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Teodor Spiridon
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Interesting change to NFL rules this year:

For once, I don't actually have a problem with any of these changes. I especially like the change that now bans O-linemen from facemasking defenders.  That always struck me as an odd thing to allow.

Open question to the community:

What do you consider to be a well designed game?  To clarify, I am not talking about quality of production, but good design overall.  I would like to know what other people think makes for good design.

I just observed a fun little flame war regarding the age old question of XBox vs PS3 and I had some thoughts regarding it.

Most humans are stuck with the old pack mentally of us and them.  It helps us make sense of the world whose scale is just so large that it would destroy our tiny little minds if we were to have to work through the data in the raw format.

So by making it a proposition of us and them, it helps simplify things to a comprehensible level.  This is not meant as an insult to anyone, but as objective analysis.  Since we like to think that we don't make poor decisions in life, we engage in these arguments where we expound on the virtues of our own choices over those that others have made.  

XBox is better, no PS3 is better, no Church is better than wasting your time with games, screw you nerds I prefer having sex with my girlfriend.  

That's all the same sort of thing.  We make choices of what to do with our time and justify them as being superior to make ourselves feel good.

The truth is, that all those choices have value and all of them have shortcomings and until we can accept that, all we will have are flamewars.  Can we ever have peace in the Middle of the Internet (the area between XBox Live, PSN and whatever they are calling the Wii U's online component these days?  Maybe not in our lifetimes.

I look forward to the flamewar that will undoubtedly ensue.

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Well, that was a fun ride that stock market had today. Looked like the outline of a rollercoaster at 6 PM when I looked at it.

However, the interesting thing that was yet again made clear today is the distinct difference between perception and reality. We were told that as soon as the credit rating of the US would downgrade, as soon as that would happen, we would see investors run for the hills. Now, I'm not one to use one day of trading as a benchmark, but the interest rate on US bonds did go down while the stock market plummeted.

This, combined with the announcement that Verizon has not been able to arrive at an agreement with the bulk of its union workers made me think of a few things and I thought I would share there (on a side note: Hello union workers, how about you come over to this side of the field where performance and the observance of stated policies relate to pay and benefits, not job title and seniority; I look forward to your letters).

First, I'm not so sure that a temporary plummet in prices of stocks would be all that bad. I know, many of you might say that this would destabilize the world economy and then fire and brimstone will rain out of the sky as we all put our heads in between our knees and kiss our...but I digress.

I am referring to a correction in what we have considered normal. In 2008, we had a crash. Wait, no we didn't. Yes, unemployment went up and a lot of people lost a lot of money, but let's be serious, that was not a crash (look up 1929 if you want to see a crash, 89% of value lost, that's a crash). Unemployment is at roughly 9.0%, call it 15% if we include all the people that have basically given up and the ones whole are no longer counted because they have been out of work so long that they cannot apply for unemployment. This is a bad thing, but that's still just 1 in roughly 9 people (fuzzy math here) that is out of work. By comparison, Spain's unemployment stands at close to 20% with the traditional core of the workforce, young people, being unemployed at something close to 30%.

I would like to make reference to a certain generation that could really tell us some stories of some bad times. I am of course referring to the people who lived through the Great Depression and who really knew what it was like to be in trouble. Now, most of the people that I have met who lived through those times are tough as nails, work twice as hard as I do and generally could probably teach most younger people a thing or two about frugality and what it teaches you.

Hard times make for hard people. While I do not claim that the current generations (sorry baby boomers, but you're starting to retire so you're not in this count) are not as tough as the people who lived through the great depression, I will say that the current generations are a lot less willing to live without comfort. I know people in my social circle (yours truly included) start losing their minds if the electricity or internet goes out (and the internet is really just a luxury when you think about it).

So, where am I going with all of this? I believe that we need to let the market correct itself. Yes, that will take 1, 2, 5 maybe 10 years. And in that time, we basically all have to tough it out. There is some silver lining in the last few years and that is simply that personal debt is dwindling, people are paying off their loans. That to me is a start, but we need to go further, even if it inconveniences or even threatens the livelihoods or even lives of certain groups of our society. We need to cut and cut and cut the budget at the local, state and federal level to a point where paying off all our debts is an achievable goal.

Why pay off the debt? Simply put, when you don't have debt, you have more disposable income, and people with disposable income tend to dispose of it, especially in our society. So, if we as a people, as a town, as a state or as a nation had more disposable income, we could use said income (aka real money as opposed to credit cards, bonds, IOU's and so on) to buy things, which are produced by other people, thus creating an economy. And that economy, the one based on real money, has some legs in it, while the thing that we call an economy has this bad tendency to overeat and then vomit toxic assets all over its participants periodically.

As a side note, I refer to an achievable goal as opposed the pile of garbage that I've heard spewed from our politicians over the last few months. Cutting 1, 2 or even 4 trillion out of the budget over the next 10 years is basically like a shopaholic only running up 2 credit cards to the limit per week as opposed to 3. Yeah, it's a start, but it doesn't really cut to the heart of the problem.

I look forward to your letters.

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Why do airlines lie? If boarding time was ten minutes ago and the passengers are staring at a closed door, then we're not really on time anymore are we?

Are we seriously going to play chicken with debt ceiling? I might be a strange duck, but I think the President's plan doesn't go far enough. I would be OK with a 2-3% more taxes and even deeper cuts in "entitlements". I am of the opinion that we should figure out how to reduce debt by $10 trillion, not just $4 trillion.
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