VGDensetsu on the Gigaleak and video game preservation

This wonderful article by Dom Auffret (VGDensetsu) is full of interesting information – so much, in fact, that it is difficult to choose what to highlight.

Here is one sad bit:

At Square Enix, on the other hand, some files could not be saved in time and some games’ source codes were lost. In addition to the Mana series previously mentioned, we know that the source code of the PlayStation version of Final Fantasy VIII has disappeared, forcing the developers of the HD version to fall back on the code of the PC version whose music is slightly different. Same with the first episode of Kingdom Hearts; the developers of the 1.5 HD Remix version had to analyze in depth a commercial copy and recreate many assets. An example that echoes the story a developer posted in 2010 in which he explained that, as part of a port of various Midway arcade games, the editor in charge of the project was unable to get his hands on the source code of Spy Hunter, so he had to download the game’s ROM in order to extract the graphics via MAME and retrieve the sound files from a fan site, among other things.

I rarely play video games nowadays, but I enjoy reading about it once in a while – especially on history.

Facebook censors Nicholas White video about chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine

A few weeks ago, I published a video by renowned scientist Nicholas White on the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19.

Bizarrely, it was censored by Facebook.

Brazilian scientist Claudia Paiva wrote a post with a link to the video. Hours later, it was removed. Here’s Facebook’s explanation:

Your post goes against our Community Standards on misinformation that could cause physical harm

No one else can see your post.

We encourage free expression, but don’t allow false information about COVID-19 that could contribute to physical harm.

This is absurd. White says we do not know whether chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine work against COVID-19 and does not advocate their use in treatments. Why the censorship?

A ridiculous and unjustifiable decision from Facebook.

Facebook censura vídeo de Nicholas White sobre cloroquina e hidroxicloroquina

Há algumas semanas, publiquei um vídeo do renomado cientista Nicholas White sobre o uso de cloroquina e hidroxicloroquina contra a COVID-19.

Bizarramente, ele foi censurado pelo Facebook.

Claudia Paiva, professora da UFRJ, fez um post com link para o vídeo. Horas depois, ele foi removido. Eis a explicação do Facebook:

Sua publicação vai contra os nossos Padrões da Comunidade sobre desinformação que pode causar dano físico

Ninguém mais pode ver a sua publicação.

Incentivamos a liberdade de expressão, mas não permitimos informações falsas sobre a COVID-19 que possam levar à agressão física.

Isso é um absurdo. White diz que não sabemos se cloroquina e hidroxicloroquina funcionam contra a COVID-19 e não defende o seu uso em tratamentos. Por que a censura?

Decisão ridícula e injustificável do Facebook.

A letter on Emmanuel Farhi’s death

This was written by a childhood friend of Emmanuel Farhi. As Twitter user @BiasedStats notes, the third paragraph makes it worth sharing.

(Below the line, with no indentation.)


As most of you may have now heard, Emmanuel Farhi died by his own hand last week. He was a childhood friend of mine and even if we had been estranged for a long time, I feel this sad news compels or at least allows me to write this message. By all possible measures, Emmanuel was the gold standard of the profession: full professor at Harvard Economics Department, recipient of countless awards, esteemed colleague, coauthor and advisor.

I am not aware of the specifics of his personal situation. Of course, life can be difficult on many aspects other than work. However, in our profession arguably more than in others, professional and personal levels are quite often intertwined. According to the numerous reactions to his passing, Emmanuel counted many friends in the profession, who now refer to his brilliance (“true scholar”, “shooting star”, “super-human”, “best economist of his generation”, etc.). I believe this kind of tributes, however well intentioned, may also be problematic.

In Emmanuel’s case, such awe might have isolated him. In my case, I know that I forbade myself to get in touch with him as much as I could/should have because I did not feel entitled to do so. This kind of feeling is nurtured by the very hierarchical aspect of economic research, which, true enough, is not specific to economics, but is compounded by the reflective nature of our field, where we have a tendency to analyze our daily actions with economic metaphors and, among other examples, take a special interest in the determinants and the measure of individual and group productivity, as well as the structure of careers, using the example of academics.

The challenge we face is to create and maintain an ambitious and stimulating environment without losing sight of what makes academic life so great: collaborative work and a sense of collective, inclusive endeavor. This is all the more important for the newcomers, especially PhD students, who may struggle to adjust to new – and questionable – professional norms and are quite susceptible to mental distress, as discussed in this recent paper. This is also a crucial issue for the months (hopefully, not years) to come, when sanitary restrictions will limit actual human interactions and the generalization of online operations may increase exposure to global competition in possibly detrimental ways. Let us discuss about all this.

Nicholas White on the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for prevention of COVID-19

Nicholas White has been one of the few lucid, balanced voices on the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in treatment against COVID-19.

He is co-principal investigator of COPCOV, a randomised, placebo-controlled prophylaxis study to determine whether those drugs prevent the novel coronavirus disease in the healthcare setting.

In this video, recorded in July 2020, he says that we still don’t know if chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine work and that it’s been hard to find out because the politicisation has been interfering with the conduct of the studies.

[UPDATE – 11 August] Read the full transcript below the line.
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