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Real Name SMA   
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Nickname Scottish Martial Arts
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Signed On Jun 16, 2002, 23:16
Total Comments 2745 (Senior)
User ID 13410
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News Comments > Women In Video Games Initiative
41. Re: Women In Video Games Initiative Mar 30, 2014, 01:14 Scottish Martial Arts
Eirikrautha wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 20:07:
Your argument is that if the numbers aren't exactly equal... then racism (or sexism, or insert-ism-here). That's the least intellectual argument in the history of arguments.

Not equal, proportional.

Do you agree that talent in computing is independent of gender and race? Yes or no? If yes, why wouldn't we want to ensure roughly proportional representation in the field, since non-proportionate representation would imply that some talent is going to waste? If no, if talent is dependent on gender and race, how is that not sexist and racist?

And remember: I already acknowledged that it COULD be true that white and Asian men are just naturally and innately more talented at computer science and programming -- I don't believe that, but it is possible. But if that is the case, if the reason computing is mad up mostly of white and Asian men is that those groups are just better at it than other groups, then those that believe that need to be honest and argue that racism and sexism shouldn't be demonized because some races are just better than others at certain things, and that we shouldn't try to get proportional representation in all fields.

Look, hard as this may be for you to believe, I'm not trying to demonize you; I'm trying to get you to be honest and say what you actually mean. You're adamantly against trying to achieve proportional representation, and your stated reason is that it lowers standards. But the only way I can see it lowering standards -- and you haven't offered an alternative here -- is if the underrepresented groups, i.e. women, blacks, and Hispanics, are innately less talented. The implied premise of your argument then is inherently racist and sexist, but when presented with that, rather than offering an alternative premise for the conclusion that proportional representation will lower standards, you whine about being demonized as sexist or racist. If it's that upsetting to you, then don't make implicitly racist and sexist arguments, and instead present your actual premises, which you claim to be unblemished by prejudicial thinking.

edit: As an aside, I do think it is possible to argue that, in some areas, talent is dependent, to an extent, on gender, and possibly race as well. For example, there is a reason we don't see women players in the NFL: the female body, even an outlier female body, simply isn't going to be competitive in that level of play of that sport. Likewise, you don't see many Asian men in the NFL, probably for a variety of reasons, but partly because it's pretty rare that men of Asian descent are built like, well, NFL players. So athletics is an area where I believe it is legitimate to make the argument that talent is dependent, to a certain extent, on race and gender, and thus proportional racial and gender representation would imply a lowering of standards. Are you willing to make that same argument with regard to computing? Or are you going to continue to state the same conclusion, while keeping your premises hidden?

This comment was edited on Mar 30, 2014, 01:22.
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News Comments > Women In Video Games Initiative
36. Re: Women In Video Games Initiative Mar 29, 2014, 19:52 Scottish Martial Arts
Red wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 18:10:
Eirikrautha wrote on Mar 28, 2014, 23:15:
I feel bad for you. Well not really, because you're just a faceless being on the internet. But if I did have the power of empathy, I would empathize. All this hate. Your stance is the sole voice of reason and intelligence in this thread. Everyone else is trapped in a world of small mindedness, unable to fathom that you cannot overcome stereotypes by promoting stereotypes. You're not alone. But very few people are so enlightened.

Look it's pretty simple:

A meritocracy is a system in which people's social status, economic standing, and, in some cases, political power is determined by their individual talent and willingness to apply it. IF a system is meritocratic AND certain groups of people are persistently underrepresented in the higher socioeconomic and professional tiers THEN one of two conditions must obtain: either certain groups have less innate talent -- an idea which could be true but by definition would be sexist and racist -- OR the system isn't actually meritocratic.

Or, perhaps one could say it's cultural. It's not that women are inherently inferior at the skills associated with programming and thus only a handful are competent to do the job, one could argue, it's that our culture teaches women not to pursue this profession, and teaches men not to accept them in it. If we want more people to live up to their talents and flourish, wouldn't it make sense to try to influence the culture in another direction? Wouldn't then we want to find ways to recruit more women into the programming profession, so that people can see that women are just as capable of succeeding, and thus no talented girl who could become an excellent programmer ever says to herself "computer programming? But that's only something boys do!"?

This comment was edited on Mar 29, 2014, 20:02.
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News Comments > Women In Video Games Initiative
33. Re: Women In Video Games Initiative Mar 29, 2014, 11:53 Scottish Martial Arts
Eirikrautha wrote on Mar 29, 2014, 11:34:
Hahaha! I work in a female-dominated industry, and we get along just fine. Probably because they are very good at what they do, and I am good at my job. Our mutual respect is genuine, based on ability, and not preferential hiring. Try it sometime...

Dude, you stated that prejudice is a non-factor and then... made a bunch of racist and sexist comments, probably without even realizing it. Women will only get interested in computing when it has applications relevant to them? Gee, I guess women must be incapable of finding computer science inherently interesting! When we look at how white and Asian men dominate the field of computing, we "shouldn't expect all groups to have equal ability"? That sounds a lot like "blacks, Hispanics, and women just aren't as talented at programming as white and Asian men so we shouldn't expect that many of them to work in the tech field." When men face rejection they work to better themselves, while women just whine and make themselves out as victims? I kinda think that speaks for itself, but consider this: isn't working to change perceptions and institutions which keep you from achieveing your full potential also "working to better yourself"?

That you spout prejudicial garbage without even realizing it, cloaking it in support of "meritocracy", is telling. You are proof positive that people can have vastly reduced expectations for certain groups in certain fields without even realizing that they are prejudiced. In other words, you kind of made my argument for me.

But hey, at least you have some black, err, I mean female friends so you can't possible be sexist!
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News Comments > Women In Video Games Initiative
29. Re: Women In Video Games Initiative Mar 28, 2014, 23:53 Scottish Martial Arts
Beamer wrote on Mar 28, 2014, 23:24:
What an awful human being.

Agreed. I thought about responding, but it's clear it's a waste of time. Why aren't there more women programmers? Many reasons, but partly, because they know they'd have to work with people like Eirikrautha.
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News Comments > Women In Video Games Initiative
23. Re: Women In Video Games Initiative Mar 28, 2014, 21:20 Scottish Martial Arts
Eirikrautha wrote on Mar 28, 2014, 20:33:
Can we find the most talented young developers to support? Does it have to be the (insert flavor of the month) -hyphen- developer? Why isn't excellence enough?

Because you are kidding yourself if you think all, or even most, fields adhere to the meritocratic ideal. In many cases, excellence isn't enough: you need to look the part, otherwise assumptions are made, by teachers, employers, and colleagues, about how much excellence you are likely to possess.

In many cases, "looking the part" is a function of gender and race. If you are a vaguely awkward looking white or Asian male working in software or game development, then the level of excellence required of you isn't going to be as high as for others, because you fit into a stereotype, and that stereotype says you're a good programmer, because everyone knows awkward white and Asian guys are "all" computer nerds, even if your code is an indecipherable mess. If you're an attractive young woman, then the stereotype you fit into is someone who was always being distracted by boys, beauty, and fashion, and thus couldn't possibly have put in the hours necessary to master something like programming; it doesn't matter how excellent you are, the first impression is that you're not as competent as your colleagues, and any time you slip up that will be taken as damning proof that your colleague's stereotyping of you was accurate.

Initiatives like this are not about tribalism or ending the mythical meritocracy. There about giving groups whose talents are underutilized due to stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination an opportunity to succeed, in the hopes that a counter-narrative disproving those stereotypes can eventually take hold.
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News Comments > Women In Video Games Initiative
10. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 28, 2014, 14:28 Scottish Martial Arts
"I don't understand something, therefore it is neither real nor legitimate, and just a product of political correctness gone wild."  
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News Comments > etc., etc.
3. Re: etc., etc. Mar 14, 2014, 23:59 Scottish Martial Arts
Agent.X7 wrote on Mar 14, 2014, 21:25:
BFV was great...until they patched it to "improve performance" on some maps and made most of the maps unplayably laggy.

I kinda remember the game balance getting broken after some patches too. Still it was a great game.
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
28. Re: National Day of Unplugging Mar 8, 2014, 10:22 Scottish Martial Arts
Quboid wrote on Mar 8, 2014, 09:57:
Why is being engaged in a conversation with someone physically beside you so much better than being engaged in a conversation with someone who isn't?

Because your behavior is showing to the person you are physically with that you'd rather be hanging out and talking with someone else, an act which is hurtful and rude? Look, I don't give a shit, and people can do what they want in this regard, but your question was far less rhetorical than you thought.
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
25. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 8, 2014, 00:25 Scottish Martial Arts
Agent.X7 wrote on Mar 7, 2014, 20:37:
If you cannot tell the difference between looking at a screen while walking and looking at a screen while stationary, you are beyond my capacity to help you understand.

Also, shockingly, guns do not kill people all by their lonesome. You know, being inanimate objects and all.

In the first case you're harming no one; in the second you're ignoring your wife on a dinner out. Responding to business needs justifies ignoring your wife so don't judge? How do you know the person responding to a text while walking hasn't just received news that grandma had a stroke? Look I get that when you're texting while walking you could accidentally step in front of a bus, but if the example you used was the high school quad, then the greatest danger is stepping into a light pole or bumping into someone, hardly horrible things; certainly no worse than rationalizing ignoring a loved one on what is ostensibly special time spent together. Look I don't give a shit one way or another -- in fact I totally get what you were saying about putting out a fire at work, or simply being tired and not having much to say, and am just giving you a hard time -- but don't try to have it both ways with regard to judgement. If an outside observer doesn't know the whole story and as a consequence shouldn't judge you, then what privileges you to judge without knowing the full story of someone to whom you are merely an outside observer? That's what I'm trying to point out. So knock it off with the snide insults to my intelligence, mmm-kay?

As for guns, you're right the gun doesn't kill, but then neither does the person. The person just squeezes a trigger: it's the inanimate objects of the bullets which actually inflict the internal trauma which kills someone. Likewise, lethal accidental discharges are quite common: if man is the only killer and a gun merely a hunk of metal, who is the killer in such a situation when the user of the gun never had any intent to kill? See how fun splitting hairs is? I'm not trying to get into a gun control debate here though. The point is that you can't separate a tool or a technology from its user in trying to assign moral blame because the two are functionally one unit. A hammer is just a piece of metal without a carpenter, but then a carpenter isn't really a carpenter if he doesn't have any tools of the tools he must have in order to build something. Likewise, cellphones may be useless hunks of plastic and metal without users, but users who use cellphones to their own detriment probably wouldn't be doing so if they didn't have a cellphone. See how you can't just separate the man from the machine and pretend there is no relation between the too?

This comment was edited on Mar 8, 2014, 00:34.
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
13. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 7, 2014, 16:02 Scottish Martial Arts
Agent.X7 wrote on Mar 7, 2014, 14:07:
It's not the tech, it's the person using it.

That sounds suspiciously like "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." Look I get the whole "the world changes and you have to be able to adapt to change" bit but that doesn't mean that it's not a worthwhile to question to ask if the world is changing for the better. You aren't going to be able to evaluate whether technology is actually improving your life if you don't take a step back from it every now and then.

Also I'm surprised you didn't notice the irony of calling people using their phone while walking stupid, and then demanding that you not be judged for using you phone while at dinner with your wife.
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News Comments > Morning Metaverse
38. Re: Morning Metaverse Mar 5, 2014, 21:49 Scottish Martial Arts
Saboth wrote on Mar 5, 2014, 20:57:
Regarding Comcast offering internet to poor people: '5 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 1 Mbps, according to a company FAQ.' for $9.95 a month. I currently pay $50 a month for 6 mbps down and 1 mbps up from Comcast, which is sad in its own right, before we get into people getting it for 1/5 the cost.

Hey I'm on 3mbps/1mbps for $40 a month! We should be shitty, overpriced internet buddies!
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News Comments > Morning Metaverse
23. Re: Morning Metaverse Mar 5, 2014, 15:43 Scottish Martial Arts
xXBatmanXx wrote on Mar 5, 2014, 15:31:
Min wage jobs typically (here is where I become curt and dismissive) are not life long jobs (they shouldn't be).

Then perhaps they ought to pay more so that people have the resources to move on to better work? If the only people working minimum wage jobs were teenagers in the summer, I'd agree with you. But a lot of people end up in minimum wage through minimal fault of their own. Sure some people are lazy and never apply themselves, but a lot of folks stuck in minimum wage are capable of a lot more yet had a bad run at life and there they are.

When you work minimum wage, you make so little money it's kind of ridiculous. You HAVE to take on a second and third job if you hope to have any money left over at the end of the month. That means your free time to say, go to school or learn a new skill or network to make connections for a better career, is extremely limited to non-existent. Likewise, money is always extremely tight. You are never not worrying about how you're going to get to the end of the month. You are never not feeling guilty when you engage in the frivolous $3 expenditure of getting a few things from the dollar menu at McDonald's rather than eating PB&J for the 15th lunch in a row. The amount of stress you are under because money is so scarce makes it that much harder to do the things necessary to get a better job. Gradually you become so drained, you can't muster that energy. And because you have next to nothing at the end of the month, you aren't making progress. You end up stuck, working your ass off, generally in stressful, tiring, and demeaning work, just to go nowhere.
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News Comments > Morning Metaverse
20. Re: Morning Metaverse Mar 5, 2014, 15:34 Scottish Martial Arts
Pigeon wrote on Mar 5, 2014, 14:57:
The biggest problem I think that would occur are massive layoffs as companies try to avoid that initial hit.

I guess my thought on this aspect of a minimum wage hike is that the layoffs probably won't be as massive as the Chamber of Commerce, or other business lobbyists, would like to make us think, and that the benefits of a higher minimum wage would outweigh the immediate employment costs. Standard microeconomic models make it pretty clear that price floors lead to surpluses, or in the case of labor markets, a minimum wage SHOULD lead to surplus labor, i.e. unemployment increases. That said the standard micro-economic models make a lot of assumptions in their predictions, primarily that employers are A) already operating at 100% maximum efficiency and B) are completely rational in all decision making. Those are big assumptions to make. What if an employer's operations are less than maximally efficient? Well than he could still maintain his bottom line in light of a minimum wage hike without cutting payroll if he addressed those non-labor inefficiencies, say by using cheaper raw materials, or not wasting as much raw material. Likewise, let's say he is operating at 100% efficiency, and the minimum wage hike is cutting into his bottom line: is his first response to layoff employees, some of whom he may have grown to like and value as people, and not just economic producers in his employ? Perhaps his sense of responsibility to his employees, an emotional and non-economically rational factor, makes him choose to take a cut to profits rather than do harm to someone he cares about.

Furthermore, the problem with all economic models is it is very difficult to conduct experiments. In chemistry, you come up with a model, make predictions using that model, and then you conduct experiments to see if the results of the experiment match the predictions of the model. If the results don't match the predictions, then the model is wrong. That's how science works. In economics however, you can't conduct an experiment because of the ethical dimensions -- what if your experiment ruins the livelihood of thousands of people? What this means is models may make sense on a logical level, but there is always a question mark of whether they reflect reality. The standard microeconomic models are pretty darn clear that higher minimum wage leads to higher unemployment, but without repeated experimental verification how do you know if the model itself is accurate? Well, the close that you can come in economics is to look for natural experiments, i.e. in the case of the minimum wage, try to find two different jurisdictions with relatively similar economic situations, but where one raises the minimum wage and one does not. If unemployment rises dramatically in the former, as your model predicts, then there is more credence to your model. If not, then your model may have some problems. Here's the thing: the natural experiment evidence on the minimum wage suggests that while there is some increase in unemployment, it is relatively marginal, particularly when compared to the gains you get in terms of, say, getting people out of poverty.

Economics is all about trade-offs. Certainly raising the minimum wage will have some negative consequences. The question is will the benefits outweigh the costs? My sense at any rate -- and partly this judgement is colored from having to work minimum wage for a while despite being a college educated adult, i.e. not a high school kid on his first summer job -- is that there will be more people who will be better off than will be hurt.
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News Comments > Morning Metaverse
14. Re: Morning Metaverse Mar 5, 2014, 14:40 Scottish Martial Arts
Task wrote on Mar 5, 2014, 12:46:
Oh yeah and that Buffett guy avoids millions in taxes in offshore accounts, while believing the middle class should be heavily taxed, while his Berkshire company hasn't paid taxes in 10 years. sweet. The poor get poorer, and the rich get richer. nice, good game

None of that is true... He's long called bullshit on the rationalizations for greed which many in his industry put forth, and has been a strong advocate for capital gains to be taxed as earned income, i.e. make the rich pay the same percent in taxes as those whose income comes from a paycheck. In short, he's kind of the antithesis of your typical uber-rich asshole.

Most financiers are scum, sure, but if there was a moral model which we wished our capital owning class to aspire to, Buffett would probably be close to it.

This comment was edited on Mar 5, 2014, 14:51.
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News Comments > Morning Metaverse
12. Re: Morning Metaverse Mar 5, 2014, 14:35 Scottish Martial Arts
Yeah, I'm confused by the Warren Buffett hate as well. I guess all financiers are evil by default?  
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News Comments > Op Ed
15. Re: Op Ed Mar 5, 2014, 01:02 Scottish Martial Arts
Cutter wrote on Mar 4, 2014, 19:50:
You those games are availble on the PC right? So that pretty much invalidates his argument right there.

Jesus Christ, read the article and address his argument. Or spout off not knowing what he said. Your choice.

Panickd did just that and actually contributed something to the discussion by pointing out the ways in which the author's argument does not hold. All we've heard from you is how you don't like something you haven't read.

The author's point was that the console manufacturer's traditionally subsidize hardware through software sales, thus their business model depends upon maintaining the price of software at current levels. Furthermore, traditionally, console gaming is something where you buy a disc in a case, whereas in the PC space most PC gamers haven't bought in a physical new release in 5 or 6 years. Panickd has correctly pointed out that the current hardware generation is not subsidized, and that furthermore the console industry is transitioning towards digital distribution.

I don't know whether this guy is correct, but I can say that as a PC gamer the amount of money I spend on individual games has been steadily dropping since digital distribution became the primary way people buy games. If competitive markets do in fact tend to drive prices towards the the marginal cost threshold, as he asserts in citing some economic research, then the near zero marginal cost of digitally distributed games would go a ways to explain why we're all paying less and less to have more and more games, many sitting in backlogs that would demand taking a year off work to get through.

This comment was edited on Mar 5, 2014, 01:14.
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News Comments > Diablo III XP Bonus
71. Re: Diablo III XP Bonus Mar 4, 2014, 19:30 Scottish Martial Arts
Undocumented Alien wrote on Mar 4, 2014, 17:07:

The game can also be played online. People stat hack their items and then take them online, where they percolate through the broader economy, affecting the experience of anyone who wants to play online. It was the same problem which affected Diablo I play (Hellspike armor anyone?) which I'm guessing from your affinity for capslock you are too young to have experienced first hand.
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News Comments > Op Ed
2. Re: Op Ed Mar 4, 2014, 19:25 Scottish Martial Arts
Cutter wrote on Mar 4, 2014, 18:35:
And Nicolas Lovell's Blog has just shown us why hyperbole is only good for clickbait articles.


In Chapter 3 of The Curve, I set out the economic arguments for why a digital product will tend towards a cost of zero over time

Really? Someone needs to tell Bobby Nodick that about CoD, or TakeTwo about GTA, or....

Read the whole article; he addresses why console gaming will not tend towards a zero price point separate from the fact that it's still largely a packaged goods business. It's an interesting argument although I was perturbed by his reference to the "Iron Laws of Economics".
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News Comments > Evening Metaverse
4. Re: Evening Metaverse Mar 4, 2014, 18:57 Scottish Martial Arts
Axis wrote on Mar 4, 2014, 17:55:
Everyone listens to music but how many know what a Clef note is?

Probably no one because a Clef is not a kind of note. But people who listen to music without understanding much of music theory or how to play an instrument are the poorer for it.

Should everyone know industry terms if they aren't part of that industry?

One would hope people are curious and seek to understand things for their own sake, but in the absence of that, people should have a bare minimum understanding of the world around them, hence education. Given the essential nature of the web to modern life in an advanced nation, people should at least have heard of HTML and know that it pertains to the web. No, they don't need to be able to markup content with HTML, or even really understand what it does or how it works, but they really ought not to think it's an STD, for the same reason people really ought not to think the sun revolves around the earth, that vaccines cause autism, or that a device which runs electrical current through your abs will allow you to lose weight without getting off the couch. I would think "HTML has something to do with the internet", would be a sufficiently low hurdle of knowledge, but given the anti-intellectual bent of our culture maybe it is.
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News Comments > Saturday Metaverse
25. Re: Saturday Metaverse Mar 2, 2014, 01:00 Scottish Martial Arts
Axis wrote on Mar 1, 2014, 23:58:
What I cannot stand is Obama and his usual lip service, it makes us look more weak and insignificant than had he said nothing at all - we've lost all credibility because every "red line" Obama puts out there is crossed and laughed at.

You are aware that foreign leaders don't get their intelligence reports on Obama from Fox News, correct? I'm only marginally supportive of Obama at best, i.e. I think he has admirable qualities but has been mostly ineffective as a president, so don't get the impression that I think his record is of unbridled strength. But that said, "strength", and the perception of it, is more than a willingness to launch misguided invasions which bog down the better part of US military strength for a decade and empower regional adversaries. Certainly, if I were a foreign adversary, I would note Obama's caution to a fault, his tendency towards paralysis by analysis, and his domestic political weakness. I would note his signaling miscalculations as the Syrian Civil War escalated, i.e. having Assad call his bluff over the chemical weapons "red line", but conversely I would recognize the wisdom of not compounding that called bluff by intervening militarily in Syria in an attempt to save face, when such intervention is highly unlikely to serve US interests. Furthermore, I would note his ready willingness to violate the sovereign territory of allied states to launch cross-border special forces and drone raids to assassinate perceived threats to US national security. I would also note his willingness to project power when there is good reason to believe it can depose an adversary, i.e. Libya. In short, my assessment would be "cautious, reluctant to intervene, but if he believes US military intervention is likely to serve US interests, rather than a mere desire to appear tough, then he is likely to use it."
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2745 Comments. 138 pages. Viewing page 6.
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