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Sheriff Belor Hemolock

Scott Betts's page

Goblin Squad Member. 7,073 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
First, NO scientist in the field refers to anything as Global Warming except in specific circumstances these days. ANYONE referring to it has a political agenda in mind.

This is absolutely false, and has already been explained earlier in this same thread.

Here is a list of published journal articles containing the term "global warming" from this year alone.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
GreyWolfLord wrote:
Koch brothers are small change compared to some political groups and governments.

I... wait... what?

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and that's in a very liberal place where I don't think the Koch Brothers have as much political pull as say the wine growers or the Date Farmers or the Olive groves or the almond planters...etc...etc...etc.

The entire wine, beer, and liquor industry only spends about $25 million annually on lobbying activities. A single Koch brothers organization - Americans for Prosperity - is responsible for $36 million in political spending during 2012. Heck, just *this year*, the Koch's are responsible for $7 million in personal donations to political projects.


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Aranna wrote:

In case you missed it THIS is my middle position.

We know what your position is. We're arguing that your position is poorly grounded, because it is based entirely on the belief that the best position is the one that lies between the position supported by all the experts, and the position supported by all the crackpots.

That isn't a good framework for living your life, in general.


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Aranna wrote:
As someone in the middle

So, you say "middle", here. What does that mean? What should it mean? If your two "ends" are a) the correct position, and b) a wildly incorrect position, it doesn't make a lot of sense to be "in the middle".

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how on earth do you expect us to know good science from bad science?

Good science is, generally speaking, published in well-respected, peer-reviewed journals and supported by an academic community of researchers. Good science, typically, builds upon an established body of work.

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There are REAL scientists on both sides,

Yes, but since somewhere on the order of 99% of the experts hold to the same general position, doesn't that give you a rough idea of what the truth might be?

A handful of people disagreeing doesn't make something controversial or even "up for debate".

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are you suggesting we shouldn't trust the real scientists?

We're suggesting that you should trust the scientific consensus, which is very well-established.

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So the only course we have is to look at both sides data equally.

No, it isn't. First, you're a layperson. The fact of the matter is that you are fundamentally unqualified to look at "both sides' data equally" and determine which is correct. And that's fine! I'm in the same boat! And I have significant background in academic research! This is something for the experts to debate and to hammer out. And you should trust the consensus they arrive at, just as you do with literally every other facet of your life.

You need to avoid getting hung up on the idea that both "sides" of an issue deserve equal consideration. Most of the time, they don't. Especially when the issue has already been discussed for years and years. This isn't limited to climate change. We shouldn't give equal consideration to young earth creationist biologists as we do to evolutionary biologists. We shouldn't give equal consideration to anti-vaccination physicians as we do to pro-vaccination physicians and researchers. We shouldn't give equal consideration to those who practice and advocate homeopathic medicine as we do to those who practice actual medicine. The list goes on. You are not required, as a thinking person, to give a person or group of people consideration just because they persistently demand that you do.


I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:

You can make your own party - I know you have to start a multiplayer game with no other participants, but can't remember what else you need to do (maybe that's it?)

An NPC comes and gives you any plot-specific info you need that would otherwise come through one of the pregens, so you don't miss out on that, but you don't get any of the party banter/romance options, which is part of the appeal for a lot of fans.

Huh, thanks! I should give that a try! Don't get me wrong, I appreciated the characters, but there's just all those interesting class kits that never show up as NPCs....

Can you 'dilute' your party so you have multiple PCs, but can also include some of the NPCs?

Yes.


Black Dougal wrote:
Mass effect 3..majorly disappointed all of its fans

Don't confuse angry people on the internet for "all the fans". That's a good lesson no matter what franchise or medium we're talking about.


thaX wrote:
For a car to go further than a couple of blocks, it needs a power source that has a fuel source that is portable. Batteries and electric cars are not it. They were not in the 1900's and they are not the magic solution now.

It's like you don't even realize that there are people happily driving electric vehicles around, right now, with a range in the neighborhood of 300 miles.

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Hybrids can extend the gasoline we use now if we want to pay more for a new car. Some have, and got burned when the batteries life span was shortened and the car blue book was less than the cost to replace those batteries.

There are multiple hybrid drivers in this thread.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Someone should probably remind Scalia that Catholic schools don't teach young earth creationism.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Lou Diamond wrote:
I don't have any problems with two men or two women civily marrying to one another or marrying in a church that welcomes them

To be clear, you're saying that, if you'd been asked to vote on legalizing gay marriage two weeks ago, you would have voted to legalize, yes?

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but a church that

does not accept gay marriage should not be forced or coerced by the state into dong so.

And that's not going to happen, so what are you worried about?

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The liberals on the court + Justice Kennedy only read and Interpret the amendments that they want to to push the agenda that they wish to push.

Ah, yes, "The people who disagree with me are also coincidentally the ones who practice bogus law, and I am fully qualified to decide what that is based on my lengthy experience as an armchair lawyer!"

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Marriage is not mentioned in the US Construction,

Har.

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therefore it is covered by the 10th amendment which states anything not enumerated in the Construction is reserved for the states.

It is covered under the 14th amendment. You don't like it, but that's the way it is. Deal with it.

This brings us to a larger, more critical point: You don't actually care about the Consitution.

You don't hold any particular reverence for the document. You just pretend to, because a) you get to use it as a ridiculous litmus test for patriotism, and b) blindly gesturing in the direction of certain parts of the Constitution (e.g. the 10th amendment) allows you to mount a flimsy defense for enshrining your personal beliefs in (state) law.

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Therefore States laws on marriage should be left for the states so the case in point should not have had standing to be heard in the federal courts.

I guess you'll just have to deal with that.

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Does the 14th amendment trump the 1st or 10th amendment.

The 1st amendment isn't in play, here. No private entity is having their speech or expression controlled in any way by the federal government.

So the question before us is, "Does the 14th amendment trump the 10th amendment?"

This is a laughable question. Of course it trumps the 10th amendment. Literally everything in the Constitution trumps the 10th amendment. The whole point of the 10th amendment is that it comes into play only when something isn't covered elsewhere in the Constitution.

Why did you even need to ask this? You've painted yourself as some constitutional scholar who understands the law better than the majority of the Supreme Court. If that's true, how could you have possibly asked a question like, "Does the 14th amendment trump the 10th amendment?"

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The liberals on the court simply do not respect the free exercise clause of the first amendment, they recoil from it like a vampire recoils from a cross.

Ah, yes, us free-speech-hating liberals.

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Like the chief justice said in his dissent the case did not have a Construction leg to stand on it was decided on the agenda of the 4 liberal justices felt and their social agenda.

Maybe put that sentence back together and let us know when you've figured out what you were trying to say, there.

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While waiting for my internet connection to come back on. I was watching the oral arguments for the lethal injection case and you could tell how the four liberal justices were going to vote before the case was heard. None of the 4 have ever voted to uphold a method of the death penalty.

Good.

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Marriage for all is the law of the land now and the gay militants should be happy and celebrate a good victory and should leave the religious people alone.

"Here, be happy with this bit of equality but don't you dare try and fight to be more equal."

"Religious people" (read: mostly fundamentalist Christians) spent decades systematically marginalizing gay people. What they were forced to endure was horrible. Gay people will leave religious people alone. But if they chose not to leave religious people alone, religious people would deserve every bit of it.

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Be happy with their married partners and stop triing to force the religious to accept their life style because that is not going to happen.

In 1996, support for gay marriage was at 27%. One month ago, support for gay marriage was at 60%. 33% of the country got on board with gay marriage in the last two decades. Most of them (statistically speaking) were religious. So it absolutely is going to happen, because it's happening right now. Every day, thousands of (religious!) people are switching from "Do Not Support" to "Support". It's hard to be a bigot right now. The world in which bigots feel comfortable is shrinking around them. And that's fantastic. I'm in Vegas right now on business. You can't walk 10 feet down the strip without spotting a sign supporting gay marriage or pride month. Caesar's Palace has a "We Support Marriage Equality" banner rotating on their massive marquee. Now, this is Vegas, but that resorts are putting themselves out there on such a divisive issue says a lot about where the country is right now.

Gay people don't need to "force" anything. They've managed to completely flip public opinion without any kind of force whatsoever.

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Now everyone can be happily married to a partner of their choosing.

But not if you had anything to say about it.

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Enjoy it and celebrate it with your friends and family.

"I hate you and everything you stand for. Enjoy your victory."

Takes on a very different tone when you make the subtext explicit, doesn't it?


Orfamay Quest wrote:

To be fair, we are entitled to take into account the credibility of any proposed sources of evidence in evaluating that evidence. Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, and all that. Or for that matter (for those who don't speak Latin), remember "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."

If the bulk of the evidence supporting AGW were from sources that have a track record of screaming like fishwives about nothing in particular, that suggests that those sources might be screaming like fishwives about nothing in particular when they raised the issue of AGW.

However, as far as I can tell, the research supporting AGW is entirely solid despite a whole bunch of denialists screaming like fishwives about aerosol cans, nonexistent conspiracies, faked data that was demonstrated to be rock-solid, and a number of other nonissues.

So that line of investigation is definitely capable of cutting both ways.

In this case, I think it really only does cut one way. But not in the direction that denialists would prefer.


MMCJawa wrote:
I don't even understand how the authoritarian or greenpeace clubbing seals has anything whatsoever to do with climate change.

It doesn't. Anthropogenic climate change's truth value is not predicated on any of the things Sissyl is trying to steer discussion towards.


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thaX wrote:

Here.... from 2012.

When science is fiction

Why am I not surprised that when push comes to shove, your version of "support" is an blog post at Forbes.


thaX wrote:
Man had nothing to do with the previous changes to global climates and they certainly can do nothing, good or bad, about them now.

Because thaX says so.

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Last post of mine, folks. Believe the doom and gloom if you want, but I hope to have 1.50 bucks a gallon for gas and reasonable rates for electricity.

Ahh, finally a real reason for the denialism: "Stop spending money to fix climate change, it's making my gas prices too high!"

Amazing.


thaX wrote:
Joynt Jezebel wrote:
There might have been a scientific paper published to that effect. But if there was it's not accepted by the scientific community, or even have a significant minority of supporters, or we all would have heard of it. A lot.

In today's media? It doesn't fit the mold, why would they write about "old news."

We're not talking about "news". We're talking about peer reviewed studies published in respected scholarly journals. You should be able to find some. In fact, you should be able to find a ton of them. If you can't find a ton of studies supporting your stance, you should be very concerned about the truth value of your stance.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
thaX wrote:
Pretty cool that an example of how not to prove a theory in scientific knowledge

Theories don't get proven. Ever. There is no point at which a theory "graduates" into proof. Theories simply become better and better evidenced and describe reality more and more accurately as time progresses. Think of a theory as a curve, with reality as the asymptote.

Your ignorance of the scientific method aside, you need to put up or shut up, here. You have made a lot of absurd claims and haven't bothered to evidence them. If you can do so, do so. If not, it's probably time for you to move on.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Scott Bentts wrote:
Oh god you're complaining about having to deal with small cars?
I crammed into the back seat of a prius once. When i shifted positions the car tried to turn.
I want to refute this, but as a Prius owner...I can't.

I own a Prius. It's the biggest car I've ever owned. :)

Never had a problem with carrying passengers, even some fairly large people. It fits a surprising amount of cargo too, if you drop the back seats.

Absolutely! But I do find that adding weight to the car does wonky things to it.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Scott Bentts wrote:
Oh god you're complaining about having to deal with small cars?
I crammed into the back seat of a prius once. When i shifted positions the car tried to turn.

I want to refute this, but as a Prius owner...I can't.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Yuugasa wrote:
Simon Legrande wrote:

I don't want to be a wet blanket because this is clearly a major win for equality, but keep in mind this is the American legal system and you know there are going to be "unintended" side effects.

And please, I'm begging you, for the love of all that's good, do not use this decision as a bludgeon.

As a bludgeon to do what?

I'd love an answer to this as well.


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thaX wrote:
I stand corrected, it was the extinction of the dinos. Thank you to the poster that actually had the true cause of the Ice Age, which was not about the climate changing drastically either.

An ice age is literally the term we use to refer to long-term reductions in global temperature, so it absolutely is about drastic climate change. Just on a much, much grander scale than you thought.

Hell, anything that is responsible for glacial field creation cannot be called anything less than drastic.

(By the way, ice ages are responsible for more than just the climate being altered. Glaciation - a symptom of ice ages - is responsible for sculpting huge swaths of geography as well!)

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The overall main point about this whole issue is that "Man" really has nothing to do with how a global climate changes through the ages.

Because thaX says so.

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We can suffer the indignity of little cars,

Oh god you're complaining about having to deal with small cars?

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hiked up energy costs, and going to the older battery technology and the earth will be the same as it ever was, changing climate, for better or worse.

Because every climate scientist on the planet is wrong, right?

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That isn't to say I want dirty water or a more polluted environment, just that there is a point where we are hurting ourselves and our society by insisting on alternatives that serve little purpose and ends up being more expensive.

They serve purpose. You just don't think they do, because you have actively resisted acceptance of the science that supports switching to those alternatives.

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We, as a society, will find better ways to produce, use, and "store" energy as we have before.

Yes, we will! Hilariously, many of the same scientists supporting global climate change research are the scientists who will find better ways to harness and store energy! I guess their credibility as scientists really boils down to whether thaX thinks what they're studying at the moment is awesome or not.

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This is while other energy is being badmouthed in the media and trying to be taxed/fined to death.

Good.

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Is climate change real? Well, yes. It changes at time continues to pass. Does man have anything to do with it? No, not really.

Again, because thaX says so.

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Does anyone remember the big scare about aresol cans that destroys the atmosphere? I had read a small blurb on page 6 in a newspaper several years ago that found that they really didn't, that the "study" was flawed. We still don't use the chemical that was the main focus anymore, but it was still interesting.

Ah yes, the old "I once saw a story about a scientific article being debunked, so that gives me justification for discarding every study whose conclusions I don't personally agree with, even though a) I'm not a scientist and am not qualified to judge the validity of scientific studies, and b) rather than discarding one flawed article I'm discarding literally thousands of thoroughly-verified pieces of literature," technique!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
jakolol wrote:
Far from the "Science being in" its not even science

Yes, it is. You are not equipped to say otherwise, as we're about to discover.

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Well the main reason is that the so called science is based upon computer modeling that give worst case scenarios and well that's not how you do science.

None of what you just said is true.

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A science would be backed by a theorem.

Sweetheart, theorems are for mathematics. Science makes use of theories when evaluating research.

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A theorem that provides accurate and verifiable predictions,

Like the theories surrounding climate change do!

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Climate change based as it is on inaccurate computer models makes no such predictions.

Here's a document outlining sets of predictions made as part of climate change theory. Isn't this fun?

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The problem with the theory of "Man made climate change" is that it is not spoken about in the language of science but it is constantly spoken of in the language of Politics, that's because its a Political theory not a Scientific theory

It is spoken in the language of science in scientific journals. Which you clearly haven't spent significant time reading.

Here's the way public policy on scientific matters is supposed to work. Scientists (and society at large) have a question (or questions) that need answering. Scientists do science in an attempt to answer that question. After enough science has been done and clear trends and results have emerged, scientists develop a consensus on the subject. That consensus is then (ideally!) used in the world of politics to make well-informed decisions on the issue.

The primary problem we're having is that a lot of people (mostly politicians and the scientifically illiterate) don't want to use the consensus to inform policy-making.

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The conspiracy is that some "scientists"

You don't get to put scare quotes around the word when talking about PhD-level researchers at major research universities.

And it's important to clarify that when you say "some" scientists, you actually mean practically every single scientist in the fields in question.

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in conjunction with politicians have discovered a way to keep their snouts in the public funding trough forever,

Yes, how dare they. They've discovered a global issue that threatens the livelihood of huge populations, and would like you to give them the money they need to try and stop it. What monsters they are.

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base a case for continued funding on a unverifiable proposition,

Creationism is an unverifiable proposition. Climate change theories make predictions (some of which are explained in the IoP document I provided you with), and thus can be verified.

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spread constant fear and panic among the voting public

I don't see any scientists actively promoting fear or panic. I see a lot of Republican politicians doing that, though! (See earlier in the thread where I link to research demonstrating that self-identifying conservatives are more sensitive to fear, negative imagery, and reflexive decision-making.)

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so that they demand political action that lines the pockets of co-conspirators and feeds the campaign of fear and panic, pushing the public to further support the conspiring politicians, getting them more power and push for further "scientific" funding and so the conspiracy continues to feed, the unverifiable proposition becomes more diverse demanding more funding so more power is required to the point that world government is required and soon after that emergency powers are required to deal with the panic and fear that the conspiracy was designed to cause, democracy gets suspended and tyranny is instituted the politicians become entrenched and their co-conspirators are voted more and more funding and on it goes.

None of which makes a lick of sense if the theories actually make predictions and are actually verified (repeatedly and independently) by hordes of scientists.

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If you want to prove it as a science you will need to provide a scientific proof

Science doesn't deal in proof. Ever. Proofs are for mathematics.

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that is accurate and verifiable,

The word you're looking for is "theory".

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If you want to prove it as a science you will need to provide a scientific proof that is accurate and verifiable, then we can pull the plug on all the research funding and pass the whole mess over to practical scientists and engineer a solution , ahh you can spot the problem there now cant you , if the science is done properly the funding gets stopped and that would be that all those "important scientist" would be out of a job and need new funding

Those "important scientist" wouldn't be out of jobs. They would simply find other pressing issues to study. In fact, your (and your ilk's) unwavering resistance to accepting scientific consensus is forcing many scientists to waste valuable time and resources demonstrating climate change theory's validity to frankly unnecessary levels of reliability. Hell, many of the scientists in question have tenure.

This is all really basic stuff that you don't have a handle on. Why do you feel like you have the credibility to make the claims that you have made given how little you understand of how science fundamentally works (not climate science, but the concept of scientific study in general)?


Sissyl wrote:
The problem is, as I did get agreement on, that the media f!&+s things up. Simplified sound bites and idiot-level reasoning like "the science is settled" is simply not enough for a complex issue like this.

Even when the science is settled?

Of course the issue is complex. That doesn't mean the field hasn't reached a consensus. At a certain point, after literally thousands of experts have wrestled with the question and, independently, reached the same conclusion, doesn't it make sense to put that question to bed so that we can start answering the far more pressing questions that come after it (for example, "How can we prevent the catastrophic damage this phenomenon threatens to inflict?")?


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SIssyl, I want you to imagine we're talking about literally anything else. Any other topic of study in the universe. Anything that isn't climate change. Pick an incredibly benign question that science can answer. "Can bananas turn yellow?" for instance! That's a good one. Science can answer that.

Now, imagine you had no personal experience with bananas. You sort of know that they're fruits, but you've never seen or eaten one. But imagine that many thousands of scientists have examined bananas in incredible detail. And imagine that nearly every single one of them has concluded that yes, in fact, bananas turn yellow as they ripen! And imagine that the media reported on how much scientists had studied bananas.

In this obviously ridiculous scenario, does it make a lot of sense to you for someone to resist the idea that bananas turn yellow as they ripen with the same persistence that you show here? Or would that sort of behavior strike you as unreasonable, and cause you to question why someone who isn't in a position to answer the question for themselves would feel such a compulsion to defend a conclusion that essentially none of the scientists reached?


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Ceaser Slaad wrote:
Posted previously. Totally ignored by those who do not want to believe*,

I think probably it was ignored because what you're alleging is the same unevidenced conspiracy theory nonsense we've seen from dozens of other climate change deniers. Except that you also have the stones to throw cognitive dissonance in there as though you aren't helplessly beholden to it yourself.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

See above for what I was talking about earlier. Conspiracy theories don't come in sets of one. They come in packs. It isn't enough to merely believe that there is a massive conspiracy within the scientific community to cover up evidence against climate change theory. Nor is it even enough to believe that the media and government are active participants in the coverup. No, it's not complete until you've begun to uncover "evidence" of a New World Order conspiracy involving huge numbers of world leaders to parcel out the entire planet in a dictatorial fashion. (For anyone interested, Agenda 21 is simply a non-binding plan of action for sustainability passed by the UN over 20 years ago; despite none of their dire predictions of its obvious evilitude coming to pass, Tea Party conspiracy nuts have been all over it and Glenn Beck even wrote a dystopian novel titled Agenda 21 so that he could make it abundantly clear he lusts for a fantasy world where all his rants are vindicated.)

(And not that it matters, but the desire to further encourage the development of democratic governments is mentioned multiple times in the Agenda 21 text. It didn't really need to, of course, because this isn't a plan of action for change in governance or for spreading democracy - the UN has plenty of other non-binding pledges for those - but just one for promoting sustainability and the responsible use of natural resources.)


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thaX wrote:
The last Ice Age was started by an asteroid hitting the earth, spitting up a ton of ash and knocking the planet off it's axis. I doubt seriously if gassy cars and farting cows can even compare to that.

I want you to answer me honestly: Is that your actual argument? Is that the actual rationale behind your decision to deny anthropogenic climate change?

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The fact is, the last decade has seen the planet get a bit cooler, not warmer. This is why it is now called Climate Change, not Global Warming.

That simply isn't true. At all. First, the past decade has seen a mean change of about 0 degrees celsius, globally. However, the decades before that experienced dramatic and steady increases in temperature, which has resulted in the ten warmest years on record (starting from 134 years ago) happening since the year 2000.

So let's get this straight: the planet is warming. It has been warming, and it is still warming. You can read up on what the two terms ("climate change" and "global warming") refer to and when/why they are used at NASA's website discussing the issue. Short answer? Both terms are still used, because one (global warming) is a subset of the other (climate change). Global warming is a specific symptom - gradual increases in average global temperature. Climate change refers to the entire set of symptoms of increased levels of greenhouse gases. You can think of climate change as the flu, and global warming as the fever that flu causes.

This is pretty basic stuff, as far as this subject is concerned.

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This DOOM and GLOOM stuff was all said and the future of today was supposed to be the end of all humanity three years ago.

No, it wasn't.

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Yes, it is political, as pointed out, but not because one believes and the other does not.

No, that's exactly what it is.

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It is the complete waste of moneys going to "technologies" that are ill equipped to do anything about the perceived problem and the want to jettison any type of energy use that doesn't use "green" energy that doesn't really exist.

Are you seriously arguing that there is no such thing as renewable energy?

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Science is our friend, but it has been abused in the last 50 years by colleges and various "think tanks" (on both "sides) to produce a new congressional "bogyman" now that communism is on the back burner.

Abused by colleges? What?


17 people marked this as a favorite.
Yuugasa wrote:

This is based on a question I asked in a thread since locked that I didn't get a chance to see what the responses were. I am not trying to be inflammatory with this question I am just very curious about it.

While the world(and specifically the internet) is filled with conspiracy theories about all sorts of subjects the subject that has struck me as just exceptionally odd is the controversy around climate change, specifically human influenced climate change.

Climate change is a well researched and understood subject, and while many of the particulars are still being learned and debated the fact that it is happening and is influenced by human beings is pretty well established, the science is in, as it were.

And yet a wide host of conspiracy theories surrounded it, the most common being that the whole thing is being faked by the scientific community for some unspecified purpose.

To me this is just striking me as just so strange, I think mostly because I don't understand what people's investment in it being a lie is.

Why would scientists fake this? What is the underlying fear or motivation in believing a conspiracy theory like this? To me it is like if a huge number of people believed the periodic table of elements was a giant lie and had to be passionately condemned for the filthy deception it was.

Like, what? What the heck is happening right now?

So.

Conspiracy theory thinking is modal. It is a thought paradigm. It is uncommon for an individual to believe in only a single extreme conspiracy theory. This is because belief in an extreme conspiracy theory (denying climate change's anthropogenic factors, for example) requires you to look at the world in a certain way. It requires you to start with a belief - and, importantly, a closely-held belief. A belief so strong and so important to your sense of self that discarding it simply isn't feasible. It then requires you to be exposed to dramatic amounts of evidence that your belief is unfounded.

This internal conflict - holding tight to a belief despite strong evidence against it - is called cognitive dissonance. It is an uncomfortable feeling. And I mean that literally - it makes people feel uneasy and distressed. Obviously no one wants to live like that for long, so the people in question actively reach out for something that will resolve this conflict. They find their answer in conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy theories are twisted little things. They resolve the conflict by holding to an additional, unfounded belief: that all of the evidence which caused the conflict to begin with is false and deliberately manufactured to advance an agenda. At first blush, you might not consider this a comforting thought. After all, it essentially requires that a huge number of fundamentally evil people are working to deceive you, and that's a pretty scary world to live in. But you need to understand that, as scary as that scenario is, it is more comforting than having to deal with the identity-crushing trauma that would be caused by discarding the closely-held belief(s) that started this whole thing.

And so they cling to the conspiracy, and it becomes a lens for them. Everything even tangentially related to their closely-held belief is now viewed through that lens. New evidence continues to debunk your theory? Not to worry, just find some tenuous way to suggest it was fabricated! Celebrity makes news by publicly sharing your crazy view? What a brave person he is for standing up to the people who pull the strings from the shadows! Someone questioning your thought process? He's obviously a sheep playing right into their hands!

So that's great, you now have someone who believes in one conspiracy theory. But now they have this new, horrific worldview to grapple with: that the world around them is being secretly controlled and manipulated by people with agendas, and no one else sees it. Remember, this is now their lens. It's how they look at life. So when someone suggests to them that maybe another conspiracy theory could also be true, it becomes super easy to accept it. They discarded critical thought a long time ago; it no longer plays a role in how they look at things. Instead, they're constantly hyper-aware of anything that could be construed as a conspiracy. Cynicism is their bread and butter. From their view, people in power are never well-intended, and everything they do is deliberate (people in power don't make mistakes, in conspiracy theorists' heads; instead, they make unfathomable decisions).

How does this factor into climate change? I'm afraid things need to get a bit political to explore that one. Climate change denial is a firmly right-wing belief. There are exceptions, but by and large it is believed by those who place themselves on the ideological right (Republicans, self-described conservatives, self-described libertarians, etc.). The ability to deny man's role in climate change is pretty attractive to someone on the ideological right. First, it absolves the wealthy (and anyone else) from any responsibility for damage to the environment; an essential claim of climate change denial is that the environment isn't fragile enough for mankind to do that much harm. It also meshes nicely with conservative religious beliefs, like Earth being god-given. Economically, denying climate change means you don't need to support policy efforts to curb pollution or carbon levels, which makes the wealthy very happy. And, finally, it plays very nicely into the anti-intellectual bent of conservative politics ("Climate change only exists in the minds of ivory-tower, liberal university scientists!").

In other words, it hits all the right notes (har). That isn't to say that left-leaning folk don't believe in conspiracy theories. There is a lot of evidence out there that points to both sides of the ideological aisle being roughly equally prone to conspiratorial thought (with perhaps a slight edge given to conservatives). What is certain, however, is that Republicans are far more willing and able to take advantage of conspiratorial thought. It also helps that conservatives are more prone to being influenced by those trying to take advantage of their conspiratorial thinking (for a truly fascinating look at some of the differences between conservative and liberal mentalities, check out this article over at ProCon). This is why conspiracy theories are seeing as much play as they are in the current Republican presidential primaries. They are widespread, and playing to them works.

You had one final question - what the heck is going on that makes it seem like there are so many conspiracy theorists out there? Well, probably the internet, frankly. It gives conspiracy theorists a platform, a voice, and the ability to immerse themselves in echo chambers that didn't previously exist. It isn't that there weren't conspiracy theorists before the internet came around. It's just that the internet gives them a place to share it with everyone. It seems like everyone has that sweet old grandma who is suddenly revealed to be absolutely bananas after she shows up on Facebook.

Finally, a reminder: Snopes is your friend. Don't leave home without it.


Ryuko wrote:

Christ Scott I will never understand why you find it so hard to believe people didn't like the ending of ME 3. It was depressingly one note with no real influence from everything you'd done to that point. We've seen better, even from bioware themselves.

Course I didn't care much because I spent the entire time in the main story of ME2 going "this is stupid, every character is acting against established character and motivation and even against reason itself." until I got to the laughably idiotic FINAL BOSS and realized the fame had abandoned what made it even half decentin the first place.

Oh man you totally have it figured out.


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Shisumo wrote:
Which, since I'm still playing the game, isn't over yet.

I'm not sure what you mean by that. Are you saying you're still playing the original trilogy? Why does that matter? We aren't talking about it. Are you saying that you're still playing Mass Effect in general, as though the new game is part of the same story? That directly contradicts what the developers have said for almost a decade, now - that Mass Effect 1-3 is *a story*, and that the end of ME3 is the end of that story.

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The canon-pedant in me requires that I point out you've got the Destroy ending exactly backwards. It doesn't prevent the cycle from restarting, it guarantees it.

Woah, hold on there. You're going to need to explain yourself. When I say "cycle", I'm referring to the cycle of sapient species development followed by the Reaper purge. Is the "cycle" you're talking about the pre-Reaper cycle of sapient species developing AIs that will annihilate all intelligent, organic life? Because, if so, there's no way you can claim that with any degree of certainty. It's explained to you that one of the reasons you are given the control over the Crucible that you are given is because to do so would require you to demonstrate a level of galactic cooperation that would allow civilization to avoid that pitfall. The Catalyst is the one responsible for the assertion that synthetics spell the doom of organic life, and Shepard showing up in the Crucible gives the Catalyst pause to consider that there may be other options for avoiding what it had previously seen as an "inevitability" (and then proceeds to lay out what it feels are the best options).

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And the changes are fundamentally galaxy-altering, not universe-altering, which is almost certainly why the story is taking us to a different galaxy.

I stand corrected. Galaxy-altering is the better choice of words here. When I said "universe-altering" I was referring to the concept of a fictional universe, not the entire Mass Effect cosmos. The literary/fictional Mass Effect universe had never touched on other galaxies before, so prior to Andromeda's announcement, "galaxy-wide" and "fictional-universe-wide" were interchangeable. I think this particular discussion is more pedantic than necessary, though.

Quote:
I appreciate your assessment of my rationality, Scott, but to be perfectly blunt, hogwash. I could write around the differences in the endings in probably dozens of different ways, depending on what kind of story I wanted to tell. An example:

It isn't a question of whether they *can* write around it. They absolutely can! Bioware has some of the best writers in interactive entertainment in their employ. There's no question that they could pull it off. But they would feel constrained by it, and they *shouldn't be forced to deal with that* just because you can't accept that interactive fictional universes need to be able to converge on a single canon. Your ability to write a single tiny dialogue isn't evidence that it is easy (or even anything other than incredibly difficult!) to write a sprawling story that allows for shared player experiences while accounting for what are essentially three fundamentally altered, parallel universes.

Quote:
And frankly, that would be spiffy-keen with me. I'm not demanding that they include my choices; I want them to avoid invalidating them.

They only way they could do the latter without being forced to do the former is if they chose to completely ignore the events of the first three games.

You're essentially saying to them, "Don't you dare release any creative content set after ME3 in the Milky Way, or I'm not giving you a cent." *You aren't entitled to that.* And, yes, I'm using the word "entitled".


Bluenose wrote:
What was the multiplayer shooter that made it a selling point that they were mixing PC and console players on the same servers, and then found out that this meant the console players were horribly outclassed due to having inferior controls compared to the mouse/keyboard combination? Some years ago now. And one experiment with RTS games, abandoned while in beta, which was even more horribly biased in favour of the mouse/keyboard side.

Heck, one of the main reasons Valve has invested so much design time and energy in developing their Steam Controller is because they recognize that traditional controllers put a hard cap on skill in certain types of games (RTS being the most egregious example).


CorvusMask wrote:
Also, saying that their developers haven't seen everything sounds to me like "Developers haven't actually tested these areas work" aka not a good thing <_<

Why would it sound like that to you? At large studios, individual developers don't work on every part of the game. They have a focus (or set of focuses) and they devote their time and specialized expertise to those things. In a sufficiently large game, it would be weird (and probably wildly inefficient) if every developer were aware of every piece of content going into the game. You can be nearly 100% certain that every area in the game has been tested, first by the people designing them, and then in greater length and detail by the studio's enormous QA teams.


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Irontruth wrote:
I'm not sure why some people feel the need to point out that those who use a controller are somehow doing it wrong or in an inferior way.

People should use whatever they like, but the accuracy afforded by a mouse definitely trumps that afforded by a thumbstick. It's the reason that automatic aiming assistance is standard in console games and non-standard in PC games. They're tools, and some tools are better suited for some things than others.


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Shisumo wrote:
Given that such ownership was an explicit selling point of the series,

Of your story, not of the freaking intellectual property!

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I don't have to understand any such thing. I may not own the entire Mass Effect universe, but I do own my particular permutation of it.

Sure, fine, whatever. You just need to accept that the permutation you "own" only exists in your head and in your save file, and that it's unreasonable to expect that the creators of the game constrain their IP for the sake of entertaining your personal head-canon.

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One of the most important pieces of the pitch Bioware offered us was that our Cmdr Shepard was unique and important, the driving force and decision maker for essentially the entire galaxy.

And he/she was!

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Stripping that away is breaking the promise they made to me, and badly damaging the emotional investment I have in their world.

No one is stripping that away. And, heck, from a literal standpoint, this isn't even the same galaxy, so Bioware hasn't even broken the imaginary contract you're convinced they signed with you.

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Yes, but we're not talking about all the choices players made in previous titles. We're talking about one choice with three relevant options. I really don't see how that is an unbearable set of writing constraints.

All three choices were written to be fundamentally universe-altering. Destroy removes the Reapers and all AI from the galaxy, removing all possibility of the cycle restarting and wiping out at least two intelligent races. Control puts what is essentially an all-powerful force in the hands of (arguably) the most noble mind in the galaxy, making any kind of widespread conflict fundamentally implausible. Synthesis dramatically alters the makeup of every creature in the galaxy, both in terms of how they work and their physical appearance, and makes the very concept of artificial intelligence redundant/meaningless.

These are enormous changes, any of which by themselves could define the flavor of an entire fictional universe. It isn't reasonable to try to write and produce the same video game story set in all three of these. It certainly isn't reasonable to act like it's owed to you.

Of course, none of this may end up mattering if the "Backup Plan" theory holds up. If the game is told from the standpoint of someone who left before the Crucible was turned on, and if Andromeda was immune to its effects, they could choose to simply ignore the endings entirely.


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Matrix Dragon wrote:

Personally, I never played Mass Effect 3 because the way 2 was turned into an action game severely disappointed me. It was a good game, but I couldn't help but keep thinking about how much better the original was. Yet another case of a great game being dumbed down.

I haven't supported Bioware for years because of the way they have turned everything into action games. I like action games, but not at the cost of losing my Neverwinter Nights style games! The talk about the bad ending on Mass Effect 3 didn't help matters of course. I might buy it when I see it on sale on steam for $5 though.

I'm really struggling to figure out how someone can view the transition from ME1 to ME2 as the difference between Neverwinter Nights and an action game.

I mean, I'm not sure how you can play a cover-based, OTS shooter with regenerating shields and cool-down abilities and not see it as an action game in the first place.


Alex Martin wrote:
A single sentence on a Wikipedia page with no reference doesn't exactly sell it yet for me.

Here's Forbes' contributor on the topic describing the same "in-the-future" setting.

EDIT: And heck, why not IGN as well.


Shisumo wrote:
They managed it for Dragon Age. Not sure why they wouldn't do the same for Mass Effect.

Dragon Age is very clearly a direct extension of the events of each previous game. Mass Effect: Andromeda appears to be a concerted effort to avoid story connections to the previous games.


Shisumo wrote:
On the other hand, if they choose a canon ending - and most especially if it's Destroy - that will feel like agency being stripped away and my choices didn't matter. Whether it would be enough to make me not buy it and play, I really doubt, but it would nonetheless piss me off.

Okay, so here's the thing about fictional universes - and specifically game fictional universes. They tend to give players the sense that, because they participated in that game, they somehow have ownership of that universe. That is, of course, ridiculous. You need to understand that just because you chose to partake in a particular kind of entertainment doesn't mean that you own the creative product wrapped around it. The game's creators own that universe, and what they say goes. It isn't really reasonable (or healthy, I'd argue) to insist that they cater to all possible player choice when building on their universe. That's incredibly constraining, from both a practical and creative standpoint. At a certain point, it becomes impossible to account for all the choices given to players in previous titles - as choices involving the same subject matter come up successively, the number of universe permutations around that subject matter increase exponentially. The end result is that you force the developer into one of two development models:

1) Discard the universe entirely (or set any new titles in a time or location so far removed that the choices in previous games have no impact).

or

2) Reduce the scope of player choice to such a degree that there is no significant impact on the universe, ensuring that new titles do not need to acknowledge the previous games as long as they do not directly build on that story.

Neither is a good choice. Both really limit what you can do with a franchise. Far better to design the game(s) to tell the story you want to tell and then, once that story is complete, pick a version of it as canon and move forward.


So now that everyone has given every possible answer to the question of "When does ME: Andromeda take place?", the actual answer is that it takes place some significant span of time after the original trilogy.

It is very, very unlikely that the end of ME3 will be retconned. It is likely that one of the three endings will be considered canon. Safe money is on "Destroy", poor odds on "Control", and "Synthesis" gets a Certificate of Participation and a pat on the back.


LazarX wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:


Actually, what causes black holes to appear black is just the fact that a black hole neither emits nor reflects any light; it is a perfect black body.
There's this guy in a wheelchair who begs to differ with you on that subject. :)

And when he (almost certainly) turns out to be correct, it will be a really cool observation!


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
New laptop or PC capable of running new things at cutting edge, like $2,000 (if lucky).

Nah. Logical Increments can hook you up with a pretty solid gaming machine for around $600. You'll need a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, but most people already have those lying around.

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New Console capable of running games without game randomly crashing because of incompatible video card, or random software glitches, or any number of things where the game just doesn't want to run for like no reason. $400.

Sure, but your experience couldn't be described as "cutting edge", really. At best, you're getting a package of hardware that offered mid-range performance two years ago. And it doesn't stop games from crashing completely; you'll experience fewer crashes and bugs, but there's nothing magical about consoles that makes them immune to problems.

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Consoles do a great job, without nearly the amount of fiddling you have to do with PCs, and they are hella cheaper.

They involve less fiddling, and are somewhat cheaper. They are also less versatile and generally perform more poorly in the graphics department. It's a trade-off.

DeathQuaker wrote:
Guys, can we stop the "my preferred platform for gaming is the best and everyone else's is wrongbadfun?" It gets really freaking old. It always seems like what's really going on is people are insecure about whatever investment they've made in whatever system they've got, and thus take discussions of any other platform like a personal attack.

My guess is that this has nothing to do with personal investment - at least, not here. I think most people in this thread have personal experience with owning both consoles and PCs. I have every previous-gen console/portable, and some current-gen machines. I also have a gaming PC. I invested in both, and I feel pretty secure in discussing the upsides and downsides of each.


Environments look nice. The character models and animations are still very last gen. It's Fallout, so whatever, but at this point Bethesda has got to realize they're lagging behind on that tech.


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This game is so good that the occasional hard crash is the only thing reminding me that I need to eat and sleep.


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Amazing Red wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Amazing Red wrote:
Yea, I'm just sad that Canary is alive again. Is it too much to leave at least one person in a superhero universe dead? I mean I like the actress and her character, but it takes the stakes out of it all. :(
Characters staying dead would actually make this a less faithful adaptation of a superhero universe.
And it's the worst part of superhero-ness. And Sara being alive renders what Merlyn did absolutely meaningless.

On the contrary - it helps to explain Merlyn's insistence that

Finale spoiler:
he become the next Ra's al Ghul. It puts him in a position where he is in control of the Lazarus pit. His entire motivation this past season has been to free himself of the threat of death that has been hanging over his head since the series began. The Lazarus pit allows him to resurrect Sara, which goes a long way towards appeasing Oliver, Laurel, and Nyssa (the latter of whom has sworn to kill him to avenge Sara's death).

Amazing Red wrote:
Yea, I'm just sad that Canary is alive again. Is it too much to leave at least one person in a superhero universe dead? I mean I like the actress and her character, but it takes the stakes out of it all. :(

Characters staying dead would actually make this a less faithful adaptation of a superhero universe.


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Vic Wertz wrote:
Wait, do you mean the *list* price is going down?

It doesn't appear to be, it's still marked as $50 list price on Amazon.


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According to a thread on another forum, reprints for all three books are arriving on the 16th, and that's supposedly the reason for the price reduction. No idea how reliable that is.


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AdmiralAckbar wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Guang wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Is it really any stupider than the trash can on legs with roller skates that is R2D2?

Yes. How is the head held on? If there is a slot all the way around the soccer ball so the head can stay on top, then how does it not roll to the left or right and topple over?

Dumbest thing I've seen in a long time.

Let's ignore, for the moment, the fact that this is a highly advanced fantasy/sci-fi universe with space wizards and planet-destroying lasers, and thus any criticism grounded in, "I can't figure out how it works, technologically, therefore it's dumb!" is fundamentally flaccid.

They actually built the thing in real life. It rolled out on stage in front of thousands of people. No slot in its body, the head stayed on top just fine, and it didn't topple over. In real life. Heck, I bet if you spent a couple minutes thinking about it, you could figure out how they probably made it work, too.

xkcd

I'm having a tough time tracking down a well-documented soul Python library, myself.


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Irontruth wrote:
Maybe it's reverse-verisimilitude. Seeing realistic things in a fictional universe makes it unbelievable.

"Reversimilitude" has an amazing ring to it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Guang wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Is it really any stupider than the trash can on legs with roller skates that is R2D2?

Yes. How is the head held on? If there is a slot all the way around the soccer ball so the head can stay on top, then how does it not roll to the left or right and topple over?

Dumbest thing I've seen in a long time.

Let's ignore, for the moment, the fact that this is a highly advanced fantasy/sci-fi universe with space wizards and planet-destroying lasers, and thus any criticism grounded in, "I can't figure out how it works, technologically, therefore it's dumb!" is fundamentally flaccid.

They actually built the thing in real life. It rolled out on stage in front of thousands of people. No slot in its body, the head stayed on top just fine, and it didn't topple over. In real life. Heck, I bet if you spent a couple minutes thinking about it, you could figure out how they probably made it work, too.

It's like calling self-driving cars stupid because there's no way they could actually exist, before someone points out to you that they've been driving around on California roads for years now.

There's no need to be like this. We don't need to criticize new things to show off how legit we are. We don't need to act like we know better. Your beloved fictional universe is not threatened by (another) round droid, or (another) goofy alien.


I tend to keep tabs on Obsidian's jobs page. They've posted a number of new positions they are hiring for in the last 48 hours, some of which specifically mention a new roleplaying game. This doesn't mean anything definitive - they just released Pillars to universal acclaim, so they may simply be gearing up for a sequel, or a different project altogether.


Cylyria wrote:
Not that I had any trouble killing him, even 4 levels below him (he was 19). Knight-Enchanters are hilariously OP.

Can confirm. It's a shame, really. KE has some of the strongest barrier power in the game, but there's really no sense in using it to keep the rest of your party alive when you can quite easily solo the most difficult dragon in the game. The best part is when the dragon pops its guard ability, which means my Voltron sword is now dealing ~1500 damage per swing and refilling my barrier to max from empty with one attack. I'm convinced that Bioware was well aware of how insane KE is and just didn't care because they like the idea of a sword wizard so much.

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