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Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

Dixie_Flatline Re:Proportionally highest # of post-secondary grad (216 comments)

It wasn't as simple as that, honestly. And there were lots of arts students in my calculus and algebra classes.

I'm just contesting your 75% declaration. I don't have a better number to give, though. :)

4 hours ago
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Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

Dixie_Flatline Re:Calorific value? (347 comments)

I read the article but not the study. It sounds like they simply didn't restrict the calories, not that calories were equivalent. It also sounds like there's a natural calorie restriction going on by virtue of higher satiety when eating a low carb diet with more fat.

These results don't surprise me. I'm athletic, but I've moved away from carbs for various reasons. I don't keep bread in the house and rarely eat pasta. My weight and body fat have definitely been more controllable this year than previously. My exercise volume is up slightly, but not enough to explain the body composition difference.

4 hours ago
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Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

Dixie_Flatline Re:It's easier than that (347 comments)

Small meals also beget small meals, I've found. For instance, the mornings that I'm hungriest are the mornings after my biggest dinners. If I eat so much I feel a bit overfed one evening, the next morning I'm STARVING. You just feel like you need to fill that space. If you work to limit your meals, you come to balance at a new normal.

4 hours ago
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Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

Dixie_Flatline Re:Not easy (347 comments)

I just watched that video I linked you over again, and it seems to give conflicting info. It implies 5k for a resting day but then says 5k for an active day.

I do know from my own cycling that a 3-4 hour road race is by itself somewhere in the vicinity of 3k calories. I can easily believe Phelps' training routine took him up to the higher thousands of calories. Anyway.

4 hours ago
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Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

Dixie_Flatline Re:Not easy (347 comments)

Phelps was burning a lot more calories than that on an active day, actually. His BASAL metabolic rate was probably 4-5k. (I think I read that his peak was something like 12k kcals a day?)

There's a great little video about Shane Perkins on vimeo--he was a velodrome sprinter. He was at about 5k resting. On really active days, he literally couldn't digest enough food to fulfil his nutritional requirements. http://vimeo.com/26494905

4 hours ago
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Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

Dixie_Flatline Re:Diet is very important. (347 comments)

Look, a calorie is a calorie. If you get a calorie from an apple and a calorie from fat, they are the same amount of energy. By definition.

The thing is that an apple is less calorie dense than an equivalent amount of butter. And you're right, how well your body extracts calories is a factor, too. But we're dealing with thermodynamics here. There's an upper bound to the number of calories in an apple, and an upper bound on how many are in that chunk of butter. (It's about 4kcal per gram of carbs, if I'm remembering right, and 9kcal per gram of fat.) You can't extract more energy than is there. If you and I both eat an apple, we're confined by the UPPER boundary of calories.

Even more simplistically, you can't gain more mass than is in your food. You don't extract energy from the air. Your gut microbiome can't be more than 100% efficient. (It can't even be 100% efficient.)

I'm not denying there are knock-on effects from eating certain foods. Satiety and insulin and all that stuff plays a part, certainly. But if you're having trouble measuring the number of calories in your food and it seems like there are more calories than there should be, it's because your measurements are off, not because the value of a calorie has changed from food to food. Stop underestimating your intake and overestimating your output.

5 hours ago
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Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

Dixie_Flatline Re:Proportionally highest # of post-secondary grad (216 comments)

I had a lot of arts students in my science classes. There was a Geology class with no lab requirement, and it picked up the name 'rocks for jocks', since PhysEd and Arts students could fit it in as an 'easy' option. At my University (the University of Alberta), you were generally forced to take a certain number of credits from other departments unless you were in Honours. I was doing a CS degree, but I took a lot of Geology. In the Arts realm, I chose Comparative Literature and took some Latin.

I'm not sure where your stats are from or if they're even Canadian. Maybe the UofA was weird--do you have a citation?

3 days ago
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Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

Dixie_Flatline Proportionally highest # of post-secondary grads (216 comments)

http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yo...

51% of the Canadian population has attended post-secondary education. That means most Canadians had to perform fairly well in their science classes, and in University, were probably forced to take at least a few science courses even if they were in an unrelated field.

4 days ago
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Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

Dixie_Flatline Re:Nice article. (216 comments)

The worst thing for Canadian Health Care is the American news. It gives us a false sense of security and superiority. :/

4 days ago
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Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

Dixie_Flatline Re:More useless statistics... (216 comments)

Bilingual conversations are really common here. I'm from Alberta originally, and my spoken French isn't great (I can get by, but I don't like speaking it). That said, I have plenty of friends that speak to me in French. I answer in English. We just go with whatever's easiest. Montreallers are really easy going that way.

Usually it's just faster for them to switch to English, though. Quebec French has its own peculiarities, so I found that on the few times where I started a conversation in French, it would usually switch to English just to hurry things along.

4 days ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

Dixie_Flatline Re:Her work (1228 comments)

If you watched her latest video all the way to the end, she does cover this. It's not enough to merely show suffering if there's no path to rectify the suffering. It's not really doing its job of drawing attention to the problem so much as making it a prop so that we have a reason to shoot someone. The violence that we commit becomes justified through the superficial application of the abuse of a woman in the game.

Besides, games DON'T accurately reflect what's going on. First of all, most rape and sexual assault is perpetrated by a relative or a friend or someone close to the victim. It's rarely a bad guy lurking in an alley. So that type of violence is over-represented in games. Second, in this case, there's some merit to the argument that we don't depict domestic violence against males enough. If what we're trying to do is draw attention and be accurate, we should probably include that more often.

But most importantly, there's a question as to the value of this 'realism', even if it were accurate. A lot of terrible things happen in the world that we see fit to ignore. Physics, for one thing. We also don't seem to care about going to the bathroom, cancer or getting oil changes. We're willing to suspend disbelief; this is probably an area where we could live without the casual gendered violence that we've really become accustomed to.

4 days ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

Dixie_Flatline Re: Her work (1228 comments)

Men die in the same way! And in much more gruesome and jovial manners. I think when this occasionally happens to women and it's considered more important is more of a reflection of our attitudes of men's lives being less important than women's than any negative view there is of women. You can't honestly believe that male video game characters do not die in heinous ways more than female characters. You don't think it's interesting that you find that totally normal for men and something that needs to be stopped for women? Women cannot be the same part of a narrative as a men unless they can actually be put in the same part. Which according to Sarkeesian and yourself they cannot be because *reasons*.

So if you watch the latest video, she does touch on that somewhat. I'm going to assume you haven't (or at least, that someone reading our discussion hasn't) and point out the salient bits.

First, that when men die in these games, they're generally an antagonist or actor that actually has a measure of agency. They're killed because they were involved in a conflict that revolved around more than just their gender or their victimhood.

Second, part of why you're gruesomely killing the men in these games is often justified by the violence that the men are (arbitrarily) enacting against women. The women die as props to show off how bad someone is in a wild caricature of evil. She's right in pointing out that violence against women is most often perpetrated by 'normal' men. A woman is FAR more likely to be raped by a friend or family member than a random bad man on the street.

Third, men die in ways that aren't overtly sexualised. Women die on beds in lingerie with their legs spread and their tits hanging out. They're still T&A even after brutal violence.

She's right that sexual and sexualised violence is used as a lazy shortcut to show how bad a person is. You can instantly justify murdering someone brutally (to bring it back to your complaint) if we've just shown them as hitting a woman or raping them. It's not the nicest cycle.

Given that we know men are far more likely to be murdered or die in war would it not be a good idea to hold off on this bit of violence? You can do what you want in your games. But when you're trying to tell other people they're being bad or "insensitive" based on the games they create or like to play you actually are trying to make them feel bad so that they stop.

The worst part about her criticisms is that she actually doesn't understand the tropes she's talking about. Or she just makes up new tropes. Tropes are pretty much a necessary part of storytelling. That's why we call them tropes. They've been around since the advent of storytelling. All stories are just rehashes and variations of old ones.

I don't think people have to stop doing anything. But I think they DO need to think about what they're doing, understand whether it's appropriate narratively, and make those decisions with open eyes. Speaking personally, for the first ten years of my career, I definitely didn't think about this stuff as much. Maybe I would've spoken up more about certain things if I had.

I understand that the word 'trope' actually has several meanings, but in this context, she's using the word 'trope' as 'cliché'. You DON'T need to write something that relies heavily on clichés. At the very least, you don't need to write something that heavily relies on the sorts of tropes that may be damaging to our ideas about women.

I really can't agree with that. Using her same irrational argument style you could paint that same problems onto any media. You think playwriting needs to respond to this criticism if it wants to be credible in the world? Shakespeare the misogynist! The gaming community tried to respond with the appropriate "you're going to have to do better" and explained why to her. She chose instead to focus on people making fun of her for saying stupid things. Everybody with civil disagreements went on and did their own things because she chose to ignore them and make a spectacle out of crazies instead.

Every AAA title made in the past 20 years disagrees with your assertion. Every AAA movies as well. Every AAA book. Unfortunately mass appeal appears to correlate extremely strongly with mass stupid.

This is really just an appeal to tradition, and as such, it really doesn't carry much weight. Lots of things that have happened in the past don't happen any more because we've decided that they're reprehensible. "Bang, zoom, Alice! Straight to the moon!" That kind of casual domestic violence is a part of television's (and our society's!) history, but that doesn't mean we show it on TV now. It's not a joke to be laughed off, this thing where a man is threatening to hit his wife so hard he sends her to the moon. I'm not sure why we think it's okay to glorify violence against women in video games. But relatively speaking, this medium is young and hasn't borne the same scrutiny as books, film and television.

I think that playwriting HAS responded to the changing times. I think that if we saw a play with the same sort of violence that's in games we'd be horrified. And I think that we can look back at stuff done in the past and see that things WERE misogynist and the product of their time.

And, as she's repeated so often, just because you're critical of something doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. Nothing is perfect. I'm just happy she's making these videos so I can recognise the bad stuff and think about it more.

Some people really aren't playing games for the story telling. Some people are. Games should not be limited to targeting only one of those groups.

You talk about trolls again like there has not been plenty attempts to discuss this in a civil manner. The reason Anita focuses on trolls is precisely so she can ignore actual criticism. She has literally ignored it all while waving her hands and screaming "look at all the hate! This is proof I'm right". A lot of us have seen this behaviour before and know that it has zero credibility.

Regardless of what you think about how she reacts to trolls (and there are lots of them, which is why we're talking about this right now at all), I also think that philosophically, her ideas have merit. She's making videos and putting her opinion out there, and it's up to us to watch the videos and make sense of her position, whether we agree or disagree. You don't have to agree. You don't even have to watch. But if you don't agree, it doesn't give you license to slag her and attack her. If you feel like your position is defensible, you don't even have to directly contend with her on it--make your own videos and put your own opinion out there.

4 days ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

Dixie_Flatline Re:*Dons asbestos suit* (1228 comments)

Sarkeesian has done video series on the tropes in popular media, too. She can't cover all the bases, and she's picked games this time around because she likes playing games.

I don't think that other media have been left out of criticism at all. (The Bechedel test, for instance, was first meant to apply to movies.)

But let's pretend you're right; let's pretend that the game industry--the industry that I work in and that pays my rent--really IS being singled out.

So what? It's GOOD for the industry. We NEED this criticism. If this industry and this medium were the only one that could legitimately hold its head up and say that it was less sexist, that would be great. If you look at it purely financially, I think it would be a huge boon. It's a relatively small change in behaviour that could drive a fairly large change in market.

Economics aside, it would be amazing if this industry were on the forefront of driving cultural and social change towards a more equitable society. Sexism is a real problem everywhere I look. I've been working as a programmer in this industry for 13 years. I've worked with 3 female programmers that I can remember. THREE. They were all exceptionally good at their jobs, too, and deeply nerdy gamers. But only three. It's a sad number. It makes no sense.

I watch Sarkeesian's videos and I enjoy them a great deal. She's INCREDIBLY repetitive on the point that you can still enjoy something while seriously critiquing its flaws. (I think she's said it in every single video she's done.) She's made me really think about the things I see in the games I make as well as the games I play. Whether or not she's 100% correct, every single time is not actually the point--she's just trying to get to think about the media you consume, and that's important.

I don't really think your point has much merit. I don't think it's true, and even if the community were being singled out, I think the community will come out ahead in the end. I think you've got to go a lot further and show a lot more evidence to claim that gamers are being bullied by some vast conspiracy.

5 days ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

Dixie_Flatline Re: Her work (1228 comments)

Damnit. I was going to use some mod points, but I feel like I need to respond here.

Yes, a lot of men die in games. It's not really up for debate.

But when women die in games, they die as props or as a kind of sick joke (and it's usually a really unintentional joke, honestly). It's more a reflection of our attitudes at large about what a woman is worth than something solely limited to games per se, but that doesn't make it okay to have it in games.

I'm a (veteran--13 years, 3 companies) game developer, and I watch each of her videos with a lot of interest. She's not trying to make me feel bad, she's trying to make me pay attention to what I'm doing. I make games to entertain people, not to make a broad swathe of the population feel bad.

I'd like to stop using women as props in our games. I'd like to see more women as protagonists or just interesting characters in general. If there's a good reason to show a woman or a man dead in the game, that will still be okay. But when it happens, I'm going to be running through a little checklist in my head from now on. Was it necessary? Does it advance the game? Is it really a crucial bit of atmosphere, or could we do without it? Would it just be a good idea to hold off on showing this bit of violence given what we know about rape statistics and the deaths of sex workers?

From my perspective as a game developer (even though I'm a programmer), she's not blunting my ability to tell a story, but honing my desire to focus on the important parts of a story and make it better for everyone. This is criticism that the industry needs, and needs to respond to if it wants to be credible in the world. AAA games are huge and expensive to make. We can't afford to be sloppy with our storytelling any more. Players are interested in next generation graphics and AI and all that fancy stuff, but we need more strong critique and scrutiny to bring us up to the next generation of narrative and storytelling that I think they also desire.

(And to the trolls that seem to be lurking in the thread, do you notice how two people can have a discussion without it devolving into name calling and threats? There's zero need for any of the shit she's had to put up with. Adults can have discussions.)

5 days ago
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Swedish Dad Takes Gamer Kids To Warzone

Dixie_Flatline Re:Isn't it odd? (419 comments)

It was the Dad's idea. It says it right in the summary. He thought of it.

about two weeks ago
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Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

Dixie_Flatline Re:Stupid (561 comments)

Diversity has its own rewards, particularly when the goal of your company is to provide the best experience, not just to provide some fungible good. (That is, oil from one well is just as good as oil from another--and who gets that oil out of the ground is irrelevant.)

Apple makes products for humans. All humans have different experiences. To provide the best experience to customers, you want the broadest appeal possible, and for that you need the broadest input possible. You need to pare those inputs down into something concise and usable, but good ideas come from anywhere and anyone, and it's not the sort of thing that's immediately quantifiable. My female colleagues are just as capable of coming up with good ideas as I am, and they'll come up with different good ideas based on their own unique perspective on the world.

In design and science, you want to avoid echo chambers as much as possible. Affluent white male is a particular kind of echo chamber. If the company were all black women, that would be a different kind of echo chamber that would probably also have issues. (I'd like to see what that came up with, though, for the sake of variety.) This is also why I'm a big fan of interdisciplinary science, where you see physicists crossing over with biologists, or artists working with mathematicians.

The issues start a lot earlier than the hiring process, so you're right: people need to be encouraged to join in early on. We need to impress on women and minorities that it doesn't have to be an old boys club, that they can also excel in the fields, and that when they get hired, they'll have a safe, friendly environment to work in. I don't know that we're succeeding particularly well at any of those things. (That said, I don't think schooling in NA is succeeding at much of anything any more. The system is anachronistic and organised for a different era.)

about three weeks ago
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Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

Dixie_Flatline Re:How about some real number? (561 comments)

Is...is this a real comment? Like, am I missing a hidden sarcasm tag somewhere?

Women are discriminated against. That takes a lot of different forms: lower pay, lower hiring rates, more workplace harassment. As it happens, taller, whiter men also tend to make MORE money than their shorter, fatter, more coloured counterparts. This isn't because they do better work necessarily, and their cost isn't the consideration--this is just discrimination at work.

about three weeks ago
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Samsung Announces Galaxy Alpha Featuring Metal Frame and Rounded Corners

Dixie_Flatline Re:Who cares? (220 comments)

Actually, the actual news is, "we made our phone not look at all different...from other phones".

Seriously, Samsung needs to stop spending so much on advertising and buy a design team. Sony and HTC have their own (very nice) looks, I think. I'm an iPhone user, and this new Samsung looks like a bigger version of my iPhone 4.

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft Files Legal Action Against Samsung Over Android Patent Dispute

Dixie_Flatline Re: Laugh all the way to the bank (83 comments)

Because that's not how it works. And if those companies are successful by using technology that Microsoft invented or has acquired patents for, I'm not sure why you think the legal system shouldn't apply to them. If they can't succeed without Microsoft's patents, it implies they have some value, even if Microsoft hasn't been able to leverage that value. If they don't want to pay, they can invent a way around Microsoft's patents.

about 1 month ago

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