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Journal Journal: Triggering /.'s cognitive dissonance 1

I kinda want to submit this (not the direct Reddit link, obviously, but to a real news article) to Slashdot just to see Slashdot's legions of Gamergaters try to justify copyright law.

TL;DR - a feminist play ridiculing the lack of female voices in top plays is threatened with lawsuits over alleged copyright infringement. One count seems maybe possibly legit (though there's a fair use argument given the use is critical and is using quotes) in that it uses quotes from the actual play.

But the other is for the sound made when you flip the pages of the script being criticized.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A draw 20

I'm thinking actually the Iowa results are the way the country should go. What we actually need is for Clinton and Sanders to share the presidency.

Sure, the constitution says nothing about presidential sharing. But it doesn't actually contain any language that rules it out either, limiting the presidency to one person (er, it probably does actually, it does say "Natural born citizen" which would probably be interpreted as singular by those fussy pedants at the supreme court, but I'm a true American, and like most strict constitutionalists, I say the constitution means whatever I can twist it to mean that I think would be good), so rather than continue with this wholly unnecessary primary nonsense, which is divisive and will just end up with us fighting each other, why don't we have Clinton and Bernie run together.

As equals, I mean, not as President/Vice President.

Think about it. Bernie can be the ideas person, the person who says "Look, let's get rid of that stupid hack Obamacare BS and bring in single payer, and also let's take all the Koch brother's money away.", and Clinton can use her honed political skills to get these policies actually passed.

We can make Ted Cruz vice president, nominally to be bipartisan, but actually so we have something to threaten the Republican establishment with if they don't do what we ask them to. "Oh, you wouldn't want us to resign and have your favorite Canadian become President would you?" "OK, OK, you win Hillary, improved infrastructure spending it is!"

What do you think?


Journal Journal: Though we laugh at the choice before serious Republicans... 4 a Democrat I increasingly don't like the options available to us too.

Sanders will get nothing done. Nothing. Four years of no government in the middle of what will probably be a repeat of the 2008 recession. He'll be even more ineffectual than Obama. And Clinton will head in the wrong direction with what she does get done.

I actually wonder if a third party would stand a chance of actually winning in this climate - at least for Clinton vs Trump anyway. Unfortunately I can't really think of anyone who'd win who'd be good, though they might be mildly better than the party candidates.


Journal Journal: My hard drive crashed and I'm kinda happy about it 9

I'm not happy about the data I lost, though it could have been a lot worse. The file system is mostly accessible and more files than I first thought are recoverable. I'm also fairly sure the really important stuff is in multiple places.

But... I ordered a replacement, which was an SSD. I had the choice between a HD of approximately the same size as the one I was replacing, or an SSD of 2/3 of the size for the same price. Given the likely cause of the crash was that my laptop had been pulled onto the floor a few times by my toddler, and probably not helped by it bouncing on my lap over the last four years, SSD seemed like a good idea.

And it was. My machine is completely silent, and feels a lot faster. Which makes me happy.

So then, because Ubuntu hasn't been entirely going in the right direction lately, I did some experimenting with alternatives. Fedora was... unstable enough during installation and set up for me to feel it probably wasn't the way to go. So then I tried Mint. Have you tried Mint? Mint is Ubuntu. No, really, it is, the repositories are the same with one addition. But that one addition? That's a bunch of packages designed to fix Ubuntu.

With Fedora I tried GNOME Shell (not really my thing), GNOME Classic (God awful, what the hell is wrong with these people?), and Cinnamon (what GNOME Classic should have been - wonderful.)

And so I installed Mint with Cinnamon. And it installed without any problems, and made it easy to set up the proprietary drivers for my laptop, and "just works" because it's really Ubuntu in disguise, and it all works. Which makes me happy.

But I missed having Mac style menus at the top. And found there was a plug-in/applet/whatever for Cinnamon that does just that. And it turned out all you had to do to install it was download a zip'd snapshot from Github, and unzip it to a directory inside .config, and install some Ubuntu packages, and then enable it and reboot.

And it worked. Which makes me happy.

And finally I reinstalled Steam. And checked which games I had were capable of being installed under GNU/Linux without Wine. And Saints Row IV was one of them. Which makes me happy.

So, I could get upset about the missing data. But I'm hopeful I haven't lost anything important that isn't backed up somewhere else. And obviously I'd have rather not paid money for a new drive and a USB SATA adapter.

But somehow I seem to have ended up with a much nicer computer at the end of it. Sometimes the Universe balances itself out.

User Journal

Journal Journal: RIP Ian Murdock

And what the hell has happened to Slashdot? It seems the jerk quotient at Slashdot hit near infinity when Gamergate happened.

First Person Shooters (Games)

Journal Journal: Changing the culture 3

Partially a response to Captain Splendid's comment in my last journal entry, but it raised wider issues so posted and expanded upon here instead:

Gun culture is a cultural thing, not a legal thing. I don't think modifying the 2nd Amendment would do much other than piss a large section of society off (and as I've said elsewhere, there are moral issues with criminalizing people obeying a basic human instinct.) It might impact the culture, but, as with the War on Drugs, the impact may well be a net negative.

It's also far from clear that gun culture per-se is responsible for mass shootings. But assuming it is, it seems to me that changing the culture wouldn't involve reducing access, so much as changing the way people access guns. The Swiss don't seem to have a problem with gun culture, yet weapons characterized by American politicians as "assault weapons" are not merely commonly privately owned, but the government actively encourages ownership of a specific semi-automatic rifle. The difference is the circumstances in which you get them (which unfortunately includes mandatory military service for all adult males - which won't fly here) and careful control over access to ammunition.

Does the Swiss attitude change the culture though? Probably not. It might make it harder to use the supplied rifle for mass shootings, but as I've explained before, long heavy bulky difficult-to-conceal rifles aren't optimal for that anyway and aren't usually the primary weapon in mass shootings. I would suggest that the Swiss framework for gun ownership is actually a reflection of its culture, not vice versa.

So what is the solution? I'm buggered if I know. One idiot thinks that view combined with opposing the return of AWB is the same as being opposed to fixing the problem, which is kinda like a non-doctor being told they're against someone being treated for cancer because they oppose trepanning being the treatment, but I'd hope my audience in general is smarter than that.

A repeal of the 2nd Amendment, and a blanket ban on all guns with magazines carrying more than, say, three bullets, is a potential solution to mass shootings, as it would make them close to impossible (though let's be clear, they'd still happen very occasionally), but the chances of that happening are zero, and there would be other negative effects caused by an attempt to implement such a law in the US. I'd not be in favor of this. And again, there's the whole culture thing.

At best I can say things like "If we did this practical and reasonable thing, it might not reduce the number of mass shootings, but it might reduce the numbers of deaths in them": for example, discouraging handgun ownership (and encouraging rifles being used in their stead) would probably reduce the overall death count, but it wouldn't reduce the number of mass shootings, it wouldn't attack their causes or prevent them from happening.

Not ideal is it? That's why we need to focus on culture - not gun culture as such, but on the general culture - in particular the attitude that says you can resolve problems with the deaths of others. Want to stop mass shootings? You know I suspect abolishing the death penalty, and having our community, cultural, and political leaders actually start treating war as an abomination rather than a thing we should do to show those pesky Hitlers-of-the-day how "strong" we are, would probably achieve much more.

GNU is Not Unix

Journal Journal: California and gun restrictions 22

Trying to think of a fairer, more accurate, description than "gun control" and I think "gun restrictions" is probably a better term, but... whatever...

I've harangued certain right wing politicians for crapping their pants in the face of terrorism. Now it's time to do the same to my fellow leftish liberal commie pinkos (or whatever it is we are these days.)

California already has an AWB. The gun attack yesterday very obviously wasn't thwarted by it in any way. The AWB is pretty stupid anyway, it aims for a class of guns that - yesterday excepted - is not generally the primary weapon used in mass shootings (or murders in general.) All AWB laws achieve is to make gun enthusiasts upset. You may consider that a bonus, in much the same way that much of the right seems to adopt policies half the time purely to piss off liberals, but it's not mature, adult, or solving a problem.

In any case, the point I want to make is this: I'm not scared of guns, I don't consider every gun attack a reason to support laws restricting the liberties of peaceful law abiding citizens even if most of the people affected are people whose politics I can't stand. The AWB is stupid, poorly aimed, has no logic whatsoever behind it, and needs to be removed from the vocabulary of those advocating gun restrictions - and definitely removed from polite left wing society.

Me? I'm not even in favor of more gun restrictions right now. If that were ever a good idea, the barn door was opened far too long ago anyway. But telling someone they can't defend themselves because a murderer did something terrible with the same weapon is not OK.

But that's because I don't crap my pants every time something bad happens. Want to draw a line between Trump and Obama or Trump and Clinton? Whether it's sending a terrorist state their victims, or undermining the fundamental right of self defense and criminalizing otherwise law abiding citizens, the common elements are fear over reason, and fear over a respect for basic human rights.


Journal Journal: Trump - a warning from the present 8

I don't believe for a second Trump believes a word he's saying.

What I am concerned about is that Trump could, very realistically, be elected because of the views he's espousing. That says something terrible about too many people at the moment, and also makes possible the frightening scenario whereby someone who believes what Trump is currently saying could be elected too.

In the mean time, Trump is also validating the opinions of many extremists.


Journal Journal: Capituation 17

Just a rather obvious observation that nobody seems willing to make. Responding to a terrorist event by banning people who are trying to escape those terrorists does not hurt the terrorists in the slightest. It's actually what they want.

And giving terrorists what they want generally doesn't stop terrorism.

The Military

Journal Journal: There's a reason it's called Terrorism, not Endofcivilizationism. 30

For the next few days, weeks, months, the usual suspects will channel their fears and hatred towards both those who murdered in France two days ago, and those who disagree with them on how to tackle it. They'll whip themselves up into a hatred-filled frenzy against those who are unfortunate enough to share the same religion as the terrorists, and they'll blow the "threat" up out of all proportion.

These people are simply stupid. Don't get angry at them, ignore them. They're victims of terrorism in its purest sense - they're the people shitting their pants at what just transpired, in a way nobody in Paris, New York, or London is doing, or will do. They're weak, scared, and pathetic, and they're lashing out at everyone from ordinary Muslims to Liberals because ISIL just played them like a violin.

Tomorrow is another day. It'll be like Tuesday of last week, except there'll be 150 or so fewer people to enjoy it thanks to a group of religious extremists who represent nobody but themselves. We'll miss those who are gone, but life goes on. Dealing with those who cause such horrors involves reason and human decency. ISIL's plan involves us having neither. Their success requires we have neither.

But we're better than they are.


Journal Journal: Pale Moon

I broke down and installed Pale Moon as my default browser. For those who haven't heard of it, it's Firefox 3.x with updates.

Comments so far? Well, it seems snappy, but then most browsers do if they don't have any crud from a year's worth of browsing sessions. Compatability looks OK. Memory usage is not off the wall but not awesome either - I've suspected for a while that the out-of-control memory usage of Firefox has more to do with how Javascript is being used these days than anything Firefox itself is doing.


Journal Journal: Media bias 8

It has to be said, in defence of the whole "Lieberal media" nonsense, that the media has been telling a lot of lies about Ben Carson recently, albeit most of which sourced from his autobiography.


Journal Journal: No President Lessig 3

So Larry's dropped out of the race. This is because the Democratic Party are totally unfair, because they said someone needs to have more than 1% of the vote for a slightly more sustained period of time than Lessig could manage.

In other words, the Democratic Party didn't want to waste anyone's time with clear no-hopers who were only running to use their debates and a convention as a platform.

I'm with the Democratic Party on this, for two reasons. One is I agree with them. The other is quite simply that tech does not currently deserve a place in polite society when it comes to discussing the major social issues of our time.

If we're still throwing tantrums in 2015 because we can't call Anita Sarkeesian the C-word on a Go language mailing list, then as an industry we need some deep introspection, and we need to ask ourselves why the hell such a small band of lucky, privileged, individuals as ourselves (we're overpaid for work we love, be honest) are fundamentally incapable of dealing with people less fortunate than ourselves.

Lessig is the only Democratic Party candidate worthy of having his speeches interrupted by BLM. That's how terrible we are.


Journal Journal: Bye Biden 1

I don't think it's a coincidence that Biden's announced he'll not be running immediately after two polls suggesting that the pundits, not the loudest Internet critics, were apparently right about who "won" last week's debate. As I've said, I think Biden was solely hanging around to handle the chance Clinton would lose to Sanders. That... doesn't appear to be happening.

Maybe it's too early to tell, but I really don't buy a Sanders victory. Although I'm tempted to get the HD DVD journal entry out just to use its awesome power to upset the status quo.


No that would be wrong. With great power comes great responsibility. If it were important that Sanders win, I would consider it. But it is not. Sorry Berniphiles, but we need something better than the Democrats answer to Ron Effing Paul.

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