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Nickname Scottish Martial Arts
Email Concealed by request - Send Mail
ICQ None given.
Description
Homepage http://
Signed On Jun 16, 2002, 23:16
Total Comments 2705 (Senior)
User ID 13410
 
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News Comments > Morning Safety Dance
7. Re: Morning Safety Dance Mar 29, 2013, 13:16 Scottish Martial Arts
 
I really dont understand by what you mean when you put work in parenthesis.

Because unless you work in public relations, or some other job where your primary contribution to the organization is communicating information, then time spent on email is not productive time, but instead the necessary evil you have to complete before you can be productive. Let's say you're a programmer: you're being productive when you are writing and debugging code. You're not being productive when you're reading about upcoming meetings or changes in organizational policy. Those are both pieces of information you need to have, so it's not as if the time is wasted, but if you spend the first 90 minutes of your work day reading and answering email, that's 90 minutes where you're not writing and debugging code, or whatever your primary job is.

Email can be an effective tool, but in my experience, in most organizations, it is a poorly utilized timesink that detracts from, rather than enhances productivity. Most studies on the productivity effects of email would back me up on this point.

When email communicates important information briefly, then it's a wonderful tool, but such email is pretty rare in my experience. As a result, most email does not actually enhance your ability to accomplish your primary job tasks. If you're going to maximize the productivity effects of email, then you need to get real good at deciding what's important enough to read, what's important enough to skim, what's important enough to (briefly) respond to, and what you can safely ignore. Unfortunately, most people can't do that, and they spend time on email far past the point of diminishing returns.
 
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News Comments > Morning Safety Dance
3. Re: Morning Safety Dance Mar 29, 2013, 11:09 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Not concerned at all about Napolitano's lack of email use. From what I heard when she revealed this in an interview a few days ago, it's not that she can't figure out how to use email, which would be VERY worrying, it's that she just thinks it's a near complete waste of time. Email can create a paper trail which is useful in many situations, but the telephone is faster, and without proper discipline, it becomes incredibly easy to "work" on your email all day, rather than actually get real work done. Looked at that way, I don't mind at all that she doesn't use it except when she absolutely has to.

edit: Read the article and it's fucking ridiculous. The author makes no distinction between technology that is useful and technology that is a distraction: you are either "into technology" or you are not. He's horrified that she doesn't tweet! One can be VERY technically inclined and yet recognize that most new technologies, particularly when we're using technology as a euphemism for social media applications, are complete wastes of time. I don't tweet, I don't use Facebook, I try to limit the amount of time I spend on internet fora (although their lure can be seductive, as this post illustrates), and I try to limit the amount of time I spend playing games (my biggest weakness). Despite that, I'm a hobbyist programmer who has made some open source contributions, and am currently teaching myself the computer engineering curriculum -- on data structures and algorithms, multivariable calculus, and electromagnetism at the moment --from my alma mater -- my degree is in Latin and Greek: turns out being able to read difficult, complex texts with interest and understanding without the aid of a teacher IS a useful skill! -- preparatory to changing careers into software development. In short, I'm pretty technically inclined, but according to this douchebag I shouldn't have any duties related to technology because I don't tweet.

This comment was edited on Mar 29, 2013, 11:30.
 
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News Comments > Op Ed
71. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 20:54 Scottish Martial Arts
 
So what do you suggest? People just cave into what the left wants and remove rights in line of "feeling good'? When you really break down the incidents that have happened recently, it ties far more into mental state of the nutbags performing these heinous acts than anything else. Yet there isn't a major outcry to look at ways to improve mental heath treatment so that these types of people don't continue to snap in the first place. Why is that? Is it because it's a far more complicated issue than just passing feel good happy bans on semi automatic guns?

That you seem to be equating "the public good" with "feeling good" says nothing complimentary about the sophistication of your political thought. With regard to mental health, any cursory glance of the headlines regarding the political response to Newtown would tell you that nearly every politician who has had something to say on this issue, has also been advocating for increased mental health services and mental health screening. If you know someone who has a lexisnexis subscription ask them to run a search over the past 90 days with the key words: Newtown AND "Mental Health". You'll quickly find that your assertion holds no water. Finally, the subset of the mentally ill which are violent is EXTREMELY small. While some mass shooters are mentally ill, the Aurora gunman comes to mind, some are not, the Columbine shooters or Anders Breivik come to mind there. While I certainly don't wish to suggest that we should ignore people's mental health needs, you shouldn't pretend that institutionalizing crazies will stop gun violence, just as Feinstein et al. shouldn't pretend that stopping the further sale of assault rifles and similar weapons will have a similar effect.

When it comes to mental health, mental "pathologies" are often nothing more than behaviors which run against societal norms, as opposed to something which has a physiological, measurable basis. We shouldn't assume that just because someone does something objectionable, even something monsterous, that the person in question hears voices, cannot restrain their mood, or is incapable of rational thought: some people make a rational choice to lash out at the world, and even if psychiatric diagnostics (which is mostly educated guesswork) had the accuracy of say diagnosing pneumonia, we still wouldn't be able to screen such people.

To be clear, my argument is not that banning assault rifles and similar weapons will stop gun violence. Rather, my contention is that even if one assumes that the 2nd Amendment's purpose is to place a check on tyrannical usurpers of the Republic -- rather than a measure which was intended to mollify enough anti-Federalists that the Constitution could even be ratified in the first place -- then the technology of war has sufficiently moved on from 1789 that the 2nd Amendment no longer provides that check.* I'm sorry but if usurpers seized control of the military/government and the rest of the world stood idly by, you would be a far more effective freedom fighter by using improvised explosives that you detonate from a distance. Any sort of effective resistance, even one fighting a purely assymetric war, would depend upon having mortars, machine guns, MANPADS, and antitank weapons, which, in order to acquire in the numbers you would need, would require the backing of a foreign power, much like how we backed the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan in the 80s. In other words, the check against tyranny will not come from your private gun collection: it will likely come from foreign covert intervention, supplying money, munitions, and special forces teams to train and lead those Americans willing to fight against the new tyrannical regime. So to reiterate, the 2nd Amendment may once have been a check against tyrannical ambitions, but it is no longer.

If the freedom to own weapons does not check the tyrannical tendencies of the government, then what good does it do? Well, the fact that many weapons do have civil applications -- namely personal defense, hunting, wildlife control, and sport -- suggests to me that restricting ownership of all firearms is going way too far. The question then becomes, which firearms have a civil application which provides benefits in excess of the costs of having such weapons freely available? To look at it another way, cars are extremely deadly pieces of machinery, but since they are freely available, we enjoy a degree of mobility that enhances are lives so much that the risk of being killed or maimed in a car accident is relatively insignificant in comparison. We should look at our gun laws the same way: does the benefits of having this weapon freely available outweigh the cost? Shotguns, for example, fulfill all of the aforementioned civil applications well, and yet are less effective at killing large numbers of people, so the benefits surely outweigh the costs, and as a consequence it only makes sense that people should be able to own shotguns. Assault rifles however, have only one civil application: sport shooting. Using an assault rifle for home defense is lunacy, as the rounds could overpenetrate through walls and hit loved ones, and a weapon that size would be difficult to maneuver in the cramped quarters of a house: an M1911 would do you far more good. Likewise, while an assault rifle can definitely kill a deer, deer hunters generally only get one good shot at the animal before it darts off into the forest, so an assault rifle has no real advantages over a traditional hunting rifle. Now, firing an M-16 on burst fire is a great deal of fun, and firing an AK-47 on full auto is even more fun, but if the best civil use an assault rifle can be put to use for is having fun at the rifle range, does that really serve a good which is greater than the costs which are incurred, namely that someone who so decides can easily kill large numbers of innocents, or even large numbers of responding police officers, before they themselves are killed? Granted, stopping the sale of assault rifles won't stop all future gun crimes involving assault rifles, but if it reduces such crime even a moderate amount, wouldn't that be worth being limited to shooting an M-1 or M1903 when you go to the rifle range for recreation?

This is all just stuff to consider. Although we must remain a nation of laws, and respect the rule of law, we must not let blind adherence to existing laws stop us from considering what is actually best for our society, otherwise how would our society ever get better? Sometimes laws need to be changed, and if the 2nd Amendment truly can only be interpreted as an unlimited right to own whatever weapons system you wish, then perhaps its a law which has outlived its service to the public good.

*Consider that in a US Army Light Infantry Rifle company, the M-16 assault rifle/M-4 Carbine is the LOWEST casualty producing weapon system. If a rag tag bunch of tyranny resisters equipped with second hand AK-47s and AR-15s is going to be completely outgunned by unsupported light infantry, imagine what would happen once you bring a full mechanized combined arms combat team to bear.
 
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News Comments > Op Ed
23. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 09:41 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Azusa wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 02:50:
Scottish Martial Arts wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 02:21:
I won't engage in a discussion of 'civil applications'. The 2nd amendment isn't about civil applications, it's about resisting a militia/army that has usurped government from the people. Nothing civil about it.

Fair enough about moving the goal posts, but I could likewise charge that you're splitting hairs: the point is that there is a whole hell of a lot of military hardware, hardware that would be ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to resisting a tyrannical government/military, that you cannot get and will never get. As such, the second Amendment's ability to actually protect citizens from tyranny is extremely limited -- the technology of war has become so complex and so expensive, that the best that a man with only a rifle in his hand and an idea in his head can do is hide in the hills and be a gadfly by occasionally detonating a car bomb.

I'm not against freedom: I think gun laws should be as lax as is conducive to the public good. But I am not convinced that assault rifles serve a civilian purpose, and thus I think the net utility of assault rifles is to the detriment of the public good. Whether banning them is constitutional, I cannot say for certain -- although we did have such a ban for over a decade and the Supreme Court never, to my knowledge, struck it down -- but purely on the basis of public policy, separate from constitutional law, I think we lose more than we gain by having assault rifles, sub-machine guns, machine guns, et al. freely available.
 
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News Comments > Op Ed
19. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 02:21 Scottish Martial Arts
 
It's not against federal law, or the laws of most states, to own a rocket launcher.

A MLRS is not a rocket launcher -- it is self-propelled rocket artillery piece built off the M113 chasis: I'm pretty damn sure you can't go buy an operational MLRS + ammunition carrier + ammunition at the local gun show. An MLRS is colloquially known in the Army as a grid-square remover as it can be fired to kill every soft target in a 1km x 1km area, which happens to be the size of a grid square on a Mercator Grid Reference System map, which is the kind the US Army uses. As far as I know, you can't go buy one. Likewise you can't go buy an A-10 Warthog. You can go buy P-51 Mustang, but guess what? You'll be flying sans the battery of 6 Browning M2 .50 machine guns. Your right to bear arms, a well regulated militia being necessary to a free state, is not sacrosanct. There are already restrictions on it that have passed constitutional muster. Whether an assault weapons ban will pass constitutional muster is beyond my expertise: I'm not a constitutional lawyer. I can say however, after have used an assault rifle extensively, and having fired one in anger on more than one occasion, that they have about as many civil applications as the aforementioned MLRS.

I'd respond to the rest of your points, but I just got home from work, still have some personal work that I want to get done before I get to sleep, and I have to be back at work tomorrow at 7:00am. This supposed pinko commie, who's never known an honest days work or even knows which way to point a rifle, let alone having worn the uniform the US Army, has too much shit to do to waste time "discussing" politics on the interwebs.``
 
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News Comments > Op Ed
9. Re: Op Ed Mar 18, 2013, 16:32 Scottish Martial Arts
 
RollinThundr wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 14:56:
snip

RollinThundr, meet Strawman. Strawman, meet Rollinthundr.

Unsurprising that you resort to wild misrepresentation of opposing positions, when your opening gambit in this little tiff was that someone, who thinks blaming video games for gun violence is stupid, must hate the Constitution.

Oh wise and wonderful Constitution lover, wherefore the illegality of you owning a Multiple Launch Rocket System if your right to bear arms is sacrosanct? Wherefore a ban on child pornography if your freedom of speech and expression is similarly sacrosanct? Wherefore Christmas as a national holiday if "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"? Wherefore the capacity to amend the Constitution if it is as infallible as the word of God?

Could it possibly be that there are reasonable limits to freedoms, even those guaranteed by the Bill of Rights? Could it possibly be that the Constitution was written by mortal men, who are prone to error and misjudgement? Could it possibly be that, although the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, there is not just one way to interpret and implement its provisions?
 
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News Comments > etc., etc.
3. Re: etc., etc. Mar 15, 2013, 01:15 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Every Jeremy Soule track sounds exactly the same -- I swear to god that he cut from his NWN1 tracks and pasted them into Skyrim. Why would I want to fund an album when I can hear the same old shit in every fantasy RPG made since Icewind Dale?  
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News Comments > New Thief's New Garrett Profiled
10. Re: New Thief's New Garrett Profiled Mar 14, 2013, 13:10 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Well this is a major "what the fuck?".

Eyeshadow? Facemask? Skinny? Garrett wasn't a fearless, hulking he-man by any stretch, but an effeminate, goth-ninja is not the first thing I think of. I mean putting aside whether or not it fits the character, the artwork simply looks stupid and tasteless. I guess the game itself could still be fun, but this is not an encouraging sign for those who loved both the gameplay of Thief (which is matchless to this day) AND the world of Thief (which most definitely did not feature a generic, brooding, console game protagonist).
 
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News Comments > Game Reviews
5. Re: Game Reviews Mar 13, 2013, 20:53 Scottish Martial Arts
 
InBlack wrote on Mar 13, 2013, 09:52:
I actually liked the story of SCII, but now that I hear the expansion is a big bag of cliches.....ugh.....

No more so than the WoL, which admittedly was filled with cliches, but if you enjoyed WoL then you should like the expansion. In fact, I would say they've tightened up the narrative a bit in terms of providing narrative momentum: WoL often felt a bit meandering with all the various mission paths, many of which felt unconnected to any sort of larger goal than "be a rebel." In comparison, by the end of mission 2 of the expansion, you have a clear narrative frame in which to place subsequent events and which motivate you see how the story unfolds, even if much of the dialogue is pretty boilerplate bad scifi. I'm only a third of the way through though -- about to start playing again now that I'm home from work -- so maybe it loses steam later on, but for now I'm very pleased.
 
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
26. Re: Ships Ahoy - StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Mar 12, 2013, 13:18 Scottish Martial Arts
 
SpectralMeat wrote on Mar 12, 2013, 12:43:
So I was trying to see what this expansion pack costs, I have to log into my Blizzard account for that. Since I have not played SC2 for a long time I forgot my password. Resetting password, got the e-mail with the confirmation link. Click on the link everything is fine, try to log in again with the new pw, Blizzard locked my account for suspicious activity.
I never though checking a price on something is going to be this fucking difficult.

The game is $39.99USD in the US. Not sure about the rest of the world though.

I played through the first mission before going into work this morning, and definitely liked what I saw. Nothing much is going on at work today -- mostly today I'm just a warm body so that management can say that someone is on duty if anything happens -- so I'm trying to get SC2 up and running in WINE on my Linux laptop.
 
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News Comments > Deus Ex Domains Spied
5. Re: Deus Ex Domains Spied Mar 6, 2013, 00:16 Scottish Martial Arts
 
So it might be about these things. I expected DXHR to cover the formation of the NSF actually.

Same here. DXHR was quite good, but the gameworld and narrative felt only tangentially related to that of DX1. Sure, there were a few throw away name drops to Joseph Manderley here, Illuminati there, but if you got rid of those token references, the game would be pretty unrecognizable as DX. That isn't necessarily a bad thing: the game stood pretty well on its own, aside from the fact that the story starts promising but quickly goes no where interesting in the second act, and then falls apart by the end (zombies? really?). But really, DXHR was a Deus Ex game primarily because of it's game mechanic similarities, not because it meshed well with the feel of the original game.
 
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - Call of Duty: Black Ops II - Revolution
9. Re: Ships Ahoy - Call of Duty: Black Ops II - Revolution Feb 28, 2013, 23:15 Scottish Martial Arts
 
I was always under the impression that the cool kids referred to Treyarch's entries as Call of Duty: Black Cocks.  
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News Comments > Wargame: AirLand Battle Website
1. Re: Wargame: AirLand Battle Website Feb 16, 2013, 16:31 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Hey Blue,

AirLand Battle refers to the joint mechanized doctrine adopted by the US Army and US Air Force during the 80s in preparation for a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. The gist of it was that the Army, which would be HEAVILY outnumbered by the Soviets, would conduct a highly mobile defense, directing a constant stream of small counter attacks against the flanks of the Soviet line of advance at the tactical level. Based upon John Boyd's OODA Loop theory, this was meant not to defeat the Soviet Army in the field, so much as to generate a constant stream of annoyances that the Soviet command structure would have to recognize, interpret, and respond to, thus slowing down their ability to act with any degree of decision. Meanwhile, the Air Force, which was expected to maintain relative air superiority, would be directing it's main effort towards Battlefield Air Interdiction, a fancy term that refers to targeting and destroying all the supply convoys, reinforcements, trains, etc. that would be moving from the enemy's rear towards the front in order to reinforce and sustain the main advance.

The idea of all of this was to so paralyze the Soviets ability to make decisions, thus so slowing them down, that NATO would have the time necessary to fully mobilize all of its reserves, and present the Soviets with an unwinnable conflict, forcing them to sue for peace.

That, in a nutshell, is AirLand Battle, at least the conventional side of it. There was also heavy integration of Special Operations forces, and considerable planning with regard to WMDs -- the Soviets would certainly use chemical weapons, so it was assumed that all of this would be conducted in a MOPPS (Mission Oriented Protective Posture Suit --the acronym for the field NBC warfare suits, gasmasks and equipment worn by the Army) environment, and if they escalated to nukes, then we would have done so as well.
 
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News Comments > On Sale
3. Re: On Sale Feb 16, 2013, 02:20 Scottish Martial Arts
 
I was checking out what was going on with Banner Saga the other day when they mentioned King of Dragon Pass. Now I must admit I do not recall this game at all. Did anyone here ever play it, because it sounds pretty amazing and I'll be glad to grab it off GOG if it's worthwhile.

I haven't played it myself, but I have a friend who swears by it. It's supposed to be very difficult.
 
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News Comments > StarCraft II Patch Plans
26. Re: StarCraft II Patch Plans Feb 15, 2013, 20:39 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Dades wrote on Feb 15, 2013, 18:09:
Hey look, the Blizzard defense force is back just in time for another expansion release, what a surprise. Time to fight the good fight for his favorite company!

I explicitly stated that there are plenty of perfectly valid reasons to hate on modern ActiBlizzard. Releasing two expansion packs for the full-length Starcraft 2 isn't one of them however.

Would it have meant more value to me had Blizzard released Starcraft 2 with 80+ campaign missions spread across three chapters, one for each race? Absolutely. I also recognize that that amount of single player content isn't feasible, and had it actually come to fruition, then Starcraft 2 would have been the longest RTS ever made by a wide margin. Since that isn't a realistic expectation, there were essentially two routes Blizzard could have gone: a initial campaign offering of 25-30 missions focusing on one race, or an initial campaign offering of 3 campaigns, one for each race, each between 8 and 10 missions long.

That Starcraft 2 would get expansions, and that those expansions would continue the story, is a given. In fact, had Starcraft 2 not received any expansions, people would be bitching that Blizzard wasn't supporting the game with new content, so the fact that you have to buy three SKUs to see the whole story isn't a valid complaint. Again, see the Wing Commander example from my previous post, which shows that using expansions to complete the storyline isn't anything new or dickish.

Blizzard certainly could have chosen to launch with three 8-10 mission campaigns for each race, and then released expansion packs with similar amounts of content that continued the story. They elected to launch with a single campaign for one race that had 25+ missions, and then to add campaigns of similar length in subsequent expansions, one for each of the other two races. Just as releasing expansions to finish the story isn't new, launching an RTS with multiple races but only a single campaign for one of those races isn't new either: see nearly every Relic RTS ever made, a list which includes some of the best RTSs around. One can certainly argue that you would prefer a campaign for each race -- albeit each campaign being only one third as long -- at launch. What one cannot reasonably argue is that Blizzard shorted everyone on launch content in order to sell expansion packs: WoL shipped with a campaign that was of the same length as SC1's three campaigns put together, and a far longer campaign than what was in, say, Homeworld or Dawn of War.

The fact that you all are interpreting such arguments as "sucking Blizzard's dick" and being a member of the "Blizzard defense force", says a lot more about you than it does about me. Honestly, Blizzard is engaging in pretty shitty business practices as of late, and I am no longer the fan I once was, but let's focus on the REAL shitty business practices (always-on DRM, pay-real-money-to-win Auction House), rather than imagining fake ones (shorting us on content to sell expansion packs by shipping a... long, full-length single-player game) in order to gratify and justify our own senses of outrage and disappointment at what Blizzard has become.
 
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News Comments > StarCraft II Patch Plans
18. Re: StarCraft II Patch Plans Feb 15, 2013, 15:43 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Dude. Splitting the single player campaign into 3 separate entities separated by nearly 3 year delay and charging 40 bucks for it is hardly a "pay once to play everything" solution.

"Dude", we're still having this retarded argument? Announcing plans for two expansions in advance is hardly splitting up the content. WoL had a full length 25+ mission campaign. Had WoL been 9 missions long, and subsequent expansions been 9 missions long, then you might have a point. But delivering a full games worth of content, with the caveat that the story will conclude in the expansions, is hardly new or exploitative. In fact, it's been the case for pretty much every commercially successful PC game since the early 90s and the advent of expansion packs to begin with. For example, the Wing Commander 1 (released 1990) storyline wasn't complete until you played through Secret Missions 1 and 2, but the content that shipped in the base game was by no means any less than a full game's worth. Same deal with Starcraft 2.

And the complaint that not every playable race gets its own campaign in the initial release? That's been fairly common with RTS titles since at least 1997 when Age of Empires released with 12 civilizations but only 4 campaigns. People seem not have minded so long as the campaigns that do ship have enough content to justify full retail price.

There is so much legitimate bullshit that Blizzard does these days to complain about, that it is utterly absurd to be bitching about Blizzard using expansion packs as subsequent chapters in one continuous story as if that's something new or egregious.
 
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News Comments > Tribes Ascend Game of the Year Edition
15. Re: Tribes Ascend Game of the Year Edition Feb 15, 2013, 03:30 Scottish Martial Arts
 
"Game of the Year" is meaningless and needs to go away.

Seriously. The first time it ever showed up was in a 1999 repackaging of Half-Life 1 with Team Fortress Classic. In that case, Half-Life had won something like 60+ game of the year awards, and it unanimously was the "game of the year", hence the clever bit of marketing to call it the GotY Edition, rather than a Gold Edition, or something like that. Since then, however, if a game wins a single award, no matter how minor the award, nor how irrelevant the awarding publication, then it gets repackaged and called the Game of the Year Edition.
 
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News Comments > Linux Half-Life and Counter-Strike Released
3. Re: Linux Half-Life and Counter-Strike Released Feb 11, 2013, 22:32 Scottish Martial Arts
 
I noticed Creston had HL2 achievements the other day - when were those added?

Two or three years ago. The achievements were originally from the XBox version of the Orange Box, and a few years after release they added them in to the PC versions of HL2 and Episode 1.
 
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News Comments > On Sale
4. Re: On Sale Feb 7, 2013, 14:30 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Just a heads-up on Take-on Helicopters: the flight model is VERY incomplete. Dissymmetry of lift, retreating blade stall, vortex-ring state (settling with power): all that stuff, plus others, isn't in the flight model. While flight models are always the least accurate and most abstracted element of a flight simulation, BIS really did not make much of an effort to simulate helicopter flight.  
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News Comments > TTimo: id "Lost Interest Towards the PC"
6. Re: TTimo: id Feb 6, 2013, 00:29 Scottish Martial Arts
 
You must be crazy or blind, because RAGE is one of the best looking games of all time, on console or PC.

I don't know about "all time" but it's definitely a good looking game. Screenshots don't do it justice: it has to be seen in motion. All in all, I quite enjoyed Rage. Perhaps it was because I went into it with zero expectations and had only spent 5 dollars on it in a Steam sale, but I found it quite enjoyable. It could have used an actual storyline, but otherwise I had no real complaints.
 
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2705 Comments. 136 pages. Viewing page 13.
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