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Everything posted by CollegeBaby

  1. Today's launch of the Orion spacecraft seems like a good opportunity to talk about this book. For those who don't know - it is set shortly into the future after the third manned-mission to Mars goes horribly wrong when a team of astronauts must abort the mission and leave behind a crew member who is presumed to be mortally wounded in a sandstorm. Trouble is, he survived. Stranded on Mars, Mark Watney must use his technical skills in engineering and botany to extend what was originally a 30-day mission to last for years before he has any chance of rescue. This book is an extremely well researched hard science-fiction triller that impressed me with how much commitment it had to its science and did not compromise it for cheap dramatics. However it had just enough humility and sense of humour to not make readers feel out of their depth with the concepts. Many people have compared it to a mix of Cast Away and Apollo 13, and as such I visualised the main character as basically being Tom Hanks. I really liked this book. It heralds a degree of scientific literacy such as Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke that is rare to find in fiction. It also avoids falling into blind scientism since it is very respectful of the limits of Man as it confronts the overwhelming indifference of the Universe. This is especially impressive since as far as I know the author has no scientific background. Some problems I had with it were it pushed a bit too hard with the humour at times. The book is mostly told in the form of first-person journal entries from Mark Watney - who while a very talented and professional scientist - he tends to respond to stress with dry black humour. This is great most of the time to provide comedic relief from the tension and to condense complex scientific principles into simple analogies. However I think it came at a slight expense of some interesting introspective character moments that were too few and far between. This does not reach too far in trying to be a dark dramatic character study like Gravity or Interstellar (which I am truly grateful for because it was handled poorly in both those movies) but it does come off as a bit too flippant at times and the first-person window you get into his experience feels a little bit wasted.
  2. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    Yeah I agree with this which is why I feel conflicted about it. I'm not going to follow her, as if she would give a shit anyway, but as to what happens now with her position in the community is a really tricky issue.
  3. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    I really don't know what to do with Brianna. I've been tentatively on board with her up until this point but definitely had the problems with her that people have already brought up. I'm so not interested in any "greater good" bullshit here. A "truce" where Wardell does not apologise for his actions, denounce GG, or amend his behaviour has zero meaning. A "greater good" literally does not exist. I really don't get Brianna's angle with this. She'll probably spend 30 minutes talking about this on her podcast next week (let's be honest Isomeric is really just the Brianna Wu Podcast) so I'll listen to her try to explain herself, but I think I'm just done with caring about anything she has to say at this point. If she can explain herself, apologise to the people who's issues she has hand-waved and show that she has improved then fine, but I don't see that happening. I take issue with the idea that Feminism should be this united front against the primary problem of male chauvinists. Passing over other marginal folk just so major white Feminists can get a win against some big male douchegargler seems like a hollow victory to me. At the same time personally calling out people on Twitter is extremely unproductive, especially when the person is as targeted as Brianna. The echo-chamber complaint of Twitter is really weird to me as well. People will say that and/or that Twitter is a dumpster fire of drama and hostility. Both are kinda true, but I don't know what people expect other than just nobody using Twitter. It's not an RSS feed, it's a social media platform. I mean don't we all surround our personal life and spend time with people we mostly agree with? People you follow on Twitter are not your friends, but I'm not going to follow people I strongly disagree with just for some "both sides" wank. I just don't usually get along with people that I'm just going to argue with about politics all the time, and I don't know why I am supposed to feel bad about that.
  4. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    Calling Zak a "one man gamergate" I think is using unnecessarily loaded language. He's not part of a misogynist pushback ideology like gamergate is. He also doesn't really have that much power over any subculture, even in sex work. I think it was meant to reflect his history of gatekeeping in the DnD community, and generally being a petulant manchild about it. He is just a classic case of Clueless White Male Ally who does defend a number of social justice issues, but considers himself immune to failure and continually refuses to listen to marginal groups when called out for being a rubbish ally. Instead he regularly frames all dissidents as anti-sex conservatives, even when being called out by other sex workers. Whatever. Like I said he is relatively benign small fry compared to the problems related to this thread. I didn't mean to go on a tangent and I don't consider it important enough to list each of his transgressions, so people are free to reserve judgment.
  5. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    "I wanted to make fun of trolls by repeating exactly the same behavior they did. You know... the edgy clever thing where you make fun of a thing by being indistinguishable from the thing. It was TRUE SATIRE but now I am being harassed for realsies and now I truly understand." So sick of dudes who think this is the best thing since comedy was invented. Your intended targets completely missed the point, and you created real harm, so who was your "satire" for?* *extremely rhetorical question Now waiting for the the guy to come out and say "actually all that was ANOTHER layer of satire about how clueless white dudes do shitty things to vulnerable people, and justify it as satire of other people who do shitty things to vulnerable people." Ugh. These kinds of stunts have another horrible long term effect of diminishing the seriousness of organised sociopathic patterns of online harassment. Actual authorities barely understand online harassment as it is, and this isn't helping. On a related note, Zack S has been name searching himself and getting into arguments with people on Twitter who are calling him out for being an asshole. Probably has found this thread as well, which is why I deliberately do not spell his name correctly. I don't believe his personal views are as abhorrent as the people currently being hired by the Escapist, but his behavior online and extreme aggressiveness with people calling him out is gross and has been going on for years. He is very tangential to the themes of this thread though so I don't want to distract from other topics.
  6. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    It's good that people are ditching the Escapist for their hiring choices, but I'd be careful not to hold up Zack S as a good example though. He's been known for a pattern of harassment himself. Fail Forward
  7. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    Please TB just stop Throwing more stuff into the pile of TB farting from his mouth and getting one step closer to his final form as Shit-Golem Of The Internet. TB cares SO MUCH about the death of trans people that he hits almost every possible derail tactic when someone raises the issue of vulnerable minorities being a systemic issue.
  8. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    Before Gamergate had a name... (Full story in link) So what is Ken Levine's stance on death threats?
  9. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    This Ken Levine thing puts a new perspective on several personalities in GG, who now look like they're desperately trying to be ersatz Andrew Ryan. Actually it would be really nice if GG fucked off to a secret city under the sea and never bothered anyone else again. Wait is 8chan... Rapture? Only they're still lashing out against decent society. Someone probably made this comparison 6 months ago.
  10. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    It's really long! Also apparently they are having server issues from traffic. (deleted my copy-paste since RPS seems to be working fine and I don't want to hijack page views)
  11. "Ethics and Journalistic Integrity"

    So this has been the GG thread, but this might be related to actual ethics in games journalism unrelated to GG and I don't know, it might warrant discussion. John Walker interviewed Peter Molyneux and... I have mildly strong opinions about what happened but I'll let people read it and see what they think. Peter Molyneux Interview: “I haven’t got a reputation in this industry any more”
  12. Is It Wrong To Eat Meat?

    No not directed at anyone in particular, it's just a common problem with this issue being discussed. If anyone wants a dose of Veganism 101 this is a good video.
  13. Is It Wrong To Eat Meat?

    Reason #2 why I hesitate to discuss Veganism: being repeatedly queried with moral conundrums to test the precise priority of my ethics, especially if is done in bad faith to force some kind of contradiction. Meanwhile, I never have to ask meat-eaters to justify why they think cannibalism is wrong. But would you eat your dead neighbour if it would save the life of your first born child? Really, if you genuinely want to know more about Vegan ethics then there are plenty of resources and literature out there. If you're trying to find a loophole so you can win an internet argument, give it a rest. I want to explain I don't think owning a pet is tantamount to slavery, it is more like adopting a child. The simple act of caring for a pet I don't take much issue with. Assistant dogs for blind people and other less able people are great. It is the pet breeding industry that I have a problem with. Imagine if you wanted to adopt a child and instead of a shelter for homeless children you went to a dealer that breeds children with all the physical/psychological traits that you desired in a child. Where women used for breeding are held in cramped captivity with poor living conditions and are not socialised to other humans. Where the women are constantly in pregnancy and there are generations upon generations of inbreeding. Where the industry is very loosely regulated, profits take high priority over human welfare and medical records are not always kept. Where "defective" children are culled because they will never be adopted, along with women that are beyond the age of childbearing. Unless you do very diligent research on where you are buying your pets from, this is part and parcel of purchasing from a pet dealer. This is before you even touch on the percentage of people who impulse-buy pets only to abandon them at shelters when they change their mind, often simply to be euthanised later. Human's love affair with quaint domestic animals wont disappear so I don't think making this illegal will ever work, but there needs to be much better regulation to make it as safe and ethical as possible. Even the animals that humans ostensibly love the most are not free from animal rights abuses.
  14. Is It Wrong To Eat Meat?

    Personally I'm against keeping pets unless they are shelter rescues. Contributing to the animal breeding industry is a big no-no for me, and laden with a number of problems I don't have the patience to get into right now.
  15. Is It Wrong To Eat Meat?

    Agreed. The reason I don't eat meat, or support any kind of animal product, is exactly the same reason I don't for humans. All animals can feel suffering as a result of having a nervous system, and all want to live because of their will for self-preservation. Because of this, I think it is ethically preferable that at the very least they are given the right to live according to their will. While I don't believe there is such a thing as an objective morality, or that you can create morals from simple physical facts of the world, this seems like a rather simple and obvious moral premise to me as an entity capable of empathy. However, the philosophy of ethics is a fuzzy topic, and possibly one of the most pointless things to be arguing about if we can't agree on moral premises. This is pretty much the core reason I loathe debating this with people. Almost everyone thinks themselves to be a "good" person, so when somebody else makes the suggestion that something they are doing is unethical, they can't resolve the two thoughts. Most of the time they will deny that the behaviour is unethical, or say it is not their responsibility. It's the same issue when talking Feminism with someone who is being sexist. Most people don't want to believe they are sexist because then they must believe they are committing bad behaviour or reinforcing harmful attitudes. That is why we have stupid things like "SJW" which is somehow meant to be a slur. Likewise, vegans are cast as being stereotypically holier-than-thou for their views. It is my view that eating meat, being sexist, or whatever other transgressions of injustice do not automatically make you a bad person. Good people can do bad things when the weight of a cultural status quo is bearing down upon you to define your attitudes for you and drive you towards certain behaviours. Honestly I do not even know what substance there is in defining a person as either bad or good, but that's a different topic. Like I said earlier, you absolutely can not underestimate how much the animal product industry has become a deeply rooted component of our society. You can't have an industry that large and that old, and not have it affect people's attitudes. This industry has been working very, very hard to disassociate your sense of empathy for a another living creature so that you only view it as a banal supermarket product.
  16. Is It Wrong To Eat Meat?

    Despite being vegan I loathe to get into these discussions most of the time, especially on the internet. However I think it's important to remind ourselves how heavily our economy is structured around animal products, and that because vegetarianism/veganism is a niche market it is not always economical for the consumer. So instead I advocate foremost that people try to minimise harm as best they can, rather than trying to meet ultimate rules. Even being vegan you can't expect to be 100% ethical 100% of the time. Doing the best you can is all that you can do.
  17. They're taking my Freeze Peach!

    Freedom of Speech has become a hot talking point lately. The Interview, UK porn bans, Hatred game... anything GamerGate touches... So by now I guess most people have heard about the French magazine Charlie Hedbo that was targetted by gunmen in an assault killing 12 people, allegedly in a terrorist attack in response to inflammatory comics depicting the prophet Muhammad. If not, then this. Charlie Hebdo attack It was a horrific and cowardly attack that nobody deserved, and as such many people have taken up the defence for freedom of speech in support of the victims. The problem is the Charlie Hedbo cartoons are racist as fuck and have little satirical value. You can look at some of them here with English translations and context provided. Look I am an atheist and I have some harsh criticisms of Islamic doctrine, but I separate that from the people who believe it. I separate that from the large majority of secular Muslims living in Western nations who condemn terrorist attacks, and have to apologise to xenophobic white people every time one happens. I separate that from the people living in the Middle East who deal with extremists on a daily basis that white people do not give a fuck about. The comics did not do this. The comics casually conflate Islam with race, depicting Arabic people as gross caricatures. They regularly trade in causing shock and provocation rather than critiquing bad ideas and oppressive systems. The core problem is the "satire" is routinely the form of punching down at victimised people using poor taste personal insults. It is tacitly supporting of bigotry compiled of xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, antisemitism and - crucially - islamophobia. Freedom of speech is an important human right and I don't think comics like this should be banned, but I question the judgement behind them being published and the people who take this up as a banner for freedom. Speech that is casually supporting of systematic oppression of maginalised people is not the kind of freedom I believe in. You can't have freedom of speech without freedom from consequences, and there already are consequences. Multiple mosques attacked in France following Charlie Hebdo killings To all the white people who tweeted #blacklivesmatter and #illridewithyou but are now supporting the Charlie Hedbo cartoons as a paragon of free speech, kindly go fuck yourself into the sun. You can support the victims and condemn the assailants without making this into a politcal grandstand disseminating hatred.
  18. They're taking my Freeze Peach!

    Sounds like people want to take my freeze peach from me.
  19. Feminism

    You're right 40 might be an exaggeration, I did not look up the exact statistic because it is too vague to encompass all cultures. That said, just because it is the mean average doesn't mean that life expectancy didn't influence people's long term decisions. The other thing I forgot to bring up was the rate of women dying from childbirth is of less concern now. Nevertheless, the improved medical science afforded by developing countries has been crucial to the liberation of women's role as caregivers. Immutable biological traits are becoming less and less of a relevant excuse, which was the larger point I was trying to make.
  20. They're taking my Freeze Peach!

    For that interpretation to make sense you would have to ignore that Charlie Hebdo were targeted for blasphemous depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, and that it would not make sense for them to be concerned about comics that perpetuate racist stereotypes by committing an act that would embody the very worst stereotype that Muslims are vilified for.
  21. They're taking my Freeze Peach!

    Please Charlie Hebdo, if you want to prove how subversive and anti-establishment you are run a cartoon skewering all the politicians and world leaders who use your name to score political brownie points, while also denying the freedoms of their own citizens. ‘Staunch defenders of free press’ attend Paris rally
  22. Feminism

    I've heard it suggested that institutional patriarchy had its seeds planted as far back as the rise of industrial agriculture about 10,000 years ago when it was customary to hand down your land/property to your children. Men wanted to be certain that their children were biologically their own, and in response became more possessive and controlling of their female partners' sexual access. I do not know how substantiated this is, I can't imagine all cultures would have followed this exact path. I suppose you could test this by comparing the gender politics of nomadic cultures who do not own land. Something we take for granted regarding the role of women as caregivers is that for the entirety of human history up until 100 or so years ago child mortality rates were much higher and life expectancy was much lower, as such you see people having more children. A mother having 5-10 children under the expectation they may die before age 40 could not reasonably expect to hold down a career even in this day and age. However, as birthrates decline and childcare resources improve in developed countries this expectation of women being the primary caregiver should really be falling into irrelevance.
  23. They're taking my Freeze Peach!

    Nah Tegan is right, although more accurately it is frozen yogurt. This thread has just been about me projecting my anger for not getting my frozen yogurt, while at the same time trying to convince myself that it is overrated and probably also cursed.
  24. Feminism

    On the gender wage gap: Apart from the basic problem that women's work is not as valued as men's, the wage gap is exacerbated by a large set of other relationships. Women are less likely to complete higher education, they are more likely to work in lower paying job sectors, they are less likely to get promotions, they are less likely to have full-time positions, they work less hours in casual/part-time jobs etc. Apologists use this is a way to mitigate the severity of the wage gap as women not being good enough employees, but they fail to understand how expectations of gender roles play a part in all these factors. None of these things just happened out of nowhere, actually they reinforce a dangerous cycle. To me the biggest sign of the sexism at the heart of the gender wage gap is that around the world there is only one industry where women are consistently paid higher than men. Sex work.
  25. They're taking my Freeze Peach!

    If it were up to me, the biggest takeaway from this tragedy shouldn't be free speech, but unity. Unity in the face of forces that will drive people apart. I don't know what causes anyone to become a terrorist, but I think we first have to ask why a decade long War on Terror has produced no meaningful results, and why we expect Western aggression in the Middle East to solve Terrorism but we don't expect to deal with the refugees and the immense humanitarian aid crisis that results from it. I see. I can't speak for other countries but that's definitely the relationship with Neo-Nazis in Australia too, and other related White Nationalist shitlickers. Australia has a definite problem with White Nationalism, maybe not so strong in the mainstream politics but it has a sizable count of the voting bloc. This is getting off topic, but I just wanted to say that since I don't want to feel like I'm talking down from an Ivory Tower.