Sunday Afternoon Reading Material: Second Sunday in January 2011


Nice to see where her priorities are!

It’s Sunday. Sundays are for hanging out in New Vegas until 4am and not getting out of bed until well after the post is due to go up. Alternately, Sundays are for… hell if I know. I’ve been spending all week in New Vegas, and neglecting my friends.

This week: history restarted itself– a crazy man heeded the overheated rhetoric of an awful human being, and murdered a judged, a little girl, and several others while attempting to assassinate an American Congresswoman. Also this week: The Southern Sudanese learn the value of democracy as they vote their way to freedom.

For years, it was “known” in some circles that vaccines caused autism. If you are a responsible parent, you learn about this, you do the requisite research, and you discover that there is “controversy”. So now you have to think. The choice is to either take a risk that the study is correct– and that there is a chance your child will “contract” autism– or not. Turns out that this is a false dilemma; the autism research is a fraud. Get your kids vaccinated.

Remember life before Google? Me either. I think Google sharply delineates the line between information and intelligence. Google can tell you about anything within the current grasp of human knowledge– it simply cannot make you draw interesting or useful conclusions from that knowledge.

Google truly does know everything

Facebook, on the other hand, knows everything about you, and says nothing about itself. This, to me, is a very scary combination. It’s why I barely use their service. I do hope that someone comes up with something better.

I think Twitter is significantly better. It does all the interesting things that Facebook does, and I’ve never been poked, asked to join a game, or had my boss read my tweets. Here is a map of New Year’s Eve Tweets. I love maps.

Regular readers probably know that I’m a huge game player. I used to hate board games because when I was a kid they sucked. This is the best-possible game of monopoly. Why? Because it only lasts 21 seconds. Do yourself a favor: if you hate boardgames because you only ever played them as a kid, pick up a copy of Settlers of Catan and enjoy a good game.

You know what else you can do in less than 30 seconds? Make a “that’s what she said” joke Turn a profit on a stock. Back in the day, you’d own stock as a way to own a company. Today it seems like just another form of gambling. This system prizes fast reflexes over the longterm viability of a company. In Starcraft terms: the US economy praises microgame over macrogame. I don’t find it coincidental that we have severe and entrenched macroeconomic problems.

Having said all that, it should come as no shock that economists are terrible human beings. I would love to see the breakdown between Chicago (Neo-Hooverite) economists, and the Neo-Keynsian economists. Is it possible that the Neo-Keynsians are better humans? They certainly seem to be better economists.

The very phrase “child sex slave” should make any human being roil with barely contained rage. It makes me want to put on my hulk-shorts and go smashing all those who would dare treat members of my species that way. That’s just me, though. “Concerned women for America” believe that child sex slaves should be tried as prostitutes and thrown in jail. Senator Sessions of Alabama agreed with the logic to the point where he blocked legislation that would would have helped get those children free. He’s a monster.

On this issue, Stephen Colbert speaks for me

If America were a Christian nation, what would that mean? Who was that “Christ” dude? Slactivist talks a bit about the feast of the Epiphany. Why do Christians know that the “old” testament is superseded code? The Epiphany. Why does Jesus tell his followers to love their neighbors? The Epiphany. Go read it.

Go have some music.

Have some more music.

I’ve been having a lot of fun exploring New Vegas, as alluded to in this post and as stated in a previous post. Matthew Belinkie has been enjoying Call of Duty: Black Ops. It’s not a game I own or have played, but I know that a whole hell of a lot of people have. Belinkie begins to wonder– as I did– about the ethics of first person shooters. What’s interesting to me is how mechanics can shape morality. Fallout rewards non-murderous solutions to in-game problems. As a result, I go looking for them. Call of Duty is a heavily scripted game that demands players kill everyone in their path. As a result, players look for efficient ways to commit murder.

There’s something about a life-sized Brachiosaurus which gives pause to bureaucrats.

Alright gang, I’m going back to New Vegas. See you on the other side.

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