Sunday, April 2, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 062

Seedling 062 is pleasant, maybe a little lighter in color than the usual, but not otherwise terribly remarkable.

(see?)

The four name finalists are: Bashful Whisper, Booster Separation, Fred Rogers, and Open World.

Bashful Whisper sounds a lot like a random-words name, though it does have in its favor that it describes an actual thing, and people who saw the name would understand what it meant.

Booster Separation is the point, during the launch of a Space Shuttle or other item, when the rockets used to propel the item out of Earth's gravity detach themselves and fall to the ground, where they can be recovered and reused later. (This is apparently by design, though I'm kind of amazed that it's possible to design an object to fall 28 miles / 46 km to the Earth and then use it again.1) This was inspired by the way the petals curve away from the flower in the above photo, though it would make more sense if the flower had been pointing up, rather than down.


Fred Rogers is of course the children's TV show host.

Finally, Open World is a video gaming term, describing games in which the player has the option to wander more or less freely around the game world doing whatever they like, rather than being forced into following a specific plot.2 Some of the bigger open world games are Minecraft, Fallout 3 / Fallout: New Vegas / Fallout 4, the Grand Theft Auto series, No Man's Sky, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, Sims 3, etc.


So I want to drop Bashful Whisper first. Initially I was fine with it, but at some point it got "Careless Whisper" stuck in my head and that drives me crazy. And I think we can lose Booster Separation too, since the flowers aren't consistently shaped like the one that inspired the name.


The problem with Fred Rogers is one that's come up before: while he's seedling-worthy, he's also got a ton of things named for him already, including an asteroid, just like Sojourner Truth. This shouldn't count against a name, except that I figure names honoring heavily-honored people are more likely to have been used by someone else already. Since I'm trying to choose final, official names for the Schlumbergera seedlings,3 I'm kind of hoping to come up with things I won't have to change later.

Open World is a little bland. I suppose it still sounds nice (except maybe to agoraphobes), but if you're not a gamer it doesn't have a clear meaning. It does have going for it that I really open world games (according to Steam, I've spent over a thousand hours of my life playing Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas combined, for example), but then, I was a pretty big fan of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood at one point too, so I'm not sure that works as a tie-breaker either.


What did wind up working for me as a tie-breaker was running across an article via MetaFilter that talks about a specific game that doesn't quite work, despite being able to generate a very large number of possible game puzzles. I mean, Covert Action doesn't appear to be an open world game, technically, but it does talk a little about whether games should be primarily about telling a story (like in more linear games) or about the experience of being part of the overall world of a game, where one makes up the story as one goes along (like in open world games).

So I think I'm still happy with calling this one 062A Open World. I'm sure the name Fred Rogers will come up again, given enough seedlings4 and enough time in which to name them.

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1 (I mean, I have a LCD-display kitchen timer that got dropped about four feet onto a carpeted floor and has never worked quite right ever since.)
2 As distinct from linear games, with a single plot that doesn't progress until you do whatever thing it is the game wants you to do (e.g. Half-Life 2), or games with branching plots, where the player occasionally gets to make choices that influence how the rest of the game plays out, but are linear between branch points (like reading a "choose your own adventure" book).
3 As opposed to the Anthurium seedlings, where the names I use here are basically placeholders, so that I can talk about them without getting confused by all the numbers. I mean, some of the Anthurium seedlings' names might eventually be official patented names too, should things get that far, but I work harder on the Schlumbergera names because I think of them as being the final word on what a seedling will be called. Not that most of these -- or maybe any -- will ever be patented anyway. But I still might want to, someday. So.
4 Speaking of which -- I potted up another 68 Schlumbergeras on 25 March. The Schlumbergeras may outnumber the Anthuriums now; it depends on whether you think the relevant number is how many distinct pots I have to move around and check for watering and so forth, in which case the Schlumbergeras win, or the number of genetically distinguishable plants I have around, in which case the Anthuriums (barely) win.


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