Tommaso Moraschini:  An introduction to Abstract Algebraic Logic II
    • Seminář oddělení nelineární dynamiky a složitých systémů
      17. 5. 2017 (středa),  14:00,  ÃšI AV ČR, Pod Vodárenskou věží 2, P8, místnost 318
      Dimitris Kugiumtzis (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece): Direct information flow and complex networks from high-dimensional time series
    • Seminář SIAM SC
      18. 5. 2017 (čtvrtek), 9:00, Sokolovská 83, MFF UK, Sem. místnost KNM
      Jan Blechta
      :  Git it good
    • Seminář ISCB ČR
      18. 5. 2017 (čtvrtek), 13:00, ÃšI AV ČR, Pod Vodárenskou věží 2,  P8, místnost 222
      Milan Paluš
       (ÚI AV ČR): Brain networks and scalp electroencephalogram
    • Seminář numerické matematiky
      18. 5.  2017 (čtvrtek)14:00Sokolovská 83, K3, MFF UK
      Miroslav Pranic (MFF UK)Gauss quadrature and Lanczos algorithm
    • Current Problems in Numerical Analysis
      19. 5. 2017 (pátek), 9:00, MÚ AV ČR, Žitná 25, přední budova, 3. patro
      Robert Hakl (Institute of Mathematics of the CAS
      )Boundary value problems for functional differential equations
    • Extremal graph theory seminar
      19. 5. 2017 (pátek), 10:00, ÚI AV ČR, Pod Vodárenskou věží 2, P8, místnost 318

      Tuan Tran  (Czech Academy of Sciences)The structure of large sum-free sets of integers

              Odkazem        
    Věda Školství Výzvy Akce Různé
              ISL Colloquium        

    This work studies the problem of sequentially recovering a time sequence of sparse vectors x_t and vectors from a low-dimensional subspace l_t from knowledge of their sum m_t:=x_t+l_t at each time t. If the primary goal is to recover the low-dimensional subspace in which the l_t's lie, then the problem is one of online robust principal components analysis (PCA). An example of where such a problem might arise is in separating a sparse foreground and a slowly changing dense background in a surveillance video. In our work, we have developed a novel algorithm called ReProCS to solve this problem and demonstrated its significant advantage over other robust PCA based methods for the video layering problem.

    While there has been a large amount of recent work on performance guarantees for the batch version of the above problem, the online problem is largely open. In recent work, we have shown that, with ReProCS, under mild assumptions, with high probability, the error in recovering the subspace in which l_t lies decays to a small value within a short delay of a subspace change time and the support of x_t is recovered exactly. Moreover, the error made in estimating x_t and l_t is small at all times. The assumptions that we need are (a) a good estimate of the initial subspace is available (easy to obtain using a short sequence of background-only frames in video surveillance); (b) the l_t's obey a 'slow subspace change' assumption; (c) the basis vectors for the subspace from which l_t is generated are dense (non-sparse); and (d) the support of x_t changes by at least a certain amount at least every so often.


              Angel Alanis European Fall Tour 2010 (Av        
    Angel Alanis & Adam Jay, Merlyn Martin & Torin will be in Europe Oct 16th due to Angel Alanis & Adam Jay playing for the ADE Afro Acid party in Amsterdam on Oct 22nd ([url]http://www.residentadvisor.net/event.aspx?186271[/url]). We are looking to secure additional European dates for a Techno/Tech House tour with Angel Alanis, Adam Jay, Merlyn Martin, Torin. [b:6ab226ac1f]Here is more info on the tour: [/b:6ab226ac1f] Angel Alanis Fall Tour Genre: techno/house/tech-house Talent: (Angel Alanis / Adam Jay / Merlyn Martin / Torin) This tour was just on the US East Coast @ Club Love (New York City), and Rise (Boston). We are currently accepting European offers for Oct 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and Oct 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. [b:6ab226ac1f]Angel Alanis, Merlyn Martin and Torin video @ Rise in Boston: [/b:6ab226ac1f] [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xcZ0ZyGKD8&feature=player_embedded[/url] For more information contact Marisa Perez at [email]bookings@merlynmartin.com[/email] [b:6ab226ac1f]Angel Alanis [/b:6ab226ac1f] Angel Alanis has become a predominant figure in the E.D.M. industry. Hailing from Chicago, Angel began his career with the 1997 debut EP “Advanced Therapy.” Since then, he continues to produce a consistent and diverse stream of tracks, ranging from house and filtered disco workouts to tech-house and techno. His first album, “The Subconscious State of Techno,” was released in 1999, the success of which lead to his 2001 imprint A-Squared Muzik, featuring the smash hit “Do You Like the Way You Feel When You Shake.” In 2004, BPM Magazine awarded Angel a spot on its Top 100 DJ list after producing DJ Colette’s Dancestar Award-winning song “Feelin’ Hypnotized.” His work continues to earn international acclaim, landing him on labels such as Tresor, International House Records, Impact Mechanics, Tronic and Laidback Luke’s Subspace imprint. On the dance floor, Angel’s raw talent and innovative style has landed him gigs from Bogota to Berlin, and everywhere in between. Recently, Angel joined the afro-acid team Home of DJ Pierre and is in the process of establishing two new labels,Home Audio and Slap Jaxx, which has already earned acclaim from such DJs as Dave Clarke, Ken Ishii & Dj Rush. His current work on the Freedom Series albums has proved Angel’s passion and dedication for the music and not the hype, while earning him a devout fan base. [b:6ab226ac1f]Angel Alanis Links: [/b:6ab226ac1f] [url]http://www.facebook.com/angel.alanis.official[/url] [url]http://www.myspace.com/angelalanis[/url] [b:6ab226ac1f]Adam Jay: [/b:6ab226ac1f] Since 2002 Adam Jay has taken the global techno scene by the throat with continuous output on the most respected labels worldwide. He is, without a doubt, the most prolific and accomplished figure in electronic music to come out of Indianapolis. He has toured the world as a DJ and live performer on 5 continents and 18 countries. His releases are among the favorites of Carl Cox, Dave Clarke, Sven Vath, Adam Beyer and other techno heavyweights. Best known for his releases on revered labels such as Monoid, *****, Primate, Primevil, as well as Ben Sims' own Theory Recordings, Adam's sound can be best defined as soul infused techno with constant motion. With well over 50 twelve-inch vinyl releases to his name, Adam's musical palette as a producer extends well into his selections as a DJ, earning him a bimonthly residency in 2008 at the renowned Tokyo club Studio Cube 326. 2009 found Adam back in the studio preparing new tracks for release in a new era of techno and tech-house. That feverish production pace has bared fruit, with three releases already by February 2010. The first of which, “Restraint”, on Angel Alanis’ own A Squared Muzik label has been received very well since its February 2 release date with support from house legend Danny Tenaglia. A slew of more releases on American techno labels Communique, Impact Mechanics, MHR-HRD, as well as the Polish label Stereophonic Recordings have been signed for release in 2010, with yet another European tour to follow this summer. [b:6ab226ac1f]Adam Jay Links: [/b:6ab226ac1f] [url]http://www.adamjaymusic.com/Adam.html[/url] [url]http://www.facebook.com/adamjaymusic[/url] [b:6ab226ac1f]Merlyn Martin & Torin [/b:6ab226ac1f] Merlyn and Torin are traveling in support of their current and upcoming releases and remixes. Merlyn's latest release with Thee-O "I Mean Really" on A-Squared Muzik was recently played by Dave Clarke on his Whitenoise Radio show and has received support from Richie Hawtin , Luciano , and the Advent. It was also featured on the Future Audio Compilation "Colours of Tech-House Volume 7". Torin's latest release on Motif out of Belgium ("Get Dirty") broke the tech-house top 100 on beatport and has been supported by Chus & Ceballos, Boris and Cedric Gervais to name a few. Both Torin & Merlyn Martin have very successful radio shows on DI.FM which are currently downloaded monthly by 10,000 people in 60+ countries. [b:6ab226ac1f]Merlyn Martin Links: [/b:6ab226ac1f] [url]https://www.facebook.com/OfficialMerlynMartin[/url] [url]http://www.fbartist.com/Subdivisions[/url] [url]http://www.merlynmartin.com[/url] Merlyn Martin Subdivisions 024 feat. Kaiserdisco [url]http://www.djmerlyn.com/audio/subdivisionsdi_024_%2805Aug10%29feat.Kaiserdisco.mp3[/url] [b:6ab226ac1f]Torin Links: [/b:6ab226ac1f] [url]http://www.torin.nu[/url] [url]http://www.facebook.com/torinschmitt[/url] Torin's Weekend Windup Podcast [url]http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-weekend-wind-up-with-torin/id279428983[/url]

    Reply
              The Social Psychology of Kink Safety        
    This post is dedicated to the dead, wounded and traumatized in the Pulse nightclub shooting and all those who love them.  It is also dedicated to those who sense of safety has been diminished by this horrific act.  Potentially, that is a lot of people, including the author.  Although gay, lesbian, queer, trans, and gender fluid people know less safety than many of us, all of us are correct to feel that the realities of terrorism, anti-homosexual ideology, and toxic masculinity make us less safe than we may have previously imagined.  Finally, I want to particularly spotlight Eli Green, AASECT Annual Conference Co-Chairs Melissa Keyes DiGioia, and Mariotta Gary-Smith who worked so hard to promote safety at AASECT16 when we were threatened by a lesser invasion that was only made more disturbing by the Pulse shooting.


    Kinksters are very concerned about safety.  It is possible to be an outsider with relatively low levels of stigma, but when you know that your sexuality is judged as threatening and crazy by others, you carry stigma about it even when you are not out, and when there is no immediate threat.  All kinky people are vulnerable to some social stigma, and, depending on their preferred practices, many are vulnerable to legal prosecution as described in previous posts on Elephant.  Even before learning about kink communities, potential members learned to conceal their sexual desires, to manage double lives, to handle internal and external stigma, and to control as much as they can how others perceive them.

    Social Participation:

    Is it safer to be out or not?  It depends on which risks are important to you.
    So the first line of kinksters’ defense in the struggle for safety is not being out.  In the 2014 Consent Violations Survey, 70% said they were not out to someone.  We didn’t ask, but there is a large but unknown number of kinky people who have never been out to anyone.  They were not likely to have been in our sample.  These are people who learned their desires were forbidden before they ever had the opportunity to express them.  They may be so afraid they do not act on them ever.  Why I periodically take issue with the ‘sex addiction’ discourse here on Elephant is that some children and adolescents fear to masturbate to their fantasies for fear of becoming addicted and losing control of how other people perceive them.  They internalize stigma and feel shame and hatred of their desires.  So for the fearful, the price in judgment of knowing themselves can be enforced celibacy and lonely secrecy.  Is it any wonder that out kinksters are often counterphobic?  To own their sexuality, they have no alternative to facing their fears.

    Because sexuality is a private matter in conventional public life, one does not need to lead a double life to be kinky.  An unknown number of kinky couples exist out in the world who read books, or respond to movies or other media, or are introduced to kink by a partner and take to it like a duck to water. They recognize that they have kinky desires, and reveal their kinks only to a few willing partners and achieve safety through appearing conventional in everyday social life and doing as they please in bed.  They hide their toys from the kids, and lock up everything when guests come to stay for a few days.  For these people, safety may feel routine and pose modest psychological burdens.  The more polyamorous one is, the harder this is to pull off, because it is harder to conceal multiple partnerships under the cloak of hetrro-normativity.  For most gender fluid clients it is impossible, and for gay clients, so-called marriage equality holds out some hope that they too can avoid stigma through maintaining sexual privacy that previously was available only to heterosexuals.

    A wise words from Oscar Wilde.  Come to think of it,though, didn't he do time for being out!
    For others, the inability to tell significant others about their desires leads to behaviors we would consider risky.  They chose to lead double lives.  They contact other people through personal ads and express their kink outside of their primary relationships.  They decide the fears of relationship loss are the lesser of the evils relative to never discussing their desires.  We often interpret the resulting secrecy and duplicity as proof that they do not value their relationships, but it would be equally true that they value them too much to risk speaking of their kinks!  (Lest you credit me with this gem, know that I learned it first from Ether Perel’s work on affairs!)

    Leading double lives can be elaborate, and sometimes the rituals of doing this become eroticized.  Contacting new partners who might accept you and share your excitements can be hot.  So can doing something illicit.   So swiping the correct direction can feel like rolling the dice, and you may feel a rush when the object of your intense interest responds with an encouraging text message.  In the past, kinksters chose aliases and wrote away to re-mail services.  Sometimes letters arrived saturated in perfume, and filled with sexy pictures.  Now mostly this happens electronically.
    Did someone say "Red Room of Pain'?  This is actually from a bondage B&B in Edinburgh
    Wealthy people build secret dungeons equivalent to Christian Grey’s Red Room, and hold private parties by invitation only.  Despite the intimacy of play, they may not know one another’s real names, occupations or marital statuses.  At CARAS every year a therapist discussion group is held for kinky therapists who worry about managing their caseloads of kinksters in the incestuous environment of their local scene, and worry that if they play anywhere 300 miles from the office that a client’s therapy will be damaged by an unplanned social meeting at a kink event.  So the sources of unsafety, and the complexity of solutions when a double life is undertaken, can vary tremendously and require a huge amount of attention and energy. When the burdens of maintain these arrangements become too great, safety is often sought in therapy, as kinky clients worry that the burdens of dealing with stigma constitute proof that their kinks are ‘pathological’.
        
    Of course, double lives can provide one kind of safety at the expense of other dangers.  Lying and deception can sour the relationship with the primary partner and destroy trust.  Partners that might have lovingly faced their own fears and judgments about kink might lack the trust to make the attempt if they discover yours only after learning about a prolonged deception.  All the things one sought to protect with deception can be precipitously damaged when deception fails.  Therapists long experience with secrets suggest secrets and confidences tend to slip out more frequently in times of acute stress, conflict and crisis, such that damage can be very hard to contain and repair.  Therapists as a community tend to be pro intimacy and pro honesty and to question the benefits of double life behaviors, so people using these face psychological risks of being confronted about their relationship strategies in therapy.  Kink-aware therapists can be expected to handle these situations in non-directive and client-centered ways.

    Informed Consent as a source of safety:

    Negotiation and contracting are the foundations of kink safety.  In their ideal form they operationalize informed consent.  Ideally, they work best if the following conditions are maintained continuously:
    Equality:  The parties in the negotiation come to the negotiation form a place of existential equality and negotiate freely as equals. 
    Honesty:  Each participant has good communications skills and negotiates honestly about what they do and do not want.
    Empathy:  Each participant has a high degree of empathy for the other parties in the negotiation.
    Limited but Shared Interests:  The parties negotiate with a flexible acceptance that negotiation partners have not only interest that align, but also differences that do not, and they are prepared to be accepting of the irreducible differences.
    Self-Discipline:  Each participation maintains discipline about their expectations.
    Risk tolerance: Each participant is aware and tolerant of the risks of negotiation.
    Explicit agreement:  The negotiation is explicit and limited in its specifications of what is to be agreed.
    The negotiation contains serious considerations of what might go wrong, and has a safety plan for dealing with potential problems if everything agreed to does not proceed smoothly and expectable difficulties arise.
    It is important that the above description is my ideal statement of negotiation for informed consent.  In actual practice, actual negotiations rarely maintain ideal standards on all of these dimensions.

    This Your E-Card is a great example of how 50 Shades of Grey has altered the conversation about kink.
    Contacts often lead to the expression of hard and soft limits.  Hard limits are activities that you do not want to do under any circumstances.  If you have breathing difficulties, that might mean no gags, ever.  A fear of spiders may mean no role playing Little Miss Muffett.   If you have a prominent public position, that may mean no pictures, or no scenes where you are locked outside the hotel room naked for the excruciating thrill of humiliation.  Soft limits are limits you are prepared to relax under special circumstances.  Examples might include no public play unless we are a safe distance from home, or unless you are masked and hooded.  Someone who was afraid of her potential for angry reactions might only agree to sensation play when she’s securely bound so she doesn’t hit back.  Or some behavior which was extremely hot and anxiety provoking might be OK in private play, but never OK in a group scene.  Using negotiation, hard limits and soft limits, kinksters can titrate their fears and desires and their desire for risk and adventure with their needs for safety into scenes that have the best chance of being fun and sexy.

    From Niiad.com This one hit a little too close to home; our cat's name is Khatzie!  So sue me!
    Safewords and contracts are about safety.  Although it may be hot to imagine that you are helpless at the hands of a sexy sadist, cramps, sudden illness, an accident, or emotional triggering can all lead to dangerous situations in which ending the scene immediately is imperative.  Often kinksters play with making safewords less safe, by making them long or difficult to say, or by imposing penalties for using them.  Also, submissives often try to avoid using their safewords under the theory that good role players don’t do such things, or the top might be hurt or inconvenienced.  These are a dangerous ideas, but also illustrate one of the key safety principles of kink:  that one never has to be any safer than they want to be.  Much safety in kink just about doing your best to make an informed choice about exactly the level of safety you want, and about the human fallibility of getting it.

    Aftercare is partly about safety.  Getting emotional support and processing your experiences are important parts of getting safety both through sharing understanding of your experiences, processing any problems that arose, and consolidating possible new learnings about yourself from play.

    Community Safety Resources:

    Please note that the photo and links immediately below are from commercial sites, and some videos may require you to pay a fee and/or subscribe.  By way of personal disclosure, some videos may be by personal friends and professional colleagues of the author.  I have received no fee or other commercial consideration for using these examples.


    What?  There are only 50 skills?  This piece of shrewd marketing to newbies is from KinkUniversity at Kink.com, an excellent source of on-line kink training videos.  Kink Academy.com is also recomended.
    Kink Academy
    The logo of  The Eugenspiegel Society in New York City. The United States first aboveground kink social group founded in 1972
    Society of Janus, the second oldest kink social group, marching in the San Francisco Pride Parade.
    There are now a great many local BDSM social communities in medium and large cities and many university campuses.  The best palce to locate a local group is on FetLife.com


    Joining a kink community can have risks, like being more ‘out’, but often puts people in touch with many new sources of safety.  Kink communities endlessly educate, and safety is very often a main theme of kink educational sessions.  Kink groups often provide mentoring programs for new members.  In mentoring programs, safety is learned directly by processing one’s own emotional reactions with experienced players.  Mentors can help you decide what new things you are ready to try and under what conditions you are most likely to enjoy them.  They can serve as sounding boards that help you understand what your actual play partner might be thinking and feeling when they are doing new things with you.  Good mentors check on your safety techniques to help make sure they are working as you intend and as they are intended to work in the community you are joining.  Direct instruction can teach about safewords, safe play methods, the physiological consequences of different techniques and behaviors.  It is a typical feature of mentoring programs that mentors do not play with their charges.  This makes it easier for mentees to keep clear that sexual self-interest is not coloring the mentor’s advice.



    Often, kinksters chose close confidants to be their ‘safeties’ from within their local communities.  A safety is a person who serves as a spotter for you when you are playing.  They are similar to people who help keep you safe when you are practicing trampoline or diving.  They can observe while you contract and watch with neutral eyes while you play.  Sometimes another pair of eyes will serve to deter someone who would go beyond their agreement with you because such behavior would make them look bad in the eyes of the community.  Safeties can stop play, or question it, if something appears to be going amiss, even if you are in top or subspace.  When you make explicit arrangements to visit a private party or other venue, you can arrange to text your safety with where you are and when you plan to report in so that someone else knows you are safe and can call for help if you fail to check in.  Safeties don’t just deter other people who might not be careful or scrupulous enough not to harm you, but also can serve as an experienced and neutral source of judgment in helping you to keep from taking greater risks in the heat of desire than you intend to.  Safeties differ from mentors in that they are often relative equals, and often they are in the same roles you prefer to explore in the community.  Different people can play the role of safety for you at different times, where as a mentoring relationship is usually filled by just one person and for a prearranged period.

    Friends can serve as support for discussion and understanding what you have experienced.  Those in the scene are a valuable source of information about norms and community history.  Just as Elephant in the Hot Tub is often about context, knowing and influencing the context of where you play and who you play with can be an important source of safety information and risk.  Friends can help with those efforts.
    Actual playing technique is often a source of safety.  Many things you see on Porn Hub and kinky illustrations are either artistic license, or scenes carefully crafted by unique and highly experienced models.  Just because you can fantasize doing something and get off on it does not necessarily mean you can do it safely.  Educational sessions can keep you from practices that might lead to injury or worse if done without instruction.  For example, many kinksters lack partners and engage in self-bondage.  If it is important to you to be genuinely helpless, it is a real risk that if you tie yourself up that you will be unable to free yourself.  Furthermore, positions that are hot for short periods can become highly uncomfortable or dangerous if circulation gets cut off or cramps ensue.  Learning ways to free yourself may seem self-defeating, but may spare you the embarrassment of calling the authorities, or neighbors to get free, or suffering genuine injury.


    E Gary Gygax makes an animated guest appearance on Futurama as a Dungeon Master.
    This is not the kind of Dungeon Master we'er looking for.! It is another one of those wonderful multi-cultural double entendres like CBT.  The term Dungeon Master arose independently and nearly simultaneously in the 1970's in D&D and BDSM sub-cultures.

    In group playing situations, Dungeon Masters operate to ensure that group rules about play and personal conduct are observed.  Those of you who attended the Taste of Kink event in Minneapolis last June saw both safeties from AASECT and Dungeon Masters from the demonstrating local group in operation.  Play groups and BDSM social organizations always have policies.  Alcohol and drugs may be banned, both to protect players’ states of mind and to ensure that authorities do not have an excuse to raid playspaces.  Personal touch and touching of others’ equipment is generally prohibited, in part because people with past histories of boundary violations have been known to test limits like these and such rules bring their attention to group leaders.  Photos and recording are prohibited to protect group members’ anonymity and privacy.  Dungeon masters are generally senior and high status members of the community who have a broad familiarity with techniques, and can observe that play is safe and have full authority to stop it.

    Groups also often have reporting policies in the event that people make complaints about a group member’s behavior.  Often there is considerable dispute about the ways that communities regulate play, and what rules the community should adopt.  A climate of anarchic radical personal responsibility prevails.  But leathersex traditions and histories of community violators have led most to have them.  Therapists of new community members should ask them to enquire of their kink social organization about what the response procedures are if something untoward happens.

    It is common practice in kink social organizations for new members to ask for references when playing with someone for the first time, and this is especially true when playing outside the group playspace.  References are far from infallible, but using them to rule out problem players is a really good idea.  In the 2014 Consent Violations Survey, references were not always sought, but when they were, 74% of reported violations were committed by someone with a good or excellent rating, so references are not infallible protection.  They are mostly useful to weed out known unsafe players.


    A group photo of participants from the Folsom Street Fair (FSF) ironically serves to illustrate dress codes.  Ironic because FSF is a rare event with no dress code, and no prohibition against photography.  You automatically consent to being photographed, and that is why I often select it for stock photos.  Although black is not required, yet it is very prevalent. 
    Dress codes are often enforced at kink events.  These offer the relatively weak protection that the people who attend kink events are actually kinky, not passing tourists or voyeurs who do not share group norms and commitments.  Depending on the group, these dress codes can be pretty broad, and offer rather little additional safety.

    Trigger warnings and trauma safety:  Some kinksters play despite trauma histories.  It may seem surprising, but some explicitly play with past traumas.  Many kinky social groups are already familiar with this possibility, and they may have members who are trained and familiar with trauma, and systematic efforts are made to make sure not only that participants are aware when intense experiences are planned, but they also have support if a participant or observer reacts unexpectedly.  If you know your vulnerabilities, it is good to share them before you play and have a support plan prepared ahead of time.  Informed consent is not just important for you, but for those who play with you.



    Munches are social meetings where kink is discussed, but there is no play.  Meetings are generally in local restaurants.  The fact that they are in public space with no play scheduled makes them safe from physical boundary violations, but may be uncomfortable for people who do not want to be observed discussing BDSM in public.  Munches generally do not have dress codes so that new members are not outed by hanging out with leather clad ‘undesirables’.   Sometimes people go off and play together from munches after sizing each other up in safe space, a practice commonly practiced in all forms of on-line dating.  Obviously if you leave a munch with someone you like, you have the potential for privacy, but loose the protections of public space.  Munches provide a great way for new members to size up the people in the group, and to make judgments about how much they would like to share of themselves with group members.  Many people who are attracted to kink are not comfortable with playing in public, so it is quite likely that those who join kink social organizations and play together are among the more adventurous for whom the voyeurism, exhibitionism, and group processes are not barriers to entry.

    Attitudes, Values, and Process that Produce Safety:

    Gradualism is a characteristic of safety strategy in which new recruits to any sub-culture gather information, try out new behaviors, test their assumptions against experience, and develop new commitments, identifications, and even sexual orientations.  It provides the time and information to bring feelings and knowledge into integration, and allows the building of new relationships that support social participation in the sub-culture.  Munches are a deliberate part of this plan, and they exist also for asexuals, old friends, and newbies to meet together where the possible pressures of sexual excitement are less, and friends can interact at whatever level of participation they prefer.  The social rules in play groups are more strict, and munches can be a relief from some of these.  Sometimes psychological safety means being protected from your own desire and the desire of others, and a relaxing of social roles that are otherwise very exciting to play out.

    An attempt has been made here to be exhaustive about the kinds and sources of safety in the kink community, and to discuss both generic and arcane aspects of kinky communities that help people manage their risk taking behavior.  Obviously, a truly comprehensive list is impossible, and for all these efforts, safety is never complete.  I strongly encourage readers to add additional examples of safety to this thread using the comments section.  Eventually, many people who do not know the conventions of the kink communities will read this article and profit from consideration of your commentary.

    This week’s horrifying attack on the Pulse Disco in Florida is a shattering demonstration that, despite the fact that terrorism constitutes a very modest threat to American citizens—you are in much greater danger from falling in your bath tub, let alone negative health consequence’s for your diet, lifestyle or traffic accidents—safety is never complete, and kink involves deliberate risk taking.  This article eschews the usual kink slogans of SSC or RACK, but love and sex and spiritual pursuits all entail risk.  The kink communities know this, accept it, plan for risk and for things to go wrong despite everyone’s best efforts.
    Not everyone is benign.  Not all players are skilled in all things.  Highly skilled people still make errors.  Even those of us who strive continuously for self-knowledge have limitations.
    Prevailing community attitudes produce safety:  A general ethos prevails in BDSM of radical personal responsibility.  Radical in that, in the face of laws and norms that may make some kink activities illegal, many kinksters make up their minds to do them anyway.  But the responsibility for risk taking until laws and social attitudes can be changed remain theirs.  This attitude may assume some risks, but is inclined to see responsibility for one’s safety as primarily one’s own responsibility. 

    In that spirit, when assuming responsibility for your own emotional safety, aftercare with your play partners is important, but it is also necessary to plan for your own self-care when trouble disrupts your plan to receive care from others who may become unavailable.  It is in precisely that spirit, that this blog provided the link to an excellent sub and top drop safety kit:Top and Sub Drop Safety Kit

    Analogous to kink?  Serious leisure.
    Kink has provided all these safety tools and resources because we live in a word where complete safety is not always desirable, and the panoply of different kink loves, activities, needs, and risks is so great.  Kink demands communication because any given partner’s knowledge and skill in the midst of this diversity cannot be assumed.  Although many dating sites have tried kink activity checklists as a place to begin discussions with potential partners, they are not a very big start.  There is a lot of safety to talk about and lots to learn.  Emily Prior and DJ Williams have likened kink to extreme sports; a kind of serious leisure in which participants become partially professionalized.  Skills offset risks, and ideology embraces planful risky behavior.  Unlike extreme sports governed by the logic of athleticism and competition, kink embraces unreasoned passion as a primary motive for play, so the serious leisure analogy isn’t perfect.  Whether you accept their sociological analogy or not, kink requires lots of safety.  But many people have faced the same safety problems before you have, and they have a large history of solutions.   

    © Russell J Stambaugh, June, 2016, Ann Arbor MI, All rights reserved

              This is Your Brain on Romanticism: Porn Stars Talk About Porn Sex vs Real Sex        

    Otto von Bismark (1815-1898)  First Prussian, then German Chancellor, (1862-1890)
    Not noted for his contributions to erotica, he was a hard-headed political realist.

    “Laws are like sausages; it is better not to see them being made.”  Otto von Bismarck

    For those of you who are a little light on your 19th century European history, Otto von Bismarck is the father of modern Germany.  He brilliantly isolated first Austria in 1866 and then France in 1870-71 and Prussia defeated them in short, efficient wars, unifying Germany around a nucleus of Prussia and the Rhineland.  Before then, the country we know today as Germany was made up of dozens of little states that were ethnically German, but had been ruled independently for hundreds of years.  Bismarck’s plans were nearly undone when Frederick Victor Albert von Preussen of House Hohenzollern was made Kaiser of the newly unified German state.  Kaiser Wilhelm II’s intense military romanticism plunged Germany into a campaign of overreach that eventually required two world wars to quell.  Despite those cataclysms, almost 150 years later, the Germany Bismarck created is still the economic and political nucleus of a partially unified Europe.
     

    Henry Kissinger (1923 - ) American Secretary of State during the Nixon Administration.
    Also not known for his erotica, Kissinger was a controversial proponent of Bismark's realpolitik.
     

    Bismarck is the father of the diplomatic school realpolitik, which holds that a country should act only in its direct interests.  The most famous modern American advocate of this position is Henry Kissinger.  Realpolitik is continually controversial because of its ruthless emphasis on self-interest, and its continual conflicts with the romantic ideals of Western liberalism which hold that a country has an obligation to spread its values into the larger world community.  How controversial?  In 1973 Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end of the Vietnam War.  Two members of the awards committee walked out in protest.   The debate between realpolitik and romanticism remains as lively today as when Bismarck unified Germany.

    But that’s not important now.  Let’s talk about something more salacious.  How about porn stars speaking about porn?  But first, a word from our sponsors…

    To my knowledge, neither Kissinger nor Bismarck ever wrote anything about porn, but those of us in sex education and therapy have talked ourselves blue in the face about the ways in which porn sex differs from ‘real’ sex.  Yes, I am perfectly aware that real sex is more various than we imagine it to be, and that there is endless variety in porn.  And yet there are stubborn principles of porn economics and viewer preferences that make the processes by which porn is constructed, marketed, sold and consumed that are anything but romantic.

    Porn is not inherently addictive, although one can use it 'too much',  or in violation of one's own standards, and in self-destructive ways. It is rather uncommon for most people to have explicit discussions about whether the use of porn or sex toys constitutes a relationship violation. If you pay for it, you might spend too much, and if you only use free porn, you may be exploiting artists and professionals.  But mostly, porn is harmless to users, and just fine for getting off, as long as you do not mistake it for sexual education or cinéma vérité. 

    But that’s enough of the same old story from me.  Let’s hear what some brave porn stars have to say…



    The take away here is only part of the story:  actresses in porn are not typically feeling anything like our fantasies about great sex, they’re usually having thoughts about work.  But there are a host of other ideas in porn that create unrealistic ideas about sex.  Because this is a blog about alternative sexualities, I will address a few of these here, giving BDSM examples.  For those who want a more generic treatment should read Michael Castleman’s excellent article: The Real Problem with Pornography:  It's Bad for Sex





    1).  Good BDSM begins with a solid negotiation in which limits, preferences and ground rules are discussed in detail.  Sometimes that negotiation is itself fairly erotic, but often the need to give up cherished fantasies, or to make compromises, or differences in how things are fantasized about beforehand and experienced in the heat of play mean that some losses and disappointments need to be tolerated.   Most guys get off on porn in 7 minutes, which is often a lot shorter than most negotiations between seasoned partners.  So any hot porn clip that elides this part of the process is already very different from most good BDSM sex.

    2).  Closely related to the first point, a great deal of BDSM is about anticipation and influencing partners' mental states.  Seven minutes is enough time for a headlong rush to orgasm, but that is only one small dimension of play that real partners are likely to find satisfying. 

    3).  Much real BDSM play is a great deal less about sex than porn sex is.   Porn tropes that show people getting off do not look the same way that many people who are getting off in BDSM look.  Some activity, like reaching ecstatic states such as subspace, may not involve wild displays of satisfaction, but dreamy inner experience that is hard to recognize if you do not know the submissive well.  Most porn looks like it was designed by Captain Obvious.  In real life, good sex often looks more nuanced.

    Captain Obvious is fictional character.
    While he is not know for designing erotica, his spirit is often evoked in the porn aesthetic.
    4).  Porn often tries to elide context, and thrives on the fantasy that passion is so hot that space, relationship, location, and/or the presence of others doesn’t matter.  You or potential partners may not find safety or eroticism in such tropes, even though you can get very excited and satisfied in the context which is right for you.  Or porn goes to the opposite extreme and provides ideal fantasy space.  Good BDSM sex can be had even if you do not have a built-in St. Andrew's cross that rotates at home.  And I have never seen a porn clip in which the needs of children intrude.  Actually, that’s because it would be illegal to make them.  Your home life may vary.

    A dungeon B&B catering to kinky visitors.
    Nice, but hopefully not indispensable to good sex.
    Doesn't look like this St Andrew's cross rotates, either!
    5).  Porn idealizes sex for the typical genre viewer.  So models are likely to be thinner and attractive, younger, or at least, archetypal for their genre than ordinary partners are likely to be.  In porn designed for heterosexual submissive crossdressers, fabulously attractive Domina’s are the rule.  In BDSM social groups or on-line, real life potential partners may be uncommon.  By paying money, porn producers can secure the talent they need to make any number of porn clips.  The frequency and availability of their material speaks to consumer preferences, not the demographics of what real kinky people prefer to do.

    6).  Sex is often a transaction.  In most porn, sex is often a free-flowing expression of impulses.  In the real world, pizza delivery boys who stop for a half-hour sex session during deliveries lose their jobs.  In porn, there are never negative consequences.  If a porn star makes a mistake with the single-tail and panics or injures his sub, the scene is re-shot after the cleanup is over.  In real life, the handling of these mistakes makes or breaks relationships.

    Castleman’s observation that porn is fantasy, not good sex education, unites all the porn stars’ comments, and all of mine.  That’s as true for kink as it is for any other porn genre.  I’ll let Bob Dylan have the last word, even if it’s a little harsh for folks who seek solace in autoeroticism when social stigma makes the price of seeking a relationship too high:
       
    “You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
    When they all did tricks for you.
    You never understood that it ain’t no good,
    You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you.”  Like A Rolling Stone – B. Dylan


    Perhaps you can think of other important differences between sex as depicted in typical porn, and good sex with a partner.  Feel free to leave them in the Comments Section.
    Also welcome: sites that offer porn that avoids these tropes, and provide relatively realistic depictions of BDSM play.

    © Russell J Stambaugh, April 2016, Ann Arbor MI, All rights reserved




              OCT 31 - Subspace Halloween Fetish Ball        
    Date: Friday, October 31, 2014  Time: 10:00 PM – 3:00 AM   Location: The Opera House 735 Queen St. E., Toronto, Ontario M4M 1H1   @ map Cost:$20 before midnight Dress code:Fetish / Costume   Description: HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!! October 31st! Yes on actual Halloween night!! As if that's not cool enough check this out.... From Miranda Tempest, JD Spark and Poisonne of Illumianir Entertainment comes act sure to appeal to your most twisted sensibilities..A world premiere of a new circus act that has to
              Why Does the BDSM Community Dislike Christian Grey?        

    This question originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

    Answer by Franklin Veaux, sexuality educator:

    The simple answer is because he is not a BDSM practitioner; he is a stalker and an abuser.

    The complex answer: Christian Grey is a fictional character created by a writer (and, later, a movie studio) with no real-world BDSM experience for an audience with no real-world BDSM experience. He routinely violates boundaries, ignores consent, stalks Ana, engages in clumsy and wildly unsafe activities, has poor communication skills, and exhibits many traits of an entitled narcissistic abuser.

    He is a popular character because he is fictional, and being fictional, he automatically knows what Ana wants because what Ana wants is determined by the same writer who created him.

    This is a powerful and compelling narrative for many people. Why?

    Because talking openly about what you want is scary as hell. It makes you vulnerable. Your partner might reject you. Your partner might judge you. Your partner might think you're too weird. Your partner might laugh at you. Your partner might leave you.

    Imagine a partner who just automatically knows everything you secretly desire and gives it all to you without you having to ask for it or even admit you want it. Imagine having all the sexy things you fantasize about without having to do the scary work of discussing it, being vulnerable, or risking rejection. Sounds amazing, right?

    The problem is that in the real world, people cannot read your mind. In the real world, nobody will ever automatically know what you want without talking about it. In the real world, you cannot expect to have what you want if you don't ask for what you want—but asking for what you want is scary.

    People in the BDSM world don't like Christian Grey because we recognize what he is: a predator. He's a stalker and an abuser, but he's a stalker and an abuser whose tastes exactly match what his fictional victim really wants. People in the BDSM community know it never works out that way.

    Why is Christian Grey so frowned upon in the BDSM community? originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:


              On Firefly        

    I love Firefly. I've watched all the episodes at least twice, and I'm looking forward to the release of the Firefly movie this fall.

    Lately, though, I've been contemplating the show's structure, and its strengths and weaknesses as storytelling and science fiction. I'm not going to dissect the whole thing now, but one thing that has stuck in my mind is that in the world of Firefly, no accomodation is made at all to the reality of vast interstellar distances. The ship Serenity can travel between planets in a matter of a few days; I think the longest journey time they mention is a month. But there is never any mention of faster-than-light travel. It's as if Einstein was just wrong in that world. Actually, the ship never even seems to accelerate very hard -- the crew and passengers don't have acceleration couches -- so apparently they don't believe in Newton, either!

    Now, I have to say, I love Kaylee and her approach to spaceship drive repair -- "that part doesn't do much anyway; you can just rip it out." I love the beautiful Firefly effect. I love the narrow escape from the Reavers in the pilot, where they ignite the engine in the atmosphere and create a huge reaction. I love that explosions in space are silent. I love the fact that most aspects of life in the Firefly world are very low-tech. Firefly is "about the strawberry" -- the Preacher's bribe to Kaylee. It is a human story of loss and longing on a harsh frontier where the amenities of old Earth are rare and valuable, and life is cheap.

    I don't want Firefly to be Star Trek -- an unrealistic world where there is no dirt, universal socialism and abundance seems to be the order of the day (people don't even seem to use money), and there are apparently no "have-nots." Human nature seems to have irrevocably changed in the world of Star Trek -- is anyone convinced by this future? But I think it frustrates the viewer not to at least have some ready excuses available for all the various laws of physics that get left by the wayside.

    On Serenity, the crew seems to have instantaneous radio communication available between planets, or while they are nearing a planet. They've got some equivalent of interstellar wi-fi. When approaching a ship or planet they can hold conversations with other people with pretty-much instantaneous response times; they don't have to wait a few minutes for the reply to come. Even the round trip from the earth to the sun would be something like 14 minutes. They don't even invoke some kind of alternate technology like "subspace."

    It is as if they just compressed the universe by a factor of billions; different planets seem to be closer together than the planets of our solar system. It is 240,000 miles to the moon and takes several days to get there with Apollo technology, and even assuming drive technology we haven't invented yet, it would take a year or more to get to Mars: the distance to Mars varies from about 35 million to 260 million miles. And think of how long it has taken Pioneer just to get out to the edge of the solar system.

    Maybe the magical Firefly drive can do all this: accelerate the ship far beyond lightspeed, cancel gravity and inertia, and generate cool special effects as well. That seems a little much, though.

    The Serenity also has a strange habit of coming upon other ships, as they wander about in "empty space" on routes designed to avoid being detected by the Alliance. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

    Serenity can also apparently be taken into "atmo" and landed on a planet, apparently without worrying about burning up on re-entry. But yet the ship looks like it is made of materials that are available today: steel plating, prone to rust and all that. The situation with the space shuttle now shows how tricky that kind of thing is in real life. There is one funny moment (I think it is in "Shindig") where the pilot, Wash, has to struggle to correct his entry trajectory, but when I watch this I keep thinking about how the physics don't make a lot of sense. At that speed, if he made such a dramatic error in the ship's angle of approach, they would burn up or break up before anyone had time to react. (Think space shuttle Columbia.)

    That said, I still enjoy the show, and hope it can be resurrected in some form. It is ultimately about human relationships, but ignoring both Einstein and Newton without even bothering to offer a hand-waving sidestep to the laws of physics just grates on me a little; it seems insulting to the viewer. There is an especially funny line in "Objects in Space" when Zoe is speaking to Wash about River:

    Wash: "Psychic, though? That sounds like something out of science fiction."

    Zoe: "We live in a spaceship, dear."

    Yep, they live in a spaceship, but some things are just silly!


               Numerical experiments of some Krylov subspace methods for black oil model         
    Cao, Jianwen and Lai, Choi-Hong (2002) Numerical experiments of some Krylov subspace methods for black oil model. Computers & Mathematics with Applications, 44 (1-2). pp. 125-141. ISSN 0898-1221 (doi:10.1016/S0898-1221(02)00135-9 )
              30 Days of Kink: Day 1.        
    I live!  I live!  I graduated nursing school, am still waiting for a test date for my boards, and I live!

    I live, and I want to write again.  I've been writing every day on my tumblr, but that's not the same.  It's a big mishmash of puppy pictures and askboxes and stuff.  The Pervocracy is my real home on the Internet.

    So, to get back in the swing of long-form non-puppy blogging, I'm doing a 30 Days of Kink challenge.  You can read all the questions here.

    Day 1: Dom, sub, switch?  What parts of BDSM interest you?  Give us an interesting in-depth definition of what that means to you. Basically define your kinky self for us.
    I'm a bottom, an occasional switch, and harbor a deeply guarded but deeply treasured capacity for submission.

    The kinky thing I do most often is get hit.  I like getting hit.  It’s such an OOMPH of a feeling, a sharp snap into the physical reality of my body, the tough meatiness of my muscles and fine-grained sensitivity of my nerves.

    It’s also a challenge.  Because although I like getting hit, I don’t have much pain tolerance.  Sometimes that means we keep it light, more of a manhandling than a real beating, only hitting me hard enough to make a little noise but not enough to cause serious pain.  (This kind of play usually involves a lot of giggling.)

    Other times I go into a subspace trance and enter an ecstatic altered state where pain don’t hurt.  This requires a lot of trust, because once I’m in that state my communication gets either garbled or absent, and I don’t have much sense of my own limits.  Feels so good though.

    And other times, more rarely… I go past my pain tolerance.  I get to a level of pain that makes me think “I can’t possibly deal with this” and I deal with it.  I look at the pain head-on and transform its image in my mind into heat, into cold, into red, into simply nerves firing.  I find a moment when I can tolerate intolerable pain and I hold myself in that moment.  It’s not as sexy-fun as the other two ways of dealing with pain, but when I’ve done it, man, I feel good about myself.  Tolerating the intolerable, even for half a second, makes me feel like the champion of the goddamn world.

    I know how to hit, too, and I get a little thrill, but it’s usually much less visceral.  The best times have been when I’ve been comfortable getting really physically into the bottom’s space—hitting someone while we were skin-to-skin, pressed together so close that I could feel every gasp and flinch, every time their muscles tensed or relaxed, every deep or shallow or ragged draw of breath.

    As for submission… there lurk the things that still feel wrong.  Gloriously, tantalizingly wrong.  These are the kinks, that for me, still hold the delicious flavor of taboo.  The flavor, so hard to find as an adult, of sneaking out through the woods at night, of dirty comics under the mattress, of awkwardly sincere love poems hastily passed and quickly concealed.  These are the things that don’t make me feel like “you know, it’s just another way of experiencing pleasure…”; they make me feel like a god damn pervert.  I love them.
              "What I Want" #1 Super Smash Bros 4         

    Hey groosenators I'm here to Ive a detailed blog about what I'm hoping for from the next smash game that will be coming out for Wii U and 3DS. I'm planning on posting some more of these "what i wants" for upcoming games like pokemon x and y and new Zelda HD. Most of these will be very long seeing they will mostly be about games that little is known about.

    The smash bros series is one of my favourite series. It's is a chaotic fighter that is most enjoyed with friends. I'm going to tell you everything that i want from the game. I'll start off with characters. I have a different opinion on what Nintendo should do with characters in this one. I think that many should be downloadable. You can shut up all the people that want like 500 hundred characters and keeping people that want a balanced Character roster happy.

    Returning:

    Mario:

    Mario can be used similar to the way he was used in brawl but just sharpen up movementand maybe incoperate something from the new mario hopefully coming this year.

    Luigi:

    I think Luigi's fighting style needs to be re-imagined. With a new luigi's mansion game coming out and this year being called "The Year of Luigi" they should have him do things that he does in the games and not random crap. Polergust should definitely be used some how and a super smash having to do with it would be cool too.

    Bowser:

    I think bowser was a good character that like mario had a cool move set that doesnt to need to be changed. The super samsh could definitely be changed  though maybe something similar but as planet sized bowser not some scary overgrown mutantated muntant ninja turtle.

    Peach:

    Peach is another character that should not be tampered with. She had a good move set. If they change her up i think it would be a complete overhaul but it would be unnecessary.

    Wario:

    Wario could be redone. Incorporate more from games like wario land shake it. Make the but more smooth and sharpen up some of his qualities.

    Yoshi:

    Yoshi could be a charcter to be overhauled. I'd like to see some of his moves from the yoshis island games be used. With a new game centered around him dont be surprised if we see a yarn Yoshi costume to change some of his moves.

    Link:

    Link is a character that should only see slight changes. because of how many weapons there are in the series it would be difficult to have him have them all. There would be some street fighter like combos where you click half the buttons to trigger it. The Master Sword will obviously be used same with his bow and bombs but maybe the boomarang gets replaced by the bettle i think they could incorporate both by using x and y buttons too but for one character it would seem a little odd or out of place.

    Zelda:

    Zelda is a character that will likely be redone. She will most likely gte her skyward sword outfit but there is a chance that nintendo includes a TP artstyle zelda as a costume. Aside from being sheik zelda doesn't do much so its hard to make a good character out of her.

    Sheik:

    Sheik will most likely get ported over with the same move set. Just sharpen her up to even everything out.I felt like sheik was not very strong or defensive when i used her. Might be just me but i think she might have been unbalanced.

    Ganondorf:

    Ganondorf needs to be redone as a character. Seeing he is a clone of captain falcon just really slow. I think it would be cool if he actually used his sword. Not for all attacks but for some it would be cool.

    Toon Link:

    Toon Link will hopefully re-appear in this one. With wind waker HD on the horizon I'm doubtful he would be cut. Thee is the possibility that he just becomes a skin for link but most people wold not like that. While they were clones in brawl toon link is weaker but faster and harder to hit.

    Samus:

    Samus is another character that should be re thought. She had a very boring move-set that takes awhile to master. That's not what smash bros is about. In smash bros you pick any character and you should be able to use than without knowing all the moves and developing combos.

    Kirby:

    Kirby is a character that should definitely stay the same. Being able to steal someones abilities in a fighter is really cool. The  smash should definetly be changed though.

    Meta Knight:

    I think meta knight should keep a similar moveset but make him a character that isn't completely dominant compared to everyone else. The smash could also be changed.

    King Dedede:

    I think king Dedede should just be made a more power character. He was in the power class but he was weak make him stronger with less defence.

    Donkey Kong:

    Donkey Kong should be completely left alone expect his smash. He was a well designed character that was well balanced. The smash move kinda sucked though.

    Diddy Kong:

    Diddy Kong is also a character that can be ported over. While its likely that some moves will be changed it would be unnecessary. Make the peanut gun work better and definitely keep the final smash that was awesome.

    Fox:

    Fox was well designed but they definitely need to sharpen up defence. Just because hes fast does not mean hes never going to be hit.The smash should stay the same also.

    Falco:

    Falco is definitely needed to be redone because i think the main focus with designing characters this time around is to have zero clones. The smash can having something to do with the arwing. Maybe put the arwing in the front of the screen and make it basically star fox 64 only your shooting mario.

    Picachu:

    Picachu should be ported over. He was perfectly balanced and all his moves felt like something he would do. But get rid of that cheap smash.

    Pit:

    With a new kid icarus game available its hard to say he wont be there and he should be there. He was a very cool character. They could incorporate some moves from one of my fav 3DS title kid icarus Uprising(review coming soon). They could make him less of a camping character though.

    Ike:

    I don't care what anyone says Ike has the best up-b ever. Some things could be changed like his sword being on fire when has that ever happened in path of radiance or radiant dawn. Change up his character model a little bit to match those games and make him more of a power character he was the weakest power character.

    Marth:

    Marth is a character that should not be changed at all. He was well designed and all his moves were ported from actual battle animations which was very cool. I hope they would make him look more like he does in the games though.

    Roy:

    Roy was not in brawl but since he was in melee he is counted as a returning character. Now with awakening the series is actually getting noticed which will hopefully bring him back but hopefully not as a clone.

    Captain Falcon:

    Captain falcon should stay the same. He just shouldn't have someone who is exactly like him. There's not much you can take from the games as he races in all gameplay portions.

    Snake:

    Snake will hopefully make it back into this one. His moveset was well designed and they should definetly include a naked snake skin. He is a charcter that i would only want to see tweaked.

    Sonic:

    Sonic should return with the same moveset but with a different final smash that isnt incredibly cheap.

    Ness:

    Ness should be in this one. He was a cool character even though ive never played earthbound. His smash should be changed though.

    Olimar:

    Make him stronger but continue to use pikmin. In other words make pikmin stronger. Maybe have a smash like something in pikmin 3.

    Mr. Game and Watch:

    a character that not many know about including my self but its hard not to like him.

     

     

    Happy Trails:

    These characters should not be in the next game.

    Wolf:Just a clone why have him even if you change is moveset who wants him

    Pokemon trainer:While using him was cool having 3 pokemon was weird they should all be separate if they are included.

    Lucario: Likely to be replaced by someone from a new gen.

    Lucas: sorry i hate clones

    R.O.B: strange they included him i didn't like him.

    Ice Climbers: who actually uses them

    JigglyPuff: Always has been a questionable decision to be in the series. There are better pokemon that they can use.

    Zero suit samus: Didn't like her when do you ever play metroid out of the suit.

    Newcomers:

    This portion will be more based on how these characters should play as and not minor changes like in the returing section. Ill explain what i want these characters to actually play like.

    Chrom:

    I thought i would start this section with someone i really want in the game. Chrom would play like you would think using his fists and sword. He has no other weapons that would be logical incorporated. He would likely be a good jumper fast but very strong up close. A little like marth. Hopefully not a clone of a other fire emblem character or anyone else in the game.

    Rayman:

    Yes i know rayman is a 3rd party character. While he is not nintendo Legends was almost wii u exclusive and basically all his games have come to a nintendo console unlike sonic or snake. Rayman would not be hard to incorporate as he has many punches in legends and orgins that could easily be put to use without messing with the core gameplay but it would take some thinking for a final smash.

    Unknown Pokemon(3 or more):

    I think we need some new more different pokemon jigglypuff sucks and lucario is just a rehash of mewtwo. They could keep charizard if they want but i think that 3 new pokemon from what ever regions they choose would be great for the series. Maybe include more and have one guy from each gen plus picachu. I think pokemon need to be more a part of this series they seem to be lost in the dust for the other games i think that needs to change.

    MegaMan:

    Megaman needs no explanation he would be a very cool character to have in the game. I feel like 3rd party character should and will be in this one so megaman is a great choice. As he plays in a 2D game moves can be ported over but they'll have to think of some other moves to not have him to basic. I could think of many cool final smashes too.

    Simon Belmont:

    I don't know to much about the castlevania franchise but ive seen my friend play the original on a emulator a lot (his name is smexypokemon) and it looks fun. Im sure with a new game coming out that Simon isn't out of the question.

    Bomberman:

    While he wouldnt have any other moves besides trowing bombs they could give him different ways to use them. Down-b = putting a bomb in ground. side b to throw bombs and regular b to pull a bomb out. He could till be a chararcter but he would just be a bit limited.

    Yarn Kirby:

    As hes in a 2D platformer its not hard to think of moves. use the car as a dash and his other auto powers to do what you would think. He could make a cool character if done properly and who better to do that than namco and nintendo.

    Ryu:

    Come on there has to be at least one guy from street fighter in it. They could pull all the moves from SF 4.

    Now for the rest of the game.

    Stages:

    I think stsages need to have more of a range in terms of majorly choatic or simple. There was really only one place that was simple in brawl which was final destination. I think that there should be a few more stages like this but have them a little more exciting. Like a street fighter game where there is a background that is not interacteable. Just to have that there would be nice. A simple area from a game in the back would be appreciated. Maybe have one stage that is normal and flat like final destination only you can pick what type of background you want. Not random things but locations from marios zeldas or anywhere else you want. While the games are intense fighters, its not hard for nintendo to load the game with nostalga like they did with the original Donkey Kong course and Mario Bros course. There also could be stages with more quirks. Taking things out of the background instead of always finding these quirks in a pokeball or assit trophy. I'm not saying those are bad but there are other ways of giving a game that nintendo touch.

    Subspace Emissary 2?:

    I also think think that they should continue what they were doing in the subspace emissary. They should put a little more effort in to it because the last half of the game was going though the same areas you did in the 1st. It should also become 4 players and not just 2. They could create more of a platformering beatem up as the subspace emissary was a lot about avoiding obstacles and not platforming. I think this could be a game mode that could have a lot of Potental and namco should take advantage of this.

    Dodging:

    Dodging should be used better in this on. Most people i know don't even use the dodging mechanic because it isn't the easiest control so they got in a habit of playing the game a certain way and never wanted to change it(me included). Don't get me wrong its not a hard thing to click those buttons at the same time. There is many more buttons on a wii u gamepad or wii u pro controller so there shouldn't be any reason why you cant dodge with the press of a button. Maybe have the right trigger made to dodge right and the left trigger to dodge left. A simple addition could go a long way.

    Gamepad Use:

    The gamepad could be used in many different ways and I'm curios to see how namco makes use of them. Possibly the gamepad player could place items and interact with the envirments with the touch screen to screw over other players. This would play right into what nitendo has done with multiplayers so far as most of them are able to do this to assit but this time mosty use it to destroy. For a game like smash bros it needs to have some sort of insane multiplayer using the gamepad and this is a perfect way to do that. This could also be used in subspace emissary to do things similar to rayman legends and New Super Mario Bros U.

    Phyics:

    I would like to keep most of the games Phyics the same. If this becomes a game more like a street fighter or soul caliber than it would complety destroy the nature of the series. I play brawl for the fun multiplayer and crazy fights. I play street fighter for realistic fights that don't have people flying across my screen. Both these type of fighters are great but it would be terrible to see them mixed together. The fights should play similar and theres no doubt about that.

    Thanks for taking your entire day to read that 2662 word blog hope you enjoyed it.

    GROOSENATOR63

    Oh yeah Namco get rid of tripping

     

     

     

     

     

     


              URL Bending        
    URL means "Universal Resource Location", and thus named the construct finds much use as a substitute for a lot of structures, many if not most of which have nothing to do with resource locations.

    When any term such as a URL gets assigned multiple meanings, whether these are different people's interpretations of the same purpose or the usages originate as means for different ends, that term becomes a homonym. 

    In the context of Web applications, we're told that a URL does just one thing: locate a resource. But the "universal" constructs that URLs attempt to address via a one dimensional string, are multidimensional and contain subspaces that link pervasively between one another.  We are faced with many purposes, many decompositions of the data, many formats, many relationships, and so on... and somehow all those facets are supposed to be encoded as a single human readable identifier. 

    Even on something as conceptually straightforward as a topological map, we use discrete coordinates to differentiate the dimensional components of an address. More generally, an address is an N-tuple. That N-tuple can (or must) be represented as a string, but the representation does not usually utilize nesting or containment - the primary dimensions are orthogonal and vary independently of one another.  Yet in a URL most often the string is read left-to-right, and path segments form an implicit hierarchy. Or they don't. There is no single interpretation that is actually canonical in the sense that everyone actually follows it.

    Here is, syntactically, where URLs break down: we cannot both, at once, infer hierarchy where it was intended to be implied and not infer hierarchy where it was not, without overloading the URL with a one-off domain specific syntax.

    So we see a proliferation of syntactical forms appearing, starting with "?query+parameters".  We argue over meaningless forms - should it be /new/user or /user/new or /users (PUT) or /user (PUT) or whatnot - and the amount of argument is inversely proportional to the triviality of the distinctions to be made. A sound, common grammar is a necessity.

    A URL isn't really an address in a sense analogous to a cartesian coordinate. It is a parameter binding. In trying to represent multiple twists and turns by way of a single mangled string, in effect we are tying a knot. Or a bend or hitch, if you will, depending upon the object and subject being tied. The moves in tying this knot form a sort of grammar, which for lack of a better term and because it sounds like binding, I'll call "URL Bending".  For reference, a bend is a knot used to join two or more lengths of rope. 

    A grammar for bending could be formalized, I suppose. We would need to grok the distinct dimensions along which resources are addressed in various bounded contexts represented in the solution space. (Determining open addressing models is a heavy focus of ISO/IEC 10744:1997, aka "HyTime".) We would need to grasp whether those bits should be included in the knot tying, or should more opaquely be mapped to components of the transaction concomitant with the use of the URL, like the HTTP method or POST or PUT content payloads or HTTP headers. 

              The elementary divisors of incidence matrices between certain subspaces of a finite symplectic space        
    none
              Improving the computational efficiency of subspace algorithms for frequency estimation of sinusoidal signals        
    none
              Toaxxx — - Melanie meets the Sgt Major — pt 2        
    Toaxxx — - Melanie meets the Sgt Major — pt 2
    Studio: Toaxxx
    Genres: BDSM

    Bound and helpless in three different positions, Maddy soons remembers just how exciting and fun Sexaully Broken is. It doesn't take long for our sexy slut to be in subspace, while drool runs down her face and body as the cocks penetrate her throat over and over with our mercy.

    Format: Windows Media
    Duration: 12:40
    Video: 960x540, Windows Media Video 9, 1464kbps
    Audio: 62kbps

    Toaxxx — - Melanie meets the Sgt Major — pt 2 Toaxxx — - Melanie meets the Sgt Major — pt 2
    Toaxxx — - Melanie meets the Sgt Major — pt 2 Toaxxx — - Melanie meets the Sgt Major — pt 2

    Toaxxx — - Melanie meets the Sgt Major — pt 2
    File size: 142.9 MB

    Toaxxx — - Melanie meets the Sgt Major — pt 2

    Toaxxx — - Melanie meets the Sgt Major — pt 2
    http://svalka.ws/
              Toaxxx — Eva & Yvette — Nipple Contest        
    Toaxxx — Eva & Yvette — Nipple Contest
    Studio: Toaxxx
    Genres: BDSM

    Bound helpless on a Sybian, in a custom metal device, we send poor Olive into subspace pretty quickly. Being vibrated to several orgasms why being professionally face fucked does it every time. In minutes Olive is a drooling vacant eyes suck slut wondering what the fuck just happened.

    Format: Windows Media
    Duration: 21:45
    Video: 960x540, Windows Media Video 9, 1464kbps
    Audio: 62kbps

    Toaxxx — Eva & Yvette — Nipple Contest Toaxxx — Eva & Yvette — Nipple Contest
    Toaxxx — Eva & Yvette — Nipple Contest Toaxxx — Eva & Yvette — Nipple Contest

    Toaxxx — Eva & Yvette — Nipple Contest
    File size: 245.2 MB

    Toaxxx — Eva & Yvette — Nipple Contest

    Toaxxx — Eva & Yvette — Nipple Contest
    http://svalka.ws/
              Life and death in Subspace        
    Matthew Butcher’s hockey teammates started a memorial fund for him last week. Some of these friends had known him for as many as twelve years. Few had ever met him in person. These friends all played an online video game called Subspace. The game came out in 1997 — making it one of the earliest […]
              Etherworld (Elusion, #2)        
    Etherworld (Elusion, #2)
    author: Claudia Gabel
    name: Josiah
    average rating: 3.62
    book published: 2015
    rating: 2
    read at: 2017/03/25
    date added: 2017/03/26
    shelves:
    review:
    Shady dealings were definitely going on among corporate bigwigs at Orexis to promote their breakthrough virtual reality system known as Elusion, but Regan Welch couldn't prove it until she burrowed deep inside the simulation and came face to face with her father, David, thought for months to be dead. In Etherworld, a sub-program of Elusion designed by David for him to hide in from his corrupt bosses at Orexis, Regan learns the truth about Cathryn, the person in charge at the company. David confronted Cathryn months ago with data showing that Elusion can cause brain damage and even death, but she refused to heed the advice of the game's creator. Orexis had invested major capital in Elusion, and delaying release wasn't an option. To prevent David from alerting authorities or the press, Cathryn conspired to fake his death and imprison him within the majestic, sensuous landscapes of Elusion. When David sent subtle, encoded distress signals to Regan in the real world, she responded, not believing her father could be alive but knowing the signals somehow were coming from him. Had he set up a trail of communication before the accident that took his life? But now Regan knows he's alive, trapped in Etherworld with about a dozen teens who, like Regan, cracked David's secret code and snuck in. Is there any pathway from here back to reality?

    David and his techie teen support crew are hard at work to hatch their way out of Etherworld without crossing into the danger zone of Elusion, but barriers spring up one after another. Cathryn has apparently redesigned Elusion to block David from ejecting out of the game. Somewhere in the real world he and his teen assistants, now including Regan and her new love interest, Josh, are hooked up to Elusion consoles, and time is running out on how long they can safely stay under trypnosis. Many of them have already far exceeded the limit and may not ultimately survive, but for now all they can do is work with David to formulate an escape and hope for the best.

    "When you find out that everything about your reality is just an illusion, it's hard not to completely shut down."

    —Etherworld, P. 97

    When Regan abruptly awakens in the real world, groggy and out of sorts from her long session in Elusion, the information she's learned in Etherworld could blow Orexis to pieces. But will anyone believe her father is alive and imprisoned in a virtual reality subspace by a corporate tyrant? Regan's story sounds absurd even to close friends and family. She spent way longer in Elusion than safety guidelines recommend during the time when she was supposedly finding her father, and could be suffering from nanopsychosis brought on by abuse of the product. With unwavering conviction that she didn't dream up Etherworld, Regan searches for proof that her father is alive and Orexis is a menace to society, knowing she has to come up with something incontrovertible before well-meaning friends lock her in the loony bin. Regan lost her father once and she's not about to let it happen again, not with him trapped in Etherworld and depending on her to retrieve help. It's Regan and her few allies against the entire Orexis infrastructure, with an unimaginable fortune in tech revenue at stake. Who will win the battle between right and wrong?

    "But right now, I'm going to focus on the beauty of life, not the darkness".

    —Etherworld, P. 323

    Parts of Etherworld are confusing. High-tech lingo is bandied about by computer programmers and hackers who know more about the science than most people ever will, and their proposals for evacuating Etherworld reflect the sophistication of their knowledge. Thus when solutions are reached and implemented, I typically don't understand what's going on. For the middle third of Etherworld, though, the story hits its stride, becoming a bullet train with the velocity to ram through concrete walls. The action in and around the mental hospital is electric, gathering scary momentum that feels out of control. Anger, fear, frustration, and deep discomfort rise in the reader's blood, and that's how you know an author (or two, in this case) is capable of spinning a story. I'd rate Etherworld two and a half stars, and this middle section of the book almost persuaded me to round that up instead of down. Having friends not believe and intentionally work against you when life or death depends on your actions is a boiling outrage when you know you're right, but what if there are niggling doubts in your mind? What if you feel sure you aren't delusional, yet the possibility lingers that the revelations you've taken comfort in could be fabrications of a damaged brain? Is Regan's father alive, or isn't he? How far can you trust your own perception when advanced virtual reality is in the mix? These questions are what makes Etherworld a good story, better than Elusion, in my opinion. They'll all be settled by the end of this book.

    Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam are a decent writing duo. Once they get into the story, the action can be as good as almost anything in YA literature of the time. They're capable of approximating the effect of action scenes by Lauren Oliver, Scott Westerfeld, James Dashner, and Veronica Roth. As I did for Elusion, I must make mention of Etherworld's cover art. The pretty swirls are the main reason I picked up Elusion in the first place, and Etherworld's collage of colors is just as aesthetically pleasant. If you like fiction about technology gone awry, you might enjoy this duology. It has something to offer readers who can't get enough dystopia.

              Kel Bowie        

    Release Year: 2017
    Genres: BDSM, AllSex, Blowjob
    Video language: English

    Kel Bowie is the quintessential Girl Next Door. Take a good look at the cute girls that live near you, chances are they are in porn, enjoying their secret life.Kel get the entire Sexaully Broken experience. Bound to a Sybian, brutally deepthroated and face fucked into subspace. She is bound in a strict strappado, and made to cum over and over while hard cock fill her throat past the ability to even breath. She is completely helpless and used as a proper cock sheath, over and over we deepthroat her until she is a drooling spaced out slut. In the end she takes one of the most brutal fucking we have ever done on the site. Kel is completely wrecked and smiling.

    Format: mp4
    Duration: 30:28
    Video: 1280x720, AVC (H.264), 7332kbps
    Audio: 108kbps





    File size: 1.6 GB






              A test about discontinuous Galerkin (dG) method for Poisson Equation        
    Most FEM are absed on the continuous Galerkin (cG) method, a finite element method formulated relative to a weak formulation of a particular model system. Unlike traditional FEM (cG) methods that the numerical solution are conforming, the DG method works over a trial space of functions that are only piecewise continuous, and thus often comprise more inclusive function spaces than the finite-dimensional inner product subspaces utilized in conforming methods.

    We focus on a typical elliptic problems which is also called Piosson Equation:
    \[
    -\Delta u=f \mathrm{in} \Omega
    u=0 \mathrm{on} \partial \Omega
    \]
    We let $\Omega=[0,1]^2$, $f=2pi^2\sin(2\pi x)\sin(2\pi y)$,
    and use the jump penalization type dG method.

    Key function: up(), down() WeakForm PDE
    Solving by COMSOL 4.4
              Emergency learning        
    Submitted by Stuart_Armstrong • 9 votes • 9 comments

    Crossposted at the Intelligent Agent Foundation Forum.

    Suppose that we knew that superintelligent AI was to be developed within six months, what would I do?

    Well, drinking coffee by the barrel at Miri's emergency research retreat I'd...... still probably spend a month looking at things from the meta level, and clarifying old ideas. But, assuming that didn't reveal any new approaches, I'd try and get something like this working.

    Standard setup

    Take a reinforcement learner AI, that we want to safely move a strawberry onto a plate. A human sits nearby and provides a reward based on inspecting the AI's behaviour.

    As it stands, this setup is completely vulnerable to reward hacking. The reward is not provided for safe moving of the strawberry; instead the reward is provided by having the human judge that the task has been accomplished and then pressing a button. Taking control of the human or control of the button is likely to be possible for a superintelligent AI; and, as it stands, that would be mandated by this reward function.

     

    Learning from positive and various negative examples

    Could we have the AI instead learn what the reinforcement signal "should be"? It seems that it might at least be possible, if we can make the AI learn from both positive and negative examples. I'd make five categories of examples from which the AI could learn. It may be too dangerous to have the superintelligent AI used directly in constructing these examples; in that case, the rewards would be given to a simpler, dumber version of the AI, and the examples passed on to the superintelligent AI for offline training.

    1. Simple positive and negative examples. These are the basic examples from above: the AI completes the task or fails to, and gets the consequent reward. The AI stays within its room and the human is sober, rested, uninfluenced, and so on.
    2. Simple more dubious examples. These are examples where the AI gets a reward, but the learning process judges that these rewards were not fairly allocated. Maybe the human was drunk, or not paying attention. Maybe they slipped, and pressed the button by accident. Or they were in a hurry to end their shift, and so pressed the button. All these examples are given a score from -1 to 1. Those with a score of 1 are taken as legitimate examples of rewards, those with a score of 0 are taken as random reward giving, while those with a score of -1 are taken as anti-rewards instead.
    3. Extreme negative examples. Here we can offer the AI actions that lead to complicated outcomes that are not legitimate rewards. Maybe the action can *make* the controller drunk. Maybe they can start a tape playing that will convince the controller the area is haunted. They could cut the wire, fuse the button, switch the controller's task description, distract the controller, start an automated threat tape, and so on. All these are labelled as negative examples (even though the reward is given).
    4. Hypothetical negative examples. If we can communicate hypothetical situations to the AI (especially if we can do that without fully specifying the hypothetical in detail), we can use that to extend the previous category to every situation we can imagine. We can have the AI trick, threaten, or kill the controller, destroy the rest of humanity, launch subagents to seize the button, take honeypots, and so on. We can't get an exhaustive list, but we can try to get as much examples of AIs behaving badly. These are also obviously labelled as negative examples (even though the reward is given).
    5. Properties of the example space. It's not clear whether these are examples or features of the learning process. See the next sections for details.

     

    Nearest unblocked strategy vs overfitting

    If we simply told the AI to maximise reward, subject to the fact that all the negative examples are to be avoided, then we fall into the nearest unblocked strategy problem (NUSP). The AI will simply choose a dangerous strategy that isn't too close to those that have been explicitly ruled out. Since we don't have the time, intelligence, or imagination to rule out all the dangerous strategies (and since some of them would be too dangerous for us to even contemplate), this wouldn't work.

    But if we consider the issue as a learning problem, the situation seems less dire. Then the NUSP seems simply an example of overfitting: if the AI has learnt that all these are photos of cats, it should be able to infer that something similar is also a cat, even if it isn't close to the labelled examples. Similarly for negative examples that aren't close to other negative examples.

    But another variant of the NUSP continues to plague us. Suppose we had trained the AI only on black cats; how would we expect it to react when confronted with a white cat?

    Imagine the space of behaviour as a high dimensional space, with the space of good behaviours as some compact subset. Then the negative examples we gave do not tightly surround that compact subset (that's standard NUSP). But we've also not spread the negative examples much around that space, due to the usual problems with our lack of intelligence and imagination. So the negative examples we've set are likely to occupy a very low dimensional space around the space of good behaviour.

     

    Adding the properties

    However, once we've realised that, we can add it to the learning process. What method would be the best to pick out a constrained compact set in high dimensions, where the known positive and negative examples occupy a much smaller dimensional subspace? There might not be a good method, but there's probably a best method, given what we know or think we know.

    The same goes for all the other properties we known about that space. For instance, if the AI uses different approaches for different humans, this is a likely failure mode. If it doesn't matter what the task the AI is given is (because the AI will just hack the human anyway), that's another failure mode - note, again, that this property makes more sense as a learning property than as a constraint. The perils (to humans) of unconstrained search is another known failure mode. Even the fact that we are using a dumber AI to construct the practical examples, is relevant. What sort of failure are we trying to avoid? When we box the AI or seal off the human with the reward button, again, what is this trying to achieve?

    And so on, as we add all our intuitive understanding of the spaces of good and bad behaviours in this area.

    Depending on how the learning process is designed, we can add these properties either as constraints for the learning process, or as part of the process itself.

     

    Unusual actions versus unusual situations

    Now, this approach is not certain to work by any means, but as an emergency measure it seems to have potential. But note that it seems much safer as a measure to prevent the AI taking extreme/manipulative/unusual actions. Rather than as a way to constrain the AI's behaviour in unusual situations. This approach is intended to prevent the AI from taking over the world, rather than telling it what to do if it does take over. That's mainly because we have a vague idea what not taking over the world looks like (and we can produce many examples of this behaviour), but we're much more stumped as to what running the world well means. 

    9 comments
              The Star Wars Bounty Hunters for MSH        

    Here are the MSH stats for the bounty hunters from Star Wars.
    These were originally hosted by Ty States and I resurrected them from his old site.


    BOBA FETT

    A- GD (10)
    S- EX (20)
    E- IN (40)
    R- GD (10)
    I- RM (30)
    P- RM (30)
    H- 100
    K- 70
    R- EX
    P- (-50) Equipment: Battle Armor
    personally modified Mandalorian battle armor that covers his head, torso, and arms with no Agility penalties.
    * Body Armor: RM (30) Material Strength and EX (20) protection from Physical and Energy attacks.
    * Wrist Lasers: RM (30) Energy damage with PR (1 area) range.
    * Rocket Dart Launcher: Can pierce IN (40) Material Strength or less. Tip is coated with poison (Poison, Knock-Out, etc.) of RM (30) intensity. FB (1/2 area range).
    * Turbo-projected Grappling Hook: 20 meter (1/2 area) lanyard (RM (30) Material Strength) with magnetic grappling "hook" (RM (30) Magnetism). FB (1/2 area) range.
    * Flame Projector: RM (30) Fire Energy damage in 1 meter cone. FB (5 meter (5.45 yards) (1/8 of an area)
    * Concussion Grenade Launcher: IN (40) Blunt damage to all in one area. Has firing range of AM. Magazine carries 20 grenades.
    * Jet Pack: For every charge used, he can move at FB Airspeed (30 MPH / 0.5 MPM) either 3 areas horizontally, or 2 areas vertically. His jet pack only has enough fuel for 20 charges.
    * Sensor Pod: AM (50) Tracking ability.
    * Infra-red / Motion Sensor: Integrated infra-red and motion sensors in helmet gives EX (20) intensity and range Infra-red vision in darkness. It also allows him to detect motion in front of him and to his sides with EX (20) intensity and range.
    * Macro binoculars: Enables him to see objects at up to IN (12 area) range. Scope-linked into blaster rifle, allowing him to fire it at +2CS to his Agility (in addition to Marksmanship).
    * Sound Sensors: Makes out sound at up to EX (20) range. It can tell where the sound is coming from with AM (50) ability. This only works in quiet areas.
    * Internal Comlink: Can be linked to Slave I's control system (with beckon call) to have it operate under remote control (come to his location, fire weapons, etc.), or it can be tuned into other standard frequencies. It also has an external speaker.
    * Broadband Antenna: Can intercept and decode most communications made on standard frequencies. As a result, Boba Fett can patch into shipboard communications.
    * Winch: This is capable of lifting TY (221 pounds) weight (Boba Fett and his equipment only).
    * Sealed Enviro Filter: Filter system can block out harmful molecules, or in case of insufficient or deadly atmospheres, the suit can seal drawing upon a two hour (1,200 turn) supply of air.
    Blaster Rifle: Range: AM, Price: (Gun) GD (1,000 credits), (Power Pack) FB (25 credits)
    Damage: IN (40) Stunning or Energized Force
    Rate: 1, Shots: 100 per power pack
    Material: GD (See Macro binoculars in suit description for bonus to hit.)
    Comlink: This is a personal communication device. It has a SH-X (150) range. It can broadcast over countless different frequencies. It can pick up normal Standard Clear Frequencies (SCF's) (non-restricted bands). It can monitor one specific frequency and SFC's simultaneously. It costs FB (25 credits).
    Wookie Scalps: Several dangle from his belt. His Popularity with Rebels, Wookies, and the like drops by -10.


    Slave I:


    This is Boba Fett's personal ship. It has the following:
    * CONTROL: TY (6).
    * SPEED: (Atmosphere) UN (40 areas) A.S. / (Space) SH Z (200 areas) A.S. / (Hyperdrive) CL 5000/1 (5,000/1) (100 x light speed)
    * BODY: RM (30) vs. Physical and Energy.
    * PROTECTION: RM (30) vs. Physical and Energy. * Shields: GD (10) vs. Physical and Energy.
    * Sensors: Passive: AM (50) range /// Scan: UN (100) range ///Search: SH X (150) range /// Focus: TY(06)
    * Sensor Mask: -2CS to detect Slave I at ranges of MN(75) or greater.
    * Sensor Jamming: -3CS to sensors to identify Slave I as a ship instead of an ion storm, -2CS to detect the ship's vapor trail.
    * 2 Twin-mounted Blaster Cannons: Fire Arc: Turret, Fire Control: +1CS to Agility for firing; Range: SH X (74 areas), Damage: RM (30) Energized Force.
    * Concussion Missile Tube Launcher: Fire Arc: Front, Fire Control: +2CS to Agility for firing; Range: AM (17 areas), Damage: EX (20) Blunt to all in 1 area.
    * Ion Cannon: Fire Arc: Front, Fire Control: +1CS to Agility for firing; Range: MN (37 areas), Damage: RM (30) disruption of electrical and mechanical devices.
    * Tractor Beam Projector: Fire Arc: Turret, Fire Control: +2CS to Agility for firing; Range: UN (50 areas), Damage: RM (30) Tractor beam.
    * Two Proton Torpedo Launchers: Firing Arc: Turret, Fire Control: +1CS to Agility for firing; Range: SH X (74 areas), Damage: None; attaches homing beacon or S-thread tracker which is mounted on dummy proton torpedoes and which magnetically attach to a target ship's hull. They have short ranges of 15-20 light years, utilizing the same technology as subspace radio's. The S-thread trackers send frequencies on HoloNet reciever bands, allowing him to track a ship to the side of the galaxy provided the ship passed HoloNet S-threads.
    * Craft: Kuat Systems Engineering's Firespray Class: Firespray-31.
    * Type: Sublight Patrol and Attack Craft.
    * Length: 21.5 meters.
    * Crew: 1.
    * Passengers: 6 (prisoners).
    * Cargo Capacity: IN (40) weight (40 metric tons). (It is currently converted into a high security holding area with force cages and restraints to hold the prisoners).
    * Consumables: 1 month (30 days = 414,000 turns).
    * Type: Space.
    * Cost: N/A.
    Talents: Marksman, Thrown Weapons, Languages, Astrogation, Pilot, Jet Pack Operation, Leadership, Crime, Repair-Tinkering, Computers, Demolition, Electronics, Detective-Espionage, Weapons Specialist: Mandalorian battle armor weapons.
    Contacts: None. (As per employer. When job is over, it is doubtful that the employer or those in his/her/its employment will remain contacts.)
    By WLB (WMLEBG@webtv.net)

    BOSSK

    F- RM (30)
    A- TY (6)S- EX (20)
    E- IN (40)
    R- EX (20)
    I- RM (30)
    P- GD (10)
    H- 96
    K- 60
    R- GD
    P- 0 Powers: Claws EX (20) edged damage
    Armor- Natural Hide TY (6) vs. Blunt damage
    Equipment: Blaster Rifle RM (30) force damage
    Grenade Launcher IN (40) force damage
    Flamethrower RM (30) energy damage
    Binders RM (30) material strength
    Talents: W.P. Blaster Rifle, Martial Arts A, B, Pilot, Engineering, Detective/Espionage, Computers, Electronics.

    4-LOM

    Bounty Hunter/Droid F- TY (6)
    A- RM (30)
    S- EX (20)
    E- RM (30)
    R- RM (30)
    I- RM (30)
    P- TY (6)
    H- 86
    K- 66
    R- GD
    P- 0
    Powers: Analytical Mind- +2CS to Intuition rolls on guessing the next move of their bounties.
    Body Armor GD (10)
    Equipment:
    Blaster Pistol- EX (20) Force damage
    Stun Gas Blower- RM (30) intensity
    Talents: Medicine, Law, Pilot, Buisness/Finance, Engineering, Criminology, Detective/Espionage, Computers, Electronics, Languages.
    By "MAD TITAN"

    DENGAR

    F- EX (20)
    A- EX (20)
    S- GD (10)
    E- RM (30)
    R- EX (20)
    I- RM (30)
    P- TY (6)
    H- 80
    K- 56
    R- GD
    P- 0 Equipment: Blaster Rifle- RM (30) Force damage
    Concussion Grenades- IN (40) Force damage
    Vibroblade- RM (30) Edged Energy damage
    Talents: Guns, W.P. Blaster Rifle, Marksman, Martial Arts A, B, E, Acrobatics, Pilot, Crimonology, Detective/Espionage.
    By "MAD TITAN"

    IG-88

    F- TY (6)
    A- TY (6)
    S- EX (20)
    E- AM (50)
    R- IN (40)
    I- MN (75)
    P- GD (10)
    H- 82
    K- 125
    R- GD
    P- 0 Equipment: Blaster Rifle- RM (30) Force damage
    Talents: Guns, Marksman, Weapons Master, Pilot, Engineering, Criminology, Detective/Espionage, Computers, Electronics.


    SHIP IG-2000


    CTRL: AM
    SPEED: SH-Z (Hyper-Space CL. 5000)
    BODY: AM
    PROT: RM Weapons: Forward Laser Cannons- AM (50) Energy damage
    Ion Cannon- IN (40) Shields do not effect this weapon.
    2 Tractor Beams- MN (75) strength
    By "MAD TITAN"

              217: Vaadwaures Eunt Domus        
    Dragon's Teeth.  

    Resurrecting an ancient civilization is tricky business, especially when the Prime Directive is on the line, and doubly so when that ancient civilization has access to subspace corridors that could shave thousands of light years off your trip home to the Alpha Quadrant. Such is the situation in which we find Captain Janeway and the rest of the Voyager Crew when Seven of Nine takes it upon herself to awaken the Vaadwaur, asleep for 900 years in stasis pods after the near total annihilation of their planet.

    In this episode of To The Journey, hosts Zachary Fruhling, Suzanne Williamson, and Kay Shaw have an ancient-world-style throw-down over the sixth-season Voyagerepisode "Dragon's Teeth." Join Zachary, Suzanne, and Kay as they resurrect an ancient civilization, accept that it is raining, and walk with dignity while listening to some less-than-cheerful Talaxian nursery rhymes (in the old tongue, naturally).  

    Chapters 
    Intro (00:00:00) 
    Seven of Nine Out of Character (00:01:50) 
    The Cardassians of the Delta Quadrant - Meh! (00:04:17) 
    Romans and Visigoths (00:09:29) 
    Walking with Dignity (00:13:00) 
    Funny Ears Contest (00:15:46) 
    Language Lessons - Talaxian Mother Goose (00:18:22) 
    Resurrecting the Ancient World - Xena Was Real! (00:20:44) 
    Only the "Vaadwaur" (00:22:38) 
    Backpedaling the Prime Directive - Get Back in Your Pods! (00:23:57) 
    A Scorpion-esque Chakotay (00:32:15) 
    Find Us the Cheese, Wesley (00:34:18) 
    Julius Caesar, You're a Clever Man, in Any Time Period (0:36:49) 
    Every Episode is Loved by Somebody (00:40:14) 
    Closing (00:42:01)  

    Hosts 
    Zachary Fruhling, Suzanne Williamson, and Kay Shaw  

    Production 
    Kay Shaw (Editor) Suzanne Williamson (Producer) Zachary Fruhling (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Bruce Lish (Associate Producer) Joo Kim (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)  

              202: Lady Gaga Live from the Next Emanation        

    "Emanations" Commentary.  

    What happens when we die? Is it simply "lights out"? Do we commune with our ancestors in some kind of afterlife? Or are we sucked into a subspace vacuole, swept away to decompose into a web of biopolymer residue on some backwater asteroid in a distant planetary ring system? In this episode of To The Journey, join hosts Zachary Fruhling, Kay Shaw, and Suzanne Williamson for a commentary on the first-season Voyager episode "Emanations." Join an away mission to the afterlife with Zachary, Kay, Suzanne, and Ensign Kim. But don't forget your biopolymer silk T-shirt for your debut in that big Lady Gaga concert in the sky!  

    Chapters 
    Intro (00:00:00) 
    Commentary (00:03:00) 
    Final Thoughts (00:48:16) 
    Closing (00:51:19)  

    Hosts 
    Zachary Fruhling, Kay Shaw, Suzanne Williamson  

    Production 
    Kay Shaw (Editor) Suzanne Williamson (Producer) Zachary Fruhling (Producer) C. Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Kenneth Tripp (Executive Producer) Bruce Lish (Associate Producer) Joo Kim (Associate Producer) Norman Lao (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)


              Happy 8th birthday, SubSpace!        

    #HappyBirthday #CommunardoProducts #collaboration

    On January 5th, 2017, Communardo Products rejoices and celebrates: 8 years ago, the first version of the SubSpace Plugin has been released in the Atlassian Marketplace.

    Since then, our product family expanded by the User Profiles add-ons, CUTE, Metadata, Karma, RemindMe or just recently the SharePoint Connector. And with them, our team is growing - in experience and the ambition to further improve our products, so that they are helpful to thousands of companies worldwide, making collaboration smarter each day.

    The post Happy 8th birthday, SubSpace! appeared first on Communardo Software GmbH.


              Wiki Page: RAM Frame - Eigenvalue Error [TN]        
    Applies To Product(s): RAM Structural System; Ram Frame Version(s): Any Area: Analysis Eigen Value Error Messages The Eigen Value (eigenvalue) error message is given when the program cannot calculate all the requested mode shapes of the building. The most common cause is an instability in the model. It is also possible to get an instability error instead. The first step is to analyze the Dead Load or any single gravity load case individually and correct any reported instabilities. The error can also occur when there is an extreme inequality between the mass and stiffness at different levels. In buildings with partial levels, this is common, as there are some levels that do not have many lateral members framing to the diaphragm. Often, the mass for these levels is small, but highly eccentric in relation to the adjacent levels. Sometimes, the masses can be lumped with adjacent levels, either above or below, in order to simplify the model and allow the program to run. This can be done using the Loads - Masses command, and changing the value in the Combine cell for such levels. A model will sometimes run with a reduced number of modes. The program default is to solve 3 modes per rigid diaphragm in the model. The first 3 modes are typically the controlling modes so running the analysis with fewer modes may be acceptable. To do this create a new load case called "Modes" of the type, Dynamic - Eigen Solution. When you click [Add] you will be prompted to select the desired number of modes (see illustration). Sometimes these problems are caused from having highly flexible or unstable structures. If the exact modes shapes are not required, you can solve the problem by assigning the period (or frequency) for the lateral load case(s) explicitly, so that the program does not have to calculate it. For seismic loads, this is done by setting T=Ta (or "Use Method A" in the UBC code) under the "T" heading in the load case definition (see illustration). The program will then use the approximate period of the building, and will not have to calculate the modes. If you analyze the building using the approximate period, you can observe the deflection at each level, and also review the loads and applied forces so that you can see how much load is being applied at each level. For wind loads per IBC or ASCE, the same type of thing can be done in relation to the building frequencies. Set the frequency of the building in both directions to n=1 Hz (or some other estimated value) and also set the Gust Factor = 0.85 to avoid having wind loads which require an eigen solution (see illustration). Please note that performing the eigen solution to calculate the period in conjunction with P-Delta can be more difficult for the program to solve. The softening of the stiffness matrix performed as part of the P-Delta analysis can even lead to an instability for the eigen solution where the second order effects are large. Likewise, solving the eigen solution for a dynamic load case with eccentricity requires 4 times as many modes compared to concentric analysis. When tension-only braces are used in a model, 50% of those members stiffness are considered in the eigen solution. For additional information related to semi-rigid diaphragms and the eigen solution, please refer to the links below. Ritz Vectors - Version 14.06.00 and later In version 14.06.00, an alternate method for calculating modal results using Ritz vectors was added as a feature in RAM Frame. Ritz vectors use an approximate method that produces results that are the same or nearly the same as the Eigen analysis. Generally, Ritz vectors are faster and more reliably converge to the solution. Because Ritz vectors converge more reliably, they are another tool that can be used to resolve Eigenvalue errors. In version 15.00 a third option for performing the Eigenvalue analysis (periods and modes) was added, Lanczos Eigenvalue solver. The new solver has some remarkable advantages over the other two solutions: the new solver is faster than other two solutions (i.e., subspace iteration and Ritz vectors solution) and it consumes significantly less memory and it is a very robust solution (the Lanczos implementation is an open source code developed by Rice University and widely used in academia and in industry). When eigenvalue errors occur, we suggest starting with the Ritz vector option and trying the others as needed. The Eigenvalue analysis option is selected in RAM Frame - Analysis mode - Criteria - General: See Also RAM SS Semirigid Diaphragms RAM Instability In Finite Element Analysis [[RAM Frame - Dynamic Analysis FAQ]]
              Supplemental 30 - Gene Roddenberry Versus Star Trek        
    John, Ken, and Mission Log Executive Producer Rod Roddenberry talk over Star Trek with and without its creator - Gene Roddenberry. Plus questions from panel attendees. Once more from the Rio, we put Gene Roddenberry Versus Star Trek in the Mission Log.   Subspace channels are open:   On Facebook: facebook.com/missionlogpod On Twitter: @missionlogpod On Skype: missionlogpod On the phone: (323) 522-5641 Online: missionlogpodcast.com   We may use your comments on a future episode of Mission Log.
              Supplemental 29 - Ten Essential TOS from STLV50        
    Ken and John return to the Rio. From the Roddenberry Interactive Stage and Lounge, Mission Log presents the 10 to 20 best or essential episodes of Star Trek: TOS, plus a few episodes of the animated series and one mention of Next Gen. But mostly TOS.   Subspace channels are open: On Facebook: facebook.com/missionlogpod On Twitter: @missionlogpod On Skype: missionlogpod On the phone: (323) 522-5641 Online: missionlogpodcast.com We may use your comments on an upcoming episode of Mission Log
              198 - Disaster         
    Everything is going so well, right until it does not. A student tour turns into a deadly turbo lift ride! A chair on the bridge turns into a hot seat! An impromptu audition turns into a radioactive fire! And there is still more trouble. Yet, despite the various issues, the title is singular. See what happens when we put Disaster in the Mission Log. Subspace channels are open: On Facebook: facebook.com/missionlogpod On Twitter: @missionlogpod On Skype: missionlogpod On the phone: (323) 522-5641 Online: missionlogpodcast.com We may use your comments on a future episode of Mission Log.
              197 - Silicon Avatar        
    The Enterprise says “hello” to an old enemy. Or tries to say “hello.” And tries to figure out whether it is an enemy. Along to help is Dr. Kila Marr. Or is it help she is offering? She is getting to know her son, and will not let a little thing like his dying a few years ago stand in her way. Shields up for safety as we put Silicon Avatar in the Mission Log.   Subspace channels are open: On Facebook: facebook.com/missionlogpod On Twitter: @missionlogpod On Skype: missionlogpod On the phone: (323) 522-5641 Online: missionlogpodcast.com   We may use your comments on a future episode of Mission Log.
              196 - Ensign Ro        
    A Bajoran terrorist attack on a Federation colony has got everyone a little jumpy. Enter Ensign Ro Laren, Starfleet officer and Bajoran herself, who has been released from prison to help find the attackers. But what do the Cardassians have to do with all this? And why does Starfleet's Admiral Kennelly seem to be keeping secrets? This week, Ensign Ro and "Ensign Ro" go into the Mission Log. Subspace channels are open: On Facebook: facebook.com/missionlogpod On Twitter: @missionlogpod On Skype: missionlogpod On the phone: (323) 522-5641 Online: missionlogpodcast.com We may use your comments on a future episode of Mission Log.
              The Radical of the Killing Form        
    The first and most important structural result using the Killing form regards its “radical”. We never really defined this before, but it’s not hard: the radical of a binary form on a vector space is the subspace consisting of all such that for all . That is, if we regard as a linear map , […]
               An invariant subspace lattice of order type omega+omega+1         
    Harrison, K.J. and Longstaff, W.E. (1980) An invariant subspace lattice of order type omega+omega+1. Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, 79 (1). p. 45.
              Personalized Search Inspired Fast Interactive Estimation of Distribution Algorithm and Its Application        
    Interactive evolutionary algorithms have been applied to personalized search, in which less user fatigue and efficient search are pursued. Motivated by this, we present a fast interactive estimation of distribution algorithm (IEDA) by using the domain knowledge of personalized search. We first induce a Bayesian model to describe the distribution of the new user’s preference on the variables from the social knowledge of personalized search. Then we employ the model to enhance the performance of IEDA in two aspects, that is: 1) dramatically reducing the initial huge space to a preferred subspace and 2) generating the individuals of estimation of distribution algorithm(EDA) by using it as a probabilistic model. The Bayesian model is updated along with the implementation of the EDA. To effectively evaluate individuals, we further present a method to quantitatively express the preference of the user based on the human-computer interactions and train a radial basis function neural network as the fitness surrogate. The proposed algorithm is applied to a laptop search, and its superiorities in alleviating user fatigue and speeding up the search procedure are empirically demonstrated. Continue reading
               Blocking of inter-subspace tunneling by intra sub-space inelastic scattering         
    Pareek, T. P. ; Jayannavar, A. M. ; Kumar, N. (1998) Blocking of inter-subspace tunneling by intra sub-space inelastic scattering Indian Journal of Physics, 23 . p. 853. ISSN 0019-5480
               Adaptive estimation of eigensubspace and tracking the directions of arrival         
    Babu, K. V. S. ; Yoganandam, Y. ; Reddy, V. U. (1998) Adaptive estimation of eigensubspace and tracking the directions of arrival Signal Processing, 68 (3). pp. 317-339. ISSN 0165-1684
               Detectable subspaces and inverse problems for Hain-Luest-type operators         
    Brown, Brian Malcolm and Marletta, Marco and Naboko, Serguei and Wood, Ian (2016) Detectable subspaces and inverse problems for Hain-Luest-type operators. Mathematische Nachrichten, . ISSN 0025-584X. E-ISSN 1522-2616. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/mana.201500231 ) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)
               Bifurcation of critical points along gap-continuous families of subspaces         
    Candela, Anna Maria and Waterstraat, Nils (2014) Bifurcation of critical points along gap-continuous families of subspaces. Journal of Fixed Point Theory and Applications, . ISSN 1661-7738. (In press) (Full text available)
              By: Thomas        
    I'd like to see an option to have a default space for apps to open in if you haven't configured it to open somewhere specifically. By and large I'm working in one space with other Spaces configured for particular things. I have iTunes open in one space at full screen. Mail, iChat, Adium etc in another and so on. I want those apps there because having it that way fits my workflow. If I happen to be in one of those spaces and then decide I want to open some random app to use in my work area I have to move it. This happens regularly. I would like to be able to say that everything will open in space 1 (for example) unless I have either allocated it somewhere else or I perhaps manually override it when opening so that it stays in whichever subspace I'm in. Currently I find I have bits of apps all over the place and I have to remember to move them back or move to the right place first. I could go through every app and configure it to start by default in a particular place but that's a pain.
              A Dream Come True...        
    Sunday night one of my all time fantasies came true. I had a lovely little threesome with Himself and his friend Ballboy. (I can't think of any other nickname for him at present - it'll have to do!). Here's how it started:

    Late Sunday night I got a message from Himself asking if I wanted one last night together. I replied that I did. He said that it would happen on one condition... that Ballboy was there. I agreed readily - I slept with Ballboy about a week and a bit ago and I must say, he was very impressive; plus Himself and I have fantasized about having a threesome with him, the two of them dominating me completely.

    But I digress - Sunday night!

    Himself told me to start stretching my ass and getting ready for the night. He messaged me instructions on what to wear, and gave me warning that I was going to cop it bad... that my ass and mouth were going to be very heavily used and abused. The whole time he was messaging me I was getting ready with a certain degree of apprehensive nervousness. I wasn't actually sure I wanted to go through with it... until I received a message from Ballboy: You're gonna cop it bitch. That was it for me - the nail in the coffin so to speak. I was more than ready after that. Himself messaged me once they got back to his place and I drove over, dressed as instructed. When I knocked on the door wearing the long skirt and slightly loose shirt I had been told to wear, with no panties or bra, Himself answered. He stood in the doorway and told me to turn around, so that my back was to him. He raised my skirt with one hand, his other slipping under my shirt. His fingers found me bare and wet for him, his other hand finding my breasts naked and supple to his caress. When he let me inside Ballboy was sitting at the computer watching porn. I waited while they finished watching then we got our stuff together to leave. All three of us are living at home at present, so all homes were out of the question as far as the location goes. The guys had decided that a little spot down by the river would have to do, which I was quite happy with... it's where Himself and I sat for hours, talking and "playing" when we were first getting to know each other. As we were about to walk out of the house Ballboy reached under my skirt, and my shirt, his hands pressing against my skin, his body pressed against my back. Himself stepped up to us and pressed his body against my front, his hands caressing my flesh, knowing exactly how to touch me and where. At that moment I knew I was ready.

    The next thing I know I am sitting in the back seat of Himself's car, Ballboy on my left, Himself on my right, both sucking and biting on my nipples, their hands touch me on the breasts, the stomach, the thighs, the hips... everywhere. I was in heaven. Now here is where it gets confusing. From this point on I lose track of the chronological order of things and even a few minor events have slipped from my memory - what I do remember is in flashes and mostly I remember the way I felt at different moments. So I will simply write what I do remember as the memories occur to me.
    I was the middle of the backseat, with one on each side and Himself was thrusting my favourite dildo in and out of me, making me almost cry out with orgasm after orgasm, as they both flicked and pinched my nipples, slapping my tits firmly, but not as hard as Himself has in the past. I remember being on my hands and knees in the backseat, giving Ballboy head while Himself stood at the open door, spanking me - hard. I remember the tears running down my face, my voice screaming out with pain... I remember feeling as if I was falling and floating at the same time as I drifted into subspace. I remember giving Himself head as Ballboy stood behind me, his fingers inside of me... I remember him slipping one finger into my ass and the way it almost crashed me back to earth. It was unexpected to say the least though realistically I had been aware that it would happen at one point. I remember them both holding my legs open as they shoved that dildo in and out of me, while Himself told me to cum over and over. I remember kneeling before Himself, his cock almost choking me as he facefucked me, his hand in my hair, looking up at him and Ballboy. I remember the pain from more spankings and titslapping. I remember one of them - no idea which one, slapping my clit lightly, causing me to jump each time their hand landed against my sensitive flesh. I remember lying on the bonnet, one leg over each of Himself's shoulders, his fingers against my clit, inside me, as Ballboy hovered nearby. I remember standing next to the car, leaning back against Ballboy as Himself sat watching as Ballboy played with my clit and pussy... fucking me with his fingers.

    Something I can't seem to erase from my memory is the way I felt inside... the feeling that I was nothing more than an object, nothing more than a toy for them to use. With Himself it's like this a lot... and I don't mind being that I look to him as my Dom. However with Ballboy it was different. Sunday night, the whole time we were all in scene Himself was paying a lot of attention to me, to my reactions. He treated me with a certain degree of respect and kept asking if I was okay. He called me pet names several times, which helped keep me calm when otherwise I would have been close to hysterical. I'll be honest - it was the most emotionally taxing scene I have ever taken part of. When I said I needed a break for a few minutes he sat in the backseat and sat next to him, cuddled up to him. He asked how I was going and how I was handling the pain. I told him that I didn't think my left nipple could take much more. Ballboy shined his phonelight on it and there was a very visable break in the skin between my nipple and the areola, right next to where my piercing was (I'd taken my barbells out a couple of weeks ago because of sensitivity issues and being that we had been planning to use clamps didn't put them back in). Himself told Ballboy to be careful of that nipple and give it a break for a while, that he didn't want to cause too much more damage. Shortly after that it was decided that we would all go back to Himself's for a cup of tea and a rest before Ballboy and I headed home. It was getting very very late and Himself had to go to work within four hours so we decided to leave it there and we'd all get together again another night to actually fuck properly.

    When we got back to Himself's I started to drop... fast. I don't remember much of it, just sitting on the couch with a cuppa, zoning out constantly. Himself kept checking on me and stroking my hair, which he knows calms me instantly. After a while I still hadn't returned to normal so he told me to go and sit on his lap and cuddle up to him for a while, which I did happily. After about ten minutes I was that uncomfortable I had to return to the couch. I don't know exactly what happened between but the next thing I know Ballboy was standing in front of me, saying goodbye. He reached his hand down my shirt and squeezed my nipple quite hard and then left. That was the first time he'd touched me since we'd gotten back to Himself's. It hurt so much - the way he just touched me without any warning, the way he looked at me, as if even at that moment I was just an object. There wasn't a single hint of compassion or consideration in his eyes... he wasn't looking at me as a person - but as an object. In scene I don't mind this = but this was different. It was after a scene when I needed someone to hold me, to care about me. I was experiencing the drop from subspace and felt like shit about myself at that moment as it was. The way he touched me and spoke to me just felt like a knife in my stomach.

    Yesterday I showed Himself the marks on my ass - which is covered in dark welts and bruises from Sunday night (two days later) as well as the bite on my nipple. It's worse now - being that it's actually a flesh wound. I can't put my barbell back in at all - I CAN'T EVEN TOUCH IT WITHOUT ALMOST FAINTING! Himself and I had a laugh about the bruises on my ass, but he showed concern about my nipple. When I told Ballboy about it last night he just laughed, shrugged and said it served me right. He couldn't cared less that I may lose the piercing completely because of the way it will heal - if it heals properly. If it doesn't improve my Friday I'm going to have to go to the dr's... it might only be a half centimetre wound but its not just a little cut - its where the skin has broken complete and the flesh is almost exposed - it hurts more than getting the damned thing pierced in the first place. And he couldn't give a shit. Even last night he looked at me as if I were nothing... as if I were just an object, a toy to play with, as if I was no longer human.

    That hurts.
              Sketched Subspace Clustering        


    Sketched Subspace Clustering by Panagiotis A. Traganitis, Georgios B. Giannakis
    The immense amount of daily generated and communicated data presents unique challenges in their processing. Clustering, the grouping of data without the presence of ground-truth labels, is an important tool for drawing inferences from data. Subspace clustering (SC) is a relatively recent method that is able to successfully classify nonlinearly separable data in a multitude of settings. In spite of their high clustering accuracy, SC methods incur prohibitively high computational complexity when processing large volumes of high-dimensional data. Inspired by random sketching approaches for dimensionality reduction, the present paper introduces a randomized scheme for SC, termed Sketch-SC, tailored for large volumes of high-dimensional data. Sketch-SC accelerates the computationally heavy parts of state-of-the-art SC approaches by compressing the data matrix across both dimensions using random projections, thus enabling fast and accurate large-scale SC. Performance analysis as well as extensive numerical tests on real data corroborate the potential of Sketch-SC and its competitive performance relative to state-of-the-art scalable SC approaches.








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              Charlotte Sartre high        

    Release Year: 2017
    Video language: English

    Charlotte Sartre can forget about freedom for a while. Too sexy to let go of, this hot piece of ass is going to spend the day riding O.T.'s favorite device, the Tilt-a-Girl. A metal frame that can be locked into place, this device piece of work lets him flip his bitch upside down or send her spinning. Whenever he finds a position he likes he chocks the evil iron item and begins to work her over.
    Corporal punishment is probably the fastest way to a girl's heart, if she is a dedicated submissive like Charlotte. Gag her, beat her, and degrade her and you'll hardly have to work at all to get her off. Too much pleasure and pain overwhelm her senses. Charlotte is lost in subspace. Her eyes lose focus, most of her body goes numb. All she can feel is what O.T. wants her to. Bondage, pain, and a profound need to satisfy him

    Format: mp4
    Duration: 49:52
    Video: 1280x720, AVC (H.264), 7297kbps
    Audio: 109kbps





    File size: 2.6 GB






              Tame Algebras and Integral Quadratic Forms - Claus Michael Ringel        




    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Introduction

    1 Integral quadratic forms

    1.0 Two theorems of Ovsienko
    1.2 Roots of an integral quadratic form × and the partial derivatives DiX of X
    1.2 Dynkin graphs and Euclidean graphs
    1.3 Graphical forms
    1.4 Reduction to graphical forms
    1.5 The quadratic forms occurring in tables I and 2
    1.6 Maximal sincere positive roots of graphical forms with a unique exceptional index
    1.7 Completeness of table I
    1.8 Proof of theorem 2
    1.9 Completeness of table 2
    1.I0 The extended quadratic form of a finite partially ordered set

    2 Quivers, module categories, subspaee categories (notation, results, some proofs)

    2.1 Quivers and translation quivers
    2.2 Krull-Schmidt k-categories
    2.3 Exact categories
    2.4 Modules over (finite dimensional) algebras
    2.5 Subspace categories and one-point extensions of algebras
    2.6 Subspaee categories of directed vectorspace categories and representations of partially ordered sets
    3 Construction of stable separatin$ tubular families

    3.1 Separating tubular families
    3.2 Example: Kronecker modules
    3.3 Wing modules
    3.4 The main theorem
    3.5 The operation of ~A on Ko(A)
    3.6 Tame hereditary algebras
    3.7 Examples: The canonical algebras

    4 Tilting functors and tubular extensions (notation , results, some proofs)

    4.1 Tilting modules
    4.2 Tilted algebras
    4.3 Concealed algebras
    4.4 Branches
    4.5 Ray modules
    4.6 Tubes
    4.7 Tubular extensions
    4.8 Examples: Canonical tubular extensions of canonical algebras
    4.9 Domestic tubular extensions of tame concealed algebras
    4.10 The critical directed vectorspaee categories and their tubular extensions

    5 Tubular algebras

    5.1 Ko(A) for a tubular and cotubular algebra
    5.2 The structure of the module category of a tubular algebra
    5.3 Some further properties of stable tubular families
    5.4 Shrinking functors
    5.5 Tilting modules for tubular algebras
    5.6 Self-reproduction of tubular families
    5.7 The general case
    5.8 Tubular vectorspace categories

    6. Directed algebras

    6.1 The orbit quiver of a sincere directed algebra
    6.2 Sincere directing wing modules of Dynkin type
    6.3 The large sincere directed algebras
    6.4 Auslander-Reiten sequences with four middle terms
    6.5 The inductive construction of sincere directed algebras

    Appendix

    A.I The periodic additive functions on ZA, with A Euclidean

    A.2 The frames of the tame concealed algebras

    A.3 The tubular patterns

    Bibliography
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              Sub-Space        
    The psychological state of the submissive partner in a BDSM scene is sometimes described as subspace or sub space. The term is unrelated to the mathematical term subspace. Subspace is a metaphor for the state the submissive’s minds and bodies are in during a deeply involving play scene. Many types of BDSM play invoke strong […]
              2014 in Review        

    I wanted to make a post at least before the year ends, and I have to say that I'm sorry for not being as active as before. Hopefully this makes up for it since my last blog!

    ~

    Compared to last year, 2014 has been a strange mix of change, sadness, frustration, self-discovery, and contentment. I'll get the personal stuff out of the way first...

    I'm not sure if I've mentioned this much before, but at the start of the year, my family and I had moved out of the house that I had called home since I first came to Arizona almost eight years ago. It was all so sudden, and I had not initially agreed to it. Worse still, the house was in terrible condition when we had arrived, so the next couple of months was spent remodeling and cleaning up the place; seriously, I wonder how the previous family lived here before, it was absolutely disgusting! We had to live off take-out food because of a lack of appliances, which contributed to the rough first quarter of the year. I can confidently say that we've settled into this place, and it's honestly hard to believe that it's almost been a year since this whole mess started, which I'm also glad that it has now passed!

    It was also because of this move that I had to put off continuing college for a while, and I'll admit that this whole ordeal had made me upset; I haven't really prepared myself to go on this almost year-long job hunt, which has me feeling frustrated every time I don't get the call back after each interview. However, during this whole year, I've contemplated numerous times about the direction I should take for my career, and only recently did I find more clarity with what I really want to do.

    This year was also one where I've taken some emotional hits. On the eve of our move, my dog, Daisy, ran away, and for having her almost as long as we lived in our previous home, it was really heart breaking for us. Every now and then, I still think about whether she's all right or not, hopefully she is. The biggest loss for me was the departure of my childhood icon, Robin Williams. His amicable mien and his affinity for gaming were some aspects I truly admired about him, and to see him depart from our world so suddenly hits me really hard. There were also a couple of health scares that came to my family throughout the year (namely my niece, grandma, and brother), which makes me relieved that they're mostly all right now.

    Despite 2014 being an overall rough year for me as a person, I'm really grateful that I have a very supportive family and some equally awesome friends, both RL and here on this site! Even with these tough times, I always look for a better tomorrow, and hopefully, find something that I can achieve in 2015.

    On My IGN

    fireemblem2

    In the beginning of the year, I started a weekly blog series that was dedicated to talking about my favorite characters from my favorite video game series, Fire Emblem. It was my own spin of the top posts that were rampant when I first started and my own way of making consistent contributions to My IGN. At first, I had planned to stop around the twentieth post, but will all the positive feedback and growing interest, I kept going and before I knew it, it doubled the amount of posts that I had intended! I never really thought that my blog series would actually influence people to try out the series, which brings a smile to my face every time someone brings it up! Like I mentioned in the last blog, I can't stress how thankful I am for all the support I got! For me, it was a successful endeavor to bring attention to a cherished franchise.

    I'm also elated that, of all the Zelda games, Wind Waker was the first to be properly recognized as this year's My IGN Video Game Tourney Champion.

    This year I applied to become a comment moderator thanks to Sam's recommendation, and even though I felt I wasn't really suited for the job, I signed myself up anyways. What made this whole thing a worthwhile experience was on my first day of moderating when I met a bunch of fantastic users here, who were all jokingly trolling on a Nintendo Voice Chat page. Blade, Angel, Lien, Nick, Tim, John, and Dave, even though you guys made that day so utterly confusing for me, I'm really glad to see you guys make the jump to My IGN and become great friends with y'all! :)

    The most memorable time I've had on the site was during Team My IGN's Extra Life 2014 stream. A whole lot of ridiculousness and awesome happened during that week, between our praises of Lady Horza, Anthony's fantastic view of the sky in a blind run of Pokémon Snap, Ganondorf's complete dominance in a game show, and Geoff's wonderful Carlton dance show. Even with the scares I got from seeing Five Nights at Freddy's for the first time, it was a blast watching and chatting with everyone involved in the stream and promoting it in any way I could. My only *slight* regret is that my sleeping schedule is still wrecked since then. :P

    Gaming

    IMG_20141221_201959

    Of course, what kind of end of year blog would this be without mentioning what games I've played? Strangely, it's been a slow year when it came to games of this year for me, having mostly replayed a bunch of older titles, but my biggest success was snagging a brand new Wii U only a couple of weeks ago! Even though I've played nothing but Smash Bros, I am loving Nintendo's first HD console! Now for the games I got from this year:

    • Bravely Default
    • Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze (haven't played)
    • Tomodachi Life
    • Tales of Xillia 2 (haven't played)
    • Pokémon Omega Ruby
    • Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U

    WiiU_screenshot_TV_0144F

    It's honestly not a fair pick, considering that there's only one game here that I've invested heavy amounts of time into, and it would be Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. In many facets of the game, I can confidently say that Smash Bros U is the best entry of the series yet! The newcomers have many unique qualities that stand out among the veterans, and the roster is incredibly balanced without a doubt. On the multiplayer side, the plethora of various options both locally and online makes it the strongest yet. The only downside of the game is the weak, unbalanced single-player modes, and although I still found some form of enjoyment in them, it really doesn't compare to Melee's Adventure mode or Brawl's Subspace Emissary, which I now miss despite my issues with it. Even so, I'm still having a great time with the game even weeks later, and it's the only game I would consider my Game of the Year!

    One of these days, I'll post another blog chronicling my journey to reach the hallmark of the 140/140 challenges, which depends on how quickly I get these last bits done...

    Now for the other 2014 games...

    I was really enjoying Bravely Default for the first part of the game, but I've reached that point where the game feels like it's just became tedious to reach the end, which is a shame because I really adore the soundtrack and what the game does for the genre mechanically. Maybe one of these days I'll finish it, but it doesn't look likely.

    Thanks to Nintendo's ingenious marketing via their Directs, I was sold on the zany nature of Tomodachi Life. Having the Miis of my friends, family, fellow My IGNers, and fictional characters going through their lives on Cookie's Island was amusing to say the least; there was always something going on that leaves me reeling in laughter or surprise. I always check back every now and then to see what's going on within the game.

    I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't really put that much time at all into Omega Ruby, despite being a remake of my favorite Pokémon generation. I blame Smash Bros for taking over. :P From what I've played so far, it really is faithful to the original games (music included *glares at HGSS*) while giving the region a much needed makeover, which is enough for me. I've pretty much had my fill of Pokémon for the time being, and I'll probably wait until the seventh gen or fifth gen remakes to return to the series (unless the next game really improves upon XY).

    WiiU_screenshot_TV_0144F

    Here's another Smash U pic :P

    Well, I hope everyone had a better year than I did in 2014; here's to a better year in 2015!


              subspace        
    subspace

    subspace (33 jaar)

    Woonplaats: Eindhoven
    Land: Niederlande
    Geaardheid: bisexueel
    Kleur haar: bruin
    Kleur ogen: groen
    Lichaamsbouw: slank

    Hi ik ben Anna, en sinds kort gevangen door BDSM. Ik vind het heerlijk om jullie daar bij mee te laten kijken. Als je dat aandurft tenminste.

    Chat nu met subspace!

              Blog Post: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS - Smashing Good Fun on the Run        

    Ever since their announcements in 2011, nearly everyone and their grandmothers have been waiting for Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U.  It's become most gamers' primary reason for getting a Wii U later on, and people mobbed my local GameStop at midnight when the 3DS version launched.  I happened to be one of them.  In the last month or so, I've been playing the heck out of the first handheld Smash Bros. game ever, and I've been having a blast doing so.

    Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is one of those games that you would expect to not work as fluently while playing it.  Smash has always felt at home on a bigger TV screen with friends huddled around it trying to out-do one another.  That's why it makes me happy to say that Super Smash Bros. is still just as fun to play on a handheld.  The best part of all, is that it actually works.

    The familiar fight-'em-til-they-fly-off-the-screen formula is back, and it's just as good as it ever was.  This time around, there are a total of 49 characters to choose from once you've unlocked a number of them, ranging from the familiar crew such as Mario, Kirby and Pikachu, to newcomers like Mega Man, Pac-Man and Shulk.  Each character has their advantages and disadvantages, but the best part of all is that I have yet to play as a fighter I really don't care for.

    Returning in the handheld version is the familiar Classic mode, which has players fighting against an assortment of enemy fighters until they face Master Hand.  However, this time around Classic is mixed up a bit.  Instead of being given a set roster of fighters, there are branching paths to go down which can offer money and trophies to pick up.  Players gain bonuses for defeating enemies, and the process repeats until Master Hand (and/or Crazy Hand) is taken down.  All-Star mode also makes a return, and can be played right out of the box this time, though it's best experienced after unlocking all the characters.

    New to this version of Smash, however, is a new mode called Smash Run.  In this mode, players go through a unique dungeon-style level (sorta reminiscent of Brawl's Subspace Emissary's level design in ways) for five minutes, defeating small enemies and picking up bonuses along the way.  Once the time is up, your stat levels are compared to those of other fighters participating before you're pitted in one final battle against these enemies.  The battle can consist of a regular Smash Battle, or there can be special circumstances such as each player tarting with 300% damage, having to race to the goal, having to jump higher than other characters, and so on.  Smash Run is an awesome way to kill a few minutes on a bus ride, or before heading to a class.

    Trophies make a comeback yet again.  This time, there are 600 or so trophies to collect, which will keep you busy even long after unlocking every character and stage.  Trophies can be obtained the old-fashioned way (via Classic, All-Star or Smash Run), or they can be obtained with the Gold you've earned by purchasing new ones at the Trophy Shop.  There is also a new mode called Trophy Rush which lets players spend anywhere up to two-and-a-half minutes smashing away at boxes to build up a high enough chain to collect more trophies and gold.  Like Smash Run, this is a great time-killer.

    The one huge thing to mention about this installment (which expands into the Wii U version) is the option of customization.  One of the new characters are Mii fighters, which opens the door to customizing characters.  Mii characters can have one of three classes--fist-fighting, gunning and sword-fighting--all with their own unique abilities and gear.  You can unlock more options by playing more of the game, and even after unlocking just about everything you'll keep on finding more equipment to unlock.  You can also customize characters aside from Miis, and sometimes the new moves you can use are better than what they use by default.  It really is fun to toy around with the myriad of customization options.

    There's a whole lot of stuff I like with this installment, with only a couple of nitpicks.  First of all, like much of the community I wish there were some way to switch my movements to the d-pad.  The Circle Pad works, but I generally feel like fighting games such as this work better with a d-pad.  The fact there isn't an option to switch that around kinda bothers me, but it doesn't make the game any less worth playing.

    Another thing that sorta bothers me is the online mode.  Lag has improved since its launch, but I still find it hard to trust playing online.  The lag that is still present is simply annoying.  Definitely a step-up from the broken online modes in Smash Bros. Brawl, but I'm hoping the Wii U iteration has much better reliability than the 3DS version offers.

    However, those are two faded blotches on an otherwise amazing canvas.  Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, a month later, is still keeping me continuously entertained.  If you have a 3DS handheld that needs a workout, this is the game that'll give it more life for you.  And if you don't have a 3DS, but love Smash Bros., this could be the game that would convince you to get one.  It's just that good.


              Blog Post: Super Smash Bros 3DS Review: Smaller Smash        

    Upon the announcement of Super Smash Bros for 3DS, many were skeptical about the Nintendo fighter translation onto a portable console. Smash Bros is a social game that is most enjoyable with a group of friends sitting on a couch, trash talking left and right. Why would people want to hunch over a group of smaller screens? Super Smash Bros is indeed a smaller smash but the fast paced action and multiplayer fun still remains within. Super Smash Bros is a fun portable title that reignites my enthusiasm for the Wii U release.

    At the start of the game, players will notice many of the fighters are unlocked at the get go (all of the fighters announced). But aside from this, many traditions remain the same. You select your fighter, choose a stage, and then proceed to smash your foes off the screen until a victor is decided. The cast is a mix of returning characters and new additions. Nintendo has even left the door open for characters outside of their brand such as Pac-Man and Megaman. Initially, it seems overwhelming at the start, but there are many more surprises in store beneath the surface.

    You will clashing with several foes across several maps within the Nintendo universe. Many familiar maps such as Corneria and Brinstar make a return, but also new maps such as Gerudo Valley from Ocarina of Time as well as Prism Tower from Pokemon X/Y.  The stage selection is a great mix of the old and new, even featuring many to unlock through challenges. Each stage also has an Omega variant, which recreates the stage into a map similar to the Final Destination level from past games.

    Smash Bros for 3DS features all of the modes that you expect to see in a Smash game. Classic mode has been revamped, allowing players to choose a path of randomly selected fights with special rules. The difficulty can be altered before you start, determining the amount of loot you acquire. If you lose, however, you lose a little loot so be aware of your abilities before risking it all. All-Star mode is also unlocked from the get-go, giving players the chance to challenge every current Smash character available. Aside from the bigger modes, Smash Bros for 3DS also has multi-man battle, target blast, and ever welcome home-run contest. The event mode from previous games doesn’t return, however. This is a major disappointment especially since there is no alternative that allows players to compete using special rules.

    The 3DS also contains a new mode call Smash Run. Here, you have 5 minutes to run through a maze, similar of the Subspace, battling enemies and collecting power-ups that increase your stats. When the time is up, the competitors converge in a final battle against each other, deciding the victor. The mode is a welcome addition and a fun little diversion, but won’t keep many away from the action for long.

    A noticeable new feature allows players to customize combat abilities for each fighter. The Mii fighters are completely customizable, allowing players to select their different outfits and moves. You can also chose to different abilities for each Nintendo fighter as well. Different fireballs Mario launches and different arrows for Link are just scratching the surface. Choose and play until you find a play style you’re comfortable with. You can also customize the controls to your liking, but you can’t change the movement controls to the d-pad.

    In the end, everyone knows that Super Smash Bros boils down to its multiplayer. Online matches are split into two types: For Fun, which rules any stage, items, customizable characters, and no records are recorded; and For Glory, which records stats, eliminates items, and every match is played exclusively on Omega variant stages. You can also play private matches with your friends. These modes give everyone a place to play, but the online overall is one of the game’s weakest features. When it works, it runs smoothly, with the fast paced you’ve come to expect from the Smash series. Unfortunately, the online service tends to hiccup, slowing down the action to a crawl, turning it into painful slide show of loading screens before ultimately stalling. The local multiplayer, however, doesn’t face these issues. If you can manage to compete with friends nearby, the multiplayer will run as smooth as ever.

    To this day, Super Smash Bros Melee is one of my favorite games of all time. On my best day, I could play some of the best and give them a run for their money. Smash Bros for 3DS takes a bit of getting used to but after a few matches your previous experiences will soon follow. I won some matches, I lost a few, but I had a completely fun time the entire way through. Smash for 3DS is a nice diversion to keep players busy until the Wii U release, but it doesn’t beat Smash Bros played with a controller in hand; preferably a Gamecube controller. 


              [OOC] FanFest Keynote Overload...        
    So with FanFest now over, the wait begins for CCP to upload all the presentations to Youtube; however, some enterprising EVE-junkie decided to capture the livestream, so that it could then be uploaded even sooner. So here are the keynote presentations, from Day 1 to Day 3 (individual presentations will be linked here):







              ScoreVG 027 - Sandshrew        
    Edición “Claudio y Urovoros pasaron por el show a musicalizarnos con su piano, guitarra, batería y timbál”. Le dedicamos un buen de tiempo a la hora mariguanilla y luego dejamos un regalito para los que estan dormidos hacia el final. Hoy con el Score que casi es el más largo en existencia y de lejos el más largo del año… disfrut. Asistentes: Miguel "Asher" Sandoval, Mauricio/Ophelia Pastrana, Pablo "Yoshi" Pailles, Lorenzo "Renzo" Grajales, Artemio Urbina, Rolando "Rolman" Cedillo. LISTA DE ROLAS: 00:05:46 Back to the Future: The Game (2010) - Power Of Love - Huey Lewis and the News Greatest. Telltale Games. 00:12:19 Dustforce (2012) - Pillars of Pepper. Hitbox Team. 00:18:45 The King of Fighters ’95 (1995) - Stormysaxophone. SNK. 00:29:17 Wipeout 3 Special Edition (2000) - Icaras (Sasha). Psygnosis. 00:39:46 Super Turrican (1992) - Stage 1-3 - Chris Hülsbeck. Imagineer. 00:47:41 Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (2011) - Superbrothers - The Prettiest Weed. Capybara Games, Superbrothers. 00:53:52 The World Is Saved - Danny Wiessner - The World Is Saved. 01:10:51 Final Fantasy Tactics (1997) - Bland Logo - Hitoshi Sakimoto, Masaharu Iwata. Square Co. Ltd. / Final Fantasy Tactics - Prologue Movie - Hitoshi Sakimoto, Masaharu Iwata. Square Co. Ltd. 01:21:06 Contra III: The Alien Wars (1992) - Ground Zero. Konami. 01:29:19 Braid (2008) - Long Past Gone - Jami Sieber - Second Sight. Number None, Inc. 01:42:34 Last Window: The Secret Of Cape West (2010) - Waking Dream - Satoshi Okubo. Cing. 01:52:09 Bit.Trip Runner (2010) - Zone 1 (Impetus). Gaijin Games. 01:59:14 Final Fantasy IV (1991) - Troia - Nobuo Uematsu. Square. 02:07:30 Dungeons & Dragons Shadow over Mystara (1996) - Stage 1. Capcom. 02:20:46 Ghost Trick Phantom Detective (2010) - Awakening. Capcom. 02:27:05 Tekken 5 & DARK RESURRECTION (2004) - Formless Like Water. Namco. 02:32:11 Heavy Rain (2010) - Before the Storm - Heavy Rain Soundtrack. Quantic Dream. 02:39:49 Gradius (1985) - Hope & Joy Peace & Love (Gradius) - Konami Kukeiha Club. Konami, Cyclone Studios, SPS, Upstart Games. 02:48:13 Mass Effect 2 (2010) - Tali - Mass Effect 2 OST. BioWare. 02:57:46 Metroid Other M (2010) - Alternate title screen. Team Ninja, Nintendo, D-Rockets. 03:06:15 Shadows of the Damned (2011) - Fathomer - Shadows of the Damned Soundtrack. Grasshopper Manufacture. 03:12:29 Ivy the kiwi? (2009) - Sky Of The Phoenix. Prope. 03:18:39 Sonic Generations (2011) - Collection Room (Door Into Summer). Sonic Team. 03:28:23 Parasite Eve (1998) - Consensus - Yoko Shimomura. Square USA, inc. 03:34:10 Pixeljunk Monsters (2008) - Fantasia - Otograph - Dive into PixelJunk Monsters. Q-Games, Double Eleven. 03:39:55 Fantavision (2000) - SUBSPACE - Soichi Terada - Fantavision Original Soundtrack. Sony Computer Entertaiment Japan. 03:48:22 (Castlevania III) Akumajo Densetsu (Family Computer) (1989) - Beginning - Motoi Sakuraba - Akumajo Dracula. Konami. 03:55:32 FEZ (2012) - One. Polytron Corporation. 04:05:17 Art Style: light trax (2010) - Computer (Indie Game Music HD). Skip, Ltd. 04:12:42 Ridge Racer 3D (2011) - Dr. Mad’s Gone - SamplingMasters MEGA. Namco Bandai Games, Xeen.
              Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2014        

    Here our my top ten games of 2014. I'm sure this list is going to drastically change with more game announcements but here it is for now. Games not on this list are games coming out tomorrow (Goat Simulator, I'm looking at you) rereleases (because if they were Guacamelee, Gone Home, and Mercenary Kings would be on this list) and games not confirmed for 2014 (Please let Star Wars Battlefront come out this year!) . Also, if I published this a few weeks ago inFAMOUS Second Son would be on the top. Great game by the way (currently have the platinum!)

    10. Mario Golf: World Tour- 3DS

    I love the Hotshots Golf games, but to be honest I haven't played a Mario Golf game. I was going to pick up Toadstool Tour this weekend but decided to get Metroid Prime instead. But from what I've seen and heard alone, I cannot wait for this title. Seeing the different courses, Cheep-Cheep Lagoon, are you kidding me, this may be the first awesome underwater level (unless you count Bioshock, Hmm....). I would love to be putting with my favorite dinosaur Yoshi, and if this is just like Hot Shots just reskinned for Mario I'm fine with that.

    Mario is secretly Andrew Ryan. He is testing out his innovative under water golf course right now, wait utill you unlock Big Daddy, he has a great power shot!

    Mario is secretly Andrew Ryan. He is testing out his innovative under water golf course right now, wait until you unlock Big Daddy, he has a great power shot!

    9. Destiny- PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

    To be honest I don't know much about Destiny myself, but from what I've seen this looks like Halo plus super powers, mix in a few MMO elements and then make it bigger and you have Destiny. And personally, I'm fine with that. I greatly enjoyed the Halo series and to see Bungie mix up what they've previously done, it makes me excited. I am definitely going to read more about this title.maxresdefault

    8. Assassin's Creed Unity- PS4, Xbox One, PC

    Assassin's Creed Unity seems like it is going to fix what I didn't like about AC4. Quite frankly I prefer AC3 over AC4 just because of the setting and, the sailing. I greatly disliked the sailing in AC4 and if ACUnity gets rid of that and makes it next gen but also brings the series back to the original games and the different towns I'm in but makes it bigger and fitted for next gen I'm all for it! The French Revolution is also an interesting time period to explore, and I think it could be exciting if done well. The only reason it isn't higher on my list is because of how little we currently know.

    Guillotine!

    Guillotine!

    7. Watch Dogs- PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, PC

    Out of all the games on this list this one definitely seems to be the most next-gen, my only worry is that they won't be able to pull off what they are saying. If they can accomplish the open world hacker experience they are promising though, this game could be very good and could definitely be a game of the year contender. Being able to set up road blocks or shut off lights, or even follow the story of one single NPC sounds very inventive and if they can pull it off well and make it not feel gimmicky, then this game is going to be very important to the gaming industry as an innovative game. This game is definitely one to keep an eye on.

    Please Work!

    Please Work!

    6. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor- PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 PC-

    This game truly seems epic. The open world Mordor and the expansive nemesis system seems like it could be awesome, (along with Watch Dogs) if done correctly. I love the customization and that the game is yours based off of your gameplay decisions really excites me. And from the gameplay trailer the game does look a lot like Lord of the Rings Assassin's Creed, I've heard plenty of criticism because of this, but if the game's nemesis system doesn't work and it does turn out just to be LotR: AC I am totally fine with that.

    Lord of the Rings: Assassin's Creed, secretly what AC Comet is.

    Lord of the Rings: Assassin's Creed, secretly what AC Comet is.

    5. Shovel Knight- Wii U, 3DS, PC

    I am a huge fan of retro inspired platformers, such as Super Meat Boy, Mega Man 9 and 10, Guacamelee (although that is more Metroidvania) and I am greatly anticipating Mercenary Kings tomorrow. To see Shovel Knight and the Ducktales inspired pogo stick shovel and the character themed levels in the game, this definitely seems like an ode to retro Capcom platformers. The beautiful pixel art also excites me. And I'm actually kind of happy to have something to play on my Wii U, even though (3 of my top 5 are Nintendo exclusives, although Shovel Knight is coming to PC too). Even though the delay does make me a little disappointed I know it was for a good cause, and I'd rather have a good game late then a broken one early. Shovel Knight definitely looks to please fans of old school esque platformers.

    Mega Duck Game.... yeah I don't know where I was going with that either

    Mega Duck Game.... yeah I don't know where I was going with that either

    4. Evolve- PS4, Xbox One, PC

    Turtle Rock innovated modern cooperative multiplayer with Left 4 Dead and Evolve looks like another spin on cooperative multiplayer. The ability to play as the Goliath and the whole evolving system seems looks like it could definitely be an interesting game. And after looking at the classes and seeing all the outrageous powers some of the guns have, especially the medic and the heal gun, the special target maker, and the special sniper (I have no clue what the guns are called) I cannot wait to play this with my brothers and friends.

    Really excited to play as the medic!

    Really excited to play as the medic!

    3. Mario Kart 8- Wii U

    I am incredibly excited for Mario Kart 8. The Mario Kart series is one of the few games that I can play with my entire family and thoroughly enjoy. From fighting with my brother yelling that he cheated, or beating my Dad at his own game (the original SNES one) I have had many great memories with the series. With the new iteration I am very excited with the updated HD graphics and "zero-gravity" elements, and am interested to see how it will play in with rest of the game. I'm also excited to see how online play will work, because with the Wii version, rarely did it work for me, but on the 3DS I had almost no problems what soever. If it does work, I know what I'll be doing almost all summer!ss1

    2. Batman Arkham Knight- PS4, Xbox One, PC

    I specifically remember my eight year old self watching my Dad play the Poison Ivy boss battle of Arkham Asylum on his PS3 and asking (and being so disappointed that it wasn't available on my PS2) therefore prompting myself to ask for a "special, next-gen" Xbox 360 (don't ask why I made the choice of asking for a 360, now I have since switched to the Playstation community a year or two ago) along with Arkham Asylum and Madden 10. I fell in love with the game and then when Arkham City game came out a few days before my birthday, I asked for that and also fell in love with it. Fast forward to last year when Arkham Origins came out, on my birthday and release date of the game (October 25) I  eagerly bought it with my birthday money and fell into the small majority of people who had no problems with the game and fell in love with it. Now with the announcement that the game is next gen only, has the Batmobile, is way bigger than previous games, and is being developed by Rocksteady, I cannot wait for the finale to the Arkham series (as we know).

    I am a huge Harley Quinn fan and can't wait to see her role in Arkham Knight

    I am a huge Harley Quinn fan and can't wait to see her role in Arkham Knight

    1. Super Smash Bros. Wii U/ 3DS- If you are actually reading this, read the games title I mean seriously.

    My most anticipated game of 2014 has to go to Smash Bros. Brawl is one of my favorite games of all time not only because of how good it is but because of the memories I have with the game. Staying up all night remembering all of the combos the night before my best friend comes over and then still getting creamed when he doesn't even own the game (he is naturally good with Lucas). Unlocking all of the characters (the long way, Toon Link 400 matches ect. I greatly dislike Subspace Emissary), doing tournaments all day long, and doing one on one, no items, Final Destination matches are some of my favorite memories in a game. I'm greatly excited for the next game and all of the new characters (Mega Man will probably become my main now, and I'll also have to master the Wii Fit Trainer just so I can beat everyone with him/her). I'm also super excited for the HD graphics that come along with the Wii U version and being able to play it on the go on my 3DS. I just can't wait for this game and hope that it lives up to my expectations.

    I'm really excited to see his move set!

    I'm really excited to see his move set!

    Honorable Mentions-

    -The Order: 1886                                                                                                                                                                                   -Costume Quest 2                                                                                                                                                                                      -Fifa World Cup 2014 (The World Cup One's are the Only One's I play)                                                                                                         -And No Elder Scrolls Online is not on this list nor is it an Honorable Mention, it may be in the top 18 or so though

    Well, those are my top ten most anticipated games of 2014. If you didn't see one on the list that is on yours or just how "great a taste in games I have" be sure to tell me in the comments below. Oh, and be sure to check out my Twitch Stream Spotlight tomorrow, until next time BEYOND!


              Cougar gets owned w/hard cock Intense inverted deep throat brutal fucking Amazing rope bondage        

    Release Year: 2013
    Studio: Sexually Broken
    Cast: Beretta James
    Genres: intersec interactive bars extreme device wood inescapable brutal bondage femsub femdom male domination maledom sd pd humillation submission play rope gear leather kinky pain rough hardcore sex pornstars deepthroat blowjobs matt williams devestating orgasms

    Super hot Beretta James is back on the pages of the fastest growing Bondage and rough sex site in the world, Sexually Broken. Beretta at age 35 is incredibly hot and has a body to die for.

    Beretta finds herself tightly bound in a Japanese Box tie, on her back with a hard cock fucking the back of her throat. It's go time and we are bringing the cock. No warm up, just a good old fashion cock attack on a helpless Cougar who loves the rough sex.

    Beretta is tossed around like a rag doll. Fucked in every position, roughly manhandled and skull fucked into subspace. It's a relentless attack from brutal deep throating, to cervix pounding fucking. Beretta takes it all. In the end we hang her upside down and vibrate her to several earth-shaking, screaming orgasms.

    Beretta is left hanging, dazed and cum *, completely helpless, totally used, abused, and hung away wet...

    Cougar gets owned w/hard cock. Intense inverted deep throat, brutal fucking! Amazing rope bondage Beretta James Matt Williams - SexuallyBroken HD

    Format: mp4
    Duration: 22:46
    Video: 1280x720, AVC (H.264), 7345kbps
    Audio: 107kbps





    File size: 1.3 GB




              Strictrestraint A Stroll Through Angel Pt II        


    Angel is deep in subspace and the screams and moans flow from her like a broken faucet...I don't mind...let the girl have her beautiful moments...From time to time, it does annoy me, but it inspires me to break her subspace with overload as I ramp up the instensity...At one point, it seemed Angel couldn't stop cumming...with her ass hole plugged, pussy stuffed and the magic wand working her clit, it became way too easy...

    Format: Windows Media
    Duration: 10:36
    Video: 790x444, Windows Media Video 9, 973kbps
    Audio: 62kbps





    File size: 81.1 MB




              Sexy blond, tightly bound, deep throated, made to squirt and fucked hard. Rough bondage sex!        

    Release Year: 2013
    Studio: Sexually Broken
    Cast: Alice Frost
    Genres: intersec interactive bars extreme device wood inescapable brutal bondage femsub femdom male domination maledom sd pd humillation submission play rope gear leather kinky pain rough hardcore sex pornstars deepthroat blowjobs matt williams devestating orgasms

    Alice Frost is back, this super cute girl next door, looks all innocent, but this girl has skills no "good" girl should have. This is our "Meet and Greet" with Alice, where we test the girl to see what she can handle, it sets the tone for the other 2 scenes. All the bondage is done on camera, this type of shoot is the most authentic BaRS scene you can witness. Nothing faked all done before your eyes.

    The pre-interview is over and we toss Alice a ball gag and instruct her to put it on tightly. We command her to move the chair back, then we tightly bind her elbows together. A slight moan leaves her lips as we tighten up the rope, this is a good sign.

    We cut her shirt and pull it down to expose her big natural tits. We make her watch while we tightly bind each soft breast into a hard bulbous balloon of fun. Next is the big shocker, without warning we knock Alice to her back, Insert 3 fingers into her wet pussy and with in seconds she is a squirting, cumming, screaming mess, that fast. From 0 to slut in about 4 seconds.

    Now we have Alice's attention, now we can make her a squirting, screaming whore at any moment we like. She understands how easily she can be controlled and that unnerves her a bit, but she doesn't have time to dwell on that fact, you see a hard cock is now all the way down her throat.

    What happens next is a whirlwind of rough domination, hard cock and cumming. We take it to our bound little blond slut. We fuck that pretty face deep and with reckless abandon. In all my years of doing this, believe me when I tell you Alice Frost can take a brutal face fucking and still come out smiling. We really take it to her tight little throat.

    After ravaging her face with cock we bend her over, ass up in the air, and impale her wet pussy with spit covered cock. We fuck her hard and it takes just seconds for her to cum again. Such a good little bondage whore. From fucking her pussy to mouth we go back and forth leaving her dazed and in deep subspace, she is overwhelmed with cock.

    We tighten up the bondage into a brutal strappado and skull fuck Alice into next week. Her eyes are glassed over, she is cock *. We leave her, commanding her to leave her mouth hole open, just in case someone else wants a place to to put their cock...

    Sexy blond, tightly bound, deep throated, made to squirt and fucked hard. Rough bondage sex! Alice Frost Matt Williams - SexuallyBroken HD

    Format: mp4
    Duration: 24:19
    Video: 1280x720, AVC (H.264), 5636kbps
    Audio: 107kbps





    File size: 1.0 GB




              Barbie Doll MILF and XRCO Deep Throat Award Winner endures rough sex throat fucking and orgasms        

    Release Year: 2013
    Studio: Sexually Broken
    Cast: Angelina Valentine
    Genres: intersec interactive bars extreme device wood inescapable brutal bondage femsub femdom male domination maledom sd pd humillation submission play rope gear leather kinky pain rough hardcore sex pornstars deepthroat blowjobs matt williams devestating orgasms

    Smoking hot Angelina Valentine is back on the fastest growing BaRRs site (Bondage and Rough Sex) in the world. With huge tits, and amazing phat ass and blow job lips, this girl is built for one thing and one thing only. Lets see if she can walk the walk.

    Angelina is bound sitting spread on the edge of the bed, held in place by a neck rope. Breathing is easy, the rope merely holds her, while she sits there is no danger. However, if she chooses Angelina can pull against the rope to create stress. Every girl does pull, as they start to cum, t's in their DNA.

    We begin by vibrating this bombshell's hot shaved pussy. She is helpless to prevent the orgasms that overcome her body. When Angelina cums, she cums hard. Her body tries to twist away, her clit is too sensitive but we hold tight and she cums again.

    After her 3rd orgasm we quickly untie her legs, bend her back over the side of the bed and skull fuck her pretty face deep and hard. Her big, blow job lips wrap around the cock as we slide it deep down her throat, over and over. You can actually see the cock expand her throat as it plunges up and down. We can hold it all the way deep down her throat and she endures.

    We skull fuck her into subspace, then flip her over on to her back and bury the hard cock ballls deep into her wet cunt. We fuck her deep and hard, bouncing those huge tits in the process. We cycle back and forth from brutal face fucking to pussy fucking. Angelina is being used and used hard, and she knows it. Back and forth we use each hole, she is a drooling slobbering cum * whore being fucked into the ground.

    In the end Angelina is dazed. We set her up on the bed, spread her legs, and make her cum with a vibrator over and over. Angelina is gone, cum * overload. Her eyes stare out into empty space, her body quivers with aftershocks. We leave her on the bed, tightly bound and helpless, wondering when we will return to use her again....

    Barbie Doll MILF and XRCO Deep Throat Award Winner endures rough sex, throat fucking and orgasms! Angelina Valentine Matt Williams - SexuallyBroken HD

    Format: mp4
    Duration: 19:49
    Video: 1280x720, AVC (H.264), 7283kbps
    Audio: 108kbps





    File size: 1.1 GB




              Episode 12: Snake? Online! BRAWWWLLL!!!        

    Subspace Enemies, Solid Snake, and Online!

    The post Episode 12: Snake? Online! BRAWWWLLL!!! appeared first on Show Me Your News.


              Episode 8: The Golden Week        

    Diddy Kong, Music Quality, and the Subspace Army!

    The post Episode 8: The Golden Week appeared first on Show Me Your News.


              Episode 5: Subspace Emissary        

    Ike, Castle Siege, and the Subspace Emissary!

    The post Episode 5: Subspace Emissary appeared first on Show Me Your News.


              Subspace        

    "Subspace"

    Acrylics on Canvas/24 x 18 inches


                      

    "Subspace II"

    Acrylics on Canvas/24 x 18 inches


              Summary: New Features and Changes to Topliners!        

    Hello Topliners!

     

    I have some very exciting news to share with you! On August 1st 2016, Oracle Technology Network will be upgraded to deliver a modern community experience across all communities including Topliners. The enhancements are focused on ensuring customers can have better access to content that matters to them and are able to connect to people who inspire them. We will be hosting a briefing session in a couple of weeks to walk through the details with you. Let us know if you have any questions and take a look at the info below. Modern Marketing is often stressful, so we created this fun exercise to help break up your day and to help you keep on top of the new features!

     

    Best,

    Adrian Chang-Oracle

    #Jive8CantWait

     

     

    Summary:

    1. The editor toolbar is now sticky

    the editor toolbar now "sticks" when you create long, multi-paragraph content!


    2. Your View

    You now have a personal homepage that you can customize using Tiles. To access Your View, click on your Inbox and then "Your View" in the left column.

    yourview.png


    3. Spotlight Search

    When you search, you will find an improved presentation of search results and improved search logic; the system now automatically searches by keywords and wildcards

    SpotLightSearch.jpg

    Note that you can now control which communities are included in your searches! You can limit your search to just Topliners! This is new behavior!


    4. Ability to search within a space or subspace in the Search Pane

    You can now search not just a space, but its subspaces as well -- either its child spaces (one level down) or all subspaces (all the way down the hierarchy). This request came from the community: Restrict search results by more than 1 forum

    newsearch.png


    5. Points and reputation information now appears near global header

    You can click on your points to see your current level, and points to get to the next level

    Points and Reputation.jpg


    6. Follow a Tag

    You now have the ability to follow people, places and tags in any custom stream. To access this feature, go to News and create or edit a custom stream. You can get emails when posts with new tags have been created!

    NewStream.jpg


    7. Helpful button has moved

    You can now mark an answer as Helpful with one click -- the Helpful button has moved to the bottom right of all question responses.

    markhelpful.png


    8. Your Content and Your Places

    Direct links to Your Content and Your Places have been added in the drop-down under your display name. Your Content shows you all the content you've created; Your Places shows you a view of all the Places you follow.

    Content and Places.jpg


    9. Breadcrumb has changed

    The text breadcrumb has been replaced with a drop-down breadcrumb

    Breadcrumb.jpg


    10. Activity is now News

    The Activity page has been replaced with a News page. This is where you can create and manage custom streams and start following tags. More relevant news and trending content will appear over time on this page!

    News.jpg


    11. I have the same question

    You can indicate that you have the same question and follow the thread and the responses. You can also un-mark this with "I don't have this question anymore"

    I have the same question.jpg


              Armin Shimerman : Star Treks Leonard Nimoy Has Emergency Abdominal Surgery - Subspace Communique        
    Armin Shimerman : Star Treks Leonard Nimoy Has Emergency Abdominal Surgery - Subspace Communique
              Thabass's ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation - Best of Both Worlds ~ Experience Blog        

    You know what's really cool? Getting a bunch of people who love Star Trek together to watch some good old The Next Generation. You know what's even cooler? Getting those people to watch it on the big screen in a movie theater. Guess who got to do that? Me! Thanks to IGN, I was able to go watch Star Trek: The Next Generation in all of it's glory up on the big screen. So, what was it like to see Picard, Riker and the rest of gang up on the big screen? Check it out!

    Making of Best of Both Worlds

    The theater filled up with anxious Star Trek fans that were eagerly anticipating the event. We were then treated to a trailer for the upcoming show we were about to see. The crowd, amazed at what they saw, cheered as the trailer came on. The trailer included the behind-the-scenes look at how Best of Both World's was shot and then concluded with the episode's trailer along with some bloopers. We were then taken into the behind the scenes feature. Many of the show's cast talked about what it was like to film and act the scenes. Some of the stars included: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Seth MacFarlane (who worked as a side writer, uncredited it seems), Elizabeth Dennehy and a few others.

    What took my breathe away however, were some of the cast and crew who showed off how they filmed some of the cool scenes in the episode, especially when the Borg mothership exploded. The amazing thing they did in the look was depict frame by frame and how they filtered all of the CG and other special effects that made the episode come alive. The crew also went over initial passed with different camera filters from a matte filter, a computer generated filter and then the final filter. Once you see all of these filters come together, it's a real special tweet.

    Going back to the cast. There were some really funny moments with Dennehy and Frakes. Especially since both of their characters were the main focus for this particular episode. Dennehy talks about this role being her first time doing a role on television with this big of an audience. Dennehy — a classically trained actress said she was nervous and was uncomfortable on the first day of her rehearsals. She goes to state that she would lose focus and would be overwhelmed with the fast pace nature of how the show was filmed and rehearsed. If you watch the episode, it would see like she was confident and knew what she was doing. Dennehy goes on to say that it did get better and better as time went on.

    The Borg parts were interesting. The crew said that they were having a love affair with a someone with a bald head to fill the role of one of the Borg. Which was why Stewart was perfect for the part. Using him as the leader of the Borg, also known as Loctous of Borg, was an genius move. This would give the Borg all of the knowledge of the Federation, which made them deadly.

    It was a really cool experience to see how the episode was made and really cool from a techie's side of things. Now we move on to the two-part epside: The Best of Both Worlds

    The Best of Both Worlds

    The Best of Both Worlds was a turning point for Star Trek: The Next Generation. It solidified that it had an amazing array of characters who could do any possible role when they needed them too. It marks the first time Picard was not able to captain his own ship and was presumed dead. It also marked the first time that Riker had captain status on the Enterprise. I'm sure a lot of you have seen this episode by now, so I won't bore you with the details of the episode. Instead, I'm going to give you a little bit of my thoughts on the episode.

    Being someone who hasn't seen Star Trek: The Next Generation since his childhood, I was very fuzzy coming into the theaters to watch it. I remember Riker being a badass and Picard being the man you looked up too. In this episode, it was like my childhood appeared just in front of me again. I was like a kid in a candy store. I was a huge fan or Riker and didn't really remember the attachment of himself to Shelby, but you could see the animosity they had for each other in the beginning, and what I thought, was going to be a bigger future together for both of them. Turns out that Riker married the beautiful Dr. Troi, but that's a different story for another time. I really liked the chemistry that Riker and Shelby brought to the episode. Each one trying to out do one another was really cool. When Riker became Captain, their animosity stopped and they were on the same team. This is when their relationship matured, which was really cool to see.

    Seeing Picard as the bad guy was a really cool experience too. The range Stewart has is quite amazing. As Loctous of Borg, Stewart was used by the Borg as their guide to the Federation. The main objective was toassimilate the people of Earth. I always find it funny that the Borg wanted a peaceful existence of people, but went in a more violent way to do so. Maybe it was because the Federation put a fight against them. But, they're look was certainly cool, I probably would have went with the Borg...maybe. Picard as the now stoic member of the Borg was their figurehead. Their means to an end to talk with the Federation for the unconditional surrender. In the end — of course the victors would be the Federation, because they are the good guys after all.

    This is the episode that will most likely make me watch Star Trek: The Next Generation again. Like I said, I was a big fan of it when I was a kid (we're talking 10 - 12 years old here) and I'm still in love with Marina Sirtis, the lovely woman who played Deanna Troi. Of course, the real star of the show here is Patrick Stewart, who will always been the head of class in terms of acting and general!

    After the airing of the episode, we were treated to some bloopers and a trailer for the the next season of Star Trek: The Next Generation that will be out on Blu-Ray and DVD. The next season will be season number 4. All in all, I thought it was a really cool event. I wish there was a little bit more too it. Just some basic slides that told you what was going to happen. It didn't detract from the event, but a little fanfare would have been cool. But, hey, you get to see The Next Generation in theaters, what more could you want?

    Thabass is an aspiring community manager for online video game communities. He current serves as an IGN All-Star! Thabass is also well-versed in the video game business with over three years of being in and following the industry. He can be reached on Twitter @Thabass or can be followed on My IGN.


              RE[7]: so ?        
    As this is already getting to far off-topic, I would suggest we discuss this further in private if necessary. It may very well be, that I have worded my argument too sloppy, and it is definitly possible, that your knowledge in this field surpasses mine, so feel free to correct me, as I'm very eager to learn if I have made any stupid mistakes. Say I limit my set of objects to a curved subspace of lets say the R^N with an euclidean metric (prime example: a closed spherical surface R^(N-1) ), then (again to my knowledge) the straight line definition from the R^(N) is no longer the shortest path within the curved space that connects two points. It is in this example the shorter of the two pieces of the grand circle, that goes through both points. I have approached this whole thing from the variational calculus point of view, where one tries to minimise the functional of the action on the curved manifolds that result from the (holonomic) constraints, that one has to obey that I'm used to from classical mechanics. Feel free to correct me here if I have made any obvious mistakes, otherwise I would ask you to contact me at mfschwin [at] gmx [dot] at to discuss this further. Thanks in advance! RegardsEdited 2007-04-08 09:14
              Book Haul - Bennett, Wells, King        

    (Sorry for the crappy photo)

    Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Forgotten History [paper, Kindle] by Chistopher L. Bennett - Never heard of DTI before, looks like a crime procedural for Star Trek.

    The agents of the Department of Temporal Investigations are assigned to look into an anomaly that has appeared deep in Federation territory. It’s difficult to get clear readings, but a mysterious inactive vessel lies at the heart of the anomaly, one outfitted with some sort of temporal drive disrupting space-time and subspace. To the agents’ shock, the ship bears a striking resemblance to a Constitution-class starship, and its warp signature matches that of the original Federation starship Enterprise NCC-1701—the ship of James T. Kirk, that infamous bogeyman of temporal investigators, whose record of violations is held up by DTI agents as a cautionary tale for Starfleet recklessness toward history. But the vessel’s hull markings identify it as Timeship Two, belonging to none other than the DTI itself. At first, Agents Lucsly and Dulmur assume the ship is from some other timeline . . . but its quantum signature confirms that it came from their own past, despite the fact that the DTI never possessed such a timeship. While the anomaly is closely monitored, Lucsly and Dulmur must search for answers in the history of Kirk’s Enterprise and its many encounters with time travel—a series of events with direct ties to the origins of the DTI itself. . .


    The Hollow City [paper, Kindle] by Dan Wells - This will be released July 3, 2012 and if it weren't for The Wind Through the Keyhole, I'd be all over it. Finals and looming bar study aren't helping either.

    Dan Wells won instant acclaim for his three-novel debut about the adventures of John Wayne Cleaver, a heroic young man who is a potential serial killer. All who read the trilogy were struck by the distinctive and believable voice Wells created for John.
    Now he returns with another innovative thriller told in a very different, equally unique voice. A voice that comes to us from the  realm of madness.
    Michael Shipman is paranoid schizophrenic; he suffers from hallucinations, delusions, and complex fantasies of persecution and horror. That’s bad enough. But what can he do if some of the monsters he sees turn out to be real?
    Who can you trust if you can't even trust yourself? The Hollow City is a mesmerizing journey into madness, where the greatest enemy of all is your own mind.


    The Wind Through the Keyhole (Dark Tower 4.5) [paper, Kindle] by Stephen King - I decided to read this before the rest of the series so I've been waiting eagerly for the last month since I finished Wizard and Glass.

    Dear Constant Readers,

    At some point, while worrying over the copyedited manuscript of the next book (11/22/63, out November 8th), I started thinking—and dreaming—about Mid-World again. The major story of Roland and his ka-tet was told, but I realized there was at least one hole in the narrative progression: what happened to Roland, Jake, Eddie, Susannah, and Oy between the time they leave the Emerald City (the end of Wizard and Glass) and the time we pick them up again, on the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis (the beginning of Wolves of the Calla)?

    There was a storm, I decided. One of sudden and vicious intensity. The kind to which billy-bumblers like Oy are particularly susceptible. Little by little, a story began to take shape. I saw a line of riders, one of them Roland’s old mate, Jamie DeCurry, emerging from clouds of alkali dust thrown by a high wind. I saw a severed head on a fencepost. I saw a swamp full of dangers and terrors. I saw just enough to want to see the rest. Long story short, I went back to visit an-tet with my friends for awhile. The result is a novel called The Wind Through the Keyhole. It’s finished, and I expect it will be published next year.

    It won’t tell you much that’s new about Roland and his friends, but there’s a lot none of us knew about Mid-World, both past and present. The novel is shorter than DT 2-7, but quite a bit longer than the first volume—call this one DT-4.5. It’s not going to change anybody’s life, but God, I had fun.

    -- Steve King

              Star Ocean 5 Integrity and Faithlessness        
     


                                                  STAR OCEAN TIME LINE 

    จากก้าวเล็กๆของมนุษย์ชาติสู่มหากาพย์การเดินทางที่ยิ่งใหญ่ใจกลางมหาสมุทรแห่งดวงดาว  

    ปี ค.ศ 1957 สหภาพโซเวียตปล่อย Sputnik ที่ 1 ซึ่งเป็นดาวเทียมดวงแรกของโลกขึ้นสู่อวกาศ

    ปี ค.ศ 1961 สหภาพโซเวียตส่งยาน วอสต็อก1 ขึ้นไปโคจรรอบโลกพร้อมกับ ยูริ กาการิน ในฐานะนักบินอวกาศคนแรกของโลกที่ได้เดินทางออกไปนอกโลก

    ปี ค.ศ 1969 ยาน Apollo 11ของสหรัฐอเมริกาขึ้นสู่วงโคจร ก่อนจะส่งนีล อาร์มสตรอง มนุษย์คนแรกที่ได้ขึ้นไปเหยียบบนดวงจันทร์

    ปี ค.ศ.  2064  à¹€à¸à¸´à¸”สงครามโลกครั้งที่ 3 ผลของสงครามทำให้โลกเต็มไปด้วยกัมมันตรังสีภายในเวลาเพียง 2 อาทิตย์ ทำให้มีการเริ่มแผนการอพยพทิ้งถิ่นฐานไปจากโลกด้วยการทดลอง Warp drive ไปยังอวกาศเพื่อหาแหล่งที่อยู่อาศัยแห่งใหม่

    ปี ค.ศ. 2087 Warp drive หรือระบบการเดินทางข้ามดวงดาวถูกพัฒนาขึ้นจนสำเร็จโดย Dr.โทริรัส บาคไทน์ (トリラス・バークタイン)

    ปี ค.ศ. 2090 ได้มีการร่างกฎหมายใหม่ขึ้นมา โดยให้นับศักราชใหม่เพื่อเป็นการเริ่มต้นยุคศักราชแห่งห้วงจักรวาล ที่เป็นเสมือนเริ่มหน้าประวัติศาสตร์ครั้งใหม่ในการเริ่มต้นใหม่ของมวลมนุษย์ชาติสู่อวกาศ เรียกว่า ปี SPACEDATE หรือ SD


        

    SPACEDATE ที่ 10 – จัดตั้งองค์กร SRF (first space pioneer Corps) เพื่อบุกเบิกและสำรวจห้วงลึกของอวกาศ และเป็นจุดเริ่มต้นของการเดินทางสำรวจอวกาศเพื่อมวลมนุษย์ชาติของ Edge Maverick กัปตันแห่งยานสำรวจ SRF-003 Calnus ซึ่งเป็นเรื่องราวใน Star Ocean 4 The Last Hope

    SPACEDATE ที่ 12 - มีการร่างสนธิสัญญาการป้องกันตัวเองจากความป่าเถื่อนและการรุกรานในความไร้มนุษย์ธรรมจากต่างดาว

    SPACEDATE ที่ 207 – เครื่องเคลื่อนย้ายมวลสาร "quantum transfer machine" ถูกสร้างขึ้นเป็นผลสำเร็จ

    SPACEDATE ที่ 346 - เกิดโรคระบาดขึ้นที่ดาว Roak ในเขต Theta Sector ทำให้ต้องจัดตั้งศูนย์แพทย์เพื่อระวังป้องการติดเชื้อขึ้น โดย Ronixis J. Kenny และ Ilia Messrs ก็ถูกส่งตัวมาจากโลกเพื่อยับยั้งเรื่องวุ่นวายที่เกิดขึ้น ซึ่งเป็นจุดเริ่มต้นของเรื่องราวใน Star Ocean First Depature

    SPACEDATE ที่ 360 – มีการรวมกลุ่มของผู้ทรงปัญญารวมทั้งผู้มีความรู้ด้านต่างๆให้เป็นองค์กรกลางขนาดใหญ่ให้เป็นเสมือนเสาหลักของความคงอยู่ของมวลมนุษย์ชาติ สหพันธรัฐแห่งโลกได้เปลี่ยนชื่ออย่างเป็นทางการว่า สมาพันธรัฐแห่งทางช้างเผือก หรือ Galactic Federation

    SPACEDATE ที่ 366 – มนุษย์ชาติสามารถเดินทางจนถึงหมู่ดาว expel อันไกลโพ้นเป็นเสมือนการเดินทางที่ยิ่งใหญ่ที่สุดของมวลมนุษย์ชาติและเป็นจุดเริ่มต้นของเรื่องราวของ Claude C. Kenny ในฐานะลูกชายของ Ronyx J. Kenny ตัวเอกจากภาคแรก และ Rena Lanford ชาว Nedian แห่งดาว Expel ใน Star Ocean 2 The Second Story

    SPACEDATE ที่ 368 – ค้นพบ mother computer เก่าแก่ที่ซ่อนตัวอยู่ในทวีปมูบนพื้นโลกที่ถูกตั้งโปรแกรมช่วยในการควบคุมและดูและทรัพยากรมนุษย์ก่อนจะมีคำสั่งให้ทำลายมันทิ้ง

    SPACEDATE ที่ 371 – Dr. Precis F Neumann คิดค้นเครื่อง "Mana cleaner" สำหรับใช้ เอนเนอร์จี้ สโตน ดูดซับสิ่งปนเปื้อนในชั้นบรรยากาศของดาวเคราะห์ expel ได้สำเร็จ

    SPACEDATE ที่ 537 – Dr. Krupp คิดค้นระบบการควบคุมมิติแรงโน้มถ่วง ทฤษฎีใหม่จากการต่อยอดจากทฤษฎี Subspace Warp จนสามารถสร้างเครื่องวาร์ปที่เรียกว่า "gravity warp" ซึ่งสามารถทำให้ยานอวกาศเดินทางด้วยเส้นทางวาร์ปได้รวดเร็วขึ้นได้สำเร็จก่อนจะติดตั้งเอาไว้ที่โลก และจุดเริ่มต้นของเรื่องราวใน Star Ocean 5  à¸‹à¸¶à¹ˆà¸‡à¹€à¸›à¹‡à¸™à¹€à¸«à¸•à¸¸à¸à¸²à¸£à¸“์ที่เกิดขึ้นลึกเข้าไปในห้วงจักรวาลที่ห่างไกลที่ดาวเคราะห์ เฟครีด  à¹ƒà¸™à¸«à¹‰à¸§à¸‡à¹€à¸§à¸¥à¸² 6 พันปีแสงจากโลก ก็เริ่มขึ้นตรงนี้

    SPACEDATE ที่ 652 – Galactic Federation เริ่มติดต่อสื่อสารกับชาว Klausians ในหมู่ดาวเคราะห์ Claustro ได้สำเร็จ

    SPACEDATE ที่ 704 Galactic Federation ค้นพบระบบพลังงานรูปแบบใหม่ที่เรียกว่า Creation Energyขุมพลังมหาศาลที่ซ่อนตัวอยู่ในดาวเคราะห์ Milokeenia ในเขต Theta Sector ที่ต่อมากลายเป็นพลังงานที่ถูกนำมาสร้างความแข็งแกร่งให้กับ Galactic Federation อย่างมาก

    SPACEDATE ที่ 710 - Galactic Federation การติดต่อกับจักรวรรดิ Aldian จักรวรรดิขนาดใหญ่ที่ชอบการสู้รบ มีเขตปกครองถึง 7 ส่วนของจักรวาลและมีเจตนาร้ายที่จะครอบครองทุกสิ่งในจักรวาลมาเป็นของพวกมัน จนสุดท้ายก็เกิดสงครามขึ้น

    SPACEDATE ที่ 732 –เกิดอุบัติเหตุในยานรบไดแกรม ディグレム ทำใหเครื่องกำเนิดพลังงาน Creation Energy ระเบิดจนทำให้ดาวเคราะห์ดวงนึงถูกทำลายย่อยยับ

    SPACEDATE ที่ 752 – คณะวิจัยของ Dr. Robert Leingod พ่อของ Fayt Leingod ตัวเอกภาค 3 เดินทางมาที่ดาวเคราะห์ stream เพื่อศึกษาเกี่ยวกับ ประตูมิติเวลา (time gate) ที่อยู่ที่นี่

    SPACEDATE ที่ 772 – สภาวะสงครามเริ่มบานปลาย เมื่อจักรวรรดิ Vendeen (バンテーン) เข้าโจมตีดาวเคราะห์ Hyda IV  à¸—ำให้ Galactic Federation ของโลกก็ตกอยู่ท่ามกลางสงครามแห่งจักรวาลตั้งแต่นั้น และ Fayt Leingod นักศึกษาของ Bachtein Science University ที่กำลังเดินทางมาศึกษาเรื่อง Symbological Genetics ที่ดาว Hyda IV ก็ต้องตกท่ามกลางความวุ่นวายโดยไม่รู้ตัว ซึ่งก็เป็นจุดเริ่มต้นของเรื่องราวใน Star Ocean 3 Till the End of Time

    แปลและเรียบเรียงจาก http://www.famitsu.com/news/201603/28102218.html

     



        ห้วงเวลาแห่งจักรวาลที่ SPACEDATE 537 (เหตุการณ์ระหว่าง Star Ocean 2 และ 3 )

    ลึกเข้าไปในห้วงจักรวาลที่ห่างไกล ดาวเคราะห์ เฟครีด planet of Faykreed  æƒ‘星 フェイクリード ในห้วงเวลา 6 พันปีแสงจากโลก สถานที่ที่มนุษย์ชาติยังคงดิ้นรนในการมีชีวิตรอดอย่างยากลำบากกับการสถาปนาและขยายสมาพันธรัฐเพื่อรวมเผ่าพันธุ์ของมนุษย์ชาติทั้ง 3 อณาจักรให้เป็นหนึ่งเดียวกันที่เรียกว่า "Galactic Federation" เพื่อนำมาซึ่งสันติภาพและความเป็นอันหนึ่งอันเดียวกัน แต่เชื้อไฟแห่งความขัดแย้งครั้งใหม่กำลังก่อตัวขึ้นอย่างช้าโดยไม่มีใครได้ทันรู้ตัว

    THE KINGDOM OF RESULIA (レスリア王国)  à¸­à¸“าจักร เรซูเรีย สมบรูณ์ซึ่งอยู่กึ่งกลางของ 3 อณาจักรอันประกอบด้วย อณาจักรรันด็อก  Langdauq  Kingdom  (ランドック王国) ทางชายแดนฝั่งขวาและ อณาจักรเทรคูล Trei'Kur kingdom ( トレクール王国 ) ทางชายแดนฝั่งซ้าย ภายใต้ทวีปที่ยิ่งใหญ่ที่ชื่อว่า ทวีปเวสสตีล VESTIEL ( ヴェスティール大陸)  à¸à¸³à¸¥à¸±à¸‡à¸ˆà¸°à¹€à¸à¸´à¸”ความเสี่ยงที่จะตกอยู่ในกลางดงของสงครามหากวันที่มันเริ่มปะทุขึ้น ซึ่งถึงแม้ว่าผู้คนในอณาจักรเลสเรียนั้นมีพลังแห่งธรรมชาติที่ยิ่งใหญ่คอยปกป้องอยู่ แต่ก็ต้องถูกศาสตร์คำสาปมืดลึกลับเข้าโจมตีทำให้สิ่งมีชีวิตต่างๆถูกครอบงำจนกลายเป็นปีศาจที่น่ากลัว โดยภัยมืดนี้ได้เริ่มก่อตัวขึ้นที่หมู่บ้านสตาร์ Sthal Village (スタール村) ที่ตั้งอยู่ทางใต้ของอณาจักรเลสเรีย จนทำให้อณาจักรเข้าสู่กลียุคถึง 7 ปี  à¸—ี่ผู้คนต่างเรียกขานกันว่า 7 ปีแห่งความมืดมิด 暗黒の7年間 แต่มหัตภัยร้ายที่เกิดขึ้นครั้งนี้ก็ทำให้ ฟิเดล คามิวส์ เด็กหนุ่มธรรมดาๆแห่งหมู่บ้านสตาร์ผงาดขึ้นเป็นฮีโร่ผู้กอบกู้ชะตากรรมของดาวบ้านเกิดด้วยเช่นกัน


    Cr. http://spwiki.net/so5/





                                          บทสรุป Star Ocean 5 Integrity and Faithlessness


    By Decibel per - oxide



                 
                                          บทที่ 1 -    ONE FOR THE ROAD


                   

                                                        Sthal Village


    ฟิเดล คามิวส์ (Fidel Camuze) กับ Ted เพื่อนสนิทกำลังซ้อมดาบกันอย่างเมามันส์ในลานกว้างติดทะเลของหมู่บ้าน สตอล บ้านเกิดท่ามกลางความอุดมสมบูรณ์แห่งอณาจักร Resulia




    การต่อสู้เบื้องต้น
    X โจมตีเบา
    O โจมตีหนัก
    การโจมตีจะแบ่งเป็นการโจมตีระยะสั้นกับการโจมตีระยะยาวจะแตกต่างตามท่าทางที่กำหนดไว้ โดยระบบจะปรับใช้ตามระยะการโจมตีที่ผู้เล่นเริ่มโจมตี
    สี่เหลี่ยม การ์ด , กดการ์ดในขณะที่ศัตรูโจมตีมาจะเป็น Counter Attack
    L1 – R1 เปลี่ยนตำแหน่งเป้าหมายของศัตรูที่จะโจมตี

    Battle Skill หรือท่าโจมตีพิเศษที่มีทั้งแบบ Special Art (ท่าโจมตีทาง
              Re: (NA) Laggy Super Smash Bros. Brawl Matches        

    I am not playing through Subspace Emissary a third time. I just can't. Especially with a new Smash around the corner. If I played one of the Brawl mods online, this would be nice to know since those have no unlocks, but losing my Brawl data is too much to ask for a payoff that will only matter for three months or so.


              Vissa hittar meningen med livet genom BDSM        

    En del jämför det med religion. Att kunna hänge sig till någon och släppa sin egen ansvarsplikt och lämna över det till någon annan. Om det är till en master eller en högre makt - det kanske kan uppfylla samma funktioner. Lotta Carlström har under flera år analyserat och forskat om BDSM.

    Robert pratar med henne om bland annat subspace och domspace - som är en jättestark känsloladdning. Många beskriver det nästan i spirituella termer. Det handlar om att du kommer i andra nivåer av medvetande. Ligga med P3 djupdyker ner i forskningen kring BDSM.


              Funker Vogt-Subspace        
    itunes pic
    Enjoy.
              By: Orthogonal Complements and the Lattice of Subspaces « The Unapologetic Mathematician        
    [...] Complements and the Lattice of Subspaces We know that the poset of subspaces of a vector space is a lattice. Now we can define complementary subspaces in a way [...]
              By: The Sum of Subspaces « The Unapologetic Mathematician        
    [...] let’s consider the collection of all subspaces of . This is a partially-ordered set, where the order is given by containment of the underlying sets. It’s sort of like the power [...]
              Right Engel elements of stability groups of general series in vector spaces        
    Let V be an arbitrary vector space over some division ring D, L a general series of subspaces of V covering all of V \ {0} and S the full stability subgroup of L in GL(V). We prove that always the set of bounded right Engel elements of S is equal to the w-th term of the upper central series of S and that the set of right Engel elements of S is frequently equal to the hypercentre of S.
              Common zeros preserving maps on vector-valued function spaces and Banach modules        
    Let X, Y be Hausdorff topological spaces, and let E and F be Hausdorff topological vector spaces. For certain subspaces A (X,E) and A(Y, F) of C(X,E) and C(Y, F) respectively (including the spaces of Lipschitz functions), we characterize surjections S, T : A (X;E) → A(Y, F), not assumed to be linear, which jointly preserve common zeros in the sense that Z (f – f’) ∩ Z (f – f’) ∩ Z (g – g’) ≠ 0 if and only if Z (Sf – Sf’) ∩ Z (Tg – Tg´) ≠ 0 for all f, f’, g, g’ ∈ A (X, E). Here Z (·)denotes the zero set of a function. Using the notion of point multipliers we extend the notion of zero set for the elements of a Banach module and give a representation for surjective linear maps which jointly preserve common zeros in module case.
              Convergence of functions of self-adjoint operators and applications        
    The main result (roughly) is that if Hi converges weakly to H and if also f (Hi) converges weakly to f(H), for a single strictly convex continuous function f, then (Hi) must converge strongly to H. One application is that if f(pr(H)) = pr(f(H)), where pr denotes compression to a closed subspace M, then M must be invariant for H. A consequence of this is the verification of a conjecture of Arveson, that Theorem 9. 4 of [Arv] remains true in the infinite dimensional case. And there are two applications to operator algebras. If h and f(h) are both quasimultipliers, then h must be a multiplier. Also (still roughly stated), if h and f(h) are both in pAsap, for a closed projection p, then h must be strongly q-continuous on p.
              A monotonicity formula for minimal sets with a sliding boundary condition        
    We prove a monotonicity formula for minimal or almost minimal sets for the Hausdorff measure Hd, subject to a sliding boundary constraint where competitors for E are obtained by deforming E by a one-parameter family of functions yt such that yt(x) ∈ L when x ∈ E lies on the boundary L. In the simple case when L is an affine subspace of dimension d-1, the monotone or almost monotone functional is given by F(r) = r-d Hd (E∩B(x, r)) + r-d Hd (S∩B(x,r)) where x is any point of E (not necessarily on L) and S is the shade of L with a light at x. We then use this, the description of the case when F is constant, and a limiting argument, to give a rough description of E near L in two simple cases.
              Kernel Adaptive Filtering Toolbox 2.0        

    Kernel Adaptive Filtering Toolbox

    A Matlab benchmarking toolbox for kernel adaptive filtering.

    Kernel adaptive filters are online machine learning algorithms based on kernel methods. Typical applications include time-series prediction, nonlinear adaptive filtering, tracking and online learning for nonlinear regression. This toolbox includes algorithms, demos, and tools to compare their performance.

    Maintainer: Steven Van Vaerenbergh, University of Cantabria, Spain.
    Contributors:
    - Miguel Lazaro-Gredilla, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain.
    - Sohan Seth, University of Edinburgh, UK.
    - Masahiro Yukawa, Keio University, Japan.
    - Masa-aki Takizawa, Keio University, Japan.
    - Osamu Toda, Keio University, Japan.
    - Dominik Rzepka, AGH University of Science and Technology, Poland.
    - Pantelis Bouboulis, University of Athens, Greece.
    - Stephan Rhode, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Germany.

    Official web: https://github.com/steven2358/kafbox/

    This toolbox is a collaborative effort: every developer wishing to contribute code or suggestions can do so. More info below.

    Directories included in the toolbox

    data/ - data sets

    demo/ - demos and test files

    doc/ - documentation

    lib/ - algorithm libraries and utilities

    Setup

    1. Run install.m to add the toolbox folders to the path.
    2. Type savepath to save the changes to the path.

    Octave / Matlab pre-2008a

    This toolbox uses the classdef command which is not supported in Matlab pre-2008a and not yet in Octave. The older 0.x versions of this toolbox do not use classdef and can therefore be used with all versions of Matlab and Octave. http://sourceforge.net/projects/kafbox/files/

    Usage

    Each kernel adaptive filtering algorithm is implemented as a Matlab class. To use one, first define its options:

    options = struct('nu',1E-4,'kerneltype','gauss','kernelpar',32);
    

    Next, create an instance of the filter. E.g., for an instance of the original KRLS algorithm run:

    kaf = krls(options);
    

    One iteration of training is performed by feeding one input-output data pair to the filter:

    kaf.train(x,y);
    

    The outputs for one or more test inputs are evaluated as follows:

    Y_test = kaf.evaluate(X_test);
    

    Example: time-series prediction

    Code from demo/demo_prediction.m

    % Demo: 1-step ahead prediction on Lorenz attractor time-series data
    [X,Y] = kafbox_data(struct('file','lorenz.dat','embedding',6));
    
    % make a kernel adaptive filter object of class krls with options: 
    % ALD threshold 1E-4, Gaussian kernel, and kernel width 32
    kaf = krls(struct('nu',1E-4,'kerneltype','gauss','kernelpar',32));
    
    %% RUN ALGORITHM
    N = size(X,1);
    Y_est = zeros(N,1);
    for i=1:N,
        if ~mod(i,floor(N/10)), fprintf('.'); end % progress indicator, 10 dots
        Y_est(i) = kaf.evaluate(X(i,:)); % predict the next output
        kaf.train(X(i,:),Y(i)); % train with one input-output pair
    end
    fprintf('\n');
    SE = (Y-Y_est).^2; % test error
    
    %% OUTPUT
    fprintf('MSE after first 1000 samples: %.2fdB\n\n',10*log10(mean(SE(1001:end))));
    

    Result:

    MSE after first 1000 samples: -40.17dB
    

    Citing KAFBOX

    If you use this toolbox in your research please cite "A Comparative Study of Kernel Adaptive Filtering Algorithms":

    @inproceedings{vanvaerenbergh2013comparative,
      author = {Van Vaerenbergh, Steven and Santamar{\'i}a, Ignacio},
      booktitle = {2013 IEEE Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Workshop and IEEE Signal Processing Education (SPE)},
      title = {A Comparative Study of Kernel Adaptive Filtering Algorithms},
      doi = {10.1109/DSP-SPE.2013.6642587},
      year = {2013},
      note = {Software available at \url{https://github.com/steven2358/kafbox/}}
    }
    

    Included algorithms

    • Kernel Recursive Least-Squares (KRLS) algorithm with approximate linear dependency criterion, as proposed in Y. Engel, S. Mannor, and R. Meir. "The kernel recursive least-squares algorithm", IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, volume 52, no. 8, pages 2275-2285, 2004.
    • Sliding-Window Kernel Recursive Least-Squares (SW-KRLS), as proposed in S. Van Vaerenbergh, J. Via, and I. Santamaria. "A sliding-window kernel RLS algorithm and its application to nonlinear channel identification", 2006 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP), Toulouse, France, 2006.
    • Naive Online Regularized Risk Minimization Algorithm (NORMA), as proposed in J. Kivinen, A. Smola and C. Williamson. "Online Learning with Kernels", IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, volume 52, no. 8, pages 2165-2176, 2004.
    • Kernel Least-Mean-Square (KLMS), as proposed in W. Liu, P.P. Pokharel, and J.C. Principe, "The Kernel Least-Mean-Square Algorithm," IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol.56, no.2, pp.543-554, Feb. 2008.
    • Fixed-Budget Kernel Recursive Least-Squares (FB-KRLS), as proposed in S. Van Vaerenbergh, I. Santamaria, W. Liu and J. C. Principe, "Fixed-Budget Kernel Recursive Least-Squares", 2010 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP 2010), Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., March 2010.
    • Kernel Recursive Least-Squares Tracker (KRLS-T), as proposed in S. Van Vaerenbergh, M. Lazaro-Gredilla, and I. Santamaria, "Kernel Recursive Least-Squares Tracker for Time-Varying Regression," IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems, vol.23, no.8, pp.1313-1326, Aug. 2012.
    • Quantized Kernel Least Mean Squares (QKLMS), as proposed in Chen B., Zhao S., Zhu P., Principe J.C., "Quantized Kernel Least Mean Square Algorithm," IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems, vol.23, no.1, Jan. 2012, pages 22-32.
    • Random Fourier Feature Kernel Least Mean Square (RFF-KLMS) algorithm, as proposed in Abhishek Singh, Narendra Ahuja and Pierre Moulin, "Online learning with kernels: Overcoming the growing sum problem," 2012 IEEE International Workshop on Machine Learning for Signal Processing (MLSP), Sept. 2012.
    • Extended Kernel Recursive Least Squares (EX-KRLS), as proposed in W. Liu and I. Park and Y. Wang and J.C. Principe, "Extended kernel recursive least squares algorithm", IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, volume 57, number 10, pp. 3801-3814, oct. 2009.
    • Gaussian-Process based estimation of the parameters of KRLS-T, as proposed in Steven Van Vaerenbergh, Ignacio Santamaria, and Miguel Lazaro-Gredilla, "Estimation of the forgetting factor in kernel recursive least squares," 2012 IEEE International Workshop on Machine Learning for Signal Processing (MLSP), Sept. 2012.
    • Kernel Affine Projection (KAP) algorithm with Coherence Criterion, as proposed in C. Richard, J.C.M. Bermudez, P. Honeine, "Online Prediction of Time Series Data With Kernels," IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol.57, no.3, pp.1058,1067, March 2009.
    • Kernel Normalized Least-Mean-Square (KNLMS) algorithm with Coherence Criterion, as proposed in C. Richard, J.C.M. Bermudez, P. Honeine, "Online Prediction of Time Series Data With Kernels," IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol.57, no.3, pp.1058,1067, March 2009.
    • Recursive Least-Squares algorithm with exponential weighting (RLS), as described in S. Haykin, "Adaptive Filtering Theory (3rd Ed.)", Prentice Hall, Chapter 13.
    • Multikernel Normalized Least Mean Square algorithm with Coherence-based Sparsification (MKNLMS-CS), as proposed in M. Yukawa, "Multikernel Adaptive Filtering", IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol.60, no.9, pp.4672-4682, Sept. 2012.
    • Parallel HYperslab Projection along Affine SubSpace (PHYPASS) algorithm, as proposed in M. Takizawa and M. Yukawa, "An Efficient Data-Reusing Kernel Adaptive Filtering Algorithm Based on Parallel Hyperslab Projection Along Affine Subspace," 2013 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP), pp.3557-3561, May 2013.
    • Fixed-budget kernel least mean squares (FB-KLMS) algorithm, as proposed in D. Rzepka, "Fixed-budget kernel least mean squares," 2012 IEEE 17th Conference on Emerging Technologies & Factory Automation (ETFA), Krakow, Poland, Sept. 2012.
    • Leaky Kernel Affine Projection Algorithm (LKAPA, including KAPA-1 and KAPA-3) and Normalized Leaky Kernel Affine Projection Algorithm (NLKAPA, including KAPA-2 and KAPA-4), as proposed in W. Liu and J.C. Principe, "Kernel Affine Projection Algorithms", EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing, Volume 2008, Article ID 784292, 12 pages.
    • Kernel Affine Projection Subgradient Method (KAPSM), as proposed in K. Slavakis, S. Theodoridis, and I. Yamada, "Online kernel-based classification using adaptive projection algorithms," IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, Vol. 56, No. 7, pp. 2781-2796, 2008.
    • Kernel Least Mean Squares algorithm with Coherence-Sparsification criterion and L1-norm regularization (KLMS-CSL1) and with active L1-norm regularization (KLMS-CSAL1), as proposed in Wei Gao, Jie Chen, Cédric Richard, Jianguo Huang, and Rémi Flamary, "Kernel LMS algorithm with forward-backward splitting for dictionary learning," 2013 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP 2013), Vancouver, Canada, March 2013.
    • Mixture Kernel Least Mean Square (MXKLMS) algorithm, as proposed in R. Pokharel, S. Seth, and J.C. Principe, "Mixture kernel least mean square," The 2013 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN), pp.1-7, 4-9 Aug. 2013.
    • Fixed budget quantized kernel least-mean-square algorithm (QKLMS-FB), as proposed in S. Zhao, B. Chen, P. Zhu, J. C. Príncipe, "Fixed budget quantized kernel least-mean-square algorithm", Signal Processing, Volume 93, Issue 9, September 2013, Pages 2759-2770.
    • Probabilistic Least-Mean-Squares (ProbLMS) algorithm, as proposed in J. Fernandez-Bes, V. Elvira, and S. Van Vaerenbergh, "A probabilistic least-mean-squares filter," 2015 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP), Brisbane, Australia, 2015.
    • Discrete-time Kalman filter, as proposed in R. E. Kalman, "A New Approach to Linear Filtering and Prediction Problems", ASME Journal of Basic Engineering, 1960, 82(1), pp. 35-45.

    How to contribute code to the toolbox

    Option 1: email it to steven.vanvaerenbergh@unican.es

    Option 2: fork the toolbox on GitHub, push your changes, then send a pull request.

    License

    This source code is released under the FreeBSD License.


              Spirit Part 2/5        


    John stared at the back wall of their cell, pointedly ignoring the other prisoners. He’d never felt as helpless as when he watched Ronon and Teyla fight when all he could do was hope they’d be okay. Then, to see one of the losers fed upon… what if one of his people lost? If the queens decided they didn’t fight well? Would he be forced to watch his team mates die? John drew in a loud breath and shook of the thought. He looked to his right as Rodney walked up next to him. John’s gaze narrowed at his friend’s downcast look. “What is it?” he asked quietly.

    Rodney swallowed. “I… Well, I wanted to say… that is… I’m sorry.”

    John turned to face him. “What for?”

    Rodney shrugged. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for me. I mean… you wouldn’t have had to bargain… give in to him…”

    John shook his head. “McKay stop,” he ordered firmly. As Rodney fell into silence, John locked gazes with him. “Somehow, I think the alternative would’ve been far less pleasant.” He arched a brow at Rodney’s questioning gaze. “You really think the Wraith would’ve just let us go?” His second brow joined the first as comprehension dawned on Rodney’s face. John nodded slightly as Rodney drew the same conclusion: They would’ve all been Wraith entrées by now. “At least this way, we have a fighting chance to escape. Just need to figure out how, that’s all.” He looked past Rodney to Patch, who was silently glaring at him. “And survive a couple other details,” he added quietly.

    “Yeah, been thinkin’ about that,” Rodney recovered enough to start speaking again. He paused, waiting as Ronon and Teyla walked up and joined them. “The transmitters in our backs. I don’t think they’re subspace. Probably have a range limited to the planet at the most.”

    John frowned. “How do you figure that?”

    “Well,” Rodney shrugged, “if you were these queens, would you want to broadcast this cute setup to every Wraith in the galaxy?”

    John thought for a second before nodding. “Good point.” He lowered his voice to almost a whisper. “You think if we can get through the gate, we’ll be in the clear?”

    “There’s an excellent chance, yes,” Rodney answered.

    “Still have to get to the gate,” Ronon interjected.

    John grimaced. “There is that…. Besides,” he whispered, “I’m not letting any of us go back to Atlantis, or New Athos for that matter, as long as we have them. I won’t risk blowing the city’s cover or bringing the Wraith down on the Athosians, I don’t care how slight the chance is.”

    Rodney looked on the verge of an objection before he sighed and nodded silently.

    “John Sheppard.”

    John turned at Della’s hail before following her gaze to the doorway and the four Wraith guards that approached, led by Harry. He stopped and stared coldly at John, his gaze eager. “You.” Without another word he turned and walked away as three guards pointed stunners at him while one opened the door.

    “Great,” John muttered.

    “If there’s a staff, try for it,” Ronon urged. “Your swordplay will get your ass kicked.”

    John arched a brow in dark amusement. “Thanks for the vote of confidence.” He glared for a moment at Ronon who just shrugged. “What if it’s only swords?”

    Ronon’s gaze narrowed. “Don’t drop your shoulder,” he answered quietly, reminding John of his single, worst fighting habit.

    “Right,” John sighed.

    “Take care, Colonel,” Teyla interjected.

    John glanced at her and nodded before he took a deep breath and confidently walked from the cell. Nervous knots started in his gut as he walked down the long hallway towards the arena. He could feel adrenaline flood his body as the anticipation of the fight to come settled in. His senses sharpened, his heart rate and breathing quickened, his muscles tensed. A light sheen of sweat covered his brow as he walked into the hot arena and got the first look at his opponent.

    The man was dark skinned, tall and muscular. The absence of a shirt showed the strength of his physique and while John was never embarrassed by his body, he felt slight in comparison. Not good…. He stopped about twenty feet away from the man and stared back, hoping his expression showed confidence. Swallowing hard, he pushed down his apprehension, replacing it with steeled resolve and the detached, instinct-driven mindset necessary in a fight.

    “Don’t think of your weaknesses, only your opponents!”

    He’d heard those words, many times, in many different forms, throughout his military career. It was something fundamental in combat training… especially hand to hand fighting. He looked the man over, honestly wondering if such a person had any weaknesses, but immediately dismissed the thought. Everyone did and this guy was no exception. He just had to find them.

    John could sense one of the queens walking towards them, Harry flanking her. Finally, he looked away from his opponent and glared at her.

    Her pale skin was augmented by her white hair and her cold smile radiated delight. “Lantean,” she said, without question.

    John must not have been able to keep all the surprise from his expression because she nodded, her smile never fading.

    “Oh yes, we know some of you survived. Your clothing and weapons are well known amongst our worshippers and you have been seen on many worlds.” She confidently took a step closer to him, knowing without a doubt that with her mental powers, she was in no danger from him. “This is a pleasure.” Her smile faded. “A hive of this alliance was destroyed by your people. The queen and many Wraith died.” Her glare deepened. “And you will fight to redeem the lives of every one of them.”

    John clenched his jaw but remained silent as she backed a few steps away before turning and walking to her seat. Sitting next to the other queens she waved idly. “Fight.”

    John’s head whipped back towards his opponent as they both tensed. A Wraith guard threw two staffs between them and John wasted no time lunging for one as his opponent reached for the other. Grabbing the staff, John backpedaled before finding his balance. He twirled the staff experimentally, testing its weight as he watched the man circle him. Suddenly, he was fighting to keep up his guard as a flurry of blows came at him. He managed to repel each and they both backed off, the spar a draw. Again, the man attacked and again, John repelled. So it continued, over and over. Fatigue started to worm its way into John’s body and finally an unexpected blow caught him on the side of the mouth. John staggered but was still able to raise his defense and deflect another blow meant to finish him. He twisted his grip, stepped up and slammed the butt of his staff into his opponent’s gut. The man danced away and coughed twice, before they again squared off.

    John spat blood onto the sand and spared a hand to wipe the split lip he was sporting. For every step his opponent took to the left, John countered with one to the right and the two men circled, measuring each other’s weaknesses. Never taking his eyes from the man, John considered his recent attacks. Every blow had been high…

    “No matter the size of your opponent, if you cripple him, he cannot fight.”

    John resisted the urge to smile as Teyla’s words echoed in his head. He waited, biding his time, until his opponent attacked again. John reflected each blow and found a rhythm to them; one he embraced, lulling his opponent into complacency.

    John staggered before looking up at Kelin. “How did you do that?”

    Kelin smiled. “Rhythm is also a weakness, John. Never fall into a pattern.”


    A small part of John’s mind that wasn’t occupied with fighting embraced the words of Teyla’s mentor; a man that had taught him so much more than just fighting. Abruptly, he changed tactics and could sense the surprise in his opponent. Twisting his body, John spun and landed a crippling blow on the man’s knee.

    With a broken cry, his opponent fell to the sand. Wasting no time, John knocked the staff from his hands, planted a foot on his chest and held the end of his staff close to the man’s throat. Part of him wanted to end it; to deliver a crushing blow to his opponent’s throat and be done with it, but he refrained. He stared dispassionately at his opponent for a moment, before the true persona of John Sheppard once more took over, driving the dark and ruthless fighter back into its cage. John stepped back, lowering the staff. He dropped it unceremoniously on the sand and glared up at the queens for a moment, before he was surrounded by Wraith who escorted him from the arena.

    Swallowing hard, he ignored the metallic taste of blood as he took in deep breaths, trying to will the adrenaline from his body; to hold his strength in reserve. He looked up, his gaze fixing on his caged team mates. Save it. Save it for escaping. He vowed silently. He winced as, behind him, he heard the strangled cries of his opponent being fed upon. A crippling blow hadn’t been his first choice, but had ended up being the only one. The only guarantee any of them had of survival was to win. Sure, they might be allowed to live if they lost, but John wasn’t about to bet his life, or the lives of any of his team on that possibility. He’d known the blow would be a death sentence just as surely as a killing blow but where that would’ve risked retribution by the queens, this had been the safe out for him and in the end that absolutely had to be the only thing he could allow to matter. Just one more decision… one more ghost he’d live with.

    ---------------------------------------------------

    Somehow, even without a P-90, Lorne still felt comforted by the nine mil holstered securely under his arm and hidden by the waist length coat that he wore. Concealed, it met Halling’s “inconspicuous” criteria, but still was readily available to the Major should things go south on this mission.

    “It would be best to let me talk with Elena,” Halling muttered as they approached a modest building on the outskirts of the village. “She knows me and therefore will trust you enough to speak in your presence, but I suspect the trust will end there.”

    Lorne nodded. “Yeah, no problem.” He took a deep breath as he followed Halling into the building. It felt weird to be off world without his team, but he understood Halling’s reasoning, even if he had to order and damn near hog tie his men to stay put. A bitter smile twitched one side of his mouth, if only briefly. Lorne had worked under the command of many men in his career, but none of them rivaled Colonel Sheppard in the intense loyalty he seemed to spark in the men under his command. But then again, the Colonel was very approachable, likeable, a hell of a natural leader, and regarded the lives and welfare of his people above anything else. Lorne had heard the words “never leave someone behind,” many times, but Sheppard was the living embodiment of them. Pulling his thoughts back to the present Lorne focused his sights on an older woman. She stared at Halling, whose nod of recognition was deep.

    Dismissing herself from the man she was speaking with, the woman slowly walked towards them. She looked to be in her sixties, and moved with a slight limp and stiffness. Her eyes, deep set in weathered wrinkles, were sharp and Lorne got the feeling that very little went unnoticed by her. She stopped before Halling and touched foreheads with him. “Halling. It has been many seasons.”

    “Elena,” Halling responded. “It gives me joy to see you well.”

    Elena laughed quietly. “Not as well as I used to be, but I manage.” She stepped back from him and looked directly at Lorne.

    “This is my friend,” Halling gestured, “Lorne.”

    Elena nodded at him. “Lorne.”

    Lorne put on a friendly smile. “Ma’am.”

    “What brings you to Medarka?” She stared one more moment at Lorne before returning her gaze to Halling.

    “We must speak with you, Elena,” Halling lowered his voice. “It is a matter of great importance.”

    Almost immediately, Elena turned and gestured towards a small room in the back of the building. As they entered, she closed the door behind them. Walking back to Halling she stared him squarely in the eye. “Tell me what has happened.”

    Halling drew in a deep breath. “Teyla and some of Lorne’s people have been taken by the Wraith.”

    Elena dropped her head. “That saddens me greatly for Teyla was an honorable friend, much as her father once was.”

    “We have not given up hope in finding them,” Halling insisted quietly.

    She looked up, her eyes full of sadness. “Your chances of that are slim, my friend.”

    “I know,” Halling answered.

    “And you came to me because you thought I might know something that would help you in your search?” Her words were a question, but her tone of voice was not.

    “Yes,” Halling admitted. “Elena, I would not have come to you, but…” he sighed. “This is not just Teyla, but also Lorne’s people, who have proven themselves many times as true friends not only to the Athosian people, but to all the humans in this galaxy.”

    Lorne kept his gaze neutral as he returned the direct look she gave him. They stared at each other for a long moment, before she nodded.

    “What world were they taken from?” She asked.

    “I do not know the name, only the address,” Halling responded.

    Elena walked to a small table in the back of the room and grabbed a piece of yellowed parchment along with what looked like a crude form of a pencil. Halling followed her, took the pencil and quickly scribbled out the gate symbols.

    Elena looked at the address for a moment before shaking her head. “I do not recognize this world, but I will place some discreet inquiries to see if I can find out anything for you.” She looked away from the parchment and back at Halling. “How may I reach you?”

    Lorne looked up at his tall companion who exchanged hesitant looks with him.

    “Elena,” Halling started before meeting her gaze again. “It is difficult to reach us, but we can return. You need only tell us when.”

    Her gaze narrowed for a minute, as if she was gauging his answer before she responded. “Two days time. By then if I do not have an answer for you, there is no answer I can find.”

    Halling bowed his head deeply at her. “Two days. My thanks to you, Elena.”

    She nodded back before stepping around them and returning to the common room.
    Left alone, Lorne squinted at Halling. “Think she’ll be able to help us?”

    Halling’s gaze was directed towards the common room, but his look was distant. “If anyone can find out what we need to know, Major, she can.”
    ------------------------
    John stood quietly at the back of the cell, watching, his body taunt as a half dozen Wraith guards along with Harry, walked towards their cell.

    “Great.” McKay lamented quietly, “here we go again…”

    John’s nod was barely perceptible as his gaze never left Harry. The door to their cell opened and Harry spent a moment staring at John before he turned and pointed at Patch.

    “You.” Harry cocked his head. “My queen wishes to see you fight again.”

    John shifted his gaze from Harry to Patch. Seething hatred burned in Patch’s one good eye as, surrounded by guards, he left the cell. Halfway down the hallway, Patch’s entourage was joined by another group of guards with one more prisoner; Patch’s opponent presumably.

    John walked up to the cell bars, settled his arms on a horizontal branch and watched as the two opponents were led into the Round. “Interesting to see how this goes…” John commented absently.

    “Do you believe he will win?” Teyla asked quietly.

    John shrugged before his gaze narrowed. “Our lives would be a lot easier if he didn’t.”

    “Do not count on that, John Sheppard.” Della’s voice interrupted John’s thoughts and he turned his head towards her. He remembered her words of warning when they first arrived.

    The one with the eye patch: he is good in the Round… very good….

    John slowly shook his head as he watched Patch’s opponent take a sword and step back. Even from this distance, John could see the hesitation in the man’s bearing. “Doesn't look good,” he muttered.

    “This won’t take long,” Ronon answered evenly, apparently observing the same thing. “Can’t wait to meet this guy in the Round.”

    John never took his eyes from the Round. “I’m hoping to avoid that scenario…” his voice trailed off as Patch and his opponent traded blows before once again circling each other. John shook his head as Patch delivered a fast series of high and low shots before deftly disarming his opponent. With one, swift move, he ran the man through, killing him instantly.

    “Son of a bitch,” John muttered.

    Patch spun towards the queens and stabbed his sword deep into the sand before letting go. Head held high, he glared defiantly at them.

    One of the queens stood and hissed loudly at him before two guards roughly grabbed Patch and hauled him from the arena.

    “That’s living dangerously,” John commented. “For all he knew, the queens would’ve killed him for that.”

    “Is that why you chose to cripple your opponent and not kill him, John Sheppard?” Della asked quietly.

    Slowly, John turned his head towards her. He stared intently at her neutral expression for a moment, before returning his gaze to the Round as Patch was led back towards the cell. “Had to win. Didn’t have a choice.” He answered abruptly. “Wasn’t going to risk their wrath by killing him.”

    “Well our buddy Patch doesn’t seem to care,” Rodney interjected.

    “He does not.” Della backed away from the cell crossbars. “I do not believe he cares if he lives or dies.”

    “Great,” John sighed. “That makes him all the more dangerous.”

    “All the more reason for me to kill him,” Ronon added.

    “Not if we can avoid it.” John flashed a warning glare in Ronon’s direction. “Staying alive is our first priority.”

    As Patch was shoved into the cell, John subtly inched closer to Teyla, but Patch left them alone. He slid to the ground in the far corner without so much as a glance in their direction.

    Commotion in the hallway grabbed John’s attention and he turned, watching as a group of downtrodden humans, escorted by a group of Wraith guards, pushed several crude looking carts down the hallway. The first cart stopped in front of the first cell in the aisle while the rest waited behind. In almost a trained manner, the occupants pushed and shoved their way into a line, each receiving a crude bowl of something John wasn’t relishing tasting and a cup of what he hoped was water. John’s nose twitched as, even from a distance, he could smell the putrid food.

    “That smells disgusting,” Rodney whispered vehemently.

    “It keeps you alive,” Della answered. “The strong find a way to survive on what is given us. Beware of your cell mates. The strong always are first in line and receive the most food, the weakest last and least.”

    John nodded as the next food cart was taken to the next cell; the one right before theirs. “Let me guess: Patch is always first in line?”

    “Yes,” Della sighed. “He will not surrender that position easily.”

    John shrugged. “He wants to be first, that’s fine. But, we’ll be right behind him.”

    “Somehow, I don’t think his friends are going to like that,” Rodney snapped.

    “Rodney is right, Colonel,” Teyla interjected, “we will have to earn our position.”

    John shrugged. “If we do, we do. But if we’re going to survive, we’re going to need adequate food and water.” He gave Teyla a determined look before glancing at Rodney and finally Ronon. “Whatever it takes,” he finished quietly.

    Warily, John walked towards the entrance, his team right behind him. As Della predicted, when their food cart arrived, Patch and his group pushed their way through the other prisoners right up to the entrance. John put on the strongest expression he had and returned Patch’s glare. John held his ground as Patch walked up to the doorway, but when his cohorts tried to follow him, John and Ronon immediately blocked their path, Teyla right with them. The prisoners reacted exactly how he thought they would so John was ready when the first roundhouse punch came at him. Ducking, he avoided the blow before he doubled up his fist and punched his opponent as hard as he could, stunning him. Teyla dispatched another with a roundhouse kick, and Ronon practically threw his opponent into two more, sending them all staggering. Tense, John waited a moment, looking for any other prisoner to challenge them, but when none did, he motioned Rodney over to their group and turned back towards the food cart.

    Standing silently nearby, bowl of food and cup of water in his hands, Patch watched them quietly, making no move to help his cronies. Silently, he turned and walked away. John stepped behind his team, letting them go first before he took his rations and followed them back to their corner of the large cell. As he carefully eased himself to the ground, John’s gaze caught Della’s.

    “Well done,” she said quietly, “they will not challenge you again… at least for a little while.”

    John took a small sip of his water and watched as the last in line received their food. True to Della’s word, the last few prisoners in line received very little food or water. Dejected and obviously weak, they turned away hording their meager rations.

    Steeling himself against the smell, John dipped his fingers into the brownish, gruel like substance and scooped some into his mouth. Next to him, Rodney did the same, only to cough and wince.

    “I can’t eat this,” he said quietly.

    “Yes, you can,” John answered. “You have to.”

    “Right. Eat bugs, worms or whatever to live,” Rodney snapped, “but I’m not military here!”

    “McKay.” John interrupted sternly. “Don’t think about it. Just eat.”

    John glanced at Teyla who, eyes closed, was quickly eating her ration, then to Ronon who was eating quickly, his expression stoic. Taking a deep breath, John scoped more of the food into his mouth. He swallowed. “Eat, McKay.” He repeated, his voice still stern.

    “Right,” Rodney answered before he turned back to his own food.

    Looking for something to distract him and his team from their meal, John turned his attention to Della who returned to sit close by, her own ration in hand. “That was the third match today. Don’t these queens have anything better to do?”

    “The fighting comes and goes in spurts.” Della answered as she ate. “The queens will order many matches then leave for days and weeks at a time before returning and ordering more.”

    “I don’t get this alliance,” Rodney interjected, “especially now, with their food shortage. They’re way too suspicious to trust each other.”

    Della snorted. “They do not. There has been fighting and deaths, but these remaining queens are very strong in their own right. As long as the alliance benefits each of them, they will keep it. In my time here, two queens of this alliance have died. It is said one was killed by humans who were occupying the Ancestral city. The other was betrayed by these queens and killed.”

    John fought to keep his expression neutral at Della’s mention of his people.

    “Each one waiting for the others to fight,” Rodney observed bitterly. “Even the victor would be weakened and the others would go in for the kill. As long as each one of them knows that, none of them will start a fight with the others. It's a stalemate.”

    John shook his head. “Interesting alliance.” Setting aside his bowl, he downed there rest of his water and tried to relax, saving his strength.

    With nothing else to say, Della turned away from them and slid to the back wall of her cell her attention turned to her ration.

    John glanced around, reassuring himself that each of his team members, including Rodney, had finished their rations. He didn't have much to say, so he settled into a brooding silence as his mind worked over the task of finding a way to escape. In the back of his mind, he knew Elizabeth and the others would be looking for them, but they had no idea where in the galaxy to search. John signed quietly and looked up, meeting Teyla's penetrating and knowing gaze.

    "We will find a way, Colonel," she said quietly.
    --------------------------------
    Elizabeth met Lorne and Halling at the top of the gate room stairs. In spite of her solid and strong mask, she knew her voice still held a note of pleading. "Anything?"

    "Elena asked us to return in two days time," Halling answered. "If she can secure any information for us, she will have done so by then."

    Elizabeth resisted a frustrated sigh. "Two days?"

    "There's still a chance, ma'am," Lorne added quietly. "At least there's a possibility she can help us."

    Elizabeth nodded before smiling thinly at Halling. "Thank you."

    Halling bowed his head. "Teyla is the leader of our people. There is nothing I would not do to bring her home." A slight smile turned up one corner of his normally stoic mouth. "And your people… you have done much for us, Dr. Weir. Any help that I can offer, I would gladly give."

    Elizabeth's smile deepened slightly, as gratitude warmed it. Often times, she dwelled on all the problems they had and the mistakes and enemies they'd made, until there was no room left in her thoughts for the good they'd done and the allies they'd gained. Sometimes… sometimes she just needed a nudge; a reminder of the good things, their friends, and all the people they'd helped.

    "We will find them, Dr. Weir," Halling added quietly. "I am sure of it."

    Elizabeth nodded and held tightly to her determination. She glanced at Lorne, whose expression mirrored hers, before she looked back at Halling. "Yes, we will."
    ------------------------------------------

    John sighed quietly as sleep eluded him. He was tired, bone tired but the hard wall, the stifling heat… the danger he could sense all around him, all of it kept him from sleeping. He turned his head slightly and met Ronon’s quiet gaze. Somehow, John knew the big man wouldn’t be sleeping either. He turned his head the other way and saw Rodney’s half open eyes and while Teyla’s eyes were closed, he suspected she wasn’t asleep either.

    A muffled sound from the other side of the cage caught his attention and he looked past Teyla to see Patch grab one of the women and all but throw her on the ground before he followed her down. It didn’t take a genius to see what was coming. Without really thinking, John found himself on his feet, Ronon right next to him. They crossed half the distance of the cell before some of Patch’s comrades stepped into their way. From the corner of his eye, John could see Ronon stop nose to nose with another prisoner while he focused his attention on the man in front of him. “Move,” John’s voice was low and full of the anger he felt in his gut but the man didn’t budge.

    John turned his head slightly and cocked a humorless brow at Ronon before he buried his fist in the man’s gut. At the same time, Ronon floored the other man with a wicked right cross. But, John only got two steps before a blow across his cheek staggered him. Somehow he managed to duck the left hook that followed it and raised his fist, only to see the man go down from a leg sweep by Teyla. It all happened so fast that Patch barely had time to react, before John roughly kicked him off the woman and stepped on his arm, grinding his combat boot harder against the bone every time Patch flinched. After a couple of struggles, and a hard kick in the ribs, Patch gave in and stopped fighting.

    “Bastard!” Patch gasped.

    “Funny,” John quipped darkly. “I was going to say the same thing.” He glanced at Teyla, who helped the woman sit up and then at Ronon who held one of Patch’s boys by the throat and half off the ground, all the while throwing the look of death at the others who apparently decided they didn’t need to be crossing the big man at this particular moment.

    “What now, hero?” Patch sneered.

    “Dunno,” John stepped down harder. “I haven’t decided if I’m going to let you go… or break your arm just for spite.” He ground Patch’s arm in the hard ground for good measure, watching as Patch flinched and paled against the pain.

    “Sheppard,” Rodney’s voice shook slightly and John turned to see five Wraith guards hurry towards the cell.

    Slowly, John stepped back, letting Patch go as the guards entered the cell. Two pointed stunners at Ronon who still held fast to his victim. Ronon looked at John who nodded slowly, before throwing the man on the floor and backing up. The guards swiftly removed the women from the cell and left. John slowly looked back towards Patch, meeting his burning gaze with a spiteful one of his own. If they hadn’t been on their guard before, they really were now. Patch wouldn’t forget what happened and John knew he’d have to be doubly aware to protect his team whenever Patch decided to even the score. Part of John cursed himself for getting involved, but it was only a small part. There was no way he would’ve sat by and watched Patch force himself on the woman, no matter what the situation was.

    “Thought you said no unnecessary risks,” Ronon muttered.

    John looked at his tall friend, reassured by the approving look in Ronon’s eyes. He quirked a brow. “I changed my mind.”

    “You do realize he’s not going to just let this go, don’t you?” Rodney whispered.

    “Didn’t have a choice.” John stared hard at Rodney, who looked away and silently nodded; his expression showing his agreement, even if he didn’t voice it. As Patch turned away and joined his comrades, John leaned against the wall and slowly slid to the ground.
    ------------------------------------------

    Lorne's arm unconsciously tightened against the nine mil secured under his shoulder as he and Halling walked into the dark building. A few people milled about but not nearly the number that would pass through Elena's shop as the day went on.

    From her place behind a tall, wooden counter, Elena looked up and met eyes with Halling for a moment, before gesturing for them to approach. As they made their way across the room, she squeezed the shoulder of a young girl, presumably her assistant, and whispered in her ear before she walked towards the back room.

    Wordlessly, Lorne and Halling followed. Lorne took a moment to look around, wary of even the few people in the shop. But, none seemed to take any interest in either of them, so he followed silently behind.

    Elena waited for them to enter the room, before closing the door. She turned and faced them, her expression guarded. "I have some information for you. I am not sure how helpful it will be though."

    Halling nodded. "Anything is better than the nothing we know now."

    Elena sighed deeply. "Most of who trade with me are culled and despise the Wraith as we do. However, some that come through those doors worship them. I do not enjoy trade with such people, but many things they offer, my customers wish to purchase." She waved her hand absently. "When last we spoke, I knew one such person was due to visit again to trade. He arrived yesterday and I asked him about the planet Teyla was taken from." She paused and looked away for a moment.

    "Elena?" Halling asked quietly.

    "The planet is one of many that are in the territory of a great alliance of four queens. They have come together to pool their strength and are nearly uncontested in this galaxy." She walked closer to Halling. "According to my contact, not all the humans taken in cullings in the Alliance's territory are fed upon. It is said that some of the humans are taken… for sport."

    Lorne squinted. "Runners?"

    Elena shook her head. "No. These queens enjoy combat. The strong and resistant ones culled are made to fight each other for the queens' amusement."

    "They put up one hell of a fight. If it was this Alliance that culled the planet…" Lorne's voice trailed off, his thought picked up by Halling.

    "Then it is possible this was their fate." Halling's gaze narrowed. "But they would not fight each other."

    "They do not have to," Elena answered. "Many humans are taken to fight. There will be no shortage of opponents."

    Lorne's mind raced. Where was this planet? How could they find it? Was a rescue even feasible? He immediately dismissed the last question. Feasible or not, he wasn't going to leave their people to fight and die in some Wraith coliseum. "How can we find them?" he asked quietly.

    Elena stared for a moment at him before answering. "I know of a planet where worshippers gather. It is possible you could obtain the address for this planet there." Her gaze narrowed. "But, have care. Worshippers are often fanatical in their devotion to the Wraith." She arched her brows briefly, as if the concept was so alien to her, she couldn't understand it. "If they find out your real intent…"

    "We're willing to take that risk." Lorne interrupted softly but insistently.

    Elena nodded back before handing him a worn piece of parchment with one gate address scrawled across it.

    Lorne exchanged hopeful looks with Halling, before the Athosian man bowed his head deeply at Elena.

    "My thanks for your help." Halling said.

    Elena's smile was genuine. "The Athosians have always traded fairly with me." She turned her gaze on Lorne. "And the Lanteans are the best hope for all of us."

    Lorne managed to keep the surprise from his face, if only barely. "Lanteans?"

    Elena's friendly gaze turned knowing. "Be at peace, Lorne. Your secret is safe with me. Long ago I heard that the Athosians had allied themselves with humans who were occupying the Ancestral city. I have heard of its destruction but it still stands to reason that your people escaped… and I see that I am right." She stepped closer and took Lorne's hand. "Your struggles and triumphs against the Wraith have not gone unnoticed in this galaxy, Lorne, not just by the Wraith, but by all of us. I do this not only for Teyla, but also for your people."

    Lorne stared at her for a moment before he tightened his grip around her hand. "Thank you."

    Elena stepped back and released his hand. "Go now. If I can be of any further assistance, you have only to ask."

    With one last nod to Elena, Halling led Lorne from the room. As they left the building, Lorne broached the question he knew both of them were thinking of. "Think Weir will go for it?"

    Halling's gaze narrowed slightly. "I am going to this world, if it means a chance to find Teyla and the others."

    Lorne nodded silently. Halling was free to do as he wanted. As they made their way back to the gate, Lorne wondered how the leader of Atlantis would react to sending people to a world full of Wraith worshippers.

    --------
    There wasn't a spot on John's body that wasn't sore. Over the last two days, he'd sparred five times, three times barely beating his opponent and he had the sore ribs, cuts and contusions to show for it. Ronon and Teyla hadn't been spared either. He thought back to the queen's words the first time he'd sparred…

    “A hive of this alliance was destroyed by your people. The queen and many Wraith died, and you will fight to redeem the lives of every one of them.”

    John sighed and swallowed against his dry throat. The food and water were sparse and he was starting to feel the effects of it. They were fed gruel once a day, with water coming twice a day and, in the last day, after each spar as well… but only to the victor. John pursed his lips. Not that the losers were allowed to live that often. In his five spars, three of his defeated opponents had been fed upon on the spot. As for other necessities, crude pots were supplied and everyone made do with little or no opportunity for privacy; something the Wraith didn't seem to care much about. John's nose wrinkled slightly. In this heat, it was unpleasant at best, but with the scare food and water, it seemed to suit their needs.

    His gaze traveled across the cell and settled on Patch, who appeared to be dozing in the mid-afternoon heat. Not that he'd ever sleep well here in the first place, but constantly knowing that Patch would eventually try something in retribution, didn't help. He glanced at Rodney, who sat quietly brooding. He knew the doctor was carrying guilt over all of this, even if it was unfounded. He was spared the exertion of fighting in the Round, but that only served as a constant reminder of why the rest of them fought over and over again. John's brows furrowed as he tried to concentrate, his mind constantly turning over and dismissing one escape plan after another. "Gotta find a way out of here soon," he muttered.

    "Without weapons," Teyla answered, "it is difficult to see how. There are many Wraith."

    "There has to be a way," John insisted. In the back of his mind he heard Della's words; warning him that before long, he'd only have the strength to survive, not to escape, but he immediately dismissed the thought. He'd be damned if he and his people were doomed to die in this Wraith hell hole. "We just have to find it," he finished confidently.

    "In the meantime, might I remind you that we still have these damn transmitters in our backs?" McKay interjected.

    "Think I can help with that," Ronon looked around to make sure they weren't being watched before he smiled slightly and reached into his impressive mass of dreadlocks. He carefully and discretely pulled out a small, sheathed blade. "They didn't find one," he quirked his brows slightly before pulling the knife out of its sheath.

    "Walking arsenal," John teased, but his voice was filled with respect. "Have any more of those around?"

    Ronon shook his head. "No. Kept this one hidden, even in fights. Didn't want the Wraith to find it."

    "You know," Rodney's voice was tinged with irritation, "you could let the rest of us in on these little secrets every once in a while."

    Ronon kept his small smile. "Figured I'd say something when we needed it." He turned the blade slightly, letting the dim light catch its surface. "Good and sharp."

    "Oh my God," Rodney's eyes widened as he jumped to the same conclusion Ronon had come to. "You can't be serious!" he hissed. “You want to cut these things out? With no Novocain? In this dirt bowl?”

    John sighed, letting his gaze linger on the blade for another moment before he looked up at Rodney. "Don't see where we have much choice."

    "We cannot escape with these transmitters still in our backs," Teyla added softly.

    Rodney swallowed hard and after a moment, nodded. "Have I mentioned lately how much this entire situation just sucks?"

    Ronon sheathed the knife and buried in his hair once again.

    "First," John pulled his knees up and rested his arms on them. "We need an escape plan."

    "Have anything in mind?" Ronon asked.

    John's gaze narrowed. "Not yet, but I'm working on it."

    -------------------------

    Elizabeth found that she could no longer sit still in her chair as Lorne and Halling explained what Elena had told them. Wraith worshippers? After Sheppard’s team was captured and escaped from the Wraith last year, she knew worshippers existed, but until now they'd never had to deal with them. She stood and paced slowly behind her desk, her arms crossed and unconsciously hugging her body. It wasn't the first time she'd had to deal with fanatics driven by some deep rooted religious belief, but she'd never been able to completely understand what drove people to be that way. One thing she did know was that fanatics were rash, unpredictable and dangerous.

    "I will travel to this planet to try and find Teyla and Colonel Sheppard's team," Halling finished his debriefing.

    "Request permission to accompany Halling, ma'am," Lorne immediately asked.

    Forcing one hand to release the death hold she had on her arm, she rubbed her brow and sighed. "Gentlemen, I don’t think I need to point out how potentially dangerous this could be."

    "I will go," Halling answered resolutely, "no matter the danger. Teyla is the leader of my people and I believe that Colonel Sheppard would do the same, were our positions reversed."

    Elizabeth turned towards the window and stared at the Stargate. She couldn't dispute that logic and could picture John standing in her office, arguing until he was blue in the face, for even a slim chance to find anyone he cared about. A strained smile barely touched her mouth as she realized she never had a choice in the first place. This was something they had to do, no matter the danger.

    "Ma'am, it really is the only shot we have." Lorne said quietly.

    She let her gaze linger on the Stargate for one more moment before she turned and faced two expectant gazes. Seating herself behind her desk again, she folded her hands on the smooth surface and nodded. "How do you recommend we proceed, Major?"

    Lorne seemed to relax slightly as he sat back in his chair. "As much as I'd love to take a team in there, grab people and demand to know where Colonel Sheppard's team is, it's probably best that Halling and I go in, undercover and see what we can find out."

    "I agree," Halling nodded. "Just the two of us is far less conspicuous."

    Halling pursed his lips and Elizabeth could see tension ripple through his body.

    "We can go under the guise of being Wraith worshippers," Halling added quietly a note of contempt in his voice.

    "Maybe we can get someone to trust us enough to give us some information," Lorne interjected. "It's a long shot, but right now the only one we have."

    Elizabeth stared Halling in the eye for a moment noting the lingering tension in his body. He'd seen many of his people taken by the Wraith in his lifetime, including Tagon, Teyla's father and even his own wife. To masquerade as a Wraith worshipper… "Halling, I'm sorry it has to be this way."

    Halling's eyes narrowed slightly in recognition, his nod barely perceptible. "There is no other way. I will not see Teyla or Colonel Sheppard's team die at the hands of the Wraith. Not if there is anything I can do to prevent it.”

    She nodded. "When will you be ready to leave?"

    Lorne stood and brushed the front of his jacket; the same one he wore to Medarka. "I don't see any reason why we can't leave right away. The sooner we get there, the sooner we find out about our people."

    Elizabeth nodded to her determined Major. "Go. Stay safe."

    Lorne nodded back. "Yes, ma'am."

    She watched as both men quickly walked through ops; Lorne ordering a technician to dial the gate. Turning she continued watching them as they descended the stairs, crossed the Gate room and disappeared through the wormhole. Even after the gate deactivated, she still stared at it, willing all her people to come home safely.

    -----------------------

    John's gaze narrowed as he watched the Wraith lay out what he could only call logs, around the Round. They weren't wood, rather they were made of whatever organic substance was used to make just about anything Wraith in origin. They were thick boles, at least a foot in diameter, curved and close to ten feet long. Laid end to end, they made a large, roughly circular perimeter.

    "A Border Fight," Della seemed to sense his curiosity and walked up next to him. She looked at John through the crossbars that separated their cells. "The fighters must stay within the circle, or they are punished with stunners."

    "Stunners?" Ronon asked as he walked up next to John, but it was John that beat Della to the answer. “How is stunning one of the fighters punishment?”

    "Stunners have more than one setting," John said quietly as he was forced to relive memories. "They don’t have to knock you cold. Some of the settings…" he drew in a deep breath, "are pretty painful." He glanced at Teyla and Rodney, who were silent, each of their expressions showing they knew he was speaking from experience.

    "You have encountered this before?" Della asked.

    John nodded slightly. "Couple years ago. Wraith used it to… interrogate me." He fixed his gaze on the Round, unable to make eye contact with anyone. It'd been two years, but the pain; the torture, were still as fresh in his memory as if it'd been yesterday. The Wraith male… the stunner… questions he wouldn't answer. John closed his eyes for a moment before taking a deep breath and changing the subject. "Wonder who they'll pick?" He glanced at Ronon, whose narrowed gaze showed that more emotion then John had wanted to show had been revealed anyway.

    After a minute Ronon answered. “Hopefully, me.”

    John’s expression turned cynical. “Should’ve expected that…” his voice trailed off as Harry and three guards walked towards their cell. Even before Harry could order it, John knew he was the target. Harry’s gaze left no room for doubt. “Aw, hell…”

    “You.” Harry pointed at John. “And you.” His point shifted to one of Patch’s boys.

    John took a moment to glare at his opponent, the very same man he’d leveled a couple days ago to earn their place in the food line. “Great,” he muttered.

    John took one step before being stopped by Ronon’s hand on his forearm.

    “Watch it,” Ronon stared intently at John.

    “Yeah, think this one has a grudge,” McKay piped in.

    “Definitely,” John answered. He nodded once at each of them before following his opponent and the Wraith from the cell.

    As he entered the Round, John felt the familiar surge of adrenaline course through him in response to what he knew was coming. He sent a spiteful glare over his right shoulder at the three queens in attendance before stepping over one of the borders and into the designated fight area. He looked around. The circle was roughly thirty feet in diameter and John quirked his brows. One thing was sure; they’d be fighting in pretty close quarters. He tensed as his opponent stepped into the circle before two Wraith guards dropped two sets of sticks, roughly resembling Athosian Bantos Rods, in the circle with them; one set behind each combatant.

    Wasting no time, John leapt for his set of sticks, sensing that his opponent did the same. He spared a moment for relief that of the five, now six spars he’d fought, he’d never been forced to pick up a sword… yet. John grabbed the sticks, spun and faced off with his opponent. Scattered around the perimeter, Wraith guards, armed with stunners, waited for one of the combatants to step out of the circle.

    John moved to his left as he twirled the sticks, casually testing their balance. Internally, he sighed as his opponent did the same, demonstrating with ease, that he had more than just a passing familiarity with this kind of weapon. Within John, all thoughts of a swift victory died. He looked past the disappointment, trying to identify weaknesses in his opponent, while doing his best to cover any that he might have. Suddenly, the man was driving him back with a flurry of blows that John struggled to repel. Like a gymnast on a floor routine, instinctively he could sense the barrier behind him, knowing he was close to stepping out of bounds. Slipping inside his opponent’s guard, he sidestepped a blow and twisted left, barely avoiding the boundary in the process.

    The man’s calculated gaze narrowed as he realized he faced someone who also had skill. Cautiously, he circled right.

    John circled left, keeping himself a fair distance from the man as he again looked for a weakness. Raising his sticks, he pressed an attack, driving his opponent back. Employing one of many moves Teyla taught him, John leveled a blow at the man’s head, which he predictably parried. Abruptly, John twisted his wrist, throwing his weight behind the shift and pulling his opponent off balance. Wasting no time, John landed a solid kick to his mid-section, the force propelling the man out of the boundary.

    His opponent made it to his knees, before a Wraith guard jabbed him in the back with a stunner.

    John resisted the urge to wince as the man’s scream echoed through the Round. The Wraith stepped back as the man struggled to his feet. Before he could fully gain his balance, the Wraith propelled him back into the circle.

    John pushed aside all sympathy. He had to. It was the only way to survive. Before his opponent could recover, John pressed his attack, but was taken off guard as the man managed to not only raise a defense, but also struck a blow to John’s upper left arm that left his hand numb. The stick slid uselessly from his left hand as he raised his right in defense but one handed, he was no match and suddenly, John found himself outside the circle. He rolled to his knees and braced himself, wrapping his emotions tightly in his anger and letting it steel his resolve as one of the Wraith guards descended on him.

    Agony swept through him and with it, horrid memories that he’d worked hard to put behind him. Pain… his breath stolen from his body… A tormented scream was torn from his throat and it felt like an eternity before the pain ended. The Wraith hauled him to his feet and threw him back into the circle. John barely stayed on his feet and had no time to raise a defense as his opponent backhanded him viciously before bringing his sticks around to sweep John’s legs out from under him.

    John hit the ground hard, his momentum rolling him onto his stomach. Face down in the sand, John struggled to mount some sort of defense. He knew his opponent was closing in to finish this fight and he realized his life was now measure in minutes if he didn’t do something. Dimly, he heard an angered shout coming from the direction of the Pit; the unmistakable voice of Ronon.

    “SHEPPARD!”

    Damn it, Sheppard! John berated himself. It’s not going to end this way! Mustering all the strength he had, John rolled, letting his momentum carry into his leg. Combat boot struck soft flesh then hard bone. His opponent, bent over to finish the job, got a kick in the face for his effort.

    Staggering, the man cried out in pain.

    Feeling was only starting to come back to his left arm so John just grabbed one stick with his right hand and launched himself at his opponent. They went down in a tangle of arms and legs, but John rolled, managing to pin the man on his stomach. Reaching around from behind, John pulled the stick against the man’s throat as hard as he could. Forcing his tingling left hand to comply, he slowly cut off his opponent’s air. John clenched his teeth, holding onto his resolution as the man choked, his struggling turning feeble. John held on a moment longer, until a Wraith guard pointed his stunner at him and grunted.

    Letting go of the stick, John rolled off him and lay in the sand, his chest heaving in exertion. He turned his head and looked at his opponent. Even though he’d been fighting for his life, in the back of his mind, John never lost touch with the reality of his situation. Killing anyone in the Round was still too risky and he had to avoid it at all costs. Yeah, he’d strangled his opponent, but only until the man was defeated, nothing more. John had no doubt he could’ve killed him and given different circumstances he probably would’ve. He turned his head again as a dark shadow descended over him.

    Brandishing a stun rifle, one of the Wraith guards motioned at him, insisting that he stand up and John struggled to comply. On wobbly legs, he looked towards the queens, still managing to give them the look of death.

    Slowly, the white haired queen stood. “Take him away, but bring me the loser.”

    John staggered a couple steps before two Wraith guards grabbed him and half dragged him from the Round. They stopped only long enough for one of the worker humans to hand him a cup of water, which he forced himself to drink slowly. He focused down on the cup and tuned out the scream coming from the Round as his opponent met his fate. The water was warm and stale, but it still revived him and as John proceeded to his cell, he managed to walk more than he was dragged.

    The guards roughly shoved him into the cell and John would’ve taken a header had it not been for Ronon. He held tightly to the big man’s arms and grunted, but Ronon’s strong grip held fast. John managed to regain his balance and turned towards the back wall.

    “God! I thought you were dead!” Rodney hovered nearby as did Teyla.

    Slowly and with Ronon’s help, John limped to the wall. He carefully lowered himself to the ground. “Thanks… for the vote of confidence… McKay,” he grunted as he settled to the ground and leaned back against the cool stone.

    “That’s not what I meant…” Rodney stammered as he crouched in front of John and stared intently at him. “I just…”

    “McKay,” John interrupted. He locked gazes with Rodney for a moment and nodded once at the relief he saw in his friend’s face. “I get it.”

    “Well fought, John,” Della nodded at him through the bars. “He was undefeated.” She looked away for a moment. “In a way, I am surprised the queens killed him. He was an exceptional fighter.”

    “You don’t have to tell me that,” John quipped weakly.

    “Had me worried for a minute there,” Ronon sat down next to John.

    “I as well,” Teyla smiled thinly at him.

    “You’re not the only ones,” John answered. He closed his eyes and for a moment, he was content to just breathe, letting each inhale rejuvenate his body. Finally, he spoke again. “That was closer then I like.” He flexed his left hand, relieved that the tingling was nearly gone and the feeling had returned. He twisted his arm and winced at the welt forming just below his shoulder.

    “You’re not hurt, are you?” Rodney asked, his eyes widening in concern.

    John shook his head. “No. Not bad anyway. Just hit a nerve when he got that lucky shot on me. Hand was numb for a bit, but its okay now.” As if to prove his point, John flexed his fingers again.

    “You displayed significant skill, John,” Teyla smiled slightly.

    John returned the expression. “I have you to thank… and Kelin,” he added, naming Teyla’s childhood tutor and his close friend. “And the fact that I was fighting for my life.” He quirked his brows. “That tends to be a good motivator.”

    “Still,” Teyla sighed, “the spars seem to be getting more difficult.”

    Silently, John just nodded in agreement. Inside he knew the clock was ticking. They had to find a way to escape and soon.

    Part 3

              Spirit Part 4/5        


    The hot sand under John’s feet was familiar. He’d stepped into the Round enough times for the heat seeping through the soles of his boots to instantly spark a wave of adrenaline in him. A loud, grinding sound behind him caused John to turn his head slightly and he watched as a large grate was moved across the entrance to the Round, blocking it. John let his gaze travel to the four queens that sat motionless and watching. Only two males stood between them and the open Round, but they didn’t seem concerned. “What makes them think the Malneks won’t attack them instead of us?” He wondered aloud.

    Ronon shrugged. “It’d be nice,” he muttered.

    “The males will protect them,” Patch offered gruffly. “I’ve seen it before.”

    John eyed him cautiously. He didn’t doubt the strength of Wraith males, he’d encountered it enough times to know, but still it seemed like a pointless danger. “Really?”

    Patch glared at him. “Yeah. The Malneks never get close.”

    “Telepathy,” Rodney piped in. “Has to be. Wraith can bend the minds of humans to their will and while the queens have much stronger telepathy, animals have to be much easier to influence. I’ll bet the males could do it. I mean all they’d have to do is send a thought or image or something painful. That can’t be as hard as bending a human mind to their will.”

    “That is what the Wraith male on Atlantis did to me when I entered his mind,” Teyla interjected, speaking of Bob who they’d captured during the Siege, “I do not remember what it was that he projected to me, only that it was very painful.”

    Any further comment died on John’s lips as the four queens stood and walked into the Round. One of the queens, her hair white, locked eyes with him an instant before he felt her enter his mind. Grunting, John resisted, but it was in vain as she forced him to his knees.

    “Sheppard!”

    “John!”

    Ronon and Teyla’s outbursts were simultaneous but they were stopped in their tracks by the other queens, and several guards with stunners.

    John couldn’t tear his eyes from the white haired queen as she stared down at him, her expression leering. He flinched as she ran the back of one finger down his cheek.

    “It is a shame,” she purred quietly. “You would’ve made such a fine worshipper.”

    “Not… a chance….” John managed through clenched teeth.

    “And that is why you are here,” she removed her hand. “It is possible you will die today, human, for the beasts are fierce.” She circled him. “What do you think of that?”

    John shook in rage as he fought against her control. “I’ll die knowing… my people will beat… yours.”

    She completed her circle and stopped in front of him again. “Such spirit,” she hissed quietly. “I long to feed… and savor the taste of your defiance.”

    John swallowed hard and steeled himself as an eager look crossed her face. “And rob you… of your… sport?”

    The queen stepped back and instantly, John felt her leave his mind, removing a great weight that had pushed him down and into submission. He exhaled hard and slumped, just barely staying on his knees.

    The other queens released Ronon and Teyla as well, before the four of them returned to their chairs.

    Thrones, John amended darkly. He slowly pushed himself to his feet and turned. Six Wraith aimed stunners at them, while two more dropped weapons in front of the humans.

    Ronon immediately went for a long sword while Teyla took up a short one. John grabbed a third sword, its length something in between and grabbed a short blade for Rodney, while Patch grabbed the remaining one.

    John held the sword tightly, cursing the necessity. Ronon had only just started to show him how to fight with a sword, something definitely not in the skill set for the USAF. He shot a brief look Patch’s direction, before turning his attention back to his team as they closed ranks. John held the short knife out to Rodney, hilt first. “Take this.”

    “What the hell am I supposed to do with that?” Rodney snapped, his tone holding more fear than anger.

    “Stab anything that growls,” John answered, “except Ronon,” he added darkly.

    “This is NOT the time to be making wise cracks!” Rodney snatched the knife from John’s hands.

    Any trace of dark humor faded from John. “I won’t have you standing out here defenseless, McKay.”

    “As if somehow the knife changes that,” Rodney muttered, but John ignored him.

    Standing close to Rodney he nodded at Ronon and Teyla. “Stay alive. Do whatever it takes.”

    “You too,” Ronon answered.

    John stared for a moment at the sheen of sweat on Ronon’s brow and the dark circles under his eyes and knew that an infection from his wound was starting to get the best of him. Even healthy, the Malneks would be a challenge to all of them, but with Ronon weakened… John shook off the thought and took a deep breath as he turned his attention to the large cage in the center of the Round. Without preamble, another Wraith lifted a sturdy latch and threw the cage door open.

    The Malneks needed no encouragement. Almost instantly, the black beasts leapt from the cage, snarling and growling as all eight turned their attention to the humans before them.

    John swallowed against his instinctive and primal fear as eight sets of predatory eyes stared back at him and his team. He felt his shoulder brush against Rodney’s. “Stay close, watch each other’s backs.”

    “They hunt and kill as a pack,” Patch added, “I’ve watched them in the Round before. They’ll try to separate one of us from the group.”

    “All the more reason to stay together,” John answered. He lifted his sword and pulled in a quick breath as the Malneks charged. John had seen how big they’d looked in their cages, but that did no justice to their size and formidable presence as they bore down on him and his team. Wolves on Earth had nothing on these things.

    Two Malneks came straight at him and John swung his sword, blade meeting flesh, but only barely. The Malnek he hit jumped back, before launching itself at Rodney.

    Rodney bumped into John as he tried to get out of the beast’s way and cried out as the animal’s claw raked across his forearm.

    John slashed at the attacker and hissed in pain as another harried his side, teeth grazing across his ribcage.

    No matter how much the group tried to stay together, the Malneks mercilessly charged amongst them, pushing each team member away from the other.

    Inwardly, John cursed but he refused to be separated from Rodney. He eyed the two Malneks that followed him. Their lips curled back, revealing sharp teeth, the Malneks snarled as they cautiously paced in front of him, just outside of sword range. Almost in synch, the two Malneks turned opposite directions and started circling John and Rodney. John chanced a glance at his team mates. Ronon had killed one already and was facing off with another while Patch and Teyla both faced four more.

    John pressed his back against Rodney’s, as he stepped in a small circle, trying to watch both Malneks at once. He could feel Rodney’s rapid breaths against his back. “Stab anything that comes at you, McKay,” he whispered.

    “You do realize you’re pointing out the obvious?” Rodney snapped in a harsh whisper.

    “McKay.” John’s gaze narrowed as he stared at the Malnek standing only a few feet away. “You can do this. You have to.”

    “Right… Shit!”

    John didn’t have time to react to the Malnek that launched itself at Rodney, he was too busy fending off an attack from the other one, that charged him at the same time. John struck out with his blade as the Malnek leapt for his throat, catching it in the midsection. The weight of the beast on his sword tip pulled John off balance and away from Rodney, but for the moment, he focused on making sure that when this Malnek went down, it stayed down.

    John followed the beast to the ground and drove the blade deep into its gut.

    The Malnek’s snarl turned to a cry of pain before it went limp.

    John pulled his sword free and spun, charging on the Malnek that snapped at Rodney. It sported a deep bleeding cut on the side of its face, proof that Rodney was at least putting up a fight, but it didn’t seem deterred one bit. John pushed aside all hesitation as the Malnek leapt onto Rodney, knocking him to the ground. With a loud shout, John brought the sword down on the animal’s back and felt bone crunch under his blow. Abruptly, the Malnek went limp and still. He pushed the beast off Rodney and offered a hand, only to tense as Rodney’s eyes widened in panic.

    “Watch out!”

    John spun, but was just a second too late to fully parry a blow Patch aimed at him. Patch’s sword glanced across his right arm, leaving a deep red gash behind it.

    John leapt back, his hand reflexively grasping the wound before he glared at Patch. “You son of a bitch!”

    Patch stared coldly back and in that instant, John could see the depth of helplessness that plagued the man; helplessness he buried under rage and anger. John realized that before him stood a man that had nothing to lose, no fear of death and was consumed by hate, frustration and vengeance.

    John quickly glanced at Ronon as the big man’s shout echoed. One Malnek had managed to latch onto his arm, only briefly, but long enough to inflict damage. John struggled to temper his rage. His team mates were fighting for their lives. He had no time for this.

    “Time for you to die,” Patch spat.

    John lifted his sword, wondering how, exactly, he was going to beat the man. He parried a blow meant for his head but only barely. John found himself on the defensive, unable to launch any sort of counter attack against the clearly superior skills of Patch. John staggered, struggling to parry another blow and for an instant, his guard dropped. It was all Patch needed to graze John’s side with the edge of his blade.

    Grunting in pain, John ducked out of the way, preventing the blow from turning deadly. He lifted his sword to again face the man.

    Abruptly, Patch staggered, crying out in pain and John was almost too surprised to react. Relying more on instinct than anything, he lashed out, his sword taking Patch in the gut.

    Patch’s eyes widened for a moment, before he slumped to the ground. John just stared, shocked, at Rodney’s knife, buried to the hilt in Patch’s thigh. Clearly, he hadn’t thought of Rodney, who still sat on the ground, as a threat; a misjudgment that cost him his life. John glanced at Rodney for only a second.

    “Don’t say I never did anything for you,” Rodney answered as he struggled to his feet.

    “Come on!” John urged and he turned his attention back to his team mates. Teyla was backed against the wall, valiantly fending off the attack of two Malneks. Two lay at Ronon’s feet while one yapped and snarled at him.

    John did a quick head count, including the ones he’d killed. “That’s only seven…” He whirled around, just in time to see a Malnek leap at him.

    “John!” Rodney shouted.

    Air exploded out of John’s lungs as he landed hard, his sword flying from his hand. The weight of the Malnek on his chest was suffocating. Before he could react, the Malnek sunk its teeth into his left bicep and in a moment of white hot pain, he felt the sharp teeth meat his bone. John couldn’t stifle the loud, hoarse cry that escaped him as he pushed futilely at the beast’s head.

    Abruptly, the Malnek let go and snarled before jumping off him and John caught a glimpse of the hilt of Rodney’s knife in the animal’s side. Holding his injured arm close, John grabbed his sword and threw himself on the beast, stopping it short of attacking his now unarmed friend.

    Attacking the only part of the beast he could reach with a sword, John cut deep into the Malnek’s throat, turning his head as blood splattered his face. Rolling off the beast, John pushed himself to his knees and then, through blunt determination, to his feet. Blood flowed freely down his arm, and his legs threatened to collapse under him, but he pulled on every scrap of stubbornness he had to stay on his feet. Ronon still faced off with one Malnek, while Teyla still faced two. “Teyla!” John shouted as one got the best of her and drove her to the ground. He forced himself into something that resembled running, but only got half way to his team mate before the other Malnek she had faced, charged him. He staggered to a stop as the beast snarled at him. From the corner of his eye, he watched Teyla nimbly roll the beast over before delivering a lethal blow to the back of its skull.

    His one arm nearly useless, John shouldered Rodney behind him. His eyes never left the Malnek, but as he raised his sword to defend himself from the leaping beast, it abruptly crumpled to the ground, Ronon’s thrown sword protruding from its side. John sagged, only staying on his feet by sheer willpower and adrenaline. He looked up as Ronon shakily walked over to him. The big Satedan was sporting numerous cuts and wounds, the bite on his forearm being the most serious, but the bleeding was slow and mostly superficial from what John could tell. He was pale, in spite of his brown complexion, but seemed okay on the surface. John looked to Teyla who also carried several minor wounds but was none the worse for wear. The same could be said for Rodney who’d miraculously come through relatively unscathed.

    It was only then that John looked down at his arm and realized how bad it was. Ragged gashes from the Malnek’s teeth circled his bicep and bled freely. His hand felt numb and he seriously doubted he’d be able to raise his arm at all. The two gashes Patch had left him with were only slightly less serious and still bled as well. He suddenly felt light headed, and suspected it was from more than just fighting over and over with scant food and water.

    “Your arm,” Rodney whispered. “Oh God, when the queens see that…”

    John didn’t need Rodney to finish the sentence to come to the same conclusion. The wound was bad and his chances of leaving the Round alive weren’t good. He drew in a deep breath and looked directly at Ronon. “Don’t do anything stupid,” he managed. “That’s an order. Elizabeth and our people will find us… you.” He glanced at Teyla and Rodney. “I’m ordering all of you to be alive when they do.”

    “John,” Teyla started.

    “Teyla.” John looked back at her for a moment, determined to make her see his point. If he couldn’t live, he was going to make damned sure his team did.

    “We can’t, I mean there has to be something…” Rodney stammered.

    John drew himself up straight as the white haired queen stood and walked towards them.

    ---------------------

    Hide!

    It was the first thought that went through Lorne’s mind as the Jumper rematerialized and shot from the wormhole into the bright sunlight. But he knew, as he felt stun blasts hit the hull, it hadn’t been quick enough. Banking hard, he used their invisibility to his advantage and flew away from the Wraith guards who still blindly fired into the air.

    “Damn it!” Lorne shook his head.

    “Couldn’t have cloaked it any faster, sir,” Lieutenant Simms commented quietly. “We didn’t have a whole lot of choices. A MALP on recon would’ve only told them we were coming.”

    “I know,” Lorne admitted. For a moment he damned the efficiency of the Ancient cloaking technology; so efficient that a Jumper couldn’t cloak before entering a wormhole. They’d tried it with an unmanned one, and found themselves one Jumper short. The cloaking technology was so complete that nothing rematerialized on the other side. How the Jumper de-materialized in the first place, McKay had no idea. But, it didn’t really matter. The whole point was they had to be uncloaked to enter a wormhole… something of a disadvantage when stealth was your trump card. But then again, Lorne concluded, the Ancients probably didn’t do a hell of a lot of recon in Jumpers. There was some evidence of recon missions in the Ancients’ past, but not a lot. With superior technology, they could win any all out fight. Why risk it?

    Lorne pulled his thoughts back to the task on hand. “That settles it then,” he muttered. “There’s no going back for reinforcements. All that’ll do is let the Wraith either reinforce their position, or just plain leave, taking our people with them or…” he left the unpleasant alternative unvoiced.

    “Yes, sir,” Simms nodded before turning to the team waiting tensely in the back of the Jumper. “Get ready.”

    Lorne activated the HUD and scrutinized the life form readings. Wraith were everywhere, but that was expected. What surprised him was the high concentration of humans in a relatively small area. Lorne shook his head. “No signal from their sub-q transmitters.” Not that he was surprised. The Wraith surely would’ve deactivated or removed them long before now. “Looks like we find them the old fashioned way.” Lorne turned the Jumper towards the highest concentration of human life signs and urged her into overdrive.
    ----------------------
    For the second time that day, John felt the oppressive force of the queen’s mind on his and in spite of his best efforts, his knees buckled. Not that he was able to put up much of a fight in the first place, hell, his legs had be threatening to betray him on their own accord anyway.

    “John!”

    John managed to turn his head in time to see McKay, his entire body rigid, fall to his knees under the control of another queen. Past him, Ronon met the same fate at the hands of a third queen and Teyla fell to the fourth.

    John returned his attention to the white haired queen as she walked up to him and looked down. Slowly, her gaze passed over his body, lingering on his mangled arm. Her eyes once more met his and her expression turned eager.

    “Your wounds are severe, human.” She hissed quietly. “You will not survive them in the Pit.”

    John’s stomach did summersaults and he knew it was from more than her mental connection. He was bleeding badly and its effects were settling into his undernourished body rapidly. Still, he found strength in his blunt stubbornness; something that had got him into trouble more than once, but at times like this, he embraced it. “Care to… take a bet… on that?” He managed as he fought her control.

    The queen lightly fingered the spikes of hair on his crown. “You are strong.” She dropped her hand. “Still, you will not survive your wounds without care… and I am not inclined to give it to you.”

    “Why am I not… surprised?” John shot back.

    She turned and looked at Ronon, who fought the control of the black haired queen. For several moments, the two queens silently locked gazes apparently communicating before the white haired one looked back to John. “Your companion is weakened by fever and wounds. He will not survive either.”

    “Still strong enough… to kill …you…” Ronon managed through clenched teeth.

    She ignored him, her attention centered on John. “It is best to deal quickly with those weakened by fever.”

    John felt his body tremble uncontrollably under her control but still, he fought. “Is that what… you did to… Della? Dealt with… her?”

    The queen’s gaze narrowed and instantly, John felt her mind press harder against his before it retreated slightly and the queen nodded in understanding.

    “The female,” she concluded. “Yes.” She looked away for a moment, almost as if she was bored. “Her death was… swifter then I would’ve liked.”

    For a moment, John’s wounds were forgotten as he felt a surge of strength, driven by anger. He lifted himself slightly, but it was a brief victory as the queen glared at him and snarled, her mind weighing on him like an anvil. John grunted loudly. “You… bitch!” he choked.

    But, the white haired queen seemed distracted. Her eyes narrowed in anger before she hissed loudly. She glared down at John. “Your people come for you!”

    In spite of her control, John managed a humorless smile. “Told… you…”

    The queen’s eyes bore into him and suddenly pain ripped through his injured arm. A strangled cry escaped his lips and the queen smiled in response, before the pain redoubled.

    John could feel the sweat trickling down his face as he struggled to even breathe. Somehow, the queen was augmenting the pain from his injuries, elevating it to near excruciating levels.

    The queen’s smile was triumphant. Poised over him, she raised her feeding hand.
    --------------------
    At first, Lorne couldn’t quite believe his eyes. Of all the human life signs they’d detected, the chances of easily spotting their people had been next to none. But right in front of him, he saw all four. Surprise gave way to urgency as his mind registered what he was seeing. “Queens!”

    “Sir!” Simms piped in, “the Colonel!”

    Lorne’s eyes widened. “Damn it!” Poised over Sheppard, the queen was too close for a drone. Lorne closed his eyes briefly and commanded the Jumper to disengage the cloak.

    The moment of surprise was apparently all that Ronon needed. As Lorne lowered the Jumper quickly towards the ground he watched as the Satedan, freed of the control by a distracted black haired queen, leapt up and grabbed her head, snapping her neck instantly.

    Hovering a couple feet above ground, Lorne figured he was close enough. “Go!” he shouted to the Marines as he smacked the hatch release. “Take out the queens first if you can!” He nodded to Simms as the lieutenant sprang from his chair and grabbed his P-90. Every fiber in Lorne’s body wanted to go with him, but he forced himself to stay in the seat. Their surprise attack would undoubtedly bring reinforcements and he could help the team much more by using the Jumper’s drones to stop them.

    As Simms and the last of the Marines jumped from the back of the Jumper, Lorne closed the hatch and ascended. Watching the HUD closely, he chose his first set of targets; a large group of Wraith moving towards their position.

    --------------
    John felt his death approaching, but, as was his nature, he met the prospect with his eyes open, and a blunt determination to survive. He pushed back against her control, against the pain and held onto a thin strand of hope.

    “You’re optimistic to the point of nauseating, Sheppard.”

    For a moment, the memory of the hellhole that passed for an Afghan prison invaded his thoughts.

    John stared at his copilot. “Yep. They’ll come for us.”

    He’d gotten out of there alive, even if his teammate hadn’t. Briefly, John wondered if this time, his luck had run out.

    Pulling himself back to the present, John stared defiantly at the queen and struggled to bite back his grunts of pain. His whole body shook with the effort, but he refused to back down.

    Movement from the corner of his eye coincided with the fire of pain ebbing in his body. It was still there, still considerable, but it was almost blissfully non-existent compared to the queen’s manipulation. He turned his head and caught sight of a Jumper appearing from nowhere. Abruptly, the queen’s mind left his. Pushed beyond what his injured body could take, the void left by the queen’s consciousness was filled with blackness and helplessly, John succumbed to it.

    ------------------------
    Ronon embraced the moment of vengeful pleasure he felt as the queen’s body go limp in his grip. With a growl of his own he dropped her body and started towards the queen that held Sheppard in her grasp. The warrior within him wanted nothing more than to run her down and kill her, but as she turned away from Sheppard, loyalty to his friend took over within Ronon as he watched Sheppard collapse.

    Running to the body of a dead Malnek, Ronon never broke stride as he grabbed his sword and forcefully yanked it from the carcass, before he turned towards his friend. Staggering to a stop next to Sheppard, Ronon tightly gripped the sword with both hands. A cold, half smile turned up one side of his mouth, as he silently dared any Wraith to come within striking distance of him.

    ---------------------
    She wouldn’t leave Rodney’s side, no matter what happened. Abruptly, as the queens retreated under the attack of the Lanteans, she found herself with the option to actually move, and she chose to stay at Rodney’s side.

    Teyla saw John collapse, unconscious but not fed upon and she saw Ronon charge to his defense.

    “We have to get the hell out of here!” Rodney insisted as he pointed towards another entrance on the far side of the Round, where at least a dozen Wraith were running towards them. “Before they get in range!”

    Teyla grabbed his arm and started running towards the Marines laying down cover fire. “Run, Rodney!” Grateful she didn’t have to ask more than once, Teyla restricted her stride to match Rodney’s and stayed with him as they headed towards the Marines, who were rapidly circling Ronon and Sheppard.
    --------------------------
    “Oh, no you don’t,” Lorne muttered aloud as he watched the Wraith race towards his people. Briefly closing his eyes, Lorne sent three drones directly at them. He smiled as the drones, far enough from his people not to hurt them, impacted, consuming the Wraith in a flash of orange and yellow. Lorne smacked his headset. “Simms! High tail it! It’s not going to take them long to come at us again!”

    Concentrating on the HUD, Lorne landed the Jumper and opened the hatch, all the while keeping an eye out for his next target.

    ------------------------------
    Ronon lowered his sword as the constant gunfire from the Marines took out the remaining Wraith with only one soldier going down to stunner fire. Another Marine grabbed the stunned soldier as Ronon dropped to Sheppard’s side, turning his friend on his back and frowning at his pale skin. Ronon fought back his fatigue and lightheadedness as one of the soldiers, Lieutenant Simms he recalled, stopped in front of him.

    “You okay?”

    “Been better,” Ronon answered quietly.

    “Anderson! Reeves! The Colonel!” Simms ordered.

    The two Marines ran up to Sheppard and carefully picked him up as mindful of his wounds as they could be.

    Ronon watched them for a moment before begrudgingly admitting to himself that he probably didn’t have the strength to carry his injured friend. He took a moment to look at Teyla and Rodney as they joined the group. Fatigue made Ronon’s legs heavy, but he forced them to move as they headed to the Jumper while the remaining Marines covered their six.

    ---------------------
    Every part of Rodney’s body shook as he dropped into a seat in the back of the Jumper. His gaze focused on Sheppard’s unconscious form as two Marines laid him on the floor before another closed the hatch.

    “Hang on!” Lorne’s order sounded from the cockpit and Rodney felt himself rocked to his left as the Jumper lurched off the ground. Reaching out to steady himself, he inadvertently bumped into Ronon who sat next to him. Rodney looked up, meeting the Satedan’s gaze. Ronon’s eyes were bloodshot, his face was pale and if it was anyone else, Rodney would’ve sworn he looked weak… something he’d never voice to Ronon. But, in that silent moment Rodney was sure one thought passed between them.

    We’re alive.

    Rodney nodded slightly before pulling in a deep breath and standing. He wormed his way through a couple Marines and came up behind Lorne’s chair. “Wraith at the gate?”

    “Not that I can tell yet,” Lorne answered. He chanced a glance at Rodney. “Could be a bumpy ride, McKay. Better sit down.”

    “Yes, thank you Dad,” Rodney snapped, but the effort to even snark at Lorne was almost too much. He staggered, before quickly grabbing the back of Lorne’s chair. He wasn’t sporting the injuries Sheppard and Ronon were, but dehydration, malnourishment and exhaustion were taking their toll on him, in spite of the adrenaline all of them had relied on to survive the fight.

    “That wasn’t a request, Doc,” Lorne added, his tone hardening slightly while his gaze never left the HUD.

    Ten different snappy comebacks flashed through Rodney’s head, but he lacked the strength to voice even one of them. Stumbling backwards, he felt one of the Marine’s hands on his shoulders before he was guided to a seat. Rodney leaned back heavily and turned his head slightly, focusing on Sheppard. One of the Marines was rapidly applying field dressings and pressure bandages to the Colonel’s injuries, while another reached for his neck and palpated a pulse. Rodney looked up, meeting the concerned gazes of Ronon and Teyla. If I look as bad as they do… He swallowed against a raspy throat and focused on one of the Marines attending Sheppard. “Is he okay?” He croaked.

    The Marine looked at him for a moment, his expression grim, before returning his attention to Sheppard.

    “Wraith all around the gate,” Lorne commented to no one in particular. “This’ll be tricky.”

    “Dial!” Rodney managed. “Elizabeth will keep the shield up until she hears from us.”

    “I like that idea,” Lorne replied. “They’ll either go through the gate and meet the shield, or we’ll have time to assemble a strike team and they’ll take ‘em out.” Lorne nodded to Simms who sat in the co-pilot seat. “Dial.”

    Rodney blinked hard and rolled his head right, forcing his double vision to focus on a single HUD image. As soon as the gate was active, Lorne opened a channel to Atlantis.

    “Atlantis this is Lorne. We have Colonel Sheppard’s team, but are coming in hot. Estimate 25 Wraith at the gate with more on the way. Keep the shield up and get an assault team in the gate room immediately!”

    “Major, this is Weir. Copy that. Team on their way.”

    “Acknowledged, ma’am. Have Beckett and a medical team standing by in the Jumper bay. We have injuries.”

    “Major!”

    Rodney quickly turned his head towards the voice, instantly regretting the quick motion. One of the Marines tending Sheppard stood, pulled a large case from the overhead storage and hastily propped Sheppard’s legs up on it, before carefully lifting his arm. “The Colonel’s bleeding badly. He needs medical attention ASAP.”

    “Workin’ on it, Corporal.” Lorne’s voice was even, but still held a note of tension.

    Rodney forced his attention to focus on the HUD again as half the Wraith life signs disappeared. He blinked hard, hoping it wasn’t his vision playing tricks on him.

    “Half went through the gate,” Lorne confirmed. “Atlantis, please tell me you still have the shield up?”

    “Affirmative, Major,” Weir answered. “We just saw several impacts on the shield.”

    “Half the bad guys,” Lorne replied.

    “Good to hear.” Weir’s voice was dryly cynical. “Assault team assembled.”

    “Copy that, we’re almost to the gate. ETA: 15 seconds.”

    “Lowering the shield,” Weir answered. “We’ll clear the floor for you. Come home.”

    “Acknowledged.” Lorne squinted as the remaining dozen or so Wraith disappeared through the gate. “Wraith soldiers inbound!”

    Rodney could feel the vibration of the drive pods retracting as they raced towards the event horizon and in the next second, he felt the familiar tingling of wormhole transport. Emerging in Atlantis’ gate room, the next thing Rodney was aware of was distinct thuds on the hull of the Jumper as they bowled over several Wraith.

    “Remind me to stay off the road when you’re driving, sir,” Simms quipped.

    Machine gun fire echoed as Lorne activated the radio.

    “Dr. Weir?”

    “Gate room is secure, Major. Beckett and a team are in the Jumper bay. What are the injuries?”

    Rodney could feel the Jumper ascend as Lorne replied. “Colonel Sheppard is unconscious and bleeding badly and his whole team could use some time in the infirmary.”

    “Copy that, I’ll meet you in the Jumper Bay. Weir out.”

    Rodney looked down at one of the Marines kneeling next to Sheppard and watched as the soldier shook his head in frustration.

    “Come on, sir,” the soldier muttered, his hand never leaving Sheppard’s neck.

    Rodney couldn’t lift his head as the Jumper settled into place in the bay and the back hatch slowly lowered. He didn’t have to open his eyes to know Carson was there.

    “Good Lord!” Beckett’s voice preceded fast footsteps as the Marines vacated the Jumper and the medical team entered.

    -------------------------

    “Colonel? Son, can ye hear me?”

    Carson peeled back the pressure bandaged from Sheppard’s arm and winced before pressing a gloved hand over a section still bleeding heavily. Most of his medical career he’d spent in the city. First in Edinburgh, then London, but he could still recognize an animal attack when he saw one. He’d seen dog attacks in London, but they were nothing compared to this. The colonel’s arm was savaged in several places and would need extensive repair. Bleeding, not spurting… Carson mentally compared the symptoms to anatomy. “Looks like it missed the artery, thankfully, but he’s still bleeding heavily. Caught the brachial vein from the looks of it. Someone get me a clamp, now.” He looked up at his medic, Carolyn Lansing, who pulled a stethoscope from her ears.

    “BP is 90/60, pulse 110,” Carolyn reported.

    He nodded. “Start an IV, Ringers, wide open. We’ve got to get his volume up… and get him on oxygen.” He shook his head. “What the bloody hell did this?”

    “Malnek,” Ronon immediately answered.

    “A what?” Carson questioned.

    “Pit Bull on steroids,” Rodney supplied.

    Carson furrowed his brows before again shaking his head. “Tell me later.” He switched his attention to one of the physicians on his staff who was taking Ronon’s BP. “Cole? Good lass. Get the vitals on Teyla and Rodney as well and triage their injuries. We need to know what we’re dealing with here.”

    Cole glanced up at him and nodded slightly.

    He looked at his nurse. “Susan, get me some sterile gauze, I need to see what I’m doing here, but we’re not moving him one inch until this vein is clamped off.”

    “Carson?” Carolyn looked up at him. “IV started.”

    Carson nodded as he moved his hand and allowed the nurse to try to clear some blood and expose the lacerated vein. “Carolyn, take a look at the other wounds and let me know if any of them are as serious as this.” He knew he was treading close to treating his medic like a doctor, but Carolyn Lansing had been on his staff from the beginning and he had nothing but trust and respect for her trauma skills, honed by years as a paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department.

    “Good,” Carson muttered to his nurse as he focused on Sheppard’s arm. He shook his head. “Get me some damned light here!” He heard rustling behind him, before a beam of light focused on Sheppard’s arm.

    “Work, Doc?”

    Carson glanced back for a second and gave a perfunctory nod to Lieutenant Simms who held a Xenon flashlight high over his head. “Perfect, Lieutenant.” Carefully working his way into the wound, Carson found his target just as a quiet moan from Sheppard was followed immediately by weak movement. “Damn it,” Carson looked up. “Colonel? Hold still. Can ye hear me lad?” Carson gritted his teeth and returned his attention to the task. He knew poking around in Sheppard’s arm would be painful if the colonel woke, but the wound was still bleeding badly and from the look of Sheppard’s vitals, the colonel had lost a considerable amount of blood. Combined with physical stress and what looked like dehydration, he was in no condition to be losing more. Carson didn’t have time for local anesthetic or niceties. It was times like this when the first rule of medicine: Do No Harm, ran head-long into the reality of saving the patient’s life.

    Carson prodded the tissue and the colonel moaned again, this time louder. Once more, he found his target, took a deep breath and clamped it. “All right, that gets it. Immobilize the arm and let’s get him onto a gurney and to the infirmary.”

    “Carson? The other wounds are deep but not critical. He’ll probably need stitches, but the pressure bandages are working.” Carolyn sat back.

    “Good. We’ll look at those when we get to the infirmary. Call ahead and have the OR prepped. I want to get this clamp off and that vein repaired as soon as possible. Get Peterson to scrub in. I want a vascular surgeon in on this.”

    Carolyn jumped to her feet. “Got it.” She hurried out the back of the Jumper.

    It was then that Carson saw Elizabeth, standing rigid but quiet at the foot of the ramp. Carefully keeping his expression neutral, he nodded once at her. “Okay, people,” he looked down at his patient as Susan finished a quick splint to Sheppard’s arm. “Too tight in here for a stretcher. Let’s get the colonel on a backboard to get him out.” With the assistance of his medics, Carson quickly got Sheppard out of the Jumper and onto a waiting stretcher.

    “Ronon has a wound on his side that’s infected. Looks like he’ll need broad spectrum antibiotics and the wound will need to be debrided.” Cole reported. “Other than that, they’re all dehydrated and look to be malnourished. They’re banged up and sporting what look like superficial wounds.”

    Carson nodded as he secured Sheppard to the stretcher. “Aye, thank you. Everyone goes to the infirmary for complete checkups.” He took a second to glance at Ronon who stood at an awkward angle. “On the stretcher with you.” He pointed to the second stretcher and hardened his gaze as Ronon glared at him, his dark eyes all the more intense when contrasted against his pale face. “Don’t you look at me that way,” he scolded. “On the stretcher with ye!” Carson raised his voice. “Now!”

    Ronon managed a slightly bemused look before he slowly settled onto a stretcher without a comment.

    “Wait!”

    Carson turned, halted by Rodney’s unexpectedly strong voice. “Rodney?” His gaze narrowed at the borderline panicked look on Rodney’s face.

    “Transmitters!” Rodney reached over his shoulder, rubbing his back vigorously.

    “What…” Elizabeth started only to be interrupted by Teyla.

    “The Wraith implanted us with transmitters before they took us to the planet.”

    “And you didn’t mention this before we returned to Atlantis?” Lorne interrupted hotly.

    “I didn’t… couldn’t think,” Rodney stammered.

    “None of us did,” Teyla insisted quietly.

    Carson sighed. Pushed past their mental and physical limits it was a wonder any of them were standing, much less able to think properly. As much as he wanted to blame Rodney for forgetting, he simply could not.

    “Carson, we have to get those out, now.” Elizabeth fixed an intense gaze on him.

    Carson looked down at Sheppard and shook his head. “You want me to cut into his back and remove that thing now? I can’t. The Colonel isn’t stable. It’s bad enough that we have to perform necessary surgery on his arm!”

    “They’re not subspace! The Wraith would have to be close by to detect the signal!” The effort of his exclamation forced Rodney to latch onto the nearest medic, if only to keep from falling.

    “We don’t know that for sure, Rodney,” Teyla insisted quietly.

    “It’s the only thing that makes sense,” Rodney insisted.

    “Whatever the type,” Elizabeth interrupted insistently, “Atlantis’ survival depends on the ruse that we destroyed the city. We can’t take the chance of being detected.”

    Carson swallowed hard and nodded. As much as he hated it, he knew she was right… and knew Sheppard would want it this way. “Aye,” he agreed quietly.

    “Wait…” Rodney pushed himself away from the medic supporting him. “Dampening field.” He blinked hard and took a deep breath. “Dampening field around the infirmary. The signal wouldn’t escape. That would buy you time to wait and remove the transmitter from Sheppard.” Rodney’s eyes slid shut and he groaned, reaching blindly for the medic who quickly grabbed him.

    “Rodney, sit down before you fall down,” Carson insisted, glad that Rodney didn’t put up a fight when the medic eased him down on the Jumper’s open hatch.

    In spite of his condition, Rodney still reached up and snatched the medic’s radio off his ear. “Radek, its Rodney. I need a dampening field around the infirmary right away. It needs to block any sort of Wraith signal.”

    “Dampening field? What? Why?” Radek replied over the radio, his tone of voice clearly confused.

    “No time for the play by play!” Rodney snapped with surprised intensity. “Just do it fast!”

    “Quickly, Radek,” Weir confirmed.

    “Will take a few minutes but I’ll do this immediately.” Radek responded.

    Carson shook his head as Rodney waved his hand impatiently at the medic.

    “Help me up! The longer we sit here, the more risk we take that the signal from these transmitters will get picked up by your friendly neighborhood Hive!” Leaning heavily on the medic, Rodney slowly walked towards the Jumper Bay entrance.

    “Right, let’s move.” Carson grabbed one side of Sheppard’s stretcher as two other medics also took hold and they quickly wheeled Sheppard from the Jumper Bay just behind the rest of the group.

    ----------------------
    The faint vibration under his back confused him and so did the bright lights above; visible even through lidded eyes.

    John inhaled. The air he took in was sweet with oxygen and after a brief struggle, he managed to open his eyes. Bright lights passed over his head and he suddenly realized whatever he was laying on, was moving. His whole body hurt. He felt like he’d been run over by a car… repeatedly. Turning his head slightly his mouth automatically turned up in the slightest of smile at the concerned face that greeted him. “…lizbth,” he managed quietly.

    There was no way she could cover her concern, although she tried to hide it behind a strained smile. “John. You’re back on Atlantis. We’re taking you to the infirmary. You’re going to be just fine.”

    A strong sense of worry gnawed at him and he managed to furrow his brows.

    “John?”

    Elizabeth’s question was worried. She must’ve noticed the change in his expression. “Rnon… Tyla… Rdny?” he slurred, the effort of speaking almost too much for him. He heard her sigh as her tense smile returned.

    “They’re all right, John. You’re all going to the infirmary.”

    Urgency gripped him and in spite of his injuries, John tried to sit up. “Transmitters…” He felt a cool and gentle but firm hand on his chest.

    “Zelenka has raised a dampening field around the infirmary,” Elizabeth reassured. “We won’t be detected before Carson can remove them. It’s okay.”

    “Colonel?”

    Another voice grabbed John’s attention and he slowly turned his head towards it. Carson’s strongly reassuring expression met his gaze.

    “You’ll be fine, son,” Carson said gently.

    John’s eyelids felt heavy. He had no strength left to fight the warm darkness that surged through him. Closing his eyes, he succumbed.

    -------------------
    A/N: Long before a back story for Sheppard was established with Outcast, I took the MGM/Scifi description of his father being a celebrated Cold War Colonel and ran with it, writing a trilogy of stories surrounding Sheppard and his father. For me, that always has felt ‘real’. So forgive me if I continue down my now AU path for John Sheppard’s life…
    ---------------

    The warm darkness was comforting.

    “You’ve been here before.”

    John turned around, following the voice to the motionless form of his father. “Dad?” he whispered.

    Marcus Sheppard walked towards him. “You look good… well as good as you could, considering the circumstances.”

    John blinked and looked around, his gaze finding only inky darkness. He returned his attention to his father. “Dad, how… where…”

    Marcus shook his head. “Don’t try to understand,” he said quietly. A peculiar look crossed his face; a satirical cross between humor and worry. “But you’ve done this before… we’ve done this before.”

    John just stared at him, but his mind raced, looking back, finding memories his conscious mind had never seen. A planet. Cold... His moment of realization must’ve shown on his face, because his dad nodded in agreement. “I told you to be strong then, and you were. I’m telling you to do it again.”

    John turned away. “I’m strong all the time Dad, at least I try to be. But, I’m not sure how many more times I can do this.”

    “As many times as you have to.” Marcus’ voice took on a hard edge as he walked closer to his son. “I pushed you hard, John, I know. But there was a reason.” He paused.

    John slowly turned and looked at a face filled with regret.

    “I know it drove a wedge between us and I regret that much, but you’ve always been strong, son, from the day you were born.” He pursed his lips as his gaze narrowed. “Strength like that will drive you to do great things, John… to make a difference.”

    Again, John turned away, words fleeing him. What could he say to the man that had forged him into what he was today? The man who he’d always loved, even when they nearly came to blows several times over the years. “I don’t know if I can do it, Dad…”

    “You can,” Marcus insisted. “You were strong for them on the planet. Got them out of that hellhole."

    Unconvinced, John sighed. "Not everyone."

    "By now, you should know that you can't save everyone all the time, John… you did save your team. Accept that." Marcus said quietly. “Son, look at me.”, he waited until John turned and faced him before he continued. “It’s always been easier for you to be strong for others; that’s your mother in you.” A wistful smile crossed his face. “I’m telling you now to take that strength for yourself. Be selfish, John. You’ve earned the right.”

    John tried to answer, but pain stole his voice and abruptly his father disappeared…


    “… unconscious… lost a lot of blood… surgery…”

    Disconnected voices reached him as the darkness around John gave way to light. He groaned quietly and was rewarded with a shuffle of feet around him.

    “Colonel?”

    His mind clearing slightly, he recognized Carson’s distinct accent as he forced his eyes open. “Doc?” he whispered.

    “Aye,” Carson’s voice was equally quiet. “Just lie back and relax, son. We’re taking you into surgery soon. We’ll get ye fixed up in a jiffy.”

    John drew in a stuttering breath, the air behind his oxygen mask warm and humid. His eyes moved, taking in the room around him; and recognized the pre-op ward. Carson’s green surgery scrubs only confirmed his suspicions. “Others?” he managed.

    “In beds of their own.”

    Carson’s voice betrayed an edge that, even in his muddled state, John easily recognized as exasperation. He guessed the fight to keep them in bed had been a lulu to watch. “Didn’t like it?” John offered, one corner of his mouth turning up in a shadowed imitation of a smile.

    “Aye, pigheaded buggers,” Carson grumbled, but his tone was affectionate if not entirely patient. “Ronon’s the worst off, but of course was the hardest to keep in bed. Had to sedate him to make him stay.”

    John forced his eyes open wider. “’s okay?” Worry tensed him and John groaned as his body protested. He felt a warm, firm grip on his shoulder.

    “Aye, he’ll be fine,” Carson reassured quietly. “Antibiotics and a week’s rest and he’ll be back to his charming self. Teyla and Rodney are banged up a little, a bit dehydrated and malnourished, but otherwise fine.”

    John let out a pent up breath and forced his body to relax.

    Carson sighed loudly. “I daresay, Colonel, that you’re the worst off of the lot. So, stop fretting about them and think about you. Use some of the pig headed stubbornness on yourself for a change,” he chastised lightly.

    “I’m telling you now to take that strength for yourself. Be selfish, John. You’ve earned the right.”

    John let his father’s words sooth him as he nodded slightly, his eyelids drooping. He watched Carson inject something in his IV right before a warm flush raced through his body and he surrendered to oblivion.
    -----------------------
    Elizabeth stood silently at the foot of Ronon's bed, her gaze fixed on his peaceful face. Sweat still lined his brow, and his complexion was pale and far from normal, but not even with his strength was he able to resist the sedation Carson had resorted to administering. Her eyes drifted upwards and fixed on the IV hanging over his head; providing a cocktail of antibiotics to combat the infection from his wound and fluids for dehydration.

    "Carson said he should be fine."

    Elizabeth turned her head and smiled thinly at Rodney, who was picking at the remnants of food on his dinner tray, but she said nothing. She knew Rodney was trying, in his own way, to reassure her even though she'd been party to Carson's diagnosis of Ronon's condition. Still, seeing the big man so still and weak, bothered her. For while he'd been so standoffish in the beginning, he'd become an integral part of Sheppard's team and of her expedition and she worried for his welfare.

    "He is strong," Teyla added, pushing her tray aside.

    Elizabeth turned away from Ronon's bed and walked a short distance to stand between Rodney and Teyla's. Both of them were clean and wore fresh scrubs and both had IV bags hanging over their heads, slowly dripping fluids down a long tube leading into each of their arms. Laced into the fluids was a broad spectrum antibiotic being administered as a precaution against the filthy surroundings they’d been forced to live in. When Elizabeth had first seen them, she’d hoped her eyes were being deceived by dirt and grime but, even clean, she could plainly see that they all had lost considerable weight through their ordeal. "Shouldn't the two of you be resting?" She asked, lightly.

    "Do I look like I'm running a marathon?" Rodney replied, his tone slightly annoyed.

    Elizabeth chose to say nothing. Beyond the normal, snappy attitude of Rodney McKay she knew that, in this case, there was an underlying concern that made his tongue that much sharper. Unconsciously, she looked past him towards the closed doors leading to the OR. A quiet sigh escaped her.

    "He will recover, Elizabeth," Teyla stated softly.

    The same thin smile from before graced her face for a moment before she looked down at Teyla. "What happened?"

    "The Wraith began culling the planet shortly after we arrived." Teyla responded. "We were ambushed by Wraith soldiers while trying to return to the Stargate and were captured."

    Elizabeth nodded. "The details we were able to ascertain while we searched for you were sketchy at best, but it’s my understanding that you were taken for some sort of… sport fighting?"

    "Think of Ancient Rome, Elizabeth," Rodney interjected. "Gladiatorial combat,” Rodney’s voice wavered slightly, “with a Wraith twist. The fights were to survive. The losers of each bout, more often than not, were fed upon by the queens."

    Elizabeth turned her head and stared at him for a moment. "Oh my God…" Her gaze narrowed as she struggled to grasp what he was telling her while, at the same time, noting the guilt that permeated his expression. "Rodney?"

    "It was not your fault, Rodney," Teyla interjected.

    "What wasn't?" Elizabeth's gaze intensified.

    Rodney looked back at her for a moment before dropping his head. "The Wraith male… when we were captured, he could tell, I mean he knew… that I wasn't a fighter. He was going to feed on me." Rodney waved his hand absently. "Sheppard he… he struck a deal with the Wraith," he gestured at Teyla even though he didn't make eye contact with her. "They'd fight. In exchange the Wraith wouldn't outright kill me."

    "As I said," Teyla insisted, "you should not feel guilt over this. The alternative was the Wraith feeding upon all of us without hesitation. This way, gave us some time and eventually led to our escape with our lives."

    Elizabeth nodded. "Teyla is right, Rodney.”

    "I know that!" Rodney snapped. "But you didn't have to watch them fight for their lives again and again and be powerless to…." His voice trailed off and he blushed at his outburst; something that revealed more of himself then he was comfortable exposing.

    Elizabeth's lips pressed into a thin line before she walked over and squeezed his arm gently. “Rodney,” she said quietly. She caught his gaze and held it, letting her reassuring and compassionate expression speak in tones louder than words.

    “You would have done the same for any of us, Rodney,” Teyla added softly. “As Colonel Sheppard has said, it is part of being a team.” Teyla paused for a long moment, and then continued. “Perhaps, we can teach you how to at least defend yourself?”

    That much yanked Rodney out of his guilt. “That’s what guns are for,” he replied sarcastically. “The last thing I want is to be like Conan over there,” he gestured at Ronon’s bed. “I’ll stick with solving things with my brain and leave the brawn up to you three, thank you very much.”

    Elizabeth looked over at Teyla and shared a knowing smile with her.

    “Oh fine, sure, I get it,” Rodney added. He shot an accusatory look at Teyla who just shrugged.

    “My offer was sincere, Rodney,” she answered, h
              Bella Rossi 5.04.2017        
    Bella Rossi 5.04.2017
    Release Year: 2017
    Cast: Bella Rossi
    Genres: BDSM, Humiliation, BJ
    Video language: English

    Bella Rossi BaRS Part 1: Today we update with scene one of the March live show, the big titted and flexible Bella Rossi finds out fast, what helpless and subspace looks like while you«re completely dick sotted!

    Bound in a modified sitting strappado position, Bella has her huge tits tightly bound and a vibrater is locked onto her wet shaved pussy. She is completely helpless and about to get the face fucking of her life.

    Orgasms after orgasms, that is Bella»s new life, she can«t stop the vibrator from making her cum, and she can»t halt the brutal throat fucking the boy's of Sually Broken are giving her. Deepthroating, massive throat spit and a girl cumming uncontrollably! This is just the warm up and Bella is already broken, the next 3 scenes are going to be special!

    Format: mp4
    Duration: 11:36
    Video: 1280x720, AVC (H.264), 7347kbps
    Audio: 108kbps

    Bella Rossi 5.04.2017 Bella Rossi 5.04.2017
    Bella Rossi 5.04.2017 Bella Rossi 5.04.2017

    Bella Rossi 5.04.2017
    File size: 633.7 MB

    Bella Rossi 5.04.2017

    Bella Rossi 5.04.2017
    http://svalka.ws/
              SubSpaceLand - Yenna - Down on the waterfront (SD/404p/223 MB)        
    SubSpaceLand - Yenna - Down on the waterfront (SD/404p/223 MB)

              SubSpaceLand - Yenna - Down on the waterfront (SD/404p/223 MB)        
    SubSpaceLand - Yenna - Down on the waterfront (SD/404p/223 MB)

               Novel battery model of an all-electric personal rapid transit vehicle to determine state-of-health through subspace parameter estimation and a Kalman Estimator         
    Gould, C and Bingham, Chris and Stone, D A and Bentley, P (2008) Novel battery model of an all-electric personal rapid transit vehicle to determine state-of-health through subspace parameter estimation and a Kalman Estimator. In: Power Electronics, Electrical Drives, Automation and Motion, 2008. SPEEDAM 2008. International Symposium on , 11-13 June 2008, Ischia, Italy.
               Battery health determination by subspace parameter estimation and sliding mode control for an all-electric Personal Rapid Transit vehicle — the ULTra         
    Gould, C and Bingham, C M and Stone, D A and Bentley, P (2008) Battery health determination by subspace parameter estimation and sliding mode control for an all-electric Personal Rapid Transit vehicle — the ULTra. In: Power Electronics Specialists Conference, 2008. PESC 2008. IEEE , 15-19 June 2008, Rhodes, Greece.
                      
    drugs / aphrodisiacs authority figures virginity / celibacy tentacles gender play
    piercings / needleplay orgies / decadence voyeurism scars / scarification torture / interrogation
    subspace / headspace guns / blades wildcard silk velvet feathers furs writing on the body
    class fantasies object penetration vanilla kink begging bondage (wrist / ankle restraints)
    danger mechanical / technological sensation play dressup penance / punishment


    I have no idea how to play this, but let's see how badly it goes...

    comment count unavailable comments
              Subspace/Continuum        
    This is by far one of the biggest ways I have procrastinated in my entire life.  This is a “simple” 2D space shooter internet game that came out around 1995 when I found it on-line in my freshman year of college and have spent sick amount of time playing since.  In fact thanks to a […]
              Systematic Testing of Convolutional Neural Networks for Autonomous Driving. (arXiv:1708.03309v1 [cs.CV])        

    Authors: Tommaso Dreossi, Shromona Ghosh, Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, Sanjit A. Seshia

    We present a framework to systematically analyze convolutional neural networks (CNNs) used in classification of cars in autonomous vehicles. Our analysis procedure comprises an image generator that produces synthetic pictures by sampling in a lower dimension image modification subspace and a suite of visualization tools. The image generator produces images which can be used to test the CNN and hence expose its vulnerabilities. The presented framework can be used to extract insights of the CNN classifier, compare across classification models, or generate training and validation datasets.


              73: Hot Vulcan Finger Action        

    The Search for Spock.

    Nestled between the relentless vengeance of Khan and the near destruction of Earth at the flippers of whales is an emotional nugget whose power is often overlooked. Star Trek III suffers from the middle-child syndrome, but it highlights the relationships between the crew of the USS Enterprise in a way rarely seen. It also planted the seeds for many of things we now take for granted in later incarnations of the franchise. In this episode of The Ready Room we’re joined by Charlynn Schmiedt and Larry Nemecek to discuss The Search for Spock, why many of the creative decisions in the film were made, and why Starfleet wishes some captains could learn to stop oversharing over subspace.

    In news we cover the La-La Land Records 10th anniversary celebration, the addition of Star Trek to Hulu, the Enterprise Blu-ray cover art, Anthony Montgomery’s new film project Chariot, the trouble with Tribble slippers, Spock oven mitts, Star Trek Into Darkness and Dolby Atmos, and we speculate on just what Star Trek could bring to Angry Birds.


              The Contour of a Contour        
    by
    Dave Ciccoricco
    2003-06-13

    One “is no longer maintaining a public online presence” (as if you could ever really be “present” on the Web). The other blogs away like it’s going out of style (and some can only hope). The first time I used the word blog I was walking through a park long ago and I needed a word to describe what I had just stepped in. At their worst, weblogs promise to be reality television’s revenge on literature; at their best, they are a digital art form that promises to keep us extraordinarily human. I intend to keep my mind open. And my shoes clean. I’m referring here to Michael Joyce and Mark Bernstein, two of the most instrumental figures in what Joyce himself once described as the “earnest, even heroic” project of bringing together the “disparate concerns of scientist and humanist - without sacrificing their particularity” (Of Two Minds 7). Indeed, though Joyce’s own writing insists that he has not “retreated from the hypertextual,” he has at least retreated from hypertext’s most monstrous incarnation - the World Wide Web. And in the more nebulous realm of things “hypertextual,” Joyce, by his own cryptic admission, has said that he “no longer find[s] satisfying factors in its shifting features” (Othermindedness 3). His aversion to the WWW and its “empty room rhetoric” (52) is of course no secret; and the image of a pile of stones effectively marking his online absence is suggestive, though I can only guess what it’s supposed to suggest. In Of Two Minds (233) and in Twilight, A Symphony Joyce invokes the following fragment, “Atom recalling granule, granule stone, stone the great mountain, mountain the first home.” If nothing else, then, the diminutive stone mountain on his Not Home Page suggests something of a recalling or returning. Whether he intends to return home to “his storytelling roots” (as the dust jacket of his recent print novel suggests) or just home for the day is a question best left to amateur prophets; probing his personal motivations, similarly, is best left to the “biographiles.” Meanwhile, somewhere behind Eastgate Systems’ enduring stone-front archway - and a decade is an eternity in the flickering cosmos of the computer screen - Bernstein continues to match minds and machinery for the networked masses.

    rock pile image
    Joyce’s sculpture

    archway image
    Eastgate’s archway - design by Stephen Cohen, registered trademark of Eastgate Systems, Inc.

    The more I look at these rock piles the more they look like rock piles, which is only to say that I want to see them both as cairns. Cairns are collections of stones that serve as landmarks or memorials commonly found on trails that are otherwise difficult to follow. Eastgate’s archway is a landmark in the young history of electronic publishing. Some would agree that it is also a memorial to soon-to-be updated or outdated institutions of print.

    Joyce’s cairn might be a memorial and a landmark as well. The message that accompanies the image on the WWW, voiced in the third-person (” Michael Joyce is no longer… “), has the not unintended effect of someone else placing the stones in Joyce’s absence, as a memorial to an author abandoning his electronic art. Those who think this reading does not bode well for the patron saint of hypertext fiction had best get the revisionism underway. Nonetheless, whether Joyce is writing of the shores of the Great Lakes or the mountains of the Hudson River Valley, he has always found a certain solace in stone, and it would make sense for him to be the artist “behind” the sculpture; that is, the one who “places” it there, the presence marking its own absence. This reading makes the cairn more landmark than memorial, and we can imagine a pathway that continues, and perhaps cycles, beyond. Either way, we can say without elegy that Joyce has marked out a path for others to follow.

    But in this essay I will not seek the path to either the stone sculpture or the stone gate. Instead, in light of the divergence they symbolize, I will trace a path - or more specifically, a contour - between the two. The story goes something like this: A scientist and an artist create a trope to understand the qualitative experience of electronic texts. They call it Contour. They each take the trope in different directions, into markedly different contexts, and it undergoes its own series of transformations. Has their subsequent work atomized the concept of hypertextual Contour, or has the work somehow created the concept’s own foundation? In terms of our media ecology and our own cognition, where can we locate the notion of Contour now, and where is the path headed?

    I will not attempt to widen the rift between science and art or mobilize a rhetoric of reconciliation that ultimately reveals only how “disparate” are the fundamental concerns of the scientist and the humanist. Both Bernstein and Joyce - self-described scientist and artist respectively - work toward an understanding of literature, a literature that is increasingly electronic. Therefore, their discipline by definition results from a border crossing and marks a return, in spirit, to a much older connotation of technology (from the Greek, techne = art/skill) as an already artistic pursuit. Rather the intention here is to sustain (or recuperate) a viable way of reading texts that transcend or defy or frustrate our expectations of reading, a practical and pedagogically sound way of understanding the “text beyond the text.”

    Constructing Contours

    In an effort to better describe the experience of reading “large and complex” hypertexts, Joyce co-authored “Contours of Constructive Hypertexts” with Mark Bernstein and David Levine for the ACM Hypertext conference in 1992. As with books, “small” and “large” are relative dimensions, but from a systems design point of view, a small hypertext often becomes a large one when it crosses a design threshold. These thresholds present themselves in the form of material constraints, such as how many nodes in an overview map “fit” on a single screen (without interminable scrolling) and without, say, sacrificing legibility of their titles. At the same time, these material constraints are always related to cognitive constraints - our own perceptual thresholds. These thresholds tell us to consider as small a hypertext we can read in an hour. A large one could take weeks or more.

    Much of the theory of hypertext grew out of the phenomenology of the hyperlink - its typologies, poetics, pragmatics, and so on. This emphasis revealed, among most early theorists, an understanding of the link as the fundamentally “new” element of digital literature and the single most observable element in a confined “locality” - that of [node-link-node]. From this localized understanding, theorists built a bottom-up rhetoric of pathways and semantic neighborhoods that cohered for many in Jim Rosenberg’s (1996) description of a hypertext “episode.” The authors of the 1992 article were looking to represent structure beyond both the local node-link-node and what we can call the regional episode, which is still confined to “all or part of a trail or path” (“Structure” 23). Large, to them, referred to something not easily visualized in “static, graph-theoretic measures” (“Contours” 161), namely boxes and lines with directional arrows that tend to fit neatly on a page or a screen. But the authors also take on two subjects at once that are not necessarily related: large hypertexts and hypertexts that are not fixed. Hence, they wanted to visualize not only hypertexts that were inconceivably big, but also those that were conceivably borderless.

    In “Contours of Constructive Hypertexts,” Bernstein, Joyce, and Levine state, “the structures of meaning or contours we observe in current hypertext fiction and scholarship do not appear to reside in static structures, but rather in the complex and dynamic perceptions of the engaged reader” (161). A lot hinges on this statement regarding not so much what they observe but where they observe it. Surveying a new field of possibility in search, not surprisingly, of hypertextual difference, the authors demarcate a territory unique to hypertext literature. They do so carefully, however, noting that their form of Contour does not appear to reside in static structures (read: the literature of print). But given the intense efforts to mine the art that prefigures network culture in light of the now common understanding that the “hypertextual” is by no means exclusively digital, we can justify a renewed consideration of one particular hypertextual theory as applied to specific works of art. Is the hypertextual Contour, for example, bound up in analyses peculiar to electronic art forms?

    We know that their Contour traces its own source back to a static medium. The authors “borrow the terms depth and contour from the painter’s vocabulary to describe a similar sense of form which the reader gains as she reads” (164). Even though they work off the early hypertextual ideal that “hypertext dissolves the distinction between readers and writers” (164), their analogy specifically aligns the perception of a painting (by an implied viewer) with the perception of a text (by an implied reader-writer). The analogy emphasizes the visual qualities of hypertext by placing it in the interpretive tradition of ut pictura poesis (as with painting, so in poetry). But their reliance here on audience perception is a slightly confusing gesture given their focus on the Contours of constructive hypertexts, which - by Joyce’s own well-known elaborations - are all about process rather than product. The depth and contour that emerge to the painter (simultaneously her own audience) as she paints might have been an even more appropriate parallel.

    But at the time the dichotomy of constructive and exploratory was still relatively unfamiliar, and though Joyce introduces the concept as early as 1988 (in “Siren Shapes: Exploratory and Constructive Hypertexts,” and republished in Of Two Minds), the collaborative 1992 essay implies that the concept itself was something of a construction site. For example, the description of constructive hypertext as “a foundation for what does not exist” (166) follows a broader one that defines it as “the text rewritten by the act of choice” (165). True, the authors refer explicitly to a hypertext that is “open to change and addition and revision” (166). But any hypertext is open to change in the sense that no two readings are assembled in the same way, and any hypertext fundamentally involves an unfamiliar dynamics of selection. Thus, literary theorists, especially those entrenched in theories of reader-response, intuitively saw this choice making as an act of “inscription” - the text re-written by the reader. Those touting the “empowered” hypertext reader were especially quick to conflate the reader’s ability to, on the one hand, change specific nodes or add new ones and, on the other hand, arrange or assemble their order as a necessary function of reading. Contour could describe a user’s experience of an extant hypertext, and so the concept was adopted primarily as a way of reading despite its origins in more writerly theories of constructive hypertext. In fact, some readers reflexively borrow Joyce’s concept of Contour to review his fiction (see, for example, Robert Siegle’s review of Twilight, a Symphony).

    Other factors pried Contour away from its purely “constructive” roots. For all its promise, constructive hypertext - like any theoretical model of “becoming” - paradoxically enacts a self-defeating discourse: the more you describe - or inscribe - it, the more you risk pre-programming or pre-empting its future forms and uses. Constructive hypertext, after all, demands a de-territorialized landscape, to borrow a phrase from Deleuze and Guattari. Theorists, more importantly, had to avoid filling this metaphysical void with the promise of technology per se, for technology, ironically, threatened to become the new center of the liberatory, de-centered discourse that it claimed to effect.

    Either way, it was not long before structures for what was yet to exist started to fill themselves in and, well…exist (“Every well-designed exploratory hypertext proceeds from a constructive hypertext…” Of Two Minds 44). And it was not long before there was a structure for everything that could ever possibly want to exist (or so it seemed). We call it the Web, and even though it was both large and unfixed, it was definitely not what Joyce had in mind: “The truth is I don’t enjoy the web very much…the truth is that the web puts me at a loss and I do not exactly know why” (Othermindedness 51). But on the Web or not, the architecture of a “city of text” awaited description - a description at once fluid and concrete.

    Tangibly Conceptual Contours

    As a theory of reading, Contour arises from a particular experience of a given text and finds a coherent form, or rather a procession of transient forms. Articulating Contour, however, demands a turn of phrase (“trope” is from the Greek tropos meaning “turn”), for the procession of transient forms wants to be simultaneously tangible and conceptual. For Stuart Moulthrop, “the contour is real but virtual” (“The Shadow of an Informand” [38]). For Jim Rosenberg, Contour “concerns the geography” of what he calls the hypertext episode, and he too resorts to a turn of phrase when he defines the episode as “simply whatever group of actemes coheres in the reader’s mind as a tangible entity” (“Structure” 23). So the intent is to articulate something co-extensive with object and event, but ultimately something that is very much there - in the mind. We might see it as an indispensable cartographic convention in the creation of a cognitive map. At the same time, geometrical planes necessarily become planes of the tail-spinning variety when we force them into the free-floating topology of network space - regardless of whether our network is digital or entirely conceptual. Thus (as with any conceptual understanding) so much is lost in translation when this representation is mapped onto anything static. Any such representation remains just as inert on the screen as on the page.

    Contour became an axis of orientation for early hypertextualists. It inscribed something of an ephemeral terra firma, curving through not only individual hypertext readings but also through a middle-ground hypertextual criticism. Joyce, of course, realized that the task was not to steady the foundation but rather to find new means of measuring the movement: “Previously stable horizons across my psychic landscape gave way to dizzying patterns of successive contours, each of which was most assuredly real, each of which did not last.” Contour derives force from its ability to mediate. Two years before his own “structure of hypertext activity” (1996) took shape, Rosenberg asked, “Can we describe the contour as the attempt to resolve disjunctive experience into conjunctive resonance?” (“Navigating Nowhere” 2). And Moulthrop’s analogy between Contour and his own notion of the “informand” (“the momentary structures of coherence and possibility apparent to the reader as she interacts with the structure” [29]) reinforces the concept’s medial quality. Simply stated, Moulthrop’s informand, like a Contour, is an “object-event.” That it is an object in space and becomes an event in time signals a convergence, in Joyce’s own phrase, of the “space of memory and the time of narrative experience” (Of Two Minds 159-171). Hence, as spatial object and temporal event, Contour can also be said to mediate the vertiginous polemic of space and time.

    Early on, however, Contour was used most simply as a new measure of reading, or of movement - again in the realm of the “tangible conceptual.” As both noun and verb, it suggests not only how hypertextual Contours emerge when reading, but also how the reader’s selections actively shape or contour the hypertext. And in the years that followed the 1992 paper, two of its authors would shape the notion of Contour itself in different ways. Bernstein’s Contour would arc toward the operational, the instrumental, the unambiguous. Joyce’s would arc toward the poetic, and the erotic.

    Contour of Two Minds

    Joyce writes extensively about Contour in Of Two Minds (1995), specifically in the third and final section, “Contours: Hypertext Poetics.” If we can understand Contour only in its liquid state, then Joyce’s definitions are equally fluid:

    Contours are the shape of what we think we see as we see it but that we know we have seen only after we move over them, and new contours of our own shape themselves over what they have left us. They are, in short, what happens as we go… (207)

    Later in the same essay, other definitions coalesce: “Contour is one expression of the perceptible form of a constantly changing text, made by any of its readers or writers at a given point in its reading or writing” (214). In a formulation that he would later call his “most discrete” and one that “suffers from its fixity” (Othermindedness 167), Joyce breaks the concept into a potentiality of component parts, namely:

    Its constituent elements include the current state of the text at hand, the perceived intentions and interactions of previous writers and readers that led to the text at hand, and those interactions with the text that the current reader or writer sees as leading from it. (214)

    We can emphasize his repetition of the “text at hand,” for the phrase anticipates the trope’s next semantic accretion: the Contour as caress. “Contours are discovered sensually,” he wrote in 1995. But Joyce waited until his next book of theoretical narratives to explain what he meant.

    Contour’s Othermindedness

    In his introduction, Joyce resolves to continue “grounding our experience of the emergence of network culture in the body” (4) and it is clear that the writings of Hélène Cixous (who contributes an Afterword for his Moral Tales and Meditations published a year later in 2001) have had a hand in shaping both Joyce’s theoretical narratives and, more specifically, his notion of hypertextual Contour. Indeed, readers can look to Joyce for what was the most visible emergence of an erotics of hypertext.

    Though Joyce readily admits at one point that he “honestly believe[s] hypertextuality is about sexuality,” he elaborates only obliquely, musing on a notably gendered excerpt from Vannevar Bush (1945) that seems to him so much like a “comic love story between man and machine” (219). Joyce does not set out to do with literary hypertext what Roland Barthes does with his “text of Bliss” (Barthes uses contour at one point in his Pleasure of the Text to link our physical body to the body of the text, describing a medial “body of bliss” that “consists solely of erotic relations” [16]). The two articulate different, even incompatible, textual pleasures. Barthes’ jouissance calls up a rapturous, climactic, or even violent bliss in which cultural codes and forms are fractured or transgressed. Joyce, by contrast, invokes Contour to feel the forms we create but cannot see: “I had in mind…the sense of a lover’s caress in which the form expresses itself in successiveness without necessarily any fixation” (167). Both seek a pleasure devoid of intention - from the text as it exists, not as it intends. But Joyce plays more to the tune of the never-ending story in that, unlike Barthes, the pleasure of his text comes without necessarily any climax, from a succession more stable and sustained.

    Even if some theorists had hoped to parade a more virile brand of hypertextual eroticism, this tack might have been noticeably premature. At the time, hypertext theory was awkwardly re-positioning itself after striking a staunchly antithetical pose toward the linear tradition and its “missionary position of reading.” The phrase belongs to Sven Birkerts who uses it to describe what he sees as the privileged way of reading (Gutenberg Elegies: the Fate of Reading in the Electronic Age. Faber and Faber Ltd., 1996). Nonetheless, it was the same school of early hypertext theory that, despite its commendable efforts in placing hypertext in plain view of education, theory, and literature, generated easily some of the least sexy terminology for the new medium. This was achieved in part by referring to the building blocks of hypertext as “chunks.” True, “lexia” sounds “sexier” (the two words rhyme in England, Australia, and New Zealand) but a hasty and ultimately untidy union of hypertext theory and post-structuralist theory made it difficult for that term to endure. Other notable attempts at forging a sexually attractive terminology followed, and Nick Montfort offers an example as decent as any in his review of Espen Aarseth’s Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. In a section he subtitles “Hot, ergodic cybertext,” Monfort writes, ” Ergodics and cybertext provoke curiosity. Aarseth attracts the reading eye by using one neologism each for title and subtitle. He has also selected terms that sound somewhat similar to the words erotics and cybersex.” Although we can never know for sure with such claims, sometimes we only see what we desire.

    Joyce distances himself from the erotics of the virtual as well. Despite all of its free-floating evocations, virtual reality traces the movements of the body to fixed coordinates on what is essentially a three-dimensional Cartesian grid. As Heidi Tikka explains, “In the VR-space the abstracted vision becomes associated with a pointing gesture, moving the user forward in a constant state of erection” (Tikka, cited in Othermindedness 101). “Instead of this ceremony of erection,” Joyce writes, “I have…characterized hypertext in terms of contour” (Othermindedness 101). But more generally, the insistence on grounding the experience of hypertext in the body served to counter-balance the notion of hypertext as metaphor for the human mind or - in the strong reading - an externalized embodiment of our own neural networks. In the latter, of course, the only thing that is embodied is our brain. In line with Vannevar Bush, Ted Nelson, Douglas Engelbart, and other patriarchs of hypertext invested in augmenting human memory and intelligence, J. David Bolter, Joyce’s colleague and co-creator of Storyspace, adopts the metaphoric reading in Writing Space (1991) when he describes computers as “a new metaphor for the human mind and for our culture’s collective mentality” (11). In Of Two Minds, Joyce explicitly states that he shares this vision (57). Also, in the same work, he is guilty at times of claiming too much in the way of “externalizing” creativity when referring to the Storyspace overviews. It is a claim that J. Yellowlees Douglas takes even further by calling the software overviews themselves “cognitive maps,” a move that draws a footnoted rebuke from Rosenberg, who calls the equation a “serious confusion” (“Structure” 26). Storyspace eventually introduced curves to the lines of its directed graphs, but these contours have little to do with the Contours Joyce would find “not in the text, the author, or the reader, but rather those moments that express relationships among them in the form of reader as writer” (Othermindedness 26). Joyce adds, “its figure for me…is the body…the curve we read in the caress” (44).

    At the same time, if he eroticizes the hypertextual body in Othermindedness, then Joyce’s metaphors remain skin-deep (“Skin is screen,” he says in one of his narrative refrains [93]). Harpold, like Joyce, wished to ground the experience of electronic art forms in the body; but unlike Joyce, he was not content to glean an intuitive apprehension of depth by caressing surfaces. In fact, moving from a Bahktinian reading of the “grotesque body,” he employs metaphors that are gastrointestinal rather than erotic: “Imagining the texture of the stuff that moves in your gut is, I think, an appropriate beginning for thinking about the texture of the space defined by the anatomy of an electronic text.” (“The Grotesque Corpus”). Again, hypertext becomes an externalization, but only of what we had for lunch. Did someone mention something about chunks?

    Over-arching Contours

    If “hypertext is, before anything else, a visual form” (Of Two Minds 19), Contour articulates its visualization. (In fact, partly because of the visual quality implicit in the word contour, the concept persists whereas something more opaque, for example, Moulthrop’s “informand,” does not). Joyce says that the visual form of electronic texts “may include” the following: [1] “the apparent content of the text at hand,” [2] “its explicit or available design,” or [3] “implicit and dynamic designs” such as “patterns, juxtapositions, or recurrences within the text or abstractions situated outside the text” (Othermindedness 22). A Contour may contain these things. And it may not. It may - to quote this candy bar wrapper here - contain traces of peanuts. But a failure to list its component parts does not make it any less palatable as a theoretical idea. After all, we perceive Contour only by gestalt, and any gestalt perception fails to present itself as a coherent whole through a summation of its constituent parts.

    But when we begin to consider also those “abstractions situated outside” of the text, we approach a more comprehensive phenomenology of reading. Indeed, Joyce’s later articulations of Contour gesture not simply toward one observable element of a manifold system, or one moment that affords its articulation, but rather toward a demonstration of a system in itself. In an “Intermezzo” piece in Othermindedness, for instance, the Contour becomes nothing short of an encompassing - albeit multiple - totality: it is “how the forms of things mean,…the totality of the work” (130). Therefore, if a hypothetical graph of the history of Contour is level and steady when it describes a de-territorialized “space of inscription for a reader,” then it undoubtedly spikes when it becomes, for Joyce, a space for the “real”: “What you cannot describe but you can only see is the inverse of the simulacrum, the real for which there is no fixed representation, or what…I’ve [previously] called the contour” (128). Setting aside what his notion of Contour includes, we might ask instead: what doesn’t it include? At what point does an array of smooth Contours become a tangled mess?

    Bernstein’s Patterns

    It is a question Mark Bernstein, upon presenting his “Patterns of Hypertext ” in 1998, does not have to ask. In fact, Bernstein takes the trope along what seems like an opposing trajectory, engaging in a pragmatic pinning down of sorts while his colleague revels in poly-semantics. Citing continued calls for structured hypertext in what was by then more clearly a defamiliarized rather than an intrinsically disorienting medium (much to Bernstein’s own credit), he aimed to devise “an appropriate vocabulary” that would allow us “to discern and discuss patterns in hypertexts that may otherwise seem an impenetrable tangle or arbitrary morass” (1). “The problem,” according to Bernstein, “is not that the hypertexts lack structure but rather that we lack words to describe it.”

    His “structural vocabulary” identified ten patterns, including the hypertextual Cycle, in which “a reader returns to a previously-visited node and eventually departs along a new path” (2). The Cycle gives rise to an assortment of other rhetorical or literary effects that arise from the experience of textual recurrence, repetition, or refrain. But Bernstein’s emphasis is not rhetorical; instead, it’s exacting and literal. Strictly speaking, Contour in “Patterns” is something other than a trope, since it is intended as part of a new vocabulary with a singular connotation, as opposed to an “existing” word that assumes new ones. Contour, here, is an effect of Cycle. More specifically, a plurality of Cycles produces Contour: it is “formed where cycles impinge on each other” and allow “free movement within and between the paths defined by each cycle” (3).

    Affording Contour an unambiguous role allows Bernstein to represent it in a static graphic image. More ideogram than graph, it looks like this:

    pattern image

    Bernstein employs these patterns in the service of an earlier - and perhaps too early abandoned - project of “providing a richer vocabulary of local structure” (2). And we can recall that in the 1992 article the authors put faith in static representations to “facilitate understanding of local hypertext structure” (161). Bernstein, then, both stabilizes and localizes the concept of Contour in “Patterns.”

    Nevertheless, the Contours described by Bernstein and Joyce are not mutually exclusive. In fact, their two trajectories can be said to intersect in the service of a theoretical discourse that seeks to articulate the paradoxical stability and dynamism of the electronic text. It is the same discursive role Moulthrop considers over a decade earlier: “A rhetorical theory of the contour augmented, perhaps, by a practical technique of contour representation and navigation could yield an important shift in our understanding of hypertext [my emphasis]” (Informand [44]). Hence, we can compute a pattern of Contour in the local, without impinging on the expansive conceptual domain of Joyce’s poetics. Bernstein’s Contour works as a ground to Joyce’s figure. Both, however, are rooted in a ground that moves, not only in the rhetorical sense of shifting discourse, but also in a material sense, with regard to software systems.

    In “Card Shark and Thespis: exotic tools for hypertext narrative,” Bernstein takes sufficient note of this shifting movement when he asks, “Are the properties of hypertext fiction…intrinsic to hypertext, or do they arise from the idiosyncrasies of specific systems?” (41). He sets out to test this hypothesis by building not a “better system,” but rather a “strange system that might let us step back from Storyspace and the Web in order to gain a better perspective” (41). It is more likely that such a perspective will be possible only after another system, ideally created by someone other than Eastgate, pervades the artistic community to the same degree as Storyspace has. In the meantime, criticisms leveled at either Eastgate or its systems (what some have referred to as the “Church of Hypertext”) accomplish little when they fail to imagine a material alternative let alone build one.

    Bernstein applies the same logic of perspective to the work of others. In a review of Rebecca Blood’s Weblog Handbook, he writes, “While Blood is fascinated by the social and hypertextual structures that bind the Web, she has no interest in software or in the ways particular tools may shape weblogs and weblog clusters” (“A Romantic View of Weblogs”). With regard to Storyspace, Bernstein sees potential and limits concurrently: “Conventional node-link views like Storyspace and MacWeb represent isolated cycles fairly well but provide little support for visualizing contours created where many cycles intersect” (“Patterns” 13). Furthermore, as Moulthrop notes, “we must understand that the two domains of virtual space, the architectonic space of mapping and the semantic space of conceptual development, do not perfectly correspond” (“Where No Mind Has Gone Before” 206). A poetics of Contour comes into play when visualizing both the complex interstice of cycles Bernstein describes as well as the broader cognitive landscapes of Moulthrop’s semantic space.

    Contours of Course

    But now that Contour has inscribed the critical landscape with both conceptual breadth and pattern precision, we can ask where it might be headed from here. How does it lend itself to analyses of texts in print? How does it resist such readings? We know that networked narratives are true topologies in that their structure moves; they can be said to make space move (and not necessarily as a literary “work in movement” in the sense of Eco’s Open Work, as Aarseth points out [Cybertext 52-53]). Aside from the odd exceptions - the cards of Marc Saporta or the confetti of William Burroughs - most narratives in print do not share this quality. If we bend back hypertextual tropes to describe pre-digital works in print (such as a novel by James Joyce), or post-digital works of print (such as a novel by Michael Joyce), we do so with this qualification in mind. That is, we need to engage with narrative topology on its own material terms.

    In a borrowing that is noticeably scientific in nature, Joyce seizes on topology, or “rubber-sheet geometry,” to re-vision his already pliant illustrations. But, for Joyce, it is ultimately the jellyfish that best animates this gelatinous geometry. The movements of a jellyfish (at any or all points we choose to measure) are not determined by what Sanford Kwinter calls the “quantitative subspace (the grid) below it” (cited in Othermindedness 23). The jellyfish, moreover, maps the space of which it is itself substantially a part - in the literal sense, as part of the same substance - for the jellyfish forms the water and is a form of it. It illustrates a reflexive flow in topological space. It is the same space that Umberto Eco (1962), also a mentor for Joyce, describes decades prior in a parodic essay concerning the “Paradox of Porta Ludovica,” which is a purported phenomenon of urban space that leaves the inhabitants of Milan in a perpetual state of bewilderment:

    It is therefore a topological space, like that of a microbe that chooses as its dwelling place a wad of chewing gum for the period of time…in which the gum is chewed by a being of macroscopic dimensions. (Misreadings 81)

    And it is the same space that physicist Alan Sokal, who published the infamous “pomo-babble” paper to question the credibility of the inter-disciplinary project, describes in that hoax paper as “ ‘space-time foam’: bubbles of space-time curvature, sharing a complex and ever-changing topology of interconnections” [Sokal published, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Theory,” in the journal Social Text in 1996].

    Clearly, all three have dramatically different intentions. In the preface to Misreadings Eco writes, “If its aim is true, [parody] simply heralds what others will later produce, unblushing, with impassive and assertive gravity” (5). The irony here of course is that Sokal’s parody, though gravely assertive in tone, was designed to disprove nothing other than gravity itself, explaining it away as just another social construction. Joyce is sincere, Eco is sincere in his parody, and Sokal is none of the above. More specifically, Joyce is sincere in his attempts to visualize topological movement in literature. He wants to describe the act of reading electronic texts as at once systematic and sensual: “Previously I have talked about the qualitative transformations in electronic texts in terms of contours, borrowing a geometric term for what I now think I have always really understood topologically, sensually (as a caress)… (Othermindedness 22). What these ostensibly diverse methodologies share is an insistence on visualizing complex, physical phenomena.

    By mentioning Sokal I broach the broader issue of art/science border crossings, when my focus is tracing a literary trope from “static” media to digital media and (conceivably) back again; that is, I’m concerned here with the border of print/digital literature, a border that is to me more familiar but no less suspect. In the two-culture debate, there are compelling arguments on both sides and radically different degrees of borrowing. On one hand there are those “humanists” who search for metaphorical semblances in the language and logic of “science.” On the other hand, there are earnest attempts to find mimetic parallels between the two, using a language that is referential without reservation. Predictably, the most useful border crossings are made by those not seeking to dismantle or destroy one body of knowledge in order to validate another. Nevertheless, as Matt Kirschenbaum makes clear, “information technology will not - not ever - allow communication between the Two Cultures that is totally free of noise… [see “Designing Our Disciplines ” in ebr].

    With regard to the print/digital divide, Aarseth (Cybertext) and others have identified noticeable examples of disjunction or “noise.” This said, if and how we can use hypertextual poetics to theorize works in print depends, as always, on the creativity of individual critics reading individual works, but it should appear to us more interdisciplinary than contradictory. Furthermore, with regard to metaphor, the same noise allows for unexpected synergies; old metaphors acquire new resonance. In “Beyond the Electronic Book: A Critique of Hypertext Rhetoric,” Moulthrop warns of an “absurd regression” resulting from taking a “rhetorics of integration” too far. He notes that “compensatory or reformist rhetorics take the ‘romance’ - or we might say the difference - out of hypertext” (difference is Moulthrop’s word, romance belongs to his source Davida Charney) (294). But Moulthrop’s examples of “too far” do not go far enough. He cites McLuhan, who observed that “rapidly changing societies tend perversely to assign new technologies the work of old, producing oxymorons like ‘televised hearings,’ ‘live recording,’ or ‘electronic book’ ” (294). Clearly, “electronic book” is an oxymoron with which the eponymous review journal is quite comfortable - not despite, but because of the new possibilities such combination allows. To see it otherwise is to ignore the extent to which the “old” rhetorics have informed what follows.

    With regard to our trope, since Contour emerges through the tracing of an object, it is not only “what happens as we go,” but also what remains when the object is gone. As Robert Siegle writes, “Hypertext can, indeed, stimulate the ‘becomingness’ Joyce celebrates in his theory, but also, just as clearly, hypertext can facilitate retracing the shapes of what tradition and individual talents have left us” (Twilit Ragas). The conventional wisdom of print has never threatened to occlude the literary creativity of a digital age, and the contours of print literature will continue to inscribe the literature of hypertext. This does not inhibit innovation or postpone the emergence of what Joyce himself has called a “true electronic form” (Othermindedness 181). True forms arise whenever creative people see “embodied expression” as transparent intuition rather than contemporary theory.

    Above all, the Contour aspires (as does this essay) to be nothing more than a site of gathering. It is a trope that forms of and conforms to the spaces in between. That said, Contour itself should be free to weave its way inter-medially, in the space of various disciplines and media. For whatever our artistic or scientific leanings, we can ultimately only work with what we can see - and feel. And I for one, despite the risks, am inclined to swim with the jellyfish.

    _________

    works cited

    Barthes, Roland. The Pleasure of the Text. Trans. Richard Miller. New York: Noonday Press, 1980.

    Bernstein, Mark, Michael Joyce, and David Levine. “Contours of Constructive Hypertexts.” ECHT, 1992 (161-70).

    Bolter, Jay David. Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1991.

    Eco, Umberto. Misreadings. Trans. William Weaver. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1993.

    Joyce, Michael. Of Two Minds. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995.

    — Othermindedness. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

    Moulthrop, Stuart. “Beyond the Electronic Book: A Critique of Hypertext Rhetoric.” New York: ACM Press, 1991.

    — “Where No Mind Has Gone Before: Ontological Design for Virtual Spaces.” New York: ACM Press, 1994.

    Rosenberg, Jim. 1996. “The Structure of Hypertext Activity.” New York: ACM Press.

    _________


              Fic: A Meeting of Minds        
    Title: A Meeting of Minds
    Author: ShadowLoverK
    Fandom: Star Trek XI
    Summary: Spock adopts a cat.



    This was written in response to this prompt on the Star Trek xi kink meme.

    =/\= C< =/\= C< =/\= C< =/\= C< =/\= C< =/\=


    A Meeting of Minds

    When the new regulations allowing pets on starships were announced, Spock was the last person anyone expected to take advantage of the opportunity. Spock did not understand that, as keeping pets had been proven to be a highly logical decision. They provided companionship, something that almost all known sentient species craved. Vulcans were no exception despite their perceived solitary nature. A pet would not care whether he showed emotion or not, it would simply be there for him.

    Spock remember his childhood pet, a sehlat named I-Chaya, with fondness. As he could not acquire another sehlat (if one ignored that the species had perished with Vulcan, there remained the fact that a "giant teddy bear with six-inch fangs," as his mother had referred to them, would not be the ideal animal to keep aboard a starship) something else would have to be found.

    As in all his endeavors, Spock approached the matter logically. Starfleet regulations, while now permitting pets, did put a great many restrictions on just what type of pet was suitable. Nothing over a certain size, as a starship had only so much room to spare and crew cabins (where the pet was required to remain) were not overly spacious. Nothing that had needs that could not be met off a planet, which was only logical as Spock did not wish to be the cause of another being's ill-health.

    And so Spock researched what might be the most suitable animal for him to keep as a pet. He settled on an Earth feline, a domestic cat. The cat required minimal care and not much space, especially if the owner took care to provide entainment in the form of toys. The cat could be left on its own for days at a time if necessary if food and water were provided. As one never knew what kind of trouble could happen on the Enterprise with little to no noice, this was important. It would be unwise to return to his quarters after a shipwide emergency to find that his pet had suffered from his lack of attention.

    Uhura simply looked at him curiously when he sent the subspace message directing the purchase of a suitable feline and the confirmation of where and when he would acquire it (they would not be near Earth in the next few months but they would be stopping at a colony suitable for holding the cat for him until they arrived).

    Dr. McCoy snorted when Spock requested the necessary replicator cards to fully care for his soon-to-be-pet, but handed them over easily enough.

    Engineer Scott helped him find the bits and pieces of extra material he was planning to use in constructing several perches for the feline as apparently cats liked high places and it would give the animal more room in a confined space, but the man insisted on chattering about all the "wee kitties" he'd known in his youth. Evidently, the man's aunt had owned many of the creatures.

    Captain Kirk showed up at his door while Spock was building the perches (and a rather ingenious walkway affixed to varying heights of wall) and offered to help locate some toys for Spock's pet. Spock accepted the offer; his research had provided far too many examples for him to decide on just a few without knowing more.

    When the Enterprise pulled into orbit around the farming planet Agricola, Spock made sure he was in the first wave of the crew going down for shoreleave. It was not logical to wait longer than necessary. It was simple enough to locate the small veterinarian's office his new pet had been kept at. The doctor there assured Spock that the animal was healthy and had had all of its vaccinations. She acquainted him with the physical details he would need to know in order to care for the animal (he had already learned these in his research but it was polite to listen and she might mention something he had missed as she was the expert). Then Spock took his new pet home with him.

    The cat was young, but not a juvenile, perhaps one and a half Earth years old. She (for it was female) had lived with her sire and dam at the breeder's home until Spock had purchased her. She was a Desert Lynx and therefore comfortable in the higher temperature of Spock's quarters. Her pelt was luxurious with fine spots appearing all over. Her ears ended in pointed bits of fur. She purred when he ran his hand along her spine. Spock named her Taluhk.

    Over the days and then weeks Spock and Taluhk grew to enjoy one another's company. While he was on duty or in the science labs, she played with the small ball that encased a bell or with the mouse-shape constructed with feathers that the captain had obtained. When he was in his quarters and working, she would perch above him and nap. When he was meditating, she would sit next to him and seemed to almost join him. During his leisure time, she would often sit on his lap. He found his hand would automatically stroke her when this happened. The purr that resulted was not displeasing.

    As time passed Spock found himself wondering if Taluhk could understand him. She sometimes seemed to, whether he spoke in English or in Vulcan, and in his research had found much anecdotal evidence that pet cats did, after all, understand their owners. But there was no proof, despite the thousands of years Humans had kept the creatures as companions. But Humans were not telepathic.

    And so, after Spock had finished writing a paper on the brief lifespans of messionic particles, he sat down on the bed next to where Taluhk was reclining. He placed his fingers on her face in a modified meld and murmured the ritual phrase.

    He was greeted with feelings, but they were very ordered and controlled. One thing was felt at a time, and then put aside for the next. First, there was surprise, and then limited understanding, and finally, welcome. Cats did not truly understand language, he learned and indeed, they did not think in it. Taluhk's mind was more a symphony of sensation and knowledge that all combined together into something like what Vulcans and Humans would refer to as thought.

    He sensed an inquiry about the meld itself. Not in words, but in sensations and a questioning emotion. In answer, Spock projected the differences between Humans and Vulcans, including some memories of his childhood when he had been learning to use his mental abilities. Understanding came and also, to Spock's curiosity, a type of empathy.

    He must have projected the curiosity, for suddenly his mind was filled with images from Taluhk's days as a kitten, learning from her dam, a shorthaired tabby cat, and also from her sire, a bobcat. Spock was startled. He had known about this breed's close ties to their wild cousins of course, but he had not realized that the cat he had picked was in fact a hybrid herself!

    Taluhk purred in contentment as Spock returned the empathy and then ended the meld. She climbed into his lap and settled herself as his hand moved from her face to her back, petting her in long, languid strokes. The two simply sat and enjoyed each other's company, and enjoying what they shared even as they were so different.
              Review: Play Me series by Tracy Wolff        
    Title: Play Me series
    Author: Tracy Wolff
    Source: NetGalley



    Synopsis:

    In the seductive first installment of an eBook original serial from the New York Times bestselling author of Ruined and Addicted, a woman running from her past has finally found a bit of control . . . until her powerful new boss makes her go wild.

    My name is Aria Winston. I’ve fought desperately to escape the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas. Now I’m on my own, in control of my own life and my own destiny . . . just the way I like it. Until Sebastian Caine changes everything.

    Working as a cocktail waitress at one of Vegas’s hottest five-star casinos means putting up with a ton of bad behavior from the big spenders. But it pays the bills—and that’s all that matters to Aria, who needs every last dollar to escape from her father’s destructive grasp and the brutal man he expects her to marry. But when she lashes out against a billionaire who won’t take no for an answer, she nearly loses everything—until Sebastian steps in. The owner’s son and handpicked successor, Sebastian is dark, sexy, and kinder than any rich man should be. And when he apologizes and offers to keep her job safe, Aria can’t help the way her body reacts to his. Suddenly her job, and the security it brings her, isn’t the only thing Aria wants.

    Play Me is an erotic serial intended for mature audiences.




    Review:






    Play Me Wild (book 1)

    Play Me Wild was an interesting first installment of the Play Me series. Each book is novella length, and there are 5 books. With this book being only 60 pages, it's kind of hard to review. I thought about reading them all and doing one review of the series as a whole, but I will do my best to review them individually.

    This book is about Aria, a cocktail waitress in one of the hottest casinos in Las Vegas. It's not exactly where she wants to be – especially since she is always manhandled by all the rich, sleezy gamblers. Her back story has not come out yet, so she is still pretty mysterious. She finally loses her temper and hits one of these billionaire jerks, then loses her job. Around this time, the owner's son – Sebastian – takes over the casino and lets her have her job back.

    Sebastian essentially seems like a good guy. He doesn't accept the sexual harassment that the waitresses are receiving, so he's trying to change things in the casino – even if that means losing some of his biggest gamblers. However, he seems to think it's fine to come on to Aria in the very beginning just because he has an attraction to her. Aria is attracted to him too, but does her best not to let it show. So, I have my 2 halves warring with each other. One half is saying that he's her boss and it's sad that she even has to mention that she refuses to have sex with him. The other half of me is saying, “Hey, this is kind of hot”.

    Overall, these two characters have some great sexual tension going on and I see good things for the future. Normally, I don't like novellas, but since all of these are out I thought I would give them a try. I'm looking forward to finding out more about these characters and I'm hoping there is a great romance involved and not just some casual sex.



    Play Me Hot (book 2)

    This second story in the Play Me series is pretty hot – like the title says. This book picks up exactly where the other left off. There is a lot of foreplay leading up to the actual sex. Turns out, Sebastian seems to be a Dom – and Aria makes a good Sub even though she hates taking orders and demands control of her life. I didn't know this was a BDSM type of story and I haven't read many books on the subject. I'm not sure how far the author intends to take it. Sebastian seems different from other Doms. I feel a little out of my league with the whole “subspace” and “subdrop” talk.

    Aria seems really unsure and disoriented afterward. She seems to think that he has gotten what he wants from her, and that's it. Sebastian wants to take care of her though and she pushes him away. Both of their pasts are still mysterious and I still don't feel like I know these characters too well. This book seemed to go by very quickly. I'm liking the intense connection that these characters seem to have.



    Play Me Hard (book 3)

    In this third installment, Sebastian and Aria seem to be having feelings for each other – even though they've only know each other a few days. Everything is happening so fast and it's intense. We are still unsure of Aria's past, but we know there is something going on with her family. I loved how Sebastian was the person she ran to when she was so upset (though we don't know why she was so upset).

    This book also hints at a past that Sebastian is trying to forget. Something major. This novella ends on a cliffhanger – so I'm glad I have the next book ready to start reading. I'm really intrigued right now and I'm interested to see how everything plays out.



    Play Me Real (book 4)

    With the 4th installment of the Play Me series, we find out about Sebastian's past. It's still haunting him, and the fact that he has/had no control over what happened is part of why he needs to have such control in the bedroom. We still don't really know about Aria's past, but this book hinted at the possibility of it being connected somehow.

    When they weren't talking about the past, Aria and Sebastian were having sex. For about half the story. I don't normally complain about too much sex when it comes to romance novels. Maybe it's just the fact that these sex scenes are so incredibly long. I think that these two need to spend some more time together when they aren't naked. There is only 1 novella left and I feel like there is still so much we need to know.



    Play Me Right (book 5)


    Play Me Right is the 5th and last installment of the Play Me series. This part is just as steamy as the others. In this book, Sebastian and Aria get their happily-ever-after, but it's sort of left open-ended. It left me wanting more. I really didn't understand why Aria was so upset with Sebastian at the end of the last book. But anyway, Aria FINALLY tells Sebastian who she really is. You would think there would be some sort of fall-out from the big secret, but there is none. I felt like things were a little rushed. Though, the entire series happened in a one week time span so everything happened a little quickly (which is why I don't normally read novellas).

    Don't get me wrong though, this is still an enjoyable read. Sounds like we will hear more about Sebastian and Aria in the Ethan Frost series. I read the first book in the Ethan Frost series awhile back and enjoyed it. What I really want to know more about is Aria's sister, Lucy. In this book she is only 16, but I would love to see a New Adult book with her in it – maybe starting college a couple years down the road. She has severe brittle bone disease, and I know what it's like to have a sibling with it (and now he is a married dad with 2 kids). More books need heroine's with disabilities, and that is a story I would definitely love to read.




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               Channel Estimation for Massive MIMO-OFDM Systems by Tracking the Joint Angle-Delay Subspace         
    Zhang, Yu and Wang, Dongming and Wang, Jiangzhou and You, Xiaohu (2016) Channel Estimation for Massive MIMO-OFDM Systems by Tracking the Joint Angle-Delay Subspace. IEEE Access, . E-ISSN 2169-3536. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1109/ACCESS.2016.2634025 ) (Full text available)
              Parallel Multiprojection Preconditioned Methods Based on Subspace Compression        
    During the last decades, the continuous expansion of supercomputing infrastructures necessitates the design of scalable and robust parallel numerical methods for solving large sparse linear systems. A new approach for the additive projection parallel preconditioned iterative method based on semiaggregation and a subspace compression technique, for general sparse linear systems, is presented. The subspace compression technique utilizes a subdomain adjacency matrix and breadth first search to discover and aggregate subdomains to limit the average size of the local linear systems, resulting in reduced memory requirements. The depth of aggregation is controlled by a user defined parameter. The local coefficient matrices use the aggregates computed during the formation of the subdomain adjacency matrix in order to avoid recomputation and improve performance. Moreover, the rows and columns corresponding to the newly formed aggregates are ordered last to further reduce fill-in during the factorization of the local coefficient matrices. Furthermore, the method is based on nonoverlapping domain decomposition in conjunction with algebraic graph partitioning techniques for separating the subdomains. Finally, the applicability and implementation issues are discussed and numerical results along with comparative results are presented.
               Breaking the Curse of Dimensionality with Convex Neural Networks; Francis Bach         
    We consider neural networks with a single hidden layer and non- decreasing positively homogeneous activation functions like the rectified linear units. By letting the number of hidden units grow unbounded and using classical non-Euclidean regularization tools on the output weights, they lead to a convex optimization problem and we provide a detailed theoretical analysis of their generalization performance, with a study of both the approximation and the estimation errors. We show in particular that they are adaptive to unknown underlying linear structures, such as the dependence on the projection of the input variables onto a low-dimensional subspace. Moreover, when using sparsity- inducing norms on the input weights, we show that high- dimensional non-linear variable selection may be achieved, without any strong assumption regarding the data and with a total number of variables potentially exponential in the number of observations. However, solving this convex optimization problem in infinite dimensions is only possible if the non- convex subproblem of addition of a new unit can be solved efficiently. We provide a simple geometric interpretation for our choice of activation functions and describe simple conditions for convex relaxations of the finite-dimensional non- convex subproblem to achieve the same generalization error bounds, even when constant-factor approximations cannot be found. We were not able to find strong enough convex relaxations to obtain provably polynomial-time algorithms and leave open the existence or non-existence of such tractable algorithms with non-exponential sample complexities.
               Spectral Clustering Based on Local PCA; Ery Arias-Castro, Gilad Lerman, Teng Zhang         
    We propose a spectral clustering method based on local principal components analysis (PCA). After performing local PCA in selected neighborhoods, the algorithm builds a nearest neighbor graph weighted according to a discrepancy between the principal subspaces in the neighborhoods, and then applies spectral clustering. As opposed to standard spectral methods based solely on pairwise distances between points, our algorithm is able to resolve intersections. We establish theoretical guarantees for simpler variants within a prototypical mathematical framework for multi-manifold clustering, and evaluate our algorithm on various simulated data sets.
               A General Framework for Consistency of Principal Component Analysis; Dan Shen, Haipeng Shen, J. S. Marron         
    A general asymptotic framework is developed for studying consistency properties of principal component analysis (PCA). Our framework includes several previously studied domains of asymptotics as special cases and allows one to investigate interesting connections and transitions among the various domains. More importantly, it enables us to investigate asymptotic scenarios that have not been considered before, and gain new insights into the consistency, subspace consistency and strong inconsistency regions of PCA and the boundaries among them. We also establish the corresponding convergence rate within each region. Under general spike covariance models, the dimension (or number of variables) discourages the consistency of PCA, while the sample size and spike information (the relative size of the population eigenvalues) encourage PCA consistency. Our framework nicely illustrates the relationship among these three types of information in terms of dimension, sample size and spike size, and rigorously characterizes how their relationships affect PCA consistency.
               Minimax Adaptive Estimation of Nonparametric Hidden Markov Models; Yohann De Castro, {\'E}lisabeth Gassiat, Claire Lacour         
    We consider stationary hidden Markov models with finite state space and nonparametric modeling of the emission distributions. It has remained unknown until very recently that such models are identifiable. In this paper, we propose a new penalized least- squares estimator for the emission distributions which is statistically optimal and practically tractable. We prove a non asymptotic oracle inequality for our nonparametric estimator of the emission distributions. A consequence is that this new estimator is rate minimax adaptive up to a logarithmic term. Our methodology is based on projections of the emission distributions onto nested subspaces of increasing complexity. The popular spectral estimators are unable to achieve the optimal rate but may be used as initial points in our procedure. Simulations are given that show the improvement obtained when applying the least-squares minimization consecutively to the spectral estimation.
               Subspace Learning with Partial Information; Alon Gonen, Dan Rosenbaum, Yonina C. Eldar, Shai Shalev-Shwartz         
    The goal of subspace learning is to find a $k$-dimensional subspace of $\mathbb{R}^d$, such that the expected squared distance between instance vectors and the subspace is as small as possible. In this paper we study subspace learning in a setting, in which the learner can only observe $r \le d$ attributes from each instance vector. We propose several efficient algorithms for this task, and analyze their sample complexity.
               Noisy Sparse Subspace Clustering; Yu-Xiang Wang, Huan Xu         
    This paper considers the problem of subspace clustering under noise. Specifically, we study the behavior of Sparse Subspace Clustering (SSC) when either adversarial or random noise is added to the unlabeled input data points, which are assumed to be in a union of low-dimensional subspaces. We show that a modified version of SSC is in correctly identifying the underlying subspaces, even with noisy data. This extends theoretical guarantee of this algorithm to more practical settings and provides justification to the success of SSC in a class of real applications.
               Bayesian Nonparametric Covariance Regression; Emily B. Fox, David B. Dunson         
    Capturing predictor-dependent correlations amongst the elements of a multivariate response vector is fundamental to numerous applied domains, including neuroscience, epidemiology, and finance. Although there is a rich literature on methods for allowing the variance in a univariate regression model to vary with predictors, relatively little has been done in the multivariate case. As a motivating example, we consider the Google Flu Trends data set, which provides indirect measurements of influenza incidence at a large set of locations over time (our predictor). To accurately characterize temporally evolving influenza incidence across regions, it is important to develop statistical methods for a time-varying covariance matrix. Importantly, the locations provide a redundant set of measurements and do not yield a sparse nor static spatial dependence structure. We propose to reduce dimensionality and induce a flexible Bayesian nonparametric covariance regression model by relating these location-specific trajectories to a lower-dimensional subspace through a latent factor model with predictor-dependent factor loadings. These loadings are in terms of a collection of basis functions that vary nonparametrically over the predictor space. Such low-rank approximations are in contrast to sparse precision assumptions, and are appropriate in a wide range of applications. Our formulation aims to address three challenges: scaling to large $p$ domains, coping with missing values, and allowing an irregular grid of observations. The model is shown to be highly flexible, while leading to a computationally feasible implementation via Gibbs sampling. The ability to scale to large $p$ domains and cope with missing values is fundamental in analyzing the Google Flu Trends data.
               Existence and Uniqueness of Proper Scoring Rules; Evgeni Y. Ovcharov         
    To discuss the existence and uniqueness of proper scoring rules one needs to extend the associated entropy functions as sublinear functions to the conic hull of the prediction set. In some natural function spaces, such as the Lebesgue $L^p$-spaces over $\mathbb{R}^d$, the positive cones have empty interior. Entropy functions defined on such cones have directional derivatives only, which typically exist on large subspaces and behave similarly to gradients. Certain entropies may be further extended continuously to open cones in normed spaces containing signed densities. The extended densities are Gateaux differentiable except on a negligible set and have everywhere continuous subgradients due to the supporting hyperplane theorem. We introduce the necessary framework from analysis and algebra that allows us to give an affirmative answer to the titular question of the paper. As a result of this, we give a formal sense in which entropy functions have uniquely associated proper scoring rules. We illustrate our framework by studying the derivatives and subgradients of the following three prototypical entropies: Shannon entropy, Hyvarinen entropy, and quadratic entropy.
               Learning Transformations for Clustering and Classification; Qiang Qiu, Guillermo Sapiro         
    A low-rank transformation learning framework for subspace clustering and classification is proposed here. Many high- dimensional data, such as face images and motion sequences, approximately lie in a union of low-dimensional subspaces. The corresponding subspace clustering problem has been extensively studied in the literature to partition such high-dimensional data into clusters corresponding to their underlying low- dimensional subspaces. Low-dimensional intrinsic structures are often violated for real-world observations, as they can be corrupted by errors or deviate from ideal models. We propose to address this by learning a linear transformation on subspaces using nuclear norm as the modeling and optimization criteria. The learned linear transformation restores a low-rank structure for data from the same subspace, and, at the same time, forces a maximally separated structure for data from different subspaces. In this way, we reduce variations within the subspaces, and increase separation between the subspaces for a more robust subspace clustering. This proposed learned robust subspace clustering framework significantly enhances the performance of existing subspace clustering methods. Basic theoretical results presented here help to further support the underlying framework. To exploit the low-rank structures of the transformed subspaces, we further introduce a fast subspace clustering technique, which efficiently combines robust PCA with sparse modeling. When class labels are present at the training stage, we show this low-rank transformation framework also significantly enhances classification performance. Extensive experiments using public data sets are presented, showing that the proposed approach significantly outperforms state-of-the-art methods for subspace clustering and classification. The learned low cost transform is also applicable to other classification frameworks.
              Comment on On the ethics and safety of Online subspace or trance space. by Deb        
    I came across this after having found that I was capable of slipping into subspace at a distance. I had experienced it in person, but never expected it to happen while in voice and SecondLife. I crashed hard the first time, but have become a bit more careful once I was aware that it was even possible. I have complete trust in my Master, but we are both working out how to help me "come down" without a crash or drop. I would very much love input and/or suggestions of how others have dealt with these issues. My Master and I are both exploring ways to safely accommodate this newest discovery. Submission and Domination is always a journey!
              Ring Runner Flight Of The Sages-VACE        
    Runner Anel: Vôo dos Sábios é um top down, 2.5D espaço-shooter misturado com elementos de um RPG. Seus predecessores incluem Morte Silenciosa On-line da Mythic Entertainment e Subspace Continuum. No entanto, Runner anel é caracterizada por sua riqueza de habilidades únicas, que incluem teletransporte, a manipulação do tempo, discrição, torres e drones, acrobacias e habilidades […]
               Performance analysis of subspace based method for source localization in shallow water         
    Naidu, PS and Rao, BP (1996) Performance analysis of subspace based method for source localization in shallow water. In: Signal Processing, 48 (3). pp. 175-182.
               Signal subspace approach in localization of sound source in shallow water         
    Naidu , PS and Mohan, Krishna PG (1991) Signal subspace approach in localization of sound source in shallow water. In: Signal Processing, 24 (1). pp. 31-42.