Dec 102012
 

These are “tools” designed for “peace.”

December 11, 2012

There’s been a lot of gun talk recently since the murder-suicide of Jovan Belcher and the recent Florida murder of Jordan Davis by a Michael Dunn, who claimed to be defending himself from nefarious teens with loud music. In fact, maybe it’s me, but it seems that senseless deaths and massacres were the big gun stories this year. And now, of course, Fox has to go and offer their take on this very touchy issue. A lot of people on Facebook are also running to the protection of these defenseless firearms.

Let’s start with the conservative right-wing noise machine, though. It’s black people’s fault. I’m not even joking about this. Just take a look here. Also, check out the flippant way Gutfield here just dismisses kids being killed by guns as just gang members killing each other off.

Gun violence is an “urban problem,” just some kids in gangs shooting each other. Sorry, but that’s crap. Statistically, rural areas, especially in the south, have higher instances of gun violence than urban areas. Of course, whenever someone at Fox says “urban,” you know what they really mean. It’s the same position they had regarding welfare. The one where they said welfare was hurting the black community.

Oh right. Whites use more welfare than blacks. But never mind facts.

The conservative circle-jerk, though, got ugly when Fox suggested that female victims of violence should just make better decisions. The advice was not, you know, for men to stop being violent. Or for us to find the root cause of all this violence in our country. Nope. Blame the victim.

Behold.

This dribble from Fox would be offensive and rage-inducing enough, but I also saw something floating around Facebook over the last few days. Feast your eyes:

Wow. Yeah. Uhm, baseball bats?

Sorry, but no cigar.

Here are the real stats according to those organizations. You may notice that blunt objects account for a VERY small part of this and firearms account for more than two thirds of the total. The graph on Facebook uses some weird Martian math we humans haven’t perfected yet, but the bottom line is that guns help crimes. You want to talk about the Second Amendment and its role in helping citizens defend themselves? Wonderful, but don’t tell me bats kill more people than guns. Don’t tell me people go on mass batting sprees. Don’t tell me children get killed by not knowing how to use a bat.

First of all, a gun is a weapon, not a tool. A car is designed to move people and good from one point to another. Its status as a “killer” on that list is because people don’t properly use them. It’s intended purpose is transport. The same thing goes for a knife. Drug abuse and falls hurt the person too stupid to know what he or she is doing. Drugs, I might add, are also used for religious ceremonies in certain cultures. And many of the things on that list are ACCIDENTS. How many gun deaths are from accidents? How many are intentional? That’s another huge difference.

When properly used, a gun kills something. When improperly used, a gun kills something. It’s a weapon. See the difference?

If we’re going to have the gun discussion, we need to all be on the same page of reality. Stop talking about guns as though they were some holy artifact of American pride. A gun is not a tool. It is a weapon. Firearms have been involved in more deaths than any other weapon and our country has the highest homicide rates in the modern world. Areas with the most lax gun laws have higher homicide rates. Most NRA members support tougher gun laws, registration, and background checks, but the idiots at the top (including Ted Nugent) say “No” because if we can track guns and make sure criminals have a harder time getting to them, then apparently scary Obama and the communists will invade America.

Yes, there is such a thing as a responsible gun owner, but a responsible gun owner should also be aware of the damage that a firearm can do.  The bulk of the NRA knows this and wants tougher gun laws. Believe it or not, I’m pro-Second Amendment, but I’d like to make it harder for sickos to buy a thousand rounds of ammo before they shoot up a school. I’d like to know convicted criminals can’t get their hands on a Beretta. I want to know that if someone owns a gun, he or she is well-trained and continues to be well-trained. You have to at least be able to read a sign to drive a car, but apparently, asking for mental stability when purchasing an item that is strictly a weapon is a sign of fascism.

A gun isn’t a blanket. Stop clinging to it like a five-year old.

Jul 232012
 

It’s going… going… IT’S GOOD!

July 23, 2012

I waited three days before writing this review mostly because I knew I was going to fanboy all over it. I’ve waited for this movie for over three years. I wanted to see what Nolan would do with the story since the end of Batman Begins. When the first film was announced, I wanted the Dark Knight to get redemption from Batman and Robin and, to a lesser extent, Batman Forever.

Ladies and gentlemen, I was not only satisfied with the finale of the Dark Knight Trilogy, but utterly blown away by it.

The first half of this review will contain zero to minimal spoilers, or at least spoilers that should be obvious to anyone who saw the trailers or is familiar with Batman lore. The second half, which will be CLEARLY marked, will contain MASSIVE spoilers, so keep going until the end at your own risk.


The Dark Knight Rises Poster by ~visuasys on deviantART

SPOILER FREE REVIEW

The story begins eight years after The Dark Knight. Bruce is broken, both physically and mentally, following the ordeal with the Joker and Two-Face. He’s been retired for years, but Gotham has seemingly gotten by without him. Because of the events in the second film, the Gotham Police Department has been reformed and crime has dropped to historic lows. However, when a mercenary called Bane arrives in Gotham, all bets are off. He’s as trained as Bruce, as unpredictable as the Joker, and more dangerous than Ra’s al Ghul.

And that’s just the first fifteen minutes.

The movie did a lot of very good things with both story and characters. Bruce, for example, is showing the real emotional and physical toll of crime fighting for years. His leg is busted and he’s retired due to the events at the end of The Dark Knight. His reluctance to return in this movie shows that Batman may be the peak of human training, but he’s still human. His desire to become a symbol has succeeded and Gotham is safe (at least until Bane arrives), but in the end, Batman must succumb to Bruce Wayne’s own human frailty, both physical and emotional.

At first, the movie felt like it was moving way too fast, but then I looked at it through the point of view of traditional narrative structure. The entire Dark Knight Saga can be seen as one massive story, so in this third act, we can do away with traditional structure. It’s definitely a movie that needs the first two in order to make sense since every bit of backstory is based on those films.


The Dark Knight Rises by ~darroldhansen89 on deviantART

But how does it stack next to The Dark Knight, a movie few think can be topped as far as superhero movies are concerned?

Bane is no Joker, but that doesn’t make him any less interesting. He’s scary. He’s the intelligent, manipulative, BRUTALLY effective warrior from the comics, not the mindless ape from Batman and Robin. While he’s a bit difficult to understand with his mask, he’s not unintelligible and it’s easy to pick up his patterns. I don’t see Tom Hardy winning an Oscar, but I don’t see him NOT taking a place among the great villains in movies. When he speaks or appears, he steals the scene, and his humor, while dry, is very creepy.

Story-wise, the movie moves quickly. It takes bits and pieces from Batman lore, such as the iconic storylines Knightfall and No Man’s Land. One review I read already said the second half of the film doesn’t do the first justice, but I think the author missed the point. The movie is split almost entirely in two due to a single event around the halfway mark that should be obvious to those familiar with the Knightfall story. From that point until the end, the movie moves in a very dark, and very epic, direction. The review in The Atlantic complained that instead of going for the realistic noir approach of The Dark Knight, Nolan went for the epic comic-book feel of the first film.

I think this had to be done.


Why do we fall by ~lerms on deviantART

Like I said, this is the third act. This is where everything comes to a head, and despite Alfred’s insistence that Bruce had to find another way aside from being Batman, he was wrong. The city needed his example many years ago, and right now, he’s the only one who can save them from Bane’s master plan. These films are a deconstruction of the superhero myth. They break down what it would take to be a superhero, then they built the myth back up. The Incredibles did something similar, and the big payoff for the audience in this case is that yes, Batman can be real, and yes, he’s a symbol that’s larger than life.

Make no mistake, though. This movie is the last for Nolan and Bale. This is the end. There will be no fourth Nolan Batman movie. As such, the movie has the massive task of ending Bruce Wayne’s story and Batman himself, and without giving anything away, I firmly believe Nolan pulled it off with grace and a sense of believability. Others have tried to write how Bruce Wayne would end his career as Batman. One of the most famous, The Dark Knight Returns by fallen hero Frank Miller, showed an aging Bruce Wayne taking up the mantle one final time before finally succumbing to age, but not before he fought Superman to a standstill.

Other versions, such as the one from the DC Animated Universe, showed Bruce also retiring when his body simply couldn’t take it. He eventually passed the Batman mantle to another and served as a mentor for many years.

Nolan doesn’t really go that route, but it’s a wonderful ending to Bruce Wayne’s life as Batman. The movie is, in its entirety, amazing. There was ONE little moment where I chuckled at an inappropriate moment, but I’m sure my mouth was hanging open the entire time. I would see this movie on loop for a week if given the chance.

Solid work all-around.

SPOLIERS AFTER THE IMAGE! STOP READING IF YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!


Bane’s secret by ~MacAddict17 on deviantART

The complaints I’ve heard so far has been with the second half of the movie. It’s too bright and Batman runs off with Selena Kyle and abandons Gotham. Also, we have the ridiculous accusations from both sides that Bane is either a stand-in for Romney and the Bain Capital fiasco or a condemnation of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

First off, the movie HAS to be bright. Think about it. Bruce has lost his fortune. His secret is compromised. For all intents and purposes, his life is over, but he can still give Bane one final fight. Batman can’t operate in the darkness after the League of Shadows cuts Gotham off from the rest of the world. He can’t just be a symbol. He must be a symbol and a man, someone who leads by example, and sure enough, there he is at the end, fighting in broad daylight with rescued police officers to reclaim the city. Fittingly, the final battle takes place at dawn, during a new day, and as the movie showed in the beginning, Gotham itself is entering a new day.

Batman won. His crusade overcame fear, anarchy, and iron-fisted order to create something better.

As for Bruce running off with Selena, this one’s trickier. How much longer can he remain as Batman? The doctor told him it would be dangerous, and he’s already suffered broken vertebrae and his leg is busted. He can want to do this all day long, but his body just can’t take more. This is perhaps the most realistic aspect of the movie for me. Bruce realized, like the beginning of The Dark Knight, that he would eventually have to step aside. While Harvey Dent was a massive failure in that regard, when the city as a whole came together, they did what one man could not do. With the Wayne fortune gone, Bruce really has nothing but burned bridges behind him. Faking his death after saving the city from the nuclear bomb allowed him to move on. Bruce Wayne and Batman are dead. No one will look for him, and he could leave confident the city would survive with its new protector: Robin John Blake.


Bane’s Bain by ~fiendfilms on deviantART

As for the accusations of what Bane is supposed to represent, this one is not as clear-cut.

Some on the Right are mad because he’s supposed to represent Bain Capital. I already said why this was such an idiotic theory. However, the speeches about Gotham reclaiming its wealth from the rich and Selena’s speech to Bruce about how the wealthiest people can’t live that way for too long make it sound as though the villains are supposed to stand in for the Occupy Movement.

That is also extremely stupid for a number of reasons.

Bane is “liberating” the city by taking out the police, much like Republicans have stripped police departments across the country of resources and manpower. His idea of freedom is to get rid of every social program and structure and just let people fend for themselves. The regular people are at the grip of courts run by the most powerful. Military hardware is being used against those who would oppose them, much like anti-riot hardware such as sonic weapons were used against Occupy. The final fight sees police fighting armed thugs. The police, in this case, are the people. They are the ones who have been powerless. If anything, Bane represents the establishment, status quo. This is even more explicit when you remember that Bane is working to fulfill Talia al Ghul’s plan of getting rid of Gotham because of its immorality, a line often parroted by right-wing fundamentalists.

So, no, Bane does not represent Romney’s former company, but he does represent a lot of the things the people on the Right do. It’s not a perfect analogy since the tactics he employs are superficially similar to what Occupy did, but the results and rationale are vastly different.

That’s my interpretation at least.

The movie rocked. I’d see it again. Now to wait and see if the next DC hero, Superman, gets a similar resurgence. The first teaser already looks wonderful, shot realistically, and has two versions: one with Pa Kent narrating and one with Jor-El.

May 042012
 

It's clearly Photoshopped. There are no stars! (and if you need me to explain why that's so stupid, please consider why you can't see stars during the DAY)

May 4, 2012

Now that “Elves With Shotguns” is in the final stage of production and all I have to do is wait for RPGNow to approve the pdf for publication, I can finally sit back and enjoy the fruitful political and social discourse streaming through America’s media.

By that, of course, I mean foam at the mouth at the utter lack of comprehension at 3rd grade science. Three instances in the last few weeks have left me wondering why conservatives want to gut education since, besides a mountain of evidence that shows a strong public education would help our country, conservatives themselves show their own glaring ignorance of basic scientific concepts.

Limbaugh’s Concept of Science

Rush “Hindenburg of Sexism” Limbaugh is no stranger to denying climate change. He took it a step further recently when he claimed that global climate change created by human interference was a fraud because so many scientists agreed on it. It must be heard to be believed.

Here’s Rush’s argument. Science is not based on opinions. He has that part correct. No self-respecting scientist would agree with a new theory based solely on popular opinion. Here’s the part Rush left out: so many scientists agree with climate change because they have analyzed the data or otherwise performed their own experiments based on repeatable observations. That’s what scientific consensus means.

Scientists get behind a theory when a LOT of them can replicate experiments or verify that data and experiments were accurate. It’s not a popularity contest. By this logic, here are a few more things Rush must not believe in:

  • Evolution
  • The Big Bang
  • Geologic models of the earth
  • Gravity
  • The existence of extra-solar planets
  • Pi
  • The effectiveness of modern medicine

It does, however, reflect modern American conservative thinking: if there is evidence you are wrong, the evidence itself must be wrong.


abortion by ~marsmar on deviantART

Arizona Protects Imaginary Babies

The debate over abortion and taking away abortion rights is part of the larger war on women the GOP has been waging in recent years. Arizona also has the distinction of having some of the dumbest lawmakers in the country. Now that’s something to be proud of. This one, though, takes the cake.

From the Huffington Post:

Aside from banning all abortions after 20 weeks, defined from the date of the woman’s last period instead of conception except in the case of medical emergency, it will force women considering abortion because of fetal abnormalities to have counseling [sic], and for women having an abortion to have an ultrasound.

It also says the age of a foetus [sic] is “is calculated from the first day of the last [woman's] menstrual period.”

Got that? In Arizona, you can be legally pregnant before you conceive. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Aside from the morally reprehensible act of denying women a basic medical treatment that is legal in the rest of the country simply because one ideology is against it, let’s consider the ramifications of this, okay? A woman can now retroactively be considered pregnant when she wasn’t. This opens up a whole can of legal worms. If they’re so set on making sure the potential for life remains, why not make it illegal to have wet dreams while they’re at it?

Seems as logical.


Bill Nye funny by ~Irish156 on deviantART

Bill Nye vs Texas

Bill Nye is one of my childhood heroes. The man made science fun and he’s been going and teaching for years now. The man will become a legend in his own right.

But Texas doesn’t like him. In fact, it seems Texas doesn’t like science.

Nye was in [Waco] to participate in McLennan Community College’s Distinguished Lecture Series. He gave two lectures on such unfunny and adult topics as global warming, Mars exploration, and energy consumption.

But nothing got people as riled as when he brought up Genesis 1:16, which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

The lesser light, he pointed out, is not a light at all, but only a reflector.

At this point, several people in the audience stormed out in fury. One woman yelled “We believe in God!” and left with three children, thus ensuring that people across America would read about the incident and conclude that Waco is as nutty as they’d always suspected.

Yes, folks. It appears that pointing out the moon does not glow, a fact we can prove because we have PICTURES TAKEN ON THE SURFACE, is now an affront to Christians. Let me tell you something… if your beliefs are so fragile that having someone call out a two-thousand year old document that uses poetry to describe the world as being a two-thousand year-old document that uses poetry to describe the world… you need help.

And Bill Nye, I know I wasn’t there, but being a resident in this state, I feel I should apologize. Please come back. We have beer and brisket and Mexican grandmothers that know how to cook.

And now, let’s enjoy a trailer for a horror movie that actually looks interesting. See you Monday, and stay tuned for more updates and news on Randomology Games and the upcoming “Elves With Shotguns.”

Apr 032012
 

April 4, 2012

The Duggars lead a lesson in basic logic. And contraception.

Even the richest of families must admit that having 19 children is stretching the bounds of finances and common sense. I myself would be happy with two, maybe three kids one day. Three to five seems to be a good number for most families. You have a nice bundle of kids and you let them grow up and off they go to make a mark on the world.

How the hell do you raise 19 kids?!

But maybe the Duggars have it figure out. Maybe they’re privy to knowledge from some ancient tome. Perhaps they discovered how to control minds and the kids all behave as they should and help take care of each other without problem. Whatever. Maybe they can do it.

What I can’t get, though, is the rationale.

So… Michelle Duggar thinks overpopulation is a myth because if you placed all seven billion of us in one place, we could fit inside Jacksonville, Florida?

Let that sink it. She believes that, as Mother Theresa said, saying that we have too many children is like saying we have too many flowers.

Flowers don’t need feeding at odd hours of the day. And they don’t need tuition. Or to get bailed out of jail when they try to outrun a cop.

Children are a wonderful thing. They really are. Despite everything it takes to raise them, I can’t wait to have them once we’re in a more stable place. But just because I want children, doesn’t mean I want an NFL-team’s worth of children. I don’t even want a two-on-two basketball game’s worth of children.

It’s more than just space, Duggars! People need food. That requires land, time, water, and people to work the land. People also require energy. Based on 2008 estimates, the average American consumes a little over 270 gigajoules of energy per year. That comes out to 8.7 kilowatts on a constant basis, or the energy released in two grams on TNT or the total energy of a single AA battery EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY.

John and Paul were wrong. All you need is love? That’s great, but there comes a point where you need cash to pay the bills. Even more, you need to be able to give each child the attention and care they need. The Duggars live a hyper-sheltered lifestyle that will eventually lead to culture shock if any of them dare enter the real world.

More children are not the answer to the world’s ills. Responsible people are the answer. Responsible people who can pass a basic logic test are the answer.

Spread the word. Children are not flowers and vaginas are not clown cars.

Dec 132011
 

December 13, 2011

Fox went after the Muppets. As you know from previous posts on the site, I have a soft spot in my heart for Jim Henson’s creations. The segments in question, though, told us more about the conservative mentality than they did about the Muppets themselves. Let’s rip Fox a new one and figure out the network’s thought process.

Nov 082011
 

November 8, 2011

Guess who has to drop several pounds gained over the last year? Yeah, it’s going to be a fun month cutting back on caffeine, sugar, pounds, AND getting ready for the holiday season. Woohoo?

With that in mind, let’s get some links out of the way.

  • Assassin’s Creed may be making its way tot he movies, but some insiders are shocked, SHOCKED I say, that Ubisoft has virtually total control over story, casting, everything. What does a video game company know about making movies, they ask? I’d ask instead what the hell Hollywood knows about adapting video games to movies. Bloodrayne, anyone? Prince of Persia? Doom? I could go on…
  • Speaking of which, the president of Universal admits his company makes “shitty” movies. His words, not mine.
  • If you find yourself complaining about the MTV Generation… you may be TOO old. Older than you think.
  • I love sleeping with some nice, semi-fluffy pillows and a warm comforter, but this is probably the best place to sleep EVAH!
  • Adam Savage had a small role in a zombie flick. Short and sweet. Check it out.
  • There can be an argument that some people have TOO much money. They buy things that no one needs. Things like, well, anything in the Skymall catalogue. Or they go and do crap like THIS.
  • And finally, here’s the trailer to Denzel Washington’s new movie, Safe House. Enjoy, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Nov 072011
 

This hurts. A lot.

November 7, 2011

Don’t make me do this. I don’t… I don’t want to defend Twilight. I really don’t. I don’t… I just don’t have it in me. It’s like asking me to like McDonald’s. The taste it leaves in my mouth would make it impossible for me to like food again.

Crap. Here we go…

Well… frack.

This gentleman went through the Wal-Mart book shelves and picked out all the witchcraft and evil influences on the shelves. He went so far as to point out to the rest of us heathens where to find the Bibles. And these were the real Bibles, the King James Version, not any of the other pagan versions. Seeing as how this fine Youtuber also believes in chem-trails and the government somehow squeezing the life out of him through roadside speedometers, I’m going to guess he’s not the most balanced of folks, but, alas, I will answer his concerns.


- BrainWash - by ~NeonThingy on deviantART

0:24-0:32 “My young daughter is already brainwashed to say ‘Elmo’ when she sees that stupid ass…”

Dude! The kids are right there. For a guy who is trying to raise his kids right, you seem to swear a bit when trying to show your kids the Christian path. Not that there’s anything wrong with swearing but, if I may… you’re going after Elmo.

I happen to like Sesame Street. Tread carefully, my friend.

0:36-0:52 – “Got the stupid cheesy stuff: Sponge-Bob, queer stuff… and of course you get to this section. Yup, it’s still all Wiccan vampire stuff.”

Wiccan vampire stuff? I’m sorry, but I think I missed the part where faerie-like vampires engaged in a story of love and romance went anywhere near Wiccan territory. First of all, the vamps in Twilight have nothing to do with the European concept of vampirism. In fact, they’re closer to faeries.

Second of all, a close reading of the text actually shows Mormon influence, not Wiccan. I’m not sure how many Wiccans would be romanced by the strong male figure who pretty much demands he control every aspect of the female’s life as the female is nothing but a passive force in the universe. But moving on…


Twilight: Scholastic Edition by *otherwise on deviantART

1:01-1:04 – “I should buy this just to burn it… Other books by the same pervert. What’s that triangle object right there?!”

Here, our intrepid investigator is referring to a number of novels by the same author and a strange triangle symbol on the bar code. What could it mean?! Is the government monitoring your reading habits?!

Actually, the triangle is just an aid so the barcode has an easier time scanning the code.

Moving on to the main point, though, what would buying, then burning the book, get you? You bought it, gave money to the author, and you put this video out claiming you burned it. You’ve just given cash and free publicity to the author. Do you know what happens when parents and adults say something should not be read and burned instead?

Kids want to do it. Good luck with that. Oh, and I’m sure when your kids rebel and want to piss you off, that little Bible-burning picnic they set up based on your example will go over really nicely-like.

1:29-1:35 – “This is what is given for kids to read these days.”

Were libraries outlawed in the time it took me to watch this video?

Sir, these are not the only choices kids have. I know you think the government is a socialistic Anti-Christ hell-bent on brainwashing your kids, but we have these things called libraries that have thousands of books for them to read. Since you have access to Youtube, I’m going to assume you also have access to Amazon and can order books. Even used books only cost a few cents if you shop right.

Wal-Mart sells what is popular, not the only things out on the market. I know some books are out of print, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t find them if you took more than five minutes out of your busy day of identifying chem-trails to look for suitable reading material for your kids.

It’s called being a parent. Wal-Mart is not known as a literary destination for a reason. It sells romance novels and pop vampire romance novels right now because that’s what sells. Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. It’s called capitalism. Anyone who wants to read actual literature or something not written and published without editing will look further than the shelves at Wal-Mart.


GAY PRIDE by =AngelXKairi on deviantART

2:00 -2:04 – “Oh, it’s still got Twilight, which is really gay.”

This will be the second “gay” reference you make this video. Is “gay” a bad thing? Seeing as how you seem to be the kind of guy who would beat up a teen just because he likes choir, let me let you in on a secret.

Using “gay” as a derogatory tells me volumes of your mind-set. It’s like saying, “Oh my god, that’s so black and ghetto,” or “That is such a Jew line.” You’re a bigot. You’re intolerant of others. You have none of the so-called love of Christ in your heart.

Asshole.

2:14-2:30 – “This is the garbage… this is the choice for your thirteen year old here at Wal-Mart. And then when they grow up they can read all these other useless novels.”

Again, if you’re looking to Wal-Mart to provide literary stimulation, you’re out of luck. There is this wonderful thing called the internet. I know you think it’s full of porn and federal agents trying to suck your soul out of the magic computer box, but there’s this thing called Project Guttenberg. They have thousands of free books. I know that sounds kind of socialist, but they’re classic tales.

If you want quality reading for your teens, pick up a good collection of poetry or some classic literature. If Wal-Mart dictates your reading choices, I’d hate to think what it does to your diet.

3:00-3:31 – Opens package with King James Bible to “inspect it.”

…Did you just ask your daughter to open a package in a store? That’s stealing, isn’t it? Well, it’s against the evil Satanic store selling vampire novels, so it’s okay, right? You couldn’t put the camera down for five seconds and do it yourself? You had to teach your daughter it was okay to tamper with products that aren’t yours?


MINECRAFT IS EVIL by *TomPreston on deviantART

4:10-4:14 – He quotes a Bible verse instructing the faithful to “put down” those who worship differently.

And this is the scary part of the video. It’s righteous to “put down” those who worship differently?

People wonder why Christians get such a bad rep. If I may quote the poet Marilyn Manson, “I never really hated a one true god, but the god of the people that I hated.”

You’re going out there and advocating book burning, killing those who believe in things you don’t, showing your daughter that it’s okay to steal and hate those who are different, and you think Wal-Mart offers the only choices when it comes to your reading list.

Well, I hope those kids learn to become productive members of society despite your lessons. You’re a paranoid fundamentalist who probably votes based on what the little voice in your head tells you. You most likely think Fox is too liberal and you own six types of guns on the off-chance someone tries to correct you.

Liberals and free-thinkers are “target practice” where you live, aren’t they?

And once more, in case I didn’t make myself clear…

You’re an asshole.

And now, a look at a real conservative for America.

Oct 122011
 

Smile for the fascists!

October 12, 2011

The awesome thing about science fiction is that it can show us a world of possibilities both mundane and extraordinary. The scary thing about science fiction is when a part of it actually comes true, but it’s not a part we really wanted.

Remember in Minority Report when the cops used a machine connected to psychics in order to predict when murders would occur? Seemed all fantastic and futurey, right?

As it turns out, not so much.


Minority Report by ~inkedartist on deviantART

Our government has mined the internet for data for some time. Think Eagle Eye sans Julianne Moore and insane computers. Looking for key words and patterns in social media is not that outrageous, although Big Brother looking over your shoulder and flagging you because you were talking about the news and happened to mention “bomb,” “President,” and “kill” probably got on some peoples’ nerves. However, the Department of Homeland Security is moving on the road to complete thought police by testing out a new piece of technology.

It’s called Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST), and boy is it neat-o. It does the same thing as mining the internet for data, but hey! This one goes right to the source and looks at things such as video, audio, heart rate, breathing, and even facial expressions. Homeland Security claims its non-intrusive, but it doesn’t get more intrusive that having a piece of government hardware looking at my pores and trying to guess if that twitch is because I’m nervous for hiding something or because I had a bean burrito and I’m holding a fart in.

Proponents of the new technology cite the well-worn scenario of a bomber entering a stadium, or a terrorist getting through airport security. Would you want little Billy and Susie to die because we didn’t catch this guy? Of course not, but if the government had the ability to monitor our physiological signs and try to guess if we would commit a crime, would you really want that technology applied to you? And don’t say that it’ll be only for terrorists, because as soon as the government can monitor someone, EVERYONE is up for grabs.

Here’s a fun game. If you’re on a phone and you hear a light click, that’s Homeland Security tapping the line. I’m not making that up. I’ve got friends in the department that can validate that. They even get THEIR calls tapped once in a while.


homeland security? by ~Satansgoalie on deviantART

Look, I get it. It’s a scary world. There are people out there who have no qualms about killing themselves or women and children and puppies. I’m not blind to that, but if FAST works, it will give the government a tool to try and guess who will commit a crime.

And what will they do then?

Let’s say we do use this to catch a guy with a Semtex vest trying to sneak into a ballpark. Law enforcement gets him, saves the day, and the game resumes. Wonderful. Now let’s say little Johnny has a bad day because he burned his mouth on his Starbucks double mocha venti latte alfredo sauce coffee, and he’s in a bad mood. He walks into work not the least bit ready to deal with anyone’s crap, and the system flags him for harboring violent thoughts.


thought police by ~Satansgoalie on deviantART

What then? Hold him until we find out what he was GOING to do? There are any number of ethical concerns with punishing someone who has done nothing. By simply predicting the future, we change it. If you told me that I was going to give a really bad presentation because I didn’t get enough sleep or I would be crabby because I would then lock my keys in my car, I would take steps to prevent those things from happening.

When you predict, you alter the series of events leading up to the prophesized moment. How can you possibly punish someone for future deeds? Granted, if I was driving around with a trunk-load of pipe bombs, the cops might have something to charge me with, but you cannot prosecute people who have done nothing. It’s a violation of privacy and an insane idea.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to wait for the nice men in black SUVs to get here. I hear Guantanamo is lovely this time of year. In the meantime, please enjoy this video of the first trailer for The Avengers. Get excited!

Oct 072011
 

For science!

October 8, 2011

If there’s one thing I hate as much as I hate sloppy or lazy writing, it’s the inability of some people to grasp BASIC science. Things like the definition of “theory” or the scientific method, for example, are not so difficult that you need a doctorate to understand. We teach them to kids, so they’re obviously simple enough, right?

Enter Robert Bryce, a man who can’t seem to tell the difference between experiments and the gum he stepped on.

He wrote an article for the New York Times where he attacked green initiatives, clean energy, and environmentalism. He went so far as to say that, even if we knew carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases were harmful (they are), what can we do? We’re making more and more useful energy-draining devices. Emissions are down. What else are we supposed to do?

Past all the willing blindness to reality, however, is this little gem of a sentence. See if you can spot where Bryce shows us he’s replaced his brain with assorted change and dull spoon.

The science is not settled, not by a long shot. Last month, scientists at CERN, the prestigious high-energy physics lab in Switzerland, reported that neutrinos might—repeat, might—travel faster than the speed of light. If serious scientists can question Einstein’s theory of relativity, then there must be room for debate about the workings and complexities of the Earth’s atmosphere.

What exactly are neutrinos, anyway? They’re an elementary subatomic particle like neutrons and electrons. However, neutrinos have no electrical charge and are only affected by the weak sub-atomic force. They’re also TINY. If an electron is the mass of a battleship, a neutrino is the size of an apple. This means neutrinos can pass through ordinary matter and we would never know unless we’d developed EXTREMELY sensitive equipment to verify theoretical models. In fact, that’s why, as you read this, you’re getting hit with something around one quadrillion neutrinos emanating from the sun. And no, that’s not a typo. That’s a 1 with 15 zeroes after it.

As for traveling faster than light, that’s a bold claim. Nothing can accelerate past the light barrier, but some scientists think matter might exist on the other side. These little darlings are called tachyons and do not violate Einstein’s theory because they did not ACCELERATE past light. They already started on the other side. It gets into really funky science after that, but the point is that the numbers on paper say tachyons MIGHT exist.

Did CERN find neutrinos traveling faster than light? Well, it’s doubtful.


Neutrino by ~egehlin on deviantART

But let’s go back to Bryce for a moment. He says that scientists reported on an anomaly that may show regular matter traveling faster than light. This, he says, means we should question climate science as well, right? If we can question Einstein of all people, we can question Al Gore and his silly little movie, right?

Well, yeah, he’s right. Except he forgot the second and third parts of his logical argument.

We can question Einstein and we can question climate science. Questioning something, however, does not equate into proof that runs counter to what the established theories state. In other words, if I went out and I said I ran an experiment in my own home to see if carbon dioxide causes warming and it showed the gas did nothing, that would not b e evidence climate change is not real. That experiment would be dissected by the scientific community and I would have to show how my new data explains the currently observed behavior or greenhouse gases.


Coastal Storm by ~shear-atmos-fear on deviantART

And here’s the kicker. Just because we have a debate, it does not mean there is a legitimate second point of view. When creationists try to claim that their point of view is legitimate because not everyone believes in evolution and people question Darwin, it does not mean the creationists are right. You have to show verifiable data. And do you know what happens to all that “data” creationists put in to defend their views?

It gets put through the scientific peer review process and is usually found to be lacking, a fluke, or fabricated.

Likewise, the claim that neutrinos traveled faster than light is being looked at by other scientists. It may turn out to be that equipment was faulty or someone forgot to carry the one. If it can be repeated, then we have to look at the underlying theory.

You can question climate science, Bryce, but that doesn’t mean you have a point. It just means you flunked middle-school science. Oh, and fifty points to anyone who tells me the joke in the title.

And now, here’s a short documentary of the Aperture. They build the future so we don’t have to.