Video games and violence.

This topic has always depressed the heck out of me. I've played plenty of violent video games, and all I hear about them is that they somehow "cause" people to go do stupid things like shoot up their schools. How exactly does that work? These games don't teach you how to do anything other than use a mouse or gamepad to aim, and they certainly don't show you where to buy or make weapons. There's a cognitive disconnection in making that assumption; a distinct reality gap that's being consciously overlooked.

So, much to my pleasure, I ran across this blog entry (pops, originally from SlashDot). It's written by a psychiatrist, and is a summary of a study done by a psychologist and a sociologist which shows that video games do not lead to violence. They point out that, especially for boys, video games are social activities (and as such, should - in moderation - be encouraged). They do admit that people who already have a tendency towards violence or aggression may be drawn to violent games, and that those may affect them adversely, but that is a far cry from the "causation" that people want to believe.

It's just not there, no matter how much you want to believe it. It's not as simple as that. For children, ultimately the responsiblity lies with (*gasp*) the parents! Did you know that the ratings on video games are put there - voluntarily - by the video game industry? And hey, guess what, they're there for a reason! A game rated "M" (mature) for sexual and violent content is not for kids. If your kids have them, there's a problem - and it's your problem for letting them get a copy.

People should not expect politicians to legislate this away somehow. Laws that impose penalties for selling games to minors aren't very effective, for the simple reason that the minimum-wage people who are selling them often simply don't care. Similar laws have done very little to curb underage drinking, for the exact same reason. Warning labels, which are the latest measure proposed, worked so well on music CD's and cigarette packs, didn't they? All these things are is feel-good measures, that let people suffer the illusion that they are somehow doing something to help, when ultimately, there's nothing that can do on a large-scale level.

If you really want to stop random violence, stop trying to blame video games and other red herrings. Look at the real questions - how are people getting access to the weapons? (gun show loopholes, lax firearm registration, etc.) What sorts of things really drive people to that sort of rage? (bullying, mental illness, etc.)

Now, if you'll pardon me, I'm waiting for my World of Warcraft server to come back up.

Swiped from zanthess

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The election is over.

I'm sure plenty of people have lots to say about how it was and wasn't won, but I personally have something slightly different to say.

Thank you, Senator McCain. Nothing becomes your campaign like the way you left it. No fussing around with recounts or court cases. You bowed out graciously when the results became clear, and you told all your supporters - even cutting across the boos - to stand by Obama, because he is going to be the next President. History will remember you for many things, but the one thing that I will remember you for is you being a gracious loser.

Hopefully, people across the nation will listen to what you said. Barack Obama is the next President of the United States, and we all need to get behind him, regardless of how you feel about his politics. As the saying goes, we aren't out of the woods yet - there's still economic and military troubles all over the world that need to be dealt with. The nation has chosen what it believes is the best Executive for handling that, so it's time to toss aside party differences and get to work on making this a stable and productive nation again.

That is all.
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    Black Sabbath - The Mob Rules [Mob Rules]

I have to plug these guys...

Good Old Games is a web-based computer game purchase place, and every single game they sell is completely free of draconian DRM. Buy it, download it, play it as much as you want. They have some great classics like the entire Fallout series, Descent, Shogo: MAD, MDK 2, and lots more - all for under $10. If I didn't already have most of those games, I would totally be getting copies.


So with the wonderfully cool fall weather, I'm starting to have a craving for warm things for meals. So I took a few biscuit recipes from around the 'Net, and as is my normal style, I tweaked and modified them. Extremely successful so far.

The Base:
  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening, such as Crisco

  • dash salt

  • dash granulated sugar

  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 F. Mix dry ingredients well in a large mixing bowl, then cut in shortening. Stir in milk until completely mixed. For best results, use warm milk (simmering it in a saucepan on the stove works quite well). You may optionally knead out the dough gently 15-20 times on a flat board, lightly sprinkled with flour, or you may simply choose to make drop-style biscuits (I prefer the latter).

Either knead and cut biscuits using your preferred method or drop them directly onto a lightly-greased baking implement. Makes about 6 cut biscuits, 12 large drop biscuits, or 18 small drop biscuits. Bake for 14-18 minutes, depending on the size of your biscuits (smaller ones will require less time).

Variation 1 - Garlic and Herb
When warming the milk, mix in some fresh garlic or garlic powder, to taste. Also add various herbs to the dry mixture. Garlic powder, cilantro, sweet basil, thyme, and sage all work quite well, from my experience. No further changes necessary. This will give you a nice herb taste to the biscuits, which makes them better as a side for a full dinner.

Variation 2 - Chocolate!
Add 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1/4 cup sugar to the milk while warming. To the dry mixture, add 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup sugar, and decrease flour to 1 1/2 cups. You may optionally sprinkle the biscuits before baking with granulated sugar for a nice carmelized effect.

More variations as I come up with them. The chocolate ones are baking now... yum!

Oh, and I'm going to start using tags now, for what that's worth.
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