1577: "Advent"

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da Doctah
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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby da Doctah » Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:38 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:I would hope that it wasn't a simple cardboard dealie like the Advent calendars I know. Somehow, the chocolates would have to be individually vacuum-sealed or something. Or of course, it's one of those fancier ones with small toys instead of candy. It would still have to be something really tiny to fit in the boxes shown.


Hey, a practical use: each compartment contains a Metformin tablet.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Eebster the Great » Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:22 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:Hey, I know... each box contains a very small gemstone, both pretty and worth somewhere between a few cents and a few dollars. Maybe a few hundred dollars for the significant milestone dates...

Spoiler:
and the last box has a microgram of 210Po.

There are 16,800 boxes, so you might want to keep the average value of each box down around 10-20¢ if you want the calendar to be affordable to a significant number of people. I can't see a lot of folks dropping twenty grand on the thing.

As for polonium dose, you don't want the LD50 but something like the LD95. You wouldn't want to spend too much on returns.

Estimating even the LD50 is hard. Judging by this paper, the LD50 for ingestion should be around 1-3 GBq. Polonium-210 has a decay constant of about 5 × 10-8, so even taking the low estimate of 1 GBq, you would need around 2 × 1016 atoms, or 30 nmol. That would be a solid 7 μg, just for a 50% probability of death.

Also, it will be decades before the final box is opened, perhaps a hundred half lives after manufacture. So you're really going to want around 9 × 1018 tons of the stuff, which might not quite fit the box or your budget. Also might be more massive than the all the Earth's oceans and disintegrate the planet when it immediately explodes.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Coyoty » Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:03 am UTC

Day 31 you get a pill and a note: "I assume you have eaten 30 chocolates by now. Each chocolate had in it a minute amount of a cumulative poison. You will now die unless you take one of the remaining pills each day which contains a small amount of antidote and a small amount of poison to require you to take another the next day to keep from dying. You can't take one without the other and no more antidote exists anywhere. When you take the last one, you will die. This truly is your life expectancy. Goodbye, Janice."

"Janice? But my name is Greg..."

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:14 am UTC

Who gave me my coworker's advent calendar?
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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:46 am UTC

Coyoty wrote:Day 31 you get a pill and a note: "I assume you have eaten 30 chocolates by now. Each chocolate had in it a minute amount of a cumulative poison. You will now die unless you take one of the remaining pills each day which contains a small amount of antidote and a small amount of poison to require you to take another the next day to keep from dying. You can't take one without the other and no more antidote exists anywhere. When you take the last one, you will die. This truly is your life expectancy.


Well, not truly. It's just your maximum lifespan, so your life expectancy is surely somewhat lower. Unless the pills also protect you from all other causes of death.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby jeszjesz » Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:26 am UTC

"The few dozen doors...". Ouch. :(
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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Mayal0 » Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:19 pm UTC

This is how you figure out the exact number of years, including all potentially valid leap day rules.

First, count the number of boxes, that equals the number of days.

20(7) * 12(10) = 16800 days

Next, estimate the approximate number of years by dividing by 365 days/year.

16800 / 365 = 46.027 (45 or 46 years)

Then, figure out how many leap days will fall in that expected life span by dividing the possible number of years by 4 since leap days happen every 4 years. We will account for the 100 year rule in the next step.

45 / 4 = 11.25 (11 or 12 leap days)
46 / 4 = 11.50 (11 or 12 leap days)

This means that the stick figure could see either 11 or 12 leap days in their life (depending on when the first leap day falls in their life) going by the every four years rule. Since leap days are skipped on years divisible by 100 but not by 400, the stick figure could end up skipping either 0 or 1 leap days. So the stick figure could see 10-12 leap days.

Now let's normalize the number of days to remove possible leap days so that we can assume 0 leap days

Case 1: 16800 - 10 = 16790 days
Case 2: 16800 - 11 = 16789 days
Case 3: 16800 - 12 = 16788 days

In Case 1

16790 / 365 = 46.000 years (exactly)

In the first case, the stick figure dies on their 46th birthday.

In Case 2

16789 / 365 = 45.997 years (45 years and 364 days or 365 days if that year happens to be a leap year)

In the second case, the stick figure dies the day before their 46th birthday.

In Case 3

16788 / 365 = 45.995 years (45 years and 363 days or 364 days if that year happens to be a leap year)

In the third case, the stick figure dies two days before their 46th birthday.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Neil_Boekend » Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:34 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:Hey, I know... each box contains a very small gemstone, both pretty and worth somewhere between a few cents and a few dollars. Maybe a few hundred dollars for the significant milestone dates...

Spoiler:
and the last box has a microgram of 210Po.

210Po has a half-life of 138 days. To have sufficient left after 50 years you need aproximately 1.4*1045 times as much as you might expect. If we use the LD-50 we are talking about aproximately 1.4*1039 kg, or 1,000,000,000 times the mass of the sun. Holding it in your hand will kill you but that's the gravity. Not the radiation.
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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby operagost » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:27 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
Echo244 wrote:At least it seems to be one of those advent calendars with chocolates in, rather than just inspiring seasonal imagery.


Or uninspiring seasonal imagery...

Cue discussion of the effect on life expectancy of eating a chocolate every day. (Not to mention daily exposure to cutesy religious iconography).

Why didn't Randall save this one for December? I don't need to be reminded of Christmas in mid September.

I think the only thing keeping retailers from putting Christmas displays out three months in advance are the Halloween displays they put out two months in advance.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:28 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:
mathmannix wrote:Hey, I know... each box contains a very small gemstone, both pretty and worth somewhere between a few cents and a few dollars. Maybe a few hundred dollars for the significant milestone dates...

Spoiler:
and the last box has a microgram of 210Po.

210Po has a half-life of 138 days. To have sufficient left after 50 years you need aproximately 1.4*1045 times as much as you might expect.

Actually, 2(50 years)/(138 days) = 6.9 × 1039.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby mathmannix » Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:30 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:Estimating even the LD50 is hard. Judging by this paper, the LD50 for ingestion should be around 1-3 GBq. Polonium-210 has a decay constant of about 5 × 10-8, so even taking the low estimate of 1 GBq, you would need around 2 × 1016 atoms, or 30 nmol. That would be a solid 7 μg, just for a 50% probability of death.

Also, it will be decades before the final box is opened, perhaps a hundred half lives after manufacture. So you're really going to want around 9 × 1018 tons of the stuff, which might not quite fit the box or your budget. Also might be more massive than the all the Earth's oceans and disintegrate the planet when it immediately explodes.


Neil_Boekend wrote:210Po has a half-life of 138 days. To have sufficient left after 50 years you need aproximately 1.4*1045 times as much as you might expect. If we use the LD-50 we are talking about aproximately 1.4*1039 kg, or 1,000,000,000 times the mass of the sun. Holding it in your hand will kill you but that's the gravity. Not the radiation.

OK, fine, fine, so near-instant death by radiation poisoning after decades of storage won't work. It would work much better with small doses of a gradual poison, but there's no way to estimate exactly the date it would kill Cueball (plus he would probably be too sick to keep opening the tiny boxes at the end of his life, or care to do so.) Really, the only option is for the last box to be deadly (instantly, or within a few hours anyway). Bombs and gunpowder will not work after decades. Anybody have any other ideas?
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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:08 pm UTC

If the person is eating whatever is in each box, it just has to be any poison that is chemically (and physically) stable over decades and acts within 24 hours. There are plenty of them I suspect, though I don't really know much about it. Zinc cyanide is fairly stable and while it isn't especially toxic, it's still plenty toxic to kill you if you swallow a whole gelcap.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby speising » Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:27 pm UTC

operagost wrote:
orthogon wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
Echo244 wrote:At least it seems to be one of those advent calendars with chocolates in, rather than just inspiring seasonal imagery.


Or uninspiring seasonal imagery...

Cue discussion of the effect on life expectancy of eating a chocolate every day. (Not to mention daily exposure to cutesy religious iconography).

Why didn't Randall save this one for December? I don't need to be reminded of Christmas in mid September.

I think the only thing keeping retailers from putting Christmas displays out three months in advance are the Halloween displays they put out two months in advance.

You can thank your god (or witches, more properly?) for that. We don't have that here, so winter season starts about now.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby orthogon » Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:34 pm UTC

Yeah, it took Litvinenko three weeks to die from polonium induced radiation sickness. That is one seriously fucked up way to kill somebody.

How about a chocolate on the lines of the "spring surprise" from Monty Python? In that case the spring inside merely pierced both cheeks, but with a few mods surely it could be engineered to deliver sudden fatal trauma to the brain?
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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Coyne » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:47 pm UTC

Coyoty wrote:"Janice? But my name is Greg..."


"Oops, sorry, Greg. Mixed up the labels."
In all fairness...

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Coyoty » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:46 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
Coyoty wrote:Day 31 you get a pill and a note: "I assume you have eaten 30 chocolates by now. Each chocolate had in it a minute amount of a cumulative poison. You will now die unless you take one of the remaining pills each day which contains a small amount of antidote and a small amount of poison to require you to take another the next day to keep from dying. You can't take one without the other and no more antidote exists anywhere. When you take the last one, you will die. This truly is your life expectancy.


Well, not truly. It's just your maximum lifespan, so your life expectancy is surely somewhat lower. Unless the pills also protect you from all other causes of death.


It's a life expectancy calendar, not a life certainty calendar. And you can't be certain Janice's secret demirer is telling the truth. Greg could have the last pill analyzed if he can accept dying a day early if s/he's telling the truth.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:48 am UTC

If it's just life expectancy, there's no reason for the poison in the first place, just accurate personal information and actuarial data.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby PsiSquared » Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:18 pm UTC

Well, as one famous fellow used to say:

Life is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you're gonna get. :)

EDIT to say: I've just seen that somebody already paraphrased that quote here. I my defense, I did bother to search the entire thread for that quote before posting.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Sep 16, 2015 5:26 pm UTC

Like the Cryptkeeper said: "Life is like a box of shockolates. You never know what's gonna getcha."
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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Mr Q » Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:09 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
Whizbang wrote:
orthogon wrote:Why didn't Randall save this one for December? I don't need to be reminded of Christmas in mid September.


Don't you, though? DON'T YOU!?


Everyone knows that mid-September is when the season changes from Back to School to Halloween...


That's entirely dependent on where you are. Here it turns from Father's Day to Christmas, with a tiny bit of Halloween stuff appearing in October just for those who care.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Coyoty » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:36 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:Everyone knows that mid-September is when the season changes from Back to School to Halloween...


I work at a college. I found this out Monday.

ImageImage

(The second photo I titled "Lewis Black's Nightmare".)

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:07 pm UTC

I think it's totally appropriate to break out the Halloween stuff as soon as the days start getting shorter.

If that's too long for your taste, then I *suppose* the more traditional beginning of autumn (halfway between the solstice and the equinox) is also acceptable. Halloween is better than Christmas, so if Christmas season gets two months then Halloween season should get at least three.
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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:29 pm UTC

Personally I think forestalling the Christmas season is one of Halloween's best attributes, but I still wish I didn't have to deal with either for more than a month. I mean I love Christmas and Halloween, and I even think both can have pretty fun seasonal decorations, but the constant music, ads, inflatables and the like get on my nerves pretty quickly. Two months is too long.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Quercus » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:39 pm UTC

I saw mince pies in the supermarket last week. Mince pies in September. It's bloody ridiculous.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:40 pm UTC

Every month should have one holiday, and every holiday should get one month of buildup.

Christmas, keep your ass in December.

October is for Halloween.

Everybody seems to forget there's Thanksgiving in November in between there.

September... well, it's not a holiday, but there's Back To School everywhere. And I guess Labor Day's a thing, just not a very big thing.

February gets Valentine's Day, March or April get Easter, July has Independence Day, and most of the rest of the months are fucked.

The core "Holiday Season" is really Oct-Dec, with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

In the spirit of the ill-fated Meteric Calendar, I think we should revamp all the holidays into a more sensible pattern:

- On the Vernal Equinox, we have a holiday celebrating birth and wonder and newness, targeted at prepubescent children, with cool pastel spring colors. (Repurposed Easter... maybe throw some St. Patrick's Day in there for spring, just clovers or leprechauns or something I guess. Maybe the leprechauns help the rabbit hide the golden eggs it lays under the clover patch at the end of the rainbow?).

- On the Summer Solstice, we have a holiday celebrating freedom, sex, alcohol, explosions, and so on, the kind of party scene favored by young adults of reproductive age, with bright vibrant primary colors. (Repurposing the actual Solstice celebrations at least how we did them in Santa Barbara, and things like Carnivale, 4th of July, beach holidays like Labor Day and Memorial Day, random drunken party holidays like Cinco de Mayo, etc).

- On the Autumnal Equinox, we have a holiday celebrating family and tradition and mutual support and generosity, targeted at mature adults past the prime of their life with families of their own now, with warm dark fall colors. (Repurposed Thanksgiving with touches of Halloween for its harvest connotations and Christmas for its family and gift-giving connotations).

- On the Winter Solstice, we have a holiday celebrating things timeless and eternal, be they secular or spiritual, in remembrance of the dead, with mostly monochromatic colors. (Repurposed bits of Halloween and other death holidays like Dia de los Muertos, religious holidays like Christmas, and general midwinter holidays like New Year's Eve).
Last edited by Pfhorrest on Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:58 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Quercus » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:46 pm UTC

I say we should switch over to the Pagan wheel of the year - 8 holidays, evenly spread around the calendar, 6.5 weeks between each. Much more sensible.

Missed the last half of your post. D'oh.
Last edited by Quercus on Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:25 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:11 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Every month should have one holiday, and every holiday should get one month of buildup.

Christmas, keep your ass in December.

October is for Halloween.

Everybody seems to forget there's Thanksgiving in November in between there.

September... well, it's not a holiday, but there's Back To School everywhere. And I guess Labor Day's a thing, just not a very big thing.

February gets Valentine's Day, March or April get Easter, July has Independence Day, and most of the rest of the months are fucked.

The core "Holiday Season" is really Oct-Dec, with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

In the spirit of the ill-fated Meteric Calendar, I think we should revamp all the holidays into a more sensible pattern:

- On the Vernal Equinox, we have a holiday celebrating birth and wonder and newness, targeted at prepubescent children, with cool pastel spring colors. (Repurposed Easter... maybe throw some St. Patrick's Day in there for spring, just clovers or leprechauns or something I guess. Maybe the leprechauns help the rabbit hide the golden eggs it lays under the clover patch at the end of the rainbow?).

- On the Summer Solstice, we have a holiday celebrating freedom, sex, alcohol, explosions, and so on, the kind of party scene favored by young adults of reproductive age, with bright vibrant primary colors. (Repurposing the actual Solstice celebrations at least how we did them in Santa Barbara, and things like Carnivale, 4th of July, beach holidays like Labor Day and Memorial Day, random drunken party holidays like Cinco de Mayo, etc).

- On the Autumnal Equinox, we have a holiday celebrating family and tradition and mutual support and generosity, targeted at mature adults past the prime of their life with families of their own now, with warm dark fall colors. (Repurposed Thanksgiving with touches of Halloween for its harvest connotations and Christmas for its family and gift-giving connotations).

- On the Winter Solstice, we have a holiday celebrating things timeless and eternal, be they secular or spiritual, in remembrance of the dead, with mostly monochromatic colors. (Repurposed bits of Halloween and other death holidays like Dia de los Muertos, religious holidays like Christmas, and general midwinter holidays like New Year's Eve).

So does your calendar start on the vernal equinox then? I always thought that would be a good time to start the year.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:17 pm UTC

No, I was thinking it would start the day after the Winter Solstice, which would make the Vernal Equinox the first holiday of the year, but a quarter of the way into it.

I am slightly keen to the idea of starting the year off on the Vernal Equinox because of how the year ends up looking like a sine wave graph of day length (with summer being the apex and winter the nadir). But unless we were to do that with times as well as dates, starting each day at mean sunrise, with midday the apex and midnight the nadir of a sine wave graph of sun height, I think it's best to keep the year starting off in midwinter the way the day starts off in midnight.

I have to admit that the start of the new year being sunrise on the vernal equinox does sound pretty awesome, though. That's a whole lot of newness all packed together into one event.
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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:33 pm UTC

Since you're suggesting this as something folks ought to pick up in real life, that means it's not actually stealing to use it in fantasy fiction, right? It'd be, like, an attempt at popularization, or something?
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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:51 pm UTC

I'm not seriously thinking that this could actually be plausibly implemented in real life from the status quo we have now, so seeing it popularized in fiction is about the best I could hope for. So please, run with it!

I've been trying to come up with a modified version of it using six seasons / holidays instead, to match an internationalized six-element system (combining the western four and the eastern five) that I came up with while writing a (still unfinished) sequel to The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra:

Image

...as in that universe the seasons as associated with elements in a cycle (earth with spring, fire with summer, air with fall, and water with winter), and I'd like to extend that to this kind of holiday/season scheme. Also, six is just a nicer number than four, nice as four is. Since the fire/summer and water/winter connotations are pretty iconic, that would require the fire-air-water half of the year run from summer to winter solstice, meaning "metal season" would end on the summer solstice, the autumnal equinox would be in the middle of the "air season", "wood season" would begin on the winter solstice, and the vernal equinox would be in the middle of the "earth season". That way earth and air keep their spring/fall associations too, and there's something appropriate about equinoxes being in the middle of something. That does pose a problem for starting the year on an equinox, though.

And I'm not sure what the themes of the holidays for those respective seasons would be. The four holiday scheme fits nicely with the stages of life. What two more would we add? Maybe adolescence for the early summer (metal) season, between childhood (spring/earth) and young adulthood (late summer/fire); and then make early winter (water) season about senility (as opposed to the middle-agedness of autumn/air, but not yet at the death of late winter/wood).

So we'd have:
Spring/earth - For children (up to their early teens).
Early summer / metal - for adolescents (late teens and twenties).
Late summer / fire - for young adults (thirties and early forties).
Autumn/air - for middle-aged adults (late forties and fifties).
Early winter / water - for seniors (sixties and on).
Late winter / wood - for the dead.

But I struggle to flesh out any more details than just what demographic it's targeting. I'd think the adolescents and young adults would both be into the same kind of sex drugs and rock and roll party holidays, while seniors are likely to be reflecting on the same sort of things eternal that are for the "dead" holiday. How to split them up further?
Last edited by Pfhorrest on Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:19 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:53 pm UTC

Sweet. = D
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: 1577: Advent

Postby Moonfish » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:25 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I've been trying to come up with a modified version of it using six seasons / holidays instead, to match an internationalized six-element system (combining the western four and the eastern five) that I came up with while writing a (still unfinished) sequel to The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra:

That is a really impressive system Pf. I really like it.
Pfhorrest wrote:How to split them up further?

One of my favorite artists on Deviant Art made a similar diagram about music.
I don't know if you can incorporate any of it but it may be worth looking at.
Image


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