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Showing posts from November, 2022

Stray Thoughts: Ethical Capitalism

👔 I Owe My Soul to the Company Store... There's a phrase that gets bandied about in center-left socioeconomic discourse: "There is no ethical consumption under Capitalism." It's an expression of frustration--and often outright dismissal--at one's inability to make sound ethical consumer decisions due to a lack of choices provided by the market. It's a popular enough sentiment that the better part of the third season of The Good Place  was dedicated to it. And it stems from a real dilemma. Most people are basically good most of the time, but we live in a society that inhibits us from acting on our goodness. Nobody goes to the store thinking "Imma exploit me some Indonesian child labor!" We just want a good deal on tennis shoes. So with this essay I would like to explore some of the mechanisms behind this dilemma and relate it to our current political climate and perhaps point out some very obvious solutions. First a little groundwork. The term "

Memory Leaks: Left 4 Dead 2

🧟 In your head, in your head... Left 4 Dead 2  is a co-op 4-player first-person-shooter released for PC and consoles by Valve in 2009, a sequel to their 2008 game Left 4 Dead , and further proof that Valve can release timely sequels so long as they don't have the number "3" in them. How I Remember It... My friend group played a lot of Left 4 Dead . This was in the halcyon days of the late aughts when grim-and-gritty shooters were king and we as a culture weren't completely burned out on zombies yet. In that game you are one of four survivors of a zombie apocalypse fighting your way through the dynamically-populated city to try to get to safety. The aesthetic is "cheesy horror movie" as evidenced by the movie posters on the load screens and the ending credits after a campaign. There are always four protagonists in play--any not covered by players will be played by bots--and you have to work together to prevent being overrun. Left 4 Dead 2  is, honestly, not

So Long and Thanks for all the Tweets

ðŸĶĪ Take These Broken Wings... I'm writing this post on Thursday, and it's kind of an even bet as to whether or not Twitter will still exist by the time this goes live on Friday. In the two weeks since Elon Musk took it over, the site has become a multi-car train wreck, a flaming shit-show of unimaginable proportions. A lot of doomsayers predicted that this would be the end of the Blue Bird, but I don't think anyone  could have predicted just how fast that end would come. So I thought it would be interesting to talk about how we got here and why. Over the last few years, Twitter has actually gotten pretty good. They've taken a stronger stance on content moderation--not a flawless one by any stretch of the imagination, but incremental improvements. The platform was stable and bringing in new features (such as the long-awaited "edit" button). The timeline algorithm, though people complained, made it possible to stumble upon new weird content. It was my go-to plac

Memory Leaks: Donkey Kong Country

🍌 Take Your Stinking Paws Off Me You Damned Dirty Ape... Donkey Kong Country  was a 2D platformer for the Super Nintendo released in 1994 by Rare. It served as a reboot of the Donkey Kong  franchise that had been languishing for a decade. It featured a new gameplay paradigm, a completely re-designed Kong, and the introduction of new characters like Diddy Kong and Funky Kong. How I Remember It... It's kind of bonkers how out-of-the-blue this game was. Just two years prior Super Mario Kart  had included Donkey Kong Jr as a driver, a character built on the old DK design in a first-party title. And then with DKC  not only is Junior out of the picture entirely, these apes have a brand new look. And not only was it good , it quickly became one of the must-haves for the system. The DNA of this game feels like it owes something to Super Mario Bros. , what with it's two-player semi-coop, it's mix of land and underwater levels, its enemies you defeat by jumping on them, and its many