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Messages - Ageless the Drifter

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General Disconation / Re: Eric Garner Video
« on: December 05, 2014, 05:30:36 PM »

General Disconation / Re: Eric Garner Video
« on: December 05, 2014, 05:27:52 PM »
Apparently protesters are saying NYPD used LRAD sonic cannons to quell the protest

That's peetty terrifying/infuriating if true

General Disconation / Re: Abolish the Senate
« on: December 05, 2014, 12:48:40 PM »
I dunno, I haven't seen it in a long time so I can't say for sure. It's not that there's some particular thing that happens in the movie that's embarrassing to watch next to someone, though. It's just that embarrassment that comes with strongly recommending a movie as really cool or hilarious and then putting it on and realizing that most people probably won't find it as cool/funny as you do (and not in the Tim+Eric way where it's, like, "over your head" if you don't get it).

Spamalot / Re: Facebook: where everyone's lives are better than yours
« on: December 05, 2014, 12:33:35 PM »
I'm ok with seeing my friends post cool shit that they do. Maybe I just don't happen to have anyone who crosses the acceptable threshold in that department.

And If This Self-Effacing Blog Post Highlights My Appealing Quirks, So Be It

Honesty hour, guys: There are some aspects of my personality that are pretty embarrassing. Okay, really embarrassing. Like, I often roll out of bed and put on the same clothes I wore yesterday…and the day before that. I’m so obsessed with my cat that often I’ll just decide to stay home with him instead of going out. And, not even lying, even though I know sugary foods like chocolate and ice cream are “bad” for me, sometimes I’ll just pig out on them.

In short, I can be kind of weird and dorky. And if admitting that happens to showcase what a quirky, offbeat person I am, then so be it.

There’s no getting around it: When I write a blog post about how I’m a total nerd when it comes to the recent seasons of Doctor Who, or how the only music I ever want to listen to is old Whitney Houston karaoke jams, it’s naturally going to cause some people to view me as adorably idiosyncratic.

    In short, I can be kind of weird and dorky.

If readers happen to see my eccentricities as relatable and endearing, then there’s nothing I can really say at this point to change their minds. I might as well keep talking about how I’ve been known to eat a whole sleeve of Oreos in one sitting, and how I can’t get enough reality TV even though I know it’s all junk.

Now, believe me, I know the risk I’m running. I realize that by putting myself down in public, talking about how I get tired really easily and calling myself “such a grandma,” I risk showing that I don’t take myself very seriously. But you know what? That’s a risk I’ve chosen to take. And if, by some improbable stroke of luck, that causes others to sympathize with me—perhaps to say “LOL me too” in response to my admission—then I’ll just have to live with that.

Because you know me. I’m too darn lazy to do anything about it! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I see a lot of stuff that falls under this umbrella ^^^ but I don't really find that annoying so much as just, I dunno, sorta perplexing I guess.

General Disconation / Re: Quest for Quantum Computers Heats Up
« on: December 05, 2014, 11:38:00 AM »
so did they figure out why that first one they built didn't run the algorithms it was supposed to run any faster?

General Disconation / Re: Abolish the Senate
« on: December 05, 2014, 11:32:31 AM »
yeah I was gonna mention that--Kung Fu Hustle is Bill Murray's favorite movie.

I enjoyed it a lot when I watched it, but I think I would be embarrassed if I sat through it with someone I suggested it to as well, even though I'm p sure I'd still enjoy watching it now. The humor is pretty dated and the whole movie's kinda corny--I remember thinking that even the first time--but idk, I still liked it for some reason.

TZT GameDev / Re: AllEggsIn: Grandasaur's Grand Adventure
« on: December 05, 2014, 11:05:20 AM »
damn, that looks pro as hell

TZT GameDev / Re: AllEggsIn: Grandasaur's Grand Adventure
« on: December 04, 2014, 05:01:30 PM »
thoughts on Utumno:

I really want him to be enormous.

1st thought: the player remains fixed on the center of the screen and motion is effected by having the ground side-scroll and giant Utumno rotate in the background. In the foreground, sometimes overlapping the action of the battle, trolls wreak havoc on GD. We see silhouettes of dogpiles of trolls eating denizens of GD, people running around on fire, statues getting pushed over by big groups of trolls--whatever. Sometimes their chaos spills over into the player's plane of action, creating obstacles. Utumno tries to smash his huge hammer on you, but can't keep his balance very well. Pretty much everything he does causes the earth to shake and creates more obstacles/bounces you/generally fucks up your ability to move.

In this picture the hammer should be bigger--Utumno is supposed to be something like several hundred feet away and the hammer the size of a slightly-larger-than-normal rubber mallet

This is probably overly ambitious in terms of animation. I'll have to think of ways to simplify UT's animation in order to make this mechanic possible. One idea is to make him even bigger/the player closer so that you only ever see the very bottom of him + the hammer when it hits. The silhouettes shouldn't be *too* much hassle.

General Disconation / Re: Abolish the Senate
« on: December 04, 2014, 12:44:26 PM »
what is that soccer gif in your signature from

anyway Ziakas I think you're basically just saying the same thing the article already said

and Sear, Jacobin is a radical left/socialist website (of the 'both parties are evil' ilk) so they say shit like this pretty typically regardless of who's in office. In the article they make the same observation that you did--that democrats were all about the Senate when it was a democratic majority.I dunno whether I would've posted this before the last senate race if it had been written then and showed up in my newsfeed, but I like to think I would've.

But I don't see how they can have done a terrible job at "making the case"--the case is a pretty cut-and-dry numbers game. The Senate is, almost intrinsically (and I say 'almost' because it is, I suppose, at least hypothetically possible that states like Wyoming could suddenly have a massive population explosion, or everyone could discover NYC sucks and leave all at once), one of the least democratic legislative bodies in the world. It's not a question of efficiency, or even transparency or honest--it's a question of proportional representation.

General Disconation / Abolish the Senate
« on: December 04, 2014, 11:55:38 AM »

With Republican Senate victories in Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado, North Carolina, and West Virginia, Democrats are reeling from their worst political drubbing in decades. Things, the pundit class proclaims, will never be the same.

The GOP’s 2014 Senate sweep is indeed big news, which is why it’s generated such massive headlines. But an even bigger story concerns the nature of the chamber the Republicans have just captured.

The US Senate is by now the most unrepresentative major legislature in the “democratic world.” Thanks to the principle of equal state representation, which grants each state two senators regardless of population, the great majority of people end up grossly marginalized by the body. It’s a problem that has only gotten worse over time.

    Although California has the same number of votes as Wyoming, its population, currently at 38.3 million, is now some 65 times larger. One Californian thus has 1.5 percent of the voting clout in Senate elections as someone living just a few hundred miles to the east.
    Since a majority of Americans now live in just nine states, they wind up with just eighteen votes while the minority holds eighty-two, a ratio of better than four to one.
    Thanks to the Senate’s bizarre filibuster rules, forty-one senators representing less than 11 percent of the population can prevent any bill from even coming to a vote.
    Thanks to the requirement that proposed constitutional amendments be approved by at least two-thirds of each house, thirty-four senators from states representing just 5 percent of the population can veto any constitutional change, no matter how minor.
    The same goes for treaties, which also require two-thirds approval.
    The Senate “hold” system is even more unjust since it allows a single senator representing as little as one citizen in a thousand to stall a bill or executive appointment almost indefinitely.

The upshot is one of the most cockeyed systems of minority rule in history, one that allows tiny coteries to hold the entire country ransom until their demands are met. Congress is hardly the only bicameral legislature on earth. But while the British House of Lords, the Dutch Senate, and the German Bundesrat are often less than fully representative, their actual power ranges from minimal to non-existent, which helps soften the blow.

Yet thanks to Article I, which gives the Senate veto power over treaties and executive appointments, America’s upper chamber is actually more powerful than the lower and at the same time vastly more unequal.

It’s a double blow to democracy that feeds into American capitalism’s worst oligarchic tendencies. And yet the problem is almost completely invisible. Where one would expect millions of people in the streets protesting against US government’s resistance to one-person-one vote, the crowds are nowhere to be seen.

Not unexpectedly, equal state representation also turns out to be racially unrepresentative. While Hispanics and racial minorities make up 44 percent of the population in the ten largest states, all of which are heavily urbanized, they account for just 18 percent of the ten smallest states (in which individual voting power happens to be some eighteen times greater). Non-whites wind up hugely short-changed as a consequence. Yet while minority leaders have plenty to say about individual senators, they seem to have nothing to say about the institutionalized racism of the Senate as a whole.

Other groups are also penalized. Although women are not affected in the same way since their population is evenly distributed, issues like abortion and equal pay are hardly well served by an arrangement that multiplies the power of rural conservatives. But the LGBT community, whose most vocal activist base is typically in urban areas, does suffer from the Senate’s reign. Yet if the Lambda Legal Defense Fund or other gay advocacy groups have anything to say about equal state representation running contrary to their members’ interests, it has been so muted that no one has noticed.

The same goes for socialists, labor unions, health-care activists, conservationists, and others. All suffer under an exclusionary system that deprives progressive city dwellers of their rightful representation. Yet all are strangely acquiescent.

If Republicans proposed stripping workers of 80 percent of their voting rights, the uproar would be overwhelming. But since it is all the result of forces that the nation’s founders set in motion more than two centuries ago, there is only silence.

What can be the reason for such passivity? Any attempt at an answer requires a journey into the depths of American constitutionalism. As every political science student knows, Roger Sherman, a lawyer, shopkeeper, and surveyor turned politician, put forward his famous Connecticut Compromise midway through the 1787 Constitutional Convention in an effort to assuage fears that small states were about to be swamped by giants like Virginia and New York.

Instead of a unicameral system, Sherman’s modest proposal was to divide legislative responsibility between a lower house that would look after popular interests and an upper house that would attend to those of the states. American bicameralism, a variation on the British Parliament’s division between commons and lords, was born.

But that was not all the compromise entailed. It also required that the upper house be at least as powerful as the lower to ensure that state interests would be adequately protected, as well as modifications to the amending clause to see to it that the arrangement would be effectively immune to popular pressure. The upshot was the Senate’s enhanced power over treaties and appointments set forth in Article I, plus a clause in Article V stipulating “that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”

Where other parts of the Constitution can be changed with the approval of two-thirds of each house and three-fourths of the states, any deviation from the principle of equal state representation in the Senate is forbidden without the states’ unanimous consent.

This was enough to render the Senate all but untouchable back in 1790 when Delaware was less than a twelfth the size of Virginia. But as the number of states has grown and population disparities have widened, the guarantees have only grown more ironclad. Today, a demographic microstate like Wyoming derives so much benefit from the system that the chances of it ever saying yes to reform approach zero. The very idea is unspeakable.

Given such obstacles, Americans have made the pragmatic decision to concentrate on what they can change and ignore what they can’t. But the problem involves not only specific legal impediments, but the very nature of the Constitution and its place in larger society.

Americans think of their Constitution as a document towering over society, hardly surprising since it preceded the nation and essentially gave rise to it, a process that continued through the Civil War and even after.

The Declaration of Independence said nothing about a nation-state, referring instead only to “the good people of these colonies,” which “of right ought to be free and independent states.” The Articles of Confederation, adopted in 1781, were equally chary, specifying that “each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence” and characterizing the new union as no more than “a firm league of friendship.”

“We the people,” the 1787 Constitution’s famous opening phrase, was the first official reference to Americans as anything approaching a single entity.

Americans view this as perfectly natural. After all, the Constitution created the federal government, which then laid the basis for the first stirrings of a unified society. But elsewhere the process was different. Beginning in the spring of 1789, the French convened the first national assembly, issued the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and stormed the Bastille, all without drafting a constitution until more than two years later.

The Constitution gave rise to the nation in America, the nation gave rise to the constitution in France.

As a result, the American nation was above the Constitution in one instance and below it in another. The preamble seemingly establishes “we the people” as the highest authority in the land since it describes them as ordaining one plan of government and, in the process, implicitly tossing out another, the ill-fated Articles of Confederation.

But the Constitution then goes on to subordinate the people by severely limiting their ability to change a document made in their name and in at least one instance, that of equal state representation, eliminating it altogether. The Constitution established the people as sovereign and non-sovereign in virtually the same breath.

It is tempting to dismiss the results as little more than a muddle. If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then the Constitution, the product of four months of labor by fifty-five merchants, planters, and lawyers, is a multi-humped dromedary straight out of Dr. Seuss.

But one could also describe it in more modern terms as a kind of early computer program, one that switches on a processor, powers it up, and then orders it to perform certain specific tasks. The Constitution invests the people with just enough power to carry out the functions that it dictates.

If so, this explains a good deal about the American political system – its low ideological level, its narrowness of debate, its all-around thoughtlessness. Instead of freely thinking through the problems before them, Americans are required — programmed, actually — to think only in ways dictated by the founders.

They are creatures of a pre-ordained democracy that limits their role to filling in certain blanks. They will argue endlessly about the “necessary and proper” clause in Article I or the meaning of the Second Amendment, but never about why, after more than two centuries, they should remain bound by such precepts in the first place. They debate what the Constitution allows them to debate and disregard the rest.

Hence the silence over the undemocratic nature of the Senate. Since equal state representation is the single most immovable part of the political structure, it is the feature most resistant to popular pressure and therefore the one most off-limits to debate.

Americans campaign for and against various Senate candidates, they spend millions on political ads, and they beat their breasts when the wrong side wins. But they never pause to ask themselves why they play the game at all or what purpose it is serving in a democratic society.

Since they’re not programmed to think about such issues, they’re no more inclined to do so than a laptop is inclined to think about the merits of Microsoft Word.

This is the equivalent of what the Scottish New Left political theorist Tom Nairn once described as “royal socialism,” the notion that Labor MPs can nationalize industry, expand the welfare state, and promote equality all while kneeling before the queen and praying for a peerage. It assumes that progress can continue indefinitely within certain fixed parameters, whether those of an unwritten constitution in the United Kingdom or a 227-year-old written document in the United States that is all but unamendable.

But it can’t. Rather than a workers’ state, royal socialism in Britain led to the grotesque hypocrisy of the Tony Blair years and the growing financial dictatorship of the City of London. The American version has resulted in even worse, the eclipse of organized labor and a dramatic surge in income polarization, not to mention economic crisis, unemployment, and war in the Middle East.

Constitutional strictures thus have a way of turning on their supporters and biting them in the derriere when they least expect it. What seems generous and accommodating in one era becomes suffocating and restrictive in another. In the United States, an entire generation came of age thinking of the Supreme Court as the key to social progress. The deep freeze might continue on Capitol Hill while Ike continued to putter around the golf course, but “the Supremes” would return the Bill of Rights to all its glory.

But that was so last century. With the court restored to its normal historical conservatism and the executive branch likely to lurch to the right in 2016 as well, the strategy is by now exhausted. In Congress, the trench warfare meanwhile grows more and more dangerous.

Nation columnist Alexander Cockburn labored to put a positive spin on gridlock. “We like it,” he wrote in 2000, because it prevents conservatives from ramming through such initiatives as Social Security privatization and school vouchers. But that was wrong then and even more wrong now.

In the long run, it is plain that gridlock plays into the hands of the know-nothing right who want Americans to believe that democracy equals mob rule and that government is a dead end. The more democracy is made to tie itself in knots, the more frustrated working people grow and the more corporate interests have the field to themselves.

The Senate is now the center of the conspiracy. Republicans are rejoicing over what is likely to be a fifty-four to forty-six majority. But since their forces are concentrated in less populous states in the West and South, they actually represent fewer Americans than most people realize — just 46 percent.

In democratic terms — the only terms, of course, that count — they are still the minority party. But that will not stop them from making the utmost of their constitutional prerogatives.

Next year’s GOP freshmen include such troglodytes as software executive Steve Daines of Montana, who maintains that solar cycles cause global warming; millionaire “turnaround specialist” David Perdue of Georgia, who told a campaign rally, “I believe in the good Lord, I believe in the Bible, and I believe in our Constitution”; and IBM executive Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who is anti-abortion, anti-birth control, and a global warming skeptic to boot.

An increasingly undemocratic structure fuels a growing anti-democratic assault. Yet the problem can only grow worse. Over the next decade or so, the white portion of the ten largest states is projected to continue ticking downward, while the opposite will occur in the ten smallest.

By 2030, the population ratio between the largest and smallest state is estimated to increase from sixty-five to one to nearly eighty-nine to one. The Senate will be more racist as a consequence, more unrepresentative, and more of a plaything in the hands of the militant right.

If you want to know what the future looks like, to paraphrase Orwell, imagine the old pre-reform Mississippi state legislature stamping on democracy — forever. Reformers will face an uphill fight even in defending existing gains. Yet there will not be a thing that liberals will be able to do about it without going contrary to rules that they previously extolled. Their options will be either to stand by and watch as democracy rapidly unravels or somehow strike off into a radical new direction.

With growing income polarization and an increasingly rigid Constitution, the US political structure is more brittle than most people realize. Americans have not had a chance to vote on the Constitution as a whole since the ratification battles of 1787–88. And since only white male property owners were allowed to vote — with only a quarter actually choosing to do so — those contests hardly qualify as a democratic.

“We the people” have therefore never been consulted at all. They have merely acquiesced. But the big question is: for how long?

General Disconation / Re: This messageboard
« on: December 03, 2014, 01:21:44 PM »
Man, I don't have the energy

General Disconation / Re: Russia setting up for a space jam on the Ukraine
« on: December 03, 2014, 12:46:41 PM »
not since the wall went down

They're still 2nd World. 3rd World is like Africa, really bad places.

They're an industrialized capitalist state--that'd make them first-world. Second world states were Soviet. It's not, like, a ranking system.

General Disconation / Re: GMO feed causes pigs severe GI inflammation
« on: December 02, 2014, 11:09:38 PM »
I spend like $10/week on food

But I eat, like, peanut butter and cans of beans


General Disconation / Re: Russia setting up for a space jam on the Ukraine
« on: December 02, 2014, 10:19:34 PM »
not since the wall went down

General Disconation / Re: My Vassar College Faculty ID Makes Everything OK
« on: December 02, 2014, 09:58:21 PM »
I'm so glad that got reposted

General Disconation / Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer!
« on: December 02, 2014, 09:35:03 PM »
Shadows of the Empire (the shit), all three SNES side-scrollers, Jedi Knight II, Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast, Rogue Squadron

all solid games

what games did you play that you weren't into?

General Disconation / Re: Doctor?
« on: December 02, 2014, 09:28:22 PM »
I dunno if there's really fraud involved here

I would think it's a blue cross problem and they should have a number to call. Obamacare is just a matching service of sorts really... don't think it has anything to do with this kind of situation

I know, I'm not bashing ACA--I'm frankly glad for it because this is exactly the kind of BS situation I would've expected to deal with regardless. This way at least I'm not paying for it

But also, ya know, I recognize that I have a florida-based policy while living on OR, so I guess I can't be too outraged

General Disconation / Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer!
« on: December 02, 2014, 09:09:13 PM »
Most of the SW *games* were great--even the entirely spaceship-based ones and podracing were pretty solid for games in those genres, which I'm not generally a fan of.

Tsk..tsk..tsk...YOU ARE A DEAD BOY...I tried to contain this fucked up bad. Im not gonna incriminate myself but...I got folks looking for you for slandering...this is serious Brooklyn're a dead man walking. Your blog didnt hurt me as much as people involved. I warned you before that Im a Bklyn Nigga who takes no shit from pussy ass'll probably get stabbed up repeatedly instead of shot (to obvious)for fucking up the Franchise. THIS IS NO THREAT..SERIOUS. I tried to convince my goons that you are a pitiful punk ass MOMMA'S BOY fucking with grown folk but THEY wanna teach you a fucking with gangbangers..your time here is up..I feel sorry for your parents. YOU WERE WARNED. I got my legal team on it so I have all your info..unless you loose. SO SERIOUS. I have a female "banger"near your town who said if she see you she's gonna slash your face with a boxcutter without warning so every time you look in the mirror you remember. ..BKLYN STYLE. Ya boy Jacob Collins is safe..he said he don't wanna fuck with you no more with your bullshit, so I made that clear to my peeps to leave him alone..did you remove the blog? Hope not..I got my legal team on it..since your under 21 little bitch boy your Parents got to pay or ........R.I.P Cameron Perry.
I feel like the game Parappa the rapper came out too long ago for Dred Foxx to be 15 years old

General Disconation / Doctor?
« on: December 02, 2014, 02:44:26 PM »
How do I adult?

I've literally never had a primary care physician. I've only ever gone to a doctor for immediate treatment of an immediate problem--usually walk-ins/emergency room.

I'm trying to book a routine physical. I signed up for Obamacare through Blue Cross/Blue Shield while I was still in Fl, but I called and they sent me a list of a bunch of doctors that supposedly take my plan.

But none of those doctors are taking new patients?

So much for preventative care. People used to pay for this fucking plan?

General Disconation / Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer!
« on: December 02, 2014, 02:17:56 PM »
That's pretty hilarious

Spamalot / Re: I am old + out of touch
« on: December 02, 2014, 12:02:00 PM »
the difference is that you can just pull up whatever you want at any time as long as it's on spotify

then it offers you related artists based on your listening history, but you still have to queue that up yourself

or you can listen to other people's shared playlists who have similar taste to you and see what else they have thrown in alongside shit you've already heard

I think it has a radio component ala pandora, but it has way more functionality. I dunno, you can try out the non-premium (only difference is ads) to see if you think it's worth paying for. I can promise you it's better than fucking sirius though

General Disconation / Re: WWE's business ethics (CM Punk just blasted them)
« on: December 02, 2014, 11:37:55 AM »
I'm pretty sure well into the late 90s/early 2000s there was still a pretense that it was real

I remember watching some wrestler fail a lie detector test on like 60min or some shit after being asked if he ever threw matches, etc.

but I'm pretty sure it was always, like, "this is totally real" *wink*--like santa claus. I don't think anyone but small children were ever meant to be legitimately fooled, because it wasn't any less absurd in that era.

« on: December 02, 2014, 11:30:34 AM »
Sorry, you must be a registered forums member to view this page.

Spamalot / Re: I am old + out of touch
« on: December 02, 2014, 11:29:14 AM »
I thought about this early this morning but really, your music taste doesn't translate to new music.


also fuck sirius, just get spotify premium bruh

TZT GameDev / Re: AllEggsIn: Grandasaur's Grand Adventure
« on: December 01, 2014, 10:49:39 PM »
Edit: Wrote this before your last two posts

I kinda wanna refine the concepts for any sprites a little bit before I do the actual sprite sheets since the whole 16-bit motif is pretty arduous

Since Grand's sprite's concept is pretty straight-forward, I was gonna go ahead and bang that out right away, but Ut, Sol etc are gonna be a bit of a process.

Is there anything useful to you that you need me to do in the interim? Quick-and sloppy stand-in sprites, maybe?

Also, I dunno how much of a hassle it poses at this stage, but my initial conceptualization of the gameplay was more in this vein

Donkey Kong Country 3 Level 4-3 Ripsaw Rage

like a top-down scroller with a side-to-side component. Obv this is gonna require a lot of environmental considerations: levers, pulleys, elevators, ramps, etc and a lot of strategy in how we place them. I think it may even be better(/necessary) to allow very low jumping so that enemies are navigable while the broader puzzle of climbing is worked out.

Lemme know what you think

General Disconation / Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer!
« on: December 01, 2014, 03:17:55 PM »

TZT GameDev / Re: AllEggsIn: Grandasaur's Grand Adventure
« on: December 01, 2014, 12:53:19 PM »
o nice pal

didn't know you ended up in portland

do you have any interest in working on the unity end of this as well? if so i could export the project as a package for you to download into your own unity and mess with

if not that's fine too

Does Unity work on Mac? If so, I'd like to be able to tinker, yeah. I still haven't recovered my PC box (probably a lost cause at this point).


Six Myths About Climate Change that Liberals Rarely Question
by Erik Lindberg, originally published by Transition Milwaukee  | Nov 26, 2014

Myth #1:  Liberals Are Not In Denial

“We will not apologize for our way of life” –Barack Obama

The conservative denial of the very fact of climate change looms large in the minds of many liberals.  How, we ask, could people ignore so much solid and unrefuted evidence?   Will they deny the existence of fire as Rome burns once again?  With so much at stake, this denial is maddening, indeed.  But almost never discussed is an unfortunate side-effect of this denial: it has all but insured that any national debate in America will occur in a place where most liberals are not required to challenge any of their own beliefs.  The question has been reduced to a two-sided affair—is it happening or is it not—and liberals are obviously on the right side of that.

If we broadened the debate just a little bit, however, we would see that most liberals have just moved a giant boat-load of denial down-stream, and that this denial is as harmful as that of conservatives.  While the various aspects of liberal denial are my main overall topic, here, and will be addressed in our following five sections, they add up to the belief that we can avoid the most catastrophic levels of climate disruption without changing our fundamental way of life.  This is myth is based on errors that are as profound and basic as the conservative denial of climate change itself.

But before moving on, one more point about liberal and conservative denial: Naomi Klein has suggested that conservative denial may have its roots, it will surprise many liberals, in some pretty clear thinking.   At some level, she has observed, conservatives climate deniers understand that addressing climate change will, in fact, change our way of life, a way of life which conservatives often view as sacred.  This sort of change is so terrifying and unthinkable to them, she argues, that they cut the very possibility of climate change off at its knees:  fighting climate change would force us to change our way of life; our way of life is sacred and cannot be questioned; ergo, climate change cannot be happening.

We have a situation, then, where one half of the population says it is not happening, and the other half says it is happening but fighting it doesn’t have to change our way of life.  Like a dysfunctional and enabling married couple, the bickering and finger-pointing, and anger ensures that nothing has to change and that no one has to actually look deeply at themselves, even as the wheels are falling off the family-life they have co-created.  And so do Democrats and Republicans stay together in this unhappy and unproductive place of emotional self-protection and planetary ruin.

Myth #2:  Republicans are Still More to Blame

“Yes, America does face a cliff -- not a fiscal cliff but a set of precipices [including a carbon cliff] we'll tumble over because the GOP's obsession over government's size and spending has obscured them.”  -Robert Reich

It is true that conservative politicians in the United States and Europe have been intent on blocking international climate agreements; but by focusing on these failed agreements, which only require a baby-step in the right direction, liberals obliquely side-step the actual cause of global warming—namely, burning fossil fuels.  The denial of climate change isn’t responsible for the fact that we, in the United States, are responsible for about one quarter of all current emissions if you include the industrial products we consume (and an even greater percentage of all emissions over time), even though we make up only 6% of the world’s population.  Our high-consumption lifestyles are responsible for this.  Republicans do not emit an appreciably larger amount of carbon dioxide than Democrats.

Because pumping gasoline is our most direct connection to the burning of fossil fuels, most Americans overemphasize the significance of what sort of car we drive and many liberals might proudly point to their small economical cars or undersized SUVs.  While the transportation sector is responsible for a lot of our emissions, the carbon footprint of any one individual has much more to do with his or her overall levels of consumption of all kinds—the travel (especially on airplanes), the hotels and restaurants, the size and number of homes, the computers and other electronics, the recreational equipment and gear, the food, the clothes, and all the other goods, services, and amenities that accompany an affluent life.  It turns out that the best predictor of someone’s carbon footprint is income.  This is true whether you are comparing yourself to other Americans or to other people around the world.  Middle-class American professionals, academics, and business-people are among the world’s greatest carbon emitters and, as a group, are more responsible than any other single group for global warming, especially if we focus on discretionary consumption.  Accepting the fact of climate change, but then jetting off to the tropics, adding another oversized television to the collection, or buying a new Subaru involves a tremendous amount of denial.  There are no carbon offsets for ranting and raving about conservative climate-change deniers.

Myth #3:  Renewable Energy Can Replace Fossil Fuels

“We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.” –Barack Obama

This is a hugely important point.  Everything else hinges on the myth that we might live a lifestyle similar to our current one powered by wind, solar, and biofuels.  Like the conservative belief that climate change cannot be happening, liberals believe that renewable energy must be a suitable replacement.  Neither view is particularly concerned with the evidence.

Conventional wisdom among American liberals assures us that we would be well on our way to a clean, green, low-carbon, renewable energy future were it not for the lobbying efforts of big oil companies and their Republican allies.  The truth is far more inconvenient than this: it will be all but impossible for our current level of consumption to be powered by anything but fossil fuels.  The liberal belief that energy sources such as wind, solar, and biofuels can replace oil, natural gas, and coal is a mirror image of the conservative denial of climate change: in both cases an overriding belief about the way the world works, or should work, is generally far stronger than any evidence one might present.  Denial is the biggest game in town.  Denial, as well as a misunderstanding about some fundamental features of energy, is what allows someone like Bill Gates assume that “an energy miracle” will be created with enough R & D.  Unfortunately, the lessons of microprocessors do not teach us anything about replacing oil, coal, and natural gas.

It is of course true that solar panels and wind turbines can create electricity, and that ethanol and bio-diesel can  power many of our vehicles, and this does lend a good bit of credibility to the claim that a broader transition should be possible—if we can only muster the political will and finance the necessary research.  But this view fails to take into account both the limitations of renewable energy and the very specific qualities of the fossil fuels around which we’ve built our way of life.  The myth that alternative sources of energy are perfectly capable of replacing fossil fuels and thus of maintaining our current way of life receives widespread support from our President to leading public intellectuals to most mainstream journalists, and receives additional backing from our self-image as a people so ingenious that there are no limits to what we can accomplish.  That fossil fuels have provided us with a one-time burst of unrepeatable energy and affluence (and ecological peril) flies in the face of nearly all the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.  Just starting to dispel this myth requires that I go into the issue a bit more deeply and at greater length.

Because we have come to take the power and energy-concentration of fossil fuels for granted, and see our current lifestyle as normal, it is easy to ignore the way the average citizens of industrialized societies have an unprecedented amount of energy at their disposal.  Consider this for a moment: a single $3 gallon of gasoline provides the equivalent of about 80 days of hard manual labor.  Fill up your 15 gallon gas tank in your car, and you’ve just bought the same amount of energy that would take over three years of unremitting manual labor to reproduce.  Americans use more energy in a month than most of our great-grandparents used during their whole lifetime.  We live at a level, today, that in previous days could have only been supported by about 150 slaves for every American—though even that understates it, because we are at the same time beneficiaries of a societal infrastructure that is also only possible to create if we have seemingly limitless quantities of lightweight, relatively stable, easily transportable, and extremely inexpensive ready-to-burn fuel like oil or coal.

A single, small, and easily portable gallon of oil is the product of nearly 100 tons of surface-forming algae (imagine 5 dump trucks full of the stuff), which first collected enormous amounts of solar radiation before it was condensed, distilled, and pressure cooked for a half-billion years—and all at no cost to the humans who have come to depend on this concentrated energy.  There is no reason why we should be able to manufacture at a reasonable cost anything comparable.  And when we look at the specific qualities of renewable energy with any degree of detail we quickly see that we have not.  Currently only about a half of a percent of the total energy used in the United States is generated by wind, solar, biofuels, or geothermal heat.   The global total is not much higher, despite the much touted efforts in Germany, Spain, and now China.  In 2013, 1.1% of the world’s total energy was provided by wind and only 0.2% by solar.[ii]  As these low numbers suggest, one of the major limitations of renewable energy has to do with scale, whether we see this as a limitation in renewable energy itself, or remind ourselves that the expectations that fossil fuels have helped establish are unrealistic and unsustainable.

University of California physics professor Tom Murphy has provided detailed calculations about many of the issues of energy scale in his blog, “Do the Math.”  With the numbers adding up, we are no longer able to wave the magic wand of our faith in our own ingenuity and declare the solar future would be here, but for those who refuse to give in the funding it is due.  Consider a few representative examples: most of us have, for instance, heard at some point the sort of figure telling us that enough sun strikes the Earth every 104 minutes to power the entire world for a year.  But this only sounds good if you don’t perform any follow-up calculations.  As Murphy puts it,

"As reassuring as this picture is, the photovoltaic area [required] represents more than all the paved area in the world. This troubles me. I’ve criss-crossed the country many times now, and believe me, there is a lot of pavement. The paved infrastructure reflects a tremendous investment that took decades to build. And we’re talking about asphalt and concrete here: not high-tech semiconductor. I truly have a hard time grasping the scale such a photovoltaic deployment would represent.  And I’m not even addressing storage here." [iii]

In another post,[iv] Murphy calculates that a battery capable of storing this electricity in the U.S. alone (otherwise no electricity at night or during cloudy or windless spells) would require about three times as much lead as geologists estimate may exist in all reserves, most of which remain unknown.  If you count only the lead that we’ve actually discovered, Murphy explains, we only have 2% of the lead available for our national battery project.  The number are even more disheartening if you try to substitute lithium ion or other systems now only in the research phase.  The same story holds true for just about all the sources that even well-informed people assume are ready to replace fossil fuels, and which pundits will rattle off in an impressively long list with impressive sounding numbers of kilowatt hours produced.  Add them all up--even increase the efficiency to unanticipated levels and assume a limitless budget--and you will naturally have some big-sounding numbers; but then compare them to our current energy appetite, and you quickly see that we still run out of space, vital minerals and other raw materials, and in the meantime would probably have strip-mined a great deal of precious farmland, changed the earth’s wind patterns, and have affected the weather or other ecosystems in ways not yet imagined.

But the most significant limitation of fossil fuel’s alleged clean, green replacements has to do with the laws of physics and the way energy, itself, works.  A brief review of the way energy does what we want it to do will also help us see why it takes so many solar panels or wind turbines to do the work that a pickup truck full of coal or a small tank of crude oil can currently accomplish without breaking a sweat.  When someone tells us of the fantastic amounts of solar radiation that beats down on the Earth each day, we are being given a meaningless fact.  Energy doesn’t do work; only concentrated energy does work, and only while it is going from its concentrated state to a diffuse state—sort of like when you let go of a balloon and it flies around the room until its pressurized (or concentrated) air has joined the remaining more diffuse air in the room.

When we build wind turbines and solar panels, or grow plants that can be used for biofuels, we are “manually” concentrating the diffuse energy of the sun or in the wind—a task, not incidentally, that requires a good deal of energy.  The reason why these efforts, as impressive as they are, pale in relationship to fossil fuels has to do simply with the fact that we are attempting to do by way of a some clever engineering and manufacturing (and a considerable amount of energy) what the geology of the Earth did for free, but, of course, over a period of half a billion years with the immense pressures of the planet’s shifting tectonic plates or a hundred million years of sedimentation helping us out.  The “normal” society all of us have grown up with is a product of this one-time burst of a pre-concentrated, ready-to-burn fuel source.  It has provided us with countless wonders; but used without limits, it is threatening all life as we know it.

Myth 4: The Coming “Knowledge Economy” Will be a Low-Energy Economy

"The basic economic resource - the means of production - is no longer capital, nor natural resources, nor labor. It is and will be knowledge."  -Peter Drucker

“The economy of the last century was primarily based on natural resources, industrial machines and manual labor. . . . Today’s economy is very different. It is based primarily on knowledge and ideas — resources that are renewable and available to everyone.”  -Mark Zuckerberg

A “low energy knowledge economy,” when promised by powerful people like Barack Obama, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg, may still our fears about our current ecological trajectory.  At a gut level this vision of the future may match the direct experience of many middle-class American liberals.  Your father worked in a smelting factory; you spend your day behind a laptop computer, which can, in fact, be run on a very small amount of electricity.  Your carbon footprint must be lower, right?  Companies like Apple and Microsoft round out this hopeful fantasy with their clever and inspiring advertisements featuring children in Africa or China joining this global knowledge economy as they crowd cheerfully around a computer in some picturesque straw-hut school room.

But there’s a big problem with this picture.  This global economy may seem like it needs little more than an army of creative innovators and entrepreneurs tapping blithely on laptop computers at the local Starbucks.  But the real global economy still requires a growing fleet of container ships—and, of course, all the iron and steel used to build them, all the excavators used to mine it, all the asphalt needed to pave more of the world.  It needs a bigger and bigger fleet of UPS trucks and Fed Ex airplanes filling the skies with more and more carbon dioxide, it needs more paper, more plastic, more nickel, copper, and lead.  It requires food, bottled water, and of course lots and lots of coffee.  And more oil, coal, and natural gas.  As Juliet Schor reports, each American consumer requires “132,000 pounds of oil, sand, grain, iron ore, coal and wood” to maintain our current lifestyle each year.  That adds up to “an eye-popping 362 pounds a day.”[v]  And the gleeful African kids that Apple asks us to imagine joining the global economy?   They are far more likely to slave away in a gold mine or sift through junk hauled across the Atlantic looking for recyclable materials, than they are to be device-sporting global entrepreneurs.  The Microsoft ads are designed for us, not them.  Meanwhile, the numbers Schor reports are not going down in the age of “the global knowledge economy,” a term which should be consigned to history’s dustbin of misleading marketing slogans.

The “dematerialized labor” that accounts for the daily toil of the American middle class is, in fact, the clerical, management and promotional sector of an industrial machine that is still as energy-intensive and material-based as it ever was.   Only now, much of the sooty and smelly part has been off-shored to places far, far away from the people who talk hopefully about a coming global knowledge economy.  We like to pretend that the rest of the world can live like us, and we have certainly done our best to advertise, loan, seduce, and threaten people across the world to adopt our style, our values, and our wants.   But someone still has to do the smelting, the welding, the sorting, and run the ceaseless production lines.  And, moreover, if everyone lived like we do, took our vacations, drove our cars, ate our food, lived in our houses, filled them with oversized TVs and the endless array of throwaway gadgetry, the world would use four times as much energy and emit nearly four times as much carbon dioxide as it does now.  If even half the world’s population were to consume like we do, we would have long since barreled by the ecological point of no-return.

Economists speak reverently of a decoupling between economic growth and carbon emissions, but this decoupling is occurring at a far slower rate than the economy is growing.  There has never been any global economic growth that is not also accompanied by increased energy use and carbon emissions.  The only yearly decreases in emissions ever recorded have come during massive recessions.

Myth 5: We can Reverse Global Warming Without Changing our Current Lifestyles

“Saving the planet would be cheap; it might even be free. . . . [It] would have hardly any negative effect   on economic growth, and might actually lead to faster growth” –Paul Krugman

The upshot of the previous sections is that the comforts, luxuries, privileges, and pleasures that we tell ourselves are necessary for a happy or satisfying life are the most significant cause of global warming and that unless we quickly learn to organize our lives around another set of pleasures and satisfactions, it is extremely unlikely that our children or grandchildren will inherit a livable planet.  Because we are falsely reassured by liberal leaders that we can fight climate change without any inconvenience, it bears repeating this seldom spoken truth.  In order to adequately address climate change, people in rich industrial nations will have to reduce current levels of consumption to levels few are prepared to consider.  This truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.[vi] 

Global warming is not complicated: it is caused mainly by burning fossil fuels; fossil fuels are burned in the greatest quantity by wealthy people and nations and for the products they buy and use.  The larger the reach of a middle-class global society, the more carbon emissions there have been.  While conservatives deny the science of global warming, liberals deny the only real solution to preventing its most horrific consequences—using less and powering down, perhaps starting with the global leaders in style and taste (as well as emissions), the American middle-class.  In the meantime we continue to pump more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere with each passing year.

Myth 6: There is Nothing I Can Do.

The problem is daunting; making changes can be difficult.[vii]  But not only can you do something, you can’t not do anything.  Either you will continue to buy, use, and consume as if there is no tomorrow; or you will make substantial changes to the way you live.  Both choices are “doing something.”   Either you will emit far more CO2 than people in most parts of the globe; or you will bring your carbon footprint to an equitable level.  Either you will turn away, ignore the warnings, bury your head in the sand; or you will begin to take a strong stance on perhaps the most significant moral challenge in the history of humanity.  Either you will be a willing party to the most destructive thing humans have ever done; or you will resist the wants, the beliefs, and the expectations that are as important to a consumption-based global economy as the fossil fuels that power it.   As Americans we have already done just about everything possible to bring the planet to the brink of what scientists are now calling “the sixth great extinction.”  We can either keep on doing more of the same; or we can work to undo the damage we have done and from which we have most benefitted. 

I hear a lot of my more radically-left pals making these arguments. I feel like the punchline is worth-while, but I also think that the argument seems to be rooted in the assumption that the possibility of 'progress in renewable energy' is limited in principle to using already-existing technology on a larger scale, which seems too pessimistic.

TZT GameDev / Re: AllEggsIn: Grandasaur's Grand Adventure
« on: November 30, 2014, 08:05:02 PM »
for sure--I've been gallivanting around Portland with some some pals from Florida since Thanksgiving so I haven't had many free moments, but I'ma dive in hard starting tomorrow morning

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