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Sun, 19 Oct 2014 05:50:56 +0000

Christopher Grant, editor-in-chief of Polygon, speaks out against Gamergate, and addresses the gaming journalism ethics concerns that have arisen in association with the hate group.

#stopgamergate2014 #videogames  

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 04:42:40 +0000

Dear BBC, I'd Like to Nominate Jamie Mathieson to Run Doctor Who

After "Mummy on the Orient Express" being mostly good, I figured two in a row was too much to hope for, so this time around I was bracing myself for another dose of nonsense, misogyny and contrived attempts at cleverness. Boy, was I glad to be disappointed.

As it turns out, Doctor Who 8x09, "Flatline", was written by the same person: Jamie Mathieson, who has previously worked on other popular British genre shows that I haven't watched (like Being Human), but is apparently brand new to writing Who. Like "Mummy", this episode wasn't perfect, but there was definitely a lot to like: Witty one-liners, an interesting if slightly goofy premise, the psychic paper failing for once (and without being attached to a big plot reveal, which I rather liked), Peter Capaldi's Doctor being sidelined for most of the episode, giving Clara a chance to shine, and Clara actually managing to do so instead of being incredibly annoying for once...

The core of this episode though, is an exploration of what it means to be the Doctor and how he does what he does. I think they've been trying to do that all season, but this episode alone does a better, more insightful, funnier job of it than every other episode of the season combined. Jamie Mathieson gets the Doctor, nailing small moments in a way Steven Moffat never has.

Unfortunately, according to the schedule, these are the only Jamie Mathieson episodes we get this season. Next week, we get some kind of "Little Red Riding Hood" riff set in a forest that pops up in the middle of modern London. Seems like a premise with some potential, and its written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, another experienced author that (as far as I can tell) is new to Who. For now, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we get one last hurrah before we have to finish out the season by swallowing two more turds from Steven Moffat.

#tv #scifi #doctorwho #doctorwhoseason8 #stevenmoffatsucks #jamiemathieson  

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 01:46:38 +0000

Fascinating article from TechCrunch on how search and social media algorithms have been manipulated by fringe groups to amplify their messages. Worth reading the whole thing, but here are a couple of choice tidbits:

"This rage-ful [...] fraternity of kids [Gamergate] share one core skill: playing games. Little wonder, then, they have proved so expert at driving a toxic hellbrew of misogyny [...] by gaming popular online channels using a sophisticated playbook of disruption."

"So, amid all the manufactured sound and the fury of #Gamergate, a useful take away is that small, orchestrated online groups can magnify the impact and influence of fringe viewpoints by weaponizing mainstream digital services to repurpose these platforms as propaganda machines." [Emphasis mine.]

#gamergate #videogames #politics #tech  

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 01:21:21 +0000

I've been trying to keep an open mind on the whole Gamergate mess, as when I first started to hear about it, it seemed unclear what it was all about. My impression initially was that it was a sort of vague, nebulous hashtag being used by a lot of different gamers frustrated about a lot of different-but-vaguely related issues including women in gaming, minority representation in gaming, and the nature of the gaming journalism industry... sort of like an Occupy Twitter for frustrated bro gamers. While some people were undertaking sickening on-line attacks against certain women in the gaming community under the Gamergate name (the usual doxxing and rape/death threats), it didn't seem clear to me whether this was really the core of the Gamergate community, or just a rogue extremist splinter group.

Since the actions (the usual misogynist hate group BS) didn't seem to mesh with the rhetoric (pro-woman, anti-corruption in journalism), I pretty much assumed it was a disorganized mess of different groups using the same hashtag. However, the more I read about Gamergate and how it developed, the more it seems that confusion is entirely intentional: the more reasonable-sounding rhetoric is being used as a shield to hide the true intentions of an organized hate group.

Well, fuck. This is not a group I want the word "gamer" associated with.

#videogames #politics

Sat, 18 Oct 2014 23:50:58 +0000

Fascinating article exploring how differences in the wiring of our brains can incline people toward understanding the world in different ways, and how the brain can be hacked to artificially create religious experiences.

Possibly the most important takeaway: Born again religious folks are scientifically proven to be brain damaged!

#science #religion #neurotheology  

Sat, 18 Oct 2014 05:13:15 +0000

Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:24:21 +0000

Another day, another hate group...

Thu, 16 Oct 2014 01:16:24 +0000

Republicans have apparently realized they can't overcome the will of the people regarding pro-choice legislation directly, so they've found an underhanded way of circumventing it instead: Parking lot regulations.

#politics #humanrights #misogyny  

Sun, 12 Oct 2014 03:22:49 +0000

"Mummy on the Orient Express", episode 8 of Doctor Who season 8, was surprisingly pretty good.

I still don't like Capaldi's Doctor, but his behavior was, for the most part, drastically less detestable this episode, coming across less as a vicious asshole for shits and giggles and more as someone who has witnessed tragedy enough times that it's made him a bit callous, but only because he knows if he lets his focus on the mission waver more people will die. Not exactly my favorite take on the Doctor, but far more respectable and sympathetic than he has come across in any other episode so far.

Of course it had a Moffat gimmick line ("Start the clock", this time), but these have become so common on this series that they've gone from being clever, to annoying, to barely noticable. The setting, a train in space named the Orient Express full of people in period dress, was a little bit silly and gimmicky as well, especially since calling it the Orient Express is just a throwaway reference, but it's the kind of high concept silly that has always been a big part of Doctor Who.

I still don't like any part of the way the relationship between Clara and Capaldi's Doctor is portrayed. This episode didn't resolve those issues in any satisfying way, and if anything it seems to suggest that part of the story is only going to get stupider. But while their relationship drama was certainly woven through the episode, it took a backseat to an actual fully developed science fiction plot that was interesting and left no gaping plotholes big enough to cause me physical pain while watching.

Though this episode was hardly Doctor Who at its best, it was far and away my favorite of this season (which isn't saying much, but I don't mean to damn with faint praise here -- I actually did enjoy it). If only every episode felt like this one, this would be a show I could watch without having to rant afterward every week.

If only.

#doctorwho #scifi #tv #twelfthdoctor #moffatsucks  

Thu, 09 Oct 2014 03:49:48 +0000