Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page
Here’s a simple test to see if you are retarded.
Read this quote:
He has called on Blizzard Entertainment, the company that makes World of Warcraft, to waive or discount the costs associated with joining the game so that therapists can more easily communicate with at-risk [of World of Warcraft addiction] players in their preferred environment.
Is this a) a great idea or b) retarded beyond the pale?
Click to find out…
Bill Roper used to be a big shot at Blizzard North. The people who made Diablo and Diablo 2. A bunch of the Blizzard North people quit to create Flagship Studios and churned out Hellgate: London, which predictably fell flat on its face and bankrupted the studio about a month after it launched.
His street cred for the Diablo franchise must still be good, because he managed to land a job working on an MMO despite the failure of his last venture to create a profitable game.
It’s not surprising to see why Hellgate failed. This quote, from a recent Ten Ton Hammer interview, shows how Bill Roper totally misses the point:
The way I look at it, from a player’s standpoint, there are certain things I’ve wanted in MMOs where I’m like, “man, I really should get that item.” I know that if I was part of a big giant guild and we did raids over and over again, and I got on the list that maybe I’m going to get that item. And it’s not even because that item has a gameplay effect; it’s that cool mount, or that cool pet that is a super rare drop or that kind of thing. I don’t have that kind of gaming time, and I’m not part of a big giant guild so it would be tougher to get some of those kinds of things too. But if I had the opportunity to get something that was similar or something that I felt was equally cool, so not even necessarily the exact same thing, I might say, “Oh cool, I’m going to buy this cool pet for myself.” I don’t think that negates from the enjoyment of my game, or the enjoyment other people have with their game because they’re going to be getting stuff that’s equally as cool if not cooler by playing, but they didn’t have to spend any money on it.
A giant motivation behind acquiring said cool items is to be one of the only people who has said cool item. Why do you think people buy sports cars? Because everybody else builds their sports car from scratch but they just don’t have the time?
No. It’s to be driving the coolest car on the road. The car that not many other people can afford. The car that impresses people (women). Okay, there are no women in MMORPGS. But Bill Roper is making an enormously stupid error in judgment by underestimating the desire to have the best/the coolest/the rarest “thing” on the server.
Anything that can be bought immediately loses its value in the eyes of MMO players. In fact, it’s not just considered worthless. Players who strut around the server with clearly purchased items won’t be strutting for long because they will be laughed at by everyone else who plays the game (presuming anyone plays a game designed with such hairbrained thinking to begin with).
The very system itself opens the door for the studio to start offering items that do in fact go beyond cosmetic upgrades as soon as the subscription revenue isn’t satisfying the shareholders. “Oh, we won’t do that.” No, not willingly you won’t. But when the finance people say, “either start increasing micro-transaction revenue or fire half of your developers”, Bill Roper will say, “okay’ and immediately monetize the entire economy of the game and it will very rapidly turn into the shit that is Gunbound and every “free to play” RPG flying out of Korea on a weekly basis. Money talks.
Champions MMO is already doomed to fail. Don’t bother reading about it, thinking about it, buying it, installing it, or playing it. It’s a Down’s baby still in the womb.
One of my former professors who lived in his office – literally, he had no address – posted a Facebook link to one of those Sicko-style pro-social-medicine anecdotes about an American getting a type of eye surgery pioneered by American doctors in France for something like 150 euros. Isn’t government subsidization an amazing thing?
One of the comments to this blog entry is absolutely priceless. Commentary provided:
Here is my insurance story. My husband was injured on the job. His insurance covered about half of his many tests and then rehabilitation, which was very lengthy for a sciatic nerve injury. He was out of work for six months, during which time I increased my work (I’m self employed as a speech therapist) from five to six days a week, sometimes seven, just to pay our monthly bills. He was still on the payroll at his company, who kept promising to find him an alternate position, since he could not return to his regular job due to the permanent effects of the injury. During this time he could not apply for unemployment. They never did find him another position, and dropped him from the payroll (and insurance) after a year.
So many mistakes in this one single paragraph it’s almost hard to decide where to start. I work in a zero-risk office. The worst thing that could happen here is accidentally driving a staple into a finger or tripping over a power cord. Maybe scalding your tongue on hot tea. But in our kitchen, we have notices about what to do if we are injured on the job and the rights we have in such a case. These notices state clearly that they must be placed in a conspicuous place such that all employees understand their rights. I won’t repeat them all (and they vary from state to state), but employers are responsible for covering medical expenses beyond whatever company health insurance policy pays. So the first line of this response is a little misleading: insurance might have covered half, but his employer should have covered the other half. If they didn’t, he could sue them retroactively and win. Mistake #1, presuming they paid a cent for the cost of his medical bills as a result of an on-the-job injury.
Mistake #2: “I’m self-employed as a speech therapist.” Solution: there are about 9,000 million speech therapy jobs in schools and hospitals across the nation that offer benefits including medical benefits. If it looks like health coverage might be in peril since your husband can’t work in the field he used to work in due to a debilitating injury, maybe get a job with benefits, even if the pay is less? Health benefits are worth about $9,000 a year on average, so $42,000 with benefits is better than $50,000 without. Unless you don’t care about benefits, that is…
Mistake #3: “He was still on the payroll at his company, who kept promising to find him an alternate position…” Idiot. You think the company has your best interest in mind? It’s a business, not a charity. Get it in writing or consider it a consolation. The fact that the company kept a useless person on their pay roll that long, aside from mitigating a litigation risk, was more than the vast majority of companies would do and more than it was legally obligated to do.
“During this time he could not apply for unemployment.” Oh, one pay check isn’t enough, huh? You wanted to be on the payroll and collect unemployment? Poor injured guy or greedy sob whose injury opened the door for a grab at a government hand out? You decide.
Mistake #4: “and dropped him from the payroll (and insurance) after a year.“ You had an entire year to find alternate means of health coverage, another job, anything and you did nothing? My sympathy just keeps growing!
By this time we were really struggling to make ends meet on just my income, and moved to a tiny apartment after spending three months essentially homeless. Two years later, we did get a workman’s comp settlement that covered just the outstanding medical bills from that event and the lawyer’s fees, leaving us with all the debt accrued from living on one income all that time, but we’ll let that one go.
As well you should. Let this be a lesson to you, dear reader: do not put yourself into a position where you rely on both of your incomes to survive. I am a young man. I made certain to buy a house that we could afford on my income alone so that in the event that my wife lost her job we wouldn’t foreclose on the house – and if I lost my job her income plus savings would be enough to float us for several months (plenty of time for me to find new employment, for at least as much as necessary to keep up with bills). It also gives us the freedom to let her stay home with the children if she wants (she does). This is called planning. It’s a valuable life skill.
That summer, my husband found seasonal, low wage work at a farm. While scraping paint on a barn, he got a paint chip in his eye. The employer did not have any insurance for workers — not legal, but that’s what it was (the owners of the farm also are CPAs and own a financial services business, go figure). We did not want to pay for the ER, so made an appointment to see an eye doctor. Fortunately there was a slot that day from someone’s cancellation. My husband did have to wait for over three hours trying not to move his eyes, but that was our choice. The actual visit took about ten minutes. The charge was $860.00.
The lie by omission in “seasonal, low wage work at a farm” is that it was also under the table, which means he was not paying taxes on it. How do I know? Three reasons. First, “seasonal, low wage work” sounds like something a migrant illegal hispanic immigrant worker would do. Second, “the employer did not have insurance for workers” – that’s because on the books, there are no workers. If there were workers, they’d have to pay them well, pay for worker’s comp insurance, et cetera, et cetera. “(the owners of the farm also are CPAs and own a financial services business, go figure)”. Go figure indeed. They know full well what the tax rules are and what business law is, and that’s why they are paying “low wages” under the table. The third reason is another lie by omission that the author did not feel the need to include but I would stake an enormous gamble upon: he was either receiving a payment from his worker’s comp suit or unemployment payments or both during this time, and if he were legally employed doing anything that would invalidate the effects of his injury or showing that he were working, those benefit payments would dry up.
At this point, I have to ask: if he is fit enough to scrape paint, why can’t he work his old career? I’ve scraped paint before. It’s back breaking. There are few jobs that I would consider more physically demanding that an 8 hour day of scraping paint.
“While scraping paint on a barn, he got a paint chip in his eye…. The charge was $860.00.”
Watch this. I’m a wizard. I’m a genius:
$5.96 at Home Depot. I’m sorry, but I just can’t feel any sympathy. It’s one thing when Joe Shmoe Happy Homeowner does something stupid like cuts his finger off with a table saw. It’s another when we’re talking about a guy who presumably worked blue collar jobs his entire life doing jobs in which people can and do get injured – a lesson he should have learned first hand after coming nearly to financial ruin due to an on the job injury less than a year earlier!
That Fall, we were blessed to find I was pregnant. I was 39, and we had been wanting a baby many years. The timing was bad because of no insurance, but we were thrilled! I was still working 6-7 days a week, and my husband was just finishing his seasonal work and looking for a job. Reluctantly, I did go to the hospital for a prenatal checkup, although I am extremely healthy and fit. The blood tests alone for that visit were $878.00. We were still paying on the bill for the paint chip. We planned a home birth with a midwife, to keep costs down, and no more “well” visits or screening tests. We wanted to save what little we could for necessities for the baby.
Here’s a case of a couple who does not have medical insurance choosing to have a baby, who will also not have insurance. In other words, a problem is begetting more problems. “…although I am extremely healthy and fit” – could this be a reason why health insurance never felt like a priority before the bills started coming?
This one time, I had a car. And it was kind of old, not worth that much, so I figured I’d skimp a little and pay only for liability insurance for it. Less than a year later I had a wintry weather incident in which I bent the front axle of the car – reparable, but extremely costly. This happened, of course, two weeks before I was set to close on my first house. Let me tell you – I saved about $360 on insurance in the 12 months I chose to go light – and the insurance payout would have been over $5,000. Guess which lesson I learned from this incident?
Some things are worth skimping on. Medical insurance is not one of them, even when the costs seem outrageous – because as these “poor” “unfortunate” souls have learned the hard way – medical bills are much worse. Even though it might seem ridiculously wasteful to spend $800 per month on insurance when you barely ever use it, the point is that you get used to spending $800 per month. You don’t grow your monthly expenses to the point where $800 above what you’re used to sinks you.
Once his seasonal work ended, my husband was able to apply for unemployment — which felt very strange for a guy who had worked all his life. He had been a truck driver since entering the Air Force as a teenager.
Unfortunately I miscarried at three months, despite no complications and perfect self care. The visit to the ER to get some pain relief was $1522.72. The ultrasound later that day to verify the miscarriage was $1555.11. I forget what we paid for the percoset, maybe about $40. They wanted me to come for a follow up visit, to ask me how I felt! I declined.
Woah, woah, woah. Air Force? Really? Where the hell is the VoA? Have you ever heard of a veteran’s hospital, or did you get dishonorably discharged?
$1522.72 for pain relief, huh? $1555.11 to verify the miscarriage, huh?
$1522 is a lot of money to most people. I’d have to be in serious pain to shell out that kind of money. $1522 worth of pain. Was she? Only she can decide. Was $1522 worth relieving some physical pain? She said yes.
I wonder how women verified miscarriages before ultrasounds. Could it be a crap ton of blood followed by not being pregnant the next month? The answer is yes. That’s $1522 that could have been saved.
Don’t get me wrong, if my wife were to suspect a miscarriage, I would be likely to spend the money. But I wouldn’t complain about the cost on the internet after ward. And I certainly wouldn’t look to break into my neighbor’s mercedes and steal his radio to pay for it either, which is morally equivalent to taxing the shit out of him to pay for it.
Man, I really need to do something about this sense of morality, justice, and personal responsibility I have. It’s going to cost me a fortune.
I still worked 6-7 days a week, taking just a week off for the worst part of the miscarriage. My husband was looking like crazy for employment, and doing odd jobs and handyman work for neighbors and family. He got several promises, but no offers, even for minimum wage and temporary jobs. After going through this for the winter, we decided to somehow put him through school so he could have better job prospects. We were still living paycheck to paycheck.
You’re telling me he couldn’t work as a cashier at a fast food restaurant? Folding sweaters at Kohl’s? Really? It’s not possible to find work doing minimum wage? Even part time? You’ve gotta be joking. Grocery stores hire mentally retarded people as baggers. There are only two possibilities: he wasn’t really trying or such work was beneath him. I knew a guy who made 6 figures throughout the 80′s and 90′s as a corporate architect who wasn’t above unloading freight ships on a dock when he was out of work for several months. What’s your husband’s problem?
The college required proof of immunizations before enrollment. Having been raised in an orphanage, my husband did not have these records. So– back to the hospital! The blood tests came to $855.00. A few came back negative, and they asked if he wanted the measles and hepatitis shots. He declined due to the cost.
Wow, you got played.
Getting a second measles shot isn’t going to kill you if you got one already, 30 years ago in the orphanage. It might not be a good idea to get two measles shots on the same day, but this demonstrates a serious lack of common sense.
You don’t need a blood test. The hospital sold you one because – oh the horror – hospitals are businesses. They test first and then ask for money later. They don’t care if you’re insured or not, at least not for blood tests which probably cost the hospital $50 but they can – and do – charge insurance companies $800 for them.
If I were uninsured, I would be very careful with what a doctor does to me and I would negotiate up front. But then again, I’m smart.
Upon applying for college financial aid, we discovered that because I had been working 6-7 days a week for two years, our income on paper was too high and my husband did not qualify for any Pell grants, work study, or other aid besides regular and unsubsidized loans. It was a tough decision to choose between taking on $10,000+ per year in debt (cheap — local college), or the alternative:
We are now getting a divorce, so that he can qualify for better financial aid. We hope to keep the college debt below $2000 per year. We also hope to get back to being a two income, middle class, married couple with manageable debt and a decent home again, in about five or six years. Sadly, it will be too late for a baby then.
Nothing like a little disingenuous gaming of the system to achieve monetary gain, huh?
Let’s get this straight. The intention of the Pell Grant is to provide college education to legitimately poor people who can’t afford college. You do not qualify because you and your husband are not poor. So what do you do? You get divorced legally so on paper your husband can purport to the government that he is poor. Of course, he lives in your house, he spends your money, you feed him, and effectually, he is not poor. So as your husband takes a Pell grant away from a legitimately poor student who isn’t committing fraud, you still find it in you to complain that the health care system is crooked?
You’re exactly the kind of person who will make any national healthcare plan fail. The Pell grant program would fail, too, if enough people like you came up with bright ideas like divorcing so you can rip it off and exploit it. The government says you can afford college. You disagree, so you find a loophole and jump through it with both feet. You already disagree with the government’s qualification of who deserves college educations and who doesn’t, but you are going to vote to give them the power to qualify who deserves what medical treatments? What happens when the government decides you make enough money on your income that you can buy your medical services yourself? Look for another back-handed, dishonest, disingenous loophope to slither through?
I will continue to pay down our $5800 medical debt over that time, and hope we don’t accrue any more, because we cannot afford insurance for the next few years.
One relatively minor injury, and our lives are derailed. What a system.
Your lives aren’t derailed because of a minor injury. Your lives are derailed because you consistently made bad decisions, failed to act on dozens of opportunities, failed to plan ahead, and basically ruined your own lives through your own stupidity. And now that your “middle class, married couple with manageable debt and a decent home” lifestyle was lost through no fault but your own, your solution to this problem is to defraud your fellow taxpaying citizens and exploit government money. Let me guess. You voted for Barack Obama?
Sadly, it will be too late for a baby then.
The one silver lining to this stormcloud of failure. Do not reproduce. The last thing we need is another generation of lying, thieving con-artists who can’t manage their money and fail at life, who then subsequently pollute the internet with disingenuous sob stories with which the lowest common denominator of Americans will empathize and then vote for candidates who rob successful people to bail them out.
Fuck you people. Seriously.
If there’s a single belief of mine that necessarily dictates that I will always be considered a political conservative, it is this:
The world does not owe me anything.
I am astounded at the sense of entitlement that permeates the current health care debate. Literally millions of people in this country believe that they deserve to receive medical assistance to keep them alive for no other reason than for being alive.
Think about that for a minute. Do you really believe that you deserve the services of others simply because you happen to live in a country (and a time period) in which many of the world’s hardships will never befall you?
The presumption displayed by so many pro-Obamacare people is astounding and the worst part is that they are completely oblivious. I’ve encountered dozens of people who have contributed absolutely nothing to the economy or the country who genuinely believe they should receive health benefits subsidized by tax payers such as myself. When I ask them what they have done to deserve health care or why it is in my best interest to keep them alive they look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language and then immediately retreat into a shell of moral superiority. Their arguments are ones like these:
“So you think we should let people die in the streets?”
“I’m more compassionate than you are.”
“I believe it’s our responsibility to care for everyone.”
As you can probably imagine these arguments are incredibly easy to derail with only a modicum of intelligent thought. But doing so requires overcoming some emotional attachment to the concept that people come into this world owed a debt by everyone else without ever doing anything other than arriving.
Another common counter to my assertion that the world owes you nothing is a quip from the Declaration of Independence (which is almost always mistakenly attributed to the United States Constitution): life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness…
“See, Evan! I got you there! The Constitution says everyone has a right to life! (except unborn babies!)”
Unfortunately for the people who feel justified in taking my money to cure their sicknesses, they have, as usual, failed to see that the right to do such does not follow from the wording of the declaration at all.
No one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.
If you can’t understand the obvious difference between the meaning intended by this phrase and the meaning interpreted by socialists desperately clawing for any constitutional basis for their proposal to rob the rich to give to the poor, I truly pity you, and kindly request that you cease voting immediately. You are not qualified.
Let me spell it out for you: the world does not owe you anything. The only rights you have in this world are the rights to be protected from people who want to take what you’ve earned away from you, be it life, liberty, property, or “the pursuit of happiness” (whatever that means). The fact that I should reasonably expect my hard-earned property to be protected from thieves is not a basis for any expectation that property I have done nothing to earn should be handed to me.
Medical care is something of a grey area. Is it property? Is it “life”?
I claim that most people today would consider their bodies their personal property – this belief is implicit in virtually every pro-choice argument I’ve ever heard. If that is the case, then I argue that the only responsibility the United States government has is not to harm your body unless they are legally allowed to do so. By the way, since I’m sure the idea might be floating around in your heads – the wording of the “life, libery” clause of the declaration was deliberately prefaced with the words “born with”. Such rights are therefore not implied to be perpetual regardless of felonius acts like capital murder or high treason. Nice try on the death penalty angle, though.
If your body stops working because you’re old, or diabetic, or walked in front of a bus, why is it anyone’s responsibility to fix except yours? It’s your property after all. If you propose universal health care, why not also propose universal auto repair? Universal home repair? Universal TV repair? Universal everything? Is your body different? Is it not your property?
Why aren’t you frothing at the bit to elect someone to provide auto insurance for those of us who can’t afford it? Is it because a broken transmission wouldn’t bankrupt you? Or is it, more likely, that you very readily rationalize owning a car and driving as a privilege available only to those who can afford to buy a car and use it responsibly? If I don’t owe you auto insurance, why do I owe you medical insurance? They both protect your property from the cost of damage repair, do they not?
If your body is not your property, then why is it legal for you alone to decide to kill a life growing inside it for any reason you choose?
I hope you can appreciate this dilemma. And appreciate why I’m a conservative. I believe that my body is my own responsibility, not anyone else’s. If I can convince someone I trust to fix it when it goes wrong, through good looks, good money, or any other way I can, good for me. If I can’t, I guess I’m dead. If I have to choose between losing all of my other possessions or my life, the choice is easy.
When it comes to my body, the only thing I expect from the government is that they won’t harm it unless I’ve done something to deserve it according to laws upon which we mutually agree, and for the government to do everything in its power to prevent free citizens from harming it without my consent.
That’s all any of us should expect. The last thing we should expect is for the government to steal our most successful citizens’ money to build an infrastructure in which it promises you medical care and then rations it away from you because there aren’t enough doctors to go around. Even if the government could build a perfect system in which no tax payer dollars are used and everybody received the care they needed all the time, I still wouldn’t want the government to do it because it is against the principles of the United States.
I have faith in the system the Founding Fathers created. I have faith in the Constituion. I do not feel the need to change it, or to ignore it to buy votes and political capital. You could say I wish to conserve the system we have in place, not let it go extinct in a string of disasterous legistlation that does absolutely nothing but further the overwhelming attitude of entitlement that plagues America today.
The world does not owe me anything. It doesn’t owe you anything either.
Western civilization has lost its relationship with death.
Once a common house guest of the richest, the poorest, the youngest, the oldest, the healthiest, and the sick. Of the blacks, the whites, the browns, the reds, and the in-betweens. Death has been like that relative you always invite to your holidays and later, in dark corners, whisper to your family that you hope he doesn’t show.
Today, we treat death like we would treat a cat burglar: swinging with bats and knives and guns in our pajamas in the dark, while our terrified family hides in the attic and hopes he goes away without taking too much. Without stealing too much.
And why shouldn’t we? Death is a stranger to us. We don’t see him once a year, or once a month. He doesn’t come to our childrens’ baptisms or their mitzvahs. He stopped coming to mom and dad’s 30th anniversary party. He stopped coming on the holidays. We made it clear that he was no longer welcome. Death is no longer invited. Most of us would barely even know his face.
We’ve forgotten about death, but he hasn’t forgotten about us. We may not know him, but rest assured he knows us. Death hasn’t changed – we have. For the worse.
It wasn’t too long ago that one out of every five women died in child birth. It wasn’t too long ago that a sizable portion of children didn’t make it to age 1, or age 5, or age 10. It wasn’t too long ago that polio was a debilitating mystery. The black lung was serious business. Even influenza killed more soldiers than bullets did in the world’s first great war.
What happened? We learned how to build locks that death couldn’t pick. We learned how to change our addresses so when death came knocking he’d find empty houses. We learned how to lie, to cheat, to hide from death for longer and longer.
We learned the hard way. Through blood, through sweat, and through tears.
Americans today are born without knowing death, and with an expectation that all of our modern tricks will keep him at bay for 60, 70, 80 years. Maybe that is why we are so surprised when he finds us after only 10. Or only 20. Or only 30. Or only 40. Or only 50.
No, we rely so much on our tools that we have forgotten what it was like when death was a regular visitor. We are so successful that his appearance is a shocking tragedy. A great, unexpected, surprising tragedy.
We rely so much on our tools that we’ve forgotten how much those tools cost. How long it took to invent them. How long it took to build them. How many men, women, and children worked and died to make them available to us. We’ve grown to expect that we, too, will be given these tools. That we alone will not be the ones to welcome death into our homes because we were somehow unjustly deprived of the locks others have to keep him out.
Unjustly deprived. Unjustly, perhaps, if our resources were infinite. Unjustly, perhaps, if our finite resources were distributed unevenly. Unjustly, perhaps, if we could redefine justice to suit our needs. Death, you’re not welcome here.
When death comes knocking on your street, what do you do? Do you close your curtains, board up your windows, bolt your doors, plant some tall weeds and pretend that nobody is home? Do you load up your hunting rifle and sit in your attic sill, intent to strike him down before he gets to your doorstep? Or do you sit idly, hoping he passes you by?
Or better yet. Do you ask your neighbors to help you do what you will not, or cannot do on your own? Do you ask your neighbors to help you even when you know that in so doing, they increase the chances that death will knock on their doors instead of yours?
What kind of person are you?
Look around you. What do you see? I see an entire civilization that feels openly and selfishly entitled to life. Our own lives, that is. If something can be done to save me, then it should be done, regardless of the cost to me, or to others. The statistics don’t lie. More bankruptcies occur in America due to costs associated with saving our own asses than for any other reason, and the cause of this phenomenon is patently obvious. We’d rather be bankrupt than dead.
And, of course, when our own meager resources are insufficient to cure our diseases, we readily expect everyone else to chip in and cover us. Why wouldn’t we? Our instinct to survive trumps every other motivation: love, family, selflessness, honor, morals. Men will kill, steal, murder, and maim to save their own lives. Wholesale pillaging is not beneath us in our hour of need.
And why should it be? Dealing with the consequences of behavior undertaken on the impulse of the instinctual drive to stay alive is preferable to dying. Especially because the words I now speak are known to everyone, whether consciously or not, whether openly admitted or vehemently refudiated. Because we know this, we excuse even the foulest behavior when it is clearly motivated by survival.
It is not hard to understand why, then, a large number of people are willing to take a devil-may-care attitude toward the unbelievable costs associated with what amounts to free health care for those unwilling or incapable of paying for it themselves. It is not hard to understand how a person who is otherwise clearly capable of understanding concepts of fairness, justice, and responsibility can entirely disregard those same concepts when discussing the topic of medicine. They know, as we al know, that none of these ideologies are worth anything to dead men. So why talk about them while living, either? Everybody dies. It’s only a matter of when.
I attribute this chevalier approach toward burdening “society” to two factors. The first is our unfamiliarity with death and our resulting entitlement to life. Because medicine exists to cure what ails us, we must have it. The discussion ends here.
The second is a wholesale abandonment of faith in an after life. Death is an easier pill to swallow when you are convinced, as is everyone you know (“society”) that your existence continues after you die. Our faith in heaven is shattered in this culture. Even for those of us who believe in heaven, a great shadow of doubt looms over our beliefs. The prevailing truth in western culture is not a certainty in an afterlife but a certainty in uncertainty – and a constant hammering from the moment we reach sentience that our beliefs are our own. Constrast this with a prevailing cultural belief in the absolute certainty of life after death and it isn’t hard to understand how our perceptions have changed. We fear death more today than we did yesterday.
Robbing from the rich to give to the poor is an easy choice for the poor to make when the alternative is rotting in the ground.
We are a thinking society. I cannot go on day by day without believing that we are a thinking society, even when the evidence suggests otherwise. How, then, can we not move past our own base motives when it comes to our own mortality? How then, can we not think it through? Are we so afraid that we might die from a treatable – but extremely costly – disease that we are willing to forget every good rule of civil behavior that applies in every other case?
We do not take from others to benefit ourselves. We do to others as we would have them do to us. We do not expect others to do for us what we are not willing to do for ourselves. We value hard work and just rewards. We take what we earn. We accept gifts graciously. We accept charity in our hour of need, but we never expect it.
Do these sound like values to you? They sound like values to me.
Why, then, would we erect a heartless machine bureaucracy that spits on these values and codifies into law a system that quite readily fits the description of theft?
I will tell you why. Because this heartless machine bureaucracy appeals to our most powerful instinct. And that appeal trumps the thinking mind, logic, and all reason. When we perceive that our lives might be at risk at some vague point in the future, and the possibility exists that without such a bureaucracy we might not come out ahead, we are willing to abandon our values, pay any cost, and risk the future of an entire nation – the greatest nation to have ever existed – all to extend our own lives, often times as little as twelve miserable months.
But all of this discusison has so far been overshadowed by an inescapable fact: this is never a choice we have to make.
The choice isn’t to live or to die. The choice isn’t even about whether to die or to put up a good fight. The choice is whether you’d rather be bankrupt or dead.
For all of this high talk about the virtues of society, in the end, it boils down to greed, plain and simple. The world has the tools to save your life. And these tools carry a price tag. I would like to believe that we, as a society, would unequivocally understand how a person could abandon every moral principle we all share to ensure everyone is allowed access to the tools we need to save our own lives. And I would also like to believe that even those of us who put doing the right thing above even the chance that we may die because of it can pardon those of us who fear death, even unimpending death to the extent to which they will sacrifice everyone else for themselves.
But what I cannot pardon is the intention of America’s current leaders to undertake an enormous gamble and take an already unfair system to even deeper depths of injustice to spare the bank accounts of the dying. We, each of us, is faced with a question: is my life worth the cost?
Who, I ask you, will say no?
Don’t get me wrong. I wish with all my heart that life saving medicine was as cheap as a loaf of bread. But I know the system and I know the costs. I understand that nothing in this world is free. I understand that the cost to train the doctors, to run the hospitals, to research the medicine, to produce the pills, to do the tests, to save my life are extraordinarily high. I am willing to pay whatever that cost because I would prefer to be alive and poor than rich and dead. I don’t fault anyone for disagreeing with that sentiment. We can talk about the respective merits over cards in heaven, if that’s where we both end up.
If you agree with me up until this point, you may be thinking that our job is to lower health costs and that certainly a government bureaucracy is the way to do it. That’s a discussion for another day, but I leave you with this reminder on the matter: nothing in this world is free.
Not even life.
“Indigo children” are victims of new-age hippie parents who bought into the idea that their children are special little snowflakes and took it into a whole new level of absurdity. The premise of the indigo child is that they are magic spirits with supernatural powers. Some of these so-called indigo children were led to believe in these make believe gifts that they continue to believe this nonsense well into adulthood.
Some of the powers these indigo children are said to possess are:
- Incredibly high IQs in the Einstein/Hawking range
- Direct communication with a deity
- The ability to predict the future
- The ability to see and communicate with ghosts and the deceased
- Superhuman empathy
- General clairvoyance
- Savant-esque abilities in artsy, hippie endeavors like painting, poetry, and granola recipes
And, one of the cornerstones of the “indigo” mythology is that these children’s very existence is purpose-driven. That is, they have been sent here by a nondescript deity to “bring integrity to the world.”
Of course, when any of these claims are challenged by any legitimately accepted method, such as an IQ test, indigo children unilateraly fail to live up to these claims. I’m sure you’re as surprised as I am to hear this. To perpetuate their farsical beliefs, parents of indigos, indigos themselves, and third parties who have something to gain from the lie (such as employment or book sales) invent farsical rationales for this inevitable outcome. You can probably already guess what they’ll say – if their special magic children fail the test, the problem is with the test, not them. They really do have these powers!
The entire concept of the “indigo” child is souped up in new-age, hippie crap that is mostly stolen from eastern philosophy and is as unoriginal as you would fully expect from something as ridiculous as this. These children are called “indigo” children because their “aura” is indigo. The aura, of course, that only indigo children can see using their special chakrah power located in the magic portion of the brain located between the eyebrows.
You might be wondering how or why this fantasy world has been created and populated by otherwise sane people. How could such an outrageously stupid, obviously imaginary idea come to pass? As in all things, the simplest explanation is almost always right. In this case, it’s dead on as usual.
When interpreting human behavior and searching for motives, always appeal to humanity’s most basic compulsions. Those compulsions are for each to fulfill his own needs, generally at the expense of others.
In other words, you guessed it – there’s money to be made by this fantasy. Some washed out hippie who probably spent a lot of time smoking weed and tripping on acid in the 1960′s decided that la vie boheme wasn’t hip with the times. The late 1970′s was not a time for free love. The late 1970′s was a time for money, and lots of it. The indigo child was born, and the printing presses started rolling off book after book about your child, the magic indigo child with special powers who will bring integrity back into the world.
I know, I know. The irony is overwhelming.
If you’re a thinker, you are probably following me on this: the book is published. So what? Who in their right mind would buy into such garbage?
The answer is: parents of special children. Not special as in indigo – it will take more than a claim to convince me that a toddler is telepathic - special as in they ride the short bus.
Not surprisingly, indigos are “frequently diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, and less often autism. They are forthwith medicated and lose control of their gifts.” Mind you, these children don’t actually have ADD, ADHD, or autism despite exhibiting enough symptoms to be medically diagnosed (which they are). The problem is that doctors, and society at large, simply doesn’t understand indigo children.
Indigo children also purportedly exhibit a range of other what normal people call problems, such as:
- Delayed speech development
- Trouble fitting in
- Total disrespect for authority
- Poor performance in “normal school”
- Enormous sense of entitlement
- Wild-eyed condescension toward misfortunate non-indigos who lack magical powers
Each one of these is rationalized by explaining why these problems exist in the context of the indigo: they are “old souls” and therefore do not need to respect elders, such as teachers, because they clearly know better. They don’t speak at the normal age because they communicate with their parents telepathically. They don’t do well in normal school because normal school doesn’t cater to their unique worldview.
On the flipside, some children described as “indigo” children actually do posesses abilities that I would consider amazing, such as this girl who, at the age of 9, was a better artist than the vast majority of the population would ever beceome even after a lifetime of practice. This isn’t “indigo”, she’s merely an art savant. There have been many more like her and there will be many more after her. The difference is that she believes she’s good at painting because she’s a magical servant sent by god to share her gift with the masses. I wish I were making that up. To add an air of credibility to the claim that Akiane is in fact seeing visions of heaven and receiving direct instructions by the Lord Jesus to paint pictures of bearded white men with their palms facing upward, her mother tells everyone that she was an atheist before the birth of her daughter. Mmmhmm.
Does Akiane sound like the kind of name a new-age hippy mother prone to believe in indigo children might name her daughter? It does to me.
Does anyone actually believe these rationalizations? Does anyone actually accept these statements as facts without treating them with the air of skepticism that any normal person would apply to what can only be described as total nonsense? The answer, unfortunately, is yes.
Given the fact that a certain slice of the population will actually believe that such a thing as an “indigo” child exists, is there any hope for mankind?
I leave you with this. Meet Jeffrey Star, self-proclaimed indigo child, raised by his parents to believe that his ideas are amazing.
In short, these are the ground-breaking, world-changing philosophical musings of a 12-yearold indigo child:
- Being happy is scientifically proven to be good for your health
- Being happy is contagious
- You should be happy
- He considers himself a peacemaker
- He has lots of ideas about peace that are common sense
- Western civilization is self-centered
- Native americans had it right
- If he could say something to all world leaders, he would tell them that no one is working against peace
- Politicians aren’t doing what “we” want them to do because we’re not getting it out there
- He’s going to save the world by writing a pamphlet
- The pamphlet will tell you to pick up 1 piece of trash. 300 million pieces of trash is a lot of trash
- Indigo children are hard to define
- Indigo children are people who have ideas on how to save the world
- His special mind has not yet been “corrupted” by adulthood
- His ideas are great because he is a child, not in spite of it
Wow. I almost came in my pants. What amazing stuff.
Give. Me. A. Break.
Does this look like the face of a man who takes shit from Palestine? Does this look like the face of a man who takes shit from Iran?
The answer is no. Vince will slap your troubles away. One slap, you’re going to love his nuts.
When a hooker bites his tongue, what does Vince do? He chokes a bitch. When a rogue terrorist nation shoots rockets into his shit, what does Vince do? Only time will tell. Vote Vince in 2010.
Who’s more intense? You decide:
Google is turning into Linux with funding. They are so anxious to kill Microsoft that they are willing to waste time and energy trying to compete on the operating system level. Kind of like YouTube (which costs Google $1.50 each time you play a video, so watch, watch!).
I’ve hated Google ever since they hired an idiot former student of mine who during her fourth year of a computer science degree did not understand the basics of how the internet operated. The first time she had heard of an IP address was when she was assigned to implement a simple HTTP server. They hired her because she had a 4.0. She had a 4.0 because she spent every waking minute in office hours with TA’s like myself walking her through her entire degree.
The latest nonsense coming out of the Google camp – after gmail, Google Maps, Google Apps, and their bullshit phone platform – is some ridiculous idea about creating their own web-centric oeprating system.
Look, I like the internet as much as anybody, but I honestly believe that Google must be living in a bubble if they honestly believe an idea like this is going to fly.
“Your computer will be fast.” Oh really?
When, in the history of man kind, has an internet application ever been faster than a desktop application? The answer is never because all client-server software is inherently slower than client software. This is due to simple physics: it takes an electron something like 200 milliseconds to travel a straight path from New York to California. That’s 0.20 seconds, without any router overhead and assuming optimal conditions. That adds up, over time.
Also, web development sucks. Anything you can do on the web takes 3 times longer to implement and usually supports about half of the functionality – this is why browser plugins like Flash and Silverlight are used anwyhere a rich user experience needs to be invented – and this is not “web” code as Google is trying to convince you. It’s shit running in a browser.
Google wants to build an operating system based, essentially, on a browser and HTTP and expects this to be fast? Instead of dealing with RAM latencies on the nanoscale, I get to deal with network latencies on the millisecond scale? (That’s 6 orders of magnitude).
Google wants to claim that Chrome OS is somehow going to be immune to hardware compatability issues? News flash: hardware problems are unavoidable. Ultimately, to use the hardware in your system, you need device drivers for this. It took the Linux geeks over two decades to figure this out. Windows had Linux beat since ’95 simply because the Windows platform has, for all its faults, amazing driver support. The fact that you can take a hard drive loaded with Windows out of one system, plug it in to another system with 100% different hardware, and actually boot it successfully is a miracle of the modern operating system age that is constantly overlooked by idiot consumers because they have a printer from 1994 for which they’ve lost the disk and out of the tens of thousands of hardware devices whose drivers ship standard with Windows their archaic piece of shit is not one of them (and this is probably because the hardware vendor was too lazy to invest in the development of Microsoft certified device drivers and were therefore rejected by Microsoft).
Only recently, when Redhat tried to go commercial, did the Linux devs finally start investing time in things like automatic device recognition. A lot of Linux users – especially the younger ones – have no idea what it was like trying to install X-Windows on Slackware in 1995. That experience alone is enough to repel even the most persistent troubleshooters away from the platform entirely.
Google plans on solving this problem… how, exactly? By recycling Linux’s slipshod, half-assed, fractional device recognition platform? You know, the one that doesn’t hold a candle to what Windows has been doing successfully since the late 90′s?
It’s all marketing hype. Ridiculous market hype. You know who will use Google Chrome? Cell phones, extremely cheap laptops, and crappy e-mail kiosks in malls. Or, more likely, no one. The only people who will ever install this on PC hardware are total geeks who have nothing else to talk about at parties except the new “cutting edge operating system” from their favorite company, Google, which apparently is nothing more than Apple with revenue. How Google ads make money still makes me wonder. I spend hours and hours of my life on the internet and I have only clicked on a Google ad one time and it was by mistake.
There is a time in the future when one day such an operating system might exist, but it won’t be before we see a quantum leap in communication speed over the internet, and ultimately, this seems restrained by physics unless Einstein is wrong. Remember, for a point-and-click application, the important aspect is ping time, not bandwidth.
As a professional software developer, I understand how things work. I understand technology. Most of the time, when somebody shows me a piece of software, or a service, I think to myself, okay, whatever. That’s really not that impressive.
How the f does this guy play any arbitrary hardware-intensive audio/video game in a browser with no plugins? In real time?
This technology actually makes me wonder how he does this.
Actually, I’m lying. I have an idea of how he does this.
Technology has existed for a long time to trap hardware output of DirectX/OpenGL – both video and audio – and stream it into a common video format like an uncompressed AVI. It would be simple to reroute the output of this method to a web stream viewable by anyone.
The input is much trickier. Even assuming you could forward any mouse/keyboard/joystick/peripheral input from the client browser to the server, how would you translate that into input to the game? Most games, particularly World of Warcraft which this Dave Perry guy demonstrates in the video, go through great measures to make sure external software processes cannot control game IO (i.e., you can’t write software that controls your character in WoW automatically for you).
Okay, it’s pretty obvious that the technology here is more similar to VMWare’s remote console or even Windows Remote Desktop than some kind of browser->internet->hosted process pipeline. Maybe this is some kind of new feature of cloud computing? Something like Remote Desktop, but designed for single processes?
Okay, even then. You stream all of that data – realtime graphics (30+ fps) and audio, in unde r 1mbit of bandwidth? Even more impressive.
The hardware costs for this service must be enormous. Imagine a server with super top of the line graphics hardware. How many 30+ FPS instances of DX10 games (whose settings, by the way, could be cranked up to enormously ultra high quality by each user) could a single server run?
I’d really love to know how this stuff works. And how it is going to be commercially viable.