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  1. Ahh fair enough- I'd only add that thats not always a negative. The popular choice often isnt the optimal choice. To quote The Foundation- Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.
  2. India does have its own vaccine and facilities- what they dont have is enough raw materials to make much of it. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/us-supplies-of-vaccine-components-to-india-to-enable-manufacturing-of-two-crore-doses-of-covishield/articleshow/82423264.cms As for Gates, I wouldnt be looking to him to be personally doing CRISPR cas9 gene editing (though its actually a relatively easy technique experimentally speaking), but he probably is as knowledgeable as most heads of global health agencies at this point, simply by virtue of having a lot of really smart people in his employ directly or indirectly. As Tesla noted, the benefit for releasing the patents at this point would be the public gesture of good will (i.e. public relations).
  3. This is a bit of a cynical take. I'm not sure how Gates is supposedly making money out of it (other than the fact that the stock market has a vested interest in the pandemic going away). He doesnt own Moderna or Pfizer. Ran already mentioned the more salient points. Patent law is about the only real hook the countries that researched the vaccine have to ensure quality control and maintain confidence. I did a quick google search without luck, but has anyone heard of any pharmaceutical companies that want to manufacture the vaccine, have the means, quality control, and reagent supply chain been denied a license? Keep in mind that the key research on the spike protein was done through the NIH and then published for anyone who wanted to work on developing the vaccine (Phase I trials for Moderna started in March of last year not long after the key research was completed). I dont think many would accuse Fauci of trying to profit off of the vaccine- and he's expressed doubt that releasing the patent would do more good than harm.
  4. I really thought the game did keep the spirit of the original tabletop. However, I gave up on it after maxing out with Heavies and it started to get a bit repetitive. I really wish they had added more of a strategic layer. Perhaps something to do with the extra suboptimal mechs you scrap together along the way. Would be nice if you could hold bases (if not planets) with those spares. It would allow for more variety of play since we arent likely to ever fight a battle with a lance of light mechs with the way the game progresses. (with the exception of a couple of those escort missions)
  5. Yeah just to add an anecdote- I was in the same place two years ago where I wanted to build a new machine and the price of the graphics cards seemed like it was in a bubble even then. I waited for six months for the price to come down and ended up biting the bullet because the other components were on sale. I just checked newegg and saw that the card I have now costs three times as much as it did when I thought I was getting ripped off when I bought it... and the slightly newer version of the same thing (same make, chip, and and extra 2gb of memory) is 6x more expensive! The idea of paying nearly $2k for three year old technology is just crazy.
  6. Given that structural realism was developed based on observing primarily European states, from Thucydides on forward, I'd say the vast majority of, at least western, countries are acting in a way consistent with these models. Though "View the world" adds way too much individual attribution, I doubt you will find many IR experts or even national leaders who wish it was the way the world works, it just is. To rephrase one of yours statements- its not "if all the world thought and worked like this, this planet would be fucked" but rather "this planet is in its current state of fucked because all the world thought and works like this." The tragedy of the commons heeds no national boundaries or cultural norms. BTW- I dont think many IR folks would say the world is purely Zero-Sum, there are certainly opportunities for mutual benefit through cooperation, Nash equilibriums etc, and I'd say that Neoliberalism (the other predominate model for IR other than perhaps constructivism) certainly hitches itself to that concept, and unlike realism, does have anglo-american origins. That said, I do think its interesting that you chose a very much zero sum example. Another way to write it would be: EU -77 million UK: +10 million (or whatever the current count was from the EU) Other states: +67 million.
  7. I'd offer that a few of you are trying too hard to apply a moral judgment to an inherently amoral realm. While I disagree with some of his a priori principles and conclusions, Rippounet had a good summary (as usual) of the situation and logic from an IR perspective. All countries are inherently selfish, its just that depending on their relative powers (economic, military, soft etc), government systems, and other environmental factors such as the situation on the ground, they have more or less inherent interest in cooperation on different issues and different times. Honestly, if you were to black box this situation, its playing out quite like I would expect it using a structural realist model if you replaced their names with A,B,C,D etc. Is it possible that some countries are miscalculating? Sure, and on average likely. However, I doubt any major power is going to get punished by the international community for prioritizing its citizens, that's kinda every country's raison d'ĂȘtre. As Rip mentioned, its not a one and done decision, defection now, cooperation later, tit-for-tatt engagement, and issue linkage are all on the table. Now, if in a couple months, states decide price gouging surplus vaccines and embargoing countries is better than cooperation, then I suspect they are doing more self-harm than good; but today, situationally, it may prove to be a cost-benefit winner for those states.
  8. Our previous house's basement in the DMV was partially finished, humid, and just a place to store camping gear and worry about flooding (fortunately never happened despite the ridiculous torrents of rain the area received during our time there). However, we just purchased a house in Seattle and as it happened the previous owner was really into renaissance Europe and built a wine cellar that's accessed through a hidden panel doorway. All the walls and floor are stone like a castle and it has torch sconce-lights. While my partner and I like a good bottle of wine, we arent connoisseurs or anything. But, it makes a great setting for my weekly D&D game!
  9. I do have to wonder though if WV (not sure about AZ) could be filled with areas where paying $15 an hour simply isnt tenable. I'm not talking about the towns large enough to support Walmart or McDonald's, but the areas where the economy is so decrepit, and largely based on fixed income residents (retirees and SNAP dependent folks), that the dollar stores and occasional gas station, are the only ones scraping by). There are plenty of studies on the impact that dollar stores have on these type of communities, but is it possible that raising the rate would replace a healthy food desert with a true food desert? I'd imagine its kinda like the problem the EU has with having Germany and Romania under the same currency with fundamentally different economic situations. Note, I totally support increasing the minimum wage, just trying to figure out Manchin's politics on this one. On the contrary, I cant for the foggiest understand why he's against the extension to unemployment benefits. I'm generally wary of arguments about folks voting against their own best interest, but do the WV residents really think that a trillion dollar loss in tax revenue during good times to the benefit of the richest folks is awesome when a trillion dollars expense during a pandemic into their own pockets to keep their towns afloat is a terrible thing?
  10. Cool, thanks for the insight! I will have to give it a go one of these days. I am OK with the AI bumbling around in the actual wars or trying a slightly different strategy (e.g. trying to arm for operation Sealion). IIRC UK often bumbled North Africa, even in HOI2. I am curious to see how the Maginot line holds up. I remember back when the team that built CORE was working on the scripting for that part of the war, it was really hard to get France to lose when given historically accurate numbers. (The French Order of Battle in 1939 was actually pretty strong.) In essence, they couldnt get the AI to play dumb enough to reflect the historical incompetence of the French political leadership .
  11. Out of curiosity, how closely does HOI4 keep to historical outcomes if the player doesnt rock the boat? I played hundreds of hours of HOI2 (mostly with the CORE realism mod), but was turned off of HOI3 partly by bugs, but also by the fact that it seemed to go more the route of the EU games where the AI has some vague goals, but after a few years, nothing looks anything like what really happened if you just let it play out. I really enjoyed playing out different strategies for prosecuting the war, but not really interested if tons of ahistorical stuff is going off constantly (France joining the Axis or whatever).
  12. I found Skyrim to be more immersive, not just in that its beautiful by 2010 standards, but also the sense that it feels like a living world that exists outside of your character, albeit a crowded one. This really shows up when you use the mod that allows you to start from different backgrounds from different locations. I liked some of the subtle things like when you clear a fort, the local authority will take it over and post guards. I hope Bethesda expands more on this with the next ES. For example, if you clear out a mine, the province starts using it, bringing in iron to the cities, greater patrols along trade routes, and a general feeling of taming the wild. Fallout 4 does some of this, but as much as I enjoyed building out my main base, its a bit odd to have to actually physically build every damn outpost yourself. However, the combat in Skyrim is a bit lackluster and becomes more repetitive. Where I've found Fallout IV to really shine is with Survival mode and self-imposed ironman/hardcore play throughs. I've gotten to the point in my gaming that I cant play open world games any other way- reloading after dying just feels like cheating. Not only do you quickly value getting the ability to not trip mines (learning the hard way), it really makes you feel connected to your weapons and value making good decisions instead of charging on in. Hmm I'm outta rounds for the laser, time to bring the old pipe gun along for the next mission. Deathclaw up ahead- umm not even going to consider taking that thing on until going back for power armor- and even then, theres no shame in running. Of course it means I rarely ever complete a game (I think I was like level 35 when I first got to Diamond city). The clearing out of settlements and then decking out the spawned caravans is pretty satisfying, but, still the immersion is a bit iffy. (how the hell did these settlements survive for hundreds of years when surrounded by baddies- right after the War, sure- living off scraps, but now?!)
  13. Thanks @DMC ! Ahh those sweet summer days when gaming out a global catastrophe was merely an academic exercise. Seems I misremembered on the pandemic scenario. I taught a course back in grad school that used pandemic vaccinations as an example of choice under uncertainty decision making. But in that scenario, the potential pandemic was identified proactively and the decision was whether you take high probability of a very small number of folks passing due to vaccine related complications but advert a low probability risk of a huge number of people dying if the pandemic is as scary as feared vs doing nothing. Obviously I failed to insert the actively undermine any attempt at a proactive response while burying one's head in the sand and spouting out random conspiracy theories option.
  14. Yeah as a Fed- regular reminders on conduct are a normal thing, along with reoccurring formal training. Reinforcement should be a part of any good training program and if its coming from someone high in rank, all the better. As someone else mentioned, thinking that everyone has got the picture is exactly what gets you into trouble. Regardless of how well run, any sufficiently large organization is going to have some (probably on a normal distribution) folks who would do just idiotic things if left to their own devices. Ethics, security, Hatch Act training etc. - are the things that allow the agencies to carry out their mission neutral to the politics of the day. (the last one in the list is why I tend to post very sparingly despite being a board member for 10 years). On a side note- since i am posting, @DMC I remember a year or so ago when you solicited suggestions for a class activity to simulate agencies responding to an issue, and you thought my suggestion for dealing with an impending meteor strike to be too outlandish for the class. You are right, I picked the wrong fantasy plot- its just that the whole scenario of USG response to some bored unethical psychology PhD student working on his thesis (who i assume QAnon probably is) leading to a nearly successful attempt at capturing our capital by a hoard of reindeer cosplaying morons (for whom a face mask is apparently a bridge too far) in the middle of a global pandemic seemed to be a lot of work for you to do in setup. (I cant find it now, but I think I might have actually suggested pandemic response as a more realistic scenario back then, which would have been a bit prophetic.)
  15. Without commenting on the actual merits of the ballot, I'd think this case supports my initial point. Prop 22 was passed by over a 17 point margin in California. While I get it that there was a ton of corporate spending on the vote, given that Uber and Lyft are both based out of San Francisco, I am guessing that when their own money is on the line (property value, stock, corporate employment, and money in the local economy), a significant portion of the people in the state are pretty pro-capitalism themselves. So, yes, while West was definitely instrumental in getting it passed, so were the nearly ten million Californians that, ya know, actually voted for it. So if you happen to be in California, you are pretty likely to be 1 degree of separation (that's a whole lotta bacon!) and I would bet you that the margin skews even farther when weighting by folks with the necessary skills/experience for the roles in a federal Administration.
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