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1  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I had one job! on: May 22, 2015, 01:27:29 AM
That's a pretty sweet deal. I'm 58 and thinking tentatively about retiring at 67. I could call myself "semi-retired" because Curio City only demands my full attention during one quarter...but my wife does a burn when I say that, so I don't.  icon_razz For most of the year I only work 2-4 hours a day, and that's at home.

Enjoy your new life as a man of leisure. You earned it.
2  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] Mad Max Returns in Fury Road on: May 12, 2015, 01:56:35 AM
A trailer for the new movie motivated me to look up the originals, which I never saw. They look like protracted car chases and explosions and gunplay and whatnot. Is that accurate?
3  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: It's been a full month without any new R&P Discussions on: May 10, 2015, 10:33:41 PM

Quote from: Lee on May 10, 2015, 09:24:18 PM

Quote from: Dante Rising on May 10, 2015, 06:37:14 PM

Americans love complaining about how much they hate Congress and The President, but Thomas Jefferson said it best: “The government you elect is government you deserve.”   

I don't feel this is true anymore. I feel like our government is controlled by lobbyist and money so it doesn't matter who I vote for, in either party. I don't feel like there is anything we can do as citizens/voters to change this. Am I being overly cynical thinking that?

No, you're not. The Republican Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch Brothers and the Democratic Party is one election away from being taken over by a different group of billionaires -- their heir apparent, Hillary Clinton, personifies big-money politics-as-usual. Bernie Sanders launches a crowdfunded campaign and he is immediately dismissed because you don't stand a chance unless you drink from that firehose of billionaire money.

We live in an oligarchy with democratic trappings that obfuscate whether the Republic has already ended or is still in the process of dying. It looks irreversible either way. But hey, Rome's greatest days began when their republic died, so who knows? Maybe the American Imperium will rise the same way. 

Elections only determine which faction of oligarchs are in control. Spillovers into ordinary people's lives is purely incidental. But don't take my word for it: Look at this study's conclusion:

Quote
When organized interest groups or economic elites want a particular policy passed, there’s a strongly likelihood their wishes will come true. But when average citizens support something, they have next to no influence.

That’s according to a forthcoming article in Perspectives on Politics by Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin I. Page of Northwestern University. The two looked at a data set of 1,779 policy issues between 1981 and 2002 and matched them up against surveys of public opinion broken down by income as well as support from interest groups.

They estimate that the impact of what an average citizen prefers put up against what the elites and interest groups want is next to nothing, or “a non-significant, near-zero level.” They note that their findings show “ordinary citizens…have little or no independent influence on policy at all.” The affluent, on the other hand, have “a quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy,” they find, “more so than any other set of actors” that they studied. Organized interest groups similarly fare well, with “a large, positive, highly significant impact on public policy.”

(The link is a little out of date because the "forthcoming study" has since been published, but the summary is accurate.)
4  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: It's been a full month without any new R&P Discussions on: May 10, 2015, 03:19:52 AM

Quote from: TiLT on May 09, 2015, 06:23:32 PM

(is "infrastate" really the right word for this? Google doesn't seem to think so)

"Intrastate" (with a T) means within a state. "Interstate" is between states. "Infrastate" is a cool word, though. We should find a use for it  icon_biggrin

Quote
You claim the dynamics are similar.

They are similar insofar as the US is a collection of semi-sovereign states, just as Europe is a collection of sovereign nations. "Similar" doesn't mean "the same." Obviously federation is strong here and sketchy there. People once thought that the EU and the Eurozone would lead to a US of E, but the trend toward association sputtered out and nationalism strengthened. If anything the momentum favors devolution now (as illustrated by the Brexit and the Grexit).

Until the Civil War, states were supreme and the US federal government was weak. Strong national government definitively eclipsed state sovereignty only during and after WW2.

Quote
Can you honestly say that Texas (to pick one of your larger states) compares in any way, shape, or form to the country of Germany politically?

Of course not. Maybe Sweden or the Czech Republic. Their foreign policies are effectively subsumed by the EU's heavy hitters. 

US states don't have foreign policy (although they do have foreign trade policies) or independent armies (although we do have some state militias, like the Texas Guard, for intrastate crises). Some of your smaller EU members might as well be states rather than countries, as far as the rest of the world is concerned; when we deal with Europe, we talk to Germany and France, and to an ever-diminishing extent to the UK. Sometimes we might thank Denmark for its opinion.  icon_smile

Quote
The real difference between our countries when it comes to this topic is that the USA's internal politics are more visible to the rest of the world due to your massive media exposure, but that doesn't mean we understand it (or even have to).

The point that I apparently failed to make was about the fractiousness of US politics. You said that you "actually find US politics to be incredibly hostile, even skirting on the edge of civil violence at times, compared to most European countries whose political systems I'm familiar with." That is true at the federal level, and that's the face that we show the world. But for most US citizens state politics are more relevant to our daily lives, and in most states those are more harmonious. That's the level on which I was comparing our states to European countries. Politics is not a blood sport in most states and federal politics only gained primacy fairly recently, historically speaking. 

Quote from: TiLT on May 09, 2015, 06:23:32 PM

Hey, you guys complained about a lack of political discussions, so I'm making one.  icon_razz

I had given up on ever seeing a serious discussion in this forum. Somebody inevitably craps all over it before we get past one page.

I'd like to open up a tangent: The hostile US politics that you observe are an outgrowth of our culture wars and the emerging class war. The struggle between progressives and conservatives, between secular and religious, is what really drives our national political clashes. I don't perceive Europe as having the science deniers, the creationists, the social Darwinists, and similar villains that we have to battle here. Am I wrong?
5  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: It's been a full month without any new R&P Discussions on: May 09, 2015, 05:08:23 PM
You have to understand American politics on at least two levels: federalism and state sovereignty. Intrastate politics are, by and large, more harmonious than interstate (federal) politics, where most of the conflict plays out. In that sense, talking about "American politics" is analogous to talking about "European politics" -- an overarching structure binds them together, but the states are the real powers. Even the two parties are regionally grounded, with the old Confederacy forming the Republican heartland and the Democrats based in urbanized, (post)industrial states. Much of our political history going back to the Civil War, and especially since WW2, has been about the balance of statism and federalism.

So even though the USA is one country and Europe is not, the dynamics behind them are similar. A United States of Europe would be no more unified than the USA is. I'd wager that Massachusetts and Alabama have less in common than France and Germany do.
6  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Job stuff] So....I did it on: May 09, 2015, 04:48:14 PM
GoneDaddy.
7  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Movie]Vacation on: May 08, 2015, 10:34:56 PM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on May 08, 2015, 09:08:06 PM

Working blue, whatever.  I don't particularly find having a 10 year old say "bullshit" or "rimjob" to be the top of comedy, it feels like it's going for the cheapest laugh possible.
I'm with you there. The trailer left me cold for that reason.
8  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Movie trailer catch all on: May 06, 2015, 09:54:36 PM

Quote from: farley2k on May 06, 2015, 06:58:36 PM


Setting out to make a campy cult movie seldom works out well. When the camp is unintentional, cult status often follows. That trailer definitely looks like the former -- which is to say, just plain stupid.
9  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: What is his name again? on: May 03, 2015, 05:49:13 PM
If you find somebody objectionable, it's not that hard to ignore him/her. I could quickly name half a dozen famous/infamous people (political and otherwise) who are a waste of carbon and oxygen. When they manage to insinuate themselves into my consciousness I change the channel or click a different link. I would rather watch a cat play the piano than see anything about or by any Kardassian, for example. Irritant gone.
10  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Movie] Ex Machina on: May 01, 2015, 06:47:34 AM
They're both in my netflix queue and the DVDs will probably come out around the same time. I expect to see Ex Machina first, since I only watch superhero movies when the wife is away. She slept through most of the Marvel movies so I've stopped subjecting her to them, but she'd like Ex Machina.

I'll eventually watch the Avengers movie because I like Agents of Shield. Marketing being what it is, I suspect that the Avengers DVD will come out just before AoS returns.
11  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Random Youtube Links Part 1: This time it's random Youtube Links (NSFW) on: April 30, 2015, 05:22:18 AM

Quote from: Punisher on April 29, 2015, 03:13:50 PM


 icon_lol
12  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: It's been a full month without any new R&P Discussions on: April 25, 2015, 03:40:01 AM
There just hasn't been anything to talk about ever since I convinced everyone that I am always right. I'm still available to tell the confused what's true, though.
13  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Movie trailer catch all on: April 22, 2015, 09:40:39 PM
"Beth" is an Aubrey Plaza vehicle. Funny if you like her, give it a pass if you don't get the meta-humor of seeing her play against type. It's kind of lame on its own merits.
14  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Movie trailer catch all on: April 22, 2015, 02:29:33 AM

Quote from: USMC Kato on April 22, 2015, 02:23:12 AM


Film is called Maggie and I'm getting a Last of Us kind of vibe.

https://youtu.be/AQ5Vz8qE8R8

Looks to me like Life After Beth without the laughs.
15  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ok....I'm ready. Teach me how to invest on: April 16, 2015, 02:08:43 AM
I spread our retirement money amongst an assortment of low-fee index funds that range in risk levels. Nothing exciting, they just reliably track the overall market. I also have a small Roth that's earning an anemic 0.75% in a mutual fund. That's my safe savings. In another 18 months I'll be old enough to tap that money without tax penalty, should I need it.

Once a year I rebalance the funds based on the previous year's performance. I just spent an hour doing that in February when my wife's employer announced that they are changing their basket of core funds and undoing all the choices I just made. For some reason they decided to move my four most aggressive funds (biotech, software, medicine, and transportation) into a boring conservative target date fund. That means I'll have to rebalance again after the dust settles in June. The sector funds are volatile and expensive, but the biotech returned 34% last year. Hard to walk away from that even though I know the smart thing is to take the profit and run. 

Speaking of which, has anybody mentioned target date funds yet? That's the simplest and safest way to invest for the long haul. The fund manager rebalances its portfolio to make it more and more conservative as your retirement date approaches. Now that we're just 9 years from retirement I steer a little more money each year out of the growth funds and into the target date.
16  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I just had tacos for breakfast on: April 14, 2015, 01:14:00 AM
An egg mcmuffin is not breakfast. They can count on selling the tacoids some hash browns and coffee, at minimum.
17  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Carls Jr - now in Toronto should I try it? on: April 11, 2015, 10:05:21 PM

Quote from: Lee on April 11, 2015, 03:53:28 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on April 11, 2015, 02:56:50 AM

Today I finally fired up my grill for the first time this year. I can make a better burger at home in less time than it takes to go buy takeout.

My problem with home burgers is the fries part. I would never dream of deep frying at home, and oven baked just aren't the same. Next hardest part at home is finding good buns.

I make excellent oven fries, non-greasy, crispy on the outside and tender inside. I don't feel like I'm settling for second-best but YMMV if you like them soaked in grease.

1. Cut up some red potatoes into french-fry sized pieces. I use 1.5 potatoes per person.
2. Soak them in cold water for 5-10 minutes. Pat dry with paper towel.
3. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
4. Preheat oven to 350.
5. Arrange fries in a single layer. Spray with the nonstick spray. Apply salt and pepper (I like cayenne).
6. Bake for 30 minutes, turning them once halfway through.

I light up my gas grill after flipping the fries. My burger gets done at the same time as the fries are ready. As for buns, I use whole-wheat rolls from the grocer's bakery.

During the summer, though, I usually make potato salad or other side dishes rather than fries.
18  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Carls Jr - now in Toronto should I try it? on: April 11, 2015, 02:56:50 AM

Quote from: Gratch on April 10, 2015, 05:00:15 AM


It's the love for Five Guys that I don't get.  That place is nasty.

I buy fast food burgers 2-3x a year. My nearby choices are McDs, BK, and 5 Guys. I wouldn't say I love 5 Guys but it sure beats the competition.

Today I finally fired up my grill for the first time this year. I can make a better burger at home in less time than it takes to go buy takeout.
19  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: This is my thread on: March 31, 2015, 03:55:55 AM
Management is deaf to my refund claim. If everybody reading this would send me just $1, I would have at least $6, maybe as much as $8. If people don't chip in voluntarily I'm going to have to start charging $0.50 per post.
20  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] The Walking Dead Season 5 on: March 31, 2015, 03:50:49 AM
I never watch it until the next day (too many commercials to watch in real time), and often not for several days, so I always chime in late.

Quote from: rittchard on March 30, 2015, 10:29:25 PM

Sorry I was busier this morning than expected.  I loved loved loved this finale, so much packed into a 90 minute show!!!  Honestly I think I barely took a breath for the entire hour I was watching the episode.  I really thought Glenn might bite it, Aaron too, and for a second I even thought Rick might go.  Can you imagine if they had killed Rick off in that sequence; that seriously would have been one of the biggest twists/moments in TV history. 

The cool thing about his show is that you never know. I really thought Glen was a goner.

Between the cookie scene from a few weeks ago and this episode's casserole scene, Carol is now my favorite Deader.

Overall it was a great season ender. Wrapped up a lot of conflicts without strangling the story arc, with enough bonus gore to send my wife out of the room twice. The zombie head in the car door was particularly inspired, and the meat hook zombies were just plain sick.
21  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: TDS-Jon Stewart to take summer off,John Oliver to fill in on: March 30, 2015, 10:19:32 PM
I only ever watch(ed) Jon Stewart in clips that people embed in various blogs and forum posts and social media and whatnot, which people do quite frequently -- so I don't watch the Daily Show but I see a lot of its highlights. The measure of this new fellow's success will be whether such clips keep popping up or quietly disappear.
22  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: This is my thread on: March 27, 2015, 02:34:56 AM
Those are unclaimed threads. Mine has barely been used and I'm still within the warranty period. I'd hate to have to take it to craigslist. I just want my dollar back.
23  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: This is my thread on: March 26, 2015, 10:10:01 PM
It turned out that I don't actually need a thread after all. Going to see if I can get my money back.
24  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] The Walking Dead Season 5 on: March 24, 2015, 04:12:40 AM
I wonder if it's occurred to them that they ought to make laws before hiring cops.
25  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What skills will be obsolete in 50 years? on: March 23, 2015, 10:33:34 PM

Quote from: stessier on March 18, 2015, 01:40:52 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on February 24, 2015, 11:32:44 PM

Working a necessity for survival. Wage slavery will no longer be tenable when robots are doing virtually all manual labor and AIs can do much of what we consider skilled labor. I don't know what will replace it, but the way economies are organized will have to change radically as workforce participation keeps dropping in fits and starts. People will work at creative endeavors if they choose to, for self-fulfillment and to enrich themselves beyond a basic income.

That is not happening in 50 years.  Automating jobs is expensive and difficult and labor is quite cheap in many areas of the world.

This fellow disagrees with you:

Quote
University of Oxford Associate Professor in machine learning Michael Osborne has examined the characteristics of 702 occupations in the US, predicting 47 per cent will be overtaken by computers in the next decade or two.

Those most at-risk jobs are in accommodation and food services (87 per cent of workers at high risk of being replaced), transportation and warehousing (75 per cent) and real estate (67 per cent).

...yes we may see new forms of work generated but it's not  clear that the kind of people who are put out of work, which I said ought to be those at the low-skilled end of the spectrum, are necessarily going to be those that move into those new forms of work."

Note that his predicted timeframe is 20 years, not 50.
26  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Doctor Who: the original series on: March 21, 2015, 02:45:57 PM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 20, 2015, 04:19:34 PM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on March 20, 2015, 03:56:46 PM

I used to watch the old Dr Who with my dad all the time as a kid, and of course Tom Baker was the favorite of both of us.

I tried to watch one of the new Who's a few years ago and just really couldn't take it.  It has the problem of being a modern low budget sci fi show, which just makes everything look like terrible digital effects.  People say it has the same feel, but to me it was totally different and the worse for it.

When did you see it?  Their budget has increased pretty significantly as the show has become more and more popular.  I haven't heard anyone make that complaint before, actually.

The episode with the fat blob critters was a low point, even if they were deliberately cheesy. Sometimes Dr Who reminds you that it's a family show at heart.
27  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: This is my thread on: March 20, 2015, 11:06:02 PM

Quote from: hepcat on March 20, 2015, 03:44:24 PM


heh. How had I never heard that before?
28  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: This is my thread on: March 19, 2015, 05:31:25 PM
29  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / This is my thread on: March 19, 2015, 05:29:23 AM
There are others that tried to be like this and failed. Fortunately for all of us that's finally over. This is the Real McCoy.
30  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Doctor Who: the original series on: March 19, 2015, 05:23:25 AM
The original series episodes are slow going because they were aired in 1/2-hour bursts. What we'd consider an "episode" typically ran for 2.5 hours and nearly half of that time recaps the previous segments and sets up for the next. When you string them together story progress is really slow. Binge-watching wasn't a thing then, and it shows.

I slogged through the seasons leading up to Tom Baker. That's when it really grabbed me, and he's the Doctor by whom all others are measured.  
31  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] The Walking Dead Season 5 on: March 19, 2015, 01:35:35 AM
Nobody thinks that Michone's katana is going to stay on that wall for long.  icon_lol
32  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Grills? What say you GT? on: March 19, 2015, 01:31:52 AM
I'm too lazy to track it down, but a few years ago when I was looking into covers for my Weber I found a lively discussion about whether they are beneficial or harmful. Beneficial = duh; harmful = they promote rust by turning evaporation into condensation. Ultimately I decided that keeping bird shit and tree sap away was more important than worrying about the water cycle.
33  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: OO off line for a short time on: March 19, 2015, 01:26:30 AM
I don't know from rules...I just want the beatings to stop.

It looks like we're in for another long OOutage, though, so maybe we had better take over. Beatings be damned. (Can I say "damned" on the internet?)
34  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] The Walking Dead Season 5 on: March 18, 2015, 07:49:24 PM
When the priest walked on stage I said "Good lord, is that guy still alive? If the writers need to kill another black dude..." And then Noah. Life just ain't fair.
35  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: OO off line for a short time on: March 18, 2015, 02:23:22 AM
Hope ol' Fishy's vacation isn't too long.

Did anybody try turning if off and back on again? Where's that Rip Ripperstein fellow? He knows how to do that.
36  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Grills? What say you GT? on: March 18, 2015, 12:38:22 AM
My Weber Genesis is way over your price limit but worth the price. Still going strong after nearly 10 years. I replaced one of the flavorizer bars last year, otherwise no maintenance beyond an annual cleaning.
37  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Who is your cell provider? on: March 18, 2015, 12:35:51 AM
Verizon, because they convinced my wife years ago that they have the best coverage and because inertia.

$40 per device + $30 for 2 GB data, or $40 for 3 GB, etc. Unlimited minutes and texts. The data prices just went down by $10 last month. Existing customers have to "choose a new plan" to get the lower rates. She also gets a small discount through her employer, so our final bill is $104 per month. I suppose I'm content with it, having nothing to compare it to.
38  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Apple] It's about time... on: March 14, 2015, 03:05:33 AM

Quote from: wonderpug on March 13, 2015, 06:28:29 PM

I'm just a pseudo Apple fanboy, I don't drool over every Apple announcement and upgrade everything yearly, but I am fairly well equipped with a suite of iStuff.

I could see myself eventually being interested in a smart watch of some sort, but this first gen Apple one is too expensive and too ugly for me.  Someone poke me when they have a cheaper, thinner one with a circular face and better features and battery life.

I had (have) an iPod Touch that I won in a raffle. Liked it well enough except for iTunes. That's the extent of my experience with Apple -- good hardware, shitty software.

Oh wait: I was in charge of the conversion of Caesar II for the iMac back in the late '90s. I had to learn Apple's OS for that. Hated the missing floppy drive and the one-button mouse (how the hell do you port a PC game with no right clicking?), but Apple's refusal to use virtual memory was the worst. That experience poisoned my opinion of Apple forever more. Plus my sister-in-law's a huge Apple fan and I don't like her.
 
I already have a watch.

Yeah, not the demographic here.  icon_lol
39  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Con Man - Alan Tudyk and Nathan Filiion on: March 14, 2015, 02:49:11 AM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 13, 2015, 10:12:22 PM


Um, we're also forgetting a key ingredient.  Whedon has been pretty busy himself, what with Much Ado About Nothing and other films.


I do like how Whedon keeps tapping the same stable of actors, some of whom are going to be involved in this project. Riki "Garfunkle" Lindhome, Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Tom Lenk, and Nathan Fillion were all in Much Ado, and all of them are Buffy alumni. Felicia Day had some walk-on parts in Buffy. There are other links and crossovers too numerous to mention. I'll be surprised if we don't see some cameos in this series.
40  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Old member, coming back after almost 4 years of absence =) on: March 03, 2015, 01:14:55 PM
I think I'm just going to be offended now and get it out of the way.
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