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Jesse Alford
Working Philosopher, Hobbyist Ghoul-Slayer
Working Philosopher, Hobbyist Ghoul-Slayer

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> I’ve seen a lot of videos going around of urban-dwelling critters coming to humans for help with various problems, ranging from boxes stuck on their heads to young trapped down a storm drain, and it’s gotten me to thinking:

> On the one hand, it’s kind of fascinating that they know to do that.

> On the other hand, setting any questions of how this sort of behaviour must have arisen aside for the nonce, does it ever strike you how weird it is that we’ve got a whole collection of prey species whose basic problem-solving script ends with the step “if all else fails, go bother one of the local apex predators and maybe they’ll fix the problem for no reason”?

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Speaking of subjecting many thousands of American children annually to useless human experimentation and unproven treatments of dubious efficacy...

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Anyone who played in the zork-type games +Andreas Schou​ used to occasionally start might appreciate this human-pretending-to-be-a-parser-based collection of party adventure games.
Under 50 hours to go!

Bonus items now available to all hardcover backers!

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I may have shared this when it was first posted, but just ran across it again, and thought it was good enough for a reshare; relevant to some things I've been thinking about recently.

> Different people have different levels of social skills. In particular, different levels of fluency or dexterity at getting people to satisfy their wants. (And of course, your dexterity varies based on context.) I think of these in four stages.

> Stage 1: Paralysis. [...] Stage 2: Rude request. [...] Stage 3: Polite request. [...] Stage 4: Automatic abundance. [...]

> For example, let's say you're exhausted; you want to excuse yourself from the group and take a nap [...] In stage 1, you don't dare ask. Or you don't understand why you feel shitty, you don't recognize it as fatigue. You just get more and more upset until you collapse in a heap. In stage 2, you rudely interrupt people in the middle of something important and announce that you're tired and you're leaving. In stage 3, you find a convenient moment, apologize for cutting things short, but explain that you've got to get some rest. In stage 4, you manage to subtly wrap things up so you can get some rest, without making anyone feel rushed. [...]

> When people talk about communication and needs, we contrast communicating inappropriately (Stage 2) with communicating appropriately (Stage 3). Advice about social skills is always "Be Stage 3, not Stage 2." [...] But sometimes Stage 2 is better than Stage 1. The person who can only ask rudely is often perceived as having worse social skills, worse manners, than the person who can't ask at all. But the stage 1 person is paralyzed, not polite. Her 'social skills' only go as far as acquiescence. [...] The mild-mannered people-pleaser may only be "likable" as long as she isn't challenging anybody; the blunt jerk may actually be more persuasive in a tough negotiation. [...]

> The second thing is that the stages relate quite directly to urgency of need. If you aren't hungry, or you know you can get food any time, you're in Stage 4. If you're getting hungry, you may interrupt your friends to ask if you can stop for lunch, putting you in Stage 3. If you're famished, you begin losing self-control and becoming pushy and demanding about food, which puts you in Stage 2. And if you're literally ill with hunger, you may lose the ability to be coherent, which puts you in Stage 1. So people who are more prone to sudden urgent needs are more likely to drop into earlier stages. (Disability blogs talk a lot about the danger of falling into Stage 1, and how rudeness is better than paralysis if those are the only choices.)

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What are 3-6 books that have had the biggest impact on your life or thinking?

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More perfect historical material for gaming purposes is kind of hard to imagine.
"Medieval and Early Modern Coinage and its Problems", Kohn 1999:

"This paper describes the chaotic monetary environment of medieval
and early modern Europe. The poor quality of the coinage was a result both of problems with the supply of bullion and with deficiencies of monetary policy. The paper examines the supply and demand of bullion and the determinants of bullion flows. It then discusses the economics and politics of debasement. It concludes with a description of how commerce adapted to this inhospitable monetary environment"

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“The javanisse. Surely you have heard of him! He is a small, magical man–something like a gnome–who inhabits every JVM. If you do not set out an extra constant for him, he can cause segfaults. But keep the javanisse happy, and your mutices will be fair.” It is a story from your childhood. You remember your mother, chanting offsets as she stirred the stew. “To byter for bufferen anvise / og ekstra én til javanisse.” It is a happy memory, and you lose yourself in it until Tim clears his throat.

Oh my god, when you say `010` in Golang, it decides that what you mean is `8`. The reason it does this is because the `0` prefix means a constant is meant to be in octal. Really? Who the fuck wants that? Why?

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Holy. Shit.

I really appreciate what ride hailing apps have done for me. I'm so, so glad I have Lyft as an alternative; ride apps would be super painful to go back on.

But I can't consider Uber a reasonable option anymore. The described behavior is completely unacceptable.
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