US electorate, this might be your country’s turning point.

Americans, wake the fuck up.

Joe Miller, Republican candidate in Alaska, hired a paramilitary unit — actual active-duty military members moonlighting as security detail — to defend him from, of all things, reporters. A reporter was detained by this paramilitary. For asking questions.

This has nothing to do with how our civil liberties “could” disappear. They have disappeared. We did nothing about the Patriot Act except cheer it on. We did nothing about warrantless everything except reelect Bush. We did nothing about TSA security theater except look suspiciously at our seatmates. We did nothing about “Free Speech Zones” except frown at the people at conventions clambering for their voices to be heard. We did nothing about police abuses of power except suggest that anyone who was abused had something to hide or asked for it.

This is the world we’ve bought ourselves. The fact that most of us have yet to pay for it personally is beside the point.

What are these people afraid of, if not the cleansing daylight of public scrutiny?

As it turns out, they’re afraid of pretty well everything.

They need a big, swaggering military because we’re otherwise at the mercy of…those little countries on the other side of the world whose governments have massive contracts with ours. They need to keep immigrants out of the country, because otherwise, their job skills and way of life aren’t attractive enough to compete. They have to deny anthropogenic climate change, because otherwise, they have to find solutions that are beyond their ingenuity and willingness to sacrifice. They need guns, because otherwise, they’re at the mercy of all and sundry who happen along.

They need to keep gays and lesbians shamed and marginalized, because otherwise, what incentive would they have to refrain from all the gay sex they want to have (instead of just some of it). They have to keep power out of women’s hands, because otherwise, what woman would want them? They have to make abortion illegal, because otherwise, what woman would put up with raising their demon spawn without help? In the women’s case, because otherwise, how can they make up for having their own abortions? And oh, how many things must they do because otherwise, they stand no chance of being good enough to be accepted by their gods?

Most of all, for the broad swath of people who vote movement conservative, they need to side with the bullies, because otherwise, the bullies will turn their attention to them. It’s a somewhat effective strategy, and one the movement relies upon for support. It still isn’t good for anyone.

This bully-ism was especially in evidence at a Rand Paul event where a protester tried to present Paul with a sign to make him look foolish. This tactic has been carried out by MoveOn protesters elsewhere, to other candidates, and the goal is to, as stated, make the politician look foolish. This particular 23-year-old woman, for daring to make Rand Paul look foolish, was manhandled, then curbstomped by a husky Paultard.

And that ain’t all. An Eric Cantor event saw a Democrat intending to ask him questions wrestled to the ground and arrested. After having “RSVP’d” to the event ahead of time.

Why is this happening, with every politician on the Republican side treating questions as dire threats? Why, when someone shows up with a gun at a political rally, is it an infringement of their rights to ask them to leave that gun at home, in violation of their second amendment rights, while simultaneously treating any exercise of the first amendment as an act of terrorism? What are you afraid of, if not being shown to be as foolish as you are, that you have to perpetrate violence on dissenters?

Remember this when your demoralized Democratic base leads to Tea party victories across your country by default, and ushers in this new era of tea-colored brownshirts. Or, you could do what you can right now, and get out the vote, so you have a chance to head this nastiness off at the pass.

inFamous 2 – 4 minutes of gameplay footage

I just beat inFamous, the good path only, and started playing GTA4 immediately thereafter. I’m already finding myself missing the ability to climb everything in the entire damn city, throw lightning sticky grenades, hover, and generally be a one-man army. But there were a few shortcomings in the game. Like how the melee system consisted of a single five-hit combo. Or how induction grinding hardly worked to get you from point A to point B, except under some very specific circumstances. Or how the story mode basically consisted of “go here, beat up these people on the way”. Or how every power was basically an FPS weapon made out of electricity, with precious little actual variety in the powers. Or how Cole’s head was basically Niko Bellic’s, and his voice like gravel in a blender.

Seems Sucker Punch went and changed it all for inFamous 2. And for the better, thankfully. On every front imaginable.

It had better not come out before I bother doing the evil karma route of inFamous 1. Otherwise, it’s never happening.

There’s something I ought to post about sometime soon. The karma systems in video games. I know a few people who have some big complaints, that wouldn’t hurt to integrate into an overarching review of the whole concept. And what it could be, and how poorly implemented and ultimately disappointing it always seems to be.


The Tea Party is made of cranks and authoritarians

Keith Olbermann’s special comment is a systematic destruction of the “party” as a whole.

“Their sole purpose is to protect wealth, and to keep it where they think it belongs — in the bank accounts of the wealthy.” This agrees, by and large, with the words of the Tea Party’s “founder”, Karl Denninger:

This was nothing other than the Republican Party stealing the anger of a population that was fed up with the Republican Party’s own theft of their tax money at gunpoint to bail out the robbers of Wall Street and fraudulently redirecting it back toward electing the very people who stole all the ****ing money!

Do something, people. DO SOMETHING.

I’m scicurious!

Uh, but not, you know, THE Scicurious. Check out this awesome shirt I picked up from Sci’s new MERCHANDIZE OF AWESOME AND WIN. Catchy title! Art is by Glendon Mellow, the Flying Trilobite, making this the first bit of Glendon’s art I own, and given that it’s a caffeine molecule, I pretty much had no choice in whether I dropped the meager sum of money on it.

I picked this one because it was green. I didn’t realize how much green I’d be getting for my money. Oh well!

Help a nerd get a scholarship

The Blogging Scholarship finalist badge -- I'm not actually a finalist. I just think it looks pretty!

Christie Wilcox of Observations of a Nerd, PhD student in cell and microbiology, is a finalist in a $10,000 blogging scholarship competition for student bloggers. She is, sadly, the only representative that blogs about science, and therefore is the obvious candidate to support at first glance. The competition is based on who has the best essay, of course, so please read them before you choose Christie.

I know, I am probably grossly biased in this request, and I know you will recognize such. Frankly, I don’t mind. The competition is partially comprised of three theological blogs (one of which being libertarian), a blog about bathroom art, a blog about the Minnesota Twins, and a blog that, by all appearances, reviews only MAC brand makeup. That last, by the way, has 61% of the vote at time of writing.

The point of giving scholarships to students, is to encourage them in their field of study. It’s to boost that field. While the rest of the finalists blog about stuff well outside their chosen fields, science is still the only field represented here that is worth encouraging, in my estimation. If you agree, Christie obviously needs your support right now if she has a hope in hell of beating the front runner. Please pass it along. And don’t forget to vote!

Julian Assange does something totally expected during an interview

Organization devoted to leaking those pesky internal government documents that tend to make governments look bad, manages to score and release 100,000 pages of internal Pentagon documents showing numerous human rights violations and dubious operations that have been carried out by the government in the handling of Iraq War 2: Bush’s Revenge. Government wants to grab the founder for “questioning”, so founder goes on the run. Someone is suspended from the organization for talking to a reporter. Another reporter decides to play the “some people say” card during a career-making interview with the founder, questioning him about how he’s become a lightning rod for criticism, and how maybe he should step aside. Founder asks repeatedly that the interview return to the topic at hand, the release of the Pentagon documents, and drop the personal questions, or he’ll walk. Reporter, oblivious to the fact that setting up such an interview under such conditions is a rarity and not one to be squandered, persists in asking impertinent and unimportant questions.

Let’s watch what happens, shall we?

Well, that was, as I said, wholly expected. I’m impressed with Assange’s level of calm despite the obvious attempt to rile him. And by impressed, I mean that’s just fucking badass. Bravo, man.

Christine O’Donnell: “that’s in the first amendment!?”

Pro tip: if you’re campaigning for public office, you should know the foundational documents of your country backward and forward. I don’t know the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as I should (I’m, after all, a lousy Canuck), but I know enough of them to be ashamed that the very first few lines reference the “supremacy of God”, but heartened that they also expressly warrant that all religious views fall under free thought, which is a fundamental freedom of the country.

Don’t sound so damned astonished when your views come into fundamental opposition with the very same first amendment that guarantees you freedom of speech. The audience was laughing at you, not with you.

And don’t even get me started on making what to teach in school, a matter of local policy. This universe, in the state it’s in presently, came into being and has changed since then, in exactly one way. Science strives to understand that way by looking at the evidence. The only reason to ignore huge swathes of evidence proving evolution to have happened, is because it gets in the way of your very small and limited belief of the universe’s true nature, as granted to you by some very science-incapable shepherds two millenia ago, in an era with as many messiahs as flies around camels.

Those of you that are disheartened by the lack of progress Obama’s made in your particular pet issue. If you are discouraged from voting, the really enthusiastic anti-reality religious wackaloons will win by default. This is your opponent. If you must hold your nose and vote for the “lesser of two evils”, you have no idea what kind of regression you’re barely avoiding by voting for the milquetoast over the pure unmitigated clawback of your rights and freedoms that you’d get from the other guys.

Happy birthday, everything-in-existence!

The mathematical genius and credit to humanity, Archbishop James Ussher, determined with thereafter-unchallenged finality, in 1647, the exact age of the Earth based on the lineage documented in the inerrant word of God, the Bible. In the beginning, God created the heavens and Earth on October 23rd, 4004 BC (having started cooking the whole brew the night before), making the entirety of existence exactly 6013 years old today. This just so happeend to have occurred exactly four thousand years before the Bible-scholar’s agreed-upon year that Christ was born. This calculation is based upon the unbroken documentation of the lives and birth years of every generation of human existence from the moment of creation, through the Great Flood which shaped our planet’s current geology, through until the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, whose empire reigned in 586 BC. Obviously, therefore, any so-called “evidence” of an old Earth was placed here to test our faith in the inerrancy of the word of God, by either the devil, or by God himself, depending on who you ask.

And religious types say atheists are arrogant in looking at physical evidence to make determinations about the state of this universe, rather than merely accepting as absolute truth a book whose provenance is as specious as its truth-claims. Sigh.

Yakko’s Universe

Work and a cold are both kicking my ass, but I’m not dead yet. Have just been expending my energy on a number of other areas of my life. Sorry it’s been so quiet around these parts the past few days. We’ll be back to your regularly scheduled blogging ASAP.

In the meantime, watch this. Yakko Warner rips off Eric Idle, but at least there’s no intergalactic animated vaginas giving birth to the universe in this one.