Idea Byre

In my previous article on the geometry of empires, I considered two essential strategies for organizing the defense of a territory. In one, troops were positioned along the border, ready to intercept enemies but spread thin. In the other, a single, centrally-located force was powerful but slow to respond. These are extreme approaches, though, lying at the ends of a spectrum filled with intermediate strategies.

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The pre-modern state aims to defend its borders against enemies. The size of its territory, though, has profound implications for how it can do this; which may in turn influence how that state develops--whether, in particular, it seeks aggressive expansion.

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While working on one of my space wargames, I became interested in historical ships, especially their classification and relative characteristics. (Were most classes small while only a few were large? Or was there some other distribution?) Trauling the Web I assembled some data.

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Here I present a surprisingly easy way to fill valleys in a rasterized elevation map, for the purpose of creating realistic rivers quickly.

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This post is about a world-building tool I've been working on. The goal is to generate semi-realistic landscapes including rivers and other effects of erosion. The tool is a bit of code, written in R. At heart, it models a map in the form of a grid, where each cell has an altitude, forming a height map.

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