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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Traveller Tuesday: X-Boat Routes in the Marches, take two

Instead of doing any writing yesterday, I spent my productive hours updating a previous version of my Xboat route map for the Spinward Marches.  But hey, it's content!

Design notes:
  • The purple lines are for high-speed (J-5 and J-6) military and diplomatic channels. They are not usually available for commercial use, although an obscenely wealthy corporation could buy space on one -- but they likely have their own J-6 ships for that. 
  • I have no way to differentiate between a route that stops at a system and one that simply passes through it. Sorry. You'll have to use your discretion. 
  • Whenever possible, I made a direct line to subsector capitals. 
  • Whenever possible, I made loops instead of lines, both for speed of transmission and for the ability to route communication around damage where needed. 
  • I gave preference for systems with scout bases, naval bases, and class A or B starports unless doing so simply made little sense. 
  • Shaving 1 week off transmission time was insufficient reason to put in a route. Shaving off 2 weeks was given strong consideration, and 3 or more meant the route was added .
  • Using this system, communication from sector capital Mora to the other subsector capitals is damn fast, considering that each hex is a parsec (3.5 light years across):
    • 2 weeks to reach Lunion and Rhylanor
    • 3 weeks to reach Lanth, Glisten and Trin
    • 4 weeks to reach Aramis, Frenzie, Regina, Mertactor
    • 5 weeks to reach Iderati
    • 6 weeks to reach Mire and Jewell (but only 2 weeks from Jewell to Regina)
  • Ivendo and Fosey become these odd J-6 hubs, which become less odd when you realize that Ivendo has both a Navy and a Scout base, and Fosey has a Naval Intelligence office. Hmm....
  • Keen-eyed folks will note there's one route that doesn't quite make sense. This was deliberate on my part and not a mistake. I don't want to get into further detail as my players are likely to read this.
  • Fulacin is now interdicted due to recent events in-game. 
  • Similarly, Walston is now a Class B port and X-boat hub due to the actions of the PCs. (It's going to be integrated into the Imperium as soon as the population gets it racism under control.)
  • I switched the locations of Bronze and Steel because I had an adventure called "Project Steel" which was all about removing the X-boat base at Biter and routing it through Steel, and the canonical position of Steel made that idiotic. Rather than change the adventure (Steel is habitable, Bronze is not), I used GM fiat to switch the positions of the systems. 
  • It's now a Jump-2 for the Sword Worlds to get any mail from the Imperium. Suck it, Swordies. 
  • Flammarion is now even more of a critical hub as it is the official link from the Imperium to the Darrian Confederation. It goes to Spume and not Darrian because I figured it was more important for mail to get onto the Confederation's mail service than to go to the old capital. 
  • There is, however, a J-5 diplomatic link to Mire, as well as an emergency backchannel between Regina and the Darrians via Thanber
  • The Zhodani were deliberately left unchanged to represent the Imperium not fully understanding what is going on in their neck of the woods. 

Sorry to feature what is basically a Lucas rework of a rerun, but I actually spent 3+ hours working on this last night and I'd like to to have something blogworthy to show for it. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Much Ado About JPFO

Which is not to say that I think the organization titled Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership is "nothing"; not at all.  I just have difficulty coming up with good article titles at times...

Anyway, for those of you who may not have noticed, there is currently a deal being made whereby the Second Amendment Foundation will acquire JPFO.   This has pissed off two bloggers whose opinions I respect, Claire Wolfe and Nicki from The Liberty Zone blog, who not incidentally are writers for JPFO (or were, in Claire's case; she resigned in the wake of this revelation as an act of protest).

On the other hand, Oleg Volk -- another blogger whose opinion I respect -- has said  "I see this as a good development. SAF can give JPFO greater reach."

And on the gripping hand, David Codrea, whom I also respect, is maintaining a guardedly neutral stance about the whole affair.


I'm not really sure what to think here.  I definitely don't want JPFO's unique voice to be silenced or become generic, but I also see benefit in greater funding and resources.

I'm not telling you what to think, either. I just encourage every one of you to read as much about it as you care to, come to your own decision, and let the leadership of JPFO where you stand.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gunblog Variety Podcast

In the wake of my first ever YouTube video (which I actually filmed a week after I recorded my part here), I continue my bid to create an Erin Palette Media Empire by appearing on Sean Sorrentino's podcast in my role as a Blue Collar Prepper.

Give it a listen -- Sean's assembled quite the cast:

Show notes are available on the GunBlog VarietyCast blog page.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Don't You Think She Looks Tired..?

     In 2006, for the first time in decades, The Doctor toppled a government on television, bringing Prime Minister Harriet Jones's Golden Age to an end by whispering six words into the ear of her aide. The six words “Don't you think she looks tired?” A moment symbolic of any small act that creates a crack in the foundation of a much larger idea. Why am I bringing this up? I promise, it has relevance. 

     Now before we get too far, I should acknowledge and admit something. I don't talk personal politics often. I feel I probably should, as I have friends that range from far Left to far Right, liberal libertarians to conservative republicans to socialist democrats. I play my own political hand close to the chest, though, most of the time. In my younger, more extreme days, I was an old-school pinko lefty. For years I pretty much identified as communist, and spent a great deal of time hurling not-well-thought-out insults at the far Right. I've railed against bigots and religious zealots, and thrown things at corrupt politicians. I've flirted with charges of disrupting the peace and inciting riot. And I did most of this in the American Deep South. In retrospect, I consider myself lucky I haven't been disappeared down a dirt road or swampy hollow. I've mellowed in my days, though, learning the hard lesson that you can indeed have friends that hold differing political views (something I feel a great many need to learn), but this is the reason I am so dead-set against Social Justice (capital S, capital J) activists and their antics these days. Those causes I fought for, and still believe in, are causes that they're doing more harm than good to. Causes that I was fighting for before they were co-opted by people with louder, less rational voices.

     Modern Social Justice is the squat-house built on the shaky foundation of Third-Wave Academic Feminism. And don't get me wrong, I'm not against the good that Feminism has done for the world. The first wave, with its women's suffrage (even if they really were only fighting for white women – one battle at a time, I suppose), voting rights and property ownership, and the second-wave with its sexual liberties, workplace equality, and other noble goals really made some positive change, even if we have to ignore some of Solanises and Dworkins that these eras might have spawned. Third-Wave Academic Feminism, though it started strong by addressing and bringing attention to important subjects like rape laws, domestic violence, and childcare, has since had no such clear goal, and therefore has floundered a bit in the modern day, lashing out at whatever it can reach. This lack of focus may have been what spawned the Social Justice (again, capital S, capital J) trends of the last decade or so. Identity politics mixed with cultural Marxism, but completely disregarding class struggle in favor of branding entire groups of people oppressor and oppressed without consulting them first.

     So why I'm bringing all of this up right now is that recently a hashtag and picture campaign called #WomenAgainstFeminism has sprung up, a sort of reaction to negative stereotypes (justified or otherwise) of modern Feminism. This has, of course, also had a knee-jerk reaction of criticism from feminist sources ranging from the standard “oh you just don't understand feminism” to the absurd “these women are simply puppets of men.” The latter I find especially entertaining and appalling, as it's basically stripping women of their agency to disagree, something that any first- or second-waver would find detestable, I'm sure. In fact, the barrage from either side has gotten loud enough that major news outlets have gotten wind, and in their typically expected modern sensationalist manner, have started asking the question “Do we even still need Feminism?” I remember a CNN segment where a female presenter brought on two other female journalists, and asked the question. The first agreed with the presenter that absolutely it was, but the second one's started with “Weeelll....” to the abject horror of the presenter and other journalist.

     Whether we do or not, it's six little words that attacked the foundation that the Social Justice Warriors have built their flophouse on. If, as a culture, the sacred cow (no insult intended there) that Feminism is has started to be publicly doubted, perhaps identity politics as a whole will start to shake apart. While I hope none of the good works are undone, I can only hope that we can move into a period where open discussion is once again encouraged over shutting people's voices out because of the circumstances of their birth, whatever those circumstances may be, by shouting the word privilege at them, or blaming all the troubles in the world on an ethereal, ill-defined conspiratorial organization that may as well be the Illuminati. There's been entirely too many people of late that feel they can enact positive social change by tweeting obscenities or writing an angry blog-post shaming someone for an accidental slip of the tongue, and not enough attention paid to people pushing for actual change.

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