I’ve been neglecting the blog while working on game development, and I’m not really okay with that. So I’m posting on an other-than-usual topic, one that’s on my mind, rather than not post at all.
For the past two years, I’ve been working on-and-off on a game called Hecatomb. It’s a different kind of “zombie survival” game, inspired by Dwarf Fortress. You play a necromancer raising zombie servants and building a base in the wilderness. It’s a “sandbox” game – like meaning there is no singular goal, other than surviving and doing cool things.
Right now my game works, but isn’t very fun because there simply isn’t that much stuff to do. That, I think, is the secret to games that generate stories rather than having preset stories – they need to generate interest by having a wider-than-usual number of “subsystems” (loosely defined) that interact in potentially interesting ways. Take, for example, Don’t Starve. The way I’m thinking about it, these could all be considered subsystems: Continue reading
- Soon it will be unambiguously legal to watch Monty Python’s Life of Brian in Canada.
- Politifact says HB 330 would not protect the white supremacist who struck and killed a counterprotestor at the Charlottesville rally.
- Speaking of Politifact, I don’t envy the task of fact-checking sites. Here’s the Washington Post defending their decision to rate a factually-true-but-narratively-misleading claim as “mostly false. They made a similar decision earlier, when Barack Obama made a similar claim.
- Nathan J. Robinson self-admittedly hates a lot of things, but he really hates fact-checking sites, so much so that he’ll sort of go to bat for Trump’s claim that wind turbines kill eagles “by the hundreds.” There are certainly areas and time periods over which wind turbines kill eagles by the hundreds; Politifact interpreted Trump’s statement to mean that they kill hundreds of eagles in California, per year, in California, and rates it “mostly false.”
- H.P. Lovecraft’s favorite words.
All the cool kids do link roundups. I wanna be a cool kid.
- Great Britain has some bad-ass government titles.
- Ada Lovelace once wrote, “My Dear Babbage. I am in much dismay at having got into so amazing a quagmire & botheration with these Numbers, that I cannot possibly get the thing done today. …. I am now going out on horseback. Tant mieux,” which makes me feel crass for all the times I swear at my computer while programming.
- If you google “Canadian political crisis,” this is the first hit. The ruling party proposed an extreme budget; the minority parties threatened to band together and oust the ruling party, so the ruling party compromised with the centermost opposition party by making their budget less extreme, splitting the coalition. A “crisis” in Canada sounds more functional than everyday politics in most countries.
- Super Flavor Factories are not what you might expect.
- In case you need this for a heated Facebook argument: Declarations of Causes of Seceding States, for Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Mentions “slave” or “slavery” eighty-three times, “trade” twice, “tariff” zero times.
Today I went digging through my hard drive for a research paper I wrote in policy school that used structural equations modeling to analyze the 2004 United States presidential election. Sadly, it seems I lost the final version and only have a rough draft. I did, however, find another research paper on population changes in Wayne and Oakland counties (roughly, Detroit and its wealthier suburbs.)
You might find it interesting if you like Detroit or pretty choropleths:
Some mixed, sort-of tooting my own horn: I independently discovered one of the most important urban trends in the United States – the dispersal of poor, urban blacks to inner ring suburbs, which in many ways laid the ground for the recent conflict in Ferguson. Of course, by that time, the professionals had already discovered it.
I also found, in retrospect, absolutely no evidence for gentrification in Detroit from 1990-2000; at the time I worded my conclusion a bit more weakly, probably because no one I talked to wanted to hear this conclusion. Fortunately, I’m coming to care less what others think in my old age. Also in retrospect, the most likely cause of the changes I observed is the Third Great Migration.
I guess I’ll take a stab at explaining the lost structural equations modeling paper as well.
(copied from a months-old Facebook post)
1) If someone calls Colin Kaepernick unpatriotic for kneeling during the national anthem, there’s no free speech issue. It may be a violation of some other values – civil discourse, reasoned debate – but definitely not free speech. Of course, it’s a bit disingenuous of me to pick Kaepernick as an example, because this fallacy is currently far more common on the right – the Kaepernick incident is one of the few recent cases when I’ve seen columnists invoke it from the left.
I’m not satisfied with my previous post on back pain. Framing it as a review of three separate books was probably a mistake. When you review two books at once, you can frame things as a “compare and contrast”, but grouping things in threes is awkward.
I’m going to try to correct my error by comparing and contrasting the back pain theories and treatment recommended by Stuart McGill of BackFitPro.com and Paul Ingraham of PainScience.com. The two both claim to be proponents of “evidence-based medicine” for low back pain, and they share quite a few beliefs in common; namely, they believe that many common treatments and diagnoses for low back pain are scams, including: Continue reading