Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander

A new game from Massive Damage:

A rogue-like sci-fi strategy survival game with base building, tactical combat, crew management and emergent storytelling.

90% of the words in that sentence make me so happy. Feels like equal parts X-Com, Civilization, and FTL. It looks great, too. The visual aesthetic is this kind of atemporal “18-bit” style that never really existed. The whole thing is really well done. I can’t wait.

The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’

The Guardian:

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

A whole lot more at the link. Accusations include holding minors (as young as 15 years old) without council for 12 or more hours and beatings that result in head wounds. Disgusting. Sad. If there ever were anything to the American Dream, shit-heel operations like this choked it to death and stuffed it in a sewer outflow pipe.

The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think

From the author of The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs:

The advert explains: “Only one drug is so addictive, nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it. And use it. And use it. Until dead. It’s called cocaine. And it can do the same thing to you.”

But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.

The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.

The war on drugs is based upon our worst tendencies as human beings, and I’m not talking about our tendency for addiction.

The World’s Email Encryption Software Relies on One Guy, Who is Going Broke

Filed under Welcome To 2015:

“I’m too idealistic,” he told me in an interview at a hacker convention in Germany in December. “In early 2013 I was really about to give it all up and take a straight job.” But then the Snowden news broke, and “I realized this was not the time to cancel.”

Like many people who build security software, Koch believes that offering the underlying software code for free is the best way to demonstrate that there are no hidden backdoors in it giving access to spy agencies or others. However, this means that many important computer security tools are built and maintained by volunteers.

The people who make important stuff get jack shit for their effort, but that how new Uber For Fart Sounds app gets millions.

Google strong-arms indie musicians into accepting brutal, crowdfunding-killing deal for streaming service

A strong but honest headline about Googe’s new bullshit:

  • Participation in the new service requires that your entire catalog be available for streaming, at high resolution.

  • Participation requires that you not release your music elsewhere earlier, e.g., no early releases for fans or backers.

  • You no longer get a choice of whether to do nothing, block a video, or run ads. Ads are mandatory.

  • Five year contract.

  • If you don’t participate in the new service, then the option to obtain Content-ID ad revenue from the free version of Youtube no longer exists.

  • If you had previously been getting Content-ID ad revenue and choose not to participate in the new service, your channel will be deleted and all videos using your music will be blocked.

These are all non-negotiable and mandatory, btw.

Twitter Sort

Cheeky as hell:

Twitter Sort is a sorting algorithm that takes advantage of the Twitter API. You pass the script the numbers you would like sorted and it will tweet a request asking for somebody to sort them. When someone replies with a sorted version of the numbers, it will print them to the console and return.

Report: Darren Wilson’s Key Witness Lied About Everything

Gawker:

In a damning new report by the Smoking Gun, a crucial witness in the grand jury deciding whether to indict former Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson is revealed as having fabricated her eyewitness account of the altercation between Wilson and unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9. “Witness 40,” identified as 45-year-old Sandra McElroy, has a documented history of racist remarks, criminal behavior, and mental illness.

I wish this case was some kind of bizarre anomaly in how these things are handled, but it seems to be pretty “normal.”

The Programmer’s Dream (A Ramble)

Nick Bradbury:

Then as I got even older I realized that the people in charge are as clueless as the rest of us. Like our software, our society just kind of happened over the years and it’s always on the verge of coming tumbling down. Nobody really knows what they’re doing or what they’re talking about.

If you can get over the sheer terror of that thought, it’s actually quite liberating.

Amen.

Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program

Full-text searchable version of the CIA torture report. The monsters that put this into place and the monsters that carried it out should not have a place in any society.

The Bush administration put these “techniques” into place, and the Obama administration made the people who did it immune to prosecution. I am disgusted and ashamed to live under a government that does this.

No CSS

I’m turning off my stylesheets for the rest of 2014. And probably some of 2015. It’s an experiment. Plus it will force me to do a full redesign when the time comes.

We used to do this kind of stuff all the time before the internet got all serious and everyone started pretending to know what they were doing.

Back.

I’m back. Expect tumblr-like posts on here for the foreseeable future. I’m tired of not owning my own content.

Has anyone solved the problem of trackbacks being useless shit yet?

Hello There

My name is Phil Nelson and I make beautiful objects for a troubled world in CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. I'm a designer / developer at Occipital.

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Hey. What're you doing all the way down here? You get lost? Just looking around? Cool. I like you.