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Posts posted by Nachimir

  1. Thanks :)

    Agreed on economic growth. Fossil fuels are going to die one way or another, but green energy looks like it could make us very prosperous.

    There are many pros. However, one con I remembered yesterday is that biodiesel is beginning to price poor people out of food markets (e.g. corn in Mexico). Not sure that's such a good idea...

  2. there is plenty of evidence to suggest (I will provide links if you want) that the greater the free access to porn is, the lower the level of sex crimes are.

    Repression is a far more likely cause of deviant behaviour than porn.

    I really would like to see those links. I'm not challenging you, in fact I agree with you. I was in a discussion recently where Japanese culture came up, specifically lower rates of actual paedophilia yet media/pornography that are generally more permissive of it. Noone had a reference though. Got any, or similar?

  3. Arguing the benefit of taking action is absurd, there is no downside to preventing us wasting energy, it means our sources will last longer and our infrastructures will have less strain upon them. Using renewable sources removes the concern that one day the fuel will run out, so just adapt and get moving on them, dammit.

    As eljay says, there is no downside.

    I have plenty of acquaintances on both sides of the debate, and though the answers are complex, I think reaching a sensible position is reasonably simple: Climate change is irrefutably occurring even as whether or not industrialisation is the cause is still debated. Not doing anything about it risks severely fucking ourselves, whereas switching to cleaner energy has immense benefits.

    These benefits are many, in terms of reducing pollutants harmful to all our health (better than expending resources on cures), increasing resources available (oh so necessary for an expanding global population), and somewhat decentralising energy production (which increases security by making infrastructure inherently more resilient). Oil is not going to be much fun at all when population climbs another few billion and there are "prioritised oil users".

    Among other things, I use energy saving lightbulbs, habitually turn lights off, sometimes build very low power LED lighting for specific applications, walk a lot of journeys (usually only a couple of miles tops, but occasionally up to 10 miles a day), switched my CRT for a flat panel and set the energy saving on my computers aggressively. I also tend not to eat meat, but that's not an ethical or environmental decision; it's mostly because I never was that arsed about it when I was growing up in a meat eating household and knew I wouldn't bother with it after I moved out. That said, I understand the immense energy cost of feeding and keeping cattle and that does give me a warm rush of eco-smugness.

    If you look, you'll notice huge dollops of self interest in everything I do "environmentally", from physcial fitness to knowledge to reduced bills. This reflects the main thing I've learned about dealing with people professionally and the primary failing of late 20th century environmental movements: Without appealing to people's self interest, hardly anything changes. "Self interest" is the ugly, less socially acceptable but often more pragmatic way to talk about "win win".

    I'm concerned about climate change because it's on planning tables in the Pentagon and MoD. Given current trends and taking all extreme heat death/algae/venus type scenarios off the table, the strategic view is that it is incredibly likely that climate change is about to screw over sizeable swathes of humanity and trigger large population shifts. Can you smell tumult? I can. When people say "Global warming? Great, it's too cold around here anyway", I do want to hit them. Short-sighted self interest will very likely kick the collective ass of such people one day; whether it's their stocks crashing or lots and lots of brown people on the other side of their quivering copy of the Daliy Mail.

    There's been an amazing switch in the focus of the media and large businesses to environmentalism in the past twelve months, and what people don't seem to get is this: it's not altruism, it's survival. If anything, I think recent military adventures have demonstrated just how politically and economically untenable oil based economies are going to become, and various systems are responding to that.

    The switch is based on green technology rather than 90's hippie guilt: if all of us lived the "simpler" "more natural" life advocated by that, the planet would likely be just as polluted by supporting six billion/max population of us that way.

    You only have to look at some of the ugliest parts of human cultures, such as genocide, slavery, child sacrifice, female circumcision, etc., to realise that 100+ years of consumer habits ingrained into western societies aren't going to change in response to "moral" arguments based around such an abstract issue as the environment.

    I lived with a hippie environmentalist until a few months ago, and couldn't stand the near-Catholic levels of guilt, self denial, and disapproval washing off her. I love the environment, spent most of my childhood outside in it, and don't like seeing it polluted. I know we can do better.

    But really, fuck most environmentalists for not understanding how people and culture work.

  4. If any of you import, where do you do it from?

    Yes, I am eyeing up Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Tamashii.

    I'm wary of ebay because of counterfeit carts, and Sony shut Lik Sang down. Any other good, legit sources?

  5. I'm glad to hear it; I've got sick of quite a few series that rambled on.

    I binge viewed series 3 of BSG and it was just all extremely depressing... at least BSG as a whole has a clear story arc though, unlike Lost and the X Files, which both clearly piled on the mystery and have/had no way to dispel it gracefully.

    Given the number of pointers they've created to Earth up to the end of series three, it'd be really crap for them to drag BSG past a fourth.

  6. Osu! Tatake! Ouendan still bathes me in coruscating waves of awesomeness.

    The multiplayer minigames of New Super Mario Brothers are also fucking ace (if you can *cough* nag someone you know into buying a DS :))

  7. There are a fuckload of buildings. Of course they can't have all the windows reflect things around them.

    I'm aware of the tradeoff, it just looks fuck ugly as they have it right now. There are various ways of handling reflection, and even cube maps or one that reflects the sky dome and other buildings but not dynamic actors would look a hell of a lot better.

  8. The buildings once again appear to be smooth sided boxes with textures applied to them. The windows don't even reflect stuff, which would make a big difference. It kind of looks halfway between last gen and this.

  9. (Edit: Sorry, this is going to be long and full of questions. Rattling off hundreds of words about this is helping me to figure out a lot, but I'm really interested to read more of anyone's thoughts on the subject. And hey, if you read this you get to learn weird former secrets about me :)).

    It's more of a "You have to be mature in order to be able to watch this" than "This content is mature" label.

    Thanks for putting it so succinctly. I understand it, but I'm really interested as to why it's the case.

    Sometimes, the depiction of a disturbing event is grotesque and gratuitous, sometimes it's incredibly thought provoking.

    Nowadays I have a mind that can easily deal with just about anything, such as cuuuunt, in the sense that it's almost impossible to make me squeamish or repelled.

    I have quite a few friends who are similar. Absolutely nothing is off limits in conversation, we're all incredibly open about sex, bodily functions, and so on, and a black sense of humour is something common to us all. Many of these people have either suffered a lot, experienced massive culture shock, or been party to both.

    I don't take joy in suffering, and deal with things philosophically unless they're actually happening around me.

    A big part of this is recognising the boundary between reality and fiction, and "not being able to distinguish between the two" is something I've heard a lot in discussions of why children need to be protected from certain content. However, I'm not sure I buy it for any kid over the age of 10. I and a lot of kids I knew never had any trouble with this, though one, whose parents let him watch whatever films he wanted from the age of 5, gravitated toward violence and gore and had become very obsessed with them by the time he was around 12. He never confused the films he watched with real events or possibilities, but the content of them certainly had a major effect on his interests and motivations, to such an extent that he could watch Terminator 2, pick up on none of the plot, and focus entirely on a connection in his own head between "violence" and "COOL!".

    So is it to do with the formation of personality?

    A whole load of people I know at all adult ages are still unable to deal with a lot of stuff. They can't watch or play it in media (Girl grown woman in the legal sense, sitting on sofa at a friend's house while I played Manhunt for the first time a few weeks ago and made a kill: "Oh fucking hell!" *leaves room*), and if anything similar happens around them they edit it out of their reality (Case in point: An 8 year old boy raped a 5 year old girl in a housing estate less than 30 miles from where I grew up. It never went to the police. A lot of people in the area couldn't believe it happened and ignored it. Another: Things that were absolutely bad (in the sense that wider culture universally reviles them), and subjectively bad (breaking of specific community principles that are no biggie to the world at large) happened in the community I grew up in, and in either case a whole lot of people would just pretend it wasn't happening).

    It's experience and observation of consequence that tells me what is okay and what is not okay, which equals a lot of contextual knowledge. I suspect having a context wide enough to absorb and understand certain fictitous events is crucial in being able to deal with them, but I'm curious: Has anyone actually documented the effects that disturbing media has on people not mature enough to deal with it? How much of censorship is pragmatic, and how much of it is a sacred cow?

    Also, I find that I absorb disturbing media not because it is entertainment (films like Saw and Hostel disgust me), but because it's thought provoking, at first beyond me, and the act of consuming it expands me. Is there a clear line that's crossed beyond which this becomes possible? If so, I have little idea when I crossed it, because I was raised in a cult and until my late teens reflexively turned away from anything like that under the belief that it would cause demons to infest my mind (Luckily, a great big dose of humanist science fiction and sincere friendship brought me back from jesus lala land in my late teens).

    Looking back, the way members of that cult deal with media is incredibly immature in itself, in that they won't watch 15 and 18 rated films. As a result, it's a culture of people who are completely unequipped to deal with any kind of disturbing events and much else besides. Their sexuality is so locked down that many of them have incredibly unhappy marriages, lived out wearing super-fortified, commandment infested pants. The first porn film I saw in my early teens (would've got me booted out if they'd ever found out), coupled with their utter prudishness, led me to believe male sexuality was inherently dominant and abusive for a few years. That really messed with me, but a decade or so later with wider experience, I could watch that kind of thing and just know that it was rubbish porno. Many men the same age still in the cult would probably be unable to make that distinction.

    Where's the tipping point? How does a piece of media flip from enabling people to understand a type of event to fomenting it?

    It might be said that I was "too young" to watch that porn when I first did, but I disagree. I was old enough to understand the mechanics of sex, was pubescent, and curious enough to seek something out about it. What I lacked was a family and culture that adequately enabled me to understand what I saw.

    I suspect that genuinely mature content has a lot of context built in to it, whereas "You have to be mature in order to be able to watch this" type content does not. Is that immoral in any way, or just amoral?

  10. In relation to n0wak's comment in this thread:

    (let's face it, even though they're rated M, a lot of them are quite immature)

    How come "mature" content is often the most purile?

    Whereas content that's actually mature (i.e. in the non-MurderDeathKillFuck sense) seems to be really, really good for kids to read/watch etc. as long as they can understand it.

  11. I'm fairly excited but distracted by moving house, etc.

    Wasn't very excited about the PS3, but my boss was telling me some things about Motor Storm that have me intrigued. I'm less excited about the Wii than I was when it first came out. With PC, Stalker and BF2142 are both tugging at my sleeve.

    Dunno, there's a lot of stuff I'm curious about, but not exactly sweaty over. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with AI on next gen consoles; whether it will be yet another typical bullet pointed marketing extravaganza or genuinely step closer to being more convincing and sophisticated.

  12. Originality and innovation are often thought of as these Big Things, but really they are a bunch of little things combined, and they are rarely a complete departure from conventions, they just sort of start there and explore a little bit further.

    OK I have no idea what I'm talking about. Time to go to bed. :fart:

    Actually that makes a good deal of sense (Argh, there was a really concise definition on the Loewy Foundation website, but they redesigned and nuked the content. Glad I blogged a copy):

    Loewy summarized his design philosophy with the acronym, MAYA - Most Advanced Yet Acceptable. It served as a guiding principle for Loewy and those in his employ reminding them not to push a design, however excellent, beyond the threshold of acceptability to consumers and manufacturers.

    He was a fucking good designer.

    Anything too far out on the fringe may be exciting, but also utterly foreign. Anything too far within the mainstream may be assured an audience of some kind, but ultimately be quite boring.

    Really good things that come before their time simply bomb because culture isn't prepared for them. The unknown is also full of absolute crap, which all people in creative professions are in the business of wading through to find something good. Zeitgeists are the sweet spot between bleeding edge and traditional.

    Hence, more artistic games like Katamari Damacy not doing so well in the US because they're too far outside of typical gamer culture. As an AI programmer named Adam Russel put it recently: "Technological change is very quick, but cultural change is glacial". I forget who said this, I think it was in a recent issue of Develop: "[right now] games are brilliant if you want to be a moron with a gun".

    The market is currently a huge constraint in terms of making the medium more mature, though Sony and Nintendo are doing good work on that.

  13. Rado is spot on about mods and mod teams. Their work is often rubbish and overly ambitious.

    Additionally, art asset production is an even bigger hurdle for mod makers than game developers, and one of the primary reasons mod teams fail. People have all kinds of ambitions with correspondingly large requirements for art assets.

    A certain moderately famous developer (who remains nameless I'm afraid) once wanted Black Cat to create a vast narrative + multiplayer game in Victorian London using the UT99 engine. Nuh-uh, we stayed with manageable things, and have suffered when we've tried to go beyond them.

    Wise teams choose to make mods that work with the assets of the game they're modding. Then their work gets criticised for not having an original aesthetic... :bomb: (So others go for an original aesthetic and are told by fans "How dare you keep us waiting so long!" :bomb: :bomb:)

    Licensed engines that ship with editors and scripting tools are an excellent way for people to cut their teeth. However, apart from the really hardcore who work in game dev during the day and mod at night, mods depend on volunteered time and lower levels of skill. The good people get industry jobs and often stop modding.

    There used to be a hope that modding would facilitate an art house games scene, but I think not. Mod communities are highly balkanised according to the middleware they work with, and using a specific engine tends to tie your mod to specific forms of gameplay it was designed for.