Monthly Archives: August 2016

100 Amiga Games

Certainly provides a good hit of nostalgia. My favorites were the non-linear, story-heavy, point-and-click type of logic games, like Myst or Maniac Mansion, though this is a bit before that era. Deja Vu, #76 in the video, is that kind of game. I liked pretty much anything I could afford with a teen/pre-teen’s disposable income, but I gravitated towards those genres most often.

I liked this video compilation since the maker put the actual title next to the games. Most other comps put them in the description or through Youtube’s annotation system, which doesn’t always work well.

One thing these games remind me of is the annoying mechanism of taking damage just because you touch an enemy, as opposed through hit detection. 8-bit generation side-scrolling games are notorious for embracing this. I can see that being okay, maybe, in flight shoot ’em ups, or if the enemy were spiked or had some kind of curse to imply touching = pain. It never made sense to me to incur damage through mere contact and it seemed a short cut to make the game more difficult with less programming.

Looking back, I really first noticed this idea when fighting Shadow Link in Link’s Adventure. You wouldn’t incur damage just from merely touching him. He had to whack you with his sword, like normal Link does when he fights.

On earlier systems like the Amiga I can understand because of technical or memory limitations. Fortunately, I don’t notice the mechanism present as much in more recent games.

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I Don’t Want a Female President

It’s not the sex of the president necessarily that I’m wary of, since, if I voted in the first place, I’d vote for a solid libertarian lady much more readily than a normal state-loving dude. That’s possibility is not the in the cards this season, regardless. What I’m more concerned about are the aftereffects of a Clinton win, since women are more likely to vote for larger governments. Larger governments require more taxes, and since I’m the sole breadwinner in my family, that means potentially less money for my household. I don’t think I would necessarily pay directly for more taxes*—it’s much more likely that my employer will have to pay more taxes. That puts a lot of things at risk for me.

The “employer” part is important to remember for my situation, because every consumer pays taxes placed on corporations, in a corporatist economy. On paper, technically, businesses do pay taxes, but that cost always trickles down to the consumer, either through a higher price or a contracting of goods or services, ceteris paribus.

That the government will grow especially more under Clinton because of CLinton is only a remote possibility, and one that would be hard to measure. No one, especially political analysts, have a clue about how presidents will act throughout their 4-8 years in office, and in this case the opportunity of a female president acts as more of an encourager of big government rather than an actual implementer. American presidents are more figureheads than actual brokers of power like Congress.

As things are now, the government will grow as it always has the last hundred years or so no matter who the president is, because of the no-good very-bad idea of universal suffrage. Voting privileges by fee-simple land ownership is much less terrible idea, as I’ve posted about before. Giving votes to women qua women, instead of women qua land owners, was a bad idea because most traditionally women didn’t own land, so the long-term national interest was compromised by a new voting bloc with a high time preference. There’s no reason to believe poor, non-land owning voters are going to vote more “compassionately” than anyone else. They’re going to vote in their self interest just as anyone else would—see my first paragraph…I made sure to imply no pretenses towards. The poor aren’t going to vote with Rawlsian ignorance in mind any more than rich land owners would. Voting in any form of democracy is the genuine “war of all against all.”

EDIT: As I was hunting around for that research link above, re: women’s suffrage, I can across this very recent post: Reblog: Research find that as a group, only men pay tax. I’ve never heard of the blog before but if the study’s results weren’t so depressing (it’s just one study, but still…), I’d be laughing.

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Zero Cat Pictures, Please

I don’t pay attention to literary awards, so the Hugos are off my radar unless someone I listen to already sends a signal through. Hence, Jill on the 2016 Short Story winner, “Cat Pictures Please,” about a self-aware search engine that tries to help people with their problems:

See, the AI helps people by meddling in their lives. The AI is a classic do-gooder that thinks it knows what’s best for a person — you know, what the person should eat, where he should live, whether he should come out of the closet and therefore live happily ever after (in the story, the man who comes out is a pastor with a family; the AI is irrational enough to not consider the possible fallout from the man’s decision). The AI determines that it is rational for people to, say, get flu shots and go into therapy for depression. In other words, the AI is like every other well-meaning meddler.

How much do you want to bet that whatever the AI thought was rational was whatever Naomi Kritzer thought was “morally good,” as though the two were the synonymous?

At least that makes some sort of sense, compared to some high fantasy worlds, where the protagonist has the exact same morals as a 21st century American liberal, when the philosophy is nowhere to be found elsewhere in the world’s cultures.

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You Don’t Believe in the First Place

Interesting conversation between Scott Adams and Stefan, in the early minutes before they get into the politics.

I like Adams, but he’s inaccurate in the self-assessment of his childhood religious beliefs, which he describes at around the 1:20 mark. He didn’t necessarily decide to not believe. He didn’t believe in the first place because he had already decided that no non-natural force could intervene into the natural domain. A huge giveaway is Adams’ insistence that any god should find a “better way” to send a message. That may be true of some conceived gods to be subject to human’s epistemic frameworks, but the God of the Bible prefers to work however He wants.

Another inaccuracy: it’s not as though any ancient Jew—not even the writer of Jonah himself—didn’t think the Jonahic fish narrative wasn’t fantastical. People knew fish don’t normally swallow people, knew how food was digested, or knew that people need breathable air to live. The Jonahic narrative is out of the ordinary because God is out of the ordinary—infinitely so. If there weren’t a few weird events in a collection of books about God dealing in the natural domain, I’d be very suspicious.

But one very good assertion by Adams: humans operate very irrationally. Living “by reason and evidence” is impossible since we we’re not oriented to do so. Not at all. Our hardware can’t even handle the software download, much less the installation.

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Star Wars: Spot the One Rogue White Dude That Will Be Killed Off

Check the trailer below. We know that Darth Vader dies in Return of the Jedi, so he’s out. Vader’s outfit is completely black and he’s voiced by a black actor, so I’m not even sure he counts in the first place. There’s K-2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk, but he’s in dark metallic plating, and Rebel-affiliated droids are notoriously hardy.

So that leaves Galen Erso and Director Krennic. I’m going to double down and say both will be killed: Krennic because he’s the only higher-up evil white guy (but I repeat myself) that the protag, Jyn Erso, needs to defeat (usually by justified homicide), and Galen because he’s the protag’s father. If Krennic kills Galen it would supercharge Jyn’s motivation and provide a good opportunity for megafeels when she gets her revenge.

I jest in my half-satire. I’ll enjoy this as much as every other Star Wars-related movie. There’s a good cast and story, and it looks to be something grittier and more adult-oriented than past franchise installments.

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Someone Give Me a Good Phrase For This

When a prequel is made with ultra-modern filmmaking technology—CGI and the like—the visual effects are “held back” when illustrating the in-universe technology to match its look and feel. This only seems to affect prequels, not sequels or reboots, since prequels necessarily take place in the in-universe’s past.

I tried Googling some things, but I’m coming up short. There may already be a term for this but the algorithm gods have it in for me.

One of the biggest example of this phenomenon (dilemma?) is the ending of Revenge of the Sith (unable to embed it). There’s three scenes in the closing montage that have sets shown in a A New Hope, which was filmed nearly 30 years prior: the all-white interior of the Tantive IV with Bail Organa and the droids (from 0:00 to 0:14), the interior of the Venator-class Destroyer with Vader and Palpatine (1:04 to 1:37), and, to a lesser extent, the moisture farm on Tatooine with Obi-Wan passing off baby Luke to Owen and Beru (2:25 to 3:21, the very end of which is one of the greatest visuals in the prequels, in my opinion).

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Killing Mario Forever

I got an Xbox One recently, and I was reading up a little the Tomb Raider franchise, since I downloaded Rise of the Tomb Raider and was enjoying it so far. Wouldn’t you know? I guess I’m not supposed to enjoy it as much as I am because some folks finds it problematic.

Problematic*. Very problematic. I was aware of GamerGate (or #GamerGate?), but not of the extent of whatever it was that set it off or its aftershocks and sidebar movements.

One of the great horrors in life, aside from obvious things like being poisoned or stabbed through the neck, is being lectured on what I can and can’t do (or enjoy, or think), by someone I don’t even know—and by someone who knows me even less. Sarkeesian is great at giving reasons why games are problematic to some people, but she doesn’t convince me why I should give a damn. That’s probably problematic (probablymatic?) for her, because I’m going on record right here as not giving a damn.

So, what now? I don’t mean that in the “come at me, bro” context, but, logically, to what other place should an argument like Sarkeesian’s go? Short of using force, there’s not much a do-gooder can do to convince me I should rethink my enjoyment choices. Not that it matters, since preferences are subrational; aside from weighing options, we don’t “think through” things to decide what we like. We like or dislike things in a hierarchy, automatically. It just sort of ends up that way. Being more obnoxious about the results is going to persuade me in the opposite direction.

I don’t know if Sarkeesian really wants what she really wants…or at least part of what she wants. Anyone, male or female, in the affluent world right now can, by nature of how video games are, have compelete control over what their probably-male PC (player character) is doing. If Sarkeesian gets her way, she is basically letting all the nerdy neckbeards have absolute control over more females’ in-game fate. She is vying for men to have control over more female’s autonomy. I guess, if we’re talking about Lara Croft or someone similar, isn’t a bad thing for me, necessarily, since I’d get more of her Parkour-sculpted physique. I won’t complain.

* I had the link to a story, I think on Kotaku, about one of the promotional images for Rise of the Tomb Raider showed Lara Croft in a “position of power” because she was holding a gun to a male NPC (non-player character). I couldn’t re-find the link, but I honestly wouldn’t have included it because the site never stopped loading and had ads everywhere. I’m beginning to dislike putting any readers through that, especially without a warning. But I found the “position of power” observation curious. Holding a gun to someone is powerful, yes, but it’s barely an accomplishment. Any toddler with basic motor skills could do it. I’d hardly think it’s an indicator of the required competence to use it, unless toddlers have suddenly become great marksmen.

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Computers and Bikes

Just a quick personal note. I (again) had some computer issues, but they have cleared up for now. Special thanks to Advanced Communications for fixing my keyboard, and no thanks to Best Buy/Geek Squad for breaking it.

Another thank you goes to Seth W for showing me how to properly hitch my bike. I had to leave it hitched for a few days—longer than usual, and when I when to go pick it up, someone had tried to jack it. I hitch to a parking sign with a security cable, and someone had pulled it up and over the side. But I thread the cable through the front tire, so it’s basically unrideable until that’s taken off. The winner thought that taking the front wheel off would actually do something, but it doesn’t remove the cable. The front wheel’s quick release was on the ground and some parts of it were missing. That’s all I’ll have to replace. More of an annoyance than anything. Life goes on!

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Steal This Idea for a Comedy Sketch

There’s some kind of service or shop that does things in all senses of any word: literally, figuratively, and by other usages. A lot of humor, like innuendo, comes from the double meaning of some words. Instead of playing on just two meanings, the idea is to cover all of them. Exponentaially absurd!

I’m not good particulars, but here’s an example of its execution:
Someone walks into a bank and asks to “break” a $20 bill. The teller obliges and gives back two $5 and ten singles. The customer informs the teller he forgot something. The teller facepalms, apologizes, and rips the $20 bill in half. The customer leaves, telling the teller to “not forgot the other thing.” The teller nods and takes the ripped $20 bill into a backroom and places it in a chair. The teller then fiercely interrogates the $20 until it confesses that it’s a “bogus” bill—maybe the Andrew Jackson portrait can speak. The teller and the taped-up $20 are now surfing a wave together on the same board.

Like I said, I’m not good at particulars.

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