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washington middle

sam (9 Jan 20:54): I've been looking through some old papers lately because my parents moved out of their house. Here is one.

Sam's handwriting: Hey Grant, write a story here. --->

Grant's handwriting: Once upon a time there was a bird named Sam. Sam was eating birds one day when he felt his little birdie bones being mashed into a pulp. Sam realized he was being eaten. His little birdie feet were quickly mangled into a grotesque lump as a feline devoured him.

Sam's handwriting: Once upon a time a cow decided he wanted to eat a human. He did, but the human was very mad at him. He praised himself for doing as he did and decided she [eraser marks at gender change] was a brave cow. As it turned out, she decided she didn't like the taste of the human, and burped him out! The human was not happy. The end.

Grant's handwriting: Once upon a time there was a whale who looked surprisingly like a cat. The wale was called Annie.
m (13 Jan 17:59): ha!


G (19 Sep 2005 22:06): So, I just learned that there will be an 'SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters DS.' And it made me want to go out and buy a DS for the express purpose of playing said game. I'm a sick, sick man, am I not?

That being said, everybody loves the DS and hates the PSP, or am I getting something wrong? I mean, they don't all hate the PSP really, but basically, it seems to not have many good games (?). I'm still in love with Street Fighter 3, so maybe I shouldn't care about new games. Console card games seem like the best thing ever, somehow.
G (20 Sep 2005 0:43): And although it's a cool feature that Sony should make more accessible, I would say that the PSP makes a bulky, inelegant MP3 player. It's a decent media player, I suppose, but the resolution isn't great, I don't really want to convert all my media so I can play it with the PSP, and I actually just don't need a portable media device. It's a gaming device with some nice extras, and the games don't really seem to be good enough to make me want to buy it.

But I get excited just thinking about 'Kimi no Tame nara Shineru' and 'Akachan wa doko kara kuru no?' Oh, yeah. And, like, all the rest of the games people are raving about. Except for Nintendogs, which I'll pass on.
m (21 Sep 2005 9:12): What's not to like? Look - that dog's wearing a hat! Cuuuuute!!!1!
m (21 Sep 2005 9:28): Tatsu loves his PSP. I think he put all of Penny Arcade on it, and plays a couple games (something golf and Lumines). But I'm with you on this one: too many frills, even if the design is decent. Too bad my mp3 player is unacceptably shitty. I want an open mp3 player - maybe something that runs a 68K (think that would be fast enough?).
G (21 Sep 2005 22:38): Haha, speaking of MP3 players that rhyme with ditty... (My favorite part is the logo, or rather the pair of logos. Nice!)
G (22 Sep 2005 0:10): And, yeah. The PSP seems to have at least a few nice games. Everybody loves Lumines, it seems. It's just that there doesn't seem to be very many of them. Also, most people seem to say that the DS has a nicer wireless setup. So, if I only bought one...

Of course, if I wanted some kind of picture-viewing musicandmovie-playing thing, too, then the PSP would look a lot more attractive. However, it seems like a pain to convert things for the PSP (especially when fighting firmware upgrades, etc.), and I have a laptop I can take around with me if I ever really care.
z (22 Sep 2005 11:59): I so did not understand any of this. Explain please.
m (22 Sep 2005 12:24): discussion of two contemporary portable gaming systems (though the PSP bills itself as more of a portable media center)
m (22 Sep 2005 12:28): oh -- and some complaints about a few mp3 playing gagets.
m (3 Oct 2005 18:48): My cousin just started at digipen. He's from New York -- I wonder how he found out about the school.
Grant (14 Nov 2005 17:18): So, Magna Carta!
Remember when I was all excited about that, and it was in Korean only for Windows only? It must have been three years ago, or more. Kind of crazy to think about it still going strong (or is it?).
G (14 Nov 2005 17:51): Ugh, so there's two Magna Cartas. The first one is Magna Carta: The Phantom of Avalanche. The second one is Magna Carta 2 AKA Magna Carta: Crimson Stigmata AKA Magna Carta: Tears of Blood. It's the second one that is getting a PS2 release in the US... today?!?
Grant (14 Nov 2005 23:05): I'm still totally psyched about it - and I don't even know anything about it, really. But the 2D art is deservedly renowned, and... the title is kinda cool, I guess. And it's from Korea, which I can't say about many games I play.
m (15 Nov 2005 1:32): that was the thing with the guy doing the crazy concept art, right? like, the dude with a big shoe fetish?
Grant (15 Nov 2005 3:36): Yeah, exactly! Tell me you're not psyched.
Although, I now hear it made a 'top 10 disappointing games' list in Japan..? I don't know, it still seems interesting to me.
(20 Nov 2005 13:34): Let's translate, for people who don't live in Grant's head.
"..still seems interesting..." = "...still seems to have that one guy doing the art."
Grant (12 Dec 2005 15:23): Ugh. In the meantime, though, I'm playing through FFX, which I completely skipped. It's kinda neat. It is, not always pleasantly, very evocative of 'The Wonder Years.' It's uncanny. Unspent time is used on playing Street Fighter III: Third Strike, which remains a pillar of the fighting game community. That, and the timeless Kingdom of Loathing.

There's something about an involved minigame that can hook itself into me. I'm thinking of the card game in FF8, the card game in Xenosaga, and now, to some extent, 'Blitzball' in FFX. In FF8, it actually helped you in-game. In Xenosaga, it had absolutely no game effect (!). I've earned one (1) item for playing Blitzball (I feel dirty every time I type that), but I'm not sure if it's actually 'worthwhile.' Probably not. It's weird, though. Your BB players have levels, statistics and skills. Thus, playing the game makes you feel like your making progress, when it is probably all wasted. Then you can go back to gaining levels in the main game. Ugh.
Grant (13 Dec 2005 18:47): And even as I wrote that, I realized that everything you could say about the mini-games applies to the games themselves. Wastes of time; tedious; illusory, artificial progress...

At least with fighting games, your progress is neither illusory nor artificial. Unless you're trying to unlock costumes in Tekken 5, or something, that is.
(31 Jan 2006 6:18): Man, why'd they have to stop with two?
I was totally waiting for FINAL FANTASY: XXX
Grant (4 Feb 2006 1:35): I think it's official - I'm planning on getting a DS Lite as soon as they hit over here. Then I can play awesome games like.... uh, well, more tetris. But, hey, you just know that DS TETRIS is going to be like ten times better than any other kind of tetris. Or, you know, most.
Although I'm not too sure that having nintendo-mascot-themes for every game time is a real selling point.
Grant (4 Feb 2006 1:45): Also, Valkyrie Profile has to be one of my favorite games of all time, and now it's getting a sequel!
Here's a link, and here's another.
Also, I guess there's going to be a rerelease of VP1 with some goodies for PSP. That's pretty awesome. I don't really see myself getting a PSP for that game, but if I had a PSP, I'd call it a must-buy for anybody who didn't play the original.
Paul (4 Feb 2006 4:19): If you have a system that can run cuyo, I highly recommend it. It's like any other match-up-falling-pieces game, except every level has its own weirdness. Like, on level 4 (the first level with real weirdness) you have to match up arrows that point the same way, except when you rotate the piece, the arrows rotate(!)
Grant (7 Feb 2006 1:45): I'm putting up (on the FTP) some match videos of The Last Blade 2, if you remember that. Some Lee Rekka (fire monk guy) player beasts the competition, but there's also a surprise beatdown or two at the hands of a talented Shigen (big rock-arm dude) player.

Kind of interesting, I thought, if only to get a taste of how that game is supposed to be played. It's not getting any younger, but it still hangs with some of the better of them for gameplay, I think.
m (7 Feb 2006 4:25): oh, no joke. I remember that fella.
Grant (7 Feb 2006 16:34): I don't have any reason to think Sam still reads this, but I read something about a command and conquer compilation coming out. They made twelve of those things?
m (8 Feb 2006 13:16): yeah, but that includes expansions where they, you know, add more guns and stuff. I guess.
Grant (8 Feb 2006 22:40): Or, you know, NERF TEH ROCKET-BIEKS.
Grant (9 Feb 2006 4:50): I'm also uploading some videos from the FFA 3S Ranbat 2. That's the Family Fun Arcade (San Francisco area, I believe) Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Ranking Battle 2.

I know you don't think you want to watch videos of people playing SF3:3S, but it's made somewhat more interesting due to the fact that the... announcer, I guess... is totally high. You might not need to watch all of it, but there are certainly some funny moments. Or maybe it's just funny because I like 3S.
Grant (9 Mar 2006 1:45): Go play Splash Back and tell me what you think. It's pretty simple, but I don't know. Try it out. I think I really started to 'get it' the third time I played it.
(11 Mar 2006 0:20): ALPHA! RITA HAS ESCAPED.
Paul (14 Mar 2006 6:40): Interesting. The "best" strategy seems to be tedious planning to get the whole board as one combo. I got to level 9 with 43 drops before the tedium was too much for me. Since the levels don't seem to get any harder/different, I suppose someone more patient could go on indefinitely(?)
Grant (14 Mar 2006 14:11): Yes, that's absolutely right.
I think they thought that nobody would actually put up with that much tedium, though.
The levels do actually get harder, though - more '1' or '2' puddles and such. It's just fairly gradual, and in addition to that, there's no real need to find a new strategy.
Perhaps if there were a time limit, it would force people to play more spontaneously. And that, in turn, might be more fun.
Grant (11 Jun 2006 18:50): Okay, here's another flash game with geek appeal. Personally, I'm thinking it needs to have more decapitation, or exposed busom to become an internet sensation. Nonetheless, you guys might appreciate it.
m (13 Jun 2006 3:10): sweet game. seriously, though -- needs some boobs.
Grant (13 Jun 2006 22:24): Yeah - and they wouldn't even have to change the game, really.

I envision the new game having a 'boob source,' and the player having to ensure that all of his components are 'boobed.'
Grant (13 Jun 2006 22:28): Speaking of which, how's Budapest? I bet those Hungarians are lining up to buy a PS3. Their thirst for blue-ray has been widely reported.
m (14 Jun 2006 5:13): Hungary's lust for blu-ray (and vicious hatred for HD-DVD) is well documented. But I live in a sort of seedy neighborhood, so all we've got right now is bars motherfucking packed for world cup games between teams that I can't imagine anyone here particularly caring about (trinidad vs. sweden??) -- I did see a videogame store by where I'll be living next semester (more upscale neighborhood, verging on touristy, but a much nicer apartment), so who knows. Maybe so.
m (14 Jun 2006 5:15): hm. I fucked up that first link, but I'm not quite sure how. Carriage return after the <a tag, I guess. Anyhow, here it is again.
Paul (14 Jun 2006 7:08): (mancala converts all linebreaks to
Paul (14 Jun 2006 7:11): (apparently that was a self-referential doh)
Grant (14 Jun 2006 16:35): Since when do you speak Hungarian, by the way?
I imagine they don't get many video games released in Hungarian, but then what do I know?
They say that English is the 'international language,' but I think the future lies with languages where the word for blue-ray is "King Kong." That's what I got out of that second link.
m (19 Jun 2006 6:00): yeah, man -- that second link was something like "what if the man were actually the size of his election posters"
which is to say, big.
Paul (19 Jun 2006 7:18): How many possible outcomes are there from 2 soccer games? More than you'd think
Paul (21 Jun 2006 10:22): No TV to watch the world cup? Just telnet 2006!
m (23 Jun 2006 13:26): that's awesome. unbelievable.
Grant (4 Sep 2006 3:20): Best game ever?
Most Earth-Defense-Force-X game ever?
Grant (19 Sep 2006 3:44): Clips from the new Madden football game.
I laughed.
(4 Oct 2006 22:00):
(4 Oct 2006 22:22): ...
m (5 Oct 2006 11:55): fantastic
G (9 Oct 2006 19:33): You gonna buy a PS3 for Tekken 6?
God, what a farce. Though everybody's jumping on the "PS3 might not be as bad as it looked before" wagon now after a year of internet-tough-guy posturing against a system that's not even out yet.
I'm enjoying my DS, though. Still.
I beat the normal campaign of Advance Wars, which was very fun, but I don't know if I want to start a new campaign or not. I beat the normal levels of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! and it was also very fun - I'll probably go back to that one now and again. Now I'm playing CastleVania: The DS One, and it's very good, although I'm struck by just how stagnant the game has been since Symphony of the Night.
Of course, Symphony was a beautiful, ground-breaking game that deserves all the praise that it gets, and it's good enough that I'm actually mostly okay with playing through a remix of it, but it's shocking how there's really only one big change between the most recent game and its six-year-ago, four-game-ago predecessor.
Grant (9 Oct 2006 19:58): Re: CastleVania: Dawn of Sorrow (CastleVania DS, how clever)
Dual Strike, Dawn of Sorrow, Deadly Silence, they're very clever, these marketing types, yes?
Alright, so what gets me most about this game are the points that are very obviously copied from the six-year old Symphony of the Night, along with the points that re completely worse that the game they've been copying for the last 4 or five titles.
When I say copied parts, I'm not talking about general gameplay stuff - I didn't even really expect anything new, there. I'm talking about sprite copies. Yes! The same harpies, weeds, skeletons, axe-armors, frost spirits, and devils (I could go on) are here for more punishment. I knew there'd be skeletons and such, but I really didn't think it would be the exact same skeletons. Soma's animations look almost *exactly* like Alucard's, they're honestly the same. Since he has the same moves, as well, including the trademark back-dash, the sense of deja vu is overpowering.
And then some of the other parts are worse. The character designs have been made into 'for kids' versions, which is incredibly disappointing (Let's compare!). The music can't compare, but you have to let that one slide, since it's on a cartridge.
On the plus side? Looks like the bosses are all new, so there's still some new things to see, at least. The 'soul' system, by which Soma can equip abilities of defeated monsters, lets players play around with some new stuff, which is kinda neat (at the same time, it can require tons of tedious grinding, however). The lack of item and weapon variety is not really made up for by the soul-item-forging, because it requires more tedious grinding and doesn't actually offer anything new for it. Stylus-driven magic seals and touch-destroyable blocks add nothing to the game, but at least they don't come up very often.
Honestly, if you've played SotN, you mostly know what you're getting. It's a good game. If you want to play CastleVania on the DS, it's fine. If you hadn't played one, and didn't need to take it with you, I'd personally say that SotN is a better game, though. I'm still going to play through DS (I'm prolly about 1/3 done?), but unless it gets better, it won't dethrone SotN.
Grant (10 Oct 2006 21:56): It's a good think I like hearing the sound of my own voice!
G (29 Oct 2006 17:17): Now, I realize this is very old news.
But Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a really satisfying game. Fantastic. To all those people who said it was "Game of the Year" last year - I agree! I also dig the music. It's not super duper hard (yet, anyways), and I don't know how much replay value it has, but it's definitely worth playing through once.
Then again, I'm only on Chapter 3. But it's at the top of my list, right now.
G (25 Jan 2007 16:04): Hotel Dusk / Wish Room is absolutely fantastic. Fantastic. Ffffffaaaaantastic.
The whole thing is done in a sort of sketchy style, where the hotel is 3D and all the people are sketched paper cutouts. It sounds like it might be kinda cheesy, but it works out quite well, owing primarily to the strength of the illustrations. After a while the effect wears off, but I still find myself watching the characters, and waiting for my favorite animations.
m (25 Jan 2007 16:43): looks remarkably attractive!
G (26 Jan 2007 7:22): Yeah. You might not really be able to see in a picture, but even the still poses have three or four frames of animation, so it doesn't just kinda sputter and freeze. The game clocks in at, like, 100 megabytes, which seems ridiculous for a hand-held game to me. But I guess I know where it went. It's all those sketches.
Paul (2 Feb 2007 4:18): WV to use Dance Dance Revolution to slim kids. The title says it all.
G (18 Feb 2007 5:47): Wesker!
I started playing RE4 a little bit. Pretty cool - but it's been a good while since I've played a game you can, you know, lose. Scary!
G (26 Feb 2007 16:33): Pixel (Cave Story) has released a WIP shooter (guxt?)
Windows only for now.
G (3 Mar 2007 5:58): Cleared Portrait of Ruin, but used up all my restorative items to kill Dracula (spoilier!)
And it lets you start a new game as "richiter." :(
R (8 Mar 2007 4:07): Holy crap. Desktop Tower Defense is serious crack.
m (8 Mar 2007 14:40): we need a group name for score comparisons
m (8 Mar 2007 15:25): (mancala)
Paul (8 Mar 2007 17:11): That tower defense stuff is pretty good. Unfortunately my default config of Flash doesn't show anything in the infoboxes, so I can't upgrade my towers, see my lives-count, etc. But I can see the guys getting blown up by my towers, anyway.
G (8 Mar 2007 17:16): Press U to upgrade.
G (8 Mar 2007 17:27): And 'S' to sell! Although you won't be able to see the prices and what the upgrades do, exactly...
In general, though, they just increase the damage. The weak posts get their damage doubled each time, and the fast 'squirt' towers get their damage increased by 90% each time, it looks like.
G (8 Mar 2007 17:47): Although perhaps you need a font on your computer to see text in Flash. :(
G (9 Mar 2007 6:59): Played DTD again, this time I beat it! On easy. And I had to play super cheap, although I think it's expected. Picture...
G (9 Mar 2007 9:28): I beat it on normal! But the flying bosses just zoom right over me. And I think missing the cash for a boss is probably pretty bad... But on the other hand, killing them might require getting max-level darts, and that might eat up all the money that killing them would give me.
m (9 Mar 2007 19:08): those flying bosses are hard!
Paul (10 Mar 2007 6:57): I took down both flying bosses on level 42 using 4 typhoons, 2 four-dot swarms, and upgrading 2 blizzards just in time for 42. But I still missed a lot on 46-48. My computer is quite slow, which I think is an advantage for thinking-time, but makes it easy to waste many hours on DTD...
G (10 Mar 2007 15:37): It gets a little slow when there's a lot on the screen for me, too - but I just turn down the quality to 'medium' and it's fine, usually. Try that, maybe.

It seems like to kill the bosses you either need two 5-dot swarms (storms), or a whole pile of typhoons. Or a compromise between the two. The other important thing is to have two blizzards towards the entrances to slow them down before they get to your guns.

I've been trying to have two storms and a typhoon near the middle, a couple blizzards towards the top and left, either one or two darts, and then putting the rest into sniper towers. I'm not sure about it, though - maybe I should make more typhoons. Snipers don't help as much for the planes, but they're way, way cheaper.
G (10 Mar 2007 18:04): Getting close, there!
G (10 Mar 2007 19:12): Sorry for clogging up the scoreboard, by the way. In the future I will only submit a score if it's higher than my last one. But you guys should submit all of yours until it doesn't look like I'm a social recluse.
Paul (11 Mar 2007 7:53): Oh, I totally hadn't noticed that I could change the Flash quality to speed it up. With 'low quality' it runs decently on my machine, which is good!
G (12 Mar 2007 15:27): ...You guys give up, or something?
The advanced play seems to all revolve around 'juggling' the enemies between two exit paths. By unblocking one and blocking the other, you force all the enemies to trudge back to the beginning and start over - and it only costs you $2 to do it.
G (13 Mar 2007 19:15): I think I could beat 8000 maybe, but I'm losing the will to try.
Paul (24 Mar 2007 0:56): just broke 7000
G (8 Apr 2007 19:47): Who wants to play SRWA3 now?
G (9 Apr 2007 0:16): Desktop Tower Defense was just updated.
m (9 Apr 2007 7:31): I don't like those spawn dudes jumping through my diagonals.
G (9 Apr 2007 8:12): Yeah, it's kinda obnoxious. It makes diagonal layouts much much worse. They can't jump far enough to cross over straight horizontal/vertical lines.
G (15 Apr 2007 18:19): Time to buy an XBox?
G (22 Apr 2007 16:38): I'm not exactly in line for an MMO, but if I were, it would have to be this. Man! I could play dress up all day!
G (22 Apr 2007 18:15): If you guys wanna warfish invite, hit the link.
If not, that's cool, too.
G (8 May 2007 16:48): Hydrophobia. All the world really needs is more water in games.
G (8 May 2007 18:24): Well, that and fewer detainees in Gauntanamo.
G (31 May 2007 1:43): You can find videos of Odin Sphere on YouTube, but be warned that half are people playing very poorly, and you might get spoilers (oh noes!) in the other ones.

It's some kind of 2D beat-em-up cum RPG. The action is certainly the former, but you also have rich item usage and a basic level system that makes it feel like the latter. A good score and a great visual style rounds out the package.

I think there was one time on PA when one of them said that he planted a seed in the stage, and when he defeated enemies, they released photons which the plant absorbed. The plant grew, and finally bore sheep as fruit. If you then attack the sheep, they turn into little roast meat things. And when you eat those, not only do you regain health, but your hit points gain experience.

It's really just a 2D beat-em-up at heart, but the gorgeous art and animation, plentiful bosses, obtainable items/recipes/etc., and multiple characters (which are only unlocked sequentially) help keep it fresh. Or if you're just a sucker for anything based on Wagner's Rings, y'know. And the US version lets you select between English and Japanese voice tracks!
m (4 Jun 2007 3:00): currently waste much time writing/playing mmatch.
I made that webpage just for you, grant. I hope you have X header files on your machine.
G (4 Jun 2007 15:49): I'm into the MMORPSGGH craze! But I don't actually play.
No, no. I just watch videos of in-game dancing.
G (4 Jun 2007 18:39): I guess Neversoft is going to turn Judy Nails into a generic video-game ho-bag.
G (9 Jun 2007 1:53): GOD HAND! It's better than Odin Sphere!
G (13 Jun 2007 3:27): GOD HAND!
Japanese ad.
Trailer 1, 2, 3.
Ending credits (English).
Some guy who's way too good at the game.
G (24 Jun 2007 7:48): New version of Desktop Tower Defense.
If anybody still cares.
There's new towers and creeps, but...
It's still basically the same.
G (25 Jun 2007 1:22): Let's join Weewar and play a game.

Basically, it looks like hex-based Advance Wars in your browser.
m (7 Sep 2007 19:01): sounds like they had 37,400 folks at PAX.

G (27 Sep 2007 19:46): I played Rock Band at the UW today, and got to talk to a Harmonix employee about it a little. It was pretty funny, although the guitars they had up on stage seemed a little finicky. Good time, but I was a little disappointed by the turnout, and that the UW made them turn off all their amps. The two may have been related slightly.
R (9 Apr 2008 14:03): Miles Edgeworth: Perfect Prosecutor
G (9 Apr 2008 16:42): I saw that! Alright, Edgey!
G (17 Apr 2008 11:17): Street Fighter 4 watch.
New characters, huh?
Finally, we get our long-awaited fatty fat man.
m (17 Apr 2008 21:22): Wow. I like how (a) to the point, and (b) technically detailed that post was. Information-dense. Of Sagat: "C.FP is no longer the Evil Bringer of Retribution it used to be. Now, it's just a normal move. Seriously lacks pokes. [etc]"
G (18 Apr 2008 13:10): Yeah, it's true - FITE-GAMERZ are real gamers. They don't waste no time.
It's all about figuring out what's effective as fast as possible.
G (20 Apr 2008 23:11): Of course, nobody really cares about Street Fighter anymore.
Not when there's MORTAL KOMBAT!!!!!!
I just hope it's as good as MK4!!!
G (30 Apr 2008 23:32): If, for some reason, you needed something to waste your precious time on, SkyRates is pretty cool.
m (1 May 2008 14:42): always in such need
G (1 May 2008 15:53): Also, I think it's actually supposed to be pronounced to sound like 'pirates.' But you never know, you know?
G (1 May 2008 23:43): Actually, one of the cool things about it is that it is designed with sporadic play in mind. Although, that's still more time than it takes to not play.
m (3 May 2008 11:57): here you do know! The "old version" link backs you up on the pronunciation:
G (3 May 2008 13:20): Trying to dictate how I pronounce my words is un-American.
I've noticed a high level of un-American-ness around here.
G (20 May 2008 15:43): From Waxy: 16% of US science teachers are young-earth creationists.
G (20 May 2008 19:36): Whoops. I was going to post this in 'Danger.'
G (1 Jun 2008 1:12): Ooh, "Front Mission 2089" was just released for DS. In Japanese.
Here's a screenshot. Allow me to translate!

Odd-eye: My code-name is Odd-eye.
My eyes are odd-eye.

So, looks like I'll be playing this one, if only for the dialogue.

(Odd-eye is a japanglish term for heterochromia)
R (4 Jun 2008 14:37): I will probably also be playing this one ... because it's Front Mission! (Not true - have not played FM2 or 3. Did 4 come out? I can't even remember.)

However, because it is Front Mission, I will probably start with plenty of excitement, but tire of mecha dress-up + grinding somewhere between 5% (Side-scrolling action FM) - 95% (FM1) through.
G (4 Jun 2008 15:24): FM4 is for PS2, and is really good.

I think I talked to you about it - it has repair-capable backpacks for your mechs, which makes things much more forgiving, and 'attack links' which are hard to describe, but essentially allow you to attack as a team.
G (4 Jun 2008 15:25): I hear FM5 was good, too, but doesn't seem to be getting an english release.
G (4 Jun 2008 22:54): FM5 Gameplay. I'm actually tempted to try to play it in Japanese... Of course, if I ever turned on my PS2 again, I've got several games waiting. :(
G (5 Jun 2008 16:31): Wow. FM 2089 even has a lot of the same music as FM1. It's very much in the "this would have looked pretty good on a SNES" territory.
G (8 Jun 2008 15:14): Ultimately, TWEWY is a game about cross-dressing.
G (8 Jun 2008 16:11): You keep it classy, Nintendo.
G (12 Jun 2008 17:41): Anybody remember Rose & Camellia?
R (18 Jun 2008 7:15): Easy to use (if you haven't applied the very latest update) hack for running homebrew on the Wii.
G (18 Jun 2008 15:23): Yeah, I read about that.
And I guess the latest firmware won't de-install the homebrew channel if you've already got it set up. Good for emulators, it looks like.
G (26 Jun 2008 13:56): Disgaea DS is out in Japan. Also, Daigasso Band Brothers DX, which can be used in a quasi-'rock band' mode, it would seem, allowing for 8-player simultaneous. If you've got a Wii, it can use your TV's speakers.
G (26 Jun 2008 15:21): Holy carp, Megaman 9. Including... the first female (?!) robot master, Splash Woman.
G (26 Jun 2008 19:44): Also, a CastleVania fighter... for the Wii! Screens are here.
R (2 Jul 2008 7:57): OH SHI-
G (2 Jul 2008 17:11): Yeah! I saw that!
Now I can actually play that game, I guess.
m (5 Jul 2008 20:45): It's just a goddamn clock -- as far as flash games go: terrible.
G (13 Jul 2008 22:32): Metal Slug 7 for the DS is out!
I don't know anything more about it than that.
Space Invaders Extreeem is pretty awesome, Arkanoid DS is... much more slowly paced.
G (30 Jul 2008 19:32): These screenshots of Dragonball DS suggest some interesting gameplay.
G (30 Jul 2008 19:48): Also, an exciting new trailer! Wow! I'm excited!
G (2 Oct 2008 16:45): WWHAAAATTT?!?!?
R (2 Oct 2008 16:47): NERDGASM
G (2 Oct 2008 16:48): I'm thinking the screenshot in the article may not be a real one, though, since there have been several cave story mods, and since the Nintendo press release didn't have any pictures with it (that I saw). Although if it is real, that's kind of exciting.
G (2 Oct 2008 16:48): Wow! Ninja post, R.
G (10 Oct 2008 7:35): The WiiWare Cave Story Blog. Has a single picture of the new graphics for comparison. I guess the music will also be different.
G (19 Oct 2008 22:40):
G (20 Oct 2008 8:17): CastleVania: Order of Ecclesia out in NA tomorrow.
G (21 Oct 2008 23:08): It's out. Looks fantastic.
G (5 Nov 2008 8:02): You guys were totally right about Cammy. :P

I guess there's a new DS game out in Japan called "The Wind of Nostalgio." Sounds pretty awesome.
G (4 Dec 2008 9:26): I beat Cult of Ecclesia! Pretty fun. Do I go through for boss medals? Albacore mode? I'm kinda thinking about it, but by the time I go back to my DS, it might be to play Chronotrigger. Mmmm.
R (5 Dec 2008 15:36): Somehow, I stopped playing for a bit, and haven't made it back. Was torn about facing Dracula vs. more grinding. I like your title translation better than the official "Order of Ecclesia". I wanted to close this post with "Soon, Dracula will taste my whip," but there aren't any character-usable whips in the game. What the hell? Soon Dracula will taste my magic back tattoo?
G (6 Dec 2008 8:56): Haha, yeah, soon he'll face motherfucking nitesco. That shit does fire/light damage, son. Yeah, light.
G (6 Dec 2008 16:41): Wow, why play 'real' games when you could be playing a juvenile, hacked version?
G (10 Dec 2008 11:11): Beat.
G (13 Jan 2009 23:51): Why Mother 3 has music in 29/16 time.
m (14 Jan 2009 1:28): Terrifying. You tried it?
m (14 Jan 2009 1:28): Hey, don't you live in the same city as me?
G (14 Jan 2009 14:18): I totally do!
Also I just dropped one of my classes, so maybe I'll have some free time.
R (15 Jan 2009 14:10): Actually, both of you live in MY town. Mine.
G (15 Jan 2009 15:11): "This town isn't big enough for the two of us!"
"Yea, I reckon we'll have to annex part of the county."
G (28 Jan 2009 22:26): If you've been waiting for Street Fighter 4 to hit consoles, this is some kind of crazy bomb-shell.
G (26 Feb 2009 0:00): I bought Street Fighter Four.
If you wanna know how to play, I can break it down for you.
m (26 Feb 2009 14:58):
Is he close?  ->  Yes  ->  SHORYUKEN!!1
-> No -> Fuck it -> SHORYUKEN!!1
G (1 Mar 2009 15:43): Come on!

Just pick Ken, already!
G (2 Mar 2009 23:40): Auto polo.
m (3 Mar 2009 12:14): also: incredible.
G (13 Mar 2009 23:34): Stolen joke: Dream Club Website Cannot be Accessed

Do you have a pure heart?

-> No.

I'm sorry, but we can only allow those with pure hearts to enter.

G (27 Mar 2009 15:07): Hey, it's a Wii game!
G (25 May 2009 1:33): HRAP EX with Sanwa buttons and an octagonal restrictor plate GET.
Although I'm not sold yet on the octo-plate. I'm thinking it might be nicer for, say, Marvel, but not as nice for Street Fighter (where I do a lot of diagonal-to-diagonal movements, since I probably play as Chun Li and Boxer most frequently.)
Paul (25 May 2009 4:37): I checked google images to figure out how exactly it restricts, but it's still not clear to me. I guess if you push the joystick NNW, it tends to slide it toward the stable corner positions at N or NW? Does the game care about magnitude of joystick movement or just direction? And does the restrictor plate limit that magnitude? And why am I suddenly curious about this "restrictor plate"?
G (25 May 2009 14:53): Okay, well, I'll try to explain.

First of all, most arcade joysticks only register 8 possible directions. Essentially, they are the arrow keys, except you can't press left & right or up & down at the same time. So the joystick never reports magnitude in any direction; these are not analog joysticks.

I would be remiss not to mention the very detailed explanation of all this here. Sometimes I find the opinions there to be highly biased, however.

Here we have a standard (for Japan) square-gate joystick. The white section with the circle in it is 'dead' space where you can move the joystick. The American standard is a circular restrictor, by the way.

When you change the restrictor plate, the basic joystick is the exact same - that means that the dead zone of the joystick remains identical. All you're changing is the 'throw,' the boundaries to which the joystick can physically be moved.

As you can probably see from the diagrams above (cough, cough), the diagonal area is reduced quite a bit with an octagonal restrictor plate. The basic tradeoff seems to be that as your restrictor plate becomes more smooth, circular motions become easier, while hitting diagonals becomes more difficult.

Since I don't think of myself as having trouble making circular motions, the smaller diagonals seem kind of annoying. Then again, I haven't actually tried it out, yet! Maybe later tonight.
G (25 May 2009 15:00): Specifically, I consider much of that guys' treatment of button layouts to be garbage. My two cents.
G (25 May 2009 23:23): Yeah, I don't know if I really like the octo-plate.
Doing balrog's low rush punch (charge DB -> DF + P), I seem to frequently get his rush punch (charge DB -> F +P). :S
G (28 May 2009 1:06): Oh man, Perfect Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth is out! In Japan, anyway.

I may have to yoink that DS at some time.

Maybe trade it in for one that works. :S
m (28 May 2009 9:43): understandable. I'll get on this Phoenix Wright thing.
m (28 May 2009 9:51): And I too am totally in love with the idea of these bespoke custom joysticks.
G (28 May 2009 23:52): They're pretty cool!

Plus, there's never been a better time to be building a custom joystick. Thanks to Street Fighter 4, there's a lot of info, schematics, pre-built boxes and stuff out there. And both the 360 and the PS3 use USB connections, so you should be able to use it on your computer for emulation and stuff, too!
G (26 Jun 2009 10:40): No, not really.
G (10 Jul 2009 15:13): Street Fighter 4!
G (10 Jul 2009 15:36): Oh, man
G (18 Jul 2009 2:50): Next in the series I like to call "relinking to everything from Waxy":

Creating the Illusion of Accomplishment
m (19 Jul 2009 22:31): progress quest is great, I don't care what you say
G (20 Jul 2009 2:31): No argument here!
m (20 Jul 2009 15:57): Back story:

Since time before time the Vorlak had held the Crosshutch at Thraeskamp. The ancient reckoning held that the Five Skrelkampi (and their Truebine) would return when the great Trond-feast could be held anew and the Belnap reunited. But this legend became lost to all but the Papperboxen at Horbug. One of their own was Yallow the Speldrig, who found an unlikely pupil in Torbole Understeady, the discarded illigitimate waif of Wainthane Topknox, whom Yallow renamed Grumdrig and began to school as a boar-pulmet's apprentice. ...And, as it was said by some, in aberdoxy.

As our story opens young Grumdrig has returned to Horbug following a trying stint in Spilwaer Spond where his laconic disposition and fertile mind bred a series of misadventures which had landed him outside the good graces of the Jordref there, Welham, who had secretly begun a long term course of slow but disaccomodating illpeel in the lad's morning fanwael. Meanwhile, though scarce a tuft of mansefur had yet made its appearance on the boy's manssach, a number of visiting Roilwachhs have begun to exhibit a discreet and seemingly inexplicable interest in the boy. Strange indeed, as he would not reach his krouchensterm for another harvest or more. And when Grumdrig's resiliant compatriot Paedri appears at Grumdrig's lochnotat with a Scrolstamp from the old Speldrig, a woozy foreboding feeling rises from his young gut...
G (21 Jul 2009 1:15): Wow, I'm getting really good at Progress Quest.
m (24 Jul 2009 11:28): BlazBlue. Talk to me.
G (25 Jul 2009 0:09): Yeah!
G (25 Jul 2009 12:10): BlazBlue!
Blaz "these combos are not actually good enough to be worth using in a match" BLUE!
Seriously, though, I'm very interested. Will probably be picking this up when possible.
G (25 Jul 2009 12:18): After I get a stick for my new console, that is.
G (26 Jul 2009 3:54): Because SF4 is dead, anyways.
Look. Look! Look! Oohhhhh LOOK!
G (28 Jul 2009 0:09): So, I'll probably get it in a little while.

But you know what fighting game I also really recommend? SF2: HD Remix.
No, seriously! Because even if you think there's a lot of BS in it (SF2: BS Remix), and there is some, I still say there's a lot less than in any 'modern' fighting game you're likely to pick up. As far as the learning curve goes, HDR has a lot going for it - not only is it simpler to begin with, but its various aspects are already well explored. It's easy to just jump in and play, without feeling like you're missing too much.

Also: Do I need to get a second stick? (or at least an adaptor...) I'm not totally averse to the idea, but it's hard to imagine somebody else wanting to play a fighting game with me... on a pad.
G (29 Jul 2009 8:27): Oh, right - and MVC2 is out for XBLA, now!
(This post filed under: Mango Sentinel)
Paul (22 Aug 2009 20:42): Hey! It's a port of my old Alice in Wonderland game, and it runs on my current computer! (The original basically didn't work after Win95, partly due to its copy protection schemes.)
G (23 Aug 2009 23:50): New Layton is out@!
Sandra wants the DS back...
m (24 Aug 2009 1:15): we need to meet tomorrow for doughnuts - I'm about to go out of town. Call me.
G (24 Aug 2009 10:02): I'm a' callin.......
G (27 Sep 2009 23:30): New capcom teaser. Must be street fighter. I'm posting because I know you guys would be upset if you didn't have two days to speculate.
R (27 Sep 2009 23:39): SFIV Championship Edition. Am I rite?
G (28 Sep 2009 23:05): That's my guess.
G (28 Sep 2009 23:06): They actually already released tons of info about it, and you can find screenshots online. T.Hawk and Juri are playable; T.Hawk looks absolutely miserable, as you'd expect.
G (28 Sep 2009 23:10): Oh. I guess it's out already. "Super Street Fighter IV"
G (28 Sep 2009 23:12): Oh. I guess it's out already. "Super Street Fighter IV"
G (11 Nov 2009 12:48): Critter Crunch reminds me of Money Idol Exchanger. I guess other people would have said "Magical Drop," but I know what's up.

How's that Modern Warfare 2?...
m (11 Nov 2009 13:08): you do know what's up!
R (11 Nov 2009 17:21): Pfft, whatever, OLD MAN G.

Don't tell my housemate, but... I'm pretty underwhelmed so far, at least with the single player. I don't know if I would have needed to play through the first game to feel more engaged with the story. It feels very much like Call of Duty 2, except with cool James Bond-type bullshit (e.g. escape from the enemy base on a snowmobile, climaxing in a huge jump). Multiplayer is likely to be more of the same in a good way, I hope.
R (11 Nov 2009 17:24): I don't know how they did it, but CoD:MW2 immediately generates a total suspension of belief. Or I might just be a hater. Or both.
R (11 Nov 2009 18:08): It may be worth noting that I played a lot of CoD2, but did not beat it, a bit of CoD4:MW and didn't finish, and am really wondering why I should keep playing CoD:MW2 at all. The difficult seems really uneven so far, and I'm tired of the unlimited-enemy-respawn-until-you-cross-an-invisible-line mechanic. I've been told to just drop the difficulty down, but I'm no longer interested in the story, either.
G (17 Nov 2009 3:33): Woo, murder simulator.

MW2 chat tends to be worthless, but last night a group started talking about LOL AIRPORT MASSACRE and it was a good time. Everybody made fun of it. Congratulations, Infinity Ward.
(17 Nov 2009 22:58): dentata fleshlight.
R (18 Nov 2009 12:26): Previous post is not mine, but: "thanks." You'd better watch out for the Thread Police, though.
R (18 Nov 2009 12:28): Just so everyone is aware, I don't think the current level of VD postage deserves a new thread. The Thread Police will continue to monitor trends, and activate new threads as necessary. Carry on.
G (2 Jan 2010 23:08): Games was awesome! I'd love to play it again, if we can.
We can try for a game with a more clear/strict understanding of acceptable table talk, maybe. In retrospect, I feel like we weren't actually that close to losing (thanks to cheating, perhaps?), because we still had the grail, etc. we could have cashed in. Although at the time, it certainly felt like it was getting close.
It seems cleverly balanced - as each player's turn consists of a 'good' and 'bad' action, it means that more players result in a greater number of both. Of course, each player begins with a reserve of life and cards, so ultimately games with more players should have an easier time of things. I wonder if perhaps large groups shouldn't start out with 1 less life & 1 less card, if not a more crippling handicap.
G (2 Jan 2010 23:12): Also, I'm kind of torn regarding the discussion of strategy! I think that with ruthlessly optimized play, the game would become sort of easy without a traitor - and maybe even with one. Some of the fun is surely in figuring out what choices are advantageous, but if we're following a flowchart instead of making decisions, it might be less entertaining. Also, if I ever get to be the traitor, I want to be able to deploy for maximum effect. >:D
G (3 Jan 2010 0:11): In particular, it seems that many people online complain about the tactic of siege engine spam from the traitor. Of course, I don't have any first-hand experience with it, but it seems like there are two parts: 1) Siege spam is much more effective when the traitor gets more turns (fewer players), 2) This tactic is particularly braindead, so the traitor is forced to choose between something fun and efficacy. I'm not sure how good siege-spamming is, but let's just assume that it really is that good, your group of players is aware of that, and they are all die-hard play-to-winners who will take the boring, effective choice every time.
It seems like you could alleviate this via some house rules. Perhaps you wait until turn 3 or 4 before you look at your loyalty card (a variant on 3-player rule), giving the loyal knights a slight head-start in the race. Alternatively, you could play with an 'auto-traitor,' and simply start placing siege engines on their behalf from the start. This simulates playing with an extra player (which, I'm told, is generally easier) while at the same time giving each player a role that is fun.
G (9 Jan 2010 3:38): I was thinking about buying a couple games, since now I think maybe I could play them with Mike & friends. So my question is: Do the following games sound potentially fun? Do you own them already? Dominion, Pandemic

Slide 5 seems to be out of print most places. I might deface a couple decks of playing cards and make my own.
m (9 Jan 2010 9:22): I've played pandemic. It's a lot of fun.
Never played dominion, but I'm curious to try.
And see potentially in-print versions of Slide 5, "Category 5" and "6 Nimmt!". Looks interesting.
G (9 Jan 2010 13:23): Slide 5 is the potentially in-print version. Except that it's completely not. The others have been out of print for years.

I somewhat worry that I'll hate Dominion, but the lure of card games is nigh irresistible.
G (11 Jan 2010 20:22): There's a new hatsune miku arcade game out in Japan. Looks kinda lame.
G (13 Jan 2010 23:34): Megaman 10 robot masters. I never got MM9, but I dunno. Maybe I will someday, when they mark it down or something.
m (14 Jan 2010 10:16): Sheep Man! Pump Man (with awesome hair)!
m (14 Jan 2010 10:17): actually, sheep man made me think of murakami...
G (14 Jan 2010 10:23): Yeah, or maybe it's a PKD reference? But I'm not too sure about that.
G (24 Feb 2010 10:38): Shiren the Wanderer 4 is out...
I can't find anything that says what's new in this version. Then again, it's a DS roguelike, so... the answer is probably 'nothing.'
R (25 Feb 2010 18:07): Cave Story release date: May 23. All the bonus features are included, no additional cost DLC. 3-save slots. Mix and match upgraded graphics and music. I probably won't be living in a place with a Wii by then. But, still excited, somehow.
G (25 Feb 2010 20:18): If I'm correct, 'hard mode' is essentially an enforced no-items mode, i.e. only 3 HP.
I dunno, seems like 'hard' would be, like, half life. I think 3 HP deserves to be called, "very hard."
G (25 Feb 2010 20:19): Also, they should at least give you turbo fire in hard mode.
m (26 Feb 2010 16:58): have you guys seen This is the only level?
G (27 Feb 2010 2:58): I have! Achievement unlocked was also surprisingly entertaining.
G (27 Feb 2010 9:32): Also, Level End.
m (27 Feb 2010 10:15): surprisingly fucking great!
m (27 Feb 2010 10:29): @Level End: amazing!
R (28 Feb 2010 18:21): Oh man. Robot Unicorn Attack is free flash fun in the canabalt format. Top score for me is 59k. Kind of shockingly fun compared to getting beat down by actual teams in MW2. Hm. Although the illusion of progress is completely lacking in RUA. But Erasure (yes, Erasure) makes up for it.

Idea: Strategy discussion video, in the style of fighting game vids. There could be some slow-motion showing "single-frame" combos, in choppy, frame-dropping flash.
G (28 Feb 2010 19:01): So, uh, what are your guys' high scores?

I just got 10,338 for one run, 20,858 for the three together.
Are you talking about a 'strategy combo video' for RUA, or other games, in general?
Like, chess...? KNIGHT TO QUEEN.... CHECK MATE IN FOUR!!!!
G (28 Feb 2010 19:11): I take it back. 18,424 for one, 41,798 for the set.
You can 'double jump,' but dashing will give you an additional jump after that(!).
But only for, like, five or six jumps.
m (28 Feb 2010 20:45): Erasure?
R (28 Feb 2010 22:29): Erasure? ERASURE! Erasure.

And here's the vid for the song in RAU: Always.
G (1 Mar 2010 7:28): Erasure? ERASURE! Erasure.
R (3 Mar 2010 22:50): The Witness
"An exploration-puzzle game on an uninhabited island."

Okay, not exciting until you find out it's Johnathan Blow (of Braid fame)'s new game!
There's a blog, too, with quite a bit more info than that. Why did I even link the info page.
A couple of pictures in the concept gallery are causing me to sport a not-so-furtive Ico boner.
G (4 Mar 2010 0:09): LOL, it looks like Myst.

Speaking of ICO, I should play Shadow of the Colossus some time.
R (4 Mar 2010 10:38): Somehow I knew I didn't even have to remind you.
G (4 Mar 2010 22:07): I got 52k on RUA. 59k? You're a beast.
You can go underneath the screen, but some islands extend down there and will kill you. And you can't ascend quickly enough to escape when that happens.
R (6 Mar 2010 18:01): Well, my top one-run score is around 30k, but that was really lucky. I can usually get 20k+ on at least one run... and I was playing for a while... so I think I just lucked out.
G (10 Mar 2010 13:48): So, the last new Street Fighter 4 character has been revealed.
I, uh, don't wanna spoil anything for you... Just watch it.
R (11 Mar 2010 1:00): What the hell. Why, Capcom? How many existing characters are there that would have been preferable to this ... thing? Many. Many many. I don't even play SF and this annoys me.
G (24 Mar 2010 23:22): I beat R's score on Pac-Man CE... (barely)
G (6 Apr 2010 14:21): So I bought another DS (lite), as my old one was having some issues with its screen, hinges, buttons, and d-pad.
G (6 Apr 2010 14:25): Oh, right. And I tried playing a little Infinite Space; it's not bad! The gameplay itself seems like it might be very simple, but you can really tell they're trying to make it an epic tale of grandeur and adventure and stuff. It doesn't sound like much, but things like panning the camera along spaceships in space. Like, they're just little blocky models, but when I saw it I really thought about how few DS games would even try to present a sequence that was so... 'cinematic.' Game itself seems suspiciously like rock-paper-scisssors.
m (6 Apr 2010 15:09): yes, I know your old DS!
R (6 Apr 2010 16:19): I'm guessing... black?
Is there a way to steal/purchase Japanese content? Like that perspective game?
I think the only things that worked well on you old unit were the speakers and battery.
G (7 Apr 2010 2:35): As I understand it, DSi-ware games have been dumped, but can't currently be played.
G (7 Apr 2010 2:36): And no, they won't let you buy Japanese stuff. The DS (lite) is region-free, but the DSi introduced region locking -- a first for a Nintendo handheld as far as I know. :(
G (8 Apr 2010 1:26): Hey I guess Cave Story is out for Wii, right?
G (11 Apr 2010 20:06): Knights in the Nightmare is craaaazy. Wikipedia says it's a "strategy-shooter role-playing game hybrid," probably just because including "action-puzzle" would have made it too long. It's intricate, deep, original, beautiful, challenging... And it'll take you about an hour(!) to go through all the in-game tutorials, if you choose to do so.

Or you could supplant some or all of that by watching this series of tutorials on YouTube, although the in-your-face commentators don't really do the game's somber mood justice.
G (27 Apr 2010 18:57): I guess Super SF4 is out.
G (30 Apr 2010 16:38): Cave Story Wii...

It seems the only differences are:
- Remixed graphics and music modes.
- Extra game modes
-- Easy mode (half damage)
-- Hard mode (no life capsules)
-- Curly mode (sprite is different)
-- Boss rush

I dunno. I guess it's still a really great game. I was just hoping for something new, gameplay-wise. A new weapon, or area. And I guess the new music is buggy.
G (5 May 2010 17:40): Borderlands! Game of the (last) year!
G (8 May 2010 16:40): New MvC3 info. Barely...
1. Controls will be 'TvC-like.' That means 5 buttons instead of 6 - Light, Medium, & Heavy attacks, along with two 'Exchange' buttons... that will also be used for all launchers!? I was following along right up until the end, there.
2. The exchange buttons will be used for calling assists and switching characters, we assume. But MvC3 will also introduce a switch counter. Unexpected!
3. I guess they confirmed a bunch of characters. Dante, Deadpool, etc., whatever, BLAH WHO CARES.
G (9 May 2010 2:39): Oh shit.
--Uppercut move is further simplified from TvsC, it receives it's OWN button, called the "exchange" button. Now in addition to uppercutting, you can choose the direction you slam them in, and continue the combo (like slamming them into the ground)
--Catch to that is if your opponent presses the same exchange direction as you do in a combo, than they escape your combo and counter with their own. "This exciting rock-paper-scissors element complements the simplification of launching foes into the air, integrating a new fold of strategy for hardcore MvC fans to chew on."

Please wait, cross-posting to incredibad...
G (2 Jul 2010 7:59): Regarding Front Mission Evolved: “Looking globally, we thought about what franchise could have worldwide appeal. Shooters are popular and Front Mission’s theme of war was suitable for a shooter, so we thought it was a perfect fit,” :S
G (18 Oct 2010 21:16): Dominion.Isotropic.Org
Fantastic. We could even play some games together.
Paul (19 Oct 2010 20:43): Sweet! That's a lot better than my text-only version which you had to play by iterating your hand yourself in a text editor.
G (18 Jul 2011 7:35): I cleared Portal 2's single player campaign this weekend
R (21 Jul 2011 16:46): SPAAACE!
Paul (4 Sep 2011 8:32): Dominion log: Outpost + Possession = 4 turns for the price of one
m (5 Sep 2011 9:23): I tried to make sense of that log, but without knowing the cards it's not very easy.
Frozen Synapse (3 Oct 2011 0:04): I've been playing some Frozen Synapse and can't recommend it enough. It's for Mac/Win/Linux, and is currently available as the current Humble Indie Bundle for 'pay what you want' (normally it's $25 for two keys). And there's a demo if you want to try it out for free.

You should all check it out.
m (3 Oct 2011 17:15): Paul, your spam filter missed one
m (3 Oct 2011 17:20): Just kidding!

I always buy the bundle (for $5, which maybe is a little stingy, but they're the only games I buy, period, which means that even at a lowly $5 it's a remarkably effective marketing device) - being able to download my games for ever and ever (I just went back to Bundle number one and grabbed a couple that I never tried) is just the best thing ever.
G (3 Oct 2011 21:39): Okay, then! Add me in Frozen Synapse, and let's play a game or two some time!

My in-game name is: HardDischarger

I'm on the UK1 server... if that matters.
(5 Oct 2011 14:45): "...Dark Souls was going to be called "Dark Ring" at one point. The reason this didn't happen is because Dark Ring is slang for anus in England.

But Dark Ring wasn't actually the original conceived name. Originally, prior to the game's unveiling point at Tokyo Game Show 2010, they were planning on going with the name "Dark Race." The game's setting has players being of a race of cursed people, and this race was known as the "Dark Race."

The Dark Race name didn't hold because there was worry that it would be viewed as a racist expression overseas. This concern popped up two days before Tokyo Game Show, which is why the game ended up being announced with the placeholder title of Project Dark."
G (6 Oct 2011 20:21): :O
Must buy game of the season!?!?!
m (8 Oct 2011 13:33): I'm not very good at Frozen Synapse. I keep losing pretty early on in the single player campaign. I don't like the idea of playing against real people.

But I do like Space Chem!
G (8 Oct 2011 15:26): That's okay. Sometimes things just go sour.

If you think the map's kind of conspiring against you - it might be. Die, restart the mission, and it will be re-randomized.

I currently have one win against humans to my name. I wouldn't sweat it. So: What's your uid?
G (19 Nov 2011 7:25): Have you guys seen any in-game footage of Skyrim? :P
R (20 Nov 2011 11:50): I thought they were supposed to have fixed the faces in this one! D:<
G (12 Dec 2011 21:04): A Historical Perspective on the Fighting Game Community and E-Sports Communities

If you want to read 17 pages about the current state of the fighting game community, look no further.

You know the only thing we’re opposed to? The word “esports.”
Paul (12 Dec 2011 23:15): are you e-opposed?
G (13 Dec 2011 0:28): I think he said it pretty well: an incredibly sad, self denying, misguided attempt to borrow legitimacy from the world of traditional sports.

Hard to get too worked up about, but dumb nonetheless.
G (13 Dec 2011 18:45): Humble indie bundle 4 is live with... Cave story pluuuuus???
Why would I rather play that. Again than anything new?
G (18 Jan 2012 12:32): No enemies in Fez!?
Does that mean you shoot your friends?
I don't understand.
R (27 Jan 2012 15:31): Unofficial Domion for iOS is out now and free! I guess when the official iOS release is made, it'll be pulled, so all cheap-asses out there (100% of mancala) with iOS devices should grab a copy now, regardless of whether you'll actually play or not. Hoard 'dem bits.
G (27 Jan 2012 22:06): Done and Done.
m (12 Apr 2012 17:11): Reading an article in Kotaku about how Phil Fish said something like "your games just suck" in response to a Japanese developer's question about what he (Phil) thought of the Japanese game industry today (After pointing out that Fez clearly owes a debt to the Japanese game industry of yore: it's a platformer, it's doing that pixel-art thing, and actually I just saw its mechanic compared to Paper Mario which seems pretty modern to me (hm. 2001.)) - anyhow I got to a line in the article "Has Canada ever had a famous game or game maker? wrote a 2ch commenter." and - I'm rapidly running out of the ire that drove me to post to mancala in the first place - better wrap this up quick. The article started out sloppy, and by the time we start referencing 2chan I know to stop reading and close that browser tab.
G (22 Apr 2012 14:18): I guess Spaceward Ho! is out for iPad. ???
Fez is super great.
R (22 Apr 2012 15:15): Fez is indeed great! Kinda stuck on what looks like an obvious puzzle, but Eff getting hints online. That just ruins it. Although, G, I may ask you for small hints in email (so as not to spoil our other Mancala players... Or something)
m (22 Apr 2012 15:41): I don't have an xbox! How come everyone has an xbox! I can't even get the trailer to play on my computer. (I want to blame vimeo, but it's really my bad)
G (22 Apr 2012 20:06): Did you send me an email?
I totally support the position that "I need a hint, but don't want to read a walkthrough."
G (22 Apr 2012 20:23): This trailers is better anyway. You can watch it on YouTube if you... can... watch things on YouTube...

I don't really know how exciting the trailer is anyway.
R (23 Apr 2012 2:55): Oh hey - Fez soundtrack is here:
Forgotten is a stand out, and free! Fear isn't as good without the in-game fx, oh well. Still good.

Is it weird to worry about spoiling the soundtrack?
m (23 Apr 2012 11:34): totally watching it on youtube. Thanks html5!
m (23 Apr 2012 11:35): (totally just broke chrome when I tried to fullscreen it)
m (25 May 2012 12:06): I just played Portal for the first time a couple days ago. There was some cheap Portal/Portal2 bundle Ann got for her Mac. What a great game.
m (26 May 2012 15:29): Arimaa?
G (28 May 2012 12:16): Portal really is pretty cool. I enjoyed Portal 2 a lot as well, but never had an opportunity to play 2 playr coop. Which sounded quite interesting.
G (28 May 2012 12:17): Arimaa also seems interesting. It looks suspiciously like a game That's designed to have enough decisions and choices per turn as to make it intentionally difficult for computers to play, but I guess I'm okay with that.
Paul (3 Sep 2012 4:04): buying 7 colonies in one turn
G (28 Nov 2012 8:23): I guess there's a Magical Drop V for PC? Huh.
Just didn't think that that was still a thing.
m (3 Jan 2013 10:56): Knights in the Nightmare looks kind of like Bastion.
G (3 Jan 2013 18:32): Kind of, in that they both have that isometric view thing going on. But they don't really have much else in common, I don't think. I mean, I think they're both good...
g (22 Feb 2013 22:36):
Relevant to mancala blog.
m (23 Feb 2013 1:02): now I want to play mancala
R (22 Mar 2013 22:54): M, glad you played Portal. Finally. Last year. It's a good game!

Just this week, Miami Hotline got released for Mac. And this weekend, the game and soundtrack are 50% off! $5 a piece!

On the unreleased beta tip, Teleglitch is really great. Sort of a rogue-like (permadeath / top-down) survival horror Doom thing? Linux and Windows versions available now, Mac demo version in beta.
m (25 Mar 2013 9:15): Teleglitch is really hard. Just got to level three. Always with the dying!
G (1 Apr 2013 21:48): Torchlight II update adds (real) mod support, steam workshop support.
Next stop: OS X version? Probably in a few months, don't hold breath.
m (2 Apr 2013 7:22): Brogue!
R (16 Apr 2013 19:50): Glad to see that M tried out some Teleglitch. I actually beat level four once and am pretty excited for the full Mac version to be released.

Anyway, back to FEZ, because FEZ-time is every-time. There's a new remix album coming out on April 20th (if you don't have the original album, it's highly recommended by me!). Also on the Fez music front, there's a VICE interview with the composer, Rich Vreeland / Disasterpeace, about the track "Glitch", that has a pretty full breakdown of all the elements. I found it fascinating. In this interview, he mentions a track called "Loom" that isn't on the soundtrack, but it turns out to be about six notes and is not a bit deal to have been excluded from the soundtrack.

Also! A PC version of Fez will be released on Steam on May 1st!!!111 Super great. They had to change a couple of puzzles to accommodate the potential lack of game controller (which is a minor detraction, IMHO), but overall, if you didn't have an XBOX 360, or didn't play it for some other reason, I'd recommend the Steam version unreservedly. My GOTY 2012 by quite a ways. Go in cold, if you can, and puzzle Qs can be hinted at gently by G or me. Supposedly and Mac and Linux version will also eventually be available, but again — don't hold your breath.
G (16 Apr 2013 23:03): Antichamber is pretty cool, although after playing for an hour I did start to feel sick.
G (17 Apr 2013 20:38): The starting room is called the ante-chamber.
G (22 Apr 2013 23:56): Fez is out. 10% off on Steam (which is not much, but hey).
G (23 Apr 2013 21:31): I lied. It's available for pre-order.
I will probably get Starseed Pilgrim if it goes on a significant sale.
m (24 Apr 2013 18:48): Starseed Pilgrim?
G (24 Apr 2013 19:10): Or maybe it's not that remarkable. See for yourself.
It's deliberately obtuse. Is that good? I don't know.
m (25 Apr 2013 7:33): no idea what's going on there!
m (28 Apr 2013 8:38): Worth getting as part of that Probability 0 plus friends thing?
G (28 Apr 2013 11:11): I have no idea if any of those games would be entertaining for more than even a single minute.
Just, for some reason, I was thinking about that one.
m (29 Apr 2013 22:09): monaco?
G (28 May 2013 18:06): The new humble indie bundle is pretty durn good.
Hotline Miami
Thomas Was Alone
Other stuff?
G (28 May 2013 19:08): Speaking of which, that leaves me with a couple extra keys for Hotline (bought it) and Dear Esther (previous bundle).
m (28 May 2013 19:32): Bundle looks good!
G (15 Jun 2013 11:41): I will predict that Dustforce will go on sale within two months based on its previous sales history.
G (15 Jun 2013 12:30): Source: Steamprices, graph at bottom.
Paul (15 Jun 2013 13:14): Just removed my bubbly screen protector and applied a new one carefully, having wiped all dust particles off the screen. Now it's like, way better and I can see the screen really clearly ..
G (18 Jun 2013 14:40): New humble bundle has frozen synapse in it again! Worth it just for that, probably, didn't look at the other games? Does this mean I have an extra key? Also unknown. Sometimes they can't be redeemed individually.
G (18 Jun 2013 18:43): Also Mark of the Ninja on sale for $3.75 on steam. It's a good game.
R (1 Jul 2013 16:34): Not actually out or anything, but remember that cool, 80's-looking FPS set on the moon? (It's called Routine) There's an alpha gameplay trailer now! Still looks cool, 80's.


Looks like the "gameplay" is enjoying the thrill of battling retro computer interfaces while standing defenseless in a hallway. It's like a monster closet — without the closet.
g (3 Jul 2013 19:13):

I'll just leave this here while I take a few showers.
m (3 Jul 2013 20:19): terrifying
m (3 Jul 2013 20:20): If the shift from skill game to money game is done in a subtle enough manner, the brain of the consumer has a hard time realizing that the rules of the game have changed. If done artfully, the consumer will increasingly spend under the assumption that they are still playing a skill game and “just need a bit of help”
R (17 Jul 2013 21:27): Hey, M! You on Steam? If so, let's be "friends".
G (17 Jul 2013 21:36): Fez is on sale 50% off for the next four hours.
G (24 Jul 2013 8:28): It says you were online 13 hours ago, mike.
Y U no firnds
m (24 Jul 2013 16:55): SAD KITTEN
G (29 Jul 2013 1:14): Fez 2 cancelled, get the sad kitten out again.
m (29 Jul 2013 20:13): Fez: fun! But confusing.
G (31 Jul 2013 19:02): Frozen Synapse is on sale for 5 bucks again.
G (1 Aug 2013 0:07): Sale goes until Fri. night.
G (13 Aug 2013 19:04): If you would play Frozen Synapse if I gave you a code, post up.
G (16 Aug 2013 17:42): Man! Tough crowd.
m (16 Aug 2013 18:08): Already have. Humble Bundle a while back. I was extremely bad at it when I tried, though I really do like the simultaneous predetermined strategy mechanic. But the upshot is inevitably that the AI winds up killing me. Haven't even tried against real people. Presumably they like killing even more than the AI did.

Heard anything about Gone Home? Graphics look straight out of the 90s, but reviews are good!
m (16 Aug 2013 18:09): Also: nobody ever replies to anyone else on mancalablog. It's like one-way communication. Almost.
G (16 Aug 2013 22:16): Yeah, I blow at FS, and it can be really frustrating. But it is so clever.
Gone Home looks really interesting - would be a pretty awesome game for the Oculus Rift.
G (16 Aug 2013 22:32): *awkulous rift
G (11 Sep 2013 22:22): New Humble Bundle has FEZ, FTL, and Mark of the Ninja (!!!!!). Five bones. Don't wait.
m (12 Sep 2013 6:56): FTL: want?
m (23 Oct 2013 20:00): Kentucky Route Zero?
G (25 Oct 2013 20:21): I played the first episode - I liked it!
I think the trailer actually does a fairly decent job of giving you a feel for whether you'd like it or not... Would you like to continue watching the trailer for an additional two hours? With some dialog trees and stuff?
m (26 Oct 2013 16:11): I know! Want more trailer!
m (1 Dec 2013 20:50): Papers, please
G (3 Dec 2013 23:10): If you like that game, you should also check out Cart Life!
The trailer kind of makes it look like some sort of dystopian cooking mama, but I think there are some pretty strong parallels.
m (5 Dec 2013 6:52): Whoa! Interesting trailer. Weird.
G (5 Dec 2013 10:22): Teleglitch is part of this bundle.
Limited time offer.
G (5 Dec 2013 10:23): Teleglutch in a bundle
Won't be up for long
m (5 Dec 2013 17:46): Like a link posting Grant-bot
m (5 Dec 2013 17:48): also: I think I'm going to get that bundle. I really do want the full version of teleglitch. Anything else in there worth playing? I haven't heard of any of them.
m (5 Dec 2013 17:52): Also, an observation: Ann and I like totally different games. Like, almost no overlap. Isn't that weird? I think it's weird. She can't stand teleglitch.
G (5 Dec 2013 18:44): None of the other games look good to me, but I've been surprised before. Teleglitch normally sells for $12, I think, so even if that's the only one you play, it's a steal.
R (8 Dec 2013 17:47): Horse Master Class Anxiety Dream Review
m (9 Dec 2013 16:12): Strange! Funny!
m (10 Dec 2013 7:39): but I'm a little confused about the John Campbell hoo-ha
G (11 Dec 2013 19:19): I didn't think that the teleglitch bundle would be up for very long but it's still up. Shows what I know!
G (11 Dec 2013 19:20): Did you miss this? Some people were offended by it.
I think it is kinda fucked up, but also pretty funny, and I think that 'kinda fucked up humor' was always sort of what he did? I also didn't see it as some kind of tirade against depressed people.
G (11 Dec 2013 19:20): So what games does Ann like?
m (12 Dec 2013 7:53): here are two she funded (though to be fair, those aren't great examples since jesus christ who doesn't want to play a myst sequel)
G (12 Dec 2013 20:49): Got an extra key for Zeno Clash if you want it and you don't want to get the new humble bundle.
Seems like there would be zero people that I have just described? I dunno, let me know.
G (12 Dec 2013 20:49): Answer to Mike's question: People who played Myst and Riven. :P
G (12 Dec 2013 20:51): bring me.... the bloooooo pages...!
Nooot the red pages...
G (15 Dec 2013 20:09): Seriously, though.
'Adventure' games are a pretty narrow niche in games. It's cool if that's her thing. Have you guys taken a look at The Walking Dead or Telltale's other stuff? I'd be curious to hear what you both thought.
m (21 Jan 2014 20:59): (a) I am curious about this game, Nidhogg.
(b) now I am curious about the controller setup featured at the bottom of that page
m (21 Jan 2014 20:59): (a) I am curious about this game, Nidhogg.
(b) now I am curious about the controller setup featured at the bottom of that page
R (11 Feb 2014 23:00): Man, first Fez 2 was cancelled, now Flappy Bird got pulled down. Please think of the flappy birds. Stop the hate.
R (11 Feb 2014 23:00): Man, first Fez 2 was cancelled, now Flappy Bird got pulled down. Please think of the flappy birds. Stop the hate.
m (12 Feb 2014 17:04): First I've heard of Flappy Bird. Sounds like it was a big deal.
R (14 Feb 2014 22:34): Hey M, saw this thing about the Blackwell series on RPS - sounds like something A might like? DRM-free, Mac compatible, on sale at GOG...
G (19 Feb 2014 8:09): New Humble Bundle is fantastic, has a lot of mac games.
m (20 Feb 2014 12:51): Doing it!
G (20 Feb 2014 22:13): And for A, maybe the adventure game bundle?
G (20 Feb 2014 22:21): (but has few mac games)
R (11 Jun 2014 11:18): Terry Cavanaugh's Naya's Quest is pretty great! Flash-based and free. I'm posting about it so I can take a break from being frustrated. Starts off sorta easy and gets way crazier. You probably have a lot of assumptions about isometric-looking games, and Terry sets out to trash ALL OF THEM.
m (11 Jun 2014 17:39): DIFFICULT
m (11 Jun 2014 17:39): DIFFICULT
m (11 Jun 2014 17:39): double post. grumpy
m (12 Jun 2014 11:52): hexagons? grumpy!
G (14 Jun 2014 19:30): Oh god hexagons
G (15 Jun 2014 11:08): Cool! I got stuck for the longest on the red-blue room. Was most angry when I saw the number-matrix room, although that one was easy when I saw the X.
m (23 Jun 2014 23:05): Stanley Parable!
G (24 Jun 2014 10:43): Steam sale is happening right now if people weren't aware. Nidhogg is on sale for 8 hours, looking forward to playing it when I get home. KRZ is at 50%, lots of good stuff in general.
G (24 Jun 2014 10:50): Stanley parable is a game where you could watch some YouTube videos and see everything in the game very quickly, but the experience of doing it yourself is very different.
m (25 Jun 2014 7:03): It's a good one, I think.
R (27 Jul 2014 11:47): Another free web-based puzzler? OK! A Game About Squares is, uh... well anyway it works on an iPad, which is nice. I got to level 14 so far, but he difficulty seems to be ramping up fairly quickly.
m (27 Jul 2014 19:22): I really like the dialogue at the end of each level!
m (28 Jul 2014 6:42): 22. Liking it, though no longer really digging the inter-level chat
m (28 Jul 2014 21:02): "From time to time you might feel an impulse to quit"
m (28 Jul 2014 21:02): "You must resist it"
R (29 Jul 2014 0:09): "Do you consider yourself a patient person?"
"Just asking."
I've had good luck with putting the game down for a few hours, level 26 seemed difficult late last night, and took just a minute when I picked it up again just now. Might a been tired...
G (4 Aug 2014 18:50): Started last night. Got to level 24 just now. Hmmm.
m (22 Aug 2014 8:16): Lost all my progress when I closed my browser. But picked it back up again on my phone, where the built-in browser doesn't give a shit about my privacy.
R (19 Sep 2014 3:31): Here's a really short game using just mouse movement. Requires Unity Plugin. Superdimensional
R (15 Oct 2014 1:16): Damn, a team of folks recreated Midgar in FFVII in Minecraft. I think I might have to install Minecraft to check it out. Like, the internals are there — Reactors, Slums, working rail line (!!!).
m (15 Oct 2014 7:52): wow
m (18 Oct 2014 18:13): Holy shit, you guys ever see what this guy did with SMB?
G (25 Oct 2014 14:12): So how do you like Hatoful Boyfriend?
m (25 Oct 2014 15:57): I don't know. It's about what you'd expect from a pigeon dating-sim.
m (25 Oct 2014 16:07): We'd watched some guys from geek-and-sundry play through it a while back, so I was initially grumpy when Ann told me she'd bought it (that is to say, an exchange of actual money for a game in which you're the only human at an elite pigeon academy). But it's grown on me. Some of the humor is a little dumb (god, I hate the word "everybirdie"), but some is absurd and great (i.e. the post-apocalyptic fallen skyscrapers you pass during your jog to the shrine that never even get a mention)
m (9 Nov 2014 14:05): Free Teleglitch(!) at humble bundle through thanksgiving.
m (10 Nov 2014 9:41): Forgot how creepy Teleglitch gets as you run lower and lower on ammo. Ominous!
m (15 Nov 2014 18:58): jesus christ FINALLY made it to level 5, which means that for new games I no longer have to start over from the beginning but can begin on level 3. Oof. So difficult!
G (28 Nov 2014 16:32): I always thought that Battle-Girl was a Mac-only game, but it seems that it was released on PC in 1997 before being ported over in 1999. Probably it was just harder to get noticed over there, or it had already been forgotten after a couple years.
G (28 Nov 2014 16:34): Oh wow I don't remember it looking SO BAD.
G (9 Mar 2015 23:40): Steam family sharing requires coordination to the tune of being willing to share your password (potentially allowing credit card purchases on your account). If that's not a problem, a phone call is probably the right way to do it - get at me.
m (12 Mar 2015 23:30): ok. We'll figure this out yet
R (7 Apr 2015 0:35): Neil Cicierega is making a point and click adventure game, sorta about being a graphic designer in the 90's. Updates on twitter

Did you know you can paste a twitter user's URL into BazQux and it will find the feed address, so for low-ish traffic tweeters, you can just read them via RSS? Also, add a "/rss" to a tumblr user's URL to get a feed for that. It's nice. Never did see URLs for anyone else sharing stuff. I should just start posting here more, since that way I can talk to M.
R (7 Apr 2015 0:36): This was predictably exciting for me.
m (7 Apr 2015 7:47): Palette-cycle WIN. Brilliant.
R (9 Apr 2015 4:03): What time is it?


So, I guess modders are doing cool weird things with Fez. There's a pot, and he breaks it at 1:45 (nothing happens as a result of this)!!!
Also, multi-player (???) is now a thing in development.
R (9 Apr 2015 4:09): Actual working link to vine sample of Fez MP in development
R (9 Apr 2015 4:16): Also, there is a viewing program available for Mac and Win, but to extract the level files you need the Windows version of Fez (or an Xbox).
R (19 Apr 2015 21:25): How Design Trends Ruin Great Games
R (19 Apr 2015 23:36): Sounds like a Spaceteam-style Star Trek sim. Sold.
R (20 Apr 2015 14:19): Hm, forum threads indicate stability and mobile versions may have lots of problems. Devs do not respond, either. Not super inclined to pay $3 for a broken iOS version.
R (21 Apr 2015 4:26): Relativity is a first-person puzzle game to be released on Linux, Mac, PC, and PS4 in Spring 2016. Just saw via @Jonathan_Blow (creator of Braid, and forthcoming The Witness) that it got a nice chunk of funding from Indie-Fund. (There are some cool gifs on the Indie Fund page that show a little gameplay)
m (21 Apr 2015 8:12): INTERESTED
m (14 May 2015 21:23): The gratuitous violence/gore is a bit of a turn-off for me, but damn if this highly pixellated game isn't shockingly good looking. Those lo-fi animations: SO GOOD. Careening truck, spinning helicopter, crashing through a window, slicing heads with a sword... it's like an 8-bit action movie up in there.
G (20 May 2015 10:30): So I played some Hatoful Boyfriend (!).
I would recommend it! If you play it, be sure to clear a few different routes to see how some of the storylines interact.

M, I snooped on your Steam achievements to see which routes you did... you should do a couple more!
R (17 Jun 2015 4:09): SUPERHYPERCUBE

Just a teaser, but nice to see a Polytron title announced. For VR even! Even if it's just an abstract puzzley thing.
R (19 Jun 2015 22:52): The ancient dreams of THE INTERNET have mostly been SQUANDERED by fools and charlatans, but there is one dream left alive. GOLD. Yes, if you are still reading this paragraph, you are SMARTER THAN YOU THINK, and more importantly, you have come to the RIGHT PLACE.

"CORDIAL MINUET: a two-player ONLINE STRATEGY GAME played for REAL MONEY by Jason Rohrer."

(Contest for GOLD is actually over, sorry)
G (22 Jun 2015 23:02): I remember reading about Cordial Minuet.
I don't really wanna play games for money, though. ;_;
G (24 Jun 2015 20:22): Arc System Works buys rights to Double Dragon, River City Ransom, et al
m (24 Jun 2015 21:20):
m (28 Jun 2015 12:33): Just bought Her Story on the strength of the review Reed linked.
R (4 Jul 2015 11:55): Uh. Hope you like it? I played a little at G's, seemed interesting? It's only $5, I will probably also buy it, jeez.

OTOH. Snakebird is fucking murder. MURRRDEERRRRR>
R (12 Aug 2015 22:24): Obduction will have VR support - CONFIRMED
m (14 Aug 2015 15:45): Hey we backed Obduction. Is that still on track for release this year?
m (19 Aug 2015 10:19): Starseed Pilgrim!
R (19 Aug 2015 23:52): I found it too hard. I remembering having a pretty good idea of what each seed did, but not a lot of luck getting the star and back. Got to the second platform before giving up at least. How're you doing with it?


I didn't beat any of the hellacious puzzles I have left, but I cleaned up a few of the small ones, enough to see more plot. Haven't looked at hints yet! Also, haven't found any of the secret things? Hmph.
m (20 Aug 2015 7:40): Great game! Did not find any of the secret rooms(?). :(
m (20 Aug 2015 17:34): Darkest Dungeon is cheap(ish) right now. Thinking about it.
m (20 Aug 2015 17:37): Hit a few different platforms in Starseed Pilgrim. Rounds started from different platforms play by different rules. There also seems to occasionally be a triple-key lock among the stars that behaves like the rest of them, and which you need to hit three other stars to unlock - haven't managed this feat yet. Curious where it leads.
m (21 Aug 2015 11:12): Mostly(?) done with Talos Principle. Still missing most of the stars. Worth playing through for them? Just had a sort of frustrating time with the very first one.
R (22 Aug 2015 15:57): I can see you're playing *right now*, but, uh, I think they're worth getting. If you don't get the stars, you can't see all the puzzles. Also there is a different ending. Also also, it's less frustrating than RAOD TOH GENENA. The guide for the stars is nicely spoiler-tagged, so you don't have to get any more hints than you want, and they start out nicely — "where is it?" is usually most of what I want to know, really.
m (23 Aug 2015 9:09): Yes! Very happy with the spoiler-tagged "where is it?" section of this guide.
R (24 Aug 2015 16:37): I beat The Swapper! I also found four of the achievement things and I can offer some pointers if anyone wants. Although I started a second play-through with the intent of being kinda meticulous about searching around, and it didn't take all that long.

Anyway, I think G started The Swapper and did not finish, so I think he should give it another go. It got easier for me after leaving it a while and coming back.
m (26 Aug 2015 12:28): Nice work on Swapper!
R (5 Oct 2015 1:04): "The trouble with time travel"

I shared this out a while back, but as the original RSS post was from years ago I'm not sure if people saw it, and also it's a good post. The game he wrote actually tests for and prevents paradoxes caused by (in-game) time travel. I'm super impressed.
G (7 Oct 2015 10:27): Last episode of Life is Strange out on 10/20 (dumb trailer)
Can't wait to UNLEASH THE STORM and rip shit up, Crysis style.
G (7 Oct 2015 10:29): PS we need to discuss event predictions so I can potentially look real smart later.
m (7 Oct 2015 17:02): Thread Police likes that "The trouble with time travel" is followed by Life Is Strange posts.
G (9 Oct 2015 23:40): R bought me The Beginner's Guide and I played it and I think it's really great. It's by Davey Wreden of The Stanley Parable, it has a more somber and serious tone, and maybe that's all you really need to know going in. It's a linear experience and it will take you maybe 90 - 110 minutes to go through it all, front to back.
m (10 Oct 2015 7:08): We watched the trailer and were kind of on the fence. Will get!
G (10 Oct 2015 9:47): R gifted it to me, so you should be able to play it from my library.
m (10 Oct 2015 15:28): Even better!
m (12 Oct 2015 16:42): Bernband! (thanks Reed)
G (21 Oct 2015 12:58): LIS final episode is out. I want to make a prediction to sound smart before I play it, though... Maybe mancala needs spoiler tags. :P
G (27 Oct 2015 15:13): I played through the final episode of LIS and give it a more-or-less thumbs up. Lots of little things to criticize, I guess, but enjoyed it. Some of the parts I enjoyed the most were just little vignette scenes (?), maybe that's why I liked Kentucky Route Zero so much. I should finish that.

None of the suggested chromium DIY spoiler tags work for me, so I'll just say vague spoilers: It seemed obvious which mechanism Max would use to deal with the final predicament. I didn't foresee the final moment, but feel like I should have. I'm considering playing it through one more time (probably just the final ep.) but... maybe I could just watch a video.
G (27 Oct 2015 19:04): <marquee>Looks like marquees don't work anymore, either.</marquee>
m (28 Oct 2015 12:27): maybe that's why I liked Kentucky Route Zero so much. I should finish that.

This is a boat that I am also in.
R (30 Oct 2015 5:39): You want to finish KRZ? Me too! Also, Cardboard Computer.

Less snarkily, the little free interstitial things are nice.
G (30 Oct 2015 10:31): Oh! Haha. I had just assumed... Hm.
m (17 Nov 2015 7:14): Pandemic Legacy - Pandemic is tons of fun, and this adds some sort of multi-playthrough Legacy mechanic to it I guess? People love it. Any thoughts?
G (17 Nov 2015 15:07): Seems like a pretty neat gimmick squarely aimed at groups that gather to play games regularly. That's not me, and I think it would consequently be less interesting for players who can only play occasionally for single sessions. It's interesting to see progression mechanics being included - is this the influence of video games and the age of RPGs? - and it's convenient for them that this might prompt bigger fans to buy multiple copies. I don't have a problem with it at all, although the idea of hiding rule information in a competitive tabletop game (which pandemic is not, but risk legacy (?) IS) seems a little problematic to me, potentially.
G (11 Jan 2016 15:23): Interesting data for Steam garbage is here:
R (22 Jan 2016 1:26): The Witness is out next week on the 26th (01-26-2016, heh). And Jon Blow is handing out partial steam keys on twitter. Gotta figure 'em out fast, though. I actually saw this most recent one in real time and flubbed it, someone said it took less than 20 seconds from the clue to key redemption. Anyway, in 2016 you're gonna draw lines and it is serious business. And I guess an iOS port was planned and maybe VR support? I'm curious what the iPad version would sell for.
m (27 Jan 2016 8:17): any updates on Witness?
m (27 Jan 2016 8:18): see Tycho raving about it
G (31 Jan 2016 0:47): It is certainly at the top of my list.
G (2 Apr 2016 11:30): Hyper Light Drifter dropped a couple days ago and I redeemed my steam key.
Did you like Fez, but sorta wished that the game was a grimdark sci-fantasy isometric-view action game instead? Then you'll love HLD!
G (2 Apr 2016 11:43): We all know I'm just gonna play SF5 though.
R (2 Apr 2016 15:47): Also, instead of no combat, there's lots of combat and hard bosses. It really looking like a thing I'd like, though!
m (3 Apr 2016 6:57): It is a little ridiculous how much I am enjoying stardew valley
G (3 Apr 2016 10:12): HLD definitely has combat, but it seems like the weight is a little more on the side of exploration. Seems good.
I heard people talking about Stardew as the newest bestest Harvest Moon-alike. I'm not sure if it's something I'll get into, but at the very least I'm happy if it will keep you from Starving so damn much.

P.S. Who did you marry? Does Anne know?
G (3 Apr 2016 10:32): Wait hold up, I didn't realize this game had teh mods. Skepticism retracted.
Seems like a real party! Bongs! Nudes! Oh, fuck it, let's just replace every single item with a naked person.
G (3 Apr 2016 14:24): I love navigating invisible mazes!
m (7 Apr 2016 19:29): game isn't quite the right word
m (30 Apr 2016 17:51): Kate Beaton Fat Pony Mod
G (10 May 2016 19:10): Playing The Witness with R! It's great!
Also - happy birthday! ...To Kentucky Route Zero Act III! Two years old.
R (29 Dec 2016 5:44): Stereo implementation in Dolphin

The Youtube playlist at the end is pretty sweet if you have anaglyph glasses. And surprisingly bad in YouTube with Cardboard due to YT's incredibly shitty bitrates and codecs for mobile! Worse than coping with Red-Blue. Fuck.
G (28 Jan 2017 9:41): There is/was a Fist of the North Star fighting game. It's famous for a very something that cracks me up every time I see it. I give you... the dribble combo.

This game (Hokuto No Ken) has some special combo jargon for... obvious reasons. It's all basketball terminology, even in Japanese. Here's an excerpt from the SRK wiki:

Dribble Combo: A 'Dribble' combo can be performed after a roughly 31-hit air combo by repeatedly dashing and hitting and opponent just as they rebound off the floor, much like you would dribble a basketball. At the beginning the 'dribble' only causes the opponent to bounce a little and the timing can be very severe - however, as you keep following up with more hits, the victim starts to bounce higher and higher, eventually reaching the 'Basuke state.' ("Basuke" is Japanese for Basketball)
m (28 Jan 2017 22:32): dribble combo is pretty hilarious
R (4 Mar 2017 12:50): Fragments of Euclid

Pay What You Want (PWYW), Win, Mac, Linux.
R (5 May 2017 21:33): "In a parallel universe, I start this article by declaring how sodding tired I am of games about the 13th-century Catharite heresy and its persecution by the Catholic Church. Sadly, in this world, there is only L’Abbaye Des Morts."

Not sold on the game, but this is some fun writing with a short juxtaposition with Braid towards the end. Also liked their essay Fuck The Holodeck.
R (26 May 2017 19:18): "You’ll be surprised by how many problems can be solved by hitting a golf ball at them."

Golf Story. Uh, OK.
m (27 May 2017 7:58): Either of you guys got a switch? I have been having an awful time trying. Showed up at Fred Meyer 15m after it opened and they tell me "ooh, we had two this morning".
m (22 Sep 2017 18:00): Cook Serve Delicious 2!!!$!!2!
G (25 Sep 2017 20:10): Looks pretty good! No steam sharing, sadly.
HOW'S THE MODDING SUPPORT. I just wanna eat anime.
m (28 Sep 2017 17:45): No steam sharing? What? Grumpy!
m (25 Nov 2017 17:26): Beginner's Guide is great!
G (16 Jan 2018 18:33): New game from the maker of Neko Atsume (kitty collector):
m (17 Jan 2018 19:36): EXCELLENT
m (17 Jan 2018 20:39): filfre
sam (18 Jan 2018 13:16): Thought of you all:
R (3 Feb 2018 21:53): The Matter of the Great Red Dragon
R (11 Nov 3:47): Triforce: Topologies of Zelda


m (5 Dec 2014 18:19): TWO NEW ALiLBtDiI. Well not new at all, really. Relatively new. When held against that 2006 hiatus.
m (21 Apr 2017 8:42): Poignant
R (21 Apr 2017 21:20): Jesus, I'm old.
sam (23 Apr 2017 19:59): I haven't looked at PA in a while, but following this link I am shocked by the way it looks both currently and formerly.
R (1 Jul 2017 2:18): We've come a long way, baby.
Paul (3 Jul 2017 20:44): I'm out of the loop...I don't read webcomics anymore except xkcd.
R (12 Mar 2018 19:12): Agency by Tom McHenry

Grim! Brazil-esque!
m (13 Mar 2018 7:02): So grim! At least bag over the head on page 1 was just a dream mask. Also: Piss Rodeo really is the worst game.
G (15 Mar 2018 18:17): Is the abjective form... Brazilian?

Present day, present time

(22 Apr 2008 19:10): ha ha ha ha ha
G (23 Apr 2008 7:33): You should add it.
R (8 Oct 2015 1:20): RFC 5841: TCP Option to Denote Packet Mood
sam (13 Jan 2016 13:49): ...

and my glasses don't look anything like Gendo's, if that was indeed being implied!
G (14 Jan 2016 10:14): Maybe that's your problem!
sam (16 Jan 2016 20:34): Ah, I would like to buy these!
R (2 Mar 2017 19:55): * Never put portable computing devices in your mouth!!
* Never join subcultures predicated on misusing $500 electronic devices!!
* Always have the humility to let a departing bus go!!
And, although this wasn't mentioned, always record videos in landscape orientation!!
Thread Police (3 Mar 2017 9:39): Appropriate use of topic. Please, carry on.
m (3 Mar 2017 9:39): Also: excellent!
m (6 Mar 2017 11:20): A Shaenon Garrity sourced game? What?
m (24 Nov 2017 11:58): from n+1
I live in Philadelphia, where every day, the prospect of Amazon HQ2 competed with the corruption of our most powerful local congressman for the top story. The city unveiled a website dedicated to its bid - more attractive and user-friendly than any other municipal page - that gloried in Philadelphia being the "biggest small city in America."
In comment sections, in conversation, in social media, Philadelphians turned overnight from citizens into urban branding experts. Years of reading Curbed and thinking about “smart cities” had had their effect. Person after person blandly laid out the humble virtues of Philadelphia as a case for Amazon’s noblesse oblige.
By the same token, all cities were forced to realize their basic inadequacy: that ultimately, all their tireless work to cultivate their urbanity amounted to nothing if they did not have Amazon.


sam (13 Oct 2015 21:29): Lincoln Chaffee said in the debate today that he has never had a scandal. Well wikipedia says he's wrong! I'm sure this will be taken down soon, so here is the text:

Frog Scandal
On March 6th, 2003 the FBI was summoned to the Chaffee residence. Allegations had surfaced the week prior on deadspin about the illegal allocation of taxpayer money within the Chaffee estate. Adam Schefter of ESPN had inside information from a source saying that Lincoln had used $23.17 (roughly 19% of the Rhode Island GDP) of Rhode Island taxpayer money at the Providence Wal-Mart to purchase 3 frogs for his aquarium. The investigation is still ongoing.
R (18 Oct 2015 2:53): Be honest — did you put that in there? Either way, that is hilarious.
G (18 Oct 2015 9:32): FROG TRUTH
R (18 Oct 2015 11:16): Is Lincoln Chafee's presidential campaign Frog Fractions 2???
Paul (23 Jun 2017 18:23): Am I too easily impressed by Al Franken's self-restraint when he has a hilarious joke to say in the senate?
sam (25 Jun 2017 21:03): Al Franken for president.

When I'm President...

Paul (31 May 2017 17:26): ...I'll tweet a nonsense word every day and track how widely it spreads.
m (6 Jun 2017 21:08): Pretty good summary of the current clusterfuck:
"The assumption has always been that a Department of Justice, functioning independently and at arm's length from the White House, would enforce the law, and do the right thing. And that now appears to not be happening," Potter said. "Congress could hold hearings, and expose all this, but that would require an independent Congress that's watchdogging the Trump administration. And we don’t have that."
Paul (24 Jun 2017 7:03): I'll make some kind of design out of the calendar of lies. Might have fewer lies, though. Maybe none.

a more perfect union

m (28 Jan 2010 9:36): I like Gail Collins.
m (28 Jan 2010 9:39): and wordle!
m (28 Jan 2010 9:51): nice pdf from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the differences between the House and the Senate HCR bills.
Paul (17 Dec 2010 16:50): Does anyone get the sneaky suspicion that Obama actually works better with Republicans than with Democrats? Is it easier to negotiate with opposition than with allies?
Paul (4 Sep 2011 6:09): When computers talk to each other conversationally
m (4 Sep 2011 7:39): I see you've got your Flash Plugin working!
Paul (4 Sep 2011 8:34): Yes, Chrome for linux "does flash" out of the box. Not quite sure how it works...
Paul (7 Sep 2011 5:35): I'm so "in the know": I linked the cleverbot-cleverbot chat before it made it to xkcd
G (13 Jan 2012 14:01): ...Texas abortion law that requires pregnant women to listen to the fetal heartbeat... :(
In before "Texas abortion law that requires pregnant women to shed at least 10 tears," "Texas abortion law that requires physicians to play a sound clip of babies screaming..."
Paul (6 Nov 2012 21:51): So... looks like the Presidency and Senate are in good shape. But what's up with the house? Looks like it's all fucked up by gerrymandering. How can we quantify how unfair the house results are?

* Maybe, find the total popular vote for Democratic house candidates versus Republican house candidates, and compare it with the percentage of seats won...

* Maybe, plot a histogram of the margin of victory in each house district. An unfair result has democrats winning by wide margins and republicans winning by narrow margins, with a gap in the middle (ie, not many democrats winning by narrow margins)...

Are any of these feasible? Is anyone else asking this?
m (7 Nov 2012 19:33): (from a FiveThirtyEight interview last year with David Wasserman about redistricting)
DW: All districts have to be contiguous. Compactness is a different matter all together. Mathematicians and geometrists have attempted for years to come up with a uniform way to calculate compactness. But there is really no one-size-fits-all solution to evaluating whether a map is compact or not. If there were, courts would probably be drawn to it.

Don't you think there is, though? Wouldn't it be relatively straightforward to construct some simple geometric rules for splitting states up? Maybe the rules themselves could be subject to gerrymandering, though. Hm.
m (19 Nov 2012 10:34): Wow! Talk about gerrymandering: "Democrats led Republicans by 56 million to 55 million votes nationally" [cumulative over all House races]
Paul (20 Nov 2012 5:37): yeah. Perfect gerrymanderers can keep 1/2 + epsilon of the seats as long as they keep 1/4 + delta of the voters. Specifically, put 1/2 - delta of the voters into seats that are 100% democrat, and the other 1/2 + delta of the popular vote into seats that are ((1/4+delta)/(1/2+delta))% republican. So what lower bounds can we put on delta? (If delta is 1/4, we're back to normal democracy.) Delta is mildly lower-bounded by state borders, somewhat more lower bounded by district compactness requirements, and substantially lower bounded by states like California where a nonpartisan commission draws the districts...
Paul (20 Nov 2012 5:48): oh no! some of my epsilons and deltas are wrong, and I'm late for work. correction forthcoming!!!
Paul (20 Nov 2012 19:54): Ok, here it is. In order for republicans to win 1/2 + epsilon of the seats, they only need to get 1/4 + delta of the votes, where delta > (epsilon/2), provided they gerrymander the districts. Specifically, draw 1/2 - epsilon of the districts to have 100% democrat votes, and draw the remaining 1/2 + epsilon of the districts to evenly distribute the remaining votes which are ((1/4+delta) / (1/2+epsilon)) > 50% republican.

arrange it so that 1/2 - epsilon of the votes are 100% democratic for 1/2 - epsilon of the seats, and 1/2 + epsilon of the votes are evenly distributed (. of yeah. Perfect gerrymanderers can keep 1/2 + epsilon of the seats as long as they keep 1/4 + delta of the voters. Specifically, put 1/2 - delta of the voters into seats that are 100% democrat, and the other 1/2 + delta of the popular vote into seats that are ((1/4+delta)/(1/2+delta))% republican. So what lower bounds can we put on delta? (If delta is 1/4, we're back to normal democracy.) Delta is mildly lower-bounded by state borders, somewhat more lower bounded by district compactness requirements, and substantially lower bounded by states like California where a nonpartisan commission draws the districts...voters are selected to yeah. Perfect gerrymanderers can keep 1/2 + epsilon of the seats as long as they keep 1/4 + delta of the voters. Specifically, put 1/2 - delta of the voters into seats that are 100% democrat, and the other 1/2 + delta of the popular vote into seats that are ((1/4+delta)/(1/2+delta))% republican. So what lower bounds can we put on delta? (If delta is 1/4, we're back to normal democracy.) Delta is mildly lower-bounded by state borders, somewhat more lower bounded by district compactness requirements, and substantially lower bounded by states like California where a nonpartisan commission draws the districts...
Paul (20 Nov 2012 19:55): And just ignore the garbage after the first paragraph. It was late and I was tired.
G (28 Nov 2012 8:29): I think that there is probably not any good rule for mechanically determining if a district guideline is reasonable or not. Simply because you could still have compact regions that are very clearly designed to favor your side, but also because maybe having a long district on a coastline seems like it might not be so bad, and stuff like that. Or I guess what I meant is that compactness, while good, doesn't really prevent abuse.
m (15 Dec 2012 16:39): No wonder gerrymandering makes you grumpy, Dex. Is/was that your district?

What about just the requirement that districts be convex? It's certainly simple, and though Grant's right that it can (will) still be abused, at least we'll avoid ludicrously, blatantly abusive shapes like this one.
G (16 Dec 2012 14:35): The grid nature of streets makes a convex requirement untenable.
m (16 Dec 2012 22:22): Good point, but there's no reason I can think of that district boundaries would need to align with streets.
m (16 Dec 2012 22:24): But the initial point still stands: they'd just end up being long skinny rectangles of cheating instead of wiggly cheater-fractals.
m (30 Dec 2012 17:41): This article makes me think that they're doing it wrong: 242 districts in which the result was more than 20 percentage points off of the presidential result (117 of those going Dem, 125 for Republicans).
m (30 Dec 2012 17:49): but here's a thought:
Meanwhile, the differences between the parties have become so strong, and so sharply split across geographic lines, that voters may see their choice of where to live as partly reflecting a political decision. This type of voter self-sorting may contribute more to the increased polarization of Congressional districts than redistricting itself.
G (31 Dec 2012 23:49): Requiring convex districts means that either you'll need to make perfectly rectangular districts in perfect grid cities, or you have to deal with deciding which houses or which rooms are on which side of which lines. The stakes are lower for every decision, but there are a lot more decisions that have to be made, this way.

If we have weird district lines that don't align by streets even now, then I guess I think we oughta do that!

I think the blue-skies perfect-world solution would be to have non-partisan groups doing the redistricting. Maybe you have to lock them in a room with no internet until the lines are all drawn, and they can't check how the territories voted?
G (31 Dec 2012 23:51): Also we have states with concavities along their borders. Their state-borders. So you'd have to at least add exceptions for that. So take that!
Paul (1 Jan 2013 21:16): Center for Range Voting always has something interesting to say. Did you realize that the whole concept of specially-drawn districts is specified only by law, not by constitution? "In some sense the ultimate proportional representation system is simply not to have any votes and voters at all; the legislature is simply selected randomly!"
m (2 Jan 2013 10:37): [continuing from paul's quote]: "This practice was introduced in Ancient Athens where a machine was invented for generating the randomness."
m (2 Jan 2013 20:44): here's a new one (to me)
m (2 Jan 2013 20:53): The very first proposed amendment (also new to me) actually tries to do this (districts max out at 50,000 residents) and fails due to a scrivener's error(?!)
But failed amendments are still live(?!) so if it had been properly worded we would be able to pick it up for ratification today (I think)
G (5 Mar 2013 23:28): In order to form a more perfect union, it is imperative that we change the national anthem to R. Kelly's 2003 hit "Ignition (Remix)."
G (28 Apr 2013 14:46): America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.
G (1 May 2013 22:14): ...
m (5 Sep 2015 12:00): Bachelor party
LAN party
Party all the time
m (7 Sep 2015 7:36): Good party guys.
G (7 Sep 2015 13:59): That's my line!
Thanks very much, I had a great time.
m (18 Sep 2015 13:29): trolling mancala for any good old quotes that might be nice to break out tomorrow
z (19 Sep 2015 23:55): Congrats G!
Paul (12 Oct 2016 16:06): My deep reflection on visiting Waffle House in Atlanta: If the North won the civil war, how come only the South got the Waffle House chain?
m (13 Oct 2016 9:04): Lasting grudge against Sherman for burning down all initial franchise locations?
m (13 Oct 2016 9:04): Sic semper tyrannis?
R (1 Mar 2017 16:32): Barack Obama Was Kicked Off Of A White House Tour For Shouting, ‘I Already Know That,’ After Everything The Tour Guide Said
R (1 Mar 2017 16:35): So, so dumb, but it got me.
sam (2 Mar 2017 15:54): picture says it all


Paul (15 Dec 2004 16:16): Should I delete the below messages? They're sort of amusing, though, maybe...
Paul (16 Dec 2004 18:48): then again, maybe not...
m (16 Dec 2004 20:41): I'm getting spam at my gmail account even though I've never posted the email address anywhere. I wonder if spammers send to all [dictionary]@[popular_email_host].com
addresses and then ignore the bounces.
Paul (17 Dec 2004 18:11): yes. solutions:
sender authentication?
Paul (17 Dec 2004 18:14): By the way, if any of you are trying to email me, my address is pgd@post.[my college's domain]
m (18 Dec 2004 2:01): sender authentication without having personally ok'ed the sender is tricky.
m (18 Dec 2004 2:03): Actually, I think collin jackson did his senior project on something related.
Paul (19 Dec 2004 12:30): to tag email as from spam-IPs, good-IPs or unknowns...all one needs is sender authentication and a few competing IP-list sites, ne?
m (21 Dec 2004 14:31): maybe, but email headers are easy enough to forge. I was thinking that a spammer could just prepend some fake initial header data to the email and pretend to be forwarding on a valid email, but you could filter based on intermediate-node IP. it still seems like it would be straightforward to forge TCP header information and make the intermediate email routing step seem to come from a legit host.
m (21 Feb 2005 21:04): how did spammers ever find mancala? Have any of you ever linked mancala from somewhere? Maybe an evil router watches http post traffic and grabs urls with post data associated with them to run through a message-board-bot?
Paul (22 Feb 2005 18:35): Well, I certainly haven't tried to hide mancalablog...on the contrary, I originally wanted the archive to be listed in Google, in case some poor searcher wants to know about equilateral triangles on lattice points or Kagawa Compulsary Education..... And spam has hardly been significant...3 posts in 8 months, I think.
m (22 Feb 2005 21:24): still, google bots can't find you unless someone already in their (vast) database links you, right?
Paul (24 Feb 2005 16:31): Well, you should be able to get such a list by Google-ing for "", but it comes up empty. I think Google may now index pages it finds, regardless of whether they're linked from anywhere... But watch out: similar queries often come up empty even when Google has a cached copy of the page with the link!
Grant (25 Feb 2005 1:53): Too creepy!
zong (25 Feb 2005 10:05): Google's motto, according to Larry Page, is "Don't be evil." Whether it is that or just "Don't appear to be evil," one will never know.
The technical problem with Google is that it is supposed to just measure the properties of the network. But because it does a good job in measuring the network, it modifies the network via a feedback process through it.
Grant (27 Feb 2005 18:30): Wait, I thought the problem was concerns of privacy and intellectual property?
zong (28 Feb 2005 12:16): That comes from Google being (market-wise) powerful, I guess; but that's the same thing. Its power is in modifying the network (here used in a sense that includes traffic patterns), which is a screwy thing to do for a search engine but inevitable for a successful search engine.
Grant (28 Feb 2005 19:30): I'm not understanding how you put '(semi-)covertly gathering all sorts of personal information for dubious purposes' under the heading of 'modifying the network.'
I'm not really all that concerned about how Google's presence modifies the internet - stuff like Google bombs and web pages that talk about Google don't bother me at all. I'm more concerned about how Google's presence have effects outside of the web - possibly identifying or implicating users via their searches, or giving government (or even commercial) agents the means by which to do so.
That, and knowing that by sending email to gmail, I could essentially be handing it over to Google for analysis, indexing, and who knows what else.
m (1 Mar 2005 22:20): seems reasonable
Grant (2 Mar 2005 3:53): It is, probably, in some ways just fine. And actually, some of the stuff on google-watch does seem pretty paranoid. One might even say 'crazy.' The points that I thought might be valid follow.
The provisions for disclosing personal information are pretty vague, and suspect to change at any time. Furthermore, 'necessary by law' - who's law, sucker? My law, or The Man's law? No, seriously, though - somebody brought up an interesting point about requests from other countries with somewhat dubious governments.
I also heard that personal communications ceased to be protected by (our) federal law after 90 days or something? Which means that the US government could legally peruse email via a subpoena rather than a search warrant? I end all my sentences in question marks? Like this?
I can't say what protections would be given for foreign (non) citizens - presumably, less.
As far as the actual search engine goes, I am personally of the opinion that that sort of thing should fall under fair use. But I don't kid myself for one second - Google is copying other people's works (commercial and otherwise) without any sort of permission, and it is making a profit out of it.
But, like, I still use it...
m (2 Mar 2005 10:47): yes. presumably less.
m (3 Mar 2005 18:10): whoah! google maps is straight sexy.
(3 Mar 2005 23:04): Yeah. I just wish it had maps of Japan. That'd be awesome.
I have a hard time finding things, sometimes. It's only mitigated somewhat by the fact that I don't have a car.
m (7 May 2006 0:29): god damnit
Paul (11 May 2006 9:22): What the hell? It's not like this site has any pagerank or readership. Any suggestions?
Paul (11 May 2006 12:10): okay, adding a simple spamfilter, sigh
Paul (12 May 2006 5:54): tweaking the spamfilter again :(
Paul (28 May 2006 18:53): I am disappointed to report that we've gotten 58 spam posts since I tweaked the spamfilter. The domains they link to are registered to a guy in Minsk, Belarus. How many person-hours and social interactions is this one guy probably wasting/ruining? Like, just protecting mancala from him took me almost an hour iirc. I guess spam isn't as bad of a utilitarian evil as war etc., but it ranks right up there.
Grant (29 May 2006 17:35): I'm pretty sure they're both bad, but that's about as far as I'd be willing to take that comparison.
m (10 Feb 2007 21:47): subject text: Is he Pythagorean
R (17 Jun 2007 20:38): Subject: I guess some people expect their software to automatically do whatever they think it should do, and be perfect and contain no bugs.

Fucking awesome. Ripped from thomasvs' Advogato page. Home of other cute rants like:

Never ever ever install stuff from source to /usr unless you are completely sure that this is what you want and the only way to work around something. If you don't know if it is, the answer is it isn't.
m (28 Jun 2007 9:25): today's spam to make it past the filter is

(a) upsetting: "Subject: Who has the bigger pen1s.? g"
Damnit. I always suspected.

(b) absurd: invitation.pdf
It's an incoherent kidnapper's ransom-note style pdf telling me to buy some sort of stock. I don't know. (don't worry -- there's nothing embedded in the pdf besides a little image data)
m (26 Jul 2007 23:14): Shit. R, your dancing post from a couple weeks ago tripped p's spam filter. I don't know on what impulse, but I was browsing his spam.dat file that logs everything here flagged as spam. So, uh, maybe I can just cat it onto the end of blog.dat? I'm a little afraid of breaking mancala, though.
m (26 Jul 2007 23:18): not quite.
P: chmod blog.dat g+w
R (7 Dec 2007 18:59): Subject: "Men think with a penis - the bigger penis, the smarter man."
Subject: "Big penis is great - it's an axiom."
G (8 Dec 2007 19:37): Those are awesome. Maybe I should start reading my emails, too! Maybe I should start digging around in this pile of shit, looking for gold!
G (9 Dec 2007 1:32): I, uh, didn't mean that to say that those emails you guys sent me aren't awesome. They're great. Really.
m (9 Dec 2007 14:27): G's .procmailrc:

# It's axiomatic
:0 fw
| sed -e "s/[::alpha::]*/shit/g"
m (9 Dec 2007 14:34): To actually match the character class and to avoid vacuous matching, that sed line should really instead read
| sed -re "s/[[:alpha:]]+/shit/g"
G (18 Dec 2007 20:10): Hey, I got one!
"You Dont please with your male aggregate size."
G (22 Oct 2008 1:17): Also, it looks like your spam filter doesn't catch complete gobbledygook.
m (22 Oct 2008 16:20): Find the spam filter on grza and take a look at it -- it's pretty goofy.
m (2 Nov 2008 6:25): I was just thinking: bayes filtering can't catch clever messageboard spam, because the spam can simply use the messageboard itself to generate its own bayes-likely message, with a few smarmy urls in it.

I kind of want to see that: a generic mancala message
g (2 Nov 2008 13:11): But the spam we're actually getting isn't that - it's just nonsense with a bajillion URLs that don't even have link text.

Also, generic mancalablog post in 3... 2... 1...
Paul (3 Nov 2008 15:52): using the phpbb-style urls as a trigger for the spamfilter seemed promising, but Jeffrey's spam doesn't have any of them...

If you've ever tried dadadodo, you'd find some good random mancala messages. Here's one coming up...
Paul (3 Nov 2008 16:01): ~$ curl -s |grep : |cut -f3- -d: |dadadodo - |head -20
dadadodo: reading stdin...
254 lines
Datte datte, datte. Apple used to. Paprika is no fun of clicking the
image ssh to just like being have it beyond the second or I still
remember suggest this be able to eternally battle mysterious terrorist
timebots, not hang of power you know why did it would bother spamming a
Yakuza But talk to this be it micycle? Nice to basic syntax. Test
the order cursor at maybe nobody got put their a rimming mazing, is
this time.
Paul (3 Nov 2008 16:03): ~$ curl -s |grep : |cut -f3- -d: |dadadodo - |head -20
dadadodo: reading stdin...
........... 2309 lines
Work on some sort of keeping it to buy a while, the indirect, so.
Also probably be a Remote ssh y; and the government's purpose is
back in their account on all of the all of economics wifi signal?
Besides unla. Perhaps I'm humor you being dicks? Discuss.
Particularly good npr points in Seattle.

The some soundfonts or you a writ of Content? Minnesota? It
anywhere like leeks. Royal Tenenbaum Rollicking good the short
very old, to offered in line and say it's Thanksgiving here is now
Paul, has is long typing this lady site links I refuse to buy of
your bb I thought that! And yikes. Jesus. Sorry I agree: the
executive branch is it working. You wanted to implement the whole
thing I've ever again I knew that, fine; with regex's?

G's procmailrc: syntax these machines I hear was funny;
though. That many buffers are Obama's, campaign of them is

Stupid, but I saw that it's a standard system
and as a href and seems okay, preview. I
Paul (3 Nov 2008 16:05): Conclusion: "Why did it would bother spamming a Yakuza?"
G (3 Nov 2008 16:35): Holy shit, that spam is awesome.
m (11 Nov 2008 20:58): :<
G (12 Nov 2008 0:44):
- -
Paul (13 Nov 2008 13:52): Manually moved spam into blogspam.dat. Honeypot field pending.
Paul (16 Nov 2008 5:54): One honeypot field added. Now, can I still post?
Paul (16 Nov 2008 5:55): And...can I still post after previewing? Yes.
Paul (16 Nov 2008 5:57): And, can I still post from Elinks? Yes, but it shows the honeypot, so just don't put anything in it.
m (16 Nov 2008 7:56): Well done, dex. Stupid spam-flood.
G (16 Nov 2008 11:33): Nicely nicely.
m (29 Dec 2008 1:09): Subject: Your powerful uprise will surprise women

[pretty great sight/slant-rhyme of uprise and surprise, even if it's a stretch to translate "uprise" to "boner".]
m (15 May 2009 13:34): Subject: Hannibal the Great's Favorite sexual Positions and Libido Enhancers From Hitsory
R (11 Feb 2010 16:49): "Your shlong can be shlonger"
"Like a drilling machine in pants"
G (15 Mar 2011 17:46): I just really like this subject line.
Paul (23 Jan 2017 20:38): what happens when you reply to spam email rotfl


m (8 Feb 2006 15:25): Linked from Lessig, this is a pretty great read.
Paul (1 Apr 2006 7:04): If you haven't already heard of the massive pro-immigrant rallies slated for April 10, please learn about them and tell all your friends. The media reported over 500k present at rallies in LA last week, and this seems to be the hour for the cause.
Paul (10 Apr 2006 14:01): Protests well underway...
Paul (12 Apr 2006 7:28): I'd never seen a good example of begging the question until I read wingnut answers to the question: Should more immigration be legal?
"Most immigration today is illegal," they explain, "and illegal things are usually bad. Therefore most immigration today is bad, and should be outlawed."
m (6 May 2006 10:26): wait -- was that 'wall across four states' thing the House wanted for real?
Paul (8 May 2006 6:10): Yes (sec. 1002), but nobody was paying attention to it, because a spooky wall seems benign in comparison with suddenly making 10M felons. When the Senate almost passed a generally more merciful bill, they kept the wall, but then the bill didn't pass anyway. It's pretty dumb, right, like, *I* didn't have to do anything special to get citizenship, so why should someone else? We will see...
Paul (26 May 2006 6:01): I saw this picture on nytimes front page, and I thought, "hey, maybe they're defying Bush and showing dead soldiers," until I read the caption, indicating they're Iraqi civilians. However, to people who care more about dead Americans, I would point out that this is very much what dead American soldiers look like. Just imagine 409 copies of this image, with coffins draped in US flags. For people who care about dead Iraqis, imagine 5000 to 15000+ copies of this image.
m (23 Jun 2006 13:32): Haditha. Whoah.
R (17 Jun 2007 20:53): Single-link Youtube, but... Incarcerex. Reminds me a bit of the old .mov I had of a robot arrested for possession of LSD-laced lug nuts. Filename, plz?
G (18 Jun 2007 1:08): You mean LITTLE BROTHER GETS BUSTED?
(18 Jun 2007 1:09): Er, and the link:
G (21 Jun 2007 9:02): So, Nanking. :/
m (25 Jun 2007 17:10): I feel the need to periodically link Larry Lessig. He's good.
Paul (26 Jun 2007 5:26): (working version of link)
DK (28 Jun 2007 1:06): Paul,

Are you in mexico now?

Paul (21 Aug 2008 12:10): Can a convenience store refuse to serve children in general, on the basis that their parents might come back to dispute sales or prices? The best answer I've found is inconclusive...
G (21 Aug 2008 18:10): My guess is that the answer is "Effectively Yes," or maybe "Probably."

Effectively Yes, because they do not have to tell you why they do not want to serve you. They can simply say that they do not want to, or do not feel comfortable doing so. At that point, if you believe that it is discrimination, you will have to prove why they chose not to serve you in court. Good luck with that.

Probably, because of this section that you linked to: "It's interesting to note that while it is unlawful to refuse service to certain classes of people, it is not unlawful to provide discounts on the basis of characteristics such as age. Business establishments can lawfully provide discounts to groups such as senior citizens, children, local residents or members of the clergy, in order to attract their business."

But not definitely, because other laws and local laws might apply.
G (21 Aug 2008 18:11): Oh, man, I didn't even read that section I quoted. Haha. So, uh, let me change my answer to "Effectively Yes" and "Maybe Not Technically."
G (21 Aug 2008 18:18): I just got my alcohol-serving permit thing, and had to sit through a two-hour talk on stuff like this, although obviously the age thing didn't come up. A potentially similar case was, however: serving alcohol to pregnant women. It's probably illegal to not serve them because they're pregnant. It's potentially a liability if they claim they didn't know that alcohol is harmful to developing children (wtf). Double points because it can be very awkward to ask a woman if she is pregnant and because I guess no court case involving it has reached completion in the state of Washington, so there's no actual precedent. He said that for legal cover-your-ass-itude, your best bet is always to just refuse service and never give a real reason. Airtight.
G (21 Aug 2008 18:24): But I guess that doesn't work if you don't ever sell to minors, or if you want to keep them from coming in, or want to post your policy.

I don't know.
m (22 Aug 2008 19:42): This is a great list: "Cases decided during that era held that business owners could not discriminate, for example, against hippies, police officers, homosexuals or Republicans, solely because of who they were."
Paul (22 May 2010 12:49): Before my birth, I worked long and hard to become a natural-born US citizen. Clearly my effort and sacrifices to be born here deserve to be rewarded. Now we see people who carelessly went and got born somewhere else, and they make some slapdash trip moseying across a desert. They don't deserve any human treatment; they haven't worked hard for it like I did.
m (1 Jul 2010 8:25): "It's perfectly fine to use the name of your pet or child as a password. However, for the sake of security, make sure the names of all your pets and children contain several non-alphanumeric characters."
G (2 Jul 2010 10:10): American People Ruled Unfit To Govern
Paul (7 May 2011 12:40): Retweet: EFF says Why we need an open wireless movement
G (7 May 2011 14:06): wats a tweet
m (10 Oct 2011 10:51): What?! No way!
R (3 Jul 2016 6:54): Happy (early) 4th of July!
Paul (11 Jul 2016 3:58): Worth reading: on "whiteness" ... also, why police are or aren't accorded authority in different racial contexts
Paul (12 Jul 2016 21:33): Also: tears and the audacity of disrespect
Paul (13 Jul 2016 15:30): Also, a law professor's response to anonymous student(s)' complaint about his Black Lives Matter shirt
m (4 Aug 2016 18:29): Dex is this your doing?

In view of the City's commitment to public health, safety and basic common sense, we will not issue permits for block party dumpster pools.
m (26 Sep 2016 11:06): Oh, Julian Assange
"The American liberal press, in falling over themselves to defend Hillary Clinton, are erecting a demon that is going to put nooses around everyone's necks as soon as she wins the election, which is almost certainly what she's going to do,"


mike (10 Sep 2004 16:14): Do there exist equilateral triangles where the vertices lie on lattice points?
m (10 Sep 2004 16:14): google doesn't seem to think so.
Paul (19 Sep 2004 12:27): As for equilateral triangles on lattice points, they can be shown not to exist:

Indeed, no triplet of lattice points A,O,B has angle AOB equal to 60 (or any r where tan(r) is irrational). WLOG, O is the origin. If B=(1,0) on the horizontal axis, A can't work since tan(r) is irrational. But for any lattice points C,D there exists some A with B=(1,0) so angle AOB equals angle COD.

Specifically, let A be the image of D under a reflection-rotation-dilation of the lattice points which preserves angles, sends O to O and B to C. Then angle AOB equals angle COB minus angle DOB, which equals angle COD.
Paul (19 Sep 2004 12:57): coordinates, if C=(x,y) and D=(w,z) then let A=(xw+yz, yw-xz).
m (20 Sep 2004 23:05): that's clever.
my solution was similar, but took tan(YOA) and tan(BOX) and showed that they couldn't both be rational, with Y and X lying on their respective axes, and A and B on the lattice wherever makes sense. not quite as cool.
m (20 Sep 2004 23:12): a friend posed this problem to me (as a result of which I started thinking about triangles and lattices):
let any point in a plane be assigned one of two colors, show minimally that an equilateral triangle of a single color exists.

so, it's pretty straight forward - by 'minimally' the point is just to try to do so using as few points as possible to force a contradiction under the assumption that no such triangle exists.

anyhow, I haven't yet thought of how to show that a square of a single color exists.
Paul (21 Sep 2004 11:23): I don't understand the question. Is the whole triangle (vertices, edges and innards) supposed to be one color, or just the vertices and edges, or just the vertices? I get confused thinking about coloration of uncountable points :(

Wait, I suppose it can't include edges, 'cause vertical stripes, red on rational X's and indigo on irrationals would prevent any non-vertical monochrome lines. So I guess we just want the 3 vertices to be the same color?
m (21 Sep 2004 12:07): right, just the vertices.
m (21 Sep 2004 12:11): I was thinking that if you could show that for any n, a regular n-gon of one color could be made, you'd have by the limit as n->inf that a circle would exist, but the vertical striping method shows that it can't - that's confusing. was the limiting argument wrong?
Paul (21 Sep 2004 18:03): Here's one way: Take any triplet of equilateral-vertices on the plane. WLOG, two of them are red. Call those D and E on the below diagram.


Suppose no equilateral triplet is monochrome. So B and G must be blue. So F must be red (see it's equilateral with B and G). So C must be blue (E and F are red). So A must be red (B and C are blue). So A, D and F are all red--QED.
m (22 Sep 2004 18:53): yeah, that's identical to my solution

let's take a similar problem on the one dimensional lattice: in the worst case (i.e. min over all point->color mappings), what is the most equispaced like-colored points you can have? Arbitrarily many?

For starters, show that three in a row must exist. It's pretty similar to the triangle problem. Can you force four? I haven't been able to. I don't have any intuition here as to whether or not arbitrarily long chains can be made - what do you think?
m (22 Sep 2004 23:28): Can you generate an infinite string (in our two letter alphabet) where no substring is repeated consecutively more than k times, for some finite k?
m (5 Jan 2007 7:49): since, well, mathematicians no longer think that space filling curves are dangerous, I'm porting the discussion over here.

So, here's a sweet construction for a space filling curve (stolen from what I remember of C&P class). We take the cantor set and use it to make one completely differently from the limiting-sequence-of-functions method that Peano and Hilbert (turns out the xkcd one is Hilbert, not Peano -- my bad) used:

What we do is the following: One way to show that there are at least continuum many guys in the cantor set is to observe that if we were to write out everyone in the interval [0,1] in ternary, those points left in the set after the ith iteration are exactly those who don't use the digit 1 in the first i digits of their ternary representation (so just 0s and 2s). The Cantor Set, the intersection of all of these iterations, is exactly those points who never use a 1 at all in their ternary representation. Divide these 0,2 sequences by two, and now we've got all 0,1 sequences of digits. If we pretend we're in binary, this is everything in the [0,1] interval, we just stole it all back! (actually, some things twice, like 1.0000 and 0.111111..., but whatever)

We can make a function g that does this div-by-two-then-binary transformation, but only keeps every other digit (what?!), say the odd ones (Example: if the number we're looking at is x=0.20202020..., g(x) will be 0.1111... = 1. Similarly, we can define h(x) to do the same thing with the even digits and get h(x) = 0.

Let f(x) be our space filling curve, so f will map R to RxR. (or, since we're lazy, we just worry about mapping [0,1] to [0,1]x[0,1] and pretend this is good enough, which it is). We can define f on all of the points in the Cantor Set to be f(x) = (g(x),h(x)). Now we at least fill space, right? (I'm going to call I := [0,1] from now on for ease of notation) For every point in IxI, we can zip the digits together, multiply by 2 with our odd binary->ternary conversion and get back an element of the cantor set. Fantastic. But this is both not continuous, and not defined on all of those points not in the cantor set (convenient, this).

What do the things not in the cantor set look like? Well, they're (open) intervals that we excised during one of the i iterations. The boundary points of these intervals are elements of the cantor set that are getting (g,h)'ed, so we can just use the interval to connect them with a straight line.

f is now well defined. It fills space. Is it continuous? Sure! It's clearly continuous at the not-cantor-set points, and when we check for continuity at the points in the cantor set, we'll just make sure that other cantor set points are nearby and not worry about the non-cantor-set points since these guys are just lines between nearby cantor set points (convexity of balls is what allows us to not worry about this). So, def of continuity: for every delta, there exists epsilon such that for the epsilon ball around f(x) everything in the preimage is contained in the delta-ball around x. Run long enough down the digits to get your epsilon (I don't know, something like delta squared) and you'll be just fine.
Paul (6 Jan 2007 12:16): Now that I see it, I believe this (and not Hilbert) was exactly what we did (or rather, our TA did) in college. He definitely used base-3 and base-2 forms of numbers. I later took the mapping he used, and had my computer graph it, so I could see it filling up space, which it did. Fun fun. Maybe someday I'll find my old Basic code for that...
m (6 Jan 2007 14:52): show: given any n+1 of the numbers [1,2,...,2n], we have a pair that are coprime.
Paul (12 Jan 2007 15:54): I've been thinking about the coprime problem, but I can't figure it out. It seems obvious at one level, but then it degenerates if I want to, like, prove it.
m (26 Jan 2007 0:49): more number theory:
show that 1+2+...+(p-1) = 0 (mod p) in a not-highschool-formula way
then do 1^2+2^2+...+(p-1)^2 = 0 (mod p)
Paul (26 Jan 2007 18:45): There must be some part I don't understand, since if p=4, then 1+2+3 = 6 != 0 (mod 4). And 1+4+9 = 14 != 0 (mod 4). Is this only supposed to work for p odd? (Also, are you dissing "high school formula" proofs?)
m (27 Jan 2007 11:46): gnh. p is a prime. in the first case, a prime larger than 2. In the second case > 3 (prime bigger than 3 is a funny requirement).
Paul (29 Jan 2007 18:35): I haven't figured the answer yet, but I just noticed that n^2 = (p-n)^2 (mod p) for all n in [0,p], which is surprising. I have no idea why.
Paul (31 Jan 2007 19:00): Today's xkcd is hilarious, possibly because I'm extra tired.
Paul (11 May 2007 19:34): So there was an 18 walking along, when all of a sudden a square root landed on it! (√18)
The 18 was so startled that it broke into its prime factors. (√2·3·3)
They were all trying to get out, because who wants to be stuck under a square root?
But the square root would only let them out if they went with a friend.
Did the 3 have a friend? Yes: so the pair of 3s got out and joined up as a 3 in front of the square root. (3√2)
Did the 2 have a friend? No: the 2 couldn't get out and was stuck under the square root. And that's the final answer. [3√2]
m (30 Sep 2007 1:17): clevar
Paul (1 Oct 2007 3:42): but it can't display the value of the constant n, which is what actually encodes the picture...
m (1 Oct 2007 6:39): Yes, that is unfortunate.
G (17 Oct 2008 1:45): God Created the Integers
Paul (4 Mar 2009 10:49): Convenience link: java math exercises
Paul (5 Jun 2009 12:07): Pounder taught us to call (P or not P) a tautology because it's always true. What was the word he taught for an always-false statement? I think it was like ninneology, but not quite.
Paul (10 Feb 2011 4:43): I'm taking an econ course, which often has problems like "set a,b,c,d to maximize f(a,b,c,d) such that g(a,b,c,d) geq 0" Is there a general way to solve these? The professor always uses heuristic methods like assuming that some of the g_i constraints will equal 0, and others will not equal 0.
m (10 Feb 2011 9:19): Linear programming?
G (11 Feb 2011 19:08): Guess and Check?
Paul (12 Feb 2011 5:03): Interesting. Except f is nonlinear. Maybe the nonlinear problems could be turned into linear problems by taking logarithms...but then again, maybe not.
Paul (4 Jul 2011 15:50): I bought a bottle of Snapple, and its lid says "Real Fact #804: There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar. Find more Real Facts at"

Is this correct? How could there be 293 ways to make change for a dollar? I totally forget how to do combinatorics like this, and I'm too lazy to brute force it.
m (4 Jul 2011 17:04): 293 ways uses both half dollars and silver dollars (though doesn't distinguish between Silver, Susan B, Sacajawea, etc).
I don't know whether this counts as brute-forcing or not:

To start, Look at making change for 25 cents with only 10/5/1 pieces.
We have 2/1/0, 2/0/5, 1/3/0, 1/2/5, etc. 2+4+6 ways.
This means we can make change for 100,75,50,25 cents using dimes, nickels and pennies in 121,72,36,12 ways.
So making change for a dollar using these coins plus quarters can be done in 121+72+36+12+1=242 ways.
Throw in a single half dollar, and we add another 36+12+1=49, for a total of 291.
Now all that's left are two half dollars, and one Susan B (a funny way to make change for a dollar).
m (8 Jul 2011 19:24): Tournament logistics are such a headache. Maybe you guys can shed some light on either of my two problems.

1: Running a double-elimination tournament, how do you move teams into the losers bracket? More specifically: how do you ensure that (a) no teams that played each other in the winners play again in the losers bracket (at least, until as close to the end of things as possible), and (b) teams with high seeds entering the losers bracket get paired with teams with low seeds already in the losers bracket (and teams with low seeds entering get paired against teams with high seeds already in). Some discussion of this can be found here.

2: How do you seed well within a Swiss system? Seeding takes place in the day(s) before the double elim tourney, and needs to handle as many as 128 teams. A round robin is out of the question, so Swiss rounds make the most sense. The trouble is, a Swiss is good at picking a first place, but not so good at distinguishing between everyone in the middle (my intuition here is that this is due to bad tie-break methods poorly determining how to rank teams with the same record). There's an additional problem in which approaching games from the bottom gives you a much easier path than from the top (i.e. if we've got five games to sort out 16 teams, I want to intentionally lose my first game and make my way to first seed that way, rather than try to win all of my games).

More Swiss articles. Nobody seems to talk about using a Swiss for seeding...
G (8 Jul 2011 22:42): I will get you a sample bracket when I'm at home. You'll get it.

Most people do not worry too much about these issues. In fact, being able to do seeding at all is a luxury only the very organized can regularly afford.

In five years of tournament fencing, Swiss tournaments were mentioned, but never used. I will read up on it when I get home, but I think most of the time it's completely ig ores.

Consider your prize or payout structure when you think about this. If you have 6 people, you should just do a round robin (pool).if you've got ten, half fromportland, you'd just ax well. Seed bSed on city as 'strength'.

I mean, if you want a math problem, it's an interesting one. But if you just want to runa tournament, you usuLly don't have to worry Bout it.
G (9 Jul 2011 0:46): Here is a typical bracket (32 entries)

See how the loser of A gets sent to take on the loser of B in the first part of the losers bracket.
Then later the winner of A and B have their match. The loser of this match (Q) gets put into the bottom part of the losers bracket. So Mr. Q, who knocked out either loser A or loser B, will have to fight through all of the bracket before they get matched against each other again.
m (9 Jul 2011 9:29): This first question really is more of a math problem. Yes, that bracket is good enough, but its far from perfect (secondary question: can perfect always be achieved?):
loser y and loser a/b could rematch in the quarterfinals of the losers bracket, well before they have to. Swap loser y and loser z (as well as loser aa / loser ab) to fix things for one round more. Then there's nothing you can do about loser ad and loser ac - they'll potentially get a rematch against one of loser u/v/w/x, loser q/r/s/t (respectively) that they faced not two rounds before. (but this too was avoidable, if we make the loser y/z/aa/ab instead read loser ab/aa/z/y - only, wait, I think that introduces its own problems)
m (9 Jul 2011 10:13): that secondary question was dumb.
m (9 Jul 2011 11:06): First, some notation: I'm sick of writing "winners bracket round 1", "losers bracket round 4" so those are going to be WB1 and LB4 respectively.

In that earlier post I called it the losers bracket quarterfinals, but that should have read LB4 (of 8 rounds, the pre-pre-quarterfinals, ugh), when the bracket linked has a few potential WB1 rematches (i.e. loser y, who is one of winners a/b/c/d, face one team from losers a/b/c/d/u/v).

Reading down from the top, I'm guessing LB4 should read z/y/ab/aa. It means two potential LB5 rematches of a WB1 game (loser a-h facing loser y/z in the top half), then in LB6 you have two potential WB2 rematches (between loser u/v/w/x and loser ad in the top half)

I'd like to avoid this, but don't see any way to - it's either that or have LB6 feature a WB3 rematch, which makes even less sense.

Then of course it's rematch city for LB7 and LB8. But there's no choice for the structure of those last two rounds anyway.
z (9 Jul 2011 15:12): Hm.. never considered the tournament ranking problem before.

From first principles it seems we are assuming there exists "some" full ordering that is fair. This may be not the case, e.g. A always beats B, B always beats C, but somehow C always beats A. Let's say this doesn't happen, because then what can you do?

So if there is a full ordering, this becomes some kind of... fuzzy sorting problem. Fuzzy because each player has a "strength" that varies from time to time. So you try to get them to play as many games as possible to get a good strength "measurement." Now comes the most interesting part. m had mentioned "can perfect be achieved"... well one should be more precise. What is "perfect"?

O(n^2) round-robin gives you a full sort but it's inefficient bubble sort. O(n) single-elimination is only meant to give the max (and 2nd?), so never was there a guarantee for a good ranking below that. Double-elimination seems like some illogical compromise that makes little sense to me. It just "feels" more reassuring than single-elimination but still gives no guarantees, I think. (I say this because the "play same player twice in short time" issue is equivalent to the bad draw issue in single elimination, and my wild hunch says this can't be eliminated with any O(n) tournament.)

Maybe this is already answered but if you really want a full sort, why not use O(n log(n)) merge sort? They do this partially to determine 3rd place sometimes. Maybe Swiss and seeding etc. already add modifications along these lines to get a more accurate sort farther from the top.
z (9 Jul 2011 15:33): Sorry, single-elimination is just max, no guarantee even on 2nd. Double-elimination gives 1st and 2nd, and no guarantee below that. Is that right? Yeah I think that's right.

I'm sorry, I read the linked to article again on the Starcraft forum, under "why is this unfair". So if A plays B again in the losers bracket, and A again beats B, even if B can beat all the other teams*, is that so unfair? We've determined twice now that A is better than B, so A is a better candidate for 2nd place. Why should A "definitely win" under another system? *It seems like they are making the unlikely assumption that B might beat W, the eventual winner. Again, if the goal is to determine 1st and 2nd places and not a full sort, double-elimination seems fair.
z (9 Jul 2011 15:55): re: seeding. Why run Swiss rounds? Just do several random rounds to get your initial win-loss matrix. Then you can process it after the fact as a matrix completion problem. If you did Swiss rounds for seeding then you're giving too much weight to earlier performance and introduce "strategery" artifacts, as you say. In fact, now that I think about it there should be an iterative/interactive bracketing system, where your next opponents are determined by your past performance, as well as what would give the most information to complete the ranking in this particular instance. There must be papers on this.
m (9 Jul 2011 20:55): I know! There must be papers, but I haven't been able to uncover any. Swiss seems like a sort of imperfect attempt at iterative matching - I don't think they're aiming for seeding, but nor are they trying just to establish a first place. That's a good way to articulate our goal: during each round, pairings should expose as much information as possible (and for this random pairings should do much worse than swiss pairings). An iterative method may still be subject to strategery, but perhaps can be made to dampen the effect of artifacts.

Double elimination is just a nice way of running a bracket at the end to give a climactic finish to the tournament. Also it's nice to dole out prizes (see "unfair" if you think you should get 2nd place but end up seeing the obvious 1st place two times in a row early on), and double elim gives 1-4, 5/5, 7/7, 9/9/9/9
z (10 Jul 2011 7:10): Oh well I was talking about the idea of using Swiss rounds to do seeding, which .. isn't necessarily better than random pairing, because I'm thinking the very first round (which is random even under Swiss, right?) somebody may get a weak opponent and somebody else may get a tough opponent, and if they both win, Swiss wants to pair them up next based on the assumption that they are of similar strengths, but this is not true. You need to get a lot more information before you want to force convergence on that kind of informed pairing.
m (10 Jul 2011 11:12): But wasn't the iterative method also for seeding? Think of a Swiss as a semi-mergesort: First we have (random) pairs that we compare, then we clump together for fours, but instead of three comparisons, we make two and skip the middle one. Then make eights, but perform only 4 comparisons instead of 7, skipping all of the cross comparisons that would give you a full ordering. Randomizing would give us less meaningful comparisons, wouldn't it? We want to maximize our information gained each time - so perhaps we would benefit from different comparisons than the ones that a Swiss picks, but certainly not by just randomizing them!
m (11 Jul 2011 9:29): Nate Silver has interesting things to say about tournaments
z (11 Jul 2011 18:17): But we've already established that single-elimination only determines the first-place 'correctly' (assuming no uncertainty). So advancing to the next round by itself shouldn't be considered meritorious, albeit 'exciting' to watch... Perhaps we do want an additional feature that the better teams should go on farther in a tournament?

On that note:

The iterative/seedless thing we've been discussing, I thought about it some more esp. your comment re: Swiss being a partial merge sort. If we really don't want to do an O(n log(n)) full merge sort, then we will end up with a poset. Swiss as you say gives good ranks top and bottom but leaves a lot of unresolvable partial ordering in the middle, which is mirrored at the microscopic level by a partial "merge" step that only compares winner-winner and loser-loser. Seems to me that a more ideal partial "merge" step should be "top heavy", I give example.

Teams: A B C D E F G H with true order A > B > ... > G > H

Round 0, random pairing
A-G, B-H, C-F, D-E, so A, B, C, D win

Round 1, the first partial merge, random subtree choices A G C F in one group, B H D E in another
Round 0 winners play: A-C, B-D, so A, B win
Losers play the cross: C-G, D-H, so C, D win
At this point, we have this poset
A->C->G, C->F
B->D->H, D->E
We can drop the bottom half, which are clearly E, F, G, H, but we don't and won't know how they rank among themselves.

Round 2, the second partial merge on the remaining (top) half
Round 1 winners play: A-B, so A wins
Loser plays the cross: B-C, B wins
The poset is now
A->B->C, B->D
Again drop the bottom half, which are C, D, but we don't know how they compare.

We're done, because we have the following binary-tree poset now:

| |->F
| |->G

which is precisely the kind of top-heavy structure we want. We know exactly who 1st and 2nd places are, then we know places 3,4 collectively, after that we know places 5,6,7,8 collectively.

One complaint may be that half the teams have to wait a round to play in each merge step, but this is not the case, since we can pipeline the winner-winner games in Round j together with the loser-cross games in Round j-1.

Even more, you never play the same team twice, and the better teams get to advance more rounds. Complexity is O(n) I believe. So I don't see any deficiency whatsoever in this kind of bracket. Why isn't it used?
z (11 Jul 2011 18:23): Bah, formatting issues.. leading spaces got stripped, that graph should be

| |->F
| |->G
G (11 Jul 2011 19:34): I can't help but think you guys are working really hard at something that's not going to work out well. If you want to hold to the best possible, totally complete method, it seems pretty clear to me that you do a round-robin. Everybody plays everybody, voila. And if you don't have time for that, do swiss. Right?

I don't know. If you want to think about what's "practical," I think separating by club/locale is more important than by strength. Nobody wants to go to a tournament and get knocked out by two people they practiced with last week. And if your double-elim can 'guarantee' the top two finishers, well... that can represent a big chunk of the prize money. After that, it's just not as important. 'pretty close' is good enough for top 8.
G (11 Jul 2011 19:36): People don't even do the match to decide 3rd and 4th a lot of the time.
m (11 Jul 2011 21:57): that's one nice thing about double elim: the third/fourth matches happen in the loser's bracket semi and final, so they're sorted out for you.

I'm just looking for the best bang for my buck here in the seeding rounds. Swiss is quite good - much better than, say, splitting into a bunch of pools and doing intra-pool RR with some weird tie-break mechanism to get seeding for bracket construction (the way the world cup does it, I think) - but if we can take the same number of games and squeeze a bit more seeding info out than we get with Swiss pairings - I mean, why not try?
z (11 Jul 2011 22:49): m, how should one decide whether one poset has more 'information' than another? i mean what's the metric. i still think the tree structure mentioned above is a good proxy for the final tournament result, but if you want closer to 'uniform' information up and down the entire rank (for seeding, though i don't know why one should separate seeding and tournament play), then i'm beginning to think that the swiss structure (narrow at top and bottom, fat in the middle) is ok.
m (12 Jul 2011 9:32): But final tournament result is going to be decided in a double elimination bracket! The Swiss/whatever takes place beforehand to determine the _seeding_ of the elimination bracket, and that's what we want to economize.
G (12 Jul 2011 22:27): As M says. I think the practical consideration is that tournament organizers need to have a 'grand finals' match that determines the first place outcome decisively. Nobody wants to get final ranks based on only swiss, and have it turn out that nobody was watching the most important match because it was right at the beginning.
z (13 Jul 2011 7:59): @G: round-robin is not necessary for full sorting, as mergesort could do the same with fewer games. but yes, still too many games to play perhaps.

@m: i see now, you actually have a particular practical concern at hand... hm, since double elimination itself is O(n), your seeding phase presumably should also be O(n). if n is large, O(n) comparisons give you a negligible ~exp(n) permutations out of n! possible -- impossible to get position 'accuracy' at all but a few ranks (just like in swiss) but i'm trying to think how bad the overall position errors must be.
z (13 Jul 2011 8:46): @G, i was unclear... i'll clarify:

- if you asked me to design tournament from scratch to save on games, i'd use the one in the post a few posts back, the one with the tree. it gives a decisive 1st place game, no repeat pairing, no prior seeding assumption, ease of determining more places correctly if needed all the way to a full sort, among other features.

- if you asked me how to do seeding well in O(n) (a different problem) for making better pairing in double-elim. then i have less to say. maybe top heavy accuracy is good enough, maybe top and bottom heavy like swiss is needed, or maybe only uniform accuracy will do (m's presumption going in i think), but it is unclear to me now whether uniform accuracy is even possible in O(n).
z (13 Sep 2011 9:18): How the IRS would present the quadratic formula. Of course having to reverse-engineer what various tax authorities really wanted (for the purpose of optimization) is the perennial beef I have with tax forms.
m (22 May 2012 15:04): I'm back on double elimination brackets. Guys, help me out here.

Everyone seems to run double elimination brackets like this: (24 teams, kind of a bad-case scenario)

What I see is that with a 24 team double elim it's advantageous to lose in the first round if the alternative is an impossible second round game (i.e. lose the 16-17 game rather than beat 17 and then face the 1-seed since you'll both end up in Round1-Losers-Bracket anyway). All the teams who lose in the first round get what amounts to a bye in R1-Loser (and R2-Loser takes R1-Loser's place..

One alternative I see is to make the first round losers face each other (no bye), then give some of the new losers from the second round a bye into round three of the losers bracket (this is different from the problem above: R3-Losers is still between teams from R1-Winners and R2-Winners, no teams who made it to R3-Winners are yet involved). This is because R1-Losers is like a half-round, where for the rest of the tournament there are 2 losers bracket rounds to every 1 winners bracket round.

Why doesn't anyone do it the way I describe?
G (23 May 2012 22:41): Is this a practical question or are you just intrigued by the problem.
m (24 May 2012 9:07): Practical question: I just got a complaint from a guy who went W1->W2->L1->out in the Midwest Quals and wants to know why he's ranked last alongside folks who went W1->L1->out. I started to explain to him "that guy's 24 team double elim is fucked up" when I checked challonge to see how it was supposed to be done and saw it was exactly the same.
m (24 May 2012 9:11): [actually Sven from MPLS didn't do quite that - his complaint was about W1->W2->L1->L2->out and why it is that he's ranked below teams who went W1->L1->L2->L3->out. But I feel like there's a kernel of misunderstanding for how double-elim ranking even works in Sven's question, and W1->W2->L1->out is a bit more dramatic anyway, so I gave that as the example]
m (24 May 2012 9:17): and we're doubly-practical now because I'm finally adding elimination tournaments to the tournament software
m (25 May 2012 11:05): no, no - don't worry about gnu health. Let's focus on double elimination tournaments. How are fighting game tournaments run - are they always single elim?
z (25 May 2012 23:21): didn't we conclude last time that precise lower ranks (i.e. besides the first two) is impossible with this many comparisons? if you insist on those, then you can make them play each other as you say. if you merely want to eliminate the sepuku strategizing, then maybe don't play seeds too far apart -- it can't be that serious a problem can it?
m (26 May 2012 9:02): @z: if you merely want to eliminate the sepuku strategizing, then maybe don't play seeds too far apart. -- This is exactly what I want to eliminate. What are you suggesting here with the seeds and not far apart?

And don't forget we're working here within the framework of a double elimination tournament. So the goal _isn't_ to seed folks anymore, but to make an exciting elimination-style trip to first place for which the better seeds have an easier route.

[i.e. first place plays last place in that first game, then 1/2 place in the second game, then 1/4 place for its third game, etc, assuming it wins every time. 1/4 place on the other hand plays 3/4 place for its first game, then 1/4+1 place for its second game, then 1st place for its third game -- the trickiness here isn't how to schedule games in the winners' bracket, though, but how to schedule games for the losers' bracket. I like the phrase "Seppuku Strategizing".
G (26 May 2012 23:32): Fighting game tournaments are typically double elim. Fencing tournaments are usually pools, then single elim.
You could do the whole winners bracket, then assemble a losers bracket after its done. It might not be inherently more fair, but it gives you more options, and perhaps most importantly could prevent a player from knowing that his loss could be Advantageous. But then the question is what are you going to do with you losers pool that you wouldn't have done before. The 'natural' ? choice is just to make a new bracket with everybody except the #1 seed in it.

But that adds a whole bunch of problems that will probably make you appreciate the standard double elim setup. Because you lose the double jeopardy protection (not being knocked out by two losses to the same person if it can be avoided), and players won't like having random numbers of matches. It also complicates the ranking.

Elimination tournaments will never really give you a good ranking, however. They just don't. No elimination bracket only tournament is going to pay out to more than the top four, though. So I think people just don't care. You have a top four, and otherwise, you made it to top 8, or whatever.

If you want to have a real ranking, pools are good, but obviously not suited to team sports where you can't just pair off everybody, then count up points and stuff half an hour later. That's why team sports have leagues - to allow many many matches before a tournament.
m (27 May 2012 19:26): Yeah, I hadn't thought of the question in that light: shifting the losers bracket byes around a little bit might make things more balanced for that one round of games, but it's a pretty minor thing; the fact that double elims are inherently bad at differentiating past third or fourth place is the real answer to this guy's complaint.
m (27 May 2012 19:29): the software's working well, btw, up in Vancouver this weekend
G (28 May 2012 12:14): CHALLONGE is taken, what about ?
G (28 May 2012 20:42):
m (29 May 2012 19:53): I get it. You're making fun.
G (30 May 2012 2:36): Uh, sorry. More just thinking that the challonge website has a shitty domain.
Like, they couldn't just remove some vowels like a respectable website?
G (30 May 2012 2:36): I like the website.
Paul (17 Jul 2012 18:28): Here's a problem that shouldn't be too hard, but it's hard for me. In non-math terms, I'm making a stacked area graph of time allocated to different projects each week. The weeks have to be ordered naturally, but the projects can be stacked in any order I like. So, I would like to stack the projects in an order that minimizes the average slope of all line segments in the stacked area graph. How can I find such an order?

In mathy terms, I have a set S of m arrays Aa each containing n elements Aa1...Aan. I'm trying to optimize over all possible orderings of S. An ordering B of S looks like a map from 1...m to the arrays Aa, so we can call them B1...Bm. WLOG, suppose n=2, that is, two time periods on the horizontal axis. The slope of the first line segment is 0, of course; then the next one is B12-B11, then the next one is (B12-B11)+(B22-B21), on up to (B12-B11)+...+(Bm2-Bm1). But a negative slope in one case doesn't make up for a positive slope in another case, so we need to take the abs or ^2 of each slope before summing into a function to be minimized.

Ok, that's enough for now. Any suggestions?
G (17 Jul 2012 22:03): I assume that "How many projects do you have? Just brute force it." is not the desired response.
m (18 Jul 2012 13:48): it's not such a difficult computation - and the number of weeks isn't increasing the work significantly - it's just that since you've got m! permutations of the arrays it gets to be a lot of work pretty quickly.

But my intuition is that to find the optimum you'll have to check all orderings. So let's think about quicker algorithms for a decently good solution:

How about a divide-and-conquer type thing where you split the tasks in two groups with a stable sum over most of the weeks? Or actually, I think you only care about one of the two groups having a stable sum. Now how do we find this? Maybe take an arbitrary random group, look for weeks where you've got a big change, and swap out elements to adjust for it? I keep feeling like we've got a knapsack problem, but I can't quite make the fit.
m (18 Jul 2012 13:54): So I read over the start of what I just wrote and see a quick clarification to make: "it's not such a difficult computation" was meant to mean "for a given ordering, computing the (sum of slope^2, sum of abs(slope) - I don't know, whatever) isn't difficult [and so maybe brute-forcing over 10! or 12! permutations isn't going to take too long]"

not "the computation [of the solution to this problem] is easy"
Paul (19 Jul 2012 21:01): You're thinking along the same track as me when you talk about groups with stable sum. For example "work" and "work conference" tend to be in complementary distribution, so it would be useful for the graph to place them together. This was what got me thinking of the problem as minimizing the average slopes. Could this then be seen as a variant of a traveling-salesman problem, using covariance among projects as a sort of distance metric?
Paul (21 Jul 2012 6:33): I'm thinking a decently good algorithm might just be to start stacking with the one "flattest" project (maybe define flattest in terms of total abs(slope) or total (slope^2), or maybe ratio of total (slope^2) to area covered), then continue with the next project that minimizes total-flatness-so-far, etc. This feels like the nearest-neighbor solution to traveling salesman, which I think is considered mediocre, but might be decently good for my purpose.
Paul (21 Jul 2012 6:34): PS, I would be fine with brute force, but m~=80, and O(80!) won't run on my computer.
Paul (21 Jul 2012 6:36): Ok looks like m=55. O(55!) is still too much.
m (21 Jul 2012 13:06): It's definitely a greedy-algorithm solution, so in that sense is like TS's nearest-neighbor. But I can't shoehorn this problem onto traveling salesman.
g (21 Jul 2012 13:35): If the actual goal is to produce a graph, I imagine that if this were, like, a commercial product, the way they'd be ordered is alphabetically. Or maybe user choosable. So you could group related stuff.
m (22 Jul 2012 11:54): 55!, Too many to boil.
m (23 Jul 2012 16:18): Though this is a great problem - and I think the verdict is still out on whether finding an optimal solution is P, NP or Exp - it occurs to me that a stacked bar graph (which is what I've been imagining this whole time. is that right?) is a bad way to convey your 55 items worth of information over time. The stacking part doesn't give you anything (does it?), but it really does make it a lot harder to follow a given item over time.
Paul (24 Jul 2012 19:17): It's a stacked area chart, a cut below Randall's but in the same vein. The purpose of stacking is to fit all the projects vertically. If they were overlapping, some projects would inevitably be hidden; stacking keeps them all visible.
Paul (24 Jul 2012 19:17): It's a stacked area chart, a cut below Randall's but in the same vein. The purpose of stacking is to fit all the projects vertically. If they were overlapping, some projects would inevitably be hidden; stacking keeps them all visible.
G (8 Aug 2016 8:04): Have you guys heard about statistics?
m (8 Aug 2016 20:18):


R (13 Jan 2008 22:36): So - how do you tell if mugicha that has been in your fridge, opened for a couple if weeks, is bad?


Well, after testing various flavor pairings with Jones Green Apple soda, and finding it lacking, I tried mixing it 50/50 with mugicha. Looks like... sewage. But, The Jones was far too sweet to begin with, and it comes out not too bad. If you trust my opinion on such. However, the Jones Peach soda is a vastly more versatile suitor for ladies liquor. (Not necessarily ladies' liquor, mind you.)
Grant (14 Jan 2008 4:58): Man, I'm not entirely sure.
Except that I did at one point have a 2l bottle of it (may have been Oolong, actually) that I was keeping outside of my tiny refrigerator. And eventually, yes, it did go bad. It was actually really hard to tell. But it tasted... different. And a little... spicy. It probably did take a couple weeks to get that far, though. Also, I kept drinking it and not feeling good.
G (14 Jan 2008 13:05): I like how I capitalized 'oolong.' Maybe I was thinking about the rabbit.
Yeah... that's the ticket.
DK (19 Jan 2008 17:47): Heh, that's quite funny. Why would it be spicy though, I'm not sure I understand that...
G (19 Jan 2008 22:01): Whatever's growing in it tastes spicy...
Paul (2 Jun 2016 11:19): Sign at The Melt: Our fountain soda is 100% high-fructose free. Because syrup is for pancakes and you didn't order pancakes.
m (5 Jun 2016 22:46): "fountain soda" is a nice phrase


Daylight (3 Apr 2005 16:36): Look how screwed up the state of Indiana is.
m (3 Apr 2005 16:37): crap. I got my topic and name fields mixed up.
Grant (3 Apr 2005 19:24): Well, while we're on the topic...
Paul (4 Apr 2005 13:27): I used to think that 'obviously' we should use Daylight time year-round, but your article cites a decent reason not to: dark morning accidents in Nov-Feb.
m (17 May 2005 22:54): someone broke into my car and took some tools I had left in it. now I have to buy more tools, finish fixing my car, then take it to get the broken window replaced. Fuck that.
m (30 Jul 2005 8:56): dude, bicycling around LA blows.
sam (31 Jul 2005 18:56): my buddy ernie got two tickets in LA for reckless biking.
m (30 Aug 2005 13:45): Today I have to move all of my things from my apartment to a shed where they'll live until sunday when I drive up to seattle. Except my car just vomited oil all over the street and now I have no car. shit!
G (31 Aug 2005 16:38): Uh. Shit.
Let us know how that works out, man.
G (31 Aug 2005 17:47): Speaking of which, what's up?
Are you moving moving?
m (6 Sep 2005 10:24): leaving moving, but not really arriving moving. at least, I have no destination besides unLA. today is (if my car works) my last day here.
z (6 Sep 2005 21:45): So what's the news? Are you job hopping?
G (8 Sep 2005 21:14): Hey, Z!
Remember me?
I'm your old pal, an animated gif!
m (11 Sep 2005 10:46): my car is peace out for good. I'm in seattle now, though.
(11 Sep 2005 18:14): Is your car just chilling on a corner somewhere sans plates, then?
z (12 Sep 2005 21:49): hey grant! i remember that! i may have even stolen it from there.
m (14 Sep 2005 22:12): ha. I'd forgotten about that guy.
? (7 Mar 2008 20:02): Hah!
m (9 Sep 2008 9:03): Bicycle parts:
2008-09-09 07:56 SEATTLE, WA UNITED STATES Arrived at DHL facility.  
2008-09-09 06:59 SEATTLE, WA UNITED STATES Arrived at DHL facility.
2008-09-09 05:07 WILMINGTON, OH UNITED STATES Depart Facility.
2008-09-09 03:04 WILMINGTON, OH UNITED STATES Transit through sort facility.
2008-09-09 02:58 WILMINGTON, OH UNITED STATES Processed at DHL Location.
2008-09-08 21:05 AURORA, CO UNITED STATES Arrived at DHL facility.
2008-09-08 18:32 LOVELAND, CO UNITED STATES Depart Facility.
2008-09-08 16:19 LOVELAND, CO UNITED STATES Departing origin.
2008-09-08 16:19 LOVELAND, CO UNITED STATES Processed at DHL Location.

Paul (9 Sep 2008 17:46): If it's overnight, they have to have nightly flights all in and out of the same they pick a place near the weighted geographic average of where their packages come and go.
FTP-Share (31 Oct 2008 10:22): Tallest Man On Earth - Shallow Grave
Mt Eerie w/ Julie Doiron - Lost Wisdom
(Doiron is great! It's like phil got mirah back and she's not a bitch!)
m (31 Oct 2008 10:23): goddamnit, I hate when I do that.
R (31 Oct 2008 12:19): Nooooooo! Mirah is not a bitch!
Also — Ha, ha!
Wait! Stop making fun of me! Shit.
spam (2 Nov 2008 13:11): fuck, i hate it when i do that
yrgmof (2 Nov 2008 21:34): Stop making fun of me! Goddamn.
G (3 Nov 2008 0:46): The other 'generic post' would maybe be me saying, "I copied this link from waxy!" or, "Something about a game!"
m (8 Nov 2008 18:46): I bet we'd avoid detection by spam-bots entirely if we changed the fields from "name", "topic", etc to something more obfuscated. Appellation, focus, discourse, etc.

while we're at it, let's also stop me when I fuck up the topic/name thing.
G (9 Nov 2008 18:20): When I was looking through the source code for Wakaba, I noticed that there were actually six fields instead of three. The visible fields were name, email, and message. Their labels were 1, 2, and 3, I think. However, before those three were three fields that were invisible, and labeled name, email, and message.

And if any text was entered for the invisible fields, the messages were flagged as spam.
m (9 Nov 2008 19:09): Excellent! I've seen a similar trick used on someone's (I think paul graham's) site with a dummy email address for crawlers to grab; then any addresses sending to the dummy address were marked known-spam and filtered out from normal email.
m (3 Aug 2011 13:19): can someone explain three phase power to me?

I get that you've got three inputs, equal voltage, 120 degrees out of phase. But sometimes your inputs are three 120v lines and sometimes they're not? And sometimes your neutral is the sum of your three (120) lines, and sometimes it's special (i.e. situated halfway between two 139v inputs, giving you 240 line-line and 120 line-neutral, except for that third High Leg which is 208 to neutral? Also how do you make that neutral waveform?)?! And sometimes you just don't get a neutral?

I'm trying to buy restaurant equipment here, and I don't know what kind of three phase I get in the building (it's new electrical, which I think means it will be the 120/208Y kind, where your neutral is the sum of the three - I'm waiting to hear back on this) and I see all kinds of statements about equipment like "208 single phase" and "208/240V, 3 Phase NSF, SA Listed" and "220 Volt, 3 Phase Electrical" - but I want to know which are compatible with my power!
z (4 Aug 2011 11:01): m, how the neutral is derived doesn't matter to you the end user i think. you get what you get, and the differences are in how the nearest transformer output was tapped and grounded to create that neutral.

If you get the 120V Y-connected three-phase, which may be typical of non-residential places, then you can use the usual 120V single-phase devices between any hot and neutral, 208V single-phase devices between any two hots (and definitely a separate ground), 240V single-phase devices can be fudged on this, too.., and of course 120V three-phase devices on all three hots. I don't think you can use 208/240V three-phase or 220V three-phase without a transformer. If you somehow get 240V Δ-connected three-phase, then yes you can use all of the above.
z (4 Aug 2011 11:10): Just to be clear, since you were asking about how neutral was created, remember that a transformer is also an isolating device, so the outputs have no voltage reference and all float. So in power distribution you have the choice of defining any point as "neutral." Once that is defined, you tie it to ground, making neutral = 0V with respect to ground. After this all the other outputs are referred to ground as well. You don't "make" a neutral waveform. You "define" it and make it so.
(9 Aug 2011 5:40): 3 phase NSFW
Paul (9 Aug 2011 20:46): Having done my own work on 120V systems and gotten shocked in the process (in Mexico), I would suggest that any work on >120V systems should be done by someone who's licensed, or at least familiar enough to not need to look it up on wiki.
z (9 Aug 2011 20:46): Yes, m, an electrician, not an EE like me.
(9 Aug 2011 21:12): 3 phase NSFus
(11 Aug 2011 12:10): NSFPaul
m (25 May 2012 12:03): man, I wish I could remember what mysterious friend I was talking about here. I'm thinking about a pretty similar class of problems now, and I can't for the life of me think of who would have posed that one back in Sep 2004.

Problems now:
(a) Does getting a two-coloring of the plane with a monochromatic equilateral triangle of side lengths (1,1,1) imply that the two-coloring has monochromatic triangles of all nondegenerate side lengths (1,a,b)?
(a') Show that there exist two-colorings that don't have that (1,1,1)
(b) Do all two-colorings of the plane have a monochromatic degenerate triangle that consists of three colinear points that make a (1,1,2)?
g (22 Aug 2012 19:45): REGISTRY.
m (23 Aug 2012 9:59): oof. yeah.
m (23 Aug 2012 9:59): on it.
m (27 Aug 2012 9:30): done!
G (22 Sep 2012 10:37): Congratulations!
z (23 Sep 2012 17:01): Congrats... reports?
m (25 Sep 2012 8:55): Thanks guys. It was a wonderful day for me and Ann.
Zong, wish you could have been there; Tatsu came up to me later on and said that hanging out with Dex, Grant and Reed was so easy and natural, like not a day had passed.
Dex, man, you were so miserably ill - we'll have to make up for that with some good hangout in the next few days and I'll have to meet Meredith for real instead of just for a second as I bounce from person to person. Also I definitely saw her with an apron on doing kitchen work with the cousins. Which, nice!
Grant/Reed, way to keep the dance floor lively. It's party time (link plz). (hey, were the polo guys being difficult with the music? I saw what looked like tensions rising there). And (Sandra too, if she ever reads this) thanks for all the cleaning help the next day. My dad was 'tickled' at how clean everything was when he came by on Monday.

Jesus Christ, I guess I'm married now.
z (27 Sep 2012 19:13): neat! :)
R (1 Oct 2012 23:40): Thanks, Mr. M! There was no real drama, just a buncha dudes (me) being a bit drunk, excited, trying to get a floor going while also coping with the limits of what happened to be on our iOS devices. It was good times. As previously mentioned, a really large percentage of my music library is breakup stuff, or unrequited stuff, or not really danceable, but it all worked out! What's up with Tatsu, being a PROFEESIONAL DANCER & shit. Damn. Actually, everyone danced really well, 'cepting this guy (two thumbs). Had a good time, just more in the flailing/thrashing school mesself. TL;DR: I now have more respect for the difficulty of being a wedding DJ, but no more respect for actual wedding DJs as they suck. Also note I did not play "Chicken Dance" UR WELCOME. Dropbox invite comin' atcha.
G (16 Oct 2012 19:59): Congratulations, man. Again.
What are you going to do with
"Let it expire" probably, but was just wondering.
m (16 Oct 2012 22:50): actually, we periodically make little blogs for the things that we do - I figured I might keep the domain as a place to house these and future incarnations.
And in the near term I'll be putting up infinity wedding photos there.
m (16 Oct 2012 23:17): (and thanks!)
m (24 Jan 2013 13:04): I was just reading over notes I'd written about a nice sequence of math problems - the idea being to describe methods for killing fleas in finite time that hop according to certain parameters with some unknown part - and I came upon one I had totally forgotten about:

(5) My favorite. The flea has written a computer program to describe his movement in the plane, and he hops accordingly. Please squash him and his ilk. (edit 9/25: by this I mean, show why you can't) (edit 11/12: ok, so there is a correct answer for yes, and a correct answer for no, depending on what you use as your assumptions about the way that you go about hitting. what a mess)

I can no longer remember my noodling thoughts that led to the updates, just the simple logic that I think I maintained when first writing up the problem. Can you guys help me out?
m (24 Jan 2013 13:07): here's the full list:

(1) There's a flea hopping around on the number line that you'd like to squash. He starts at the zero point on the line, picks a whole number (positive integer) n and starts hopping down the line, landing on every nth spot. So, say, if he picked the number n=13, first he would hop to 13, then to 26, then to 39, etc. You get to pound on the line after every hop to try to get him (which takes some guessing, since you don't know the value of n that he chose). Can you be sure to eventually squash the flea, regardless of the number that he picked at the start?

(2) This time, you don't even know where the flea starts. He's hopping around on there just like before, still skipping n every time, but he could have started at 0, at 1, at -10: can you still be sure to get him?

(3) Now instead of a positive integer for n, the flea is using some real number. He starts at zero and hops around, skipping a distance of r with each hop. If you just picked a real number every time to swat at, you'd never possibly hit him, but your hand isn't so small: it can span a whole unit interval. So, you can flatten him if he's present anywhere within a segment of length one at each hit. Is it doable now?

(4) Worse still! The flea is hopping down some vector in the plane, skipping a real number r each hop. Your palm spans a unit circle when you strike. Can you hit him?

(5) My favorite. The flea has written a computer program to describe his movement in the plane, and he hops accordingly. Please squash him and his ilk. (edit 9/25: by this I mean, show why you can't) (edit 11/12: ok, so there is a correct answer for yes, and a correct answer for no, depending on what you use as your assumptions about the way that you go about hitting. what a mess)

[edit 11/12: another good flea problem]
(6) This is just a cross between problems 2 and 3. You slap at the real line with a unit-interval-sized hand, but instead of starting at 0, the flea could have started anywhere on the line. Having done problem three gives you some good tools to attack this one, but there's still a nice trick you need to solve it.
m (24 Jan 2013 13:08): I'm getting some ideas for the initial noodling - got a distinctly Gödel taste.
m (26 Jan 2013 9:58): aha!

So our noodling-idea to avoid being squashed by a fist which generates (sequentially) all finite programs and squashes each in turn was to be a flea who generates all finite programs (i.e. the exact list that fist has) and then on each program's given turn (when fist is trying to squash it) moves somewhere other than where the program would dictate (we can be more specific if we want to make this an actual program, but let's just pretend for now that we've been specific and flea is a nice, valid, well-defined program). But flea is also on this list somewhere (for the flea itself is certainly finite*). When flea gets to itself in the list it doesn't have anywhere to move to avoid being squashed, and so dies**.

*finite program <=> program whose behavior can be fully described in finite length in some language, preferably English <=> "computer program"

**I suppose more accurately: its behavior at this point is not well-defined, so this particular flea turned out not to be a program, after all. Contradiction. Quod Erat Demonstrandum***.

***I once, when asked, came up with the most absurd pretend-Latin for what QED actually stood for. It was immediately debunked, much to my embarrassment.
m (2 Feb 2013 18:59): Is nobody interested in squashing fleas?
Paul (3 Feb 2013 20:41): I'll answer the easy one: #1. Yes, there exists a suitable strategy for the fist, such that for any choice of interval n in N by the flea, the fist will hit the flea within finitely many hits. Specifically, on each fist turn i, hit the point i^2. Then no matter the flea interval n, the fist will hit the flea, in this case it will hit on turn n.

Now let's try #2. First, let's assert a more general strategy. As long as the flea's options are countable, then the fist can hit each option in sequence, and be guaranteed to hit the flea's selected option eventually. In other words, if we can bijectively map N <-> [unique flea movement patterns], then the fist can definitely squash the flea.

Now, this time we let the flea's options be defined by Z times Z. But Z is countable, and the cartesian product of countable sets is countable, so the flea's options are countable. A specific mapping could look like: 1->(0,0); 2->(1,0); 3->(0,1); 4->(-1,0); 5->(0,-1); etc.
m (3 Feb 2013 23:04): I just looked over that list and realize I have no memory of how to do number 6.
uh... (26 Apr 2013 7:44): hey, do you guys keep a passwwords file? And if so, do you encrypt it? And if so, how?

I was just thinking, I've got a file (because: so many passwords! Long ago I just started generating vaguely memorable random strings) - but it's unencrypted and just lying around the hard drive. Which seems like a bad idea.

I want something simple / command-line that just encrypts/decrypts the whole file which I then pipe through grep for whatever I'm looking for. That should be super easy, right?
right (26 Apr 2013 7:44): well, at least the topic is still apt
actually (26 Apr 2013 7:45): probably more so than if I had done the topic/name as intended
while I'm on the topic (26 Apr 2013 21:05): Is then cutting and pasting the password bad? Who has access to the contents of my clipboard? (javascript on arbitrary open tab?)
G (27 Apr 2013 11:18): Just gonna ask the obvious - Are you opposed to using a password manager?
CLI (27 Apr 2013 16:30): Not if it's got a command-line interface. I'm just opposed to the windows / clicking-of-things.
G (27 Apr 2013 18:07): You mean only if it's got a command line interface? Yeah, that would rule all of them out.

I'm not very knowledgeable about it, but yeah- why not just use pgp or something through grep? although aren't you then going to have top click on it to copy and paste? Also now you get to worry about whether you should be salting your hash, etc.
G (27 Apr 2013 18:08): Oh wait, last pass might actually have a CLI.
G (27 Apr 2013 18:09): Not? Only!? How to English!
m (27 Apr 2013 18:21): last pass looks interesting - I like the notion of using one-time passwords when you're on an untrusted computer.
G (29 Apr 2013 18:03): You should start using it and tell us how it works out.
If you don't want to make a new account, you can use mine as a sort of demo.
where'd everybody go (28 Jun 2013 7:52): ?
yrgmof (28 Jun 2013 14:57): Nobody here but us spambots...
Things I Don't Like (31 Oct 2013 7:37): There's a commenter on slog with my name WHO IS NOT ME.
m (21 Jan 2014 20:59): DOUBLE POST
m (23 Jan 2014 13:34): NO POST
m (5 Dec 2014 18:35): So photos from our wedding are up at in the photos directory. If any of you guys took some, I'd love(?) to throw them up there. Yes, I do realize that this took place two years ago. Slow down, little fella.

Reed, I don't know why this is the case, but photos/wedding/reed on my hard drive just has a handful on mp3s in it. They're up as-is on the assumption that they were what was playing in the background as Ann and I said our vows. Accurate!
m (12 Jan 2016 20:39): You'll pry Starting New Topics from my cold dead hands
m (12 Jan 2016 20:39): Though I do also love me some thread resurrection
m (12 Apr 2016 17:02): Yep


m (12 Apr 2005 14:45): Are House Majority Leader and Speaker the same thing?
Paul (12 Apr 2005 18:01): no. The Speaker is established in the Constitution, whereas "the office of Majority Leader was created in 1899 by Speaker David B. Henderson who saw a need for a party leader on the House floor separate from the speaker himself."
m (16 Apr 2005 23:08): seperate links on the n and o. sneaky!
m (15 Dec 2012 12:57): Mac guys: tell me about termkit!
Paul, you're going to need fonts for this.
Paul (15 Apr 2013 6:32): Correction: April 11, 2013

An earlier version of this column misspelled the surname of a former Speaker of the House. It is Newt Gingrich, not Gingrinch.
m (4 May 2013 17:21): Just saw used: WYSIWTF.
Makes me happy.
m (20 Mar 2014 19:39): Vla Vla Vla-Putin
m (27 Mar 2014 12:31): That a rap artist wrote lyrics seemingly embracing the world of violence is no more reason to ascribe to him a motive and intent to commit violent acts than to saddle Dostoyevsky with Raskolnikov’s motives or to indict Johnny Cash for having 'shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.'
R (13 Jan 2016 3:54): Recently I learned that a small pipe section with threads on both ends is referred to as a "nipple." I, uh, kinda don't like that. I mean, I get that it is an attachment point, but why did we need to anthropomorphize it. So an escutcheon nipple isn't a shield with a boob on it, it's a ornamental valve covering attachment thing. Now you know.
m (14 Jan 2016 10:32): maybe we can relabel ABS pipe as "intestine" while we're at it
m (14 Jan 2016 10:33): See also


m (28 Aug 2005 20:02): I was reading the Errata for K&R 2nd edition (I'm going to put that in a future personal ad -- likes to curl up by the fire on a saturday night and read Errata for K&R) and saw something about changing an argv[0]++ because writing to argv elements isn't explicitly allowed in ANSI C, though neither is it forbidden, and this made me think of how assigns to _GET[] and about how writing non-portable code that's clean is much sexier than writing ugly robust portable code.
The commandments link mandates explicit return value checking so that a line like
(a = (char *) malloc(LINE_LENGTH))[0] = '\0';
doesn't haunt you when you've run out of memory, or something, and a is NULL. but that's lame. if you've run out of memory, go ahead and seg fault. a little core never hurt anyone.
m (5 Feb 2007 13:33): You guys know Brainfuck? Well, it's awesome. A classic. Now for lovers and non-lovers alike, there's the even more gorgeous SNUSP.

What a shitty name, though.
G (19 Jan 2012 18:40): Programming funnies: wat
Paul (14 May 2012 10:19): fun fact: the CIP code for "Computer and Information Sciences, General" is 11.0101
Paul (12 Jul 2012 18:16): How to safely store a password
Paul (2 Aug 2012 17:33): For reference: An Open Letter to Javascript Leaders Regarding Semicolons
G (3 Aug 2012 0:11): Literary Programmer sounds like a cool guy!
R (22 Aug 2013 23:55): Simulating Constrained Retrocomputing Color Palettes in iOS
m (26 Aug 2013 8:14): I want that RMS was right shirt.
G (26 Aug 2013 17:44): It seems the largest sub-population of "X was right" t-shirts is for "Cyclops."
Second largest is "Magneto."
R (3 Dec 2015 3:27): sRGB, Gamma, and You: What To Expect When You're Reflecting

(that is not the real title jk but it is about srgb and kinda interesting)
m (3 Dec 2015 10:24): Save that title for future use!
m (3 Dec 2015 10:47): 'filtering' and 'texture filtering' are mentioned a few times in the article -- what is that?

Also: Luma/Chroma!


R (22 Sep 2015 22:59): Hey, S and Paul, this is the phone I was recommending, the 2015 Moto G. Make sure to set the storage to 16GB (which also bumps the RAM to 2GB). Here's the GSMArena review.

Much like the iMac, it comes in <strike>five&<strike>several colors.
sam (3 Oct 2015 15:01): i want berry flavor
sam (3 Oct 2015 15:16): i used to have that motorola phone that could only fit 6 characters on the screen in a row. motofone
sam (12 Oct 2015 8:45): Got a hands on review yet?
R (14 Oct 2015 0:00): The phone just showed up today. She doesn't have SIM for it yet, but nothing seems amiss so far. Very very few preinstalled apps, fewer than my Nexus 4 even, like 28 total? I thought the moto actions (twisting for camera, chop for flashlight, screen waking when picked up) seemed nice. Camera quality seems decent, a lot better than my Nexus 4. Size is a little longer and a little less wide than my Nexus with the case on, about the same thickness. Grippy back texture feels good in the hand. Screen is very bright, good saturation. Light colors have a very slight diagonal texture when viewed off-angle, something I've seen before with non-high-end LCDs, pretty much invisible from more than a foot away. Speaker is louder than my (pretty quiet) Nexus, vibration about the same strength but higher-pitched. Comes with a charger with an attached cord, weird. FM radio needs headphones for reception, works OK, nice to have the FM RDS text. 11.8GB free out of 16GB out of the box, and there's a microSD slot that supports up to an extra 32GB. Still seems like a good buy for the price, just make sure you get the 16GB version with 2GB of RAM. Feels Snappy™.
Only limitations are 720p screen and no gyro. Unless you want to do crummy phone-based VR or make photospheres, not a big deal.
sam (16 Oct 2015 15:07): Thank you!

Gift economy

Paul (30 Nov 2005 14:39): So I was in line at a produce-stand-area in the Reading Terminal Market, carrying about $5 of produce, and noticing that there were a lot of people at the produce stands compared with other shops, when suddenly the woman in front of me gives me a $5 produce coupon(!) Apparently the coupons are from "FMNP" and they all expire today. She says it's important all the coupons get used, lest the government stop offering them.
(30 Nov 2005 21:21): Huh. I don't really understand that, in an economical sense. But, that's great. I guess.
m (30 Nov 2005 23:59): Is it immoral to take advantage of someone bad for personal gain? If I know that starbucks gives free drinks to interviewees and I walk in on a hiring day, should I fill out a form and sit down with a manager and a free latte? I certainly wouldn't feel right doing it at a local coffee shop (here you might point out the irony of my being in a starbucks to begin with, but thankfully this is all just hypothetical) but from a big company that I don't really like, it's different. This is standard practice with government appropriations, right? Like, if you're under budget, you sort of burn the rest to make sure that they don't cut your funding for the following year?
Paul (1 Dec 2005 5:24): Well, it may be less than 100% moral. It seems half the government's purpose is to support local farmers by buying their produce, so at least that's accomplished. And the other half of the purpose (feeding the poor) may be doomed to failure as the amount they allow---$20 per person---is not enough to make it worthwhile to seek out the coupons.

As for the topic, I meant to link wiki:Gift economy (although it's more technical and less inspirational than it used to be).
Grant (1 Dec 2005 19:10): Yeah, that is all I've ever heard about government appropriations-type stuff.
It seems absolutely awful, too - worse the more I think about it.
The biggest problem is that responsible spending (here, coming in under budget) is punished (budget cut next year) instead of being rewarded. So, it's completely backwards. They should offer some sort of bonus to organizations which don't spend their whole budget, like funneling a portion of the unused budget into next year's budget.
G (7 Dec 2005 16:58): I know it's way too complicated, but imagine this:
You come in under budget by X dollars on year Y.
On every subsequent year Z, you get X/(2 ^ (Z-Y)) dollars added to your 'standard' budget.

In that way, coming under budget doesn't affect the amount of money you'll receive, asymptotically. And highly theoretically. I think there are a number of clear reasons why this wouldn't work.
G (25 Apr 2013 21:38): "Doesn't have a business plan" is the new "gift economy."
m (16 Dec 2014 14:24): Has the term "sunk costs" ever been more apropos?
R (23 Feb 2015 14:22): Man. I am on pins and needles re: the repair and restarting of the huge drill, cruelly named after a good mayor. Such a fucking waste. Although a nice way of deterring young idealists from engaging in the political process. We could redub the drill "Ozymandias" maybe.
m (27 Feb 2015 7:43): Jesus Christ, it's such a nightmare. Not least of all because of the ugly anticipation for whatever the two shady companies behind STP are going to wind up doing to maximize their payout from the state/city, failure or no.
Paul (5 Mar 2015 4:47): wtf. Maybe I can take comfort in not being in Seattle anymore... Wiki says it demonstrates the Seattle Process but a close read reveals a really bad backroom deal struck in the wake of Seattle Process deadlock.


Paul (16 Aug 2009 16:57): So facebook conjures up 27 'suggestions' of people I might know, and I really do know 15 of the 27. But what's spooky is, it includes my dad and my ex-girlfriend with whom I have no mutual facebook friends. Is facebook using data from the internet at large to make these predictions? How does it know who I know like that?
G (16 Aug 2009 17:06): I'm thinking that it uses friends-of-friends and location data to make those suggestions.
Paul (16 Aug 2009 18:20): But that's what I'm saying---I don't know of any such links that would connect me to them. Okay, I guess both my dad and I have friends near Philly and Seattle, and maybe it notices our same last name... but I can't even think up that kind of stretched logic for other uncanny suggestions. Only if it does creepy off-site-trawling or perhaps if it remembers who's ever searched for who?
G (16 Aug 2009 18:30): I really just don't think they'd bother with off-site crawling. It sounds like a lot of effort.
Also keep in mind that you can make suggestions. When you have two people in your friends list who haven't friended each other, you can say "I think these two people might know each other."
I don't know how likely that is if you really don't have any friends in common, but it just seems more likely that they'd look for correlations in the data that the users are handing them than that they'd decide to run internet searches for all of their users.
G (16 Aug 2009 18:32): And what I meant was that it would see that you have many friends-of-friends in common, not that you would actually have mutual friends. As far as I know, the site does not actually list friends-of-friends, however, so this is hard to corroborate.
Paul (6 Mar 2011 10:14): Okay, this week Facebook doesn't let me "suggest" a page to friends. Sounds like they had trouble with too many people suggesting too many pages to too many friends. What a broken system. Is it time to start using Appleseed or Diaspora yet?
(6 Mar 2011 12:07): thats APPURUSHIIDO, noob
G (6 Mar 2011 20:01): Seriously, though.
Was that a good feature? Seems like you could just send a message with an URL.
I'm all for Facebook alternatives, though.
Paul (8 Jun 2011 19:21): This time, you know how facebook uses javascript to continue making your news feed longer as you scroll down, so you never reach the bottom? But this time, it got into some kind of funk and kept repeating the same news items (about 30 of them, so it took a while to realize they were repeating over and over and over again). But it didn't just repeat the same ones only, it also mixed in a few new ones every time to throw me off its trail.
z (13 Jun 2011 10:35): It does eventually stop and says "no more"... you haven't been persistent enough.
R (13 Jun 2011 23:31): When I've seen this, I also tend to get errors trying to click on comments or view pictures. Errors stating:
"Something wrong happened, please close and reopen the window." Which is fucking terrible, but does seem to work. I hate closing windows! Time to listen to some smooth jazz.
m (31 Jan 2015 7:45): gets a profile in the New Yorker!


Grant (10 Dec 2005 18:28): Fafblog explains Nature's Harmonious Money Cycle.
Paul (22 Dec 2005 16:19): So apparently Philadelphia and Pennsylvania both have flat taxes on income, of 4.3% plus 3.1%. For me this is a lot of tax, since I'm kinda used to being in a pretty low bracket for progressive taxes.
m (23 Dec 2005 11:47): and, according to the West Wing, sales tax is regressive. That is, poor people spend a much higher percentage of their [income? net worth? I don't know what the regressive quality is measured on] on things covered by sales tax than do rich people. How you like them apples, paul? Yhar!
m (23 Dec 2005 11:50): but isn't state income tax always really small compared to what the feds take from you? Like, that bastard FICA always socked it to me pretty hard. Except I'm in favor of everything (I think yes, everything) that fica pays for, so you'd think it'd be hard to complain. But just watch me!
DK (24 Dec 2005 13:55): Sales taxes are basically the same thing economically speaking as an income tax. If you do the analysis, they shift the equilibrium point the same way if you assume that everyone spends all they make. Because people don't, they are in fact regressive.

However, by that same token, it is much harder for the wealthy to shield themselves from sales tax. Just as an example, if you have a $10M trust fund, let's say you have a 10%/year income stream (quite reasonable), so you get $1M/year. That is taxed at cap gains rates (~15%) rather than at income tax rates (probably average around 32% for 1M). Escaping a sales tax is pretty much impossible (if it were federal), while the income tax has so many holes in it, you could slip an elephant through.

Paul (10 Jan 2007 16:37): finally!
m (10 Jan 2007 20:39): Ho!!
Paul (2 Apr 2007 15:29): For the record, I made a serious attempt to pay my Philadelphia School Income Tax today. The online linked forms make it clear that anyone with money in an investment account (other than a bank) has to pay the tax. However, they don't make it clear where to write your name. Instead, I dropped by city hall, where the clerk not only said her department (the revenue department) only handles taxes on owners of property in Philadelphia, but also flatly refused to give me a copy of the form, which she had right there, claiming it was only for property owners. Suffice to say I can't fill out the form correctly, because the department of revenue refuses to give me the form, so I can't pay the tax.
Paul (9 May 2008 16:02): Hey, $600 just showed up in my bank account!
G (9 May 2008 17:49): Dude! This economy rocks!
Paul (10 May 2008 4:13): Hm... Now I'm not sure the $600 adequately compensates for my loss of buying power due to recent inflation.
Paul (20 Sep 2008 2:52): A NYTimes editorial gives a somewhat more cogent explanation of wtf is up with the economy.
Paul (1 Oct 2008 5:00): Does anyone here understand the economic crisis? I still don't get why Bush thinks we need to buy $700b of toxic mortgages now now now (other than that he's an idiot).

I see less controversial measures---raising FDIC insurance to $250k or maybe $1m, bailing out specific homeowners by buying their mortgages from the bank for cheap, perhaps more "economic stimulus" flat payments to everyone---as sufficient response to protect Main Street in the short term. If Wall Street woes hit harder on Main Street, more measures can be taken when arrive at that point.

Am I naive? I've been reading a lot of empty arguments, mainly relying on innuendo about 1930, but I just can't find any solid argument for a fast bailout.
m (2 Oct 2008 8:51): Bush has put everything into the hands of his secretary of Treasury, Paulsen, who suddenly wields _enormous_ power. Any stupidity in these matters (and any decisions to let certain companies fail, while rescuing others) lie with him.
G (2 Oct 2008 16:22): Although Bush still is somewhat responsible for giving him that much cloth to work with, going along with it, etc.
R (2 Oct 2008 16:25): For a description of the problem, tongodeon had a link in a comment thread to the CBO's take on it: Federal Responses to Market Turmoil. I haven't read the whole thing, but it certainly isn't hyperbolic news-punditry.
R (2 Oct 2008 16:55): Damn, you can just read the cboblog with your RSS feed reader to stay up to date on all things US governmental+economic.
m (14 Oct 2008 10:00): Hey, did we have a big financial market collapse at the end of the 80s, solved by similar bailout-ing?
Paul (15 Oct 2008 8:50): There was a stock market crash and also there was a bank crisis (which might be called a bailout because the FDIC had to pay for lost bank accounts...), but I'm not sure if the two were related.
Paul (19 Oct 2008 9:14): Before I forget the URL, Krugman's view of the original bailout plan
Paul (8 Feb 2009 16:59): "We found that a trader’s morning testosterone level predicts his day’s profitability" quoted here
Paul (23 Jun 2009 3:50): hey, that's my old classmate contradicting the man
Paul (11 Jun 2011 6:44): Will bitcoin be subject to money-multiplier effects (ie, loans)? Why or why not?
G (11 Jun 2011 15:27): The granularity of bitcoin seems like a surmountable problem. One bitcoin is worth, what? Like $20 or $40, or something. But if you have interest on a bitcoin debt, can you pay in quantities less than a whole bitcoin? I, uh, don't actually know.
Paul (11 Jun 2011 17:42): They are "divisible to eight decimal places (a total of 2.1 x 1015 or 2.1 quadrillion units)" (wikipedia)
R (12 Jun 2011 0:40): I should probably read up more on bitcoin, but I was pleased to find that my intuition on this was correct. No multiplier effects. Why? Because it's not a fiat currency, more like commodity money. There's a finite supply of them and they can only be obtained by mining. So, fractional reserve banking is completely out, thus no multiplier. Also, I don't think there's a banking system associated with bitcoin. I found the wikipedia articles on money mutiplier, and this section on full-reserve banking with a gold standard to be interesting and relevent.
z (13 Jun 2011 11:46): i don't understand this arbitrary asymptotic supply curve set by bitcoins. wouldn't something less arbitrary be a constantly growing supply (or perhaps adjusted for population)? that way at least the amount you should charge for 1 hour of work stays "constant" (this is vague i know) and there would not be perverse incentives either to produce or consume.
R (13 Jun 2011 16:58): Aaaand nevermind. It is completely possible to set up a fractional reserve bank, where the value of the accounts is denominated in bitcoin, even if that bank couldn't create bitcoins on demand, or rely on a government bank to bail them out if necessary. And customers using this bank would lose out on the anonymizing functions of bitcoin. Transactions would only be as secure as your bank ensured, if it was a bank-to-bank transfer, there would be no guarantee that the transfer would be in actual bitcoins. If your bank had a run, you'd be likely to lose money stored with them. For commercial banks in the U.S.A., it sounds like the minimum reserve is something like 11%, but I wouldn't want to keep bitcoin in a bank without a significantly higher reserve. Currently, it sounds like there are only full-reserve bitcoin banks in existence, which should be safe. If you trust the bank.
z (13 Jun 2011 21:45): Sure it's always possible to do fractional reserve banking, lest we forget gold storage is how the whole thing got started. Money is just some bookkeeping numbers on the account books. Unless everybody demands to be paid in bitcoins only, the 'real' money will always be 'bank notes'.
R (13 Jun 2011 23:05): Sure, but banks do not want to go back to a gold standard. And when you can choose to work with USD or BitCoin, people are going to gravitate to the optimal currency for their task. I just don't see fractional reserve banking being terribly popular with bitcoin, unless it becomes widely used. And if I'm bothering to use bitcoin, I think I'd probably want a real bitcoin transaction, and would not be satisfied with keeping all my transaction records with a bank. I guess as a store of value, bank notes would be fine...
z (14 Jun 2011 13:10): bitcoins is getting a bit crazy with people running, uh.. "mining rigs" on their GPUs... he who controls computation resources controls the bitcoin currency... hmm, is that any better?
Paul (15 Jun 2011 5:34): I like R's explanation that bitcoin-reserve-banking is stupid, but could still happen because people are stupid. I'm imagining that various bitcoin clones will pop up in the next few years, and that those with some kind of backing in the real world (eg, "4chancoin crypto currency is backed by the full faith and credit of 4chan!") will end up being the ones people really value---like stocks today. Actually, exactly like stocks today, except really easy to trade without brokers. Hm.
Paul (15 Jun 2011 5:39): Did I just say USD are exactly like "stock" in the United States government? Shit, why am I invested so heavily in that?
Paul (16 Jun 2011 18:15): While we're on this topic, is it possible for bitcoin or similar to truly be anonymous? Sure it uses a number instead of your name, but it seems that just as humans can be identified by their google-search-history, they would mostly become identifiable by their bitcoin-transaction-history. As long as the model is for the history of all transactions to be public, I don't see how anonymity could be preserved...
z (18 Jun 2011 5:32): sure, you just need to layer an additional (cooperative) protocol on top of the network, say, do some randomizing transactions that make your node look "typical."
Paul (23 Jun 2011 5:51): That's my question---how much spaghetti do you need in there before it really becomes obfuscated enough to protect your true transactions from being revealed by simple de-obfuscating algorithms? and how much more before it could protect your true transactions from a thorough human-aided investigation?
z (23 Jun 2011 10:33): Ok, now you've got me thinking. What do we mean by "anonymity" anyway? For example, if there is no information about transaction behavior outside of the bitcoins economy revealed (in other words you only have the bitcoins log), what would you really know? So you must really be talking about inferring the identity from a combination of the bitcoins log and other information. Then you must specify what and how much other information is known.

I can imagine a protocol where bitcoins transactions are obfuscated enough by transactions randomly distributed in value to random people, such that everybody looks the same, save for their mean transaction rate (that can't be changed besides spreading it out in time, since .. if you've got to make a net debit, then you've got to make a net debit). Can you identify somebody based on that? That would depend on how atypical you are and how much "spreading" you do ... are you the world's only trillionaire who can sustain a certain spending rate? If so, then you're identified.
G (12 Jan 2012 15:59): I get the feeling that we will miss the postal service when it's gone. :(
m (15 Jun 2012 13:07): Valve just hired an economist?
Paul (1 Nov 2012 17:48): Who cares if it doesn't grow the economy. Senators prefer cutting taxes on the rich anyway.
“We really don’t have any evidence that [personal income tax rates have] any effect on growth,” Alan Auerbach, who runs the Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy & Public Finance at the University of California, Berkeley, told Bloomberg when the report first came out. “A lot of the research showing otherwise is based on theoretical calculations.”
NYT article TPM post with link to original report
m (23 Nov 2012 10:34): See who's at the top and who at the bottom of the CEO to Median-Worker pay ratio for the Fortune 50.
G (10 Dec 2012 20:04): From the onion:

According to an analysis by U.S. intelligence agencies, China will have surpassed the United States to become the world’s largest economy by 2030. What do you think?

Then we have no choice but to make sure 2030 never happens.
m (18 Jan 2015 18:39): Do any of you guys understand what the Swiss National Bank did / can you explain it to me?
R (18 Jan 2015 21:54): I hadn't even heard about it, but this Reddit thread seemed helpful.
R (19 Jan 2015 1:42): Man. I swear my phone clipboard is funky. This is the link I was trying for. Ugh.


m (5 Mar 2014 7:56): Just found the list of Near Earth Close Approaches. Fun!
m (2 Sep 2014 14:09): Best commentary I've seen yet on all these airplane legroom fights (three now? four?)

Steam Powered

m (13 Nov 2010 19:29): The train is dead
God, it hurts to read the things these idiot Republican governors-elect are saying. The train in China is so fast, easy, and cheap. Really, really fast. I've been just shy of 350kph on the fast lines (and these are conventional trains, not maglev trains). That's Seattle to Los Angeles in 4 1/2 hours. Seattle to Chicago in 8. On the train!
Paul (15 Nov 2010 17:55): My secret backup plan to move to China is looking better and better
Paul (14 Aug 2011 5:47): Children with autism, connecting via transit: "an adviser to the 'Subway Sleuths' program, said that when she asked how to get anywhere in the city, some of the participants could tell her not just which train to take, but the exact number of stair steps in each of the stations."
Paul (6 Jan 2012 19:18): How did this not reach mancala before?: Creme That Egg
G (6 Jan 2012 21:46): Holy shit that's old. I think I watched that on memepool.
m (11 Jul 2013 7:59): CREME THAT EGG
m (31 Aug 2014 16:23): next project: cheap smoker

End Times

m (26 Aug 2014 17:07): Aw, man. This makes me grumpy.

Won't be prime for another 6 years.

Paul (28 Feb 2005 13:56): Happy birthday to me!

(This is not Paul writing, hehe.)
m (28 Feb 2005 22:29): and you won't be a prime number of days old on your birthday until you turn 30 (though some of us will when we turn 26)

Your number of days old (8401) and its odd-number predecessor (8399) have prime factors with a relationship that's difficult to express in words. The two factors of each number have the same least significant digit, and the prime factors of similar magnitude for the two numbers have the same most significant digit. ack.
m (26 Feb 2010 15:41): which is to say, now.
m (26 Feb 2010 15:42): I'm bad at dividing.
m (26 Feb 2010 16:15): counting. whatever.
m (27 Feb 2014 7:10): Won't be a power of two for another thirty two years...


m (23 Oct 2008 17:42): Good subject for the post, at least.
Paul (8 Dec 2008 16:33): Musings about tranquility...
"Cuba took me back decades to an era when time did not always demand to be put to use."
m (29 Jan 2009 16:24): 59-0
G (29 Jan 2009 21:46): What?

Today I found (found) Shorpy dot com.
m (30 Jan 2009 23:35): blago vote.
m (30 Jan 2009 23:38): explain shorpy. Those photos look too crisp to be legit.
G (31 Jan 2009 17:00): Shorpy is pretty awesome. I guess those glass negatives were pretty good?

It's not as though there aren't lots of pictures that don't have blurring or damage in them, though: 0, 1, 2, etc.
m (2 Feb 2009 14:00): super awesome
m (24 Jun 2013 7:50): an articulate rejection of the formulas-for-sexing-the-ladies thing: Look, there's nothing wrong with wandering around wanting to get laid; it's the human condition. But there are ways to make it even less dignified than usual, and one way is to approach the prospect of sex like it's the secret cow level on Diablo, where the person you are facing has defenses you need to overcome before you can nail them.
m (24 Nov 2013 7:52): SHORPY!
m (24 Nov 2013 8:00): I just can't stop!
Paul (15 Jan 2014 7:27): How to follow the new class schedule: "When you wake up that morning, pretend it is a Thursday."


m (12 Dec 2005 15:10): Do you fellas have an opinion on Governor Schwarzenegger's refusal to grant Crips founder Stanley 'Tookie' Williams clemency? He (Tookie) is slated to die tomorrow. That last sentence was a little awkward.
Grant (12 Dec 2005 15:24): My opinion is that he should be granted clemency. But I guess I've been reading more about the good things he's done recently, and less about the murders he was convicted for. I'm not sure it would change my opinion, though.
Grant (12 Dec 2005 21:29): And I see that the arguments presented against him seem to focus on that he claims he did not commit the crimes for which he was sentenced, instead of admitting guilt and showing remorse. Also, he has not offered evidence against fellow gang members. I would still prefer the merciful option.
Paul (13 Dec 2005 16:43): No, of course he shouldn't've been executed. Nor should anyone, really. The death penalty doesn't help the victims or anyone, and it incurs soul-damage to the civilization/culture that uses it. (In contrast, being merciful probably incurs soul-benefits.)

As for whether he "redeemed" himself, I dunno, it seems pretty clear that he did the crimes, and it seems like apologies would mark any real redemption....But he says none of who he was then, is in who he is now, which is pretty true at a cellular/molecular level, and probably pretty true psychologically too, and that's probably the same for most 25-year-ago crimes, and it highlights many many problems with the way we do "punishment". Too many to mention here.
But lemme mention one such problem: Consider Grant's city where murder is legal but most people don't do it (ignore CEOs). Does it really have more murders than a US city? I'd say most people who are so crazed as to murder someone, are probably too crazed to be deterred at all by any possible punishment.
Grant (13 Dec 2005 18:03): Well, we all know your stance on the particular issue because you're a pacifist. I'm not saying that's not a valid stance, it just doesn't really have anything to say about the particular nuance of that case. I think that a lot of people might be in favor of keeping the death penalty on the books, but wanted to see Tookie given clemency. I think it's an important distinction; even if you think capital punishment is okay, obviously there's still such a thing as inappropriate usage.

Regarding legal murder, it's a bad example, I think. Without legal punishment as a deterrent, I believe more people would commit crimes. I also think that without legal punishments, people would create their own punishments, and a socially-established, 'wild-west'-esque system would be the result.
Grant (13 Dec 2005 18:27): For what it's worth, most punishments don't help the victims (except in that they may have a desire for the guilty to be punished). That's why we call it a punishment, and not repayment (or something like that). We only really have them (punishments) to try to prevent and discourage crimes (in my opinion), but presumably they won't be an effective deterrent if we go and let everyone off the hook. One or two should be okay, though. Especially since many people have been saying that Mr. Tookie himself was an effective deterrent for certain kinds of crimes.
DK (16 Dec 2005 13:16): Actually, strictly speaking that's not true. If you can establish criminal liability for an act, then in general it is extremely easy to establish civil liability for an act. This means that the victim of a...robbery, let's say, can possibly sue the robber for what was jacked, and some psychological damages.

Of course, your average robber probably has very little in the way of liquid assets...not everyone is lucky enough to be robbed by the actors from the Sopranos.

Paul (21 Feb 2006 9:36): Well, this is interesting...I would think all doctors might recuse themselves from lethal injections as unethical, though the reasoning here is more technical. Does anyone know if pain is possible under thiopental? Somehow I had trusted the state's implicit claim that it wasn't, but from wiki it sounds entirely possible.
Paul (18 Mar 2006 5:43): another dubious execution
G (16 Jan 2009 13:27): SEE YOU, SPACE COWBOY
G (21 Jan 2009 1:05): You didn't love it enough.
m (21 Jan 2009 13:01): "... effectively sounding a death knell for the technology, which has been replaced by DVDs and advanced karaoke machines."

Advanced karaoke machines. They're what did in the laserdisc.
m (27 Jan 2009 11:26): Karaoke machines sound the death knell for mancalablog, too.
G (27 Jan 2009 12:25): I know, this... much, is... true-ooh!</ballet type="spandau">
Paul (19 Mar 2009 3:23): Okay, my populist anger is piqued, although honestly it was already piqued and I think the AIG bonuses are a drop in the bucket, but now everybody's populist anger is piqued, it seems. So can we hurry up and nationalize AIG or other bankrupt banks? Then we could keep them "open", but directly control who they pay with our money, instead of whining about who they pay...
G (19 Mar 2009 13:32): That does seem like the reasonable thing to do, doesn't it?
If we're already paying for their failure, shouldn't we stand to profit from their success?
Paul (15 Apr 2010 15:24): Iceland gets revenge
m (19 Apr 2010 19:55): "My feeling was, heck, if staging public gripe fests gives these people something to do, then great. It's outside. It involves handicrafts, the making of signs and costumes. It's like Scouting for irked middle-aged white people."
Paul (29 Apr 2010 20:10): Now that they understand that it is contaminated water rather than witchcraft that causes the disease, village elders have barred anyone with a dangling worm from entering a water source. Violators are fined, typically one goat.
Paul (2 May 2011 15:06): Killing of a monster poses a conflict for Buddhists. Well, not a sudden conflict, just the usual.
m (30 Dec 2013 17:58): "It just crushed all of the ducks."


m (27 Mar 2012 14:50): Thank you Canada. These diagrams are incredible: pork, veal, lamb, beef, and poultry.
m (4 Nov 2013 19:50): Yet another example of Nathan Myhrvold being a tool:
"I think a picture may be worth even more than a thousand words," he says. "Nobody is going to read the thousand words anyway."

World Domination

Paul (27 May 2004 17:51): This is pretty scary. As early as 1997, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al were advocating "American global leadership" and complaining that "Cuts in...defense spending...are making it increasingly difficult to maintain American influence around the world."
m (8 Nov 2004 18:49): woo! I've got a job!
and with only vague ties to the DoD, not explicit bomb-making ones.
rock on crazy bomb makers!
zong (10 Nov 2004 10:20): Where will it be?
m (10 Nov 2004 11:18): In Anaheim (where Disneyland is) about 45 commuting minutes away from here in LA.
m (10 Nov 2004 11:49): huh. I guess I'll be doing my first few weeks of training in maryland, starting next monday.
m (13 Nov 2004 11:34): by "starting next monday" I mean "starting the following monday".
and that my company so far is dumb.
zong (13 Nov 2004 17:29): So who are you working for anyway, eh?
Paul (5 Jan 2005 16:23): Read how the US does it with Super Imperialism macroeconomics... (warning: macroeconomics are confusing)
zong (15 Jan 2005 0:50): Macroeconomics is all funny money.
The US is technically bankrupt. Probably the world, too.
I mean, in the end, the world economy is a closed system, so there is no external source to "borrow" from. We are all just borrowing from the future.
zong (15 Jan 2005 8:42): It's just a guess. Can somebody verify if it is actually that bad, i.e., have numbers on liquid assets, GNP, debt, etc.?
m (15 Jan 2005 12:05): treasury dept debt faq
m (15 Jan 2005 12:06): heh. I said dept debt.
zong (15 Jan 2005 14:18): 4.2) How do you make a contribution to reduce the debt?
Please follow these important steps to make a contribution to reduce the debt. Make check payable to the "Bureau of the Public Debt"
In the memo section of the check, make sure you write "Gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public "
Mail check to -


This is just bizarre. Is this like voluntarily taxing yourself?
BTW, does anybody know, in the US, (1) if you must accept the US Dollar as tender for any transaction, and (2) if you must only accept the US Dollar as tender for any transaction? What I am wondering whether it is allowed to isolate a local economic system.
Paul (16 Jan 2005 20:01): Local currency systems like MadisonHours claim to be legal. (But using gold as currency may not be legal since 1933.) I doubt the mechanics of local currency systems, though I'd participate if one was near me; after all, I doubt the dollar but participate in it.
(18 Jan 2005 18:46): "Congress of Racial Equality...King Holiday Celebration 2005...Honorees: Mr. Karl Rove..." (full program)

zong (22 Jan 2005 15:40): They've got to be racially equal!
m (22 Jan 2005 23:22): Performance By:
Mr. Danny Rodriguez
"The Singing Cop"
m (22 Jan 2005 23:26): paul, you need to stay up later on some nights and hang out with the boys.
i.e. me and zong.
(1 Feb 2005 18:30): The US does it super-imperially.
Paul (1 Feb 2005 19:28): What are we to make of the Iraqi elections? Is Iraq actually getting democracy? Do people have the info to make educated choices, or is it more like US-style McDemocracy?
Grant (3 Feb 2005 21:10): I'm waiting for the two-party system proponents/apologists to take hold in McDonalds. That's going to be great. It will be the 'two-combo' system. There are other combos on the menu, but if you ask for them they just give you one of the other two, anyway.
Grant (3 Feb 2005 21:22): And now, some lists.
m (4 Feb 2005 11:39): Killing people is cool
m (4 Feb 2005 11:44): I can't tell if that link will stay good or not -- here's a cnn one:
Paul (4 Feb 2005 17:13): Alarming as it is, I'd rather have generals say they like killing people, and do so, than
, "we hope not to hurt anyone," and go bomb a village.
zong (5 Feb 2005 1:15): Elections in Iraq aren't new. It's what comes out of it that matters. After all, there are thousand ways to manipulate things to go your way in politics, even without external (US) preferences or backings which are sure to have some effect.
zong (5 Feb 2005 2:13): Iran attack "not on the agenda," Rice says. So, it figures that war is on this December.

Those with a some memory may recall how the last round got started by Bush stating in May, 2002, that "I have no war plans on my desk."
zong (23 Feb 2005 11:14): Ahoy, Bush and Shroeder are talking in one voice again, about, guess what?
m (23 Feb 2005 19:16): Proliferation? Our shared mistrust of people who look different? I don't get it -- what?
zong (23 Feb 2005 22:33): no... on the importance of "using" "diplomacy,"
on having "no" plans (TM) on the table but leaving no "options" off the table.

except it could be true this time? or maybe the next time? or maybe the last time? oh wait.
Paul (24 Feb 2005 16:41): that really sucks. After Iraq got hit without even having WMDs, it seems unlikely Iran can squeeze by. What are your guess-probabilities whether the US will bomb Iran and when?
Paul (24 Feb 2005 19:36): Sorry, I can't resist quoting this /. post:
"it's only a crime if it wasn't a rich person that did it." --anonymous coward
zong (24 Feb 2005 22:24): i would say that if this stalemate continues, it will happen for sure, even within this year.
Paul (9 Jun 2005 15:15): If you wonder about this, why not sign this.
DK (13 Jun 2005 22:48): I think it should be readily apparent to anyone but the most intellectually crippled that Bush lied his sorry ass off* to get us involved in an idiotic war in Iraq. Now it's going to cost a ridiculous amount of money. I think we should fully fund the war in iraq by taxes on corporate profits at oil companies. Or alternatively, draft the whole white house to fill out the ranks of the army...

The funny thing is, that out of all the countries to invade, Bush managed to pick one with relatively few long term benefits. We would have been much better off invading Iran or North Korea to disarm their nuclear weapons programs. At least that would have had some benefits and might have arguably been worth it.

Either way, I hope he chokes on another prezel...


(16 Jun 2005 23:08): Long term benefits for whom?
DK (18 Jun 2005 20:19): Well I'd consider invading N. Korea to destroy their nuclear weapons program beneficial (to us).

Ditto for Iran (hey Rumsfeld, they have oil...go sic em!)
Paul (21 Jun 2005 6:12): Be careful what you wish for.
z (30 Jun 2005 14:59): All over today's news, Bush Wants Answers on Iranian Leader's Past.

Ho ho. The heat just got turned up a notch.
Grant (30 Jun 2005 19:21): Don't worry about world domination - we've got a plan.

A plan to protect the nation from... science.
m (4 Oct 2005 18:22): man, how sleazy is Tom Delay?
Paul (26 Oct 2005 12:03): Ads sometimes just need the right juxtaposition:
Paul (1 Dec 2005 5:28): doh
Paul (26 Mar 2006 6:36): ... I can hear the right-wing pundits fuming already
m (29 Mar 2006 7:19): Girls, Lisa. Boys kiss girls.
m (21 Sep 2007 8:00): fuckers!
G (21 Sep 2007 9:28): Getting paid in CAD, yet, eh?
m (21 Sep 2007 11:09): yeah, but the paychecks: not that big in any currency.
m (21 Sep 2007 16:12):

I don't know why he has metal tentacles or a lizard/snake tongue, but, you know, maybe he is an oil-robot.
m (29 Sep 2007 17:14): Guess who doesn't live in boring US -- ho!
Paul (20 Aug 2008 4:16): Gorbachev (who, you might recall, presided over the dissolution of the USSR) writes a good description of Russia's stance:

"Russia has long been told to simply accept the facts. Here’s the independence of Kosovo for you. Here’s the abrogation of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, and the American decision to place missile defenses in neighboring countries. Here’s the unending expansion of NATO. All of these moves have been set against the backdrop of sweet talk about partnership. Why would anyone put up with such a charade?"
Paul (16 Jun 2010 16:01): Aha, a clear explanation of why anti-business pro-government views don't seem to inspire anybody anymore. His point seems to be that we need neither bigger nor smaller government, but better government, and better business too.
Paul (1 Sep 2011 5:32): Somehow I suspect the White House will not have the resources to keep to their promise to "respond to any petition that gains 5,000 signatures in 30 days"
m (27 Jun 2013 18:45): Read this and tell me it isn't wonderful
R (28 Jun 2013 14:58): It was also pretty wonderful when the Stranger's blog linked to it as factual. :D
m (29 Jun 2013 19:44): I know! That's where I found the link too.
Paul (3 Sep 2013 19:54): Wtf? Is Obama about to bomb Syria? Can any good come of that? (hint: refer to recent decades of foreign entanglements) (easier hint: no)
m (3 Sep 2013 22:18): quick summary of various arguments for and against
m (4 Sep 2013 7:35): Articulation of some good-looking nonmilitary options

New Name

Grant (10 Jun 2004 16:39): I suggest a new name for the blog, more fitting with the actual content:
Alternatively, you could start reading your own web page. Man.
Paul (13 Jun 2004 5:33): Sorry. I graduated this last week and things were hectic...
Grant (13 Jun 2004 22:33): It's cool. I thought that 'no-paul-a-blog' was an awesome pun, though, so I couldn't pass it up.
Paul (19 May 2005 20:33): Looks like has disappeared from I guess that's what sucks about Free DNS: if they offer it free, they have no obligation to keep it available. Well maybe I should buy my own domain, now that they're like $10 a year (right?), it no longer seems obvious that people should have to pool together to get DNS without getting ripped off. Or maybe I should find someone I know with a domain I can get a subdomain off of? Hm.
Paul (19 May 2005 20:36): PS. if you wanted, use for now
Grant (19 May 2005 23:47): You want to put it on Just a thought.
(19 May 2005 23:52): That is... will point here, just for fun.
(when the DNS propagates)
However, if you would actually like to toss the files up there, that can be arranged, too. Or whatever.
Paul (20 May 2005 21:19): Thanks Grant! well, sorry folks, we all have to type seven more letters to get here now, but at least we have a way to get here. (I guess for ten additional chars, you could use, but 26 chars seems pretty long)
Grant (21 May 2005 6:39): Well, if keystroke-scarcity is your metric for awesome-osity, then I've got something else for you:
I don't know, is that better, somehow?
(again, this is pending DNS propagation)
Paul (22 May 2005 6:03): Awesomeosity! 10 keystrokes! btw, are you and me the only ones that can still find this page now?
m (22 May 2005 12:34): tells me "stop searching. happiness is right next to you." it's awesome. also, grza doesn't have that second period, but I think punctuation rules mandate that I stick it there inside the quote instead of after it. I am tremendously vexed by that particular rule. also, is there content beyond the hellsing-styled portrait of you, grant? c'mon, man -- gimme some candy.
Grant (22 May 2005 16:37): Well, yes and no. How's about this?
The Hokochan Wiki and HokoChan? There's, uh, nothing there right now. But I'll try to fix that.
It's just that I've been busy or something ever since I came back from Korea. It's kind of stupid how little I've gotten done, when I think about it.
Grant (22 May 2005 16:38): Oh, right- and there's also an FTP thing set up.
So, I should give you an account and such.
m (24 May 2005 14:41): grza is your own machine running sshd, right? Man, I'll just fill your HD via scp...
Grant (24 May 2005 17:20): Actually, no. I only have one computer at the moment, and it's an iBook. I quite like it, really. I miss some of my desktop amenities, but they're just a faint memory, now.
Anyways, because I have a laptop and stuff, I actually take my computer with me. Every day, to work. So while I thought about setting it up as a server for some stuff (I've got some crazy bandwidth), it might be a little inconvenient, with it only actually up for half the time.
Right now, I have around a 2.5 GB disk quota for, and a bandwidth quota I'm not really worried about.
m (24 May 2005 17:20): grant -- origin of grza? RZA?
Grant (24 May 2005 17:42): Yes, actually.
Embarassing, isn't it?
alex (8 Nov 2008 15:16): CIm82M fkjgh62vDfulv0s5FvSa
G (8 Nov 2008 15:34): Wow. Pretty funny, really.

Maybe mancala needs a pseudo CAPTCHA field for posts.
Something like: "In this field, type the name of the animal that symbolizes peace. Four letters."
alan (10 Nov 2008 1:11): 8HJhG5 blkOpwF7nnBsJ42K7La
Paul (10 Nov 2008 3:32): Maybe I could use some kind of honeypot like Mike suggested...a hidden field that must be left blank...
Paul (10 Nov 2008 3:34): That was Grant's suggestion, wasn't it. Not Mike's...
mike (10 Nov 2008 8:52): 8HJhG5 blkOpw

(a) Change the labels so the spam-bots don't catch on that this is a message-board.
(b) Add an invisible honey-pot field.
(c) Change your robots.txt to read "Disallow: spam"
G (10 Nov 2008 16:22): d) Add a captcha, or a fake captcha. I imagine that the latter would be equally effective as the former, and would be fairly easy to implement.
m (10 Nov 2008 20:18): Fake-captcha honey-pot field.
G (11 Nov 2008 1:30): I guess I didn't mean 'fake,' I really meant 'trivial.'
It doesn't have to be randomly generated or anything.
Just a single field with a known, correct answer.
m (11 Nov 2008 14:18): Quick! Fix!
G (11 Nov 2008 15:07): :(
G (11 Nov 2008 15:08): What's the frowny equivalent of :3 ?


It's gotta be 3: , right?

G (11 Nov 2008 17:40): New name: Spamalablog.
R (11 Nov 2008 19:29): Personally, I'm fond of :C
m (5 Aug 2013 17:15): Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names


m (13 Jul 2005 17:49): Rehnquist: cheeky! In response to reporters' questions the other day about his presumed imminent retirement, said "That's for me to know and you to find out."
That spry old justice!
(19 Jul 2005 16:24): House of Pain

Hear me and hear me good, Scalia, you SNAKE, you high-court LOWLIFE, you black-robed, black-hearted COWARD. For years, your manager and mentor, Ronald Reagan, told you LIES, PACKS of lies, NOTHING BUT LIES. LIES about what America stands for. About what's good for America. About the American people. And those lies are why you think like you do. Which is a problem ... FOR YOU! Because I'm COMING AFTER YOU, you maggoty magistrate. RRRRRRRRR! I'm coming to UNLEASH my rabid fury on your restrictive originalist interpretations of the Constitution. To PILE-DRIVE your musclebound attempts to undermine the separation of church and state into the canvas. To SMACKDOWN your [expletive] opinions on affirmative action with some affirmative ass-kicking action. And something else, Judge Mental Case: Tell your tag-team partner, your STOOGE, Clarence Thomas, he's goin' down, too. OH, YEAAAAAH! Believe me, I'm gonna clock that adjudicating jackass so bad, he's gonna wake up thinkin' he's BLACK.
g (19 Jul 2005 16:25): For the record, it came out fine in the 'preview.' Seriously.
m (11 Nov 2005 20:06): I shit you not. anagram. Credit to Hertzberg in the New Yorker:

Samuel Alito
I am a sellout
m (14 Jan 2006 10:20): depressing.
Paul (19 Apr 2007 19:33): The more I read quotes of Kennedy's opinion, the more bizarre it really reads like Alice in Wonderland. So, does Kennedy really believe his own opinion, or is he just giving us a scare so we know the stakes of the '08 election?
Paul (25 Jun 2007 9:33): Dammit. It looks like we're just going to have a giant parade of evil decisions until Scalia or Kennedy leave, which may not be for quite some time.
m (25 Jun 2007 17:08): Wait, SCOTUSblog? Who runs scotusblog? The justices don't need a blog. They get to comment all they want in their opinions. Maybe clerks could post candid photos of the justices in their off time (nsfw).
m (24 Jun 2013 7:47): Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dreamy (her lone dissent starts p38)

Global Warming

Paul (6 Jan 2007 17:05): Isn't it spooky how today's actual stories read like the dramatized future-scenarios from 10 years ago...
Paul (16 Jan 2007 3:36): Maybe we're in for serious weirdness, as Greenland's 630,000 cubic miles of ice may be already melting at 80 cubic miles per year.
m (16 Jan 2007 9:03): that phrasing makes me think of all of the mailings that say "you may already be a winner..."

only this time it's loser.
m (22 Jun 2013 8:14): Oh, China!


m (5 Jan 2010 9:23): holy shit autotune the news is amazing!
m (5 Jan 2010 9:42): very thin ice, very thin ice!
Paul (5 Jan 2010 15:32): doubleplusamazing
m (6 Jan 2010 14:02): McGinn's first 100 minutes!
m (6 Jan 2010 14:03): with graphic!
G (9 Jan 2010 3:01): Bicycle makes, like, gothy and/or 'designer' playing cards, now. Huh! Some are kinda neat.
ITT: I introduce a low standard for 'amazing'
m (9 Jan 2010 9:24): The Stranger has some pretty good looking cards.
m (12 Jan 2010 11:30): Something you've always wanted to know?
Super Bowl XVI vs President XVI (Lincoln):
"Joe Montana led the 49ers to an impressive 26-21 win over the Bengals, passing for one TD and running for one -- but he didn't free the slaves."
And III vs III:
"Thomas Jefferson gave us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; in Super Bowl III, Namath and his Jets took those freedoms to another level."
(Don't worry, TJ still wins)
G (25 Apr 2013 21:35): Whoah, Jin Roh (The Wolf Brigade) is on Hulu? Crazy.


m (14 Jul 2012 19:47): So the bad interface for Netflix streaming, its crappy searching, its limited selection - whatever - I got grumpy and canceled our subscription. But I'm worried I'll miss the ability to browse by category, list similar titles, etc. Surely there's a movie database out there that's well tagged/categorized with good searching and browsing. IMDB is annoying, but it's the only thing I've got so far. rottentomatoes doesn't even try.

You guys know of anything? Maybe even a tracker? I know the one I use for music has exactly what I'm talking about. Just not for movies.
m (16 Jul 2012 10:10): nothing?
G (17 Jul 2012 21:47): Netflix killed off a bunch of its API to stop people scraping that kind of stuff off their catalog, I think I remember hearing about.
m (18 Jul 2012 13:56): what about imdb? Have they got an api to make scraping their tagging/simliar-titles doable? I just kind of hate how commercial their site feels and want to avoid it if there's a good alternative (which there must be, right?).
m (18 Jul 2012 14:14): Or maybe some clever wikipedia scraping? What if we were to crawl through movies/tv shows (from the movie lists/tv show lists) and make a similarity comparison based on similar category links at the end of the entry?


m (23 Apr 2012 11:43): I've never before had a document that refused to load in a non-acrobat-reader pdf viewer. Oops! I get a brief glimpse of the real thing before it replaces itself with the following message:

"To view the full contents of this document, you need a later version of the PDF viewer. You can upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Reader from
For further support, go to"
m (23 Apr 2012 11:44): [this is from evince document viewer 3.2.1]

Arrgh! Excre-ment!

m (27 Sep 2005 23:34): man, I've been trying to read this translated FLCL manga that I downloaded, but it's painful.
G (16 Jul 2008 13:08): Arrgh!
m (31 Jul 2008 21:01): Excre-ment!
R (4 Mar 2010 15:20): In case you want to throw your own nancho party, the directions are here, if you are brave enough.

Seriously, cheddar cheese condensed soup. Oh fuck no.
G (4 Mar 2010 16:12): Haha. That is amazing.
G (27 May 2010 20:06): Oh, man, oh, man, oh, man.
Watch this and tell me it's not FLCL.
G (28 May 2010 12:39): Um, specifically the part where a hanging lamp eats half of a girl. Seems to be directly referenced by the Ninomiya part where she gets half-eaten. I, uh. I don't know what's up with the rest of it.
R (17 Nov 2010 18:37): The 'Sheep Test' and other tests for Identifying if The Little Prince was Translated from French or English
Paul (8 Jul 2011 17:11): I'm typing up my homework in Google Docs, because LaTeX is inconvenient for copying/pasting preformatted text from Stata. But it turns out Google Docs is also inconvenient for copying/pasting preformatted text. It arbitrarily turns sequential spaces into tabs that are not the same length as the original spaces. But this answer says I can get what I want if I copy and paste with a pre tag... But how can I get a pre tag to begin with? Aha! Here I am, pasting garbage onto mancala so I can copy it into Google Docs. Sorry for clogging the blog.

. replace wage = 10 + 5*exp_2 + 10*exp_3 + 5*edu_2 + 10*edu_3
(10000 real changes made)

. tab exp edu, summ(wage) nost

Means and Frequencies of wage

Experience | Education Level
Level | Elementar Middle Sc High Scho | Total
Apprentic | 10 15 20 | 13.5
| 1250 750 500 | 2500
Associate | 15 20 25 | 21
| 1000 2000 2000 | 5000
Master | 20 25 30 | 27.75
| 125 875 1500 | 2500
Total | 12.631579 20.172414 26.25 | 20.8125
| 2375 3625 4000 | 10000
Paul (8 Jul 2011 17:20): Forgot to link the post that mentioned this terrible terrible workaround
Paul (12 Aug 2011 15:36): I decided if I can't make pulseaudio work, I at least need a forum to register that I hate it. And the internet doth provide: I hate pulseaudio
Paul (12 Aug 2011 15:36): I decided if I can't make pulseaudio work, I at least need a forum to register that I hate it. And the internet doth provide: I hate pulseaudio
m (15 Mar 2012 13:30): I got distracted.
How much does this last panel get the nostalgia juices flowing? A lot, right?
Paul (28 Mar 2012 16:01): Instructions I determined from observation of two urinals:
1. To flush the left urinal, flush the left urinal. Water flows for about 5 seconds.
2. To flush the right urinal, flush the right urinal. Water flows indefinitely.
3. To stop flushing the right urinal, flush the left urinal. Water flows for about 5 seconds, then both urinals stop flushing.
Paul (5 Apr 2012 16:57): Ok, I'm making this nifty web application, and when I set it up Tuesday, it could send email correctly from so you could reset your password.

But now, it gives "SMTPRecipientsRefused at /passwordreset/" "554, '5.7.1 <myemail@mydomain>: Recipient address rejected: Access denied'"

Any idea why or how to fix it? Google search results are very nonspecific.


m (14 Jan 2005 18:04): Lesson of the day: the concept of Windows domains and specifically Windows Domain Controllers, is screwed up. I can only log onto my (win2k) work computer with the administrator account now, and tech support tells me that the only way for me to fix this is to mail them the laptop. I just tried pretty hard with some VPN weirdness, but failed to get me back on the domain.
zong (15 Jan 2005 0:48): Did you lose your Active Directory tie-in thingamajig?
Paul (15 Jan 2005 8:04): I will second that domain controllers can be screwy, in the sense that we can't browse our local network at work for the last month or so, and our sysadmins (who otherwise can fix anything and everything in half a minute) say it's a domain controller prob.
m (11 Nov 2005 19:48): Do you think there are more words in the english language, or more occurances of the letter E in those words? more-words seems like the favorite in that fight, but I don't know -- there are probably plenty of doubles and triples. maybe even enough to counterbalance the no-Es.
m (2 Jul 2011 9:15): pork!
m (20 Mar 2012 7:07): I just read that impregnable and impregnate do not share a common root. Is this possible? My world just got turned upside-down! (Also: sorry ladies, I may have some explaining to do)
Paul (24 Mar 2012 18:24): Sounds plausible. To start with, "im" means "not" versus "in(to)". Online etymology dictionaries confirm it..


Paul (5 Dec 2011 7:13): Just did the Landmark Forum. It's hard to describe, but I definitely recommend it.
Paul (5 Dec 2011 21:21): And just when I couldn't describe it, finally I found a neutral website that describes it quite well, including how the marketing can be manipulative. Overall I find it well worth tolerating the marketing to get the rest of the course.


z (31 Jul 2011 11:42): Hi Paul, have a few questions regarding visas from a housemate:

1. How long does the J1 visa last? Five years? How to find out?
2. Person plans to stay in the US for 2 years, what happens if the J1 visa expires in that time? If the visa needs to be renewed (if it can be 'renewed') what is the process?
3. After 2 years, person goes back to home country (China), does person have to do service there for 2 years before applying for another J1 visa (if that is possible) to the US or to a third country? I think person is asking whether the home country service is a US-imposed rule or a China-imposed rule...

OK, these questions were confusing and illogical to me too, but I think the person's scenario is person is on visit here at a university for 2 years, then plans to go back to China to defend dissertation, by which time J1 visa maybe will have expired (but person doesn't know for sure), yet person still wants to come back to US to continue research. Person wants to how long is it permitted to stay in the US on J1, and how to come back.

Thanks Paul..


m (20 Jun 2011 15:09): I always thought "Wild fish, good. Farmed fish, bad." but now I think that I should basically only eat farmed fish (though maybe little guys like sardines and herring are okay?), and of those only the good ones. But which am I allowed to eat? Help me out here, guys. It's copper river season and I want want want!

Ubuntu hates me

Paul (9 Jul 2010 15:04): Have any of you seen this before? I once had a Windows box that did this due to faulty RAM...

Subject: Ubuntu hates me
So the computer thinks that like every 10 minutes, it should just shut down. It just goes black. I turn it off and turn it back on again and it works fine, but then it stops again. I mean, there are no problems when it's on. It just doesn't like being on. Any ideas?
R (10 Jul 2010 19:09): The obvious thought is: bad power supply. But! There less obvious thought is: bad capacitors, of which there were a plague back in the early 2000s. And the "nice" part about bad caps, is that you can find them via visual inspection.

number two

m (6 May 2010 10:03): Why is gun control such a firm plank of the progressive agenda? And why does it make sense not to read Miranda rights to suspected terrorists, but to let them buy guns (thanks Lindsay Graham)?
I'm afraid I fall a little to the libertarian side of this issue: let them eat guns, but Miranda rights as well. Maybe that's just the due-process side of the issue.
Paul (12 May 2010 19:50): Gun control makes more sense to those of us whose friends or acquaintances were killed for no reason. There are plenty of academic arguments to be made, but the simple fact is countries with less guns have fewer random murders.


m (31 Mar 2010 12:58): I've seen this before!

Caveat Emptor

Paul (26 Nov 2008 17:04): Comcast modem refuses to give DHCP address to Linksys router. One post recommends "Mac Address Cloning" (spoofing), but even that doesn't seem to work. My take: avoid Comcast.
m (28 Nov 2008 12:22): list of webcams supporting linux uvc
m (28 Nov 2008 12:28): spca-chipset webcams
m (29 Nov 2008 17:19): assholes
G (30 Nov 2008 23:48): assholes

So much more threatening as a hyperlink, eh?
m (2 Dec 2008 0:30): ay!
Paul (21 Jun 2009 15:47): Mischief: Make a site to nab webmail passwords. (Quick! Before people start thinking! Ok maybe it doesn't have to be quick, then.)
Paul (29 Mar 2010 17:25): caveat emptor

helmets are strictly good things

m (14 Mar 2009 11:40): ok, one-handed typing:
big crash thursday night. Head-on with an suv turning left across me(?!). I think. Memory of the event is hazy and subsequent hours are gone entirely. spent a little while unconscious. thankfully no loss of competence (going to ward off any 'can't go down from zero' jokes here). I'll have a pair of plates put in my jaw (which is standard procedure now?!) on Thursday. I've got a broken scapula, too. Arm in a sling, face oddly swollen. both hurt like hell when I let my narcotics lapse.
G (14 Mar 2009 11:48): Shit. I guess I'm glad you're alive, and stand to recover.
End-of-quarter party to take at Mike's place, I guess.
Booze + meds = good shit?
Seriously, though, let me know if I can do anything for you.
At the very least, I should drop to bring you some soup and check out your wounds.
G (14 Mar 2009 12:57): Yeah, so - where are you? At a hospital, or at home?
I can't do it today, but can I drop in some time? (after I get my finals taken care of. :C)
m (14 Mar 2009 13:19): Thanks, man. At the parents' now. Drinking lots of tea. Eating a ton of soup. Those assholes didn't feed me yesterday because I was stand-by for the jaw surgery (and for anesthesia reasons (maybe?) they want your stomach empty), but I think someone needing brain surgery bumped me. It's hard to resent that.
DK (14 Mar 2009 18:42): Crap man, that sucks : (

I wish you a swift recovery, and as a fellow bicyclist, I'm wincing in sympathy.

G (15 Mar 2009 1:37): Maybe you need some games that you can play one-handed until your arm is better.
R (16 Mar 2009 10:31): I have nothing to say except I'm glad you are alive and healing. Scary, scary.
Paul (19 Mar 2009 3:17): Was your surgery today? Get well soon.
G (20 Mar 2009 1:06): Was it? Doing okay?
I left a message at your folks'.
I've got time off now, so let me know if I can bring over something to play, watch, or whatever.
m (22 Mar 2009 22:01): Thanks guys. Surgery last Thurs went exceptionally well. I'm now part titanium. And have 6 weeks of eating only fluids to look forward to.
G (25 Mar 2009 0:06): My chicken broth says it can be served 'as a hot beverage.' And, like, it's got lots of fat and salt. Plus, what is soup without the chunky parts?
G (27 Apr 2009 20:45): So - how are things going?
m (27 Apr 2009 22:05): Recovering arm strength/mobility pretty quickly at this point.
No more job, though. What assholes!
m (29 Apr 2009 9:25): Beers this week? King's?
R (29 Apr 2009 10:29): Heh! And so we come full circle. The peanut butter bacon burger ('After School Special') is pretty good, but the sweet fries are the same cut as regular fries, and thus are limp/slightly soggy. Still ok, just not nicely crisped like a regular potato french fry. What I'm trying to say is, I'm down. And you, m, you should just stick to today's special.
m (29 Apr 2009 10:52): > I wanted to ask you, were you really going to eat all that gravy.
> To interrogate you. Interrogate you for about an hour.
R (29 Apr 2009 11:55): "You know what? I think you just wanted to say 'extra gravy'."
m (30 Apr 2009 11:50): I expect Ballard will be a mess friday and saturday nights. Sunday?
m (1 May 2009 21:10): guys
G (2 May 2009 1:02): Um, I work. Although you probably didn't mean me.
If I get off early enough, I'd go out afterwards.
G (2 May 2009 1:03): What about monday? I hear it's the new Friday.
m (2 May 2009 15:09): I like monday.
R (2 May 2009 21:14): I can do Monday. Wouldn't get there until about 8 though.
m (3 May 2009 9:23): hate
Paul (3 May 2009 15:45): Can you all make it so I don't have to go to work tomorrow?
R (3 May 2009 15:57): Tuesday is also Cinco de Mayo, FWIW. But, yes, I could do a Tuesday.
m (3 May 2009 21:43): Cinco de terrible. You sure you can't do monday?
G (4 May 2009 1:11): I'm actually going to be fencing on Monday night.
m (5 May 2009 10:21): how was fencing? We beering tonight?
R (5 May 2009 11:26): I'm okay with this. Some other time, we should just beer at a house for cheaps. We could make grilled cheese + avocado & tapatio sandwiches. I had one last night, was goood.
m (5 May 2009 14:45): Okay, well, I'll be there 7 or a little after, eating a peanut butter bacon burger. Do they have shuffleboard? I think they have shuffleboard.
R (5 May 2009 15:10): Paul: You should try to show up, which means you'd have to take yesterday off to travel to Seattle. Hope this helps. I also hope your Monday went okay.
G (5 May 2009 17:10): 7 it is!@
See if you can stake out a table for four, if you get there early.
G (6 May 2009 0:14): Good times!
m (6 May 2009 10:53): Skeeball! I'm so bad at skeeball!
G (6 May 2009 13:08): Let's say you go for 40s, and half the time you make it. The other half of the time, you get either 10 or 20, averaging 15 for misses. That's an average of .5(40)+.5(15) = 27.5. We'd expect an average of 247.5 points for nine balls, which seems about right. If anything, we might expect to improve on that.

Now let's say you go for 100s. If you miss, you're basically guaranteed to get a 10. How well do we have to do in order to beat the conservative, 40-aiming fellow? If you can get 1/4, you're averaging 130/4 = 32.5, but 1/5 and the average drops to 28. We only have 9 balls, so really, you need to be able to get two of those into the 100 slot, no matter what. Even then, you'll score 270, which is hardly out of reach.

We need to get three. It's 1/3 or bust when you're aiming for 100s.
m (6 May 2009 20:03): Good analysis. I'd say I had between ten and twenty attempts at the 100 of which I made exactly one. Problematic strategy. But I'll claim that I'm just working on my hundred-ball, and someday when I get that 5 percent up to a respectable 25 or 30, I'll be back in the running.
Plus skeeball hundreds are how you get the ladies.
G (6 May 2009 22:51): Right. I don't think that going 40 is the best strategy always, just clearly the best for n00bs like us. It seems that you'd have to get pretty good at skeeball before the 100s strategy would pay off.
(5 Aug 2009 12:44): One does not care to acknowledge the mistakes of one's youth.
G (8 Aug 2009 1:50): RAAAAAARRRRR
EVA-01 (8 Aug 2009 1:51): I mean,
Paul (29 Nov 2009 13:28): oncoming-car-turning-left is dangerous for bikes indeed. fortunately my front brakes are good and I was going pretty slow.
G (29 Nov 2009 16:08): Were you wearing a helmet?
G (29 Nov 2009 16:10): And was the comment about brakes actually a pointed jab at Mike?
How about my rhetorical question above?
Paul (29 Nov 2009 16:38): 1) Mike uses a proprietary sideways-skid-stop which has shorter stopping distance than any brakes.
2) I meant to jab at the car that turned across my right-of-way, but I'm not a very good jabber.
3) Rhetorical!
Paul (5 Feb 2010 19:36): Tell me about it. On Wednesday I put on my helmet, then a minute later I fell backwards down the basement stairs and didn't break my head. I don't recommend falling down your basement stairs, but if you have to do it, wear a helmet.

amazingly bad

m (5 Jan 2010 9:25): Neal Stephenson can't write a girl to save his life.
Just read them all as dudes.
G (6 Jan 2010 7:45): Sandra just said that when she woke up this morning she couldn't remember the title "Blade Runner." She says that she could remember the director, etc., but not the title. This was completely unprompted.
m (6 Jan 2010 14:02): I've seen maybe half a dozen distinct nexus-6 references in the last week. think it's google's doing?
Paul (6 Jan 2010 15:21): New plan to stop spam: market weight-loss drugs by spam, but send poison instead. Then all the spam buyers will be gone.
m (6 Jan 2010 16:26): Wait, but that study has 19 students in 200 buying spam-sold weight loss herbal whatever. That's bizarre! Is that even remotely possible?
G (6 Jan 2010 16:36): Or maybe coffin-makers will start sending out spam.
New plan to stop spam: Either don't send anything to buyers, or send something ineffective.
Then all the spam buyers will... oops, that's what they already do.
G (6 Jan 2010 16:37): And fuck those kids for making the internet worse for everybody else. Gah.
Paul (7 Jan 2010 20:24): Score:
cyclists: 1,441
anti-cyclists: 32,527
Lessons learned: Drive a big vehicle. Hurt people with it. Laugh at them.
G (9 Jan 2010 0:59): Don't forget step four: Make a facebook group.
m (9 Jan 2010 9:36): Comments hurt my brain. I hate comments.
I don't mean youtube comments, or npr-is-right-wing-propaganda comments, or I love your facebook status update watermelons are delicious comments. I mean all goddamn comments. All of them. I need a sophisticated greasemonkey filter to strip them from everything I read.
m (9 Jan 2010 9:38): actually, this is a good start. But it makes the mistake of trying to filter bad comments from good ones.
protip: they are all bad.
R (19 Jan 2010 19:22): I just drank a tall americano, sweetened with a bunch of (possibly too old) egg nog. I thought the caffeine would help me "slam out" a couple of emails so I could go home. But I now feel like "slamming out" my stomach contents. Or rather, I'm being foced to consider if that would feel better, or if I should just clench my eyes and ride it out.

Also, I did not see Avatar. How was the 3D? Describe it for me in detail. Or maybe I should just go and see it right now in 3D for myself.
R (19 Jan 2010 20:14): Update: I feel ok now.
m (23 Jan 2010 10:13): air america slammed out!
G (23 Jan 2010 13:15): I wish this thread was titled 'incredibad'
Paul (24 Jan 2010 13:53): just mouseover this...
m (24 Jan 2010 14:59): wow! I like that trick.
m (24 Jan 2010 15:01): then I pulled it up in google reader hoping that it would clobber things
m (26 Jan 2010 11:58): and you thought hillary's gas tax holiday was gimmicky...
m (27 Jan 2010 12:55): Uh oh: more krugman.

Space Humor

Paul (10 Jun 2007 20:11): Before reaching the space station, Atlantis commander Rick Sturckow told Yurchikhin that shuttle astronaut Clayton Anderson was ready to relieve Williams on the station.

''Are you sure Clay is onboard?'' Yurchikhin said.

''Yes we checked before we launched from Florida,'' Sturckow said amid laughter.
(from NYTimes)
Paul (22 Nov 2009 5:45): posts containing donuts are automatically exempt from the thread police
m (22 Nov 2009 11:43): See you later, Space Cowboy.
R (23 Nov 2009 10:17): Are we sure we want to continue the "Space Humor" topic on Mancala? The competition is fierce.
R (23 Nov 2009 10:18): Also, check that fucking "HTPortal" banner.
G (29 Nov 2009 16:13): Oh, man.


Paul (6 Nov 2009 4:59): (these are supposed to be pictures)

"Yesterday": (large stack of dishes by the sink, small post-it note says "feel like cleaning up today? (heart)")

R (6 Nov 2009 10:58): You should draw that. No-one has to know your images are faux-faux-naif.
R (8 Nov 2009 0:41): You could add "(Secretly, I am the killer)" to that second note.
R (8 Nov 2009 0:41): Except in all caps, of course.


m (9 Jun 2009 0:37): Well...

This is a cool site! Thanks and wish you better luck! Brilliant but simple idea.

G (10 Sep 2008 10:07): :(
R (10 Sep 2008 12:35): :(53:21 peS 01) R
G (10 Sep 2008 15:40): Haha, you need to rock some cyrillic Я action in there.
Paul (11 Sep 2008 19:23): I just chucked that post into blogspam.dat...where I happened upon a real post that was nabbed long ago by my naive spamfilter.
m (15 Sep 2008 14:12): Paul: what you missed the first time around.
Paul (15 Sep 2008 16:33): Testing the spam filter to make sure it still allows normal posts...

Undocumented Features!

Grant (20 May 2004 23:05): I notice that the first number is the maximum age (in days) for displayed messages. If you type it in yourself, the second number is the minimum age (in days) for displayed messages. Although, at first I thought it was the PAUL_ONLY flag, since none of my messages are even a day old, yet.
Paul (21 May 2004 7:15): Yes, this feature is poorly explained, although perhaps just needs more useful links at the top of the page...? (Note the syntax is ?[max age]&[min age]&[topic], but if topic is null it shows all topics.)
Paul (21 May 2004 7:16): Fractional days also work fine, I think.
m (7 Apr 2007 19:29): Seattle weather right now: gorgeous.
m (8 Apr 2007 9:02): no fucking around.
m (8 Apr 2007 20:36): The ending for Bebop is wonderful in just the right way, every time I watch that series through.
m (7 Oct 2007 21:47): It's Thanksgiving here.
Paul (10 Oct 2007 19:24): That makes no sense. Aren't you in the same time zone as us?
R (11 Oct 2007 12:57): Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday of October. I kinda sorta remember being curious about this as a child, whilst looking at wall calendars.
m (11 Oct 2007 16:29): so what R is saying is that no, i'm not in the same time zone as you. Here in toronto we're 1248 hours ahead of you, Paul. When Jan 1 isn't a Monday or Tuesday, though, (i.e. in 2009) we're only 1080 hours fast. It's like how Indiana gets out of synch, only more so.
Paul (11 Oct 2007 16:34): Canada: The Indiana of Thanksgiving time.
Paul (26 Mar 2008 9:39): Dog prays at Zen temple
G (27 Mar 2008 12:15): Awesome.


Paul (16 Dec 2006 11:09): Google now has a decent satellite image of UEM.


m (3 Sep 2006 11:19): Since I don't have a net connection at home, these days I write emails offline to send when I periodically visit the local cafe with wireless access. But I write them in vim, and there's no good way to grab the text from the file into my gmail message text box (there's almost certainly a good way) so I've been mailing the files to my gmail address from my machine just by piping the file to mail -a from:[my_address] my_address. Only gmail thinks that because the file is from itself, but originates at the domain "localhost" at some strange ip address that the message is spam. Which, you know, is what I'd want it to do. I don't want some fucker with a linux connection at a net cafe sending me junk emails. So I've been adding a strange header line to these emails and marking all of them "not spam" when they end up in the spam folder with the hope of training my gmail to treat the ones with this particular header line as good, even though the header address stuff is clearly junk.

so far it hasn't been working. I'm hopeful.
Paul (3 Sep 2006 17:14): I'm also just starting to dabble in SMTP-from-my-machine. Sometimes yahoo marks it as spam, and sometimes not. I haven't experimented enough to tell their criteria. I think they should allow any message with valid hashcash, but I don't know if they do. One major experimenting problem is that maybe they "learn" every time I send a message what to think about my IP.
Grant (4 Sep 2006 0:02): Back when I went on a email spoofing kick to see how this stuff worked in college, I noticed that whether my fake emails would be marked as spam depended mostly on what headers it had. When I gave my email a full set of normal headers, it would get through to my hotmail account, but if I left out any of them, it wouldn't.

I'd assume that they've gotten better than that by now, but it'd be the first place I checked, if it were me. Write a message to yourself from hotmail or something, and check what all the headers are, and start putting them in your own email.
m (7 Sep 2006 2:17): Mine seems to say "Return-Path: mike@localhost" regardless. I think I need to change some exim setting to fix this. Only, what would I change it to? mike@localhost is pretty accurate (i.e. anonymous connection from some internet cafe somewhere) -- what I want is to have some header field that will tell gmail "hey, I'm okay" like, by a manual setting or something. The mail I sent from yahoo to my gmail has a DomainKey-Signature field that's long and interesting. But I bet you need a domain for that to work.

Looking at Hashcash now.
Grant (7 Sep 2006 16:59): When I was doing it, I just used PHP to do the dirty work:
mail($to, $subject, $body, $headers)
Alternatively, try specifying a different from address? Gmail might specifically mark messages that claim to be from Gmail but obviously aren't as spam.
I can't check email at work, or else I'd try this stuff myself. I never seem to remember when I get home.
m (19 Nov 2006 8:01): my account's been down for the past hour. error code 766.


sam (29 May 2005 0:16): mirah sucks. discuss.
Grant (21 Jul 2005 23:19): I don't suppose any of you have stopped reading McSweeney's?
m (22 Jul 2005 19:54): heh. I'm gonna start using that knock-knock joke.
Paul (9 Dec 2005 15:46): Have you ever wondered why phone rates are often lower on evenings and weekends? Now I know one reason why: Where I'm working I send & receive scores of faxes every workday, as the main way to communicate with the same company's branch offices. I guess most multi-office companies do that...
Paul (30 Jul 2006 9:17): my bike just got stolen :( It was a cheap bike locked with a cheap lock. Is it worth getting an expensive lock for a cheap bike? wtf?
Paul (16 Aug 2006 18:01): So I have now spent $50 on a new used bike and $40 on a new ridiculously large lock (but still only an "8" on their scale). /me grits his teeth


sam (16 Mar 2005 0:28): i'm going to see the pillows on sunday, and the thermals on tuesday! w00t! both concerts are in new york.
sam (16 Mar 2005 0:29): so feel better grant, there is good evidence that your music recommendations are worth something.
Grant (16 Mar 2005 7:16): I am so envious.
Be sure to make off with lots of swag!
I hear the Thermals 'have a good show,' even though they don't actually have that many 'good songs.' No Culture Icons is quite the diamond in the rough, though.
My expectations for the Pillows would be hard to communicate. Almost as hard as it probably would be for the members of the Pillows to communicate in English, judging by their lyrics. Haha!
Okay, so I want you to record the sensory input in your brain so I can play back the experience, okay? Okay.
sam (16 Mar 2005 9:34): actually, i picked up their first album and i really like it! no culture icons is a far cry from their only good song.
Grant (17 Mar 2005 0:17): Oh, no! I need to revise my previous post to fall into line with Sam's opinion, but I can't!!
No, seriously, though - I haven't the album, so that shows how much I know.
Grant (17 Mar 2005 15:09): Somebody should set up an SFTP or something so I can fill their hard drive with crap.
Wait -
Hey, Paul - can I get an account on ipala, or what?
m (18 Mar 2005 11:48): you just said "I haven't the album"
that makes you a pussy.
m (18 Mar 2005 20:01): in all fairness, I'm pretty sure some dude called me a pussy today for driving around in a light-purple car.
(21 Mar 2005 8:28): You're one to talk. Listening to fag music like Enya makes you a pussy, you pussy.
Aerosmith is the best band ever.
m (30 Jul 2005 8:54): ride on shooting star!
sam (31 Jul 2005 19:00): oh man, i wanted to see the pillows so bad. but they traded slots with some other band called noodles and i had to catch a train home.
G (31 Jul 2005 19:02): Funny you should mention that -
I sang 'Ride on Shooting Star' at karaoke on Saturday, in celebration of the new JETs arriving.
Grant (9 Aug 2005 9:20): Random music: Singer Songer
It's kind of poppy and whatever. This doesn't actually represent an endorsement, I've only listened to some of the tracks myself. Some of it I kinda liked, though, I think. of a certain African game, starts with M)/

Probably only up for a week or something, maybe I'll throw something else up later... Or even upload some music.
(9 Aug 2005 9:30): Yeah. I put some other stuff up there that I know I like, so check that out, too!
Grant (9 Aug 2005 16:17): Uh, pardon me. That game should be in lower case, by the way.

Starts with 'm.'
m (10 Aug 2005 22:23): NPR's All Songs Considered has a wealth of eclectic, interesting, independent music in its archives. They turned me on to a bunch of cool stuff I've been listening to lately. woo!
m (4 Oct 2005 22:11): Rufus Wainwright. saucy.
m (5 Oct 2005 15:04): rock on k-recs
(7 Oct 2005 2:00): Rock over Chicago.
Wheaties... Breakfast of Champions.
m (7 Oct 2005 17:39): Azure Ray is pretty sweet. Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor have good solo albums, too.
Grant (18 Oct 2005 7:32): I have an SFTP server thingy. You should get stuff off of it. You can upload things onto it, too. I've even got the users 'bell' and 'dex' set up, but I have to set the password to something or something. What's a good temp password? Obviously you can log in and change it.
m (4 Nov 2005 19:21): Spoon - Gimme Fiction. Fucking hot.
m (4 Nov 2005 19:23): grant, I needs me some SFTP -- actually, is there any way to change an ftp password from ftp? Though if you're good for sftp, it means you've got some kind of ssh daemon going, eh?
G (7 Nov 2005 17:33): Yes, that's the plan - When I say 'sftp,' I really mean that you have a shell account, too. So, it should be no problem, right?

I'll try to reset the password, and send you the pertinent details via a friendster message, I guess...
G (7 Nov 2005 17:37): Although, it would really be more convenient if you just told me what password you use for everything, and I'd set it up for you. Just post your password here; I won't tell. :P
G (9 Nov 2005 3:46): So, looks like you got it working, right?

My user name/home directory is 'grza,' and there should be a directory called 'FTP share' or something in it. You should have permissions to upload to it and such, just be nice about the permissions - otherwise, I'll have to ask for you to delete them yourself after a month or two.

Also - any requests?
m (9 Nov 2005 10:31): What do you think of Plans -- had much of a chance to listen to it? Critics seem to think it's DCFC's best yet, but I don't know.
G (24 Nov 2005 7:33): Laura Veirs!
I assume everybody just sorts FTP files by date modified.
It's like a thread view for files!
m (24 Nov 2005 9:16): I know man, she's hot!
Laura Veirs (24 Nov 2005 16:41):
m (25 Nov 2005 0:08): I meant it in the more general sense, as in Sweet or Rockin, but she a looker too.
Grant (27 Nov 2005 15:53): Yeah, I know. And I didn't mean for that to be any sort of real commentary on her looks, either. But I had some time, so I went and found a picture of her, and then I did what I do with all of the crap I see on the internet - I foisted it off on somebody else.
G (27 Nov 2005 15:58): Also, the Quotation Union has accused the two capital letters 'S' and 'V' of unfair competition.
G (27 Nov 2005 15:58): V EQUALS R
Grant (12 Dec 2005 1:07): Have you guys listened to the Oricon (think pop music chart) top 30 for the week of 12/12?
It's not all good, or anything, but it might be interesting just as a slice of day-to-day life in Japan.
And, you know, you'll probably like some of it. If you, uh, like Japanese pop.
"Bold and Delicious" is terrible, though, in my opinion. Garbage.
And if you're lucky, maybe your MP3 player will parse the tags correctly (read: the same way the tagger's MP3 player did)! Mine sure didn't. Maybe I'll put up two versions, 'cause otherwise it might be hard to figure out what's what. Or I could put up a version that's been English-fied, but that'd be a lot of work, y'know?

Mission Complete

Grant (29 Jun 2005 23:43): As the last man standing, I declare myself the winner of Mancalablog.

Next up, I'm gonna go defeat the posters on some other web page. Real World Tech, maybe?
m (30 Jun 2005 0:32): I see a post by Paul a few days ago -- no declaring victory at least until he's two weeks off of the net with Xilitlan bacteria throwing parties in his lower intestine.
Foiled Again (30 Jun 2005 18:56): Currrsesss!

Image Board

G (9 Apr 2005 0:44):


Paul (11 Dec 2004 15:27): I know you may not use Debian, but can you try to help me find the Lame .deb package? It's gone from Is Debian losing packages or something?? This is lame...
Grant (12 Dec 2004 23:16):

You won't find it in dselect because of issues with the Frauenhoffer patent, if I recall.
Specifically, it's not open source, so it can't go in the main directory.
It's also not distributable internationally (Germany), so it can't go in non-free.
And the US is not the only exception, so it can't go in non-US.
And I guess they don't feel like making a category for stuff that everybody wants to use, but which is even more frequently illegal. Or something.
Grant (12 Dec 2004 23:18): Speaking of which, when last I spoke with a know-it-all Debian user, he said that basically as long as you're not running some sort of ultra-important server and you're not going to do anything too hairy, it was a pretty good idea to go ahead and use packages from unstable, since there's a lot of good stuff in there, and it can sometimes take way too long for packages to be promoted.
Paul (16 Dec 2004 18:54): Well, I got Lame source from and sudo make install actually worked! (I've had bad luck with make in the past...)

Yes, I think I'm using unstable. Actually, I'm rather confused about how packages get migrated from unstable to testing to stable, and how I decide which to get... Like, when my computer boots, it says "testing/unstable"; what is that?
Paul (16 Dec 2004 18:55): Isn't it open source? I thought I got the source code from sourceforge...
(20 Dec 2004 6:58): Open source doesn't really apply in this case, as I understand it.
You see, that open source happens to infringe upon software patents. At least, it does the way some countries interpret it.


Paul (6 Jul 2004 8:33): Hello again. Sorry I keep not posting for long periods of time. I'm now in Swarthmore, visiting my grandmother (aka Gee-gee). Fortunately the Swarthmore College library has free internet access.