Playpen

Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 12:36 on 15-08-2011, Andy G
My boyfriend and I have been watching fuckloads of Bleach and Naruto since we discovered that anime was something we would actually both watch (this is generally rather difficult), but for my next anime I'd kind of like something a bit higher quality. Any recommendations?
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at 11:25 on 14-08-2011, Jamie Johnston
In other news, I saw Janelle Monáe today and she was(and is) awesome.

Squeeeee!
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at 11:25 on 14-08-2011, Jamie Johnston
I mean, of course they support my own preference that people should just chill out about spoilers... but still, is this really science?

I'm not sure the sample is as desperately small as that — the article says each version of each story was read by at least thirty subjects, so assuming no subject read more than one version of the same story (which would defeat the whole point) that should make at least ninety participants in total. Not sure how that compares to the average for a respectable sociological study, though: it still seems a bit slim.

Also I feel like there's more importance than they've noticed in the fact that the people who were spoilered by a paragraph inserted into the text didn't enjoy it any more than the people who weren't spoilered at all. That seems to me to suggest that reading a story for which you know you've been spoilered is a different type of reading experience from reading a story that you think you're approaching with the 'correct' level of prior knowledge, even if you're wrong. Which means that it's too simplistic to say that knowingly being spoilered makes the experience better: it's more that it makes it a different kind of experience, which may be more enjoyable but may not be directly comparable or substitutable.

(The conclusion that they're slightly different types of experience seems fairly intuitive to me. It also illustrates why the study would have limited value as justification for laughing at people who don't like spoilers. They may (or may not, depending on whether the study itself is a load of tosh) be in some way objectively wrong to think that they will enjoy things more without spoilers, but they're nonetheless entitled to want the non-spoiler experience and to regard the spoilered experience as an inadequate substitute for the thing that they wanted. A study might show that people enjoy scrambled eggs more than fried eggs, but if someone orders fried eggs in a café and gets served scrambled eggs they're entitled to complain and to be irritated with the person who made the mistake.)

The discrepancy between the results for concealed spoilers and those for explicit spoilers also invalidates the 'cognitively easier to read' interpretation, because presumably the inserted paragraphs would have come at an early point in the story and made it easier to process the bulk of the text in just the same way as the version with an external spoiler.
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at 00:51 on 14-08-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
One has to wonder whether Bakker should have just written better text rather than try to defend himself in these sorts of apocryphal shenanigans.

In other news, I saw Janelle Monáe today and she was(and is) awesome.
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at 21:31 on 13-08-2011, valse de la lune
Going back to the Bakker dead horse for a minute, this link was passed along to me. Did you all know Bakker's texts are really feminist?

When it comes to the misogyny charge my answer has been fairly consistent, I think. First, that I am a sexist, insofar as I think men are generally less competent than women across the majority of modern social contexts. I generally find women more reliable and trustworthy. If anything, misandry is my problem, not misogyny. Second, that people are inclined to mistake depiction for endorsement. Third, that those who decide my books are misogynistic cannot help but find evidence to confirm their view (just as people who decide my books are feminist (my intention) cannot help but find evidence confirming their view). Fourth, that I recognize the problem of the ‘Archie Bunker effect,’ that for many readers the feminist subtexts are simply too opaque to rescue the books from misogynistic misreadings.

And fifth, that the story is far from done, that my critics are passing judgment on fractions of the whole.
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at 11:49 on 13-08-2011, Wardog
I re-read that a couple of Xmases ago, and was shocked, actually, at how awesome it is. And how, y'know, not fluffy. I was particularly traumatised by the warren of goth, suicidal, poetry-writing bunnies.
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at 08:17 on 13-08-2011, Michal
In other news--I'm starting to get really annoyed at people who've never read Watership Down denigrating it as some kind of fluffy bunny story a la Peter Rabbit. Even Michael Moorcock decided to do this.

Jesus Christ, people, it has a Hitler rabbit!
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at 01:50 on 13-08-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Fun fact: Dubbing one of the scariest scenes in Alien with the pitch-shifted voice of TF2's Heavy Weapons Guy results in the world's cutest chestburster.
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at 20:47 on 12-08-2011, valse de la lune
Thank you, Kyra. My jaw now hurts from grinning ear to ear throughout the whole thing.
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at 20:23 on 12-08-2011, Wardog
Omg. The College Humour Game of Thrones RPG made my night.
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at 20:06 on 12-08-2011, Wardog
Nostalgia alert! Retrospective on the Wing Commander games, part 1, and part 2. I loved those games so much.

Also, specially for Dan, a little appreciation piece for isometric games. I can never work whether the 'landscapes' of Torment and Baldurs Gate have stayed with me all these years simply because I was young and impressionable or because of the presentation.
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at 17:51 on 12-08-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
Of course. I guess they were just surprised that they could find such a strong correlation , even if it doesn't mean causation. But statistical mathematics is not my strong thing, so I'm unable to say anything about the methods used. Still, it seems like something they did for the hell of it, because they wrer surprised. Something which is more typical of engineering students in my experience. Also, it seems that the Helsinki Center for Economical Research gives its researchers lots of free time.
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at 17:31 on 12-08-2011, Arthur B
As a scientist who, during his doctoral work, was constantly pressed to demonstrate that a correlation was, in fact, a correlation and not mere chance, it always amuses me to see people apply a trendline to a shotgun blast like that.
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at 17:26 on 12-08-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
Sorry about the mistakes in the last post.
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at 17:19 on 12-08-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
but still, is this really science?

I guess it could be bad science. I don't know whether anyone has noticed this. An example of where idle curiosity and a joke may lead from some economists from my dear alma mater. I read the study in question a while back, but I couldn't really know how to take it. Or whether it is a Sokal affair kind of try on how to get the press to note something of this sort and ignore some more serious, but less interesting stuff or something seriously. Apparently the author doesn't know either. The article itself has an air of an inner joke of economic scholars with its rather glib move from basic theories of economic growth and GDP to something completely random; that is, average penis size in population.
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at 08:39 on 12-08-2011, valse de la lune
I never got beyond Act 1. Anyone who says DA2's framing narrative is innovative genius needs to have discs of the game thrown at them like frisbees.

I really must play AP at some point. At release it was unbelievably buggy, but with patches it should be about okay now.
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at 04:13 on 12-08-2011, Rude Cyrus
I've gotten to the end of Act 2 in Dragon Age 2, and it's been a fantastically boring ride so far. I agree with Kyra's review that it's little more than a glorified courier simulator. While it's shorter than Origins it feels longer, probably due to the fact that I'm running around, talking to NPCs, fighting thugs and not doing anything of importance. I had a breakdown after obliterating Generic Hooligan Horde #357 and picking up an item that opened another side quest -- I just giggled for a minute straight, pleading with the game to let me go to the Deep Roads and get out of this f&*@ing city.

It doesn't help that Hawke is such a bland, passive character, to the point where it's appalling. He never takes any initiative, never concocts a plan -- he sits there and lets things happen. All of the big, important events happen outside of his control. There are a few moments where I was yelling at the screen, "C'mon, dumbass, she's going to betray you!" but I couldn't do anything because the developers didn't give me the option.

Y'know, for all the flak Obsidian gets for having buggy games, they're still one of the best RPG developers around. I still play Alpha Protocol to this day, despite beating it many times. I can't say the same thing about Dragon Age 2.
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at 00:07 on 12-08-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
I'm also slightly concerned I knew all the answers to these.

It's forgivable if it's Voyager. We were all young and foolish once.

If it had been Enterprise, however...I'm afraid an intervention of some sort would be necessary.
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at 15:34 on 11-08-2011, valse de la lune
Argh, I meant result from not result in. GDI.
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at 14:17 on 11-08-2011, valse de la lune
The upset that results in spoilers not even about endings or anything can be funny. I'm talking about stuff like "character A marries someone unspecified" level of stuff, in a book where marriage/romance/whatever isn't exactly the focus.

By which I mean A Dance with Dragons and by "character A" I mean Ramsey Bolton. Not what anyone'd call a major event.


HP fans being spoiled re: character deaths were the best. The best.
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at 11:10 on 11-08-2011, Wardog
I'm also slightly concerned I knew all the answers to these.
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at 11:05 on 11-08-2011, Wardog
I desperately want to post something fun in the playpen ... and I'm crawling through the Internet without success. Howabout psychologists conduct study of spoilers ... draw random conclusions based on the responses of a mere 30 people. I mean, of course they support my own preference that people should just chill out about spoilers... but still, is this really science?
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at 05:26 on 11-08-2011, Melissa G.
Also thinks women should not have the right to vote.


Oh, god, after reading all these, I feel like I need to take a shower to wash all the ick off of me....
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at 01:50 on 11-08-2011, Michal
I'm really just confused why Black Gate has him on as a contributor, considering his Nazi-sympathizing proclivities and such (How else could you take his vocal support of ethnic cleansing, firm belief in fascist racial ideologies, and that one time he said Nazis were more honourable than feminists, just "misguided"?). Obviously, he keeps the tone down over there in comparison to his personal blog, but I always felt there was something "off" about his articles even when they've obviously been edited as much as possible.

However, that doesn't change the fact that others have complained about how rapetacular Bakker's books are, and Bakker instead aimed his focus on a bigoted nutjob to show how enlightened he was in comparison. Of course, without that post, I never would have uncovered the Theo-Vox connection, which ended up answering a lot of questions I had about the dude.
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