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The morning alarm woke up Ghen. With an annoyed sigh, he stretched out his arm and silenced the foul-sounding chirps. Slowly sitting up in bed, he let out a deep yawn and got to his feet. Running a couple of chitinous fingers along his antennae to stimulate them to life, he made his bed and then went to his closet. Today was a work day, so he needed his suit. Once the pants were on, he stretched out his wings so that he could button up the shirt, then relaxing them once all the buttons were secured. Dressing for the day was done, now for the morning meal. Entering his kitchen, he took out the chilled leftovers of the evening meal last night and popped it into the radiator, first defrosting and then slightly cooking it. During that process, he also fished out a ceramic cup and placed it in his brewer, serving himself some synthesized caffeine. His idle thought led him to being amused that, when eaten directly off a plant, it has a concentration that could kill him three times over. But after going through some refinement and roasting, all it does is make him hyper. Once the meal was put together, his plate of heated leftovers and a cup of almost-piping-hot cup of Xia's, he took his time to enjoy it. His communicator vibrated. When he looked, he found it was from his boss. "Hello?" Ghen answered. "Ghen, the meeting's been moved up to a few minutes from now." His boss, Xkik, announced. "Apparently higher up has something important they want to say. We have a terminal ready for you, I'll message the login details." "Wha-, what's so important?" Ghen asked in bewilderment. "Did a water line rupture or something?" "No, nothing like that." Xkik replied with a slight chuckle. "It's actually about the rumors we've been hearing. That human corporation wanting to acquire us? That's what they're talking about." Ghen could feel everything inside his thorax drop to the floor. "That must mean it's true then, right? Did we get sold off by the Queen to this company then?" "Show up to the meeting and you'll get your answer." Xkik said simply. When he finished, Ghen got the notification on his communicator. There's the login details, allowing him to remotely attend the meeting. "They're about to start, hurry up." Once Xkik disconnected, Ghen worked fast to login and set up the remote viewing. Once everything was done, his screen started transmitting the meeting room. It was already packed. And off by the main board, he saw his answer. There was a human, resting against the wall on his two legs. Standing right in the center of everyone's view was the coordinator, Tizx, watching the clock periodically. As soon as the meeting's start time was reached, the coordinator began. "Alright everyone. I realize that this was rather short notice, so I want to say how appreciative I am that you made it. Now then, let's just get right to it. For some time now, many of you have been hearing rumors that a human corporation has been interested in us. Why? We never really knew. We're just an organization responsible for finding, extracting and providing water to the colony here all under the direction of the Queen herself. Well, as of now, I have the answer for you. Why don't I let Ryan say that?" Stepping back, Tizx motioned for the human, Ryan, to take over. With a nod, Ryan practically bounced over and then took the position. "Good morning to you all. I hope my Zazk is passable, heh. Anyways, the answer to those rumors, is yes. Terran Galactic Company is indeed interested in you all. Which now leads to me. I'm here to announce that, effective yesterday evening, this water company is now a subsidiary of Terran Galactic Company, under the name of Zilia Water Delivery." Many other sub-coordinators broke into hushed conversation, no doubt speaking their thoughts with each other about this move. Ghen could only wonder if this was even a good thing. What will the humans do? Will he still have his job? Will he have to learn how to deal with the ruthless humans? "Now, I am well aware this is quite the...uh, change." Ryan continued. "That's why I'm happy to inform you that, no, nothing negative or detrimental will happen to you. You just have new people to answer to. Operations will continue as normal, everybody here will still keep their jobs. The only real change any of you will personally experience is that Coordinator Tizx here will now report to someone else. On behalf of the Terran Galactic Company, we are extremely excited and are looking forward to working with you all. Thank you for your time." A week later. At least Ryan wasn't lying. After the initial shock wore off, things went back as they normally did. There were no terminations, no reductions in annual pay or anything. Nothing really changed. At least until this new meeting was called. Ghen was at the worksite this time, so he took his seat and watched as, once again, Ryan led the meeting. "Hello again, everyone!" He said cheerfully, his Zazk noticeably improved. "I hope I didn't end up looking like a liar, right? Everything's still normal, all that?" All the zazk in the room confirmed, providing comments to their pleasant surprise as well as lingering thoughts. "Awesome! Awesome." Ryan said jubilantly, his fleshy mouth revealing his bone-white teeth. "Now then, you're probably wondering why I'm here again, right? Well, I got another fantastic piece of news for you all! Two, actually. I'll start with the first: Zilia Water Delivery has just completed its IPO. The company is now publicly traded!" Ghen and the others voiced their confusion, having no idea what in the name of the Queen Ryan was talking about. What was Ryan talking about? What's an IPO? And why exactly is being publicly traded such a significant thing? "Oh, you guys don't know any of that?" Ryan asked in surprised confusion. After everybody confirmed, he let out a quick huff as he began his explanation. "Well, to begin, IPO is short for Initial Public Offering. Basically what that means is that, before today, Zilia was privately held. Only certain individuals could buy and sell shares here. But now that we're public? Literally anyone can buy and sell shares in the company, hence us being publicly traded." "Uh, what's a share?" Ghen asked, still completely lost. "Oh, boy..." Ryan muttered under his breath before returning to his peppy image. "To simply put it, a share is short for having a share of ownership in a company. When you buy a share, you're buying a piece of ownership, and when you sell, you're selling that amount." "So wait...if someone buys a share, they're a co-owner then?" One of the other team coordinators asked. "If they get enough, yeah." Ryan nodded. "You need a lot though, and that really depends on the company. If I had to give an answer though? I'd say usually you need to have a lot more shares than a lot of people combined to be officially a co-owner, but we call that being a majority shareholder." "And how do we do that?" Ghen asked, now growing curious but still not understanding why such a concept exists. "Simple. Buy shares." Ryan said simply. "And that leads into the second piece of awesome news. Zilia's corporate has a product in mind, a premium-package of water delivery. Instead of the usual water that you pump out, filter and ensure its potable before delivery, with the premium package, not only will you get that, but you'll also get all of the required nutrients and vitamins the zazk body requires! And they feel you guys have the best expertise and understanding to pull it off! So, here's what we're offering as a good-faith bonus: A 25% increase to your annual salary as well as being given stock options." Ghen wasn't sure about the second part, but the salary definitely got his attention, as well as everyone else's. Although his job was considered to have a good pay, Ghen isn't going to say no to a higher salary. In fact, he's been focusing his work on getting a promotion so he can come home with even more credits in pocket. "What do you mean by stock options?" Ghen asked after some time. Ryan let out that smile again, the one that revealed his teeth. "If you choose to transfer over to the new group, you'll be provided 50,000 shares in Zilia itself. Why's that awesome? Let me walk you through it. Right now, our last closing price per share was 3.02 credits. And if you have 50,000 shares during that time, you're sitting on 151,000 credits, if you cash it out immediately." "And why shouldn't we?" One of the coordinators demanded in an ambiguous tone. "Because the price per share changes a lot." Ryan explained promptly. "When we got done with the IPO? It closed at 2.73 a share. Right now? My money's on the closing price being 2.99 a share. However, we are extremely confident in this premium package being successful. If it does? Well, my bet is that the share price will skyrocket to 3.12 a share. If you hold those shares and the price gets to what my bet was? You'll instead get 156,000 credits. Just by holding onto them, you just made an additional 5,000 credits!" "And what if we have more shares?" Ghen questioned, now getting excited at the prospect of free money. "Even more money!" Ryan laughed a bit. "And don't forget about dividends, but that's for another time. The premium group is gearing up right now, we just need the workforce. If any of you wants in, I'll be back tomorrow with all the forms needed to make it official. Take the day and tonight to think it over, yeah?" Everything else melted into a blur. Ghen was practically on autopilot that whole day. Was this the secret to the humans' incredibly massive economy? How so many of them have amassed so much money out of nowhere? All you had to do was just buy this share out of a company and you get more money without even working? As soon as he got home, Ghen knew what he was going to do during the night. After feverishly looking through the galnet, now having the human race connected to it, he looked and gathered up as many books that were translated into zazk as he could find, all talking about the human economic system. The last time he undertook such an intensive study was during his primary education phase. And during his search, he even found forums on the galnet that were completely dedicated to the human's economy. All of them talking about strategies on what company, or stock, to pick. How to analyze a company's performance to determine if it was worth the money, or it had potential to grow over time. And that was when he discovered the humans found another method to the extremely simple buying and selling process. There were humans and some other immigrated aliens who made five times what Ghen could receive over a simple month just by watching the share prices during trading hours, and then buying and selling them at the proper times. Ghen's mind was just absolutely flabbergasted. He thought it was just some strange concept only aliens could make, but no, not with the humans. They've practically made their economy into an art or a science. No, not even their economy. Everything. If humans can see a way to make money off of it, they'll do it. And if there isn't, they'll look for a way. Healthcare was monetized. Galnet services, transportation, shopping at the store, they even made all of their utilities into profit-oriented companies. And it was there that Ghen paused, the realization slamming into him. Everything was monetized. Which means, if you don't have the money for it, you're not getting it. Right? Are the humans truly that ruthless? So obsessed with making money? To the point that they're willing to deprive their own people of the absolute necessities if it's a source of credits? Ghen let out a scoff. There's no way. Nobody is that cruel and callous. He's never been to the United Nations. He can't rely on what a bunch of random people on the galnet says. He decided that from here on out, he'll only go as far as saying that humans are a little obsessed with credits, nothing more. ... There he was. Ryan, sitting in the office provided to him. And there was a rather large line leading to him. Looks like word got around. Although, the line wasn't as large as he expected it to be. Maybe the others thought it was just a ruse? That there's no such thing as making free money by spending it on such a made-up concept? Ghen only knows that, if it is a ruse, it's an extremely elaborate one, where all of the humans are in on it. And he believes that's just extremely ridiculous. At the end, if he's unsure, he'll just take the transfer for the very real increase in his very real salary. And although he spent a very good chunk of the night reading up on how humans do things, he's still going to play it smart. He'll leave his 50,000 shares alone and see where it goes from there. "Good morning sir." Ryan greeted warmly once Ghen took his seat. "Now, name please?" "Ghen." He answered, barely keeping his nerves down. "Alright...and what's your position at this location?" Ryan questioned after scribbling on his form. "I monitor the pumping stations near the extraction sites." Ghen explained, staying on point. "To be more specific, I check to see if they're in need of maintenance, as well as reading the flow rate that's determined by the calculators installed there. If there's too little for what's needed, I pump out more. And if there's too much, I pull it back a little." "Nice...and how long have you been doing it for?" Ryan complimented with a nod. "As of tomorrow, ten years." Ghen replied, voice quickly changing to minor awe once he realized that fact. "Excellent. Do you have anyone in mind you'd like to replace you here?" Ryan questioned after another scribble. "If you don't have anyone, you're free to say so." Ghen took a moment to think it over. A bunch of names went through his mind, but one stuck with him. "Tilik. He's just been accepted here, but he's learned quickly. Very attentive and he always catches something subtle. I think he'll do really well in my position, even better actually." "Tilik, really?" Ryan questioned with a little shock, going through his completed forms. Ghen felt a short sense of panic in him. Did something happen, or was Tilik actually transferring? His answer didn't take long to reveal itself. "Right, Tilik was actually one of the first people to want to transfer here. He's actually requested to be part of the testing teams specifically. Do you have a second choice?" "Um...no, actually." Ghen replied, feeling a little ashamed. "Tilik was my only choice, to be honest." "Hey, don't worry." Ryan said assuringly with his hands raised. "Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, there's just nobody up to snuff, right? 'Kay, so, last question. Is there anything specific you'd like to do when given the transfer?" "If you need someone monitoring new pumps, I'd be happy to do that." Ghen stated. "So basically same job but with better payoff, am I right?" Ryan grinned. "I hear you. Sometimes, we're just not paid enough for what we're doing. I know I think that sometimes. Uh, our secret, yeah?" "Yeah, our secret." Ghen nodded, thinking it'd be better to have friendly relations with the human, just in case. "Awesome. Back on topic, that's it." Ryan announced, placing the form on his pile. "We'll give you a call when you're accepted." "Oh, uh, that's it?" Ghen questioned with a shrug in shocked surprise. "What, expecting a question like, why do you want to transfer?" Ryan chuckled a bit as he leaned in his seat. "You can bullshit all you want, but we both know the answer. Sweet money and stock options. Not saying that's a bad answer of course, just that it's pretty obvious." "I suppose it is." Ghen commented, realizing the point. "Also, you mentioned this...dividend? Is that for Zilia shares?" Ryan laughed a little bit before nodding. "Yep, announced before I came here. About 0.43 per share. Want to know why that's awesome? Instead of waiting for the proper price to cash out your shares, now? The company pays you for each share you hold." "A...Are you serious?" Ghen demanded, flabbergasted. Ryan nodded with his now-trademark grin. "Dead serious. If you get the transfer, and get those 50,000 shares? A little head math...right, if you hold onto those, in addition to your salary, you'll now annually be paid 21,500 credits, if you keep it at 50,000 shares. Only you can decide to sell or buy shares." Ghen just stood there silent and motionless, no idea of whether to believe it or not, to which Ryan just laughed. Once he walked out of the room, he managed to snap back to reality. Again, just focus on the very real pay-raise. He'll deal with the other parts later. After he returned to his spot, he spotted Tizx approaching by his desk. The coordinator seems to be as casual as always. "I saw you in that line a bit ago, Ghen." He said as he leaned on the desk. "Guess you're really taking that human's word?" "I mean, I don't know about all this share business or what not." Ghen began with a shrug, his tone sounding a little defensive. "But I mean, having a bigger salary? Course I'm going for it when I can. And if all this magic credits turn out to be real? You realize we can live like the royal servants, right? Get the best cars, the nicest food and all that?" "I'd be very careful, Ghen." Tizx warned in a sudden shift in tone. "Don't trust those humans. The way they just...obsess over money? Come up with more and more insane ways of getting credits? I don't know, it just makes my wings twitch." "You think this is a bad idea?" Ghen asked with a little surprise at the change-in-demeanor. "I think you should be careful, with the humans, and with what you're saying." Tizx replied, straightening his posture. "I wouldn't put it past those Earthmen to backstab you if it gets them a few more credits. And we all know how the royal servants get if any of us lowly commoners start thinking we can break into their circle." "I hear you, I'll be on my guard, promise." Ghen stated with a nod. With a confirming nod of his own, Tizx returned back to his duty, walking past Ghen's desk. Several weeks later. Everything became so much better. Ghen got the transfer. He didn't need to relocate to a new residence either. And after he was walked through into learning how to manage his stock account, and seeing that new form of payment in his hands, he already felt as though he made the best decision. But it was only when he decided to take those shares more seriously that he became privy to what he was given. After receiving the dividend payment, and actually seeing it was real, valid credits after transferring it to his main bank account, all he could describe was the most powerful high he ever felt. While his first thoughts were to buy himself a royalty-class car, some nicer furnishings for his home, or even a better home entirely, he ended up going the smarter route. After going back to his stock account, he discovered that Zilia's shares rose to about 3.22 credits in price. Knowing that this was the easiest money he could ever make, he took all of his dividend earnings and bought more shares in Zilia, bringing him to owning 56,891. And from his new regional coordinator, a human named Dylan, tomorrow is the grand release of the premium package. For just a monthly rate of 14.99 credits, the tap water will now include a sizeable portion of all nutrients and vitamins required in the zazk physiology. Still, Ghen has to admit. He's not entirely sure why anybody would want such a thing, if they'd even go for it. But, as long as he's practically swimming in easy credits, he won't pay much attention to it. And just like when he was intensively studying the basics of how the human economy worked, he barely got any sleep. His mind was constantly thinking about the things he would buy. Or rather, what other stocks to put his credits into. Even now he can still hardly believe it. Just spend your money on some, make-believe thing and, if you wait long enough and picked the right stock, you'll get more than you spent back? His mind even wandered onto what human colonies, or even their homeworld, Earth, was like. If everybody was making so much money, what kind of things would they offer? What kind of ridiculous service or product or item can you get? He's even debating on joining some forum and just asking around. Explain how he's new to how humans do things and was wondering what he should expect if he's successful. By the time he felt like he can go to sleep, the binary-stars of the system were rising from the horizon. After getting out of his bed and changing to clean clothes, his mind returned onto what-ifs. What if he bought better clothes? He's had his eye on that human brand of luxury clothes, Tessuti di Venezia, that's been all the rage amongst the royal servants. Or maybe he can go on vacation and just check out Earth for real? It was a short ride to his workplace from his home. After getting stuff his stuff and preparing to walk through the doors, he heard the roar of a car grow louder. When he looked, he saw the sleekest and quite possibly the coolest looking car he's ever seen. Each time the engine revved it would startle him, both from how harsh it sounded as well as just how intense it sounded. And after it parked, he saw the doors pop out and then slide along the body back. And there, he saw Tilik, the seat literally turning and extending out a bit before he got off. As soon as he saw Ghen staring, he struck a rather prideful pose after putting on his lab coat and then sauntered over to Ghen. "What do you think?" Tilik said, without any doubt inviting praise or compliments. "D...Did you actually buy that?" Ghen asked, unable to tear his eyes away from the car. "You're Queens-damn right I did!" Tilik laughed happily. "Thing takes off like a starship, has temperature-controlled seating, all-in-one center console, barely any bouncing on rough roads. Hoof, best decision I've ever made!" "How much did that thing cost?" Ghen asked after letting out an incredulous laugh. "Five million credits." Tilik replied, earning an absolutely shocked stare from Ghen. "And thanks to the incredible salary I have, in addition to all these shares and dividends, I'll pay back the credits I borrowed in no time!" Ghen needed a few moments before he could speak again. "All I've been doing is buying more shares." Tilik laughed and then patted the now-envious monitor's back. "Smart man. I got a little carried away, yeah, but not anymore. Any spending credits I got, going right back to investing. That's what it's called right, investing?" "Yeah, it is." Ghen nodded, feeling a fire light up in his thorax. "And also? Today's the day that the premium water thing is being released. Here's hoping it starts out well, right?" "Oh it will, trust me." Tilik chuckled as they both began making their way inside the workplace. "Lots of research, lots of study. By the Queen, so much of it...it'll make your head spin." And after hearing that, Ghen had a moment of realization. "Hey, Tilik? How did you get such a nice position anyways? Weren't you just studying under me before the humans came along?" Tilik let out a sigh after opening the door. "I'll be honest, I never wanted your job. Not because it's boring or terrible, just...I didn't suffer so many sleepless nights in the science academy just to be a glorified button pusher. This is what I've always wanted. Doing science, solving problems rather than just applying the solution, you know?" "Wait, you got an academic certificate?" Ghen questioned, completely floored. "How did you end up beneath me then? I should've been answering to you!" "Simple." Tilik gave a heavier sigh. "A royal servant was asking for the same job I was. Take a guess at who got it." "Ouch. Good thing the humans came along when they did, yeah?" Ghen was taken aback. He never heard anything about a servant taking a job at his place. "Looks like you're proving yourself to be well suited." "By the Queen, of course I am." Tilik nodded. "Like I said, I nearly broke my wings through so many nights, got certified top of my class, all just to get pushed to the dirt because someone who was born into a particular family wanted the same thing I did? I know I'm smarter than any of those empty-skull servants back in the Center. I know that, whatever, uh...corporate? Yeah, whatever corporate wants out of science, I will xeek give it to them." "Well, let me know how things go in the lab." Ghen said, admiring his drive as they neared the main office floor. "Because this is where the button pusher needs to go." Tilik let out a laugh as he nodded. "Hey, how about we meet up at Queen's Fine Eatery tonight. I'll pay, yeah?" Ghen, at first, wanted to admonish him for choosing such an outrageously expensive place to go. But he quickly realized that, he truly is good for it, thanks to the humans. "Well, hey, if you're paying for it." ... It was a fantastic opening. After being told what news sites to keep in mind for stocks, he first heard it from Dylan, and then got more detail on Business Today. There was such a massive demand right from the start that Zilia needs to increase extraction just to meet it. But what really got his attention was the effect it had. Zilia Water Delivery's share price just blasted off. After seemingly holding steady at about 3.15, by the time he got home and logged onto his account, it already reached 7.04 a share. The calculator on his account told him that he got a value-gain of 54.26%. Never in his entire life had he felt such...joy. With all of the shares he currently has? He's sitting at 400,512.64 credits. He knows that it is woefully pathetic compared to what the royal servants have just in their pockets, but the fact that he has such money, just by owning some intangible concept? Why even work at Zilia? Why doesn't he just sit at home, figure out what companies to invest in and make his money that way? What's even the point in working a real job, getting a pathetic pay when you can just take the money you have, determine where to spend it, and get triple back? All just sitting on your wings at home, researching? He was so wrapped up in his excited high that he completely forgot he was going to meet Tilik at Queen's. After quickly and haphazardly putting on his nicer clothes, he got to the place only a few minutes late. Tilik was there by the guide, no doubt having been waiting for him. As soon as he strode up, Tilik's wings stiffned out some. No doubt he must've seen the numbers as well. "I can see your wings, Ghen." Tilik began with an excited chuckle. "Made some serious credits?" Ghen let out an incredulous scoff, struggling to find the words for a moment. "Incredible. All I'm going to say." "Likewise." Tilik chortled some before nodding to the table guide. "All here. Table please?" "Right this way, sir." The guide said politely. It was a short walk, travelling between round tables. The vast majority were populated by zazk, but Ghen was surprised at seeing a few humans here as well. No doubt corporate workers checking out the local food. He did spot them having bowls filled with some kind of mass. Some were brown, others white with what looks to be black specks on them. They arrived at their table. A rather nice one, affording a view out the windows into the busy colony streets. Once Tilik and Ghen settled in, the guide handed out the menus. "May I suggest our rather popular option for tonight?" The guide began. "Human ice-cream. Ingredients sourced from Earth itself. Very cold, but incredibly sweet, and coming in many flavors. The most popular amongst us is called vanilla-bean. The vanilla itself soaks in the cream for much of the process, and then the innards sprinkled on top of it near the end. Rumor has it that the Queen herself has demanded personal shipments of such a treat straight from the home of vanilla, an island on Earth named Madagascar." Ghen didn't even spare a single thought. "Vanilla bean ice cream then, please." "Same." Tilik seconded when the guide glanced to him. With a slight bow, the guide proceeded to ferry their orders to the kitchen. Thankfully it was just a short wait before the guide returned, carrying a large plate containing bowls of ice cream. Ghen could feel the saliva on his mandibles as the bowl was placed before them. He could just feel the cold air around that glistening mass of sugary goodness. The white snow decorated with the black dots of vanilla bean. Once the guide left them, Tilik and Ghen both dived in at the same time. As soon as the ice cream entered his mouth, touched his tongue, he exploded in incomprehensible bliss. The sweetness, the smooth and creamy mass, even the taste of vanilla he wasn't sure about was just absolutely delightful. It was so overwhelming that his entire body limped, slumping in his seat as he was forced to ride on the surging tide of joy and happiness sweeping over him. Tilik was no different. He too was taken completely by the effects of the ice cream, his wings fluttering some against the seat. Ghen could hear some noise. It was the humans they passed by. They were chuckling, grinning, and glancing over at them discreetly. Unlike the two zazk, the humans seemingly just enjoyed the ice cream as if it was just another nice dessert to them. Or perhaps they couldn't allow themselves to succumb to the high? And as soon as the wave of indescribable bliss and happiness subsided, Ghen knew. He just knew. This was the life. He wanted this. The ice cream was just the beginning. So many things denied because he didn't have the credits, or worse, not the blood. Because he was just a drone in the great Collective, even if he had the credits, he wasn't allowed because of what caste he was born in. That fire that sparked in him when he saw Tilik's new car? It exploded into a raging firestorm. And when looking into Tilik's eyes, Ghen could see the same. He was on the same page as Ghen was. Both of them were sold. They have the credits. And the humans? If you can pay for it, they'll never discriminate. All they cared about is if you have the money. And by the Queen, Ghen and Tilik will endeavor to amass as much credits as physically possible. The rest of the night faded into a blur. A blur that evokes only one thing. Bliss. It was only when he walked through the door of his pathetic hut that Ghen's mind snapped back to focus. His mandibles felt sticky. And he felt a weight in his stomach. How much ice cream did he eat? Whatever it was, he ate such volume that the lower-section of his throax extended and rounded out, visible even under his shirt. He felt something odd in his pocket. It was a receipt. 43,000 credits for ten bowls of vanilla bean ice cream. Was that ten bowls for both of them? Or individually? Ghen didn't care. He's good for it. Returning back to his calculator, he acted upon the decision that he had made at that eatery. He's acquiring as many books about investing and stock trading as he could find, frequent and study all the discussions and arguments presented by other like-minded individuals such as he, all to ensure he can live the good life. And he had a very good feeling Tilik was doing the exact same thing. Well, first, the gurgling in his stomach, as well as the feeling of something rising demanded his attention. Looks like he'll need to take the night off to let his stomach get back to normal. Three Years Later. Ghen looked out beyond the horizon, seeing the colony that he grew up in. On the far side was where his old house was. With only a simple robe on, made from the finest silk from Earth's nation-state of China, he relaxed in his seat. It was a long road. Stockpiling credits from pre-existing investments and from subsequent pays, he and Tilik made it. From having only half a million in assets and cash, now transformed to over eight-hundred million. And now, his call contracts on American Interstellar? They've just announced a breakthrough in their next generation of warp drives, reducing the speed coefficient even further, resulting in far faster travel. And with that, their stock price climbed sharply. Another hundred million credits in the bank. Soon, very soon, he and Tilik are about to become the galaxy's first zazk billionares. But that's not enough. There are many humans who are billionares. Only those he can count on one hand are considered trillionares. He's going to break into that circle. He and Tilik. Looking beyond the colony, he saw the abandoned building of the workplace he transferred to when the humans arrived. Turns out, the reason for such a high demand was that the humans also slipped in sugar to the tap water. As soon as that broke, many influential royal servants demanded investigations and outright banning of Terran Galactic Company's influence over the former government division. Zilia's stock price plummeted. But thanks to an advance tip from his human coordinator, Dylan, he and Tilik made a put contract. And that's where they struck gold, as the human saying goes. Dylan warned that if they were citizens of the United Nations, they'd be investigated and convicted for insider trading. But, since they weren't, and the Collective were only just introduced to capitalism, there's no risk at all. Now the colony is going through a withdrawal phase, Zilia has been dissolved and reformed back as a government division and are currently at work re-establishing the standard, plain water delivery. "Well, shit." Tilik muttered as he walked up to Ghen's side, taking well to human speech. "Looks like you win. American Interstellar's announcement really was a good thing. There goes a million credits. Ah well, the Royal Shipyards will make it back for me soon." "Oh? Did they just go corporate?" Ghen asked curiously, glancing to Tilik. "Hell yeah they did." Tilik chuckled, sitting down. "Queen and her retard servants fought it hard, but Royal Shipyards is now officially a human-style corporation. And, to a surprise to all the xenophobes in the galaxy, they're already being offered contracts for ship production. That'll raise the stock price pretty good." "What's that human word...?" Ghen muttered, already having a reply in mind. "Dick? Yeah, calls or suck my dick, Tilik." Tilik roared in laughter. "Already made them. Forty credits a share by this day next month." "I have half a mind to go thirty." Ghen chuckled. "Either way, until then, I heard from Dylan that he knows a guy who knows several prime human women who happen to be into zazk." "You're interested in women?" Tilik said as his wings fluttered. "With how often you tell me to suck you off, I'd have thought differently." "Oh, I always thought it was you who was into men." Ghen responded dryly. "Just wanted to be a good friend, you know? Considering how you never seem to make it past, Hey sweet thing, I'm rich you know." "Oh, go fuck yourself." Tilik countered with a little laugh. After he stopped, wings stiffened, he looked to Ghen. "So, know any royal servants we can put the squeeze on for more revenue streams?" "I got just the one." Ghen nodded, sitting up. "Fzik. He's been fighting to control the ice cream trade. Worried it's a corrupting influence. Got done talking with the human CEO of Nestle earlier. If we clear the way, he'll know how to squeeze a little more gains in stock price when he makes the announcement." Tilik's wings stiffened even more, signaling his approval. "Alright, time to throw some credits around, yeah?" AN: Sorry for the period of no updates. College is starting up, lots of stuff to clear and work out. Not sure why but I just got a bug up my butt about incorporating money and the stock market into a short. Here it is. Sorry if it seems abrupt, character limit fast approaching. Let me know how you guys think about it!
OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – ESCAPE FROM STALAG SULTANATE, Part 1
That reminds me of a story. “HELLFIRE AND DALMATIANS!” I shouted to no one in particular. “What’s the problem, dear?” Esme asks in that way she has of telling me to calm down without having to say it directly. “This bloody fucking country. A day late and several dollars short.” I fume. “Can’t get a new liquor license because of the bloody COVID. Can’t go to a hotel bar and have a snort because of the bloody COVID. Can’t even slip across the border to Dubai and soak up some room service and buckets of complimentary cocktails because of the bloody COVID.” Yes, the Sultanate of Oman, in its infinitesimal wisdom, has traditionally followed other GCC countries by at least three months in making any sort of proclamations regarding this latest bugaboo: the hideous, deadly, itchy, loathsome, and possibly serially bent, noxious, pandemical COVID-19; aka, this pandemic’s entry for flu. Their response is one of immense knee-jerk without first having thought of the consequences. “Bloody lockdown, 2100 to 0700. What is this, the whole fucking country’s been bad and now being sent to bed without any supper?” I wondered aloud. “Idiot benchodes.” Even Esme couldn’t come up with a rejoinder to that. “Plus they close all the bars. And all the hotels. And the fucking bottle shops. It’s not enough that these fucking Muppets jack the ‘sin tax’ on booze and cigars by 100%, now they’re not even legally available.” I swore. Of course, once you’ve spent even a small portion of the time that I have in the Middle East, you have your connections. Your system. Your access to the seedy underbelly of any society; the venerable Black Market. Jesus Q. Christ on toast with baked beans, fried tomatoes, black pudding, and mushrooms, I could get most anything in the Middle East, be it legal, shady, or just plain illegal. However, before you all recoil in horror that the venerable Dr. Rocknocker dabbles in the prohibited, just remember: the ends always dojustify the means. “I'm telling you, Esme dear; this Gulf story is getting too complicated. The weasels have started closing in.” I complain to Es as she hands me a fresh drink. “Do you think…?” Esme asks expectantly. Esme is more than ready to go. I’ve used this place as a base of operations for years whilst I wear out the Omani legal system suing those asswipes that think just because they’re local and I’m a kafir, they’re immune to the law. I’ve spent a long, profitable and time-consuming period of the last few years proving them wrong. But, time was marching onwards. I agreed with Esme, we’ve milked this particular cash cow dry. It was time to hitch up our bootstraps, call it a day, and get the hell out of Dodge. But not before I took care of a few loose ends. Now, the country had recently lost its venerable Sultan, who croaked back in January of this year. Sultan Qaboos was a good egg, friend to expat and local alike. Did a shitload of good for this benighted Middle East sandpit. Dragged it kicking and screaming out of the 12th century into, well, not exactly the 21st, but a whole hell of a lot closer. He realized that he needed revolutionary, not evolutionary change in the country. By revolutionary, he needed American, British, Canadian, and the like Western Expats here to do the heavy thinking and lifting and Eastern Expats like Indians, Bangladeshis and Nepalese to do all the scut work. Yeah, I know. That sounds racist as fuck, but sometimes that’s the way the ball bounced. Simple evolution of society where Omanis graduated the local equivalent of grade school, through high school, into University, and finally into Entry level jobs in the oil and gas industry wasn’t going to cut it. Took too long and the country needed a serious cash flow now. So, that’s what he did. And it worked a treat. Then he died. And his chosen took over. Except his chosen was pretty much antithetical to everything the previous and very revered and successful, Sultan wanted. Soon, there are 100% ‘sin taxes’ aimed directly at the western expats. Tourists included. Then there’s quotas and ‘Letters of No Objection’, which are impossible to get so that the Eastern Expats can’t switch jobs. Then, there are Sultanic proclamations of new taxes on tourists, new taxes on fast food, new taxes on this, that and the other. Then there’s, in his own words, “Oman is for Omanis”, blatantly ridiculous and xenophobic Omanization, and the general swipe at all expats. “GET OUT.” This was the clear message of the new sultan. He wanted to take over and possibly nationalize all the oil workings in the country. Ask Venezuela, Iran, and Myanmar how well that worked out for them. Then he wants all expats out on their asses. He wants Omanis to take over all the jobs, even though they’re nowhere near educated nor experienced enough for the positions. Then take up the massive GDP slack in lower oil production and oil prices with tourism. Given everything else, that last line should be enough to get him off the throne. He’s fucking nuts if he thinks people are going to want to cruise or overland anywhere near a place where foreigners are seen only as a cash supply, are despised, and would welcome these all new 100% tax levies. Be that as it may, Esme and I decided that we have had enough of 135O F summer temperatures, virtual house arrest under the guise of a COVID lockdown, and idiots who were the only ones stupid or twisted enough not to vamoose when the great, big bloody letters were clearly written on the wall. But, there was the physical act of getting out of the country. Now, I had plenty of strings which I could pull, but I decided I’d start low and save those until we really needed them. So low, in fact, we went to the US Embassy in Muscat. “How low can you go?” reverberated through my head. What a haven of sad-sacks, flubadubs, and third rate hobbyists. Was either Esme or I surprised that when we finally secured an invitation to the embassy, that required a bit of string-pulling with the ex-Ambassador to Oman, now in Kabul; that besides the peach-fuzz faced Marine guarding the place, we were the only Americans in the joint? “This is American soil!” I laughed, as I pulled out a huge Cuban cigar and was immediately told to extinguish it. “We’re as American as apple pie and napalm! We file our fucking 1040s every April; I pay my fucking long-distance taxes and demand US assistance to vacate this gloomy place of sandy, sweaty, sultry Sturm und Drang!” “Shut up, Rock”, Esme chided me, “They don’t understand English. Much less, the florid English the way you trowel it on.” “Fuckbuckets”, I remonstrated. “Here I had memorized the whole Patrick Henry speech he made to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia. Troglodytes. No admiration for the classics.” “Rock, dear?” Esme noted, “It’s almost 1100 hours. Best to get to our appointment.” True, our appointment was slated for 1100 hours. But around here, anything starting within three hours of the stated time was considered close enough. We dragged ourselves, none too cheerfully, to the waiting room. Once we pried open the door, there was the usual “If you hear a high pitched wail, hit the deck” signs, and other things one could do while kissing one’s ass goodbye if there was a terrorist attack, we had a whole new slew of bullshit with which to deal. “Social distancing. 6 feet. Or if you’re from Baja Canada, 1 cow’s length.” “Must wear a mask. Bandanna, bandoliers, and large-caliber weapons or sombrero optional.” “No sitting. Faux Naugahyde seats are too difficult to sterilize. You must stand at attention, do not talk amongst yourselves, and remain patient until your number is called.” “Well, fuck!”, I snorted quietly, as I raised my first secret flask in rapt attention to our old glory of red, white, and blue. “Good thing they didn’t say nothin’ about getting a load on. If I’m going to be treated like cattle, I’m going to at least have something to chew on in the process.” “Oh, lord”, Esme grumbled, “You didn’t bring that Japanese Rye Whiskey with you, did you?” “ルハイム”, I said, which is Japanese for “L’chaim”! “Oh, hell”, Esme grinned as she borrowed my flask, “This is going to be a long day.” I began to protest but remembered that I was wearing my Agency-issued field vest. I must have had at least 5 or 6 more flasks lurking around in those pockets somewhere. Funny aside: they don’t bother with my going through an X-ray machine nor do they confiscate my phone, radio, knives, nor other field equipment when I go to the US Embassy. It took them almost two solid hours last time, and by the time they got to my Brunton Compass, emergency flasks, a few spare blasting cap boosters, and saw the label sewn into the back of my vest, they decided they’d just send Rack and Ruin some evil Emails and let me pass unmolested. “I’ll drink to that”, I say as I raise a flask as the locals raise an eyebrow. “Courtesy of Atheists International. We’re here for your children…” The collective gasps and growls indicate they weren’t happy with me or my betrothed. “Don’t care, Buckwheat”, I smiled, “Never did, never will. We’re out of here for good. You can curse my name all you want then. But, then again, why you standing in the American Embassy trying to get a visa to visit the land of the great evil empire?” All the locals and most of the Eastern Expats crowded into a corner as far away from us as they physically could. “BOO!” I snickered over a shot of Wild Turkey 101 Rye. “Now serving number 58! Number 58!” came the call over the tannoy. “Look at that”, I remarked to Es as I stashed both our flasks, “It’s only 12:35. Record time.” We both shimmy into the glass-fronted and presumably bullet- but not C-4 resistant- glass. We pick up the telephones there and acknowledge that we are who we said we were. The East Indian fella, one Harsh Talavalakar, behind the multiple layers of glass asked us why we were here. “Didn’t you read the appointment card?” I asked, “We’re here to have Uncle Sam get us passage out of this sordid and sultry place.” “You are American citizens?” he asked, vacantly. “That’s what it says on appointment cards and these here blue passports,” I replied. “Well, how was I to know?” he scoffed, returning to his half-consumed powdered sugar doughnut. “Maybe read the appointment card and see that we are US Citizens here on the behest of Ambassador Bethesda Orun?” I replied. “Like I have time to read everything that comes across my desk”, he scoffed again. I tapped on the glass to make certain I had his full attention. “Look here, Herr Harsh. I’m not sure how you got this job at the American Consulate but want to be very clear with you. My wife and I are residents of this place for the last 20 years. We’re American citizens of very high standing and have more high powered connections than an Arduino in a nuclear power station. We have direct connections with Langley, Virginia and if you want to retain your cushy job, you’ll put down that fucking doughnut and pay very rapt attention to the two Americans standing here who are getting more and more irritated with some Indian benchode that doesn’t think he has to really do his job. You savvy? You diggin’ me, Beaumont” I guess the benchode got his attention. The two scowls he received from Esme and myself sort of cemented the idea that we’re not too pleased and not with to be trifled. “Yes, sir?” he said, “And ma’am”, as Harsh quickly corrected himself as the doughnut disappeared. “We want out. Gone. Vamoose. Outta here. AMF. You got me?” he nods behind the shatterprone glass. “Now I know the borders are sealed and the airport’s closed, but fuck that. We want out and we want gone for good. I can’t make that much simpler or clearer. Get after it, son.” I said, as seriously as I could. “Well, sir”, he began, “ The airport’s closed…” “Are you deaf or born stupid and been losing ground ever since?” I asked, rhetorically. “I know that. We all know that. My HAT knows that. So, what devious little plan does the US Embassy have in store in just such an unsavory situation?” “Well”, he chokes a bit, “There’s this unofficial lottery where America citizens are issued random numbers and if their number comes up, there are seats made available on special clandestine charter flights.” Considering that Es and I are some of the last American citizens left in the country, I thought our chances might be pretty good. “OK”, I said, “Let us have two of your finest numbers.” “Yes, sir”, he said, “That will be US$500 total.” “Excuse me?” I said. “Oh, yes”, he smirked, “US$250 per number. Chances are you’ll never be called, but with these numbers, at least you stand a chance.” “OK”, I said, “Forget the numbers. I want your name and operating number. I’ve got a report to file that’s due in Virginia before breakfast.” “Oh, sir”, he smirked more, “I cannot release that information. Thanking you. Now be having a good day.” And he slammed the supposedly bulletproof shield between himself and Es and me. “Bulletproof? Maybe. Nitro proof? No fucking way.” I groused as I fished out a couple of blasting cap superfast boosters. “Calm down, dear”, Esme smiled to me as we walked out, “When he wasn’t looking, I took his picture, got his operating number, and full name. In fact, I think I got some information on where he lives…” In the cab on the way back to our villa, I reviewed and confirmed Es’s subterfuge. Flasks number 6 and 8 needed serious replenishment by the time we arrived home. “That’s fucking right, Ruin.” I yelled over the phone, “We need extraction. And now. Along with our personal effects and a few hundredweight of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ boxes of stuff we need to be transported.” “Well, Rock”, Agent Ruin replied, “That’s a tall order. Usually, extraction is for one person and the stuff they’re wearing. Tell you what. Let Rack and I work on it for a week or so. We’ll arrange transport of your personal effects, then we’ll see about getting you and Esme to Dubai. At least there, you can order a plane. Hell, knowing you, you’ll get Tony Stark to fly in and provide door to door service. Sit tight. We’ll be back in touch.” “Good!” I say as I slam the phone down. With these newfangled cellphone telephone instruments, they lack the same sort of satisfying “KER FUCKING CLANG” the old landlines used to have. “Es!”, I yelled, “Start packing. We’re due out of here within a week.” That meant we needed to do some packing triage: • Things going home with us. • Things being shipped. • Things being sold. • Things being left behind. • Things no one was about to get their furry little mitts on. “Oh, fuck!”, I startled. I had just remembered the John Wick-ian stash of various explosives, and adjunct materials I had buried in the basement. Obviously, I couldn’t take it home with me, I couldn’t sell it, and I sure as festering frothing fuck wasn’t going to leave it here. I needed to call one of my more shifty and swarthy friends and arrange for passage out to the deep, dark desert. Around the area where the new sultan had opened a couple of brand new landfills. Looks like I was going to expand them a few meters once we disposed of the few hundred kilos of accumulation I attained over the last few years. See, I’m a packrat. I never leave nor toss anything that might be convenient. Might have a benefit. Might prove to be useful sometime down the line. So, I’ve accumulated a bit of kit. Like…well…a few hundred sticks of Du Pont 60% Extra Fast Dynamite. A couple dozen spools of Z-4 Primacord, in various degrees of fullness. A shitload of C-4; enough bricks for a Floydian wall. A couple, well, a dozen, well, two dozen cases of binary liquid explosives. Hey, this stuff is hard to come by… Continuing, several thousand blasting caps and superfast flash blasting cap boosters. Some mercury fulminate. Some nitrogen triiodide. A couple tens of pounds of PETN. An equal amount of RDX. A few Erlenmeyer flasks full of shit even I’m not certain of what it is… Oh. And a few kilos of freshly decanted, raw nitroglycerin; packed in sturdy wooden boxes lined with new fuzzy lamb’s wool. Not that much. Just 10 or 12 kilos. Yeah. I can’t leave that here. Even a small accident with this stuff would lay waste to not only our villa; but my landlord’s villa with whom we share a common wall. Besides, as Omanis go, my landlord was the only dishdasha dressed denizen for which I had any respect or admiration. He was a good guy. I needed to return his villa at least in some semblance of what I received when we first rented from him. So, I had to dispose of many, many billions of kilojoules of potential energy. I needed to do this out in a distant and far away from prying ears and eyes regions and I needed a truck to haul this stuff out to the range. To be continued…
https://github.com/gridcoin-community/Gridcoin-Research/releases/tag/220.127.116.11 Finally! After over ten months of development and testing, "Fern" has arrived! This is a whopper. 240 pull requests merged. Essentially a complete rewrite that was started with the scraper (the "neural net" rewrite) in "Denise" has now been completed. Practically the ENTIRE Gridcoin specific codebase resting on top of the vanilla Bitcoin/Peercoin/Blackcoin vanilla PoS code has been rewritten. This removes the team requirement at last (see below), although there are many other important improvements besides that. Fern was a monumental undertaking. We had to encode all of the old rules active for the v10 block protocol in new code and ensure that the new code was 100% compatible. This had to be done in such a way as to clear out all of the old spaghetti and ring-fence it with tightly controlled class implementations. We then wrote an entirely new, simplified ruleset for research rewards and reengineered contracts (which includes beacon management, polls, and voting) using properly classed code. The fundamentals of Gridcoin with this release are now on a very sound and maintainable footing, and the developers believe the codebase as updated here will serve as the fundamental basis for Gridcoin's future roadmap. We have been testing this for MONTHS on testnet in various stages. The v10 (legacy) compatibility code has been running on testnet continuously as it was developed to ensure compatibility with existing nodes. During the last few months, we have done two private testnet forks and then the full public testnet testing for v11 code (the new protocol which is what Fern implements). The developers have also been running non-staking "sentinel" nodes on mainnet with this code to verify that the consensus rules are problem-free for the legacy compatibility code on the broader mainnet. We believe this amount of testing is going to result in a smooth rollout. Given the amount of changes in Fern, I am presenting TWO changelogs below. One is high level, which summarizes the most significant changes in the protocol. The second changelog is the detailed one in the usual format, and gives you an inkling of the size of this release.
Note that the protocol changes will not become active until we cross the hard-fork transition height to v11, which has been set at 2053000. Given current average block spacing, this should happen around October 4, about one month from now. Note that to get all of the beacons in the network on the new protocol, we are requiring ALL beacons to be validated. A two week (14 day) grace period is provided by the code, starting at the time of the transition height, for people currently holding a beacon to validate the beacon and prevent it from expiring. That means that EVERY CRUNCHER must advertise and validate their beacon AFTER the v11 transition (around Oct 4th) and BEFORE October 18th (or more precisely, 14 days from the actual date of the v11 transition). If you do not advertise and validate your beacon by this time, your beacon will expire and you will stop earning research rewards until you advertise and validate a new beacon. This process has been made much easier by a brand new beacon "wizard" that helps manage beacon advertisements and renewals. Once a beacon has been validated and is a v11 protocol beacon, the normal 180 day expiration rules apply. Note, however, that the 180 day expiration on research rewards has been removed with the Fern update. This means that while your beacon might expire after 180 days, your earned research rewards will be retained and can be claimed by advertising a beacon with the same CPID and going through the validation process again. In other words, you do not lose any earned research rewards if you do not stake a block within 180 days and keep your beacon up-to-date. The transition height is also when the team requirement will be relaxed for the network.
Besides the beacon wizard, there are a number of improvements to the GUI, including new UI transaction types (and icons) for staking the superblock, sidestake sends, beacon advertisement, voting, poll creation, and transactions with a message. The main screen has been revamped with a better summary section, and better status icons. Several changes under the hood have improved GUI performance. And finally, the diagnostics have been revamped.
The wallet sync speed has been DRASTICALLY improved. A decent machine with a good network connection should be able to sync the entire mainnet blockchain in less than 4 hours. A fast machine with a really fast network connection and a good SSD can do it in about 2.5 hours. One of our goals was to reduce or eliminate the reliance on snapshots for mainnet, and I think we have accomplished that goal with the new sync speed. We have also streamlined the in-memory structures for the blockchain which shaves some memory use. There are so many goodies here it is hard to summarize them all. I would like to thank all of the contributors to this release, but especially thank @cyrossignol, whose incredible contributions formed the backbone of this release. I would also like to pay special thanks to @barton2526, @caraka, and @Quezacoatl1, who tirelessly helped during the testing and polishing phase on testnet with testing and repeated builds for all architectures. The developers are proud to present this release to the community and we believe this represents the starting point for a true renaissance for Gridcoin!
Most significantly, nodes calculate research rewards directly from the magnitudes in EACH superblock between stakes instead of using a two- or three- point average based on a CPID's current magnitude and the magnitude for the CPID when it last staked. For those long-timers in the community, this has been referred to as "Superblock Windows," and was first done in proof-of-concept form by @denravonska.
Network magnitude unit pinned to a static value of 0.25
Max research reward allowed per block raised to 16384 GRC (from 12750 GRC)
New CPIDs begin accruing research rewards from the first superblock that contains the CPID instead of from the time of the beacon advertisement
500 GRC research reward limit for a CPID's first stake
6-month expiration for unclaimed rewards
10-block spacing requirement between research reward claims
Rolling 5-day payment-per-day limit
Legacy tolerances for floating-point error and time drift
The need to include a valid copy of a CPID's magnitude in a claim
10-block emission adjustment interval for the magnitude unit
One-time beacon activation requires that participants temporarily change their usernames to a verification code at one whitelisted BOINC project
Verification codes of pending beacons expire after 3 days
Self-service beacon removal
Burn fee for beacon advertisement increased from 0.00001 GRC to 0.5 GRC
Rain addresses derived from beacon keys instead of a default wallet address
Beacon expiration determined as of the current block instead of the previous block
The ability for developers to remove beacons
The ability to sign research reward claims with non-current but unexpired beacons
As a reminder:
Beacons expire after 6 months pass (180 days)
Beacons can be renewed after 5 months pass (150 days)
Renewed beacons must be signed with the same key as the original beacon
Magnitudes less than 1 include two fractional places
Magnitudes greater than or equal to 1 but less than 10 include one fractional place
A valid superblock must match a scraper convergence
Superblock popularity election mechanics
Yes/no/abstain and single-choice response types (no user-facing support yet)
To create a poll, a maximum of 250 UTXOs for a single address must add up to 100000 GRC. These are selected from the largest downwards.
Burn fee for creating polls scaled by the number of UTXOs claimed
50 GRC for a poll contract
0.001 GRC per claimed UTXO
Burn fee for casting votes scaled by the number of UTXOs claimed
0.01 GRC for a vote contract
0.01 GRC to claim magnitude
0.01 GRC per claimed address
0.001 GRC per claimed UTXO
Maximum length of a poll title: 80 characters
Maximum length of a poll question: 100 characters
Maximum length of a poll discussion website URL: 100 characters
Maximum number of poll choices: 20
Maximum length of a poll choice label: 100 characters
Magnitude, CPID count, and participant count poll weight types
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[18.104.22.168] 2020-09-03, mandatory, "Fern"
Backport newer uint256 types from Bitcoin #1570 (@cyrossignol)
Implement project level rain for rainbymagnitude #1580 (@jamescowens)
Upgrade utilities (Update checker and snapshot downloadeapplication) #1576 (@iFoggz)
Provide fees collected in the block by the miner #1601 (@iFoggz)
Add support for generating legacy superblocks from scraper stats #1603 (@cyrossignol)
Port of the Bitcoin Logger to Gridcoin #1600 (@jamescowens)
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Implements a global event filter to suppress help question mark #1609 (@jamescowens)
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Make toolbars and tray icon red for testnet #1637 (@jamescowens)
Add an rpc call convergencereport #1643 (@jamescowens)
Implement newline filter on config file read in #1645 (@jamescowens)
Implement beacon status icon/button #1646 (@jamescowens)
Add gridcointestnet.png #1649 (@caraka)
Add precision to support magnitudes less than 1 #1651 (@cyrossignol)
Replace research accrual calculations with superblock snapshots #1657 (@cyrossignol)
Publish example gridcoinresearch.conf as a md document to the doc directory #1662 (@jamescowens)
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Add support for self-service beacon deletion #1695 (@cyrossignol)
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Add verifiedbeaconreport and pendingbeaconreport #1696 (@jamescowens)
Add preliminary testing option for block v11 height on testnet #1706 (@cyrossignol)
Add verified beacons manifest part to superblock validator #1711 (@cyrossignol)
Implement beacon, vote, and superblock display categories/icons in UI transaction model #1717 (@jamescowens)
An excessively detailed guide on how to start shaving, and doing so discretely, based on my personal experience.
Hey dudes and dudettes, I'm an 18-year-old kinda non-binary but mostly just confused male and I recently started shaving my legs and didn't want my parents to know. I thought seeing as though there are always so many questions from people about shaving and doing stuff discretely that I'd go through EVERYTHING of note that I learnt/discovered, so that you can do it too! This is pretty excessively detailed, so I'd recommend reading over it a few times so you get a vibe for what to do and what not to do and then just do it whatever way you figure out to work for you. If anyone has questions, or any other tips they wanna add (or you just wanna point out a spelling mistake), feel free to leave a comment! If it's really personal feel free to DM me but don't DM me your dick or a request for pics, soz.
Stuff you'll NEED:
An electric implement which can be used for trimming your leg hair, e.g. hair clipper, beard trimmer. I used the thing I use on my face.
A razor (can be a men's razor, not only are they fine to use, many women prefer them because they apparently shave closer and smoother. But yeah don't fret) [I used a men's Gillette Fusion5 ProGlide and would recommend it, don't get the higher tier ones unless you want a powered one cause they're the same handle in a different colour with different blades included, but you can use any Fusion5 branded blade with any Fusion5 branded handle] EDIT: I have now used a base Fusion5 blade, and there's almost no difference really. The ProGlide blades are a touch smoother and apparently the one up from that is better for your skin, but really, the cheapest one definitely gets the job done. I believe, however, that the base Fusion5 HANDLE isn't as good as the ProGlide. I would recommend getting the ProGlide handle (everything above that handle is the same in different colours until you get to powered razors).
Moisturiser, or something VERY usable as moisturiser. Normal soap won't do the trick, this is a really important thing to get right as you'll end up with horrible red polka-dot torture victim legs if you fuck it up. It can be a little weird feeling buying moisturiser as a teen male considering what we usually use it for, but hey. I used Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser at first EDIT: After a few more shaves, I would now definitely say Cetaphil isn't enough, I'm now trying Aloe Vera.
Stuff that you should really have but isn't essential:
Shaving cream, or something usable as shaving cream. Not as important to get right as moisturiser, many women use body wash and conditioner and stuff like that. I think the furthest you could go is something like shampoo, but conditioner would be better. You can use men's shaving cream but you'd need a lot compared to what you use on your face and you'll smell all male afterwards which is whatever. EDIT: if you get red spots and irritation after your first few shaves and you're not using something decent as shaving cream, USE A SHAVING CREAM.
probably other stuff if your skin has a history of being particularly sensitive
This probably shouldn't be the only thing you look at regarding how to shave. There's a whole bunch of stuff, like exfoliating and stuff like that, which I completely didn't do, which worked for me but might not for you. I'm not an expert, don't get mad at me if I say something technically not perfect. I'm trying to give practical advice to help you peeps out.
the initial clipping
If you're anything like me, your legs will be insanely hairy. You obviously can't just run a razor over hair as long as men's leg hair gets and expect it to shave anything, so you're first going to have to trim it. Girls will suggest you use scissors if your hair is too long, this is ridiculous advice, I think they just don't realise how god damn long men's leg hair is. Scissors work when you have neat little pricks, not when you have a small rainforest. You're gonna want to use something powered, like a beard trimmer, or hair clippers, or a circular saw, or I actually used a trimmer bit thing which is part of the electric razor I use on my face, and although it's small, it did the trick. You can work with what you have here. You're hopefully only going to need to do this bit once or twice, so don't worry too much about damaging the device. Depending on what you're using, you'll probably need to make sure your legs are sufficiently soaked with warm water first. I'm not quite sure if this is necessary at this point but I did it just in case, as the trimmer I used is pretty exposed, so it was cutting pretty close. If you're using something like a hair clipper with a guide on then you probably don't need to do this bit wet but it's better safe than sorry. The point of shaving wet is that it softens your hair slightly and opens your pores and some other things I forget, but if you shave real close while dry then you could get razor burn and similar ailments, which as I'll explain later are a pain in the butt (especially if that's we're you're shaving gotem). Now if you're using something as exposed as the trimmer I used then make sure you don't press too hard. The thing to remember is that electric shavers, and in fact even manual razors if used correctly, are fucking sharp, and they're going to cut whatever comes around, regardless of how much force you put into it. You might need to go over the same bit a few times, but pressing harder isn't going to help you, instead it'll leave behind slightly inflamed red marks for days, which don't hurt that much but they're obviously not good, and can probably get infected or something. You won't really feel when you give yourself one of these, and you'll only notice them come up a few minutes later, so just be careful. Once you're finished, I recommend moisturising just for good measure. Now, when you're done and you've dried off by patting your legs dry (do not scrub them, pat them, this is how you will always dry your legs from now on), there will be a lot of hair to clean up. Like so much fucking hair. There'll be hair on the floor and the walls and the shower screen and fucking everywhere. To clean up the bulk of it will take like ten minutes on its own, but if like me you're a bit paranoid and don't want your parents to find out, I would say it'd take like 30 minutes or more, so I'd make sure you have about an hour of time to clean up. Also, something which I didn't consider until after doing it is that running a hot shower will leave condensation on the mirror and everything and make it obvious that you showered, so while it's not that conspicuous, you might wanna also have that hour buffer to let that all go away so that they don't pick up on the fact that you're having a shower whenever you're alone (or in my case going against my normal schedule of having a shower at night). You can also wipe the bathroom mirror or whatevs with a towel if you're worried but make sure it's not a towel you mopped your hair up with like the one my idiot ass used. Anyway, after you've trimmed, you'll probably (read: definitely) have missed a few spots. It's hard to see if you've missed a bit when you're dealing with so much hair and it's all wet and sticking to your body. I would dry off and wait a day or so, checking your legs out for missed spots, then go again. Eventually you'll have prickly cactus legs but they're manageable, and it's a base that you can use a razor with. If you have limited alone time and you don't have any discrete way of shaving (e.g. by using a manual non-electric razor in your normal showers) then you can leave your legs just trimmed as they are for a while (a week and a bit, I would think) before you go back in the danger zone and do the next step, so feel free to take a break here.
Oh hell yeah we're up to actually shaving. You'll need any razor. Literally any. Men's, women's, manual, electric, whatever, it'll work great. I personally would recommend going for something not powered which therefore doesn't make noise, as you can then shave in your normal showers without outing yourself. Also as I mentioned before, many women prefer to use men's razors so don't worry. If you want, just use the thing you use on your face, cause that's the least suspicious thing to do. I actually went a bit cheeky and used my Mum's at first before quickly buying my own Gillette Fusion5 ProGlide (men's razor so wasn't very intimidating to buy), which seems to do pretty darn well. Anyway so get in a warm shower. You're meant to leave it for like 15 minutes to get an absolutely perfect shave, but you can get perfect over time, for now just make sure you're decently warm before you start shaving. If you have it, you should put shaving cream on your legs now (or conditioner apparently works pretty well too so that's actually what I used initially EDIT:, but I found that it wasn't quite enough and I still ended up with the red spots of doom, so maybe try something a bit better). It doesn't matter too much seeing as though you're already wet and warm, but it'll make your razor's job easier and depending on what you use it'll make your job easier by showing you where you've already done. It'll also reduce the risk of irritating your pores and blah blah. Start at your ankles and work going against the grain in short, 6cmish (2 and a bit inches I think) strokes, applying basically no pressure. If you get a huge amount of irritation after this then try going with the grain next time, but going against it is obviously more convenient to do standing in the shower, and will give a closer shave. I recommend working in a circle around the circumference of your leg and then moving up a bit but do whatever works. Over time you'll develop a less robotic technique, but this is a great way to start. I know some girls that do big strokes all the way from their ankles up to their thighs and while that might work with more consistently shaved hair, you probably can't do it on your first shave. Definitely try to overlap slightly, like as you go up the leg start your strokes lower than where you're up to so that half of each stroke is covering the area you've already shaved or something like that. It's pretty hard to see hairs when you're in a shower and bending over awkwardly to reach your legs so try and keep track. I find that feeling for prickly areas is the best way to find where you've missed. Your knees and ankles will be the easiest areas to cut yourself on so watch out with them. Don't forget to do the back of your legs, especially the inner of your knee. Other easy spots to miss include your knees, inner thighs, and if you're a bit lean like myself, the valley between the bone and back muscle on the inside edge of your shins (hard to explain but you'll get it if you get it). There's nothing wrong with taking it slow so take as long as you need. Once you've done both legs, apply moisturiser (if you wanna be extra good then apply one which you can put on dry after you've gotten out of the shower). EDIT: there's no such thing as too much moisturiser, and if you start having issues like red dots and shit then not moisturising properly is a decent culprit. END EDIT. When you dry your legs remember to just pat them down. After shaving you'll find a few things. One is that you probably will have gotten a bit too eager and cut yourself in a few places. It won't hurt, and you probably won't notice until a while after you've done it or even not until you're out of the shower, but holy shit some areas will bleed like mad. I got a cut on my knee that just pissed blood for like 45 minutes. Now, you could bandaid these areas, and that's not a bad idea, but I was worried that would lead to scabbing, so I lightly patted the blood off of them every now and again. You'll adjust to the ideal force and cutting angle over time, so don't worry, cuts will become rare. For me it took about three shaves to get to something decent, the first time I over-did it and cut myself a heap, the second time I under-did it and ended up doing effectively nothing, and the third time I got it just about right, and then I upgraded razor and cut myself again oops. I think it's one of those things where your brain adjusts over time without you even thinking about it. Anyway, as well as cutting yourself, you'll likely find that you've missed a bunch of areas. For me I found that some areas, like on my shins and around my ankles, there were like about half a dozen scattered hairs which the razor missed in an otherwise smooth area. These I found easy to just pluck out with a pair of tweezers. This sounds like it'd be painful, but weirdly I found that especially after a warm shower, it didn't really hurt at all, and I could actually remove hairs by pulling really slowly and they came out with almost no pain. I also used this on the few little hairs that have grown on my feet. This might be different for your hair though so YMMV. There'll be other areas where there are a lot of quite long hairs, and for these areas you can choose whether you cut them with scissors or whatever or run over them again with whatever powered thing you used for the initial shave. Finally, if you're like me, you won't get as happy about having shaved legs as you'd think you would. I found that while I didn't get super gushy about them after the initial few minutes, I found that looking at them made me go "yep those are my legs" instead of making me feel uncomfortable or as though they were ugly or didn't belong to me. I definitely don't regret it, it's just I'm not ecstatically euphoric, just no longer dysphoric (which I guess counts as being euphoric but whatever). I also found that it made me want more (or less, in terms of hair). I spent a touch over half an hour manually tending to the hair on my feet using the tweezers and scissors of a Swiss Army Knife, but then I looked at myself naked and realised that I also wanted to shave my butt and dick hair, which is a separate exercise I haven't gotten to yet (although I'm probably just going to repeat a similar process to what I suggested here albeit a bit more gingerly around my privates). The fact is though that I feel better about myself, and that's great. The big bit for me is done; the part of my bottom half that people will see now represents me in the way that I want it to. But now it's more about how I want to see myself, and that's kind of comforting in a way, cause it shows I'm not faking this shit for attention or anything. Anyway yeah, now just shave your legs with a razor every now and then and you'll be good! Don't shave every day, at absolute most shave every second day. Try and leave it for a few days though if you can. I definitely shaved every second day for a little bit when I first started just so I could hone in on the little missed spots and stuff like that, but once you get going don't feel like you have to have ultra smooth legs every second of every day. Even if you go around wearing shorts/a skirt every day people probably won't notice two or three days of stubble unless they get creepily close for strangers. And if they're your friends and they're complaining about three day stubble then you should probably try and get better friends especially considering how big of a deal it is to do this stuff in the first place as men. Just remember that you're looking way closer than anyone else is going to, so if you can see lots of tiny little black stubbly dots then that doesn't mean other people are going to. It doesn't always need to be as close a shave as your face cause people get way closer to your face than your legs. I think some people on this sub need to realise that they don't need to be 100% perfect with everything to look 100% perfect. Anyway yeah that's my immensely detailed guide to shaving your legs as a man living at home. Hope it helps some people. EDIT: If you get red spots of badness, here are some suggestions. Also if you wanna be real careful, do these things regardless, at worst it'll be a better shave. - start using shaving cream if you aren't already - use better moisturiser if you're using something a bit dodge for moisturising. - exfoliate your legs before shaving them, this means get a loofah/facewasher and shove some soap on and then scrub your legs. And if that still doesn't work then here are some more inconvenient methods that might work - moisturise your legs regularly - shave with the grain instead of against the grain (this won't be as close a shave but it's better for avoiding ingrown hairs) In the case you do get the horrible rednesses, moisturise moisturise moisturise. It'll make it sting less, it'll make it look better, and it'll reduce the potential damage. I recommend doing it after drying off at the end of an unsuccesful shave in the shower but any time is a good time. A further edit: You might be wondering about other options, like waxing, using an epilator, and hair removal cream. While these are all great options which could get you a far better shave which lasts longer and is easier to do, there are a couple of problems to consider. First off, none of the methods I just listed are easy to do in secret. By contrast, not only is owning a razor is a perfectly normal thing for a man, you probably already have everything you need in your house, and even if you are hiding everything to do with it, it won't take up much space or be particularly conspicuous, because even the creams associated with shaving are used for a vast variety of non-gendered purposes. Also, shaving with a manual razor is basically silent in the shower, and you can easily ditch half-way through a shave. Shaving is also relatively speaking very quick, it obviously will add a bit of time to your showers, but it's not like an hour long process. Another good thing about shaving is that it's basically the default, and most women either shave or have shaved in the past, so you can easily find advice online or ask your girl friends if you need a hand. It's also fairly affordable, even if it isn't the cheapest option out there. You have options, definitely, but I personally think that shaving is the most realistic hair removal option to do discretely, and that arguably outweighs the difficulty and occasional frustration that comes with it.
A very long, very indepth attempt at analizing Teemo
Warning, this is extremely long. Like 12 pages on a google doc long. You have been warned.
So there has been a lot of discussion about Teemo recently, from what his iconic skills are(all of them), to what items he can build(all of them), to what position he can be played in(... all of them), and it’s kinda went nowhere fast as Teemo, and by extension his player base, is just too flexible to be defined in any of these ways. So what actually makes Teemo unique? His playstyle. Teemo is an old style of champion. I'm not talking about his art, or his kit(though both of these are technically also true), I'm talking about how Teemo’s goal isn’t to all in and combo his opponent down on their first mistake and snowball from there, but rather to create a lead from dozens of small victories. Your goal isn’t necessarily kill your opponent (though that’s always good) but to force them back, causing them to miss cs and xp repeatedly, or waste their time smashing blindly into a bush. And later in the game, while, again, killing people is now the goal, forcing them to have to back after tripping a few shrooms, or leading them on a fruitless chase through the jungle after splitpushing are just as useful to Teemo. If I had to describe Teemo's playstyle, it would be
Attritional, Rapid Force, Psycologically Manipulative, War Mastermind of Breakdown
I'm only half joking, as even though this is from a Spongebob theory video on Plankton, it actually describes Teemo to some degree. As The Theorizer(the guy who made the video Im referencing) put it:
Attritional, someone who engages in attrition warfare. Rapid force, very fast, very hard attacks. Psychologically manipulative, basically, very good at trickery and getting people to do what you want. War mastermind, well duh, someone who is good with war. Breakdown, to break something down.
Only instead of getting a burger recipe, we are getting our enemies to tilt. But with every new release Teemo has gotten more and more outclassed, as his opponents get more and more mobility that a small 10-52% movespeed boost can’t escape from. We all recognize that Teemo needs a rework, a Morgana/Ezreal level rework that modernizes Teemo’s kit without changing its functionality that much, but a rework nonetheless. Last year u/RiotJag attempted to do a mini rework on Teemo, starting with this:
Base Mana Regen increased from 1.92 to 2.5 Mana Regen per level increased from 0.09 to 0.15 Mana/lvl up increased from 20 to 25 Toxic Shot (Passive) Teemo’s basic attacks now deal 10-50 bonus magic damage and leave a Poison DoT that deals 24-192 magic damage over 4 seconds. Toxic Shot damage (both the on-hit and the DoT) is amped by 50% whenever there are other Poison debuffs on the target Blinding Dart (Q) Base damage lowered from 80/125/170/215/260 to 80/115/150/185/220 AP Ratio lowered from 0.8 to 0.6 Now is a Poison Debuff Move Quick (W) No longer breaks stealth Guerilla Warfare (E) [New Active] After a 1 second delay, Teemo enters Camouflage for 3-5 seconds. Teemo is slowed by 25/22.5/20/17.5/15% during this effect, and gains 20/30/40/50/60% Attack Speed for 3 seconds when it ends. Camouflage does not tick down while Teemo is in a brush or is standing still. Noxious Trap (R) Base Damage lowered from 200/325/450 to 150/250/350 AP ratio lowered from 0.5 to 0.4 Mushrooms health increased from from [6 at all ranks] to [6/8/10] Mushroom max ammo count up from [3 at all ranks] to [3/4/5]
And then after a few iterations it ended up like this
Base Mana Regen increased from 1.92 to 2.5 Mana Regen per level increased from 0.09 to 0.15 Mana/lvl up increased from 20 to 25 Base damage lowered from 54 to 51 Attack speed per level lowered from 3.38 to 2 Toxic Shot (Passive) Teemo’s basic attacks now deal 8-50 bonus magic damage and leave a Poison DoT that deals 24-180 magic damage over 4 seconds. Toxic Shot damage (both the on-hit and the DoT) is amped by 50% whenever there are other Poison debuffs on the target Blinding Dart (Q) Base damage lowered from 80/125/170/215/260 to 70/105/140/175/210 mana cost increased from 70/75/80/85/90 to 80/85/90/95/100 AP Ratio lowered from 0.8 to 0.6 Now is a Poison Debuff Move Quick (W) No longer breaks stealth Guerilla Warfare (E) Cooldown: 40/37/34/31/28
[New] "After a 1 second delay, Teemo becomes Invisible indefinitely if standing still or in brush, and can move up to 7/7.5/8/8.5/9 Teemos while out of brush, but any non-periodic damage from champions will break him out. Teemo can see 25% farther while stealthed. Upon breaking Guerilla Warfare, Teemo gains 20/30/40/50/60% Attack Speed for 3 seconds. While on cooldown, standing in brush will tick down guerilla Warfare's cooldown faster." Stealth duration while moving: 2/2.25/2.5/2.75/3 >Noxious Trap (R) Base Damage lowered from 200/325/450 to 150/250/350 AP ratio lowered from 0.5 to 0.4 Mushroom max ammo count up from [3 at all ranks] to [3/4/5] Traps now become invisible after 1 second Traps can continue to bounce on other traps Additionally there were these prospective changes that were scrapped due to the community’s disinterest in the rework direction.
"Most recent version in testing was pretty E focused as follows (differences all versus previous prototype version, not versus live Teemo): - No longer granted extra sight range - CD didn't tick down faster in brush - Distance while invisible up a bit - CD lower - Standing in brush slowly replenished distance Teemo could move while invisible Haven't heard how playtesting with that went though. Expect this will likely continue as a slow burn project rather than something that gets released or killed quickly, especially given it's the secondary priority of the designer working on it."
After it was scrapped we got the quality of life buffs that we have now. But lets discuss the rework. I honestly thing that the _concept_ is the best shot at reworking Teemo. The numbers and exact implementation are debatable, but switching e and passive is a great idea as, after the shrooms, Teemo’s on hit poision is his most iconic ability. Not to mention it freed Teemo up to be able to max his abilities depending on what he needed for his matchup, rather than e max always, and then either q or w depending on choice. The things people didn’t like about it though were:
The shrooms being nerfed damage wise.
I understand this one, Doomshroom Teemo is my favorite build, but his shrooms are problematic in their current state as they take up a large amount of Teemo's power budget, but also can amount to nothing as the enemy gets 5 sweepers and clears all of them. Not to mention how they synergize so well with Liandrie’s that its a core item for Teemo, despite the fact that his q, the only other ability that can proc it, does not utilize it all that well due to being a medium cooldown, single target spell that can only proc it once. And this is going to be a problem, as in the item update Liandries will be a mythic item, and Teemo builds Liandries [77.5% of the time!](https://www.leagueofgraphs.com/champions/items/teemo) To put this into perspective, Nashors tooth is only bought 61.5% of the time. An item that gives Teemo every stat he wants regardless of build(ignoring Tankmo) and reinforces Teemo's main damage outlet(basically increases e's on-hit damage by 150-30% depending on e rank, and the on-hit scaling from .3 to .45 AP), is bought 16.5% less often than an item that only synergizes with one skill. If this continues after the update, which it likely will as Liandries increases Shroom damage by 20-200%(depending on when it's bought, the target hit, and other items bought. The 200% would be lvl 1 ult, no other ap, and an 1000 health target with 50 mr) and its being _buffed_ via the mythic item stat bonus, that will be above the threshold that will cause Teemo to be changed due to [hardbinding](https://na.leagueoflegends.com/en-us/news/dev/dev-updated-approach-to-item-balancing/). Unless Zyra and Brand also buy it at the same rates after the update(as that would trigger the “nerf item” option), but unlike Teemo the item actually synergizes with their entire kit(plants and blaze, which utilize every ability) rather than just one ability.
It didn’t improve the w
This was a major hole in the rework, as while switching e and p is great, it wouldn’t be awful if they stayed the same. Meanwhile Teemo’s w is supposed to put the “swift” in his title of Swift Scout, and it does so… barely. Exactly what should happen with it is, as always, up to debate, but it needs changing to be on par with current LoL as the current w is supposed to help Teemo kite, yet even if you dodge everything thrown at you it can get disabled by a ludens proc hitting an ally.
The camo stealth makes him a worse Twitch.
This is half true. The first one, yes absolutely. But it didn’t stay as a camouflage ability. Sure, both are marksmen that can go invisible, but Twitch’s is for long distances and to keep him safe while he positions to obliterate the enemy team from 800 range, while Teemo’s is restricted range wise, and is more useful to dodge enemy's notice or wait for them to come to you rather than you going to them. At that point, they only share the fact that they both come out of stealth to surprise people(and a DOT, if 30 damage after 6 attacks at lvl 18 deserves to be called one), which every camoflage user does And my own complaint about both proposed rework and live Teemo:
His kit has limited synergy.
Each part of Teemo's kit doesn't help the other parts very much. Over the years Teemo players have worked the separate parts of his kit into a cohesive playstyle, but each part of his kit just does it's own thing. Like for instance, in theory his blind should support keeping his w up, but in reality every champ, even Udyr, has a non auto attack way of hitting Teemo(Udyr typically has smite and he always can rush up to you with Bear and activate Phoenix stance), and many have attacks that are undodgable(unless you count not being in range to be targeted as dodging it, which for many champs is just being outside Teemo's attack range). So, where should we go from here?
Well, we should discuss the purpose of his abilities.
If every part of his kit is iconic, and replacing them completely would change Teemo in a way that the playerbase wouldn’t like, then we should decide what role each of his abilities plays in his playstyle, and how they could be changed to better fit them.
This is the base of Teemo’s kit. Doing DOT damage after autoing someone is key to Teemo's attritional playstyle in lane, and hit and run/kiting playstyle later in the game. It has a decent base damage and a great scaling, and is just as useful for pure AP builds as on hit ones. It does exactly what it needs to, nothing about it needs to be changed.
Teemo's reactive defense in a fight. On one hand, it's extremely powerful as can completely shut down the main damage of auto reliant champions(Yi, Udyr, some ADC's) for up to 2.5 seconds, provided they don't have on hit effects that ignore the blind and hit anyway. On the other hand, it's completely useless against every other type of champ(mages, assassins, tanks, spellslinger ADC's, most Juggernauts). Its not healthy for Teemo's main defensive tool to be useless(or of limited use, as I counted champs like Nunu who auto attack, but don't rely on it to do their job as part of it being useless) against 70% of the champion roster. As people have talked about, Teemo _needs_ this in order to stay safe, yet in most of his matchups(regardless of role) it can't do anything to protect him, let alone later in the game when he has to face the other 4 enemy champs. And that's not counting the fact that ranged auto's that are in transit before the blind hits are not blocked, which means that even against a Vayne with Condenm on cooldown, it still can’t keep Teemo’s w up as even if you blind her first chance she probably will have lanched an auto already.
If blinding dart is a reactive defense, then Move Quick is supposed to be Teemo's proactive defense. When he was added, it allowed him to more easily kite slower enemy champions as there were fewer speedboosts and dashes, and in general lower mobility. Nowadays, the passive is deactivated rather quickly in a fight, and 3 seconds of MS isnt enough to give him a fighting chance of escaping/keeping up. The intention of the skill is to allow Teemo greater kiting potential in fights, while giving enemies a way to shut it down to have a chance of catching Teemo. But the reality is that unless you are against a champ like Garen who has zero ranged attacks, you are not going to be able to keep it active, making it feel like an out of combat passive. The issue is keeping the balance between Teemo having kiting power in a fight, and allowing enemies a chance to slow down Teemo, because whether we like it or not, Riot does want enemies to be able to catch kiting champs like Teemo, Kalista, and Ashe, because they would be horrible to play against otherwise. Right now, the balance is heavily skewed towards enemies, as any kind of damage will reduce Teemo's ability to kite enemies with matching boots to a singular 3 second burst for the rest of the fight.
The most underultilized part of Teemo's kit. In its current form it's incredibly strong, yet is extremely situational. Its a decent strategic option for positioning mid game, as it can allow you to dodge an enemy(providing they didn't see you yet), or allow you to ambush people, but to use it offensively requires an enemy to come to you as you can only move inside bushes, and defensively it's limited to: Dodging people that have not seen you Becoming invincible to enemies that only have point and click damage(Vayne, Yi,) Stalling for time so an ally can come save you For such an integral part of Teemo’s kit… it feels a little tacked on. Its a situational fight opener or utility tool, and any attempt to use it while near enemy champs usually ends up with them knowing where you are and throwing skillshot after skillshot at you. Its not _bad,_ but to say it can’t be improved would be a lie. Personally I like the sound of that last version, as it would differentiate between Teemo’s e and Twitch’s q, while fitting into Teemo’s playstyle nicely(or, at least, I already dash from bush to bush while in the enemy jungle to check if the coast is clear. Not sure about the rest of you). The fact that you would have to “charge up” movement time by staying in bushes helps give the feel that you are creeping around, without actually slowing Teemo down like the first version of the change.
Shrooms have 3 main uses: Damage, be it wearing down enemies as they attempt to move throughout the map, making it so they always enter fights below full health or killing low health fleeing enemies Granting vision of important areas, such as Dragon, Baron, and the enemy jungler's camps(or your jungle camps, if your jungler is being invaded) CC, cutting off engage or escape paths, slowing enemies so that Teemo/his team have a chance to escape/engage. Right now they do all of these well, except damage vs tanks, and don't have to be changed. But like I pointed out before Liandries is a massive amount of their power, and that isn't healthy as unless you are planning on ignoring the shrooms damage completely you have to buy it, and mythinc item, hardbinding, yada yada yada.... So if the Shrooms are changed they should aim to keep the same power, but less oppressive against squishes and more effective(or, rather, less ineffective) against tanky targets without having to rely on Liandries to the point where its a core item even against full squishy teams.
Suggestions on what could change
The only thing I would change about it is move it's ticks from 1/s to 4/s, like Singe's poison, Karthus's aoe, or 2/s like Casdiopia's poison. It would give a better readability on the damage for everyone involved, which, while it is a slight nerf to Teemo, clarity changes that increase counterplay allow for more power to be added elsewhere. Also, unlike Singer's poison or Karthus's e, Teemo doesn't have a "turn on for one tick to farm and turn off" mechanic for his poison like they did, so other than age I can't think of why it is one second between ticks. The ‘surprise’ factor of how much damage it does is good for Teemo, but how much damage the enemy is taking shouldn't be something that is obscured.
The simplest change would be to make it apply nearsighted, which would have 3 effects.
make it less of a hard counter to melee auto centric champs,while still allowing it utility
Improves its usability against all kinds of champs, and opens up more uses than "damage" and "no auto attack for you"
Allows Teemo to actually participate in gurilla warfare, making it possible for him to pop up, attack, and disappear on an enemy champ, providing he is outside their truncated vision range.
I have other ideas as to what can be done with this ability, but it makes more sense in context so that will be below.
I have two ideas for how this could be changed to be better:
It does not break on damage from poisoned enemies, as well as increasing it to 10-30% because round numbers.
This one is kinda obvious of how it helps Teemo, but I like it because it allows Teemo to keep his speed if he gets the drop on enemies, but if they get in the first attack then they are rewarded with a Teemo that is easier to catch.
Teemo’s base MS down to 325 (WAIT, don’t crucify me just yet), and decrease the % MS boost from 10-26% to 10-19%, and then add on +5-25 base MS per rank.
Now that sounds broken, as an increase of 5 base ms is a huge increase in winrate usually, but hear me out. Rank 1: Teemo would have 325+5+10%= 330+10%=363 which is exactly the same as live. Rank 2: Teemo would have 325+10+12.25%= 335+12.25%=376 the same as live. Rank 3: Teemo would have 325+15+14.5%= 340+14.5%=389 the same as live. Rank 4: Teemo would have 325+20+16.75%= 345+16.75%=403 the same as live. Rank 5: Teemo would have 325+25+19%= 350+19%=416 the same as live. Though a note is that with boots, ranks 1-4 actually give less ms than live. Its only 5-1 ms difference, which may not even end up showing up after the Movement speed soft caps apply. Except for Mobie boots, there is a significant difference there after the MS cap, but Teemo only builds them .03% of the time or so, and they are deactivated whenever someone trips a shroom, so that’s a sacrifice I'm willing to make. The only noticeable thing that would change is how fast Teemo is when the passive is down, and how fast he is when using the w active(if im doing the math right it is slower by a max of 18 ms, with Mobie boots, but that makes sense as we are dropping 14% bonus ms on the w active in exchange for 25 flat ms, which means less of a boost with just it, but it scales better with other % movement boosts) [Here is my compiled list of Teemo’s movement speed with every kind of boot + w](https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mkKCcFzXV8PbXseYadoi6z1rs9SN0xGRCFMjw4z3Ito/edit?usp=sharing), and [here is a graph that allows you to easily put in the variables if you want to check it out yourself](https://www.desmos.com/calculatoirneett3wh).
In addition to the prospective changes that we never saw, which to me sounds like the best version(assuming the numbers are not terrible), here are a few ideas I thought of: Teemo’s e breaks on damage outside bushes, but while inside a bush Teemo is obscured(you know, that broken “true stealth” thing Akali had, only there are no bushes inside tower range and Teemo doesn’t have 3 dashes so it should be less obnoxious) and the invisibility doesn’t break. What this basically means is if an enemy hits a scyre bloom or an ability that gives true sight on Teemo when he is inside a bush, he is still not able to be clicked on. Standing still for 1 second increases shroom vision range over the next two seconds. I like this one, as it enhances the scouting aspect of his theme, but enemies can interact with it and it has to be something Teemo is actively doing, rather than just passive extra vision.
Assuming we are touching these, I honestly think having it apply % current health(better against tanks, not as oppressive against squishies), along with the passive poison would allow it to function both as a weakening chip damage, and potential low health killer, without getting into the 2 shot shroom territory as that feels bad to be on the end of. They should be able to kill if you run into a ton of them in a row, but not automatic death after hitting one from a fed Teemo. I honestly haven’t thought of a better way other than that to keep the balance between chip damage and kill threat without entering the binary “die by 2 shrooms or 5 Sweepers” territory And now for my Rework suggestion(do note that while I have considered the numbers I gave things, numbers are easily changed about and as such laying out the mechanics is my goal):
Toxic Shot Teemo laces his attacks with poison from his Kumongu shrooms, causing his basic attacks to deal [10-50 + .3 AP] damage, and his basic attacks and spells to poison the target for [1.5-11.25 +.025 AP] every .25 seconds for 4 seconds. Poisons from unique attacks(autos would be one unique attack, q is one, and shrooms count as one) stack up to three times, each new stack at 50% extra damage(so 175%, which max damage without refreshing the poison would be 315 + .7AP total at level 18, for landing a shroom, an auto, and a q).
Similar to Sol’s passive, I'm suggesting Teemo’s passive be the main source of his damage and tie his entire kit together. Maybe 175% is too low for 3 stacks, but I thought 200% might be too overbearing. Anyway, its not like numbers are not constantly changed.
Sporecloud Dart Skillshot, 700 range, AOE detonation, 300 range, 80/85/90/95/100 mana cost Does 50/75/100/125/150 +.4AP + 1bAD(bonus AD) damage to main target, applying on hit effects(not passive’s on hit), reduces vision range for them for 1.5/1.6/1.7/1.8/1.9/2 seconds, spreads passive DOT(not on hit) to target and nearby enemies
This one has many reasons: By changing it to a skill shot, from a targeted skill, it allows enemies to do more than just “don’t get near Teemo” to avoid it, but in return the cc is better against a wider assortment of enemies rather than just auto reliant ones. It also means that if an enemy can get on you, they have a chance of actually hitting you, but it also keeps his ability to shut down enemy ADC’s intact, if a little less duration. As it is a skill shot, I gave it slightly increased range so that Teemo has something to do in teamfights, but also increased its mana cost so it can’t be spammed The reason it applies the passive in AOE is because I was inspired by Teemo’s skill in this TFT set, which is where the name comes from, and it addresses his issue in the jungle of having poor multi-target damage pre-6. This gives him a pre-6 option for clearing camps/pushing waves, and makes up in part for the damage that is lost from the shrooms(keep reading for that, its not as bad as you might think)
Move quick 10/15/20/25/30% ms Does not break on damage from poisoned targets
That other option I outlined above would also work, I just thought of this one first and it fits with Teemo spreading poison everywhere.
Guerrilla Warfare 1.5 second arm time, indefinite while still/in bushes. Can move 2/2.25/2.5/2.75/3 seconds while stealthed, recharges slowly in bushes. Element of Surprise: 20/30/40/50/60 AS for 3 seconds
Optional bonus:>! After standing still for 1 second, shroom's vision radius grows by 10/20/30/40/50% over the next 2 seconds.!< Basically the prospective changes that we never saw. Not sure what the cooldown was going to be though. The optional bonus is a different take on the “Teemo gains 25% sight range while stealthed” from the most recent one. Im not sure if it would be overpowered or not, but I thought why not? Its not like they haven’t removed mechanics before. Anyway, the idea would be that Teemo can set up a vision network, which enemies are already looking to clear because shrooms, but at the cost of doing things. Great for ambushes, not so much for watching for a gank.
Noxious Trap Deal 10/15/20% max health, and applies Toxic Shot’s DOT(not the on hit) Enemies effected by shrooms take .75% extra damage from Toxic Shot for every 1% missing health, capping at 50% damage(so 109/lvl 6 - 270/lvl 18 +.6 ap total damage, when they are at 33% health for just the shroom, and 472 +1.05 AP for 3 stacks)
Assuming the combo is just one auto, q, and shroom, that is a max of 100% tAD+ 100% bAD + 50 + 150 + 472 + 10% current health + 175% AP(so 672 + 175% AP + auto damage) when the enemy is at ⅓ health. That sounds like a lot, but its not that much for just one combo. For reference, Vigar can do 650 +150% AP with just his ult alone, and then has another 540+160% AP from his other abilities. Anyway, the % current health would allow Teemo to affect Tanks with his Shrooms, without making it overbearing for squishies, while the pseudo-execute extra passive damage makes it so that Teemo can still kill with Shrooms, be it in fights or on fleeing enemies. The idea is to make 2 shot shrooms less feasible, but allow the damage to scale better. It also would only apply Liandries only once, which, while is a nerf, is one that ultimately benefits Teemo as Liandries would be an effective option for 2-3 tank teams, but not a mandatory item for every game you don’t go with On Hit Teemo.
./play.it is a free/libre software that builds native packages for several Linux distributions from DRM-free installers for a collection of commercial games. These packages can then be installed using the standard distribution-provided tools (APT, pacman, emerge, etc.). A more complete description of ./play.it has already been posted in linux_gaming a couple months ago: ./play.it, an easy way to install commercial games on GNU/Linux It's already been one year since version 2.11 was released, in January 2019. We will only briefly review the changelog of version 2.12 and focus on the different points of ./play.it that kept us busy during all this time, and of which coding was only a small part.
What’s new with 2.12?
Though not the focus of this article, it would be a pity not to present all the added features of this brand new version. ;) Compared to the usual updates, 2.12 is a major one, especially since for two years, we slowed down the addition of new features. Some patches took dust since the end of 2018 before finally be integrated in this update! The list of changes for this 2.12 release can be found on our forge. Here is a full copy for convenience:
--output-dir: Set the output directory for generated packages
--overwrite: Replace packages if they already exist
--icons: Allow including icons only if dependencies are present
Drop $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR from the candidates for temporary directories
Prevent scan of unneeded directories
Drop script identification by MD5 hash
Only extract needed files when using unzip
Allow to use renamed installers
Add support for LHA archives extraction
New engine: ResidualVM
New engine: System-provided Mono runtime
DOSBox: Use $PLAYIT_DOSBOX_BINARY in launchers if defined
Add ability to set variables for package-specific postinst and prerm scripts
Arch Linux: Improve consistence of 32-bit packages naming
New helper functions:
version_target_is_older_than: Check if the game script target version is older than a given one
toupper: Convert files name to upper case
New generic dependency keywords:
libglib-2.0.so.0 / libgobject-2.0.so.0
libopenal.so.1 (alias for openal)
libSDL2-2.0.so.0 (alias for sdl2)
libvorbisfile.so.3 (alias for vorbis)
Codebase clean-up and improvements:
Massive rework of all message-related functions
Drop hardcoded paths for icons and .desktop launchers
Use system-specific default installation prefix for generated packages
Forcefully set errexit setting on library initialization
Use dirname/basename instead of built-in shell patterns
As many free/libre projects, ./play.it development started on some random sector of a creaking hard drive, and unsurprisingly, a whole part of its history (everything predating version 1.13.15 released on Mars 30th, 2016) disappeared into the limbs because some unwise operation destroyed the only copy of the repository… Lesson learned, what's not shared don't stay long, and so was born the first public Git repository of the project. The easing of collaborative work was only accidentally achieved by this quest for eternity, but wasn't the original motivation for making the repository publicly available. Following this decision, ./play.it source code has been hosted successively by many shared forge platforms:
GitHub, that we all know of, choosing it was more a short-term fallback than a long-term decision ;
some Gogs instance, which was hosted by debian-fr.xyz, a community the main ./play.it author is close to ;
Framagit, a famous instance of the infamous GitLab forge, hosted by Framasoft.
As development progressed, ./play.it began to increase its need for resources, dividing its code into several repositories to improve the workflow of the different aspects of the projects, adding continuous integration tests and their constraints, etc. A furious desire to understand the nooks and crannies behind a forge platform was the last deciding factor towards hosting a dedicated forge. So it happened, we deployed a forge platform on a dedicated server, hugely benefiting from the tremendous work achieved by the GitLab's package Debian Maintainers team. In return, we tried to contribute our findings in improving this software packaging. That was not expected, but this migration happened just a little time before the announcement “Déframasoftisons Internet !” (French article) about the planned end of Framagit. This dedicated instance used to be hosted on a VPS rented from Digital Ocean until the second half of July 2020, and since then has been moved to another VPS, rented from Hetzner. The specifications are similar, as well as the service, but thanks to this migration our hosting costs have been cut in half. Keeping in mind that this is paid by a single person, so any little donation helps a lot on this front. ;) To the surprise of our system administrator, this last migration took only a couple hours with no service interruption reported by our users.
This new forge can be found at forge.dotslashplay.it. Registrations are open to the public, but we ask you to not abuse this, the main restriction being that we do not wish to host projects unrelated to ./play.it. Of course exceptions are made for our active contributors, who are allowed to host some personal projects there. So, if you wish to use this forge to host your own work, you first need to make some significant contributions to ./play.it.
The collection of supported games growing endlessly, we have started the development of a public API allowing access to lots of information related to ./play.it. This API, which is not yet stabilized, is simply an interface to a versioned database containing all the ./play.it scripts, handled archives, games installable through the project. Relations are, of course, handled between those items, enabling its use for requests like : « What packages are required on my system to install Cæsar Ⅲ ? » or « What are the free (as in beer) games handled via DOSBox ? ». Originally developed as support for the new, in-development, Web site (we'll talk about it later on), this API should facilitate the development of tools around ./play.it. For example, it'll be useful for whomever would like to build a complete video game handling software (downloading, installation, starting, etc.) using ./play.it as one of its building bricks. For those curious about the technical side, it's an API based on Lumeneffectuant that makes requests on a MariaDB database, all self-hosted on a Debian Sid. Not only is the code of the API versioned on our forge, but also the structure and content of the databases, which will allow those who desired it to install a local version easily.
Based on the aforementioned API, a new website is under development and will replace our current website based on DokuWiki. Indeed, if the lack of database and the plain text files structure of DokuWiki seemed at first attractive, as ./play.it supported only a handful of games (link in French), this feature became more inconvenient as the library of ./play.it supported games grew. We shall make an in-depth presentation of this website for the 2.13 release of ./play.it, but a public demo of the development version from our forge is already available. If you feel like providing an helping hand on this task, some priority tasks have been identified to allow opening a new Web site able to replace the current one. And for those interested in technical details, this web Site was developed in PHP using the framework Laravel. The current in-development version is hosted for now on the same Debian Sid than the API.
A regular comment that is done about the project is that, if the purpose is to make installing games accessible to everyone without technical skills, having to run scripts in the terminal remains somewhat intimidating. Our answer until now has been that while the project itself doesn't aim to providing a graphical interface (KISS principle "Keep it simple, stupid"), still and always), but that it would be relatively easy to, later on, develop a graphical front-end to it. Well, it happens that is now reality. Around the time of our latest publication, one of our contributors, using the API we just talked about, developed a small prototype that is usable enough to warrant a little shout out. :-) In practice, it is some small Python 3 code (an HCI completely in POSIX shell is for a later date :-°), using GTK 3 (and still a VTE terminal to display the commands issued, but the user shouldn't have to input anything in it, except perhaps the root password to install some packages). This allowed to verify that, as we used to say, it would be relatively easy, since a script of less than 500 lines of code (written quickly over a week-end) was enough to do the job ! Of course, this graphical interface project stays independent from the main project, and is maintained in a specific repository. It seems interesting to us to promote it in order to ease the use of ./play.it, but this doesn't prevent any other similar projects to be born, for example using a different language or graphical toolkit (we, globally, don't have any particular affinity towards Python or GTK). The use of this HCI needs three steps : first, a list of available games is displayed, coming directly from our API. You just need to select in the list (optionally using the search bar) the game you want to install. Then it switches to a second display, which list the required files. If several alternatives are available, the user can select the one he wants to use. All those files must be in the same directory, the address bar on the top enabling to select which one to use (click on the open button on the top opens a filesystem navigation window). Once all those files available (if they can be downloaded, the software will do it automatically), you can move ahead to the third step, which is just watching ./play.it do its job :-) Once done, a simple click on the button on the bottom will run the game (even if, from this step, the game is fully integrated on your system as usual, you no longer need this tool to run it). To download potentially missing files, the HCI will use, depending on what's available on the system, either wget, curl or aria2c (this last one also handling torrents), of which the output will be displayed in the terminal of the third phase, just before running the scripts. For privilege escalation to install packages, sudo will be used preferentially if available (with the option to use a third-party application for password input, if the corresponding environment variable is set, which is more user-friendly), else su will be used. Of course, any suggestion for an improvement will be received with pleasure.
Of course, such an announcement would not be complete without a list of the games that got added to our collection since the 2.11 release… So here you go:
7 Billion Humans
Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders
Age of Mythology Demo
Among the Sleep
Anomaly: Warzone Earth
Another Lost Phone: Lauraʼs Story
Assault Android Cactus
Baba Is You
Blocks that matter (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
Commandos 3: Destination Berlin
Divine Divinity (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
Duet (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
Edna & Harvey: The Breakout — Anniversary Edition
Factorio — Demo
Full Throttle Remastered
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
Gibbous — A Cthulhu Adventure
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Into the Breach
Kerbal Space Program
LEGO Batman: The Videogame
Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4
Metal Slug 3 (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
MIND: Path to thalamus
Monkey Island 4: Escape from Monkey Island
Multiwinia (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
Myst: Masterpiece Edition (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition
Populous: Promised Lands (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
Populous 2 (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
Quern — Undying Thoughts
Retro City Rampage (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
Satellite Reign (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
Ancient Relics Story Pack
Arachnoid Portrait Pack
Distant Stars Story Pack
Humanoids Species Pack
Leviathans Story Pack
Lithoids Species Pack
Plantoids Species Pack
Synthetic Dawn Story Pack
Strike Suit Zero
Cyclopean Owl DLC
Tetrobot and Co.
The Adventures of Shuggy
The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human
The Count Lucanor
The First Tree
The Pillars of the Earth
The Witcher (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Tonight We Riot
Touhou Chireiden ~ Subterranean Animism — Demo
Touhou Hifuu Nightmare Diary ~ Violet Detector
Triple Triad Gold
Vambrace: Cold Soul
VVVVVV (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
War for the Overworld (the base game was already supported, new expansions have been added):
Heart of Gold
Seasonal Worker Skins
The Under Games
Warcraft: Orcs & Humans
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War — Winter Assault Demo
Warhammer 40,000: Gladius — Relics of War
Warlords Battlecry II (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
Wing Commander (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
Wing Commander II (previously supported by ./play.it 1.x)
Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
If your favourite game is not supported by ./play.it yet, you should ask for it in the dedicated tracker on our forge. The only requirement to be a valid request is that there exists a version of the game that is not burdened by DRM.
Our team being inexhaustible, work on the future 2.13 version has already begun… A few major objectives of this next version are :
the complete and definitive relegation to the archive bin of ./play.it 1.14, which is still required for about twenty games ;
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