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David Billiot
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Youtube has brain conditioned me!

I was reading an article on the internet.  It was a scholarly article about dissenting opinions from US supreme court justices that eventually become more important legally than the then majority opinion.  

I got a text message so I turned away from the computer and looked at my phone (my xperia z3 compact which is oh so nice).  

Having taking care of the business at hand I again turned my attention to my article and for some reason my body assumed through repetition and muscle memory that I needed to hit the SPACE bar to continue reading!

Of course this did not give me my desired results and instead acted like the page down button making me lose my place. 
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Luke is a very happy and energetic five year old who suffers from Autism.  At first it might seem that his condition has not affected many aspects of his life since he behaves in a way typical of many children his age.  However, just spending more than a moment with Luke, most people discover tha...
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Congress tries to violate the constitution.  AGAIN. 
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Yay for fanfiction.  Here is some well reviewed TNG goodness. 
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I HATE Serana!

So, I'm playing Skyrim and I really like two things, crossbows and killing vampires.  I hit level 10 and the guy comes to find me and tell me about the dawnguard.  It sounds right up my ally so I join.  They give me a crossbow and tell me where I can go to kill some vampires.  So far, I'm happy.  

Then I meet the most annoying vampire lady and I can't kill her.  Why not? 

Not only am I a vampire hunter who is not allowed to kill the vampire lady that all the goth nerds love but she constantly complains the entire trip back to her house.  

But it gets worse.  I find her a little boat and she can literally see her home across the water.  Get in the boat and get out of my life I tell her but no.  I guess I have to do the oars myself since vampire lady is two stupid to know how to work them.  

Then it gets ridiculous.  I take her all the way to the door of her house and she tells me she's going her separate way.  That is the best news I've heard since I met her but she won't go into the castle.  

I have to open the door for her too and then when I do, the vampire hunter with a crossbow so powerful it can kill a dragon with two hits is forced to not kill all the bloodsuckers right away because ... plot ...

So anyone who makes mods for Skyrim, please make a mod where I can just kill all the vampire right away without risking my dawnguard brothers.  Let me kill serana when she fall out of her tomb.  Just let my character make his own choices.  And the devs still wonder why people like Morrowind more than these more recent games.  
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I am literally 3 minutes and 18 seconds into the 2014 Doctor Who Christmas special and I already want to pull my hair out and scream at the TV.  To any one in England, you can't came a joke about being racist and then think that it is ok to proceed to be extremely racist, historically ignorant, and religiously bigoted in the rest of your show. I'm looking at you John Oliver. 
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David's idea on how to fix Welfare.



America is the richest and most powerful political entity in the history of mankind.  And yet, even with all our success we still can't seem to keep certain people from messing up their lives so bad that they can't take care of themselves.  Of course we can't have people just living on the street and we don't want children to be malnourished or uneducated.  

The solution that was thought up a while back was for the government to use tax dollars and give those that need a bit of extra help some money in the hope that they will be able to get out of their situation.  As anyone who's ever gotten a raise can tell you, a person very quickly gets used to their new level of income and spends accordingly.  

There is also the fact that the people who actually have to pay the ever rising rate of taxes in the US become very resentful over the fact that their money is going to people who are perceived as just being lazy.  Why can't these people go out and get a job instead of asking for a hand out?  The solution is for everyone to work, right?

Well, that is a fine theory but unless the government hired these people directly, which it won't because that would cost far more than just giving them some money and hoping they go away, there is little chance for most of the people on welfare to get a job.

The problem can be found in the minimum wage law.  Employers are only going to pay an employee a certain amount of money if that employee can perform work that makes the employer more money.  Employers are not going to allow wages to go over a certain amount because if they do they will be seeing themselves go out of business very quickly.  When the government says you have to pay every employee at least a certain amount, then the unskilled workers have a much smaller chance of being able to land a job.  Even if they do land a job, if their employer begins to feel like the unskilled worker is not pulling their fair weight at the company, then the worker will be fired. 

However, if you take away the minimum wage law, some people feel like companies will exploit their workers so much that it would actually be more financially beneficial to stay at home and get on welfare than to work for wages that are so low that they insult the worker's dignity as a person.  

So what is David's idea on how to fix this?  

We aren't going to be able to get rid of the minimum wage and therefore not everyone will be able to get a job at minimum wage which means that there will always be people who will need government to give them money.  However, once the government gives someone something, other people become resentful and we have animosity between countrymen who should be on the same side but aren't.  The people who pay the taxes will see as lazy the people who receive assistance. 

What if the central argument used to degrade people on welfare were taken away?  

What if in order to receive any assistance you needed a job?  That sounds crazy since if these people had jobs they wouldn't need assistance.  However, the reason many of these people don't have jobs is because employers won't hire them at the minimum wage.  

My idea is for the government to supplement the minimum wage.  If an employer wants to hire someone unskilled now the calculation is altered.  The employer doesn't have to pay the full minimum wage.  They would only pay a portion and the government would pay the rest.  From the employer's point of view, they get to hire an unskilled worker for less money.  From the employee's point of view they are getting at least minimum wage, which should be high enough to support themselves.  From the government's point of view they are keeping crime down and making sure everyone has enough in resources to keep themselves healthy.  

It seems like a win/win/win for everyone and unlike the current situation where it seems like the government is paying people to stay home and be uneducated which leads to recipients being called lazy; in the new scenario the people on welfare wouldn't even know they were on welfare.  They would wake up everyday and go to work.  At work they would be learning new skills, making contacts, and building work ethic.  

Now there will probably be problems in a program like this.  Since a program of this sort has never been tried before it is difficult to hammer out all the kinks ahead of time.  What percentage of a wage should be paid by the government and what percentage by the employer?  How many employees would a company be allowed to have on this particular program?  How do you prevent fraud and corruption ahead of time?  What happens if the employer wants to give someone on the program a raise above minimum wage?  How can we keep the program neutral enough so that the government is seen as picking winners and losers?  How do we keep the government and the employers accountable to the taxpayers for the money spent?  What percentage of welfare recipients will actually be able to transition to work if such a program is started?  

These, and probably lots of others, are very good questions that I'd like answers to.  As a Catholic, I like the idea of helping people but I dislike the idea of taking money from one segment of the population and "giving" it to another.  However, I think this sort of set up would be just the sort of fix the relationship between welfare and the minimum wage needs.  

If you have any feedback on my idea, please post below.  This isn't just a mental exercise. I'm planning on sending this idea to legislators and congressmen.
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Game of Thrones season 6 spoilers.  Also book spoilers for the as yet unpublished books.










Nihilism.  If you don't know what that means, go look it up.

The whole point of the Song of Ice and Fire books is nihilism.  All these things that are supposed to have meaning just don't.  In the end we are all just meat and we are all just going to die.  The Targarian girl is never going to get back to Westeros to rule.  She's going to die out in slaver's bay.  Maybe she will have a long life or maybe she won't but she and any children she has will never make it back to King's Landing.

The Starks are all going to die.  Yes, that includes Jon Snow who is now dead, dead as can be and will not be coming back.  In the end, it doesn't matter who your parents were.  If you get stabbed enough times you die just like everyone else.  There is no magic bubble of prophecy that will protect you.  No one in Westeros is the Nerevarine.  They are all just like JFK.  No matter how big and important you think they are, one crazy guy with a gun can still kill you. Superman does not live in Westeros.  Everyone, absolutely everyone is expendable.  No one has main character powers like John McClain and is able to live through things that would kill any normal person.  Everyone in Westeros is going to die.

The white walkers are going to attack the wall.  The wildlings are going to run from battle while the Night's Watch are all going be slaughtered.  The walkers are then going to descend on the north and kill everyone.  Then the they are going to march south and make it all the way to King's Landing.  When that happens, all the political maneuvering, and who likes who, and who is married to who, and who had the throne and who doesn't; won't matter.  

It will be like one guy one upping another guy in the game of office politics and getting the promotion or getting someone they disliked fired.  In the moment all of those things seemed to matter but then when the boss is publicly announcing the promotion that you worked so hard for, a plane hits the building and even if you survive the initial explosion, you discover that you're on the wrong side of the fire and can't evacuate the building.  Then the building collapses and all of your smug thinking about how important you were, and how it was your destiny to lead the company one day all goes up in smoke.  You weren't special after all.  

Eddard Stark was not special.  Jon Snow was not special.  Robb Stark was not special.  Tywin Lannister was not special.  Jauffey was not special.  Prince Oberyn was not special.  Stannis was not special.  

In the end Tyrion will not be special.  Daenerys will not be special.  Arya will not be special.  Sam and Gilly will not be special.  Cercie will not be special.  Tommen will not be special.  They are all going to die and the ultimate end of the story will see Westeros completely destroyed by White Walkers and the East is going to be feeling very grateful that the White Walkers don't like to swim.  Westeros is lost.  
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Sounds like an epic end to an epic story. -)
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Friends Season 2 episode 11

The one with the wedding.

A friend of mine couldn't stop talking about how supposedly great the TV show Friends is.  So I rented season 1 and found myself really disliking the show.  Now my dislike is boiling over into pure hatred.  This wedding episode is just bad but not for the reason you might think I'd object. 

Through the whole episode everyone is talking about why Carol should just be able to marry Susan if she wants.  But in my head all I could hear was the biggest, hugest, reason why  she should not be able to marry Susan.  She is already married to Ross.  She already made a commitment to Ross.  Sure, they are "divorced" but if you see divorce as the sham that I do, then you can help but look on Susan as the most evil and cruel person on the show for her blatant adultery and forcing her husband to go along with it against his will and accept something he should never have to accept.  This wasn't a bad wedding because it was a "lesbian" wedding, it was a bad wedding because a wife was using the legal process of the state to force her husband to watch her commit adultery and asking him to celebrate it.
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Here's my other story.  If you like Superman, please check it out. 
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It's happening. The congress is counting article v applications. I'm starting to be very optimistic about a convention call this year.
Obtain documents, public disclosure forms, historical data and Member and Committee information for the U.S. House of Representatives
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David's thoughts on how to improve Role playing games on the computer.

So I was playing OpenMW and playing through the Raven Rock East Empire Company quest line and I was seeing where I think a lot of the ideas for Skyrim came from.  But this got me to thinking about how much actual "ROLE" playing is done in games like Final Fantasy or Elder Scrolls.  

I also recently watched a great little series on Youtube about Olaf the nord and his daily life to just have a normal job and be a normal person and save up enough money to buy a house in Skyrim.  In some ways, The Sims, is more on a "role" playing game and the others might be classified as adventure games.  

Then again, who wants to play the role of a guy who just stays at home all day on his day off and has to work hard the rest of the time?  Not me.  I want a good size helping of adventure in my RPG.  I just wish the mechanics for the Role part of the RPG were handled better.  

As always the optimist, I have thought up some ideas for how to improve things.  Maybe with OpenMW being so close to 1.0 I might even put my hand to using that engine to make my own game.  

1: get a job:

 Usually in games like Morrowind or Oblivion, getting hired doesn't mean you show up for work, it means you now have a quest line open to you and most of those quest involve killing things, getting some treasure and bringing it back to your "boss".  Sure, that sounds like a lot more fun than showing up at a mine, using a pickaxe all day and then getting paid peanuts.  Nobody wants to watch their character swing a pickaxe or a woodcutter's axe for hours to pretend to have a job.  But there are ways to manage it to making it work within the game world and still be fun.  

step one: you get hired by the owner of the business.

step two: between 6 and 7 you "report for work".  If your character hasn't slept in a few days your boss will tell you that you are no good to him and that you need to go and get some sleep and then come back.  Assuming you have slept, then you can work.  The game skips to several hours later and your character gets some gold for their time but they may also be tired from a hard day's work or may have a bit of health gone because of getting injured on the job as often happens with farming or mining.  You may also be a bit dumber from doing the same menial task all day.  

In a way, having a job just means skipping ahead in the game a few hours for some gold so there also need to be some other benefits.  Say there is a farm.  Farmers do not like it when people steal their crops but say you work for the farm, then it would be ok to take a certain amount but not too much from the farm in your off hours.  The same would go for using someone's forge.  Why would a blacksmith let you use their forge?  Well, if you worked for them for a day then maybe it would be ok.  That makes a lot more sense in the game world than "hey, we're buds right?  Can I use your forge?"  

Step two: Your character will need to report for work at least once a week or they will lose their job.  Sure, in real life it doesn't work that way but your main reason for playing the game is to go on adventures and we want to have plenty of time for that while still offering something more than fetch quests as a "job".  This also gives you the chance to work for more than one person but since you need to report for work at least once a week and work takes all day and you need to be rested, it prevents you from taking on too many jobs and still have time for adventuring.  

Obviously the local group of mercenaries such as the fighters guilds will still have the usual quest type "work" for the people they hire but I'll get to them.

2: Go to school

A lot of people have noted that in Oblivion and Skyrim you can become head of the group of mages without really knowing very much magic.  This was not true of Morrowind because of the favored skills mechanic in the game.  

Why does anyone join the mage's guild?  to learn spells and get training in magic.  When ever I play Morrowind or Oblivion I usually find myself unwilling to pay for training in longblade or sneak but will cough up the gold for some restoration training.  I think Skyrim really hit the nail on the head when they turned the mages in to a school rather than a guild.  

However, there is still the problem of becoming head of the mages without knowing a lot of magic.  The Skyrim mage questline was rather short and you really only become head mage because some mystical guys played favorites, not because you had any real skill.

This can be fixed by injecting the system for becoming horator into the mages college.  In Morrowind, you had to go around and convince people that you were right for the job.  That kind of seems like what you would need to do to become president of a university, go around and kiss up to a bunch of your colleagues.  But that assumes you are a teacher at the school.  That is a particular complaint I have of the "college" atmosphere in Winterhold is that you go from student to dean of the college.  

So how should it be done?  You start as an applicant trying to get into the college.  If your magic is really high then they let you in but if not then you must seek out some of the mages working out in the world who graduated from the college, do them a favor that involves learning some magic and get a recommendation.  Once in the university you will need to attend "class" once a week or you will be put on probation, then suspended, then expelled.  So if you don't go to class in a month, then you're all the way out.  

In order to graduate, you will need to learn a certain number of spells and get to a certain magic level depending on the mechanics of the game.  If you graduate at the top of your class then you will be invited to stay on as a teacher.  If not, then you will have to go out into the world and find a job. <see step one>  That job will mean showing up at perhaps an alchemy shop, or working for a count as the court wizard.  

When your magic is sufficiently level up and you've done some magic related quests then you will get a letter from college inviting you to take on a teaching job there.  Once you take the job you will need to show up once a week or be fired.  You will need to teach a certain number of students and there are lots of possibilities for quests if you think about it.  You follow the story and eventually become a master teacher in charge of the other teachers but you are one of several master teachers.  Then you follow the story and eventually something happens and the old Archmage needs to step down.  A conclave style meeting happens where all the master wizards will decide who from among themselves will replace the archmage.  They have a vote.  If you do the story right and help everyone before this then they will all want to vote for you but if not then they will vote for someone else and you will lose you chance to become archmage (unless you kill the new archmage and there is a new conclave).  

Hopefully at the end of the story the player will really feel like they've earned their position at the top instead of it just falling into their lap.  
3: Companies

The best example of this is the East Empire company but if you think about it, the fighter's guild is a company too.  You do a quest and then you get promoted.  For some reason I just don't like how automatic that is.  How about something better.

You get hired and they send you on a job.  You do the quest but if you don't ask for a promotion then the next time they want to you do a job it will be the same type of job.  If you don't want to be promoted to harder jobs you don't have to be.  You can stay at whatever level you want.  Skyrim has shown that the radiant system can handle this type of thing.  When you feel your character has leveled up enough for the harder jobs, then you ask for a promotion with more pay and you get offered harder jobs.  No quest giver at a company should ever say they have no more work for you.  There is always more work for someone at a company to do.  

Level one: errand boy, go deliver stuff to people around town.  

Level two: advanced errand boy, go deliver stuff to people in other towns and try not to get killed along the way.  

Level three: Got get something from someone who is nice

Level four: Go get something from someone who is not nice and may not let you have it without a bit of a fight. 

Level five: go fight some low level monsters with a team 

Level six: go fight some low level monsters by yourself

Level seven, Go fight some high level monsters

Level eight: Go get this really expensive and powerful item from this place that is just overrun with the nastiest things you can think of and try not to get killed.  

Obviously there can be more levels or other levels depending on what developers what to do but the idea is you can stay at a level and there will always be more work to do.  If you are happy bringing ingredients to the local alchemy shop and don't much care for killing monsters just now then you don't have to do it.  Do your job, wait a day, then get another assignment.  Only ask for a promotion when you're ready.  

So, there you have it.  David's ideas for improving video games.  What do you think? 
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    The guy who teaches English, 2005 - present
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