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Trip's Life (Recent episodes)

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2019-02-28:  "frittata" by marithlizard
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2019-02-11:  "Re: computer woes" by marithlizard
2019-02-11:  "Re: computer woes" by Trip
2019-02-11:  "computer woes" by marithlizard

12 March 2002 - Tuesday

SUPEREXTRACOOL!

Our Admin of Infinite Power is a falconer when she isn't busy saving AV from its own incompetence, and this morning she brought one of her birds by, a young male red-tailed hawk (less than a year old, so his tail won't really be red until after the year's molt). I wimped out on holding him, but got to pet him while a cow orker held him. Wow. Predators are pretty much always cool, but raptors have a particularly high predation-to-weight ratio: the Hawk With No Name had just been weighed at 840g, but was the volume of a 1.5-2kg cat.

I liked the way its spread tail and half-folded wings formed a complete cloak of feathers; it's the sort of thing one reads about, but it doesn't seem realistic until one sees it. And my was that a specialized flesh-ripping beak and prey-seizing set of talons. (I was amused but not surprised to learn that hawks have the same combat maneuvers as other pouncers: grab hold, go for the spine or throat.) And that hawks are pretty much useful only as hunting partners; they can be trained, but not domesticated (which makes sense; they have no social instincts to subvert for humanity's own ends).

Okay, perhaps I have read too much biology to have a properly emotional reaction, but Angie was there to provide bouncing and squeaking. Anyway, it was a darn cool hawk.

[Late-breaking update: hawk pictures! (courtesy of Dave Brandi)]

* * *

More Age of the Black Sun blithering:

With stunning originality, we'll call this world Gea (with a hard G).

Gea divides naturally into domains according to the distribution of the Lamps, and within each domain, into rings of temperature1: unlivably hot at the base of the Lamppost, but progressively cooler as one moves outward and the Lamp is both more distant and lower to the horizon. At the edges of a domain, the Lamp is so low in the sky that rough terrain forms regions of perpetual darkness (possibly alleviated by Lamp of the neighboring domain, if that's not blocked as well). In fact, the borderlands often are more mountainous than the central regions, as though Gea were cupping her hands around the warmth of the Lamps, leaving the interstitial regions dark and barren.

Much of Gea is covered in ocean, where the reverse seems to hold true: the seafloor rises in the central and middle reaches of a domain, to support islands, and falls off into the abyssal darkness in the interstices. There are plenty of islands of all sizes, but the oceanic domains still support much smaller populations than the dry-land ones.

1: Since the Lamps are evenly distributed over the whole world, latitude is inconsequential and mostly forgotten

(Trigonometry aside: If the Lampposts are 200 leagues high, and each is just on the horizon at the far corners of its triangular domain, then the distance to that far corner is 1613 leagues, and the domain is 2794 leagues along each side. Gea as a whole is 6673 leagues in radius, or 13346 leagues in diameter. If these are short leagues, equal to about 3km, then Gea is three times the diameter of the Earth, and has nine times the surface area.)

The Lampposts are about half a league around, made of something similar to glass but apparently indestructible, and seem to be completely immobile relative to one another. Over the course of the Age of the Red Sun, many of them developed valleys or lakes at their bases as the moving earth split itself open on the adamant Lampposts.

Since plants like extra sun more than people do, the best regions for farming are not the best regions for living in comfort, which makes Gea a world of absentee landlords and reinforces any class structure that might otherwise exist.

Next, actual citizenry! Or at least population! Er, not that PCs will know more than a small fraction of any of this unless they are Highly Educated, but.

* * *

Useless parasite.

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