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Article: How A Gun-Loving West Texas Girl Learned To Fear Assault Weapons

by on Jan.07, 2013, under Articles, Culture, News

The following is an article discussing how guns have affected the life of one particular woman, how she grew up with them, loved them, feared them, and feels about them now. A very eye-opening tale for both sides of the current argument and I highly recommend reading it.

How A Gun-Loving West Texas Girl Learned To Fear Assault Weapons by 

Source (xoJane)

 

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Video: Chick-Fil-A and Proverbs 25:21

by on Aug.07, 2012, under Articles, Culture, News, Politics, Videos, Visual Media

While I don’t actually feel the argument that people are required to live by the word of their bible even if they use it as examples of what they believe in I do feel the above video states some particular facts that should be shared, in particular the idea of voting with your money. Corporations like Chick-Fil-A are becoming the defacto leaders of our society because of the money and power that they wield against our governments and, in essence, are bribing us for our vote with their products. And while we can’t always know what corporations like Chick-Fil-A, Walmart, Google, Apple, and the like are doing with their money, we can at least send messages to those who make a public stance for ideas that are hurtful by not giving them money.

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Mur Lafferty is offering up her eBooks for free!

by on May.07, 2012, under Articles, Books, News

As SF Signal is reporting, author Mur Lafferty is offering up all her current eBooks for free for the months of May and June of 2012.

This includes awesome novels like Playing For Keeps, Marco and the Red Granny, and the Afterlife series. I particularly suggest Playing For Keeps and the novella Marco and the Red Granny. You can download the books here.

If you still would like more info about the series, you can read SF Signal’s book descriptions or all the books. Here are the descriptions for Playing For Keeps and Marco and the Red Granny:

Playing For Keeps

The shining metropolis of Seventh City is the birthplace of super powers. The First Wave heroes are jerks, but they have the best gifts: flight, super strength, telepathy, genius, fire. The Third Wavers are stuck with the leftovers: the ability to instantly make someone sober, the power to smell the past, the grace to carry a tray and never drop its contents, the power to produce high-powered excrement blasts, absolute control. over elevators. Bar owner Keepsie Branson is a Third Waver with a power that prevents anything in her possession from being stolen. Keepsie and her friends just aren’t powerful enough to make a difference. at least that’s what they’ve always been told. But when the villain Doodad slips Keepsie a mysterious metal sphere, the Third Wavers become caught in the middle of a battle between the egotistical heroes and the manipulative villains. As Seventh City begins to melt down, it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad, and even harder to tell who may become the true heroes.

Marco and the Red Granny

By bringing back the patronage system, a new alien species has transformed the moon into the new artistic center of the universe, and Sally Ride Lunar Base soon gains the nickname “Mollywood.” These aliens can do amazing things with art and the senses, allowing a painting, for example, to stimulate other senses than simply sight. When someone asks a starlet, “Who are you wearing?” she could as easily say “J.K. Rowling” as she could “Gucci.”

Every creative person in the world wishes for a patronage. It’s quite competitive.

Marco wanted one, once. But then his girlfriend got one and shuttled off to Mollywood for fame and fortune, and Marco stayed home, waiting for his own patron. After several years, he gave up entirely. His career faltered. His agent dumped him. And then, one morning, he gets a call. At last he has a patron, at last the aliens want him. But he’s about to find out that an artistic patronage isn’t what it was in the good old days, and that the only friend he’s made, a tiny old woman who’s the star of a blood sports reality series called The Most Dangerous Game, has secrets of her own.

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Google is making a bad decision

by on May.03, 2012, under Articles, Computers, Internet, News, Technology, Videos, Visual Media

While I have yet to experience this change, there has been plenty of people talking about it across blogs and YouTube itself. What is Google doing?

They’re replacing the like button on YouTube videos with a Google Plus button.

And some people, like Wil Wheaton, are angry about it.

One of the reasons why is because professional YouTube users rely upon not just views, but likes, in order to gain revenue. Plus YouTube’s new initiative to launch actual produced channels like Geek and Sundry, are going to use likes similar to television “Nielsen” ratings.

This means that Google is effective sabotaging YouTube’s rating systems by trying to market their social network. And while I like Google Plus, it is not unlike trying to fill out customer service review survey for that especially helpful phone rep who helped you fix that problem you were having, only to learn you need to sign up for the company’s newsletter before they’ll let you take the survey.

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Where did all the dinosaurs go?

by on Mar.08, 2012, under Articles, News, Science, Videos, Visual Media

So you may have heard that the Triceratops no longer exists. That is both true and false. You won’t go finding a dinosaur if you go looking for one, except for maybe in museums. Unfortunately even if go to a museum and find a dinosaur, you might not actually be finding a dinosaur. Let Jack Horner, dinosaur bone cutter, explain:

So basically we had a bunch of bad science back in the dinosaur gathering age. People who collected dinosaur bones for museums weren’t looking hard enough, and found different dinosaurs everywhere they looked, rather than determining that the dinosaurs they were looking at were actually different, or just juvenile versions of ones already discovered.

The good news is that, despite what the news may have told you, the triceratops still exists. It is its older, more adult form, Torosaurus, which no longer exists, since it was found after the more juvenile triceratops. Suddenly all those cartoons with dinosaurs wearing shades doesn’t seem so crazy anymore, huh?

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Kickstarting the records

by on Feb.10, 2012, under Articles, Comics, Culture, Entertainment, Gaming, Information Technology, News, Technology, Video Games, Videos, Visual Media

What is Kickstarter

So some amazing stuff has been happening over at Kickstarter. For those of you unaware, Kickstarter is what is called a crowd funding site. It’s a place where content creators can post up a project they need funding for and a target money goal. People pledge money, usually for rewards of some kind, and if the target goal is met within thirty days, the money is collected. It is basically like how charities work, except it isn’t giving money to charity but to a project of some kind. In this way new (and current) designers can get the funding they need to create products without having to go to banks or major corporations to fund them and sell off their designs or such.

I like to personally fund online comics looking to print their books, board games, the occasional documentary that I like, and sometimes video games. Usually I only pay a few extra dollars to get a final version of the product along with some nick-nacks and recognition in the product’s credits.

The Records

So Kickstarter has been around for a while and, as such, has a few records it keeps. Like most funded within the span of a day. Most funded over the span of the entire campaign. Most money in category. Most money overall. Records like that. Think of it kinda like world records for the Olympics, except more, or less, impressive depending on your views.

Order of the Stick

So around last week I stumbled upon on of my favorite webcomics, Order of the Stick, hosting a Kickstarter to re-print a lot of their physical volumes of the comic. Since I was missing a few of those books due to a loaning incident, I decided to pledge. What was amazing about this was that the original goal was set at a little over $57,000. They were just shy of that by the first day but by the second day they had broken $96,000, nearly double. It is now nineteen days in, and they are over 1000% funded, sitting at $602,457 with 8,175 backers.

Which is amazing. Utterly and completely amazing. It has put them at the top of their category (comics) by leaps and bounds, (the next highest being a little over $100,000). They would have broken the top five of all time, except for a man you may know the name of called Tim Schafer and his company you’ve likely heard of, Double Fine, deciding to drop into the race.

Double Fine

Their Kickstarter is about creating and documenting a Point and Click adventure game, in similar style of The Secret  of Monkey Island or Day of the Tentacle. You know the games all us old-schoolers keep begging him to bring back but modern publishers won’t touch because it simply won’t sell? Well with a lofty goal of $400,000, within twenty-four hours, Tim and Double Fine managed to raise $1,310,745 with 35,871 backers, shattering so many records it wasn’t even funny.

Yes. They raised over a million dollars for a point and click adventure game in less than a day.

Your Support Wanted

Honestly both of these projects should be congratulated. And both should be supported, hence why I’m linking their status pages below.
OotS’s Kickstater is complicated to understand but well worth it if you’re a fan of OotS. I’d love for you to pledge because the next major prize is a new expansion for the board game version of OotS which I would personally like to have. Additionally with each major update, Rich Burlew, the creator, updates a comic containing the OotS characters playing around with the chart that has been mapping the entire money-raising deal and the extra rewards he has been handing out for the over funding. Double Fine’s is a less interactive but simpler Kickstarter Campaign but the video is well worth watching and you’ll receive a highly interactive video game designed by some of the best adventure game minds still alive.

Here’s the video from the Double Fine Kickstarter campaign.

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SOPA and PIPA – Combating Piracy Stupidly

by on Jan.18, 2012, under Articles, Blog, Comics, Computers, Culture, Gaming, Internet, News, Opinions, Politics, Video Games

For those of you who have been paying attention, there is a list of useful links below. For those of you who haven’t, stay awhile and listen.

Actions being taken by the United State government will begin to fundamentally change the internet. Please read or watch the following to understand what is happening and if you want to take action about it.

[spoiler show=”For those of you who would like my words on the subject. Click here.”]The United States created the Internet. Despite fancy names like “World Wide Web” and “Global Communication System” and “Series of Tubes”, the internet is not managed by the world. It is managed by corporations on the united states and is subject, for the most part, to US Law. Even more so these days since a majority of the people connect to the internet via their local telecommunication company (phone, cable, satellite, etc).

 

That being said the internet has been pretty untamed for the last few years. Anybody could put or post up anything. Your information was only as secure as how well your protected it. It was effectively the digital wild west. Now, however, the internet is in so many homes, has become the focus of so much economic use (online shopping, movie and song streaming, video games, marketing) that this can’t last. Just like the trains that brought big business to the west, killing off the last place where your only real protection was the gun at your side, progress is going to try to tame the internet for the good of all, to the detriment of the few.

 

This is more or less inevitable. The new internet that will come into place will be highly regulated and likely more forcefully controlled by the big economic interests that want to use it to provide services to the world for money. When they do, innovation will become exceptionally difficult. Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and the like, will still exist, but their successors likely won’t appear.  Blogs, chat rooms, social networks, bulletin boards/forums system, may or may not survive in this new internet. Words like “National Defense”,  “Anti-Piracy”, “Copyright”, and others will be used to tightly regulate any site that tries to provide the public with ability to communicate and share.

 

Effectively the basis for the internet as we know it, sharing and communicating, will come to an end at the hands of capitalism and censorship.

 

The first steps for this have already begun. The United States government has two acts currently being discussed. The PROTECT IP act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Both have been getting a lot of news. As of right now, both look to be dying heavily under media massive campaigns set forth by various websites and organizations, despite the money being thrown at it by media and telecom corporations. The best example is today, February 18th, 2012, where websites all over the internet are “Blacking out” or putting up protest notices. You can read up more about what these acts do in the links below, but to summarize the acts allow and empower the US government to try to block or remove internet services (primarily websites) that infringe on copyright, without significant due process.

 

Now I am not a proponent of piracy. I make a living off of software development and I hope to some day make a living as an author. These are both areas that have notably high piracy rates, which concerns me. I would like to be compensated for my effort and work but I also feel that censoring the internet is not the answer. So for now, I protest.[/spoiler]

[spoiler show=”For those of you who like videos. Click Here.”]

[/spoiler]
Information:

Protesting Websites:

And many, many more, including you, hopefully.

 

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Video: So what is NASA doing again?

by on Jan.04, 2012, under Articles, Culture, News, Politics, Science

Ever wonder what NASA is doing? Well the NASA website is actually a really good place to learn that but some people prefer to hear.

Source

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How BioWare handles diversity

by on Dec.27, 2011, under Articles, Culture, Gaming, News, Video Games

In the video game Dragon Age 2 your character can progress their own personal story line by having relationships with various computer controlled characters. Since your character can be customized to be any gender, the game is rather accommodating by offering relationships regardless of the gender of the main character.

This means that homosexual relationships can happen and in fact some of the computer controlled characters will actively flirt with you even if you because they are homosexual.

Someone took exception to the fact that one of his companion characters decided to flirt with him and decided to write a rather long forum post on the topic. Then news articles got a hold of it. And then David Gaider, the senior writer for Dragon Age 2, decided to reply.

This article sums it up rather nicely with some commentary: “Straight Male Gamer” told to ‘get over it’ by BioWare [NoMoreLost.org]

The original post from Straight Male Gamer (with updates).

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Pixar Trivia

by on Oct.25, 2011, under Art, Articles, Culture, Entertainment, News

30 Pixar Facts

1. Pixar’s full name is Pixar Animation Studios, but was originally founded as Graphics Group in 1979.

2. The Pixar moniker was born on February 3rd, 1986 when the company was incorporated by Ed Catmull, Alvy Ray Smith and Steve Jobs (of Apple fame).

3. The Graphics Group was actually started under the umbrella of Lucasfilm, before Steve Jobs bought the company in 1986, which subsequently got taken over by The Walt Disney Company 20 years later for $7.4 billion.

4. Pixar’s 12 feature films and numerous shorts have won the company 26 Oscars, seven Golden Globes and three Grammys!

5. Toy Story, released in 1995 was Pixar’s first feature, and won director John Lasseter a Special Achievement Academy Award. This was not the company’s first Oscar, however, that went to Tin Toy for Best Animated Short in 1989.

6. Since AMPAS started awarding Best Animated Feature in 2001, all eight eligible Pixar films have been nominated, and six have won the Oscar.

7. Only three films have ever been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and Pixar’s Up and Toy Story 3. (continue reading…)

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