The Hard Road Ahead

I’m starting to believe the only way out of this recession and national deficit is through tough choices that offend the ideologies of every political party:

  • higher taxes for everyone
  • spending cuts, including the military
  • bailouts for state/local safety nets that ease real human suffering, not select industries
  • finding and migrating to foreign aid measures that actually work
  • renegotiating way-above-market public pensions inked during the golden bubble years
  • forcing big banks to cramdown city/county debts that arose due to fraud
  • downsizing the massively expensive and world-leading incarceration industrial complex, perhaps by depoliticizing the CJS
  • reducing barriers to starting up new businesses, especially rent seeking at the local/state level
  • stimulating the wedding industry by ensuring the freedom of everyone to marry

Now who in Congress is up for all that?

StackExchange folks, KeyMinor already exists

Why is there a StackExchange proposal in the works for a “Musical Practice and Performance site” when KeyMinor already exists on the SE platform?

The proposed site is “for people who play musical instruments. On-topic questions will be about technique, practice, theory, composition, and repertoire.” KeyMinor already serves this purpose, it’s just not known about.

I’d add a comment to the proposal but I see no way to; I probably don’t have sufficient reputation points.

Charter Cities seem better than foreign aid

The Atlantic has a great piece on Paul Romer and his push for “charter cities”. I agree completely with Romer that fair laws with economic liberties is the only way to support economic growth. While probably true in the old world, very few countries remain impoverished simply because of geography. Tyrants plague the people of North Korea; lawlessness, corrupt states, and trade-hostile laws impoverish many others. We should not end foreign aid where it’s needed, but charter cities sound like one of the only ways to make it uneeded.

Reverse Glasses and Map Flopping

Update June 2013: These exist!

Years ago I had an idea for “reverse” glasses. All they would do is invert horizontally–or flop–the image your retinas receive as if you were viewing through a mirror. I suspect after a brief period of adjustment you’d be able to function fairly normally wearing them, but your common surroundings would appear oddly different, like the first day waking up in a house with a reversed floor plan.

Asymmetrical skateboarding spots limit your trick options because, as a skater–even if you’re great at skating switchstance–you’re either regular or goofy foot. If there’s only one obvious direction to hit something from, you kind of lose half the available tricks to try on it. Flopped glasses couldn’t switch your natural skating stance, but they would let you see every spot as having a flopped equivalent, which is where the game developers come in.

Every 2 or 3-dimensional game should have a “flop map” option, which would flop the player’s map (but not the controls). This would be fairly trivial for the developer, but would give players double the (perceived) number of unique maps to play on. Obviously this is only interesting on asymmetrical maps like a city or a famous golf course–flopping most sport courts/fields wouldn’t have any real effect.

Another feature of the glasses: They would “correct” what you see in mirrors to be exactly what the world sees–parted hair/crooked teeth/wristwatch on the opposite side. Weird and awesome.

Sorry Jerks, Intimidation Won’t Change the Web

Shameful law firm Jones Day sued real estate news site BlockShopper claiming “trademark infringement” over the way the site used link text, but really because the firm didn’t like how the site reported the home purchases of their partners (which is public record). The case should’ve been thrown out, but the judge allowed it, and, in doing so, allowed the firm to bleed the site of $110K in legal fees. BlockShopper finally agreed to settle out of court and to format its links to the firm in a particular way.

…it signals to companies that they can force sites to revise their linking styles by alleging trademark infringement. And Judge Darrah’s decision not to dismiss the suit signals that Web publishers may have to spend significant sums to deal with this kind of litigation. [Slate]

Paul Levy noted the law firm is “a serial abuser of the trademark laws to suppress commentary that it does not like.”

Personally, I would’ve just used this URL to link to the bullies: E.g., “Paul W. Schroeder likes to strongarm web authors.” Or you could use a 3rd party redirect site like In fact, there should be a redirector designed to shame site owners who attack linkers like this.

Update: We now have one:

E.g.: Paul W. Schroeder.

Lying in your job description? You may be our Drug Czar.

The deeper you dig into the history of the Drug War the more craziness you uncover. You’d think an office in charge of drug policy on a national level would monitor science and policy outcomes and work to refine those policies over time, or in the very least not break laws spreading misinformation about drugs.

You’d be wrong! In 2003 Congressman Ron Paul found this out when he pointed out that it’s illegal for the ONDCP to propagandize untruths about marijuana, especially in attempt to lobby against legislation (typically for its medicinal use). The General Accounting Office’s response a year later? Sure it’s illegal, but technically not against state legislation! And since the drug czar’s job description includes doing “such actions as necessary” to oppose legalization attempts of any kind, why look into the misinformation claim at all.

If you’re curious to know what kind of lies come out of this office, I covered those of drug czar John Walters in detail on His writing is practically a guide for constructing logical fallacies.

Avoiding the replay bug in EA Skate 1

Depending on how you navigate through the menus to get to the video replays, the game (and entire Xbox360) will tend to lock up in the waiting screens, requiring a manual reset on the console. Usually this is before you can view even 3 or 4 replays.

Now that I’m capturing a ton of replays on my PC I had to figure away around this, and here it is:

Do NOT choose the Media menu from the front menu.

  1. Enter Freeskate with any options and any starting location.
  2. Use the white back button [left-facing triangle] to pull up the backpack.
  3. Enter the Live option (the sidekick).
  4. Use the triggers to move to the Media section and load your replay.
  5. After leaving a replay with the B button, use the triggers to return to the media section (don’t back out all the way to the game or the front menu).

BTW, latest EA skate video hotness: Attack! (password: “attack”).