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Linky Friday #128: Ubersafe

Safety:

nuclear submarine photo

Image by Defence Images

[S1] UberX could be responsible for saving lives.

[S2] Will there be a restaurant at which we can watch? Or will we have to make due with charts?

[S3] BBC explains how you dismantle a nuclear submarine.

[S4] This story, about a man who refused to stop and help an injured person on the side of the road that turned out to be his mother, sounds like a contrived TV show plot.

[S5] Snake People are having fewer sexual partners than Generation Xers. Good for them, I say.

[S6] From Glyph and/or dhex: FIRE and Haidt, on campus speech (microaggressions and trigger warnings and offensensitivity, oh my).

[S7] No link here (yet), but as of today, it has been two years since my last cigarette.

Media:

Dan Rather photo

Image by Peabody Awards

[M1] It’s really quite remarkable to me that they’re going forward with the movie valorizing the Bush-TANG debacle. What has me a bit concerned is that it might work.

[M2] Fortunately, since nobody’s going to get killed over this, we can consider it provocative and brave instead of provocative and mean and reckless.

[M3] Mother Jones actually has some nice words to say about the Washington Free Beacon. The WFB is… odd. Good news stories juxtaposed against obvious photoshopped images of birds combusting mid-flight due to solar panels. But it works, and it’s one of comparatively few conservative sites I read with devotion.

[M4] Damon Linker looks at Vox’s terrible track record on ISIS, and touches on just about every problem I’ve had with the site since its inception. It has a roster whose writers I enjoy, and somehow made me enjoy each of them less together than I enjoyed them separately. Also, here’s the voxiest headline ever written.

Healthcare:

[H1] Amy Tuteur argues that obstetricians may have gone too far in trying to prevent elective early deliveries.

eyeball photo

Image by eek the cat

[H2] New eye drops may be able to combat cataracts without the need for surgery.

[H3] Colin from Violent Metaphors argues that politicizing anti-vaccination sentiment is a really bad idea.

[H4] The biggest lab diagnostic company in the country is about to let patients bypass doctors and order tests on their own.

[H5] Charles Krauthammer explains why doctors are quitting.

Culture:

[C1] Ryan Cooper tries to make the case for hitchhiking, but seems to be making the case for Uber. I used to be pretty generous with giving strangers lifts. Not sure when that changed.

[C2] Yeah, this is pretty much what almost every middle school kid wants to hear. Truthfully, at my middle school, most of the worst flamed out by high school. I don’t think that’s especially typical, though.

[C3] Why are people so fixated on the race when it comes to characters in video games? Like these white people?

[C4] The history of the meme font.

[C5] According to Brookings, even controlling for the obvious factors, getting welfare correlates with unhappiness. They blame the stigma.

[C6] A woman in the UK had to legally change her name to be able to log in to Facebook.

[C7] If you objected to what Gawker did, you probably shouldn’t be gleeful over the Ashley Madison hack. My head knows this. My heart still giggles.

United States:

navajo flag photo

Image by Ron Cogswell

[U1] North Dakota is welcoming Uber with open arms, and would frankly welcome some poop.

[U2] Written before it became deeply, deeply relevant: Neal Dewing believes that the GOP really needs to get over its star fixation.

[U3] Rob Greene II has some nuanced thoughts on the South and the Confederate Flag, and Jonathan Blanks about racism outside the South.

[U4] Congressmen are hesitant to be alone with female staffers, which hurts female staffer careers. Missouri toyed with the idea of addressing the issue by instituting a dress code.

[U5] “Nashville’s district attorney (somewhat) recently banned his staff from using invasive surgery as a bargaining chip, after it became apparent that local attorneys had been using sterilization as part of plea bargains.”

[U6] Hadn’t thought about it, but it makes sense: Gay marriage is still illegal in Navajo Nation.

[U7] Remember the cops who ate marijuana comestibles whilst on a raid? They have been told that the video evidence of them doing so is, in fact, admissible.

{Coming soon: Latin America}-

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85 thoughts on “Linky Friday #128: Ubersafe

  1. [C1] I have hiked both the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, and on both hikes I did a lot of hitching. Maybe thirty times on each hike? Usually when the trails cross the road, it’s in the middle of nowhere, so you have to hitch to get to the nearest town to buy supplies. I had never done it before the hike, but it quickly became second nature. I was usually too tired and hungry to worry about whether I would be killed and chopped into pieces (which is what I had previously believed happened to 63% of hitchers).

    I had it easy though, being a white male who looked clean-cut–as clean-cut as you can look after 5 days in the woods. I did usually smell awful, and so I tried to warn people of this fact before they committed.

    I was always surprised who picked me up. Sometimes it was someone who knew about the trail, but a lot of the time they had no idea the trail was there. I got picked up by teenagers, families with kids in minivans, a rich deaf woman in a Lexus, retired couples, a physicist, a Pepsi truck driver, and the list goes on. Sometimes I would ask them why they picked me up (I was curious). Some of the answers I got:

    –“I used to hitch all around after I got back from Vietnam”
    –“You were laughing while you had your thumb out, so you looked non-threatening” [for this reason, when hitching with another person, you should tell jokes to each other]
    –“You looked like a nice christian man” [Note: this is spectacularly incorrect]
    –“Everyone needs a little help now and then”
    –“You reminded me of my grandson who likes to hike”
    –“You had a bird on your hand” [This was in Washington state, where I had my right thumb out toward the road, and my left hand up in the air. I would put cheerios in my left hand, and gray jays would come perch on it. Those birds are pretty bold.]

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    • The only time I hitchhiked was when the town mayor recommended it as the best way to and from the trailhead. So, naturally, a thousand miles away from where I live, I discover we’ve hitched a ride with the parents of someone who works in my building.

      I am not the luck magnet. It’s my husband the minitornado hits with a tree branch.

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    • My trans daughter wants to hike the Green Mountain Trail next month, the AT next summer, and the Pacific Crest trail at some point in the future.

      Living where we do, we’ve always given hikers rides. If we have time, we’ll provide friendly taxi service — take them into town, and give them a ride back to the trail or to some lodgings with a return trip to the trailhead the next day. Had more than a few meals with hikers; offered up showers and for a few, overnight lodging at our house.

      But my sweetie used to work on the summit of Washington (weather observatory,) and we collect White Mountain books with a minor focus on mountaineering and long-distance hiking in general, so we’re well steeped in the myth and lore and ongoing layering of history.

      Recently, as daughter’s prepared for her hikes, we’ve talked about hitchhiking a lot. With some trepidation, too.

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      • “With some trepidation, too.” Yeah if I had been female or trans I may not have been so cavalier about hitching. (Not sure what the stats say on this, if there are any.)

        The AT has lots of hikers though, hitching in groups of two or three can help. We got a group of seven picked up once–seven thumbs all in a row, even the drivers that didn’t stop were laughing

        Also if it ever feels sketchy when she sees the driver, just quickly say “oh shit, sorry, I forgot I was supposed to wait for Bob” and get the hell out of dodge

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        • One shouldn’t be hiking alone, that’s a recipe for disaster in the first place. If you’ve got two people (even girls), you should be able to deal a good bit of damage if you outnumber the other person (assuming they don’t have a gun, but in that case, you can’t outrun them, and don’t assume they won’t shoot you for no reason, or stalk you back to the campsite).

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          • People are a much lower threat than almost anything else one might encounter hiking – falls, rock slides, hypothermia, etc. etc. etc. For all of which reasons, you’re quite right, having a hiking companion is a good safety measure.

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          • One shouldn’t be hiking alone, that’s a recipe for disaster in the first place.

            I think many of the people who do long hikes do them along, mostly for logistical reasons. Instead of a trip buddy, they typically make trail buddies, and the leaving-of-messages is a by one hiker for another is a well-established tradition.

            ETA: though this is good advice for novice hikers; for people with the experience hiking to undertake a long, multi-week, many-hundreds-of-miles hike, not so much.

            In general, the most dangerous part of a hike is the trip in the car there and back again.

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    • I am very impressed at you having done both the PCT and the Appalachian! Not sure if my backpacking days are over or not (massive back surgery) but even doing one is quite impressive. I am jealous.

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      • Yeah I was lucky to be able to do them. And lucky to finish (no major injuries despite some poor decisions). In my real life I have basically zero willpower or work ethic, so I’m not quite sure how I was able to finish them.

        The Continental Divide Trail hike will probably never happen, I have a partner and a job and a dog now, but it’s fun to think about.

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  2. H5: Excellent! The argument is that (1) electronic health records are a disaster and Obama has ruined healthcare by forcing it on providers; and (2) electronic records were being anyway through “the self-interested wisdom of individual practitioners.” Is this how Harvard Medical School teaches its students to yell at the kids on their lawn?

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    • If we’re trading anecdotes with ole’ Charles there, I should note that I see my PCP many times a year in various social gatherings (he’s a rather close friend of my in-laws), and I have heard him complain many times about medicine and the practicing thereof.

      What I have heard him complain about has not been government nor electronic medical records, but the fact that he’s got a huge staff devoted to handling insurance claims, and how incredibly bad they are correct billing and even worse at paying in a timely fashion.

      Medicare pays low, but they pay in a timely fashion and apparently rarely spend months arguing over standard tests.

      He’s got quite a sizeable practice, too. I don’t think he’s met an insurance company he truly likes. He also admits they’re a necessary evil —- most people can afford a case of the flu, but much beyond that would seriously hurt most of his patients if they paid cash on hand. (We have a pretty solid mix of blue and white-collar in our area.).

      Patients have been treated entirely with samples because the cost of that particular set of medications would have been…excessive, for their income.

      I wonder if I can get my random musings on stuff I heard from a doctor taken as bedrock truth too…

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    • a deep erosion of their autonomy and authority, a transformation from physician to “provider.”

      Memo to doctors everywhere from lawyers everywhere: Welcome to the club! The availability of information to the public is going to decrease your ability to act as high priest. That’s good and bad, but at least your fall from high didn’t result in tracking your time in 6 minute increments all day every day.

      an electronic health records (EHR) mandate that produces nothing more than “billing and legal documents”

      Yeah, let’s go back to illegible paper records that are only available in one place. Dosing errors (and all the other problems caused by that system) are awesome! My last time in the hospital (for #2’s birth) I was really impressed by the integration of electronic recordkeeping / safety protocols. It’s good stuff. Also, bonus points for Krauthammer’s faux-intellectual subject shifting on this. His old buddies (40 years of experience) hate electronic stuff. Obama promised it would save money. But it COULD allow some (unquantified) fraud. Krauthammer can’t say it hasn’t saved money, so he just changes the subject.

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      • Krauthammer can’t say it hasn’t saved money

        I’m not sure why not. Suggesting it doesn’t isn’t a controversial position. Nor is it confined to the right. Nor is it confined to opponents of EMR. I think EMR is necessary and inevitable, but from what I have read about it and what I’ve gleaned from my wife, my impression is very much that it has not and will not for a very long time. It’s made billing more efficient, the profit ledgers more transparent, and has a steep learning curve that won’t be tackled for a very long time as physicians re-learn how to do their job in a way that incorporates EMR.

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        • Then I’d like to see him (or you) make that argument. Because it would seem to be a key in a seering Krauthammer article about how EHR is stupid/too expensive/makes his friends sad.

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          • I suspect he made the mistake of believing that it would be agreed with as (relative) common knowledge. A perspective he might have gotten from physicians themselves, who presently take a dour view of EMR. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, I’ve LFed to a few things in the past about EMR not living up to hopes and expectations (yet, though I believe things will get there eventually).

            Obviously, you are unsympathetic to the position and frustrations of physicians, and given that we only a couple years ago got out of a four year miserable hell due in good part to the atmosphere Krauthammer describes (except EMR… sort of. It’s complicated.)… this is probably not soil for a fruitful discussion.

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        • Zazzy works in EMR. A main issue right now is several different vendors are competing to become the standard. Once one emerges, the system will function better. However, a company having a monopoly of sorts could continue to negatively impact prices. But the improvements in care will be dramatic. Once they are realized.

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          • You don’t necessarily need a monopoly so much as you need interoperability with a single standard. Think of it like word processing. Not everyone needs to use Word, but they do need to be able to read and export Word documents.

            Except hopefully in this case it will be more like ODT than DOCX.

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            • Good point. I think how “open” or “closed” the predominant system is will make a big difference. If interoperability is difficult to achieve, that’ll cause issues. Of course, the government could further involve itself on that front… much to the chagrin of a number of folks, I’m sure.

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              • Most standards are decided upon without government intervention. It’s best if the standard is allowed to develop mostly through market forces, since there is a better chance of the standard being useful & accepted because the users demand it so.

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    • What still pisses me off is that electronic or otherwise, getting copies of my medical records is like pulling teeth. Last time changes in insurance required me to change practices, the new docs got a copy of the old records for free, based on “professional courtesy”. For me, it was on the order of two bucks per page for paper copies. There’s no one more concerned with having a complete set of my medical records than me, but everyone goes out of their way to make it difficult for me to assemble one.

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  3. S5: I think there are a variety of reasons of for this. The Sexual Revolution seemed to release a giant pressure valve and everybody went hog wild for several years. You couldn’t really talk about thinks like consent or STDs without coming off as a giant prude. Contraceptive and legalized abortion took care of the issue of pregnancy and most STDs were curable or at least manageable and not deadly. Than the AIDs crisis occurred and reminded everybody that STDs are rather serious. During the 1980s, consent also began a valid topic of discussion again for good reason. A lot of millenials were raised are probably more aware of these issues than Gen Xers and are more likely to cautious.

    M4: Vox writers always struck me as having the same intellectual problems as the Neo-Reactionary blogs even though Vox is a liberal site. The Vox writers and the Neo-Reactionaries are technically intelligent, the paper credentials from both tend to be impeccable, both sides believe that science and reason are on their side, and they can’t really understand why anybody disagrees with them or think they are wrong.

    C2: My middle and high school administrators seemed to have an unusually good grasp of preventing bullying.

    Another reason why millenials might have fewer partners is a bit more pathetic. From casual observation it seems that a lot of people born after 1980 seem to be struggling with the basics of romance and sexuality than Gen X or Baby Boomers. You have some that really seem to know what they are doing and a lot that have no idea of what to do at all. Than again, the Internet might just be providing a way to broadcast your boasting or complaining to a wider audience.

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    • ” it seems that a lot of people born after 1980 seem to be struggling with the basics of romance and sexuality than Gen X or Baby Boomers.”

      Well, according to the anti-Gamergate crowd, that’s their own damn fault and they should just get out and talk to people more (but don’t be creepy, if nobody wants to talk to you then it’s your own damn fault and the problem is you.)

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      • Er, what?

        I mean, maybe you’re thinking of a different segment of the anti-GG crowd than I do, but the social justice nerd-o-sphere that I associate most strongly with opposition to GG has been providing specific and detailed support in the “how to talk to girls without being a creep” area since well before there was such a thing as GamerGate.

        Back when I was on r/GamerGhazi, their rallying cry was practically “I learned how to not be a misogynist creep, and you can too.” Here in at OT, I specifically talked about how the poor interpersonal skills of the newest generation was a result of the internet and its ability to perpetuate social bubbles. While I and others think it’s ultimately the responsibility of any given person to take charge of their social situation and develop the social skills necessary to live the lives they want to live, the idea that it’s the socially unskilled person’s “fault” doesn’t really come into it.

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  4. S5: Link doesn’t work. I guess Tinder is not that amazing after all.

    M2: It is brave and provocative. The Pope’s comments were idiotic and not-based on science. Why should people keep mum?

    M3: They seem to be good investigative reporters but still tends towards an absolute desire to rid the world of liberals, the Democratic Party, and all supporters of the Democratic Party.

    H5: Nothing unexpected here. It was depressingly stock-ordered conservatism.

    C2: I wonder how much this depends. A friend of mine observed that it the “cool kids” from middle school and high school quickly lose their cool status. The real slow descent is “college” cool kids. These kids take a while before they realize they are not as cool as they think they are.

    C5: As liberal as I am, as supportive of the welfare state that I am. I felt really, really ashamed that I needed to go on unemployment twice in about a two year period because of being a contract lawyer. Both stints of unemployment only lasted two or so months but there seemed to be something shameful about it and I think it was the stigma. This doesn’t mean that we should end the welfare state and unemployment though. It means that we need to erase the stigma and understand that sometimes or often bad things can happen to good people and for reasons beyond a person’s control.

    U5: Not only is this morally disgusting. Sterilization has been unconstitutional as a punishment since the 1930s! Though there might be a work-around because this a plea bargain instead of a punishment imposed by judge or jury (does any other OT lawyer have an opinion?”) Still disgusting.

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    • M2 – I personally have no problem with it. I think the criticisms of a publication deferring Mohammed cartoons while pumping this is… interesting.

      M3 – That’s a pretty heavy characterization but essentially means “Advocates for rightward policies and politicians and against leftward same.”

      C5 – I don’t especially put unemployment in the same bucket as other programs. I’d do a lot to try to avoid needing food stamps, but collect unemployment without compunction as part of the employment deal (albeit a government-mandated one). I would and did avoid applying for any extensions, though.

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    • U5: Not only is this morally disgusting. Sterilization has been unconstitutional as a punishment since the 1930s! Though there might be a work-around because this a plea bargain instead of a punishment imposed by judge or jury (does any other OT lawyer have an opinion?”) Still disgusting.

      Is this accurate? I thought that Buck v. Bell was still on the books.

      I ask because it is my go-to argument about how OWH Jr. is morally repugnant.

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  5. [C3] — It’s been a long-running comment among queers, minorities, and women in video gaming, how much those who criticize diversity would have an absolute childish freakout if games were majority non-white-non-male.

    So of course they do. People who say “diversity does not matter” of course mean “having a white-male default is just fine with me.”

    That said, being able to choose what character to play is critical. Representation is no enemy of choice. I think these designers made a mistake.

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    • I disagree that they made a mistake – I think it was carefully thought out, and probably a good decision given what else exists now.

      If every game was like Rust I think that would produce an impoverishment of the overall environment – but they’re not. The impoverishment, until now, came from the fact that none of them were. Now having one game that does this thing that previously none did, seems like an enrichment. Many games taking many different approaches – thought provoking! Bring it on! Every other game is somewhere between “you can choose a huge range of aspects of your character’s presentation” and “you can choose any presentation you want as long as it’s a muscular white man.”

      If you don’t like to play a character with a randomly assigned race that has a chance of not being white (and, apparently on the game road-map, a randomly assigned gender that might not be male), you have that choice – you can play literally any other game in existence. Having just one or a few video games in the great sea of video games released every year, that actually integrate into their mechanics the real-life fact that we do not choose how we will be born from a multi-page character builder dialog, but have it chosen for us by dice we cannot grab and re-throw – I think that could do much more good than harm.

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      • Remember the old Gold Box D&D computer games (like Pool of Radiance)?

        How much time did you spend rolling and re-rolling your character until you got one with 1-2 great stats, 2-3 good stats, and the rest dump stats? And then again until you had a party of six good characters?

        A D&D game that said “roll once, that’s your character, good luck” is a D&D game that will be outsold by Pool of Radiance.

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        • Pool of Radiance is the only one of those I played. I spent way too many hours at the computer on that one.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if Rust’s developers lose some sales over this. They for sure knew it was likely and decided to accept the risk consciously. That they made that decision seems kind of remarkable and makes it all the more awesome.

          But who knows – maybe what was needed to stand out from the pack in 1988 when Pool of Radiance came out is different from what’s needed in 2015. This could end up gaining them more sales than it loses.

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          • This could end up gaining them more sales than it loses.

            There are a great many things that could happen.

            A game that deliberately makes itself less fun to play for the majority of its users might make sales based on its educational value…

            But I can’t see it getting a sequel.

            Unless it comes out and says “Oh, we changed the thing that people complained about.”

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            • A game that deliberately makes itself less fun to play for the majority of its users might make sales based on its educational value

              A game that deliberately makes itself less fun to play for the majority of its current players, in a way that also generates a lot of writing and conversation – aka free publicity. Yeah, maybe. I had never heard of the game until they made this choice. Granted I don’t play a lot of video games so I was and remain unlikely to buy it, but I’m not everyone.

              Also, is it clear whether it’s actually pissing off a majority, or even a lot, of its players, or if the people it is pissing off are just loud about it?

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            • (Ah, too late to edit my last response. So a double-reply.)

              They are now the only game in a previously totally empty niche, and their occupation of that niche is generating a lot of noise. If what you’re looking for (and didn’t know until now, exclamation mark) was a game in that niche, this is it, this is the one to get.

              So suppose their choice would alienate 70% of gamers, leave 20% indifferent, and make the game more attractive to 10%. Suppose also that a representative 1% sample of gamers are playing their game today.

              They might have lost a lot of the 70% group who are their current players (0.7% of total gamers) and increased their appeal to the 10% of their current players (0.1% of total gamers) – but they also increased their appeal to 9.9% of the total who weren’t playing the game already: the niche they just staked, who are 990% of their current playership.

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              • Do we know about how sales have been affected by this decision on their part?

                Because, sure, this will create buzz but if the result is that it gets positive press but no positive sales (see, for example, Sunset), then this is something that will result in developers getting endorphins but not money.

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                • They post their sales figures, but it only seems to go to June 2015. If I understood the story right, this change happened in March, so the last four months posted are post-change.

                  http://www.facepunchstudios.com/sales-figures/

                  It looks like the game was well into the long slow phase by mid 2014 – but it is nominally in “alpha” so the sales figures aren’t even for software that’s officially been released. Is this normal for game marketing? So, I’m not sure one can read much into those figures. In any case, from February to March to April 2015 there was a noticeable drop-off in sales, but then increasing sales in May and June, though not yet back to the level of February.

                  In July the devs apparently added randomly assigned gender presentation as well, so the previous months’ roars of outrage don’t seem to have scared them all that much.

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    • Geesh. I remember this story when it showed up a month ago. I never did see a good explanation of why “I want to play a character whose race and gender matches my own” flipped from the proud cry of an oppressed minority to the squealing squawk of racist bigotry.

      Well, I mean, white dudes, obviously, but it’s another one of those things where you have to agree that everything white dudes do is bad before you can understand why everything that white dudes do is bad.

      Article: “players had never complained about their lack of choice before, when the only available avatar was a white man.”

      That’s because there wasn’t a choice. Why would they complain?

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      • There isn’t a choice now, either. And yet, they are complaining.

        I mean, “I want to play a character whose race and gender matches my own” is a perfectly valid sentiment. But the complaint should then be “I want the devs to let me play a character whose race and gender match my own”, not “why does this game have to be about race now”.

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  6. [C6] Argh, “real” name policies. Argh, argh, and more argh. People have many reasons to need their name to be other than their legal name. The “real” name or names by which everyone knows a person may be completely other than the name on their government ID by which nobody but the tax authority knows them. People may need to join a support group without it being generally known. People may need a place to frankly discuss things about which they’re not “out” in their daily lives. So many reasons that the mind-bogglingly privilege asshats who writ “real name” policies don’t get.

    For one thing, this.

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    • It’s true that people may need a place to discuss things about which they’re not “out” in their daily lives, but it’s pretty clear Facebook doesn’t want to be that place, and I can’t really fault them for it.

      I mean, I don’t necessarily agree with everything about FB’s name policy, but this woman specifically chose a ridiculous name so that she could function anonymously on Facebook. This is exactly the sort of behavior that FB’s name policy is designed to prevent.

      Also, can we talk about how absolutely insane it is that someone would change their legal name so their facebook account doesn’t get deleted? It’s weird that the article took the spin “look how strict FB is about names” instead of “This woman is clearly suffering from some sort of internet dependency.”

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  7. C7: Two thoughts on the Ashley Madison dump:

    1. I find it interesting that so many people are pointing to this story as a sign that the internet is destroying privacy, because it seems such a weird conclusion to draw. Before the days of the intertubes, people still sought out meaningless flings. They did so at bars, conventions, their workplaces, etc. Basically, they did it in public. And maybe that real estate agent trying to pick up the young woman sitting alone in the bar at 2:00 in the afternoon chose a place where no one would recognize him and blab. But maybe not.

    I’m starting to wonder if the internet has really done anything at all to our privacy. More and more, I think we’re exactly where we were before. It’s just that we bought the internet’s promise that it could provide a new level of privacy to our lives that, really, it never could.

    2. Tons of jokes will be made about the Ashley Madison dump. Many will be funny. Some will even be very funny. But none of them will make me laugh as loud as I did when I read this.

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    • I found that explanation credible, to be perfectly honest. If you’re going to wage a War On Women, you need to find new and inventive ways to face the enemy.

      In all seriousness, his story isn’t impossible. You’d need some sort of record and a tax write-off or something to sell me on it, though.

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      • If I’m an elected official and I want oppo-research done on the other side of the fence, I’m using my own personal credit card to sign up for an extramarital affair dating site and doing the research myself why, exactly?

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          • “Would you ask an underling to put it in his name?”

            Um.. Yeah. Well, I mean, assuming you ignore the zillion other ways you do it without asking a staffer to do it either. Hell, you could buy a prepaid credit card at the grocery store for $5 and use whatever hell name you want.

            But as to whether you do the elected official or someone else in the office? If you were advising Obama on a similar strategy, would you go with “Better use your own name and card, sir. It will look really bad for you if it’s a staffer?”

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    • I’m with you on #1 Tod. Our own Freddie over at his digs ruminates if there’s a kind of puritan left on the rise and march and I wanted to just click my tongue. The mercenary media airing this kind of dirty laundry is as old as the stars. It is not in any way a sign of the cultural left abandoning the ideals of free love or what have you.

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    • The bar doesn’t keep a log of who entered, how long they stayed, who they talked to, how many drinks they bought each other, etc. And it’s only “public” in the sense that anyone can enter; presumably, someone who made a point of checking out names and faces would be politely escorted off the premises.

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    • There are some real concerns in that we treat our conversations in different ways depending on the format.

      If we write a letter, with a date line and greeting and a signature, put it in an envelope, mail it – we think carefully about our words, which matches the nature of the medium, because it produces an artifact that can be shown to someone else years later.

      If we have a chat over a cup of coffee, we are a lot freer with our words, not worrying about how someone might misinterpret them. If our conversation partner appears to misinterpret, we correct on the spot, and move on.

      But now, IM sessions that are in form a lot like a chat over a coffee, can produce an artifact every bit as durable as the emails that are in form a lot more like signed letters.

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  8. U4: The whole “dress code” thing is a pretty perfect illustration of why the Dems have a lot of leeway to screw up and still cary the women’s vote. Because if the elected adult men of MO have been caught sexually harassing interns, of course the real villain is going to be that intern and her damn sexiness.

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    • I’ve been considering a comment rescue post on this very topic.

      has a terrific analysis:

      Men are portrayed as easily seduced and especially aroused by visual elements of female sexuality, which can get defined down to Victorian “Heaven help me, a bare ankle!” standards in some churches. It’s kind of amazing that fundamentalists never developed a burkha for Christian women.

      Here’s a sample from a woman’s perspective:

      Let’s try and put ourselves in a guy’s shoes. I think we can all agree that as girls, exercise is important to us. We want to stay healthy and are often working on getting fit. We work out and stay away from carbs or sweets. We use all of our willpower to not eat the chocolate cake on the counter! Now, let’s pretend that someone picked up that chocolate cake and followed us around all the time, 24/7. We can never get away from the chocolate, it’s always right there, tempting us and even smelling all ooey gooey and chocolate-y. Most of us, myself included, would find it easy to break down and eat the cake. And we would probably continue to break down and eat cake, because it would always be there. Our exercise goals would be long gone in no time.

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      • I’ve never really understood that argument. It’s infantalizing men. MEN are infantalizing themselves.

        “Oh hey, we lack any sort of self-control. We can’t overcome the power of sweater puppies”.

        Seriously? I can. It’s called ‘not being 2’. I left behind the “take what I want, throw a screaming fit if I can’t have it” stage behind a LONG time ago.

        It’s this weird mix of treating women as objects and men as slaves to their dicks. It doesn’t even make sense unless you’re just assuming men have the emotional maturity of toddlers.

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        • If you represent men as having the emotional maturity of toddlers, then those men who have the emotional maturity of toddlers don’t look so bad, and those who have the emotional maturity of spoiled children look good.

          Boys will be boys.

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  9. H3: I usually hate this argument because it seems too opportunistic in most settings (“Why won’t Obama use the bully pulpit on Issue X?!?” or “Why is Obama politicizing issue X” depending on whether he said anything that day).

    That said, on this particular issue there really isn’t a political divide. Its extremes on both sides doing something crazy and destructive then getting self-righteous about it. So I agree that on vaccination specifically people should point out the crazy without trying to tie either party to the lunatics.

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  10. U6: OT lawyers correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that Obergfell is just as binding on the tribes as it is on the states. So isn’t getting gay marriage legal in the Navajo nation a pretty simple matter at this point?

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