Saturday, February 23, 2008

Drunk [chat]

This is not true:

but it is damned funny anyways

Friday, February 22, 2008


Foreigner this weekend!

Raiding: The Commitment

I wrote this for the Guild forums but liked it so I posted it here.

Since we've lost some old members, obtained some new members, and are looking forward to the future of our guild I thought it best to post this rant now rather than wait.

Raiding is different than anything else you will do in World of Warcraft. Raiding is different than pvp, than pve, than pugging or casually doing 5 mans. Raiding is a commitment. It is best to understand this sooner rather than later.

World of Warcraft is fundamentally a game, a hobby, and ought always to be thought of as such. But the status of "game" does not detract from the experience as a whole. Rather, the enjoyable and entertaining aspects of World of Warcraft are what bring people to the game and the reason for why we play. The "we" in that sentence, though, is what raiding emphasizes.

Raiding is a group activity, a team effort. In a Karazhan run an individual may be primarily there to obtain gear for their character but one must also remember that there are nine other people in the group who depend on you and upon whom you depend. You have a responsibility to those other players just as they have a responsibility towards you.

This does not mean that we must be deadly serious, that we cannot discuss dolphin fucking or ball gags. Rather, it means that one ought to be prepared, that one ought to always attempt to do one's best for the benefit of both their self and the group.

An example of this is the use of individual buffs to maximize one's utility. Yes, a spellcaster can simply show up and DPS. But a better spellcaster, a more beneficial spellcaster, will take advantage of potions, food buffs, wizard oils, etc. Review the following items:

[Superior Wizard Oil] +42 spell damage
[Crunchy Serpent] +23 spell damage
[Greater Arcane Elixir] +35 spell damage

The use of these items grants the user +100 spell damage. That is huge. Given that all spellcasters have access to these items, that they are not prevented from using them, spellcasters always ought to have these items in stock and use them throughout any given raid.

This is not an attempt to drain gold from individual players, to establishing a harsh benchmark for performance. Rather, it comes from an objective analysis of what we are doing. We are all, whether we know it or not, trying to progress forward in the game and so obtain better gear so that we can progress even further. To make this attempt, to embark upon the venture of raiding and put forth the effort without utilizing these easily accessable items that benefit not only ourselves but the group as a whole? That is simply foolishness and a waste of everyone's time.

The same can be said for many other aspects of raiding. Prompt attendance, for example. Realistically there will be times when players are late to raids; that is life. But it is best to minimize lateness. Always try to be online early, to be ready to go. If our raid starts at 9:30 a.m. be online by at least 9:15 a.m. If you are out of potions or spell damage food obtain them the night before the raid, not the morning of. Make an effort to better yourself and so better the group as a whole.

Because, again, that is what separates raiding from everything else you will do in WoW. Raiding is a team effort. You are part of a group. Do not depend on others to cover for your slacking; do not half-ass your attempt.

Do your best. Put forth effort. Better yourself as a player.

Because that is how you progress in the game, how you obtain better gear, how you create stronger relationships with your fellow players.

And, most importantly, it is how you have more fun.

Jonah Goldberg needs a puppy.

I assume you are all aware of Liberal Fascism, a book by Jonah Goldberg which, by the title one could guess, explains how contemporary liberals are, in fact, fascists.

Rather than get drawn into that argument and critique the book itself I wanted to know more about Jonah Goldberg and get a sense of who he is. So I dug around on the tubal interwebs to find some of his writings.

From his article "What the Daily Show Cut Out:
"Viewers in search of more than disjointed, stuttering cross talk would be disappointed if they caught the whole exchange - it was all like that. Stewart, try as he might, could not understand where I'm coming from."

From an article he wrote regarding Al Gore:
"One student asked a long and rambling question that went basically as follows: He understood why I think Al Gore is dishonest and misleading. But how can I criticize Gore when all he wants to do is make people change their behavior and take care of this planet?

Translation: Gore is on the side of the angels and therefore it’s mean-spirited to throw inconvenient truths back at the Oscar winner for An Inconvenient Truth. “Yeah, exactly,” the kid responded when I rephrased the question thusly."

From Liberal Fascism:
"Animal rights advocates correctly note that animal rights activism was a major concern in pre-Nazi Germany and that the animal rights movement shouldn't be associated with Nazism. But as with environmentalism, this is less of a defense than it sounds. It is fine to say that many of Nazism's concerns were held by people who were not Nazis. But the fact that these conventionally leftist views were held by Nazis suggests that Nazism isn't as alien to mainstream progressive thought as some would have us believe."

Jonah Goldberg is like Ann Coulter in that he makes his living saying asinine things to people who will listen to him. Now, this is not a criticism. Hell, if someone offered me such a gig I would happily accept it. But I think what is most interesting is Goldberg's specific brand of asinine portrayed by these quotes.

"Stewart, try as he might, could not understand where I'm coming from."
Forum gold, the "they just don't understand me" argument is a classic rhetorical position to maintain in an argument. It maintains that the speaker is correct, educated, and reasonable whereas their opponent is simply mistaken, unable to understand the discussion and points made by the speaker.

"Translation: Gore is on the side of the angels and therefore it’s mean-spirited to throw inconvenient truths back at the Oscar winner for An Inconvenient Truth."
This is the tried and true "well I guess my opponent is infallible" argument. It bypasses the nuance of the argument, the substance of the argument, and instead implants hubris into one's opponent's argument. It is a means of pardoning one's self from the rules of debate by misrepresenting one's opponent. It is, again, childish.

"It is fine to say that many of Nazism's concerns were held by people who were not Nazis. But the fact that these conventionally leftist views were held by Nazis suggests that Nazism isn't as alien to mainstream progressive thought as some would have us believe.""

Conventionally leftist views were held by Nazis.
Therefore: Leftists are Nazis.

I don't think that is even logic.

Reading through the writings of Jonah Goldberg I found myself feeling sorry for him. He honestly does not seem to understand logic, the process of thought, or the manner in which valid and sound arguments ought be structured. He appears to be genuinely confused and particularly fixated on the "they just don't understand me" style of argument, maintaining that if only we were all just slightly smarter we could understand his non-syllogisms and historical revisionism.

I hope he is just playing a role. I hope he is like Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter, individuals who play characters in the media for fun and profit. If Jonah Goldberg is such a person then, awesome, he has found a way to exploit our stupid little system. Good for him.

If Jonah Goldberg is not acting, though? If his writings are genuine and representative of his intellectual capabilities and level of intelligence? Then someone needs to buy Jonah Goldberg a puppy. Because if he is not acting then Jonah Goldberg is just a thirteen year old uneducated boy in a man's body who is obviously scared to death of the world in which he lives.

Maybe a puppy would make him feel more secure.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Iz be ISed

It is finished.

Link to "Collective Cognizance," etc., here.

Go read if you have a heart and soul. Or maybe just one of the two. Or even none at all. 'Tis the work of nearly the last full year AND it has the perk of being relevant. Sneer if you must, but read it.

Democratic Debate Open Thread [update]

Tonight on CNN at 8:00pm is 1st democratic debate since super tusday.

There is another one next Week on MSNBC

that was kinda boring. What this instead

Zero Punctuation: GDC

Serbians do not like U.S.

Protesters break into U.S. embassy in Serbia.

Protesters broke into the U.S. embassy in Belgrade on Thursday and set fires, cheered on by crowds outside rallying against U.S. support for Kosovo's independence.

Doors were ripped off, set on fire and wedged in the embassy windows. Black smoke billowed from the building. Papers and chairs were thrown out of the windows.

One protester climbed up to the first floor, ripped the U.S. flag off its pole and briefly put up a Serbian flag in its place.

Man, what will we do without the support of Serbia? What will we do without

Zombie Virus Watch 2008 (UPDATE)

Slashdot is reporting that the satellite carrying the dreaded Zombie Virus is going to be blown in the area around Hawaii.

This does not mean we should stop fearing the end of the world, I hear the the Mole Men are on the move.

UPDATE FROM FARK: US Military successfully shoots down satellite containing the Ark of the Covenant, the actual JFK assassination documents, and that secret baked bean recipe the dog was supposed to guard

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gamers are underachievers.

While the notion of a "gamer" as opposed to a "non-gamer" is in many ways a nonsensical way of classifying human beings there are many who adopt the mantle of "gamer" and wear it with pride; a symbol of who they are as an individual and the values to which they cling. When some, then, critique the hobby of gaming as a less than holy and noble pursuit these "gamers" then let loose verbal torrents on their piddly little blogs.

Last night Obama's Victory Speech included the following passage:

I know how hard it will be to alleviate poverty that has built up over centuries, how hard it will be to fix schools, because changing our schools will require not just money, but a change in attitudes.
We're going to have to parent better, and turn off the television set, and put the video games away, and instill a sense of excellence in our children, and that's going to take some time.

Tori Floyd over at Kotaku apparently heard this and became pissy:
I'm fairly certain my prime minister doesn't know what a video game is, so for now, Canada is safe. But it's scary when a potential leader of a country so passively attributes video games with failure. It sounds like yet another instance of a politician not fully understanding what he's talking about, and jumping on the bandwagon, proliferating the popular sentiment that "video games are evil."

If we maintain that the logical rules governing tautologies are correct then sensationalism is sensationalism; the claims that "all video games are evil" and "all video games are good" are two sides to the same sensationalist coin. They are not views based upon reality but rather the rhetorical stances maintained by individuals clinging to a personal bias.

I spend about four hours a night playing World of Warcraft. For the past few weekends I have played WoW from 9:15 a.m. until midnight on Saturday and Sunday each week. So, arguably, I am a "gamer", an individual who invests a significant amount of time and effort into video games. Fully acknowledging how much time I spend playing World of Warcraft I will still openly admit that World of Warcraft is a waste of time given the vast number of other things I could do with my time.

Now, certainly we can (and must) assess the value of any given use of time within a context since all values are contextual. Bowling skills are valuable at a bowling tournament. Dog raising skills are useful at a dog show. But bowling skills are useless at a dog show; dog raising skills are useless at a bowling tournament.

With regard to video games and the value thereof the context within which the value is found is indicative of the value of the activity as a whole. Within the context of Disgaea leveling a character is beneficial. Within the context of World of Warcraft obtaining gear with higher stats is beneficial.

But what is the value of that Disgaea character, that WoW character, within the much larger context of life?

This is the point at which the "video games are useful" argument fails. While it is true that video games are not evil it is also not the case that video games are useful, beneficial uses of one's time.

And I think that is Obama's point. It is not the case that there is some evil component to video games. Rather, if one has a free hour of time is it best to spend that hour playing Guitar Hero or to spend that hour working in a soup kitchen, tutoring a student, volunteering at a retirement home or recycling facility?

Yes, individuals need hobbies. Yes, individuals require an amount of relaxation in their lives. Within the context of relaxation certainly bowling, dog raising, gaming, etc. are all valuable options to individuals who find such activities relaxing; no one is making the claim that one ought always to work.

But Obama's point, and I think the stance maintained by any reasonable individual, is that if we are to better the world in which we live the manner in which we spend our non-work time ought to be spent on activities that truly better ourselves and our communities. We ought to turn off the tv and read a book. We ought to turn off Guitar Hero and volunteer in a soup kitchen. We ought to uninstall WoW and tutor failing students. These are simply factual statements based upon reality and the world in which we live.

So while many of us will continue to knowingly waste our lives in front of computers and televisions I think it best to at least freely admit that we are being lazy jackasses rather than flock to our idiotic little blogs and argue that somehow we are noble seekers of truth virtuously bettering ourselves, our communities, and the world in which we live through our accumulation of phat lootz, character levels, and achievement points on Xbox Live.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Undercover Beef Video.

If you haven't seen the undercover beef video I suggest watching it. It shows cows being mistreated at a slaughterhouse (think about that) as they are subject to shocks, kicks, pokes, and forklifts.

While the video may disrupt our pwecious little world view in which everything is happy and adorable and no harm befalls the animals we consume I think that a bit of a reality check is needed in the form of the following picture.

There are two possible views one can have towards cattle:

Pick one.

If you pick picture one you are allowed to be upset by the video and may voice your concern that the widdle moo-cows are being poked and kicked and pushed around before they are slaughtered.

If you pick picture two then do as I did and continue to eat your beef and brocolli while you watch the video of the future Medium-Rare Prime Ribs being herded towards the bone saws.

If you pick picture one and picture two then, well, you just can't follow directions now can you?

The Six Trapped Utah Miners Died.

I wish to register a complaint.

Remember August 6th, 2007 when six Utah miners became trapped in a coal mine? Remember the media frenzy that descended upon the town presenting up-to-the-minute updates with no information at all? Remember how the story lasted for a month until it faded away?

This morning I went back through the articles written about the event.

Aug 19, 2007: Miners may never be found.
Aug 21, 2007: Miners probably dead.
Aug 21, 2007: Miners all but left for dead.
Aug 27, 2007: No signs of life.
Sept 1, 2007: Search ends with no remaining hope.

It has been 197 days since August 6th, 2007. Do you know what has not been writen? An article saying that the six trapped Utah Miners Fucking Died.

Inductive reasoning tells us that the six trapped Utah miners are dead. They are human beings trapped in a hole for 197 days without food, water, or oxygen. The miners are not still somehow fine, the miners are not left for dead, probably dead, presumed dead, or pining for the fjords. The six trapped Utah Miners are fucking dead.

So why have there been no articles stating this?

I think this illustrates the Humeian hatred some people have for inductive reasoning. We can argue that we do not know that the six trapped Utah miners stuck in a hole without food, water, or oxygen for 197 days are dead. We cannot observe their being dead. We cannot demonstrate their dead by banging their corpses upon the counter at a pet shop. So, some maintain, we can argue that some obscure and unrealistic sequence of events happend and that the six trapped utah miners are now living with mole people, or with Jesus and Elvis on Mars, or some stupid shit like that. We can employ the same tortured logic used to justify belief in an invisible sky daddy, unicorns, and eskimos.

But the fact of the matter is that, to quote Monty Python:
They're not pinin! They have passed on! These miners are no more! They have ceased to be! They've expired and gone to meet their maker. They're a stiff! Bereft of life, they rest in peace! If you hadn't nailed them to the perch they'd be pushing up the daisies! They're metabolic processes are now history! They're off their twig! They've kicked the bucket! They've shuffled off their mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined in the bleedin' choir invisible! They are ex-miners!!

And I think it would be really keen if the people at sites like stopped saying stupid shit like, "I personally think giving up on the search is do you think the families of the trapped men feel...what if , what if there is a chance that they are still alive waiting for their rescue" and admitted that despite their prayers and hopes and idiotic, bat-shit stupid arguments of "Maybe possibly after 197 days without food, water, and oxygen they're still super alive!" the Utah Miners fucking died. God is not saving them. Jesus is not saving them. Your prayers went unanswered.

The six trapped Utah miners fucking died.

Admit it.

And, no, letting the story fade away is not a silent admission of their death, of a failure on the part of your and their invisible sky daddy. You don't get to sulk off to the shadows when things do not go your way. If they had been rescued? There would have been a plethora of articles expounding the virtues of prayer and hope, of faith and perseverance.

But your mystical bullshit didn't fucking work this time.

So let's see some public admissions of the failure instead of just sulking off into silence like you always do. You worthless little childish shits.

Mike went to school with 27 Jennifers

New Mike Doughty Record, Golden Delicious, comes out today. It is really fucking great.

Posted for Brilliance

Monday, February 18, 2008

El Scorcho on Rock Band

El Scorcho added to Rock Band DLC.

Dioxins, Frozen Plastic, and Morons.

So, I am apparently too harsh and mean-spirited towards people whose world view conflicts with my own. I'm supposed to be more tolerant of different world views, more accepting of people with different fundamental assumptions about reality. I'm supposed to not always think that I am right and realize that other people have valid concerns which, while based upon different kinds of evidence, are equally valid, reasonable, and useful to human beings living on a rock revolving through space. I'm supposed to be nicer. I ought to not be mean.

Which is fine. Except, this morning when I arrive at work this e-mail forward was waiting for me in my inbox:

"Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in i'ts newsletters. This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army MedicalCenter as well.

Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies. Don't freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic.

You see, I store my plastic water bottle in the freezer at work and then drink from it once it starts to freeze. My co-workers, who do not wish to have to learn how to photoshop pictures for themselves, want me to not get cancer and so forwarded me this forward of a forward of a forward about dioxins and how freezing water in plastic will give me cancer.

Now, Dioxins are indeed carcinogens. And I guess it sounds realistic that freezing plastic would make the plastic...break down...or something...and so give off carcinogens. Since the water would be the closest thing to the plastic where else would the carcinogens go but into the water? So the idea that freezing water in a plastic bottle results in a Cancery ICEE® sounds reasonable. Best to go ahead, then, and forward the e-mail without really thinking about it. It sounds true so we might as well accept that it is true.

Un-fucking-fortunately it's not actually true; arguably the most important, and only, kind of true. says:
"The claim that plastic water bottles will release dioxins when frozen is entirely unfounded. So is the claim that plastic food wraps and containers can release dioxins in the microwave oven.

The vast majority of plastics used in food wraps, packaging containers and beverage bottles do not contain the chemical constituents that form dioxins. In addition, dioxins are a family of compounds that are produced by combustion at high temperatures. They can only be formed during combustion at temperatures typically above 700 degrees Fahrenheit; they cannot be formed at room temperature or in freezing temperatures.

But what if is in the pocket of big plastic? What if the website is lying to us when the forward of a forward of a forward is actually true?

That's when we turn to the fda:
"Other claims have asserted that plastics contain dioxins, a group of contaminants labeled as a "likely human carcinogen" by the Environmental Protection Agency. "The FDA has seen no evidence that plastic containers or films contain dioxins and knows of no reason why they would," Machuga says."

But that's just the FDA. What do they know about cancer? says:
"Does freezing or microwaving plastic food containers cause them to release dangerous toxins?"
"No. Stories have circulated for years that freezing or microwaving plastic food containers or wraps causes them to release cancer-causing substances called dioxins. But this isn't true. In fact, there's no evidence that plastic food containers or wraps even contain dioxins."

Since the e-mail forward was completely incorrect and mistaken what I am supposed to do is nicely, calmly, supply correct information to the poor, mistaken individuals who forwarded the e-mail yet have reasonable world views and acceptable, useful decision making skills. I'm supposed to see them as well-intentioned persons who have a right to act as they desire, believe what they wish. Who am I to mock them, ridicule them? What gives me the right?

Well, I am correct. They are incorrect.

So I will mock their ignorance and inability to use google. I will call them shitheads and clods. I will insult their intelligence, refute their primary assumptions of reality, and belittle them.

But how is that helpful? Wouldn't it be more useful and beneficial to be nice to them?

No. Because they are incorrect, unthinking, stupid dolts who unquestioningly accept e-mail forwards as true. They are not human enough to seek out the truth for their self, to verify the truths they accept. They merely sit on the assembly line of rumors propagating misinformation and lies. They are not human beings but rather glorified parrots, unthinkingly repeating whatever reasonble sounding lie they hear.

They have no worth.