Monday, November 29, 2010

Crime mapping

I'm not really sure why, maybe because I'm a paranoid white person, but I'm interested in crime mapping. It lets me know where I can safely walk. Nice feeling. Governments have sometime provided crime maps to the public, but if you live in an area where those maps have just never been made, you're out of luck. If you're another paranoid white person, like me, check out It'll map all of the local crimes, including weird ones like bomb threats.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ad of the Year

A driving safety ad has won YouTube's first annual Ad of the Year Award. Like so many ads for driving safety, it misses the point entirely. People know what the consequences are. They don't need to see another ad showing blood, or crashes, or even very artistic takes on crashes like this commercial. There is nothing in an ad that can get people who will not wear their seat belts to start doing so because they don't think it will ever happen to them.

Why do none of these public service organizations realize that and instead drive home the statistics associated with accidents? You have to convince people that it can and will happen to them, not show them the juicy results of an accident that they don't think they'll ever encounter.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Science Be Praised!

If you're already running Folding@Home and SETI@Home, I have another way for you to participate in the global, scientific progress. You can help spot super novae!

Apparently, super novae are problematic things to catch, because even though they happen frequently enough, they only last a short time. And every night there are thousands of photographs that people must sift through by hand and analyze personally to tell whether what they're seeing is a true super novae.

C'mon. All the cool kids are doing it.

Help Scientists Hunt for Exploding Stars (

Don't Buy From China

I'm starting, today, an attempt to not buy stuff made in China. Not for nationalistic reasons, but because the Liu Xiaobo situation has reminded me that China is still a nasty dictatorship. They're using economic growth as a salve over political and social discontent. This is NOT because I want to buy stuff made in the US. I don't give a crap. But I'm going to do my best to not buy stuff from China and I encourage you to do the same.

Nobel Piece

It looks as though the Nobel Peace prize will not be handed out this year. Reports indicate that China has clamped down on family members of Liu Xiaobo's family and are preventing any of them from traveling to receive the award. Stay classy, Far East.

China is running the usual channels of political pressure and are pushing for countries to not accept invitations to the awards ceremony. Currently, the countries that have declined invitations are Russia, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Morocco and Iraq. Well, that's some spectacular company that China is keeping. If for no other reason, we know that China is wrong simply by its shithead friends.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Economics And The Conversation

I think that I'm going to stop talking about economics. I do have some background in it, but econ has become much like politics in that everyone has an opinion. My background is worthless against an asshole. The Wall Street Journal is seeing big increases in sales, and it's not because we have more bankers being born. EVERYONE is an economist these days. Because, like, reading the Journal is like being there. Like, yeah.

That's one of the reasons why I hate Austrian economists (the school, not the country). They reject most econometrics, which is the only thing that gives any structure to the conversation! This likely explains why most armchair economists are conservatives. You don't need credentials or evidence when your official position is that credentials and evidence are useless!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Marketing People are Retarded

This subject is near and dear to my heart: Suits and ties and marketing people.

These people are the scum of the universe. They go out, get degrees in whatever, feel self-important, learn a vocabulary of impressive-sounding words, then weasel their way into positions of power

People like the guys in PBS's early 2000's Frontline, Merchants of Cool. They talk like they know what's going on, labeling behaviors, both group and individual, with semi-scientific sounding words, but their actions say that they don't. Their actions say that they don't have a fucking clue.

Why do these marketing people fail? Why do they not understand people? Well, because they're stupid. The merchants of cool have no idea what cool is because they themselves were NOT COOL when they were young. They were the freaks and geeks. That's the reason why they've become so obsessed with what is cool. They've dedicated their lives to trying to quantify the nebulous qualities that they so sorely lacked when they were younger.

Do you want to know what cool is? I'll tell you right now, and you don't even have to pay me. It's confidence and sexiness. That's it. You're selling them what they don't have. They aren't confident with themselves and they don't feel sexy. If you market like that and have a quality product, you're golden. It's that simple. Any marketing guy who says otherwise is saying so because he doesn't want to lose his job.

This isn't directly connected other than being the brainchild of retarded business people. Video game companies are raising prices and using tricks associated with online content to try and force more money out of people. Why would they be doing this? Why wouldn't they be using the wonder of the always-on digital age to try and create even more value for users? Why wouldn't they expand into services that the old paradigm of physical media didn't allow?

Because they're retarded, that's why. Books written ten years, reworked, edited, and finally published two years ago, don't have answers for the problems of today, and no matter how much time you spent in MBA school, that reality is inescapable.

For example, Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2 are two games with downloadable content that is unavailable if you buy the game used. Game companies hate the used game industry, so they're trying to step over it.

Instead of, I dunno', raising value or decreasing prices, they're trying to squeeze more money from the balls of consumers with downloadable content that costs extra or by raising the prices, thus making used games even more attractive.

What will the $15 extra, to access the online content, mentioned in this recent lawsuit do?

Well, it will immediately drop the value of the used games a further $15. This on top of the $5 discount from buying used. So $20 off. Instead of $60-$70, the game is $40-$50. And even worse, the reduced value of the used copy will reduce the value of the new copy for hard-core gamers who frequently sell back games to buy new ones, just like cars. You pay more than a Kia for a Honda, but you can later sell it for more than the Kia, either equalizing the equation or, frequently, making the Honda actually cost less.

This is not a difficult concept! This is Econ 101 at a community college taught by Sloth from The Goonies! What the fuck!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Health or Education

I saw an interesting post in regards to Afghanistan asking whether it was more important for us to push for education or health. You can easily see the issue. People can't learn if they're sick, and people have a hard time not being sick when stupid.

From a foreign policy perspective, it's certainly a sticky issue. The organic growth of increasing health, education, and social stability that the west went through is something that would take multiple generations. We could wait that long, but we might not need to.

I think that it's a false dichotomy. Obviously, health must be covered first, but only for the students. If we can create an island of health in an otherwise destitute area, as long as violence doesn't take that away, we can then focus on the education of the healthy. A very small degree of health must be ensured before education becomes paramount, but after that point, education is without doubt the most important element in society building.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Anti-Suffrage Propaganda

While I admit that the progressive perspective might be incorrect, the fact that "conservatives" are so damned stupid, they can't possibly be correct. If we incorporate a historical perspective, modern conservatives must own that their... ilk, were the same who, a generation ago, did shit like this. No, conservatives today would not argue that women shouldn't be allowed to vote, but the building blocks that underpin the beliefs are the same.

Anti-Suffrage Propaganda (Buzz Feed)