Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Random questions

1. We're going to be reprinting A THRONE OF BONES for re-release before AODAL BOOK 2 comes out. Markku prefers casewrap, which is more durable, where the image is printed directly onto the hardcover. The reason the mainstream publishers use dustjackets is because the retailers prefer them. Since these are being produced for direct order, is there a strong preference for one versus the other? The problem, of course, is that the original Marcher Lord hardcover was printed with a dustjacket. Anyhow, if you're planning on buying a hardcover, please let me know your opinion. If you're planning on buying the ebook, go ahead and say so, but please stay out of the case vs dust discussion.

2. AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND by John C. Wright will be published in hardcover with a dustjacket. It will be available very soon. As, we hope, will the excellent ONE BRIGHT STAR TO GUIDE THEM ebook.

3. The pair of ads on the right sidebar are a test that will last until tomorrow. If the ad company makes me a decent offer as a result, I'll consider keeping them. On a scale of $100 to $10,000 per month, how annoying are they? By which I mean, at which point would you say I should ignore your opinion about how annoying they are.

4. As usual, I have been tardy with the VPFL stuff. Please get your keepers in right away. You get to keep three, but you don't have to keep any. Draft is Sunday, August 31, 2014, 3:00 pm. Get your keepers in by Saturday.


Show some sense, people

Perhaps the only thing dumber than letting a nine year-old girl fire a gun on full auto is the idea that a ludicrously ill-considered training accident will lead Americans to embrace gun control:
A nine-year-old girl has accidentally shot dead a shooting instructor who was teaching her how to use a powerful Uzi submachine gun. Charles Vacca was showing the unnamed youngster how to fire the weapon at the Last Stop outdoor shooting range in the Mohave Desert in White Hills, Arizona, when the gun recoiled as she pulled the trigger.

In a statement, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said the 39-year-old was hit in the head by a stray bullet as the Israeli-made Uzi kicked back. He was airlifted to the University Medical Centre in Las Vegas, where he was later pronounced dead.

A video released by the police showed the slender girl with a ponytail and wearing pink shorts being instructed in how to aim the gun by Vacca.
I'm just glad that it was the idiot instructor who was killed and not the girl, as was the case in a similar incident a few years ago. I'm not a professional firearms instructor and I understand that guns kick. No one with zero to moderate firearms experience should fire a weapon on full auto, and certainly no child who isn't going to be physically able to control the tendency of the weapon to rise.

Weapons deserve respect and demand common sense. And handing a loaded, fully automatic Uzi to a little girl demonstrates the precise opposite of both. It's a remarkably stupid and unnecessary tragedy.


On the sweetness of ankles

I have to admit, just when I think the old Fowl Atheist has bottomed out, (the last time he managed to publicly demonstrate his embarrassingly poor grasp on human genetics), he manages to dig himself in deeper. It is vastly amusing that he didn't even hesitate to plunge right into this one. Remember when he didn't want to debate me because it would be punching down? Now Richard Dawkins's former fartsniffer and failed successor is so desperate to be relevant again that he's swinging wildly at shadows:
Wait, what? I did a search; no, neither Vox Day nor Theodore Beale have published anything in Nature, or any other science journal, and they also haven’t been cited anywhere in the scientific literature. Weird. How can he make this claim?

As it turns out, his claim is so tenuous and absurd that you have to laugh.

Here is his ‘hypothesis’, which is his: Religion doesn’t cause wars. He said this in his blog, and he also says it in his self-published ‘I hate atheists’ book, both of which hardly anyone reads, and which aren’t exactly popular with scientists.

However, he now claims that anyone anywhere who even says something vaguely like that (for instance, Scott Atran, who has argued that religion is not the primary causative agent in terrorism), is “citing” him, even if they don’t mention his name or his source, or explicitly acknowledge other sources. It’s all him. It is entirely his idea. It’s not as if people have been making excuses to exonerate religion from all blame for centuries, it was his idea.
As we have learned to expect from him, PZ can't even get the simplest facts right.
  1. The Irrational Atheist is not self-published. It has never been self-published. I'm sure Glen Yeffeth, who is an atheist himself, and all the good people at Ben Bella books will very much appreciate the attempted insult. I say attempted insult because anyone who isn't locked into the dying publishing model recognizes that independent publishing is not merely the future, it is the now. As for hardly anyone reading it, it's still selling well enough that when I asked Glenn if I could have the rights back so that Castalia could sell it, he laughed and told me no.
  2. Scott Atran and others are, in fact, citing me, whether they realize it or not. It is very easy to prove it. They are taking it from this Wikipedia page, which took it from a Christian site which took it from TIA. The reason I know this is that the numbers that everyone is citing are not the numbers that appear in the Encylopedia of Wars. As it happens, no such numbers appear in the encyclopedia at all. They are the numbers that I used the encyclopedia to calculate and appeared in The Irrational Atheist.
  3. It is all me, as it happens. It was an entirely original idea, as evidenced by my 2004 WND column published prior to the publication of the encyclopedia, entitled God, George Bush, and War. The metric for disproving the hitherto common atheist claim, a claim that some atheists still make today, is obvious only in retrospect. Nor, as it happens, is it the only way to disprove the mistaken idea that religion causes war, as I came up with another metric that works equally well, but is less numerically quantifiable, which is why it was not cited by Wikipedia, Atran, and others.
  4. It's not an excuse. The fact that religion does not cause most war is a historical fact of military history, of which PZ is obviously ignorant.
  5. You don't hear much about religion causing war anymore. Not even PZ is dumb enough to try to directly push the canard. You don't hear much about the Red State argument anymore either. In both cases, TIA is why.
It's a bit ironic that PZ is so intent on claiming that I am not a scientist, when he was the original inspiration for my hypothesis, successfully tested in a study by Boston University scientists, that atheists are not neurotypical and that there is a positive correlation between atheism and autism.

This shabby attempt by PZ to deny historical reality, by the way, is one reason I make a habit of including some very minor information that is original, such as the "k"s in Psykosonik, in most things that I do. Doing so makes it very easy for me to see who is actually getting their information from me and who is not, regardless of what they pretend. I don't usually bother to point it out, as the important thing is the propagation of the information, not the credit. But I always know.

Petty little anklebiters like PZ don't bother me in the slightest. After 13 years of them nibbling at my ankles, I'd probably find the sensation unsettling if they ever stopped.

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Hope for Norway

A proud Norwegian sent me this. I cannot vouch for it, but it is funny. And perhaps even encouraging:
In the U.S. Marines, doing a mock war in the Norwegian city of Trondheim with the Dutch, Germans and other allies, training in urban combat. My infantry unit was positioned in a large soccer field next to an elementary school. Keep in mind there was no actual combat, even simulated; it was mostly just practicing maneuvers and tactics. But we still looked out of place with weapons and gear, etc. It's February. In Norway. Cold as hell. Snow up to our knees. Norway obviously has no snow days, so the kids were all in school.

Anyway, so Norway has this most delicious and amazing delicacy, I have no idea what it's called, but it's basically a bacon-wrapped hot dog; we just assumed it was called Candy of the Lord. As Americans we were naturally and instantly addicted. You find them at gas stations, and there just happened to be one on the other side of the school where we were camped. A few of my fellow Marines and I requested permission to go to the gas station and we set out on our way.

We made it to right about where the main entrance of the school was, and the doors opened; school was out. There were only a few kids, probably 6 or 7 years old. Lots of talking and laughing. Gawking at us as we walked by, with our guns and huge ridiculous snow suits. One precocious little guy made shooting noises at us. We made shooting noises back.

And then someone in my group. I don't know who. God help me I don't know who...

Someone threw a snowball and hit a little girl in the leg.

And those little Norwegian children unleashed hell.

There was a shrill cry in unintelligible gibberish and the doors to the school burst open. School children flooded out like a never-ending flood of something that never ends. Screeching, smiling, sprinting - how the hell were they sprinting?? - little bastards were slinging snowballs faster than the laws of physics should allow. It was like that movie Elf. If you can imagine riding in a fast car in a snowstorm and sticking your head out the window. Now imagine the snowflakes that are hitting your face are the size of snowballs. We couldn't see a damn thing. We couldn't run. We could barely breathe. Holy hell....

We tried to return fire and threw one, maybe two half-packed, crappy snowballs that fell apart in the air, arms flailing like limp-wristed fairies. I am from Texas. We were a unit stationed in North Carolina. We were so outmatched and out of our element, it only made them laugh harder. We were cut off from our main forces. We tried to perform a flanking maneuver but they were too fast. I think some of them were throwing rocks!

As for my comrades. I could see them speed waddling in their huge suits back to camp like a messed up pair of white Teletubbies, under withering fire. Screw tactics, screw me, screw the Candy of the Lord, this was survival! I was the slow one in the group. My snow boots were too big but they were the smallest size they had at Issue goddammit!! My Marines had left me behind.

I tried pulling my hood over my head and keeping my head down. No longer content to pelt my defenseless body with ballistic snow, the enemy swarmed me and dragged me down, cackling like a pack of hyenas descending on a wildebeest. I tried to sling them off by spinning. I came out of one of my boots and fell. I began to scream and plead for them to stop but they neither understood nor gave a single Nordic damn. They literally pinned me down with about five kids on each limb. It was then that I actually thought - oh sh*t. I'm really in trouble. My snow-mittens were ripped off and flung into trees. They started shoving snow down my suit. Have you ever had anyone drop an ice cube down your shirt?

Well now imagine someone shoveling handfuls of ice cubes down your shirt. It literally shocked the breath out of my body.

They left me laying like a Family Guy accident victim. Moaning and screaming in the cold. Rifle packed with snow and dirt. Boot buried somewhere. They ran away laughing, jabbering in their crazy language. I lay there trying to figure out just what in the great American hell had happened."

Never underestimate the power of swarming kids.
The sons and daughters of Norway didn't fear to take on the Nazis and the U.S. Marines. I doubt they will lay prostrate before the invaders from the Umma for much longer. The multicultural wall is beginning to crack:
Norway has become the latest country to consider stripping citizenship from extremists who travel abroad to fight jihad. The government said it was important to send 'a strong signal' to people thinking about leaving the country to join terror groups.
Jihad-tourists won't be the only non-Norwegians stripped of their Norwegian citizenship. That's all that the government is willing to say yet. The important thing is that people are finally understanding that nations are fundamentally based in the genes, not the paperwork or the geographical location. This isn't to say that some form of integration isn't possible, but it is impossible so long as any previous connections are maintained and it is a process that takes generations, not years.

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A female dev on the Quinn debacle

Gabriela Knight points out that the actual bias in the petty game development scene is very different than the anti-female one highlighted by the SJWs who have infiltrated the independent games media and are trying to save the near-nonexistent career of alleged indie games whore Zoe Quinn (or, apparently, Chelsea van Valkenburg):
 I’m a female indie dev. I’ve done art on about half a dozen games, one of which was moderately successful. I’ve had varying degrees of interaction with the journalists and developers involved in the latest controversy du jour, as well as many others who are part of this culture in ways that have not been publicized but are far more insidious than Zoe Quinn sleeping with people for publicity. I was raised religious and hold fairly conservative views politically (I feel I should declare my biases ahead of time). This is as much personal detail as I am willing to share. I wish I had the kind of courage to speak openly about this as a few others have dared to, but I simply don’t...

Despite (or rather because of) all of the pontificating by left-leaning social justice types in the game industry about oppression, the easiest way for talentless hacks to break into the indie gaming industry is to associate with the sort of hipster liberal types that are getting all the publicity for their oppression. And worse yet, they get in over people with actual skills. I had a friend in college who was an amazing 3d modeler trying to break into the industry. She was turned down repeatedly and had to settle at a shitty mobile game company making cow clickers that no one cared about. Meanwhile Zoe Quinn is able to get hired by Loveshack solely because of who she knows (and sleeps with). But this isn’t about Zoe, her scandal is just a microcosm of the widespread corruption and nepotism in this industry. Another example is when the IGF allowed Fez to re-enter the competition (even though it had been there before) just because of Phil Fish’s connections to the festival organizers. These are not isolated incidents, and one need only look at the unprofessional interactions between journalists and devs on social media, at cons, and elsewhere to see that any semblance of professional barriers between these people don’t exist. It’s already apparent from their interactions that they form a very strong clique.

To be part of this scene while holding the religious and political views that I do is very difficult. I generally keep it close to my chest because the few times I’ve said even simple things like “I can’t make it to the thing on Sunday because I’m going to church” had led to all sorts of derision and mockery by other people in the industry. I shudder to imagine the blowback from their clique if I told them about how I voted yes on Prop 8. Just look at the way Doug TenNapel’s Kickstarter was lambasted by people in the industry (led by Ben Kuchera) because he dared to have a (non-liberal) political opinion. The creator of Earthworm Jim was only barely able to reach his Kickstarter goal, which was relatively modest compared to most of the others I’ve seen. This is just one example of how only those who toe the social justice line are allowed by the press and the devs’ clique. Even those who just try to keep quiet and uninvolved are often called out for not doing enough, or being a poor “ally.” To succeed in this industry you have to meet the standards of this clique, when it should be about meeting the standards of gamers. But when it’s impossible to get any publicity or work without meeting the standards of these self-fellating sycophants, that’s near impossible.

Women And Gaming

Let’s be completely honest: most women don’t play Quake III. Most of those few women like me who actually like first person shooters, grand strategy, space sims, and all those other genres that make up “core” gaming don’t care if they can play as a female protagonist, or if the girls are wearing skimpy outfits, or if you have to rescue the princess. They like the exact same things as men who like those games, and they just want good games, nothing more nothing less. And most of them feel that all this rambling on about representation is distracting from the real issue: big developers and publishers are making shitty games for mass appeal instead of the kind of awesome games we played growing up. When you distract from that to rant about what is literally imaginary misogyny you’re hurting women like me who just want good games.
Notice that it's all the same lunacy that we've seen in the SFWA, only not quite as out of control because there are more barriers to entry. Quinn-van Valkenberg tends to remind one of a female John Scalzi, albeit with less talent for self-promotion. Game development is hard work and requires some logical thinking as well; it's not just a simple case of scribbling a few short stories, sending them to a female friend who will publish them in some barely qualifying market, then calling yoursef a writer and spending the next twenty years going to cons, talking about books you're never going to write, and relentlessly trying to push the industry leftward. The SJW problem in gaming and their tedious, decades-long crusade for More Women tends to revolve around the journalists because that's the one area where absolutely no talent or mastery of the subject is required anymore.

I thought this comment from an interview with her ex-boyfriend was more than a little amusing:
"*IF* (that's strong emphasis) Zoe came out and confessed about all of her wrongdoings, what do you think would happen and do you think things would change?"
See: Hugo Schwyzer.
The Rageaholic points out that the real problem isn't that Zoe Quinn is an ambitious whore, she is merely a symptom of corruption in game journalism. The real problem is that such whoring is, apparently, a genuine career path in independent gaming, and, presumably, videogame journalism. As he correctly declares: "The term 'videogame journalism' is a misnomer."

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Anti-racism fosters rape, child abuse

It is easy to prove that the material costs of anti-racism are CONSIDERABLY worse than the material costs of racism:
The sexual abuse of about 1,400 children at the hands of Asian men went unreported for 16 years as staff feared they would be seen as racist, a report said today.

Children as young as 11 were trafficked, beaten, and raped by large numbers of men between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, the review into child protection revealed. And shockingly, more than a third of the cases were already known to agencies.

But according to the report's author: 'several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist'. The landmark report exposing widespread failures of the council, police and social services revealed:
  • Victims were doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, terrorised with guns, made to witness brutally-violent rapes and told they would be the next if they spoke out;
  • They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated;
  • One victim described gang rape as 'a way of life';
  • Police 'regarded many child victims with contempt';
  • The approximate figure of 1,400 abuse victims is likely to be a conservative estimate of the true scale of abuse.
Anti-racists not only actively celebrate predatory relationships, they regularly demonstrate that they have no problem whatsoever with child abuse, whether it occurs within the same race or is interracial. Moreover, what they falsely decry as "racism" is quite often nothing more than the exercise of the Constitutional right of free association.

Hypothesis: the degree of an individual's anti-racism is directly related to the anti-racist's inability to emotionally connect to his own kind.

If you think that you possess the higher moral ground because you are anti-racist, think again. You are observably enabling widespread crime, particularly rape and child abuse, and are quite literally doing material harm to your own nation.

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Pink vs Blue: An Applied Breakdown

At Castalia House, Daniel breaks down two SF works according to the ten principles I laid out in order to distinguish Pink SF/F from Blue SF/F:
Sometimes, distinguishing  Pink Science Fiction from Blue can be difficult, so I thought a simple comparison of two very similarly themed science fiction tales might help.

There is some required reading involved, but it will only take you a few minutes:

The first is Rachel Swirsky’s Hugo-nominated short story “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love”

The second is Gene Wolfe’s “Build-A-Bear”

Have you read them? Good.

Now let us take a look at the two stories through the now-standard rubric to determine a story’s status as Pink or Blue.

1. It is written in conscious reaction to, and rejection of, the classic genre canon.

“Dinosaur” is published in a science fiction magazine, was nominated for an award that features a rocket ship, and yet contains only a meta-speculation as its science fiction element. There is no science behind the transformation of the man into a microtyrannosaur. The entire story is merely the conscious and unfulfilled wish of a dissatisfied woman. Look no further than: “all those people who—deceived by the helix-and-fossil trappings of cloned dinosaurs– believed that they lived in a science fictional world when really they lived in a world of magic where anything was possible.” Pink.

“Build-A-Bear” does not explain the science, or even the purpose behind a cruise ship being equipped to generate customized living creatures. Yet this is very much within the classic canon: AI, genetic engineering, the unusual consequences of high tech wish fulfillment in a quotidian environment all harken to such classic stories as “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long” or Astro Boy. Furthermore, the name of the entertainer who guides the construction of Viola’s bear is Bellatrix, a fairly obvious allusion to both the star and the original Latin meaning: “female warrior.” Unlike the stereotypical modern application of the term, this is an early indication that the feminine war arts in the story will in no way resemble masculine combat techniques. The story is about the nature of feminine social status, conflict and self-defense. Blue.

2. It is politically correct.

Dinosaur – the villains quite literally employ nearly every politically incorrect slur in the arsenal. Pink.

Build-A-Bear – The sociosexual hierarchy is represented without qualification, the male (bear) hero’s maleness is an intrinsic element of his heroism. Blue.
Wolfe vs Swirsky. Yeah, that works. Two award-winning SF writers and they don't get a whole lot more opposite than those two.

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The internal invasion

The parasites are fleeing their self-made hellholes and are busily engaged in recreating them in their new residences:
Californians have moved to Colorado and Nevada. Massachusetts natives have moved to New Hampshire. New Yorkers have moved to North Carolina and Virginia — and, of course, have continued moving to Florida.

Over the last few decades, residents of many traditionally liberal states have moved to states that were once more conservative. And this pattern has played an important role in helping the Democratic Party win the last two presidential elections and four of the last six. The growth of the Latino population and the social liberalism of the millennial generation may receive more attention, but the growing diaspora of blue-state America matters as well.

The blue diaspora has helped offset the fact that many of the nation’s fastest-growing states are traditionally Republican. You can think of it as a kind of race: Population growth in these Republican states is reducing the share of the Electoral College held by traditionally Democratic states. But Democratic migration has been fast enough, so far, to allow the party to overcome the fact that the Northeast and industrial Midwest contain a smaller portion of the country’s population than they once did....

Since 2000, the blue-born population in red states has grown by almost a quarter, to 11.5 million, or 12 percent of the states’ total population. These changes aren’t happening simply because the national population has grown over the same period, either. In fact, the red-born population in blue states shrank, to 7.3 million from 8.4 million, between 2000 and 2012.
And thus ends the grand experiment of the laboratories of democracy. This is why the right to free association, also known to its critics as segregation, is an absolute must for any democratic society that wishes to retain its character. In an age of mobility, any system that functions will be rapidly swamped by the invading denizens of those systems that don't work.

It should never be forgotten that most of the 18th century political principles were developed prior to the age of mass global transportation. It should not be a surprise that not all of them are capable of surviving it.

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Don't read the citations

I always find it intriguing how science posers always assume no one is actually going to read the links they provide, so they can get away with saying whatever they want. Brett Williamson posted this comment:
"Way before this debate took place Dr, Gorski laid out why the Hooker report is wrong (twice):

Both blog posts make valid, well articulated points. Puts a different light on the twitter exchange I would think."
So, naturally, I read the first link. David Gorski begins with no less than four paragraphs of an ad hominem attack on Brian Hooker, concluding with this statement: "Of course, just because Brian Hooker has demonstrated many of the characteristics of an antivaccine crank doesn’t mean that he might not have a legitimate criticism this time. Does he? Let’s find out."

After complaining about Hooker mentioning past scandals of medical science in a video that has nothing to do with the published paper, Gorski goes on to point out that Hooker has not proved something that his paper doesn't even address. He finally gets around to making one legitimate point when he notes that: "He analyzed data collected for a case-control study as a cohort study."

That's questionable, to be sure. But does this exonerate the CDC? Well, no, according to Gorski: "So is Hooker’s result valid? Was there really a 3.4-fold increased risk for autism in African-American males who received MMR vaccination before the age of 36 months in this dataset? Who knows? Probably not, though."

Seriously, that's Gorski's big takedown. "Who knows? Probably not, though." Well, obviously, in that case, the science is settled! What this demonstrates is exactly what I told Gorski at the start: statistical review is not science. What people are doing on both sides of the vaccine debate is playing statistical games in order to generate rhetorical ammo; they are not doing much in the way of actual science. And they harder they work their statistics, the more they amplify their rhetoric, the less credible they look to concerned parents and moderate parties alike.

As I've pointed out previously, the debate is not going to end until a large-scale double-blind study on the current US vaccine schedule is done with an unvaccinated control group. Pro-vaxxers can hide behind how that would be unethical and so forth all they want, but that is what it is going to take to convince those who are, quite reasonably, skeptical about vaccines due to the behavior of those who profit from the production and administration of them.

"Follow the money" may not be sound science, but it has historically proven to be reliable logic. 

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Monday, August 25, 2014

VPFL managers

Still waiting on Simon and Slamdunk to email me. You have until the end of day tomorrow, and then I'll need to draft replacements. So, if either of you still want into the league, please email me with VPFL in the subject.


When egos collide

I thought you all might find this Twitter exchange to be as amusing as I did. Surgeons are notorious for their arrogance, while your humble host is not exactly known for being devoid of confidence.
Vox Day ‏@voxday
A published study appears to have detected vaccine fraud in a CDC study of autism and the MMR vaccine.

David Gorski ‏@gorskon
@voxday No, not so much. But your swallowing that codswallop whole shows just how little you know about science.

Vox Day ‏@voxday
@gorskon Amusing. You clearly don't even understand the difference between statistical review and science. You're science-illiterate.

Sebastian Armstrong ‏@spikesandspokes
@voxday @gorskon Hilarious, he is a cancer surgeon who has been part of breast cancer research, and YOU think HE is science-illiterate!

Vox Day ‏@voxday
@spikesandspokes @gorskon He observably is science-illiterate. Statistical analysis is not science. Neither, for that matter, is surgery.

Vox Day ‏@voxday
@spikesandspokes @gorskon We're getting ready for our fantasy football draft. Or, as you science-illiterates would call it, "doing science".

David Gorski ‏@gorskon
@voxday @spikesandspokes Says the guy who has never published in the scientific literature and thinks he knows science.

David Gorski ‏@gorskon
@voxday @spikesandspokes As opposed to someone (me) who has actually published multiple scientific papers, including one coauthor in Nature

Vox Day ‏@voxday
@gorskon @spikesandspokes No, says the guy whose scientific hypotheses have been turned into multiple published papers and cited by Nature.

David Gorski ‏@gorskon
@spikesandspokes Don't worry. @voxday amuses me with his arrogance of ignorance with respect to science, particularly vaccine science.

Vox Day ‏@voxday
@gorskon @spikesandspokes You're the one dumb enough to claim statistical review is science, not me.

Vox Day ‏@voxday
@gorskon @spikesandspokes BFD. Nature has also cited one of my original hypotheses. And it doesn't erase your basic blunder re statistics.

Vox Day ‏@voxday 2h
@gorskon @spikesandspokes But your logically fallacious appeal to credentials does amuse me. Now, I've got to get back to my draft science.

 David Gorski ‏@gorskon
@voxday @spikesandspokes Also, hypotheses are a dime a dozen. Hypotheses that stand up to scientific scrutiny are what matter, silly boy.

Vox Day ‏@voxday
 @gorskon @spikesandspokes They did, Mr. Doctor Scientist. That's kind of the point.

Vox Day ‏@voxday @gorskon @spikesandspokes I'm not worried. Your insecurity is hilarious. Nobody gives a damn about your credentials, Mr. Doctor Scientist.

David Gorski ‏@gorskon
@voxday @spikesandspokes Who’s more insecure, the guy w/ actual scientific accomplishments (me) or the guy who brags about hypothese (you)?

Vox Day ‏@voxday
@gorskon @spikesandspokes I don't brag about it. You're the one who rushed to cite Nature, not me. I simply pointed out: BFD. So, you.

David Gorski ‏@gorskon
@voxday @spikesandspokes And you’re the one who bragged first about a hypothesis cited in Nature.

Vox Day ‏@voxday now
@gorskon @spikesandspokes Wrong again. I responded at 2:59 to your mention of Nature at 2:57. Science illiterate and can't tell time either?
One thing I've noticed about scientists is that they never seem to understand that their expertise in one particular area doesn't translate very well, if at all, into unrelated areas. That's why it is so easy to trip them up; their rush to defend their wounded intellectual vanity leads them from one error into another.

And, of course, they always retreat to their credentials and citations in lieu of being able to actually argue their way out of a paper bag. It's probably a character flaw, but I do love it when this sort of situational moron decides to take a crack at me.

UPDATE: To be fair to the guy, I was the first one to mention Nature. And, since apparently none of my would-be critics are smart enough to search the blog, the hypothesis referenced is obviously my argument demonstrating that religion does not cause war, which has been cited everywhere from Foreign Policy to Wikipedia to Nature to The New York Times. And as for anyone who wants to resort to the obvious dodge of crediting The Encyclopedia of Wars, well, I will simply laugh at you and observe that while I have it, and have read it, you obviously haven't ever even laid eyes upon it.


Why history matters

Over at Alpha Game, there is a discussion of a new survey showing that marrying a non-virgin indicates a 21 percent reduction in the likelihood of HER marital satisfaction compared to a woman whose sexual experience is limited to her husband. And marrying a promiscuous woman (defined as 10+ premarital partners), reduces her marital satisfaction by 58 percent. This should settle, once and for all, any question concerning the observable fact that men strongly prefer to marry women with less experience.

And before any female readers resort to their usual "but what about the mens" response, do read the survey.

This is an interesting test of whether feminism actually concerns itself with what is observably good for women or whether it is more concerned with defending the sub-optimal decisions of certain women.


The wrong battleground

Roger Simon needs to stop worrying about other men's pants and start looking at the consequences of the idiot interventionist and immigrationist policies he has advocated in the past:
In other words, it’s time for libertarians to put on their big boy pants and give some serious thought not just to national defense but to global defense, because I have some news for them: The Pax Americana was the real deal. It worked for decades, saving myriad lives, and now it’s almost gone.   We have seen that writ large for us in the last few years  as never before. Obama’s non-existent, feckless, reactionary, confused, absurd (or whatever other adjective you want to pick) “leading from behind” foreign policy has brought the world to the brink of madness as nothing since WWII.

These days the man carrying the libertarian mantle most prominently — Senator Rand Paul — is off curing  Guatemalans of eye disease. Laudable an enterprise as that is, I am less interested in what Paul can do for a few indigent Guatemalans as I am how he would respond to that other ophthalmologist/politician Bashir Assad. And not just Assad, of course, all of them.

It’s not enough to say we would respond as necessary.  We live in a peanut-sized globe.  What happens in Singapore redounds in San Diego and so forth. Paul has been a captivating candidate so far with some original ideas and approaches, but given the way the world is headed he is going to have to pull on his big boy pants and start articulating how he will deal with this escalating era of jihad.

And as for those libertarians who still prefer an isolationist approach, I can first remind them of Reagan’s advice about the necessity of a strong defense in order to have peace.  If they don’t believe that, then I can promise them they will meet head on the famous prophecy of that same Comrade Trotsky: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”
Simon doesn't stop to think that the reason the USA is in such a parlous state is the direct result of a) American military interventions, and b) America's quasi-open immigration policies. It's always interesting to see naive commentators ignorant of basic military history babbling about war, because the Clausewitzian center of gravity is NOT in the Middle East, Syria, or even Iraq. It is in the West. The war in the East cannot be seriously fought until the war in the West is won; contra the insistence of the WWI-era generals, offense is not the way to win a war.

UPDATE: To say nothing of the fact that this is the same guy who wanted the USA to remove Assad from power last year, which would have assured that ISIS was even better established in the region than it is now.


Vaccine fraud at the CDC?

Despite the vaccine makers thinking they had put the Wakefield controversy safely behind them, another researcher has uncovered an apparent link between the MMR vaccine and autism, and from the CDC's own data:
A significant number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder suffer a loss of previously-acquired skills, suggesting neurodegeneration or a type of progressive encephalopathy with an etiological basis occurring after birth. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectof the age at which children got their first Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine on autism incidence. This is a reanalysis of the data set, obtained from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), used for the Destefano et al. 2004 publication on the timing of the first MMR vaccine and autism diagnoses.

The author embarked on the present study to evaluate whether a relationship exists between child age when the first MMR vaccine was administered among cases diagnosed with autism and controls born between 1986 through 1993 among school children in metropolitan Atlanta. The Pearson’s chi-squared method was used to assess relative risks of receiving an autism diagnosis within the total cohort as well as among different race and gender categories.

When comparing cases and controls receiving their first MMR vaccine before and after 36 months of age, there was a statistically significant increase in autism cases specifically among African American males who received the first MMR prior to 36 months of age. Relative risks for males in general and African American males were 1.69 (p=0.0138) and 3.36 (p=0.0019), respectively. Additionally, African American males showed an odds ratio of 1.73 (p=0.0200) for autism cases in children receiving their first MMR vaccine prior to 24 months of age versus 24 months of age and thereafter.
The troubling thing here is that the author of the paper, "Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young african american boys: a reanalysis of CDC data" reached his conclusions by examining CDC data that reached the opposite conclusion and served as the basis for a CDC doctor's testimony before Congress. Bill Sardi writes on Lew Rockwell:
There is evidence of an intentional cover-up as it is alleged that data from children who did not have birth certificates (not a pertinent factor) was removed from the study to reduce the statistical power of the study and claim there was no significant association between autism and the MMR vaccine.... Dr. Hooker notes that the CDC used children under the age of 3 for a comparison (control) group, which is an intentional way of skewing results of its studies involving any alleged link between vaccines and autism.  Symptoms of autism generally don’t emanate among children till after age 3 and the control group was too young to have received a diagnosis of autism, he notes.
Not only does this "reanalysis of CDC data" reopen the possible MMR-autism link, but it calls into question the integrity of the entire field of vaccine research. If Hooker is correct and CDC doctors such as Dr. Colleen Boyle have engaged in vaccine fraud, it will entirely explode the basic assumption that vaccines are safe because it will render all of the CDC's data and assurances suspect.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

A few things

This isn't actually the correct cover, but Emilio has translated both A Man Disrupted and Gravity Kills into Spanish and I just finished the ebook formatting for QUANTUM MORTIS La Gravedad Mata. So, if you speak fluent Spanish and would like to read over the two books and pass on any suggestions for improvement, I would appreciate it. I should have Un Hombre Disperso ready in a week or two as I'm hoping to release them in the company of another book or three come Labor Day Weekend. Shoot me an email with SPANISH in the subject if you'd like me to send you QM-LGM now and QM-UHD when it is ready.

In completely unrelated news, the six new members of the VPFL, as determined by RANDOM.ORG will be:
  1. Daniel
  2. Simon
  3. Vincent Castrillo
  4. Slamdunk
  5. Drew Deuce's
  6. Jartstar
Please email me with VPFL in the subject so I can assign you a team and send you the league invitations.

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Restoring Christendom

Lest you think it is not necessary to end the ill-considered concept of religious pluralism and repatriate the adherents of the religion of peace:
"If norwegian soldiers can take planes to Afghanistan, then Osama and Mohammed can also take planes to Norway, inshaAllah. Now, the government must wake up and assume responsibility, before this war spreads to Norway. Before the counterpart reacts. Before moslems take the step necessary.

Do not confuse the moslems’ silence with weakness. Do not profit from the moslems’ patience. Do not force us to do something that can be avoided. This is not a threat, only the words of truth. The words of justice.

A warning that the consequences can be fatal. A warning about a 9/11 on norwegian ground, or larger attacks than the one carried out on 22 july. This is for your own good and in your own best interest.’

We do not want to be a part of norwegian society. And we do not consider it necessary either to move away from Norway, because we were born and grew up here. And Allah’s earth belongs to everybody.

But let Grønland become ours. Bar this city quarter and let us control it the way we wish to do it. This is the best for both parts.

We do not wish to live together with dirty beasts like you.
Likewise. But Grønland is not theirs. Norway is not theirs. Does the West belong to them? Or does it belong to the Men of the West? Whether Norway realizes it or not, they are now actively engaged in a war of invasion and conquest. So is the rest of Europe. As is America. This is not a war that can be fought "over there", it is a war that will have to be fought in every nation and every city across the West.

The War on Terror was a proxy and a cheap, cowardly one. The problem is that secular pluralism will not survive this challenge from Muslims. There is absolutely no point in appealing to secular pluralism, as it was always a fundamentally incoherent concept. It is only a matter of time before it is abandoned, and the sooner we return to the concept of Christian European nations, including the USA, the better off everyone will be.

Maximizing liberty does not encompass violence enforced partition and Sharia. We already know from the Israeli-Palestinian example what the results of that sort of partition will be. And we already know what the eventual solution will be.
Call to strip British citizenship from 'traitors' who fight for Isil. Britons who fight for Isil in Iraq and Syria should be considered traitors and stripped of their British citizenship, the former shadow home secretary has said. 
As the Norwegian example indicates, such actions will only be the start, which will eventually culminate in an eventual ban on Islam in most Western countries. There is already widespread support for such action, and it will grow rapidly with each new atrocity. Remember, the first Reconquista took 700 years. The second one won't take as long, but it probably won't be complete in our lifetimes either.

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Trolls are not a problem

I found no little amusement in this article in the New York Times about dealing with online trolls. It always surprises me when I learn that other bloggers are genuinely upset by the weird little creatures who occasionally infest their blogs:
ANYONE who has ever been online has witnessed, or been virtually walloped by, a mean comment. “If you’re going to be a blogger, if you’re going to tweet stuff, you better develop a tough skin,” said John Suler, a professor of psychology at Rider University who specializes in what he refers to as cyberpsychology. Some 69 percent of adult social media users said they “have seen people being mean and cruel to others on social network sites,” according to a 2011 report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

Posts run the gamut from barbs to sadistic antics by trolls who intentionally strive to distress or provoke. Last week, Zelda Williams, the daughter of Robin Williams, said she was going off Twitter, possibly for good, after brutal tweets by trolls about her father’s death. Yet comments do not even have to be that malevolent to be hurtful. The author Anne Rice signed a petition a few months ago asking to ban anonymous reviews after experiencing “personal insults and harassing posts,” as she put it on the site of the petition, Whether you’re a celebrity author or a mom with a décor blog, you’re fair game. Anyone with a Twitter account and a mean streak can try to parachute into your psyche.

In the virtual world, anonymity and invisibility help us feel uninhibited. Some people are inspired to behave with greater kindness; others unleash their dark side. Trolls, who some researchers think could be mentally unbalanced, say the kinds of things that do not warrant deep introspection; their singular goal is to elicit pain.
The singular goal of the troll is to elicit pain? I don't think that is entirely correct, but that is certainly one reason why we haven't seen all that much troll activity here despite the considerable growth of traffic here. With the exceptions of the homosexual Tad and the literary critic Andrew Marston (who doesn't have a job per se, but volunteers regularly at the New England Wildlife Center if you ever feel like giving him a call and discussing literature with him), most trolls have discovered that they can't elicit anything more mild annoyance from me and thereby give up. Tad, Marston, Pox, and Obvious are a different variety, they are various forms of what might be described as the crusader-troll.

The crusader-troll attempts to DISQUALIFY DISQUALIFY the blogger by presenting alternate narratives to the blog readers. Hence we have Tad always trying to reframe the narrative with Vox as Pure Evil, Marston going to blogs far and wide to declare that Vox, Larry Correia, and Dan Simmons(?) are Terrible Writers, Pox/Ann openly trying to pick off readers in order to limit the extent of my baleful intellectual influence, and Obvious attempting to portray the mysterious "blogger" or "host" as Hypocritical, while the Scalzi fanboy Phoenician spent over a year attempting to show Vox as Inferior to the Object of Adoration. The fact that their disqualification attempts have obviously failed, as the blog traffic grew from 612,136 pageviews in August 2012 to over 1.5 million in August 2014 doesn't ever seem to register with them. Perhaps they're not trolling hard enough?

Of the crusading variety, I tend to find Marston the most amusing because I am aware I cause him far more pain than he causes me. (To say nothing of his fascinating attempts at fantasy fiction which are much more entertaining than all the 2014 Hugo winners combined. I even offered to publish Nocturne; it is guaranteed Hugo-Award winning material.) Every new Twitter follower I get, every additional 100k pageviews of traffic, and every new SF award for which I am nominated causes him pain. In fact, if he hadn't gone on such an insane literary-snob rampage a while back and annoyed so many people, I very much doubt that Sad Puppies 2 would have been such a big success. Science fiction can thank Luscinia/Marston for the fact that Larry and I, among others, are bona-fide Hugo-nominated authors from now until the end of time. My author's bio has been burnished thanks to the blog troll.

That, my friends, is what you call backfire. Well done, Andrew. But he will never learn because he is too neuro-atypical to grasp normal human psychology. He will continue to poke the bears because he has deemed the bears to be Evil, never understanding the wisdom implicit in the notion of letting sleeping grizzlies lie.

(That being said, it's also amusing to me that my shadow troll, Ann Morgan aka Pox Vay, gets more traffic and comments than many blogs, and even has her own meta-troll, Obviously. This comment by her was downright funny too: "I also confess to being immature in some ways, mainly I lack confidence, patience, and sometimes have poor control over my temper." You don't say.)

There will always be trolls. There are too many immature, attention-seeking, emotionally unstable individuals sans audiences for there not to be. But they are no reason for concern. Quite to the contrary, they are a material testament to the fact that you matter, that you are making a difference. I wouldn't worry about trolls if I were the average blogger. I would worry more about having such a small audience, or so little of import to say, that the trolls feel no temptation to show up.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Kids know they're smart

The smart guy from Khan Academy appears to be taking some unnecessary precautions:
The Learning Myth: Why I'm Cautious About Telling My Son He's Smart

My 5-year-­old son has just started reading. Every night, we lie on his bed and he reads a short book to me. Inevitably, he’ll hit a word that he has trouble with: last night the word was “gratefully.” He eventually got it after a fairly painful minute. He then said, “Dad, aren’t you glad how I struggled with that word? I think I could feel my brain growing.” I smiled: my son was now verbalizing the tell­-tale signs of a “growth­ mindset.” But this wasn’t by accident. Recently, I put into practice research I had been reading about for the past few years: I decided to praise my son not when he succeeded at things he was already good at, but when he persevered with things that he found difficult. I stressed to him that by struggling, your brain grows. Between the deep body of research on the field of learning mindsets and this personal experience with my son, I am more convinced than ever that mindsets toward learning could matter more than anything else we teach.
Considering that his son started reading two years later than me, most of my high-IQ friends, and most of our children, I suspect Salman Khan can relax a bit. Anyhow, I always find this issue of "telling kids they're smart or not" to be amusing. It's exactly like debating whether to tell a kid he's tall or not.

I mean, do you seriously think the kid is not going to notice? Especially if he is, in fact, actually smart? My parents never told me I was smart. It was just kind of hard not to notice when I was sitting there in kindergarten reading the Encyclopedia Britannica while the other kids were eating paste, licking the doorknobs, and urinating on themselves.

If Khan wants to make sure his son struggles, that's easy enough. Throw some long division at him. Make him read in another language. Give him Cicero and Plato to read. In fairness, I don't tell my son he's smart, I just tell him to keep a straight face when his teammates lament the long division problems they're struggling with, to help them out if they ask for it, and avoid ever letting them see the collection of alien hieroglyphics that pass for his math problems. I don't think I'll ever forget the sight of his face when I introduced him to the "silent gh".  He loved the "silent e", but I'm 100 percent certain he thought I was screwing with him until I showed him a list of numbers that included a spelled-out "eight".

The important thing is to teach the highly intelligent not to coast on their capabilities, not to mistake potential for achievement, and to show them how to respect the less-intelligent. Intellectual arrogance in a child is as natural and as innocent as athletic arrogance. It must be kept in check, but one can't do that by pretending there is no reason for it to exist in the first place.

We don't pretend that children don't come in different shapes and sizes, and we shouldn't pretend that they don't come with different cognitive capabilities as well. I also find it rather amusing that a guy with a five year-old thinks he has discovered secret of raising smart kids. Come back in thirteen years, sport, and we'll see what you think you know.


Africa belongs to them

It is becoming increasingly obvious that all of the international do-gooder efforts in Africa for the last 100 years have not only been pointless, but were actually counterproductive:
Mob Destroys Ebola Center In Liberia Two Days After It Opens

A mob descended on the center at around 5:30 p.m., chanting, “No Ebola in West Point! No Ebola in West Point!” They stormed the front gate and pushed into the holding center. They stole the few gloves someone had donated this morning, and the chlorine sprayers used to disinfect the bodies of those who die here, all the while hollering that Ebola is a hoax.

They ransacked the protective suits, the goggles, the masks. They destroyed part of Tarplah’s car as he was fleeing the crowd. Jemimah Kargbo, a health care worker at a clinic next door, said they took mattresses and bedding, utensils and plastic chairs.

“Everybody left with their own thing,” she said. “What are they carrying to their homes? They are carrying their deaths.”

She said the police showed up but the crowd intimidated them.

“The police were there but they couldn’t contain them. They started threatening the police, so the police just looked at them,” she said.

And then mob left with all of the patients.

“They said, ‘The president says you have Ebola, but you don’t have Ebola, you have malaria. Get up and go out!’” Kargbo said.
The West is going to pull out of Africa sooner or later. Sooner, if the current Ebola epidemic is any indication. This means that Africa will be right back where it was in the 1940s, only now the African nations are unable to feed themselves because their populations have been massively inflated beyond what their maintainable infrastructure is able to support.

The only thing that the Western aid workers have been able to accomplish in the current crisis is bringing Ebola back to their native lands.


USA doesn't need gun control

It needs police control, among other things. Now, if we operate under the assumption that not all of these 409 lethal police shootings were unjustified, what does America possess considerably more of than Japan, Britain, or Germany? Hint: the answer is not "guns".

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The end of comparative advantage

As I have repeatedly pointed out for several years, David Ricardo's Law of Comparative Advantage has been shown to be based upon false assumptions. Now the mainstream economists are beginning to recognize this:
David Ricardo's Theory of Comparative Advantage has broken down after 200 years, or so I learned at the Lindau forum of Nobel laureates in Bavaria.

The theory published in 1817 has been a guiding principle of free trade, taken as a given by every student of economics in the modern era. It has served us well, but just as Newton's theories ran into limits and were overtaken by Einstein's relativity, comparative advantage no longer explains the world.

Under Ricardo's model, inequality was supposed to narrow within countries as globalisation accelerated exponentially in the Nineties. Instead it is getting wider....

Ricardo described a world where free trade in goods was opening up, but labour markets remained largely closed. This is no longer the case. Globalisation bids up the wages of high-skilled engineers or software analysts towards international levels wherever they live.
The Nobel laureates at Lindau aren't willing to give up on globalization yet (although they should), but the cracks in the economic wall are showing as they express their fears that it is "going horribly wrong". But it's not going wrong. It's going the only way it could possibly have gone.

Free trade is incompatible with national sovereignty. International labor mobility is incompatible with the very existence of nations. And the heterogeneous populations are economically detrimental and a material barrier to the growth of capital and national wealth. I shall repeat my core argument against free trade, which I first articulated in 2012 following a quasi-debate with Gary North:

1. Free trade, in its true, complete, and intellectually coherent form, is not limited to the free movement of goods, but includes the free movement of capital and labor as well. (The "invisible judicial line" doesn't magically become visible when because human bodies are involved.)

2. The difference between domestic economies and the global international economy is not trivial, but is substantive, material, and based on significant genetic, cultural, traditional, and legal differences between various self-identified peoples.

3. Free trade is totally incompatible with national sovereignty, democracy, and self-determination, as well as the existence of independent nation-states with the right and ability to set their own laws according to the preferences of their residents.

4. Therefore, free trade must be opposed by every sovereign, democratic, or self-determined people, be they American, Chinese, German, or Zambian, who wish to preserve themselves as a free and distinct nation possessed of its own culture, traditions, and laws.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

What is this, hockey?

Ender came home from soccer practice the other day with mixed news. On the plus side, he was the youngest player to make the team at the elite level for which he is now eligible. Most of the players from his last year's team are now out of the sport or transferring to lesser clubs. On the downside, he reported that he'd lost his first fight, although besides being slightly wild-eyed he didn't look any the worse for wear to me.

I don't tend to get worked up over the occasional fracas since there is a definite "boys will be boys" attitude here, but I was furious when he told me the details, as he was jumped before practice by a bigger kid two years older, who kicked him in the face from behind while Ender was passing the ball back-and-forth with a teammate. A second kid, also older, then grabbed him around the neck when he whirled around and tried to hold him back for the first kid to punch. Ender took a few shots to the face and got a bloody nose out of it, but in the process he managed to bloody the first kid's nose by kicking him in the face, and messed up the second kid's leg by raking his shin and kicking his knee with his heel.

The kid with whom Ender had been passing the ball tried to intervene, but was flattened for his trouble, until finally the star of the team, who is more than a bit of an athletic specimen, jumped in and punched the two kids off Ender to break things up. The strange thing is that the two kids are new to the club and Ender didn't know either of them. So, my suspicion is that they were trying to assert themselves by picking on the youngest kid, who unfortunately carries himself with misleading body language that tends to lead aggressors to believe he is an easier target than is in fact the case. Alternatively, there are some girls who have made it eminently clear that they like him, and I'm wondering if that might have something to do with it.

Anyhow, as I pointed out, it was much more of a draw than a loss, because the second kid's knee was too badly hurt to permit him to practice, so he went home, and then after practice, the first kid challenged Ender in front of the others, then, when Ender indicated his willingness to reopen hostilities on equal terms, backed down. Besides being fairly tough after three years of judo, Ender is now as tall as I am, and while he doesn't have much mass to him yet, the kid is ripped. However, he doesn't have much in the way of strike training yet, which is an oversight I intend to rectify.

Ender was vastly amused, however, by my initial reaction, as well as the reaction of the two Dragons I told about it, as we were uniformly focused on the tactical situation. Besides ambuscades and kicking high, the kid apparently likes to grab the neck with his left, pull his victim forward, and then throw punches with his right hand. So, we went over obliquing and arm bars, as well as the catch, lift, and twist routine for dealing with kickers. If the kid does manage to close, rather than trying to pull away, move in, cover up with one elbow, and work the ribs until he pulls away, then switch to elbows and knees. It's with some difficulty that I'm going to leave matters up to Ender at his request rather than complain to the club, but if the kid is dumb enough to attack Ender again, I very much doubt he's coming out of it without a broken arm and possibly a few broken ribs.

One of the hard things as a father is learning when you can step in and take care of a problem for your son and when you have to step back and let him take care of his own business. As much as I'd love to put the fear of me into the little bastard (as in The Dark Knight and "SWEAR TO ME") and I have no doubt that I could, I have to step back here.

Now, I think turning the other cheek is important. I have even done it on occasion, once when I was perfectly within my rights to break the other individual's jaw. And Ender has been very good about making peace with past assailants; he's quite friendly now with the oversized kid who caused him trouble last season. But there is a time for peace and there is a time for war. This would appear to be one of the latter.

On a happier note, Ender is beginning his professional refereeing career this weekend, and I'll have the opportunity to be there since my team will be one of the two sides playing. I have already explained to him that it is bad form, and more than a little unwise, to blow the offsides whistle on any attacking player who has the power to decide the referee's bedtime.


Two TIA reviews

Because it has been a long time since The Irrational Atheist was published, because my refutation of the "religion causes war" argument has been widely accepted, and because Richard Dawkins has increasingly rendered himself a parody of his former public persona, it's easy to forget that the core arguments remain timeless. Here are a pair of recent reviews of the book, the first by a Christian, the second by an atheist. If you haven't read it yet, you might want to consider picking up a copy sometime. 
Trench Warfare. Acerbic and Funny

I bought this the first time I saw it on a shelf in hardcover. I rarely ever buy books on impulse, but this was one of those times. It sat on my shelf for about six years, however. Finally, I had the time to delve into it. The Irrational Atheist is a direct response to “new” atheism that is unlike most other responses (most other significant responses being quite a bit more respectful than Day’s). If you enjoy reading about theological, moral and social issues AND sarcasm, well this book is for you.

Day focuses his arguments in the very thick of the new atheist’s claims. Christian apologists and philosophers have rarely taken these guys seriously, mostly because none of them (except Dennett) deserve to be taken seriously in the realm of philosophy. And while the response of the apologists has been necessary for the churches to hear, none have really focused on some of the “lower” issues. By this I mean issues such as whether or not atheism is gaining converts in the U. S., whether or not religion ‘causes’ war, whether atheists are smarter than non-atheists, whether religion stifles science, etc.

From knowing nothing of Vox Day other than what he has written in his book it’s very obvious that he’s an intelligent man. Imagine Dennis Miller writing a book in response to the new atheists and you will kind of get a glimpse at the wit and humor that comprise this work. These issues of history and social issues seem to be his strong point and he handles them with brilliance. The heart of the book includes detailed chapters into his personal beefs with each of these writers. My guess would be he has the least respect for Sam Harris and the most for Dennett, but Hitchens would be neck and neck with Harris.

The last few chapters discuss various other related issues: the Holocaust, Spanish Inquisition, Crusades, human sacrifice, atheism’s responsibility for the destruction of millions of lives, a chapter on some of the theological arguments used by these writers and an appendix of a discussion between the author and Socrates concerning the Euthyphro dilemma.

If this topic interests you I heartily recommend this be on your shelf. As I said, most Christian apologists or philosophers answer via way of philosophy or theological correction or biblical defenses, all of which are very important. Day prefers to get down in the trenches and battle them head-on, via some literary lex talionis. Not for the faint of heart.

This atheist loves the book. Logical refutations (finally!) of atheist talking points.

I am an atheist, and I really like this book. Vox Day's style is a direct and a refreshing relief from wheelbarrow loads of empty platitudes. To summarize the book: "God loves you, but I don't. Here's why blindly following the high priests of atheism is stupid."

The author says (paraphrasing, don't remember exact phrasing): "This book isn't to convert you or argue in favor of God. I don't care at all if you believe or not. This book is to demolish the atheist arguments."

Although there is no chance I'm going to be converting to Catholicism, or any other sky deity religions, I have to applaud the hard logical reasoning and fresh insights as Vox takes a hammer to the arguments of Hitchens, Dawkins & Harris. It's a refreshing change from all the arguments that boil down to "God exists, therefore God exists".
That's a fair summary. And before the Churchians leap in to wag their fingers, I will readily admit that my failure to love everyone is indicative of my imperfect Christianity. I'm also not particularly good on turning the other cheek, avoiding impure thoughts, and avoiding the use of rough language. But I fail to see that blatantly lying and erecting a false veneer of superficial spiritual perfection would be an improvement upon the open and honest expression of my thoughts and feelings on various matters.

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The terrible cost of equality

It is becoming abundantly clear that immigration from outside Europe is not only dyscivic, but dysgenic as well. The Men of the West are becoming literally stupider as a result of opening their nations to various orcs, trolls, and goblins combined with the widespread adoption of a feminist philosophy that significantly increases the probabilities that the West's most intelligent women - and many of its most intelligent men - will never have children:
An IQ test used to determine whether Danish men are fit to serve in the military has revealed scores have fallen by 1.5 points since 1998. And standard tests issued in the UK and Australia echo the results, according to journalist Bob Holmes, writing in New Scientist.

Tests carried out in 1980 and in 2008 showed that the average 14-year-old was two IQ points cleverer in 1980, according to a study published in 2009. Scientists found that performance dropped the most dramatically in teenagers in the upper half of the intelligence scale, The Telegraph reported. Brighter teens who took part in the study in 2008 were on average six IQ points less intelligent than their counterparts tested 28 years earlier.

The most pessimistic explanation as to why humans seem to be becoming less intelligent is that we have effectively reached our intellectual peak....

Some have even contentiously said this could be because educated people are deciding to have fewer children, so that subsequent generations are largely made up of less intelligent people. Richard Lynn, a psychologist at the University of Ulster, calculated the decline in humans’ genetic potential. He used data on average IQs around the world in 1950 and 2000 to discover that our collective intelligence has dropped by one IQ point.

Westerns have lost 14 IQ points on average since the Victorian age, according to a study published by the University of Amsterdam last year. Jan te Nijenhuis thinks this could be because intelligent women tend to have less children than women who are not as clever, The Huffington Post reported. The perceived link between IQ and fertility is a very contentious one. Dr Nijenhuis studied the results of 14 intelligence studies conducted between 1884 and 2004 to come to his conclusion.

Each study measured peoples' reaction times - how long they took to press a button after being prompted. It is claimed that reaction time mirrors mental processing speed - so it reflects intelligence.They found that visual reaction times averaged 194 milliseconds in the late 19th Century, but in 2004, they had increased to 275 milliseconds....
It's amazing what equality-indoctrinated scientists are willing to throw out as hypotheses rather than even consider the totally obvious. It hardly seems likely that the intellectual peak of Man would roughly coincide with the release of "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em", among other things.  Not convinced because you're one of those geniuses who "doesn't see race" (or more properly, doesn't understand the consequences of genetic science) or "doesn't believe in IQ" (or, more properly, didn't score very high on intelligence tests)? Then it should be interesting to hear your explanation for the simultaneous rise in deformed penises in Sweden, which also began happening recently "for reasons unknown":
A condition which causes baby boys to be born with deformed penises is becoming more common in Sweden, for reasons unknown to scientists. Researchers in Sweden assessed data collected on Hypospadias between 1973 and 2009. They found that before 1990, only 4.5 boys out of every thousand had the condition known as hypospadias. But after 1990, the figure had risen to 8 per 1000 boys. In an attempt to explain the rise, the experts from Stockholm's Karolinksa Institute considered factors known to cause the defect, including low-birth weight, being born a twin, and parents who used IVF treatment to conceive. However, scientists could not link the rise to any previously known causes, and instead concluded that an unknown factor was behind the trend, The Local reported.
Whatever might have happened after 1990 in Sweden that could possibly explain the increasing appearance of this birth defect at the same time average intelligences are decreasing and crime rates are rising? This "unknown factor" is a great mystery indeed. So congratulate yourself that you manage to avoid seeing race in the same way that Swedish scientists manage to avoid seeing basic cause and effect. Because, in a few dysgenic generations, your descendants won't have any need to willfully ignore the readily apparent the way you do, they'll be too stupid and deformed to see much of anything at all.

The costs of the fictitious progressive dogma of equality are real and material. Equality does not exist, it is not a positive ideal, and it must be rejected if Man is not going to continue his degradation into Orc. I don't know Hebrew, but it strikes me that equalitarian dogma is the exact opposite of tikkun olem, the uplift of the world. Anti-nationalism is the degradation of Man. Equality is a lie. Even the historical icons of equality are lies. Consider the words and actual sentiments of The Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln:

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

Was Lincoln correct about the prospects for social and political equality? 156 years later, consider the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and think about the gerrymandered political districts carved out on racial lines. Then tell us how many more years will be required to reach that nominal ideal.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Hitlerian purpose

I missed this Goldman column the last time around, which is probably just as well. It is historically false, morally bankrupt, and should be deeply offensive to a broad range of people across the political, racial, and religious spectrums:
The essay below appeared in Asia Times Online on April 8, 2008. Apropos of the Ferguson riots it is reprinted below. It should make no-one happy. The crippling failure in American culture, I argue, is our refusal to come to terms with our own Civil War. This failure afflicts the conservative movement. For example: Last June I had the privilege to teach a course at the annual Acton University in Grand Rapids, MI. One of the keynote speakers was Judge Andrew Napolitano, whom I admire and whose remarks in the main I applauded. But Napolitano argued in passing that Lincoln had done a terrible thing by fighting the Civil War: surely, the judge said, he could have found a better way to end slavery than by tearing the country apart. That is utter nonsense for two reasons: the first is that a large part of the South was willing to die to preserve slavery, and the second is that the European imperial powers were already conspiring with elements of the South to expand slavery through Cuba, Mexico and Central America. If Lincoln had not fought the Civil War in 1861, the French invasion of Mexico in 1862 would have established a link with the Confederacy and prevented a Northern blockade.

Perfectly intelligent and well-motivated men like Napolitano ignore the obvious about the Civil War because it is still too horrible to contemplate. More broadly, the conservative movement continues to tolerate a revolting form of nostalgia for the slave era euphemistically called “Southern Traditionalism.” ISI’s middle-brow list of “Fifty Greatest Books of the 20th Century” includes a biography of Gen. Robert E. Lee, labeled “The tragic life of a great Southern traditionalist beautifully chronicled by a great Southern traditionalist.” The ISI list is mostly mediocre, but this is offensive in the extreme.

Below I demand of Americans “a higher threshold for horror.” 

An uncanny parallel links the fate of young African-Americans today and that of the young white men of the slave-holding South in 1865. Both cohorts have lost a terrifying proportion of their number to violence. One third of black Americans between the ages of 20 and 30 passed through the criminal justice system in 1995, according to the Sentencing Project, a prisoners’ advocacy group. Nearly a third of military-age Southern men military age were killed or wounded during America’s Civil War.

It is a measure of the inherent good-heartedness of Americans that they evince a low threshold of horror. Three hundred thousand Confederate dead and millions of ruined African-American lives are too awful to contemplate. Some part of Senator Barack Obama’s appeal derives from America’s revulsion over the destruction of a generation of young black men; electing an African-American president would assuage part of the guilt.

From this great suffering arise two genres of American popular culture, the Gone With the Wind ilk of Civil War epic, and the “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” brand of gangsta tale. Both try to take the edge off the revulsion and placate the dishonored dead by turning them into folk-heroes. That is understandable, but also unfortunate, for America still has a great deal of killing left to do around the world, and might as well get used to it.

“Get Rich or Die Tryin’” would have been a good epitaph for the Confederate dead, who fought for land and slaves, not for “states’ rights” or the sanctity of their soil. Slave-owners along with want-to-be slave-owners had it coming. The Union general William Tecumseh Sherman who said after he burned Atlanta, “I fear the world will jump to the wrong conclusion that because I am in Atlanta the work is done. Far from it. We must kill three hundred thousand, I have told you of so often, and the further they run the harder for us to get them.”

Given the sad history of racial oppression in the South for a century after the Civil War, the only thing to regret is that Sherman didn’t finish the job. I stopped watching the film version of Gone With the Wind after Scarlett O’Hara saved her plantation from the tax-collector. I wanted her to pick cotton until her back broke.
I don't think it would be a big surprise if there were more than a few blacks and Southerners who read this grotesque nonsense that did not conclude that perhaps it was not Sherman or the American justice system, but Adolf Hitler who didn't do enough killing. Remember, this is the same individual who asserts that because the Chinese harbor such instinctive respect and admiration for his people, China and the Jews "share a common purpose, to transcend tribalism through a unifying civilization".

In other words, what Spengler is saying is that the purpose of the Jewish people is to crush all nationalism through slaughter.

But to be clear, it is obvious that not all Jews agree with him, least of all the Israeli who brought it to my attention.

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Come back, he cried. I didn't mean it!

John Scalzi, the leading light of science fiction's Social Justice Warriors, appears to have belatedly realized that he is increasingly despised by the very people who bought most of his earlier books. This "twitter rant" is, of course, appropos of nothing at all and is TOTALLY UNRELATED to the fact that he a) has a new book out and b) recently embarrassed himself with a pair of Twitter rants about Larry Correia and me. So let's pull a page out of Larry's pocket and examine each of Scalzi's claims:

Those who've seen me punt assholes here who happen to be conservative may be shocked to know there are conservatives I like/love/admire.—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

It is probably true that there are conservatives he loves and admires. Based on his past statements, he is married into a predominantly Republican family. But that doesn't change the fact that he frequently punts people merely for the crime of disagreeing with him and asking him questions that he doesn't want to answer. In fact, he undermines his own case here with the implicit claim that all the people he has ban-hammered or kittened or muted or otherwise punted in the past are assholes. A number of those people are now regular readers here and will be able to dispute his claim about them.

    In fact, there are many conservatives I like/love/admire, including much of my family and community, and many friends.—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

Thereby demonstrating my immediately preceding point. Although I suspect there are not actually "many" conservatives and his relationships with those "many friends" are not anywhere nearly as friendly as Scalzi likes to pretend. He's not even as close to some of his fellow Social Justice Warriors in the SF community as he affects to pretend in public. They are usually too polite not to play along.

    I am not one of those people who believes that opposing someone politics means you can't like/love/admire them in other ways and areas.—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

 He's blatantly lying. There are many, many cases of him openly describing various people he has never met, and whose character he does not know, as assholes on the sole basis of their political views. He has also described certain political views as being intrinsically bigoted and hateful in and of themselves.

    The reason you see me punting a lot of assholes who are conservative on Twitter is because they're assholes first, conservatives second.—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

This is observably untrue. It also shows that he was lying in his previous tweet. Scalzi simply can't credit that those "asshole views" are genuinely held political beliefs that have nothing to do with the individual's character. He does not permit the questioning of most politically correct dogmas on his blog, which is one reason why there are now so few comments there.

    And it's true that some people who are assholes use their conservatism as a rationalization/justification for being terrible people.—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

Is it true? Have you ever known anyone to use his conservatism as a rationalization for being a terrible person? Does that even make sense to you? I interpret this to mean that Scalzi is again inadvertently showing that he does, in fact, equate political conservatism with being a terrible person. Don't forget that the guy isn't particularly bright, Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy of Language notwithstanding, so it's far from improbable that he would inadvertently sabotage his own argument in the process of presenting it.

        But the fact is, they're just assholes. They'd be assholes if they were centrist, liberal or arnarchists. Some people just suck.—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

I find it telling that Scalzi somehow never seems to be able to identify these "centrist, liberal or arnarchist" assholes, much less attack them.

    (And indeed there are asshole liberals, centrists, anarchists, etc. I don't like them, either.)—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

When has Scalzi ever publicly attacked a feminist asshole? Or a homosexual asshole? It may be that he secretly doesn't like them, but he observably gives them a free pass. He certainly hasn't had much to say about the various child molesters and anti-white racists in SFWA.
 If you're a conservative, be aware I don't hate you for your politics, even though we have many points of contention, politically.—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

He's lying again. He does hate conservatives for their politics, unless he has some other reason to look past them. However, he's concerned about the fact that his blog traffic has declined by 25 percent by his own account (35 percent would be more accurate) and more and more conservatives have, quite reasonably, declared that they have no interest in buying books from an author who doesn't conceal his contempt for them and their beliefs.

    Likewise, I assume you won't hate me, even thought you think I'm completely wrong on many things regarding politics.—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

This is projection. Scalzi doesn't understand that no one ever hated him for his politics. Conservatives actually tend to be fairly tolerant in that regard; they are accustomed to friends and acquaintances being more left-leaning, and it is the left that socially rejects those with whom they do not agree. What conservatives and libertarians actually despise him for is his cowardice, his unmanly passive-aggressiveness, and his unrelenting attempts to deceitfully spin the narrative in his own favor. As he is doing now. And evidence for this contention can be seen in the way that it is not only conservatives and libertarians who harbor contempt for him, but increasingly, leftists and liberals as well.

    But if you're an asshole who happens to be conservative, I'm might let you know I think you're an asshole. Who happens to be conservative.—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

The reality is that if you're a conservative who expresses his views in a straightforward manner and asks Scalzi any question he can't or doesn't want to answer, he will insult you and attempt to silence you.

    And if you're an asshole who hides behind conservatism to cover your basic lack of humanity, I will like you even less.—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

Scalzi again reveals that he fundamentally equates conservatism with a basic lack of humanity. And I'm sure we all fear him liking us even less than those he already publicly declares to be assholes. Apparently there is a Scale of Evil Right-wing Evil that runs from asshole to dudebro to bigoted shitheel and all the way up to Racist Sexist Homophobic Dipshit.

    Conservatism, although I disagree with much of it, deserves better than to be ill-used by you.—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

I've seen better concern-trolling of conservatives by the New York Times and the Washington Post.

    (Conservatives, feel free to sub in "Liberals" there for your own taste, etc.)—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

Again, when has Scalzi ever publicly attacked a feminist, a socialist, or a homosexual and personally attacked her character? Other than Sarah Palin, I'm not sure I've ever even seen him attack a woman's character.

    Bottom line: If you're a conservative, don't assume I dislike you. I probably don't. Your character as a human will show no matter what…—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

The truth is that if you're a conservative, Scalzi probably does dislike you, considers you evil, and bigoted, and an asshole. But he is willing to hide that dislike if you may be of potential use to him. So there is that.

    ..and that's the thing I'm going to respond to, first and foremost. Even when you tell I'm completely wrong about politics.—
    John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 20, 2014

As this latest Twitter epic demonstrates, the one thing John Scalzi actually responds to, first and foremost, is losing control of the narrative. Look how he repeatedly responds, however indirectly to everything I write about him. He has to, because I have successfully punctured the false narrative of John Scalzi, massively popular blogger, leading SF writer, and all-around great guy. As a quintessential Gamma male, the one thing he cannot bear is to have his carefully spun delusions methodically punctured and exposed, especially where others can witness it.

As I have stated previously, John Scalzi is a liar and a fraud. He lies relentlessly in order to market himself. He lies about everything. This belated pitch to conservative readers is no different from the way he repeatedly tried to make nice with the Baen gang after attacking Toni Weisskopf, or the way he tried to repair relations with John Ringo after Ringo rightly derided Scalzi's Redshirts winning the Hugo Award in 2013. As it happens, I have considerably more information on the man than I have revealed, and I can assure you that his "warmly charming witty little man" persona is no more real than the two million monthly pageviews he publicly claimed in the interview with Lightspeed Magazine. He's more accurately described as a narcissistic con artist with an unusual talent for self-promotion.

What Scalzi is trying to do with this rant is to spin the narrative and reverse the customary order of events. For nearly a decade, Scalzi has publicly attacked people he does not know specifically due to their political views, and labeled them assholes, or assbags, or bigoted shitheels, and so forth. Consider the first time he publicly attacked me, in response to a syndicated political op/ed I'd written, on March 2, 2005. Keep in mind I had never heard of the man at that time.
From what I know of Beale's politics, he's a jackass, and a fairly ignorant jackass at that. I feel pleased that my own politics, to the extent that they play any role in Nebula selection, are likely to counteract his (indeed, inasmuch as I sat on the short fiction jury this year, and we nominated a story by Eileen Gunn, it's more than likely). Were you to join SFWA, provided you meet the entrance requirements, at the very least you could take pride in knowing you are also diluting the influence of this jackass on future Nebula Awards. 
Notice that it is my politics, and nothing else, that made me a jackass in his eyes. He knew nothing about me or my character, obviously, or he would have done as many more sensible people who disagree with me have done and either a) kept the discourse on an impersonal level or b) stayed the fuck away from me. (As Bill Simmons once wrote about Steve Smith: Don't talk to him, don't look at him, don't even make eye contact with him. If he approaches you in the warm ups, act the same way you would if you were hiking in the wilderness and a grizzly bear approached you -- don't move, don't react, don't do anything until it walks away.)

It should be obvious to anyone with a three-digit IQ that John Scalzi is simply attempting retroactive damage control. So, to paraphrase what I wrote two days ago, perhaps he is entirely correct and he doesn't equate conservatives with assholes, I am both "a real bigoted shithole of a human being" and "an undeserving bigot shithole", my Hugo-nominated novelette is "to put it charitably, not good", and Larry Correia is "whining about how [he] totally MEANT to fail spectacularly at the Hugos" while trying to "RATIONALIZE [HIS] HUMILIATING DEFEAT".

Or perhaps he is not, and he is simply lying about these things as he has been observed to lie about other things. In closing, I found this exchange on the post immediately preceding the rant to be amusing:
Todd: “Your chief opponent (who is not be named in this space) has definitely lost sales because of his political screeds.”

Scalzi: I don’t have a chief opponent, actually. I have some people who like to yell in my direction, however.
As I said, he lies about everything. He doesn't have a single reader who doesn't know precisely to whom Todd is referring. More importantly, I was under the impression that people didn't read my books or give me awards because I am a terrible writer. Hmm, perhaps I would sell more books if I wrote an epic Twitter rant about how much I really love left-liberals....


Kotaku and the Quinnspiracy

Despite having been involved with the game industry in various ways since 1992, I've never given a damn about Gawker media and its Kotaku site. It mostly strikes me as a sort of Gamers Lite site, more dedicated to pageviews than games, and full of the sort of "gamers" who wouldn't know the difference between War at Sea and World in Flames. And while in some ways they are properly representative of the new breed of meaningless repetitive game with nothing but cartoon graphics that I, for one, can't bother playing, it's simply not the sort of site that I have ever bothered reading. I'm more interested in the latest VASSAL mod.

As for Zoe Quinn, she's the same sort of no-talent nobody that has been getting serially promoted for simultaneously possessing a vagina while feigning an interest in games for as long as I can remember. I'm old enough that I can remember one of the early girl game pioneers, Brenda Laurel, putting her hand on my leg and expressing an inordinate amount of interest in whatever I was saying back when CGDC was still at the Santa Clara Westin, the only thing that is different now is that a) Laurel had genuine talent and b) the Johnny Wilsons and Chris Lombardis and Mike Wekslers and Terry Colemans of the gaming media had integrity.

However, with the exception of Computer Gaming World and my original game review column, (the second nationally syndicated game review column, I should note), gaming journalism has always been more or less corrupt. Even its better magazines, such as Game Informer, began as marketing vehicles. Unlike most game reviewers, I never accepted anything except games for review from anyone, certainly not sexual favors, and I never gave any game a favorable review that didn't fully merit it. That's why I was the only game developer permitted to do reviews in CGW.

However, Quinn and her foolish supporters are going to learn, as Nixon did, that the coverup is worse than the crime. Not that I would have been inclined to take her seriously anyhow, but whatever credibility she had with those less experienced than I am will be shot by now. Certainly Gamer Headlines seems unimpressed.
Speculation turned to accusation yesterday, when Zoe’s ex-boyfriend make a post on his own blog, accusing her (with proof) of cheating with a number of prominent industry figures. Among them was current Kotaku writer Nathan Grayson, apparently solicitating sexual favours for positive press.

Pretty simple, right? The developer in question loses credibility, along with the gaming publication that allowed such a massive breach of professionalism occur. Except the rabbit hole has been going further than that. Not only has she been swapping blow for positive press, but also leveraging her sexual connections to stamp out anybody critical of her, most notably the organisers of ‘Women’s Game Jam’, who accuse the indie developer of encouraging a press blackout on the charity Jam to promote her own similar event.
Seriously, who are these nobodies? Some guy whose one game sold 200k copies and a woman who begs for money to make videos complaining about games are supposedly figures of note?

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