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Allen Varney
1,832 followers -
Writer and game designer based for many years in Austin, Texas; currently in Ithaca, New York.
Writer and game designer based for many years in Austin, Texas; currently in Ithaca, New York.

1,832 followers
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Dumb mistakes cities keep making:

1. Build a big mall to "revitalize" the city (kills the city center)
2. "Bury" cars to improve the downtown core (increases access and thereby increases traffic)
3. Build a highway on the waterfront (speaks for itself)
(Guardian):

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/jul/12/this-waterfront-needs-a-highway-the-huge-mistakes-cities-keep-making
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Reddit has a /PenmanshipPorn subreddit.
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"The environmental EcoLogic Group placed a tracker on the back of a white stork last year to track the bird's migratory habits. It travelled some 3,700 miles (6,000km), and was traced to the Blue Nile Valley in eastern Sudan before the charity lost contact. EcoLogic told the Super Express newspaper that somebody found the tracker in Sudan, removed the SIM card, and put it in their own phone, where they then racked up 20 hours' worth of phone calls. Radio Poland says the organization has received a phone bill of over 10,000 Polish zloty ($2,700; £2,064), which it will have to pay." (BBC):

https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-44645217
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The beleaguered designer of Tales From the Floating Vagabond, Lee Garvin, has serious medical bills and is sleeping in his car. Fellow designer Greg Porter has launched a Kickstarter for a new card game, Killing Lee Garvin, that goes in part to pay Lee's bills.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/334884471/killing-lee-garvin
Killing Lee Garvin
Killing Lee Garvin
kickstarter.com
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"One of Illinois' most-abused laws continues to be abused. For years, cops used the state's eavesdropping laws to arrest citizens who attempted to record them. This practice finally stopped when three consecutive courts -- including a federal appeals court -- ruled the law was unconstitutional when applied to target citizens recording public servants. This may have led to the end of bullshit arrests from cops who didn't like being observed while they worked, but it's still being used by government officials to punish people they don't like. Illinois Policy reports a 13-year-old student is facing felony charges for recording a meeting between him and two school administrators. [...]

"This places his recording of his conversation with school officials on the same level as aggravated assault and stalking. It comes with a minimum prison sentence of one year. The reaction by school officials is petty and vindictive and only draws more attention to the recording at issue. If these officials are willing to subject a student to a felony prosecution to keep the conversation from being made public, what sort of things were said by the supposed adults in the room?

"Anyone further down the line -- from local law enforcement to the county prosecutor -- could have put a stop to this chain of events but they all chose not to. The cops may feel they had no choice but to follow up, but the 'prosecutorial discretion' lauded most frequently by those who rarely exercise it (prosecutors) is, once again, nowhere to be found." (TechDirt):

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180623/12433740097/illinois-prosecutor-brings-felony-eavesdropping-charges-against-13-year-old-who-recorded-his-conversation-with-school.shtml
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"Taikyoku shōgi ('ultimate chess') is the largest known variant of shogi (Japanese chess). The game was created around the mid-16th Century (presumably by priests) and is based on earlier large board shogi games. [...] One game may be played over several long sessions and require each player to make over a thousand moves. Because the game was found only recently after centuries of obscurity, it is difficult to say exactly what all the rules were. Several documents describing the game have been found; however, there are differences between them. Many of the pieces appear in other shogi variants but their moves may be different. The board, and likewise the pieces, were made much smaller, making archeological finds difficult to decipher. Research into this game continues for historical and cultural reasons, but also to satisfy the curious and those who wish to play what could be the most challenging chess-like game ever made." (Wikipedia, via Futility Closet):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taikyoku_shogi
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"The study showed that people are constantly exploring new places. They move to a new home, find a new favorite restaurant, find a new bar, or start going to another gym, etc. However, the number of regularly visited places is constantly 25 in a given period. If a new place is added to the list, one of the places disappears. The pattern is the same when the researchers divide the locations into categories based on how often and how long time they spend at the location. 'People are constantly balancing their curiosity and laziness.'" (Marginal Revolution):

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2018/06/many-places-visit-anyway.html
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"According to the 2018 World Happiness Report, based on research conducted by Gallup, Finland is the happiest country in the world. The Finns are not so sure about the result, though -- being, as they are, a typically stoic sort of people.[...] [The Happiness Report is] a look at the quality of life around the world, and in those terms, Finland came out the strongest this year.

"'The factors that contribute to quality of life are a healthy life expectancy and a strong GDP per capita,' [Professor Emeritus John Helliwell of the University of British Columbia] said. 'But also things like being capable of looking after one another, having someone to count on in times of trouble, the freedom to make your own life decisions and personal support. It's about trust and generosity, and Finland ranks very high in those. Nordic countries tend to have a flatter structure in their society, less inequality, and a better capacity to help the disadvantaged. All these things would make them score higher on a test which asks them to rank their quality of life.'"

Able to look after others, having someone to count on, free to make life decisions, personal support, helping the disadvantaged -- how well do these describe your life? (BBC):

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20180617-why-the-finns-dont-want-to-be-happy
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