Monday, September 29, 2008

Why not?

I guess that I really am different from most other people.

I was driving around today on work business, listening to of all things: NPR. Who knew? Oddly enough, it gives me time to listen to national and world news affairs when I would otherwise be listening to terrible* music. I find it to be pretty neutral as far as bias goes and It even seems to keep the news distinct, if monotone. The broadcast topic was all on a bunch of American Clergy on Sunday all Speaking politics from their pulpits. The IRS wants to take away their Tax-exempt status because they are "going from a religious group to a political group." These churches did this as peaceful protest to The very thing the IRS did. To be fair, the different churches involved all had different messages, including supporting both major candidates. The issue is not who the churches support, its that they support anyone at all.

The churches are claiming two things gives them the right, nay, the responsibility to preach politics from the pulpit. 1st, Freedom of speech, one of those things that is both massively important and ridiculously insane to do at the same time. There is such a fine line between speech that is free and speech that is destructive. No one can draw it. The promise that anyone can say anything and not be arrested for it. I miss those days. The other thing giving them this "duty" is "separation of church and state" They claim it was put in the 1st amendment to protect the religion from government. That the government cannot do anything to harm a religion. So they cannot tax them for speaking about politics. Right?

Well, lets post that troublesome first amendment and then talk all about how awesome it is: (From a fairly useful site!)

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified
12/15/1791. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment
of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the
freedom of speech, or
of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition
the Government for a
redress of

So, the government cannot support or prohibit any religion. The government will leave your religion alone. You have to leave the government alone though. Why, it doesn't say that, does it? It does. By having a religion try to put a specific candidate into office, you are effectively trying to set our government up to follow your religion, which it cannot do. This is why we set up recognized religions as Tax-exempt. We don't touch them, they don't touch us.

And of Freedom of Speech? It is also guaranteed by the first amendment. I lets me state any opinion, as long As I can declare it first. For instance, In my opinion, President Bush is a doodie-head.** Nothing being said there is treason, and opinions are what is being protected against. So, that allows priests, holy men and more to state their personal opinion. They can do that.

The combination of the two is the crux of the issue. If a church priest says "I support candidate X," then he is stating his opinion and it is no big deal. If a church priest has the church itself say "We (the Church) support candidate X, and so should you," That church is no longer in safe first amendment territory. They didn't leave the government alone. Why? Well, to start, any person or organization can give up any rights they have at any time. A confession of a crime is an acknowledgement that the confessed is giving up their 5Th amendment rights. If I said something that committed treason, like speaking secrets to an enemy, then I could have my stupid butt arrested for saying it.

So, when a church gives up its rights to be ignored by the government by preaching politics from pulpits, The Government is well within its rights to do anything to the church. They could tax them, charge them with crimes (even relating to being religious!) and more. The government gets free reign over the churches rights to free speech and religion. So, churches out there: please keep your religion out of my government. Thank you. Feel free to as citizens of the US, support candidate X, but not in churches. Cause, then you give the government free rein on your rights. And never give up your rights. Ever.

* - I think its not bad personally, but others would disagree.

** - My opinion really is that President Bush is a Doodie-head.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

To WoW the WaR, Of personal choice

I've been spending more time on World of Warcraft than I strictly should. I just recently got back into it as far as an active interest. I had been taking a break, though not as much of a break as much as not enough time to play to do anything on it. Where I am currently is, I have one level 70 main on my main server. She ( yes, she. I'll explain later) is a Balance specced Druid. I'm leaving behind the beginning sections of the endgame and starting to move into the middle ones. These sections are Raiding instances, specifically Tier 5 content and Zula'man. Its a place about only 20 to 30 percent of any server get to, But most servers are large enough that it translates to several thousands of players on each.

Balance druids are kind of rare at this level. Mostly it is because Blizzard has designed the class to be not as effective as others with the same role. The big Range DPS's are mages, warlocks, and hunters. the lower range DPS classes are priests and shamans The lowest Range DPS are druids. That blizzard did this is perfectly fine. If one class gets to powerful the other classes will never get played. Hunters, Mages and Warlocks All do one thing: damage, and allot of it. They also can crowd control. Priests and shamans are more healing classes; they lose damage powers for healing powers. But if Specced out right, they are still pretty good. They also have area benefits to those who are in their group. Finally, we get to Druids. They have about half the dps of any of the top tier. Even specced balance they can do fairly decent off healing, they have a unique in battle Resurrection, that no other class has. They have a fairly good area affect for those around them.

So why the rarity. Mostly, because people cannot go to big raids as a balance druid. Reasons why:
1. They don't put out the DPS.
2. They don't have an effective crowd control.
3. They are under geared for the raid.

Well, this looks like 1 and 2 are blizzards doing. which is true. Blizzard has decided to "fix number 2" by giving an ability the druids already have that is related though unusable inside, the ability to be used indoors. So one down, two to go. The first one, Blizzard looks like they are possibly changing. Not sure right now, as they are adding a new expansion, we do not know yet how much extra damage each will be able to do.

So, number 3. Low gear. This at first looks like a player problem. "If your gear is low-leveled then you need to fix it". that is not actually the case. You see, most pieces of armor regardless of type (cloth, leather, mail, plate) can be firmly attached to one class for who it goes best with. Arguably the best magic dps classes are mages and warlocks, both of which use cloth. Balance druids can use leather. Simply put, Blizzard does not put out enough leather magic damage gear to let druids have leather as an option. So, balance druids need to take mage and warlock gear.

Now we are taking not only their spots but the gear from the ones who are left. As well as having no crowd control and low dps to boot. And we wonder why no one wants to take us to raids. Now, most raid groups hand out new gear on a system called DKP. It works out so that the main raiders get the first choice on any gear they can use. Its a good system, unless you are unable to do many raids within a group, or worse (like a druid) you are not allowed to go often. So you finally go, because they happen to have an extra slot. You get no gear because the main raiders still have priority. Your priority goes up slowly yes, but every week you don't raid you lose a percentage of it. If they don't let you go on raid because of those 3 points, then any priority you gained by luck goes away. Fast. So not enough gear means no entrance to raids, which means no gear. lovely circular logic.

Now this was going to be my thought between two games I am interested in playing right now, though I don't have much time. I was going to make this a post on my thoughts on 2 games I want to play and come to a decision on which one. Make this a two-part thing and I think I can do it.

Next up: Warhammer, Age of Reckoning and the pros and cons of that. plus hopefully my choice on the matter.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Act like a Time Traveller Day!!!!!

So, on 12/8/8 there is going to be an event like no other... act like a time traveler day!

I am hoping I can find something I can do to have fun with this. Maybe I can get something going on at the school or something. I think I could bring it up to the Film club, they'd love this

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Portal Quasi-Sequal-Prequal thingy!

I found this site above that has a story mode for portal. It looks like it has 3 and a half more hours of portaly puzzle goodness. The down side is both small and huge at the same time. No GLaDOS. And as much fun as these might be, ( as I haven't played them yet), They will not be the same without her. They are being released on PS3 and Xbox 360 titled Portal: Still Alive. This explaines it better than I could ever hope to, but in the end. there is more portal, just no more GLaDOS.

Anyway, I'm going to spend some time I should be sending somewhere else on this thingy instead !

Woo Portal!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Self-Referencing Good Essays

What makes a good essay? Does it have a certain number of paragraphs? Is it structured or is it not structured at all? At least does it have an interesting Intro and conclusion? Most definitely, one would argue. In any case it does have to do one thing; it has to attempt to explain.

First and foremost, it must have a good beginning and a good end. The beginning is essential to grab the reader’s attention. It must shout at them, “Read Me Now!” it makes the reader want to read more. The good ending is also paramount. It needs a conclusion to effectively close out the paper. Some might say that conclusions need to borrow material from the introduction in order to truly succeed. However, if it does it must not repeat it. To repeat the introduction would seem almost more like restarting the paper than ending the current one. Oddly enough, these parts of the essay should be written last.

Next, one must have the rest of the essay. This is a fairly complex bit of writing compacted down to one statement. The rest of the essay is composed of Paragraphs logically ordered, with convincing transitions included in the front or back of each so as to link the essay together internally. This seemingly then, should be written first. This brings up the point of attempt. One cannot write an essay on just anything. One can write for sure, but an essay should be made of sterner stuff. Never write what is simple enough that it needs no explanation. Only write what needs to be said. What is a good essay? Only the reader knows.

Haikus abound!

Its getting kinda heavy and meaningful here... So here's some haiku!

I traveled miles,
with my feet inside your shoes.
You are barefooted.

Found my shirt today.
It smells of oil, fuel, and paint.
Now I'm lightheaded.

When out on the road,
Do order a cheeseburger.
It won't disappoint.

That's all for now. Woo! Haiku!
edit - I edited the Haiku to make them more fit the syllable requirements. Because I'm horrible at Syllables. Expect more changes later when I learn them better.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I pulled, I prodded, I yanked from the earth

This is an essay I wrote as part of my writing class. Its here because I feel like it.

I spent the morning pulling up weeds at my job. It’s not part of my normal job; one of my coworkers had slacked on his responsibilities. It amounted to his spraying weed killer on them, and later coming by and pulling the dead weeds out. Which was done sporadically at best. So I pulled weeds. I hacked at the larger ones with a hoe. I grabbed the ones that had rolled off like tumbleweeds, the weeds that had been sprayed. I came home with a broken blister on my hand, and sore thumbs like video games had never known.

I saw many different plants that day. Some were tumbleweeds, as tall as I was. They had rolled up on the fence, held up from the old-west showdown that they were late for. I was sure a lot more got away, as they had stacked 6 feet to the top of the fence. The live ones resisted my pull, desisting and rejecting human intervention. Some were wide, some were thorny, and several were even thin and narrow. However, all the plants were tall. Most as tall as my shoulders, they were.

Also removed was a tree. It was near the fence as well it was small and only 5 or 6 years old. The company was going to be putting down asphalt to better maintain its yard. The tree had to go. It was already close enough to the fence to start growing into it. We cut the plant limbs that were growing through the fence, so we could pull it out. Then they pulled in the crane they have. All the while I sat and watched, wondering why they need to pull out the tree. After the steel hooks found purchase the crane struggled briefly. With a heart-wrenching tear, the tree came free of the earth.

I look at where the tree was even now. It has a piece of wood still attached to the fence, where the young tree stands no more. I wonder who should have privilege over there. Do the “weeds” and trees that do nothing to the outside world have precedence, or the men who use the land to store merchandise and equipment? Who are we to say what lives and what dies? These men could not say what all man-made is there; it looks like a junkyard. Nature is gone, replaced with a junkyard. Today, I was weeding at work. I pulled, I prodded, and I yanked from the ground. What was once a jungle of weeds is now a jungle of steel. What is better; A plot of plants, now overgrown; or perhaps a layer of junk, rusted red with age? I toiled and worked, pulled nature from not. I wondered: will nature be back? Will it cover the junk? Why do we need it except to keep it “humane”?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Evolutionists, Creationists, and Spore! Oh My!

This thing started when a die-hard creationist started a blog to denounce Spore to the world. I had intended this originally a response to her main points about how evolution is wrong. I went over it at length somewhere else, suffice to say this is a separate entity.

Intelligent design in Christianity is founded on two basic principles. Some power (god) created the universe and All of the animals at the same time. Since his design was perfect, they haven't changed since. So, 6000 B.C. cheetahs, and skunks, and polar bears all came into being within a one day period. The requirement for this system of ecosystems is belief in the Intelligent Power that did it all. The Church logic behind this is:

God exists because the Bible says He does.
The Bible is correct because it was divinely inspired.
Therefore, God exists.

Meanwhile, the theory of evolution works allot differently. The concept arises from the term natural selection. Natural selection happens when a generation passes down good traits to their offspring and don't pass down bad traits. For instance, two male wolves are hunting separate prey. One happens to have longer legs, to run faster with. He catches the deer he's after, and successfully breeds a new generation. The other wolf has short legs and cannot catch the deer he chases. This wolf dies without ever reproducing.

If the population consists of only short and long legged wolves, over time the long legged wolves will become the more prominent part of the species. eventually the differences between long legged and short legged wolves will be enough to warrant calling them different species. At this point when one species becomes two, do we consider them evolved from the original one. The main part is that evolution is measured in generations, not in time.

Proof of evolution is found several places. Neighboring species, fossil records, genetic records. Proof is not in a book, but in something that cannot influenced by human hands.

So, we have our competing theories. Lets check, at first glance they do seem contrary. One is orderly and perfectly maintained. The other seems random at best and chaotic at worst. One sets the age of the planet as much older than the other. One is completely ridiculous, while the other is true.

Really? Is one true and one false? My personal beliefs being what they are, I cannot simply agree with Intelligent design. however, I will not just say the theory is bunk either. Back to that logical train of thought, there is a problem with it. Its circular logic. Logical sequences can only work if the pattern works with all possible outcomes, which circular logic fails at quite spectacularly. Now, one can say that its impossible to combine those theories.

God made all creatures the way they are in the present day.
God made all creatures perfectly.
Evolution changes creatures over time.
Creatures that are perfect don't change.
Evolution Exists.

The logical conclusion is that if evolution exists God cannot. This is based on the circular argument in that god exists because the Bible says so, and that the bible is perfectly accurate because God divinely inspired it that way. To simplify:

Evolution says creatures change.
The Bible says creatures don't change.
If the bible is wrong then it is not divinely inspired.
Therefore God cannot exist.

Here is the crux of the issue. The easy fix would be to say the bible was wrong on how, but that God still did this "through" evolution. that he uses it as His tool. I expect that this "fix" would just make people mad though. It doesn't really solve anything. It just lets the evolutionists win without a struggle.

The place to make the change is proving the existence of God. All of these philosophers over the last 2000 years have struggled to prove God exists. And their one triumph in that regard is the circular logic above. But as much as it cannot prove that He exists, it also cannot prove he doesn't exist. That is why its an invalid argument, it cannot do anything for either side. Its impossible to prove that God exists. Its similarly impossible to prove that he does not exist. Science doesn't test a principle to prove it. Science does experiments to Disprove the theories and the ideas.

Anything that you disprove is not true. If you cannot disprove it, then it is true. Notice you can keep testing, but you cannot prove anything. You can only get the list of possible causes smaller and smaller. Its not that evolution can be proven, its that it cannot be disproved. Its not that God can be disproved, its that the Bible can.

Imagine trying to explain evolution to a gorilla who knows sign language. You teach it the language perfectly, and you can even hold small conversations with it. The current Intelligent design theory might well be the results of how the gorilla best understands the concept. It might only be able to understand "A long time ago, I (God) made everything."

This is where Spore comes in. It is a game where you guide a species from the evolutionary beginning of a single cell through the space age. The player takes the place of God. and then uses the tools inside that system of evolution to plan their planet.

In the end, I still don't believe God exists. But that doesn't stop the possibility that He doesn't.

Welcome Back!

I'm still working on that evolution essay. But thats for another time. For now its time to play "Here's what I'm doing now!"

In the 2 years since my last post, Big changes have been afoot. I'm back in school. I'm still in a physics related science major except I'm at Red Rocks Community College. I'm also running a Warhammer Club there. I've grown up some, I've become more politicaly aware. I've worked my head around my spiritual beliefs. I spent alot of time online with friends, jumped through some differant Online games, and am about to start one that I've been waiting for since that last post in 2006. My work responsibility has multiplied ten-fold. I still have to wash the bosses SUV. Within the last two weeks I have gotten an itch to read poetry, still not sure why. I still don't drink much. Maybe once a month, So thats a good thing I guess. I spent time with family I ahven't seen since 2005 even.

So, thats me right now. Hi, how you doing?

Some days, it takes forever to get anywhere.

I spent a good deal of time this morning reading a blog denouncing Spore (a video game based around the concepts of evolution) in favor of intelligent design. In my head, I was halfway through writing an email response before I remembered this very blog. So I started to revive my blog, all the while still forming this response. It was going to be great. I was going to point out the logical flaws in their arguments, point out possible reasons why evolution could be in fact, intelligent design. Most of all, I was going to be polite, nice, and honest. I figured that, after taking half a glance at the comments in the blog itself, that someone should enter the argument on Spore's side who's not making themselves look like a hooting dickhead.

Then I saw her defend herself and viciously attack Will Wright in a single hour. Her focus had changed from warning people about something she didn't like to practically call herself a martyr.

I'm not going to bother with an essay or arguments with her, because she's no longer on the playing field she was when she started, but I am.

All that being said, I still have half an essay done in my head. I'm going to finish it, and post it here. But it now for me to display my views on Intelligent design, Evolution, God, and maybe something else. But I don't need to tell hatemongers my opinions, especially when they don't listen anyway.