Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Nerdy stuff’ Category

Kid drops out of school to play videogames

Swedish kid, now 19 years old and a “pro” Overwatch player living with his team in Los Angeles.

His unusually supportive father allowed him to drop out of school so he could practice videogames full-time. Thanks to his father, he’s now a “pro.” Great for him?

In the long run, I’m not so sure. I don’t think that professional Overwatch players make that much money, so even if he’s making a middle-class salary for now, his career is only 5 to 6 years before he’s too old and his reflexes are shot, and then he’s just a loser high school drop-out with no career, and it’s doubtful that he’s going to save enough money from playing Overwatch to last him for the rest of his life, if he’s saving anything at all after living expenses.

I guess the good thing is that Sweden has a great welfare system, so he can move back to Sweden and live off welfare.

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An important question is whether a few years of self-actualization playing professional Overwatch makes up for a future without a career.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 17, 2018 at EDT am

Are UFOs from Atlantis?

No, I don’t mean that the UFOs are from the prole resort hotel complex in the Bahamas.

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If (and please note the word “if” here) the unidentified flying objects are advanced technological aircraft beyond the capabilities of known human technology, everyone then assumes they must be extraterrestrial in origin.

But I don’t think that’s the most likely explanation. We only know for sure of one planet in the galaxy that has given rise to intelligent life, and that’s our own planet. Furthermore, if the UFOs were built by a terrestrial civilization, it solves the problem of how they traveled here from a distant star system; they didn’t have to do that.

There have long been myths of a lost or hidden advanced civilization, maybe those myths are actually based on fact?

How could this hidden civilization have become so much more advanced than the rest of mankind? The answer here is very simple: eugenics! Let’s suppose the Atlanteans castrated all males in their society except for the top 5% in IQ, and then those 5% got to have sex with all of the available women. Over the course of merely a few centuries, the Atlanteans would achieve an average IQ way beyond the rest of mankind. With every Atlantean an Einstein, they would be able to achieve scientific and technological progress beyond our own with a much smaller population and without having to exploit the entire planet.

The other mysteries of why and how they remain hidden aren’t explained any better by the more common extraterrestrial assumption. Why are the UFOs only rarely seen and for very brief periods of time? Where and how are the UFOs hiding and why are the hiding from us? Whether they are extraterrestrial, or terrestrial Atlanteans, why not reveal themselves?

We can only assume that the Atlanteans have the technology to hide themselves and a philosophical reason for doing so. Perhaps something like the “Prime Directive”? Perhaps their eugenics program made them so much more advanced and different from the rest of humanity, they believed that there should be no contact or fraternizing with them. But because they had higher ethics than non-Atlantean humans, they didn’t take advantage of their intellectual and technological superiority to enslave the lesser humans (as whites did to black Africans). Instead they adopted a strict policy of non-contact.

Also remember that any civilization more advanced than ours would have reached the singularity, and the UFOs probably have no biological lifeforms aboard, which would explain why they are said to accelerate with g-forces beyond what any human could handle. It’s possible that the Atlanteans are all dead and only their intelligent machines live on.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 25, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Nerdy stuff, Robots

UFOs and extraterrestrial aliens

I’ve been asked about this in the comments.

Does anyone have an explanation for why aliens would fly around in ships that are occasionally spotted but hide themselves so well we never otherwise see them?

Star Trek has lots of these answers (like cloaking technology for why we don’t see the alien mothership in orbit, and the Prime Directive for why they just don’t reveal themselves, and warp drive to explain how the aliens got here in the first place), but Star Trek is just dumb fiction and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

The most likely answer is that UFOs are natural phenomena or human-built aircraft.

* * *

Why is Star Trek fiction?

Let’s break down the three Star Trek explanations for UFOs.

1. “Cloaking technology” that allows them the hide their spaceships almost all of the time, except for occasional brief lapses when for some reason the cloaking technology doesn’t work.

Cloaking technology was a great plot device for making the Romulans a scary enemy in the original series, but it’s not based on known physics.

2. “Warp drive” that allows faster-than-light travel. Warp drive, or something like it, is necessary in order to have a TV series about people traveling to other star systems, but once again it’s not based on known physics. Without warp drive, it’s unlikely that anyone is going to visit us.

3. The “Prime directive” to explain why the extraterrestrial aliens just don’t reveal themselves to us. The “prime directive” is something that makes sense to liberal humans in the United States in the post WWII era who feel guilty about how colonization of Africa and the Americas harmed the natives.

It’s hard to predict how aliens would feel about that. The aliens might be hostile and not give a **** if they harm our planet. Or they might have the very opposite viewpoint that in order to help primitive exospecies, they should share technology with them. Or in between those two extremes, they may not see the harm of dropping in and saying hello to us. I think it’s least likely that the aliens would think just like the United Federation of Planets.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 18, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Nerdy stuff

Video games, IQ, and old-age decline

Interesting new research article, which shows that MOBA games are correlated with fluid intelligence, and show the same age-related patter as fluid intelligence, with peak performance in the early 20s and declining thereafter.

However, FPS games have less correlation with fluid intelligence and higher correlation with reaction time and mouse-aiming abilities which peak at a younger age and decline more precipitously with older age.

The lesson here is that I just need to give up playing Overwatch which is an FPS game. When I switched to playing Overwatch last winter, I got stuck in what I believe is the bottom 10% and never got out. I’m just too old to ever “git gud” at it, or even get average at it.

I should go back to playing Vainglory, which is a MOBA game for the iPad. I had a decently high ranking at Vainglory (I would guess at least top 20%). Even though I have had decline in fluid intelligence since my 20s, it started out really high (top 1%, maybe even top 0.1%), so it’s still quite a bit higher than the average 21-year-old. Furthermore, I think that using a stylus and a tablet is less stressing on old people’s slower reflexes than mousing skills which are still required for PC-based MOBAs like League of Legends, so Vainglory is an especially good game for older people to play.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 17, 2017 at EDT pm

Posted in Biology, Nerdy stuff

World of Warcraft classic!

If you never played World of Warcraft at the beginning (which I never did), you can rejoice! Blizzard has announced they intend to bring back the original classic World of Warcraft, so you can play the game as it was when it came out in 2004.

I played the game for a month or two in 2009, which was after two expansions (three more have since been released), and found the game a boring solo grind, of endless quests, and never made it to max level (which was 80 at the time) and thus never got to experience the end-game. I never talked to anyone in the game or did any group activities. I would hope that the original WoW is more group oriented and social than that.

This announcement also demonstrates the whole genre of “MMORPGs” is sort of dead. The new is not to develop a new game, but to re-develop an old game.

The upside of WoW over a competitive game like Overwatch is that WoW gives you the illusion that you are good at the game. The more you play, the more powerful you become. But in Overwatch, I am sadly aware that I suck at it. No matter how much I play, my “skill rank” stagnates in Bronze level.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 8, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Nerdy stuff

Overwatch update

I got my skill rank up into the 900s after I became a Mercy main. Mercy was, recently, significantly buffed, and she’s also an easier hero to play because she has a healing beam that has a very forgiving aiming window and once it’s turned on it stays turns on no matter what you do, unless you move too far away from the hero whom you are healing or you leave line-of-site.

So if you wish to start playing this game, I recommend Mercy. Mercy is also a good hero for middle-aged men, because I was told that middle-age men are good at helping younger people. So as a middle-aged Mercy, you can help the younger players on your team who have better aim and faster reflexes.

There are three other healers:

Lucio: he has been nerfed and is not as easy or as useful as when I first started playing. He has an AOE heal which works automatically, but he needs to have good aim now to be the best Lucio. I would learn him as a second healer in case someone else on your team has insta-locked Mercy. It’s beneficial to have two healers on your team.
Zenyatta: In order to be good with him, you need good aim and reflexes. He’s a more of a hybrid DPS/healer than a pure healer.
Ana: She’s the hardest healer to play. Avoid her. You’re not good enough to play her.

The other best hero for a middle-aged man to play is Winston. Winston is a high hitpoint tank hero with high mobility and an attack which doesn’t have to be aimed. As long as you are close enough and people are generally in front of you, they will take damage from your attack. Winston’s role is either to distract the enemy from firing at the squishier higher-DPS players on your team, or to jump in, kill a weak hero, and then jump out before you die. Winston also has a shield-bubble, but it’s not as powerful of a shield as Orisa and Reinhardt have.

Additionally, the following heroes are easier for new players with bad reflexes to pick up:


The latter three heroes are considered to be only good on defense. Don’t pick them on offense or your teammates will be mad at you. Actually, Bastion can be powerful on offense, but requires more skill to be used in that manner, so I recommend not doing that in competitive play unless you are really sure you can play him well on offense.

And then there is Reinhardt. Reinhardt doesn’t require aiming (he swings a massive hammer that hits hard anyone in front of him), but I found him very difficult to pick up anyway. However, he is a well-liked tank hero in lower ranked play, so give him a try too.

Honorable mention hereos. These two DPS heroes listed below are harder to play than any of the heroes mentioned above as easy heroes, but they are generally considered to be powerful heroes in lower-ranked play and easier than most other DPS heroes.

Soldier 76: Best hero against flying heroes on the other team, which are Pharah and Mercy. But still good on any map and against any enemy team composition. You can’t go wrong learning Soldier if you want to do DPS.

Pharah: Can really dominate if the other team doesn’t have a hero who is good at picking off flying heroes. Requires very good map knowledge to play well. Strong against tanks, Junkrat, Symmetra, and any other hero who only has short-range attacks. Weak against Soldier 76, McCree, other long-range heroes.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 23, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Nerdy stuff

The mathematics of casino comps

Suppose the average video-poker player has a 3% loss rate. So someone who pushes $100,000 through the machine on a typical visit is expected to lose $3,000. It makes sense for the hotel to give away $1,000 in comps in order to keep the guy at their casino and still make a $2,000 profit.

But that means an expert video-poker player who plays only at a 1% loss rate has an expected loss of only $1,000, and if he gets the same comps then he breaks even, assuming he values the comps as much as he values the lost money.

But still, why not play blackjack instead of video-poker? Blackjack has a very easy basic strategy to follow which only gives the house a 0.5% advantage, while the typical bad player gives the house a 2% advantage. Furthermore, with blackjack, you get the social aspect of being able to talk to the other players or the dealer, rather than staring, all alone, at a computer screen.

In order to give the house an expected win of $3000 at blackjack, you must bet a total of $150,000. (But because you are playing with a 0.5% house advantage, you would only expect to lose $750.)

If the average table has 70 hands per hour, and you play at a $100 minimum bet table (and always bet the minimum), then you have to play a little more than 21 hours of blackjack on your vacation to demonstrate that you’re worth $1000 in comps (assuming I’m correct in guessing that a $3,000 loser merits $1,000 in comps).

The only problem with this strategy is that you are far more likely to have a winning streak or a losing streak than you are to lose exactly $750, so you need to be able to stomach the possibility that you could have a run of bad luck and lose $10,000 or more over the course of your vacation.

But based on my math, you probably have to play at a $100 table, at least, to get decent comps.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 5, 2017 at EDT pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

New York Comic Con 2017

When a girl who’s a 4 or a 5 dresses up in a cosplay outfit, she suddenly becomes like a 7 or an 8! I wonder if I’m too old to get into this? (Alas, all tickets are sold out.)

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 5, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Nerdy stuff

It pays to play Overwatch

A 17-year-old kid signs a contract for $150,000/year salary, plus bonus-sharing. Not a bad salary for a 17 at all. But what is the kid going to do in a few years when he becomes too old to win at videogames (or when Overwatch is loses popularity and he’s too old to learn a new videogame?

* * *

Meanwhile, I suck so badly at this game. My skill rank stays in the 500 level. I think it recently dipped below 500 again.

Maybe in the next update, when Mercy is going to be improved, she will become so powerful that I can play her and rise in the skill ranks.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 11, 2017 at EDT pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

Jonathan Coulton – Code Monkey

A fan-made video, made by splicing together clips from an existing anime TV show or movie.

I wrote about this video ten years ago after reading the NY Times article about Jonathan Coulton, but it was so long ago that maybe most here no longer remember.

There’s also an even more nerdy video based on World of Warcraft. I think the WoW video does a better job of demonstrating that the code monkey has a “big warm fuzzy secret heart.” But using a giant gorilla as a stand-in for a beta computer programmer just doesn’t work.

I like this song because there are so few songs about incel computer programmers.

What doesn’t make sense: if the computer programmer (aka code monkey) is into both Tab and Mountain Dew, why didn’t he bring the girl (whom he has oneitis for) a Tab, which she wouldn’t have been able to reject for having too many calories?

* * *

Irma is now a category four hurricane, as of 500 PM AST Mon Sep 04 2017. South Florida still looks like a good possibility for landfall.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 4, 2017 at EDT pm

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