Atheism+ and the Bullies

September 7th, 2012

Link: http://srehn.com/blogs/A+_Bullies

A few weeks ago Jen McCreight posted a little piece that has blown up into a monstrous storm (in both good and bad ways) on the atheist blogosphere.  The general idea is to make a subset of the atheist movement focused on social justice issues like feminism, racism, classism, etc. [A more complete list of the ideals is here.]  You'd think this would be a minor event that few would disagree with, even if many aren't terribly excited about it.  After all, there are already atheist board gaming groups, atheist book discussion groups, etc.  There are all sorts of special sub-topic interest groups.

But that's not what happened.  First, it turned out that a LOT of people were very interested.  Largely, it seems this is a result of (and a reaction to) the rampant misogyny prevalent in atheist blogging circles, and to some extend in IRL atheist gatherings.  So much so that there's now an Atheism+ website complete with a well-developed forum, etc.

The other side of this storm (the bad side in my opinion) is the reaction of the vocal minority.  They claim that A+ is divisive (which it is, but only in a very limited way which I'll get to shortly).  They claim we want to exclude old people, white people, men, etc.  This is false and I'm pretty sure they know it.  They claim that we're trying to create a religion, lift up a demigod before us, etc.  This is silly on the face of it from anyone who moves in atheist circles.

Well guess what, fellas: Straight White Male is the lowest difficulty setting.  I'm a straight white male myself and I assure you that it's true.  Certainly there are other parts of my life that make it harder for me, but overall people give me the benefit of the doubt.  They assume I'm talented, intelligent, trustworthy, honorable, hardworking, etc.  There are lots of things about being a straight white male that make my life easier and that doesn't say anything good or bad about me.  It's just true.

Is Atheism+ divisive?  Absolutely!  It divides us from the misogynists, racists, and various other bigots.  It draws a line in the sand to point out to the outside world and each other that some things are acceptable (e.g. being male) and other things are not acceptable (e.g. being an asshole toward women).  Discriminating against people based on who they are is not cool.  Discriminating against them based on their behavior is, however, an excellent idea and the sign of basic intelligence.

Do you think we aren't losing allies because of this?  You're wrong.  (Warning: The kinds of abuse used as evidence in that link might be triggers for some folks.)  I can also add my anecodal "evidence" that I know of at least two women who nominally our allies who don't really participate much anymore because of the misogyny and threats they've been subjected to.

On the strategy side of it: the claim is often made that we're "driving out" people who would otherwise be our allies.  To a certain extent this is true; an atheist bigot might be my ally in the fight for separation of church and state.  This is a limited alliance, to be sure, and only good long enough to fight a certain intellectual battle.  The problem is that in that time the bigot has driven away many other potential allies (women, people of color, GLBT folks, etc.).  That is not acceptable morally.  It's also not an acceptable numeric tradeoff: the atheist bigots are a small group but the atheists of one or another discriminated-against group are legion.  Women alone are roughly half, though they often don't show up to conferences and gatherings because they've previously been subjected to the misogynistic majority of those bigots.  You say we can't afford to be divisive?  I say we can't afford not to.

So to you priviliged men who think you get to run the show (including, it appears, Richard Dawkins), I say this: Bugger off.  We don't need you.  Go start your own atheist-assholes club somewhere else.

Do you want to attack my masculinity or sexuality or whatever else you think might be a sore spot?  Have at it.  I'll even open up the comments for you.

 

Other useful links:

An Incomplete Guide to Not Creeping

Who gets to be a Geek?  Anyone who wants to be.

The Great Geek Sexism Debate

More links to come as I find them...

Eve Online: Highsec Anomalies

January 27th, 2012

What I did
I’ve been speed-running high-sec anomalies.  This is possible with the "new" (almost a year old) scanning mechanic because, in most systems,  you only need to use the on-board scanner once to find all anomalies.  (If you see any planets more than 64 AU from your location you may need to warp closer to those planets and scan again.  Anomalies can spawn within 4 AU from any planet.)  By “speed-running” I mean that I just warp in, shoot the rats and warp out.  I do not loot/salvage any wrecks except for faction wrecks.  This is why I can run 13+ sites/hour, including the time to jump around from system to system finding the sites.  In an effort to get an idea of just how good this is, ISK-wise, I’ve been keeping track and doing this for a lot of hours.

I’ve been doing this mostly in low-end highsec (0.5-0.8) in Sansha-rat regions (Domain, Tash-Murkon, etc.).  I also spent a little time hunting Blood Raiders' anomalies.

Fitting
I decided that a cruiser would be best for this since it can tank more than enough and the guns can still hit frigates pretty well.  90% of the rats in these anomalies are frigates and destroyers.

Omen Navy Issue

Low
2x Centii C-Type Small Armor Repairer (Yes, really.  They’re cheap enough and light on the power grid.  This also gives a better tank than a medium repper would even if I did have the PG to spare.)
2x Energized Adaptive Nano Plating II
1x Damage Control II
1x Heat Sink II
1x Tracking Enhancer II

Mid
1x 10MN Afterburner II
2x Capacitor Control Circuit II

High
5x Heavy Modal Pulse Laser I (Imperial Navy Multifrequency M)
1x Salvager I (only for faction spawns)

3x Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I

5x Hobgoblin II

Tank: 131dps (omni)
Gank: 341 dps (plus drones, if I launch them)
Speed: 605m/s

Results
So far I’ve run 301 sites, made 53 million from bounties, 50 million from T2 salvage from the faction spawns, 24 million from the high-meta items that faction rats sometimes carry, and 221 million from the faction modules they carried.  This works out to 15.7 ISK/hour at my pace of 13.5 sites/hour or 1.16 million ISK/site if you run them faster or slower.  Most of the money is in the faction loot and that is a very hit-or-miss thing so if you try this be patient.  It takes a lot of repetition before it’s worth it.

Good Parts
ISK!  This works out to be somewhat less than I can earn doing level 4 missions (I’ll post my numbers on that later).  It also has a bit of a “treasure hunt” feel to it since sometimes you make very little and then every once in a while you hit a jackpot.  Example: one day I killed a True Sansha Misshape which dropped a True Sansha Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane, a True Sansha Small EMP Smartbomb, and a True Sansha Warp Scrambler.  In total, this drop was worth about 180 million ISK.  All of this came from running a Sansha Refuge site in a 0.8 system.  Of course, I did 61 other Sansha Refuge sites before that and only one other of those sites gave me loot worth mentioning (a True Sansha Medium Pulse Laser ~30M ISK).
Also, it’s in high-sec so being attacked is less of a worry (suicide gankers are always relevant though).  Scanning for anomalies is quick, compared to scanning for deadspace plexes which takes a long time.
For bounties, the Dens as well as Hidden/Forsaken/Forlorn hideaways give much better bounties than the other anomalies.  This is mostly because you fight more cruisers in these sites.

It’s also easy.  You could run these sites in a T1 cruiser with only meta modules.  I wish I’d thought of this back when 15 million ISK/hour sounded like a lot.

Bad Parts
It’s a tedious way to spend your time and you’re not guaranteed to make more than the very small amount of ISK from bounties.  You won’t make nearly as much as you could running anomalies in low-sec or null-sec either.

It’s also quite frustrating to finally get a faction spawn, open the wreck, and see a tag and a faction laser crystal.  ISK value: diddly squat. There are also lots of faction modules that really aren't worth much, such as the "True Sansha Reflective Plating".

Strategies
Many systems will have zero or only a few anomalies.  This is because anomalies mostly respawn when someone runs them, and they could respawn anywhere that gets the same kind of anomaly.  The result is that the most trafficked systems stay close to zero anomalies and the dead-end boring systems often have over a dozen.  It’s worth your time to go places where nobody else goes.  Remember that system with one gate and no stations?  Go there.

Run the sites quickly.  Most of the ISK comes from the rare faction spawns, so your goal is to finish the site and “roll the dice” to see if you get that spawn.  If you don’t (and you usually won’t) then you move on and do it all again.  Work out what the ideal warp-to distance is for each type of site you run.  Some of them are better to snipe and for some you want to be right in the middle of things.  You’ll run the same few sites (Hideaway and Refuge mostly) over and over so you’ll have no shortage of practice.

You might want to skip drone sites.  Their “faction spawns” are sentient drones which drop drone parts, most of which aren’t worth much.  Also, since the drones don’t give bounties and you aren’t picking up loot there’s no equivalent of a bounty payoff.  I’m not sure yet whether the faction rats from the higher-level sites (Refuge and Den) give better loot than the low-level ones (Hideaway and Burrow) but the data imply that that’s possible.  I’ll need a bigger sample size to be sure, so stay tuned.

Data Porn
Here's the spreadsheet.  It also contains my data on deadspace sites and mag/radar sites, which I might eventually write about if I feel like it.
I ran 301 sites and got 17 faction spawns (5.65%).  260 were Sansha sites with 13 True Sansha spawns (5.0%), 31 were drone sites with 3 Sentient dronw spawns, and 10 were Blood Raider sites with 1 Dark Blood spawn.
Of those 14 faction spawns (I don’t count the sentient drones; their drops are droppings), I got 6 faction modules.  This works out to 0.428 modules per faction spawn but they don’t drop that way.  Instead you’ll get 5 “empty” faction spawns (just tags and ammo) in a row and then one with 3 modules.  It’s very hit-or-miss.  This is part of the reason I want to run more of these to shore up the numbers.  I don’t think my sample size is big enough yet.

Etc.
Are the Faction tags (True Sansha Brass Tag, Dark Blood Copper Tag, etc.) good for anything?  I can’t find a use for them beyond selling them on the market.  Do the people who buy them have a use I don't know about?


Update 1:

I ran sites for a few more hours.  I got a quite nice drop (see the pretty picture) and this increased the average to 24 million isk/hour.  That's still less than I can make running level 4 missions, but it's competitive.  This just emphasizes that payoff for highsec anomalies is VERY hit-or miss.  About 2/3 of my income for this so far is from the best two faction rat drops.

loot

Eve Online: How I'm Quitting Eve Online

July 19th, 2012

History

I've been playing EVE Online since November 5, 2010.  I've always known I have the sort of addictive personality that would easily come to be addicted to good MMO games.  I knew that going in, and yet I still started EVE.

Since then I've added two accounts (It's common for EVE players to have multiple accounts and to run multiple instances of the client software at the same time.) for a total of three accounts running at the same time.  That's something like $33-$45 a month, depending on how exactly I pay.  Lately I've been paying with in-game currency by buying PLEX.  My main character has over 33 million SP, and the other two have about 25 million and 23 million, respectively.

The Problem

I've been playing the game too much (often 40+ hours/week, in addition to a full-time job).  I've been thinking about the game too much, and reading blogs about it, etc.  It's overwhelming and not nearly as much fun as it used to be.  Yet the urge to keep playing hasn't really gotten any weaker.

The Goal

I want to reduce my amount of EVE play to the point where it's cheap (little financial input from my real-world money) and not too intrusive on my time (no more than 1-2 hours/week max).  I've put a lot of time into developing my characters so I don't want to just abandon them, but reducing the play seems appropriate.

I want to go down to just 1 active account, while retaining the ability to reactivate them without using real money.  I want to keep that 1 account running off of PLEX for a nice long time so that it can build up SP to spend on the skills I have planned out for it.

Considerations

I have a lot of business ventures and investments going on.  While these seem like they would be irrelevant to someone who won't be playing EVE, they are worth in-game money (ISK, InterStellar Kredits, the common currency of EVE Online ).

I have a manufacturing POS running in a high-sec system.  The POS is worth a lot of ISK, and the raw materials and partly-completed products are worth even more.  I have several capital component BPOs that are being researched to sell for a profit.

I have a lot of ships and posessions that I want to sell off to fund the PLEX to keep that main account running for such a long time.

I had some long-standing buy orders up for materials I used to run my manufacturing.  They were very profitable (I'd estimate ~10-20 billion ISK profit, long-term)

Method

First, I'm not doing any of the "grind" types of activities to make ISK any more.  No mission running, no exploration, nothing like that.  I am running manufacturing and market-oriented activities, but only selling.  My buy orders are all cancelled, and I'm only maintaining the sell orders at a minimum level.  Mostly I'm letting the market take care of itself.

I'm working through my stock of raw materials; turning them into manufactured goods.  I have some Triage Module IIs in production, which sell for quite a lot.  I have quite a lot of drones manufacturing.  These will be completed and sold, but no new jobs will be started.

Once I'm done with manufacturing I will take the POS down and sell it on contracts.  It's worth about 2.5 billion itself (it's a large faction POS), and the manufacturing/research arrays are expensive too.

I'm putting most of this money into PLEX which will go to the main character.  I want to run that character for at least a year off of PLEX; just logging in to change skills and maybe play around with newly-released content from time to time.  I want to reduce my temptation to backslide by doing the more grind-ey activities via the method of selling off the ships and equipment needed to perform those activities.  Hulks: Gone!  Mackinaws: Gone! Exploration Tengu: Gone!

Outside of the game, I'm taking up other activities to use up my time.

Progress so far:

-I'm playing League of Legends (which is an MMO, but one which I know I get bored of quickly enough it won't be a problem).

-I've also bought a copy of Endless Space, which is a pretty good 4X style game.  I don't think I'll want to play it compulsively though.  I'll probably write about both of these at some point in the future.

-I've stopped missions, mining, exploring.  No more grind!

-I've sold off 5 of my capital component BPOs, and acquired about 13 PLEXes.  4 more BPOs to go (as they finish research).

-I've used up about 1/3 of my minerals for manufacturing stuff.  2/3 left to go.

-I've put a PLEX into the reverse-redeeming system for one of the accounts I'll be deactivating.  I will do the same with the other inactive account, and then

 

Update:

Yeah, this isn't working so well.  I've reduced my reliance on Eve, but I still play.  I've moved to a different system and I run missions on a regular basis as of October, 2012.

Eve Online: Loot Nerf

June 26th, 2012

What I Did

I ran a bunch of missions. The data I'm going to use for this post were all collected using a Nightmare on my main and a Noctis on my alt to loot/salvage the mission spaces.  I kept data on how much ISK I made on the missions, including detailed data on what loot I managed to get from them.


Comparison

Time Spent Missioning; Before Nerf: 26.94 hours; After Nerf: 15.28 hours

Total Missions; Before Nerf: 69 missions; After Nerf: 48 missions

Missions/Hour; Before Nerf: 2.56 missions/hour; After Nerf: 3.14 missions/hour (This is notably faster so it's possible that my slightly increased skills resulted in faster mission running.  My main is nearly maxed out, however, so there wasn't much change in skills.)

Loot Income; Before Nerf: 250.54 million ISK; After Nerf: 236.92 million ISK  (even though I spent fewer hours missioning)

% of Income from Loot; Before Nerf: 17.00%; After Nerf: 25.74%

% of Income from Drone Alloys: Before Nerf: 4.95%; After Nerf: 0% (Drones don't drop alloys any more.)

What we were told about the nerf

In a devblog it was announced that drone alloys and meta-0 loot would all be removed from the loot drops when you kill NPCs in Eve.  The meta-0 loot would be replaced with a single unit of metal scraps each.  It was announced that the reason for this was to reduce the amount of minerals added to the economy from refining loot.

Both of these actions were clearly taken.  Whether they actually reduced the minerals from loot will be examined below.  You see, I kept actual data on how many of each high-refine item dropped during each of these data collection sessions and how much of each mineral each would refine into.

Loot value changes by category

Ammo (only laser crystals refine into a large amount of minerals) -- Before: 1.52%, After: 2.27% (Before the nerf, laser crystals amounted to 1.52% of the value of refinable loot; after the nerf they amounted to 2.27%.  I think this one is within the margin of error.)

Metal Scraps -- Before: 0.99%, After: 1.52% (Obviously, they increased the drop rate.)

Propulsion (MWDs, Afterburners, etc.) -- Before: 11.91%, After: 12.03% (The Prototype 100MN MWD is the big money item here, and being meta it was untouched by the nerf.)

Armor Hardeners -- Before: 12.89%, After: 12.41% (We lost the meta-0 hardeners, but the other meta are all worth more when refined anyway so it's no big loss.)

Armor Plates -- Before: 17.84%, After: 13.15% (The various meta-0 plates were woth a lot; particularly 800mm Reinforced Steel Plates I, so this loss is noticeable.)

Cap Boosters -- Before: 3.09%, After: 1.20% (The Meta-0 Heavy and Medium cap boosters were worth the most and had the highest drop rates.)

Neuts -- Before -- 1.74%, After: 1.80% (Almost all of the money is in Large Energy Neutralizers of various levels and the meta-0 version didn't drop even before the nerf, so there's no change here.)

Energy Transfers -- Before: 0.62%, After: 0.94% (Same as with the neuts; there was nothing to lose here.  I think the change is just statistical noise.)

Nosferatus -- Before: 3.38%, After: 5.85%  (All we lost here are the Medium Nosferatu I and Small Nosferatu I, whereas most of the money was in large NOS's.  I'm not sure whether this increase represents an actual incresaed drop rate or just statistical noise.)

Lasers -- Before: 18.52%, After: 12.09% (I mission in Amarr space so lasers are over-represented.  There was lots of money in things like Heavy Beam Laser I and Heavy Pulse Laser I.  These were flat-out removed.)

Hybrid Turrets -- Before: 4.91%, After: 3.14% (Similar to the lasers, the medium meta-0 stuff is gone.)

Projectile Turrets -- Before: 3.19%, After: 2.14% (Similar to the lasers, the medium meta-0 stuff is gone.)

Missile Launchers -- Before: 0.76%, After: 15.65% (This is mostly due to a trio of Arbalest heavy Missile Launchers I got during this time period.  This might be an increased drop rate but I just don't know.)

Shield Transporters -- Before: 2.09%, After: 0.71% (I think this is random noise since we only lost the Medium Shield Transporter I, which didn't make up much of my pre-nerf total.)

Hull Repairers -- Before: 0.57%, After: 0.00% (Medium Hull Repairer I - gone.)

Cap Batteries -- Before: 1.08%, After: 0.31% (Large Capacitor Battery I is gone, and that was significant.)

Shield Boosters -- Before: 0.76%, After: 0.50% (We lost the meta-0 ones, but I didn't get any XL or Large Meta-0 shield boosters before the nerf either.  Random noise, I think.)

Shield Extenders -- Before: 1.15%, After: 0.87% (We lost the Medium Shield Extender I, which wasn't worth much.)

Shield Hardeners -- Before: 1.30%, After: 0.31% (The meta-0 models were a big part of this field.)

Smartbombs -- Before: 11.72%, After: 13.12% (This category is another weird outlier where the meta-0 stuff refines down to less minerals than the high meta stuff does.  That's why losing the medium meta SBs isn't a big deal.)

Stuff I didn't keep data on

I wish I had more specific data on things like high-meta ECMs, webs, jammers, etc. that sell for a lot even though they don't refine to much.  I suspect they're dropping at a higher rate now, but I can't prove it.  It could be just the effect of seeing the "value" at the bottom right of the inventory and not missing them in my cargo like I probably did before.

Conclusions

It's undoubted that loot is now a lower volume than it used to be.  I can run missions for 4-5 hours straight without filling up my Noctis, unlike before the nerf.  It's possible that the loot now refines to less minerals than before, but I don't think so.

What's clear, however, is that the loot from level-4 missions is no less profitable to a mission runner now than it was before the Great Loot Nerf of '12.


Eve Online: Mission Running

February 8th, 2012

(Updated June 25, 2012.  I've run a bunch of hours with a Nightmare/Noctis combination again (after the loot nerf) to collect data comparing the two.)

What I Did

I ran a bunch of missions for agents in high-security space in Eve Online.  Yes, I know, quite novel.  The difference is that I kept careful track of things like time spent, loot value, salvage value, loyalty points (LPs), and bounties.  With this data, I was able to produce a reasonably accurate calculation of the income in ISK/hour.

I was very realistic about this.  I ran the missions the way I really do, not just including the good ones.  For example, one time when running The Anomaly (3 of 3), I forgot to bring the scientist along until I was in the final room.  That meant I had to go back to station and get him, and that added to the time and reduced the ISK/hour for that session.  This is included in the calculation because stuff like that really happens.  To skip that one would be unrealistic.

I also broke it down by different ship types and mission levels.  I haven’t spent as much time on levels 1-3 yet as I would like, but I’ll get around to it eventually.

Data by Ship Type and Mission Level

L1 Missions; Imperial Navy Slicer: 1.18 hours, 10 missions, 2.16 million ISK, 1,173 LP (counted as 1000 ISK/LP), so 3.33 million ISK or 2.82 million ISK/hour.

L2 Missions; Omen Navy Issue: 0.85 hours (yes, I know), 4 missions, 2.91 million isk, 1,756 LP (counted as 1000 ISK/LP), so 4.67 million ISK or 5.49 million ISK/hour.

L3 Missions (none done yet)

L4 Missions; Apocalypse Navy Issue: 25.43 hours, 37 missions, 440.66 million ISK, 126,566 LP (counted as 1000 ISK/LP), 30.88 million ISK in bonus/loot items (only collected when convenient and expensive), so 594.33 million ISK total or 23.37 million ISK/hour.  Note that this is slightly less than I could make running high-sec anomalies in the Omen Navy Issue listed above.

L4 Missions; Nightmare: 39.32 hours, 68 missions, 738.05 million ISK in bounties/rewards, 235,121 LP (counted as 1000 ISK/LP), 212.41 million ISK in loot (Tech 2 tractor beam FTW!), 40.15 million ISK in drone alloys, 164.17 million ISK in salvage (I could probably increase this subtotal by training salvaging skills higher.  It sometimes takes a lot of cycles to finish.), for a total of 1389.91 million ISK or 35.35 million ISK/hour.

L4 Missions; Nightmare with an alt in a Noctis following (before loot nerf): 26.94 hours, 69 missions, 632.43 million ISK in bounties/rewards, 294,820 LP (counted as 1000 ISK/LP), 250.54 million ISK worth of loot (it's easy to loot everything on the field with a Noctis), 72.96 million ISK in drone alloys, 223.02 million ISK from salvage, for a total of 1473.78 million ISK.  This works out to 54.70 million ISK/hour.

L4 Missions; Nightmare with an alt in a Noctis following (after loot nerf): 15.28 hours, 48 missions, 349.85 million ISK in bounties/rewards, 197,467 LP (counted as 1000 ISK/LP), 236.92 million ISK worth of loot, NO drone alloys (they've been removed, mostly), 136.18 million ISK from salvage, for a total of 920.39 million ISK.  This works out to 60.22 million ISK/hour.



(Note: I only looted/salvaged when flying ships that can do it while I’m running the mission without sacrificing DPS too much.  Currently this is just the Nightmare, though once I get a Paladin I’ll try it with that too.)

What I Got Out of It

Well, ISK (the currency of Eve Online) essentially, but much of it comes in different forms.

ISK: Bounties from shooting pirates and the ISK part of the rewards for finishing missions.  This is the most straightforward part of the income.  Keep in mind that part of the official reward is based on completing the mission quickly.  I don’t think I turned in any missions too late during this recording period.  Direct ISK made up 53.1% of the income in the Nightmare sample.

Loyalty Points (LP): These are points for trading for limited-availability items from the corporation you worked for.  If you’re smart about it you can often get 1000 ISK per LP for the empire corporations (often much more for pirate corps, BTW).  LPs made up 16.9% oof the income in the Nightmare sample.

Loot: Things you pick up out of the wrecks of your NPC enemies can often be valuable.  I’ve particularly noticed that large Blood Raiders and Sansha’s wrecks tend to have things like large smartbombs, 1600mm armor plates and large lasers, each of which are worth many hundreds of thousands of ISK.  The new Tech 2 tractor beams (24km range and 600m/s tractoring speed vs 20km range and 500m/s tractoring speed for the Tech 1 version) is very helpful here.  Yes, I also invent Tech 2 tractor beams.  What?  Conflicts of interest are legit in Eve.  Loot made up 15.3% of the income in the Nightmare sample.

Drone Alloys: Technically these are loot, but they’re the only kind of loot from rogue drones (aside from Sentient Drone faction spawns, but those are just broken, in a bad way, IMHO).  Drone alloys made up 2.9% of the income in the Nightmare sample, but that obviously will vary wildly depending on how many Rogue Drone missions you get.  In general, I avoid drone missions if I’m not flying a ship with a tractor beam.

Salvage: Running a salvager module on the wreck you just tractored in eventually results in salvage.  These are strange 0.01 m3 items that can be used to manufacture rigs.  Most of the different items are worth very little but if you salvage all the time (particularly large wrecks) they average out to be worth it.  Salvage makes up 11.8% of the income in the Nightmare sample.

Standings: You also gain standings with a corp for running their missions.  This is the only non-ISK-convertible thing you get out of mission-running.  If you do the faction missions they improve your standing with the faction and the corp and make your standing with the faction’s enemies worse.  I usually do faction missions, depending on how the faction’s enemies feel about me.  It’s possible to get good standings with every faction if you work for both sides of a particular enmity.  (I do both Amarr and Minmatar missions, myself.)

Risks Involved

Mostly I risked my ship.  You can’t lose a ship you don’t undock, but you can’t run missions in it either.  Unfortunately the best ships for mission running also tend to be the most expensive.  This creates an inherent tradeoff between running missions quickly and risking more ISK.

Based on my past performance, the most likely way to lose my ship is by flying stupid against the NPC pirates.  I’ve done pretty well in the last 60+ hours of level 4s, but I will screw up again eventually.  At best some day my internet connection will glitch at exactly the wrong time and I’ll log back in to a pod.

I mostly minimize this risk by making sure that my ship has relatively little value to a suicide ganker.  Yes the Nightmare will show up as 1 billion ISK plus on someone’s killboard if shey shoot it, but it won’t drop much.  The only faction+ equipment is the 3 Imperial Navy Heat Sinks (worth about 120 million ISK total).  Everything else is Tech 2 or high-meta tech 1 (I’m working on the large beams.  Less than a week left.) so the drops from the wreck won’t be worth much.

I also minimize risk by being very careful of mission invaders.  If someone shows up and it’s clear they’re just interested in salvaging, I finish the mission.  The moment they turn flashy (usually by shooting a wreck), I leave.  No it doesn’t mean they’re dangerous to me yet, but it does mean they’re trying to trick me into shooting them so they can kill me without getting Concordokkened.  Flying an expensive ship makes me wary of that.  Maybe they could trick me.

Prerequisites

Well, obviously you need to be able to do level 4 combat missions.  This requires standings with an appropriate corporation.  If you’re all about the missions, I recommend looking at their LP store before you start.  There seem to be 2 tiers of corp LP stores for each faction; one has about half of the stuff (mostly lower value offers) and the other tier has everything available.  Look for the weapon specialization skillbooks.  If they’re available, then the corp probably has a good LP store.  I’ll write up an post about converting LP to ISK later.  I have a couple of spreadsheets on the topic already, but I’m not quite happy with them.

Also, you need a ship that can handle level 4 combat missions.  The standard advice is a battleship of your chosen type (Ravens seem to be popular, though I prefer to shoot lasers) with a completely Tech 2 tank.  This means that your armor/shield repairer, resistance modules, and capacitor recharge modules should all be tech 2 before you undock the thing.  Of course, I was running level 4 missions (and losing battleships) before I had a completely tech 2 tank, so it all depends on how risk-averse you are.  Fly whatever way is fun for you!

Variation by Security Level

The security level of the space your agent is in makes a difference for the payouts of the mission.  The LP and ISK the agent offers are the only part that changes here.  Everything else (bounties, loot, salvage, etc.) is exactly the same whether you do it in 1.0 sec or deep nullsec.

Of course, the security hit and the response time of Concord if you get suicide ganked is worse at lower security levels of highsec too. Obviously if you take a mission in < 0.4 space there’s no concord at all.  Whether the space is safe for you or not depends on a lot of things.  If your corp is based in NPC nullsec then missions might be your best income source.  Pirate faction implants sell for a high markup if you can get ‘em to Jita.

Why Keeping Track Matters

If your objective is to maximize your ISK/hour, then you need to keep track at some point.  Otherwise you're just guessing that a Nightmare is better than a Paladin, or a Golem is better than a Rattlesnake.  Guessing may be good enough for most people but I wanted hard numbers, so I'm working on it.

Eve Online: Refining Anomalies

February 14th, 2012

 

I'm working on a spreadsheet to calculate whether each loot item should be reprocessed or sold on the market (I'll write a post about it soon) and I've noticed a few oddities.

Medium meta smartbombs (e.g. Medium Rudimentary Concussion Bomb I) reprocess to slightly more minerals than large meta smartbombs (e.g. Large YF-12A Smartbomb).  It's only about 5% more, but usually medium modules reprocess to less than half of the minerals of their large equivalent.  This is likely a mistake.

The meta armor hardeners refine to about 1.5x-3x the minerals of the meta-0 armor hardeners; mostly tritanium and pyerite.  Meta modules usually refine to less than the meta-0 hardeners.

Meta heavy cap boosters refine into about twice as many minerals as the meta-0 version.

Wow, missile launchers (even battleship-sized launchers) reprocess down to a tiny little pile of minerals.  It's like there's nothing in them.  It's a little disconcerting considering how big a stack of minerals you get out of similar sized turrets.

"Focused Afocal Pulse Maser I" - What a silly name... [If you don't get it... "afocal" means either not focused or not able to be focused.  "Focused afocal" is an oxymoron.]

Quite a few modules have a mineral in their reprocess list with 0 units.  This is not just a bug in the database; it appears in-game too.  I think these are a result of the 'loot nerf' of long ago.  This nerf reduced the refine amount of most meta items (I think by half) and reduced the drop rate of meta-0 items in an attempt to reduce the impact of reprocessed loot on the minerals market.  For those meta-0 items that contain just 1 of a particular mineral, half of that is 1/2.  This 1/2 must have been rounded down to 0, since you can't have half a unit of a mineral in Eve.

 

Religious Meme: Forcing Your Tenets on Others

October 27th, 2010

One meme common to many religious groups is to try to get people who aren't in the religion to obey its rules.  Working from the idea that a religious person thinks his or her religion is true, it's obvious that they'd think it's good to obey the rules.  They think good things will happen.  If they want what's best for other people, they'd want them to obey the rules too.  The problem is that they don't seem to understand the basic flaw here: other people don't believe that the religion is true (obviously, since they're not members) so they don't think these good things will happen.

This is one of the most infuriating memes from an outsider's perspective and one that makes it very difficult to live side-by-side with a religious community without conflict.

Examples:

Proposition 8: The campaign for California's recent law banning gay marriage was largely financed by the Mormon church.  But then, Mormons wouldn't marry someone of the same sex (would they?) so the law must be intended to keep other people from getting married.  The usual dogma that it "protects" marriage is spurious and only said to distract from the point.

Abstinence-only sex education: This one has even been enshrined into US law lately.  The idea that kids will be taught about sex, but not taught anything about condoms, birth control, or the other practical safety-related information they need to know is promoted by many religious groups (particularly Christians, but this one is very broad-based).  The fact that most people who eventually do get married will have had sex first regardless of what kind of sex ed they they had is the first red flag here.  The further research that people who only had abstinence-only sex ed are far less likely to use a condom when they do, nearly inevitably, have sex would put the final nail in the coffin if this were a science-based proposal.  It's not.

Blue Laws: Laws denoting what you are and are not allowed to do on the holy day of one religion (usually Sundays and Christianity, respectively, in North America) are sometimes called blue laws.  Can you buy beer on a Sunday at your local liquor store?  If you're in the midwest or substantial fraction of other states, probably not.

Pictures of Mohammed: One of the rules of most forms of Islam (and it is NOT a single religion by most definitions, whatever the proponents say) is that followers can't depict Mohammed.  The idea is to prevent idol worship by preventing the idolized person from having a physical form you can point to (which obviously worked so well...).  This would only be mildly strange on its own, but the sheer venom and violence shown by Muslims toward other people who depict their "prophet" is obviously an attempt to keep other people from disobeying their rule.

Respect the Koran/Bible/Torah/<Insert Holy Book or Object Here>: Many religious people get offended at disrespect toward an object their religion reveres, regardless of who owns this object.  The recent "Everybody Burn the Koran Day" is an example of the sheer stupidity that comes out.  Granted that the people behind this are idiots who were doing it for bigoted reasons, the fact remains that they were threatening to destroy their own books on their own property.  Who cares?  (Quite a lot of people actually, but they shouldn't.)

Indoctrinating Children: Teaching your religion to credulous children falls into the same category here.  It may annoy some people that I point this out, but it's true.  Nobody is born religious; it's something that happens to them along the way.  This almost always starts by telling kids to obey the small rules (dress up for church, say your prayers, etc.) before they're old enough to have any sort of opinion on the matter.

What's wrong with all of these?  They're affecting people other than those who believe in the religious ideas that the rules came from.  They're forcing one group's rules onto another group.  That isn't the sort of thing a free society should do.

Climategate: A Fake Scandal

June 28th, 2010

As those who follow science news should know, it turns out that the climategate scandal was utter bunk.  The whole thing started when a group of climate deniers managed to steal the email logs from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.  The emails appear to have shown that the researchers had (Gasp!) an opinion about whether their research was correct or not!  They did not, however, show that they'd faked any research or lied about anything.  Anyway, the folks who stole the emails sent them around to various news organizations, who obligingly blew them out of proportion and manufactured a scandal.

Currently everybody who had been accused of wrongdoing has been cleared, and a couple of newspapers have even admitted that they did wrong!  Unfortunately these admissions will never receive the same level of press coverage that the original "scandal" did, so many of those who aren't as well educated about climate change science will think that the previous nonsense proves that it's fake or something.

Hat tip: Pharyngula

Comment Spam

September 18th, 2010

I've finally started getting comment spam!  Keep 'em coming, bots!  I feel like I've made it.

Seriously though, if you have a real comment and I delete it, I'm sorry.  I'm deleting thousands (literally) of fake computer-generated comments and I might miss a real one.  Let me know if you have a problem.

An interesting note: after I didn't allow the spam comments to be published for a while, they all changed.  Now all of the comments are along the lines of "Great post!  Thanks-a-mundo.  Keep 'em coming." or similar nonspecific sucking-up.  I suppose some bloggers wouldn't delete those.  Not me.

Bitcoin

July 12th, 2010

I still read slashdot because every once in a while one of the stories really catches my interest.  The latest such story is about Bitcoin, an attempt to create a decentralized currency system.  If it, or a similar system, works it could create a whole new, and perhaps even more structurally sound, monetary system for the world.  More likely it will die with a wimper, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

It works a little like freenet, in that it is based on a lot of clients sending packets to one another to achieve some emergent objective.  Instead of transmitting data, the objective here is to keep track of the transactions going on.  There's also a distributed computing aspect in that the transactions in each "block" (roughly 10 minutes) are all combined together into a hash which is very difficult to compute.  Any client set to do so will spend its spare compute cycles to try to compute the hash for the current block.  It's pretty random which key works, so the more compute cycles you have the more likely you are to get the correct key first..  The client taht gets that key also gets a certain number of Bitcoins as a kind of prize or incentive.

When you make a transaction it goes out to all of the other clients yours is connected to, and spreads out within the network.  When a block is computed, it combines all of the known transactions into it to prevent "double-spending", the idea of the owner of a Bitcoin spending it with two (or more) recipients.  In a sense, the main objective of all of that computing above is to keep track of the owners of bitcoins and prevent double-spending.

The original concept of the system should deal with the problem of an attacker trying to gain control of the network.  The one who computes the next block has a certain degree of control, and that's distributed pretty much randomly according to computing power.  That means that an attacker would have to have as much power than the entire network to have an even chance of taking over, and more power to be guaranteed of doing so.  If they have that much power they'd be better off just generating keys and keeping the Bitcoins than just destroying the whole system to steal the current value fo the bitcoins.

There are likely some less obvious flaws with the current concept or implementation.  It's important that these get dealt with before the network gets too big, or when someone finds a major vulnerability in the (future) big network the whole thing could collapse due to shattered confidence.  Since it's an open-source project, many of them will be worked out over time.  Another key way to find flaws is for there to be a financial incentive to do so (which is starting to be true, since you can trade Bitcoins for real money already).  Of course, since this is based on public key cryptography, if a quantum computer with enough entangled qbits to tackle keys of this size are ever created, the whole thing will fall apart.  Of course if that happens, much of the rest of the financial system will die too, so it will be the least of our worries.

The current implementation is essentially designed to be deflationary in the long run.  New coins are being created, sure, but that's intended to be phased out over time.  Coins will certainly be lost as hard drives crash and files get lost.  If the system is successful, the current limit of BTC0.01 per transaction closer to the coded limit of BTC0.00000001 as the finite number of coins get spread out over a larger number of owners.

One potential attach system I haven't seen addressed yet (and I've done quite a bit of reading) is exactly _who_ decides how hard it should be to calculate the next block's hash?  I know it's automatically adjusted to take 10 minutes on average, but who does so?  If it's a single decision-maker, then that's an attack point.  If it's a collective decision of all of the clients, then maybe that could be manipulated by a sizable, but not overwhelming, population of dishonest clients.

For now, however, I've got a client running and I'm playing with it.  If you're bored, send me a bitcoin at 1DUXcZoYtKwbETc8GMDnhvWSqmNVW5pfE5 !  They're only worth about a penny.  So far...