Re: This post is easy to believe.

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It's almost as if there were one weird trick for writing clickbait headlines.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 8:42 AM
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With a graph showing the surge of the phrase "restore your faith in humanity" coinciding with the launch of Upworthy.

Whereas the success of Upworthy has the very opposite effect.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 8:45 AM
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I have to admit I'm kind of curious what disease causes rash, white tongue, stomach ache, etc.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 8:46 AM
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I've recently been led to wonder whether it's inevitable that any online publication dependent on advertizing revenue eventually degenerates into straight-up trolling its readers. If you depend on clicks for your existence, defaulting to a trolling centered business model is far and away the easiest way to go.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 8:46 AM
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This should take care of your clickbait problem.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 8:52 AM
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Because obviously Diet Coke cures cancer. I do like the implication that you were just resolving to throw your last sixpack for your entire life in the bin, consumed with disgust at the low sugar beverage addict you had become, before luckily catching sight of that mail subject.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:02 AM
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Has anybody watched the whole youtube ad that begins something like "who would have thought this could happen in america? a parasite that uses your body..." at which point (5 sec) I click away as quickly as I can. As a strategy for keeping me from clicking at the 5 second point, it's not working, although I'm starting to wonder: is it about tapeworms? or is it a metaphor? I guess I'm going to have to watch it? I felt the same way about "eew, dog-breath--let's rewind", which seems, mercifully, to have gone away. How horrifying it is that I can hear that voice in my head.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:03 AM
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YouTube has never chosen to show that ad to me, mcmc...


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:07 AM
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The shocking report reveals that diet soda withdrawal is usually fatal.

But go ahead and quit, Heebs. You're too good for their Science.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:08 AM
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I get crazy right-wing emails from some organization to one of my accounts and about once a week they send out a video someone is paying to distribute to their mailing list, usually about buying gold or survival gear. I watched one once and it was about 10 minutes of "you won't believe..." "America will never be the same..." "Protect your family from tragedy..." "The end of our society as we know it..." and so one without ever stating what the point actually was. Also no fast forward on the video. I gave up and never heard what was so shocking. I mean, were they making money based on how far into the video people watched?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:09 AM
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8: You might not be watching enough cat videos, Eggplant.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:10 AM
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11- It must be about toxoplasmosis then.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:12 AM
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Just be careful that the voice in your head doesn't start encouraging you to climb into your zoo's lion habitat.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:18 AM
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Presumably, there is a half-life to the effectiveness of these techniques. Clickbait headlines only work as long as enough people don't instantly recognize them as clickbait, and thus unlikely to be worthy of a click. Once the number of people recognizing a given clickbait trope for what it is reaches a certain proportion of the audience, these things won't be able to achieve the critical threshold of "re-sharing" that is needed for content to spread virally.

I'm thinking that's why the internet doesn't feature quite as many listicles as it used to.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:20 AM
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I mean, were they making money based on how far into the video people watched?

No, they were filtering based on how stupid people were to watch the whole video. A person who was suckered into watching the whole thing is a much more likely mark than someone who fast-forwarded to get to the payoff at the end.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:24 AM
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Just be careful that the voice in your head doesn't start encouraging you to climb into your zoo's lion habitat.

Eew, lion breath!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:41 AM
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YouTube has never chosen to show that ad to me, mcmc...

Nor me, presumably because of my UK IP address. Which is disappointing, because I'm fascinated by parasites. It would be a lot more interesting than the usual learn to write iOS app ads that I get.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 9:42 AM
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My kids get a YouTube video before bed (recently, it's been Bill Nye episodes.) They get the "you won't believe this parasite is in America!" ad. It is amusing to see them adapt to clicking "skip ad" very quickly.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:10 AM
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Clickbait headlines only work as long as enough people don't instantly recognize them as clickbait

True, and I doubt they work much any more in reality, but the people who generate content for that sort of site either haven't noticed or haven't been able to think of anything else to do yet.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:25 AM
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Nor me, presumably because of my UK IP address

What a difference a single space makes.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:37 AM
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Listicles=>Upworthy=>Buzzfeed quizzes.

What came before listicles and what will come after quizzes?

Also, it's worth distinguishing between spam/phishing type stuff (Nigerian princes, one weird tricks) and clickbait. The former are (semi)direct scams, while the latter are attempts to drive traffic numbers. Upworthy doesn't steal anything from you (except for your sense of self worth).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 10:56 AM
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True, and I doubt they work much any more in reality, but the people who generate content for that sort of site either haven't noticed or haven't been able to think of anything else to do yet haven't burned through all the VC money yet.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 11:09 AM
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So true about the quizzes. Which '80s sitcom character are you? I got Willis!


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 11:10 AM
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"That Moment When A Community Organizer Stands Up To The Critics."

"Starts around 1:54. Gets mindblowing around 2:15."

I've tried twice to share a link to that on Facebook, but found that the way it was presented by the sharing tool made the joke obvious right away, so I deleted it. I couldn't figure out how to make it look more authentic and figured that presenting it as what it was might look like an insult to the frequent sharers, or, worse, just boring.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-22-14 12:46 PM
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||
What is the worst thing that could happen if I am rude to a faculty member who is not my advisor, working in my area, or in any administrative position of authority that I am aware of? Because I would dearly love to tell this guy to leave me the fuck alone.
|>


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:33 PM
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25: Without knowing the details, you can be plenty "leave me the fuck alone" while remaining technically polite, by doing the channelling-Queen-Victoria bit. I'd tend to go in that direction in case the problem-faculty-member in question tries to make something out of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:38 PM
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He is always cornering me in the elevator or at department functions, asking me about what I'm working on in super assholish ways. If I answer without enough detail, he will press for details. If I give lots of detail, he will say something like "But why is that important?"

It always feels like he is demanding that I justify my existence, and it bothers me a lot even if it's not really inappropriate. Does he do this to other students? He does not! Golly, I wonder why.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:40 PM
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Ick.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:42 PM
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"It's not important, Ted. Nothing we do is important. It's a tiny corner of a miniscule speck of a dot on the landscape of human knowledge, and nobody cares, and soon enough we'll be dead. You sooner than me, Ted, and thank god for that."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:42 PM
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Make sure to call him Ted.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:42 PM
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What's your advisor's relationship like with this guy? Any chance he or she could run interference somehow? (If any of my students read this: no, please don't try to offload your unpleasant social interactions onto me. I'm speaking only for hypothetical internet people here.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:46 PM
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(If any of my students read this: no, please don't try to offload your unpleasant social interactions onto me. I'm speaking only for hypothetical internet people here.)

"Oh, hi, Professor Essear.... listen, I was making an espresso the other day?"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:48 PM
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27: Feh. I do not have an easily prepackaged way of dealing with this, other than becoming coldly monosyllabic and willing to make transparent excuses to walk away from the conversation. "Oh, look, it's 11:23. I need to get home and paint my front stoop." But that sort of thing is easier said than done.

If the conversations are getting repetitive, maybe draw attention to that? Like "I'm working on the same thing I was working on last week. I promise you'll get an announcement when I publish the paper."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:49 PM
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25: Is he someone who could damage your career? Or friendly with people you need? I'd advise against making him angry. I suggest becoming very, very dull. (Think abstract of a grant application. "We hope to apply Method X to Problem Y, which is a longstanding problem in the field of Z.") Same canned answers every time, then excusing yourself to elsewhere. No progress, no results, just answers long enough to get away.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:51 PM
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(My first advisor, after I'd switched, once tried to have me excluded from a department function on the basis that my hair color wasn't sufficiently professional. It's amazing what some assholes think they can get away with. I might be a little hair-trigger on how miserable professors in a department can make a grad student's experience.)


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:54 PM
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This seems like a perfect excuse to fixate on a phone or other mobile device. Give him one-word answers until he gets the message. If he doesn't get the message, I have to assume he's also dumb enough to just not notice if you stop answering completely. If he complains about your rudeness, it's possible to imagine lots of comebacks which may be technically offensive, but would be hard to really call beyond the pale. "Oh, sorry I was distracted, I was talking to my friends." "Which doesn't include you" doesn't need to be explicit to get the message across.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:55 PM
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"I'm afraid I can't talk to you about it at all. My adviser has warned me that there might be spies in the department. Don't worry, though. We'll make them pay."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 12:57 PM
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My first advisor, after I'd switched, once tried to have me excluded from a department function on the basis that my hair color wasn't sufficiently professional

what color was your hair?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 1:00 PM
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Oh my deity, finally 2048 weeks after the rest of you.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 1:00 PM
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Also, gossip, if there are helpful people to gossip with. Like, you sort of want to know if this guy has hounded prior grad students out of the department or what, and any such information should be helpful in figuring out how wary you need to be about him.

That is, your initial question is "what's the worst thing that can happen", and I think that's probably pretty sensitively dependent on the details of your department and of this guy. Nine out of ten, the worst thing that can happen wouldn't be much, but you probably want to find out what you can before you get overtly difficult.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 1:01 PM
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Possibilities:

Feign death until he goes away

Develop your own absurdly complicated 9/11 truther conspiracy theory and expound on it in detail whenever he approaches you


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 1:02 PM
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38: Neon pink for about four inches past my shoulders.

40 is good advice.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 1:05 PM
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39 You're not last.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 1:13 PM
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43 is right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 1:55 PM
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I got to 4096 and called it a day. I'm sure there are others here who have crossed that barrier.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 2:02 PM
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But, basically, that was due to pure luck. Once you understand the basic strategy and get a little familiarity it seems like 90% luck, based on whether or not you have to move your highest number/most impressive Doge from the top left corner or not.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 2:04 PM
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I got to 4097.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 2:07 PM
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42.1: What color was it above your shoulders?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 2:19 PM
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In the vast majority of situations pissing off one professor in a large department really isn't going to cause any problems. I made enemies of one professor in grad school and it hasn't yet come back to haunt me. (Though if we hadn't had a union things might have been a little dicier.) 33, 34, and 40 seem like reasonable advice to try.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 2:41 PM
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This guy is a notorious crank, famous far and wide for his weekly mass e-mails, which are cc'd to the university president, various deans, and the faculty/grads of four departments. His main hobby horse is the idea that students these days are lazy, stupid cheaters, but he is also vociferous on the topics of university athletic programs, MOOCs, and campus parking spaces. His e-mails frequently contain links to freerepublic.com and aei.com, and he once approvingly quoted a comment on the Harvard Crimson's website that referred to someone as a "libtard."

Basically he is the worst and there is a good chance that I would be hailed as a hero for telling him to go jump in a lake. But also this should give you some idea of how likely he is to take a hint.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 2:56 PM
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What about a very pleasant "oh! excuse me please" and then just walking away? If you are outside of civil discourse, you don't have to follow polite conversation rules. Walk away. He may be offended, but you arguably have no non-offensive options.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 3:00 PM
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That sounds like I'd feel safe being pretty free with getting coldly monosyllabic and remembering that you need to rotate the tires on your goldfish when he asks followup questions. If you want to be ruder, you could tell him that the area you're working in is specialized, and possibly if he's having trouble following your explanations he'd be better off waiting for when you publish so that he can work through the results at his leisure, instead of trying to figure it out on the fly. But that would be fairly rude, and I probably wouldn't do it without a fair amount of doubletalk.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 3:04 PM
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Or what Megan said.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 3:08 PM
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I guess the main thing that I'm worried about is whether there's some way I'm not seeing that this guy could harm me. 49 is very comforting. 51 sounds like an excellent plan for non-elevator situations, and avoiding this asshole is definitely worth taking the stairs. Problem solved, everyone!


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 3:10 PM
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Or even pleasant nonsense. "Oh, hey, great, thanks." Walk away.

You don't owe him a logical connection to your leaving. You don't have to be rude so that he buys into your leaving. All you have to do is leave, and any transition will do.

What's he going to do later? Tell people that you always excuse yourself and leave? "She always leaves when I've asked her something." He doesn't have the credibility to pull it off. He might sandbag you later, but odds are that he'd sandbag you anyway. You can at least spare yourself the interactions.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 3:14 PM
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Problem solved?! I've only repeated myself twice! I have barely begun to elaborate.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 3:15 PM
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Why not make him really self conscious by staring at more attractive people while he talks, missing what he said, and then asking him to repeat himself. Repeat as needed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 3:20 PM
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I'm not really sure how to work Operation Gigolo in here, but I'm sure there's a way.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 3:25 PM
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50: Christ, what an asshole. I think it's safe to disregard normal rules of politeness.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 3:29 PM
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Are you in a Stand Your Ground state?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 3:47 PM
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What is the worst thing that could happen if I am rude to [this guy]

Isn't this one of the two fundamental questions that govern 99% of all interpersonal interaction? (The other one being, "What can you do for me?")


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:07 PM
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Isn't this one of the two fundamental questions that govern 99% of all interpersonal interaction? to 60


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:12 PM
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Tell him about your plans to destroy Jupiter.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:23 PM
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"Are you going to eat that?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:25 PM
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"Do you think I need a doctor to look at this?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:29 PM
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48: My natural color.
65 will not work for creepy older guys who have a PhD. "Well, I'm a doctor. Let's see."


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:37 PM
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I thought 64 meant we were playing a new game.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 4:40 PM
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Ukh, I was supposed to stop at 2048 but now I find it is getting easier to get to 2048 so I have not stopped.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:06 PM
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68: Yeah, once you get the hang of it, 2048 is relatively easy. I've gotten tantalizingly close to 4096 on several occasions, but never quite there.

67: Now try to get 128!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:15 PM
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I need a new fun stupid game. I don't want to have that weird syndrome 2048 gives you where you imagine pairs of everything squishing together.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:23 PM
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My initial guess from your description was that something like 50 was likely (not that I know the particular person, but it is a type). But then when you said he doesn't buttenhole other graduate students I figured my guess was wrong. At any rate, it sounds like the "gossip to figure out what's happened before" approach seems good here. At any rate, probably this person has already burned all their capital, so you don't really have to worry about pissing him off.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:25 PM
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where you imagine pairs of everything squishing together

Low hanging fruit.

For example.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:32 PM
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buttenhole

See 72?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:34 PM
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I got to 3916 points on DIVE today.

Also, it looks like I am going to have to disown my siblings.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 5:40 PM
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Have y'all tried QWOP yet, speaking of four-character games?


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 6:30 PM
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74.2: Oh dear. Would that cut you off from your niece?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 6:52 PM
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Oh my deity, finally 2048 weeks after the rest of you.

FWIW, I only got it a couple days ago and haven't touched the thing since.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 6:53 PM
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Don't give up until you get 16384.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 7:09 PM
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http://www.cnet.com/news/flappy48-combines-flappy-bird-and-2048-into-a-single-clone/


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 7:57 PM
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DIVE is the one i am sill going with.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 8:11 PM
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79 Nuke it from orbit.


80. What is this DIVE you all speak of?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 8:41 PM
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http://alexfink.github.io/dive/


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 8:46 PM
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Too hard.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 8:52 PM
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Stupid generic tablet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 8:53 PM
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Damn, sorry I asked.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:01 PM
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A potentially discouraging thing* I've noticed with DIVE; if you simply stir the tiles consistently either clockwise or counter-clockwise (so LURD or RULD) you will not too infrequently get a pretty decent score. I was demonstrating the "stir" to my one son and I got over 2000 (I was sorely tempted to take it over when it was ~1600 with good seeds and a lot of open space, but I kept with the program ... for science). So I did a couple that way just now and got a 2122.

*Or maybe encouraging for some, who knows?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:03 PM
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How would one come to discover this you might ask.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:03 PM
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||
It will be interesting to see who stays on the Bundy bus tomorrow:

"I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro," he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, "and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids -- and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch -- they didn't have nothing to do. They didn't have nothing for their kids to do. They didn't have nothing for their young girls to do.
And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?" he asked. "They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom."
||


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:18 PM
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I think he stole that first line from Jim Morrison.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:32 PM
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I wanna tell you more thing I know about the Negro
They came out of the Virginia swamps
Cool and slow with plenty of precision
With a back beat narrow and hard to master


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 9:40 PM
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For a while I was consistently scoring 600-800 on DIVE and then suddenly jumped up to a string of 2000+, with a high of 2815. Then I stopped playing for a week or two and am back in the 600-800 range. I never really developed a strategy like in 2048 but I think my score is related pretty closely to my willingness to stop and factor the larger numbers. I'm not as interested in either of those games as much now that I've broken the spell, so I'm ok with not getting to 4096 and above or 3000 and above. For now.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 10:03 PM
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91: I like to just play DIVE on autopilot, but I know that certainly introduces errors and stupid plays. But I want to develop some kind of subconscious gestalt mastery or none at all...

And thus my life and accomplishments to date explained.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 10:07 PM
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But it did occur to me that DIVE would be a great game for a kid of the right age learning about prime factors or even just their extended "times tables."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-23-14 10:10 PM
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Boy is Dive ever unintuitive for me. I guess it's a good thing I didn't try to become a mathematician. I also just realized from reading the text at the bottom of the page that it's supposed to be pronounced [dIv], for which the guy (who appears to be a conlanger) claims "dive" is the "historically most justified" spelling, which doesn't really make any sense.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-24-14 12:44 AM
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On the other hand, he did write a sound change program which looks interesting, and also links to similar programs written by others. I've been wondering for a while if anyone had done something like this; it seems pretty obvious, but AFAICT no academic historical linguists have done it. It now seems obvious that conlangers would have, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-24-14 12:51 AM
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It also seems obvious that Mark Rosenfelder (whom I have previously only known for this excellent discussion of chance resemblances between languages) would have done some work in this area.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-24-14 12:59 AM
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76: Yes, that is one of the sadder parts. But they have become politically unreliable, so what other choice do I have?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-24-14 6:25 AM
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