EVE Online Market Trade Tool | Realtime - Station Trading
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The Little Things: Ships that got left behind, AKA free wins for Team Talos
Eve has a lot of different spaceships, so it is natural for some of them to be better than others, or have different niches. However, there are a few ships that are currently so terrible that they are practically unseen across the EVE meta, be it Highsec, lowsec, nullsec, wormholes, FW, alliance tournaments, meme fittings.... you get the idea. CCP, let's dust some of these ships up to par and get some more sand in the sandbox. Griffin Navy Issue: This bad boy got taken out back and shot by the ECM changes, and nobody bothered to dig up the dead body. Bring this little blasterman back into the brawling meta by adjusting the ECM bonus to be for the Burst Jammer module, giving it a powerful, short range tool to break locks and either gain crucial seconds in a frigate fight or disengage. It is less frustrating for opponents because it isn't as powerful as a targeted jam, and if the opponent is a frigate, they will be able to lock and fight back between burst jammer cycles. Enforcer: Look, I get than this ship isn't the most... important on the roster because it's only available through project discovery. But the Marshal is the best all-around black ops BS in the game, even if it's still overpriced to hell and back due to scarcity. The Enforcer doesn't manage to accomplish any particular task well, nor is it a quality all-rounder like the Marshal. Meh damage, uninspiring tackle bonuses, and a mediocre at best tank in either buffer OR active formats mean than you can't make it great at any specific task, merely okay-ish, and you can't build it into an all-rounder in the same way you can the Marshal. Give it a way to be a quality active-tanked cyno, or a good probing bonused hunter (going around enforcing ratting permits amirite), or SOMETHING. Rook: Another victim of the ECM changes, I don't think I've seen one of these in two years. Previously, like many ECM boats, the Rook relied on it's jams to act as it's tank. Now that jams are more like taunts, the Rook simply doesn't have the survivability to play ball. A range bonus or some defensive options of some kind are really needed. Armageddon Navy Issue: Go watch Stitch Kaneland's most recent youtube video, it's got some good stuff. But the TL:DR is that this navy faction battleship is just a worse version of the Abaddon, a T1 battleship, trading worse DPS and worse tank for a marginally relevent cap bonus, a utility high, and some unbonused drones. This ship has a LOT of directions it could go in order to make it good- A tank bonus like Stitch describes, a drone bonus derived from the Armageddon base hull, an extra midslot to differentiate it from the slot layout monotony that is Amarr battleships, particularly all the laser boats that have very marginal differences.
As a newbie station trader, how can I survive after the Broker Relations update?
o7. I'm pretty new to this game (about 2 months), and last month I started trying to learn Jita station trading with 3b capital earned from wormhole exploration. This update makes me excited and panic at the same time. Excited because a new market meta may allow new players compete with veterans since both of them have to craft their trading strategy from scratch. Panic because its hard to predict what'll happen next. Hell, I don't even know whether station trader will still be a viable career after March 10... I'm trying to liquidize all my assets and recover invested ISKs from the market as fast as possible before the update gets implemented. In case station trading is still a thing after the update, I have some questions to consult the EVE community for insight: First question: What third party tool should I use to manage orders and find margin after the change? I'm currently using Evernus, but it seems out of maintenance for quite some time. I suppose it'd be unusable after the change. Second question: Is there any chance for station traders with small capital to survive? It'd be devastating for them every time they get outbid, because the relist cost is just too expensive. They can only hope some big consumers will eventually buy or sell a bunch of stuff and fulfill their deeply buried orders, which means it takes much longer time to earn ISK and the ROI becomes much more unpredictable. It seems that trading becomes more risky and small capital traders may be unable to handle all the uncertainty. Am I getting anything wrong here? Is there any viable alternative strategy for people like me to keep their trading career afloat? Third question: How will the market react to the change before and after the update? I think things will generally become more expensive due to lack of liquidity. Will people stock merchandise and expect to sell high afterward? But for small capital traders like me, it seems more reasonable to gtfo of the market before update to prevent assets from being stuck in buried orders. Thanks for all the answers!
1) There is no strategy to get rich quickly Understandably, when a market has an increase of 10%, 20% and in many cases even figures that exceed 50%, there are many new investors who want to join. But crypto isn’t a get rich quick scheme. This is demonstrated by the fact that, just as they can register a double-digit increase, they can also fall very sharply. Most cryptocurrencies have lost more than 90% from their all-time high (ATH). And this example shows very clearly how not everything that shines is gold. Since this is a highly speculative market there are certainly some people who have become very rich, while others have lost everything. History teaches us that an asset cannot grow forever, sooner or later it will collapse. Trading with cryptocurrencies is risky. As for bitcoin (BTC) it has happened several times in history. 2) Inexperienced people should engage in daily trading Most crypto traders consider daily trading. Many people try it every day, some of them with success while others fail. First of all, it is necessary to consider the lifestyle that is the result of daily cryptocurrency trading. Intra-day trading is a real job. It is not possible to do two full-time jobs efficiently. Leave everything to start trading cryptocurrencies without knowledge is very risky. The cryptocurrency market operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round. There is no weekend, Christmas or New Year’s Eve. It is a difficult, stressful and not always profitable job in which emotion plays a fundamental role. The problem with day-trading is that the market can operate irrationally in the short-term, and one must always fight against emotions such as fear and greed, in order to be able to generate profits. 3) The problem of Margin Trading with crypto Margin trading involves borrowing money on the very same investment platform, and leveraging it. For example, if one wants to make a 10x leverage, for every dollar of price increase initially traded, one will get a cash return of 10 dollars. Similarly, for every dollar lost, compared to the price initially set, there will be a loss corresponding to 10 dollars. 4) Avoid short trading operations with cryptocurrencies The termshortingmeansbettingon the loss of value of an asset, and it is a useful tool within the markets. The main problem is that we are operating in a once again a highly volatile market. But not only that, another concern is that behaving in this way leads to being a day trader, as the price to keep an eye on should be in a short time frame.
Why I am investing in Ocean Protocol tl;dr Unlocking data for AI Partnered with; Unilever, Roche, Johnson&Johnson, Aviva, MOBI (BMW, Ford, GM) Currently at $0.03, IEO price $0.12, ICO price $0.2. Staking coming Q2. THE PROBLEM The world has a data problem. The more we create, the more we are forced to entrust it all to fewer data monopolies to profit from. Data is also siloed, and generally hosted on proprietary databases across vast systems, geographies and business units. Whilst there have been fixes and APIs that have helped improve the sharing of corporate and public data, fundamentally this doesn’t change the fact that client-server architecture and corporate IT networks are inherently designed to prevent data sharing. Regulation and privacy laws combine to make organisations concerned about sharing data both internally and publicly unless forced to do so. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the US or the Data Protection Act in the UK explicitly state how and what data can and cannot be shared. But these are complicated policies. The technical difficulty of implementing them, combined with bad UX means people err on the side of caution when approaching these issues. There is simply no incentive to outweigh the risk and hassle of sharing data. Even where sharing is encouraged, current infrastructure makes monetising data through open source licensing complex and equally difficult to enforce. So ultimately, you are left with two options: give your data away for free (which what most individuals do) or hoard it and see if you can make sense of it at some time in the future (which is what most companies do). Neither is very efficient or effective. The consequence is a few increasingly powerful companies get the vast majority of data at little cost, and large amounts of valuable data are sat dormant in siloed databases. Simply put, there is no economic incentive to share data. This is a massive issue in the AI market (expected to be worth $70 billion in 2020 according to BoA Merrill). The best AI techniques today, such as deep learning, need lots (and lots) of quality and relevant datasets to deliver any kind of meaningful value. Starving most new entrants (such as startups and SMEs) of the ability to compete. AI expertise and talent is expensive and hard to come by, typically concentrating within organisations that already have the data to play with or promise to generate vast quantities of it in the future. Companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Baidu swallow up almost all the best talent and computer science and AI PhDs before they even come onto the jobs market. This creates a self-propagating cycle, increasingly benefiting a few established organisations who are able to go on to dominate their respective markets, extracting a premium for the priviledge. Think of Facebook & Google in the Ad Market, Amazon for Retail, now imagine that happening across every single industry vertical. Data leads to data network effects, and subsequent AI advantages which are extremely hard to catch up with once the flywheel starts. The way things are going, the driver-less car market will likely consolidate around one single software provider. As old industries like education, healthcare and utilities digitize their operations and start utilizing data, the same will likely happen there too. The benefits of the 4th Industrial Revolution are in the hands of fewer and fewer organisations. Currently the expectation is that companies, rather than trying to compete (if they want to stay in business), are expected to concede their data to one of the big tech clouds like Amazon or Microsoft to be able to extract value from it. Further extending the suppliers’ unfair advantage and increasing their own dependency. Look at autonomous vehicles, German manufacturers unable to compete with Silicon Valley’s AIs for self driving cars could be left simply making the low-value hardware whilst conceding the higher-value (and margin) software to companies that drive the intelligence that control them. I’ve always argued companies don’t want Big Data. They want actionable intelligence. But currently most large organisations have vast dumb data in silos that they simply don’t know what to do with. But what if… they could securely allow AI developers to run algorithms on it whilst keeping it stored encrypted, on-premise. And open up every database at a ‘planetary level’ and turn them into a single data marketplace. Who would own or control it? To be frank, it would require unseen levels of trust. Data is generally very sensitive, revealing and something you typically would not want to share with your competitors. Especially in say, consumer health how could that be possible with complex privacy laws? What’s needed is a decentralised data marketplace to connect AI developers to data owners in a compliant, secure and affordable way. Welcome to Ocean Protocol. Why decentralised and tokenised? Primarily because of the need for the provenance of IP, affordable payment channels, and the ensure no single entity becomes a gatekeeper to a hoard of valuable data. Gatekeeper, in the sense that they can arbitrarily ban or censor participants but also to avoid the same honeypot hacking problems we encounter in today’s centralised world. But aren’t there already decentralised data market projects? The Ocean team have focused their design on enabling ‘exchange protocols’, resulting in massive potential for partnerships with other players in the domain. As investors in IOTA, understanding how this could work with their Data Marketplace is an interesting case in point. INNOVATIONS What we like most about Ocean is they have been deploying many of the constituent parts that underpin this marketplace over the last 4 years via a number of initiatives which they are now bringing together into one unified solution: (digital ownership & attribution) (high throughput distributed database to allow for high throughput transactions) (Scalability – build on proven BigchainDB / IPDB technology for “planetary scale”) (blockchain-ready, community-driven protocol for intellectual property licensing) What is being added is a protocol and token designed to incentivize and program rules and behaviours into the marketplace to ensure relevant good quality data is committed, made available and fairly remunerated. The design is prepared for processing confidential data for machine learning and aggregated analysis without exposing the raw data itself. Ocean will facilitate in bringing the processing algorithms to the data through on-premise compute and, eventually, more advanced techniques, like homomorphic encryption, as they mature. OCEAN Token Think of the Ocean Token as the ‘crypto asset’ that serves as the commodity in the data economy to incentivise the mass coordination of resources to secure and scale the network to turn in to actionable intelligence. If Ocean is about trading data, can’t it use an existing cryptocurrency as its token, like Bitcoin or Ether? While existing tokens might serve as a means of exchange, the Ocean protocol requires a token of its own because it uses its a specific form of monetary policy and rewards. Users get rewarded with newly minted tokens for providing high quality, relevant data and keeping it available. This means the protocol requires control over the money supply and rules out using any existing general purpose protocols or tokens. Furthermore, from the perspective of Ocean users, volatility in an uncorrelated token would disrupt the orderly value exchange between various stakeholders in the marketplace they desire. OCEAN Data Providers (Supplying Data) Actors who have data and want to monetise it, can make it available through Ocean for a price. When their data is used by Data Consumers, Data Providers receive tokens in return. OCEAN Data Curators (Quality Control) An interesting concept to Ocean is the application of curation markets. Someone needs to decide what data on Ocean is good and which data is bad. As Ocean is a decentralised system, there can’t be a central committee to do this. Instead, anyone with domain expertise can participate as a Data Curator and earn newly minted tokens by separating the wheat from the chaff. Data Curators put an amount of tokens at stake to signal that a certain dataset is of high quality. Every time they correctly do this, they receive newly minted tokens in return. OCEAN Registry of Actors (Keeping Bad Actors Out) Because Ocean is an open protocol, not only does it need mechanisms to curate data, it needs a mechanism to curate the participants themselves. For this reason a Registry of Actors is part of Ocean, again applying staking of tokens to make good behaviour more economically attractive than bad behaviour. OCEAN Keepers (Making Data Available) The nodes in the Ocean network are called Keepers. They run the Ocean software and make datasets available to the network. Keepers receive newly minted tokens to perform their function. Data Providers need to use one or more Keepers to offer data to the network. BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER Ocean is building a platform to enable a ‘global data commons’. A platform where anyone can share and be rewarded for the data they contribute where the token and protocol is designed specifically to incentivise data sharing and remuneration. So let’s see that in the context of a single use-case: Clinical Trial Data Note: that this use-case is provided for illustrative purposes only, to get a feel for how Ocean could work in practice. Some of the specifics of the Ocean protocol have yet to be finalised and published in the white paper, and might turn out different than described here. Bob is a clinical physician with a data science background who uses Ocean. He knows his industry well and has experience understanding what types of clinical data are useful in trials. Charlie works at a company that regularly runs medical trials. He has collected a large amount of data for a very specific trial which has now concluded, and he believes it could be valuable for others but he doesn’t know exactly how. Charlie publishes the dataset through Ocean and judging its value (based on the cost to produce and therefore replicate), as well as his confidence in its overall quality, he stakes 5 tokens on it (to prove it is his IP, which if people want to use they must pay for). Charlie uses one of the Keeper nodes maintained by his company’s IT department. Bob, as a Data Curator of clinical trial data on Ocean, is notified of its submission, and sees no one has challenged its ownership. By looking at a sample he decides the data is of good quality and based on how broad its utility could be he stakes 10 Ocean tokens to back his judgement. Bob is not alone and quickly a number of other Data Curators with good reputation also evaluate the data and make a stake. By this point a number of AI developers see Charlie’s dataset is becoming popular and purchase it through Ocean. Charlie, Bob and the other curators get rewarded in newly minted tokens, proportional to the amount they staked and the number of downloads. The Keeper node at Charlie’s company regularly receives a request to cryptographically prove it still has the data available. Each time it answers correctly, it also receives some newly minted tokens. When Bob and Charlie signed up to join Ocean, they staked some tokens to get added to the Registry of Actors. Eve also wants to join Ocean. She stakes 100 tokens to get added to The Registry of Actors. Eve is actually a malicious actor. She purchases Charlie’s dataset through Ocean, then claims it’s hers and publishes it under her own account for a slightly lower price. Furthermore, she creates several more “sock puppet” accounts, each with some more tokens staked to join, to serve as Data Curators and vouch for her copy of the dataset. Bob and Charlie discover Eve’s malice. They successfully challenge Eve and her sock puppet accounts in the Registry of Actors. Eve and her sock puppet accounts get removed from the Registry of Actors and she loses all staking tokens. APPROACH, TRACTION & TEAM I am greatly encouraged by the fact that Ocean were aligned to building what we term a Community Token Economy (CTE) where multiple stakeholders ( & ) partner early on to bring together complementary skills and assets. As two existing companies (one already VC backed) they are committing real code and IP already worth several million in value*. *This is an important point to remember when considering the valuation and token distribution of the offering. The open, inclusive, transparent nature of IPDB foundation bodes well for how Ocean will be run and how it will solve complex governance issues as the network grows. I am also impressed with the team’s understanding of the importance of building a community. They understand that networks are only as powerful as the community that supports it. This is why they have already signed key partnerships with XPrize Foundation, SingularityNet, Mattereum, Integration Alpha and ixo Foundation as well as agreeing an MOU with the Government of Singapore to provide coverage and indemnification for sandboxes for data sharing. The team understands that the decentralisation movement is still in its early stages and that collaborative and partnership is a more effective model than competition and going it alone. PLACE IN THE CONVERGENCE ECOSYSTEM STACK Ocean protocol is a fundamental requirement for the Convergence Ecosystem Stack. It is a protocol that enables a thriving AI data marketplace. It is complementary to our other investments in IOTA and SEED both of whom provide a marketplace for machine data and bots respectively. Marketplaces are critical to the development of the Convergence Ecosystem as they enable new data-based and tokenised business models that have never before been possible to unlock value. Distributed ledgers, blockchains and other decentralization technologies are powerful tools for authenticating, validating, securing and transporting data; but it will be marketplaces that will enable companies to build sustainable businesses and crack open the incumbent data monopolies. IOTA, SEED and now Ocean are unlocking data for more equitable outcomes for users.
The effect of 36 hours of no Eve-Central on the rig market (pretty graph included in text post)
Image, as promised To put that into some context, Medium Trimark Armor Pump II is by far the most bought T2 rig in Jita. As such, its price hugs its production costs very tightly; 0.4mil/hslot is around what you'd make manufacturing it, which is a fairly subpar profit. The T2 rig manufacturing business around Jita tends to be very flavor-of-the-week, since manufacturing rigs has such low entry barriers. The instant one particular rig starts giving ~2mil/hslot profits, spreadsheets around the globe light up, and the sell orders in Jita break down into chaos (bottom sell order gets 0.01isked every 30-40 seconds during Jita rush hour). Profits quickly fall off, and everyone moves to the next rig. Well, when Eve-Central went down, all those spreadsheets stopped working. Without spreadsheets to guide them, the usual crowd did not know what to do. And so the price of the most sold rig in Jita literally more than doubled in price (from 22.5mil to 50mil at the peak it hit ~5 hours ago), and manufacturing profits soared to an obscene ~12mil/hslot. Shows just how dependent Eve's markets are on working spreadsheets.
[DISCUSSION] Why Can’t Black Witches Get Some Respect in Popular Culture?
Why Can’t Black Witches Get Some Respect in Popular Culture? Photo-Illustration: Vulture and Photos by WGN and FX . In TV, movies, and real life, women have been at the forefront of the year’s biggest stories — so we’re looking at pop culture’s most wicked depiction of female power. You can learn a lot about the soul of a city by how it treats its dead. New Orleans doesn’t fear death, but has it stitched into the very fabric of its identity. It’s a place where history weighs on your shoulders at every corner. It has a fatalism etched in the twilight, high-pitched revelry that defines its exuberant citizens and their fierce acknowledgment that history is not something you leave behind, but carry with you every day. It’s evident in how voodoo and folk magic aren’t just granted importance by local practitioners, but has become, for better or for worse, a valued tool to pull in tourists. In the summers I spent there as a child, I created a ritual I continue to this day: admiring the beauty and opulence of the mausoleums that pack its cemeteries. One such mausoleum was that of Marie Laveau, the famed Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, buried in Saint Louis Cemetery. Laveau is as elusive a figure as the lineage of New Orleans voodoo itself — much that is known about her is blurred by conjecture and mythology. But what can be substantiated is how Laveau’s story has become deeply interwoven with New Orleans’ identity. Laveau’s visage can be found on murals and T-shirts, the gris-gris bags sold to tourists, and in museums meant to acknowledge the city’s importance within the folk-magic community. https://preview.redd.it/l26rgjrcne941.jpg?width=709&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c6333be234ba90f88def5d9faf258eb0e6acc76d Her influence extends beyond the brutal beauty of the city she called home, seeping into pop culture — including Marvel comics, the Neil Gaiman novel American Gods, and the TV series Lost Girl — that’s interested in giving historical heft to its supernatural explorations, most recently with Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story: Coven, in which Angela Bassett played the revered Voodoo Queen. Laveau encapsulates better than any other historical figure the narrow position black witches hold in the public imagination. (It’s important to note that, to examine this trend, I am using “witches” as a catch-all term for these characters, including rootworkers and voodoo priestesses.) https://preview.redd.it/u39hke6hne941.jpg?width=450&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=bd5fad75becfd4df4bec700331d6c91c625681f6 While their practices — whether Haitian voodou or rootwork — are appropriated to add a flash of exoticism, they often remain thinly drawn figures, pushed to the margins of their respective stories. They are used to incite fear or curiosity in the white imagination, which remains deeply suspicious of black ancestral practices that don’t allow for easy translation. In pop culture, the historical underpinnings of these practices — which were brought to America by slaves trying to fiercely hold onto their own belief systems, even as colonialism tried to beat it out of them — are traded for a simpler, highly exoticized portrayal. This is exacerbated by the fact that there is a yawning chasm in pop-culture history in which black witches are rarely explored. From Naomie Harris’s Pirates of the Caribbean character Tia Dalma to the forever-sidelined Bonnie and her brethren in The Vampire Diaries to the wry teen witch Rochelle in the beloved 1990s cult classic The Craft, the black witches we do see are predominantly sketches, not characters with inferiority, despite the considerable talents of the actresses that bring them to life. https://preview.redd.it/qvt8gtfjne941.jpg?width=1080&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=0fe7d7ddcb3542a72df5bfe396de28c1b2bbfac9 Of course, it should be noted that witches need not be women: Marie Laveau was said to have studied under Dr. John, a fabled New Orleans voodoo figure; film and television history is occasionally punctuated by male practitioners, including Nelsan Ellis’s vulgar grace as Lafayette in True Blood or the folk practices exemplified by Danny Glover’s slippery performance in Charles Burnett’s To Sleep With Anger. But in real life and pop culture, witchcraft is one of the few avenues in which women are exalted and seen as powerful figures to be respected. The lack of powerful black witches in film and TV is a symptom of a larger problem that has existed in America since its very beginning: the fear of black women’s autonomy and prowess. Nowhere are the issues with representation for black witches more stark than when considering those that practice hoodoo, voodoo, or various folk magic. Voodoo — a religion that has two primary strains in Haitian voodou and New Orleans voodoo, which melds the practice with Catholicism — has long been used in horror films to denote “the other.” Take early zombie films like White Zombie (1932), more recent fare, like the sprawling series of Chucky horror films, Lisa Bonet’s sexually overwrought turn in Angel Heart (1987), and The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988). https://preview.redd.it/r4jmq6o8me941.jpg?width=1300&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=836be2b576e187c224c276e4016ad2797a43c920 But despite hoodoo and voodoo’s presence in these narratives, black characters are either opaque or don’t appear at all. As Katrina Hazzard-Donald writes in her in-depth study, Mojo Workin’: The Old African Hoodoo System, “Even in the twenty-first century, unfounded prejudice, misrepresentation, and misunderstanding of traditional African religion still continue. Unfortunately, contemporary popular images, with unlimited power to capture the psyche have continued to be the most powerful tools in reinforcing the older misrepresentations. https://preview.redd.it/gernv384oe941.jpg?width=560&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=673a14e19c3b7a2ea5f33ee7f38bb784d23610da Where these images would be contested and challenged, the African as the human element is simply excluded from the portrayal.” In effect, the history of black witches in film and TV is less one of misrepresentation than of a stunning absence. Of the films where black witches are actually represented, one of the earliest examples is 1934’s Drums O’ Voodoo. In it, the religion is buttressed by a primarily black cast, making it the first horror film to do so. The witch at its heart is voodoo priestess Auntie Hagar (Laura Bowman). While voodoo is somewhat criticized in the film, she proves to be the voice of reason and is blessedly not depicted as a monstrous figure. Unfortunately, since Drums O’Voodoo, voodoo priests and priestesses have mostly been evoked as figures to be scorned, or as outright villains. One of the most egregious examples of this is 2005’s The Skeleton Key. https://preview.redd.it/ydom3dphme941.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=56ef18d59409a3197fad70c590051324103d7226 The Skeleton Key is a deliriously ridiculous horror film that makes little use of its Louisiana setting, hoodoo, or the horror inherent to its premise. But it is a useful, modern example of how black witches are both silenced and used to exemplify the deeply white American fear of black folk magic. The Skeleton Key’s horror comes from its two hoodoo practitioners — Papa Justify (Ronald McCall) and Mama Cecile (Jeryl Prescott) — who have been using the “Conjure of Sacrifice” to possess the bodies of white people for the past 90 years in order to live eternally. https://preview.redd.it/jau06sp6oe941.jpg?width=640&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=2d875ae856f603dbd13367e3f864851f83b40090 What’s frustrating about The Skeleton Key and other films that render black witches in this manner are the thorny racial dynamics the filmmakers skirt entirely. Neither Papa Justify nor Mama Cecile are seen speaking much for themselves when we see them in their original black bodies. And there is something inherently cruel, and boldly callous, about taking the black folk magic that slaves practiced to hold onto their history and twisting it into a method of horror against white people. https://preview.redd.it/amdexoc8oe941.png?width=500&format=png&auto=webp&s=af39269facfafd714102115eacf5183a7fc058f3 In American Horror Story: Coven, Bassett’s take on Marie Laveau is granted more narrative importance and deeper characterization than the hoodoo practitioners seen in The Skeleton Key, but she is ultimately a host of contradictions. She’s an immortal powerhouse, until the narrative calls for her to be easily outdone by her white counterparts. She’s respected in the community, using her abilities to fight against racist strictures, but will also sacrifice her own children and underlings if it will protect her authority. As someone who considers New Orleans my second home, there is something about the portrayal of its ancestral black folk practices, as seen through Laveau, that feels emotionally distant, like a tourist skipping through Bourbon Street at 2 a.m. and believing they have an understanding of the city in all its ragged, blistering complexity. It isn’t merely surface level, it’s a caricature. Of course, Laveau serves gumbo and speaks with an unplaceable accent. It’s an outsider’s understanding of this city and its magic — all flash and little substance. https://preview.redd.it/wga31xvaoe941.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d95ab6b38b1a4d5f35fdcb9da001c43d4265a57d It isn’t that re-imaginings of Laveau, like the one in Coven, are bad in and of themselves. I don’t necessarily want black witches in film and TV to always cleave to realism. But what this portrayal lacks, and what ultimately undoes it, is its lack of a sense of community. Laveau’s willingness to destroy the extremely powerful “Supreme” witch Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) and the immortal racist murderess Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) using any means necessary, even manipulating members of her own community, makes her gestures toward black political resistance hollow. https://preview.redd.it/pz243q4doe941.jpg?width=235&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e62b9e11eb82dbe761475045dbeba9b1d5fe6092 Hoodoo, voodoo, and folk magic of all sorts are deeply tied to community. Trading this dimension of these practices to depict a lone figure, who uses the cover of night to hide her horrific deeds, turns beliefs meant to celebrate our ancestors into fantastical methods, solely used to bring down white people who are deemed troublesome. Beyond Marie Laveau, the most important historical black witch in film and TV is, undoubtedly, Tituba, an enslaved woman who was accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Tituba has appeared in both film versions of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Maid of Salem, and has been name-checked in countless works, most recently portrayed by Ashley Madekwe in the canceled WGN series Salem. Tituba is crucial to understanding how black witches have been framed by pop culture, which makes it startling to learn she likely wasn’t actually a black woman. In reality, Tituba was a South American native who sailed from Barbados. There is no evidence that she even practiced voodoo. But in the wake of high-profile works like The Crucible, voodoo has been irrevocably tied to our understanding of both her and that point in history. As Stacy Schiff writes for Smithsonian Magazine, “Described as Indian no fewer than 15 times in the court papers, she went on to shift-shape herself. As scholars have noted, falling prey to a multi-century game of telephone, Tituba evolved over two centuries from Indian to half-Indian to half-black to black, with assists from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (who seemed to have plucked her from Macbeth), historian George Bancroft and William Carlos Williams. By the time Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible, in 1952, Tituba was a ‘Negro slave.’” She further explains the reasoning for this dramatic shift, writing, “Her history was written by men, working when African voodoo was more electrifying than outmoded English witchcraft. All wrote after the Civil War, when a slave was understood to be black. Miller believed Tituba had actively engaged in devil worship; he read her confession — and the 20th-century sources — at face value.” Tituba has become an outsize figure in pop culture’s approach to black witches not because of a sincere interest in the interiority of these women, but a desire for sensationalism easily wrought by creating a simplistic portrayal of voodoo. It shouldn’t be surprising that the black witches and priestesses who feel the most richly explored and understood are ones written by black women. In Queen Sugar, the television series brought to the screen by Ava DuVernay, Rutina Wesley plays Nova Bordelon, an activist based in New Orleans who also is a hoodoo rootworker respected by her community. Nova’s practices aren’t the center of her characterization, and Queen Sugar is steadfastly based in realism rather than the supernatural. But this quality adds dimension to Nova’s story; a tender ritual she does with her sister in the season-two episode “Caroling Dusk” is beautiful to behold for its simplicity and how carefully it is threaded into the scene. The ritual is used as both a cleansing and christening of Charley’s new home. Charley looks at Nova somewhat incredulously as she lights herbs and lets the smoke waft through the apartment, with Nova using feathers to guide the smoke into various corners. Then there’s Beyoncé, who, while not explicitly playing a priestess in her magnum opus Lemonade, used various Yoruba traditions and folk practices as visual inspiration. But you have to go back 20 years to find the most in-depth, authentic, and moving portrait of black witches: the 1997 independent film Eve’s Bayou. Eve’s Bayou is a film I’ve cherished since childhood. It centers on a prosperous Creole community in 1960s rural Louisiana, seen from the perspective of 10-year old Eve Batiste (Jurnee Smollett) as she recounts the story of her father’s death, which she feels responsible for. The witches in the story are Eve’s aunt, Mozelle Batiste Delacroix (Debbi Morgan), and the powerful Elzora (Diahann Carroll). Eve’s Bayou gently teases the supernatural, but is remarkably accurate when it comes to its approach to rootwork. In the film, the term “voodoo” is inaccurately used, but I’ve always seen that as being due to the story being from the perspective of a 10-year-old who doesn’t know the particular grooves of these practices. Of all the characters in the film, it’s Mozelle who proves to be the most fascinating. Mozelle is popular among locals who are looking to understand the troubles of their present or the course of their future. She advises them with various hoodoo practices and has a fascinating history of her own — every man she’s ever loved has died by violent ends. She’s quick-witted, passionate, and fiercely independent. Most importantly, she has a quality lacking in other black witches in pop culture: a sense of humanity. Mozelle’s humanity is rendered in how deeply she cares for her community and her value within it, as various people turn to her in times of need. Actress Debbi Morgan lends a quiet strength and fierce empathy to the character. But the writing also gives her great dimension: She’s witnessed watching over Eve, helping her sister-in-law, performing rootwork, and navigating the deaths of the men she’s loved. One passage I was particularly struck by in Mojo Workin’ crystallizes what makes Eve’s Bayou so moving compared to other depictions of black witches: “As Hoodoo developed, it was known in all the slave community and was a part of the psychic structure of every individual enslaved there. It addressed the needs of the slave community and, later, the free African American community; it integrated psychological support, spiritual direction, physical strength, and medicinal treatment. It helped define the cultural uniqueness of the old black belt nation, its members, and their descendants.” Hoodoo and (New Orleans) voodoo have been warped over time by the opportunistic confidence artists who have added it to their arsenal. But they’ve also been undermined and disrespected by one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of white patriarchal structures that continue to otherize blackness: film and TV. Writer-director Kasi Lemmons’s artistry and sincere respect for the knotted culture of black Creoles in rural Louisiana proves how rich this storytelling can be when it actually explores the interior lives of black witches in American history, rather than using them as thinly drawn vehicles for exoticism and horror. It may very well be naïve to expect historical truths and cultural sensitivity when it comes to filmmakers approaching black witches, whether they practice Wicca, hoodoo, or New Orleans voodoo. But as black political identity has become a vital criterion for how pop culture is judged, it seems foolish to ignore this lineage. I yearn to see black witches who are bold and unyielding, venomous and tenderhearted, solemn rural practitioners and silver-tongued city dwellers. I yearn to see black witches given interiority and narrative importance like their white counterparts, whether that be in prickly dramas that acknowledge the thorny history of the South or archly constructed supernatural fare. I yearn to see the culture of my ancestors explored in all its vibrant complexity, not whittled down in order to find new ways to frighten white people about the cultures they’ve had a hand in demonizing since this country’s beginning. Article by Angelica Jade Bastién #hoodoo #blackwitches #africanamericanwitches #neworleans #neworleanswitches #blackwithcesonfilm
The Data (in spreadsheet) The spreadsheet includes a search function that allows you to search for 1 or 2 children in combination across all of the data. If there are two children in the search fields, it will assume you want to match both and will not highlight teams with only one match. TO SEARCH: You must go to File > Make A Copy in order to use the search functions, as the above link is for viewing only. It will copy the sheet to your google drive account for editing. This week, the game has given us a new carta that will be relevant in pvp:
Summer Festival Night: available from mission pass (both a normal and a prism copy) and from blood gem summon. It provides 220 bleed damage (230 if prism) in PVP at 0 uncaps. This is 70 (80) more than High Jump provides us when fully uncapped, so at full uncaps Summer Festival Night will be a substantial boon to Jupiter's potential damage. Will it impact his utilization, though? That remains to be seen, as currently it is quite difficult to obtain, and players using Jupiter will have to dance around the increasing number of cleanses countering him. We will likely start seeing this impact in phase 2 of the fireworks collection event when more players begin getting them.
Childs and Replacements:
Chang'e: Never replaced.
Eve: Last week, 94 teams were using Eve. This week, we have 93. She is replaced at ranks 9, 17, 23, 28, 53, 72, and 81. 4 of the teams not using Eve were in the top 50; more than half.
Rank 9 is a team seen before: Willow, Olga, Chang'e, Moa, and Syrinx. This is a stall team, with no attacker, that uses a +3 Willow, but everyone else is +6. Willow does not cleanse bleed, so Jupiter would ultimately be this team's downfall. A +3 Willow provides an 81% chance to cleanse poison and heal for 1 tick of poison (in most cases, this will be ~1700 given 4* Moa carta). In comparison, Bast provides an 85% chance at +6 to cleanse both bleed and poison but does not heal for a tick of either. It's an interesting trade-off, I think. Rank 17 does not provide any direct replacement for Eve and instead focuses on really big sustain by pairing Leda with Maat, and using Olga, Chang'e, and Dana. It would be interesting to see which of these units are being buffed by Chang'e. Olga is almost certainly one of them, but an argument could be made for the other to be Dana, Leda, or Maat and none of them would necessarily be "wrong." No cleanse, though, so this team is likely hoping to just out-heal everything. Rank 23 is a player we're all familiar with. He uses Moa, Chang'e, Brownie, Epona, and Syrinx. From experience, I can tell you that Moa and Chang'e are this team's highest attack, so they get Chang'e speed buff. Brownie gives speed buff to everyone else, so this entire team has near-permanent speed buffing and shuts down enemy highest attack with Moa. Potent combination, but very difficult to emulate as it uses 2 different limited children. Rank 28 is a stall team using Olga and Lan Fei. This player recognizes the prevalence of DoT in our current meta and brings Makoto for this reason; she always provides a HoT to 3 lowest HP allies, but provides bonus HoT when those targets have DoTs on them. Beyond that, it is a fairly normal stall. I'm not sure at this point whether that bonus HoT is more or less valuable than simply bringing a cleanse, but the rank speaks for itself at least. Impossible, at this point in the game, to emulate this comp unless you already have the Makoto at some pretty high uncaps. Rank 53 is a team seen before a few times. This player uses Thanatos, Hestia, Dana, Chang'e, and Syrinx. This player packs both bleed and poison from alternatives to the established meta, but in return has a bit more on-demand throughput in the form of quad taps from Thanatos. Hestia herself is weak to water units and so is possibly a questionable choice in this state of the game, but this player has consistently shown up in this data so something must be going right. At the very least, she does extra damage to enemy debuffers and so a case can be made for her given how often debuffers are used in this bracket. Ranks 72 and 81 are both Pantheon comps and both run Siren and Abaddon. One uses Dana and the other uses Epona. Grass does extra damage to water, and crits being crits... well, these teams will leave a lot of bloody water units in their wake. It does suffer from the problem that there is no stall at all and so if advantage is gained by the opponent, there is a non-negligible chance it will be a loss unless it can very quickly tap down the biggest threats. Epona on one of the teams certainly helps with that, as weak point crits with lifesteal are certainly quite potent.
Dana: she has been on an uptick recently, as at our last check-in she was on 79 teams. This time around (and last week as well) she is on 88 teams. Of her 12 replacements, only 2 are using another form of tank and both of them are Epona. One of the Epona teams is completely meta aside from the swap of Dana to Epona (rank 56), and the other is one of the above Pantheon comps.
Ranks 2, 9, 21, and 80 are all variations of stall teams. 2 and 9 use Moa and Olga, while 21 uses Lan Fei and Olga, and 80 uses Nirrti and Lan Fei. They all use Syrinx, but rank 9 uses a cleanse as well in the form of Willow. 5 of the other teams (ranks 12, 35, 61, 82, and 86) are almost all highly aggressive. They all use Jupiter, but other than their lack of Dana, they stand out in basically no way at all. Rank 35 uses a cleanse, Bast, and no other healing, while all the rest use Syrinx. The last team to not use Dana is rank 23, the team talked about above using Brownie.
Olga: his utilization the week of and week after Central Fiction came out had stayed relatively stable around 80%, but this week a drop has been seen. He now makes the cut on 72 teams, a drop of 7% over last week. This is likely due only to Central Fiction and players beginning to get them appropriately uncapped and leveled. 40% silence evasion is nothing to sneeze at, so no matter how you slice it, his usefulness is lower than it was 3 weeks ago. Time will tell if he stabilizes around where is now or continues to drop.
Listing off every team not using him, and anyone after him in this list, is getting a little impractical given how many there are, so this will be a little condensed. 16 of these teams are top 50 and 12 are bottom 50. The largest concentration of them, split into groups of 25, is in the top 25 with 32% of the Olga-less teams. 3 of these teams use Moa, with 2 of them in the top 10. The replacement makes a lot of sense as Moa provides a similar result while targeting highest attack instead of random targets, but Moa being a limited child makes this difficult for many players to pull off. With nearly every active player having received 2 copies of Central Fiction, I expect that this choice of replacement might start spiking in the future if there are more +6 Moas in other players' inventories. The third Moa is the aforementioned rank 23, so all 3 of them are considerably high. Of the rest of the replacements, 6 use Eve/Jupitehealer or cleanse of some kind, and so are considerably aggressive. The ratio is rather small, though, being 6 out of 28 likely due largely to the prevalence of bleed cleanse. This will be touched on later. There are a couple interesting teams left to mention. One uses 2 cleanses at rank 19. Bast and Willow. In a perfect world, Bast would do the job all the time but unfortunately it is not a perfect world and different DoTs will land at different times. There is some value in doubling the effectiveness of your cleansing, but there will have to be some choices made in which cleanse to use when as there will certainly be value in either clearing 2 DoTs at once or clearing just 1 for the extra heal, and then the other. One uses Nine at rank 50, and as of this week is the last remaining Nine in the top 100. This could mean that at this point in the game, she doesn't hold up as well as some hoped. Her first week in the game had 5 users in the top 100, and she has dropped by 2 in each of the two weeks since then down to her current 1 team. For the rest of the 17 teams not mentioned, the majority use an extra attacker. There are a few notable ones that use Nirrti or Lan Fei instead, but are otherwise standard comps. 2 of them are previously mentioned Pantheon comps.
Jupiter: His utilization dropped significantly last week. Two weeks ago, the last post I made on the top 100, he was in 48 teams which was already a drop from 56. Last week, he fell down to 39. This week, he has gained 1 and now sits on 40 teams.
At this point, I would no longer consider him meta, but there is a consideration to be made: the new carta. We won't see its effects just yet as a) extremely few people have it and b) the ones who do likely haven't uncapped or leveled it appropriately yet. He may see a spike, but being that there are ample tools for dealing with him we may just not. At best, you'll play with Jupiter and avoid teams with cleanse, and at worst you'll see your DoTs fall off early to the ever-increasing utilization of cleanse. Whether his utilization increases or not, though, getting his DoT off your allies will be even more important as more people get this carta. For that reason, I expect cleanse to be more prevalent than it is already. This is a fair place to start talking about that in more detail, as well. When I started tracking this data, there were only 15 teams using cleanse - 14 if you exclude Willow since we're on the topic of bleed. Every week, without fail, Bast has been included in more teams. There are now more Basts than there were total cleanses 4 weeks ago: 20 Bast. Including Erato, there are 28 teams using a cleanse that negates bleed. 33 if we count Willow, and that is a significant portion of teams... in fact, it is higher than the number of teams using either Syrinx or Maat combined. The DoT meta is on its way out if these trends are to be believed. Cleanse and DoT go hand in hand, though, and as more teams drop Jupiter it is likely that cleanse, too, will drop. There is a large caveat, though: it's likely that without a significant shift in the way the majority of players play, these two will be in a balancing act together until one comes. Other Units
Nirrti and Lan Fei: they are both on the rise lately, with 10 teams between the two of them. With their nature being to stall the enemy, they tend to either pair with or replace Olga. 2 of the Lan Feis pair with Olga, one replaces Olga, and the other pairs with Nirrti. Similarly, 2 Nirrtis pair with Olga, while 3 replace him entirely.
There aren't really any novel team comps to do with either of these as they already fit an established niche, but it is certainly possible they will both rise in popularity if Olga continues to drop.
Siren: She is on the rise lately. Last week there were 2, and this week there are 4. 2 of them have the obvious pair with Pantheon, but the 2 others are doing something else and both don't use Olga.
Rank 73 goes along with Jupiter and Eve. This may well be one of the most aggressive teams I've ever seen in its sheer ability to dunk on squishy opponents, and this player is smart to at least bring Dana to help keep these units alive a little bit longer. It brings no cleanse, though, so either it is avoiding Jupiter (as it is very hard to avoid Eve) or it is hoping to kill DoTs as soon as possible. The same is true for the other team at rank 96, but using Thanatos instead of Jupiter even though the poisons don't stack. In return, it gets even more quad-tapping to dunk enemy units quickly. Power The highest power in all of top 100 went up marginally, but the lowest overall went down a point. Previously, the lowest was a team with 78787 power that has only gained 50 power in the last 3 weeks. That team, still represented in the top 100 today, has full uncaps, so the only real explanation is that either this player is not leveling skills or is not leveling equipment/carta, or both. Conversely, the new lowest (77901) is one of the Pantheon comps with only 4 uncaps on Siren and 3 on Epona at rank 72. The average, highest, and lowest power in the top 10 all went down with the highest having the highest drop at about 2%. Everything in the top 50 (which includes the top 10) went up on average but not by much, except the lowest which stayed the same. That one that stayed the same is the aforementioned 78787 team. The bottom 10 has a new highest with 96959 which is almost a 3% increase. Most of this bracket went up on average. The bottom 50 (which includes the bottom 10) almost all went down on average, from very marginally (-0.07%) to substantially (-7.40%). Interestingly, the mean overall showed a change so small it doesn't even register as a fraction of a percent. Only 3 power up. Raw Statistics
4 teams use no attacker. They are all in the top 30. They are varied in their team composition, with 2 stall teams, one super speedy team, and one massive sustain team.
33 teams are now using a cleanse, meaning Bast, Erato, or Willow. Willow accounts for 5 of them, so 28 teams are equipped to counter Jupiter if that part specifically is important to you.
10 teams use no tank of any kind. These teams are all outlined above.
36 teams are using no heals of any kind (also excluding Epona's lifesteal).
Conclusion Overall, an interesting week. It would have been real nice to get some early data on how the new soul carta would impact things, but that's just not the way things went down. I'll likely come up with another analysis when phase 2 of firework collection starts and the week after as well to see if any changes to Jupiter's utilization begin to show. Either way, the data for each week will be logged even if no post follows, so you can always look at that. Please let me know if there is anything you would like to see changed/added to the spreadsheet and I will do my best to accommodate in future weeks. The same is true for things you might like to see pointed out in the analyses going forward. Enjoy!
Last month I ran the NYC Half Marathon and the report I wrote covers a great deal of the training cycle and background from my injury recovery. tl;dr: in the middle of the most consistent block of training I’ve ever had, I was disappointed with not going under 1:10. The course was more difficult than I expected and I still left with a 22sec PR. I was particularly upset with my performance on the hills on that course. Just two days later I ran our club’s infamous hill workout and crushed it. My spirits were lifted, I felt strong and so that weekend’s long run I decided to try my first ever true progression run. Cutting down from 7:00min/mi each mile, I got all the way to MP at mile 16 and then couldn’t hold. Once again, the confidence gauge swung back the other way. I could feel I was peaking in fitness for the volume I was handling. It was time to go back to the workout no_more_luck and I completed a year ago, first discussed on 1609pod; 1mi @ MP / 4mi @ HMP / 1 mi hard and no breaks in between. It’s basically a controlled race effort that I thought really prepared me last year. Well this year I ran it more consistent and harder every split. Once again, I started to feel very good about my fitness. Of course this roller coaster of running antics isn’t finished yet, the following weekend (now just over two weeks from Boston) a teammate and I ran the first 22ish miles of the Boston course. The temperature got to the mid 60s and sunny. The pace the whole way was controlled and on the faster side, then we got to the Newton Hills. I originally wanted to tempo them, but struggled. I was glad I got a course preview on a warmer day, just in case, and had forgotten how tough those hills are. I luckily had a very uneventful taper from there on (unlike Chicago), which meant plenty of time to fixate on the weather forecast!
I really wanted a PR at Boston, like I really really wanted it. I wanted to prove that my injury problems hadn’t affected me long term. I wanted to justify the incredible training cycle and effort I put in. I wanted to break new ground in the marathon and not let my PR age past a year old. I was hungry and ready. Returning as a veteran, I knew the pitfalls of the Boston course: fast start, Newton Hills, teasing downhill finish. The rest to me was a matter of dialing into a rhythm and staying relaxed. I planned to stay further toward the back of my corral to hold me back a little. Then find a pack with similar goals to work with until the hills. Once there, I would conserve and try and check my Stryd if I remembered (spoiler: I didn’t really, but it was a very useful training device) holding back until at most 4mi to go. The weather forecast early on called for a slightly better version of 2018 up until Friday. I packed gloves, a sweater, foil blankets, and more items that would be far less essential on race day. The predicted temperature rose and rose to mid 60’s and rain was no longer guaranteed. I worried about the humidity and decided to take water at every stop. With wind forecasts calling for a tailwind and conditions much improved from last year, I settled on an aggressive 2:26 time goal.
Just like last year, my girlfriend and I stayed at my friend’s place in Cleveland Circle and I ran to the Jamaica Pond Parkrun in the morning. There I saw some familiar BARTC crew (floccilus , iggywing, ForwardBound, zondo) and some new faces (j1mmah , thepickledjalapeno). Conversations with Zond0 and iggywing about ultras made Monday’s task seem easier in comparison, which was both relieving and terrifying. After my friends and I stopped at Tracksmith, though too late to get a runner’s goodie bag. I signed up for Hare AC just in case I hit a PR for the store credit bonus and then we headed to Fenway for the Red Sox/Orioles game. It was my first baseball game in over 15 years and it was a lot of fun. We all had dinner at Publick House and then went to Abbott’s Frozen Custard before going to bed at a decent hour. I took the T back to Tracksmith in the morning for the shakeout run with even more ARTCers (halpinator, Screwbuhavard2, moongrey, d1rtrunn3r). I finally got to meet anbu1538, an event two years in the making and was surprised to see runjunrun. I stalked him recently on Strava for hints that he would be in Boston, but came up with nothing. I got picked up at Tracksmith and went to Bagelsaurus for a late breakfast before heading to expo. There, we randomly found no_more_luck and then met CatzerzMcGee and ForwardBound at the Stryd booth, which was really the only thing I cared about seeing (Catz had a spare Stryd charger I needed..). The emotion and anxiety I was feeling was far less than last year, until I had my bib number in hand. From then, it was starting to feel very real, very quickly. In the evening, I had a home cooked pasta dinner with my friends and watched the Boston Marathon documentary for the first time. I loved learning the history of the race, it really was motivating. When the movie was over, it was time to settle in for bed. I was pissed I had to miss the Game of Thrones final season premier, but figured I should probably prioritize the marathon. I never need too much sleep on the eve of big races. I woke up in a panic at 2:30am thinking I had overslept and was relieved I had at least a couple more hours to sleep and with how rested I already felt. I finally got ready a little before 4:30, fixed some oatmeal and put on my racing kit. I decided to go with what I wore for breaking my mile PR because it was my favorite performance of the training cycle. The warmer forecast also made split shorts more appealing than usual. I had a bowl of oatmeal, made my Nuun and Maurten bottles for later and was ready to go. My plan was to avoid many of the mistakes I made last year. For instance, I had packed a Gu at the bottom of my start line bag and it exploded onto everything else. I made sure gels were the last thing in this time. I also never brought spare shoes for Athlete’s Village, which becomes a mud pit with any sort of moisture in the ground. Needless to say, I addressed that too. Some mishaps were out of my control like my Uber driver getting a flat tire, but I still opted for Lyft this time. I met two of my teammates at the gear check and we just barely missed the first wave of buses. Right on queue, the rain that had been relatively gentle started to downpour. The temperature was warm enough for it not to be too uncomfortable and I was also wearing a hooded poncho, but my socks get drenched. We finally boarded the bus and I went to turn on my headphones, which had been charging all night. I tried to bring a pair last year for some pre-race pump up music but the battery was too low. This year they just never paired with my phone. I hadn’t had issues with them in hundreds of training miles, it was just unfortunate. At first, Athlete’s Village looked unchanged from last year thanks to all of the mud, but the clearing skies and happy faces on the runner were surely much different. The further into the field you went, the less mud there was too. It also wasn’t a necessity to huddle under the tents like Antarctic penguins this year so my teammates and I stood around, stretched and chatted before the call to the start. We were all in wave 1, but queued up at the back of the masses trying to funnel through the fence. By the time we got to the port-o-potties, all lines were so long. We worried even with about twenty minutes to the start, it would be cutting it too close. One teammate took the lead in exclaiming a bathroom break was such a necessary inevitability, it would just happen... because it has to. Not much of a Taoist myself, I started to slightly panic and contemplated backtracking to the port-o-potties. The further up toward my corral I went, the less distractions and more officers there were. I saw a runner hunched in the corner next to adjacent barriers with a water bottle. Having a bottle in hand myself, I waited for him to finish, got into position and… the national anthem started. With my back turned to three people in uniform I had to ehem put something away. With business taken care of, I found my place at the back of corral 1 and got ready to go.
Miles  to 
The race started and I got trapped in the inside crowd of the narrow road. I popped out to the right, running over curbs and into yards to pass slower runners and then finally found space to settle in. I wanted to be conservative through the downhill start. I was still passing waves of runners when I reached a familiar face from a number of my past marathons. I hadn’t seen this person since the beginning of last Boston and was pleased to hear he went on to finish not far behind me and had a successful NYC Marathon. Then my right foot felt loose in my shoe. I looked down an noticed not even a mile in, my shoe had come untied! This same situation occured at mile 2 last year on the other foot. So much for not making the same mistakes. I composed myself knowing there was plenty of race to make up ground, but still wound up with a fast mile 2. Early on, my GPS watch was underestimating miles by a decent amount. I focused only on my instantaneous pace and elapsed time at mile markers. 5:25 - 5:35min/mi felt very comfortable so that became my standard to try and maintain. I caught up to a huge pack of GBTC runners trying to go sub 2:30. It was a good indication that I was back where I should be. Miles 3 and 4 came by swiftly and I tried to mark how little time and effort it seemed to take so I could draw on that for the final 3-4mi. Not much was going through my mind at this point, though I did start developing a blister on my big toe early on. I wanted to stay relaxed and to help, I gave high-fives to any kid or adult with their arm out. I doubled up on SPI belts to carry my phone (for the pre-race music…) and with my watch linked, I was getting pacing updates and advice from no_more_luck. That kind of connection was pretty cool and being able to view the occasional text of encouragement was worth the added weight of having my phone. Just past the 10k mark in Framingham, my Manchester Running Company teammates were cheering on the runners as they went by. I immediately spotted fusfeld and just started... posing I guess? Not my most flattering race pic, but it truly captured my delight at that point of the race. (Disclaimer: mile splits are taken from my GPS watch with 10sec/mi added) 5:57 - 5:24 - 5:32 - 5:32 - 5:38 - 5:33 - 5:27
Miles  to [13.1]
Around mile 8 I overheard two runners discussing 5:40 pace and overall strategy. I asked what their goal was and they replied “tick off 5:40 until the hills, then cut loose and dip under 2:26”. That sounded perfect for me! The GPS on my watch continued to drift and I had no experience relying of Stryd for this kind of racing situation so sticking with them seemed to be a smart move. I didn’t take a Maurten gel until after mile 9. My GI issues during the NYC half were definitely linked to over fueling on Maurten so I decided once per hour would be adequate. 5:30min/mi on my watch still felt very nice. We approached the Scream Tunnel and it was completely different from last year. Instead of a small group huddled under umbrellas with half extended arms, the line of women leaning over for a kiss and enthusiastically waving clever and suggestive signs seemed to stretch a half mile. It was a huge pick-me-up that left my ear ringing. I was still steadily passing runners as we approached halfway. The field was much more spread out and faster than last year so I always felt like I had someone close by. I came through the half in 1:13:08. I would’ve been close to a HM PR had I not stopped to tie my shoe! 5:42 - 5:31 - 5:37 - 5:37 - 5:30 - 5:31 (1:13:08)
Miles  to 
I made it through the next mile just fine, however I realized I was drifting more into the 5:35-5:45min/mi range at times and had my first thought of “oh, this really is some effort”. It wasn’t anything close to a wall, though definitely something to note. I didn’t hold back on the downhill approach to the Newton Hills. I took my second Maurten just after mile 16 and stayed calm through the first hill. Although I wasn’t checking my Stryd, the concept of power output over elevation changes was fresh in my mind. I wanted to exert no more than I needed to get through the next 4+ miles. The sun was shining a lot brighter at this point, bringing the temperature up with it. I was worried going into the race about how I would handle this situation, though it honestly didn’t seem to affect me that much. I had been keeping well hydrated and never felt either too warm or too cool for the entirety of the race. I usually struggle a lot in humid, warm weather especially this early in the year. However, during the Tracksmith shakeout, anbu1538 talked to me dealing with similar conditions in his BQ race and Florida heat in general, and it was assuring. The hills seemed to last forever. By the time I was on the third, I was partially convinced it was Heartbreak. Of course, I knew I had barely hit mile 19, I knew the Heartbreak Running Company store was at the summit, and I knew my parents were going to be watching around mile 21… on Heartbreak Hill, that didn’t stop a voice in my head that tried to tell me otherwise. Another voice called out, "TEEGLY!", which I later found out was hollanding. Soon enough, there it was . I still wouldn’t say I hit a wall at this point, but I really struggled. My parents cheering me on helped, however it took a lot of effort to fall back into a rhythm heading toward BC. 5:35 - 5:28 - 5:29 - 5:35 - 5:27 - 5:48 - 5:40
Miles  to [26.2]
For a number of miles now I was passing runners with yellow, named bibs. I took that as an encouraging sign. However, just because I could beat the struggling elites didn’t mean I wasn’t getting passed myself. I took my third Maurten and traded places back and forth with a few runners. I watched one of the two guys with the sub 2:26 goal take off, the other nowhere to be seen. Getting to Cleveland Circle was taking longer than I thought. My friends would be spectating there so I was anxious to get the motivational boost. I got a taste of that from Zond0 at BC and then jibasaur around the turn from Comm Ave to Beacon. I found another gear and passed my friend’s apartment to loud cheers. I didn’t want to repeat last year’s mistake of cutting loose there with 4mi still to go, so I tried to remain calm. Physically my body was starting to hurt and I was losing it. My easier pace became the only pace I was comfortable maintaining for the remaining distance (which felt SO much longer than the opening 4mi -- go figure). At mile 23 I tried everything to convince myself to just suck it up and drop just a few more 5:30’s. ”Go stick with those guys!” ”You didn’t get this far to hit a wall now!” “Do it for Dirk!” ”Unleash the power of the pyramid!” … I was desperate and nothing was working. Not even a text of “GO! GO! GO!” from my fiancée wasn’t enough, though I did appreciate it! More friends were planning to cheer me on at St. Mary’s, with under two miles to go. I gauged the effort I had left to give and decided I’d only had enough for a kick. I coasted past mile 25 and spotted djlemma in rough shape, made the right onto Hereford easy and then exploded into Boylston. By that point I knew even 2:27:XX was gone so my only concern was to PR by whatever margin. I could feel my form breaking down with the uptick in speed. I didn’t pay attention to anyone around me, eyes just fixated on the finish line. I saw 2:28 on the clock for an uncomfortably long amount of time as I neared, but I knew I had it. I crossed in 2:28:33 -- a 25sec PR! 5:53 - 6:03 - 5:44 - 6:02 - 5:42 - 6:10 - 5:37 (0.2mi) (2:28:33)
My hands immediately went to my knees at the finish. I asked a volunteer if I could brace myself for a second with his help and then downed a water bottle as quick as I could crush my fist around it. Other runners in better shape shook my hand and I slowly came back to. I got my bag and waited for my teammates I was with at the corrals. Each of us set a PR and we came in the top 10 in the team competition! I got my stamped poster at Tracksmith and had a beer before making my way back to my friend's apartment.
I didn’t know my official time until it was stamped by the Tracksmith employee and didn’t check my GPS data for a few days. I finished 80th overall, which exceeded expectations for the conditions being so great, however I was still upset. The race had gone flawlessly for the first 18 miles, and I was even on target at 22 miles, but just like last year it all came apart in the last 4mi (albeit far less dramatically). My mental focus was less than ideal and I knew my training had prepared me for better. I know I gave all I had and the sun and humidity had to have played some factor in the late stages of the race. It really wasn’t until I received such strong support from friends and family, and especially from y’all here that my attitude got better. daysweregolden put it best when he said to me: ”PRs don't come easily and at some point they stop coming, so enjoy it!”. At the end of the day, I was 25sec closer to OTQ and successfully rebounded from a pretty serious setback. I’m extremely proud of my efforts can say after 12 competitive marathons, Boston is the home of my PR. I was also the first Connecticut finisher which is a cool side note! One of the first thoughts I had after finishing was, ”should I run NJ in two weeks again?”. I just know on a course like that I could really prove my fitness, though as I mentioned I’m reformed. My next marathon won’t be until Berlin. That doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun in shorter distances in the meantime. Watch this space. Thanks for reading!! This report was generated using race reportr, a tool built by BBQLays for making great looking and informative race reports.
Hello, Its not because of the Event.. more and more People report being banned and what we all have in common is that we are all have Trading alts on that Acount and most of use use Evernus a Market tool to check for prices and see statistics how well u do while Trading... but none of us used Macros.. https://forums.eveonline.com/t/evernus-3-6-release-the-ultimate-market-tool/6031/350 Here is the Post from the Eve forum about evernus Edit: Jakov Finn 1m ago: My friends got the same answer. Just copy-paste of EULA. I am still waiting… In our community we have a lot of banned traders, and we all use Evernus. We tried to explain how it works, how we use margin tool. But it seems CCP Peligrio didn’t read what we sent to him. CCP Peligrio is just copy Paste answering to all our tickets.. pls upvote this thread so it gets more Attention is the only way we can get another DEV on that
January has been a bullish month for stocks, but economic growth worries are weighing on sentiment as the shortened trading week opens. China posted its lowest growth in 28 years in 2018, and the IMF has trimmed its global growth forecast. (CNBC)
All this could interrupt a streak which has seen the Dow and S&P 500 compile four-session win streaks that put them at their highest closes since Dec. 6. Ahead of Tuesday trading on Wall Street, the Dow and S&P 500 were out of correction territory. (CNBC)
Oil drops about 2% on China's GDP slowdown (Reuters)
On today's economic calendar, the National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales for December at 10 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, Dow components Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Travelers (TRV) are out with earnings this morning. Dow stock IBM reports after the bell. (CNBC)
Johnson & Johnson beats Q4 earnings expectations (CNBC)
Thousands of political, business, and cultural leaders are attending the World Economic Forum in the Swiss town of Davos this week. President Donald Trump won't be among them, after cancelling his trip due to the government shutdown. (CNBC)
The next economic downturn is what 'scares me the most': Bridgewater's Ray Dalio (CNBC)
'We are in a worse place than we were a year ago,' top fund manager says at Davos (CNBC)
'Information is power': Blackstone gets better as its business gets bigger, CEO says (CNBC)
Senate Republicans released a measure designed around Trump's proposal for ending the government shutdown, now entering Day 32. The bill includes $5.7 billion for the president's border wall for temporary protections for so-called Dreamers. (AP)
10% of TSA workers call in sick as government shutdown continues (USA Today)
Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer, backtracked from earlier comments that Trump pursued a business deal to build a tower bearing his name in Moscow throughout 2016, saying his statements "were hypothetical and not based on conversations I had with the President." (NBC News)
Researchers said they discovered another secret ballistic missile base in North Korea, one of an estimated 20 such undeclared sites. On Friday, the White House announced a * second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in late February. (USA Today) U.S. and North Korean spies have held secret talks for a decade(WSJ)
The U.S. will reportedly proceed with the formal extradition from Canada of Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei. Meng, the daughter of Huawei's founder, was arrested on Dec. 1 in Vancouver over alleged violations of American sanctions on Iran. This according to Reuters. (CNBC)
Tesla (TSLA) signed a preliminary agreement with China's Tianjin Lishen to supply electric car batteries for its new Shanghai factory. Tesla is looking to reduce reliance on Japan's Panasonic. Meanwhile, Tesla gets approval for Model 3 deliveries to Europe (Reuters & MarketWatch)
Toyota and Panasonic announced an electric vehicle batteries venture (Reuters)
Apple (AAPL) supplier Foxconn said it trying to hire more than 50,000 people for the January through March quarter. That's in contrast to reports that the contract manufacturer was in the midst of mass layoffs due to slowing iPhone sales. (Reuters)
Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google unit was fined about $57 million, the biggest so far under a new European privacy law. Google was accused of not going far enough in gathering user consent for data use. (AP)
Johnson & Johnson – Johnson & Johnson earned an adjusted $1.97 per share for the fourth quarter, 2 cents a share above estimates. Revenue also topped forecasts, helped by stronger sales of cancer and psoriasis treatments.
Travelers – The insurance company reported adjusted quarterly profit of $2.13 per share for the fourth quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.05 a share. Traveler's net written premiums were below forecasts, although its full-year total for that metric was its most eve.
Stanley Black & Decker – The tool maker earned an adjusted $2.11 per share for the fourth quarter, a penny a share above estimates. Revenue also beat forecasts. The company predicted adjusted 2019 earnings of $8.45 to $8.65 per share versus consensus estimates of $8.80 a share, as it navigates through "multiple external headwinds."
Apple – Apple supplier Foxconn said it trying to hire more than 50,000 people for the January through March quarter. That's in contrast to reports that the contract manufacturer was in the midst of mass layoffs due to slowing iPhone sales. The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that Foxconn is considering producing iPhones in India to reduce its dependence on China for manufacturing and sales.
Under Armour – Goldman Sachs upgraded the athletic apparel maker's shares to "buy" from "neutral" and added the stock to its "Conviction Buy" list. Goldman said it believes a material expansion of gross margins is ahead thanks to Under Armour's sales initiatives.
Take-Two Interactive – Deutsche Bank began coverage of the videogame maker with a "buy" rating, saying it foresees a higher growth rate for Take-Two than it does for rivals Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts.
Logitech – Logitech raised its full-year outlook, after the maker of computer mice and other peripherals beat analysts' estimates with its latest quarterly earnings. The quarter was driven by strong sales of gaming-related products.
Hey, I started station trading, to try to make a bit of ISK and to learn how to do it. I choosed Dodixie as I thought Jita or Amarr might be too hard because of undercuts and competition - is that ok ? I use https://evetrade.space/ to find deals with mostly 20 - 40 % margins and OK volumes. I also tried eve mogul but did not understand anything (will look into it again). I find my orders filling pretty slow, and undercut often, so with what I do now I will never have interesting profits I think. I got arround 2b total value and chosed items like Wetware Mainframe Recursive Computing Module Ballistic Control System II Federation Navy Ogre Caldari Navy Captain Insignia I Any advice, on tools to use and feedback on this kind of items ? Gratz
Hey guys, Well wasn't that a crazy double Gameweek! The first batch of games was a little bit disappointing for a lot of managers, but the midweek games seemed to make up for it! Hopefully those who stuck to the FH template are happy with their points. So GW33 is fast approaching and most of us here will be either getting our pre-Free Hit team back or tweaking our post-FH31 teams. Either way, there isn’t much room for messing around with transfers too much, so this post is going to be a little bit different by going over just the main talking points leading up to GW33: Goalkeepers, Mid-priced midfielders, and captaincy options! For my own team update, I’m excited to tell you guys I’ve hit 781 OR!! Ending on 119 points and I really couldn’t be happier. I mostly follwed the FH template, but used some extra team value to squeeze in Eriksen over Milivojevic, Azpilicueta over David Luiz, and Smalling over Lindeloff. The difference isn’t huge, just 15 points, but it was enough to a turn a decent week into a great one. If you’re interested, I use my twitter to go over all of my transfer ideas, fixture planning processes, captaincy options and thoughts on FPL news. I’m quite active and my DMs are open so if you’re looking for more info than just these posts, you can find me there. Here’s some useful links that help me write-up these TMA posts: Premier League Fixtures – A great way to line up the fixtures for the specific gameweeks you want to see. Orders the teams from best fixtures to worst. Player Analysis by Performance – Amazing tool that compares every player based on Shooting, Creativity and Attacking involvement. Options for looking at any combination of teams too. Player stats per Game – Great for looking at team stats per player for Offensive and Defensive plays. Also shows heat maps! Plans And Strategies Goalkeepers – West Ham have been absolutely pants lately, and as most managers own Fabianski (4.8), who’s facing Chelsea in GW33, a GK transfer is a totally justifiable use of our free transfer. So let’s take a look at some alternatives! The best fixture looks to be LEI vs Hud by a good margin, meaning Schmeichel (5.0) is statistically the safest way to go for GW33. Leicester have burned managers in the recent past with some dodgy defending performances, but they did keep a clean sheet vs Bournemouth on the weekend, so a double up with a LEI defender might be a decent shout going forward. It’s worth pointing out that we aren’t sure if Huddersfield’s relegation will have a positive or negative effect on their remaining performances so there is a little uncertainty there. If you have yet to grab a LEI defensive asset, I would say this transfer is quite appealing. Next on the watch list is Chelsea’s Goalkeeper Kepa (5.4). There’s something poetic about changing keepers from the away team to the home team, and West Ham’s attack has been constantly poor, enough to warrant a punt on the inconsistency of Chelsea’s defence. In their last game they shot just 3 times, their lowest at home in the league since 2005-6! In fact, they’ve only scored 1 away goal TOTAL since gameweek 20! So yeah, Kepa should be pretty safe. Unfortunately the next keeper on the list is no longer an option. Boruc (4.1) was benched against LEI on the weekend, and Begovic (4.3) was given a run out. Now although BOU’s defence wasn’t particularly good, we have no idea if this was a tactical decision, a permanent swap, or if Boruc would have been just too hot-headed for a game against Leicester’s new gaffer given his Celtic ties. We just don’t know! What we do know is that we don’t like to take unnecessary risks here at The Monday After, so we’ll be staying clear of Bournemouth keepers for now. The last option is Allison (5.9). He’s a great choice despite being away from home, but as we mostly all have triple Liverpool, he’s not worth a hit to change your existing players. This option is just for those that find themselves with just 2 Red’s assets. Thought I’d mention it! Mid-priced Midfielders - When you’re willing to trade a nailed on non-blanking winger during a blank gameweek you know something’s wrong. Anderson (7.1) is flagged, out of form and plays for West Ham at the moment; the dreaded triple threat of shite. For a lot of managers it’s a long overdue change, and for others it’s the only issue in a team full of playing starters. So let’s get to it. Leicester provides some decent options in Tielemans (6.1) and Maddison (6.8), who are both putting on some impressive performances. Maddison’s stats are slightly better, but the eye test has been aced by our newcomer Tielemans, who the team seem to be playing through a lot more with Rodgers at the helm. Either choice is good, and as they are playing HUD they are slightly better options than Fraser (6.2) who is a close 3rd option. Fraser is still crossing non-stop, still putting in some great key passing numbers, and is playing at Home this week. However the choice should really come down to how many eggs you’re willing to have in each basket. If you have just 1 player from each team, then I like Tielemans the best, but if you already have Maddison and 0 BOU players, then Fraser might be a better option. Diversify your starting XI as it were. Brooks (5.1) is there as an option but I’m not in love as much as I was when Wilson was injured. He seems to be playing a bit further back these days. Milivejovic (6.3) is still there, and is just as good an option as he was in GW32, but obviously without the double bite at the apple. As per the stats, there aren’t many others that I would consider, except for maybe James Ward-Prowse (5.1) as a balls to the wall differential. He has 25 attempted crosses to his name, as well as 4 shots on target in the last few games. He also has decent fixtures in DGW35 for those that don’t have their WC for GW34. Captaincy Options - Now this may be the first time I’ve written about who to captain, but I’ve been asked so many times what the best option is, I thought it must be worth addressing. There aren’t many options this week with it being a blank, but there is no stand out choice, so here are a few things to consider. Hazard (11.0) looks on form right now, and with the changes made against Brighton, Chelsea actually looked decent for the first time in a fair few games. However, it’s clear that Hazard does better when Giroud is on the pitch, and as Higuain was rested, he should be starting over Giroud against West Ham. Another thing to keep in mind is that Chelsea play in the Europa Quarter Finals 3 days after their Monday game, and just because Hazard has been rested in Europe upto now, doesn’t mean he will continue to be benched now that they’re further on in the tournament. So Haz is a little bit more risky than we’d like at the moment. Liverpool players are in high contention, with the historical battle between Salah (13.2) captain and Mane (10.0) captain still raging on. The choice between them use to be easy: if you’re looking for safe you pick Salah, if not then go for Mane. However Salah’s ownership is just 3.5% higher, and we could maybe even cut that down by quite a bit considering his dead team ownership. I’d still consider Salah to be the safer choice the higher your OR, but Mane has only blanked 3 times in 10 games (TOT, EVE, MUN), whereas Salah has only returned 4 in the last 10 (All Home games). It’s a real conundrum that managers might shy away from altogether. Just know that if you do choose one over the other, there really is no right answer. If I had to choice, and I do, I’d pick Mane. The last choice is Vardy (9.0) and he is a very tempting differential. If you’re not happy with your rank and you’ve decided it’s make or break time, then Vardy is the perfect choice. We don’t know yet how HUD will react to being relegated, but Vardy is in form, Leicester are in form, and Hud are obviously NOT in form. The only slight issue is the Away status, but the Englishman doesn’t seem to care about his location too much. All in all, I think the Liverpool players have more to play for right now with the title race, and I’m leaning towards them, but I do like all of the choices this week. Quite a close week! And that’s a wrap! Just a quick one this week, but hopefully I’ve given you some food for thought in regards to some of the tough decisions of GW33. Remember with Captaincy options, there aren’t any wrong answers this week, so don’t worry too much if it doesn’t go your way. Also want to thank everyone that has encouraged me to write these posts and keep the series going, because without you I don’t think I’d be anywhere near where I am now in terms of OR. So thank you so much guys! Good luck all for GW33. Cheers!
Question for station traders and traders in general.
Hi there, a friend of mine and me are working on a new station trading website. It will show you every margin of each item and you can sort them all for a brief overview. My question is, whether you guys have a general interest in such tool. If there´s some interest, we´ll include many more features. Of course, you can tell us some features, you want us to inplement. Regards, Mcalti
Urzha knew from the moment she could understand the language of her tribe that life was going to be tough for her. After all, she was an orc of the Lurkziz tribe, making a life for themselves in the shadows of the great Whitestone Mountains, a range that contained countless tribes of her people, the remnants of a great band of marauders scattered many centuries ago by a great alliance of other races. The old stories were filled with both longing and warning, that yes, they had been mighty and strong once, but that strength had led to an arrogance that had brought them low. Many tales by the fireside at night, of ancient legends, chiefs and wars were the first words Urzha had heard. Food was only plentiful when you worked for it up in those hills, forests and mountains. The mushrooms that grew in the caves were often intermixed with toxic ones, so knowing how to tell them apart literally was the difference between life or death. Whatever game you could stalk had to be done with care, lest you scare them off, and when you did kill them through weapon or snare, you had to keep your spoils away from whatever predators were in the area. Wolves, hill lions, predatory birds, cave bears, goblin moles, tree spiders, not to mention other orc tribes or just rival orcs… hunters sometimes returned from a successful hunt with nothing to show for it, and occasionally, did not return at all. The weather could turn on you in an instant if you did not know how to read the signs. A calm, sunny afternoon could become a torrential thunderstorm within hours lasting all night, or that small bit of clouds in the distance on a crisp clear morning could become a raging snowstorm that lasted days, sealing in mountain passes to all but the hardiest of travelers. Taking shelter was so often a necessity that half of the tribe lived in the nearest cave system, especially the elders, with many of the entrances almost completely sealed with the amount of additions and surrounding huts added onto them. The tribal culture itself was not easy either, as there were very few orc towns in the mountains, and the ones that did develop tended to do so in the lowlands along them, or in sheltered river valleys. Dominance was the name of the game for every orc, no matter the dwelling, and whoever could be the best at something usually reaped the rewards. The best hunter or farmer fed his family well and could barter more goods in exchange for his surplus food. The best smithy could sell better tools for a higher price and buy what he could not grow. The best warriors were sought for mercenaries by other tribes or traveled in search of pay, often earning themselves titles and songs of their prowess amongst their kind. Among the tribe, the village elders were those with the most power, seeing as that if you lived long enough in these kinds of conditions to be considered old by orc standards, you had to be doing something right, and were probably the best at it to boot. Their decisions were for the betterment and safety of the tribe and its members, and as such their word was so very often law. If not, you were given a good thumping, and after a while, if that didn’t work, expelled or killed. Such was the life Urzha grew up in. She did as many little orc girls did; she stayed close to her mother, learning what she could by example, be it growing mushrooms, pulling fish from rivers, mending clothes, or gathering wood and thatch for huts. She helped care for her younger siblings, oftentimes being of use to the midwives that helped some orcs through more difficult births, and she’d already witnessed the death of several orc infants, some her own siblings, by the time she could run. When times were leaner than usual, or the family needed goods to trade, she went hunting with her father and brothers, using a small bow of her own crafting to take down rabbits and ground birds. Those brothers who could not hunt often worked labor for other, more successful ones, but therein lay jealousy, and she lost more than one brother to kinslaying. Among orcs it was not really a crime unless done without merit or honor, and thus was mostly overlooked if it was in open, fair combat. Her much older brothers, some of them from father’s first mate, either went off to work as mercenaries, settled down with their own families, or just died, either from hunting accidents, fights with rival tribes, or off as mercenaries elsewhere. Her elder sisters went on to be mates to other orcs, either in their tribe or neighboring ones, with several dying in childbirth and others vanishing, likely stolen away by marauders. When orcs raided one another, they tended to take the females and kills the males. Many a tribe had died over the centuries from this. As such, there was not much leeway when it came to orc tribal life about what to do as an adult. You fight and live, or you don’t and die. Soon after reaching what amounted to prepubescent for her race, her father died from wounds sustained in a skirmish with a pack of goblin moles over an elk kill. Word spread fast of his passing, and several of his remaining sons, barely older than her, left the tribe altogether, knowing full well that they could be targets should a bachelor orc come calling for their mother. Soon enough after, as was often custom, an orc claimed her mother for his mate and began giving her more half-siblings. The problem was not that she had a new “father” in her life. He was a former mercenary turned tradesman, which was a rare but exceedingly wealthy profession by orc standards. He was far from a problem, as he was kinder to her than most orc males would have been in the same situation. Whereas others would have seen her and her siblings as a threat or, in her case, perhaps a future mate, her new “father” encouraged her to use her skills to help the family prosper. He had her teach hunting to his youngest sons, as old war injuries made it hard for him to stalk game. He helped her acquire the tools and materials for a new set of bows befitting her growing size, and soon enough, once she had nearly become a fully-fledged young adult, she was already one of the better archers in the tribe, and with practice, gifted with spear throwing. He even trusted her with looking after the youngest daughters with her mother while he was away on business. Perhaps her new father had seen her promising skill for what it could be worth, and as such began to take her with him when he would trade goods. It didn’t hurt to have an extra bodyguard when moving through mountain roads down to the fertile valleys where other races dwelled. After all, one orc’s legitimately-made and owned goods were another orc’s plunder. Three seasons of trading with her stepfather, as he liked to be called (saying it was a term he’d picked up from a gnome one time), had given Urzha more of an experience about the wide world than she’d thought she’d ever have a chance at. She’d met elves (snobbish pricks, mostly), gnomes (friendly, if not a tad odd), halflings (always underfoot, bred like rabbits, but extremely cheerful folk), and even dwarves (most of which were polite but not very welcoming), as well as other orcs from tribes and even towns she’d never known existed. That last part was where trouble started. You see, Urzha was, by orc standards, quite fetching. Hell, by other race standards, she was rather pretty. Leonine, muscular, with more than enough “feminine curves” to warrant a dwarf or gnome’s catcall or jeer, or worse, blatant stares by other orcs, male or female, one out of lust and the other sometimes out of jealousy. Of course, some races, like the elves, were turned off by her fit form and strong figure, but their males tended to like lithe and lean, not leonine and “shredded”, as her stepfather would say. So, of course, orcs, especially some of the young males, would pay more attention to her than she liked. Many would brag to her of their accomplishments, many of them likely made up, but some would try to push the issue further, much like her kind was reputed for amongst races with females significantly weaker than orc females. Many would stop after her stepfather caught them “seducing” her and gave them a good thumping, and of course, after she knocked their heads together as well. Many would try though, sometimes the same ones, and the result was always the same; getting thumped. This invariably led to all sorts of problems, especially when they were trying to trade, and some orc thought “aggressively flirting” with her could get them a better deal. At least, it was a problem for a while, before a drunken dwarf in their caravan gave her something truly remarkable. Insight into the minds of males. He’d told her, one night, after stopping at a particularly rowdy tavern, that “what laddies don’t really need, they’ll crave like they’re dying of thirst, but what they really want, they’ll deny all they can,” right before winking at a saucy dwarven barmaid and promptly passing out at his table. Urzha had mulled this insight over for some time, initially unsure of what to make of it. Her stepfather had told her she was grown now, though sometimes she didn’t feel like it, and as such, she could now make her own decisions, but only if she wanted to. Anyone trying to force her to do anything would be met by his big, meaty fists, or her slightly smaller, but no less head-thumping, ones. Anyone who really tried to make her do something would find a knife between his ribs or buried in his throat. So, after much consideration, she decided to “try out” some males during their travels, just to see what the fuss was all about. That way, she could find out the better ways to deal with these sorts of troublesome fools, and perhaps get better bargains out of it, should it be a good course of action. It also wouldn’t hurt to gain experience in such matters, seeing as from what she’d overheard, males liked females who knew what they were doing, even if some made a big deal about it. The initial experiences were… unexpected, to be sure. She hadn’t known what to do the first few times, but some had coached her through it, and she quickly picked up on what they usually liked, and what she most definitely did not. That overpriced anti-conception charm she’d bought off a dwarven tavern keeper had been worth every coin, else she’d have been having children several times over. Though, to be fair, she couldn’t help but be disappointed half the time, even if they did manage to finish inside her. Bravado beforehand did not measure up for her at all where the bedroom was concerned. Half the time, she was convinced that the males psyched themselves up more for their own benefit than hers. None of them really proved themselves to be worthy father material in her eyes, so not having their children was a twofold blessing. Then again, the rest of the time, they were good at sex, some better than others by a wide margin, others sort of blurring together at a level past “satisfactory” but just under “memorable”. Even the best experiences so far were not something to write to her sisters about, but something to remember fondly, if nothing else. Still, finding someone who would both satisfy her and be a possible contender for her future mate was something she’d started looking into more and more frequently. None of her flings carried both qualities, and despite seeking them out, as time passed, she began to wonder if she’d ever find herself a male to call her own. That, of course, changed one day, when their caravan came into a small town in the shadow of a well-to-do fief. The name was unfamiliar to her, but according to her stepfather, it was that of some very high-ranking chief (a “duke” he had called it), and the town was just one of many scattered throughout the area, the rest of which was primarily farmland. In the great distance behind them, she could just barely make out the tips of the Whitestone Mountains, where her mother and the rest of her family waited for her and her stepfather’s return. Something that, as she had grown to know, was not always an assured thing. As it stood, a few nights before, their caravan had been set upon by some bandits, and they’d lost a few of the guards on duty that night. Now, with the heads of the bandits in a sack (one with part of an arrow shaft still sticking out of an eye socket, courtesy of Urzha’s skill), they were looking for new guards. The pay was good enough, especially if you lived a life of subsistence farming, and as such, a gaggle of unemployed farmhands, drifters, and even a few older men joined up with them. Say what you would about humans, but even if many of them were weaker than they ought to be, Urzha had to admit they were just as determined and resilient as her own. Sure, most were a bit shorter than even her, and quite a bit shorter than a large male orc, but despite their smaller size, they were fiercer than they looked. In some cases, especially when push came to shove, they would do things she didn’t think their bodies were capable of. She’d seen one hunter, angry at a string of bad luck, literally chase down a deer all day to the point where it collapsed from exhaustion and then beat its skull in with a mallet. Now, the thing that she had not expected, was how most of the humans tended to stay away from her unless they absolutely needed to speak with her. When she asked her stepfather, he’d simply said they weren’t used to contact with other races this deep in their lands, so of course, most of them were wary and more than a bit superstitious. That, and working alongside someone who was at least one head taller than them and had green skin weren’t exactly things they were used to. So, as the weeks and the months passed, she worked with the humans as she did the others. They patrolled together, ate together, and slowly learned each other’s languages as best they could, and in time, the ones that stayed became easier around her, though still tended to give her a wider berth. Of course, there had to be the one human who apparently wasn’t afraid of her at all, even from the start. Isake. He had been one of the few humans to join them that wasn’t a farmhand or the fourth or fifth son of a farmer. No, he’d been a wandering “knight”, as they called them, though her stepfather had told her he was basically trained from an early age to be a warrior. This had originally puzzled Urzha greatly, as why spend such a inordinate amount of time training just to fight when there were many other skills you could learn? Even the orcs in her tribe that went off to be mercenaries picked up other skills along the way, such as wound-dressing, scouting, foraging and bargaining. It was only after asking that she’d found out that, yes, along with fighting, Isake had learned many other skills, such as hunting, tracking, medicine, bits of foraging and tannery, and even reading and writing, the last two being things she had to admit she was still struggling to come to terms with. Orcs didn’t have a written language per se, as there were countless dialects amongst her kind. They had a basic alphabet, but it could vary from tribe to tribe, and even if there was a unified and written language, maintaining it amongst all their tribes would be all but impossible. As for why Isake was wandering, she could only guess. If a knight was not needed for war, during a time of great peace, then what exactly was he to do? From what she could gather, he was the youngest son of a house of some middling nobility, and as was such the case, he stood to inherit nothing. Her father told her the ways of humans were odd to their kind, especially since Isake’s brothers, once they inherited, would likely accept him into their homes. Why he would refuse such a thing was beyond her, but she respected the fact that Isake would seek his own fortunes. Yet, still, why be a knight if there was no fight? Apparently look for work that used his skills, in this case, guarding caravans, was his current goal in life. Oh, and training, lots and lots of training, from on the road to when they stopped to rest or trade. This was the part where she was supposed to say he didn’t look attractive for a human, or that he didn’t cut an imposing figure when he stood guard by their trade goods (despite her being half a head taller than him), or that he didn’t have this little smile that made parts of her she didn’t know she had suddenly feel about to fall apart. The way he slowly swung his sword early in the morning light did not make her feel he could move like lightning if he wished, or that when he bathed in a river, the light totally did not sparkle on his scarlet hair or glimmer on muscles she didn’t know humans could have. If he’d been a head taller, and green, he would have made for a truly stunning orc. Yet, he wasn’t an orc, but a human, and all those things were true in spite of that: he had a spell on her, whether by his overall attractiveness or the exotic nature of him being a human trained as a warrior, and while she doubted he knew of any magic, the fact that he was polite with her, and clearly eager to help her, was at such odds with what she thought she knew. He had yet to make any untoward suggestions or even hints of desire like so many other males had, and even seemed to know when such a situation would be most likely to occur, seeing as he either somehow found something else to do or was nowhere to be found. Yet, he made no intentions for any males either, as she had known some to do, so this served to confuse her even further. The other humans tended to stay out of her way, likely because they found her odd and were cautious. They also tended to not talk to her as much as the others in the caravan but were slowly warming up to it. Isake? He had no problem speaking with her, or helping her, or even sharing a load with her. So, if he wasn’t afraid of her, then clearly, he didn’t dislike her. Yet, it was almost as if Isake was actively avoiding her when a situation became something that would, in Urzha’s mind, normally invite the opportunity for a pass at courtship; when eating alone, or taking a swim in a river, or even when bedding down for the night. This line of reasoning only made Urzha more and more curious by the man, so much so that, on the eve of a journey that would take them into a storm, she hatched a plan to solve this conundrum. Thankfully, the fact that the storm forced them to bed down for the night in a set of barns on the outskirts of a larger village did happen to make things easier. Getting Isake alone to talk with him about this behavior, however, took a tad more finesse than she had originally thought. Growling at the other humans to get out or find other lodgings wasn’t as easy anymore, and she didn’t want to lose the progress she’d made getting to know them. Simply bribing them to all sleep in the same barn and encourage the knight into a smaller building nearby had turned out to be the best method. Author's note: this is the setup for the second part of the story. The original document was a bit too long to do as a single post, and after all I'd put into it, and even trimmed down, it was still too big. As such I split it. Part II
Introduction: The Honeymoon is Over 2019 was not a good year for Justin Trudeau. Faced with a declining popularity, largely as a result of the heavily damaging SNC-Lavalin scandal, his political rockstar persona has evaporated and the realities of the public service have finally came for the Prime Minister. Swept into power in 2015, it looked for most of his term that he would be elected yet again, even if with a smaller mandate. But as the years dragged on, as more legislative initiatives failed to come to pass, the Liberal majority seemed to be doomed to shrink. On top of this, Trudeau betrayed many left-leaning voters by not only botching the carbon tax but completely abandoning his electoral reform promises. And yet, despite all of this, the Liberals hung on - until SNC-Lavalin. The scandal, which involved the government being far too harsh on the Attorney General prosecuting an unethical construction company that has contracts with Ottawa, saw the polling numbers of the Liberals collapse. Finally, the Liberals must face the writing on the wall and accept that this election will not be a bloodless one. However, Trudeau does have one thing on his side: recognition. Everyone knows his name, and his beautiful face. Everyone knows what he stands for, even if they detest it. The same cannot be said for his opponents. Andrew Scheer, the young new leader of the chief opposition Conservative Party of Canada and the former Speaker of the House of Commons, has infinitesimal name recognition when compared to Trudeau - it seems, no matter how hard the party tries, his name will not stick in the minds of Canadians. Inevitably though, with the entire party’s funds backing him, this gap will begin to shrink. It seemingly already is. And Scheer has another trick up his sleeve: political skill. The all-time youngest Speaker in any Commonwealth nation, Scheer is very highly regarded by those within the party and has not created any major scandals. It took maneuvering enough to snatch the party’s nomination from Maxime Bernier, who has left to form the right-wing People’s Party of Canada (also contesting the election). Perhaps in a testament to his own skill, Scheer has been able to stop voters flocking to Bernier’s party, which has struggled to crack even 5% in polling. While the Liberals and the Conservatives are polling just about equally, and are most likely to form a government, they are not the only factions within Parliament. Most notable is the New Democratic Party, a center-left social democratic party led by the less-than-perfect Jagmeet Singh, who has been unable to lead his party above 20% when less than a decade ago under Jack Layton the party became the second-largest. The NDP has also been floundering in provincial elections as well, taking a severe beating in Alberta (traditionally the party’s strongest province). For both insiders and outsiders to Canadian politics, it appears the sharply dressed Singh will not be surviving whatever transpires on October 21, even if his party does pick up a few seats here and there. The Greens, however, look poised to become newly relevant, topping fundraising goals as reached by the NDP and doing better in polling than at any point in their history. The NDP has sought to counter this by releasing Canada’s first version of the much-vaunted Green New Deal; only time will tell if they can hold back the challenges from all sides. The Candidates Justin Trudeau is essentially the perfect modern leader: strikingly handsome, deeply receptive and respectful of other cultures, the son of a popular past Prime Minister, and willing to compromise on many issues. Unfortunately, he goes over the top in all of these attributes, even if unwittingly. When he was first elected, international media swooned over his good looks and impeccable dressing. This has, in time, turned into more of a liability than an asset. Trudeau’s perfect media appearance and need to show himself as not racist has Flanderized the man into almost a caricature of himself, briefly becoming the laughing stock of the world after a botched trip to India where Prime Minister Modi would refuse to even meet him, despite his flowing orange robes. Additionally, the tolerant aspect of his image has also shown cracks, as aboriginal groups have derided the Liberal administration as not doing enough to help their communities, indeed doing very little at all; the treatment of the Attorney General, herself indigenous, has also deeply hurt his image. His father, Pierre Trudeau (1919-2000), is disliked by many more conservative Canadians, especially those in the Prairie provinces. He still inspires great antipathy when his legacy or even his name is mentioned, and the simple fact that the elder Trudeau would likely not approve of Justin’s policies were he alive is disruptive enough. But perhaps Trudeau’s greatest crime of all is the brazen abandonment of many of his pledged campaign promises. The most notable of these, and the one that still stings the most for party strategists convincing voters to give the Prime Minister a second-term, is electoral reform. Justin Trudeau said, on multiple occasions, “2015 will be the last election decided by first-past-the-post.” Indeed, the government at first put the thought to a report once its majority was achieved: the results came back and said that the most beneficial and fair way of counting ballots would be a proportional representation method, already proposed in multiple provinces (despite failing in most). However, Trudeau privately desired a ranked-ballot system as this was most likely to benefit the party. With the Greens and the NDP favoring the report’s preferred method, and the Conservatives wanting nothing more than the status quo, the project was quickly abandoned by the government in its entirety. One must now ask how the Liberals figured this was acceptable, since this was one of their biggest and most paraded promises. Few answers arise, and now with more and more voters backing a change, the NDP have taken up the mantle as the party of electoral reform, pushing the issue in PEI (where it very narrowly failed) and Quebec (among others). Because of Trudeau’s failings, many are hungry for a new leader. For Andrew Scheer, that is both a blessing and a curse. The new Conservative leader is in many ways like Trudeau: young, telegenic even if not as attractive, respected, responsible, and one who avoids scandalous decisions like the plague. Politically, however, the similarities stop here. Scheer is a practicing Roman Catholic and despite his party leadership campaign portraying him as a moderate Tory, his voting record suggests a much more socially conservative bent. He voted against same-sex marriage in 2005 and his gun policy is determindedly in favor of loosening restrictions, bringing many to compare him to the American GOP. He is also an unabashed capitalist, and one with very few specifics in his plans for much of anything. The vital issues themselves are where Scheer’s positive traits end, and where his many issues begin. Unfortunately for the Conservatives, Stephen Harper left the country with a record debt and managed the country rather poorly for almost a decade, only continuing general elections as a result of even poorer Liberal leadership. In addition to the negative reputation of the Tories, Scheer is something of a blank slate in the eyes of the Canadian populace. His low name recognition and relative lack of defining features means he can be painted as everything from a radical (by the left) to an overly-safe moderate (by the right). His political and program focuses seem to be more on countering the amount of seats won by Trudeau rather than actually convincing the Canadian voters to give the CPC another mandate. More or less, Scheer is just an unremarkable figure by all means, which can lead his intraparty opponents to claim that anyone, specifically Alberta party leader Jason Kenney, could be doing a better job than he has. Kenney, much more charismatic but also much more (controversially) right-wing and doing all the heavy campaigning this cycle, appears to many to be the logical successor to Scheer should he fail, which he has a solid chance of doing. Jagmeet Singh of the New Democratic Party is scarcely a better leader than the other two. While his ascension to the throne of the party which became the Official Opposition in 2011 with Jack Layton was talked about exhaustively in the media, Singh’s leadership has largely failed to materialize into anything more than good press. Even that is fading, with many pieces being written on how the party has failed to exceed their 2015 results in opinion polling and have lost multiple provincial elections since then, some catastrophically (see: Alberta). Indeed, the party seems to be largely hindered by their new leader, with those preferring Singh as a Prime Minister currently in the single digits, while the NDP itself is rarely topping 20%. While this may seem like a sizeable enough number, Canada’s first-past-the-post system prevents this fifth of the vote from turning into that number of seats. The party seems set to be wiped out in Quebec entirely, and suffer a similar fate in the Prairies (its stronghold) and the Maritimes (where it has never been dominant). A failure in these lands, the Prairies especially, almost certainly will lead to a rank-and-file revolution (if they even stay with the NDP) and a replacement of current party leadership. Maxime Bernier left the Conservative Party of Canada to form the People’s Party of Canada, in what is now being seen as a rather terrible move in retrospect. The People’s Party of Canada emerged as a more populist but also more liberal right-wing alternative to the Conservative Party of Canada, which Bernier formed after losing the leadership election (prompting many to declare him a “sore loser”). But the planned opposition to the mainstream Conservatives has failed to materialize, as has the fundraising base or voter coalition that Bernier apparently expected to collect. Bernier himself has suffered significantly from a string of bad press, from critiquing the amount of immigrants accepted yearly by Canada (commonly called one of the best aspects of the Canadian experience) to unwittingly posing with a white nationalist politician. Despite his widely publicized split from the Conservative Party of Canada, Bernier’s shortcomings have become more apparent to the eyes of the voting public. This election sits as a make-or-break opportunity for Bernier; if he doesn’t take at least 12 seats (recognized party status), he will be folded back into the Conservative Party which he so loudly split from. The Bloc Quebecois, at one point either the largest or next-largest party in the country, collapsed into near-irrelevancy in 2011 due to a New Democratic surge in the region. The party, a leftist party advocated Quebecois independence from Canada among other issues, has not recovered at all, and in 2018 faced its MPs revolting against the bad leadership that has plagued the party in the 2010s decade. The party, and its leader, Yves-François Blanchet, sits at the cusp of irrelevance and every day they seem to be driven closer to the edge of extinction. Perhaps the only thing saving the party from certain death is the fact that there are currently no other Quebecois parties in a position to take their place; their provincial counterpart, whom they hold close relationships with, is similarly failing. If the successful Francois Legault decides to export his Coalition Avenir Quebec, however, the Bloc Quebecois may be in serious trouble. Finally, the Greens. While the Greens have taken off in Europe, North America has not seen nearly the same amount of voter excitement surrounding green politics. In Canada, at least, this is mainly because two of the three major parties have adopted strong pro-climate policies and outrank the Greens in both existing support and fundraising, making the Greens a less appealing option. With Scheer (and Kenney) reluctant to take any significant climate action, this may be changing. Earlier in 2019, the Greens won a surprise victory in the riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith and elected their second MP ever. Their leader, Elizabeth May, is popular within the party and it’s to her credit that the party is now achieving their highest polling ever, around 12% in national polls. Whether this will translate into more than two seats is unknown, but they appear to be one of the few parties adequately equipped for the changing political climate ahead. The Parties The Liberals start out as the largest and most powerful party nationally, and in a number of provinces as well (including Nova Scotia and the Yukon). The Liberals have traditionally been the dominant party in Canadian politics and the one forming the government more often than not (for a record 69 years in the 20th Century). However, the cyclical nature of politics which awarded them a huge majority in the last election is very unlikely to last, and that same cycle seems to have begun again. Given the relative weakness of all their enemies, the Liberals can only hope to minimize their losses by doing better than expected in some key provinces - namely, Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. The victory of the right-wing coalition in the 2018 local elections in Quebec, as well as the Conservative win in Ontario, may on the surface appear to be a very bad sign for Liberal fortunes. However, the Liberals have always been seen as more conservative in Quebec than they are nationally, and in the three-way fight between them, the NDP, and the Conservatives, they may well come out on top. Additionally, in competitive Ontario for his part the Premier Doug Ford has been doing remarkably terrible, with a sub-thirty approval rating. British Columbia is also a three-way even if the NDP holds the advantage here, and with the NDP’s current low national ratings a small pickup of seats is possible for the Liberals here. One of their greatest fights will probably be in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, as they are tasked with defeating the recently-elected Paul Manly, Canada’s second ever Green MP. While the Liberals came in fourth in that election, it was a narrow spot for second, third, and fourth - meaning with some strong campaigning they can emerge victorious. However, some in the party worry that the NDP may end up backing the Green candidate as the parties become ever closer - after all, the only reason Manly was refused was because of his anti-Zionist stances. The Liberal policies in the 2019 election are for increased action on climate change; supporting continued highly-skilled immigration to Canada; a renewed focus on improving the lives of First Nations indigenous people; and an expansion of renewable energy projects (among others). Most controversially, some within the ranks are calling for a “return to electoral reform,” which is very quickly and strongly rejected by the party leadership. Other controversial issues within the party include a federal gun registry, spurred by the ever-increasing similarity of rural Albertans to rural American Southerners, as well as shootings like the one at Parliament in 2015. The first federal gun registry, implemented by Trudeau’s father, left a lasting mark on the Liberal legacy in the region and continues to seethe for many villagers today, boosted by other unpopular city-based policies. Another contentious issue, although not directly related to the platform itself, is the fate of the government if the Liberals lose their majority (which is seen as an inevitability by most of the Canadian voting populace). As with 2015, Trudeau has repeatedly denied he will work with the NDP in any way, and indeed animosity between the two parties is high. But facing either reluctant cooperation or a minority government with no way to pass bills, the Liberals are most likely to choose the former. Their chief opponents are the Conservative Party of Canada, riding high after a number of recent provincial victories. Most notable of these is the absolute majority of votes in Alberta achieved by Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party, a merger of two formerly competing right-wing conservative parties of which Kenney was the architect. The unification of the two parties in Alberta actually mirrors the national situation for the Conservative Party, which only formed in 2003 to fight the dominant Liberals in the next election. While they were on shaky ground then, the resurgent Liberals have once again formed a steely resolve in the party’s membership; an attempt by Maxime Bernier to split the party and bring it in a more populist direction failed almost entirely. There is a scarce chance Bernier will do anything to affect the Conservative’s chances nationally, much less become a recognized party. And so, the party moves forward bound by their shared distrust of centrist liberal solutions; the Conservatives have chosen Andrew Scheer to be their leader in this next election. Scheer offers fresh new blood for the party after the defeat of Stephen Harper’s government in 2015, which shook the apparatus and caused a period of deep introspection for the organization. Ultimately, they elected Scheer over the aforementioned Bernier in the election. Scheer may prove by the end of the campaign to be more of a liability than an asset, however. Few Canadians not deeply engaged with politics are aware of who he is, much less what’s he running for. He’s not at all charismatic and his chief quality, according to party ads themselves, is his blandness. That may have been well and good if the Conservatives have already won; but the Canadian populace by and large wants change as the landscape of the nation continues to transform, quite literally. The Conservatives’ main focus in this election, as almost always, the economy. Scheer has taken a page - quite a few, actually - out of the 2015 manifesto and looks to cut taxes for the middle class, increase the military budget, roll back welfare spending, and generally promote economic growth and cultural conservatism. However, for many of those opposed to the Conservatives and their platform, it’s not the factions within the party that they believe are the most dangerous. Chief among those who have become targets of derision is Jason Kenney, the Premier of Alberta - Kenney is decidedly far to the right on the social spectrum and has pursued strongly conservative economic policies. His campaigning style is based upon a far more charismatic approach than Scheer, and his name recognition is head and shoulders among the general public - so much so, that Trudeau has made Kenney the target of more attacks than Scheer. Also the subject of condemnation is Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who has largely floundered in his efforts to corral the Ontarian government to perform his wishes. Thankfully, the party has at least expunged the alt-right elements of the party and has managed to portray Maxime Bernier and company as a fringe group. Bernier remains an outsider to the political system and looks to have essentially no hope of coming into contact with any significant share of votes; few projections grant him more than 1 riding (his own). The People’s Party itself is largely only notable for Bernier’s pledge to reduce and restrict immigration (the only candidate to outright promise to do so) and the bad actors it attracts (like Fawzi Bidawi, an Arabic man running on a PPC ticket with connections to avowed Neo-Nazi figures). The New Democratic Party is not exactly a juggernaut, at least not on the levels of the LPC or CPC, but it is something to be feared if you are in a district in which they are competitive. Unfortunately for their opponents, this is most. The NDP has emerged in the past few decades a reliably contrarian alternative to the Liberals and the Conservatives, and this appeal has stuck very well when neither of the other two parties look attractive to voters. Most notable is 2011, when Jack Layton routed the Liberals and became the Chief Opposition in the House of Commons. Layton was on track to perhaps one day become Prime Minister, but died shortly after his election victory. The NDP has decreased in clout significantly since then, barely withstanding a complete reversal of fortunes in the 2015 elections (where they lost most of their vital Quebec seats) and has been on a losing track since then. Jagmeet Singh, the party’s leader, isn’t helping. Well-dressed and poorly performing, Singh and his NDP have scarcely been able to breach 15% in national polling, outflanked by both the rising Green Party (see below) and the Liberals to their right. To add salt to the wound, the New Democratic Party has suffered a series of defeats in local elections. Beginning in 2007 with their historic defeat in Saskatchewan (where the party began), the party has lost power in: Nova Scotia (2013), Manitoba (2016 and 2019), and Alberta. The loss of Alberta was particularly painful because of the national importance placed on the election, pitting Premier Rachel Notley and Jason Kenney against each other. Kenney won in a landslide. Despite this, all is not lost. New Democratic fortunes have been rising in a few key areas. Chief among these is Ontario, where the NDP became the Chief Opposition against the unpopular Doug Ford and look set to become the next government barring Ford taking control and making major reforms to the way he governs. In British Columbia, home to a large number of ridings, the party is as popular as ever and is continuing to gain. Even in Alberta, the site of the showdown between Notley and Kenney, the NDP looks set to stay. Because of the cyclical nature of politics, it is reasonable to assume this is because of dissatisfaction with the two other major parties. This presents an obvious task for the party to complete: say things the other parties aren’t. For the NDP, this means adopting an unabashedly social democratic platform; strengthening welfare services; immediately beginning the fight to end climate change; raising the minimum wage and labor regulations; and promoting a safe and healthy environment for “visible minorities” of the Canadian population. Indeed, Singh is the first Sikh or non-white to lead a major Canadian political party. Only time will tell how successful he will be in this endeavor. Finally, the Green Party of Canada. As the name suggests, this group is almost entirely based around the environment (although it has broadened its policy horizons in recent elections in an attempt to reach out to a broader group of voters). Like most of its counterparts, especially those south of the border, the Green Party languished in irrelevancy for many years. Few elections, if any, were won for most of the party’s existence. However, under the leadership of Elizabeth May, the first Green MP in Canadian history, the Green Party has become an actual force in Canadian politics and has settled into a comfortable fourth place position - away from the hustle and bustle of the opposition, but never too far outside. In 2019, Paul Manly (originally an NDP candidate rejected for his anti-Zionist views) won election in his British Columbia riding in a shock election which defied opinion polls and dominated headlines. Pundits say that the rapid rise to prominence of the Green Party is based largely on the climate crisis currently unfolding globally, which will have a huge impact on Canada’s future. However, the Green Party is still largely directionless aside from that one issue, issuing populist policy proposals in a few other fields but lacking one distinct ideological grouping. This partisan malleability has allowed it to maneuver and promise to work with any party that is sufficiently dedicated to the environmentalist cause, including the Conservatives. The Greens must be careful to avoid the same fate as the centrist Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom, who ruined their reputation by allying themselves with David Cameron’s austerity-prone government and backing a whole number of unpopular reforms. It took a miracle (the looming threat of a no-deal Brexit) to bring them back - it is uncertain if the same could happen for the Greens should they attach themselves to the Conservatives. The Issues Environmental Policy For the first time, environmental policy has taken the front-and-center for candidates wishing to endear themselves more closely to voters. The New Democrats and Greens have made their environmental credentials very clear to voters, the Greens most prominently so (causing their recent bump in the national polls). They have attacked Trudeau from the left for his apparent unwillingness to make the carbon tax stricter on companies emitting large amounts of greenhouse gasses. Trudeau, for his part, has also dedicated quite a bit of his speaking time to the fight against climate change, although many opposed to the Liberals believe that this is just window dressing and that he has had ample time to initiate legislation against climate change. Andrew Scheer, on the other hand, has come under intense scrutiny from the media and progressive Canadians for what is viewed as a lackluster proposal on how to fight climate change. In the Conservative plan, the carbon tax would be repealed entirely, and in replacement companies emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide and other gasses would be forced to invest into a fund that would work for the development of research into how to reduce the impact of climate change. This plan has proved unpopular with environmentalists and pundits alike, and the large document in which the policy was unveiled was criticized as mostly filler. However, the plan has seen strong support from many within the party, including Alberta leader Jason Kenney (who has become known nationally for his staunch opposition to the carbon tax). Foreign Policy Trudeau’s globalist, modern foreign policy which was so proudly touted to the world as an example of good liberal governance has lost its shine entirely. After a series of disappointments (the Saudi rebuke and the Huawei scandal) and abject failures (the Prime Minister’s rejected visit to India), many within Canadian politics and indeed the Liberal Party have come to find that a change in direction is desperately needed. Unfortunately, none of Trudeau’s challengers appear to have the capability to be the leader the country needs in terms of foreign policy. Singh has made multiple mistakes in the field, him and his foreign policy advisor Hélène Laverdière alienating many of his social democratic and socialist allies by towing the US line on issues from Russia to Venezuela. Except, not entirely, since Singh has proved wishy-washy on the Venezuela regime change debate on the whole and has done little more than question Trudeau’s own policy. In his words: “Canada should not simply follow the U.S.’s foreign policy, particularly given its history of self-interested interference in the region. The question of who is to lead Venezuela should be in the hands of Venezuelans.” Andrew Scheer, while criticizing Trudeau’s policy, has offered little in the way of new solutions besides entering into more free trade agreements. He has also caused a controversy by calling for regime change in Iran, although whether he plans to actually go through with the move is entirely unclear (since Canada obviously could not perform a mission of that magnitude by itself). Scheer has, however, raised more than a few eyebrows by claiming Canadian-Chinese relations require a “total reset.” China policy looms large over the entire foreign policy sphere as a result of the Canadian detainment of a Chinese businessman (and Chinese detainment of Canadian tourists in response) in 2018 that caused a great diplomatic debacle and has placed great strain on relations. The Huawei affair even dragged in the United States, exacerbating the pre-existing Trump-era tension between the most powerful nation in North America and its East Asian counterpart. Scheer has proposed a much tougher stance on China, bringing them to international organizations to fight the canola blockade enforced since the Huawei affair and ending the investments Canada has made in their development programs (like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank). Aside from his stance on China, Scheer however has little to say about foreign policy, never a particularly important goal for any recent Canadian politician sans Trudeau. Bernier and May are essentially non-entities in the foreign policy debate. Opinion Polling and Debates The main reason for the heightened Conservative confidence entering the election is largely because of opinion polls unanimously revealing a sharp decline in support for Trudeau, especially after the SNC-Lavalin affair. As 2019 drags on, Trudeau’s electoral futures have became especially uncertain, with his party going from (in electoral projection company 338Canada’s view) 100% to 7.3% over the course of a month. The Conservatives had rebounded and were by all accounts set to become the next government, with Andrew Scheer at its head. However, since that time, the Liberals have returned to the top spot - on the eve of the election, the same company put them at a 76% chance of winning the most seats, with an average of about 157. It appears that “Teflon Trudeau” is more than just a moniker - while voters obviously haven’t completely forgiven him, they have allowed him to retain approximately the same amount as the Tories in essentially every poll, with few exceptions. Both of them hover somewhere in the low 30s, with the Conservatives leading in the popular vote but the Liberals, on average, winning in the most ridings. With the LPC and CPC deadlocked, the NDP and smaller parties have taken the opportunity to make themselves more widely known amongst voters. Despite non-zero press coverage, Bernier and his PPC have entirely failed to have a breakthrough moment, finding difficulty in shedding their extremist image, while the Bloc Quebecois mostly stayed at the same point they were last election in their eponymous province. The NDP, despite the best efforts of Jagmeet Singh (and probably because of him) have failed to breach 18% in any national poll, and aside from British Columbia have not been polling well in any key swing province. The Greens, however, have emerged as perhaps the next major party and a serious contender for the balance of power. While unlikely to win the right to a recognized party (12 seats), they have finally, after so many years of trying, had their breakout moment nationally. In nearly all polls the environmentalists are above 10%, with some more excited polls giving them a higher percentage than the NDP. There were two major debates, organized by the brand new Leaders’ Debates Commission. The first debate was held in Toronto by the CBC in conjunction with The Toronto Star. All leaders attended, with the exception of Bernier (who did not meet two of the three criteria necessary for inclusion). Trudeau emerged early on in the debate as the group punching bag; Scheer, May, and Singh all fired shots at him, the former on his tax policies and the latter from the left on his climate inadequacy. May and Singh both found increasingly common ground on most issues, and refrained from attacking each other, leading to heavy speculation of a possible alliance in the post-election period. Scheer and Trudeau sparred over the economy, with the Premier touting his admittedly robust figures and largely shutting down Scheer’s proposals as “a return to the great inequality that has divided our country.” Blanchet rang in on most questions but for the most part didn’t attract much attention in the grand scheme of things. For the second debate, Scheer lost even more ground on the climate change issue and his record on social issues was demolished anew. Trudeau took the initiative and went on the offensive, bringing out Scheer’s very conservative record as an MP, calling his portrayal as a middle-class moderate “a set of lies.” Scheer rebuked him by attacking Trudeau’s broken promises and his party dysfunctions, claiming that the SNC-Lavalin affair proved he was corrupt and unfit for office. Singh, May, Blanchet, and Bernier (this time included) all jumped on Trudeau at this point, May in particular calling Trudeau “an enemy of democracy and the First Nations in equal measure.” Bernier called Trudeau’s actions during the affair “the most damn shameful act committed by a Prime Minister in decades.” This controversial statement was highlighted as a notable moment of the debates, although this appeared to not help him out much in polls conducted directly afterwards. Trudeau closed off the debates by associating Scheer with the ultra-conservative Kenney and the unpopular Doug Ford, once again claiming his appearance is a facade to appeal to swing voters. Most pundits say that both Trudeau and Scheer left the debates deeply damaged, with Trudeau less so, and called May’s performance especially effective. A final, unrecognized third debate was held by the Munk Debates company. Munk Debates gathers public intellectuals from the US and Canada and has them debate on topical foreign policy issues; interestingly, they poll the audience before and after the debate to decide who won overall. Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh were the only two leaders to attend (May was preoccupied with party functions, while Trudeau outright rejected the debate as “frivolous”). Singh and Scheer had a debate of moderate intensity, Singh highlighting a non-interventionist foreign policy and opposition to Donald Trump’s policy goals. Scheer largely focused on promoting free trade and his own beliefs, notably the aforementioned “China reset.“ The audience, polled afterwards, believed that Singh held his own and gave him a 6% swing in the after-show ballot. Results
Liberal Party of Canada
Justin Trudeau (incumbent)
Conservative Party of Canada
New Democratic Party
Green Party of Canada
Yves-François Blanchet (won seat)
People's Party of Canada
Maxime Bernier (lost seat)
1.7% (new party)
October 21st had arrived, and by 10:00 pm in the capital it was clear that Trudeau’s fortunes were much better than expected. While the exact results were unclear at that point in the night, with a larger than usual number of seats coming down to the wire, one thing was clear: Justin Trudeau was to remain the Prime Minister of Canada, albeit at the front of a minority government. While they lost over two dozen seats and their majority, they still handily retained the title of “largest party.” The Conservatives, Greens, and Bloc Quebecois all gained seats, while the PPC was reduced to 0. The NDP, on the other hand, did much better than was expected and Singh was able to minimize losses far more than was believed he was able to do. The shockwaves were immediate and profound. Trudeau, who remained in Ottawa throughout election night after one last day of appearances in Papineau, appeared at a rally in the city in front of a crowd of thousands. Much like his party in the aftermath of the election, he did not seem completely unscathed, and was rather weary after a month of extensive campaigning, but remained safe and secure in his position. The Liberals had, after all, remained the plurality party. But is has become clear, even to Trudeau, that the way they lead is going to change significantly and it is going to change quickly. The greater question for the Liberals is by how much. Andrew Scheer, however, did not seem nearly as sound when he finally emerged late at night in Edmonton. “My friends,” he began, “it is clear that the Canadian people are not yet ready to forgive and forget the past mistakes of our party’s governments [...] I promise that over the next four years we will fight tooth-and-nail to convince the middle class that the Conservatives are the only party with their best interests in mind.” Despite Scheer’s reassuring words, the idea that he would remain as Conservative leader after the party failed to pick up even a plurality of seats is a wishful one at best. A few MPs, namely Michael Chong, Erin O’Toole, and Pierre Lemieux (recently returned to the HoC in 2019), all former leadership candidates, have announced their intention to run if/when an election to succeed Scheer will be held. Even with his failures in mind, though, Scheer does not seem to have any interest in going down without a fight: when asked at a press conference the day before the election, he said “Even if we underperform significantly, I will still never abandon this party when it needs me.” Jagmeet Singh, widely expected to lead the NDP to a crushing defeat and keep fewer than 20 seats, was largely able to fend off a loss of vital ridings and actually profited from the splitting of the votes and the thinning of Liberal pluralities. Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot is the most notable example: the closest marginal seat in 2015 was retained by the Liberals, who lost about 2% and tied with the Bloc Quebecois while the Greens and Conservatives also helped to prevent the Liberal candidate from victory. While the NDP did still lose seats, it was only 5, and they remain a force to be reckoned with nationally. The results of October 21 are far from the destruction some pundits were expecting (and for some, hoping) for. In fact, the NDP now appears set to become the kingmakers in the new alignment of the House of Commons. Previously a great liability to Liberal fortunes, they now appear to be the only party capable of keeping Justin Trudeau in power. Some fear, however, that the vitriol between the two parties is too great to allow for true cooperation. Singh's own job appears secure, at least for now: while a challenger could realistically appear at the next leadership review, few other suitable candidates have made themselves known as of yet. The Green Party had their breakout moment, finally. While not quite reaching the caucus size deemed necessary for federal recognition, the Greens pulled ahead in a total of nine ridings. Both May and Manly kept their seats, while a number of others (primarily in Atlantic Canada and Ontario) fell to the GPC. The Liberals actually suffered the most from this, instead of the NDP, which makes the Conservative’s failure to gain ground even more poignant. The Bloc Quebecois stood their ground in Quebec and lost two seats but making up the difference with victories against Liberal candidates. While not the surge they were expecting, it does give the Bloc enough seats, after years of being spurned, legal party status. Between them, the two parties have enough seats to give Trudeau a majority if the NDP is noncommittal. The PPC, comparatively, did not have the moment they were hoping for - at all. Not only did Bernier lose his own seat to a Liberal, the insurgent right-wingers found victory in not a single riding. It is a sad ending (and it is definitely an ending) for a party which was touted as being an actual challenger to the Tory hegemony of right-wing voters. Whether Bernier will enter back into the party is his choice, but it is far from certain if he will be accepted back with open arms. The next government will be formed shortly. It is Trudeau's prerogative to form one, and at the same time his right to refuse to do so. Failure to form a government will likely result in a snap election, one in which voters will not nearly be as kind to the Liberals as they were in 2019.
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