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Assorted Links

July 21, 2014

1 On Brazil and the cost of the World Cup. State sponsored sports are generally a complete waste of money.

2. Reason poll of millennial values and opinions.

3. Soviet propaganda on the downed airliner.

4. On the video game industry

5. Is teaching science to children abusive? (Remember Betteridge’s law of headlines)

War Thunder Premium Plane Guide

July 17, 2014

Premium planes are the best way to spend your golden eagles. They are permanent, unlike premium account time, and can help you grind out a large number of other planes. They also earn twice as much money for kills that non-premium planes do. Steam sales are also good for getting eagles and planes on the cheap.

Premium planes gain a bonus when researching other planes within one tier of themselves. Tier 1 planes are extremely fast to research anyway, so other than the free Tier 1 you get on the first nation you play, I would avoid Tier 1 premium aircraft. The best rank for premium planes is 3 because you’ll be able to unlock all the way up to tier 4 with them, but they are not overpriced.

Avoid planes which cost more than 2,000 Eagles. They are completely overpriced and most of the time aren’t even that good.

US tech tree 1.41

The best U.S. premium plane is the BTD. It spawns at bomber altitude and carries a decent bomb load, yet also packs 2 20mm cannons and is decently maneuverable. You can use it to protect other bombers on your team while racking up ground kills as well. If you prefer the fighter role, the Bf 109 F-4 is also very good, but it doesn’t come with the wing cannon pods.

The tier 4 Spitfire is way too expensive. If you want to fly Spits, just play the British. At tier 2, the XP-55 is too expensive considering you can get two tier 3s for the same price. The P-38 is a fun, if challenging plane to fly. The Ki 61 and A6M2 are decent too if you want something cheaper or to add turn fighters to your line up.

Nazi tech tree

The P-47 is the best option. It’s a great boom and zoomer and ground attack aircraft. If you like bombing, the Wellington is a decent choice as well. The premium CR 42 is a good deal, with excellent maneuverability and twin .50s.

Soviet Tech tree

The Soviets get a lot of great options in the form of lend-lease planes. Pretty much any of them are fine. The P-40 is a beast at its tier, and for 700 Eagles is quite cheap. I’ve had a lot of fun flying the B-25, since you can do a ton of damage with its bomb load and you get 6 forward firing .50 cals, which can be used for head ons or strafing ground targets.

British tech tree

For 400 Eagles, the Havoc Mk1 is fast, has good firepower, and a solid bomb load. The Mustang Mk 1A is a great fighter. It’s not as fast as the P 51-D Mustangs, but it’s got 4 20mm cannons which are deadly. If you take the time to climb, it can BnZ fairly well. The Hellcat is also a good choice if you want to have the flexibility to do ground attack as well.

The D 520 is basically a French version of the Spitfire and can be piloted in a similar manner. The Boomerang is an energy fighter with great firepower. The Avenger has a decent bomb load and can dogfight in a pinch, but I never really enjoyed flying it.

japanese tech tree

The Japanese Pacific Campaign bundle gets you the Tier 4 A6M5 Ko Reisen and 850 Eagles for $12. That’s a great deal since most other tier 4 premiums cost 5,000 Eagles by themselves. The main problem with this is unless you fly historic, you’ll only have one decent plane in your lineup for a long time until you unlock other tier 4 planes.

The Japanese premium planes are mostly boom and zoom fighters. The F4U, Bf 109, and Fw 190 A5 are all good. I would go with the Fw 190 simply because of its higher reward rate and tier.

The Tragedy of Palestine

July 15, 2014

“There are men in this world who go about demanding to be killed… These people wander through the streets calling out “Kill me, kill me.” ―Vito Corleone

History’s one rule is “woe to the vanquished”. The strong defeat the weak and do what they want with them. From Alexander to Genghis Khan to Hitler, defeated people were enslaved, raped, and killed without mercy. This isn’t pleasant or good, but it is the reality of how the world works.

The Palestinians are defeated race. They lack the means to defend themselves. They lack any land they can call their own. They have no allies, and no possibility to escape their prison-state. If anything, their treatment at the hands of the Israelis is remarkably kind, relative to other historical examples. Indeed, if it weren’t for the Jew’s history of being the victims of genocide, the Palestinians would probably have been exterminated a long time ago. They certainly don’t do themselves any favors with constant rocket attacks and other displays of insubordination.

Some people have criticized Israel’s recent counterattacks to Hamas’ rocket attacks, but overreaction is the human standard. “Eye for an eye” is downright restrained. The normal response is “eye for I’ll kill your whole family”. And furthermore, it’s not surprising that the casualties are lop-sided. Israel’s military is modern and well disciplined. If Hamas did manage to outkill them, that would be eye opening.

hamas 20140719

Both sides willing to die over land. Neither side wants to compromise, and too few people want to live in peace. Personally, I don’t get why anyone would want to live in the Levant. It is a desolate land, and the people who live there, forsaken. It overflows with blood and tears, not milk and honey. Calling it holy is a sick joke. But if neither side is willing to budge, the only logical outcome is extermination of Palestinians.
Only one side is going to prevail, and it’s not going to the disorganized, disempowered, and friendless. The only question is how long the Israelis’ patience will last.

Further reading:
Jeff Goldberg on Palestine.
This this Hamas’ last war?
Palestinians starting to have mixed feelings about being used as human shields.
Israelis go out of their way to avoid civilian casualties.

Recession Puzzles (Introductory Macro)

July 12, 2014

1. If all the money and stocks and bonds and so forth disappeared tomorrow there would still be all the machines and factories and jewels and people with their skills and abilities. So why does the money matter?
2. When the economy drops by 25% or whatever there are still all the factories and people. So what is dropping?

3. If everybody decided to work half as hard and get twice as much money for what they’re doing, everybody would be just as rich and would have much more free time to have fun and hang out with friends and stuff. So why don’t we?

Article here

There are 2 approaches to looking at why economies go into recession: supply and demand. Supply theories of recessions focus on real events which impact the ability of people to make stuff. War, famine, natural disasters, Communism, natural resources running out, things like that. When your countries gets bombed, for example, no one really wonders why people aren’t making as many widgets as before.

These questions are aboutdemand theories of business cycles, which deal with money.

Each person wants many things, but because of specialization, only produces a small number of things. Specialization is critically important to a modern economy. However important you think it is, it is much more important than that. If you were to try to build a $12 toaster completely by yourself, <a href="“>it would take a decade of work. However, if you instead work for money and then use that money to buy a toaster, it will cost you only an hour of work. Specialization is such a strong part of a capitalist economy that literally hundreds of thousands of people cooperate in order to produce something as simple as a pencil. Money facilitates this indirect exchange, and thus encourages specialization. As long as you can sell what you make to someone, you can buy anything you want from anyone (as long as you have enough money).

2. While money is useful, and indeed critical to market exchange, it is also an Achilles’ heel. One person’s spending is another person’s income. If I buy some apples from you, it’s my spending and your income. Every spent dollar goes to someone. If people spend less, other people earn less. Those other people in turn spend less and the cycle repeats in a vicious circle. Even though the factory isn’t gone, no one is buying what it is making, and so the factory owner lays off the workers. Those workers, being unemployed, buy less from other factories, who in turn reduce their workforces.

Now, there’s a few ways out of this cycle. One – prices can fall to the point where people can buy more stuff for less money, and production increases back to capacity. Another method is for the central bank to print more money, which causes increased spending. A third is for the government to spend more money, employing the unemployed workers and factors of production directly and putting money into people’s hands. Depending on how the economy is organized, each method could be effective. Which mechanism to rely on is a controversial issue among economists, although I personally favor mostly using central bank money supply adjustments to stabilize spending.

#3: Consumption can never be greater than production. If you eat a loaf of bread, someone has to bake that bread first. If you buy a new car, someone has to mine the raw materials, design it, and assemble it. Thus, half the work results in half the consumption (more or less).

You can get some wiggle room because work is only one “factor of production”, which is the term economists use to describe the stuff which makes more stuff. So, you imagine a farm. It’s got land, fertilizer, farming equipment, etc. With half the work, you would put out less fertilizer, do less weeding, etc., but you wouldn’t get half the crops.

Because of land and capital, halving work would result in maybe 40% less production, and thus 40% less consumption. France is an example of a country like this. The French work significantly less than Americans, have less material wealth, but have similar per-hour productivity.

Assorted Links

July 11, 2014

1. Zach Weinersmith on the CIA, humor, and privacy

2. David Brooks column on trust.

3. Adam Carolla on patent trolls

4. Millenials are more in favor of meritocracy

5. Bonus link: Benedict Cumberbatch.

Assorted Links

June 26, 2014

1. NYT on ISIS

2. Why high pressure salesmanship works

3+ Don’t confuse sympathy with policy and Sentence of the day, both from Marginal Revolution

4+ Video on attention, pictures of Iceland, from Koettke

5. Before and after, Detroit.

Assorted Links

June 19, 2014

1. Economists, like astrologers and witch doctors, are unable to peer into the future.

2. Economics and morality.

3. You are wrong.

4. Maps of U.S. energy

5. On the latest Supreme Court patent ruling.


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