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The Ba Sing Se Times, Issue 40: 16 June

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Technical report

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48px-1025281.png From the editor
The 888th Avatar

And for only the second time this year, I present an edition of The Ba Sing Se Times for your viewing pleasure. Much lethargy impeded the publication of the 40th edition, but the stress the wiki finds itself under has finally motivated enough of us to put together some content. I'd like to thank BlackMonkey, the newest deputy editor, for his help, and the IRC channel for bemoaning the lack of a newsletter edition for months. It is hoped that our new-found energy is enough that editions are churned out on a more regular basis. (And yes, I heard your disbelieving snort.)

Lin stopping the Equalists
"That lady is my hero."
48px-3507847.png The Equalists and the French
MibuWolf

Thank youuuuuuu ToTC.

This is prolly just because I recently finished (and tanked the test of) Tale of Two Cities by my good ol' friend Charlie D, but I noticed a lot of similarities between the French Revolution and the Equalists.

The first is the most obvious. It's a revolution. The Jacques were trying to get rid of nobility, Equalists benders. Both groups felt as though they are being abused by the group with which they took issue, and are striving for equality (*coughcough*, liberty, equality, fraternity *coughcough*). Amon's energybending/chi-blocking/whatever you want to call it is kind of like the guillotine, in that it eliminates the threat of the other side. For benders, having their bending taken away is like getting their head cut off: it eliminates their source of power. Quite frankly, I'd rather have my bending taken away than my head chopped off, but they are similar. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a philosopher who philosophized some of the driving motivations behind the French Revolution, believed that natural rights (birth rights) should be eliminated to create a better society. Wealth, status, bending... It all bears many similarities to what the Equalists believe. Or, if you prefer it, the Equalists' beliefs are similar to the Revolutionaries.

The biggest example of the similarity which I see is the Equalist protestor in the very first episode, yelling about the bender oppressors. The French citizens (citizen?) were tired of the oppression of the upperclass, and the frivolous spending of the Royal Family. Background time, since I don't know how many of you are French history buffs. Shortly before the Revolution, the King spent a lot of money supporting the American Revolution because they weren't fans of Britian. Fast forward a bit. This caused the French people to become impoverished, while the wealthy were having banquets for every meal. Fast forward some more. In ToTC, Dickens describes the Monseigneur, who had four people just to feed him hot chocolate. Fast forward. Marie Antoinette is alerted that the French people don't have enough money to buy bread, and she says "let them eat cake" (she didn't actually say that). Then everything just kind of goes down hill from there. Now back to the Avatar world. Look at this from the perspective of a non-bender. Sozin, a bender, causes a war to take over the world. Benders and non-benders alike are forced into war, with bloodshed and conquering galor. People lose their homes, family members lost, etc. For a hundred years. And quite honestly, so long as the benders rule and the Avatar--master of all four elements--is the only force which can save the world, non-benders can do little other than be the plucky comic relief or unnamed Fire Nation Soldier #7. Then after the war, as Amon shows in his example of the Firebender killing his family, they still rule over. It makes sense that non-benders would be bitter, just as the French people were.

There are also similarities between Amon and Robespierre. Of course, Amon doesn't have a girly voice, soooooooooo that's a difference. However, one of Robespierre's major flaws was that he believed to firmly in his cause. His belief that the bougie (as Ke$ha might state) were evil was so ground in his beliefs that he became maddened and paranoid--literally ready to kill anyone who got in his way. Amon hasn't gone nuts yet, but he is similar in his beliefs of equality (at least from what we've seen so far). Which leads straight into my theory... Could Amon go crazy? And would that bring the revolution to turn on him? We shall have to see whether or not voice pitch is the biggest difference between Amon and Maximilien Marie Isidore de Robespierre.

48px-1665753.png Jennamite
Harpalyce

How Jennamite Changes Everything, aka Harp Please Stop Overthinking Things

Brace yourselves for some heavy-duty theorycrafting here, but... let's take a moment and look at jennamite.

You know, that stuff King Bumi traps Katara and Sokka in to test Aang. That stuff that Bumi also eats at the end of the episode. It's revealed that jennamite, although a potentially deadly prison, is... rock candy.

The first thing that bothers me is how jennamite grows in spurts. I understand that this was likely to give the audience (and the animators) an easier time, since crystal formation is a slow and gradual process. So I'm going to handwave and go with the theory that Bumi was in fact accelerating jennamite's growth. This way we get to neatly avoid any complications of Bumi eating jennamite, because I imagine having something growing that quickly in your digestive tract could get nasty fairly quickly.

Now on to the interesting stuff.

Rock candy is pretty simple. It's not anything complicated or special. It's just sugar where all the molecules are lined up in neat little patterns to become a crystal. After all, that's all a crystal is - a bunch of molecules getting neat and orderly so that they form a relatively hard substance. You can even make rock candy yourself at home fairly easily by using a string, a cup of very sugary water, and some patience. Things like sugar and salt 'like' to be in crystals when they're dry anyway, and if you look at them underneath a microscope, you can see that what we think of as grains are actually tiny crystals.

Sugar itself is even simpler. It's just two circles of carbon hooked together with hydrogen and oxygen sticking off here and there. You can even break what we think of as table sugar - sucrose - down again; one of those circles is glucose, and the other is fructose. So when we say King Bumi can bend rock sugar at will, we're saying that he can bend crystalized sucrose.

Why is this such a big stinking deal? Well, sucrose is nothing more than a pile of carbons, oxygens and hydrogens. That's about as basic an organic molecule as you can get. And when I say organic, I mean based on carbon. You might have heard an alien sneering at a human in some sci-fi movie about how we're "carbon-based lifeforms" - it's true! Carbon is the building block of life on this planet, mostly due to its ability to have things so readily stuck onto it.

Now, this is coming from a person who carefully managed her degree to avoid Organic Chemistry and generally detests Chemistry as a subject (much prefering sloppy makeouts with her beloved Biology and one-night-stands with that hottie Literary Criticism), so believe me when I say this is a big enough deal that it even bothers ME. If we say that Bumi can bend sucrose crystals, that means virtually any carbon-based substance becomes fair game!

That means trees are definitely bendable. After all, cellulose is just a polysaccharide - in other words, if you think of that ring of carbon that makes up glucose as being one link in a chain, sucrose is a chain with two links, and cellulose is a LONG chain of many, many rings. Bumi could wander into a bakery and cause chaos by bending all of the starch in the baked goods (starch is also a polysaccharide), or he could squash bugs by bending their exoskeletons made of chitin (which is - again - polysaccharide!). These things are all over the place!

And if he can bend these links of glucose, then perhaps other, larger things are fair game, too. I think everyone knows that there's a lot of water in the human body - after all, that's how bloodbending works. But if Bumi's able to bend carbon structures, that means pretty much the rest of the human body is fair game. The whole natural world is fair game! And that's an awful lot of chaos to be had!

Now, what does this actually mean in canon?

...Bubkes. Zilch. Nada. Common sense tells us that the creators are working with a different set of definitions, and probably something a bit more esoteric than the organic chemistry nitty-gritty. And Bumi's eating the jennamite is a great joke to show us just how wonderfully insane the guy is.

However, just because it doesn't mean anything in canon doesn't mean we still can't use it. That's the strength of fan works, after all! So hopefully after reading this, wheels in your head are turning about how you can use this in your stories. Happy writing!

48px-4085660.png The wiki's emptiness
BlueDagger

I joined this wiki almost a year ago, on June 21, 2011. Back then, it was a lively place. There were tons of users, IRC was almost always chatty, and this wiki was a great place to be. It carried on that way for quite a bit.

Sometime in 2012, though, things changed. Users left. IRC became dead more often than not. The wiki started to empty.

Korra came, eventually. But it seems like nothing's changed. New users have come to replace the old, but it just doesn't feel the same. Community events never happen, IRC is still almost always dead. It saddens me.

When I look on the Recent Changes, almost all I see are comments from anonymous users and the occasional few edits, always from the same people. This wasn't how it was. This wiki used to be such a lively, community-driven place, but nowadays it seems like an empty shell of its former glory to me.

I dunno, maybe I'm just reminiscing about the "good ol' days" here. Maybe I'm just experiencing the loss of having so many good people I loved so much be gone from the wiki. But this wiki wasn't like this a year ago. A year a go we were a community, now we're basically nothing more than a collection of articles edited by a few people. I realize that, in essence, that's all a wiki is, but it just feels wrong.

So come on, people. Make a blog, get on IRC, send some messages to people, make some friends. With some effort, we can return to the community we once were.

I suppose getting this Ba Sing Se Times out is the first step.

48px-4777191.png Coding Companions
MateyY

Have you ever had a *headbang* moment after you have been working on your code, and you get a bunch of senseless words and numbers? Do you want to take that hour you work on HTML, CSS, and Wiki code off? Then the Coding Companions are your best friends! We’ll do all the long work for you — from tutorials on templates and signatures to coding entire pages. So instead of spending hour after hour doing things that just don’t make sense… sign up for a spot with us today!

from the fanon portal
48px-3565124.png From the deputy editor
BlackMonkey

Hello folks, this is BM speaking. Does anyone remember back a little less than a year ago, when the Ba Sing Se Times was still active and every issue Rass, who was still a fanon admin, gave a full update and article concerning everything that was going on in the fanon portal at the moment? As part of my movement to bring back the Ba Sing Se Times to its former glory, I wish to revive this feature that Rass once had and I remember as a younger user loving to read. So here we go, fasten your seatbelts.

First up is the possibility of a Fanon Awards ceremony this August, with a new system proposed by our very own AvatarRokusGhost. Here is the forum for it, if you haven't read it, please do. In short, the proposal is for having biannual Fanon Award ceremonies, and each one having their own new elected Fanon Awards Council, instead of the same semi-inactive one made of former fanon admins every time. I am personally is support, but if you have any questions about it or are thinking about being in the council, drop a message in the forum.

Another very important system Rassilon of Old left for us was the his new fanon advertising project. It was new, I guess, when it came out back last Summer. I wish to recreate Fanon Advertising, maybe not exactly how Rass had it, and it will run hand-in-hand with the Ba Sing Se Times. My idea for Fanon Advertising, in short, is that every two weeks, in between each issue of the Ba Sing Se Times, there will be a specific Fanon Promotion that will be advertised throughout the wiki, in the BSST beforehand, on the fanon portal main page, I'll probably stick an add out there on the FRS page. Basically every two weeks there will be a specific fanon to be super-advertised across the wiki - and there's an incentive to read it. If you write up anything of any length about the fanon (review, favorite chapter, best character) and send it in, you'll be put in a drawing for a userbox, recognition in the Ba Sing Se Times, and your name on the Fanon Advertising central page forever. I am also planning to have a place at the bottom of the advertising main page where any users can stick permanent advertisements that will look like the very first Fanon Advertising system, at least, in my time, if anyone remembers that. What do you guys think? Next week I'll probably put the idea in a forum for more discussion and hope to have it implemented by the next issue.

Another quick thing, if anyone wants a favorite story or chapter to easily snag a Featured Fanon or Featured Article title, now is your time. We currently have one vote for a story going for Featured Fanon and no votes for any Featured Article, so now's your time when the system is very inactive. Please help out and give a vote or nomination. Here is the page to do so.

That's really all I've got to say. Fans of Rhythm, the one or two or zero of you out there, Avatar Mikio should be out by next week (which is what I always say but I mean it this time). After that, the last ten chapters of the story really pick up the pace, and I'll probably make chapters quicker because I'll want to see what happens too. Expect love wars, what the "Avatar Rhythm" actually is, The Chancellor reappearing and the best Shirou vs. Hotaru showdown of all time, to name a few.

48px-4068251.png Fanon review
Mageddon725

Hey there, Mageddon725 here, reviewing Avatar: Legend of Kaito by AvatarBearcat on behalf of both the Fanon Review Squad and the BSST.

It has been fifty years since the death of Avatar Korra. In her youth, she quelled the Equalist’s attempts to start an Anti-Bending revolution by defeating Amon in combat and for the remainder of her life, there was peace in the world. The United Republic of Nations and its thriving capital Republic City was restored by Korra to the utopia Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko had intended and for many decades the newest nation continued to flourish and progress technologically. A long time after the Avatar's death, however, a new Avatar was never found or possibly never was born. The absence of an Avatar was proven extremely detrimental to the world as peace eventually faded and war began again. The non-benders rely on technology to even the odds and most benders have become corrupt from the power and years of hate. The evolution of bending from classical to modern forms has left few true Masters left in the world. As non-benders look to science for answers and equality, the benders are worried they may have been shunned by the spirits... permanently.

This fanon focuses on the Fire Avatar after Korra, Kaito, and is influenced heavily by Hayao Miyazaki’s anime film, Princess Mononoke. AvatarBearcat has crafted an ingenious story, filled with beautiful description and imagery and interesting characters.

Scores:

Story – 9.3: To move so far from established canon in the futuristic (time-wise, not tech) direction has not been done to my knowledge, and Kaito’s tale is one of the more interesting one’s that I’ve read.

Action – 9.0: The action, much like the scenery, is very well-described, and within that realm I could find no fault. However, I would suggest that there be a bit more of it.

Writing – 8.9: The writing is pretty clean and trimmed, but I felt like dialogue was lacking quite a bit, overshadowed by the action and description.

Creativity – 9.5: Though it takes influence from an outside source, AvatarBearcat has made it his own and built a world that just spills over with his creativity.

Believability – 9.0: I often find trouble spots with this area, but I found most of it to be believable.

Character Development – 8.5: I like the characters in Legend of Kaito, but the lack of dialogue, in my opinion, prohibits adequate growth.

Average Score: 9.0

Note: All scores are out of ten

Advice for AvatarBearcat: More dialogue, you already have the setting and action (mostly) nailed. Just create believable dialogue now.

Who should read Avatar: Legend of Kaito? Any fan of Princess Mononoke and Avatar both should take a look at this piece of awesome.

48px-4357864.png Fanon review
Omashu Rocks

OR here to review As We Fall by Necterine411.

Author's Plot: The world was forever impacted the night of Sozin's attack. While the Air Nomad's loss was clearest, the other four nations were impacted as well. If the Air Nomad Genocide was a stone thrown in a pond, this is the story of the ripples that spread. This is the story of eight characters, two from each nation, as they fall. This story follows the lives of people in each nation during and after Sozin's attack on the Air Nomads. Via and Wei, both 12 year old Air Nomads, struggle to survive and hide from the Fire Nation while still dealing with the loss of their culture. Kaori, a 16 year old Northern Water Tribe lady, is in love with Aiko, the Chief's son; but one secret could keep them apart. Emi, a 15 year old Earth Nation citizen, deals with the Fire Nation's growing presence in the Earth Kingdom. Zeno, an 18 year old Fire Nation soldier, finds hiself doubting the Fire Nation for the first time.

SCORES:
Plot/Storyline: I really like the whole idea of how the events during Sozin's Comet (0 ASC) created several ripples across the entire world. 9.2
Organization: One thing that confused me here, that I'm sure the author thought through, is that the first person narrative is used for multiple character. Still, the story flows from to nation nicely. 9.0
Creativity: I haven't read another fanon with the exact same concept, but there are several about the fall of the Airbenders and the beginning of the war. I suggest adding a huge villain, weapon, etc. to really shake things up. 9.0
Action: The author should include, if not more action, then more exciting action. Fight scenes can occasionally be a bit dull. Try to add lots of cool moves, emotions, and sometimes, excruciating pain. 8.7
Interest Level: I would sometimes have trouble getting into a chapter. Perhaps I'm not exactly a poetry guy. 8.2
Character Development: Readers will enjoy the relationships between two main characters of each nation, namely the forbidden romance between Kaori and Aiko. I would encourage just a bit more emotion and more distinct personalities among the characters. 9.2
Believability: I can imagine the general idea of most events occurring. Some details are occasionally questionable. 9.2
General Writing: There is a nice poetic feel for anyone who is interested in that, but there were several run-off sentences. As a noted earlier, the first-person narrative for more than one character struck me as odd. 8.9

AVERAGE SCORE: 8.9
NOTE: All Scores Are Out Of Ten

What Necterine Does Right: Certainly, if you like poetry and stories about the beginning of the war, you should check this fanon out. You should try it especially if you want to read about Airbenders fleeing death.

What Necterine Could Improve On: It's a bit too late to fix the first-person issue, but there are other ways to improve so don't worry. Try more thrilling and action-packed fight scenes. With those and some more emotion you could improve the story ten-fold.

48px-4298791.png Fanon advertisement
Zuko42899

The Lifebenders is an upcoming fanon by legendary fanon writer BlackMonkey, and myself. It is set hundreds of years before Avatar:The Last Airbender, during the times of Avatar Yangchen, and follows the story of an earthbending prodigy named Toka, who although only a child, is a master, and possibly the best earthbender in the entire land. Everything is all set up for him to teach Avatar Yangchen to earthbend, Unfortunately, he is very arrogant, and loves to talk about his achievements. He brags and boasts about all of his accomplishments, and claims himself better than everyone else. This upsets his assistant, Lee, who schedules all of his appointments, and does anything needed for Toka. So Lee decides he is going to teach Toka a permanant lesson, and tricks a man to duel Toka. While Toka is distracted by his duel, Lee sees it to his advantage, and decides to destroy Toka's bending. He uses earthbending to destroy Toka's legs, and therefore his earthbending, and his pride.

Now, Toka has to adapt to his handicap life, and teach Avatar Yangchen earthbending, that is if he can ever bend again. Meanwhile, a secret society named "The Lifebenders" keeps trying to attack Avatar Yangchen, and keeps contacting Toka, asking him to become one of them. Will he join The Lifebenders? Find out in early July, by reading The Lifebenders.

"Lee you monster, ho-how could you?" Toka asked.

Lee got up from the chair he was sitting in, which was situated near Toka's bed.Lee started to walk away.

"I did what I had to do to teach you a lesson."Lee muttered as he looked back at Toka.

Toka attempted to pick up the chair that was next to him, but it was to heavy for him in this condition, so he grabbed the green vase, full of flowers, that Avatar Yangchen had sent him. He threw it with all the energy he had, hurduling it at Lee.

Lee took a stance, but it was to late. The vase smashed into Lee's head,causing it to bleed.

~~~~

"Toka, will you join us." whispered the mysterious man.

"I do-don't, I don't know." Toka replied.

General Iroh
The Ba Sing Se Times needs YOU.
Have a great Avatar or Avatar Wiki joke?
An interesting opinion about the wiki?
A fanfic that desperately needs readers?
A review of a fanfic you'd like to publish?
Just write a column,
and send it in to the editor.

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