Or about $69 each

The Guinness people were called upon to certify it as The World’s Largest Videogame Collection — some 11,000 items — and it was auctioned off for $750,250.

The exact number of items is not clear:

The collection consists of all 10,607 games that were verified by The Guinness Book of World Records during the official count performed on December 3rd, 2012, as well as four hundred plus more games that I have acquired since. In total, OVER 11,000 GAMES!! Guinness did not count duplicates, so every game is unique with no repeats.

Ars Technica reports:

Seller Michael Thomasson has said in interviews that he set a “regimented budget” averaging about $3,000 a year for the past 20 years to build up his collection of more than 11,000 games and 100 consoles. That’s a pretty good return on investment for a part-time hobby and should hopefully go a long way toward helping Thomasson with the unspecified “family obligations” that led to the sale in the first place.

Apparently, though, he’s keeping all the consoles, in anticipation of a fresh start.

The buyer will pay a premium of 5% — $37,512.50 — to the auction house.

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Times is on my side

“Times New Roman is not a comedy font.”

It does, however, have the ability to get out of its own way:

Then again:

Two satirical readings were selected from the New York Times. These readings (one addressing government issues, the other education policy) were each printed in Times New Roman and Arial fonts of the same size and presented in randomized order to 102 university students, who ranked the readings on a number of adjective descriptors. Analysis showed that satirical readings in Times New Roman were perceived as more funny and angry than those in Arial, the combination of emotional perception which is congruent with the definition of satire.

As always, not to be confused with Times New Viking.

(Suggested by Laughing Squid.)

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Keeping the green in the greenhouse

A TTAC commenter, only slightly more caustic than average, on an inconvenient future:

The controversy will die instead, and people with a certain world view and agenda will invent another crisis, and deny they ever believed in catastrophic man-made global warming. Nothing effective is being done about carbon emissions, and, realistically, nothing can be done.

People do not want to be poor, so hydrocarbons are burned as fast as they can be pulled out of the ground. The more you burn, the wealthier you are. Al Gore burns a sh*t-ton. This will continue until hydrocarbons become scarce, which is not happening any time soon. Fracking is spreading across the world, and after fracking may come something else to get at even more hydrocarbons.

The apocalypse illusion is costly, because of the economic cost of farcical pinprick “carbon reduction” schemes, but ultimately moot. People will always burn as much hydrocarbon as they can get their hands on because they do not want to be cold and hungry. For the vast majority of applications, nothing else makes economic sense. The proof is in the numbers. Even the US partial conversion from coal to natural gas is meaningless. We just export the coal somewhere else, and they burn it. Debate all you want, climate religionists, you are p*ssing into the wind.

We will, of course, run out eventually. For the last hundred years or so, we’ve had maybe 10-15 years of the stuff left; I won’t be around for all of the next hundred, but I suspect the situation will be similarly dire. The supply of farcical pricks, however, will never, ever come close to being exhausted.

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UnCooperative

Have you ever been spammed by an auto dealer? Rob O’Hara has, and he’s tired of it:

I’ve had a gmail address for a long time — I got it back when gmail was invite-only, in fact. Shortly after signing up for gmail I began getting spam e-mails from a Mini Cooper car dealership located in Peabody, Massachusetts named Mini of Peabody. Just to be clear: I have no interest in Mini Coopers, have never owned one, never plan to, and never signed up for Mini of Peabody’s e-mail newsletter.

The monthly e-mails from Mini of Peabody are big and colorful and hard to miss. I deleted the first one and the second one and the third one. The e-mails suggested that I add [address redacted] to my address book to ensure that I received their e-mails, but instead I did the opposite and added [same address still redacted] to my spam list. I also clicked on the “report this e-mail as spam” button in gmail. Still, somehow, the e-mails get through.

You don’t suppose this might be some of Google’s doing, do you? I mean, gmail is at least as important to their world-domination schemes as the tracking cookie.

Anyway, their ideas are not intriguing to him, and he does not wish to subscribe to their newsletter:

Back then I was naive enough to believe that clicking “unsubscribe from this newsletter” worked. It doesn’t, or at least didn’t in this case. I clicked their “unsubscribe” button, followed the weblink, entered my e-mail address to remove it from their mailing list … and still, the newsletters came. I have tried this multiple times.

And finally:

In October of 2013, a representative of Mini of Peabody contacted me personally and said they would remove my e-mail from their mailing list. They didn’t.

I wonder if escalation might be useful here. Anyone had any experience dealing with BMW of North America?

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Writerly speaking

All four of these came in within 45 minutes of one another, all bearing the same email address, all linking to a Wikipedia page in Finnish, and each with a different IP address. Still, they make a sort of coherent query, so let’s have a look:

What are some good wordpress themes/plugins that allow you to manipulate design?

If you know what you’re doing, you can manipulate the design just by editing your existing theme. Of course, you can do that if you don’t know what you’re doing, but the results are likely to be suboptimal.

I’m an aspiring writer — of all literary trades (journalism, screen writing, satire, etc) — but I want to start a blog for some adult oriented, romantic fantasy literature. Anyone know how I can start a blog that will allow me to do this? I believe I’ll need a warning page before entrance, and I want it to come up on search engines…

Any old blog platform can do this; setting a splash page — if you’re on Blogger, Google will probably inflict one upon you — is fairly easy.

If I publish my articles to my school paper are they copyrighted or do I have any ownership over them?

I don’t think school-paper stuff counts as “work for hire,” though I hasten to add that I am not any kind of lawyer, copyright or otherwise.

What are good blog posts for a writer who wants to start a blog that even non-readers might want to visit?

If they’re truly “non-readers,” you might consider a photoblog.

There were further items in the series, but by that point it was starting to get repetitive.

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It’s lousy, but at least it’s expensive

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the sickest of them all? You’ve already heard this:

The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, but this report and prior editions consistently show the U.S. underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. Among the 11 nations studied in this report — Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States — the U.S. ranks last, as it did in the 2010, 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions of Mirror, Mirror. Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity.

So perhaps we should emulate our neighbors to the north? Not so fast:

[T]he second-worst system is Canada’s while the third-worst is France’s. Since Canada is the OECD country that most closely resembles ours culturally and from a lifestyle standpoint, I think that’s a significant finding, suggesting that even if we were to adopt, say, a single-payer system that would be merely the beginning of the reforms that would be needed here if we truly want to have the best of class healthcare system to which we aspire.

It won’t be enough to change who writes the checks. Under the circumstances we might want to consider figuring out what we’re doing wrong and what policies would foster the other changes we’d need to make.

Do we in fact aspire to “best of class”?

Something worth remembering about the Canadian system:

First, the Canadian system didn’t start off as a federal system and still isn’t a federal system. It’s a provincial system. Second, as a JAMA study I’ve mentioned from time to time points out, administrative costs in the Canadian system aren’t as low as some Americans seem to think they are. About 15% IIRC. That’s better than here but it doesn’t provide the savings it would take to cover everybody under a single-payer system without paying a considerable amount more than we do now.

As close as we came to a “provincial” system in the States was, um, Romneycare up in Massachusetts. It cost a godawful sum of money, to be sure; but it didn’t assume that what’s necessary in New England is also what’s necessary in New Mexico or North Dakota, one of the fundamental flaws of just about any Federal program you can name.

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A suicide booth for your old phone

It’s called “ecoATM,” and this is what it’s supposed to do:

ecoATM is the world’s first automated eWaste recycling station. That’s a fancy way of saying that we’re a friendly green machine looking to pay cash for the responsible recycling of your old cell phones, MP3 players and tablets. Sell your phone or other device by placing it in the ecoATM kiosk, and we’ll tell you how much it’s worth. What happens next? You get instant cash. With ecoATM kiosks all over the country, and with your help, we’re working hard to solve the eWaste problem facing our planet.

It probably isn’t a whole lot of cash, but it’s something. And what does it cost you?

I had an old phone hanging around and I was going by a mall which had that machine set up. And honestly, the phone is so old as to be functionally useless. If someone offered me a U.S. quarter for it, morals would dictate that I politely suggest they were about to drastically overpay. But I was curious, and so I dropped in, found the machine, and started with the procedure.

First, it asked for my general category of device. Phone, says I, figuring we’ll sort down to the exact model later.

Next, it tells me to see if it has power and that all my personal data has been wiped. Good on both counts.

Then it asked for my driver’s license and thumbprint.

This is the point where the procedure pretty much stopped.

I gently inquired as to why the machine needed this, and was informed it was to make sure the phone was in fact mine and not stolen. Plus a human would check the other end of the connection to see if my license picture matched the live one. Because I was being filmed, a detail which had not been mentioned up to that point. Oh, plus thumbprint, which it didn’t bother going into.

Hang around to see if it’s worth a whole twenty-five cents? No, thank you.

I suspect that pawn shops and such are required to jump through similar hoops, but frankly, I’d just as soon drive a truck over a device as many times as it takes to render said device unrecognizable. At least that way there’s some return on one’s emotional investment.

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I just can’t recall anymore

Are we at the point where we don’t even notice a recall notice?

So far, 2014 has been a year of automotive recalls, beginning with the General Motors ignition recall. After just one company recalled 11 million vehicles, any other recalls just feel like piling on. Experts worry that consumers are starting to tune out and not pay attention to any recall announcements in the media at all.

Research by USA Today shows that most years, there are 21 million cars recalled in the United States by all automakers combined. In 2014, GM has announced 38 recalls totaling more than 14.4 million vehicles, and we’re not even halfway through the year yet.

Some years you don’t see 14.4 million vehicles sold in this country.

One market analyst for KBB told USA Today, “The typical consumer reaction seems to be, ‘My car’s running fine. Do I need to bother?’”

At the other extreme are the nimrods who hang around automotive message boards hoping, even praying, for new recall news, in the desperate hope that the repairs they need will be covered by the automaker. It almost never works.

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In the meantime, we have weather

A semi-elegant thought experiment on the question of carbon dioxide:

[I]f one goes back to (say) 1850 and spawns a parallel universe in which one instantly and without pollution kills all the humans, then runs the clock forward to today, is there more CO2 in our universe than in that parallel universe’s 2014? In that case, my even-money bet would be “yes”. But I don’t feel hugely strongly about that. I also don’t care or think it is germane to much of anything.

We would like to disclaim, expressly and in full, any responsibility should some farking maniac transport himself back to 1850 and destroy all of mankind. If we wait long enough, we can do it ourselves, thank you very much. And we’ll probably do it with financial derivatives and similar bogus constructs. This is the way the world ends, not with a whim, but a banker.

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You’ve seen one, you’ve seen Amal

Or maybe not. George Clooney’s never had any shortage of girlfriends, but Amal Alamuddin seems different somehow. Born in Beirut in 1978, she’s a brand-name barrister at a major British chamber; she has represented Julian Assange, of Wikileaks fame, and former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. And here, at the Global Summit to end Sexual Violence in Conflict last week, she demonstrates an unusually pronounced ability to stay awake:

Amal Alamuddin at the Global Summit to end Sexual Violence in Conflict

Rumor has it that the pair will wed at a palace in Venice this fall, after one year together, and that Clooney’s been looking for a lovenest in the south of France.

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Spread too thin

I tend to pay no attention to my dreams unless they’re really off the wall. But what if one of them might be trying to tell me something?

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Some weird hybrid appliance

This particular example of comment spam is perhaps a tad less illiterate than average, and each paragraph can stand on its own — but the combination of the two makes no sense:

So no matter how large your laundry load is, rest assured that every article of fabric is going to be getting thoroughly washed. When you have a washer that is this massive, you will likely be able to wash up to three times more laundry in comparison to a top load washer. This system actually helps you save money by conserving your water and use.

It will depend on the screen size and also the whether the device is standard resolution, the kind of backlighting (LED, plasma, or fluorescent), and the size in the TV.

Of course, a top-loading washer has room for a TV screen on the front, but — dear God, what am I thinking?

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Strange search-engine queries (437)

While the attention of the world is focused on the World Cup, I’m busy sorting through the last 3600 or so log entries, trying to find what possible reason your search string ended up here. I’m figuring I probably work best uninterrupted.

coaxed pronunciation  See, for instance, Hamlet: “Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you: trippingly on the tongue.” Any more coaxing than that and it would border on coercive.

320porn .com:  This is less than 360, so I assume there are 40, um, activities not covered.

paray full naked pictures:  Must be from one of the 40 not covered.

Is Frosty Troy a socialist?  Naw. But if you need to find one, it won’t be difficult.

waldorf records corp 10″ dean martin LP cover:  Truth be told, and given the fact that Waldorf, despite its name, was purely a budget label, they might have sold it in a plain sleeve.

spendophobia:  A common disease among the middle class, though the US Congress, curiously, has a natural immunity to it.

busty.mobi/young-french-21yr.html?interstitial:  Don’t be picky. There are some perfectly lovely French women over the age of redacted.

Should i drive with hold on 93 626:  Look at it this way: the car’s over 20 years old. You can’t make things much worse than they already are.

anna swenson equestrian:  And a princess, no less.

how to set up weatheradio model 181b:  Short version: install battery, turn it on, turn tuning knob until you hear something other than noise.

one is never too old to yearn meaning:  Meaning you’re probably too young to understand.

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The Death Star comes through

You’ve already read about my downed phone line, and also about my failure to read my trouble ticket correctly:

I got the “Monday” part correct; what I didn’t catch was which Monday. Turns out to be, not yesterday, but a week from yesterday.

Or, in other words, tomorrow.

I am pleased to report that AT&T actually beat their predicted repair time by a whole 24 hours. The tech explained that they were actually caught up from the stormage. The repair was completed in less than 15 minutes.

What still amazes me after a decade is that the phone line and the cable line actually cross, halfway across the yard — the poles are about 35 feet apart — and what has amazed me this month is that the cable line wasn’t affected when the phone line went.

No, seriously:

Non-intersection

The actual electrical power line doesn’t come close to either of these, but of course it has had its own issues with trees.

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More green for those greens

It wasn’t all that long ago that hipsters discovered quinoa, with one predictable result: the price skyrocketed. The same thing seems to be happening to collard greens:

They’ve become a “superfood,” a catchphrase embraced by yuppies who think they can eat their way to health, and they’ve also become something edgy and hip that hipsters eat — these brave new explorers on the food frontiers who miraculously “discover” things like inexpensive, nutritious fruits and vegetables from exotic locales like the backyard gardens of the people they kick out of gentrifying neighborhoods, or offal. Hipster menus are increasingly filled with foods that were once considered discards by the middle class, things that people disdained as soon as they could afford not to eat them.

Consequently, something troubling is happening in the grocery store aisles. As foods get popular with people who have more money, grocery store owners are raising the prices on these foods, secure in the knowledge that they now have a higher-paying audience for them. This, in turn, makes it harder for the poor communities who once relied upon them to afford them. The price of kale went up 25% after it became a hipster food, and this was in a recession, when even many hipsters were struggling to make a living in an economy that was collapsing in on itself. What can collard greens expect?

Having grown up as a less-than-affluent Southerner, I’m of course familiar with the stuff, and once swore, in sort of a sideways-Scarlett style, that as God is my witness, I’d never eat it again. I am not prepared to see it as a seven-dollar side dish, though vendors of soul food are going to have to make up for price increases somehow.

Oh, well. At least they haven’t dubbed it “Dalmatian cabbage.” Yet.

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Not your mom’s shoes

Something called the 2014 Wildlife Conservation Society Gala took place at New York’s Central Park Zoo, and Chelsea Clinton, somewhere around 16 weeks pregnant, put in a vaguely Kardashianesque appearance:

Chelsea Clinton at 2014 Wildlife Conservation Society Gala, New York

This prompted some Smitty snark:

We’ll let Dustbury review the footwear, but how about the trou? As Obama’s fundamental transformation of our country continues to move us off that pesky Constitution and pave the way for Rule By Overlords, it’s important that the peasantry be afforded at least the hope of distraction by fashion.

As Her Majesty uncoils from her torpor and prepares for residence in the Oval Throneroom, the peasants can be pleased at the style on display by the underpaid, pauper princess.

I should be so underpaid. Maybe then I, like Chelsea, could afford shoes with a four-figure price tag. (I do well to be able to buy — occasionally — something in the low three figures.)

Still, this is a pretty standard, as distinguished from custom couture, Christian Louboutin peep-toe pump:

Close-up of Chelsea Clinton's shoes

And, unlike some of her ostensible Hollywood peers, she seems to have gotten close to the right size. I’ll give her a B-plus, knocking off a couple of points for that weird blue stuff on her toes. As for the trou: like I said, Kardashianesque, although Kimmie always creates the illusion that she’s had something — collagen, helium, Oreo Double Stuf — injected into her seat, something one simply does not look for behind a Clinton. Besides, there’s the question of whether leggings actually qualify as pants.

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