Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Ex-US intelligence warns the EU

A group of retired intelligence officers are warning Angela Merkel and the other EU leaders not to trust current US intelligence regarding the reported Russian invasion of Ukraine:
Timing of the Russian "Invasion"

The conventional wisdom promoted by Kiev just a few weeks ago was that Ukrainian forces had the upper hand in fighting the anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine, in what was largely portrayed as a mop-up operation. But that picture of the offensive originated almost solely from official government sources in Kiev. There were very few reports coming from the ground in southeastern Ukraine. There was one, however, quoting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, that raised doubt about the reliability of the government’s portrayal.

According to the "press service of the President of Ukraine" on August 18, Poroshenko called for a "regrouping of Ukrainian military units involved in the operation of power in the East of the country. … Today we need to do the rearrangement of forces that will defend our territory and continued army offensives," said Poroshenko, adding, "we need to consider a new military operation in the new circumstances."

If the "new circumstances" meant successful advances by Ukrainian government forces, why would it be necessary to "regroup," to "rearrange" the forces? At about this time, sources on the ground began to report a string of successful attacks by the anti-coup federalists against government forces. According to these sources, it was the government army that was starting to take heavy casualties and lose ground, largely because of ineptitude and poor leadership.

Ten days later, as they became encircled and/or retreated, a ready-made excuse for this was to be found in the "Russian invasion." That is precisely when the fuzzy photos were released by NATO and reporters like the New York Times’ Michael Gordon were set loose to spread the word that "the Russians are coming." (Michael Gordon was one of the most egregious propagandists promoting the war on Iraq.)

No Invasion – But Plenty Other Russian Support

The anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine enjoy considerable local support, partly as a result of government artillery strikes on major population centers. And we believe that Russian support probably has been pouring across the border and includes, significantly, excellent battlefield intelligence. But it is far from clear that this support includes tanks and artillery at this point – mostly because the federalists have been better led and surprisingly successful in pinning down government forces.

At the same time, we have little doubt that, if and when the federalists need them, the Russian tanks will come.

This is precisely why the situation demands a concerted effort for a ceasefire, which you know Kiev has so far been delaying. What is to be done at this point? In our view, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk need to be told flat-out that membership in NATO is not in the cards – and that NATO has no intention of waging a proxy war with Russia – and especially not in support of the ragtag army of Ukraine. Other members of NATO need to be told the same thing.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

        William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
        David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
        Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)
        Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)
        Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)
        Coleen Rowley, Division Counsel & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)
        Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned)
Just remember, the Official Story is never, ever, true, especially with regards to military situations. The only thing you can be absolutely sure of is that whatever is being reported in the mainstream media is not what and how actually took place. It's remarkable that people forget this, when almost every single book of military history openly describes how the various governments almost always mislead their people, or at the very least leave them in the dark at the time the important decisions are being made.


Mailvox: somehow, I doubt it

One of the Baby Boomers who was defending her generational cohort emailed me this morning:
Well, I'll give you this much, Vox. In twenty years of Internet discussions, this is the first time I have ever been told by a fellow Christian to SHUT. THE FUCK. UP and hurry up and die. I have never talked about myself in the NYT (or, for that matter, the Poughkeepsie Palimpset); I didn't destroy America; I haven't personally ruined your life. In fact, up until three months ago, neither of us had ever heard of the other. But I guess none of that matters. Because I'm a boomer.

I have no idea what inner demons you're wrestling with on this issue, or why. I would wish you peace, but the truth is I don't give a rat's ass.  However, I do have more important things to do with my time than hanging around just to be abused by you for the apparent crime of not sharing your personal hatreds.

Therefore, your wish is granted. I will SHUT. THE FUCK. UP. and go away.
The amusing thing is that this is the commenter who kept saying that GenX was whining. Who is whining now? Isn't it terrible that we don't abase ourselves in admiration before their special world-changing specialness! The amazing thing is that even when it is being directly pointed out to them, this sort of Baby Boomer is so haplessly narcissistic that they cannot tell the difference between personal and generational criticism. Their identity is apparently so closely tied to that of their generation that any criticism directed at it is taken as a personal affront.

Nor can the commenter bear to recognize, in spite of the evidence right in front of them, that my feelings about their generation are, in fact, quite widespread. I do not know a single member of Generation X who admires or speaks well of the Baby Boomer generation. If you do, by all means, I'm quite open to hearing your reasons why... but only from an actual member of Generation X. Not from a Baby Boomer with cool stories about how the kids think she's amazingly with it and not at all old because "love Sam Cooke!"

I will be utterly shocked if this individual does, in fact, manage to shut up and go away. Because, let's face it, few Boomers can resist when someone is t-t-talking about their g-g-generation.

Steve Sailer adds:
Babyboomers like me are pretty much impervious to the strategies that we pulled on our parents to put them at a generational disadvantage, which disadvantages newer generations.
See how cool they are? They're still at the top of the generational heap and impervious so you totally can't, like, say they're old and irrelevant. Now, I wonder why that might be? I find it telling, as only a Boomer would be so obtuse as to brag about his generation's bulletproof self-absorption.

They certainly don't seem to be impervious to hearing that they're not admired.

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Monday, September 01, 2014

So much for the Cloud

I've always thought the idea of putting your data up on someone else's server was absolutely and utterly retarded. I've turned down more offers of cloud-based storage than I can recall for just that reason. But most people don't understand that because MPAI. So, it seems likely that what 4chan is calling "The Fappening" (one has to love the way those guys name things) is going to throw a monkeywrench into more than a few business plans, including those belonging to Apple and Microsoft, because even idiots can understand the problem when naked pictures of celebrities are involved.

In case you're not aware of what happened, a hacker got access to a number of directories belonging to celebrities and discovered that a number of young actresses such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and Kirsten Dunst rather like to take pictures of themselves sans clothing. Which is a fine, time-honored tradition, of course, but again, storing those pictures on public servers protected by dubious security is not exactly what one would describe as the technologically sound option.


The EU states the obvious

The European Union has no intention of fighting to defend its Ukrainian puppet:
There can be no military solution to the Ukraine crisis, only a political one, Federica Mogherini, the European Union's new head of foreign policy, has insisted.

In her first interview since being appointed at the weekend, Ms Mogherini, soon to step down as Italy's foreign minister, said: "It's in the interests of Ukraine, Europe and Russia that the crisis should have a political, not a military solution."

The prospect of Europe going to war to defend Ukraine against Russian aggression "simply does not exist", she insisted.
At least the Eurofascists are not operating in the realm of complete fantasy, at least where the Russians are concerned. Putin has stated that Russian forces can take Kiev within two weeks, and based on the inability of the Ukrainian army to hold its ground, there is little reason to question his assertion:
Kiev forces retreated from Luhansk airport after battling a "Russian armed forces" tank column on Monday, Kiev said, in what Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko described as the latest stage of Moscow's "direct and open aggression".

The battle came ahead of a key meeting between Russia and Ukraine in Minsk, the Belarus capital, later on Monday.

"In the Luhansk direction, Ukrainian forces have received an order and have pulled back from the airport," Ukraine army spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters. He said seven Ukrainian service personnel had been killed in the past 24 hours. Ukraine's defence minister Valeriy Geletey said that Russian units are moving into other towns in the region, including the largest city of the region Donetsk.
Ukraine should jump at the opportunity to give Novorossiya its independence if that is what Putin is demanding at the Minsk talks. It is strategically risky to fight a war you are certain to lose if what is at stake is not vital, because you often end up losing far more than you were hoping to protect. And the Ukrainians should keep in mind that NATO is not a magic shield; neither the European nations nor the USA are going to go to war with Russia over resistance to their their shabby attempt to financially pillage Ukraine and expand NATO.

There are no good guys here, but it is a positive sign to see that there is resistance to the global vampire squid as well as limits to its rapacious reach.

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The decline of game reviews

Speaking of the declining quality of reviews, consider the implications of this superficially glowing review of McRapey's latest book in USA TODAY: "Lock In cements the award-winning writer as one of the best in today's sci-fi community"

That is intended as praise, but it is more correctly understood as an indictment of today's sci-fi community. And this comment from an Amazon review made me laugh: "I was a little irked that the huge revelation in this book is basically that computers can be hacked. I mean really? You put a computer in someone’s brain and you are all like “Oh, that will be completely safe, we have a ton of safeguards in place.” I think it was incredibly ignorant (and anti-climatic) to think that no one would realize a brain computer can be hacked just like any other type of computer. If you have software it can be hacked."

Wait, embedded computers can be hacked? MIND! BLOWN! I can only conclude that Mr. Scalzi's technological genius sounds like a perfect match for the SyFy audience.

Given the rather limited enthusiasm with which Lock In has been greeted by his fans (it only has a 4.1 rating on Amazon in its first week),  I'm wondering why Tor Books has put such a big marketing blitz behind the book. I've heard rumors (and seen some indications myself) that they are experiencing difficulties, and certainly it isn't a good sign that their bestsellers for the last three years have either been game tie-in novels or Orson Scott Card novels first published three decades ago.

My surmise, and at this point it is nothing more than that, is Tor Books desperately needs Scalzi to have a Larry Correia-sized hit in order to make up for all the award-winning drek it has published that hasn't sold. Hence the outsized push, which McRapey's book doesn't appear to be able to support. I expect it won't be too long before we start hearing more about this, probably in the next 6-9 months.

The usual suspects may now commence with their customary accusations of jealousy. Go ahead, my little friends, you know you want to. Go ahead and get them out of the way so the rest of us can proceed with the discussion. Anyhow, to return to the subject of game reviews, I see Breitbart has a good summary of the Quinnspiracy and #GamerGate:
The enduring effect of #GamerGate is obvious: the gaming media has destroyed its reputation and its relationship with readers, who will never again trust it on any issue beyond which power-up is most likely to get you past level 17. By blaming its readers and burying its head in the sand, the politicised bloggers who previously influenced the opinions of millions have voluntarily given up their authority to rabid, single-issue campaigners who silence criticism and sleep with journalists and peers to get ahead.

This is a subject I'll return to in a later column: a brief history of corruption in video game journalism needs to be written. In the meantime, those of us with some critical distance from the chaos can only sit back and marvel at how wide-ranging and fundamental the damage to the indie games industry has been these last two weeks. There are now two, bitterly opposed factions in the industry. Journalists and activists, who care more about gender politics than the video games they are supposed to be reporting on, and gamers, mocked, derided and bullied... but unbowed.

Video gamers, and video game culture, will never be the same again.
That certainly sounds more than a little familiar, doesn't it?

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The myth of the melting ice

Despite the science supposedly being "settled", global warming still resolutely refuses to show its shy face anywhere on the planet:
Myth of arctic meltdown: Stunning satellite images show summer ice cap is thicker and covers 1.7million square kilometres MORE than 2 years ago...despite Al Gore's prediction it would be ICE-FREE by now.

The most widely used measurements of Arctic ice extent are the daily satellite readings issued by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, which is co-funded by Nasa. These reveal that – while the long-term trend still shows a decline – last Monday, August 25, the area of the Arctic Ocean with at least 15 per cent ice cover was 5.62 million square kilometres.

This was the highest level recorded on that date since 2006 (see graph, right), and represents an increase of 1.71 million square kilometres over the past two years – an impressive 43 per cent.

Other figures from the Danish Meteorological Institute suggest that the growth has been even more dramatic. Using a different measure, the area with at least 30 per cent ice cover, these reveal a 63 per cent rise – from 2.7 million to 4.4 million square kilometres.
The polar bears are doing well too. "Computer model predictions of decline caused by ice melt have also failed to come true. In 2004, researchers claimed Hudson Bay bear numbers would fall from 900 to fewer than 700 by 2011. In fact, they have risen to over 1,000."

The entire Anthropogenic Global Warming/Climate Change affair reminds me of the clever front-runner who makes a habit of making smart guesses while pretending that he actually knows the relevant material. Al Gore and company saw a short-term trend, guessed it would continue, and made a lot of money from selling people on the "settled science". But it was never anything more than a simple logical extrapolation that had no basis in either fact or science, and is being continually exposed on an ongoing basis to be an erroneous and non-predictive model.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

VPFL draft

It starts in 12 minutes. Have your sciencestat sheets ready!

UPDATE: Hrmm. Missed out on the Seattle DEF, which I strongly considered keeping. But I have Chicago and KC as potential replacements; last year I had KC as my backup DEF and it actually outscored Seattle. If anyone in New York can throw the ball, Eric Decker could be a nice accompaniment to Thomas, Brown and Patterson, and I have hope for my backup RBs Moreno and MJD. So, I didn't get my usual elite Kicker/DEF combination, but then, I haven't won anything with that strategy either.

Yahoo says: "Led by a Talented WR Corps, Moundsview Meerkats Is Loaded with Talent. Moundsview Meerkats parlayed a solid draft slot into a respectable performance. With a mark of 11-3-0 (948 points), they're projected to finish third in VPFL League."

A+ Gilbert Gamma Rays
A+ FavreDollarFootlongs
A  Moundsview Meerkats
A  RR Redbeards
B- Bane Cornshuckers
C+Texas Chili Eaters
C  Greenfield Grizzlies
D+Boot Hill Bogs
D Clerical Errs


England wants out

The British political establishment is being absolutely rocked by UKIP:
Ukip are set to win their first Commons seat with a landslide 64 per cent of the vote following the biggest swing in modern political history. Turncoat MP Douglas Carswell is set to humiliate David Cameron at the Clacton by-election sparked by his defection, a  Survation poll for The Mail on Sunday has revealed. The figures – the first test of public opinion since the politician rocked Westminster by defecting to Nigel Farage’s party – predict a record 48 point swing towards Ukip.

And they put the anti-Brussels party a staggering 44 percentage points ahead of Mr Carswell’s former party in the  Essex constituency. If the results are repeated in the by-election, expected in October, the swing would exceed the current record 44 points achieved by Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes when he thrashed Labour’s Peter Tatchell, the gay rights campaigner, in a by-election in Bermondsey, South London, in 1983. The biggest anti-Tory swing to date is the 35 points achieved by the Lib Dems in the Christchurch by-election in 1993.
This is astonishing, considering that only one year ago, the British media was still trying to ignore UKIP, pretending that the Liberal Democrats were the third party alternative to the Labour and Tory parties. And it clearly doesn't matter one iota what Cameron and the other traitorous Tories babble about concerning the Tory party being "Britain's only chance for a referendum" or whatever, because no one has believed a single word that has come out of any Tory leader's mouth since they denied the people a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

The one catch is that Douglas Carswell may - may - represent the first serious attempt to coopt the growing spirit of English nationalism. He's genuinely anti-EU, but appears to be rather soft on immigration. Regardless, getting out of the EU is the absolutely vital first step to the restoration of national sovereignty, so English nationalists would do well to support him even if he is otherwise unreliable.

And the sooner the ridiculous David Cameron and his absurd Coalition is exiled to the dustbin of political history, the better. If Scotland defies both expectations and the global elite to vote for independence, so much the better.

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Old Age: Boomers suffer most

I am morally opposed to euthanasia, but sometimes, the bloody Baby Boomers really make it a terribly tempting proposition. Now they have discovered that they are the first generation in human history to grow old:
Every generation gets old, but for those who were told we’d be forever young, it just seems more painful. “It’s a huge issue,” says Dr. Anna Fels, a psychiatrist in New York. “I see so many who are trying to adjust their lives to this new phase, which for some reason none of us really pictured ourselves going through.”

Why didn’t we? We knew that eventually more people around us would be younger rather than older. But it still rankles. The image of a room filled with younger people is the perfect symbol.

“It’s an important marker for this generation because it reminds them that they are now the ones closest to obsolescence, the ones the world can do without,” says Dr. Roger Gould, a psychiatrist and the author of “Transformations,” a book about age-related adult problems.
Yes, the world can certainly do without them. In fact, the world would have been a good deal better off without their generational peculiarities. A fair amount of the blood that will be shed by our children and our grandchildren is going to be on their hands. They never pictured themselves going through what EVERY PREVIOUS HUMAN GENERATION HAD for the obvious reason that they are, collectively speaking, idiots.

The pathetic thing is that they are STILL trying to be cool. "When I was asked in a sociology class what music I listened to, I hesitantly named Sam Cooke, thinking I would be stared at with stumped pity. In fact, many voices shouted out, “Love Sam Cooke!”"

Sure they did. I'm sure vast quantities of college students in 2014 listen to an now-obscure soul singer who died 50 years ago. Why, it's amazing, but even the younger generations think you're the epitome of a hep cat with a bad hip, Granddaddy-O! These narcissistic buffoons can't even grow old and die with any grace. They'll be sitting in hospital beds drooling on themselves, hooked up to machines, and if you lean in, put your ear up to their lips, and listen closely, you'll be able to hear them whisper important words of the life-affirming wisdom they have acquired over the course of their long lives: "Eighty is the new twenty! Hospices are totally happening places these days!"


Thoughts on a Russo-EU war

The EU is sounding increasingly panicked over Russia's refusal to back down and accept the EU-backed coup in Ukraine as a fait accompli:
EU leaders warned Russia’s invasion of east Ukraine was at a “point of no return”, risking a “state of war” with Europe and instructed officials to prepare new sanctions to hit the Russian economy. A summmit in Brussels on Saturday gave the green light to toughened economic sanctions, targeting Russia’s finances, oligarchs linked to the Russian president and the country’s vast mineral wealth.

Dalia Grybauskaite, Lithuania’s president and a staunch critic of Mr Putin’s Russia, called on the EU to get serious as Russia’s war in the Ukraine menaced peace in Europe for the first time in decades.

“Russia is in a state of war against Ukraine and that is against a country which wants to be part of Europe. Russia is practically in a state of war against Europe,” she said.

Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, said that the EU was prepared for new sanctions against and pleaded with Mr Putin to step back from the brink of outright war between Russia and the Ukraine....

European leaders will tell Mr Putin that unless he withdraws troops and pulls back from “direct military confrontation between Ukrainian and Russian military forces” that the EU will move to introduce new economic sanctions over the coming weeks. European Union leaders instructed their officials on Saturday to prepare urgently possible new sanctions against Russia over its involvement in Ukraine, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.
Some more or less random thoughts on the situation.
  1. The "moral high ground" argument puts no pressure on Putin at all. It might sell in the American press, but everyone in Europe knows that the EU is considerably less democratic, more corrupt, and less concerned about its own people than Putin is about his Russian people. The EU, aided by American neocons, intervened in Ukraine first, staging a coup and installing a puppet government. It's a clear-cut case of "the EU cries out in pain as it strikes you". Russia is reacting defensively, not acting aggressively.
  2. Russia has usually defeated the various European powers in war, both individually and in combination, since the dawn of the Napoleonic era. With the exception of the Crimean War, which only managed to delay Russia's Black Sea ambitions for 15 years, Russia has defeated Turkey, defeated France, fought Germany to a standstill (WWI) and defeated Germany (WW2). The Russians have absolutely no fear of the other European nations.
  3. Vladimir Putin is very conscious of war being ultimately economic in light of the Soviet defeat in the Cold War. I expect he is extremely conscious of the weak state of the Western economies and what that signifies concerning the USA's ability to support EU efforts against Russia.
  4. The entire Western economic system is based on credit. The rich and "successful" are, for the most part, nothing but parasites permitted to greatly profit at the expense of the people of everyone else by siphoning off money from the great circulatory river of credit. It's a monetary form of feudalism, only instead of land rights, credit rights are granted. The very public attempt to hit at the Russian oligarchs and their offshore finances is really an appeal to Putin to simply knock it off, play along, and collect his billions like all the other credit lords.
  5. An appeal to personal corruption is always going to fail with a man of principle. I don't know Putin at all, and I am aware of the circumstances that saw him rise to power, but it increasingly appears that he may be a ruthless man of principle who truly loves the Rodina and despises the very oligarchs and credit lords with whom he was previously allied. Some people learn from their experiences. Some people change their priorities. If Putin is just another corrupt oligarch, he would accept the EU/USA deal, leave the ethnic Russians in Ukraine to their fate, and live the rest of his life in fabulous wealth. Perhaps he is simply holding out for a better offer, but I tend to doubt it.
  6. Putin is not much worried about the U.S. military. He knows it is going to be fully occupied with the expansionary challenges posed by the Islamic State and China. Obama and whoever succeeds Obama will make noises about supporting the EU, but supporting a crumbling EU's expansionary efforts against a major military power is simply not in the cards. And if the USA tries to aid the EU, Russia can easily return the favor ten-fold by aiding ISIS.
  7. If the EU doesn't back down and accept the Russian claim to whatever territory it deems appropriate (which, based on Putin's use of the term Novorossiya, appears to be fairly clear), Putin will shock the world by taking the entire Ukraine and doing so in a matter of 2-3 weeks. At this point, the "threat" of being expelled from the global credit system is more of a solution than a problem, especially for a material-rich nation.
It is a sign of how widely hated the EU and the global elite have become that so many Europeans and Americans are more or less on Russia's side in this matter.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Homophobia in the NFL!

The evil, homophobic Jeff Fisher, who probably belongs to the KKK, and the evil, homophobic St. Louis Rams cut the greatest lineman ever to be drafted by the NFL, no doubt because they hate progress:
The St. Louis Rams released defensive end Michael Sam on Saturday, the team announced. Sam's efforts to become the first openly gay player in NFL history came up just short in a competition against undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks.
Also, VPFL managers, please post your keepers here in the comments. Don't forget that the draft is tomorrow.

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Homeschool surpasses private school

In North Carolina:
North Carolina officials say there has been a huge increase over the past two years in the number of Tar Heel families who have pulled their kids out of public schools and begun educating them at home. The number of homeschools has jumped 27 percent since the 2011-12 school year, reports.

As of last year, 98,172 North Carolinian children were homeschooled; that’s 2,400 students more than the number who attended a private school.

While the sputtering economy is the reason families are choosing homeschooling over private schooling, the nationalized learning experiment (Common Core) is the main reason families are leaving the public schools in the first place. “Common Core is a big factor that I hear people talk about,” Beth Herbert, founder of Lighthouse Christian Homeschool Association, told “They’re not happy with the work their kids are coming home with. They’ve decided to take their children home.”
One number they omit to mention is 1,443,998. That's the number of public schooled children in North Carolina. Which means that more than six percent of school-age children there are being homeschooled, considerably up from the national average of two percent a few years ago.

Sometimes it's nice to be able to report a positive trend for a change. And it sounds as if the numbers of homeschoolers will continue to grow.


Denying SF, dissing Baen

He also claims that "science fiction is not a genre". Which goes to show how much confidence you should place in the opinions of a man who hasn't published a single novel and has more than a few prose deficiencies himself:
Today space opera is a battlefield for competing fantasies of the future. As America plunged in to renewed militarism after 9/11, sci-fi books again began to mirror real-world wars. Baen books specialises in works of "military SF" that, behind their appalling prose styles and laughable retro cover designs, speak to a right-wing readership who can recognise the enemies of America even when they are disguised as cannibal lizard aliens. Baen's chief editor Toni Weisskopf went so far as to issue a diatribe against any and all sci-fi that did not pander to this conservative agenda.
Hugo-nominated Baen Books author Larry Correia is unimpressed: "Damien Walter of the Guardian is a liar. Provide a cite where Toni Weisskopf ever said that or apologize and retract."  Equally unimpressed is the Hugo-nominated Baen Books author Brad Torgersen:
I won’t feed this particularly empty ego any more than is necessary, suffice to say that the individual who wrote this obviously does not read very many (if any?) actual Baen books by actual Baen authors, nor do I think this person has actually read any such “diatribe” by my editor at Baen. In fact, I can state with certainty that the words “Toni Weisskopf” and “diatribe” do not belong in the same ZIP code. You will seldom find a less offensive, even-tempered, non-confrontational, fair-minded editor and publisher in the field today. And it’s not just an insult to her when shit like this (above) gets written, it’s an insult to all the many talented and varied authors who ply their trade beneath the Baen label. Myself included.

Unfortunately, ignorant snobbery of this sort is nothing new in the genre. You find out very quickly (once you begin publishing) which writers, editors, publishers, and artists enjoy the favor of the “society” people, and which writers, editors, publishers, and artists do not. My from-the-hip observation is that the “society” people want to see SF/F turned into a lightly speculative and fantastical carbon copy of the “prestigious literary” world. Replete with ambiguous covers that don’t really tell you anything about the story, but follow the general pattern of all things deemed “prestigious” and “literary.” If this year’s talked-about lit work features a somewhat fuzzy, off-focus photo of a pair of muddy Converse sneakers sitting on somebody’s front stoop, then by golly SF/F needs to follow suit with similar photos of similarly mundane, slightly off-focus objects which may or may not have anything to do with actual science fiction; as practiced traditionally by the greats.
And so the battle between anti-canon Pink SF and pro-classic Blue SF continues to heat up. There is, however, one point with which I find myself in agreement with Our Friend Damien is that this battle will be good for real science fiction and those who love to read it, because it is exposing the pretenders and the frauds who have been selling not-science fiction under a false label of science fiction for two decades now.

While he is not a Baen Books author, the inimitable Tor Books and Castalia House author John C. Wright has also weighed in on the matter as only he can. I daresay his criticism of Walter is considerably more entertaining, and more artfully crafted, than the sum total of Walter's ouevre:
Allow me to translate from the airy emptiness of Newspeak to the Vulgate: he is saying a novel whose only gimmick is the lack of the use of male and female pronouns in order to aid the attempt of social engineers not to entertain science fiction readers as patrons of our craft but to indoctrination and Pavlovitize them toward a false-to-facts neurosis about human sexuality is healthy on the grounds that science fiction should be used not to tell entertaining stories about the future, but as a propaganda adjust to the political program of socialist progressivism, which means pervert-loving, man-hating, white-hating, Christian-hating, liberty-hating, life-hating nihilism.

I note to any Martians reading these words that humans come only in two sexes, male and female, and that the Brahmins of political correctness have decreed that fairness to sexual perverts requires that sexual reality to be changed. Naturally, reality cannot be changed, but what people say in public can.

Therefore the gentleman writing this article rejoices in the idea that science fiction be made into a department of the Ministry of Truth, so that anyone speaking frank and plain truth about human sexuality, if he is weak minded, will come to fear that his opinion is in the minority and unpleasing to the society at large. Once the truth is unpalatable, unspeakable, outlawed as a hate crime, everyone is a liar. When everyone is a liar, everyone is a cynic, and cynics never embrace the ideals necessary to join a rebellion.

In short, the gentleman penning this piece is glorying in the prospect of perverting science fiction from its intended purpose and making it into an instrument to spread and glorify sexual perversion.
It's also rather amusing to see a British individual who regularly claims that he hates British class issues to take what is the literary equivalent of a middle-class posture dismissing those dreadful working class Baen writers and their awful unwashed prose.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Fighting over there

A second ISIS fighter from Minnesota is killed in Syria:
A second American turned ISIS terrorist was killed in the same Syrian shootout where a California man died last weekend.

UPDATE: The ISIS fighter was from the Minneapolis Somali community.

According to Fox 9 sources, Abdiraaman Muhumed — who was the focus of an MPR story just two months ago — died in the same battle as Douglas McCain, a former Robbinsdale-Cooper High School student.
So, how long will it be before they stop fighting Americans over there and begin fighting Americans in America? Not very long, I tend to suspect. I've been hearing rumors about something taking place in Chicago aka Obamaland for about two weeks now. And Chicago is only about a six hour drive from Minneapolis.

How much more do you pro-immigrationists need to see before you admit that you were terribly, terribly wrong? Do you actually need to see them beheading young men and women on the streets of St. Paul before you decide that maybe settling jihadists where University of Minnesota college students used to live was a fundamentally disastrous idea?

Or are you still clinging to your idiotic, reprehensible, societally devastating notions of human and cultural equality?

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Muslims begin to flee

Ireland belongs to the Irish:
Muslims flee Northern Ireland to escape anti-Islam violence. Some Muslims in Northern Ireland have announced plans to leave the country to avoid anti-Islamic violence. The announcement comes after an attack on a Muslim family in the city of Belfast, when crazed rioters broke into their home and assaulted them.

The home invasion came after remarks from Belfast based Pastor James McConnell, who said in a sermon “The God we worship and serve this evening is not Allah. The Muslim god-Allah-is a heathen deity. Allah is a cruel deity. Allah is a demon deity.” He later added that Islam is “a doctrine spawned in hell.”

Hospitalization was required for at least one of the victims.
Somehow, it doesn't seem too surprising that Northern Ireland isn't overly taken with the whole "all cultures are equal". Considering that the Protestant Ultras didn't exactly go along with the idea of Catholic rule, it seems unlikely that they will suffer the imposition of Islam.

We should be seeing a lot more "Muslims flee" stories coming out of Europe in the near future. This is actually a little sooner than I expected. If I were a Muslim in Europe, I'd be making plans to return to the Umma about now. Europeans are slow to act, but when they do, they are notoriously thorough.

"Crazed rioters" is a nice touch. It sounds so much more derogatory than "patriots defending their native land". Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds comments on the civilization-traitors who protected the Muslim white girl-rapists in Rotherham:
A moral response to this behavior might involve those officials, among others, hanging from lampposts. The legal system is, ultimately, an ancient bargain: Renounce your mob violence and blood feuds and we will provide you with justice. It could be argued that such a default as this calls the whole bargain into question, and justifies self-help along ancient lines.
The whole bargain hasn't been called into question, it has been revoked. If various police and government officials are on the side opposed to Western civilization, so be it. That's their choice. There have always been Quislings and Arnolds. And they have usually ended up on lampposts or some reasonable facsimile.


Labor Day Sale on Amazon

Amanda Green of Nocturnal Lives has put together a Labor Day Sale in which all of the books listed are on offer for $2.99 or less. Check out the entire list there. Castalia House is participating and the following books are available for $2.99 all weekend at Amazon:

John C. Wright: Awake in the Night Land

John C. Wright: Transhuman and Subhuman

Rolf Nelson: The Stars Came Back

Vox Day: A Throne of Bones

Vox Day: The Altar of Hate

Steve Rzasa and Vox Day: QUANTUM MORTIS: A Man Disrupted  

Tom Kratman: Big Boys Don't Cry

In addition, the following books are free for the next three days:

John C. Wright: Awake in the Night

Vox Day: The Last Witchking

And since this doesn't really leave much to discuss other than "hey, I'm going to buy X" or "I already own Y" or the always delightful "but why isn't Z included" (and yes, the price of BBDC was not actually reduced because it is already only $2.99), I'll throw out a tangential topic. Which Selenothian culture(s) would you be most interested seeing explored in Book Two in a similar manner to the way Amorran culture was introduced in A Throne of Bones.

Alternatively, what non-perspective character from the first book would you most like to see promoted to a perspective character in the second one?

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PZ admits he's wrong

And then promptly proceeds to dig the hole deeper. Based on his National Merit status, he's got to have the raw cognitive capacity to do better, but it's sometimes hard to believe because he so regularly renders himself functionally stupid. It's as if he's got some sort of religious derangement syndrome that handicaps his intellectual faculties. 

"The other day, I said that his book, The Irrational Atheist, was self-published. I was wrong. He actually bamboozled a publisher into taking it on."

As one might expect, PZ is characteristically gracious about admitting his error. TIA was originally headed for publication by Crown Forum when a bigger name, David Berlinski, proposed a similar book just as Crown was on the verge of sending me a contract to write it. The editor decided, reasonably enough, that one book on the topic would be sufficient for their needs and chose Berlinski over me. I gave Glenn at BenBella a call to see if he was interested and he snapped it up right away. No bamboozling was required. It seems strange to have to explain this, but most publishers are very happy to receive book proposals on interesting subjects from popular bloggers. I've had standing offers from publishers who are pretty much willing to publish whatever non-fiction I want to write for years.

One of the few remaining Pharyngulans is so desperate to try to DISQUALIFY me that he suggested I paid BenBella Books to have it published. Never mind the obvious fact that I had previously contributed to several BenBella anthologies. Or the 100+ reviews and the fact that after six years, the Kindle ranking for TIA is still respectable at  "#28 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Atheism" 

The Devil's Delusion, on the other hand is at  #42 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Atheism. But it has 237 reviews, so one has to conclude that Jed made a reasonable call in going with Berlinski. I suspect TIA might have done even better than TDD did with the benefit of Crown's marketing muscle behind it, but I can't criticize the decision, even in in retrospect. Remember, the call had to be made prior to either book actually being written.

"I said it was ridiculous for him to claim that he was cited in scientific publications, when what he was really doing was claiming that people who didn’t cite him at all were actually citing him. It’s bizarre, but he’s doubling down. He claims that Scott Atran was using his ‘data’ about the number of religious wars, which he had to have gotten from his book. I think we can safely lay this one to rest: Vox Day/Theodore Beale is not the source of any data or hypothesis published by Scott Atran in Nature."

Who said anything about Scott Atran in Nature? PZ brought up Atran, not me. Look, I don't read Nature. I don't follow Scott Atran. I don't hunt for references to my historical proof that religion doesn't cause war. People simply happen to send me news about things they think might be of interest to me on a regular basis. The only reference I ever noticed myself was the recent one in the New York Times. Anyhow, as was brought to my attention two years ago, I was the original source of the data Atran cited in a 2012 article called "God and the Ivory Tower".
Moreover, the chief complaint against religion -- that it is history's prime instigator of intergroup conflict -- does not withstand scrutiny. Religious issues motivate only a small minority of recorded wars. The Encyclopedia of Wars surveyed 1,763 violent conflicts across history; only 123 (7 percent) were religious"
- "God and the Ivory Tower", August 6, 2012
"He claims to have inspired other studies.... Strange. I am not autistic to any noticeable degree, and have never been diagnosed as such. That makes it odd to claim I am the inspiration for a “hypothesis”."

It's a little more noticeable than PZ thinks. Self-awareness is not his strong suit. From a 2007 post entitled The socially autistic atheist: "Based on Wired Magazine's observation that atheists tend to be quarrelsome, socially challenged men, to say nothing of the unpleasant personalities of leading public atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Michel Onfray, one could reasonably hypothesize that there is likely to be a strong correlation between Asperger's and atheism. It's by no means a scientific test, but it is interesting to note the coincidence that 59 of the virulent atheists over at Dr. PZ Myers place report an average score on the Asperger's Quotient test of 27.8. And this does not include the two individuals who actually have Asperger's but did not report any test results."

As PZ himself said: "I took the test and scored a 24, an “average math contest winner.” You need a 32 to suggest Asperger’s, and a 15 is the average. So there. I don’t have Asperger’s, I’m just cruel and insensitive."

Hence the term "socially autistic" rather than "autistic". The adjective modifies the noun. It's not surprising PZ's AQ score is higher than the norm on the autism spectrum because he is observably a "quarrelsome, socially challenged" man. I scored 14, by the way. Unlike PZ, I possess empathy, athletic experience, and social skills that help temper my high intelligence. I'm not as literal and pedantic as one might conclude from reading the blog, that is just an artifact of having had scores of people like PZ scouring my every written word looking for something, anything, to attack and use to DISQUALIFY for over a decade.

"Most importantly, there is no citation of Theodore Beale, or Vox Day, or The Irrational Atheist, or ‘that misogynistic asshole on the internet’. You’d think this would be rather obvious: you don’t get to count it as a citation if you aren’t cited."

I was curious when I saw a report of the study in the news, so I emailed one of the authors and asked her if her team had derived the hypothesis from TIA or from this blog. She emailed me back, confirmed that they had in fact gotten it from TIA, and asked if I would like to be cited. I thanked her and told her it wasn't necessary because I was merely curious if it was sheer coincidence or not. I'm not a scientist and I'm not at all concerned about petty scientistic credential games. I'm certainly not concerned with their little rules about who get to take credit and how. The facts are what they are. I deal in reality, not scientistry.

"And the final damning straw: the much vaunted paper by Hooker that claims a vaccination/autism link, that was promoted by Vox Day, has been retracted. He’s basically wrong about everything."

No. I have not been wrong about anything he's addressed here. I am smarter than PZ Myers and one reason he hates me is that I demonstrate this so easily every single time he pushes his godless corpulence up from the ground long enough to get slapped down again. The reason Dr. Hooker's paper was retracted was not because it was flawed, but because he obtained much more conclusive proof of his claim that the CDC was hiding apparent evidence of a specific vaccination/autism link.

On the very same day that PZ was erroneously claiming I was wrong about this "final damning straw", Dr. William Thompson, a senior scientist at the CDC, issued a statement through his lawyer proving that I was right to take Dr. Hooker's assertion about statistical fraud at the CDC seriously.

PZ Myers must be a remarkably dishonest man on the basis of his long-held, oft-expressed opinion that I am prone to dishonesty. One would think that after all these years of nipping at my ankles, he would have learned by now that while I do occasionally make mistakes, and I do occasionally take at face value reports that turn out to be false, I do not lie when I am writing on the blog. Not because I'm perfectly honest, but because I'm not perfectly stupid.

I also make a habit of doing the sort of look-before-you-leap research with which PZ never bothers. Which is why when he's saying one thing and I'm saying another, the very safe bet is on the latter.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

The CDC hid the data

It's looking as if the vaccine conspiracy theorists were correct after all. Dr. Hooker's use of an incorrect method to tease out the data appears to have been irrelevant as it looks like he knew exactly what the CDC was hiding from the start thanks to his recorded conversations with Dr. Thompson of the CDC:

My name is William Thompson.  I am a Senior Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where I have worked since 1998.

I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information  in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased  risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.

I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue  to save countless lives.  I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated  with their administration are vastly outweighed  by their individual and societal benefits.

My concern has been the decision to omit relevant findings in a particular study for a particular sub­ group for a particular  vaccine. There have always been recognized risks for vaccination and I believe it is the responsibility of the CDC to properly convey the risks associated  with receipt of those vaccines.

I have had many discussions  with Dr. Brian Hooker over the last 10 months regarding studies  the CDC has carried out regarding vaccines and neurodevelopmental outcomes including autism spectrum disorders. I share his belief that CDC decision-making and analyses should be transparent. I was not, however, aware that he was recording any of our conversations, nor was I given any choice regarding whether  my name would be made public or my voice would be put on the Internet.
That's an open admission, from a senior scientist, that the CDC actively engages in statistical fraud and therefore cannot be trusted with regards to ANYTHING it says related to vaccines. This doesn't mean that all vaccines are necessarily useless or do more harm than good, but it does prove, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that any arguments that rely upon CDC data have to be junked.

Dr. Thompson admits that "there have always been recognized risks for vaccination", but strongly implies that "the risks associated  with receipt of those vaccines" has not been properly conveyed. Those who are upset with the damage this revelation will likely cause to vaccine rates have no one to blame but the pro-vaccine scientists; the idea that deceiving parents in order to get them to vaccinate their children was a viable long-term strategy is, to put it mildly, incorrect. Once trust is broken, it is gone; this calls into question far more than the safety of the MMR vaccine for male Africans.

Logic 1, Science 0. Or rather, "Science". Because, as I've been repeatedly pointing out, statistical analysis is not science.

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Immigration is rape culture

The silence of feminists on the explosive issue of immigration and rape is one more indication of their total incoherence and one more reason why their opinions should be resolutely rejected. Everywhere, from Australia to Norway, Muslim immigrants are gang-raping white girls en masse... so naturally the feminists are yammering on about the problem of college girls getting drunk and having consensual sex with young white men.
It is difficult to overstate how awful these crimes were, nor how completely victims were failed by the authorities. One girl was doused in petrol and told she would be set on fire if she didn't comply. Others were forced to watch rapes and told they would be next if they spoke out. The police regarded these girls with as much contempt as the rapists.

And in perhaps the most horrific paragraph in a report published yesterday, we learned that in two cases fathers had tracked down their daughters and tried to rescue them from houses in which they were being held, only to find themselves arrested by police, while the rapists walked free.

How many council staff do you suppose are under investigation, or have been sacked? Yup, you guessed it: none. Rotherham council's chief executive, Martin Kimber, has not only stayed in his post but he has said he doesn't have evidence enough to prosecute or discipline a single member of the council's staff....

The political Left shrieks blue murder over the slightest indication of overbearing male behaviour when it's a white man. The tone-deaf "Everyday Sexism" project is a weapon wielded almost exclusively at white middle-class men by white middle-class women. But it makes excuses for rapists and even child abusers when the criminals are black, or, especially, from a Muslim community.
It is now abundantly clear that whether you are in the USA or the UK, the law won't defend you. You will have to defend yourself and your own, and, quite possibly, against the best efforts of the law. Which isn't actually the problem it appears to be. The law is outnumbered. And they bloody well know it.

Immigration is rape culture. That's a devastating meme. Use it. Hammer it home every time you hear a feminist bring up "rape culture". If they support mass immigration, they are advocating gang rape. Immigration is rape culture.

Related: a prediction from Glenn Reynolds:
Prediction: There’ll be more citizenship-stripping in the future, as European countries come to regret their openness to immigrants who have no interest in assimilating.
Preferably sooner rather than later. Mass immigration isn't only rape culture, it is also culture rape.


A new start

JartStar and I were never particularly happy with the cover for QUANTUM MORTIS The Programmed Mind. Not only was the cover image a little nebulous, but it tended to sell what is an intense military spy thriller of galactic proportions more than a little short. It simply didn't harken back to the classic SF of the Atomic Age in the way that we intended it to. Also, the title didn't fit well within the title layout for the series that the most excellent Kirk DouPonce created for QUANTUM MORTIS; to say that Kirk "really disliked" the cover as a result would have been to put it mildly. But one of the great things about digital publishing is that it's very easy to replace the covers. I think you will agree that the new cover, and new title, are a considerable improvement over their predecessors. Instead of an accidentally over-endowed female agent being subjected to some neurological indignities, the new cover features the Ascendancy destroyer Draco entering the orbit of the planet Bonoplane to investigate the fate of the stricken Shiva-class starcruiser ATSV Rigel. Please note that nothing else has changed except the title and the cover, so if you already bought QM-TPM, you already own QUANTUM MORTIS A Mind Programmed. I expect you should be able to update the file through your Kindle if you wish.

And QM-AMP isn't the only relaunch of sorts we have to announce today. You may recall that I have made reference to a Castalia House Classics line on several occasions in the past, and today we are more than a little pleased to make an announcement in that regard on the Castalia House blog. I encourage you to check it out.


Enoch Powell: still right

Slowly, but surely, the evils of mass immigration are causing people to stop being afraid of being called racist, as they gradually come to realize that if they do not fight back and repatriate the invaders, their culture and their civilization will die.
A veteran Tory MP has claimed controversial ‘rivers of blood’ MP Enoch Powell was right to warn against immigration. Gerald Howarth said the notorious Conservative MP had been correct to warn that mass movement of ‘non Christian’ migrants to Britain would cause problems.

His comments were made in an email to a constituent about the Islamist 'Trojan Horse' plot in Birmingham to radicalise school children by taking over governing boards.

In the leaked letter the former defence minister wrote: ‘Clearly, the arrival of so many people of non-Christian faith has presented a challenge, as so many of us, including the late Enoch Powell, warned decades ago.

‘Recent events have illustrated that some of these new arrivals have a very different ethos from traditional Christian schools and we are right to intervene to prevent them from teaching divisive ideology to children born here.’

Mr Howarth tonight confirmed that the leaked letter was 'entirely accurate' and reflected his views about the dangers of immigration....

Enoch Powell’s notorious ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech was delivered in Birmingham in April 1968, sparking widespread condemnation. In the speech Mr Powell called for the ‘repatriation’ of non-white immigrants, claiming the racial mix in Britain would lead to city riots. Sir Gerald did not advocate repatriation in the leaked email to his constituent.
It's been interesting to see how most of the accusations of racism made by SWPLs and SJWs have abruptly trickled to a minimum ever since I revealed that I am a Native American eligible for enrollment in my ancestral tribe. All those accusations of my being a white supremacist, which were utterly stupid from the start given my known Hispanic background, have almost entirely vanished, thus proving that they are far more intrinsically racist than they ever accused me of being. Because my ideas haven't changed in the interim, only their awareness of what I am. In fact, the more I have learned about my tribe, the more I am convinced that there is absolutely no room for compromise on the issue of mass immigration by Europeans and European-Americans who wish to preserve Western civilization.

What has happened to my tribe since the Spanish first encountered them is horrific. Decimated doesn't even begin to describe it. Their language is nearly extinct, their numbers are very small, and only recently has the Internet made it possible for people like my family to learn about its connections to them. And lest you think I didn't always know perfectly well that my family wasn't exactly like all of my Scandinavian friends and neighbors in Minnesota, that is a picture of me with my grandparents. My grandmother is the daughter of a Mexican revolutionary and the Indian woman he married after he fled Pancho Villa's assassins. And of all my family, they were the two people to whom I was always the closest.

So, perhaps you'll understand the unmitigated extent of my contempt when I see lily-white liberals and black race-baiters attempting to disqualify my perfectly rational views from discussion by falsely claiming that I am a racist white supremacist, and why I don't hesitate to play the Red card in order to shut down their lying rhetoric. Because I am both Native American and Native European, and I don't wish to see what happened to the former people happen to the latter. It has happened before, it can happen again, and it will happen if the natives do not heed the wisdom of Enoch Powell and repatriate their would-be conquerors.

And it is telling, is it not, that The Daily Mail will not accept comments on the Howarth article? I suspect that even the nominally conservative UK media does not wish for people to grasp the true depth of the widespread public support for Powell's position.

UPDATE: Speaking of UK politics, this is big news out of Britain:
Mr Carswell cannot be dismissed as a naive or out of touch intellectual. Let us remember that it was five years ago that it was Carswell who set in motion the movement which swept Speaker Martin from office in the wake of the expenses scandal.

This is why I believe that Mr Carswell’s decision to quit the Tory party and join Nigel Farage’s Ukip is a seismic political event. He cannot be compared to the ordinary self-interested political defections, for instance Shaun Woodward or Quentin Davies’ departure from the Conservatives to New Labour, in 2001 and 2007 respectively. Mr Carswell, and this is completely terrifying for David Cameron, is acting out of conviction rather than self-interest.
Men of principle acting out of conviction rather than self-interest changes the world. No wonder it terrifies so many people.

UPDATE 2: Keep this in mind:
The woman who presided over the last five years of failure as the boss of children’s services at Rotherham Council is the same executive who removed three children from their foster parents because they were Ukip voters.... Mrs Thacker lives with her husband in a four-bedroomed house in Shipley, West Yorkshire.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Random questions

1. We're going to be reprinting A THRONE OF BONES for re-release before AODAL BOOK 2 comes out. Markku prefers casewrap, which is more durable, where the image is printed directly onto the hardcover. The reason the mainstream publishers use dustjackets is because the retailers prefer them. Since these are being produced for direct order, is there a strong preference for one versus the other? The problem, of course, is that the original Marcher Lord hardcover was printed with a dustjacket. Anyhow, if you're planning on buying a hardcover, please let me know your opinion. If you're planning on buying the ebook, go ahead and say so, but please stay out of the case vs dust discussion.

2. AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND by John C. Wright will be published in hardcover with a dustjacket. It will be available very soon. As, we hope, will the excellent ONE BRIGHT STAR TO GUIDE THEM ebook.

3. The pair of ads on the right sidebar are a test that will last until tomorrow. If the ad company makes me a decent offer as a result, I'll consider keeping them. On a scale of $100 to $10,000 per month, how annoying are they? By which I mean, at which point would you say I should ignore your opinion about how annoying they are.

4. As usual, I have been tardy with the VPFL stuff. Please get your keepers in right away. You get to keep three, but you don't have to keep any. Draft is Sunday, August 31, 2014, 3:00 pm. Get your keepers in by Saturday.

UPDATE: The people have spoken. Much to my surprise, it appears we will go with casebound for ATOB and Book Two.


Show some sense, people

Perhaps the only thing dumber than letting a nine year-old girl fire a gun on full auto is the idea that a ludicrously ill-considered training accident will lead Americans to embrace gun control:
A nine-year-old girl has accidentally shot dead a shooting instructor who was teaching her how to use a powerful Uzi submachine gun. Charles Vacca was showing the unnamed youngster how to fire the weapon at the Last Stop outdoor shooting range in the Mohave Desert in White Hills, Arizona, when the gun recoiled as she pulled the trigger.

In a statement, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said the 39-year-old was hit in the head by a stray bullet as the Israeli-made Uzi kicked back. He was airlifted to the University Medical Centre in Las Vegas, where he was later pronounced dead.

A video released by the police showed the slender girl with a ponytail and wearing pink shorts being instructed in how to aim the gun by Vacca.
I'm just glad that it was the idiot instructor who was killed and not the girl, as was the case in a similar incident a few years ago. I'm not a professional firearms instructor and I understand that guns kick. No one with zero to moderate firearms experience should fire a weapon on full auto, and certainly no child who isn't going to be physically able to control the tendency of the weapon to rise.

Weapons deserve respect and demand common sense. And handing a loaded, fully automatic Uzi to a little girl demonstrates the precise opposite of both. It's a remarkably stupid and unnecessary tragedy.


On the sweetness of ankles

I have to admit, just when I think the old Fowl Atheist has bottomed out, (the last time he managed to publicly demonstrate his embarrassingly poor grasp on human genetics), he manages to dig himself in deeper. It is vastly amusing that he didn't even hesitate to plunge right into this one. Remember when he didn't want to debate me because it would be punching down? Now Richard Dawkins's former fartsniffer and failed successor is so desperate to be relevant again that he's swinging wildly at shadows:
Wait, what? I did a search; no, neither Vox Day nor Theodore Beale have published anything in Nature, or any other science journal, and they also haven’t been cited anywhere in the scientific literature. Weird. How can he make this claim?

As it turns out, his claim is so tenuous and absurd that you have to laugh.

Here is his ‘hypothesis’, which is his: Religion doesn’t cause wars. He said this in his blog, and he also says it in his self-published ‘I hate atheists’ book, both of which hardly anyone reads, and which aren’t exactly popular with scientists.

However, he now claims that anyone anywhere who even says something vaguely like that (for instance, Scott Atran, who has argued that religion is not the primary causative agent in terrorism), is “citing” him, even if they don’t mention his name or his source, or explicitly acknowledge other sources. It’s all him. It is entirely his idea. It’s not as if people have been making excuses to exonerate religion from all blame for centuries, it was his idea.
As we have learned to expect from him, PZ can't even get the simplest facts right.
  1. The Irrational Atheist is not self-published. It has never been self-published. I'm sure Glen Yeffeth, who is an atheist himself, and all the good people at Ben Bella books will very much appreciate the attempted insult. I say attempted insult because anyone who isn't locked into the dying publishing model recognizes that independent publishing is not merely the future, it is the now. As for hardly anyone reading it, it's still selling well enough that when I asked Glenn if I could have the rights back so that Castalia could sell it, he laughed and told me no.
  2. Scott Atran and others are, in fact, citing me, whether they realize it or not. It is very easy to prove it. They are taking it from this Wikipedia page, which took it from a Christian site which took it from TIA. The reason I know this is that the numbers that everyone is citing are not the numbers that appear in the Encylopedia of Wars. As it happens, no such numbers appear in the encyclopedia at all. They are the numbers that I used the encyclopedia to calculate and appeared in The Irrational Atheist.
  3. It is all me, as it happens. It was an entirely original idea, as evidenced by my 2004 WND column published prior to the publication of the encyclopedia, entitled God, George Bush, and War. The metric for disproving the hitherto common atheist claim, a claim that some atheists still make today, is obvious only in retrospect. Nor, as it happens, is it the only way to disprove the mistaken idea that religion causes war, as I came up with another metric that works equally well, but is less numerically quantifiable, which is why it was not cited by Wikipedia, Atran, and others.
  4. It's not an excuse. The fact that religion does not cause most war is a historical fact of military history, of which PZ is obviously ignorant.
  5. You don't hear much about religion causing war anymore. Not even PZ is dumb enough to try to directly push the canard. You don't hear much about the Red State argument anymore either. In both cases, TIA is why.
It's a bit ironic that PZ is so intent on claiming that I am not a scientist, when he was the original inspiration for my hypothesis, successfully tested in a study by Boston University scientists, that atheists are not neurotypical and that there is a positive correlation between atheism and autism.

This shabby attempt by PZ to deny historical reality, by the way, is one reason I make a habit of including some very minor information that is original, such as the "k"s in Psykosonik, in most things that I do. Doing so makes it very easy for me to see who is actually getting their information from me and who is not, regardless of what they pretend. I don't usually bother to point it out, as the important thing is the propagation of the information, not the credit. But I always know.

Petty little anklebiters like PZ don't bother me in the slightest. After 13 years of them nibbling at my ankles, I'd probably find the sensation unsettling if they ever stopped.

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Hope for Norway

A proud Norwegian sent me this. I cannot vouch for it, but it is funny. And perhaps even encouraging:
In the U.S. Marines, doing a mock war in the Norwegian city of Trondheim with the Dutch, Germans and other allies, training in urban combat. My infantry unit was positioned in a large soccer field next to an elementary school. Keep in mind there was no actual combat, even simulated; it was mostly just practicing maneuvers and tactics. But we still looked out of place with weapons and gear, etc. It's February. In Norway. Cold as hell. Snow up to our knees. Norway obviously has no snow days, so the kids were all in school.

Anyway, so Norway has this most delicious and amazing delicacy, I have no idea what it's called, but it's basically a bacon-wrapped hot dog; we just assumed it was called Candy of the Lord. As Americans we were naturally and instantly addicted. You find them at gas stations, and there just happened to be one on the other side of the school where we were camped. A few of my fellow Marines and I requested permission to go to the gas station and we set out on our way.

We made it to right about where the main entrance of the school was, and the doors opened; school was out. There were only a few kids, probably 6 or 7 years old. Lots of talking and laughing. Gawking at us as we walked by, with our guns and huge ridiculous snow suits. One precocious little guy made shooting noises at us. We made shooting noises back.

And then someone in my group. I don't know who. God help me I don't know who...

Someone threw a snowball and hit a little girl in the leg.

And those little Norwegian children unleashed hell.

There was a shrill cry in unintelligible gibberish and the doors to the school burst open. School children flooded out like a never-ending flood of something that never ends. Screeching, smiling, sprinting - how the hell were they sprinting?? - little bastards were slinging snowballs faster than the laws of physics should allow. It was like that movie Elf. If you can imagine riding in a fast car in a snowstorm and sticking your head out the window. Now imagine the snowflakes that are hitting your face are the size of snowballs. We couldn't see a damn thing. We couldn't run. We could barely breathe. Holy hell....

We tried to return fire and threw one, maybe two half-packed, crappy snowballs that fell apart in the air, arms flailing like limp-wristed fairies. I am from Texas. We were a unit stationed in North Carolina. We were so outmatched and out of our element, it only made them laugh harder. We were cut off from our main forces. We tried to perform a flanking maneuver but they were too fast. I think some of them were throwing rocks!

As for my comrades. I could see them speed waddling in their huge suits back to camp like a messed up pair of white Teletubbies, under withering fire. Screw tactics, screw me, screw the Candy of the Lord, this was survival! I was the slow one in the group. My snow boots were too big but they were the smallest size they had at Issue goddammit!! My Marines had left me behind.

I tried pulling my hood over my head and keeping my head down. No longer content to pelt my defenseless body with ballistic snow, the enemy swarmed me and dragged me down, cackling like a pack of hyenas descending on a wildebeest. I tried to sling them off by spinning. I came out of one of my boots and fell. I began to scream and plead for them to stop but they neither understood nor gave a single Nordic damn. They literally pinned me down with about five kids on each limb. It was then that I actually thought - oh sh*t. I'm really in trouble. My snow-mittens were ripped off and flung into trees. They started shoving snow down my suit. Have you ever had anyone drop an ice cube down your shirt?

Well now imagine someone shoveling handfuls of ice cubes down your shirt. It literally shocked the breath out of my body.

They left me laying like a Family Guy accident victim. Moaning and screaming in the cold. Rifle packed with snow and dirt. Boot buried somewhere. They ran away laughing, jabbering in their crazy language. I lay there trying to figure out just what in the great American hell had happened."

Never underestimate the power of swarming kids.
The sons and daughters of Norway didn't fear to take on the Nazis and the U.S. Marines. I doubt they will lay prostrate before the invaders from the Umma for much longer. The multicultural wall is beginning to crack:
Norway has become the latest country to consider stripping citizenship from extremists who travel abroad to fight jihad. The government said it was important to send 'a strong signal' to people thinking about leaving the country to join terror groups.
Jihad-tourists won't be the only non-Norwegians stripped of their Norwegian citizenship. That's all that the government is willing to say yet. The important thing is that people are finally understanding that nations are fundamentally based in the genes, not the paperwork or the geographical location. This isn't to say that some form of integration isn't possible, but it is impossible so long as any previous connections are maintained and it is a process that takes generations, not years.

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A female dev on the Quinn debacle

Gabriela Knight points out that the actual bias in the petty game development scene is very different than the anti-female one highlighted by the SJWs who have infiltrated the independent games media and are trying to save the near-nonexistent career of alleged indie games whore Zoe Quinn (or, apparently, Chelsea van Valkenburg):
 I’m a female indie dev. I’ve done art on about half a dozen games, one of which was moderately successful. I’ve had varying degrees of interaction with the journalists and developers involved in the latest controversy du jour, as well as many others who are part of this culture in ways that have not been publicized but are far more insidious than Zoe Quinn sleeping with people for publicity. I was raised religious and hold fairly conservative views politically (I feel I should declare my biases ahead of time). This is as much personal detail as I am willing to share. I wish I had the kind of courage to speak openly about this as a few others have dared to, but I simply don’t...

Despite (or rather because of) all of the pontificating by left-leaning social justice types in the game industry about oppression, the easiest way for talentless hacks to break into the indie gaming industry is to associate with the sort of hipster liberal types that are getting all the publicity for their oppression. And worse yet, they get in over people with actual skills. I had a friend in college who was an amazing 3d modeler trying to break into the industry. She was turned down repeatedly and had to settle at a shitty mobile game company making cow clickers that no one cared about. Meanwhile Zoe Quinn is able to get hired by Loveshack solely because of who she knows (and sleeps with). But this isn’t about Zoe, her scandal is just a microcosm of the widespread corruption and nepotism in this industry. Another example is when the IGF allowed Fez to re-enter the competition (even though it had been there before) just because of Phil Fish’s connections to the festival organizers. These are not isolated incidents, and one need only look at the unprofessional interactions between journalists and devs on social media, at cons, and elsewhere to see that any semblance of professional barriers between these people don’t exist. It’s already apparent from their interactions that they form a very strong clique.

To be part of this scene while holding the religious and political views that I do is very difficult. I generally keep it close to my chest because the few times I’ve said even simple things like “I can’t make it to the thing on Sunday because I’m going to church” had led to all sorts of derision and mockery by other people in the industry. I shudder to imagine the blowback from their clique if I told them about how I voted yes on Prop 8. Just look at the way Doug TenNapel’s Kickstarter was lambasted by people in the industry (led by Ben Kuchera) because he dared to have a (non-liberal) political opinion. The creator of Earthworm Jim was only barely able to reach his Kickstarter goal, which was relatively modest compared to most of the others I’ve seen. This is just one example of how only those who toe the social justice line are allowed by the press and the devs’ clique. Even those who just try to keep quiet and uninvolved are often called out for not doing enough, or being a poor “ally.” To succeed in this industry you have to meet the standards of this clique, when it should be about meeting the standards of gamers. But when it’s impossible to get any publicity or work without meeting the standards of these self-fellating sycophants, that’s near impossible.

Women And Gaming

Let’s be completely honest: most women don’t play Quake III. Most of those few women like me who actually like first person shooters, grand strategy, space sims, and all those other genres that make up “core” gaming don’t care if they can play as a female protagonist, or if the girls are wearing skimpy outfits, or if you have to rescue the princess. They like the exact same things as men who like those games, and they just want good games, nothing more nothing less. And most of them feel that all this rambling on about representation is distracting from the real issue: big developers and publishers are making shitty games for mass appeal instead of the kind of awesome games we played growing up. When you distract from that to rant about what is literally imaginary misogyny you’re hurting women like me who just want good games.
Notice that it's all the same lunacy that we've seen in the SFWA, only not quite as out of control because there are more barriers to entry. Quinn-van Valkenberg tends to remind one of a female John Scalzi, albeit with less talent for self-promotion. Game development is hard work and requires some logical thinking as well; it's not just a simple case of scribbling a few short stories, sending them to a female friend who will publish them in some barely qualifying market, then calling yoursef a writer and spending the next twenty years going to cons, talking about books you're never going to write, and relentlessly trying to push the industry leftward. The SJW problem in gaming and their tedious, decades-long crusade for More Women tends to revolve around the journalists because that's the one area where absolutely no talent or mastery of the subject is required anymore.

I thought this comment from an interview with her ex-boyfriend was more than a little amusing:
"*IF* (that's strong emphasis) Zoe came out and confessed about all of her wrongdoings, what do you think would happen and do you think things would change?"
See: Hugo Schwyzer.
The Rageaholic points out that the real problem isn't that Zoe Quinn is an ambitious whore, she is merely a symptom of corruption in game journalism. The real problem is that such whoring is, apparently, a genuine career path in independent gaming, and, presumably, videogame journalism. As he correctly declares: "The term 'videogame journalism' is a misnomer."

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