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Friday links

  • Talk about swords into plowshares! California city government v*tes to turn a former prison into a cannabis oil factory.
  • Super high-tech tiny house. Pretty cool. (Helps to be a boatbuilder and cabinetmaker.) But c’mon. How much did it cost? (H/T MJR)
  • 🙂 How not to take a gun selfie.
  • And speaking of selfies, I assume this study (which concludes — wow, whodathunkit? — that narcissists are more likely to post and crave feedback on selfies) must have been funded by government. Not ours, fortunately.
  • And speaking of governments: who’s named in the Panama Papers? Named so far, we should add. The silence on U.S.-based clients of Mossack Fonseca is like waiting for that second shoe to drop.
  • OTOH, the astute Megan McArdle says that what the papers reveal so far is a positive reflection on capitalism.
  • Ronald T. Richie. He was the 911 caller who got the perfectly innocent John Crawford SWATted and killed. Maybe he’ll finally pay a price. Maybe.
  • Sheesh. This article on why women should v*te for women makes me not ever want to v*te for a woman again. Well, not that I ever gave a crap about the sex of a candidate. And not that I’d ever v*te for a woman if the woman were Hillary. Or Dianne. Or … well, most of them.
  • But the good news is that even Salon says Hillary’s world is collapsing around her.
  • I really hate questions like this. But with the weekend coming up, here’s some food for thought during your leisure hours: Are we living in a computer simulation?
  • Just because we were talking about flame-throwers the other day …


  1. Bear
    Bear April 8, 2016 1:16 pm

    A sim running under Windows Vista would far towards explaining my life.

  2. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal April 8, 2016 1:23 pm

    If this is a simulation, I’d like to knock the programmer upside the head.

  3. Pat
    Pat April 8, 2016 2:15 pm

    From God to computers! In the 70s a friend of mine – an atheist then, and since – wrote an essay in college English class imagining that we, as members of this solar system, were part of God’s cell structure, that we’d never know if we were part of his heart, or eye, or brain, or the skin on his arm. But we were miniscule in the universe, no matter what we were, and let’s do the best we can while here on earth. (She was not making fun of either God or science at the time; she just had an active, healthy imagination for writing fiction.)

    Now we are part of a computer game. And I think the reasonable response might be as she thought then: we are still miniscule in the universe, no matter what we are, and let’s do the best we can while here on earth.

    That tiny house is one of the few I truly like. It’s been well thought out. I’m sure the $77,000 price tag is due to the quality of materials and the solar/water systems; even a somewhat lesser quality could ensure a decent liveable space, especially in a temproary or second home.

  4. Bear
    Bear April 8, 2016 2:34 pm

    Sims: Saw this the other day.

  5. jed
    jed April 8, 2016 5:12 pm

    If we are living in a simulation, then the lead architect, and his minions, are evil, depraved, sons’a’bitches.

    Schneier linked to this description of the Werewolf game. I had not heard of that, and it sounds fun and engaging.

    I hadn’t heard of this before either, but appaerntly, one can make a flame thrower using a Supersoaker water gun.

  6. LarryA
    LarryA April 9, 2016 12:18 am

    Maybe he’ll finally pay a price.

    Pennies on the dollar.

    No flamethrower, but that reminds me of the time in my RVN tour when I took over a mountain-top radio relay base. (On a mountain that was too steep to climb up, helicopter access only. One end of the top was off-limits due to an abandoned French minefield.)

    I got a you-don’t-want-to-know answer when I asked the senior NCO how much ammo we had on hand, so I went looking. Then I had everything pulled out of the base magazine and evaluated.

    We had everything from .45ACP tracer to cases of 7.62mm ball left over from pre-M-16 days. Some of it was rusty. Lots of 60mm mortar shells for which we had no mortar. And Bangalore torpedoes.

    Shortly I had colonels dropping by just to look at the latter.

  7. Bill St. Clair
    Bill St. Clair April 9, 2016 6:05 am

    Universe a simulation? Certainly possible, but unlikely to be provable either way.

    “The universe isn’t bad, for a high school science project. When this Yahweh fellow grows up, he shows real promise.” — Bill St. Clair

  8. Jim B.
    Jim B. April 9, 2016 8:45 am

    Computer simulations? The Japanese considered whether or not we were “real” or if our reflections, like in a shiny wooden floor, was the ones that were “real”.

    As for flamethrowers, I’d concede the author’s final point. : D

  9. trying2b-amused
    trying2b-amused April 9, 2016 6:02 pm

    ” . . . I’d like to knock the programmer upside the head.”

    Depends on exactly what you mean by “programmer”. The simulation itself, the VR engine, so to speak, is superb. The story running on it is what sucks a–.

  10. Ellendra
    Ellendra April 9, 2016 9:24 pm

    What’s it say that when reading the article about flamethrowers, the part that stuck out was “bamboo poisoning”?

  11. KenK
    KenK April 10, 2016 8:32 am

    Gun selfies sure bring out the inner knucklehead in a lot of people.

  12. Kristophr
    Kristophr April 10, 2016 10:16 am

    The silence about US depositors in that Panamanian company isn’t surprising.

    FATCA makes it difficult for foriegn institutions to handle large American accounts.

    Any such large accounts are held in foriegn companies, trusts, or foundations that are controlled by Americans, instead.

    So no names here, unlike foriegn depositors, who can hold accounts under their own names without having the IRS punish the bank through the SWIFT system for failing to report large accounts owned by Americans.

  13. david
    david April 11, 2016 12:38 pm

    Ah, selfies! The fastest way known to man to look like a douche when you’re really desperate to be considered cool.

  14. Joel
    Joel April 11, 2016 1:49 pm

    Another super high tech tiny house without a single dresser or closet. Give him credit, though, at least there does appear to be redundant means of heating water.

  15. LarryArnold
    LarryArnold April 11, 2016 11:04 pm

    It doesn’t have a gun room, either. Or a magazine for ammo.

  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 12, 2016 4:20 pm

    Define “computer”. Define “simulation”. Hypothesis one says the universe was created by, and is maintained by, the agency of an extraterrestrial alien named “God”. But then where did God come from? This is ridiculous. Hypothesis two says we avoid answering the above question by using an infinite regress of bigger Gods, like Russian nesting dolls. This is also ridiculous. When all the hypotheses are internally inconsistent, that means we don’t know enough about the subject to justify having an opinion.

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