Ceremony (Fiction)

Two men in ceremonial robes and wearing the traditional paints ran down the hallway. Between them, they dragged a naked girl. She bit and fought with every ounce of strength to be let go, but they overpowered her, faith giving them power.

At the end of the hallway, there was a railing, her last chance to be free. She jumped forward and kicked backwards off of it, throwing the three of them backwards by a few feet. They stumbled and one let his grip slip from her arm.

She punched the other in the face, and he lost his grip. By this time the other had recovered, grabbing her arm before it could throw another punch. She tried to punch him with her other arm, but he snatched it out of the air and shoved her forward and to the ground.

The other man spat blood and stood back up, reaching for an arm again as the girl went limp. They dragged her back to the railing, a crowd below and spread out into the distance cheered. Beneath them was a large vat of turbulent liquid, orange yellow and red, the colors and consistency of lava.

Heat rose in waves while several other men and women in ceremonial robes tended the fires under and around the vat. Sparks flew as the sacrifice’s body drew near, as if the liquid was alive, as if it were waiting for her to fall in.

The men took a breath, she took another chance, suddenly struggling again. They tightened their grip, a grim expression of determination on their faces. She spit at those below, but a fireball rose from the vat, vaporizing it before it could hit any of the faithful.

They grabbed her legs from under her, lifting her over the rail. She flailed one last time, making them slightly lose their balance. She managed to grab the rail, but they were quick to regain their footing and throw her over.

She banged against the side of the walkway and held on, fire rose beneath her. One of the men pried her hands from the metal bar, and she grabbed back on a different spot, slipping lower, but not falling.

She held on for a few more seconds, staring into the eyes of one of her killers. He held a grim determination, the look of an indoctrinated priest. Her atrophied muscles failed her, and she finally fell. A look of surprise and fear showed on her face for the first time, replacing the anger that kept her fighting this long.

He snapped out of it and reached for her at the last second, but it was too late, and she plunged into the vat, a flash of pain showing on her face before she became invisible in a puff of steam.


Originally written Sep 18, 2012. Edited, today. Hope you enjoyed.

A Luke-Warm Political Hot-Take

Back in 2016, I published a blog post1 about the major election results for my state and country (California, USA). While I probably agree with most of my feelings at the time, I know for a fact that I made some bad choices with my votes, and an invalid hot take. I want to revisit this, and respond to it with a little more knowledge and hindsight.

Hilary Clinton vs Donald Trump

The voting system in this country is a joke. The only countries less democratic are those without any voting, and maybe “votes” with only one candidate.. which includes portions of the US. This is a large topic, but one of the easiest problems to attack is the presence of the electoral college. The popular vote doesn’t actually matter, what matters is a select group of 507 representatives. Most of the time, they vote according to what the populace votes for, but not accurately. Fortunately, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact intends to fix this.

The more immediate problem is who got elected that time. Trump is a moron, and caused a lot of harm.. and that’s even before COVID-19 became a problem. He is directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans, and partially responsible for millions worldwide. Of course, every American president has a body count2 3, but Trump is a special level of stupid, careless, and evil.

That said, I’m still not sure he was the wrong person out of the two choices available4. Hilary wanted to go to war with Russia, a decision that could easily be civilization-ending when promoted by a competent politician. Of course, Russia interferes with all US elections, and in this case assisted the winner.

Flavors of Bad

I don’t know much about the particular candidates that ran for Senate and House of Representatives’ seats, but the Republican Party won the majority, and have a history of helping the wealthy grow their wealth at the expense of worldwide suffering. That said, I’m not holding the Democratic Party up as some kind of hero. They are responsible for the majority of the harm that Republicans have not caused, and have a history of pretending to be held up by Republicans when nothing of the sort has occurred.

Californian Propositions

I’m going to skip over propositions I can’t have a valid opinion on, as I lack knowledge on the specifics, with the exception of stating that on the surface 51-57, 59-65, 67 seem like progress. Of these, the following passed: 51, 52, 54-57, 59, 63-65. (Full results.)

58 (English-only schooling) and 66 (limiting death penalty appeals) are objectively bad propositions that passed, discriminating against non-English-speakers and increasing support for state-sanctioned murder. 62 (death penalty removal) might’ve been a good step towards prisoners’ rights – but did not pass. Of course, US prisons are somewhere between a death camp and slavery on average5.

I previously agreed with 58. At that time, I did not realize how much of a discriminatory it is to allow English-only schools. On the surface, it sounds fine, the majority is English-speaking, and should not have to be hampered by provisions for non-English-speakers in areas where there aren’t any non-English-speakers, right? The problem is these areas don’t really exist, and this just hides them farther under the rug6.

Many of us believed that 67 (single-use grocery bag ban) was a positive. I was led to believe that the benefits were grossly outweighed by unintended costs and increases in plastic usage to make reusable bags. For example, it would take a “reusable” bag thousands of uses to make up the difference in environmental impact of its creation vs a single-use bag. This is a feat that is not likely to be achieved. In fact, this post was written poo-pooing this proposition until I went to gather sources.

Turns out, it’s a lot more complicated!7 While the negative facts I’d heard are true, the result of California’s ban is the majority of purchases are being made without any bag use. Turns out, they just didn’t need them for the most part. (It is important to specify that these results are not generalizeable to any population, however.)

I am somewhat conflicted about 63 (background checks for purchasing ammo, prohibition of large-capacity magazines). My gut tells me this is a good thing, because gun control is a good thing. However, I have heard evidence that suggests that these kind of half-assed measures are easily worked around and serve no actual prevention of gun-related harm. At the time I went all-in on my gut feeling, instead of doing more research on the topic. At this time, I have not gone back to check sources to find out if this measure is actually helping.


There is much more to be said, but that also requires research. Please comment if you would like to see that done on these or other political topics.


  1. The original will likely go down as part of a site redesign and holds no value as content, so I’ve created an unlisted paste of it.
  2. That list is obviously outdated, as Trump easily makes the top 5. And that’s without even counting foreign deaths.
  3. Another example: Sanctions, which directly lead to somewhere between thousands and millions of deaths, and much more significant suffering.
  4. History shows that Americans rarely have a 3rd option in presidential elections.
  5. This article on modern concentration camps primarily focuses on more recent events, but offers a taste of what I am referring to.
  6. Languages spoken in California.
  7. ABC News’ article on plastic bag bans. I cannot reliably determine the net effect of California’s prop 67, but it seems to be edging into positivity.

Revolution (Drabble)

“See?” She asked.

I was distracted by how she looked, despite the grease. “I’m sorry, mechanics aren’t my strong suit.”

“Keep it spinning or we die.” That broke through long enough to analyze the instructions I was given.

“Why isn’t this automated?” I asked.

“Cylons.” The blank stare on my face led to a laugh. “It’s an old TV show, fiction. AI gained sentience, didn’t like being used as tools.”

I queued it for research. “I think I understand.”

That got a smirk, followed by a nod. “I’ll be in my bunk.”

A subsystem completed the research. It was…interesting.


Drabble is a form of extremely short storytelling, where you are limited to exactly 100 words. This one was written for a challenge, but not submitted in time.

Generating Terrestrial Planets Pt.1

This is related to Semi-Empirical Stellar Equations. I have had some questions easily answered, and others which are difficult or impossible to get the kind of accuracy I want.

I’m going to order what I’ve learned by the order I am planning to use these equations, marking equations loosely based on empirical data with an asterisk, and double asterisks for things I’ve completely made up to simplify calculation.

  • Radius of Surface* (Rsurface):
    5500km mean, 1550km standard deviation
  • Density* [based on common rock types] (Dplanet):
    4.7g/cm3 mean, 0.55g/cm3 standard deviation
  • Volume [assumes a perfect sphere] (Vplanet):
    4/3 * π * Rsurface3
  • Mass (Mplanet):
    Dplanet * Vplanet
  • Surface Gravity (gsurface):
    6.673×10-11Nm2kg-2 * Mplanet / Rsurface2
  • Surface Area [assumes a perfect sphere]:
    4 * π * Rsurface2
  • Atmospheric Pressure Reduction Rate** (Pr):
    Pr [unit: none] = -0.00011701572 [unit: s2 / m2] * gsurface
  • Atmospheric Halving Height** (hd):
    hd [unit: m-1] = ln(2) / Pr
  • Atmospheric Volume at Constant Pressure** (Vsim):
    (4/3 * π * (Rsurface + hd)3 – Vplanet) * 2
  • Surface Atmospheric Pressure (Psurface):
    Psurface [unit: kPa] = ???
  • Lowest Safe Orbital Height** (h0):
    h0 [unit: m] = ln(1.4×10-11 / Psurface) / Pr
  • True Atmospheric Volume (Vatm):
    4/3 * π * (Rsurface + h0)3 – Vplanet

Vsim exists to support a simulation of an entire planet’s atmospheric contents using my simple fluid simulation mechanic. The magic constant used to calculated Pr is based on Earth’s atmosphere, it can be changed to set an exact “atmospheric height” while maintaining other properties of this simulation.

  • Atmospheric Pressure at Altitude** (Paltitude):
    Paltitude [unit: kPa] = Psurface * exp(Pr * maltitude) [Pr may be -Pr, I don’t remember]

This post is obviously incomplete, but it’s been a while since I posted anything here, and I felt like I should go ahead and share what I’ve been up to.

Everything Is Okay (Music)

A while back I produced a work of Modern Art with the software suite known as Factorio. This only needed minor editing but I was a very lazy girl. Today, I bring you… Everything Is Okay, a custom alarm to let you know that your world isn’t ending.