April 29, 2013

Game Developers Prank Pirates With Pirated Version of Game
— Ace

A pair of game developers created a "Video Game Development" simulation, a tycoon-style game, but set in the world of videogaming. Players had to bring a "game" to market by acquiring talent, testing it, keeping under budget, and so forth.

But they also themselves released a cracked version of the game to BitTorrent. In this cracked version of the game, the game development studio would actually go bankrupt, inevitably... because all of their games were pirated and they made no money.

Those playing the free game then posted on forums, asking how they could beat the pirates to keep the game company alive.

The developers counted-- about 95% of their players were actually themselves pirating the game.

The experiment's more of a prank than any kind of study because this does seem to be the sort of game that few would buy, thus holding down the number of bona-fide owners.

But it is sort of funny that people who'd stolen the game posted on forums asking how to stop people from stealing their games.

Posted by: Ace at 02:27 PM | Comments (134)
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Victoria Toensing: Administration Officials Are Threatening to Prosecute Benghazi Witnesses & Whistleblowers If They Don't Shut Up
— Ace

Yup.

Toensing disclosed that her client has pertinent information on all three time periods investigators consider relevant to the attacks: the months that led up to September 11, when pleas by the ambassador and his staff for enhanced security in Benghazi were mostly rejected by senior officers at the State Department; the eight-hour time frame in which the attacks unfolded; and the eight-day period that followed the attacks, when Obama administration officials falsely described them as the result of a spontaneous protest over a video.

“It’s frightening and they’re doing some very despicable threats to people,” she said. “Not ‘We’re going to kill you,’ or not ‘We’re going to prosecute you tomorrow,’ but they’re taking career people and making them well aware that their careers will be over [if they cooperate with congressional investigators].”

If the media was really interested in being the Watchdog of Democracy, they might start looking into a hot little story: The Obama administration's threats against, and retalliation against, and prosecutions of, people who would be considered protected by Whistleblower statutes in any other administration.

But the "watchdogs" have given the foxes free reign in the coop.

Posted by: Ace at 01:24 PM | Comments (301)
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Should Republicans Wage Middle-Class Warfare?
— Ace

I sort of thought we already were -- albeit ineffectually.

Second look at full-on class warfare?

Posted by: Ace at 12:59 PM | Comments (85)
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Random Post: Cthulhu's Dad
— Ace

I recently read Guy de Maupassant's The Horla, because I was looking for French stuff to read. I read it partly because I'd hear that HP Lovecraft was strongly influenced by it.

Having read it-- boy howdy! Most of the elements of the achetypal Lovecraftian story are all present. There's an average man doubting his sanity, an invisible creature that seems to exist just beyond the physical dimensions, dreams of traveling to stars, strange Goats... there's even a mention of (if I have this right) "backwards fishermen," which seems to contain the seed of the "Innsmouth look."

The big things not present are the Work of Art Which Virally Transmits both Forbidden Knowledge and Madness (taken from American writer R.W. McChamber's The King in Yellow) and the High Academic style of writing Lovecraft used to almost convince you he was talking about real stuff.

The English version of the Horla is here. It's pretty short. I don't know if it's scary or not because it's hard to be scared when you're checking the dictionary every third word (as I had to, reading the French).

In addition, because this is now officially Well-Explored Territory, it doesn't seem to have the freshness it might have had in 1887, and so maybe suffers from the Seinfeld is Unfunny syndrome. (That idea is that wickedly original things wind up being so influential, producing so many variations and offspring, that the original winds up looking unoriginal.)

Bit of a weird thing: de Maupassant actually did feel his sanity slipping from him as he got older (and not even that much older!) -- "Many think that the author himself was insane when he wrote this story."

From the page on Guy de Maupassant himself:

In his later years he developed a constant desire for solitude, an obsession for self-preservation, and a fear of death and crazed paranoia of persecution that came from the syphilis he had contracted in his early days. On January 2, 1892, Maupassant tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat and was committed to the celebrated private asylum of Esprit Blanche at Passy, in Paris, where he died on July 6, 1893.

He was 43 when he died.

Wikipedia tells me that Horla is probably a combination of hor, "out," and , "there," so the term may be intended to say The One Out There, a Lovecraftian sort of name.

Oh: Obviously Lovecraft red some Ambrose Bierce stuff, too.

The Peter Lorre Radio Play: Bottom of this page.

Recommended by Rob Crawford and @nykensington.

Posted by: Ace at 12:36 PM | Comments (154)
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Former Congressmen to Be Present at "Congressional-Style" Hearings on the Possible Existance of Extraterrestrials Among Us
— Ace

Why are former Congressmen present? Who cares what they think? We hardly cared about them when they were empowered to screw up our lives; we certainly don't care now.

And why "Congressional-style"? What the hell does that mean?

Well, what it means is that someone is attempting to invest a silly media event with the signifiers of the Official and the Important to get some press.

Oh, and also, because they're going to film it for a documentary.

And those Congresspeople aren't just showing up out patriotic duty to protect us from alien invaders:

According to the Detroit News, the organization is paying Kilpatrick $20,000 plus expenses for her participation, although the former congresswoman said she has always been interested in the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

The organization paying for this is a group that lobbies for extraterrestrial alien research.

Honestly we're all idiots. You, me, everyone here, should just move to Washington DC and open up a lobbying shop for whatever and I do mean "whatever." All you seem to need is a Post Office Box and you can get the fundraising dollars rolling in.

I've got nothing against listening for ETs, by the way. And of course UFOs are quite real-- in the sense that people really do see strange lights in the sky that no one can quite account for.

But the stunt premise of this gathering suggests they're not going to feature SETI guys talking about their antennas, but about close encounters of the anal kind. And seriously, if they've been buzzing us since the 40s and 50s, why the heck hasn't anyone sent a radio message yet?

Who the heck just starts buzzing a planet before broadcasting a reassuring "Heyyyyy buddy, just swingin' by for a minute, don't freak out..."?

more...

Posted by: Ace at 11:55 AM | Comments (238)
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Overnight Open Thread 4/29/13 (tmi3rd)
— Open Blogger

Good evening, Morons and Moronettes. Maetenloch is on hobo-assassination assignment, so I've been given the duty for this evening. Let's begin:

stupid.jpg

more...

Posted by: Open Blogger at 05:00 PM | Comments (749)
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"The Narrative" Is the Enemy of Truth and Fact
— Ace

Interesting piece by Richard Fernandez, which I think is a little bit hinky in some of the connections it makes, but still makes some great points.

You can read the short version at Instapundit.

Despite an abundance of suggestive information, the FBI seemed singularly unable to see Tsarnaev as a threat. Part of the reason, according to the Washington Examiner, was that blindness was engineered into the system. The agents were trained not to see it.

It is quite possible, though, the FBI agents who interviewed Tsarnaev on both occasions failed to understand what they saw and heard because that’s what they were trained to do. As The Washington Examiner’s Mark Flatten reported last year, FBI training manuals were systematically purged in 2011 of all references to Islam that were judged offensive by a specially created five-member panel. Three of the panel members were Muslim advocates from outside the FBI, which still refuses to make public their identities. Nearly 900 pages were removed from the manuals as a result of that review. Several congressmen were allowed to review the removed materials in 2012, on condition that they not disclose what they read to their staffs, the media, or the general public.

...

But to really learn you have to be prepared to listen to what you don’t want to hear. The future only contains new information if it tells you something you don’t know. But bureaucracies want to make all new knowledge predictable, consistent with the existing narrative. And homogenization destroys information.

I'll direct you to the article itself to read about his likening of the preordained conclusions of corporate-like institutions, where conclusions are foreordained and all "truth" must be reached by focus-group analysis and a consensus of various heads of department, to a two-headed coin. A coin where every flip yields "heads" as a result. Making it useless as far as resolving issues.

He continues:


...

What creates sameness is ideology. Ideology by definition reduces the range of responses to situations and limits the ways in which we can decode and encode messages to politically correct outcomes.

The model eventually becomes robust enough to reject information that doesn't fit the model, and ultimately there is no new information, just further reiterations of the model's one permitted outcome.

There's more there, including some kind of computer program which actually seems to be artificially intelligent, or at least possessing one of the central (if not the central) element of true intelligence, self-motivation, self-assignment of personally-chosen goals.

I think there's a lot of stuff here to chew over.

Posted by: Ace at 10:31 AM | Comments (212)
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Proposed Democratic Resolution: Be It Resolved That Global Warming Is Going to Turn Women Into Whores and Coochmongers
— Ace

I think the Science (TM) on this is pretty sound.

The resolution, from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and a dozen other Democrats, says the results of climate change include drought and reduced agricultural output. It says these changes can be particularly harmful for women.

"[F]ood insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health," it says.

I know I haven't pointed this out in at least 24 hours but has anyone besides me noticed that Stupid is being embraced as a religion?

Via ‏@charlescwcooke

Posted by: Ace at 09:54 AM | Comments (340)
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Immigration Bill Has More Fake "Fence" Crap In It
— Ace

The US government does not want a border fence built; the political class does not want a border fence built; the media class, virtually indistinguishable from the political class, does not want a border fence built.

On the other hand, 75% of the public does want a border fence built.

Obviously, the political/media class wins, as usual.

Even if a law required building a fence -- set specific requirements of how many feet of fencing must be constructed per month -- the government would not build it. They would spend endless hours pretending to "plan" the fence or study it for environmental impacts.

So that's what they'd do if the law says that a fence has to be built.

What will they do if the law doesn't even require a fence, but only the development of a "Fencing Strategy"?

Bear in mind, "no fence at all" is a perfectly allowable option in the range of possible "Fencing strategies" one might develop.

The whole thing is a con to deliver amnesty but convince people it's not amnesty.

And as many have said, the public would be willing to entertain the possibility of a mass-amnesty contingent on real border enforcement, including a fence.

But the amnestias simply refuse that. They are committed to the same position they've always held, Amnesty Forever and Amnesty Only.

Posted by: Ace at 08:58 AM | Comments (237)
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When Democrats Aren't Railing Against "Otherizing" and Ginning Up a "Climate of Fear" and an "Us Vs. Them" Mentality, They're Giddily Profiting From
— Ace

Hatred, the "us vs. them" mentality, fear-mongering, injecting populist thumb-in-the-eye emotionalism into what should be, ideally, reasoned discussion....

Welcome to the Democrats' fundraising offices.

Despite the Democrats’ references to “smears” and “truth,” there is, as always, no reference to any actual issue, and zero factual content. The appeal is strictly us against them, and the emotion that drives Democrats to contribute, and to vote, is hate.

...

It is not in the cards for Republicans to become as mean-spirited as Democrats, but it is essential, I think, for Republicans to understand the game the Democrats are playing and realize that the endless flow of hate spewed out by the Democratic Party poisons the public’s perception of all of the good Republicans try to do in Washington and around the country.

Posted by: Ace at 08:44 AM | Comments (184)
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Undercover Video By Live Action Puts Into Question Just How Rare Gosnell-Type "Abortions" Really Are
— Ace

There is the official policy and then there is the actual practice. The point of undercover sting videos is to discover the actual practice.

What do you do when a politically-inconvenient truth has been discovered? You gin up some fake outrage about it:


Apparently @saletan believes that "exploit" is a synonym for "expose." Hey, they both start with ex-. Close enough!

Having been involved in rhetoric for some time, I know this strategy well: When you have no good objection to an argument or a piece of information, and yet must respond to it, just yell whatever weak objection is at hand and begin throwing out accusations of bad faith and dirty dealing.

The Washington Post documents the exploitation:

An antiabortion group that mounted a six-month undercover investigation has released videos this week that raise questions about what might happen to a baby as a result of an unsuccessful abortion.

One video features a D.C. doctor, Cesare Santangelo, who said that in the unlikely event that an abortion resulted in a live birth, “we would not help it.” Santangelo was answering repeated questions from an undercover operative about what would happen, hypothetically, if she gave birth after an unsuccessful abortion.

...

“I mean, technically, you know, legally, we would be obligated to help it, you know, to survive, but . . . it probably wouldn’t,” Santangelo is shown telling the woman, who was 24 weeks pregnant. “It’s all in how vigorously you do things to help a fetus survive at this point.”

...

He said he was “tripped up” by a hypothetical at a moment when he was trying to reassure a client. “Once the baby is born, it’s out of everybody’s hands, and the baby has rights, too,” he said. “I understand that and I support that.”

He wants you to know that he's the victim here.

He said he has not watched the video because “I don’t like to feed into these people. I really consider them terrorists.”

Posted by: Ace at 08:01 AM | Comments (246)
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Feds Charge the Anti-Elvis in Ricin Case
— Ace

Suspicious minds.

Federal investigators probing who sent potentially deadly letters to President Obama, a senator and a judge believe they have the right man -- this time.

...

Shackled and in leg irons, Dutschke, 41, appeared in Federal Court in Oxford, Miss., Monday, where he was charged with "knowingly developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, acquiring, retaining and possessing a biological agent, toxin and delivery system, for use as a weapon, to wit: ricin." He faces life in prison if convicted. Like the first suspect, he claims he is innocent.

"I'm a patriotic American," Dutschke told The Associated Press. "I don't have any grudges against anybody. ... I did not send the letters," Dutschke said.

...

Judge Holland also is a common link between the two men, and both know Wicker. Holland was the presiding judge in a 2004 case in which Curtis was accused of assaulting a Tupelo attorney a year earlier. Holland sentenced him to six months in the county jail. He served only part of the sentence, according to his brother.

Holland's family has had political skirmishes with Dutschke. Her son, Steve Holland, a Democratic state representative, said he thinks his mother's only encounter with Dutschke was at a rally in the town of Verona in 2007, when Dutschke ran as a Republican against Steve Holland.

Well there's your headline, huh?

more...

Posted by: Ace at 07:23 AM | Comments (147)
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NBA Player Jason Collins Announces He's Gay
— Ace

In Sports Illustrated.

Posted by: Ace at 06:47 AM | Comments (326)
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The Deceptive Appeal Of "3D Chess" And "Improving" ObamaCare
— DrewM

Last week Gabe and I had a back and forth about the House GOP leadership's effort to transfer ObamaCare funds from a "slush fund" to a program that provides subsidies to people in an ObamaCare high risk pool because they can't purchase insurance because of preexisting conditions.

Gabe argued the House GOP wasn't trying to fix an ObamaCare problem but rather by moving money from the preventative care fund (the slush fund) the Democrats would not be able to use that money to lessen the "train wreck" of implementing ObamaCare.

This was in response to my contention that what the House GOP leadership, led by Eric Cantor, was doing amounted to trying to fix and ObamaCare problem that was popular (helping people with preexisting conditions) instead of letting ObamaCare crash as hard as possible.

Here's why I reject the notion that the House leadership is playing some sort of deep game to destroy ObamaCare game...if they were serious about hamstringing the Obama administration's ability to use that "slush fund", thus making a smooth implementation of the system even harder than it will be, they could have either zeroed out that fund or moved the money to the high risk pool when they passed the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government for the year.

The CR was a must pass piece of legislation. If it hadn't passed we'd have seen a government shutdown. This would have been a risk for the GOP but it was also something Democrats wanted to avoid. In other words, it was a point of leverage. But the GOP took a pass on fighting ObamaCare in the CR because they wanted move on from the fiscal cliff battle and live to fight another day.

The House Republican leaders turned aside requests from groups of conservative members to include language in the bill that would have withheld funding for implementation of all of Obamacare, or, alternatively, that would have withheld funding for the Obamacare regulation that requires health-plans to provide cost-free coverage for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Rules Committee rejected a request by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R.-Okla.) to allow the full House to simply vote on an amendment to the CR sponsored by Bridenstine, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R.-Kans.) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R.-Fla.) that would have stripped funding from implementation of Obamacare.

Now, I don't think they were wrong in doing that because they wouldn't have won but that's irrelevant. The GOP has no real leverage now in passing a bill to drain the slush fund. Sure they could have tried to make a few Democrats in purple districts take a tough vote but in the end the policy would never change since the Senate and White House would never let their slush fund be raided.

What's just as likely to have happened is if the Senate even took it up, they would have come up with a different funding mechanism for the high risk pools. A House Democrat wanted to hike cigarette taxes to pay for it. Suppose the Senate took that funding plan and sent it back to the House. Then what? The House is now on the defensive...do they care about people with preexisting conditions or not?

If anything had been done, odds are in the end we'd have wound up with the worst of all worlds (if anything were to actually have passed)...more money for ObamaCare and the slush fund would be intact.

But even if nothing had passed or this was just a "message bill", the GOP would be on record saying this is something that must be addressed at the federal level and that ObamaCare can be tweaked rather than ripped out root and branch.

What the House leadership wanted to do had nothing to do with making ObamaCare harder to implement because that ship sailed back in March. Eric Cantor has been pushing something he calls "making life work". How exactly the federal government is supposed to help people do that seems a question better left to liberals but it's the centerpiece of Cantor's ideas.

As House Whip Kevin McCarthy put it.

“I hear about the debt and the deficit. I hear about the fights,” McCarthy said in an interview in his Capitol office Tuesday. “And if I’m sitting at home, or if I’m trying to make within my household different things work or go forward, I think, ‘How does it relate to me?’ ”

It seems the challenge for conservatives, not necessarily Republicans, is to explain just that thing to voters. Instead the GOP leadership, for very practical reasons, is moving to "making life work" by "fixing" the mess Democrats made.

And how bad was the preexisting care pool that Cantor wanted to "fix"?

Obamacare’s federal high-risk pools were projected to cover 375,000 people; however, only 110,000 enrolled before the funding ran out. The cost of enrolling individuals into the federal high-risk pool was 2.5 times higher than anticipated.

Fewer people than they expected signed up but they burned through $5 billion faster than planned anyway. Yes, let's "fix" that please!".

The danger in that is once you accept the legitimacy of an "entitlement" you are stuck with it forever. Remember that during the Medicare debate Ronald Reagan called it "socialism" but as President a mere 15 years after it's enactment, he never moved against it because it was politically impossible.

Be very wary of Republicans who tell you they want to hurt ObamaCare by fixing parts of it. Especially when they took a pass on hurting it when they really had the chance.

Posted by: DrewM at 05:19 AM | Comments (365)
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Top Headline Comments 4-29-13
— Gabriel Malor

Happy Monday.

The New York Review of Books scooped the other news organizations to find "Misha," the person the Tsarnaev's uncle said "brainwashed" Tamerlan Tsarnaev into radical jihad. Over the weekend, word surfaced that Russia had recorded wiretaps of Tamerlan "vaguely" discussing jihad with his mother. The word on Twitter is that Russian special forces have raided a group with possible links to Tamerlan, but I haven't seen it on the wires yet.

Republican Rep. Mike Rogers was SWATted. So was Wolf Blitzer.

Top GOP donors are pushing the party to support gay marriage.

Reporter takes probably the best accidentally cool selfie you'll ever see.

Iraq suspended Al Jazeera broadcasts for "unprofessional reporting which escalated sectarian tension."

This one dude is SUPER into Google Glass. I suspect it's something like most people feel about smartphones. Once you get used to having near-instaneous information and communications, you don't want to go without.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 01:50 AM | Comments (540)
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Is the Department of Transportation Sending Electronic Toll Collection System Data to the IRS to Facilitate Audit Inquiries From Itemized Commuter Deductions?
— JohnE.

No.

Posted by: JohnE. at 12:22 PM | Comments (88)
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April 28, 2013

Welcome to Soviet AoSHQ ONT [krakatoa]
— Open Blogger

Where the comment lines are long and we have no bread.

In Soviet AoSHQ ONT, the comments entertain the Blog!

I've just checked into my hotel for the night, and saw there was no ONT on deck and a missive from Maetenloch for a fill in. So here comes a really crappy stripped-down ONT.

First though, a rant: more...

Posted by: Open Blogger at 04:20 PM | Comments (658)
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April 29, 2013

April 28, 2013

Hubris in a Leader is an Obnoxious Thing
— Dave in Texas

No shit. Management 101 says "be humble, be firm. Get over yourself."

Not so with TFG. We've probably had spoiled brats in the office before, I just don't recall one who was this in love with himself and I recall Bill Clinton so that's sayin something.

Behold the humble man, loving on the hurt and wounded. With a White House photographer at the ready (unsequestered I assume).

Somber Obama (440x293).jpg

I am all choked up.

Part of my respect for GWB despite the many times he bugged the hell out of me was that I really believe his humility is genuine. I do respect that.

This President, I don't think he has the ability. Which I find a bit remarkable considering his humble beginnings. more...

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 08:42 AM | Comments (281)
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Gun Thread (4-28-13)
— andy

Air Travel With A Gun

Last weekend I took my shotgun down to Georgia for a turkey hunting trip. It's the first time I've ever flown with a checked firearm, mainly because I always thought it'd be a big hassle.

It isn't.

(Shockingly ... not even at Logan Airport in Boston on the morning they're chasing terrorists around the city)

The TSA has instructions on their website for how they need to be transported. I followed these instructions to the letter, and the process at the airport couldn't have gone more smoothly.


Barack Obama: Gun Salesman of the Millenium

The WSJ explains everything you need to know about why the gun and ammo shelves are bare.

NICS Background Checks:


Gun Of The Week

(answer below) more...

Posted by: andy at 06:58 AM | Comments (160)
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