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AU Senator Calls Scientology a "Criminal Organization"

Jim_Callahan Re:Hmm (511 comments)

I don't know that "but they're just like the Catholic Church in the middle ages, so they must be an acceptable form of religion worthy of tax-exempt status" is really a good argument, if that's what you're going for. Remember that we (in the historical sense of my ancestors) responded to corruption in the Catholic church largely by leaving and then setting its remaining followers on fire and shooting them, in varying orders. I don't think the midaeval form of Catholocism would get any better a popular reception than Scientology... probably worse, honestly.

about 5 years ago

Japanese ESRB Bans Rape Depiction In Games

Jim_Callahan Re:Thank God (662 comments)

Possibly because murder is, largely, really fricking hard to get away with, so no matter how encouraged you are, there are other deterrents in place; meanwhile, most rapes aren't even reported, so if you're feeling convinced by that movie or whatever, there's not exactly a sword of Damocles hanging around to hold you back.

It's similar to the rationale for regulating sexually explicit content to a higher age in movies, I imagine: it's really obvious that you shouldn't murder people left and right so it's not really a big concern if kids see it on screen, but on the off-chance that there's a teenager that isn't already thinking about sex, and seeing it in a movie convinces him otherwise, the obvious fact that it's a private thing that you're not likely to get called out on is probably going to occur to him.

Admittedly I'm not a fan of any censorship, and got an annoyingly extensive sexual education at an embarassingly young age with no real side-effects, so I may not be reproducing the arguments perfectly. But, anyhow, it's not just craziness, there is a sort of method to the madness of the rating systems.

more than 5 years ago

Japanese ESRB Bans Rape Depiction In Games

Jim_Callahan Re:Guilty of what? (662 comments)

Football? You mean that horrible rugby simulator?

No, no, you let your kid watch that and next thing you know he'll be breaking three bones in the scrim and then knocking off for a pint or twelve with the boys in some dive in south London.

more than 5 years ago

The Rise of Originality In MMOs

Jim_Callahan Re:Well, there has been original IP (118 comments)

There are smaller bits of originality in there, as well: Warhammer online added new class archetypes to the standard bevy (the most entertaining being the defensive rdps) and some new stuff as far as group synergy goes. Aion's shaping up to be oriented around 3-d tactics to a much greater degree than any previous game, flight sims aside (it's live in asia... don't judge me! *sob*). Guild wars' scenario-by-scenario ability selection makes it fairly unique as a game, and the payment system is sane, which is cool. Star Wars Galaxies... yeah, OK, you win on that one. Anyhow, there's a reason that, while there are a lot of MMOs, not that many are all that successful. There has to be something to draw people in, and an established IP goes a long way toward getting you to the point at which you can rely on word of mouth (assuming the game doesn't suck). Plenty of games are original, it's just that often that originality is poorly or shallowly implemented. That's not even restricted to MMOs.

more than 5 years ago

Church of Scientology On Trial In France

Jim_Callahan Re:Every church does (890 comments)

To be fair, not all or even most of the suppression of the Apocrypha was active and intentional. Most of it was simply that they'd been judged to not fit in with the religion the council was building, for whatever reason (probable forgery, ill-regarded author, or simple lack of a discernible moral lesson), and that most of the preservation of literature was done by the church. There wasn't so much an organized hunting down of the things (though occasionally a pope or bishop or something would take it upon themselves to go a zealot on us) as a general apathy among the people maintaining the libraries. If you were a monk, would you spend a year of your time copying a decaying tome whose contents your society had deemed worthless, when there were thousands of competing volumes of actual worth that needed copying to avoid being lost to the ages? Me neither. I mean, copying a single book was sometimes a monk's entire life's work, that's a big investment.

So lighten up, it wasn't ill-intentioned. And most of the apocrypha are either crazy or pointless (in my own estimation as well as the church's), so meh anyway. Hell, I dunno how most of revelations didn't get thrown out as well, it's pretty whack too.

(Side note: would have been nice if more monks had thought books of math and engineering were worth the effort, all we got was the half-assed job the muslim translators did of preservation. Better than the complete absence of the technical books in europe, but still. Anyhow, if you're going to be mad at the church for losing books, be mad at them for those, not the useless apocrypha bullshit.)

more than 5 years ago

Sony Rumored To Be Debuting Wiimote-Like Controller At E3

Jim_Callahan Re:This Is Sure To Be A Success If It's From Sony! (129 comments)

Blu-ray isn't backwards-compatible in the sense that you can pop one of the discs into an old player, but no mew media format is like that, reprogrammable (PC) stuff aside.

It is, however, backwards-compatible to a greater extent than, say, DVD, as you can take a bit of media from the last generation (a standard DVD) and pop it into a Blu-Ray player and it'll work fine. Trust me, trying to stuff a VHS tape into a dvd slot is a pain by comparison.

Anyhow, I think that people buying new playback hardware are buying blu-ray (because why not? it still plays DVD), there's just no rush to upgrade their existing libraries or their working players. Speed of replacement is slower than speed of "shiny new thing", but it'll take over eventually.

more than 5 years ago

Sony Rumored To Be Debuting Wiimote-Like Controller At E3

Jim_Callahan Re:"Required"? (129 comments)

There's some fairly elegant* predicative stuff with the inertial sensors going on as well, iirc. On the order of the double-click timer, but with more sensor ball thingies involved in the data collection.

*I assume it's elegant, since this is like the 4000th time they've refined the general 'tracking' idea but only the second or third version they've put on the market.

more than 5 years ago

Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Released

Jim_Callahan You Joke, but... (334 comments)

... I've been seriously freaked out a few times by Vista anticipating what I wanted done and popping up with a dialogue box offering to do it automatically. I don't have quite the faith to actually let it do it yet, but that's the same impulse that has me driving a manual, i.e. it's not rational. If windows is planning to impress me, I think developing psychic powers is a good way to go about it.

(For reference, I use Ubuntu for tooling around on the internet at home, Vista for gaming, XP on my office machine so the department tech won't hate me, and 95 on my equipment machinery because of god knows what compatibility issues with the X-ray control software.)

(Side note - Never try to get 95 to support USB, no matter how modern the hardware is and how much you hate juggling floppy disks full of plain-text data. It's not worth the emotional anguish.)

more than 5 years ago

The Life of a Software Engineer

Jim_Callahan Re:Engineering in Canada (519 comments)

I think you're not giving enough credit to the materials science aspect of electrical engineering. Control engineering, which is probably the most important coding-based application of EE industrially, requires a fairly thorough knowledge of not only the processes you're trying to automate, but the behavior of the control hardware itself. Plus if you can turn it into a hardware control cheaply, you save your company a lot of money and boost the reliability considerably. And, academically, you really need to be familiar with the hardware to properly optimize your simulation code.

Just saying that those courses are in there because they're an important part of electrical engineering, not because they felt like tossing some extra crap in for accreditation. Sure, you can do nothing but be a non-calculation-intensive code-monkey with an EE degree, but only in the same sense that I have the option to make really good pizzas for a living with my ChE degree.

more than 6 years ago


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