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Being yourself in a world of manipulations.

Coach Tony
Coach Tony
It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone. ~ Hans F. Hansen
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#1. Loot boxes in video games.
I’ve been running into a string of articles about how loot boxes in video games are equivalent to gambling. The current chatter seems tied to the release of Diablo Immortal. For example, here’s one about how it would take $110K to max out your character.
But the actual concern seems to go back at least four years. 
The loot box concept is a variant of in-game purchases. You buy a “loot box” with real money and then receive a random in-game reward. By some countries’ standards, this alone is gambling. In other countries, it has to go a step farther: the reward has to be tradeable for real money. 
But since trading virtual goods for money is actually fairly common, then you do have a literal slot machine. Put in money, maybe get something that’s worth more than you put in, but probably get something that’s worth less.
The NHS reports that video game loot boxes can cause an often-overlooked issue — youth gambling addiction. NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch calls for an end to loot boxes altogether because they are “setting kids up for addiction by teaching them to gamble” on loot box content. In response to this epidemic, the NHS has set up 14 gambling clinics across the country as well as a treatment center. [Source: Video Game Loot Boxes Lead To Youth Gambling Addiction, Says NHS]
What’s the connection to the newsletter? Maybe it’s something to pay attention to if you are a parent (like you don’t have enough to worry about). But mainly, I flagged it as an example of how technologists are doing everything possible to manipulate you.
You could be on the lookout and fight it. But the “easy” way is to pay to opt out. As much as possible, I try to pay extra to avoid ads. When I want to play a video game, I want to buy it, not download a “free to play” version. It’s never free in terms of mental tax.
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#2. The many pro-Johnny Depp bots.
I mostly stayed away from this whole Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial because I was suspicious from the outset that it was a PR stunt. Given the number of celebrity guest appearances on the stand, I wonder how many PR agencies were collaborating on it. 
And again on the theme of manipulations, somebody is running bot farms on Twitter to control the narrative
In terms of a falsification mindset, would it be enough to falsify one of your opinions if you found out you were influenced by bots? 
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#3. Doctors talking about testosterone replacement therapy.
It’s hard to read anything about health without running into people hinting that men should be doing testosterone replacement therapy. But, here’s what doctors on Reddit have to say. It’s not great. This is the sort of cold water you want to throw on top of many popular health ideas. (And of course, I’m surprised how often I find something smart on Reddit these days.)
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Coach Tony
Coach Tony @tonystubblebine

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