• Member Since 2nd Nov, 2012
  • offline last seen 3 hours ago

Admiral Biscuit


he/him

More Blog Posts776

  • Friday
    Chapter Notes: Alliance (Destination Unknown)

    It’s no Big Boy, but the cab of a locomotive makes for a comfortable ride through Nebraska.


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    6 comments · 193 views
  • 1 week
    Chapter Notes: Cab Ride (Destination Unknown)

    All good things must come to an end, and so it is with Council Bluffs. The Big Boy must move on, and so too must Sweetsong; the rails are calling out their song. A train isn’t meant to stay in one place, and neither is Sweetsong.

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    6 comments · 196 views
  • 1 week
    Happy Misgiving 2021, everypony!

    The leaves are changing, the air is crisp with the smells of wood smoke and pumpkin spice, and we once again find ourselves at Thanksgiving!

    Food aplenty, but be cautious when you set out the table.


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    15 comments · 291 views
  • 2 weeks
    Chapter Notes: Big Boy (Destination Unknown)

    While this statistic probably doesn’t exist, I’d put money on the Lauritzen Gardens/Kenefick Park having more locomotive by weight than any other public park in the US. Sweetsong was right to guess you’d put them where traffic on the highway can see them; in fact, they’re on a hill overlooking I-80.

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    28 comments · 290 views
  • 2 weeks
    Mid-November

    It’s been one of those months . . . or at least one of those weekends.


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    46 comments · 379 views
Aug
6th
2017

Worldbuilding R2: Names · 3:21am Aug 6th, 2017

Boy, it's been a while since I've written a worldbuilding blog post. And this one's gonna be kind of short--there are a couple of possible resources that you might find helpful, and down at the bottom, there's also an update to Science II. I'll mark that somehow so you can skip it if you heeded the warning on Science II.


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One thing that I'm terrible at is coming up with pony names. True fact: that's one of the reasons why I have such a proclivity to use both obscure background ponies from the show for stories like OPP, and why I use a lot of G1-G3 for other shows. It conveniently gives me a name and a description all in one fell swoop.

Sometimes, though, there just isn't a name that works quite right.

Now, I think I've told y'all that using paint names is a good resource. Sherwin-Williams and other paint companies (I'm sure there are other paint companies) make all sorts of different colors of paint, and they probably have a small department, complete with focus groups, who come up with names that sound pleasing and evoke pleasant thoughts and feelings. That's one resource I've used, especially for kind of throwaway characters.


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It's not my go-to for more significant characters, though. While Violent Orange (probably not an actual paint color) might be an okay name for a pony who's mentioned in passing, I'd prefer to have something better for a more major character.

Something more descriptive. Something that relates to her special talent.

Back in the R1 blog, I mentioned The Forgotten Arts and Crafts as a resource for pony names that are related to trades. Hazel Broach, in Silver Spanner, Journeymare got her name from that, as well as Tilly Lamp and Riven Oak. Likewise, White Withy in my Sam and Rose stories got her name from that book.

The problem with that particular book was that it was more focused on how you did a craft, and a little bit less so on some of the specific nomenclature (although don't be disheartened; it does have lots).

Well, not that long ago I was watching some YouTube channel to pass the time, and the host mentioned a book called The Dictionary of American Hand Tools by Alvin Sellins, and I immediately hastened to Amazon to buy myself a copy. Yeah, it's kind of pricey, but it's also a big, thick book; and according to Amazon, " Here is the greatest assembly of hand tools ever assembled." And it's going to be useful not only for pony names, but also for the names of tools that particular tradesponies might have.

While it might not be something that everybody should rush out and buy, if you like writing stories about craftsponies doing their thing, it's well worth a look, and it could be something that your local library can get.


The second resource is a bit weirder.

There's a woman named Janelle Shane who plays with neural networks. For those of you who don't know what those are, it's basically an AI that tries to make connections in the same way that our brains do in order to learn. You essentially give it some rules, or a goal, or whatever, and then you let it do its thing. You can read more about them here.

Anyway, she basically gives it lists of things, and has it generate more things that it things belong on the list.

I first came across it in a post a friend shared on Facebook. Janelle had given it a list of paint color names, along with their RGB values, and the neural network was supposed to come up with names and colors on its own. And boy did it deliver.

You got wonderful color names like Ronching Blue and Caring Tan and Stummy Beige, along with true classics like Dorkwood, Light of Blast, and Burble Simp.

If it was just a list of paint colors that were wrong, but in the best way possible, I'm not sure it would have been worth a mention. However, she's given that AI lots of material to work with. Craft beers, where we have such wonderful names as Text 5 of the IPA, Cherry Boof Cornester, Rickin Organic Red Deaath, and Barrel Aged Chocolate Milksmoke--which I would drink in a heartbeat.

All of that was quite fun to read, and it probably would have just been one of those funny things that I read on the internet . . . until she (technically, the AI) named kittens. Jexley Pickle. Mag Jeggles. Snox Boops. Mumcake. Tilly Mapper. Big Wiggly Bool. And last, but not least, Parihen the Thawk.

I haven't gone through all of the lists yet, not by a long shot. In fact, I haven't made it deep enough into her tumblr to even get back to the list of paint colors. But I realized that perhaps if you needed a name for something that sounds almost, but not quite right, it might be a useful resource. I'll probably wind up grabbing one or two names off her lists at some points.

You can find her tumblr here. And even if it isn't something that you can ever use for a story, it's good for laughs.


Finally, the update on Science II I mentioned. Those of y'all who didn't brave the first blog post, feel free to skip down to the end. I'll put a nice picture there for you.

As you'll recall, my math wasn't coming up right--inputs and outputs didn't add up. I figured that it was either a problem with the square cube law (because if I have to blame something, it's going to be math), although just as likely it's because I also am not terribly knowledgeable at biology beyond the most basic things (you know, like "that's a plant," and "that's an animal").

theRedBrony suggest that I should look up information on miniature horses. After all, they're about the closest to our ponies, weighing in at around 200 pounds. So I did.

A mini horse should eat 2-4 pounds of food per day--I wasn't far off on my math estimates there. What really stuck out, though, was that MSU's helpful guide suggested that they should be provided with five gallons of fresh water per day. You'll remember that the number I came up with was only a half gallon to three quarters of a gallon.

Now that I had their inputs, I already saw that while it might be a stretch to get up to fourteen pounds, seven or more was a perfectly reachable number.

I did some more research on mini horse blogs, and while I couldn't get an actual weight number, I did find one person who said his mini donkey (about the same size) produced a volume of 5-8 gallons per day, depending on what it was eating.

That's probably more than y'all wanted to know.

At least I never mentioned coprophagia in foals. And if you're wise, you'll avoid looking it up.



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Comments ( 32 )
Dan
Dan #1 · Aug 6th, 2017 · · ·

Knowing the greek roots, I already can guess what it involves.

Bunnies are notorious for it. No idea why people can call those things cute.

4625232
Most lagomorphs, apparently.

My former girlfriend had two bunnies, both adopted from a rescue agency. One of them must have been raised with cats, because he had the most cat-like behaviors I've ever seen in a rabbit. He'd tug at your pants when he wanted attention, loved hopping up on the back of the couch to survey the living room, and really liked pushing things over. He'd look right at you when you did it, too, as if he was daring you to stop him.

I believe that a possible explanation for the problems compute based neural nets have with learning, is that the way they are designed and coded by humans, is to look at all images as if they are, say, monochrome Magic Eye pictures. using one eye to view them. That is, they treat all information, up front, all of equal importance and necessity. Strange how the most capitalist computer companies use the most socialist interpretation. Then wonder why the computer needs millions of averaging samples to extract useable information.

Whats even stranger is one article I read about them started off, A large yellow rectangle slides in from the side of the screen. A smaller vertical black rectangle appears at one end, from which appear orange coloured ovals. It then quickly resolves into a real world scenario. Can you tell what it is yet? Thik of it like the Mandelbrot or other procedural game which starts with a simple shape, then reapplies the rules till it gets to the complexity required.

Now if only I could code even at 5 year old level and get that double fractal fourier transform running to use as research. Lovely set of hardware acceleration available on GPUs these days.

When a person takes their name from their job, thats how many names were created. Beysean neural nets also give you the inverse, Nominative Determinism. Like the alligator that was discovered recently in the UK. In Chew Reservoir. :pinkiecrazy:

I was reading through more of the lists . . . apparently she tried to teach the neural network to come up with cookie recipes. It started off well enough, and then went off the rails.

Chocolate Baked And Serves
cookies, deserts

1 cup butter
2 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3  eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup white cocoa
1 cup milk
1 cup horseradish or sour cream

Mix all ingredients.  Spread over grease and make a gently pan mixture
with 1 several hours, turning and boil on high until the mixture is completely golden.

Transfer the short that opan and golden brown. Release the chocolate
accompaniments and cool the prepared pastry tuna. Add the shrimp to the sugar brownie cubes, oil, salt and butter in a small bowl. Combine the squid ingredients. Bring to a boil over low heat to 375 deg F. With the liver), slice them to kitchen pire and add chicken broth.

4625246
Something to try later. Pastry tuna and shrimped brownie cubes, oh my!

4625281
As I read more through the blog, to the older entries, the recipes only got worse. Terribly so.

One thing that I'm terrible at is coming up with pony names.

I KNOW THAT FEEL BRO. /cries

Dat name: Dorkwood.

Also, I got mentioned! :pinkiecrazy:

Neural Networks are fun, but creating them, evaluating the size, and teaching them is (a little bit) akin to black magic. You do some stuff, manipulate some symbols, chose the correct sacrifice (the training data) and then, if all went well, it spits out the POWER TO SHOW THEM ALL. Or it gives you the recipe for Boiled Chocolate-Horseradish Cookies.

Oh, and it is all your fault anyway.

One thing that I'm terrible at is coming up with pony names.

Yup, That's how I ended up with a character named Thirty Eight. He was originally Kam One... one of the the components in the stereo receiver hooked to my computer right next to me, specifically the power amplifier circuitry in it... not sure why Kenwood (also was almost his name) felt that was needed information. Was only changed when I decided on the number of ponies in his division.

A lot of other names, and even locations, are based on stuff in my room. The town of Hoofbreak Ridge... totally took that from the movie Heartbreak Ridge when I was looking at my movie collection for name references for the town.

Padlock's name was because I was looking for the key to one at the time, while Cocoa Puff's name is from walking out to the kitchen to get a drink while trying to come up with a name for her and stepping on one.

I honestly find pony names a lot easier than human ones. Heck, there's this one idea I want to explore in the EG world where the same naming conventions run up against a rapidly changing world.

"Honey, I love you, but we are not naming our child Fidget Spinner."
"I have had to put with this thing for eight months," said Snap Bracelet. "I want it to suffer as I have suffered."

That being said, thanks for the link to that neural net blog. I also recommend RoboRosewater, which does similar things with Magic cards.

That's a lot of sh– I mean OH BOY I sure do love me some cat pictures!

True fact: that's one of the reasons why I have such a proclivity to use both obscure background ponies from the show for stories like OPP

And here I thought it was just you being deep. The use of obscure/past-gen ponies is probably one of the best parts I love about your fics.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

OH MY GOD

You mentioned Sherwin Williams and I immediately went looking for that neural net paint names post! How dare you know about awesome things so I can't introduce you to them! D:

This was a very interesting read.

inb4 every background character on this site for the next two months is named after paint.

4625242

I believe that a possible explanation for the problems compute based neural nets have with learning, is that the way they are designed and coded by humans, is to look at all images as if they are, say, monochrome Magic Eye pictures. using one eye to view them. That is, they treat all information, up front, all of equal importance and necessity.

Based on some of the wacky conspiracies some people believe in, I'd say that humans sometimes have the same problem of treating all information--whether it be peer-reviewed scientific papers or some guy on YouTube--with equal importance. :derpytongue2:

Yeah, the problem with the neural network is it might work sort of like a human brain, but it doesn't have the deeper understanding of language. It's finding patterns and trying to apply them, because that's all it knows how to do. It can't 'think' that Turdly is a really bad name for a paint color, even if it is brown.

4625307
As I got deeper into the AI's recipes, they got about that weird. I had to stop reading because I was laughing so hard.

10 lb dried broccoli casserole
1 lb crab water
¼ oz can of fish casings

Place wrapper in microwave on Low Coals.
Mix honey, liquid  toe water, salt and 3 tablespoon olive oil.
Cut flour into ¼-inch cubes
Spread the butter in the refrigerator.
Drop one greased pot.
Remove part of skillet.
Scrape the mold into a ball bowl.

4625337

I KNOW THAT FEEL BRO. /cries

<hug>

Dat name: Dorkwood.

It legit sounds almost like a pony name.

Also, I got mentioned!

I don't know why I didn't think to research mini horses. I knew they existed. :derpytongue2: Major research failure on my part.

4625340

Neural Networks are fun, but creating them, evaluating the size, and teaching them is (a little bit) akin to black magic. You do some stuff, manipulate some symbols, chose the correct sacrifice (the training data) and then, if all went well, it spits out the POWER TO SHOW THEM ALL. Or it gives you the recipe for Boiled Chocolate-Horseradish Cookies.

I watched a YouTube video about MarI/O, which is a simple neural network that tries to play Mario games. It's not very good at them (although it's a good insight into how machine learning works). At the beginning, it didn't know anything, and its only goal was to get as far right as it could. It eventually beat a level, although there's almost no chance of it (as currently programmed) ever learning to use powerups or get on Yoshi, or any other task that a six-year-old could figure out.

Oh, and it is all your fault anyway.

It usually is.

4625353

Yup, That's how I ended up with a character named Thirty Eight ... Padlock's name was because I was looking for the key to one at the time, while Cocoa Puff's name is from walking out to the kitchen to get a drink while trying to come up with a name for her and stepping on one.

Back before I got smart and had a long list of pre-generated names for NPCs, I wound up with a Prince Miller in one of my D&D campaigns, because someone was drinking Miller Lite. Sadly, my players saw right through that and asked me if he was married to Princess Budweiser.


4625414

I honestly find pony names a lot easier than human ones.

Really? Modern human names are easy; if you're super uncreative, all you need is a big, thick phone book. It's got thousands of perfectly plausible names in it.

I generally come up with first names on my own, and then use a phone book for last names, ideally from near the region the story's set in. Then I'll google search them and make sure that I either don't come up with any results, or come up with dozens of different ones.

Heck, there's this one idea I want to explore in the EG world where the same naming conventions run up against a rapidly changing world.

I want to do that in a fic that supposes ponies and humans have co-existed for a while. I could see a lot of pony parents giving their foals brand names, especially if they take TV commercials a little bit too seriously.

Also, I think there's a chance that ponies wouldn't be that great at sorting out things that make good names and things that don't, and I could totally see a parent who perhaps wants their foal to aspire to be a pharmacist (let's say) naming their foal Viagra or even Esomeprazole or something weird like that.

I also recommend RoboRosewater, which does similar things with Magic cards.

I'll have to check that out. I keep telling myself I'm going to make some fake magic cards one of these days, but my friends and I just don't play enough to make it worthwhile.

4625422
That's a lot of sh– I mean OH BOY I sure do love me some cat pictures!
:rainbowlaugh:

And here I thought it was just you being deep. The use of obscure/past-gen ponies is probably one of the best parts I love about your fics.

It really depends on circumstance. I do enjoy bringing older gen ponies back to life, or writing stories about the background ponies we see in the show. I also like giving the toy-only ponies a chance . . . but there are certainly times when you need an Incidental Background Mare #9 for a scene, and I hate spending a lot of time coming up with a name for a character who's probably only going to appear once and never again.

Did you know neural networks can write Harry Potter Fanfiction?

I did know that (I thought I mentioned it in the blog post, but maybe I didn't). Maybe when I have some free time (hah!) I'll read through that and see if I can't write a story that fits one of its terrible, terrible descriptions. For example:

Birds of a Saturday by SasuNarufan13
Harry Potter is drunk and discovers he is an alternate universe.

Switch "Harry Potter" for one of the princesses, and you've got a good hook for a crackfic.
Or I suppose I could learn to write Harry Potter fanfiction, but where's the fun in that?

4625444

OH MY GOD
You mentioned Sherwin Williams and I immediately went looking for that neural net paint names post! How dare you know about awesome things so I can't introduce you to them! D:

:rainbowlaugh:
I'm sure there are still lots of awesome things that I haven't been introduced to yet, so you've still got a chance.

4625463

This was a very interesting read.

:heart:

inb4 every background character on this site for the next two months is named after paint.

I would hope that writers are a little bit more creative than that. Although that might be hoping too much. :derpytongue2:

I personally tend to draw names from a wide variety of sources, so that they don't suffer from 'sameness.'

Mango Tango
Pony, paint color, or exotic dancer?

I want to do that in a fic that supposes ponies and humans have co-existed for a while. I could see a lot of pony parents giving their foals brand names, especially if they take TV commercials a little bit too seriously.

Years ago I read a book about a pack of coyotes that were all named after snack foods, except the main character, Brand X. It was amazing how quickly the weirdness of their names became perfectly normal.

4625503

:rainbowlaugh:

:rainbowlaugh:

Switch "Harry Potter" for one of the princesses, and you've got a good hook for a crackfic.

Hm...

Equis Opus by Admiral Biscuit
Princess Celestia is drunk, and Luna discovers she's an alternate universe.

Or I suppose I could learn to write Harry Potter fanfiction, but where's the fun in that?

Sounds pretty fun to me.

*has never read any HP fanfiction besides a short excerpt from 30 Hs, so he can't be quoted in saying that, sorry~*

4625544

Pony, paint color, or exotic dancer?

Why can't it be all of them?

Years ago I read a book about a pack of coyotes that were all named after snack foods, except the main character, Brand X. It was amazing how quickly the weirdness of their names became perfectly normal.

Isn't it weird how that works?

Do you recall the title of the book, by chance?

4625819
I couldn't when I first made the comment, but I googled a couple of terms and found it:
Skywater by Melinda Worth Popham

Pretty dark for a "talking animal" book, but I really enjoyed it.

So there we go, the apple family has plenty of sources of natural fertilizer.

Ah yes, Sherwin Williams, the company that actually started out as a sinister organization intending to take over the world which realized it was making more money just selling paint.

I mean, seriously, just look at that logo - it screams supervillain organization.

4625843

I couldn't when I first made the comment, but I googled a couple of terms and found it:

Excellent! I added it to my Amazon list.

Pretty dark for a "talking animal" book, but I really enjoyed it.

As I recall, there were parts of Watership Down and The Rats of NIMH that were pretty dark, too.

4625907

So there we go, the apple family has plenty of sources of natural fertilizer.

They do indeed.

4625952

Ah yes, Sherwin Williams, the company that actually started out as a sinister organization intending to take over the world which realized it was making more money just selling paint.
I mean, seriously, just look at that logo - it screams supervillain organization.

If you click on the source link below the picture, it takes you to an article about how Sherwin Williams really ought to get a new logo. To some people, it implies communism, and of course, covering the earth in paint is hardly environmentally friendly. And in those regards, I think it is time to change their logo.

However, they've been using the same logo since the 1800s, and that's actually really cool. And there's a part of me that respects them for just keeping it.

Interestingly enough, IKEA does have a naming department. They assing categories of place in Sweden to a category of item. For exemple, bed migth be forest. (I don't know what the actual match are.) And of course they check up if any name migth be close to an existing word in another language, they wan't to avoid having to sell you a chair called Poöp for exemple.

4626248

Interestingly enough, IKEA does have a naming department. They assign categories of place in Sweden to a category of item.

I honestly would assume that any large corporation would.

For example, bed might be forest. (I don't know what the actual match are.) And of course they check up if any name might be close to an existing word in another language, they wan't to avoid having to sell you a chair called Poöp for example.

Somewhat recently, a furniture store sold couches that were colored 'ni--er brown,' owing to bad translation by the Chinese manufacturer.

chimpmania.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=27185&d=1363342547

Interestingly, like you say, you'd need a multilingual crew, because something that was a normal word in your language might be a mortal insult in someone else's.

4625505 IT SHALL ALL BE HUES.

4627570

IT SHALL ALL BE HUES.

Well, then, as long as they're funny, I'm all for it.

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