Tuesday, 28 February 2012

What do you do when you get a perfect score?

I've been semi hooked on lumosity for a few weeks now.  For those that don't know what it is it is basically a brain game site which tracks your performance.  The goal is for you to repeatedly play the various games which target different "brain areas" of

  • Speed
  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Flexibility
  • Problem Solving
Most games help improve more then one "brain area" and the goal is to steadily increase your "BPI" or Brain Performance Index.  Which can be compared to others in your age group.  I like some games while some are just a chore to play.  I'm pretty even across the board in the areas with all my scores in the top 10% of my age group (40-45 year olds) and I've been stuck at 94% over all for a few weeks.

I find it interesting that the games I like the most tend to be the word games because, honestly, I'm pretty bad at spelling.  One game is Word Bubbles Rising.  Where there are 3 stages each 1 minute long.  The first stage you get a 2 letter prefix with which you enter in as many words beginning with those 2 letters as possible but it is a bit more complicated then that if you want to score well. Each word is worth so many points and you try to get 3 words of each length from 4-10 letters.  Any words over 10 letters counts as a 10 letter word and a 3 letter word counts as a 4 letter word.  After getting 3 words for a given length you get a "star" if you get a star for every length then each word after that gives a LOT of bonus points.  Rounds 2 and 3 are similar but you start off with a 3 letter prefix in round 2 and a 4 letter prefix in round 3.  Sounds like round 2 & 3 would be harder but not so.  In round 2 after 30 seconds the last letter of the prefix is removed letting you create words with just  the 2 letter prefix.  So "sch" becomes "sc".  Round 3 knocks of a letter at the 20 and 40 second point of the round.

The game is a bit random because the prefixes are random, but you always get a prefix that some words start with.  Some prefixes are much easier to make words with then others.

With every word completed you rise from the sea bed a bit based on the number of points you got for that word.  I've now had a few times where I've busted through the water's surface and started going into the sky.  This game is good because you can almost always get better and you can replay to get better.

Here is the dilemma.  Since your BPI is an average of your scores do you stop playing when you've got a bunch of good scores?  For a game like this you always have the opportunity to improve.  But with other games there are caps to your score.  Memory Matrix is a game where in 15 rounds you are shown some tiles in a grid for about 1-2 seconds before they go away and you have to click each spot in the grid where the tiles were.  It starts out with a 3x3 grid with 3 tiles then each round tries to add 1 more tile and increases the dimensions of the grid by 1 unit in either width or height.  You get points for every correct tile you pick but once you select a spot where a tile wasn't that round is over and the next round starts with 1 less tile then what you where on.  If you get all the tile locations you get bonus points and the next round gets a little harder.

Well since that is the game full stop there is a "perfect" score you can get which is by doing all 15 rounds perfectly.  What do you do after you get that?  You'll never do better.  Speed doesn't matter and you can't start with 10 tiles instead of 3.  I guess I now have to try to get a perfect score multiple times in a row :/

Part of my problem with these games is there is a bit of a difference between how you should play to expand your mind and get smarter and just getting a higher "BPI" score.  Ah well I'll keep playing to try to get smarter and just deal with the fact that some times my scores will dip down and not come back up to my "best" scores for a while.  I don't need to be in the top 1% or even 5% of people that play these games.  I'm happy with knowing my vocabulary and spelling is getting better.  Oh I guess my memory is getting better too!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

This is #&^@ed up

Two women that attacked Terry Martin as he left Hobart's Supreme Court are being charged with assault.  For those of you that don't know Terry Martin is a former Tasmanian MP that has been convicted of possession of child pornography, producing child pornography and have sexual intercourse with a 12 year old girl.
Terry Martian's sentence? 10 months...suspended for having sex with the 12 year old girl.  Supposedly taking medication for Parkinson's disease caused him to be "Sex crazed" and from what I must gather temporarily insane that or the judge is permanently insane.  I gather he was taking some type of cabergoline but even with the studies that show that it does make it easier to be aroused does this warrant a suspended sentence for having sex with a 12 year old?  This man would have been taking the drug for a while.  Surely if you found yourself loosing control of your sexual inhibitions you'd talk to your doctor about it wouldn't you?
I'd like to think that it isn't just because I'm a parent that I'm feeling the disgust that I am.  Honestly there are a few things that I would put in to the bucket of always inexcusable and pedophilia is one of those things. 

What is worse is that there are 2 other men that had sex with that same little girl and the court knows who they are but they are not even being charged.  Honestly...what the fuck is going on in Tasmania. 

It's a sad day with this type of shit happens.  The whole tragic situation is even more sad when you realise the 2 women that "assaulted" Terry Martin will probably get a more severe sentence then he does.  Seems having a video tape of having sex with a 12 year old is less damning then video of an old lady with a walking stick hitting a pedophile with it as he leaves the courts as a free man.


Monday, 20 February 2012

How can the GOP claim the latest tax break as a win?

Eric Cantor says "No one is satisfied with the direction of the economy right now."

Lets look at this.  There is only 2 directions the economy can go in.  Up or down.  Currently the economy is getting better.  Unemployment rates are dropping.  So ... what?  Eric Cantor is another republican that thinks America should have higher unemployment rates?

He does go on to immediately say "They want to see more growth. People want to see more job oppertunities."  Well lets look at this.  It was under the Republicans that we got the negative growth.  It was under the republicans that we had an unemployment rate soring into the double digits.  There was a lot to unfuck and Eric here is bagging Obama because he isn't fixing the cluster fuck of an economy and financial situation that his party handed to him.  Get real, this is political spin taken to an extreme sport level.

At every turn you'll hear Obama say it won't be quick and it won't be easy.  But we are getting there.  This is happening even with the republicans trying to block everything Obama is doing.

He claims Obama doesn't want to cut spending yet Obama has committed to over 2 trillion dollars in spending cuts.  What they are really upset about is the fact that Obama wants the 1% to pay their fair share instead of paying just 15% in federal tax, using loop holes to avoid payroll taxes and escapeing many of the other taxes like FICA and other taxes.

If you are not satisfied with the economy then take a real look at the compromises Obama has made.  The flack he has taken from his own party.  Then look how at every turn not only do the republicans not want the rich and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes but they want to give even more tax breaks for people like Mitt Romney who has to pay $6,000 a day in taxes and live on just over 52,000 a day.  Oh poor poor Mitt.

Thankfully because of some grass roots efforts the payroll tax cuts for the middle class have been extended.  The GOP is trying to claim this as a win for them but remember it is them that not only didn't want to pass it but try to raise taxes for middle America, it passed by 46 democrats and 14 republicans against 5 democrats and 31 republicans who apposed it.  So they didn't want it passed.  To boot Norquist is still trying to spin that raising taxes on the middle class doesn't actually count as a tax increase.  Its pretty simple the GOP's line is that middle class should pay more in taxes.  The rich should pay less.   But lets look at the difference in tax breaks.

What happens when a middle income family gets $40 more a pay check.  Where does that money go?  It almost all goes straight back into the economy and most of that is in the local economy.  It goes to having an occasional meal at a family resteraunt.  It goes to local businesses for services that the family may not have been able to get without that tax break.  Now look at the rich.  Is 15% already to much for them to pay?  What happens when they get a tax break.  Well if you are Mitt Romney that money normally goes into your investment in your corporation that already pays SFA in taxes and often tears up companies to make quick profits.

Most jobs that are created aren't created by businesses like Bain Capital.  They are jobs created by and for middle america.  Tax cut for middle America helps middle America which help increase tax revenue as a whole.  Less unemployed = less people on unemployement benifits = more people being paid = more taxes being collected.  Tax cuts for Mitt Romney = more money for corporations to accumulate more wealth for themselves that doesn't trickle down very much.

You do the maths.  It is pretty easy.

Is "Rape" just a left wing tactic?

  Honestly there are some "conservative" values that I have to seriously call into question.  Lately one of values that is at the top of my list is how "rape" is being discussed by the right wing.  Between arguments that we shouldn't have to spend money on programs related to sexual assault in the military to trying to redefine what "rape" really means in some cases.

Places like fox news will have you believe that it is inevitable that women will be violently raped if they are in the military. I was in the Marines for 6 years and I'm disgusted that fox news can make it seem like its only because of "feminists" that we have this problem. If there is a rise in the amount of violent rapes in the military then that is an issue that needs to be dealt with not by hiding women away but dealing with the occurrences that do happen and putting in measures so that it is understood that this isn't acceptable behaviour ever and it will be dealt with accordingly.  This isn't some "liberal agenda" to "destroy America"...unless you believe America = ignorance.

  The GOP is also pushing for a change in terminology about rape to stop some women from having a unwanted pregnancy terminated that resulted from a sexual assault to just those that involved actual force.  If the GOP has its way if a woman is drugged, raped and becomes pregnant from that rape then they should just deal with it.  To boot the GOP's position on birth control methods like the morning after pill would be removed as an option  too.  If your 12-13 year old daughter is groomed by a sexual predator and becomes pregnant the GOP also believes that situation isn't good enough to warrant the term rape.  If you have a mentally retarded female family member that doesn't have the cognitive reasoning power to understand what is happening and is sexually assaulted and becomes pregnant then that to isn't good enough for them.

  The GOP wants to twist the definition of rape to push their ideology on everyone else.  You can be assured that they wouldn't stop there either.  "Pro-Life" groups already indicate there is zero tolerance for ending a pregnancy.  Even in the case where the mother's life is at risk.  Rick Perry position now is that there is no acceptable reason for terminating a pregnancy and that includes when the mother's life is at risk.[1]

  Combine this with the GOP's support for limiting women's access to birth control, not abortions, not the morning after pill but just normal contraceptive services is a testament to how the GOP want women in their place.  Just last week the republicans blocked any females from testifying in a house hearing on the topic of contraception access for women.[2]

  This is the conservative party of 2012.  A party that wants to have control over your, your wife's, your sisters', your daughters', your best friends' access to basic women's health care.  No control is the wrong word.  They don't want them to have access to those services. According to them abstinence-only education is the only option and looking at the history on how that works you have to be mentally deficient if that is what you put forward.  Texas has shown us, with the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, how well that works. [3]

  The GOP's view on women's reproductive health isn't even pre 1960.  They are shooting for a return to the dark ages where rape is first looked at as a problem of the woman not a problem we have to deal within our society. Is this the "conservative America" you want to live in? I'm not asking you to vote for Obama here. I'm asking you to think about some basic "core values" the "right" is trying to ram down America's throat. If you are a republican speak up an let your politicians know that if they continually make women's rights into removal of women's rights that you won't be supporting them, unless you think that women in the military should just expect to be rape more often. Is that what you really think?

[1]  http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/rick-perry-changes-opinion-on-abortion-15244664
[2] http://publicola.com/2012/02/16/women-silenced-at-us-house-hearing-on-contraception-access/ 
[3] http://www.care2.com/causes/wisconsin-gop-pushes-abstinence-only-bill.html

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Exercise your brain!

It is funny that the older I get the more I want to learn.  I often wish I had this much passion for learning when I was younger but there are many things that we do when we are younger that don't make a lot of sense.

Studies show a strong correlation between mental exercises and the slowing of brain related conditions like Alzheimer's.  Not only does it appear to delay the onset but it seems it can counter act the speed at which the condition progresses. I've recently found a web site http://www.lumosity.com that specialises in "brain" games that work different aspect of your mind and lets you know how you are doing in each area.  I'm totally addicted to it...ok not totally because I don't log in every day but I like it just the same.

Perhaps you don't want to flip the bill for such a site and in this day in age where so much of the world is screwed up, largely because corporations have gotten very good at gathering wealth, often circumventing the regulations were ever they can...anyway that's for another rant.

Even if you don't subscribe to the site.  Give the free trial a go.  Then move onto other things like sodoku or crosswords or word searches.  Even if you don't like it at first.  Especially if you don't like it at first.  The best way to exercise you mind is to make it do things it doesn't normally do.  Read more.  Read things you normally would not.  Ask questions.  Ask questions about things you normally would not ask about.  Find out about the world outside of your little world.  Reflect on the world around you.  If you don't know why there are riots in Greece then find out.   If you think there are riots because they just spend money they don't have all the time then go and find the real reason.  If you didn't know the American government handed prisoners over to Egypt to be tortured go find out.   If you did know and agreed with it go read the Geneva Convention.  If you think it is OK for the USA to do things to other countries that you think would be totally unacceptable for other countries to do to the USA go travel and see what the world is really like.

Don't let yourself think that to be educated is to be an "Elitist" and that it is better to be a common person then to try to constantly better yourself.  We all have the ability to grow.  We all have the capacity to get smarter.  The same tool you are using here can be used to help you exercise your mind.  And just like normal exercise you'll find the more you do it the better it feels to do it.  The same rush you get from watching your favourite sport can be felt every time you realise you have learnt something new.  

Don't get me wrong.  It won't all be easy.  You'll often find yourself frustrated.  Growing up English was arguably my worst subject but over the years I've forced myself to use those types of skills.  I'd like to think that today I'm half way decent at expressing ideas both verbally and via the written word.  Now to just find out how I can learn not to go on rants on all the time. 

Do you blame Obama?

Many people blame Obama for the state of the USA but tend to cherry pick what they blame and credit Obama for.

Obama entered, knowingly, into office with the following.

  1. An imbalance between federal revenues and spending that pre-dates the recession and his administration
  2. Sky rocketing unemployment that started back in March of 2007
  3. A financial crisis brought on by deregulation and the subsequent fraud perpetrated by executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  4. Elevated spending by the government in attempt to stop the collapse of the economy via the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008
What has Obama done in the last 3 year?
He's halted the sky-rocketing unemployment rate he inherited in under 9 months and the USA has seen declining unemployment rates for that last year.  It takes time to recover from a 10% unemployment rate especially when you consider how fucked up the economy was besides unemployement

Under the previous administration the mentality of "trickle down economics" meant that the rich enjoyed every lower rates of taxes reducing the amount of revenue to the government while we had a huge increase in spending to support "wars" we might not actually need to be in.  American's just stood by as companies like Halliburton where flooded with taxpayer money to do jobs that normally would have been done and should be done by the military like logistical support in combat areas, militarised security that because of the mandates was unaccountable for its actions.  Cheney's former employer, from which he still received money from, where given free rain in an environment that is normally the domain of the defence department which is regulated by things like the uniform code of military justice and various  treaties like the geneva convention.  Our tax dollars being used to fund privately control mercenaries that where unduly exposed to high amounts of risk all for a "person" called  Halliburton because as we all know corporations are people.  They just can't be fucked like people like you and me.

He's pushed for tax reform bringing back a fair tax rate for the top 1% which most Americans seem to think is "Class warfare" because they've been brain washed into thinking that it is ok for someone making tens of millions of dollars a year or more shouldn't have to pay anywhere near the tax rate of middle America.  If you believe this is ok and you are part of "middle America" then ask why you are paying a higher rate of tax then those people below the poverty line.  Fuck the people that are more poor then you.  They should be rightly used as a slave labour force so you don't have to contribute your fair share to the nation.  If you earn under 40k a year then 30k of it should go to the government so that those richer then you can move from a ~50% total tax contribution to about 30% and those 1% can go from 15% to 0%.  This plan has the added benefit of making more people poor and thus subject to a higher tax rate!  WOOOoooo

He's trying to reel in spending while not totally fucking our future generations over but all the republicans want to do is make it easy for their rich friends, A.K.A. corporations, to get bail outs and reduce their taxes.  Some how the "trickle down economics" that has demonstrably failed over the last 30+ years is still being touted as the solution to the economic crisis that it is hugely responsible for.

So next time you complain that Obama is "Elite" and mean that as a derogatory term think about what you are saying. "I don't like smart people that don't want to screw over the average American because while I'm one of them now I'm deluded an think that I'm going to be one of the 1% soon and want to shit on everyone from my ivory tower when I am"

Oh and think of all those evil poor kids he's got health care for.  How dare he hold lending institutions accountable for unfair trade practices.  How dare he ask that we focus on our kids education.  We should goto a voucher system so that the rich can get reimbursed for sending their kids to private schools and inner city kids get screwed over because they only join gangs anyway and don't deserve a public education.

If your a Republican ask yourself are you a republican that wants smaller government or are you a Republican that want your religion pushed on the rest of the country and the ability to stop 2 people that are in love from having the same rights as you simply because they are the same sex.  50 year ago people thought that interracial marriage was wrong.  Are you a racist too? 

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Pot calling the Kettle black

We often hear Christians say that a prayer or religious symbol at a US government function is fine and that atheists shouldn't complain.  But is this the pot calling the kettle black?

How many of those Christians that complain that their religious freedoms are being stepped upon when it is asked that the separation between church and state be upheld would stand by if an adhan was done in their town?  Hell many Christians freak out if there is a proposal for a mosque to be built any where near by.

The separations of church and state is there for a reason.  So that no American feels undo pressure, about their religious beliefs or lack there of, from the government.

So if you are one of those people that think that atheists are the problem ask yourself  "would you mind at the same time as your "state sponsored prayer" that a Muslim call to prayer be held, then a Hindu mantras, then a Buddhist chant, then a Wiccan ceremony...."  The list goes on.  You don't have to join in.  Just look away when the high priestess and priest have sexual intercourse to invoke their gods powers.

To often people think it is ok because it is their world view but soon forget the "tolerance" they expect of others when it is someone else's world view that is asked to be publicly displayed.  Forget about being promoted by some government official in their official government capacity.

Friday, 10 February 2012


Do you ever wonder how some people think "Hey this is a good idea!"?

Today I look on one of the many daily deals type sites.  The stuff on there is hit or miss.  Sometimes they've got stuff I like and I'm ok with buying it.  Sometimes I look and think "Hey that is a good price" then look and see the shipping is as much as the item.  Some times I look and think "Who would buy that?"  Today I see this.

Now...who do you think the target market for this item is?  Forgetting the branding I'd say young teenage girls. I suppose there might be a demographic of female adult entertainment workers that it might appeal to but how many classes and meetings do they go to where they need to take notes?

Its things like this that push young girls to grow up to quickly.  It's bad enough that I have to sometimes think "Why does that girl look odd?" before realising it is a 13 year old girl trying to look over 18.  This leads onto the girls getting more extreme as they get older.  Go out to a club and I'd swear that instead of a night club that I've walked into a porn convention with all the women, and I say women only because they should be over 18, wearing shoes like this

And skirts that are better defined as belts.  Don't get me wrong I'm not a prude.  I'm a guy and the "show" is entertaining but really isn't needed.  

It is an arms race between women.  Each trying to out do the other and look more attractive and yes for most guys slutty = attractive.  But I think back to my early days out in clubs in Hawaii.  Women didn't have to walk around looking like they work for Hugh Hefner to get guys attention.  Women should realise most guys will be attracted to you because of you ...not what you wear.  

But at the end of the day what a 18+ year old woman wears is her choice.  She should not feel in danger or uncomfortable with what she is wearing but there is some reality to deal with.  If you are out for a girls night out then watch out for the other girls.  Don't put yourself into a situation where you are under undo risk, ie don't go off with a guy you don't know.  Also don't get offended if guys stare.  If you've made your cleavage to look bigger then Kat Denning and Gemma Atkinson then you void any claim to complaining that we are looking at your cleavage.

But back to my original point.  If girls aren't immersed in an environment that hypersexualises the image of women at the age of 7 then I'd think wouldn't go to clubs today and play a game of giving all the women there porn star names.