Thursday, December 29, 2016

Is Sarkeesian's "Ordinary Women" series another money-grabbing scam?

Anita Sarkeesian made another video series, "Ordinary Women", for which she, of course, e-begged for a hefty sum of money. $200 thousand this time. When she started the fundraising campaign, the videos had actually already been shot, and the campaign was for "post-production".

The series is about famous historic women. So, where did the $200000 go? Maybe each episode is a full 1-hour documentary about a particular famous woman from history? Or, at the very least your standard 22-minute format?

No. The episodes are 3 to 5 minutes long.

Ok, then maybe there are lots and lots of episodes? Like 50 or so? That would explain why so much money is needed for "post-production".

No. There are 5 episodes.

So five episodes, each 3 to 5 minutes long. Surely the visual effects are awesome, with that money?

Once again, no. There are some graphics and extremely simplistic animations which you can do with basically any professional video editing software that costs $100 or even less. With even a modicum of searching you'll find amateur videos on YouTube with significantly more complex and involved visuals, which have been done on shoestring budgets by people on their own free time with their home PCs, using cheap or even free software.

Maybe the other production values of these episodes are very high, then? Well, no. Audio quality is poor, video quality is mediocre... There's nothing in them that you can't find in myriads of amateur videos, many of which are of much higher quality.

So, I have to ask, how much of those $200 thousand went into actually producing these five videos, and how much went into the pockets of the owners of this "non-profit" organization?

(A "non-profit" organization which, by the way, engages in political activism, which categorically disqualifies it from being classified as "non-profit", ie. tax-exempt, according to United States law.)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Summary of new posts in my other blog

Some time ago I created a new blog about things that don't grind my gears, but are neutral or positive. This "what grinds my gear" blog gets about 20-40 views per post on average, which is ridiculously little. However, that other blog is getting about 0-2 views per post, which is even worse. So this post is a promotion of the other one.

These are short summaries of the new posts I have made there, if you are interested:

Which chess endgame is the hardest? I examine a few classical chess endgame positions and ponder which one might be the hardest to win for a human player.

Turning 3D off on a 3DS: The devil is in the details. A funny anecdote of how I had been using my 3DS for a year before figuring out how to turn 3D off completely.

Xbox One S: Too late? Written when the Xbox One S was just released, I wonder if its features should have been in the original Xbox One for them to matter.

The downside of single+multiplayer combo games. Why I think that games that have both a single player campaign as well as a multiplayer mode may not be the best of both worlds.

Difficulty levels in video games. Which one to choose? Sometimes video games with different difficulty levels entice you to choose a harder difficulty level, but that might not always be the best idea.

Why you shouldn't believe the hype, part 2. Some comments on the controversial game that was No Man's Sky.

The origins of Chuck Berry's famous guitar riff. A post similar to the one where I describe the origins of the "Lambada" song, but about that famous beginning guitar riff in many Chuck Berry's songs.

Inspired video game cover art? A funny thing I noticed about the cover art of the games Ghost Recon and Watch Dogs 2 by Ubisoft.

"Downloading" and "uploading" in movies. I discuss how these terms are used and often misused in movies, and how it's actually not always that clear-cut whether it's a misuse.

Average vs. median. Everybody knows what an average is. Many people have heard what a median is, but can't understand why it would be useful for anything. I explain what it is and why it can be useful in practice.

Reverse typecasting. "Typecasting" is when an actor is often cast in very similar roles because he or she is associated with that kind of role. But sometimes the exact reverse can be the case!

Poker clichés in old western movies. Pretty self-explanatory.

Choosing the perfect monitor... harder than one might think. I recently bought a new 4k monitor. Finding the perfect combination of features is actually surprisingly hard, at least at this point in time.

PS4 Pro 4k checkerboard interpolation explained. I explain, with illustrative pictures, how the PS4 Pro scales up old PS4 games for 4k resolution, with increased details. (This is not as straightforward as simply rendering the game at 4k because that would be too demanding, so a clever trick is used instead.)

Anti-white racism

This post is not about social justice warriors who hate white people (especially white men). While they are great enablers of anti-white racism, this is nevertheless not about them. It's about some black people who are deeply, deeply racist against white people.

And I'm completely serious about that. Just imagine the absolute worst kind of racist you can think of. The kind of racist that's not only prejudiced and discriminatory, but actually thinks of those other races as actually and literally inferior, in the physical and biological sense, even non-human. That kind of racism.

There are some black people out there who seriously and literally think that white people are not actually human, and that all white people, every single one of them, is innately racist (the sheer irony is palpable.) In other words, their brains are hard-wired to be racist. They literally think of white people as sub-human; not just as an insult, but actually biologically non-human. They think that white people have never invented anything useful, and can only destroy and exploit.

To reach these conclusions they use what the TV Tropes site calls "insane troll logic", in other words, non-sequiturs that are so insane that it's just ridiculous.

It has been estimated that humans share a percentage of DNA with neanderthals. To these black racists that means that white people are not human. Somehow.

Studies have shown that babies have a natural aversion to people who don't look like their parents, and skin color tends to be one of the major distinctive features. These black racists, of course, apply this only to white people (even though those studies show that it applies to all people) and say that every single white person is innately racist. You know, because black people can't be racist (because social justice warriors say they can't.) Some of these black racists have actually swallowed the claim that those studies only apply to white people.

If a team of 50 scientists developed some new technology, which of course also includes using previous knowledge and technology, if at any point along the line, within that team itself, or among the people who invented any of the previous technologies used here, even one single person who contributed to this pool of knowledge and research was non-white, that means that the entire thing was invented by non-whites, and white people have never invented anything. Yes, even if a thousand people in total can be seen as contributed somehow to the development of some invention, in one form of another, and even a single one of those people was non-white, no matter how small their contribution to the overall invention was, that means that that single person is the sole inventor and without him it wouldn't have happened at all, and the contribution of the 999 white people does not matter in any way.

You might think I'm exaggerating with that last one, but I'm not. That's literally what those black racists think. Whenever you see them making the argument and giving an example, they will search high and low to find even one black person who contributed to the pool of knowledge needed for that invention, and declare the entire thing as his invention, completely disregarding everybody else. Even if the black person was just the janitor of the building where the research was done, that's more than enough: Without him none of it would have happened, so the entire invention exists thanks to him, and can be attributed entirely to him.

And, of course, these black racists literally think that only white people have ever engaged in slavery and exploitation of other people. They are history deniers, and will vehemently deny that slavery has been extremely prevalent among all people, very much including Africans.

These black racists, who think of white people as less-than-human, are of course seldom above advocating a literal white genocide. Not metaphorically, or to cause controversy. They literally advocate for the mass-murder of all white people, in all seriousness. They are quite literally a black version of nazism.

And, obviously, they fully advocate full racial segregation and consider mixed-race marriages race-traitors. You know, the most cliché attitudes you can think of when you think about redneck racists.

Yes, this kind of people do exist. You can find them spreading their hideous poison on YouTube and other websites.

And making matters only worse, they have of course embraced the notion invented by social justice ideology that they aren't racist. They can't be racist because only white people can be racist. No matter what their opinions are, what they advocate, and how much they discriminate against people based solely on their race, they can't be racist.

And how many social justice warriors do you see speaking against them? None. On the contrary, there are social justice warriors who are actually supporting them, and recommending their videos to others. No, I'm not making that up.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Godwin's Law vs. Reductio ad Hitlerum

Reductio ad Hitlerum (a wordplay on "reductio ad absurdum") is a semi-humorous term coined in 1951 by Leo Strauss. It describes an attempt to invalidate someone's argument, position or opinion by making a connection to Hitler or the nazis. (In other words, that opinion or claim is undesirable or wrong because the nazis (at least allegedly) also held that opinion.) It can also be used as the end of a slippery slope argument (in other words, that the opinion or position, if allowed or accepted, would lead to something that the nazis did.)

Godwin's Law is a semi-humorous observation made in 1990 by Mike Godwin, which states that the longer a heated online discussion or flamewar continues, the more likely it is that somebody will bring up nazis into the conversation (most often in the form of accusing others of being like them.)

While both involve the concept of nazis, they are not really the same thing. The latter might involve the former, but not necessarily. (In the latter case, calling someone a nazi, or accusing them of exhibiting nazi-like mentality, is more an insult and personal attack, rather than a fallacious argument against what they are saying. In other words, the other person is accused of being like a nazi, rather than their argument being discredited or considered undesirable because of said argument having an alleged connection to nazis.) Legitimately bringing up Hitler, or the nazi party, into the conversation because it's relevant to the topic at hand is not generally considered a case of Godwin's Law. It usually only refers to unwarranted, unjustified, spurious instances, often used as an insult (or, in some cases, as a completely fallacious reductio ad Hitlerum argument.)

"Godwin's Law", however, seems to have completely superseded "reductio ad Hitlerum" as a concept, even in situations where the latter would be a more accurate description than the former. Whenever you see, for example, a YouTube video that's a critical response to someone else's video, and that someone else made a reductio ad Hitlerum argument about something, it's very likely that this response video will name "Godwin's Law", rather than "reductio ad Hitlerum". Most often this is technically incorrect, because an individual YouTube video is not an online flamewar, and the Hitler argument usually isn't brought up to insult somebody who the maker of the video is having a conversation with, but to discredit some position or claim. Exactly what reductio ad Hitlerum means.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Biased poisoning the well at Wikipedia

I have noticed that there's a pretty good method for finding out if a Wikipedia article is politically biased and drives a given sociopolitical agenda (something that a true encyclopedia should never do, given that such an encyclopedia should always maintain absolute neutrality): Look at the lede of the article and see how much it "poisons the well" with regards to the topic in question with minor minutiae that doesn't really belong there.

The "lede" is the introductory part before the table of contents, and "poisoning the well" is the dishonest technique of introducing people to a subject in a biased manner, with a clear agenda to make the reader/listener form a biased opinion based on incomplete information about the subject. (This can be done by eg. emphasizing things that support the agenda out of proportion and, conversely, de-emphasizing or even completely skipping things that would go contrary to that agenda.) "Poisoning the well" is most often used to give an unfairly negative preconception of the subject, but the technique can also be used for the opposite effect, ie. to give an unfairly positive view of the subject, based on incomplete information, exaggeration, etc.

I have already mentioned the infamous gamergate Wikipedia article, which is just disgraceful conservapedia-level propaganda. Unsurprisingly, the lede of the article is a full-on barrage against the movement, with everything they can thrown at it, making absolutely sure that somebody who only reads this summary will get the most negative view possible. (The rest of the article isn't any better. Just count how many times the word "harassment" appears in the article. It's amazing. This is truly conservapedia-level propaganda.)

But as another example, compare and contrast the articles about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Just read the ledes of both articles with no preconceptions, and notice which one gives the negative impression and which one the positive. Heck, even the photographs in the lede have been carefully chosen to give those impressions, with one of them smiling and the other being serious.

As an example, it says this (emphasis mine):
On November 8, Trump won the presidential election by gaining a majority of the electoral college, although he received fewer popular votes nationwide than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton
Is that bolded part really necessary in an article lede? Or does it reek of biased political agenda? Likewise in the other article:
On November 8, 2016, Clinton lost to Republican rival Donald Trump, failing to obtain the necessary 270 votes in the electoral college, despite receiving a plurality of the national popular vote.
Compare that to, for example, the article about the 23rd president of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, who likewise won the election even though he received fewer popular votes. No mention of this is made in the article lede. (It is mentioned in passing later in the article, which is reasonable.)

Another example: Milo Yiannopoulos, who has become famous as a caustic critic of the regressive left ideology. Once again we have a poisoning-the-well lede:
Yiannopoulos has been called a spokesperson for the alt-right. He considers himself a reporter of and sympathizer with the movement. He was permanently banned from Twitter in July 2016 for what the company cited as "inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others".
Is "Yiannopoulos has been called a spokesperson for the alt-right" and "He was permanently banned from Twitter in July 2016" really something that belongs to an article lede, or is it biased agenda-driven propaganda?

Pokémon Go... I don't get it

Pokémon Go is a free-to-play mobile game that has taken the world by storm. Millions and millions of people have been playing it actively for months. Wherever you live, every now and then you'll see somebody playing it on the street. There are videos out there of literally hundreds of people playing it at a given place (seemingly because there's some rare pokémon in the vicinity or something).

And the thing is... I don't get it. I have tried it, of course, but I just don't get it.

The entire game consists (barring the menus) of two screens: The map, and the capture screen.

And that's it. Sure, it's somewhat cool that the map is the real map of the place you are, and it updates in real time as you walk around, using GPS, but the gimmick gets old pretty fast. It's only barely more interesting than your average run-of-the-mill GPS app.

But perhaps the capture screen is more interesting? Maybe here you will have a team of up to six pokémon, and you will have to first weaken the wild pokémon before trying to capture it, or alternatively you just defeat it for exp? You know, like in the actual Pokémon games?

Nope. You just throw that ball and hope it captures the wild pokémon. That's it. There's no battle, no tactics, nothing. Just throw the ball and maybe capture the pokémon. You don't have a team. You don't battle. There's none of that.

Moreover, there is no story, no progression, nothing. You just walk around, and when a pokémon appears on the screen near you on the map, you tap it and go to that other screen and throw that ball. That's it. Essentially the whole game in a nutshell.

(Ok, there's apparently also some "gym battles", but you don't get there until you level up to a billion or something.)

It's not even that interesting in terms of collecting pokémon. Only the 150 pokémon from generation 1 are available. Ok, 150 is an ok number, but still... Considering that currently there's something like 700+ in the main games... (Yes, they have been promising to add the 2nd-gen pokémon to the game as well. As of writing this it has yet not happened.)

I got bored of the game pretty quickly. I think I reached level 5 or something, before I stopped.

I just don't get it. There's nothing interesting to this game. What exactly are people seeing that I'm not?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Game Awards 2016, Dishonored 2

The Game Awards is an annual awards ceremony for video games that has been running from 2014. It's a kind of successor to the Spike Video Game Awards, which had started in 2003, and which had received an increasing amount of criticism for being little more than corporate advertisement of video games, among many other criticisms. The Game Awards was supposed to be a kind of fresh start, cutting out all the bullshit and concentrating solely on what the whole show is supposed to be about, ie. video games.

Yet, once again, commercialism and other such BS seems to have been raising its ugly head, in only three years. Critics point out how the first installment was ok, the second was already showing worrying trends, and now the third, most recent one, has pretty much succumbed to most of the same problems as its predecessor, being less about actual video game achievements and more about showmanship and ad-ridden propaganda.

I'm not going to go into all the details because I'm not versed enough, and there are plenty of articles and videos out there. Just wanted to bring one curious thing that some people noticed:

The game Dishonored 2 was published on November 11, 2016. The Game Awards 2016, where it got the award for Best Action/Adventure Game, was aired on December 1, 2016.

That's less than 3 weeks. That's an awfully, even suspiciously, short period of time, to grant a major award for a game.

Not making any accusations. Just finding it a bit curious.

Regressive left virtue signaling: The Dakota pipeline protest

The so-called "Dakota access pipeline" is a planned construction project to build an oil pipeline from North Dakota to southern Illinois. Since the spring of 2016, native Americans have organized a protest against this construction project because of its impact on the environment.

In later months, the native American leaders of this protest movement have expressed their disapproval of young white liberals (ie. rich spoiled mid-to-upper class regressive leftist) coming to the protest sites to "support" the movement, taking advantage of the temporary services built there, trashing and polluting the environment with very little regard, and then after a week or so just leaving without cleaning up after themselves, leaving all their trash and waste behind for the natives to clean up.

Which is the sheer irony of what they are doing. They are "protesting" for an environmental cause... by coming to the site, throwing their trash and their excrement around, have absolutely no regards to how they are trashing and polluting the sites, taking advantage of the services provided by the natives, and just leaving without cleaning up after themselves.

This is virtue signaling in its purest form. It makes these rich spoiled regressive leftists feel good about themselves, without actually doing anything useful and, in this case, actually only making things worse, both for the environment and the people who are actually affected by the issue. They pretend to care about the natives, yet their actions indicate the exact opposite. They don't actually care about them, or about the environment, at all; they only care about giving the picture (mostly to themselves) that they do. It's a form of patting oneself in the back for being so virtuous and holier-than-thou.

It is also highly ironic that these are the exact same regressive leftists who say that white people have no place in inserting themselves into the spaces of oppressed minorities. Of course, as the sheer hypocrites they are, they don't have any qualms about breaking their own rules and principles. Because, you know, when you have the moral high ground, everything is permissible and you can do no wrong, and you are free to not follow your own rules which you are imposing onto others. And that's not hypocrisy because, once again, you have the moral high ground and you can do no wrong.

Why is VR so obsessed with move controllers?

The "Oculus Touch" (which means the Oculus Rift with the new controllers) is going to launch very soon. And with "over 50 launch titles" to offer! Woohoo!

As a side note, I have been wondering from the very beginning of the whole "room-scale VR" crap why nobody is making the one game that would be pretty much perfect for that technology: Golf.

Oh, sure, there's a "golf" game among those "50 launch titles"... except it's not traditional golf, but some weird mini-golf sort-of. And, surprise surprise, it looks like absolute crap:

I mean, seriously. These are barely PlayStation 2 level graphics. I know I have complained about this before, but it never ceases to amaze me. And I'm not even kidding. Just as an example, here's a screenshot of a PlayStation 2 game:

Even the PlayStation 2 manages to look better than most of this VR crap.

But I digress. Back to the main topic, which is the idiocy that's all these move controllers.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, here are the versions for the upcoming Oculus Rift:

Yay! Yeah, sure, it will make for cool technology demos, but seriously, exactly how many hours on end do you envision yourself playing with your arms extended like that, waving them around?

Not to be left behind, the Vive is also upgrading their own versions:

Double yay! Technology! But not very ergonomic. And of course PSVR has its own "move controllers". Because they are so crucial.

Compare and contrast to how games are normally played:

Notice the drastic difference?

There's a reason why gamepads have been developed over the decades to be as ergonomic as possible, and playable while resting your arms. A good reason.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The social constructionism hypothesis is wrong

One of the (many) core tenets of modern feminist social justice ideology is the social constructionism hypothesis. This is the claim that all behavioral and social differences between genders, in personalities, in attitudes, in preferences, in societal roles etc. are a pure construction the environment, of the society that we live in. In other words, for example, some professions are very male-dominated because we have been raised to think of them as being manly jobs, and vice-versa. Likewise men are more stoic and aggressive because of upbringing, and so on and so forth.

The opposite of this hypothesis is the view that, while upbringing obviously does have some effect on behavior, personality and preferences, much of it is nevertheless biological, rather than cultural. Men prefer certain jobs, and certain activities, and have certain types of personalities, on average, because they are naturally inclined to it, rather than having been "taught" to be like that.

Studies have been made to try to corroborate either view. And the results are not surprising (except to the feminists, who of course absolutely refuse to accept them, of course.) The fact is that the freer, more egalitarian, and more equal a country is, the more pronounced the differences in career preferences appear to be.

When, for example, Norway (one of the most egalitarian countries in existence) was compared to a country like India, it turned out that in the former gender differences in stereotypically "male" and "female" jobs were more pronounced than in the latter. For example, there are actually proportionally more female nurses in Norway than there are in India. And the same is true pretty much all across the board, with many other countries being compared (such as Sweden), with both stereotypically male and stereotypically female jobs.

There's a rather simple explanation given by sociologists and psychologists (who are not social justice ideologues) to this: In an utterly free and rich society, where there is no pressure on anybody to follow a given career (eg. because of poverty or other such reasons), people on average tend to choose the career they are innately most inclined to. Women, on average, tend to seek careers that are empathetic, such as nurses and kindergarten teachers, while men tend to seek careers that are more technical. When in such an utterly free society there is no particular pressure on choosing one or the other, they tend to follow their own innate inclinations.

In contrast, in poorer countries people take by necessity the jobs that are available, rather than the job they would like. If there is, for example, a demand for nurses, that's what people will do, regardless of gender or societal norms.

But of course feminists do not accept this, and will never accept this. They will bend over backwards in order to try to find a cultural explanation for it. Even if it means going to conspiracy theory territory.

VR headset manufacturers should learn from Sony

The HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift, the Razer OSVR, and the Pimax 4K:


Notice one key difference between those other VR headsets and the PSVR?

All those other headsets are like ski goggles, pressing against your face. In fact, they all have those elastic straps that quite literally and explicitly press the visor against your face. And this is not just theoretical. Many reviews point out how using the headsets for long periods of time will leave press marks on your face (like a "wolverine mask"), and may become uncomfortable after long periods of time. Another common complaint is that it can press against your nose, causing pain in the long run.

Contrast that with the PSVR. Rather than being like a ski goggle, it's like a headband, like a helmet, that you wear on your head, and the visor hangs freely from the headband, rather than pressing against your face with force. The frontal part of the headset's weight presses against your forehead, on a rather large surface, rather than a narrow rim around your eyes.

While I have not yet got the opportunity to try these headsets, I have the strong feeling that the PSVR would be the most comfortable in the long run because of this design.

For some reason it seems that only Sony figured out this ingenious design. None of the other manufacturers did, nor have. And they aren't even trying to copy Sony's idea. (And, in fact, the four examples I listed are not the only ones. There are tons of cheap knockoffs, and a couple of a bit more serious attempts... all of them using the ski goggle design that presses against your face with elastic straps.)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The leftist media vs. BLM vs. gamergate

I think that both the "Black Lives Matter" and the "Gamergate" movements are excellent examples of how utterly biased the current left-leaning regressive media is, at large.

At least 99% of the media presented the absolutely unilateral biased narrative that Gamergate is this fuzzy indeterminate hate movement by male gamers against women in videogaming. By large they either ignored or ridiculed the claim by actual people in the movement that it's actually a customer revolt against corruption in video game journalism. (Criticism against the "progressive" feminist social justice ideology that seems to have largely invaded said journalism may also have been a significant motivation for the movement, but in this case it's not motivated by misogyny in any way, shape or form either. It's a protest against censorship of video games, and against the tirade of condescension and insults that the video game journals had thrown at the average gamer, their readership.)

The media kept constantly bringing up all the "harassment" and "threats" that gamergaters allegedly had bombarded many prominent women with. Actual proof that these attacks were in fact made by actual gamergate activists was scarce, even non-existent. Assertions that Gamergate does not approve of such actions were largely ignored or dismissed. Even assuming that some of those online attacks were perpetrated by some people who identified themselves as "gamergaters", the media condemned the entire movement by the actions of that small minority of individuals.

Which brings us to the polar opposite of gamergate, in the sense of how the leftist media treats the movement: Black Lives Matter.

BLM protesters have engaged in looting, arson, destruction of private property, physical violence, credible threats, and derisive insults towards, among other people, the police force in general. And these are not just alleged actions. There are tons and tons of video footage of this, completely unambiguous and with no room for misinterpretation. These are people carrying "Black Lives Matter" signs, chanting the most heinous things, and looting, burning and destroying private property.

So, does the leftist media treat BLM like they did (and still do) Gamergate? Do they condemn the entire thing as a dangerous violent hate movement because of the actions of some individuals?

Of course not. They treat the exact opposite of what they do with Gamergate. They, of course, defend BLM to the end. They make up all the excuses in the world to defend them.

If the leftist media were consistent and had even a shred of integrity, rather than hypocrisy, they would offer similar treatment to all major citizen revolts: Either condemn them all for the actions of the few, or defend them all regardless of the actions of the few. When you do one with one movement, and the other with another movement, that's clear political bias.