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March 31, 2015

Ethics in Video Games

I thought this was actually pretty kewl.

Using data to create moral complexity in video games has become a specialty for Telltale Games, a studio whose titles -- including adaptations of both "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones" -- focus not on battering enemies with weapons, but on asking players to make difficult ethical choices. Their interactive stories are a sandbox of morality, one where we're able to glimpse not just how we might respond in life-or-death scenarios, but also how we stack up against everyone else. Are we braver? Less loyal? More pragmatic? And how do we feel when our moral decisions are measured by the yardstick of our peers?
...
That sort of moral complexity is exactly what prompted Tobias Staaby, a high school teacher in Norway, to integrate the "Walking Dead" video game into the curriculum for his ethics class. Before each significant decision, he discusses various ethical frameworks with his students -- including relational ethics, consequential ethics, and ethics of duty or virtue -- and asks them to debate each choice before voting as a class on which way to go.

"Depending on what kind of ethics you base your arguments on, there are no evil decisions in 'The Walking Dead,'" says Staaby. "Rather, are you making decisions [to create] the best consequences or making sure that the action itself is a good deed?"

...

In his classes, Staaby observed a tendency for students in the same session to lean in a similar ethical direction over the course of the game as they debated and observed the opinions of their peers. "There's a culture that solidifies during gameplay," says Staaby. "The voices that are the loudest or most outspoken are often the voices that most students lean towards."

Dr. Praveen R. Kambam, a psychiatrist who consults with the media analysis group Broadcast Thought, says this tendency to be influenced by social feedback is what's known as a conformity bias. "In other words, [people] tend to look to the actions of others in deciding how they should behave," said Kambam. "This bias is stronger when faced with questions that do not have absolute answers, like moral questions."

The layered nature of identity in video games can complicate matters as well, since players make different decisions depending on whether or not they're role-playing the characters they inhabit. This gets particularly complicated in the second season of "The Walking Dead," where you play as an 11-year-old girl named Clementine. When you're faced with horrifying situations, will you make the decisions that you would make, or the ones you think she would make?

(I confess i keep reading the teacher's name as "Stabby" and then mentally giggling a little.)

I think it's interesting that Telltale games are trying to make people see beyond the usual "I need to blow all this stuff up so that i can get to the boss" strategy of gaming. The comparison between your decisions and those made by other players after every chapter must help keep it on the players' minds, too. I know that when we play D&D, it's sometimes too easy to forget that hacking through a bunch of opponents just to get through the dungeon isn't always the best solution nor the one you should be making if you are truly role-playing your character. It's certainly easy to forget when you have party members with different moral compasses. These are your companions. You guys fight trolls together. Ofc you want to support their decisions. But wait - you just condoned a cold-blooded killing of an unarmed opponent who posed no threat. And you're supposed to be playing a lawful good character! So, yeah, conformity bias.

Now, how do i play these games without actually playing them, because, as we all know, i get nauseous sometimes playing 2-D scrolling games. And it's only been two years since i've been able to just sit in the same room as fnord while he was playing a first-person shooter without getting a splitting headache.

Actually, you know what? I take it back. I don't want to play these sorts of games because i'd constantly be worried that i made the "wrong" choice. I've been conditioned to expect questions to have "right" and "wrong" answers and my brain would prolly explode if i tried to make it understand there was no such thing in this case. I'd end up anxious and whiny and nobody wants to see that.


By min | March 31, 2015, 8:17 AM | Video Games| Link



March 30, 2015

It's all Michael Douglas Ever Wanted

McDonald's is considering letting its customers start their day whenever they want, bringing in an all-day breakfast in an attempt to juice up falling sales.

Link



By min | March 30, 2015, 1:03 PM | Movies | Comments (1) | Link



March 28, 2015

Time to Get Squatting

Update: Fnord tells me that weight lifting is considered "muscle-strengthening" and not "weight-bearing" and that what i'd actually have to do is jump and run. It's entirely possible that i responded with something highly uncomplimentary.



The Toast has an article up on bone health. Before we get into that, can i just point out that the author has a PhD in "bioarchaeology". It's like she went to a school that just said "What do you like doing? We'll create a degree for that thing." I either went to a shit university or i didn't take advantage of the opportunities at my school to make up a goddamned major that i might have actually enjoyed. I am so bitter.

Anyhoo, back to bone health.

There are two types of cell responsible for bone maintenance - osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Osteoblasts build bone, and osteoclasts take it away. The body is highly responsive to changes in activity, and bone is constantly updating itself accordingly. The general principle is that your body thinks what's happening now will happen forever. In response to more activity (known as physical stress), bone will accumulate more osteoblasts to strengthen itself. Each step makes tiny microfractures, which tells the bone "Come on, I'm breakin' here! Give me more strength!" and the osteoblasts pile on. In the absence of activity - during periods of prolonged sitting or lying down - the osteoclasts come in to take away unnecessary bone. Generally it gets sent out of the body in your urine. The basic principle is that the more activity you do, the stronger your bones will be.
...
I will now tell you the Secret Tricks to Maintaining Bone Density Doctors Don't Want You to Know: you had to build it in puberty, and you have to keep exercising to maintain it. As far as my research has shown, you can keep building bone and increasing bone density up until your 20s. After that, you can maintain or decrease your bone density. It's quite easy to decrease bone: just do nothing. To maintain it, you need weight-bearing exercise. Osteoblasts respond to microfractures, so the way to keep those osteoblasts occupied is by running, jumping, bouncing on your bosu, Zumba, those crazy-intense boot-camp push-ups. Things that (sadly) will not work: cycling, swimming, yoga. Not that those aren't healthy activities! They are still excellent for the heart, for weight maintenance, for stress. But they do nothing for your bones.

The bad news (for me, obliviously. i don't know what you do): i hate running, jumping, and push-ups. I'm also a HUGE fan of doing nothing.

The good news: i don't hate weight lifting (except split squats. split squats are the devil, i tell you. The. Devil.).

What about supplements, you say. Well, like most vitamin supplements,

There are a number of recommendations around the web, including eating eggshells, leaping like fleas, consuming 1200 milligrams of calcium daily, and taking various supplements. The problem with taking supplements is that if you aren't actively processing the calcium, you'll just pee it out.

Stupid expensive pee.

At this point, fnord and i can only work on maintaining the bone density we have. There's no way to increase it. That ship has sailed, my friend. [emphasis mine]

The best time to build bone is right around puberty, during the adolescent growth spurt. Yes, the time when you might get your period any moment and you smell terrible and your limbs are flying around all uncoordinated - this is when you needed to be doing the most exercise. (But watch out! Too much exercise, especially combined with eating disorders - I'm looking at you, ballet and gymnastics - and your periods stop and your bones get weaker.) Bones continue to grow with less velocity until the early 20s, stopping slightly earlier in women than men, and generally have completed their growth (in both length and density) by age 25. Sorry, over-25s: it's all downhill from here.

I guess now's the time to thank my mom for forcing me to take ballet for 9 years. Take that, osteoporosis!


By min | March 28, 2015, 12:36 PM | Science | Comments (2) | Link



March 27, 2015

Super Terrible Kindle Covers

I can't...*gasp*...stop...*wheeze*...laughing...OMG! He's a horse! And a MAN! *SNORT*

The Tumblr Kindle Cover Disasters is exactly what its name suggests: one hilarious, mystifying self-designed e-book cover after another. The covers run the gamut from catastrophic use of MS Paint to Frankenstein-like Photoshop jobs to morbid intrigue: What could possibly happen in Hide and Seek to merit that font?

Today might be the greatest day ever.


By min | March 27, 2015, 1:19 PM | Boooooks & Ummm... Other? | Comments (6) | Link



Never Forget to Take Your Fiber Supplements

Or microbes will eat out your stomach lining. Or something like that.

Fiber has long been linked to better health, but new research shows how the gut microbiota might play a role in this pattern. One investigation discovered that adding more fiber to the diet can trigger a shift from a microbial profile linked to obesity to one correlated with a leaner physique. Another recent study shows that when microbes are starved of fiber, they can start to feed on the protective mucus lining of the gut, possibly triggering inflammation and disease.
...
As gut microbes are starved of fermentable fiber, some do die off. Others, however, are able to switch to another food source in the gut: the mucus lining that helps keep the gut wall intact and free from infection.

In a recent study presented at the Keystone meeting, Eric Martens of the University of Michigan Medical School, postdoctoral researcher Mahesh Desai and their colleagues found that this fuel switch had striking consequences in rodents. A group of mice fed a high-fiber diet had healthy gut lining, but for mice on a fiber-free diet, "the mucus layer becomes dramatically diminished," he explained at the meeting. This shift might sometimes have severe health consequences. Research by a Swedish team, published last year in the journal Gut, showed a link between bacteria penetrating the mucus layer and ulcerative colitis, a painful chronic bowel disease.

A third group of mice received high-fiber chow and fiber-free chow on alternating days--"like what we would do if we were being bad and eating McDonald's one day and eating our whole grains the next," Martens joked. Even the part-time high-fiber diet was not enough to keep guts healthy: these mice had a mucus layer about half the thickness of mice on the consistently high-fiber diet. If we can extend these results to humans, he said, it "tells us that even eating your whole fiber foods every other day is still not enough to protect you. You need to eat a high-fiber diet every day to keep a healthy gut." Along the same lines, Swanson's group found that the gut microbiomes of his adult subjects reverted back to initial profiles as soon as the high-fiber bars were discontinued.

I guess pandas never suffer from ulcerative colitis, what with all that bamboo they can't actually digest. *shakes fist* Pandas!!


By min | March 27, 2015, 1:09 PM | Science| Link



Marvel Sales

January. New writer with a slightly different approach to the analysis.


By fnord12 | March 27, 2015, 12:25 PM | Comics| Link



March 26, 2015

Recap 65

Did You Notice All Those Albino Alligators Were Left-Handed?


By min | March 26, 2015, 9:52 PM | D&D| Link



That's you, bro

I love when Windows Update demands a reboot (always at the most opportune time) and i begrudgingly tell it to go ahead, and then it complains that Windows Update needs to shut down before i can reboot. Like, seriously, dude? Should i really be trusting you to update my computer?


By fnord12 | March 26, 2015, 9:43 AM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link



March 25, 2015

Who Doesn't Like a Little Measles with Their Ebola?

Keeps things interesting not knowing which horrible disease will kill everyone you know. Link

The epidemic that already killed almost 10,000 people in west Africa also upended daily life and scuttled plans to vaccinate thousands of kids against preventable diseases. As a result, an additional 100,000 children may have been left vulnerable to measles, according to new projections. If those inoculation gaps are not addressed, measles could deliver a death toll rivaling the Ebola epidemic itself, warns a new study published today in Science.
...
Although one Ebola patient is projected to infect one or two other people, one measles sufferer can infect an estimated 12 to 18 additional people (assuming no one is immune to the disease via vaccination or natural immunity). To make matters worse, unlike Ebola, someone with measles may be contagious without showing symptoms.
...
But the Ebola outbreak probably exacerbated the problem by further depressing inoculation rates, according to the new research in Science. With such alarming vaccine gaps a large outbreak could conceivably tear through communities and cause as many as 16,000 deaths, the international research team wrote. Their analysis assumes that the Ebola outbreak festered for about 18 months in total and led to a 75 percent drop in vaccination rates.

By min | March 25, 2015, 11:03 AM | Science| Link



The Surveillance Act That Wouldn't Die

They didn't get CISPA to pass. Now they're trying again with CISA (Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act).

Cybersecurity bills aim to facilitate information sharing between companies and the government, but their broad immunity clauses for companies, vague definitions, and aggressive spying powers make them secret surveillance bills. CISA marks the fifth time in as many years that Congress has tried to pass "cybersecurity" legislation.
...
Aside from its redundancy, the Senate Intelligence bill grants two new authorities to companies. First, the bill authorizes companies to launch countermeasures (now called "defensive measures" in the bill) for a "cybersecurity purpose" against a "cybersecurity threat." "Cybersecurity purpose" is so broadly defined that it means almost anything related to protecting (including physically protecting) an information system, which can be a computer or software. The same goes for a "cybersecurity threat," which includes anything that "may result" in an unauthorized effort to impact the availability of the information system.

Even with the changed language, it's still unclear what restrictions exist on "defensive measures." Since the definition of "information system" is inclusive of files and software, can a company that has a file stolen from them launch "defensive measures" against the thief's computer? What's worse, the bill may allow such actions as long as they don't cause "substantial" harm. The bill leaves the term "substantial" undefined. If true, the countermeasures "defensive measures" clause could increasingly encourage computer exfiltration attacks on the Internet--a prospect that may appeal to some "active defense" (aka offensive) cybersecurity companies, but does not favor the everyday user.

Second, the bill adds a new authority for companies to monitor information systems to protect an entity's hardware or software. Here again, the broad definitions could be used in conjunction with the monitoring clause to spy on users engaged in potentially innocuous activity. Once collected, companies can then share the information, which is also called "cyber threat indicators," freely with government agencies like the NSA.

When i read "defensive measures", i picture the goon squad in Brazil that breaks into your house to arrest you for not filling out the proper forms.


By min | March 25, 2015, 10:57 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



Where Are the Women?

From FiveThirtyEight:

Movies take place in a weird alternate universe where men outnumber women by more than 2-to-1, and where it's strikingly rare for women to have a real conversation about something other than a man. This imbalance extends to how certain jobs are portrayed in movies, even as bit parts, and reinforces old gender stereotypes.

I recently started diving into the OpusData database, which tracks film releases, box office performance and -- most interestingly -- screen credits. For instance, you can look up every role since 19951 that was credited as "bartender." There have been 145 such roles with gender data, and about 85 percent of the time the performer playing that bartender was a man.

I pulled that data for a couple dozen careers, some considered prestigious, others specifically gendered.

The vast majority of these are supporting roles -- the scientist in the background as the protagonist discovers the deadly disease has mutated, the emergency room nurse holding the respirator as our hero is wheeled into surgery on a gurney, and so on. But they represent Hollywood's background, the fabric you may take for granted but that can strongly influence perceptions about gender. If every engineer on screen is a dude, that sends a message about who can be an an engineer.

Even in fields with a large gender gap in real life, what we see on-screen is even worse. Yeah, medicine and law skew male, but not as much as in the movies. In 2005, 30 percent of lawyers were women, but in this data set, only 11 percent of lawyers or attorneys were played by women. And according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 32 percent of doctors were women in September 2014, but on screen, only 10 percent were women.

This isn't really new. It's a message that Geena Davis has been putting out there for a while now. Here is an interview with her in a recent issue of the Guardian (emphasis mine):

[The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media] commissioned the largest piece of research ever on gender depictions in media. Spanning a 20-year period, it proved what Davis had feared: in family rated films and children's television, for every one female speaking character there are three males, while female characters make up just 17% of crowd scenes.

"What are we saying to kids when the female characters are hyper-sexualised, narrowly stereotyped or not even there? The message clearly is girls are not as important as boys, women are not as important as men and they take this all in completely unconsciously.

"Popular media is constantly hammering home the message that women and girls are second-class citizens. All the efforts that we put in to try and erase it, all the important things that we must do to empower women and girls, are being undermined by this unconscious message that women and girls aren't as valuable as men."

17%??!! I think we can all agree that women make up more than 17% of the population, so why aren't movies accurately portraying that? We're talking background crowd scenes here. Not major roles. You just need to be a warm body that can move and yet, even in this women are underrepresented.


By min | March 25, 2015, 10:22 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (3) | Link



March 22, 2015

Double Boiler

Eight people, three cabbages, five pounds of potatoes. That's a two pot-er. The biggest we have, please.


By fnord12 | March 22, 2015, 12:20 PM | My stupid life| Link



March 20, 2015

Hopefully, you and me could now split some infinitives

The Grammar Nazi vs. Grammar Libertarian Wars continue.


By fnord12 | March 20, 2015, 7:55 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link



March 18, 2015

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

MINOR SPOILERS BELOW, but i'm probably the last person besides Min to be reading this issue in realtime so it'll probably be ok.

Ms. Marvel #13 - For the last two issues, i was like "Yeah, this is good, BUT...", but for this issue i'm unequivocal. As promised in a previous lettercol, we're seeing a few different threads getting juggled: Kamala adjusting to her Inhumanity, a love interest introduced, and a return to the focus on Kamala's family, which had been a bit lacking as the Inventor story was in full steam. So all of that plus a (local) super-villain fight. The one thing that i do find a little annoying is that it all gets tied back to the Inhumans thread: the super-villain and the love interest both turn out to also be Inhumans. I get that the idea is to show that there can be Inhumans that are bad or otherwise not affiliated with Medusa, but it's a big Marvel universe and i don't want this to turn into an Inhumans franchise book. But that's a minor point. One other thing i found a little weird, and it's really just a confirmation of last issue, is that Kamala is unfamiliar with Loki. I could see her not recognizing Kid Loki as the real Loki, but in this issue she talks about Loki like she's never heard of him, period. And she's supposed to be a huge Avengers fan-nerd. I'm fairly certain that the Avengers' origin, which was instigated by Loki, is public knowledge. Or at least i would have thought that someone like her that has delved deep into Avengers trivia would know about him. Oh well, another minor point. This was a fun issue, and i really, really liked the guest art by Takeshi Miyazawa. Tonally similar to Adrian Alphona but a little more grounded and less stylized. Interestingly, Miyazawa was the alternate artist for Alphona on the early Runaways issues, too. I actually like Miyazawa better and would love to see to see him as the regular artist. But maybe "regular artist" isn't an applicable concept at this point; the lettercol this issue says that Alphona will return "with issue 16 in the very special Ms. Marvel Last Days storyline" which i guess leads into Secret Wars and a reboot?


By fnord12 | March 18, 2015, 7:39 AM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link



March 13, 2015

Who funds Riftwar?

Buzzfeed:

Yet there it was in black and white: "RIFT AMONG PROGRESSIVES EMERGES ON TPP," read a headline in Politico's daily labor and employment tipsheet, Morning Shift. The short item detailed the emergence of the "Progressive Coalition for American Jobs" -- a group of "progressives and Democrats committed to leveling the playing field for American workers," according to the coalition's barebones website. The website adds that "it's critical that we give the president trade promotion authority and establish the Trans-Pacific Partnership."

There's something weird about the group, though: No one in the Washington, D.C., progressive community seems to have ever heard of them before


By fnord12 | March 13, 2015, 7:48 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link



March 10, 2015

Babies Come Pre-Polluted

And it's all because your grandparents were exposed to DDT.

Obesity stems primarily from the overconsumption of food paired with insufficient exercise. But this elementary formula cannot explain how quickly the obesity epidemic has spread globally in the past several decades nor why more than one third of adults in the U.S. are now obese. Many researchers believe that a more complex mix of environmental exposures, lifestyle, genetics and the microbiome's makeup help explain that phenomenon. And a growing body of work suggests that exposure to certain chemicals--found in nature as well as industry--may play an essential role by driving the body to produce and store surplus fat in its tissues. Evidence of that cause-and-effect relationship in humans is still limited, but in laboratory animals and in petri dishes data linking the chemicals to problematic weight gain are mounting. Moreover, the effects in animals appear to be passed on not just to immediate offspring but also grandchildren and great-grandchildren--potentially [emphasis mine] accounting for some multigenerational obesity.
...
Scientists already know that humans are exposed to a potent soup of chemicals even before birth. Some of those chemicals, known as endocrine disruptors, may shut off, turn on or modify signals that hormones produced by the body would otherwise carry. That disruption appears to short-circuit regulation of energy levels and how the body reacts to stress, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Hundreds of contaminants typically found in consumer products, including dozens of flame retardants, numerous pesticides and endocrine disrupting bisphenol A, have been detected in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies--which means that "to a disturbing extent, babies are born 'pre-polluted,'" according to the President's Cancer Panel.

The presence of these chemicals in the womb, in itself, does not mean they will cause any harm. Animal research, however, suggests that many of these substances may cause serious, long-term consequences. For example, tributyltin, an endocrine disruptor found in water pipes and used in plastics, increases fat mass, reprograms stem cells and produces more fat cells in mice across multiple generations, according to a study published in 2013. Meanwhile, when pregnant rats were exposed to pollutants including common plastics, agricultural chemicals and jet fuel, their great-grandchildren were more likely to be obese or have other disorders, according to research from Washington State University biologist Michael Skinner. As Skinner noted in the August Scientific American, "Some part of the increases in obesity, diabetes and other fast-rising diseases among baby boomers and more recent generations might have originated with their parents' and grandparents' exposure to pollutants such as DDT and dioxin." Some of this trend may be due to alterations that occur in sex cell DNA that are then passed on through affected sperm but more studies need to firm up that relationship.

Researchers need to discover some endocrine un-disruptors so that we can turn on the de-activated gene expressions and pass that on to our offspring.


By min | March 10, 2015, 1:16 PM | Science | Comments (1) | Link



Not traitors

Seeing the NY Daily News front page regarding the Republicans sending the letter opposing the Obama/Iran nuke treaty gave me flashbacks to 2001-2003 when anyone opposing the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions had their patriotism questioned. So i agree with Glenn Greenwald that we should criticize the GOP on the substance, not for 'undermining' the Commander-in-Chief.


By fnord12 | March 10, 2015, 1:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



No context picture of the day


By fnord12 | March 10, 2015, 10:32 AM | TeeVee & Ummm... Other?| Link



Surviving a Zombie Outbreak

2 problems -

1) New Jersey has the lowest survival rate
2) I have absolutely no clue where Glacier National Park is. I've never even heard of it until just now. Damn you, geography! *shakes fist*

Best places to hide during a zombie apocalypse

Eric Mack reports at Cnet that a team of researchers at Cornell University, inspired by the book "World War Z" by Max Brooks, have used statistical-mechanics to model how an actual zombie outbreak might unfold and determined the best long-term strategy for surviving the walking dead: Head for the hills. Specifically, you should probably get familiar now with the general location of Glacier National Park so that when it all goes down, you can start heading in that direction. The project started with differential equations to model a fully connected population, then moved on to lattice-based models, and ended with a full US-scale simulation of an outbreak across the continental US. "At their heart, the simulations are akin to modeling chemical reactions taking place between different elements and, in this case, we have four states a person can be in--human," says Alex Alemi, "infected, zombie, or dead zombie--with approximately 300 million people."

Alemi believes cities would succumb to the zombie scourge quickly, but the infection rate would slow down significantly in more sparsely populated areas and could take months to reach places like the Northern Rockies and Glacier National Park. "Given the dynamics of the disease, once the zombies invade more sparsely populated areas, the whole outbreak slows down--there are fewer humans to bite, so you start creating zombies at a slower rate," Alemi says. Once you hit Montana and Idaho, you might as well keep heading farther north into the Canadian Rockies and all the way up to Alaska where data analysis shows you're most likely to survive the zombie apocalypse. The state with the lowest survival rate? -- New Jersey. Unfortunately a full scale simulation of an outbreak in the United States shows that for `realistic' parameters, we are largely doomed.

I'm also a terrible runner. And have bad eyesight. I think i'm pretty much dead in any apocalypse scenario.


By min | March 10, 2015, 8:47 AM | Science| Link



Ohhhh, it's Labor Day

We just had Daylight Savings here in America (and the SuperMegaHousehold is not handling the mornings very well, i can tell you). So when i saw on my day calendar that yesterday was Eight Hours Day in Australia, my mind leaped to strange conclusions (maybe due to the sleep deprivation). Like, is that how they handle Daylight Savings in Australia? They just have an eight hour day? That's crazy! How does that work?! But of course it turns out that it's just the day that they celebrate the implementation of the eight hour work day. Much less interesting!

This is the problem with the internet. You can immediately debunk all your strange and wonderful theories.


By fnord12 | March 10, 2015, 8:27 AM | My stupid life| Link



March 6, 2015

Just once!

I have been pretty vocal about my dislike of our senator, Bob Menendez, especially due to his Straight From 1962 approach to foreign policy. So i guess i'd be happy to see him leave office no matter what the reason. But just once i'd like to see a politician from New Jersey not get wrapped up in serious corruption allegations. Rumors and weirdness have been swirling around Menendez for a while, but now the Feds are bringing charges.


By fnord12 | March 6, 2015, 3:02 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link



March 5, 2015

Marvel Sales

December.


By fnord12 | March 5, 2015, 11:55 AM | Comics| Link



March 4, 2015

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Daredevil #13 - I can see why Marvel doesn't always announce their cancellations. I'm not dropping this book, but whenever i get an issue my first question is "Oh, is this the last one?" and even if it's not i read it mainly to look for signs of things getting wrapped up. For what it's worth, there aren't any (as far as i can tell), and i should really just relax and enjoy the issue. Which, as usual, is pretty good. Glad to see the continued use the Shroud. As for the attempt at a role-reversal between Daredevil and Kristen McDuffie, i like it in isolation. It was done well, and i'm happy in general for any effort to not treat the female love interests as damsels in distress. But let's face facts: Daredevil is 100% right about what happens to his girlfriends. I don't know what Waid's intentions are with this book, but at some point Kristen is going to end up a suicidal alcoholic porn star junkie with a sai in her chest. Well, i take that back. Maybe Kristen can hold out until Secret Wars, when as far as i'm concerned the Marvel Universe ends, and then she'll be the one that made it.


By fnord12 | March 4, 2015, 5:39 PM | Comics| Link



Got the bloggers talking, anyway

Ed Kilgore gives his take on Yglesias' Parliment/Gridlock article, and also summarizes and links to responses from Dylan Matthews, Ross Douthat, and Jonathan Chait.


By fnord12 | March 4, 2015, 2:24 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link



March 3, 2015

I see the problem now

We didn't all pitch in our $2 back in 1995. Of course the Clone Saga had already been running for about a year, but we could have at least kept it from going into 1996.

And we would have gotten a whole bunch of junk for our trouble, too:


By fnord12 | March 3, 2015, 1:26 PM | Comics | Comments (4) | Link



Get ready for 8 more years of nothing

Apropos of my post below, here's Hilary Clinton's proposal for ending gridlock:

She spoke at length about bipartisanship and promoted her record of working with Republicans in Arkansas and as a senator from New York. Her objective, should she run for president, would be to end partisan gridlock, she told Ms. Swisher.

"I'd like to bring people from right, left, red, blue, get them into a nice warm purple space where everybody is talking and where we're actually trying to solve problems," Mrs. Clinton said.

As Ezra Klein says, and i'd like delicious calorie-free vegan treats to fall out of the sky whenever i get hungry (ok, Klein's fantasy is about a Google Bus but i've got a better imagination). This is basically the same message that Obama ran on, and so did George W. Bush ("I'm a uniter not a divider"), but it's pure fantasy. People either accept that global warming is real or they don't. They think the economy can be fixed with a stimulus or by cutting taxes and regulation. There's no middle ground. And the only reward for a Republican to cross the aisle and work with Clinton is a Tea Party primary challenger.


By fnord12 | March 3, 2015, 10:44 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2) | Link



March 2, 2015

Doomed

Matthew Yglesias has a pretty alarming essay regarding the eventual state of American politics and basically why we need a parliamentary system.


By fnord12 | March 2, 2015, 2:02 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (4) | Link



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