Book 2 – Text Updates 052

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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby Housellama » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Hanyo wrote:
Housellama wrote:We have yet to see a Mathamancer in the comic, so we don't have enough information.


And on that note, I would be thrilled to see one introduced, preferably in a text update so that we can get a sense of the inner workings of a Mathamancer's mind.


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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby drachefly » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:45 pm

Kreistor wrote:I'll take it one step further. What's the difference between science and a religion? Nothing. Both are founded in unprovable assumptions, called faith by the religious, and axioms by mathematicians. Has the Law of Conservation of Energy ever been proven? Nope, and yet it underpins every other Law in Physics.


Lolwut. Scientist, you're doin' it wrong.

Axioms of mathematics are not the same kind of thing as religious tenets. When you take an axiom, you're saying "Let's talk about a system in which this is the case." For example, sometimes you take Euclid's fifth axiom, sometimes you don't. Sometimes you take the axiom of choice, sometimes you don't. Sometimes you let there be no square roots of negative number. Sometimes you let there be two. Sometimes you let there be aleph-1 of them.

When it comes to the Conservation of Energy, it's a very different beast altogether. This conservation law faced and passed and continues to pass rigorous falsification tests - things most religionists don't try. More to the point in this conversation, these tests are far more rigorous than merely looking out for the edge cases I was concerned with about casting.

Lastly, in the most fundamental theories, conservation of energy does not underpin the conservation of momentum or angular momentum - they are on exactly equal footing, and all three are less fundamental than the notion that the universe is representable by a Fock space (a special subspace of a Hilbert space) over spacetime.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby Chit Rule Railroad » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:34 pm

Kreistor wrote:
drachefly wrote:We do not know the answer to that question and cannot find out at this time.


Then you feel that there is some method of creating a magical effect without casting a spell? Do you have *ANYTHING* to use as evidence, except your own skepticism?


When a warlord gives an order, that's "Natural Thinkamancy", an example of "Natural Magic": http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_84a

In fact, projecting a contract to Ansom for him to click on has explicitly been noted as "not a spell". See the Word of the Titans below:

http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Word_of_the_Titans wrote:Why could the Archons "cast" the contract, when it was not their turn? Well, why could they still fly? It's not a spell, it's a natural magic. There's also a heavy dose of "talking is a free action" in that scene, another thing about turn based games that is silly but almost universally true. It's no sillier than food popping at the start of a turn.


More to the point of the argument, if agreements were inherently self-enforcing, Trammenis wouldn't have thought to include a million-Schmucker penalty in his hypothetical non-aggression pact.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby Kreistor » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:00 pm

Chit Rule Railroad wrote:In fact, projecting a contract to Ansom for him to click on has explicitly been noted as "not a spell". See the Word of the Titans below:


Accepted, and it is reasonable to think this was a contract, so not a spell; however, below you go on to note that really doesn't defeat the core of the argument anyway, since this is about whether Parson can lie to Charlie about the results, or intentionally mis-enter the question.

More to the point of the argument, if agreements were inherently self-enforcing, Trammenis wouldn't have thought to include a million-Schmucker penalty in his hypothetical non-aggression pact.


But if you can break the contract, why can't you break the part that agrees to pay the penalty?

He included the penalty to allow it to be broken.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby Tachyon » Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:28 pm

I'm not taking sides in this argument, and I'm not planning to read everything that was already written in this thread unless it comes up, but to contribute: Parson is magically bound to give Charlie battle evaluations; if he could lie, then he would have very much overstated how many Archons would've been needed to secure the battlespace above the tower, and Charlie wouldn't have been, as Parson puts it, such a boophole. Charlie later goes on to state that he "knows Parson isn't lying". Although he might have used Thinkamancy to determine this, it's equally likely the contract binds him to tell the truth; in addition, since Charlie doesn't like to play games that contain a losing outcome, then if he had the means to enforce truth in the contract, he would have done so, because he is after all talking to an enemy warlord who he wouldn't otherwise be inclined to trust.

Alternately, Charlie has a Mathamancer of his own, but he wouldn't have bothered with Parson's Mathamancy if he did, and Charlie doesn't have perfect information on the units on GK's side in the city, so his own Mathamancer would've been comparably unreliable if he had had one. It's more likely either the contract enforces truth in the telling or Charlie grifted the truth from Parson's mind, and both theories are equally valid.

This has been more than stated: some contracts can be magical, others may not be (Alliances are seemingly a Natural Magical contract, with an effect on turn order when broken or formed). Magical contracts may cause some effect to happen if they are broken; the author of the contract (the contractor) can specify the effect (and I presume during negotiation, before it's finalized, the contractee can also suggest effects to be added in exchange for adding terms of their own). Nonmagical contracts are similar but require action on the part of one or both of the parties to be enforced.

Moreover, while Parson was talking Thinkamancy with Maggie in Book 1, she brings up Natural aspects of the discipline when introducing it to him. I hadn't realized it's been confirmed that the effects do not necessarily have to be synonymous with "spells" per se, but it seems to have been confirmed that, in fact, they are not.

Spells, then, generate an effect; effects can be generated independently of spells. Yet, it seems that this is still related to magic (in that "magic" is intrinsically connected to "natural magic"; there's no clear division except that only "magic" can produce "spells", while Natural Magic is something else - action, which could also be called an effect, caused by an equal and opposite reaction, or something along those lines), from Maggie's mention of it (although she could have just been providing an analogy to Parson to explain how Thinkamancy and magic in general works; we never saw the actual conversation).

</review of facts>

Personal opinion: I like that philosophers in Erfworld treat the world around them as if magic has been around as long as anything else, to the point that in order to understand their world, they must make connections between Nature and Magic (and have a hard time not doing so).
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby Kreistor » Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:49 pm

Tachyon wrote:Alternately, Charlie has a Mathamancer of his own


Summer update included information from the decrypted Archons that said Charlie has no warlords, casters, or infantry units, only Archons.

Moreover, while Parson was talking Thinkamancy with Maggie in Book 1, she brings up Natural aspects of the discipline when introducing it to him. I hadn't realized it's been confirmed that the effects do not necessarily have to be synonymous with "spells" per se, but it seems to have been confirmed that, in fact, they are not.


Natural magics are purely theoretical to the inhabitants of Erf, and so Parson would not be certain he was so bound since he's not sure they exist at all.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby Tachyon » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:12 pm

Kreistor wrote:
Tachyon wrote:Alternately, Charlie has a Mathamancer of his own


Summer update included information from the decrypted Archons that said Charlie has no warlords, casters, or infantry units, only Archons.

Yeah. I was mentioning the possibility only because it's a lot less plausible than the other arguments, for comparison's sake. Alternately, I could have meant "Charlie could easily have paid a caster from the MK to do the math for him one time" by that. I didn't see the need to make the distinction since I wasn't seriously pursuing that theory (there are other reasons it's implausible, either way).

As for the penalty that was to be part of the scrapped contract:
Jetstone and the other RCC2 sides don't need motivation to try and wipe out Stanley; if Stanley breaks the contract, that's motivation enough. Because breaking the contract is more than enough; the penalty is there so that if the contract is broken, Jetstone might stop attacking so long as the penalty is paid to them as reparation (which doesn't make a ton of sense, since Jetstone's the only other party to the contract other than GK; it would only serve to prevent Jetstone from retaliating, and additional sides in the coalition would have to enter into the contract separately... something they probably wouldn't jump right on).

Doesn't matter too much; the contract was scrapped the moment the Yellows started tossing battlecrap. I'd wait until after seeing a contract that is actually entered into before seriously discussing the possibilities. I'm curious as to why this came up; reviewing the thread now.

Kreistor wrote:
Tachyon wrote:Moreover, while Parson was talking Thinkamancy with Maggie in Book 1, she brings up Natural aspects of the discipline when introducing it to him. I hadn't realized it's been confirmed that the effects do not necessarily have to be synonymous with "spells" per se, but it seems to have been confirmed that, in fact, they are not.


Natural magics are purely theoretical to the inhabitants of Erf, and so Parson would not be certain he was so bound since he's not sure they exist at all.

Uh...

http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Word_of_the_Titans wrote:Why could the Archons "cast" the contract, when it was not their turn? Well, why could they still fly? It's not a spell, it's a natural magic. There's also a heavy dose of "talking is a free action" in that scene, another thing about turn based games that is silly but almost universally true. It's no sillier than food popping at the start of a turn.

Theory in motion is good enough to be proof, isn't it? Parson knows he's stuck in a world where magic is real, yes, he has no reason to assume he's not bound so he might just not lie. But, to quote Parson, we "try things. Sometimes they even work." I am implying that he probably would try to lie if he could. He is a gamer, and that would be gaming.

Food for thought: Every time you take a dump, that's Natural Dirtamancy.
Last edited by Tachyon on Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby Kreistor » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:54 pm

On Natural Magics: Apologies. Sorry, I was wrong on that. I forgot that some Natural Thinkamancies are theoretical, not all.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby auraseer » Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:13 pm

Kreistor wrote:Then you feel that there is some method of creating a magical effect without casting a spell? Do you have *ANYTHING* to use as evidence, except your own skepticism?

Levitation sure looks like a magical effect to me. Ditto for taming wild dwagons. Ditto ditto for rocking out with spontaneous background music, or calling thunder and lightning, or turning walnuts into pigeons. And Stanley isn't a spellcaster.

The Arkenhammer clearly doesn't need spells to create its magical effects. If you want to claim the Dish does need spells to create effects, you're the one who must provide evidence of that restriction.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby Oberon » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:47 pm

Kreistor wrote:
Sieggy wrote:. . . and exactly how would Charlie go about casting such a spell via Eyebook?

I'm not sure which spell you're thinking about. The deal for the Mathamancy questions was arranged during the Thinkagram conversation, so was under the influence of an Arkentool, which can break rules.
Agreed, but I'd add that the archons presented a contract to Ansom and he was not under the influence of an arkentool. So there is evidence that magically binding contracts do not require an artifact/arkentool to arrange, nor are they necessarily a "spell" effect.
Housellama wrote:As far as available information... I think that the bracer has access to some behind the scenes info. I'm going to speculate that Mathamancy the discipline gives accurate readings of forces currently present. That is, the magic has perfect (or near perfect) accurate readings of the stats of all the units in the area with which to do calculations. That's a reasonable assumption. Ditto with calculations relating to ruling (eg, most efficient way to spend schmuckers, pop units, move forces, etc.) Whether or not Mathamancy allows for more than that, such as the accurate predictions about the value of the future predictions vs the knowledge Charlie wished to acquire is an open question. We have yet to see a Mathamancer in the comic, so we don't have enough information.

I'm going to go ahead and state my opinion that it does not. I'm betting that the bracer has access to extra information. How and where it gets this information is unknown. The bracer is an Artifact. That is known. It was not created by humans, so it doesn't necessarily have to conform to the known magical rules. Essentially, the bracer is a black box. Questions go in, answers comes out. I'm betting that there's something inside that black box that has access to a lot more information than a normal mathamancer would. I'm also betting that source of information only goes so far though. It's big, but it's not perfect. Hence why the answers come out in percentages.
I agree in the largest part, but I have some observations. First, the bracer may be an artifact. This is what is known. Sizemore isn't clear on the point, he just thinks that its power level may indicate that it is an artifact rather than a magic item.

As speculation: If the questions asked required the user to have the knowledge required to make the % calculations, the item/artifact would be rather useless. If Parson had to guess at the strength of the archons who might be attacking his garrison, he could guess either low or high and "cook the books" for Charlie's consumption. This becomes problematic when we consider that Parson produced a % chance which was a spread based upon the caster type present at Jetstone. This guesswork allows for uncertainty in the accuracy of the bracer predictions. All Parson has to do to "cook the books" is to assume some level of units, some capability they have, etc. How many archons will it take to take the GK garrison? Well, it'll take 200 Level 1 archons. And if all Parson is on the hook to provide is an answer, he could just state "200 archons", and let Charlie form his own opinions. This seems to be unlikely.
drachefly wrote:When it comes to the Conservation of Energy, it's a very different beast altogether. This conservation law faced and passed and continues to pass rigorous falsification tests - things most religionists don't try.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby ryanroyce » Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:37 am

Oberon wrote:
Lamech wrote:I think the word "could" implies uncertainty. Compare "they gain additional random specials from that set" to "they could gain additional random specials from that set".
Ok, I loves me some deconstruction. We seem to have two possibilities presented:
1) Archons pop with one special from amongst their possible specials, and gain another every time they level;
2) Archons pop with one special from amongst their possible specials, and have a chance to gain another every time they level.

Agreed?
If agreed, I believe that both models could easily fit Charlie's archon forces at TBfGK. We just don't know what level each archon was, nor what specials it possessed.

What kinda blows my mind here is this: Parson had to provide Charlie with an accurate answer to the question "how many additional Archons [above 14] [Charlie] would need [to] take [the GK] garrison before [the GK] turn starts [in the next turn]." Since archons have variable specials, and can level, it becomes an interesting speculation as to exactly what parameters Parson needed to use to calculate the odds with:
1) Base archon L1 stats with random specials;
2) Some estimation of the mean level and special load of Charlie's archon forces;
3) An exact calculation based upon Charlie's current archon forces and their current levels and specials.

The bracer, assuming certain conditions on the veracity of the answers it must give, can be the source of exacting knowledge about any side.


Not sure if this point has been addressed yet, but strictly speaking, we only know Parson's chagrined explanation to Wanda, not the actual calculation Parson provided to Charlie. That calculation, depending on the legalese Charlie used in requesting it, could have included all sorts of technical qualifiers and variations (i.e., Charlie would need at least X 1st level Archons, or X Archons of at least 3rd level w/ sufficient Leadership and Foolamancy, or any combination of X additional Archons of at least Y levels with Z specials, etc). Whether Charlie actually had the calculated combination of necessary units/levels/specials had no effect on the accuracy of Parson's calculation.

Not disputing that the bracer is awesomesauce and could indeed have the abilities you speculatively ascribe to it, just pointing out that our information in this regard is secondhand from an embarassed source.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby drachefly » Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:17 pm

Yeah, good call. The whole 'sophisticated predictions about the future' one is still a sticker.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby Oberon » Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:03 pm

ryanroyce wrote:
Oberon wrote:The bracer, assuming certain conditions on the veracity of the answers it must give, can be the source of exacting knowledge about any side.
That calculation, depending on the legalese Charlie used in requesting it, could have included all sorts of technical qualifiers and variations (i.e., Charlie would need at least X 1st level Archons, or X Archons of at least 3rd level w/ sufficient Leadership and Foolamancy, or any combination of X additional Archons of at least Y levels with Z specials, etc). Whether Charlie actually had the calculated combination of necessary units/levels/specials had no effect on the accuracy of Parson's calculation.
Parson isn't one to omit details. He dressed down the casters for that same fault. The "legalese Charlie used in requesting" the calculation was presented as having been "how many more archons would it take" (probably not an exact quote as I didn't search up the source strip), and we've got no indication that it was anything more complex than that.
ryanroyce wrote:Not disputing that the bracer is awesomesauce and could indeed have the abilities you speculatively ascribe to it, just pointing out that our information in this regard is secondhand from an embarassed source.
Firsthand from an embarrassed source. Parson was there for the exchange with Charlie, after all. But embarrassed or not, Parson was freely admitting to Wanda that he'd been played by Charlie, even if he did get in exchange the "lay off of Stanley" deal. Once you're fessing up to a possible error there's not much reason to obscure possibly valuable details, and again Parson has never been shown to operate that way.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby ryanroyce » Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:03 am

Oberon wrote:
ryanroyce wrote:
Oberon wrote:The bracer, assuming certain conditions on the veracity of the answers it must give, can be the source of exacting knowledge about any side.
That calculation, depending on the legalese Charlie used in requesting it, could have included all sorts of technical qualifiers and variations (i.e., Charlie would need at least X 1st level Archons, or X Archons of at least 3rd level w/ sufficient Leadership and Foolamancy, or any combination of X additional Archons of at least Y levels with Z specials, etc). Whether Charlie actually had the calculated combination of necessary units/levels/specials had no effect on the accuracy of Parson's calculation.

Parson isn't one to omit details. He dressed down the casters for that same fault. The "legalese Charlie used in requesting" the calculation was presented as having been "how many more archons would it take" (probably not an exact quote as I didn't search up the source strip), and we've got no indication that it was anything more complex than that.


Nah, Parson had his shame-face on for that. Few people like dwelling on the details of their own mistakes and I have no reason to believe that Parson is an exception to that. Parson is against omitting important and relevant details, but Wanda didn't need to hear the particulars of Charlie's calcuation to know that he was in a position to royally boop them next turn.

Oberon wrote:
ryanroyce wrote:Not disputing that the bracer is awesomesauce and could indeed have the abilities you speculatively ascribe to it, just pointing out that our information in this regard is secondhand from an embarassed source.

Firsthand from an embarrassed source. Parson was there for the exchange with Charlie, after all. But embarrassed or not, Parson was freely admitting to Wanda that he'd been played by Charlie, even if he did get in exchange the "lay off of Stanley" deal. Once you're fessing up to a possible error there's not much reason to obscure possibly valuable details, and again Parson has never been shown to operate that way.


We didn't see the conversation firsthand for ourselves, therefore our information is secondhand. The irrefutable point is that we do not know exactly what Charlie requested. Speculating about the bracer based on what you assume Charlie asked is fine, so long as you recognize that it is an assumption.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby Oberon » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:03 pm

ryanroyce wrote:We didn't see the conversation firsthand for ourselves, therefore our information is secondhand. The irrefutable point is that we do not know exactly what Charlie requested. Speculating about the bracer based on what you assume Charlie asked is fine, so long as you recognize that it is an assumption.
No. We got the information straight from Parson, who was there. This is the definition of firsthand information. See citations below:

first·hand

adverb /ˈfərstˈhand/ 

(of information or experience) From the original source or personal experience; direct
- neither of them had any firsthand knowledge of Andean culture
- this is something you have to hear firsthand

first·hand
adj \ˈfərst-ˈhand\
Definition of FIRSTHAND
: obtained by, coming from, or being direct personal observation or experience <a firsthand account of the war>
firsthand
Adj. 1. firsthand - received directly from a source; "firsthand information"
primary - of first rank or importance or value; direct and immediate rather than secondary; "primary goals"; "a primary effect"; "primary sources"; "a primary interest"
Adv. 1. firsthand - from the original source; directly; "I heard this story firsthand"
First hand
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Look up Firsthand in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Firsthand is obtained directly from the original source.
================================================================================================
Firsthand can mean "you were there", but it also means "you were told by someone who was there". What we were told by Parson as he spoke to Wanda was first hand information. That's not to say that Parson could not have lied, obfuscated, or otherwise misinformed. But even an eyewitness can make observations after the fact which can be proven false by objective observations (such as security cameras), without that eyewitness having any intention to prevaricate.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby ryanroyce » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:48 am

Oberon wrote:
ryanroyce wrote:We didn't see the conversation firsthand for ourselves, therefore our information is secondhand. The irrefutable point is that we do not know exactly what Charlie requested. Speculating about the bracer based on what you assume Charlie asked is fine, so long as you recognize that it is an assumption.


No. We got the information straight from Parson, who was there. This is the definition of firsthand information. See citations below:

first·hand

adverb /ˈfərstˈhand/ 

(of information or experience) From the original source or personal experience; direct - neither of them had any firsthand knowledge of Andean culture
- this is something you have to hear firsthand

first·hand
adj \ˈfərst-ˈhand\
Definition of FIRSTHAND
: obtained by, coming from, or being direct personal observation or experience <a firsthand account of the war>
firsthand
Adj. 1. firsthand - received directly from a source; "firsthand information"
primary - of first rank or importance or value; direct and immediate rather than secondary; "primary goals"; "a primary effect"; "primary sources"; "a primary interest"
Adv. 1. firsthand - from the original source; directly; "I heard this story firsthand"
First hand
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Look up Firsthand in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Firsthand is obtained directly from the original source.
================================================================================================
Firsthand can mean "you were there", but it also means "you were told by someone who was there". What we were told by Parson as he spoke to Wanda was first hand information. That's not to say that Parson could not have lied, obfuscated, or otherwise misinformed. But even an eyewitness can make observations after the fact which can be proven false by objective observations (such as security cameras), without that eyewitness having any intention to prevaricate.


Really, Oberon? Really? :roll: NONE of this supports your position because Parson is not the orginal source, the CONVERSATION ITSELF is. We do not have direct knowledge of the conversation, ergo we do not have firsthand knowledge. Or, to put it another way...

The irrefutable point is that we do not know exactly what Charlie requested.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby Sieggy » Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:51 pm

. . . meanwhile, back at the ranch, Grandma was beating off the indians with a broom, and they were still coming!

So, do the REALLY BIG LETTERS mean that everyone has finally finished farting in their teapots? Jesus, this is like arguing about how many Archons can dance on the top of Stanley's head! And for god's sake, PLEASE don't start arguing about that!
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby Oberon » Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:12 pm

ryanroyce wrote:Really, Oberon? Really? :roll: NONE of this supports your position because Parson is not the orginal source, the CONVERSATION ITSELF is.
Right then. In any discussion where you get to make up your own definitions, you win by default. WTF does "the CONVERSATION ITSELF is" mean, anyway? Is the CONVERSATION a witness to an event? Seriously, please get the CONVERSATION to tell us what happened during Parson's discussion with Charlie. I'll wait over here.

Parson was there, thus his relation of the conversation is a first hand relation. Did you bother to read the many definitions I provided? You can claim that Parson is lying, summarizing, mistaken, whatever you like. You cannot claim that Parson isn't a first hand source of information for a conversation where he was present. Oh, wait. You just did. I'll amend that: Only a person who either did not read or did not understand the many dictionary definitions of "first hand" posted previously would be so foolish as to continue to make that claim.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby drachefly » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:05 am

Oberon, it hurts you read you sometimes. This is one of those times.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 052

Postby ryanroyce » Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:08 pm

Oberon wrote:
ryanroyce wrote:Really, Oberon? Really? :roll: NONE of this supports your position because Parson is not the orginal source, the CONVERSATION ITSELF is.
Right then. In any discussion where you get to make up your own definitions, you win by default. WTF does "the CONVERSATION ITSELF is" mean, anyway? Is the CONVERSATION a witness to an event? Seriously, please get the CONVERSATION to tell us what happened during Parson's discussion with Charlie. I'll wait over here.

Parson was there, thus his relation of the conversation is a first hand relation. Did you bother to read the many definitions I provided? You can claim that Parson is lying, summarizing, mistaken, whatever you like. You cannot claim that Parson isn't a first hand source of information for a conversation where he was present. Oh, wait. You just did. I'll amend that: Only a person who either did not read or did not understand the many dictionary definitions of "first hand" posted previously would be so foolish as to continue to make that claim.


*sigh* Back to the ignore list for you, Oberon.
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