Various Political Notes


Dear Dustin Richardson: You’re Doing It Wrong

Dustin Richardson, last seen tooling around in the Braves farm system before he got canned, was suspended 50 games for being caught with five banned substances in his system.  On the one hand, I give him credit for doing it To The Max, but on the other hand, when your main problem is that you couldn’t find the strike zone with two hands and a map, PEDs aren’t going to help you out much.

Via Rotoworld, which doesn’t really let me link to an individual story.

It’s Like Planned Economies Don’t Work Or Something…

(Via Mike Munger)

When the government starts mandating that organizations use things which don’t exist, you have problems.  This kind of idiocy—and then following through on fines because organizations didn’t buy something which didn’t exist!—is a natural outcome of government control.  The major difference between the US and USSR in this case is that at least the government officials in charge of the businesses knew the game well enough to lie through their teeth…

Even Better Than Burying Money

Trade with non-existent aliens.  This is another bit of anecdotal evidence against Keynesianism (and against Keynes himself, as this is just a new spin on one of his ideas):  if your theory ends up with destroying wealth making you richer, you may need to rethink your theory.

If it helps, instead of sinking everything in the ocean, they can just leave all it with me.  After all, in terms of aggregate demand, my having all of this stuff won’t change a thing…

Early thoughts on Mass Effect 2

I finished Mass Effect a few days ago and have begun Mass Effect 2. For your reference, I play a female Shepard Infiltrator class.

— It’s a lot more action oriented. The “tell other companions what to do” bit is much more streamlined and less finicky. There are fewer skills to research (a pity) but that’s a minor complaint because the skills that do exist are pretty awesome.

— I’m still not really happy with the limited ammo aspect, but given that most classes seem to have some kind of combat skill, it’s not as bad as you might think. The heavy weapons are a nice touch — a huge upgrade from nigh-useless grenades in ME1.

— The carry-over from importing saves is both more and less substantial than I thought. It’s mostly story based, unlike Dragon Age to DA: Awakening, for example. The bonuses are nice, but not really ground-breaking.

— The loyalty mission aspect would be a lot better if there were truly mutually exclusive characters. I’m told it’s different if you’re male, but the loyalty system seems silly if you can make everybody loyal to you.

— No inventory management is a nice change.

Overall, I like it a lot. I’m glad that the Mako is gone; the resource mining is a little dull, but it’s certainly an interesting way to incite you to explore new planets. Credits seem harder to come by.

Geeks In Space (And Other Security News)

  • I like the idea of sending up satellites to combat censorship.  More information here and here.  Governments should not be the only entities controlling satellites—that is, unless you want to have space remain as relatively stagnant as it has been the last half-century.  My concern would be overtly criminal activity happening through these satellites—child pornography and the like.  But the current equilibrium is that “there can be child pornography” implies that “government must have the ability to do whatever it wants.”  The federal government can shut down sites at will, and they make mistakes (or sometimes “mistakes”).
  • UPromise, you’re doing it wrong.  You can also read the FTC settlement.  John Pescatore, on the SANS security newsletter, writes, “The lack of ‘clearly disclosing … data collection practices’ is just as serious an issue as not encrypting the collected data.”  The organization was collecting usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and the like, and not telling anybody about this.
  • Protect intellectual property, except from government officials.
  • SEAndroid.  Nice.  Even if I never get a phone with this particular kit, there should be good knock-on effects as a result of publishing the specs.
  • Secure your phone and PCs the Scott Hanselman way.  There’s nothing here that isn’t novel, but it is solid advice.