Jun 20, 2014

CTRL Factor

Make way for Third Life!



Two Masks


In the wake of the “sudden” announcement by Ebbe about making a totally new platform that is closed source, not backward compatible with Second Life, etc, I find it a little silly how everyone is acting surprised. Let’s get this one out of the way... you shouldn’t have been surprised. I mentioned this mentality last year (September 2013).



As outlined with the Desura hypothetical, your content isn’t of use to a AAA developer but it’s a goldmine to indie game developers. If Linden Lab refuses to “work within the system” (see the following citation below), they are going outside of it to a place you have no control over and can’t compete with them at. Linden Lab cannot compete with the community in Second Life on their own terms, even when arbitrarily poaching everything you are already offering and have been for ten years. So if they can’t win in Second Life, they’ll just change the game to something they have the complete control over and you have no manner to compete with.



The citation mentioned from the post was simply that of Morningstar and Farmer in Lessons Learned from Lucasfilms Habitat, so don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything major there.


The original point of that post last year was that I was outlining the mentality of Linden Lab and what they likely saw as the “problem” (namely you) and that things like Desura, and the video game “products” mentality was the closed system approach to it all.


The TOS was simply an attempt to unify it all together using Second Life, but since the community had a complete meltdown over it, they figured the only real way to go about it then was just to make a new system from the ground up and make sure it was a closed system where they didn’t have to compete with you.


Now, I know that this “new system” has been in the works for probably two years, but I do remember echoing this same mentality a few times before last year.


If they can’t compete with you in Second Life, then they’ll just make an entirely new system which is closed source and has much tighter restrictions so the new system will come with the TOS in line with Desura and likely more of a closed developer program to be a content provider – something they can approve or disapprove on a case by case basis and have total control over.


Sounds peachy doesn’t it?


Now they’re eliminating the ability for the community to be a free market and creating a mandate to play by their rules entirely.


So in that type of contract to be a content creator, you’re likely going to be giving them the right to revenue share across all services and such (just like the botched TOS), which means the content allowed will adhere to things that can be resold and licensed to third parties (think Desura and Indie Devs) as assets.


Don’t like those terms? Tough.


Sure you can still keep using Second Life, but as of right now you might as well be on notice for being a “legacy user base”.



Meddling Kids and Their Dog...



Damned Kids


Let’s just say that for the past 5+ years, Linden Lab has been driven by the mentality of a villain in Scooby-Doo. Constantly saying “We would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids and that furry!”


All they’ve been doing is effectively poaching the community and trying to impose tighter controls over them all. Essentially they’ve been getting beaten at their own game by the very community they relied on. You’ve been a very effective thorn in their side all of this time...


Even when it came down to the third party viewers, they were outmatched. So is it any wonder they imposed the blind viewer rule (you can’t display what viewer you are using over your head in world), the “shared experience” rules that effectively make all TPVs appeal to Linden Lab in order to get any new feature included “officially”, the JIRA total lockdown and complete inability for public discourse or discussion only for them to wholesale start closing issues and feature requests behind closed doors?


The move with Desura and the ToS (and the extra video games) was/is as I have said a power play to wrestle total control and force the community to play by their rules at all times. So they’ve tried (very unsuccessfully) to play in your world without their own imagination, now they’re just going to make it their world, their rules and make you sign a contract to authorize imagination.


The only way for Linden Lab to score a touchdown is simply to keep moving the goal posts away from you and closer to themselves.



Old Man Jenkins...


So what does that mean in the long term?


I suppose that means between now and then, Second Life is legacy. Unless you’re making mesh content you’re probably not going to be able to import to whatever new system they are making, and even then I’d wager there are going to be some really asinine rights that you’ll have to sign away to be a content creator on that new system.



Scooby Doo


Should you just sell off everything in SL and move on? I can’t answer that for you, but I’d say it was a bit premature to do so right now. I’d wait until more is known about that new system in the future before you really decide one way or the other. If nothing else is clear, then the high likelihood of Linden Lab doing what I’ve described here today should at least be enough to understand that Second Life is walking dead right now...


No longer a matter of if, but when, it’ll get phased out in the future.


I can also see a collapse of the Second Life economy and market coming in that future as well. A lot of people taking a wait and see attitude, only to (almost simultaneously) be brought into an uproar and selling off everything (closing sims, land barons dumping everything, people clearing inventory and cashing out). Not going to say it definitely will happen, but the more that closed system reality sinks in, the more likely it’ll happen.


Right now, what you will likely see is a public relations ongoing to quell the “rumors” and “speculation”, keeping Second Life stable (and the Lindex) up until the very end. Think of it like a frog in a pot of water which is slowly being brought to temperature.


Or it could go the way that Active Worlds went (more likely) with a bunch of die-hard users in Second Life sticking around for years despite the new system but receiving less and less support and updates because most of the love is going to the new platform.


They don’t actually need the existing Second Life user base at that point. If you think boycotting them as content creators is going to make a point... you’re probably wrong. If the new system is a platform for indie developers to utilize for their games to publish on and it’s integrated with the compatible (mesh) assets, then Linden Lab will leverage Desura and tout the new system as an easy publish model for indie developers that happens to have access to a ton of assets via licensing and access to a large user base (casual gamers).


So there’s where all of the higher quality worlds are going to come from, and now a plethora of reasons (added value) for Premium accounts to access those things.


Let’s face it... a lot of you are still going to jump ship and use that new system. You always seem to whenever a new thing comes out (Cloud Party, Blue Mars, etc). A lot of you are going to jump ship to OpenSim and turn your back on Linden Lab altogether. And a lot of you are just going to throw in the towel and go back to Real Life, having decided that you’ve made a good go of it in Second Life but now it’s time to retire.


Whether you do any of that now or in the future is entirely a decision for you to make. As for myself, I’m barely in Second Life any longer... Real Life has better graphics.


Between now and then, just take anything Ebbe says purely with a grain of salt until you actually get your hands on it and can use it (and read all the terms you’re agreeing to). Until then, it’s all hearsay... even from Ebbe, just to keep the kids from rioting before they can jump ship themselves.


If anybody needs me, just log into the beta for Real Life.


My user name is Will Burns.





Jun 2, 2014

Death by Murder

Gun Control Is Ultimately Pointless


Today I’m going to delve into a very touchy subject for many, but one that really needs to be addressed overall. It is no secret that I believe gun control is ultimately a futile endeavor pursued by the clueless on behalf of the intellectually deficient, but there is a deeper reasoning behind my thoughts on the subject.


As the title of this post suggests, I am looking at the situation as a matter of not death by firearm related means, but instead it is a matter of death by murder itself.




Gun control is ultimately a futile endeavor. It assumes that the solution to lower murder rates involves addressing the implement of murder instead of the motives. It can be safely assumed that if you were to reduce or eliminate firearms in a society that the murder rate via that method of murder would also decline – but on the same note if we were to reduce or eliminate automobiles we would also see the rate of vehicular homicide decline as would fatalities as a result of automobile accidents.


So really, the correlation of death by firearm related accident or murder is a straw man argument at best.


As any good detective knows, there are no shortage of murder weapons or methodologies to enact such crimes against humanity. This is why a detective would also be less concerned about the How and want to know the Why. Any kid who has ever played the board game Clue or read Sherlock Holmes would think regulating the tire iron is stupid.


I mean gee whiz... if they couldn’t get a hold of a tire iron, they wouldn’t have had any conceivable way of beating the ever loving fuck out of that person. Thank god we enacted the tire iron waiting period and background check laws... as soon as we did, death by tire iron has plummeted! Job well done.


What were the motives of the murderer?


That’s the bottom line, because a murderer will find a method – whether that be through poisoning, bombing, stabbing, or home-made rail gun or flamethrower in the garage. Whether it involves kidnapping and beating somebody to death with a tire iron in a basement, drowning them while restrained, or locking them in an unventilated room and pouring Clorox and Ammonia into a bucket to gas them.


At the end of the day, it is the motive for murder that means more than the manner by which the murderer accomplished their crimes. Quibbling over the murder weapon itself is a detail but doesn’t actually get to the heart of the matter overall. For all it matters you can regulate ball bearings and pressure cookers at Wal-Mart and you wouldn’t have stopped murder (or the Boston Bombing).






Thank god we’ve regulated firearms... nobody is smart enough to build their own weapons... especially not psychopaths/psychologically unbalanced individuals who think mass murder is a good idea.


The Oklahoma City bombing was a domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. The bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a 16-block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings, causing at least an estimated $652 million worth of damage.


What we have is not a gun problem. We have a pissed off, suicidal, overmedicated, traumatized, and depressed psychopath problem of our own devising.


How they kill people is the least of your worries.



Three Crows in the Blood


The reason society doesn’t look at motive is because it’s not a pretty picture. Instead it requires a self-realization that society in general is mentally sick, overmedicated, depressed, suicidal, filled with rage and contempt. Those kids are endlessly outcast, bullied, beaten, picked on and driven over the edge.


Much easier not to look those people in the eyes for fear of facing oneself.


How many of the school shootings since the 1990s have also included students who happen to be on anti-depressants or anti-psychotic medication? Quite a few, actually. How many were suicidal? All of them...


Murder is a mental health issue.


But therein is the other point I want to make here. It doesn’t matter if the person with the gun is a law abiding citizen or not. It doesn’t matter if the weapon was obtained legally – in some cases that’s only technicality since the owner obtained it legally and the shooter happened to “borrow” the gun from the owner.


Ultimately, the very premise of laws to preside over the lawless is flawed reasoning.


Laws are written for people who will abide by them, but really doesn’t do much for the person who never intended to follow those laws to begin with. So writing laws to restrict or eliminate the unlawful is a pipedream at best.


Laws didn’t stop corporations from dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into a river, they didn’t stop BP from destroying the Gulf of Mexico. Laws didn’t stop bankers from cheating and collapsing the economy. Laws sure as hell haven’t put an end to drug dealers and addiction.


So who are laws actually for? The people who weren’t breaking that social contract to begin with. Laws are a courtesy for the courteous. They are a suggestion at best for the unlawful.


Please don’t run that red-light or you’ll get a ticket. Kindly refrain from doing drugs. If you don’t mind... please don’t steal stuff. It’s all terribly impolite and we’ll have to fine you or send you to jail if we catch you.


There’s a saying – It’s only illegal if you get caught.


And even then... if you’ve got the money and connections to match the crime, then it’s still not a crime but a minor inconvenience at best.


Abiding by laws only works in a society where doing so does not cause mental or physical trauma, and whereby following such laws offers the opportunity to live a healthy and fulfilling life. If the society you live in does not allow for this, then there is only so much an individual is going to take before they absolutely snap or decide that the benefits of no longer playing by the rules outweighs the risks.


As in, does anyone ever really believe that somebody who thinks it’s a good idea to go on a mass murder spree really give a flying fuck about the penalty for not following gun laws? They’ve already committed themself to ending many human lives, which in turn comes with a fucking death penalty or life in prison.


There isn’t a single thing you can enact as a law that is going to change their mind at that point. No more than a silly law is going to make a heroin addict suddenly say “Gee... maybe I shouldn’t shoot up anymore, because it’s illegal...”


This is exactly what happens when a bunch of privileged, sheltered, suburbanites form an opinion on something they’ve never been involved with.


Or more aptly, it’s what happens when there is a massive disincentive to actually pay attention to the root of the problem.



Pharmaceutical Industry 


To date, only two countries allow direct to consumer marketing of pharmaceuticals. Everywhere else in the world it is banned for blatantly obvious reasons.


Those two countries are:


  • New Zealand
  • The United States


So whenever I hear about gun control and how other countries in the world have a much lower gun crime rate as a result... I ask them about this little discrepancy in their argument.


Pharmaceutical advertising in the United States is big business. So much so that the pharmaceutical industry itself spends ungodly amounts of money on those commercials and also on lobbying our government representatives. It is wholly a for-profit business, and in the United States, money is free speech.


Much in the same manner as Prisons are also a for-profit business as well here in the United States, and so it stands to reason that so long as there is a profit motive for incarceration, the odds of treating drug addiction as a mental health issue and not a criminal offense with jail time are slim to never going to fucking happen.


So, do you think... just for a moment... that having a population constantly advertised to for all manner of drugs such as Cymbalta, and having those commercials tell them to ask their doctor about it, could somehow weigh into this equation of suicidal, mentally unbalanced mass shootings?


For those of my readers who are absolutely anywhere else in the world other than The United States or New Zealand, the following video is something you will never see on your television – but it’s a common occurrence where I live.


All. the damned. time.





Even the commercials themselves admit that thoughts of suicide are a known side effect... but it’s totally alright to give troubled high school seniors with a history of psychiatric problems, being bullied, outcast, and more. Oh yes... absolutely nothing could possibly go wrong there.


At no point are we hearing the Murder as Mental Health Issue side of the debate. Much in the same manner as we seldom hear the Addiction as Mental Health Issue discussion. Nowhere are there outcries against this travesty against humanity. Instead, the pharmaceutical companies are paying top dollar to make absolutely sure it never comes up in a serious discussion because if it ever did, that would devastate profits and we can’t have that.


In the United States, doctors are incentivized to push these pharmaceuticals on their patients and prescribe them, and so when a patient comes in and asks their doctor about Cymbalta... just like a good little consumer should... the doctor already has a reason to prescribe it and was just waiting on the word from their patient.


Wink, wink... nudge, nudge... say no more.



Stock Photo

Spongebob said you might need Cymbalta? Why not... I gotta pay the mortgage.



So if you get your drugs from a street dealer, and you get caught... you go to jail, in which the prison turns a profit for your incarceration. But if you get your drugs from a “legit” profit incentivized doctor and pharmaceutical company you get your drugs and somebody else gets the profits “legally”.


Let’s call it what it is...


There is no bigger drug dealer in the world than the pharmaceutical industry. The only difference between them and a dealer on the street is that they have far more money and clout to play the game. At the end of the day, you’ve still got a dealer trying to push drugs on you and they’re allowed to use every form of advertising at their disposal. They also can’t stand competition.


Sounds like a cushy deal to me.



Mental Health Will Drive You Mad


Anyone who is seriously debating gun control has wholly missed the point, and at the government level it’s intentional while at the consumer level it’s just stupidity.





And since government (theoretically) is supposed to answer to the people, whenever there is an outcry over a school shooting or tragedy, the government is just thinking:


“Well, shit... we were going to avoid the problem and blame guns because pharmaceutical industries are bankrolling our campaign funding, but this is just perfect that our constituents are idiots... it’s a win/win situation! All we have to do for the next four years is debate a red herring and get paid!”


So they wage debates endlessly about the gun control. The NRA and GOP refusing to concede to more regulation because it’s a constitutional right to bare arms, and the Democrats “just trying to think of the poor children”.


Of course, the public follows along like blind mice in the debate. Half of you think they need to be banned altogether (think of the children!) and the other half are all for the open carry laws as guaranteed constitutionally.


But it’s not about that at all.


Law abiding citizens don’t murder people. Somebody who is mentally stable does not bomb a building. Perfectly normal and well balanced individuals do not fly airplanes into buildings to prove a fucking point and to appease a mandate by Allah.


The fact of the matter is – a majority of gun owners have not committed murder.


So if the incidents of mass shootings, bombings, stabbings, and murder in general are on the rise – you have psychopaths and mentally unbalanced individuals to blame for orchestrating it, and ultimately yourselves for perpetuating a society that breeds that sort of mentally unbalanced individual.


And really... that’s exactly why we debate gun control.


We’re scared shitless to admit that we’re surrounded by psychopaths and a society that is overmedicated, depressed, suicidal, and prone to violence. We’re absolutely terrified to admit it’s getting worse, and we’re absolutely horrified at the notion that we’ve created these demons that run amok because we’ve sold our souls to a different demon altogether.


How many kids at the school jumped on the bullying bandwagon and treated the shooter like absolute dog shit for years on end? Oh, I bet those students are just waiting in line to say they’re sorry.


Nope... you always see them in the aftermath saying “I dunno what anyone did to them to deserve this... we were all totally innocent little angels that treated them with complete and total respect...”


Kid ends up in therapy for depression and a host of other trauma inflicted by their peers over the course of years. The mental (and physical) abuse continues day in and day out. Try to go to the school counselor about it and they confront the kids responsible who in turn lie their little heads off – and then kick their ass after school. Then you’ve made it far worse on the kid overall, and he/she sinks deeper into depression and helplessness. Then the psychiatrist suggests maybe Cymbalta or Prozac to help things out...


But that doesn’t stop the mistreatment of the kid at school and elsewhere, and that mental trauma continues until that Cymbalta starts telling the kid the only way to stop it is to kill the cocksuckers... kill all of them. The reason they kick your ass and treat you like shit is because you let them. Because they think you’re worthless. The only way to stop them is to stand up for yourself and make sure they never do it again. Yes... you’ll show those bastards who is boss, and they’ll pay for all the things they’ve done to you. You’ve had enough. But that’s not going to stop it... because the only way to stop the pain and hurt is to kill yourself too.


And if that kid didn’t have a gun... well, he/she would have just given up right there and not went on a killing spree. Right?





Half of the sane people are scared of the psychopaths and carry guns

to protect themselves just in case, and the other half think getting rid of the guns will make the psychopaths go away.


How exactly does making guns go away make the psychopaths disappear too?


Both sides of the debate are wrong since neither actually solves the problem.


Regardless of whether you’re protecting yourself or trying to regulate firearms into non-existence (for the children!), at the end of the day you’re still left with a bunch of psychopaths among you that think nothing of committing murder and even mass murder.


Murderers don’t listen to reason... but they listen to the voices in their head (thanks to Cymbalta). So it’s a safe assumption that a piece of paper with a law on it has effectively zero effect on their decision to murder as well. If the death penalty or life in prison isn’t enough to change their mind, I’m pretty certain a sternly worded reprimand and fine in the form of a law is like trying to pave highways with toilet paper.



okc.bombing.natpkg.cnn.640x360How could this possibly happen!? We took the guns away!



Government regulation is pretty much like this:


A bunch of law abiding (coughs) public representatives sit in a room. They pay their taxes (coughs), they uphold a level of public responsibility (coughs). These law abiding citizens sit in a room and debate about what to do with the criminals and murderers who aren’t following the laws they write and enact for a decent society.


After much heated debate, they finally come to the conclusion that in order to stop the criminals who aren’t following the laws they wrote, they will write and enact another law that says it’s illegal to ignore the other laws they’ve already written. They write a law about the process for obtaining a firearm, background checks, and even what kind of firearm law abiding citizens are allowed to have – even putting in a provision for how many bullets a firearm owner is allowed to have in their clip!


All of the law abiding citizens rejoice at this progress, and marvel at the insight for limiting the amount of bullets that was inserted into the bill. All of the law abiding citizens nod their head in agreement, and gleefully follow that new law in order to be upstanding citizens and set an example to others.


Then somebody bombs the Boston Marathon with a fucking pressure cooker and some ball bearings.


Everybody agrees it was a travesty but nobody debates the importance of background checks on pressure cookers or what specific amount of ball bearings an individual may purchase in a single visit to their hobby shop. That would be silly, and nobody is going to waste their time on such things.


After all, there are more important things to discuss – such as debating how to limit the sale of Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) in limited quantities, and after only showing a valid form of identification because it is now only available behind the counter. Because now apparently some meth addicts are buying it in large quantities and making meth out of it for the streets.


As if there are literally, absolutely, positively no other fucking manner on earth to produce meth cheaply enough to turn a profit on the streets. And so, the law abiding public goes back to sleep soundly with the knowledge of a job well done, and will tell the tale to their children about how they’ve written a law that single handedly wiped out the entire Crystal Meth industry now that criminals can’t buy Sudafed.





The day you can put an assortment of weapons on a table and nobody sees a reason to use any of them is the day you’ve solved the problem.


In order to do that, you have to address the root of the problem as mental health and sociological trauma issues in society, and work toward a better society.


Until that day... murder will continue, with or without your precious guns.