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  1. Thanks! From our point of view, this is incredibly rewarding to us as it validates our core philosophy... Combat Mission is a sim first, game second. The sorts of things that an organization like Dstl is potentially interested in (and honestly, I only have the barest knowledge of their intended uses) require the underlying model be "defendable". Otherwise it is a waste of time and resources to test for something and then not be sure the results are reflective of reality. It's humbling to know they have so much faith in our system, especially because they've got a view of the insides in ways not even you guys do. We've always believed in honesty and transparency with you lot, but Dstl requires it to go much further than that for obvious reasons. One of the fun things about working with Dstl is that they are focused on the simulation elements, not the game elements (as much). A few things we've added cost much less in time/money compared to making the same functionality available to the general public. Since they don't care as much about something being graphically pleasing, intuitive, foolproof, etc. we can get right into things and produce results relatively quickly. Which is great for us because the simulation side of things is where our heart is. Making it pretty is also fun, but can be rather annoying at times because now we have to be perfectionists about two things! That said, don't worry about us going off the rails and forgetting about all of you. Defense work is very fickle. Currently this is our only active contract and it could end at any time for any number of reasons. Knowing that, we would be fools to put all our eggs in this basket or any other defense related basket. Plus, on the business side of things you fine folks are still the ones putting food on the table for us. We will never forget that, nor take it for granted. Expect as much from us as you always have, even though that's often been more than we promised Steve
  2. Sorta. The thing is there's nothing (yet) that we've developed for them that we would put into a commercial product. They're the sorts of things that appeal to the lab coat type only. That's not the sort of stuff we're interested in having generally available and being obligated to support. And no, I can't tell you what's been added Steve
  3. To give you guys a little more background on our arrangement, Slitherine secured a contract with the British MoD with us on board as a subcontractor. They've handled all the relationship building and the mountains (Everest type) of paperwork. We are simply the engineers in this endeavor. A typical discussion with Dstl (the entity within the MoD we are working for) involves talking about what their needs are and how Combat Mission can/can't handle those requests. We then work with them to design solutions for things CM currently can't do or can't do the way they need it to. Those designs are refined and then prioritized with other needs. Schedules are set up with specs that are agreeable to everybody, then we move forward. We are also providing the sort of low level Q&A work that looks similar to how we interact with you folks here, but with more gritty details. As you've all noticed already, from all outward appearances in the video Combat Mission is portrayed as a Slitherine product. Outwardly, that is not inaccurate as we are a sub contractor to Slitherine. At the government level that's just the way it is and we're absolutely fine with that. We know who we are and so do you, so the lack of our logo or mention in MoD materials is not a problem for us. The only entities that can acquire a version of CM that is similar to what the MoD is using need to go through Slitherine no matter what, so it's only important that Slitherine's name is out there. Put another way, if the US Secretary of Defense personally called me to ask how the Pentagon could get some CM loving, I'd bounce him over to the UK to talk with Slitherine. In the video you see Iain (Slitherine) and Tom (Dstl). I work with those guys daily to get all this stuff done. Great people to work with. Steve
  4. Nah, that's not it at all. We're terrified of working with militaries, not the other way around The contract with the MoD consisted of 67 separate contracts. If you think Battlefront has the resources to do that, you don't know us very well Plus... Correct. The MoD would never have contracted with Battlefront directly. Never. Slitherine has been working on this particular contract for THREE YEARS before it came to fruition. We simply do not have the corporate infrastructure to qualify in the eyes of the MoD, nor the resources to engage in such speculative contact work. The situation is no different with the US military, as we know from first hand experience. Which is why Combat Mission has been around for 20 years and only recently has it made it into official military use. Not a myth years ago, though today is more nuanced as you say. As it is, Combat Mission is being utilized pretty much the way MikeyD outlined. Specifically, it is being used as an analytical tool to test various concepts (weaponry, organizations, tactical employment, etc.) using standard scientific methodology. At least with the custom version we've made for Dstl. Combat Mission is also separately being licensed "as is" for individual readiness purposes. Battlefront was started before Matrix and at the very beginning Battlefront was twice as big (i.e. Battlefront = 2 people, Matrix = 1). Matrix doesn't exist any more as it is been fully incorporated into Slitherine. Internally, that is. Externally Matrix remains as a brand name. And hundreds and HUNDREDS of thousands of Dollars sitting around to spare for highly speculative work. We've been very successful over the years, but we've never had those sorts of resources to invest in anything but our games. Direct contact with militaries has always gone nowhere because we lacked the muscle to deal with the bureaucracy. Therefore, we've been trying to partner with various defense tied entities for years, but Slitherine is the first one that proved viable. And we're quite happy with the arrangement. Steve
  5. Oops. Sorry, didn't notice the topic was locked. Thanks for the productive conversations that developed in this thread. Sadly, it's not surprising it came to this end. Steve
  6. Agree with the haphazard approach being very bad. Unfortunately, the standard playbook prior to this crisis was the Feds took the lead on using its superior resources to come up with recommendations and then to coordinate them with states. States were, reasonably, expecting to follow the Fed's lead. But nothing happened at the Federal level except denials and refusals. The states, therefore, had to take action on their own. They were obviously not prepared to do so even within their own states, not to mention coordinating with their neighbors. So yeah, it's a flipp'n mess. For sure there is no way to know. But there's also no way to know if having a 100% lockdown for February would have done the trick and then we could have moved to 50% by mid march. With viruses the later one waits to do any action, the more limited choices become. However, the basic gist of your argument that the economy would be in better condition now if we had gone with only 50% lockdown is not really supported by what's going on in Sweden. The GDP contraction there is about as bad as everywhere else in Europe, yet their restaurants and bars are largely open. Which gets back to my argument that there are inherent flaws in Western economic systems that simply don't do well with pandemics. 100% or 50% lockdowns is like arguing about chopping off a leg below the hip or below the knee. I'd rather we talk about ways to save the whole thing, or at worst lose "only" a foot. That's part of the problem. Epidemiologists argue we shouldn't be going to 50% until certain benchmarks are met, which for the most part few states have achieved. It is too soon to say how right or wrong they are, but the empirical evidence doesn't lean in favor of things turning out well. At least for some places. Read that one when it came out. There are some good points in there, though there's also a lot of omissions and convenient interpretation of whether the glass is half full or half empty. Per capita income isn't very important IMHO. Income is largely a function of underlying expenses. When we got smart and escaped the urban life my wife and I took a combined 40% pay cut, yet all of a sudden we went from scraping by with an apartment, one vehicle, and mounds of credit card debt to having a nice house, two vehicles, and had almost no debt. This economic liberation is what allowed Battlefront to take shape, which gets into a separate offshoot of economic theory (i.e. opportunity costs associated with high expense lifestyles). Steve
  7. Do you ever go back and reread your posts? I suggest you do. Hopefully you'll see that you don't come off very well sometimes. As for the stupid internal US rivalry, it is all relative. Where I am nobody really cares about Californians because they don't vacation here or own second homes. On the other hand, locals have some pretty strong feelings about folks from NJ in particular. It isn't good. And I'm sure the people from NJ have a similar opinion about our slice of the world. However, on one point there does seem to be broad improvement. Both would rather be here than in NJ for the summer I do not include myself in that. I judge people by who they are, not where they were born or where they currently reside. But I'm funny that way, I s'pose. Steve
  8. As a wise man once said, people who live in Jersey should not throw stones Don't need a year as they've already established that is the case. You really should read the link I posted. You ascribe motives to the virus that it does not have. The virus spreads and it sickens people. That is all it does and all it will ever do. It has no interest in the stock market or anything else. Instead, it goes to wherever it is taken. And since millions of Americans visit NYC every month, this time they brought home more than memories and little Statue of Liberty keepsakes. It is the spread of the disease, and the fear of it, that is shutting everything down. Since they are the policies in place now, of course they were considered otherwise we'd have something else in place. Such as the sorts of extremely strict stuff that Asia and much of Europe did and/or is still doing. With almost no exceptions, in the US there are no curfews, travel passes, checkpoints, and the usual "not mild" stuff that I can easily tick off as possibilities. Let me turn it around. If what we're living under right now is not "mild" in your opinion, what policies would you consider less onerous and yet just as effective? I'd welcome you citing sources for your position too, because I've not seen anything out there. Perhaps I've missed something? Sure people have a say in what is happening. Polls show that Republicans and Democrats alike overwhelmingly SUPPORT the measures currently in place and DO NOT SUPPORT premature lifting. This is something that is stupefying to the pollsters, BTW. Even the numbnuts that are protesting in ways that violate lockdown rules, not to mention common sense, are not being punished for it. Cripes, what a lame police state we live in where we don't even beat the buggers senseless. Sure, nobody is even remotely happy about the restrictions, but like a root canal it's necessary under the circumstances. Ironically, one indication that people's voices are being ignored is the states where lockdowns are lifting "too soon" by the view of its citizens. If the lifting of restrictions is too soon, there's going to be Hell to pay but we won't know for a few months. Jury is still out on that one (some places it likely will be fine, others unlikely fine). Shouldn't we fear any minority that has say over the majority, or only if the minority leans left? So let me recap. Short of establishing a de facto police state (which we are VERY far away from today), we're screwed. Socially, economically, and politically. Our society simply is not set up to handle this sort of challenge. Either our economy tanks because people voluntarily stay home, are forced to stay home, or not at the workplace because they are sick or dead Arguably, the latter is the worst course of action sets ideal conditions for the virus to spread and to break the healthcare system. If you don't think that will wreck the economy, well... interesting. The other thing that has to be kept in mind is Humans are programmed to look out for themselves. If your community is getting sick, Human Nature does not push individuals to continue on as if nothing is happening. Look at Sweden if you don't believe this. They have very lax restrictions, yet their economy is taking a huge hit anyway because people are exercising their rights to opt out of business as usual. Ironically, the government would have to FORCE people to go to work for it to be anything other than that. Not that it would turn out well in the end anyway. Good example are the food processing plants where their workers, even with the mild mitigation in place, are dropping like flies. Imagine if there were no mitigation efforts. Better? No way. People would get sicker, faster, and with less time to adapt. Catastrophic failure would be the result. The big lesson from COVID-19 is that Western society is as fragile and prone to failure as the pandemic experts have warned for decades. If you want a country with an economy that won't collapse the next time around, then you should push for changes that are likely to improve outcomes. Denial and blame ain't going to get us there. The reality is the virus is not political, it is biological. As such it follows the rules of Mother Nature. We Humans can either accept that and work with what we have, or suffer for our ignorance and denial. Steve
  9. I'm sure that is a big part of why NYC is the worst of the worst. However, much of NJ is more like downtown LA and suburban housing and yet their death rate is vastly higher than the entire state of California. Same with Mass and Connecticut is roughly tied with CA. The latter two states are more similar to CA than to NYC. There's no scientific basis to support this theory. By the time the travel restrictions went into place, it was already here and spreading. It was already too late. See previous link. Now, if the travel restrictions were all put in place all at the same time from all countries AND all states went into lockdown for a month... yes, I think that would have made a huge difference in terms of where we are now. But nobody was up for that. Nobody. This is the problem with a pandemic. The only way to squash it flat is to act immediately (not months late) and ruthlessly. The latter would involve a REAL suspension of core civil liberties, internal travel restrictions, curfews, arrests, and all kinds of things which Americans as a whole have zero appetite for. What makes me chuckle and cry at the same time is that when very mild, and inadequate, mitigation policies were being contemplated there was a very loud group pushing back against them for economic and/or civil liberties reasons. This continued even as COVID-19 cases exploded and it was plainly obvious that this was not the same as the seasonal flu, a hoax pushed by Dems, etc. Now they are the same ones fighting to open up the economy before states are ready to, which is likely going to make things worse again for many places. Gotta give them credit for being consistent, at least... wrong, wrong, and wrong again. Understatement and misspelling of the year award all in one line A strong President would have had a difficult, if not impossible, time convincing Americans that the right things needed to be done at the right time. Unfortunately, we have the opposite. Bigly. Steve
  10. France, IIRC, identified a case in December which tracks with what Sweden discovered and is not all that different than what was discovered in the US in late January (so far that's the earliest known). That person had direct connection to China travel. However, the latest known earliest COVID death was on February 6 and that person had no ties they could find to any known source. Therefore, it is likely that the virus was already spreading through casual contact in at least some parts of the US in January. That's some 6-8 weeks before lock downs started. I haven't seen any scientific reporting on this yet, but it does seem logical. For a while now people have been wondering why places like Los Angeles region don't look like New York City area. The evidence in the previous link I posted shows that there's at least two dominant strains, with the west coast getting one and the east coast and interior getting the other. One being more deadly than the other does help explain why LA isn't NYC. Steve
  11. Scientists have enough evidence to conclude that the spread of the virus in the US came primarily from travel to/from New York City. They have also concluded that the source of the outbreak there was from sources in Europe. Which means the bulk of people sickened with COVID-19 in the US got it from NYC, which got it from Europe, which got it from China. A large chunk of the cases in the West Coast of the US, on the other hand, came more directly from China. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/07/us/new-york-city-coronavirus-outbreak.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage Furthermore, the spread was happening weeks before the Trump Admin imposed travel restrictions to/from China and Europe. The evidence is 100% crystal clear on this... those travel restrictions were like tossing a bucket of water on a house fire. Action was needed probably 1-2 months before anybody (Feds or States) took proactive steps. I'm sure the same story is true for Europe and elsewhere. This is no surprise because epidemiologists have made it clear, for decades now, that by the time it is detectable through casual observation it's too late to stop it. If Plan A is to lock down whenever China gets a sniffle, we're screwed as that is impractical in the extreme. Therefore, we're in need of some rather creative thinking to figure out how we're going to deal with outbreaks in the future. Because one thing is for sure, there will be a next time. Anybody who is still thinking of such outbreaks as a "once in a hundred year event" have not been paying attention to reality. Steve
  12. Aaaaaaaand the list of "not normal Flu" evidence showing the severity of the illness keeps coming in. Now it appears there's a nasty possible side effect of COVID-19 that is hitting young children. Like the strokes I just mentioned, they appear to be related to the same unknown blood condition. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/05/nyregion/children-Kawasaki-syndrome-coronavirus.html?action=click&campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20200505&instance_id=18228&module=Top+Stories&nl=the-morning&pgtype=Homepage&regi_id=77867169&segment_id=26626&te=1&user_id=06eb42ecc9056dd32ea63af0c30707b6 Steve
  13. Most undergrads, given a multiple choice question, would likely answer c) Sick DJ. Me? I know the answer. Spock's uncle on his father's side. I am a product of my environment. Steve
  14. Without getting into details, tonight I think a friend of ours who died in late February is one of the uncounted COVID-19 deaths. You might have seen recent confirmation of earlier reporting of people in their 30s and 40s having strokes. Even with high risk factors this is a rare thing to have happen. No matter what the cause, what happened to her was a freak medical event. There's no way to know if she was an unlucky early contractor of COVID-19 AND had really crappy luck with it, or if she just had "normal" really crappy luck. We won't know because nobody was even thinking of testing stroke patients for COVID-19 back then. Our friend died in the last week of February about 4 weeks before the first deaths in her state were reported. If it was COVID caused, then she is another example of the lag between people dying of it and the first officially documented cases. It would also indicate, yet again, that the real death count is likely understated. Not that the math is leaving much room for doubt on that point any more. Steve https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-strokes-young-adults/
  15. If I lived in Russia, the first thing I'd do is put unopenable metal grills on my windows. I'd also offer to pay everybody else in the building to have grills on their windows. That way I could be assured of dying of a "heart attack" instead In economic news, we're starting to see a culling of the retail herd here in the US. The first major bankruptcy of a retail chain (J Crew) was announced a couple of days ago. Earlier a buyout of Victoria's Secrets was put on hold and is now officially scuttled. There will be a lot more of this, much more. Even before COVID-19 hit the economy these companies, and many more, were in the equivalent of hospice care. One report I was reading a while back predicted that within a few years (2025?) fully 50% of all retail mall space would be unoccupied. It doesn't take a retail industry expert to see the shutdown has greatly accelerated this trend. Funny side note. A few weeks ago I rewatched "Minority Report", which takes place a few decades in the future. There was a scene in a GAP store inside a mall. My wife and I chuckled a bit and said "there's two things they predicted wrong". Sure enough, a few days later GAP announced they have enough resources to survive a year, then they're done. It's interesting to look at science fiction set way in the future and see what they got right and wrong. The "Foundation" series has a lot of hilarious misses, yet still one of the best series ever. Harry Harrison had a future universe where disposing of outdated telephone books was a central (humorous) plot point. Etc. Steve
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