Dinosaur Comics nails it. Sometimes these scientists lose teeth—that’s how into science they are.
May 18, 2013
May 17, 2013
A solar company is suing the federal government because they aren’t getting enough taxpayer handouts. When your business model is to have Congress screw over taxpayers so you can line your pockets with money selling products that people don’t actually want, it’s understandable that you’d want those handouts to continue. Otherwise, these people would have to make things which are actually valuable enough to keep them in business, and that’s hard work.
May 16, 2013
- There can’t possibly be any potential security problems with a camera and microphone constantly watching whatever you see, right?
- Speaking of insecure Google products, that AV on your Android device probably isn’t helping very much.
- And we can’t talk about insecure products without mentioning Adobe. This time, it’s ColdFusion. There’s also an article about a ColdFusion bug leading to potential release of 160,000 SSNs (with 94 definitely known to have been released), but parsing the article leads me to believe that this was a case of not updating rather than a vulnerability with no patch at the time of exploitation.
- And don’t forget about physical security.
- Good news regarding website security. Way too many sites are still vulnerable, but SQL injection appears to be in decline, meaning that people are doing it right. Fixing cross-site scripting and information leakage problems should be relatively simple problems as well, so this number ought to go down further.
May 15, 2013
The IRS appears to have targeted particular types of groups, subjecting them to intense and unconstitutional levels of scrutiny. Shockingly (shockingly!), these are right-of-center and Jewish organizations. The only valid response is to get rid of the culture of corruption at the IRS, and that means mass firings that go all the way to the top.
The likelihood of this happening, naturally, approaches zero.
Mitch McConnell notes that other governmental organizations might be complicit in similar activities and names several. I’d add the Department of Labor to that list, too. The Obama administration imported Chicago-style politics, and this is classic: use the power of the State to grind down political opponents.
Bonus snippet: an IRS agent gets a tiny piece of comeuppance.
May 14, 2013
Ruth Bader Ginsburg agrees that Roe was wrongfully decided. I disagree with her reasoning, but agree with her conclusion and some of her implications. Roe was one of the most egregious examples of the Supreme Court legislating from the bench and, far from settling the issue, created a cantankerous, multi-generational debate instead. At this point, the best outcome would be to overturn Roe and surrounding court decisions and return this issue to individual states. I agree with Ginsburg that different states will have different abortion laws, and I consider that a net positive because people can take abortion laws (among many other factors) into consideration when deciding where to live. Federalism works, whereas one-size-fits-all policy tends not to.
May 13, 2013
In the short term, 3D printed guns aren’t a big deal (somewhat contra Charles C. W. Cooke’s argument). You still need a high-end 3D printer, so it’s not the type of thing you can slap into a Maker Bot and get a working gun out of. In the medium term, I think it spells the end of effective supply-side gun control legislation. These plans will get better, the tools will get cheaper, and the knowledge necessary to create a gun will become internalized more effectively.
On the whole, I would consider this a good thing for the same reason I consider 3D printing in general a good thing: it reduces the power of the manufacturer relative to the consumer. So naturally, the end result will be banning the third dimension.
May 12, 2013
The House is taking a look at reducing overcriminalization. I like this idea, as long as it leads to something concrete. One consequence of the regulatory State is that criminalization becomes an end in itself: force people to obey an increasing number of laws to regulate behavior all the more tightly. Another, darker consequence of overcriminalization is blackmail potential: we are all likely guilty of committing various crimes on a daily basis (inluding things as simple as jaywalking). When the State can hold that over your head, it might be able to wrest out further concessions.
May 11, 2013
Government officials are required to act as stupid as possible because rigidity prevents corruption. This rigidity leads to insane results, such as laying a felony charge on a 16-year-old girl for performing a science experiment. As front-line soldiers in the fight against competence and intelligence, school officials did what they do best: panic, overreact, and expel the girl because school officials must be slaves to their own moronic rules.
If the State knew about the science experiments I did as a 16-year-old in chemistry class… (Hints: one involved thermite; another was a demonstration of the combination of ammonia and hydrochloric acid)
May 10, 2013
Microsoft’s Windows Store patching strategy is problematic. Well, to put it a little bit better, it’s a step back from the older updating strategy. This new strategy can work for desktop and mobile applications, but for a business environment, the ability to determine patch levels and roll back patches quickly is vital. The Android and IOS store updates are fine for consumer-grade products that non-technical people use, but if Microsoft releases a patch which, say, causes machines no longer to boot (like they did recently), businesses need to roll that thing back immediately.
Hopefully Microsoft is able to incorporate their standard, well-known, and working patch strategy into Windows Store, rather than trying to simplify things at the expense of businesses.
This will be like my series of articles for Madden, only it’s all in one article, and it’s about Out of the Park Baseball 2014 instead of Madden 12. I am assuming that a) you are playing with scouting turned on and b) you are using standard MLB 2013 settings.
Step 1: The two most important positions on your team are team trainer and scout.
Team trainers are generated less frequently than any coaching position, and there are maybe one or two good ones each year. They keep your pricey baseball players from getting hurt. Scouts mean more accurate ratings (although pay attention to their bias — this will affect how they value certain traits).
Step 2: The most important place to spend money, apart from these two positions, is your scouting budget.
This determines, again, how accurate your ratings are. How you divvy it up is important too, but not as important. The more money you have, total, the better off you are. As far as how you divide it up, that depends on your particular philosophy for improving your team. That leads me into step 3…
Step 3: Choose a design philosophy for your team.
A lot of this depends on the size of your market, the size of your budget, and how expensive your current roster is. There are three ways to effectively build a roster:
International free agents/recruits – the new International Complex lets you store up to 50 players between the ages of 16 or 20. Your scout will find these periodically during the season (for free), and there will be an international free agent bidding process after the draft.
The draft — This is potentially the cheapest way of acquiring talent in terms of money. Only the first five rounds have mandatory bonuses. However, about 90% of this is out of your hands — if your team isn’t terrible, you’ll have a lot of difficulty getting good prospects at the top of the draft.
Acquiring established talent — Either through trades or free agency. Trading for prospects is a great way to supplement the draft. The trade AI isn’t entirely brilliant, but it does tend to value players correctly.
You can, of course, use a combination of all three, but the scouting budget is best used if you focus on no more than two areas (as in 25%+ spent). Major league scouting is best for established veterans, minor league scouting for prospects; amateurs and international scouting are self explanatory. You don’t want to overspecialize either; you can be penalized with inaccurate ratings from time to time (some of which can be mighty expensive).
Step 4: Figure out what you have.
Ratings are nice, but don’t tell the whole story; check your stats too. Some players over perform their ratings pretty consistently; others under perform. Rate stats are generally more useful than counting stats; I personally use VORP and OPS+ for hitters, ERA+, FIP, and BABIP for pitchers. K/BB ratio is extremely important as well.
Step 5: Shed payroll.
More money is better than less money. Look for overpriced veterans, or guys getting their first crack at free agency but aren’t worth the huge contracts they’ll command. This may mean your first year will be rough; that’s part of the cost of doing business.
Step 6: Use freed up money sensibly.
The best use of money is ALWAYS buying out arbitration years of talented rookies. Cost certainty is absolutely critical for long term planning, and that’s how you’ll get out of whatever rut you find yourself. Failing that, invest in international free agents and the draft. Major league free agents should be pursued only when a) you get good value, b) you need one or two cogs for a championship, or c) if it’s something you’ve had a hard time developing yourself. Never pay more than $2 million for a reliever unless he’s the closer or likely to be very soon. Try to balance offense and defense as best you can, but if you can’t, go for one extreme or another. Guys who can kind of hit and kind of field tend to get a lot of money — they aren’t worth it.
Step 7: Hire the best coaches money can buy.
Cheap talent is useless if you don’t develop it, and for that you need coaches. It isn’t clear what the Player Development Budget does, but it’s better to have too much in it than not enough. Stockpile coaches, so when they retire you don’t always have to look on the open market for it. Resign good ones.
One bonus step to long term success:
Step 8: If you play GM only mode, watch the AI’s lineups.
The AI will do very stupid things if you let it. These include playing guys out of position and letting a great defender get all the at bats because why not? Sometimes it is better to trade that great defender to keep him out of the lineup.
That’s it for now — I’ll have some quick hits in a few days, and will be happy to answer questions in the comments.