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Sunday Morning Reading Material: Third Sunday in March 2011– WAR

It’s Sunday Morning. Sundays are for bombing targets in Libya and hoping that your intelligence agency isn’t accidentally targeting the embassy of a rival nation. Sunday is for lounging around in bed swearing that this time you really will finish reading that damned book. Sunday is for pulling the covers up high, thanking your ancestors that we’ve learned how to build weatherproof houses. Sundays are for drinking coffee.

This week: Humanity rose up with one voice and declared that Gaddafi is a bad, bad man and so we must help his citizens overthrow him. Also this week: Saudi Arabia decided that the pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain were bad, bad people and so they sent in troops to help keep the government from being overthrown. Also also: the world has declined to help aid anti-government protesters in Yemen- tanks being used against civilian targets is insufficient grounds for a war. And again, also: humanity put something around the orbit of Mercury. One more? Egypt held a vote.

My family owns the house I’m living in. My share is 1/9 of the total value of the property. We’re thinking of selling this place to capitalize on our mutual inheritance. I got to talk with the appraiser on Saturday- who is, let’s be clear, a salesperson- and he was convinced that now is a great time to buy. He and I very lightly got into an argument over whether home ownership makes any kind of sense at all. My opinion? Living in your single largest financial asset makes no gods damned sense. Making that asset liquid means moving. Anyway: here’s an opinion agreeing with mine. It must, therefore, be correct.

It’s good to remember that when facing a collective action problem, humans task governments to enforce mutually beneficial solutions. If the government is prevented from doing so, it’s proof that we need to overhaul our system of government. Contra my libertarian friends, this is not proof that we ought not have a government at all.

If war, earthquakes, foreclosure, and bankers weren’t scary enough, San Francisco is facing another kind of terror.

The patriarchy? It’s bad for your marriage. I really hope I’m able to rise above my upbringing when I find the right lady to partner off with.

Was talking with one of my coworkers. She was telling me that she basically spends her non-work time playing video games. We have, like, zero games in common. This amuses me to no end. She made the comment that she is just about the only woman she knows who games. I think that if women understood that other women game, there might be more women gamers. Communities can help overcome problems. And how female gamers are treated? It’s a huge problem.

Speaking of huge problems: the amount of radiation leaking from the Japanese reactors and into the surrounding area. Actually, it’s probably not a very big problem, mostly because their government made sure that the code the plant had to be built had a rather generous safety margin.

I am a proud member of the human species. I mean that seriously and literally. I am proud of what we do, and have done as a species. That video above? Made with human artifacts that we’ve sent out of our atmosphere and around other planets entirely. I don’t understand camping, but I do love to visit museums. So any article called “Infrastructure” is bound to get my attention. Click over for some beautiful pictures of human crafted tools serving the needs of humanity.

For some reason, humanity likes to sub divide itself into smaller groups called “races”. There is no biological basis for this construction, and yet we see these cultural groupings pop up repeatedly in human history. It’s odd to me how fluid these groupings are. The several ethnicities in modern “India” don’t tend to consider themselves “Indian” until they reach Western shores. Likewise the Han, Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uighur (etc) who make up China don’t think of themselves as similar at all. But when you take all the above mentioned groups, add others, stick them in America (or Europe), suddenly they all become “Asian”. Bizarre. Anyway: Ok Cupid asks: what does dating look like in an America with fewer white people?

Speaking of race: Troy Goodfellow asks how the essentials of French character can be codified and numbered in a video game. This provides a lens through which we can examine the limits of video game design. I’m being a bit opaque, as I want you to click the link. Having said that, games do very badly with non-binary states. France prides itself on subtly.

We San Franciscans pride ourselves on our commitment to democracy. Why be satisfied with a single vote, when each voter can get three? As it happens, I rather like ranked choice voting, and hope that we see it used in more important campaigns.

Why be satisfied with attraction to a single gender, when each person can have attraction to three two. Short version? Bisexuality: not “just a phase”. Nor is it there for the amusement of the patriarchy. Nor should you take a drink every time I use the phrase “the patriarchy” on this blog. You’ll go blind.

I would prefer a world in which elections had immediate consequences. Neglect to show at the polls, and badness may ensue. Voters would know exactly who to blame, and who to punish for it. The fact that America can’t address many of it’s problems because we only put 59% of one of the chambers into the hands of a single party, and therefore legislation won’t pass… it’s a bit of a mess. I’m therefore shockingly ok with this. In the future, Wisconsin is going to know how to stop having these sorts of problems.

Which sort of does beg the question: why are Republicans so much more aggressive than Democrats?

War games have their own language. Their own vernacular. The truly hard core “grognard” games will try and model a particular conflict. What they mostly fail to to do is force players to make the same choices and decisions that actual historical figures made. Except, maybe there’s one game that might have managed it.

There’s a great line in Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: (quoting from memory) “I just discovered that music could be good, like, last week”. And I remember the exact instant I discovered music. I was 16 years old, and sitting in homeroom when someone put on “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Within a few months Kurt Cobain would kill himself. Yes, I was a late bloomer. If music be the food of love play on.

That was way too serious. Have some penguins.

Millionaires don’t feel rich, because they compare themselves to people who are even richer. Also: millionaires who don’t feel rich should buy pitchforks and torches for the rest of us.

In my professional life, I attend a lot of meetings. My jobs tend to involve meeting with people, learning things, and then making decisions based on what I have learned. The “making decisions about what I have learned” is a creative process. It involves a lot of writing, a lot of study, a lot of learning and creating and discovering. That’s why this article feels rather suspect. Can it truly be the case that creative people are merely getting started after 4 or 5 hours (roughly half a work day)? I don’t buy it. The writer is someone who is so paralyzed by the idea of meetings that he will actually lose an entire day’s productivity because of a 15 minute conference. Nonetheless, it is always worth thinking about different personalities in the workplace, and different ways to meet their various needs.

You know when you’re playing a game, and you go to open a door and you’re like “Dammit! This door doesn’t go anywhere, the designer must just have wanted to create the illusion of space without doing the hard work of creating that space!” Those doors are now coming to San Francisco. Because we San Franciscans live the surreal life.

Ever notice how the closer people live to one another, the more liberal they become? It’s almost like density fosters a sort of “love thy neighbor” mindset where people want to try and help one another out. I mention this because Texas is becoming more urban. I wonder how long until they turn blue?

The Slactivist attacks theodicy from another angle. Or is that “Angel”? I always get those confused.

Mario. He’s our culture’s Iliad

This week’s theme was drinking games. And Video games. In the comments below, let me know your favorite drinking video games.