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Comment: Re:You misphrased it. (Score 1) 590

by Rambling Paladin (#28912847) Attached to: Games Fail To Portray Gender and Ethnic Diversity
This is the article you're referring to, right? http://tech.slashdot.org/story/08/06/17/0148238/Road-Rage-Linked-To-Automobile-Bumper-Stickers?art_pos=2

It took a little bit of legwork to get the Szlemko article proper, but I do not agree with your assessment. First, it does mention that there was no significant correlation between gender and road rage at the very beginning of the results section (see Journal of Applied Social Psychology, vol 38. p. 1680). Second, the numbers used are derived from a survey completed by a pool of drivers, they aren't made up.

Mind you, I would question these results. However, it's because I think there's a sampling error of this particular study rather than a categorical dismissal of the entire field.

Comment: Re:You misphrased it. (Score 4, Insightful) 590

by Rambling Paladin (#28910387) Attached to: Games Fail To Portray Gender and Ethnic Diversity

Did "awesome" suddenly become synonymous with "fundamentally wrong in every possible way"? Since Mr. Feynman isn't here to answer and you seem to agree so strongly with him, I'll simply address this to you instead of him. Full disclosure: I am a social scientist, which is why I'm so curious.

Do you honestly think that social scientists just sit at a typewriter (computer nowadays) and make shit up? That there's no theorizing, no testing, no data? And then nobody else ever cross-checks this, never tries to replicate results? Have you ever sat down and read a social science publication? Any journals? Any books published for the academic market?

I ask these questions because otherwise I cannot even fathom how you can draw these conclusions. I don't assume you have any advanced studies in sociology or the like, so why do you assume that you know what they're doing and that they're making things up?

Let's try the example given in that rant: that organic food is better for you than non-organic food. A basic problem with his argument: who's researching that? Which social science deals with questions of nutrition? I don't mean the social effects of organic farming, I mean who is going to see if organic food is more nutritious than the alternative? I don't think any of them do, at all. Economists might ask about the economic effects of organic farming, or political scientists about the political effects of malnutrition, but neither of them are going to look at whether it's better for people in a biological way. They'll go across campus and ask somebody in the food science department, because those are the people who actually would research this sort of thing. (Or the nutrition department, or the health department, or whatever physical science actually looks at issues of organic nutrition.) Social scientists might use these findings in a study to look at the social effects of organic farming, but that's a different question entirely.

Some people on /. seem to have a desire to pit the physical sciences and social sciences against each other, but I say that's silly. They look at different phenomena, but each contributes valuable knowledge to the world. Not like those jerks in the fine arts departments. (I'm kidding, please put those instruments down!)

Comment: So... a Bethesda game? (Score 1) 209

by Rambling Paladin (#28745215) Attached to: Massively Single-Player Gaming?

The Elder Scrolls games (and now Fallout, I suppose) basically are single-player MMO games. Massive open worlds with a billion things to do (most of them kinda shallow, but still fun), except you'll never have to worry about xxxDeFKnyGHTxxx stealing the rare mob you were waiting to kill so you'd get a 1% chance to get a Sword of Awesome +100.

Comment: This is a good attitude to take. (Score 1) 310

by Rambling Paladin (#28731743) Attached to: US Videogame Sales Have Biggest Drop In 9 Years

This is what I've been doing for about two years now, and it's been great. I might not play the newest, "best" thing out there but if it really is as good as purported then I'll get around to it eventually.

The biggest problem I have with buying new games nowadays is that it's a huge gamble, and there's nothing lost by being patient and getting a clear view of what kind of game you're really getting.

For a new console game, $60 can get me a lot of fun, sure. Unless the game is multiplayer-centric though, the game will be just as good six months later and $40 cheaper. Pretty much any solid, but not blockbuster, game is going to hit that level in a few months. More to the point, that gives you several months of reviews and opinions - not the fawning initial review from people who may not have finished it, but the opinion of people who have perspective since they played it, then had time to digest it. There's the further benefit that any critical bugs will either be patched out or known so you can just avoid the game altogether.

Multiplayer games are an even bigger gamble, because you're relying on the fickle whims of other gamers. In a bizarre sense, I guess it's like gravity - multiplayer communities for games will dissipate unless there's sufficient mass that it can hold itself together, at which point it's there to stay. Anything of a lower level will break apart as soon as the next mid-level multiplayer game is released, which with modern shooters seems to be every other week.

And then we have PC games. If you buy a bad PC game, you're pretty much out of luck. Rare is the store that will allow you to return it for anything but another copy of the same game. DRM prevents you from selling it online once you've activated it, and you have to do that to realize that you don't like it. There's no way to win except not to play, or to mod the hell out of it until it's the game you're really looking for.

Comment: No Thank You (Score 4, Interesting) 19

by Rambling Paladin (#27888801) Attached to: <em>BioShock 2</em> Multiplayer Details Revealed

This reminds me of the time I heard they were going to add multiplayer to Metroid Prime 2. It's something nobody was really asking for and that the game simply didn't need because it's strengths were elsewhere. I'd be fine with this existing since another team is working on it. Alright, cool, that means no resources will be taken from the main game. But what bothers me is that they're tying elements of the story into this mode, which I find absolutely infuriating.

How many multiplayer games on Xbox Live are abandoned a few weeks or months after launch? The big shooters might be able to carve their own niche out of the playerbase, and some of the arcade games based on card games and such can retain players. Beyond that the multiplayer landscape is littered with also-rans, with nobody playing them but a handful of achievement-hording players who arrange games for that specific purpose. (Locking achievements away in soon to be abandoned multiplayer modes is another gripe of mine, but that's another thread.)

A ton of this game's plot is told through audio cues. Diaries and NPC conversations added a lot to my treks through Rapture, and in a lot of cases I would go find a defensible location just so I could listen to the latest diary in peace. This is going to be a lot more difficult with xxxSEPHIROTH666xxx cursing a blue streak in a squeaky tween voice over the headset.

Bioshock had a great atmosphere and a well-written story (final 10% notwithstanding), and those were the primary draws for me in that game. It'll drive me nuts knowing that part of the story is locked away in a mode that I might not be able to access beyond the first week after launch.

Social Networks

Facebook Users Get Lower Grades In College 284

Posted by timothy
from the but-doodlers-do-fine dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "According to a survey of college students Facebook users have lower overall grades than non-users. The study by Aryn Karpinski, an education researcher at Ohio State University, found that Facebook user GPAs are in the 3.0 to 3.5 range on average, compared to 3.5 to 4.0 for non-users and that Facebook users also studied anywhere from one to five hours per week, compared to non-users who studied 11 to 15 or more hours per week. Karpinski emphasized that correlation does not equal causation and that the grades association could be caused by something else. 'I'm just saying that there's some kind of relationship there, and there's many third variables that need to be studied.' One hypothesis is that students who spend more time enjoying themselves rather than studying might tend to latch onto the nearest distraction, such as Facebook or that students who use the social networking site might also spend more time on other non-studying activities such as sports or music. 'It may be that if it wasn't for Facebook, some students would still find other ways to avoid studying, and would still get lower grades. But perhaps the lower GPAs could actually be because students are spending too much time socializing online.' As for herself, Karpinski said she doesn't have a Facebook account, although the co-author of the study does. 'For me, I think Facebook is a huge distraction.'"

Comment: Re:Bring back Myth! (Score 1) 52

by Rambling Paladin (#26681537) Attached to: Hands-On With <em>Halo Wars</em>

Yes, clearly the Xbox 360 exclusive Halo Wars is going to have tons of competition from the upcoming Xbox 360 versions of Starcraft II and Dawn of War II. You know, the ones that haven't been announced and probably never will be.

In all seriousness, I never thought I'd see the day when the upcoming game that intrigued me the most was a console RTS game. I've clearly moved to some sort of alternate universe.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

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