Race/Sex-ism: what’s a guy to do?

August 7th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ve often heard (white) men bemoan their feeling of helplessness in the current battle over white male privilege. Wading into the debate is often met with anger on both sides as “bros” call us libtards and activists point out everything we are doing wrong. I understand the urge to stand up and say something. When a (hopefully) minority segment of your demographic gets an outsized portion of the spotlight it makes the rest of us look bad. When a feminists says “why do all men believe they have the right to comment on our beauty” or a black woman says “why do all white people dismiss me as an angry black woman” my first thought is “hey, that’s sexist/racist, I’m not like that”.

Then I remember that I should just shut the fuck up and take my lumps. It’s been true for thousands of years, they get to have some moral indignation.

While I have a responsibility to do my part in this war on privilege it is not as a vocal leader. That role is reserved for those without privilege. Freedom has to be taken by those who deserve it, not given by those who have withheld it (see also: war on terrorism). My job is to be support the activists in the places where they aren’t able to be heard. In those moments where it’s “just the guys” and we feel like we can really let it all out. Call out the joke as racist; point out when someone objectifies an attractive woman; ask why the resume from Kim didn’t even get a second glance; stop saying “that’s gay”. Most of all, raise your children to respect people of all genders, colors and sexual orientations. There are lots of fucktards out there but it has nothing to do what’s between their legs and everything to do with their fucktard parents.

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Sequelitis – ZELDA: A Link to the Past vs. Ocarina of Time

August 4th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Egoraptor, of Mega Man X is FUCKING AWESOME fame, takes a look at the Zelda franchise with the same keen eye towards game design. He spends most of his time completely tearing apart one of the sacred cows of gaming lore, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, while also finally making clear to me why I was unable to finish Skyward Sword.

Egoraptor:

Shigeru Miyamoto once described his idea for Zelda as coming from a feeling of wanting to explore caves near his house as a child. Which led to an amazing game where you explore caves and dungeons and found wondrous things. The irony is that when it came time to make sequels Nintendo cared more about the things that were found, rather than the mystery itself. There is no mystery in modern Zelda games.

Dopy figure representing Zelda Skyward Sword

Hey man! I’m mysterious

Egoraptor:

(turns red with anger) GOD, SHUTUP! Seriously. You want all this attention like you care, like you really gave it your all in a “new innovative Zelda experience” but instead you led Zelda into a frustrated monotony. You know what started the franchise was this sense of wonder and what has this far concluded the franchise is a sense of formality. A predictable, time consuming mess that asks you not of your sense of your sense of adventure or even your wits but instead on your ability to listen andfollow directions. You ask us of our ability to point something [wii mote] at something else and walk towards it. You ask of us to get another bow & arrow and fight another boss with a giant glowing eyeball. Gee, I wonder how to FUCKING beat it. I fucking WONDER Skyward Sword.

Also, now I really wish I could play A Link Between Worlds.
(hat tip: Kyle Starr at ZeroCounts.net)

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Executions should be by firing squad, federal appeals court judge says

July 24th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

U.S. 9th Circuit Court Chief Judge Alex Kozinski on the use of lethal injection to kill inmates as reported by the LA Times:

“Using drugs meant for individuals with medical needs to carry out executions is a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and beautiful — like something any one of us might experience in our final moments,” U.S. 9th Circuit Court Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote in a dissent in the Arizona death penalty case of Joseph Rudolph Wood III.

“But executions are, in fact, brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality. Nor should we. If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf.”

To my mind your support of the death penalty should hinge on one question; how many innocent people is it ok to kill in the name of justice? For me that answer is zero but those that disagree should not be able to mask the brutality of state sanctioned murder behind the euphemism of lethal injection.

Again Judge Kozinski:

I personally think we should go to the guillotine, but shooting is probably the right way to go.

(source: The excellent Next Draft newsletter)

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You’re probably using the wrong dictionary

July 23rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

If you value the crafting prose or the study of language then you certainly need to read this post by James Somers; since you are probably using the wrong dictionary.

But somehow for McPhee, the dictionary — the dictionary! — was the fount of fine prose, the first place he’d go to filch a phrase, to steal fire from the gods.

He then lays out some beautiful examples showing how a dictionary can not only be source of inspiration but also of nuance and character.

Notice, too, how much less certain the Webster definition seems about itself, even though it’s more complete — as if to remind you that the word came first, that the word isn’t defined by its definition here, in this humble dictionary, that definitions grasp, tentatively, at words, but that what words really are is this haze and halo of associations and evocations, a little networked cloud of uses and contexts.

….

Most important, it describes a word worth using: a mere six letters that have come to stand for something huge, for a complex meta-emotion with mythic roots. Such is the power of actual English.

Who is the author of this beautiful book of prose that happens to define words as well? None other than Noah Webster; a man who’s name has become synonymous with definition.

Noah Webster is not the best-known of the Founding Fathers but he has been called “the father of American scholarship and education.” There’s actually this great history of how he almost singlehandedly invented the very idea of American English, defining the native tongue of the new republic, “rescuing” it from “the clamour of pedantry” imposed by the Brits.

“[R]escuing” it from “the clamour of pedantry” imposed by the Brits. Hehe.

Mr. Somers also goes into some detailed instructions for setting up your Mac to use Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913 + 1828) but I prefer this simple installer from the Convert Webster’s github project. If you want to install it on a Kindle or Mobile device see the Appendix for details.

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Buzz Aldrin’s Punch-Out

July 10th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

I met Mr. Aldrin at my grandfather‘s funeral 20 years ago and he was an incredibly nice and personable fellow. I too take moon landing conspiracy theories personally1 and while I have never actually punched anyone over the matter I totally understand the desire to. Go Buzz!

  1. My grandfather and namesake was administrator of NASA when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. []
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Leaked: iPhone 6 Sapphire Screen

July 8th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I was skeptical of the rumors that the new iPhone display would be made of sapphire crystal but this part leak looks pretty authentic. Not only is the clarity amazing but wait until he tries to scratch and bend the paper thin display. Vow!

Update:
Here is another impact test where they go a bit further.

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America and Iraq: Un-disentanglement

June 16th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Great article from The Economist talking about the various options that America has to combat the rise of ISIS in Iraq.

It is much easier and less risky for America to aid the Iraqi government as part of an anti-ISIS coalition with Turkey and Iran than to do so in the guise of Iraq’s leading patron or ISIS’s archenemy. And a limited programme of military aid might be enough to ward off Republican attacks that the administration is doing nothing about ISIS; critics will be hard pressed to explain to a war-weary public why America should be doing even more to reinsert itself into Sunni-Shiite bloodshed in Iraq. This, in fact, appears to be the policy the Obama administration has selected.

Whatever policy emerges on dealing with ISIS, it’s clear that America’s long-term strategy for the Middle East has to be oriented towards letting local powers settle the geopolitical balance themselves. Iran, Turkey, and other regional players will have to take the lead in backing the Iraqi government and combating ISIS, because America lacks the expertise, the political will, and ultimately the capacity to do that job.

I couldn’t agree more with the The Economists analysis of our long-term strategy.

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MIT robot augments you with two extra arms

June 6th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Some folks over at MIT are working robotic limbs that augment, rather than replace, your existing arms. While these are crude prototypes it’s easy to imagine this tech being used in building and manufacturing. Combine it with a Siri type language interpreter and things start to get pretty serious.

“LimBot, hold this board and hand me the drill.”

“LimBot, lift me up to the next floor.”

Add some feet and this could be better than an exoskeleton.

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12 Basic Principles of Animation

May 23rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

The illusion of life does a lovely job of laying out 12 guiding principles developed by some of the original animators at Disney in the 1930’s.

The illusion of life from cento lodigiani on Vimeo.

There is something about this that reminds me of Apple. These guys took the time to find the subtle details that add an emotional connection to animated material. I watched the video without knowing it was related to disney but seeing the little box obey these rules I was immediately reminded of old school Disney animation. None of the rules are required to make animation, but without them you end up with the Android equivalent; flat, emotionless and ultimately unsatisfying.

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Memories of Steve

May 5th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Don Melton recalls some of his memories of Steve.

I have no plans to watch that new movie about Steve Jobs. As I have no plans to read Walter Isaacson’s biography of him.

It’s not because I think those efforts are somehow not worthy of his memory. It’s just that I have my own recollections of the man. And I’m very jealous in guarding them. I don’t want those few and fleeting memories fractured and confused by other people’s interpretations.

Consider that a fair warning, because I’d like to recount a few of my own stories about Steve here. Not only for you, but for myself. Because maybe in the process I can remember him better.

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