Tuesday Share: June 9, 2009

This week’s eclectic share of stories

From the best aggregator of random cool stuff on the Internet, Boing Boing comes non-toxic metals that are liquid at room temperature!  I’ve played with Mercury and it is a great deal of fun but we we all know the risks of mercury poisoning (or we should) so finding cool metals to play with that won’t kill you is a plus.

No one doubts the huge effect Ronald Reagan had on the United States… I don’t know if it was all positive though.  The Right has lionized the man, making him into some sort of superhuman, but there are many things that Reagan did that were illegal and did not benefit Americans.  It is important to not lose all the negatives that Reagan brought us when we write the history – 20 things You Don’t Know about Ronald Reagan.

We’ve all heard the story of how the personal computer was going to create the paperless office, and here we are 20+ years later awash in boring, old, analog paper.  Paper still has many uses and does several things better than its digital counterpart.  Learn/review some of them at Dumb Little Man.

Continuing their 30 days to a Better Man project the Art of Manliness recommends that you update your resume.  My resume is already up-to-date and I’m thankfully gainfully employed in a relatively safe sector, but not everyone is or will be so lucky.  Best to be prepared for the worst and have an updated resume ready if the need ever arises.

For those of you interested in the procedure of politics there’s the unfolding story of the coup happening in the New York Senate!  The original story is here and an update can be found here.  While it seems the Republicans do have a numerical advantage their gaining control of the Senate depends on the rules of the Senate and how well both Parties know them and can use them to their advantage…  Procedure matters in these kind of events and a canny knowledge and use of them can allow a minority to stay in control for an extended period of time, As Willie Brown did in the California Assembly  circa 1995-96.

Finally journalists have found the courage to take on Oprah! This woman with no specialized knowledge on anything, besides appealing emotionally to a broad spectrum of American women, has used her television show for years to “Educate” her audience and launch careers of numerous people, some who deserved the attention, but many who don’t.  Especially egregious is her airing of loons like Jenny McCarthy and Susanne Somers who advocate for medical treatments (or lack of them) that endanger all of us.

My unobjective review of Ikaruga

My opining on Ikur

Oh Ikaruga, I remember so well the first forum posts concerning you, the sequel to that most excellent of shooters Radiant Silvergun, but you were released for the Dreamcast in 2002, long after that console was dead in the U.S. Forums were buzzing with rumors of your porting to the Gamecube, that we might be blessed with your presence here in the States. I read every scrap of news I could find on you, when I heard you’d be coming stateside I rushed to the local EB games to reserve a copy of you, it didn’t bother me that that guy behind the counter had never heard of you, had to look you up, and then proceeded to butcher your name repeatedly. Whatever.

Then you arrived and I flew over to the EB hoping they hadn’t sold my copy yet. Turns out my copy was the only one they had ordered. I took you home and slid you into the Gamecube, stoked to experience your polarity based game play. The groans and moans about difficulty I’d read on-line hadn’t bothered me. I’d cut my teeth on games like Ninja Gaiden, Alien Soldier, and Gradius, I thought I knew. I was wrong. I’ve never been so humbled by a game in my life. Everything was so simple. Why was I so bad? Shoot everything on the screen. Enemies are black or white when you match their color you absorb their shots, only dying when hit by the opposite color (when white you absorb white shots and die from black and vice-versa when your black). You only has five levels! I never got passed the third. You crushed me. Even on repeated plays I could never get higher than a B on a level. I took my licks and retreated, you were replaced by easier games, games I could beat. Then I sold you back to EB and forgot about you…

But you haunted my dreams, visions of black on white, unending, incomprehensible patterns of monochromatic shots. How could I have failed so miserably? Why had I given up so soon? Too late though to get you back, I could only find you on Ebay and the price to redeem myself was too high… until now. For ten dollars I can play you again on the Xbox 360. I eargerly paid and waited for the download to finish. Finally, I would be able to banish the doubts and vanquish my failings, I would conquer you! So I thought.  Ikaruga, you are no easier now than you were 6 years ago. So my shame begins anew. The difference is that this time I’m not quitting until I’ve seen the ending credits.

Look for the objective, actual, review later this week

My review is up! It’s Over at The Growing Life

The review of Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational is back up! Just follow the link on over to my friend, Clay Collins site take a poke around when your done reading it.

If you’re just coming here from The Growing Life, poke around here too! DMS is all over the place but it tends to focus on book and game reviews, with some of my own personal writings throughout.

Thanks for stopping by.

Squandering of America Part 1

Robert Kuttner’s new book is so dense with information that I couldn’t do it justice with a simple one paragraph review when I’m done with the book. Actually, I don’t know if I’ll ever finish the book, as at times it can be incredibly depressing how far our country has fallen. The most alarming issue that Kuttner raises is the control of big business in our politics, and how many of the problems behind the issue won’t even come up in debate, so fringe have the ideas of controlled and regulated markets come, despite how well they served our country in the post WW2 era. Why has this happened? Kuttner blames the successful marketing campaign of rich elites on Wall St. and in the Republican party to unload more and more on the american people while keeping more and more for themselves. I wish I could explain it as well as he does but you only have to read the first 100 pages for it become clear that at this point the average American worker is making less than s/he did 1o, 20, and 30 years ago, while her/his costs have continued to rise unchecked. Kuttner is optimistic though, that the changes aren’t permanent that it is only a matter of viewpoint and politics both of which can be changed, and that it is becoming clear to many that de-regulation was not the panacea  it has been touted to be by insiders, but that it will take a new politics and largely new politicians to do it, ones that aren’t in thrall to big business.

More to follow!

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