Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gaming Tuesday- FIFA 12, Pottermore, etc

Yesterday, which was actually Tuesday, which is a minor detail*, I received my Pottermore Email, got paid and bought FIFA 12. I can't emphasis enough how important the getting paid part was. I've basically been living in constant threat of overdraft since a week ago Friday**. So, I got my paycheck, deposited and have since spent the majority of it and still need to buy gas.

Pottermore wasn't initially in my plans for yesterday, but I woke up to the Email, so I planned to devote some time I would have otherwise spent on FIFA 12. I ended up being foiled though, because every time I clicked the link I wasn't allowed on due to overwhelming demand.

I did eventually get logged onto Pottermore this morning and I'll tell you more about that later. As for now I start with FIFA 12.


I spent many hours playing the Demo for FIFA 12. I was uncertain in the Demo rather the gameplay had been made worse or if it had been made better and I was just resisting change. I'm still having that quandary. I feel a little better about now that I've played some games against actual people though. The new things are still confusing, but at least against another human, they're having some of the same issues and not doing the ridiculous things the computer does.

The new "Tactical Defending" system is the cause of most of my problems. It's really hard to get used to. I just don't know if it's an actual improvement. It so far has just caused me to make lots of mistakes and allow stupid goals. It think there might just be too many buttons one needs to push in a specific and ever-changing order to do it right. It is hard to actually make a tackle and that is really frustrating particularly against the CPU, which simply will pass it around and around never allowing you to get close.

I'm not sure about the changes to the attacking side either. I feel better about them than I do about those on the defensive side. The changes aren't really that dramatic either and really are more a product of the different defending and new physics engine. I think it is now easier to score goals without using the "finesse" shot button. I've also found that you can't really cross the ball anymore the way one has been able to in basically every FIFA title up to this point. I've found that you really have to take your time while on the attack in this game and about sums up how this game is different in this phase.

The Career Mode seems to have been improved. The first thing that really made me happy was starting the MLS career on January 1st. That's a small thing, but before when starting as the Crew's manger, I always had to wait until July to make any Transfers. The transfer window is more active and enjoyable in this year's game as well. The CPU will make you offers for players that you haven't put up for sale. Sometimes it'll way over value a player and you get to decide whether or not to keep that player or not. It also no longer seems like it's just a mode that's just a fancy play now mode. Player's have mood, the media publishes stories that may or may not be accurate, you get to say something to the media during certain weeks, and there is a good way to measure a player's form. Also, there is a new system of Youth Scouting. I really like in-depth game modes in sports' games and this definitely qualifies as being in-depth.

Ultimate Team hasn't gotten any dramatic changes. It is built into the game this year, so you don't have to download it. Changes are really just ascetic and help to make more information more information immediately visible. I discovered earlier today that games that get disconnected are not being immediately rewarded as wins or losses, but are being reviewed. I think that's excellent, because often times disconnects aren't anyone's fault, but a product of EA's servers being shit and I hated losing DNF over that.

I think the graphics in FIFA 12 are excellent. They're considerably improved from last year and FIFA 11 wasn't at all bad graphically. I think the new physics engine has some bugs, but it is a step in the right direction. The commentary has been improved as well. They talked somewhat specifically about the Crew***. Also I heard a second commentary team randomly while playing Ultimate Team; mind blown.


no spoilers

I finally managed to actually get into Pottermore this morning. Every few clicks an error message would pop up about the servers, which got annoying. It is interesting, but I haven't gotten that far yet. I was willing to be persistent with it so I could get a wand and get sorted, but after that I found the errors too frustrating.

My wand is Red Oak with Unicorn Corn, 14 1/2 inches****.

I was most excited about sorting. I mean I wasn't as excited about this whole thing as a lot of other people, but getting sorted, I mean... c'mon. I think the quiz does a pretty good job without being too bogged down and academic.

I was very happy when after the Quiz I was put into Hufflepuff house. I would've been alright with anything besides Slytherin, but Hufflepuff was by far my first choice. I still haven't been in the common room though, because after sorting I got an error and couldn't get back in.

I'm hoping it'll be more cooperative soon. I'm questioning whether or not it's really ready to be out of Beta testing by the end of next month.

Thanks for reading


*Long time readers will know that any post with a day of the week in the title won't actually be posted on that day
**I actually did by $ .98, but managed to avoid the fee by transfering funds from my now small savings account.
***"Does this Crew do for you?" seems to be their only line, but still
****I won't have to be insecure about the size of my wand

Edit: I meant to shake you all down for donations for Extra Life in this post. It's coming up and I needs some donations.

You can donate here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Death Penalty

I've always kind of wanted to do a post about the Death Penalty, but it does kind of seem like a topic for a bad argumentative paper in High School. However, the events that happened in Georgia last night have put this issue into the national consciousness.

I believe that there is only one reasonable argument one can make in favor of the Death Penalty is that it serves as a deterrent. Capital crime didn't stop when the death penalty was ruled constitutional in 1974. It clearly does not act as a deterrent. Therefore, I believe it is morally indefensible.

The 7th Amendment to the United States constitution rather famously forbids "cruel and unusual punishments." I think there can be executions that are not excessively* cruel**. The more important language in the modern argument is "unusual." The Death Penalty has obviously become very unusual with our International peers in that it is totally abolished in all other nations with similar value systems. There has been some precedent in recent years for the Supreme Court to take International standards into consideration, but there is still a terrible streak of isolationism there as well. It is also slowly growing closer to being uncommon amongst the states as well.

Executing prisoners is a terrible burden to put on the men and women who work in Prisons, juries who convict people, judges and really on society as a whole. Our justice system strives to be perfect, but it can never be. Eyewitnesses are unreliable, scientific advances can provide new evidence and judges and juries can fall victim to the emotion of the moment. The Death Penalty makes it so mistakes cannot be undone. Executing an innocent man makes the State a murderer and makes those who work in our justice system bear a terrible and unnecessary guilt.

I believe that the State should be able to prosecute from a standing of morality and justice. However, an execution of an innocent makes that impossible. Once a State has done that it can only prosecute from its power. The State has the police force, so as it says goes should not be the basis of the justice system. An execution of a prisoner prevents the rectifying of any potential wrongs and makes the system less just.

Then, the death penalty is simply barbaric. An eye-for-an-eye should not be the basis for any justice system in a civilized country. We don't need to kill some one for killing another. Imprisonment doesn't stoop to the criminals level. He is removed from society as to prevent harm and can live out the rest of his life in prison.

I'm very opposed to the use of capital punishment in the criminal justice system. I think its constitutional standing is weak and is harmful to the pursuit of justice.

Thanks for reading and please comment


*I think that is the best way to interpret the language of the Amendment, because one could argue that any punishment is cruel.
**Regardless of that, what happened in Georgia last night was cruel.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 and reactions

It is strange to think it has been ten years since the attacks on September 11th, 2001. There are people old enough to have intelligent conversations with who weren't old enough to be aware of the strange transition between September 10th, 2011 and September 12, 2001. It's almost impossible to quantify how much that event changed everyone's outlook. The fear of terrorism was instantly put into the everyone's unconscious fears. I started noticing planes in the sky. How weird is it that the notion of someone hijacking a plane and crashing it into a building doesn't seem far fetched anymore?

Ok, I wrote my "where you when" last year and you can find that here. Today, I'm going to talk about the ten years since and our reactions.

As tragic as that day was, I believe the way our policy shifted after the attacks was even worse. The way in which the United States changed after the attacks is what made those attacks effective.

Proportionality should always be taken into account by government when responding to anything. Our government's response to the 9/11 attacks was definitely not proportional to what was in essence a lucky strike by Al-Qaeda. Domestic and foreign policy underwent such dramatic changes and the nation changed fundamentally.

Our nation has been at war for ten years. That is not a proportional militarily response to a terrorist attack. Too much blood and treasure has been lost and spent in response to the attacks. Then there are the tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans who have lost there lives in our war. It's not a just response to what happened. Then, there's the matter of both wars being absolutely unwinnable. Terrorism is a tactic, it is not a group of people and it is not something that can be defeated.

Domestically, in response to the attack the government created a new gigantic, Orwellian-sounding bureaucracy, the Department of Homeland Security, which really has no function. Civil Liberties have been revoked in the name of safety. The PATRIOT Act is something that is damaging the most basic part of what is great about America, Liberty. I really wish our legislators were smart enough to not vote on this right after the attacks. I could see how some would see it as a brilliant idea right after the attacks, but it was a ridiculous expansion of government power that will never end*.

I don't think that there should've been no response to the attacks of September 11th. It just didn't need to be so severe. It's easy to say that now with hindsight, but I'd like to think that a lot of the men and women in government would've had the foresight to see that dramatic changes in the immediate aftermath of such a traumatic event isn't wise. Some changes definitely needed to be made to reduce the risk of another attack, but total safety can never be achieved, so the fundamental changes made are just terrible.

It's always important to remember how unlikely it is for any individual to be killed by terrorism**. The government shouldn't have changed itself after 9/11, but you definitely shouldn't. Doing anything in your life differently because of fear of terrorist attack is just stupid. First, fear is exactly what the groups who perform terrorism want you feel. Second, You just aren't going to die in a terrorist attack.

Thanks for reading

*Government never gives back power once it has it.
**Hank Green stole my thunder on this one.