skullsinthestars - Black lives matter Profile picture
Professor of optical physics, blogger of physics, history of physics, and pulp fiction. Falling Felines & Fundamental Physics, now available! (he/him)
Jeffrey Rubinoff Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
6 May
Let's do a quick #OldSchoolDungeonsAndDragons before bed! Undermountain: Stardock (1997), by Steven E. Schend.
This adventure has a very dubious distinction: according to DriveThruRPG, it was the last RPG product published by TSR before their bankruptcy! (Though Wizards of the Coast would publish more adventures under the TSR label for several years.) drivethrurpg.com/product/17579/…
The adventure is set in the Forgotten Realms, and in particular in the city of Waterdeep, below which is the "Dungeon of the Mad Mage," the most famous dungeon in the realms.
Read 11 tweets
4 May
One reason we don't change our behavior much is because nobody knows who is vaccinated and who is not and we don't want to normalize risky behavior among people who are unvaccinated.
We're all in this together, like it or not. Treating vaccination as a "yeehaw!" moment where you can stop caring about the pandemic is irresponsible and, quite frankly, disgustingly selfish.
And since vaccination, I have been doing a *little* bit more. I've eaten out for the first time in a year. I've gone to a museum. I've visited a bookstore. But I still practice distancing and still wear my fucking mask.
Read 5 tweets
4 May
Really baffled by folks who argue that airplanes are somehow all we need for mass transportation in the US. Anyone who has flown knows that air travel is stressful, expensive, and unreliable. Your flight can be canceled for any reason, and often is.
To give an anecdote about rail travel in Spain: I was once on a train that was delayed for 10 minutes, and they offered full refunds to everyone on the train.
In contrast: travel sites used to provide data on how often a flight departed on time. I think they largely stopped doing that once folks noticed that many flights departed on time less than 50% of the time.
Read 6 tweets
3 May
France and Germany each have transportation systems superior to Texas.
Folks seem to be jumping in to talk about population density. That's fair, but you know what? That's *not* what the AZ Republicans were talking about. Their map is simply showing surface area.
Incidentally, Texas is 268k square miles, France is 248k. France has a population of 67 M, while Texas has a population of 29 M. A significant difference, but not enough of a difference to argue that Texas is "empty."
Read 4 tweets
19 Feb
Okay, I'm watching the classic Six Million Dollar Man episode "Death Probe."
Oh, dude, you're not going to stop a Death Probe with a shotgun.
Wait, the Probe just bumped the farmer's car and then drove away? WHAT KIND OF *DEATH* PROBE ARE YOU
Read 30 tweets
18 Feb
Soviet Venus Probes also made for a kickass Six Million Dollar Man episode!
That episode of SMDM always stuck in my head! The premise is that the robotic probe crash-landed on Earth, thought it was on Venus, and was running around and killing people it thought were aliens to "sample" them.
That episode was so popular that they made a toy of it. I always wanted one. Hmm...
Read 7 tweets
17 Feb
At the end, when Bill Paxton started laughing, I thought, "Oh god, she broke his poor brain!"
*she drops the necklace over the railing*

Bill Paxton:
Read 4 tweets
17 Feb
Well, just started tonight's D&D session to try and calm an angry mammoth with a bit of music. I rolled a 5, so we are NOT off to a good start.
tl;dr? I'm about to be trampled.
So another character wanted to draw out a serial killer, and put into his mind the idea that she should be the next victim.

Now, the serial killer has appeared to kill her.

Me:
Read 10 tweets
16 Feb
Productive day of meeting with students! Now I take a walk break, and then dive into some mathy stuff.
Flagpole Sitta to start the walk.
Time for Prinsencolinensinainciusol.
Read 4 tweets
16 Feb
Okay, io9 just posted an article about "Batman Forever" and this still of a smiling Batman is one of the most frightening Batman depictions I've ever seen. io9.gizmodo.com/batman-forever… Image
"You have nice fingers. Can I have them?" Image
"The voices tell me to burn things." Image
Read 4 tweets
28 Jan
This is actually a fun illustration of how language is often imprecise.
For example: we say a donut has one hole, which basically acts as a tunnel through the donut, but we also dig holes in the ground, which have no other end.
Basically, before you count how many holes a straw has, you have to clearly define what a “hole” is. If you don’t, you will have an intractable argument. I’ve seen a number of endless arguments in physics that all boiled down to: what is the definition?
Read 5 tweets
28 Jan
Now I'm invested in watching the end of "Geostorm," God help me
I'm starting to suspect this whole "Geostorm" movie is just an excuse to show a bunch of CGI disaster porn.
Every time I watch the end of one of these disaster movies I'm like "YAY! THERE ARE ONLY MILLIONS DEAD! HOORAY!"
Read 4 tweets
27 Jan
Which is weird, because as far as I can tell nobody did anything illegal. It’s just that the redditors don’t have the same way of trying to work the market that the rich hedgers do.
Incidentally, “monitoring the situation” seems about as vague a reply as one can give. Basically, it’s “we are aware that things are happening.”
If Wall Street wasn’t populated by a lot of sociopaths, this whole thing might have caused some reflection on the “let’s get rich on other people’s misery” thing.
Read 4 tweets
4 Jan
Tempted to start a new lengthy thread of paintings I love, with a new hashtag, just to get some beauty on the TL again. The last time I did this, I kept a thread going for two years, I think?
Okay, let's start a new #MyFavoritePaintings thread, to replace my old #PaintingsILove thread! (Really hard to find a hashtag that hasn't been used a lot!)
Going to start with a bunch of random choices! (I kept all the images from my last thread.) Laura Knight - A Dark Pool - 1918. #MyFavoritePaintings Image
Read 74 tweets
29 Dec 20
Decided to watch the original 1970s Westworld tonight.
Always forget how genuinely creepy Yul Brynner is in this.
Kind of fascinating that Westworld, released in 1973, uses the idea of a computer virus to explain the breakdown. The very first computer virus appeared in 1971.
Read 4 tweets
28 Dec 20
Saw this shared by a friend, and gonna do it here, too, at least until I get bored...
1. Kung Fu Hustle. Tells a delightful and optimistic story, with some really wonderful nods to classic films and unexpected twists! (And really cool characters!)
2. Field of Dreams. Soooo many movies about wonderful magical events also end up stressing, essentially, "all good things must come to an end." Field of Dreams destroys that notion, and gives us an ending that makes everything that has happened before make sense.
Read 73 tweets
28 Dec 20
So my D&D players have a powerful devil trapped in a shield that has been helping them through the mission in Hell. But now that the mission is near completion, the devil is demanding a deal for his release in order to continue providing his powers. 1/
The devil pointed out that, with his telepathy, he could be very annoying if they didn't agree. To demonstrate, he started singing "All-Star" and "Tubthumper."
*Tubthumping
Read 4 tweets
10 Oct 20
While I'm waiting to possibly play a boardgame tonight, let me do an #OldSchoolDungeonsAndDragons (which may get interrupted for a while while I game): Dragons, by Cory Glaberson (1986)! Image
"Dragons" is another supplement in the Role Aids line for D&D that was produced by Mayfair Games, originally under the untested premise that TSR couldn't sue them for making unlicensed products!
Okay, let me pick up this #OldSchoolDungeonsAndDragons thread that got interrupted on the weekend... because I was playing D&D! So we're talking "Dragons," part of the Role Aids line of products for D&D. Image
Read 18 tweets
3 Mar 20
On the eve of this Super Tuesday, I feel like getting a few thoughts off my chest about how I've viewed and approached the primary and its candidates. A short thread...
First: it's worth noting that EVERY candidate has issues from their past, in their personal history or voting record or both. The United States is a very diverse country, and it is almost impossible to live a public life without upsetting somebody.
And that's not to dismiss that anger or say it isn't justified, just that... we need to focus on lifting our candidates and their ideas up, not tearing them down.
Read 18 tweets
29 Sep 19
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS AS DUNGEONS & DRAGONS MONSTERS: A THREAD
Rudy Giuliani: Gibbering Mouther. Utterly disgusting creature whose incessant babbling can cause confusion or even insanity.
Kellyanne Conway: Lich. Was once human, but became completely corrupted in mind and body due to a twisted pursuit of power. Now a skeletal form.
Read 24 tweets
28 Sep 19
Time for some #OldSchoolDungeonsAndDragons, and a real treat: Dave Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign, first published in 1977!
So, first things first: who was Dave Arneson (1947-2009)? Arneson was the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, along with Gary Gygax, and really the first person to introduce true fantasy wargaming.
Arneson had introduced fantasy campaigning in 1970 into his wargaming group, and drew upon fantasy elements from Gygax's "Chainmail" combat rules. Arneson met Gygax in 1972 and showed off his campaign setting, which led to the founding of D&D and TSR.
Read 27 tweets