Monday, September 23, 2013

Unpacking the LA public rail conspiracy

A nice story on the nice NPR design podcast 99% invisible unpacking the conspiracy that public transit and general anti-corporate advocates like that the car companies bought up the trolley cars in LA just to dismantle it in order to force people to buy cars. The sad truth is that mass transit systems tend to lose money, and most cost-benefit analyses for mass transit expansion, even ones that account for all the externalities, find that they just aren't cost effective.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reviewlet: Of Dice and Men

A surprisingly riveting book about the history of D&D. One of the neatest parts is he intersperses dry history with snippets of game play from his actual games, just like the old 2nd edition books. It was so sad when they got rid of those.

Nice to learn that D&D is more popular than ever as all the kids of my generation who used to play, now are old enough to play again at least in secret, and to convert their kids. I'm still amused that my friends are still embarassed to admit it (even though the author [a self professed giant nerd and editor at Forbes magazine] likens going to play D&D with the same embarassment as if he were seeking out drugs or strip clubs) even though the legacy of D&D now dominates pop culture, at least summer blockbusters [with frequent references by the likes of Conan O'Brian, Steven Colbert, Neal Stephenson, the writers of Community].

Also, neat to see the history of the game, from the war games that HG Wells helped write, to the identity of luminaries like Murlynd, Bigby and Tenser (of floating disk fame) the PC name and anagram of Gygax' 10 year old son Ernest, who along with his daughter Elise were the games first play testers.

He takes a detour into the uber-nerdom of LARPing mentioning the Lightening Bolt meme (which along with the Apatow movie Role Models is two mainstream references to LAIRE, the NJ larp group I used to do in high school).

Anyway, fun read. Final Review: A