Notes

A Video Game in Which You Make Video Games Fights Pirates with Piracy

Hilarious. Way to fight fire with fire.

There’s a recent tradition of developers screwing with pirates—from releasing enormous, immortal pink scorpions on them, to booby trapping their games with glitches when they get cracked. This weekend, Greenheart Games, creator of Game Dev Tycoon, just blew the curve for everyone. This is fantastic.

As the title suggests, the game is about video games development. Greenheart is releasing it DRM-free, so this thing is sure to be pirated. Greenheart’s Patrick Klug figured, why wait, put a cracked version on “the number one torrent sharing site,” and sat back to watch what happened.

Something like 94 percent of the game’s users were playing the pirated, cracked version that Greenheart itself had uploaded. But here’s where the fun begins.

"As players spend a few hours playing and growing their own game dev company, they will start to see the following message, styled like any other in-game message:"

"Slowly their in-game funds dwindle, and new games they create have a high chance to be pirated until their virtual game development company goes bankrupt." The best part? The pirates complained about it.

2 Notes

What if they threw a war and nobody showed up?

What if they threw a war and nobody showed up?

1 Notes

Where Does $2 Trillion in Subsidies for the Wealthiest Hide in Plain Sight?

Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, Chief Economist at the Roosevelt Institute, takes a hard look at subsidies for investment income in a new white paper on tax reform. Stiglitz advocates taxing capital gains and dividends at the same rates as ordinary income. Under current law, the federal government will deliver an estimated $1.34 trillion in subsidies to investors over the next 10 years in the form of reduced tax rates for capital gains and dividends. Sixty-eight percent of that money will go to the top 1 percent. Stiglitz argues that there is “no justification for taxing those who work hard to earn a living at a higher rate than those who derive their income from speculation.” Stiglitz would also eliminate an expensive, but little-known, provision called “step-up in basis,” which subsidizes inherited wealth. By taking a step-up in basis, heirs selling inherited assets only have to pay taxes on the capital gain that took place since they received the asset – gains that accrued during the previous owner’s lifetime are never subject to income taxes. This tax break will cost about $644 billion over 10 years, with 21 percent of that subsidy going to the top 1 percent. For the wealthiest families, the benefits are staggering: 55 percent of the wealth in estates worth over $100 million is in the form of unrealized capital gains, meaning that these families will never pay income taxes on the majority of their earnings since the heirs will benefit from step-up in basis.

Notes

Notes

We Need to Talk About Monopoly

We need to undo the changes that Reagan introduced in the ’80s which killed our antitrust laws. If you are interested to learn more about the robber barons, check out the history channel series The Men Who Built America. Very entertaining and informative.

Monopoly: It sounds like a very old-fashioned problem. It sounds like an economic issue from the 19th century. Is it still a problem today?

Yes, absolutely, a huge problem. The American economy is more concentrated today than it’s been in more than a century, since the days of the plutocrats. Pretty much every sector of the economy is dominated by a few Goliaths, sometimes a single dominant corporation. And this poses immense economic and political dangers, to growth and the quality of our jobs, and to our democracy itself.

66 Notes

best-of-imgur:

Hedgehog to the sky!http://best-of-imgur.tumblr.com

Hedgehog to the sky !

best-of-imgur:

Hedgehog to the sky!
http://best-of-imgur.tumblr.com

Hedgehog to the sky !

Notes

Plug Facebook Into Skype For a News Feed Firehose

Wow, just tried this and it made Facebook about 100x better. It’s like Facebook back when we liked it. Probably better than that actually. Try it.

We know that our Facebook news feeds go through a complicated filtering process, affected both by Facebook’s internal algorithms and our own efforts to hide or show particular friends. However, not all third-party apps are so complex, and Skype will pull in your Facebook news feed pretty much as it’s published.

Skype and Facebook have been partners for several years, but as each platform has evolved it hasn’t always been obvious what you can or can’t do from each tool. If you choose to connect Facebook from the desktop Skype app on either Windows or Mac OS, you can get an unfiltered look at what your friends are up to.

When you fire up Skype you may get an automatic prompt to connect Facebook from the Skype home screen, but if not then click the blue cog to the right-hand side and choose Connect to Facebook. Enter your Facebook username and password, and you’re away (although if you have two-step verification activated, you’ll need a code from the Facebook mobile app).

Updates from all of your Facebook friends will populate the Skype home screen, and you can switch between Facebook updates, Skype updates, and a mixture of both from the links at the top. Note that this is not the same process as importing your Facebook contacts and automatically adding them as Skype friends, although you can access the Facebook message system through the Skype client.

Now, we’re not privy to the inner workings of either Skype or Facebook, but to our eyes the news feed displayed in Skype is shown in a chronological, unfiltered way—very recent updates are shown, often from friends that rarely appear in our official news feed (a change that could be viewed as either positive or negative depending on your perspective).

New updates can be viewed by clicking on the refresh button, which makes the whole Facebook experience much more Twitter-like. You can like and comment on updates from within Skype, as well as message contacts and update your own status. Give it a try, and you might find that Skype is the third-party Facebook client you’ve been looking for.

1 Notes

Israel can't win this or any future conflicts by bombing Gaza

A popular colloquial definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Israel launched military campaigns in 2008 and 2012, purportedly to eliminate Hamas’ rocket-launching capabilities from the Gaza Strip. Obviously, the campaigns failed: Hamas is again unleashing a barrage of rockets and Israel is again bombarding Gaza. Israel cannot win this war, primarily because it is fighting only the symptoms of the conflict with the Palestinians — rocket launching — not the underlying causes, which are the Gaza blockade and the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The range of Hamas’ rockets was about 50 miles in 2012, reaching cities such as Ashdod. Today, some rockets have traveled nearly 100 miles, targeting Tel Aviv and even Haifa. Hamas launched more than 800 rockets in the first six days — more than it did in 21 days in 2008. Israel has launched more than 1,300 airstrikes on Gaza in those first six days.

Seventeen members of the extended family of Tayseer Batsh, the Hamas police chief, were killed by one such airstrike — the largest number from one family in a single attack in the three conflicts. We don’t know how long the current conflict will last, but it could prove more punishing this time.

The heavy bombardment of Gaza only deepens the Israelis’ problem rather than solving it. Over the last 47 years, Israel has systematically created one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world in the Gaza Strip. The more targets Israel destroys, the more frustration grows among the Gazans. The surviving relatives, neighbors and friends of those killed, and the rest of Gazan society, are more exasperated than ever by the Israeli blockade. Increased frustration within a besieged Gaza is what pushed things to the edge in the first place.

It is delusional to assume that when the current battle ends, both parties will return to their communities to resume normal lives. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has created two meanings of normality. The 40,000 Israeli reservists who were called up this time will, for the most part, go back to their jobs and homes when the fighting ends. But Gazans, 39% of whom are unemployed, will go back to their “normal” lives under the brutal conditions of the Gaza blockade and be at the mercy of Israel’s rules about what type and quantity of food and other basics are allowed into Gaza. The Palestinians in the West Bank will go back to their daily humiliation of roadblocks and expanding Israeli settlements at the expense of their livelihoods.

In fact, the two sides are more equal under the conditions of war than those of peace; although the Israelis are much stronger militarily and inflict more damage, both sides feel the effects of being under attack. But when the fighting ends, the Palestinians’ version of normality gives them every incentive to defy Israeli roadblocks and blockades. When the choice for Gazans is either accepting the blockade and life in what some have called the largest open-air prison in the world or fighting back, no sane person would consider anything other than the latter option.

To prevent another tragic war in the future, things must change. Palestinians mainly need two things: dignity and bread. Israel must end the occupation in general and the Gaza blockade in particular. The mistake of the 2008 and 2012 mediation efforts was that they produced cease-fires that allowed the Israelis to go back to business as usual — but left the Gaza blockade intact and perpetuated untenable conditions, which led to further and bloodier fighting.

9 Notes

This probably wins the award for the trippiest video I’ve seen.

293 Notes

smdxn:


This Is What’s Happened To the South After Years Of Conservative Policies

Mark Gongloff of Huffington Post has analyzed a new Census Bureau report that measures changes in areas with concentrated poverty and found that the South doing abysmally…
[J]ust about every marker for quality of life is markedly lower in the South…
The South also has low economic mobility, high rates of obesity and smoking, massive loss of federal funds thanks to refusing Medicaid expansion, and the highest rates of teen births…

smdxn:

This Is What’s Happened To the South After Years Of Conservative Policies

Mark Gongloff of Huffington Post has analyzed a new Census Bureau report that measures changes in areas with concentrated poverty and found that the South doing abysmally…

[J]ust about every marker for quality of life is markedly lower in the South…

The South also has low economic mobility, high rates of obesity and smoking, massive loss of federal funds thanks to refusing Medicaid expansion, and the highest rates of teen births…

4 Notes

4 Notes

Money doesn’t buy happiness? Well, um…..

Money doesn’t buy happiness? Well, um…..

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