The Mayor of Yharnam

I can’t help but hear these in the voice of Cecil from Welcome to Night Vale.

EVE Online and espionage

In a thread about “hobbyist espionage,” MetaFilter user ryanrs writes about intelligence and counterintelligence operations in EVE Online:

Intel: In EVE, playing the spy generally means joining an enemy gaming group and playing on their team, hanging out with them on voice comms, sometimes even meeting up IRL drinks, etc. You develop friendships over months and years while gaining trust and working your way up in the organization. You help do the boring scut work of running an EVE alliance, volunteering to do the jobs that no one really enjoys. You are helpful, friendly, and enthusiastic. You become their friend and earn their trust while you sabotage their org.


Counterintel: The counterintel guys discover and preventing enemy spies from doing all the nasty things listed above. A lot of it involves making it harder for enemy spies to penetrate your org. This means background checks both in-game and out. In-game, you have them give you their read-only game API key so you can dump their in-game logs from the server. This tells you everything they’ve done in the game for the last few months. Out-of-game, you take their email address and dig up all their social media accounts and see how far back they go. Is this a fake internet persona invented 3 months ago, or a real person that has been living a normal online life? You get their home IP when they connect to your voice comms server, and you trace it back to their home and see if it matches any past spies or well-known enemies. The main Goon counterintel guy is a RL private investigator, so he also has access to those tools and databases to verify that people really are who they say they are.

The whole comment is worth a read. There’s something both amazing and unsettling about how much this stuff can bleed into real life.

Interview with Hiveswap creative director Jess Haskins

Hiveswap, the Kickstarter-funded adventure game based on the webcomic Homestuck, seems to be starting its press blitz.

Review Fix: How will it attract new fans to the franchise?

Haskins: We think fans of classic adventure games will find a lot here to love, and really anyone who loves to play games that have a great story, a big, interesting world to explore, a diverse cast of characters with a lot of personality and heart, and a wicked sense of humor.

You might compare it to the Sam & Max series – even if you’ve never even heard of the comics by Steve Purcell, those games stand completely on their own as a fun and funny series filled with wonderful characters and a great sense of humor. While fans of the comic will find a lot here that they recognize and have plenty of stuff to find references to and speculate over, the game requires and assumes no familiarity with the comic, and we’re adamant that no one who comes in new to the world should ever feel like stuff is flying over their head.

Smart thinking.

It’s interesting to see how far Hiveswap’s aesthetic diverges from Homestuck (at least in what we’ve seen so far); it has a Costume Quest-like cuteness that feels worlds away from the comic’s violently frenetic art style. If they’re making the game with an eye towards broadening their audience, that’s probably the right call!

Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015

Fascinating data from the Pew Research Center. These were the results that I found most surprising:

  • 84% of teenage boys “play video games on a computer, game console or cell phone,” compared to just 59% of teenage girls.
  • 33% of teenagers use Google+—the same percentage as Twitter!
  • 23% of teenage girls use Tumblr, compared to just 5% of teenage boys.
  • 13- and 14-year-old girls send and receive an average of 72 text messages a day.

The Radical Vision of Toni Morrison

A fantastic profile by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah for The New York Times Magazine.

Often, in black literature, it seems as though the author is performing two roles: that of the explorer and the explainer. Morrison does not do this. Morrison writes stories that are more aesthetic than overtly political, better expressed in accurate Tolstoyan detail than in generalizing sentiments blunted with anger. Most important, she is an author who writes to tease and complicate her world, not to convince others it is valid.

“What I’m interested in is writing without the gaze, without the white gaze,” she told me. “In so many earlier books by African-American writers, particularly the men, I felt that they were not writing to me. But what interested me was the African-American experience throughout whichever time I spoke of. It was always about African-American culture and people — good, bad, indifferent, whatever — but that was, for me, the universe.”

A New York Walking Tour Full of Lies

Laura Parker for the Wall Street Journal:

When Jeremy Ellison-Gladstone gives walking tours in Manhattan, he said it isn’t uncommon for passersby to stop and correct his facts. But he is OK with that, since his job is to deliberately embellish—and often downright ignore—the truth.

On a recent Saturday, a dozen or so people gathered outside the High Line Hotel on 10th Avenue, having paid $20 to hear Mr. Ellison-Gladstone’s fictional one-hour tour of the Chelsea neighborhood.

“It’s fun to be deliberately lied to,” said 34-year-old Christine Keefe, who went on the tour.

Romance Central

Fun April Fools’ Day thing from Harmonix: a dating sim featuring Dance Central characters. (I guess this is technically my first professional credit as a programmer!)

Offworld is back

Run by Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson in collaboration with Boing Boing, the new Offworld will be “an unequivocal and uncompromising home for women and minorities, whose voices will comprise most of the work published” on the site.

Matt Haughey retires from MetaFilter

MetaFilter was the first website that I really loved. I’ve been a member for about a decade now, and was a lurker for a couple of years before that. I still consider it to be the best community on the internet, and I have Matt to thank for whatever portion of its culture that reflects his personality and values.

That said, after reading the announcement post on MetaTalk I’m glad that he’s decided to step down:

A couple years ago my anxiety and stress bubbled up to the point where I wasn’t eating and sleeping regularly. To remedy this, I took the #1 advice of Ask MetaFilter and saw a therapist. This helped me process incoming stressors and realize much of my worries were unfounded and in my head, but over the course of a year of sessions I began to learn a lot about myself. One of the things that became apparent was I’m not cut out for the entrepreneur lifestyle–I don’t eat up risk & stress and shit out innovation–instead I tend to worry about every aspect of every little thing and get caught up on any setbacks.

Matt deserves better than a lifetime of anxiety, and I hope he finds it. Meanwhile, he’s left the site in good hands, and it will continue on as usual. I think this will be good for everyone involved.