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286  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: January 17, 2013, 06:39:43 AM
Yesterday I checked out a book from the library (Iron Council by China Mieville) and found a letter from a librarian that handled it on a sticky note saying that he loved the series, thought it was very under-rated and wanted to know what I thought, and he left me an e-mail address to contact him at.  That was pretty awesome.

287  The Rest / General Discussions / Missouri wants to tax violent video games. on: January 17, 2013, 06:28:08 AM
Missouri Rep. Diane Franklin proposes that the best way to curb the sale of violent video games is through sales tax. What is a violent video game you ask? Anything rated T for Teen and up by the ESRB, including games like You Don’t Know Jack.

The United States Supreme Court ruled that video games are protected speech, no different than books, paintings, or films, when it ruled on Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association in 2011. That case struck down the 2005 California state law that banned the sale of violent video games to people under the age of 18, and required additional warnings on the package beyond the ESRB ratings system. The Court found the law unconstitutional, just as many district courts had found similar laws previously. That doesn’t stop people from trying, though. Missouri is now attempting to curb the sale of violent games by imposing a tax on them.

More specifically, State Representative Diane Franklin (R) has introduced House Bill No. 157, calling for a 1-percent sales tax placed on all violent video games sold in the Show-Me state. The bill employs a liberal definition of just what constitutes a “violent” video game:

“[The] term ‘violent video game’ means a video or computer game that has received a rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board of Teen, Mature, or Adult Only.”

The majority of games sporting the ESRB’s M for Mature rating do feature explicit violence and in many cases sex, as do the mere twenty-two games to receive the Adults Only rating over the past nineteen years. That games rated T for Teen is included under the bill’s definition betrays the author’s profound ignorance of the media in question.

Consider some of the games rated Teen currently on Amazon.com’s best-seller list. Titles include: You Don’t Know Jack, Forza Horizon, and Dance Central 3, whose most violent content is bright colors. The most violent T-rated games on the list are Star Wars Kinect and StarCraft II, games whose fantasy violence is roughly comparable to the first fifteen seconds of a thirty-second commercial for NCIS on CBS. Television shows are naturally not included in the proposal, though, nor are movies or books.

Rep. Franklin’s bill is unlikely to be signed into state law, and if it is, it will be struck down as swiftly as similar legislation proposed in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and California.


288  Media / Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued on: January 16, 2013, 08:58:29 PM
I was concerned about the Heinlein biography I'm reading, given that it's volume one and covering his early years before his career as a writer really started.  Fortunately, it's quite engaging in spite of this.


Still working on the Heinlein biography, but progress is steady. If all goes well I can finish tomorrow.

Meanwhile, this gem popped out at me and made me smile given his reputation for sexism in his writing:

The AML was expanding so rapidly that Heinlein had to recruit engineers everywhere he could--a very scarce commodity when all the young men were in the services.  But he knew there would be an untapped source: he spent the last months of the academic year scouting technical schools all over the East, looking for female engineers. Female engineers would be draft-exempt. He amused himself between interviews checking-and refuting (to his satisfaction) Doc Smith's idea that a woman could have either brains or beauty, but when he saw at first hand the unfair treatment women were accorded by universities, he became incensed. At the university of Delaware, he found that female engineering candidates were not even permitted into the School of Engineering:

I almost went through the roof...then took nasty pleasure in chewing out the President of the University in the presence of a large group of people, by telling him that his University's medieval policies had deprived the country of trained engineers at a time when the very life of his country depended on such people.

It makes me wonder if his attitude towards women has been misinterpreted...or if he was a late blooming sexist.

EDIT 2:  I'm now reading Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End.  Just finished and reviewed The City and the Stars.

EDIT 3:  Finished Childhood's End.  I'm now reading The Fountains of Paradise.

EDIT 4:  Finished and reviewed The Fountains of Paradise.  I'm now starting on China Mieville's Perdido Street Station.
289  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Obama won't support building 'Death Star' on: January 15, 2013, 05:18:37 PM
We need to put less money into these weapons of mass destruction and more into our schools.

 By which of course, I mean Jedi Academies.

But what happens when one of the Padawans or a mentally deficient Jedi turns to the dark side and goes on an academy killing spree? Think man, we need to post Stormtroopers at every academy and arm all of our teachers with Lightsabers.

Nope, the correct solution is to see to it that only government agents that are sent out to break into Jedis' homes and kill them if they're suspected of smoking a magic plant have light sabers.  That way any academy killing sprees will be perfectly legal/moral. :)

One of the things Newt Gingrich (one of the people that was in the running during Republican primaries) was criticized/made fun of for was his proposal for the US to establish a moon base. While it does sound outlandish, it's actually something that's very possible technologically, just probably not very economy-friendly. =P

While I think a moon base is a fascinating idea for both the astronomical research and the beginning of a plan B for colonizing other astronomical bodies, I have to wonder why Gingrich wanted it.  Something tells me he doesn't care about any of those things.  Maybe he thought we could use the moon base to drop a nuke on Russia or Iran or something.  I think the guy may still be stuck in the Cold War.
290  Media / Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued on: January 14, 2013, 09:42:58 PM
Currently reading Robert Heinlein: In Dialogue With His Century, Vol. 1 by William H. Patterson.  A biography of Heinlein is right up my alley right now.  I just hope the second volume (which deals with the more relevant period of his life) comes out soon.
291  Media / Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued on: January 12, 2013, 12:03:06 PM
Trust me, join a sci fi/fantasy literature board and you will see that plenty of people still appreciate Asimov. :P
292  Media / Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued on: January 12, 2013, 09:49:54 AM
I've finished Donaldson's Gap Cycle (Here's a review on my blog), and since then I've been on a huge sci-fi binge.  Right now I'm reading Asimov's The Naked Sun.
293  Media / Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued on: January 01, 2013, 08:59:10 AM
Wow high praise DW. I am a huge fan of Thomas Covenant so will def check this out.

If you aren't the kind of person who absolutely hates sci-fi, I would strongly recommend it.  Let me know what you think when you start.  Just be warned that the series doesn't really kick off until book two and that many find book one difficult to get through (it's the most stomach-churning).

294  Media / Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued on: December 31, 2012, 10:32:11 PM
I'm currently reading Stephen R Donaldson's Chaos and Order, the fourth book (of five) in Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap series.  This series, while not for the light of heart, is one of the best pieces of fiction I've ever read.
295  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Recently Viewed Movies Episode 2: The Vampire Bites Back on: December 23, 2012, 11:51:11 PM
You had never seen Fellowship before now?! Wow. Glad you liked it.

I had seen bits and pieces of all three on DVD with relatives and in class but I had never sat down to watch the movies beginning to end.  I'm glad I liked it, too.  Looking forward to the next two.
296  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Podcast Thread on: December 23, 2012, 11:48:24 PM
Regarding the most recent one, who the hell refuses a free PSP?
297  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: December 23, 2012, 11:44:02 PM
During the family Christmas gathering my dear uncle was arguing that I need to get out more, have kids soon, etc. (not probable in my current medical condition/career situation).  Somehow he managed to time his comment on the subject that I need to 'get out and work [my] penis' exactly when every fucking female at the gathering was in the room.  That man has a gift.  T'was just a bit awkward.

Also, if anyone wants to try to top this story, go ahead.  I'm sure someone has something better and it will certainly improve my mood.
298  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: December 23, 2012, 08:53:09 AM
I've found Amazon to be hit or miss in regards to that.  Sometimes they'll cancel and sometimes they'll let me have it.  I'm guessing that it depends on how many people discover it before they get it fixed.  I've picked up $22 books for $2, a $90 set of Beethoven's piano sonatas for $15 and the God of War Saga for $15 last time.
299  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The world is ending. Last thoughts? on: December 23, 2012, 08:35:39 AM
...wait...so I am seriously now married to this girl?

Wow, I think we're talking about a VERY different end of the world here.

I'm reminded of the first minute and thirty seconds of this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD53pm2mTlg  (NSFW)

Wait, someone was actually tense?

According to a news report people actually went to the Mayan pyramids to go pray and such.  Because clearly ground zero is the best place to be...

Does make me wonder how many that seriously feared it had Mayan ancestry, or if there's actually enough crazy travelers from afar.

Based on what I could tell from the videos shown many of those people were travelers.

(Color me cynical but I doubt that many Mayan descendants in the area would have a gamer's tan and be quite literally indulging in 'ohm' meditation and singing kum-by-ya.)
300  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 22, 2012, 08:13:20 PM
Those having trouble with Jet Set Radio might find Jet Set Radio Future for the X-Box a bit more accessible.  You can find it pretty cheap used, or at least, you used to be able to.
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