The Three Sides of the Cold War

In the present day, it is easy to explain the Cold War as simply tensions between the Romanian Empire and their allies vs the United States and their allies.  However, the full history of the conflict is much more complicated and involves a long progression of international power struggles between different ideologies.  Most importantly, the modern conflict often ignores a third long-term major faction: the USSR and their allies.

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The Vultures of Eastern North America

Vultures play a critical role in our ecosystem.  They are the garbage men of nature and fill an important niche in the decomposition process by helping break apart and eating large chunks of dead animals.  It is said that you can tell an ecosystem is relatively healthy if there is a thriving vulture population because that means a large population of other animals who are dying at a steady rate and giving a reliable food source to the birds.  However, most people including many nature enthusiasts don’t pay very much attention to these birds.

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Aquatic Vampires

Vampires are the origin for many of the stories about mermaids and sirens. Long ago, a group of vampires decided to hide from the sun by going deep underwater. They found that this also had the benefit of keeping them safe from vampire hunters. After all, no one questions people going missing at sea and, even if they do, it is hard to attack a vampire lair 100 feet below the water.

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Princess of Blood

The rule of the Chieftan Rurik of Novgorod is one that would one day be recognized as one of the most influential reigns in Russian history.  It was his reign that laid the groundwork for a united Rus’ ruling over the bulk of Eastern Europe.  However, it was a single gift he bestowed upon his daughter Helga that would shape military theory in Europe until the modern day by creating an order of royal warriors known as the Princesses of Blood (Царевна Крови or Tsarevna Krovi in modern Russian).

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Modern Necromancy

Necromancy is an ancient school of magic.  Since the dawn of time, magic users have been using magical techniques to control and interact with dead spirits.  Some ancient cultures held a great respect for such magic users, but in Medieval Europe, the attitude was different.  In both Christianity and the popular versions of paganism at the time, Necromancy in any form was looked down upon.  Opinions ranged from seeing it as disrespectful to the deceased to seeing it as actively unholy, but seeing it as a negative was universal.  That all changed with the death of Ivar the Boneless.

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Living Pirate Ship

Let me tell you about the pirate ship Clairvoyance. It’s crewed entirely by a hodge-podge of bush mages who are bringing together a wide diversity of magical talents. None of them are exceptionally powerful and as individuals any of them can have circles run around them by any Royal Navy Wizard. But, when working together they are incredibly effective. Unmatched at sea when it comes to tracking their quarry, laying ambushes at sea, and then disappearing without a trace.

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Different Habitats

Sexual dimorphism is a strange thing.  Some creatures don’t have it at all and even careful observation cannot tell the difference between the sexes.  Some creatures only have one or two key features that distinguish the sexes but otherwise follow the same basic size and shape.  Other creatures will have such extreme differences that at first glance it is difficult to even tell they are the same species.  Humanity is an especially extreme case where the different sexes don’t even typically occupy the same habitat.

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World War Z: An Oddly Prophetic Take on Epidemiology

I’m still not sure why I never got around to reading World War Z by Max Brooks.  I had read his previous book The Zombie Survival Guide which is set in the same world and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  However, despite my love of the horror genre, it took me until now to get around to reading the more famous of Max Brooks’ zombie books. I recently finally got around to it and find myself being all the more horrified by it in the context of current events.

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