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31  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: STORMSURGE: Around the Campfire [OOC and open feedback] on: September 16, 2014, 04:23:29 AM
Been a weird, weird 6 weeks. Might be over, might not.

I want to get back to this, but I really can't quite yet Undecided.

Respected, thanks for touching base. Cool
32  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: September 15, 2014, 11:26:56 PM
Useful links!
http://www.ontheissues.org/default.htm

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/
33  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: September 15, 2014, 11:21:55 PM
So the USA has a nuclear arsenal maintenance problem.

Current maintenance costs are about $23,000,000,000^ with a total-per year cost of $200,000,000,000 all told over the next decade.

Given that the U.S. borrows* .40c out every of $ it spends, this is a problem.

Generally calls for nuke upkeep come from two directions. The first has silos and basis in it's congressional districts and like the jobs, and the other is about deterrence.
Welp, point one's basic porky-pig politics. Ain't a damn thing new there.
But point two's weaker.
Nuclear weapons aren't useful. The people we can deter from nuking us first won't (Russia -crazy but not suicidal and China -our greatest creditor), and the people who might don't care (Iran). There's also the problem of retaliatory strikes making the issuers the new greatest mass-murderers in human history. If the US nukes Iran we probably (but not 100% lolololol) kill the few thousand desired enemies and then "collateralize" the remaining 14 million -assuming we hit only Tehran.
Kick in secondaries from radiation and famine created by crop losses and we could make Hitler look like a ballerina with a runny nose.

So what are we going to do about the cost of the arsenal we hope we'll never use?

Oh, and I stretched the dollar value out to somewhat counter the anesthetizing effect of the way gov't spending is announced like it's, "a billion here, a billion there -who really keep count anyway?"
No srsly gaiz a billion is a metric fuckton of money that can go quite a ways in any direction.


^Other articles put the value at around 250 billion.
*Page 2, though you can get that number from any one of dozens of other sources.
34  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: September 15, 2014, 08:42:41 PM

Hey, thanks. Damn handy. Nah, any media that contributes is welcome here.

So, Freedom. Good luck, Scots.
35  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: September 15, 2014, 12:22:24 AM
So, not exactly a life accomplishment but I completed XCOM:EW on Normal.
Stats!
Days: 197.
Countries lost: 1, Egypt -the day before I would have gotten a satellite up over it.
Kills: 504.
KIA's: 7.
Wins: 45.
Losses: 0.
Mid-mission saves: under 10 -I didn't really keep track, but I generally don't.
Alien Base cleared: day 122.
Ethereal Device: 142.
Psionic Soldier: 145.

Last battle:
I can't say I didn't get a little lucky, but it went like this. Assault breaches the door, trigger the Master Ethereal's appearance.
ME speechifies.
Squadsight Sniper gets 19 damage on a crit, double taps, confirms kill.
Boss battle concluded.
Duration: less then 1 turn.
 Evil

The Volunteer: Colette "Anaphylaxia" DuBois, Support class soldier.
Yup, France saved the world. Oh well, someone had to. Wink

TusVal called it right: Rocket Punching a Sectopod is frackin' epic. Like, God of War-worthy. Cool
Also I made me, and I became a Sniper and later became my command's first MEC.
36  Community / Off-Topic / Life, the World, and Everything. (Social Issues) on: September 14, 2014, 06:33:45 PM
This thread exists as a place to specifically talk about news and ideas, the human condition and the state of the world.
We all know the basic rules of engagement, and they're no different here: be polite, be respectful, and as much as you can be accurate.
If you don't know say so; nobody who's opinion is worth heeding will shame honesty about ignorance. We can always learn and teaching is a blessed cause.


 Scotland and Independence.

I really feel like I wish I knew more. It seems to me like all the money and political interests are against the move, and those are unquestionably details of significance, but basic national liberty is an important human desire.
I'd love to hear from any Scots, Scot-ish folk, or whoever has a stake in this.

"5 Things I Learned as a Sex Slave in Modern America."
Hi, I'm Valentina. I've come to bring you down for at least a little while. Tongue

George Zimmerman's back in the news, but I don't really care. Someone else is welcome to tackle this if they want.

Brain Damage in the NFL.
Thoughts?
37  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: Feet wet campaign for the 1960s. on: September 14, 2014, 02:19:00 PM
Hmm ... Have you heard the song '99 Red Balloons' by the German group Nena? The idea behind the song is that at a concert in West Berlin, 99 red balloons are released. They drift over the Berlin Wall and are seen on radar as an attack, triggering WW 3.

Maybe your people are support band, or your promoter has decided to do this without your knowledge. How can you avoid a global disaster caused by a red balloon?

There were also a few almost-nuked-ourselves-and-started-WW3 events during the Cold War. Get your Google on, and maybe those are useful as well in a similar vein.
38  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: September 14, 2014, 12:12:34 AM
What's the name of those ears?  'Cause I remember there being Dire Foxes in the game.

They're "Feline Ears."

Ah.  I also remember there being the more classic cat ears that characters could get in the game.

Indeed! "Kitty Ears," I believe. Tend to go for upwards of 50k when they are for sale. Those you wear atop your head, instead of in place of the usual flesh flaps.
39  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: September 13, 2014, 10:45:42 PM
What's the name of those ears?  'Cause I remember there being Dire Foxes in the game.

They're "Feline Ears."
40  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: September 13, 2014, 08:26:26 PM
In the spirit of RusVal a Firefall screenshot.
(click to show/hide)

Edit: couldn't find a title that worked, and I mistook Dwight Eisenhower for Gen. MacArthur.
Got this time though.
Also, FF needs a corncob pipe cosmetic item. Cool
41  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: September 13, 2014, 12:45:11 AM
Ok, that's cool. Cool
I'll try that some time.
42  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Cool Non-Video Links (Quizzes, Tests, Illusions, Etc..) on: September 12, 2014, 06:45:47 PM
It's worth noting that Night Traps reputation is horribly, horribly overblown and misrepresented.

Sure it's as juvenile as it's inspiration of 80s slasher and girls in night gowns movies are, but the game is about switching between camera views of rooms to stop the monsters from attacking the girls in the house.

Chiller and Custer's Revenge are just horrible though.

That said, Chiller was made by a large and successful arcade game company and Custer's Revenge was made by the video game subsidiary of Caballero Home Video who was one of the largest and most successful pornography studios at the time.

As to Hitman, even cutting the criticism by half it still sounds like someone (well, several someones) need some therapy. I mean, it makes Saint's Row 3 and 4 look like paragons of morality in regards to adult content.

Mea culpa x2, both because you're correct and because I forgot to do the legwork on who produced what.

Your comparison to Slasher Movies is correct, and perhaps illustrative. Watching horny teens get butchered by monsters was a big damn industry for a while there and it's strange to me that Night Trap came under fire for being a far tamer version of a far more accessible kind of entertainment. I remember seeing the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th flicks in entirely common, conventional theaters. Night Trap required one own a Sega CD and that clearly wasn't a popular choice*.

(Well, it's not entirely strange; video games make, and made, fantastic political targets of opportunity from the the Moral Superiority Brigade. This is changing, at the appropriately glacial pace that real social changes require.)

There's an old-ish political morality chestnut that goes thus, "if you wouldn't want to see it in the headlines, don't do it." I think that's a wise lesson for gaming as well. Let the niche' splatter and molest stuff stay out in the fringes, embrace/endure the hypocrisies (fit women in martial arts gear are exploited, buff dudes are open season), plunk quarter in and carry on.

Also, word on Saint's Row. I was rather sadly surprised about how I'd set my expectations wrong. I got into 3 thinking "mayhem! explosions! gratuitous thug slaughter!" and got that, and some damn fun vehicle customization, but also with a lot of killing random people for random money, a faction entirely half of which's footsoldiers were porn stars in corsets, and general sociopathic shittiness. The opening missions are killing a bazillion laughably incompetent cops and loudly raiding a National Guard armory. Suddenly my Undecided is gigante`.

This ain't fun, this is the world through the lens of people I hunt in other action titles. Angry

That's something I'd forgotten about the modern crime sandbox titles: the world is shit, and that's how you have to look at everything you do. Everyone's done something to deserve IT, so trollololol on and get paid or die killing. Imo that's why so much of the SR/GTA/w/e NPC dialogue and actions involves insulting, arguing, lying, and abusing other NPC's -to make it clear that a near-universal moral vacuum is the way of the world, and "wrong" is merely an issue of which end of the gun one is looking down.

I give Borderlands and Gearbox no small amount of mistrust, but I've never had a bandit be less then a deserving target. All those variously hilarious and disturbing encounter-barks make clear that 99% are guilt-free kills. And the rest are Engineers who won't back off even if I do or mindless local predators.


*I also haven't researched Sega CD sales numbers because I don't really care enough about the point, heh heh. Grin
I need a blog or something...
43  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: September 12, 2014, 06:10:18 PM
As always Rus your enthusiasm is tangible. Smiley

I didn't really get a "story" out of my playthrough of EW, not that wasn't already present.
Just didn't feel it, I guess.

In other news I've restarted Final Fantasy 7, and while problems like throw-away grinding combats and weird isometric 2D-perspective-but-3D-movement map navigation issues are as real as they've ever been the Feels are alive and quite strong.
They never died, they just hibernated.
And some things have changed as I've changed as well.
I like Aeris more. I get her more this time around. I get her physical cues, her musical theme and her story, and how she contrasts with Cloud as someone's who's pushing back against being drowned in tragedy versus Cloud's own being in denial about waiting for some kind of call to action.
Cloud's not quite the bag of adolescent surly I remember either. He's a dick, but inconsistently so. It's like someone I knew a decade ago (and didn't like, but he was still right) put it: Cloud's story is one of a weak person pretending to be strong. He's confident when he basically can't lose, and numb when nobody's looking. He's interested in Aeris because she's the opposite: a fundamentally weak person who makes herself strong by sheer drive to overcome.

She gives his life purpose, which is why the story doesn't die when she does.

Cloud's also still interesting early on for his various psychotic breaks. It's obvious that something is wrong with him that he refuses to confront because digging around in those memories means confronting who he really is. He'd enlisted, failed to qualify for SOLDIER, stuck with his hombre` Zack and volunteered to be experimented on to mask his shame at just being a Shinra grunt. That didn't work out, understatement mode disabled, and he's just been screwing around ever since.
And everyone's running from their past, of course.

On top of all that the world is dying; the mighty, merciless, and monstrous spend the lives of thousands with thinking twice, -whatever the conflict in Wutai was about it became "A Land War In Southeast Asia" that nobody won, and Jenova grows and grows in the shadows. I'd guess that an overall theme for FF7 would be hope, but I'm not sure because there's so damn little of it.

So, fuck yeah FF7 is still good. Periodically Square announces that it's still not going to produce an HD remake of FF7 because of the projected dev costs and I can see why. Redrawing and texturing, plus some animation cleanup, would be a phenomenally expensive project -there's just so much to see and do. 'Course they've got millions to blow on newer FF titles and shinier graphics engines and blah blah, but whatever right? Roll Eyes Tongue

Upon some shallow reflection I think FF7 might also stand out for being Square's first FF about a greater theme. I mostly remember 4 and 6, and I loved both, but 4 was a "light-and-dark, good-and-evil" story of brothers. FF6 was about rampaging technology paired to blind greed -just about everything that goes wrong involves abusing Magitech. Seven starts like that, but diverges from Avalanche and Mako Reactors some hours in.

By the end the enemy's not even Sephiroth -he's a puppet. Or Jenova, which is more like a kind of disease. It's more broadly apathy and cruelty.

Just about every villain you meet is mostly just selfish and indifferent. Heidegger's a brute who destroys Section 7 because fuck'em he's not elected, Scarlet's a upper-crust sadist, Hojo's a mad scientist cuckold, the Turks are just thugs, President Shinra's blindly ambitious -and look at who does the real damage. The Cetra, Aeris's forebearers, are finally exterminated by some random soldiers. Same grade of scum executes Zack. Wutai is ravaged by plain, unremarkable war waged over it's mako deposits.

There's a distinct absence of active, malevolent cosmic evil unlike in previous titles. Even killing the kaiju-scale Weapons involves destroying magical manifestations of the planet's antibodies. They're not Evil either, but they are headed towards centers of pollution and mako consumption. Y'know, cities.

Even the random-ass Shinra grunts are humanized now and then, and the problem isn't that they're all monsters somehow it's that they're pretty reliably normal. Give a normal person a weapon, a mask, and warzone and it's been very consistently demonstrated that they'll do some monstrous shit. Just call Aeris a "person of interest" and her former family's home a "compound" and "last Cetra killed in raid" becomes any headline from the last decade of "Not-War."
44  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: September 11, 2014, 11:09:59 PM
Rus: that's basically it -EW Classic v. Normal.
There's a trophy for getting through Classic or Impossible with only a 4-person squad, and I'm doing a little advance recon.
45  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New Species Feat: Special Construction (Bone) on: September 11, 2014, 08:43:18 PM
A tighter, more "solid" design can still justify the resistances based on hardness of the bones.

I watching a documentary discussing human development and it came with the assertion that 90% of our body mass is bacteria so that's plenty of reason for skellies to be real lightweights.
I think your documentary may have confused body mass with number of cells. Bacterial cells actually outnumber human cells in the body, but bacteria are tiny, even by cellular standards. Plus a lot of our body weight isn't actually contained in cells at all, but rather blood and other extracellular fluids. Bacteria make up maybe 3-4% of our body mass at absolute most.

Which is still pretty crazy when you think about it.

Certainly possible, I'll poke around a bit more on the topic.
Good note though, thanks.
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