My Unpopular Opinions

The school year has started, which means all types of debates, talks, and people losing their minds. Unfortunately for me, I find myself in the minority of the popular opinions. Some of these debates are just ego battles. For example, who really cares who the protagonist is Lord of the Rings. You can make a good argument for almost all of the main characters. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight we can talk about the symbology, but all of those symbols change with time.

I’m going to start a blog (which will be titled Unpopular Opinion) about the other debates, more meaningful to life, and not just flaunting knowledge. So, if you want to read them, I’ll be posting them soon. They aren’t flame bait. It’s to bring up discussion and see how our opinions differ and why. Skeptics make the world a better place.

Also, I know the title is a fragmented sentence, but I like it.

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They're getting better

I received this email today. I've got to say, they're getting better.

Despite some serious grammar issues, unbelievable claims, and the fact that it came from a @blizzard.com email address, it's an OK scam email. However, it's this type of douchebaggery that is extremely annoying. It's even worse when it's a fake Japan Earthquake Relief site. What the hell is the matter with people?

3 Comments

Getting rid of my games

I need to get rid of my games. I have a great collection, but I love my wife more than games. Video games are just stiff and our relationship is greater than any video game, ever. Where can I get the most money for them? I'm thinking Best Buy, but if you have any ideas let me know.

38 Comments

End of the Generation or What the hell developers?

So there are numerous rumors about the release of a new Xbox and PlayStation being released in 2012. I think it’s a year too soon, but hey I’m sure they know what they are doing. I hope.

I just am let down constantly by developers in this generation. Why are games being released that run sub 720p? Red Faction Armageddon and Trenched are two of the most recent examples.

Muddy visuals and poor rendering hamper these games significantly. They don’t look good, and they should. Will the next generation suffer from this as well? 720p isn’t to much to ask. If I wanted sub HD games I'll play my Wii.

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The Wild West of Video Game Development

I've replayed some of my favorite NES games recently, and I've discovered something I find truly interesting. A lot of those famous video games (Mario, Metal Gear, Castlevania. Zelda, and to some extent Metroid) all had sequels that were radically different from the original. Ryan Davis has said on multiple occasions that the gaming industry is heavily driven by sequels. It was great that developers were taking risks (even if they weren't necessarily risks at the time).

Now we are presented with more Uncharted, Gears of War, Halo, Call of Duty, and the like. Why aren't game developers taking risks on dramatically changing their game designs? Would be be OK if Vincent van Gogh had made Starry Nights 2 and 3, but subtly changed the way the stars were colored or arranged? At some point people would right off van Gogh as a "one trick pony."

Zelda 2 was divisive, and that's OK. Maybe developers need to stop worrying about reselling me on the next Call of Duty, and work harder on moving the industry forward developing new gameplay, storytelling, mechanics, user interface, and much more can be radically improved.

Look at the jump from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2. While not as stifling a jump as Zelda to Zelda 2, it was a huge change and it made the game that much better for it.

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Ryan Dunn and G4, or why I gave up

I quit. This has pushed me past the point of no return. I cannot believe that G4 is celebrating the life of Ryan Dunn with a tribute on Attack of the Show. The man killed himself and someone else while drunk driving. They should probably try and forget he ever existed; but no, they are making a tribute to him.

Remember Adolf Hitler? Do you remember what he did? You’re probably thinking that douche killed a lot of innocent Jews, and tried to take over the world. Which is true; but he also but he also turned a 30% unemployment rate around and saved the German economy. Most people don’t remember him for saving the economy; they remember the awful person he really was.

We can’t let Hollywood tell us that they are more important than the common man. It’s total crap that they can get away with DUIs, drug possession, charges, and all manner of other crimes that other people cannot. Maybe if one of Ryan Dunn’s several DUI charges had been more than a slap on the wrist, maybe the “star” would still be alive and the person he killed too.

Hollywood calls out corporations as being evil entities, but that’s the pot calling the kettle black. MGM employees got away with rape and murder. It is insane ho much power they have. They flaunt it. They manipulate the laws to ensure they will be released and will continue to make copious mounts of money.

If you killed someone because you were drunk driving like a fool, how would you be remembered? Would you be remembered fondly, or as an idiot? Let’s not celebrate his life. Let’s forget he ever existed. When someone asks who is Ryan Dunn, you can say, “a dolt who killed himself and another while drunk driving.”

You can argue Ryan Dunn was a great man, but great men don’t drive drunk.

Now that we see how Ryan Dunn died, we know who ‘s the real Jackass.

128 Comments

You aren't born gay! or why science is dead in America.

Well, OK, there is the possibility, but it is far slighter than you might think.

 Here is what it all boils down to, people aren't born gay. They are using weak science to move a political agenda.  I know Lady gaga did lie to you, and I'm sorry you believed her lies.

Being born gay is an idea from 1899 when German researcher Magnus Hirschfeld regarded homosexuality as congenital - meaning, "born that way" - and he asked for legal equality based on this thinking.

I'm going to take the three major studies by:and break down for you how they are misleading, and totally fallacious.

 

Simon LeVay and the INAH-3

 
 

Simon LeVay, a neuroscientist, studied the brains from 41 corpses, including 6 women, 19 homosexual men, and 16 men presumed to be heterosexual. A small area of the brain, the INAH-3, was similar in size in women and homosexual men, but larger in heterosexual men. He suggested that this might be evidence for an actual structural difference in the brains of gay men. There are, however, numerous problems with this study

               

  • In comparing the size of the INAH-3, he presumed that the 16 "heterosexual" men were, in fact, heterosexual. Only two of them had denied homosexual activities; for the rest, sexual histories were not available. Thus, he was actually comparing homosexual men with men of unknown sexual orientation! This, obviously, is a major flaw in scientific method.

The volume of the INAH-3 may not be a relevant measure:

       

  • Scientists disagree on the most accurate way to measure the INAH-3. LeVay measured the volume; other scientists claim it is more accurate to measure the actual number of neurons. Clarifying the potential problem, some have suggested that using a volume method to project impact on sexual orientation may be like trying to determine intelligence by a person's hat size.
  •   When different laboratories have measured the four areas of the INAH (including INAH-3), their results conflicted. For example, Swaab and Fliers (1985) found that the INAH-1 was larger in men, while LeVay (1991) found no difference between men and women. Allen et al (1989) found the INAH-2 to be larger in men than in some women, while LeVay (1991) again found no difference.

 

The above problems aside, even the data from LeVay's study did not prove that anyone was born gay. This is the case for at least two reasons:

 

  • Both groups of men covered essentially the same range of sizes. One could be gay (HM) with a small INAH-3 or with a large one. One could also be in the "heterosexual" category (M) with either a small or large INAH-3. Clearly, these men were not held to a sexual orientation by their INAH-3 biology! As the data shows, the INAH-3 size of three of the homosexual men puts them clearly in the "heterosexual" category (with one having the second largest INAH-3!). If all you know about any of LeVay's subjects is INAH-3 size, you could not accurately predict whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, male or female.
  • A study that showed a clear difference in INAH-3 sizes, would still leave another question unanswered: are men gay because of a smaller INAH-3, or was their INAH-3 smaller because of their homosexual actions, thoughts, and/or feelings? It is known that the brain does change in response to changes in behavior and environment. For example, Newsweek reported that "in people reading Braille after becoming blind, the area of the brain controlling the reading finger grew larger." As well, in male songbirds, "the brain area associated with mating is not only larger than in the female, but varies according to the season" (Newsweek, Feb. 24, 1992, p. 50). 

 

Bailey & Pillard: Twins and Other Brothers

 

Bailey and Pillard studied pairs of brothers -- identical twins, non-identical twins, other biological brothers, and adoptive brothers -- where at least one was gay. At first glance, their findings looked like a pattern for homosexuality being genetically influenced. Identical twins were both homosexual 52% of the time; non-identical twins, 22%; other biological brothers, 9.2%; and adoptive brothers, 10.5%. A closer look reveals significant problems with a "born gay" conclusion to this study:

 

    "In order for such a study to be meaningful, you'd have to look at twins raised apart," says Anne Fausto Sterling, a biologist. The brothers in this study were raised together in their families ( had he same upbringing)

    All the results were different from what one would expect if homosexuality was directly genetic:

  •   Because identical twin brothers share 100% of their genes overall, we would expect that if one was homosexual, the other would also be homosexual, 100% of the time. Instead, this study found that they were both homosexual only 52% of the time.
  • Although completely unrelated genetically, adoptive brothers were more likely to both be gay than the biological brothers, who share half their genes! This piece of data prompted the journal Science to respond: "this . . . suggests that there is no genetic component, but rather an environmental component shared in families" (Vol. 262 Dec.24, 1993).

        If homosexuality were genetic, one would expect each number in the column "Results from the B & P study" to be identical to the corresponding number in the "Expectation if genetic" column. Each one is significantly different!

 

               



Both are Homosexual:
  Shared genes 
(overall)
Expectation
if genetic
Results from 
B&P study
Identical twin brothers 100 % 100 % 52 %
Non-ident. twin brothers  50 %  50 % 22 %
Other biological brothers  50 %  50 %  9 %
Adoptive brothers    0 %  1-4 % 11 %
 

 

  Finally, Bailey & Pillard did not use a random sample. The men in the study were recruited through advertisements in gay newspapers and magazines.

 

Dean Hamer and the Xq28 Genetic Markers

 

    Hamer studied 40 pairs of homosexual brothers, and reported that 33 pairs shared a set of five genetic markers. Reporting the story, Time magazine's cover read "BORN GAY Science Finds a Genetic Link" (July 26, 1993). Hamer, however, was more cautious. He felt that it played "some role" in a minority of 5 to 30% of gay men (The Science of Desire by Dean Hamer and Peter Copeland. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Pages 145-146). This is a rather distant reality from finding the "gay gene" and it left two critical questions: just how much influence was "some role" thought to be, and what about the other 70 to 95%?

 

        Based on a simple genetic theory, one would expect 50%, or 20 pairs, to have the same markers. Why did 7 pairs of gay brothers not share a set of genetic markers?

        Hamer did not check to see if the heterosexual brothers of the homosexual men also had such a genetic marker. Thus, there was no control group in this study. Here too, this obviously is a major flaw in scientific method.

        Since that time, Science has reported that George Ebers, a researcher at the University of Western Ontario, has attempted to duplicate the study but found "no evidence, not even a trend," for the "genetic link." In the scientific world, that is a big problem. More recently, another study by Rice et al. has also stated that its results "do not support an X-linked gene underlying male homosexuality."

 

The Takeaway


If nothing else take this away:  Being pro  gay rights is fine, but don't destroy the scientific method to move your agenda.


****(notes from my biology 372 class were used)
123 Comments

Strange Text Message

 I received this strange text message the other day that said "Visit my MMS message in the next 7 days via the web at [insert web address]." The good news is that the message said it came from my wife's cell phone number, and all I had to do was check to see if it was sent from her. Of course, it was not. So, I called my service provider and all they could say was that it it wasn't from her. Does anyone know what this is or how to fight back against it?


I posted this on the tested forums as well. 

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The PSN and protecting yourself.

 

Protecting yourself from Identity Theft

OK, so PlayStation Network was hacked.  

Here is the information they ‘possibly’ took:

 

Name 

Address (city, state, zip)

Country

 Email address

Date of birth

PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login,

 PSN online ID.

Your profile data (which includes)

 Purchase history

Billing address (city, state, zip),

 Your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers

 Your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity,

Your your credit card number (excluding security code)

Your credit card expiration date

 

 

What should you do?

Tell your friends and family who aren’t as well connected, and inform them of the PSN hack. We all have friends who aren’t in the gaming loop.   They need know.

Check your credit card (debit card) statements, even if you didn’t have on one your profile.  They have your previous purchase history.  Therefore, if you used a credit card to purchase something, they will likely have that information.  Check your billing statements weekly.  There is a 60 period where you can report fraud and have it removed from your bill.

Change your security question.  You should never have the same security question for multiple accounts.   The hackers have your email address, and you don’t want them to have access to your email as well.

Change your passwords. You should always have different passwords for different accounts, but if you don’t, you’ll need to change them ASAP. You’ll want something entirely different. DO NOT JUST ADD 1234 at the end and call it ‘good enough.’

You can get a new credit/debit card. This is relatively painless if you have a debit card, but if you want to cancel your credit card it will hurt your credit history.   You also need to remember to change your automatic payments, and any debt you may have occurred on the cards, because if you bounce a payment, you will still be held reliable and your credit will be hurt.

This is a lot of leg work, and PlayStation won’t do it for you. Remember it’s your money, and your life.

So what will happen?

Hopefully nothing.  However, you may receive emails from PlayStation, your bank, and other institutions, which you may be familiar.  They’ll likely have a link in the email, and some statement that you account having some issue.  DO NOT CLICK THE LINK.   They may send mail to your address of record fallacious financial intuitions.   Go to the website or call them.  Phishing schemes are dangerous and ID theft is a real possibility. (For more on phishing click here)

Home invasions.  Now that they know you have a PlayStation there is the slight possibility that the information may be used inconjuction with targeting your personal home.  Knowing that you have a PlayStation 3 and high possibly an HDTV makes you a greater target for potential robbers if the hacker sell the information, and they do.  This is even worse if you are a prominent member of your community, politician, games journalist, notable personality etc.  

Remember PlayStation does everything except protect your identity…. And 50% of the other stuff it promised.

10 Comments

Suing Sony

I think I'm finally at that point. While I'm a firm believer in Capitalism, I also belive in holding people (and corporations) accountable for their actions.  The lack of security, the removal of promised functionality, and the most grievous error, keeping us in the dark about our personal security has pushed me over the edge. I'm sorry Sony, but you have failed miserably.

111 Comments