The Exigent Duality
Total Mystery - 19:48 CDT, 5/30/20 (Sniper)
What in the world is this going to be about? The contents of the hilarious "Sega Shiro" two-parter very obviously hints at a new games platform of some kind: while he has a Saturn on his back, it's a Game Gear which is most prominent-- a new handheld, called the "Sega GO" maybe?

If Sega legitimately re-enters the game hardware business-- and by "legitimate" I mean not through another "micro console" or an online streaming web site-- I'll sell my Switch and wait around the block for a week to get one.
Progressive - 09:59 CDT, 5/30/20 (Sniper)
Was out for one of my walks today, and saw these signs on the front of a "Dairy Queen" just a few blocks from where I live:

I actually know the owner and he's struck me as a pretty chill dude, which makes me wonder if this is more of a "please don't burn my building down" plea than an actual position. Incidentally, I'm sure white people used to put "white owned" on their shops during the "Ku Klux Klan" heyday. Explain to me how so-called "Black Lives Matter" is any better?

There are several houses in my immediate neighborhood with lawn signs endorsing "Black Lives Matter".

Given the autopsy, "I can't breathe" is sounding more and more like "hands up, don't shoot" or "he was just buying Skittles". I'll continue to update my view as more information comes to light.

Hopefully the CEO of my employer does the same. He posted a company-wide take on the intranet site late last week, wherein he not only blamed the death on the cop's racism with zero evidence, but implied that his employees were the same by indicating how crucial it was for the company to continue "diversity and inclusion" training.
Eventual Acquittal? - 07:06 CDT, 5/30/20 (Sniper)
I drove home at ten o'clock last night from hanging out with my sister-in-law in Minneapolis. Originally I was going to sleep over, but decided to just head back. As I walked in the door, wifey said "What the heck are you doing here? You do realize the city is under a martial law-style curfew, right?" Hah! The hilarious part is that there was actually traffic, and quite a bit of it as well.

Interestingly, the initial autopsy reveals that the fellow didn't even die from asphyxiation. Also, he was being a real dick-- excuse my language-- about getting in the cop car, deliberately throwing himself onto the ground like a toddler, complaining he "couldn't breath" practically before the officer had even touched him. This after he'd used counterfeit money.

As much as I dislike the average police officer, I'm not certain the cop actually did anything wrong here. The anecdote about the officer and the dude knowing each other makes this particularly strange!
Front Page Sports - 07:44 CDT, 5/29/20 (Sniper)
Just like all of Dynamix's output in those days, I loved this game as a kid. Just listen to the OPL synth music, obviously from the same guy who did "Aces of the Pacific"? And look at those wireframe, motion-captured animations in the intro? Games of that era really got and get that "autistic" part of my brain excited, in a way modern games tend to do just the opposite.

I loved how PC-centric and "techy" the game was too: it had a full-on DOS file system browser, and you could save and load files directly using a mouse-drive interface. You could edit every single play, player, and team.
Mission in Progress - 07:17 CDT, 5/29/20 (Sniper)
These words would be difficult to believe if they weren't so predictable: Jacob Frey is Justin Trudeau's twin brother mentally as well-- they both inherited the same walnut-sized brain. Either that or their skinny jeans mess up their circulation.

Observe how Frey can't emphasize the race aspect of it strongly enough. He even brings slavery into it, for Pete's sake. And of course, the only reason he's handing out masks is to make it more difficult for rioters to be identified-- why would he do these things, if not simply to destabilize society?

Thus, I stick by what I wrote here: this whole thing was started by bused-in paid professionals. And now I'm pretty sure Frey is in on it.
You Are Here - 15:06 CDT, 5/28/20 (Sniper)
Libertarians should support this: one of the legitimate, "delegation of natural rights" functions of the State is contract enforcement.

When you sign up for a YouTube or Twitter account, it needs to be in bright, bold letters either: when you post content, "we only publish a tiny handful of submissions, because we are legally liable for every word", or "your content will be shown unless it breaks the law."

Right now, sites like that-- and believe me, I'm a compulsive EULA reader-- give the impression to any reasonable person that the site is more or less a public square. Whereas in reality, the sites covertly-- meaning, contract violation-- curate content to a pretty extreme degree, and getting more extreme as time passes.

As regular readers know, I've been eagerly awaiting the moment when these companies need to choose-- because it will either make them disappear altogether in the former choice, or become BitChute or Gab in the latter. Maybe this executive order will be that moment?
Afoot - 07:22 CDT, 5/28/20 (Sniper)
My in-laws have lived in North Minneapolis for about sixty years, and even I spent much of my early-twenties there, hanging out with family. While it's true that there is lots of laziness and rampant welfare system abuse, most of the people who live there are very laid back.

So when I see this, it makes me wonder how many professionals George Soros bussed in to start all of these buildings on fire. Mass-arson just isn't a behavior I see very many people in the area indulging in: for starters, it just takes too much effort!

In other news, here is Eric Peters discussing the manual transmission. While he brings up a lot of good points, there are some valid counter-arguments: among them, clutch replace costs vary wildly by car depending on the type of clutch, and how much labor is involved.

Wifey's WRX involves dropping the entire engine, and cost me well over two grand. That included replacing the flywheel, which was torched. It only lasted sixty thousand miles as well, due to how imprecise and "grabby" it is-- even professional car pundits say they can't drive a WRX or STI very smoothly.
No Substance - 07:51 CDT, 5/27/20 (Sniper)
I think Steve Carell is pretty funny, and I watched every episode of "The Office" until he left-- but the trailer for his new series was so awkwardly not-funny, that it was very apparent the show was only greenlit due to the rampant Trump Derangement Syndrome going on at Netflix. Turns out, the whole show is as terrible as the trailer was, to the point where even Leftist critics don't like it-- here is a review example.

Interestingly, that review reveals the show was made due to reactions to Trump's "Space Force" announcement on Twitter. But Twitter ruthlessly censors Conservatives via shadow-banning and other means-- so it was the Left making fun of something, and mistaking their echo chamber for a reflection of a broader reality. The show's lack of substance also shows that the only reason they made fun of "Space Force" to begin with, was because it was Trump's idea. All of this reminds me of Google's "search quality evaluators", and the prediction I made in a blog post about that topic.

In other news, this is very interesting. There really is a "masters of the universe" thing going on, where a small handful of people are controlling the discourse.

I keep hearing Americans reference a web site called "TikTok", which seems to be some weird cesspool of narcissism. I looked it up, and it's Chinese: owned by a one hundred and forty billion yuan company called "ByteDance". I'd be surprised if it wasn't directly controlled by the CCP, as a way of getting Americans to do their social media posting there. But as usual, no one does their homework before they start using a new web site...

Finally and on that note, the average American family has been watching sixty six hours of television per week during the so-called "pandemic". My household watches zero hours of television: my kids and I have a couple of YouTube channels we like, and that's about it. If you really, seriously sit with a note book and break down the content in any given episode of a television show, or a single commercial segment, it's really eye opening how many agendas are being force-fed to you.
Gracious - 06:41 CDT, 5/26/20 (Sniper)
I was wondering how long it would take the Left to go after historical web archival sites-- turns out, not long. These mechanisms are frequently used to catch "the authorities" in lies, hence why they are targets.

In related news, here is my home state's governor being so gracious as to allow people to practice their religion-- but only twenty five of them at a time, mind you! It's nice to see the bishops sticking their fingers in the governor's eye by indicating that the only reason they'd shut down Mass in the first place was because they'd deemed it wise, not because the governor had mandated it.

Even forgetting natural rights, how is any of this legal according to the Federal government's own charter? You only need to read so far as the very first amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The text actually points out a double-whammy of violations: back then they assumed that the State apparatus would follow its own rule regarding the creation of mandates being performed by a congress-- so not only are people being told they can't practice religion or peaceably assemble, but they are being stopped via Monarchy-styled edicts.

Of course, this charter is for the Federal government-- which is why Democrat governors are so suddenly and hilariously adopting anti-Federalist stances.
Forget It - 12:28 CDT, 5/24/20 (Sniper)
I've spent untold hours-- perhaps twelve?-- in the past two days trying to get Nvidia's "DIGITS" tool working, as I'd mentioned here. I hate to sink such a staggering cost, but I eventually had to draw the line: I simply can not get it running. I documented everything I tried in this repository.

The lessons here are that Python is an absolute crap development environment, especially with regards to how it handles dependencies and libraries, and that these machine learning libraries have absolutely no professional rigor behind them at all.

I once worked with data scientists at my employer, and while a lot of them were extraordinary smart, they threw together code with Scotch tape and glue. I get the exact same impression from "Caffe" and "DIGITS".
Ampere'd Up - 06:55 CDT, 5/23/20 (Sniper)
Nvidia's "Ampere" blog post talks about peak 32-bit floating point performance as being at the 19.5 teraflop level, so I'm assuming the top-end "3000 line" of their incoming chipsets will be somewhere around that performance level. It could even persuade me avoid the new consoles: the nice part about a video card upgrade is that I could hand my RTX 2080 down to my wife, and her GTX 1080 down to my daughter.

Unless there is a major paradigm shift, like a move to holograms or something, the world is rapidly approaching "video card of forever" territory: once games can reliably hit 60 frames per second at 2160p, it's not apparent what the purpose of more power is.

I haven't done the math, but a human probably has to sit at a very uncomfortably close distance to a 50" television to see the difference between 4K and 8K-- so more pixels is pointless, unless you're using a 150" projector or something along those lines. Heck, with how good reconstructive and anti-aliasing techniques are these days, one can get by with internal rendering resolutions as low as 720p with something like DLSS, in the most extreme case.

More power will still be desirable for virtual reality head sets, where having dual-4K images at super high framerates would be ideal. But outside of a niche market, VR head sets are a dead-end: they've been around since the 1980s and have never caught on for a variety of reasons, a large one being that they induce extreme motion sickness in many people.

But back to the main point-- conceptually, something like the Nintendo Switch came just a little too early: a some juncture, even a cheap tablet chipset will be able to hit some minimum bar, where reconstructive techniques will let a Switch-like device produce visuals which look as good as native 4K. Even as early as 2021, I'm curious to see if Nintendo's "Switch Pro" becomes reality, and what the output of that will look like.
Early Adopter - 14:55 CDT, 5/21/20 (Sniper)
According to this history, my dad was an even earlier adopter of audio CDs than I'd thought: I remember being not-even-kintergarten age, and listening to what had to be one of the first-ever audio CDs-- a Disney disc with Christmas-themed songs voiced by the characters' actual voice actors. Specifically, I remember having my mom replay "The Twelve Days of Christmas" track over and over, where Goofy would sing, "Fiiiive, onnnion riings!"

Based on my age, that would have placed the year as either 1985, or 1986. The player itself was, in fact, this exact unit: a Pioneer PD-5010. When searching for "first cd players" via DuckDuckGo, I recognized the picture immediately. Interestingly, here is someone who owned the exact same player, purchased in 1985. Incidentally, I love the Polaroid photo of their TI-99 computer, sitting the floor, hooked up a television which looks very similar to the TV I used to play Atari 2600 and 7800 via.

I can also relate to getting a stereo for the first time. In the very early 90s, my dad handed me down his matching stereo and tape deck units, plus a pair of "Realistic" speakers, all purchased in 1977-- in fact, I have preserved the original receipt! I still use the unit at the bug out house for my classic games setup. At the time, I used to record music from my Genesis and 3DO onto audio cassettes, then listen to them on the school bus via a black Sony Walkman, which looked like this-- still a sexy piece of electronics, I might add.

In other news, here is David Stockman breaking down the "Coronavirus" infection and morbitity statistics in his usual, compulsively detailed style. If you aren't eighty five and in a nursing home, in practical terms this is your average flu season, and you are being Michael Jackson levels of mysophobic kooky by walking around with a mask on. More broadly, it's interesting how since I discovered Anarcho-Capitalism many years ago and started surrounding myself with the right influences, I've been right about almost everything-- that's what good models gets you.
Laziness - 07:31 CDT, 5/20/20 (Sniper)
This is hilarious! For those who don't want to read the article, "Madden" is so imbalanced that a guy won this year's championship by only executing run plays, while fielding a punter at quarterback!

There is some lazy reporting in that article however: while "2K Games" or whatever Visual Concepts is called these days has been given permission to make NFL-related games, they've said that these will not be simulation-related products. I wrote about that here.

All of that said, I actually think the contemporary "Madden" games are pretty good, as long as you just relax and play them on the default difficulty. I reviewed the 2018 edition, and the "arcade mode" made the engine play a lot more like the "NFL 2Kx" games of yore.

I'm still hoping to get this year's edition, although with the way the end of this year is stacking up, I'm not sure when I'd have time to play it.
Gobble Gobble! - 21:02 CDT, 5/19/20 (Sniper)
All I want in a car came be summarized by the immortal Steve Martin in the film "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles": "Four fucking wheels and a seat."

I don't want air conditioning, power windows, air bags, or a radio-- those things all just add weight, and are more elements which will inevitably go bad.

Much less: an automatic transmission-- I will never buy a car which is not a manual; an electric motor; GPS; any kind of crap which can take control from me; ASS, which constantly shuts off the car's engine without my permission; blinking "blind spot" indicators; a steering wheel which wrestles against me if I change lanes without signaling a billion times like a confused idiot; network endpoints which the cops can use to track and even remotely shut down my car; and a whole litany of other things which are quite literally anti-features.

So, in which direction are car companies going? "Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric". They couldn't have come up with a paradigm so diametrically opposed to what I want from a car if they'd tried!

It's not just me who objects: the average age of a car on the road in America is twelve years, and every year that average goes up by one year. The median-priced car today is so needlessly complicated and complex that it costs over half-- often times well over half-- of a typical American family's entire annual income! Even in the article, the car companies found that forty percent of drivers say "technology [in cars] is getting too complicated." So what are the car companies doing? Doubling down!

They also found that sixty percent of people want to know exactly what data is being collected by their car, and what it's being used for. Which leads me to wonder: did they ask people, "do you want your car to record information at all?" I doubt it.

And, hence, the article describes their paradigm as something that's being "pushed". That sounds an awful like a Freudian Slip to me.

But that's ok, because frankly I don't think most of these car companies are even going to be around at all by the time we reach this supposed 2030 target date. Just to sell the bloated pieces of crap they make now requires thousands of dollars in rebates, and six or even seven year auto loans at absurdly low interest rates. They have zero wiggle room to "push" down this path any further without destroying their viabilities as companies.

The other saving grace is that as the new car industry veers further and further off into the ditch, a serious cottage industry is growing around freshly-refurbished, totally restored classic cars. Not only are these cheaper, way cooler looking, far easier to maintain, and a very close match to the ideal of a "pure" car, but they qualify for collector plates, which means they're exempt from meeting safety and environmental regulations. You can't get much better than a "brand new", original Datsun 240z!
Faux Journalist - 16:15 CDT, 5/19/20 (Sniper)
"Vee" has a couple of videos now, from which this is the second, where he details a story wherein an activist posing as a journalist once upon a time created her own news story, then had the corresponding "first scoop" article all ready to go, probably even ahead of time. Corrupt much?

Fast forward and he sees what strikes him as a phony article, written by a name which sounds familiar to him. So, he digs back in his notes, and lo and behold it's the activist again! Ninety nine percent of people would not have made that connection, so it's a good thing the world has those like "Vee"-- whatever his real name is-- and Mark Dice, to keep this history documented.

Besides that, on what grounds can "House Democrats" pressure a company to hire an officer? If I want to hire a new manager for my accounting department, do I suddenly now need to get Congressional approval?

In other news, I've got a couple of new projects in mind, if I feel like them and get bored with "Assassin's Creed Odyssey": the first is to get Nvidia's "Digits" tool working in Manjaro Linux, then make a Minecraft-related image recognition tool with the kids. The second, related project would be to make a basic little robot, and have it react if its camera is presented with a specific Minecraft stuffed animal or Lego piece by invoking our trained model.
Land Wasted - 06:50 CDT, 5/18/20 (Sniper)
Daughter and I watched "The Shining" a couple of nights ago, and the "Kodiak" reminds me of a "Mad Max" version of the snow crawler in that film.

Something about Wasteland 3's art style and user interface looks "off" to me though; "Fortnite"? "Torchlight"? The second game was far from perfect, but I really hope this third entry doesn't totally eschew the "1980s CRPG" roots. It's one of those now-rare major releases which actually gets a native GNU/Linux port, so I've got my fingers crossed.

On an unrelated note, as is often the case the comments are better than the article:

"What's wrong with hate speech?

If someone post ideas/views that I don't agree with, then perhaps.

1) They are stupid, and showing their true colors. This exposes them. So I can choose to avoid them.

2) I am stupid, and need to look at my views.

Both 1 and 2 are good for society and personal growth in my view."
True and False - 08:01 CDT, 5/17/20 (Sniper)
This is the kind of thought-provoking article I enjoy. I verified the author's core facts-- such as the origins of "Nature" magazine, the identities of its founders, and the existence of the so-called "X Club": it all seems to check out. I wasn't able to find an official "mandate" for the club's formation however-- maybe the author embellished that point?

I also did a little reading about Jacques Benveniste. I think I'm just going to start using "Britannica" as my online encyclopedia: read his entry there, then compare it to his Wikipedia page, which reads more like a hit piece than a historical documentation artifact.

One of his biggest research areas was exploring "how organic molecules configure the geometry of H2O molecules and imprint their 'information'" into water.

It's not exactly the same idea, and I can't recall his name now, but there is a an active, contemporary researcher who has evidence to support that all matter pulled into a black hole is encoded on the hole's event horizon, and could be reproduced, or "played back" later. The two theories have similar premises, although the "encoding" mechanism works differently.

The bigger point at play though is how science is used to control the population, essentially based on modern-day versions of Malthus-- "anthropogenic climate change" and the Coronavirus are good examples: if we just put an elite cabal of know-it-all "scientists" and technocrats in charge, they can "cull the herd", microchip everybody, and do who-knows-what-else to "save" humanity.

I personally hold the same view of economics: when you approach the field with complete honesty, it becomes obvious that if you just leave people alone, they organically and automatically generate the optimal patterns of wealth creation which benefits the most people, in the best possible way-- and that any forceful overriding of that order only impedes the general rise in the standard of living.

Therefore-- and I've said this very thing to wifey on numerous occasions-- I wish I could wave my hand, and erase the entire field of economics from the minds of all people: it has long-since served its purpose (study of the obvious "invisible hand" simile), and is only a destructive force used for evil today.

The case of science is perhaps different, but similar: true open-minded scientific inquiry has a never-ending useful purpose-- but today's science is more like economics: implemented not with honesty, but with ulterior motives.
Intuition - 12:05 CDT, 5/16/20 (Sniper)
Donald Trump is good on a lot of things: the "Space Force" deal is very forward-thinking-- just like a company planting a flag in an emerging market with media campaign exploration and product sampling, getting in front of an inevitable Chinese space militarization can only be a good thing. Being first has major benefits in many aspects of life.

He's also excellent on the social media censorship problem. It's nice having a person in a high place who actually understands what's going on. Hopefully these joints will soon need to pick: publisher, or public square?
Unexpectedly Difficult - 11:49 CDT, 5/16/20 (Sniper)
I've been on projects like this before. It can be frustrating on one hand when you accidentally bite off more than you had in mind, but it's also part of what makes software development so much fun: tearing apart some giant abstract machine, refining the individual parts, and putting it back together again.

The only trade-off they made which I would have been very frustrated with had I been involved was the step away from the scripting subsystem: finding some other way of improving that performance would have meant that every change made here could be back-ported into the main engine, for the benefit of all future projects using it.

Instead now, all future "Build" console ports will be stuck with this "convert all scripts to compileable code", which makes maintenance across PC and consoles a hassle, since changes need to be made plus debugged in two places. It truly was the "nuclear" approach, which I'm sure they avoided until it became absolutely necessary. Hopefully they have good unit tests for both cases.

If the other changes do get back-ported, maybe some other project can get the console multi-core rendering working-- then those gains can be used to switch the console versions back to the scripting engine?
Terrible Idea - 06:43 CDT, 5/16/20 (Sniper)
I'm all for having black coaches in gridiron: all due respect to Mike Zimmer, but Denny Green is my favorite Vikings coach from my time remembering the team, all the way back to the late 1980s. But this has to be called for what it is: racist. You don't combat arson by setting houses on fire-- what's that old adage about becoming what you hate?

And that said, as is almost always the case where there are different outcomes per demographic group, there are probably tons of rational, alternative explanations-- other than racism, in this case-- for why there aren't more black head coaches. Just like there are alternative explanations for why the players themselves are 70% black: I don't think whites are being discriminated against, nor do I think teams should be given extra draft picks for signing white running backs, of which there are only 12.8% in the league.

In another sport-- soccer football-- many of the world's best coaches are Italians. This isn't because the world is racially biased towards Italians: rather, it's because Italians have a very advanced footballing culture, which focuses on tactics for kids from practically toddler-hood. As a result, when in a job interview process, the Italian coaches are quite often better qualified than the Spanish, German, or English coaches.

In the article's embedded video clip, Michael Wilbon asks "why is it so hard for teams to hire qualified black coaches?" But that question is sophistry: the real question is, when going up against coaches from other racial groups, why are the black coaches falling at the final hurdle when it comes to being the most qualified for the job? What kinds of interviewing, leadership, or technical skills could be taught to help them fare better in the process? If you follow that thought train, you might get somewhere-- and not become a bigot in the process.

Because in the NFL, it's all about winning-- and teams are going to select the candidate which gives them the best chance of accomplishing that.
Friday Humor - 07:24 CDT, 5/15/20 (Sniper)
Couple of funny jokes to start the day. First, there is this one, compliments of VideoGameCritic. Hah, sounds like something I would have come up with! It also reminds me of the time I called "Software Etc." in 1995, and asked the sales guy if he "had Ballz". He just sat there: "Uhhh, uhhh...", at which point I realized my mistake and added, "for the 3DO, I mean!"

Second, there is this Communism one, which I love:

"At a meeting, Peskov asks 'Where is all the meat?' Next week, Peskov asks 'Where is all the bread?' Next week, Flotski asks 'Where is Peskov?'"
Ludonarrative - 16:49 CDT, 5/14/20 (Sniper)
Boy is Alex Battaglia good at what he does. As I mentioned in my initial post regarding the "Unreal Engine 5" reveal, the demo makes things sound like magic-- but everything has a cost, and each approach has trade-offs.

And sure enough, if you skip to around the 6:30 mark in Alex's video, he shows where Epic's new lighting model breaks down. Just like how screen space reflections work really well in some game projects-- "Assassin's Creed Odyssey"-- but terribly in others-- "Shenmue III"-- I suspect this "lumen" system's limitations will be extremely noticeable in many game projects, as we see it employed in different kinds of scenes.

That doesn't mean it isn't cool-- but it's not a silver bullet: rather, it's just one more tool in the box for developers to combine with other methods such as hardware ray tracing and pre-baked lighting-- all in the same frame, even.

Similarly and regarding the new geometry engine, he seems to come to the same conclusion as I did: other than the absence of "LOD shifting", the big benefit isn't so much in terms of visual fidelity, as it is the monumental time savings it will have for projects. He also raises concerns about the memory cost of these massive-count models, plus a few other risks I hadn't considered.

In spite of all this, "Unreal Engine 5" looks incredible, and I think it's going to be the dominant engine for this "next generation" of third-party games.

In other gaming news, I had a magical moment in "Assassin's Creed Odyssey" last night. The first bounty hunter would simply not vacate the "Temple of Zeus" site, where I needed to conclude some quests-- so, I decided to initiate a premature confrontation with him. I started by sniping him from the bushes for big damage. As he circled around the temple to investigate, I shimmied up to the roof, and sniped him again for more big damage.

This time though, he spotted me: he scaled the wall, and we kick off some roof-top melee combat. He caught my under-leveled self off guard, and a pair of blows put me in some major trouble. However, I was able to re-position him so that his back was very near the edge of the roof overlooking the front of the temple. I waited for an opening, lunged with my spear, and... he was knocked off balance! He wobbled, desperately trying to re-establish his footing-- but ultimately fell backwards off the roof, dying from the thirty or forty foot fall onto the paved surface below!

What was especially neat is that the NPCs below actually gasped as the body tumbled down near them. The whole situation, and the fact that it occurred totally emergently, on an inch-perfect historically accurate re-creation of a famous building to boot, is an experience which only an open world game can deliver.
Setting the Record Straight - 06:53 CDT, 5/14/20 (Sniper)
One thing I've been observing about people suffering from gender dysphoria is how the onset of the disease is first preceded by significant mental illness. The proximate cause of their mental instability is their unwillingness to accept who they are, due to some significant traumatic experience in their past.

So, they create an "alter ego" of the opposite sex in an attempt to re-invent who they are as an individual, based on John Money's so-called "gender theories". Whenever some science surfaces which undermines those postulates-- which are totally fake, as Money made them up as a cover for his activities as a sexual predator, and thus contradictory evidence is legion-- these "trans" people become violent, and sometimes dangerous.

It's perfectly understandable: they've locked away their damaged "real self" into a box, in the closet-- it's much easier to play along with the "trans" fantasy than confront the past, especially when such make believe brings with it adoration and praise. When the science tells them that maybe they aren't actually of the opposite sex, they panic, and become aggressive: the prospect of opening the box in the closet is just too painful.

I feel sad for them: rock, meet hard place.

The reason I bring this up now is because there is a specific "trans" individual who became and has been obsessed with me for years, like some sort of creepy stalker. I haven't written about him because my rules are to not feed the trolls, and to steer clear of crazy people-- but that has to change now, because I have recently received this email message from him:

"Dear Mike,

Your intolerant beliefs and actions have caught our attention. Your employer has been contacted. Proper authorities have been notified. All subsequent blog entries on your site are being saved offline and will be used against you in due time through legal means. They are also being published elsewhere where they are more broadly viewable and identifiable. And your employer is also getting copied.

Eyes are and will be on you. And if you attempt to hurt anyone at any time, you will be stopped in your tracks.

So please, keep digging yourself this ever-deepening hole. It's been a pleasure for us all in watching your demented worldview and psyche crumble in the present ways of the world.

Take extra good care now."

This is not the first time this person has threatened me. But this is the first time in which the threats have been specific. Additionally, this man's wife has a history of attempting to get political opponents fired from their employers-- so this is modus operandi.

I have told this individual numerous times that if they don't like what I write, then to stop reading my blog-- or, in the words of Dave Chappelle, "remember, bitch, you clicked on my face." But like all mentally unstable people, it's not enough to agree to disagree, and to go opposite directions, living in peace-- no: even thought crime must be punished.

The irony of his gradual escalations is that for every threat he makes, the more he proves my hypothesis regarding "trans" people correct.

The part about me "hurting" someone made me laugh out loud-- a classic case of projection: who is the one making the threats here? And if I were to describe someone with a "crumbling psyche", I may just use the hypothetical example of someone who stalks another individual online for years. But that's just me.

Further, I'm a Libertarian pacifist for Pete's sake, as anyone who has read my blog for any amount of time well knows. I abhor violence. I don't even kill spiders, in my own home. I've written post after post-- an entire tome's worth-- espousing natural rights and non-aggression as the most sacrosanct of principles.

I also chuckled at the part about contacting my employer. There are close to a dozen people at my employer-- co-workers-- who not only read my blog on a daily basis, but who frequently contact me expressing total agreement with every word. A couple of these readers even work in HR. "My employer" already knows about the blog.

I have also gone to pain-staking lengths to never run afoul of my company's "social media policy": I have never disclosed my employer's identity, and there is positively zero way for anyone to associate this web site with them.

In any event, the United States isn't England-- not yet, anyway: in this country, we have freedom of speech, and freedom of expression. Everything I write on this blog, unless it's making specific actionable threats against specific individuals-- which I have no urges to do, have never done, and never in a million years would do-- is fully protected by the First Amendment.

If the book could somehow be thrown at me legally for freely expressing my opinions and hurting someone's feelings in the process, then it can be thrown at any web site on the entire world wide web, any physical newspaper, any novel, any magazine, or any radio show. Any judge would laugh the concept right out of the court room.

My stalker can huff and puff all he wants-- but he's going to need to learn to deal with the "present ways of the world" in that sometimes, people disagree about things-- and that disagreement is each individual's prerogative.
Playing With Power - 14:50 CDT, 5/13/20 (Sniper)
For those who haven't seen it yet, the just-released Unreal Engine 5 footage is an absolute must-watch. In my thirty five years of playing video games, it's the single most impressive demo I've ever seen. That said and as potentially game-changing as I think it is-- no LODs? no light baking? get out of town!-- one should also toss in a dose of realistic skepticism.

Nothing is free. At the end of the day, actual silicon needs to crunch these mind-blowingly massive data structures through its pipeline. If drawing a billion triangles with bounce global illumination was as easy as just writing some new software, it would have been done ages ago.

Rather, I think the big innovation here isn't as much graphical fidelity as it is a mitigation for ever-rising project budgets: to name just one example, being able to import raw models into the engine without manually making different LOD versions of them, and without needing to generate and tinker with normal maps, then watching the engine automatically scale resolution, shader quality, and triangle "fidelity" to meet configurable performance profiles, is going to save a ton of manpower.

And then there are those features which are simply "nice-to-haves" which could have just as well been bolted on to Unreal Engine 4: for instance, it will be cool having the engine dynamically adjust player models to make them realistically interact with-- presumably even dynamic-- world geometry. Those "icing" additions should not be discounted.
Demanding Engine - 08:06 CDT, 5/13/20 (Sniper)
A vocal minority of people have been upset that the upcoming "Assassin's Creed" game will only run at thirty frames per second on the "Xbox Series X". Having gotten the game's predecessor-- "Odyssey"-- all tweaked to my satisfaction, I can understand why the "Series X" won't be able to do better.

From a technical perspective, "Odyssey" is a very impressive game, with insane draw-in distances, excellent HDR, screen space reflections all over the place, and amazing texture resolution. But that all comes at a cost: after tinkering with the in-game benchmark on my Ryzen 1600x, RTX 2080 duo, it boiled down to a choice between 2160p and 30fps, or 1440p and 60fps.

I went with the latter, on the basis that with modern anti-aliasing, 1440p looks almost as good as 2160p-- and that little bit of added fluidity which 60fps gets you is a nice thing. But even at 1440p, I had to make some concessions, ultimately settling on the "High" preset. Unfortunately, the framerate limiter setting doesn't seem to work at all, so I enabled the game's adaptive v-sync option instead.

Why no 1800p, you ask? After all, regular readers know that's usually my go-to resolution: in my eyes, the RTX 2080 is ultimately an 1800p card. Well, it's because "Odyssey" doesn't have that resolution available in the menu, bizarrely! I might see if there is a .ini file I can edit in the game's directory. It would also be a potential game changer if the game supported DLSS-- but as a release from 2018, I get why it doesn't. Maybe in the next title?

In other news, an ethical cop? Incredible! I wonder if I could get him to agree on the definition of "tyrannical"? Which is, of course, any act of force which violates someone's natural rights. Because if you don't define the boundary between what is acceptable and what is not, then you're just pseudo-randomly using your emotions from moment-to-moment: consequentalism-- just like the tyrants themselves.
False Sense - 16:55 CDT, 5/12/20 (Sniper)
On a whim, I bought "Assassin's Creed Odyssey" during today's Humble Bundle sale. I've been hearing so much about the upcoming one, that it sounded like fun to try the series for the very first time. Not sure why it took me so long to pick one of these up.

On a different topic, I've traveled via airplane several times since "9/11", and the process still feels like queuing up for Dr. Mengele. I picked up "Baker's Square" for wifey for Mother's Day over the weekend, and I felt like I was at the airport: they had giant taped lines on the floor, a probably six foot tall glass facade between me and the cashier, and that all-too-familiar general sense of nervousness in the air.

Now I'm reading that just like "9/11", a lot of this B.S. is not going away, perhaps ever. Just like how I've avoided air travel at all costs due to the TSA over the past twenty-odd years, it seems now that I'll also be avoiding restaurants, theme parks, and grocery stores as well for maybe the rest of my life. The first two will save me money and cause me to eat more nutritiously, and as for the latter, there appear to be a plethora of delivery-based options.

Regarding all of this so-called "social distancing" anyway, I doubt it accomplishes virtually anything. My brother said that one time immediately after he took in a big mouthful of chocolate milk, he suddenly had an unsupressable sneeze: he bent far over and let it go into the crook of his arm-- and even with that mess-preventative attempt, he said he was finding particles of chocolate milk days later, more than a dozen feet from where he had been standing. "If someone had a virus and sneezed or even coughed", he concluded, "microscopic particles would be on your pants, on your coat, in our hair, on your glasses, on every surface around, and maybe even beneath your finger nails if your hand was positioned right."

Today, I watched the gal at a local restaurant I frequent follow this process: fresh gloves; touches keypad on terminal; touches customer's credit card; touches keypad again; hands customer pen; takes pen back from customer, puts on counter top; handles bag of food and cup, passes to customer; takes off gloves, touching with bare hands in process; puts on new gloves for the next customer, then touches all of those things with the new pair. See some gaps in the flow?

Then the customer gets back to their car, touches the door handle, touches the steering wheel, touches the seat belt, gets home, retrieves their keys from their pocket, touches the door to their house, goes in and washes their hands, but then touches the bag of food again. See some gaps in that flow too?

And all of reality works like that: if you actually keep a mental log of every process you do in life, you are never, ever going to be able to avoid getting sick, if someone around you is. You probably catch dozens of illnesses every year, and your immune system fights them off, becoming stronger in the process. If you actually try to plug every loophole, envisioning a virus-proof process, it involves being so miserable that you may as well just blow your brains out, versus trying to live that way. That's why people with major OCD are often driven to suicide.

All of this glove wearing, "stay six feet away", mask-- or bandanna, hilariously-- wearing is pure theater: designed to make people feel safe, not actually be materially safer from getting ill. I'm not going to participate in a society where every public space feels like a TSA checkpoint. And so, a Michael Jackson-style surgical mask is never going to touch my face, no matter what it costs me. Absolute worst-case scenario, I'll just move to the bug-out house-- that's why I have it-- and live primarily off the land, bartering with family and neighbors-- many of whom will be like-minded, undoubtedly-- for the things I need.

Finally, say what you will about Donald Trump-- there is lots to like, and lots to dislike-- but be aware that if you vote for Joe Biden, you're actually putting his unelected cabinet in charge of the entire country: I'm not trying to be mean-spirited, but he quite literally can't remember what time zone he's in or what his wife looks like half the time-- he's almost completely senile. Him as President would be like that "Star Trek" episode with the drugged puppet leader.
Mixed - 09:08 CDT, 5/09/20 (Sniper)
Here is the John Linneman-Alex Battaglia duo's take on the Xbox live stream, which I briefly mentioned in this post.

I laughed at how neither of them knew who Patrick Mahomes was. They're both based in Germany though, so I can cut them some slack. Linneman singling out how the last major leap in sports games graphics was "NFL 2K" was spot-on. In fact, I remember seeing a "Madden 2000" PSX commercial on TV in fall of 1999 with its chunky pixel textures and 320x240 resolution, and laughing at how crappy it looked compared to the Dreamcast then sitting in my bed room; "NFL 2K" ran at 640x480, with full then-modern 3d accelerator features, like mip mapping, texture filtering, and so forth.

I'm with them that the re-emergence of space combat simulators is a good thing, and the lighting in that trailer looked really cool. But I'm not playing any more games with "woke" protagonists-- I'm firmly boycotting any game which promotes Frankfurt School bigotry, which is a position everyone should be taking: "social justice" is absolutely today's "KKK", and has no place in a civil society.

On that note, I was super excited about "Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2", until I saw via Wikipedia that this woman is one of the, if not the, key writer for the project. Absolutely everything about her, from her "resume" to the "pronoun Twitter bio" red flag smacks of a case-in-point example of SJW infiltration into the hobby, for the sake of societal re-programming. I can virtually guarantee that "Bloodlines 2" is going to be a racist, sexist disaster.

The "The Ascent" game shows text saying "Workers!", then "Slaves!", which tells you it's going to be another Marxist-propaganda, "evil corporations" tropey affair. The underwater game looks kind of cool-- "Sea of Thieves" vibe? Finally, I've heard the "Yakuza" games described as spiritual "Shenmue" follow-ups, yet I've never played any of them. Maybe I should.
Dire - 20:07 CDT, 5/07/20 (Sniper)
The Xbox "gameplay" live stream today was eye-opening, and not in a positive way.

While most people are focusing on the fact that very little "gameplay" was actually shown-- which is true-- the thing which leapt out to me the most was just how dire and creatively bankrupt most of these games look. If this is the current state of third-party "triple-A" development, then I'm not sure how many of these publishers will still be around in a few years.

That said, "Scarlet Nexus" had some real music in it with a few plinks of actual melody, although graphically it just looked like a higher resolution Switch game-- "Astral Chain", maybe? And the weird dinosaur game "Second Extinction" might be ok, in an "Evolve" or "Left 4 Dead" kind of way.

But I'm reaching.
Embellishment - 17:05 CDT, 5/07/20 (Sniper)
I love videos like this, because they stimulate lots of interesting debate.

For the record, I do think Earth is a sphere, and I do think they managed to land men on the moon. But at the same time, much NASA material is very obviously edited, or is misleadingly presented.

Some of those "space walk" videos are clearly recorded from their underwater training facilities, of which they have two: I don't buy the "ice crystals" explanation at all. And I don't doubt that some of the ISS videos are green-screened using harnesses.

Similarly, in the moon landing photographs, there are numerous examples where the exact same terrain was spliced into the backgrounds of shots purportedly taken looking in opposite directions, with totally different elements in the foregrounds.

Most of the raw moon shots either probably didn't develop properly, or were extremely boring. Considering they spent the GDP of several small countries combined to get there, the real pictures probably wouldn't sit well with the public-- so they were embellished, to make them look cooler.

This worked in the grainy, low-res newspapers of the time, but under internet scrutiny where dozens of pictures can be lined up for side-by-side comparison in seconds, the inconsistencies become very obvious.

The ISS is real, because you can catch it with well-timed telescope shots right from your back yard. But if people can't get a "Zoom" meeting working from Minneapolis to St. Paul half the time, try doing one moving at 17,000 mph-- especially when a much cheaper to make training harness segment will educate the public too.

Like most things, the truth is probably in the middle: NASA does have people in orbit and did have them on the moon, while many of the arm chair analysts at home are right on the money in picking up on some edited and misrepresented material.
Hits and Misses - 07:35 CDT, 5/07/20 (Sniper)
I finally bit the bullet and bought the Switch version of "Streets of Rage 4" last night. I played it for a couple of hours, and it's... so-so.

I keep hearing people compare it to "Sonic Mania", but it's not at all: the "Sonic Mania" guys took the approach of, "let's just do more of what made those games great in the first place." Someone not well-versed in the technical aspects of the hobby might actually mistake that game for one of the originals, so closely does it emulate the art style, soundtrack, and gameplay.

No: the accurate comparison is to "Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove!". Rather than "more of the same" ala "Sonic Mania", it was decided to make radical departures in terms of just about everything, from graphics to audio to gameplay, to the point where the new release only vaguely resembles the originals. And just like the new "TJ and E", it hits on some things, but whiffs on lots of others.

Of course, I'll do a full review once I play through the game completely a couple of times. But for now, I'll say that for all of my teeth gnashing, the art style isn't as bad as I thought it'd be: it's more "Comix Zone" than "Rayman Legends", in the sense that there is a lot more detail present overall, which gets almost totally lost in compressed YouTube video footage.

The core player movement and fighting mechanics are pretty good: not as tight as 2, but better than 1 or 3. Where the game starts to fall apart is in the level design: the game throws insane numbers of enemies at the player, and because the sprites are so large, all of this action is crammed into a tiny play space. It's interesting that "Back in the Groove!" made the exact same mistake-- I wonder what it is with that? Rather than feeling slow and deliberate like the original games, it feels "button-mashey" and hectic.

You can tell that the designers realized this, but rather than do a careful re-balancing, they just started throwing more and more food items all over the place. At one point during my play last night, there were two apples and two turkeys all visible on the screen, at the same time, in single-player!

The game also leans way too much on "invincible throw" enemies and other cheap-shot style antics, which are simply obnoxious: the "throw" enemies will "flash" for a couple of frames, then steamroll towards the player at top-speed and perform an un-interruptible toss, which can also not be "dodged" out of upon landing. Your only hope is to be in a position to jump over them, which is usually impossible because you're fighting the other eight enemies on the screen!

The music is a total whiff: it's boring and forgettable at best, and even has dubstep in it at worst. Apparently there is a menu option where the developers mapped some of Yuzo Koshiro's Mega Drive songs to each stage-- but that just feels ham-fisted and wrong. The character designs are also whiffs: why do they all look like they put on a hundred pounds? I've noticed video game characters getting fatter as people in real life get fatter: it reminds me of the fat logic phenomenon, "I'm just big-framed!" obesity normalization.

Just like "Back in the Groove!", "Streets of Rage 4" isn't a bad game, and it's cool to see strange new remixes based on vivid childhood experiences. But these two games also come nowhere near supplanting their original source material.