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Everything posted by toms

  1. Vong suck. More thrawn would be nice though. I'd love a detailed sim along the lines of Tie-fighter.. but its not going to happen gasmes don't get made these days unless you can fit all the controls on a gamepad. Still.. dynamic campaign, full 3d cockpits, interesting and varied missions, chance to play as the bad guys, alleigence style multiplayer, chance to run around inside larger ships to man turrets, assign crew and droids, repair hyperdrives, etc.. would be nice. For those more consoley inclined: Clone wars - The game. Cell shaded jedi action at a frantic pace, slicing and force pushing through 1000s of droids at a time. Facing, or even playing as grievous. KoToR was great.. KoToR2 was dull. The slogging through 1000s of meaningless battles against space-frogs before you can get to the next plot point was really boring. I haven't played jade empire yet.. but maybe it's combat system is more exciting. Or the new bioware games coming up. A neverwinter nights or morrowind set in the starwars rpg universe would be cool. The time between the trilogies is ripe for exploitation by any number of games. Heck, the "hunting down and killing the jedi" bit has been begging for a game for decades. I'm sure lucasarts will obige, though i suspect they won't be the sort of games ill get excited about. Most important to me though, they need to have a good plot with interesting characters. All the recent SW games (excpet KoToRs) have had almost no plot, no developed characters, and just been a chance to play through bits of the movies. The attempts at NEW plots and characters have resulted in rubbish like Jaden, KyleHEARTSjan, whoever those characters were in starfighter, etc.. As for FPS.. i want something deeper, slower, more freeform.
  2. This only ever seems to be an issue in the states. Other countries have guns, or not, and thats that. It seems to me that the problem isn't GUN OWNERSHIP, its GUN MANUFACTURE. US weapons companies seem to be producing weapons at a rate that they couldn't possibly sell them at... if it wasn't for them relying on the fact that a large number will get stolen or end up in the wrong hands. Its like the way cellphone sales growth depended on the high theft rate of mobiles.. and handset makers and networks resisted putting in place measures to block stolen phones. Gun companies seem to similarly rely on the theft and loss of weapons to keep their market growing.. and similarly fail to create systems to prevent the theft and use of stolen guns that funds their profits. Liberals in the US should give up on ever attempting to get a ban on guns, the people there have too much of a romantic, fetishistic relationship with the idea of guns to ever give them up. IMHO they should go for the total opposite approach. Compulsory gun ownership for all adults. Every adult gets a government funded double barrelled shotgun and 4-6 shells. All come with some form of gun lock, pin code and embedded serial number that can be linked to the owner. All must be re-registered once per year.. and failure to do so or report a theft results in a fine. Tax on all additional weapons and ammo should be increased exponenitially.. though approved weapons clubs and schools can get reductions on this tax. All weapons and ammo are embedded with registration numbers linked to the seller and the owner. People can register at schools or gun clubs and check out weapons.. but the process is thorough and the gun club is responsible for all actions. This way everyone gets their precious consitutional gun.. but they are controlled like cars and they are weapons that can be used for home defence and deterent, but not for shooting sprees.
  3. I got a steam question too. I finally bought HL2 (!!) (the GotY DVD version) and I wanna put it on the laptop i'm taking to japan. thing is.. i dunno when/if i'll get an internet connection again. I've never used steam before: if I log in, download the updates and activate the game before I go, can I keep playing it.. or does it need to connect to the internet every time i play, or every week or something?
  4. I can't imagine religious people are any more charitable than none religious people. Hardly anyone i know is religious, that doesn't stop them giving money to charity and helping people who need help. Infact the majority of charities seem entirely unconnected with religion. Where charity IS part of an orgainised religion (like art, science, music and technology before it) it is often corrupted by that religion.. or at the very least used to further that religion's agenda. I was amazed to learn recently that the medieval practice of tithing seems to still exist in the USA.. i have no idea on how widespread a level.. but I'd be very interested to know where all these 10%s of people's incomes go to. Building and maintaining churches i'd suspect. I have yet to see any evidence that religion increases one's charity.. it often doesn't increase one's tollerance or forgiveness. I can't think of any major social reformations that have begun or been supported by organised religion.. infact they are usualy the ones trying to prevent such challenges to the status quo and their power. ANd i definately don't buy the whole "religion is just an excuse" for all the deaths and suffering caused in it's name. religion is an idea.. a belief. When that idea or believe motivates people to do something it IS because of religion, and it is harm that religion has caused.
  5. Its got a five hour buzz and no crash afterwards.. it sounds like exactly what you need..
  6. What does Osama's almost total lack of involvement with the taliban have to do with this thread?
  7. If he gets the pope or the turkey earthquake right i'll pay attention.. nott long to wait to find out. 95% prediction rate on how many predictions?
  8. I heard the price drop was only for the japanese base model.. which makes no sense as Japan is by far their strongest market. They could sell it for double and people would still probably buy it over there. Its the US and europe where they are facing stiff competition from MS and need to drop the price. Still, maybe there will be an announcement about other territories later.
  9. But games only get the blame because people DON'T do their homework and jump to conclusions...
  10. I just wish they'd do the fries without salt like KFC.. oh and that they'd give an alternative to fries in the meal deals.. I usually just want the burger and a coke.. but its more expensive to buy that than it is to buy the meal with fries. I always think "i'll just leave the fries" but it never works that way. *wishes you could get a pot of spicy rice or beans instead of fries* oh well, at least now i'll be able to try their breakfasts.. everyone says they are better than their burgers.. but i've never been up early enough to try one. I'm not really a morning person...
  11. A lot of people have, they've stopped going to the cinema and started downloading films, or watching dvds at home.
  12. Illegal immigrants make up (at most) between 3-6% of the population.. i don't see how they can wreck classes. And legal immigrants would speak different languages as well, so their legal/illegal status wouldn't make much difference. Plus there are a lot of countries in the world where kids learn in 2 or more languages, and they don't seem to have any trouble. America has always been a country made up of immigrant groups (polish, italian, irish, spanish, etc..) and that never effected the education system much. And since when was being liberal a "special interst group"? Its a cultural attitude. Before the 60s cultural attitudes were very traditional. In the 60s they became much more liberal. Now they are becoming more traditional again. This inevitably influences those who teach, and are taught. I don't think this "libralism" itself is the problem.. though it did cause some problems that the old traditional system didn't have.. but it also brought a lot of benefits. However the school system hasn't really evolved since those attitudes of the 70s.. it needs to evolve to the '00s. Also, if you watch programmes like Supernanny (do you get that in the US?) it becomes clear that the tearaway kids that shout and scream and hit things are the ones with the parents that shout and scream and hit things. The host of that show seems to be able to "fix" all these problem kids without any need to use corporal punishment. - i'm not actually sure the education system IS failing. It all depends on what it's goals are. And i think that is half the problem.. no one has ever really decided what the POINT of schools is. If it is to get as many people as possible to have a basic understanding of as many subjects as possible then the current system is doing better than any before. Its churning through a record number of students, as quickly and cheaply as possible.. and teaching them a record number of things... its just not making them OUTSTANDING in any way. There are lots of cases of people going through the current system and doing great.. and usually they experience roughtly the same system as those that do badly (though poorer areas almost always do worse). Is it that they are just smarter? I doubt it.. i think its down to motivation. Wih the current education system, you only really get back what you put in.. and most kids aren't motivated to put much in. This is probably due to the fact that, in todays fast moving world, attention spans are shorter, and kids are fed a media diet that tells them that they don't need to study or work hard to be sucessful.. they just need to be famous. So maybe all this z-list celeb culture and reality tv IS one of the causes. But what can you do about it? First everyone needs to agree on what the actual goal is. I bet if you ask a lot of teachers or education officials then you'll get a whole different set of answers. If a company didn't know what it's goal was then it wouldn't be very efficient! I think that the aim should be to (a) prepare kids for real life (which current schools don't do at all) and (b) teach kids the skills they need for work (which current schools tend to do the opposite of). Lessons should be shorter, broken into smaller chunks. They should be more varied and dynamic. Innovation and creativity should be rewarded. Homework should be to write a GOOD report on one page.. not a report padded out to 10 pages. Emphasis should be on goals, motivations and team working. Split kids into different groups every 6 weeks and give them a different project to complete as a group. then have everything they learn in those weeks contribute and relate to that project (be it maths, history, or even french). Have projects that reflect different careers, so they might actually have an idea of what real life is like, and have some information about what thy like when they make important choices about subjects. Use modern techniques, like computer programes, phonics, flashcards, memory reinforcement, etc.. I've got some really cool software to help me learn japanese.. i never had stuff like that when i was learning french at school.. so they should get to use these things in schools. Explain to kids what adult life is like, and how the choices they make will affect their future.. which is something too far ahead for most of them to see. Make them set long and short term goals.. write them down, and then review them periodically to see how they are doing. Give them self study periods.. with the resources they need to learn.. but make them have goals and make sure they work towards them. Enforce a strict dress code. Not uniforms.. but smart, businesslike. Give them good nutritious food. (This has been proven repeatedly to have a major effect on results, attention spans, behaviour, etc..) Make them responsible for the classroom. Before each lesson they have to set it up. After school they have a rota to clean up the mess, put things away, etc. Make school discipline sensible. Most school discipline is pointless, because it isn't a punishment to the kids and it often seems unfair or random. Make the reasons WHY they are punished obvious and accountable. Kids now all play computer games.. they understand how the systems in those games work. SO make something like that. they get points for achievements.. loose points for bad behaviour.. different points levels have different rewards/punishments. Behaviour points shouldn't just affect the individual, but should affect the whole project group, or maybe the house if its split into houses (harry potter style). Kids dont' care so much about being punished themselves as they do about letting the whole group down. There are lots of other things you could do. Basically I think the system is underfunded.. and no one has the guts or vision to make major changes to how things work. But i think a lot of the teachers who complain are just stuck in an outdated routine.. they need to look at WHY they are teaching, what their goals are, what the kids will respond to, and then try and cahnge their teaching methods to match today's times. Not just blame illegal immigrants, or other external factors that they can't control.
  13. Indeed. I've tried to limit myself to just deaths where they actually NAMED the religion as their motivation. I guess I wouldn't count a guy saying that he had a divine right to rule as a evil caused by religion. However a lot of wars are due to people supporting or opposing people's divine rights to rule because of their sect. Such as in england where there were a lot of wars and uprisings attempting to replace Protestant queens with catholics, and visa versa. I would say that WAS an evil caused by religion. True. Even if we woke up tomorrow and all religion had disappeared then there would still be wars and conflict. Partly because the initial religious differences have now become deep seated traditional tribal enemies. And a lot of wars had nothing to do with religion (WW1, WW2, Stalin's uprising in russia, etc..). They were mostly about people's personal agendas and desire for power. Though its interesting to note that the movements people like hitler and stalin inspired and led worked very much like religions. I do think that the magical elimination of all religions would, on blanace, do some good.. but i suspect something else would rise up to fill it's space. No denying it, religions have done some good. One could maybe argue that religion had a big effect on early technology and writing. However for every good effect there is a bad one. Eg: religion might have caused the widespread use of latin.. but then the church tried to keep it to itself and use it to control the people. And religion has been responsible for the supression of a lot of social reform movements, science and art. Darwin was hounded and scared to release his paper on evolution. He is still condemned by some. Wasn't galileo hounded and imprissoned for suggesting the sun might go around the earth? Lots of early scientists were imprisoned or silenced for questioning basic religious beliefs. The early church tred to ban writing and printing to preserve their power. the evolution of medicine and science basically STOPPED in christian europe for several hundred years.. if not went backwards.. because of religious laws. It was only in muslim countries that they made significant medical and scientific advances, and where modern day medicine was born. And social reform movements, such as the suffragete movenment campaigning for rights and votes for women, were often trying to overthrow the very rules that religions had imposed on them. Yeah. I wasn't hugely convinced by that article either. But it does at least show that religion doesn't have a measurably positive influence on societies. It does seem to be true that people who are in hardship (war, depression, poverty, fear, opression) do tend to turn to religion more often.. so it might be the opposite effect to what the author implies. I'm not sure i remember a lot of cases where those poor people were tangibly helped by turning to religion though.. I might be interested in readng that. Capitalism is basically the ultimate extension of "survival of the fittest", so i'd imagine it has been resposible for a lot of deaths. Comunism was just more direct. And while bodycounts aren't the only way.. they are about the only measurable way when it comes to something as vaired and immesurable as religion.
  14. Live forever as an old person? No thanks. I can only see universal immortality leading to problems. The world's population would quickly get out of control. If people lived forever but were old then we'd have an ancient population, with no way to support it. If they lived forever and were young then they'd have to work forever.. this would have a major impact on the economy, jobs, etc.. The highlander tv series explored a lot of interesting issues with immortality being only available to the few: outliving loved ones. Some people made the most of it and used their time to keep improving themselves. Others lost all motivation because they just got fed up. Some lost all respect for those that didn't live forever.. or never wanted to form attachments because they'd lost too many people. There are a whole host of impacts. I'd settle for being able to be fit, active and healthy up until i drop dead... and avoiding arthritis, parkinsons, senility and so on.
  15. me too. I've never understood why they didn't always do this.
  16. Pho3nix, but i think he pressed the wrong button by mistake..
  17. Everyone talks at restaurants, so i don't see the problem with that. Most people have their phones turned off in theatres, churches and cinemas.. so i dont' see the problem with jamming for those that forget/are evil. You could connect it to the fire alarm system.. or have another "break glass in case of emergency" panel for turning off the phone system.
  18. While I consider Islam to be fundamentally similar to all religions, I am willing to concede that, at the moment and on balance, it does seem less reformed than many of the other religions. However what gets me confused is that all the people who make the most fuss about islamic law, islamic states and islam being unreformed are the ones who want to promote christian law, christian states and "traditional christian values". (Eg: They want everyone to get married. they don't like homosexuals either, they don't beleive in the advances in science like evolution, they want religin taught in schools, etc..) And I'd argue that Islam HAS been as reformed as christianity, if not more so, at numerous points in history. The fact it has recently become more traditional, isolationist and extreme is as a result of two things. (1) Saudi influence. (2) The effects of american foreign policy. hopefully our muslim brothers can shrug off these effects and go back to being leaders in medicine, science, literature and other fields.
  19. I agree that it needs a major overhaul. Starting from scratch. But no politician is ever going to hav the power or guts to try that. When we talk about whether its too harsh or too weak we are basing our opinions on a selected handful of annecdotal stories that we have read in the press. Which is no way to make a rational decision. I'm sure we've all read a story about someone who got a too-short sentance.. but that doesn't mean they all do.. or even that there weren't circumstances we don't know about in that case. I do agree that the way the justice system in the US treats minors is disgraceful. SO does amnesty. - I think that they need a system which is smarter, more refined, more flexible, quicker and with more feedback. You see how some computer games are so finely balanced by their developers.. every action and effect tested and balanced. But the justice system has just grown organically, under the yo-yoing control of extremist politicians from both sides. I can't help but think that if you started from scrath, and got a load of smart programmers to look at the issue, they could work out a fairer system. Seperate levels of offences, multipliers for mitigating circumstances, or previous offences, or violence or motivation. Jury recommendations and victim requests having an impact on sentances. Judge's sentancing stats analysed on a annual basis to determine discrepancies. Etc.. Most crime is carried out by drug addicts. Most crime is carried out by repeat offenders. Most crime is carried out by the poor. Rehabilitaion is fairly pointless when the underlying causes are never addressed.
  20. My choices: - Ecomomics - Society values - Celeb culture - Diet - Education system that is based on the needs of 1900s students, not modern ones.
  21. Thats not really a conspiracy theory though.. everyone knew that. - I like conspiracy theories. They are fun and exciting. And I'm used to watching movies and tv shows that almost ALWAYS have a shocking twist at the end... why can't really life be that exciting too? But most conspiracy theories only show their side of the story.. they show the facts taht fit their interpretatin, but forget about anything that doesn't fit with their view of what happened. Two of the most famous bits of conspiracy theory evidence are fromt he JFK assasination: 1 - That even a professional sniper wouldn't be abole to make those shots from that location and in that time. 2 - The "magic bullet" theory. Ask almost anyone about JFK and they'll know about these things. And when you hear them they sound VERY compelling. But (1) is simply untrue.. oswald DID have sniper training.. but almost anyone could easily make the number of shots in the time available. Then we come to the problem with conspiracy theories.. all the theories get based on other theories and become more and more theoretical. EG: the only way it becomes hard for oswald to make the shots in the time is if the magic bullet theory is true. Which it isn't. (2) is complete rubbish. They have used 3d modelling to map the path of the bullets through the car and it fits exactly. - My favorite examples of conspiracy theory related to The Matrix and Star Wars. After the first matrix film I read so many deep, in depth analyses of the matrix, what everything meant, what everything symbolised, how it all fit together. And without excetption they were all totally WRONG. They were very convincing though. Similarly, I remember reading a deeply thought out piece about how the robots in SW were contrlling everything.. but that turned ot to be complete rubbish too. It is easy to take circumstancial evidence and points A and C and guess what happened in between.. but the odds are that it was just point B. And all these conspiracies all seem needlessly complicated.. anyone clever enough to have the power to try one of these would know that the easiest and safest way would be the simplest.
  22. Cool about them fixing the music in ANH. Its amazing how that slight change in music completely killed the atmosphere! Its a shame if the new set doesn't get a decent version (or even any version) of the original cuts. :( Though I thought they might pull that when they made this lot a "limited period only" set. I wonder if they can do anything to fix Ep 1 and Ep 2. With lucas's penchant (spelling?) for changing his films it would be nice if he could actually do something to fix the REALLY bad bits, instead of just breaking the bits people actually like. I always wanted to see the Ep2 Imax presentation, which apparently had to cut a load of the cheesy romance out to fit on the Imax format.. and actually made the film better. Wonder if they'll cut aurra sing back out of Ep1.. as her last minute insertion amounted to ZERO. If anyone's seem the Phantom Edit they'll know that with some editing Ep1 can be improved.. though its still only just passable. Cutting out a lot of the Jar-Jar comedy and Jake's "Whoo!"s would help though.
  23. Dark side kyle ftw.. (light side, Jedi Outcast, "oh Jan I luurve you!!" -> under the thumb)
  24. What, like its supposed to be hard?? [/legally blonde impersonation]
  25. Memory cards aren't worth hanging onto, are they? I don't think there is anywhere to plug them into on a Wii. There are about 3 major games left on GCN I wanna play, and about 4 other ones i'm interested in trying. But the prices are just insane for year old games. I think the RRP for RE4 on ps2 was less than the price its still selling for second hand. Whereas I've picked up 7 or 8 cool games for my xbox for a under £5 in the last few months. Either all nintendo games are so good that no-one ever resells them, or they just don't make enough of the good ones. I've touched my GCN precisely once inthe last 12 months, to play Majora's Mask.. which isn't even a gcn game. I sure as heck hop some of the third party games make a profit on the Wii and it actually gets supported this time.. would be a shame to have 2 cool N consoles both gathering dust.
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