Linked List: June 2020

Wednesday Noita: Evil Eyes #

From my meandering series of deaths in dynamic dungeon exploration video game Noita. Click image to play GIF.

Green evil eyes attack you on the tree.

Mayors for a Guaranteed Income #

A universal basic income would be even better, but it is good to see the idea get more attention.

I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.

—Martin Luther King

Here is a flyer about basic income to give to your friends, even the ones who, unbelievably, still oppose it.

Teaching #

The greatest profession.

Stop Hate for Profit #

On June 17th, we asked companies to act against hate and disinformation being spread by Facebook in our campaign, Stop Hate for Profit. We asked businesses to temporarily pause advertising on Facebook and Instagram in order to force Mark Zuckerberg to address the effect that Facebook has had on our society.

While addressing all of Facebook’s issues and implementing all of our recommendations will take far longer than one month, we wanted to provide clear steps that Facebook could take immediately that would result in real progress. None of these ideas are new, and we hope that Facebook is able to agree and implement the following over the next month:

Keep reading in the Recommended Next Steps section.

Goodbye, Milton #

Heart flying.

So Did We #

Powerful, delightfully recorded music by the band Isis, from their album Panopticon, is this Friday’s song.

Why Birds Can Fly Over Mount Everest #

Wonderful story by Walter Murch, written for his granddaughter. I am far more concerned about Earth’s climate than COVID-19.

Wednesday Noita: Underwater #

From my irregular series of deaths in excellent action-zen video game Noita. Sorry this one is late (it is called Wednesday Noita, not Friday Noita, but maybe I should just call it Weekly Noita, though I like Wednesday Noita). Click image to play GIF.

Underwater Noita death.

The Last Question #

An edited version of Isaac Asimov’s short story, read by Spock.
Via Open Culture.

Homegrown #

Neil Young’s old new album, recorded after Harvest in the mid-1970’s and only just released.

Deus Ex at 20 #

I enjoyed (and finished) Human Revolution, did not get far in Mankind Divided, but never played the original Deus Ex. Maybe it is time.

Mini-ITX No Compromise PC Build #

With streaming imminent, space and decibel levels to consider, and an inability to afford a new Zotac Mini PC, I have been searching for a small, powerful video game personal computer that I can build myself from which to pipe high-quality, high-frames-per-second video game play over the internet and into your computer screen.

Jay Mattison’s excellent No Compromise i7-8700K Mini-ITX PC Build is two years old and the case is currently not shipping from the UK, but it is still on the top of my wish-list to replace my current computer, an EN-1060 that has brought trouble-free joy for close to four years, and will star as streaming PC for the time being.

At the end of the day I may need to settle for a machine that is larger and noisier to compute quickly enough for butter-and-honey-smooth visuals that go well with a good coffee (thanks, Matt!) — time will tell!

Also, a note, dear reader: The links in the paragraph above, as well as the Zotac Mini PC link in the first paragraph are affiliate links, which means that if you buy the product after clicking on the link I will receive a small commission that helps me continue to write here for you. Affiliate links in no way affect my opinions expressed here at Hypertexthero and products I link to are truly things I feel are worthy of your consideration that I either have or am considering buying myself.

So if you want to help me to continue writing here, please consider shopping through my Amazon affiliate page. I thank you, and wish you a happy Monday!

The Best Destruction Derby Video Game #

While thinking about the value of sports in helping prevent war by providing a less destructive vent for the aggression of human beings I found a thread with a question asking which is the best destruction derby video game.

My answer is Grand Theft Auto 5 with friends in a predetermined location with rules like “only family sedans” and “no shooting, only driving allowed”.

One of the locations I recommend is the Los Santos river.

A White Woman, Racism and a Poodle #

A white woman is pulled over regularly by cops in Michigan while driving and later realizes it was because they mistake her poodle for a black man.

Be sure to read her response to someone in the comments seeking to blame the victims.

Didn’t It Rain? #

Is this Friday’s song, by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, performed in an unused railway station in Manchester, England, in 1964. The next song in the set is called Trouble. Listen at Spotify here, and don’t miss Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen.

Sympathy #

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
    When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
    When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
    Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
    And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
    When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
    But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!

By Paul Laurence Dunbar. Via Maya Angelou’s book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Today is Juneteenth, and I am angry at us human beings.

We are the most dangerous creatures on Earth, and perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if some cataclysm or other from the Cosmos would destroy us all, or at the very least the White House, the Zhongnanhai, the Kremlin and the people currently in them.

Two films to watch at this time: Hidden Figures and Green Book.

I’m now headed to RPS to try and cheer up by reading Caldwell’s words about the 8 bleakest post-apocalypses in PC games.

Wednesday Noita: You Have Angered The Gods #

The first in an irregular series of my latest deaths in all-simulated-pixels physics rogue-like cave side-scroller Noita. Click the image to play the GIF.

You have angered the gods.
You have angered the gods.
Elephant Hunter Hunter #

Hunt elephant hunters.

Night of the Consumers #

Sin Vega on indy video game Night of the Consumers, still available along with over 1000 other games for $5 in itch.io’s Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality:

The only thing it’s really missing is the people who start demanding you help them while you’re very clearly in the middle of helping someone else. The worst of the public do a lot of ridiculous, infuriating things to workers who they think are beneath them (and they do think that, whatever they say), but that one was always one of the most maddening. Admittedly, simulating that would likely make the game as impossible as most real customer service jobs.

Indy Video Game Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality #

1658 (and counting) games that you can buy for a minimum donation of $5 at itch.io in a bundle that has raised over 6 million dollars so far to be donated to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Community Bail Fund, and includes indy classics like Celeste, “fwooshy rogue-lite action flight simulator” Sky Rogue, cat-lovers’ favorite Catlateral Damage, and the recent splasher Tonight We Riot.

Trouble Man #

A song by Marvin Gaye from his 1972 album of the same name is this Friday’s song. Here it is on YouTube, too.

Racial Stereotyping in Programming Terms #

Computer programmers: Please take care in choosing words for your code that don’t exacerbate racial stereotypes. For example:

missionAllowlist[] = {};

…Or:

missionYeslist[] = {};

Instead of:

missionWhitelist[] = {};

And in reply to Colin Wright at HN, here’s one suggestion for replacements for “White Hat Hacker”, “Grey Hat Hacker”, and “Black Hat Hacker”:

Virtuous Hacker
Pragmatic Hacker
Malicious Hacker

I hope one day we don’t have to think about these things any longer but given our history I think it is worth keeping them in mind.

Idea: AI Pocket Trinkets #

An idea for video games with AI entities that have inventories: Random pocket trinkets the AI carries, like notes, photographs, and so on.

Items should have variables to be populated by the entity’s name to make the trinkets more personal to that entity. For example: In Arma 3’s AntiStasi mission enemy soldiers could have notes with GPS positions of interesting locations or letters from people who love them addressed to them in their pockets.

Two examples of the types of trinkets you could find are Red Dead Redemption 2’s maps and hand-written letters and Borderlands 3’s cosmetic weapon keychain things.

How Racist Are You? #

Jane Elliott gives lessons in discrimination.

‘Alright people, I’m Jane Elliott and I’m your resident bitch for the day and make no mistake about that, that is exactly what this is about.’ I do this in a mean, nasty way because racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, ethnocentrism are mean and nasty.

Four Women #

By Nina Simone, from her 1966 album Wild Is the Wind, performed on August 17, 1969 in Harlem, New York City, is this Friday’s song. Stay safe and lets keep working together so everyone in this country is free from fear.

WeChat & Tiananmen #

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian writing about setting a password for her WeChat account that is offensive to the dictators-in-charge in China and getting her account deleted.

This is one example that troubles in places where there is still freedom and not complete control by and worship of authorities is also a good thing.

The troubles mean democracy is healthy, and we can fight to change things for the better instead of having to think about who we will offend and what the consequences will be when setting a password, which should be completely private and not visible to authorities, unsurprisingly not the case with WeChat.

Changes needed right now include removing the Bully Charlatan Dividers from power in China, the U.S.A, Turkey, Brazil, Israel and Iran, to name a few, as well as the cowards doing their dirty work.

Bethany’s story is also an indication of the power and responsibility that people who control large communications networks wield. We need more decentralized, secure systems like Signal for communication, as well as social media platforms that are governed not by a single person or government, but by a broad coalition of elected representatives.

What The Protests Are About #

Nick Drozd, commenting on Scott Aaronson’s blog:

I know that a lot of readers of this blog will see looting on the news and think “I support their right to protest, but this isn’t the right way to do it.” If you think that, I encourage you to watch the whole George Floyd murder video. Derek Chauvin had his knee on the neck of George Floyd for eight minutes. Eight minutes! That is a really long time. And you should watch it. All of it, the whole thing. Watch Floyd say “I can’t breathe. They’re gonna kill me.” Watch the moment when Floyd goes unconscious, then watch as Chauvin keeps choking him for another four minutes. It’s hard to say exactly, but you can probably even watch the instant of Floyd’s death.

Watch the whole thing, then come back and say the protesters need to be better behaved.

If you are a white guy and you think this kind of thing is of no concern to you, watch the Daniel Shaver execution video too. He was just some unarmed white guy, and a cop shot him even when he was no threat to anyone. The cop was acquitted of any wrongdoing.

People like Derek Chauvin and Bob Kroll are psychotic bullies, and they need to be stopped. Probably most readers of this blog are or have been nerds. Remember the kinds of mean bullies who would pick on you for no reason when you were a kid? This is how they turn out. They are violent, and they will kill you if they want to, and they will almost certainly get away with it.

That is what these protests are about.

In the meantime the Charlatan Divider is the bully in charge who wants to use the military to go out and “dominate” protesters.

The U.S. Congress (and Senate) should invoke the 25th amendment and remove him from office as he has clearly demonstrated time and again that he is incompetent and incapable of doing his job while actively attempting to subvert the Constitution of the United States for his own financial gain, and inspiring and encouraging hate and division especially by putting racist supremacists like Stephen Miller on his cabinet.

He should then be arrested and charged with aiding and abetting all the hate and murders he has incited using his Twitter feed and the cowards at the television networks who support him.

More Starlink Satellites in Orbit #

Despite the tragedy of the imbeciles attempting to divide people down here, SpaceX successfully launched more of its Starlink low latency broadband internet satellites up into orbit around Earth just over an hour ago.

This is exciting for fast global internet via satellite and should help bring change to places with heavy government censorship, and, of critical importance, make torrenting movies and playing all-multiple-player online computer and console video games a much faster experience for people in remote areas.

More at Hacker News.

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey #

Space legs it is for the Elite: Dangerous update next year, and two of my favorite games now share the word Odyssey in their name.

Looking forward to leaving the ship and hope to eventually run and jet around planets with atmospheres and green vegetation. Also that Frontier makes the game cross-platform so I can play with more friends.

I only wish I could leave this planet, too, at the moment, but only after frying the evil men on it with a beam laser.

The Guilty One #

Martin Luther King, in his 1967 speech in Washington D.C., quoting Les Misérables:

A profound judgment of today’s riots was expressed by Victor Hugo a century ago. He said, ‘If a soul is left in the darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.’

The policymakers of the white society have caused the darkness; they create discrimination; they structured slums; and they perpetuate unemployment, ignorance and poverty. It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society. When we ask Negroes to abide by the law, let us also demand that the white man abide by law in the ghettos. Day-in and day-out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; and he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions for civic services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Negroes live in them but do not make them any more than a prisoner makes a prison. Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man. These are often difficult things to say but I have come to see more and more that it is necessary to utter the truth in order to deal with the great problems that we face in our society.

Via David Remnick’s latest piece in The New Yorker.