Wednesday assorted links

by on June 14, 2017 at 12:33 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Dick the Butcher June 14, 2017 at 12:47 pm

#2 – He missed “Black Hawk Down”, “Lone Survivor”, “American Sniper.”

OT: Today, is Flag Day and the US Army’s Anniversary/Birthday.

Three Cheers For The Red, White, And Blue!

God Bless the United States Army.

2 Believe it! June 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm


3 Dick the Butcher June 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Why not?

4 Dick the Butcher June 14, 2017 at 2:52 pm

It’s also President Trump’s Birthday.

God Bless President Donald J. Trump!

5 Milo Fan June 14, 2017 at 3:18 pm


6 albert magnus June 14, 2017 at 4:22 pm

“Fury” is quite good, too.

7 Dick the Butcher June 14, 2017 at 4:59 pm

Good one! I should have listed it.

8 msgkings June 14, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Interesting direction you’ve taken your troll character lately, Heorogar

9 Heorogar June 14, 2017 at 5:31 pm

I’m serious about all of it.

And, yeah. I’m disappointed that no one took the bait.

Likely, they’re mourning Hodgkinson because he died a failure: he didn’t kill 15 or 20 Republican Congressmen.

10 The Serpent June 14, 2017 at 10:50 pm

My God recently blessed the United States. I think that might be the problem.

11 Michael Gardner June 14, 2017 at 12:52 pm

There are the game software developers…and the the game players. Only the developers really know what’s happening. I was in the gaming industry for years (yes, gaming or gambling is just video gaming software you pay a buck to play…stupid…but hey, there’s a whole industry predicated on the idea of “Hey, gimme a dollar; I’ll tell you if won”. You didn’t heh, heh…

Young men playing video games are no different than old people blowing their SSA checks at a casino.

12 Milo Fan June 14, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Stupid comparison. A 30$ video game provides 30 hours of entertainment, in a casino the same amount of money buys about 30 seconds.

13 Michael Gardner June 14, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Present value = $30…in both counts. 30 pulls on a poker video machine takes more time than that….it’s all the same…I’ll keep coding…for profit. You keep playing.

14 Just Another MR Commentor June 14, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Coding huh? Time to get a real job

15 Moo cow June 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Well, it’s 10 pulls (or less!) on a “penny” machine on the strip.

16 Jeff R June 14, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Not if you play the nickel slots!

17 Miles Jacob June 14, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Some videogames are certainly heavily influenced by gambling, but don’t forget just because they all grouped into a category called videogames doesn’t mean they aren’t mostly still comparable to:

playing a musical instrument, visiting a theme park, pinball, darts, pool, chess, bridge, solitaire, football, golf, stamp collecting, improv games, mechanical puzzles, logic puzzles, horror films, murder mysteries, building a fort, capture the flag, dollhouses, farming, toy trains, war games, party games, graphic novels, animated shorts.

The main thing they do is combine all these influences together more freely.

18 kevin June 14, 2017 at 3:51 pm

How’s that different from any type of recreation? Watch your hometown sports team win the stanley cup–feel like a winner, even though you aren’t! Read a book where the protagonist does something great–feel like a winner, even though you aren’t!

Heck even playing recreational sports (which at least get you in shape) is the same as some of the newer AR video games like pokemon go.

19 MMK June 14, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Trust me, this doesn’t escape those of us who grew up (and, in a minority of cases profited nicely) during the online poker boom.

20 EverExtruder June 14, 2017 at 12:59 pm

#1 Hardly surprising. The economy sucks and never really recovered. Wages are stagnant (have been for decades). Work is more transitory and less rewarding. Economic competitiveness is becoming less about real accumen and ability and more about rent-seeking and regulatory capture. Young women have always been fickle but have recently added bat-shit insanity to their resumes in addition to a litigation system fundamentally biased against men. University educations are looking more and more like Ponzi schemes with diminishing returns (see jobs and wages above). Video games not only offer immediate gratification but also potential job opportunities and beta-testing within the industry…jobs they might enjoy. Sadly, you can’t necessarily fault these guys for sniffing out what is increasingly looking like a bad deal.

#3 Yes. People only change when the cost of changing is less than the cost of staying the staying the same…or in this case the incentive is something more tangible and immediate than long term insurance discounts, better health 20 years down the road, or the immediate dopamine rush from cheap unhealthy food.

21 Daniel O'Neil June 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm

You might want to actually read the abstract. The financial reward resulted in this obese control group losing a grand total, on average, of seven pounds. I don’t call this “working”. Financial incentives aren’t the answer, any more than any other attempt to use cognitive management to cause weight loss.

22 EverExtruder June 14, 2017 at 2:25 pm

I did. However I my theory is that this needs further study and I think capital incentives, with further refinement, could definitely produce a much more beneficial result, especially in an increasingly stagnant and complacent economy where for some control groups in the future, this incentive may even represent their ONLY form of income.

23 Moo cow June 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

The wage premium for a 4-year degree has never been higher.

24 EverExtruder June 14, 2017 at 2:28 pm

You and I are most definitely NOT seeing the same data.

25 Daniel Weber June 14, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Schools are also much better at extracting more of that wage premium for themselves.

Useful idiots keep on making it easier for them each time they suggest more income-based-repayment.

26 Anon June 14, 2017 at 7:24 pm

A lot of that is because wages for work without a degree have decreased.

27 Brian Donohue June 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

re #1. You have captured much of the modern bellyaching in a single paragraph. If our ancestors could only see the struggles of the 21st century, maybe they’d realize how awesome they had it.

Or perhaps you are thinking of that anomalous post-WWII period where most of the rest of the developed world was flattened and, for a brief period, it looked as if Yes Virginia, we can have it all.

The problem is even that halcyon period entailed much more hardship and deprivation for average Americans than our benighted century, hard as that is to understand through the fog of ceaseless narrative repetition.

Life involves a healthy dollop of struggle. It’s a feature. Sorry.

28 EverExtruder June 14, 2017 at 2:34 pm

“Life involves a healthy dollop of struggle” Duh. We do live in a benighted century don’t we. One where the aforementioned young men can actually get enough information on their own to see a bad deal for what it is and not buy into the Ponzi.

I especially like this comment in the article:

“At age 16 I started work in 1966 as an apprentice in the aerospace industry.

In 1967 during my college education, our social sciences lecturer – a pastor – posed the discussion question ‘Why do we work, surely our ambition should be to not work?’.

For me the subsequent hour long class interchange was very enlightening and, possibly, character building. Rapidly the conversation focussed on how our living would be financed without employment. And if we were living happily without an employer’s funding, what about those folks who were required to work; after all there will still be work that need to be done. Whatever the ‘remuneration’ mechanism human nature would require that those ‘working’ be remunerated differently than those otherwise occupied.”

Perhaps this is what it’s all about. Not buying in anymore. Why would you.

29 Milo Fan June 14, 2017 at 3:22 pm

EverExtruder provided an explanation for the phenomenon we’re discuusing.

You just beat a dead straw-horse.

30 Punjab June 14, 2017 at 6:53 pm

You beat a dead straw horse with a broken record.

31 msgkings June 14, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Well said, Brian

32 MMK June 14, 2017 at 7:29 pm

There’s meaningful struggle, and then there’s the struggle of staying engaged in a soul-crushing and meaningless job. As bad of a movie as “The Hurt Locker” is, it conveys this point nicely.

33 Believe it! June 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

#1 Alex Tabarrock would say the solution to this is open borders.

34 EverExtruder June 14, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Of course he would. Reject the citizenry that rejected you and elect another, more easily gullible one!!! Immigration and open borders in a nutshell.

35 Dots June 14, 2017 at 8:47 pm

More open borders for unskilled chicks who age slowly and tan safely to staff nursing homes and respect my post office job

36 Adam June 15, 2017 at 6:12 am

> Young women have always been fickle but have recently added bat-shit insanity to their resumes


37 rayward June 14, 2017 at 1:00 pm

6. I suppose this could be called a Seinfeld interview: it’s about nothing. One could say the same about the Sessions’ testimony, since it too was about nothing. Maybe that’s the future: books without words, paintings without paint, elections without candidates. It might solve the current highly partisan climate here and around the world. But what would happen to the theory of relativity? With nothing there’s nothing to compare. Would gravity suddenly disappear, would planets fall from the sky, would Republicans become Democrats and vice versa? How would I know where I stand if I’m standing with everybody else? Houllebecq and Sessions are dangerous.

38 The Centrist June 14, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Really? I thought the Sessions session was enlightening. He’s not my tribe and I assume he’s a sycophant who allied with Trump early as a longshot. But the whole kangaroo court showed that the goal of the Democrats is to cause someone to blunder and perjure themselves.

Because it sure looks like the collusion assumption was a false one.

39 The Other Jim June 14, 2017 at 5:59 pm

It’s Valerie Plame all over again.

There was no crime whatsoever, and the Dems knew that before they even started. But they interviewed many people for many hours and got Scooter Libby to say that was not aware of something totally irrelevant until 11 months prior, and it turns out a reporter claimed to have heard him say it 13 months prior.


40 bluto June 14, 2017 at 10:08 pm

Well there was a crime, but the perpetrator was an opponent of the war, so they couldn’t very well prosecute him.

41 Moo cow June 14, 2017 at 2:05 pm

#1. I know something about this! Yay! I’ve been playing sci-fi and fantasy mmorpg’s since 1999. Its cheap entertainment. I was a mustachian before mustachians were cool. FIRED at 50. AMA!

I could write a book. Anyway, for this forum I will say these games are surprisingly communist. And populated by many self-identified libertarians. Fascinating stuff.

I was there for the development of all the tools to make things “fair.” Need before greed, random rolling, event tracking, DKP, raid currencies to ensure everyone gets something for their efforts, a million tools developed to ensure a quite rigid form of economic equality. And that’s where young white guys are spending their time.

42 NatashaRostova June 14, 2017 at 2:27 pm

I quit MMOs once they implemented the fairness criteria. I loved the old wild west days, when you could spend all your in-game time conning/scammig/swindling people, and there were no ‘report’ buttons or ‘admins’ to slap you on the wrist. As far as I was concerned, it was the meta-game of conniving and stealing from people that made those games so much fun. A place online where you could legally use social-engineering and immoral practices to become powerful and rich. Now you just get banned for not following real world moral norms in game.

43 mbutu o malley June 14, 2017 at 2:48 pm

In those days I always hoped my negative reputation would catch up to me but I found if I was willing to fulfill a demanded role (usually healer) I could behave as poorly as I wanted to.

44 Moo cow June 14, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Right! No one could have predicted that someone would run up and snatched the Sword of Uberness right off the dragons corpse. It was a customer service nightmare!

45 Just a guy June 14, 2017 at 5:10 pm

If you are looking for an amoral mmorg experience, try Eve Online. Massively fucking over other people is built into the game.

On a related note, I remember back in the olden days when online first person shooters were free for alls. Team killing, griefing, and hacking made for some of my fondest childhood memories. Games have gotten much better at eliminating that stuff but it’s still a delight to find an exploit in a modern game and milking it before it’s patched.

46 Moo cow June 14, 2017 at 6:49 pm

I don’t play Eve. Though I did hear of one exploit where an insider duped a certain mining ship, worth in excess of $100,000 in real life money, and gave it to a friend.

When I quit one mmo in 2002 I sold the in game currency I had acquired for 10k. I was shocked. Had I known it was worth that I would have tried harder to make it. Though these days with the Chinese gold farmers it’s tough to recreate that success.

47 Amigo June 15, 2017 at 2:59 am

I’d be interested in hearing from the the MMO game players what such experiences have taught you about a) the nature of man, b) what makes people behave differently in real life, and c) what is missing in video games that makes players behave so differently than they do in real life?

48 msgkings June 15, 2017 at 12:02 pm

It’s the anonymity, duh. Same thing that lets commenters here and elsewhere be jerks.

49 Amigo June 15, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Anonymity may be part of it, but I players also are building a character with a reputation. I wonder about other factors, like:
– dying has little to no penalty in many cases.
– what do normal human responses require that is not present in games? There seems to be evidence that players change the way they play depending upon the avatar that represents them on screen.
– Perhaps real life reward cooperation more than we acknowledge, and it’s just not built into the games properly.

I guess what I’m trying to understand is there’s this dominant theme of toxic gaming communities, and it doesn’t seem to me that they have to be that way. I see many threads with players looking for better multiplayer gaming communities, but all replies say it’s inevitable that most multiplayer gaming communities turn toxic over time. Exceptions seem rare. You can tell developers are trying to build better communities online, but can’t seem to find the formula.

50 Anonymous June 14, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Those robots who have an issue with video games could learn to blend in better. Humans are about more than work and reproduction.

51 Daniel Weber June 14, 2017 at 3:36 pm

It’s not playing some video games that is the problem, the same way that watching some TV or playing some baseball is a problem.

It’s that videogames are replacing valuable life functions well enough that people are failing to develop their own skills.

Videogames may feel like work but they have big differences from actual work. One is that you know the videogame is fair and if you keep on searching you can overcome your obstacle. In the real world, many tasks are open-ended and the best you can hope for is the least-bad option. People trained on the stimulus-response of videogames get upset when confronted with real world stimulus-responses.

On the general concept of UBI: If my own son told me he wasn’t going to work and live off of my labor, but don’t worry, he will still be supporting the economy by spending my money on things, that wouldn’t fly. And if I wouldn’t do it for my own kid, I don’t know why I would do it for a stranger.

52 Anonymous June 14, 2017 at 4:25 pm

That’s a good explanation of the concern, props. I see it’s about more than just hating on people with different hobbies.

53 Albigensian June 14, 2017 at 4:53 pm

The ideal videogame would be to take the Blue Pill and enjoy a (simulated) life in The Matrix (or some other form of totally immersive, “wirehead” virtual reality)?

Perhaps, but if everyone did that there’d be no movie …

54 Alan Goldhammer June 14, 2017 at 2:57 pm

#2. My estimation of Douthat drops several more notches after seeing his list of movies. Spike Lee’s best movie ever is “Do the Right Thing” followed by “He Got Game.” the “25th Hour” is pedestrian and labored. Anyone who can understand Gibson’s “Apocalypto” is deserving of something but I don’t know what the something is. I watched about 10 minutes of it when it first hit cable and was nauseated more than when eating oysters gone bad. Douthat must have a cast iron stomach.

55 ricardo June 14, 2017 at 3:18 pm

I think Apocalypto is the only one on that list (apart from Mulholland Drive) that I would agree with.

56 Thor June 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Apocalypto. Very good movie. Put paid to any lingering sense that the Noble Savage metaphor might have some truth to it.

While it is about the Mayans, irrc, not the Aztecs, it gives an interesting fictional depiction of the world Cortés encountered.

57 Thorny Thompson June 14, 2017 at 6:14 pm

chekovesque “ending”, like gangs of new york

58 mgregoire June 14, 2017 at 10:50 pm

Douthat’s list is of the best movies since 2000. “Do the Right Thing” was released in 1989; “He Got Game” in 1998. They may be better than the “25th Hour”, but they are ineligible.

59 Yancey Ward June 15, 2017 at 2:41 am

I liked 25th Hour, but Lee’s best movie of the millenium is Inside Man

60 Hopaulius June 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm
61 Donald Pretari June 14, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Tower, Logan, Don’t Quit: The Joe Roth Story, King Corn, Mystery Road, Roman de Gare, Embrace of the Serpent, Tsotsi, True Grit, Lincoln, Hotel Rwanda, Vatel, The Artist and the Model, Far From Men, Diplomacy, Go for Sisters, Tucker and Dale Versus Evil, 13 Assassins, Even the Rain, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ( Swedish ), Good Bye, Lenin!, The Lives of Others, Almost Famous, About a Boy, The Station Agent.

62 Ray Lopez June 14, 2017 at 6:59 pm

#4 – roaming charges are too high in the EU. When I was foolish enough to use my Greece subscription cell phone in the USA, for a few phone calls where I had to use it, I got charged something like $250 euro for the month.

63 Anon June 14, 2017 at 7:28 pm

Ah, the decline and fall of roam……

64 Steve Sailer June 14, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Perhaps because he is not a professional critic, Ross’s list of 21st Century movies is quite good, with less desire to show off than other lists: e.g., his choice for best Coen Brothers movie of this century is the Oscar Best Picture winner: No Country for Old Men. Sure, you could mount a case for less enjoyable Coen movies like Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, or Inside Llewyn David, but, yeah, the best one is the one that most people would agree is the best one, the Oscar-winner.

65 Steko June 14, 2017 at 10:05 pm

Ross: +1 each for: New World, Mad Max, 40 Year Old Virgin, Squid and the Whale, Eastern Promises, The Incredibles, Arrival, Queen of Versailles, Moulin Rouge, Apocalypto. +0 for safe picks made after consulting Sight and Sound (Eternal Sunshine, Mulholland Drive, No Country for Old Men, Pan’s Labrynth), +0 for “Ross Douthat parody picks” (Passion of Christ, Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, The Lives of Others, Ida, Of Gods and Men), -1 each for blatant “great director” tokenism: Social Network, Inglorious Basterds, 25th Hour, Grizzly Man, Royal Tenenbaums. Additional -1 each for pretending Moonrise Kingdom is “underrated” and insinuating the 25th Hour is the greatest Spike Lee film with little competition. Overall a positive score.

66 Sandia June 14, 2017 at 10:25 pm

Add: It’s Such A Beautiful Day to the movie list. Ida:, yes. The Lives of Others: yes.

67 Moo cow June 14, 2017 at 10:29 pm

Good pick.

68 ricardo June 14, 2017 at 11:46 pm

Valhalla Rising, Only God Forgives, Drive, My Joy, Tony Manero, La Cienaga, Japon, Mulholland Drive, Apocalypto, Shaun of the Dead, Nobody Knows, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Distant, It’s Hard to be a God, The Raid, 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Irreversible, The Proposition, The Rover, Flanders.

Honorable mentions: Meek’s Cutoff, Liverpool, Animal Kingdom, Police Adjective, The Return.

69 ricardo June 14, 2017 at 11:55 pm

… OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, Tip Top, Bone Tomahawk.

70 ricardo June 15, 2017 at 9:20 pm

Can’t believe I left out: Oslo, August 31st.

71 Yancey Ward June 15, 2017 at 2:43 am

+100 for Shaun of the Dead– the best comedy of the period.

72 Yancey Ward June 15, 2017 at 2:44 am

I have been surprised that no one mentioned Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. A truly magnificent movie.

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