Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Video games, Venezuela and the Vatican

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Now there’s strange headline for you.  Venezuela… land of tropical beauty, drug lords, corrupt governements, rebellions, murder, more guns than Mexico City and one of the more violent places to try and take a liesurely stroll down the street on any given day.  And how did this paradise become such a haven for crime and death?  The answer is obvious: Video Games.

Yes, the long-running president of Venezuela – Hugo Chavez – is pushing through legislation to fully ban violent video games in his beloved country.  This makes sense of course.  I mean it has to be the fault of violent video games that put poor Venezuela into it’s current situation.  Just because drug cartels have been murdering each other and civilians since long before Pong was created is no reason to look at this rationally.

In addition, this new legislation would ban toy weapons.  Which is a smart economic move when you think about it.  I mean, why let your people buy cheap toy guns from China when you are building the largest machine gun factory* in all of South America in your country? Keep that money in country and sell those kids real weapons instead.  Besides, that will keep them safer on their way home from school than that old toy would have anyway.  ( * This is an older link but this still seems to be on-going.  I just can’t find any articles online.)

In related news, the Vatican is also calling for an end to all violent video games.  According to the Pope, the Crusades were not the result of theocratic greed and corruption but by early video games.  It seems that demos of Grand Theft Carriage caused quite a stir with peasants and drove the knights to slaughter.  A lesser known but more revolting game called Messenger featured a messenger who had one too many bad days at the Messenger Office and started shooting all his co-workers with a cleverly hidden crossbow.  It is said that this game was an allegory to the Muslims and how mean they were for not giving back land to the church that was never the church’s in the first place.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Telepathic requests for comment to the Pope were not returned by the time I posted this entry.

Subtle but still strange

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

I know not everyone believes in the supernatural or ghosts or things of that nature.  I do.  I’ve grown up with it all my life in one way or another.  If you are a potential employer reading this it should have no bearing on me.  Believing that there are unexplainable forces in the world is no different than another person saying that they believe in Jesus or another saying that they believe in Darwin (just go with me here).

Obviously whatever is in this new house of ours is fascinated with electronics.  We’ve lost and had returned a flash drive, a portable USB backup drive and a Nikon flash.  Bit of a trend going on there.

So today either continues that trend or Kira is a flippin’ savant at less than six months of age.

I haven’t touched my computer since we got back from a wet session of garage sales in the rain.  The only one who has was Kira banging on my keyboard while I held her in my lap.  I just came back to my computer about an hour later and this is what I find on my screen:

communication from who?

At first I thought “Oh I know Calc was the active program while Kira was playing with the keyboard.  She must have hit a bunch of numbers.”  Then I started thinking, she can’t really reach the top of the keyboard to hit numbers.  Then I took a closer look and thought – “Is that what I think it is?”

Sure enough, I did a Google search and that my friends is the numerical value of Pi to what looks like 32 decimal places.  Uh… OK.  So of course I went to the other room and asked Muse if she’d been on my computer at all and of course the answer was ‘No’.

So I thought, well…  maybe somehow Kira just accidentally typed in a fraction that some how calculated to Pi.  It doesn’t seem like that is possible though.  According to that Wikipedia article, the trick with Pi is that it can’t be expressed as a fraction.  I didn’t know that.

So did Kira type it out?  No I don’t think so.  She was on my lap and couldn’t reach the number row.  Besides she was busy barfing on my mouse.  Did the cats tap dance it on the keyboard?  They’ve been given credit for some pretty unbelieveable computer feats, but no, I don’t think this is possible.

So if I didn’t do it and Muse didn’t do it… then who did?  And why Pi?  I guess because whoever or whatever did it knew I would figure it out.  I dunno.

Sure there will be people out there reading this who will just scoff and not believe a word of what I’ve typed and frankly I don’t blame them.  I’d find it pretty hard to believe if it hadn’t happened to me.  So take it for what you will.

Religion is a scary thing

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

People who know me well, know that I’m not too fond of organized religion. I have no problem with personal beliefs and faiths and whatever you want. What I do have a problem with is the way people allow themselves to be manipulated and the people manipulating them. I have a problem with the hypocrisy and the double-standards in practices.  I have a problem with people who use religion as a weapon or tool for personal or political gain instead of enlightenment and faith.

Here are some of the reasons I feel this way:
People having their money stolen by churches and evangelists in the name of “tithes”, really pisses me off.
People getting worked up into a frenzy by their “faith leader” to commit violence against other races, other sexualities, other religions, etc really pisses me off.
People trying to convert other people to one religion over another, because theirs is “right” and all others is “wrong” really pisses me off.
People preaching about tolerance and “turning the other cheek” and then practicing hate and prejudice against other people and beliefs really pisses me off.

And of course there is the daily news:
Texas pastor arrested for dragging girl behind van at camp
Sex video causes outrage

Five Indonesians go on trial for Christian attacks
U.S. designates Fatah al-Islam “terrorist” group
S.Korea confirms release of two Afghanistan hostages
Pulling Rank on Religion

And the lists and reasons go on and on.  Religion is the biggest killer of people in the world.  Not cancer or AIDS or heart disease or car crashes have caused as much death as religion has over the short reign of humans on this earth.  The Inquisitions (Spanish, witch-hunts, etc), the Crusades, jihads, World War II, Isreal and Palastine and the Gaza Strip, cults with and without kool-aid, Taliban and other Muslim Extremists and so on and so forth.  More people have died for religion than anything else throughout history.  OK except maybe natural causes….

Now don’t get me wrong.  This doesn’t make me an atheist or agnostic or anything of the sort.  I have my beliefs and I stand by them.  They change with me and my world and they are mine.  I don’t need to go to a fancy building to pray.  I don’t need to pay a preacher to read boring stories to me.  I don’t need to convert anyone to my way of thinking.  If, when you die, your religion happens to be the “right one” then great.  Good for you.  However, I’m betting that it just doesn’t matter.