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Assorted Links

August 1, 2014

1. Cocoa bean farmers taste chocolate for the first time.

2. Tyler Cowen talks sense about inequality. If you want to talk about poverty, talk about poverty. How jealous you are of Bill Gates isn’t an interesting economics question.

3. On Political Kayfabe.

4. Employment by state 1990-2013. I’m amazed that manufacuring employment was so high as recently as 1990. I guess I just thought that robotic led manufacturing was less of a recent development.

Warframe Mirage Build Guide

July 29, 2014

2014-08-26_00001

Mirage is a fast, fragile, offensive frame, whose powers are themed around illusion and disco.

Aura: Energy Siphon

Powers: All of her powers are decent, although slight of hand is a bit gimmicky. Hall of Mirrors is probably the best since it combines both offense and defense.

Polarities: D and V. Redirection and Intensify, as most of Mirage’s powers are improved by power strength.

Corrupted/Nightmare Mods: Constitution is good because she is so fragile and all of her abilities are improved by additional duration. Fortitude would also help avoid getting knocked down and recovering your shields quickly. Vigor will improve her survivability. Narrow minded would be nice if you don’t use her ult.

Other Mods: Streamline (efficiency), and durability mods are your best options after the mods listed above. She’s fast enough that you don’t need a Rush mod. If you have extra slots, Continuity would be ok too.

My Other Guides:
Beginner’s Guide
Warframe Comparison
Ash Build Guide
Banshee Build Guide
Ember Guide
Excalibur Guide
Frost Guide
Hydroid Guide
Loki Guide
Mag Guide
Mirage Guide
Nekros Guide
Nova Guide
Nyx Guide
Oberon Guide
Saryn Guide
Trinity Guide
Valkyr Guide
Vauban Guide
Volt Guide
Zephyr Guide

Assorted Links

July 29, 2014

1. WW2 Flying aircraft carriers and Submersible aircraft carriers.

2. Demand curves slope down! Why Staples would engage in such obviously self destructive pricing is beyond me.

3. On political satire and Seinfeld.
Characters in many comedies are so distant from normal human beings that any satirical comparison can be implausible. They are too self centered, too stupid, too absurd, and too fortunate. Comedic characters almost never suffer for their appallingly stupid decisions and misadventures, but to force them to do so would remove some of the comedy. I don’t know if people really think of them as commentary on society, unless you beat the viewer over the head with the metaphor.

4. A levelheaded discussion of inequality.

Unpleasant Philisophical Positions

July 28, 2014

I think many people believe things because of wishful thinking, or because if those things were true, it might encourage better behavior.

Free will – I don’t believe in free will. It just doesn’t mesh with the rest of physics. It would be nice if we could control our decisions in some metaphysical sense, but it seems implausible.

Permanence of the self – Every moment you die. You 5 years from now will be just as alien to you as another person. Each second is fleeting and forever lost. People care a lot about what happens to them in the future, and sure, you should care by the degree to which you’d care about the welfare of anyone. However, the you of the future isn’t the same person as the you of now. You can’t cross the same river twice, etc.

Meaninglessness of life – Life is meaningless, in the sense that there is no one meaning. You’re born, you live for awhile, and you die. Everyone winds up dead eventually. Although we can make our mark on the world, the world will eventually burn away when the sun explodes. I’m not depressed about this or anything, but it seems obviously true.

Existence of God – While there could be some sort of higher power, the idea of an active God who listens to prayers and intervenes in the world on behalf of people seems completely silly. All holy books were clearly written by human beings and show no sign of divine inspiration. They often advocate poorly thought out archaic moral principles, which if were every followed would result in the collapse of civilization. Generally, anyone saying “God thinks people should do X” is really saying “I think people should do X, but I want it to sound important”.

Utilitarianism – Bryan Caplan argues against utilitarianism by citing the argument from hypocracy objecting. Basically no one is moral enough to fully adhere to utilitarianism, therefore it’s wrong. Just because no one could actually live perfectly devoted to others doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do. Just because no one can run 100 mph doesn’t mean that Olympic runners will stop trying to run faster.

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.

Update on Greece

2. Reason poll of millennial values and opinions.

3. Soviet propaganda on the downed airliner. More from the WP.

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 a French plane halfway between the Spitfire and the 109 and can be piloted as an energy fighter. The Boomerang is a turn/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. Their treatment at the hands of the Israelis is remarkably kind, especially 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, suicide bombers, and other displays of aggression.

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 material:

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.
STRATFOR on these shenanigans.

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