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Mad Poster
Original Poster
#26 Old 12th Oct 2015 at 8:32 AM
Originally Posted by r_deNoube
... also, whenever I tried to put Anna to bed she'd get up anyway to play computer games. I have the notion that usually Anna and I will do a lot of the cooking, but on this day, come breakfast time Blake got up to make the waffles and Anna took her bed. I'm sure we will get it worked out.
Just like real life, up at all hours and on the computer.
Top Secret Researcher
#27 Old 19th Oct 2015 at 10:46 AM Last edited by r_deNoube : 9th Mar 2017 at 9:54 AM. Reason: *tried* to repair img links behind spoiler tags.
Default Science field trip on the island
Dear & Excellent Fangirls,

I am carrying out an experiment to find the latitude of Heaven's Peak. Here is an account of the progress so far, with photographs.

For the observations that I want to make, I need the kind of unobstructed spectacular view that Sims can get from the butte or sea-stack at the end of the Heaven's Breadth road. I enlisted Jake's help because (a) the world is Fenton's, (b) the experiment would benefit from his advice as well as brawn, and (c) I just thought it would be a nice way to spend a day doing things together.

The overall plan is to use Build Mode to set up some elevation-measuring tools -- namely, tiled walls -- and then to use those to find how far above the horizon is a certain point in the night sky.

“This is as far as I go, Mac. Far as anybody goes.”
“Thank you, my good man.”
“Yeah. Whatever, Mac.”

Jake and I headed to the approximate center of the lot, planning to build a column. This was necessary to deal with a little bit of a chicken-and-egg problem in the experimental procedure. The celestial pole -- the point in the night sky that I hope to measure -- must be either north or south of us. So, I want to build the measuring-walls not randomly all over the hilltop, but at a few points along a north-south line. But as we haven’t yet done the experiment, we don’t know where the pole is… so we need another way to find north and south.

I told Jake we needed to erect a pretty tall column, somewhere near the middle of the lot, then watch its shadow. At noon, I claimed, the direction from the column to the tip of its own shadow would be a fair estimate of the direction to the celestial pole.

He put up a nice 3-story-tall column that, being totally featureless concrete, would cast a good straight shadow for us.

“This isn’t too encouraging, Noubie. The shadow’s falling right towards the mountain. That’s the only direction we can’t observe from here.”
“Huh. So it is.”

“Jake, what time do you have? Noon isn’t for a while yet, is it?”
“No, it’s barely even ten o’clock. Do you want to just kick back for a little while?”

I had our “headlineeffects” turned off, but from time to time, little markers still appeared to show that we were “grouped up”, ever since sharing the cab ride. As well, when I looked at Jake additional objects appeared up there.

“Noubie, do you find all these heart-fireworks and stuff distracting?”

“I guess. Maybe a little. Um… we could get a mod later, when we’re home. I might be distracted even then, though.”

We did “Relax Here” for a little while.

At 12:00 we found that the column’s shadow had moved to a direction that gave us a clear view.

But since the shadow was still moving,Fenton Jake suggested I mark its noon position quickly, by setting down an object on it. I found that my inventory contained only a paperback, A Magnetic Attraction -- which, in any case, I could not set down because we didn’t own the lot. In the end, we decided to use a landscaping rock from Build Mode.

Once having placed that first rock at the tip of the noon shadow, we walked nearly to the edge of the lot, and placed a second rock along the visual line formed by the column and our first rock.

Then Jake went clear to the opposite end of the lot, and placed a third rock (while I helped him to line it up). At this point we had a decent north-south line across the lot. As well, we were both hungry for lunch.

#28 Old 19th Oct 2015 at 2:19 PM
This is actually fascinating.

And yes, I see the backpack, nice in-joke. XD

Heaven's Peak, my CAW WIP
Top Secret Researcher
#29 Old 19th Oct 2015 at 8:49 PM
Thank you, and now I have the My Love buff going on.

I'm trying to do this with a bare minimum of assumptions, and also leaving the lot exactly as we found it (no levelling the terrain, leaving stuff behind, etc.) So far, we can tell that you were right about the island being in the Northern Hemisphere, because the sun & its shadows are moving clockwise.

We'll set up the walls after lunch & post the photos of that, and then come back at night (the same night, unless we're too tired) to take pictures looking out past that northern cliff.

It will take me some days to get the picnic-and-afternoon round posted, but here is one tiny spoiler: during lunch you'll ask about why we didn't just measure the shadow of the column.
Top Secret Researcher
24th Oct 2015 at 1:51 PM
This message has been deleted by Nymphetamine.
Top Secret Researcher
#30 Old 26th Oct 2015 at 10:09 AM Last edited by r_deNoube : 26th Oct 2015 at 10:31 AM.
I have some more pictures of the afternoon's doings, but they're not quite organized & ready to post yet. You know how it is -- with Free Will up high, a beautiful view and a warm breeze, we're apt to go a little off-script sometimes.
Top Secret Researcher
#31 Old 29th Oct 2015 at 5:44 AM Last edited by r_deNoube : 9th Mar 2017 at 10:45 AM. Reason: more image-link fixing, or trying to.
Default Science field trip -- part 2
Whilst enjoying a tasty Picnic, we reviewed the scheme for finding the latitude of Heaven's Peak.

If we take a lot of pictures of the night sky, over several hours, without moving the camera, then we ought to be able to see that the stars are moving in circles around some point in the sky. That point would be directly over our heads if we were standing at either the North Pole or the South Pole (latitude 90° north or south) -- which isn't likely, and I don't expect it -- but if we were, we’d see it directly over our heads. If we’re on the equator, at zero latitude, we’ll have to look straight horizontally to see it. To make a long story short: whatever our latitude is, that’s the angle above horizontal where we’ll see the celestial pole.

So, we would like a tool that allows taking night-sky photographs that show the vertical angle. The big part of the tool will be a pair of wall sections at the north end of the lot, a few stories high, and set so that we can see the pole stars through the opening between them.

"Right, so we can know how high up the walls we’re looking. Then for the angle, we need to set up another bit of wall, a little way south of that pair, maybe like eight or ten tiles away. We want to set up our camera close to the base of that one, looking past it, and through the opening in the other pair. So we want to compose it so that both sets of walls are in the picture, but without the walls blocking our view of the right spot – which might be kind of tricky, and honestly, I don’t know if we’re going to get it right on the first try."

"I mean, it probably is, right? But terrain sculpting isn’t an exact science. We could level it right now, if you want to be sure."

"No levelling, Jake. I promised Janet and Tsyo that I wouldn't spoil anything up here. There’s a way to sort it out, but it means more building. If we duplicate the north pair of walls on the south end, and then look across the lot from each direction past the walls to the horizon, we'll be able to figure out whether the lot slopes."

"Well, I doubt we'll see the horizon at night. So that part, we’ll need to do in daylight, right? We better get on it."

We began with a pair of walls straddling our north marking-boulder. We would need to build them higher – at least three levels, I reckoned – because in looking at stars, we’d be looking upward at an angle through the gap.

Here is the structure with a lot of scaffolding around it. It is 72 small tiles high and, as small tiles look so much alike, I was pretty sure I’d lose my place whilst counting them. So, we marked each floor level by running a length of Fee Fie Foe Fence across the gap. But to run the fence we had first to place floor tiles, and to place those, we had first to put some walls beneath.

Then with all of that done and the scaffolding removed, it looked like this. (We left some floor tiles on the back side, in case we might need to attach stairs to get up there for something.)

NEXT: Using these to suss out the slope of the lot.
Top Secret Researcher
#32 Old 30th Oct 2015 at 8:01 AM Last edited by r_deNoube : 4th Nov 2015 at 5:29 AM. Reason: Rectified url for Sim National Labs.
Default Science field trip -- part 3 -- the lot is level and we can prove it.
Here is the outcome of the lot-slope test. Heaven’s Peak is the first place I’ve lived where this experiment is even possible, because of the ocean views.

The last photo of my previous post showed a view toward the southern horizon, past all three sets of our tiled walls. If you look closely where Jake and I are standing by the south measuring-walls, you can about see that the visual horizon – the boundary between sea and sky – lines up with a Fee Fie Foe Fence section over our heads, that marks the boundary between the lowest two floor levels. So at that end of the lot, the line-of-sight crosses the walls at a height above the ground of 24 small tiles, i.e. one floor-level.

Now if we look in the foreground, it’s clear that the visual horizon is higher up the walls there, hitting somewhere between the first and second floor. It turns out to be about 41 small tiles above ground level at the northernmost pair of measuring-walls, and 37 small tiles up the smaller measuring-wall. Here is a closer shot along the same line of sight, upon which I have written the heights:

Certainly as the line-of-sight extends from the camera southward toward the horizon, it crosses the walls at lower and lower elevations. There are two possible reasons for this apparent slope: maybe the lot slopes; and/or maybe we really do view the horizon at a slight downward angle, caused perhaps by the Earth’s curvature and/or our being on a hilltop.

That question is settled by photographing the same scene from the other direction.

Looking toward the northern horizon, our gaze is also at a slight downward angle. In this shot the camera is placed so that, as before, the visual horizon lines up with the bottom of the fence-rail between the southern measuring-walls. That height, again, is 24 small tiles. But on the far end of the lot, the same visual line crosses at heights of 7 small tiles (on the northernmost pair) and 11 (on the smaller section that's a little closer to us).

This is excellent news! When we were looking southward, the line-of-sight crossed the south pair of walls 17 (=41-24) small tiles lower than the north. And now, looking northward, the line-of-sight crosses the north pair of walls 17 (=24-7) small tiles lower than the south. Don’t bother to bring up your calculator app, because apart from the two subtractions we just did, we’re done with math. The slight downward slope is the same in both directions – 17 small tiles per whatever-the-distance-between-those-walls-is. This is enough to show that all the walls are standing on terrain at the same elevation. The lot is level.

We don’t need to bring in any other numbers – not the size of the lot, nor the elevation of the hilltop, nor the size of a small tile in terms of any other unit of measurement – none of those are needed. We need to make a few non-numerical assumptions about the Earth and our camera, but they are pretty innocent assumptions: we assume that the sea level is very nearly the same in all directions we look; that the distance to the visual horizon is at least several times greater than the width or elevation of our hilltop; and that straight lines in the real world show up as straight lines in photographs.
Top Secret Researcher
#33 Old 3rd Nov 2015 at 3:24 AM Last edited by r_deNoube : 3rd Nov 2015 at 3:34 AM.
I've begun being able to get star photos.

But before I post anything spoiler-ish about the results, this would be a good chance for anyone who'd like to venture a guess about the North latitude of Heaven's Peak.

O how I wish I could offer free trips for correct guesses! (For that purpose, "correct" within about ±180° would be good enough.)

(Of course I will be delighted to install your Sim there if she isn't already.)
Top Secret Researcher
#34 Old 4th Nov 2015 at 6:40 AM Last edited by r_deNoube : 4th Nov 2015 at 9:14 AM.
Default Science field trip -- part 4 -- tidying & tweaking the instruments
EDIT:  There were broken image links in some of my previous posts.
Fenton notified me of the problem.
Maybe instead of an image, you got nothing, and wondered,
 "Huh. Why'd she bother to put that behind a spoiler tag? Oh well."
I believe I've fixed the links now, in case you like to try again. 

Once we had that lot-levelling test done, I thought it was spiffy that we'd gotten that result using base-game walls and almost no math. So, I was feeling pretty optimistic about the whole project. But by the time I was done running around getting photos, it was a little past 4:00 in the afternoon, and we had accumulated some clutter that Jake thought we should deal with while we still had daylight.

It was time to lose the big featureless column which, although visually striking, was unnecessary after we had placed the boulders. And now with the walls placed, we were done with the boulders too.

Before we totally said goodbye to the giant pillar, Jake reminded me of a question about it that I'd earlier promised to answer.

The question was: Why had we only made use of the direction of its noon shadow? If we had measured its length at the same time, couldn’t we have figured the sun’s elevation from that – and wouldn’t that be a powerful clue to our latitude?

Or would that approach have failed because the sun angle varies with the seasons?

The season thing – the Sun usually not shining straight down on Earth’s equator – that would be a good enough reason, and I suppose I could have hidden behind it. But really, the truth is I’ve just had bad experiences with shadows. Back home I once tried plotting shadows at sunrise, and it was unnerving. They were too short, and they didn’t change as they ought to have – at least, not before the school bus came and I had to abandon the experiment. To this day, I don’t know whether the problem has something to do with refraction, or humidity, or what… I just don’t know. It weirded me out. I don’t trust shadow lengths, that’s what I’m trying to say.

Besides removing the pillar and boulders, Jake suggested one more change: turning the walls sideways, so they’d block less of our view of the sky.

And, as long as we were going to be changing walls, then I wanted to do a more careful job of estimating the heights and spacings. Here is what I was worried about:

I’m sitting at the base of the shorter measuring-wall. Suppose I were to look up at the very top of the tall pair of walls (and at the sky beyond them.) My gut feeling had been, that’s a pretty steep angle. The steepest it could get would be if I were to put my head right on the ground, so I’d be looking up a three-story rise. The problem is, that angle is not as steep as it feels. The height and the horizontal distance are equal – nine large tiles – so the angle is 45 degrees, which is a very familiar, middle-of-the-herd, compromise sort of angle after all. Plenty of inhabited places are at latitudes higher than 45°N, including nearly all of Europe, Canada, the UK, Ireland, and Canada.

So my eyeballing and guesstimating had not been quite right, and some adjustments were needed. To make a good, thorough job of it and accommodate possibilities over the whole country, we would want to handle latitudes like these:

Naturally, that upper value of more than 82 degrees got Jake’s attention.
“Can we get away with not covering possibilities that far out? This town Alert, what goes on there?”
“I don’t know. I’ve only read that it’s on an island, and the population is maybe between zero and five or so.”
“NOOOOOOOOOoooooooOO! We can’t be! Jake, I won’t! There’s such a thing as too much!

“Ssshhhh. Take it easy, Noubie. Look around, there are trees and all. I’m sure we’ll end up someplace nice.”
“Can you figure out the walls for, say, up to Scotland? That seems plenty.”
*sniffle* “I guess so. That would handle quite a few inhabitable islands. Let me see.”

Observation: Having the right lab partner can make all the difference in a science project.
Top Secret Researcher
#35 Old 4th Nov 2015 at 9:55 AM Last edited by r_deNoube : 6th Nov 2015 at 1:59 AM. Reason: add spoiler tags
Default Science field trip -- part 5 -- the instruments after tweaking
Here is how the measuring-walls looked after turning & tuning.

The new walls differed from the earlier, guesstimated ones like this:
We scooted the small wall closer to the big ones – seven tiles (from south edge to south edge), rather than nine.
We raised the big walls from three levels to four.

Both of those changes increased the range of angles that we would be able to observe by counting small tiles:

As to example locations -- I started out planning to list only islands,
but then, I felt that important places like Saint John and New Glasgow oughtn't to be left out.
Also, I included Marrakesh because people there use a writing system that looks possibly related to Simlish.

Observation: For small angles (up to not quite 25°), the angle measured in degrees is nicely given by the rise measured in small tiles. That is, you can just read the angle right from the wall by counting small tiles -- no looking it up, no calculating needed. I wasn't expecting this, but I figured out why it works and I think it's pretty cute. The trick only works when the horizontal run is seven large tiles.

Top Secret Researcher
#36 Old 6th Nov 2015 at 4:47 AM Last edited by r_deNoube : 6th Nov 2015 at 7:13 AM.
Default Starry Night (Science field trip, part 6)
Now things are starting to get pretty. There should be three images in this post -- if you can't see them, please let me know.

Stars are stationary. But they appear to turn counterclockwise because we are looking northward and our planet is rotating eastward -- as it should, I daresay.

This one combines images over a fairly short time around sunset when the stars were just beginning to appear, but it's long enough to see the paths that they're starting to trace out.

Here's what we get by combining enough images over a long enough time. The arcs of the star trails become so long and numerous that it's easy to figure out the center of their (apparent) rotation.
Mad Poster
Original Poster
#37 Old 6th Nov 2015 at 9:34 AM
That's so surreal. I it!
Top Secret Researcher
#38 Old 8th Nov 2015 at 2:29 AM
Default We're in the tropics :) (Science field trip, part 7)
Thank you, Ver, for saving me from what would probably now be octuple-posting.

It turns out that our latitude in Heaven's Peak is around 20° to 21° North. This is the kind of latitude where you'd find Cabo Verde, the Big Island of Hawai'i, and various places in the Philippines, Micronesia, and the Caribbean. This, it seems to me, is a pleasant result! It is much nicer than some of those Russian islands in the Barents Sea, for example.

Attached is a sketch. I reckoned the center of rotation of the stars to be at a height of 44 small tiles up the big walls, vs. 23 up the smaller closer wall. Using the nifty shortcut for walls with this spacing, the latitude corresponding to that line of sight should be (44-23)= 21 degrees.

I've since done the trig -- and also allowed for possible measurement errors, such as in my judgment of the center of the stars' rotation -- and now I would say the island's latitude is between 19°30' N and 21°30' N, or in other words, 20-and-a-half degrees plus or minus one degree.
Mad Poster
Original Poster
#39 Old 8th Nov 2015 at 2:30 PM
Just so you know, Noubie, you adorable brainiac you, I'm not really following the details of much of what you're posting on this topic, but I'm nodding my head as if I am. And, I'm enjoying your discussion of it and all the pics.

(Did I just save you from multi-postings? I say, post away! With impunity!)
#40 Old 9th Nov 2015 at 7:29 AM
The tropics. XD I was hoping for somewhere on the cool side of temperate. Even though my flora isn't completely adhering to that rule, the majority of it assumes that kind of climate.

Heaven's Peak, my CAW WIP
Top Secret Researcher
#41 Old 9th Nov 2015 at 9:36 AM Last edited by r_deNoube : 9th Nov 2015 at 9:56 AM.
Originally Posted by Fenton
I was hoping for somewhere on the cool side of temperate.
Then you shall have it. I must find a way to change the stars.

Originally Posted by Fenton
... the majority of it assumes that kind of climate.
I think you are still entitled to assume that, or any other climate that you like. Unless there is something specific that a world-builder can do to assign the world's latitude, and unless world-builders actually do that thing, it wouldn't surprise me if every world comes out somewhere around 20°30' North. Heaven's Peak is where I made the observations, because that choice allows me to spend time with my attention upon your world and your Sim, which is good for me. But I have a suspicion that -- especially without Seasons installed -- the stars would have looked the same from Sunset Valley or anywhere else. Then we'd have only two choices: either everyone on Earth lives at the same latitude, admittedly a nice latitude but still it would be weird; or, worlds are where their creators put them.

Originally Posted by Fenton flora isn't completely adhering to that...

I live near some islands that fit your image of cool-side-of-temperate, and I can say two things that make our flora more various: first that there are microclimates, like "banana belts", due to the direction that a hill faces, or how the air slides off of it, or whether there's water, etc., etc.,; and second, that gardeners discover that all kinds of stuff grows fine if you plant it even though it's from a different climate. Nymph might question my claim to being in a "cool side of temperate" locale, since she's waaaay cooler but I think I might be just a little more northerly than she is.
Top Secret Researcher
#42 Old 10th Nov 2015 at 8:46 AM
Fixing the stars is turning out to be a bit of a challenge. I actually don't have anything encouraging to say about it at this juncture -- but I'll give it a good solid try, as I am a Fangirl.

I did get some nice pictures by daylight, though, so here is a panorama of the pretty island. To make it, I first took heaps of pictures from a fixed vantage point on top of the Science Facility's dome. (The reason I put the camera there, rather than at the summit, was that I wanted the mountain to be in the picture.) These I then stitched together using a free tool: Image Composite Editor from Microsoft Research.

Mad Poster
Original Poster
#43 Old 22nd Nov 2015 at 9:42 PM
I'm thinking I have some bad cc, which will probably take a bit of effort to find, especially since I play so infrequently and especially since loading the game takes so long, making me less likely to want to do in order to find an issue.... But I will do it! I will find the bad cc causing Blake's baby to be invisible. At least Blake and her hubby have been wonderful parents to the wee bairn. I can't do a thing for her.
Top Secret Researcher
#44 Old 22nd Nov 2015 at 10:05 PM
Awww. I'll bet she's a cute little one, somewhere. It's a good thing -- especially if she's Blake's first -- that they have someone like you to help them.
Top Secret Researcher
#45 Old 29th Jan 2016 at 11:36 AM
I looked around Heaven's Peak for a good place to hold a dance. The Receptacle Refugees are having a Winter/Summer ("Fire and Ice") Ball, and for my contribution, I thought it would be nice to host some of their self-Sims, give them a chance to meet some Fangirl Sims, get a little Juiced and dance together, you know? The venue that I found is the Landgraab Aerie, a crazy-huge facility up on the ridgecrest (I can't bring myself to call it a "house" since it nearly fills its 60x60 lot.) From a floor-space standpoint, one room will be enough! although I'm doing a little Build Mode in that room, to make it look more ballroom-like, just for the occasion.

This afternoon, in the still-in-progress ballroom, some of the Sims gave one another waltz lessons.

There's Meg and Blake, Janet, and Pary the Doomsayer. And here's Jake and me:

If I look happy in this photo, that's for real. First, looking at it just makes me feel good. Second, in this photo my feet are literally not touching the ground because the pose was designed for two Sims of the same height, which I'm not.
#46 Old 20th Feb 2016 at 10:51 AM
I'm late with this observation, but that's just because I've been rereading these threads lately and this image ...

... gave me such a stupid grin that I have to go read all my old PMs from 2013 again. <3

Heaven's Peak, my CAW WIP
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