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Because the real Opiate of the Asses goes by the name "Ego" now. Fuck you.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

PC versus Consoles

This is going to be a short long post, I just need to get the facts out there.

A well built gaming PC is superior to any console.

That's right. Your Xbox or PS3 isn't worth shit compared to a gaming computer. Here's why. Gaming computers have interchangeable parts. You can buy a better graphics card than an Xbox, and put it into your computer. Hell, depending on your motherboard you can buy MORE than one. Same thing with processors. I read an article on how the next generation of Xbox is going to have a quad-core processor "better than any gaming computer." I laughed as I read that, then proceeded to shop for already existing and on the market six-core processors on Newegg. Besides, computers never get the "red ring of death". If a computer has a problem, it's a lot easier to fix it. If an Xbox gets red-ringed, you have to pay more money and take it back to the shop. They refuse to let you do your own repairs in order to get more money out of you. When you built your own computer, you know what everything looks like, what everything is supposed to look like, and more or less how to fix it. If any part of the computer gets completely fried, no problem, just replace the part yourself. Optical drive broken? 20 bucks and 10 minutes later, you're good to go.

In terms of software, PC wins again. Xboxes and PS3s can only play the games that you have on disc or are on the distribution network. Older games or retro games are completely lost on the console, you can't play them unless you kept your N64 or PS1. With your PC, you can download Project 64 or ePSXe, configure it, torrent your favorite games, and play away. Most games that are available on Xbox and PS3 have been ported to PC anyway. There's only a few exceptions to this, like some sports games, but that's only because the audience that plays those games don't usually use PCs because sports games are for casual gamers. If you're used to a controller instead of the keyboard and mouse (which is better for FPS games, especially with a R.A.T. 7 mouse), you can actually buy an adapter for a couple bucks and plug in your controller. A lot of games are already optimized for Xbox or Dualshock 3 controllers. If they aren't, there's programs like Joy2Key available. Speaking of programs, the game distribution platforms for PC are honestly superior to the PlayStation Network or whatever the hell the Xbox thing is. Steam has thousands upon thousands of games, ridiculous sales that make them all dirt-cheap, and they have an excellent layout that lets you mod games easily (another thing PCs can do a lot easier), chat with friends while playing or fix glitches without even exiting out of the game.

The things you can do on a PC that you can't on an Xbox or PS3 is really the final nail in the coffin. A gaming PC isn't only for gaming, it's for browsing, word processing, making videos, chatting with friends, picture editing, flash animations, you can do so much on a PC that you can't on a console. The only thing that really keeps people from getting a decent PC is the price. But if you know what you're doing, you can build a really decent computer for under 300 dollars, and add onto it as time goes on and parts go obsolete. The only reason people get consoles is because they either don't know how to (or that you even can) build a computer, or they're morons who think consoles are superior.

To prove that last point, I recently got into a (short) argument with an Xbox fanboy. He wouldn't bring up any valid points for his side of the argument, and after a few minutes I found out why. He didn't know anything about consoles, or how they worked. He thought graphics were dependent on what kind of TV you had hooked up to it. He didn't understand the concept of a "graphics card", and started accusing me of making it up. This is the reason people prefer consoles over PCs; they're plain old stupid.

Monday, January 28, 2013

All Aboard the Hot Air Balloon

I've recently noticed a lot of different facets to arrogance. There's overconfidence, inflated egos, pseudo-intellectuals, and the "omnipotent" ones. Today I'm taking the liberty of outlining every one of the mentioned facets, and my thoughts on each of them.

Confidence is a good thing to have. You have to have a reasonable amount of confidence if you want to get anything done. Overconfidence is a problem from time to time, and everyone is guilty of it, myself included. But it's just a part of life, the willingness to take risks, the willingness to say "I can do this" in a near hopeless  situation. Sometimes that confidence pulls through, and you end up triumphant. When confidence gets too out of control, that's you get to the next level of arrogance.

Inflated Egos
These are the kids who feel superior to everyone, regardless of their status, beliefs, or personality. They range from the thugs who think they're tough shit because they've lived a "rough life", to the spoiled rich kids who think their wealth is all that matters, and that it will never run out. These types are some of the most annoying to deal with, because they'll always pull the "You're just jealous" or the "You don't know me" card. I got into this argument with a spoiled rich girl a while back. She wasted all her time on partying and didn't bother keeping her grades up. She was completely convinced that her parents' money was going to last forever and everyone what just jealous of her life. Everything I tried to use against her, she waved off as jealousy. This wasn't a troll either. As far as I can tell, what she was saying was completely legitimate.

The "thugs" are almost as bad. Most of them aren't even from anywhere that could be considered a "ghetto". Most of them are just whiney middle-class kids trying to be "hardcore" but their parents won't let them. The few that are actually from the ghetto, are arrogant for really no reason. Their life sucks, they probably won't get anywhere. If they do get anywhere they usually gain some character in the process and stop being so arrogant. The truly arrogant ones are the ones dealing drugs, joining gangs where they're probably going to die at a young age from some pointless turf war. They're the ones leading a life of crime and thinking it's going to get them anywhere.

These are the guys that are arrogant enough to believe that they, some middle class, 1.4 GPA kid managed to uncover an entire conspiracy of jews/aliens/illuminati/freemasons on their own using only a laptop and a few sketchy details about 9/11. These are the guys that are convinced scientists lie to us. These are the guys that think they can disprove the laws of thermodynamics in their basements. These are the guys that try and convince the US that chemtrails and video games brainwash them into conformity. These guys aren't usually that bad, as it's usually easy to disprove or discredit what they're saying by stating a few well-known facts. These guys are nothing compared to the next ones.

See also: Far-Right Republicans

"The Omnipotent Ones"
These guys are the evolution of the Pseudo-Intellectuals. They're the ones that put their heads so far up their asses they reemerged as a new being altogether. They literally think that everything anyone else believes is a lie, this world is a falsity created by the jews/aliens/illuminati/freemasons. Science is a lie. The moon landing never happened, one plus one does not equal two. Any fact anyone else states isn't true because aliens.

The gall these morons have is infuriating, to assume their world is any more true than ours. They outright reject anything that is commonly accepted by society, and therefore it is impossible to argue with them, as they claim some bullshit like "you've been brainwashed by this system of consumerism". I supposed this is the reason I hate most conspiracy theorists, they're arrogant to the point of condescension and pity. They don't want their "truth", they want their imagined superiority because they "know the true nature of the world".

I've been guilty of the first, and possibly even the second form of arrogance. I realize I am not perfect, but I consider myself fit to make these observations, and do my meager part to move our society a little closer to a less hypocritical, more humble and respectful system.

Though to be honest, I think I'd get bored of that ideal system pretty fast.
Stupid people are funny.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I have just discovered what may be my absolute favorite work of art. A kinetic sculptor by the name of Theo Jansen has made it his life's goal to create life out of soda bottles, fabric, and yellow plastic tubes. For years he has created beautiful and complex creatures that roam the beach of Holland, surviving only off the power of the wind. He calls them Strandbeests.

The sheer, eerie beauty of these incredible creatures is astounding. They truly give you an appreciation for the complexity of life. At first glance, they don't seem like much, just sailboats that can walk across the sand, but the ingenuity and the mechanisms that bring these animals to life are beautiful and perfect in the same way that the biological processes that keep us alive are fascinating in their design.

Theo's creations behave exactly like animals, moving up and down the beach, storing energy, and surviving the elements. They survive solely on the wind through an incredible technique. When the wind is perpendicular to their bodies, they follow the wind, using it to move. When the wind shifts to blow parallel to their bodies, their wings unfold to catch it, and power pumps that pressurize air into plastic soda bottles. They literally eat wind. Like cold blooded animals absorbing sunlight, or bovine animals grazing in a field, these incredible animals feed off the movement of the air itself.

These animals even have self-preservation instincts. When the wind is too strong, and in danger of tearing the "wings" of these animals apart, for instance during a storm, the wings retract, catching no more wind until the danger is past. If a beast finds itself stuck in the loose, dry sand of the beach, unable to be moved by wind alone, another set of feet, powered by the pressurized "stomach" of soda bottles, moves it until it reaches solid, wetter sand. These creatures even move like real animals, with "heads" that sense the environment around them, twisting around on pneumatic necks. These creatures have everything from binary brains that count the steps from the ocean and the dunes, sensors that detect the water, and make it turn around to keep it from drowning, even a way to hammer itself into place with a stake so it doesn't get blown away. Jansen's goal is to make these beasts completely autonomous, so his legacy will live on, roaming the beaches of Holland.

Imagine, 20 years from now, with Theo Jansen's work complete, a herd of these majestic, skeletal creatures scuttles across the beach. They stop a moment to rest, their wings flapping as they garner the energy to move on. One by one, their wings retract and they start scuttling again, slowly at first, moving further down the beach until they are out of site.

Imagine stumbling down a sand dune into a herd of these creatures, laying as they swallow the wind itself, wings flapping, every now and then one moves a bit further down the beach. Jansen's vision of these beautiful, complex creatures is breathtaking, and it illustrates the barest, primal form of the artist's impulse, the impulse to convey a message in the form of a feeling, such as the feeling of peace as one overlooks an expansive plain filled with herds of majestic creatures, thriving as the wind sighs through the grass.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Lower Class

The other day I got into an argument with another republican. I think I've found the major flaw in their capitalistic economic theory. At the core of their economic argument is the idea that all people have the opportunity to work, and if they have a good work ethic, they will succeed. This leads to a lot of contempt towards the lower, impoverished classes. They seem to think that those people are all lazy asses that refuse to work and enjoy sitting in disease ridden allies and eating out of the trash. They don't seem to acknowledge all the factors that come into play in the issue of poverty.

Most people are poor, not because they don't want to get a job, but because they can't get a job. They are the worst possible candidates because of the past history of employment, their economic record, debts, and sometimes criminal record. They can't get jobs because when they walk into an interview, they don't have "nice" clothes to wear and walk in wearing the only tattered clothes they have. Imagine you're a manager at McDonald's  Are you going to hire the smelly guy in ripped up clothing, or the high school student? Companies have an image they want to uphold, and that image is destroyed as soon as someone sees the hobo flipping burgers or at the register. Their reputation would be destroyed if they hired someone like that. They can't get jobs anywhere because their resume is a mess. They can't improve their resume because they can't get a job. Poverty is literally a trap. Once you fall in, it's near impossible to climb out. Even if there are people willing to hire the homeless, they're so few and far between that they'd never be found without some sort of advertisement, which they don't do anyway. The entire Republican system is based on the ability to work, they disdain the impoverished because they don't work, never realizing that poverty is not laziness, it's a real economic problem.

A similar argument goes for illegal immigrants. Many of these people are families trying to survive, to escape the starvation of never having a job by fleeing to the US where they might get a job. Their dream is the same dream of the Republicans that treat them with such contempt; the American Dream. The people trying to cross the border do so because they know that if they can work, they have the chance to succeed. Most of them work harder than most middle class Americans and for much worse pay. They are normal people trying to live their lives, trying to provide a better life for their children, and their children's children. The only difference between an illegal immigrant and a hardworking American is that they're from Mexico. So if you're against illegal immigration, Oops! You're racist. Maddox makes an extremely valid point. If companies were forced to pay illegal immigrants the same as normal Americans, any incentive to hire them would be destroyed. The fact that they're willing to work for less makes them harder workers than anyone working the same job for more. Furthermore, illegal immigrants don't "steal" people's jobs, the only jobs they're taking are the lower class, supermarket dead-end jobs. The jobs that nobody really wants. If you get fired from a law firm, and a Mexican takes your place, it's not because he's an illegal immigrant that just took your job, it's because he had better credentials, or was a better at your job than you were.

The arguments against welfare and poverty, saying that poor folk are just "lazy asses" is ignorant and just plain wrong. There might be a tiny percentage of the lower class where that might be true, but for the most part they are normal, honest people down on their luck, trapped in this noose of poverty, with no money or support or ability to get a job. That's why welfare is so important, it gets those people back on their feet, it allows them to get jobs and contribute to society. That's why free public education is so important. That's why jobs in the USA are so important. They are the thing that keeps the lower class of the economy running, it reduces the poverty rate, it allows people the opportunity to work and provides the netting to catch them if they take a financial risk and fall. It gives everyone a more equal opportunity to live the American Dream.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Moderation Systems

As part of trying to find material for this blog, I go on a lot of chat sites, forums, imageboards, ect. This has exposed me a a wide variety of moderation systems, some good, some bad, and some downright fucking awful. But by far, the stupidest system I have ever seen so far the current system of ChatRoulette. The creator of ChatRoulette decided that in order to get rid of all the half-wits fapping on there, he would put the moderation in the hands of the users in the form of a "vote" function, along with some other stupid requirements. Here's how it works

First you have to create an account. New for Chatroulette, but it's a step in the right direction, and not too annoying to do. Second, you have to have at least 3 ten minute long conversation before you can turn on your camera. I imagine this is the point where people say "okay fuck this I'm going to Omegle". Not me. I was determined, I was on a mission to meet some stupid people so I could blog about them. Two hours later, I was visibly pissing people off with caustic sarcasm and scathing insults. However, that proved to be my downfall. The third feature ChatRoulette implemented was a little vote instead of the "next" button. There are two buttons, above the buttons it says "Should this person be allowed to use CR?", and the buttons themselves say "Yes" and "No". If your yes/no votes reach a certain ratio, your account has its "registration declined" and you have to make a new one, therefore having to go through the entire "3 ten minute video" process again.

Lets take a little bit of a closer look at this. This guy is putting the moderation in the hands of the users. The shallow, moronic, biased users. That means the moderation  system is biased against people with ugly faces, annoying personalities, and assholes. At least the last one makes sense to try and ban, but the first two don't. The site now has a forum for complaints exactly for situations like these, but you have to be a registered user to post on the forum. So if you get railed by this biased system, you're not allowed to try and fix it either. You'd have to go through all the extra trouble of making a new account and getting it registered, just because you're ugly.

Speaking of moderating systems, I've had the idea for a moderating system that would create a community similar to that of 4chan /b/, minus the morons. Here's how it would work. You have a chat website, there's one room where all of the anons and first timers would go; the main room. There are no word censors, and people are allowed to talk about anything they want, sex, politics, whatever. The moderators would watch the main room for two reasons; kick or ban spammers or bots, and to choose the smartest people in the room to get actual accounts. People with actual accounts would have access to the rest of the rooms where they would be again, no censors, no restrictions, no nothing. This would (hopefully) result in a community of intelligent, similar people, and create enough of a hivemind to create a culture similar to 4chan /b/, minus the stupidity. It probably has some flaws I've overlooked, but it's an idea, and I would like to see how it would work out.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


The other day I was browsing Youtube, and eventually I got to that part of youtube. The part filled with stupidly addicting videos of useless machines, cats stuck in boxes, massive trash compactors, and the worst of the worst, perpetual motion machines. Overbalanced wheels, self filling funnels, magnetized turbines, the comments of these videos are filled with people claiming "scientists lie to us!", "Do your own experiments!". As soon as anyone mentions "thermodynamics", rage ensues from the pseudo-intellectuals; the people trying to be open minded but too stupid to realize that the basic principles of science are proven facts. The point of scientific laws is that they've already been proven so we can build on them, developing new theories instead of moving backward and trying to disprove something that you can't disprove. Those morons hide behind the  excuse that "we have to challenge ideas to move forward." Well they are right, but they misinterpreted. Scientists challenge new ideas. Ideas that haven't been scrutinized, that haven't stood the test of time, the point of challenging ideas is to see if they stand up to the scrutiny. The Laws of Thermodynamics have already withstood centuries of scrutiny. That's why they are scientific Laws. Scientists don't just tack on the "Law" title on to every hypothesis that sort of makes sense. Scientific laws are facts that simply cannot be disproven, no matter how hard you try.

To address the people that claim they've already disproven the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Magnets do NOT stay magnetized forever.

That's right, your self-spinning magnet wheel is not a perpetual motion machine. Those magnets will eventually run out of charge, because the energy it takes to work against the friction of the air and the axle has to come from somewhere. The energy in your magnet was put there in a factory. Remember in 2nd grade where you rubbed a paper clip on a magnet, and then the paper clip was temporarily magnetized? It's the same concept, but with electromagnets that use a lot of energy to magnetize those chunks of metal. Your magnets didn't magically appear on earth, they were created, and their charge artificially generated.

Speaking of magnets, fuck Juggalos. Seriously, they need to shut the fuck up.
Sure science can seem miraculous to the uneducated mind, but in the end, it's science, not miracles, and you're still an idiot.

Another thing that really pisses me off about people who argue against the validity of science is the "It's just a theory" argument. This argument is the one used mostly by christian fundamentalists and creationists, especially when it comes to the Theory of Evolution. Let me make something perfectly clear. Your concept of a "theory" is not the same thing as a scientific theories. A scientific theory isn't "just an idea", it's an idea supported by heaps of evidence and scrutinized countless times. It's still not a perfect theory, but that's the point of science. Right now, it makes the most sense with the evidence that we have, and it's probably going to stay that way. As we discover and learn more about the world, we will iron out the kinks in the theory and we will have a solid understanding of the origin of life. Science is fluid, constantly changing as we learn about the world around us. The more we learn, the more accurate our theories will be. If another theory arises that makes more sense than evolution and has more evidence and fewer flaws, then evolution will be replaced as the leading theory of biological development. This is however, extremely unlikely. And no, creationism does not make more sense than evolution. I'll go more in depth on the evolution versus creationism argument some other day, I'm pretty much done ranting for now.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Connecticut Game Burning

Alright everybody, prepare for maximum facepalm. Remember that shooting in Connecticut? Well a town not far from there is hosting a protest of violent games and movies, by burning them.

Yes. Burning them
Like a book burning.

Let's go through all the things that are wrong with this situation.
Here's the big one:
There is NO link between violent video games, and violence. This study has been done several times, pretty much after every single school shooting. Every single time, the media hypes and stresses the "effect of video games on today's youth", and every single time, a study is taken out of context to try and support video game violence. This time it's the study conducted by Professor Christopher Ferguson of Texas A&M University. The study concluded with no evidence linking video games to violence. However, if you've ever seen this interview, the information this guy is quoting is basically the information from Ferguson's study, taken out of context. Ferguson was contacted by PC Gamer magazine and told about this improper use of his study. His reply was "they absolutely misused and misrepresented my meta-analysis in that report. My data should, in no way, ever be used to support links between video game violence and aggression. We have done a number of studies of video game violence with both children and adults and find no evidence to support links between video game violence and youth violence. Furthermore, youth violence has declined to 40 year lows, not gone up in recent years".

This story has literally been the same for nearly every shooting, and it hasn't been just video games that have been pinned. It's been movies, to music in the 90s and 80s, to books even before that. Yes, people blamed violent books for violent shootings. We're just repeating this cycle of looking for someone to blame. This is similar to that whole fiasco with the radio DJs that prank called a woman who later committed suicide. Maddox already wrote a whole article about it. While the DJs might more at fault than Maddox would like to admit, this business with blaming game companies is literally the same situation. People want someone to blame, whether it was the shooter's mother, to gun control laws, to fucking video games. The only person you  need to blame is the shooter himself. The one who physically took the gun and slaughtered innocent children. Using this tragedy, like that woman's suicide, to guilt people into taking the blame is cowardly.

Besides, what is burning discs going to accomplish? Video game distribution platforms like Steam, uPlay and Origin (hah, Origin, what a shitpile) render this whole protest futile, because you're destroying discs that no one actually uses. Video games don't come on discs anymore, you're not really accomplishing anything by burning them (unless you're a dirty console gaming peasant). Same thing with movies. People don't go out and buy movies that often anymore, unless they're collectors or something, and even then they're not going to burn their beloved collection. People get movies from Netflix, or they just torrent them or something. Maybe they're just trying to send a message, but what does that message say when you're bribing people 25 dollars to burn their discs. I see no possible way that could backfire.
It's not like someone could burn 25 dollars worth in movies, then just go out and buy another 25 dollars worth in violent movie. That's just crazy.
All these idiots are really doing is polluting the atmosphere and shortening their lifespans inhaling the toxic fumes that are going to be created when they burn those discs. Your message is bad, you're doing it wrong, and you're really not understanding the reality of the situation.

The media is just fueling the misconceptions that all video games are violent, and that gamers are evil, heartless people, and all games are blood fests where the sole purpose is mindless violence. Once again, these misconceptions happened and still happen in the world of music. Metal, by some, is considered "satanic". While this is what it may appear like on the outside, if you dig a little deeper, you can find real art, real meaning, and really understand the falsity of those misconceptions. That's the real problem. People accusing video games of causing violence have only really experienced that shallow layer of games like the over-hyped Call of Duty franchise. Human subcultures are bottomless. This is especially true for huge subjects like gaming, music, wine tasting, movies, and books. There's a great XKCD comics about Joe Biden eating sandwiches and twisty straws that illustrate this concept excellently. Just because you've only experienced the top layer of that culture doesn't mean you know what lies underneath.

As for these disc burners, the ignorant will always shout the loudest and tell you that their way of life is better. I love the way Phil Savage of PC Gamer describes them. "Of course, there’s no mention of books being collected. Only crazy people burn books."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Spotlight on Games: Unmechanical

Unmechanical is a beautiful indie game available on Steam for ten dollars. As a a casual puzzle platformer, it can be beaten in about an hour. It uses Unreal engine combined with a unique art style to create a breathtaking gaming experience.

The plot is the weakest point of this otherwise excellent game. You play a small flying robot trapped in a vast underground complex. The main story line simply follows the escape of the protagonist. The story of the underground complex is murky at best. As the game progresses, the player finds that many similar flying robots are captured and harvested, but to what purpose is never fully explained. My best guess is that the complex is harvesting energy to keep itself running, but if the complex has any actual purpose is never revealed. The game also includes an antagonist "janitor" robot that happens to be kind of a jerk, sometimes hindering the progress of the player.

Graphics and Art
One of the main focus points of the game is its art style. The developers used the Unreal engine to its fullest extent creating an extensive underground world. The art style is primarily an eerie one, from the rusty janitor robot to the giant secretary robot, to the giant cyborg heart. The 3D environments in are incredibly detailed, creating a truly immersive environment, and adding a whole new layer to the experience. The textures are fairly high resolution, and suit the world well. The art style ranges from steampunk, to cyberpunk, and there is a noticeable progression of technology from gears and levers to cybernetics.

A quick word on Unreal engine; I'm so happy things like this exist. It allows indie developers to create beautiful looking games like Sanctum and Unmechanical. It's the perfect engine for almost any kind of game, and allows a huge range of unique games to reach the market.

As a puzzle game, the mechanics are hardly unique. In fact, many of the game mechanics are nearly identical to those of Portal 2. The game utilizes button-box mechanics, laser and bomb puzzles, and even momentum based portal puzzles. While there are several unique puzzles, such as weight puzzles, the similarity to Portal 2 puzzles can hardly be ignored. This, however does not make the puzzles any less challenging or interesting. Most of the puzzles are fairly self explanatory. There was only one puzzle that I had to consult a walkthrough for, and it turned out to be incredibly simple, and I was just over-thinking it. The game has very few glitches, only the usual places where you are able to trap yourself. The game solves those situations very simply by implementing an autosave feature that saves after every puzzle is solved. If they player ever finds themselves trapped, they need only load a save to reset the current puzzle without losing an annoying amount of progress.

Other Thoughts (Spoilers)
The game has a small philosophical choice at the end, you are allowed to either become the Janitor robot after he is killed or simply escape back to the overworld. The escape end implies that the entire facility will slowly shut down as things go wrong, as it seems the janitor robot was the only one that did any maintenance. The janitor ending gives the feeling of inevitability that there will always be evil down below, and eventually you become the very evil that you tried so hard to fight. The philosophy of the ending is very vague, and without a solid plot behind it, is not very meaningful.

Overall, I loved Unmechanical, the art style compensates for its lack of story, the the puzzle mechanics work very well with the other elements, matching the art style seamlessly. While the plot was limited by the lack of dialog, the developers could have done a little more to create a more coherent story line. I was very satisfied with Unmechanical as a game. It was worth the 5 dollars I paid for it, but there isn't enough gameplay for 10 dollars. If you do plan to get it, there's a demo available free on steam, or you can wait for another sale.