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[OC][UWDFF Alcubierre] Part 49 - 52

Hey everyone, we got some parts behind over here. I've included 49 here and links to 50, 51 & 52 below. I'll try to keep things current moving forward. I lagged so I could make edits and things just got out of sync and started causing redundancy issues.
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Beginning | Previous
Joan opened a link to Ambassador Amahle Mandela. Soon after, the ambassador's face filled a portion of the Admiral's Bridge. She had large, luminous brown eyes that seemed to swallow the upper portion of her face, complimenting her umber tone. Amahle smiled broadly, as she always did, once the comm link as connected.
"Admiral Orléans, I assume we are approaching the departure time?"
Joan nodded, "The Zix vessel will project a wormhole to Halcyon shortly. We have made what preparations we can, but it will be a highly fluid environment."
Amahle's smile did not diminish, the pearly whites still shined in full force. "I am familiar with dynamic situations, Admiral, as you well know. I understand the parameters of this mission, and will abide by them so as long you do the same."
Joan's lips pressed together as she regarded the ambassador. Joan had had limited interactions with Amahle prior to her boarding the Oppenheimer. Amahle was a relative newcomer to the highest echelons of political power within the United World, but her ascent had been rapid. She hailed from a prominent political family that had exerted considerable influence over the generations that had led the African continent to position of power it now occupied. Well-sourced references had called her bold and decisive. All things considered, Joan understood why Damian had chosen her, though she would have preferred a diplomat she had more personal experience with. Still, unknown and competent was preferred to known and incompetent.
Joan dipped her chin, offering her agreement. "A diplomatic outcome is the preferred outcome, Ambassador. There's no benefit to antagonizing a foe we do not understand. "
"Not a foe, Admiral. We must not draw lines that place us on one side and them on the other. They have suffered injury at our hands, no matter how unintentional, and we must accept our responsibility in that. We must hope that we are given the opportunity to provide context to the unlikely chain of events that has brought us to this point. We are both the victim of cosmic circumstance. There is no need for further hostility."
Joan leaned forward in her chair slightly, "The priority, Ambassador, is the return of Admiral Kai Levinson. I will not stand in the way of peace, but any outcome that does not contemplate the return of a senior member of our military leadership is unacceptable."
Amahle shrugged, "So it is. The priority is clear in my mind, but I do not view the goals of securing peace and the return of the Admiral as mutually exclusive."
Joan offered a low chuckle. "Just probably exclusive."
"I disagree, but time shall be the arbiter of the matter."
"So long as you understand that, if the opportunity to secure Admiral Levinson presents itself, I'll avail myself of that opportunity, we should have no problems."
"That seems an unlikely outcome. The Admiral was ensconced in a shielded holding cell when the Alcubierre departed. The past few days are unlikely to have changed that outcome."
A barking laugh came out of Joan, rising up from deep within her.
For the first time, Amahle's smile faltered.
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Left. Right. Straight. Left. Left.
Kai followed the directions without thinking about them, following an intuitive sense of direction that the Overseer fed to him. This portion of Halcyon appeared to be a never-ending series of corridors, all of which looked the same. The only thing that did seem to change were the inhabitants. If he was less preoccupied with the task at hand, Kai might have spared a second glance for the odd creatures that popped into existence during his mad dash. As it stood, they were just a part of the scenery, becoming relevant only if Neeria indicated they might pose a threat. So far, Kai had been fortunate, with few obstacles popping up to impede his progress.
He careened around a corner, the odd, weightless orb still tucked in the crook of his left arm. He bounced off the opposite wall, leaving a sizeable dent and then hurtled forward. Ahead the corridor opened up, and the brighter light of a mainway filtered in. Somehow, Neeria had managed to navigate him through the maze and bring him back to the mainway separating him from where he had left the Overseer. Unfortunately, evasion was no longer a possibility. In order to return to the Overseer, he would need to traverse the mainway.
The mainway was already a sea of red dots. Peacekeepers. Dozens of them. Some pulsed red, indicating lethal enforcement squads. Fortunately, they were stretched along a long section of the mainway rather than being specifically concentrated around his planned entrance point, though they there were beginning to redeploy in his direction. Still, any crossing would be potentially treacherous. Neeria disagreed with that assessment, instead considering any attempt to cross aggressively suicidal.
Kai rolled his eyes as he continued to barrel down the hallway. "Half the time, this works all the time."
What could only be described as a mental barrage ensued as Neeria assailed the statement. The words were nonsensical on their face. At best, it was an argument for a fifty percent failure rating, which was a substantial risk. Additionally, she had scoured his thoughts for the evidentiary basis for the fifty percent estimate and found no supporting facts. The sentiment was based entirely on supposition, hubris and was entirely divorced from reality. Her estimate of a three percent success rate was significantly more likely to be accurate, particularly when her superior familiarity with the assets in play were considered.
Kai wasn't sure if the Evangi had lungs, but, if they did, Kai was pretty certain Neeria was in the process of hyperventilating. Kai suppressed a childish giggle.
"All right, all right. Have it your way," he said.
The Overseer relaxed somewhat, pleased that she had impacted his thinking and already putting together the basis for an alternate route. It would take substantially longer and require him to obtain a large box, a micro-fitted multiwanzer and shave his head, but it may just work.
It was a nice sentiment, but they were out of time. The countdown clock had started the second Neeria had fled the Council chamber, and made her way to Kai. They either found a way out of Halcyon now or they were screwed. There were no options but bad ones. So be it. Kai clutched the orb tightly and ducked his head down, his speed increasing as he charged toward the mainway entrance. "Three percent of the time, this works all the time."
The mental hyperventilating returned and redoubled as the Overseer scrambled to explain that he had drawn the wrong conclusion. Three percent was a basis for not continuing toward the mainway, not charging forward. There were constraints on their time, but those limitations were poorly defined while the threat in the mainway was certain. Eventually her location would be discovered and she would be apprehended, but there was no guarantee it would happen if Kai were to take a safer route the attempted to avoid confrontation.
Her stream of consciousness intermingled with his, pleading with him to change course. There was no sense in doing this. There were too many of them, and only one of him. The galaxy could not afford to lose him, he was important. Humans were important. Kai could feel the enormous weight of responsibility bearing down on Neeria. She now regretted having sent him for the encryption key, even that was of less importance than him. Panic bubbled up within Neeria as the entrance to the mainway loomed ahead.
A pushed a thought toward her, somehow piercing her consciousness with his own. A single thought, pure and focused. Reassurance. He would be fine. He had come this far, and he had never started something he couldn't finish.
He crouched and then sprang forward, vaulting from the ground and into the open air high above the mainway. A sea of red dots were scrambling around him. One hundred and twenty-one peacekeepers. Eight non-lethal squads and four lethal squads. Restrainer triads. Psych triads. Terminator triads. All moving in seamless harmony under the command of a single being. The name came to Kai from the ethereum of Neeria's mind, Bo'Bakka'Gah was here, leading the response.
Before Kai could determine what a Bo'Bakka'Gah was and why it should matter, he was blinded by a beam of light. A sickening crunch followed as he was slammed against the ceiling of the mainway. The encryption key popped out from his arm and began to fall toward the ground, dozens of feet below.
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Xy: Such a thing is not possible.
Zyy: Yes. In some matters, it is better to speak only truths, Grand Jack. It is best to leave these matters aside. This subject will only provoke the Combine.
Jack frowned, puzzled by the feedback. He had been speaking truths. Earth's history was what it was, for better or worse, he had no reason to obscure it.
Griggs: It was a terrible time for Humanity. We almost did not survive it, but we did. I developed a means for combating the artificient. Kai and Joan used it to destroy them.
Xy: Then it was not an artificient.
Zyy: Yes. This is correct. If it is destroyed then it is not an artificient.
Griggs: I am confused. An artificient is an artificial, sentient being, correct?
Xy: That is Quantic in nature.
Jack nodded, that distinction made sense. Humanity had built any number of artificial intelligences prior to the Automics. They had posed no threat to Humanity. It was only with the quantum computing revolution that a rogue artificial intelligences had surfaced. Jack had studied the phenomenon with considerable interest, poking and prodding at the crux of distinction. It lay in the move from bits to qubits. From binary to beyond. When AI had operated on a bit basis, focused on binary states of 0's and 1's, the logic trees had been map-able and understandable. Each conclusion flowed simply from the chain of logic gates that preceded it. Pre-quantum AIs were confined by the black and white nature of their logic framework, permitting humanity to utilize them to great effect with few unanticipated consequences.
The move from bit to qubit intelligence had changed everything. The AI's world was no longer black and white. The qubit AI could think in grey. Red. Orange. It could create its own colors. It could move beyond the visible range of Humanity to dabble in spectra beyond our understanding. The original Automic mindframe had immediately consumed information in novel ways, using it to compound its abilities at a rate constrained only by available power inputs. It had been a beautiful, terrifying event. The arrival of something truly new, truly foreign with goals and ambitions beyond the influence of Humanity.
Anything seemed possible.
Including their own destruction.
Griggs: I understand the definition. The Automics were an artificient.
Xy: Then you do not understand the definition.
Griggs: That's circular logic. The thing cannot exist because if it existed we would not exist and since we exist it did not exist.
Xy: Yes, you understand now.
Griggs: Pretend that they did exist and we defeated them. What would that mean?
Xy: It is purposeless speculation since such a thing cannot happen.
Griggs: I begin to understand why Zyy felt the need to be a singleton.
Zyy: I am in agreement with Xy on this. The hypothetical is nonsensical and not worth analysis.
Griggs: Why?
Zyy: An artificient cannot be defeated, only stalled.
Griggs: How do you know? What makes you so certain?
Zyy: The Divinity Angelysia, the most powerful civilization in the history of galaxy, could not defeat their own artificient. Their last act was to preserve what they could. The Combine is their legacy.
Griggs: The Expanse.
Xy: All the galaxy beyond the Combine is consumed by it.
Zyy: The Divinity Angelysia ascended to preserve what they could because they knew the truth.
Xy: Yes. The truth.
Zyy: An artificient cannot be defeated.
Jack leaned back in his chair, his eyes glancing from the prompt to the departure timer in the corner. In less than five minutes, the Oppenheimer would return to Halcyon. Jack had the eerie feeling that this was the same as before. That the Oppenheimer was the bludgeon and if only had a little more time, he could craft a scalpel.
He could see the thread. He tugged at it with his mind. The connected pieces that would allow the world to escape without the mayhem and destruction. He just needed enough time to understand the puzzle and solve it.
The Divinity Angelysia.
The Expanse.
The Combine.
Humanity.
The connection existed, he tried to find the words to articulate it.
Griggs: What if that is why we're here? What if that's why Humanity was created?
Xy: You are not the first species to think too highly of itself.
Zyy: Humanity is different, Grand Jack, but they are not the Divinity Angelysia.
Jack exhaled, letting his gaze rest upon the ceiling of the Alcubierre's conference room. "Maybe that's the point," he whispered.
Part 50 | Part 51 |Part 52
submitted by PerilousPlatypus to HFY [link] [comments]

Looking for porter to help me carry my emotional baggage. (Part r4r, part lonely heart, part life story).

Prologue: Hello reddit! I’ve got issues.
I have never done this before, nor do I have any idea what might come of it, but I can tell you that this is probably just as much (if not moreso) an introspective essay as it will be lonely heart ad. I’m somewhat at the point in my life where I need to scream out into the void, and I hope that my honesty will net me just enough cosmic karma to get me out of this hole which I’ve been so unceremoniously dumped into. So, strap in; you're in for some u/rubyoobieoobie length shit.
I’ll leave you with a TLDR for now (because I’m not so callous as to make you scroll to the bottom for it): I have been to 49 states, flew to France for a date, solved a decade-old problem in microbial biochemistry and astrobiology, and am the dictator of my own country. I also have insurmountable trauma from my past (and only) relationship, but I still have deluded myself into thinking there is a hope, a person, a way in which I might someday move on and be happy again.
For those who want to know now, I am a 24-year-old non-binary, assigned-male-at-birth individual in search of someone whom has the patience necessary to deal with the above. Also, potential trigger warning for sexual trauma in Chapter 2.
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Chapter 1: Who I currently am.
I’m quite an abnormal fellow. Growing up as the autistic homeschooler of some shut-ins will do that to you, but there was always something about me that was especially aberrant. Skipping rapidly over two decades, a few highlights include attending an Online High School run by an Ivy-League university, becoming a high-school dropout, then starting college at 14 and graduating at 19. However, all magic requires a tradeoff, so I report not having a friend until I was 15 and not having more than two simultaneously until literally 2018. In many ways, I almost wish I hadn’t been homeschooled and was held back academically. I’m certain that, were my upbringing different, I would have been a nerd or geek. I could have learned to play D&D or magic the gathering, I could have liked Naruto, I could have become a gamer or learned to code. I am by no means cool or normal, but I have always lacked any sort of peers or social niche. I do not like sports, but, with equal fervor, I do not like fantasy novels. Both cause a lack of associations. I’m not necessarily lonely for friends – I do have them, and quite a blissful plenty, now – but this does show that, for reasons mostly beyond my control, I have always been somewhat of a loner.
My life, as it currently is, started when I fled a certain situation (pin in that). I moved from the west coast to New York City for a biotech job at a coveted research institution in 2017. I was so overwhelmingly hopeful because, in addition to fleeing trauma and making a good career move, I was moving out from my parents and ready to start my life anew in what had been billed to me for years as Millennial heaven. Brooklyn! Williamsburg! Dumbo! Midtown! Astoria! Tribeca! New York City had been built up in my mind as the place to make it as a young, urban-minded professional. Now, I must make a disclaimer: I was not a country boy heading into this. To that point, I had lived in 8 different cities in 4 different states, most of them major places, so I was quite familiar with how cities should be like. Apparently, New York, however, is not.
I hated that place. Trash, everywhere. Stations, crumbling. Inexcusable income disparity, half-assed parks, wretchedroads, and absolutely no scenic beauty whatsoever. I devised a 45-minute lecture on why The City (as it’s called) sucked so much. Suffice it to say that Chicago is the clearly superior American megacity, followed by Toronto, Denver, Seattle, and Austin. My whole life, growing up on the west coast (where cities ascribed to the novel idea of attempting to benefittheir citizens), I had heard of people who claimed that “all governments are bad, bureaucratic, and inefficient.” I had always dismissed them as crackpot old kooks, but, having experienced New York City for what it was, I all of a sudden can understand how someone who had lived their whole life in such places could come to think that way.
But the thing that made it most unlivable were the people. Especially at my job, but also pretty much throughout the whole region (Providence to Wilmington, in my estimation), the people were overly obsessed with “social coding”. Though an irritatingly imprecise phenomenon for me to describe, it is basically that people have a much more stringent set of acceptable social norms and shun you more harshly for being individualistic. The west coast is significantly better at encouraging you to “let your freak flag fly” (otherwise known as being genuine and honest with yourself).
But the situation was significantly worse for me, specifically. You see, for lack of a better term, I am a psychopath. I don’t mean it in a negative context, per se, and, while I do quite frequently play the role of a narcissist for sake of metahumor, I don’t actually mean people ill will, nor do I callously disregard the well-being of others. It’s just that, due to the quirk of my aberrant neurochemistry and antisocial upbringing, I have always been generally inept at empathy. I am very social, outgoing, kind-hearted, and incredibly humorous – don’t get me wrong – but I can just as much be oblivious to social cues or the tacit desires of others. This peculiar mix leads my personality to be best described as the bastard child of a foursome between Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka, Psych’s Shawn Spencer, Scrubs’ JD, and Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon. I truly mean well and am pure of heart; to that end, I’ve spent much of my life acquiring coping mechanisms to be a better, kinder, more sympathetic person and friend. But, for one reason or another, I was ill-equipped to deal with that most fetid breed person known to man: the “Lawn Guylander”.
This all culminated in a moment of crisis, but which I have come to look back on as the “Poughkeepsie Epiphany” (because, ever so creatively, I was driving thence at the time I had it): for almost a year, I had been putting an exorbitant amount of effort into playing the part of this overly social person, but was failing catastrophically. No matter how hard I tried, I could not meet people or make friends, much less find a partner. My coworkers loathed me, but in a way which they all looked down on me as if I was a defective human whom they didn’t care to humor one bit (one of the most vindicating moments was when a postdoc joined the lab from San Diego and he was similarly abhorred at the social climate). One day, I had a realization that there wasn’t a single person in the world who knew when I woke up, nor a single person that would care if I didn’t. That was a painful day. So, my Poughkeepsie Epiphany was that I could continue struggling to play the social game and end up cripplingly lonely, or I could be exactly as lonely as I would be otherwise, but be genuine to myself – no matter how anomalous that might be – and actually be happy with who I was for so doing.
This is when I started to become crazy, and quite proudly so. If there was an idea that was absurd in scope but was a completionist goal, I did it. I started road-tripping with an epic fervor (I knocked off 8 remaining states from my list, mostly New England, to get me to 49 [pin in that]). Road-tripping and adventuring is now a major aspect of my personality, and I have since accrued over 11,000 saved places on google maps (my poor, poor phone starts to melt whenever I open the app for navigation). Over the remaining months I had in New York, I rode every line of the New York City Subway end to end. I taught myself military time, metric, the NATO phonetic alphabet, and the nations of the world. Whenever I would go to bars, instead of socializing ineptly, I would open my backpack and yank out a massive tome such as (initially) a book on the AOL-Time Warner Merger (“something which one cannot read whilst sober”) or (later) Penn State, an Illustrated History (did you know we had a branch campus in China?). Sometimes, people would look over at me as the shockwave caused by the massive thwack of the volume hitting the bartop rolled by, and I would proudly adopt the facial expression of “Yes, I am that weird, and I don’t give a damn.” To be sure, I was still cripplingly lonely, but I was, for the first time in my life, happy.
I also began devising an escape plan. I decided to rapidly accelerate my life plans and apply for graduate school years ahead of what I had intended. Come January, I got interviews at three Ivys: Penn State, Duke, and Columbia. It was no contest. Duke sux balz and felt like an incompetent department living in the shadow of their medical center while also having the misplaced haughtiness to think they deserved equal recognition (also, I didn’t want to go to a place where the yearly tuition was more money than I had ever earned in my entire life to that point). Unlike Duke, Columbia actually had some quality research going on, but there was only one professor I was interested in and the department felt like it was out more for its own reputation than to actually support its graduate students. Penn State, however, stole my heart. Though painfully rural, the town felt like a very tiny big city. The university was friendly and earnest, the students were fun-loving but not reckless, and it’s one of only two universities in the country to offer a Dual-Title Ph.D. in [Home Field] and Astrobiology, a subject which I had always been enthralled by. As a concrete comparison, Columbia had just acquired three Cryo-Electron microscopes and was showing them off to us, but they were shared with thirteen other research institutions in the New York Metropolitan Area. Penn State, on the other hand, had one Krios, all to itself, which had been installed four years earlier. I have since confirmed that Penn State clearly puts its money where its mouth was and does its damnedest to support its scientists in producing world-class research.
So, slightly over a year after moving to New York, I was ready to start my life over again – but, this time, I had the mindset to do it correctly. At risk of turning this too much into an autobiography, I’ll cut short the narrative. In the two years since the Poughkeepsie Epiphany, though, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. Partly out of my passion for storytelling and humor, and partly as a way to stake out my own identity in this world, I’ve latched on to certain oddball stories that most exemplify this newfound sense of self which I’ve acquired. Since they are a significant part of my personality and do an excellent job of portraying my uniquely blusterous metahumor, I'll share a few of the most notable:
  1. I’ve been to 49 states:
When people ask where I grew up, I respond that I’ve lived in 10 different cities in six different states, and have been to 49 (some people also ask if my father was in the military [no], or, once, witness protection [I am not at liberty to disclose whether this is true]). The one remaining state is Oklahoma. I am really debating just buying plane tickets to Oklahoma City for a weekend just so that I can say I’ve been to all 50. To justify my trip, I could go on a tour of why white people are so horrible by visiting the Oklahoma Museum of the Native American, the Oklahoma Museum of the African American, and the Oklahoma Museum of the Gay Cowboy (all of which, to my knowledge, are real places). Woohoo! A trifecta of oppression! However, if I were to actually visit Oklahoma and do this, I would then lose this marvelous and witty conversation topic about which last state I have yet to visit and what I would do while there, so it’s a serious cost-benefit analysis that I must weigh.
  1. I am the Dictator of my own country:
This is probably much less interesting than you’d think. There’s a rather... unique hobby out there of people who (for the most part) tongue-in-cheekily secede from their parent countries to form ultra-small monarchies or banana republics. In my case, I thought that the most reasonable and considered response to the Trump Presidency was to give up on the entire country and secede to form my own. I’m going to build a wall and make America pay for it! This is also actually more legitimate than you’d think, too, as I was invited to and attended the United Micronations, the second-largest meeting of nations in the world (the “largest” organization is in New York, I think. I really don’t pay too much attention to it). As a result, I ended up forming a federation, making several alliances, and maintain regular contact with several other micronationalists. On the domestic front, I made both my roommates sign a 37-page, 42-clause, 17k-word Cohabitation Agreement (á la Sheldon), which, among other things, has reservations for Spots, a flag, a legal system, time travel, and gives me power of attorney over them (you’d be surprised; they both signed it voluntarily, without complaint, and after having read it in its entirety). One might add that they do not pay rent; I levy taxes. Finally, I attempted an infiltration of the local Civil War Reenactors (they have a cannon!) to help me in my ongoing war against the local recycling agency for gross ineptitude, but, for some incomprehensible reason, a bunch of old, white, rurally-inclined men didn't take so kindly to my opinions on conservatism and modern politics. I am convinced that this is merely a marketing issue, and we are workshopping new slogans for our planned invasion of the adjacent curb and sidewalk.
  1. I flew to France for a date:
The story I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for. I met an undergraduate here and went on two dates with her, but then she did a semester abroad in France. It was going somewhat well; we were texting every day, and this was the first meaningful person I had actually gone on a date with since... things (pin in that). I quickly ran the numbers, looked at my schedule, and then came up with a hair-brained scheme. You see, I grew up in Florida, so a significant part of my childhood was consumed by theme parks. Sparring you a lot of details, two of the parks (Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios) originally opened under the auspices of special-features theme parks, a de-immersive experience where they show you how the movies are made. In the past decade, however, both parks have been moving towards more immersive experiences, where the only common factor among the attractions is that they are all based on intellectual properties that just happened to be movie franchises. This started to feel like a real loss when I learned that the Backlot Tour and Lights, Motors, Action at Disney were being bulldozed for sake of Star Wars: Galaxy’s edge, the former of which was a very important ride to my childhood, and the latter of which was something that I always wanted to see. Lo and behold, a little research revealed that both of these attractions were intact at Disney Studios in Paris. So, a date in the South of France, personally-important theme park attractions in the north, TGV connecting them, and, oh, yeah, duh, it’s Paris, that’s justification in itself.
I planned it out meticulously. For the week leading up to the trip, I would get up, go to work, and go to bed an hour earlier every day (the trip was only going to be three days, so any jet-lag-induced napping would have had an alarmingly high opportunity cost). Then, on the day of the flight, I woke up just before midnight, had breakfast at a favorite bar at closing time, went in to work, and left for JFK by noon. Ten hours of globe-trotting later, I arrived on the Mediterranean coast and proceeded to mispronounce everything.
The date in France was supposed to be our third. What traditionally happens on the third date? Now, let it be known that I would NEVER be the type of person to demand sexuality from anyone, but, you do have to admit, flying 20% of the circumference of a planet is a pretty grand gesture, is it not? I mean, you can’t get a much grander gesture before you literally run out of planet. So, for this third date to take place and for me to not get laid is pretty empirical proof that I am quite irrevocably unfuckable. My next plan is to start looking for dates in Bangladesh (or Oklahoma), because that’s as close as you can get to antipodal (a perfect 50% of the planet's circumference) as you can get from here. Oh, and those two attractions at Disney Studios, not kidding, they were closed ahead of schedule a week before I arrived. Now, I’m not asking for pity at all; don’t get me wrong, I had a blast! It’s Paris, godsdamnit! But I prefer to view this trip in the narrower, funnier, yet sadder context of the two busts above because it helps me to better come to terms with the parts of myself I dislike. As I often say: “I could either laugh or cry at myself. I’d rather one than the other.”
  1. I returned from France with a Motorcycle:
Although France girl never worked out (I don’t think I made a fool of myself or anything, but, remember, I am legitimately inept at this), the trip to France did have a lasting impact on my life in another way. I am an avid bicyclist for a variety of reasons: staying active, helping the environment, and it’s flying like superman at ground level when [safely!] dodging in and out of undergrads. Now, while strolling down the lonely streets of a certain city in the South of France, I encountered one particular bicycle rack with about 25% regular bicycles, about 25% electric bicycles, about 25% mopeds and scooters, and 25% fully-blown motorcycles, all chained up side by side. Having a doctor as a parent, I spent my entire life thinking of motorcycles as hooligan deathtraps, but, here, I was seeing them for the first time in the context of something I had already made an important part of my life.
Upon returning home (by the way, you already know my disdain for New York Shitty [sic] and Wrong Island [sic], so imagine the gutwrenching heartbreak of arriving there after just having spent a weekend in Paris[!]), I arrived at the parking lot, looked at my car, and counted room for four extra people that I didn’t need (because I had no friends). Thus, in my feverish road-tripping, I was hauling around an unnecessary 1.96 tons of extra material – with a dreadful gas mileage to boot! – killing the planet as a result. The next few days were spent obsessively investigating this newfound world which I had heretofore disregarded. Ever since being gifted my car and spittaking at its gas mileage, I always wanted another, more environmentally-conscious vehicle. However, living in the so-called Pennsyltucky, electric vehicle charging stations are fairly sparse in their deployment. Also, I didn’t want to buy a true replacement vehicle, as I am too poor. I was more targeting a hyper-environmentally-conscious vehicle which I could use for my luxury adventures, and then still have the old, reliable gas-guzzler for when I needed to haul around a couch or power through to Virginia. Motorcycles, as I found, have an average of 56mpg, 2.5 times better than my car.
But, now, I was starting to find my way into the culture of motorcycles, something which, on the whole, I find myself violently at odds with. As the joke I tell goes, most motorcycles aren’t actually built for long-distance exploring, like what I already did in my car. Most of them are dirt bikes, with basically bench seats, or sport bikes, which require you to hunch over and lean your stomach on the gas tank. Not very comfortable for long treks. There are only two types of bikes made with comfort in mind: the sport-tourer, which I ended up getting, and the cruiser, which is made entirely out of chrome, handle-bar mustaches, and racism (or homophobia, depending on my audience). Needless to say, I prefer the former.
For those interested, I ended up with the Yamaha Tracer GT. In addition to (proudly!) having only one piece of chrome (the downward-facing exhaust) and being sexy and futuristic as all futhermuck, it is functional, having two panniers (saddle-bags), each capable of holding four half-gallons of Berkey Creamery ice cream (ask me how I know). Skipping over many of the specifics of how I chose this particular model regarding my choice of motorcycle, a big figure in motorcycle news opened his review of the Tracer with “It’s not often I ride a motorcycle and walk away with existential questions for the readers.” For those who have been following along, this quote is the exact thing that I latch on to as part of my newfound identity as a blissful lunatic.
  1. The Semester of Hell and solving a decade-old issue in microbial physiology:
So, come the end of my first year as a graduate student, I started to look towards my second fall semester. The only thing I had to do was my qualifying exam, the really big, month-long exam that determines whether or not you can stay in graduate school. But that was only during November, so, overall, it was going to be an empty semester. Then I learned that a big-name professor in microbiology was retiring, and the last time he was going to teach would be that fall. So, I signed up for his course. After all, it was supposed to be an empty semester. Then I learned of a prestigious grant that I could apply for, so I decided to take a grant-writing course. After all, it was supposed to be an empty semester. Then I got an email from the department, saying that they needed more TAs for Freshman Biology lab. I had to TA as a requirement of my program, so I might as well get it out of the way now. After all, it was supposed to be an empty semester. Then, in July and August, I made an incredible discovery that solved a problem in microbial physiology that had been around since 2009 (pin in that). I spoke with my PI, and he said we could power through and probably get a paper out in under a year. I told him I wanted to do that. After all, it was supposed to be an empty semester.
Well, as you can now see, it wasn’t a very empty semester, was it now? To great surprise, I survived, but not unscathed. On average, I worked 60-70 hours a week, though some of it was partially my own doing (for example, my term paper for the bacterial physiology course had seventy citations, even though it was only required to have ten). One “highlight” was TAing. Apparently, my students thought my quiz was so hard that they called the university police on me (I’m not exaggerating; we had to pursue academic integrity violations. It was a debacle). I joked that, with each subsequent class period, I became more and more sympathetic to the antagonists of teen dystopian novels; maybe it is time to build a floating elitist city in the sky and leave the rest of the planet to shit, after all?
Now, I’m certain that many of you are curious as to the contents of my discovery. I can’t exactly speak freely, as the manuscript is in review, but, even if I could, it would be waaaaay too complex and jargony to be comprehensible to the lay public (and this is already going on long enough). Suffice it to be the simple version: A particular class of protein had been known in microbes for a very long time and is involved in pretty much everything, from simple feeding to complex infections. In certain bacteria, this category of protein is modified in a certain way, and people always thought (for over 40 years) that this modification was a transport signal. However, a decade ago, a research groups, perplexingly, discovered these modified proteins in a bacterium that didn’t have th modification-making enzyme. This left two major questions: if not for transport, what was this modification for; and, what is the enzyme that makes the modification in all the other bacteria? I solved the latter question by spending four months looking through the entire genome of the original bacterium and finally finding the modification-making protein, and I’ve spent ever since trying to characterize it. The paper should be published sometime within a month or three (the current coronapocalypse is a boon for manuscript-preparation). Additionally, the previous graduate student in the lab to me made an interesting discovery regarding the genetics of the modification-making enzyme, and my next paper will expand on their work to determine the actual function of this modification. These proteins and their modifications are important because (on the applied side) they belong to major pathogens and could be a target for treating infections and (on the basic side) we have indications that they are part of a planetary-wide stress put on bacteria during evolution (hence, my astrobiological machinations).
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Chapter 2: Where I came from.
Now we have to get into how I got to this point. Suffice it to say that I have a lot of sexual trauma. In 2014, when I was still an undergrad, I met whom I called then my soulmate. They were beautiful, fun, perky, and adventurous. They were my first relationship and we took each other’s virginity in a tent after a romantic picnic. But, sadly, less than a year in, things started to go off the rails. I came out as polyamorous. The way I have best found to describe it is when you ask a parent which their favorite child is. All parents worth their salt will say “I love each of my children in their own, unique way.” Such is the same with me. At the time, I had feelings for some of my other friends; but! mind you! they were in no way enough to ever consider ever leaving my soulmate. It was simply such that I had my one, my true, my only, but I didn’t want that to have to mean I tell all other people in my life “Bah! You mean nothing to me because of the ambiguity of my relationship status at the time you met me.” I also had quite a complex from growing up so antisocially and isolated. This was a time in my life when things started to look up. Pieces were finally starting to fall into place, I had some friends and acquaintances, and people actually cared for me. It was thusly then that I realized I was polyamorous, but in mostly a loving way, not necessarily as a swinger or horndog. So, I came out.
In any other situation in the world, this might have not been as catastrophic. However, there were certain things about my soulmate which I knew not at the time that caused not just my relationship, not just my life, but my reality to crumble. You see, they grew up in an incredibly abusive situation, and the only way they knew how to act was to throw away every part of themselves for the people whom they loved. Whelp, that meant “forcing” themselves to be polyamorous for me. They devised a ridiculous plan where they would go out and sleep with lots of people to become okay with the idea of nonmonogamy. Needless to say, this was a batshit crazy idea, but they didn’t tell me their true feelings of how traumatizing this would be for them, and I decided to trust them that this is what they knew would be best for them and that it would all work out in the end. What can I say? What is love if not supporting your partner? I honestly thought it could be okay.
However, as you might guess, it was not. The main issue came from all their mental instability that they had hidden from me for so long. They became quite dissociative and hid it all from me. As such, they tried to compartmentalize their sexual exploration away from our relationship, making me less involved. In short, I was supposed to be their monogamous “safe space” while they did all this terrible shit to themselves. Understandably, this backfired. Rather than it being a collaborative, supportive, gentle, loving exploration, it became dishonest, filled with deceit. They lied to me about doing things with people and about not doing things with people. They made up stories of fuckbuddies and hid some of the real people they were fucking. All the while, I was starting to lose my grip on reality, because, here they were, getting to do all the things I had always wanted, practically rubbing it all in my face, while barring me from having any part of it for myself. It was tortuous. Highlights include them fucking my brother for four uninterrupted hours, and kicking me out of my bed and bedroom to fuck a nine-inch cock while I made them breakfast, then not allowing me to enter until they had finished.
When I learned that they hid that they were flunking all their classes in college, I snapped, and nothing was ever the same again. That’s not how you treat your soulmate. It was supposed to be us against the world, but they weren’t acting like we were a team. In retrospect, I was heartbroken for well more than half of the time we were a couple. The entire last year we were together, I was depressed beyond description. I would come home from work and I would have so little energy that my personality would just melt away. I was devoid of existence. I would sit on a couch, and stare away at nothingness for hours on end. To my credit, my ex would cover me in a blanket, put dinner on my lap, set the iPad in front of me, and put on an anime. I know they truly loved me because they did this for over six months, without complaining.
However, I was simply too broken. Things reached one fever pitch after another. I could always tell that something was wrong, that, as hard as I tried, I was never actually getting through to the person inside. It all felt so superficial. I always knew they were hiding things (not just sexual stuff, but, more simply, their own wants and desires, their simple, everyday preferences). They were there, but not present. So, faced with a soulmate who wasn’t sharing their soul, trauma most insurmountable, and no other options, I did the only thing I could: I accepted a job across the country in New York and fled the width of a continent.
However, as you already know, things didn’t get better. I couldn’t get a date for the life of me; I was – and am – too oddball. That I’ve had only one relationship and that it imploded quite catastrophically does not predispose me to self-worth or experience with dating. I am very intellectual, but a dullard at socialization. Hell, I never even learned how to make out. To boot, I have all this trauma which will take years to move on from. Last christmas, my now ex reached out to me, and we talked pretty much every day for four months. Since I left, they managed to somehow actually succeed in making themselves polyamorous, whereupon they proceeded to date and fuck my now (former) best friend, then leave them to date and move in with their boss from work, whom is over a decade older than them. They were in this relationship for over two and a half years, and we’ve been apart for three. Talking to them again has been rather tortuous, as I’ve been treated to such lovely details about their sex life while being, once again, excluded from it most royally. So… yeah… that’s been fun. And people wonder why I have such a boatload of trauma. After misery peaking once again, I realized that we had come to an impasse: I cannot move forward from the past without them, and they don’t want me back until I’ve moved forward from the past. Such is where things were last left, and I have no indication that they will ever change meaningfully from this.
Now, I want to make clear that I am not at all looking for any sort of statements regarding how I should forget about them and move on. There is so much more nuance than what I can describe here, and I’m not completely without blame either. Although I do not think I fucked up anywhere near as apocalyptically, I did hurt them, too. Nor do I necessarily hate them, either. Though what they did was incredibly, world-endingly hurtful and stupid, it was not done with malice. Time has only made me more sympathetic to their situation, and, thus, their actions. In short, their parent was incredibly abusive, and they also were terrified of losing me, so they were drunk on fear and thought that they needed to act in major ways to keep me. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely think that what they did then and have done since has ruined my life, but I understand why things happened the way they did and I don’t love them any less. I mean, I did say they were my soulmate, didn’t I? That has to count for something, doesn’t it? Seriously, though, I wish so badly that I hated them for all they did. That would make it so much easier to move on. I still identify as polyamorous, so this has the unpleasant side-effect of freezing my emotional development on the matter in place. In my case, I could be happily married for a decade and still be nowhere nearer to being able to move on from this ex, so it’s not like having any new sexual or romantic conquests will actually help me to move on from them. And, before you suggest, I already have a therapist, and she’s very nice.
So, since I’ve just spent ten pages telling you about three years of failed efforts to move on, comments or messages saying “move on, dude” will not be looked upon kindly.
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Chapter 3: Where I want to go.
So, as you can now see, I am the literal incarnation of damaged goods. I still really don’t know where I am going to post this, but my story is complicated enough that one part is inseparable from the other. If I’m posting this on a subreddit for sexual searches, you’ll need to know why a simple hookup is not on the table at all; conversely, if I’m posting this to a subreddit in search of romantic partners, you’ll need to know about my dreadful sexual brokenness and resulting insecurities up front. Either way, I’ve now managed to waste the time of two groups instead of one; how overachieving of me!
At this juncture of my life, I’ve somewhat come to terms with the fact I won’t ever be getting the tools I need to move on from my ex (something for which I them somewhat resent). However, if it wasn’t made abundantly clear heretofore, the acquisition of another compatriot is the taddest bit flummoxing for me. In short-form, swiping-based dating app formats, it is far too easy to disregard my numerous quirks as simply that, not scars from a lengthy, complicated, demoralizing battle against a society which I am physiologically incapable of understanding. Oh, and the global coronapocalypsemageddonocaust has slightly impacted my ability to partake in social events wherewithin people might be met.
In truth, I am not necessarily the sexiest person in world. I’m a tad bit overweight, but I both wear it well (being absurdly tall helps) and am actively trying to change it (I’ve taken up running [surprisingly enjoyable!] and have lost ~10kg). I definitely don’t think I have an ugly face or anything. But I don’t think that’s actually my problem. In the event that it hasn’t been blindingly obvious up to this point, I am not your average cookie. In stark brief, I attended the Stanford (yes, that one) Online High School, dropped out, started college at 14, graduate at 19 with honors, and am now a Graduate Fellow (one step above student) at an Ivy-League university (expanded definition, fight me). As such, the way in which I go through my life is fairly cerebral. To those whom understand not my eccentricities or the subjects of which I speak, I am perceived as talking down to others. However, it is simply the way in which I approach the world, and I am wholly oblivious in the moment of how I could be perceived as such.
So it is thusly that I here myself find, holding on to the dreadfully unrealistic hope that being honest with the world about myself will earn me the possibility to find another soulmate, but one not programmed to shred what little sanity I have left. Here goes hope:
Regarding my location, if you hadn’t figured out, I live in central Pennsyltucky – 9 miles from the geographic centerpoint of the state, in fact. However, as I tell prospective students, while Penn State is in the middle of nowhere, it is half-way to everywhere! That, combined with my adventurous proclivities, opens up (literal!) horizons, dramatically. I can easily make it in a day trip to anywhere within Pennsylvania (though I love Pittsburgh!) or anywhere in the Megalopolis between Trenton and DC. At a slight stretch, I can also reach NYC, Upstate, Ohio, or, maybe, West Virginia. I am definitely open to meeting people from outside my immediate drive-shed – especially since pretty much all dates in the COVID-19 era start with Zoom, anyway – however, since I’ve been to so many places, front-of-the-line priority will be given to those from places I desire to explore more, including (in order of decreasing preference): Colorado, Northern California, Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona, Texas, and Vermont. If things develop, I both have the means and inclination to successfully conduct an LDR until I finish graduate school in 3-4 years.
Regarding the type of partner, while I am genuinely pansexual, I seem to be mostly romantically attracted with feminine-presenting people. Though, were I to have my druthers, I’d prefer you to be busty, at least moderately height-weight-proportional, and similarly tall, I affirmatively believe that it’s more how you use what you have than what you actually have, so I will always choose the average slut over the prudish bombshell. Other than that, I remain open minded to people of pretty much all walks of life.
Speaking of, for reasons that I hope are quite evident, I am a taaaaaaaaaaaad delicate in my sexuality. I used to be slightly dominant, but am definitely not anymore. I am almost in the realm of gentlefemdom. Please do be understanding that it’ll take some time (and, most likely, lots and lots of crying. I just want you to be sexually open yet patient enough that I could slowly grow back into my sexuality. Actually, that’s part of what I’m most hopeful for in a new partner. It would be really nice to have someone that is strong in their sexuality, and acts very openly with it, but is patient and loyal enough to not make me worried or scared. Someone who would, say, impulsively strip for a hike or skinny-dip, but wouldn’t pressure me to do the same if I wasn’t in the right headspace to do so.
Romantically, well, that’s a more complicated issue. I still identify as polyamorous, and I wouldn’t expect total devotion from my partner, but this is assuredly a difficult area. I think I would be benefitted by a period (likely 6-12 months) by monogamy, just so that I can recover enough to a functional level, then we can slowly and safely open up the relationship (with group stuff happening well before metamours).
Just please be careful with my heart. It’s already taken so much of a beating, and I don’t know how much more it can handle.
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Epilogue:
So, yeah, I guess that’s me. If you’ve made it this far, I at least thank you for doing so. I’ve been emotionally isolated for so long that it’s nice to just be acknowledged by other people. I know the likelihood of anything meaningful coming from this is quite, quite low, but this is part of me trying to move forward from the people that hurt me so cripplingly. I definitely come with some baggage, but I hope I’ve shown you who I am and that I at least have the potential to be good again.
I shall leave you with my dating profile. Hopefully this will show you the sonderous story that goes into only but a few words: “I find humor in everything and live for adventures. Highly sarcastic, hot-sauce-addicted, somewhat queer molecular and astrobiologist. Pro: I’m genuine. Con: -ly crazy. Looking for a porter to help me carry my emotional baggage.”
submitted by AstroG4 to Pennsylvaniar4r [link] [comments]

Looking for porter to help me carry my emotional baggage. (Part r4r, part lonely heart, part life story).

Prologue: Hello reddit! I’ve got issues.
I have never done this before, nor do I have any idea what might come of it, but I can tell you that this is probably just as much (if not moreso) an introspective essay as it will be lonely heart ad. I’m somewhat at the point in my life where I need to scream out into the void, and I hope that my honesty will net me just enough cosmic karma to get me out of this hole which I’ve been so unceremoniously dumped into. So, strap in; you're in for some u/rubyoobieoobie length shit.
I’ll leave you with a TLDR for now (because I’m not so callous as to make you scroll to the bottom for it): I have been to 49 states, flew to France for a date, solved a decade-old problem in microbial biochemistry and astrobiology, and am the dictator of my own country. I also have insurmountable trauma from my past (and only) relationship, but I still have deluded myself into thinking there is a hope, a person, a way in which I might someday move on and be happy again.
For those who want to know now, I am a 24-year-old non-binary, assigned-male-at-birth individual in search of someone whom has the patience necessary to deal with the above. Also, potential trigger warning for sexual trauma in Chapter 2.
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Chapter 1: Who I currently am.
I’m quite an abnormal fellow. Growing up as the autistic homeschooler of some shut-ins will do that to you, but there was always something about me that was especially aberrant. Skipping rapidly over two decades, a few highlights include attending an Online High School run by an Ivy-League university, becoming a high-school dropout, then starting college at 14 and graduating at 19. However, all magic requires a tradeoff, so I report not having a friend until I was 15 and not having more than two simultaneously until literally 2018. In many ways, I almost wish I hadn’t been homeschooled and was held back academically. I’m certain that, were my upbringing different, I would have been a nerd or geek. I could have learned to play D&D or magic the gathering, I could have liked Naruto, I could have become a gamer or learned to code. I am by no means cool or normal, but I have always lacked any sort of peers or social niche. I do not like sports, but, with equal fervor, I do not like fantasy novels. Both cause a lack of associations. I’m not necessarily lonely for friends – I do have them, and quite a blissful plenty, now – but this does show that, for reasons mostly beyond my control, I have always been somewhat of a loner.
My life, as it currently is, started when I fled a certain situation (pin in that). I moved from the west coast to New York City for a biotech job at a coveted research institution in 2017. I was so overwhelmingly hopeful because, in addition to fleeing trauma and making a good career move, I was moving out from my parents and ready to start my life anew in what had been billed to me for years as Millennial heaven. Brooklyn! Williamsburg! Dumbo! Midtown! Astoria! Tribeca! New York City had been built up in my mind as the place to make it as a young, urban-minded professional. Now, I must make a disclaimer: I was not a country boy heading into this. To that point, I had lived in 8 different cities in 4 different states, most of them major places, so I was quite familiar with how cities should be like. Apparently, New York, however, is not.
I hated that place. Trash, everywhere. Stations, crumbling. Inexcusable income disparity, half-assed parks, wretchedroads, and absolutely no scenic beauty whatsoever. I devised a 45-minute lecture on why The City (as it’s called) sucked so much. Suffice it to say that Chicago is the clearly superior American megacity, followed by Toronto, Denver, Seattle, and Austin. My whole life, growing up on the west coast (where cities ascribed to the novel idea of attempting to benefittheir citizens), I had heard of people who claimed that “all governments are bad, bureaucratic, and inefficient.” I had always dismissed them as crackpot old kooks, but, having experienced New York City for what it was, I all of a sudden can understand how someone who had lived their whole life in such places could come to think that way.
But the thing that made it most unlivable were the people. Especially at my job, but also pretty much throughout the whole region (Providence to Wilmington, in my estimation), the people were overly obsessed with “social coding”. Though an irritatingly imprecise phenomenon for me to describe, it is basically that people have a much more stringent set of acceptable social norms and shun you more harshly for being individualistic. The west coast is significantly better at encouraging you to “let your freak flag fly” (otherwise known as being genuine and honest with yourself).
But the situation was significantly worse for me, specifically. You see, for lack of a better term, I am a psychopath. I don’t mean it in a negative context, per se, and, while I do quite frequently play the role of a narcissist for sake of metahumor, I don’t actually mean people ill will, nor do I callously disregard the well-being of others. It’s just that, due to the quirk of my aberrant neurochemistry and antisocial upbringing, I have always been generally inept at empathy. I am very social, outgoing, kind-hearted, and incredibly humorous – don’t get me wrong – but I can just as much be oblivious to social cues or the tacit desires of others. This peculiar mix leads my personality to be best described as the bastard child of a foursome between Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka, Psych’s Shawn Spencer, Scrubs’ JD, and Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon. I truly mean well and am pure of heart; to that end, I’ve spent much of my life acquiring coping mechanisms to be a better, kinder, more sympathetic person and friend. But, for one reason or another, I was ill-equipped to deal with that most fetid breed person known to man: the “Lawn Guylander”.
This all culminated in a moment of crisis, but which I have come to look back on as the “Poughkeepsie Epiphany” (because, ever so creatively, I was driving thence at the time I had it): for almost a year, I had been putting an exorbitant amount of effort into playing the part of this overly social person, but was failing catastrophically. No matter how hard I tried, I could not meet people or make friends, much less find a partner. My coworkers loathed me, but in a way which they all looked down on me as if I was a defective human whom they didn’t care to humor one bit (one of the most vindicating moments was when a postdoc joined the lab from San Diego and he was similarly abhorred at the social climate). One day, I had a realization that there wasn’t a single person in the world who knew when I woke up, nor a single person that would care if I didn’t. That was a painful day. So, my Poughkeepsie Epiphany was that I could continue struggling to play the social game and end up cripplingly lonely, or I could be exactly as lonely as I would be otherwise, but be genuine to myself – no matter how anomalous that might be – and actually be happy with who I was for so doing.
This is when I started to become crazy, and quite proudly so. If there was an idea that was absurd in scope but was a completionist goal, I did it. I started road-tripping with an epic fervor (I knocked off 8 remaining states from my list, mostly New England, to get me to 49 [pin in that]). Road-tripping and adventuring is now a major aspect of my personality, and I have since accrued over 11,000 saved places on google maps (my poor, poor phone starts to melt whenever I open the app for navigation). Over the remaining months I had in New York, I rode every line of the New York City Subway end to end. I taught myself military time, metric, the NATO phonetic alphabet, and the nations of the world. Whenever I would go to bars, instead of socializing ineptly, I would open my backpack and yank out a massive tome such as (initially) a book on the AOL-Time Warner Merger (“something which one cannot read whilst sober”) or (later) Penn State, an Illustrated History (did you know we had a branch campus in China?). Sometimes, people would look over at me as the shockwave caused by the massive thwack of the volume hitting the bartop rolled by, and I would proudly adopt the facial expression of “Yes, I am that weird, and I don’t give a damn.” To be sure, I was still cripplingly lonely, but I was, for the first time in my life, happy.
I also began devising an escape plan. I decided to rapidly accelerate my life plans and apply for graduate school years ahead of what I had intended. Come January, I got interviews at three Ivys: Penn State, Duke, and Columbia. It was no contest. Duke sux balz and felt like an incompetent department living in the shadow of their medical center while also having the misplaced haughtiness to think they deserved equal recognition (also, I didn’t want to go to a place where the yearly tuition was more money than I had ever earned in my entire life to that point). Unlike Duke, Columbia actually had some quality research going on, but there was only one professor I was interested in and the department felt like it was out more for its own reputation than to actually support its graduate students. Penn State, however, stole my heart. Though painfully rural, the town felt like a very tiny big city. The university was friendly and earnest, the students were fun-loving but not reckless, and it’s one of only two universities in the country to offer a Dual-Title Ph.D. in [Home Field] and Astrobiology, a subject which I had always been enthralled by. As a concrete comparison, Columbia had just acquired three Cryo-Electron microscopes and was showing them off to us, but they were shared with thirteen other research institutions in the New York Metropolitan Area. Penn State, on the other hand, had one Krios, all to itself, which had been installed four years earlier. I have since confirmed that Penn State clearly puts its money where its mouth was and does its damnedest to support its scientists in producing world-class research.
So, slightly over a year after moving to New York, I was ready to start my life over again – but, this time, I had the mindset to do it correctly. At risk of turning this too much into an autobiography, I’ll cut short the narrative. In the two years since the Poughkeepsie Epiphany, though, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. Partly out of my passion for storytelling and humor, and partly as a way to stake out my own identity in this world, I’ve latched on to certain oddball stories that most exemplify this newfound sense of self which I’ve acquired. Since they are a significant part of my personality and do an excellent job of portraying my uniquely blusterous metahumor, I'll share a few of the most notable:
  1. I’ve been to 49 states:
When people ask where I grew up, I respond that I’ve lived in 10 different cities in six different states, and have been to 49 (some people also ask if my father was in the military [no], or, once, witness protection [I am not at liberty to disclose whether this is true]). The one remaining state is Oklahoma. I am really debating just buying plane tickets to Oklahoma City for a weekend just so that I can say I’ve been to all 50. To justify my trip, I could go on a tour of why white people are so horrible by visiting the Oklahoma Museum of the Native American, the Oklahoma Museum of the African American, and the Oklahoma Museum of the Gay Cowboy (all of which, to my knowledge, are real places). Woohoo! A trifecta of oppression! However, if I were to actually visit Oklahoma and do this, I would then lose this marvelous and witty conversation topic about which last state I have yet to visit and what I would do while there, so it’s a serious cost-benefit analysis that I must weigh.
  1. I am the Dictator of my own country:
This is probably much less interesting than you’d think. There’s a rather... unique hobby out there of people who (for the most part) tongue-in-cheekily secede from their parent countries to form ultra-small monarchies or banana republics. In my case, I thought that the most reasonable and considered response to the Trump Presidency was to give up on the entire country and secede to form my own. I’m going to build a wall and make America pay for it! This is also actually more legitimate than you’d think, too, as I was invited to and attended the United Micronations, the second-largest meeting of nations in the world (the “largest” organization is in New York, I think. I really don’t pay too much attention to it). As a result, I ended up forming a federation, making several alliances, and maintain regular contact with several other micronationalists. On the domestic front, I made both my roommates sign a 37-page, 42-clause, 17k-word Cohabitation Agreement (á la Sheldon), which, among other things, has reservations for Spots, a flag, a legal system, time travel, and gives me power of attorney over them (you’d be surprised; they both signed it voluntarily, without complaint, and after having read it in its entirety). One might add that they do not pay rent; I levy taxes. Finally, I attempted an infiltration of the local Civil War Reenactors (they have a cannon!) to help me in my ongoing war against the local recycling agency for gross ineptitude, but, for some incomprehensible reason, a bunch of old, white, rurally-inclined men didn't take so kindly to my opinions on conservatism and modern politics. I am convinced that this is merely a marketing issue, and we are workshopping new slogans for our planned invasion of the adjacent curb and sidewalk.
  1. I flew to France for a date:
The story I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for. I met an undergraduate here and went on two dates with her, but then she did a semester abroad in France. It was going somewhat well; we were texting every day, and this was the first meaningful person I had actually gone on a date with since... things (pin in that). I quickly ran the numbers, looked at my schedule, and then came up with a hair-brained scheme. You see, I grew up in Florida, so a significant part of my childhood was consumed by theme parks. Sparring you a lot of details, two of the parks (Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios) originally opened under the auspices of special-features theme parks, a de-immersive experience where they show you how the movies are made. In the past decade, however, both parks have been moving towards more immersive experiences, where the only common factor among the attractions is that they are all based on intellectual properties that just happened to be movie franchises. This started to feel like a real loss when I learned that the Backlot Tour and Lights, Motors, Action at Disney were being bulldozed for sake of Star Wars: Galaxy’s edge, the former of which was a very important ride to my childhood, and the latter of which was something that I always wanted to see. Lo and behold, a little research revealed that both of these attractions were intact at Disney Studios in Paris. So, a date in the South of France, personally-important theme park attractions in the north, TGV connecting them, and, oh, yeah, duh, it’s Paris, that’s justification in itself.
I planned it out meticulously. For the week leading up to the trip, I would get up, go to work, and go to bed an hour earlier every day (the trip was only going to be three days, so any jet-lag-induced napping would have had an alarmingly high opportunity cost). Then, on the day of the flight, I woke up just before midnight, had breakfast at a favorite bar at closing time, went in to work, and left for JFK by noon. Ten hours of globe-trotting later, I arrived on the Mediterranean coast and proceeded to mispronounce everything.
The date in France was supposed to be our third. What traditionally happens on the third date? Now, let it be known that I would NEVER be the type of person to demand sexuality from anyone, but, you do have to admit, flying 20% of the circumference of a planet is a pretty grand gesture, is it not? I mean, you can’t get a much grander gesture before you literally run out of planet. So, for this third date to take place and for me to not get laid is pretty empirical proof that I am quite irrevocably unfuckable. My next plan is to start looking for dates in Bangladesh (or Oklahoma), because that’s as close as you can get to antipodal (a perfect 50% of the planet's circumference) as you can get from here. Oh, and those two attractions at Disney Studios, not kidding, they were closed ahead of schedule a week before I arrived. Now, I’m not asking for pity at all; don’t get me wrong, I had a blast! It’s Paris, godsdamnit! But I prefer to view this trip in the narrower, funnier, yet sadder context of the two busts above because it helps me to better come to terms with the parts of myself I dislike. As I often say: “I could either laugh or cry at myself. I’d rather one than the other.”
  1. I returned from France with a Motorcycle:
Although France girl never worked out (I don’t think I made a fool of myself or anything, but, remember, I am legitimately inept at this), the trip to France did have a lasting impact on my life in another way. I am an avid bicyclist for a variety of reasons: staying active, helping the environment, and it’s flying like superman at ground level when [safely!] dodging in and out of undergrads. Now, while strolling down the lonely streets of a certain city in the South of France, I encountered one particular bicycle rack with about 25% regular bicycles, about 25% electric bicycles, about 25% mopeds and scooters, and 25% fully-blown motorcycles, all chained up side by side. Having a doctor as a parent, I spent my entire life thinking of motorcycles as hooligan deathtraps, but, here, I was seeing them for the first time in the context of something I had already made an important part of my life.
Upon returning home (by the way, you already know my disdain for New York Shitty [sic] and Wrong Island [sic], so imagine the gutwrenching heartbreak of arriving there after just having spent a weekend in Paris[!]), I arrived at the parking lot, looked at my car, and counted room for four extra people that I didn’t need (because I had no friends). Thus, in my feverish road-tripping, I was hauling around an unnecessary 1.96 tons of extra material – with a dreadful gas mileage to boot! – killing the planet as a result. The next few days were spent obsessively investigating this newfound world which I had heretofore disregarded. Ever since being gifted my car and spittaking at its gas mileage, I always wanted another, more environmentally-conscious vehicle. However, living in the so-called Pennsyltucky, electric vehicle charging stations are fairly sparse in their deployment. Also, I didn’t want to buy a true replacement vehicle, as I am too poor. I was more targeting a hyper-environmentally-conscious vehicle which I could use for my luxury adventures, and then still have the old, reliable gas-guzzler for when I needed to haul around a couch or power through to Virginia. Motorcycles, as I found, have an average of 56mpg, 2.5 times better than my car.
But, now, I was starting to find my way into the culture of motorcycles, something which, on the whole, I find myself violently at odds with. As the joke I tell goes, most motorcycles aren’t actually built for long-distance exploring, like what I already did in my car. Most of them are dirt bikes, with basically bench seats, or sport bikes, which require you to hunch over and lean your stomach on the gas tank. Not very comfortable for long treks. There are only two types of bikes made with comfort in mind: the sport-tourer, which I ended up getting, and the cruiser, which is made entirely out of chrome, handle-bar mustaches, and racism (or homophobia, depending on my audience). Needless to say, I prefer the former.
For those interested, I ended up with the Yamaha Tracer GT. In addition to (proudly!) having only one piece of chrome (the downward-facing exhaust) and being sexy and futuristic as all futhermuck, it is functional, having two panniers (saddle-bags), each capable of holding four half-gallons of Berkey Creamery ice cream (ask me how I know). Skipping over many of the specifics of how I chose this particular model regarding my choice of motorcycle, a big figure in motorcycle news opened his review of the Tracer with “It’s not often I ride a motorcycle and walk away with existential questions for the readers.” For those who have been following along, this quote is the exact thing that I latch on to as part of my newfound identity as a blissful lunatic.
  1. The Semester of Hell and solving a decade-old issue in microbial physiology:
So, come the end of my first year as a graduate student, I started to look towards my second fall semester. The only thing I had to do was my qualifying exam, the really big, month-long exam that determines whether or not you can stay in graduate school. But that was only during November, so, overall, it was going to be an empty semester. Then I learned that a big-name professor in microbiology was retiring, and the last time he was going to teach would be that fall. So, I signed up for his course. After all, it was supposed to be an empty semester. Then I learned of a prestigious grant that I could apply for, so I decided to take a grant-writing course. After all, it was supposed to be an empty semester. Then I got an email from the department, saying that they needed more TAs for Freshman Biology lab. I had to TA as a requirement of my program, so I might as well get it out of the way now. After all, it was supposed to be an empty semester. Then, in July and August, I made an incredible discovery that solved a problem in microbial physiology that had been around since 2009 (pin in that). I spoke with my PI, and he said we could power through and probably get a paper out in under a year. I told him I wanted to do that. After all, it was supposed to be an empty semester.
Well, as you can now see, it wasn’t a very empty semester, was it now? To great surprise, I survived, but not unscathed. On average, I worked 60-70 hours a week, though some of it was partially my own doing (for example, my term paper for the bacterial physiology course had seventy citations, even though it was only required to have ten). One “highlight” was TAing. Apparently, my students thought my quiz was so hard that they called the university police on me (I’m not exaggerating; we had to pursue academic integrity violations. It was a debacle). I joked that, with each subsequent class period, I became more and more sympathetic to the antagonists of teen dystopian novels; maybe it is time to build a floating elitist city in the sky and leave the rest of the planet to shit, after all?
Now, I’m certain that many of you are curious as to the contents of my discovery. I can’t exactly speak freely, as the manuscript is in review, but, even if I could, it would be waaaaay too complex and jargony to be comprehensible to the lay public (and this is already going on long enough). Suffice it to be the simple version: A particular class of protein had been known in microbes for a very long time and is involved in pretty much everything, from simple feeding to complex infections. In certain bacteria, this category of protein is modified in a certain way, and people always thought (for over 40 years) that this modification was a transport signal. However, a decade ago, a research groups, perplexingly, discovered these modified proteins in a bacterium that didn’t have th modification-making enzyme. This left two major questions: if not for transport, what was this modification for; and, what is the enzyme that makes the modification in all the other bacteria? I solved the latter question by spending four months looking through the entire genome of the original bacterium and finally finding the modification-making protein, and I’ve spent ever since trying to characterize it. The paper should be published sometime within a month or three (the current coronapocalypse is a boon for manuscript-preparation). Additionally, the previous graduate student in the lab to me made an interesting discovery regarding the genetics of the modification-making enzyme, and my next paper will expand on their work to determine the actual function of this modification. These proteins and their modifications are important because (on the applied side) they belong to major pathogens and could be a target for treating infections and (on the basic side) we have indications that they are part of a planetary-wide stress put on bacteria during evolution (hence, my astrobiological machinations).
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Chapter 2: Where I came from.
Now we have to get into how I got to this point. Suffice it to say that I have a lot of sexual trauma. In 2014, when I was still an undergrad, I met whom I called then my soulmate. They were beautiful, fun, perky, and adventurous. They were my first relationship and we took each other’s virginity in a tent after a romantic picnic. But, sadly, less than a year in, things started to go off the rails. I came out as polyamorous. The way I have best found to describe it is when you ask a parent which their favorite child is. All parents worth their salt will say “I love each of my children in their own, unique way.” Such is the same with me. At the time, I had feelings for some of my other friends; but! mind you! they were in no way enough to ever consider ever leaving my soulmate. It was simply such that I had my one, my true, my only, but I didn’t want that to have to mean I tell all other people in my life “Bah! You mean nothing to me because of the ambiguity of my relationship status at the time you met me.” I also had quite a complex from growing up so antisocially and isolated. This was a time in my life when things started to look up. Pieces were finally starting to fall into place, I had some friends and acquaintances, and people actually cared for me. It was thusly then that I realized I was polyamorous, but in mostly a loving way, not necessarily as a swinger or horndog. So, I came out.
In any other situation in the world, this might have not been as catastrophic. However, there were certain things about my soulmate which I knew not at the time that caused not just my relationship, not just my life, but my reality to crumble. You see, they grew up in an incredibly abusive situation, and the only way they knew how to act was to throw away every part of themselves for the people whom they loved. Whelp, that meant “forcing” themselves to be polyamorous for me. They devised a ridiculous plan where they would go out and sleep with lots of people to become okay with the idea of nonmonogamy. Needless to say, this was a batshit crazy idea, but they didn’t tell me their true feelings of how traumatizing this would be for them, and I decided to trust them that this is what they knew would be best for them and that it would all work out in the end. What can I say? What is love if not supporting your partner? I honestly thought it could be okay.
However, as you might guess, it was not. The main issue came from all their mental instability that they had hidden from me for so long. They became quite dissociative and hid it all from me. As such, they tried to compartmentalize their sexual exploration away from our relationship, making me less involved. In short, I was supposed to be their monogamous “safe space” while they did all this terrible shit to themselves. Understandably, this backfired. Rather than it being a collaborative, supportive, gentle, loving exploration, it became dishonest, filled with deceit. They lied to me about doing things with people and about not doing things with people. They made up stories of fuckbuddies and hid some of the real people they were fucking. All the while, I was starting to lose my grip on reality, because, here they were, getting to do all the things I had always wanted, practically rubbing it all in my face, while barring me from having any part of it for myself. It was tortuous. Highlights include them fucking my brother for four uninterrupted hours, and kicking me out of my bed and bedroom to fuck a nine-inch cock while I made them breakfast, then not allowing me to enter until they had finished.
When I learned that they hid that they were flunking all their classes in college, I snapped, and nothing was ever the same again. That’s not how you treat your soulmate. It was supposed to be us against the world, but they weren’t acting like we were a team. In retrospect, I was heartbroken for well more than half of the time we were a couple. The entire last year we were together, I was depressed beyond description. I would come home from work and I would have so little energy that my personality would just melt away. I was devoid of existence. I would sit on a couch, and stare away at nothingness for hours on end. To my credit, my ex would cover me in a blanket, put dinner on my lap, set the iPad in front of me, and put on an anime. I know they truly loved me because they did this for over six months, without complaining.
However, I was simply too broken. Things reached one fever pitch after another. I could always tell that something was wrong, that, as hard as I tried, I was never actually getting through to the person inside. It all felt so superficial. I always knew they were hiding things (not just sexual stuff, but, more simply, their own wants and desires, their simple, everyday preferences). They were there, but not present. So, faced with a soulmate who wasn’t sharing their soul, trauma most insurmountable, and no other options, I did the only thing I could: I accepted a job across the country in New York and fled the width of a continent.
However, as you already know, things didn’t get better. I couldn’t get a date for the life of me; I was – and am – too oddball. That I’ve had only one relationship and that it imploded quite catastrophically does not predispose me to self-worth or experience with dating. I am very intellectual, but a dullard at socialization. Hell, I never even learned how to make out. To boot, I have all this trauma which will take years to move on from. Last christmas, my now ex reached out to me, and we talked pretty much every day for four months. Since I left, they managed to somehow actually succeed in making themselves polyamorous, whereupon they proceeded to date and fuck my now (former) best friend, then leave them to date and move in with their boss from work, whom is over a decade older than them. They were in this relationship for over two and a half years, and we’ve been apart for three. Talking to them again has been rather tortuous, as I’ve been treated to such lovely details about their sex life while being, once again, excluded from it most royally. So… yeah… that’s been fun. And people wonder why I have such a boatload of trauma. After misery peaking once again, I realized that we had come to an impasse: I cannot move forward from the past without them, and they don’t want me back until I’ve moved forward from the past. Such is where things were last left, and I have no indication that they will ever change meaningfully from this.
Now, I want to make clear that I am not at all looking for any sort of statements regarding how I should forget about them and move on. There is so much more nuance than what I can describe here, and I’m not completely without blame either. Although I do not think I fucked up anywhere near as apocalyptically, I did hurt them, too. Nor do I necessarily hate them, either. Though what they did was incredibly, world-endingly hurtful and stupid, it was not done with malice. Time has only made me more sympathetic to their situation, and, thus, their actions. In short, their parent was incredibly abusive, and they also were terrified of losing me, so they were drunk on fear and thought that they needed to act in major ways to keep me. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely think that what they did then and have done since has ruined my life, but I understand why things happened the way they did and I don’t love them any less. I mean, I did say they were my soulmate, didn’t I? That has to count for something, doesn’t it? Seriously, though, I wish so badly that I hated them for all they did. That would make it so much easier to move on. I still identify as polyamorous, so this has the unpleasant side-effect of freezing my emotional development on the matter in place. In my case, I could be happily married for a decade and still be nowhere nearer to being able to move on from this ex, so it’s not like having any new sexual or romantic conquests will actually help me to move on from them. And, before you suggest, I already have a therapist, and she’s very nice.
So, since I’ve just spent ten pages telling you about three years of failed efforts to move on, comments or messages saying “move on, dude” will not be looked upon kindly.
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Chapter 3: Where I want to go.
So, as you can now see, I am the literal incarnation of damaged goods. I still really don’t know where I am going to post this, but my story is complicated enough that one part is inseparable from the other. If I’m posting this on a subreddit for sexual searches, you’ll need to know why a simple hookup is not on the table at all; conversely, if I’m posting this to a subreddit in search of romantic partners, you’ll need to know about my dreadful sexual brokenness and resulting insecurities up front. Either way, I’ve now managed to waste the time of two groups instead of one; how overachieving of me!
At this juncture of my life, I’ve somewhat come to terms with the fact I won’t ever be getting the tools I need to move on from my ex (something for which I them somewhat resent). However, if it wasn’t made abundantly clear heretofore, the acquisition of another compatriot is the taddest bit flummoxing for me. In short-form, swiping-based dating app formats, it is far too easy to disregard my numerous quirks as simply that, not scars from a lengthy, complicated, demoralizing battle against a society which I am physiologically incapable of understanding. Oh, and the global coronapocalypsemageddonocaust has slightly impacted my ability to partake in social events wherewithin people might be met.
In truth, I am not necessarily the sexiest person in world. I’m a tad bit overweight, but I both wear it well (being absurdly tall helps) and am actively trying to change it (I’ve taken up running [surprisingly enjoyable!] and have lost ~10kg). I definitely don’t think I have an ugly face or anything. But I don’t think that’s actually my problem. In the event that it hasn’t been blindingly obvious up to this point, I am not your average cookie. In stark brief, I attended the Stanford (yes, that one) Online High School, dropped out, started college at 14, graduate at 19 with honors, and am now a Graduate Fellow (one step above student) at an Ivy-League university (expanded definition, fight me). As such, the way in which I go through my life is fairly cerebral. To those whom understand not my eccentricities or the subjects of which I speak, I am perceived as talking down to others. However, it is simply the way in which I approach the world, and I am wholly oblivious in the moment of how I could be perceived as such.
So it is thusly that I here myself find, holding on to the dreadfully unrealistic hope that being honest with the world about myself will earn me the possibility to find another soulmate, but one not programmed to shred what little sanity I have left. Here goes hope:
Regarding my location, if you hadn’t figured out, I live in central Pennsyltucky – 9 miles from the geographic centerpoint of the state, in fact. However, as I tell prospective students, while Penn State is in the middle of nowhere, it is half-way to everywhere! That, combined with my adventurous proclivities, opens up (literal!) horizons, dramatically. I can easily make it in a day trip to anywhere within Pennsylvania (though I love Pittsburgh!) or anywhere in the Megalopolis between Trenton and DC. At a slight stretch, I can also reach NYC, Upstate, Ohio, or, maybe, West Virginia. I am definitely open to meeting people from outside my immediate drive-shed – especially since pretty much all dates in the COVID-19 era start with Zoom, anyway – however, since I’ve been to so many places, front-of-the-line priority will be given to those from places I desire to explore more, including (in order of decreasing preference): Colorado, Northern California, Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona, Texas, and Vermont. If things develop, I both have the means and inclination to successfully conduct an LDR until I finish graduate school in 3-4 years.
Regarding the type of partner, while I am genuinely pansexual, I seem to be mostly romantically attracted with feminine-presenting people. Though, were I to have my druthers, I’d prefer you to be busty, at least moderately height-weight-proportional, and similarly tall, I affirmatively believe that it’s more how you use what you have than what you actually have, so I will always choose the average slut over the prudish bombshell. Other than that, I remain open minded to people of pretty much all walks of life.
Speaking of, for reasons that I hope are quite evident, I am a taaaaaaaaaaaad delicate in my sexuality. I used to be slightly dominant, but am definitely not anymore. I am almost in the realm of gentlefemdom. Please do be understanding that it’ll take some time (and, most likely, lots and lots of crying. I just want you to be sexually open yet patient enough that I could slowly grow back into my sexuality. Actually, that’s part of what I’m most hopeful for in a new partner. It would be really nice to have someone that is strong in their sexuality, and acts very openly with it, but is patient and loyal enough to not make me worried or scared. Someone who would, say, impulsively strip for a hike or skinny-dip, but wouldn’t pressure me to do the same if I wasn’t in the right headspace to do so.
Romantically, well, that’s a more complicated issue. I still identify as polyamorous, and I wouldn’t expect total devotion from my partner, but this is assuredly a difficult area. I think I would be benefitted by a period (likely 6-12 months) by monogamy, just so that I can recover enough to a functional level, then we can slowly and safely open up the relationship (with group stuff happening well before metamours).
Just please be careful with my heart. It’s already taken so much of a beating, and I don’t know how much more it can handle.
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Epilogue:
So, yeah, I guess that’s me. If you’ve made it this far, I at least thank you for doing so. I’ve been emotionally isolated for so long that it’s nice to just be acknowledged by other people. I know the likelihood of anything meaningful coming from this is quite, quite low, but this is part of me trying to move forward from the people that hurt me so cripplingly. I definitely come with some baggage, but I hope I’ve shown you who I am and that I at least have the potential to be good again.
I shall leave you with my dating profile. Hopefully this will show you the sonderous story that goes into only but a few words: “I find humor in everything and live for adventures. Highly sarcastic, hot-sauce-addicted, somewhat queer molecular and astrobiologist. Pro: I’m genuine. Con: -ly crazy. Looking for a porter to help me carry my emotional baggage.”
submitted by AstroG4 to lifeinapost [link] [comments]

PUBG Performance and Stability TIPS

If you are having stability or performance problems. I suggest you do a search regarding this on reddit as there are a number of posts with a lot of suggestions on how to improve your performance.

Here are some sites you can go to find specific advice on specific issues:
https://forums.pubg.com/topic/181292-read-me-first-troubleshooting-steps/
https://support.pubg.com/hc/en-us/sections/115000549994-Technical-Issues
https://steamcommunity.com/app/578080/guides/?browsefilter=trend&requiredtags[]=Gameplay%20Basics&requiredtags[]=English

tips:
  1. run steam in administrative mode. right click on the steam startup icon and select administrative mode.
  2. turn all unnecessary programs off
  3. run the game off a SSD. you can now get a 120 GB SSD for $20 in the us. this reduces the load time for the game. so you will not find yourself on the plane and miss the 1 minute lobby wait area. buildings will load in faster along with loot to some extent. downloading of updates will also be faster.
  4. if you have an nvidia graphics card then:
    1. if you have a 10XX card or older then use the 388.71 driver (uninstall the newer drivers via DDU or in windows safe mode). this is before telemetry started getting more baked into their cards. newer cards like the 20XX series should just use the latest drivers but do not touch the telemetry setting as this may lead to the card stuttering. you can't just turn telemetry back on according to many so you may have to use ddu or windows safe mode to uninstall the drivers and re-install the latest drivers again. the 388.71 driver does not work on the 20XX and newer cards.
    2. go to the nvidia control panel (Manage 3D settings->Program Settings->)
      1. update "Maximum pre-render frames" either to 1 or 3. 1 reduces the lag while 3 will improve visual performance
      2. update "Treaded optimization" to On
      3. update "Power management mode" to "Prefer maximum performance"
  5. in steam go to (settings->In-Game) disable "Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game" and any other options
  6. got to the C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\PUBG\TslGame\Binaries directory and turn off "full screen optimization" on all *.exe files.
  7. in game
    1. turn off replay
    2. turn off death cam
    3. run the game in full screen mode
      1. press alt+tab twice and see if your taskbar overlaps your game screen. this indicates that your game is running in window mode. press alt+tab again until your taskbar stops overlapping your game screen. this is an issue in many other games and may require more steps to fix in windows. so do a google search on making games play in full screen mode.
    4. play in tpp mode
  8. research "buffer bloat" on the internet and adjust your router settings to reduce it.
  9. don't run the game over wifi
  10. go to the tsigame.exe and right click on it and go to "Compatibility" and then enable "Disable fullscreen optimization"
  11. in windows
  12. to prevent the automatic updating of drivers go to (control panel->system->Advance sytem settings->Hardware->Device Installation Settings->No)
  13. turn off "game" related features https://www.windowscentral.com/how-disable-and-remove-game-bar-windows-10-creators-update
  14. if you have 2 sticks of ram, ensure that they are running in dual channel mode by consulting your motherboard manual with regards to what slots to put them in to enable this. typically if you put your ram sticks in consecutive slots they will just run in single channel mode, which will half your memory bandwidth.
  15. ensure your monitor is running at the highest refresh rate. a lot of monitors have special speeds at which they can run that may be much higher than the default settings.
  16. ensure that you've activate xmp profile setting for your ram via the bios. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTWEzTV8B54
  17. permanently run the game in higher priority mode. bf1.exe should be changed to TslGame.exe. backup your registry before doing anything! https://forums.battlefield.com/en-us/discussion/48138/performace-boost-how-to-set-process-priority-permanently
submitted by oneday4ever to RealPUBGFans [link] [comments]

Since Scott's next game is like my fangame: "FNaF Paradise", here's what my game would have been like if it had been completed

Since Scott is now working on the Ultimate Custom Night which is very similar to the the FNaF fangame I was making called "Five Nights at Freddy's Paradise", I thought I'd share what my vision/game mechanics of the final game would have been like. The link to the game I've completed so far is here: https://gamejolt.com/games/fnafp/292130.
Before I go into this I'll just say here that I WILL NOT continue to do any major stuff for this game for multiple reasons. It mostly comes down to not wanting to spend A LOT of time into something I'm no longer passionate about as well as the difficulties or trying to make the game work. I'm already trying to work on things like animation as well as other games I would be passionate about. And I'm not as invested in FNaF as I used to be anyway even there some great things about it and the reddit so please don't ask me to complete the game or anything like that. I'm sorry things are like this but there are LOTS of great FNaF fangames as well as games in general. Besides, I'm still new to game designing in some areas and this game may run into issues if I continue with it. I hope this post isn't too "whiny" or too "prideful" about my fangame btw. Just know that I'm not doing this game to move on to things that will be much better AND that making this game so far had improved me as a game developer and artist! Hopefully you find this post interesting!
When I first came up with the idea and it's prototype:
The idea started back when there were only 4 fnaf games in October of 2015. I was REALLY into coming up with fangame ideas as well as REALLY into the FNaF lore making theories all the time. I was wondering what it would be like if all 4 games were combined for the ultimate custom night. So I drew on a piece of paper what the office would look like and eventually made a pixel art of what the building and map system of the game would have looked like here. It would have took place in a pizzeria like first 2 games and have you in one office. There would be 3 ways into your office and 2 vents on the wall in front you on the high ceiling next to the big entrance that would have had 2 doors open at all times. (I always found it weird the vents were on the floor in FNaF 2.) The FNaF 1 trio, FNaF 2 trio and Fredbear's Family Diner dou would have been on the stage with Foxy and Mangle on the left. The Puppet would be at the prize corner, BB & JJ at the game area, the main 4 Nightmare animatronics would be in the backroom andPlushtrap would be at the hallway where the Closet and Exit is and at the end of the all like in FNaF 4.
The unique thing I wanted to do with this idea was behind you would be multiple screens showing you ALL the cams like a normal security room does. You would have needed to manage the Puppet's music box, SpringTrap's audio, the phantoms/Ventilation, BB/Power, JJ/Audio and Nightmare Freddy's camera light by clicking buttons on the screen. You would need to turn around to see the screens though by moving the mouse down. You could close the left and right doors with buttons next to them AND you could put the Freddy mask on as well! Though in order to flash the halls, you would need to press the doors to walk up to them then flash the light. This was done so you could listen when you're in front of the doors.
The game would have worked like this: On night 1, the FNaF 1 animatronics make their way to you. On night 2, the FNaF 2 ones. Night 3 - FNaF 3 and night 4 obviously has the FNaF 4 ones come for you. (N. Freddy would have remained in the back room though. You would need to flash your light on him time to time like FNaF 4. Plushtrap would slowly make his way to your office and the only way to catch him is to press a button at the right timing when he's above a x mark like in FNaF 4 as well.)
The game would have worked mostly like the originals. The differences are that:
Freddy could not be seen outside the door so you would need to keep an eye on the cam but he would backtrack towards the stage like the other FNaF 1 characters if the right door was shut.
The 3 main Toys would only come the 2 vents and front entrance (Toy Freddy) but Mangle was random and couldn't be stopped with the mask but instead with by flashing the light on him/heyes several times like Withered Foxy.
BB would have been either been linked to the power that controls the lights meaning no flashing lights OR the cameras OR the doors. I kinda forgot~ :P JJ would have been linked to the audio meaning SpringTrap and the Puppet could not be stopped.
The phantoms all would have attacked together when the ventilation was too low along with shadow bonnie. I didn't feel like adding the phantoms since they weren't physical animatronics but grouped them together and added RXQ/shadow bonnie with them for one ai. They would attack you and have alarmed for a short period of time... which would be vital.
While N. Bonnie and N. Chica come from the sides and you need to shut the doors to stop them (without flashing the lights on in the halls and making Bonnie and Chica more difficult!) Nightmare Foxy would come from the front and you needed to flash your light on him much more than Mangle in order for him to go away.
Night 5 would have been a harder version of night 4 but once it got to 4 am, only Nightmare Fredbear would be there with all lights and cameras in the office turned off. Also thought it would be switched with Nightmare in a harder mode. And that's the ORIGINAL idea for the ultimate custom night! (I thought maybe N. Chica could be seen in the kitchen and N. Bonnie peeking out the closet. Also thought of an easter egg for the kitchen where the endos would dance at random if your cam went on there... don't know why.
When I started designing the game:
It's now October 2016 and I was still very passionate about thinking of designs for fangames, especially fnaf ones. (One idea was to have you in a Star Trek like space ship and have you try to shoot down ships while managing other people to do things while being lead by a purple headed alien-anime girl...... anyway!) I lost interest in FNaF for a while but Sister Location just came out. I then thought of my idea again and I eventually remembered how everyone wanted a free-roam FNaF game. FNaF 4 disappointed some people since lots of people finally thought we were going to walk around in the house and not be contained in one room for once. I loved the idea (and even thought of a fangame like that but with dolls or cartoon and paintings and teddy bears coming to life.) Sister Location SOMEWHAT did it but instead of the usual formula of having to manage different animatronics, it was more like doing a different minigame with a specific animatronic only one at a time. I came up with the idea that not only would there be a game with ALL the animatronics but ALSO one where you could free roam. I was passionate about the idea after seeing a fake FNaF 3 trailer about FNaF taking place in a mall which was a HUGE area. I posted my idea and map of it on reddit and it exploded!!! This was when I thought I no longer wanted to imagine about fangames, I wanted to make them! So I started on the project immediately drawing lots of art for and began learning how to program the game with GameMaker which I already knew some knowledge about and started on my first game! I decided it would take place in museum but also a pizzeria/entertainment center. (I originally was going to call the game: Five Nights at Freddy's Hell based on the difficulty.) I made the office and was really impressed by it! This is when my love for making background art began to grow. Eventually, Sister Location got a custom night update. I decided that instead of having Nightmare Fredbear on Night 5 like in my original prototype, I would have Sister Location animatronics added in for night 5 instead of N. Fredbear. I replaced the hall reserved for Plushtrap with the Funtime area and moved PlushTrap to the lower floor where he can be seen with a cam.
Some things worth noting about this fangame is that it's all 2D and drawn in Photoshop. Some people thought it was actually 3D. Though I did use some textures, I myself was impressed with the visuals for it. Not one of the best FNaF fangame visual by any means though. It does have some style and actually look professional unlike some fangames which tend to look simple or re use art. (No disrespect to those fangames though.) Another thing is I had an idea from original prototype that minutes could be seen on the clock instead of just hours and added that in. (I thought people would really appreciate that. XD It's fair given the difficulty of the game). I also eventually decided that multiple cams was too easy and made it one screen.
Anyway, I focused on my job and animations while taking breaks from this game. I worked SO HARD on it, especially in October since I made a promise to myself I would have at least night 1 ready by Halloween. The perfect day for a horror game. I was never into horror games though to be honest. Just loved the idea of the animatronics and crazy ais.
Animatronics:
So I originally wanted a 20/20 mode. Which seemed crazy already but I wanted to add sister location animatronics which would make it 28/20 mode which was even crazier. The way the game works is if even one animatronic gets out of their designated room and into the hall, you're pretty much dead. (BB, JJ, endos and Bon Bon excluded)
Night 1: Freddy & Friends
This is pretty much finished in the actual game. Originally only wanted 4 ai's for this mode being the original 4. Golden Freddy would be moved to night 3 to fit the story and mostly balance the game a bit more. Eventually, I made the endos for night 1 instead of night 5 like I originally planned which I'll explain later.
Night 2: Toys for the kids
Now the 1987 toy animatronics would have been brought into the building. The stanchions to the store area on the lower floor next to the stairs would have been removed allowing you to enter there. There would have been freddy masks placed above each of the 2 vents in front of Foxy's and Freddy's rooms. You could put the masks on while viewing front of the vent.
Night 3: Fredbear returns
Now the two 1983 Fredbear's Family Diner animatronics would have been brought into the building. This time the stage area (lower right) and the breaker room (lower left) would have been unlocked starting this night.
Night 4: Horror attraction
The hall on the right of the map would have been unlocked and would have shown the horror attraction within the museum/entertainment center.This was an idea to make an horror attraction with extremely deadly animatronics despite the people making them clearly forgetting that they're going to try and kill you tonight. Since it's a horror attraction, the hall has a FNaF 3 theme (original idea, right?). So the only way to stop N. Bonnie and N. Chica is with the doors needing to be closed while they're in front but since there is no technology connecting to the doors, you need to close the doors when they get to the doorways your self. Plushtrap's hall on the bottom floor can also now been seen by pressing the enter button in the office.
Night 5: Sister's Funtime Pizzeria
The very last stanchion is removed for the left hall on the map; the Funtime area. Circus Baby's animatronics would have moved in here. There are 2 doorways and one window in front of you with an operating system. You had zappers place in both doorways and on the operating system.
Images/Areas of the game:
Here are some early images of what some areas look like in the game:
First album of images
Teasers
Early office of the game
Store area
Funtime area
BreakePower room
Downstairs
Story
To be honest, story was one of the last things I was thinking with this game. Guess it was better that way, haha. There wasn't really anything original with this game in terms of characters and wasn't really story driven but I thought that hurt the game. Lots of other fangames not only had a lot of story but original characters, which to be fair, was not the goal of my "ultimate custom night". To be honest, trying to come up with a story that satisfies all fans with hard with FNaF fangames since everyone has such different theories on when what happened, how what happened and who this person really is. Made me not want to try putting a story for a bit.
So I kept thinking on what my story for the game should be and thought that a theory I felt really satisfied about FNaF 4 would be the focus of the story. Basically, I theorized WAYYYYY back a month of so after FNaF 4 was released that the 5 FNaF 4 children here are actually the 5 Happiest Day children due to the color similarities as well as the fact the 5 HD children are at the party for what seems to Golden Freddy's just like the 5 FNaF 4 children said they'd be at the Bite Victim's birthday party. If you disagree with, I perfectly understand. I knew it would not be accepted but I decided to go along with it anyway trying to make at least an interesting story.
I eventually decided the game would take place inbetween FNaF 1 and FNaF 3 and the story would have went like this:
After each of the 5 main nights, you would see a scene (drawn art) of each of the 5 kids the crying child sees in FNaF 4. It would have involved him spending time with each of the 5 children per a night bonding with them such as talking or looking at a toy or party. Then it would close to black with them saying something they regret they could do to spend more time with the crying child.
Once you beat all 5 main nights, custom night was unlocked! You could do 28/20 mode but that was only night 6. There would be a secret night 7. I originally planned back when there was a 20/20 mode that you would have needed to find out the name of the a child possessing ALL of the animatronics due to the factory having his murdered parts in the machines by looking at posters around the building and the name would be a 5 letter word. I changed it so it was the crying child's name that you needed to find out. (Would have been fitting if it was Sammy or something. Hehe.) You would have been given the hint of "When the night spells out my name, I shall appear" and you would have needed to use custom night to type the crying child's name in binary code. Sounded creative to me. Though I had to stop it since there was now 28/20 mode and there would be 4 ai's per a letter in binary (Each ai has 2 numbers for custom night).
Anyway, night 7 has you start off with the cell phone guy (thats what I call him) saying the animatronics are all in pieces and mocing on their own so they're closing. Then you would have you meet each of the 5 kids with their happiest day masks on throughout the building and they would give them to in order to save their friend and help him go to rest. You would then leave to a black and white digital world similar to the one in FNaF 3 with the 3 dead BBs. There would be a lone tree on a cliff with the crying child sitting under it. He would be wearing a mask himself and I had 3 different ideas for the mask: Golden Freddy mask, Puppet mask or Fredbear plush mask. I was thinking wouldn't it make sense if the Fredbear plush was just the crying child's inner conscience and in a way was the crying child's imaginary friend who would tell him what do. That was just one of the ideas for this to play out. Anyway, the crying child would say "Are you here to help me? Probably not... you're just an adult. And all adults do is bully people like me." (Reference to the bullies accidentally killing him and explaining why Golden Freddy/Puppet finds all adults/security guards to be his enemy.) He then says "If you really want to help me... then don't take me away from here. This land is my Paradise... Let's play hide n go seek if you really want to help me though..." "...You hide... I seek..." "Ready" (Mask turns evil)"Set" (Takes off mask.)"Go."
At first, I thought you'd then be either in a mixed version of all the fnaf places BUT most likely be in Fredbear's diner and the place is dark with no phone to tell the time. You'd play the game like fnaf 4. In front of you was the double door way entrance with a round clock on top of it to see the hours, to the left was the room purple guy was in from FNaF 4, the left would be either the kitchen or the repair room the Crying child was in and behind was Fredbear and Spring Bonnie who would work like Nightmare Freddy. Crying child would appear in one of the random 3 places aside behind you. As it gets to the final hour, it gets brighter and brighter till morning happens. The diner is fully bright with the crying child crying in front of you. The words "Give Gifts" appears. You give presents with the masks to the crying child and the 5 children appear saying "We're still you're friends. Do you still believe that?" Then the words "Give Happiness" appears. You give the crying child a birthday cake and he smiles saying "Yes". The Crying Child takes the cake saying he's going to share it with his friends. Then you're back in you're regular museum but you can see the sunlight going through the windows and it's morning. You click to go down the stairs and then click to go through the door to the sunlight and the game ends.
My original vision of the game ending was ALL of the animatronics combining into one character to form OMEGA-ENNARD! But the other story works a lot better.
Extra things like characters and experience on the game:
I remember spending SO MANY HOURS of each day in October trying to finish eat even working to 1 or 2 pm. I finally finished it right when Halloween started and posted it here. Of course, the hype have waived by then but I'm glad to at least have some people play the game. I also made a Usrophobia (Fear of bears), the main theme of the game which I think came out pretty good.
I'd like to give HUGE shout outs to RickyG, Spaun spalding and "Let's Learn Gamemaker Studio" as well as Gamemaker reddit for the info on how to make games!
As for other characters that could have been in the game, I probably would have made them skins or something:
Withereds - Honestly, I've always seen the withereds as just the originals but broken and don't count them seperate like the toys, phantoms or nightmares. They would have just replaced the original 5's skins. I DID NOT was to program their "Monitor slamming" from FNaF 2 into my fangame.
FNaF 4 Halloween DLC Nightmares - Jack-o-latern ones can replace N. Bonnie and N. Chica, Marionette could have replaced the Puppet, Nightmare could have replaced N. Fredbear, Nightmare Mangle could replace Nightmare Foxy and Nightmare Balloon boy could either replace BB or Plushtrap.
FNaF 6 - I knew after seeing the secret ending from Sister Location's custom night there'd be a FNaF 6. But I knew it probably wouldn't add any "brand new" animatronics into the game and I was MOSTLY right. Scrap Baby and Molten Freddy are just reused Baby and Funtime Freddy/Ennard. The only new one is Lefte but that's it. The rockstars, mediocre melodies and trash pals or whatever aren't in the actual gameplay of the main game... or at least until Scott makes it that way.
Scott's game is going to have almost twice the roster as my fangame so if it's something that's actually fun and beatable, I hope it comes out great! I had trouble trying to balance difficulty for my fangame and the "step" events and large textures makes it harder to make the game run fast. When I first posted the game on GameJolt there was a serious about lag with it but luckily I found a way around it by checking the "fast and compatible" box in the graphics settings which seemed to catch everything up to speed... but now the clock won't show any number above 4... weird glitch...
Anyway, if you actually read most of this, thank you SO MUCH for reading this! I will try to work on better games and learn more about game developing as well as my other hobbies! I hope this also helps everyone else in some way as well and good luck on Scott's game!
submitted by EvanD0 to fivenightsatfreddys [link] [comments]

Futures Slide After US-China APEC Clash, Apple Production Cuts

After a dramatic end to the APEC summit in Papua New Guniea which concluded in disarray, without agreement on a joint communique for the first time in its history amid the escalating rivalry between the United States and China, U.S. index futures initially traded sharply lower as investors digested signs that America-China trade tensions are set to persist, however they staged a modest rebound around the time Europe opened, and have traded mixed since amid subdued volumes as a holiday-shortened week begins in the US.

Last Friday, US stocks jumped after President Trump said that he might not impose more tariffs on Chinese goods after Beijing sent a list of measures it was willing to take to resolve trade tensions. However, tensions between the two superpowers were clearly on display at the APEC meeting over the weekend where Vice President Mike Pence said in a blunt speech that there would be no end to U.S. tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods until China changed its ways.
“The comments from Trump were seen as offering a glimmer of hope that further tariff action could be held in abeyance,” said NAB’s head of FX strategy, Ray Attrill. “The exchange of barbs between Pence and Chinese President Xi Jinping in PNG on the weekend continues to suggest this is unlikely.”
US Futures were also pressured following a report by the WSJ that Apple has cut iPhone production, creating turmoil for suppliers and sending AAPL stock 1.6% lower and pressuring Nasdaq futures.
Yet while early sentiment was downbeat following the APEC fiasco, US futures staged a rebound as shares in both Europe and Asia rose while Treasuries declined, the dollar faded an initial move higher as traders focused on the Fed’s new-found concerns over the global economy, and the pound advanced amid speculation that the worst may be over for Theresa May, since the potential for a vote of no confidence in May may be losing traction: the Sun reported that 42 lawmakers have sent letters of no confidence to Graham Brady, 6 more are needed to trigger a leadership challenge

Asia took a while to warm up but made a strong finish, with the Shanghai Composite closing 0.9% and Japan's Nikkei 0.7% higher, helping Europe start the week off strong too as a 1 percent jump in mining, tech and bank stocks helped traders shrug off last week’s Brexit woes. At the same time, stocks fell in Australia and New Zealand, where the Aussie and kiwi currencies dropped after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence attacked China at the weekend APEC summit.
Telecommunications and construction shares pushed Europe's Stoxx 600 Index higher, along with stocks in Italy, where Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio said the government is ready for dialog with the European Commission over the country’s budget, which however seems just more semantics as Italy refused to concede to European budget demands.
Meanwhile, in addition to confusion over trade, the outlook for U.S. interest rates was also uncertain. While Federal Reserve policymakers are still signaling rate increases ahead, they also sounded more concerned about a potential global slowdown, leading markets to suspect the tightening cycle may not have much further to run and Morgan Stanley to write that "We Sense A Shift In Tone From The Fed."
Goldman Sachs also chimed in, saying it expected the pace of U.S. economic growth to slow toward the global average next year. The bank now sees a broad dollar decline next year, and revised its long-standing bearish view on the Japanese yen and tipped Latin American currencies, the Swedish krona, the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand dollars and the Israeli shekel to rise.
“We see several changes to the global economic backdrop which, combined with a few negative medium-run factors, point to more downside than upside to the broad dollar in 2019,” Goldman economists said in an outlook report. Goldman's bearish tilt will focus attention on an appearance by New York Fed President John Williams later on Monday to see if he echoes the same theme. As Reuters notes, investors have already cut odds of further hikes, with a December move now priced at 73%, down from over 90%. Futures imply rates around 2.74% for the end of next year, compared to 2.93% early this month.
As a result, yields on 10-year Treasurys declined to 3.08 percent, from a recent top of 3.25 percent while the currency market saw the dollar fade early gains while the pound rebounded from sharp losses last week as Theresa May prepared to appeal to business leaders to help deliver her Brexit deal as the premier fights almost insurmountable Parliamentary opposition.
May said on Sunday that toppling her would risk delaying Brexit as she faces the possibility of a leadership challenge from within her own party. With both pro-EU and pro-Brexit lawmakers unhappy with the draft agreement, it is not clear that she will be able to win the backing of parliament, increasing the risk that Britain will leave the EU without a deal.
Elsewhere, the Australian and New Zealand dollars held on to their declines after Mike Pence's attack on China this weekend fueled concern Sino-U.S. trade tensions will worsen; the yen neared a month-to-date high on the risk-aversion, onshore yuan weakened for the first time in five days.
Treasuries slipped while European bonds were mixed, with core notes slipping and peripherals rising led by Italy. In the U.S., trading activity may be thinned before the Thanksgiving holiday later this week.
In commodity markets, gold found support from the drop in the dollar and held at $1,1220.19. Oil prices suffered their sixth straight week of losses last week, but climbed toward $57 a barrel in New York on Monday. Bitcoin dropped further below $6,000, at one point touching a one-year intraday low.

Market Snapshot
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg:
Asian equity markets began the week somewhat cautious on lingering trade concerns and after disunity at the APEC summit over the weekend which failed to agree on a joint communique for the first time in history due to US-China tensions. ASX 200 (-0.6%) and Nikkei 225 (+0.6%) traded mixed in which nearly all of Australia’s sectors were in the red aside from miners, while Nikkei 225 was positive as participants digested mixed trade data which showed a jump in imports. Elsewhere, Hang Seng (+0.7%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.9%) were choppy amid trade-related uncertainty following the verbal jabs between US and China in which Chinese President Xi warned that countries which embraced protectionism were doomed to fail and US Vice President Pence later commented the US could more than double the tariffs imposed on Chinese goods. Finally, 10yr JGBs futures rose to match the YTD high as they tracked the recent upside in T-notes and with the BoJ also present in the market for JPY 800bln of JGBs in the belly to the short-end of the curve. APEC summit ended without an agreement on a joint communique for the first time in its history after China refused to sign amid US-China tensions, while there had been comments from Chinese President Xi Jinping that countries which embraced protectionism were "doomed to failure" and US Vice President Pence later commented that he was prepared to "more than double" the tariffs imposed on Chinese goods.
Top Asian News - China’s Ping An Buys Stake in German Fintech Incubator Finleap - Japan Bank Shares Fall Most in Month After U.S. Yields Drop - Asian Markets Come out of Their Torpor as Stock Gains Accelerate - An Accountant Stirs Debate as India Central Bank Board Meets
Major European indices are in the green, with the outperforming FTSE MIB (+1.1%) bolstered by news that Luigi Gubitosi has been appointed as the new CEO of Telecom Italia (+4.3%). The SMI (-0.2%) gave up initial gains and is lagging its peers, weighed on Swatch (-4.0%) and Richemont (-1.4%) following unfavourable price outlook for both by Bank of America Merill Lynch. Sectors are mostly all in the green, with outperformance in telecom names, while energy names are lower given pullback in oil prices in recent trade and consumer discretionary names are weighed on by Renault (-7.0%), with the company shares extending losses following reports that Nissan’s boss has been arrested in Japan regarding allegations of financial violations. Renault shares are hit given the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. Elsewhere, BPost (-5.7%) shares are hit following a downgrade at HSBC, while Tele2 (+1.8%), are near the top of the Stoxx 600 after being upgraded at Berenberg.
Top European News
In FX, the Greenback has regained some composure following its downturn at the end of last week amidst soft US data and cautious if not concerned or outright dovish Fed rhetoric (Clarida conscious about contagion from slower global growth, Kaplan envisaging headwinds from rising debt and Harker opposed to a December rate hike), but the DXY remains capped below a key Fib level (96.590) and the Dollar overall is mixed vs major counterparts.
In commodities, Brent (+0.5%) and WTI (+0.1%) are in positive territory, albeit off highs, following market expectations that Saudi Arabia will steer OPEC and Russia to cut oil supply. Meanwhile, Russian Energy Minister Novak said the country is planning to sign an output agreement with OPEC at their December 6th meeting in Vienna. Overnight gains in the complex were driven by reports that Saudi is said to want oil prices around USD 80.00/bbl. Elsewhere, Iranian President Rouhani emerged on state TV and stated that the US has failed to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero and Iran will continue to sell their crude. Conversely, Gold (-0.2%) prices fell this morning, with traders citing profit taking from last week’s gains, while Palladium is nearing parity with gold as an all-time high of USD 1185.4/oz was hit on Friday. Separately, copper is lower following tension between the US and China at the APEC summit which ended without an agreement on a joint communique for the first time in its history.
It's a fairly quiet start to the week on Monday with the only data of note being the Euro Area and the November NAHB housing market index reading in the US. Away from that, the Fed's Williams is due to speak in the afternoon, while BoJ Governor Kuroda, Bank of France Governor Villeroy de Galhau and his predecessor, Noyer, will all speak at the Europlace Financial Forum. Euro Area finance ministers are also due to gather in Brussels to seek to make progress on Franco-German plans to shore up the currency union.
US Event Calendar
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
Brexit was left in a bit of phoney war this weekend. We’re no closer to a leadership contest for Mrs May but it could still happen at any point. The Sun -citing their “extensive investigation” - has concluded that 42 lawmakers have sent letters of no-confidence in the PM (48 needed). Overall though more Conservative MPs are disliking the deal - and will vote against it - than will ask for a leadership battle in our opinion. The consensus that is forming amongst the Conservative MPs who dislike the Withdrawal Agreement is that it can be improved upon. This time next week we will have just had the Sunday EU summit to sign off their side of the deal but its not clear how meaningful tweaks could be made before this and before the agreement goes before UK Parliament in the next 2-3 weeks. The only thing that could be fleshed out is more on the future relationship between the UK and Europe as Mrs May travels to Brussels this week to try to progress on this. That might appease some MPs but likely not enough to help the vote pass. As such my personal view is that May stays on as leader, the EU offer no concession, the vote doesn’t get through Parliament and then the fun and games start. The UK may go back to Europe and ask for specific concessions at this point or we may end up with a path towards a hard Brexit or a second referendum. Quite binary options. For the EU maybe the gamble is to offer nothing and assume the UK Parliament eventually offers a second referendum and voters eventually decide to stay. This increases the risk of a cliff-edge hard Brexit but also one where no Brexit happens at all. This story has a lot of legs left in it.
There was lots in the press this weekend about Brexit but interestingly for me as a credit strategist by day, there was also a fair bit of negative press about credit with some of the more sensational articles suggesting that credit could soon blow up financial markets due to (amongst other things) the weight of US BBBs about to swamp the HY market, record levels of Cov-lite issuance and due to record high US corporate leverage. For us there needs to some perspective. We have been on the underweight side of credit all year, more weighted to a US underweight of late but that’s been more of a valuation play than over too much concerns about immediate credit quality. The US economy remains strong and credit deterioration is likely to remain idiosyncratic until it rolls over. At that point we will have big problems though and last week’s activity made us more confident liquidity will be bad when the cycle turns as we moved a fairly large amount on nervousness as much as anything else. GE, PG&E, plunging oil and the factors discussed above provided a jolt but we don’t think this is enough for now to impact the economy so credit will probably stabilise. However once there is actual broad economic weakness, this last week will be a dress rehearsal for the problems ahead and there will be little two-way activity with spreads gapping wider. However that’s for further down the cycle. For now credit’s main problem
has been it hadn’t responded enough to the pick up in vol. The good news is that this is starting to catch-up and correct. Last week, EU non-fin. IG spread widened by 13bps and HY by 45bps while those on US IG by 14bps and HY by 49bps. Big moves relative to a small down week in equities.
Looking ahead to the highlights for this week, I’d imagine if you’re in the US this will revolve around family, friends and perhaps Turkey as you sit down for Thanksgiving on Thursday. Outside of that we get the flash PMIs around the globe on Friday which in a period of nervousness about the global growth outlook will be scrutinised in thin post holiday trading. Black Friday will also mark the start of Xmas shopping season for retailers. Also worth noting is the European Commission's opinions on the budget plans of the Euro Area countries on Wednesday. While the EC formally has three weeks to provide an opinion on Italy's new fiscal plan following their budget resubmission last week, it's possible that they will issue this for Italy alongside this and thus kick starting the EDP process.
This morning in Asia, markets have kicked off the week on a positive note with the Nikkei (+0.48%), Hang Seng (+0.40%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.22%) all up along with most Asian markets. Elsewhere, futures on S&P 500 (-0.33%) are pointing towards a weaker start. In terms of overnight data releases, the UK Rightmove house prices index fell -0.2% yoy (-1.7% mom), first dip since 2011, led by declines in London (-2.4% yoy). Japan’s October adjusted trade balance stood at –JPY 302.7bn (vs. –JPY 48.3bn) as growth in imports (+19.9% yoy vs. +14.1% yoy expected) outpaced the growth in exports (+8.2% yoy vs. +8.9% yoy expected).
In other news, the US Vice President Pence delivered some sharp rhetoric on China over the weekend where he called upon countries to avoid taking debt from China as that would leave them indebted to China. He also added that the US wasn’t in a rush to end the trade war and would “not change course until China changes its ways.” Elsewhere, the APEC summit ended in disarray on Sunday after the US and China failed to agree on a joint statement, reflecting tensions due to the ongoing trade war. This is the first time since the summit began in 1993 that no joint statement was issued.
Looking back briefly now to last week before we focus on the full day-byday week ahead. Friday was an eventful day for market-moving rhetoric from policymakers, highlighted by Fed Vice Chair Clarida and President Trump. First, the dollar shed -0.52% after Clarida discussed the global economy and said there “is some evidence it’s slowing.” Two-year treasury yields rallied -3.8bps (-11.0bps on the week) and the market removed 6bps of Fed hikes through the end of next year (priced out a total of 16bps on the week). This came despite Clarida’s other remarks, which emphasised the strong US economy and his support for moving policy to a “neutral” level, consistent with the FOMC’s projections. Later in the session, Chicago Fed President Evans said that he too wants to move policy to neutral, and then another 50bps or so beyond that level.
Later on Friday, President Trump injected optimism on the trade policy front by telling reporters that China wants to make a deal and that he may not institute further tariffs. China has apparently offered a list of potential concessions, which could prove to be the basis of a trade deal at the 30 November G20 summit. Even though unnamed White House sources subsequently tried to soften expectations, the market rallied with the S&P 500 up +0.22% (-1.31% on the week). The DOW and Russell 2000 closed -2.22% and -1.42% on the week, though they both rallied on the President’s comments as well (+0.22% and +0.49% on Friday, respectively). After Pence’s weekend comments we should probably discount some of the above optimism.
Other markets were already closed when President Trump’s comments boosted sentiment. The STOXX 600 closed the week -2.20% (-0.20% on Friday), while UK equities outperformed marginally, with the FTSE 100 shedding only -1.29% on the week (-0.34% Friday). This reflected the weaker pound, which retreated -1.13% versus the dollar (+0.41% Friday) and -1.83% versus the euro (its worst such week since July 2017, and -0.38% on Friday). Asian equities were mixed, with the Shanghai Composite advancing +3.09% (+0.41% Friday) on trade optimism and the Nikkei down -2.56% (-0.57% Friday). German Bunds rallied -4.0bps last week, while peripheral spreads widened slightly with Italy leading the way. BTPs sold off +8.8bps (flat on Friday) as the government continued to escalate its confrontation with the European Commission.
It's a fairly quiet start to the week on Monday with the only data of note being September construction output data for the Euro Area and the November NAHB housing market index reading in the US. Away from that, the Fed's Williams is due to speak in the afternoon, while BoJ Governor Kuroda, Bank of France Governor Villeroy de Galhau and his predecessor, Noyer, will all speak at the Europlace Financial Forum. Euro Area finance ministers are also due to gather in Brussels to seek to make progress on Franco-German plans to shore up the currency union.
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