vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
A perspective, for those of us who have long looked from outside and been baffled:
For non-Roman Catholics, it is almost impossible to comprehend the attachment a Catholic has for the Papacy and our reaction was highly defensive. In the past, when we came across serious works of history which contradicted the Roman Catholic position, we were skeptical and if we found that the author was Protestant, or the book came from a Protestant publishing house, it was given scant attention and if it contradicted a dogmatic belief it was dismissed immediately. Only Roman Catholic historians have a pure line to objectivity, especially when it concerns articles of faith. This is what Catholics are taught and it is this belief that will keep their faith inviolate. This teaching is best exemplified by Pope Leo XIII in his celebrated Letter to the Prelates and Clergy of France (September 8th, 1899). While encouraging them to the study of history he reminds Those who study it must never lose sight of the fact that it contains a collection of dogmatic facts, which impose themselves upon our faith, and which nobody is ever permitted to call in doubt. Cardinal Manning of England is even more blunt, The appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be divine. 10 At another time Cardinal Manning wrote, The appeal from the living voice of the Church to any tribunal whatsoever, human history included, is an act of private judgment and a treason because that living voice is supreme; and to appeal from that supreme voice is also a heresy because that voice by divine assistance is infallible.

An important treatise on how to make friends and influence people.
The distinction between customs and crimes has special relevance to female genital cutting (FGC), also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), the preferred term of advocates. For several years now, the age-old practice of “purifying” girls by excising some portion of their external genitalia has been a serious concern of NGOs, the United Nations and some governments around the world. Laws have been passed against FGC, and messaging campaigns have sought to educate the public about its many ill effects. But these efforts have not eradicated the custom. On the contrary, they have tended to further entrench it, because traditionally minded people concerned about external threats to their corporate identity do not like having alien elites meddle with what is sacred to them.

What has worked is an unusual NGO called Tostan, which means “breakthrough” in Wolof, the predominant language of Senegal. Tostan began in a few rural Senegalese villages in 1991, and now runs additional adult education programs in Djibouti, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Somalia and Gambia. Tostan was not founded for the purpose of ending FGC, but rather as a way to provide “informal education” to a population ill served by the formal schooling provided by most African governments. That schooling is authoritarian in spirit, based on rote learning and focused on preparing a small elite for university entrance exams.

Based in the villages, the Tostan program is rigorous. Students (called “participants”) are required to attend three classes each week for three years. Teachers (called “facilitators”) must be from same ethnic group as the participants. The method is to use local folk crafts and storytelling to impart practical information about agricultural methods, health and hygiene, and the management of money. When the participants graduate, they are numerate, literate in their own language, and eager to use their new skills to tackle old problems. Today, Tostan is best known for its extraordinary success in ending FGC. To date, the organization has been instrumental in the decision of 6,778 communities in eight African countries to abandon the practice. But as noted earlier, this was not Tostan’s original purpose, and the organization did not achieve it by staging mediagenic events or shouting from a public rostrum.


[Tostan founder Molly] Melching first encountered FGC in 1975 while visiting eastern Mauritania with a friend who had grown up in a small village there. During that visit, she met a local doctor who confided to her that he opposed “the tradition” but could not change the minds of his wife and mother, both of whom were intent upon cutting his daughter. Thus did Melching, after only one year in Africa, gain a sense of how hard it is to change a deeply ingrained custom. If a girl’s own father cannot keep her from being cut, what chance does an outsider have?
They did this not by degrading their former shaman based faith but by showing them that Christianity was the fulfillment of that faith.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Tempted to add, or at least reference, this in the Aornos setting.

That all said, a second opinion about that 3WC guy. tl;dr he's a dirty sodomite that "rape is legal in this sci-fi utopia" thing actually wasn't some super-meta take on patriarchy, nor the "true ending" to 3WC merely a reconsideration of the Confessor as an individual character, but what those things look like on a more obvious level.

A potentially helpful guide as to when a rape analogy might not be wholly inappropriate.

So with that in mind: "The most basic, most rudimentary spiritual need of the Russian people is the need for suffering, ever-present and unquenchable, everywhere and in everything."


And now, more RPG ideas so this isn't purely a linkdump.

"Alignment" system based on species' Fundamental Narrative.

Winnowing; Cummunion; __________

I propose Dialectic, but only for the purposes of the system for now. NB: this also posits humanity as the honour-obsessed tribal warrior race.

The D fundamental narrative in a nutshell: 2 opposing sides accumulate resources and merit. Resources is wholly abstract and includes numbers of individuals allied with a side as well as merit of otherwise equivalent resources. Our entire moral system is based on the honour bestowed upon the side that wins.

The fundamental assumption is that merit and resources are connected.

Evo-psych explanation: Fighting between groups over resources and territory has been the fundamental struggle of almost all our evolution.

Because of the impossibility of instant communication within a group, and the historical inefficiency of constantly dedicating and sacrificing numerous individuals in long-term processing of possibilities (cf. ants), we have required each group to develop a "head" to coordinate it. The coordination takes place through arbitrary tribal displays which became increasingly complex over time in an arms race against fraud and espionage. This is further complicated by a layer of pack-based system of mating and family groups.

Classified guide for deep-space agents: When dealing with the ones with the fleshy heads on stalks, please remember the following basic rules:
  • Do not ask a question directly any manner of direct question to which the human is privy, whether asked directly of the human or not, if the human did not initiate the contact to tell you the answer. A question must be couched in at least 2-3 key points of indirect phrasing to sufficiently distract their thoughts before the combat instinct kicks in and your query is responded to as an honour-challenge. Simple methods include using a descriptive phrase in place of a noun, or "baby-talk" avoidance of a pronoun, as well as turning the question into a meta-statement about how you feel about the issue at hand.
  • When a human accuses you of some terrible non-specific violence, it may be a simple figure of speech congratulating you for something you did well or they otherwise enjoyed watching. They do not mean any offence, but may take offence if they notice you cringing at their well-intentioned compliment (they are surprisingly good at reading normal body language even though they claim to rely greatly on their peculiar eye- and mouth-flaps and headstalk-waving).
  • If attempting to capture a human ship, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, SURROUND IT WITH OVERWHELMING FORCES AND ATTEMPT TO NEGOTIATE USING REASON. A statement that there is no rational alternative but surrender has a special meaning in their honour code as a licence to fight to the death of every living being in the area (cf. the catastrophic Galaga siege). Disable the ship by stealth and isolate unarmed crew members (risky - "the only unarmed human has had their arms cut off") or cargo (less effective - there have been cases where humans have jettisoned high-value cargo because of some thing or other triggered in their honour code) to use as hostages or bait.
  • If captured by multiple humans wearing non-matching colours, try to get one of them to state out loud a very specific means that is the best means of killing you, or even better, our entire people. This is extremely counterintuitive but many of our best agents swear by it: such a statement, once heard, is inadvertently accepted as a challenge, they will fight each other over which method is the best and you can escape in the confusion.
  • Do not let them see your fear. Humans have unfortunately assumed a deeply-ingrained fear response to the appearance of our own fear-response displays. Which would seem relatively harmless, except that, having evolved as a slow-moving apex-predator opportunistic scavenger, their fear response is attack.
  • Use the name they give you, however unpronounceable. Humans routinely slaughter people over perceived slights respecting names, killing human, myconian, aerealine, spacer, prosophosid or otherwise indiscriminately.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Last time on Blazer-Sharp, Prattle-Ready, Brainless Steel Samurai Banana:
Which leaves us with this:
  1. Homosexuality is a sin because the homosexual act cannot be done in the context of a marriage, which to be blessed requires the union of two persons in Christ as the reconciliation of the two gendered halves of humanity in a way that embodies the unity of all those who would be saved, and without such blessing cannot amount to anything more than fornication.

  2. Homophobia is a sin because it divides people against each other, twists men's perceptions of affection, taints all relationships with inappropriate thoughts of sexual domination, isolates its perpetrators and victims in shells of hatred and shame, paralyzes men against any expression of love towards other men (and we're talking about a religion that's all about Love of a God traditionally marked with male Pronouns!), drives people to murder and suicide, and ultimately denies the creation of humanity in the image of the good God.

Here's a thing.

tl;dr By their fruits you will know them + It is not good for man to be alone = ?????
vaecrius: A little yellow ant in the grass on a sunny day. (yellow ant)
And [personal profile] helarxe breaks his long silence with of all things.

Incidentally, on notes of such monstrosities, while I've spent the week demanding in vain a proof of the apostolic succession, whatever line of thinking got an outspoken adherent to this kind of insight from someone who is not immediately in that situation himself is to be presumed not to be all that egregiously founded on falsehood.

Incidentally, on what to be when grown up.

While contemplating the theology of the Passion versus the assumptions of patriarchal privilege, an idea for a horrible, equally possibly blasphemous and important depiction occurred to me. Here is some discussion about that. The real discussion is actually in the comments and the article itself can be skipped if you read those.
(Ultimately the idea was decided against, as there was no way to ensure a non-prurient motive)

"Taking this into account, the authors revise the family tree of jawed vertebrates, showing that there is a serious possibility that the modern bony visage originated with E. primordialis’s ancestors. This would mean that humans look more like the last common ancestor of living jawed vertebrates than we thought, and that sharks are less primitive than palaeontologists assumed, having done away with their bones as an adaptation."

That's some strong pale fire right there. tl;dr Jane Chance gives the L.R. the same sort of postmodern, use-the-book-it-shouldn't-use-you-who-is-the-master, death-of-the-author "analysis" that I was taught in high school and undergrad. I bought into that sort of stuff hook line and sinker back then, managed to get As without reading more than 1/4 of any of the books (if even that).

For entertainment's sake, a more liberal (mostly in the sense of "liberally applied") evisceration here (although this writer misses the whole problem with the other book).

Stop the presses, I'm getting off.

All that the malice and atheism of the Dragon, the cruelty and rapacity of the Beast, and the fraud and deceit of the false Prophet can generate, or accomplish, swell the the list. No personal or national interest of man has been uninvaded; no impious sentiment or action has been spared...Shall we, my brethren, become partakers of these sins? Shall we introduce them into our government, our schools, our families? Shall our sons become the disciples of Voltaire, and the dragoons of Marat; or our daughters, the concubines of the Illuminati?

In a word, yes.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (g)
If there were a social group in the world that was the recognized target of the word "motherfucker", then we could expect to see more broad discussion of it as it would reflect broader processes of discrimination.

Meanwhile I've just gone back to Andrew Sullivan earlier. Two posts are changing my mind about this whole NSA spying thing, which confirm nagging concerns at the back of my mind about the initial stance I normally ought to take.

First, an off-point anecdote. This still makes the program very dangerous, not because it causes the gubmint to know everything, but because it risks instilling the false impression on its agents that it does, and the licence to pull all sorts of harmful, obtuse and disingenuous bullshit that implies.

That said.
I, like Simon, am actually impressed by the government’s efficacy in exploring these electronic trails and patterns. I thought that was largely being done by Facebook, Google or the Obama campaign. I never thought the feds would be that competent.

And when we stumble onto a government program that is clearly legal under the Patriot Act, when not a single case of abuse can be specifically found, when it only looks for patterns and algorithms, and would have to go to a court to do any more, are you not more relieved than creeped out? Wouldn’t you prefer that this stuff be found and isolated from two steps removed? Doesn’t this new Big Data actually increase privacy compared with the pre-FISA era wire-tapping? Not for the first time, Daniel Ellsberg is wrong. It’s not that Obama is not Nixon; it is that the new program is inherently different from previous ones, because of the new nature of the technology.

This is all on the heels of my wondering whether to give up on Tumblr because it's so geared towards fostering a habit of shallow reading and echo-chamber outrage.
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
Of course the project described here is doomed. Any language you could devise, each and every not-immediately-interested-in-this-exact-language member of the public is going to take one look at it and go, "Why? What makes this any bit better than English/Chinese/Arabic/French/whatever language I personally consider to be the unmarked ordinary mode of communication?" and stop caring. Similar goes for writing systems - the Roman alphabet is reasonably consistent for most European languages, but with so many people speaking the major outliers English and Chinese (no one who hasn't specifically studied it gets Pinyin right, ever, even though after studying it I found it perfectly straightforward) and I'm sure plenty of others who would much rather write in Cyrillic or Arabic or Hebrew or Chinese (in before traditional versus simplified). Trying to assert a Roman alphabet as unmarkedly universal would (rightly) be seen as a colonialist affront.

Also, IPA. (notwithstanding my last point)

This does bring up, and it's the only reason I'm even posting this, some speculation as to just what the ideal common language ought to look like. Obviously this is going to be strongly coloured with my own personal political and epistemological biases, and would be "universal" given only a tiny universe that, if expanded, would only expand through decades of conflict and long-term viral meme attacks.

Except with respect to gender, I've tried to avoid the usual pitfalls of starting with forms first, "they have no word for x hence they don't and can't think of x", and any notion that universally adopting this thing would have any relation to peace other than the startling and unprecedented fact that all the nations of the world went and did something together. My aim is my own biased idea of what features combined together may be more efficient than any current world language alone.

blah blah blah )

And now linkdumpery that's been sitting in notes.txt far too long.
And the reason the anti-bullying movement isn’t effective is that it’s engaged in a futile attempt to get rid of human nature — while acting like a bully itself.

“Some of the nastiest people are anti-bully activists ... and they feel completely justified being nasty,” Kalman said in an interview from Staten Island in New York.
I'll offer another reason: The vast majority of us haven't the slightest clue what standing up to bullying even looks like.

We have never experienced the imminent risk of being identified with the victim and being subject to the same treatment.

We have never experienced that moment when you're caught up in whatever our friends are doing and have bought into it as the perpetrator before we've had the chance to think about what's going on.

We have never experienced the extreme social awkwardness of backing out, being that one asshole who ruins it for everyone else.

Or we have, and literally have no concept of what to do except succumb to it every time.

I really like this redesign of Supergirl. Most likely because of the callback to this...

A study of what the "average" porn star is really like.

Related. Really, it doesn't matter what I could have posted with this, it's related.
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
The Up-Goer 5 Text Editor

Attempting to rewrite this was an unmitigated failure, but I did manage to get most of my will (the only omission is that my boss gets my law books) and the Standard CBA Real Estate Undertakings letter.

And, of course, my job description, which in retrospect I've got a much easier job of writing in this thing than a lot of people.

(h/t: [personal profile] steorra who got into the hall of fame EDIT: and featured on io9 with her much superior work than mine)

EDIT: it occurs to me that, in glossing over just what papers need to be signed (3 out of 4 of them dealing with tax issues and the 4th being an instrument to effect a change in a government registry) and in focussing on the "bank" sense of "institutional chargeholder", I've conveniently avoided the entire issue of referring to government institutions or taxation. I'm actually kinda scared of what stark, awful admissions must be made about our society if I did have to make explicit references in compliance with UG5TE standards.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Mandatory warning: Reading allegories into things may be dangerous for your mental health if takens seriously.

So here I am on my [generic disgust noises]Windows boot having cleared all but 2 items on my Steam wishlist.

Note to self: Always, always preview gameplay on Youtube or download a demo before committing to pay money for any game, ever, however tiny that amount may seem to you. Also, I need a little thing on my keyboard that gives me a shock if I ever try to log onto Steam after a payday.

I have only myself to blame for this. Just in time for another doomed New Year's resolution I suppose.

gaming blah blah blah )
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
Just another day's work.

This media cycle we've got two teenage girls who fell violently victim to an ancient evil. One may yet be a martyr but let's hope she's merely an inspiration instead; it may be more interesting, simply due to there being room for actual controversy between not-evil-monster people, at this point to discuss the one who was a suicide:
"Why isn't anyone talking about the sexism and misogyny involved in Amanda Todd's life and death? 'Bullying' is important, yes, but it is a vague term that glosses over the structural reasons for why it happens, like race/gender/class/ability. If we don't start talking about the specifics of power structures in high schools, every ‘bullying’ campaign will be a waste of time."

Jiwa specified that the language of bullying “means little to students, and less to teachers. I can tell you that from both perspectives. The bullies laugh and text during every presentation against bullying, and then those who are bullied get bullied more. THIS case is one of many episodes of sexist coercion by men; what is also interesting is that the women in her life turned against her too even though they deal with the same pressures of capitulating to [...] internalized patriarchy. It makes me so mad how much money the public education system spends on campaigns [...] without actually talking about anything. The most effective presentation I have seen is one by a group called LOVE because it is real, artistic, and cool, and they actually talk about racism, poverty, and sexism. [Bullying] is not childish; not a thing that happens solely to teenagers; those same learned behaviours are the ones that circulate in the workplace, in clubs, on the street, and any other adult-inhabited place.”

In other news, a thing won a contest:
Because of should not be used to modify a sentence in the future tense, since it is a logical fallacy to impute a cause to something that is not (yet) true. Rather, a construction such as due to or owing to should be used, or the sentence should be rewritten to be more clear.
If Mitt Romney has a chance of winning this election, then there is no limit to human evil and stupidity and we need to actually keep this link handy when, not if, we encounter people rudely incorrecting other people's grammar over this.

And now a mental health break.

And another, for varying ways of parsing those words strung together. (By the way, where's that cover picture from? Definitely one of those pieces that sticks in your mind after a surprisingly long while.)

And on the topic of refreshing renditions of religion, here is Dr. "River Of Fire" Kalomiros nearly converting me to Christianity again, with of all things a more literal interpretation of Genesis 1 than I am normally comfortable with, in his typically vivid, Chestertonian uncommon-sense way. Never did think of Let There Be Light as signifying anything other than the Big Bang...
vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
"However, others claim the pictures merely show a ghastly accident, or are fabricated completely – quite possibly correct, given that the only original sources appear to be Chinese Internet rumours (most of which have since been censored into oblivion) and the website of America’s foremost conspiracy theorist, mysteriously cited as a reliable source by no less than the Daily Mail." That it's nonetheless believable is still a sign of how bad things are.

Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for African American compared to European American.
Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for Straight People compared to Gay People.
[picture of a scale with a cross on the top, a dharma wheel just over a Star of David smack dab in the middle, and a star and crescent on the bottom]

And thus I learn the fundamental difference between "the homosexual act is a sin in the eyes of God" and "fags are the scum of the earth". I'm not sure if anything is immediately helped by such knowledge, but good to know in itself I suppose.
vaecrius: A stylized navy blue anarchy sign juxtaposed with a pixellated chaos symbol made to resemble a snowflake. (anarchy and chaos)
First, to soften you up for the link that follows, proof that there is a God.

First the parted stream of ants, now the River of Fire.

In which someone finally explains a non-retributive model of Hell to me in a way that doesn't feel like a copout. Incidentally, it occurs to me that it is precisely the stakes posed by Pascal's Wager that I am far less inclined to believe in God than I am to believe in, say, electrons. (Actually I've often gone by the reverse Pascal: if such a God really did exist and I am damned, I'm happy to let my one lasting achievement be the eternal defiance of such a manifestly evil tyrant.)

tl;dr (and it really quite tl): I was brought up with the idea that God made Hell to punish God's creation for disobeying God's rules and that God had to kill Jesus/himself as a proxy to save us from Hell because our disobedience was so horrible that someone had to be killed to satisfy the blood debt; I thought this was either bonkers or barbaric (a Christian might use "pagan" here) and am happy to learn that there's an entire tradition of Christianity that feels similarly and has a coherent alternative.

See also: and comments thereon

Also: Curiously, wonderfully optimistic quote of the last week:
If we, the faithful, who are sinners, who are unworthy and who with our frequently ungodly lives give reason to people to criticize and fight Christianity for two millenia have not yet managed to destroy it, then I am confident that no outsider really stands a chance.


Even though we drink nothing but tainted milk powder, we still must kill all the Japanese.
Even though we consume gutter oil everywhere, we still must brandish our knives and slay the dwarf pirates.
Even though all we eat is meat laced with clenbuterol, we still must send troops to destroy [those who inhabit] the Eastern Sea.
Even though every day we are "represented", but we still must regain the Diaoyu Islands.
Even though in our old age there's no one to take care of us, we still must occupy Mt. Fuji.
Even though are old homes are forcibly demolished, we still must capture Ai Fukuhara alive.


And speaking of pirates, here's a small but hopefully important and lasting victory against corporate raider scum.
[42] Mason says TELUS is participating in a smear campaign. It does not matter whether Mason’s primary purpose is to exit profitably from its arbitrage plan. Shareholders invest with a view to a profit and it matters not how Mason intends to profit.


[109] Mason argues that the problem of empty voting is irrelevant. The question of conversion ratios is a legitimate issue that affects all Common Shareholders and is something that should be discussed. Mason’s interest is aligned with the interests of the other Common Shareholders, in that both Mason and the Common Shareholders have an interest in being compensated for the historical premium paid for Common Shares. Mason further argues that s. 167(2) leaves no room for the court to look behind a shareholder’s voting interest in shares into their true economic interests or purposes.

[110] I cannot agree with Mason’s submissions on either point. While the issue of conversion ratios is indeed a matter of legitimate concern to all Common Shareholders, it is of overriding concern only to Mason. Only Mason stands to profit if the price differential between Common Shares and Voting Shares increases. And only Mason is indifferent to the overall value of TELUS itself.

[111] The fact that Mason shares some interest with other Common Shareholders does not mean that its interests align with those Shareholders in a broader sense.

[112] Nor does s. 167 oust the power of the court to consider the reasons underlying a requisition. Section 167(7)(d) specifically contemplates an investigation into the motivations behind a requisition. And s. 186 gives the court broad discretion to make orders relating to the calling, holding and conducting of meetings “for any ... reason the court considers appropriate.”

[113] That said, in light of my findings regarding the validity of the Requisition, it is unnecessary to consider whether the Court ought to exercise its jurisdiction in this case.
Appeal to be heard in a couple weeks. In barbaric South Nation terms, let's hope the appeal result is more Roe and less Kelo.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
First, a fable:

And now some links.

Because sometimes, some things are just more right than others.

An even ambitiouser campaign against shitty game interfaces. The "Basic" ones, I think, I will make a condition for any payment of money for a video game to constitute a non-void contract; as for the "Advanced" ones...
> Provide a pingable sonar-style audio map
> Use distinct sound / music design for all objects and events
> Simulate binaural recording

holy crap imagine an FPS you could play without being able to see the screen. O_O

Things about money. (TW: Talking about money is inherently depressing.)

And a thing about how the colonizer will always be the colonizer.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
First, a pioneering ethnological work on the savage tribes of darkest Austria. (which Sara linked on Facebook after I linked this)

A must-watch for many people who may want to do something entertaining, of any sort whatsoever.

The Gospel According to [insert media-boosted evil monster of the day here]. Relatedly, I have never come so close to converting to a form of Catholicism in my life.

This provies the responses from the various devils hovering about my shoulders below.
The Angel of Penitence: This is an affront to the way our society works and surely it is or should be, or could effectively be argued to be, illegal.
I'm-Just-Being-Realistic: This will not last the year.
The Tiny Blasphemous Monster That Dares Defy Despair: Awesome.

A thing about avoiding things like this. (via [personal profile] steorra)
Warning: Comments worth reading (except for the repeated links to the xkcd comic). Possibly TVTropes-level. Even the idiot comments, at least to the extent of making you wonder just where these guys come from and thanking your relevant deity that you weren't raised in a strictly English-monoglot home.
(srsly what is with the haters? this isn't even a woman writing about sexism in gaming... but then it is about computers and trying to challenge the privilege of computer geeks.)
My own ideal: UTF-16-tolerant, 1kB "Full Name" field; UTF-16-tolerant, 1kB "Short Name" field specifically allowing aliases and asking the user to keep it under 3-4 syllables; bigass UTF-16-tolerant "Notes" field to explain any pronunciation issues (using IPA if at all possible) or miscellaneous pointers (e.g., what component should be used as a surname) that would not be obvious to an English-speaking Canadian; randomly generated unique alphanumeric user number that the user may opt to change, subject to availability, if the randomizer comes up with something offensive like 666-1488-f00K or whatnot. All but the user number may be changed at any time, and the user number may be changed by an administrator on reasonable request.

And now, the only link worth clicking on in this post.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (g)
So I'm looking at the expanded view of this and the crazy depressio part of my brain mumbles something about it all drifting apart and ending and even if we all got there it would fry us into plasma anyway. Then somehow I just let that thought continue, that it's all supposed to end that way and the point is to work out what becomes of us in the meantime, and for a brief moment all was forgiven - all, even the completely unrelated stuff. (Even the fact that re: plasma, it is just as true that if you jumped off the Grand Canyon you might hurt yourself.)

I've added it to my wallpapers.

Also, why simply virtualizing the entire machine is a bad idea and the requisite hardware remains a necessity.

And then I leave this open until morning, thinking there must have been some major thing I missed. It seems the complete lack of need for such a step was the thing missed this time.
vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
A single screenshot of the game was worth the just under 300 words it took to describe what was infringing.

(And for those who'd rather read an article than a judgment, here's one.)

Funny thing is, I tried to imagine a game that had all the function of Tetris and none of the look and feel... and just could not. (I did, however, end up playing an actual Tetris game in my head. In black and white and no score or "next piece" display.)

Also got me thinking about Freedoom as well... with the brown imps and pink demons and vaguely similar music and all those textures explicitly made to resemble Doom I can't help but think the basic concept of a non-infringing free IWAD is, well, doomed (however technically and unenforcedly) by its current implementation. :/

But is it even possible to do an IWAD that has none of the look and feel of Doom at all? Or do the constraints of the game mechanics require a (technically) infringing level of semblance?

And still look decent on custom maps designed for the Doom IWAD?

This looks like a pretty decent article on the merits of that Obamacare lawsuit.
Differences in labeling do sometimes matter in legal—and especially constitutional—analysis. In most instances, however, and most certainly when the issue is taxes, it is the substance that matters, not the form. In this column, I will discuss how the dissenting justices in the ACA case became overly obsessed with a matter of labeling, in their analysis of the taxing power. In the course of doing so, I will also explain how Chief Justice Roberts’s controlling opinion clearly—and even elegantly—dealt with the dangerous red herring that so distracted the


Even the most casual observer understands that the words used in the Constitution and the statutes must be understood in context. For instance, the First Amendment’s guarantees of free speech and the press are correctly extended to “speech” that is more than simple oration, and to a “press” that now typically involves no printing presses at all.

Moreover, the meaning of the same word differs in some statutory situations, as compared to its meaning in the context of seemingly similar constitutional wording. For example, there are several important international treaties (which are the law of the land under the Constitution, and which are enacted into law through enabling legislation) that use the word “arms” as a reference to thermonuclear weapons. Even the most expansive reading of the Second Amendment, however, has never said that any rights of the people to “bear arms” extend to such weapons.
As someone who is not a practising lawyer in the USA, I can safely and freely say that I have nothing but contempt for the dissenters in this case, but this author can explain why a lot better than I can. (hint: I'm posting this so I can finally use the is-ism tag again)
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
Most of what the Oatmeal comic says about Edison is true. Yes, Edison did put on public demonstrations where he electrocuted animals to show the dangers of alternating current. Yes, he fought tooth and nail for his belief that direct current was a better way to transmit electricity. He was wrong. But, you know, AC is more dangerous than DC if it’s not handled properly. Keep that in mind and consider this: could it be that Edison wasn’t “a douchebag” in the Oatmeal’s words? Is it possible – just possible – that Edison honestly believed that AC was dangerous and honestly did not think it should be use? Very rarely on the Internet is this possibility even considered. Because every narrative needs a villain, right?


Let me just close with this quick thought: Tesla wasn’t an ignored god-hero. Thomas Edison wasn’t the devil. They were both brilliant, strong-willed men who helped build our modern world. They both did great things and awful things. They were both brilliantly right about some things and just as brilliantly wrong about others. They had foibles, quirks, passions, misunderstandings and moments of wonder.

In other words, they were both human.
Worth a read even if you'd never been shown, or intended to look at, the original Oatmeal comic. Also I finally learned what those blocky things on those cords are for.

(h/t: [personal profile] steorra)

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.


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