Impossible impassable terrain? Impassable terrain 1

November 24, 2008

I had been wondering about what impassable terrain I could make that wasn’t a swamp, a marsh, a bog, rocky ground or cliffs (cliffs definitely aren’t appropriate for the Eastern Front, anyway). I was also cleaning up the hobby room and holding some dead fallen sticks I’d found while out on a walk…and then the thought hit me – logged ground! An area where the trees had been felled and all the tree stumps were still there.

This was perfect, because those tree stumps would certainly make terrain negotiation difficult for any vehicle – after all, a vehicle is more likely to topple over if it hits one or goes over it awkwardly than if it just pushes its way through living trees.  Since wood and timber were still staples on the Eastern Front (especially in Slavic areas), an area that had been logged was also feasible – either for its timber or for firewood (or both). Plus, the Germans did burn a number of forests to eliminate Russian partisans, so logged ground could also represent that.

Cutting up the sticks into inch lengths and peeling off the bark was easy (the bark was coming off in bits when I sawd the sticks, so I pulled the rest off to maintain uniformity). I’ve used sheet styrene as the base, and white glue to stick the lengths on. The lengths now resemble stumps. Later, to help block some line of sight (LOS), I’ll be adding some lichen to represent bushes that have grown up in the creared spaces. Photos to come!


Ah, the Semantic Web. What questions are raised by envisioning its actuality!
My questions aren’t overly optimistic. Firstly, who is to define what human languages will be recognised by the Semantic Web? By the time it is more of a reality, hopefully there will be automatic translation between human languages and written scripts, which may alleviate problems. The semantic web should probably do this anyway, by robot programs referencing and cross referencing online multi-lingual dictionaries or online services like BabelFish. With Google scanning collections of textbooks, this wouldn’t be hard.
The bigger question challenging all this interoperability is: who defines what are the accepted terms, and what benefit is there for everyone following that convention? For example, I alternate between 1:72 and 1/72 to describe the modelling scale I work in…mostly I try to use 1/72. Some people even use 20mm to describe the scale.

Uniformity is a desirable thing for many, but often unobtainable.
There’s profitability in non-conformity – just look at Apple, Microsoft, and then freeware like Linux. There will be companies or individuals whom will create free alternatives that will muddy this interconnected, interoperable dream. To say nothing of government intelligence agencies, big banks and the like who will have even bigger firewalls to deter hackers and their ilk…
Focussing for a moment on XML, it certainly hasn’t yet become the industry standard. I still publish and edit using HTML. I’m aware of libraries around me voluntarily adding metadata in XML to some of their content, but not all, and I’d like to emphasise that it is being done voluntarily. There was some discussion more than five years ago that it should be carried out by as many groups as possible but this obviously never eventuated. Further, looking at the tags that I use here for my own blog, I’ve tried a couple of times to be uniform. I’m not always happy with the tags I’ve chosen! For example, StuG really should be more specific, like StuG III. The Semantic Web may be smart enough to see the two and guess it’s the same vehicle, but will it know the formal German word is Sturmgeschutze?
In terms of artificial intelligence, certainly servers and services will become increasingly confident about recommending information sets to requestors if those servers and services can access data about previous requestor activity. I’m pretty sure an online book vendor is hoping to tailor prices to customers – the same content would be priced differently, more expensively if I didn’t regularly request that type of content. So, while at the moment it may give me cheaper prices for WW2 material, once I swap to something like Ancient Greece, all of a sudden I’d be paying more than another person (perhaps a high school student who’s an archaeology buff).

The reality will probably simply be more seamless interconnectivity, exploration and retrieval.


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