The Exigent Duality
Death of the affordable sports car - 10:52 CST, 2/20/17 (Sniper)
It's a sad day when a list like this doesn't have a single car on it that I would even remotely consider buying.

A turbocharged GT86/BRZ/FR-S would catch my interest-- but probably wouldn't clock in at less than $30k. I wouldn't touch any of the other cars on this list with a fifty foot barge pole.

I would love a power upgrade from my nearly fifteen year-old 350z. But there is a massive chasm in the US sports car market from the $35k "barely an improvement for me" 370z, and the $60k "when all is said and done" Corvette, or the similarly-priced "no manual transmission" Alfa Romeo 4C.

In fact, other than the 370z, I don't think there is any other sports car-- grand tourer or otherwise-- in the US market, within the $30-$40k price range! People have asked me why I haven't bought a new car for so long-- my answer is, "buy what, exactly?"
Pivot - 10:20 CST, 2/20/17 (Sniper)
I am officially "done" with the topic of politics. I've removed all political feeds from my news aggregator, and I'm not going to cover the topic any more on this blog.

First, the ROBCI-- "return on brain cycle investment"-- calculation has been rapidly decreasing for the past few years, to the point where I'm essentially rehashing the same ideas in my mind over and over from different vantage points, and arriving at more or less the identical conclusions no matter how I look at things. I alluded to this fact in a recent post, and I think the core of my "comprehensive summary" is essentially the end-all of political thinking for me, and indeed I think, any rational, objective person. This constant, redundant churn stresses me out, and also distracts my brain from the plethora of constructive, meaningful topics towards which it could be devoted.

Second, politics is such an extraordinarily vitriolic topic, that upon reflection I was a much happier person before I started studying it intently. While interviewing Milo Yiannopoulos recently, Bill Maher said that if he wanted to "cry myself [himself] to sleep every night", all he would have to do is "read my [his] Twitter feed". I don't think my chronic insomnia issues are solely due to following politics-- but that constant drip feed of mental poison into my brain every day can't help.

Third, political action is evil. It's the very equivalent of petitioning the school yard bully to smash the other kids' faces in so you can steal their lunch money. Why bother following the nuances of a topic, where the practical application of its subject matter is deeply unethical? And to add to the analogy, the teacher is the one who is whispering in your ear to petition the bully in the first place, because a fragmented, divided school class is easier for the teacher to control. So not only is political action immoral, but "participation" in it makes one look gullible and stupid too.

I'm going to re-devote this blog back towards my core interests: video games, football, and cars.
Collectivism - 08:30 CST, 2/18/17 (Sniper)
A reader quote to this article:

"I was not a Trump supporter initially but now after seeing how LOONY the left has become, I cut up my (D) card and jumped on the Trump train.

The Democrat party has become a COMPLETE joke. The last thing I want is to be associated with all of their stupid nonsense. The Democrat party is not the party of the working class anymore, the Democrat party has become the party of the disenfranchised freaks of society. The hold overs are either too stupid to see whats going on or freeloading lazy asses voting for more free stuff."


It's amazing to me how many card-carrying Democrats still fail to see how radicalized their political party has become. It's now the collectivist Cultural Marxist party of crazies like Theodor Adorno and Saul Alinsky. If you reject their racism, then you're a racist. Got that?

Of course, it's telling that the commenter jumped ship to the Republican party, which has been co-opted by Nationalists. And if Cultural Marxism is the 11:00 on the "collectivism" clock face, Nationalism is the 1:00. The guy merely switched from one collectivistic paradigm to another.
Two points to make - 13:24 CST, 2/17/17 (Sniper)
I listened to this exchange over lunch, and a couple of things came to mind:
  1. In just a few sentences, Molyneux completely swung me over to the Rothbardian notion of property: just like you "own" the negative consequences of your actions, so do you "own" the positive outcomes. All it took for me to "get it" was for someone to explain it in different terms, as opposed to Rothbard's "mixing of labor" language, which has never made any sense to me.

  2. Molyneux actually struggled to answer the really obvious bait question put forth by the caller: "If you steal a painting of mine and give it to your son, is it mine or your son's?" The answer: "It's yours. Until you die, at which point you relinquish ownership of it." Just because someone "steals" someone else's land-- whatever that even means-- does not mean that the descendants of the victim somehow have a moral claim to that land, fifteen generations later. That's the legal basis for why, when a codger with no heirs in the middle of the woods dies, the State actors don't hunt down the descendants of some random person who once owned that property-- rather, they hold an estate auction and sell the property off to the highest bidder, because any previous owners relinquished the claim when they either sold it, or died.
NoNote - 07:46 CST, 2/17/17 (Sniper)
There is this festering piece of software that people in my company insist on using, called "Microsoft OneNote."

It's sort of like a web browser, but it doesn't read and write HTML-- instead, it "surfs" over its own proprietary binary files, while haphazardly and totally inconsistently implementing equivalents to HTML concepts like forward/back buttons, and hyperlinks. 'Cuz there's nothing like reinventing the wheel, after all.

It's gotten so bad at my company that there is practically a parallel intranet of massive, hundreds of megabytes "OneNote" files-- monstrosities with dozens and dozens of content "tabs" and "blades"-- that sit in SharePoint document libraries, and that all link to each other. Sometimes when you click a link, it will open in the "OneNote" web client-- other times, it will insist on downloading the whole target "OneNote" file to cache on disk, and opening it in the fat client. Other times, it tells you, "This link will only work in Internet Explorer, you fat slob Chrome user!"

Oftentimes, the links will open to the correct content "page"-- but won't update the tab navigation to reflect where you "are", so you have no idea how to ever get back to that "page". Other times, the link will open the target file, but not bring you anywhere in particular.

People on the new team I just joined at work keep telling me, "Oh, that's in the docs", but then don't send me a link straight to the relevant content-- because they can't. So they pull me over to their desk so I can watch them spend fifteen minutes angrily trying to manually navigate to the thing that even they can no longer find.

Not to mention, think of how much rigor and infrastructure went and goes into forming and supporting the HTML standard, the constant security patching of web browsers like Chrome and Firefox, and so on. OneNote bypasses all of that. Just like in the case of how URL shorteners dangerously bypass DNS, these parallel webs of proprietary "OneNote" files do the same thing.

"OneNote" reminds me of one of those crazy Microsoft products from the 90s, like "Microsoft Bob", or "Frontpage"-- ideas that are not just bad fundamentally, but poorly implemented too. And I hope this "OneNote" abomination dies a similar, fiery death.
Huh - 06:09 CST, 2/17/17 (Sniper)
This Sony patent picture looks like the devices from the "Video Game High School" web series!
Talent - 18:57 CST, 2/16/17 (Sniper)
I know it's only been a few pre-season games so far, but Kevin Molino is the single most talented footballer that any of the Minnesota club iterations has had in the time I've been following professional football in the State-- so, dating back to the 2006, which was the first year that I had Thunder season tickets.

Christian Ramirez, Johan Venegas, Miguel Ibarra, and Bashkim Kadrii are probably second, third, fourth, and fifth. Note how all of these players are in the present Minnesota United team.
Systems - 17:34 CST, 2/15/17 (Sniper)
Duncan and I started watching this series today. It does such a wonderful job of explaining and illustrating the cosmic interplay-- whirling, exploding, then contracting again-- that I started to picture similar visualizations of other complex, self-regulating systems, such as free market interactions.

Concepts like this really put me into a calm state, because they let me step outside the bounds of every day stressors by framing those troubles within the proper context.
Irrationality at its finest - 18:20 CST, 2/14/17 (Sniper)
Let's say that you, dear reader, and I are playing chess. According to the game's rules, I take your rook, and you get upset by it. My response would be, "Sorry sweetheart, but taking pieces is how you play chess! If you expected something different, then maybe you should try playing a different game." My wife offered a similar analogy: "If we're playing Monopoly and I buy out all of your land, deal with it."

Let's change things up, and say that before playing, you and I both agree to a modified rule set, which states "no taking of rooks is allowed." During the game, I take your rook anyway. In that case, you are rationally justified in being upset with me, because I cheated-- I violated the game's rules. And cheating is a form of contract violation, which we already know is immoral because it can't be universalized without leading to insoluble logical contradictions.


Now, apply my hypothetical examples above to this real-world Dungeons & Dragons scenario. Or, for the busy, here is a summary of facts:
  1. Co-workers are playing AD&D. One of them creates a "chaotic evil" character.
  2. The group almost gets wiped out in a fight
  3. In total compliance with AD&D rules, "chaotic evil" character kills the rest of the party and takes the loot
  4. The rest of the co-workers are butt hurt, and start passive-aggressively shunning the guy in the workplace

Someone today was arguing to me that:
  1. The "chaotic evil" guy was a jerk
  2. The "chaotic evil" guy was "transferring hostility from the game to real life and the workplace".
  3. The "chaotic evil" guy was "taking the game too seriously"-- the co-workers were just playing "casually"
  4. The feelings of the co-workers were totally justified simply because the co-workers had them, and that the "chaotic evil" guy should apologize
  5. The co-workers' subsequent passive-aggressive behavior was justified

My counter arguments, in turn, to the someone who was arguing with me:
  1. The "chaotic evil" charactered guy was just playing the game according to the rules. If the co-workers wanted to play with a modified ruleset-- for example, "no attacking each other"-- then they needed to indicate that beforehand, just as in my chess example above. In addition, I find it rather suspicious that they didn't just interrupt him at the point he initiated the first attack-- they could have just said, "Oh, we don't attack each other in our group", to which he probably would have responded, "Oh, ok!" Rather, they were only upset after they'd lost to his rolls.

  2. The "chaotic evil" charactered guy wasn't doing this-- the co-workers were. They were the ones manifesting the game's outcome at work, not him. In fact, I find it rather disturbing that these people can't separate a game from real life; all of the times my dad beat me at chess while I was growing up, I never once took that as some sort of sign that he didn't love me. All of the times I lost to friends at Quake deathmatch wasn't an indication that they hated me. We were playing a game for Pete's sake.

  3. No, the co-workers were taking the game too seriously-- they were the ones who were upset afterwards. In psychological terms, this phenomenon is called "projection". The "chaotic evil" charactered guy was just playing according to the rules and having fun. He harbored no anger towards anyone after the game.

  4. Feelings aren't valid just because they exist. For example, if stealing your car would make me happy, you aren't obligated to honor that feeling. The co-workers were irrationally upset-- the "chaotic evil" charactered guy would only reinforce their goofy behavior by apologizing, and should not do so, rather adopting the attitude: "Their loss, not mine, if they don't want to play with me anymore".

  5. What was most interesting to me about this comment, was that the someone with whom I was arguing was being passive-aggressive during our conversation, constantly posturing as totally neutral by playing the "well, I can see both sides" card-- all while arguing only one side, and getting visibly red in the face with me for disagreeing. My response cut the implication off at the neck: "I can see both sides too-- and one side is wrong."

I also threw in for good measure that the co-workers were actually doing the guy a favor, in that now he knows that they are totally irrational, and that he shouldn't waste his time playing games with them in the future. In fact, it's a shame that he had already wasted one evening, which he can never get back.

My opponent in the argument also kept firing this off at me, with the explanation regarding its validity being that that "lots of people" had posted it. "Lots of people" used to think that the Earth was flat. Interestingly, the article explicitly instructs players to agree to the rules ahead of time-- supporting my view, not my opponent's-- while also straw-manning the "chaotic evil" charactered guy as someone who was blindly following some imaginary mandate, verus just playing the game by the rules-- which is all he was doing.

On a personal note, this is why I tend to not have many friends, and why I so intensely derive satisfaction from enjoying time to myself; in the past, when people have acted irrationally, I've confronted them and then written them off. Indeed, am I so emotionally and intellectually inadequate that I need to constantly surround myself with buffoons, just so I don't need to be alone with my mind?

It's a shame more people don't hold themselves in a high enough esteem to take a similar approach to life. In an entire world of possible friends, why not maintain connections with only the finest?
Identified, at last - 08:20 CST, 2/13/17 (Sniper)
This is an excellent article that lives up to its fun title. The short answer: yes, Trump would be an ideal villain for one of Rand's novels.

The more time that elapses, the more articles I read, and the more debates I win against Statists, the more convinced I am that I have narrowed in on the absolute reality with regards to natural rights, the State, and social constructs. I think my views could still use a little pruning along the edges-- but over the years of diligent study and careful thought, I've chopped and whittled an entire world of ideas down to the actual shoe box containing the truth. While I enjoyed the above article, what once would have been revelatory comes across as very rudimentary and basic to me now.

I used to have wavering moments of doubt-- after all, it's natural to question oneself when one is the essentially the only person in an entire stadium who completely disagrees with everyone else's world view. But, fellow Exigent Duality writer and libertarian Dude gave me this helpful token: "I've now seen libertarianism formulated in so many different ways, all of which are so highly plausible, that I have very little doubt as to its correctness-- especially when compared to the alternatives, which crumble immediately under any sort of scrutiny at all."
Where it ends - 19:29 CST, 2/12/17 (Sniper)
The end product of Cultural Marxism: "give me your property-- all of it-- or else."
Too many people - 08:15 CST, 2/12/17 (Sniper)
And here I sit at the bug out house, in a town with a population of four hundred, reading this article. I'm apparently one of the few people moving away from a large city.

I have to wonder how much of the world's population explosion-- with the consequent pollution, crime, and destruction of the sense of community-- came about because of central banking and the infinite expansion of fake capital.

Surely medical improvements played the primary role-- but I bet central banking was number two. I remember seeing a chart that showed Earth's human population-- it was flat up until 1913, then went off the top of the chart exponentially after that. 1913, of course, was the year the Fed was instituted.

I would need a break down chart per country though to correlate historical events with the population boom more accurately though.
Logical consistency - 07:36 CST, 2/07/17 (Sniper)
So, the people here are generally opposed to the Chinese State prohibiting "minors" from playing video games at certain times, yet I routinely see threads on this same forum extolling the virtues of the State using force to stop people from drinking soda, and other such silly notions. It seems like this previous post of mine, in action; namely, what is the principle via which these people determine when the State can intervene, and when it can not?

Of course, the principle is obvious: State actors are justified in acting if they are carrying out some protection of a natural right, which you have delegated to them-- otherwise, they are not only unjustified in acting, and in fact are being violent and thuggish.

I don't have the natural right to disable a teenager's internet access, which is his property, so how could I delegate that right to the State? The same applies to soda-- if I were to attack someone so I could pry their beverage out of their hands, I would quite rightly be tried in a court and convicted of assault. But if I'm a State agent, I suddenly can assault them with no negative ramifications-- from where did I obtain the authority, if not via delegation?
The witch who makes them say stupid things - 06:34 CST, 2/07/17 (Sniper)
I've never had accounts with, or otherwise supported in any way, sleazy "social media" platforms like Facebook or Twitter, in large part because Silicon Valley-stylized twerp founders are so trashy. Looks like my intuition is confirmed.

I get that these are private platforms, and that they have the natural right to do as they please with their own property so long as they aren't initiating force. But that doesn't mean I can't question their character or fabric as human beings; take for example the guy who draws and quarters animals in his front yard for fun.

If you have something to say, do what I do: run your own damned server. That way, you control one hundred percent of everything, from the style of the pages to the content. And if you want it offline for some reason, you yank the ethernet cable out of the motherboard. It's as close to "internet sovereignty" as you can get.
Yooka-Laylee! - 18:48 CST, 2/06/17 (Sniper)
This is absolutely incredible! The game has instantly gone from a "maybe some day" to a "day one"-- and for me, it'll be the Switch version that I pursue!
Paper weasels - 11:44 CST, 2/06/17 (Sniper)
This is astonishing-- it never would have occurred to me to treat a freaking game of gridiron as some kind of political event. And yet, look at all of these idiots!
  • "I hate white people having good things happen to them" (no racism here!)
  • "fuck Tom Brady, fuck White Supremacy" (?!)
  • Blaming "white supremacy" for the Patriots winning (even though probably three quarters of their team is black)
  • Equating "liberals" and their "underlying intellectual frameworks can't withstand forty five seconds of logical scutiny" with the descriptors "smart, decent, and civilized", days after they trashed their own college campus to prevent Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking (this comment from one of my favorite dipshits incidentally, further reinforcing his obvious stupidity!)
  • References to modern black people "picking cotton" (?)

All of this, because of a sporting event that has nothing to do with politics.

I very nearly can't find adjectives to describe all of this. Low IQ? Lack of character? Thin-skinnedness? Closed-mindedness?
White History Month - 07:14 CST, 2/05/17 (Sniper)
While it makes no sense to me to be proud of something that I did not accomplish, nor do the silly collectivistic abstractions of "race" or "nation"-- natural rights dictate that the only real sovereign is the individual-- have any bearing on my life, the constant bombardment of Cultural Marxist nonsense from my school days, on the internet, in popular culture, and even at my workplace are incredibly tiresome.

In the interest of balance, here is a list of accomplishments, dredged from various places on the web, that "white" people have made. As a caveat, this is just a tiny subset of "white" achievements-- I stopped here just to paint the picture. Enjoy!

  • Invented the personal computer
  • Invented most of the software that drives it
  • Invented the internet
  • Invented the ability to record music
  • Invented motion pictures
  • Invented television
  • Invented the radio
  • Invented the camera
  • Invented the telephone
  • Invented the light bulb
  • Invented the automobile
  • Invented the steam engine
  • Invented rocketry
  • Invented satellites
  • Invented spacecraft
  • Invented airplanes
  • Invented the bicycle
  • Invented skyscrapers
  • Invented the telescope
  • Invented the printing press
  • Invented eyeglasses
  • Invented contact lenses
  • Invented the microwave oven
  • Invented modern food preservatives
  • Invented the microscope
  • Invented laser technology and its myriad of uses
  • Invented nuclear energy
  • Invented wireless technology
  • Invented air conditioning devices
  • Invented refrigeration
  • Invented modern agricultural techniques
  • Responsible for most discoveries related to metallurgy
  • Responsible for almost all contributions to materials science (plastics, compounds, & most other synthetics)
  • Responsible for 95% of medical advancements
  • Responsible for 95% of life saving pharmaceutical drugs
  • Responsible for most scientific breakthroughs over the past 1000 years
  • Responsible for the bulk of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology
  • Responsible for most astronomical discoveries and mapping techniques
  • Responsible for most advancements in sea navigation
  • Discovered DNA
  • Responsible for figuring out how to harness electricity
  • Formulated and instituted modern democracy
  • Formulated and instituted modern capitalism, lifting the world out of poverty for the first time
  • Formulated and instituted the concepts of free speech, the rights of the individual and the right of freedom of association
  • Ended slavery, which existed in most of the non-white world
  • Can claim the vast bulk of the world's most famous explorers
  • Can claim many of world history's greatest military minds
  • Founded the most rich and prosperous countries in the world
  • Lifted dirt-poor third-world countries out of poverty via installation of critical infrastructure
  • Landed on the moon
  • Contributed the vast bulk of world history's greatest artists, such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Ernest Hemingway, Vincent Van Gogh, Michelangelo Buonarotti, Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, Wolfgang Mozart and Johann Bach, just to name a few
  • Contributed the vast bulk of famous philosophers, such as Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, and so on
Comprehending the incomprehensible - 11:27 CST, 2/02/17 (Sniper)
Perfectly timed article-- I was just explaining Cultural Marxism to my dad the other day. His conclusion after my lengthy exposition was, "Oh, within the context of the sickness, it kind of makes sense!"

Sort of like, if you could get inside the mind of the man in the giraffe suit who is drooling coffee all over his three-foot beard, it kind of makes sense why he has Cheetos shoved up his nostrils!
Ludicrous - 18:58 CST, 2/01/17 (Sniper)
Armed bandits take over, and all the neighbors object to is what the bandits make for breakfast.

That's how I feel whenever there is any kind of political brouhaha, like there is right now with this whole Trump immigration affair.

Instead of quibbling about what rules the bandits make, has it ever occurred to anyone to maybe object to the bandits themselves?

Whomever originally coined the expression "missing the forest for the trees" must have been as bemused of a spectator as I am. But hey, my bowl of popcorn is plenty large!
Opposite effect - 16:13 CST, 2/01/17 (Sniper)
Hah, I like how this article-- which is probably intended as a "scare"-- paints the guy in a super positive light to me; in fact, he's four out of five so far as being correct!

The only one he gets wrong is the "each State should have its own abortion laws"-- which would ordinarily be a good answer, except that this case deals with natural rights.
Great idea! - 05:37 CST, 1/31/17 (Sniper)
I didn't vote, but I wish every game developer would do this-- then I could stop wasting my time and money inadvertantly supporting their trash!

While we're at it, Hollywood actors and film producers should do the same thing. The sooner the better!

Incidentally, that forum censors big time-- every time someone posts something pro-Trump their account gets banned, even when what they said was as respectfully worded-- or usually much more so-- as any of the anti-Trump posts. Good to hear that leftist forums are in favor of diversity of opinion. One of the posters even gives it away, responding to the lack of usual echo chamber: "Oh, I forgot this is the game side [of the forum]."

Still, it's a good forum to browse once in awhile for a laugh. The comedy factor has been especially high since the election-- watching snowflakes rabidly attack each other is great! Just make sure to use ad block so you don't accidentally send any revenue their way.

On this same note, how is "Calexit" going? And I hope those celebrities that said they would leave, did.
Falling at the first hurdle - 05:29 CST, 1/31/17 (Sniper)
Oh oh, someone has a mistaken principle!

I'm actually really impressed by the job this Tucker Carlson guy does here-- this video plays out exactly like a Jan Helfeld interview. Carlson even points out that the guy is taking money by force via taxation! Kudos!

While I'm on a Socratic kick, how about this Helfeld interview, where a Statist equates "climate change" with an individual's house burning down, all the while invoking "the collective" call to action against nebulous, undefined victims? Heck, the guy can't even identify the purported threat, as Jan's questioning reveals.

It's a great example of someone who hasn't thought their world view through-- like, at all in this instance.
Slidin' on over - 12:05 CST, 1/30/17 (Sniper)
This clip shows just how far to "the left" that "The Left" has gone since the 90s.

Donald Trump was a Democrat his entire life, and he wants to do a trillion dollar Keynesian fiscal stimulus program! How much more to the left can he get?

Today's liberals = Chairman Mao or GTFO.
What's new with what's new - 08:40 CST, 1/27/17 (Sniper)
Here are updates to a couple of recent blog posts:

With regards to XCOM 2, I installed this mod to improve my characters' aim, and this one to make the mission timers configurable. This has made the game feel significantly more fair-- no more missed shots when pointing a gun at an alien's head from three feet away.

And, with regards to the "missing dog" scenario, we got her back later that day via exactly the means given with my "Ferrari thief" analogy; namely, someone found her and posted a picture on the Humane Society web site.
Looming - 17:24 CST, 1/26/17 (Sniper)
This is one of those "it's so bad that it's worse than even my most pessimistic estimates" moments. Once the collapse-- shown by the "currency reserves" chart-- accelerates, I can't even fathom how cataclysmic it will be.

And this, my friends, is one of the main reasons why I bought the bug out house.
Skeptical - 12:38 CST, 1/25/17 (Sniper)
Ghost Recon: Wildland's premise is that Bolivia is "controlled" by a drug cartel and its dreaded "hired private army." The player characters are battling the cartel to "restore balance to the country."

I am in favor of societies having balance-- where all people or factions have some power, but no one has much. So I pick no qualm with them there. And yet, I have a hard time believing that the developers would make the game's story about fighting against Bolivia's government, in order to "restore balance" in favor of the cartel.

The very fact that they refer to the group as a "cartel", and emphasize that the army is "hired" and "private" lends credence to my theory-- as if governments aren't also cartels, and as if their armies aren't also "hired" and "private." See, I don't think the game's writers care about "balance"-- they care about the State being in charge.

The only differentiation I've ever heard between a government-- whose income arrives via extorted protection money-- and a "cartel", or a mafia-- whose incomes arrive in the same way-- is the "social contract" theory, which can be trivially and completely torn apart. The terms "government" and "cartel" are distinctions without a difference.
Dogs - 11:14 CST, 1/25/17 (Sniper)
The kids didn't properly latch the gate last evening, so the dogs got out of the yard. One of them was quickly corralled and returned by local neighbors, but the other is evidently wandering around a bordering city, according to updates directed at my wife via Facebook. "I saw a small white and brown dog almost get struck by a car on such-and-such street at 21:45, at which point it turned and headed North!"

When someone steals a Ferrari, the police don't bother trying to track the thief down directly-- instead, they wait for the car to pop up on Craig's List, then run a sting operation to catch the thief when the thief tries to fence the good. I told my wife that this occasion operates in the same way-- the dog will eventually show up in a city pound, or on the Humane Society's web site. Getting it back is a game of patience.

And yet, my wife is on pins and needles levels of anxiety, because she feels guilty: "It's cold outside!" I'm having a difficult time relating, and in fact this incident barely ranks past a hang nail in terms of importance-- undoubtedly the dog found a warm place to hunker down for the night. It's also rather adoit at catching small prey. And if anything, its absence saves me money on dog food.

To pet lovers, my reaction may seem callous-- but indeed, I think it's the rational view. Despite having grown up in a city, I have rather rural sensibilities regarding animals. And indeed, rural folk know just a thing or two about animals.

Pets are beasts. They don't have natural rights. Killing an animal is as moral as trimming a hedge, or mowing a lawn. You're not committing theft by collecting honey from a bee hive, or eggs from a chicken coop. You're not guilty of manslaughter when you inevitably kill dozens or hundreds of bugs with your car each and every road trip.

Last time I was at the bug out house, I visited the family farm and was greeted by seven or eight matted and dirty cats, who nonetheless made a nice living for themselves hunting mice while burrowing into the barn's hay when the temperatures dropped.

A family member told me that last year, a couple of the cats got frostbite, at which point the family member took the pair of cats into the field and shot them, to humanely spare them the pain. This reminded me of my dad during my childhood-- he would lay out mouse traps, and when he caught a mouse, he'd drown it in the laundry tub and throw its body outside to fertilize the garden. All of this seems sensible and rational to me.

By contrast, I have a neighbor who hires a professional groomer to put bows in her poodle's fur. She walks the dog-- an action already stretching into "bizarre" territory for me-- and talks to it like a child: "Oh sweetie, that's just a squirrel!" She falsely ascribes human emotions to purely and trivially explained instinctive programming, coming from a being that is barely more intelligent than a sun flower.

Incidentally, this neighbor has no children, to my knowledge has never left major metropolitan city limits, and has only ever obtained ground beef from a grocery store. And I think it is that lack of perspective which leads to these plainly illogical views.

I'll admit that even for myself, having actual, real human children framed pets and animals in a more proper vantage. I was never silly enough to treat them like people, but raising real kids was just enough of a tether to the real world to tip pets over the spectrum fence from "companions" to "nuisances."

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the principle of "construction over destruction", which is something I drill into my kids; there is no constructive purpose to deliberately making a mess, or drawing on the furniture-- or kicking a dog. "Saving the whales" is silly-- but taking positive action to deliberately harpoon them for sport is even more silly. And that is the principle which, if universalized, would prevent actions such as mass deforestation, Bejing-levels of pollution, and poaching of endangered species-- but without the need for a cognitive dissonance-laden detour into the Twilight Zone land of "animal rights", or equally fraught notions.
Broken - 15:28 CST, 1/24/17 (Sniper)
I am officially looking at mods for XCOM 2. I love challenging games, and I've been a good sport. But XCOM 2's balancing is a total mess.

Enemies regularly one-shot my "on a roof behind full cover" soldiers, while my guys can't hit an alien in the head from three feet away. And when they do hit, the shots are constantly "grazing", or simply doing pathetic amounts of damage.

But that's ok-- I've toiled away and made plentiful use of the game's quick saving and loading, probably to the tune of two hundred times in my thirty hours playing the game so far, making the game tough, but not impossible.

Until today: I hit one of those missions with the damned timers, that force you to run head-long into the insanity, versus playing calmly and strategically. Right from the get-go, there was a Turret, an Archon, a Heavy Lancer, an Officer, and a Shield Bearer. Given the hit and damage problems I laid out above, that's probably a five or six turn encounter all-told, on an eight timer mission.

But I'm pretty good at this genre, having played it for nigh-on thirty years and having beaten some of the category's most difficult entries. So, I manage the situation pretty well for a few turns, hacking the Turret and gradually battling my way to the objective-- until reinforcements arrived. This dropped down another Captain, another Heavy Lancer, and another Advanced Solider. At that point, I had six enemies, who I can barely hit, surrounding my five guy party.

Realizing the impossibility of my predicament, I sent the team into bug out mode, making a mad dash for the objective. My first solider arrived in the target room, and guess what was behind the building: a Codex, a Heavy Lancer, and another Officer.

My very next action was to hit escape, and click on the "Quit to Desktop" option. I give up. I surrender. The aliens win.

I did some reading about this game last night, and it turns out that at the eleventh hour, they completely scrapped and re-did the game's balancing, because the developers who wrote the engine thought it was too easy. Balancing a game based on the programmer's experience is one of the core game design 101 no-no's, taught in every game design college course and presentation. And XCOM 2 is a case-in-point example of why not to do that.

My hope is that I can find some mods to reduce the enemy counts in the missions back to reasonable levels, eliminate those obnoxious timers, and make my characters' aim as good as the aliens', in some combination that feels like the game is properly balanced. My goal is for it to be difficult, but fair, which is not how the game feels in its shipped form. Right now, it plays like one of those totally amateur "let's throw a bunch of Bowsers into a room with a spring floor" Super Mario Maker levels.
A front - 12:38 CST, 1/23/17 (Sniper)
I didn't understand what this was about until I got here (bold and underline emphasis is mine):

"Equal monthly per-person dividend payments shall be made to all American households (½ payment per child under 18 years old, with a limit of 2 children per family) each month. The total value of all monthly dividend payments shall represent 100% of the net carbon fees collected per month."


This whole web site is a front! It's classical Marxism-- steal from the "rich" (companies), give to the "poor" (proletariat). That it uses the good old tautological "climate change" term is no surprise, given that the people who proliferate that term are radical leftists.

Nice try guys!
Not analogous - 11:28 CST, 1/23/17 (Sniper)
Arguing about the superiority of Emacs or Vim is like debating which is better: the hammer, or the screwdriver.

Emacs is a general purpose text editor. It renders in its own, framed window. It has unbelievable extensibility, so it's equally good for full-time note taking and programming. It's an on-steroids replacement for Notepad or Leafpad.

Vim is a terminal editor. When SSH hopping between servers, Vim is the perfect tool for rapidly editing remote configuration files, or even making quick code tweaks.

I have been using both on a daily basis for at least fifteen years. To me, there is little to no overlap in their respective use cases-- they are both indispensable, but for different reasons.

Of course, even modern-day Emacs can be run in a terminal, and there are forks of Vim which run it in a framed window. But as packaged and utilized in any popular GNU/Linux distribution, my commentary above holds true.
This site looks best in a CSS3-capable browser. Atom 1.0 feed is available