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Allen Varney
Works at Freelance
Lives in Ithaca, New York
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Allen Varney

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"The install settings are only a subset of Windows 10’s privacy settings, which occupy more than a dozen different pages and dialogue boxes across the user interface, none of them in plain sight. Moreover, one of them reveals that Microsoft wasn’t being quite honest during setup. When you turned off 'Send error and diagnostic information,' you really only turned it down from 'Full' to 'Enhanced.'" (Slate):

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2015/08/windows_10_privacy_problems_here_s_how_bad_they_are_and_how_to_plug_them.single.html
Windows 10 is the operating system Microsoft needs. In other words, it’s not Windows 8, a Frankenstein’s monster of a tablet-plus-desktop OS that alienated everyone from PC manufacturers to corporate users. Instead, Windows 10 is an incremental improvement on Windows 7, one that is faster, slicker, and has some new...
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Thanks.. Very useful information 
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Allen Varney

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Is it telling that this press release for a new D&D movie quotes Hasbro's legal counsel? Or that the cost to prosecute this case is probably larger than the original D&D film's budget?

"In 1994, Courtney Solomon's Sweetpea optioned D&D from a Hasbro subsidiary for a mere $15,000 and eventually produced a film released in 2000 that was both a commercial and critical flop. The deal between Sweetpea and Hasbro — actually an amendment to the contract to resolve prior litigation — gave Sweetpea sequel rights so long as it produced one in a timely fashion. And so, two more D&D films came out. The first, Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God, premiered on the SyFy Channel in 2005 and the second, Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness, aired on the SyFy Channel in 2012.

"After Universal beat Warner Bros. to a deal with Hasbro for a new film, Warners began investigating the possibility of getting rights through Sweetpea. Hasbro contended that Sweetpea's rights had reverted, and that its films didn't constitute proper sequels. The issue was brought to trial last September in a proxy war of sorts between two big studios. Warners invested $5 million acquiring Sweetpea rights and covering legal costs. In October, the parties delivered post-trial arguments in October. Since then, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee has held back on issuing a ruling. Instead, she has urged the two sides to settle.

"On Monday, after months of negotiation, the parties were finally able to reveal had come to an undisclosed arrangement to end the lawsuit, but one that will give Warner Bros. confidence in moving forward with its film. It's unclear whether Universal has signed off on this deal.

"Maura Wogan and Jeremy Goldman of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz acted as lead counsel for Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast, and issued a statement: "This settlement accomplished our overarching goal of unifying all Dungeons & Dragons rights under Hasbro's control,'" [they said hopefully] "'paving the way to make a blockbuster film. It's a great outcome for those involved — especially Dungeons & Dragons fans who will now get to see D&D on the big screen.

"Patty Glaser and Jill Basinger of Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro acted as lead counsel for Sweetpea. As part of the agreement, Sweetpea's Solomon and Allan Zeman are also attached as producers of the new film." (Hollywood Reporter):

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/dungeons-dragons-legal-settlement-paves-812674
Warner Bros. makes a big gamble, and after a trial held last year, gets a deal for a new project to be produced by Roy Lee ('The Lego Movie').
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I will not be attending any screenings of this film, just as I have not attended any screenings of any previous D&D films.

I shall continue to support fan-supported works like JourneyQuest and Standard Action as before. 
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Allen Varney

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Seven eras of Japanese history, AD 794 to the present, as represented in Japanese anime shows that make gestures (at least) toward historical accuracy. (Anime News):

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/the-list/2015-08-01/.91067
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Allen Varney

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A "faith-based" Christian organization had an unmarried employee who became pregnant. They waited nine months, until the day before the employee's baby was due -- in other words, the day they'd start paying maternity leave -- and then summarily fired her for being pregnant, calling her an "embarrassment" to the agency. (Reddit):

https://www.reddit.com/r/TwoXChromosomes/comments/3f9x4r/her_baby_is_due_tomorrow_and_she_was_fired_for/
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Note that this may be illegal in some states.
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Allen Varney

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In the fractious ranks of university economists -- the court astrologers of our time -- the one point that unites them all, as surely and unquestioningly as the medieval belief in Ptolemaic epicycles, is "an increase in the minimum wage reduces employment." Every reputable economist still righteously asserts this canard with bland certainty against all real-world evidence. Now, inasmuch as recent minimum-wage increases in various US cities aren't following the script, these economists are taking a new tack: Okay, the increases aren't reducing employment in the short term, but hey, just wait 25 years and we'll be in big trouble. Just wait! "Although the short-run effects seem mild," The Economist primly cautions, "large increases could be storing up big problems for the future." Yeah, I'll put that on my calendar. (Economist):

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21659714-large-increases-minimum-wage-could-have-severe-long-term-effects-destination
FED up with pay increasing only at a snail’s pace, politicians are resorting to the law instead, by increasing the minimum wages that businesses must pay. But this...
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+Edward Morbius Amen. I do believe that some enlightened future society will look back and find us unthinkably barbaric for not treating pedantry as a serious emotional disease =)
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Allen Varney

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Oh please. "If [Edward Snowden] felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and -- importantly -- accept the consequences of his actions. He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers -- not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions." Yeah right. If Snowden ever returns to the US, the instant he touches American soil, law enforcement will whisk him off to Gitmo where he'll be disappeared.

"The civil liberties that our ideals and our Constitution require deserve robust debate and those who are willing to engage in it here at home." Yeah, that would be nice. (Whitehouse.gov):

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/pardon-edward-snowden
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"[ACLU attorney Ben] Wizner has previously argued that returning to the United States is all but impossible because the Espionage Act of 1917, under which Snowden was prosecuted, won’t allow him to make a normal legal defense. [...]

"Another one of Snowden’s US-based lawyers, Jesselyn Radack, reiterated to Ars that her client is not "running away.' 'Snowden is in Russia because of the United States, which revoked his passport while he was transiting through there to Latin America,' she said. 'How does President Obama think Snowden should have "constructively addressed these issues" when his administration has led the worst crackdown on national security and intelligence whistleblowers in US history?'" (Ars Technica):

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/07/nope-white-house-wont-pardon-snowden/
Have him in circles
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Allen Varney

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"From the bars of Brooklyn to the remotest corners of the internet, this short-brimmed headgear has become such a widely recognized symbol of douchebaggery, it's a wonder anyone is still selling them at all. In the minds of many, this simple accessory has come to stand for a certain type of mouth-breathing neck beard, the kind with a penchant for militant atheism, libertarian politics, and the men's rights movement. [...] Since medieval times, shaming has served to reintegrate the shamed party into society after a period of penance, and the Great Shaming through which we are still living is no exception." (Broadly):

https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/the-history-of-the-fedora
Has any single article of clothing been more reviled in modern times than the fedora? How the humble hat went from being a symbol of first-wave feminism to one of the douchiest things you can put on your body.
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Allen Varney

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Science fiction superfan Dave Langford's long-running monthly newsletter Ansible has a regular feature, "Thog's Masterclass," where Langford quotes badly written or silly passages from sf stories. They're almost always funny in a groan-worthy way. But the latest issue (#337, Aug 2015) presents this entry:

Neat Tricks: "Why, yes, Simon," she said, looking up at him through her eyelashes. (Susan Elia MacNeal, Mr. Churchill's Secretary, 2012)

Why is this line silly? Is it supposed to be hard to look up at someone through your eyelashes?

http://news.ansible.uk/a337.html
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Sometimes Thog misses.  That's the fun of it too.

[The thing I hate about Ansible is hearing about the death of friends in their obituary column.  Rather annoying.]
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Allen Varney

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In The American Conservative, yes that's right The American Conservative, Daniel Larison casually refutes George Will's dumb arguments against the Iran disarmament deal. "If one wants to rebuke Obama for ignoring and going around Congress in other situations, it would make sense to rebuke him directly on those. Obama has been waging an illegal war against ISIS for almost a year now, but Congress seems quite content to allow Obama’s disdain for their role to continue indefinitely. It is only when he is proposing to strike a nonproliferation deal that they are suddenly concerned to take an interest. [...] It is somewhat encouraging that the arguments against the deal are consistently so weak and unpersuasive. That reflects the bankruptcy of the opponents’ position. But it is also dismaying so many people on the right are only too willing to repeat and endorse such incredibly weak arguments." (The American Conservative, yes that's right):

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/wills-unpersuasive-case-against-the-nuclear-deal/
The "best reason" to reject the deal isn't even a good reason.
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Daniel is good people. You'd be surprised how often he's the voice of reason. 
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Allen Varney

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Language police at the University of New Hampshire inform us the term "American" is problematic. (New York Magazine):

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/07/everything-is-problematic-university-explains.html
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I don't know about "problematic" per se, but people here in Ecuador correct me when I use the word American to refer exclusively to folks from the U.S. -- "You're in South America," they'll tell me. "We're Americans here, too."
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"My husband and I were so accustomed to American Reality that when he was offered an opportunity to work in Switzerland, we both thought about travel and adventure — not about improving our quality of life. It hadn’t occurred to us that we could improve our quality of life simply by moving. But without realizing it, or even asking for it, a better life quality came to us. And this is why, now that I’m back, I’m angry my own country isn’t providing more for its people." (Vox):

http://www.vox.com/2015/7/21/8974435/switzerland-work-life-balance
The Swiss understand work-life balance in a way Americans completely miss.
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ahhhh, if only I could jump back a couple of decades
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Allen Varney

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"I shouldn't have fed that one duck yesterday." Imgur photo by Reddit user BrightenthatIdea:

http://imgur.com/BxwTTyZ
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ducks, turkeys some chickens just like hanging out with ppl and would live on your doorstep if u let them -they would set on the sofa and under tv and near your heating  but i prefer 30 ft away minimum - if u fave farmed you end up with sick and young animals in the house
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Writer and game designer based for many years in Austin, Texas; currently in Ithaca, New York.
Introduction
I've designed three published board games, the PARANOIA roleplaying game (2004 edition), and two dozen tabletop RPG supplements, and have written eight books. I co-wrote (with Warren Spector and Alex Duran) the original 300-page design document for the Nintendo Wii videogame Epic Mickey. Many major companies have commissioned Enspire Learning to run my business leadership simulation Executive Challenge. I wrote and packaged official PARANOIA novels under my own imprint, Ultraviolet Books. Currently I run a small bundle site, the Bundle of Holding.
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Survived as a freelance writer for over 20 years, a nontrivial challenge.
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Currently
Ithaca, New York
Previously
Austin, Texas - Topeka, Kansas - Cupertino, California - Reno, Nevada - Renton, Washington - Stone Town, Zanzibar - Cape Town, South Africa - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
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