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This week 12 yrs ago--Lehman Bros collapsed......(Best Interest) Explaining the Big Short and the 2008 Crisis

edit: thanks for the awards. I'd be a dick to take credit. Go check out the one-man-band who actually wrote it---I've been reading for a couple months, good stuff https://bestinterest.blog/explain-the-big-short/
(Best Interest) This post will explain the Big Short and the 2008 subprime mortgage collapse in simple terms.
This post is a little longer than usual–maybe give yourself 20 minutes to sift through it. But I promise you’ll leave feeling like you can tranche (that’s a verb, right?!) the whole financial system!
Key Players
First, I want to introduce the players in the financial crisis, as they might not make sense at first blush. One of the worst parts about the financial industry is how they use deliberately obtuse language to explain relatively simple ideas. Their financial acronyms are hard to keep track of. In order to explain the Big Short, these players–and their roles–are key.
Individuals, a.k.a. regular people who take out mortgages to buy houses; for example, you and me!
Mortgage lenders, like a local bank or a mortgage lending specialty shop, who give out mortgages to individuals. Either way, they’re probably local people that the individual home-buyer would meet in person.
Big banks, such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, who buy lots of mortgages from lenders. After this transaction, the homeowner would owe money to the big bank instead of the lender.
Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs)—deep breath!—who take mortgages from big banks and bundle them all together into a bond (see below). And just like before, this step means that the home-buyer now owes money to the CDO. Why is this done?! I’ll explain, I promise.
Ratings agencies, whose job is to determine the risk of a CDO—is it filled with safe mortgages, or risky mortgages?
Investors, who buy part of a CDO and get repaid as the individual homeowners start paying back their mortgage.
Feel lost already? I’m going to be a good jungle guide and get you through this. Stick with me.
Quick definition: Bonds
A bond can be thought of as a loan. When you buy a bond, you are loaning your money. The issuer of the bond is borrowing your money. In exchange for borrowing your money, the issuer promises to pay you back, plus interest, in a certain amount of time. Sometimes, the borrower cannot pay the investor back, and the bond defaults, or fails. Defaults are not good for the investor.
The CDO—which is a bond—could hold thousands of mortgages in it. It’s a mortgage-backed bond, and therefore a type of mortgage-backed security. If you bought 1% of a CDO, you were loaning money equivalent to 1% of all the mortgage principal, with the hope of collecting 1% of the principal plus interest as the mortgages got repaid.
There’s one more key player, but I’ll wait to introduce it. First…
The Whys, Explained
Why does an individual take out a mortgage? Because they want a home. Can you blame them?! A healthy housing market involves people buying and selling houses.
How about the lender; why do they lend? It used to be so they would slowly make interest money as the mortgage got repaid. But nowadays, the lender takes a fee (from the homeowner) for creating (or originating) the mortgage, and then immediately sells to mortgage to…
A big bank. Why do they buy mortgages from lenders? Starting in the 1970s, Wall St. started buying up groups of loans, tying them all together into one bond—the CDO—and selling slices of that collection to investors. When people buy and sell those slices, the big banks get a cut of the action—a commission.
Why would an investor want a slice of a mortgage CDO? Because, like any other investment, the big banks promised that the investor would make their money back plus interest once the homeowners began repaying their mortgages.
You can almost trace the flow of money and risk from player to player.
At the end of the day, the investor needs to get repaid, and that money comes from homeowners.
CDOs are empty buckets
Homeowners and mortgage lenders are easy to understand. But a big question mark swirls around Wall Street’s CDOs.
I like to think of the CDO as a football field full of empty buckets—one bucket per mortgage. As an investor, you don’t purchase one single bucket, or one mortgage. Instead, you purchase a thin horizontal slice across all the buckets—say, a half-inch slice right around the 1-gallon mark.
As the mortgages are repaid, it starts raining. The repayments—or rain—from Mortgage A doesn’t go solely into Bucket A, but rather is distributed across all the buckets, and all the buckets slowly get re-filled.
As long as your horizontal slice of the bucket is eventually surpassed, you get your money back plus interest. You don’t need every mortgage to be repaid. You just need enough mortgages to get to your slice.
It makes sense, then, that the tippy top of the bucket—which gets filled up last—is the highest risk. If too many of the mortgages in the CDO fail and aren’t repaid, then the tippy top of the bucket will never get filled up, and those investors won’t get their money back.
These horizontal slices are called tranches, which might sound familiar if you’ve read the book or watched the movie.
So far, there’s nothing too wrong about this practice. It’s simply moving the risk from the mortgage lender to other investors. Sure, the middle-men (banks, lenders, CDOs) are all taking a cut out of all the buy and sell transactions. But that’s no different than buying lettuce at grocery store prices vs. buying straight from the farmer. Middle-men take a cut. It happens.
But now, our final player enters the stage…
Credit Default Swaps: The Lynchpin of the Big Short
Screw you, Wall Street nomenclature! A credit default swap sounds complicated, but it’s just insurance. Very simple, but they have a key role to explain the Big Short.
Investors thought, “Well, since I’m buying this risky tranche of a CDO, I might want to hedge my bets a bit and buy insurance in case it fails.” That’s what a credit default swap did. It’s insurance against something failing. But, there is a vital difference between a credit default swap and normal insurance.
I can’t buy an insurance policy on your house, on your car, or on your life. Only you can buy those policies. But, I could buy insurance on a CDO mortgage bond, even if I didn’t own that bond!
Not only that, but I could buy billions of dollars of insurance on a CDO that only contained millions of dollars of mortgages.
It’s like taking out a $1 million auto policy on a Honda Civic. No insurance company would allow you to do this, but it was happening all over Wall Street before 2008. This scenario essentially is “the big short” (see below)—making huge insurance bets that CDOs will fail—and many of the big banks were on the wrong side of this bet!
Credit default swaps involved the largest amounts of money in the subprime mortgage crisis. This is where the big Wall Street bets were taking place.
Quick definition: Short
A short is a bet that something will fail, get worse, or go down. When most people invest, they buy long (“I want this stock price to go up!”). A short is the opposite of that.
Certain individuals—like main characters Steve Eisman (aka Mark Baum in the movie, played by Steve Carrell) and Michael Burry (played by Christian Bale) in the 2015 Oscar-nominated film The Big Short—realized that tons of mortgages were being made to people who would never be able to pay them back.
If enough mortgages failed, then tranches of CDOs start to fail—no mortgage repayment means no rain, and no rain means the buckets stay empty. If CDOs fail, then the credit default swap insurance gets paid out. So what to do? Buy credit default swaps! That’s the quick and dirty way to explain the Big Short.
Why buy Dog Shit?
Wait a second. Why did people originally invest in these CDO bonds if they were full of “dog shit mortgages” (direct quote from the book) in the first place? Since The Big Short protagonists knew what was happening, shouldn’t the investors also have realized that the buckets would never get refilled?
For one, the prospectus—a fancy word for “owner’s manual”—of a CDO was very difficult to parse through. It was hard to understand exactly which mortgages were in the CDO. This is a skeevy big bank/CDO practice. And even if you knew which mortgages were in a CDO, it was nearly impossible to realize that many of those mortgages were made fraudulently.
The mortgage lenders were knowingly creating bad mortgages*.* They were giving loans to people with no hopes of repaying them. Why? Because the lenders knew they could immediately sell that mortgage—that risk—to a big bank, which would then securitize the mortgage into a CDO, and then sell that CDO to investors. Any risk that the lender took by creating a bad mortgage was quickly transferred to the investor.
So…because you can’t decipher the prospectus to tell which mortgages are in a CDO, it was easier to rely on the CDO’s rating than to evaluate each of the underlying mortgages. It’s the same reason why you don’t have to understand how engines work when you buy a car; you just look at Car & Driver or Consumer Reports for their opinions, their ratings.
The Ratings Agencies
Investors often relied on ratings to determine which bonds to buy. The two most well-known ratings agencies from 2008 were Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s (heard of the S&P 500?). The ratings agency’s job was to look at a CDO that a big bank created, understand the underlying assets (in this case, the mortgages), and give the CDO a rating to determine how safe it was. A good rating is “AAA”—so nice, it got ‘A’ thrice.
So, were the ratings agencies doing their jobs? No! There are a few explanations for this:
  1. Even they—the experts in charge of grading the bonds—didn’t understand what was going on inside a CDO. The owner’s manual descriptions (prospectuses) were too complicated. In fact, ratings agencies often relied on big banks to teach seminars about how to rate CDOs, which is like a teacher learning how to grade tests from Timmy, who still pees his pants. Timmy just wants an A.
  2. Ratings agencies are profit-driven companies. When they give a rating, they charge a fee. But if the agency hands out too many bad grades, then their customers—the big banks—will take their requests elsewhere in hopes of higher grades. The ratings agencies weren’t objective, but instead were biased by their need for profits.
  3. Remember those fraudulent mortgages that the lenders were making? Unless you did some boots-on-the-ground research, it was tough to uncover this fact. It’s hard to blame the ratings agencies for not catching this.
Who’s to blame?
Everyone? Let’s play devil’s advocate…

To explain further, there are two things going on here.
First, Goldman Sachs bankers were selling CDOs to investors. They wanted to make a commission on the sale.
At the same time, other bankers ALSO AT GOLDMAN SACHS were buying credit default swaps, a.k.a. betting against the same CDOs that the first Goldman Sachs bankers were selling.
This is like selling someone a racehorse with cancer, and then immediately going to the track to bet against that horse. Blankfein’s defense in this video is, “But the horse seller and the bettor weren’t the same people!” And the Congressmen responds, “But they worked for the same stable, and collected the same paychecks!”
So do the big banks deserve blame? You tell me.
Inspecting Goldman Sachs
One reason Goldman Sachs survived 2008 is that they began buying credit default swaps (insurance) just in time before the housing market crashed. They were still on the bad side of some bets, but mostly on the good side. They were net profitable.
Unfortunately for them, the banks that owed Goldman money were going bankrupt from their own debt, and then Goldman never would have been able to collect on their insurance. Goldman would’ve had to payout on their “bad” bets, while not collecting on their “good” bets. In their own words, they were “toast.”
This is significant. Even banks in “good” positions would’ve gone bankrupt, because the people who owed the most money weren’t able to repay all their debts. Imagine a chain; Bank A owes money to Bank B, and B owes money to Bank C. If Bank A fails, then B can’t collect their debt, and B can’t pay C. Bank C made “good” bets, but aren’t able to collect on them, and then they go out of business.
These failures would’ve rippled throughout the world. This explains why the US government felt it necessary to bail-out the banks. That federal money allowed banks in “good” positions to collect their profits and “stop the ripple” from tearing apart the world economy. While CDOs and credit default swap explain the Big Short starting, this ripple of failure is the mechanism that affected the entire world.
Betting more than you have
But if someone made a bad bet—sold bad insurance—why didn’t they have money to cover that bet? It all depends on risk. If you sell a $100 million insurance policy, and you think there’s a 1% chance of paying out that policy, what’s your exposure? It’s the potential loss multiplied by the probability = 1% times $100 million, or $1 million.
These banks sold billions of dollars of insurance under the assumption that there was a 5%, or 3%, or 1% chance of the housing market failing. So they had 20x, or 30x, or 100x less money on hand then they needed to cover these bets.
Turns out, there was a 100% chance that the market would fail…oops!
Blame, expounded
Ratings agencies—they should be unbiased. But they sold themselves off for profit. They invited the wolves—big banks—into their homes to teach them how to grade CDOs. Maybe they should read a blog to explain the Big Short to them. Of course they deserve blame. Here’s another anecdote of terrible judgment from the ratings agencies:
Think back to my analogy of the buckets and the rain. Sometimes, a ratings agency would look at a CDO and say, “You’re never going to fill up these buckets all the way. Those final tranches—the ones that won’t get filled—they’re really risky. So we’re going to give them a bad grade.” There were “Dog Shit” tranches, and Dog Shit gets a bad grade.
But then the CDO managers would go back to their offices and cut off the top of the buckets. And they’d do this for all their CDOs—cutting off all the bucket-top rings from all the different CDO buckets. And then they’d super-glue the bucket-top rings together to create a field full of Frankenstein buckets, officially called a CDO squared. Because the Frankenstein buckets were originally part of other CDOs, the Frankenstein buckets could only start filling up once the original buckets (which now had the tops cut off) were filled. In other words, the CDO managers decided to concentrate all their Dog Shit in one place, and super glue it together.
A reasonable person would look at the Frankenstein Dog Shit field of buckets and say, “That’s turrible, Kenny.”
“It’s diversified,” they would claim, as if Poodle shit mixed with Labrador shit is better than pure Poodle shit.
Again, you tell me. Do the ratings agencies deserve blame?!
Does the government deserve blame?
Yes and no.
For example, part of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 mandated that the government mortgage finance firms (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) purchase a certain number of sub-prime mortgages.
On its surface, this seems like a good thing: it’s giving money to potential home-buyers who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for a mortgage. It’s providing the American Dream.
But as we’ve already covered today, it does nobody any good to provide a bad mortgage to someone who can’t repay it. That’s what caused this whole calamity. Freddie and Fannie and HUD were pumping money into the machine, helping to enable it. Good intentions, but they weren’t paying attention to the unintended outcomes.
And what about the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the watchdogs of Wall Street. Do they have a role to explain the Big Short? Shouldn’t they have been aware of the Big Banks, the CDOs, the ratings agencies?
Yes, they deserve blame too. They’re supposed to do things like ensure that Big Banks have enough money on hand to cover their risky bets. This is called proper “risk management,” and it was severely lacking. The SEC also had the power to dig into the CDOs and ferret out the fraudulent mortgages that were creating them. Why didn’t they do that?
Perhaps the issue is that the SEC was/is simply too close to Wall Street, similar to the ratings agencies getting advice from the big banks. Watchdogs shouldn’t get treats from those they’re watching. Or maybe it’s that the CDOs and credit default swaps were too hard for the SEC to understand.
Either way, the SEC doesn’t have a good excuse. If you’re in bed with the people you’re regulating, then you’re doing a bad job. If you’re rubber stamping things you don’t understand, then you’re doing a bad job.
Explain the Big Short, shortly
You’re about 2500 words into my “short summary.” But the important things to remember:

And with that, I’d like to announce the opening of the Best Interest CDO. Rather than invest in mortgages, I’ll be investing in race horses. Don’t ask my why, but the current top stallion is named ‘Dog Shit.’ He’ll take Wall Street by storm.
If you don’t mind my cussing but you do like this content, consider subscribing to the email list to get these articles (and nothing more) sent to your inbox every week.
I hope this post helped if you were looking for someone to explain the Big Short. Thanks for reading the Best Interest.

Source: https://bestinterest.blog/explain-the-big-short/
submitted by CrosscourtFade to investing [link] [comments]

GeForce RTX 3090 Review Megathread

GeForce RTX 3090 Review Megathread

GeForce RTX 3090 reviews are up.

Image Link - GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition

Reminder: Do NOT buy from 3rd Party Marketplace Seller on Ebay/Amazon/Newegg (unless you want to pay more). Assume all the 3rd party sellers are scalping. If it's not being sold by the actual retailer (e.g. Amazon selling on Amazon.com or Newegg selling on Newegg.com) then you should treat the product as sold out and wait.

Below is the compilation of all the reviews that have been posted so far. I will be updating this continuously throughout the day with the conclusion of each publications and any new review links. This will be sorted alphabetically.

Written Articles

Anandtech - TBD

Arstechnica - TBD


NVIDIA says that the RTX 3080 is the gaming card and the RTX 3090 is the hybrid creative card – but we respectfully disagree. The RTX 3090 is the flagship gaming card that can also run intensive creative apps very well, especially by virtue of its huge 24GB framebuffer. But it is still not an RTX TITAN nor a Quadro. These cards cost a lot more and are optimized specifically for workstations and also for professional and creative apps.
However, for RTX 2080 Ti gamers who paid $1199 and who have disposable cash for their hobby – although it has been eclipsed by the RTX 3080 – the RTX 3090 Founders Edition which costs $1500 is the card to maximize their upgrade. And for high-end gamers who also use creative apps, this card may become a very good value. Hobbies are very expensive to maintain, and the expense of PC gaming pales in comparison to what golfers, skiers, audiophiles, and many other hobbyists pay for their entertainment. But for high-end gamers on a budget, the $699 RTX 3080 will provide the most value of the two cards. We cannot call the $1500 RTX 3090 a “good value” generally for gamers as it is a halo card and it absolutely does not provide anywhere close to double the performance of a $700 RTX 3080.
However, for some professionals, two RTX 3090s may give them exactly what they need as it is the only Ampere gaming card to support NVLink providing up to 112.5 GB/s of total bandwidth between two GPUs which when SLI’d together will allow them to access a massive 48GB of vRAM. SLI is no longer supported by NVIDIA for gaming, and emphasis will be placed on mGPU only as implemented by game developers.

Digital Foundry Article

Digital Foundry Video

So there we have it. The RTX 3090 delivers - at best - 15 to 16 per cent more gaming performance than the RTX 3080. In terms of price vs performance, there is only one winner here. And suffice to say, we would expect to see factory overclocked RTX 3080 cards bite into the already fairly slender advantage delivered by Nvidia's new GPU king. Certainly in gaming terms then, the smart money would be spend on an RTX 3080, and if you're on a 1440p high refresh rate monitor and you're looking to maximise price vs performance, I'd urge you to look at the RTX 2080 Ti numbers in this review: if Nvidia's claims pan out, you'll be getting that and potentially more from the cheaper still RTX 3070. All of which raises the question - why make an RTX 3090 at all?
The answers are numerous. First of all, PC gaming has never adhered to offering performance increases in line with the actual amount of money spent. Whether it's Titans, Intel Extreme processors, high-end motherboards or performance RAM, if you want the best, you'll end up paying a huge amount of money to attain it. This is only a problem where there are no alternatives and in the case of the RTX 3090, there is one - the RTX 3080 at almost half of the price.
But more compelling is the fact that Nvidia is now blurring the lines between the gaming GeForce line and the prosumer-orientated Quadro offerings. High-end Quadro cards are similar to RTX 3090 and Titan RTX in several respects - usually in that they deliver the fully unlocked Nvidia silicon paired with huge amounts of VRAM. Where they differ is in support and drivers, something that creatives, streamers or video editors may not wish to pay even more of a premium for. In short, RTX 3090 looks massively expensive as a gamer card, but compared to the professional Quadro line, there are clear savings.
In the meantime, RTX 3090 delivers the Titan experience for the new generation of graphics hardware. Its appeal is niche, the halo product factor is huge and the performance boost - while not exactly huge - is likely enough to convince the cash rich to invest and for the creator audience to seriously consider it. For my use cases, the extra money is obviously worth it. I also think that the way Nvidia packages and markets the product is appealing: the RTX 3090 looks and feels special, its gigantic form factor and swish aesthetic will score points with those that take pride in their PC looking good and its thermal and especially acoustic performance are excellent. It's really, really quiet. All told then, RTX 3090 is the traditional hard sell for the mainstream gamer but the high-end crowd will likely lap it up. But it leaves me with a simple question: where next for the Titan and Ti brands? You don't retire powerhouse product tiers for no good reason and I can only wonder: is something even more powerful cooking?


When we had our first experience with the GeForce RTX 3080, we were nothing short of impressed. Testing the GeForce RTX 3090 is yet another step up. But we're not sure if the 3090 is the better option though, as you'll need very stringent requirements in order for it to see a good performance benefit. Granted, and I have written this many times in the past with the Titans and the like, a graphics card like this is bound to run into bottlenecks much faster than your normal graphics cards. Three factors come into play here, CPU bottlenecks, low-resolution bottlenecks, and the actual game (API). The GeForce RTX 3090 is the kind of product that needs to be free from all three aforementioned factors. Thus, you need to have a spicy processor that can keep up with the card, you need lovely GPU bound games preferably with DX12 ASYNC compute and, of course, if you are not gaming at the very least in Ultra HD, then why even bother, right? The flipside of the coin is that when you have these three musketeers applied and in effect, well, then there is no card faster than the 3090, trust me; it's a freakfest of performance, but granted, also bitter-sweet when weighing all factors in.
NVIDIA's Ampere product line up has been impressive all the way, there's nothing other to conclude than that. Is it all perfect? Well, performance-wise in the year 2020 we cannot complain. Of course, there is an energy consumption factor to weigh in as a negative factor and, yes, there's pricing to consider. Both are far too high for the product to make any real sense. For gaming, we do not feel the 3090 makes a substantial enough difference over the RTX 3080 with 10 to 15% differentials, and that's mainly due to system bottlenecks really. You need to game at Ultra HD and beyond for this card to make a bit of sense. We also recognize that the two factors do not need to make sense for quite a bunch of you as the product sits in a very extreme niche. But I stated enough about that. I like this chunk of hardware sitting inside a PC though as, no matter how you look at it, it is a majestic product. Please make sure you have plenty of ventilation though as the RTX 3090 will dump lots of heat. It is big but still looks terrific. And the performance, oh man... that performance, it is all good all the way as long as you uphold my three musketeers remark. Where I could nag a little about the 10 GB VRAM on the GeForce RTX 3080, we cannot complain even the slightest bit about the whopping big mac feature of the 3090, 24 GB of the fastest GDDR6X your money can get you, take that Flight Sim 2020! This is an Ultra HD card, in that domain, it shines whether that is using shading (regular rendered games) or when using hybrid ray-tracing + DLSS. It's a purebred but unfortunately very power-hungry product that will reach only a select group of people. But it is formidable if you deliver it to the right circumstances. Would we recommend this product? Ehm no, you are better off with GeForce RTX 3070 or 3080 as, money-wise, this doesn't make much sense. But it is genuinely a startling product worthy of a top pick award, an award we hand out so rarely for a reference or Founder product but we also have to acknowledge that NVIDIA really is stepping up on their 'reference' designs and is now setting a new and better standard.


This commentary puts the RTX 3090 into a difficult spot. It's 10 percent faster for gaming yet costs over twice as much as the RTX 3080. Value for money is poor when examined from a gaming point of view. Part of that huge cost rests with the 24GB of GDDR6X memory that has limited real-world benefit in games. Rather, it's more useful in professional rendering as the larger pool can speed-up time to completion massively.
And here's the rub. Given its characteristics, this card ought to be called the RTX Titan or GeForce RTX Studio and positioned more diligently for the creatoprofessional community where computational power and large VRAM go hand in hand. The real RTX 3090, meanwhile, gaming focussed first and foremost, ought to arrive with 12GB of memory and a $999 price point, thereby offering a compelling upgrade without resorting to Titan-esque pricing. Yet all that said, the insatiable appetite and apparent deep pockets of enthusiasts will mean Nvidia sells out of these $1,500 boards today: demand far outstrips supply. And does it matter what it's called, how much memory it has, or even what price it is? Not in the big scheme of things because there is a market for it.
Being part of the GeForce RTX firmament has opened up the way for add-in card partners to produce their own boards. The Gigabyte Gaming OC does most things right. It's built well and looks good, and duly tops all the important gaming charts at 4K. We'd encourage a lower noise profile through a relaxation of temps, but if you have the means by which to buy graphics performance hegemony, the Gaming OC isn't a bad shout... if you can find it in stock.

Hot Hardware

Summarizing the GeForce RTX 3090's performance is simple -- it's the single fastest GPU on the market currently, bar none. There's nuance to consider here, though. Versus the GeForce RTX 3080, disregarding CPU limited situations or corner cases, the more powerful RTX 3090's advantages over the 3080 only range from about 4% to 20%. Versus the Titan RTX, the GeForce RTX 3090's advantages increase to approximately 6% to 40%. Consider complex creator workloads which can leverage the GeForce RTX 3090's additional resources and memory, however, and it is simply in another class altogether and can be many times faster than either the RTX 3080 or Titan RTX.
Obviously, the $1,499 GeForce RTX 3090 Founder's Edition isn't an overall value play for the vast majority of users. If you're a gamer shopping for a new high-end GPU, the GeForce RTX 3080 at less than 1/2 the price is the much better buy. Compared to the $2,500 Titan RTX or $1,300 - $1,500-ish GeForce RTX 2080 Ti though, the GeForce RTX 3090 is the significantly better choice. Your perspective on the GeForce RTX 3090's value proposition is ultimately going to depend on your particular use case. Unless they've got unlimited budgets and want the best-of-the-best, regardless of cost, hardcore gamers may scoff at the RTX 3090. Anyone utilizing the horsepower of the previous generation Titan RTX though, may be chomping at the bit.
The GeForce RTX 3090's ultimate appeal is going to depend on the use-case, but whether or not you'll actually be able to get one is another story. The GeForce RTX 3090 is going to be available in limited quantities today -- NVIDIA said as much in yesterday's performance tease. NVIDIA pledges to make more available direct and through partners ASAP, however. We'll see how things shake out in the weeks ahead, and all bets are off when AMD's makes its RDNA2 announcements next month. NVIDIA's got a lot of wiggle room with Ampere and will likely react swiftly to anything AMD has in store. And let's not forget we still have the GeForce RTX 3070 inbound, which is going to have extremely broad appeal if NVIDIA's performance claims hold up.

Igor's Lab

In Summary: this card is a real giant, especially at higher resolutions, because even if the lead over the GeForce RTX 3080 isn’t always as high as dreamed, it’s always enough to reach the top position in playability. Right stop of many quality controllers included. Especially when the games of the GeForce RTX 3090 and the new architecture are on the line, the mail really goes off, which one must admit without envy, whereby the actual gain is not visible in pure FPS numbers.
If you have looked at the page with the variances, you will quickly understand that the image is much better because it is softer. The FPS or percentiles are still much too coarse intervals to be able to reproduce this very subjective impression well. A blind test with 3 perons has completely confirmed my impression, because there is nothing better than a lot of memory, at most even more memory. Seen in this light, the RTX 3080 with 10 GB is more like Cinderella, who later has to make herself look more like Cinderella with 10 GB if she wants to get on the prince’s roller.
But the customer always has something to complain about anyway (which is good by the way and keeps the suppliers on their toes) and NVIDIA keeps all options open in return to be able to top a possible Navi2x card with 16 GB memory expansion with 20 GB later. And does anyone still remember the mysterious SKU20 between the GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090? If AMD doesn’t screw it up again this time, this SKU20 is sure to become a tie-break in pixel tennis. We’ll see.
For a long time I have been wrestling with myself, which is probably the most important thing in this test. I have also tested 8K resolutions, but due to the lack of current practical relevance, I put this part on the back burner. If anyone can find someone who has a spare 8K TV, I’ll be happy to do so, if only because I’m also very interested in 8K-DLSS. But that’s like sucking on an ice cream that you’ve only printed out on a laser printer before.
The increase in value of the RTX 3090 in relation to the RTX 3080 for the only gamer is, up to the memory extension, to be rather neglected and one understands also, why many critics will never pay the double price for 10 to 15% more gaming performance. Because I wouldn’t either. Only this is then exactly the target group for the circulated RTX 3080 (Ti) with double memory expansion. Their price should increase visibly in comparison to the 10 GB variant, but still be significantly below that of a GeForce RTX 3090. This is not defamatory or fraudulent, but simply follows the laws of the market. A top dog always costs a little more than pure scaling, logic and reason would allow.
And the non-gamer or the not-only-gamer? The added value can be seen above all in the productive area, whether workstation or creation. Studio is the new GeForce RTX wonderland away from the Triple A games, and the Quadros can slowly return to the professional corner of certified specialty programs. What AMD started back then with the Vega Frontier Edition and unfortunately didn’t continue (why not?), NVIDIA has long since taken up and consistently perfected. The market has changed and studio is no longer an exotic phrase. Then even those from about 1500 Euro can survive without a headache tablet again.

KitGuru Article

KitGuru Video

RTX 3080 was heralded by many as an excellent value graphics card, delivering performance gains of around 30% compared to the RTX 2080 Ti, despite being several hundred pounds cheaper. With the RTX 3090, Nvidia isn’t chasing value for money, but the overall performance crown.
And that is exactly what it has achieved. MSI’s RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio, for instance, is 14% faster than the RTX 3080 and 50% faster than the RTX 2080 Ti, when tested at 4K. No other GPU even comes close to matching its performance.
At this point, many of you reading this may be thinking something along the line of ‘well, yes, it is 14% faster than an RTX 3080 – but it is also over double the price, so surely it is terrible value?’ And you would be 100% correct in thinking that. The thing is, Nvidia knows that too – RTX 3090 is simply not about value for money, and if that is something you prioritise when buying a new graphics card, don’t buy a 3090.
Rather, RTX 3090 is purely aimed at those who don’t give a toss about value. It’s for the gamers who want the fastest card going, and they will pay whatever price to claim those bragging rights. In this case of the MSI Gaming X Trio, the cost of this GPU’s unrivalled performance comes to £1530 here in the UK.
Alongside gamers, I can also see professionals or creators looking past its steep asking price. If the increased render performance of this GPU could end up saving you an hour, two hours per week, for many that initial cost will pay for itself with increased productivity, especially if you need as much VRAM as you can get.


As with any launch, the primary details are in the GPU itself, and so the first half of this conclusion is the same for both of the AIB RTX 3090 graphics cards that we are reviewing today. If you want to know specifics of this particular card, skip down the page.
Last week we saw the release of the RTX 3080. A card that combined next-gen performance with a remarkably attractive price point, and was one of the easiest products to recommend we've ever seen. 4K gaming for around the £700 mark might be expensive if you're just used to consoles, but if you're a diehard member of the "PC Gaming Master Race", then you know how much you had to spend to achieve the magical 4K60 mark. It's an absolute no brainer purchase.
The RTX 3090 though, that comes with more asterisks and caveats than a Lance Armstrong win on the Tour de France. Make no mistake; the RTX 3090 is brutally fast. If performance is your thing, or performance without consideration of cost, or you want to flex on forums across the internet, then yeah, go for it. For everyone else, and that's most of us, there is a lot it does well, but it's a seriously niche product.
We can go to Nvidia themselves for their key phraseology. With a tiny bit of paraphrasing, they say "The RTX 3090 is for 8K gaming, or heavy workload content creators. For 4K Gaming the RTX 3080 is, with current and immediate future titles, more than enough". If you want the best gaming experience, then as we saw last week, the clear choice is the RTX 3080. If you've been following the results today then clearly the RTX 3090 isn't enough of a leap forwards to justify being twice the price of the RTX 3080. It's often around 5% faster, sometimes 10%, sometimes not much faster at all. Turns out that Gears 5 in particular looked unhappy but it was an 'auto' setting on animation increasing its own settings so we will go back with it fixed to ultra and retest. The RTX 3090 is still though, whisper it, a bit of a comedown after the heights of our first Ampere experience.
To justify the staggering cost of the RTX 3090 you need to fit into one of the following groups; Someone who games at 8K, either natively or via Nvidia's DSR technology. Someone who renders enormous amounts of 3D work. We're not just talking a 3D texture or model for a game; we're talking animated short films. Although even here the reality is that you need a professional solution far beyond the price or scope of the RTX 3090. Lastly, it would be best if you were someone who renders massive, RAW, 8K video footage regularly and has the memory and storage capacity to feed such a voracious data throughput. If you fall into one of those categories, then you'll already have the hardware necessary - 8K screen or 8K video camera - that the cost of the RTX 3090 is small potatoes. In which case you'll love the extra freedom and performance it can bring to your workload, smoothing out the waiting that is such a time-consuming element of the creative process. This logic holds true for both the Gigabyte and MSI cards we're looking at on launch.

PC Perspective - TBD

PC World

There’s no doubt that the $1,500 GeForce RTX 3090 is indeed a “big ferocious GPU,” and the most powerful consumer graphics card ever created. The Nvidia Founders Edition delivers unprecedented performance for 4K gaming, frequently maxes out games at 1440p, and can even play at ludicrous 8K resolution in some games. It’s a beast for 3440x1440 ultrawide gaming too, as our separate ultrawide benchmarks piece shows. Support for HDMI 2.1 and AV1 decoding are delicious cherries on top.
If you’re a pure gamer, though, you shouldn’t buy it, unless you’ve got deep pockets and want the best possible gaming performance, value be damned. The $700 GeForce RTX 3080 offers between 85 and 90 percent of the RTX 3090’s 4K gaming performance (depending on the game) for well under half the cost. It’s even closer at 1440p.
If you’re only worried about raw gaming frame rates, the GeForce RTX 3080 is by far the better buy, because it also kicks all kinds of ass at 4K and high refresh rate 1440p and even offers the same HDMI 2.1 and AV1 decode support as its bigger brother. Nvidia likes to boast that the RTX 3090 is the first 8K gaming card, and while that’s true in some games, it falls far short of the 60 frames per second mark in many triple-A titles. Consider 8K gaming a nice occasional bonus more than a core feature.
If you mix work and play, though, the GeForce RTX 3090 is a stunning value—especially if your workloads tap into CUDA. It’s significantly faster than the previous-gen RTX 2080 Ti, which fell within spitting distance of the RTX Titan, and offers the same 24GB VRAM capacity of that Titan. But it does so for $1,000 less than the RTX Titan’s cost.
The GeForce RTX 3090 stomps all over most of our content creation benchmarks. Performance there is highly workload-dependent, of course, but we saw speed increases of anywhere from 30 to over 100 percent over the RTX 2080 Ti in several tasks, with many falling in the 50 to 80 percent range. That’s an uplift that will make your projects render tangibly faster—putting more money in your pocket. The lofty 24GB of GDDR6X memory makes the RTX 3090 a must-have in some scenarios where the 10GB to 12GB found in standard gaming cards flat-out can’t cut it, such as 8K media editing or AI training with large data sets. That alone will make it worth buying for some people, along with the NVLink connector that no other RTX 30-series GPU includes. If you don’t need those, the RTX 3080 comes close to the RTX 3090 in raw GPU power in many tests.

TechGage - Workstation benchmark!

NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3090 is an interesting card for many reasons, and it’s harder to summarize than the RTX 3080 was, simply due to its top-end price and goals. The RTX 3080, priced at $699, was really easy to recommend to anyone wanting a new top-end gaming solution, because compared to the last-gen 2080S, 2080 Ti, or even TITAN RTX, the new card simply trounced them all.
The GeForce RTX 3090, with its $1,499 price tag, caters to a different crowd. First, there are going to be those folks who simply want the best gaming or creator GPU possible, regardless of its premium price. We saw throughout our performance results that the RTX 3090 does manage to take a healthy lead in many cases, but the gains over RTX 3080 are not likely as pronounced as many were hoping.
The biggest selling-point of the RTX 3090 is undoubtedly its massive frame buffer. For creators, having 24GB on tap likely means you will never run out during this generation, and if you manage to, we’re going to be mighty impressed. We do see more than 24GB being useful for deep-learning and AI research, but even there, it’s plenty for the vast majority of users.
Interestingly, this GeForce is capable of taking advantage of NVLink, so those wanting to plug two of them into a machine could likewise combine their VRAM, activating a single 48GB frame buffer. Two of these cards would cost $500 more than the TITAN RTX, and obliterate it in rendering and deep-learning workloads (but of course draw a lot more power at the same time).
For those wanting to push things even harder with single GPU, we suspect NVIDIA will likely release a new TITAN at some point with even more memory. Or, that’s at least our hope, because we don’t want to see the TITAN series just up and disappear.
For gamers, a 24GB frame buffer can only be justified if you’re using top-end resolutions. Not even 4K is going to be problematic for most people with a 10GB frame buffer, but as we move up the scale, to 5K and 8K, that memory is going to become a lot more useful.
By now, you likely know whether or not the monstrous GeForce RTX 3090 is for you. Fortunately, if it isn’t, the RTX 3080 hasn’t gone anywhere, and it still proves to be of great value (you know – if you can find it in stock) for its $699 price. NVIDIA also has a $499 RTX 3070 en route next month, so all told, the company is going to be taking good care of its enthusiast fans with this trio of GPUs. Saying that, we still look forward to the even lower-end parts, as those could ooze value even more than the bigger cards.

Techpowerup - MSI Gaming X Trio

Techpowerup - Zotac Trinity

Techpowerup - Asus Strix OC

Techpowerup - MSI Gaming X Trio

Still, the performance offered by the RTX 3090 is impressive; the Gaming X is 53% faster than RTX 2080 Ti, 81% faster than RTX 2080 Super. AMD's Radeon RX 5700 XT is less than half as fast, the performance uplift vs the 3090 is 227%! AMD Big Navi better be a success. With those performance numbers RTX 3090 is definitely suited for 4K resolution gaming. Many games will run over 90 FPS, at highest details, in 4K, nearly all over 60, only Control is slightly below that, but DLSS will easily boost FPS beyond that.
With RTX 3090 NVIDIA is introducing "playable 8K", which rests on several pillars. In order to connect an 8K display you previously had to use multiple cables, now you can use just a single HDMI 2.1 cable. At higher resolution, the VRAM usage goes up, RTX 3090 has you covered, offering 24 GB of memory, which is more than twice that of the 10 GB RTX 3080. Last but not least, on the software side, they added the capability to capture 8K gameplay with Shadow Play. In order to improve framerates (remember, 8K processes 16x the pixels as Full HD), NVIDIA created DLSS 8K, which renders the game at 1440p native, and scales the output by x3, in each direction, using machine learning. All of these technologies are still in its infancy, game support is limited and displays are expensive, we'll look into this in more detail in the future.
24 GB VRAM is definitely future-proof, but I'm having doubts whether you really need that much memory. Sure, more is always better, but unless you are using professional applications, you'll have a hard time finding a noteworthy difference between performance with 10 GB vs 24 GB. Games won't be an issue, because you'll run out of shading power long before you run out of VRAM, just like with older cards today, which can't handle 4K, no matter how much VRAM they have. Next-gen consoles also don't have as much VRAM, so it's hard to image that you'll miss out on any meaningful gaming experience if you have less than 24 GB VRAM. NVIDIA demonstrated several use cases in their reviewer's guide: OctaneRender, DaVinci Resolve and Blender can certainly benefit from more memory, GPU compute applications, too, but these are very niche use cases. I'm not aware of any creators who were stuck and couldn't create, because they ran out of VRAM. On the other hand the RTX 3090 could definitely turn out to be a good alternative to Quadro, or Tesla, unless you need double-precision math (you don't).
Pricing of the RTX 3090 is just way too high, and a tough pill to swallow. At a starting price of $1500, it is more than twice as expensive as the RTX 3080, but not nearly twice as fast. MSI asking another $100 on top for their fantastic Gaming X Trio cooler, plus the overclock out of the box doesn't seem that unreasonable to me. We're talking about 6.6% here. The 6% performance increase due to factory OC / higher power limit can almost justify that, with the better cooler it's almost a no-brainer. While an additional 14 GB of GDDR6X memory aren't free, the $1500 base price still doesn't feel right. On the other hand, the card is significantly better than RTX 2080 Ti in every regard, and that sold for well over $1000, too. NVIDIA emphasizes that RTX 3090 is a Titan replacement—Titan RTX launched at $2500, so $1500 must be a steal for the new 3090. Part of the disappointment about the price is that RTX 3080 is so impressive, at such disruptive pricing. If RTX 3080 was $1000, then $1500 wouldn't feel as crazy—I would say $1000 is a fair price for the RTX 3090. Either way, Turing showed us that people are willing to pay up to have the best, and I have no doubt that all RTX 3090 cards will sell out today, just like RTX 3080.
Obviously the "Recommended" award in this context is not for the average gamer. Rather it means, if you have that much money to spend, and are looking for a RTX 3090, then you should consider this card.

The FPS Review - TBD


Let's be clear: the GeForce RTX 3090 is now the fastest GPU around for gaming purposes. It's also mostly overkill for gaming purposes, and at more than twice the price of the RTX 3080, it's very much in the category of GPUs formerly occupied by the Titan brand. If you're the type of gamer who has to have the absolute best, and price isn't an object, this is the new 'best.' For the rest of us, the RTX 3090 might be drool-worthy, but it's arguably of more interest to content creators who can benefit from the added performance and memory.
We didn't specifically test any workloads where a 10GB card simply failed, but it's possible to find them — not so much in games, but in professional apps. We also weren't able to test 8K (or simulated 8K) yet, though some early results show that it's definitely possible to get the 3080 into a state where performance plummets. If you want to play on an 8K TV, the 3090 with its 24GB VRAM will be a better experience than the 3080. How many people fall into that bracket of gamers? Not many, but then again, $300 more than the previous generation RTX 2080 Ti likely isn't going to dissuade those with deep pockets.
Back to the content creation bit, while gaming performance at 4K ultra was typically 10-15% faster with the 3090 than the 3080, and up to 20% faster in a few cases, performance in several professional applications was consistently 20-30% faster — Blender, Octane, and Vray all fall into this group. Considering such applications usually fall into the category of "time is money," the RTX 3090 could very well pay for itself in short order compared to the 3080 for such use cases. And compared to an RTX 2080 Ti or Titan RTX? It's not even close. The RTX 3090 often delivered more than double the rendering performance of the previous generation in Blender, and 50-90% better performance in Octane and Vray.
The bottom line is that the RTX 3090 is the new high-end gaming champion, delivering truly next-gen performance without a massive price increase. If you've been sitting on a GTX 1080 Ti or lower, waiting for a good time to upgrade, that time has arrived. The only remaining question is just how competitive AMD's RX 6000, aka Big Navi, will be. Even with 80 CUs, on paper, it looks like Nvidia's RTX 3090 may trump the top Navi 2x cards, thanks to GDDR6X and the doubling down on FP32 capability. AMD might offer 16GB of memory, but it's going to be paired with a 256-bit bus and clocked quite a bit lower than 19 Gbps, which may limit performance.

Computerbase - German

HardwareLuxx - German

PCGH - German

Video Review

Bitwit - TBD

Digital Foundry Video

Gamers Nexus Video

Hardware Canucks

Hardware Unboxed


Linus Tech Tips

Optimum Tech

Paul's Hardware

Tech of Tomorrow

Tech Yes City

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Using Spreads: a guide on how to stop getting destroyed by theta

I've seen way too many of you pay way too much for calls and puts when you could be using spreads instead to get a similar amount of leverage for way less risk, so I'm writing this guide as a way to teach some of y'all a thing or two about how to not blow up your account. This will mostly deal with very basic strategies that every trader should know (but apparently don't) but if you don't know the MOST basic concepts like IV, call, put, strike price, you should probably stop and go read some shit before risking thousands of dollars on options you moron.
Disclaimer: I'm going to be assuming we hold everything I discuss here to expiration day because it's much simpler. Many spread strategies involve getting out of positions before expiration, but if I included what happens before expiration this post will be 10x as long. As a general rule, spreads are much less sensitive to movement before expiration, which is a bad thing if the direction is going your way, but a good thing if it is not.
OK, the beautiful thing about spreads is that there is an absolutely endless number of ways you can set them up to do whatever you want. You can bet on a stock going up or down a little, bet on a stock going up or down a lot, bet on IV going up or down, bet on a stock not moving, bet on a stock going up and then down, etc. We will first talk about the most simple and common spread, a bull call spread, which involves buying one call and selling another call. Let's use an example, and compare it to just YOLOing on buying a call, using everyone's favorite meme stock, TSLA.
At 3:45 PM today, TSLA is sitting at almost exactly 1500. Let's say you are bullish on TSLA, its earnings are coming out next week and you think it's going to smash them. You COULD buy an 1800 weekly call like a bunch of morons did on Monday, and it will cost you 31.25 x 100 = $3125. Your max gain is infinite, if TSLA goes to 2000 you will turn your $3125 into $20000 and you'll get to post that sweet gain porn on WSB you sexy stud. But, much more likely, TSLA will not go up 300 points in the next week, your call will expire worthless and Goldman Sachs will thank you for your money.
Instead, you could buy spreads. I am going to talk about the basic concept of how much they cost one time, and then use shorthand from that point on. In this case, as an example, you buy the 1600 call, which will cost you $7450, and you sell the 1610 call, which will gain you $7100. The difference between the cost you paid and the money you got is $7450 - $7100 = $350, which is how much a single spread (buying 1 call and selling 1 call) costs you. If the stock closes Friday below 1600, your spread is worthless and you lose all $350. If it closes above 1610, however, your spread is worth the difference between the strikes x 100, so (1610 - 1600 = 10, x 100 = $1000) So, since it cost you $350 to get into the position, you made $650.
Let's compare to buying a single call. As noted before, the 1800 call would have cost you $3125. Therefore, for the same price as buying that one call, we can afford 3125 / 350 = 9 spreads. Our max loss is 9 x 350 = $3150, so it's basically the same. Unlike buying the call, our max gain is also capped, at $650 x 9 = $5850. So obviously the downside is that when TSLA smashes and runs up to 3000 a share, you missed out on all those gains. The upsides, however, are that your call has a breakeven point at 1831.25, whereas the spreads have a max gain at 1610. It's MUCH more likely TSLA goes up 110 points next week than that it goes up 330 points. It isn't until TSLA hits 1889.75 (31.25 from the call you bought + 58.5 from the max gain of the spread) that the call alone outperforms your max gain from the spreads. Additionally, if TSLA tanks at open on Monday or Tuesday, your spreads will lose FAR less value than your call, because the 1610 calls you are shorting will be gaining you money while the 1600 calls you are long are losing you money.
So, to summarize, for the same cost as betting TSLA will reach 1831.25+, you can bet it will reach 1610, and you are only losing out if it goes above 1889.75. You may ask here "But wait, what if I am insanely bullish and I DO think it's going to 2000? Shouldn't I buy the call anyway?" Aha! There's an even better spread for that! Look at the risk/reward for the 1950/2000 call spread (buying the 1950, selling the 2000): the spread will cost you $300, and has a max gain of $4700 if TSLA closes above 2000. That's 16:1 leverage baby. For less than the price of that one 1800 call, you could buy 10 1950/2000 spreads, which would have a max gain of 10x4700 = $47000 if TSLA hits 2000, which would WAY outperform that one 1800 call, with the obvious downside that THIS spread will be worthless below 1950. But considering that the breakeven point of the 1800 call is 1831.25, and the breakeven for these spreads is 1953, you're only talking about a ~122 point difference for 16x the leverage. The 1800 call only makes more money than the 10 1950/2000 spreads if TSLA goes above 2301.25 (1800 from the strike price + 470 from the max gain of the spreads + 31.25 for the cost of the call) by next Friday.
So, you can see how you use spreads to lower your risk, and to maximize your leverage. But possibly more importantly, you can also use them in a simlar way to stop getting fucked by high IV. Let's now use MRNA as an example, because I made so much fucking money on MRNA this week using this strategy.
Let's say I think MRNA will hit 110 next week. Stock has insane IV, so the 100 calls are currently sitting at $550. Stock has to go up to 105.5 to break even, and if it hits 110 you don't even double your money. Instead, the better play is to buy the 100 and sell the 110. This will currently cost you $200 per spread, with a max gain of $800 per spread, so essentially 4:1 leverage. For the price of 1 call, you could buy 3 spreads: your breakeven is at 102 instead of 105.5, you don't get blown the fuck out if the stock dips, and if the stock hits 110, you make $2400 instead of $450. Again, the only downside is that you would have made more money from just buying the 100 call if the stock goes above 124.5 by the end of the day Friday, but that's far less likely than going to 110. (Or that the stock skyrockets but then dips, because you make much more money from selling the call early in this case, but again, I'm assuming we're holding to expiration for simplicity).
This post got a billion times longer than I expected so I should probably stop here since you autists won't read this much as it is. If you liked it let me know and I'll write some more. If you didn't like it, tell me to go fuck myself.
Edit: goddamn this got way bigger than I expected. I'll make another post next week with some more advanced strategies so keep a look out for Using Spreads 2.
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The truth about the dbrand Grip...

The truth about the dbrand Grip...
Grips. Let's talk about 'em.
If you've spent any amount of time on this subreddit, you've likely seen at least one post about a Grip case that has fallen apart. Most of you have seen several. We know this because we've seen every single one. We’d like to see less of them. Ideally, none.
Over the past 18 months, we’ve been on an odyssey to fix the underlying problem. What follows is a chronicle of that journey.
Our objectives in writing this post are three-fold. There will be a tl;dr version at the end of this post, summarizing each of the three:
  1. Offer an in-depth technical explanation as to why Grip cases fall apart.
  2. Outline the improvements we've made to the Grip case to mitigate and eventually solve the issue.
  3. Provide some much-needed context as to how widespread the issue truly is, and what our next steps are for affected Grip SKUs.
Since you're still here, you must be in it for the long haul. Assuming an average reading speed of 250 words per minute, this is going to take you nearly 24 minutes to get through. We'll try to make it the most informative 24 minutes of your life. Let's get started.


Why Do Grips Fall Apart?
Most phone cases are made out of a single material. The material itself varies from case to case, though the most common is Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU). The Grip case, as a point of comparison, is made of two different materials: an elastomer and a polycarbonate.
The word elastomer is a combination of the words elastic and polymer. That's because it describes polymers that have elastic properties - like the one that forms the outer rim of your Grip case. The elastomer that we use is responsible for two critical properties of the Grip case: impact protection and grip.
If you fell off of a rooftop, would you rather land on a hard plastic surface, or a rubber surface? If you value your life at all, you'd choose the rubber - its elastic properties would absorb much more force from the impact. Guess what rubber is? First one to answer "an elastomer" wins a prize!
Next, imagine you’re a pervert, gently running your finger across every surface of a No. 2 Pencil. Which part of the pencil do you think would provide the most resistance to the tracing of your finger? If you guessed "the eraser," congratulations: you possess a basic understanding of coefficients of friction. Erasers are made of rubber. Rubber has a high coefficient of friction because of its elastic properties.
The Grip case's elastomer isn't rubber - it's our own specially-formulated compound. It's still a useful comparison, as all elastomers share similar properties - provided they have the same degree of Shore Hardness.
One person reading this is asking: “Shore Hardness?” The next section is their fault.

A Beginner's Guide to Material Science
The Shore Hardness scale gauges the hardness of various elastomers. It can be measured with a device called a durometer. You probably don't have one.
  • Low Shore Hardness = softer, more malleable, less dense, more rubber-like.
  • High Shore Hardness = harder, less malleable, more dense, more plastic-like.
If you fell out of a building and landed on a rubber surface with a high Shore Hardness, injury or death would be much more likely.
If you used an eraser with a high Shore Hardness, you'd find it wouldn't actually do much erasing.
Now, what if you made a phone case out of an elastomer with a high Shore Hardness? It wouldn't offer much grip or impact protection.
The Grip's outer rim is made from an elastomer with a low Shore Hardness. As a result, the material is grippy and impact-resistant, but much more malleable and thus more likely to deform. That's why we bond the elastomer to a polycarbonate skeleton.
Polycarbonates don't require as much explanation as elastomers: they're a category of plastic. On your Grip case, the back plate is made of polycarbonate. The elastomer rim is bonded to the polycarbonate plate on all sides of the Grip, providing structural rigidity to the elastomer, fighting to keep it from deforming. At least, that's the idea. As we've all seen, it hasn't worked out that way.
Bonding two distinct materials together is much more complicated than gluing them together. Instead, we rely on a thermal bonding process. Basically, that means we heat both of our polymers to a degree which would turn you from “rare” to “well done” in moments. This heat melts the polymers, which we then inject at a pressure which would turn you from “solid” to “paste” even faster.
Once injected, these two materials get fused together along the seams. To further reinforce the bonds, we use a series of interlocking "teeth" to provide a greater surface area on which the bonding process can occur. Consider these teeth the mechanical bond, which exists to strengthen the thermal bond.

Pictured: Bonding mechanic between the elastomer and polycarbonate.
With that out of the way: why do Grips fall apart?
The elastomer rim around the edge of the Grip case is naturally inclined to deform and stretch. The bonding mechanisms we described above are designed to keep that from happening, but it often isn’t strong enough. As soon as the bond fails at any point, it's only a matter of time until a total structural failure occurs.


How Are We Stopping Grips From Falling Apart?
Philosophically, there are two approaches to take:
  1. We can investigate why, exactly, the bond between the elastomer and the polycarbonate is failing.
  2. We can tweak and iterate the thermal and mechanical bond - strengthening it to the point where it's statistically improbable that your case will fall apart.
We tried the first approach - it's the road to madness. The number of variables is irrationally large. What's the temperature like where you live? The altitude? The humidity? Do you bring your phone into environments that deviate from the ambient temperature of your location? Does your school or workplace have extremely dry air? Do you bring your phone into a sauna? What sort of soap do you wash your hands with? Do you have oily hands? What sort of food do you cook? Do you smoke? How hard do you press on the buttons? What's your angle of approach when you actuate a button? How big are your hands? How often do you take your phone out of the case? Do you remove it from the top, the bottom, the sides?
We could follow all of these roads, find out exactly which factors are causing the bond to fail, then implement preventative measures to keep it from happening - but that would take a decade. We don't have that long. Much like you, we want this fixed yesterday.
So, from the moment we received our first complaint about a Grip deforming around the buttons, we've been making structural, thermal, and mechanical improvements to the design and production process of the Grip case - some visible, some not. Every new phone release has brought a new iteration on the core Grip design, with each one reducing the failure rate, incrementally. We'll bring the receipts in the next chapter. For now, let's highlight the most noteworthy improvements.

The Most Noteworthy Improvements
The first signs of trouble were the buttons. Months before we'd received our first report of a Grip case de-bonding, we saw the first examples of buttons that had bent out of shape.

Pictured: Button deformation.
Why the buttons? Because you press down on them. The force from button actuation puts strain on the elastomer, causing displacement of the material in the surrounding area. Through a combination of time, repeated button actuations and the above-mentioned force, the case would permanently deform around the buttons. This concept is called the "compression set" of the elastomer - Google it.
The solution to this problem was two-fold:
  1. First, we increased the compression set of the elastomer. Essentially, we made it as dense as we could, without compromising on the elastic properties of the material.
  2. Second, we added relief slits surrounding the buttons - they're plainly visible on any newer Grip case model. These relief slits are an escape route for the force generated by button actuation. They also had the positive effect of making button actuation significantly more satisfying (read: clicky).

Pictured: Relief slits to improve button tactility and durability.
Another early issue, pre-dating the first reports of total de-bonding, was a deformation of the elastomer along the bottom of the case - where the charging port and speakers are.
Since we've covered the basics on how the interlock between the elastomer and the polycarbonate creates a bond, this is how the interlocking teeth along the top edge of the polycarbonate skeleton of the Grip used to look.

Pictured: First-gen interlocking teeth on the top of the Grip.
...and here's the bottom of that very same Grip case.

Pictured: First-gen interlocking teeth on the bottom of the Grip.
Notice anything? Around the charging port, there is absolutely nothing keeping the elastomer in place. No teeth, no structural reinforcements... it's no coincidence that an overwhelming majority of early Grip deformations happened along the bottom.
Since then, we’ve added a reinforced polycarbonate structure around the bottom of the Grip case. You'll see what that looks like in a bit.
So, why didn't the launch portfolio of Grip cases have mechanical interlocks or a polycarbonate support structure along the bottom?
The answer may or may not be complicated, depending on how much you know about plastic injection molding. We'll assume the worst and explain the concept of "undercut" to you with a ridiculous metaphor.

The Ridiculous Metaphor
Imagine you had a tube full of melted cheese. Next, imagine you emptied that entire tube into your mouth. Rather than swallowing the cheese, you decide to let it sit in your mouth and harden. Why are you doing this? We don't know. Let's just say you want a brick of cheese that's perfectly molded to the contours of your mouth - a very normal thing to want.
So, your mouth is completely filled with cheese. It hardens. You reach into your mouth to remove the brick of cheese. As you're removing it, you encounter a problem: your teeth are in the way. This wasn't a problem when you were putting the cheese into your mouth, but that was because the cheese was melted and could flow around your teeth. Now that the cheese has hardened, this is no longer the case.
In the world of plastic injection molding, this is an undercut. Our concern was that, by molding a structurally rigid piece of polycarbonate around the charging port and speaker holes, we'd find ourselves unable to remove the Grip Case from the mold once hardened. Imagine spending $30,000 on industrial tooling only to get a $30 phone case stuck inside of it.
Once we saw Grip cases deforming along the bottom cutouts, we knew we'd need to find a way to remove the cheese from your mouth without breaking your teeth. To make a long story short: we did it. The cheese is out of your mouth, and you get to keep your teeth. Congratulations! Now, keep reading.
On newer models of the Grip case, the result is a polycarbonate bridge extending around the bottom cutouts, adding both structural reinforcement and interlock mechanisms to promote mechanical bond, much like the ones which line the perimeter of the rest of the Grip case.

Pictured: Newest-gen structural reinforcement on the bottom of the Grip.
On the subject of structural reinforcements, this design revision was around the time we flanked the buttons with some fins, working in tandem with the heightened compression set and button relief slits, detailed above, to further guarantee that button actuation would have no impact on the overall durability of the Grip case.

Pictured: Lack of button fins on the first-gen Grip.

Pictured: Button fins on the newest-gen Grip.
As an aside: Unrelated to the de-bonding issues, we've also made a number of smaller improvements to the Grip case with each new iteration. For instance, we chamfered the front lip of the case to make edge-swiping more pleasant and reduce dust accumulation along the rim. Those raised parallelogram shapes along the sides of your Grip case that create its distinctive handfeel? We made those way bigger for a better in-hand experience. In short: product development is a complex and multifaceted process. Each new iteration of the Grip case is better than the one that came before, and that applies to more than just failure rates.
Speaking of failure rates: all of these improvements were in place by the time we launched iPhone 11-series Grip cases. The failure rate for these cases decreased exponentially... but didn't disappear entirely.

The Even More Ridiculous Metaphor
With these improvements, we achieved our desired outcome: the case was no longer deforming around the buttons or the charging port. Instead, the structure of the case began to fail literally anywhere else around the perimeter of the phone.
Think of it this way… you’re a roof carpenter. The greatest roof carpenter of all time. Like the son of God, but if he was a carpenter. Unfortunately, you’ve been paired with the Donald Trump of wall-builders.
You're tasked with building a house. You spend all of your time and energy perfecting your roofcraft. You've designed a roof that's so durable, it may as well have been made of Nokia 3310s. Nothing's getting through that bad boy.
The wall guy? Instead of building that wall he said Mexico would pay for, he's been tweeting about the miraculous medicinal properties of bleach while a plague kills hundreds of thousands of Americans.
The point here is that you can build the greatest roof of all time, but the walls need to be strong enough to match.
To strengthen the Grip case's metaphorical walls, we needed to re-design the inside of the Grip case from scratch. More specifically, the mechanical interlock between the springy elastomer and rigid polycarbonate skeleton. We took every tooth at the bonding point between the two materials and made them as large as we possibly could. Then, we added more teeth.

Pictured: Polycarbonate teeth on the newest-gen Grip.
To jog your memory: this is how the teeth used to look...

Pictured: Polycarbonate teeth on the first-gen Grip.
If time proves that these changes aren’t enough, our engineers still have a number of ideas on how to improve the bond between the elastomer and polycarbonate. Will we ever need to implement those ideas? Again - that’s a question only time can answer. Each change might be the silver bullet that puts this problem to bed for good... but there's only one way to find out: it involves real-world testing and, with each iteration, months of careful observation.


So, Where Are We Now?
Have the improvements we've made to the Grip case been successful? You bet.
For the sake of comparison: we began shipping iPhone 11 series Grips on September 30th, 2019. Within six months of that date, we had received 52 reports of structural failures - a big improvement over the early days, but still not good enough.
Fast forward two months. We began shipping Note 10 Plus Grip cases on November 21st, 2019. In the first six months of availability, we received exactly eight reports of Note 10 Plus Grips falling apart. Again, a major improvement over the iPhone series in the same stretch of time. If we'd launched the first Grip cases with a failure rate that low, we wouldn't be writing this post right now and you’d have nothing to read while pretending to do work.
How about the Galaxy S20 series, which began shipping on February 10th, 2020? They're the most recent and improved set of SKUs we’ve made to date, leveraging everything we've learned and making further improvements over the Note 10 Plus. No reports so far. Same goes for the iPhone SE and OnePlus 8 series - these SKUs share all the improvements we've made to the underlying design of the Grip case thus far.
Does that mean these numbers will hold forever? Who knows. That's the thing: every improvement we make, we need to wait several months to see how effective it's been. No amount of internal testing can replace the real-world data of shipping cases to hundreds of thousands of users across nearly 200 countries.
We could always just throw in the towel, make the entire case out of rigid plastic, and call it a solved issue... but that would be the easy way out. The Grip case and its unique design properties can't reach their full potential unless we make incremental improvements - then wait and see how they pan out in the real world.
All of which is to say: it's far too early to say the newest set of improvements have officially solved the problem. While the failure rate is still zero, we need to keep watching. We've made a ton of progress, but we're not going to rest until we've killed this issue for good - without sacrificing the unique properties that make the Grip case stand out in a sea of derivative hard plastic and TPU phone cases.
That's probably enough to inspire confidence in someone who's on the fence about buying an S20 Ultra Grip, an iPhone SE Grip, or any Grip we release in the future. But what if you're one of the people who bought an older Grip model?

"I'm One Of The People Who Bought An Older Grip Model!"
We won't sugarcoat it. The failure rates for older Grip models is way higher than we deem acceptable. Why has it taken us this long to publicly address the issue, then?
Easy: it's not as widespread as you might think. Some humans reading this might be looking at their iPhone X Grip, purchased in 2019 and still intact, wondering what all the fuss is about. That's an important consideration: most people who have functioning, still-bonded Grip cases aren't posting on /dbrand about how unbroken it is. The people who've had issues around total product failure are in the minority.
We're not using the word "minority" as a get-out-of-jail-free card here. It's still a way larger number than we'd ever be comfortable with. We simply don't want our transparency and candor in writing this to be misinterpreted as an admission that every single Grip case we've made for older devices is going to fall apart. Statistically speaking, this is an issue for a minority of Grip owners.
Our philosophy at first was that, while it was unfortunate and frustrating that Grip cases were falling apart, dramatic PR action wasn't necessary. Instead, we resolved to:
  1. Quietly and diligently work in the background to improve the underlying design of the Grip case.
  2. Ship free replacements to anyone whose Grip case had failed.
To date, we've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on shipping fees alone for replacement Grips. As you can imagine, that number gets a lot higher once you add in the cost of actually making the thing. We've been fine with writing these costs off as sort of an R&D expense, since every example of a deformed or de-bonded Grip provides invaluable data on how to improve the product.
Where our strategy backfired was in the narrative that began to take root as Grip cases continued to fall apart. Look at it this way: the failure rate of older Grip case SKUs is anywhere between 1% and 20%, depending on how early we released the SKU. Since the improvements we've already made to the underlying design were rolled out incrementally with each new phone release, that number has been on a steady downward trend.
For the purpose of this thought experiment, we'll go with the earliest, shittiest Grip cases - putting us at a long-term failure rate of 20%.
So, 20% of customers for this device have a Grip case fall apart at some point in the product's lifespan. Every single one of those people writes in to our Customer Experience team about the issue. They all receive a replacement, free of charge.
Since this replacement is identical to the first Grip case they'd received, it also has a 20% failure rate. We're now dealing with percentages of percentages. Stop panicking, we'll do the math for you: that means 4% of these hypothetical Grip owners will have a second Grip case fail on them in the long run.
Four percent is a lot better than twenty… but it's also a lot of people who've been burned twice. These people are going to be extra vocal about how shitty the Grip case is. To be fair, they've got every right.
So, we've got four groups of customers for this SKU:
  • Group A: Has had two or more Grip cases fail (4%).
  • Group B: Has had exactly one Grip case fail (16%).
  • Group C: Bought a Grip which has not failed (80%).
  • Group D: Has not purchased a Grip case (NA%).
Group A is livid about the repeated issues they've had - rightfully so.
Group B, having been burned before, reads about Group A's experience. They take it to mean their replacement will inevitably fail on them as well, and they'll one day get the dubious honor of joining Group A.
Group C, despite not having had any issues yet, reads the experiences of Groups A and B. Then, a significant portion of this group begins to operate under the assumption that it's only a matter of time before their Grip falls apart as well.
Group D reads all of the above and decides they don't have enough confidence in the Grip case to ever purchase one.
A narrative begins to form that this hypothetical failure rate is close to 100%. Worse yet: people with newer phones, unaware that each new iteration of the Grip case has a dramatically reduced failure rate over the last, start to assume their case also has a 100% failure rate. That's where our original strategy - the one where we quietly improved the product in the background while offering replacements for defective units - backfired on us.
This narrative only exists because we've continued to leverage existing stock with too high a failure rate, which, in hindsight, was like pouring gasoline on a gender reveal forest fire of disappointment and regret. This brings us to our next chapter.

Mass Destruction
At this point, you're probably aware that a number of Grip SKUs for older phones have been listed as "Sold Out" on our website, and haven't been restocked since.
We stopped production on these cases because we knew they'd have all the same issues as the original production runs. See, it's not as simple as pushing a "make the Grip not fall apart" button at the factory - we'd need to redesign the case from scratch, implementing all of the design improvements we've made up to this point, then re-tool our existing machinery to produce this new version. We'll have more to say about re-tooling a bit later - for now, focus on the fact that some Grips have been listed as "Sold Out".
If someone's Grip case falls apart while listed as "Sold Out", we don't have any replacements to send them. Instead, dbrand's Customer Experience team has been issuing refunds wherever possible, and store credit otherwise. Just in case you're wondering what we mean by "where possible": PayPal doesn't allow refunds on transactions that are more than six months old. Store credit, on the other hand, can be offered indefinitely.
What we've come to realize is that we're never going to be able to escape this downward spiral until we rip the band-aid off and stop stocking these old, flawed SKUs.
Today, we're ripping the bandaid off. As you're reading this, we're disposing of all of our old stock. All of the flawed Grip SKUs are now listed as "Sold Out".
Head over to our Grip listing and take a look at what's available. Everything that you can currently buy is up to spec with the improvements we've made over the past year - meeting or exceeding the standard of quality set by the Galaxy S20 series, the iPhone SE, and the OnePlus 8 series. In some cases - take, for instance, the iPhone 11 series - this means we've already re-tooled our production lines to meet that quality benchmark.
If a Grip case is listed on "Backorder", it means we've begun the process of re-tooling the SKU to match the improved quality standard you've spent the last five hours reading about.
However, if a Grip case is now listed as "Sold Out", that means no more reshipments.
If you own a sold out Grip case that hasn't fallen apart yet: that's great! Don't assume that your Grip is doomed to fail just because we devoted 5661 words to explaining why it might fall apart. You've still got better odds than you would at a casino.
As always, if you run into any issues with your case, sold out or not, shoot an email to one of our Robots. They'll still take care of you - it just won't be with a replacement case… for now.

Mass Production
Remember when we said we'd talk more about re-tooling a bit later? That's right now.
So, why are so many Grip models not being fixed? Why haven't we re-tooled these old SKUs with all of the quality improvements made to the case's build quality? It's a little complicated.
Taking the improvements we've made to the most recent suite of Grip models and retroactively applying those changes to older SKUs isn't a simple task - it would require us to throw out our existing production tools and create new ones, from scratch. Suffice it to say that doing so is a wildly expensive endeavor.
To recoup that cost, we'd need to produce more Grips than we're likely to ever sell for aging, irrelevant hardware. Let's use the Pixel 3 as an example.
If we replaced every single de-bonded Pixel 3 Grip, that would account for about 3% of the MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) on a re-tooled Pixel 3 Grip case. Now we're sitting on 97% of that MOQ as overstock. Pixel 3 owners have had their phone for nearly two years now. If they want a phone case, they already have one. They're not looking for new Pixel 3 cases, they're getting ready to buy a new phone. Simply put, it’s no longer a viable market.
Now, say the Pixel 3 was a significantly more popular phone - enough that we'd be shipping out, say, 50% of the MOQ as replacements on day one. Now, that's a lot more tempting to us - we'd still lose boatloads of money, but at least it would go towards some consumer goodwill.
To figure out how much money we'd lose on re-tooling, we gave our bean-counting Robots a giant jar of beans and told them to get to work. They emerged three days later. When asked how many beans were in the jar, they gave us a blank stare. When asked if it was possible to re-tool any of our production lines for old Grip SKUs without losing obscene amounts of money, they said:
"Absolutely not."
Still, we're no strangers to throwing away obscene amounts of money to make the internet happy. Remember Amazon gift cards? Those were the days. The only question that remains is "How much money are we willing to set on fire?"
We can't tell you yet. Why? Because we're currently running a detailed cost-benefit analysis on the subject of re-tooling old production lines, on a SKU-by-SKU basis. That's business talk for "the bean-counting Robots have been given more beans to count."
The objective is to determine the viability of producing new-and-improved Grip stock for older phones: how many units would be tied up in replacements for that model, how many we could reasonably expect to sell to new customers, and how much overstock would be left from the MOQ.
From there, we can determine what the financial impact of re-tooling would be and make the final decision on how much cash we're dumping into the ocean somewhere off the coast of the Seychelles. We'll have our results by early next week.
These re-tooled models, if produced, would feature every improvement we’ve made thus far to the Grip case line, plus a few that have yet to be released. Remember how the S20s, the iPhone SE and the OnePlus 8s haven't had any reported failures yet? Picture that, but for the phone you've got.
If we go ahead with re-tooling production lines for your phone, a few things will happen:
  1. The Grip case for your phone will go from "Sold Out" to "Backorder".
  2. Our Customer Experience Robots will shift their communication strategy from "we no longer support your phone," to "we'll get you a replacement once we've got improved units in stock."
None of these things will happen until we've run the simulations on which phones are getting restocked. Why are we posting this today, then? We could have waited a week and had concrete answers to offer about the future of our out-of-stock Grip cases. Well…

Take Our Survey
This is it: your chance to have some say in how much money we set on fire as a goodwill exercise for this whole R&D clusterfuck.
Those simulations we're running? They'll be great for telling us how much money we're going to lose on each Grip SKU, but it won't tell us anything about how much money our customers want us to lose on each Grip SKU.
To that end, we've prepared a survey for people who have purchased a Grip case. We'll be taking your feedback into consideration during our decision-making process.
We have only one request: don't be a jackass. Answer the questions honestly.
Click here to take the survey.

In Closing...
We're sharing a special moment right now. We're all seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
For us, that light is "we're almost done with a year-long R&D effort to stop the Grip case from falling apart."
For you, the light is "the end of a 5661-word marathon of a Reddit post."
We just want to take a minute to recognize that we couldn't have gotten this far without your collective support. At any point in the past year, we might have pulled the plug on the Grip project entirely if we'd reached a critical mass of negative sentiment from our customers. Instead, we've got an army of devotees who have no problem paying us for the privilege of being our guinea pigs.
Product development isn't a one-and-done process. It's easy to forget, but our skins weren't always to the world-class, record-setting, Michael-Jordan-in-his-prime standard you expect from us today. If you happen to have an iPhone 4 skin lying around, apply it and let us know how it goes. You'll immediately appreciate how many process improvements we've made. We weren’t born as the greatest skin manufacturer in history. We got there through a process of methodical improvement. Each jump in quality was driven by a bottomless well of user feedback, sourced from millions upon millions of customers. That, and the competition was comically inept.
It's the same story for the Grip case. Your continued support has enabled us to make huge strides in developing a product that's on the cusp of blowing everyone else out of the water. We're going to keep working until it gets there.


Please note that by reading this tl;dr, you’re missing out on several outlandish metaphors, including classics such as:
  • Plastic injection molding melted cheese into your face hole.
  • What if Jesus and Donald Trump built a house?
  • How to turn yourself from “rare to well done” and “solid to paste”.
  • Pencil Perverts.

  • The Grip case is made from two materials: a polycarbonate skeleton and an elastomer frame.
  • The elastomer frame provides the majority of the case's impact protection and grip, but is prone to deformation.
  • We prevent deformation by bonding the material to a polycarbonate skeleton (i.e. the rigid back plate on the Grip case).
  • The bond between the two materials was not as strong as we'd originally anticipated, causing the elastomer to de-bond from the polycarbonate skeleton and the case to sometimes fall apart.

  • Through a series of design revisions, we've made countless improvements to promote a stronger bond between the two materials.
  • These changes have incrementally reduced the failure rate of Grip cases. Our most recent SKUs are yielding extremely promising results.
  • Each time we improve the Grip case, we need to play a months-long waiting game to observe the real-world effects.

  • Since we're using you as guinea pigs for the purposes of product development, we've been uncharacteristically generous with our warranty policy.
  • However, that warranty policy only lasts as long as we have stock. Once we're out of Grips, we're out of replacements.
  • We've finally reached the point where we need to rip off the bandaid and dispose of all of our Grip stock produced during 2019.
  • If your Grip for any of these older phones falls apart, you can no longer get a replacement.
  • You should still write in to our Customer Experience team if it happens to you - we'll work something out.
  • On the bright side, our Grip SKUs from 2020 onwards have dramatically reduced, if not outright eliminated, the failure rate of previous models. We have no reported cases to date.
  • It's not economically viable to re-tool production lines to apply our improved industrial designs to any of the Grip cases that are currently marked as "Sold Out".
  • We're probably going to do it anyways.
  • We're running the simulations right now to determine which older devices will be re-tooled.
  • Take our survey to help determine which devices we'll be re-tooling.
submitted by db_inc to dbrand [link] [comments]

The Collective (Part 40)

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Tykan began his journey by starting with an exploration outside of the hotel he was calling his home for now. He was still coming to terms with the Terran Standard language, but he certainly felt more at home with it than he ever had with Collective Standard.
According to the historical databases, his own native tongue was relatively close linguistically (at least according to the algorithms) to pre-Empire Terran Esperanto. He’d tried doing some minor research into the language, but since so much of what he was trying to understand was coded for linguistics experts and native speakers, he couldn’t begin to understand what he was seeing.
He also found it rather odd that while there was a Terran Standard language, almost every colony (and even subsets of the same colony) would speak derivatives of the same language, diverging into entirely new languages. It was utterly strange that the humans did not appear to care about the language drift. They simply acknowledged that it happened and ignored it. According to one of the guides, North Mars had three distinct dialects and over 100 different derivative accents, whereas South Mars had two distinct dialects and ranged from a mild to very heavy accent depending on how far south you were on Mars.
The concept that a species was allowed to invent and continue to invent new languages after the formation of an agreed upon standard language was very foreign to Tykan, his own Tanosian Standard language having suffered only minor drift in the whole of their 13 colonies, due in no small part to rigorous reinforcement of proper linguistics.
And it didn’t stop there. Apparently, Lunarians (or Loonies as they were sometimes called in the guides) even had their own derivative additions to Terran Standard. It wasn’t big changes, but there were some odd connotations that the permanent residents of Terra’s moon had incorporated into Terran Standard.
So far, he’d accidentally walked into a dry cleaner, mistaking the wording on the sign for a museum, a Centauri-style pub which he’d mistaken for public facilities, and a judiciary, which bore a label that he’d have sworn said it was a human conservatory.
But he was having a marvelous time. He couldn’t remember the last time he had been this surrounded by strange lovely things and smells. Oh the smells. He tasted all the emotions of the streets as he walked. Certainly, his very obvious bodyguards behind him always smelled of their usual duty and purpose, but the rest of the streets with humans coming and going were awash of different emotions. It felt chaotic and yet like a sort of symphony.
A young woman, if he was remembering how human dioecism worked, had the feeling of a cold winter about her. A man on a street corner had the feeling of a wind storm that was coming on. An older man who sat resting and watching the world had the feeling of a calming sunrise. And so many more.
Tykan felt as though he could experience worlds just standing in place and opening his olfactors. These humans… as physically terrible and aggressive as the Council had judged them to be, were so utterly complex and they didn’t even seem to realize it.
It took him several moments before he realized that a human had stepped up in front of him.
The human in front of him was… different. They weren’t obviously male or female. Their hair, which apparently had long term cultural significance, was cropped close to their head and dyed a color that he was reasonably certain wasn’t natural, but wouldn’t have put it past the humans to have figured out how to get it naturally. Their body was… well, it was rather difficult to tell. They were wearing a sort of Terran forest colored robe which mostly obscured them and didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the Lunarian culture that Tykan had seen thus far. And most interestingly, they were wearing a tall hat of some sort.
“Yes?” he ventured.
“You’re new around here,” the stranger said with a voice that was neither high nor low for a human.
“I am new. My naaaame issss Tykan. I am n-n-newly a ssss-citizzzen offf the Empire,” he said, unsure of the smell of the human’s emotions. They weren’t unhappy, nor were they particularly happy. They just smelled of… of… a dark but cozy place. Not like an unused or long abandoned burrow might, but rather more like one that was created by a purist on sabbatical, reconnecting with their ancestors in the earth.
The human smiled, but did not change their emotional scent.
“Then I suppose I should welcome you. I’m Rigby. I own and operate that cafe over there,” the human called Rigby said, pointing at a part of a building a block or so away. “What brings you here?”
“I wasss tooo meet with the Empressss,” Tykan said.
“Oh, you must be very special then. And did you?” Rigby asked.
“Yesss. She wasssss not what I expected,” Tykan said. “I am the firrrrst xeeeeeno citizzzen offf the Empire.”
“Well, I’d say that’s earned you a free drink and a baked good at my cafe then,” Rigby said, smiling broadly. Rigby reminded Tykan of Mac in that moment. But he was still confused by Rigby. But he tried to remember what he had read of human manners (as utterly confusing and often contradictory as they were).
“Would youuuuu like toooo show meeeee to your busssssinessss?” Tykan ventured.
“I would,” Rigby said, turning towards the indicated building and beginning to lead Tykan there for a moment before looking back and behind Tykan at his guards.
“Are they with you?” Rigby asked. The smell of dark clouds overhead came from Rigby. Not one of dislike or fear, but rather the sort of discomfort.
“They are toooo protect meeee. The Empresssss sent them toooo meeee,” Tykan said, feeling uncomfortable himself.
There was a moment or two of quiet between them and then Rigby appeared to brighten.
“Well, I’m sure we can find a place for them to keep you company,” Rigby said, the smile returning to their face.
The four of them walked without speaking. Tykan couldn’t help but notice how a number of the humans they passed seemed to taste of a sort of fear, but from the taste, it wasn’t towards him, so he could only guess it was toward Rigby or his guards, but he couldn’t think of why either would warrant fear.
The indicated building was a strangely decorated subsection of a larger building, with large transparent viewports into and out of the building section in question. It appeared to have a Terran theme of some kind, but it wasn’t obvious as to what it referenced. A menu of foods and beverages hung outside the main entrance portal with a large annotation of “Elevenses”. Rigby appeared to take no notice of anything strange and simply opened the portal and directed Tykan and his guards inside.
The inside of the building was equally strange. It appeared to be a mix of themes. One section was decorated with ornate designs and a flashing blue box which hung from the ceiling. Another had images of an ornate stone castle with old Terran floor sweepers leaned against the wall. And the section to which Rigby lead Tykan and his guards to was away from the main windows, in a section that had a massive painting of two towers and large stone city carved into a mountain with some kind of war happening between the three.
There were a few other humans in the cafe, but only a few even glanced up from their activities and while there was a slight smell of emotional surprise at seeing Tykan, it almost instantly dampened as they returned to their activities. The whole of the cafe smelled of… a sort of mix of different foods and beverages that reminded Tykan of Mac. Especially the beverages.
Rigby gestured to a table with a larger than human standard seat for Tykan and then gestured to a nearby table with human standard chairs (although these bore elegant looking vine-like decoration) for his guards. Tykan half-sat half-laid across the seat he was provided and continued to watch Rigby.
Rigby appeared to still be smiling, moving away from the trio and stepping behind the counter of the business and hanging their hat on a peg off to one side.
“What can I get you, Tykan?” Rigby called over, despite appearing to be conversing with the other humans behind the counter.
Tykan cocked his head to one side.
“I do not understand,” he said, confused.
“What manner of beverage and food would you enjoy without expense to your being?” Rigby said, slipping from Lunarian Terran Standard to more strict Terran Standard almost seamlessly.
“I am unable to consume certain human compounds without medical attention,” Tykan said.
“Ah allergies. Gotcha. Do you have a list of those compounds which you cannot consume? And do you have a list of compounds you find enjoyable?” Rigby asked, continuing to almost blatantly ignore the fact that Tykan was not human.
Tykan picked up the tablet from the table and pressed his probing digit against the identifier. As part of joining the Empire, he’d received a bio-synth chip which allowed him to be uniquely identified and which could carry selected information which he could control (up to a certain point). It was a remarkably simple technology that made him wonder why none of the species in the Collective had ever come up with it. It wasn’t even remotely invasive and only certain systems could even communicate with it and even when they did, he could set up particular data permissions for what types of systems could read any or all of the data available.
A list of compounds that he was unable to consume appeared on the screen of the tablet.
“I believe thisssss will be of asssssistence. And I doooo not knooooow whaaat human fooooods I preferrrr,” he said, holding the tablet out to Rigby. Rigby came over and took the tablet from Tykan. Rigby appeared to frown a bit, but from the sort of smell of emotion that Tykan was receiving, this was a frown of concentrated thought.
“I think you might like a non-caffeinated ginger jasmine tea and a fresh baked croissant. And if we talk long enough, maybe we can see about the lunch menu,” Rigby said, setting the tablet back down. “Anything for you two, Argo-juice?”
This last question appeared to go to Tykan’s guards. One of them waved a hand as a sort of gesture. Apparently, Rigby knew what it meant because Rigby walked back over behind the counter and began to work.
A few minutes later, Rigby returned with a strange crescent, two glasses of greenish liquid, and a short ceramic glass of steaming liquid. Rigby placed the two glasses of greenish liquid in front of his guards and then placed the crescent and the steaming liquid glass in front of Tykan. Rigby sat down and folded their hands in front of them.
“So I’m betting you’ve got a thousand questions, and Rigby’s all ears to help you sort them out,” Rigby smiled.
“Beware of strangers bearing gifts,” Tykan said, repeating an old proverb of his homeworld.
“Very wise, but I’m going to wager that there’s a lot more to humans than any wikipedia could tell you,” Rigby said, the smile unmoved.
“How about we start with more thorough introductions?” Tykan said, trying to match the human’s grin without appearing aggressive.
“I’d like that,” Rigby said.
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Nov 3rd, 2020 Fiscal-Conservative, Social Liberal Ballot walk-through for Washoe County

This post acts as an alternative viewpoint to the extreme-left list here.

Preface - My Bias and Background

I'm not a neutral party - I am decidedly pro Trump. This does not extend to the rest of the Republican Party, however. I'm simply opening with my background so everyone has full disclosure of any potential biases I may have.
I am a former democrat who got disillusioned after Bernie was abused in the 2016 election primaries and decided to #walkaway. I am a furry, LGBTQ, and have lived in Reno for over a year now, having fled the corruption and mismanagement of California for a much free-er state - pretty much the antithesis of a stereotypical "Trump supporter". As a younger voter, I voted Kerry in 04, Obama in 08 and 12, and in 2016 I voted Trump after Bernie was no longer an option - a moot point in California.
I grew up in the Philippines until '91 when Mt. Pinatubo erupted and forced my military family (chair force, woo!) to evacuate Clark AFB. We've lost everything more than once, and I spent years in a trailer park and on the supplemental food programs in elementary school. My parents both worked two jobs - Dad as an Air Force MP (and eventually rose to Lt. Col before retiring and continuing on in civil Service) and security guard, and mother as a maid at the Radisson hotel chain and fast food worker - which allowed us to actually rise out of poverty and own a house, and go to better school programs. Their work ethic is what's taught me the drive and focus that's allowed me to own my own house here in Reno - with my fantastic husband. It hasn't been an easy road, but I very much know what the American dream is about - I've lived it and want nothing more than for others to have the opportunities to do the same.
My recommendations, if any, below are colored through that lens of those experiences. Onto the ballot.

Ballot Summary

This is a quick short summary of how to vote from a Fiscal Conservative perspective. See the long explanations below. I am only going over items that have an actual choice, and am choosing to include all slots on my Ballot (Assembly District 31 and county district 4). For information on all candidates and their statements, links to their websites, etc, please see the official Washoe County voter information page on Candidates.
President: Trump, Donald J & Pence, Michael R. Congress District 2: Amodei, Mark E. State Assembly District 31: Dickman, Jill Or Daly, Skip County Commission District 4: Hartung, Vaughn Supreme Court Seat D: Herndon, Douglas Court of Appeals Dept 3: Bush, Susan District Court Judge Dept 10: Sigurdson, Kathleen A. District Court Judge Dept 11: Shannon, Greg District Court Judge Dept 13: Robb, Bridget
Question 1 - Strip constitutional status of the Board of Regents and allow state legislature to review and change the governing organization of state universities and federal grants:
Yes on Question 1.
Question 2 - Remove constitutional amendment declaring marriage between a man and woman only:
Yes on Question 2.
Question 3 - Require the Board of Pardons to meet more often, and allow the Board of Pardons to issue pardons without the Governor's approval:
Yes on Question 3.
Question 4 - Encodes the voter's bill of rights, a legislative statute since 2002, into a constitutional amendment:
Yes on Question 4.
Question 6 - Amend the constitution to require all electric providers start providing increasing amounts of energy from renewable sources so that 50% are provided by renewable sources by 2030:
No on Question 6.
The below section reviews my reasoning for the above selections.


We shall address all people you can vote for in the below sections.

President and Vice President

Biden-Harris - Democrat

Biden's got 47 years of experience in politics, and has almost nothing to show for it. His slogan is a cheap Chinese knockoff of "Make America Great Again" - much like Biden himself; he's unoriginal, having plagiarized many speeches and policy goals. What he does have to show for it isn't good.
He's directly responsible for the crime bill that's put millions of BIPOC behind bars - rocketing the US to the highest incarceration rates in the world per the Human Rights Watch, with 70-80% of those being African Americans. He proudly called it the Biden Crime Bill in his failed 2008 bid. From 1983 to 2000, prison admissions for African Americans grew 2600% directly due to this bill - and no that's not a typo.
He's got a long history of racist behavior that demonstrates this wasn't an "unintended side effect" either - he opposed desegregation. And that's not new news, either - Biden has openly said the N word on the senate floor - twice, though to be fair he was quoting someone else, the double standard is absurd - anyone else that had done so wouldn't have been given a pass.
He also is on record directly praising Grand Cyclops Robert Byrd, who led a 150 person chapter of the KKK, calling him a close friend and mentor.. Don't forget, though, he's not racist because he noted poor kids are just as smart as white kids. Biden's racist past is so damning that he had no other option but to choose a minority, "diverse" VP. His choice of Kamala Harris was not based on actual political qualifications, merely she was one of the candidates most "diverse" to fit the bill. What an achievement - becoming choice for VP based solely on your race and gender.
Biden's abused his power as Vice President to solicit bribes from both China and Russia through his Son, Hunter Biden - an irrefutable fact that has been admitted to in Ukrainian courts by Burisma, noting that they did not refute the allegations that payments to Hunter were bribes to then-VP Joe Biden. The most the general media has done is not to refute the relationship, but to claim that Hunter's millions in payments from Russian Oligarchs are somehow... unrelated to his Father's position. Totally believable, don't you get paid tens of millions in fields you know nothing about as a 'consultant'? You can review the full senate report and supporting evidence here.
Biden, if elected, has pledged to raise taxes. You can see the entire fact check and history associated with this comment here. Now this is a bit dishonest - because the Trump tax cuts raised taxes on the wealthy - substantially - by capping the amount of money they could deduct from their federal taxes to $10,000 for state and local taxes (e.g. property taxes, income taxes). Joe biden's tax bill went up by millions because of the Trump Tax Cuts - as did his wealthy backers. That's why they want to repeal them. And the middle class who can't afford the tax firms and million dollar homes end up footing the bill for it.
Biden's energy platform is one that would significantly raise costs and kill jobs, exposing the rest of the country to the same energy policy goals as California - which we can all see is working so well in a state that can't even provide power for all their electric vehicles. The gross mismanagement under the name of "green" initiatives rejects the simple basics and facts of energy consumption, failing to provide sufficient supply and then blaming the people when the demand is exceeded. With no mention of any renewable or green energy sources actually capable of satisfying demand (e.g. Nuclear), the result is simply that people revert to dirtier, more destructive means of fulfilling their needs (e.g. the mass use of diesel and gas generators as the state fails to provide basic needs, or importing energy from other states at a premium). There's a reason CA's electricity is over $.80 per kw/hr. Do you want ours to increase from the ~ $0.08 kw/hr? CA's infrastructure resembles that of a third world country, not a shining beacon and example for the world to see on how to do things right.
I don't think I really need to go into the war-mongering of Biden, but I will address one extremely offensive ad I've seen recently around here - the MRAP ad. This is straight up bullshit on so many levels it makes me see red. Biden's involvement in the MRAP boils down to awarding a $45bn contract that was funded from stealing from other military funding (like veteran healthcare) to a manufacturer tied to his campaign, after an anti-Bush blitz in 2007. The original program, valued at $15bn, would have uparmored humvees and aligned with the Military's long term goals for versatile, modular equipment; and had just as effective of results as the MRAP. Now for all of you careful readers, you may recognize the term "MRAP" and realize that this was one of the hallmarks of the militarization of the US police. This is a direct result of the wasted money on the MRAP program Joe Biden championed and created. The vehicles serve no purpose in the Military strategy outside of a true wartime scenario, and thus have been a waste of taxpayer dollars. The Pentagon, in an effort to save face, has repurposed these vehicles to domestic law enforcement to offset the cost. Joe Biden is directly responsible for the militarization of our police force. And he claims he can fix it? Please.
Biden's would likely not serve his term if elected, meaning realistically, you're voting for Kamala Harris - a corrupt cop that knowingly withheld exculpatory evidence from thousands of cases (primarily against BIPOC under Biden's bill), and even attempted to block DNA testing for a man on Death Row. Sources Her only qualifications to begin her career was her affair with Willie Brown, through political kickbacks and corruption - a common theme for this ticket.
The rest of the platform is rehashed, failed policies from the past decades - lots of empty promises but demonstrated failures to achieve the stated outcomes time and time again.
Nobody in their right mind could support this ticket. I guess that's why only the left-minded do. *rimshot*

Blankenship-Mohr - Constitution Party

Blankenship is a former CEO of Massey Energy and was convicted of willfully violating mine safety standards, and was sentenced to one year in Prison. He has no experience in politics and very little relevant history to speak to. He was a former Republican, and the party platform is... convoluted and unclear. Near as I can tell, it's very strictly aligned with concepts of states rights, non-intervention, increased bill of rights protections, and minimal government. I agree with the other post that this is generally a spoiler candidate with no actual plan or goals.

Jorgenson-Cohen - Libertarian Party

Jorgenson won the Libertarian primary in one of the most competitive ones in a while, securing the nomination after four rounds of voting and becoming the first female presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party.
Jorgenson advocates for eliminating civil asset forfeiture and qualified immunity, ending the war on drugs and abolishing the scheduled substance program, has promised to pardon all non-violent drug offenders if elected, and urges the demilitarization of the police.
Jorgenson's foreign policy platform is one of non-interventionism, going beyond that to stump for a true free market and eliminate foreign aid, embargos, sanctions, and military intervention, bringing our Military back to the homefront only. She's very much in support of open borders and removing national quotas on immigration.
Jorgenson has aggressively criticized government spending and vowed to slash spending and reduce the need for elevated taxes in that manner, vowing to block additional borrowing and spending, but not actually providing any solid strategies to reducing spending.
Jorgenson's open-borders policy may appeal to some voters, as will her fiscal conservationist mantra; however while strong on principle I find she lacks meaningful concrete plans.

Trump-Pence - Republican Party

  • Platform - The Republican party chose not to publish an updated Platform this year and is using the same core principles of 2016.
  • Official Slogan - "Make America Great Again", "Keep America Great", "Promises Made, Promises Kept"
  • Official Website
Donald Trump secured presidency in 2016 and has since been subjected to non-stop negative press and "mistakes" by major media, big tech, and other sources to vilify and demonize his candidacy and presidency. Even the post I'm responding to falsely and incorrectly claims, repeatedly, that Trump's a White Nationalist, making easily disproven claims that he won't denounce white supremacy/nationalists when he has - dozens of times. It's irrefutable at this point, even FactCheck.org begrudgingly has noted the truth - yet the media loves pulling out an easily disproven statement to distract from Biden's racist past by projecting it on Trump. This is a common pattern, as is found by claims being made and widely published, then quietly retracted in a foot note before a defamation suit gains ground.
Unlike Biden, however, Trump has in 4 years done more than Biden has done in over 47. Trump is running on his accomplishments, and has demonstrated how effective he can be even despite 4 years of non-stop interference from now-known to be fabricated Russian Collusion allegations. It's worth noting that we now, officially and publicily, know that the Russian Collusion story was not only fake, it was a Hillary Clinton Campaign ploy to distract the public from the contents of her leaked e-mails. Once Trump Won, it was then used as a grounds to attempt to impeach or remove him from office (see the Mueller Investigation). The DNI Declassification this week seals the deal on the entire saga.
Trump's accomplishments are many, and he's kept a lot of his campaign promises, resulting in a rapid economic recovery once he took office. Obama's handling of the Bush recession was a disaster, with the ~ 11M jobs created under the Obama-Biden administration being low-wage, part time service jobs, not meaningful manufacturing or full time positions. Trump's policies, on the other paw, have seen record full time employment, with rising wages as businesses were forced to compete for scarce labor on an open market. Without needing a federal minimum wage increase that arbitrarily rammed costs down business throats, we achieved even here in Reno a $15 starting wage for many retail positions, with white and blue collar and other work having even higher salaries.
Trump reversed Biden's disastrous crime bill, orchestrating and signing the First Step Act which eliminated the mandatory prison terms that put millions of BIPOC behind bars for non-violent drug offenses.
Trump's championing of the NAFTA repeal and USMCA trade agreement, closing loopholes that have screwed over US small businesses in favor of international corporations like Walmart that have enriched other countries at the expense of our middle class.
Trump's built the wall, significantly cutting illegal immigration and drug flows into the US. Like it or hate it, he's delivered on that promise - and the cuts into illegal immigration and strict enforcement have directly resulted in rising wages and employment for our inner cities where they competed with Americans for jobs. Immediately after ICE raids, minority Americans found tons of economic opportunity taking over those jobs. And he's not just going after the illegals, but the businesses and owners that hire them. That's not about "race", that's about protecting American interests.
Trump, for the first time in decades decreased the Debt to GDP ratio by more than 1.2% - in 2017, reducing it from 105% to 104% in his first year. The last time that occurred by that amount was 1969, though both Reagan and W. Bush also decreased the ratio, it was by far less.
Trump's tax cuts directly helped the middle class by doubling the standard deduction, increasing child credits, and the unemployment decreases and salary increases wildly outpaced projections. We achieved record employment - and not cheap, unreliable service industry jobs. Real jobs that people can build families and lives on.
Trump legalized Hemp production as part of the 2018 Farm bill, tracking to make more efficient, green products the right way - by letting the market select for and produce better products, not arbitrarily enforcing deadlines and penalties to favor donor companies that can't exist on a fair market.
Trump's investment into our minority communities has delivered on what Biden and Democrats have promised, without result, for decades. Trump's Platinum plan slates a half trillion dollars for investment into Black and minority communities. There's a reason that, in four short years under Trump, we've seen 3 million new jobs and 500,000 black-owned small businesses. The opportunity for the American Dream was made real - because that's what Trump cares about. Every American having the opportunity to be great.
Honestly, I really could keep listing all day but I've spoken enough about Trump. If you're better off now than you were four years ago, vote Trump. Trump's running on his accomplishment. Biden's running on "orange man bad." That's not a platform, that's betting that you've been conditioned to hate everything Trump's done without cause or reason. When ever major corporation and media outlet, and tons of multi-decade established politicians all are telling you what to believe, and you believe it, you're not part of any "resistance" - you're the establishment.
And for all the gnashing of teeth... he's been nominated four times for the Nobel Peace prize - for things he actually did.
Nomination for work to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula Nomination for the Serbia-Kosovo peace deal. Nomination for the Isreal-UAE peace deal. Nomination for the diplomatic efforts of ending wars and encouraging peace throughout the world.
Trump's ending wars. Vote against that, if your conscience allows.

Congress District 2

Ackerman - Democrat

Ackerman regurgitates failed Democrat platform policies, a mere carbon copy of the DNC platform. While she claims to oppose Citizens United, of her reported ~ $345k in funding, the corporate SuperPAC front for the DNC, has contributed $292,720 - nearly 85% of her campaign funding. ActBlue has spent almost 2.5 billion dollars in 2020 to push DNC candidates - more than 22% of the overall spending by all PAC's in the country. So it's quite a stretch to claim she's opposed to Citizens United while collecting funding from the single largest Citizens United-enabled SuperPAC in the country.
Calling for an enforced $15 minimum wage rejects the reality of doing business - as California demonstrates, hemorrhaging 400,000+ jobs, businesses fleeing the state, and record unemployment and resulting crime. You can't just declare an arbitrary number and expect it to magically make problems go away because you ignore economic realities. A $15 wage in low skill positions is absolutely possible, and we can see that here in Reno with companies like Best Buy offering it as a starting wage - but that arises out of competition for labor, forcing companies to cut profit margins to remain competitive for tight labor markets; forcing the arbitrary wage doesn't accomplish that - it sets an impossibly high standard for small businesses and allows larger businesses to simply pass the costs onto the consumer.
This isn't news and isn't unexpected behavior. It's well documented and observed, and representative of government officials that think they can ignore the laws of physics and economics to impose their will, while never having to experience the consequences themselves.
Her separation from reality extends into believing somehow that solar energy is a realistic replacement for current sources (if she was serious on green energy, she'd be talking nuclear); or wanting a second disastrous amnesty program for illegals; which is what caused that "wage gap" for native-born minority Americans - the influx and amnesty of low-skilled migrants directly competes with and crushes wages of Americans in the job market - it's not theory, it's fact.).
I found it amusing to review her "Racial Justice" page, which is a combination of things Trump already did, or that directly criticize her party's past achievements. She supports defunding the police, ending the second amendment by proxy and curtailing the rights of Americans, and supports reparations.
She's explicitly anti-gun, claiming that firearms are for hunting, and wants to create a federal registration program and ban semiautomatic firearms (per her "I agree with groups like Moms Demand Action that more is still needed.")
Notably absent from her platform is the concept of self-responsibility - it's all government give-aways from the taxpayer to buy votes. Extremely socially liberal, to the point of pandering, and no sense of fiscal responsibility at all. Printing money won't solve problems.
Hard pass.

Amodei - Republican

Amodei is a pretty unremarkable rank and file Republican. He is generally fiscally conservative, but has indicated support for increased defense spending (not a point in his favor). He's openly pro-life, lower taxes, and has supported legislation for COVID relief.
Amodei's got some accomplishments, including the Northern Nevada Land Act and Conservation Economic Development Act, which enjoyed bipartisan support.
Amodei does support a compromise on illegal immigration, favoring a plan to naturalize DREAMERS, a position that places him more towards center than his Republican colleagues. He also openly supports tax reductions across the board and is a fiscal hawk.
It's worth noting that Amodei has a nuanced approach to nuclear energy and I feel like he would actually support true green initiatives that can actually work, such as investing in nuclear energy and water capture technologies that could work within the framework of the economy, not try (and fail) to dictate to it.
Overall, while I disagree with Mark on some things (like pro life), his centrist positions on things like DREAMERs and lack of overt evidence of corruption earn him my support - he seems reasonably socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

Hansen - Independent American Party

Hansen's platform and history are light. The other post accurately attributed that she believes "Let people who are vulnerable to coronavirus stay home". This candidate is rather extreme in some of their views, though "Lunatic" may be going a little far for my tastes.
Hansen is anti-illegal immigration, pro second amendment, and aligns closely with the "tea party" type republicans. Too far right for my taste, and overall does not earn my vote. She's essentially a spoiler candidate to try to take the far-right vote away from a moderate like Amodei.

State Assembly District 31

Note that you can find information on the other State Assembly Districts and State Senate District at the Washoe County candidate index.

Daly, Richard "Skip" - Democrat

Skip, like Ackerman, regurgitates the Democrat platform talking points, but has no meaningful action or commitments to show for it. His legislative history is, well, pathetic. He literally hasn't done anything of note - just sponsoring bills to "Express appreciation". Really?
His voting record isn't really noteworthy - the big negative being his support for tax increases on property and businesses - he's voted in favor of three major tax hikes that will severely harm job creation in the state. He did indicate that he isn't going to blindly support them on the second round of revisions, noting
“Depending on which version of the three come forward, I’m hoping there’s some consensus that develops after that,” he said. “If there is, then I think all parties are going to be supporting it. But right now that’s in a state of flux.”
He has indicated he does not support defunding the police.
It is worth noting that he surprisingly broke with party lines on the 2nd amendment, voting against restrictions, which earns him a solid "left leaning centrist" position in my book. I have no reason to vote for him, and only light reason to vote against him based on his tax platform - overall, he seems like a fair candidate and I don't fault anyone that would support him. I might, myself. We'll see.

Dickman, Jill - Republican

Dickman seems like a pretty rank and file Republican, regurgitating much of their platform on her issues page. Dickman's legislative prowess is much more significant, however, as can be seen on the bills she's sponsored (oddly enough broken on billtrack50).
Her voting record and positions are pretty clear, pushing education reforms, tax reductions and blocking tax increases, however she does want more "free market" healthcare that I see as a negative. Her 2nd amendment positions and efforts are significant, as is her opposition to sanctuary cities and support for law enforcement.
Overall, I deem her to be solidly right-wing, and if the election were held today, barely, barely earning my support based on her tax platform. We'll see.

County Commission District 4

Note, for all commission seats, you can view the Candidate perspectives and statements here.

Baker, Marie - Democrat

Marie Baker is a newcomer to the political scene and does not appear to have any clear positions or record to refer to. Watching the statements, her positions appear to be typical Democrat/Socialist leanings. Quick notes on her "why should voters vote for you" statements:
  • Anti-special interest
  • Anti-development in flood plains
  • How she will address affordable housing and development concerns
I will note that how she presents herself and her positions is very uncertain and lacking confidence, and unfortunately I don't believe she would be able to hold her own in the political arena.

Hartung, Vaughn

Vaughn is running on his record as a county commissioner, and is his final term attempt - he will not be eligible to run again if successful. In particular, he has noted issues regarding homelessness and touting his success on rehabilitation and homeless work programs. He's also taken a lot of steps and been internationally recognized for his work regarding water conservationism and quality.
Overall, he presents as a much more experienced politician and his record doesn't have anything disqualifying to my view. I feel like he would better serve our community with that experience, hence my support for him.

Judicial Selections

Supreme Court Seat D

This is a hotly contested seat light on details. The RGJ did an article on the topic.

Fumo, Ozzie - Nonpartisan

Ozzie seems well-intentioned, however he is openly and vehemently anti-2A per his own website, and is very much at risk of being an Activist Judge. He's a democratic politician - not a judge, and seeks to abuse the judiciary to further a political agenda.
Pushing to reduce the rule of law is not a position a judge should take, and that's what his position with Cash Bail is. The diversity quota behavior only serves to further highlight differences instead of recognizing that all Americans should be and are equal in the eyes of the law. By pushing anything short of that, he merely preserves a dying legacy of racism.
Hard pass on activist judges - they cannot be impartial.

Herndon, Douglas - Nonpartisan

Herndon is by no means a clean comparison, however he does have significantly more experience as a prosecutor and has significant community involvement. His rulings and history appear to be largely neutral and he received the highest performance score of any district court judge in the Review Journal's 2019 Judging the Judges survey, with an 85% retention rating in said survey and earning their endorsement.
I can't find any disqualifying remarks or positions on him, which is what I would expect of a judge expected to maintain neutrality, hence he gets my vote.

Court of Appeals Dept 3

Bulla, Bonnie

Bonnie's history is pretty lackluster, and she's responded to Ballotpedia's candidate Connection survey. She has pushed for adding additional three judge panels as well as citing that she'd like more opinions out of the court.

Bush, Susan

Bush's history is likewise lackluster, and also responded to the survey. She makes a point about needing someone with experience representing clients in the family and criminal divisions that I find compelling and thus support her over Bulla.

District Court Dept 10

Sattler, Elliot

Sattler published an opinion article at the RGJ making the case for his re-election. I don't know what it is, but it rubs me significantly the wrong way and comes off as sleezy. I really can't justify any rational explanation for it, but I don't what I've seen of his column and website.

Sigurdson, Kathleen

Not really much on her one way or another, which is what I like to see in a Judge. Between her and Sattler, I'll go with her.

District Court Dept 11

This race has comments from both candidates via the RGJ.

Dollinger, Paige

  • Official Website - Note, page appears to have expired with her web host and I reviewed the google cache of it.
Not really any information to be found outside of the Gazette statements. Her embracing of technology is encouraging.

Shannon, Greg

  • Official Website - None found.
Given the lack of information on the candidates, I based my decision on their statements to the Gazette. I don't find anything disqualifying or negative about Paige, I just find Greg's observations a bit more compelling, particularly his comment noting representation for fathers within the family court.

District Court Dept 13

Bushur, Aaron

Nothing of note compelling for or against the candidate.

Robb, Bridget

  • Official Website - None found.
While researching, I did find that Bridget has been involved in addressing corruption with other judges, a serious point in her favor. Otherwise, I don't see much on her. Between the two, Bridget has more points in her favor and earns my support - I'll always value integrity.


Honestly, not going to be much in terms of explanation on these.

Question 1

I find the arguments in favor more compelling than the arguments opposing it, as the regent's arguments in opposition seem more self-preservationist than anything. I really am not strongly committed on this item - it's a tentative yes vote from me.

Question 2

As a LGTBQ individual, I really gotta say... this question's moot. It's a virtue signal - the US Supreme Court constitutional rulings mooted this. A yes vote will clean up the constitution and eliminate that bigoted stain from Nevada's legislative books, though, so get 'er done Reno. There's not even any documented opposition to it (as is only right.)
Hard yes.

Question 3

More often reviews of our criminal justice system and pardons, and allowing the committee to do so without having to convince the Governor? I really don't see any downsides here.
Hard yes.

Question 4

This is a move to enshrine the voting rights passed in 2002 as an amendment. I see no fuckery afoot and this is a solid addition to our state constitution.
Hard yes.

Question 6

Hoo boy. This is gonna be the shitshow of a question. Besides being a virtue signal and ignoring that we're already tracking to, without such concrete demands, have 25% renewable sources, there's tons of evidence of what such policies will result in. We've seen it in CA - $.80 per kw/hr electricity, rolling blackouts, and other failings because there's simply no non-nuclear renewable source that can fill the consumer demand.
Putting this demand into our constitution is absurd, self-destructive virtue signalling that ignores the harsh realities of living in a desert. We don't need a codified concrete mandate that will fuck over market forces and encouragement. It's impossible to create enough "green" energy in 10 years to provide 50% of our power grid's requirements from it, so we'd have to shut down other sources or outsource the needs, raising costs and killing business investments here. We've got multiple data centers coming to Nevada - bringing high tech, skilled, high paying jobs with them, and such a bill would torpedo those plans fast in favor of states with less absurd requirements like Idaho and Texas.
Hard. Fucking. No. If you have any question of what the results of such a policy would be, just look at CA - they can't even keep their lights on. This question is just a poison pill from California and California transplants to make Nevada a blackout-ridden shithole.
If we want renewable energy, we should be pushing for nuclear reactors to satisfy this need, not making impossible mandates to virtue signal.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk. Given the general liberal echo chamber that is reddit, I'm grateful to the mods for not caving to mob mentality and allowing alternative points of view. I hope people have found this list useful.
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