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Topics - MsBlack

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Welcome / Birthday / Seeya! Forum / Tutty bye for now!
« on: November 16, 2009, 05:17:03 pm »
For those whom it concerns, I'm going to try taking a hiatus from most of my internet haunts and, as much as possible, computers in general for a bit to focus on school and develop myself a bit.

'Back whenever the addiction overcomes me!

This thread is a complement to Lord J's Record of Right-Wing Crazy, for the record of noteworthy religious craziness. Although there is of course much potential for overlap between the two threads, and American Right-Wing Crazy™ is filed under Religious Insanity™, there is undoubtedly enough Religious Insanity™ that would be better placed here.

As with the other thread, please create a separate thread for this thread's discussion. Contributions to the Record only in here, please!

General Discussion / Naming the 50 United States
« on: November 09, 2008, 12:59:29 pm »
Off the top of your head, list as many of the States of the United States of America as you can. You may spend as long on this as you like, but the time you devote to this will likely be restricted by some of the following guidelines for your response:

-Do not use external assistance, including research; music, objects, texts and other sources of ‘inspiration’ should not be used.
-Do this in one place in one sitting.
-Give two scores:
   -The number of States you listed (spelling is not important so long as you had the right idea)
   -The above score, but with the number of incorrect items in your list subtracted
-Explain what informed your response.
-List the places you have lived for any significant amount of time.
-Separate the items in your list into the following three sections, in the same order:
   -Places you know are States
   -Places you think are States
   -Any other guesses
-Once you’ve finished your initial list, list the following, if applicable:
   -States you missed
   -Your incorrect items from the initial list
-Try to maintain the order you thought of each list item in your final listing.
-Time yourself
-You must know the most common abbreviated official name of any States you list. (For example, you would get a point for listing ‘Cali’ so long as you knew that it was more commonly known as ‘California’, but would not need to know that its full official name is ‘State of California’.)
-Please provide any other relevant and useful information you wish to volunteer.

You are now ready to start.

This thread is for those tidbits of thought that are utterly non-sequitur and possibly outright surreal when taken as they occur. Contributions to the narrative should be placed in quotes or otherwise formatted to distinguish them from stand-alone stand-alone thoughts. Bonus points for true musings!

General Discussion / Games of the XXIX Olympiad
« on: August 08, 2008, 12:36:35 pm »
It has begun.

This thread nominally encompasses anything related to the 2008 Sumer Olympics.

General Discussion / Ethics and morality
« on: June 28, 2008, 09:03:10 pm »
Burning Zeppelin once challenged my principle of secular universal ethics. This was before I became as interested in philosophy and analysing my positions as I am now; I’d previously tried (and it was poor form, I now know) to ignore the fundamental discomfort I had with universal ethics: justifying their ‘building blocks’. The following are some of my current thoughts on ethics and morals; it comfortably reconciles human preference for having ethics with my discomfort with universal (absolute) ones. So, without further ado...Zeppy, this one's for you!


Morals. Ethics. These are things that the vast majority of apparently capable humans don't think about very much at all, considering their fundamental importance to our lives. The technical differences between morals and ethics are subtle and--as I have decided from my attempts to find them--apparently esoteric or non-existent, and surely contentious. However, if I convey what I mean by the word 'morals' and what I mean by the word 'ethics' and attempt to explain the differences between these terms, I can perhaps provide a greater awareness of their nature and diminish ambiguity in my writings thereon.

To me, morals refer to the principles asserting what actions a group considers generally acceptable. Morals are typically obeyed by a society with the spoken or unspoken threats of conscious or unconscious reproach, punishment and alienation as possible results of disobeying these principles. Note that I write, 'generally acceptable', as opposed to 'should or should not be done' because some who hold moral principles would, when, pressed, admit that they don't think some breaches of a moral are necessarily always wrong, just that they would generally 'frown upon' them.

Ethics, on the other hand, are individual principles that dictate what a person considers right and what a person considers wrong. The ethics may or may not reflect the morals of a group or groups they belong to. Ethics generally derive from a few or even a single fundamental, often instinctual principle. An example would be that harming a 'sapient being' is wrong. From this very general, fundamental principle, one may come to a rather obscure ethical position such as that pinching a person twenty metres underground the surface of a point in the Amazon rainforest is wrong because it constitutes harm of a sapient being.

So, we have our definitions (well...'my’ definitions), but these are still ambiguous. The ambiguity I have in mind regards the meaning of ‘right’ and the meaning of ‘wrong’. As right and wrong are mutually exhaustive and exclusive states, the definition of one can be trivially given in terms of the other: right can be, 'not wrong' while wrong can be, 'not right'.

Having thought about this, it seems convenient to define right as 'not wrong' and wrong as 'Violating one or more fundamental and thus assumed principles of what actions are tolerable', with 'fundamental' effectively meaning an arbitrary, irreducible, ‘just because’ assumption (fundamental phenomena come to mind as a good comparison; they are the building blocks of all matter, cannot be broken down and apparently ‘just are’).

Now, we really do have (hopefully) unambiguous definitions. But, in forming these definitions, we've exposed what I originally intended to convey in writing this: ethics, filters through which we view our actions and limit our lives and which are, to many people, unquestionable truths are completely arbitrary and based on assumptions.

The causes of ethics are ultimately selfish pre-occupations. Why don't we murder unprovoked? There are some more obviously selfish and self-preserving reasons. For example, because otherwise a precedent for unprovoked murder may be set, and our survival would be in considerable danger. Perhaps because otherwise we may end up punished.

But a perhaps less obviously selfish reason is that harming a sapient being without provocation is wrong. But why is it wrong? The most effective and yet still insufficient justification for this position is appealing to emotion, such as, 'Because if we permit unprovoked murder, we must permit harming sapient beings, which would mean someone could come along and assault or kill you for no reason'. But overlooking the probably emotional response, we realise that that's all it is: an emotional response, not a formally logical one.

In fact, it's impossible to use formal logic to prove universal ethics (ethics inherent to at least the Universe that dictate what actions are right and what actions are wrong), so why should we hold any ethics? How can we be ensure that an enlightened society that acknowledges the absence of universal ethics wouldn't degenerate into chaos, wanton slaughter and extreme capriciousness?

Collaboration. Collaboration towards common goals. Common goals such as happiness while coexisting with others in a stable environment necessitate setting aside such tendencies as those above. In practice, stable society necessitates some method of dealing with those who jeopardise common goals and the rules set up to support them to ensure the best possible environment for pursuing these goals. By assuring that those who do so will be dealt with accordingly, a deterrent is present to keep people in line. We can see that universal ethics are not necessary for a stable, prosperous society. Common goals and the means to protect the pursuit thereof are two of the necessary things for a stable, prosperous society.

While it seems ‘universal ethics’ are mere wishful thinking, collaboration can ensure adherence to ethics that promote happiness as best possible. In a theoretical, ideal society, morals and ethics as defined here may become indistinguishable--though that’s not to say that personal tendencies and behaviours necessarily become consistent across all inhabitants of such a society. We can’t derive ‘universal ethics’, but we can fashion as good as.

Chrono Compendium Discussion / Sora / Omnimaru / twilight_skies
« on: December 23, 2007, 08:17:24 pm »,4935.0.html


1a) The Japanese learning project hasn't even started
1b) You even seemed to admit you weren't cut out for learning Japanese
2) Your various seemingly-needless name changes show you're fickle
3) I acknowledged that you have done good things but I also pointed out that doesn't excuse your retarded posts.
4) Since when was 'doing something for the compendium' something required for being a member? By that logic, we'd never have any new members because they shouldn't sign up as they haven't done anything for the Compendium by virtue of the fact they're new.
5) Learn his name. It's Rasmus. Oh wait, apparently you're incapable of reading, let alone writing English.
6) ZeaLitY (well done for spelling his name correctly) also hasn't deleted any of my posts. Again, by your logic that would magically make my posts not spam, contradicting your assertion that I am spamming.
7) Tell you what, my contribution to the Compendium is trying to get you to leave. My posts hence are not spam because thy are not Stupid, Pointless, Annoying Messages. They are thought-out, aim towards a goal and only annoy the hypersensetive.
8) Paraphrasing Rasmus and using it against someone doesn't necessarily make you right. You can accuse me of 'stroking my ego' all you want, but whether that's true or not doesn't make my points any less... right.
9) That's all I can think of right now.
10) I'm 14... but who's resorted to petty insults, macros and can't use their native language? You, in case you failed to realise. My age doesn't make my points any less valid or you any less retarded.

But thanks for putting some effort into writing that post. You may want to get your shift key checked out. And if you decide to bash out another reply, don't bother being pedantic. Unlike you I don't plan to close this topic to get the last word.

General Discussion / I dislocated my pinky!
« on: December 05, 2007, 01:11:22 pm »
Well, a few hours ago I was bouncing a basketball while waiting for a game to start at school when I didn't quite prepare my left pinky for receiving the ball coming up when lunging after it and seemed to stub it. I hopped around comically with my finger between my legs half-laughing and half-shrieking. When the pain had mostly subsided, I inspected my hand. It looked quite like this.

I stared at it for a second to make sure I wasn't hallucinating then started laughing. I let the ball bounce away and hastened off tot he 'school office' and explained that I seemed to have dislocated my finger. They tried to contact my mother, but couldn't, triet my grandfather but were uncsuccessful then tried him again a bit later and got through. He finally turned up almost an hour later and took me to the Accident and Emergency Minor Injuries Unit at the nearby hospital. After booking in, my grandfather went to park his car again (for he had initially parked it in an ambulance bay) and I waited for five to ten minutes to be seen. Eventually a nurse came out and led me into a cubicle. She asked me my date of birth, allergies, medicines I took etc. and looked at my finger. She said she would check something with somebody else and soon came back with an older nurse.

The older nurse quickly looked at the finger and immediately agreed it was dislocated. She said they would administer 'laughing gas' and get the bone back into place. When she reappeared, she had yet another doctor with her as well as a gas canister. She told me to breathe in from a tube emerging from the cylinder and to say when I started feeling strange. At the moment, I can't think of a way to describe how I felt... I've never 'taken' a hallucogenic, mariuana etc., but I can imagine that's what being 'high' feels like.

After around ten breaths, I told her that my head was beginning to feel funny. The latest, male doctor told me to take two more breaths, which I managed to do despite feeling like I had little control over my body. The first nurse, who I figured was still training to some extent, quickly held my left hand and pulled the pinky so the bone went back into place. As she did so, I felt a small amount of pain but, as I commented, it was incredible how rapid and effective the gas had been.

The senior nurse then asked the trainee something, testing her. She rapidly recited something, but I'm not sure what as I was still feeling strange. I got off the bed I had been lying on and sat in a chair until I felt normal. They put padding between my pinky and the one next to it (I always forget the fingers' names) and wrapped them together. My grandfather, upon an intercom announcement finally arrived and I was then instructed to go to the radiology department to get an x-ray.

We went to radiology and booked-in again at the radiology desk. After a couple of minutes, another doctor ushered me into a relatively vast room with a large machine fixed on rails suspended from the ceiling. I sat down and the doctor placed some black 'thing' under my arm then took two pictures. He sent the images back to the Minor Injuries Unit and instructed me to go back there.

My grandfather and I first went to a place that looked identical to the MiIU but which we soon discovered was the Major Injuries Unit and then back to the MiIU. There, the first two doctors discussed the x-ray then said I would need to book a checkup. This shall be at around 14:00 GMT on Tuesday.

Hopefully I remembered everything and that makes sense.

General Discussion / Beowulf Thread ('Spoilers')
« on: November 17, 2007, 05:38:56 pm »
Although this may be better placed in the Reviews Thread (and mods feel free to move it if you deem it necessary), I hope some interesting discussion shall take place that would derail the Reviews Thread if confined there. I haven't read Beowulf, but a couple of hours ago I saw the film. I think the film was excellent. Normally, I can't be bothered to write a review of... anything, as I always feel such a review should be reasonably long. However, the film proved to be good enough in my opinion to encourage me to write this. This thread is intended for Beowulf in general: the film, the poem and anything else pertaining to Beowulf. The film's running time is approximately 114 minutes long (2 hours minus 6 minutes) and is rated '12a' in the UK, 'PG-13' in the US and 'M' in Australia.

The poem is considered an epic and a classic and this film is certainly epic and worthy of becoming a classic. From the outset, I was astounded at the incredibly realistic animation (Robert Zemeckis has also used this technique in The Polar Express. At many points in the film, I found myself wondering if a snippet of live action had been snuck in, and, for all I know, perhaps it was. At first this flashy display of animation seemed unnecessary, but upon seeing a grotesque creature graphically rip a man in half, I  no longer felt as such. It's this detailed computer-assisted imagery that could make the film a milestone in animation in years to come.

For an animated (a heck of a long animated) film, it is comparatively gruesome. Men are ripped in half, the aforementioned creature looks half-decomposed, torrents of blood flow realistically from monsters. Due to the realism of it, one arguably sees Angelina Jolie's breasts, which she admitted she wouldn't let her children see. The film is rated a '12a' here, meaning it is recommended for those 12 and over, but under-12s may be allowed to see it with an adult. The '12a' rating only applies to cinemas; once a film is released on DVD, VHS etc. its rating is simply '12'. As such, I was expecting the film to be an excessively violent, shallow butchering of the epic.

How wrong I was. The story, for a film animation, is told incredibly maturely; integral to the plot are themes of adultery and true to the poem, it's a tragedy. Despite all the characters being animated, and at least two of them being monsters, they can evoke surprising emotional responses. When the first anatagonist died, I felt a little pity, despite it being a repulsive thing. When Beowulf died, I was saddened and was roused every time he shouted "I am Beowulf". The gore was kept surprisingly low. This is not to say it wasn't there and that it wasn't shown off, merely that more screen time seems to be given to more sedate conversation between characters, though I don't recall there being any very long dialogues. I think the film struck a good balance between the two to keep people looking for either one or both happy.

Complementing the film's animation and storytelling is the soundtrack. Wonderful singing and captivating music help build up the atmosphere during the infrequent make-you-jump moments and throughout the film. The main reason I sat through the ten-or-so minutes of credits was to listen to the music that played over them (the other reason being to see if there was a hidden scene after them).

To sum it up, one should not be deceived by the fact that his is an animation; it is realistic and reaches unprecedented levels of storytelling, incredible literal quality (i.e. of the animation itself) and boasts a gripping soundtrack; Beowulf is not just for children, it has something for everyone. It has the fighting some will look for in it, the dialogue others will look for and there's even a few reasonably clever, mild jokes in there.

Welcome / Birthday / Seeya! Forum / Hi
« on: April 10, 2007, 02:30:55 am »
Hi,  I'm MsBlack.

I'm presently playing through a ROM version of Chrono Trigger at the moment and have been lurking here for a while, particularly in General Discussion.

Cya round!

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