Tag Archives: Rolling Stone

Two sides of tinseltown

Tinseltown has many sides. Today and yesterday I was confronted with two of them. The first is the sad one. 

Yesterday the legendary Nichelle Nichols has left us at the age of 89. Legendary as Nyota Uhura in the original Star Trek series and 6 movies. Now, people leave us all the time. This stands out that no matter where I looked Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, America, Australia, Canada, you name it they have it in the news, and no negativity anywhere. Twitter flowed over with messages of sorrow, love and in some cases heartbreak. Actors, producers, directors from all walks of life and cinema. It was overwhelming the impact she has had on people. She had it on me as well, but I always saw myself as a nerdy sci-fi outcast. She touched the hearts of millions and they are all speaking out words of hope, words of sorrow, words of love and words of admiration. To be honest, I have not seen such a positive wave ever before, that realisation gives us that even as she leaves us, she leaves us with a gift. We are all connected to one another through the actions of Nyota Uhura. That is not a bad legacy to have, not at all. We salute you Nichelle, and perhaps we will all say hello again on the other side when we get there. Until then be with the stars until we meet again. 

The other side
The other side is one that is another side of the media. The one I do not like that much, but in this case it is the Dutch NOS who (at https://nos.nl/l/2439005) claims that Taylor Swift is the biggest famous polluter. Is that so? Well it is according to a British Marketing firm. Can we have the name of those wankers please? You see, we might howl at some, but these wanking idiots (as I personally see them) are debatable in their view. “Between January and July, the singer’s plane took off 170 times, which amounts to 15.9 full days of flying. The emissions of the device thus amounted to about 8,000 tons of CO2, more than a thousand times the emissions of an average citizen per year.” So how exactly was that calculated? 

You see Dassault Aviation (the people behind the Falcon 7X) give us “Falcons have fuel consumption levels that are 30 to 50% lower than competing aircraft and the lowest CO2 emissions in the market.” Then we see the stage “Between January and July, the singer’s plane took off 170 times, which amounts to 15.9 full days of flying”, so can we see the list of these 170 times? Dates, hours flown you get it, the list will give us more and I believe that a marketing firm has certain needs, needs to hide other stuff, or illuminate other stuff and usually illumination comes with exaggerated inaccuracies. So were all the flights set to the planes actual numbers? And the idea that Floyd Mayweather and Jay-Z are the numbers two and three might be right, might not be. You see, we are given “According to them, Swift regularly lends the aircraft and is therefore not personally responsible for all 170 flight movements and the associated emissions.” This might be true, but that is not the case. These people are forced into different modes of transportation because the fucking media wont give them a break, harassing these people EVERY moment they can for the digital clicks (one of a few reasons). It angers me as we seem to hold places like Celebrity Jets like gospel all whilst the data is never clearly vetted and I get the impression that the news is even worse. So whilst Taylor Swift has one plane, Donald Trump has the Trump Force One which is a Boeing 757, and he never made the list? I reckon that the Boeing 757 gives off a lot more pollution than the Falcon 7x. And the quick reference towards the British department of Transport? Do they keep lists of all the planes? Is Trump Force One there too? All questions that come to mind and all questions that have impact. How do you hold Taylor Swift accountable whilst you do nothing on the harassing media 24:7. As I see it, she might not have a choice and whilst we are at it. When we consider Rolling Stone magazine, was that vetted? If so what dit Taylor Swift actually use? All questions no answered. It makes me wonder what that marketing whatever was doing? This was about something else. Just like Matt McGrath (BBC) and his plane issues, all whilst 50% of all pollution damage comes from 1% of the facilities. 147 in total and they still haven’t closely looked at that. They were very intent of ignoring that EEA report, why is that? So a little message for the media. Do your job properly or become an uber driver. 

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Be not stupid

There is an article in the Guardian. Now, we all agree that anyone has their own views, that has been a given for the longest of times, and those reading my blog know that I have a different view at times, yet for the most, I remained neutral and non-attacking to those with a different view, that’s how I roll.

Today is different, the article “‘Easy trap to fall into’: why video-game loot boxes need regulation” by Mattha Busby (@MatthaBusby) got to me. It is time for people to realise that when you are over 18, you are responsible for your actions. So I have, pretty much, no patience with any American, Reddit user or not, who gives us “a Reddit user who claims to have spent $10,000“. If you are that stupid, you should not be allowed to play video games.

The Setting

To comprehend my anger, you need to realise the setting we see here. You see, loot boxes are not new. This goes all the way back to 1991 when Richard Garfield created Magic, the gathering. I was not really on board in the beginning, but I played the game. The issues connect when you realise how the product was sold. There was a starter kit (which we call the basic game) it will have enough cards to start playing the game as well as the essential cards you need to play it. To get ahead in the game you need to get boosters. Here is where it gets interesting. Dozens of games are working on the principle that Richard Garfield founded. A booster would have 9-13 cards (depending on the game), It would have 1 (read: One) rare card (or better), 3 uncommon cards and the rest would be common cards. I had several of these games I played and in the end (after 20 boosters) it was merely about collecting the rare cards if you wanted a complete set. Some would not care about it and they could play the game. So this is not a new thing, so if you truly spend $10,000 you should not complain. If you have the money it is not an issue, if you did not, you are too stupid for words. In games it is not new either. Mass Effect 3, the best multiplayer game ever (my personal view) had loot boxes as well, I am pretty sure that they were the first. Yes, you could buy them, with money, or with Microsoft credit points. The third option was that you could gather points whilst playing (at the cost of $0) and use these gained points to buy loot boxes, the solution most people used. Over time you would end up with sensational goods to truly slice and dice the opponents, all gained through play time, no extra cash required.

So when I see places like Venture beat (and the Guardian of course) state issues like: “some people, policymakers, and regulators — including the gaming authorities in Belgium and Netherlands — that those card packs have are gambling“. I see these statements as moronic and I regard them as statements of false presentation. You see, that is not what it is about! When you see the attached picture, you see that these cards are sold EVERYWHERE. The issue is that the CCG card games are sold in the shops, which means that revenue is TAXED. The online sales are not and now, policymakers are all up in arms because they lost out on a non-taxable ‘$1.25 billion during its last quarter even without releasing a major new game‘, that is the real issue and they are now all acting in falsehood. So, when I see “I am currently $15,800 in debt. My wife no longer trusts me. My kids, who ask me why I am playing Final Fantasy all the time, will never understand how I selfishly spent money I should have been using for their activities“, as well as “he became addicted to buying in-game perks, which he later described as ‘digital garbage’“. I merely see people without discipline, without proper control. So without any regard for diplomacy I will call them junkies, plain and simple. Junkies who have no idea just how stupid they are. And, since when do we adjust policy for junkies? Since when are the 99% who hold themselves all plenty accountable, have the proper discipline to not overspend and some (like me) never considered loot boxes in a game like Shadow of War, now being held to account, to lessened gaming impact by junkies? Can anyone answer me this?

Now, we need to take into consideration one or two things. Are the FIFA18 loot boxes set in a similar light? That is the one place where (seemingly) FIFA is in the wrong. You see I have been searching to get any info on what is in a FIFA loot box, but there is no information given. I believe that this lack is actually an issue, yet that could be resolved in 24 hours if Electronic Arts would dedicate 1 page (considering it brings them $1.25 billion a quarter) on what is to be found in a loot box (Rare, Uncommon, Common). The second part that I cannot answer (because I am not a soccer fan) is whether the game allows loot boxes to be earned through playing and finally. Can the game be played without loot boxes? It seems like such a small alteration to make and especially when we see the fuss that is being made now. Some additional facts can be seen in Rolling Stone Magazine of all places (at https://www.rollingstone.com/glixel/features/loot-boxes-never-ending-games-and-always-paying-players-w511655). So now that we get a fuss from several nations, nations that have been all open and accepting on games like The Decipher CCG games Star Trek and Star Wars, Magic the Gathering, The Lord of the Rings, My Little Pony, Harry Potter, Pokémon, and that list goes on for some time. In that regard, they are all gambling and in my view, I feel certain that these so called politicians and lime light seekers will do absolutely NOTHING to get anything done because the cards are subject to VAT and the online stuff is lost taxable revenue. That is what I personally see as the foundation of a corrupt administration.

You see, the fact is that it is not gambling. You buy something that is in 3 categories, Rare, Uncommon and Common, you ALWAYS get this in a setting of 1 rare, 3 uncommon and 5 common, which card you get is not a given, it is random, but they will always get that setting. Let’s for example state that the loot box is $7, you get one $3 card, three $1 cards and five $0.20 cards, so how is that gambling? For Electronic Arts, until they update the website to give a precise definition might be in waters that are a little warmer, but that can be fixed by the end of the day. Perhaps they do have such a page, but Google did not find it.

In addition, Venture Beat gave us (at https://venturebeat.com/2018/05/08/ea-ceo-were-pushing-forward-with-loot-boxes-in-face-of-regulation/) “EA will have to convince policymakers around the world that it is doing enough and that its mechanics are not the same as the kinds of games you’d find in a casino“, which is easy as these policymakers did absolutely nothing to stop CCG’s like Pokémon and My Little Pony (truly games for minors), so we can stat that this was never about the loot box, it was about missed taxable revenue, a side that all the articles seemed to have left in the dark.

The Guardian has one additional gem. With: “A bill introduced in Minnesota last month would prohibit the sale of video games with loot boxes to under-18s and require a severe warning: “This game contains a gambling-like mechanism that may promote the development of a gaming disorder that increases the risk of harmful mental or physical health effects, and may expose the user to significant financial risk.”” Here I am in the middle. I think that Americans are not that bright at times, a point of view supported with the image of paper cups with the text ‘Caution Hot’ to avoid liability if some idiot burns their mouth; we know that sanity is out of the window. Yet the idea that there should be a loot box warning is perhaps not the worst idea. I think that EA could get ahead of the curve by clearly stating in a readable font size that ‘no loot boxes are needed to play the game‘, which is actually a more apt statement (and a true one) for Shadow of War, with FIFA18, I do not know. You see, this is a changed venue, when you can add a world player to your team the equation changes. Yet, does it make it more or less enjoyable? If I play NHL with my Capitals team and I get to add Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretsky my chances to get the Stanley cup go up, yet is that a real win or is that cheating? That is of course the other side, the side that the game maker Ubisoft enabled in their Assassins Creed series. you could unlock weapons and gear for a mere $4, they clearly stated that the player would be able to unlock the options during the game, yet some people are not really gamers, mere players with a short attention span and they want the hardware upfront. Enter the Civil war with an Uzi and a Remington, to merely coin a setting. Are they gamers, or are they cheaters? It is a fair question and there is no real answer. Some say that the game allowed them to do this, which is fair and some say, you need to earn the kills you make. We can go to it from any direction, yet when we are confronted with mere junkies going on with spending $15,800, adding to a $69 game, we are confronted with people so stupid, it makes me wonder how he got his wife pregnant in the first place. If the given debt $15,800 is true then there should be a paper trail. In that regard I am all for the fact that there should be a spending limit of perhaps $500 a month, a random number but the fact that there is a limit to spend is not the worst idea. In the end, you have to pay for the stuff, so have a barrier at that point could have imposed a limit on the spending. In addition, we can point at the quote “how I selfishly spent money I should have been using for their activities” and how that is the response of any junk to make, ‘Oh! I am so sorry‘, especially after the junk got his/her fix.

The Guardian gives in addition an actual interesting side: “Hawaiian congressman Chris Lee said “are specifically designed to exploit and manipulate the addictive nature of human psychology”“, it is a fair point to make. Are ‘game completionists’ OCD people? Can the loot box be a vessel of wrongdoing? It might, yet that still does not make it gambling or illegal, which gets us to the Minnesota setting of a warning on the box. It is an interesting option and I think that most game makers would not oppose that, because you basically are not keeping loot boxes a secret and that might be a fair call to make, as long as we are not going overboard with messages like: “This game is a digital product, it requires a working computer to install and operate“, because at that point we have gone overboard again. This as a nice contrast against: “In the Netherlands, meanwhile, lawmakers have said that at least four popular games contravene its gambling laws because items gleaned from loot box can be assigned value when they are traded in marketplaces“, which is another issue. you see when you realise that “you can’t sell any digital content that you aren’t authorized to sell” and as we also saw in Venture Beat ““While we forbid the transfer of items and in-game currency outside of the games, we also actively seek to eliminate that where it’s going on in an illegal environment,”“, we see a first part where we can leave it to the Dutch to cater to criminals on any average working day, making the lawmakers (from my personal point of view slightly short sighted).

So, in the end Mattha had a decent article, yet the foundation (the CCG games) which were the creators of the founding concept were left outside the basket of consideration, which is a large booboo, especially when we realise that they are still for sale in all these complaining countries and that in that very same regard these games are not considered gambling, which sets the stage that this was never about gambling, but several desperate EU nations, as well as the US mind you, that they are all realising that loot boxes are billions of close to non-taxable revenues. That is where the issue holds and even as I do not disagree with the honourable men from both Hawaii and Minnesota, the larger group of policy players are all about the money (and the linked limelight), an issue equally left in the dark. There is one issue against Electronic Arts, yet they can fix that before the virtual ink on the web page has dried, so that issue is non-existent as well soon enough.

It’s all in the game and this discussion will definitely be part of the E3 2018, it has reached too many governments not to do so. I reckon that on E3 Day Zero, EA and Ubisoft need to sit down in a quiet room with cold drinks and talk loot box tactics, in that regard they should invite Richard Garfield into their meeting as an executive consultant. He might give them a few pointers to up the profit whilst remaining totally fair to the gamers, a win-win for all I say! Well, not for the politicians and policy makers, but who cares about them? For those who do care about those people, I have a bridge for sale with a lovely view of Balmain Sydney, going cheap today only!

 

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To do or not to do

Weirdly enough, the act, the thought and the interest is not new. The ‘wisdom’ has been seen as early as the 60’s in public toilets.

Socrates tells us that “To be is to do”
Jean-Paul Sartre states that “To do is to be”
Frank Sinatra taught us: “Do be do be do”

Socrates, or So Crates as Keanu Reeves called him, started the thought, yet in the 19th century French philosopher, Sartre, who also dabbled in playwrights, novels, biographies, literary criticism was also a political activist. In his philosophical views, he share the view of Existentialism, where philosophical thinking begins with the human subject, hence, we can ask whether he should be on the side of So Crates. Even as Existentialists are often seen as ‘too abstract and remote’ from concrete human experience, we might wonder, because of the actions of Sartre whether he was a true Existentialist. Perhaps he was an academically inclined individual on the path of applied logics in the evolving field of pragmatism. His view on Phenomenology, or over simplified ‘taken intentionally as directed toward something’, as some might see it as ‘the hammering of a nail’, yet in all this, does one consider that the nail ‘just’ is?

So where is this going?

Well this is about a BBC article titled ‘Did Sean Penn break the law with El Chapo interview?‘ (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-35228910).

The quotes that are in question is “In his Rolling Stone piece, Mr Penn talked about the use of burner phones and other methods used to escape detection by authorities. Many people have wondered whether Mr Penn broke the law with his reporting – and whether or not he could be prosecuted“, so is there really a ‘group’ of many people, or is there a select group of some people in specific positions? By the way, burner phones are used in a massive amount of ways by people in many circles, the financial circle for one, the intelligence circle as another side and both have been illuminated by novels, TV shows and movies in a massive way, so why mention this part at all?

The quote ““Simply having contact with a known narco-trafficker is not the basis of prosecution,” said Daniel Richman, a professor of law at Columbia University and a former federal prosecutor” is equally important, because as is, why place this article in such light? Because some people are as the quote gives “his interview has made people uncomfortable“, really?

Why is that? You see, many people (many thousands) in the UK have been extremely uncomfortable with the Tesco affair and the involvement of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, how many people have shone a light on this within the BBC, or any other large media outlet for print or multimedia?

Would the answer be Zip or Zilch?

The last quote in the article is actually interesting “As Cesar Diaz, a former senior special agent who worked on investigations of Pablo Escobar, a Colombian drug trafficker, said: “If I was a Mexican authority, I would want to know: How in the heck did Sean Penn know where El Chapo was and we didn’t?”“, most likely he is deceiving the listener with his statement, you see, very likely El Chapo knew exactly where Sean Penn was, not the other way around and as such, one was brought to the other, Cesar Diaz actually knows this. Perhaps he is steering away from the issue that CNN gave light to (at http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/15/americas/mexico-corruption-el-chapo-escape/) on July 16th 2015. Where we see “but a series of scandals in the past year already had top Mexican officials in the hot seat. And Guzman’s escape, experts say, shines an even harsher spotlight on a problem that historically has stretched from police on the streets to the highest halls of power“, which is nothing new really, we have seen it in many sources, now, we might agree that not all sources are reliably honest, yet when we see a ‘random’ 3465 articles regarding corruption, how many would we need to show that there is a massive issue in that regard? In that view, is it equally far-fetched that El Chapo got a phone call from the airport where a young lady with a warm voice states “Senor, your movie star friend from New York La Guardia has arrived 10 minutes ago, tener un día maravilloso!” That would have been the start for a mere pick-up job. Cesar Diaz knows this, there is little mystery here.

Yet as we see all the speculation and worded effort to try to show that something is here, how come that the BBC and all other players are taking a wide berth around the issues of Tesco and the 3 billion drop in value? I gave a little light towards this yesterday, there is little to no action, what scares them?

Now it is time to get back to my slightly lower than basic feel of philosophy. If we accept that Phenomenology is ‘the study of the structures of experience and consciousness‘ how would the press be valued as we see the structure of ‘morality and values‘ regarding the interview of one person regarding another, let’s say, a person with an arts direction and his observations and interactions with an escaped drug baron, perhaps ruler of a drug empire would be better, yet in that same light, the professional press will not step anywhere near Pricewaterhouse Coopers regarding their involvement in a scandal that broke Tesco in little pieces, an involvement as shown by their peer Deloitte we see a version that forces us to ask additional questions regarding the acts that PwC was involved in, so in all that, the press stays away? How can we remain conscious, or better evolve consciousness whilst the press, regarded historically as the evolving factor of our opinion of events, how can we rely on that press who can to a larger extent no longer be trusted in their assessment of what is an issue?

In a similar light, as we see Existentialism as a view where we see that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe. As such, is Sean Penn defining meaning in life? Is he giving us a view where we get to see how the world in some places are managed and arranged? Is that the view that scares Cesar Diaz? Is that the view that scares the ‘uncomfortable’ people? Many know the reality that life for some people in some continents are very different to the one we face.

In that same view, as Existentialism believes that we are free to do, to be and as we must take personal responsibility for ourselves (and our actions), which act is the most immoral one, the path Sean Penn took, or the path the UK press at large refuses to take as they seem to cater to the need of their advertisers and not regarding the path the people are entitled to be informed on? When did the newspaper become the projection of presentation, when did it stop to be the critical informer of events as they happened? So as the press answers that their Existentialism comes with angst, we need to ask regarding the type of angst, angst regarding their income, their career, or their boss. How many of these flags would it take to see them not as journalists, but as mere cowards with some writing skills and decent punctuation? I am just asking!

No, as I see it these facilitators ignore the outside sources, deny angst and move to the music and dance (off the beat) as Sinatra sings ‘Do Be Do Be Do’.

 

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