alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
Remix Revival 2017 A fanart/fanfic remix exchange with signups closing on the 30th. I think this is the first panfandom remix exchange allowing both, I'm pretty excited!

[community profile] drawesome A fanart community that has had some fun prompts

Let's Make Games and Drink Responsibly: A gathering for people in the local games community, it was a lot of fun and I had some really interesting and inspiring conversations. Cam came along and it was perfect for him, as someone who is really interested in discussing and making games but isn't working on anything right now. Also Scott Ludlum was there! (I was too shy to talk to him but he said he was happy to be among friends, which was nice to see) It's apparently going to be monthly, best way to follow it right now is probably the Let's Make Games Facebook group.

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 02:39 pm
elle_white: (Sunset)
[personal profile] elle_white
I realised the one thing that makes Equestria Girls better than its parent franchise when it comes to reformation, is that Equestria Girls puts a big emphasis on personal responsibility. You have to own what you've done and honestly want to do better in future.

It was a huge part of Sunset's arc, and she won't have problems forgiving someone if they show genuine remorse. Cinch is so terrible because she's an older woman who takes absolutely no personal responsibility for using and manipulating the children in her care. 

Personal responsibility and the desire to change for the better is often glossed over in FiM. Starlight feeling honest remorse wasn't crucial to her being given a second chance, and that was one of the major issues with it. 

The running theme of Equestria Girls is actively trying to do better, and getting their with the help of friends. FiM doesn't have that kind of depth to it, which is why redemption doesn't work as well in FiM. 

Capitalism and housing

Jul. 16th, 2017 11:35 am
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
In which I argue that the lack of affordable housing indicates something horribly wrong, and not with capitalism as such.

Have you heard of Walmart? Of course you have. What are they known for? Providing lots and lots of cheap shit. Also for bullying local governments and squeezing suppliers, but that's not the point here, which is: cheap shit. They have nicer competitors: Target, Kmart, Dollar Stores.

Plane seats are jammed and humiliating but also cheaper than they ever have been, modulo gas prices.

You can spend thousands of dollars on a fancy bicycle, or less than $100 on a cheap one.

Stores are full of cheap, if sometimes unhealthy, food.

You can spend under $13,000, or maybe $12,000 on a new car, or over $100,000 on a luxury sports car.

Many of us wear cheap clothes, "from Third World sweatshops"; others spend $thousands on elite designer clothing.

You can get a watch for $15, or $1500. They'll tell time about the same.

Our economy is full of selling cheap stuff to the masses and expensive stuff to the rich, and various things in between, (sometimes including selling cheap stuff for higher prices, if you can pull off price discrimination.) Because that's how you make the most profit, not by only making luxury stuff.

But in housing, particularly in some markets, it's said that developers are only building luxury housing. If true, why would that be? Why would housing be unlike every other part of the economy?

"Everyone needs housing, so they can extort you." Nope, that won't fly. Everyone needs food and clothing, and in the US lots of people need cars.

"They're just chasing profit." But the point of my examples is that there's tons of profit in non-luxury goods and services. Walmart is *huge*, with its founder's children inheriting $20 billion each of accumulated profit.

And in fact, if you look around the world, you do see cheap(er) housing options. Mobile and manufactured homes for the individual, pre-fab housing for soulless but cheap developer tracts, microapartments that cut living space to 100 square feet, SRO hotels that go further by making you share bathroom and kitchen (if any), granny apartments. In cheap land markets (prefab housing in surbuban developments) and expensive ones (microapartments in Tokyo and Hong Kong.)

But not in Boston, or San Francisco. Why not? Is there something about those places that makes developers spontaneously ignore non-luxury demand? Or is something, like zoning laws and permitting processes, preventing them from doing so?

If you know me, you probably know my answer: the latter. But if you don't like that answer, what's your alternative? Why don't we see Walmarts, Spirit Airlines, $15 watches, and $13,000 cars of modern urban housing?

(no subject)

Jul. 15th, 2017 02:00 pm
elle_white: (Natsume)
[personal profile] elle_white
 I think I can honestly say now that Natsume's Book of Friends has made it onto the list of my top 5 favourite anime. 

Discord!

Jul. 12th, 2017 09:27 pm
alias_sqbr: And yet all I can think is this will make for a great dreamwidth entry. (dreamwidth)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
The irc-like chat program Discord is the new shiny fannish social media. One advantage over irc is that it shows all messages posted, not just the ones you're there for, which makes for a better ongoing conversation. The advantage over tumblr etc is the ability to have private-ish, moderated, communal conversations. The advantage over message boards and mailing lists is that it's new and shiny.

I quite like it but it can be tricky finding servers (eg chat rooms) relevant to my interests. Currently I'm only a member of public ones, so I can share the links freely. Here are all the ones I know about.
Read more... )

Colonoscopy post July 2017

Jul. 12th, 2017 12:39 am
alias_sqbr: Me on a couch asleep with a cat sitting on my lap top, with the caption out of spoons error (spoons)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
Mostly for my own future reference. I'm making this public in case other people find it useful, but if you don't have a colonoscopy coming up you will probably find it TMI and boring.
Read more... )

Well ...

Jul. 10th, 2017 07:55 pm
elle_white: (Star Wars)
[personal profile] elle_white
 There is an awful lot of Sabine/Leia shipping fuel in the latest Star Wars: Forces of Destiny!

youtu.be/OgNnBNvLB2Y

reclaiming neoliberalism?!

Jul. 9th, 2017 02:31 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
If you asked me what 'neoliberal' meant, I'd point to the austerity policies being imposed on Greece and other weak euro countries, Thatcher, Reagan, the World Bank and IMF before the IMF started being convinced by the evidence. Obsession with balanced budgets, cutting social programs and raising taxes to balance those budgets, free trade deals at the expense of environmental and labor protections, austerity policies (austerians). Overlapping a lot with 'fiscal conservative' because words are weird.

However, in 2016, it seemed lots of people used it differently, almost to the point of being a generic insult by leftists. A lot of my above view comes from Paul Krugman, who opposes all that, so when I saw some writer call him (and Christina Romer, who's done good work to debunk supply-side economics) neoliberals, because they supported Hillary and were dubious about Bernie's economic numbers, I knew something had gone horribly wrong.

For that matter, there's treating Hillary herself as an avatar of neoliberalism, despite supporting minimum wage increase (and indexing to inflation!), universal health care, and other basically liberal things, as well as voting against the only multilateral trade deal (CAFTA) that came before her as a Senator.

And just the other day I saw someone call "build more housing" the "neoliberal solution to gentrification". Which I guess is true, in that neoliberals would support it, but if that's distinctly neoliberal, then call me a neoliberal...

But while searching for some gun post, I ran across the /r/neoliberal reddit, and these related posts:
https://medium.com/@s8mb/im-a-neoliberal-maybe-you-are-too-b809a2a588d6#.vblgkqcsw
https://www.reddit.com/r/neoliberal/wiki/faq
https://bensouthwood.tumblr.com/post/68356441500/neoliberalism

which don't entirely agree -- the first is "trashing" the work of the third -- but paint a rather diffent picture than the austerians terrorizing Greece. The first is market friendly, but also liberal consequentialist, endorsing strong but not absolute property rights and endorsing redistribution. The third calls neoliberalism very similar to social democracy, maybe a bit more market-friendly, where I'd have called neoliberalism largely about dismantling social democracy.

The second, the reddit faq, calls it to the right of social democracy. Also, somewhat vaguely, as supporting capitalism and government interventions to fix the flaws of capitalism. Which, the way I grew up, is just liberalism, though maybe friendlier to free trade and to talking about markets. And:

"while we often share similar goals, social democrats tend to be significantly more skeptical of the merit of the free market on principle than neoliberals tend to be. In the same way that classical liberals might be seen as one step to the right of us, social democrats might be seen as one step to the left."

Though when it talks about rising income inequality (as a problem!) it 'blames' technology first, institutions second. I'd blame institutions more, and suggest that you can't educate everyone into having high income.

OTOH, if you look at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism
the lead is basically what I described at first. Laissez-faire, privatization, austerity, etc. Ick! OTOH, in the 1930s it meant 'an attempt to trace a so-called "third" or "middle" way between the conflicting philosophies of classical liberalism and socialist planning... promoted instead a market economy under the guidance and rules of a strong state, a model which came to be known as the social market economy.' But it dropped out in the 1960s, and came back in the 1980s associated with Pinochet's reforms.

So, interesting. I *have* wished for a term that would unambiguously cover me, Krugman, and Yglesias -- fairly liberal, even lefty, people, who still like markets and want to fix them, not replace them or grudgingly put up with them. Social democrat and US liberal have a strong connotation of being suspicious of that, in understandable but excessive reaction to conservative/libertarian worship of markets. I think there are things that need deregulation (zoning, taxis), but it's not a general principle or anything, Some regulations good, some suck.

That said, unambiguous labels pretty much don't exist. I'll stick to 'liberal' or 'social democrat' for now, while getting called 'neoliberal' by lefties because I believe in supply and demand curves. But it'll be interesting to see if these reclaimers go anywhere.

links

Jul. 9th, 2017 02:10 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
Is Tesla overvalued? Argues Tesla either can't cause disruption, or can't monopolize it. https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/6/26/15872468/tesla-gm-ford-valuation-justifying-disruption

did Seattle's minimum wage lower employment? two studies, two reports
and two summaries, differing about which sucked
http://www.eoionline.org/blog/a-tale-of-two-studies/
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/27/15879346/study-high-minimum-wage-job-killer-seattle

Internet addiction and ethical web design https://aeon.co/amp/essays/if-the-internet-is-addictive-why-don-t-we-regulate-it

Asian anthem authoritarianism http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/28/asia/philippines-anthem-bill/index.html

Air pollution still kills thousands. http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/06/28/534594373/u-s-air-pollution-still-kills-thousands-every-year-study-concludes

Intravenous vitamin C as cure for sepsis? http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/could-deadly-infections-be-cured-vitamin-c-180963843/

origin of Ashkenazi? https://theconversation.com/uncovering-ancient-ashkenaz-the-birthplace-of-yiddish-speakers-58355?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=facebookbutton

slow progress in parking reform: http://nyc.streetsblog.org/2017/06/27/american-cities-are-chipping-away-at-the-burden-of-parking-mandates/

Sea Trek https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?805937-Star-Trek-Alternate-Trek-settings&p=21196309#post21196309

plate tectonics and evolution https://theconversation.com/plate-tectonics-may-have-driven-the-evolution-of-life-on-earth-44571

right to carry increases violent crime, maybe? It uses a fairly new statistical technique to make synthetic controls. The result sounds robust. But the abstract says "elevates violent crime rates, but seems to have no impact on property crime and murder rates". Isn't murder a violent crime?
http://news.stanford.edu/2017/06/21/violent-crime-increases-right-carry-states/
https://www.nber.org/papers/w23510

expert view on reducing gun deaths https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/10/upshot/How-to-Prevent-Gun-Deaths-The-Views-of-Experts-and-the-Public.html?_r=0

oil eating bacteria https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170626155740.htm
Neanderthal dentistry https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170628131510.htm
host specific enemies and tropical biodiversity https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170629142949.htm

Vancouver sea wolves http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/sea-oceans-wolves-animals-science/