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Everything posted by Maximius

  1. Its really hard to say what exactly she is famous for and successful at, even. She doesn't really do anything, after her stupid reality show she just appears in movie cameos, on the covers of People and Us magazines, and at the Betty Ford Clinic on a semi-regular basis. She is merely an icon of wealth, to be envied and coveted,I cannot think of anything else she has done. Yet the Celebrity Creation Process rolls on, churning her face up over and over again. It was the same when Anna Nicole Smith died, it was a constant rain of images and commentary, some even on the nightly national broadcasts. Getting back to fascism, here is a terrifying show about police intimidation of protesters in the US. http://www.kpfa.org/archives/index.php?arch=21749 Whats especially scary are how corporate interests are directly shaping laws to pro-actively label environmentalists as terrorists and jail them merely for speaking, for long periods of time.
  2. Check out some of those shows I like to post about, Against the Grain at KPFA, or Behind the News with Doug Henwood from LBO. Somewhere in the archives you can find about a half dozen different interviews with historians and social scientists who are pointing to ominous clouds gathering on the political horizon, don't be afraid to dig deep into the archives for old shows either, most of their discussions are still relevant to today.
  3. That helps, I think its what we call Applied Physics over here. Are you considered an engineer or a scientist? Or a kind of blend? An engineering buddy here has described himself as a "practical scientist." Organic electronics sounds interesting, I see that these are conductive plastics. Pretty new stuff?
  4. Whats the difference between technical physics and just a bachelors in physics? I wasn't referring to the coursework, I was referring to all the little details of life that you don't have to worry about, generally, while in school. And I was a non-traditional student, meaning I didn't live on campus or eat in the dining hall and I had to work on the side and live in a hovel. Still, I loved the life, taking classes, barely making ends meet, fishing all day long when I felt like it, bathing only occasionally until I met my g-friend, but who cared, I had healthcare and if I needed to I'd steal food from work. (I was cooking at the time.) I made up much of my schedule, took classes I liked, and spent my time as I saw fit.
  5. @Crispy: When PepsiCo sponsored the Woodstock 2or3 a few years back, the ads running here showed crowds of people jamming to the music with "With Love, from Pepsi" signed across the bottom. Ads here trumpet your ability to choose a new "lifestyle" via their selection of wooden floors, sports cars, hair colorings, or cheese puffs. @Springheel/Orbweaver: Its endemic here. The "land of the free" is filled with people who assume that anyone wealthier or more influential than they are is inherently better. I've seen it in cities and small towns, all over the place. In our business programs, especially our elite ones, they explicitly tell these idiots that they are going to be the captains of industry, the leaders of society. I mean it, thats what they tell them, in those words. So they believe it. And then the masses are constantly bombarded with the myths of a society of total freedom of movement and the notion that you are utterly and totally responsible for your fate, so they think "Hey, if I really wanted to I would do it, I haven't, therefore its my fault I'm not a CEO or a university president." @Orbweaver: hes trying to protect his illusions about the country, Im assuming hes a USer although I've talked to non USers who defend the US rabidly, he sees a patent, self admitted imbecile tottering about drunkenly on his TV and rather than decrying the insanity of a world that promotes such wasteful and empty lives and the millions of dollars they consume needlessly, he assumes that since this is the land where the best run the show, Paris >must< be from the best. People literally worship wealth here, they fawn over the wealthy like royalty, when instead they should shoot them in the face. They are devout believers in the Church of the Land of Opportunity, even if they are not among the Elect who will be taken up into heaven they still have to gibber and dance at the alter of Mammon. Its a sticky, gobby mix of faith, patriotism, superstition, militarism, consumerism, and dealing with it is enough to drive one insane. When I get into a discussion here, unless its with an educated or at least informed crowd (and education is certainly no guarantee of clear thinking, I should add!) , its not uncommon to have to deal with the silliest beliefs, things you and I have dismissed decades ago from our lives, as viable information because the well meaning schmuck you are talking to really believes that shit. Its kind of like having to start every conversation over, time and time again, moving back up the chain of reasoning until you get to the simpler stuff, then work your way back up to your original point. This is one reason why I believe this country will take a sharp rightward turn towards fascism when the next economic downturn hits hard. Many of the symptoms are already in place.
  6. Thats great guys, congratulations! I'm assuming those are masters of comp science, which means you will actually be able to get a job. Good gravy, I miss uni. There things are so easy, work is real work that means something to you, your own work. Your boss (prof) is generally qualified to be the boss and even the worst have something to teach you. My goal in life is to become a permanent graduate student somewhere.
  7. In my worldview, personal responsibility entails taking on responsibilities for others. I think of it as a network of mutually assured support in an uncertain world. The "I am #1 at all costs" attitude is one perfect for a society of parasitism and exploitation. It helps support the illusion that all that matters is personal determination and skill, the notion those that hold power may do as they please because they are the superior individuals and have earned the right. Add to this a repellent worship of the idea of personal property and you have a society of everyone doing it for themselves, a giant race against the Joneses for a newer car, bigger home, more exotic vacation. Count me out. Yes, thats fair enough I think, bearing in mind I was ultimately referring not any real definition of hyper-individualism but rather popular conceptions of it.
  8. As Ny has pointed to, most people don't have a foggy clue what either socialism or communism might be other than something vaguely bad or anti-authority. Some profess what I call the "Robin Hood" theory of socialism, meaning socialists/communists want to steal your property and give it away to poor people. I have heard people who don't own the dirt on the back of their necks speak in furious tones about communists wanting to take their homes. Liberal democrats are taken for communists sometimes by these types. See FOX news. Those that do know a bit more don't really understand anything of such theories, they have an inch deep reaction dealing more with their personal superstitions and their dessicated world views than with any kind of grasp of these ways of thinking. The power of such thinking, meaning specifically that promulgated by Marx, Engels, and Lenin, was that it is inherently self critical. It made no allowances for pure theory, all theory must be empirically tested against real social conditions and the results tallied. Better still, theory should flow from empirical analysis. Thusly, later Marx laughingly dismissed much of the work of early Marx. Any good leftist is constantly reassessing her beliefs in light of new information, what works, what falls, whats changed. It won't make you any friends to call yourself a socialist in most places in the US but nor will it get your teeth knocked out as it would have 25 years ago. But it will get you into some rip-roaring arguments at bars!
  9. In my experience, as a US worker, first as a worker than as a "professional" with a "career", I have found management culture in general to be all the things you have described above. The myth in the discourse is that the best rise to the top in any given organization due to personal merit, the reality is that people lie, cheat, and steal for positions of power as managers, glide into the right schools and therefore get the right jobs, blow the boss, marry the right surname, then treat their power as a weapon to be wielded or lost, and then surround themselves with dupes, ass-kissers, boot-licks, and drones who don't represent a threat. In my entire working life, I have had exactly one, just one, boss who was generally honest and fought for her workers and tried to make the workplace a positive place to be. The rest were happy house-servants, proud to be the one wearing the tie. My school is the home of Wharton Business College, or as some of the other schools like to call it, Whoreton. Its one of the most prestigious MBA programs in the world, Trumps daughter goes here, occasionally royalty, you get the idea. My program is the "night class" graduate program, about as low on the totem pole as you can get in the pecking order of the schools. Yet, when Wharton students come over to my school and take courses, they are universally stunned by the kinds of material they have to work with and the diversity of information that students from other disciplines bring to the table. Most of them were business undergraduates and went into a straight (meaning little or no economics or finance) MBA. Its been advertising, marketing, PR, development, for six years now and they are actually embarrassed by their complete lack of experience with the rest of academics. One woman said to me "We didn't learn anything in our MBA program." And this is arguably the best one in the world. I believe it is in fact more of a kind of large scale ritual rather than an education, this business education. You go to the school to become networked with other peers from your socioeconomic group, to become groomed in the vocabulary and customs and rites of passage that support this group. With the exception of a few undergraduate seminar classes, you learn next to nothing of history, science, math, philo, or art. Nothing of knowledge for its own sake, where real creativity and innovation come from, but rather pre-digested non-knowledge, uncritical of itself and intolerant of outside criticisms, its sole job to maintain the status quo of exploitation. Am I exaggerating? Sure, but not a whole lot. The longer I live and work, I've come to see manager jobs as a form of pimp work, stressing their stable to generate maximum profits, groveling to those who stand above them, and cracking the whip at those below. Thats why I find examples of worker owned companies and such, not that they are perfect by any means, to be a hopeful sign of a possible future where people are empowered to manage their own work places. I especially love it when some Latin AMericans expropriate a factory and run its successfully on their own. They have so much to teach the US about social struggle. This is an important point, I should have said that the formal idea of hyper-individualism masks an insidious conformity as you describe. I was trying to be descriptive of the discourse I have heard used and not so much pointing to underlying relationships. To point back to my response right above, I think there are two things going on here. There is much steam expended on ideas that may be described as "hyper-individualistic" in US culture and if internalized by individuals could produce the notions that I have described above, i.e. I am responsible for myself, therefore I am responsible for my happiness, well being, etc. and no one else is. I have seen and heard this first hand throughout my adult life. I have argued with individuals who decry socialized health care because they don't want anyone telling them what doctor to go to, who don't get it that any doctor is generally better than no doctor at all and who also don't seem to mind being told what to do by their insurance companies. That is, if you HAVE insurance. Now, do all of these things mean that US or Western culture is really truly hyper individualistic? Not really. If it was, as you have pointed to, it would be a tougher horse to ride than it currently is. Instead, we have an illusion of individuality, of improved personal agency, but the reality is a rock hard cold reactionary conformity. We celebrate non-conformity and then sell it to you via I-Phones. We have concerts in honor of freedom brought to you by Sunoco. Sometimes it seems the perfect slave state, slaves who dance because they are allowed to celebrate their freedom.
  10. Im stunned too. That thing is awesome to behold.
  11. That advice is not only dumb from an artistic point of view, its just plain nuts. Ever hear of Death Metal, gangsta rap, goth-punk? All "down", all depressing, all wildly, wildly popular genres of pop music. Christ, has she ever heard of Morrissey, the man who makes you feel good about feeling bad about yourself? But I detect more than at work here than some silly lady who doesn't have a clue about the world around her. The notion that no one else wants to hear your pain, that "losers" get depressed, is a familiar line of B.S. in U.S. culture discourse. In the U.S., you are never doing bad, or facing obstacles, or beaten, you are getting ready to tackle a challenge or a series of challenges and you look forward to more challenges being heaped upon you. Its "UP UP UP!" and "THINK POSITIVE!" no matter what the facts are or how you really feel. And if you do not profess such an attitude, you get labeled as being "negative." God help you then. The "negative" label is a universal Scarlet Letter here, a code word for someone who has the gall to mention the naked emperor, to point out that things are not they way they should be. I'm not making an analytical argument here, just describing what I've experienced along with some random facts from cultural studies tossed in. U.S.ers are much more prone than our Euro counterparts to exaggerate/lie/fool ourselves about the well being of ourselves, our finances, our politics, and anything else. In a recent survey, don't ask me to find it, it was discovered that a majority of U.S.ers, when asked about how much debt they carry and how many assets they possess, are way way off the mark. They are trying to think things better, if I feel good the world must be good. Some self help "gurus" say this explicitly, my own sister professes this nonesense to me and chides me for "not thinking positively" enough. Its a really annoying fact of U.S. life, this idiotic "positive thinking" spiel. How else can you have a politician or celebrity tell a group of inner city children, deep in poverty and surrounded by racism, with a serious face that its all up to them, that a positive attitude will make them and a negative attitude will break them, that they must ignore all the very real things impacting their lives and "Just Do It!"? Heres a stab at some simplistic social theory but I believe that the "positive thinking" disease has at least some of its roots in our hyper-individualistic culture. If the individual is ultimately responsible for itself, as we are indoctrinated to believe from birth, then if that individual is unhappy or unsuccessful when they who can they blame? Why, only themselves. So I think people feel personally responsible for these problems and in an effort to preserve their own self image, they "happy-ize" everything, pretend its not that bad, point fingers at the person complaining and exclaim "Negativity!"
  12. Im not calling for a moratorium on kicking TDS around, in fact I think it serves a great purpose as a curriculum for NOT how to do things in terms of map making and gameplay elements and discussing it will help make better Mod FMs in the long run. But my language was pretty sarcastic at times in the past and I did not want to tweak anyone's nose again on this forum. Some people did make an effort to explain their end of things, but I agree that in the end if I've paid for it I have grounds to criticize it as I see fit.
  13. IIRC Its pretty simple but a nice touch. At the end, if you take the daughters body to the family crypt and frob her coffin or something, she is interred in her coffin and it gives you a bonus objective for the courtesy.
  14. Thats true, I should hold my tongue, I found this out the hard way on TTLG when after one of my TDS rants I found out I was talking with some of the people who worked on it, or who were at least listening in. There were some hurt feelings and now that I've begun to try to learn some stuff myself Im realizing how much work that game (any game) was. As I understand it, in simple terms, the suits ruined it, pushing for a consolized pile of junk to sell to kids to throw away after trying it once or twice. Which was after all a terrible business decision since a good game would have captured a dedicated audience and could have been cultivated into chapters like HL or something, but they went for quick and dirty.
  15. Did you know of the secret objective?
  16. This is insane, I keep getting a Problem Loading Page message. I've turned off my firewall and etc just to be sure but nothing. I can't win for losing this week.
  17. I've been looking to start with BLender but when I go to the DL site, I get error messages, both for the installer and for the zip package. ANyone know whats up?
  18. OB was a fantastic FM, one of the top five easily. But how did you manage to play the piano and use your keyboard at the same time?
  19. Another FM that hit this well was The night Falcon or whatever? by Christine IIRC. one of the setting was a vampires crypt, with the difficulty mod installed they could hear the slightest noise I made, which is how vampires should be anyway. Man, it took me like 2 hours just to get down the six flights of stairs to the crypt and then it took days to kill them all. I tried to ghost but instead I had to lure each one of them carefully back up the stairs and kill it separately. It was a lot of fun, but the dread I felt entering that stairwell was priceless.
  20. Wow, what an improvement they were then. The standard zombies in TDS were none sense, I seriously found the T1/2 zombies to be a lot scarier. The sounds they made reminded me of a chimpanzee with a head cold, this kind of snot nosed gurgling giggling sound, utterly unconvincing. I will say the puppets were scary the first time through but I never found the zombies that spooky.
  21. Ok I think I see where you are headed. Let me try something a little different, its not exactly what you are thinking of but consider it: The thief is hired to get a photograph of two important individuals together who should never be meeting, rival factions leaders or something who are scheming behind the backs of their respective organizations. An interested party needs proof and tells the Thief about the Inventors guild shop where this new fangled camera thingy is kept. They also know where the drop off site is for the messages between the two targets so you have a bit of inside info to work with. So now the thief must: 1. Break into the inventors shop, and steal the camera, which is bulky and carries the restrictions I mentioned in the last post. 2. Break into the HQ one of the two target individuals and steal the information from their message drop site about the time and location of their next meeting. This would also give a break from dragging the camera in time for... 3. Drag the camera to the meeting site and find a location where it can be set up as an ambush. Maybe this would be a good timed mission, you have fifteen minutes to drag the thing across the City to the small warehouse, find a suitable spot to set it up, then wait. When the targets enter the warehouse and are in position, the thief takes the photo. Or maybe it could be made much more difficult, perhaps the Thief would have to lure the men to a certain place or something, just enough noise to draw them to the position but not enough to give himself away. Then flash acts like a flashbulb, blinding the targets temporarily, giving the thief time to grab the plates and make for the door. Then he has to navigate the City back to his hideout to end this phase of the mission. 4. Back to the inventors for development, extra security in place now of course. The Thief would have to ghost his way in as any disturbance would never let him finish developing the pictures. Once they are done, he must make his way back out but need not bother ghosting. Maybe a different kind of developing that doesnt take hours and hours can be dreamed up for storyline purposes. 5. Meet with employer to hand over photos for cash, last minute double cross for twist.
  22. I forgot to mention, the stone tablet it BIG, thats why he can't just pinch it.
  23. Here is a storyline for consideration: The thief has been hired by a sorcerer to secure some important magical information from a rival. The information are a series of ancient glyphs set into a huge stone tablet that is secured in the second sorcerers castle. The first sorcerer doesn't need the tablet, just needs to see the glyphs to read them and thats enough. His rival has powerful magical shields blocking vision spells, divining pools, etc. so magic is not the answer here. So he consults with the thief and decides to hire him to do two things: One, break into a local inventors shop and steal this new fangled camera thingy. None of the magical shields can defend against a mechanical photo being taken and and cameras are so new that no one has taken them into consideration as a threat. The storyline would benefit from the different themes at conflict, old magic versus new tech. Two, sneak into the castle of the sorcerer with the tablet and take photo. After dragging the camera in, setting it up and snapping one picture, the thief merely grabs the plates or whatever, forgets the camera, and makes for the hills. If the flash does not attract attention, I would give the thief about a five minute lead before a scripted AI comes into the room to "discover" the camera and sounds the general alarm. Adding a bit of spice to the thiefs exit. Three, return to the inventors shop and develop the photos in their crude lab, of course this time the shop is crawling with security beasts and guards after the theft of the camera, so it would be a different experience. Four, return photos to the sorcerer who hired the thief, perhaps with some last minute double cross or something for a twist. I would propose making the camera actually heavy for the player to carry, when you have picked it up, you are restricted in that you cannot run, if you drop too far while carrying it it hurts you a bit, and that you are quite a bit slower/clumsy. Just a few simple things, nothing like exhaustion bars or anything, but it would really make the camera parts challenging and it would seem to add a bit of realism. You would have to scout ahead, take out AI or whatever, then go grab the damned camera to move it to the next point. This needn't go on forever, just on your way out of the inventors shop and into the sorcerers lair. Some sections with unbeatable AI would have to be carefully timed, creeping across a large floor with the camera, hearing the approaching footsteps, the shadows seem miles away....
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