Monday, February 29, 2016

A concrete example of how social justice can be harmful: Falling grades and psychological problems

Brown student protesters complain homework is interfering with their activism.

The title itself sounds quite facepalmy, but the article itself reveals a darker aspect of the whole thing:
“There are people breaking down, dropping out of classes, and failing classes because of the activism work they are taking on,” an undergraduate student going by the pseudonym “David” told The Brown Daily Herald Thursday. “My grades dropped dramatically. My health completely changed. I lost weight. I’m on antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills right now. Counselors called me. I had deans calling me to make sure I was okay.”
This is something that wouldn't need to happen, and is caused solely because of the social justice brainwashing that these college kids are going through.

But maybe if it's for a good cause, it's something to fight for, even if it means falling grades and mental health problems? The thing is, it's not: These protests are completely nonsensical. They are protesting a non-existent phenomenon in universities. It's nothing more than a made-up "problem" invented by entitled privileged rich kids and their gender studies professors, using exaggerated and sometimes completely fabricated claims. They are fighting windmills.

And they are causing a lot of harm to everybody. To the university, to other students, to the surrounding society, and more importantly, to themselves, as that testimony reveals. Falling grades and failing classes at a university is a serious issue. Mental health problems are an even more serious issue. And both are caused by, essentially, a cult, and wouldn't need to happen.

Social justice is ruining these kids' lives. They could be studying for a productive career in science, but instead they are wasting their lives and health fighting windmills and chasing wild geese, and getting psychologically hurt in the process.

Modern progressive feminism and social justice is a dangerous cult.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Virtual reality headsets are too expensive and full of useless cruft

On June of last year, I wrote a blog post about how I think the development of VR headsets is taken too far, which will increase their price for no benefit. On January this year the Oculus Rift was finally announced for preordering... and surprise surprise, it's hugely expensive.

Now one of OR's biggest competitors, the HTC Vive, has likewise been announced for preordering... and it's even more expensive, at 900€. And it's also stock full of useless augmented reality crap that no gamer will use for anything.

Will they ever learn? We don't need augmented reality crap! We don't want augmented reality crap! It's useless! It may entertain us for a half hour, but other than that it's completely useless cruft that adds absolutely nothing to what really matters, ie. playing games.

You do not play games by walking around your room. You play games by sitting on a chair or sofa. At most you might want to turn your head to look around, but that's it! All that augmented reality crap is completely useless for practical gaming. We don't need it! We don't need to be able to walk around the room while playing. We don't need fancy controllers to simulate augmented reality hands. That part is a useless toy. Cut it out already!

My only hope is that they will realize this soon enough, and create a simpler, more bare-bones version of their headsets, with all the useless cruft left out, and release it at half the price. Head-tracking is ok, but other than that, leave the useless crap out. Maybe then I might consider purchasing one.

Hatred of furries

Some people have hobbies that most other people may find strange and sometimes even off-putting. Sometimes it's just something that they might find completely ridiculous or even cringeworthy. The normal reasonable response that they can give to those hobbies is a simple "no thanks, I'm not interested", and let them be. As long as they aren't hurting anybody, they can do whatever they want. What they do among themselves, as long as it doesn't hurt anybody, is their business, and they can be left alone. Who cares?

But sometimes the aversion towards a particular hobby goes to absolutely insane levels. It goes beyond "I'm not interested, it's not for me". It goes even beyond "they are crazy, I can't understand how can they do it, or why". It goes to total, absolute, pure unadultered hatred.

For example, I have an acquaintance who absolutely loathes furries. It almost feels like an obsession for him to hate them. Sometimes he will just suddenly, out of the blue, during a conversation that had nothing to do with furries or anything like that, using the most tenuous segues possible, suddenly express is absolute hatred of furries. He will say things like he'd rather go unemployed and end his career rather than do anything even remotely related to furries. He speaks like furries murdered his parents or something. (Granted, I'm not 100% sure that he's being completely serious, but it seems to me that he is.) Given how many times he has done this, and how unprompted it always is, it feels like an obsession. I have never asked him why he loathes furries so much (because the situation has never been such that I had a good opportunity to ask), but there's just a deep-rooted absolute hatred there.

I have never seen him show such an attitude towards any other hobby, or any other group of people. Only furries. That's it.

He is not the only one. Hatred of furries seems rather prevalent. And not only just mockery and making fun of them. I mean pure hatred.

I really can't understand what is it with furries in particular that triggers such an irrational hatred in some people. While furries are not the only hobby that causes a similar reaction, it seems relatively rare. I don't think even bronies receive as much pure unadultered hatred as furries do (although bronies too experience quite a lot of it.)

My own stance is rather simple, and I already stated it: Live and let live. As long as they aren't hurting anybody, they can do whatever they want. It's a hobby. It's a community. It's a subculture. Why should I care about what they do or don't do? They can do whatever they want. I have zero problems with that. And I oppose on principle anybody who shows such irrational hatred of them, or anybody else. You are not the arbiter of what other should or shouldn't do. Mind your own business. Fuck off. Hatred has never achieved anything good in this world.

Monday, February 22, 2016

It's the 1930's Germany all over again

So we have burning of art, blatant antisemitism, and advocacy for the termination of constitutional rights. All at the same time.

What does that remind you of?

As George Santayana once said, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Some thoughts of scientists' racism in the past

When looking at the ideas that scientists, especially biologists, had about species and races, especially concerning humans, in the 1700's and 1800's, much of it sounds quite horrible to our modern more knowledgeable ears.

Back in those times there was a great deal of discussion in science about the question of how many species/races (the difference between the two concepts seems to be a bit fuzzy back in those days, often up to the point of the two terms being used interchangeably) of humans there are, and what their biological relation is to each other. Much of it sounds really, really degrading and blatantly racist to our modern sensibilities.

The prevalent view back in those days was that all living beings could be categorized in terms of development. In other words, some species were more developed and others less developed. All species could be put in a "ladder" according to how developed they were. Worms were pretty down low in this ladder, dogs a lot higher, and humans obviously at the very top. Apes were (also rather "obviously") slightly lower in the ladder.

Back in those days scientists did not have the tools and knowledge that we take for granted today. They didn't have any idea of DNA, or how to compare species with each other using it. Likewise there was basically no notion of speciation, and the origin of species was pretty much an open question (often just attributed to divine creation even in the case of the most secular of scientists).

The only things they had to work with was morphology and behavior. And this is, perhaps, the crux of the whole question. When they observed primitive tribes of humans, they only had morphology and behavior to work with, when the question came up whether they are humans, apes, or something in between. Based on their primitive behavior, many scientists did classify them as entirely separate species/races somewhere in between apes and humans in the "ladder".

About the question of how many species/races of human-like living beings there were, estimations ranged all the way from 3 to over 60, depending on the author.

Obviously white people were almost universally considered the highest step on the "ladder", and all of the other species/races to be lower.

As said, this sounds quite obnoxiously racist to our modern sensibilities. However, should we judge them so harshly? I'm not saying there was no sentiment of superiority in one degree or another, but regardless, we should understand what were the tools they had to work with. As said, they didn't even know of DNA, or inheritance, or anything like that, and the only thing they had to work with was morphology and behavior. Lacking any better knowledge, they classified people as lower or higher based in their cultural development, rather than their genetic material (which they didn't know about.) We of course now know that this is the wrong tool to use, but they didn't know that back then.

So, once again, should we judge them so harshly? I'd say no. We should give them the benefit of the doubt. While there was certainly some elitism among many of them, I'm certain that many of them classified humans into species/races with no ill will, purely based on their observations and their (limited) knowledge.

Charles Darwin was, in fact, surprisingly progressive in this regard. He, in fact, in his books criticizes all those scientists, posits that there is no "ladder" (and proposing an evolutionary tree with all the branches, representing all extant species, being at the same level), and posits that all humans are in fact the same species (ie. one single branch of the tree).

Creationists often accuse Darwin of having been a racist. This is a complete fabrication. In reality it was the exact opposite: Darwin was in fact one of the least racist scientists of the time, and in fact proposed that all humans are actually the same species and biologically completely equal to each other, and heavily criticized contemporary science for classifying some humans as inferior. His hypothesis was rather bold and controversial at the time, but later knowledge (especially thanks to the discovery of DNA and DNA testing) proved him absolutely right.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Natural vs. man-modified vegetables and plants

During the past decade or two, there has been an increasingly widespread idea among very diverse (and often completely unrelated) groups with regards to food, especially plants. New age spiritualists, a certain type of conspiracy theorists and denialists, vegans, and in some cases even some religious people (especially from some denominations of Christianity), have this concept that "natural" plants are the most healthy and nutritious form of food, while plants that have been modified by humans in some manner, are the cause of most of our health and dietary problems. (The most spiritualist people of course think that we are messing with "Mother Nature", whatever that may mean to them. Even the most pragmatic people think that man-modified plants are somehow "wrong", and that completely natural ones are better.)

The big irony is that, quite often, the very plant products that they promote have actually been heavily modified by humans, especially using artificial selection, ie. selective breeding (which makes it quite different from its original wild counterpart; often so much so that it cannot survive in the wild.)

Go to a big grocery store, go to the section that sells vegetables and fruits, and look around. Take a guess how much of everything you see is the product of artificial selection made by humans, and how much is something that you can find in the wild, with no human origin at all.

If you guessed that all that you see has been heavily modified by humans, you would probably be right. At the very least 90% of everything you see is something that you will not find in the wild (unless it has "escaped" human cultivations into the wild.)

Modern bananas? Do not exist in the wild, and didn't exist in their current form at all until a specific mutation was artificially selected in the 1800's. (It originates from the wild banana, which is very different in shape and contents, full of big seeds, and almost inedible.)

Carrots? Those bright orange things? Yep, you guessed it. A product of artificial selection and selective breeding. They originate from a wild variant that looks basically nothing like them (and are also almost inedible.)

Oranges? The original wild oranges were approximately the size of a ping pong ball, and not as nutritious or good tasting.

The list would be endless. Basically everything you will find on the store does not appear in the wild in that form, and has been heavily modified by human agriculture. (There might be some exceptions where the wild version resembles the cultivated version quite a lot, these examples are probably quite rare, and even then the cultivated version has probably been modified by selective breeding.)

Are these selectively bred, human-modified versions of all these plants worse for us than their original wild counterparts? No. In fact, it's usually the exact opposite. The cultivated versions are much more nutritious, and much more efficient in terms of cultivation (in other words, they require less land and less resources for the same amount of nutritious value than their wild ancestors.) They often contain more beneficial and healthy nutrients than their original ancestors did.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Why "The Secret" is complete BS

During the last decade or so, a strange kind of "new age" spiritualism has become more and more popular. (It's in fact such a new iteration on the older "new age" philosophies, that you could call it "new new age" spiritualism.) It's a really strange ideology that makes lots of esoteric claims with literally zero evidence, and these claims are often just outright preposterous, and they have become so bold that they don't even try to masquerade or "sell" these ideas to make them more palatable. They just make the outlandish claims outright. And the claims are almost always really vague and fuzzy, with no explanations or anything. And somehow many people are swallowing them whole.

One example of this is a best-selling book called "The Secret". To summarize it in one sentence, it claims that if you want something, you should actively think about it and visualize it in your mind, and that will make that something more likely to happen. Because reasons.

The implication seems to be that we have some kind of supernatural powers which we just have to tap into, in order to quasi-supernaturally affect our world. Just visualizing something in our minds allegedly affects the world and makes it more likely to happen.

One could try to shove aside the supernatural and spiritualist implications, and just try to approach the subject in a purely psychological manner. One could think like: "Sure, all that spiritualist stuff is crap, but the core idea might work on a psychological level. Visualizing what you want may make you subconsciously act and work towards making it happen, thus increasing its likelihood even if you are not aware of it."

Ironically, however, at least one study has shown that it might be the exact opposite: Visualizing and fantasizing about something (the study uses people seeking for a job, students who have a crush on someone they like, students expecting to pass an exam, and patients undergoing hip-replacement surgery) may actually make it less likely to happen successfully.

The result might be a bit surprising, but thinking about it, it's actually not completely illogical. After all, when you fantasize about something that you really want, when you truly desire that something, you put pressure on yourself to achieve it, and people are notoriously bad at doing things under pressure.

So, quite ironically, "The Secret" may be making people less likely to achieve what they want.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

How to steal people's ad revenue from YouTube

The copyright flagging system in YouTube is completely broken in its design, and there's forming a massive protest campaign for Google to fix it. Here is one example of how hideously broken the system is: How to steal somebody's ad revenue.

It works simply like this: Make a DMCA claim on somebody's video. YouTube will give you several options about what to do about it. One of them is to redirect the video's monetization to yourself. You don't have to actually prove that you own any rights to that video. It's all automatized, and you will get the monetization automatically.

The owner of the video can dispute the claim. However, you don't have to do anything about it. If you don't make your claim into an actual DMCA strike, your claim will hold for an entire month. During this month it will be you who receives all the ad revenue from the video.

After the one month, the claim is automatically removed. You get to keep the money. No questions asked. No repercussions. Nothing. Congratulations, you got somebody else's month-long ad revenue for yourself, for free, and without repercussions. And you don't need to own any rights whatsoever to the video in question.

The solution to this problem would be really simple: During a DMCA claim, where the claimant is requesting the ad revenue for the video, said revenue should go to a neutral account. Once the claim has been resolved, the money is returned to whichever party won the claim. This way it's impossible to steal people's ad revenue with false DMCA claims.

But apparently Google doesn't care.

"Don't be evil" my ass.

Online harassment is accepted when it's the SJW's who are doing the harassing

Both social justice warriors and the media at large have during the last few years made a huge deal about online harassment. It's approximately the worst thing in this world (only behind, possibly, physical rape of a woman.) It has actually got to a point where the media depicts the internet in general, and online gaming in particular, as some kind of warzone where you just can't exist without a constant barrage of harassment. And of course all (male) gamers are misogynist sexist harassers. Obviously.

There is, however, a big double standard in this whole thing. You see, when the harassment is done by social justice warriors and the target is somebody who they don't like (ie. usually someone who is critical of them), this somehow goes under the radar, and nobody really cares about it. The social justice warriors don't talk about nor pay attention to it, the media at large doesn't talk about nor pay attention to it, and overall there seems to be some kind of strange mutual agreement of silence over the issue. It's like they all pretend that it doesn't exist.

However, the truth is that social justice warriors can be, and often are, absolutely brutal and vicious in their online harassment. We are not talking here just about calling people names and pestering them on social media. We are talking here about actual direct threats of violence, including rape and death threats, and actual doxing. And we are not talking just about a few comments here and there, but systematic and constant barrage, every single day, for years. And the harassment is often not limited to the persona non grata himself, but also to his family (for the sole reason that they happen to be family; nothing else.)

Not all media is silent about this, however. For example the journalist Jatinder Singh Nandra from the BBC recently wrote an article about the absolutely vicious and brutal online harassment that SJW-critic and pro-gamergate celebrity John Bain has received over the years by social justice warriors (which he ended up having to get therapy for, and had to close all of his social media accounts.) My hat goes off to this journalist for daring to write about this issue.

The amount of doublething, double standards and hypocrisy in the behavior of social justice warriors is just mind-boggling. These are the same people who are strongly against online harassment and want to enact laws and limitations and create tools to shut down such harassment. At the same time they have zero problems in engaging in brutal and vicious online harassment, and even doxing, themselves.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I'm an individualist because I believe in human rights

I recently watched a video criticizing a propaganda video make by MTV about "Black History Month". (The MTV video in question implies that without black people we wouldn't have today things like cellphones, video game consoles or pacemakers, which makes absolutely no sense. But that's not here nor there.)

That made me think that personally I vehemently oppose, on principle, any "Black History Month". I oppose it exactly as much as I would oppose a "White History Month", or a "Latino History Month", or anything of the sorts.

Why? Because I'm an individualist, not a collectivist. And I'm an individualist because I believe in equality and fundamental human rights. I consider that anybody who both adheres to collectivist ideas and claims to uphold equality and human rights to have completely contradictory views, because they are incompatible things.

As an individualist, I believe that every person should be judged as an individual completely regardless of inconsequential things like gender, race or sexual orientation. Every individual person should have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as every other person. Every individual person should be judged based on personal merit and the content of their character, not based on their chromosomes or skin pigmentation. Nobody is deserving of special treatment, nor discrimination, based on those things.

A person may belong to a gender or race in the biological and scientific sense, but not in the sociopolitical sense. In the sociopolitical sense every person belongs to the society as a whole, and should be treated equally to everybody else.

The only situation where I accept the need for special treatment and special privileges is when there are good justified medical reasons for them (such as a physical disability), to try to help these individuals to live as well as is practically possible, and to help them with their medical condition.

Collectivists, however, divide people into sub-groups based on things like gender, race and sexual orientation, and treat people differently based on which sub-group they belong to. They will assign rights, privileges, credit, responsibilities and shame on people based on the group they belong to. They will give special treatment to some groups, and sometimes even discriminate against others. When they judge an individual person, they will take into account which group that person belongs to, and let that affect their judgment significantly. The group division may become even more important than personal merit, achievements and content of character.

This is pretty much the definition of sexism and racism. And it's the reason why I vehemently oppose it on principle, and why I think it's blatantly against equality and fundamental human rights.

"Black History Month" is a deeply collectivist idea. Rather than looking at the achievements of individual people, they instead look at what artificial group those people belong, and give credit to the entire group for things that some individuals have achieved. They do not say "person X invented thing Y". Instead, they say "black people invented thing Y".

Ironically, they are diminishing the significance of that personal achievement by that person. They are attributing credit for it to an entire group, most of who had absolutely nothing to do with the achievement (and might not have even been born when the achievement was made.)

I am white. Isaac Newton was white. How much credit and recognition do I deserve for what Newton achieved? How much credit and recognition do white people in general deserve for what Newton achieved? Nothing. Nada. Nil.

Newton was a genius. He was a person. All credit for his achievements go to him, and any person who directly contributed to what he achieved. Nobody else. His skin pigmentation and chromosomes play absolutely no role in this.

Some people whose skin pigmentation just happened to be darker than a certain shade also have achieved great things. How much credit do black people in general deserve for their achievements? Nothing. Nada. Nil. The credit for those achievements go to those individual people, and anybody who directly contributed to their knowledge and work. Nobody else.

This is why I vehemently and on principle oppose "Black History Month", and find it racist and abhorrent. It is absolutely no different from, for example, a "White History Month". I oppose these because I'm not a racist and I believe in equality and fundamental human rights. I oppose these because I'm an individualist, not a collectivist.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Clickbaiting

There are thousands and thousands of websites out there with an enormous amount of content. Much of that content is pretty much professionally made, oftentimes even by a large company with many full-paid employees. But how can such companies afford this, given that such websites are (at least in the vast majority of cases) completely free to be browsed? Are they doing it just for fun, PR or self-advertisement?

Sometimes yes. However, very often the answer is the third-party advertising. One wouldn't think that just having some ad-banners, popups and nag screens would be all that profitable, but apparently it is. Seemingly advertisers are ready to pay surprisingly large amounts of money to have their ads on a website that has millions of visitors. Sometimes these sums are large enough to pay the salary of a small team of people.

The more people see those ads, the larger the profit for the website. Logically, the website will try to draw in as many visitors as possible. And when a visitor has arrived to one of their pages, they want to keep said visitor browsing other pages of the site further, for as long as possible. But how to do this?

One common tactic, often used by less scrupulous websites, is so-called clickbaiting.

Clickbaiting is something that you often don't pay attention to (which is why it can be so devious). However, once you become aware of this tactic, it can start standing out like a sore thumb.

It's the practice of titling articles (and links to those articles) in a manner that picks your curiosity (and "baits" you to click the link), but without telling you what it really is about. This often even though the title could have provided that information. The title is usually deliberately worded in such a way as to entice you to click it out of curiosity, rather than being an informative and dry newspaper-style article title. In other words, rather than the title being a one-sentence summary of the article, it's deliberately worded to pick your curiosity.

A normal article title might be something like (completely fictitious examples): "Carrots have anti-carcinogenic properties, new study finds", or "State governor donates half of his salary to children's hospital."

The clickbaiting versions would be: "New way to prevent cancer, see how!", and "Awesome politician restores my faith in humanity!"

Sometimes the contents of the article are not something that could be easily summarized in a short title, but the title is nevertheless worded in a manner that picks your curiosity and entices you to check it out. Typical examples: "15 facts you won't believe are true!", "25 photographs that changed the world!", "The shocking truth behind car dealerships!"

There are certain key words that, if they appear in a link or article title, are often indicative of clickbaiting (meaning that if the word appears there, it's very likely that it's just clickbaiting). These include, for example, words like "fact", "truth", "see", "photo(graph)", "new", "believe", "won't", and a myriad of superlative adjectives like "awesome", "shocking", "amazing" and so on. (It's of course not always the case, but if a quick visual scan shows one of these key words, it should raise a red flag.)

Once you start recognizing this form of deliberate clickbaiting and you start paying attention to it, it really stands out like a sore thumb.

And just for fun, here is a concrete real-life example, from express.co.uk:


These couldn't be more clickbaity even if they tried.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Are female-only companies more conflict-free?

Some time ago I wrote a blog post about my opinion on girls-only school (and other similar) events, pointing out how they inadvertently give girls the exact opposite message of what is intended.

One concept that events like that rides on, a concept that's quite popular among progressive feminists, is that boys and men are a lot more competitive, while girls and women are much more social, amicable, cooperative and conflict-free. Which ostensibly would mean that a group of women could work together much more harmoniously and free of conflicts and problems than a group of men, or a mixed group. After all, the women are not competitive, and instead are very social and would thus be much better at communicating and cooperating, and there would be no infighting getting in the way of doing a good job.

Right?

Wrong.

Let me present you a counter-example: A producer launches a women-only TV company, which soon crumbles due to severe infighting and constant conflict.

You see, women might be on average less competitive than men... when dealing with men. However, women can be, and often are, extremely competitive among themselves. And we are usually talking about the exact wrong kind of competition. The kind that ends up in actual fighting, bickering, defamation, gossiping, and so on.

(While it's not relevant per se, as a side note this is probably also something that can be traced to our evolutionary past, as it was common for females to fight among themselves for the attention of the most prominent males. I know this sounds really politically incorrect, but I'm not trying to denigrate anybody here. I'm looking at it from a completely pragmatic evolutionary perspective, with no judgment, and no ill will.)

This is yet another thing where feminists just cannot see the bigger picture, and are concentrating only on a small part of it, and pretending that it's the only part.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Voting on Steam game reviews

Any person who buys a game on Steam can write a review about it, and give it a "recommended" or "not recommended" verdict. Likewise, and perhaps even more usefully, people can vote on any review, on the question of whether they found that review helpful or not.

The idea is excellent. In this way, at least in theory, the vast community of Steam users can help bring informative and helpful user reviews to visibility, while bad and unhelpful reviews will sink to the bottom.

The problem is that people are not actually voting on whether the review was informative and helpful, but whether they agree with the review or not. I have noticed that it seems that if somebody disagrees with the "recommended / not recommended" verdict of the review, they are very likely to thumbs-down the review, completely regardless of its actual contents. In other words, even if the review is extremely informative and brings useful information to potential buyers of the game.

Not all users, of course, but too many. For example, I wrote a "not recommended" review of the game digital comic Cho Dengeki Stryker, where I explained its nature. In other words, I warned potential buyers that this is not an actual interactive game (ie. a game with interactivity, dialog trees, branching paths, puzzles to solve, etc.) but literally a digital comic, ie. just pictures with captions (and voice acting) and nothing else. There is nothing to play here; the only "interactivity" in this program is to click to advance to the next piece of text.

Since this seems to be a very popular visual novel, I got an unusual amount of feedback and votes. 61 in total. Of those 61 votes, only 9 "found this review helpful".

Of course I can't know the mindset of the other 52, but I'm willing to bet that the majority of them downvoted the review for the simple reason that they like the visual novel, and disagree with my "not recommended" verdict. That is, rather than seeing that hey, this may indeed be helpful information for potential buyers, who have no way of knowing the nature of the "game" before they buy it. (None of the descriptions on Steam make it clear that this is not an interactive game, but a pure digital comic.)

(One person wrote a comment on my review praising the fact that it gave this useful information, and lamented that people were downvoting it for all the wrong reasons. So at least some people understand the nature of such reviews, which is excellent. Too bad that so few people do.)

I have another example. While this one is arguably less unambiguous and clear, I think it's still illustrative, and also here I think that the majority of downvotes were simply because the voter disagreed with my verdict, rather than the usefulness of the review itself. Namely, I gave a negative review of the hugely popular game Shovel Knight (which I found needlessly hard, for no good reason, up to the point of sheer tediousness and frustration.) 2 out of 15 people "found this review helpful".

I think it's a pity that the "helpfulness" vote is in practice an "I disagree with the verdict" vote, especially when the review goes contrary to the majority opinion. It lessens the usefulness of the review system. I really think that one can appreciate whether a review is helpful to potential buyers even if you disagree with the final verdict. Unfortunately the vast majority of people don't seem to think like that.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Online social media becoming increasingly authoritarian

One of the biggest steps that progressive feminism is attempting to take in order to succeed is to control the narrative. "Controlling the narrative" means that in all possible avenues, be they real-life or, especially, online, only the progressive feminist perspective is given any visibility, and all dissenting opinions and criticism is silenced, censored and banned.

They have found a perfect way of achieving this: Masquerade their attempt at censorship as "fighting against hate speech and harassment". After all, no public avenue and social media platform would dare to oppose such a sentiment. Thus all such avenues and websites are in increasing numbers adopting new "anti-harassment" and "anti hate speech" policies.

The problem? They are putting the progressive feminists in charge of deciding what exactly counts as "harassment" and "hate speech".

Twitter is but the latest website to do exactly this. Facebook, Google and others have announced such plans previously.

Notice who are the members of that "trust & safety council". Basically none of them are organizations dedicated to the protection of free speech (eg. the Electronic Frontier Foundation is conspicuously not a member), and many are blatantly progressive feminist organizations (most prominently Feminist Frequency.)

Progressive feminists are notorious for classifying criticism of feminism as "harassment" and "hate speech". (Also criticism of religion, which in practice means criticism of Islam, is also likewise classified as such.)

This means in practice that any posts that promote feminist rhetoric, even if blatantly dishonest and discriminatory, even obnoxiously misandrist, will be allowed, while any criticism of feminism (or of Islam), no matter how inoffensive, non-aggressive and factual, will be classified as "harassment" and censored, and people presenting them banned.

You might be thinking that I'm making this stuff up, or exaggerating. Except it's already happening at some scale, and it's only going to get worse and worse. Just wait for it.

When feminists are given full moderator status (which is what twitter and other sites are doing), they won't stop at simply censorship and blocking. They will start banning. They will start reporting to authorities if possible, employers, and other forms of doxing. Just you wait.

There might be a slight light at the end of the tunnel, though, because most of these websites are dependent on how many users they have (because they need to make money, after all, and fewer users means less profits and ad revenue). Mass bannings, plus driving away users with totalitarian policies, will decrease their user base significantly. (This is in fact happening right now at Twitter and other such sites that have become SJW echo chambers. But with these policies it's only going to accelerate.)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Black SJW's in the United States are opportunists

The black students at many universities in the United States are spewing this kind of rhetoric (direct quote from a video):

"This university owes us everything. This was built on the back of my people, and I owe you none of you guys anything. We own white people nothing."

This complete horseshit, and blatant opportunism and, ultimately, greed.

Firstly universities in the United States were not built "on the back of [black] people" (ie. implying that without the contribution of black people, which in this context is implied to mean slaves, the universities wouldn't even exist.)

The oldest universities in the United states were built in the 1600's (the first one being Harvard University, founded in 1636.) The slave trade did not become prominent until the 1700's and 1800's.

Slavery in the United States may have had an economic impact on the country. But how much of it did it have, and how much did universities benefit from it? It's pure speculation. However, what is much clearer is that universities were not built thanks to slave labor, and it's just incorrect to insinuate that they wouldn't exist without slaves.

Secondly, let's just assume for a moment, for the sake of argument, that slavery did have a huge impact in the proliferation of universities in the United States. It most probably did not have that much of an impact, but let's just assume for a moment that it really did.

The question is: How much do you, as a modern black person, deserve credit and recognition from that?

Answer: None. Nada. Nil.

You did not help build the universities. You did not work to help them proliferate. You have done absolutely nothing to deserve anything.

You cannot appropriate the merits of your distant ancestors any more than I can (even assuming that those ancestors did indeed have such a huge impact on the proliferation of universities.)

I cannot just go to you and tell you: "Hey, show me some respect. My ancestors, my "people", developed science, technology and medicine for centuries, and helped our progress. You wouldn't be using computers, driving cars, going to the doctor to get cured, if it weren't for "my people". I don't owe you anything. You owe me everything."

If I actually said that, it would be really, really obnoxious. I would be appropriating the work of distant people who just happen to share a trait with me, and claiming credit for it, even though I myself did not contribute anything to it.

Well, my friend, you are being really, really obnoxious, appropriating the work of your distant ancestors, and claiming credit for it, and demanding ownership of things you have never, ever done or owned. You are just riding on the shoulders of others, and want a piece of the cake for free, without having any rights to it, without any personal merit.

No, your skin color does not entitle you to anything, you racist piece of shit. You deserve credit and recognition for what you have done, not what people hundreds of years ago have done. You cannot appropriate the work of others simply because you share the same skin color. You are no different from white supremacists who think that they are superior simply because of their skin color. I have zero respect for racists.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Why did the PlayStation Vita fail?

The PlayStation Vita has sold less than 10 million units worldwide. All in itself that might sound like a pretty decent amount, but it's dwarfed when we consider what the normal numbers for handheld consoles actually are: The PlayStation Portable sold about 82 million units, Vita's biggest competitor the Nintendo 3DS has sold 58 million units, and the original Nintendo DS a whopping 154 million units. In this light the Vita, which has sold a tenth of its competitors, and even its own predecessor, is arguably a failure.

And that's not all. The system is arguably also a failure, even a bigger one, in terms of its game library. The game library for the Vita is pitiably small. And we are talking about all games available for the system here. The triple-A game library for the system is significantly smaller still, to an almost ridiculous level. It's hard to sell a console that has no games for it. And this is a vicious circle because developers won't make games for a system that doesn't sell.

Why did it fail so catastrophically? Many people agree that this was caused mostly by two factors: Sony's greed (which is easy to believe) and, perhaps surprisingly and unintuitively, because the system is actually too powerful for its own good.

The first one is much easier to explain: Not only was the console quite expensive at launch, on top of that Sony got really greedy and crippled it with a proprietary memory card, which was over twice as expensive as the normal generic ones. What is worse, the Vita was shipped without a memory card (at least one that was large enough to download any games from the PlayStation Store), which meant that a separate memory card purchase was pretty much required to be able to use the system, which increased the actual price of the console even further. (This was, in fact, a rather dirty tactic from Sony. Not only was the launch price of the system quite high, on top of that it was actually artificially and deceptively lowered by not including a necessary component, which you had to then buy separately. In other words, there was a hidden cost, which wasn't very small either.)

Even the smallest of the proprietary memory cards costed like 20€, but it was so small as to be barely enough. If you really wanted one that you could actually use for actual games purchased digitally, you would easily end up paying 40 or 50€. On top of the original unit's price, of course. (At the same time, standard memory cards of the same capacity by other manufacturers would cost less than half of that. And there is no technical reason why they couldn't work on the Vita, except Sony's greed.)

The second reason may be harder to fathom at first, but let me explain.

The Vita contains some impressive hardware for a hand-held. It is, of course, hard to make comparisons, but it has approximately the same prowess as a PlayStation 3. On a handheld. And not only is the CPU and GPU so powerful, the screen is quite impressive in itself, being large and high-resolution (for a handheld at least).

But how can being "too powerful" be a detriment for a handheld console?

The reason is that making games for a powerful console is more expensive. And with the Vita, it's a gamble. A game studio may spend millions creating a Vita game, and see it sell only a fraction of what's necessary to cover the costs.

Nowadays most smartphones are about as powerful (if not even more so) and have even higher screen resolutions (even ridiculously so), yet they are quite successful. How come? Well, cellphones are not competing on the exclusive market of video gaming. A cellphone is not a dedicated gaming console. It's a smartphone; not just a phone, but essentially a portable mini-computer which you can use to do all kinds of things (such as browse the internet, message with people, and use all kinds of apps and games.)

The Vita, however, is just that: A gaming console. That's its principal purpose. Sure, you may be able to surf the internet with it, but nobody uses it for that purpose. It's not a smartphone.

And a gaming console needs a healthy library of games, or else it won't succeed.

The Vita has thus entered a vicious cycle from which it can't get out: It's too expensive and too risky to make big triple-A games for it, which means that its game library is very small, which means that people won't buy the console, which means that game studios won't make games for a console that doesn't sell... and so on.

It didn't help that Sony got greedy about it. Maybe if they hadn't been so greedy, it would have been a different story, even with its current hardware prowess and subsequently increased development costs. But they were, and this happened.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Feminists' attitudes towards false rape accusations

To feminists rape is essentially the worst possible crime in existence. They also have the strong notion that our culture does not take it seriously enough, and that there even is a "rape culture" that dismisses rape accusations and disbelieves victims. They promote stricter and stricter laws against rape (and are likewise promoting pretty much the reversal of our most fundamental judiciary system, ie. considering the accused innocent by default until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.)

Thus, one would think that feminists would be extremely furious when someone makes a false rape claim. Such false claims only fuel the (alleged) rape culture and only gives weapons to critics, and they erode the believability of actual victims of rape. False rape claims are a huge disservice to their goal of making rape a more seriously taken crime. False rape claims unjustly hurt other people (the accused directly, and all actual victims of rape indirectly), and it erodes everything that feminists are working towards. Making a false rape claim is an absolutely hideous and horrendous thing to do.

Do the majority of feminists, especially the most rabid ones, thus vehemently oppose and condemn false rape claims whenever they happen? Of course not. That would be the rational thing to do. Of course they can't do that.

Instead, their attitudes follow a weird and twisted version of the archetypal stages of grief:

First there is, naturally, denial: It can't be a false claim! If a woman says she was raped, then she was. No buts, maybes or couldbe's. The accusation is the proof! Listen and believe! If the police is doubting the rape claim, that's just because of rape culture.

If the evidence is too strong to be denied, the next stage is bargaining: Ok, maybe she was not raped by that guy, but she most probably was raped by somebody. No woman would make up such a story. No woman would lie. She was just so distressed and depressed that she got confused. Something certainly happened to her.

If the evidence is too strong against even that, then the next stage is making excuses: Ok, maybe she was not raped after all, but that doesn't matter! We should still take her seriously! Not taking her seriously would erode the believability of all victims of rape. It doesn't matter if this one wasn't actually raped. She may just as well have been! She is a victim in this situation!

After this the narrative becomes really weird, where a woman who falsely accuses somebody of rape is actually a "victim". A victim of what? Who knows. Something. It doesn't really matter. The important thing is that she's a victim. Welcome to feminist bizarro land.

You think I'm exaggerating or making this stuff up? I wish I were.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Frozen is highly overrated

Frozen is not only Disney's highest-grossing animated film, it's the highest-grossing animated film period (according to Wikipedia.)

But why? I really don't understand.

I think that the film is highly, highly overrated. Let's just compare it to Disney's second-highest-grossing film, The Lion King. (I'm not counting Pixar movies as "Disney", even if Disney currently technically speaking distributes them. Even then, only Toy Story 3 would be higher than The Lion King.)

The Lion King actually tells a profound, memorable story. It establishes characters well, and they are also likewise memorable. It's a well-written film overall. If somebody were to see the film for the first time, and then a few weeks later you would ask them to describe the story, and for details of what happened in the film, I'm certain that they could go to great lengths in their description.

Compare that to Frozen. If you did that same test, I'm all but certain that such person would only be able to describe but a small fraction, compared to how much they were able to describe The Lion King.

The premise is perhaps the only memorable thing about Frozen. There's this princess who is like a King Midas of freezing, as she freezes anything she touches and can't control it. And at some point she runs away because of that, and... well, not much really. That's about it. That's all I got from the film. A premise, and pretty much nothing else. In fact, not much happens in the film; nothing very memorable at least. There's that one song that got viral, but that's not really part of the story. I think there was some bad guy who wanted to kill this princess for some reason, or something, and... I can't even remember how it was resolved.

What I am trying to say with all this is that the film is extremely shallow. There is a somewhat interesting premise, and pretty much nothing more. There is no profound memorable storyarc, and nothing much to remember, or to be moved by, or get inspired, or anything. Most of the film feels like just padding which is quickly forgotten and doesn't really add anything.

Contrast that with The Lion King, which story could be quite well be described as epic. At the very least memorable. Perhaps even profound at some level.

So why is Frozen regarded so high? Why is it the highest-grossing animated film of all time, while animated films that are significantly better than it are not even nearly as popular? I don't get it. It's just highly overrated.

When will the madness stop?

Europe is taking a completely ridiculous amount of immigrants using the excuse of them being "war refugees", even though everybody knows that only a small part of them are actual refugees from Syria. There have been reports that in some countries less than 10% of the "refugees" are actually from Syria. I wouldn't be surprised if the numbers are similar in most countries.

The mass immigration could very well be described as an invasion. We are talking about millions of "refugees", most of which are not. Germany alone has taken over a million of them.

And the thing is, there is no end in sight for this madness. Europe keeps going and going and going, taking more and more "refugees" every single day. We are talking about thousands of "refugees" every day. And it goes on and on and on, and they just aren't stopping.

We are actually reaching the point where "refugees" are actually been taken secretly, without telling the public. For example very recently there was a mass protest in a town in Romania when the people discovered that the government was going to create a refugee center in secret, without telling the people.

I must ask: When will this madness stop? How far must it go before Europe finally says that enough is enough?

I'm asking that completely seriously. How far? What needs to happen before they stop it? An armed attack against the country's military? An attempted coup d'etat? A mass murder of genocidal proportions? The destruction of entire cities? What? What needs to happen before enough is enough?

I repeat: The majority of these immigrants are not war refugees from Syria. Using the "refugee crisis" and the Syrian war as an excuse does not fly anymore. The vast majority of these immigrants are from other countries, do not have a real reason to seek refuge, and are essentially bypassing the immigration laws of every country. They are, effectively, invading Europe en masse.

When will it stop? When the entirety of Europe becomes Islamic or is completely destroyed? When?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Mary Sue" characters

"Mary Sue" is an archetype of fiction (usually used unintentionally by the writer). The term is used mostly in a derogatory manner. It's, essentially, a character without flaws. A character that's just a bit too perfect, and seemingly can do no wrong, essentially makes no mistakes, and shows no weakness. Basically always a "lawful good" character that's nice to everybody.

Writers, even experienced ones, sometimes mistakenly make one of their major characters like this, perhaps in a misaimed attempt at making a likeable character that can be admired and rooted for. A hero of sorts (even if the character never does anything of great importance or performs literally heroic acts.) Sometimes the character is physically weak, but essentially a saint and philanthrope who loves everybody and is always kind and helpful. Sometimes the character is an actual action hero, an ace, who kicks villains' collective asses and always saves the day. A hero to be admired and adulated. Most usually they have no character flaws, and always act in the correct way depending on the situation.

The problem with these characters is that, somewhat ironically, they may end up feeling unlikeable. The complete opposite of what the writer intended. By being too perfect, too nice, and with literally no character or any other flaws, the character may end up unintentionally feeling distant, sappy, and unrelatable.

The Star Wars movies provide (at least) two prominent examples. In Episode I, the child Anakin is considered by most critics to be a perfect example of such a "Mary Sue" character, and he is almost universally, if not outright hated, at least disliked. In the new Episode 7 the character of Rey is also seen by many as a flawless "Mary Sue". She is not universally disliked, but the general feeling seems to be at the very least that of indifference. She doesn't make much of an impact, even though she's supposed to be one of the main characters.

Another example, perhaps one of the most infamous "Mary Sue" characters, appeared in the first seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Namely, the character of Wesley Crusher, who has been almost universally deemed insufferable.

I think that the major problem with "Mary Sue" characters is that the viewers feel no empathy for them. Empathy is a big psychological aspect that makes fictional characters likeable or dislikeable. When a character has flaws, be it personality flaws or otherwise, if it's well written and well executed, the viewer may feel empathy for that character. (Although it's also very possible that certain flaws make the character dislikeable and even disgusting. This may be intentional, if well done, or unintended if poorly.)

When a character is too perfect and flawless, it doesn't trigger empathy. It may not trigger any strong emotions at all, which may leave the character uninteresting and give a feeling of indifference at best. At worst the character may end up being hated for being just a tad bit too obnoxious.

Another problem with these characters is that they tend to lack depth, making them flat and hollow, with no realistic personalities. Being flawless is not a personality trait. They don't feel much like actual real human beings.

That's not to say that a flawless character is never liked. Superman and Indiana Jones are probably examples (at least in their earlier incarnations.) It's just that it can be hard to pull off successfully. (In the case of Indiana Jones, the movies not taking themselves too seriously helps. In the case of Superman... well, I don't really know.)

No, men do not fake being stoic

One thing I noticed when answering the "36 questions women have for men", and in retrospect what I have noticed also before, is that many feminists have, as part of their "toxic masculinity" dogma, the notion that men have been raised to shut down and hide their emotions, and that they are just pretending and faking it when they are stoic. That they are afraid to show emotion for the fear of ridicule or something.

As women, especially feminist women who have been taught the "toxic masculinity" dogma, they seem incapable of understanding that not everybody is like them.

I'm quite stoic myself. I don't easily show emotion. No, I'm not faking or pretending. No, I'm not afraid to show emotion. That's just how I am naturally. I don't need to shut down anything. That's just how I am. It's my innate personality. I don't need to fake it or pretend anything.

This is actually very common to most men. Of course there are exceptions, but on average men are innately more stoic than women. That's just how our brains are hard-wired.

In fact, if I were to deliberately show more emotion, that would be forced, and pretending. Acting against my natural personality. Me being stoic is not an act. There is no fear of anything; I'm not deliberately stopping myself from doing anything. I'm just acting naturally.

These feminists should understand that just because they are very emotional and open about their emotions, that doesn't mean that everybody else, especially men, are also like that. People are different.

There is a reversal of cause-and-effect in all this. Feminists think that men are stoic because manly culture causes them to be so. No, it's the other way around: Manly culture is stoic because men are on average quite stoic by nature. The cause-and-effect is in that direction. Culture is dictated by innate personalities, not the other way around.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Why communism doesn't work

There's a story going around about the subject of why communism doesn't work. The story is most probably apocryphal, but it goes approximately like this:

A university professor gets tired of his progressive students going on and on about the virtues of Marxism and communism, so he decides to put it into practice: He tells them that from that moment forward all test will use communist principles and therefore test results will be distributed among all students equally. In other words, every student will get the average of all test scores. The students agree with this.

Tests are scored on a 0 to 5 scale. When the next test is over, every student gets a 3. The students that did not work hard for the test, and their test got just a 1 or a 0, were happy. The students that worked hard on the test, to get a 5, were upset for only getting a 3 instead.

This caused demotivation in the hard-working students. Why work hard on the next test when they would get a lower score regardless? Even the other students got demotivated because they saw that they didn't really need to do anything to get an acceptable grade. Therefore in the next test the average result was a 1, which every student got.

This caused even more demotivation because those who still worked even moderately hard on the test were given a much lower score than they worked for. Thus in the third test every single student got a 0, ie. every single student failed the test. Even those that got an actual grade above 0 in that test.

True or not, I think this story demonstrates quite well why absolute communism does not work: It demotivates people. Why work hard, when you get no benefit from your efforts? Why work hard, when everything is given to you regardless of what you do? And when this demotivation spreads among the entire population, everybody fails. Everybody loses.