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Comment "Resistance" (Score 1) 385

I don't carry a torch for Rand Paul, but I am grateful for his act of resistance.

You ask what effect is achieved by his resisting. I will reply, unromantically, almost none.

We could argue about public education (did he really reach anyone new who doesn't already know the Patriot Act is evil?) and about self-aggrandizement (was he merely campaigning?).

To my way of thinking, we are living in a time when our votes count for little, our representatives do little for us, and against this condition of a democratic people isolated from control of the state, a sickening reversal of control is instead true: the security state is ascendant and it is our freedom that is waning.

If my apprehension of our position vis-a-vis the state is correct, this means that most protest will be reduced to a minor symbolic key. Its value, then, is in what it symbolizes, and I would say a filibuster on this point of authoritarian government power symbolizes a refusal to surrender casually. A refusal to be cheapened to the point of not caring; a defiance.

Quantifying such things is easy. What is the net benefit? Again, almost zero. But not entirely. A spark is kindled, or if you prefer, a flicker is kept going in a small and dull flame, with the hope that later we may fan it into something bolder and more valuable.

The value of this filibuster is sustaining hope.

Comment "Which gets me to thinking..." (Score 1) 690

Which gets me to thinking: with free electricity, wouldn't that be a great business opportunity, to build a cloud of servers in poorer Greeks' basements? Maybe that is the real plan behind the free electricity idea.


It's not "thinking," you tone-deaf dolt, to joke about a nation that's suffering a severe depression. Your crack has the moral value of someone saying, "Say, 9-10 would have been a great day to short the airplane industry, har-de-har!"

It's simply you hanging your autism out before the entire board.

Comment Congress'l approval rating near all-time low (Score 1) 667

A reminder: sensible men and women have already voted on the merits of Congress.

As Gallup confirmed once more in its December 14 poll, Americans agree on at least one thing in our most divided land. We're led by idiots, chiselers, maniacs and fools:

Americans' job approval rating for Congress averaged 15% in 2014, close to the record-low yearly average of 14% found last year. The highest yearly average was measured in 2001, at 56%. Yearly averages haven't exceeded 20% in the past five years, as well as in six of the past seven years.

Comment Re:Thing is (Score 1) 146

Very good points.

I notice you don't mention Willits in your pantheon of id talents. Wisely, I'd say. His design stewardship of Rage -- and its resulting perfect banality -- was as much a lodestone around its neck as was one more advanced yet performance-lacking Carmack technology. Put together, the mixture was lethal.

There was an id fantasy game in the works, briefly, a decade or more ago; it was killed off in favor of another FPS retread. I wonder what might have been if a) the faction that wanted to keep cloning Doom and Quake hadn't won or, alternatively b) instead of id consistently shedding its most notable design talents leaving Carmack surrounded with people content to recycle the past, he had struck out on his own with a new group of talent and created something original.

Comment Edward Snowdenhands (Score 1) 822

My advice to brave Edward: you already know the ugliness of the machine, so why bargain with the ghost inside?

The impossibility of a corrupt system according justice to its whistleblowers is a good reason for Edward to remain in Russia. Moreover, he should know, and will know based on poll data, that his sacrifice is scarcely appreciated by our society of sheep, anyway.

You've done your share. You've paid your price in loss of home and comfort. F--- Washington; construct a life out of all the many rich possibilities that have nothing to do with this declining empire and its sordid leaders.

Comment Re:A lot worse than it seems (Score 2) 544

Do you want to know what brings about the biblical apocalypse? Ignorance of the natural world in which we live. Buckle your seatbelts, because the ignorant are starting to drive this bus we call civilization, and the last stop is not utopia.

I hate religion as much as the next godless heathen, but really now.

Surely you don't think climate change is a direct result of belief? At worst, fantasies about the afterlife can make the world appear more disposable to the god-bothered, but I don't think it's churchy mumbo-jumbo that drives hyper-capitalism.

Something else has led the west to overproduce, overconsume, overbear and overlord. And the causes and reasons are rather more prosaic than heavenly.

Comment Re:Land of the dumb, home of the uninformed (Score 1) 544

Unfortunately, the US's first major "nation building" failure might be said to have occurred after the civil war... We defeated the insurgency; but never really managed to rebuild a functional society in the southern provinces. If subsequent events are any guide, we may just suck at dealing with religious zealots with shitty human rights records.

Oh, come.

Surely any society that can produce John Carmack can't be all bad.

Comment Re:Texas Barely Registers (Score 1) 544

How is that odd? Muslims and Jews aren't the fanatical threat to freedom and education that Conservative Christians currently are in America.

Really? Apparently you've never run across a your average non-westernized muslim(or standard conservative muslims), they're more than happy to shove their opinions down your throat. While doing so, they'll also demand that you directly accommodate them. Jews generally are happy to not shove their opinions down your throat on their religious issues, and the more conservative are generally happier to enclave themselves up and run their lives according to how they want to run them.

Let's leave aside your completely subjective generalities about Muslims and Jews.

Instead, let's focus on the single meaningful metric that might help us test your hypothesis about "shoving their opinions down your throat," by which is generally meant something akin to propagandizing and/or policy that leaves the audience little or no room for maneuver or objection. I'll just assume that's your meaning, too.

I would submit the annual US subsidy of $500 per man, woman and child ($3b total) in direct foreign assistance to Israel is probably a fairer measure of whose opinions are imposed on Americans. That's roughly one fifth of our entire foreign aid budget. Now, you might happen to agree with such aid for religious or ethnic reasons, as is your right; all fine and good. I happen to oppose it as largesse that's morally and strategically unwise. But our sheer inability as opponents to find Democratic or Republican political representatives who'll demur from the policy rather neatly fits the definition of having it shoved down our throats.

Comment A bright future for this kid Carmack (Score 1) 94

Seriously, though: as a longtime admirer, I have to say his genius would be better used in gaming if he rid himself of the albatross known as id.

Imagine what he could do in any number of R&D areas if he didn't have to ship games bogged down by boring narratives, bland level design and twenty-year old ideas of corridor-based run-and-gun.

I wish he'd turn his attention to improving AI and developing emergent gaming. The next frontier awaits, but our Einstein is bent on rendering the same old mousetrap in ever higher fidelity.

Comment Another step in the crapification of gaming (Score 1) 592

Like the eponymous player in the song Pinball Wizard, "I must've played them all," but I'm so fed up with the black heart of corporate gaming that I can see a move like this by MS or Sony driving me away from consoles.

I don't want Pay-2-Win on IOS games, I don't want to buy missing features for AAA titles as DLC, I don't want DRM hoops to jump through and I surely don't want a system requiring an always-on connection. Over Comcast -- are you kidding? I'm lucky if my Comcast connection is even usually-on.

It might be different, slightly, if gaming hadn't spent the last decade becoming less and less diverse, cannibalizing itself, regurgitating lots of paint-by-numbers stuff we've seen so many times already. So adding monetary injury to the insult of omnipresent banality is really a northbridge too far.

Lately, I find myself on GOG buying old titles for a pittance. They aren't all nirvana -- some plainly haven't held up -- but a few are quite amusing and richly satisfying (I'm looking at you, Dungeon Keeper). The 360 and PS3 sit in their boxes, unpacked for months since a recent house move. The iPad games go unthumbed. Gaming from before the present era of nonstop exploitation holds out its low-poly hand, and it's really WYSIWYG: the other mitt isn't concealed behind its back with a billy club!

Comment Re:I thought it was creepy, yeah... (Score 1) 269

Excellent points.

Unfortunately, it's hard to get people to open their eyes about anything. Hardest perhaps of all with what they take to be benign, useful and friendly ("oooh, look at that Valentine's Day Google Doodle!"). Add ubiquity and the herd is fully placated.

As we watch Microsoft's fortunes wane and Google's rise, it's becoming obvious evil simply adapted to circumstances. It got cuter.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"