386 episodes

A podcast about context and the news.


Let's Know Things Understandary

    • News
    • 4.8 • 500 Ratings

A podcast about context and the news.


    Video Game Engines

    Video Game Engines

    This week we talk about Unity, Unreal, and Godot.
    We also discuss fee structures, user revolts, and indie game-makers.
    Recommended Book: How Big Things Get Done by Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner
    Show Notes
    * https://www.statista.com/outlook/dmo/digital-media/video-games/worldwide
    * https://www.billboard.com/pro/ifpi-global-report-2023-music-business-revenue-market-share/
    * https://www.cnbc.com/2022/07/07/video-game-industry-not-recession-proof-sales-set-to-fall-in-2022.html
    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_industry
    * https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2022/08/22/are-video-games-recession-proof-sort-experts-say/
    * https://www.gamedeveloper.com/blogs/unity-s-pricing-changes-are-trying-to-solve-too-many-problems-at-once
    * https://www.gamedeveloper.com/business/unity-apologizes-to-devs-reveals-updated-runtime-fee-policy
    * https://www.theverge.com/2023/9/22/23882768/unity-new-pricing-model-update
    * https://www.theverge.com/2023/9/15/23875396/unity-mobile-developers-ad-monetization-tos-changes
    * https://www.theverge.com/2023/9/12/23870547/unit-price-change-game-development
    * https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2022/08/22/are-video-games-recession-proof-sort-experts-say/
    * https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/022216/how-microtransactions-are-evolving-economics-gaming.asp
    * https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/srhonorsprog/902/
    * https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/053115/how-video-game-industry-changing.asp
    * https://finmodelslab.com/blogs/operating-costs/video-game-company-operating-costs
    * https://www.makeuseof.com/ways-the-rising-costs-of-games-affect-the-industry/
    * https://codeswholesale.com/blog/5-ways-to-make-money-in-the-gaming-industry/
    * https://gamemaker.io/en/blog/cost-of-making-a-game
    * https://www.gamedesigning.org/learn/video-game-cost/
    * https://www.reuters.com/technology/video-gaming-revenue-grow-26-2023-console-sales-strength-report-2023-08-08/
    * https://www.statista.com/outlook/dmo/digital-media/video-games/worldwide
    Depending on how inclusive you are with your measurements and the specific numbers you're tallying, the global video game market is expected to pull in somewhere between $187.7 and $334 billion in revenue in 2023.
    That's somewhere between 2.6% and 13.4% above 2022 numbers—and again, those figures are pretty far apart because different entities keeping tabs on this industry measure different things, some only looking at direct sales of video games and in-game items, while others look at connected sub-industries, like e-gaming events and service jobs that do customer support for game companies.
    Whichever end of that spectrum you look at, though, the global video game industry is a behemoth that's growing every year, and its income surpassed that of the music and film industries, combined, years ago, the global film industry expected to bring in around $92.5 billion in 2023, while the global music industry pulls a paltry $26.2 billion.
    The video game market is continuing to grow at a fairly stellar pace, compared to other entertainment categories, as well. And while it was shown not to be entirely recession proof, as had been claimed since the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, when it remained one of the few industries still growing steadily, that growth balking a bit in 2022, when the industry contracted by 1.2%, it grew substantially at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has largely maintained that growth since, which has allowed entities operating in this space to claim more and more entertainment-related marketshare, which in turn has shifted the center of gravity in the media world toward video games and away from other leisure options, including things like travel, vacations, and other things you wouldn't typically think of as being competitors of the video game market.
    Since video games really took off, hitting the mainstream in the 1980s, and becoming a big deal in the 1990s with the emergence of user-friendly consoles and 3D grap

    • 22 min
    Antiretroviral Therapies

    Antiretroviral Therapies

    This week we talk about HIV, AIDS, and ART.
    We also discuss HAART, the Berlin Patient, and potential future cures.
    Recommended Book: Allergic by Theresa MacPhail
    Show Notes
    * https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/fact-sheet
    * https://hivinfo.nih.gov/understanding-hiv/fact-sheets/hiv-treatment-basics
    * https://clinicalinfo.hiv.gov/en/glossary/antiretroviral-therapy-art
    * https://www.paho.org/en/topics/antiretroviral-therapy
    * https://journals.lww.com/jaids/fulltext/2010/01010/declines_in_mortality_rates_and_changes_in_causes.13.aspx
    * https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13181-013-0325-8
    * https://academic.oup.com/jac/article/73/11/3148/5055837?login=false
    * https://journals.lww.com/jaids/fulltext/2016/09010/narrowing_the_gap_in_life_expectancy_between.6.aspx
    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenofovir_disoproxil
    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Management_of_HIV/AIDS
    * https://www.verywellhealth.com/cart-hiv-combination-antiretroviral-therapy-48921
    * https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/art/index.html
    * https://www.freethink.com/health/cured-of-hiv
    * https://www.jstor.org/stable/3397566?origin=crossref
    * https://www.nytimes.com/1982/05/11/science/new-homosexual-disorder-worries-health-officials.html
    * https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23444290/
    * https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4251-hiv-aids
    * https://web.archive.org/web/20080527201701/http://data.unaids.org/pub/EPISlides/2007/2007_epiupdate_en.pdf
    * https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhiv/article/PIIS2352-3018(23)00028-0/fulltext
    In mid-May of 1981, the queer community-focused newspaper, the New York Native, published what would become the first-ever article on a strange disease that seemed to be afflicting community members in the city.
    What eventually became known as AIDS, but which was at the time discussed by medical professionals primarily in terms of its associated diseases, was clinically reported upon for the first time less than a month later, five official cases having been documented in an interconnected group of gay men and users of injectable drugs, who came to the attention of doctors for not being inherently immunocompromised, but still somehow contracting a rare type of pneumonia that only really impacted folks with severely impaired immune systems.
    In subsequent years, doctors started using a range of different terms for HIV and AIDS, calling them at different times and in different contexts the lymphotophic retrovirus, Kaposi's sarcoma and opportunistic infections, and the 4H disease, referring to heroine users, hemophiliacs, homosexuals, and Haitians, the four groups that seemed to make up almost all of the confirmed afflicted patients.
    The acronym GRID, for gay-related immune deficiency was also used for a time, but that one was fairly rapidly phased out when it became clear that this condition wasn't limited to the gay community—though those earlier assumptions and the terminology associated with them did manage to lock that bias into mainstream conversation and understanding of AIDS and HIV for a long time, and in some cases and in some locations, to this day.
    By the mid-80s, two research groups had identified different viruses that seemed to be associated with or responsible for cases of this mysterious condition, and it was eventually determined (in 1986) that they were actually the same virus, and that virus was designated HIV.
    HIV, short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a retrovirus that, if left untreated, leads to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, in about 50% of patients within ten years of infection.
    So HIV is the virus, AIDS is a condition someone with HIV can develop after their immune system is severely damaged by the infection, and there are a bunch of diagnostic differentiations that determine when someone has transitioned from one category to the other, but in general folks with HIV will experience moderate flu- or mono-like symptoms, alongside swollen lymph nodes and rashes and throat problems and sor

    • 21 min
    China Standard Map

    China Standard Map

    This week we talk about China’s standard map, the nine-dash line, and shoals.
    We also discuss WWIII, undersea minerals, and realities on the ground.
    Recommended Book: Outlive by Peter Attia
    Show Notes
    * https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202308/28/WS64ec91c2a31035260b81ea5b.html
    * https://www.uscc.gov/research/south-china-sea-arbitration-ruling-what-happened-and-whats-next
    * https://amti.csis.org/island-tracker/china/
    * https://globalvoices.org/2023/09/05/the-chinese-2023-map-has-nothing-new-but-why-are-chinas-neighbours-mad-about-it/
    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_China
    * https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/philippines-taiwan-malaysia-reject-chinas-latest-south-china-sea-map-2023-08-31/
    * https://theconversation.com/what-is-the-nine-dash-line-and-what-does-it-have-to-do-with-the-barbie-movie-209043
    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_China_(1912%E2%80%931949)
    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine-dash_line
    * https://theconversation.com/what-is-the-nine-dash-line-and-what-does-it-have-to-do-with-the-barbie-movie-209043
    * https://hir.harvard.edu/vietnam-and-china-conflicting-neighbors-stuck-in-nationalism-and-memory/
    In the wake of some stunning defeats to European powers in the 19th century, and its place on the winning side of WWII, the Chinese government saw quite a lot of territory disappear, but then gained a fair bit back, following that global conflict, and this necessitated the redrawing of many maps, most of which were substantially outdated, because of the relative rapidity with which their territory was changing during this period—they lost Vietnam as a supplicant state, for instance, but also added a fair number of former Japanese islands to their collection, including Taiwan, which it took from Japan in 1945, and where the former Chinese government fled following Mao's revolution, which is what led to modern day Taiwan as a separate state, by their reckoning, at least, from that of Mainland China, which doesn't agree.
    And as is the case with Taiwan, not everyone in the area agrees about which other islands and bodies of water belong to whom, and the huge number of islands of varying sizes in the South China Sea are especially fraught, in terms of ownership claims, as many of them are worthless for the purpose of building real-deal settlements, but could be useful in terms of military infrastructure, allowing ships to dock and refuel, serving as weapons platforms for missiles and anti-aircraft equipment; that sort of thing.
    These island-related controversies have sparked or been components of several recent conflicts in the region, including clashes between the Chinese and Vietnamese militaries in 1974 and 1988, and as an apparent effort to lock-in their claim to some of these territories, the Chinese government, in December of 1947, published a map called the Location Map of South Sea Islands, which showed the South China Sea, along with an eleven-dash line that encompassed a huge, u-shaped portion of the region, with the implication that everything within that line belonged to China, though the Chinese government never outright said "all of this is ours, stay out."
    Beginning in the early 1950s, this line used only nine dashes, and had changed shape a bit, no longer including the Gulf of Tonkin as a concession to the now-independent North Vietnamese government.
    But the former Chinese government, the one that was now occupying and governing from Taiwan, continued to use an eleven-dash line on their official map, the implication being that they don't recognize the changes to Chinese territory made by the successor Chinese government that usurped them back in the mid-20th century.
    However many dashes are used, and whatever the specific expanse of them, though, the significance of this line on what's become known as the Chinese standard maps released at a regular cadence by the government have become the topic of furious debate, as the Chinese government has never really clar

    • 17 min


    This week we talk about Jimmy Buffett, Boomers, and the Soviet Union.
    We also discuss Mitch McConnell, Joe Biden, and the 2024 US Presidential Election.
    Show Notes
    (Notes on show notes: for Wikipedia or other reference articles, please follow source links as they tend to tell you which bits of data are legit and which are less so—these are excellent starting points for info, but ideally not the end-points.)
    Some Relevant Links
    The Let’s Know Things Patreon page
    Recommended book: Secondhand by Adam Minter
    My other projects: Understandary
    LKT on Apple Podcasts & Spotify (consider leaving a review if you’re enjoying the show)
    Jimmy Buffett, the singer behind megahits like Margaritaville and A Pirate Looks at Forty, died at age 76 the first weekend of September 2023.His songs celebrated a particular flavor of aspirational lifestyle, defined by beaches and casual day-drinking and being overall really, really chilled out; something that contrasted with his ambitious, tour-heavy lived experience, but which helped him become one of the wealthiest musicians on the planet, with an estimated net-worth of around $1 billion when he died, more than half of which came from his touring and recording efforts, the rest of which came from all sorts of investments and business dealings, including the Margaritaville Cafe in Key West, which kicked-off a portfolio of restaurant assets, and then casinos and cruise lines, and Margaritaville-branded clothing and alcohol products.
    He wrote some books, he made some canny investments, and basically did really well for himself—but Buffett will probably remain best known, despite his many accolades, for the vibe that permeated all his public-facing efforts, which captured a sensibility popular with folks of a certain age.
    If you were born between roughly 1946 and 1964 in the United States, and thus are categorized as a Baby Boomer, there’s a good chance you either romanticize the sort of lifestyle Buffett was a proponent of, or you know a lot of people who do.Maybe these people became Parrotheads—ardent fans of Buffett’s work—or maybe they just like the idea of cruises and beachside vacations and traveling to warmer locales during the winter and thumbing their noses at work when they’re enjoying downtime, completely flipping the switch so they can live as beachbums, even if only for a little while, in order to relax and wind-down and recover from the responsibilities they carry during their normal, everyday lives.
    That sense of responsibility—derived from a sturdy work-ethic, imbued in them by their parents, who in many cases survived the Great Depression and World War II, and had habits and values shaped by those eras and events—is one of the key traits often attributed to Baby Boomers, people who are in their early 60s through their early 80s, as of 2023.Like all demographic definitions, this one is highly flawed and flexible and generic, and it doesn’t enc

    • 23 min


    This week we talk about BRIC, BRICs, and BRICS+.
    We also discuss the USD, sanctions, and alternative global financial systems.
    Show notes/transcript: letsknowthings.com

    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit letsknowthings.substack.com/subscribe

    • 15 min
    Coup Belt

    Coup Belt

    This week we talk about ECOWAS, Niger, and proxy conflicts.
    We also discuss military dictatorships, Wagner, and colonies.
    Show notes/transcript: letsknowthings.com

    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit letsknowthings.substack.com/subscribe

    • 20 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
500 Ratings

500 Ratings

Neen02 ,

Calm in the storm

I’ve been listening off and on since 2018, and I appreciate Colin’s calm delivery and exploration of context in a world of hot takes. He generally has an unbiased perspective, though his preferences creep in from time to time. I always appreciate his random book reviews at the end—some are in my wheelhouse and some I never would’ve known about without the pod.

fghjgktftyu ,


This podcast is amazing and so enjoyable and informative. I listen to this podcast every day and love all the detail Colin puts into these episodes. Keep up the great work!

The mak69 ,

A relaxing bit of knowledge

Wonderfully relaxing way to learn and be entertained. It helps keep me calm in these stressful times. Thank you.

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