Arthashastra: Recipes

Mar. 24th, 2017 11:15 pm
[syndicated profile] zompist_feed

Posted by zompist

I just finished Kautilya’s Arthashastra, which is perhaps the greatest book I know of that I can’t recommend to readers.

CHANAKYA-4

So, first, what is it?  It’s a book on state policy: how to run a country, how to run a spy network, how to regulate commerce, who to appoint as ministers, how to manage allies and enemies, how to conduct war. It was written somewhere from 2200 to 1700 years ago in India, attributed to one Kautilya or Vishnugupta.  It’s often claimed that Kautilya was Chanakra, the wily minister of Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the first Indian empire, but this is unlikely.

It’s often compared to Machiavelli. On the whole Kautilya counsels the king to be virtuous: he must avoid dissipation, reward loyalty, punish criminals, put down bandits, encourage (and not overtax) production. But when he’s cynical, he’s cynical.  He tells you how to recruit spies, how to double-cross your friends, how to poison people, even how a minister can declare himself king.

He’s also, truth to tell, extremely dry, and it’s not clear how much of his advice was followed, which is why I can’t urge anyone to run out and score a copy.  As Patrick Olivelle says about the similar Laws of Manu (which is coming up on the reading list, watch this space), the book dates from a time when northern India was often as not run by low-caste upstarts, by Buddhists (i.e. heretics), or by out-and-out mlecchas (barbarians)– Greeks, Kushans, Sakas. So Kautilya and Manu are both describing things as they think they ought to be.

But the thing is, more than most ancient books, Kautilya gives loads of details on everyday life: crop yields, names of measures, structure of the government, how a fort was laid out, how many yojanas the army could travel in a day, how to use elephants in warfare. (Pro tip: you can use a line of elephants as a makeshift bridge to cross a river!) That is, it’s a treasure trove of information useful in conworlding.

This will take a few posts to work through.  Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit: magical formulas!

(As a warning, this is Kautilya at his worst and most credulous. But it’s entertaining.)

  • A powder made from lizards or stinking insects, a black snake, and panic seed, will cause instantaneous death.
  • For a longer death, try root of vyaghata (Casia fistula), flower of bhallataka (Semecarpus nacardium), and essence of an insect.  (Mad props to the translator, R. Shamasastry, for working out the botanical names.) The dosage for killing a man must be doubled to kill a horse, and quadrupled to kill an elephant.
  • Smoke from the burning of krikalasa (a lizard) and grihagaulika (a house-lizard) causes leprosy.
  • You can turn an animal white using oil prepared from mustard seeds kept for seven nights in the urine of a white goat. Didn’t work? Did you keep it in a bitter gourd for a month and a half?
  • Another way to bring on leprosy: make paste from gunja seeds which have been kept for seven nights in the mouth of a white cobra. (Is the cobra dead?  Doesn’t say. If not, that’s some impressive snake training.  And if it is, I’m not sure I want to retrieve seeds from a snake left out in the Indian sun for a week.)
  • The powder of a firefly mixed with mustard oil emits night at light. One of the few believable recipes!
  • A serum applied by roasting a pregnant camel along with saptaparna (Lechites scholaris) will make a journey of a hundred yojanas fatigue-free. If you have no pregnant camel on hand, dead children roasted in cremation grounds will do. This may be hard to get past the ethics committee at your lab.
  • Fast for three nights, then take the skull of a man who has been killed with a weapon. Grow barley in it, irrigating with goat milk. Make a garland from the sprouts; it will make you invisible.
  • Make a sack from the clothes of a man who died of natural causes, and fill it with the ashes of a dead Brahmin. You can then put the sack on your back and walk about invisible. Or perhaps people will just be too polite to acknowledge your presence.
  • Fast seven nights, get hold of three white hairs from a porcupine, and make a fire with 108 pieces of the khadira tree (Mimosa catechu), along with honey and ghee. Chant a certain mantra while burying one of the hairs at the entrance to a village.  All the animals in the village will fall asleep.

Now, I don’t actually blame Kautilya for repeating this nonsense. It’s evident that he is basing his book on earlier books.  He doesn’t say he tried any of this; he’s obviously copying down similar lists from the library. This is the last chapter of the book, so he’s already given you the standard and much more plausible methods of statecraft. His attitude is obviously “This stuff might come in handy if all else fails, so here it is.”

What’s more intriguing is the mindset of whoever created these recipes. The thing that makes them implausible is the very thing that makes them hard to check: the plethora of arcane ingredients.  If someone claims to have alchemical knowledge, and someone pesters them hard enough for a recipe, this is exactly the sort of thing they’d come up with. Extra points if the ingredients are disgusting (thus the urine and ground-up lizards) or impious (Brahmins’ ashes). The questioner, without modern chemical knowledge, can hardly say “That can’t possibly work”; all he can do is write down the recipe and slink away.

Of course, it’s also possible some of these recipes ‘worked’, in the sense that some of the plants and animal products involved had some effect.  E.g. Casia fistula is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a “purgative”.  Maybe if you used enough of it, you could make someone sick, who knows.  Few of the recipes have convincing details, though, like precise dosages.

Anyway, if this whets your appetite, you can read the whole thing here.  The recipes are found in Chapter XIV.

Late, but it's still Friday in places

Mar. 24th, 2017 06:21 pm
usernamehere: scared (scared)
[personal profile] usernamehere posting in [community profile] followfriday
 Got any Follow Friday-related posts to share this week? Comment here with the link(s).
Here's the plan: every Friday, let's recommend some people and/or communities to follow on Dreamwidth. That's it. No complicated rules, no "pass this on to 7.328 friends or your cat will die". Just introduce us to some new things to read.

Daily Happiness

Mar. 24th, 2017 04:13 am
torachan: palmon smiling (palmon)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I slept in until about 1pm, so that was good. Unfortunately that seems to have pushed my late sleep schedule even further back, and it was already creeping further than I'd like. (Here it is 4am and I'm a bit tired but not like super sleepy, though I will at least get in bed after posting this, and see if that makes me sleepier.) However! The person who usually closes on Fridays is out tomorrow, so I have to stay till closing, which means I don't have to go in until noonish, and the same goes for Saturday and Sunday, and then I have Monday off and no morning plans, so even if my sleep schedule is terrible, I at least have the next four days in a row I can sleep in. :p

2. Carla happened to see (Japanese) curry on sale at the store today and bought some, so I made curry for dinner. It was delicious and now we have lots of leftovers as well, for easy meals.

3. I finished translating the first chapter of a new series I'm working on, and hopefully will have that ready to post within the next few days.

4. I played a bunch more Zelda tonight. Went back to the area just below the Great Plateau and picked up a couple shrines I'd missed, and that plus the one in Zora's Domain got me another upgrade. One of the shrines was by a stable I hadn't been to yet, and Hestu was there outside! So I was able to get another few inventory slots opened up, though I didn't have a ton of Korok seeds, and it seems that the fee goes up by one with each slot you add. I also found the Zora helm, and upgraded both it and the Zora armor. Now it's time to go get some shock arrows and a photo of a Lynel (and at least try to take him on, while I'm up there; I know I could just stealthily gather arrows and snap his photo and not actually kill him, but where's the fun in that).

5. Carla got some cute pictures of Jasper this morning.

[syndicated profile] daily_illuminator_feed
Beat the heat with some cool new releases coming in summer 2017! July brings a new look to the land of Oz, and a horde of zombie-themed releases to satisfy any appetite . . . for brains!

Munchkin Oz Guest Artist EditionMunchkin Oz Guest Artist Edition



Backstab your way to the Emerald City!

Adventure with the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodsman! Brave the Poppy Fields or the Deadly Desert! Fight against a Wicked Witch or King Krewl! Visit the Emerald City and talk with Dorothy, Ozma, or the Cowardly Lion! Play a Professor, Royalty, Soldier . . . or even a Wizard! And be adorable while doing it!

Just when you thought the art in Munchkin Oz couldn't get cuter, Katie Cook takes a spin on the Yellow Brick Road from the books of L. Frank Baum!

Munchkin Zombies: Armed and DangerousMunchkin Zombies: Armed and Dangerous



Resurrect Munchkin Zombies with new cards and pawns!

Shuffle and shamble your way to victory with 112 more cards for Munchkin Zombies. Wield your Trained Attack Flies and your Prehensile Tongue against the Zombie Gamer! Be the Rankest of the Rank and use the Power of SCIENCE against the dread Survivalist. Gain a new power - Hungry - and play a new Mojo, the horrible Patchwork Zombie! In addition to cards, enhance your game with the included brain-hungry pawns! 

This is an expansion for Munchkin Zombies (or Munchkin Zombies Guest Artist Edition!). It is not a stand-alone game.

Zombie Dice Horde EditionZombie Dice Horde Edition



Get a horde of dice and add-ons, all in one box!

It's Zombie Dice and two expansions – in one delicious, brain-filled package!

Eat brains. Don't get shotgunned. Now with more brainy goodness!

You are a zombie. You want brains - more brains than any of your zombie buddies. Zombie Dice is a quick and easy game for gamers and non-gamers alike. Great for large groups. The 13 custom dice represent victims. Push your luck to eat their brains, but stop rolling before the shotgun blasts end your turn! Get even more brain-hungry fun with Zombie Dice 2 – Double Feature and Zombie Dice 3 – School Bus, all in one place! Plus you get a new cloth bag and scorepad to keep track of those tasty brains. 

Munchkin Halloween Monster BoxMunchkin Halloween Monster Box



A veritable tomb's worth of Munchkin card storage!

It's scary how well this monster-sized box can hold all your Munchkin loot – yet the box art by Len Peralta is somehow even scarier! This Munchkin Halloween Monster Box features zombie-Spyke amid a host of characters drawn directly from Halloween-themed Munchkin card sets. So store your stuff and show off your love of all things Munchkin with this spooky container! It holds more than 2,000 Munchkin cards, as well as other swag like some Dungeons and Seals and a Level Playing Field.

Bonus: The Munchkin Halloween Monster Box includes 12 holiday-themed Munchkin cards that shuffle into any game!

Hunter Shelburne

Warehouse 23 News: Shake Up Your Game With Ogre Scenario Book 1 (Revised Format)

Now Ogre players can get the original Ogre Scenario Book 1, updated and revised to work with Ogre Sixth Edition and Ogre Designer's Edition

In "Hammer & Anvil," an Ogre stumbles into a trap . . . now, can the trap survive what it's caught? In "Run for the Border," an Ogre tries to defect to the other side. Plus five others! 

Get it on Warehouse 23 today! 

Update on the Dreamhack server

Mar. 24th, 2017 03:29 am
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)
[personal profile] sophie posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
Hi all,

As you may know, about 2-3 weeks ago the Dreamhack server died. Since then, [staff profile] mark and I have been working on getting its replacement going, and updating a few things.

It should be ready to go in a few days, and I wanted to make a few notes for when it comes back up:
  • Firstly and most importantly, you'll need to re-apply for a Dreamhack if you want one, and you'll be set up as if you were a new user. Any changes that you pushed to GitHub will be available, but any other data you may have had will be gone - apologies for that.

  • I do still have email addresses for everybody who had an account when the server went down, and I'll send out a one-time email to everybody when the server is up to point them to this post. After that, the only people who will receive emails about Dreamhacks will be those who have applied for one.

  • The address you need to use to log into the server via SSH will be different from the Web address domain. The email you receive when applying for a Dreamhack will state this clearly.

  • The new server will have an increased quota. The earlier quota of 500MiB was enough at first, but since then the space taken by a base install of Dreamwidth has risen to 270MiB. In light of this, I've raised the quota to 750MiB.

  • You won't need to do a one-off compilation of the stylesheets and JavaScript any more unless you make changes to them - the new-user script will automatically do that for you, and your Dreamhack will have working CSS out of the box.

  • Each user will automatically get a test database called "test_dreamhack_<user>", accessible using the same database user and password as the main database. You'll still need to configure it properly yourself for now, but the installer will at least copy the required files to $LJHOME/ext/local/t for you to configure. Later on I'm hoping that it'll be possible to have it configured automatically.

  • The official email address to contact me has changed - you should now use my Dreamwidth email address (sophie at dreamwidth dot org). Automated emails will come from this address, so if you had the previous email whitelisted you may want to whitelist this new one instead.
Thanks for your patience with this - there's a lot that's been going on, but the new server should be ready to go very soon! Watch this space. :)

If you have any questions, please leave a comment! I'll answer any questions you might have.

Weekly Reading

Mar. 23rd, 2017 07:24 pm
torachan: (Default)
[personal profile] torachan
What are you currently reading?
I'm about halfway through Return from Witch Mountain and it's definitely improved from the disappointing impression I had based on the first chapter. The author does make an attempt to explain away the differences from the first book, and while I still find all the scientific terms for their powers and overuse of words like "energizing" to be annoying, I am enjoying the plot.

I've also been reading at least a little bit of Modern Romance every day and am a third of the way through. I like it a lot.

No progress on Mayor of Castro Street this week, though.

What did you recently finish reading?
Nothing... :( I've been busy with work, busy translating, and busy playing Zelda, so that doesn't leave much time for reading.

What do you think you'll read next?
I would definitely like to have finished another book by this time next week, so I'm going to concentrate on these three! Considering how short Witch Mountain is and what a fast read Modern Romance is, if I actually make time to read every day, I could finish both of them!

Daily Happiness

Mar. 23rd, 2017 05:40 am
torachan: maru the cat sitting in a bucket (maru)
[personal profile] torachan
1. Welp, I was at work from noon until 4:30am, so basically I didn't get anything done today except work, but now inventory is done and we don't have to do it again until September!

2. Look at this Jasper! Such a big boy. He's just a few days shy of five months old now. :)

[syndicated profile] daily_illuminator_feed
Ogre Reinforcement Pack

When too many is not enough . . .

G.E.V., and later Shockwave, provided us with different maps upon which to wage our battles. This was a good thing. GEVs screamed up the waterways while Heavy Tanks crashed through the woods, with those pesky Infantry running here, there, and everywhere, being so difficult to root out. Scores of futuristic battles played out on our floors, beds, and tables, with hundreds more envisioned in our heads.

What we didn't have were the means to create those massive battles, stretching across fields of fire, with entire companies being thrown into the fray. Unless we were willing to purchase extra copies of G.E.V. and/or Shockwave (or had a friend with a copy!), we had to accept the limitations of the maps and the quantity of units in the base sets.

Ogre Reinforcement Pack changed that dynamic overnight.

First released in 1987 and later reprinted in 2000, Ogre Reinforcement Pack was a collection of both the maps and counters from G.E.V. and Shockwave. This is what Ogre fans had been waiting for! We had the rulebooks - we just needed more: more maps and more counters. That alone was worth the price.

But Ogre Reinforcement Pack had more for us. It had rules for the "other" Ogres: Mark I, II, and VI, plus the Fencer. There were towing rules (the grand-pappy of the new Vulcan towing rules). Ogre equivalents, first published in The Ogre Book, were republished here. And a table for generating random damage to immobile Ogres was introduced. What a wonderful game aid - so simple, and yet offering such potential for future games.

But there was still more! We didn't have to dream up the multi-map battles; three were provided for us. "The Day After" was a three-map scenario making use of the new towing rules. "Fake Out" also used three maps, and introduced a bit of a 'fog of war' concept, in that the defenders did not know the attackers' starting objective. Finally, there was "Body Blow," a huge, four-map scenario with scores of units. You knew it was going to be good when the second sentence of the scenario description instructed you to "allow at least an hour to set this scenario up, and four or more hours to play it . . ." 

Unfortunately, Ogre Reinforcement Pack has been a very difficult expansion to find, commanding unreal prices in online auctions. Although some of the rules have been superseded by the Ogre Designer's Edition rules, there is still a lot to love. None of these scenarios has been easily acquired . . . until now. So please enjoy the second installment of our 40th Anniversary of Ogre retrospective, Ogre Reinforcement Pack!

Drew Metzger

Warehouse 23 News: Zombie Dice 2 And Zombie Dice 3 Add Mayhem To Your Games

Do you love Zombie Dice, the classic game of rolling dice and eating brains? Then spice up your game with the expansions, Zombie Dice 2 – Double Feature and Zombie Dice 3 – School Bus!

Double Feature adds the Hottie and Hunk dice. The Hottie is fast and will usually elude you. The Hunk has a double shotgun, but you score double for eating his brain. You can also add the Santa Claus die, which grants gifts every zombie will love. And with School Bus, you get the School Bus die . . . 12 sides of pure chaos. 

Get them on Warehouse 23 today! 

Daily Happiness

Mar. 22nd, 2017 01:59 am
torachan: aradia from homestuck (aradia)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I posted more manga! I'm excited about that.

2. I had a ton of interviews today and I have a bunch more Friday and Saturday, so I didn't make any final decisions today, but I was really impressed with one guy and he seemed keen on the job, so I probably will hire him at least. (And he was one of the ones who answered the Craigslist ad, so that was definitely money well spent.)

3. I played some Zelda tonight and finally reached Zora's Domain! I also did like four shrines on the way, plus opened up Lanayru Tower. Oh, and killed a Hinox.

4. I get to sleep in tomorrow! The bad news is that the reason I get to sleep in is because I have to work until like 3:00am, so I'm going in around noon. But I'm still glad I get to sleep in, and also it means I won't be there for the morning delivery, which I hate.

5. Sleepy Chloe!

[syndicated profile] daily_illuminator_feed
GAMA We sent a team to Vegas last week for the GAMA Trade Show, where we met with retailers, distributors, and many industry friends from other game companies. The show is always productive and fun, and this year was no different, with a great response from retailers for some of our upcoming games. And, for the third year in a row, our retailer-appreciation party was packed with store owners and staff, and everyone had a blast talking games - and even playing some games!

Everything changes for the GAMA Trade Show next year. The team behind organizing and running the event has made the decision to leave Vegas (for which I am grateful), and after far more time in research and discussions than I can begin to imagine, they settled on moving the show to Reno in 2018. 

The GAMA show is important to us - it is one of the best places to sit down with our partners at the retail level and review what works - so I accepted the GAMA staff's invitation to join them in Reno this past weekend. The GAMA team gave me (and others from the industry) a tour of the Peppermill Resort, 2018's home of the GAMA Trade Show. After spending so many rough years at Bally's in Vegas, the convention's 2018 home feels like the upgrade that we, the entire tabletop game industry, truly deserve. The level of professionalism in the industry has skyrocketed in the last decade, and the Peppermill is a well-deserved reward for all of our hard work. (Phil shot a short video of the resort, as well. -HS)

Thank you to John Ward and the GAMA team for inviting me to the Peppermill. The tour of the facility - and the time I spent exploring the nearby restaurants and shops in search of off-site spaces for private meetings - went a long way toward getting me all excited about the venue change. Excellent choice, John, and I can say that Steve Jackson Games is looking forward to joining you (and the entire industry!) in Reno next year.

Retailers, please take a close look at the benefits of attending the GAMA Trade Show next year. The new location is a dream, and we look forward to seeing many of you - especially first-time attendees! - at the Peppermill in 2018.

Phil Reed

Warehouse 23 News: Munchkin Oz And Munchkin Oz 2 Take Players To Another World!

We've told you before, but we want to make sure you don't miss this great game and its all-new sequel! Munchkin Oz lets players take on common roles in the land of Oz, like a Soldier or a Wizard, and go on a whimsical adventure through the imagination of L. Frank Baum, author of the 14 Oz novels. Munchkin Oz 2 – Yellow Brick Raid adds 56 more Oz-themed Doors and Treasures. Get both today on Warehouse 23!
torachan: (koi-iji)
[personal profile] torachan


Title: Koi-iji: Love Glutton
Original Title: こいいじ (Koiiji)
Author: Shimura Takako
Publisher: Kiss
Genre: Josei
Status in Japan: 5 volumes, ongoing
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations feat. Migeru
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: 31-year-old Mame has been in love with her childhood friend Souta ever since she can remember. Despite multiple rejections, her love has stayed constant. It's become a habit more than anything, but is it one she'll ever be able to break and get on with her life?

Chapter Summary: Mame finally confronts Sou-chan about his past with her sister.



Chapter 15: A Woman Is a Woman

And here's a full volume download for those who want it.

Announcing the Shim review process

Mar. 21st, 2017 01:29 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
Shim has been hugely successful, to the point of being used by the majority of significant Linux distributions and many other third party products (even, apparently, Solaris). The aim was to ensure that it would remain possible to install free operating systems on UEFI Secure Boot platforms while still allowing machine owners to replace their bootloaders and kernels, and it's achieved this goal.

However, a legitimate criticism has been that there's very little transparency in Microsoft's signing process. Some people have waited for significant periods of time before being receiving a response. A large part of this is simply that demand has been greater than expected, and Microsoft aren't in the best position to review code that they didn't write in the first place.

To that end, we're adopting a new model. A mailing list has been created at shim-review@lists.freedesktop.org, and members of this list will review submissions and provide a recommendation to Microsoft on whether these should be signed or not. The current set of expectations around binaries to be signed documented here and the current process here - it is expected that this will evolve slightly as we get used to the process, and we'll provide a more formal set of documentation once things have settled down.

This is a new initiative and one that will probably take a little while to get working smoothly, but we hope it'll make it much easier to get signed releases of Shim out without compromising security in the process.

Daily Happiness

Mar. 21st, 2017 02:05 am
torachan: (Default)
[personal profile] torachan
1. Our old HDMI switcher box stopped working a while ago, probably due to the cats knocking it off the TV table too many times. So that meant if I wanted to play Zelda on the TV, I had to unplug the Apple TV and plug it in directly (the second HDMI port on the TV is also not working, so we can't just have them both plugged in directly), which is a pain, so it kind of kept me from playing as much as I wanted to (though I was also busy with other stuff).

But I finally remembered to order a new one from Amazon and that came the other day, and today when we were at Target I got velcro sticky things to affix it to the TV stand so it doesn't get knocked over by cats (also got some for the Apple TV, which has also been knocked down many times but is apparently sturdier). So now we can have them both plugged in and easily switch between them (and the X-Box One, though that doesn't get much use)!

2. I played Zelda a bunch this afternoon! I haven't played for like a week, and between watching Carla and the Let's Play I've been following, I am now having a hard time remembering what's stuff that I've actually done and what I've just seen done. Doh. But I did do a lot today. I finally got Link's first memory! And did some small sidequests. And explored a bit more. I think tomorrow I'll head off to Zora's Domain (though I might take a long and winding route and stop at some shrines on the way).

3. I didn't get as much translating done as I'd hoped, but I did get some housework done.

4. I posted manga! Though I just realized the month is nearly over and there's some stuff I haven't even started on yet, so I'd better get on that...

5. I was home with the kitties all day and they were super cuties but somehow I didn't take any pictures. Luckily I have tons of backstock!

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