Ascension of the Jackdaw

So, Assassin’s Creed 4. You’re a pirate. It’s kinda awesome, though I’ve mostly so far only watched Ben play it rather than playing it myself. But like all games, there are glitches.

This one was amazing.

Yes, the choral music was added as a joke.

I love glitches like these in games because they illustrate a topic I always find interesting: emergent behaviour. These actions were not specifically programmed, but came out of something askew being input in some variable in all the existing equations that under normal circumstances worked perfectly sanely. It’s like how Newtonian physics works in most cases, until you get into cases near light-speed or around black holes, where you need special relativity because something wacky happens to the calculations. This was something very wacky happening to the calculations despite all the calculations working perfectly elsewhere.

The whole damn universe is a set of emergent properties for a very simple and very fundamental ruleset that probably is itself a result of some other extradimensional brane-collision or fold in the fabric of the multiverse. Time itself is an emergent property of the existence of our universe. Physics and chemistry and life, all emergent. This sort of complexity emerging from simpler rulesets is exactly why people are so frequently inclined to assume Goddidit.
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Intactivists overstate the case

I am absolutely against circumcision of males, except where medically necessary or where it has a net-positive effect in curtailing sexually transmitted diseases in high-risk populations. But when I see some “intactivists” — activists protesting circumcision of males — making the case in such a hyperbolic and emotive manner, I can’t help but shake my head.

In a “colorful protest” by Brother K and his “bloodstained men”, men in white jumpsuits protest with large red spots on their crotches.

“The destruction to the male genitals is absolute,” says Brother K. “Total. You’re left with a fraction of what God and nature intended. It’s appalling.”

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Skepticon 6 video: Sex and Violence in the Bible

The first video by Hambone Productions of Skepticon is up, of David Fitzgerald’s comedic analysis of the Bible’s naughtier bits.

Trigger warning: the Bible is very, very rapey.

I mostly enjoyed this talk, though there were a few bits that were problematic.

Many of the jokes are visual or are punctuated with visual aids, with people in the audience who are vision-impaired (Rebecca Watson made a point of narrating her slides for the benefit of these folks), and so they’re not going to get these jokes in this video either. Apologies to my readers. Also, I haven’t rewatched this, so I can’t remember exactly what was said, but I have a recollection of wincing a few times at some problematic language, too. “Bitch”, most likely.

Mock The Movie: The Cloth transcript

Imagine Castlevania in movie form, combined with The Exorcist and a smattering of Blade. Then take away all the awesome bits, waste your CG budget on the least-interesting and least-useful bits of the movie, and make sure your action scenes are nigh unfollowable. Dip it repeatedly in Jesus until well saturated. Ensure all the bad guys are easily killed, even — and especially — the Big Bad. Cast the one guy with acting chops in a supporting character role, and make him do ridiculous quasi-Anime things like building in having to make an X sign when using special weapons. And there you have it — The Cloth.
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Last-second sanity from Texas on abortion restriction law!

Well this is some heartening news.

Less than 24 hours before new abortion regulations were set to take effect in Texas, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel on Monday blocked implementation of one provision challenged by abortion providers and partially blocked a second provision, ruling that they could place an undue burden on women and are therefore unconstitutional.

In his opinion, Yeakel wrote that a provision of House Bill 2 that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility “places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus and is thus an undue burden to her.”

Yeah, considering most abortion doctors have to come in from out of state, no kidding it’s an undue burden on women. But that’s how the religious want it — rights for clumps of cells who could potentially become religious, and no rights for these clumps of cells’ incubators.

Nice that something that’s clearly unconstitutional is getting slapped down as such.

Update: Well never mind then. A conservative judge just reinstated the unconstitutional crap and now over a dozen facilities will have to close.

Vintage 90s anti-“socialism” healthcare fearmongering

Any of this sound familiar? There sure is a lot of pushback against everyone getting healthcare in your country for some strange reason. And it seems to be coming from the same anti-humanistic religious sources.

Surely Jesus would be against healing the sick without first making a profit, amirite? The only truly American health care rationing is the kind that makes sure you can only get health care if you can pay out of pocket!

Found by Everything Is Terrible.

Lila Rose, anti-abortionist, tries to steal Malala Yousafzai’s activist cred

If you ever decide to unironically compare yourself to a civil rights activist who has risked everything and (almost) lost it all while fighting for, say, a woman’s right to be educated, and your cause is as patently uncivil as preventing women from choosing what to do with their bodies, expect to get laughed at and mocked. A lot.

Especially the moreso when the person you’re comparing yourself to got shot in the head for wanting the right to intellectual autonomy, with a bullet grazing her brain and coming within millimetres of killing her, and you’ve never seen real danger in your entire goddamn life and yet you’re fighting for a cluster of cells less than a millimetre across to have more rights over a woman’s bodily autonomy than the woman herself. All because you did a guerilla video campaign for Live Action, undercutting Planned Parenthood, which is as feminist an organization as has ever gotten national traction. Slow fucking clap.

I bet she didn’t ever say “Yousafzai” because she doesn’t know how. I bet, in fact, she knows almost nothing about Malala Yousafzai or her fight, except what someone told her would make good speech fodder.

Found at Right Wing Watch.

Watch Pat Robertson’s enlightenment about trans folk evaporate!

Good ol’ Uncle Pat is a mercurial fellow. One day he seems to have some humanitarian concept within his grasp, and flails about almost grabbing that brass ring, then the religious folk criticize him and he has to regain his religious street-cred. So he plays dumb on the topic, and says something incredibly ridiculous. This time, he forgets everything he said the last time I had to grudgingly laud him, losing all the ground he gained on becoming a decent human being with regard to trans* folk.

A horse that’s been castrated becoming a gelding? Really? I don’t even have the words to express how big a category error that is. It’s as tangential to the topic as if you started talking about how sometimes toddlers get into Mom’s makeup.

Michael Enright: Atheists, you’re not being silenced, so stop talking about it!

A reader forwarded me this via email as a sort of quick-bloggy bit of material, I suspect at least in part to get me blog just to prove I’m still alive. So, here we are!

Michael Enright, of CBC’s venerable The Sunday Edition, has decided to take on one group that’s really overreaching, that’s already gotten all the attention it deserves, that’s been given all the deference it could want and yet still keeps grasping for more: atheists. Seriously, can you think of another group that’s already won all its campaigns to be allowed to exist in peace and yet keeps, you know, talking about how horrible it is to be them, to have to play second-fiddle to all the overprivileged people in our society? Nope, none, just atheists!

He starts out by electing Richard Dawkins as our pope.

If the atheists of the world could ever organize themselves into a non-religious church, their first Pope would undoubtedly be Richard Dawkins.

Yeah, off to a GREAT start.
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