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October 21, 2014, 01:24:09 pm
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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Giant Butt Plug in Center of Paris Deflated by Prudish Vandals on: Today at 12:37:03 pm
Look, I like modern art.  Including a lot of modern art that would be considered "shocking" or "obscene" by your garden-variety prude, and including a lot of conceptual stuff that, well, stretches the boundaries and doesn't necessarily hew to conventional standards of genre and craftsmanship.

This piece, however, is pretty stupid.  There's no there there beyond the winking shock value.

However, even if it's stupid that doesn't mean it's okay to vandalize it. 

Eh.  Everyone comes off looking like an ass here.  Good job!
2  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Worst President of these three (19th-century Republicans) on: Today at 12:29:57 pm
Grant is clearly the best of these three; turning a blind eye to corruption is not so great but ending Reconstruction and being a warmongering goldbug are both clearly worse.

Eh, coinflip, voted Hayes.
3  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Worst President of these three (19th-century Democrats or Unionists) on: Today at 12:27:49 pm
Well, we're talking about (give or take some wiggle room on the rankings) the three worst Presidents in American history here, so any of them would be "fine" choices.

Ultimately I have to go with Buchanan for his meddling in Dred Scott.
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread (US Domestic) on: Today at 12:25:26 pm
Of course.  Design decisions made in the service of having a playable board game with simple and engaging mechanics should totally be taken as expert advice from actual epidemiologists.  Makes perfect sense.  Roll Eyes

This is the same principle by which Risk proved that control of Australia is the most important step towards control of the world; or, to get even nerdier, how Twilight Struggle proved that domino theory was correct.

A.) That's not my point and you know it. I also noticed you still haven't actually pointed out why such a ban is a bad idea.

B.) I wasn't talking about the board game. I was talking about the computer version, it's similar but you play as the virus and try to kill as many as possible.

A: I actually have, just in a different thread.

B: Oh!  That makes so much difference!  My point is demolished!

Good gravyRoll Eyes
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone III - Lowborn Egoism Herrings on: October 20, 2014, 11:23:13 pm
So I went to go see The Death of Klinghoffer.  There were actually fewer protests and outbursts than I was expecting.  Might add some more thoughts about it later if I'm not too lazy.

(Spoiler: I'll probably be too lazy.)
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Gamergate on: October 20, 2014, 01:06:39 pm
My only thoughts on the matter: hardcore gamers are psychopaths by and large, always have been, and always will be. This whole "debate" has only served to prove it to me.

This is the kind of blatant generalization that gamergate has been complaining about.

And I frankly don't give a good goddamn. If gamers really care so much about being generalized, maybe they ought to change their attitudes.

Another generalization. How can you know the attitudes of all gamers?

I never said I did. But I sure as hell know the attitude of most gamers, and that's more than enough to generalize.

Sigh... this isn't actually helping.

There are plenty of good people who also happen to be gamers.  These good people, of course, are overwhelmingly opposed to Gamergate.
7  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Which Flame Warrior is the preceding poster? on: October 19, 2014, 10:08:32 pm
Net Rat.
8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of wormyguy on: October 19, 2014, 05:02:12 pm
I have a few pet peeves, such as prioritizing abstract ideology and/or partisan advantage over keeping people safe in the real world

To be blunter-than-usual: this is deluded, disingenuous, or both.

Your stance on Ebola, at the very least, is a perfect example of "prioritizing abstract ideology and/or partisan advantage over keeping people safe in the real world".  Experts are virtually unanimous that a travel ban won't work, both because most flights from West Africa go to Europe, so a unilateral US ban would do jacksh*t and that they're useless and counterproductive on their own terms anyway.  If you really cared about keeping Americans safe you'd devote more effort to the scourge of falling TVs than to Ebola-inspired flight bans.  The proposals for such a ban are obviously political theater for the sake of partisanship, and that would be one thing by itself but you take it further: this apparent projection that Obama is trying to "buy votes" from Liberia or something is just too offensively ludicrous to even be possible to respond to.  So I'll leave it be.

Regardless, I meant what I said about Atlas being a more interesting place when you're around, and even if I think you're kind of nuts 99% of the time it's good for this place to have you keep on keepin' on.  I did quite genuinely enjoy your takedown of Martha Coakley, if that's any comfort.
9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What are you listening to right now? II on: October 19, 2014, 04:32:14 pm
John Adams- Violin Concerto

A perennial favorite.  My pick for best classical composition written in the past 50 years, and probably one of my all-time favorites regardless of era.
10  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread (US Domestic) on: October 19, 2014, 03:40:01 pm
Of course we should institute a travel ban on majorly affected nations. Anybody who's even so much as played Pandemic knows this is the first step. I have yet to hear a serious argument as to why we shouldn't. We now have multiple Ebola cases in America explicitly because of our refusal to take this necessary step.

Containment is the first step to resolving this.

Of course.  Design decisions made in the service of having a playable board game with simple and engaging mechanics should totally be taken as expert advice from actual epidemiologists.  Makes perfect sense.  Roll Eyes

This is the same principle by which Risk proved that control of Australia is the most important step towards control of the world; or, to get even nerdier, how Twilight Struggle proved that domino theory was correct*.

*never mind that the designer of Twilight Struggle was forthright about how it was adopted for the purpose of gameplay (or at best a window into the minds of people who actually believed it) rather than perfect historical verisimilitude...
11  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Gamergate on: October 19, 2014, 12:19:32 pm
I've always thought the strange thing about Sarkeesian is the contrast between the MOR content of her videos, and the incredible emotion in the wider world they provoke. Although I normally find them interesting enough, "Tropes vs Women" strike me as very standard feminist analysis. It seems ridiculous the amount of passion is poured into attacking her or obsessively weeding out her "hypocrisies". And because of that enormous backlash, "gamers" (in reality, dweebs who inexplicably believe themselves representative of all gamers, and edgy political regressives seeking a movement to co-opt), have actually vastly increased Anita's and other SJW's influence on the industry. Which is ... quite funny I guess? I find it funny.

Some rebuttals make sense, but a lot of them are made by stupids who don't seem to understand the difference between a review and a critique. Some of them made by STEMlords dissing entire academic fields flippantly almost make me embarrassed to be a science student. 

This, this, exactly this.  It's pretty obvious that a lot of the opposition to her is not so much directed toward the specific content of her videos, but comes from a place that tries to discredit or dismiss the very idea of cultural critique.  And that's a stance that I have an incredibly hard time respecting.
12  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you consider yourself morally superior to the average Atlas poster? on: October 19, 2014, 10:59:02 am
Actually I consider myself morally inferior to the average Atlas poster.  While obviously I think my opinions and grasp of facts are pretty solid (otherwise I wouldn't have them), my day-to-day habits are not exactly that of a healthy, productive, well-adjusted member of society.

What does that have to do with the average Atlas poster? Wink

Yes but the average Atlas poster at least has the excuse of still being a teenager. Tongue
13  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you consider yourself morally superior to the average Atlas poster? on: October 19, 2014, 10:48:58 am
Actually I consider myself morally inferior to the average Atlas poster.  While obviously I think my opinions and grasp of facts are pretty solid (otherwise I wouldn't have them), my day-to-day habits are not exactly that of a healthy, productive, well-adjusted member of society.
14  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Is hating hip-hop racist? on: October 17, 2014, 09:47:53 pm
Clearly. It's not just coincidence that it happens to be the one genre of music invented by black people.

is this ironic or not I honestly can't tell

It's pretty obviously sarcasm.
15  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of wormyguy on: October 17, 2014, 09:46:09 pm
His posts have a unique and unforgettable flavor which, when added to the Atlas smorgasbord, certainly make this forum more interesting.
16  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: So there's a new PC game coming out called "Hatred"... on: October 17, 2014, 03:41:54 pm
I read somewhere that the devs think games are becoming "more colorful, more politically correct, and less violent."

*Just laughs and shows Mortal Kombat X as proof otherwise.*

Seriously, I don't see the trend they're talking about. I guarantee you this game's sole marketing strategy is shock value.
Well there are a lot of non-gamers playing games on facebook and the like that probably skew the numbers.

They really need to make console gaming and facebook/phone gaming separate categories. The two are not similar at all.

I'm not a fan of the snobbish gatekeeping that says casual games aren't "real" games. 

As for the thing in the OP... I assume that there's not much to it beyond trolling for shock value- which is of course legal but not exactly praiseworthy.  Best to just ignore and/or mock.
17  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Gamergate on: October 17, 2014, 01:03:35 pm
I've been staying out of this thread because I know that if I really let loose, I'd accumulate enough death points to be swiftly banned.  But I'm sure at least some of you have probably seen this comprehensive analysis/takedown of the "movement", such as it is, and those of you who haven't would do well to give it a look.  So I'll break silence to point it out.

Bottom line: Gamergate is about reactionary, misogynistic hatred.  It always was, root and branch, and the "corruption" angle is a thin fig leaf that should fool just about nobody anymore.  

Obviously I oppose it in the strongest possible terms.
18  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Is hating hip-hop racist? on: October 17, 2014, 12:58:19 pm
There are racist reasons for disliking hip-hop but disliking hip-hop is not inherently racist.

Yeah, basically this.

I don't really listen to hip-hop, but my lack of taste for that genre is a source of mild embarrassment rather than pride.  I'm sure there's a lot of great art being produced there that I'm missing out on, but the world of arts and culture is just too big to get everything.  At some point you just need to prioritize your favorite genres, and that shouldn't necessarily be taken as a slam against other forms.

Of course not. Is it racist to hate Tyler Perry movies?

For the record I've found that if a type of music is a target frequently and has a large Hatedom, it's a given that I hate it too (hip-hop, metal, country, pop and the garbage that 20RP12 likes).

You basically exclusively like a few incredibly specific types of post-punk music and you think everything else is garbage, right?  That's not racist, you just have ridiculously idiosyncratic taste in music.  You probably know why better than anyone else. 

I would just say, maybe give non-post punk music a try.  Maybe hip-hop isn't for you, but don't seem open-minded at all.  And, if you're going to compare an entire genre to a single hack film director, you make yourself look like an idiot. 

Correction: incredibly specific types of post-punk music, as well as Blink-182, which is all sorts of hilarious. But yes, "open-minded" is not exactly in BRTD's vocabulary.
19  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Al Realpolitik Institute of Sulfur Mining & Extraction on: October 17, 2014, 12:49:59 pm
The problem with Obama is that he doesn't want to play the political game. Would closing the border actually do anything to solve the problem? No. But it's the optics that count here. You gotta make the people feel like something is being done, even if it's all theater.

Thank you, Leaf

So you're willing to admit you care more about the theater than actually doing something worthwhile?

Appearances do matter.

Indeed they do. You, for example, do a very convincing job of making yourself appear even more brainless than you probably are.
20  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you think the letter on the left side of this "Krone" page is racist ? on: October 17, 2014, 12:48:46 pm
Sweet suckling Jesus, that column makes Naso and Fox News look like paragons of sensitivity and tolerance.
21  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What is your walkscore? on: October 17, 2014, 12:24:06 pm
91, which is actually not super high for this town. Tongue
22  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: David Byrne vs. David Bowie on: October 17, 2014, 11:49:27 am
Bowie is pretty good, but Byrne blows him out of the water.

"Once In A Lifetime" may very well be the best pop song ever recorded.
23  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Is America A Natural GOP Gerrymander? on: October 16, 2014, 09:18:17 pm

Well, the objectives usually listed for a non-gerrymandered USA aren't all in alignment.  "Compact districts that preserve communities of interest" doesn't necessarily jive too well with "Maximize number of competitive districts."

I don't actually care too much about maximizing competitive districts.  Some areas are rock-solid one way or another and that should just be respected.  I do care about, if not completely counteracting the effects of natural packing, mitigating their worst excesses, so that for each state a 50/50 result (measured via uniform swing, presumably) comes out to something resembling a 50/50 seat distribution.  And, preferably, that the slope as you go away from 50/50 in either direction isn't too asymmetrical.

Balance that with "compact districts that preserve communities of interest" and we're good to go.  Those two ideals are not one hundred percent compatible, but I think they can be reconciled much better than a mandate to maximize competitive districts.
24  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Is America A Natural GOP Gerrymander? on: October 16, 2014, 09:09:56 pm

Of course, that is only easy with regularly-shaped, not terribly Gerried districts like this one.  What could we come up with for the name of the neighboring district, formerly known as PA-7?




This is my district and I had absolutely no clue how gerrymandered this was. What an utter embarrassment. I would've figured at least everything south of the Main Line would be part of this district (namely Paoli/Malvern) and probably expected up northward to the PA Turnpike. Here I was complaining for months about how my state assembly district was gerrymandered because Freshman year I was one of three dorms put in a Solid Democratic district before finally switching into the Solid Republican district this year. Didn't even think the US reps from PA were this bad. Should've known since there are never any tight races in this state. This and Fitzpatrick's district up near Bucks County are two of the most competitive in the state!! Should've realized the gerrymander wasn't completely natural, but I figured it was reasonable to have slightly Republican districts just outside of 99% D Philly (especially in Delaware County moreso than Montgomery and Bucks). Boy, this is disheartening.

Obama broke 60% in Delco not only in 2008, but also in 2012; and in fact no Republican has won it since 1988.  To be fair they still have some ancestral down-ballot strength, but for federal offices it is anything but natural to make "slightly Republican districts" in the Philly suburbs- the exact opposite (slightly Dem districts) would be correct instead.

Worth noting that Bucks district is actually pretty much the only district in the state that isn't a complete abomination; for whatever reason Bucks' county lines are kept sacrosanct even when the Republicans pull out all the stops everywhere else.  And Bucks is a good deal more Republican than Delco, as well: even though it also hasn't voted R for Prez since the elder Bush, the margins have been much narrower, and the right Pub could still capture it, which just isn't true for Delco anymore.  

Also worth noting that the Philly burbs have been gerrymandered for quite some time, but the current batch of lines is arguably the worst in the country (though North Carolina and Maryland give it stiff competition).  I had the misfortune of casting my 2006 vote in this monstrosity:

25  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Simple Truths Silver Mine on: October 16, 2014, 05:47:48 pm
Saying that something is a social construct is a way of saying it's not an immutable truth. That doesn't mean it can/should be discarded (lots of stuff that people made up is good and worth hanging onto), but it does mean that if we realize it's made up, we can stop treating it with undue reverence and evaluate it on its merits, rather than as received wisdom.
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