Neutrality

Yesterday, the UK voted on whether to leave the EU. Most of my reading came from the BBC on this, where the sides were dubbed recently as “Leave” or “Remain”.

I try to be wary of bias from media, even from sources that I like. I’d wager that more BBC writers voted Remain, and maybe this was inadvertently reflected in the coverage.

Interesting quote from Brexit: David Cameron to quit after UK votes to leave EU:

Yesterday seemed to offer a fork in the road: one path (Remain) promised it would lead to a modern world of opportunity based on interdependence; the other (Leave) was advertised as a route to an independent land that would respect tradition and heritage.

Immediately, I was struck by how this sentence seemed to cast the Leave path as backwards-looking and regressive. But I value modernity (progress) more than independence, and have little use for tradition. Could it be that I was reading too much into it?

Well, the very next sentence:

Which path people took depended on the prism through which they saw the world.

Ha! Maybe my prism also distorted how the statement read. Would your average Leaver or Remainer feel the same way I did?

What if they had switched the order, with the Leave clause first? Would it read the same way?

Yesterday seemed to offer a fork in the road: one path (Leave) was advertised as a route to an independent land that would respect tradition and heritage; the other (Remain) promised it would lead to a modern world of opportunity based on interdependence.

Even the imbalanced phrasing could be scrutinized, one side described as an “advertisement” and the other as a “promise”. The words are similar enough, but not exactly right if the clauses were to be truly parallel. I’d expect advertisement to be evaluated as more negative of a word than promise.

Or maybe the average Brit evaluates the words differently than me, an American.

It’s understandable that the writer wouldn’t want to duplicate the word, but there were probably better choices.

Editors can’t have an easy job. If they want to be good editors, that is.

Chess as a bellweather

It’s been 5 years since my last rated game. I only play lightning or blitz occasionally on chess.com and lichess.org nowadays.

(And I STILL cannot consistently spell “occasionally” correctly the first time).

On days that I feel particularly sharp or dull, my chess performance seems to reflect it. So on days when I’m just not sure about how well the brain will function that day, I play a few games to figure it out.

Of course, this method does have some problems:

1. Do I selectively remember those days which support this hypothesis?
2. Did I control for the strength of my opponents?
3. Is my sample size even big enough?
4. [Other stuff I’m not thinking of]

Naturally, the answers for 1-3 are probably “yes”, “no” and “no”, but the hypothesis sounds good enough to me.

The third stage

So for my job, there are three mental stages I go through when new software needs to be demoed:

1. Despair: Impending sense of doom. There is no way we’ll be ready for production. The scope’s too big, we barely have the resources for an alpha build, never mind sufficient time for testing.

2. Resignation: Realization that whatever happens, happens. No one has killed me yet.

3. Unfounded optimism: Some of the most critical tasks/bugs get resolved just before software has to be demoed. It’s an incredible feeling of relief that temporarily overshadows the knowledge that there’s still way too many features with scant review and testing. And that there are some lingering requirements unfulfilled.

4. Tragedy: Product promptly fails in presentation to client.

Rinse and repeat.

Right now, two hours before the meeting, I’m at stage 3.

The desperation is real

So I’m in Miami on business. I get this ad:

A vote for Kasich or Cruz = A vote for Trump (Rubio's in there somewhere, right?)

You get a quick glance at it as you’re browsing the internet. Who does it want you to vote for?

1. Trump is smiling, in full color. His picture gets the most retail space. The others are in grey-scale. Smells like a Trump ad!

2. “Kasich” and “Cruz” are the first names you see. But Trump’s name is the biggest. Surely, it’s a Trump ad.

3. In fact, “A VOTE FOR TRUMP” is the most prominent text. Must be a Trump ad!

4. Your eye is drawn to Trump’s color photo with the bright red “SEE WHY” just below him. They want you to “see why” you should vote for Trump!

This feels like a Trump ad that didn’t even deign to mention the increasingly irrelevant Rubio.

Of course, if you bother to read it, you might figure out it IS a friggin’ Marco Rubio ad. Naturally, Rubio’s face is nowhere to be seen, even though his relative attractiveness would be an advantage. And his name is in a smaller, harder-to-read font. Even the little lens flare interrupts the flow of “Marco Rubio for president”.

I’d bet $20 this ad was the brain-child of a couple middle-aged men, one of whom happened to have a teenage son who can dabble with Photoshop a bit.

Coming soon: an Election 2016 roundtable with the Eggs!

Prismata

Even though I haven’t played in months (and wasn’t very good), going to give a shout out to Prismata.

It takes the form of a card game, but it’s really a turn-based strategy game. As the quote on the website says, it’s sort of a mix of Starcraft and Hearthstone? But that doesn’t quite do it justice…it stands excellently on its own without such a comparison.

Here's me breaching a low-level AI. (I'd be getting curbstomped by a human.)
Here’s me breaching a low-level AI. (I’d be getting curb-stomped by a human.)

Think I have one code to get into the alpha lying around, so if you want to check it out, let me know! First come, first serve!

My store

If I owned a pharmacy or grocery store, I’d sell homeopathic medicines.

They’d be located in the “placebo” aisle.

Monday Fighter!

inidan cuisine

It is no longer possible to get Indian food in Tuscaloosa…we must content ourselves with Inidan food. It’s similar, but just tastes a little off…

“We are comfident you will not be dissapointed.” Considering they put cashews in a dish, specifically asking them to be non-existent due to allergies? My comfidence was misplacced.

(Normally, this place is actually quite good. Hopefully next time, they are back to their normal standards.)

Getting stoned

So the Mascot is back and he’s going to be doing his thing. Whatever. Guess I should attempt to entertain as well. And get the theme fixed so all the sidebar stuff shows up again.

Anyway, here’s a perfectly placed advertisement from 8 years ago.

stoned