Gamer Gate

I see it’s time for our semiannual “make videogaming look as childish as possible” story.

Because there were no girls in He-Man, you seeBrilliant.

For those who have missed it, a shitstorm is currently exploding in videogaming. The epicentre of this particular storm is especially pathetic & childish.

But now it’s spiralled off into an argument between a group who object to the increasing focus on things like ‘equality’ and ‘inclusion’ in videogaming and videogame culture, and those who have been championing this increasing focus.

For simplicity, some are splitting this into ‘gamers’ and ‘game critics’ – but that’s clearly not where the line is drawn.

No – the line here is drawn between a group who want to gaming to stagnate and those who want to keep it evolving.

We’ve been talking about properly including women and ethnic minorities in games for a while now – and some progress is starting to be made in this direction. I emphasise the word ‘some’ in this area, because – particularly in AAA games, it’s rare for a protagonist (or even a major NPC) to be anything other than a white, straight, man.

A well-rounded female character, yesterdayThere are people who don’t see any reason to change this.

They’re the spiritual descendants (or possibly the actual descendants) of those who opposed this sort of thing in other entertainment media, like action & horror films. Which themselves still primarily feature straight white men hanging out with other straight white men.

But films aren’t quite as bad as videogaming.

Partly because there are simply more films. Partly because the movie industry has existed for a lot longer, and so it’s further along its evolutionary path (we started asking “hey, why aren’t the women in lead roles?” 30 years ago. We only started seriously asking that ten years ago in the videogame industry.

The derogatory term “social justice warrior” is getting thrown around a lot. It’s about as derogatory as being ‘politically correct’.

(“Fighting for social justice” isn’t actually bad thing – unless you don’t want a world (or in this case an industry) that enables equality.)

Along similar lines, many of those opposing this cultural shift are being labelled bigots, misogynists or racists.

Continue reading »

Internet Cancer

So, as usual the internet doesn’t know what the fuck it’s talking about.

Some cancer, yesterdayJust for a change, it’s cancer.

Every now and then there comes to the attention of the media a new ‘wonder drug'; something that the media (and therefore the general public) don’t really understand,  but they’re damn sure it’s better than what was previously offered, and is therefore basically the next best thing to a cure for cancer.

When my mum had cancer, it was Herceptin  – a chemotherapy that dramatically improved the life expectancy of women with a specific kind of breast cancer, but of course got misreported and misunderstand and so had patients with every other type of breast cancer believing they were being denied it (when it reality it just would have been worthless).

It helps to remember that Cancer is not a single disease; it’s many – there’s no single therapy, there’s no single treatment. Even each ‘type’ of cancer is in fact several different diseases, all often with completely different outcomes & treatment options.

That’s a big part of why we don’t have ‘a cure for cancer': there won’t ever be a cure. There might one day be many cures.

Which brings us to Proton Beam Therapy.

There’s a young boy whose parents – to cut a long story short – want him to receive proton beam therapy for his brain tumour. The oncologists in question initially prescribed standard radiation therapy.

Proton Beam Therapy is a cutting edge form of radiotherapy with – potentially – fewer side effects. It is also spectacularly expensive.

As you might expect, the internet has jumped all over this  – why wouldn’t the doctors prescribe the best therapy? Are they just cutting corners?

But the difference between the two therapies isn’t ‘efficacy’.

I’ll reiterate: Proton Beam Therapy & Radiotherapy are equally effective at treating the brain tumour itself.

Continue reading »

Animal Testing

Some science, yesterdayAlongside with the current popularity of dumping ice on one another’s heads, there have been all manner of criticisms of both the practice and the charities involved.

I’m not going to talk about the ice.

One of the more strident criticisms of the ALS Association – as highlighted by noted biologist Pamela Anderson out of Baywatch – is that they utilise Animal Experimentation in their research.

Yes, yes they do. Of course they do.

Because that’s how you research treatments that will eventually be used on humans.

Virtually every medical achievement in the past century [has been] reliant on the use of animals in some way
– The Royal Society, 2004

Continue reading »

Scottish Independence

As we move closer to the 18th September and the Scottish Independence referendum, my opinion matters less and less.

Saltire(as an Englishman living in England, I won’t be voting in it)

But you’re getting my opinion anyway, so ner.

I’ve been torn, if I’m honest.

I’d love it if Scots had the opportunity to vote ‘no’, and remain in a truly United Kingdom; one which offers genuinely fair income distribution, one which offers more fair devolution of legal powers and one which isn’t increasingly centred around a single English city.

But that isn’t one of the options on the ballot.

Scots have the option of voting ‘no’, and remaining in a United Kingdom which has historically shat upon Scotland from a great height – and perhaps hoping that we will continue the glacial process of devolution and eventually grant Scotland (and Wales, and Ulster) powers that should have been theirs all along…

Or they can vote ‘yes’ to Independence and start building a wholly new country of their very own. Continue reading »

Britain First

There are few things that get me more irate than people spewing bigotry out all over the internet.

Several hundred thousand people spewing bigotry out all over the internet, where I can see it…  that’s one of them.

Be better than this. Continue reading »

“UKIP Surge”

The BBC – and quite a few other media sources – have been rather obsessed with UKIP’s astonishing success in the local elections.

UKIP are ‘surging forward’. They’re ‘causing an earthquake’ in Westminster’. They’re creating ‘tremors’ amongst the established parties. We’re entering into a world of ‘four-party politics’.

With hyperbole like that, you’d expect UKIP to have completely stormed the election results, dominating council after council, unseating safe councillors up and down the country and coming out at the end with a truly massive share of the vote.

But you’d be wrong.

Because in reality UKIP received about 17% of the vote.

And this is what the election results actually look like:

cllrs-labour

Continue reading »

DHDI – Touch a (live) Rodent

Almost touching a rodentFor the full ‘Dave Hasn’t Done It’ List, & a bit of an explanation, click here

A new entry in the Dave Hasn’t Done It list, because – as I may have pointed out – there are loads of things I haven’t done.

Even though I used to have pet rats living in my house. They were in a cage, and technically they were Val’s rats anyway, so I never really got around to handling them before they died… and I didn’t really want to handle them afterwards.

have touched a few mice, actually – but they were all dead at the time, and I think that falls more under ‘pest control’ than ‘engaging with nature’.

(or in one case ‘teaching my cat that mice have a delicious meaty centre, and aren’t actually just ambulatory toys’)

Anyway, here I am touching – and being touched – by a hamster. Impressive! Continue reading »

Jeremy Clarkson

Just when you think Jeremy Clarkson is talking total and complete bullshit, it turns out that actually “doing everything in my power” to avoid saying something really islot more difficult than you might expect…

I’m doing everything in my power to avoid calling Clarkson a racist here; that’s why I’ve made a little video in which I suggest he is a racist. While mumbling a bit.

Continue reading »

Getting the BNP out of the North-West

The European Parliamentary Elections are coming up on May 22nd.

Now, I know that European Elections are typically considered less important than even local council elections, and as such turnout suffers – but these particular European Elections matter, at least if you live in the North West Constituency

(that’s Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria)

Why?

Because the leader of the BNP is currently one of our MEPs.

Having a member of the fascist, openly racist British National Party representing us in Europe is embarrassing enough, but for our constituency to be the one that gives their morally (and financially) bankrupt leader even a semblance of legitimacy is shameful.

This only happened because of a low turnout in 2009 – he scraped into his seat by the narrowest of narrow margins (0.3% of the vote).

So what do you do to fix it?

VOTE.

Tell the BNP they aren't welcome in the North West

European Elections are proportional elections – and the BNP only have a limited amount of support (they had almost exactly the same number of voters in 2004 and 2009). The more people who vote, the lower the BNP’s vote share, and the less chance they have of winning a seat.

Continue reading »

Bullshit Meme Debunking

As you could almost certainly have predicted, the whole ‘doing a weekly video’ didn’t really happen.

But I’m still going to do this as and when I have something worth putting on video (sometimes with Val, sometimes alone – maybe sometimes just with Val if she makes a grab for power…)

Anyway, this one is continuing my one-man war against People Being Wrong On The Internet, in particular the sharing of racist memes, because racists pulling numbers out of their arse is annoying enough without people bastard well sharing it all over social media where I can see it.

For those who want to be two-for-one with their predictions: yes, I swear quite a lot in this one.

But I’m swearing at racists, so it’s okay – it’s not like they have feelings.

Continue reading »

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