Category Archives: Idea Polish Level: 3

English Pronunciation: A poem by G. Nolst Trenite (With Pronunciations and Definitions!)

I have found what is definitely one of my new most favorite poems. To quote the original site:

“If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he‚Äôd prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud.”

Of course, I don’t think those numbers are anything but made up, but it is still a great description of the poem. Also, instead of just copying the poem and pasting it over here, I’ve provided footnotes that allow you to look up the definition and pronunciation of the words I didn’t understand and/or didn’t know how to pronounce when I first read the poem. Some were very surprising. Enjoy! (Note: Unless you read it out loud, IT DOESN’T COUNT! ūüôā )


 

English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps*, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward*, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague*.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore*,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar*, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral*,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel*;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene*, mankind.
Billet* does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount*, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve*,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve*, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom*, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual*.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer* does, and zephyr*, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic*, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise*, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye*, whey, and key.
Say aver*, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein*, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie*.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic*, pass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling* stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats* and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale*,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough* has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

 


 

  • Corps – “Core,”¬†a main subdivision of an armed force in the field, consisting of two or more divisions.
  • Sward – I know of no other word pronounced like it, so here’s the link:¬†http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sward.
  • Ague – “Ay- gyoo,” malaria or some other illness involving fever and shivering.
  • Terpsichore – “Terp (like burp) – sick – or – ee,”¬†one of the nine Muses and goddess of dance and chorus.
  • Vicar – “Vick – er,”¬†(in the Roman Catholic Church) a representative or deputy of a bishop.
  • Balmoral – “Ball – more – ell,” ¬†Balmoral Castle is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
  • Laurel – “Lore – ell,”¬†an evergreen tree or bush with shiny pointed leaves.
  • Melpomene – “Mell – poe – (something like) money,”¬†the Muse of Tragedy.
  • Billet – “Bill – it,”¬†a place, usually a civilian’s house or other nonmilitary facility, where soldiers are lodged temporarily.
  • Viscount – “Vy (like cry) – count,”¬†a man who is a member of the British nobility and who ranks below an earl and above a baron.
  • Sieve – “Siv,” a utensil consisting of a wire or plastic mesh held in a frame, used for straining solids from liquids, for separating coarser from finer particles, or for reducing soft solids to a pulp.
  • Mauve – “Mov (the “o” is like in top),” a light or medium purple color.
  • Transom – “Tron (like the movie) (or, American way, it’s “tran,” like “man”) – tsum (pronounce the “ts” like the “ts” in “bats,” then the “um” like “yum”),”¬†a bar of wood or stone across the top of a door or window.
  • Victual – “Vid – le (rhymes with “little”),”¬†food usable by people.
  • Foeffer – Feoffer, “Fe (like “bet) – fur,”¬†one who makes a feoffment, one who makes¬†the granting of a fee.
  • Zephyr – “Ze (like “bet”) – fur,” a soft gentle breeze.
  • Arabic – “Air – uh – bick,”¬†of, belonging to, or derived from the language or literature of the Arabs.
  • Chaise – “Shaze (rhymes with “blaze”),”¬†a horse-drawn carriage for one or two people, typically one with an open top and two wheels.
  • Aye – “I,”¬†an affirmative vote or voter, especially in British Parliament, corresponding to yea in U.S. Congress.
  • Aver – “Uh – vair (like the “v-e-r” in “very”),”¬†state or assert to be the case.
  • Skein – “Skane (rhymes with rain),”¬†a length of thread or yarn, loosely coiled and knotted.
  • Aerie – “(Pronounced a variety of different ways, but in the poem rhymes with “berry”),”¬†a large nest of a bird of prey, especially an eagle, typically built high in a tree or on a cliff.
  • Phlegmatic – “Fleg¬†(like “beg”) – ma (as in “math”) – tick,”¬†not easily excited to action or display of emotion.
  • Paling – “Pail (like the bucket) – ing,” a fence made from pointed wooden or metal stakes.
  • Groats – “Grotes¬†(rhymes with oats),” grain without the covering, such as wheat or oats, broken into fragments.
  • Gunwale – “Gun – ull (as in “dull”) (rhymes with “tunnel”),” the top edge of the side of a boat.
  • Hiccough – “Hih (as in “hit”) – cup,” a hiccup, or “an involuntary spasm of the diaphragm and respiratory organs, with a sudden closure of the glottis and a characteristic sound like that of a cough.”

When is it okay to lie?

Note: sorta like To Be A Hero, this post¬†is a bit of¬†a brain dump. Usually I do a lot more to organize it, but in this case, because it’s sort of¬†an argument with myself, I just want to give a bit of a glimpse of how my thought process on this went. Also, this post was written several weeks ago.


Recently in a book discussion (with the same group mentioned in To Be A Hero) we were discussing the book Number The Stars in which a family hides escaping Jews from Nazis. The question was brought¬†up asking whether it was okay for the family¬†to lie about hiding the Jews, and we ended up getting¬†into a whole discussion on it.¬†This is what I got out of it along with¬†my follow-up of it. Just to be clear, just because I say something¬†doesn’t mean it’s true.

So when is it okay to lie? In the case of the Nazis and the Jews, would it be better to lie or tell the truth? We probably would tell the truth, but why? After talking a while, I had the thought that maybe when considering the situation, you should see which is the greater sin: to murder someone (or let someone die) or lie? Obviously the latter. There, we have a solution.

However, someone brought up the excellent point that it wouldn’t¬†actually be¬†your fault. That is, even if you knew that the man standing in front of you would kill someone unless you lied, it still wouldn’t actually be you murdering someone if you tell the truth. It’s that man’s choice to kill, not yours. Even if it might¬†feel like you were the murderer, the man didn’t have to kill that person. With that in mind, you can’t really compare two sins because it’s either you sin and lie or they sin and murder someone.

Maybe instead of comparing two sins you compare the two ends: someone dies¬†or you sin. You compare the outcomes and choose the one that is more important to you. You could maintain your integrity and tell the truth or you can sin and save a life. Unfortunately, this has it’s faults as well. What would be better is asking what is more important to God, you¬†obeying His commandments or the other person living.

What if you were told to deny your faith or someone would die? Denying your faith is a much greater sin than merely lying, at least in¬†the¬†opinion of most people I’ve talked about it with. We are told to never tell lies, but there are always possible exceptions like the situation in the last few paragraphs. We are also told to never deny our faith, but unlike merely lying we are often told that it¬†is better to die than deny your faith. But what if it is someone else who will die? We can go back to the weighing priorities, which is worse, which would you rather, which would God rather, which is the right way to determine it, etc., but it doesn’t really help. It’s a conundrum.

Let’s come back to that later. Another topic that was brought up is was about less important, smaller¬†lies. It was said that part of what you should consider is for what type of reasons you were lying, whether you were lying for selfish or unselfish reasons. When someone is lying for selfish reasons, it is usually a bad thing e.g. you don’t want to admit to breaking the vase or stealing the candy, you want to trick someone into doing something wrong, you want to get¬†somewhere you shouldn’t be, etc. These are all associated with lying (sinning) to cover up other sins.

Meanwhile, unselfish lies are generally associated with better reasons, e.g. you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, you don’t want to spoil the surprise party, you want to keep an immoral thing¬†from a child, etc. These are usually done with good intentions, even if it is done by sinning (lying).

Having heard this idea of “selfish reasons vs.¬†unselfish reasons”, I decided to apply my “weighing the priorities” idea. I thought, “What is the greater sin? Lying or getting in trouble for something you did wrong?” This would be lying for selfish reasons, and clearly lying to get out of admitting your sins would be sin. On the other hand, what would be¬†worse, lying or insulting a friend? In this case, because we are doing it for someone else, we usually think that lying would be the lesser of the two sins.

But didn’t we decide that weighing which was the¬†greater¬†or¬†lesser sin wasn’t necessarily the best¬†way? So, instead, let’s say which is more important to you, not lying or not insulting your friend? Again, we’d usually think that not being rude would be better than not lying. What about for a¬†selfish reason? Which is more important to you, owning up to your guilt and being punished or simply lying and getting away with it? This is why earlier I said that “which is more important to¬†you” isn’t a good way either.

Which is more important to God? Generally He wants you to learn from your mistakes and take appropriate action to fix them, which pretty much includes telling the truth. So, by this ruling we shouldn’t lie for selfish reasons. What about for unselfish reasons? Which would He rather, you obey His command to be kind or His command to be truthful? Those of us who face this problem generally try to find a sort of middle ground, trying to not actually¬†tell a lie, but also trying to not insult¬†your friend. It’s a narrow path we walk all the time, and it is well-worn by the footfalls of all the indecisive.

Here’s another thing I wanted to mention that ties to two different strings of thought together: what if you had to lie to save your own life? Lying to save someone else’s life is almost always more on the unselfish side, which we decided is more of a gray area, but what about lying to save yourself? Most people don’t live entirely for others, so pretty much no matter what you’d be lying for selfish reasons. Unfortunately, we just decided in the last paragraph that we shouldn’t lie for selfish reasons. So I guess you should tell the truth and die.

On the other hand, going back to the weighing of greater vs. lesser sins (I keep bringing it up because it offers an interesting view), wouldn’t telling the truth in that situation be the equivalent to killing yourself? We are commanded to not lie. We are also commanded to not commit suicide, and considering¬†suicide rates versus lying rates as well as common sense, lying is pretty much universally considered the lesser sin. So does that mean that we should lie to not commit suicide?

But then there was that point brought up a while ago: it’s not you who is killing someone. It’s the fault of whoever is threatening you. You’re not committing¬†suicide, you’re telling the truth and they’re committing¬†murder! Meanwhile, if you lie, you’ve sinned (for a selfish reason nonetheless). So which is more important, to sin and live or tell the truth and die? Which is ultimately the right decision? I don’t know, maybe it’s¬†better to live on and repent than die telling the truth, or maybe it’s better to die opposing sin.

What if you were told to deny your faith or die? Denying your faith is generally¬†considered a greater sin than merely lying,¬†so we have to take that into consideration. Then there is also the fact that God has promised blessings in heaven to those who die in His name, so there’s always that. Perhaps¬†this means that in this situation you should never deny your faith so that when you go to heaven you will be rewarded where it matters more. Unfortunately, even then¬†there’s still the argument that it might be better to live on and repent. Who would have thought this would be so hard?

To conclude, this is a very complicated topic¬†that can be carried on and on. For those who have read this far, I do actually have a solution. Even if it seems like a cop-out answer, it is the truth, at least as far as I can tell as a mere mortal: Ultimately, we¬†must listen to the Spirit. We¬†must ask the Lord and obey His commands. We¬†must live our¬†lives¬†according to His gospel and strive to seek for, listen to, and obey His¬†commands and advice as they are given to us¬†through¬†the Holy Ghost. Only then we will¬†be prepared to make the hard decisions. Only then will we be able to answer the question of when it is okay to lie and know¬†that we got it right. I know this, and I hope that you will too if you don’t already. Thank you for reading.

~ George

 

Completed Game Idea: Up-or-Down

After creating a very complicated (but very cool) game called Djinn Combat (which is still in development) I wanted to create a simpler game that shared a specific aspect with Djinn Combat that I really liked: that it could be played anywhere, at anytime, and with nothing but you and another player. So I created the game I call Up-or-Down.

The concept is simple enough to learn. The first player¬†(P1) says a number 1-100, and the next player¬†(P2) says a different number based on what the first person said. If the¬†P1 said an Odd¬†number, then P2 has to say an Odd¬†number that is Above¬†the number that P1 said or an Even¬†number that is¬†Below the number that P1 said. However, if¬†P1 said an Even¬†number, then P2 has to say an Even¬†number that is Above the number that P1 said or an Odd¬†number that is¬†Below the number that P1 said. Three¬†other restrictions are that the number can’t be less than 1 (it can be 1 though), it can’t be more than 100 (it can be 100 though), and it can’t be the number that was last said (after all, that isn’t above or below the number that was said).

For example, if P1 said 53 (an odd number), then P2 could say something like 67 (an odd number above 53) or something like 2 (an even number below 53). However, if P1 said 8 (an even number), P2 could say an even number that is above 8,  such as 100, or an odd number that is below 8, such as 7.

You can also have as many players as ¬†you want, although there are two different ways to play. In each version you have an order, such as P1 then P2 then P3 then P4 then P1 again. If P1 said¬†5, P2¬†said¬†7, and P3 said 8, P3 would have lost, but P4 would continue the chain with P3’s last response, meaning that he could answer 10, or 80, or 1, etc. Note: even if the person who went out said a¬†really wrong number, like 1 million, the next player still has to say a number that is valid (between 1 and 100 and the correct even/odd-ness)

The different versions of multiplayer involve what happens after someone goes out. Version #1 is a tournament version, in which if someone says the wrong number they lose and have to stop playing until the end of that game. Whoever the last one still in wins, and he/she gets to choose the first number for the next game.

Version #2 is a training mode, in which no one goes out. If someone says the wrong number, then he/she gets to change his/her number to one that fits. This way people can more easily learn the game without having to wait until the next game every time they go out. However, you can still have a winner by keeping track of whoever the last person to make a mistake is.

Feel free to add any rules that you’d like, it’s pretty adaptable. Hopefully I’ll soon have a post on alternate ways to play to make it harder or different once you have it down. Either way, enjoy!

~ George

How to play Runner Games with Multiple People

I often find myself¬†riding in a vehicle with friends who either don’t have the game that I’m playing or don’t have a device at all, so I often end up sharing my tablet. Runner games are the easiest to switch between people and are also¬†my favorite type of game (e.g., my high score in Temple Run 2 is over 22,000 meters with no re-spawns), so we usually end up playing them. Because of this, I’ve gotten pretty good at making sure that people don’t feel too left out when playing, even when I’ve played the game for hours and they’ve played the game for minutes.

There are two main things that you need: A number ¬†of “runs” (usually three) and a minimum distance (usually 3 times 10 raised to some power, aka, 3, 30, 300, etc.). After the player has¬†done a certain number of runs, he/she will pass it to the next person, no exceptions. However, for something to count as a run it must make it over the minimum distance, and if the run doesn’t make it past that distance then it counts as a half run. If the number of “runs” you are doing is 3, then if you get under the minimum every try you can do up to 6 half runs, but that should be highly unlikely.

Below I’ve made a list of some of the running game that I regularly play along with¬†my recommended run count and minimum distance (and yes, 3 runs and 300 meters is the base number that I always go to):

  1. Temple Run – 3 runs over 300 meters
  2. Temple Run 2 – 3 runs over 300 meters
  3. Ski Safari – 2 runs over 3000 points
  4. Subway Surfer – 3 games over 300 meters
  5. Jetpack Joyride – 3 games over 300 meters
  6. Benji Bananas – 3 games past level 1
  7. Ninja Ninja Ninjas Р3 games past 1/2 the high score of one of the players, the higher high score if the two players are equally good at the game, the lower or middle (if multiple players) high score if one player is much better than the other. Or past 30.
  8. Mr. AahH!! – 3 games, no minimum
  9. Cyclone Р5 games past 5 seconds
  10. Red Ball Run – 3 games past 30

I’ll add more as I have time, happy running (or skiing or swinging or whatever it is you are doing…)!

~ George

The Ultimate Wish: Part 3 of 3 – Fun

 

You’ve made the wish. You protected the universe from yourself, and yourself from the universe. Now it’s time to enjoy your awesome power

As I wish for things in real life, I’ll post them here. Something big to note though, I won’t just wish for anything I want. After all, that would take all the fun and joy and surprise out of life. For example, I won’t wish that I was an awesome soccer player, because that takes the fun out of playing soccer. Better things to wish for are along the lines of being able to fly, because I can’t fly (I think ūüôā ), and there’d be no joy-robbing if suddenly I could fly.

  1. I wish to be able to fly (Not very original, I know, but it’d still be awesome)
  2. I wish to be able to turn myself and anything else I want invisible, as well as being able to turn¬†anything that is invisible visible (Again not very original, but you could get in some serious trouble if you’re seen flying around. Also, something everyone seems to forget about is that when you say “I wish to be able to turn myself invisible”, they¬†don’t mention turning visible again ūüôā )
  3. I wish that my toes (or some other injury) were completely healed (Some people reading might know that I was on crutches for two weeks and in a boot for another three weeks because of a toe injury that still bothers me sometimes. Something like that definitely has to go when you are all powerful)
  4. I wish I wasn’t so sore right now (Probably something that I’d wish a lot ūüôā )
  5. I wish to be able to go to sleep and wake up exactly when I want to (I have trouble getting to sleep, and almost everybody has trouble waking up, so this solves both problems in one go)
  6. I wish to have Telekinesis (Perhaps the best wish for the lazy person and the busy person alike, the ability to move stuff around with your mind would be awesome)
  7. I wish that my body can adapt to cold and/or heat, in such a way that I keep my complete abilities and no damage is caused to my body. (Fall just started, and earlier today I had to swim in a very cold pool for swim team. It would be very nice to not be bothered by temperature.)
  8. I wish to be able to understand, read, speak, and write in any language that I hear, see, or want to understand.¬†(It’d be very helpful to say the least)
  9. I wish to be able to change what happens inside a book and see what the characters would do¬†in such a way that the change is only applied to the book that I am holding at the time of changing it and only after I have said “I, ______, am changing this book”.¬†(This would be Great if you like reading. Not only could you fix any situations that you didn’t like (such as a¬†favorite character dying), but you’d also have a story that would never end. You could just keep changing the situation and seeing what the characters do! As for the restrictions, you don’t want to mess up every book¬†you look at¬†and you certainly don’t want to mess up every copy of the book¬†in the world.)

Notable exceptions (wishes that some might want, but I personally don’t)

  • I wish for x amount of dollars¬†(There are a number of reasons that I wouldn’t want this. First off, with wish power you could easily earn a real income without magically getting the money from nowhere. Second, with wish power, many things that would need money you can easily get for yourself.)
  • I wish to be stronger/faster/thinner/better at soccer, etc.¬†(Something that I’m happy about myself is that I’m fit. Even though I could wish myself to be extremely fast, it’d take the joy ¬†out of winning in a race. Wishing that I was as good of a swimmer as Michael Phelps would ruin all the fun of competitive swimming. While some may want to be stronger, I¬†feel¬†good the way I am)

These are just a few of the things I’d wish for, and I know that you can easily think of others that I missed. Leave any suggestions/ questions in the comments!

~ George

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_______________________________________________________________

This post is part of a 3 post triad, each focusing on a specific aspect of “The Ultimate Wish”.

The Ultimate Wish: Part 2 of 3 – Safety

You were just given the ability to grant wishes and have become the most dangerous person both on the planet and to the planet. With a single wish you could destroy the earth. If anyone find out about your power they might seek to control you, or perhaps simply kill you. What are the first wishes you make to ensure that you (and humanity) survives?

In bold are the wishes, and in parenthesis are my comments on the particular wish. “!!!” will be placed in front of particularly important wishes, although they are all important. Note: if you were going to make these wishes, you’d probably want to find the precise wording of the wish; these are more of the idea of the wish than the wish itself

  1. !!!!!! I wish that all the wishes I grant must be fulfilled according to my intention(so that I won’t be surprised by the outcomes of my wish. Definitely should be first, because it is critical to everything else. Also needs to be the most precisely worded)
  2. !!! I wish to need a password to grant wishes(so that I won’t accidentally make a wish that I shouldn’t; perhaps the password is a very hard word that I’ve written down)
  3. I wish that I am not able to grant a wish without¬†consciously¬†agreeing to¬†it¬†(again, I don’t want to accidentally¬†destroy the world. The first wishes will have a lot to do with that)
  4. I wish that if I say the word/phase __________(really long, hard phrase), and then speak¬†of a previous wish, then all the effect of that wish will be undone, apart from the knowledge that I had to say the phrase for some reason(In case I make a wish that messes everything up, despite my precautions. The last phrase is so that I’d know not to wish for whatever I was about to wish for)
  5. !!! I wish that if I say the word/phase __________(another really long, hard phrase), and then speak of a previous wish, then all the effect of that wish will be undone, apart from any effects it had on myself(In case I make a wish that messes something up, but I want to remember what happened anyway)
  6. I wish that if I die, all the effects of the last wish I made before my death¬†would be undone if¬†one of the consequences of the wish was my death¬†(If I destroy the universe, then the wish would be undone (hopefully), perhaps I might want to not make it¬†the¬†last¬†wish I made, in case it wasn’t the one that killed me (and the universe))
  7. I wish that if I am about to make a wish that will cause the death of someone I will know exactly¬†30¬†seconds before¬†I make the wish, along with what the wish would have been¬†(more backup for the “don’t destroy the earth” plan)
  8. I wish that any wish I make containing the word __________ (word that I’d never unintentionally say in a wish) will be undone¬†exactly 24 hours after my death, unless I¬†wish otherwise (Just in case)
  9. Having hopefully protected the universe from myself (although I may want to do something about the time stream), the following wishes will be mostly about protecting me from the universe.
  10. I wish to be able to grant wishes without speaking out loud¬†(in case I’m¬†in a situation that I can’t speak, such as underwater or gagged, although perhaps I should need to speak to decrease the possibility of accidental wishing?)
  11. !!!!!! I wish that I’ll automatically know and understand the answer to any question I ask, so long as it doesn’t regard the future.¬†(This is a REALLY big one, with this power alone you could rule the world. If I wasn’t already wishing to grant wishes, this would be one of my “3 wishes”. Maybe someday I’ll do a post on it)
  12. !!! I wish to be able to stop and start time (note: unless I made wish #1 of this post, this could lead to some dire consequence, such as not being able to start time again, or instantly killing me. Also, this is important for my safety because it can help me get out of bad situations)
  13. I wish that I wouldn’t age while time is stopped.¬†(Who knows how the whole “Time Stop” thing would work, so it’s better to be prepared)
  14. !!! I wish that if I were to die, time would rewind until exactly 5¬†minutes before I lost clarity of thought and start again, but I’d know exactly what killed me and how it killed me¬†(You might want to put a limit on how many time this happens; “clarity of thought” is supposed to help against dying when I’m asleep or drugged.)
  15. I wish to be completely¬†indestructible¬†so long as I¬†cannot think clearly, along with the 10 minutes following the point at which I am thinking clearly¬†(This wish¬†has two purposes: 1st, if someone tries to attack me while I am asleep, drugged, or confused, they won’t succeed; 2nd, if something really bad happens while I’m asleep or something, I will have a chance to fix it)
  16. I wish that any bullet,¬†missile, rocket, dart, sword, or knife thrown or shot at me will instantly be teleported¬†¬†inside the black hole at the center of the galaxy¬†(I know that there are many other things that could kill me, some of which I might add later, but this is just to cover the basics. Besides, if I said¬†anything¬†thrown at me would disappear, then dodgeball and games like it would become much less fun. As for the black hole part, I figured that no matter what someone shoots at me, it isn’t something a black hole couldn’t handle, meanwhile if the person was desperate enough it might blow up the sun, or something)
  17. I wish that the moment someone decides that he/she wants to kill me, he/she will immediately forget that he/she wants to kill me (pretty self-explanatory, I think)

Notable Exceptions (wishes that I thought would be good, but upon further reflection turned out to be bad ideas)

  1. I wish to be able to teleport anywhere at conscious desire¬†(with the power to wish for anything, I¬†can easily wish to be any place I want. Having taken¬†some measures to make sure that I¬†don’t accidentally wish for something bad, it’d probably be safer to just stick with that rather than risk accidentally teleporting myself into the center of the sun, for instance)
  2. I wish to be able to know the future (or something along those lines)(I never thought this would be a good idea, but I thought I’d explain why I make the last statement in wish #10. It’s pretty simple, to be honest. In many of¬†the movies/books, the person who knows the future often dies or something else horrible because he/she¬†tries¬†to change it. While that may be just in fiction, I wouldn’t want to be the first to try it.)

This post will continue to be updated as I think of more, but for now this is good. Part 3 is about the fun I’d wish for¬†now that everything is safe.

~ George

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This post is part of a 3 post triad, each focusing on a specific aspect of “The Ultimate Wish”.

The Ultimate Wish: Part 1 of 3 – The Wish

You’ve done the impossible and found a real¬†Genie of the¬†Lamp. You have three wishes. What do you wish for?

As the sort of person who tries to find the best¬†answers to any question (“What’s your dream car?” someone once¬†asked me. I said “The Batmobile”), I’ve come up with what I think¬†is The Ultimate Wish, the wish to be able to grant wishes. I’m also the sort of person who wants everything specified, so that the genie couldn’t misinterpret it in any way. This post is going to focus on the¬†three first wishes and what those three wishes would be, down to every last detail. I’ll edit this post as I think of either better phrasing of the wishes or better wishes.

Wish One:  I wish to know and understand everything that there is to know about genii and wishes, in such a way that will not cause me physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual harm, and does not involve tampering with my body, mind, or spirit in any way that would cause me distress or to not realize that I am in distress.

Wish Two (The Ultimate Wish): I wish that I have the ability to grant any wish to myself, at any time, in any place, in any dimension, in any timeline, in any body that I may be in, up to 9 googolplex times, without causing harm to me emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually.

Wish Two (alternate): If I learn something from my first wish that would stop me from getting The Ultimate Wish granted, then I would use this wish to compromise whatever would stop my wish¬†from happening, from wishing that the genie would forget a rule to wishing that the genie had the power and want to grant me my wish.¬†If the genie would try to misinterpret my wish then I’d wish that he would have to interpret the wish as I think. I should probably add the word for word wishes for any scenario that I think might happen, so I may do that in the future.

Wish Three: I would keep this as a redundant wish, in case the second wish failed or I lost my wish granting powers.

Wish Three (alternate): If I used the alternate for wish two, then wish three would be used for The Ultimate Wish

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Hopefully any problems that the genie causes would be fixable through my own wishes. If you notice anything that I should add/change/remove, please comment. Part 2 is about what wishes I’d make immediately after making The Ultimate Wish

~ George

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This post is part of a 3 post triad, each focusing on a specific aspect of “The Ultimate Wish”.

How To Randomly Choose A Winner Using Only A Watch

Do you ever need an easy, random way to choose who among you and your friend(s) can go first? Just look at your watch.

How To Replicate A Coin Flip With A Watch

My friend and I often have trouble deciding who goes first.¬†We usually end up doing some sort of coin toss, but (over) half the time we don’t have coins. This is my solution: I’ve only tried this with a digital watch, but I’m sure it could be applied to analog watches too in some way (I’ll update this if I can think of how). Have the other person choose¬†Even or Odd. Then look at your watch’s seconds (or minutes, if necessary). If the number is even then whoever chose even wins, and if the number is odd then whoever chose odd wins.¬†Simple as that.

How To Choose A Winner From A Small Group of People Without Checking Your Watch More Than Twice

The basis of the randomization process is the seconds on your digital watch (or the seconds hand on your analog watch). Give everyone a number, starting with one and working your way up from there. Then check your watch and see how many seconds have passed since the last minute.

  • If there are…
  • 2 people and number of seconds that have passed is below 30, then person #1 wins. Otherwise he loses
  • 3¬†people and number of seconds that have passed is below 20 then person #1 wins, if the number is equal to or above 40 then person #3 wins, and otherwise person #2 wins
  • 4 people, do the same thing as with three people, only the seconds¬†are split into four¬†areas,¬†0-14, 15-29, 30-44, and 45-59
  • 5 people, analog watches would have a harder time, but digital watches’ would have the five¬†areas be 0-11, 12-23, 24-35, 36-47, and 48-60
  • 6 people, it should be obvious if you’ve read this far, just divide 60 by 6
  • 7 people, I don’t know yet
  • 8 people, then split the group into two groups of four and check your watch, selecting one person from both groups¬†at once. Then check your watch again to see who of the two of them wins
  • 9 people, split the group into three groups of three and check your watch. Pick the winner from each group and check your watch again using the method for three people
  • 10 or 12 people , instead of giving each person 6 seconds give them each five, that way it would work for an analog watch
  • For greater numbers, try dividing 60 by the number, breaking them into groups, or using my next suggestion which I came up with while writing this one
How To Choose A Winner From A Large Group Using A Watch (Or A Coin)

Have everybody pick 1 or 2 (this would also work with heads or tails). Decide if 1 equals odd or even, and decide that 2 is the other. Check your watch, and say which group stays based on which number they picked. Keep doing this until there is only one person left, and if everybody goes out in one round then have a do-over. If everybody keeps picking the same thing, try having them pick between other numbers, letters, or even colors, and keep switching up what they have to choose from.

~ George

Story Idea: Benedite

In a world where goodness is a deplete-able resource, what happens when it runs out?

In many stories, there is a special power source that makes whoever has it super powerful, but at a cost. Often, the more the person uses the power, the more evil/selfish/uncaring/crazy he becomes. Examples that come to mind include the Epics in Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart, which are extremely powerful¬†yet disregard human life as worthless,¬†and the scepters in the Eric Rex series (by Kaza Kingsley), which are nearly all-powerful yet drive the user mad.

What if,¬†instead, the power makes all who use it even better, as well as more powerful? Let’s call the resource Benedite (which turns out to be a real word in Italian), after the Latin word for Good (bene), and make it mine-able like coal is.¬†In fact, let’s make benedite even more like coal and say that¬†it’s plentiful, non-renewable, and, importantly, deplete-able.

For centuries, everyone buys and sells this benedite. Everyone who uses it is a nicer person (not necessarily na√Įve, though), and much stronger to boot. Civilization makes huge leaps, because everyone can more quickly finish their work, and there is very little conflict. After all, everyone is nice and happy.¬†The richest, those¬†who can afford the most¬†benedite, are also the most charitable. Poverty and crime are virtually non-existent.¬†Then, benedite starts running out. Not stolen or anything like that, just used up.

The first signs that benedite is running low would probably be found in the food industry (assuming benedite is edible). I’m sure that at some point some genius would think to start selling benedite enhanced food to the people to boost sales (like we sell vitamin enhanced food). People might still have to take benedite pills (or whatever), but having all of the food contain benedite would make getting it¬†even easier. Perhaps junk food would be food that has no benedite in it (after all, it¬†probably helps you heal faster too). Slowly, as the cost of benedite starts going up, the amount of benedite in each piece of food would go down, until foods that have high quantities of it¬†are seen as luxury¬†foods.¬†When the announcement comes that no more benedite is being found, even the junk food with very little benedite would suddenly rise in value.

Benedite, which had been almost free only a few months (or years)¬†before, suddenly rises in value, leaving only the richest with any left. Now the population has to deal with crime and poverty for the first time in hundreds of years, and they are totally unprepared. Those who still have the benedite are forced to decide what to do with what’s left. Do they give it to the people, only to make it run out faster? Some do, perhaps because they think that it’s the right thing to do, or perhaps because they broke under the pressure of¬†the riots that would surely have come. Others decide that it would be in the best interest of everyone if the benedite was kept to a select few who would be used to keep the population safe, sort of like the Justice League. The benedite enhanced “cops” would, after all, want nothing more than the good of the people, and they would be much stronger than the average man. This would preserve the benedite longer. There are some programs which are set up to help wean the people off of the benedite and set them up so that they can survive without it.

But there is, and it turns out, has always been, corruption, even with benedite. There are a few far secluded countries that hadn’t even heard of benedite. There are those in the civilized country that deliberately avoid using benedite, for a variety of reasons. Note: there are very few of these people; after all, benedite has been around for centuries and has no harmful side effects, but plenty¬†of good effects. Some avoid it because of personal belief, but most who avoid it are those who are trying to take advantage of other people. Many who never use benedite are afraid that if they use it they will turn themselves in for their past crimes. It is very hard to be bad in a civilization like this, but some are.

Rich people might buy a lot of benedite to make themselves seem trustworthy, but never use it, and some people would deliberately not use it so that they can work as mercenaries. Working as a mercenary without benedite would be hard, though, because the average person would be much stronger than you, and the average important person would be even stronger. Perhaps the benedite-less would primarily attack the other benedite-less.

Above all that, there is a very very very small group of people who are immune to the effects of benedite, whether immune to the strengthening effects, or, even worse, immune to the purifying part, allowing them to commit terrible acts without weakness.

Another part of this is the fact that the entire world has been built to accommodate these super strong, super nice, (maybe super smart,) people. For example, none of the doors would have locks, because no one would ever even think to steal anything.  Also, much of what would have been easy is now next to impossible. You can imagine how different the world would be if everyone was super powered. Everything would be designed to be used, and run, by people with super strength, super speed, maybe super brains, etc. Not only would the world be short on goodness, it would also be short on just about everything.


I think I would really enjoy reading¬†a book based on this, and I’ve grown to really like this idea as I’ve typed it. I’m sure there is much more that can be fleshed out of this idea, but so far this was fun.¬†I wonder what the science industry would be doing, trying to replicate/create benedite in a lab. In the story, would Earth ever get benedite back?

~ George

 

 

Interesting Observation: Social Norms

Having participated in a discussion about¬†social norms recently, I realized something that I don’t think anyone else there picked up on.

There are way more social norms than we usually think there are. Many¬†things are social norms, even if we wouldn’t think they are. To help identify a few,¬†here’s the¬†definition which I’ll use:

A social norm is something the majority of society does/finds normal

Using that definition, you can find more social norms by realizing a few things about them:

  • Possibly¬†the easiest to realize, something can be bad and still be a social norm (slavery in pre-civil war ear, for example, and smoking nowadays)
  • The next easiest to realize might be that something can be the right thing to do¬†and still be a social norm (not interrupting someone who is talking is the right thing to do, and a social norm;¬†it’s also a social norm to let the other person talk sometimes so that they don’t need to interrupt you in the first place)
  • Less easy to notice, something can be both common sense and a social norm (driving on the right side of the street, for example, is a social norm. Obeying the law is too, ¬†although for some laws (such as the speed limit), it has become the social norm to¬†not¬†strictly¬†obey)
  • Even harder to notice, something can be nearly unnoticeable and still be a social norm (eating 3 meals a day is a social norm, and so is waking up before noon during a weekday)
  • And the strangest of all, something can be¬†“of course you don’t do that” and still be a social norm (of course we don’t randomly punch people in the face, but it’s still a social norm. Not punching someone in the face is, after all,¬†“something the majority of society does/finds normal”)

The last one is the most interesting to think about. There are so many¬†things which are “yeah duh, of course we don’t do that”, which I hadn’t even thought of¬†as social norms. Of course we don’t randomly set fire to forests. Yes, it’s common sense. Yes, it’s the right thing to do. Yes, it seems crazy to even think about doing¬†on purpose. And yes, it’s a social norm.

~ George