A few updates! (two Homestuck posts left, reformatting complete)

So… I’ve finally done it. I’ve fixed formatting on every single post from before the move from Blogger to WordPress, and it only took me just shy of two years!! Now that that’s done, I’m ready to do the last two posts in my Homestuck blog post series, and boy is it an appropriate time to wrap this project up. The next phase of my life is really shaping up now—I have a new job starting in two weeks and will spend quite some time preparing for the job (or rather, the online training it starts with), but when I’m not preparing for it, a good thing to do would definitely be to wrap up this project that I started when I was a measly little high school student.

It’s truly mind-boggling that I have only two Homestuck posts left—138 posts complete, two yet to be done, and after that I’m finished for good. Here are my plans for the last two posts.

Homestuck post number 139: This one will cover all 18 minutes of [S] Collide and the visual panels that follow. I’m going to start working on it after I publish this post, and I estimate it will take a week to get done. Expect it to come out around September 6, give or take a few days. Collide is a flash that I don’t imagine I will analyze in too much depth relative to its length, at least not compared to [S] GAME OVER. And while there’s not a lot going on in the visual panels that follow, this post will likely end up pretty long anyway.

Homestuck post number 140: This one will cover all 9 minutes of Act 7, all 6 minutes of the Snapchat credits, and end with some closing words about how Homestuck has impacted my life and how it feels to be finished with this project. I will release it on September 20, the sixth anniversary of my first Homestuck post. Hussie took seven years to complete Homestuck; I will have taken six years to complete my Homestuck post series if things go as planned. I have a lot in mind for the post series’ closing words, and I hope it comes off as heartfelt instead of just plain rambly.

One more thing unrelated to Homestuck: You may know of my work in large numbers, specifically the site Pointless Large Number Stuff. You may also know that Google Sites as we know it is going away in two days—I could simply “upgrade” to the new Google Sites, but I know a lot of formatting and images would break, and a lot of features would be unsupported. Later this year, I plan on figuring out how and where to port the content over with new revisions and updates, plus some general cleaning up. I wish I could do this updating now, but it’s difficult to dip my feet back into a field I’ve long moved past, so porting the site’s content will instead serve as a nice little side thing to do when my job is progressing and my Homestuck posts are finished. But I have some good news about the large number site: you can consume its content exactly as originally intended through the Wayback Machine! And it looks like the same will hold true for the many other sites on large numbers hosted on Google Sites, given others’ archiving efforts. I’ve made HTML backups of all the site’s pages regardless, and those will no doubt come in handy for whenever I decide to move the content somewhere new. I’ll figure all this out eventually, but for now I have a Homestuck post series to finish!!

One more thing related to Homestuck: My rewritten posts are canceled because I’m really not motivated to do them anymore. Here’s what I finished of the latest one. At least I got through some of Act 4… right?

Critique of a Large Number Contest

Why can’t people submit serious large number entries instead of this nonsense.

Here’s a blog post about large numbers, written in the style of the content in my large numbers website. I couldn’t fit it in any section of that website, so I decided to post it in this blog instead.

Introduction: Hamkins’ Large Number Contest

One day, when I was doing some online research about large numbers on the Internet, I came across this large number contest. It is a large number contest held by Joel David Hamkins and Ruizhi Yang at a top-three Chinese university, where you submit the largest number you can write down on an index card—quite a typical large number prompt. The entries were submitted by 150 undergraduate students at the beginning of a talk held at the university.

The rules for the contest were as follows:

  1. A submission entry consists of the description of a positive integer written on an ordinary index card, using common mathematical operations and notation or English words and phrases.
  2. Write legibly, and use at most 100 symbols from the ordinary ASCII character set. Bring your submission to the talk.
  3. Descriptions that fail to describe a number are disqualified.
  4. The submission with the largest number wins.
  5. The prize will be $1 million USD, divided by the winning number itself, rounded to the nearest cent, plus another small token prize.

with 99999, 10*(10*99)+5, and “the population of Shanghai at the moment” listed as examples of valid submissions.

The first two of these are indisputably valid submissions in any large number contest. The third, however, is a little iffy. Undoubtedly there is a number that denotes the current population of Shanghai, but it isn’t easy to precisely determine what number you’re talking about. It’s kind of a physical quantity in that it counts a value in the physical world (technically human world, but it’s about the same thing), and since it’s hard to precisely determine the exact values of physical quantities, you should stray from giving those as examples of huge numbers. Besides, they aren’t that great; almost all physical quantities would be easily topped by a googolplex, which isn’t that big in the scope of large numbers, and every one of them, under any stretch of the term “physical quantity”, would fall well under a decker (10 tetrated to 10 = 10^10^10^10^10^10^10^10^10^10), which isn’t that hard of a number to think up if you’re reasonably clever.

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