Storypost | 2022.12.31

Pandemic Legacy Season 0 setup living room fire Christmas tree

After four eightish-hour sessions, we finished Pandemic Legacy Season 0. Immediately below are our final characters with some build commentary and asset/scar spoilers. After that there's some late game info but no plot spoilers.
Characters/builds

Brazil the mover, Europa the infiltrator

Pandemic Legacy Season 0 identity medical coordinator Pandemic Legacy Season 0 identity plastics technician Pandemic Legacy Season 0 identity collective manager

Brazil, named by Mark after a squad inside joke, was the MVP. Ally movement is insanely useful in S0:
The Dr. Robert asset and a visa to his city meant Brazil could hang out in Baghdad and chessmaster the rest of the squad while sniping adjacent agents. Banking actions with Dr. Robert then became extremely useful when the game introduced the infiltrator mechanic. Brazil could switch over to Europa and gain two more actions for roaming enemy compounds. The only way to have improved this would have been to assign a particular city to Dr. Robert.

Starla the assembler

Pandemic Legacy Season 0 identity hospital administrator Pandemic Legacy Season 0 identity electrician Pandemic Legacy Season 0 identity first politburo assistant

I think Chase named Starla based on her eyewear? Her job is the most difficult thing in S0: assembling teams (in time for them to complete the objective). She got some light cleanup buffs while collecting cards from the draw and discard pile. Since team assembly is necessary for every mechanic (and has the bonus of enemy agent mop up), Starla was critical all twelve months. Alicia Electricia and Poutine Canyada were pretty useless.

Sylens the Builder, Varl the medic

Pandemic Legacy Season 0 identity clinic planner gunbrella Pandemic Legacy Season 0 identity aluminum salesperson Pandemic Legacy Season 0 identity red army doctor

Derrick was playing Horizon so he named the Clinic Planner Sylens and kept it going with Zo and Varl. Tracking Device is pretty darn useful and, in retrospect, would have been good for Starla. Since building safehouses is more of an early-year mechanic, we used the Varl identity a lot more.

Coop the giver, Comrade Coop the cleaner

Pandemic Legacy Season 0 identity research assistant Pandemic Legacy Season 0 identity cargo pilot Pandemic Legacy Season 0 identity street cleaner

Since your (game lore) CIA trainer is John Cooper (call him "Coop") I named my character John "Coop" Cooper. His ability to funnel cards to Starla for team assembly was useful. Ivan Coopski (call him "Comrade Coop") then became our primary neutralizer of enemy agents. The Street Cleaner ability (often combined with Brazil's relocation ability) saved our hides in those games where we couldn't eliminate enemy agents fast enough.

Side note: the Coordinator + Street Cleaner combo only works on the destination city, not the two you pass through. It's still awesome though.
Results

Pandemic Legacy Season 0 final calendar

We managed an exemplary rating though for most months we just scraped by. Decking (or almost) the player cards was pretty common, we also had months where we exhausted the enemy agent or incident token supply.

Pandemic Legacy Season 0 PEARL compound board
That's a lot of infiltration.
Epilogue

Pandemic Legacy Season 0 sticker collage

The leftover stickers are great for a two year old; Danielle and I made a collage.

The squad (Unnatural Ones, Brogue Squadron, etc.) still has a few Gloomhaven scenarios left before moving to Aeon's End Legacy, Frosthaven, or ???

Aeons End Legacy chapters Frosthaven box bananagram for scale



Listpost | 2022.12.31

Blue Angels 2022

Year's end is all about content recaps, right? Here are my top image and post hits from 2022.


1.Conversations


I haven't started a new playthrough of Dragon Age Origins, I just dug up an illustrative image.


2.Imminent?


Here we are on day whatever of this eastern Europe thing. It's kind of interesting though, here's what I'll talk about:


3.Revanchist


The plan for this month to rave about Horizon: Forbidden West and Elden Ring. The Ukraine crisis was an ominous but interesting situation three weeks ago. Sadly, now people are fighting for their country and seeking refuge and having their lives destroyed by a pointless invasion.


4.Diversions


I have another post queued up for real world stuff like Ukraine and the market/return of Gamestonk, but let's talk about the big March PS5 releases.


5.Exeunt


My Mass Effect Legendary Edition playthrough has come to a close. Since it's wordy and spoilery, I'll put it last.


6.Not looking back


Whether or not covid is truly in our rearview, everything has returned to the pre-2020 norm (more or less).


7.Demise


This one is all about plateaus and precipices. And other things.



tags: kilroy meta recap


Preview | 2022.12.18

Elder Scrolls Online art

With Wonderlands in the mop-up phase, me and J need a new adventure. Gunfire Reborn will slot in to our short sessions pretty well, but we need a more campaigny co-op experience for the full sessions.

We've enjoyed reliable franchises like Borderlands and Far Cry. In pivoting to something totally new, we've had some success (Planetside, Warframe, Divinity) and failure (Apex, Battlefield). So here's a list of games I pulled from Co-optimus and Metacritic and /r/gamingsuggestions and Steam, sorted by how familiar the game is.

Dying Light 2 (2022)

Genre: Open-world adventure Dying Light 2
Multiplayer:Cooperative PvE campaign
Metascore: 76
Notes: Familiarity: "don't kill the franchise" sequel.
One of the safer options since we quite liked the first game. The release bugs have had time to be squashed so it might be a good time to dive in.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection (2014)

Genre: FPS Halo Master Chief Collection
Multiplayer:Cooperative PvE campaign
Metascore: 85
Notes: Familiarity: "don't kill the franchise" series.
It's hard to go wrong with a five-game binge of the original Halo series. That's *checks math* 70 floors of the Library!

Aliens: Fireteam Elite (2021)

Genre: Squad shooter Aliens Fireteam Elite
Multiplayer:Cooperative PvE campaign
Metascore: 69
Notes: Familiarity: squad FPS is our bread and butter.
The reviews seem to indicate that Aliens: Fireteam Elite is basically The Division but mediocre but with friggin aliens. In other words, pretty decent if you don't mind a few bugs and don't pay $60 for it. Since the campaign is ~20 hours, it's not like you're married to subpar gameplay.

The Red Solstice (2015)

Genre: Top-down squad shooter Red Solstice
Multiplayer:Cooperative PvE campaign
Metascore: 74
Notes: Familiarity: Seems like Alienation/Helldivers with added depth?

The Red Solstice 2: Survivors (2021)

Genre: Top-down squad shooter Red Solstice 2
Multiplayer:Cooperative PvE campaign
Metascore: 65
Notes: Familiarity: see above.
The classic question: is the sequel better but rated lower because it should be a more significant upgrade?

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited (2015)

Genre: MMO Elder Scrolls Online
Multiplayer:Cooperative PvE campaign
Metascore: 80
Notes: Familiarity: We've played Elder Scrolls, just not in this format.
The closest thing we've played to an MMO is Planetside 2, but we both enjoy Bethesda games and RPGs. The monthly fee was supposedly removed and there are a half-dozen expansions that can be had for $60. But can two players (maybe with an occasional rando) survive a model that may be focused on larger parties?

Fallout 76 (2018)

Genre: MMO Fallout 76
Multiplayer:Cooperative PvP or PvE
Metascore: 53
Notes: Familiarity: We've played Fallout, just not in this format. Survival elements are new to us.
The buzz is that the low review scores are due to bugs and playability issues that have largely been addressed in the last few years. Does it have a subscription fee? Is PvP avoidable?

Ark: Survival Evolved (2017)

Genre: Survival Ark Survival Evolved
Multiplayer:Cooperative PvE scenarios
Metascore: 70
Notes: Familiarity: Pretty different.
Survival games like Valheim and The Forest are all the rage. Before these was a building/crafting/fighting game with dinosaurs. It's an MMO? How does PvP come into play?
Site meta

Since I have more than a few video game posts, it made sense to formalize games as a datatype:

public enum Game {
	ACROSS_THE_OBELISK("Across The Obelisk", 
	                   "Deckbuilder roguelike", 
	                   null, 
	                   MultiplayerType.COOP_CAMPAIGN, 
	                   null, 
	                   "ato"),
	AGE_OF_EMPIRES_II("Age Of Empires II", 
	                  "AoE II", 
	                  "Realtime strategy", 
	                  2013, 
	                  MultiplayerType.COOP_COMPETITIVE, 
	                  92, 
	                  "aoe", 
	                  "aoe2"),
	...
	private Game(final String name,
		     final String genre,
	   	     final Integer release,
		     final MultiplayerType coop,
		     final Integer metascore,
		     final String... aliases) {
	

An enumeration (for non-coders, hand-crafted data rather than scraped or imported) seems like a maintenance burden, but the biggest chunk of work was (as always) retrofitting existing content. I jammed out the hundred-ish games already mentioned on this site during the first 60' of the World Cup final, so now it's just adding as I go.

There were two fields I wanted to personally enumerate because they're relevant to me, J, and probably other co-op gamers:

Field 1: Genre


Metacritic lists The Division's genre(s) as "Shooter, Modern, Modern, Action, Shooter, Third-Person, Tactical, Arcade".

So it's a 'shooter' and a 'shooter' (when you store your tags in a list and not a set). This tells me there's shooting, so hat's helpful. 'Tactical' and 'arcade' seems largely mutually exclusive. Third-person is helpful, though the FPS and over-the-shoulder experience aren't massively difference.

Tags are easy to implement/scrape but they can be very misleading. I tried to improve upon this with bespoke genres. I call The Division a "Cover shooter". The 'shooter' bit is pretty straightforward, the term 'cover' puts in some work with subtext. It implies that you're locked in to third-person view (a first person cover shooter gives me first person jumping puzzle vibes) and that it's tactical because, well, you don't need cover if you can circlestrafe all day.

Should it be "Cover shooter RPG"? Maybe. There's something to be said for the RPG elements of The Division (XP/level, skills, crafting, shops, specials). Since most modern shooters include these, there's a fuzzy line somewhere between shooter-with-obligatory-RPG-elements and borderline-pencil-and-paper-RPG-with-guns.

What I'm saying is that I'm better than Metacritic because my genres are hand-crafted, require that the reader to understand subtext, and (most of all) stored in a data structure with mutual exclusivity. (To have been read as dripping with hyperbole). My tailored genres do get reuse though. Alienation and Helldivers are both "Squad top-down shooter". Mass Effect is an "Action RPG" while Fallout is an "Open-world action RPG" to indicate that the playstyle is like ME but in a large, irradiate sandbox. I'm hoping to use this labeling structure to do things like produce lists ranked on similarity.

Field 2: Multiplayer

Metacritic:

Number of Online Players:	Up to 24 Players

Metacritic aggregates tons of data and provides crowdsourced ratings on video games, movies, and whatever else. Due to its generic charter, a lot of important details (for choosing a game) aren't represented on their site. "Up to 24 Players" doesn't describe the co-op experience very well. Enter Co-optimus, a web site dedicated to multiplayer gaming.


This is more informative, though some things like the existence of a companion app aren't especially important to me. Hilariously missing from that list is the tag "Co-Op Campaign" that can be found on many of their other games. The Division is 70% PvE/story and 30% PvP, it most definitely has a co-op campaign. The fact that you can play the entire story with a buddy is pretty important.

Source. They aren't so great for reviews, though.

The kilroy approach:

public enum MultiplayerType {
   SOLO("Solo PvE"),                             // No multiplayer.
   SOLO_COMPETITIVE("Solo PvP"),                 // PvP, no teams.
   COOP_COMPETITIVE("Cooperative PvP or PvE"),   // Team vs team, no story.
   COOP_SCENARIO("Cooperative PvE scenarios"),   // Co-op PvE, no story.
   COOP_CAMPAIGN("Cooperative PvE campaign");    // Co-op story.
}

This divides the gaming world pretty well for my purposes.

Metacritic

Comprehensive 5/5 Notes:
Review aggregator provies quality ratings. Other data is genericized, but you can click through to reviews.
Genre info 2/5
Multiplayer info 1/5
Ratings 5/5
Descriptions 3/5

Co-optimus

Comprehensive 3/5 Notes:
Provides cooperative gaming-oriented information. Community doesn't actively rate games.
Genre info 3/5
Multiplayer info 4/5
Ratings 1/5
Descriptions 3/5

/r/gamingsuggestions

Comprehensive 2/5 Notes:
Diverse, hand-crafted recommendations with details relevant to OP's request. Recommendations tend to be either the same list of (great) games like Divinity, Mass Effect, and Disco Elysium. You'll also see some really bad titles either because of indie-bias or because the recommendation request is pretty narrow. Since it's a forum, searchability isn't great.
Genre info 3/5
Multiplayer info 2/5
Ratings 2/5
Descriptions 4/5

Kilroy

Comprehensive 1/5 Notes:
Only covers games that the author himself played. So it's good for opinionated information and screenshots without a watermark, but terrible in almost every other way. New categorization feature might be informative if it can be represented on aggregate (like a table). It's not a pure gaming site so you get cat pics and memes mixed in with game stuff. He goes to E3 though, so he's probably legit.
Genre info 4/5
Multiplayer info 4/5
Ratings 2/5
Descriptions 4/5



Editorial | 2022.12.16

Elon Musk Donald Trump NFT bad photoshop

Memelords and bad photoshops.
@ElonJet

ElonJet flight tracker Jack Sweeney

Elon banned the kid who wrote a bot to track his G6. He gave us fair warning though, having previously claimed that not blocking @elonjet demonstrated his personal commitment to free speech.

People don't know how to dialogue

Bradley Eversley tweet Elon Twitter space

I guess Elon popped in to a live chat about it. It went like this:

Partcipant: Elon I have to ask, why would you ban journalists?
Elon: On Twitter we treat everyone as equals.
Participant: Okay but they were just linking ElonJet in the course of reporting on the news.
Elon: Posting links to doxing will be considered doxing.
Participant: Okay but they were journalists, why would you ban journalists?
Elon: *click*

The anti-Elon crowd celebrated this, claiming that Elon ragequit when he was confronted with hard questions. But whoever the interviewer was really did just loop back to indignation that journalists were being banned for referencing the now-illicit content. Not only did it re-ask a question that had been answered, but it came across as entitled.

The discussion didn't give Musk the opportunity to explain (or fail to explain) some things.

1. Twitter is a doxing platform

This one is simple, Twitter is a realtime social media platform. If Elon defines doxing as posting realtime location data (presumably without consent), then me tweeting a selfie with him at the Fremont Tesla factory is doxing. Anyone retweeting "hey look how cool and down-to-earth Elon is, taking selfies with people" is doxing.

That's a large chunk of Twitter content, from influencer nonsense to videos from Iranian protests.

There's clearly a free speech/safety tradeoff to be found somewhere, it's just surprising that Twitter has moved away from free speech along this axis.

2. Citation needed

Elon claims that he wants to treat journalists and regular users as equals. That's a reasonably 'old internet' and 'citizen journalist' mentality, although he probably doesn't believe in either of those things.

Despite (or because of) his alt-rightish snark about (airquotes) journalism, even Elon should acknowledge that journalists have to reference source material in some way. On one hand, I don't need the NYT to post stills from a beheading video in order to prove that it happened. On the other hand, if they tell me "we're at war with Eastasia" I can't just believe them on reputation. Maybe Elon believes this, maybe he shares the Trump mindset that the media is just a propaganda outlet working either for or against him. If it's the latter, there isn't a discussion to be had.

In either case, journalists have an obligation that appears to be in conflict with Twitter's new ToS. They either need to expunge references to identities and sources of realtime location data from their work or they need to leave the platform. It'd be interesting to know which of these comply: @ElonJet (no), ElonJet (?), https://mastodon.social/@elonjet (?), faa.gov (?), N628TS (?), https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/n628ts (?).

Trying to be unsympathetic

Elon Musk alleged stalker tweet

If the LA incident is exactly how Elon alleges, that's pretty scary. Most anyone in his place would consider banning any source of geolocation information.

But then he posts the dude's plates and calls on Twitter to take action.

Distraction

Elon Musk Ghislaine Maxwell photo

His alt-right engagement has caused this photo to trend, so, hmmm... turning to page two of the Elon Musk playbook... it says "create a distraction".

TWTR

Twitter office equipment auction

That got dark. In upbeat news, Twitter is auctioning a bunch of office equipment. Is he rightsizing the SF offices or are Twitter's remaining staff going to have to buy ten gallon hats?

/u/Shuizid did a pretty good job of describing my feelings on why Twitter has a ton of market share and momentum:


/u/Blod_Cass_Dalcassian
I can't get my head around why anyone uses twitter anyway, let alone play this game with him. Stop using it and get on with your lives.

/u/Shuizid
Twitter is one central platform to get up-to-date information in almost real time. And it's a platform where millions of users could interact almost instantly with little regulations - making it the place where "metoo" and movements for freedom started.

It's a place where people could easily connect, where artists and other creators would be able to show off their work to a wide audience and get hired for it.

It's a place where people could post short updates to their fans about things happening.

TSLA

Tesla share price CNBC 2022

Some combination of fundamentals, the market downturn, and Elon's antics have impacted Tesla's share price. The Twitter thing started around September/October.


/u/just2commenthere
Didn't he promise fairly recently that he was done selling Tesla shares?

Link.

/u/likwitsnake
He's sold twice since then

/u/theredmage333
He's also promised not to ban the Jet tracker account and yet he did anyway

Of course, the April 28 tweet reads, "No further TSLA sales planned after today". That's the easiest possible phrasing to back away from.
Digital money printer go brrr

Donald Trump cowboy NFT

America needs a hero and I heard Henry Cavill is looking for work. Or we could bring back NFTs. Rembember NFTs? They're like baseball cards but hopefully better!


Me
I did not see that coming.
Zac
They are a hundred bucks each!?!
$99
Solid investment.
I'll sell you a screenshot for $29.99.
Dan
That is awesome.
Kevin
Any good replies Kev? [Ed: he got a TRUTH account early]
I've bought five.
Comments in Truth are nothing but bots. You have to scroll though so many duplicate "Trump is a god" memes before getting to anyone resembling a human. And even then I am not sure.
There is not a single comment about the cards, but there are tons about how stupid the vaccines are.
These are so good:
Zac
Also, they refer to him so much as "45". If he wins again will he be called "45&47"?
I'd just call him Adams for short. #historybomb
Kevin
Dang it not Adams. Cleveland. #historyfail

Production quality


/u/Mighty_Zote
Look on the artist insta. He is the mastermind behind sich 90's trapper keeper classics like "snowboarding parrot" and "two polar bears swimming through a ring of bubbles shaped like a heart"

Indeed, even bored apes look good compared to these. Some combination of stock photography, AI redraw, and photoshop seem to have gone into the process. Gizmodo tracked down some of the source material.

But I guess they sold all 45,000 of them. So $4.5M with 10% of resales for a pittance in expenses. But $4.5M isn't worth what it once was.

WallStreetBets money printer jpow covid treatment
Source. CPI numbers
Moment of zen


/u/enc-nyc
Fu##er. Closed my calls today at -93%. Never trading TSLA again.

/u/Living_Warthog5049
Damn dude... Most responsible traders set a stop limit at like 10-25%

/u/RelativeEchidna4547
r/lostredditors

/u/username3
Hey Google define responsibile

/u/GMOrgasm
defining "responsible"

re·spon·si·ble

/r?'späns?b(?)l/

verb

to sponsible again



Editorial | 2022.12.12


Me
Which meme should I use?
Soccer Qatar World Cup meme USA England Washington Cox and Combs
Soccer Qatar World Cup meme USA England Washington Cox and Combs
Soccer Qatar World Cup meme USA England Washington Cox and Combs
6 foot 20 fucking killing for fun
Gage
I vote number 2
Dan
But I like #3 for being topical
AWESOME. Put a beer in his hands
Ryan
4chan meme Harry Kane Star Wars
KO

This post is kind of hefty, so let's start with a couple of adorable pics from the zoo.
A couple of adorable pics from the zoo

Lizard zoo

Zoo snake Zoo giraffes
International soccer tournament

Stable diffusion soccer ball blood splatter

A couple of weeks ago I discussed in depth Qatar pulling the rug on Budweiser and stadium beer enjoyers. That was the light beer of World Cup controversies, as everyone is well aware.

"Rainbows are racism"

Qatar World Cup stadium rainbow stable diffusion

Early on, people were like, "can gay fans attend without getting arrested?" Arresting people en masse for their sexuality would be a bad look for FIFA and Qatar, so there seems to have been a modest compromise on the matter. But the extent to which people have to be outwardly in compliance with Qatar's faith-based laws seems to have shifted in recent months. And so the international community decided to twist Qatar's nips about it. Teams brought rainbow captain armbands and fans brought rainbow attire. FIFA banned the former, stadium security banned the latter.

Qatar's reverse uno card is to say that anyone criticizing their domestic policies is 'racist'. It'd make a lot more sense if laws or even their religious foundations had any relation to race or ethnicity. In the broader interpretation of racism as any bigotry, it is true that numerous western nations are condemning the faith-based laws of a soveriegn nation. But this isn't a particularly strong argument: "it is bigoted to call inferior our culture of treating others as legally inferior".

Meme World Cup Qatar Scottish Soccer Hooligan weekly

To Qatar's credit, they haven't arrested anyone (afaik) for their identity/sexuality and they declined to prosecute a pitch invader with a rainbow flag. On the other hand, that's not a very high bar. But this is FIFA, whose reform committee head in 2015 called soccer in the US "an ethnic sport for girls in schools". Francois Carrard may have just been lashing out at America's DoJ threatening FIFA's racket, but he could have been considerably less chauvinist and eurocentric about it. Likewise, European football still struggles with overt racism and disrespect for women's sport, so it's difficult to fully believe the international condemnation here.

Rewind

Fifa Sepp Blatter money rain incident

Why was Carrard so indignant? Oh yeah, Loretta Lynch kicked the walls of FIFA and the whole rotten place came down. Well, CONCACAF too.

US DoJ "The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States," said Attorney General Lynch. "It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable. Today's action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort." 

So throw that on the pile of reasons to take a dim view of this tournament. Fast-forward to today, Blatter's successor Giovanni Infantino has been in full face-saving mode, redirecting concerns about theocratic rule to anecdotes about how he was bullied for being a ginger when he was a child.

"Excuse me, I booked a double wide"

Qatar world cup shipping container fan village

I might have praised the lack of arrests prematurely, maybe everyone's just hanging out in their shipping container between matches.

"Modern slavery"

Qatar World Cup stadium rainbow stable diffusion blood rain

Beer bans and FIFA corruption aren't great, but it's possible to laugh about them. Even the rainbow thing is just a mild controversy as long as no one gets hurt (beyond the usual, Harry Maguire-related injuries). But the real reason to take a dim view of this World Cup is that Qatar used an insidious form of indentured servitude to prey on destitute migrant workers, many of whom suffered preventable deaths. It's too serious of a topic for this blog, but it has to be part of a discussion of this World Cup. The only thing I'll add is that the whole hosting enterprise was meant to be a wealth flex, but how affluent can you be if need to resort to that?

Is all of this normal?

Russia world cup scary bleachers stadium

Yes and no. Four years ago the World Cup was held in a country that is currently leading the competition for North Korea of the Year, beating out Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and North Korea. But at least Russia could use existing infrastructure and/or just put up some bleachers.

Simpsons wigsphere

Eight years ago, Brazil built a bunch of facilities for the World Cup and Olympics. The investment drew a lot of criticism given the nearby areas' economic state. Many of these facilities now sit underutilized or abandoned. It's a pretty big waste for some momentary national prestige.

Is there a solution?

It's tough to find a modern government free from the taint of evil, but that doesn't mean FIFA can't draw the line at "no large scale military invasions or state-sanctioned slavery". They won't, but it's totally doable.

What about throwaway stadiums? Well, the 2026 Canada/US/Mexico World Cup will use these:

US
AtlantaMercedes-Benz Stadium
BostonGillette Stadium
DallasAT&T Stadium
HoustonNRG Stadium
Kansas CityArrowhead Stadium
Los AngelesSoFi Stadium
MiamiHard Rock Stadium
New YorkMetLife Stadium
PhiladelphiaLincoln Financial Field
San FranciscoLevi's Stadium
SeattleLumen Field
Canada
TorontoBMO Field
VancouverBC Place
Mexico
GuadalajaraEstadio Akron
Mexico CityEstadio Azteca
MonterreyEstadio BBVA

They're all fully-built stadiums - or rinks, I assume the Canada ones are converted hockey arenas. The facilities might get a fresh coat of paint and some new urinals to really impress the international visitors, surrounding infrastructure will get updates. But the scale will be such that these cities can prepare for the event without abandoning occupational health and safety.

And while every country has some form of sovereign immunity, these governments are considerably more transparent and accountable than Qatar and Russia. Laborers, FAs, and FIFA have numerous vehicles for legal relief should any party attempt bribery, discrimination, or a last-minute beer ban.

Is the idea of favoring hosts with pre-existing infrastructure biased against small or developing nations? It sure is, but only in the traditional single-host paradigm. If Qatar had shared hosting honors with Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and maybe Kuwait, they probably could have avoided the human rights disaster and eventual need to scrap or convert a bunch of 60,000 seat stadiums. Dubai to Riyadh is a third the distance from Sao Paulo to Manaus and a quarter of the distance from Toronto and Mexico City.

I'm not a World Cupologist, but I believe the multi-host model works. See: Canada/US/Mexico '26, Japan/Korea '02, and the Champions/Europa leagues. Automatic qualification would have to be reworked, but its far easier to tweak the competition rules than to police bribery and labor practices outside your sovereign domain.

Eng 1 - 2 Fra

Olivier Giroud goal England France 2022 World Cup

I must have missed a message... What's not coming home?
Connie
England fans chant "it's coming home". It's not coming home this year because of Maguire. He is an English defender. He is really bad. It will be his fault.
KO
You are all caught up. You are all set for Monday water cooler talk.

Me
Might need to see the final score line first.
Brushing Flora and watching the game.
Olivier Giroud nods a header in, John Stones is near side marking no one, Harry Maguire is trying to come through his back.
Narrator
Lol who else are you going to mark on a cross?
Theo Hernandez runs over Mason Mount, the ref misses it but awards the pen on VAR.
Now that's defending.
England have any interest in scoring from open play?
Pengland.
You can tweet that.
Hahaha.
KO
Kane puts it over the bar.
Narrator

Me
Harry Kane't.
Harry Maguire is booked.
Maguire yellow card. Lols.
KO
Twitter

Elon Musk twitter elden ring style stable diffusion

Last month Elon was in the early stages of his Twitter rebuild. He culled much of the herd with a "pledge to be ultra-hardcore or take a package" email. The public's response seems to have fallen on either side of the political divide. To paraphrase:

The Right Elon is firing all of those SF liberals who personally suppressed my free speech. I hated this guy when he made electric cars but I love him now. Go Elon!

I don't doubt that Twitter has its share of "SF liberals", many of whom self-selected by taking the package. But it also has ITOps guys who listen to Joe Rogan and think taxation is theft. It also has whoever has fought the ideological battle in favor of unrestricted speech, effectively enough that it required a (confirmed) seditious conspiracy to finally get Trump booted. It also has developers who don't moderate content and are the reason there is a platform to fight over.

The Left Haha Elon is kneecapping the company he just overpaid for!

It would certainly be a story of arrogance that the world's wealthiest man managed to oust enough critical staff to destroy his $40b acquisition. I'm not so sure though. Here's the main reason: from the user standpoint, Twitter is more or less the same product as it has been since Jack Dorsey's first tweet (NFT is on discount btw). Sure they probably didn't host videos back then and the recommendation engine has been iterated upon. But Twitter is not, say, buying Oculus to try to move their aging user base into virtual reality. And unlike Facebook, Twitter is as successful as its ever been. In my mind, Twitter is closer to Google search than Facebook.

ESG teams

Twitter architecture whiteboard Elon Musk

Amidst the sensationalism, I heard a couple of concrete examples of teams that were dissolved entirely:
If you take Elon at his word, AI and free speech are amoral so governance of these things isn't necessary in his Twitter. If you believe Elon is full of shit, AI and free speech governance hurt his ability to repay creditors and are therefore unnecessary in his Twitter. In my experience, ESG boards tend to be more chaff than wheat, so in eliminating these roles Elon could also be trimming the fat (boat Elon best Elon). Considering every major tech company is in a hiring freeze and/or layoff period, the only things that set Twitter apart are how severe and how noisy their RIFs are.

The layoffs

They're pretty darn noisy. The anti-Musk crowd is quick to paint them as aimless, but perhaps he knows what he's doing, namely:
I'm going to sound like a crusty embedded developer who just doesn't understand the web stack, but Twitter's development burden seems minimal. Sure, there's scaling and browser/mobile API updates to keep up with, but compare that to kicking out a half-dozen new smartphone designs every year.

Months later, Twitter hasn't suffered any outages that I'm aware of. Maybe the platform isn't at risk, maybe these layoffs are only threatening Twitter's brand and its ability to compete with the next big social media thing.

Vox botuli

Elon Musk twitter trump poll

Elon claimed to be a free speech absolutist and kicked around the idea of blanket amnesty to legal, non-spam accounts. So it was obvious he'd bring @realDonaldTrump back, right? Strangely, Elon put his principles up to a vote. He posted a poll about reinstating Trump's account only months after claiming loudly that Twitter is full of bots.

The vote affirmed Elon's forgone decision, but Trump declared he would not to abandon his Twitter knockoff, TRUTH.

Tweet Call to Activism Trump Elon
Source. There was a lot of stuff like this.

The anti-Elon camp got all snarky, strangely ignorant of how unreliable the former president is.

Tweet Elon Musk drama Trump

People (and marketers) are sticking around because there's no good alternative (due to market share, not techonology). If Tiktok or Instagram or Mastadon could take Twitter's place, the tsunami of anti-Elon content would have been posted on another platform.

Send in the clowns

Trump was offered amnesty. So were Tubby Crocs Gun Kid and Jewish Space Laser Lady. Alex Jones, however, was excluded from Elon's free speech paradise because profiting from the death of children goes too far. I'm sure vox populi would agree but it is strange that they weren't asked.

Kanye West Ye last tweet boat Elon
It's amazing that Kanye went out with a Boat Elon (best Elon).

After being reinstated, Kanye didn't take long to find Musk's amnesty limits. Following Ye's batshit Alex Jones interview he went on a Twitter rant that got him banned for inciting violence.

Hunter's laptop

Elon Musk for president 2020 Trump Rage Against the Machine RATM
Well not literally since he's South African.

All of this reeks of bread and circuses. It's no secret that Elon has a track record of being controversial to suck the air out of an otherwise more controversial room. But since Twitter has no shareholders and there doesn't seem to be any other damaging Musk news, it's not clear why he would be grandstanding. He is being sued by the Tesla board for (something like) taking fulltime compensation while having a side project or two. Posting midnight selfies with the Twitter H1Bs and trying to drag Sir Elton John into an argument about disinformation doesn't seem helpful to his case.

The best I can come up with is that he's trying to groom the Twitter subscriber base for 2024.

Elon Musk What really happened with the Hunter Biden story suppression by Twitter will be published on Twitter at 5pm ET!

Well that's subtle. The alt-right loves the story of the MAGA computer repair guy who gave Hunter's laptop to (former White House cyber adviser) Rudy Giuliani who imaged it and sent the drive to Tucker Carlson who claimed (probably on advice of counsel) that it was lost in the mail.

If only John McAfee were still alive. Johnny Cyber would promise to find the missing hard drive, crack the FDE, use Hunter's Burisma credentials to make gas $1.00/gallon, and be snoozing under a hammock by midafternoon. But John McAfee is dead and we're stuck with Elon whose best efforts are to ride the controversy's coattails by posting Slack messages discussing it.

It's so meaningless, why would Elon even step in this? Perhaps it's just a one-off and he won't continue to court alt-right voters?

Elon Musk My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci

Q-elon

Elon Musk Twitter stable diffusion

If we work off the assumption that Elon's aggressively trying to make Twitter's financials look good to his creditors, the RIFs make sense. His embrace of fringe conspiracies might be a bold move to win over the alt-right crowd, but it gambles against the left/center's willingness to leave his platform.

I think we're looking at three possible scenarios:
  1. Elon's simply wealthy enough that he can use Twitter as a passion project. He'll buy out Saudi Arabia's share when he liquidates more Tesla stock.
  2. Musk correctly or incorrectly thinks alienating centrists/businesses and courting the alt right will be profitable (or a fast pass to some sort of advantageous bankruptcy).
  3. Elon or his creditors have a significant nonmonetary interest in Twitter, significant enough that they're willing to collectively hold a $40b bag.
I talked about some of the #3 scenarios before. Tldr: CFIUS, Cambridge Analytica, Vladimir Putin, wealth tax.
Financial times


/u/BagSelect
It shouldn't even be a crime to scam crypto investors

FTX

The FTX cypto exchange and its fwb investment firm Alameda Research became the latest victim of greed and hands-off regulatory policy. Exchange tokens proved once again to be a scam. I'll wait for the Netflix docuseries, but it appears some company insider did a last minute extraction of company funds before it could be frozen to repay creditors. I just hope the series doesn't mention 'the weasel' (I strongly advise against looking this up).


/u/supernb86
Accountants, please help decipher this mess.

/u/puppy_master666
Analogy on their assets vs liabilities:
They used a non first edition Charizard Pokémon card they owned as leverage to buy a small country

Tech layoffs and bearish CEOs


/u/urTakeIsSoBad
Let me explain something OP touched on but did not explain well.

Remember when Uber was getting into self-driving cars? It was pure nonsense so that they could continue to pretend to be a growth company. It was irresponsible bullshit pulled by upper management in an attempt to juice the stock higher.

Lots of companies are being exposed for their version of "self-driving nonsense" and are using the cover of the "coming recession" to hide the layoffs that are resulting from their gross negligence (and the bullshit growth stories they were spewing that the market was accepting at the time)

OP's point, more or less, is that these CEOs and other C-suite execs want a recession so they can blame the layoffs on the macro environment, and avoid getting called out for their nonsense attempts to fool the market with a "growth story". "We had to lay people off because of the macro environment" sounds a hell of a lot better than "we were grossly mismanaged and engaged in borderline fraudulent moonshot growth strategies"

Even the companies that didn't promise gamechanging disruption were handed a decade of economic growth, huge tax cuts, and 2020's reckless fiscal and monetary policies. The post caught my eye because my operating assumption was that the dire warnings from permabull tech CEOs meant 2023 would not be clear sailing. OP doesn't contradict that really, he just says that the bearishness is a CYA for empty promises of growth.

Fiscal policy, monetary policy, and politics


/u/bajkobb
Pivot to tighten? Are they mad?? Pivot should be away from further tightening

/u/ErectoPeentrounus
it's Biden and democrats, not the first time they changed the dictionary. from now on hawk = dove and dove = hawk

/u/agilmore1080
This is every politician. Don't act like if Republicans were in power they would be like, "yep, we're totally in a recession. Economy is garbage built on lies." I lived through the George W. Bush years. Those motherfuckers were denying any and all economic problems until the whole damn thing almost collapsed. Also, it was that motherfucker's administration that started our fiscal insanity. Two wars and 2 massive tax cuts that were totally unfunded. Doubled the national debt in 8 years after Clinton actually reduced it.
Ukraine

Tweet ayei eloheichem Ukraine war ROI

Recent news on the Ukraine front has included things like thermobaric weapons and attacks on infrastructure to make the winter months difficult for noncombatants. But with economic uncertainty ahead, US domestic advocacy for isolationism has grown. On that subject, I ran across a couple of well-articulated points:


/u/Scoutmaster-Jedi
This war is so helpful for the US military in every way imaginable.
1. Destroy the military capacity of Russia 2. Learn about actual state of Russian military capacity 3. Renew ammunition stock 4. Clear out old inventory (replace with new) 5. Test weapons and strategy 6. Build up US defense industry production capacity 7. Renew NATO and other military partnerships

... with no commitment of ground forces.


/u/woakula
calls on Ratheon and lockheed? If I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die in the green.

Ukraine lotr meme
Source. I mean, that mithril armor helped a lot more than Bilbo himself could have.



Gallerypost | 2022.12.05

Elden Ring ending Blaidd mask

It's over, it's done. Here's how the last dozen hours of Elden Ring went.

Melina go brrrn

Elden Ring burning erdtree

Continuing from last time, Melina torched the erdtree, showering everything embers.

Crumbling Farum Azula

Elden Ring Maliketh

The next stop was Crumbling Farum Azula, where Maliketh guarded the only path to the ashen capitol.

thumbnail Elden Ring soldiers tree burning thumbnail Elden Ring Crumbling Farum Azula dragons tornados thumbnail Elden Ring Crumbling Farum Azula road near boss

Down the rabbit hole

Elden Ring meme fight post video ass beat bruh

We had a go at the pre-pre-final boss and quickly realized we needed to do some homework. I also needed to pick a lot more flowers (ingredients required for the thing that summons allies).

Elden Ring blood lake Stormhawk Deenh summon

The first stop was a lake of blood for the +2 Haligdrake Talisman, since the final bosses do a lot of holy damage. Then things went a bit off the rails.

I was picking erdleaf flowers and wound up fetching some eyeballs for a local villager to eat. Her grocery list (mostly eyes) led me to a neat secret passageway in a cathedral. The cathedral's subterranean catacombs, called Frenzied Flame Proscription, ended up being a frustrating jumping puzzle. Each time I fell, I gained greater resolve to beat the dumb thing. I'd like to say I learned the nuances of walking of ledges, rolling off them, and jumping off them, but it'd likely take me at least a dozen tries to make the journey again.

At the bottom was Hyetta, the villager. I might have ordinarily balked at her instruction to "disrobe and go through that door over there", but there was absolutely nothing else to show for that full hour of falling to my death.

Elden Ring Three Fingers door Elden Ring Three Fingers door Elden Ring Three Fingers opening door Elden Ring Three fingers glowing finger Elden Ring Three Fingers Elden Ring Three Fingers hug

Behind the door was a giant fire hand who became my character's new boss.

Upsides:
Elden Ring Three Fingers burning eyes Hyetta

Downsides:

Climbing out of the rabbit hole


/u/Whitebrown22
The dildo of consequence rarely arrives lubed

Elden Ring Malenia Goddess of Rot butterflies

Cleansing the frenzied flame required the following:
  1. Complete the Millicent quest. This started with some stuff I'd already cleared - Caelid, Commander O'Neil, Windmill Village. But I probably could not have soloed the penultimate battle against an Ulcerated Tree Spirit were it not for a nice range attack cheese spot.
  2. Take Millicent's Needle to the aeonium left by Malenia, the hardest boss in the game. The one that Let Me Solo Her made his name fighting.
  3. Use the needle in the arena of Placidusax. Luckily you don't actually need to aggro him.
Elden Ring Placidusax dragon hydra

thumbnail Elden Ring ashen capitol gates burning erdtree thumbnail Elden Ring Great Wyrm Theodorix thumbnail Elden Ring Malenia Goddess of Rot scarlet aeonium
thumbnail Elden Ring Dragonlord Placidusax boss fight

Co-op

Elden Ring despair Athena coop

The annoying co-op lockout mechanic (beat area boss, no more multiplayer) meant that I had to run a lot of it solo. I managed with some difficulty, though Malenia can't be soloed at my skill level. Even with J on board, for some especially difficult bosses we summoned another player to help out. And so we fought side by side with Thelma Smash, Ranni Enjoyer, and The Toilet.

Elden Ring coop community Ranni Enjoyer Elden Ring coop community The Toilet Elden Ring cooperator community ThelmaSmash

Wanting to give back to the Elden Ring community and maybe also farm rune arcs, I put down my summon sign once or twice.

Elden Ring Crumbling Farum Azula dragon Coolhand37 paetta

Hoarah Loux & Radagon & The Elden Beast (boss spoilers)

Elden Ring burning erdtree Hoarah Loux boss door

The endgame consists of a chump boss followed by three chad bosses. They're largely immune to statuses and resist elements, invalidating a lot of builds. I farmed some runes and leveled a Godskin Peeler since my katanas and claws weren't going to cut it.

Elden Ring Hoarah Loux battle
Hoarah Loux. He wasn't easy, but learning to roll (I know they say jump) his AoEs was the key.

Elden Ring Radagon Spellsword
Radagon. This dude has some cheap attacks, like he'll blink and stealth attack someone while doing an AoE around himself. Sometimes we cleared him quickly, sometimes he destroyed us.

Elden Ring final boss Elden Beast Spellsword
The Elden Beast. Kind of like a dragon, you just have to stay close except for his one or two AoE moves.

thumbnail Elden Ring ashen capitol dragon burning tree thumbnail Elden Ring burning erdtree Hoarah Loux arena godskin peeler thumbnail Elden Ring remembrance elden beast
thumbnail Elden Ring ashen capitol tower

The Elden Lord (finale spoilers)

Elden Ring star ending Ranni

I tried to play this game by only looking up faqs reactively (see also: walking into the final bosses with a bleed and poison build). So when the final sequence left me with a statue and a blue summon sign, I hit the summon sign.

i just do ranni quests aka what i call the omega simp ending

I guess I chose the Omega Simp ending. Curious, I looked up the others. The comments had a good summary:

So basically we have:
1) rule over a shitty destroyed wasteland
2) fix the shitty destroyed wasteland
3) apocalypse
4) apocalypse
5) super apocalypse
6) "figure it out yourselves, I'm going to space"

This x2. But, like, Mass Effect was all about story and dialogue. Elden Ring has a story comprised of snippets of dense lore, so six similar endings is more acceptable.
Elden Ring postscript

J sent me this:




While this video is extremely youtubey, I enjoyed it and a couple points hit home: target locking and other UI elements, the story, and how Souls loyalists are. I was surprised how she made no mention of invaders, the scourge of mine and J's playthrough.
Wonderlands

Tiny Tinas Wonderlands Kastor the Normal Sized Skeleton

There are lots of (substantive) sidequests in Wonderlands. The Don Quixote one was pretty entertaining, as was the one where you have to fight a normal-sized skeleton. It's all pretty easy though. The quests scale to your level, but its still the equivalent of a Borderlands first playthrough.

thumbnail Tiny Tinas Wonderlands dragon lord intro thumbnail Tiny Tinas Wonderlands castle encounter thumbnail Tiny Tinas Wonderlands Vorcanar mechanical dragon
thumbnail Tiny Tinas Wonderlands Dragon Lord battle reanimated wyvern
thumbnail Tiny Tinas Wonderlands Butt Stallion sparkly end thumbnail Tiny Tinas Wonderlands Tangledrift jump pad thumbnail Tiny Tinas Wonderlands Tangledift slide
thumbnail Tiny Tinas Wonderlands firecracker thumbnail Tiny Tinas Wonderlands Tangledrift cathedral
Meta: new markup element

I have markup-to-html widgets for galleries of variable-size images and I have widgets for grids and vertical polyptychs of same-size images. This post led me to add a new markup element called 'sequence'. You specify the image height and list of files with optional alt text. It scales the image to 4/3rd the desired height, then uses the thumbnail center to crop the image.

sequence-350-
   elden_ring_ranni_enjoyer.jpg-Elden Ring coop community Ranni Enjoyer
   elden_ring_the_toilet.jpg-Elden Ring coop community The Toilet
   elden_ring_thelma_smash.jpg-Elden Ring coop community ThelmaSmash
-sequence



Gallerypost | 2022.12.03

Elden Ring Haligtree buttresses view
Elden Ring

Elden Ring couch coop media room

J came out to play games and try local brews. It's been a long time since we'd done couch co-op.

Elden Ring Melina forge of the giants fire

We'd probably score a 3/10 on a plot quiz. As such, we both stumbled into the burn ending. In retrospect burning down the pretty gold tree doesn't really seem like a bro move, but the glowing ashes are lovely.

Around the horn:
thumbnail Elden Ring dragon moonbeam night thumbnail Elden Ring fashion ring thumbnail Elden Ring Crumbling Farum Azula tornados dragon
thumbnail Elden Ring mage tower turtle cliff ghost
thumbnail Elden Ring skull rock hand mountaintop of giants thumbnail Elden Ring Fire Giant volcano attack
thumbnail Elden Ring Fire Giant boss battle
thumbnail Elden Ring Mohg Lord of Blood intro thumbnail Elden Ring Mohg Lord of Blood attack thumbnail Elden Ring Fire Giant eye
thumbnail Elden Ring Crumbling Farum Azula long ladder
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands

Tiny Tina Wonderlands

We switched it up with some Tiny Tina's Wonderlands. Wonderlands is Gearbox's Borderlands 3.5 and spiritual follow-on to its epic Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep so we had pretty high expectations.

Tiny Tina Wonderlands ocean volcano

If there's any doubt, Wonderlands is a reskin of Borderlands. Guns with bowstrings and pullies, spells (grenades), and fantasy-themed special abilities - it's the same (successful) format with DnD flavor.

Tiny Tina Wonderlands Torgue

Mr. Torgue was largely MIA in Borderlands 3. After his critical role in TTAoDK ("TINA! PUT ME IN THE GAME!"), it was nice to see him back. While the writers didn't get very creative with his character*, one of TTAoDK's Torgueisms served as a brilliant central plot point in this story.

* Examples:
Tiny Tina Wonderlands Butt Stallion

Yes, Gearbox does like to take minute details or dialogues and blow them up, so to speak.

Tiny Tina Wonderlands skill trees Spore Warden Brr-zerker

The core of the Borderlands franchise is strong shooter mechanics employing a vast ocean of gun combinations. But it's the RPG-style skill trees that make Borderlands more than Halo with a gun RNG. Wonderlands introduces a slight evolution to the Borderlands skill tree system by offering each character a second class, e.g. I have a Spore Warden/Brr-Zerker.

The potential for minmax combinations is appealing, but we haven't tinkered (or leveled or looted) enough to really take advantage.

Tiny Tina Wonderlands overworld

Wonderlands is a Borderlands universe tabletop game called Bunkers and Badasses, so there are some new mechanics. Parts of the game are connected via a Final Fantasly-like overworld. The overworld is populated with area transitions and encounters, five-ish minute arena battles of varying difficulty.

Tiny Tina Wonderlands Fearamid

We got to the final boss (voiced by Will Arnett) a lot quicker than we thought. BL2's main quest was pretty long, BL3's was even longer. This one felt more like a DLC in length and we never found ourselves needing to power level to hit the next main quest.

From the perspective of classic Borderlands play where you need to run through the main story to unlock True Vault Hunter Mode and then again for Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode, having a shorter critical path is enticing. But Wonderlands doesn't have any New Game+, the endgame is a roguelike mode.

There's no dearth of sidequests and it's nice to have an experience that isn't as hefty as BL2/BL3, but leveling/tinkering/minmaxing seems less enticing when the only remaining challenge is another roguelike run.

thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands burning castle thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands ships harbor thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands LeChance ghost ship
thumbnail Tina Wonderlands encounter spectate coop
thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands vendors thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands Torgue boat thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands Pookie Walk to Remember
thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands banshee aoe attack thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands blowing up the ocean thumbnail Tiny Tina Wonderlands fashionlands sniper
Lol

Rifle body pillow design