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Showing posts from May, 2013

What Happened to Mental Health Reforms?

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Guns, gun buyers, Bill of Rights, background checks, NRA, ... The current news cycle screams these terms at the average readers daily, as people in Washington D.C. debate what's fair, what's unfair, how to protect the Second Amendment vs. how to protect society.  I won't even get into the lobbying done by the NRA, an activity that muddied the already black waters surrounding this topic.

All of this leads me to wonder - what happened to reforming our mental health systems?

More background checks would not have guaranteed that the Sandy Springs school shooting would not have happened.  Shorter clips would not have helped; a shooter just needs to carry more clips.  A buzz-in system did not deter the shooter.

So making changes related to guns and school security will not prevent the next shooting, because there was nothing wrong with these in the first place.  What might have changed the situation is if the shooter had adequate mental health care.

So why is no one discussing…

Wordless Wednesday: Vatican Pirating Porn?????

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TorrentFreak wrote an article about the Vatican pirating movies and such, including a few that appear to be pornography.

Words fail me at this point.

Book Review: "Blooded" by Amanda Carlson

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Blooded by Amanda Carlson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novella forms a good foundation for a new series of books based in a world of mixed gender supernaturals, but only male werewolves. Only male, that is, until Jessica is born to one of the strongest Alphas in the world.

This story picks up after Jessica turns 19. She's been living with werewolves her entire life, a life filled with rejection, anger, and fear from the other werewolves who think that her birth signals the end of their race. Jessica wants to leave home and start out a new life on her own, but her father worries about her safety.

I like how the author, Amanda Carlson, creates the characters. Their voices ring true, with personality and individuality in every one. I also like how Ms. Carlson deals with the action and violence in the story, giving the reader enough information to visualize what's going on without getting too detailed.

The one thing I would change is the description of the setting. (view s…

Paypal Subscriptions - Do you know what you've subscribed to?

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Last week, I cancelled an account with an online merchant, and they kindly told me that I needed to cancel my Paypal subscription.  After a little reading in Paypal's help pages, I found what I was looking for and more.

I did not realize that I had several companies set up under "My preapproved payments", a list that includes subscriptions, automatically billed payments, and installment plan payments.  On top of the subscription I needed to cancel, I found Big Fish Games, which I assume was set up when I bought one game from them, Sears Holding Company, and a few other companies.  I immediately cancelled everything that I didn't actively want, and decided that I would check my preapproved payments lists more regularly.

If you're wondering what you've authorized as a "preapproved" payment, you can follow these instructions.

1. Log into Paypal.
2. Look in the bar under the tab My Account, hover your mouse over Profile, and click on My Money.

 3. Clic…

Steampunk Portal Pictures by Risachantag

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I love Portal, the video game.  I love how a small game sold as part of the Orange Box grew up to be a big powerhouse in the video game industry.  I love the concepts, the fact that the player learns how to navigate 3D physics, the weird plot, and the songs.  Oh, and I love how the cake is a lie.

I am not alone in my love of this game.  Lisa Rye, known as Risachantag on deviantArt, drew several pictures from  Portal in a steampunk universe (inspired by the fact that Portal was created by Valve on Steam).  While I could wax eloquently about these pictures, I will instead show you what a fantastic (and fantastical) artist Ms. Rye is.





In addition to making art, Risachantag also wrote creative stories around the pictures.  So if you have a few minutes, it's worth going to her website and reading up.

Side Effects of Social Media

I already posted about how a child obtains a digital footprint from his or her parent's postings.  But I want to expand on that theme.  What happens when an otherwise regular person gets their 15 minutes of fame on the Internet?

For the very young, there is a possibility of little to no repercussions.  For example, there is a famous YouTube video called "Charlie Bit My Finger", wherein a toddler boy named Charlie ends up biting his older brother's finger.  It's cute, and it has over half a billion views.  But the video is several years old, the boys are much older, and I assume that they can walk down the street without random people shouting out to them.

But then there are all the cases where a person screws up, gets their name plastered over the Internet, and has to live with the infamy basically forever.  The woman who drove her car on the sidewalk to avoid stopping for a school bus?  Her name is Sheena Hardin, and I wonder how comfortable she is living in Cl…

Call to Arms: Help Kiera Wilmot

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On Monday, April 22, Kiera Wilmot and a friend decided to try out an experiment they heard about from YouTube, mixing aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner in a plastic water bottle at their school, Bartow High.  The chemicals reacted and caused the top to pop off, producing a popping sound and a little smoke.  Just an average 16-year-old high school student attempting a science experiment.

An assistant principal walked by, saw Ms. Wilmot, and the story goes downhill from here.

In a moment of utter stupidity, the assistant principal accused Ms. Wilmot of creating "explosive devices" on school property.  That moment cascaded into an avalanche of stupidity; now this bright young girl is facing a minimum of 10 out of school suspension, a possible expulsion, and possible felony charges.  The legal system in Polk County is even debating whether to try her as a juvenile or an adult.

The Polk County school district has a publicly stated mission:  To provide a high quality educatio…