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Fez

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Posts posted by Fez

  1. 6 hours ago, Cas Stark said:

    Isn't Dune just the kind of super dense 'world' that studios might want to create an ongoing franchise around?  A whole world of prequels, sequels and interesting side characters and planets.  

    I think it could be. But they'd need to jettison the books entirely. The rest of the original series is too weird, and the various books written by his son are trash.

    I think there'd be too much controversy over changing the existing story of the sequels. But there are a lot of interesting hooks for side stories and prequel stories if the movies do well enough, and I don't think anyone would care if there was ground already tread by the son's books that were ignored.

  2. On 7/11/2023 at 1:49 AM, dog-days said:

    Didn't know Larian had gone for so many different approaches. It sounds to me as if they're spreading themselves too thin and will end up compromising the experience of all three main routes, but the BG3 sample is already hugely popular, so guess I'll wait and see. 

    Option three sounds completely uninteresting to me, but at least it's not compulsory. Option one sounds very Icewind Dale (a bit of a bore). Option two is typical of my favourite games; tends to keep a better balance between freedom and narrative interest. 

    Maybe! There's a new (long) interview with the lead writer of the game (some light Act I spoilers for people who haven't played the early access) https://gamerant.com/baldurs-gate-3-interview/ and the scope of the writing sounds absolutely bonkers even if there was only 1 type of character you could play.

    If they pull it off though, this might be the most impressive RPG game ever.

  3. My dark horse (but certainly not the favorite) is Tim Scott. He's been going all in on Iowa so far, and while he is a distant 3rd he at least is showing signs of some real support unlike almost everyone besides Trump and DeSantis. If he can hone in on the evangelical vote enough, and capture the non-Trump vote away from DeSantis, that would at least position him to win Iowa if Trump fades a little bit. If did, and then he went on to win home-state South Carolina (probably only possible if Haley drops out) that sets things up pretty solidly for a two-person race going into Super Tuesday. And, much like we saw with Democrats in 2020, I suspect a bunch of the also-rans would drop out in advance of the day in that case.

    Not saying it's likely. But I do see path for him at least, which is more than I can say about any of the others.

  4. 1 hour ago, Werthead said:

    On the political front, Erdogan decided to throw his hat back in the ring. He met with Zelensky, agreed that Turkey would support Ukraine's accession to NATO and made agreements putting Turkish companies in an advantageous position to help in Ukraine's reconstruction. He also reiterated his position on Ukraine's territorial sovereignty and that no territorial concessions should be made to Russia. Despite that tough line, he also confirmed he would host Putin next month and would attempt a diplomatic effort to end the war (Turkey is not signed up to the ICC so does not need to arrest Putin when he shows up). Erdogan seems to smell Russia's weakness even more than he did before and is keen to cash in on it to strengthen Turkey's position in the region.

    Turkey has also again signalled that it will block Sweden's accession to NATO, but Biden is trying to sweet talk them with F-16s, whilst the EU may agree that Turkey can restart its stalled EU accession plan if agreements can be made, which may encourage Turkey to drop its opposition. I wonder if Erdogan is planning to use that as a bargaining chip in his talks with Putin.

    Also on the Turkey front:

     

  5. 11 hours ago, dog-days said:

    Haven't played BG3 yet, but I normally prefer games without a voiced protagonist. It leaves more space for me to imagine what they could be like. I guess once it could also have created more room to add extra dialogue options without the budget considerations of the extra voice acting limiting everything to paladin/cold pragmatist/joker, though I'm not sure how much that would hold true with the AAA games of today. 

    I get that view. I disagree, but I get it. The thing is though, BG3 has three types of protagonist you can play, and I think that view only holds true for one of them. But all three types are voiceless:

    1. A truly custom character that can be any race/class/background.

    2. A specific custom character. You can be any race or class, but you have a set, defined backstory. BG1 and BG2 spoilers

    Spoiler

    It's not confirmed, but you are probably a Bhaalspawn. And not just any Bhaalspawn, but one consumed by murderous urges

    3. One of the other characters that would be a party member if you don't play as them. You have a set race, class, and backstory. And just like they did in D:OS2, even though these characters are voiced if they are companions they become silent if you pick one to be your main character. This is the one that annoys me the most.

  6. 6 minutes ago, Werthead said:

    Baldur's Gate 3 has put way more thought into its romance options than you'd ever think.

     

    What a time to be alive!

     

    I just wish BG3 had a fully voiced protagonist (at least for the new 'Dark Urge' background, which is a defined, non-blank slate choice). Then it would be just about the perfect video game for me; assuming the bugs aren't too bad.

  7. 25 minutes ago, mormont said:

    I may have heard dumber things than someone pissing off Vladimir Putin and then nipping off to St Petersburg to collect personal belongings. But I can't think of them right now.

    If Prigozhin is in St Petersburg, I have to imagine it's in an unlit room with good soundproofing.

    I've seen (unverified) claims that the FSB has returned over the past week everything they seized from Prigozhin back at the start of the mutiny/coup. 

    Everything is so murky right now. But I'd say there's non-zero chance that Putin is, if not a figurehead, aware that there are large chunks of the state apparatus not loyal to him currently. And that any immediate, direct action against Priogzhin could trigger some bloody, internal fighting that Putin may or may not win.

  8. 9 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

    I'm surprised this hasn't already happened. 

    Well next term SCOTUS will hear a case about whether people under restraining orders for domestic abuse can have restrictions placed on their ability to buy guns. If they rule that such restrictions are unconstitutional, I think that might be the case that finally fully breaks things. Because that would mean that there are no gun restrictions at all, I think that might be too far for blue states to swallow.

  9. 47 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

    And there's no way to correct this. Courts should make unpopular rulings, but this level of bias and minority rule compared to public opinion is insane. The only recourse is to expand the court, but that will backfire. If Democrats expand it to 15 people, Republicans when the control the presidency and the Senate will just expand it to 25. 

    We just kind of have to accept today being another degradation of our country. So when anyone says the US is the best and most free country in the world, slap that motherfucker in the face.

    An unpopular decision that is still firmly rooted in what the law actually says is very different from the Fox News-style hot take slinging that the 303 Creative decision is, or that Dobbs was last year. And many more of these kinds of decisions I think will lead to blue states straight up ignoring orders.

    But not every conservative decision is as much of an outlier as those. Based on polling, the Students for Fair Admissions ruling is in fact the popular decision, even if progressives detest it just as much.  The student loan decision is probably more unpopular than not (last polling I saw on it was 47%-41% in favor of Biden's plan), but not by a huge amount. And I think the legal justification for Biden's plan was actually pretty weaksauce.

    Point being, yeah a few more Dobbs-level decisions may lead to real backlash, but few decisions actually reach that level of public outcry.

  10. 8 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

    I think NC is an easier call than PA.  NC has some trends going both ways, but overall I could easily see the state getting redder in 2024.  PA isn't super clear where it's going, but since Biden's 2020 win was so narrow, it is hard to take a lot of confidence from that. 

    Funny that you say that because one of the scenarios I'm most worried about is that the Dem trends hold strong in GA/AZ, but Dems falter in the midwest, losing WI+PA.  If that happens, Dems are at 268 and need to win Nevada. 

    Oh I don't take much confidence in PA either. But its all about the definitions. I don't know Larry's, but to me it's roughly: safe is 95% chance of winning or better, likely is 80% chance or better, and lean is 60% chance or better. Does Biden have a 60% chance of winning PA? I think he probably does, even though it's very likely to be extremely close. And a 60% chance is still not that good.

    You're right about that map. And it is possible that Biden does worse in NV than in AZ or GA. But it's hard for me to see Biden losing PA and winning GA. 

     

    Anyway, in real news, SCOTUS has ruled college race-based admissions are unconstitutional: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/22pdf/20-1199_hgdj.pdf 6-3 in one case and 6-2 in the other (Jackson recused herself).

  11. 27 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

    I'm less bullish on PA than he is.  The 2022 governor's race was a wipeout and the senate race only a little better, but I don't think that's an accurate measure of democratic strength in the state.  The 2020 race was only Biden +1.2%, which is pretty damn close.  There's definitely still plenty of reason to worry about the trend in the rural areas of PA, and that isn't counterbalanced by growing cities in PA (they aren't growing). 

    I would consider the states that are BY FAR the most likely to be the tipping point to be AZ, GA, NV, WI, and PA.  Plenty of other states that could flip, but they aren't going to be the tipping point.

    He thinks that Biden does have room to grow in the Philly suburbs still. Also, he acknowledges in the article that it was a tough call (and that NC as lean R was too), but that even though it's likely to be very close there is a more perceptible D advantage than the other 4 states. It all depends on how tightly toss-up is defined. 

    Also, based on how the math works, it's hard for me to imagine NV being the tipping point. It's likely to be very close, but only having 6 EVs means its more likely to be a bonus state for whoever wins.

  12. Larry Sabato just dropped his first 2024 electoral college ratings: https://centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/electoral-college-ratings-expect-another-highly-competitive-election/

    I'm surprised but pleased at how aggressive he was at sorting states, rather than being wishy-washy and having a ton of toss-ups. He has 260 EVs at lean D or better and 235 EVs at lean R or better. The only toss-ups are AZ, GA, NV, and WI.

    I know it's still over a year out, but right now that feels about right to me. I think the lean states certainly could go either way, but there's a distinct party advantage in each one.

  13. 1 hour ago, Maithanet said:

    The official Russian line is that he told his troops to stop because otherwise they were going to get defeated and (eventually) crushed.  Wasn't reporting that the column was something like 250-400 vehicles?  Some of those are tanks, but that isn't exactly a huge squad.  How many men could we be talking about?  I've heard estimates like 4,000 to 8,000.  Could they really have just waltzed into central Moscow?  Even having seen how ridiculously easy it was to get as far as they did, I'm very skeptical. 

    And even if they could, what were they going to do?  Seize the Kremlin?  Then what?  Start ordering around the military?  If they weren't following you before you seized the kremlin, I sorta doubt that just taking the building is going to cause a huge change of heart.

    Prigozhin's plan made little sense, but I think that his surrender with (terrible) terms is somewhat understandable.  He was hoping that the military would not just stand aside, but actually join him.  They didn't.  Once that didn't happen, the bluff is over, and there's no need to find out if ten high is gonna take it. 

    I think the nearly century old goal of coups still applies: seize control of the central broadcasting systems in Moscow. Then start issuing announcements about how you're protecting Russia from enemies within (maybe even something like 'Putin is in protective custody to keep him safe from these enemies') and denounce messages to the contrary, even Putin's, as fakes and lies. And start issuing orders to the military, police, and everyone else.

    The media is so non-existent, and decision-making so centralized, that it might've worked. If the orders come through the same channels that orders always come through, a lot of people might've gone along with it.

    And if it fails horribly? Well, the current path seems like it ends in Prigozhin's death too.

  14. 3 hours ago, Maithanet said:

    The first half of that seems plausible at least.  If Wagner had been able to (relatively) bloodlessly storm an army base and capture Shoigu + Gerasimov, then that would be a mutiny, but it would only indirectly threaten Putin, and I could at least see a possibility of Wagner/Prigozhin getting Putin's forgiveness. 

    Shows a real lack of ambition then that he didn't go all the way after seeing just how easy the march on Moscow went.

  15. 2 hours ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

    Was a direct responds to Darzin pointing out that the Wagner guys have combat experience and are more arguably more capable than their Belarusk counterparts, who have the numbers. Hinting at potential danger for Lukashenko. In that hypothetical the Belarusk army would still have all the heavy equipment, and Wagner having pretty much nothing.

    So that's pretty much a non-starter to take over Belarusk. At least under those conditions.

    OTOH, everyone involved this lies all the time about everything. So I wonder if Wagner will actually be handing over any heavy equipment or not.

  16. 14 minutes ago, ThinkerX said:

    Speaking of Alito...to me this looks really close to conflict of interest...

    The wife of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito leased a plot of land to an oil and natural gas company while the judge was weakening the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency, report says (msn.com)

     

    • In June 2022, Justice Samuel Alito's wife leased a plot of land in Oklahoma to an oil and gas company.
    • Alito's wife stands to earn 3/16ths of the money generated from the land should extraction prove successful.
    • Alito in several rulings before the court has been part of majority decisions to reduce the scope of the EPA.

    Funnily enough, it actually isn't; or at least not in the direction you'd expect. Oil and Gas extraction in Oklahoma and Texas is specifically exempted from EPA oversight, it's just the state regulatory agencies involved. 

    Which means, if corruption trumped ideology, Alito would rule in favor of strengthening the EPA to harm the competition operating elsewhere in the country.

  17. 21 minutes ago, Zorral said:

    What Prigozhin gets is all the Russian state military matériel and hands off conducting the Ukraine invasion as he likes.  In the end he'll add most valuable Ukraine territory to his already massive property portfolio.  Or so he may think.

    Perhaps. But a few hours ago he was in position to get pretty much all the property of Russia. Seems like a poor trade off.

  18. So weird. No one knows better than Prigozhin that Russian "security guarantees" are worthless. And it seemed like he was still in a good spot to actually win it all. Instead he's throwing it all away, and losing his existing support in the process. There's a lot of Wagner Telegrams saying they're going to break their contracts with the group.

    Maybe it's an elaborate hoax, but if it is, it worked. There's footage of Wagner groups beginning to decamp from Rostov.

  19. 4 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

    Wagner keeps making statements about various military units either refusing orders to fight or outright defecting and joining up.  No way of knowing if this is true, because it totally benefits them to lie.  But I imagine that option is worried about the loyalty of any troops it has to rely on.  They can call kadyrov, but what if the Chechens switch sides?  What is the drama between prigozhin and the Chechens was just manufactured for deception (a la the latest Abercrombie book).

    That one at least we should find out on soon. There's footage of the Chechen columns getting close to Rostov.

  20. 10 minutes ago, Werthead said:

    Yeah, Priogzhin's winning chances are rocketing up the clearer it becomes the Russia really does have jack shit to stop him with.

    The part puzzling me is the lack of air assaults. There's been a few Russian attack helicopters and a few missile strikes, but that seems to be it. Wagner does have some air defenses, but not that much really; far less than Ukraine had in Feb 2022. Russia should have easy air superiority and be able to quickly annihilate the Wagner convoys. But that hasn't happened. Only thing that makes sense to me is that the air force are refusing orders, or have even swapped sides, en masse. But there's no evidence (yet) that any other elements of the Russian military/security forces are acting that way; and it would seem odd if only the air force had switched. 

  21. There are reports of prisoner riots beginning in Moscow. Almost certainly in response to all this, but unknown if it's opportunism or something Wagner actually coordinated. They certainly have plenty of contacts in the penal system.

    Overall though, yeah this convey heading to Moscow only succeeds if there's allies ready to join them. So far there hasn't been that much resistance to Wagner, but there hasn't been much evidence of anyone switching sides either. 

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