Wednesday, February 19, 2014

maybe I'm in the black, maybe I'm on my knees

There's a lot that's been happening on Twitch TV this week. The most bizarre thing is the cooperative game session--excuse me, "social experiment"--that's been set up wherein the internet at large plays an old Pokémon GameBoy game emulated for the PC.

No, seriously. That's what's going on. (In fact, it occurs to me now that "Twitch" is the perfect description for what's going on, in a sense.)

If you've never played Pokémon before, it's massively confusing, but if you have, it's alternatively confusing, mentally stunning, emotionally frustrating and jaw-droppingly hysterical. For example...
  • This happened when Red, the Pokémon trainer, confronted Giovanni in a boss fight.
  • This happened after the boss fight...when the Silph Scope was on the floor, and just needed to be picked up. (The stream chose to walk Red out the took close to ten hours to finally get back to the center and pick the Silph Scope up.)
  • At some point, after many fights (and much leveling-up of Pokémon), the "decision" was made by the stream to go back to the PokéCenter and try to put less usable fighters into storage. Instead, Eevee and Abby, two of the better fighters, were simply released, never to be seen again. Oops?
  • This may be the most perfect depiction of our battles with the ledge yet envisioned. It was like that. It was like that a lot.
  • At some point, the Helix Fossil, picked up early on in the game, became a god. I still don't entirely understand this.
  • Especially as the Helix Fossil has been less than helpful in cutting down trees. Or, well, helpful at anything else. In point of fact, we do more consulting with the Helix Fossil than anything else.
  • The mere act of accessing a computer within the game renders many of us gibbering idiots by the time it's finished. And it takes hours.
  • There's now a dedicated page where we, Helix' humble servants, can ask questions of the Holy Helix...and have them answered. (This is all getting somewhat messianic and disturbing.)
  • Red gets stuck. A lot. A WHOLE lot.
  • This is still what ends up happening most of the time.
  • In fact, there's an uncomfortably large amount of comparisons that might be made between Red and someone who hears voices. I mean, this poor guy. All he's trying to do is train up Pokémon and beat the game, so he can graduate as an accredited PokéTrainer, or something, and instead, thevoicesthevoicesthevoices...compelling him to bash his face into walls, walk repeatedly into corners, walk in and out of doors, get lost in mazes, get out, and promptly go back and get lost again...I mean, that has to be frustrating to deal with.
  • And while there's a lot of really impressive art coming out of this, the game remains the same--thousands and thousands of people trying to make one character do what they think is best...with no consultation and usually less consideration. And we're surprised it's ending up a train wreck of an emulator??
If you're still confused about the whole thing, go watch this. It pretty much explains the whole concept of what the internet at large--or, at least between 40,000 and 80,000 users of it, at any given time--are trying to do with the game. This is the current game objective. I predict it'll be another entire day before we achieve it.

What I'm taking away, ultimately, from this "social experiment"? People refuse to work together in large groups, they protest at the drop of a hat, they demand special privileges that ultimately don't matter, and in the end nothing gets done.

It explains so much about our culture.

The first official Firefly action figures are about to be released...and they're...well, not what we were hoping for, to say the least. Alan Tudyk was pretty pleased because his Wash figure will come with dinosaurs, not a toy gun--and okay, as that's such an iconic scene from the show, yeah, I suppose I'd be pleased too...But his figure still looks more like Spike in the Hawai'ian shirt from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

And that's just...not good.

In a similar vein, io9 has noticed that Syfy channel seems to have finally given in and embraced their apparent destiny of being the--as they put it--"Food Channel of props and special effects". Me, I don't think that's the best thing, but then, I haven't agreed with the direction Syfy's gone in since they changed their name due to not wanting brand identification with "geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements". So as ever, screw them.

I am really going to miss Warehouse 13, though.

In the meantime, Steam's now allowing gamers to choose their own tags for games. It's going about as you'd expect, and is generally regarded as a Bad Move by nearly everyone.

"The net never forgets." That's very true, in a sense, but so's the rest of the article. Well worth your time to read, and absolutely accurate on the state of the internet today.

Irrational Games is--for what some folks consider irrational reasons, amusingly--closing its doors. (And, by extension, laying folks off, which is never good.) Why? No one seems to know, and there's a lot of confusion. One more DLC--for BioShock Infinite, entitled "Burial at Sea"--will be released, but after that, Levine's returning to 2K Games, and nearly everyone else at Irrational Games is...fired, basically.

I'm just not sure how to take this. I mean, Levine--and, presumedly, the fifteen staffers he hand-picked to stay with him--seem happy enough with the change and the closure, but what about everyone else? It strikes me as the closing of Paragon all over again.

And that's the news for now! More later when the links get too weird to save.

Friday, February 14, 2014

when the night falls, there is fire in the bungalow

So granted, there are some further verifications that apparently will be tested out later in the week, but at least as of this writing, Comcast seems to be throttling Netflix video streaming speeds. Which--considering everyone pays for Comcast service, so it's not a freebie, it's wholly an elective service--I'd say is pretty damned infuriating, too.

Also, Facebook's apparently implementing a new gender system. Instead of the more-or-less standard of this:
  • Male
  • Female
they've apparently done this:
  • Agender
  • Androgyne
  • Androgynous
  • Bigender
  • Cis
  • Cisgender
  • Cis Female
  • Cis Male
  • Cis Man
  • Cis Woman
  • Cisgender Female
  • Cisgender Male
  • Cisgender Man
  • Cisgender Woman
  • Female to Male
  • FTM
  • Gender Fluid
  • Gender Nonconforming
  • Gender Questioning
  • Gender Variant
  • Genderqueer
  • Intersex
  • Male to Female
  • MTF
  • Neither
  • Neutrois
  • Non-binary
  • Other
  • Pangender
  • Trans
  • Trans*
  • Trans Female
  • Trans* Female
  • Trans Male
  • Trans* Male
  • Trans Man
  • Trans* Man
  • Trans Person
  • Trans* Person
  • Trans Woman
  • Trans* Woman
  • Transfeminine
  • Transgender
  • Transgender Female
  • Transgender Male
  • Transgender Man
  • Transgender Person
  • Transgender Woman
  • Transmasculine
  • Transsexual
  • Transsexual Female
  • Transsexual Male
  • Transsexual Man
  • Transsexual Person
  • Transsexual Woman
  • Two-Spirit
No idea what the asterisk after "Trans" means, or why the separation; and I had to look up "Neutrois", and now that puzzles me, because "Agender" is already on the list. Still, it's...progress, maybe? Even if cumbersome progress.

The problem is--at least to me--that it doesn't seem embracing of various gender identities. It feels like Facebook's asking for more data; like they're actually being more invasive of personal privacy by implementing this. I'm sure activists will welcome this, but...I see it as further intrusion, not more inclusion.

But hey, I'm not on Facebook anyway, so I really have no dog in this fight.

There's also a part one, but trust me, part two's better.

An artist created a staircase and a loft bed out of two salvaged pianos; another artist, Ed Fairburn, creates art out of city street maps; former Who Companion Karen Gillan is front and center for one of the most disturbing movie posters I've seen in the last few years (plus, looks pretty darned cute bald at the end of that articled!); and New Zealand's Prime Minister is (fairly definitely) not a lizard man. The hell, New Zealand.

And that's about all I have for now! More weirdness when I find it. (It used to be, weirdness was hard to find. Now it's daily news. There's something wrong about that...)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

let the storm rage on

And part three of Jousting With Maligo! (Parts I and II, in case you're curious.) Here we go:

[Zone] Lerissa Fiendline@Zorkubou: I view religion more like masturbation. You shouldn't do it in public or in front of children.
[Zone] Eudaimon@Mereologist: Well, Maligo, you're going to have to wait. Though you seem to have a rather bloodthirsty attitude.
[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: True point, I will say though, it has turned into some interesting convos, both spiritual and science, when I try to explain my beliefs XD
[Zone] Daelan Red Tiger@Ethrendur: I don't get this event. This fishing is lame. It isn't fawn at all.

*groans at even more fawn puns* Though I agree about how painful fishing was during the festival. If there's one mini-game from Neverwinter I never want to see again? That's the one.

[Zone] Nachtblitz@bubba2strokes: I'm mostly agnostic Techition. I just don't really care. There's far more inportant things to deal with in life. ;)
[Zone] Eudaimon@Mereologist: After describing my beliefs at length, I've had atheists tell me I'm an atheist and theists tell me I'm a theist. I just am what I am. No big deal. :p
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: nothing is special about being athiest
[Zone] Christa Shadowbane@mrgraveshadow: Mother is the name of God to there children

I believe Christa was thinking of this moment from The Crow, but it's still a small, pertinent point in this entire debacle. On one side of things, we have the embittered rejectors of religion and all its artifacts; on another, we have Maligo, the malignant spouter of hate and violence in the name of faith. Christa makes the point that religion should be personal, and should be a token of tolerance and understanding, of care and disciplined love. I'd agree with that, overall.

[Zone] Daisy@polofiesta11: what we should be focusing on is contributing to the human race
[Zone] Nachtblitz@bubba2strokes: Yah, I really don't understand why people make sure a big deal about it.
[Zone] Tegar@rhomwithaview: I'm apatheist. I don't care. It has no effect on me.

I admit, while I consider myself firmly in the theist camp, I like this.

[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: if u think ur special than ur as bad as chistians
[Zone] Orcus@owlbearsrule: secular humanism FTW
[Zone] Lerissa Fiendline@Zorkubou: Funny thing is a few years back around here if you described agnosticism people would call it satanism.
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: god hates you people


[Zone] Daisy@polofiesta11: CONTRADICTION god hates ppl??
[Zone] Daisy@polofiesta11: thought he was loving and forgiving
[Zone] Sven@nhlong95: dont be so butthurt Maligo Libens

At this point I admit, the name struck me anew. I knew the structure, so I looked it up. It is, as suspected, Latin, and stands for "I do evil with pleasure" or "I do evil willingly". So yet again, we have somone whose chosen name represents gleeful malignancy; why, exactly, is this yahoo preaching to us??

[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: lets discuss religion like our opinions matterr :D
[Zone] Eudaimon@Mereologist: Depends on which god you're talking about. That's why you always have to be clear about these things. Some gods get upset pretty easily. :p
[Zone] Tegar@rhomwithaview: I worship the space wizards that power the cloud
[Zone] Skyly@mvffin1: flying spaghetti monster

All hail his noodly appendages.

[Zone] Daisy@polofiesta11: believe what you want to believe, but dont try to convince me
[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: Will say one thing, it is nice to see this religion convo remain civil, don't see that often.

Well, save for Maligo...And occasionally Domino.

[Zone] Lerissa Fiendline@Zorkubou: Well from the perspective of a believer it's pretty easy to make statements about God- A: Does this sound warm and fuzzy? B: Does this sound responsible? C: Is this exactly something I heard my pastor
[Zone] Lerissa Fiendline@Zorkubou: say recently?
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: sickening

Why? All Lerissa was saying was to guard their words with a little self-control. Is this a good, responsible statement about God? Is this something the pastor of my church would say about God? Does this reveal God in a positive light to those with whom I'm speaking?

Unless you're Maligo, who's leaning on that "you're all going to Hell you filthy sinners" button awfully hard, these aren't bad questions to keep in mind when discussing any religious faith.

[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: religion's stories teach u things humans in the past suffered with

Or learned from.

[Zone] Daisy@polofiesta11: it preaches good values, but you dont need to believe in that type of god or deity to have those values
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: its a lesson to learn from and its our culture as humans
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: cant deny it
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: i cant wait till people with your isgusting deviant lifestyles are killed

That's "disgusting", and you're still a troll, Maligo.

[Zone] Daisy@polofiesta11: maligo what religion do you believe in?

I believe this was the second time the question had been asked; Maligo declined to answer both times.

[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: i cant wait till those humans which are so prude to judge others die from being lonely
[Zone] Christa Shadowbane@mrgraveshadow: the way the world is going I'm starting to think God is a pc since we all seem to need them and worship them

To be fair, "God the Machine" has been proposed before, in just about every form of media imaginable. It's not that unreasonable an idea, either, especially if you see the universe in more clockwork terms. In fact, the Freemasons' faith in God as Architect stands out here, in a similar vein (at least to me).

[Zone] Skyly@mvffin1: I can't wait till your disgusting attitude goes away after puberty
[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: I kinda look at it (Due to my belief) as everything we put forth becomes a part of the collective energy, so we best make sure the energy we create is something we want to remain for all time.
[Zone] Daisy@polofiesta11: Maligo Libens, whats your religion

An, no, this was the second time it was asked. Yet, still unanswered.

[Zone] Orcus@owlbearsrule: classic religious "I cant wait til you die, but love everything"
[Zone] RetardStronk@retardstronk: @maligno Spoken like a true virgin
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: IKR? he sounds like such a prude
[Zone] Chali@jaynem: Most religions "borrow" from previous ones, just change a few things and call it "New"
[Zone] Skyly@mvffin1: I should make my own religion. That's where the money is.
[Zone] Nachtblitz@bubba2strokes: With blackjack and hookers!
[Zone] Nachtblitz@bubba2strokes: In fact, forget the religion.

So just the blackjack and hookers, then?

[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: disgusting. at my church, we would take you into the back room and beat you
[Zone] Nachtblitz@bubba2strokes: Church of Jesus Christ of battered day saints.
[Zone] Skyly@mvffin1: your church sounds more like a cult
[Zone] Beelzebuck@beelzebuck666: youre part of the plague Maligo.. not the way
[Zone] Aryanna Trefonnen@yaszmina: church beatings? sounds like that's not a church i'd want to attend

Weirdly, Maligo's starting to sound like he's part of Westboro Baptist.

[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: your deviant lifestyles are sick. you are the same as murderers and rapists.
[Zone] Lerissa Fiendline@Zorkubou: Right back at you Maligo.

Seriously. And what, exactly, are our "deviant lifestyles"? Maligo's not defining that term. I wish he'd stop flinging it about, but as previously established...Maligo's extraordinarily prejudiced and closed-minded.

Whatever our "deviant lifestyles" are--and, as demonstrated by this section of the conversation, there's been little open talk of homosexuality/bisexuality/lesbianism, but much conversation about Zionists, open minds, and multiple forms of faith...apparently these qualities are enough to equate us to people who kill and rape. Good going, Maligo--piss off everyone in main chat, why don't you?

[Zone] RetardStronk@retardstronk: maligo every time you talk you kill my brain cells... plz stop
[Zone] Kittens@gnuggly2: he cant be serious
[Zone] Nachtblitz@bubba2strokes: You haven't put him on ignore yet?
[Zone] Aryanna Trefonnen@yaszmina: Such need anger management
[Zone] Skyly@mvffin1: not sure if troll or complete moron

Maligo can't be both?

[Zone] Jesus H. Christ@AeturnusMadidus: Can't we all just get along?

Oh, the irony.

[Zone] Aryanna Trefonnen@yaszmina: I'm opting for the complete moron, Skyly
[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: I'm betting complete moron Skyly. . .I've heard some of the bible thumpers in person and some sound like that.
[Zone] Winothor@winothorslice: The universe was created HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO by GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.
[Zone] Gideon@thefretman: I don't care what you all believe, but you who just make up total lies and nonsense because you don't like religion are just sad.
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: god tests all of us. you need to make the choice to follow his light. its like the gays, chose to be straight. follow gods laws because hell is worse than any jail

And I say again: Shut the hell up, Maligo. Oh, and remember my comment above? While there had been no direct references to gay ideals, here Maligo is, bringing it up. So now those who hold tolerance for other religions, believers in the Great Zionist Conspiracy (whatever that is), other Christians, gamblers, patrons of buyable beauties--in addition to everyone who finds it diverting and fun to play an online fantasy game--hold the same value as murderers and rapists, and we all deserve to go to hell. Conflation, thy name is Maligo Libens.

[Zone] Aryanna Trefonnen@yaszmina: Gotta love people who think they can speak for God.
[Zone] Aryanna Trefonnen@yaszmina: If you respect God so much, Maligo, who don't you capitalize His name?


[Zone] Irrdra Myduis@Ereldina: You DO realise that wearing any clothing made of MIXED TEXTILES OR SYNTHETIC CLOTH IS A SIN TOO...
[Zone] Irrdra Myduis@Ereldina: It is the SAME !$***%$%*!^(# CHAPTER
[Zone] Neomiel Nightbane@Neo-Gabi: And shellfish. Shellfish is a sin.
[Zone] Irrdra Myduis@Ereldina: So before you start quoting the bible, check your closet

Beautifully put, everyone. And accurate, also.

[Zone] Gideon@thefretman: Most of you should really just not talk about serious subjects till you grow the hell up.

Another decent point.

[Zone] Nachtblitz@bubba2strokes: If you can't make fun of a subject you don't deserve to discuss it seriously.
[Zone] Skyly@mvffin1: There's a metric $^(* ton of things in the bible that people fail to mention because they don't want to follow it.
[Zone] Orcus@owlbearsrule: but gays are bad, mmm'kay?
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: he says they should be put to death unless they chose to be normal

No. God. Does. Not. You. Stunted. TROLL.

[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: i beleive anyone who is bothered by homosexuals are just jelly
[Zone] Tegar@rhomwithaview: the true secret to living a content life is not giving a %()@ what others think
[Zone] Lysahria Aleandlues@nafrelbug: Sesquipedalianism is the verbal shield of pussilanimous eremites, hence we must eschew esoteric obfuscation and, thereby, obviate our opprobrium.
[Zone] Valna@Ereldina: Well, you're suppose to be stoned to death if you wear mixed textiles Maligo, so ....
[Zone] Valna@Ereldina: Before you start quoting your book at me, you better be following the rest of the teachings not just picking and choosing.
[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: Know what I do love though? Christians who don't take themselves too serious and will talk religion without jamming it down your throat. Wanna hug those types.
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: so ur saying u want to be tortured for eternity?

Wau, you're really obsessing on this hell thing. Which, by the way, didn't exist until around the sixth century, anyway, and was a far later revision to the Bible; before that, all concepts of Hell from Judaic or Christian faiths were intended to indicate temporary places of suffering or obviation.

[Zone] Thundermoose@thundermoose54: I was raised "christian" and my boss is Muslim...we discuss the differences and similarities quite often. there are more similarities than most people are willing to realize
[Zone] Herja Brandr-Moer@forgeleader: I love how he doesn't actually address all of the parts he doesn't live up to.
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: just sickening,
[Zone] Herja Brandr-Moer@forgeleader: Yes, you are just sickening, hypocrite.

*points up at that one* And yet, for all this he's called this chat and the people in it "sickening" and "disgusting", and told all of us we should be beaten to death...he's still reading along. Hypocritical, indeed.

[Zone] Kittens@gnuggly2: faith can be a wonderful thing, but a good sense of logic is required
[Zone] Skyly@mvffin1: Things I hate: 1.Haters. 2.Hypocrites. 3.Lists
[Zone] Soulenai@firerose77: why would you hate lists :( they are so helpful
[Zone] Orcus@owlbearsrule: in that order?
[Zone] Erdanen Wolfsbane@seromac: you forgot Irony
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: you people shouldnt be here. children shouldnt be exposed to witchcraft.


I mean, seriously--forget the whole translation of his name thing (oh, and the fact that "Maligo Libans" is also a mini-boss--a nectromancer mini-boss--in Guild Wars, too--his whole name is just confusing as the hell he wants us all banished to.

[Zone] Kattie Pumneh@mrspuma: I believe in cute kittens. They have power. Power to make me do whatever they want me to do.
[Zone] Talia Hellbender@demonhunter919: I remember when it was preached about on a regular basis. I believe in God the Father, and I believe the Bible. What I don't subscribe to is organized religion.
[Zone] Herja Brandr-Moer@forgeleader: But is it alright if I expose myself to witchcraft? I mean, I'm already naked under this trenchcoat.
[Zone] Kierman@kulgarun: Those people who come knocking on your doors asking if you have read the Bible.. tell them Yes! It was a god story, shame he died in the end.. and watch their faces.
[Zone] Talia Hellbender@demonhunter919: If the Bible doesn't say it is a sin, then it isn't. Playing a game where you roll some dice or something like that isn't a sin.
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: any of u fools know what zionist is? zionist is the end of humanity

Domino was really starting to get on my last nerves, too.

[Zone] RetardStronk@retardstronk: thanks to maligo my last 9 braincells are holding hands an singing kumbiya
[Zone] HariNgDuga@ArchonHND: I remember one time I asked God for a Train; never came - But Santa delivered. Just took a while
[Zone] Herja Brandr-Moer@forgeleader: Have YOU been touched by His Noodly Appendage?
[Zone] Orcus@owlbearsrule: the problem with mosst-if not all-religion is that theyre all fatalist. they exist for the end times and forget the current times.
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: let god in

Why, because YOU say so?

[Zone] Tegar@rhomwithaview: those doorknockers, tell them you're a catholic. they don't like to tangle with cults bigger than their own
[Zone] Talia Hellbender@demonhunter919: If you actually read the Bible, it doesn't tell us to judge each other. In fact it says "Judge not lest ye be judged" God said the greatest commandment is "Love your neighbor as yourself."
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: most of u dont even kno what zionist is
[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: Last time I opened the door with a bloodstain apron and bloody butcher knife and asked them if they wanted to join me for the sacrifice (I was actually cooking pork ribs) they haven't come by again.
[Zone] Herja Brandr-Moer@forgeleader: I have SEEN the One True Collander!
[Zone] Herja Brandr-Moer@forgeleader: Can I get a Ramen, my brothers and siters?!
[Zone] Orcus@owlbearsrule: if you actually read the bible it tells you to beat your kids...remmeber that part?
[Zone] Kierman@kulgarun: Dom... most people don't care. Same as most peopple don't know there are 30k denominations of Christianity

If not more.

[Zone] Nachtblitz@bubba2strokes: I recall a time when my mother answered the door for some mormons while dressed in full ritual garb. She was a wiccan at the time.
[Zone] Nachtblitz@bubba2strokes: They just kind of apologized and left.
[Zone] HariNgDuga@ArchonHND: Much like Parents, God may be good... but he's got a lot of kids who are (!(#!.
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: its just ignorance because those who are zionist are winning
[Zone] Talia Hellbender@demonhunter919: That was the old testament as well. And yes I remember that part, my father was a preacher and he believed that fully. I have ADHD and tested his faith regularly.
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: god teaches us to love fellow christians. he teaches to put certain others to death.
[Zone] Lysahria Aleandlues@nafrelbug: must. not. get sucked in.. to retarded conversation.
[Zone] Kierman@kulgarun: sighs.. general chats in MMO's .. where you meet the wackiest of nutcases

Generally, yes. Haven't found one yet where there isn't at least one standout for conspiracy theory belief, religious fundamentalism, or general dogmatic sexism or rank homophobia.

Lucky for us Neverwinter players, there seems to be many of them, reaching out to spread their hatred and vile misinformation, interspersed with thousands and thousands of gold spammers. Oh joy.

[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: isreal is zionist, usa congress majority are zionist. starbucks is zionist
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: shall i go on
[Zone] Kittens@gnuggly2: ok lets stop. everyone have (#!, and then smoke.....and change the subject

And the very next line of text I saw was a game notification:

[System Notify] Interaction interrupted.

Hee! And, I felt, an appropriate place to stop. I logged off soon after.

So...what did I learn from this, why did I post all this? I'm not really sure. I felt pseudo-compelled to, simply because I'd saved it, but I have dozens of saved chats, many of which I end up deleting because, weeks or months after the original incidents, they strike me as no longer relevant.

So...why this one? First, basely, Maligo pissed me off. I'm a vindictive person, though I try not to be; I hold on to slights, grudges, and hurts far longer than I should. I'm damaged; I know that, and for the most part, I'm comfortable with it.

I also obsess on small details, but still--hyper-religiosity doesn't usually go hand in hand with beliefs that one is evil--and not just evil, but joyously so. That name, combined with those sets of beliefs--beliefs which, taken literally, mean he is an active danger to me and to nearly everyone I know, on Second Life and off--confuse and unnerve me.

So...these three posts. Because I couldn't think of how deleting them in any way made sense.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

it's funny how some distance makes everything seem small

And we're back with more nonsensical religious debate from an online game! (You can read the first part here.)

[Zone] Sven@nhlong95: i dont like religions in general
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: religion is a nessessary thing
[Zone] Lerissa Fiendline@Zorkubou: Judging by the local dominant religion... religion isn't very good at teaching you stuff you'd otherwise learn the hard way.
[Zone] Orcus@owlbearsrule: the only problem is that religion has so many KILL ON SIGHT fkking bs its impossible to take seriously
[Zone] Elspeth@firerose77: well, if christianity is the right relegion... isn't god supposed to love us all, no matter what? wasn't that one of the tennets?
[Zone] Lucifer@htoratsa: What? religions a necessary thing are you crazy
[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: Too many wars have been fought in the name of one religion or another. I look at it this way, if a god/s has had people kill in their name, I want nothing to do with them.
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: the idea of religion is to create serentiy
[Zone] Orcus@owlbearsrule: lose site? of what? killing in the name of? #%^) that
[Zone] Thundermoose@thundermoose54: I don't mind religions in general...I just don't like what people do in the name of religion

To abuse the pun....amen. Also, the spelling errors are killing brain parts to leave in, but that IS how things sent across the chat originally, so...

[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: serenity fool

True. I do try to hold in mind that a lot of folks are typing rushed in between battles. I try to understand, save where folks are already stomping on my nerves.

[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: god only likes christians...

Folks like Maligo Libens. Maligo, you suck.

[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: all you other people should be shot

Maligo, you suck a lot.

[Zone] Buttercup@garygetsum1: sigh, and chat looked so promising for a while.....

I know, right?

[Zone] Lerissa Fiendline@Zorkubou: Killing (&|#@ sounds like an action of love- loving genocide that is
[Zone] Maldrek@vvcephei767: the idea of religion was originally to explain that which couldn't be explained
[Zone] Elspeth@firerose77: see what I love about christianity is how much it willfuly contradicts itself :D
[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: Agreed Thundermoose! Believe what you want but don't harm or harass others about it
[Zone] Orcus@owlbearsrule: the idea of religion was control and fear
[Zone] Daisy@polofiesta11: AMA i am an atheist
[Zone] Orcus@owlbearsrule: militant athiest, ty
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: seriously. people like you dont deserve gods gifts.

I've mentioned the utter jerklife aspect of Maligo, right? The gigantic walking trollness of his every ridiculous expression?

[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: im not even religious but i can tell u guys miss the point
[Zone] Chifond@gwbukanalay: i was interested in the last talk about brain implants but now religions? -_-
[Zone] Lerissa Fiendline@Zorkubou: naaaaah, not contradictions, just... confusing things that don't make any sense because they contrad- I mean, are complicated.
[Zone] Maldrek@vvcephei767: religion is certainly used to control people, but that isn'&&!@* only use, religion is complicated
[Zone] Tegar@rhomwithaview: yeah, back to cybernetics and neuroscience!

Yeah! Because that was awesome and fun, and I wish I'd captured more of it!

[Zone] Elspeth@firerose77: I have nothing agaisnt spirituality, only against people who think they understand it best and their way is the only way
[Zone] Lucifer@htoratsa: if god exist is the worst son of (#*|@ of the universe
[Zone] Buttercup@garygetsum1: ...there are only 2 truths any of you need to know....Soylent fawn is people and Winterkill emblems cause global warming.....

Oy, more fawn puns...make it STOP......

[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: Is believing in a collective energy technically consitered religion or simple a belief? That's one thing that's always got me confused XD
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: zeitgeist is false information lol what happened to the america "merging to mexico"
[Zone] Lerissa Fiendline@Zorkubou: Sure thing Maldrek- religions also give you a nice way to have a sort of community club like you might have at a community center, except for people that wouldn't pay tax dollars to build one of those
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: !@%!&(@ retarded propoganda
[Zone] Kittens@gnuggly2: do conservative puratins pray to gosh?
[Zone] Maldrek@vvcephei767: arguing about religion is generally pointless, you either believe or you don't

Pretty much. And if you believe, and you're willing to argue (as opposed to reasonably debate), then you're either a very angry person lashing out, or you already know what you believe is the absolute truth, and you'd rather bash people with your beliefs than communicate and listen to other people.

[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: Mostly because I believe in a collective energy, not a god, but it is hell to explain that to people
[Zone] Eudaimon@Mereologist: Lumens, that's always the first thing you have to do in any serious discussion of such a nature. Sit down and define your terms. It can take quite a while.
[Zone] Nachtblitz@bubba2strokes: To be a religion, it has to be somewhat organized. What you have is a belief, Techition.
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: i cant wait till you peoepl die

I'm sure. Suck fire, Maligo. Seriously, there are better things to do with your life.

Part three soon.

Friday, February 7, 2014

why do I deny the heart that’s grown colder?

Scenes from a Chat: sexism, racism and homophobia edition. But first, this public announcement for literacy:

[Zone] Nicci Moonshadow@krimz525: books are stupid, I only read audio books anyways
[Zone] Tyranthael@devillocks: lol @ "reading" audiobooks
[Zone] Splender@yessally: how do you read an audio book stupid stfu
[Zone] Zanarkand Myrahel@ducktape016: i read e-books now

The internet generation, folks!

*coughs* We move on.

[Zone] Zanarkand Myrahel@ducktape016: don't fish in this game.
[Zone] Zanarkand Myrahel@ducktape016: that's the lesson i learned

Me too. If Neverwinter never brings back the fishing mini-game, I will be so happy.

And then, things went downhill:

[Zone] Kitten IceyRayne@avengingangel93: If I had a girl guys would never leave me alone.
[Zone] Alex'Gabriel@alexgabriel23: i heard girls are a rare myth
[Zone] Blunder Thud@drartwhodent: cheaper to rent them Alex
[Zone] Alex'Gabriel@alexgabriel23: ur right if u get boored of them u need to pass them over and try new girls!
[Zone] BustyVampSlayer@outlawz111: alex i officialy dont like you now
[Zone] Cauim@gabrielriva: the gf contract is a trap - only worth if u actually buy a girl
[Zone] Cauim@gabrielriva: who wont compalin
[Zone] Cauim@gabrielriva: ask for presents
[Zone] Cauim@gabrielriva: and makes u take her to fancy restaurant
[Zone] magiofchaos@magiofchaos: as long as she puts out who cares
[Zone] Moon@spotmeenigma: we will never know if you are a girl your self??
[Zone] Eudaimon@Mereologist: Sounds like you're looking for a &%# doll, not a femme. :p
[Zone] Nataria@lady_phoenix: Sure you can. Party with them and use voice chat.
[Zone] Carolinea@carolineas: Always makes me laugh when you say you are a girl and the first response is "Prove it".. you never fail guys ;)

Seriously. Also, welcome to casual sexism, I've seen it in every single damn game I've ever played, including multiplayer Minecraft and Team Fortress 2, where unless one downloads special skins, there are no female models...

[Zone] Bruce@aussiedoug: I could say I'm a girl, then get my wife on the mic...
[Zone] magiofchaos@magiofchaos: keep in mind... alot of the boys here have been fooled buy other boys into a suto #^&/| relationship

I think they mean "pseudo", but as I have my profanity filters on in Neverwinter, no idea what the second term was.

[Zone] Nataria@lady_phoenix: i could say i'm a woman and then get my Husband on the mic to freak people out. (He has a deep, booming voice.)
[Zone] Moon@spotmeenigma: well iam not after girls iam after a women

Good luck with that, Moon. Write when you find one willing to put up with you.

[Zone] magiofchaos@magiofchaos: hard for that to happen when your actually with someone who lives in your home :)

Did I mention I really don't like magicofchaos? Not only that, but that is only an impediment if you're in a monogamous relationship--and if you're in a monogamous relationship, and you're complaining, then obviously your fix is to talk to your partner and communicate, not bitch that you're not getting enough in a game.

[Zone] Dzaileen@dzaileen: Dibbuk, you don't have to prove anything. Most guys just refuse that some girls can be playing mmo.

Unfortunately true.

[Zone] Cauim@gabrielriva: moon woman are way more expensive
[Zone] Cauim@gabrielriva: u should look for a girl

Starting not to like Cauim much, either.

[Zone] Kitten IceyRayne@avengingangel93: I'm a woman playing an MMO, who cares?
[Zone] Dzaileen@dzaileen: And they only have two cliche´s: either we are top model, either we are obese... i'ts just ..the way it is.
[Zone] Gwendle@celticvengence: I always just pretend people are what their characters are, not like I'm going to get with them in r/l anyway
[Zone] Azzukar@sporkwrangler: i paid my gf to fish for me last night xD
[Zone] Cauim@gabrielriva: its like a free slave
[Zone] Carolinea@carolineas: I know many girls playing mmo's actually, and all of them are normal (in their special way hehe)
[Zone] Cauim@gabrielriva: what do u call normal?
[Zone] Cauim@gabrielriva: a girl with a pee pee, is normal for u?

Cauim, two things. First, if you're talking transsexual women, that's called a birth defect, you imbecile. Second, how old are you? You're after a date--online, no less--and you can't come out and simply say "penis"? Why the hell not??

[Zone] Eudaimon@Mereologist: Why wouldn't a femme like to play games? I always think it's strange when someone says it's unpossible.
[Zone] Cauim@gabrielriva: im just asking to see her boundaries lol...

What "boundaries" could you possibly be establishing by comparing all women to slaves, and all female gamers to "girls with pee pees", to use your parlance? That your potential date pool must have zero self respect, and possible the same level of intelligence? These are good qualities for you?

Admittedly, my conversation drifted at that point--understand, this entire conversation occurred back when the Winter Festival in Neverwinter was still ongoing--and when I came back, the conversation had shifted from emotional impairments and sexism to vision and--strangely--religion:

[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: I can hear a lot of things most don't, but I normally blame it on my vision being so bad thus my hearing trying to compensate
[Zone] Anub'arak@strollingtroll: lumen, try going to an eye specialist
[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: Did Anub'arak, nothing they can do, genetic issue, I'll end up totally blind in a few years sadly
[Zone] Nachtblitz@bubba2strokes: On the plus side, cybernetic eyes are a real possibility now.
[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: But hey, Imma use the hell out my remaining vision til that point
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: god probly thought u deserved to be blind

The hell, Maligo.

[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: Some say "Oh it must be awful only seeing three feet!" I tell them that's what life hit me with and I'm gonna find a way
[Zone] Nacht@erithedark: god probably thought u deserved to be healed from the blindeness, else he wouldnt have given the possibility to heal it
[Zone] Lucifess@luciferuk666: there is no god u (^$^
[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: I will say one thing though, as my vision has started to fade I have rediscovered so much in this world that was right there the whole time but I never paid mind to.

Yes, yes, you're a broken record already. Lucifess is one more comment from joining my ignore list.

[Zone] Orcus@owlbearsrule: there is no god. only man,

...and? No god, only man, comma, and...what else? WHAT ELSE?!?

[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: aaan thats why god HATES you people
[Zone] Kittens@gnuggly2: your just mad, cuz its a girl
[Zone] Lerissa Fiendline@Zorkubou: Of course Lucifess, everyone knows that. You're just trying to get attention.
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: freedom of choice let those believe what they wish lawl
[Zone] Elspeth@firerose77: which god though? christian god, one of the pagan gods?
[Zone] Elspeth@firerose77: I mean, you have to be specific here

*snickers* To be fair...

[Zone] Christa Shadowbane@mrgraveshadow: to some the Bibles is God so in one way yes there is a God
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: part of being "awake" is respecting others choices and lives
[Zone] Eudaimon@Mereologist: Brains are weird. :p
[Zone] Techition Lumens@TechitionCatalyst: XD Or one of the collective energies which is a god but not. . .soooo many variables
[Zone] Lerissa Fiendline@Zorkubou: Depends on what you mean by respect
[Zone] Domino@zappawomp: religion is there to teach u things u might learn the hardway
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: christianty is the right religion. i cant beleive them muslims and jews

Reading back over this, I may well put Maligo on my ignore list, too, just for saying that.

[Zone] Tegar@rhomwithaview: brains are REALLY weird and the way we use them is even weirder
[Zone] Maligo Libens@goldnugget1: kill em all i say

What, everyone who doesn't believe the same bigoted, shortsighted way you do? Be an awfully barren world at that point, Maligo.

More coming soon.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

you know that you were my collection, an addiction out of style

I never thought I'd be following any Twitter account labeled "hottestsingles", but after a friend recommended it to me, I realized I had to follow them. Here's part of why.

One of the earliest Tweets I've been able to find:
From the same day:
Yes, like MOUNTENNUI, Dread Singles communicates solely in uppercase:
And more:
And more:
And yet more:
And even more:
To be fair, there were a lot of Tweets sent out August 20th:
I'll get back to this.

In the meantime, breakfast cereal teabags now exist. For...whatever reasons they needed to exist. I'm confused.

Also, you should know by now cats occur in three natural states: solid, liquid and plasma. Please keep this in mind. (There is some debate on whether a fourth state exists, that of "cute", but debate is, as ever, mixed on the topic.)

I highly doubt this Kickstarter will make their funding, and that's a very sad thing. Why? Because their technology, if it works, could revolutionize horror gaming. Well, gaming in general, but survival horror could get a lot more intense and challenging. Their proposal: biofeedback gaming. So you're not just holding a controller and pressing buttons, but your pulse rate and heart rate are being measured and fed back to the game. Your own stress stimuli will change how challenging the game is.

Think of that in the other direction, though, too--want to calm down? The same thing could help you do that. Hold a controller and jump in a nearly weightless environment while simple things change in the background. The more stressed you start out, the easier the game is, the more soothing the music is. All based on your body's feedback to the machine.

We're already in the future, people. Now we just need to learn to adapt.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I light the candle for the ghosts in my home

DARPA--yes, that DARPA--has released an open-source catalog of software and research project notes. Why? Got me. But apparently the agency working to develop weaponry and battle armor for the US government wants input and coding help from...everyone who wants to help out.

Unpaid, of course, but they also say that since it's open-source, it can be used in coders' own projects, as well.

What this means in the larger political sense, I am purely not the one to ask. I'm just baffled.

Meanwhile--continuing in strange US news--there's now a sculpture of a nearly naked man...on the all-female Wellesley College campus. Why the sculpture there? Why is it a nearly naked man? The artist made a companion piece of a nearly naked woman; would that have been more or less disturbing as an installation on the campus lawn?

There's an entire page devoted to the rest of the installation set (including the female version of the Sleepwalker, and an alternate male version) on Tony Matelli's website; but does seeing the rest of the installation pieces invalidate the oddity of the lone somnabulist on campus? In my opinion, not really. (Also, a warning for that link--Matelli's artwork meanders from the clinical to the profoundly disturbing. View at your own risk.)

Moving to the field of neuroscience, Robert Provine, author of the new book Curious Behavior, posits that not only do tears serve a physical healing function (not the least of which is to lubricate irritated or injured eyes), but might also serve as a mood elevator--a compound called NGF, which stands for nerve growth factor, seems not only responsible for axonal branching (the thing that makes nerve fibers grow like tree limbs), but also potentially has an anti-depressive, anti-psychotic effect. If proven, this could have wide application in terms of recovery from mental illness (schizophrenia, depression, general dementia) as well as mental impairment (autism, Alzheimer's, possibly even the full range of anorexia and bulimia illnesses).

Further study is definitely needed, but it looks promising.

And Linden Lab has a new CEO. So far, he seems sane. Yay?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

trouble is a friend

So, I'm planning some back-end fill-ins for old content (none of it hugely relevant at this point, just drafts that are aging in queue) behind this one, but there's been a ton of things happening of late, and I've been hermitting, so...right. Time to get to it.

First up: Mr. Ciaran Laval noticed that LL changed their land bot allowances, from "allowed" to "not". As he points out, five years ago this would have been both relevant and helpful, but as things stand now...what, exactly, is the point? Unless--as he also points out--the Lab's planning to also reorganize tier in some fashion.

Sort of in the same vein--that of unsettling changes, at least--there was a thread on SL Universe querying if the Lab had a policy on requesting tax information. Which wouldn't be that big a deal, save for the way they handled it--or rather, aggressively and ridiculously mishandled it. First was the utter lack of communication, followed by wrong information given out by Lab employees who apparently weren't informed of the correct procedures, and--to my mind most significant--an utter refusal to change their policies when illegally employed.

Now, the lack of contact we are unfortunately accustomed to, along with the spreading of misinformation by people who should have better accesses to correct info than those not in the rank and file. But what started out as a reasonable conversation about terminology and correct interpretation began to slowly go south. The first hints of trouble were seen in Malkavyn Eldritch's post of January 18th:
First sale of the year (over 600.00 under 20,000.00) we now have received the support ticket and it is our first. (We wondered why the deposit hadn't processed in over a week)

[...] LL has failed (as usual) to provide relevant information to the residents in a timely manner. This shouldn't be a shock to anyone.
It really shouldn't, and that might have been the end of it, just an unfortunate delay, but...Kat Fetisov was next, on the 20th:
I got one of these the other day when I tried to cash out - for the record I'm nowhere near 200 withdrawals or $20,000 a year.
Then Charli a day later:
I have received the email as well. Who is Tommy Linden really? This is a matter of real life information and to be requesting such information without even providing their real name is just ridiculous.
Kat Fetisov received resolution...sort of...maybe?...on the same day:
I've had a reply from the Lab about this. It's left me a little puzzled.

They said that I don't need an ITIN or an EIN, just my UK National Insurance number (that's the UK's tax reference code for an individual; the equivalent of a US SSN). This is good news because it makes everything nice and simple but it leaves me puzzled because every other US based business platform (yeah, please forgive the pretentiousness of that term - you know what I mean; Amazon direct publishing, all the other e-book publishers, stock image sites etc) that asks users to file a W8 variant require an ITIN or EIN or they'll withhold US taxes from your payouts.

I hope that LL are in proper compliance because what seemed a big problem earlier today has now vanished. I can't help but feel that acquiring an EIN hasn't been a wasted effort since I can't know how things will change in future. The IRS is coming down harder and harder on this kind of commerce, so having an EIN in reserve gives me some reassurance I'll be able to deal with any stricter requirements that may come along later.
And then things got really worrying on the 24th. This was Desmond Shang, chiming in with his responses from the Lab:
I've made more than pocket change with my SL estate, and as such, I've always routed it through my S Corporation.

Why? Because you can't have, say, greater than 50,000 a year come into your personal bank account without paying appropriate taxes. I put in work to build my SL business, and that means wage taxes. Which I have paid. Just try telling the IRS that you had money rain out of the sky for no reason and see what happens ~ that's most certainly a bad, bad idea.

So I get a W9 request thursday. It's the sort of thing I get all the time in the course of other business, before SL even accepted residents. Except they doctored up the form horribly, and locked it on Individual / Sole Proprietor, and SSN through this weird electronic form overlay. I use an S Corporation with an EIN.

No big deal except they say if I don't fill out THAT form, locked to the wrong tax information fields ~ my account goes on hold in 30 days.
Let me restate some things from this, because I feel they're vaguely important.
  • For the purposes of estate management, Des has filed as an S corporation.
  • As he is an employee of this corporation (he's also the owner, which is another reason to incorporate; it makes things very neat and structured for purposes of taxation and filing), he pays himself wages from this estate-based income.
  • As such, it's fairly standard to fill out incorporated deduction forms (which he's done, both as employee and owner), as well as standard for companies and incorporated entities to interact with him as another incorporated entity.
  • Linden Lab did not do this. In fact, they doctored the form before sending it to restrict his ability to fill it out properly; they insisted that he fill it out as a private citizen, not an incorporated entity (or even employee of same).
  • Legally, Des cannot fill out this form.
  • If Des does not fill out this form, his account goes on hold, and they withhold wages until he properly fills it out--which, again, he cannot do as provided by the Lab.
This is insane. Why would any company mess with their paying clients this way? And "Because they're the Lab" is no longer a sufficient answer.

And let's not forget the next bit of Des' section of the thread:
I'm very upset with:

1) the incompetency of trying to force me to fill out a W9 incorrectly,

2) the fact I can't get anyone on the phone for something that should be a 5 minute thing

3) the fact that they are threatening to put my account on hold over it.
Yeah. Let me restate that bit, too, because it's important: A major estate owner, paying operational capital directly to Linden Lab, cannot get anyone on the phone to answer him. And if they're doing it to Des, they're doing it to everyone else. So forget regular users of SL trying to get information--when the people essentially providing working capital to the company can't get answers, we're in very deep. Drowning, not waving time.

While Des (and presumably other businesses and estate owners) were trying to figure out what waqs going on, on the 29th Karlin James developed an all-new, easily resolved problem:
I started to process my credit on January 13th and asked for USD1200 to be sent to my PayPal account. This is only the 3rd time I have withdrawn money from SL in 4 years. After 6 business days had passed I gave billing a call and asked if there were any delays in making payments. I was told that I would be paid that day as Wednesdays were when LL do their mass pay outs.

Well it didn't arrive in my account that day or the day after. But I did receive a case number and a request to fill out a form. It was the W8 for me because I am from the UK. I did that immediately and sent a photo of my passport and of my bank statement showing my address. That was a week ago.

[...] Just to add to that, I called a couple more times this week to ask to speak to a supervisor. I called during LL office hours but both times I was told there was no supervisor available and then got this recorded message "This call has ended, please hang up".

Passages bolded for emphasis above; and because James hadn't reached either internally stated limit, it's wholly unknown why the Lab decided to dick them around like this.

So now we're near the end of the month. New program, or least the Lab's new compliance with a program which may have gone into play (at least in the US) in 2010; still not sure on that score. Bumpy couple of weeks, but everything worked out, right? Well...

Here's eku Zhong on the 29th:
I cash out pretty regularly (monthly).. last week when cashout should have gone through I got the W8-BEN form and filled in and sent in photo ID last Friday.
Still waiting.. ticket is still IN PROGRESS.
Evil String on the 29th:
I got my ticket on friday. Everything filled up in less than 1 hour ( I had everything prepared), documentation uploaded. Still nothing.
Desmond Shang, same day:
Still waiting here; they have enough info to ID me seven ways to Sunday by now. I don't care if they are understaffed on the effort. Staff up. It's not like they couldn't see this coming for at least a decade in advance.
Now, very late on the 29th, both Zhong and String had their payment issues resolved; Charli and Nan still hadn't been contacted; Min Barzane, on the 31st, meanwhile, still hadn't heard anything:
Monday 20th requested cashout to paypall...friday 24th got suport request for aditional info ,tax stuff(ID,online form,the works)and normaly they stopped my cashout ... filled and sent ewerything inside 1 is 31st and still waiting for LL to move their lazy asses and let my money go!
And a few hours after both Des and Mm. Barzane posted that, they were mysteriously resolved. Someone reading along at the Lab?

And on February 4th, Eboni Khan added two more cents to the discussion:
My 1099-K arrived today from Linden Research. Not one single USD number on it matches my Paypal 1099-K. Hello double reporting!
Which I find highly suspicious on the part of the Lab. Shouldn't the numbers match? And there are still folks waiting for funds to be received, and all of this right at the turn of the month, when many of us are also asked to pay rent. The hell, Linden Lab. The friggin' hell, what is going on?

And does it have anything to do with Rod Humble leaving the Lab?