On Avicenna, plagiarism, and thanking those who regularly cry wolf while flailing us raw

Today, on the heels of a very bad overnight shift that had already despoiled my mental resources and spoiled my mood, I woke up to learn that one of our bloggers, Avicenna, had committed a cardinal sin and was kicked out of the network as a result. He’d plagiarised large sections of text from a wide variety of sources and incorporated those appropriated words into his post without attribution, and he’d done it serially, on a number of occasions.

In comments, much is being made of his quality of output, that it is unpolished, rambling, unstructured; these are absolutely forgivable in my eyes because what he was passionate about, what he decried or wrote in support of, I largely felt the same way. My main problem with his writing now, knowing that he’s plagiarized with such aplomb, is that I’m now inclined to wonder if every moment of lucidity he had actually came from someone else.
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Mock The Movie OVERTIME: Star Trek Into Darkness transcript by @blakestacey

CA7746 was building a transcript-generator for the web interface to supplement my Python-based Twitter scraper a while back, for when things go sideways and the API can’t deliver the script any more, and while I was doing my catch-up on Mock The Movie stuff and read CA’s email on the matter, he mentioned that he managed to grab a transcript of Blake Stacey’s mocking of Star Trek Into Darkness. So, here it is! Huzzah for Blake! You poor sod.
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VMware VM can’t be cloned, moved or backed up? No problem.

There are probably easier (or harder) ways to do this, but my back was up against a wall yesterday after a very important virtual machine was in a very bad state yesterday, after a series of hardware issues with the host, and basically one of those perfect storms of bad backup and bad host and bad VM happened.

Apparently, backups for this machine had been failing in a deceptive manner that didn’t clue us in that they were failing, and the host (VMware ESXi 5.0) was building new snapshots of the drive over and over again when Veeam tried to take a backup.

Worse, every time you tried to do a VMware level operation with the machine, it was complaining about the disks with something like “Error caused by file /vmfs/volumes/########-########-####-############/VM-Name/VM-Name-0000001.vmdk” and failing out. Little extra could be gleaned from SSHing into the host and checking dmesg, but it was plain the disk was being weird in a software way, not a hardware way. Luckily, the virtual machine itself could read the whole disk just fine, and it still ran just fine. So I was stuck with flaky hardware and no way to move the VM off of it.
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Hail Seitan!

I love this from the bottom of my black heart. It does figure that a black metal vegan chef would have to make seitan at some point, and he’d have to make the obvious pun. Just so you know though, it’s pronounced “say-TAN”, emphasis on the second syllable. Won’t affect your delivery in a metal voice though!

MAMelby linked that video to me in response to a thread on Facebook where I asked for some of your favorite seitan recipes. Here’s some of the ones that were sent my way:

Surly Amy apparently makes a mean shiitake mushroom seitan, and I’m not just saying “mean” because she’s a fellow feminazi bully.

And Josh, Token Spokesgay has an all-purpose basic seitan recipe, which apparently can be made in 20 mins in a pressure cooker. One of these days I’ll get a pressure cooker, and it’ll be all Josh’s fault. This is almost certainly what I’ll use as a base for my own experiments.

There’s this recipe, which is apparently vouched for by both Corrine Zimmerman and Steve Fritz, for barbecue “ribs”.

The recipes appear to be versatile enough to make sausage too. I’m looking forward to experimenting with this.

The common factors all seem to be beans and nutritional yeast. Some have vital wheat gluten, so if you have friends with Celiac’s or gluten intolerance, be careful. There are some variants to take care of different textures, too. Otherwise, everything else appears to be “season to taste”. And that, I can definitely do. For what it’s worth, my taste would likely entail garlic, smoke, onions, and soy sauce and/or worcestershire sauce. I would start there and add spices for different intended effects.

Enjoying problematic video games

One of my favorite game franchises has long been Final Fantasy, much to the chagrin of some elitist nerds for whom the series of JRPGs represents an erosion of the concept of the RPG. Regardless, its take on mythological creatures, even in its Super Nintendo days, served to clue me in on a small piece of context with regard to religion, from which I synthesised a deeper understanding of religion as mythology. (I’d detailed this in my deconversion story in Mission Creep — it was Behemoth and Leviathan in Final Fantasy 2 that gave me the clues I needed, if you’re wondering.)

That’s right, the video game franchise actually helped me to become an atheist — perhaps not singlehandedly, but it was certainly some scaffolding for my building my epistemology. So, even with its warts, of which there are numerous, and even with the side-eye I get from other gamers, it holds a place in my heart.

And yet, I still must criticise, even if I know that doing so might paint me as a studio-shill Social Justice Warrior journalist-sans-journal, and thus a target for the culture of entitlement that is GamerGate.

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Geek Girl Con: Carol Corps (the Carol Danvers fandom)!

I did a special guest run-in to talk about the skeptical/atheist communities and inclusion at the amazing Sigrid Ellis’ behest at Geek Girl Con last weekend. She posted the audio of the panel to Youtube — here it is.

I seriously had no idea there was a fandom for Carol Danvers, but I’m totally sold. I’ve been nattering on Twitter about why there isn’t already a Captain Marvel movie yet, what with Phase 2 dealing with space-stuff heavily. Dammit, it’s time for SWORD to exist, and for the Ms. Marvel cycle to get out of the way so we get our powerhouse colonel taking her rightful place in the Marvel cinematic pantheon. She outranks Captain America, so she should get more movies than him, right? RIGHT?