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Warframe Chroma Build Guide

August 12, 2015

Chroma is a durable elemental based warframe whose abilities change based on the energy color used.

Heat: red, magenta, brown, orange and bright yellow
Electric: blue and purple
Toxic: green, lime, teal and dark yellow
Cold: white, grey, black, and some faded colors

The Ice Elemental Ward/Vex Armor (EW/VA) build is the strongest against Grineer, Corpus, and in the Void. The other major build is the Fire/Effigy build, which is really good against Infested.

Aura: V: Rifle amp for EW/VA and Steel Charge for Effigy

Spectral Scream does a moderate amount of AOE damage over a small area, however you can’t use any weapons while using it. At low levels, it’s probably fine, but it will quickly get outclassed if you have a good weapon.

Elemental Ward creates and aura with various buffs depending on the element used:
Heat: Buffs health, deals damage
Electric: Buffs shields, Reflects damage back to enemies as lightning
Toxin: Buffs reload speed and holster rate, does AOE Toxin Damage
Cold: Buffs armor, reflects damage and reduces attacker’s movement speed and attack rate. Melee damage is not reflected.

This power is quite complicated, so I’d recommend going to the wiki and reading that if you plan on using Chroma a lot.

Vex Armor: Increases Chroma’s armor when shields are hit and damage when health is hit. Because of this power, many people don’t run Redirection.

Effigy: Creates a flying copy of Chroma that goes around Spectral Screaming everything.

Polarities: V and -. For V, use Transient Fortitude for VA/EW build or Blind Rage for the Effigy build, and Streamline on the – polarity.

Power Strength: Intensify, Transient Fortitude, Blind Rage (Effigy),
Duration: (Primed) Continuity, Narrow Minded (both only for EW/VA armor build)
Efficiency: Streamline, (Fleeting Expertise Effigy build only)
Steel Fiber
Redirection (Effigy), or Vigor (EW/VA)

You can replace Streamline with Flow, or Continuity with Constitution if you like.

Syndicate/Augment Mods:
Afterburn – Adds additional damage upon ability deactivation. Not particularly useful.

Vexing Retaliation – Taking shield damage will trigger a puncture proc on nearby enemies, taking health damage will trigger a blast proc. If you don’t some of the rarer mods in the build above, it might be worth playing with. I don’t think I’ll use it.

Utility Mods: Elementally appropriate parkour mod.

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

Warframe Exilus Adapters and Utility Slots

August 4, 2015

Update 17 added Exilus Adapters, which allow Warframes to add an additional “Exilus” or Utility mod to their Warframe. This mod still uses up mod points, but it does not use a slot, allowing formaed Warframes to gain more versatility in their builds. Exilus Adapters are quite expensive to build, but they can also be bought for 20 Platinum.

Utility mods:
Movement mods (Lightning Dash, for example): These increases the speed of Bullet Jump, lengthens the duration of Aim Glide and Wall Latching, and adds damage of various types to Bullet Jump.
Patagium – increases the duration of Aim Glide and Wall Grab by 15% per rank.
Mobilize – increases Bullet Jump speed, and the duration of Aim Glide and Wall Latch.
Aviator – Only good for Zephyr, or maybe Valkyr
Handspring – Good for any close range Warframe without knockback resistence. I use it for Nekros due to his squishiness.
Sure Footed – Handspring is better.
Shock Absorbers – Handspring is better.
Rush – Good for any slow Warframe.
Master Thief – If you’re going to do container rushes for resources, this isn’t bad, but honestly since Nekros came out, Desecrate was the better option for grinding materials.
Heavy Impact – Useful for Excalibur, Valkyr, and Zephyr
Enemy Sense – Useful for Warframes with good AOE abilities.
Thief’s Wit – Great for Syndicate missions.
Maglev – Rush is better
Warm Coat

I’m really not sure how good the new mods are. If you’ve played with them and like them/hate them, please let everyone know in the comments.

Basic Income Ballparking

August 4, 2015

Basic income/guaranteed income/universal income is the idea that instead of a myriad of welfare programs, why not just give everyone a fixed amount. Theoretically, you could end poverty for an entire country permanently without any of the distorting incentives, highly inefficient bureaucracy, paternalism, and people falling through the cracks of the current system. But how big could such a system be?

At the current levels of technology, the maximum amount of taxes per person seems to be around 15k per person. If a country has a very high tax rate, their economy will be smaller because of deadweight loss. The Laffer curve has been unfortunately politicized, but the fundamental point of high taxes causing deadweight losses is indisputable, the only question is what the exact point of maximum taxation is. Let’s say it’s 50% for the sake of argument, with a note that it is a controversial and disputed number.

So, let’s assume that at a 50% tax rate, income collected will be $15k per person, at 30% tax rate income collected will be $13k per person.

Income benchmarks
$15k is the full time minimum wage of $7.25.
$31,200 is full time earnings (2080 hours per year) at $15 per hour.
Poverty line for single households is $11,770 and for families of four is $24,250 ($6,062.25 per person).
Median personal income in the U.S. is $24,062.
Mean personal income is around $40k (sources differ).

The higher the basic income is, the fewer people will work. The people who leave the labor market will tend to be those with low wages. If you make 100k, you’re not going to quit to get a 10k basic income, but if you are working your butt off at minimum wage, it’s going to be a lot more tempting. When a high productivity worker leaves the economy, GDP and taxes collected drop a lot. When a low productivity worker leaves, they don’t move much. Thus, the higher the basic income is, the more the overall economy will drop.

Having said that, it is somewhat plausible that a low basic income may in fact raise GDP. If you think of labor markets as primarily matching markets where connecting workers to firms is difficult, having a basic income may allow workers to spend more time searching and even acquiring job skills before going into the labor market. If a basic income displaces other welfare and the minimum wage, firms will be much more eager to hire at the bottom of the labor market and thus low skill jobs will be more available. Remember that currently, the limit is firms hiring, not workers willing to work, and a basic income would flip that. It’s a balancing act, and there is no exactly right answer.

Federal Spending
2014 Budget was $3.9 trillion.
There were 73 M children, and 245 M adults in 2014. This means spending per person was $12,264.15 per person or $15918.37 per adult.
FY 2015 federal budget

America already has a huge national debt. Adding another jumbo program on top of our already huge government without serious cutbacks is not a sane option, even with substantially higher taxes. Maybe we’d be able to increase total tax revenue by 10% or so, but that’s really about all you can expect.

Welfare is already 63% of the federal budget, a large chunk of which is health care related. A basic income would almost require serious health care reform. America spends more than any other country on health care and our health care outcomes are mediocre. I am a Hansonian concerning health care policy, but I realize that this is an extremely uncommon view. But even if you accept the dominant paradigm of medicine, America has some pretty terrible regulations which basic microeconomics analysis would suggest have huge deadweight losses to society. On the other hand, the reason why health care policy is so bad is because its stuck in a Olsonian collective action trap, where entrenched firms use their market power to collect rents and then channel those rents into securing political power which they then use to get more rents. The only plausible way out is a radical disruption of the whole sector by medical AI and a Silicon Valley style creative disruption of the entire industry. I don’t think that a standard political reform is possible of the health care sector, regardless of the will of the voters. In conclusion, let’s say for now, health care policy isn’t going anywhere and there won’t be any funds to allocate away from that.

Military is pretty much the only significant, non-transfer area of government expenditure. The U.S. spends a tremendous amount on the military in comparison to other countries, and although Americans enjoy our global domination and continual micro-wars, a large new welfare program would have to displace some military spending. If the U.S. shifted to a purely defensive military stance, we could cut spending by at least half, so let’s say an additional 10% of the government budget can be harvested from military cuts.

Social security. Ahh, the elephant in the room of welfare. It’s about 25% of government spending and it dwarfs all other non-health care related welfare. If you’re giving everyone a basic income, do you really need to have another program just for old people? Already, the whole thing will probably collapse in the next 20 years. You don’t really need disability insurance with a basic income, especially if that basic income would be higher than disability would give people anyway. The maximum SSI payments are around $700 now, which is $8,400 per year.

That seems low to me, but if that really is the amounts people are getting from the SSA, as long as the basic income is comparable to that, there shouldn’t be much political opposition to rolling the SSA and basic income together. Let’s say we can get 20% of government spending by eliminating overlap with the SSA.


High End estimate:
With massive health care reform and the elimination of separate governmental health benefits (medicare, medicaid, etc), and higher taxes, you could get that up to 15k x 60% = $9,000 per person per year. If the additional $3k would be sufficient to pay for the marginal health benefits, that might be a better option for people. In the scenario of radical reform and the use of AI doctors, personally tailored medicine with DNA analysis, and other sci-fish technologies, I could see that happening, but that’s just speculation.

Middle Estimate:
Some health care reform, current taxes, limited SSA cutbacks
13k x 40% (10% military cutbacks, 10% SSA cutbacks, 10% other welfare cutbacks, 10% health care reform) = $433 per month

With full SSA elimination, some tax increases, and/or more health care cutbacks, you could get it to $500 per month.

People could live on $500 a month, especially if they worked together with others to minimize your living expenses. While it would be half the level required to end poverty for individuals, it would be enough to end poverty for families of 4 or more. The $500 per month amount would only be a third of what an individual could make working 40 hours at the current minimum wage of $7.25, so labor market displacement would probably be minimal.

Low End Estimate:
Without welfare replacement, with higher taxes, without medical reform, and with only mild spending reform in other areas, you’d have $3k per person to work with (15k x 20%). $250 per month isn’t really worth getting excited about so a basic income without other welfare displacement would be pretty useless and miss the point of the program. Without health care reform, even a moderate illness would throw basic income recipients into abject poverty. Maybe it would be enough to replace food stamps and some other miscellaneous welfare programs, but that’s about it.

Politics and Short Termism

August 3, 2015

What is an asset that pays $1 immediately worth? $1 obviously. If it cost less than that, people would buy it and make money, and if it cost more, no one would buy it.

What is an asset worth $1 a year from now worth? Well, that depends on a lot of things: Time preference, alternative investments, risk of default, etc. But fundamentally, the value of the asset is based on the payout in the future, and the relative value of future money compared to money today.

For some reason, when it comes to stocks, many people’s heads turn to mush. If you know amount of all dividends and stock buybacks, so you can calculate the present value of the stock precisely. Dividend payments from this year get added to dividend payments one year in the future, plus payments two years in the future, all the way up until the company goes bankrupt. The value of any stock is the amount that people expect the company to pay out in the future, discounted by the amount of time until those payments happen, the risk that a company will go bankrupt, and a risk that their profit will go down. Adding a resale market doesn’t change things because the new buyers can also calculate present values.

The thing that is bad about short termism is not the short term profitability, it’s the long term losses. But if everyone knows the long term profits are going down, the asset price will adjust accordingly. If the stock’s price goes down as a result on short termism, CEOs will be punished for their poor performance and there is no systemic problem.

So what do you need for short termism to actually be a problem? There need to be people who are tricked by it to sell to. Investor A knows the company’s profitability will decrease because of short termism, but Investor B does not, so Investor A sells the stock to Investor B at a high price. This is a game of cat and mouse and in the real world, sometimes companies pull off the deception, and sometimes they do not. Companies which do short term strategies a lot go out of business and are replaced by other companies, so short termism is unsurprisingly, a short term only strategy.

Enter the politicians. Capitalism bashing is popular, especially when you attack something that sounds evil and no one understands. Bonus points if your solution has literally nothing to do with the problem. In this case, the proposed solution is to give CEOs more independence from boards of trustees. Of course several CEOs have jumped on board in support as well. But boards are comprised of primarily long term investors. You don’t get a seat on the board if you are running a month long short operation, you get a seat if you’ve held stock for a fair amount of time or hold a large fraction of the stock. These are precisely the sorts of people who DON’T want short termism. Even if you did get a majority stake in a company, if you do a bunch of short termist stuff, who exactly are you going to sell your shares to? Private equity firms were accused of this sort of behavior, but when investigated, it turned out not to be true. If you have a reputation for short termism, you must take extra care not to do it so that you can convince people to buy the stock from you eventually. Doing short termist policies is not a long term strategy! In any event, giving CEOs more independence will likely result in more short termist polices, not less.

Kevin Erdmann:
“Isn’t it funny how so many people hold these two opinions in their heads at the same time:
1) Wall Street is just focused on the next quarter and they push corporations to have short term motives.
2) There was a stock market bubble 15 years ago built around bidding up prices to unprecedented levels for an entire basket of firms which had never been profitable and had no near-term plans for being profitable.”

Assorted Links

August 3, 2015

1. What’s the Most Important Supreme Court Case No One’s Ever Heard Of?

2. The automation myth.

3. If education were covered like sports.

4. Low oil prices are lasting a long time. Political arrangements can change drastically in response to relative price shifts. Reading stuff like this makes me want to reread Structure and Change in Economic History.

5. The saddest thing I have seen in a long time.

One Million Views Giveaway

July 28, 2015

1 millionth view

UPDATE: THE GIVEAWAY IS OVER. I have selected all of the winners.

Today marks the 1 millionth view on my blog, which is a huge milestone. As a celebration, I will be giving away some rare Warframe items, since Warframe is the primary reason I’ve gotten so many views. I will email the winners 1 week after this post, and hand out the prizes through Warframe’s trading system.

There will be 3 prizes:

1st prize: 250 Platinum + 3 items of your choice from the list below

2nd prize: 100 Platinum + 2 items from the list below

3rd Prize: 50 Platinum + 1 item

Arcane Helmets:
Aura Trinity
Aurora Frost
Avalon Excalibur
Cholera Saryn
Chorus Banshee
Coil Mag
Espirit Vauban
Essence Loki
Flux Nova
Gauss Mag
Pulse Volt
Scorpion Ash
Storm Volt
Vanguard Rhino

Prime Sets:
Frost Prime
Mag Prime
Braton Prime
Burston Prime
Latron Prime
Sicarus Prime
Dakra Prime
Reaper Prime

Rare mods (2 per pick):
Accelerated blast
Arrow mutation
Barrel diffusion
Bleeding willow
blind rage
Burdened Magazine
Coiling Viper
Coolant Leak
Critical Deceleration
Crossing Snakes
Decisive Judgement
Dual Rounds
Efficient Transferral
Enemy Sense
Energy Channel
Fired up
Fleeting Expertise
Focus Energy
Frigid Blast
Guardian (not gold, but rare)
Hammer Shot
Heavy Trauma
Hell’s Chamber
Hollow Point
Hollowed Bullets
Hyperion Thrusters
Ice Storm
Iron Phoenix
Jagged Edge
Lethal Torrent
Magnum Force
Malicious Raptor
Master Thief
Metal Auger
Morphic Transformer
Narrow Minded
Natural Talent
Pistol Ammo Mutation
Pistol Pestilence
Power Throw
Quick thinking
Reflex Guard
Rending Strike
Rifle Ammo Mutation
Seeking Force
Seismic Palm
Shotgun Ammo Mutation
Sniper Ammo Mutation
Split chamber
Spoiled Strike
Steady Hands
Stunning Speed
Sundering Strike
System Reroute
Tainted Clip
Tainted Mag
Tainted Shell
Tranquil Cleave
Toxic Barrage
Transient Fortitude
Undying Will
Vicious Spread
Vile Acceleration
Vital Sense
Volcanic Edge

It’s all about that Target

July 24, 2015

It’s fairly common to see someone waxing about macroeconomic policy and describe a desired central bank action without any reference to a policy target. Some examples: “The Fed shouldn’t do any QE”, or “The Fed should raise interest rates” (of course no mention of when and by how much).

Monetary policy, like all human action, is a purposeful activity. You do it so that some goal is achieved. The purpose of macroeconomic policy is to hit one, and only one, target. The central bank can either make policy looser or tighter. If policy becomes looser, prices will go up, and vice versa. They can only hit one target, since if two prices move in different directions, they have to pick one.

Suppose your target is the price of apples. Both apples and oranges cost $1. If the price of oranges goes up to $1.20, and you try to get it to go back to $1, you’ll have to lower the price of apples by 20% as well. The relative prices won’t change and you’ll have abandoned your apple price target. You can target the average price of apples and oranges if you like, but it has to be one thing that gets targeted.

Obliviousness to the Facts
Before saying that monetary policy should be looser/tighter make sure inflation isn’t already at an all time high/low. If deflation is higher than it’s ever been, and expected inflation is lower than it’s been since the Great Depression, maybe it’s not a good time to demand even more contractionary policy. For some reason, when inflation is high, people call for more inflation. When deflation is high, they call for more deflation. I have no idea why this is, but it happens.

In any event, beware of any pundit who expresses a policy preference without a target. Sometimes monetary policy is wrong and needs to change, but we get nowhere if we just advocate a policy without specifying what that policy should actually achieve.


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