Category: Tumbles

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[H]ad The National not spent money the way that it did […] Peter Richmond wouldn’t have had the chance to go to a Cubs game with Bill Murray and then hang out with Fleetwood Mac afterward. Which would have meant that we wouldn’t have had the great scene several months later when Murray showed up in the New York offices to see Peter. Not long before that, a guy not many people liked had been fired, and Murray wandered into the daily editorial meeting, propped his flip‐flops up on the table, and asked, “Show of hands. How many people thought [blank] was an asshole?” The world would be a poorer place without that moment.

Charles P. Pierce
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People have no idea about how this affects the government at lower levels. The culture of delay is almost as crippling as the corruption we fight across the world. Our corruption is delay. No one’s willing to make decisions. That hurts us.

Manny Miranda
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Time and time again people would send me perfectly idiotic code, and when I asked why they had done it that way the answer was not that they were idiots, but that there was some issue I had not appreciated, some problem they were trying to solve that was not apparent. Not to say that the solutions were not inept, or badly engineered, or just plain wrong. But there is a difference between a solution that is inept and one that is utterly insane. These appeared at first to be insane, but on investigation turned out to be sane but clumsy.

Mark Dominus
review
L. A. Noire

L. A. Noire

Verdict: 79/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

If you’re wondering how to reconcile the high mark to the left with the paragraphs of red ink below, let me explain. L.A. Noire is a very good game that wears all its faults on the outside.

It boasts several major achievements. The first is MotionScan, the facial animation technology that represents the boldest effort yet to bridge video games’ Uncanny Valley of facial expressions. The game’s interrogations are meant to put the technology front and center, asking the player to read these facial cues to sift truth from lies.

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The best way to think about the old NFL collective bargaining agreement is as a beautiful magic cloak. It allowed the owners a kind of charmed invisibility when it came to collusion, to artificially controlling competition, to inhibiting player movement, to making their costs certain, and generally suppressing every free market principle. The fact that they had the consent of players via collective bargaining created a non‐statutory labor exemption — it gave the owners legal cover for the socialistic anti‐competitive way they operate. […] The owners, almost incomprehensibly, voluntarily stripped off their magic cloak and ripped it to shreds, when they opted out of the CBA and demanded $1 billion in concessions from players. They tore up their cloak because, they said, their share of $9.4 billion in revenue wasn’t enough to support them in the style to which they’ve become accustomed.

Sally Jenkins
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Holy crap. A story about a statistical anomaly is represented accurately by a news outlet: USA Today reports on a highly‐irregular erasure rate on standardized tests in some D.C. public schools. Usually news articles, in the interest of “balance,” try to represent two points of view as equally likely, thus putting the crackpot on par with the scientist. (“Is the world really round? Some critics say no.”) It’s refreshing, then, to see a story that acknowledges the existence of p‐values and uses them to illustrate just how unlikely D.C. Public Schools’ explanation is. Then — as if that weren’t enough — they release a heap of primary sources used to write the story. I’m in heaven. I might have to start treating USA Today as more than just a doormat for hotel lodgers.

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There’s a whole lot of know‐nothing advocacy that’s still happening in the JS/webdev/design world these days, and it annoys me to no end. I’m not sure how our community got so religious and fact‐disoriented, but it has got to stop.

Alex Russell
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I don’t know what I see when I watch football. It must be something insane, because I should not enjoy it as much as I do. I must be seeing something so personal and so universal that understanding this question would tell me everything I need to know about who I am, and maybe I don’t want that to happen. But perhaps it’s simply this: Football allows the intellectual part of my brain to evolve, but it allows the emotional part to remain unchanged. It has a liberal cerebellum and a reactionary heart. And this is all I want from everything, all the time, always.

Chuck Klosterman
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Every day in highly respected newspapers I read well‐crafted stories with information that in years past I would have embraced but now know is nonsense, displaying a lack of understanding of economic theory and the regulation of business. The stories even lack readily available official data on the economy and knowledge of the language and principles in the law, including the Constitution. What these stories have in common is a reliance on what sources say rather than what the official record shows.

David Cay Johnston
review
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

Verdict: 55/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

To express my feelings for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, I had to track down a sentence Roger Ebert wrote: “Learning the difference between good movies and skillful ones is an early step in becoming a moviegoer.” In the last few years, I’ve started to notice the “skillful video game” trend: a game that’s got all the polish in the world but isn’t any fun to play.

In fact, here’s my review of the entire Assassin’s Creed series: each game gets worse even as it gets more skillful. It was plain to see, for instance, that the series of carefully‐planned, oh‐shit‐here’s‐my‐chance assassinations in Assassin’s Creed had been rejiggered for the sequel; it became a series of extemporaneous situations that seemed to reward lack of planning. (“Who is this guy? Why I am I killing him? Screw it; I’ll just run up and fire my pistol.”) But it also fixed so much of what was wrong with that first game and gave me a gorgeous depiction of Renaissance Italy to freerun around. I was satisfied.

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