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16  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 15, 2014, 09:54:54 AM
I'm somewhat surprised the standoff is still going on, but whatever gets those hostages out alive is the clear priority as opposed to storming in without a very clear plan of attack.
17  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 15, 2014, 04:35:27 AM
Looks like we might have our first live jihadist activity here in Australia -- the TL;DR version is that a gunman is holding between 13-50 people hostage in a cafe in the heart of the Sydney CBD, some of whom he's made display the Black Standard in the window.

You could hardly choose a better place -- it's a tourist location on the major road through the city, next door to the reserve bank, across the way from a major news studio, the two rail stations & the US consulate, and a couple of blocks down from the houses of state parliament. Earlier police raids thwarted a plan to kidnap a random from this location for public execution over social media.

I saw.
I hope they get through it okay. Sad
18  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 14, 2014, 11:05:39 PM
Err, also "jefe`" is no one specific. Tongue
19  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 14, 2014, 11:03:34 PM
Also, on the gun bits:
There's already blood in the streets, ludo.
That's what all these protests are about, that Micheal Brown and Wayne Crawford and Tamir Rice and all rest.

Rational defenses for the shooting for Tamir Rice tend to overlook one thing: the culture that informed those officers, their defenders, and apparently quite a lot of people; the culture that has so many guns circulating around in it that a 12y/o with a toy gun is, quite naturally and rationally, assumed to be carrying a real weapon.

Spent a minute on that, please.

When the cops pulled up and Tamir pointed the black plastic firearm-shaped object at them why did they think it was a real weapon?

Probably because this is America and the odds that a random 12 year old kid might actually have a gun are non-trivially probable.

Take your time, mull over what you know about who we are, and what you'd know going into that situation.


It wearies me. Undecided
It breaks me down.
Yay for cops and eggs and decency, because this is who we are the rest of the time.

And I've been holding back on saying this, apparently this is my "soldier up and dump it out night," but let's keep it real about consequences: this ain't my problem.

Not just that I'm white and tend to live in white places and to have white friends but because A) I don't have kids and won't have kids, and B) I have my 50 Year Plan: if by the time I'm 50 my life isn't significantly more stable and less systemically miserable I'll stop talking all that shit and finally ride a cloud of buck out into the nothing I believe awaits us all.

Barrel to chin, angle about 45* up, -point and click. Sweet relief, finally.

So while I post all this information to try to educate and be educated that's all for the benefit of my sense of moral outrage and intellectual edification.

At the end of the day this ain't my fuckin' problem, jefe`. Angry

You gents with the little ones gurgling and metabolizing away in the tranquil vacancy of infancy are the ones who have to live with the world being pushed and pulled into being day after day.

And while there will always be tragedy and senseless loss, you'll be the ones facing choices like when you buy your little sprog his/her first school backpack whether it'll be big or small, red or blue, Spongebob or Dora, -and if you're going to upgrade to the Kevlar 3 model and hope s/he remembers to put in front if the shooting starts.

That's fucking Newtown, that's anywhere now.

Valentina, out.
20  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 14, 2014, 10:18:30 PM

Regular human decency. Right on. Smiley
21  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 14, 2014, 10:16:10 PM
I'm torn on things like the "religious freedom acts" around the country.  I don't want to be compelled to act a certain way if it offends my religious beliefs.  However, I can see the slippery slope argument* that turns into, "my beliefs say I don't serve people of color " which I can't agree with.  However, Val, I think yours is a step too far.

Could we agree with a law that prevents churches/synagogues/mosques/covens/etc. from being prosecuted for preaching what they believe?  Houston recently tried to subpoena sermons from local churches under thread of lawsuit.  That strikes me as a very dangerous precedent.  (Yes, there is more to the story.)

*The danger of the slippery slop argument is that it magnifies the fears of one side without seriously considering the restraints (handrails if you will) of the other side.

e.g. The anti-gun crowd says that without gun restrictions there will be blood in the streets.  The pro-gun crowd says that any restrictions end in a gun-free public and tyrannical rule.  The truth is, there are restrictions (often unenforced) that didn't stop the blood in certain city streets.  Further, asking me to have a license for concealed carry doesn't mean that the government is coming for me (especially in Texas).  And, yes, I am aware that the gun debate is a charged one on both sides.

Ok, fair enough. My claim was pretty hyperbolic, but I'll offer my reasoning behind it.

Basically this: I don't think people will just tear around offing each other for even vaguely defensible "religious convictions," but I'd be worried that rather like Stand Your Ground it could be a "plausible defense."

Say some schmuck murders his estranged wife at her family home -shoots her when she walks out the front door with a bag of garbage. This is not disputed, in fact the defendant states outright that he did it because she wasn't a virgin.
Other established facts in my theoretical case:
We know they'd been bitterly contesting child custody.
We know he's been to a church or synagog or prayer group at some point; maybe he was baptized, maybe he converted whatever -key thing is he's got a reasonable pattern of personal "religious" investment.

He doesn't actually stone her, but IMO there's a reasonable interpretive stretch between throwing stones (or as they're also called sling bullets) and gunfire.

So we have the standard of Reasonable Doubt and what has to be proven is that he did not shoot her out of anger, but because he "found out" she wasn't a virgin when they were married.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

I think a good lawyer, like the kind outside groups buy for potentially landmark cases like these, could raise and cultivate that Reasonable Doubt.
As I know it the three important concepts in establishing a crime are Means, Motive and Opportunity.
Means: firearm. Check.
Opportunity: woman was taking out the garbage, got shot by her hubby.

But Motive is now grossly muddied, and the new standard is that his level of "conviction." And it's clear that the defendant wanted "that bitch dead" -with real conviction no less, but who can prove Beyond A Reasonable Doubt that it wasn't "holy outrage" that put her in his sights?

If he swears that God told him to, and we find out that he's got a tumor squatting on his frontal lobes who can definitively prove that it wasn't the influence of the tumor that drove him to kill her?

In effect this law would make enshrine the Insanity Defense because all he'd really have to prove is that A) he really believed this was right and necessary and B) there's a Biblical proverb or law demanding the action.
As a companion to point B the Bible states that it defaults back to the Old Testament, the Torah, in the even the believer can't find the needed guidance in the Bible.
And here's the big LOL for me, the local Jew: the Laws of the Torah are fucking insane!

This is The Old God.
This is the one people are, rightfully so, so quick to get away from.
I ain't really a big fan of Jesus, but was comparative deities go it's an easy choice to make.

Because there is no Book of Laws in the Bible.
The Koran has the Sharria Laws, and the Torah has (either the 613 Mitzvot or the Seven Laws of Noah and either leads you The Punishments for transgressing those Laws.
Spoiler warning, it's all Capital. And there are specific exemptions for when The Man, as opposed to The Law, gets to enact those punishments.

Deutoronomy on the virginity of brides:
Quote from: Deutoronomy
20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:

21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

Fair point about Handrails; I believe of them and in them.

But they also fail, and it's not too hard to find countries of Abrahamic Monotheist traditions that, with due gravitas and the weight of law bother secular and divine, enact sentences like those I've cited.

(...although I've always wondered like, if you get a summons to be part of a sentence of Gang Rape for some woman do you have to answer it? I'd be kinda Lips Sealed, though that makes Jury Duty look a lot less onerous by comparison.)

Edit: another thing that comes is the problems with the proactive commandments; namely that the Thou Shalls include a lot of killing non-believers and idolaters and leveling their temples.

So the day after Dayton is subject to a law absolving crimes of personal religious conviction you start getting the weird legal circumstances of whether it's legal to not enforce commandments against apostasy and heresy etc.
If our schmuck walks because his conviction is sufficient to legally involve those passages from Deutoronomy is he then required by law to engage in the positive (as in commanded action not moral observation or electrical current) dictates of shutting down "that Ashram out near the Pizza Hut"?
He's demonstrated zeal enough for the parts of the law regarding nuptial virginity, but there's no permission it in to obey only part of it when it's convenient.
22  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 14, 2014, 09:21:38 PM
Let's have some news links!

Thug Kills White Prosecutor and Wife in Texas.
(click to show/hide)

14 Reasons Why People Died Far Younger 100 Years Ago.
I don't recall any vaccination-autism enthusiasts in the audience, but if anyone needs proof...

Tea Party? Racist? Naaaaaahh.

And finally...
Ten Worst Charities In America.
When you give, here's what you're buying.
23  Products / Spycraft Third Edition / Re: Another gadget gone real on: December 14, 2014, 08:52:54 PM
(click to show/hide)
24  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 14, 2014, 07:37:42 PM
Article I, Section 8, Clause 1
U.S. Constitution - Article 1 Section 8  I'm not sold on NASA being part of the general welfare, and the DEA certainly is not.

It means it's constitutional  for congress to spend money on whatever it decides is in the government and people's interests.

And whatever you feel about the space program, it's in a country's best interest to have control of the space above its territory.

Not to mention, like MovieBob pointed out, do we really want First Contact to be made by the SS Mountain Dew, crewed by the "stars" of "Who Wants 2 Go 2 Space"?

Also that NASA is/was the leading edge on all that satellite communications tech that gave us cell phones and GPS etc etc.
The usual "pro-business" hypocrites like to paint NASA as being some kind of "hippy dream space camp" while happily rooting through it's advancements for the next potential source of billions in industrial production and patents.
25  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 14, 2014, 07:35:00 PM
The other thing is that, though I generally agree with assessments that the body politic is an a bad place when we're talking about the influence of money and dynasties in our politics, we are still a representative democracy and if anything's chugging along without being vigorously publicly opposed then it passes the test of "general welfare."
Folks can dislike that, but if they don't change it they probably don't dislike it enough.

I'm not suggesting that mass protests are necessary but odds are good that when the War on Drugs concludes (and I think it well ...eventually) the DEA's on it's way out as well. The real variable's how much damage it does before then.

The argument about challenging the Constitutionality a Libertarian thing. These are the same folks who make the same noises about the FDA and how it's ineffective, cumbersome, and such -after sponsoring or backing legislation to defund it, of course.

Politics 102: How to Create Problems and Then Solve Them.
They want to do the same thing with the EPA.

Anyway, you seen the story on Rand Paul and his Ophthalmology problems? pun intended.

Short form: he says he's a "board certified Ophthalmologist."

But he's not.

His claimed certification is by-the-out-of-business-since-2011 "National Ophthalmology Board" -which he founded, and which featured his mother on it's board.

Conflict of Interests much Randy?

The lesson/reminder here is how, besides that Rand Paul has chronic honesty problems, Libertarian's ostensible prince provides a good look at what his political philosophy's about dismantling.

Putting aside all the other implications and stated desired outcomes no oversight means we can go back to the so exciting Good Old Days of every shyster with the talent for bare-faced lying claiming to being a doctor or professor or eye surgeon and your ability to find out otherwise limited to not at all there's the door good luck curing that congenital vision defect at home RUBE.

Now it's not illegal to not be certified. Any licensed doctor can do as much as his patients and malpractice insurance will permit.

But it is illegal to lie about being certified.

Here's the Washington Post story.

tl;dr the wolf with the bib and the growling stomach does not, despite his earnest interest in their welfare, just want to hug your livestock.
26  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: December 14, 2014, 06:54:46 AM
How to Fix Final Fantasy.

I...really like this article. Shocked
This guy might have nailed it -it's the Shoopuf Factor to me.

I wasn't a big fan of FFX, though mostly for Tidus and Yuuna -though Rikku's still awesome, and I put some serious time into FFX-2 and I'd probably play it again if I had PS2.
But there is one thing I remember still and I haven't replayed FFX since the first time: The Shoopuf story.
Kimari relates a story about a much younger Yuuna riding a Shoopuf (an elephant analog, basically) across a ford in a stream with her family and how she accidentally fell off into the water.
And how not only was she not afraid of the fall or the water or the towering shoopuf, but she "accidentally" fell off a bunch more times over the course of that one ride.

And I have to grin, because in that couple of sentences we get a clear picture of the younger Yuuna as the fearless, innocent and terribly happy little sprog she was before fate roped her into her various adult roles of political pawn, human sacrifice, Joan of Arc and moral center of a band of misfits and exiles.

That's some real goddamn storytelling. That's someone I spent most of the game Roll Eyes at none the less being depicted memorably and efficiently. I /bow to Square nailing it.

I've been on this FF7 replay kick, and one thing that's been challenging my recollections is how Cloud actually isn't totally emo and mopey. There's a tempo to his moods and though he does have a serious crash after Aeris dies he starts building himself back up in time to win the day.

Cloud's not /wrists out of empty adolescent angst either -it's because he's a lifelong failure.
He wasn't a popular child and he grew up to be a isolated man (Tifa was the Pride of the Town, incidentally, and didn't know he existed).
He enlisted with Shinra to join SOLDIER, but washed out of selection -everything you see him do in flashbacks 'til the big reveal is actually his childhood friend and Sephiroth fanboy Zack Fair.
He wasn't trained by SOLDIER of course, he took an imprint of Zack from them sharing the same experiments.
He didn't escape the labs with Zack, Zack bailed the two of them out and when they got within eyeshot of Midgar Zack was gunned down while Cloud sat there gibbering.

When Aeris dies, and when Avalanche is destroyed (and fails to prevent the destruction of Plate 7), he's confronted with the same exact outcome he'd come to expect and that accounted for his thorny initial attitude -shit went all wrong again and he's sure it's his fault.

He'd been faking it all that time and doing his best to ignore the flashbacks and seizures; Final Fantasy 7's theme is a weak man pretending to be strong, and eventually having to risk actually reaching for strength.

Man, no wonder FF7 was so embraced by the Generation of Grunge Music and Depression Medication!
It's our story. Smiley
And it's our fucked up, cowardly failure of a protagonist. Grin
27  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 13, 2014, 09:57:39 PM
...  Looks like the program isn't going away as some people might have thought.
I think they could benefit from some focus redirection, but YMMV.

(I'm not certain NASA fits into the Constitution, except as a piggy-back to military stuff, but as far as unconstitutional programs go, it is far and away the best one.)

"Constitutionality of Government Agencies"?
That's an argument I hadn't heard of before.
Please elaborate.
28  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: December 13, 2014, 12:52:41 AM
With and without makeup.
Or, What's your Appearance Modifier Again?
29  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Farthest Star] So, guns... on: December 11, 2014, 03:25:12 AM
Heft and recoil are, in my mind, only tenuously related.  My holdout pistol has a lot less heft, but felt more recoily than my service pistol.  The light and medium machine guns I used had similar hefts and similar kicks, though the medium had more of each.

  Then we're moving the right direction. Currently I've basically standardized recoil for all firearms and moved it of to the attack actions, rather than the gear. The other alternative would be to make heft a two part entry. : Base Heft (all attacks) and a per weapon modifier for when you're shooting fast enough that kick it a serious concern.

So the column might read H/R 12/+2. Add recoil once for 3 round bursts and once per point of RF during autofire and strafing. (at least I've been lead to believe hard recoil doesn't penalize accuracy at low rates of fire...)

I generally like the 1-stat Heft design.
And while I agree with the single-shot sentiment one thing that's got to be faced down is how much all this is an abstraction of an unknown unit of time. Correcting for the recoil of a single strong shot's reasonable, but how long does that take with regard to not doing so is the real question.
And how much of that is a function of training and experience? If MilitiaJim and I were experimenting with demonstrating this using the same weapon would he correct faster then I would? I'm inclined to assume so for all kinds of practical reasons that would result in him getting more shots off more accurately and be reasonably expressed with BAB and feats, but that might not necessarily be about how long it takes so much as muscle memory and experience -he'd at least have a clearer intuition on his weapon's state and bearing, and would need to take less time confirming it's readiness before firing again.

I'm kind of garbling the point, but I think it's basically there. Tongue That it's better to have a simple, consistent model that asks the audience to give a little ground then to muddy things up.
30  Community / License to Improvise / Re: [Farthest Star] So, guns... on: December 11, 2014, 03:17:01 AM
Uh, stupid question but is Extra supposed to work with Imags?
Isn't the design limitation of Imags that you can't squeeze in more ammo? Huh?

  Extras indicate it was designed that way at the factory Smiley. Its a way of customizing the baseline for modeling whole product lines rather than individual examples (which would be covered by applying upgrades to a specific item).

Weirdly enough when I pulled the DeV design out of my tuckus I had that same thought and managed to totally fail to apply it to my question. Embarrassed
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