Microblog : A very long article Wikipedia article on the orientation of toilet paper [7 jun à 22:52] [R]

Lundi, 30 juillet 2007

Thé... rrorisme juridique

Catégories : [ Râleries | Thé ]

Parmi les quelques blogs sur le thé chinois que je lis régulièrement, l'un d'entre eux (pas le plus modéré dans ses propos, il est vrai) a publié voici quelques semaines de ça un article élogieux sur mon magasin de thé préferré, Langage du thé situé rue des Charpentiers à Strasbourg. En guise d'introduction, l'auteur a listé les magasins strasbourgeois les plus significatifs dans le domaine sans les nommer, en donnant son opinion à leur sujet. L'un des magasins a été décrit comme suit :

« un grossiste importateur-revendeur de thés "bio-équitable" et son jardin zen paumé au fin fond de la campagne (pour ceux qui se contentent d'un joli décor plutôt que de la piètre qualité des thés proposés; le tout étant dirigé par un couple d'anciens XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX-XXXXXXXX écolos-XXXXXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX qui XXXXXX XX XXXXX XXXX : bref, XX XXXX XXXXX; sans commentaire !!) »

(source: le cache de Google. Les mots qui pourraient être considérés comme diffamatoires ont été censurés, puisque même une citation à titre d'illustration d'un propos diffamatoire est considéré comme diffamatoire).

J'ai appris hier que les responsables de ce magasin ont menacé l'auteur de cette critique d'un procès s'il ne retirait pas immédiatement son article. Ne voulant pas risquer un procès (qui coûterait cher en temps, en l'argent et en santé mentale), il a obtempéré, retirant tout l'article.

Je ne sais pas quel a été le motif de leur menace, mais en dehors de la diffamation ou de l'injure publique, je ne vois rien qui puisse avoir une base légale légitime, et certainement pas la critique de la qualité de leurs produits. Mais surtout, si (ça reste à vérifier) ces gens là ont exigé le retrait de l'article dans son intégralité, ce qui a pour effet de faire disparaître en particulier la critique de leurs produits et l'éloge de leur concurrent, je ne peux que soupçonner qu'ils ont cherché à faire taire un de leurs détracteurs, une technique qu'on peut qualifier de terrorisme juridique (au sens propre, « forcer en faisant peur en usant du système légal »), très à la mode ces dernières années, surtout en abusant des lois sur le copyright ou le droit d'auteur.

Cette histoire m'a aussi permis de me pencher sur la définition légale de la diffamation : juridiquement, c'est une cochonnerie qui s'oppose exactement à la liberté d'expression lorsque des personnes ou des corps sont impliqués. N'importe quelle critique impliquant directement ou indirectement des personnes peut être attaquée pour diffamation. L'injure publique, définie juste après la diffamation, est encore plus difficile à cerner, puisqu'un terme utilisé vis-à-vis d'une personne peut être considéré comme injurieux, alors qu'une autre peut en retirer de la fierté. Par exemple, je me définis moi-même comme un écolo-gaucho-altermondialiste alors qu'un capitaliste néoconservateur trouvera le terme injurieux. De même, toujours à titre d'exemple, des anciens hippies poussiéreux soixante-huitards se souviendrait avec nostalgie de cette époque, alors que d'autres se sentiraient insultés.

Quant à moi, je ne mettrai plus les pieds chez eux, et surtout, je le ferai savoir autour de moi.

[ Posté le 30 juillet 2007 à 19:04 | 2 commentaires | ]

Mercredi, 11 juillet 2007

1 an

Catégories : [ Blog ]

Et hop, un an de blog, 270 message, et même quelques commentaires. Et aussi presque 42000 spams.

[ Posté le 11 juillet 2007 à 17:51 | 2 commentaires | ]

Mardi, 10 juillet 2007

Caylus: Prestige or Favours?

Traduction: [ Google | Babelfish ]

Catégories : [ Jeux ]

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/178418?size=large

© BoardGameGeek.com

When thinking about Dan Rosewater's expansion cards for Caylus, I wondered how to decide if a card should bring extra prestige points or rather royal favours?

Reviewing the official cards in Caylus, I came to the following conclusion:

  • You get prestige when you do something that increases your rank in the social hierarchy, when other people in city notice you more, maybe respect you more. In other words, you get prestige when you make yourself look good in the eyes of the others. This can be achieved by expanding the city and the castle of course, but also by making donations to the church, or wearing expensive cloth (made by the tailor) or jewellery (made by the jeweller, if you use this extension card).
  • You get a royal favour when you do something that makes you look good in the eyes of the King, such as promoting education (e.g., building the university), arts and culture (building the theater, the monument), providing entertainment(fighting in the joust field), or flattering the King (building the statue – because I'm pretty sure the statue is a statue of the King).

Then about Dan's cards:

  • The Guild of Thieves: I love the idea, but I think that the card should allow players to trade prestige points in exchange for deniers or resources (how many of them remains yet to be decided). This would be consistent with what I wrote above, i.e., when you do something bad such as using the services of a thief, you loose some amount of prestige. Moreover, those should not be stolen from other players, but taken from the “bank”, i.e., stolen from someone in general. Resource/Denier exchange between players is not a part of the game mechanics, and maybe it should remain so. Finally, it should maybe cost more than one or two prestige points to build, I think. And it also could give its owner a denier e.g., as a tax taken by the guild from its members, when used by another player.
  • The Hospital: I love the idea too, but I think that it should not provide a royal favour to the players, but rather be used for trading any resource or deniers for prestige points. In other words, when you make a donation to the hospital, you get to look good in the eyes of the people in the city. Maybe the hospital would be worth getting a favour when built, though.
  • The Royal Luxury Taylor: this one I hate, because there is already a taylor, and getting prestige for nothing is not in the spirit of the game.
  • The Trader: I somehow like it, but again not really. There are already trader-like buildings in the game, such as at the market, the peddler, the alchemist and the bank. Otherwise, it acts as a resource providing building mixed with the comptoir, providing both resources and deniers, which is something new. I have to think more about it.

[ Posté le 10 juillet 2007 à 11:19 | pas de commentaire | ]

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Lundi, 9 juillet 2007

Caylus' Economics

Traduction: [ Google | Babelfish ]

Catégories : [ Jeux ]

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/178418?size=large

© BoardGameGeek.com

The resources in Caylus are not equally easy to get when using production facilities such as farms, sawmills, quarries etc. We can then find what are their respective values based on their scarcity and by extension, we can derive the values of the deniers and of the pretige point.

Values of Resources

If we consider that all the production facilities have been built, we can count how many resources are produced by each of them (when an alternative is possible, such as in the wooden farms, we consider only half of the number of resources; resources gained by the owner of stone buildings are not taken into account) and calculate values of the resources relative to each other. Here are the results:

  • Gold: 100.0 (reference value)
  • Food: 18.3
  • Wood: 18.3
  • Stone: 20.2
  • Cloth: 25.3

Food and wood have the same value, stone is worth 10% more than the two previous ones, cloth is worth 38% more than food and wood, and 25% more than stone, and gold is worth the most, as expected.

Deniers

So, how much are deniers worth? It depends a lot where you spend them or where from you get them.

At the bank, one denier is worth 50.0 or 40.0, depending on the amount you change.

At the neutral market, its worth 4.6, 5.1, 6.3 or 25.0, depending on the kind of resource you trade, respectively food/wood, stone, cloth or gold. At the wooden market, these values are respectively 3.1, 3.4, 4.2 or 16.7.

At the neutral peddler, it's worth 9.2, 10.1, or 12.7 for food/wood, stone or cloth, respectively. At the wooden peddler, the values are respectively 18.3, 20.2 or 25.3.

Prestige Points

The taylor changes cloth into prestige points, with a rate of one cloth turned into two points. This sets the prestige point's value to 12.7.

The jeweller sets the value of the prestige point to 20.0 or 22.2, depending on how much gold is spent at once.

The church sets the prestige point to 2.1-2.5 (with a denier worth 3.1).

Building wooden buildings sets the prestige point to 18.3 (farms, sawmill, quarry), 9.2 (mason, market/peddler built with food), 9.6 (market/peddler built with stone) or 10.9 (notary, market/peddler with cloth).

Building stone buildings sets the prestige point to 12.8 (farm, park, workshop), 6.4 (architect, taylor, bank, alchemist) or 5.7-15.1 (church, depending on how much prestige the favour can be turned into).

Residences are harder to evaluate, since they cost a denier in addition to the cloth, but using the lowest rate of the denier (3.1), it can be set to 14.2.

The points obtained from the construction of prestige buildings are worth as follows: 15.5 (library), 16.0 (cathedral), 14.8-20.0 (monument), 16.3 (hotel), 13.4-18.2 (theater), 13.7-18.6 (university), 14.7 (weaver), 15.5 (granary), 11.7-20 (statue). Some of these buildings also give favours, which can be turned into one to five prestige points, which explains the variable values for the monument, the theatre, the university and the statue.

Finally, building at the castle sets the prestige point's value to 7.1-18.9, depending on which part of the castle is being built and wether you get a favour that can be changed into prestige points because you were the first builder.

Optimization

Now, how do you get the most out of it? This is not the same as rich, since we have seen above that the value of deniers is very much variable depending on who you deal with.

One possibility would be to sell at the market food/wood for deniers, and then buy cloth at the peddler's or even gold at the bank. This allows to change e.g., one food/wood for three cloth or two golds. It's much more interesting than going to the alchemist's (one food/wood for half a gold), except if you can't spend two rounds on the transactions.

Another possibility is to sell wood/food at the wooden market, and then buy prestige points at the church, at a very low cost. This is probably the cheapest way to gain prestige points, but it's quite slow.

With building construction, the best choices are the architect, the taylor, the bank and the alchemist, since they bring prestige points at the lowest cost.

At the castle, the best possibility is to be the first to build a piece of the walls and turn the favour into five prestige points.

Warning

These values are true only when all the production buildings have been built. If some of them are missing, the value of the resources that they are not producing is getting higher and this changes all the calculations. If I have time, I'll make a script that recalculates all these quickly.

[ Posté le 9 juillet 2007 à 00:11 | pas de commentaire | ]

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Jeudi, 5 juillet 2007

Fonts

Traduction: [ Google | Babelfish ]

Catégories : [ Jeux ]

Here are the fonts used in game artwork that I have needed for making my own game components. For both games below the fonts were not freely available, but in the case of Caylus a good replacement was available, and for Carcassonne I used MyFonts.com's sample text rendition to get words or pieces of words, and then I used potrace to trace a vector contour and save the words in EPS. This gives the possibility to change the size of the words without any of the aliasing problems that occur when resizing a bitmap. Assembling the words or pieces of words to make titles was annoying, but that's better than nothing.

Caylus

The offcial one is Engraver's Old English.

Replacement fonts, available for free:

Carcassonne

The font is very similar, although not identical to Lindsay, and has no known free equivalent. Lindsay is thinner, its legs are a bit longer and has no serif on e.g., the left leg of its “n”.

[ Posté le 5 juillet 2007 à 11:53 | pas de commentaire | ]

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Lundi, 2 juillet 2007

Water Rocket Theory

Traduction: [ Google | Babelfish ]

Catégories : [ Bricolage | Science ]

The physics involved in flying a water rocket is not very complex if you have studied a little bit of mechanics and fluid mechanics. It is summarized in a PDF file written by Peter Nielsen, Associate Professor in Civil Engineering of the University of Queensland, Australia. I wrote a Perl script that implements the formulas and outputs data plotable with Gnuplot.

water_rocket_theory

I just finished fixing a bug in the script which was promising wonderful performance of my rocket (like over 200 m altitude and a maximum speed of over 350 km/h), but which were never reached by our rocket. The water rocket that we built last week-end is in theory able to reach 38 m after 2.7 s of flight. Its top speed is 35.5 m/s (126 km/h) after 0.33 s of acceleration, and the acceleration increases from 95 to 169 m/s2 within the same time.

After that, it decelerates during a bit over two seconds, and then starts to drop back to the ground, and lands about 5.8 s after take off (omitting the effect of the parachute).

water_rocket_theory_2

Tuning the parameters of the script, I found the following optimal values: the weight of the rocket should be 140 g, the filling ratio of the water tank should be 0.38 with a pressure of 7 bar, and 0.45 with a pressure of 5 bar. Because of former erroneous calculations, I thought that the optimal filling ratio was about 0.60, which lead to much poorer performance, due to the overload. This second graph shows the theoretical height, speed and acceleration of the rocket during its last flight. The water empties in about 0.32 s, which corresponds to what has been seen on the video clip, and the maximum height is 36.8 m, which seems reasonable (although it has probably never been reached because the parachute opened far too early).

The drag coefficient is one parameter that is very difficult to estimate, and for now its value is 0.9 for the calculations, which is barely better than the one of a brick (about 1.1). Its real value may be less. Or more. Who knows…

Also, the leaks in the pressuring system make it difficult to estimate what was the actual pressure in the rocket at take off. And water was poured without real accuracy, so the above filling ratio may as well be 0.8 or 0.5.

[ Posté le 2 juillet 2007 à 17:06 | pas de commentaire | ]

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Water Rockets 2

Traduction: [ Google | Babelfish ]

Catégories : [ Bricolage ]

Reijo and Juha have been busy last week building another rocket using old CDs as fins and also building a new launching pad out of metal tubes. Here are the pictures.

CD_Rocket

Sikaflex has again been used to glue the fins to the bottle.

This launchpad is made of metal tubes and doesn't leak anymore. Moreover, it is orientable and mounted on a stand (on the contrary to the old one which was attached to a pole).

Lauchpad_Metal_1 Lauchpad_Metal_2 Lauchpad_Metal_3 Lauchpad_Metal_4

[ Posté le 2 juillet 2007 à 17:05 | pas de commentaire | ]

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