Endgame is clean earth

November 14th, 2018 by harold

About two-thirds of the world’s manufacturing capacity for lithium-ion batteries, those most commonly used in electric vehicles, is in China, according to consulting firm Wood Mackenzie.

People put that on the fact that European car manufacturers were never into electric cars, but I kinda disagree. It’s more complex, yet simple.

To make lithium-ion batteries, you need all the cobalt you can. Who is mining that cobalt? China. Where? In DRC. What was DRC’s relationship with Europe? Colonized, brutalized, terrorized for about 75 years, up to 1960. Do you think Europeans can just stroll in and start mining in the 2010s? Hell to the no. So they have to deal with China. China does business with the US, has an enormous market itself, doesn’t need to cut deals with Europe on scarce minerals. The end.

Simply put, China’s economies of scale and European’s past colonization destroyed the ability for the old continent to compete on battery manufacturing.

I like how karma is hitting Europe in new markets. But make no mistakes, China is not interested in environmental standards. China just does business (you know they build roads and shit all over Africa in exchange of all the minerals they need for electronics, right?) and they think that electric cars are hip, and in demand. I don’t think they think more than that.

Some analysts say Europe’s last hope may be to take the same approach as it did with Airbus (EADSY) in the aviation industry. The plane maker was created by merging a clutch of existing firms and is now the only serious challenger to Boeing (BA) in the United States.

Doing the same for electric batteries "could be a game-changer for the EU’s auto industry," Montgomery said.

If only Europe had been able to replicate Airbus in every segment of the economy… But also, I think it’s too late (it’s about who has control of resources; not Europe). Just continue to make gas-powered cars more efficient but way more importantly: reduce the amount of cooling and heating needed in buildings and homes. That will do great to planet earth and that’s what matters.

Is there an end

November 14th, 2018 by harold

It barely makes the news.

I keep thinking about the victim’s grandson. He’s twelve. He was six when Trayvon Martin was murdered. He was eight when Mike Brown was murdered. He already had a sense at that time, that this is extremely scary and wildly unreal with Barack and Michelle up there. Imagine.

Today he’s a young teenager. He simply walked in a store with his grandfather to buy some stuff. He came out running, calling his mom because a white man just shot his grandpa in the back of his head for obviously no reason besides the Reason. I think that would make me, at his age, extremely angry. The kind of anger that never, ever goes away. The kind of anger that will raise hell. Someday. It doesn’t matter when. In the future. How do you trust the world around you when something like that happens and no one really cares? It unleashes so much darkness, and we will pay for it. I’m sick.

Yesterday, Police Fatally Shoot Black Security Guard Who Detained Shooting Suspect. Black people killed by mistake and mass shootings really have become weather news. “Oh, another one” we think, grinding our teeth. “Right, that’s the trial for which horrible killing/hashtag again?” All those deaths are avoidable and facts show that only white people are responsible for them. I’m sick.

I mean

November 10th, 2018 by harold










That LA Game Space mess

November 9th, 2018 by harold


I loved everything about that project. The logo. The people behind it. The Kickstarter campaign being wildly successful. The mission. Everything looked awesome. I backed it, tried to help and participate, never got an email back.

After fees and failed pledges, $306,915 remained. More than half of this was spent on the initial renovation and leasing of the warehouse.

I still fail to understand how, say, $175K were not enough to renovate and lease a small warehouse. Game developers pretty much only need outlets and some relative quiet. I feel like organizers –as it happens so often with crowdfunding campaigns- went too hard and thought that they could afford architects and such. Same with rewards: pushing for original games made just for the backers sounded a bit crazy to me (you know it takes forever to make a good game, right?). Overreaching is so common in crowdfunding and yet, campaigns always fall into that trap.

While LA/GS is gone, its goal remains valid and we encourage others to pursue this dream: To explore and expand the potential of videogames as a creative medium.

We are, game developers of all kinds, already doing that: there are tons of wacky and weird games out there! It’s always been the case since the beginning of computer games. That’s not the dream. What we need is to secure some ways to sustain our creative medium that is so demanding. We need to sustain its craftsmen and women. Its workforce there, I said it. We need to sustain common foundations to build better and more under control than what we’ve done in the past. Unity and Unreal are just a couple stones. We need so much more. We need to get away from the Me Too paradigm that is making computer game culture a joke. So much has been written by stellar minds on the subject of game development and game design and we’re not leveraging anything! It’s quite unreal.

It doesn’t take fancy offices to practice production and make solid games. Nor should it need over a quarter million dollars to open a space and allow it to become a sustainable gamedev environment.

There will be other LA Game Spaces.

Speaking of elections

November 8th, 2018 by harold

So, with the current life expectancy you can assume that the oldest boomers will die around 2025, on average. The youngest ones will pass around 2043. On average. Many will go up into the 2060s because life expectancy is growing every year of our lives and many boomers will live into their 90s and early 100s. My parents for instance, in far better shape than my grandparents at the same age, are likely scheduled to do that.

2060s. That’s the next eleven presidential elections where boomers will vote and out-vote everyone. And of course, the worst boomers are probably rich and definitely can afford to live until the mid 2060s. That’s 12 presidential elections.

That means that the idea that things will change because older people will die soon, is more than exaggerated. It’s weak. I repeat: starting 2020, eleven straight elections with most boomers still voting. that’s a lot. That’s most of our lives regardless of which generation you belong to. We can’t afford to wait for nature to do its thing. And no, we can’t go on a rampage younglings, calm down.

That means that we need to convince older people getting older to stop being selfish and scared. Because we need them to vote for the right thing: a fair society. It’s not going to be easy as they are clutching their damn pearls so much already, but they have to listen to us. We have to talk to them constantly. We have to annoy the shit out of them until they change their minds. It’s not an option.

Sheats-Goldstein house review

November 6th, 2018 by harold

I was invited to visit this… It’s hard to explain. It’s a house. Not really? It’s a cluster of dedicated spaces for living. And those spaces are… I don’t even know, man. But I was The Dude for a minute:


For those of you who are uncultured swine, this is where The Big Lebowski sits when he’s getting drugged in that movie called The Big Lebowski. I can’t remember our host’s name but she was lovely. It’s hard to describe what I felt entering this:


I imagined what it felt like to stroll there a billion times. For years. I’ve read everything I could about Lautner and this house. I know everything that can possibly be known about it via books and internet. And then it happened. It immediately made me sad that I don’t live there. No shame. It’s ultra-bold, low-key eccentric, strong and solid, pure as FUCK. I love the feel of polished or rough concrete everywhere. The beautiful, comfortable and look-alike Belgium carpet (the floors are heated in winter). The wood lines, the polygons all around… Everything is cantilevered if possible. It’s jaw-dropping. And all you hear when you go around the pool are birds. Birds, jungle and shelter. It’s absolutely, insanely fantastic. I can’t.


Dining table, kitchen and straight ahead, bedrooms to the right with sliding glass doors. It’s not a huge house. It’s perfect. Now, James is extending, adding expansions. But wait, look at the master bedroom from the corner of it:


Yes those sliding glass doors close the couch corner. Look. No doubt, when closed, it is hot at noon. When open, it is perfect. there is no AC in the entire house. Fuck AC, go outside under a tree you idiot. Save the planet etc.


Shout out to the landscaping. It’s lavishly gorgeous. You can see the steps on the left leading to the chairs in front of the wall to the right. Everything is hiding behind a ton of vegetation. You can’t see the house from the street, you can’t see it from where this picture was taken, you can’t see it from maps, street view and what not. Privacy through nature is life goal, son. Oh yeah, expansions.


There’s a club now (underneath the tennis court). Left to the TV is the DJ booth. It is of course cantilevered concrete and cantilevered metal, you peasants with supporting beams. Be gone.


It’s mesmerizing. I’m a bit concerned with the sound, though. That’s a lot of reflecting surfaces, this might sound like you are inside a spray paint can; metallic as hell. Maybe not. I haven’t been invited to play there. Yet.



Final Boss Chair and The Office View. I imagine looking at the horizon, pondering, rotating on that chair… “am I happy?” lmao just kidding. It’s the table where checks are being signed. Or maybe where James, the owner, draws vulvas on post-its.

Speaking of him, he was there, playing tennis and reading papers. It’s absurd that I now live 20 minutes away from that man and that I see him later on TV, courtside of the Lakers game. “Hey James, I was hanging out in your bedroom this morning and now you’re like me, shaking your head at those Lakers getting whooped by Serge Ibaka”.

It’s just… I can’t. Now, real talk.

This entire human creation of a shelter was mostly possible because of James’ bottomless finances. They say he invested well in real estate many decades ago and doesn’t need to work. Real estate is a ruthless business that kicks people out of their homes everyday. People, ants like you and I, fight to keep rights against real estate folks everyday. There’s prop 10 right now on the ballot this week (it’s YES on 10, don’t be rude). So, knowing that people somewhere in this country are paying a steep price for ONE dude to enjoy all year long a completely unique home, is hard to swallow. It conflicts me.

On the other hand, I respect James. He worked directly with John Lautner and his firm for over 40 years to maintain and extend the vision. The result is supreme. He also isn’t one of those billionaires who are all over themselves: he only owns this house and his 1961 Rolls-Royce, “that’s it”. He could have a villa in Ibiza, 4 Ferraris, a condo in NYC and an apartment in Aspen. Nope. He also opens his house from time to time to freaking nobodies like me and doesn’t sweat it. He already gave the house to LACMA so it will be preserved and open to visit for certain. He also loves basketball and isn’t the biggest fan of the Lakers. A man of taste (I won’t comment on his fashion; fashion is fashion).

Also shout out to the Sheats family who was able to see something in this parcel of land that was basically a giant wall of dry ass mud. There was almost no vegetation. A nice view over LA, right, but damn. At the same time, in the late 50s they probably bought that lot for like, $49.99. Not hard to try things out.


I don’t really have any besides the decreasing use of wood in the newest sections. Listen: wood + concrete + glass = ecstasy. You take wood out of the equation and it’s not quite the same. Wood brings warmth, naturally. But I understand the reason why James is cutting lumber use down: maintenance. Wood gets hit, needs care, paint etc. You don’t need that with concrete and super-thick glass. That shit is immortal, basically.

If you want to have panic attacks, having kids and pets on that property would do it: there are almost no railing anywhere and it’s the jungle on a hill so say goodbye to your dog the first time he jumps down there chasing a squirrel.

Besides those minor inconveniences, dear Mr. Goldstein I would like to have my name on the deed, sir. I would probably switch the tennis court to a basketball court/skatepark combo but other than that, I would take care of that jewel for even longer than you will. Thank you for opening your door. And thank you John Lautner for being a genius. I’ll be back. Like, tomorrow if you want. Or tonight.

Photo album (60 pictures, no cropping, no filter).

I’m going

November 1st, 2018 by harold

To Do

I live a weird life. And sometimes it’s pretty dope.

Last time I write about fucking crunch

October 26th, 2018 by harold

Y’all tripping with this shit. No one is arguing that crunch is cool. It just fucking happens. Because that’s how it goes with game development. And life.

Let’s take a look at history: first video game ever made, 1958. October 1958. 60 years ago.

The instrumentation group had a small analog computer that could display various curves, including the path of a bouncing ball, on an oscilloscope. It took Higinbotham only a couple of hours to conceive the idea of a tennis game, and only a few days to put together the basic pieces.

“only a few days”. The dude crunched. Highly likely. Another one about the birth of the Amiga:

Miner and his team built their chipset, destined eventually to be miniaturized and etched into silicon, out of off-the-shelf electronics components, creating a pile of breadboards large enough to fill a kitchen table, linked together by a spaghetti-like tangle of wires, often precariously held in place with simple alligator clips. It had no keyboard or other input method; the software team wrote programs for it on a workstation-class 68000-based computer called the Sage IV, then uploaded them to the Lorraine and ran them via a cabled connection. The whole mess was a nightmare to maintain, with wires constantly falling off, pieces overheating, or circuits shorting out seemingly at random. But when it worked it provided the first tangible demonstration of Miner’s extraordinary design. Amiga accordingly packed it all up and transported it — very carefully! — to Las Vegas for its coming-out party at Winter CES.

TL;DR: they worked their asses off –building a damn new computer with new architecture- to get a barely-working hardware demo out in order to get financing going to *actually* build the Amiga. That’s so, so wild. Obviously, no crunch at all.

Another big example and I’ll stop there:

Nintendo. Super Mario 64. First ever 3D Mario. First prototype five years before the game came out. Nintendo for the first time, was not building their own chips, they were using Silicon Graphics (SGI) and MIPS stuff. They were making their flagship Mario game for a new console using 2 very different CPUs from a US company that they had kind of just met. It was a fucking nightmare of complexity: they were developing Mario on a supercomputer, hoping that SGI would be on time to ship the real console components. Hoping. While trying to make a great game they –and no one- had ever done right before: a true 3D platformer.

Super Mario 64 is one of the most important game ever made. And an absolutely excellent game. I’m sure they didn’t crunch at all. They went to bed early, took naps every day when they felt like it. Laughing and having fun.

Y’all are annoying. Crunch happens. I crunched for 3 days to finish my stupid Twine game because if you don’t do more trying to wrap it up, you can go on endlessly. That’s what happens with game development. That’s the fucking curse. Nothing is ever done in a digital world and it feels like you can always tweak. There are always some shit you can tweak. In the real world at some point it feels done. Never in the world of computer games (music production is the closest in terms of endlessness).

But also Jesus, crunch is fucking everywhere: people shipping rockets crunch. Nurses at the ER crunch. Folks building cars crunch when they’re expected to produce [number] of cars a week. Amazon workers will crunch like crazy in a few weeks. You think your favorite show/movie is made with 9-5 people? Your own mom probably crunched a million times because of you. It’s not healthy, that’s not the fucking point.

The point is that it happens and you need to go through it, do whatever you can so that it doesn’t happen again and it still will happen. We can also chill and nothing will ever come out of chilling forever. At some point you need to go hard to get shit done. Period.

It’s more the case with game development than anything else because there is no rules in game development. No standard way of doing things. If people crunch in fields where we know exactly how to make the sausage, imagine in a field where we don’t know and never will because every single game is made differently and knowledge is barely shared (NDA, NDA). Crunch will more than likely happen.

You shake your head and you do it. Because you care. Because of the sink-cost fallacy. Because you need to pay the bills. Whatevs. In the end the game is out and you feel better. Then you move on with your life. Nothing’s perfect. But shipping something you’re proud of, is a hell of a drug.

Lame Store

October 26th, 2018 by harold

So I have access to an iPad Air now. I haven’t played games on iOS in ages. Years. So I went to the App Store, thinking, “oh my god, it’s going to be full of amazing games I don’t know about”.

In the top 30 there are pretty much the exact same games as on my dead as hell Windows Phone app store. LMFAO. Subway Riders, Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds and a sea of match-3 games. Super addictive pool games like I was playing on my phone in 2011. I’m silently wheezing.

What’s sad to me is that the polishing level hasn’t increased at all. It’s all meh or bad. Not even sound on Hole.io, a top free game that could have awesome sound effects but only serves you with loud commercials every time you lose. The complete lack of care, goddamn.

Also holy fuck the spam and constant pull to make you download other apps and in-app purchases is unreal. I’m not surprised kids buy stuff in seconds. And then you grind for 68 hours. And then give up, ashamed at the pointless shit you’ve been tapping on on repeat for months. Gaming on tablets is bizarre.

I’m blown away by the legendary super good and so much better Apple app store I guess.

NBA post-it

October 25th, 2018 by harold

I don’t want to hear about no king. Also I’m rooting for everyone black and left-handed.

It’s been a very rough off season for the Spurs. Watching Kawhi and Danny go for almost ten steals in a pre-season game and basically low-key destroying the East is giving me diarrhea and simultaneously makes me mad happy. They’re so good and cold as icey gentlemen that they are. Toronto is now up 4-0 which doesn’t mean anything in a season but Kawhi is the most efficient player out there. Damn I miss him.

KD can discuss that for sure. Over Utah, KD showed that he’s the best player in the NBA. Can score at will over anyone, plays great defense. And that got them to win against a Jazz team that was clicking like a Swiss clock. The Warriors are fighting right now. The west is ruthless.

The Spurs the other night. Man, that first half. That fucking ball movement and quasi-perfect shooting performance, gahd. And they’re missing Dejounte lost to injury a couple weeks ago so they struggled to close the game. Other than that, they looked great. Rudy is a beast. DeMar is hesitating a bit too much on his drives but he passed the ball a lot and nicely. Lamarcus didn’t have the greatest night but I do love him, his hustle, his offensive rebounding and overall focus. The Spurs units are stable as hell. I like what I see with Bryn Forbes. He’s going so hard and the rest of the team is ramping up, trying to get in the zone.

Great game.