Category: odds and ends

Nico Nico English Version

So, nico nico now has an English version of their website,¬† and they’re doing a live broadcast from SakuraCon. Having comments appear directly on a video seems like it’d be really damn annoying, but honestly I’m finding it a lot more fun than YouTube. That may just be novelty value, but somehow it feels more like you’re interacting with other commenters than having comments appear just below the video as on other sites. Of course, the comments are pretty much smartass central, but I’m not one to take anything on the internet seriously anyway.…

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Pokemon Twelve Years Later

The last Pokemon game I bought was Red back in 1998, which I played so thoroughly over the next year or so that the resulting burnout has lasted over ten years now. A few days ago, while at work, I felt a strong urge to play again. Who knows why? The next day, though, I bought a copy of the recently-released Pokemon: White Version (not Black, because I prefer to hang around Pokemon that look like me lulz). Anyway, I thought the impressions of a prodigal Pokemon fan may interest those who’ve kept up with the series, so I’ll share my thoughts so far.

First of all, the basic gameplay hasn’t changed at all, as far as I can tell (I just got the first badge about 1.5 hours in). You wander around, catch little critters, train them, and fight them against other little critters. It’s still a great premise, and I can certainly see why the franchise has continued to sell so well.

As for changes, White and Black are more politically correct than Red and Blue. For one thing, instead of Prof. Oak we have some woman professor, and instead of having to play as a boy you can choose between a girl and a boy who looks like a girl. Enough girls play Pokemon that having a girl avatar is probably a good move (though I’m guessing it’s one that’s a few generations old now). Also, there’s a lot more talk about the special relationship between humans and Pokemon and what it means to be a good trainer. I think Red/Blue touched on this, but it wasn’t a major theme. I guess it’s a decent way to teach younger players to take care of animals, but really I just want to catch monsters and fight them.

Which brings me to Team Plasma, our antagonists who want to liberate the world’s Pokemon. They seem shady and I hear they have some ulterior motive, but… I don’t know. I always liked the original games’ simplicity. Not that White/Black is a new Hamlet or anything, but Red/Blue seemed to focus more on just catching and training Pokemon. Your rival there was Gary, who was your rival because he was a jerk and… that was it really. No motive that I can remember. He just was a jerk. Oh, and I guess Team Rocket was there too doing, ah, whatever their big plan was. Conquer the world or something. I realise that after over a decade you need to mix up the story a bit, but there’s something to be said about the almost perfect simplicity of the originals, which really captured that childlike feeling of adventure better than almost any other game I know of. I’ll wait until I finish the games to decide whether the new Pokemon measures up.…

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A Look at Student Government

Today, I got a glimpse future leadership of the nation, and the view is not good.

The venue was a debate at my university among Student Government candidates for president and vice-president. These five yammerheads went on for about an hour, mostly about the importance of representing “the students.” What none of them seemed to grasp was that “the students” are not a homogenous mass, but a collection of individuals who have differing, perhaps even conflicting, opinions on what their “representatives” should do.

Actually, the vast majority of students probably don’t care about Student Government, since they don’t seem to accomplish much beyond the occasional idiotic expenditure; for example, the purchase of three “spirit rocks” for students to express school spirit (i.e., graffiti) for several thousand dollars.

One of the vice presidential candidates was especially honest when he stated that he may not have totally agreed with a particular bill he had recently voted for, but since surveys indicated “the students” approved of the bill, “the students'” opinion became his opinion.

Too bad more politicians don’t admit they’re cowards who just do what’s popular!…

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How Austrian Are You?

I just took the Mises Institute’sAre You an Austrian?” quiz. Apparently, my economic views are 82/100 Austrian. A couple of my answers to the 25-question quiz were more in-line with the Chicago school, and a couple others with Keynesian/neo-classical economics. Somehow, I even managed to give one socialist answer(!).

Though my final score is probably accurate, and no such quiz is perfect, there were a few questions I had to hedge on. For example, one question asked about government involvement in endeavours like schools and roads. Well, I think government should build roads, but should not involve itself with schools.

It’s also really tough for an online quiz, with questions like “What is the reason for the interest rate, and should the rate be regulated?” Well, shit, I don’t know.

That aside, it’s definitely a step above the typical “What Pokemon type are you?” fare (I’m psychic-type, BTW). Check it out, and while you’re there read up on some Austrian economics too.

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Economics in One Post

With all the talk of the government needing to spend money in order to stimulate the economy, I figured now would be as good a time as any to break out Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson.

In short, based on my understanding of his book, a government has only two ways, besides outright seizure, of raising money. The first is taxation, and the second is inflation (the printing of more money). Every dollar the government spends must be paid for by one dollar of taxation or inflation. In neither case is there any real gain to the economy, because by taxation wealth is simply redistributed, not created, and by inflation the value of each dollar (or pound, or whatever) is reduced, making the additional money less meaningful.

That’s, uh, really about it. Hazlitt expands on that concept in his writings, of course, but really this seems like plain common sense. Why Congress fails to grasp such concepts is a mystery.…

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11th Hour, 11th Day, 11th Month

On this day, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, in A.D. 1918, ended what is possibly the most catastrophic event in human history. The Great War, as those involved called it, or the First World War, involved some of the most brutal fighting mankind has yet engaged in.

The word “tragedy” is overused in describing public events, but the Great War certainly fits, because most of those involved¬† were scarred, emotionally if not physically, or killed through no real fault of their own. Most of the combatants were drafted, and while most of the major wars in modern history have at least some pretext, the Great War was astoundingly unnecessary and wasteful.

Though the number of living veterans is now small, the impact of the war remains. Even the war’s political ramifications – great as they are – gradually dissipate. What, then, is the Great War’s relevance to the modern world? I can think of two reasons why the war is still relevant.

First, as one of history’s best reminders that the government is not your friend.

Second, its impact on art and literature. Very few writers of the early twentieth century were unaffected by the Great War, and its impact can be felt in most major works from the years following the war. Some of the greatest poets of their generation were themselves veterans, such as Siegfried Sassoon. Others were killed in the fighting, such as Wilfred Owen. No doubt other great men died who never had any chance to develop and share their talents, whether in poetry or another field, and that is possibly the greatest tragedy of the war.…

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Into the Unlearned, Uncharted

As I’ve said elsewhere, lots of people have blogs. Most of them are inactive, doing little more than taking up space on the internet. Honestly, mine has been one of those for the last nine months or so.

Up until now, this has been a blog in search of a topic. The main problem for me has been that there is little that I have to share that would be worth sharing. After all, I don’t care for personal blogs, so that idea is out. As for politics or literature or some other such topic, there are several people who know more than I, so there’s no reason for me to add what would mostly be noise to the noise/signal ratio. I am still learning about all these things.

That, then, is where I have my idea for what this blog will henceforth be about – intellectual growth. Rather than telling the world what I think, I will merely share what I’ve been learning. Hopefully others find it interesting. If not, this will at least be something for me to look back on. I’ve learned a lot in the last year about history, literature, religion… surely others can relate, and perhaps share their experiences.

I will find out.…

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How to Claim a Landmark Post

A while back, I wrote this little article on how to claim a landmark post in a message board. It was intended for users of the Megatokyo forums, “Story Discussions” in particular, but since it can apply to most other boards and it was located in a somewhat obscure place, I’m moving it here, with a few minor changes.

Corrections and suggestions are welcome.

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{Cue obnoxious tutorial mode music}

A common ritual on the Megatokyo Forums, and many other boards, for that matter, is owning landmark posts. This simply means that a particular person has the honor of having, for example, a forum’s thousandth post, an individual’s 500th post, or something else of that nature. This page is concerned with the second example, and there are three methods by which one may “claim” a post:

First, a person receives ownership if he is quoted in the landmark. For example, if MajorGeneral quotes Todd P. in his 500th post, Todd receives that post. If Major also quotes Pokeball, then both Pokeball and Todd receive partial ownership. This is the oldest and most widely accepted method of receiving ownership of a post.

Second, a person may give his landmark to someone as a gift. For example, if WyndyDay reaches her 500th post she has the option of giving it to a particular person or putting it up for grabs. The first simply involves saying either within or shortly after the landmark that it’s given to a particular person, perhaps a friend or as an exchange for a favor. By the second option, whoever asks for the landmark first receives ownership. If two people claim it, the person who posted first receives it, unless he decides to be nice and let the second person have it. Disputes are settled by the poster of the landmark. This method is newer and less accepted than the first, and should generally be used only if nobody is quoted in the landmark, or if the person who is quoted doesn’t care about such things.

Third, a landmark may be given to someone in advance of its posting. If Palad1n notices that he is approaching post number 500, he may offer it to whomever he wishes. This is the newest and least accepted method, and takes some of the fun out of it. Do this, and _Ocelot will hunt you like a wumpus, so don’t do it, foo’.

Finally, what constitutes a landmark post? A few things:

First, posts that are multiples of 100. Special value is given to posts that are multiples of 500 and 1,000. As one would expect, higher numbered posts are the most valued.

Second, posts that have numbers in some way considered cool. For example, posts allowing a change in title, post number 12,345, or 1337, etc. This isn’t an exact science, though – any number could be considered a landmark for almost any reason, but it’s best to be conservative.

Third, multiples of smaller numbers. In a small forum, or if a person is not prolific, one may consider a multiple of 50 or even 25 a landmark. Again, be conservative about this – past post 200 or so, it’s best to stop considering these multiples to be landmarks.

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Note: This information is based primarily on personal observation, but also with comments from Izuko and SpyderGreywolf over at MT.…

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