The New Car Wars

The New Car Wars

Dredging around on Discord, and Alexander Macris was discussing the new edition of Car Wars Steve Jackson Games is putting together.  He wasn’t impressed, not sure I am either. Complete list from the forum is below. I don’t have an issue with the Kickstarter date – likely to be pushed back, and of course the timeline is adjusted – and despite “starting over from scratch” it will include badlands/etc.. I’m Glad Uncle Al will return. I can understand if you’re revamping rules you may do a limited set, and I can even understand a desire to streamline the rules given Read more »

Striking Similarities

Striking Similarities

I recently came across this article at Quilette about twins studies. In 2000, the psychologist Eric Turkheimer concluded that the evidence from behavioral genetic data was consistent enough to summarize in three laws. The first law holds that all human traits are heritable (i.e., genetic differences account for phenotypic differences) to some degree. This assertion may not seem all that surprising today, although the word ‘all’ is still considered provocative by some. However, twin studies have produced copious data demonstrating that almost every trait is heritable to some degree or another.The remaining two laws concern environmental influence. The second of Read more »

More Skin in the Game

More Skin in the Game

So I’m still stepping through and digesting Taleb’s latest book, and I’m not sure what’s more surprising. On the one hand, I’m not into the deeper parts of the book yet and already, there are a lot of relationships he alludes to that are not obvious to most people. On the other hand, in several cases, the specific examples he brings up are ones that I had considered, and for much the same reason. For example – on citizenship, and specifically assuming the tax burdens and duties/obligations of where you choose to live: Once you become a U.S. citizen, you Read more »

Skin in the Game

Skin in the Game

I’ve started on “Skin in the Game” by NN Taleb, the third book in his Incerto series, which included his book on Black Swans, and Antifragility. No, I haven’t finished it yet, so this isn’t a review, but an observation only one chapter in that this book, like Antifragile, will certainly give me a lot to think about. Even in the opening of the book, he ties together the Golden rule, the “silver rule”, reciprocity, game theory, and of course “skin in the game” – and how the lack of it leads to poor judgment, even tyranny. “Skin in the Read more »

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech

It’s a tool, not an end to itself. Look, we have the right to bear arms, and are free to make choices insofar as we accept responsibility for the consequences of our choices, but not a right to indiscriminately point them while loaded, pulling the trigger. Thus, on the speech front, libel and slander laws. Orwell wrote in 1984 that freedom was the ability to state that two plus two equals four. That there were things that, no matter how imperfect our perceptions, were objectively true, and that if we could not state the truth, we were not free. Look Read more »

On Q

On Q

First, an aside. Today I got locked out of Twitter. Since I have no intention of handing them my phone number, it’s likely to stay that way. So, Q. Is Q real? Well – is Batman real? I know, you’re inclined to say “no”, but hear me out. One possibility is that Q is really really real, an actual human being who actually works high up in the Trump administration with a high clearance, and access to things like travel plans and speeches that the general public and press would not be. Maybe, maybe not. There’s certainly at least one Read more »

The Doom that Came to My Computer

The Doom that Came to My Computer

It’s been a while. I generally avoid shooters these days. Age has caught up, my reflexes aren’t what they used to be, and the disconnect between head-snapping turns and reality often left me queasy after trying Borderlands 2 for a while. So. I ran into this review of Doom 4 by the inestimable Razorfist. And immediately shilled out the twenty it currently runs. It. Is. Glorious. But first…. please feast on this headline… It’s taken me two years to finally face the new Doom. You see, violence makes him queasy. I can’t remember if it was polygon or Kotaku or Read more »

Soda Pop Soldier

Soda Pop Soldier

Ages ago I read what was – at the time, for a younger self – a “groundbreaking” book by Neal Stephenson called Snow Crash. It was an interesting blend of real and virtual word technothriller, had some interesting ideas, a fun opening chapter, and despite putting out a number of books I’ve gladly reread like Anathem, SC did not age well. Mostly for it’s self-awareness, as demonstrated most clearly by the name of our viewpoint character, Hiro Protagonist. Nick Cole’s Soda Pop Soldier gets compared a lot to Ready Player One but I think this is another case of people who truly haven’t Read more »

Management Fads

Management Fads

Over at Vox’s there was a post on whether or not “agile” development made it easier for SJW’s to infiltrate an organization. Now, I know a little programming, but will never claim to be great, and certainly don’t have project-management experience with the pro’s and cons of waterfall vs whatever. What caught my eye was this comment: “Anyway, I still like agile, but there’s a huge tendency for people to want to say they’re doing agile without understanding any of the points in the manifesto, because they heard that they should be doing agile. Nothing will fix that, but they’d Read more »

For Every Action

For Every Action

Today as a GM I got a valuable lesson in the craziness of reaction rolls and how it can cause some utterly unique moments in gaming. This is the kind of thing that happens when you run a “decision loop” as Bradford Walker has laid out, and the world is a simulation with the GM being the arbiter instead of the narrator of a “story” game. Background. We’ve got a 1HP cleric in the party, “Three Steps”. His stated goal is to “advance the candle into the darkness.” In the past encounters with orcs, some interesting reaction rolls to him Read more »