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    • AvatarGeorge Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon on The GM Strike is Going to Take a WhileA major factor affecting house prices is that real estate is an investment, so in a way pushing a cheaper house is like saying you've figured out an innovative way to make dollar bills worth half as much. And on top of that, cities and planning commissions, who have to approve everything, are elected by homeowners who want to see their property values go up, not down. Existing homeowners would profit from skyrocketing prices, and there are more homeowners than home buyers. That's far less of a problem in rural areas where there's less bureaucracy and endless land owning options.
    • AvatarMike Schilling in reply to Jaybird on Light-Sabers Up! Episode IV: A New HopeSure, (spoiler) dies… but he becomes more powerful than we could possibly imagine. Sort of like Gandalf. And somebody else that I can't quite place.
    • Avatargabriel conroy in reply to Jaybird on Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”From my perspective of (mostly) an outsider looking in, what you say makes sense , both your main comment and your parenthetical.
    • AvatarNorth in reply to Oscar Gordon on The GM Strike is Going to Take a WhileTo be fair housing costs is significantly a factor of location and without incredible leaps in transportation tech or space/time folding locations aren't something we can make more of (and hideous political forces that transcend partisanship- NIMBYS- significantly impede our ability to optimize the locations we do have).
    • AvatarLeeEsq in reply to fillyjonk on Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”See my post below but I'm in complete agreement. It is a method of gate keeping and status seeking. I suspect that every hobby community has people like this.
    • AvatarLeeEsq on Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”People who are really good at something often hate having to make concessions to people who are only average or not so good at something. They, somewhat rightly believe, that they put hours of work and many times invested a lot of money in something so why should they have to deal with people unwilling to do that. The more casual hobbyists can say that "these things aren't life and death things. They are just supposed to be fun ways to pass the time. I just want to be able to get good enough to do this and have fun." In my hobby group, the dance community, we see this sort of behavior a lot. Many of the dance professionals make passionate attempts at moral suasion, "we are all one big dance family, by kind to one another" and the ever popular "the real good dancers dance with everybody." The more skilled hobbyists aren't having it. Video games and I suspect every hobby community has the same issue. I think it is unsolvable because human beings are status seekers. Since real status in important areas of life are out of reach too many people, they seek status within a hobby community. They do so by getting really good and being seen as desirable within the community. For the more casual hobbyists, this seems to be turning something they do for fun or stress relief into work.
    • AvatarJaybird on Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”There are a couple of solutions that seem to have appeared organically. I am an enthusiastic fan of the first, a reluctant participant in the second. The first is: Achievements. Give the player a Trophy Case. Beat the game on Easy? Get a Bronze Trophy. Beat the game on Normal? Get a Silver Trophy. Beat the game on Hard? Get a Gold Trophy. Behold, the gatekeeper can say. Feast your eyes on my Platinum Trophy! Weep, Silver Trophy holders! And everybody is happy. The second is: "True Endings". Sure, you can beat the game on Easy... but you won't see the best cutscene... If you beat it on Normal, you can see a better cutscene... but if you want to see the *BEST* cutscene? You have to beat it on Hard. Or go to YouTube.
    • AvatarJaybird in reply to Murali on Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”Otherwise, in most cases, there should be an easy mode if the normal mode is too difficult. The meat is in the difference between "in most cases" and "all".
    • AvatarOscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels on The GM Strike is Going to Take a WhileYou are the architect, so tell me, how much of the techniques and technologies of residential construction remain fixed because of regulatory and industry resistance? When I have time to do my tech briefs, I often have a link or two to new construction techniques and technologies that could greatly reduce the cost and time to construct a dwelling. How often do such things become widespread, and how often are they quietly pushed aside by entrenched interests who don't want to go the way of the Iceman?
    • AvatarMurali in reply to Jaybird on Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”The argument for easy mode is like this: P1. Game makers should aim to make games that everyone can, at least in principle, enjoy P2. Some people can enjoy a game only if there was an easy mode P3. Game makers should aim to provide an easy mode (from P1 and P2) C. Game makers should provide an easy mode whenever it is feasible and not too burdensome to do so. (from P3) P3 follows from P1 and P2 by simple modus ponens. C follows from P3 via an elaboration of what it means to aim at doing something. It seems that if I aim at doing something, I do that thing whenever it is feasible and not too burdensome to do so. If I fail to do something even though it is feasible and not too burdensome, it is not entirely clear if I have actually aimed at doing it. Either that or I'm suffering from some kind of akrasia. Since akratic concerns disappear when examining what we ought to do given what we ought to aim at, C follows from P3. P2 is an empirical claim and seems to be true. Scrubs exist and I am probably one of them for most, if not all the games I play. Hence, the only premise that can really be challenged is P1. However, while P1 might initially seem implausible, I think it'[s defensible. For one, all the apparent counterexamples to P1 can be worked around. Counterexample A: I don't enjoy first person shooters, but enjoy RPGs. If P1 is true, then game makers shouldn't even try to make first person shooters. Reply A: While I don't actually enjoy first person shooters, if my tastes we…
    • AvatarJaybird in reply to fillyjonk on Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”Yes, it's absolutely a gatekeeping technique. A game like Stardew Valley can provide huge amounts of zen. You have inherited a farm that has gone to seed. Go out into the field and dig out all of the rocky soil, pull all of the weeds, do some tilling, do some sowing, do some watering, and watch your crops grow. There's no real clock ticking, no real punishment for screwing up. There's tons of stuff to find and explore, of course. But if you don't do it today, you can do it tomorrow. And after a while, you can turn chaos into pastoral order.
    • AvatarJaybird in reply to gabriel conroy on Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”I kinda think it's like food or music. Would Slayer sell more albums if they decided to play something melodic instead of atonal? Yes. Maybe? I don't know. There are niche games for niche people and when someone who is used to mainstream kinda stuff encounters weird niche stuff, it can be off-putting. (One thing that does seem to keep coming up is that there seems to be a clustering of these arguments in the group of Gaming Journalists causing some to speculate that this isn't about accessibility but about allowing people who really wanted to get a job at A Respected Journalism Outlet but could only land a position at the Video Game Desk to play a game and beat it without having to, as the saying goes, "Git Gud".)
    • Avatargabriel conroy in reply to Jaybird on Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”I'll repeat my disclaimer above about my limited repertoire of games and add I've never heard of Dark Souls, etc., until I read your OP. Nevertheless, here's my two cents: For me, it's probably not a question of obligation. They can do what they want. But if they want to attract people to play those games, those people might just like to start with an "easy mode" to figure out the in's and out's or even the basic mechanics of the games. (Whether and why they'd want to attract new gamers might be an open question. If they don't want to, or if gamers are a self-motivated group, then the more power to them.) I've mentioned Triple A. I'd really like to play the Napoleonic and US Civil War scenarios, but they just seem too complicated for me, especially the Civil War scenarios. I might be willing to play them if there were an easy mode. (There are differences b/w triple A and what I imagine Dark Souls, etc. to be like. For one thing, I don't pay a dime for Triple A, so if they don't want to supply an easy mode, then that's fine with me. For another thing, they do supply "easy A.I." and "difficult A.I." modes, which helps. For a third thing, they offer the chance for a lot of customization and, errm, cheating by the solitary player that he/she can make up their own scenario easy enough.)
    • AvatarChip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon on The GM Strike is Going to Take a WhileTo assert that cell phones are cheap because of market forces would be ridiculous. Likewise, to propose the existence of a market in which houses are as cheap as cell phones would be an extraordinary claim, and need some extraordinary evidence. Isn't it more likely that cell phone technology has advanced much more rapidly than construction technology?
    • Henrietta Lowellfillyjonk on Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”I'm not a Real Gamer, so take that as a disclaimer, but: sometimes you just want to have fun and goof and not stress. And even a game can stress me out if it's too difficult and I keep getting killed. Especially when other things in my life are not great. I think the snarking on Easy Mode is just another damned gatekeeping thing, where people set themselves up as arbiters of What's Right and they like being able to dunk on the idea of Easy Mode. And also, it allows them to show themselves (in their minds at least) as better than those noobs or kids or casuals or women or whoever. It's human nature to say "I'm better than (whatever person or group)" and the snarking about "oh you play on easy mode? git gud" is just another manifestation of that. Shoot, I see gatekeeping among some quilters or knitters, even - there are people if you're not tackling the "hard" patterns, they snark about what you do. And you know what? To hell with that. If you want your hobby to die, drive away the "noobs." Lose enough "noobs" and you won't have a next generation of participants. I suspect this is true of everything. I gave up the clarinet as a teen because someone snarked that I wasn't good enough and wasn't playing hard enough stuff. And it's easy to tell someone to have more of a spine, but when all you hear are discouraging words... I don't know. I think *some* games should have easy modes. Maybe not all of them, or maybe they should be up-front about whether they have it or not. Right now,…
    • AvatarOscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels on The GM Strike is Going to Take a WhileRoofs and medicine, two things whose supply and markets are artificially manipulated through various mechanisms.
    • AvatarJaybird on The Vacant LotThis was made when he visited a childhood haunt and saw a building there. "That used to be where we played stickball."
    • AvatarChip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter on The GM Strike is Going to Take a WhileDo you think it is just autoworkers whose job skills have been lowered? Whenever a new piece of technology comes out that makes it easier for you and me to do our job, doesn't that just mean that it is easier for someone else to do our job? I suppose one could say that the declining value of human labor is more than offset by the declining cost of the goods we produce, but the evidence I'm seeing is that this isn't a neat and uniform phenomenon , but something that happens in a random hit and miss fashion, where somethings get absurdly cheap while other things actually get more expensive. So we have this bizarre world where a homeless transient can afford a supercomputer and six pairs of shoes but not a roof over his head or medicine to save his life.
    • AvatarJaybird in reply to Mikkhi Kisht on Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”Eh, I think part of the problem isn't that there's a debate over whether it's okay for video games to have easy modes (because that'd be a short debate) but whether the makers of games like Dark Souls and Cuphead are obliged to provide one.
    • Avatargabriel conroy in reply to Mikkhi Kisht on Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”I'm not much of a gamer (my repertoire is Triple A, Risk, and computer solitaire), but I agree with this.
    • AvatarJaybird in reply to Kazzy on Musings on The Digital Underground, Juice, and Controversial AudiencesI'm deliberately using the passive voice. Let's go back to Juice real quick. Here's a section from the UPI article: Witnesses said the gunfire was sparked by a police search for a mugger who robbed a patron in the theater's restroom, not by the movie itself. If something like this happened with Joker, to what extent would we say "see? Disaffected young males are drawn to this movie, like a moth to the flame!"? To what extent would we say "dude got mugged in the can, would have happened if the theater was showing a Shirley Temple flick"? And so just as we are stuck here wondering whether we can meaningfully say that Juice resulted in violence, we're looking at the upcoming release of Joker holding our collective breath. Here's another fun section from the UPI article: Paramount's Harry Anderson described as 'isolated incidents' the violence reported around the country, adding, 'We're not sure it's related to the film.' Overall, he said, 'we had a successful opening.'
    • AvatarInMD in reply to Kazzy on Musings on The Digital Underground, Juice, and Controversial AudiencesThere's an implicit assertion of causation with these things that I find highly dubious. I'd take it more seriously if we had some consistency of application. Instead it's always a moving target (forgive the pun) where people get to righteously tut tut at some huge, ill defined and amorphous blob of people or ideas and not some other simularly ill defined amorphous blob of people or ideas.
    • Avatargabriel conroy in reply to gabriel conroy on The Princess Bride Re-Make: Make it More Than Mostly DeadI should backtrack a little. The show would be improved if they got someone who could pronounce "marriage." That wouldn't save the show, but it would make it a little less grating on my ears.
    • AvatarMikkhi Kisht on Saturday Morning Gaming: The Debate over “Easy Mode”I grew up playing video games. I'll even joke that Nintendo, Sony, Maxis & MTV raised me more than my parents did. Easy modes... don't bother me. As long as the originally planned difficulty level is still available, who cares if there's an ultra hard mode and/or an easy option? Does it personally hurt me if someone else takes the easy setting while I tackle medium? Nope, not one bit. I'm for any options (challenge ratings, colorblind settings, allowing custom controller connections, etc.) that gets more people enjoying video games. I'll switch modes in Minecraft. If I'm doing a replay on a favorite game, I'll bump it up a challenge rating. It's no big deal. The ones making the stink seem to be more about gatekeeping rather than getting more people mashing buttons in video game happiness. To each the own ability when it comes to pixels, and lets have fun. That's what games are supposed to be about.
    • Avatargabriel conroy on The Princess Bride Re-Make: Make it More Than Mostly DeadThere are, no doubt, some people somewhere who do not like The Princess Bride, who do not understand the greatness contained within, appreciate the wit and wisdom, and fail to quote any of the dozens of memorable lines from it in their day to day lives. Presente! I'm taking no stance on whether it should be remade. In fact, I suspect nothing can really save that show.
    • Avatargabriel conroy in reply to gabriel conroy on The GM Strike is Going to Take a WhileI shouldn't say what I just said without adding the following: I'm in very favorable circumstances right now and would be even without my union. In fact--and taking the union completely out of the picture--my circumstances are good for me in no small part thanks to a system that in my considered opinion is based on exploiting others. Even though I'm very skeptical of unions and even though I focus more on the harms they cause than the good, I should be chary of criticizing them without acknowledging the very big advantages I enjoy. My own advantages come at costs to society that are arguably greater than the costs imposed by unions.
    • Avatargabriel conroy in reply to Jaybird on The GM Strike is Going to Take a WhileI grew up in the town about 2 hours north from you, and if memory serves, there was a strike at BOTH Safeway and King Soopers, every three years in the 1980s and 1990s (and maybe early 2000s?....that's about when I left). My father was adamant that we not patronize those stores during the strikes, which usually lasted about a week. At the same time, those were considered good jobs and very hard to get. The fact that they were union jobs probably played a big role in both of those factors: they were good in part because of the union, but it was hard to get a job there, also in part because of the union. So the "scabs," so called, were (probably, again this is a working hypothesis of mine) less well off and eager to get a job. Maybe some got to stay on after the strike. More likely, they probably got fired. And during the strike, it wouldn't surprise me if they got, from some union supporters, a lot of "threats that probably aren't serious enough to be legally considered threats but that put the 'scab' in fear for their safety." That's why I don't like to use the word "scab." They're usually the collateral damage in these situations. Of course, the calculus changes when the union is broken and the 'scabs," so called, become permanent workers. Even so, they're human beings. Now, I would probably honor a strike at my Big City grocery store, and my general predisposition is to decline to cross picket lines. I used to follow that predisposition out of a sense of solidarity. Now I d…
    • AvatarKazzy in reply to Jaybird on Musings on The Digital Underground, Juice, and Controversial Audiences“Results” is a curious word there.
    • AvatarJaybird in reply to Kazzy on Musings on The Digital Underground, Juice, and Controversial AudiencesTell your friend that a guy you know that wouldn't have read the article has gone and went to read it and, indeed, is reading the Vanity Fair article now (or was, as of 9/20). Okay, apparently, he watched the movie in Italy. "Perhaps it’s a bit easier to accept and digest all this horror in a country where such men seem rarer—or I’m being an over-worried pill, and it’s just a good, startling movie." If Joker results in fewer deaths than the gang banger movies of the 90's... can we reach any conclusions about opinions about the movies? Or, seriously, do we live in a different society now? Like, if we find that the 2022 Dylann Roof happens to have this DVD in his collection (or Blu Ray, whatever), does that mean that we should have an opinion about the movie similar to the one that we all hold about New Jack City? In the meantime, I’m left wondering just how serious this film is meant to be. I'm guessing that this is Schrödinger's Flick. If no one dies, then it's obviously commentary. If someone gets shot, then it's obviously something that we should have done something about. Watch it. Hold your breath. Hope the cat is alive. Seriously, it looks like it's going to be pretty good.
    • AvatarNorth in reply to Stillwater on Cuomo, Rudy, and Ukraine, Oh MyWe have one, but I get that you think they're basically equally dysfunctional, bsdi etc... I just don't agree.
    • AvatarOscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter on The GM Strike is Going to Take a WhileKeep in mind the source of the report of low replacement worker wages. It probably came from the Union, or someone sympathetic to the Union in order to make GM look bad and discourage potential replacement workers.
    • AvatarKazzy on Musings on The Digital Underground, Juice, and Controversial AudiencesI don't think there is any obligation on anyone's part. But it does seem important to point out these differences. To me, there is a pretty big difference between gang members going to see a movie about gang members because, "Hey, a movie about us!" getting into some beef and someone donning a Joker suit and shooting up a theater because, "Hey, the joker had a point." Obviously, I haven't seen "Joker" yet. But my friend who has wrote this: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/08/joker-review-joaquin-phoenix
    • AvatarStillwater in reply to North on Cuomo, Rudy, and Ukraine, Oh MyI wish we had even one.
    • AvatarJaybird in reply to gabriel conroy on The GM Strike is Going to Take a WhileSafeway here in town (and, I presume, nationwide) had a strike in the 90's and everybody I knew, from my Mom to the folks I worked with at my IT job, told me to not shop at Safeway. Wait until the strike is over and *THEN* go back there, they told me. I shrugged and went to King Soopers. In the early oughts, they struck again. Nobody told me to not shop there. We felt solidarity with Safeway in the 90's. We didn't in the oughts.
    • AvatarJaybird in reply to Kazzy on Musings on The Digital Underground, Juice, and Controversial AudiencesIs "Joker is a comic book movie" a reasonable counter-argument to the implication that "movies should show more accurate portrayals of imagined victims" argument or not? To what extent is art obliged to reflect Truth-with-a-Capital-T? (And that's without starting a conversation about the accuracy of the portrayal of the rough world in The Warriors, Colors, Angel Town, Godfather III, New Jack City, or Boyz N The Hood.)
    • AvatarKazzy on Musings on The Digital Underground, Juice, and Controversial AudiencesSome movies show accurate portrayals of a rough world with a commentary on how fucked up it is. Other movies show inaccurate portrayals of imagined victims and glamorize their “plight”. I wonder which, if any, of these categories “Joker” will fit into.
    • AvatarDark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels on The GM Strike is Going to Take a WhileSo if the reports are true that autoworkers are being paid about the same, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the marketplace is signalling their job skills are worth the same?Yes and No. Fast food lives with a yearly worker replacement rate of something like 100%. Autoworkers have to be a lot more reliable, dependable, functional, etc, but those are just quibbles. So forget about the supercomputer in your pocket; what does the marketplace say about autoworker’s job skills? They're overpaid. At GM to the tune of AT LEAST $13/hour. A combo of technology and competition has lowered the level of their job in the overall rankings of society by a lot, i.e. from something like 60% (from the bottom) to something like 35% (this is a WAG). Obviously the Union can't face that reality, thus there are serious problems and conflict, maybe to a level where the company goes bankrupt or whatever. Thing is, why is any of this bad for the country as a whole?
    • AvatarChip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter on The GM Strike is Going to Take a WhileThat's just what everyone here has been saying, that fast food job skills are plummeting because technology does the hard parts, leaving a worker to just push "chezeburgee, chezeurgee chezeburgee". So if the reports are true that autoworkers are being paid about the same, wouldn't it stand to reason that the marketplace is signalling their job skills are worth the same? In fact, isn't it the founding criticism of the Labor Theory of Value, that just because you have a college degree doesn't mean your skills will be rewarded commensurately, but only what is demanded? So forget about the supercomputer in your pocket; what does the marketplace say about autoworker's job skills?
    • AvatarDark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels on The GM Strike is Going to Take a WhileFast food workers need to be more educated now than in past years?Are you claiming UAW jobs are the functional equiv of Fast Food? Ignore that I've admitted these jobs may have been dumbed down over the last few decades and that I encourage people to be educated so they don't work fast food. We are indeed more educated than before. Everyone knows how to operate the basics of our technology, litterancy is better than a hundred years ago (which matters at the bottom of the education ladder), etc. Everyone is a walking publishing press because everyone has smart phones. Ergo McDonalds can put touch screens behind the counter, or even in front of it, and expect there won't be a problem. So if GM's jobs require you to know how to operate computerized equipment, well so do McDonalds.
    • AvatarNorth in reply to Stillwater on Cuomo, Rudy, and Ukraine, Oh MyProbably very impeachable, if we had more than one functioning party in this country. *shrugs*