The Globe and Mail:

For every $1 spent providing housing and support for a homeless person with severe mental illness, $2.17 in savings are reaped because they spend less time in hospital, in prison and in shelters.

[…]

Usually, homeless people do not get housing and services such as rehab until they meet certain criteria like sobriety or taking medications, and people have little choice on where they can live.

The Housing First philosophy holds that getting a person a place to live is primordial because it creates the stability to tackle issues such as addiction, unemployment and lack of education.

[…]

Providing housing and support is costly too – an average of $19,582 per person. But the avoided costs are much greater, $42,536 on average, because those who are housed are put in hospital less often, make fewer ER visits and do not use shelters as often.

This seems like the exactly the kind of sensible and effective policy that we will never be able to implement in America because conservatives will say, “If you give homeless people homes, they’ll have no incentive to avoid homelessness.”

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anil:

In this, the most incredible industrial manufacturing video ever made, we get a glimpse of 1995 as the employees of Sony’s CD manufacturing plant in Pittman, NJ offer a view into the pressing of the discs for the then-current release of Michael Jackson’s 2-CD HIStory set.

Addressing Michael directly as if he were a North Korean leader holding them hostage, the employees wrap the most banal details of the CD manufacturing process in a series of exhortations about the inevitable success of Dear Leader’s new release. Like HIStory itself, the video is accompanied by all of Michael’s classic hits, as an enticement to endure it.

At 3:43, Dot Short calls him “Mike”, as if she’s never heard of Michael Jackson. In all, it’s a must-watch. Nine minutes of bliss.

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New York Times:

They came in through the Chinese takeout menu.

Unable to breach the computer network at a big oil company, hackers infected with malware the online menu of a Chinese restaurant that was popular with employees. When the workers browsed the menu, they inadvertently downloaded code that gave the attackers a foothold in the business’s vast computer network.

[…]

Last year, security researchers found a way into Google’s headquarters in Sydney, Australia, and Sydney’s North Shore Private hospital — and its ventilation, lighting, elevators and even video cameras — through their building management vendor. More recently, the same researchers found they could breach the circuit breakers of one Sochi Olympic arena through its heating and cooling supplier.

These are the kinds of futuristic hacker battles I was promised.

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Andy Hertzfeld:

Steve Jobs often came by Texaco Towers after dinner, to see what was new, and we’d usually show him whatever recent progress we made. Sometimes he’d be pissed off about something, but other times he’d be really excited about a new idea.

I was the only one in the office one evening when he burst in, exclaiming that he had a flash of inspiration.

"Mr. Macintosh! We’ve got to have Mr. Macintosh!"

"Who is Mr. Macintosh?", I wondered.

"Mr. Macintosh is a mysterious little man who lives inside each Macintosh. He pops up every once in a while, when you least expect it, and then winks at you and disappears again. It will be so quick that you won’t be sure if you saw him or not. We’ll plant references in the manuals to the legend of Mr. Macintosh, and no one will know if he’s real or not."

Engineers like myself always daydream about building surreptitious little hacks into the software, but here was the co-founder and chairman of the company suggesting something really wild. I enthusiastically pressed him for details. Where should Mr. Macintosh appear? How often? What should he do when he shows up?

"One out of every thousand or two times that you pull down a menu, instead of the normal commands, you’ll get Mr. Macintosh, leaning against the wall of the menu. He’ll wave at you, then quickly disappear. You’ll try to get him to come back, but you won’t be able to."

I loved the idea and promised that I would implement Mr. Macintosh, but not right away, since there were still so many more basic things to get done. Steve told the idea to the marketing team, and eventually recruited the French artist Folon to do some renditions of Mr. Macintosh. I also asked my high school friend Susan Kare, who hadn’t started with Apple yet, to try to draw some Mr. Macintosh animations.

Most of the Macintosh system software had to be packed into a 64 KByte ROM, and ROM space got more scarce as development proceeded and the system grew. Eventually, it was clear that we’d never be able to fit bitmaps for Mr. Macintosh into the ROM, but I wasn’t willing to give up on him yet.

I made the software that displayed the menus look at a special low memory location called the “MrMacHook”, for an address of a routine. If the routine is present, it’s called with parameters that let it draw in the menu box, and it returns a result that tells the menu manager if it did anything. Using this, an application or system module could implement Mr. Macintosh (or perhaps his evil twin) if they saw fit.

I’m not sure if anybody ever actually implemented Mr. Macintosh or used the “MrMacHook” for something worthwhile.

This was a Bad Idea.

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cah:

Today, we’re launching the prologue episode of the Tabletop Deathmatch web series.

What is Tabletop Deathmatch?

The Tabletop Deathmatch is an independent game design contest organized by Cards Against Humanity. We’ve assembled a panel of expert judges to pick an unpublished board game. The winning game will receive a first printing by AdMagic (our printer) funded by Cards Against Humanity. The winning game will also have a booth at GenCon 2014.

Last spring, we received 500 submissions for the contest and narrowed them down to 16 finalists. Each episode features one of the finalists showing their game, with our panel of judges critiquing it based on design, mechanics and production.

Who are the judges?

See the introduction video above!

Where can I watch this thing?

TabletopDeathmatch.com. The prologue airs today. New episodes every Tuesday & Thursday.

Here’s the airing schedule with each board game:

  • April 5th - The prologue
  • April 8th - Outer Earth
  • April 15th - Jupiter Deep
  • April 22nd - Grow
  • April 24th - Discount Salmon
  • April 29th - Pack the Pack
  • May 1st - Cool Table
  • May 6th - Rocket Wreckers
  • May 8th - Right of Succession
  • May 13th - Penny Press
  • May 15th - Installation 42
  • May 20th - Fart Party
  • May 22nd - What the Flock?!
  • May 27th - Wizard Dodgeball
  • May 29th - The Shadow Over Westminster
  • June 3rd - The Jane Austen Card Game
  • June 5th - The Amberden Affair
  • June 10th - The Final Episode

Graham Stark of LoadingReadyRun did an amazing job with the series, and we’re so excited for you to see it. Watch the prologue.

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cah:

Prologue

Here’s the prologue episode of Tabletop Deathmatch. We filmed this early last summer, when we had received 500 submissions for the contest. Submissions were made through a form on our website, where we asked for the game’s elevator pitch, description of the mechanics, and if there were any photos or video of the game. We purposely asked submissions from people who had never published a game before.

We thought we would receive 100 submissions at most. The number blew us away.

Whittling down the submissions from 500 was tricky. Five of us at Cards Against Humanity - David, Eli, Max, Jenn & Trin - sorted through the pile to find anything that caught our eye. Originality was key. A paper prototype was essential - if there wasn’t a playable prototype, we nixed it. We also wanted to see games that had been playtested a lot.

We managed to cut the pile to the 50 most promising ideas. Then we went through the pile again, assigned each game a numbered score, averaged the score, and set aside our top picks.

Watch the episode & see how we found our 16 finalists.

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porpentine:

what would a network look like if it was designed for marginalized people. maybe less capitalistic quantification, less obsessive UIs that cultivate status and reinforce competition between marginals. safety and privacy vs. the system that outs trans people, helps stalkers find their victims, and forces people to use dead names.

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Dan Harmon:

I still don’t know what to do with Chang. He’s become just a symbol of mental illness. I mishandled Chang from the beginning. He was funny as the borderline psychotic Spanish teacher. Sony wanted him to stay a borderline psychotic Spanish teacher. Going into season 2, I was possibly unreasonably very passionately phobic of making Spanish class a part of a template for the show. Looking back on it, they probably could have just done another year of Spanish because for some reason they may have all needed another Spanish credit – it was invalidated or something. But that’s after having been through all the insanity that the show’s been through and realizing how much you can truly just correct your course as you go. But back then I thought I was writing a sonnet and it was imperative that the second line not rhyme with the first one because then it wouldn’t be a sonnet and it would be screwed forever. So they told Sony, “We need to find something else to do with Chang, because if they keep taking Spanish class then we have several points of consistency with the show that is eventually going to need to not be reliant on all of these ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’-y gimmicks. So before anyone thinks that it’s part of the show that changing would be a crime, we have to not let them get addicted to Spanish class. I want them to take a different class together every year and I want the teacher to be different and I want time to move forward. And I want the study room to stay the same and I want that to be the bridge of the Enterprise. And I eventually want them to not need to necessarily be in community college anymore because it’s called ‘Community,’ not ‘Community College.’”

And that was the beginning of a relationship with Sony, where they’re clearly in the business of making “Seinfeld”s. It was them going, “We can make billions of dollars if you just accept that the form of this medium is about templating and consistency and timelessness and repetition,” and me going, “I don’t believe that that’s true in this case. I think the show will fail if we do another season of the same show again. I think that it will run for two years and I think that if we continue to let it grow and change I think that it can last for five, six, seven years.” And we will never know who was right and who was wrong but what we do know is that that was at the beginning of season 2, that was a rift between me and the people I worked for that was gonna end up probably getting me axed. I was just a threat to a big pile of money for them. And I agree with that. They called me to their office at the beginning of season 2 and they said, “Congratulations on the pickup. Now if you get cancelled you’ll have wasted twice as much of our money.” And that’s true. Because until you get to syndication numbers the studio doesn’t recoup. So I respected that candor. I respect it when the suits talk about money, when they talk about what they need so that they can get what they want. I don’t believe them when they then tell me this is how you’re gonna accomplish that creatively. I don’t believe they know because they make 20 shows a year and they throw 19 in the garbage. And if you did that at a tuna cannery no one would buy your tuna. So I don’t believe that anyone knows how to bottle television. And since nobody knows, I would like to roll my own dice.

231

The Economist:

Earth is not the only orb with oceans. In 2005 Cassini, an American spacecraft, saw plumes of water shooting into space from cracks in the icy surface of Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons (see picture). These suggest that Enceladus, too, has an ocean—albeit one completely covered by ice. The water in it, theory suggests, would be kept liquid by tides, which create internal friction and therefore heat. On April 3rd a team led by Luciano Iess of the University of Rome confirmed that the ocean exists, and also showed that, like Earth’s, it is not all-embracing. Dr Iess describes, in a paper in Science, how his team mapped Enceladus’s gravity by tracking Cassini’s orbit. The moon’s southern hemisphere is less massive than it would be were there no ocean, but its northern hemisphere is not. So the ocean covers only the southern part of the moon.

94

This is an April Fools joke I can get behind.

18,174

I got an email from Upworthy.

327

This literally never looks good.

5,651

ohdeargodbees:

The format of reality tv shows feels a lot like you’re a fish in the following analogy. Someone goes out to the ocean with the intent of catching a fish they really love and want to observe, and putting them into a fishbowl. This fishbowl not only is incredibly cramped compared to the ocean you’re used to, but it’s got plastic day-glo green seaweed in place of the dark green foliage, neon rainbow sand where you’re used to living coral reefs, and some tiny castle with a weird dude in it that you can’t even really make sense of but the person who caught you thinks it looks really cool and ties the whole thing together because they’re used to seeing tiny castles in fishtanks.

Then, this person who caught you never changes the water and taps on the glass every five minutes.

The fish starts to forget what the ocean was like. It acclimates to it’s new world and changes accordingly. It learns to eat multicolored food flakes regardless of how unnatural it is.

Then, the person observes the aquarium and takes the fish’s reaction to this extreme environment and publishes a paper on their first hand truthful experience with this species of fish and a lot of people probably think that fish is kind of an asshole when really they’re just stressed out from eating weird flakes and not being able to swim or see their friends and having some weirdo stare at them through the glass and demand that they re-do that real moment of emotion because it wasn’t quite believable enough when it was actually happening and-

This metaphor derailed quickly. My apologies.

Anyway, my point is this: the tragedy of it is that in the pursuit of portraying truth, you end up making a caricature that creeps you out and is not only obvious unbelievable, but repulsive. Repulsive in the same ways that the not-quite-right face of a porcelain doll is.

Zoe Quinn on this incredible trainwreck of a reality game jam show.

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Jared Rosen for Indiestatik:

This is the story of the most expensive, most highly produced game jam in the history of the video game industry, and how it was dismantled by a single man.

[…]

Despite some initial weirdness, all early indicators said this was going to go over fine. I checked the schedule and the prizing for any reason it might go otherwise and was greeted with some confusion – the prizes themselves. Every challenge had an item that would go to the winning team, but they ranged from Mountain Dew “Dew Packs” (we never found out what these were) to a free pass into Microsoft’s Xbox One indie developer program (which every single person present either had or could get with a phone call).

Davey was forced to take off his nail polish because he couldn’t hold the can with it on. Zoe had to take off the buttons she usually wears on her jacket, but shouted down a PA who tried to make her cover her tattoos. The Arcane Kids were screamed at for not holding bottles right, while the entire group was lectured on how to properly smile like you’re enjoying the product – a product that everyone was enjoying less and less. The slow train wreck of faces flipping into scowls marked only the beginning of what would soon turn into an utter shitshow.

[…]

Then the computers started breaking. The rigs were the same ones I use to capture game footage for reviews, normally fairly powerful machines able to handle huge processing loads, but someone had filled them with unregistered copies of Premiere and flooded everything with viruses. One machine instantly crashed when the USC team tried to plug a USB stick into it, halting production for almost an hour as assistants scrambled to purchase licenses and wipe the malware. The YouTubers, meanwhile, had a different problem: their headsets were extremely low quality (challenge one was creating a Let’s Play) and were, as every single one of them said, “Worthless,” with Mark recording himself talking into his cell phone receiver and playing it back as an example of more quality technology. Somehow most of the issues were resolved, but the scene was embarrassing for every human in that room – affiliation be damned.

Challenge two rolled around – an arts and crafts style affair that would be judged by Joe, Kellee, and Nidhogg creative director Mark Essen, and the toll began to sink in. The devs were tired. Their energy was quickly waning, and their ability to code well was being jeopardized by the excessive pageantry. There was will left to go on, but it was fading fast… then, once again, Matti.

“Two of the other teams have women on them. Do you think they’re at a disadvantage?”

Silence. It was like the wind was sucked out of the room behind the barrier, but the floor was so loud only the two all-male teams heard the question. Mark answered diplomatically that the teams actually had a huge advantage by having more viewpoints, though everyone was strong regardless because of their skill. Matti cut him off, pulled back the camera, and coughed, “Stop filming. We’re not getting a story here.”

It went on down the line. Is Zoe off her game? Are women coders a disadvantage to their groups? Point by point the questions were shot down, until he reached Adriel’s team and asked if they were at any sort of advantage by having a pretty girl with them.

I cannot begin to impress upon you the psychological effect this line had on everyone. The idea that these professionals, who stake their livelihoods on code and design, might be reduced to “pretty faces” and antiquated gender stereotypes, an idea perpetuated by the guy who was ostensibly in charge, was like hitting the biggest nerve in the history of nerves with a pneumonic drill. Adriel built shit that flies around in space. It’s probably flying around in space right now.

She erupted, and Matti once more pulled back his camera, making sure to privately half-apologize that he “marched with the women in the 70’s” with “flowers in his hair.” Finally he cornered Zoe with a camera as everyone left for dinner, trying one last time to get a rise out of her. She told him to go fuck himself and marched off set. And that is precisely when everyone else realized something was wrong.

[…]

It took around twenty minutes for the man with flowers in his hair to storm out of the building sans job, his trilby, director’s scarf and lit e-cig marking the last time I’d see him. But the damage was done. Akira Thompson (organizer of many LA-developer events) and Kellee were rapidly notified of the brewing situation, and Zoe pulled me aside with Davey and Tom as she demanded Matti’s head on a stick. Adriel was livid. Robin wanted blood. And as the developers shared experiences the others didn’t know about, a strange thing began to happen between them that at once solidified what games are all about, and doomed Polaris and Maker’s program. They formed ranks, and revolted.

This is an incredible story about the unmaking of a reality show. I’m so proud of my friends for walking out of this shitshow.

760

cfrieds:

Meanwhile at Hufflepuff

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