Archive for July, 2012

07/31/2012

I love the New York Times

by wfgodbold

Well, not really. I don’t even like it.

I am a big fan of their half-assed coding, though*.

Apparently they decided that to keep freeloaders (like me) from just reading online articles all the time, they would limit people to 10 free articles per month. If you hit the limit, you see this:

This locks out the scroll bars and prevents you from reading the article without subscribing.

But I was not deterred! It turns out that if you select the bit in the URL after the .html, like this:

And then delete it and hit “enter,” you end up with a pop-up-free article:

Now you can read the New York Times to your heart’s content!

Which, if you’re like me, is not very far.

Especially given this nonsense about algebra.

*Seriously. It’s like they weren’t even trying.

 

 

 

07/26/2012

Sorry, Whedon…

by wfgodbold

But Christopher Nolan is my master now.

The Dark Knight Rises is probably the best way Nolan’s Batman trilogy could have ended (I’ll do my best to avoid thpoilerth), and a damn fine movie.

Sure, it doesn’t have Heath Ledger giving an awesome performance as the Joker, but the entire cast did a great job here (instead of being overshadowed by the dead star of A Knight’s Tale). Bale does a great job (he’s come a long way from Reign of Fire), the villains do a great job, everyone is great.

There are even a few well-done callbacks and flashbacks to the previous two films (if you don’t remember them, I suggest a rewatch before seeing TDKR).

The bulk of the film pays homage (?) to the French Revolution (and Occupy Wall Street (but I repeat myself)), right down to the class envy, the Storming of the Bastille, and sham trials (complete with gratuitous French antique chair for the accused!)*.

If you like Batman, you owe it to yourself to see this movie (I’ve seen it twice!). It’s got the best rendition of Bane (not hard, after Batman and Robin), Catwoman (I still can’t believe I paid actual money to see Halle Berry in that piece of crap film), and REDACTED** in any big screen Batman movie yet!

*And a choice Charles Dickens quote, to boot.

**Thpoilerth avoided!

07/24/2012

A helpful primer on Body Armor for members of The Media™ (or, Because I’m Nothing if not Helpful)

by wfgodbold

Since certain members of the media were scandalized about the “body armor” the Aurora shooter wore, I thought I would take a page from Robb Allen’s book, and make up a handy graphic. Note I said “body armor,” complete with scare quotes; it turned out that he wasn’t actually wearing body armor. He was wearing a tactical vest made to hold accessories.

All images found via Google image search. I don’t own any of them.

Edit: I combined this with the GIMP (because it’s free). I’d never used it before, so forgive the unprofessionalness.

Edit Redux: Also, the “body armor” used by the Aurora shooter is the vest on the top left.

07/23/2012

Tab clearing (Blood Dancing Edition)

by wfgodbold

Everyone has by now heard about the tragic shooting at the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO. I think this is the third mass shooting to occur since I started blogging (the other two being Loughner’s rampage in Arizona, and Brevik’s in Norway); James Holmes’s spree seems (at this point) to have more in common with the latter than the former, especially given how much planning was involved.

Of course, the usual suspects wasted no time in clamoring for an “honest conversation on gun control,” which means, of course, the same thing as “compromise.” That is, they get everything they want (more gun control), and we are left holding the bag.

Roger Ebert kicked things off, Friday, with his opinion piece in the NYT, in which he calls our gun laws “insane.” He talked about how no one at the theater in Aurora shot back, even though people say they need guns to defend themselves. Apparently Cinemark has a no guns policy. This policy was just as effective here as they were at Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, and pretty much everywhere else there’s been a mass shooting in the US. Ebert also mentions a guy he knows in Chicago who was carrying a pistol, and showed it off to Ebert and a mutual friend in a bar. That can’t be; guns are all but banned in Chicago, and carrying them is right out. Ebert even brings up the recent shooting in Toronto. Canada has stricter gun controls than the US (and has a de facto ban on carry), and yet those stricter laws didn’t stop that shooting.

For that matter, Australia has even tougher gun controls, and yet the violent crime rate there is greater than in the US. In fact, the gun crime rate increased after gun control measures were implemented.

Eliot Spitzer, the erstwhile governor of New York, who resigned in disgrace amid a prostitution scandal (he’d spent ~$80,000 on call girls while he was NY’s Attorney General and governor), felt the need to chime in, too. Apparently, the shooting was “inevitable,” and we shouldn’t be shocked given our lax gun laws. He hits all the Brady and CSGV talking points: we should ban “military-style assault weapons” and “assault clips holding more than 10 rounds,” and we should require microstamping. Unlike the federal Assault Weapons Ban of ’94, New York’s AWB had no sunset provision; standard capacity magazines and weapons that have more than one “scary” cosmetic feature are still banned there (unless you had them prior to the ban, in which case they’re just fine). Microstamping is infeasible; the cost alone is prohibitive, and it could be defeated by simply swapping the firing pin out. Even setting that aside, microstamping would have affected the shooting in Aurora not at all. The shooter was the only one armed, and he just waited for the police to show up. There’s no question what guns the casings in the theater came from. Spitzer wants “meaningful gun control,” like what other nations have put in place. Too bad the gun control those other nations have doesn’t actually make anyone safer (see above!).

Amy Sullivan joins Bloomberg in demanding an “honest debate about guns.” Of course, Bloomberg has made his disdain for the Constitution clear in the past (what with his very own anti-gun organization (MAIG), and his blatant, repeated, and institutionalized violations of the Fourth Amendment (stop-and-frisk)). Sullivan immediately starts blasting the NRA for opposing the UN Small Arms Treaty, since it wouldn’t supersede the Constitution, and would only apply internationally. Well, if that’s the case, why would she use the Aurora tragedy to advocate for this treaty? After all, if it’s only international and wouldn’t supersede the Constitution, bringing it up seems like a complete non sequitur. She doesn’t bring up any domestic gun control ideas at all (she feigns horror that Congress has done nothing in the two years since one of their own was shot in a similar mass shooting in Arizona); all she talks about for the entire last half of her piece is the UN Small Arms Treaty.

Even the New York Post gets in on the blood-dancing game. They do admit that this shooting is no reason to get rid of the Second Amendment, but they also say, “there is no legitimate reason for gun-sellers to be peddling militarized accessories, like high-capacity ammunition magazines, speed loaders and such.” I know it might be hard to believe, but aside from New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Maryland, and Connecticut (I think that’s all of them), “high-capacity” magazines are perfectly legal. In fact, they’re not high-capacity at all; 20- and 30-round magazines are standard for the AR-15. As I understand it, Holmes did have a 100-round drum magazine (which don’t come cheap). For that matter, 15+ round magazines are standard for pistols (my P226 holds 18 rounds of 9mm in each magazine); I think the .40 S&W Glock models Holmes used both come standard with 15-round magazines as well. In fact, the large magazine the shooter used here backfired; it jammed (something similar happend during Loughner’s shooting; his 30-round magazines for his pistol were more unwieldy than standard magazines, and his fumbling them provided an opportunity for people to attack him (IIRC, anyway)). If Holmes had used standard 30-round AR-15 magazines, I doubt he would have had the problems he did with his 100-round drum magazine.

The New York Daily News puts the blood on the hands of Obama, Romney, and the NRA (and not, you know, on the actual shooter). The editorial board demands gun registration (how gun registration would have stopped Holmes, I have no idea; the worst thing on his record before this was a traffic ticket, I think). They talk about how street-crime shootings dwarf the big massacres (in terms of body count), and if only we had laws limiting access to guns, this would magically stop. They are shocked that Holmes was able to drive around with his guns (how else are you going to get to a gun range, or get home from the store where you bought your guns?). And, of course, they clamor for a reinstatement of the AWB at the very least. They even bring up the Columbine massacre. Of course, they don’t point out that Columbine happened in 1999, right smack-dab in the middle of the ’94 AWB. If an AWB were going to stop mass shootings, wouldn’t it have stopped that one?

Actor/comedian Jason Alexander went on a long rant about the Second Amendment and gun control, and how rifles like the AR-15 shouldn’t be in civilian hands. He quotes Alexander Hamilton and Merriam-Webster on militias. He doesn’t, however, quote George Mason, who said, “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials.”  Alexander rants for a while, and trots out various canards, finally closing with this statement: “I’ll say it plainly – if someone wants these weapons, they intend to use them. And if they are willing to force others to “pry it from my cold, dead hand”, then they are probably planning on using them on people.” Now, the AR-15 is probably the most popular rifle in the US today; people use them for hunting, for target shooting, for home defense, for varmint control, and for shooting competitions. They buy AR-15s because they look cool, because they’re easy to use, because they’re modular, because politicians don’t want them to have them, and because it’s virtually identical to the rifles they used in the service. These rifles are rarely used in crimes (if you’re going to commit a crime, are you going to lug around a rifle, or are you going to stick a pistol in your waistband?).

Not all of the media coverage has been negative; CNBC points out that the forces agitating for gun control are now mostly impotent.

The shooting in Aurora was a tragedy. It was not, however, the nefarious work of the gun lobby, or the NRA, or politicians. It was the work of one man, who, in the words of Alfred, just wanted to watch the world burn.

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

The anti-gunners, though, are just using this to try to drum up political support and donations so they can push their misguided views on the rest of us.

07/17/2012

The Dawn of Ys

by wfgodbold

I’ve played (though not necessarily finished) Ys I & II, The Oath in Felghana, Ys VI, Ys Seven, and now, thanks to the Summer Steam Sale, Ys Origin.

I haven’t played Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys, Ys IV: Mask of the Sun, or Ys V: Kefin, The Lost City of Sand.*

I am looking forward to Falcom’s remake/reimagining/reboot/retcon/whatever of Ys IV, Ys: Foliage Ocean in Celceta.** It’s scheduled for release on the PS Vita in late September, but I expect XSEED Games will translate it and bring it over to the US (since they’ve brought over other Vita games, and have done their damnedest to bring over all the Ys games they can).

I haven’t let that stop me listening to music from the games, though, and SSH’s cover of The Dawn of Ys is great. And mixing in Iron Maiden is a nice touch.

*Yes, there are two different versions of Ys IV, made by two different companies (neither of which was Falcom).

**I love Falcom, but they need to work on the literalness of their translations. 樹海 does literally mean “foliage ocean,” but it refers to a forest so extensive that it is like the sea (For example, Aokigahara, the forest at the base of Mt. Fuji that is so popular for suicides.). I think the tentative initial translations as “Celceta: Sea of Trees” were better, but it’s their game, and they can name it how they choose.

07/16/2012

How’s this for a “text-only format” link to your site, London2012?

by wfgodbold

Via Popehat, I learned of the terms of use for this summer’s Olympic Games official website, and this ridiculous section*:

a. Links to the Site. You may create your own link to the Site, provided that your link is in a text-only format. You may not use any link to the Site as a method of creating an unauthorised association between an organisation, business, goods or services and London 2012, and agree that no such link shall portray us or any other official London 2012 organisations (or our or their activities, products or services) in a false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner. The use of our logo or any other Olympic or London 2012 Mark(s) as a link to the Site is not permitted. View our guidelines on Use of the Games’ Marks.

Ken rightfully mocks them, pointing out that he intended his link to their site to portray them in a “derogatory and objectionable manner.”

I was more interested in the first part of the section, that deigns to give me permission to link to the site, “provided my link is in a text-only format.”

So, here goes:

…………………./´¯/) 
………………..,/¯../ 
………………./…./ 
…………./´¯/’…’/´¯¯`·¸ 
………./’/…/…./……./¨¯\ 
……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’) 
………\……………..’…../ 
……….”…\………. _.·´ 
…………\…………..( 
…………..\………….\…

Ah, text. Is there anything it can’t do?

*See #5 on the site’s Terms of Use.

07/10/2012

And on the law school front…

by wfgodbold

The summer semester is winding down (just this week and next before the reading period and finals). Patent and Trade Secret Law is interesting, and Pre-Trial Criminal Procedure is interesting, depressing, and infuriating (and, at times, hilarious; why on earth would you consent to a search of anything if you were carrying any kind of contraband?).

We got our grades from last semester a couple weeks ago. I improved in Legal Research, Reasoning/Writing/Advocacy, Contracts, and Civil Procedure, did a bit worse in Property, and did slightly worse in Criminal Law than I did in Torts. Net change to my overall GPA: +0.01 (at least I’m consistent!).

Remember at the end of May/beginning of June when I wasn’t updating (okay, that went on for most of June, but who’s keeping track?)? In addition to summer classes starting, I was working on the law review write-on competition.

Well, all that work wasn’t in vain, since yesterday I learned that I had been selected for one of the law review apprenticeships. I’ll spend the fall checking cites and learning more about legal scholarship than I ever wanted to know, and then in the spring, I’ll actually have to write a note or comment.

Between this and the moot court class I’m taking in the fall, I think I’m going to be very busy.

07/05/2012

One of these things is not like the others

by wfgodbold

One of these things is not the same.

I should point out that the region-free list* after the jump (since it’s a pretty long list) is not exhaustive.

The PS3 has been region-free since its launch six years ago (with one slight scare with Stranglehold before it was released without a region lock).

And yes, I am mocking ATLUS. Mercilessly**. They deserve it for reviving the (supposedly) dead spectre of region locks on PlayStation console games.

07/04/2012

One of the only good things Congress ever did:

by wfgodbold

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

*From the National Archives. Happy Independence Day, everyone!
07/02/2012

I heard you like tabs

by wfgodbold

So here’s several weeks’ worth all at once. Now that I’m getting back in the habit of blogging regularly, I doubt this will happen again. Until I get back out of the habit, anyway.

Releasing this in the US would convince me to jump ship from iOS to Android. Everyone likes Neon Genesis Evangelion!

Falcom has released some more screens from their Ys IV remake/reimagining, Ys: Woodland of Celceta. It looks far more polished than it did when it was first announced. Hopefully XSEED will bring this out over here (and since they’ve got a good thing going with Falcom, I think it’s pretty likely). Oh, Ys: Woodland of Celceta’s official homepage is up as well.

Weer’d posted about TGSCOM’s shutdown. Apparently they’d been threatened with frivolous lawsuits and hadn’t been shipping their orders or something. I bought my P226 from them in 2010, and didn’t have any problems. I’m sorry to see them go (unless they were actually stiffing their customers; I only dealt with them the one time, and can’t speak to how they were operating since).

And to counterbalance yesterday’s Japan news, some good news: the last Aum Shinrikyo member involved in the Tokyo subway sarin gas bombing from the 90s has been arrested.

Growlanser IV hits the PSP and PSN at the end of this month. It’s unrelated to the 3 earlier games, so you don’t have to worry about not understanding references or terminology, or recognizing repeat characters. The only downside is that ATLUS couldn’t justify the cost for licensing the Japanese voices (or dubbing it in English, for that matter), since it’s even more of a niche title than their usual.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown comes out at the start of October, and the preorder bonuses are tempting. Especially classic X-COM flattop soldier.

Taken 2 looks awesome. I, for one, can’t wait to see the Most Interesting Man in the World try to get his revenge on Liam Neeson.

And the full theatrical trailer for the live-action Rurouni Kenshin movie has been released. Japan handles these anime-to-live-action conversions so much better than Hollywood does.

I had a couple more links, but they’ve been lost in the æther.

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