I am avapoet. AMA!

This self-post was originally posted to /r/MegaManlounge. See more things from Dan's Reddit account.

by an author

[this post was originally made to a private subreddit]

Last month, /u/Snazzlo did an MML AMA. I suggested that we should get to know one another better by making it a regular thing, with each IAmA MMLer nominating the next, and in response, /u/Snazzlo nominated me. Let’s do this thing!

I’m working from home this morning before I go to a dentist’s appointment at lunchtime, then I’m in the office in the afternoon (but I’ll still be on Reddit). Which is welcome, because I’m still slightly hungover from my birthday yesterday! And good news – the weekend is coming!

  • Me, sat at my desk, waiting to answer your questions. Sorry about the mess! My study is an absolute chaos at the moment, partially because we’re using large parts of it as storage space while we floor the loft but partially because I’m lazy. Looking to give me a challenge? Wait until I get to work this afternoon then ask me to identify some random thing in the photo.

11:20 Update: Off to the dentist. I have my phone, so I’ll try to answer any more questions from the waiting room.

14:10 Update2: At my desk at the office having come back from the dentist. My co-workers have belated birthday cake for me, but I can’t eat any yet because I can’t feel my lips! Maybe later!

15:40 Update3: Off to a meeting with my boss and a coworker – back in 20 minutes or so.

16:10 Update4: Back. But in another hour or so I’ll be cycling home, and probably offline for a few hours (gotta feed and bath the baby for bed, etc., and deal with some emails from my voluntary work): back as soon as I can though!

18:26 Update5: Home, eating pizza, baby’s about to get bathed by her mummy and daddy so I’ll soon free to pour myself a glass of wine, answer any more questions, decide who to nominate to do this next time, and perhaps hack some more code for MegaMegaMonitor!

21:23 Update6: /u/vanityprojects /u/Luckyaussiebob – I nominate you to be the next MegaManLounge AMA-er!

An idea to help MegaMen find one another more easily in the big wide world of Reddit. What do you think?

This self-post was originally posted to /r/MegaManlounge. See more things from Dan's Reddit account.

by an author

[this post was originally made to a private subreddit]

I love the MegaLounges, and I really love the MegaManLounge. We’re a hugely disparate group of people yet we’ve come together into a wonderful community that I’m proud to be a part of. And I felt like it’d be nice to give something back. But what?

If you’re like me, you love the experience of bumping into another MMLer elsewhere in the Redditverse (or around the Internet in general). I mean, what’d be really awesome is if we could find one another in the real world, but that’s a project for another day. Anyway: my point is that I get a thrill when I spot a fellow MMLer wandering around in Redditland. But oftentimes I don’t look closely at people’s usernames, and I’m sure there must be times that I’ve just overlooked one of you in some long thread in /r/AskReddit or /r/TodayILearned or something. I’d rather know that you were there, my MML brothers and sisters.

So I spent this afternoon putting together a tool that does just that. Here’s a screenshot to show you what I’m talking about.

I’ve written a basic browser plugin that highlights MMLers (and other MegaLounge-like folks) anywhere on Reddit. So the idea is, if you install this plugin, you’ll always know if somebody’s an MMLer or a MegaLounger because they’ll get one or two icons next to their name. In the screenshot – taken on /r/MegaLoungeVenus (the 23rd MegaLounge) you’ll see a snipped of a conversation between our very own /u/love_the_heat and /u/teiu88. /u/love_the_heat has two icons: the first one (obviously) indicates that he’s a MegaMan, and the second one shows that he’s reached MegaLounge level thirty-one (yes, there are quite a lot of MegaLounge levels now). /u/teiu88 only has one icon (he’s not a MegaMan!), showing that he’s at MegaLounge level twenty-three. Note that it’s coloured differently to show that this is the level that I’m looking at right now: this helps because I can see whether people are commenting at their highest lounge level or not, which may factor into my decision about where and when to gild them.

Someday, I’d like to make this available to MegaLoungers in general, but first I’d like to show it off to you, fine MegaMen, and hear what you think. Is this tool useful to anybody? Should I make a production-grade version to share with you all? Or am I solving a problem that nobody actually has?

Just to add: there are several things I’d like to add and questions I’ve not yet answered before I release it to you; notably:

  • Right now it identifies members of the Super Secret MegaLounge, which is a violation of the rules of that lounge, so obviously I can’t release it yet. I’d like to find a way to have it identify such people but only to other members of that lounge, but failing that, I need to have it just “skip” that lounge when showing how high somebody’s ascended.
  • On which note: what do you think about it identifying MegaMen? If I ever make this tool more-widely available than the MegaManLounge, should the version used by non-MegaManLounge people identify MegaManLounge members, or not? I can see arguments either way, but I will of course go with the will of you fabulous people on this matter.
  • I’d like to add tooltips so that people who haven’t got the entire MegaLounge ascension mapped out in their minds can work out what’s what.
  • Similarly, I’d like to improve the icons so that they e.g. have gemstones next to the gemstone lounges, planets next to the planetary ones, etc.
  • Oh, and I really ought to make it work in more than just Firefox. I’d like it to work in Chrome, at the very least, too. IE can suck it, mind.

What do you think?

tl;dr: I’ve made a browser plugin that makes Reddit look like this, showing people’s highest MegaLounge and MegaManLounge status. Is it a good idea?

Gross domestic product based on PPP valudation of country GDP matches the “county” MegaLounges so far, predicts Japan next. Have I solved the puzzle?

This link was originally posted to /r/MegaLoungeGermany. See more things from Dan's Reddit account.

by an author

PPP of country GDPs

My thinking as it happened.

If I’m right, the next MegaLounges will be /r/MegaLoungeJapan, /r/MegaLoungeIndia, /r/MegaLoungeUnitedStates, and finally /r/MegaLoungeChina before we need a new theme.

Edit: Further evidence: I note that all of these lounges already seem to exist (with the exception of United States, which could be going by a different name e.g. US, USA, United States of America etc.).

TIL that in 1967 a brand of foot powder was elected mayor of a town in Ecuador

This link was originally posted to /r/todayilearned. See more things from Dan's Reddit account.

by an author

Picoaza is a relatively small village near Ecuador’s Pacific coast. It’s the site of an archaeological treasure: a settlement dating back before the time of Christopher Columbus. It’s also a rather poor area, where clean drinking water, sewer systems, and telephone service are inadequate at best.

It is also the only town in the known world to elect, as its mayor, a brand of foot powder.

During Picoaza’s 1967 mayoral campaign, a foot powder company ran politically themed ads promoting their product, Pulvapies. Leading up to election day, their message, translated, was non-partisan and straightforward: “Vote for any candidate, but if you want well-being and hygiene, vote for Pulvapies.” They distributed leaflets that were more to the point: ”For Mayor: Honorable Pulvapies.”

The campaign worked — in one sense, at least. While we don’t know if sales of Pulvapies increased, we do know that write-in ballots voting for the product did. Pulvapies received enough write-in votes to win the election. What happened afterward is unknown in the English-speaking world — as Snopes notes, no English-language media outlets followed up on how Picoaza resolved the obvious problem of having foot deodorant as the executive-in-chief.

Fun fact: Brazil is the only country in the world named after a tree [details in comments]

This link was originally posted to /r/MegaLoungeBrazil. See more things from Dan's Reddit account.

by an author

When Portugese explorers landed in the area of South America we now call Brazil in the year 1500, they discovered the caesalpinia echinata tree growing there. They noticed that this tree had a similar red-coloured wood as the related Sappanwood (caesalpinia sappan) tree, native to Asia, and that a similarly-useful red dye could be extracted from this wood, so they gave the newly-discovered species the same name that they used to describe its Asian relative: pau-brasil. Pau means ‘wood’ and brasil probably derives from brasa, the Portugese word for “ember”, so pau-brasil best translates as “emberwood”. The colour of its wood was clearly known to the natives, too, who called it ibirapitanga – Tupi for, literally, “red wood”.

At this time, the Portugese called the area Ilha de Vera Cruz (“Island of the True Cross”), after the holy day on which the Portugese captain Pedro Álvares Cabral landed there. On his return trip, he discovered that Brazil was not an island but connected to a much larger continent, and renamed it Terra de Santa Cruz (“Land of the Holy Cross”). Another common name in the years that followed was come up with by Italian merchants who met with members of Cabral’s crew – Terra di Papaga (“Land of Parrots”) – which I personally think would have been an awesome name for the country.

Anyway: a group of merchants moved over to the new Portugese colony in the first decade of the 16th century in order to harvest the wood of the caesalpinia echinata trees. You see, it turned out to be even better as a source of red dye than the previously commercially-exploited caesalpinia sappan. Prior to this time, this particular kind of red dye was very popular in Europe, and could only be imported via India (which was very expensive). By being able to produce an even higher-quality dye at lower cost made the colonial Portugese merchants very rich.

The Portugese had a habit at the time of coming to name their colonies after the commercial product they exploited there: see, for example, the Ilha da Madeira, or “Maderia Island”, which literally translates as “Island of Wood”. This habit continued in their new colony too: the São Francisco River (the longest river whose entire length is in Brazil and the fourth-longest in South America) was labelled on a 1502 map as Rio D Brasil (“River of Brasil”), which was clearly a reference to the great quantity of pau-brasil trees that could be found there. By 1509, the general term for the land had become terra do Brasil daleem do mar Ociano (“land of Brazil beyond the Ocean sea”), and in 1516 the name received official recognition with the appointment by the Portugese king of the first “governor of Brasil”.

A clue to this history appears today in the name of inhabitants of Brazil, who call themselves Brasileiro: the -eiro suffix means ‘worker’, similar to putting -er on the end of an English word to get e.g. baker or hunter – clearly this refers to the use of the Tupi tribes by the Portugese as woodcutters during their colonial era (the usual Portugese suffix for ‘person who lives in’ is not -eiro but -ano).

So there you have it: the nation of Brazil is almost certainly named after a type of tree, and is the only nation in the world for which this is the case. Hope you enjoyed your history lesson, and that you continue to enjoy your stay in /r/MegaLoungeBrazil!

tl;dr: 16th century Portugese colonists and subsequent merchants named Brazil after pau-brazil, the name they gave to a type of tree that grew there, which was in turn named after a related Asian tree of the same name. When this new tree became economically valuable, they began referring to the whole area by that name, as was Portugese tradition at the time.

Last night I dreamed that I met Greypo

This self-post was originally posted to /r/MegaLoungeSol. See more things from Dan's Reddit account.

by an author

We were chatting about the MegaLounges etc.; he seemed agitated that I have multiple Reddit accounts (and one of my ‘other’ ones had recently found its way into the MegaLounge after a comment I’d made, using it). I ended up enumerating my accounts, to him (I’ve made a couple of throwaways over the years, and I maintain a couple of novelty accounts and a couple of alternate identities to talk about things that I don’t want associated with this one), and he was shocked that I had so many (it’s really not that many!).

Then later, we wrapped Christmas presents together. And my partner’s baby was there, except she could talk.

I shouldn’t have drunk as much as I did, last night.

Hey, decadeclub: you know what happened an *actual* decade ago?

This self-post was originally posted to /r/decadeclub. See more things from Dan's Reddit account.

by an author

Ten years ago, this week:

  • Half-Life 2 was released, over a year behind schedule. Delays had been blamed on the theft of source code from Valve’s network during a hack attack, leading to many in the community asking “don’t they have backups?”
  • Yasser Arafat died at the age of 75, after a short illness and coma, while functionally confined to his compound by the Israeli army. He’d won the Nobel Peace Prize ten years earlier.
  • NASA’s experimental X-43A scramjet reached a speed of 7,000 mph, almost ten times the speed of sound. News coverage at the time talked about the possibility of flying to the other side of the world in about 4 hours, but scramjet technology is still a long way from being stable or safe enough for mainstream use.

What do you remember from a decade ago?

Going to a memorial service today? Help update the national record of your war memorial.

This self-post was originally posted to /r/unitedkingdom. See more things from Dan's Reddit account.

by an author

Since 1989, the War Memorials Archive has been trying to keep an up-to-date database for everybody to read, showing the location of every war memorial in the UK as well of details of the dead commemorated there. But their records are incomplete, and sadly many memorials (especially rural ones) are degrading: someday the information on them may be lost.

You can help, and it’s really easy. First, find your nearest local war memorial at http://www.ukniwm.org.uk/server/show/nav.23 – just search in your town or village and you’ll find one. See if it appears and if the information is complete: some records barely show that the memorial is there, others have full lists of names, but many are in-between, merely listing which wars are represented.

Then head out to the memorial and take photos of all sides of it, close enough that you can read all of the text. In the top right corner of the page about your town’s memorial, there’s a link to provide updated information: just type in the new details that you found and send it off. Or, if your memorial wasn’t in the database at all, send them an email.

This Remembrance Sunday you can do more for the memory of those killed in war by helping future generations remember and research, too. Thanks for your help.