Last summer, I wrote about our experience with Pokemon GO. We’ve kept it up for the last year and it’s provided a lot of fun moments for me and Abby. There’ve been those rare occasions when we spotted and caught a rare creature. We had a lot of fun in Australia using my father-in-law’s phone as a hot spot to chase down the Australian regional Pokemon (and Generation 2 was released at that time, which made for a blast). But the game was starting to become a bit of a grind as we’d captured almost everything and both gotten past level 30, where the game levels off.
Recently, Niantic made some major revisions to the game. The changes to the gym system — where you can place Pokemons to fight those of other players — still needs a lot of tweaking. But the other change — the inception of raids where a massively powerful Pokemon appears in a neighborhood gym and can only be fought by players joining together — is a home run. It may now be the best aspect of the game.
The first day, we found a raid going on in a local park. We went to the park and, within minutes, a dozen other players had arrived and we fought with them to break down an exceedingly powerful creature. Later on, we went onto campus and joined a raid with a few biochemistry graduate students. We’ve been doing raids almost every day — sometimes just the two of us and sometimes with big teams of players who emerge from the woodwork. It’s just fun to cooperate with other players and see a dozen or more varied creatures attacking a massive one.
Today, though, we had the most fun experience. We spotted a nearby raid and came over. When we got there, there were two little boys trying to take down a Lapras — an exceedingly powerful creature. This particular monster can not be taken down by two players, no matter how good they are. You need at least five, preferably more. So we joined in and one other person happened by and, together, we finished the Lapras off just within the three-minute time limit. The boys were delighted and their dad was glowing.
Making another family’s day is a unique experience for a video game. And I hope that other games follow in those footsteps.
Today is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, one of the most important events in European history. The Telegraph did a “live blog” of the battle, starting at dawn and updating in real time as the historical battle progressed. It’s a great read, though probably less amazing to read now that it’s done than it was as it progressed.
There are two things I took from it:
First, starting early this morning and going in real time until late in the evening emphasizes just how long and grueling the battle was. We’re used to battles wrapping up in about 45 minutes of screen time. In reality, they can go on for days, weeks or months. Soldiers can spend hours waiting to fight, then more hours in hell. I first started following around 9:00 am, when the Battle was several hours old. And even then, there was most of a day left and the battle was still uncertain. I did work, had lunch, processed data, made phone calls, came home, cooked dinner. And many of the soldiers were fighting the entire time. It really impressed me with just how a war becomes the soldier’s reality. There in no respite or commercial break or closing credits. It goes on and on and on until one side is simply too exhausted or dead to continue.
Second, I was reminded somewhat of the Battle of Gettysburg. In both cases, a battle was lost because a great general — Napoleon in one case, Lee in the other — was undone by the very qualities that made him great. Both men won battles because they were bold, decisive and intelligent. And it served them well … up to a point. In Lee’s case, he decided on the disaster that was Pickett’s Charge. In Napoleon’s case, he committed everything to the middle of Wellington’s line once Wellington’s right had fallen and the Prussians arrived. Much like Pickett’s charge, it would have won the battle had it worked. And unlike Pickett’s charge, it wasn’t a completely terrible idea. But it turned out to be the turning point of the battle … for the Allies. Once the Imperial Guard was in retreat, the entire French center collapsed.
Anyway, it was great idea from the Telegraph and I really hope someone does something like it again for another battle.
Linkoramas are getting rarer these days mostly because I tweet most articles. But I will still be occasionally posting something more long-form.
A fascinating article about how Vermeer used a camera obscura to enable his paintings. Yet another example about how people were pretty damn clever in the supposedly unenlightened past.
This is a couple of months late, but someone posted up Truman Capote’s christmas story. The recent death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman reminded me of this little gem.
This is the second and by far the largest study yet to show that routine mammography is basically a gigantic waste of money, being just as likely to precipitate unnecessary treatment as to discover a tumor that a breast exam wouldn’t. Do you think our “evidence-based” government will embrace this? No way. They already mandated mammogram coverage when the first study showed it to be a waste.
I don’t know even know if this counts as mathematical malpractice. There’s no math at all. It’s just “Marijuana! RUN!”. Simply appalling reporting by the MSM.
This on the other hand, does count as mathematical malpractice. The gun control advocates are hyping a Missouri study that shows a rise in murder rate after a change in the gun control laws. However, in doing so they are ignoring data from 17 other states, data on all other forms of violent crime and data from Missouri that showed a steep rise in the murder rate before the laws were changed. They are picking a tiny slice of data to make a huge claim. Disgraceful. And completely expected from the gun-grabbers.
I love color photos from history. Just love them.
This is old but worth reposting: one of the biggest feminists texts out there is loaded with garbage data, easily checked facts that are completely wrong. This was a big reason I distanced myself from third-wave feminism in college: it had been taken over by crackpots who would believe any statistic as long as it was bad. In college, we were told that one in three women are raped (they aren’t) that abuse is the leading cause of admission to ER’s (it isn’t), that violence erupts very Superbowl (it doesn’t). I even had one radical tell me — with no apparent self-awareness, that murder was the second leading cause of death among women (it’s not even close). As I seem to say about everything: reality is bad enough; we don’t need to invent stuff.
I just noticed I have about five Linkoramas lingering in my queue. So I’ll take out whole bunch here.
DARPA is looking into recycling satellites. This makes a huge amount of sense if it can be done. Space debris is a big problem. And the launch is one of the biggest expense of any mission. If you could put something up there cheap that could rove around and repair satellites, it would be worth a fortune.
Cracked has a nice article about how poverty isn’t the cliche we like to think it is.
An interview with James Alan Fox disputing Mother Jones on mass shootings.
This is an amazing story about how a family was cut off from civilization for 40 years. A modern-day Swiss Family Robinson.
I love this depiction of what Mars would look like with water. In actuality, it wouldn’t look quite like that, since erosion would wear down the extreme features.
I also love this depiction of what Cambrian creatures might have looked like.
When you make a little girl in a wheelchair cry that she doesn’t want to go to Disney World, you are slime.
Nine hilarious NYT corrections. I mean, even I knew the My Little Pony one.
Anatomy of a drug panic.
Anatomy of a female orgasm.
I think I’ve spent the entirety of this week either on the phone or having a meeting or curled up in bed with a migraine. Sigh. Some weeks are like that.
I can’t say that I enjoy the retuning of some songs to different keys, per se. I do, however, find it utterly fascinating how important key is to the mood and feel of a song or musical piece. I knew a woman back in college who had a variety of health issues that would eventually take her at a young age. But she was an amazing pianist who could shift the key on a song instantly and play it perfectly. Somehow, it never changed the tone like these retunings do.
Cracked looks at lines censored by TV. My brother and I used to get great amusement from watching movies like The Breakfast Club and Police Academy on Channel 46. The dubbing was so bad and the lines so hilariously stupid, we almost preferred them. My favorite comes from Police Academy: “Mahoney …. nobody plays with me.” with “plays” delivered about an octave and a half lower than Bailey’s register.
This article, which tries to argue that Southern dominance of Miss America is a result of racism, is so idiotic, so filled with PC bullshit and is such an inaccurate assessment of Southern history, culture and tradition, that it could only possibly have been published in the New York Times.
Eerie pictures of Chernobyl and amazing pictures of World War I.
Jacob Sullum details some of the concerns about allowing the CDC to do research into guns. I’m in favor of lifting restrictions on scientific research, even if it does mean politicized work. I just hate restrictions too much. But it is worth noting that the public health experts have a bad history of cooking the books to reach their conclusions, as seen in the EPA’s study of second-hand smoke and the CDC’s own study of obesity deaths.
A woman drives 900 miles out of her way and through several countries due to a supposed GPS error. Maybe it’s me, but I doubt the GPS was the only malfunctioning thing in that car.
An environmentalist admits he was wrong on GMO’s. Thanks a lot.
How much do you want to bet that most of the people involved in these idiocies were not fired?
I can’t vouch for the accuracy, but if these people really have recreated a hairstyle from the Roman Empire, that’s pretty damned cool.
Not a bad bunch of pictures, if I do say so myself.
I’m doing more long-form posting of links I care to comment on. But here’s a few I don’t have time for.
Man, do I love time lapse video
I haven’t found a good handle on the contention that Mitt Romney’s CEO background is actually a minus. I really think the CEO thing is irrelevant. What concerns me more is his lading up his staff with former Bush people.
I’m a little dubious of the contention that trash correlates with economic health. The graph smacks to me of a manipulated stat (it measure the derivative not the absolute). And our push on durability and recycling could confused it. Really, it looks, to me, more like you have one big correlated dip in both stats that’s driving the supposed correlation. The collapse of 2008 was unique. I’m not sure it’s a trend.
I love love love photo series like this one, in which five men photographed themselves for thirty years. It’s time-lapse photography on an epic scale, showing just how fast we age and die. WHen my daughter was born, we used to photograph her in the same place every week but unfortunately fell out of practice.
Such projects are not just artistic: I believe they have enormous scientific potential for learning how people grow and age. Given the explosion of digital photography, it’s only a matter of time before someone mines the massive public data set for scientific insight. That is, if they’re not already doing it.