top Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine
Not that this will go anywhere but deaf ears, in part because there is a systemic pro-US push on every western website you care to name:
Early 1990's US suffers economic collapse
Texas and several other states secede from the union Texas produces over half of the US military equipment, a good portion of the food, and can make nuclear weapons The US keeps these states, especially Texas, within their sphere of influence through economic deals, US Oil pipelines run to South America through Texas Texas has economic troubles, the US offers no-strings attached bailouts to keep Texas within its sphere of influence The Soviet Union offers bailouts if Texas implement austerity measures, with the possibility of joining the South American Union and Warsaw Pact at a later date There is talk in the media that the Soviet Union needs to put a missile defense shield in Texas once it's in the Warsaw Pact to protect itself and South America from Canadian aggression (They have the ability to make nukes, after all) The US balks at all of this
Texan government takes the US deal, there are small protests in Texas where people argue they're better off with the Soviet Union, they want to split away from the US
These protestors are mostly left-leaning The Soviet Union funds these protests and they go from small to large: Eventually the protestors perform a coup, replacing the Texan government; evidence (actual recorded phone calls) surface of false flag shootings being used to instigate tensions and violence The right-leaning people in Texas are appalled, they start a separatist movement in several counties The Texan government sends in its military to crush the separatist movement The US begins funding and supplying the separatists with weapons and volunteers to help them The Soviet Union paints the US as the aggressor, trying to threaten the world and annex countries like Hitler
As someone who has been looking at BOTH sides of this issue I'm fucking amazed that anyone paints Russia with such broad strokes as literal "Bad Guys". Everything they are doing makes sense geopolitically and nationally. Ukraine in NATO with a 'missile defense' in place against 'Iran'. Who are we kidding?
Once you look at the situation as it could apply to the US, it makes it easier to see through the utter bullshit propaganda. This entire thing is nothing more than NATO and the US encroaching on Russia's sphere of influence and territory. Russia ABSOLUTELY will go WW3 over Ukraine. The possibility of US/NATO nuclear weapons sitting in Ukraine is something Russia will not allow to happen, the loss of half of Russia's arms manufacturing cannot be allowed to happen. Ukraine is the first step to a first strike nuclear war scenario that could actually work.
I feel like I'm living in bizarro world where everyone has lost their marbles. I'm Canadian and even I don't support what the US has attempted to do in Ukraine. I'm sure some people will think I'm just eating up russian propaganda that I can't even read, but the truth is that I'm just not blindly siding with America. What the US is doing in Europe is pushing us towards thermonuclear war.
The American and European people need to find our marbles again. This is fucking crazy.
top Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly
Are you fucking kidding me?
"Nuclear is a stopgap" and "not poisoning the world for future generations"?
You know how many people have died over the past 60-odd years from radiation poisoning? Direct deaths, including incidents like assassinations and laboratory accidents? 10,000, maybe? Nope. 5000? Nigga we ain't even close yet. 1000? Keep going. 500? Hahaha, get real buddy.
Over 60 years of nuclear power and widespread use of radioactive material and there are less than 400 (estimate 200-300) deaths from direct radiation exposure. You can bump it up to ~10,000-20,000 when you include estimates on cancer related deaths. But you know what? If we're going to count cancer related deaths for nuclear, then how about we count pollution related deaths for coal, oil and gas?
Think you can guess? Maybe 100,000 per year?
Try 7 million: http://www.who.int/mediacentre...
Even if you went batshit crazy with estimating nuclear's impact - with crazy greenpeace numbers like a million deaths that they pull out of their collective asses. You still come NOWHERE NEAR coal, oil or gas. In fact, by metrics like amount of power produced per death, Nuclear is the safest we have available. Nothing else beats it, including Solar, Wind and Hydro.
Enough with your bullshit FUD. There is nothing wrong with, and there has never been anything wrong with Nuclear. All the facts are stacked against you and all you've brought against it are lies and bullshit fearmongering to convince people who are ignorant of what the nuclear statistics actually look like. I'm fucking sick and tired of you anti-nuclear liars. All you do is help ensure we keep guzzling oil, coal and gas. I don't think the oil industries could've gotten better shills if they paid for them.
top Aliens and the Fermi Paradox
Or maybe the universe is so competitive that anyone who announces their presence eats the bad end of a relativistic weapon.
Who knows - maybe one's already headed for Earth. It's not like we have been hiding our radio transmissions or anything. Sure would be naive of us to assume aliens are all sunshine and rainbows and want nothing more than to love and hug us. Now granted, I think if relativistic weapons flying about were a real issue, we'd probably have seen evidence for it in the universe by now, but anyone who ascribes benevolence to aliens is just a fool ignoring every lesson nature has taught us on this planet.
Personally, I'm against alien contact unless it's US doing the contacting. The kind of power-play dynamic where we're met by aliens only puts us at a serious disadvantage. We're basically blind right now. We need to stay silent, open our eyes and ears, and see what happens around us a little before we go shouting to the galaxy at large "Hey! Over here!"
I think the only comforting fact about it all is that our biodiversity is probably the rarest thing about our planet - so if there is any value in that, any conquerors will at least leave our biosphere intact.
top A Look at Smart Gun Technology
There's been a lot of discussion that I've seen already on these 'smart' guns.
Let me try and recap some of the most prominent against them:
>The RFID transmitter to unlock the gun requires batteries and has a limited range
>The RFID signal to unlock the gun can be jammed by a strong/close enough jammer
>The RFID receiver in the gun may require a battery if it has to move any mechanical parts
>The electronics are significantly less resilient than the metal construction of the rest of the gun - I've heard claims of replacement/repair of the firearm after just 2000 rounds fired
>The RFID receiver could be engineered with a 'back door' (Either mandated through legislation or not) which the government could use to lock up your gun (For example: A 'gun free' zone could have transmitters that tell all guns to lock up within range.)
>Depending on how integrated the 'smart' systems are with the mechanics of the gun, an exploited system could allow for things like intentional slamfires/rapidfire, feeding issues or other hazardous effects to the owner - remotely.
>Mechanical or electronic locks can be easily 'jailbroken' by the owner. If the safety of the firearm works by putting something between the firing pin and the cartridge, removing that piece of metal would make the gun less safe, but capable of working even if it is 'locked'. It's also a pretty trivial modification that could be done almost literally by anyone with a room temperature IQ or greater.
>Water could damage the circuitry and prevent the weapon from operating properly.
>Legislation can be introduced mandating that all firearms must be 'smart' guns. (In fact, this has already happened in New Jersey.)
>Smart guns cost significantly more than current firearms (A $500 pistol is now a $1500+ pistol), making it that much harder for the common person to purchase a firearm, especially if legislation makes the sale of non-smart guns illegal.
And what do gun owners gain from any of this? A firearm that - if someone grabbed it off you - wouldn't work? Look, let's not just ignore the elephant in the room here: This isn't about making guns safer. There's no added value in this for your common gun owner. No, this is simply an end run around the Constitution's second amendment - especially if, as in New Jersey - you start forcing people to buy smart guns and make normal firearms illegal. If widespread adoption happened, I guarantee you this type of legislation would be pushed everywhere.
Only the naive are buying into these things. Especially considering the growing distrust and discontent for our Government amongst the NSA/Snowden revelations, worsening 'war on drugs', loss of civil rights from the 'war on terror', bailouts of banks and corporations, and multiple seemingly pointless wars in the middle east.
People are really starting to get antsy about all of this stuff. The idea that the US is turning into a police state used to be laughed at. Today, the US has the largest prison population on the planet - exceeding China and Russia, it spies on its own citizens, tortures 'enemy combatants' and conducts extra-judicial targeted murders on American citizens abroad without due process of law - let alone citizens of other nations, such as the Australian citizen that was murdered this way just a few months ago. The first amendment is a joke when reasonable people can't get any airtime on ANY of the news networks and 'political correctness' groupthink is stamping out valid criticism or opposing viewpoints - even amongst those people who have made such comments in their own privacy. The right to peacefully assemble is a joke when you can only peacefully assemble where you're 'allowed' (and can be peacefully ignored). The two-party system is fundamentally flawed from the get-go, but especially so with the massive amount of corporate bribery and lack of any real investigation or punishment regarding corruption amongst our 'representatives'.
Quite honestly, America is headed for disaster, and these 'smart' guns are literally just one more tiptoe in that direction. The only people who honestly believe these guns are a good idea, are the people who want to take away the right to own firearms completely, and the people who support increasing state control over the population. The rest of us can see how ineffective and pointless these things are in reality.
Fucking christ, watching what is happening to America today is maddening. I feel like I'm watching the Titanic barrel towards the not-so-proverbial iceberg and instead of slowing down or turning, the people in charge are speeding up. I can't change the course, none of the passengers can change the course, and there's so many captains at the helm - most of them utterly daft - that they can't change the course either.
top UN to Debate Use of Fully Autonomous Weapons, New Report Released
You don't see robots engaging in a My Lai-type massacre.
They also wouldn't commit atrocities against civilians, wonton destruction, killing livestock, rape, beatings, etc. Robots won't rape and pillage.
Well... You won't see them independently decide to do something like that. But orders are literally orders to a robot. You tell them to burn a city to the ground, shoot anyone who tries to flee, and they will burn that city to the ground and shoot everyone who flees. Without remorse, without second guessing orders, without a moment of any hesitation.
Which frankly, worries me a bit more. Because the upper levels of command in just about every model of human hierarchy always seems to have worrying numbers of psychopaths/sociopaths beyond what you'd expect in a normal pool of the population. On top of that - they're physically removed from the carnage. It's a lot easier to order the leveling of a rebel-occupied village when you will never personally see the slaughter of innocents that result.
That's not to say humans never do these things. Just that, humans are capable of refusing to do these things. Robots aren't.
top PC Gaming Alive and Dominant
Today, the PC market isn't really about pushing hardware. Remember Crysis? It sold nothing,
In the first couple weeks, Crysis sold ~90,000 copies. The developers were vocally disappointed by this, and immediately blamed the large amount of piracy of the game for poor sales, Crysis then went on and sold ~1 million copies in the following two months, and is presently sitting somewhere around 3 million copies sold.
Which means Crysis is now #33 in the list of "best selling PC games of all time".
That is not "selling nothing".
top Crowd Wisdom Better At Predictions Than Top CIA Analysts
This story actually really interested me - On its face, the idea of a website that does these things: Poses user-submitted predictive questions, with user profiles so you can track the most successful predictors, and probably some sort of range voting system for the actual voting process, seems like a really swell idea.
Unfortunately, I've not nearly the technical skills or capability to jump into making a website that aggregates questions, votes, user statistics, graphs, profiles and so on. I went ahead and did the next best thing I could think of: http://psychohis7ory.blogspot....
top Measuring the Xbox One Against PCs With
I tried it with Battlefield the last Battlefield game and it was such a trainwreck I uninstalled it and tossed the game in the trash before ever getting to play it. It went something like this:
Buy the physical media ( dvd ) install game. Try to play, find out you have to install Steam, cuss, install Steam, register and do all the BS required. Try to play, find out there is a multi GB PATCH to install before I can play, cuss some more, start download ( which takes HOURS coming from their servers ) finally get it all downloaded, try to play, discover my browser opens up instead of the game...
About the only thing Steam doesn't require here, is a plugin for your browser.
Sorry, I just feel like pointing out the slag that other distribution systems seem to get when Steam does the exact same thing, or is worse. It reminds me of the kind of love Apple used to and still does get.
top Star Trek Economics
>People only work for monetary reward and nothing else.
>If people had all the food and housing they needed, they would just waste away doing nothing their entire life
Can we please kill this meme already?
We have never been motivated solely by monetary greed. People, especially bright and creative people, work to test and improve themselves and their skills.
Wealth stops being a concern for people once they're making over $70,000 a year.
Those people who 'sit and do nothing' at home, _don't_. It's a fantasy in your mind. They're creating things with others, socializing, being HUMAN. Our worth is NOT dependent on how much money we make someone else, or ourselves.
top Australian Police Move To Make 3D Printed Guns Illegal
Thanks Satanboy. I'm pretty sure that just by clicking that link I've subscribed to some sort of list I don't want to be on.
It's a nice free society we live in, isn't it?
top Evidence For Comet-Borne Microfossils Supports Panspermia
Basically, Panspermia solves the issue of the unlikelihood of life developing sporadically on Earth, by saying "Space did it", which is the scientific equivalent of "God did it".
But... technically, space
did do it. We are, after all, the example of space doing it.
Question: If we send a probe to Europa, contaminate it with Earth-born bacteria, and 2 billion years from now that moon is crawling with life, does that mean "God did it" too?
Or perhaps panspermia is not the equivalent of 'god dun it' anymore than evolution is.
The idea of panspermia still requires evolution to take place somewhere. about a year and a half ago
top Game Site Wonders 'What Next?' When 50% of Users Block Ads
We've been doing renovations on the house here, so I recently moved in with my father for a couple weeks while getting everything done at home. I noticed that suddenly youtube seemed to have an incredible number of ads when I used his computer. I wasn't really sure what had happened, I assumed maybe there was something related to his google account that showed him more ads, or perhaps youtube had suddenly implemented a massive new ad campaign.
Eventually, I realized, my dad's computer didn't have adblock, while mine did. The difference this made was staggering. I'd always assumed Youtube was just really gentle with their advertisements - I'd still get them, but they were quiet and relatively few. Without adblock, jesus, I couldn't believe what the site was like without adblock. It's nearly as bad as cable TV.
The thing is, I happened to be building a new computer at the time and decided to forego the normal adblock install in chrome. That changed after about a week, youtube was a significant part of that decision, but there many many website that would pop-up shit on the screen that would block out all the other content and darken everything except the ad, or there'd be annoying little mini-videos strewn about the page, or they'd blare some noise loudly and randomly.
Seriously, I don't mind ads. They pay for the content I enjoy, but this is too much.
about a year and a half ago
top David Cameron 'Orders New Curbs On Internet Porn'
Excuse me, but what exactly does being indoctrinated and exposed to atheism even fucking mean?
You're /not/ forced to read the bible; you're /not/ forced to go to sunday school; you're /not/ forced to attend church; you're /not/ forced to believe in fairy tales. In fact, you're given the option to believe or disbelieve in all of these things. Yet somehow that's BAD? It's /wrong/ to be left fucking alone to make your own choice? Are you kidding me??
Atheism isn't a religion you numbnuts. My own parents were Catholics - but my father and mother both decided that they wouldn't expose me to any church influences, my father because he didn't like the kind of control the church wanted over the life of our family. So I grew up without religion ever being shoved into my face. But neither were my parents Atheist. Did I immediately become an Atheist? No! Yet you seem to think that's what happens, it boggles my mind.
I wound up not really even understanding religion until my late teens. It never made sense to me, and in my earlier years I saw it more as a fun thing 'Oh we believe stuff happened this way', 'Oh well we believe stuff happened this way', but I never thought people ever took it seriously until I saw a guy in my class chew a girl out and tell her she was a whore and going to hell for being a lesbian. That sort of intolerance absolutely stunned me, I couldn't believe something like that didn't even get him reprimanded or sent to the principals office.
I started reading about the different religions myself, I was never even exposed to Atheism at any point in school - Though I distinctly remember one girl asking me "Are you an Atheist" and my response being "No.", and her reply being "Good."; I didn't even know what an Atheist was. I wound up bouncing between Taoism and Buddhism as 'personal religions I thought were interesting and could subscribe myself to' (I felt as though everyone /had/ to have a religion.) until I eventually witnessed an argument in an IRC chatroom, and actually discovered what Atheism was.
I read about it on wikipedia like I did before with the major religions, I saw rational arguments about inconsistencies in the bible, and I honestly didn't like the idea of not having a god or afterlife or anything, it wasn't fun. But it was rational, it all made sense, it didn't require belief in fairy tales or nonsense. I /couldn't/ be anything else without lying to myself. I didn't choose Atheism, not like I did when I got into Taoism and Buddhism, all I did was choose not to believe in the lies or fairytales of a religion, simply because I could see it all for what it was.
Are you worried more people will be like me? Making their own choices and their own decisions? Do you honestly believe every Atheist household has parents reading Richard Dawkin's to their children or something? Does it not, for a single moment, occur to you that maybe, just maybe, the LACK of any indoctrination is what ultimately leads a rational thinker to Atheism?
Is that what you're afraid of? People making their own goddamned decisions? "An end to freedom of thought" my arse! The end of freedom of thought is already here, perpetuated by people like yourself who try to demonize freedom and choice, with your fucking doublethink and twisted definitions. /Not/ being exposed to religion isn't indoctrination and I'm frankly amazed you got modded up with that kind of doubleplusungood argument.
top Seattle's Creepy Cameraman Pushes Public Surveillance Buttons
There's a sandbox game I play from time to time called Space Station 13, usually as the AI. It's a 2D multiplayer RPG/roguelike of sorts, and much like Dwarf Fortress or MUD's, not the easiest thing to get into.
I mostly play on /tg/ server 2 as Wintermote, an AI that enjoys monitoring all communications and drama going on around the space station. The AI has a lot of tools at its disposal for doing this - you can change frequencies on a room's intercom; using its microphone to transmit and eavesdrop on nearby conversations over a private channel, you can hack into the PDA messaging system and read every single private message sent between players on their PDA's (think, tablets/phones), and you have cameras covering nearly the entire station so that you can see almost everything that is happening.
The curious thing I've noticed is that nobody ever cares about the spying /until/ it both involves them and is specifically brought to their attention. The Head of Security doesn't care that I'm spying on two scientists in the bomb testing lab, but if she finds out I'm spying on her in the interrogation room where she's beating a prisoner to death, wellll suddenly it's creepy and weird.
What is more interesting is that when a player dies, they become an observer in the round and can hear and see /everything/; moreso even than an AI, because the AI is limited by game considerations - intercoms, power, working computer systems, etc. Every player knows that anything they say can and probably /is/ being seen by another player who is currently dead in the round.
So an interesting story relating to this: I see the librarian and a medical doctor in the library having a rather private conversation - I turn on the intercom and eavesdrop, and then comment on something one of them said, I was immediately told to stop listening, and the two then turned off their intercom. An admin shortly thereafter made all dead players visible. The librarian and doctor were surrounded by a swarm of ghosts, all listening to their conversation. Once it was done, they immediately stopped their conversation and departed the library, but the dead players had always been there, listening. Both the Librarian and Doctor knew that dead players or the AI could hear anything they said, but they continued their conversation until it was made directly apparent (By an admin making dead players visible, or by me speaking to them) that someone was dropping eaves. It was only at /that/ point that it became an issue and they decided to stop and continue some other time.
I've asked players if they mind if I spy on them, and the response is almost always "I don't mind, so long as you don't interject or comment about things, or tell other people".
Basically, out of sight, out of mind. People generally don't care that I see/hear what they're doing, so long as I don't bring it up or mention it. And that, I think, relates to this article - the government CCTV cameras and ubiquitous surveillance isn't really made apparent to people. You don't have a government agent calling you up and saying that he listened to that conversation you just had on the phone, and that he found that one joke really hilarious.
In the back of your mind, you know or think you know the government is spying on you like that, but it isn't really shoved in your face and it doesn't really impact you, and so people ignore it. It's only when it's brought to a person's attention that they ever give a shit.
And that is exactly what this man is doing. He's shoving the surveillance into people's faces, to try and get them to give a shit. I fear, however, that instead of fighting against the government surveillance - which he is trying to bring to their attention - people are just going to fight against /him/.
top Humanoid Robots For the Next DARPA Grand Challenge?
I am afraid not.
A 60 ton Clan chassis has enough tonnage available, (assuming it moves 1/2/0, has no armour, and utilizes an XL engine with endosteel internals) but lacks the internal critical space necessary to actually fit all of that. (Staring at the design right now in solaris skunkwerks)
Two LBX20's and 4 cStreak6's are pretty hefty firepower though. Even for a Clan heavy. Also, 12 tons of ammo? That is enough for 45 turns of non-stop firing, most matches do not even last 16!
Now, I *could* build a custom mech from scratch that fits some of that, but I decided a better choice would be to take ye old venerable Mad Dog (Vulture for you Freebirths) chassis and rig it with the LBX autocannons, though I was worried it would not fit them AND the ammo. Thankfully, the Mad Dog's design principle follows the 'fuck armor, put more guns on it' school of thought.
I yanked the dual large pulse lasers and LRM20's from the prime variant, and jacked the heatsinks down to the base 12 (It is in no danger of overheating with just these autocannons). This gave me 28 tons to work with. 24 tons for the two LBX20's, and then 4 tons for the ammo. It is not the loadout I would personally take into battle with a Mad Dog, considering its armour, but for a daring young Trueborn out to claim a bloodname, I do not think it is bad.
A 5/8/0 movement curve (reaching ~80kph at a run), enough ammo to fire the autocannons for about 10 turns (1.7 minutes) before running dry, and just enough armour to keep you mostly intact as you close into range. At 1610 battle value (2222 BV with a 3/4 standard Clan Pilot) it is actually pretty dangerous for the price.
I also made sure to mix the ammo types - 2 tons cluster and 2 tons slug so that you get your holepunching and sandblasting ability all in one. Additionally, I removed the upper arm actuators to clear out some of the internal crit space in the arms. So not only does the LBX20 assembly manage to fit in just the arm itself, but since it is entirely in the arm and the upper arm actuator has been removed, the arms themselves can completely flip around, making this design even more dangerous in a close quarters fight as you maneuver through a formation and fire *backwards* (Hopefully at the rear armour of your enemy.)
The significant downside to this design is the staying power. Light on armour (But then, all Mad Dog's are) and light on ammo. Once you run dry, there are no backup energy weapons, so you will be left adopting dezgra freebirth tactics like kicking your opponent to death. (*spit*)
Additionally, the design lacks anything to absorb hits in the torso. Any breach of the armour that scores a critical hit is going to either blow out an ammo bin and cripple the mech, or damage the fusion reactor. (Granted, a damaged fusion reactor on this design is not so bad - thanks to the low heat output of the cannons. Even with half the reactor shielding gone, this mech is still going to run cool.)
top Have We Reached Maximum Sustainable Population Size?
The fact is that there are not infinite resources.
Practically speaking, there ARE infinite resources. The problem is that we are too busy focusing solely on Earth. We have an entire solar system we can exploit for resources. All it requires is a government to think ahead instead of leaving the space industry to flounder.
top Leaked Activision Memos Compare
CoD, Guitar Hero
Sounds more to me like you're jumping on a bandwagon and hating what they do regardless of what they do. For example, this quote:
If you really step back and dispassionately look at any measurement—sales, player engagement, hours of online play, performance of DLC—you can absolutely conclude that the potential for this franchise has never been greater.
and you say:
Wow, they sure think highly of themselves. Do they actually use this type of self promotion & recognition internally?
Well you know what bub, was anything they said there actually incorrect? No! It wasn't! The series has a huge playerbase, sells well, engages people for hundreds of hours in multplayer. By every metric they use, the game
excels and has the potential to be even better. So how about you set aside your elitist bias and preconceived notion and look at reality when it bites you in the ass. Call of Duty is popular, millions of people like this game, and the execs know that, and judging by this memo they seem to know that they need to improve their product for it to continue selling.
Your entire post can be summarized as: "Stop liking the things I don't like!"
top Synthetic Skin Could Replace Animal Subjects'
Let's use synthetic skin that almost certainly doesn't fully reflect the effects on an actual human or animal!
What if that new face cream you've got turns out to be a contact poison that only effects the liver? This fancy synthetic skin come with a liver? Oh it doesn't?
Sounds to me like a cost cutting measure by the company that is going to result in less safe skin care products, and their marketing is playing off the animal rights angle so people don't question it.
I understand the desire to cut out animal testing, and I fully support that. But the human body is complex, some chemical that makes your skin smooth or clears your nostrils might also cause nerve tissue damage. We quite simply cannot match the complexity of the human body synthetically right now, it is foolish and naive to think that you can test a chemical on only one part of the body and ignore all the other parts because they're not related.
top Gearbox Boss Bemoans Superfluous Multiplayer Modes
How many games these days really do offer co-op gaming? I mean, so far I haven't seen a SINGLE game in years that offers the ability for you to play through the story mode with a friend/spouse/etc. No, they're all just rehashes of CTF or deathmatch, and those are stuffed in every single god damn game, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. But why, oh, why no co-op, ever?
Some of us aren't interested in competitive gaming against random *sshats, instead some of us wish to be able to share the story campaing with a close person. There's plenty of games that actually would offer huge amounts of fun if there was co-op included. A great, deep and insightful story is all the more worth it if you can share the tale with someone, but you don't always even need that; I remember back in the days when Unreal 1 was still new. The story was nothing too fancy or epic, it was mostly just a straight-forward FPS game. But when you set the difficulty level up a notch and joined in a co-op game it felt like a totally new experience compared to single-player. I think we eventually played it through something like 5 or 6 times, simply because it was fun every time.
Or am I just the odd one in the bunch again for wishing for good ol' co-op mode in games?
I mean, pretty much every single thing you're pining for is in every Halo game. Shit I can't even count the number of hours I've spent playing co-op through all five of them. On a bang/buck point alone those games have been the single best entertainment purchases I have ever made.
top Scientists Give NASA Planetary Marching Orders
Why is it always Mars this, Mars that?
In every way, shape, and form, Venus is a better target to explore than Mars.
It is closer to us, it has a thicker atmosphere that allows actual sizable payloads to be landed Unlike Mars, it is closer to the sun with more usable solar energy, it has a habitable zone in its upper atmosphere that is the most earth-like environment within our solar system, it has nearly the same gravity as Earth, and there is SO MUCH we still don't know about Venus.
We could colonize Venus with simple aerostat habitats, essentially floating sky cities or zeppelins, which remain bouyant in the upper venereal atmosphere at Earth-normal pressure and temperature, with said habitats creating water, oxygen, lifting gas, and rocket fuel solely out of the H2SO4 in the atmosphere and power from the sun. We could use the increased solar flux to power orbital factories, smelters, and foundries, while putting mineral-rich asteroids into orbit around Venus for mining - a location where a mistake and planetary impact won't end humanity. We could even Terraform, in a realistic timeframe the upper atmosphere to something that's breathable to humans, and then start seeding it with Earth-based life.
On top of that we can research an environment where a run-away global warming effect has taken place and see how that compares to Earth, and explore an incredibly alien surface with robots, possibly even performing tele-mining operations for materials and resources.
Anything we could do on Mars, we can do on Venus better.