The Exigent Duality
Excellence - 18:45 CST, 1/16/17 (Sniper)
I'm trying to figure out which trailer is better. This one...



Or this one, from almost exactly a decade later...



And for those who are curious, I did indeed reserve a Switch, via Target's web site.

I was so underwhelmed by the Switch presentation-- paid online, emphasis on waggle gimmicks, no Monster Hunter, no Madden, and so on-- that I had actually decided not to pre-order. Until I saw that "Breath of the Wild" trailer at the very end... that, nearly all by itself, threw me back over the fence into the pre-order camp.

It's funny too, because I'm not actually much of a fan of the Zelda games; to me, they're like super tropey wannabe RPGs, with all of the RPG mechanics ripped out-- almost like Bethesda's modern games. They feel shallow and incomplete.

But "Breath of the Wild" is not a Zelda game. The stupid button prompt trope is gone, replaced with full voice acting; the game deals with mature concepts and emotions-- I've scarcely been so gripped by anything as I was with Zelda, crying, falling into Link's arms; and the gameplay is full open-world, with an actual inventory and equipment slots...

And once I'd been tossed back over the fence, I realized: this thing has a ton of games that I want. Here is my wish-list, sorted by priority and then release date-- and this is only officially announced games, who knows what else is in the works:
  1. Breath of the Wild
  2. Disgaea 5 Complete
  3. Sonic Mania
  4. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
  5. Super Mario Odyssey
  6. Dragon Quest XI
  7. Super Bomberman R
  8. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  9. Arms
  10. Splatoon 2
  11. Elder Scrolls V
  12. Monster Boy
  13. Ultra Street Fighter II
No attachment - 14:51 CST, 1/11/17 (Sniper)
In observing people on forums reaching a sort of alien-to-me fever pitch of anticipation for tomorrow's Nintendo Switch presentation, I wonder if I would be more satisfied with the games industry today if very nearly all of the games and companies I loved as a kid weren't dead?

Let's flip reality, and say that rather than the Switch being made for life-long Nintendo fans, it was:
  • Made by 3DO, which had indeed become the gaming standard post-1993
  • Featured modernized, high-definition takes on Gex, BattleSport, Road Rash, and Star Control 2, all in the exact same spirit as the originals
  • Had a massive, mash-up platform combat game called Super Sega Bros., which contained nothing but Genesis-era fan service, and playable characters such as Rolf from Phantasy Star 2
  • Featured as its centerpiece a tremendous-looking, open world take on Sword of Vermillion, using all of the motifs and styling cues from that game

It's conceivable to me that this alternate dimension might see me as excited as these forum dwellers are in reality, because it would tug at me on an emotional level, in what is-- like any luxury endeavor-- an emotions-based hobby.

Indeed, I have absolutely zero emotional attachment to Nintendo, their characters, or any of their platforms, having only very infrequently-- and never as a child-- owned any of their hardware.

Even most non-Nintendo fans have something of emotional value vested in the present industry; Sony and Microsoft have been around for the entire lives many of today's gamers! Unified Windows Platform and the PlayStation ecosystems are alive and well, along with many of those two systems' iconic games series.

For me, it's a scorched Earth scenario; Atari, Sega and 3DO are dead and buried, either for all intents, or literally. Only a scant few games on my favorites-of-all-time list still exist in any form, and even those have seen or are seeing tiny budgets and attention or care paid-- the awful looking new Toejam & Earl title comes to mind.

But then again, the couple of exceptions-- Doom 2016, and the soon-to-come Sonic Mania-- don't exactly pull at my heart strings either. And maybe that would be the across-the-board case in my parallel universe hypothetical?
Demolition - 05:38 CST, 1/11/17 (Sniper)
This is a perfectly rational article, but it fails to bring up the entire intellectual foundation for the argument "there would be no roads"-- the framework for that notion is called the "public goods theory".

Unfortunately for the hopeful Statists, the theory is hogwash. Just to name one critic who has pointed out the obvious, fatal problems with the theory, Walter Block totally eviscerates it here.
Winter wonderland - 17:02 CST, 1/10/17 (Sniper)
I am not a skittish or unsure driver by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I was reckless as a teenager and into my very early twenties-- a recklessness which experience bronzed into a sort of smart assuredness. I am, in my opinion, a skillful road driver, learned from mistakes past, and with a glowing safety and disciplinary record for the past eleven or twelve years as evidence towards such.

I say all of this only to provide proper framing for this story:

Minnesota got a mild winter storm today, enough to merely cause a routine mixture of school cancellations and snow plow runs. I'd planned to drive my 350z to the bug out house, and by late afternoon the roads were well plowed-- sufficiently clear enough to not deter me from my plan.

My Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60s are into their eigth winter, and have a couple of slow leaks. This might sound like a prohibition against travel, but I've put so few miles on the car-- twenty thousand in eight years, with well less than half of those on the Blizzaks-- that these tires have abundant tread remaining. In fact, my ample and altogether enjoyable experiences in this car, on these tires, and in snowy weather, over the course of nearly a decade, made me quite confident as to the inevitable fruitfulness of my trip. And indeed, the first portion of my journey went so smoothly as to assuage any niggling doubts I held with regards to the sagacity of my arrangements.

Dozens of miles outside of the city limits, and with traffic beginning to thin, I felt-- with curious suddenness-- a bit of movement from the back tires. This was to prove mere foreshadowing, as not long after I very nearly lost total control of the car! My surprise was palpable-- I was driving in a straight line, on even terrain, with very little throttle application, on a road that did not appear to be particularly slick. The conditions did not seem sufficient to bring about such an episode.

Alarmed, I cautiously diverted the car into the right lane-- I had been executing a gradual passing maneuver at the point of the alarming loss of grip-- and began to notice even more movement from the back end. Before I could register it with certainty, the car entered into a period of such sustained and incredible instability, I can only credit my limited motorsports, and quite extensive video game, experience for having avoid the ditch!

I proceeded to bleed off speed, and it wasn't until I reached a tepid thirty five miles per hour-- on a seventy miles per hour road-- that the car communicated to me any sense of security at all. A white knuckled progression to the very next township, whereupon I steered the car back in the direction I'd just come-- towards home-- did not bring an end to my stress. Indeed, the car had become almost utterly undrivable, with any slight undulation or bend in the road causing extreme losses in grip, and equally extensive duress to my by-then fragile confidence on completing my journey without a serious mishap.

Seemingly I was the only one in such straits, with all-wheel drive SUVs, rear-wheel drive pickup trucks, front-wheel drive econoboxes, and massive eighteen-wheeled behemoths cruising past me at speeds up to eighty miles per hour, where I could only reach perhaps fifty miles per hour without near-total losses in straight-line stability. This only added to my consternation, as car after car executed high-speed passing maneuvers inches past my driver's side door, causing wrinkles in the high levels of concentration my situation demanded! At one point, things were so dire that I entertained the very real possibility of having to ditch the car on the shoulder, and have it towed the remainder of the distance.

But, I reasoned that at a slow enough pace, I could keep the car pointed in a homeward direction. And after what seemed an eternity, my judgement was vindicated, as I arrived at the safety of my garage, whereupon I parked the car, and made a resolution: I will never, ever attempt to drive my 350z for extended distances on wintery highways again. It's astonishing that it took me eight years of winter driving in the car to attempt such a feat-- but now I have, and now I know the outcome!
Will it ever end - 07:01 CST, 1/09/17 (Sniper)
I always laugh when I read articles like this one. "Impress your friends" with the "sexiest smart phone yet!"

I haven't known a single person for years that's impressed with an iPhone or clone-- they all look nearly identical, they all have cameras, and they all have touch screens. If you've seen the original iPhone, you've seen them all. It's no mystery to me why Apple's sales are flagging. And I'm a technologist, who works with technologists-- we're the kind of people who typically get excited by gadgets.

The fact is, I've absolutely hated Apple's products, dating back to the Apple IIs that my elementary school replaced all of their Commodore 64s with in the mid-to-late 80s.

Apple products have always been defined by form over substance: a mouse with one button; floppy and CD-ROM drives with no physical eject buttons; cases that look like Fisher Price toys, or plants. Thank the universe, Apple's designs never caught on. Apple were a niche player, catering to hipsterville idiots. Personal computers and gadgets kept going on their own evolutionary paths, totally independent from the inane machinations emerging from Cupertino. Apple products were something I could merely laugh at, from a safe distance.

And then the iPhone came out.

I had a work dinner the day after they released, and the social justice warrior "educator" woman next to me had one. She handed it to me, "hey, check this out!" I held it, "swiped" around the user interface, and immediately had the exact same reaction that I had to every other Apple product: "who in their right mind would buy something like this." Yuck. I reflexively reached for the Nokia N-Gage in my pocket, with its physical buttons and dpad and conventional, menu-driven interface: "thank goodness, it's still there!"

But to my absolute horror, it wouldn't be there for long: for the first time since the advent of the user interface in the 80s, companies copied Apple, essentially wiping the smart phone off the map as an entire segment of personal electronics that were interesting to me. I was in love with the prospect of powerful, handheld computing during the physical keyboard Palm Pilot and Symbian days-- but that entire evolutionary branch was totally terminated, wholely replaced with absurd Apple's hipster "chic". Apple was now in my back yard-- and I couldn't get them off my lawn.

Even the birth of the Linux-based Android-- like a silver lining for a dirty toilet bowl-- couldn't save the smart phone for me. Since that fateful dinner all of those years ago, I've owned and even professionally developed on a Google Nexus One and HTC One M8, the latter of which has been my phone for the past few years. I've tried hard to make them "mine"-- things I could identify with-- by installing on them SSH clients, terminal emulators, and IDEs.

But both of those "devices"-- as phones have bizarrely been referred to since the plague of the iPhone-- are nothing more than expensive alarm clocks; I use them to wake me up in the morning, and basically nothing else. I have zero passion for them, and I could accidentally drop my phone into a lake tomorrow and not miss it.

Fast forward to the year 2017, where there are articles like the above telling me to get excited for the iPhone 58 or its countless clones, and all I can do is sigh. Like is the case for so many things over the past fifteen or twenty years, the world is stuck on endless repeat, in this case hitched on the idea of the "slate" phone. I can only hope that some day will bring the fall of designers as the dominant force in computing, and a renaissance for the dominance of engineers.
Pick one - 14:41 CST, 1/07/17 (Sniper)
By contrast to leftists, people on the right have:
  • Better impulse control and a lesser liklihood to engage in criminal behavior (Source)
  • Perceive events through a more nuanced and sophisticated moralistic perspective (Source)
  • Tend towards firm definitions of right and wrong, versus subjective "moral relativism" (Source)
  • Are more conscientous, organized, thrifty, and stable (Source)
  • Tend to view and act on situations rationally, versus lefties who do so with emotion (Source)

The question then becomes, who would you rather have in charge during a critical situation: someone who is steady, consistent, rational, can view events from many angles, and knows right from wrong? Or someone who is impulsive, disorganized, unstable, determines "right and wrong" to be whatever is convenient in the moment, and acts via emotional compulsion?

I should add an important disclaimer: it is absolutely crucial that the world have emotional people who view the "care / harm" moral foundation in exclusion from all others. But as thankful as I am every day that such people exist, I want people who are clear and level-headed holding the inevitable leadership roles.
Whew - 05:36 CST, 1/07/17 (Sniper)
Thank goodness we don't have anarchy-- can you imagine all of the bomb throwing that would go on, absent the State?
Worst American President of all time? - 10:24 CST, 1/06/17 (Sniper)
The final verdict is in-- kudos to Obozo and his Insane Clown Posse of Cultural Marxists for bringing the world's largest economy to its knees, in a scant eight years.

In fact, Obozo actually managed to be even worse than the extraordinarily low expectations I had for him the day after he was elected in 2008. The rest of the world hates America more than ever before, and I also didn't anticipate that he would ignite and deliberately fan racial hatred within the country! It takes some real talent to be less-than-a-zero, but Obozo did it. Great job to him!
Oh my, the company you keep - 05:47 CST, 1/06/17 (Sniper)
It's... interesting... how Trump is surrounding himself almost exclusively with Wall Street fat cats and Washington insiders. Maybe he was a plant after all?

For example, I just found out today that James Woolsey was in some kind of advisory role with Trump.

The impish and childlike Woolsey is so unbelievably slimy that Jan Helfeld actually used excerpts from an interview as part of a documentary on the tactics weasley people use to get out of answering questions. You can see two such excerpts here and here.
Protectionism - 07:52 CST, 1/05/17 (Sniper)
I wonder if I'll wind up being wrong about protectionism?

My take has always been that doing business in a given country is a simple return-on-investment calculation; if the State's taxes or immoral regulatory laws are too high or burdensome respectively, then entrepreneurs will simply go elsewhere. Slapping tariffs on imports doesn't magically cause entrepreneurs to manufacture like objects in the draconian country-- instead, it merely means that people won't have access to those objects either at all, or will but at a high price.

This view seems deductively obvious to me, and there is real-world evidence to support it.

For example, the Brazillian State put massive tariffs in place for electronic goods, to the point where it cost something like the equivalent of 800 or 1000 USD to import a contemporary video game system. Meanwhile, the State also had laws that made it prohibitively expensive for Sony or Microsoft to manufacture there-- and Nintendo pulled out of the market altogether. What wound up happening was that Brazillians instead bought, over the course of years, millions of licensed, third-party, "made in Brazil" Sega Master Systems-- yes, a console from 1987-- because that was the only game platform they could afford.

On the flip side though, Trump seems to be making headways, one company at a time, with the mere threat of tariffs. And unlike my Brazillian example above, companies are in fact deciding to manufacture in the United States. Additionally, I was reading about the history of tariffs, and during the 1880s in the United States-- perhaps the greatest period of economic growth anywhere in the world, ever-- there were massive tariffs in place, to the tune of 44%! Incidentally, my favorite US President-- Grover Cleveland-- was fighting to drastically reduce the tariffs, but was struggling to get it done.

There is a caveat though: the US was a borderline anarchist country throughout the 19th century, so perhaps economic growth would have been even better in the 19th century, sans the tariffs? That's what makes the pseudo-science of economics difficult to fully analyze.
Sea of Thieves - 12:19 CST, 1/02/17 (Sniper)
This is one modern game that I'm genuinely excited for. It has an authentic aesthetic, sounds like it has memorable music, and it's a super novel idea with technical details that simply couldn't be done on computers in the past.

I just hope it's solo-able; I'm a lone wolf both in real life and in video games.

Besides that, even if I had friends who also happen to have powerful Windows 10-based computers and who also happen to be interested in this specific game, it's impossible for me to be able to commit to multiplayer sessions with two young kids in the house; by the time the party is formed, my window of opportunity is already gone (and I'm speaking from experience here).
Logical - 19:15 CST, 1/01/17 (Sniper)
Putin is an interesting guy. On the one hand, he is the primary actor responsible for all of the moral crimes committed by the Russian State, in the same way that all leaders of such institutions are culpable.

On the other hand, there is a consistent intellectual framework that seems to underpin his reasoning every time I hear him speak. He's one guy with whom I wouldn't mind sitting down to a beer-- or vodka, rather!

In this specific video, he not only identifies Cultural Marxism for what it is, but extrapolates its conclusions and then connects Western politicians to it. That demonstrates some clarity of vision.
E3 1998 - 09:11 CST, 12/31/16 (Sniper)
This reminds me of my "doldrums" post. One of the comments on the corresponding NeoGAF thread sums it up perfectly:

"But yeah, 1998 was an insane year. RE2, Banjo-Kazooie, Zelda OoT, MGS, Gran Turismo, Crash 3, Spyro, Fallout 2, Half-Life, FF Tactics, Pokemon R/B, Xenogears, Suikoden II, Starcraft, Baldur's Gate and on and on and on. At least three of my favourite games of all time came out that year."

19 years later, and 2017's video game industry is still endlessly recycling the ideas from those games. No wonder so many people don't find the hobby very satisfying anymore.
My clone - 07:45 CST, 12/31/16 (Sniper)
It's funny watching my three year old son use computers. He got the Wii U edition of Minecraft for Christmas, but gave up on it when I explained to him that we can't plug the mouse and keyboard (for which he has nearly adult-level coordination) into the system; he was finding dual analog sticks to be really frustrating.

And right now as I type this, he's practically pulling his hair out trying to use a tablet touch screen. "Papa, can't I just use a mouse for this?"

He's my carbon copy!
This is the proof? - 07:06 CST, 12/30/16 (Sniper)
So let me get this straight: "Russians" sent a few "click here to view pr0n!" email messages, and that's what caused 66 million people to vote for Donald Trump?

Oh, except (bold emphasis is mine), "...the report doesn't directly attribute the attacks to Russia or any other countries, but does note technical indicators point to Russia."

Uh, "technical indicators" show that I live in Thailand, because I use a VPN service. So what?

And of course, the punchline via the only reader comment to the article so far: "If every nation were to kick us out for hacking -- our diplomats would be taking the next flight home by the hundreds!"

The article author points to this statement and the executive order ("I, King Obozo, hereby decree...") as resources for more details, but both of them are vacuous nonsense, with very little actual substance.

I've never seen a group of people in such an echo chamber in my life-- lefties are literally unable to come to grips with the fact that they were legitimately rejected. So they are grasping for any straws (or "adult coloring books") that they can find, no matter how silly it makes them look.
Explanation - 06:59 CST, 12/28/16 (Sniper)
I wonder if part of the reason games used to be so much better was because there was a barrier to entry-- only serious people need apply.

I'm a professional software developer, and I couldn't make heads or tails of the Atari 7800 "Joust" source code. Whereas these days, even "designers with little-to-no engineering experience" can build games. Yipee.

So, games designed for the love of it by a small subset of elite, hardcore engineers in the 70s through the mid-90s writing assembler and C, versus games today designed by marketers to make a quick buck with drag and drop GUIs. And just like anything that gets "democratized", with its reverse Midas touch, gaming turned to shit.
Your wish is my command - 09:47 CST, 12/27/16 (Sniper)
I'm planning to get my kids into robotics in the next year or so.

I'm not sure how interested my daughter will be, but I think my three year old son will really get into it. He's close to being able to read, and draws/paints pictures plus plays music at probably a second grade level-- so I think he's smart enough to learn some very basic programming.

It would also be a smart career move for me. Additionally, I think it could be a major skill set for my kids as time passes further into the current century, if they take to it.
Hah! - 08:55 CST, 12/22/16 (Sniper)
I vividly recall the Neogaf cultural Marxist social justice warriors melting down when Notch suggested on Twitter that the "just before the election" black church burning was most likely perpetrated by a black guy rather than a "white supremicist". Lo and behold!

Then again, maybe the perpetrator is a "white black"?
Double true - 08:44 CST, 12/22/16 (Sniper)
Out of curiosity, I've been looking up the addresses of the people from whom I've been importing PC Engine stuff. I thought I could just punch the addresses into Google Maps verbatim, but no!

First, you need to look at the prefecture. For example, Osaka. Next, you need to find the city, which in this case is also Osaka (sort of like New York, New York I suppose). Then, you need to find the correct "ward", which is sort of like a district-- for instance, Joto (not this person's real ward-- I'm making up a fake address here). Next, you need to break apart the dashed number, which so far as I can tell follows the format "Chome-Block-Building".

One of my packages came from "1-2-16". So once I hard their ward dialed in, I had to scour the map for their "chome", which seems to be like a sub-ward within a ward. Once I found that, I had to scour some more for block 2. I can't for the life of me figure out where Japanese building numbers are located since I don't see any mailboxes or numbers on the actual buildings, but in this case the only structure on block 2 was a giant apartment building.

If you count country, prefecture, city, ward, chome, and block, that's six distinct identifiers just to find where someone's house is located. Confusing! But then, in the United States we have country, state, city, and street, which is four identifiers-- maybe the Japanese find the US system as alien as I find Japan's?
Principle in action - 13:43 CST, 12/21/16 (Sniper)
"We're producing a machine whose performance is merely adequate when compared to some of its competition. It is not the fastest microcomputer, it doesn't have huge amounts of disk storage space, and it is not especially expandable. The Osborne 1 is ideal for a person who [merely] needs desktop computing power."

-Adam Osborne, when asked about how the Osborne 1 was able to be sold so cheaply


Continuing the train of thought from my previous post: I wonder if the same principle is one of the keys to making top-drawer video games?

In Osborne's case, you give the consumer just enough power to satisfy their needs, and the benefit is a low price. In video gaming's case, you give the player just enough realism to provide the illusion, and the benefit is superlative artfulness.

Here are just a few examples of timeless classics-- still played and enjoyed around the world today-- from the 80s and 90s that come to mind off the top of my head, and which are great precisely because they are in the above principle's "magic threshhold". I could list dozens more, but this is enough to illustrate the argument:


Aces of the Pacific


This 1992 DOS release can be comfortably played on a four button Gravis Gamepad, with only two buttons frequently used: one for firing the main gun, and another for looking around in a third-person perspective. It has a just realistic enough physics model, and just enough mechanical complexity to make the player feel like a real World War II pilot-- but without sacrificing the simplicity, accessibility, and charm of an 80s arcade game.


The Need for Speed


This came out in 1994 for the 3DO, and is played with a dpad and four buttons (two if you choose an automatic transmission in the options). You can steer mildly with the up diagonals, normal with left and right, and sharply with the bottom diagonals. As was exactly the case with Aces of the Pacific, this game gives you the feeling-- this time of driving exotic sports cars on public roads-- with just enough of a physics engine, and graphical detail, to provide the illusion. But it's exceptionally accessible and charming as well.


Dark Chambers


This 1988 Dandy adapation for the Atari 7800 is played with a joystick and a single button. Anyone can pick up and play it in an instant-- but it is deceptively deep. The art style and level design gives just enough to create the real feeling that the player is exploring a dangerous, dark labyrinth.


One Must Fall: 2097


A Street Fighter II clone that might almost be better than the game it's immitating! Requires a dpad and two buttons. Pressing a button did a normal attack, holding back did a strong attack, and holding forward did a weak attack. The incredible sound effects and music real give the sensation of fighting in giant robots, while ditching the needless complexity of other 2d fighters.
Re-attunement - 11:37 CST, 12/21/16 (Sniper)
Excellent article here. I realize that people have been predicting the demise of Nintendo for ages, but the company does seem to be at a cross roads.

One of the primary aspects of the author's story involves "Nintendo nostalgia"-- as in, the implication that virtually all gamers were Nintendo obsessed in the 80s, and its from that emotion that a yearning for that era is emerging. But I'm living testament to the otherwise: I bought an NES Classic as a cheap entry point into a new platform that I never owned originally, and for which I have zero nostalgia.

The author cites this book, which articulates certain heretofore "intangible" qualities that make games more rewarding to play. Having recently experienced games like Donkey Kong for the first time, I've come to a similar conclusion, and have simultaneously realized that my rubric is missing some similarly "intangible" facets that even my still-relevant "doldrums" post fails to identify.

For contrast: I tried to start playing "Styx: Master of Shadows" this morning, and I had a visceral reaction to its repugnancy, starting with the in-game illustration of the control scheme, which not only showed every single one of my controller's twelve buttons in use, but a doubling up of buttons using left trigger as a modifier. The game then opened with a lengthy, Hollywood-style orchestra music-filled cinematic, a tutorial stage filled with curse-word laden interruptions, which then revealed an obligatory skill tree... absolutely every aspect of it was a staggering contrast to Donkey Kong-- and how far off base gaming has gone.

Indie games are just as bad; I recently replayed the PC Engine's "Ys III", and commented to my brother: "If this game was done today, there would be a skill tree, crafting droppables, side quests to revisit all of the dungeons several times... it would be ruined." My brother emphatically agreed. All of the simplicity and charm of the original game would be artificially time-inflated out of existence.

Judging by the incredible popularity of 80s and 90s consoles on places like eBay, or by the insatiable demand for the NES Classic, perhaps Nintendo should take a step back from the abyss and start making games that are simple, charming, brimming with character, raw and clean, immediately accessible but infinitely deep, with attempts at timeless aesthetics? No one else in the world is even close to pulling that formula off; not "triple A" designers, not indie hipsters, certainly not sleazy "get rich quick" mobile app developers-- not even Nintendo, whose contemporary games are nearly as oblique to play as the aforementioned "Styx".

These recent revelations make me question whether I even still want a Nintendo Switch, or any new modern platforms for that matter. Perhaps a change in hobby is in order, or a total focus on games from the 70s, 80s, and 90s?
Programming languages - 07:17 CST, 12/19/16 (Sniper)
I'm pretty well covered here; I'm extremely comfortable with and have extended professional experience writing Java, Python, PHP, C#, SQL (plus PL/SQL), and JavaScript. Aside from the C/C++ duality, my experience rounds out the top languages on all of the lists.

I also have more limited experience with some of the "fringe" languages, like Ruby, Shell (I'm assuming they mean Bash?), Scala, and Perl. And of course, I've been using HTML since I was 14, way back in 1995-- although that's not a programming language (yet I mention it, because it's on some of these lists). And I have 5+ years of professional experience with Visual Basic (in the form of VB.Net) too.

My limitations are more around the frameworks for some of these languages; I've heard it said that you need ten years of full-time experience in a language to be an "expert" in an entire language's ecosystem. And the only language I'd say I'm a full-stack "expert" in is C#-- although Python is slowly starting to become a runner up for me.
Torpedo - 13:03 CST, 12/15/16 (Sniper)
My brother recently steered me towards Walter Block as someone who absolutely self destructs the "externalities" arguments that always get thrown at libertarians: "if the government didn't build roads or supply the military, then those things wouldn't exist!"

Indeed, a search led me to this piece-- and indeed again, a quick read left me satisfied. Add this issue to the immense list of Statist arguments that are based on utterly bankrupt theories.
By another name - 12:45 CST, 12/15/16 (Sniper)
I'd been enjoying the Ben Mendelsohn-portrayed character "Danny" from the Netflix show "Bloodline", in part because the character invoked imagery from another television show that I'd seen-- but which I simply could not place.

I had seen this character before:
  • Wild hair
  • Always a cigarette in hand
  • Struggles to deal with troubled past
  • Keen observational powers
  • Self-destructive tendencies
  • Rebel without a cause
  • Torn between loyalties

Last night, it finally hit me!

Mind control ray - 06:38 CST, 12/14/16 (Sniper)
If all of this is true, it can only mean one thing: Vladimir Putin has a mega mind control device that enabled him to take control of the many tens of millions of grass roots individuals who voted against the establishment! We're doomed!
The great pause - 14:14 CST, 12/12/16 (Sniper)
This is one of the best articles I've read on Zero Hedge. Make sure to hang on for the most dramatic part at the very end-- the author saves the best for the very last.

Incidentally, do some of its trappings remind anyone of a recent blog post of mine? Like-minded (as in, not insane) allies abound!
Did not anticipate - 20:35 CST, 12/09/16 (Sniper)
My copy of the PC Engine port of Street Fighter II: Dash-- aka, Champion Edition-- came in today.

What I expected: "The hardware really can't handle this... but it's still impressive! The system gives it the old college try!"

What I got: The best 16-bit Street Fighter; graphics and sound effects better than the Super Nintendo version. Music better than the Genesis port. Mesmerizingly fluid stage scrolling and overall animation.
Better fact collector than logician - 15:16 CST, 12/07/16 (Sniper)
If this is the best argument that someone like Molyneux can come up with in opposition to the notion of natural rights, then that tells me I'm on the right track.

"Otherwise valid notion A is now invalid because it became distorted by disingenuous politicians" is-- to use Molyneux's common quip-- not an argument against the validity of the notion.

It doesn't help that the caller is an absolutely terrible proponent of the body of natural law-- the conversation goes completely off the rails almost immediately. Many of the video's commenters are much better-- for example: "natural rights begin at self ownership and actions derived from that including association, contracts, property, purchases, freedom of action, etc."

It's also really strange that Molyneux rejects the concept, since his "universally preferable behavior" is essentially a (sort of shameless) re-branding of natural rights theory. All of this makes me question the logical consistency of his world view; if there are no natural rights in his mind, then how does he support the argument that the use of force is wrong, or that self defense is virtuous, and so on?

The video is also painful in that the caller equates natural law to object-oriented programming-- uh, wat-- followed by Molyneux providing, quite possibly, the worst explanation ever of said paradigm. I could scarcely listen!
Ugh - 19:53 CST, 12/04/16 (Sniper)
Playing "Cities: Skylines". Built a school. Game says: "The mayor believes in education! #nomorehomeschooling". Bulldozed school.
No logic, only emotion - 11:23 CST, 12/04/16 (Sniper)
Add "scalping" to the list of totally silly adjectives. Does one not have the right to buy something and resell it?

Many people who use that label buy stock low and sell high through their retirement plans, and buy houses only to sell them at a higher price. Dirty scalpers!
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