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Comment Re:Wesnoth isn't a game. Not really. (Score 3, Interesting) 58

Wesnoth is a pretty fun multi-player game. With a decent map design and thanks to them finally fixing the broken RNG it can be lots of fun to take the now reasonably balanced factions and fight with them.

That said I consider Wesnoth a fundamentally broken design when it comes to the single-player game, for exactly the reasons you state. It has many of the bad aspects of a rogue-like without many of the good aspects, and frankly good story design is next to impossible in it. I've tried writing a few scenarios, the WML interface started out awful, and is now much better, but the core problem with the game remains.

First randomness should never be a core element of game design. You can use it to add a bit of spice, but you should never win or lose a game because of luck. in multi-player this is less of an issue as a best of three between two players will almost always be won by the better player, but in a 12 scenario campaign one streak of bad luck at the wrong time results in either save scumming, or restarting the scenario.

If moving a unit to a location is the best possible move you can make in a scenario where things are about even between two players it shouldn't be possible for the consequences of that decision to utterly screw you because of unlucky RNG calls. In Wesnoth this can happen all the time because the need to maintain veterans all but insures you cant afford to lose things like your high level healers.

Crafting a story line in Wesnoth is next to impossible because it gives you very few options to insure that the player is ready for future challenges. One of your late game scenarios require they have lots of impact damage to survive? Well you'd better contrive some absurd reason for them to only be able to recruit that in this scenario so they can level a few of them up. You end up with absurd video game logic where you have to artificially constrain the player just to hint strongly enough at the needed force compositions.

The game also has extremely non-linear difficulty because being slightly worse at the game gets compounded. If a scenario is made slightly easier, then the campaign ends up much easier because the slightly better resources you get out of that scenario allow you to win the next with fewer losses, and so on. As a result many of the mainline campaigns are either absurdly easy or incredibly difficult.

Finally character development is very difficult. The game forces players to split their army in to bits they give a crap about and cannon fodder. The bit they are supposed to give a crap about is usually too large (~7 would be a good number as this is an amount most folk can keep track of at once, but in most scenarios it is closer to 15 or 20 and it has to be to face the diverse range of threats bigger campaigns throw at you). Meanwhile the low level units you use to screen just become faceless entries in a spread sheet because you bought them specifically to die in your better units place. As a result the player becomes completely detached from the story elements and character. I frequently forget what I'm doing in a scenario outside of the current objectives because world building is virtually impossible.

And the community doesn't respond well to these or any other criticisms. They like the random element, they don't seem to give a crap about characterisation, world build, lore or story telling. They are focused on the mechanics within a scenario. Well if that is their gig then that is their gig, but I honestly regret playing many of the campaigns I've played, I'd rather I had done something else.

Comment Re:Ok then... (Score 4, Insightful) 247

Sarah Connor is supposed to come accross as an unreasonable, crazy sociopath, because she is. She is a bad mother, is quick to resort to violence and killing, and has an irrational hatred of men, however much we might understand how she was driven to that perspective. In that quote there she bangs on about the mystical power birth and pregnancy and its life affirming power shortly after trying to murder a man in cold blood in the house his wife and children are sleeping in. You are not supposed to like her, pity her maybe, but not like her.

Compare her to Ripley from Alien and Aliens, who is a far more idealized. Connor from Terminator 2 is a critique of a particular brand of feminine fetishizing feminism, not an endorsement of it.

Comment Re:How about a straight answer? (Score 2) 329

The impact associated with the Chicxulub crater is associated with the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, not the Permian–Triassic.

The impact sites associated with the Permian–Triassic extinction are ones like the Bedout structure, but no impact sufficient (on its own) to explain the kind of extinction we see is known. The Permian–Triassic is special because it was so severe and because of the extreme impact on marine life. This is why the methane hydrate gasification hypothesis enjoys comparatively wide support, although as you say most experts don't think it is enough on its own, possibly being a consequence of some other event (such as increased volcanism or an impact).

Comment Re:Oh yeah, almost forgot about Ebola... (Score 1) 70

"It helps if the people who catch it are fit and well before they catch it."

Depends on what you mean by fit and well. Being seriously immunocompromised probably wont help, but a major way Ebola kills is by triggering a cytokine storm. Ebola attacks the immune system in a very unpleasant way inhibiting many of the standard responses to a viral infection. As a result when confronted by Ebola the immune system often responds with its last resort 'WMD', a cytokine storm which might be described as setting the immune system into overdrive killing both the Ebola virus and healthy cells in a desperate scorched earth attack. Because this run away process is basically the immune system acting with maximum ferocity the healthier and stronger your immune system the more damage it does. If you have a particularly strong immune system then the onset of a cytokine storm just kills you.

Comment Re: What am I doing wrong? (Score 1) 574

Sounds like a good move. A decent employee is going to look at the whole package, but they are going to be very suspicious of the stuff you leave out. If I get a 38 hour week, telecommuting and good benefits I'm going to put a dollar value on that and add it to your salary as a first pass to filter places to apply for (ones at the top get custom CV, custom cover letter, I do some research on thier business; next lot get generic CV, etc.; next lot get the circular file). Employees can only apply to a finite number of jobs, and they can only give a suitable amount of attention to a subset of those, especially if they are already employed (which many of the better applicants might be). If you want to be in the top fractions of places people apply to you need to give them enough information to beat out your competition.

Comment Re:The perennial disconnect... (Score 4, Insightful) 574

"But the market does set rates" - You clearly don't understand how markets work. If you make an offering and no one takes it (assuming the reasons why aren't some substantial intervention in the market by some large actor), your offering is below market rate. That is pretty much the definition of what those words mean. Either you don't need the position filled (it will bring in $X dollars and cost $Y and X Y), or you need to pay more.

If those software houses in Pittsburgh cant sell software for a profit offering developers market rate then the market doesn't need the software those software houses provide because it costs too much to make. Either company Y needs to (and can afford to) pay more, or it needs to shut up shop because it is not viable (or at least not do the project it cant afford to hire people for). The one thing it cannot do is complain that it has to compete with other companies both in selling it's goods and sources it's raw materials (which include human resources).

Comment Re:What am I doing wrong? (Score 5, Insightful) 574

You aren't paying enough. It is sort of obvious. Youe offering is below market so no one applies and those that do apply get promotions or can reasonably expect much better pay and conditions. Either you don't need the position filled, or you need to pay more to fill it.

Can I ask, why is it when it comes to hiring technical staff business people have such a hard time understanding supply and demand. You never hear them saying 'Why cant I buy a top of the line server rack for $1?", but are shocked that no one applies for their job offered at half market rate.

Comment Re:DAESH, not ISIL (Score 1) 478

That is a legitimate criticism, you are essentially proposing that we treat religious adherents in a similar way to the way we treat countries, if the relevant actors consider you X then you are X. Your definition has problems too though.

First by your definition there is evidence of Catholics (Catholic priests no less), who are atheists. If a Catholic priest loses their job often they don't have much to fall back on, and apostasized priests have kept preaching believing that the little lies they percieve themselves as telling are bringng people hope. While they might have moments of candor with those close to them their public face is one of a good Catholic priest who most other folks (including the Supreme Pontiff) would recognise as Christian.

Next you have the problem of what constitutes 'mainstream'. The early Jewish sect that sprung up after Jesus had comparatively little organisation and structure (which was far more congruent with Jesus' teachings). But a few centuries after Jesus death it had all but vanished. By your definition the religious movement which more closely matched the religion of Jesus' would not be Christian as by that point the Roman Empire had spread Paulian Christianity to much of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

A final problem, and this is more technical, is that typically definitions of descriptive nouns / adjectives like this refer to properties of the thing they describe, not properties of someone else describing the thing. A ball is considered a ball because it matches the conditions to be a ball (being sufficiently round, being sufficiently small, etc). The reason for this is that ultimately the meaning of words is derived from their usage (to convey meaning some set of people have to use a word), so it is basically tautological to imply someone can be described as 'a noun' or a 'adjective person' if the right people use the word that way as what we are asking isn't the fundamental reason words have meaning. It is like answering the question of why my toast popped out the toaster early this morning with 'the big bang'. Sure technically true, but completely irrelevant. In this instance you are arguing for specific authorities to determine the meaning of words which is a common way to circumvent this problem, but that just brings us back to the last paragraph. I'm out in cricket if the umpire says I'm out. Here the authority is not so clear. Are Southern Baptists Christians? What about Christian heresys that explicitly reject central authority like Catharism, were they Christian?

You do have a point though, I don't consider someone a Christian just because they claim to be one, I don't think it is enough to just claim you are a Christian I would say you are a Christian if you genuinely believe you are following the teachings of Jesus. Now this has some interesting consequences. For instance under this definition I don't think most of the Westboro Baptist Church are Christians. If you look at how they operate they are clearly a legal scam who likely don't believe a word they are saying. Enough members of the KKK and DAESH are Christian and Muslim respectively under this definition (which coupled with the groups making religion part of their mission statement), so I will call them Christian and Muslim.

But ultimately however we define words like 'Christian' and 'Muslim' we wont find a perfect definition. So if these are problems you can live with and you like your definition that is fine. I admire what you are trying to achieve with your definition, to make it clear to people that adherents of Islam are not fundamentally distinct from people in the West, and that extremists like this don't represent your typical Muslim. You want to avoid labelling the extremists of a particular religion by that religion because it has the odd property of putting me in the same box as Stalin, the nice lady at the soup kitchen in the same box as Raynald of Châtillon and al-Khwarizmi in the same box as Osama Bin Laden.

You are right, as far as I know DAESH aren't supported by any mainstream Clerics. I wish the media would report on them in a similar way to the ways the report on the KKK, bringing up their religion only when it is relevant, I think some reporting at the moment is irresponsible ignoring that most of DAESH victims are Shia Muslims with no interest in this so-called 'Jihad'. But I'm unwilling to use language in such a way that we completely ignore the religious motivations of the participants because like the Crusaders, like the KKK, like many religious extremists, religion is playing a role in motivating DAESHes actions.

Comment Re:DAESH, not ISIL (Score 1) 478

Never said Paul was unreasonable, just that his teachings ran counter to those of Jesus. Jesus was a zealous and pious Jew, at that time that meant he was likely unreasonable about Jewish practices.

The Gnostic Gospels were excluded for a variety of reasons, but as long as John is in the canon the claim that it is to any major degree about quality control is just laughable. Mark (without the bit that was clearly added in at the end) seems the most reliable of the Gospels and it paints a pretty clear picture of Jesus. Most other Gospels are less reliable to some degree (often being copied from Mark or Q, or some combinations there of). It isn't that I think the Gnostic Gospels are reliable, but those consistent with Mark (and to a lesser extent Matthew and Luke) and congruent with the teachings of those most close to Jesus (his brother and the disciples, particularly Peter) are far more reliable than anything found in John and Paul's biggest supporter amoung the Gospels is John, that is why it was included in the Catholic canon.

You'll note your quote is from John, while Mark has a fair bit of similar language it is considerably de-emphasised. As I said, John doesn't count, John is written about 200 years after Jesus was born, and is basically someone trying to propagandize for Pauls perspective, and frankly doing it badly, the Jesus of John is nothing like the far more plain spoken Jesus of Mark.

Happy to provide, thanks for your interest.

Comment Re:DAESH, not ISIL (Score 1) 478

There was a fair old bit of contention between James (brother of Jesus) and Paul. One book covering the topic is James Dunn's "The Canon Debate". Basic summary is that Paul and James didn't exactly see eye-to-eye, especially on things like Jewish customs. This disagreement caused friction such as the Incident at Antioch, you can read Pauls version of events in the Epistle to the Galatians 2:11-14. Basically Paul says the Jews shouldn't expect the Gentiles to conform to Jewish custom, and James and his largely Jewish followers were having none of that. Mark 7:27 and surrounding passages should be an indication of why I don't think Pauls cultural relativism was something Jesus would have been a fan of. As you point out, Peter might have been in a more representative place doctrinally. It strikes me as likely James may have taken things a bit too far as well in the other direction, doctrinally it seems Peter was somewhere between the two trying desperately to keep the early Christians together, although I think he took on a bit more of Pauls ideas that is justified.

Paulian (often more commonly rendered as Pauline if you decide to go googling) Christianity adds a whole bunch of things to Christian teachings not found in the Gospels (and contradicted by some of the gnostic Gospels). Differences include things like the shift from an earthly to a heavenly kingdom or salvation being derived from belief in Jesus regardless of requirements of Jewish Law, and heirachical established churches. Even something as basic (and problematic) as the nature of Original sin and Jesus death as atonement for human imperfection.

Paul basically viewed Jesus as a blood sacrafice, which if you confine yourself to the gospels is something that seems wholly incongruous with Jesus message. It is a massive topic but hopefully that is enough to get started.

Comment Re:DAESH, not ISIL (Score 1) 478

Key word is 'particular'. The Cult of Isis has a particular theology within the Ancient Egyptian religion. Sure, the Ancient Egyptian religion had a theology, but it is more general. In the same way Christianity has the theology, but the Paulian Cult has a particular theology.

In any case, the point I was making stands even if we adopt your definition. When the Paulian cult started it had a single, charismatic leader (Paul) and a comparatively small number of followers. Paul's beliefs and practicisewere considered deviant and novel by both other Christians and Jews.

The point I was making is that by the parents reasoning the Paulian Cult (and thus all of its descendants) is not Christianity because Jesus (if he existed and is recorded reasonably accurately in the gospels) would be unlikely to endorse Paul's bizzare theology. Pretty much any of the Christian Jewish sects which sprung up after Jesus death are far more likely to be accurate renditions of Jesus' philosophy than Pauls. Given that almost all self-identified Christians are Paulian Christians this is clearly a foolhardy way to assign meaning to the word 'Christian'.

Comment Re:DAESH, not ISIL (Score 1) 478

You are right, but there really isn't a good word for it. To be clear I'm using the term in a technical theological sense as in "A cult is a religious group that follows a particular theological system.". I used this term because I wanted to avoid terms like 'heresy' since they are value loaded and I'm not making a value statement or 'sect' because sects are more specific. You can substitute 'Paulian cult' for 'those follow the Paulian theology' if you like.

Comment Re:DAESH, not ISIL (Score 1) 478

By that standard almost every Christian who has ever existed is not Christian. You do know the Paulian cult is a complete butchering of Jesus' (assume he existed and is reasonably well represented in the surviving gospels) teachings right? Religions have lots of sects and interpretations, comes with the territory and the big label we use for religions is often very broad. Same with lots of labels.

You can define words how you like, but I would suggest rendering almost everyone who has even identified as Christian as being not Christian renders your definition impractical. If you try to come up with a more encompassing definition which doesn't go question begging (defining Christians in such a way that they are only capable of praiseworth actions for instance) you will find that like any other movement Christianity has it share of splendid saints and sickening sinners.

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