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Assorted Links

January 30, 2014

1. Flying snake!

2. How do vaccines cause autism?

3. Wilkinson on inequality. I was thinking along these lines earlier this week, but he said it well better than I could have. Inequality is a distraction. Poverty is the real issue.

4. Gregory Clarke interview about intergenerational mobility. TL:DR: It is low everywhere, it has always been low, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

5. A one hour documentary on the Hind and the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

Assorted Links

January 16, 2014

1. Daniel Ellsberg AMA highlights. Also, a story of the only journalist in the U.S. imprisoned for political speech.

2. The sum of all natural numbers is -1/12.

Kottke has been excellent recently. Click around when you get to his site.

3. FCC’s Net Neutrality Rule struck down. It probably needs to be a law and not an agency generated regulation.

4. Jimmy Kimmel on Obamacare. Both humorous and informative.

Bonus edition!

5. SMBC on the drug war. The only explanatory position which makes sense to me is simple hatred of drug users. Politicians are often drug users themselves, but go along with it to appease the voters and are accustomed to hypocrisy.

6. Little girls explain the worst haircut ever. I was laughing so hard I barely could breathe for the whole thing.

Ain’t is a word.

January 15, 2014

Only those of you who follow my blog very closely know that linguistics is an interest of mine, but only when I’m annoyed. I suppose my German blood runs a bit too thick, but I believe that language, like everything else in the universe, should follow rules. That doesn’t mean that I think it does, only that is should.

Declension of “to be”
Person, Number
1st singular: I am
2nd singular: you are
3rd singular: he/she/it is
1st plural: we are
2nd plural: ya’ll are (either use thou, use ya’ll, or GTFO)
3rd plural: they are

Now add a not and use a contraction
Am not -> ain’t
are not -> aren’t
is not -> isn’t
(plural) are not -> aren’t

Now for whatever reason, the Gods of pedantry have decided that one declined version of a contraction isn’t a word (or is slang), but the others are. I’m ok with people saying “all contractions are slang, and thus not real words.” But don’t just pick one out of the line up for execution. Otherwise, I’m’n’t going to be happy.

What would victory in the War on Poverty look like?

January 9, 2014

Bob Murphy writes, “Surely to actually “win” the War on Poverty would mean that the government could stop spending money, because every household were self-sufficient. The criterion can’t be, “After you account for how much money we’re still throwing at it, the net result is better.”” and presents this chart:

Two-Poverty-Trends

The poverty rate in the U.S. is measured as pre-tax pre-transfer income (the green line). I’ve always thought that was silly because one’s actual living standard depends only on post-tax post-transfer income. If we care about how actual poor people are living, only the black line in the chart matters.

A “War on Poverty” centered on transfers only makes the green line increase! One of the fundamental principles of economics is that people respond to incentives. If you pay people who don’t work, people will respond by working less. People who work less earn less. Economists call this the marginal tax rate. Even if you don’t actually pay any taxes, if you lose a welfare benefit by working, it encourages you not to work just as if you had been taxed for working.

To reduce the green line to 0%, I have a modest proposal: anyone who doesn’t earn more than the poverty line will be tortured to death. I guarantee that after a few years, there will be no more poor people! But that’s ridiculous. No one wants a policy which reduces measured poverty if it means reducing the living standard of the poor.

While I’m sure there are still people living in deprivation, the average person living under the U.S. poverty line has plenty to eat, has air conditioning, a car, cable TV or internet access, and other amenities. Since poverty is an inherently relative concept, “winning the war on poverty” shouldn’t include reducing the measured poverty rate to zero.

Fighting poverty will always be a continuous thing. As societal norms change, the amount of resources will change to match them.

Assorted Links

January 8, 2014

1. People are moving in a libertarian direction, especially millenials.

2. Example of public choice theory #419085.

3. An interactive diagram of immigration.

4. Hayekian arguments for minimum income.

Suggestions for Warframe Mod System

January 3, 2014

The most important thing when creating a mod system is creating interesting tradeoffs for the player. Mods should be balanced, in the sense that some should be better than others for some guns, but not for all guns. Using the same build for gun after gun defeats the purpose of having many different mods and customization. Having different mod stats for various gun types (shotgun, pistol, rifle, etc.) needlessly complicates things and creates a situation where, for example, Piercing Hit is useless for rifles, but No Return is viable for pistols, seemingly for no reason at all.

Damage and Multishot
The damage mods are too powerful and encourage using the same build over and over, especially for unpotatoed weapons. Pistols and Rifles should all be limited to 10% per rank, for a maximum of +110 at rank 10. Melee can be left as it is, since those mods only go to rank 5 and you have to chose between killing blow and pressure point. Shotguns also go to rank 5, but also have Blaze. If the Point Blank were kept the same and Blaze was changed to 10% base damage per level, that would bring the total base damage for shotguns to 130%. It’s 20% higher, but more costly and requires two mod slots, so I think that’s fair. Additionally, that would bring Blaze in line with the “2/3rds the effect” rule for dual mods compared to their component mods. Corrupted base damage should also be limited to 10%.

Multishot is more or less equivalent to more damage, with the chance of not getting the extra bullet occasionally. Since they are typically so expensive, I don’t think they need to be changed. Barrel diffusion is overpowered, especially in conjunction with Lethal Torrent (+180% total – double the multishot of other weapons). If Barrel Diffusion were reduced to 15% per level, that would be more reasonable.

Crit builds
Crit mods should be standardized at +15% per rank with a maximum cost of 9 at rank 5 for both crit damage and crit chance (what Blunderbuss is now). That would make crit builds more viable for melee and shotguns while making them less OP for rifles. Now that the Grataka has been buffed, it doesn’t need the +150%/+120% rifle crit mods. The Soma and Synapse are the two highest DPS weapons in the game, so limiting them wouldn’t be too detrimental.

Physical damage mods
Right now, physical damage mods such as No Return, Shredder, etc are terrible. There’s no reason to mince words. Let’s start with the Hind, which has 10 puncture, 10 slash and 10 impact. If you put a maxed “Piercing Hit” mod on it and you get +3 damage. 3. For a maxed mod. In comparison, put Cryo Rounds on and you get +27.

Some options:
A: Dramatically increase the physical damage mods. At least to +15% per level to match elemental damages, but if you don’t do the other two suggestions, they could be increased to +20% per rank.
B: Decrease the cost of all physical damage mods to that of pistols: 2 at rank 0, 7 at rank 5.
C: Calculate the increase for the physical damage mod based on the base damage, not on the matched damage type. In our example, Piercing hit would add 30% of 30 for +9 puncture.
D: Allow Physical damage increases to count towards base damage. In our example, Piercing hit would increase the effective base damage of the Hind to 33 for the purposes of calculating other elemental damages. I am personally opposed to this idea, but I include it for consideration because it’s interesting.

Don’t do all these suggestions or the physical damage mods would be overpowered. 2 of the 4 should be sufficient.

Fire Rate, Reload and Magazine Size
Each of these mods increasing the number of shots a Tenno can fire in a given amount of time. While they increase damage, they also decrease ammo economy. Because of that disadvantage, they should give slightly more of a DPS boost than an elemental mod.

The formula for total DPS = (Bullet Damage x Magazine Size) / (Time to empty the clip and reload)
Cycle time = (Magazine Size / Fire Rate) + Reload Speed

The takeaway from the formula is that no matter what base stats of the weapon are, no weapon will get a greater than a 10% boost to DPS from a 10% fire rate/reload/magazine size mod. With the average weapon, it is closer to half that bonus. If base damage is 10% per level and elemental damage is 15% per level, these mods should be 20 or 25% per level to be balanced.

If we use the MK 1 Braton as an example, a 30% increase to the magazine size results in a measly 4.5% increase in overall DPS. While it increases the magazine by a lot, most of the time in the cycle is firing anyway, and so it doesn’t result in a large increase in damage. Even the best rifles to use magazine mods on only get around a 12% increase in DPS from them. Magazine mods should be increased to 25% per level.

Reload mods are a bit different because people often reload unspent magazines and also you can be staggered between reloads which causes you to you have to start over from the beginning. 10-15% per rank would be fine for reload mods. The 5% per rank for rifles is a joke.

Fire Rate should be a 15% bonus per rank with a base cost of 4 (like Shotgun Spazz now).

Other comments
Add some D polarity mods for weapons. Status and Cold are not enough for the D polarity to be useful. Perhaps fire rate/reload/magazine mods could be D.

Add some V polarity mods for Warframes. Stretch, Streamline, Flow, Narrow Minded and Overextended should be V.

Before I get flayed in the comments for nerfing everything, these changes increase some mods and decrease others. The overall DPS wouldn’t necessarily change if you updated your build appropriately. If they did reduce damage overall, scaling could be adjusted.

2013 in review

January 1, 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 48,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

The Alchian-Allen Theorem 8,701
Warframe Beginner’s Guide 8,401
Commutative and Distributive Justice 4,898
Warframe Crit Builds 4,481
Thoughts on Warframe Damage 2.0 2,355
Warframe Corpus Build Guide Damage 2.0 2,319
Home page / Archives 2,285
Warframe Grineer Build Guide Damage 2.0 1,802
Warframe Orokin Void Build Guide Damage 2.0 1,322
A Summary of The Logic of Collective Action 1,276
Warframe Infested Build Guide Damage 2.0 1,093
The Folly of Pretending to Know the Mind of God 1,080
When is trade mutually beneficial? 949
Price or Quantity on the X Axis? 883
Regulation is not Flan 488
Deciding When to Take Your Pension 449
Warframe Fire Rate Mods 434
Introduction to Price Theory, Part 1: Supply and Demand 406

Click here to see the complete report.

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