The Exigent Duality
No Forward Gear - 19:11 CST, 1/17/19 (Sniper)
The good news is that the "8bitdo" controller I ordered is absolutely awesome; specifically, playing modern games with it is a serious case of cognitive dissonance, because it's like some kind of parallel universe where the game industry kept evolving while retaining all of its positive aspects. It's too bad game software doesn't have any kind of equivalent.

On that point, a friend of mine recently had the revelation that part of what makes old games special is that their creativity was bounded-- or rather stimulated-- by hardware limitations.

But I'd take that in a different-but-related direction: making games back then was hard. To make a Sega Genesis game, you had to write 68000 assembler, a skill which only the most autistic people on the planet could successfully do. And people tend to design games which they would like-- which is why the games catered to genuine eggheaded dweebs like me.

Today, you fire up UnrealEd and drag and drop your basic C++ classes into the editor. Boom. Heck, in modern engines you can even script basic games as if you were making a Visio diagram.

Because the bar is so low, the autistic people moved on to more challenging things, and in came all of the craft beer, flannel-shirted, "counter-culture", not-talented-enough-for-Hollywood hipsters. Who then went on to make games which channeled their desperate need for approval into a desperate need for video games as a medium to be popularly approved.

But back to the hardware: I recently reviewed two games which are simply impossible for modern technology to execute due to having piss-poor controllers-- which I had to fix by purchasing the Super Nintendo-replica with a functioning d-pad, as you see in the picture above-- and insane levels of input latency.

On that note, Henrietta and I were trying to enjoy the new "Let's Go" Pokemon game a couple of hours ago, and between the Switch's input latency, the television's latency, and the crappy-ass Bluetooth-driven "joy-con" waggle controls, we couldn't hit the broad side of a barn: randomly animations would be delayed, or the throws would go to the side, or register on the back part of the arm motion, and so on.

Then on top of that, my Vizio soundbar kept cutting in and out, because modern audio equipment doesn't just pass the electrical signal straight to the speakers like a stereo from the 1990s (or earlier): it tries to process and finesse the sound by altering volume levels and all manner of smoke and mirrors tricks.

After about a half hour, we gave up. So I hopped on over to my real Sega Saturn, turned on my real CRT, grabbed my real controller with a real d-pad, and played a super satisfying game of "Street Fighter Alpha 2"-- all with technology from 1996-- with zero missed special moves and absolutely zero discernible input latency whatsoever.
Fully Compliant - 18:33 CST, 1/16/19 (Sniper)
To all Muslims who have been reluctant to buy Amazon's "Alexa"-- look no further!

You could make one of these for Leftists too. Or, you could just turn on "CNN".
No Humility - 08:00 CST, 1/16/19 (Sniper)
If I worked for the mafia doing all sorts of racketeering and bullying, the big boss suddenly got arrested, and I stopped getting paid, I'd shrug my shoulders: oh well! It was a nice gig while it lasted.

It's the exact same thing with the Federal government workers. They are paid out of a pool of extortion money, and most of what they're doing is illegal according to natural law. If it bothers them that the gravy train was shut off, then they can go get an honest job like the rest of us.

Speaking of the Federal government, and setting aside what a disastrous boondoggle the F-35 project was and is, this set of combat maneuvers boggles my mind.
Anti-Science Ideologues - 20:23 CST, 1/15/19 (Sniper)
"Do you think there is a connection between racial groups and skin color? Or what about hair texture? Or what about the shape of the eyes? Or what about average height? Or what about..." Well, duh!

That's how obvious it is that there is a link between intelligence and race, just as is the case for a million other attributes. Different groups have different genetic tendencies when viewed in aggregate! Leftists who flip their freaking lids over basic scientific facts are pathetic.

Of course, many of these same people also believe in utterly demolished Marx-backed economic principles, like the "labor theory of value"-- expecting them to understand evolution is obviously a bridge too far.
Beached - 09:34 CST, 1/15/19 (Sniper)
It's funny to contrast my gaming past with seemingly most peoples' today, by comparing "subreddits".

  1. Atari: Dead. Videos of nearly forty year-old 2600 releases, and discussions about barely-functional third-party knockoff hardware.
  2. Sega: Dead. Master System and Dreamcast retrospectives, with the odd mention of one of the company's contemporary games.
  3. 3DO: Dead. M2 videos and how to replace laser lenses in the twenty five year-old Panasonic and Goldstar units.
  4. Nintendo: Best selling console of all time. A gazillion game releases every month, phenomenal contemporary adaptations of all fan favorite series.
  5. Sony: Nearly one hundred million units sold. Gazillion game releases every month, triple-A developed games with budgets in the hundreds of millions.
  6. Microsoft: Most powerful console on the market, thousands of games, tons of hyped-up news regarding next wave of hardware releases.

Anyone under the age of thirty has only ever known hardware from Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft-- so all of their emotional connections are to one of those three companies, all three of which are more than alive and well.

But for people like me who are approaching forty, or are even older, the death of Atari was a killer. And in my case, my next two in Sega and 3DO also died! I think I'd enjoy the hobby more if one of those three companies had survived. Instead I kind of just flit around, not able to really get behind anyone.

It would be great if a "new" company would make a console. I've heard that the people behind "Project CARS" might make one-- maybe I'll give that a shot if it ever comes out.
Another World - 17:32 CST, 1/13/19 (Sniper)
Duncan and I are so fascinated by exoplanets that we decided to create the Kepler-62 system in Universe Sandbox2. Turns out, the developers had already made it!

What they didn't do, however, is give 62e and 62f atmospheres: these planets do have the correct mass, orbital periods, and everything else though! So, Duncan and I gave them each atmospheres resulting in the same surface pressure as Earth.

Kepler-62e shot up to 30.4°C, with at atmospheric mass of 7.62E+18 kg. It changed from a frozen, barren world, to one which looks a bit like Earth-- see the top comparison, below. Very nice!

Kepler-62f didn't go quite as well-- see the bottom comparison; atmospheric mass of 7.2E+18 kg resulted in a frigid, still-frozen -13.6 °C world. Boosting it up to 1.3 atmosphere's worth of pressure got it up to an even 0 °C though.

The conclusion Duncan and I reached was that given the current knowledge we have of these worlds, 62e's closer proximity to the sun makes it more likely to be comfortable for human life. But it all depends on what kinds of atmospheres these planets have, if any.

The Everything Machine - 08:42 CST, 1/13/19 (Sniper)
This person has tons of Switch modding documentation, even down to register information for the Switch's CPU. Apparently, they and their friends have unearthed strings indicating incoming Super Nintendo emulation, plus two new mystery consoles.

I think this is finally my prompt to order one of these 8bitdo gamepads-- other than occasional complaints about the analog stick material getting worn done, they sound phenomenal.
Vanity Project - 18:29 CST, 1/11/19 (Sniper)
I've been tinkering with Optimus' OptiDoom, as he's been calling it, and it's like a tasty hors d'oeuvre from my "if I were a billionaire" fantasy, brought into real life!

For those readers who don't recall, if I were rich my first vanity project would be to restart 3DO development: sponsor some kind of modern, reliable hardware re-implementation of the chipset with a contemporary wafer process, then get brand new sequels made to games like "The Need for Speed". On that list was also "fix the Doom port", and here comes this Optimus fellow!

So far I've made two custom ISOs, the first using the "xdelta" method, with the second done manually by hand. Both of them work in 4DO, but neither of them get past his custom bootstrap image when running on my actual Panasonic FZ-1-- which incidentally has a hell of a time reading my cheapo "Verbatim" CD-Rs, possibly indicating the root of the problem.

Nonetheless, the game is almost playable now: if he can just squeeze one or two more frames, and then cap the whole thing at maybe 15 fps to keep it consistent-- right now the game fluctuates from 56 fps down to 8-- it will be perfect! It's been a nice accompaniment to this fellow, who has been doing a lot of M2 videos lately.

The M2 was a pity: I already had the money in hand to buy it, right on day one-- it was settled! What a shame I never got to experience that.

I'm still not clear how it would have functioned as an "add-on" to the 3DO: the 3DO was basically an Acorn Archimedes with Dave Needle's "CEL Engine" chips bolted on, while the M2 was a PowerPC board with 3DFX or PowerVR-style 3d acceleration. Maybe it would have just physically latched onto the 3DO somehow, just to share the disc drive bus and some of the RAM? We'll never know now!
The Big Easy - 19:11 CST, 1/07/19 (Sniper)
I haven't posted in several days, because the family and I were on vacation in New Orleans. And what a trip it was!

Where Murderapolis, and its twin brother in crime St. Paul, are dour gray concrete monstrosities mostly constructed in the past one hundred years-- with the very occasional late-19th century structure-- New Orleans has swathes of city mostly left standing from as early as the 1700s! Not only that, but the French and Spanish architectural styles are an exciting departure from the utilitarian Germanic buildings in Minnesota.

To begin, there is a street car line which has been operational since 1835. Yes, that would make the operation older than the freaking civil war. When I got there, I'd assumed that it was a "street car" in the form of a diesel bus, just with train wheels. But no: to this day, it's a literal street car, complete with noisy clanking, pneumatic pressure gauges, and a driver operation straight out of "Dr. Seuss"!

But it's not just a cheap tourist gimmick: it, and its three sister lines, are the city's mass transit system, fully-functional and highly efficient! They shuttle tens and tens of thousands of people per day, up and down the very busiest sections of the city. My very favorite spot in the entire area I visited was "Canal Street", which is a mammoth four-lane boulevard, bisected down the middle with rail tracks. I wish I would have taken a picture there. Fortunately, many other people have.

Regarding the car interiors, notice the green handle, which the driver rotates with his left hand. The brake is operated with the right hand. Also observe the wooden benches-- the cars on this line were built in 1921, and are so reconditioned as to be brand new. It's "cognitive dissonance" to the max to be riding in such a contraption, while being passed by Porsche 911s (sports cars seem to be a big thing in the Big Easy, incidentally).

Along this line are a seemingly endless parade of 19th and even 18th century homes and buildings. One thing which caught my eye were the twin-campuses of "Tulane" and "Loyola University", both of which feature verdure green lawns and wonderfully appointed structures.

Unfortunately, I did notice a sign on one of the modern buildings, which furthers my alarm regarding the continual conflation of "law" and "social justice"-- where "justice" is according to the Cultural Marxist rubric. What kind of a world will we live in where lawmen and the courts only apply case where the outcome "furthers social justice"? I shudder to think. But that's neither here nor there.

The city is also host to an exhaustive list of cemetaries, many of which are directly accessible from the aforementioned street car line. But these aren't your run-of-the-mill grave yards: they are more like mass crypts, with elaborate family-specific stone structures, sporting the epitaphs of people who died as long ago as the mid-1700s. Some are so shattered and worn that they are no longer legible.

Walking through one of these places was a somber reminder of one's mortality, especially with my kids in tow. The ages of death were often listed, and it was quite the array, from the expected infant mortalities, to those passing in their 80s and even 90s. I also saw lots of people dying in their 30s, some even at my present age of 37.

On a somewhat dystopian note, the city is also home to the nation's official "World War II Museum". It was a mere block away from my hotel, so I walked past it perhaps a dozen times, or more.

It reminded me of my recent "Tall Tales" blog post-- in this case hitting upon virtually every American-centric pseudo-fabrication regarding the conflict: how evil the "Axis" was, "Rosie the Riveter" posters, reverential passages plastered all about regarding the Beltway Elite of the era, a skyway named "American Spirit Bridge", and even a full cast statue of that immortal old ghoul, "FDR" (we can't get rid of him even 73 years after this death!).

On a more positive note, I attended only my second Catholic Mass in eighteen years, in the famous "St. Louis Cathedral".

It was quite an emotional experience for me between the overwhelming setting (frickin' Andrew Jackson had an oration in his honor in that very same cathedral, in 1840), the rushing forth of my childhood memories spent in churches, the glimmer that maybe I haven't strayed as far from God as I thought I'd had (I've lived an honest life), and a reflection on some of the rough and frustrating times I've had, both deep in the past and more recently.

I guess you could say it was a... spiritual experience. Which, I suppose, is sort of the point of going to church, after all.

Before I'd gone to the cathedral, I'd used The Gimp to rotate and overlay an original map of the initial city, from 1728, with the modern-day Google Maps image of the French Quarter. It is astonishing how cleanly it stacks, right down to the presence of the very spots in which I stood taking the above three pictures.

Finally, here is a shot of wifey and the kids in front of some kind of cruise ship which was moored there. The ship had to be the size of a six-story building, the photograph doesn't do the scale justice. We wound up sitting near the ship, happily munching on some of the world famous "Cafe Du Mond" beignets, basking in the sun.

Of all the places I've traveled in my life-- which isn't many, admittedly, though it is more than a few (Boston, Orlando, San Mateo, Philadelpha, and others)-- New Orleans is the place which has stolen my heart. If I could pack up my bags and just move there permanently, I would. Its strange cultural mix ("Creole", as I learned) and mind bogglingly-preserved authenticity separates it from anywhere else I've yet been.

It's such a pity that, in today's political climate, I did have some hint of being "behind enemy lines": CNN was blaring everywhere I went, "the Democrats need to GO TO WAR against this racist President", and other such insane declarations. It's tough to say how many people in the city really buy into such rhetoric, but there is no doubt at least that the Establishment Elite are attempting to rally the troops.

Hopefully we won't be on opposite teams when the oligarchs draw the lines, because I was met with nothing but graciousness by the city's inhabitants, and felt like I "fit in" with the place's eclectic crowd and eccentric character.
Farenheit 451 - 16:06 CST, 1/01/19 (Sniper)
When people name classic dystopian novels which "predicted the future", they usually list "1984" or "Animal Farm". But what about Ray Bradbury's "Farenheit 451"? It's a far more accurate depiction of contemporary life than either of those other two works.

Page 31. Bradbury describes how the "internet" has replaced genuine human connection with some kind of wax museum-equivalent:

"Well, wasn't there a wall between him and Mildred, when you came down to it? Literally not just one wall but, so far, three! And expensive, too! And the uncles, the aunts, the cousins, the nieces, the nephews, that lived in those walls, the gibbering pack of tree-apes that said nothing, nothing, nothing and said it loud, loud, loud. He had taken to calling them relatives from the very first... No matter when he came in, the walls were always talking to Mildred."

Page 42. Bradbury relays that "entertainment" will become ADHD-festering drivel. Compare this to the below:

"The door to the parlor opened, and Mildred stood there looking in at them, looking at Beatty and then at Montag. Behind her the walls of the room were flooded with green and yellow and orange fireworks sizzling and bursting to some music composed almost completely of trap drums, tom-toms, and cymbals."

In the same section, Bradbury gives us "Fortnite" and "Pornhub":

"But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic books survive. And the three-dimensional sex magazines, of course... Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions, or trade journals."

Bradbury then explains how the risk of "offending" identity groups will, over time, remove all substance from art, until nothing is left:

"The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean... Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca... You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can't have our minorities upset and stirred. Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all? People want to be happy, isn't that right? ...Colored people don't like 'Little Black Sambo'. Burn it. White people don't feel good about 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'. Burn it. Someone's written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book."

Page 44: Bradbury nails modern "education": the purpose of public "schools", why Left-wing politicians keep pushing for "free" pre-school, and how modern universities work:

"The home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school. That's why we've lowered the kindergarten age year after year until now we're almost snatching them from the cradle... Luckily, queer ones like her don't happen often. We know how to nip most of them in the bud, early... If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war... Give people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of 'facts' that they feel stuffed, but absolutely 'brilliant' with information."

Page 70. Bradbury gives us the equivalent of real-life "tweets" for why women voted for "Beto O'Rourke" over "Ted Cruz":

"I voted last election, same as everyone, and I laid it on the line for President Noble. I think he's one of the nicest looking men ever to become president."
"Oh, but the man they ran against him!"
"He wasn't much, was he? Kind of small and homely and he didn't shave too close or comb his hair very well."
"No wonder the landslide was for Winston Noble. Even their names helped. Compare Winston Noble to Hubert Hoag for ten seconds and you can almost figure the results."

I could go on and on, but I think I've proven my point; this is one serially-overlooked novel!
Why Not Both - 15:01 CST, 1/01/19 (Sniper)
One trend in contemporary game design aesthetics which I've been enjoying is the mixtures of texture mapped polygonal graphics, overlaid with traditional sprites.

All three shots are from Switch games; in order from top-to-bottom: "Octopath Traveler", "Fire Emblem Warriors", and "Pokemon: Let's Go, Eevee!".

Fourth Turning Time - 08:15 CST, 1/01/19 (Sniper)
Two of my favorite guys-- John Xenakis and Jim Kunstler-- providing their takes on what 2019 holds for the world.

There are some contradictory predictions-- such as the upcoming relationship between China and Russia-- on offer, and it will be interesting to see who is right. Either way, this just-begun year does have the feeling of "pivotal moment" about it.
Fiasco - 09:53 CST, 12/31/18 (Sniper)
The fact that the Vikings imploded yesterday was not surprising. Even the manner in which it happened didn't catch me off guard. What was shocking was the degree to which it played out.

A contemporary colloquialism describes it best: they shit the bed. Specifically: Kirk Cousins, Riley Reiff, Mike Remmers, and Tom Compton. Cousins in particular: he was rapidly blinking his eyes, cheeks twitching, lips pursing repeatedly. When the entire season was in a "4th down, do or die" situation, he ran off the pitch, and had to be unceremoniously tossed back on: "What are you thinking? We're not punting here, are you nuts?"

One of the broadcasters explained that Cousins has a spreadsheet, with blocks for every ten minutes of his day pre-planned, and that he gets stressed if his day gets off track. They also explained that going into yesterday's game, he's only won four games in twenty eight attempts against opposition with winning records during their respective seasons.

He has superb arm strength, excellent accuracy on short, long, and intermediate throws, looks players off and reads the entire field, and can even extend plays with his legs-- when things are in front of him. But just like with his spreadsheet, once a game gets off track, his mentality starts to fall apart. And against good teams, no game of NFL gridiron "stays on track", hence his ghastly record against them.

To be fair to Cousins, the aforementioned offensive linemen were just as poor: by the end of the match, Chicago's third-string defensive players were running right around and through them. It was a total and utter collapse in basic fundamentals. An absolute disintegration. The constant "eighty four million dollar contract" talk is an irritating non-sequitur too: that's the going rate for a starting-caliber NFL quarterback these days, like it or not-- trying to pin higher expectations on Cousins purely based on his salary is silly.

Looking to next season, the Vikings are a team with a lot of quality pieces. Any general manager would love to inherit such a roster. But at this point-- and I hope I'm wrong-- it's difficult to claim that the core of Mike Zimmer, Rick Spielman, and Kirk Cousins are going to be able to deliver a Super Bowl to Minneapolis.
Very Nice - 08:03 CST, 12/30/18 (Sniper)
It's good to see how happy this "transgender" movement is making its participants-- they're really finding themselves, which is great to see.

And look how accommodating the cashier is, apologizing to a person who is physically threatening him and trashing his store. Acceptance and diversity are our strengths!
Does Not Compute - 19:17 CST, 12/29/18 (Sniper)
A couple of days ago, wifey asked me why the acting in television shows and films doesn't even remotely reflect how people actually behave. "Look up 'method acting'", I told her. "The idea is that the actor should get 'inside' his character's mind, and bring that personality out. In other words, the emphasis is on characterization, not realism."

After my explanation, she countered: "Ok, fair enough: then why do the characters so inaccurately reflect how people really are?" For that, I had no immediate reply: I had to mull it over for a few days before I could come up with an answer. "Good question!", I thought to myself. "Where is the disconnect..."

In the end, the explanation became obvious: in real life, people are-- and this is the most scientifically-specific term-- total douche bags. Whereas, in other media such as video games, film, or novels, they are presented as pollyannish-good, "you just have to get to know them, then they're alright", or even heroic.

In reality, people are almost exclusively driven by what Karen Horney identified as the "ten neurotic needs". For example, children bully because they want group acceptance; adults are passive-aggressive because direct confrontation would threaten their approval in the eyes of others; people vote because they have a desire for control and domination.

The other overriding aspect of peoples' behaviors involve "attachment theory". Hardly anyone today has a "secure" attachment style, and so their ability to emotionally connect with others is surface-deep at best, non-existent at worse.

A more accurate way of writing characters into works of fiction would be to have them seem superficially happy and well-adjusted, but then have major cracks in their personas become evident as the work progresses.
Roasted - 07:29 CST, 12/27/18 (Sniper)
This is quite possibly the best thing I've ever seen in my life: cops being treated how they treat others! This guy completely toasts them at their own game.

I especially love when cops say "you will listen to me!" Reminds me of the time I once had a cop pull me over, because I'd "annoyed" him in traffic-- so then he sat next to my car and lectured me about "what a bad driver" I was. Hah!
Ruins - 10:45 CST, 12/26/18 (Sniper)
What a phenomenal article... and what I wouldn't give to have cars return to these kinds of roots!

Even my 2003 350z-- which is as close to Steve Martin's famous "four fucking wheels and a seat" as you can drive today-- weighs a whopping 3300 lbs, has airbags, and needs nearly 300 bhp just to do a 14 second quarter mile due to its massive size (as compared to sports cars from earlier decades). That all means I'm lucky to get 16 miles per gallon in cold weather.

What's more, we've gone so far backwards since then that compared to a brand new car, my 350z is tiny! When I park it at work and see it from a second story window, it looks almost comically out-of-place. And that's not even getting to the freaking iPhone-like touch screens, obnoxious blinking lights when someone is in your blind spot, "back up cameras", government-tracking GPS systems, and so on which new cars have.

In short, I despise today's automobiles. I positively hate them. As my Z comes up on seventeen years old, I'd love to buy myself a new car-- but I look around at the market, and I quite literally can't find a product I'd actually want to get! It's so bad that when the Z's motor eventually dies, I might just do an engine swap and keep the car.

It's the same situation for video games. Even the Switch, which is positively minimalistic compared to the PlayStation 4 and Xbone, feels over-engineered, with games which use a million buttons, online patches, complex billions-of-calculations 3d engines, and so forth. I've been having more fun playing NES games on the thing lately than anything else.

As is the case with cars, I'd love for a brand new, reliable system to come out, but which had two button controllers, and 2d-only specs-- like a brand new system in the spirit of something like the NES. Of course, even if that happened, there is the secondary problem that the games would all look like this or this. I'm praying daily that hipsters pack up and move on to a new hobby, as soon as possible.
Twisted - 10:23 CST, 12/26/18 (Sniper)
This kind of thing is frustrating, especially the quote from one of the women: "I never thought I'd get so much free shit, thank you!" As if she had no role to play in being in that situation-- like she's just some helpless collateral damage from a hurricane or tornado.

She even dragged a poor little four year old with her, God knows how far, endangering his life so she could smuggle herself over the border of a sovereign country illegally, to get some free McDonalds and food stamps... and she's supposed to be some kind of victim, or even hero. Hah!
Stars Align - 07:52 CST, 12/25/18 (Sniper)
I've always maintained that Lazio should finish right around the 6th-- plus or minus a couple of positions-- spot in the league table every year, because practically every metric points to Lazio being, roughly, the sixth "biggest" team in Italy.

Sure enough, if you look at attendance for this season, Lazio are fifth. And our squad value at the moment? Sixth.

Even with the recent disastrous run of form-- no wins in any competition for over a month-- we are still mildly overachieving in the table, in the fourth position.
Arcade - 08:12 CST, 12/24/18 (Sniper)
Wonderful take on what looks to me like an "I've died and gone to heaven" situation here.
ST Video - 08:54 CST, 12/23/18 (Sniper)
Yesterday, I did another Atari ST video, this time about the "Ultra Satan" drive". Enjoy!
Tall Tales - 08:24 CST, 12/23/18 (Sniper)
As I've been raising my own kids, and helping to raise the children of some friends on a daily basis, it's really hit me how "false" societies are in their conveyance of both historical and present-day information.

Take Thanksgiving: there were the events which actually happened-- the colonists struggled through poor weather and socialized food production for several winters, they then privatized said production and were introduced to a few new, more hardy crops, and managed to survive several up-and-down winters subsequently. Then, there is the "narrative" version: the colonists were starving, a benevolent Native American (noble savage! another narrative incidentally) taught them how to grow corn, and boom, the next winter was so good they had one big happy meal together, and all of the problems were solved, The End!

Notice how the fake, narrative version of the story is a mixture of truth and whimsy? That's because, like some sort of parable, it's meant to teach a specific lesson, which helps the power brokers keep the peons in line. Or, the less pessimistic version is that shared stories are part of the "glue" which keeps societies together.

Another example is what North Koreans are taught: that the Americans brutally carpet bombed their innocent civilians-- until Kim Il-sung rode in on his white pegasus, wielding the Shield of Achilles and adorned with armor of roses and solid gold, and single-handedly swatted the Imperialist American Bastard's airplanes out of the sky! Again, it's a mixture of truth (the carpet bombing) and fabrications (the "cult of personality", Kim Il-sung's immortal nature).

One more instance would be what I was taught in elementary school "social studies" text books: absurdly cherry-picked "company store", and "kids chained to machines!", and "robber barons!" views regarding "capitalism". I remember a chapter about Abraham Lincoln, who was presented as some sort of a god, replete with some silly story-- which probably never even happened-- where he dropped his hat on a muddy road, or some such junk. It really wasn't far from what is taught in North Korea, looking back on it.

This is a modern-day instance: the Truman and Wolfowitz Doctrines state that pre-emptive military control and occupation of a seemingly endless array of helpless third world countries will help maintain American Hegemony. It, along with its origin philosophy of "utilitarianism", is so baked into American society, via all manner of stories and brainwashing of kids even from a young age, that insanity has indeed become normalized. Belief in government as an institution is another one: just mention that maybe a centralized coercive agent isn't such a bright idea, and watch people hilariously melt down.

Back to parenting: I've noticed that some kids need the comfort of stories, while others would rather have the facts. After begging me to tell her the truth, I revealed to Henrietta the nature of "Santa Claus" when she was six, and it was one of the strongest moments of exuberance I've ever seen from her! For her, learning truth was like eating a massive, delicious feast.

Whereas, one of our friends' kids, a seven year old boy, would be positively devastated if he had the "Santa Claus" mythology taken from him, at his present age. He's also adamant that God exists-- whereas his own sister says "no way" to that same question. So, it's a hard rule in our household for the "truth kids" to not deflate the "mythos kids" by saying too much about topics like "Santa Claus"-- at least until they are a little older.
Mobile Friendly Needs to Die - 13:53 CST, 12/22/18 (Sniper)
Below are screenshots from two websites. The first is from a 90s-style layout-- notice how it delivers lots of information in a dense form. The second is from a 2010s site-- notice how 90% of the page is taken up with giant images and fonts; you need to scroll your mousewheel three or four times just to read twenty words' worth of text!

Difficult to Say - 10:45 CST, 12/22/18 (Sniper)
As I've mentioned before, Digital Foundry's John Linneman has sort of similar taste to mine, in the sense that he's continuously leaping between old games and new. That said, I'd have a difficult time putting together a list like this-- nothing I've played in 2018 really leaps out to me as being worthy of any kind of special praise.

For fun, I sorted my reviews in the database, in descending order. This the closest I can come up with to a "best new (for me) games I've played in the past year":

  1. Knuckles' Chaotix - 32X, 1995
  2. Daytona USA - Saturn, 1995
  3. Sonic Chaos - Game Gear, 1993
  4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - Switch, 2018
  5. Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 - Windows, 2018

It's all sort of a reach though; other than maybe the first two-- and possibly the third-- I don't how many of these games I'll still be interested in playing even a year from now, much less twenty or thirty years later, like I still do so many other titles from the 80s and 90s.

Some of the games on Linneman's list-- like the icon-strewn "I'd rather be directing a movie but I'm not talented enough" open world releases, such as "Spiderman"-- give me a headache just by catching a glimpse of their maps. Mega Man 11 is more up my alley, but that series has never really "clicked" with me; I didn't play them as kids (didn't own an NES), so there's no "nostalgia factor" for me with them either.

One game I should try is the new "Monster World" release, although I'm not a big fan of the vector-lookalike, "Flash"-style, "look ma, no pixels!" art direction that's so common in 2d games these days.
Dreadful Idea - 18:11 CST, 12/21/18 (Sniper)
I couldn't agree more with what is written here.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: as a professional software developer who has written "machine learning" code, who has utilized image recognition libraries, and who has attended numerous conference sessions regarding computer cognition, it is absolute madness to not just implement "self-driving" apparatuses into cars, but for the State's actors to enable and encourage their spread!

I recently abandoned a self-driving lawn mower personal project, in large part due to safety concerns. And that's a lawn mower moving at like two miles per hour: no matter how much training data I fed it, there was just no reliable way to get it to recognize all of the incredible complexities of real life: sloped surfaces, arbitrary length grass, dawn-dusk-noon, rain, extreme sun shine, obstacles like children, dogs, cats, and so on.

Now imagine scaling up those problems to a thirty-five hundred pound car, going seventy miles per hour on the freeway, with not only human passengers, but other cars and even pedestrians! This is why we've seen cars like Teslas fatally drive right into the sides of semi-trucks, smash into medians, ram into parked cars at high speeds, and so on. And that's not even getting to the moral considerations of cars intentionally killing their own passengers according to John "Silicon Valley Hipster" Doe's internal sense of utilitarian ethics-turned-case statement.

In some ways, I don't know if these problems will ever truly be solved: scientists do not understand how the human brain picks apart objects, and assigns meanings to the symbols-- like, an object shaped a certain way is a "chair", and could be sat upon. It's an almost impossibly non-trivial problem to attempt to code into a program, and its a necessity if the idea is for computers to be substitutes for human judgements when lives are directly at stake.

I once heard the adage, "Let humans do what humans are good at; let computers do what computers are good at." That's a bit of wisdom software developers would do well to heed. It would also have the side-benefit of not automating away half of the human race's livelihood.
Can't Have That - 08:58 CST, 12/21/18 (Sniper)
I've made this identical argument before. Black people: no more owning contemporary houses, living in modern apartments, eating ninety five percent of the food you like, having air conditioning, operating a motor vehicle, riding a bicycle, taking an airplane trip, using an electric razer, operating an electric or gas oven, a microwave, wearing tennis shoes, or hundreds of other things. It's nothing but dirt-floored, hatch huts, cooked fish, thongs, and sandals for you!

That's how wacky this so-called "cultural appropriation" concept is. Can you imagine if humanity had tried following this principle going back through time? Human civilization wouldn't even exist as we know it-- all innovations are naturally built upon prior ones, which were often not from the same culture.

But then, this is all missing the point. Each individual modern-day Leftist principle is categorically absurd when taken one-by-one-- because the objective isn't logical consistency: rather, the big picture is to tear down the very fabric of the society, Marxist style (there can be no religion other than the State!), then re-build it to favor the elite "chosen" liberal intellectuals and power brokers.
Rock, Meet Hard Place - 13:10 CST, 12/20/18 (Sniper)
I'm in the "Creature from Jekyll Island" camp-- the Fed was a deliberately insidious creation right from the get-go. It's nothing more than a simple extension of the thousands-years-old "money changers" scam: issuing certificates for more assets than you even have, while manipulating the market-- through interest rates, for example-- to intentionally cause liquidations among marginal players.

That said and on the other hand, the modern-day Fed really can't win; if they don't raise and try to "normalize" rates, they are shellacked by critics for creating malinvestment-- but if they do raise rates, it's said that they "don't care about the commoner." The solution of course is to not manipulate rates in the first place-- they're in a corner of their own painting. But now that they're there, they should be trying to "normalize" the rates!
How to Name It - 15:18 CST, 12/19/18 (Sniper)
Duncan has been wondering if it's theoretically possible to have more than infinity-- or to put it another way, to discuss "infinity" as a quantifiable thing, which you could manipulate as if it were just a number, or set.

To help with talking about the notion, he came up with the following nomenclature:

  • ∞ × 10: Aen (rhymes with "aim")
  • 2: Den
  • ∞ × Den: Zen
  • ∞ × Zen: Fen
  • ∞ × Fen: Fen Infinity
  • ∞ × Fen Infinity: Zzen (pronounced "zeh-zen")

He intuitively seems to realize that naming things is helpful when dealing with the abstract-- his favorite example is the whole "Googol"-"Googolplex"-"Googolplexian" thing.
Both - 08:55 CST, 12/19/18 (Sniper)
There has been a debate going on in the football world for over a hundred years, regarding whether it's more important to "pragmatically" get results even if the play is ugly, or to play "beautifully", even if it means sacrificing results at times.

This article is a fascinating glimpse into that debate in 2018, replete with several juicy quotes-- especially the sarcastic Mourinho one, "maybe some day people will want to play football on pretty grass with no goals", hah!

As for me, I don't really think the two are mutually exclusive, in the sense that there is a different kind of beauty to a "get results" mentality, such as Herrera's "Catenaccio" tactics, to name just one example. Gianni Brera once said that the "perfect" result was 0-0, and I can definitely understand where he was coming from.
Media - 08:37 CST, 12/19/18 (Sniper)
Hah, good luck trying to sink Tucker Carlson; even if his Fox show ever got cancelled-- doubtful, but possible-- all he'd need to do is stream videos from his personal website, slap a "Patreon" link next to them, and watch the money roll in. He's not as intellectually rigorous as I'd like, but at the same time he's eloquent, has mainstream appeal, and covers "red pill" stuff which other popular media figures simply refuse to discuss.

In other news, I quite like IGN's regular podcast. Daemon Hatfield is great in particular-- he reminds me of former "Fox Football Fone-In" pundit Steven Cohen, who was another media personality I really enjoyed.