Cities: Skylines Traffic Lights
Jan 16th, 2020 by Ken Hagler

I’ve been play­ing Cities: Sky­lines lately–it’s a city build­ing game along the lines of the old Sim­C­i­ty series. It’s a very com­pli­cat­ed game and does­n’t have any tuto­ri­als, so I spent some time watch­ing YouTube videos to learn how to play it. I noticed that the peo­ple mak­ing the videos always use a mod called Traf­fic Man­ag­er: Pres­i­dent Edi­tion to keep their traf­fic flow­ing smooth­ly. I decid­ed to play with­out mods until I got a city to the final pop­u­la­tion mile­stone, and in doing so learned why that mod is so pop­u­lar.

Here’s an illus­tra­tion of a busy inter­sec­tion with a vanil­la Cities: Sky­lines traf­fic light. It’s a good thing there are no col­li­sions in this game, or every­body would be dead. The game’s traf­fic lights have no sep­a­rate left turn lights, so cars are try­ing to turn through oppos­ing traf­fic from the oppo­site direc­tion, and pedes­tri­ans pay no atten­tion to the lights and just cross at will, fur­ther block­ing things up. The lights also can’t be syn­chro­nized with each oth­er, so things like the ubiq­ui­tous dia­mond inter­change with two sets of traf­fic lights don’t work cor­rect­ly.

I found that to com­pen­sate for this in the un-mod­ded game, busy inter­sec­tions need­ed to have only one light and no pedes­tri­ans, or no lights at all. The first thing I tried was the sin­gle-point urban inter­change, shown above. It most­ly works, although the light phas­es are wrong. There’s a pedes­tri­an bridge just out of sight to the right, keep­ing them from clog­ging it up. I found that to get inter­changes to real­ly work well I had to use some­thing which does­n’t actu­al­ly exist in the real world: the dou­ble crossover merg­ing inter­change. Since fan­cy new inter­changes are gen­er­al­ly made by retro­fitting an exist­ing one, it’s not sur­pris­ing none of these have actu­al­ly been built. They work great in vanil­la Cities: Sky­lines, though, where that’s not a con­cern and avoid­ing lights is vital.


A dou­ble crossover merg­ing inter­change in Cities: Sky­lines.

Hollywood’s inability to be original
May 29th, 2019 by Ken Hagler

I was look­ing at the new releas­es on Net­flix and noticed some­thing called “Queen of the South.” I thought that name sound­ed famil­iar, so I checked the syn­op­sis. Sure enough, it’s La Reina del Sur. Not the real show, though–it’s an Eng­lish lan­guage remake, because Hol­ly­wood is com­plete­ly unable to come up with an orig­i­nal idea.

The reality of the American legal system
May 27th, 2019 by Ken Hagler

There’s over­whelm­ing evi­dence that the crim­i­nal-jus­tice sys­tem is racist. Here’s the proof. [The Wash­ing­ton Post]

Radley Balko, one of the few real jour­nal­ists in Amer­i­ca, has com­piled a long, long, long list of stud­ies show­ing the racism of the Amer­i­can crim­i­nal “jus­tice” sys­tem. This is a bit old, but was recent­ly updat­ed with yet more stud­ies. Crim­i­nal Defense lawyer Scott Green­field wrote a response to this point­ing out that as racist as the sys­tem is, it’s fun­da­men­tal­ly flawed for every­one.

What is clown world?
Apr 17th, 2019 by Ken Hagler

Recent­ly I’ve been hear­ing the expres­sion “clown world” used to describe the cur­rent state of Amer­i­ca. It’s a strange and some­what sil­ly con­cept that I did­n’t pay much atten­tion to, but after see­ing this quote I real­ized that there’s just no bet­ter way to describe it:

Library col­lec­tions con­tin­ue to pro­mote and pro­lif­er­ate white­ness with their very exis­tence and the fact that they are phys­i­cal­ly tak­ing up space in our libraries.

Library Jour­nal

A rare bit of good news
Jan 18th, 2019 by Ken Hagler

From the Texas State Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion:

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton issued the fol­low­ing state­ment on today’s deci­sion by the Travis Coun­ty Dis­trict Court that the City of Austin vio­lat­ed Texas law when it refused to allow duly-licensed res­i­dents to law­ful­ly car­ry firearms in City Hall. The court also ordered the city to pay a fine to the state of Texas for each day it pre­vent­ed inves­ti­ga­tors from the office of the Attor­ney Gen­er­al from law­ful­ly car­ry­ing firearms.

The dis­trict court’s rul­ing pre­serves and pro­tects the Sec­ond Amend­ment rights of Tex­ans and sends a strong mes­sage to the city of Austin that they are bound by the same laws as all oth­er Tex­ans. The city of Austin can­not vio­late the open car­ry law or any oth­er law the Texas Leg­is­la­ture has enact­ed sim­ply because they dis­agree with it,” Attor­ney Gen­er­al Pax­ton said. “If the city of Austin appeals the dis­trict court’s deci­sion, my office will con­tin­ue to strong­ly defend the right of law-abid­ing Tex­ans to keep and bear arms in accor­dance with our hand­gun laws.”

In July 2016, Attor­ney Gen­er­al Pax­ton filed a law­suit against the city of Austin after a res­i­dent with a con­cealed gun per­mit com­plained of being turned away from City Hall on sev­er­al occa­sions. Today, the Travis Coun­ty Dis­trict Court agreed with the attor­ney gen­er­al’s office that the city vio­lat­ed the open car­ry law and should be fined for each day it pre­vent­ed the attor­ney gen­er­al’s inves­ti­ga­tors from law­ful­ly car­ry­ing, result­ing in a $9,000 fine.

Dur­ing a tri­al in Travis Coun­ty Dis­trict Court ear­li­er this month, a legal team for Attor­ney Gen­er­al Pax­ton’s office suc­cess­ful­ly argued that Texas law pro­hibits the City of Austin from restrict­ing law­ful cit­i­zens from car­ry­ing con­cealed weapons at Austin City Hall.

I’ve nev­er had any rea­son to go to City Hall, although I walk past it every day. Maybe I should go in just to rub it in their faces that they’re being forced to treat the peas­ants as if we’re actu­al­ly cit­i­zens, and not slaves.

This won’t end well
Dec 24th, 2018 by Ken Hagler

Texas Bul­lion Depos­i­to­ry Begins Con­struc­tion. In June 2015, Gov. Greg Abbot signed leg­is­la­tion cre­at­ing the state gold bul­lion and pre­cious met­al depos­i­to­ry. The facil­i­ty will not only pro­vide a secure place for indi­vid­u­als, busi­ness, cities, coun­ties, gov­ern­ment agen­cies and even oth­er coun­tries to store gold and oth­er pre­cious met­als, the law also cre­ates a mech­a­nism to facil­i­tate the every­day use of gold and sil­ver in trans­ac­tions. In short, a per­son will even­tu­al­ly be able to deposit gold or sil­ver – and pay oth­er peo­ple through elec­tron­ic means or checks – in sound mon­ey.


Accord­ing to an arti­cle in the Star-Telegram, state offi­cials want a facil­i­ty “with an e‑commerce com­po­nent that also pro­vides for secure phys­i­cal stor­age for Bul­lion.” While in the devel­op­ment phase, offi­cials said plans for a depos­i­to­ry will include online ser­vices that would let cus­tomers accept, trans­fer and with­draw bul­lion deposits and relat­ed fees.

Ulti­mate­ly, depos­i­tors will be able to use a bul­lion-fund­ed deb­it card that seam­less­ly con­verts gold and sil­ver to fiat cur­ren­cy in the back­ground. This will enable them to make instant pur­chas­es wher­ev­er cred­it and deb­it cards are accept­ed. [Tenth Amend­ment Cen­ter]

In oth­er words, they’re try­ing to recre­ate E‑gold as a state-run enti­ty. This effort is doomed from the start. The Evil Empire destroyed E‑gold because it can’t afford to per­mit a threat to the Fed­er­al Reserve’s monop­oly on money–they’ll destroy any state-run equiv­a­lent for the same rea­son. This is why Bit­coin came along–it removed the abil­i­ty of a gov­ern­ment to destroy a threat to their fiat cur­ren­cies.

I’ll believe it when I see it
Dec 22nd, 2018 by Ken Hagler

This Could Get Inter­est­ing: @RealDonaldTrump v. the Per­pet­u­al War Lob­by. Trump has announced a pull­out of US ground troops from Syr­ia.

Appar­ent­ly a draw­down of the US pres­ence in Afghanistan, by about one third, is in play as well. [KN@PPSTER]

This isn’t the first time Trump has talked about with­draw­ing from Syr­ia. Both times he did so as Pres­i­dent, the “Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment” prompt­ly launched “chem­i­cal weapon attacks” on their own ter­ri­to­ry. I won’t be at all sur­prised if this hap­pens again and forces Trump to end the with­draw­al.

On the oth­er hand, the rul­ing class has been mak­ing a big deal about how abrupt and hasty the with­draw­al order is. It’s entire­ly pos­si­ble that Trump has not­ed what hap­pened in the past when he talked about with­draw­ing, and gave the order so abrupt­ly specif­i­cal­ly to ensure that the “Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment” did­n’t have a chance to arrange a “chem­i­cal weapon attack” to pre­vent it.

Quote of the Day
Dec 11th, 2018 by Ken Hagler

I am con­vinced that any orga­ni­za­tion with a “Trust and Safe­ty Coun­cil” is nei­ther trust­wor­thy nor safe unless you fit into a polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy.


Quote of the Day
Oct 15th, 2018 by Ken Hagler

Alco­hol & Fats

It’s a relief to know the truth after all those con­flict­ing med­ical stud­ies.

The Japan­ese eat very lit­tle fat and suf­fer few­er heart attacks than the British or Amer­i­cans.

The French eat a lot of fat and also suf­fer few­er heart attacks than the British or Amer­i­cans.

The Japan­ese drink very lit­tle red wine and suf­fer few­er heart attacks than the British or Amer­i­cans.

The Ital­ians drink exces­sive amounts of red wine and also suf­fer few­er heart attacks than the British or Amer­i­cans.

The Ger­mans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suf­fer few­er heart attacks than the British or Amer­i­cans.

Con­clu­sion: Eat and drink what you like. Speak­ing Eng­lish is appar­ent­ly what kills you.

Orig­i­nal source unknown

The training excuse again
Sep 14th, 2018 by Ken Hagler

Cops Kill Lots of Dogs. This Sim­u­la­tor Trains Them Not To. “We iden­ti­fied that this was a prob­lem and cre­at­ed this train­ing so we could keep offi­cers safe, pets safe, agen­cies from pay­ing out mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar law­suits, and hon­est­ly, so we can keep the rela­tion­ship between police and com­mu­ni­ty a whole lot bet­ter, because it’s just ram­pant,” [Nation­al Sher­iffs’ Asso­ci­a­tion deputy exec­u­tive direc­tor] Thomp­son con­tin­ues. “Every day you hear of an offi­cer shoot­ing a dog. It’s not because they’re crazy, war­mon­ger­ing peo­ple who want to shoot a dog, it’s just they’ve nev­er been trained or told dif­fer­ent.” [Hit & Run]

The “we need more train­ing” is a stan­dard cop excuse for var­i­ous vile acts. It’s par­tic­u­lar­ly ridicu­lous when they use it for their dog-killing habits, because there are mil­lions of ordi­nary Amer­i­cans (myself includ­ed) who car­ry guns around strangers’ dogs every day and nev­er have the slight­est incli­na­tion to shoot any of them. We did­n’t get any spe­cial train­ing in not shoot­ing dogs, all we do is not be a bunch of vicious psy­chopaths.

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