Raccoon power!

Years ago, I wrote large parts of the Wikipedia article about the raccoon. Today, one fact from it received 54.8k points on the Today I Learned (TIL) community on reddit. Very cool.

Go to DeviantArt today!


Banana for scale

Over the course of the last years, I’ve received a few letters from Sandra and Woo fans. But I’ve certainly never received anything like the package from an anonymous sender from the U.S. two weeks ago. It contained a seriously old-looking magnetic tape drive. As a Steins;Gate fanatic, it immediately dawned on me that it must be one of those that are used by the famed retro PC IBM 5100!

IBM 5100 (banana for scale)
IBM 5100 (banana for scale)

This incident did not only inspire me to write the current story arc, I also didn’t waste any time and made a quick trip to the computer museum of the University of Stuttgart. Its head, super friendly retro PC maniac Klemens Krause, did not only give me a personal tour and introduction to retro computing, but also let me use the museum’s precious IBM 5100.

If you’re not familiar with the game, here is a short, mostly spoiler-free, summary:

Steins;Gate is a visual novel about the self-proclaimed mad scientist Rintaro Okabe who is a student in Tokyo. Together with his friends, he invents a time machine in form of a microwave which can send messages back in time. An anime series based on the game was released in 2011. It’s a faithful adaption and also highly recommended by me. The characters are extremely likable, all in their own way, and the story is innovative and thrilling.

The IBM 5100 is desperately needed by Okabe and the members of his labority for its special functionality. However, it has become extremely rare in their world. Steins;Gate builds upon the John Titor myth. That was the nickname of someone who posted in internet forums at the beginning of the 2000s and said that he is a time traveller from the future. He made wild predictions about the future and was also looking for an IBM 5100.

The objects you can see in the photographs all play important roles in the visual novel. This is probably the first time that so many of them have been photographed together with an actual IBM 5100.

NSA database on IBM 5100
NSA database on IBM 5100

As you can see above, the tape drive contained very sensitive and interesting data! After I had struggled for a while with the weird user interface of the old computer, I was finally able to read the content of the tape drive, which happened to be an excerpt of a top-secret NSA database! Unfortunately, the three most interesting text messages were all encoded. However, I’m quite sure that they’re not as hard to decode as the Book of Woo 😉 For example, the word lengths seem to be very much in-line with those of a regular English text. So maybe some of you want to give it a try to decode the secret text messages by the mysterious sender SB. I, meanwhile, am hiding from the NSA’s nefarious henchmen at an undisclosed location.

I can neither confirm nor deny that this story is at least as far removed from reality as one of the stories told by Faris NyanNyan.

RAM content of the IBM 5100
RAM Main memory content of the IBM 5100 (first 512 bytes)

Going all-in

Going all-in

Character occurrence frequency 2008 to 2016

Here are two diagrams that show how often the main and supporting characters of Sandra and Woo appeared in each year. Note that there were only 20 strips in 2008. The last year was really dominated by Larisa since she was the main hero of the very long story arc The Divine Comedy. Her percentage is further skewed by her appearence in almost all of the 17 simpler MS Paint Adventure inspired strips of that story arc. Nonetheless, all our regular supporting characters have once again appeared at least in two strips each last year.

You can click on the images for larger versions.

Main characters occurrence frequency 2008 to 2016

Supporting characters occurrence frequency 2008 to 2016

Number of new strips per year:

  • 2008: 20
  • 2009: 105
  • 2010: 107
  • 2011: 106
  • 2012: 104
  • 2013: 100
  • 2014: 104
  • 2015: 104
  • 2016: 115 (incl. 17 MSPA inspired strips)

They were laughing when Donald Trump promised…

… to make anime real.

So, who’s laughing now?! Checkmate, liberals!

I don’t understand why they made the ad so depressing. I think that it’s a neat concept which should not only appeal to workaholics/otaku/hikikomori without a social life if done right. It should be more like a virtual friend instead of a wife replacement. And there need to be mods to load the appearance and the personality of your favorite characters.

I’d get a virtual Kurisu Makise with whom I could talk about quantum physics in a heartbeat. Of course I’d have to make sure that she doesn’t see my computer monitor or she’d call me a “pervert” all the time. *g*