Lion of the Blogosphere

The singularity in the Wall Street Journal

with 26 comments

CCNY Physics professor Michio Kaku writes in the Wall Street Journal :

One day we might have a “library of souls,” in which we can have a scintillating discussion with our long-dead ancestors or even historical figures. We could talk to a hologram of an ancestor, for instance, which can access all that person’s memories and personality.

Cool.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 21, 2014 at 6:51 am

Posted in Nerdy stuff, Religion

Psychology of Hearthstone

with 13 comments

I’m still playing this game, and I have some more insights on the psychology of how Blizzard is able to monetize this game, and they are doing it quite profitably.

First of all, as I wrote previously, this game can be appreciated by a completely different audience than World of Warcraft (which is Blizzard’s biggest moneymaker). You have to be hardcore to really appreciate all that World of Warcraft has to offer. Perhaps you need to play the game for a hundred hours before you reach the highest character level, at which point many uninterrupted hours are needed for dungeon raids. Hearthstone, on the other hand, can be played whenever you have ten minutes to spare, because that’s about how long it takes to play a round. At the same time, Hearthstone is more of an intellectual activity that requires concentration and thinking in order to win card-game rounds, whereas gameplay in WoW is more like mindlessly killing virtual monsters.

One trait that Hearthstone shares with World of Warcraft is grindiness. In other words, the more you play the game, the more powerful you become. In Hearthstone, you get 10 units of virtual currency (called “gold”) every time you win three games, plus every day there is a “quest” that will give you an extra 40 gold. An example of such a quest is “win two games as a Priest.” After you accumulate 100 gold, you can use that to purchase a pack of five cards, and hopefully one or more of the cards will make your deck more powerful. It’s this mechanic that tries to addict you to the game.

Once you get addicted, you feel the psychological “need” to advance in the game faster, and that requires you to spend real money. I think that Blizzard did a fabulous job of balancing this perfectly. If the first time you played the game, it was very obvious that the game was just a scam to get you to pay real money in order to advance, it would be a big turnoff. But in fact, the game does a very good job of presenting itself as something that you don’t have to pay for. As I pointed out above, you get free virtual currency for playing the game. Also, the game includes the “Arena” which costs 150 virtual gold to enter, but if you are able to win at least seven games before losing three games, your reward will include at least 150 gold so Arena will pay for itself! And even if you go 0 for 3, you still get a pack of five cards, so even the biggest loser is a winner. And if you charged $1.99 to your credit card to enter the Arena instead of paying 150 virtual gold, Blizzard is also the winner. It should be pointed out that for everyone who is able to go 7-3 or even better, several other people have to have losing records to support it. (My first Arena session was 3-3.)

What is the benefit of advancing in the game? Well your rank will increase from 25 (the lowest rank) to “Legendary” (equivalent to Rank 0).

And if you are a really good player, you can make money from streaming your play so that other people can watch and learn from you. The most successful Hearthstone streamer is a guy called “Trump.” As this article explains, his real name is Jeffrey Shih and he is a 26-year-old graduate of NYU with a degree in management and finance. Streaming Hearthsone games is his full-time job and he makes a living from it. A really good living according to Forbes. I haven’t watched his stream yet, but I intend to because he is highly recommended at every Hearthstone message board on the internet. It sounds a lot more interesting than watching a baseball game.

The articles don’t say if Shih has female groupies the way that other sports stars do.

* * *

Also there’s a $100,000 prize for winning the world Hearthstone championship, but streaming seems like a more profitable source of income.

Sounds more profitable than blogging, which makes me zero money since Google banned my blog from Adsense for being politically incorrect (and even before that it only made about $150/month).

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 20, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

Blacks are more conservative than liberal whites

with 50 comments

From a New Republic article by Julia Ioffe:

“During times of unrest, black writers going back to the early 20th century have argued that the reason blacks are facing discrimination or police brutality is because they have not been acting properly in public—particularly young, poor people,” says Michael Dawson, a political scientist and director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago. “In the last 20 years, it’s been a criticism of baggy pants, rap music, hair styles. Back in my generation, it was Afros. I remember my grandparents telling me, ‘you should cut your hair.’”

Respectability, in essence, is about policing the behavior in your community to make sure people are behaving “properly,” so as to not attract unwelcome attention from whites—“with ‘properly’ being a normatively white middle class presentation,” says Dawson.

Acting like a respectable middle-class person instead of a gangster from the ghetto seems like common sense to me. But apparently, the author of the article seems to believe that blacks who say what sounds like common sense to me are victims of internalizing white racist attitudes.

Actually what this does demonstrate is that blacks are more conservative than people realize. You assume they are liberal because they vote for Democrats, but they vote Democratic because Democrats give them stuff (like affirmative action, welfare, Obama phones, etc.), because it makes blacks feel powerful when whites act subservient to blacks and Democrat do that much better than Republicans, and for reasons of black solidarity. But solidarity towards one’s group (whether that be one’s race, religion, country, etc) is a conservative feeling and not a liberal feeling.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 20, 2014 at 11:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Newspaper silences reporter?

with 17 comments

The St. Louis reporter who previously tweeted that many witnesses backed the police version of the story, tweets: “On FMLA from paper. Earlier tweets did not meet standards for publication.”

UPDATE: NOT SILENCED

Christine Byers is a police reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who has been on FMLA leave since March. She is not involved in the Ferguson coverage while she is on leave. Her tweets are personal.

She has tweeted today in regards to her tweet Monday: “On FMLA from paper. Earlier tweets did not meet standards for publication.”

Apparently she meant that as a private citizen instead of a journalist, she can report the truth that the newspaper doesn’t believe can be published.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 20, 2014 at 12:01 am

Posted in Crime, News

Darren Wilson suffered fractured eye socket

with 46 comments

It is reported on the web that Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Michael Brown, suffered an “orbital blowout fracture to the eye socket” when he was attacked in his police car by 6’4” 292 pound Michael Brown. That must have hurt, and could explain why his aim was so bad.

In other news from St Louis, another young black man was shot and killed by the police. But this guy was armed with a knife, unlike Michael Brown who was only armed with his 6’4” 292 pound body.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 19, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Posted in Crime, News

Read Dale Carson’s book

with 48 comments

There’s an article in today’s Wall Street Journal about the continuing collateral consequences of being arrested, even if you are arrested for something minor (such as at a protest where the crowd gets unruly and the police arrest people), or because the police arrested the wrong person by accident. These arrests show up on criminal background checks routinely conducted by employers and providers of credit.

That’s why I again recommend reading Dale Carson’s book Arrest-Proof Yourself. Even though most college-educated white-collar adults and readers of my blog are unlikely to get arrested, the book still contains very useful reminders about never antagonizing or arguing with cops. You must let them be the alpha-male in order to protect your future.

If Michael Brown had followed this advice, he’d still be alive. If the guy in Staten Island who was killed by an alleged “chokehold” had followed this advice, he’d still be alive.

Of course one of the key ways to avoid getting arrested is not to do anything illegal in the first place, so Brown shouldn’t have stolen from the convenience store and assaulted the clerk.

* * *

What do you do if you get into a loud argument with your wife or significant other, and a bad Samaritan calls the police? The answer is that you should leave the area before the police arrive, because the police will often arrest someone in a domestic violence call just to demonstrate that they are doing something. But they probably won’t go to a judge to seek an arrest warrant without evidence that anyone was injured. So get out of there!

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 19, 2014 at 7:53 am

Posted in Books, Crime

More than 12 witnesses confirm police version of story

with 17 comments

Christine Byers, Crime reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, tweets: “Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop’s version of events in shooting.”

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 19, 2014 at 6:45 am

Posted in Crime, News

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