Phaedrus' Street Crew
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About pkirkner

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    Philadelphia, PA
  1. Episode 453: Black Hawk Down and Zulu

    I finally listened to this episode while doing some chores around the house today, and just wanted to say that I really enjoyed Troy & Rob At the Movies and would love for more episodes like this. As far as suggestions go, I'll give my self-centered pitch. As a former navy enlisted person, I find that as a rule navy movies are officer-centric to a degree that you don't usually see in films about armies, and that The Sand Pebbles and The Last Detail are welcome exceptions to that rule that might make a good pairing.
  2. I just wanted to point out that Consulting Detective was originally developed in 1981 in your fine city of San Francisco by a company called Sleuth Publications. The authors credited are Gary Grady, Suzanne Goldberg, and Raymond Edwards. I have two different early 80's printings of the game (one softcover, one loose-leaf), and they list the following addresses: Sleuth Publications 2527 24th Street San Francisco, CA 94110 and Sleuth Publications, Ltd. 689 Florida Street San Francisco, CA 94110
  3. Regarding the lumber ads Chris heard on a British politics podcast, they may be using dynamic ad insertion. The one podcast I listen to hosted by BlogTalkRadio frequently has what are essentially local radio ads for my area, presumably based upon my IP address.
  4. That was great. I was totally expecting that one-v-one DayZ stream between Sean and Olly to come up during the Battlegrounds discussion at the end, especially since that game kind of started as a DayZ mod.
  5. Fantasy Finale XV

    This is the first game in the PS4 / Xbox One generation that kind of makes me want to buy a console.
  6. Other podcasts

    FYI, Vanaman popped up on the most recent episode of The Ringer's video game podcast, which is hosted on their Channel 33 feed.
  7. Bioware-esque RPG

    The Witcher 3 is superb, but it's very different from Mass Effect and Dragon Age. The protagonist is kind of a loner and doesn't travel with a party of fellow adventurers that banter back and forth. While it lacks most of that sense of camaraderie that develops over the course of a typical Bioware RPG, what it does have is the most well-realized open world I've seen in a video game. I tend to hate open world games, and came to loathe the open world aspects of DA: Inquisition, but I genuinely enjoy all the time I spend in The Witcher 3's world doing side-quests and such. They're written with so much more care than I'm accustomed to in this kind of game and that makes all the difference for me. The game also supports playing with Polish voice acting and English menus and subtitles, which I prefer since I found the protagonist's English voice grating.
  8. The Next President

    This piece on Clinton's get out the vote effort written by a couple of Sanders organizers was interesting. It aligns with my own experiences, which were of the Sanders campaign frequently contacting me via text during the primary season to alert me of local campaign events and then contacting me twice on primary day reminding me to vote (and probably would have continued to do so until the polls closed if I hadn't responded and said I'd already voted) and the Clinton campaign contacting me all of once via text two weeks before election day asking me last-minute to volunteer at an event.
  9. The Next President

    Clinton's been reviled by the right since the 90's. Nominating her precluded almost any chance of swaying a single voter in the Fox News / conservative talk radio ecosystem. She had basically no credibility with the portion of the Democratic coalition that traces its roots to the labor movement. She's a former Wal-mart board member. Her husband was the standard-bearer in the party's abandonment of the New Deal in favor of Reagan's economic polices, campaigned on ending welfare in 1992, oversaw the negotiations for NAFTA, and signed the repeal of Glass-Steagall. Since 2000, her family has massively enriched themselves via corporate speaking fees, many of them from enormous financial institutions whose very existence would have been illegal prior to her husband's presidency. This election was a gamble by the Democratic Party that the party's social progressivism would be enough to carry the day all by its lonesome. It wasn't, even against a Republican nominee that 60% of the population has an unfavorable view of. Think of how badly she would have lost against a Republican that didn't bleed 3 million more votes to the Libertarian Party than Romney. I really hope the Democratic party leadership does some soul-searching after this.
  10. The Next President

    Those projections were inaccurate. They assumed higher early vote turnout would correspond to higher election day turnout, and it seems the opposite was true. The turnout this year was the lowest since 2000. Clinton received about 6 million votes less than Obama in 2012 and Trump received about a million votes less than Romney in 2012.
  11. The Next President

    I think the attempt at fake balance is less harmful than the elevation of the horse race as the only newsworthy part of the election. Media companies have basically adopted the sports coverage model for politics. Rather than debating the potential impact of any policy proposal, event, or scandal on the American people or the world, television talking heads chatter endlessly about what that day's events mean for the election as if the election is an end unto itself.
  12. Rimworld

    I found the two systems that govern it deeply unsatisfying. The first is the trait system. Every character starts out with a handful of traits. These remain fixed for the entire game regardless of what they experience over the course of months and years in your colony, and their impact is always the same. For example, a character with depression always suffers from a static negative modifier to their mood score and a character with the "slothful" trait always works more slowly than your other colonists. In contrast to Crusader Kings II, in which characters gain and lose traits in response to life experiences, Rimworld's traits are immutable. That's always struck me as weird, because life experiences do impact a colonist's statistics. For example, when a character experiences the death of a loved one their mood score suffers a negative impact that slowly diminishes over time and if a character is stoned they work more slowly until they sober up. But if a character is industrious, lazy, or depressed, they will forever be thus. The second is the mood system. It works on a scale from 0-100. If a character's mood falls below certain thresholds, they're at risk of a mental breakdown. These breakdowns manifest as: Hiding in their room Binging on food Binging on drugs Wandering in a daze while stripping off their clothes Melee attacking any people or animals they see until subdued or killed Additionally, characters with the pyromaniac trait will experience mental breaks regardless of mood and start setting fire to everything around them. Mainly, I take issue with the violent episodes. It's really weird that this game doesn't model self-harm (with the exception of the very recently-added drug binges) or suicide, but models folks in mental distress harming those around them and treats it as a frequent occurance.
  13. Rimworld

    Yeah, I didn't find the article all that damning. It was illuminating about the assumptions that were coded into the game and seemed like a good jumping off point for a broader discussion interrogating those assumptions and the short-cuts and compromises that are necessary when modeling incredibly complex human systems in a game like this. It's a shame Sylvester was more interested in railing against the publisher and author than having that conversation.
  14. Rimworld

    That was a nice piece of reporting. I've wondered for some time whether the game's poor handling of relationships, mental health, and substance abuse was more a case of lazy placeholders in an early access game or the developer's view of the world. It was helpful of him to erase any doubt about that in the comments section.
  15. The Next President

    I've been a registered voter in Pennsylvania since 1999, but between college and military service this is the first time as an adult that I've lived in the state, or in Philadelphia, during a presidential campaign, and I've been struck by the gulf between how the two campaigns are operating. Pennsylvania tends to vote a lot like America votes on the national level: in years there's a presidential election and turnout is relatively high, Democrats win by a narrow margin, and in years there's no presidential election and turnout is lower, Republicans win by a narrow margin. That makes us a swing state of sorts, so presidential campaigns spend a lot of their resources here. Since the party conventions, the pattern in PA has been: Trump or Pence himself swings through the state a couple times a month and holds a couple of rallies or photo ops on each trip, while the Clinton campaign keeps a similar schedule for the candidates, but augments that with basically weekly stops in Philadelphia alone by campaign surrogates like Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. A lot of Republican office-holders seem to be officially defecting from Trump right now, but the fact that basically none of them have been out on the stump in battleground states for him over the past few months tells me that Trump's never had more than grudging support among Republican office-holders. Heck, John McCain even came out to PA to campaign for our Republican candidate for the Senate, but Trump has had none of that sort of support from the party. I wonder how much that would have mattered on election day, had this tape of Trump joking about sexual assault not surfaced.