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Malaphax

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  1. Malaphax

    League of Legends

    This champion's kit is insane. I'm sure Riot will end up nerfing or straight up removing components of it after 6 months.
  2. Malaphax

    E-readers

    https://us.kobobooks.com/collections/ereaders/products/kobo-elipsa
  3. I think the design of the logitech 815 and 915 is fine, but their pricing is crazy. Keychron is half the cost and supports multiple bluetooth connections. Also the logitech claims they're using proprietary switches but those look like kailh choc switches to me. At least the keychron k3 has optical switches, which are a bit different. There's just not many keyboard with low profile switches available and the custom keyboard community doesn't seem all that interested in them. The few I can find are either ortholinear or split boards, neither of which appeal to kuhla.
  4. Malaphax

    SCUBA

    Semi-Organized dump of random information, thoughts and research. Scuba Gear: BCD - The internet says that jacket style BCDs aren't good anymore and you should use a backplate and wing (BPW) setup. After some research I can agree with that assessment. BPW setups generally provide better trim by forcing you into a more horizontal diving position and allow for substantial customization because you can place D-rings, pockets and weight pouches where you want and not just wherever the jacket BCD has available. The few advantages I've seen for jacket style BCDs are that they have more storage capacity and they provide more comfort, especially on the surface - doesn't seem like a great tradeoff to me. Current front runner for that setup looks like this: https://www.divegearexpress.com/dgx-custom-dgx-singles-harness-backplate-wing-package Some minor considerations about BPW are the backplate material. I see plenty of people suggesting anything cold water should be stainless steel and considering my size/weight and need for lead regardless of water conditions, I'm inclined to go with stainless. Aluminum is ~3lbs and stainless ~5.5lbs, seems like a no brainer to go with stainless because the math says I'll never be able to dive without at least that amount of lead on me. The soft plate options don't appeal at all, even for travel. I briefly considered some options with more adjustable harnesses, but the only real advantage for those is the ease of donning/doffing which is nice, but you do lose some level of customization. Nice thing about BPW being so modular is that if I find a standard single piece harness to be frustrating, I could switch it out with an adjustable harness without much issue. Regulators - There's 2 standards for regulator connections, Yoke (international) and DIN (GERMAN STEEL). This isn't really much of a choice because DIN is not only a newer/better standard, but you can buy a $20 DIN to Yoke adapter. You can't adapt Yoke to DIN without literally rebuilding the regulator. Almost all the major manufacturers offer both styles but DIN seems to be winning out. Also most tanks are now sold with a pressure port that has a DIN insert, so a dive center can accommodate your DIN connector easily and then swap it back to Yoke in about 30 seconds. Obviously any purchase I make would be DIN and then I'll throw in for the adapter just in case. I also read plenty about cold water rated regulators, since California waters are considered cold water. One point of consideration is environmentally sealed regulators (diaphragm) vs non-sealed regulators. An environmentally sealed reg has some advantages, especially if you're diving in silty/gross conditions, but I don't really plan on doing that. There's other differences like piston vs diaphragm or balanced vs unbalanced, but most of what I was looking at was balanced and cold water capable. Most cold water regulators are heavier construction with some heat exchange fins. There are other features like a swivel turret that seem present on most moderate to high end regulators, or 2 high pressure ports. I do like the idea of getting 2 identical second stages. I think that makes more sense than cheaping out on a lower quality octo. Also I think the braided hoses are a cool upgrade, they're substantially lighter and more flexible, the only complaint I've read is that they're more neutrally buoyant in the water, so they can get a bit floaty compared to rubber hoses. I saw some weird brand recommendations. Option A - many people on various internet forums seem to have high praises for a small ODM based out of Florida. They're not super cheap (still cheaper than major brands at retail prices) and they also include the first service for free. The downside is that you're probably going to struggle finding a local tech to service the regs, so you're basically stuck with mailing it back to them. More importantly, since this is a small shop, I have some concerns if this place would ever go out of business or stop supporting these regulators. https://www.deep6gear.com/signature-recreational-single-tank-regulator-package.html Option B - knockoffs (kinda). Dive Gear Express again has their own regulators, which they flat out admit are basically rebadged scubapro mk25 & g260 products made at the same manufacturer (WMD) in Taiwan. Aside from the fact that this is once again a much cheaper option, there's also some appeal that even if the seller went out of business, you could probably find a scubapro tech to service this equipment. Additional bonus is that Dive Gear Express is a huge proponent of right-to-repair and sells parts kits for all their products. https://www.divegearexpress.com/dgx-gears-xtra-streamlined-ow-reg-package Option C - is HOG, they're also Florida based and are well respected. They offer regulator servicing classes for people (not just resellers) which could end up being an option although that scares me more than a little. https://www.divers-supply.com/hog-d3-din-env-w-zenith-reversible-regulator-set.html Option D - is to go with a more traditional name. I see plenty of respect for Apeks, something like the xtx50 is a strong recommendation I saw multiple people make. I've also heard you can get better pricing buying from a EU based shop and paying the shipping costs. Alternatively you can go for the new hotness with xdeep's new regulator sets which just released, but again they're EU based so you may need to pay a premium for them here in the US or deal with an international sale. I suppose you could go with scubapro or mares or something sold by a local dive center, but man do you pay out the ass for that. If I wanted to roll all the Dive Gear Express purchases into one bundle they offer that as well: https://www.divegearexpress.com/dgx-custom-dgx-singles-harness-backplate-wing-xtra-reg-package Other stuff: I'm also seeing a bunch of dive professionals and various organizations (not PADI) start recommending or even requiring a long-hose setup. I've seen comments and videos extolling the virtues of this setup and I certainly understand the mechanics of it. But at this point I'm not interested in it. Aside from the obvious that I'm not trained on it; I feel strongly that since PADI is the largest scuba agency, I'd rather conform to their style so I don't need to give a small lecture to any potential random dive buddy about why I don't have a bright yellow alternate/octo. Some of the advantages of a long-hose setup also make less sense for my use case. The longer hose is designed so that if you're doing wreck penetrations with single file entry, you have enough length to provide the hose to your buddy and still clear the entry without issue. Guess who isn't a wreck diver? <this guy> Also in an open water dive, I'd rather the random dive buddy know he can yank a bright yellow hose off of me than have them start pawing at me looking for help, let alone yank the reg out of my mouth. Final point, is that hoses can be easily adjusted, you just buy new ones and fit them to your existing gear. So if at some point the winds of change to swap everyone to a long-hose setup or something like that, it's not a huge deal. Wetsuit: This is one of the few things I'd absolutely make a concerted effort to try on in person. For California diving I'd want 7mm and probably buy a 5mm hood as well. Some random contenders include: Bare, Henderson (especially their talon line since it's made in america), and others. There's also some potential considerations of a semi-dry suit which is basically a 7mm on steroids. I'd prefer to stick to a more reasonably priced suit if possible since this would only be used for California diving. I also briefly looked into dry suits and immediately decided not to deal with that. Dry suits are very expensive and require special training, seems like major overkill unless I suddenly decide to start diving every weekend. Cutting Tool: https://www.divegearexpress.com/eezycut-line-cutter That's basically the go to, it's safe, compact and capable of cutting through anything. I've also seen it come in tons of colors and the blades can be easily replaced. Other option is EMT shears. https://www.divegearexpress.com/dgx-titanium-emt-shears Compass: https://www.divegearexpress.com/dgx-tech-compass-w-bungee-mount-and-cord I should probably get one, it's low on the priority list. I prefer the idea of having a dive guide, but it's arguably a piece of safety equipment. There's other stuff like weight pouches, quick release cam bands and other minor considerations that would need to be taken into account, but they're much lower on any priority list. This post is a goddamn essay already, I'm just hitting submit.
  5. That's my thoughts from another Peter F. Hamilton book: Salvation - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34068552-salvation If you're feeling like the story just keeps ping-ponging between different point of view characters and side stories without really moving forward... yea that's what I felt. I wonder if that's just his personal style.
  6. I think that's where I start to get lost. I can maybe agree with the premise, but there's no follow-through. The closest thing I've seen presented regarding critical race theory's agenda is that institutions must be gutted or replaced in order to make progress. Very few people are interested in that level of structural change to our country. Oddly enough I think the founding fathers would have been. I feel that many people forget that the founding fathers were practically throwing shit at the wall to see what stuck - including the fact that they clearly created a government with the ability to modify it's own core laws. I agree that academia need the ability to present somewhat outlandish theories, in the same way that I think academia should study marxism or authoritarianism's various flavors. I think the issue is that most of academia is somewhat insular and whenever something niche like critical race theory leaks out, any semblance of context or nuance is obliterated by the internet and bad actors. This is a very left leaning hot take on how conservatives have weaponized this as a culture war issue - one main individual being so bold as to brag about how they were going to weaponize it on his twitter timeline. It's hard to take these discussions too seriously because I suspect that there are individuals that are reacting to this with shock and outrage without any understanding or research. The few people who might have done some research can't even agree on what critical race theory means to them most of the time - and even if they get past that, I have yet to see a cohesive plan for how to address these structural issues other than "burn it down and build something better." I sometime rail against slow incremental change just like anyone under 40, but just like every other protest movement without clear legislative goals, this is doomed to failure and obscurity.
  7. Critical race theory is predominantly focused on some of the structural inequalities (specifically legal/law) and analyzing that critically. I've mostly heard of it being taught to college students or graduate level students, and being used in academia. It's absolutely being used as a boogieman by conservatives, with a clear intention of using a culture war style issue to gin up the base in the upcoming elections. I strongly suspect that fox and friends won't give a shit about CRT post 2022/2024 election cycle. It's clear that America has had systemic and structural racism in the past. The question is how much of that exists today and are these lingering effects or still present issues? Does society need to make changes to address these issues, and if so what does that look like? I'm going to skip over slavery, not because it's not significant but because I think it's fair to say that slavery has been abolished in this country for over 150 years ago, and rightly or wrongly many people believe that happened so long ago that it has no bearing on today. Also critical race theory didn't begin in academia until after the Civil Rights Act was passed and many legal scholars didn't see the structural changes happen that they expected. [sarcasm] When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed we solved racism. [/sarcasm] Clearly there was an era of Jim Crow segregation and issued that required the Federal Government to step in and forcibly integrate schools. I just want to remind everyone that Ruby Bridges is 66, and this is indicative of a much more recent set of issues. Beyond the most obvious acts institutional racism like segregation, there were other issues. One of the largest ones in my mind is Redlining, which was in existence until about 1975 in some parts of the country, even though it was supposedly outlawed in 1968. Why does redlining matter? One of the most crucial ways for families to build inter-generational wealth is through home ownership. Redlining was a clear policy that either prevented minorities from buying homes, or forced them into specific areas which often reduced their prospects and property values. I'm not even going to get into the issues surrounding lead exposure and how if you look at the redlining map of chicago and the childhood lead exposure map, they're eerily similar. Here's another article talking about that same issue in Omaha. While I don't want to go too far back in time, I also want to point out that post WW2 most GI's received very strong government subsidy of their education and housing. Even though the GI bill was race neutral, southern states heavily discriminated against black veterans. But what the hell does that have to do with critical race theory TODAY? Well, some of the obvious elements would be a substantial difference in familial wealth based on race - black families have ~5% of the wealth that white families do. There's also health related issues: Why is black infant mortality double that of white infant mortality - regardless of economic status? What about the above mentioned lead poisoning in infants leading to lower quality of life/education and potentially higher criminality? Carceral issues: The disproportionate incarceration rates for black Americans vs white Americans. Also disproportionate sentencing. And finally the ugly reality that the 13th amendment allows for slavery of imprisoned people and that southern states used this as a sort of loophole during the reconstruction era (1860-1877) - sadly this is still used today. I think critical race theory suggests that many of these problems exist because many institutions were built upon racist laws, and these laws and institutions have not made enough changes to fix these broad issues. The conservative media has conflated critical race theory with teaching young people about racism, suggesting that some teachers are 'poisoning children with the idea that America is racist.' It's clear that no one is teaching critical race theory to children, it's an advanced concept that academics and graduate students write long-winded essays about. This is the new culture war issue de jour.
  8. I played a decent bit of Mass Effect 2 over the last few days. I forgot how good some of the writing is. There's tons of DLC that I didn't own or didn't play through back when this first released. Some of it is decent some of it is trash. The hover tank missions are straight garbage. There's plenty of time padding and useless gameplay elements. Why does the normandy SR2 have fuel now? Why do I need to buy more, what kind of shoestring budget is this crap? Why do I need to point and click my ship around the starmap now? Oh because fuel, also why is it more effective to tap click instead of holding it down? Every goddamn planet needs probes, and scanning feels incredibly tedious - you can't upgrade the number of probes you carry as far as I can tell. Some of the side missions feel really poorly done. One was literally stuffing batteries into a mech, another was defending against waves of dogs while waiting for your ship to pick you up (the one that just dropped you off <1 minute ago). This game really hammers home the whole 'building a team' motif that you feel throughout the series. Obviously 2 has more crew members but it feels like they hit their stride with the second entry. There's much lower cooldowns on skills/powers and less options. There are absolutely some enemies that force you into hiding behind cover, more so than mass effect 1. The simplified skill tree doesn't bother me, also there's a respec option. I'm also reminded that mass effect andromeda had pretty solid gameplay, I enjoyed how it handled combat and the freedom to have different loadouts and different skills you can swap between. Sadly everything else in andromeda was pretty bad.
  9. This is moderately off-topic but still worth a watch. It's basically a breakdown of elements present in season 1 of game of thrones and how mass effect could be turned into a big budget television series. I think mass effect could certainly be a big budget television series, but as always, I think the writing would be the make or break elements. There are some kludgy bits of writing in the series and it would be worthwhile to clean some things up or straight up change certain plot points around the reapers. Also oddly enough both series had bad endings, I would hope if someone did try and adapt mass effect they completely rewrote the last act.
  10. Malaphax

    Battlefield 2042

    https://answers.ea.com/t5/Battlefield-Announcements/Battlefield-Briefing-Welcome-to-2042/m-p/10415599?utm_campaign=bf2042_hd_ww_ic_soco_twt_tw-battlefield-briefing So I guess I was right about the AI bots filling up servers. I've seen some mixed answers on this, but that's straight from EA so... let's see if it stays in or is some sort of server option. Kinda neat that your loadouts can be equipped independent of your specialist/class. Still not sure about some of their balance stuff. I wonder if they'll borrow from call of duty and assign certain points values to weapons, to prevent people from carrying a sniper and rocket launcher or something similar.
  11. I know you have an ultrawide monitor, so you may want to also use this mod to fix the cutscenes and FOV in the game: https://www.reddit.com/r/ultrawidemasterrace/comments/ndpnvc/psa_mass_effect_legendary_edition_now_fixed_by/
  12. The final season is solid as hell. They definitely made some overt references to anime series (berserk being a big one) and I'm all for it. They managed to handle wrapping up the series and mostly bookending all the various characters and plot points. Honestly this show was better than plenty of anime I've binged over the last few years and totally worthwhile. I hope netflix continues to invest in their animation department (seems like they're doing just that) and I can't wait to see the next show that absolutely kills it.
  13. I think the STALKER series was always at its best when the gameplay was emergent rather than structured. This review of a modded STALKER game describes what I mean. Honestly I have no hope for the STALKER series because I expect it's going to over promise and under deliver, there are several eastern european devs that seem to desperately try and capture that same magic that STALKER and Metro 2033 had, with limited success - see Atomic Heart and Chernobylite as recent examples that I suspect won't live up to the hype. Overall, what I've seen of E3 so far has been mildly disappointing. You can still see the specter of the pandemic, with a bunch of titles aiming for 2022 rather than try for sometime this year. Not to mention I was seeing more cinematic trailers than gameplay walkthroughs. I think the fact that we're in the middle of a new console cycle, with serious supply constraints, means that devs still need to port games back to the older console generation. All that combined with the pandemic has made for a rough time for devs.
  14. E3 (sort of) is going on. Annual reminder that this website exists: https://2021.e3recap.com/
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