ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2014 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Friday, March 06, 2015

A portrait in petty atheism

I had to laugh when Richard Carrier, a fourth-rate atheist who has aspired to the dubious mantle of Richard Dawkins, came out with the news that he is every bit as immoral and untrustworthy as one would expect a cartoon atheist to be:
Two big items of news in my personal life. Which both entail a very public change to my relationship status. After twenty years of marriage Jen and I have decided to get a divorce. Breakups are always painful, but we still love each other and remain friends, and there are few contentions between us. We wish each other all happiness. But we are no longer a good fit for each other.

Everyone always asks why, and the answer is important to my life development, so I want to relate at least the core of it, and a caveat.

Several years ago, after about seventeen years of marriage, I had a few brief affairs, because I found myself unequipped to handle certain unusual circumstances in our marriage, which I won’t discuss here because they intrude on my wife’s privacy. In the process of that I also came to realize I can’t do monogamy and be happy. Since this was going to come to light eventually, about two years ago I confessed all of this to Jen and told her I still love her but I would certainly understand if she wanted a divorce. Despite all the ways we work together and were happy together, this one piece didn’t fit anymore.

Had I known several years ago that polyamory was an actual option that works for people, I might have realized this sooner, and dealt with it better. But I labored instead to meet the cultural expectation that you are supposed to make monogamy work, and it wasn’t working. Discovering that other ways of life are possible helped me understand I shouldn’t be doing this.

Rather than divorce right away, Jen offered to try an alternative for a while to see if that would work for us. So we agreed on some rules and have had an open marriage for almost two years now, and it’s helped us work through a lot of things, and has helped us both in very different ways. But one of those things is the mutual understanding that we aren’t compatible with each other. So we have decided to amicably divorce–using a facilitator rather than lawyers, since we’re in agreement about all the material things, and have no interest in hurting each other.

The part about being open hasn’t been entirely a secret these last years (quite a few people were informed or aware, just not the general public), but Jen hadn’t come out to her family, so out of respect for her privacy I hadn’t blogged about it or discussed it publicly. But she has informed everyone close to her now, and we are no longer together. So I can make it official:

I am polyamorous.
What amuses me is all the pseudo-intellectual justifications. Even now, he can't just come out and admit it. He wants to have sex with whomever he wants, whenever he wants, without any constraints or commitments. He can't admit that he has done anything wrong, much less sinned by breaking his vows.

Considering that men like this, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris are supposedly the best the atheists have to offer, no wonder so few people are buying into their bullshit.

Men are fallen. Marriages fail. Mistakes are made. But it takes a truly deceitful pseudo-intellectual to try to change the narrative in this sort of ridiculous manner.

UPDATE: Carrier, who apparently has found atheism to be considerably less lucrative than Dawkins and Harris, as he only makes $15,000/year and lived off his ex-wife, has some entirely unsurprising news about atheist conferences:
Indeed, many of my friends in the atheist community are polyamorous or actively participate in the BDSM or swinging communities, some even have orgies and sex parties... at atheist conferences!
I don't mean to short-circuit your brain, but it suddenly strikes me that PZ Myers travels to a lot of atheist conferences.... Carrier readily confirms one's assumption that he is a nasty, disingenuous little prick in the comments, a pure Gamma male with delusions of Alpha. He's almost exactly the sort of atheist that most atheists are desperate to convince theists they themselves are not.

I never had any regard for him or his arguments. A few atheists had recommended him as a more worthy foe than Dawkins or Harris a few years ago, but it was very clear to me that he was just another wannabe who was in well over his head. He's an intellectual nothing who isn't even worthy of contempt.

Labels:

The danger of being correct

It's fascinating how the New York Times buries the lede in its complaint about the Alabama Supreme Court's failure to do what it is under no legal burden to do in the first place.
ON Tuesday the Supreme Court of Alabama prohibited the state’s probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This decision effectively throws down the gauntlet, challenging the federal courts to make earlier federal rulings stick — including last month’s refusal by the United States Supreme Court to stay a federal judge’s decision requiring the state to recognize same-sex marriages. It draws on a disturbing line of thinking in the history of American federalism, one that, were it to gain currency as a model, could compromise our entire system of law....

Since the United States Supreme Court will rule on gay marriage in June, it’s easy to dismiss the Alabama court’s ruling as quixotic. But it raises a real issue: not what state courts can do, but rather what they should do. Because state and federal courts operate on entirely separate tracks, the state court’s position that it need not follow lower federal court rulings is technically correct. Yet if our judicial system is to function smoothly, both court systems must, from time to time, refrain from exercising their legal discretion to ignore the other’s handiwork.
Apparently the New York Times is operating on outcomes-based logic. We're supposed to believe that our entire system of law is threatened by a state court's legally correct position? If being correct is "dangerous defiance", what does that make those being defied?

Labels:

Mailvox: writing sociosexuality

Stan Hai isn't sure how to go about doing it:
How can I write blue-shirt SF if I'm barely a Delta myself? Writing Alpha characters always turns out unrealistic for me, because I don't know what I'm talking about. I finally quit writing Gamma & Omega characters, but when it comes to a hero, I've got three choices: Superman/James Bond/Neo (i.e. Alpha Mary Sues who never lose), Beta who's competent in one thing (which I can't write about because that's not me) and Gamma Special (whom everyone is sick of.) The thing I'm working now is about a Gamma who becomes a Delta. He's offered Special Power, and rejects it. Thoughts?
Stan has already taken the first step, which is to understand that sociosexuality exists and that it affects how people think, act, and react. Rather like the process of learning a language, he finally is beginning to understand how much he doesn't know. This is true for EVERY man, of every rank.  Women, unsurprisingly, tend to do a better job of writing two very different types of male characters, Alpha and Delta. They even occasionally delve into a very extreme form of smothering Gamma when they want to creep their female readers out.

It is harder for men to differentiate between the different male classes as we tend to gravitate towards writing our own perspective large on all the male characters. The one thing Louis L'Amour and Neal Stephenson have in common is that they both base all the male protagonists on their own sociosexuality. They are both significant authors, but L'Amour's protagonists are all Alphas, brimming with self-confidence, laconic, proactive, and utterly certain of female interest in them, which is not at all surprising if you know his life story. Stephenson's are all Gammas, insecure, diffident, reactive, and forever bewildered as to why the woman with whom they are involved has any interest in them at all.

In this, Stephenson is all-too-typical of modern male SF writers. And as Hai implies, when the average Pink SF writer tries to address sociosexuality, even unconsciously, he makes a hash of it. Patrick Rothfuss's Kvothe is probably the best example, as it is hard to imagine a better, or more hilariously mistaken, Alpha-through-a-Gamma's eyes ever being written.

The way to do it is to first understand your own social rank and grasp that you should use it for characters of that social rank. Second, seek to understand the perspective of the others. The recent series on Gamma, which features current and ex-Gammas talking about their feelings and thought processes, has been INVALUABLE to me as a writer. I now have a much better understanding of what makes them tick; had I tried to write a Gamma protagonist before this I would have likely failed almost as spectacularly as Rothfuss fails with his Alpha. I had no idea, none, that the key to writing Gamma is a man at the bottom of the totem pole who knows he should, by rights, be at the top because Special.

However, keep in mind that you may, instead, wish to flatter various socio-sexual ranks rather than describe them. Gammas like Stephenson and Scalzi do a good job of appealing to Gammas because what appeals to them naturally appeals to other Gammas. But if a sociosexual-aware writer were to focus on flattering the various social ranks, he might have even more success.
  • Alpha. The protagonist is in charge. He seeks out, takes on, and conquers various challenges, many of whom are other Alphas. He also defeats the occasional Gamma who tries to stab him in the back. Deltas follow him gladly. Hmmm, sounds familiar, doesn't it, Mr. Howard?
  • Beta. The good lieutenant is given great responsibility by his Alpha. Loyally serves the Alpha and accompanies him through thick and thin. At times, his loyalty is tested, the enemy even tries to tempt him into betraying his Alpha by offering him a crown of his own, but he resists, he perseveres, and his Alpha is triumphant in the end, at which point he publicly credits the Beta and tells everyone how he could never have done it without the Beta.
  • Delta. He's just a guy, like any other guy. Larger events swirl around him, but the Delta gradually finds his place in the team, which comes to respect each other and learns how to work together as a unit. His side wins after much turmoil and suffering, although he doesn't have much to do with that. But he knows he did his part and has the satisfaction of knowing he has the respect and approval of the others. His captain tells him that he was the glue who held it all together. He gets a medal and wins the love of a good woman in the end. They have nice healthy children and make a nice modest home together.
  • Gamma. No one knows how special he is. The Alphas unfairly rule and keep him down by trickery. Even the girl he loves in a way no woman has ever been loved before doesn't realize how special he is or how happy he would make her if only she would let him. Bad people treat him badly and unfairly. But through his clever wit, the Gamma makes fools of everyone through always having the perfect thing to say, culminating when he totally humiliates the Alpha and reveals him to be an unworthy paper tiger in a brilliant verbal exchange front of everyone, including the girl. The Gamma is finally recognized as the true First Man in Rome by everyone as the girl shyly confesses that she has always seen and admired his specialness. He calls her "milady" and roguishly offers her his arm as everyone looks on enviously and applauds the smoothness of his style.
  • Omega. REVENGE.
  • Sigma. He is dragged from his solitary sanctuary by the desperate need of friends he hasn't seen in years, but whom he can hardly deny. Conflict abounds, mostly between posturing idiots concerning nonsensical trivialities that no one with more than half a brain could ever possibly care about. The Sigma contemptuously dispatches three foes in succession, one by utilizing superior logic, one by seducing her, and one by physical combat, before finally ending all the conflict with a brilliant masterstroke that convinces the blithering idiots to knock it off once and for all. Everyone agrees that the ultimate solution is for the Sigma to marry the beautiful princess and be crowned king. On the day of the wedding, it is discovered that the Sigma has vanished, as have two of the prettiest and most morally flexible ladies-in-waiting. A note is found rejecting both princess and crown, and inviting everyone in the realm to either fuck off or die, as they please.
  • Lambda. He always knew he was different. He exchanging longing looks with another boy once, but nothing happened. Mean boys called him names and beat him up for being too sensitive. Then he went to the big city. There he discovered discos and bathhouses and true love. Then his true love died of AIDS/was gay-bashed to death. So he went back to the discos and bathhouses and did too many drugs until meeting a rich, successful, and previously straight Alpha who is won over by his sob story of his tragic true love and helps him kick his drug habit. He and the formerly straight Alpha travel to Mexico where they pick up a pair of hot Latin twins at a gay strip club.
Which of those seven stories deeply appeals to you? Which of these fit the plots, protagonists and perspectives of books you know? See if you can identify a popular book or series that fits each of these sociosexual themes. Understand where you fit, then work to apply these basic filters in the way you describe your characters, and you will produce works that are more psychologically real to your readers, because you are reflecting the real psychological world back to them.

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Reaxxion interview

Reaxxion posted the translation of a recent interview with me by Werta Best of old-games.ru. Among other things it features the original CD sleeve cover of Rebel Moon that hasn't been seen by anyone in decades.
Who was the first member in your team who proposed the revolutionary idea to use the beautiful color lighting in the developed RM game engine? Attention please, it was before Unreal release! Did your team perform an overview of the graphics capabilities for other first person shooters published before RM?

That was my partner Andrew’s idea. We knew Marc Rein and the guys at Unreal very well, in fact, our audio guy and housemate is now their audio director. Because we came from a high-resolution graphics background, we always looked to push the envelope in one way or another. Expanding the color depth was something we wanted to do as soon as the hardware could handle it. The problem was that you were still limited to 256-color palettes in the textures due to memory limitations.

What’s in your opinion was the reason for poor commercial success of Rebel Moon Rising – is it because of previous game has low popularity (Rebel Moon, 1995) or due to low resolution of sprites used in both games?

One word. QUAKE. Rebel Moon Rising got pretty good reviews and was well-regarded by other designers, but once people had a taste of 3D, they didn’t want to go back to 2.5D. It’s not like that surprised us. After all, I was the one who originally trademarked “3D Blaster” years before and I’d spent a lot of time out in the Bay Area as a Transdimensional Evangelist trying to convince Creative, Hercules, and Diamond, among others, to adopt 3D acceleration long before Jensen Huang got Nvidea going. We knew 3D was going to be big for the shooter market, but we didn’t have time to write a 3D engine on Intel’s schedule. And more importantly, we discovered that the graphics bus was too slow to let the MMX properly support 3D at the higher resolutions we originally intended to support.

The original MMX was actually four times faster than it was able to deliver, but the limitation was the bus, not the chip’s performance. We were the ones who discovered the problem; Intel was absolutely horrified when we proved it to them by blitting a 2-bit black rectangle. Commercial success was always an afterthought, as our Intel relationship guided most of our decisions and generated most of our revenue.

We were very pleased with effects for varying of gravity on some level’s maps – it was one of the most original gameplay ideas in both Rebel Moon games. Has anyone used same method for walkthrough of levels in other games published in 90-s? Who was the author of idea in your team?


I don’t know. I asked Andrew and he doesn’t recall either. Our culture at Fenris Wolf was always one of pushing things further. We created the first escort mission in a shooter, we were the first to support MMX, the first to implement speech recognition in a multiplayer game (you could switch weapons and send predetermined messages using your voice), and we also introduced a number of smaller innovations like in-level variable gravity. Given that the game was set in space, the idea of blowing up a gravity generator and then having it affect the gameplay would have seemed pretty obvious to all of us at the time.

The net game levels walkthrough in RMR is more interesting than single player maps. It seems that RMR game originally was planned as a coop game only and single player levels are just the secondary product from net levels. Is it right?


No, it’s precisely backward. The problem with single player was that Intel’s testers simply weren’t gamers. We created the first two levels, which are borderline retarded and come complete with arrows on the floor pointing GO THIS WAY, rather late in the process because the testers couldn’t manage to complete levels that any competent gamer could play through in minutes. So we had to dumb everything down. We didn’t even do the multiplayer stuff until the retail release with GT, but because Intel wasn’t involved with those, we could design them for proper gamers. That’s probably why they are more interesting.

In our opinion, for Rebel Moon Rising game very effective way was used to a sharp change of the game environment – teleportation to another planet (in alien world). And it was made one year before popular Half-Life! (teleport to Xen…). This significant jump was originally planned in the RMR game scenario as well as concept art?

In light of the fact that we were using an expanded color depth for the first time, my decision to set the storyline in space, on the Moon, was a very, very bad one. I thought it would be visually impressive to have these rich jeweled tones of the lasers and lights contrasted against the grays of the environment, but the effect was just too subtle. And our artists, while smart and talented, were all very young and hired straight out of art school with no computer or 3D experience. We should have done something more wild and garish like Unreal.

The decision to shift the focus to the alien environments allowed us to bring in more color and interesting visuals than was permitted by an environment mostly filled with black space and Moon rocks. The jump was definitely planned in the design document and it was always part of the story, but we did end up putting more of the levels in the alien environments than originally planned due to the desire to incorporate more interesting graphical elements.
I'm always pleased to see that the old games aren't forgotten, including my own. Werta and his team of programmers are amazing; they not only ported Rebel Moon Rising to the modern versions of Windows, but even ported the original Rebel Moon to it. And they managed to get the nine demo levels of the unfinished Rebel Moon Revolution working so you can see some of the still-advanced twin AI systems at work.

It's good to see Reaxxion continuing to grow and providing more SJW-free game-related content.

Labels:

The end of white guilt

In five years, every child will be a minority:
White children will be outnumbered by minority kids in the United States in just five years, new Census Bureau projections reveal. This is the result of an ongoing trend of declining birth among white Americans and a baby boom among immigrant groups, as well as a surge in immigration.

By the year 2020, 50.2percent of all children in the US are expected to be non-white, according to the Census. By 2044, whites will be outnumbered by minorities. The Census study, released this week, predicts that by year 2060, nearly 20percent of the population will be foreign born - thanks to an influx of 64million new immigrants.
I wonder how long it will take before white children are a majority again. My expectation is that contra the projection, minorities will never outnumber whites, because the homogenization process will begin around 2033.

Labels: ,

The banality of killing

The higher up the chain of command you are, the easier it is:
I spent every day of my seven-month deployment in Afghanistan trying to figure out how to kill the Taliban commander in my area. He lived and operated to our north and every day would send his soldiers down to plant bombs, terrorize the villages and wrestle with us for control of the area. Our mission was to secure the villages and provide economic and political development, but that was slow work with intangible results. Killing the Taliban commander would be an objective measure of success.

I never killed him. Instead, each day we would kill his soldiers or his soldiers would kill our Marines. The longer I lived among the Afghans, the more I realized that neither the Taliban nor we were fighting for the reasons I expected. Despite the rhetoric I internalized from the newspapers back home about why we were in Afghanistan, I ended up fighting for different reasons once I got on the ground — a mix of loyalty to my Marines, habit and the urge to survive.

The enemy fighters were often young men raised alongside poppy fields in small farms set up like latticework along the river. They must have been too young and too isolated to understand anything outside of their section of the valley, never mind something global like the 9/11 attacks. These villagers fought us because that’s what they always did when foreigners came to their village. Perhaps they just wanted to be left alone.

The more I thought about the enemy, the harder it was to view them as evil or subhuman. But killing requires a motivation, so the concept of self-defense becomes the defining principle of target attractiveness. If someone is shooting at me, I have a right to fire back. But this is a legal justification, not a moral one. The comic Louis C.K. brilliantly pointed out this absurdity: “Maybe if you pick up a gun and go to another country and you get shot, it’s not that weird. Maybe if you get shot by the dude you were just shooting at, it’s a tiny bit your fault.”

My worst fear before deploying was what, in training, we called “good shoot, bad result.” But there is no way in the chaos and uncertainty of war to make the right decision all the time. On one occasion, the Taliban had been shooting at us and we thought two men approaching in the distance were armed and intended to kill us. We warned them off, but it did no good. They continued to approach, and so my Marines fired. What possible reason could two men have to approach a squad of armed Marines in a firefight? When it was over and the two men lay dead we saw that they were unarmed, just two men trying to go home, who never made it.

On most occasions, when ordnance would destroy the enemy or a sniper would kill a Taliban fighter, we would engage in the professional congratulations of a job well done like businessmen after a successful client meeting. Nothing of the sort happened after killing a civilian. And in this absence of group absolution, I saw for the first time how critical it actually was for my soul and my sanity.

Nobody ever talked about the accidental killing. There was paperwork, a brief investigation and silence. You can’t tell someone who has killed an innocent person that he did the right thing even if he followed all the proper procedures before shooting.
It is somewhat amusing that Americans are still insisting that the United States are "the good guys" in all of this long and sordid history of invading and occupying other countries. How many more countries do they have to occupy, how many more innocent civilians have to be killed by American soldiers, before Americans wake up to the fact that, just maybe, the country which has invaded and is currently occupying literally dozens of sovereign countries is not, in fact, "the good guys".

The fact that there are bad guys out there does not automatically make those who oppose them good. When Hitler and Stalin went to war, who was the good guy?

Donald Rumsfeld once said that the USA could only win if it killed terrorists faster than it created new ones. Considering that we're now 14 years into "the war on terror", I think it should be obvious that the USA did not win on the basis of his metric. Forget peace, give isolation a chance.

I'm not a big fan of Louis CK, but in this case, he has a point. “Maybe if you pick up a gun and go to another country and you get shot, it’s not that weird. Maybe if you get shot by the dude you were just shooting at, it’s a tiny bit your fault.”

Afghanistan is not our business. Ukraine is not our business. Iraq is not our business. Syria is not our business. Iran is not our business. And while the neocons are off playing Risk in foreign lands, the homeland has been invaded by 50 million invaders. The only war genuinely worth fighting is the one being completely overlooked and ignored.

The author concludes:
Ensuring our own safety and the defense of a peaceful world may require training boys and girls to kill, creating technology that allows us to destroy anyone on the planet instantly, dehumanizing large segments of the global population and then claiming there is a moral sanctity in killing. To fathom this system and accept its use for the greater good is to understand that we still live in a state of nature.
Monsters so often tell themselves they are heroes.

Labels:

The danger of fantasy

I've long wondered why the science fiction ranks were so littered with gamma males, both on the supply and the demand sides. I'd theorized it was because it was an escape for unathletic people; at my first group book-signing, about every third person commented how little like a "science fiction author" I looked. I didn't understand what they meant until I looked at my fellow authors, most of whom were at least 100 pounds overweight and looked as if the only adventure upon which they'd ever embarked was Cheetoh Quest.

However, the recent discussion at Alpha Game concerning Graduating Gamma and Diagnosis: Gamma has opened my eyes to the real connection between the Gamma male and fantasy fiction. And, in answer to a question that someone asked earlier, I do think science fiction and fantasy, particularly modern Pink SF, is psychosocially dangerous for young men of the Gamma persuasion.

Consider this comment from JW, whose situation we've been analyzing at his request.
I've got this over-inflated sense of self, and that external things haven't burst that. A combination of parents being too soft and a relatively forgiving and facilitating world/state/government/society/community/family has allowed this ego in me to survive. In a more challenging environment it would be broken down.

I've maintained this self from adolescence, and whereas for many people their parents "knock" that out of them Ive got this "tantrum-like child" in my head. Whats happening is I'm protecting this child in my head (which is objectively me, not an external body) and running away or avoiding anything that challenges the beliefs or ideas of this child-like persona. One of which would be "I'm special"....

Seeing myself within an objective social hierarchy using the conceptual framework you have makes it much clearer. I'm wannabee alpha, in my head I'm special and therefore deserving of alphaness, I'll lead, I'll get the girl, I'll be the hero, but the reality of what I am bursts that bubble every time. Once I'm challenged by objectively superior men I crumble and/or avoid run away. And yet I yearn for that while doing nothing to either deserve it or try to get it.
This is the danger posed by the Pugs, the Rand al'Thors, the Harry Potters and so forth. In many ways, they are the precise opposites of the Frodos, the Conans, and the Marcus Valeriuses. (In the middle would be the Aragorns, the Tarans, and the Luke Skywalkers.) They are Special, with a capital S, but not due to anything they have ever done. They have Special powers and are innately recognized as superior beings with a right to lead, initially by the astute, but eventually by everyone.

Most importantly, they don't have to do much more than show up in order to have leadership handed to them on a silver platter, nor do they have to do much beyond be a figurehead and occasionally make Difficult Decisions. If you think about it, they are essentially what the average millennial thinks a CEO is, and they are handed that quasi-CEO status for nothing more than being Special.

This is pure poison for the Gamma soul. It not only justifies his failure to act or to self-improve, but flatters his delusions about himself. Those who fail to recognize his Special status, those men who fail to fall in line to follow him and those women who fail to offer their hearts to him, are either evil or foolish and blind, just like the antagonists in the book. And one day, just like those antagonists, they will get their comeuppance! It is inevitable, it is fated.

No wonder the Farmboy's Journey is so popular. It's basically psychological reinforcement for the Gamma mind. And, writers take note, the less the protagonist has to actually do, the more that his accomplishments revolve around his being rather than his deeds, the more popular it is likely to be with the Gamma crowd because it flatters their desire to lead, get the girl, and be the hero.

Contrast this with Frodo. He is the hero, but he leads nothing and he gets no girl. All he does is shatter the power of Mordor and save the People of the West. Conan is the hero, wins a crown, and gets numerous girls, but he does it all through his deeds; he is the opposite of Special, being frequently dismissed as a mere barbarian. Marcus Valerius is an aristocrat, but for him it is as much burden as benefit, and while his Valerian blood provides him with leadership of the House legion, it doesn't offer him anything more than the opportunity to fail.

I think one can tell a lot about a boy by learning who his favorite characters from various books are. For example, my favorites from The Lord of the Rings were always Eomer and Faramir, which in itself is telling in retrospect. Both were men who were content to be overshadowed, but proved to be competent leaders when the burden was thrust upon them, and both were stubbornly loyal to the point of endangering themselves. My guess is that neither of them likely held much appeal to the Gamma crowd, who would be more drawn to the hidden Specialness of Aragorn, and even more drawn to the likes of the infuriating Rand al'Thor and the insipid Harry Potter.

It's an interesting field that remains largely unfurrowed, the psychosociality of literature. But one thing that is already clear is that if you've got a young Gamma on your hands, you might want to consider pushing more Louis L'amour, Robert E. Howard, and Jack London on him than permit him to indulge himself in repeated reinforcements of his delusional Specialness.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The future looks less than bright

 So much for the self-esteem theory of education:
There was this test. And it was daunting. It was like the SAT or ACT -- which many American millennials are no doubt familiar with, as they are on track to be the best educated generation in history -- except this test was not about getting into college. This exam, given in 23 countries, assessed the thinking abilities and workplace skills of adults. It focused on literacy, math and technological problem-solving. The goal was to figure out how prepared people are to work in a complex, modern society.

And U.S. millennials performed horribly.

That might even be an understatement, given the extent of the American shortcomings. No matter how you sliced the data – by class, by race, by education – young Americans were laggards compared to their international peers. In every subject, U.S. millennials ranked at the bottom or very close to it, according to a new study by testing company ETS.

“We were taken aback,” said ETS researcher Anita Sands. “We tend to think millennials are really savvy in this area. But that’s not what we are seeing.”

The test is called the PIAAC test. It was developed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, better known as the OECD. The test was meant to assess adult skill levels. It was administered worldwide to people ages 16 to 65. The results came out two years ago and barely caused a ripple. But recently ETS went back and delved into the data to look at how  millennials did as a group. After all, they’re the future – and, in America, they're poised to claim the title of largest generation from the baby boomers.

U.S. millennials, defined as people 16 to 34 years old, were supposed to be different. They’re digital natives. They get it. High achievement is part of their makeup. But the ETS study found signs of trouble, with its authors warning that the nation was at a crossroads: “We can decide to accept the current levels of mediocrity and inequality or we can decide to address the skills challenge head on.”

The challenge is that, in literacy, U.S. millennials scored higher than only three countries. In math, Americans ranked last. In technical problem-saving, they were second from the bottom.
This isn't surprising to me. Generation X had to understand its toys in order to play with them. There is nothing creative about a tablet or a smartphone. You can't do anything on it. It's basically a dumb terminal on the mainframe of the Internet. These digital natives are actually digital cargo cultists, comfortably familiar using things they don't actually know the first thing about.  As far as they're concerned, it might as well be magic.

Labels: ,

Related Works Book Bomb

Larry Correia has posted the third and last of the 2015 Sad Puppies Book Bombs, this one for Related Works and the Campbell nominees:
BOOK BOMB!

This is our last Sad Puppies 3 Book Bomb. Remember, you’ve only got a few more days to get your nominations in for the Hugo awards. The Sad Puppies bombs are special because these are the works in the different categories that the Evil Legion of Evil has put forth as suggestions for our Hugo nomination slate. The last two we did went amazing.

RELATED WORKS:

CAMPBELL AWARD:
Nominations close on March 10, so if you're registered to vote on the Hugo Awards, don't forget to review the Rabid Puppies recommendations as they've been updated several times to reflect various eligibility issues, gun-shy authors, and other changes. Don't leave it to the last minute!

In addition to the three Sad Puppies recommendations for the Campbell Award, please note that Rabid Puppies is also supporting Rolf Nelson for his debut novel, The Stars Came Back. Castalia House will be publishing the sequel to it later this year. As before, if you've already bought these works, please consider supporting the Bomb by posting a review of them.

Labels:

Smells like disruption

Google appears interested in presenting an opportunity to competitors:
The trustworthiness of a web page might help it rise up Google's rankings if the search giant starts to measure quality by facts, not just links. THE internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free "news" stories spread like wildfire. Google has devised a fix – rank websites according to their truthfulness.

Google's search engine currently uses the number of incoming links to a web page as a proxy for quality, determining where it appears in search results. So pages that many other sites link to are ranked higher. This system has brought us the search engine as we know it today, but the downside is that websites full of misinformation can rise up the rankings, if enough people link to them.

A Google research team is adapting that model to measure the trustworthiness of a page, rather than its reputation across the web. Instead of counting incoming links, the system – which is not yet live – counts the number of incorrect facts within a page. "A source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy," says the team (arxiv.org/abs/1502.03519v1). The score they compute for each page is its Knowledge-Based Trust score.

The software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.
Considering what we've learned about a) the lies committed by corrupt scientific researchers, b) the inferiority and corruption of the U.S. educational system, and c) the proclivity for complete fiction on the part of the U.S. news media, it's not difficult to predict that this will be a complete debacle if Google is foolish enough to implement it. If I were a competitor to Google search, I would be on my knees praying that they would follow through on this concept in the most extreme manner possible.

You know this is most likely an SJW-driven affair, because only SJWs would be dumb enough to risk a corporation's entire business model in the interests of their ideology. If this is simply a genuine attempt to improve their offerings, Google will introduce it as an option for those interested in it and it will either succeed or fail on the merits of the implementation. If it is an SJW attempt to drive the narrative, it will be imposed as a replacement for the link-based system and people will rapidly turn to competitors who don't seek to impose their reality on the masses.

I tend to doubt that the ABCNNBCBS cabal will be buried deep within the "truth-based" links due to their near-complete disassociation with observable reality. But you never know. Perhaps this is Google's stealth means of taking on the mainstream media indirectly.

Labels: ,

Back on the field

Soccer has started up again at the higher levels. Last night Ender's team scrimmaged the first team on the main field while we veterans held a normal practice on the practice field. We ended early enough for me to catch the last quarter of the game; Ender played the second half and did pretty well. He only let in two goals, one of which should have been called for offsides, and while he was a bit shaky with the offseason rust, he did better than the starting goalie, who let in three, one of which was a disaster. Needs some work on his goal kicks and distributions, but the punting was good.

I'm rusty myself. Six shots, and all but one wide by inches. Everything is going a little to the right, so I need to adjust for that. The ball control is better than I'd expected, and while all my offseason running and stretching has helped - I can actually walk today, contra SB's expectations - there is no substitute for the actual sprint-and-stop of gameplay.

It's clear that Ender isn't going to take over for the starter this season, he's a good guy who is three years older and has earned his place. At this point, Ender is better off playing spot duty and second halves when the game is under control than dealing with all the pressure from still-immature players who blame the goalie for permitting scores after complete defensive breakdowns.

The first team won 5-1, and they did so without breaking a sweat. It was clearly humiliating to the cocky younger guys, who are of American high school varsity age and all seemed to be three inches taller than they were when the fall season started. Ender did not take it at all well when I mildly observed that when we veterans played the first team last fall, we beat them by three goals.

It's rather amusing. The juniors tend to instinctively treat the veterans as if we're old and past it until they notice that the first team players, who are all in their 20s, tend to regard us as older comrades. The kids don't know that most of of the first-teamers have played with us from time to time because when we're short; we're allowed to field up to two younger players when we have less than 14 men.

The one thing the young guys never seem to figure out is that if you're still playing soccer 25 years after you started playing at the first team level, you were probably pretty damn good at it back in the day. Our entire team is probably as talented as the average of the best four junior players, we're just older, fatter, balder, and slower than they are. Technically, I'm one of the worst players on my team and there isn't a defender on the juniors team that could shut me down. Combine that with the fact that we're more experienced, more muscular, and some of our players have been playing together for 30 years, and they don't have a chance. But they never put two and two together until they go up against the old men on the field.

It was the same at my old club, which competed at a higher level. When the club held a tournament of champions for its 75th Anniversary, and invited back all the teams that had ever won promotion for a 7-on-7 tournament, the team that won was not either of the two most recently promoted first teams, but my veteran's team that had won two successive promotions the previous two years. For me, though, the most memorable thing was seeing a first team from 40 years before, and the frail, white-haired, white-bearded goalie who at 65 was still better than Ender or the starting junior's goalie. I wasn't surprised to hear that after playing for our first team, he'd gone on to play a few years for a championship team at the professional level.

It's all part of the process, the circle of soccer. The juniors are growing up, some of them at different rates than others. The exposure to the first team at the end of last year was important, because it made it clear to them that all their idiotic pecking order games are over. At the first team level, nobody gives a damn about much except how well you play and what you have to contribute to the team. The kid who attacked and exchanged bloody noses with Ender in the first practice last fall is now polite and respectful, and as Ender noted, almost salutes when I address him. He and Ender aren't friends, but they play well together, the kid is a solid defender who takes his job of protecting his goalie seriously. Conflict isn't always a bad thing.

There are still some problem children. The tall and arrogant sweeper took the ball last night despite Ender calling for it as he came out, then told Ender that he didn't give a fuck when Ender chewed him out for it. Their coach, who is a first team player and the first good coach most of these kids have had in their entire careers, shrugged and told Ender to simply go for the ball and take the sweeper out the next time he doesn't listen. He's one of those big, athletic kids who needs to be taken down a few times before he's able to pay attention; I'm going to suggest to our captain that we scrimmage the juniors for just that purpose. The kid has three inches on me, but I've got 30 pounds of muscle on him; I figure that after I blow by him a few times, score a couple of goals, and put him down on the ground once or twice, he'll be in more of a mood to listen.

Labels:

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

How to reduce crime

Norway cuts crime by 30 percent:
Norway recently made the controversial decision to deport a large amount of Muslims with ties to radical groups. Despite all the liberals in Norway deeming this “racist”, the logical party went ahead with it and the result almost shut down every opposing voice in the government instantly. This is one of the best stories we have eve seen come from such a liberal area of the world.

Violent Crime Dropped By 30%! That’s right, whopping 30%, and it’s all because a couple of politicians decided to enforce the laws that they already had. What a world we live in where that is a shocking thing to do in a government.
Imagine how much crime in Norway will be reduced when the Europe Belongs To Us generation takes over. Sure, the Baby Boomers won't approve, but by then, they'll all be dead.

Labels: ,

The best of all possible worlds

I stand corrected. Dr. Pangloss was right. Because we live in a world where THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED! We live in a world where A WEASEL TOOK A RIDE ON A FLYING WOODPECKER'S BACK. I don't even want to know the real story. I'm just happy to know that it happened on my planet.

Labels:

A lesson in Gamma

This revelatory explanation by a Gamma male was so unexpected, and yet so illuminating, that I felt it worth bringing to the attention of the VP readership as well:
Gammas think they are Alphas.

It sounds insane, but it's true. A man who knows his place and sticks to that place is usually left to his own devices. Pay tribute to those above, demand tribute from those below, and if a man should disagree with either his own or your relative position in the hierarchy, then conflict will ensue to determine who is correct. It's a simple enough formula and it occurs frequently, if not daily, during the course of a man's life. Men tend to be very diligent about ensuring the proper order of things, but once that order is established, there is an element of stability. The victor may be magnanimous to the defeated. In turn, the loser is expected to acclimate himself to his new position.

Gammas introduce instability to this hierarchy. They refuse to accept their station, nor do they propose to increase it through deeds and experience. Like women, they come to expect a certain station in life and feel wronged when it is not provided for them. A common Gamma thought would be "why should he be the leader and get all the glory for himself?"
The part that I thought was particularly insightful was this statement: "Doubtless, thinks the Gamma, the leadership position was earned through subterfuge and oppression since that is how he would obtain it."

A leadership position earned through subterfuge and oppression? Strange, for some reason that sounds strangely... familiar?

Labels: ,

Asking for trouble

This epically lunatic deployment looks likely to put more than a few American soldiers in danger this summer:
US 173rd Airborne Brigade Commander Michael Foster said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC said the US would deploy personnel by the end of this week to train the Ukrainian national guard.

“Before this week is up, we’ll be deploying a battalion minus… to the Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces for the fight that’s taking place,” Foster stated. “What we’ve got laid out is six United States companies that will be training six Ukrainian companies throughout the summer.”

The training will take place at the level of US and Ukrainian national guard companies, Foster explained, adding that “we have nothing above battalion staff level” engaged in the military training. The current plan is for US forces to stay six months, he said, and noted there have been discussions about how to increase the duration and the scope of the training mission.

The current channels for military training set up between Ukraine and the United States would not be used for transferring defensive lethal aid if the United States decided to provide arms to Ukraine, Foster told Sputnik on Monday.
I imagine Putin is already conferring with his generals about the best way to encircle and capture this battalion, which would be a bigger military humiliation for the United States than the Vietnam War combined with the failure of Operation Eagle Claw.

Labels:

Monday, March 02, 2015

Feminists don't care about rape

They talk about it endlessly. They fantasize about it happening to them on their college campuses so long as it is white frat boys and athletes. But when it really happens and arrests are made? Crickets.
Last month, retired porn star Cytherea was the victim of a brutal gang rape at her home in Las Vegas. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, three teenage suspects, two of them minors, broke into the house, robbed Cytherea and her family at gunpoint, and raped her while her children were present. The rape and home invasion was so violent that not only are the minors being tried as adults, all three suspects could be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty....

If ever there was a story for feminists to get enraged about, this would be it. According to SJWs, America fosters a “rape culture,” where sexual assault is trivialized and men are encouraged to feel “entitled” to womens’ bodies. You can’t get more entitled than a gang of ghetto thugs invading a woman’s home and raping her at gunpoint.

Yet feminists have been eerily silent on Cytherea. A casual Google search for “cytherea rape” shows that the only articles about the story are from news outlets, porn industry sites such as TRPWL, and the conservative site The Daily Caller. Searching Jezebel, one of the most popular feminist blogs in the world, for “cytherea” returns a grand total of zero results.
 Why? There is a simple answer. "Feminists don’t care about rape victims, and they never have."

Labels: ,

Vaccines are "safe" and "effective"

Because they are totally "tested". By scientists doing science:

Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, is facing a slew of controversies over its Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine following numerous allegations of wrongdoing from different parties in the medical field, including two former Merck scientists-turned-whistleblowers. A third whistleblower, this one a scientist at the Centers for Disease Control, also promises to bring Merck grief following his confession of misconduct involving the same MMR vaccine.

The controversies will find Merck defending itself and its vaccine in at least two federal court cases after a U.S. District judge earlier this month threw out Merck's attempts at dismissal. Merck now faces federal charges of fraud from the whistleblowers, a vaccine competitor and doctors in New Jersey and New York. Merck could also need to defend itself in Congress: The staff of representative Bill Posey (R-Fla) -- a longstanding critic of the CDC interested in an alleged link between vaccines and autism -- is now reviewing some 1,000 documents that the CDC whistleblower turned over to them.

The first court case, United States v. Merck & Co., stems from claims by two former Merck scientists that Merck "fraudulently misled the government and omitted, concealed, and adulterated material information regarding the efficacy of its mumps vaccine in violation of the FCA [False Claims Act]."

According to the whistleblowers' court documents, Merck's misconduct was far-ranging: It "failed to disclose that its mumps vaccine was not as effective as Merck represented, (ii) used improper testing techniques, (iii) manipulated testing methodology, (iv) abandoned undesirable test results, (v) falsified test data, (vi) failed to adequately investigate and report the diminished efficacy of its mumps vaccine, (vii) falsely verified that each manufacturing lot of mumps vaccine would be as effective as identified in the labeling, (viii) falsely certified the accuracy of applications filed with the FDA, (ix) falsely certified compliance with the terms of the CDC purchase contract, (x) engaged in the fraud and concealment describe herein for the purpose of illegally monopolizing the U.S. market for mumps vaccine, (xi) mislabeled, misbranded, and falsely certified its mumps vaccine, and (xii) engaged in the other acts described herein to conceal the diminished efficacy of the vaccine the government was purchasing."

These fraudulent activities, say the whistleblowers, were designed to produce test results that would meet the FDA's requirement that the mumps vaccine was 95 per cent effective. To the whistleblowers' delight, the judge dismissed Merck's objections to the case proceeding, finding the whistleblowers had plausible grounds on all of the claims lodged against Merck.
Vaccine advocates, are you starting to find even a glimmering of understanding why some intelligent and well-informed people just might harbor the occasional doubt about the safety and efficacity of vaccines? If not yet, what more will it take? And do you not understand that once this level of fraud is established, it casts at least a modicum of doubt on EVERY SINGLE CLAIM that has been made about vaccine safety in the past?

Perhaps you'll even be able to understand why doctors have been hesitant to come forward with their doubts about vaccines if you consider the sort of response they can be expected to encounter from the vaccine manufacturers, who are legally protected against being held liable for the deficiencies of their products:
Merck made a "hit list" of doctors who criticized Vioxx, according to testimony in a Vioxx class action case in Australia. The list, emailed between Merck employees, contained doctors' names with the labels "neutralise," "neutralised" or "discredit" next to them. 
Do you find that confidence-inspiring?

Labels:

Texture bleg

Is there anyone who specializes in texturing very high poly count STL files who might be interested in tackling our pair of orcs? If this is solidly within your bag of tricks, please contact me. At this point, we're looking for volunteers.

If you want to see Orc Gladiator #2 soon, sign up for Castalia House's Game Development newsletter. We'll be sending out the first one within the next two weeks, we're just trying to nail something down before we can announce it to the subscribers.

Labels:

Obama vs Israel

No wonder America's Jews are suddenly so conflicted and flirting with some of the Republican presidential contenders:
President Obama is alleged to have stopped an Israeli military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets, according to reports to emerge from the Middle East at the weekend

The threat from the U.S. forced Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to abort a planned attack on Iraq, reported Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida.... The report claimed that an unnamed Israeli minister who has good ties with the US administration revealed the attack plan to Secretary of State John Kerry, and that Obama then threatened to shoot down the Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.

According to the report, 'Netanyahu and his commanders agreed after four nights of deliberations to task the Israeli army's chief of staff, Benny Gantz, to prepare a qualitative operation against Iran's nuclear program.

'In addition, Netanyahu and his ministers decided to do whatever they could do to thwart a possible agreement between Iran and the White House because such an agreement is, allegedly, a threat to Israel's security.'

The sources added that Gantz and his commanders prepared the requested plan and that Israeli fighter jets trained for several weeks in order to make sure the plans would work successfully. Israeli fighter jets reportedly even carried out experimental flights in Iran's airspace after they managed to break through radars.
At some point, even the dimmest American Jews are going to wake up to the fact that the gelding of Christian civilization in the West and the racial diversification of the white nations is very unlikely to turn out "good for the Jews", regardless of how it ends. Some Jews have clearly begun to realize that, as 69 percent of Jews voted for Obama in 2012, nine percent less than the 78 percent who did in 2008. But too many Jews outside Israel still appear to be caught up in the 1970's notion that they can easily defeat an aggressive Islamic Caliphate that outnumbers them about 70 to 1.

The problem is that while speed, cleverness, and finesse are a force multiplier, they do have limits. And I suspect that far too many American Jews, unlike Israelis, don't know how close they were to being defeated at times in the Arab-Israeli wars. A mistake here or there, a failure of nerve on the part of a political leader or a general at the wrong time, and it could have been all over. The American Jews only know that the IDF repeatedly won those wars and assume they can easily do so again.

But history is littered with the examples of defeated nations who attacked other nations in the assumption that their victory was certain. Regardless of what happens in the Middle East, it is certain that American politics is going to become less predictable as the Coalition of Diversity that was created, in part, by elite politically active Jews begins to turn against both Jews and Israel. This would imply that they will increasingly seek influence in the Republican Party, thus increasing the growing gulf there between the moderate Republican elite-for-hire and the various conservative and libertarian grass roots.

Labels: ,

The original SJW invasion

How the comics were entered and taken over by the original SJW freakshow:
Olive Byrne met Marston in 1925, when she was a senior at Tufts; he was her psychology professor. Marston was already married, to a lawyer named Elizabeth Holloway. When Marston and Byrne fell in love, he gave Holloway a choice: either Byrne could live with them, or he would leave her. Byrne moved in. Between 1928 and 1933, each woman bore two children; they lived together as a family. Holloway went to work; Byrne stayed home and raised the children. They told census-takers and anyone else who asked that Byrne was Marston’s widowed sister-in-law. “Tolerant people are the happiest,” Marston wrote in a magazine essay in 1939, so “why not get rid of costly prejudices that hold you back?” He listed the “Six Most Common Types of Prejudice.” Eliminating prejudice number six—“Prejudice against unconventional people and non-conformists”—meant the most to him. Byrne’s sons didn’t find out that Marston was their father until 1963—when Holloway finally admitted it—and only after she extracted a promise that no one would raise the subject ever again.

Gaines didn’t know any of this when he met Marston in 1940 or else he would never have hired him: He was looking to avoid controversy, not to court it. Marston and Wonder Woman were pivotal to the creation of what became DC Comics. (DC was short for Detective Comics, the comic book in which Batman debuted.) In 1940, Gaines decided to counter his critics by forming an editorial advisory board and appointing Marston to serve on it, and DC decided to stamp comic books in which Superman and Batman appeared with a logo, an assurance of quality, reading, “A DC Publication.” And, since “the comics’ worst offense was their blood-curdling masculinity,” Marston said, the best way to fend off critics would be to create a female superhero.

“Well, Doc,” Gaines said, “I picked Superman after every syndicate in America turned it down. I’ll take a chance on your Wonder Woman! But you’ll have to write the strip yourself.”

In February 1941, Marston submitted a draft of his first script, explaining the “under-meaning” of Wonder Woman’s Amazonian origins in ancient Greece, where men had kept women in chains, until they broke free and escaped. “The NEW WOMEN thus freed and strengthened by supporting themselves (on Paradise Island) developed enormous physical and mental power.” His comic, he said, was meant to chronicle “a great movement now under way—the growth in the power of women.”

Wonder Woman made her debut in All-Star Comics at the end of 1941 and on the cover of a new comic book, Sensation Comics, at the beginning of 1942, drawn by an artist named Harry G. Peter. She wore a golden tiara, a red bustier, blue underpants and knee-high, red leather boots. She was a little slinky; she was very kinky. She’d left Paradise to fight fascism with feminism, in “America, the last citadel of democracy, and of equal rights for women!”
Narcissistic left-leaning sexual freakshows pushing feminist propaganda onto an unsuspecting market as the original content creators and publishers, in their naive ignorance, blithely fail to see what is happening right under their noses. Sound familiar, everyone in the science fiction and game industries? The only substantive difference between the current states of comics, SF, and games is the date at which the SJWs began to invade those industries.

Don't let it happen again.

From the Wikipedia page about Marston, the first SJW: "He purposely aimed to condition readers to becoming more readily accepting to submission to loving authorities rather than being so assertive to their own destructive egos."

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Another response to Anita Sarkeesian

Sam Roberts of Reaxxion carefully considers Anita Sarkeesian's list of recommendations to "make games less shitty for women". This was #3 on his list of eloquent, well-reasoned, and above all, illustrative responses:
Have female characters of various body types

My response: No.

The temptation is always to say that Ms. Sarkeesian misrepresents the gaming industry, that there are actually plenty of female-friendly games, or that characters like the ones above are “strong women”, whom feminists should love.  This is the wrong answer.  By making this argument, you’re implicitly agreeing with Sarkeesian and her like that games need to be feminist-friendly; you’re just disagreeing on how feminist-friendly they are right now.  And once you’ve agreed with her there, you’ve given her the power to dictate what is and isn’t allowed.  After all, who’s going to know better about what games are SJW-friendly—you, or a women’s studies major?

The only response is this: If you don’t like games with big-boobed girls, don’t play them.
There is nothing to discuss. I speak only for myself, but my opinion happens to be shared by nearly ever game designer and game developer in the industry, regardless of whether they are Left, Right, or somewhere in the middle. We make the games we want to make. We play the games we want to play. If Anita Sarkeesian, or anyone else, wants to see different games made, then she is welcome to make her own. We're not going to do it.

Frankly, these ladies all look a bit beefy to me. Where are all the slender, snake-hipped girls with cheekbones you can shave with and BMIs of 17? Surely this is the rankest misogyny by bearded, round-bellied patriarchs!

Labels: , ,

Christianity's killers

I was not surprised there has been an amount of pushback against the idea that a Christian should do anything except sit on his ass and prayerfully expect that God will take care of everything in due time. Now, this is not to denigrate the power of prayer, which is vital and can absolutely be efficacious, but rather the idea that it is God's will for us to always refrain from any action of any kind that might bruise the feelings of anyone, especially an enemy.

There is an intrinsic conflict between the moderates and the extremists of any movement or organization. The moderates are inward-focused, conservative, defensive, and believe that public relations is the ultimate determinant of victory or defeat. The extremists are outward-focused, creative, offensive, and believe that material conditions are the ultimate determinant of victory or defeat. These two rival perspectives tend to hold true regardless of whatever the issue might be, from politics and cultural war to sports and business affairs.

Christianity merely compounds this intrinsic conflict, it does not create it. And it is not, as some might have it, a mere intellectual difference of opinion, which is why discussing the different perspectives and attempting to come to some compromise seldom works. Consider what Maj. Dick Winters, of Band of Brothers fame, wrote about Easy Company in Beyond Band of Brothers:
On reflection, we were highly charged; we knew what to do; and we conducted ourselves as part of a well-oiled machine. Because we were so intimate with each other, I knew the strengths of each of my troopers. It was not accidental that I had selected my best men, Compton, Guarnere, and Malarkey in one group, Lipton and Ranney in the other. These men comprised Easy Company’s “killers,” soldiers who instinctively understood the intricacies of battle. In both training and combat, a leader senses who his killers are. I merely put them in a position where I could utilize their talents most effectively. Many other soldiers thought they were killers and wanted to prove it.

In reality, however, your killers are few and far between. Nor is it always possible to determine who your killers are by the results of a single engagement. In combat, a commander hopes that nonkillers will learn by their association with those soldiers who instinctively wage war without restraint and without regard to their personal safety. The problem, of course, lies in the fact that casualties are highest among your killers, hence the need to return them to the front as soon as possible in the hope that other “killers” emerge.
In other words, the dynamic between actors and non-actors is entirely normal and the latter always outnumber the former. Keep in mind that the men of Easy Company were aggressive, competitive, highly-trained young men who belonged to the absolute elite of the US military. And even there, the "killers are few and far between". In war, physical or metaphorical, there are very few who are capable of instinctively waging it "without restraint and without regard to their personal safety". And one important difference between actual war and cultural war is that in the case of the latter, many of the nonkillers spend a fair amount of their time sniping at the killers on their own side rather than at the other side.

Imagine how effective Easy Company would have been if instead of being expected to follow the killers' example, its nonkillers dedicated themselves to explaining at length that instead of flanking the German gun position on D-Day and killing the German gunners, they should all prove themselves to be better than the Germans by being nice to them. And then, when the killers ignored them and began the flank attack, instead of laying down covering fire, the nonkillers started shooting at the killers. Does anyone seriously think this would be a successful way to wage war?

Why, then, does anyone imagine that the same tactical approach will succeed in cultural war? If the moderates will not at the very least provide covering fire for the extremists, they are useless. And to the extent that they open their cowardly mouths to criticize, correct, and concern-troll the only people on their side who are taking action, they are worse than useless.

As for the Christians, let us reflect upon the Biblical example that many "nonkillers" like to cite, Matthew 26:51
With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
There is a great deal of significant information here, particularly the situation-specific aspects of the command, but with regards to the present subject, the most important point is this: Jesus knowingly chose a hot-tempered "killer" as one of his closest companions and the rock upon which he would build the Church. Like David, beloved of God, and Paul, the great evangelist, it is the "killers" whom God has historically preferred and chosen to utilize. I do not think the moderates and nonkillers who sit back and snipe in the comfortable confidence that they are doing God's will by sitting on their plump posteriors and doing nothing that will offend anyone should be so confident that God's Will is in line with their own.

Keep in mind that the incident is also recounted in John 18:10
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
Clearly the relevant point is not the non-use of swords, but the non-use of a particular sword in a particular situation. As to "dying by the sword", what of it? That doesn't mean that one's actions that put one at risk of it are necessarily wrong. It's merely a factual warning. Recall what Winters pointed out: "The problem, of course, lies in the fact that casualties are highest among your killers." Winters also wrote about the guilt he sometimes felt at reunions, as he was reminded that there were about half as many survivors of 1st platoon as there were from Easy Company's 2nd and 3rd platoons due to the heavier casualties they took. But consider why he leaned upon them so heavily:
With thirty-five men, a platoon of Easy Company had routed two German companies of about 300 men. American casualties (including those from Fox Company) were one dead, twenty-two wounded. German casualties were fifty killed, eleven captured, about 100 wounded.
It should not be a surprise that looking into it reveals that the platoon responsible was Easy Company's 1st platoon. Dying by the sword is not a sin. It is, in many cases, a sacrifice.

Most damning of all, I think, is the observable hypocrisy of many moderates, who flagrantly violate their own advice. They are very often more than happy to insult their nominal allies and attack their own side's extremists with the very names they refuse to call the enemy.

Labels: ,

Pink SF's 2015 business plan

The pinkshirts have revealed their clever plan to deal with technology, reader disinterest, and Blue SF cutting into their increasingly declining sales:
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has reportedly paid University of Oregon “poet” Amanda Powell to translate a 2005 science fiction novel promoting “a straightforwardly queer approach to sexuality.” Powell, whose poetry has appeared in the anthology This Assignment Is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on Teaching, reportedly was given a $12,500 federal grant to reword the book by Uriel Quesada, El gato de sí mismo aka Cat on His Own Behalf, from Spanish into English. (The novel is currently holding down an Amazon Best Sellers Rank of #6,737,114)
On a scale of 1 to 100, my level of surprise is about minus 20. Lefties ALWAYS eventually turn to the government for handouts. They have no choice, they're parasites. They are the Grasshopper People. Without forced consumption, bait-and-switches, begging, or funding from industry and government, they can't survive because no one actually wants to buy what they're selling.

Labels:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

CPAC results

25.7            Sen. Rand Paul
21.4            Gov. Scott Walker
11.5            Sen. Ted Cruz
11.4            Dr. Ben Carson
8.3             Former Gov. Jeb Bush
4.3             Former Sen. Rick Santorum
3.7             Sen. Marco Rubio
3.5             Donald Trump
3.0             Carly Fiorina
2.8             Gov. Chris Christie
1.1             Former Gov. Rick Perry

One the one hand, it's clear that conservatives have no patience for another "electable" moderate who will lose the general election. On the other hand, 11.4 percent for an anti-gun token black candidate indicates that a lot of them are still more concerned about being called racists than they are about winning elections.

Labels:

#GamerGate: the last redoubt

Nero has some important observations that those in other communities attacked by the SJW Left should take to heart:
In all of the distracting, hysterical, evidence-free and unfair allegations of misogyny and bigotry hurled at supporters of GamerGate, the consumer revolt that continues to surface outrageous misconduct in the video games press, something is being forgotten.

GamerGate is remarkable—and attracts the interest of people like me—because it represents perhaps the first time in the last decade or more that a significant incursion has been made in the culture wars against guilt-mongerers, nannies, authoritarians and far-Left agitators.

Industry after industry has toppled over, putting up no more of a fight than, say, France in 1940. Publishing, journalism, TV… all lie supine beneath the crowing, cackling, censorious battle-axes, male and female, of the third-wave feminist and social justice causes.

But not gamers. Lovers of video games, on seeing their colleagues unfairly hounded as misogynists, on watching journalists credulously reporting scandalous sexual assault claims just because a person was perceived to be “right-wing” and on seeing the games they love attacked and their very identities denied and ridiculed, have said: no. This will not stand.
The key, as he points out is here: "Because hard-core gaming is overwhelmingly male—don’t believe cherry-picked statistics that tell you women now make up 50 per cent of gamers; they don’t, in any meaningful sense—and because those men are often of a stubborn, obsessive, hyper-competitive and systematic bent, it has produced an army finally capable of launching offensives against the censors—using the censors’ own tactics, such as advertiser boycotts, against them."

Keep in mind the Four Fs of Victory. Fight, Follow, or get the F--- out of the way. And if you're a concern moderate who has "concerns" or is "worried" or thinks one tactic or another might be "counterproductive", shut the F--- up. 

As history clearly shows, you're the one who is counterproductive.

Labels: , ,

Truth in Anti-GamerGate

It's admittedly hard to find. But we finally managed to locate some after correcting for a few modest exaggerations and untruths, shall we say. Meet Fuchsian Stains, the oft-open mouthpiece of Anti-GamerGate.

And this exchange is why you ALWAYS ignore the ever deeply concerned Concern Trolls.

George Feher ‏@BRC1134
Why the fat shaming? Bad enough they shame mental and neural health issues. Shouldn't you be better than them? 

Vox Day ‏@voxday
Click on the link. It should be self-explanatory.

George Feher ‏@BRC1134
I understand parody, but I think this will be used against gamergate and other things that don't need sjw crap.

Vox Day ‏@voxday
Don't focus inward, target outward. There are no GG thought police.

Bloody moderates. Always concern-trolling, always thought-policing, always preferring to shoot at their own side than the other one. I think I've finally figured it out their counterproductive tendencies, however. Moderates tend to be gammas, so they don't want to take on the enemy directly because they're conflict-avoidant and after all, the enemy might shoot back.

So, they suddenly become "strategists" and experts in coming up with ways to prevent anyone from actually doing anything. It's freaking hilarious to see a few of them "strategizing" together because they inevitably produce a consensus that is not only less effective than literally everything they've been criticizing, but is usually unrelated to the original objective. "We should be better than them" is their battle cry. They love to show that they are "better" than the other side by preemptively surrendering and refusing to fight back. Which, of course, is why they reliably lose.

Now, I should point out this isn't always the case. Brad Torgersen may be the cuddly Bleeding Heart Care Bear of the Evil Legion of Evil, but he's as steady under critical fire as The Mountain That Writes, and if he lacks my quasi-sociopathic immunity to social pressure, he is nevertheless remarkably calm about it. One thing I've learned about Mormons in the last two years is that they are remarkably unflappable.

Labels:

Shots across the bow

Zerohedge notes that China appears to be taking sides in the Ukraine conflict and doing so in support of Russia:
Speaking in very clear and explicit language, something diplomats are not used to doing, the Chinese ambassador said the "nature and root cause" of the crisis was the "game" between Russia and Western powers, including the United States and the European Union.
He said external intervention by different powers accelerated the crisis and warned that Moscow would feel it was being treated unfairly if the West did not change its approach.

"The West should abandon the zero-sum mentality, and take the real security concerns of Russia into consideration," Qu was quoted as saying.

His comments were an unusually public show of understanding from China for the Russian position. China and Russia see eye-to-eye on many international diplomatic issues but Beijing has generally not been so willing to back Russia over Ukraine.
As noted above, China has long been very cautious not to be drawn into the struggle between Russia and the West over Ukraine's future, not wanting to alienate a key ally. And yet, something changed overnight, with this very clear language, warning some could say, that China will no longer tolerate Pax Americana, and even the mere assumption of a unipolar western world, let alone the reality.
Qu's comments take place just as talks between the United States and its European allies over harsher sanctions against Moscow.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Western powers of trying to dominate and impose their ideology on the rest of world. The United States and European delegations slammed Moscow for supporting rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Qu said Washington's involvement in Ukraine could "become a distraction in its foreign policy".
And then, Qu's slap in the face of Obama: "The United States is unwilling to see its presence in any part of the world being weakened, but the fact is its resources are limited, and it will be to some extent hard work to sustain its influence in external affairs."
Very soon after which a prominent critic of Putin was shot dead in a blatant hit that doesn't resemble the usual Russian method of dealing with their critics. Of course, trying to determine whether it is a Russian act, a CIA act meant to look like a Russian act, or a Russian act meant to look like a CIA act, is futile. But it does look as if we're back at near-Cold War levels of hostility between the USA and Russia.

The key difference this time, in my opinion, is that the Russian people will be considerably more united against the USA and its Western allies under a Russian nationalist like Putin than they ever were under the Soviets. If the American strategists are failing to take this into account, their efforts are likely to end in disaster.

Labels:

Of deceit and discourse

Chris Gerrib made a demonstrably incorrect statement yesterday. He also implied that he had read the entire book, pointing out that he had bought it and talking about details from the first chapter. I called him on his statement and asked him a simple, straightforward yes/no question that would have indicated it to be not only false, but disingenuous and knowingly false.

You made a false and disingenuous claim about what "this SJW shit" is. Do you admit that "this SJW shit" is what "gleefully subverts gender roles" and "the subversion of the dominant white male paradigm"? Yes or no?

Instead of answering the question as per the clearly posted rules of the blog, Chris then went on to post NINE additional comments evading it. I gave him three opportunities to answer, and when he would not do so, I informed him that he would not be posting any more further comments here until he answered the question. This was his not-entirely-unexpected response:
Vox- I'm done talking to you. If you don't want me to comment here, get me banned. Otherwise, fuck off. If you think that's conflict avoidance, whatever. Why I should give a damn about the opinion of a one-name wonder is beyond me.
He is done talking to me. He is done talking to everyone here, now that he is banned and spammed. Furthermore, I note that Chris Gerrib is a liar, a deceiver, an intellectual coward, and a near-textbook example of an insecure, passive-aggressive, conflict-avoidant gamma male, who turns evasive and runs away rather than even take the risk of being publicly forced to admit that he was wrong.

What was fascinating about his behavior yesterday is that at Alpha Game, we have been discussing precisely this pattern of behavior of men who belong to this socio-sexual demographic for the last two weeks, and helping various gammas try to break the pattern. Gerrib's behavior fit it to a T; it was so predictable that several of us were discussing it before he even finished the customary Gamma routine. As one observer said, it was like watching a textbook example in action.
Notice the various elements of the socio-sexual hierarchy at work:
  • Alpha: doesn't mind straightforward conflict, will not tolerate disrespect, is comfortable with direct and physical conflict. The political is not personal.
  • Gamma: can't tolerate disagreement or criticism, bitchy, cowardly, puts himself in situations he is not equipped to handle. The political is personal, the technical is personal, everything is personal. Runs from direct confrontation.
 Here are a few of the typical Gamma behaviors identified by an ex-Gamma that were obvious throughout the comments.
  • In the past year you can’t recall a single serious online discussion you were wrong about anything.
  • In the past two years you can’t recall one discussion with any friends or family in which you were wrong about anything.
  • When finally shown you are wrong about something it is devastating, you remember it for months or years, avoid that place or people, and consider your time there a failure as a person.
  • You routinely lie about small, personal, matters knowing you can get away with it.
  • You think width of knowledge is more important than depth of knowledge.
  • If you start to lose at any game you find a way to quit if you can and hope to save face by degrading the game or the other players.
  • If someone defeats you at a game or competition you can’t look them in the eye afterwards and try to avoid them if possible. 
The two points that I thought was the most telling yesterday were those that concern routinely lying and width of knowledge. From the very start, Gerrib deceitfully struck a pose of being more knowledgeable about the book than he actually was before eventually exposing his own deceit.
  1. "Well, having bought the book based on the author's reading of the first chapter at Windycon, I read stuff like this. Chapter 1 was pretty active, ending with a shoot-out and a bad guy trying to use some kind of mind-control device." 
  2. "if you had gotten as far as the end of chapter 1, you would have found out that the women who cause the first gunfight were both Asian."
  3. "I have not read past chapter 1."
This behavior makes no sense to the non-gamma male, but to prefer everyone knowing that you're deceitful to publicly admitting that you're wrong is the quintessence of gamma. Gammas know no honor because they reject the concept, they consider it foolish. And there is no place in the public discourse here for those who intentionally seek to deceive their fellow commenters.

This is not the first time Gerrib has behaved in this manner. S1AL noted:
That's a truly amusing statement coming from someone incapable of admitting when he is incorrect about any fact. Really, tell me again how there were no black people in a pirate movie before 2005... or how the Declaration of Independence is the "founding" document of America. But hey, now I know it's not just me to whom you won't admit being wrong.
The Rules of the Blog exist for several good reasons, and one of the primary ones is to foster honest, civil, and rational discourse. Those who demonstrate that they either cannot or will not engage in such discourse will not be permitted to continue commenting here.

Labels:

Older Posts