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Some of my favourite favourites:
Tiny Coffee Golem:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
My favorite misspelling is Monster Manuel. I want to meet THAT guy.
I'd say instead that productivity is the solution, rather than the source of the problem. Productivity is not just about the output (ie, how much you produce), but also about the throughput (how many resources you need to produce). It's all about efficiency, which is precisely what we need to face such problems as global warming, water crises, and availability of cheap fuels.
It's is not a new phenomenon. Early in the Industrial Revolution, modernizing european societies were facing a critical depletion of fuel sources, as forests began to disappear, until advances in technology allowed for an efficient and practical mining of mineral coal.
Coal itself started to become a problem in the late XIX century, prompting a quick development of alternatives such as solar power, though the appearance of cheaper and more efficient oil derivatives halted progress in those areas.
None of those scenarios had evident solutions at first; both coal and oil were long known to be useful sources of energy, but we were simply too inefficient at getting them in economically-feasible manners. Both times, it was an increase in productivity that allowed not just to avoid the crisis, but open the gates for even higher increases in life quality.
Now, I'm not saying we should just sit tight and wait for Black Mesa to create a new wonder fuel made out of endless amounts of YouTube comment bile, but we need to keep in mind that increased productivity is what is going to get us out of this, and thus focus on efforts to promote that (always, in my opinion, with the ultimate goal of human dignity driving it, however): Know-how, logistics, and R&D. And that basically boils down to education, better distribution of resources, and the promotion of innovation. And so far, we're doing those three things better today than we have done so in quite a while.
So that's what drives me to think we are not living in the End Times.
My extensive and in-depth analysis of the movie Battletruck indicates otherwise. Cars will clearly be powered either by random gas pipes sprouting up in the middle of the desert or by colossal amounts of chicken poop.
There is no coronation ceremony in Spain. Ever since the XIV century, kings are proclaimed, not crowned. The crown and scepter are still expected to be present, though, sitting on a cushion in front of the new monarchs, like some sort of royal Sorting Hat I suppose.
"You'll be the King of... Panama"
I see no concrete signs that would indicate this particular era to be any closer to Rule by Biker Gangs than any other (asides from the invention of biker gangs, that's it). There's no reason to expect a Malthusian Catastrophe any time soon, while political stability is at an all-time high.
Even though past information cannot be used to predict the future, there is a reason every demographic collapse proclaimed in the last three centuries has been wrong: Per capita productivity as a result of continous innovation has been increasing at a regular rate since the early stages of the Industrial Revolution (for comparison, it is estimated average per capita productivity changed almost nothing in the preceeding three-thousand years), which has allowed human population to become incredibly resilient and adaptative to changes in resource availability.
It is not so much about absent-minded optimism in technomagic as it is the unreliable nature of most apocalyptic predictions, which rarely factor growing productivity properly (which is reasonable, though, as most attempts to actually predict said growing productivity tend to be mistaken. Flying cars, man, flying cars).
Could The Humongous be just around the corner? Aye, that's a possibility. But I don't think the current world-wide situation could be interpreted to make such scenario a realistic choice. Won't be betting the lottery on that, for certain.
What do you know: It was actually hot dogs.
Lunch for today: Fried cauliflower in mozzarella cream with chicken on orange sauce. Finally learned how to make proper orange sauce, not too sticky, not too runny.
Dinner: Planescape with Pathfinder sauce. I mean, most likely pizza or cheeseburgers, depending on what the group's craving.
In the family's lake house, underneath the weeping willow where I've spent every single summer reading since I've known how to hold a book, surrounded by family. Cause of death could be something like an aneurysm (several of those on my mother's side) that kills you quickly, so my grandchildren just see they gramp falling asleep. 85-95 year range seems nice.
What happens after that is God's to decide.
-Spend a beautiful weekend with the family, great weather and great food, remembering those we've lost with fondness
Great, just great.
Come to think of it now, it might sound a bit reduntant, aye. The original intent was to specify you can't use something currently attached to a living creature as an ingredient, nor an entire living creature (particularly tiny creatures, such as a fairy).
Now, dead tiny creatures or undead ones are fair game for turning them into liquor!
From the horrible/fantastic movie that was Street Fighter:
Chun Li: You and your bullies were driven back by farmers with pitchforks! My father saved his village at the cost of his own life. You had him shot as you ran away! A hero... at a thousand paces.
Spoken by The Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson, from The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen:
Horatio Jackson: Ah, the officer who risked his life by singlehandedly destroying...
When I participated as a questioner of the 2002 census in my country (ie, the guy who has to spend all day asking random people about how many TVs do they have), we were told it is better to simply ask what the person in question considers to be his gender identity and risk offending someone, than not asking and both risking offending someone and risking entering wrong data.
The closest thing I've been to a ghostly experience was when my grandmother died a few months ago.
My aunts dressed her and tucked her inside her bed, along with a mortuary cloth surrounding her head, before the people from funerary services got there to take her to the chapel, so that everyone could say goodbye. The whole family had gathered in her home; my dad asked me if I wanted to see grandma for the last time, so I went into her room and leaned forward to kiss her on the forehead.
That's when I felt a huge load around my shoulders and arms, like when someone hugs you strongly, and for a moment I could swear I heard my grandmother saying something (but I couldn't make out what exactly).
Most of myself thinks it was a sudden rush of emotions and maybe my head confusing the sounds coming from other parts of the house, but a part of me still can't shake off the feeling of how impossibly real it all seemed.
Old Mammoth wrote:
That was a 131 years ago and we were pretty much forced into that war (not that we didn't benefit from it, of course).
Never seen a ghost myself, but my family's old hat shop has been claimed to be haunted so many times it's not even funny.
It's a 1850's building (my great grandmother bought it in 1912 when she first arrived from Asturias, and it has been functioning as a hat shop ever since), built over the foundations of a Dominican winery from the early 1600's.
The list of stories is pretty long, but some of my favourites include:
-The Haunted Mirror: There are several old mirrors in the shop, the oldest one having been bought from a wealthy family in the 1920's; the mirror itself was made in Venice in the XVII century. Up until the 1950's, there was an old man who visited the shop almost every day and just sat there looking at the mirror. He said he saw dancers inside the mirror and that he could hear them whispering music. The man simply vanished one day (probably died), but people kept looking at the mirror with a mix of doubt and awe.
-The Mysterious Tunnels: In the late 90's, my grandmother decided to renovate one of the bathrooms in the first floor. However, just when work started, one of the contractors accidentally caused the floor around the toilet to collapse, ending inside a tunnel. It was later discovered the tunnel ran for several blocks, starting underneath the old Dominican church next block. Dozens of bones were found, along with barrels. Apparently, the tunnel was built in the 1600's to move wine in and out of the monastery, and during one of the native attacks on the city several monks were trapped and killed inside. Ever since, people claim to see ghostly monks drinking wine around the shop.
-The Possessed Automaton: In 1915, my great grand-uncle purchased a wondrous mechanical man built in France. He looked like a hotel valet and was a clockwork miracle, being able to gesticulare, move his arms and fingers, etc. He was programmed to knock on the display windows on the front of the shop with a cane, hailing people to come in. People in town were not accustomed to such things back then, and it was so life-like that locals started saying the automaton was visiting them at night. One lady claimed it was possessed, and a priest was even asked to check on it. Though he explained everyone that it was simply an incredible piece of machinery, it did little to calm the most superstitious (it was great for business, though). The automaton has been knocking on that same window for the past 99 years, and the great grandchildren of the first customers still go check him. A couple of years ago, while inspecting some of the old rooms of the third and fourth floor (some of which hand't been opened in half a century), a hidden chest was found underneath a pile of boxes. Inside, my aunts found a smaller version of the automaton, but it was painted completely black. No one knew abou that thing, not even my grandmother, so it's thought it might have been bought alongside with the other in 1915 and left forgotten upstairs. When news of a "dark twin" of the automaton got out, people freaked out and the same stories of a possessed machine resurfaced afer one hundred years.
The family doesn't really like to spread those rumours and my great grandmother usually scolded customers for being so naive as to think any of that was true, but they certainly have helped create an aura of mystery around the business that has perdured through generations.
I love that shop.
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
A lot of the resentment Argentines have toward the whole Falklands thing has to do with national pride. While it is true that whenever something goes amiss the Kirchner-Fernandez dynasty attempt to blame it on someone else, they can take advantage of that precisely because it's still an open wound to many people, regardless of who is actually on the right here.
I personally understand the Falklands should remain British. It's been British territory for hundreds of years, it was defended through an armed conflict, and the local population has time and again chosen to remain British. In the nebulous fields of international law, that's nearly as good as it gets to determine who gets to retain what beyond an actual treaty. We Chileans modestly aided the Brits through the war (didn't get directly involved, though. War's not our thing), though we mostly did that because Argentina was on the brink of declaring war on us and we needed to keep them occupied with something else.
I honestly think Argentina would benefit more if it simply assumed the situation and tried to mend things with the locals. Right now, even though the islands are in front of Argentina, they need to get most of their supplies from Chile, because our transandine neighbours refuse to deal with them. All that does is create further resentment between Falklanders and Argentines, and sovereignty is never going to change hands, so why keep it that way.
Mount Nevermind, from Dragonlance (name given to the place by some Knights of Solamnia who thought the Gnomish name was a bit over the top*).
An entire mountain carved out by insane gnomes who use a complicated system of catapults ("gnomeflingers") to move from floor to floor!
The gnomes thought the Knights of Solamnia, after arriving at their island, wanted to steal the mountain from them, so they created a device to make it invisible. However, it failed, and instead made the whole region smell like rotten eggs.
It's been my favourite fantasy location ever since I first read about it in the early 90's.
Sigil from Planescape is a close second.
*Full name is "A Great, Huge, Tall Mound Made of Several Different Strata of Rock of Which We Have Identified Granite, Obsidian, Quartz With Traces of Other Rock We Are Still Working On, That Has Its Own Internal Heating System Which We Are Studying In Order to Copy Some Day That Heats Up the Rock to Temperatures That Convert It Into Both Liquid and Gaseous States Which Occasionally Come to the Surface and Flow Down the Side of the Great, Huge Tall Mound..."
Season 5 is fantastic. It even includes a second D&D episode.
I leave the XP rewards for roleplaying in the hands of the players, not myself.
The system has evolved over the years and taken many forms, but currently it goes as follows:
-At the start of a session, every player gets a number of XP rewards (we call them "tickets") equal to twice the number of players sitting (so if 4 people made it that session, each gets 8 tickets).
-Players can dish out 1 ticket to another player whenever they feel they have roleplayed well enough, as a reward for a clever idea, or when the player does something that greatly improves the game.
-At the end of the session, tickets are tallied and converted to XP. The XP value depends on the number of players and the Average Party Level, recalculated so that the total number of tickets a player can give out equals 10% of the experience needed to get the next level (so in a game with 4 people with 8 tickets and an APL of 3, each ticket would be worth 50 XP, and a character who was awarded 5 tickets would get 250 XP for roleplaying that session).
I've noticed it really makes people more committed to both their characters and to paying attention what everyone else is doing, since being able to give out rewards seems to entice them. It also seems to feel more rewarding to them, since it's their peers the ones who are rewarding them for playing well, rather than the DM. Of course, it also takes some work off my back.
I am absolutely delighted by how 5e turned out to be. After having abandoned D&D with 4e, it feels great to be able to go back again. I was honestly nervous that I would not like the new system, so I'm deeply relieved it was not the case.
I do have a running Pathfinder campaign set in Planescape that's already a year old and is designed to last at least two more years, so I won't be leaving Pathfinder. But for the time being, I will be using 5e for new campaigns.
Two of my players got their own PHs as well, and they are both pretty thrilled with it, so much that one of them might finally start DMing again after, what, 10 years since his last campaign? It would be nice to be on the other side of the screen for a change, I say.
In order to provide a broader perspective (since it appears most of the discussion is done from the point of view of solely the US reality), here in Chile man-woman average income disparity currently sits at about 18%, up from 13% in 2003 and down from 20% in 2012 (movement consistent with the economic downturn). For self-employed people, it sits at 7.3%.
The biggest disparity happens in mining regions, where it can reach up to 52%, whereas in regions dominated by the service and agriculture industries (almost every other region that doesn't have mining operations) is drops to the 6-15% range. In the most populated region (Metropolitan Region, which accounts for about 40% of the national population), disparity is at 15%.
There are two factors often cited as for why this difference happens:
1.- Mining activities are male-dominated jobs, primarily because very few women apply for them. And since they are the highest-paying non-executive jobs in the country, they tend to skew the average.
2.- Even though about 56% of the jobs created within the last 15 years have been occupied by women and that universities are currently enrolling more female students than male ones (except in the engineering and scientific fields), female workers on average have access to lower-paying job as a result of the lower level of preparation that women born before the 1980's had, which in turn was directly correlated to the predominant role of women in the family.
Interestingly, while inherent factors to the female population do make female workers more risky and expensive (we have mandatory 6-month postnatal paid leaves and any company with 15+ female employees is obligated to have daycare facilities or pay the women to send their children to one), these are factors that do not directly influence wage, but rather the likelihood of getting hired. However, this effect is primarily seen in low-paying jobs (for small companies tend to avoid hiring too many females in order to stay below the 15 margin), so in fact this phenomenon actually increases the average income of the female working population (as most medium-to-large companies pay above minimum wage even for the lowest jobs, and generally have some kind of either union or prestation arrangement to deal with the other requirements of the law).
So while historical female discrimination still has a noticeable effect on the average income of women in Chile (admitedly a small sample, as we're less than 18 million heads), actual discrimination today has very little effect in determining how much a female worker makes (if anything, the discrimination is more prevalent in the very high-paying jobs of traditionally male-dominated CEO positions).
I'm certain that man-haters are a minority within feminist movements. So are woman-haters within gamer culture.
The whole thing that started this thread is, precisely, the prevailing problem of blanketing an entire segment of people with the characteristics of a minority, made all the more hurtful and divisive by the fact it is done by people with a public voice that can influence many.
It's hard to tell what a group really looks like when there's a small core of extremists that, by virtue (or rather by vice) of how noisy they are, can appear to be the majority. The internet further distorts the image, since as a medium it's geared toward showing us what we want to see.
And that's why we need responsible journalists, because those are the people who we should be able to rely on to show us the whole picture.
Jeff, speaking for myself here, I don't think the existence or prevalence of discrimination based on race, gender, culture or what have you (which in turn gives way to the concept of privilege) is false; we can totally agree it does exist and the horrible things it makes some people do and experience.
What causes irritation and resentment, however, is the shotgun-blast manner in which the term is freely applied to anyone who happens to meet the perceived requeriments for privilege, in contrast to actually being benefited by it. It is a pretty concrete case of correlation vs causality.
It may very well be the case that a white man got a job instead of a black woman because of both skin and gender discrimination, but it may just as well be the case the guy got the job because he was a better candidate. Or, even more so, maybe all other applicants were also white men. Or he was the only applicant. Or the reviewer just found him funnier.
The degree of prevalence of discrimination is measured statistically, which means not every case is necessarily the result of one person benefiting from it while another is negatively affected.
Problem is, it is not unusual (specially not online these days, with the waters as tumultuous as they seem to be) to see someone telling someone else that he has privilege, when in truth what should be said is that he meets the criteria for privilege. However, it is rarely implied that way, instead going for the "If you think you are not benefiting from privilege, then you're wrong, because privilege exists", and not uncommonly growing into an all-out "And if you disagree, well, you're part of the problem". We can see how such a thing can easily get out of hand, even if the person making the accusation was well-meaning.
Maybe the guy saying he hasn't benefited from privilege actually hasn't. Maybe he has and doesn't know it. Whichever the case, "check your privilege" has really gotten to the point of acquiring a discriminatory weight of its own, like Auxomalous points out. It doesn't take more than a few clicks through places like Tumblr to find all manners of examples that really draw into the ridicule.
This doesn't mean there isn't privilege, or that fighting against it is wrong. Not at all. It exists, it's bad, and it should totally be fought. I'm pretty certain that a big chunk of the more virulent "check your privileges" crowd (the one that goes all the way into claiming all men should be castrated to make us less rape-prone or declare that white guys have no right to participate in gender discussions) is just co-opting the cause to express their own hate, as hate is quite good at using nice things and ideals to hide itself.
And it's precisely because of that that one cannot just dismiss those who feel bothered by claims of privilege as merely mistaken (or outright racist/sexist/whateverist) people, because the term has started to become poisonous to some, even if it is being used with no ill-will by the majority.
Internet has a way to magnify these things and exacerbate the negative qualities, which makes the bad apples misusing the privilege tag look more like bad watermellons. But that still can change the perceived value and implications of a tag, which I believe is what happening to terms like privilege and rape-culture, to the point they start to feel like just another type of discrimination.
Ooh, that means you have some Chilean in you, which makes us practically brothers ("Ya veras como quieren en Chile al amigo cuando es extranjero" and all that).
I've had the pleasure of visiting your lovely country several times (I sell olive oils to some guys in Rio and Sao Paulo) and man do I love it, from your rodizios to your garotas to your moquecas do camarao! It is almost enough to forgive you for all the times you've beat us in football.
And I was born and raised in Brazil, meaning I'm Latin too.
Woo! South America in da house <Chilean-Brazilian highfive>
Maybe I'm an odd case, but as far as I know, no one ever harmed me because of my nationality (although I did hear some funny observations like "You're Brazilian? I didn't know there were white people in Brazil!" and "But I thought all Brazilians were Mexican!"... Yeah, someone actually thought "Mexican" was a race!), neither in the US nor in England (where my sister lives, so I visit the country once in a while). I've been called "cracker" on a few occasions, though.
It's like the time we had a group of girls from the US and Canada for a university exchange here in Chile tell us in frank surprise "It SNOWS here? But this is South America!".
They honestly thought everything south of Texas was a different variation of Mexico.
They were pretty nice people, though.
That's a very interesting article, Necromancer.
I agree with several of Mancil's statements, particularly in regards to the disconnect.
Another thing I perceive might be a source of the sometimes irrational attitude of some journalists might be the way social sites work these days: You are more likely to be exposed to positive input regarding your ideas than negative input, since social sites works more on the basis of likes/retweet/share than anything else. Thus, agreement is magnified and dissent tends to fall on the backburner.
Since journalism sort of depends on you generating some clout, expanding that positive feedback network becomes important, making disent further alienating. More people agreeing with you = more likes/shares/exposition = more people following you = more people agreeing with you.
This, I think, can easily create a bubble in which positive feedback far outweight criticism. And while criticism can sometimes mean just bad mouthing, it is also the source of debate, contrast of opinions and, more than anything, middle grounds.
So perhaps that would explain why some journalist declare gamers are a bunch of misongynists: The critics that they see in their immediate social network might appear to be hostile because they stand our as a sore spot in an otherwise harmonious landscape of agreement.
When 9 out of 10 people you interact with share the same opinion as you, it is not unusual to see that 1 lonely opponent as mistaken. There's a sense of reinforcement of value when more people support something we like, and dissenting views might get demonized as a result. And from there to assuming everyone who disagrees with you is part of the same mistaken minority there's not a very long trek.
Doesn't mean I like that they do it, but makes it more understandable as to why it might be happening.
Speaking just from my personal experience, it would seem the defensiveness works the same way regardless of gender. As Auxomalous mentioned, some people are really protective about their "Got here first" priviledge.
It is specially evident with the whole trend of bashing hipsters. Nerds in particular can be specially venomous toward those people, because they perceive them as unjustly utilizing what's theirs. Doesn't matter if the hipster in question is male or female.
Note that I think this is different from plain misongynist attitudes, since the motivations appear to be very different.