Wednesday, October 07, 2015

There is no diversity crisis in tech

Repeat it, understand it, grok it, live it. There is no diversity crisis in tech.
Repeat after me: there is no “diversity crisis” in Silicon Valley. None. In fact, there is no crisis at all in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is doing absolutely gangbusters. Apple has $200 billion in cash reserves and equivalents — and a market valuation of about $630 billion. Amazing. Facebook now garners a billion daily users. This is a nearly unfathomable number. Google is worth nearly $450 billion and has $70 billion in cash on hand.

This is not a crisis. Silicon Valley is swimming in money and in success. Uber is valued at around $50 billion. Companies like Airbnb are remaking travel and lodging. Intel is moving forward into the global Internet of Things market. South Korea’s Samsung just opened a giant R&D facility in the heart of Silicon Valley. Google and Facebook are working to connect the entire world. Netflix is re-making how we consume entertainment.

Silicon Valley is home to the next phase of the global auto industry. Fintech and biotech are transforming banking and medicine. The success of Silicon Valley is not due to diversity — or to any bias. Rather, to brilliance, hard work, risk taking, big ideas and money.

Want to be part of this? Great! Follow the example of the millions who came before you. Their parents made school a priority. They took math and science classes, and did their homework every night. They practiced ACT tests over and over. They enrolled in good schools and focused on English, Political Science and Humanities.

Okay, that last bit is not true. They took computer programming, engineering, chemistry — hard subjects that demand hard work. They then left their home, their family, their community, and moved to Silicon Valley. They worked hard, staying late night after night. They didn’t blog, they didn’t let their skills go stale, they didn’t blame others when not everything worked out exactly as hoped.
Are you doing all of these? Are you doing any of these? Do them!
The "diversity crisis" is a fake crisis manufactured by SJW parasites who want to leech off the success of others. Tech doesn't need more women. Tech doesn't need more blacks, American Indians, Eskimos, walruses, penguins, or meerkats.

And, as the Impossibility of Social Justice Convergence predicts, as the observation of previous diversity crises will demonstrate, the continued success of tech actually depends upon IGNORING those who are attempting to sell the diversity crisis scam and actively RESISTING all of their "solutions".


The collapse of Star Citizen

Derek Smart contemplates the inevitable end game of a project that appears to be in severe distress:
Last week, The Escapist magazine wrote a scathing investigative report (follow-up podcast) into this project. Something that no other media outlet had done before regarding this project. As they have said, I was not their source. In fact, only an incompetent media person would use me as a source. Given how close I am to all of this, the fact that I could not be regarded as an unbiased source even if I swore on a stack of Bibles to be unbiased etc.

For the purposes of full disclosure: What I did do, as I’ve been doing since July, was made contact with some mainstream (names withheld as per legal) media sources, trying to get them to investigate this project. This was as per my July 10th blog, Interstellar Discourse in which, right at the top, I had called for the investigation of this project and all its creators. This was because I had already been made aware of most of what is now coming to light as portrayed in The Escapist article.

As part of that effort, I gave them some of my credible sources, along with an overview of what I had uncovered and why I simply wasn’t the one to investigate this any further, due in part by information that I had access to and which was better off being in the hands of those same people (the media) who helped hype this project to what it is today.

I was wrong in making this decision and thinking that anything would come from it. They all chose to bury the story....

My question is that, with all the numerous articles out there, interviews, visits, face time etc. Why is it that nobody wants to ask the tough questions about this project? Primary question being, where did ALL this money go? We have pretty much nothing to show for it – four years later.

In response to the article, Chris Roberts, in continuing the downward trend to disaster, wrote a scathing diatribe that, on the face of it, looks like you’d have to be high to unleash that sort of tirade into the public domain. From the CEO of a $90m+ company no less. And clearly it wasn’t vetted by legal (LOL!! that would be Ortwin). It’s a Gold mine of actionable legal liability. And all it did was lend credence to some of the things being said behind closed doors about him, and which were now coming to light via these sources talking to the media.

The gist of it was that “Derek Smart is bad, this was all his fault, and he was the puppet master”. Oh, and GamerGate. He mentions me a total of 20 times. The author of the article got a single mention. And I didn’t even write the damn thing.

Sound familiar? Yes, that’s the blame game.
I was concerned about Star Citizen about a year ago, but I wasn't half as convinced that the project was on the verge of collapse by Derek Smart as I was by Chris Roberts's disastrous and very poorly considered response to Derek's questions. What Chris should have done, what I advise him to do, is to invite Derek to visit and see how development is going for himself. Give him a personal tour. Explain to him how well things are going and how good the game is going to be. Then do the same thing with Lizzy and anyone else The Escapist is willing to send.

This is a GOLDEN opportunity to show off and sell Star Citizen. Instead, Chris and his team have reacted if they have something radioactive to hide. They have reacted as if they are on the verge of being caught red-handed. There is absolutely no reason to react with anger, lengthy diatribes, and legal threats to someone who has doubts about how your project is going.

Whoever is advising Chris is going about it the completely wrong way. I know both Chris and David, and when I get the time I'm going to give them a call and urge them to rethink RSI's response to critics and doubters, because this simply is not the way to reassure anyone, not even the most sincere Star Citizen supporters and true believers.

And #GamerGate? Seriously? Derek Smart isn't #GamerGate. I am #GamerGate as are many others who wish both Chris and Star Citizen well. I don't know what that is supposed to be, other than an ill-advised attempt to dog-whistle corrupt game journos who didn't do their job covering Star Citizen in the first place.

Derek is correct. None of this has ANYTHING to do with him. Like him or loathe him, his opinions and his history are irrelevant. All that matters is the very relevant observations he has made and the very pertinent questions he has raised. And for RSI to engage in argumentum ad impertinens hominem is not merely self-defeating bad public relations, it tends to call their own credibility, as well as the future of Star Citizen, into serious question.

Ultimately, Star Citizen may well prove to be another painful lesson in "Beware the Awesome" ala Homefront:
Dave Schulman was a really good salesman at telling THQ what we could deliver, and turning back to us to say, ‘Hey, sky's the limit. Just pack more features in. Make it great. Put as many bullet points as you can on the back of the box.' When Kaos turned that into a demo to show THQ, the ideas practically sold themselves. THQ executives loved it, and gave Kaos a green light to complete the game. "Now beyond that initial preproduction phase," said one producer, "then you actually have to pay your dues. You have to actually make the thing you've been promising. I think that's where Dave Schulman's expertise fell short. He had promised so much that there was absolutely no way we could deliver."
The damning phrase: "We spent about a total of eight months of our production time making a five minute demo that was … not an actual game. It was a very nice demo. But it was all smoke and mirrors."

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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The birth of anti-SJW advertising

Direct 2 Drive shoots directly at the SJWs:
Direct 2 Drive, an online games retailer, has adopted the PR strategy of the moment: relentless mockery of hand-wringing social justice warriors on the web.

D2D recently launched a tongue-in-cheek “Trigger Warning Week,” a limited offer of 50 – 80% discounts off gaming’s “most inclusive, diverse, and empowering titles.”

They were, of course, being ironic. Among the “empowering titles” on sale is Hitman: Absolution, a title which was once angrily accused by feminist critic Brendan Keogh of epitomising the “rape culture problem” in gaming. Tomb Raider: Underworld, one of the last Tomb Raider titles before her de-sexualised 2013 reboot, is also on sale. The icing on the cake is the latest instalment of Duke Nukem, a series famous for explosions, breasts, and foul language. (Anita Sarkeesian might call it “toxic masculinity.”)

D2D followed up their sale with some triggering posts on social media. They mocked the concept of “cyberviolence,” a term recently coined by a widely-mocked report from the United Nations women’s group. They also gave a nod to GamerGate, attacking SJW blogger Leigh Alexander’s notorious “Gamers are over” article, a left-wing critique of the gamer identity which became a catalyst for the movement in 2014.
Someone was telling me I should market myself as an anti-SJW consultant. My initial thought was that he was joking. But it might actually make a good deal of sense. After all, few things destroy an organization's raison d'etre more completely than social justice convergence.


30,000 infiltrators

Both the math and the social mood is less than promising:
Hungary and Slovakia have been vilified by many for rebelling against taking in thousands of refugees. Not only have they rejected European Union-imposed quotas, but both countries have made it clear that a mass Muslim migration would pose unacceptable demographic and cultural challenges. Their concerns are well founded, not only over integration but especially from a security perspective.

Lebanon's education minister, Elias Bousaab, warned recently that two in every 100 Syrian migrants arriving in Europe are Islamic State fighters, sent to infiltrate a continent distracted by sympathy. If Bousaab's conservative calculation proves accurate, it would mean that among the 10,000 Syrian refugees that Secretary of State John F. Kerry has pledged to allow into the United States in 2016, there could be 200 committed terrorists.
Germany is now expecting 1.5 million migrants. If the Lebanese estimate holds, that means there will be 30,000 Islamic State fighters resident in Germany by the end of the year. Now, granted, most of the "Syrian refugees" are not even Syrian, but then, we have no assurance that the Pakistani, Afghani, and Yemeni migrants are any less likely to sympathize with ISIS than their Syrian cohorts.

There is nothing any of us can do about any of this except watch, wait, and understand that when the native populations begin taking measures that go well beyond the infiltrators, they are not the parties responsible for the inevitable tragedies. The responsible parties are those who made the invasions possible in the first place.

I can't possibly do justice to how angry people are here. I mean, I quite literally can't post what I am hearing people of all ages, of all political identities, saying about the invaders and their own politicians, or as doing so would be in violation of numerous speech laws, including those of the USA.

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Linux SJW assault turned back

Led by the meritocratic example of Linus Torvalds, the Linux development community successfully defeated an attempt by an SJW entryst to impose "civility and professionalism" i.e. a weaponized code of conduct, on the community:
A prominent Linux kernel developer announced today in a blog post that she would step down from her direct work in the kernel community, saying that the community values blunt honesty, often containing profane and personal attacks above “basic human decency.”

Sarah Sharp, an Intel employee who until recently was the maintainer of the USB 3.0 host controller driver, wrote that she could no longer work within a developer culture that required overworked maintainers to be rude and brusque in order to get the job done. She continues to work on other open-source software projects, but says that she has begun to dread even minor interaction with the kernel community....

Sharp has publicly locked horns with senior Linux kernel developers including Torvalds in the past over issues of civility and professionalism, and has, arguably, been more responsible than anyone else for pressing the community to consider those issues more critically in recent years.

But even relatively minor moves to curb bad behavior have met with angry resistance from some kernel devs – a meekly worded “please be respectful” policy adopted as a kernel patch earlier this year provoked furious commentary on mailing lists and Reddit discussions, even if Torvalds himself lent the policy some cursory support.
Good riddance. That is exactly what a successful anti-SJW defense looks like. If the entryist is whining and crying and angrily decrying the mean antediluvian neanderthals who won't cater to her feelings, you can be sure that the community she is attacking - and which she only cared about insofar as she could attempt to control it - did the right thing by refusing to give in to her.

This is good news for Linux, as the flipside of the Impossibility of Social Justice Convergence suggests that those organizations that resist social justice incursions will be considerably more likely to remain focused on their primary functions.

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Fair play for FATCA

It looks like the Law of Unintended Consequences is about to strike the US federal government again:
This week, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will announce its final package of measures under its Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project that would enable foreign governments to tax overseas earnings of American companies. If the United States fails to make changes of our own before that plan begins being enacted next year, this effort, which The Wall Street Journal called "a global revenue grab," will ensure much of these American earnings stay overseas permanently.
Considering that the US government claims the right to force foreign banks to track and report its citizens, it's not going to have much of a leg to stand on when foreign governments start claiming the right to tax the earnings of US corporations with bank accounts in their countries.

This is why it is so reprehensibly stupid for the US to insist on intervening in sovereign lands; by doing so it sacrifices its own claims to sovereignty. It is unlikely that Putin would have intervened in Syria if the US had not intervened in Ukraine and Syria. This foreign cash grab probably would not have been successful without FATCA.

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Monday, October 05, 2015

Battle under the sea

Still think they're not invaders?
Invading migrants who stormed the Channel Tunnel in a desperate bid to break into Britain by force managed to get ten miles before they were caught, it has emerged.

A group of around 110 migrants, thought to be from Sudan and Eritrea, broke down security fences, pelted police with stones then made a dash for the tunnel in the early hours of Saturday morning.

They were eventually stopped by French gendarmes, who were able to stop the group by force in a battle some 250ft below the sea.
Let's see. They broke through the border defenses, attacked the border guards with weapons, then were stopped by violence. Sounds like an invasion to me. Sure, they're not wearing uniforms; does that mean the Zulu War and the Boer War weren't wars either?

Meanwhile, in Germany, the government has admitted that they are expecting 1.5 million migrants this year, nearly twice as many as they previously reported. They seem surprisingly unconcerned, perhaps because past German governments have demonstrated their ability to deal with four times that number.

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They should have started with him

Ben Bernanke says financial executives should have been arrested and charged with crimes:
With publication of his memoir, The Courage to Act, on Tuesday by W.W. Norton & Co., Bernanke has some thoughts about what went right and what went wrong. For one thing, he says that more corporate executives should have gone to jail for their misdeeds. The Justice Department and other law-enforcement agencies focused on indicting or threatening to indict financial firms, he notes, "but it would have been my preference to have more investigation of individual action, since obviously everything what went wrong or was illegal was done by some individual, not by an abstract firm."

He also offers a detailed rebuttal to critics who argue the government could and should have done more to rescue Lehman Brothers from bankruptcy in the worst weekend of a tumultuous time. "We were very, very determined not to let it collapse," he says. "But we were out of bullets at that point."

Still, he does acknowledge some missteps by the Fed. Analysts were slow to realize just how serious the economic downturn would become, and he faults himself for not doing more to explain to Americans why it was in their interests to rescue the financial firms that had helped cause it.
Needless to say, I will be reading and reviewing this book in the near future. And I will be very, very, very surprised if Mr. Bernanke manages to convince me that he is doing anything except whitewash his record. The idea that it was essential to rescue the financial firms that are still preying on the American economy and weighing it down is simply nonsensical. The Federal Reserve didn't succeed in anything except kicking the can down the road and ensure that the next crisis will be even more severe.

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Sunday, October 04, 2015

NFL open thread

A bit late on this one, but I just fired up the Vikings game. I didn't see the early games, so discuss amongst yourselves.


Not slutty enough

Who would have ever thought we would see the day that Nero was deemed insufficiently sluttish?
Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was ejected from the Amber Rose Slut Walk in Los Angeles this afternoon. Slut Walkers could be heard yelling to police officers, “Thanks for taking out the trash!”‎

Yiannopoulos was reporting from the event with a film crew, interviewing Rebel Media broadcaster and Canadian libertarian politician Lauren Southern about the feminist movement which protests against “rape culture” and “slut-shaming.”

Southern had just asked host Amber Rose whether she believed in rape culture. Event organizers immediately announced to Breitbart that they were calling law enforcement to have both journalists escorted from Pershing Square in downtown LA.

Protesters snatched and tore up Yiannopoulos’s placard, which read: “‘Rape Culture And Harry Potter': Both Fantasy” in view of the police, who stood by while protesters bellowed and grabbed at a second placard that read, “Regret is not Rape.”‎
I have no doubt that the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice will be all over this outrageous violation of a gay man's civil rights.

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Stepping up the war on ISIS

The US State Department was complaining that Russia wasn't really hitting ISIS. It will be interesting to see what they will cry about next now that the Russian air force has increased its efforts:
Those of a skeptical persuasion have been inclined to suggest that perhaps the US isn’t fully committed to the fight. Explanations for that suggestion range from the mainstream (the White House is loathe to get the US into another Mid-East war) to the “conspiratorial” (the CIA created ISIS and thus doesn’t want to destroy the group due to its value as a strategic asset).
The implication in all of this is that a modern army that was truly determined to destroy the group could likely do so in a matter of months if not weeks and so once Russia began flying sorties from Latakia, the world was anxious to see just how long the various rebel groups operating in Syria could hold up under bombardment by the Russian air force.

The answer, apparently, is “less than a week.”

On Saturday, the Russian Ministry of Defense said it has conducted 60 bombing runs in 72 hours, hitting more than 50 ISIS targets. According to the ministry, Islamic State fighters are in a state of “panic” and more than 600 have deserted.
Maybe it's true, maybe it isn't. But regardless, it's clear that Russia isn't playing around. And with Iran poised to send ground troops into Syria, it increasingly looks like the Obama administration and the neocons are likely to get an epic lesson in the unintended consequences of hubris.


Saturday, October 03, 2015

Denying supply and demand

The US Employment-Population Ratio and Labor Force Participation Rate continue to fall:
A record 94,610,000 Americans were not in the American labor force last month -- an increase of 579,000 from August -- and the labor force participation rate reached its lowest point in 38 years, with 62.4 percent of the U.S. population either holding a job or actively seeking one.
The EPR is down to 59.2 percent. Imagine how many of those 94.6 million Americans could find jobs, and how much their wages would rise, if the 59 million post-1965 immigrants were repatriated.

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Mea culpa

Apparently one of my game design innovations is a "trend that needs to die", as far as The Escapist is concerned:
Escort missions

Is there anything more annoying than an escort mission? You have to make sure that one NPC get from point A to point B, and you have to make sure they get there alive. Almost invariably, the NPC gets himself into trouble. Maybe he walks too slow and you're constantly waiting on him, or he walks too fast, plunging into danger before you clear the way. Sometimes they take a path all their own, and it's never the shortest one to your destination. In a similar vein, let's do away with Assassin's Creed's eavesdropping missions as well, since they're just escort missions wearing a Halloween disguise.
Yes, believe it or not, Rebel Moon Rising was publicly recognized by Computer Gaming World for being the first shooter to introduce escort missions. The issues the writer mentions are all legitimate, but they were obvious from the start and I believe we handled them pretty well. Other designers would not have followed in our footsteps if it hadn't worked, but it seems not all of them have been as successful in addressing them.

Of course, the pathing is considerably easier in a 2.5D game than a 3D one, although I don't know why escorted NPCs wouldn't have an optimal path pre-programmed into them in the first place.

What I find a bigger problem with the escort mission is the way in which the story situation is so often handled ineptly. That first escort mission in RMR involved escorting baby aliens, who naturally wouldn't know to run or to defend themselves if attacked by soldiers with lasers. But escort missions where armed adult warriors don't defend themselves or even run away when attacked are just poorly designed, so it shouldn't be a surprise if there are other problems with the implementation.


Mailvox: Catalonian independence

MT writes what amounts to a primer on Catalonia and the complications surrounding its independence movement in asking about the American Right's response to it. I will respond to it in a future post.

I’m writing to ask you a question that has puzzled me for some time. The American right (without a single exception that I know of) enthusiastically supports independence movements in Europe even when these movements hold views radically opposed to those of the American right. I understand that the American right may consider independence so good in and of itself that it is desirable even when pursued by the ideological antagonists of the American right. And so they would be delighted to see the South and each of the leftists coasts abandon the Union because that would leave a more decent, more genuine America. OK. But my question is: why does the American right persist in speaking of these movements as if these European independentists actually held the ideals of 1776?

I find this attitude of the American right strange because most of these movements espouse views that are diametrically opposed to anything that one might call right-wing (anti-austerity, pro-multiculturalism, pro-homosexuality, pro-EU, anti-State-church separation, vastly corrupt schemes, pro-environmentalism, pro-feminism, politically-controlled media, politically-controlled education, politically-controlled language usage, etc.) But the American right invariably ignores—indeed they don’t seem to care at all—about the actual views or deeds of the pro-independence movement. They are so determined to defend the independentists that they always take it absolutely for granted that the pro-independence movements just espouse the ideals of the Founding Fathers.

And this goes against all evidence.

This is truly spectacular in the case of Catalan secessionism (the case I know best) because they have actually been ruling their region for about 40 years now. So it’s not like their views, policies, speeches and attitudes are a matter of abstract speculation or inventive futurology. This is not like wondering what would happen if the Free State Project achieved its goal or how a Rand Paul administration might be like. These people have already done plenty of actual politics, actual ruling. Their actions are not a state secret.

Read more »

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Media with a spine

Ocala Post appears to be one of the few media outlets not infested with SJWs attempting to conceal black criminality:
 Ocala Post recently received several e-mails and Facebook messages from individuals complaining about the names and photos of juvenile criminals, drug dealers, and a recently arrested business owner, being used in some of Ocala Post’s recent articles.

One Facebook message called an article slander, defamation of character, and made mention that it was causing “pain and suffering.” An e-mail also asked; “WYA?” Which is street slang for “where you at.” A common phrase used by criminals and wannabe gangsters when they intend to inflict harm upon another person.

Oddly enough, one e-mail even accused an Ocala Post article of fueling an arrestee’s drug addiction.

Some of the threats have included lawsuits, burning Ocala Post to the ground, and, in so many words, the loss of life.

This is not the first time Ocala Post has dealt with these types of issues.


It is not only absurd, but also very unlikely that Ocala Post contributed to an individual’s drug addiction.

In order for an article to be considered slander or defamation of character, the contents of the article would need to be false.

Ocala Post will stop printing names in articles, and stop using photos, when criminals stop breaking the law. As long as Freedom of the Press is protected by the United States Constitution, and Florida allows the press access to public records, Ocala Post will continue to print the names and photos of criminals in all articles. Ocala Post staff are instructed not to leave out any details from official reports, unlike other media outlets. And Ocala Post always strives for accuracy.

Marion County residents have an absolute right to know who is living next door.
We've now reached a state where the media is more concerned about hiding news than reporting it. If they're not going to report the identities of the newsmakers, why report the news in the first place? Why not simply announce daily that neither crime nor homosexuality exist in the Glorious Democratic Republic, which has always been at war with Eastasia?

I particularly enjoyed this brutal rhetorical beatdown: "If you do not wish to have your child’s name or photo published on Ocala Post, perhaps you as the parent should be more aware of your child’s behavioral problems and know their whereabouts at 2 a.m."

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Friday, October 02, 2015

The arrogance of the inept

America's empire-builders are receiving a humiliating lesson in the limits of human power:
Fourteen years after we invaded Afghanistan, Afghan troops are once again fighting Taliban forces for control of Kunduz. Only 10,000 U.S. troops still in that ravaged country prevent the Taliban’s triumphal return to power.

A dozen years after George W. Bush invaded Iraq, ISIS occupies its second city, Mosul, controls its largest province, Anbar, and holds Anbar’s capital, Ramadi, as Baghdad turns away from us — to Tehran.

The cost to Iraqis of their “liberation”? A hundred thousand dead, half a million widows and fatherless children, millions gone from the country and, still, unending war.

How has Libya fared since we “liberated” that land? A failed state, it is torn apart by a civil war between an Islamist “Libya Dawn” in Tripoli and a Tobruk regime backed by Egypt’s dictator.

Then there is Yemen. Since March, when Houthi rebels chased a Saudi sock puppet from power, Riyadh, backed by U.S. ordinance and intel, has been bombing that poorest of nations in the Arab world.

Five thousand are dead and 25,000 wounded since March. And as the 25 million Yemeni depend on imports for food, which have been largely cut off, what is happening is described by one U.N. official as a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

“Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years,” said the international head of the Red Cross on his return.

On Monday, the wedding party of a Houthi fighter was struck by air-launched missiles with 130 guests dead. Did we help to produce that?

What does Putin see as the ideological root of these disasters?

“After the end of the Cold War, a single center of domination emerged in the world, and then those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think they were strong and exceptional, they knew better.”

Then, adopting policies “based on self-conceit and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity,” this “single center of domination,” the United States, began to export “so-called democratic” revolutions.
How did it all turn out? Says Putin:

“An aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions. … Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.”
The arrogant neocons who "create events" would do well to understand that when you've reached the point that a Russian autocrat looks preferable to neutrals and Americans alike, you should stop digging and reassess your assumptions.

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Reading material

Father John Zuhlsdorf's travel reads are pretty much the definition of "eclectic".

Organizing Creativity posted a nice recommendation of the book as well:

I’ve seen a couple of recommendations of Vox Day’s “SJWs Always Lie — Taking Down the Though Police” (incl. from @ProfessorF, whose highlights are here, but also on Reddit and in other places). So I had a look at it and — yep, I like it as well.... So, while I am still on the fence whether SJWs are just over-caring (care as sole moral foundation, and totally helicopter-caring in overdrive), have mental problems (Borderline? Narcissistic? Psychopath?), or are Machiavellian players in today’s society, this book is likely going to be helpful in fighting back.


Peeple is fair play

I'm very amused by the widespread fear of this new app that will permit people to be rated being expressed:
You can already rate restaurants, hotels, movies, college classes, government agencies and bowel movements online.

So the most surprising thing about Peeple — basically Yelp, but for humans — may be the fact that no one has yet had the gall to launch something like it.

When the app does launch, probably in late November, you will be able to assign reviews and one- to five-star ratings to everyone you know: your exes, your co-workers, the old guy who lives next door. You can’t opt out — once someone puts your name in the Peeple system, it’s there unless you violate the site’s terms of service. And you can’t delete bad or biased reviews — that would defeat the whole purpose.

Imagine every interaction you’ve ever had suddenly open to the scrutiny of the Internet public.
Congratulations, world. Now everyone online will discover what my life has been like since 2001. And to be honest, it's really not a big deal as long as you don't have a problem with people not liking you. You'll soon find that you are defined by your enemies as well as by your friends, and the more idiotic your enemies are, the better you look to the sort of intelligent, open-minded individuals whose opinions actually matter.

I welcome Peeple, as I've never been a fan of the cowards who think they can attack you because you are a public figure, but then start whining that it is unfair and you are "doxxing" them by posting links to their online, publicly accessible posts the moment you strike back at them. But lack of an audience is not synonymous with privacy and the moment you post anything online about anyone, you are a fair target for their online reprisals.


The $90M crash of Star Citizen

Lizzy Finnegan opens the floodgates on what is looking like one of the biggest crash-and-burns in the game industry since 38 Studios and Flagship, if not Atari's ET.
Crowdfunding in general has seen a harsh decline in consumer trust in the past year, particularly when more prominent names are behind the projects. Mighty No. 9 has seen repeated delays, and fans voiced concerns when Shenmue 3 reopened crowdfunding after more than tripling their initial goal.

On September 22, independent developer Derek Smart penned a lengthy blog post that called into question Star Citizen, a title from game designer and producer Chris Roberts that was successfully funded on Kickstarter, raising over $2 million through the popular crowdfunding website. The game raised over $89 million total through a variety of sources, and remains the most crowdfunded video game project of all time.

Smart has been regularly critical of Roberts' company Cloud Imperium Games, subsidiary Roberts Space Industries, and the development of Star Citizen, writing a total of five bulky blog posts since July. In these posts, Smart questions the allocation of funds, delays in the game's release, changes to the format and features, silent changes to the Terms of Service agreement, and the ability for the company to produce the game at all.

Not all backers share Smart's concerns, with a petition demanding that Smart "immediately desist in your ongoing actions against "RSI" (CIG) and Star Citizen." The petition has garnered over 2,000 signatures.

In August, Smart wrote of his intention to send a "demand letter" to Cloud Imperium Games insisting on a "complete forensic accounting" of the money that has been spent on the game, as well as a solid release date and a refund option for anyone who wants one. Smart offered to pay for the forensic accounting out of his own pocket. In addition, he said that failure to deliver on any of those demands would lead to the immediate filing of a class-action lawsuit. That demand letter was sent on August 21.

Lawyers for CIG reportedly responded in a letter, which Smart shared online, stating that Smart had been a backer for the project, contributing $250 in 2012. The letter continued, stating that Smart "commenced his defamatory actions in early July 2015 on his blog - without any basis or backup, and with many links to his own game in development - that the "Star Citizen" project was a fraud and that it was never going to be delivered." The money that Smart contributed to the project had previously been refunded to him, a refund that was not requested but rather initiated by CIG. The letter then points to Smart's career and financial issues, accuses him of "desperate efforts to harm [Star Citizen] for his own publicity gains," and concluded with the assertion that Smart has no legal basis and the demands were being rejected.

One major point of concern includes the seemingly silent alterations to the Terms of Service. In total, a revision to the Terms of Service includes 178 removals and 199 additions, and was instated after the initial release window for Star Citizen had already passed. The original ToS that backers agreed to when contributing the project was ToS v1.1 listed on the RSI website, and stated that if the game failed to be delivered within 12 months of the original Kickstarter estimated delivery date, refunds would be available. At the time, the project held a November 2014 release date, making the non-delivery period November 2015. This was changed on February 1, 2015 to ToS v1.2 to reflect a new timeframe of 18 months. The anticipated delivery date had also changed at this time, to the end of 2016.

"This company was given millions of dollars to deliver a product. They have not delivered that product. And in all likelihood, the company - and project - will both fail before they even get to delivering even 50% of what's promised," Smart asserted in his most recent post. "There isn't a single pro developer on this planet, who after looking at what has thus far been delivered, compared to what was promised up to $65m funded, will say that they can deliver this product within the next three years."
As it happens, I have been casually acquainted with Chris Roberts since the Wing Commander days and I consider him to be one of the game design greats. Along with Richard Garriott, John Romero, and Steve Fawkner, he is one of my game design heroes. I don't merely like and respect Chris, I look up to him. The five or six hours I spent talking with him, John Romero, and Epic's current audio director over drinks at the Santa Clara Westin one evening was one of the most fascinating, informative, and educational experiences of my life... and Chris paid the entire $700+ bill himself. I am still an Origin fan and Wing Commander is one of my all-time favorite games; I even gave Ender a fancy joystick last Christmas just so he could play through the first two games and the secret missions, which he greatly enjoyed doing. I was absolutely delighted when I heard that Star Citizen was in the works.

As it happens, I also had the responsibility of going through Chris's plans in great detail when Star Citizen was still a Wing Commander reboot with a license from EA and a $25M budget. I ran into one of the guys from the fund this summer and we talked about whether the top man's decision to reject it had been a mistake in light of Chris's unprecedented crowdsourcing success; it is now looking as if the decision to not fund the game may have been the right call after all. I strongly recommended that we do it; I still think that an updated Wing Commander would have been hugely successful as it was originally conceived.

At one point, Chris and I even discussed the idea of Star Citizen making use of my Psy-AI design for wingmen, but I didn't seriously pursue it, partly because I couldn't tell if Chris's interest was genuine or if he was simply being polite, and partly because the new game was bigger in scope and I didn't see the focus being on wingmen the way it was in Wing Commander. And as time has gone on, and the scope of the project continued to grow, my dev-spidey sense began to twitch just like every other experienced producer's has even though I wasn't paying close attention to it anymore.

“Without disrespect to anyone, I’m just going to say it: it is my opinion that, this game, as has been pitched, will never get made. Ever. There isn’t a single publisher or developer on this planet who could build this game as pitched, let alone for anything less than $150 million. The original vision which I backed in 2012? Yes, that was totally doable. This new vision? Not a chance. The technical scope of this game surpasses GTAV, not to mention the likes of Halo. Do you have any idea what those games cost to make and how long they took? Do you know how many games which cost $50 million to make took almost five years to release? And they were nowhere [as big] in scope as Star Citizen?”
- Derek Smart, 6 July 2015

Every producer and executive producer knows the feeling of a project that is beginning to slip its date. And every producer and executive producer learns to distinguish between a game that is going to be late and a game that is simply never going to be the game it was promised to be. Unfortunately, when seen from the outside at this point, Star Citizen could not look more like the latter if it was called Battlecruiser 2015 AD.

Derek Smart has a reputation for spectacular failure in the industry, but it's not really a fair one, and more importantly, that particular failure took place a long time ago. Nor was it anywhere nearly as bad as most people who have only heard about it secondhand tend to believe. And one very significant thing that the Star Citizen defenders are neglecting to note is that besides David Braben, there is no one in the industry who is better suited to recognize the danger signs of a large-scale space combat development project going awry than Derek. Now others are starting to look more closely into the situation, Forbes, for one, and unfortunately, Chris Roberts's response to Smart's observations and Finnigan's article sounds a lot more like messenger-killing than allaying what increasingly appear to be substantive fears for what has become a gargantuan project.

The problem, I suspect, is not uncommon in the game industry. Chris is a visionary and a brilliant game designer. He is not a producer despite having successfully produced games in the past. But as too many developers have done before him, he appears to have effectively combined the lead designer's role with the lead producer's role into a single Game Director's role for which he and many other designers - including me - are temperamentally unsuited, and as a consequence the project appears to have gone off the rails as a direct result of too much money combined with too many good ideas and too little focus on actually implementing those ideas and getting things done.

One thing game developers scraping by and wishing for more resources need to recognize is that funding is as much problem as panacea. Just as the crude state of early graphics technology partially dictated the gameplay and made it easier to focus by virtue of its limitations, a lack of money forces the development focus that is always needed to complete a project. Too much money means no strict externally imposed limitations, and if those limitations are not internally imposed by the producer, the project will tend to grow in scope and scale before collapsing.

I sincerely hope that's not the case with Star Citizen. The success of Star Citizen after such a brilliant crowdfunding campaign would be absolutely wonderful for the entire industry and could launch a much-needed new era of creativity and innovation. The success of Star Citizen is in the material interest of every professional game developer. But after more than two decades in the game industry, I've learned to recognize the danger signs of a derailing development project and more than a few of them are observable around RSI of late.


Thursday, October 01, 2015

Perhaps he didn't see the sign

I wonder how many more "gun-free zone" failures are necessary before people begin to conclude that perhaps mass disarmament is not the ideal way to avoid large numbers of victims:
Up to 15 dead–
Several more injured…
WCNC reported:

    A shooter who opened fire at at Umpqua Community College Thursday in southern Oregon injured as many as 20 people before he was downed, a Douglas County official said.

    KATU-TV reports that Oregon State Police say there were multiple fatalities, but that could not be immediately confirmed.

    County commissioner Chris Boice told KGW-TV that 15 to 20 people were injured in the melee, including one woman shot in the chest.

Shooter is down…
People worry that lots of people carrying openly will lead to a "Wild West" situation, forgetting that four times more people were shot today in this Oregon "gun-free" zone than in the highest annual body count Tombstone ever saw, which was five.

"In cattle towns such as Tombstone or Dodge City, the average number of homicides was only 1.5 or 2 a year, according to path-breaking research by Robert R. Dykstra of SUNY-Albany."

UPDATE: Mike Cernovich smells a rat:
Something is up. Shooter is Muslim or transgender. Otherwise we'd have a name and race by now.  
"The shooter then asked people to stand up and state their religion and then started firing."

Sounds Muslim, as it was a feature of previous attacks in Kenya and other places, but could be atheist. The fact that the police and media are sitting on the shooter's identity tends to indicate the former; they haven't previously shown any tendency to resist identifying atheists.


Case in point

I think it's rather cute that SJWs still think that any shaming technique has even a ghost of a chance of influencing my behavior in the slightest. See, that's the problem with their approach. Once you throw everything and the kitchen sink at someone and they're still standing, absolutely nothing you do has any impact whatsoever.
The Notorious S.J.W. @InnerPartisan
Oh hey, on his blog, failed author Vox Day is now publishing personal information of people who wrote negative reviews of his latest "book".
This is a beautiful example of SJW behavior at its most blatant.

"failed author": has published more than a dozen books, has been nominated for multiple awards in more than one genre, currently has had the #1 bestselling book in its category for more than a month. This is not only not failure, it is considerably better than the average author manages.

SJWs always lie!

"is now publishing": Classic point-and-shriek. Of course, everyone knows I do this, I've been doing it for more than two years now. Not only will I continue to do it, but I will use my contacts at Amazon to ferret out anyone I can't readily identify on my own in order to expose them. I'll even make sure the SJW's employer learns what they've been doing and learns about all your questionable online habits.

"negative reviews": Obviously false. I don't object to negative reviews. I object to negative non-reviews.

SJWs always lie!

"his latest 'book'": It's not merely a book, it's a bestselling and very highly-rated book. What is the point of claiming a book is not book? Not only does The Notorious S.J.W. contradict himself - how can I be a "failed author" and still publish a "latest" book - but he's willing to deny objective reality in order to attempt to minimize and marginalize.

SJWs always lie!

I appreciate The Notorious S.J.W. for being willing to advertise my latest book by demonstrating, in real life, the very concepts I am attempting to elucidate and explain in SJWs ALWAYS LIE: Taking Down the Thought Police.

We also learned that Mike Brendan is a racist who hates Native Americans and Mexicans. He gives them "a two middle fingers down." Mike Brendan is a racist who race polices minorities on Twitter and unminorities them.


Put a fork in the Republicans

They're done. They're not only sell-outs, they're never going to be seriously competitive with the Democratic Party because apparently they have hamstrung themselves and agreed to never challenge voter fraud:
The following is compiled from an account on The Judicial View, a legal website specializing in court decision research and alerts, and from “Democratic National Committee v Republican National Committee,” Case No. 09-4615.

In 1981, during the gubernatorial election in New Jersey (NJ), a lawsuit was brought against the RNC, the NJ Republican State Committee (RSC), and three individuals (John A. Kelly, Ronald Kaufman, and Alex Hurtado), accusing them of violating the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 1971, 1973, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

The lawsuit was brought by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the NJ Democratic State Committee (DSC), and two individuals (Virginia L. Peggins and Lynette Monroe).

The lawsuit alleged that:

    The RNC and RSC targeted minority voters in New Jersey in an effort to intimidate them.

    The RNC created a voter challenge list by mailing sample ballots to individuals in precincts with a high percentage of racial or ethnic minority registered voters. Then the RNC put the names of individuals whose postcards were returned as undeliverable on a list of voters to challenge at the polls.

    The RNC enlisted the help of off-duty sheriffs and police officers with “National Ballot Security Task Force” armbands, to intimidate voters by standing at polling places in minority precincts during voting. Some of the officers allegedly wore firearms in a visible manner.

To settle the lawsuit, in 1982 — while Ronald Reagan was President (1981-1989) — the RNC and RSC entered into an agreement or Consent Decree, which is national in scope, limiting the RNC’s ability to engage or assist in voter fraud prevention unless the RNC obtains the court’s approval in advance. The following is what the RNC and RSC, in the Consent Decree, agreed they would do:

[I]n the future, in all states and territories of the United States:

(a) comply with all applicable state and federal laws protecting the rights of duly qualified citizens to vote for the candidate(s) of their choice;

(b) in the event that they produce or place any signs which are part of ballot security activities, cause said signs to disclose that they are authorized or sponsored by the party committees and any other committees participating with the party committees;

(c) refrain from giving any directions to or permitting their agents or employees to remove or deface any lawfully printed and placed campaign materials or signs;

(d) refrain from giving any directions to or permitting their employees to campaign within restricted polling areas or to interrogate prospective voters as to their qualifications to vote prior to their entry to a polling place;

(e) refrain from undertaking any ballot security activities in polling places or election districts where the racial or ethnic composition of such districts is a factor in the decision to conduct, or the actual conduct of, such activities there and where a purpose or significant effect of such activities is to deter qualified voters from voting; and the conduct of such activities disproportionately in or directed toward districts that have a substantial proportion of racial or ethnic populations shall be considered relevant evidence of the existence of such a factor and purpose;

(f) refrain from having private personnel deputized as law enforcement personnel in connection with ballot security activities.

The RNC also agreed that the RNC, its agents, servants, and employees would be bound by the Decree, “whether acting directly or indirectly through other party committees.”

As modified in 1987, the Consent Decree defined “ballot security activities” to mean “ballot integrity, ballot security or other efforts to prevent or remedy vote fraud.”

Since 1982, that Consent Decree has been renewed every year by the original judge, Carter appointee District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise, now 88 years old. Long retired, Debevoise comes back yearly for the sole purpose of renewing his 1982 order for another year.
Do you seriously believe any party that would agree to such handcuffs is even remotely capable of defending American interests?

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The end of the 1st Amendment

Don't think that the government is going to protect you from the global jihad. Not only is the US government resolutely refusing to go to war with ISIS, but it is actively importing the terrorists and settling them in your cities. This detailed recounting of the attack on the Westgate Mall is sobering indeed.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, the Somali militant group al-Shabab carried out an assault on Kenya’s Westgate Mall in one of the worst terrorist attacks in the country’s history. A group of young gunmen stalked the halls and stores of the upscale Nairobi shopping center, and methodically murdered at least 67 people. News of the attack seized the world’s attention, dominating international media coverage for days.

But much of that reporting was confused and contradictory, mirroring the litany of false and misleading statements made by Kenyan authorities. There were between 10 and 15 gunmen, the interior minister said. Two or three of them were Americans, said another cabinet minister. Together they took hostages, used heavy explosives, and pulled off a three-day siege, according to other government sources. Except none of these things were true.

Far from a dramatic three-day standoff, the assault on the Westgate Mall lasted only a few hours, almost all of it taking place before Kenyan security forces even entered the building. When they finally did, it was only to shoot at one another before going on an armed looting spree that resulted in the collapse of the rear of the building, destroyed with a rocket-propelled grenade. And there were only four gunmen, all of whom were buried in the rubble, along with much of the forensic evidence.

During the roughly three-and-a-half hours that the killers were loose in the mall, there was virtually no organized government response. But while Kenyan officials prevaricated, an unlikely coalition of licensed civilian gun owners and brave, resourceful individual police officers took it upon themselves to mount a rescue effort. Pieced together over 10 months from more than three dozen interviews with survivors, first responders, security officers, and investigators, the following account brings their story to life for the first time since the horrific terrorist attack occurred exactly two years ago.
I impression that the war in the USA will start when an attack of similar scale takes place in the USA and Americans begin to respond in kind despite the best efforts of the federal government to defend their attackers. There is no assimilation taking place; observe that one of the four Somalis involved in the attack grew up in Norway.

The First Amendment will be rejected by the American public long before the Second. As it has been said, the Constitution is not a suicide pact and few Americans will stand by freedom of religion when doing so jeopardizes their right to life, liberty, and happiness. Between the Scylla of godless pedophiles and the Charybdis of Sharia, the USA is no longer a society fit for a First Amendment.

After the Breivik shootings in Norway, I said that future Europeans generations will likely regard him as a national hero akin to William Tell and Vlad Tepes. In light of the way events are beginning to take shape, I may have been in error. They may well make him a saint.

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Jews aren't white

We are reliably informed by the Senior Rabbi at Adas Israel that Jews are not only not white, it is racist and offensive to suggest that they are.
Even today, some of us remember being called anti-Semitic names, having pennies thrown at us or being beaten up because we are Jewish. But that young woman I spoke with this summer, and most of her young adult Jewish peers today, can hardly fathom being singled out, being treated as “other,” because of their Jewishness. And the main reason why anti-Semitism is no longer mainstream in our society is because sometime in the last half century, we convinced America that we, too, are white....

The brilliance of being Jewish, though, is that we stubbornly refuse to fit into any social construct of power or oppression. We are simply Ivri’im, people from “somewhere else,” people who struggle with God and justice, who demand that the rest of the world does, too, and see every human life as sacred because we are all in the image of God. And the truth is, we have never belonged to one race alone. The Torah tells us that we left Egypt with the “erev rav,” with a mixed multitude of peoples. Around the world there are Jews of color, Asian Jews, Jews of all kinds. The idea that Jews are white is not only ridiculous, it’s offensive to who we really are!
So Jews are no longer white. Do try to keep up. It sounds as if Rabbi Steinlauf is attempting to prepare for the New America that is no longer a white country. That, or he is following the lead of the Learned Elders of Wye and is preparing to jump ship into a non-white nation as a successfully diversified America sinks into economic collapse and civil war.

I wonder if it has ever occurred to Rabbi Steinlauf that it's not his business what the rest of the world elects to struggle with. And I can't help but note that the Jews appear to have done a brilliant job of fitting into a "social construct of power" in Israel. I guess it's a little easier to stop stubbornly refusing to fit into those social constructs when you finally get to the top.


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