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Lost in the Sauce: Trump, Cruz, and Gohmert team up to incite election-related violence

Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis.
Housekeeping:

Election shenanigans

I put the latest info on Trump's phone call to Raffensperger in this comment.
According to experts, Trump’s conduct has potential criminal exposure:
A federal statute makes it a crime when one “knowingly and willfully … attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process, by … the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held.”
A Georgia statute similarly provides that a “person commits the offense of criminal solicitation to commit election fraud in the first degree when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony under this article, he or she solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.”
…The hard part for prosecutors would be proving Trump’s state of mind, because the statutes require proof of knowledge and intent. Prosecutors would have to show that Trump knew that Biden fairly won the election, and Trump was asking for Georgia officials to commit election fraud. And it’s not clear prosecutors could make that case.
At least 12 Republican senators plan to challenge Biden’s Electoral College win on Jan. 6, when Congress is set to officially count the votes. The effort is being led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and includes Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), as well as new Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). Separately, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) is pursuing a similar plan.
"Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed," the senators said in a joint statement. “Accordingly, we intend to vote on Jan. 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed."
Their plan is not going to succeed in preventing Biden from taking office, as majorities in both the House and the Senate would need to support a challenge against a state’s electoral votes. For an objection to be made, at least one member of both the House and Senate would need to submit it in writing. Then, the House and Senate separately convene to consider the issue. Debate is limited to two hours for each objection. After debate concludes, the House and Senate vote to uphold the objection and throw out the state’s votes. If the majority of the House AND the majority of the Senate does not uphold the objection, the state’s electoral votes are counted as cast.
  • Vice President Mike Pence’s role is simply to preside over the joint session, opening and presenting the certifications from each state. In his absence, the Senate pro-tempore Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) will lead the session. At the end of the process, the presiding officer announces who has won the majority of votes for president and vice president.
The most immediate danger from Trump and Cruz’s doomed election gambit is rightwing terrorism and general violence: Trump, in particular, is inciting his supporters to swarm D.C. on Jan. 6. “JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!” Trump tweeted last week. Four rightwing rallies are scheduled, including one headlined by George Papadopoulos and Roger Stone.
The Proud Boys and other extremists are planning to attend the rallies and may set up an “armed encampment” on the National Mall, according to the Washington Post. On social media platform Parler, the leader of the Proud Boys said that members will be there “incognito” and may “dress in all black” to impersonate leftwing protestors.
Enrique Tarrio: "The ProudBoys will turn out in record numbers on Jan 6th but this time with a twist...We will not be wearing our traditional Black and Yellow. We will be incognito and we will spread across downtown DC in smaller teams."
Rep. Louie Gohmert has more explicitly tried to incite violence, saying the failure of his legal challenge to the election means “you gotta go the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM.” (clip)
  • At the same time, pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood suggested that Pence could “face execution by firing squad” for “treason” if he doesn’t go along with the attempt to subvert the election.

Obstructing the transition

Biden’s transition director has accused the Office of Management and Budget of stonewalling the incoming administration’s team. OMB Director Russ Vought is not allowing key staff to meet with the transition team to help prepare the president-elect’s first annual spending plan, a move that could delay major proposals. Vought pushed back on the charges, saying that his agency needs to focus on finalizing the Trump administration’s regulations before the president leaves office.
“OMB leadership’s refusal to fully cooperate impairs our ability to identify opportunities to maximize the relief going out to Americans during the pandemic, and it leaves us in the dark as it relates to Covid-related expenditures and critical gaps,” [Biden transition Exec. Dir. Yohannes] Abraham said.
Earlier last week, Biden himself said Trump officials are not cooperating with his team, singling out the Defense Department for obstructing information on crucial national security issues. “Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas. It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility,” Biden said. The Defense Dept. finally scheduled meetings with the incoming team this week, after not briefing the transition for weeks.
  • The timing of the resumption in meetings is notable because it comes after the one year anniversary of the U.S. assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3. NATO officials are reportedly worried about the lack of coordination from the Trump administration: "We need the incoming Biden administration to be fully briefed and ready to deal with these very dangerous issues facing NATO's security."

Sabotaging the Biden Administration

U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack is taking steps to keep control of Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia during the Biden administration. As chairman of the boards of Radio Free Europe and Asia, Pack and his fellow members have added binding contractual agreements that will make it impossible to remove him or other pro-Trump allies from the board in the next two years.
In other words, although President-elect Joe Biden has already signaled he intends to replace Pack as CEO of the parent agency soon after taking office in January, Pack would maintain a significant degree of control over the networks.
The State Department is likely to designate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism “as an 11th hour effort to create hurdles for the incoming Biden administration.” The label, which requires the approval of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, would undo a major accomplishment of the Obama administration. To take Cuba back off the list, the Biden team would need to conduct a formal review, a process that might take several months.
Such a designation would impose restrictions on US foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales, certain controls over exports and various financial restrictions. It would also result in penalization against any persons and countries engaging in certain trade activities with Cuba.
The Trump administration has been rushing to finalize a myriad of rules before Biden’s inauguration. Since Election Day, the Trump administration has issued about three to four times as many new regulations as it did during other periods of Trump’s presidency. Rules that haven’t been finalized or taken effect can be suspended by an incoming president, which Biden has said he intends to do. By contrast, rules that are finalized can take months, or even years, to undo.
“As a general rule, it takes at least as much process to undo or modify a rule as it does to put the rule in place,” said Jonathan H. Adler, a professor and an administrative law expert at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. “The Trump administration is magnifying that challenge for the Biden administration.”
Trump loyalists are urging the president to stymie Biden’s efforts to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. Sens. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham are working to get the agreements submitted to the Senate for ratification, requiring a two-thirds vote, with the goal of failure. While such an outcome wouldn’t prevent Biden from rejoining the accords, Cruz and Graham hope it would make their resurrection more problematic.
A vote against them would signal GOP opposition to the world and, they hope, undermine any unilateral action by Biden to rejoin the agreements. One senior congressional aide told RCP that sending them to die in the Senate “would be the final nail in the coffin.”
Further reading: “Biden To Be Saddled With Trump’s Payroll Tax Deferral Mess,” Forbes.
Further reading: Biden will inherit a backlog of tens of thousands of visa requests from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and a bureaucratic tangle that refugee advocates say President Trump ignored or made worse.

Trump money and properties

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is employing forensic accounting specialists to examine Trump’s finances and business operations. Vance is looking “for anomalies among a variety of property deals” and trying to determine “whether the president’s company manipulated the value of certain assets to obtain favorable interest rates and tax breaks”.
The analysts hired by Vance probably have already reviewed various bank and mortgage records obtained from Trump’s company as part of the ongoing grand jury investigation, and they could be called on to testify about their findings should the district attorney eventually bring criminal charges
In yet another shady business deal connected to Trump, the United States sold the ambassador’s residence in Israel for more than $67 million. The person who bought the residence is none other than Trump mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. The property only became available due to Trump's controversial decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem. Furthermore, State Dept. representatives reportedly lied to Congress about the sale, perhaps to hide that Adelson purposefully overbid.
For now, there is no alternative residence for the ambassador, David Friedman, Trump’s former lawyer, who currently uses a suite at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel or rooms at the former Jerusalem Consulate General when he spends nights in Jerusalem… As a result, the United States appears likely to end up leasing the residence it has owned since 1964 from the GOP-affiliated casino mogul.
“It is very strange that we are now paying Sheldon Adelson,” a congressional aide told The Daily Beast. “It is not above board. We have a number of questions. Did they get two independent appraisals? Was it a sweetheart deal? Was Adelson the highest donor? Was there a reason to sell it now?”
Trump’s businesses have taken in $10.5 million of donor money over the course of his presidency. $8.5 million came from the Trump campaign and related entities that Trump controls directly; $2 million came from other Republican candidates and committees. The biggest beneficiary was Trump’s NYC hotel, taking in $3,039,979 over the four years of his presidency, with $891,003 of that in just the final four months of the campaign.
Trump’s DC hotel is ramping up room prices and requiring a two-night minimum stay for two key events this month, as the president tries to squeeze more profit out of his office. On Jan. 6, when Congress is set to formally count the votes cast by the Electoral College, room rates are listed at over eight times the price of surrounding dates. Trump is encouraging his supporters to attend a protest of Biden’s win on the 6th. A room during the inauguration costs five times the normal rate, at $2,225 per night.
Trump’s Turnberry Resort in Scotland posted a £2.3 million ($3.1 million) loss in 2019, marking the sixth year in a row it has failed to turn a profit under his ownership. Since Trump took over the historic property in 2014, its losses now total nearly £45 million ($61.5 million).
The fact Turnberry remains in the red comes in spite of significant tranches of payments it has received from the US government during Mr Trump’s single term in office… the US Secret Service spent nearly £25,000 to accommodate its agents at the resort during business trips by Mr Trump’s son, Eric, an executive vice-president of the family firm. Since Mr Trump’s election, the property has received close to £300,000 from the Secret Service, US State Department, and US Defence Department
A Florida state lawmaker is calling for Mar-a-Lago to be penalized - and possibly shut down - for flouting coronavirus restrictions during a New Years Eve party. While Trump and the first lady did not attend, son Don Jr., attorney Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Matt Gaetz, and Fox News personality Jeanine Piro were captured on video among the maskless crowd. Guests paid as much as $1,000 for access to the ballroom to be entertained by Vanilla Ice.
State Rep. Omari Hardy: “My constituents are not snowbirds like @DonaldJTrumpJr & @kimguilfoyle. My constituents live here. This is their home, and they're going to have to deal w/ the consequences of a potential super-spreader party at Mar-a-Lago long after Junior & wife leave here on their private jet.”
Are you ready for a Donald J. Trump Airport? According to the Daily Beast, Trump has been asking aides about the process of naming airports after former U.S. presidents.
Further reading: “Jared Kushner’s family real estate business wants to raise at least $100 million in capital through Israel’s bond market… Kushner has helped spearhead a series of moves that have been applauded by the conservative pro-Israel community, including moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and recognizing Israeli sovereignty in disputed areas such as the Golan Heights. Kushner also has close ties to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Miscellaneous

The Census Bureau missed it’s end-of-year deadline to produce numbers that determine representation in Congress and the Electoral College for the next decade. The agency is working toward Jan. 9 as an internal target date for completing the current stage of processing records. "If we miss Jan. 9, it's hard to envision that we would get apportionment done before inauguration," a Census employee told NPR.
The final timing of the 2020 census results' release could undermine President Trump's efforts to make an unprecedented change to who is counted in key census numbers before leaving office… If the first census results are not ready until after Trump's term ends on Jan. 20, it would be President-elect Joe Biden, not Trump, who would get control of the numbers, which are ultimately handed off to Congress for certification.
submitted by rusticgorilla to Keep_Track [link] [comments]

$700,000 Bet on Fintech - BFT

$700,000 Bet on Fintech - BFT
Alright Degenerates- I posted a small little snippet a day or so ago about BFT. I wanted to do a bit of DD on BFT but also wanted to highlight something that was brought to my attention by a degenerate gambler. Lastly, I wanted to compile some good little snippets that have been put together by some other members as well as from the investor presentation.
Before reading further please understand the major Risks.
  • This is SPAC with ~10.00 NAV, if the deal falls through it could drop to 10.00 USD
  • The warrants could be very lucrative but they can be called and if a deal fails to materialize, these can become worthless.
  • If you're ok with the above risks, continue reading.
Keep in mind that this merger is not complete, but the terms of the deal have been provided to investors and we will be able to either vote yes for the deal or vote no and redeem our shares in BFT for 10.00 cash. So there is downside to this play should the vote not go through or should the two entities terminate the agreement. Right now the downside is ~3 dollars per share according to the close price from today.

MY POSITIONS - Mostly PRPL, PSTH and BFT/BFT.W


https://preview.redd.it/ygrfo9vp0b461.jpg?width=1065&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=ccd5cd4846d0cdcd6f1ed0e7a37548399a5cf461
https://preview.redd.it/fd3o99vp0b461.jpg?width=1072&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=96faf02b077fc060c6025bbf7976b54edc6db493


The Customers and MOAT

  • Deep Customer Base with deep ties to gambling/betting industry with Deep penetration in Europe and growing customer bases around the world. Gambling is a tricky business and regulated differently than other industries. Many big players have avoided the industry and Paysafe has a great reputation and has become one of the early movers in the industry. The following are some notable customers.
https://preview.redd.it/0bhbpnvr0b461.jpg?width=473&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=57ec71dfedd8c6eb1d604282021340fbd8d39025
https://preview.redd.it/cno03rvr0b461.jpg?width=285&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=4281b8e0db4783b7b4b6cce74f62f0694bdbb008

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I actually know Paysafe and the usage quite well.
PayPal has many restrictions in Europe regarding iGaming , so does Square.
This is a big play on iGaming for those that aren’t aware.
I was a mid- high stakes online poker player through the 2010-2018. Played a variety of sites. : iPoker; PokerStars, Paddy, MicroGaming, 888, Party. Why so many sites? Because I was always on lookout for where the action was, if a big whale sat down at one online casino; you bet your sweet ass I’m there.
So let me give you my take as a consumer that’s probably spent over $100,000 in transaction fees personally on Paysafe.
This was one of the cheapest and fastest ways to move money around online.
Unlike Stripe this which is against risky business such as CBD and gambling, paysafe is actually one of the leading payment providers in both UK/AUS / Ireland for iGaming.
Big example is William Hill, Bet365, Bwin.
Now why would you want to move money online around as a gambler ?
Well, Visa/MC charge close to 50%->75% more, online casinos = the merchant. They don’t wanna pay that, and in fact put limits on this type of payment processor. (Your visa’s credit cards etc). If a punter deposits / withdraws frequently, the online casino could literally be on the hook for like 20-30% of the turnover throughout the gambler’s period. (This assumes the gambler doesn’t lose all his money per deposit.
Imagine you’re a professional sportsbettor, you’re not loyal to one site. Different spreads / odds are offered on every site, you want to be able to move your money from one to another quickly and cheaply. Arbitrage opportunities do exist in sports betting as bookmakers hedge their books to minimize risk, diff frequencies of bets occur on each sports book; you get the idea.
For recreational punters, it’s simple: some sporting events that are smaller simply don’t exist on one site that exist on another. Eg. Perhaps you using Pinnacle / 10dimes for low spreads on high volume events, but perhaps you want to gamble on live events on bet365 on another day, and bet ponies on Hill.
What if you only have $5000 ? Giant pain in ass to deposit money to each site, paysafe lets you move it around easily.
Should you use visa, you may get blocked from depositing on various sites; Bodog, WHill, Bet365 just to name a few. Withdrawals and clearing deposits with bank transfers or checks takes days-> weeks and gamblers ain’t gonna wait for that shit.
You can also buy prepaid paysafe cards from stores if you don’t wish to use your real credit card; and load that shit up.
One of the biggest markets this is prominent in is South east Asia, they are some of the biggest punters and fucking loving gambling. Looking at you pinoys, Indonesians, Malays. Not everyone wants to fly to Macau to get their rocks off.
As much as this is a play on FinTech, please understand this company has more or less the best Payment service on online gambling globally.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Comparable VALUATIONS

From this chart you can see that there looks to be some favorable multiples that could improve once a deal closes. Also, I'm very bullish on the great Margins as well as the conservative growth. I think Foley along with the growing Igaming undervalues the potential of this company. Just the Draft Kings relationship make me tingle.

CHART is COURTESY of u/CoachCedricZebaze
https://preview.redd.it/aozxwuft0b461.jpg?width=722&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e40cbc4538ff3bef87a31050dca316ecae996a9b

Management and Growth

  • Bill Effing Foley - I have a thing for guys name Bill and this guy get my nips hard.
    • This guy has turned shit into gold. See his previous ventures before and after....

https://preview.redd.it/dp6oe2ew0b461.jpg?width=386&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=5e6f137c95fec971568dfa5bc07d0290997c753d
https://preview.redd.it/mhl9b7ew0b461.jpg?width=326&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=f57ec2eb7c7c318323373af10c8bb12b03e9082e
  • Bill has connections and a strategy to dominate Igaming.
  • Igaming addressable Market is expected to grow immensely from a few billion to tens of billions.
https://preview.redd.it/qfacblzz0b461.jpg?width=241&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=dbcdace95286ffccf613daa79b93554ca3e5728b

This is an end to end payment processor with big big big name relationships for very disruptive companies that have huge addressable markets. The reason I am excited is because IGAMING is just really starting to take off and Paysafe is a first mover with brand new experienced management and very very fair valuations that could pop after a merger.
TL;DR- BUY BFT stock and BFT.W because BFT stands for big freaking tenderloins.
submitted by dhsmatt2 to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Ghost in the Shell is a terrifying vision of Western-Globalized Japan

People have criticized the Ghost in the Shell adaptation by Hollywood as a whitewashed movie. However, i see there is a sinister message behind the move that seems good for Westerners and bad for Japanese. The movie isn’t an entertaining one but it is a prophetic vision. Most Hollywood movies have social and political commentaries that send messages for wisest observers. As a long time observer of Japan, I realized the message. The movie doesn’t simply speak against the wrongness of transhumanism unchecked but it also revels the gospel of globalist capitalism.
In the movie, you see the Neo-Japan as an exciting place for international players of all kinds. It’s a world financial hub. In today, Japanese neoliberals are trying hard to turn Japan into London.
https://asia.nikkei.com/Editor-s-Picks/Interview/Suga-Tokyo-can-be-global-financial-hub
This seems all good but people of UK weren’t happy when the Iron Lady demolished British economy for American corporations. The UK is increasingly getting poorer and on verge of collapse after Brexit.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-05/the-cost-of-failure-what-s-at-stake-if-brexit-talks-collapse
London became the world capital for crooks and global elites, while British people don’t see any benefit. This is what Japanese cronies want to bring into Japan.
https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/12/d8928a66c1ed-casino-winnings-by-nonresident-foreigners-to-be-untaxed-in-japan.html
They already think of destroying the Japanese economy through allowing massive tax breaks for foreigners. Exactly like what Tories in the UK did.
In the movie, you see all people of non-Japanese backgrounds. There are very little Japanese people in the movie. What happened? Population displacement, as Tokyo is too expensive for Japanese people to afford, while rich foreigners can. This movie is parallel to the real world cases where massive foreign capitals ruin local lives. Djibouti is a cautionary tale of massive foreign capitals creating more inequalities and ruining local businesses.
http://hdr.undp.org/sites/all/themes/hdr_theme/country-notes/DJI.pdf
The case of Japan is no different today. Japan suffered three great economic recessions and got deteriorating conditions each time. Japan, similar to Thailand, has wage stagnation due to a deflationary economy. This means that everyone can no longer become rich in the long run if they work within Japan since their wages keep falling. It’s good that an appreciated currency can increase your buying power (if you have a lot of money already); however, it killed growth. Like Thailand, Japan has no choice to seek a service economy that caters for tourists as a way to accumulate more USD.
https://www.nippon.com/en/japan-data/h00646/amp/
This was the original plan for the Olympics 2020 which failed miserably. As Japan gears towards service economy, real estates become sky high as foreigners purchase them.
https://japan-forward.com/chinas-wealthy-out-to-buy-japanese-ryokans-that-suffered-losses-during-pandemic/
https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/travel-leisure/article/3011062/private-equity-funds-pour-money-hot-spring-resorts-japan
As a result, Tokyo to Osaka see many expensive real estate assets that are mostly owned by foreigners. Japanese locals can’t afford the rents, and they now migrate to the countryside.
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/11/japan-tokyo-cities-city-countryside-pandemic-coronavirus-covid-19/
All of these have been symptoms that we saw in London and San Francisco. Japanese elites keep spinning reasons but we know the answers. The movie portrays a future where Japanese people are either kicked out of Tokyo or stucked in caged apartments to make rooms for foreigners.
The biggest theme of the movie is the rampant corporatism - a big critical theme in the movie. However, the movie merely points it at the foreign corporations who are villains in the first place. All corporations in the movie are foreign and operated by the West. There is little to no Japanese. Today, it’s the trend in the Japanese corporate world as more companies get acquired by foreigners. These foreigners do not give a damn about Japanese people.
https://www.ft.com/content/bdf8abd2-f84c-11e3-a333-00144feabdc0
It’s all about the mighty dollars for the Globalists, not the nation.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/business/nissan-ghosn-lawsuits.html
Now, it’s much worse for Japan as the foreigners figured ways to skiffle Japanese sovereignty for profits. These foreigners can control Japan without even calling the US government.
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-12-11/masa-son-s-softbank-takes-to-discipline-from-paul-singer-s-elliott-management
https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-Spotlight/Warren-Buffett-s-Japan-trade-The-changing-world-of-sogo-shosha
https://www.ft.com/content/6e18f816-de9b-44d0-9541-1daf758a6c01
Now, it’s even much worse as their successes becoming more prevalent when Japanese power leverages wither with the rampaging pandemic.
https://www.ft.com/content/fc4ea0f4-d54e-4b59-ae4b-da2e32fce286
The movie sees many non-Japanese people around as well as Japanese cultures and thought don’t exist in the movie. Why? Globalism diluted cultures into a melting pot. Japan in the movie has become American. In real world, we already see this through massive efforts from Western NGOs and liberals trying to penetrate and disrupt Japanese archaic cultures. Not for Japanese people, it’s better for smoothing the process of Globalism where any foreigner in Japan won’t be attacked by Japanese for being rich and different - like the Bakumatsu period where foreigners were attacked by local Japanese.
https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-trends/Nike-shrugs-off-Japan-boycott-threats-after-controversial-ad
Nike simply shrugs off the critics from Japan because their globalist agenda has been succeeding after 1990s. Japan has lost all power leverages and become an open book for Westerners to freely manipulate Japanese consciousness.
————-
The movie is a prophecy of what Japan will be. An American territory for dark money and unfettered corporatism. All of these are now happening in Japan, and no one cares.
It stunned me to see how close the movie is to the current deteriorating situation of Japan and the rise of Western influences over Japan in negative ways.
submitted by ComradeCommissary to aznidentity [link] [comments]

The USA PATRIOT Act: The Story of an Impulsive Bill that Eviscerated America's Civil Liberties

The USA PATRIOT Act provides a textbook example of how the United States federal government expands its power. An emergency happens, legitimate or otherwise. The media, playing its dutiful role as goad for greater government oversight, demands "something must be done." Government power is massively expanded, with little regard for whether or not what is being done is efficacious, to say nothing of the overall impact on our nation's civil liberties.
No goals are posted, because if targets are hit, this would necessitate the ending or scaling back of the program. Instead, the program becomes normalized. There are no questions asked about whether the program is accomplishing what it set out to do. It is now simply a part of American life and there is no going back.
The American public largely accepts the USA PATRIOT Act as a part of civic life as immutable, perhaps even more so than the Bill of Rights. However, this act – passed in the dead of night, with little to no oversight, in a panic after the biggest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor – is not only novel, it is also fundamentally opposed to virtually every principle on which the United States of America was founded. It might not be going anywhere anytime soon, but patriots, liberty lovers and defenders of Constitutional government should nonetheless familiarize themselves with the onerous provisions of this law, which is nothing short of a full-throttle attack on the American republic.

What’s Even in the USA PATRIOT Act?

What is in the USA PATRIOT Act? In the Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11, then Rep. John Conyers cracked wise about how no one had actually read the Act and how this was in fact par for the course with America's laws. Thus, before delving into the deeper issues surrounding the PATRIOT Act, it is worth discussing what the Act actually says. Here’s a brief look at the 10 Titles in the PATRIOT Act:
Most of the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act were set to sunset four years after the bill was passed into law. However, the law was extended first by President George W. Bush and then by President Barack H. Obama. The latter is particularly scandalous given that, at least in part, a rejection of the surveillance culture that permeated the Bush Administration was responsible for the election of Obama in 2008.

Passing the USA PATRIOT Act

Next, it’s important to remember the environment in which the USA PATRIOT Act was passed: Post-9/11. It is not the slightest bit of exaggeration to label the environment in which the PATRIOT Act was passed as “hysterical,” nor is “compliant” a misnomer for the Congress of the time. Opposition to the Act was slim and intensive review of one of the most sweeping Acts of Congress in American history was nonexistent.
All told, Congress took a whopping six weeks drafting, revising, reviewing and passing the PATRIOT Act. That’s less time than Congress typically spends on totally uncontroversial and routine bills that don’t gut the Fourth Amendment. The final vote found only 66 opponents in the House and one (Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold) in the Senate. The entire passage of the PATRIOT Act, from start to finish, took place behind closed doors. There were no committee reports or hearings for opponents to testify, nor did anyone bother to read the bill.
“Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” is the bloated and overwrought full name of the bill, crafted by a 23-year-old Congressional staffer named Chris Cylke. This ridiculous name puts the focus not on the surveillance aspects or the erosion of basic civil liberties enshrined in Western society since the Magna Carta, but on patriotism. At the time of its creation, the messaging was very clear: Real patriots support massive intrusions on civil rights. As President George W. Bush said at the time, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” This sentiment very much seemed to apply to American citizens.
While the argument that if you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t fear investigation is anathema in a Constitutional republic with regard to citizens, it should be standard operating procedure when it comes to our organs of government. If we cannot expect transparency from the United States Congress – elected officials charged with representing the will of the people and protecting the Constitution – then we certainly can’t expect it anywhere else.

The Unfortunate Growth of the USA PATRIOT Act

It’s no surprise to those in the liberty movement that given an inch, the government (in particular the military-intelligence community) took a mile. Even the nebulous definition of “terrorism,” largely centered around a long litany of acts rather than the motivation behind them, has expanded to include receiving military training from a proscribed organization (without actually committing any terrorist acts or even acts of violence of any stripe) as well as “narcoterrorism” – the latter particularly convenient, as the United States government continues its losing “War on Drugs.”
Indeed, in many ways, the War on (Some) Drugs was the template for the War on Terror. Both wars have no defined enemy, no defined terms of victory. Instead, they are waged against a nebulous concept, while enjoying bipartisan support for their ever-expanding budgets. What’s more, it didn’t take long for the Feds to start using the USA PATRIOT Act for things it was never intended for, including prosecuting the War on Drugs.
Perhaps the silliest application of the USA PATRIOT Act is the prosecution of Adam McGaughey. McGaughey maintained a fansite for the television series Stargate SG-1. The Feds charged him with copyright infringement and computer fraud. In the course of their investigation, the FBI leveraged the PATRIOT Act to get financial records from his website’s ISP. This was made possible by the USA PATRIOT Act amending the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, allowing for search and seizure of ISP records.
The New York Times discovered in September 2003, that the USA PATRIOT Act was being used to investigate alleged drug traffickers without what would otherwise be sufficient probable cause. These were investigations into non-terrorist acts using a law ostensibly designed to investigate terrorism. There was some suspicion that the Act was being used to investigate crimes occurring before the Act was passed, violating the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution.
In one of the biggest power grabs (excluding virtually everything we know from Edward Snowden – more on that below), the FBI sent tens of thousands of “national security letters” and procured over one million financial records from targeted businesses in Las Vegas. These businesses were primarily casinos, car rental bureaus and storage spaces. The data obtained included financial records, credit histories, employment records and even people’s personal health records.
The FBI maintains and databases this – and, indeed, all information collected through the USA PATRIOT Act – indefinitely. In the good old days before the PATRIOT Act, the Feds were compelled to destroy any evidence they collected on someone later found not guilty of a crime. Note that the aforementioned data collection brought to public attention by Edward Snowden (which, again – we’re getting to that) falls under this provision. Not only is the government collecting obscene amounts of private and personal information about you, they’re also storing it indefinitely with no plans to stop.
What’s more, the FBI has approached public libraries to turn over the records for specific terminals, collecting information not about specific users who might be under investigation, but about anyone who has ever used the computer at the public library. Libraries, to their credit, have been very much at the forefront of resistance against the PATRIOT Act, with some litigating compliance despite operating on small budgets and others posting “canary letters,” which effectively say “The FBI Hasn’t Been Here Yet.” The removal of such a letter would warn patrons that the FBI has been sniffing around in their records.
Indeed, the greatest criticism of the PATRIOT Act is the simplest and perhaps most obvious: Why does an Act ostensibly passed to fight terrorism so drastically expand the government’s power to investigate virtually everyone else? The PATRIOT Act is not merely unconstitutional, it is an unprecedented expansion of state power in the Anglosphere, a culture based on restricted government and the primacy of individual rights.
An excellent example of this is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) expansion. Most people are familiar with the term “FISA court,” but very few people actually know what it is – a special federal court created under the Carter Administration that grants approval of electronic surveillance of both citizens and resident aliens in the event that they are accused of acting in the service of a foreign power. The last part of this sentence is very important: The FISA courts are not simply for allowing surveillance of anyone that it might be expedient to collect information about. The scope of their powers is very, very limited.
Or was.
The PATRIOT Act lowered the burden of evidence required to obtain a FISA warrant for electronic surveillance and expanded the overall scope of the FISA courts. Any savvy federal agent can now drape his charges in the garb of (what else?) “national security” and obtain electronic surveillance privileges hitherto only dreamed of by investigators. FISA courts have become pliant tools in the hands of the Feds, gladly approving their requests to monitor phone and internet surveillance, as well as access to medical, financial and educational records.

The Future of the USA PATRIOT Act

Do we still need the PATRIOT Act? Did we ever? All laws are certainly a product of their times. But this seems much more acutely true of the USA PATRIOT Act, which was passed in a rush and under duress without due consideration.
Particularly in light of the revelations from Edward Snowden – that the government is spying on everything they possibly can – it’s worth asking if there’s any walking back. He points out that the police state apparatus was originally for drug dealers, then for terrorists, but ultimately ended up being applied to anyone and everyone.
What’s more, Bob Bullard notes another frightful aspect of the USA PATRIOT Act: Terrorism-related cases are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. This means that there is little or no oversight. There is no surer hallmark of a police state than an all-powerful domestic surveillance agency with no transparency or oversight. While the USA PATRIOT Act might not create an American Stasi as such, it certainly paves the way for one.
Continue reading The USA PATRIOT Act: The Story of an Impulsive Bill that Eviscerated America's Civil Liberties at Ammo.com.
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Analysis: Does Robin charge you too much for house upgrades and how I concluded she is a diety.

Analysis: Does Robin charge you too much for house upgrades and how I concluded she is a diety.
Ever since a Let’s Play got me into Stardew Valley, I’ve fallen in love with the world. It’s something special, a place to relax and get away from the world’s problems. Here, you can pay bills with the sweat of your own brow, make friends, fall in love, and can escape the drudgery of modern life. It’s magical in its own way.
I’ve played hundreds of hours over multiple save files. I’ve been wondering one thing just recently, however. I remember when I first asked Robin for house upgrades and the sheer bowel-emptying amount she asked for. Seriously? That much for a kitchen? Now that I haven’t left my house for the past several weeks, fear human contact, and have deep dived into the paranormal, I’m overthinking something constantly: with regards to modern housework, does Robin the carpenter over or under charge you for her work?
To figure this out, it’s going to require a fair bit of math and a lot of guesswork. I’m going to have to establish a lot of ground rules but I’m going to try and be as accurate to real world costs as I can. We need to learn four things:
  • What year does the game take place so we can calculate accurate inflation?
  • What is the square footage of the house and its upgrades?
  • What is the exchange value of gold, the game’s currency?
  • What is the cost of Robin’s labor?
Let’s tackle the first. To do this, I scoured around to look for modern conveniences. Primarily, I found these five:
  • Leah mentions she has a laptop
  • The carpentry shop sells Plasma screen TVs.
  • There is what appears to be an old Apple computer monitor in Harvey’s clinic and Maru’s room.
  • Sam has an electric guitar and what looks like a plasma screen computer monitor in his room.
  • In Mr. Qi’s casino, the slot machines do not have a lever. This is important because that gives us a firm earliest date of 1963.
Another interesting factoid is the number of Cathode-ray TVs you see in Stardew Valley. These are the precursors to plasma screens, which were in turn succeeded by LCD screen TVs. Additionally, a large number of your starter houses comes preequipped with Cathode-ray TVs. Granted, this may be because the farmhouse was abandoned for many years before you came along, but there exists another such TV in 1 River Road where we often see George watching his shows. I will concede that George and Evelyn are quite old and may not have the tech savvy nature of Sebastian to get something more modern, so that can’t be an accurate measurement. Plus, Alex’s mental acumen is a little... questionable.
As for crafting recipes, there really isn’t anything worth talking about. Magic items I won’t talk about because it has no real world comparison; that also throws out the wizard shop’s items. The furniture catalog has nothing of note to pinepoint a date, and nor does Pierre’s General Store, Joja Mart, Joja Warehouse, the Blacksmith, Stardrop Saloon, or Marnie’s ranch. Leah doesn’t mention anything about her laptop, so that is of little help.
So the casino gives us a low bound. Although manufacturing of the plasma screen TV stopped in the US in 2014, plasma screen TVs were losing their market shares around 2007 and factories were shutting down. As you can buy them like hotcakes and fill a shed with them, 2007 is our upper bound.
The price for plasma screens was quite pricey for residential homes. 1995 was the year 42 inch plasma screens became commercial, and some had home installation priced somewhere around US$15,000. Still not quite the size of the queen or king sized bed you and your spouse have (the size of the plasma screen in the game), but sixty inch plasma screen TVs were sold around the year 2000, and that is plenty big. Given the size of the screen in the game is roughly three tiles just like your bed, I think it’s safe to say this is around the size of our estimate. Our rough year range is now 1995 to 2007. Let’s split the difference and say the game takes place in 2001.
We have our year.
To calculate the size of our farmhouse, we need some baseline measurement. Luckily, the game is pixelated so we can be quite accurate in our measurements. Unluckily, we have no confirmed height of anything, so we have to intuit some things. Reddit user asparagus made this excellent size chart, so while I can just use that and save myself a lot of work, let us do some measurements of our own and then measure the farmhouse with both this method and asparagus’ method.
First, there is the height of plants, but those can vary widely. For instance, you can pot prickly pear cactuses in your farmhouse, but their height can vary anywhere between one and seven feet. Plant height is a no go. The average height of a minifridge is forty three inches (109 cm) tall, so unless you are a dwarf, that’s not right either. The fences are also a good starting point, as most agricultural fencing stands at four feet (1.2 m).
Here we don’t have to do much; all fences are forty eight pixels in height. Four feet equals out to forty eight inches (121.92 cm). It doesn’t get more perfect than that!
Trigger warning: incoming math.
Now comes the really tricky part: getting the dimensions of each iteration of your farmhouse, and squinting at my computer screen like a mole in order to count pixels; we must include walls as well as that is included in square footage. Our first iteration has pixel measurements of 704x496. Add in the doorway (136x64pixels), and then we’ll still convert for square feet. 704 * 496 + (136 * 64) = 318,452 pixels/sq, which (dividing by 12^2) converts to 2,211.47 ft/sq. Damn, we’re well on our way for most modern mansions.
I have to have messed something up (205.45 m/sq, btw). The average firebox (the inside of a fireplace where you burn wood) tends to be around 32x20 inches (81.28x50.8 cm). Ours is... 72x40. Twice as large. I also haven’t even begun to calculate the farmhouse’s height because Robin is beginning to scare me.
Alright, new plan, we’re going with asparagus. I married Haley and took her measurements. She is 104 pixels tall, and since she is 65 inches (165.1 cm) according to asparagus, that gives us a measurement of .625 inches/pixel (1.5875 cm/pixel).
Side note, I really want some Twizlers right now.
So instead of having pixels as at a 1:1 ratio, we have something a little more lenient, but things are looking a little... grim. We’ll have to convert each individual amount, so we have (704 * .625) * (496 * .625) + ((136 * 64) * .625^2) for 124,395.31 inches/sq, 863.86 ft/sq., 80.25 m/sq. But still, we haven’t even begun to calculate the actual volume of our farmhouse yet, so these numbers are going to explode.
I’m beginning to think Robin is Hestia. Yoba is not the only deity in this town.
Alright, calculating the rest of the floor spaces is a little boring so let’s speedrun this.
Wall height for the farmhouse is 140 pixels, so (140 * .625) * 124,395.31 inches/sq / 12^3 = 6,298.95 ft^3 (178.36 m^3) for the farmhouse, and 25,800.51 ft^3 (730.58 m^3) using my method.
Just... let’s move on.
Second iteration has me doing a fair bit more work.
Wall height is 135 pixels, and rightmost—wait, the walls are shorter? Weird. Anyway, the rightmost room has dimensions of 486 for width by 375 for depth (and the same cubby dimensions), giving us cuboid dimensions of 24,603,750 pixels^3, which converts to 14,238.28 ft^3 (403.18 m^3), and 3,476.14 ft^3 (82.83 m^3) using asparagus' method
Middle corridor has a dimensional width of 42 pixels by 87 depth, giving us a total of 285.47 ft^3 (8.08 m^3), and 69.69 ft^3 (1.97 m^3) using asparagus' method.
Leftmost room (the kitchen) has a width of 870 and depth of 375, with a doorway of 136x64. That gives us a cuboid area of 314,019.38 ft^3 (29,173.11 m^3), and 6,388.74 ft^3 (180.91 m^3) using asparagus' method.
That gives us a grand total for a tier two home of...
... 328,543.13 ft^3 (29,584.37 m^3) using my method and
... 9,934.58 ft^3 (281.31 m^3) using asparagus' method.
So Robin added at a minimum 3,635.63 cubic feet to your house in three days by herself. Even if you extend the days and months to roughly align with our own calendar, that would be a mere nine days. How much powdered starfruit did she snort in order to do that by herself? I 100% believe Emily is the town’s dealer. I didn’t even calculate the length of the farmhouse loft. It’s doable, and even though you can’t enter it in the game, a bigger farmhouse means a bigger loft judging by the look of it.
Anyway, I’m not going to calculate the loft area right now. I’m not going to calculate the other tiers of your farmhouse either, even though that was my intent when I started this analysis. The math is easy enough, but it gets boring to type, and no doubt to read. Plus, I’m a little stunned by Robin's carpentry acumen. C’mon Robin, stop upgrading my house. Exercise with the girls, dance with your husband, smoke some weed, I dunno, RELAX.
But in a strange way, it makes a weird sort of sense. Pretty much no one plays the game with auto-run turned off, but do so for a moment. See how fast you move. That is your normal pace, and auto-run is you, an Olympian god, sprinting around town every second of every day, helping the shit out of everyone whether they want it or not, snorting the same starfruit mixture you got from Robin to keep going, who may have gotten it from Linus (my money is still on Emily). We’ve become so accustomed to seeing the run animation as our default I almost didn’t realize it doesn’t translate to modern life. The boards in your house, I almost took those as your normal 2x4 planks of wood (which actually measure 1.5x3.5, the world lies to me). They are not. They are almost the width of your entire body, and your walking pace (sorry I can’t get an exact pixel measurement) covers roughly one and a half boards, a similar length to a normal human gait. The art style fooled even me until now, but your house is massive.
Let’s just answer our other two questions. What is the exchange rate? Calculating the exchange rate of a fictional world is always tricky as they have different concepts of rarities, but I’ll give it the ol’ college try. Once again, I can’t do anything with magic. Let’s first list some things of note:
  • Iridium is fairly easy to get around Stardew Valley once you are able, and that is a rare and valuable metal, with a current price of US$1,510 per troy ounce.
  • You can purchase a golden column to place on your farm, and gold has a current price of US$1,643 per troy ounce
  • Conversely, while the first two are rare and valuable metals, crops such as corn are valued at prices like 150g, a very unusually high amount if exchanged 1:1 to USA dollars.
  • Going back to plasma screen TVs, we can use its price history and then convert currencies to Stardew Valley gold.
Now you may be tempted to say we can’t translate iridium and gold’s prices to real world market values, and normally you may be right, but there are some extenuating circumstances in the game: the town is right next to two very large mines. It is even a plot point once you clear the glittering boulder that the water carries ore from deep inside the mountain. Yes, gold and iridium are valuable, but your location to ore veins is important; gold and iridium may be uncommon resources but you have access to very specific places where they are more common, otherwise known as the scarcity heuristic). This also explains two facts about iridium: discounting magic, iridium is quite rare in the game, just like real life. Secondly, Clint’s prices make a lot more sense not only because it’s endgame material, but because iridium is super dense and has a very high melting point, thus making it a very difficult material to work with.
But by far the biggest challenge of this question is figuring out whether or not items you produce factor in the cost of your labor or not. For instance, lace is made of simple materials that even in the days of Victorian England, it was easy to get. However because lace was so time consuming to make, it could command absurd prices. Thus, one of the first things we need to discover is whether or not the game takes into account cost of labor or not.
So I am going to take you all back to school and talk about someone who’s old and dead: Adam Smith. It was he who talked about the cost of labor in his book The Wealth of Nations, and because of that, I bring up this particular line:
“...From century to century, corn is a better measure than silver, because, from century to century, equal quantities of corn will command the same quantity of labour more nearly than equal quantities of silver.
Why did I mention corn above? This is why. Prices may vary, but agriculture has been around for thousands of years and the cost of a farmer’s labor equals about the same.
According to Dylan Baumann, Stardew Valley corn plants have a profit value of 535 gold per plant. Our corn plant profits are about as high as they can get without adding something new into the mix, and we don’t want that yet.
Let’s set some ground rules:
  • Cultivatable farm space on the standard farm equals out to 3,427 spaces, but we’ll round that down to 3,350 for iridium sprinklers, iridium watering can, and scarecrows, equaling maximum farming with no loss of crop.
  • We’ll keep Dylan’s ground rules, so no fertilizer.
  • No preserves, jams, wine, and juices.
  • No farming efficiencies and crop selling bonuses.
  • No use of the greenhouse to grow crops outside of the growing season.
If you plant the entire farm with corn and stop harvesting on Fall day 28 when the growing season ends, that lets you harvest a total of 11 ears of corn per plant. Multiply that by 3,350, we get a total of 36,850 ears of corn for your entire farm. Corn is measured in bushels, and a bushel of corn can be anywhere between 40 and 60 ears of corn, but we’ll say you really pack it in for 60, meaning your growing season for corn produces 36,850 / 60 corn for a total of 614.17 bushels per year.
The USDA has a 2001 labor value of corn at US$2.92 per acre (and that matches the Iowa labor statistic), and using 156 bushels per acre, that brings our labor cost per bushel at... US$00.02. That’s a real pittance. Considering bushels of corn retailed around $2.11 per bushel in 2001, that is an incredible markup of 184.85 times.
We’re almost done with the dreaded math, I swear.
Corn retails at 100g apiece in Stardew Valley(You get 50 gold from Pierre, so he has a 100% markup), meaning the labor cost should be around 184.85 times less that amount, meaning it takes about 0.54 gold to make one ear of corn.
Your average US farmers salary $55,000 and $100,000, and we’ll take the middle of $77,500 for our measurements. Dividing the farmer’s salary by the total ears of corn our farmer grows in Stardew Valley, we get a labor cost per ear of corn in US dollars of $2.10 per ear of corn. Now we multiply this by our markup ratio to get the IRL retail cost of corn in Stardew, getting US$237.08! Damn that better be some good eating! We divide that number by the Stardew Valley retail cost of corn, netting us a real world conversion of gold of, drumroll please, $2.37 US dollars per gold in 2001.
Now just for funzies, let us calculate the actual salary of your famer in Stardew Valley. Multiplying your 36,850 ears of corn by 50 gold (your selling price of gold, not the retail price of 100g), that nets you 1,842,500 gold per growing season. Multiply that by the dollagold conversion we just calculated and your real life gross income comes out to be US$436,672,500.
Give me all of the golden clocks, wizard.
Three questions down, one more to go. Currency conversion was rather tricky because it involved quite a lot of math, but this last question, what is the cost of Robin’s labor, that requires the most assumptions. There’s an easy answer and a hard answer.
Robin’s upgrades, except for the last, require you the farmer to give her resources in addition to gold. The simple answer is you are providing materials in order to keep the raw gold cost down. This means that the first house upgrade, 10,000 gold, is strictly her labor cost as the 450 wood is all the raw materials she needs to build. 3 days * 3 months (to adjust Stardew month lengths to our month lengths) comes out to Robin working an IRL equivalent to 9 days. Taking 10,000 gold / 9 days equals a cost of 1,111.111 gold per day, and considering Robin has snorted enough powdered starfruit to have 20 hour work days, that comes out to 55.56 gold per hour.
Just to be sure, let’s see if the math holds up for the last upgrade. That one requires a cost of 100,000 gold and comes preequipped with 33 casks. You do not provide the resources for the casks, meaning that comes included with the cost. Casks cannot be sold, but the materials required to make them are 20 wood and 1 hardwood, which Robin will provide for the same 100% markup (meaning 4 gold and 30 gold respectively). 4 gold * 30 gold * 33 casks comes out to 3,960 gold. Using the same calculations for the first house iteration, we get (100,000 gold - 3,960) / (3 days * 3 months) / 20 hours for a total of 533.56 gold per hour.
Not even close to our first estimate. We could just average them together for (533.56 + 55.56) / 2 = 294.56 gold, and that would be the easy answer. It would be nice to settle for the easy answer.
Let’s find the hard answer. We are going to calculate labor cost per square footage, and luckily most of the work has been done over the course of several google spreadsheets. To find the cost of materials and money per upgrade volume we get the formula (Upgrade volume - Base Volume) / 10,000 gold. This gives us a grand total of cubic material built per gold of...
...2,573.26 in^3/gold, 30.27 ft^3/gold, 2.89 m^3/gold using my method and
...628.24 in^3/gold, 0.36 ft^3/gold, 0.01 m^3/gold using asparagus’ method.
Let’s see if the math holds up for the basement upgrade and dammit I just realized I got to do more pixel measurements now. Hold on, be back in an hour.
Alright, I’m back. We don’t need to do any subtraction for the previous volume of the house considering the cellar is its own little area, but we still need to subtract the value of the materials used for the casks. The cellar comes out to a grand total of cubic materials built per gold of...
...386.91 in^3/gold, 0.22 ft^3/gold, 0.01 m^3/gold using my method and
...94.46 in^3/gold, 0.05 ft^3/gold, 0.0015 m^3/gold using asparagus’ method.
Huge discrepancy.
Before I get into my reasoning why, let us outline what we know first.
  • We’re pretty sure the game takes place in 2001.
  • We have the exact sizes of each house upgrade calculated with two different methods.
  • We have a certified exchange rate of US$2.37 at that point in time.
  • We have two different methods of calculating the cost of Robin’s labor.
  • The amount of work Robin does during her three(nine?) day job is absolutely obscene.
I come to one conclusion: Robin is a god that has settled down in the world of Stardew Valley.
Here me out. I have three pieces of evidence.
The first is when Robin is hired to take on a house upgrade job no one helps her, not even her husband Demetrius. Your house is right next to hers, so you’re not paying for travel. As we have shown by our calculations above and in the gDoc spreadsheet, that is a massive amount of work. It’s simply not possible for a human to accomplish such a monumental task. Robin claims she built her own home herself with this line from the game...
“Have I told you that I built our house from the ground up? It's definitely been the highlight of my career so far.”
...so we know her carpentry acumen is impressive enough for the job, but she has severely understated her skill. Homeadvisor pegs a house costing anywhere between US$150,000 to US$500,000 (US$102,005.53 to $340,018.44, adjusted for 2001 inflation), but even adjusted for inflation, Robin absolutely underbids the current housing market. Those inflation adjusted values, when converted to gold, come out to a range of 43,040.31g-143,467.70g. Granted, these prices are for a complete house, not adding onto a current house, but even if we half the value you are getting one hell of a discount.
The second piece is Robin’s language. The sheer passion for her work speaks wonders..
“Wood is a wonderful substance... it's versatile, cheap, strong, and each piece has its own unique character!”
...but perhaps she is just passionate about what she does. Many people are, but knowing what we do about how dirt cheap and blindingly fast she works let’s go into more detail about some things, specifically three lines. The first...
“Our little plan worked out well, don't you think? Pam and Penny seem really happy.”
...is said after Pam’s house undergoes an upgrade. “Our” plan? Sure, you are the one that buys the upgrade and Robin has to build it, but I can’t help but feel there is a double meaning behind this language. It is done out of the kindness of Robin’s heart and the materials have to come from somewhere, so she can’t do it for free, but it wasn’t about the money, as we have stated previously. It was about Penny.
Pam is a somewhat contentious person because of slobbish and slovenly nature. She is immediately and irrationally angered when Penny tries to pick the place up. She drinks heavily...
“\sigh*... My mother definitely has a problem with going to the saloon too much. But it's best not to dwell on bad things, right?”*
...doesn’t seem to understand not paying her tab has some consequences, and doesn’t realize what her habits have done to her daughter’s psyche.
Then you, the player come along. Pam is okay with the simple things in life, but you help Penny with her worries and insecurities, and then with you and Robin together, you give Penny everything she needs to help her shed those worries. She has a house that doesn have problems with rain, two friends who look out for her, her mom has a job, and most importantly she has peace of mind and in a world fraught with problems, that is truly priceless.
This is the second line...
“Hey! I heard some weird noises last night, and woke up this morning to find the quarry bridge completely repaired! It's a miracle of woodworking!”
...and it occurs once you offer items to the community center junimos to get the quarry bridge repaired.
It is also a bald-faced lie.
The junimos are good, don’t get me wrong, but we’ve seen what Robin can do with our own two eyes. She is absolutely incredible at her job, and while I may give it to her she has no idea what junimos are or what they are capable of, we have proof that the act of restoring the bridge in one night is not out of the realm of possibility for her. A miracle, yes, but I’m certain she can beat the junimos’ time.
Lastly, there is one quote from her that is just... it opens up some very interesting questions. When she says...
“My parents were bewildered when I told them I wanted to be a carpenter. They were pretty old-fashioned.”
...how old are her parents when they consider carpentry too new-fashioned for them? Carpentry is one of the world’s oldest professions. If they were old-fashioned, why were they bewildered?
This line is just so fascinating to me. Robin is incredibly skilled, but I cannot rationalize carpentry being too newfangled for parents to wrap their head around. Who were they? Where are they from? I know your secrets, Robin, I know your parents are gods, too.
The third and final piece is the contrasting pieces of the world at large. Just like ours, it’s a little depressing. Joja Corp runs dozens of what even Cyberpunk would consider a dataslave farm. The world is flooded with consumerism run amok, Orwellian surveillance, and rampant urbanization. The Ferngill Republic is in the middle of a war with the Gotoro Empire and Kent still suffers PTSD from being in a prisoner of war camp.
Stardew Valley isn’t just a town to retire in, it is a place of respite and healing. There are three confirmed magic users deeply tied to the town’s mystical roots. The bears speak and encourage you to manage the world around you. You are rewarded for restoring balance to the valley by being able to recycle things you don’t need. Your main resource in the game, gold, also doesn’t matter that much; if it ever slips into the negative, nothing bad ever happens. You must just work to raise it back up. There is no lose condition in the game.
In many respects it is similar to the Gaiaism philosophy that all living beings are connected, each relying and depending on each other in order to maintain a peaceful coexistence. You help Shane with his nihilism and depression, Sebastian with his ability to express and accept affection, Sam with his dreams, Kent with his problems, Leah with her ambitions, Haley with her generosity and narcissism, or even simple goals like Penny’s idea of a quiet domestic life.
Whether it is the addicted, lost, or scorned, everyone is welcome and everyone can have a home in Stardew Valley. No one embodies this more than Robin who just wants a simple life. Whether it is her own house or her own boat during the Dance of the Moonlight Jellies, Robin builds it herself. The feel of wood grain, the smell of lacquer, the stickiness of stain, the thrum of the saw, and the bite of the axe. Robin doesn’t charge you nearly enough for your house upgrades because it is not about the money. Woodworking is what she loves and she lives in a place where barterism, kindness, family, and friendship substitute so many of life's modern problems and inconveniences.
Friendship increases in the game aren’t just a measurement of achievements, a means of getting more recipes, or more candles lit on a grave. You are making friends and getting to know these people for who they are and everyone’s life is bettered because of it. The amount of love I’ve seen for Linus is just staggering. Shane, in all of his melancholy and despite him not being a suitor in the original version of the game, is loved by so many. I know some despise Haley, but I love that I was able to show her what kindness can do for people.
You are in a gentle and loving place, and you are loved.
What a better place for a god to reside? A quiet town filled with peace and love, seeped in nature and the old magics of yore. A loving mate, a family to raise. Land to share with those that forage from its bounty. It’s all she needs.
Robin’s role in all of this? She desires neither worship nor admiration. She is just a friend. A god, certainly, but a friend first and foremost who is just settling down in a quiet town looking for a little peace.

https://preview.redd.it/fkugiuh4nwv51.png?width=507&format=png&auto=webp&s=146d3dabaa63c0ce3bfd281712434e9b2a655be8
Image by MagicallyClueless
submitted by doctorsirus to StardewValley [link] [comments]

Singapore expat jobs under threat in recession, local hire push

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/singapore-expat-jobs-under-threat-in-recession-local-hire-push
Singapore has long been the city of choice for Western expats wanting an easy entree into Asia. Clean, efficient, with low tax rates, it's often seen as rivalling Hong Kong, especially with that city hit by street protests and unrest over China's new national security law.
Yet just when Singapore should be a magnet for global talent, some recruiters say the barriers to entry are mounting. The city is facing the worst recession in its history, forcing a rethink for some firms on expansion and hiring plans. Alongside soaring unemployment has come a spike in rhetoric against foreigners, seen by some Singaporeans as taking jobs from locals.
An experienced nurse from New Zealand is finding out how tough it can be. She seemed, on paper at least, the ideal expat - arriving with her partner right before Covid-19. But 11 months and over 200 failed applications later, she says she's on the verge of going home, unable to land a work pass.
She was told by companies that they have a quota and the quota is met, she said, asking not to be identified for fear of jeopardising her partner's work permit. When attempts to volunteer at hospitals were similarly rejected, she said she felt like she didn't belong.
The uncertain job prospects, online commentary and stricter conditions risk making Singapore a less welcoming destination just as the city-state needs foreign investment the most. And as workplaces clamp down on hiring it could further limit the options for expats who have long seen a stint in Asia as an important and lucrative experience.
The Singapore government has added to their angst by taking steps to promote local hiring, raising concern that it will come at the expense of expats. Earlier this month, it put 47 companies on a watch list for suspected discriminatory hiring practices. The list includes banks, fund managers and consulting firms that may have pre-selected foreigners for jobs or not given Singaporeans a fair chance. This adds to the 240 companies already under scrutiny. The names of the firms weren't disclosed.
And in May, it tightened the framework that governs employment passes for foreigners, increasing the minimum monthly salary to S$3,900 and further expanding rules requiring employers to advertise job openings to locals first. The government said on Wednesday it plans to raise that salary threshold further.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there was a contraction in the number of visas issued because the demand for foreigners is going to be less" in the near term, said Hays regional director for Singapore Grant Torrens, citing the sharp contraction as the main driver.
The role of foreign workers became a key election issue this year, with several opposition candidates campaigning on claims that overseas talent is taking local jobs. The Workers' Party, which clinched more seats than ever, published a manifesto that included tightening employment pass approvals.
"The only reason we have foreigners here is to give an extra wind in our sails when the opportunity is there," Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said in a televised election debate in July. "Now we are in a storm, and we need to shed ballast." Dr Balakrishnan's office said in response to Bloomberg queries on the comment that there will be a disproportionate impact on the foreign workforce in a downturn.
Foreign workers on employment passes - the sort issued to highly skilled workers as opposed to work permits for blue-collar jobs - typically comprise around 5 per cent of the total workforce. Yet among top managers and professionals in some key sectors, the ratio of foreigners can be much higher. Non-Singaporeans made up 57 per cent of senior management roles across the financial services sector, the government said in August.
Andrew Zee, team lead for financial services at Selby Jennings, said some of his job candidates were recently denied permits - a first for him in more than four years - though they were later approved on appeal.
Sirva Inc, which owns Allied Pickfords, said inquiries from people wanting to move to Singapore in the first seven months of the year were down 23 per cent from the same period in 2019, according to Amanda Jones, senior vice-president of sales and account management. Ms Jones doesn't expect to see expat executives coming to Singapore at pre-Covid numbers until 2022 at best, especially given travel curbs and the recession.
EXPATS LEAVING
The shift is starting to be felt in the real estate market. Ella Sherman, an associate executive sales director at Knight Frank in Singapore who specialises in expat housing, says she normally signs about four rental agreements a month this time of year. Now she's lucky to secure one, and knows of several clients heading home.
Beyond the economic woes and the pandemic lies an unease over foreigners in the country of just 5.7 million people. This has surfaced in public calls, often on social media, for more hiring of locals. When a Facebook post targeting foreign executives at US$215 billion investment giant Temasek Holdings went viral this month, chief executive officer Ho Ching responded with a post of her own describing it as "a cowardly act of hate". JOB CUTS
Companies are taking pains to describe their efforts to retain Singaporean jobs. When Millennium Hotels and Resorts laid off 159 employees this month, it noted that the move lifted its "core" Singaporean workforce to 69 per cent. After casino operator Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) reportedly cut 2,000 jobs last month, the Ministry of Manpower issued a statement saying the majority of affected workers were foreigners.
"After the retrenchment exercise, RWS has a stronger Singaporean core," the ministry said.
Even expats abroad are feeling the pinch. One worker was overseas and between jobs when the pandemic struck. Though he quickly found a new position, he said his employment pass submission has been rejected several times with no explanation.
He's now stuck in Europe paying rent for his empty home in Singapore, unable to return until his visa gets approved. He declined to be identified for fear of jeopardising his application. He said the rising anti-foreigner rhetoric was equally worrisome.
For some, the social tensions were brought to the fore when a few expats were caught breaching government-imposed lockdowns by drinking and mingling outdoors without masks in May. The incident sparked an ugly debate on social media and prompted a minister to caution against the "visceral reaction" by locals. The offenders were fined and banned from working in Singapore, as were 134 others over May and June.
GREEN CARDS
To be sure, some politicians are urging calm. Singaporeans want assurances that the government will continue to create opportunities and provide fair treatment, but a vast majority "understand that staying open and connected is very important to Singapore", Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said on Wednesday.
Singapore isn't alone in fighting for local jobs. US President Donald Trump signed an executive order this month barring federal agencies from replacing citizens or green card holders with foreign workers.
And the city-state's status as a finance hub ensures it will always be magnet for foreign talent. Citadel, the hedge fund run by billionaire Ken Griffin, announced this week it's opening a Singapore office, as did Sun Life Financial, Canada's second-biggest insurer.
ATTRACTIVE HUB
"Singapore remains an attractive destination," said Rahul Sen, the global head of private wealth management at Boyden, an executive search firm. "New businesses that were thinking of setting up in Hong Kong to attract Greater China wealth are thinking of setting up shop in Singapore."
Even so, the avenues for many are narrowing. The nurse from New Zealand has started reaching out to healthcare providers back home. They're eager to hire so she may head back.
"Singapore is an amazing city, and we hoped that if we stayed long enough, things would change," she said. "But the longer it takes, the further away it seems."

submitted by dhoust1 to singapore [link] [comments]

The Joker388 slot machine

The Joker388 slot machine is one of the more popular casino games to come out of Asia. The joker is a serial killer who appears on a number of different machines. The aim of the game is to kill as many jokers as possible without your winning more than the specific amount of coins on the machine. Sometimes the game can become very frustrating, because you are often faced with an irrelevant jackpot which means that all your effort has gone down the drain. In addition to this, there are sometimes bonus offers which are not suitable for your winnings. The biggest problem associated with this game is that the payout is very small.
A newbie player who is looking for an online casino game to play with should certainly avoid the Italian version of the game called "Di Joker388". This website from Via Online has been linked by many people with the recent hit movie The Dark Knight. The joker is a character from this movie and so this version of the game tends to have some negative reactions from gamers.
Another similar version of the slot machine is the "Daftar Joker123 Joker". The name of the game may sound familiar to you, as it is also owned by the same company as the above mentioned site. The main difference is that the outcome of these two slot machines is different. You see, the guest that winning will not receive any coins. Instead, the amount of the winnings that the particular guest is entitled to will be multiplied by a certain amount.
This feature has made the "after game joker388 di situs slot dan" more popular among gamers. In the case of the "after game joker", the amount of winnings that a particular guest is entitled to is always small. This is why many people prefer to play slots with larger amounts of coins. On the other hand, the "guestski" game has no limit on how much money any guest can win.
These two games are both available for download from the site called Android Casino. All that you need to do is to search for the one that you like. Once downloaded and installed, you can then login and start playing. However, in case you would like to have a better experience when playing slot online, the "guestki" version of the game is recommended to you.
The "guestki" version of the game can be accessed from the "application menu" once you have downloaded the game. Once this has been done, you will then be able to login and play the game. One of the nice things about this slot machine is that it also has a chat feature that allows you to interact with other players. If you are looking for a good place to relax and enjoy yourself, try out the Java Application: Situs Slot Online Yang Ada Di. This casino game has a lot of entertainment value and features.
submitted by coyaw to Joker388SlotTop [link] [comments]

Will China's PLAN survive contact with the enemy?

The best laid PLANs of mice and men often go awry.

Welcome back to another effortpost by me generally on the developing arms race in East Asia, this time covering the People's Liberation Army Navy, hereafter referred to as the "PLAN", and its massive growth... and... mostly, well, its massive growth. What that means is mostly covered in other posts about how other countries are responding to it. The why is a bit difficult because, well, China is not well known for open debate, or open anything, really, which will turn up repeatedly.

  1. What you [might] need to know about South Korea's ludicrous arms buildup
  2. We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches.... uh, what do we do after that again?: The Perilous Defensive Position of Taiwan
  3. "You've hit another cargo ship? The Problems with the US Navy: Not all of them begin with "Seven" and end with "th Fleet"."
  4. Will China's PLAN survive contact with the enemy?
  5. Biden's New START and modern nuclear war
  6. First And Last Stand Of The Tin Can Navies [ASEAN + Australia and the smaller adversaries China may contend with]
  7. Boned: Problems in the US Air [and space!] Force
  8. --Unnamed-- effortpost on Japanese military matters, mostly about how weird the JSDF status is
  9. --Unnamed--effortpost on Indian military matters, and why they can't focus on China or buy anything that works
  10. --Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the PLA, mostly the air force though
  11. --Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the US Armed Forces, mostly talking about how the marines are changing and the Army's new love affair with INF-busting weapons
  12. Conclusion?

Glossary:
PLA = People's Liberation Army = the armed forces of the People's Republic of China, or China
PLAN = People's Liberation Army Navy = the naval forces of the PLA
PLANAF = People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force = the air force of the navy of the PLA
Ashm = Anti-ship missile, cruise missile unless specifically described as otherwise--there's only one anti-ship ballistic missile in existence and its efficacy and whether or not it functions is questionable
CIWS = close-in weapons system, like the Phalanx gun or Goalkeeper
VLS = vertical launch system for missiles
AEGIS = Aegis Combat System if described specifically in that context, a US naval warfare system, but we'll usually be talking about "Chinese AEGIS", which is a nomiker used by the Chinese media in particular comparing the Type 346 radar to the AN-SPY family, with which it shares numerous technical characteristics--but how comparable the "Chinese AEGIS" system is to what the US uses is a complete unknown.
SAM = Surface-to-air missile, in this case usually a S-300 derivative
First Island Chain = The islands, stretching from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan, which keep China inside its littoral seas much as the GIUK [Greenland-Iceland-UK] gap has kept various continental powers out of the Atlantic.


Some PLAN equipment you might see described--the nomenclature is confusing and a relic of the cultural revolution, and as a result China now has more Types than the British.
Type 003 = China's new conventionally powered supercarriers, currently under construction
Type 002 = China's first truly "operational" carrier
Type 001 = China's first carrier, built on a Soviet hull purchased from Ukraine ostensibly to make a floating casino
Type 055 = Guided-missile cruiser, though generally called a destroyer it's probably more descriptively labeled a cruiser
Type 052D = Guided-missile destroyer using "Chinese AEGIS"
Type 052/051B/052B/052C = the gradual progression of evolving Chinese naval tech, largely built as practice/demo ships like the Type 001. Some of the earlier ones are steam-powered but by the Type 052C you have something almost as advanced as the Type 052D, albeit with turbine problems
Type 054A = the standard modern frigate of the PLAN
Type 053[anything] = old PLAN frigates
Type 096 = China's newest SSBN class, under construction
Type 094 = China's first functional SSBN class, very noisy
Type 092 = China's first "SSBN", believed to have never left port with an actual nuke on board
Type 095 = China's newest SSN class, under construction
Type 093 = China's current SSN class, noisy
Type 091 = China's first SSN class, dumb dumb dumb and is at a 1950s tech level
Type 039[A] = China's new SSK class
Kilo = China's older SSK class, imported from Russia
Sovremenny = China's first capable anti-air destroyers, imported from Russia


1. The Last Time A Rising Navy Challenged A Dominant Foe

The last time we've seen something like this was in the late 19th century. After the First World War shipbuilding was restricted by the landmark Washington Naval Treaty, one of the first great arms control treaties, and during the Cold War the Soviet Union never really had any hopes of surpassing American naval power. China, however, seems intent on replacing the US as the world's dominant naval power, or at least building a force that can stop the US Navy, even combined with the forces of Japan and other regional allies.

The nations in question, of course, in the last naval arms race, were the United Kingdom and a newly-unified Germany. Germany never reached the level of the UK, but seriously threatened it. Previously the UK had maintained a policy of having more ships than the next two largest fleets combined, but this was no longer possible, and the UK legitimately was fearful for its naval supremacy. It didn't last too long in the end--under a decade--and a resumption was foiled by first a world war and then the Washington Naval Treaty. The impact of the arms race, though, was massive. It set Germany and the UK at odds with each other, it resulted in a general buildup of warships pretty much everywhere [South America was, believe it or not, one of the biggest offenders there], established Germany for a time as the world's second naval power, having eclipsed both France and Russia and turning a small coastal defense navy into something that was able to defeat the Royal Navy itself, though never comprehensively enough to change the course of the first world war.

China dwells in a much different situation than Germany did at the turn of the last century, so we can only extend the analogy so far--substituting in Japan for the UK, India for Russia, and so on is possible but not, in my view, educational. However, we can see many of the same elements playing in here. China seems intent on replacing the US as a dominant power, or at least as regional hegemon--the ancient tributary system seems to lie fairly heavily on Chinese minds--and in order to do that, it must be able to have some degree of power projection and the capability to deny the US Navy access to areas within the first island chain. It remains to be seen, however, how successful that quest will be. Much as with the dreadnought battleships, I wouldn't be surprised if we never actually do find out if most of the shiny naval toys people have built actually work. But their mere existence shows the mutual hostility developing in the region and demonstrates the size of the Chinese threat.

Another lesson learned here is that China, like Germany, may not develop a naval force capable of defeating the US comprehensively, but only partially, and that one of the powers--in this case, China--might be pressured to strike first before the US Navy can close the gap. That ~2030 gap I talked about in my last post is, I think, an especially vulnerable point, because China may look at a degraded, but rejuvenating US Navy, then at their own capable forces, and decide to strike then in Taiwan and the South China Sea, only to back down when the US Navy again eclipses them. Whether or not that will happen, we will see--but I find it a very dangerous and perhaps likely possibility.

2. What the PLAN looked like 20 years ago

The PLAN has undergone an absolutely stunning evolution in the past two decades. In the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis the US could intimidate China with a pair of aircraft carrier strike groups and China could do pretty much nothing about it. Now the US is afraid of sending anything more than a destroyer through the strait.

Twenty years ago, the PLAN was a bit of a joke. Even Taiwan figured it could hold the seas against the PLAN. It consisted of a few tens of outdated coastal-defense frigates, some Soviet-era diesel-electric subs, and a large number of unsophisticated missile craft. The pride of the Chinese fleet were a handful of destroyers assembled using cobbled-together Western technology--copied French missiles, American gas turbines, the lot. According to American accounts at the time, the instructions for the equipment hadn't even been translated. The most advanced ship in the fleet used steampower. There were nuclear submarines, but of 1950s quality. Of particular note was the fact that the Chinese fleet had no area air defense capabilities--their premier surface-to-air-missile was an unlicensed knockoff of the French Crotale, and couldn't shoot anything outside of visual range, at high altitudes, or really doing anything more sophisticated than trying to kill their ships with low-altitude dumb bombing runs.

In the past twenty years, however, the PLAN has, much like the German Navy towards the end of the 19th century, gone from an afterthought to the world's second most powerful force. It began, as modern China's military capabilities almost all began, with the looting of the former Soviet Union for naval technology. While Soviet naval tech was generally lacking, it was much better than anything else China could get its hands on after the arms embargo placed on it in the 1990s by the US and Europe in response to Tienanmen and the end of the Cold War. China bought Soviet diesel submarines, Soviet air-defense destroyers, and Soviet aircraft carriers, which it promptly left lying around [and turned one of them into a theme park]. This was combined with copies of various pieces of Western, mostly European, technology for everything from sonars to surface-to-air missiles. China then began developing its first modern indigenous surface combatants, the Type 052C, but there were still problems. The engines were Ukrainian and had reliability trouble, the gun jammed, there was no VLS.

It is really in the last ten years that things have begun to move extremely quickly, and even only in the latter portion of the decade. In 2012 the Type 001 Liaoning entered service, and although it remains more of a training ship than an operational vessel, and is held back by a poor carrier aircraft, the mere fact that China "built" a carrier was a surprise to many. In 2014 the first Type 052D destroyer came online. It had learned the lessons from the Type 052C, and in just the last six years at least ten have entered service, with a class size of about 23 expected. This rapid expansion is what has frightened competing navies the most--in a little over a decade, the PLAN is constructing more destroyers than the British, French, and Australian navies have in service combined. It is also building the Type 055, which has generally been called a "destroyer" despite being more aptly described as a cruiser in line with the Ticonderoga-class. China has also built 30 modern frigates in the past decade, which has also swelled its numbers, along with numerous smaller corvettes, submarines, and so on.

This is why the PLAN has become such an object of concern. While it cannot challenge the US Navy yet, at least outside its littoral zones, the decline of the USN and rapid expansion of the PLAN means that it is a serious threat. And the speed at which it has developed has made many fearful. As recently as 2010, the idea of China operating an aircraft carrier or modern destroyers seemed distant, possibly preposterous. Now China speaks openly of having a six-carrier fleet in the 2030s, although, as with many of China's plans to operate full US-replicated tech and doctrine, these may have somewhat caved to realism. China is mighty, but it has already done the easy part--the last part is much harder, in economics and in military matters. Building the software, the institutional knowledge, the hardware to compete with the US Navy will prove difficult.

3. What the PLAN looks like now--submarines

Submarines are one of the PLAN's weak spots, particularly nuclear submarines. China is, however, making some fairly rapid advances in this area.

Their nuclear submarine program has been considered a bit of a joke for some time. In the late 1950s when all the cool kids great powers were getting nuclear submarines, China decided [or at least Mao did] that China needed nuclear submarines too. About 16 years later, the product of this effort finally emerged as the Type 091 submarine. Based on 1950s technology, with poor radiation shielding and basically nothing done in the name of noise reduction, and not even a teardrop hull, the Type 091 was probably more of a threat to the sailors who were on it than anyone else, except maybe the two Tench-class submarines that Taiwan operates, which use 1940s technology and are the world's longest-serving submarines, though they're mostly used for training nowadays. Even then, my money would be on the Tench despite the upgrades the PLAN has made to the Type 091. There's only so much you can do to put lipstick on a pig.

China also produced an SSBN, the Type 092, which was probably the only submarine more useless than the Type 091. About the only useful thing it did for the PLAN was that it served as a test platform for SLBM launches. Reports suggest that the Type 092 is the noisiest SSBN ever made, and is thought to have only ever undertaken a single patrol. It stayed at port for so long that it was thought to have sunk in an accident. And the experience turned the PLAN off from building SSBNs for over twenty years, until the Type 094 came online in 2007.

More recent submarines are growing in capability, though. The Type 094 is not the noisiest SSBN ever made, and may not even be the noisiest in current service--that honor going to the Delta III operated by the Russian Navy, which uses 1970s technology, and, which, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence, is about as noisy as the Type 094. The Type 093 is also moderately capable--it actually functions and can fire anti-ship missiles. However, the Type 093 is still considered only comparable to the Soviet Victor III class, again using 1970s technology. Future submarines have not yet been seen, but expectations are that China will make another step forward to late 1980s or early 1990s tech levels, producing something on par with the Los Angeles or Akula for the first time.

China also operates a fairly capable fleet of coastal diesel-electric submarines. While some are quite old--the Type 035--most are pretty average for the global submarine force, a mix of Kilos and domestic AIP designs. The large number of boats in operation and their anti-ship missile capability means that these should be considered a real threat, at least in the littoral waters near to China, but they aren't decisive by any means, especially since China is facing off against such threats as Japan's Soryu class, probably the most advanced diesel-electric sub in existence.

In conclusion, the PLAN is still pretty weak on the submarine front--weaker here than on anything but its carrier force, but its capabilities are advancing rapidly and should not be underestimated.

4. What the PLAN looks like now--surface combatants

The surface fleet is definitely the most impressive and capable portion of the PLAN, no questions about it. China once had a fleet consisting mostly of coastal frigates and missile boats. As recently as 2000, its fleet had no real area-air-defense destroyers, and no SAMs that could operate outside visual range. Now, though, the PLAN operates tens of advanced guided-missile destroyers, advanced frigates, and still retains a large number of small, stealthy missile boats.

The major focus of Chinese warships appears to be on anti-air, with anti-surface being a somewhat secondary concern for all but the smallest vessels. This makes sense when you realize that the primary focus is, at least for the moment, on using land-based aircraft to strike against hostile fleet formations using long-range anti-ship missiles, in a very Soviet sort of way--"Backfire raids" using long-range land-based aircraft with anti-ship missiles were one of the US Navy's major concerns during the Cold War, and the very reason for the F-14's existence along with the AIM-54 Phoenix it carried. However, China has been developing anti-surface capabilities as well using ashms and land-attack cruise missiles [generally the same thing, actually]. Since China has finally developed a VLS system that allows it to use the same launcher for multiple missiles, its most recent ships have become more versatile in that role.

How effective these ships are at that task is, however, a relatively open question. Their radars at least seem to quite sophisticated, using flat-panel AESA, and have been dubbed "Chinese AEGIS" by the highly reliable Chinese domestic media. The basic platform their surface-to-air missiles are based on also seems to be fairly capable--the HQ-9 is an S-300 derivative, a respectable SAM system though, again, how capable it is against opponents in an active electronic warfare environment is questionable, and it has basically no capabilities against stealth aircraft like the F-35 as far as anyone knows. The efficacy of their CIWS, again, is open to question. Really this is true of everything about the modern PLAN, and PLA in general. The PLA is secretive, has not exported most of its hardware, and has developed largely independently of foreign militaries, though it is definitely influenced by them. Now that the PLAN has moved away from simply copying foreign hardware and patching it together, its capabilities are much harder to discern.

However, they should be taken as a very real threat, and not written off. My guess would be that their warships are about as capable as most of their non-American counterparts, save those equipped with AEGIS, but that's all my guess is---a guess.

5. What the PLAN looks like now--carriers

The PLAN currently has two carriers in service, and two more known to be under construction, and most suspect that it will build several more. However, at the moment, the PLAN's carrier force is largely a paper tiger, designed around training. The first carrier, the Type 001, basically was a "how do you build a carrier" kit bought from Russia, possibly by accident--the "fully functional" Minsk ended up as a theme park, believe it or not. The hull was purchased from Ukraine and then completed in China years later. It is also believed that the PLAN may have learned some things about aircraft carriers from the HMAS Melbourne, which was sold to a Chinese firm for scrapping--rumor has it the PLAN had no clue this had happened and then had a field day looking at all the stuff that hadn't been taken out. This was back in the old days when nobody could imagine that China would have an aircraft carrier. The Type 002, however, is built from scratch, but isn't particularly capable especially as it's a ski-jump carrier, leaving the Type 003 the first carrier which will prove actually useful.

The main thing holding China's carrier fleet back, though, is a lack of a suitable aircraft. Originally China was considering purchasing Su-33s from Russia, hardly a good carrier-based aircraft but functional, but after Russia discovered that China had been mucking about building a Su-27 derivative without asking the deal fell through [China tells a different story, saying that Russia demanded exorbitant amounts to reopen production which it was unwilling to pay for a nearly obsolete aircraft]. As a result China operates the J-15 as its naval fighter, with... less than stellar results. It's extremely heavy, and, if it takes off from the carrier, has minimal range if carrying anything at all--it can't take more than two short range air to air missiles into the sky to fight enemy aircraft. However, the J-15 isn't really intended for combat service--it's intended to teach China how to run carriers, and it seems to work well enough for that task, aside from the multiple fatal crashes. There is, however, thought to be a new carrier fighter in the pipeline--most say the J-31/FC-31, which has reduced RCS and a number of carrier-unique features, is being pitched as a carrier-based aircraft and will serve as China's carrier fighter in the future. China also lacks any fixed wing carrier-based airborne early warning, which could prove troublesome--a lack of AEW means that its view is limited by the horizon--and has no resupply aircraft like the C-2 Greyhound. As a result, for the moment at least, China lacks an effective carrier force, but it is likely to continue developing rapidly in the next decade and become a fairly substantial threat. Remember that as recently as 2010, a Chinese aircraft carrier seemed preposterous to many people, and now they have two.

6. Some attention to land-based aircraft

Land-based aircraft as a naval weapon are not generally used by the US, which has never had a reason to develop them as a doctrinal focus. Sure, you could potentially envision them as being used, and there even were situations where they were utilized, but it just wasn't generally a priority or how things were done. For China, though, taking influence from the Soviets, and lying on littoral seas with hostile powers in the First Island Chain, land-based aircraft and missiles are a key part of doctrine. Although this is often viewed as a new thing, called A2/AD [anti access/area denial], it's really the result of a long historical evolution of naval power, probably most refined by the Soviet Union. As a result, land-based naval aviation plays an important role, firing anti-ship missiles at standoff distances at enemy vessels, and shore-based launchers of anti-ship missiles are also an important weapon. The combination of these systems means that venturing within China's littoral seas is a dangerous proposition during war, and some waters, like those of the Taiwan Strait, are effectively considered closed at this point in the event of hostilities breaking out. For this reason air superiority is also important in this sort of naval warfare, as if either side gains air superiority it can pummel its opponents with air-launched anti-ship missiles. China's capabilities in this area are sophisticated and should not be underestimated, but they are unlikely to go through a rapid period of growth like the PLAN's fleet.

And a brief note dedicated entirely to the DF-21D "Carrier killer" that the PLA likes to show off. It's a pretty impressive capability, on paper, using a ballistic missile to hit a carrier. The CEP [circular error probable] means that it could even happen, presuming that an aircraft carrier was good enough to sit in one place, not moving, long enough to be detected by China. Aircraft carriers look big, but the seas are huge, and they're surprisingly hard to find. They also move quite fast, in excess of of 35mph/55kph, and thus by the time the ballistic missile has launched it might well be out of range given the fact that ballistic missiles are not particularly known for their maneuverability in terminal stages, at least not in the realm of miles. The DF-21D is not a particular threat to the modern aircraft carrier. It could potentially be one if it evolves into a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, but that's a whole additional can of worms, that I might address a different day.

7. The PLAN's plans for the future--what will it look like in 2030?

Unfortunately the PLAN is not exactly the most open of navies, as I've repeatedly mentioned. There are no public debates over acquisitions programs, no big fleet shape plans, relatively little detail.

However, a few things are fairly sure bets or publicly announced.

China has repeatedly announced plans to build a six-carrier force, including the Type 001 and Type 002, but also a pair of Type 003 [already under construction] conventionally powered supercarriers and a pair of Type 004 nuclear powered supercarriers. However, it seems that the Type 004 is currently on hold. Why, exactly, is unclear, but it seems to be technical difficulties, which are not particularly surprising given that China's experience with nuclear maritime propulsion seem to be rather limited and have had poor results in their submarine fleet. The costs were also expected to be too high--China does not have an unlimited quantity of money, despite what it may flaunt, and nuclear carriers are expensive to develop especially given that China has not built a nuclear-powered surface ship before.

A new carrier-based fighter is almost certainly in the cards because the J-15 is pretty much useless. The FC-31 seems by far the most likely candidate but it could be another aircraft we haven't seen yet. The addition of this aircraft will greatly improve the PLAN's capabilities.

China also has two Type 075 amphibious assault ships/LHDs under construction, and I would expect this class to be much more prolific. These ships are much more affordable than the full carriers, and focus on areas in which China is particularly concerned--amphibious assaults, say, on islands in the South China Sea or on Taiwan, and anti-submarine warfare, which is of particular importance given that submarines cannot be easily halted with land-based anti-ship missiles and air-launched cruise missiles provided for in their area denial doctrine--submarines are one of the few things that can slip through that net.

The surface combatant fleet is likely to continue growing, but I am not sure if it will swell much beyond the ~23 Type 052D ships planned and the 8 Type 055s. We're likely to see the retirement of the classes preceding the Type 052C destroyer and the Type 054 frigate, and they may be offloaded to Bangladesh, Myanmar, or Pakistan--there is substantial precedent here, and it seems that China is interested in expanding the naval capabilities of its partners around India.

The submarine fleet is likely to see rapid expansion if the PLAN is satisfied with the Type 095 and Type 096 classes, and we're likely to see more diesel-electric subs built as well. Submarines are generally quite good at fighting submarines and conducting area-denial missions, and the large and capable subsurface forces of Japan, Korea, and the United States means that this has to be an area the PLAN invests more in--and the fact that several Southeast Asian nations are also looking at acquiring submarines makes the issue more pressing.

8. Conclusion

China has in the past decade gone from a third-rate navy to perhaps the greatest threat the US Navy has faced since the Second World War. This has significant geopolitical implications, and has resulted in neighbors scrambling to overhaul their naval forces. The growth of the PLAN means that the US can no longer easily defend Taiwan or the South China Sea, or any of China's littoral waters. This, more than anything else, is what has everyone scrambling in the US talking about "great-power competition" because denying access to the US Navy and working on power projection, an inherently naval thing, is essentially a clear sign that China is looking to directly compete with the United States. Underestimate the PLAN at your own peril.

I hope to have more detail and citations in future posts, but unfortunately the PLAN is very secretive [yes, I've said that fifty times already] and this is a pretty big topic to discuss without going into details about all sorts of naval tidbits. Thanks for reading the fourth post in what I hope will be a fairly substantial series, probably around ~12 posts.

9. Citations

James Holmes, "The Danger Zone In Naval Arms Races"
USNI, Report to Congress on Chinese Naval Modernization
Hans Kristensen, China's Noisy Nuclear Submarines
Eric Wertheim, China's Type 052D Destroyer is a potent adversary
Robert Farley, Let's Talk About The Chinese Navy's Type 055 Destroyer
Ryan Pickrell, Chinese fighter jet holding China back as it builds carrier fleet
Look, much more here is based on loose speculation, more unreliable sources, and stuff I've picked up over the years, because public info is limited. So take everything I say with a grain of salt, but understand that it's the best information I know of.
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submitted by freispiele to u/freispiele [link] [comments]

Theory: One Stardew Valley villager is secretly a God

Ever since a Let’s Play got me into Stardew Valley, I’ve fallen in love with the world. It’s something special, a place to relax and get away from the world’s problems. Here, you can pay bills with the sweat of your own brow, make friends, fall in love, and can escape the drudgery of modern life. It’s magical in its own way.
I’ve played hundreds of hours over multiple save files. I’ve been wondering one thing just recently, however. I remember when I first asked Robin for house upgrades and the sheer bowel-emptying amount she asked for. Seriously? That much for a kitchen? Now that I haven’t left my house for the past several weeks, fear human contact, and have deep dived into the paranormal, I’m overthinking something constantly: with regards to modern housework, does Robin the carpenter over or under charge you for her work?
To figure this out, it’s going to require a fair bit of math and a lot of guesswork. I’m going to have to establish a lot of ground rules but I’m going to try and be as accurate to real world costs as I can. We need to learn four things:
Let’s tackle the first. To do this, I scoured around to look for modern conveniences. Primarily, I found these five:
Another interesting factoid is the number of Cathode-ray TVs you see in Stardew Valley. These are the precursors to plasma screens, which were in turn succeeded by LCD screen TVs. Additionally, a large number of your starter houses comes preequipped with Cathode-ray TVs. Granted, this may be because the farmhouse was abandoned for many years before you came along, but there exists another such TV in 1 River Road where we often see George watching his shows. I will concede that George and Evelyn are quite old and may not have the tech savvy nature of Sebastian to get something more modern, so that can’t be an accurate measurement. Plus, Alex’s mental acumen is a little... questionable.
As for crafting recipes, there really isn’t anything worth talking about. Magic items I won’t talk about because it has no real world comparison; that also throws out the wizard shop’s items. The furniture catalog has nothing of note to pinepoint a date, and nor does Pierre’s General Store, Joja Mart, Joja Warehouse, the Blacksmith, Stardrop Saloon, or Marnie’s ranch. Leah doesn’t mention anything about her laptop, so that is of little help.
So the casino gives us a low bound. Although manufacturing of the plasma screen TV stopped in the US in 2014, plasma screen TVs were losing their market shares around 2007 and factories were shutting down. As you can buy them like hotcakes and fill a shed with them, 2007 is our upper bound.
The price for plasma screens was quite pricey for residential homes. 1995 was the year 42 inch plasma screens became commercial, and some had home installation priced somewhere around US$15,000. Still not quite the size of the queen or king sized bed you and your spouse have (the size of the plasma screen in the game), but sixty inch plasma screen TVs were sold around the year 2000, and that is plenty big. Given the size of the screen in the game is roughly three tiles just like your bed, I think it’s safe to say this is around the size of our estimate. Our rough year range is now 1995 to 2007. Let’s split the difference and say the game takes place in 2001.
We have our year.
To calculate the size of our farmhouse, we need some baseline measurement. Luckily, the game is pixelated so we can be quite accurate in our measurements. Unluckily, we have no confirmed height of anything, so we have to intuit some things. Reddit user asparagus made this excellent size chart, so while I can just use that and save myself a lot of work, let us do some measurements of our own and then measure the farmhouse with both this method and asparagus’ method.
First, there is the height of plants, but those can vary widely. For instance, you can pot prickly pear cactuses in your farmhouse, but their height can vary anywhere between one and seven feet. Plant height is a no go. The average height of a minifridge is forty three inches (109 cm) tall, so unless you are a dwarf, that’s not right either. The fences are also a good starting point, as most agricultural fencing stands at four feet (1.2 m).
Here we don’t have to do much; all fences are forty eight pixels in height. Four feet equals out to forty eight inches (121.92 cm). It doesn’t get more perfect than that!
Trigger warning: incoming math.
Now comes the really tricky part: getting the dimensions of each iteration of your farmhouse, and squinting at my computer screen like a mole in order to count pixels; we must include walls as well as that is included in square footage. Our first iteration has pixel measurements of 704x496. Add in the doorway (136x64pixels), and then we’ll still convert for square feet. 704 * 496 + (136 * 64) = 318,452 pixels/sq, which (dividing by 12^2) converts to 2,211.47 ft/sq. Damn, we’re well on our way for most modern mansions.
I have to have messed something up (205.45 m/sq, btw). The average firebox (the inside of a fireplace where you burn wood) tends to be around 32x20 inches (81.28x50.8 cm). Ours is... 72x40. Twice as large. I also haven’t even begun to calculate the farmhouse’s height because Robin is beginning to scare me.
Alright, new plan, we’re going with asparagus. I married Haley and took her measurements. She is 104 pixels tall, and since she is 65 inches (165.1 cm) according to asparagus, that gives us a measurement of .625 inches/pixel (1.5875 cm/pixel).
Side note, I really want some Twizlers right now.
So instead of having pixels as at a 1:1 ratio, we have something a little more lenient, but things are looking a little... grim. We’ll have to convert each individual amount, so we have (704 * .625) * (496 * .625) + ((136 * 64) * .625^2) for 124,395.31 inches/sq, 863.86 ft/sq., 80.25 m/sq. But still, we haven’t even begun to calculate the actual volume of our farmhouse yet, so these numbers are going to explode.
I’m beginning to think Robin is Hestia. Yoba is not the only deity in this town.
Alright, calculating the rest of the floor spaces is a little boring so let’s speedrun this.
Wall height for the farmhouse is 140 pixels, so (140 * .625) * 124,395.31 inches/sq / 12^3 = 6,298.95 ft^3 (178.36 m^3) for the farmhouse, and 25,800.51 ft^3 (730.58 m^3) using my method.
Just... let’s move on.
Second iteration has me doing a fair bit more work.
Wall height is 135 pixels, and rightmost—wait, the walls are shorter? Weird. Anyway, the rightmost room has dimensions of 486 for width by 375 for depth (and the same cubby dimensions), giving us cuboid dimensions of 24,603,750 pixels^3, which converts to 14,238.28 ft^3 (403.18 m^3), and 3,476.14 ft^3 (82.83 m^3) using asparagus' method
Middle corridor has a dimensional width of 42 pixels by 87 depth, giving us a total of 285.47 ft^3 (8.08 m^3), and 69.69 ft^3 (1.97 m^3) using asparagus' method.
Leftmost room (the kitchen) has a width of 870 and depth of 375, with a doorway of 136x64. That gives us a cuboid area of 314,019.38 ft^3 (29,173.11 m^3), and 6,388.74 ft^3 (180.91 m^3) using asparagus' method.
That gives us a grand total for a tier two home of...
... 328,543.13 ft^3 (29,584.37 m^3) using my method and
... 9,934.58 ft^3 (281.31 m^3) using asparagus' method.
So Robin added at a minimum 3,635.63 cubic feet to your house in three days by herself. Even if you extend the days and months to roughly align with our own calendar, that would be a mere nine days. How much powdered starfruit did she snort in order to do that by herself? I 100% believe Emily is the town’s dealer. I didn’t even calculate the length of the farmhouse loft. It’s doable, and even though you can’t enter it in the game, a bigger farmhouse means a bigger loft judging by the look of it.
Anyway, I’m not going to calculate the loft area right now. I’m not going to calculate the other tiers of your farmhouse either, even though that was my intent when I started this analysis. The math is easy enough, but it gets boring to type, and no doubt to read. Plus, I’m a little stunned by Robin's carpentry acumen. C’mon Robin, stop upgrading my house. Exercise with the girls, dance with your husband, smoke some weed, I dunno, RELAX.
But in a strange way, it makes a weird sort of sense. Pretty much no one plays the game with auto-run turned off, but do so for a moment. See how fast you move. That is your normal pace, and auto-run is you, an Olympian god, sprinting around town every second of every day, helping the shit out of everyone whether they want it or not, snorting the same starfruit mixture you got from Robin to keep going, who may have gotten it from Linus (my money is still on Emily). We’ve become so accustomed to seeing the run animation as our default I almost didn’t realize it doesn’t translate to modern life. The boards in your house, I almost took those as your normal 2x4 planks of wood (which actually measure 1.5x3.5, the world lies to me). They are not. They are almost the width of your entire body, and your walking pace (sorry I can’t get an exact pixel measurement) covers roughly one and a half boards, a similar length to a normal human gait. The art style fooled even me until now, but your house is massive.
Let’s just answer our other two questions. What is the exchange rate? Calculating the exchange rate of a fictional world is always tricky as they have different concepts of rarities, but I’ll give it the ol’ college try. Once again, I can’t do anything with magic. Let’s first list some things of note:
Now you may be tempted to say we can’t translate iridium and gold’s prices to real world market values, and normally you may be right, but there are some extenuating circumstances in the game: the town is right next to two very large mines. It is even a plot point once you clear the glittering boulder that the water carries ore from deep inside the mountain. Yes, gold and iridium are valuable, but your location to ore veins is important; gold and iridium may be uncommon resources but you have access to very specific places where they are more common, otherwise known as the scarcity heuristic). This also explains two facts about iridium: discounting magic, iridium is quite rare in the game, just like real life. Secondly, Clint’s prices make a lot more sense not only because it’s endgame material, but because iridium is super dense and has a very high melting point, thus making it a very difficult material to work with.
But by far the biggest challenge of this question is figuring out whether or not items you produce factor in the cost of your labor or not. For instance, lace is made of simple materials that even in the days of Victorian England, it was easy to get. However because lace was so time consuming to make, it could command absurd prices. Thus, one of the first things we need to discover is whether or not the game takes into account cost of labor or not.
So I am going to take you all back to school and talk about someone who’s old and dead: Adam Smith. It was he who talked about the cost of labor in his book The Wealth of Nations, and because of that, I bring up this particular line:
“...From century to century, corn is a better measure than silver, because, from century to century, equal quantities of corn will command the same quantity of labour more nearly than equal quantities of silver.
Why did I mention corn above? This is why. Prices may vary, but agriculture has been around for thousands of years and the cost of a farmer’s labor equals about the same.
According to Dylan Baumann, Stardew Valley corn plants have a profit value of 535 gold per plant. Our corn plant profits are about as high as they can get without adding something new into the mix, and we don’t want that yet.
Let’s set some ground rules:
If you plant the entire farm with corn and stop harvesting on Fall day 28 when the growing season ends, that lets you harvest a total of 11 ears of corn per plant. Multiply that by 3,350, we get a total of 36,850 ears of corn for your entire farm. Corn is measured in bushels, and a bushel of corn can be anywhere between 40 and 60 ears of corn, but we’ll say you really pack it in for 60, meaning your growing season for corn produces 36,850 / 60 corn for a total of 614.17 bushels per year.
The USDA has a 2001 labor value of corn at US$2.92 per acre (and that matches the Iowa labor statistic), and using 156 bushels per acre, that brings our labor cost per bushel at... US$00.02. That’s a real pittance. Considering bushels of corn retailed around $2.11 per bushel in 2001, that is an incredible markup of 184.85 times.
We’re almost done with the dreaded math, I swear.
Corn retails at 100g apiece in Stardew Valley(You get 50 gold from Pierre, so he has a 100% markup), meaning the labor cost should be around 184.85 times less that amount, meaning it takes about 0.54 gold to make one ear of corn.
Your average US farmers salary $55,000 and $100,000, and we’ll take the middle of $77,500 for our measurements. Dividing the farmer’s salary by the total ears of corn our farmer grows in Stardew Valley, we get a labor cost per ear of corn in US dollars of $2.10 per ear of corn. Now we multiply this by our markup ratio to get the IRL retail cost of corn in Stardew, getting US$237.08! Damn that better be some good eating! We divide that number by the Stardew Valley retail cost of corn, netting us a real world conversion of gold of, drumroll please, $2.37 US dollars per gold in 2001.
Now just for funzies, let us calculate the actual salary of your famer in Stardew Valley. Multiplying your 36,850 ears of corn by 50 gold (your selling price of gold, not the retail price of 100g), that nets you 1,842,500 gold per growing season. Multiply that by the dollagold conversion we just calculated and your real life gross income comes out to be US$436,672,500.
Give me all of the golden clocks, wizard.
Three questions down, one more to go. Currency conversion was rather tricky because it involved quite a lot of math, but this last question, what is the cost of Robin’s labor, that requires the most assumptions. There’s an easy answer and a hard answer.
Robin’s upgrades, except for the last, require you the farmer to give her resources in addition to gold. The simple answer is you are providing materials in order to keep the raw gold cost down. This means that the first house upgrade, 10,000 gold, is strictly her labor cost as the 450 wood is all the raw materials she needs to build. 3 days * 3 months (to adjust Stardew month lengths to our month lengths) comes out to Robin working an IRL equivalent to 9 days. Taking 10,000 gold / 9 days equals a cost of 1,111.111 gold per day, and considering Robin has snorted enough powdered starfruit to have 20 hour work days, that comes out to 55.56 gold per hour.
Just to be sure, let’s see if the math holds up for the last upgrade. That one requires a cost of 100,000 gold and comes preequipped with 33 casks. You do not provide the resources for the casks, meaning that comes included with the cost. Casks cannot be sold, but the materials required to make them are 20 wood and 1 hardwood, which Robin will provide for the same 100% markup (meaning 4 gold and 30 gold respectively). 4 gold * 30 gold * 33 casks comes out to 3,960 gold. Using the same calculations for the first house iteration, we get (100,000 gold - 3,960) / (3 days * 3 months) / 20 hours for a total of 533.56 gold per hour.
Not even close to our first estimate. We could just average them together for (533.56 + 55.56) / 2 = 294.56 gold, and that would be the easy answer. It would be nice to settle for the easy answer.
Let’s find the hard answer. We are going to calculate labor cost per square footage, and luckily most of the work has been done over the course of several google spreadsheets. To find the cost of materials and money per upgrade volume we get the formula (Upgrade volume - Base Volume) / 10,000 gold. This gives us a grand total of cubic material built per gold of...
...2,573.26 in^3/gold, 30.27 ft^3/gold, 2.89 m^3/gold using my method and
...628.24 in^3/gold, 0.36 ft^3/gold, 0.01 m^3/gold using asparagus’ method.
Let’s see if the math holds up for the basement upgrade and dammit I just realized I got to do more pixel measurements now. Hold on, be back in an hour.
Alright, I’m back. We don’t need to do any subtraction for the previous volume of the house considering the cellar is its own little area, but we still need to subtract the value of the materials used for the casks. The cellar comes out to a grand total of cubic materials built per gold of...
...386.91 in^3/gold, 0.22 ft^3/gold, 0.01 m^3/gold using my method and
...94.46 in^3/gold, 0.05 ft^3/gold, 0.0015 m^3/gold using asparagus’ method.
Huge discrepancy.
Before I get into my reasoning why, let us outline what we know first.
I come to one conclusion: Robin is a god that has settled down in the world of Stardew Valley.
Here me out. I have three pieces of evidence.
The first is when Robin is hired to take on a house upgrade job no one helps her, not even her husband Demetrius. Your house is right next to hers, so you’re not paying for travel. As we have shown by our calculations above and in the gDoc spreadsheet, that is a massive amount of work. It’s simply not possible for a human to accomplish such a monumental task. Robin claims she built her own home herself with this line from the game...
“Have I told you that I built our house from the ground up? It's definitely been the highlight of my career so far.”
...so we know her carpentry acumen is impressive enough for the job, but she has severely understated her skill. Homeadvisor pegs a house costing anywhere between US$150,000 to US$500,000 (US$102,005.53 to $340,018.44, adjusted for 2001 inflation), but even adjusted for inflation, Robin absolutely underbids the current housing market. Those inflation adjusted values, when converted to gold, come out to a range of 43,040.31g-143,467.70g. Granted, these prices are for a complete house, not adding onto a current house, but even if we half the value you are getting one hell of a discount.
The second piece is Robin’s language. The sheer passion for her work speaks wonders..
“Wood is a wonderful substance... it's versatile, cheap, strong, and each piece has its own unique character!”
...but perhaps she is just passionate about what she does. Many people are, but knowing what we do about how dirt cheap and blindingly fast she works let’s go into more detail about some things, specifically three lines. The first...
“Our little plan worked out well, don't you think? Pam and Penny seem really happy.”
...is said after Pam’s house undergoes an upgrade. “Our” plan? Sure, you are the one that buys the upgrade and Robin has to build it, but I can’t help but feel there is a double meaning behind this language. It is done out of the kindness of Robin’s heart and the materials have to come from somewhere, so she can’t do it for free, but it wasn’t about the money, as we have stated previously. It was about Penny.
Pam is a somewhat contentious person because of slobbish and slovenly nature. She is immediately and irrationally angered when Penny tries to pick the place up. She drinks heavily...
“\sigh*... My mother definitely has a problem with going to the saloon too much. But it's best not to dwell on bad things, right?”*
...doesn’t seem to understand not paying her tab has some consequences, and doesn’t realize what her habits have done to her daughter’s psyche.
Then you, the player come along. Pam is okay with the simple things in life, but you help Penny with her worries and insecurities, and then with you and Robin together, you give Penny everything she needs to help her shed those worries. She has a house that doesn have problems with rain, two friends who look out for her, her mom has a job, and most importantly she has peace of mind and in a world fraught with problems, that is truly priceless.
Then there is this line...
“Hey! I heard some weird noises last night, and woke up this morning to find the quarry bridge completely repaired! It's a miracle of woodworking!”
...and it occurs once you offer items to the community center junimos to get the quarry bridge repaired.
It is also a bald-faced lie.
The junimos are good, don’t get me wrong, but we’ve seen what Robin can do with our own two eyes. She is absolutely incredible at her job, and while I may give it to her she has no idea what junimos are or what they are capable of, we have proof that the act of restoring the bridge in one night is not out of the realm of possibility for her. A miracle, yes, but I’m certain she can beat the junimos’ time.
Lastly, there is one quote from her that is just... it opens up some very interesting questions. When she says...
“My parents were bewildered when I told them I wanted to be a carpenter. They were pretty old-fashioned.”
...how old are her parents when they consider carpentry too new-fashioned for them? Carpentry is one of the world’s oldest professions. If they were old-fashioned, why were they bewildered?
This line is just so fascinating to me. Robin is incredibly skilled, but I cannot rationalize carpentry being too newfangled for parents to wrap their head around. Who were they? Where are they from? I know your secrets, Robin, I know your parents are gods, too.
The third and final piece is the contrasting pieces of the world at large. Just like ours, it’s a little depressing. Joja Corp runs dozens of what even Cyberpunk would consider a dataslave farm. The world is flooded with consumerism run amok, Orwellian surveillance, and rampant urbanization. The Ferngill Republic is in the middle of a war with the Gotoro Empire and Kent still suffers PTSD from being in a prisoner of war camp.
Stardew Valley isn’t just a town to retire in, it is a place of respite and healing. There are three confirmed magic users deeply tied to the town’s mystical roots. The bears speak and encourage you to manage the world around you. You are rewarded for restoring balance to the valley by being able to recycle things you don’t need. Your main resource in the game, gold, also doesn’t matter that much; if it ever slips into the negative, nothing bad ever happens. You must just work to raise it back up. There is no lose condition in the game.
In many respects it is similar to the Gaiaism philosophy that all living beings are connected, each relying and depending on each other in order to maintain a peaceful coexistence. You help Shane with his nihilism and depression, Sebastian with his ability to express and accept affection, Sam with his dreams, Kent with his problems, Leah with her ambitions, Haley with her generosity and narcissism, or even simple goals like Penny’s idea of a quiet domestic life.
Whether it is the addicted, lost, or scorned, everyone is welcome and everyone can have a home in Stardew Valley. No one embodies this more than Robin who just wants a simple life. Whether it is her own house or her own boat during the Dance of the Moonlight Jellies, Robin builds it herself. The feel of wood grain, the smell of lacquer, the stickiness of stain, the thrum of the saw, and the bite of the axe. Robin doesn’t charge you nearly enough for your house upgrades because it is not about the money. Woodworking is what she loves and she lives in a place where barterism, kindness, family, and friendship substitute so many of life's modern problems and inconveniences.
Friendship increases in the game aren’t just a measurement of achievements, a means of getting more recipes, or more candles lit on a grave. You are making friends and getting to know these people for who they are and everyone’s life is bettered because of it. The amount of love I’ve seen for Linus is just staggering. Shane, in all of his melancholy and despite him not being a suitor in the original version of the game, is loved by so many. I know some despise Haley, but I love that I was able to show her what kindness can do for people.
You are in a gentle and loving place, and you are loved.
What a better place for a god to reside? A quiet town filled with peace and love, seeped in nature and the old magics of yore. A loving mate, a family to raise. Land to share with those that forage from its bounty. It’s all she needs.
Robin’s role in all of this? She desires neither worship nor admiration. She is just a friend. A god, certainly, but a friend first and foremost who is just settling down in a quiet town looking for a little peace.

https://preview.redd.it/vxedrolha3w51.png?width=507&format=png&auto=webp&s=d109cc65b008db74dc4ef74d20083c6eeb2cfc60
Image by MagicallyClueless
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