(Via GraphJam. Thanks Xa)
Monday, October 31, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
http://anonops.blogspot.com/2011/10/this-rebellion-will-not-stop.html Twenty thousand and more
http://occupywallstreetcarepackages.tumblr.com/ I urge everyone to get involved, I myself plan to puts together guides on building gas-masks in case of tear-gas use
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Just this morning, a crackdown of sorts transpired on the #OccupyOakland movement. The Associated Press wrote:
Under cover of darkness early Tuesday, hundreds of police swept into Oakland's Occupy Wall Street protest, firing tear gas and beanbag rounds before clearing out an encampment of demonstrators. In less than an hour, the 2-week-old, miniature makeshift city was in ruins. (Source)
Personally, I am greatly mortified to hear this news, word of clandestine police raids conjuring disturbing visions of V for Vendetta-esque police-states. That said, it is even more disturbing to read some of the comments on the link in question, indicating that those affected by the gratuitous lies that the media propagates tire of the movement and maintain a deeply flawed misconception of the movement.
That said, in order to preserve solidarity and hope in vein of police intervention and a false sense of jadedness and cynicism towards the movement, several things must be acknowledged by protestors.
- Protestors must not break the law confrontationally. By vandalizing private property, throwing around ethnic slurs and trespassing, we come off to the media as sensationalistic hippies without a worthy cause. We know that we are not that and thus, we must act professionally to hold credibility.
- Protestors must not react violently to police presence. Like in the last rule, our credibility is at stake here. A single riot would put a massive dent in the movement. 1% of the 99% can easily ruin the image of the movement for all involved.
- Protestors must uphold the ideals of nonviolent civil disobedience. As a “populist” movement, there are few historical precedents to #OccupyWallStreet. Thus, we must learn from the most successful: Gandhi and King.
- Protestors must persist and not be dissuaded by threats of police intervention or popular disapproval. As a movement characterized by mass civil disobedience, we must stand together in solidarity to act as a force for positive social change imprinted forever into the collective consciousness of our world. We must believe in ourselves and that our actions are valuable.
Naomi Klein wrote that the #OccupyWallStreet movement was the single most important thing happening in the world right now. Let’s give the movement the love and care it deserves.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
OWS is growing fast, we’re in the early days of a new chapter of history.
http://occupywriters.com/works/by-lemony-snicket Lemony Snicket on #OWS
http://www.alternet.org/story/152833/_10_ways_to_support_the_occupy_movement?akid=7763.301489.tKoW9G&rd=1&t=5 Ways to help out without camping out.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-keck/occupy-wall-street-revolution_b_1010144.html A second American Revolution?
http://www.joystiq.com/2011/08/19/how-to-play-xenoblade-chronicles-if-you-live-in-america/ Finally, on a different note, Nintendo leaves us with no choice outside of jailbreaking.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
#5: Nike, Outsourcing Slavery
Nike’s use of Chinese sweatshops to manufacture shoes is not exactly an obscure topic. Indeed, this has resulted in one of the most widely-covered boycotts in recent memory. Nonetheless, it represents perhaps one of the best examples of how cost-cutting costs lives. The meager labor laws of developing countries like China, coupled with the disparity between different types of currency, allows companies to outsource work at rates far below living wage in despicable conditions often exceeding 14 hours. Here, the maximization of profits supersedes the business’s responsibility to conduct its work in an ethical and fair manner. Thus, stockholders and boardmembers get rich at the expense of foreign laborers that they will never know.
Thankfully, Nike has since created a board to investigate conditions within their own factories. Nonetheless, Chinese sweatshop labor isn’t isolated to Nike, even the perpetually hip Apple admitted to exploitive practices for iPod manufacturing.
#4: Monsanto, Patenting Genetics
Anyone who has watched Food Inc. is familiar with the cutthroat brutality of the food industry, and Monsanto has been cited as the worst offender, consistently valuing profit over human life, freedom and prosperity. The company acquired a strain of soybean possessing a strand called the “Terminator Gene”, which causes the seeds to produce sterile plants, thus negating the chance of a second harvest. This essentially cuts away any chance of farmer-independence by forcing growers to repurchase seeds annually.
The patenting of the GMO has caused major problems for farmers at all levels. As the world’s largest supplier of seeds, farmers have little choice but to purchase the relatively inexpensive Monsanto seed. As a result, factory farm conditions explode and independent farmers are driven out of business. These exploitive practices led to a mass-exodus of small farmers in Argentina as they failed to make profit as well as an explosion of the farmer-suicide rate in India as independent farmers were plunged into debt.
#3: McDonalds, Causing the Disease of Affluence
By a large margin, McDonalds is far more panned by anticorporate groups as a symbol of the problems of globalization than any other American company. This criticism is not unfair though, and the company has a contentious history that existed before the release of Spurlock’s Super Size Me. For one, in his book Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser alleged that the company’s targeting of children in its marketing was responsible for the childhood obesity epidemic. This was the cause of a 2010 San Francisco law banning the inclusion of toys in Happy Meals.
In the bigger picture, what is more problematic is the price disparity between environmentally-sustainable, locally-grown food and processed fast-foods. Anyone with the slightest familiarity with Michael Pollan understands the destructive effects of the mammoth amounts of salt, sugar and saturated fat included in these foods, and the relatively high price of healthy foods relegates the poor to diets comprised of packaged and processed foods. This causes the so-called diseases of “affluence”, namely, diabetes, obesity and certain types of cancers.
#2: Sony, Restricting Intellectual Freedom
The next instance deals with the crux of the open-source movement and its advocacy of property rights when applied to software. When it was released, the Playstation 3 was touted for its ability to run Linux among other operating systems. Free-software advocates praised Sony for allowing users this freedom and the system was lauded by many.
In March of 2010, Sony cut the feature in its 3.2.1 update, thus provoking modders to attempt to restore the feature. Renowned iPhone hacker George Hotz successfully hacked the system and found a way to restore the Linux functionality and released a guide both on his blog and on YouTube. Sony sued Hotz and demanded social media sites to surrender IP addresses of people who viewed Hotz’s guides. After a complicated tangle of legal threats, a Spanish splinter group of Anonymous released a DDOS attack on Sony, thereby bringing down the Playstation Network for a record-setting month.
Sony’s infraction here constitutes an abridgement of personal autonomy and ownership rights. If an individual owns a piece of property, s/he should be able to do whatever he pleases to said property. By essentially cracking down on people possessing knowledge of how to modify the Playstation, Sony directly infringed on both the intellectual and property freedom of property owners. The company stated that the removal of the Linux feature was to prevent piracy, thereby maximizing profits. By suing GeoHotz for teaching people how to hack, Sony essentially abridges the all-important freedom of knowledge, thereby obstructing democracy.
#1: Outsourcing, Subverting Trickle-Down Economics to the Cost of All
The final instance that I will talk about does not deal with a single corporation, but rather an economically unsustainable trend resulting in recession. In order to maximize profits, corporations outsource work to developing countries where products can be manufactured or work can be done for a comparatively low price. While I do support stimulating the economies of developing countries, infant labor laws allow for corporations to pay paltry wages in unethical conditions. Furthermore, while our modern economy is a global one, outsourcing work causes people to lose jobs on the national level. As jobs are shipped overseas, our own economy is neglected and the “trickle-down” effect is subverted. Thus, Americans lose jobs and movements like Occupy Wall Street happen as the percentage unemployed skyrockets.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
After a long hiatus, here are Sunday Sites
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/15/110815fa_fact_bissell Tom Bissell profiles Jennifer Hale, voice actor behind Commander Shepard, for the New Yorker
http://www.mangatutorials.com/forum/showthread.php?742-The-Ultimate-Indie-Game-Developer-Resource-List Indie studios, use this list.
http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10?op=1 Occupy Wall Street and the numbers behind it
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/10/copyright-czar-cozies-up/ Leaked emails from the “Copyright Czar”, profiteering much?
Thursday, October 13, 2011
In our time, power and influence depends on wealth. Corporations are treated by governments as tantamount to citizens and our artistic culture has “evolved” into an “industry”. The monumental cost of locally grown food relegates the poor to lethal diets of processed fast-foods and the encroachment of corporations on artistic mediums drowns out visionaries. As the objects of American profiteering, we will not stand for injustice. Thus hundreds of thousands of disaffected people from every imaginable political, socioeconomic and cultural background gathered to take back justice in the largest movement since the Battle of Seattle.
The hacker collective Anonymous, whom which I admire strongly, has backed the movement strongly. In an official statement on their blog, they wrote:
Through a direct democratic process, we have come together as individuals and crafted these principles of solidarity, which are points of unity that include but are not limited to:It is becoming increasingly clear that Occupy Wall Street is maturing into what could possibly be the left’s response to the Tea Party. However, unlike the Tea Party, the movement’s goal is to advocate for the freedom of every human being. Ivy League professors came to New York’s Zuccotti Park in droves to give free lectures to protestors, soup tents, medical bays and PR stations were established in tents for the movement’s encampment. Renowned anti-capitalist Noam Chomsky wrote: “Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street -- financial institutions generally -- has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world)… They also carry out these ugly activities with almost complete impunity -- not only too big to fail, but also ‘too big to jail.’”.
§ Engaging in direct and transparent participatory democracy;
§ Exercising personal and collective responsibility;
§ Recognizing individuals’ inherent privilege and the influence it has on all interactions;
§ Empowering one another against all forms of oppression;
§ Redefining how labor is valued;
§ The sanctity of individual privacy;
§ The belief that education is human right; and
§ Endeavoring to practice and support wide application of open source.
We are daring to imagine a new socio-political and economic alternative that offers greater possibility of equality. We are consolidating the other proposed principles of solidarity, after which demands will follow.
The movement has gained momentum and similar protests have manifested in hundreds of American cities. On the home front, an Occupy San Francisco movement has appeared, a major encampment arising outside of the Federal Building. Hundreds were arrested, their crime: simply trespassing. Furthermore, they were derided for failing to provide the media the imagery of broken glass and mass chaos that draws so many readers.
Some have drawn ideological parallels between Occupy Wall Street and 1999’s Battle of Seattle. The primary difference between the two is that today’s movement has targeted a formerly-trustworthy institution responsible for outsourcing slavery, vast economic disparities and the disease of poverty. 1999’s protestors targeted a WTO summit lasting for only a week, which meant that their message and presence would only exist for a week before being lost to the insatiable maws of time. In targeting a long-standing institution, occupants hope that their message will not be eternal, and that they can bring a light of hope to thousands of disaffected people harmed by the unrestrained greed that capitalism is engineered to create.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
I just had the chance to try out the new open beta for Battlefield 3, and immediately took note of several positive changes that make the once monolithic shooter more approachable.
For starters, the beta features a single map with a single game mode. Operation Metro is a four-part map set in France, progressive stages of the map take place in a open park, subway tunnel, a station and a set of streets. The Rush gametype is reminiscent of Counter-Strike mixed with Team Fortress 2, with one team moving down a linear map attempting to blow up “comm-stations” while the other team tries to prevent their success until the time runs out. Its more fast-paced, fun and accessible than the Conquest gametypes of Battlefield’s past. A persistent system of unlocks and level-ups rewards players who do well in games, I got a cool new shotgun after just ten-minutes of play.
Completely revamped is the scoring mechanism, which is far juicier and overarching than it was in the past. Experience is rewarding for everything strategic, for assisting kills, giving health and ammo, achieving objectives and scoring headshots. Most notable is the “suppression” system. Should players shoot at an enemy without successfully hitting him, said enemy would suffer from blurred vision as bullets whizz by. Its a system that adds strategic depth to the game as victims are forced to retreat into cover and newbies have a way to contribute to the team without actually killing anybody.
Particularly problematic in Battlefield 2 was the dominion of snipers over entire maps. Battlefield 3 alleviates the problem by adding specific weaknesses to sniper rifles. For one, lens flare notifies targets that they are being spotted, allowing them a short time to react and defend themselves by returning suppressive fire. Its a system that both adds tension while balancing gameplay.
One balancing issue that was problematic in underground areas was the capability of a single weapon to dominate the battlefield: a flashlight. When mounted to the barrel of a rifle, the flashlight entirely blinds its victims, forcing them to return fire blindly in hope of survival. While the flashlight does give away enemy positions, it does severely weaken players that fall into its scope.
As to be expected from beta software, the game still is very buggy and features a host of gameplay glitches. Falling through the environment was problematic and forced me to suicide to respawn and re-enter the game. Clipping issues allow for snipers to fight from inside rocks and dash underneath hills. Hopefully, EA will have the chance to iron out these glitches before the game launches officially in three weeks.
One thing that surprised me was the degree of environmental destructibility that the physics engine afforded. I smiled in glee as my grenade detached three radiators from the wall and tossed them aside in a flurry of rubble and dust. Hopefully, this can serve to a greater strategic purpose besides just looking pretty.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with the open-beta. While the beta featured none of the game’s much-touted vehicles, I had a lot of fun with the Counter-Strike like attack/defend gameplay. The linear maps gave the game a much more focused feel and prevented me from aimlessly wandering around the map in confusion. Ultimately, the beta works well to whet my appetite for innovation in multiplayer shooters. I look forward to seeing where this game goes.