Posted by: nathanweisz | January 26, 2012

Posted by: nathanweisz | August 22, 2011

Ikariam v0.4.4

Version 0.4.4 introduces the features below:

  • Feature – Forms of government
    • From now on you can select a form of government via the palace as soon as the new research topic Government Formation has been researched. There are eight different forms of government in total, which will bestow different bonuses but also different disadvantages on your island kingdom. The form of government can be changed as often as you like, although anarchy rules after each change. During anarchy, corruption in all towns is increased by 25% and no troop actions are possible. Completed research topics must precede the forms of government, whereby existing research topics have been extended and three new research topics have been added, Government Formation, Legislation and State Religion.
  • Feature – Alliance Chat
    • Every alliance has its own chat room, in which members can talk amongst one another. This can be entered via a button on the main page.
  • Feature – Alliance Forum
    • Every alliance receives its own forum in the Diplomacy Advisor. This means there are also new alliance rights, with which each alliance can determine who is allowed to administrate the up to 5 subforums with a maximum of 15 different threads and which members of the alliance can read and write in them.
  • Feature – The information screen about the Premium account has been revised.
  • For optimum loot distribution when pillaging, a player`s individual waves are now summarised.
  • Feature – Different dummy packages can be bought for Ambrosia, which enable you to fool opposing spies about the real troop strength of a town.

Aristocracy

Aristocracy is a government ruled by nobility, so an elite group.

Advantages:

  • -20% Building time for buildings
  • +20% Counter-espionage
Disadvantages:

  • +3% Corruption in all towns, apart from the capital city

Democracy

Democracy is a government ruled by the people.

Advantages:

  • +75 Satisfaction in all towns
  • +1 Research points per hour for each issued cultural goods treaty
Disadvantages:

  • -20% Counter-espionage
  • +5% Building time for ground fight units

Dictatorship

Dictatorship is the leadership of a commander, so an individual person.

Advantages:

  • -2% Upkeep costs for ground fight units
  • -2% Upkeep costs for sea fight units
  • -2% Building time for ground fight units
  • -2% Building time for sea fight units
  • +2 additional trade ships
Disadvantages:

  • -75 Satisfaction in all towns

Nomocracy

Nomocracy is a form of government ruled by law in which the rulers themselves cannot easily change the laws.

Advantages:

  • -5% Corruption in all towns
  • +20% Counter-espionage
Disadvantages:

  • +5% Building time for ground fight units
  • +5% Building time for sea fight units
  • +50% Loading time in your own port

Oligarchy

Oligarchy is a form of government in which a minority rules, in Ikariam these are the rich merchant families.

Advantages:

  • +5 Range of all trading posts
  • +10% Speed for merchant ships
  • -2% Upkeep costs for sea fight units
  • +2 additional trade ships
Disadvantages:

  • +20% Building time for buildings
  • +3% Corruption in all towns

Theocracy

Theocracy is a government ruled by clergy.

Advantages:

  • -20% Miracle cooldown
  • Satisfaction in all towns with a temple is increased by +2 times the conversion rate. The maximum bonus is +150.
  • +1 gold production per priest
Disadvantages:

  • -5% Research points
  • -20 Satisfaction in all towns without temples

Technocracy

Technocracy is a government ruled by experts – at Ikariam these are the scientists and researchers.

Advantages:

  • +5% Research points
  • +20% Unskilled labourers productivity
Disadvantages:

  • +1 Gold costs per scientist
Posted by: nathanweisz | August 6, 2011

ALPHAS 2011

With Heroes gone and Smallville ended, viewers are bound to clamor for a new TV series to fill the “superhero” genre. Enter the new show called Alphas, a cross between Heroes and CSI with the usual mutant versus human topic introduced by the X-men comic books.

The Alpha team is comprised of six members which I will try to explain in understandable X-men concepts. They have a Professor X like character in Dr. Rosen, although a non-mutant psychologist leader who nurtures each member of the team. Another character, Nina, is like Jean Grey, she can hypnotize people once she can look into their eyes. Her powers allow her to have a new sporty car each episode.

A strange character for a field leader would be Bill, an FBI agent with super strength, but has a limited time span – too much exertion and the guy looks like he’ll have a heart attack. And the reason I refer to this as strange is that field leaders are usually smart, and the last leader I remember who had super strength was Fairchild of Gen 13 fame. (Sure Superman has super strength and a whole lotta other powers, plus smarts). Bill is more of a bull.

The Wolverine type character of the group is called Hicks. But his super power is really more like the villain Bull’s Eye, from the comic book Daredevil. He is also the anti-authority member in the group, always reluctantly following orders and has some gripe about his task.

And the final two are pretty original in terms of character design. Rachel so far has shown the ability to focus her senses – hearing, smell, sight. But once focused, and concentrated, she tends to be vulnerable since she sacrifices her other senses. (Not hearing when focused on smell). Gary is a “special” child with the ability to literally see the electromagnetic spectrum (cellphone signals, TV, and Internet) and can even send messages to electronic gadgets as of the latest episode.

While Heroes initially took the approach of “amping” known superhero types (Peter Petrelli was Rouge on steroids before being nerfed in succeeding seasons), Alphas seem to have taken an opposite approach, making some of the heroes less strong ( a weaker empath and strong-guy). Or perhaps these heroes will improve the control of their abilities and overcome limitations as the show progresses.

What I’m interested more is the creativity in villains that the show is creating. While the Ghost was pretty lame, the Cause-and-Effect guy and the Universal Translator girl seem to be on the path of becoming the arch-nemesis of the Alphas as Magneto is to the X-men. I can’t wait to see the next villain, and I hope the ideas remain fresh and are not rehashes of comic stereo-types. (I know at some point it probably will be, but that would be the death of the series.)

But kudos to the show’s creative team. Keep us, your  audience, interested and hooked as long as you can. And if the show is going to be cancelled for some reason, please end it appropriately, and don’t leave the audience hanging (like Heroes, cough, cough…). And lastly, if you guys plan on showing a big fight scene between a hero and villain, don’t do it behind a closed door with some lighting effects. Show the actual fight. (Again, Heroes, not cool)

Posted by: nathanweisz | July 28, 2011

Washing Machine Prices on July 28, 2011

This list will probably be outdated soon enough. Hope it helps those who are currently canvassing for a new washing machine. Prices are in Philippine Peso.

Posted by: nathanweisz | June 22, 2011

The Global Power Grid

The year is 2060. Worldwide oil reserves have almost been depleted. Humanity, foreseeing this situation, thankfully prepared by creating portions of what is now known as the Global Power Grid – a worldwide network of electric power generation. Early portions of the grid, the Solar Power Grid, the Wind Power Grid, and the Tidal Power Grid, have gradually been put into place during the early part of the 21st century. The Human Power Grid was also constructed afterwards. The last piece of the puzzle, the Lightning Power Grid, was the most challenging part of the entire energy puzzle.

The Human Power Grid

Human movement has been considered as a potential electric power source with the discovery of piezoelectricity – the accumulation of charge due to pressure. One can imagine a path laden with piezo chargers, and human traffic powering the path. Shopping malls, parks, business centers, any place with lots of people walking could serve as a potential generation plant.

But with improved wireless power transfer methods, even the hand movements when walking – pendulum like in nature  – could be tapped for power. Kinetic watches have already tapped this type of movement for energy. But now, with millions of people wearing wrist-watch like chargers, and this power wirelessly transferred to nearby charging stations, humans were providing some of the power needs of the world.

Of course treadmills and stationary bicycles in gyms still gave the occasional energy boost needed. But not everyone is an exercise fanatic.

The Lightning Power Grid

Initial efforts in constructing a lightning power source were always for naught. The amount of energy stored in lightning is very large and exists for a very short period of time. Researchers venturing in this field said it was hopeless and impractical. The amount of energy in a thunderstorm was similar to that released by an atomic bomb. Containment and storage was an issue.

This was until the creation of the reverse Fibonacci transformer set-up – a series of transformers used to gradually reduce the voltage level of the initial lightning strike into amounts manageable enough to store. The turns ratio of the set-up were based on the Fibonacci numbers. Since 30,000 amperes exist in a bolt of lightning, the turns ratio starts from the 23rd Fibonacci number, 46368, and gradually steps down this amount of current by using the next lower number in the Fibonacci sequence.

This “gradual lowering” was the reason for the need of a global lightning grid… lengthy wires of copper stretching across the continents dissipating the power in a single lightning strike. Once the grid was powered, it was cut-off from any succeeding lightning strike.

Mega lightning also posed as a problem for the early development of the global lightning grid. Once in a while, a lightning strike would carry more energy than expected. Predicting when these lightning strikes would occur was a very difficult task. Designers did not consider the cost of a network able to handle this level of energy as practical because the frequency of mega lightning was far less than that of normal lightning. But if it ever occurred, the estimated damage to the initial global lightning grid (prototype), was tremendous, it was like starting construction all over again. The key in handling mega lightning was predicting when it would strike and cutting off the global lightning grid before it would hit.

Another hurdle in harnessing lightning was the need for a material that could conduct electricity and not melt at the extremely high temperatures in the initial lightning strike. But advancements in material science and nanotechnology have allowed scientists and engineers to come up with a high-temperature capable conductor (HTCC).

By 2070, electricity powered almost all of the processes and engines. Ferrari and Lamborghini internal combustion engines have been converted to purely electric powered motors so that the classics could still run. And while these antiques were driven every now and then, society has agreed that public transport (high-speed electric powered trains and vehicles) was best for all.

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