Category Archives: meritocracy

Going with the flu and a bit about SESTA

First off, I’m very sorry for missing out on a bunch of things I really needed to write about. SESTA and why it’s a horrible bill that’s pretty much a reincarnation of SOPA/PIPA being pulled into the guise of being anti-sex trafficking but really a censorship bill being one of these things, and the small stories / trips down memory lane I was planning to write up.

Y’see, here in the land Down Under, we’ve got this lovely (coughmotherfuckinglybadcough) flu season. I caught it last week. I thought I was having a bad case of allergies from a local grass fire (they do controlled burns and sometimes, I’ll react, some times I won’t… and I was reacting…) but instead of just being allergies, it hid the fact that I had caught flu. A very bad case of flu. This savage thing’s been killing people over here. Everyone, except for our 10-year-old boy caught it – fortunately, not all at the same time. Even the eldest caught it, and she’s usually the one with the most robust immune system in the family. I’m starting to get over it, but I don’t want to push too fast and too hard because I don’t want to end up making things worse for myself in the long run. So after I post this, it’ll be back in bed for me, and I don’t think I’ll be 100% for a while.

Funny about the boyo not being sick; he’s usually the one who brings home the plagues from school, too.

Luckily, (or unluckily) it’s the school holidays, so the kids aren’t missing school, but at the same time this killed about a week of work for me and things I had planned to do through the holidays.


(This part is a repost of the comment I wrote before regarding SESTA, with links to things and notes added in.)

Summary given to me, to boil it down –

Right now, all the services that we use for discussing, blogging, conversation have, for the most part, no responsibility for the content that is hosted on it. We are able to write about anything we want, discussing anything we want. The blog host (say, WordPress, or Blogger, or Tumblr) is not responsible or culpable for any of the content their users put out. Similarly, the bloggers, or original post writers are not responsible for the comments that result – legally or otherwise.

SESTA changes that. Platforms would be responsible for the content displayed, and blog owners would be responsible for what people say on their blogs, as if they had been the ones to write it themselves.

The relevant line is this (source):

This carefully crafted legislation offers three reforms to help sex trafficking victims. The proposed legislation would:

Allow victims of sex trafficking to seek justice against websites that knowingly or recklessly facilitated their victimization;

Remember the various discussions we’ve had over the years – such as during Sad Puppies, or say, like the one where Larry blogged about that Ms America candidate who was pro self-defense? There was someone who came into the comments and made it seem like everyone who was arguing in favor for self defense was enabling rapists (Shadow’s note: that mindset exists, by the way), and not only that, she argued that we should change the definition of rape to allow for women who felt they were raped but claimed that ‘this doesn’t necessarily need to have legal consequences.’ (Note: Her fuzzy definition was met with outrage; my original response to this idiocy is here) Or, for example, the discussions recently where we talk about self-responsibility, and I cited that Tumblr post where from the story of the writer most of the people she described engaged in purely reckless behavior and then were raped… and somehow it’s up to other people to ‘start the change.

People who responded, either negatively, or arguing against those stances would be – let’s be honest here, conflating isn’t new – easily positioned to be ‘in support of sex trafficking – because some of the victims of sex trafficking might have been a bit reckless but were also unlucky enough to end up being trafficked. Or that rape victims were also trafficked.

Not only could our detractors complain about those comments, they could have the blogs shut down for ‘recklessly facilitating sex trafficking victimization.’

Nothing we say, even if we police ourselves, would be safe.

Say one of the trolls who frequently shows up goes to our blogs while we’re on our low-activity time, or while the blog owner is asleep, and makes a comment, completely unrelated to the topic at hand, saying “I know where we can get young boys.” The comment doesn’t get deleted for some time. The owner of the blog would already be a ‘sex trafficking facilitating criminal’ – because under SESTA, the blog owner and the hosting service is responsible for all content and is legally culpable. Then the allies of that troll submit a report citing that comment and claim that the blog is in violation. And escalate it.

Boom. Gone. You don’t even get to argue because you can’t.

Even blogging about writing – police procedurals, chatting about how to realistically portray fictional criminals or crime, or how to write thrillers – would potentially fall under the ‘reckless’ because “Sure, you’re writing fiction, but then someone took your ideas and used them in real life!” – kind of like how there’s a train of thought out there that Tom Clancy gave Osama Bin Laden the idea to crash a plane into American monuments because it happened in one of his books.

Am I fear mongering? No. I am not. I simply understand the social climate we are in now – dissent must be erased by all means. This could easily be used to chilling effect – beyond chilling effect, in fact. Brexit wouldn’t have been able to happen, Trump would not be elected, there wouldn’t be any voice for anyone wanting to say “No” or “But wait…” or “I think…”

All that would matter are the ‘victims’ or ‘potential victims’ or ‘hypothetical victims’ that could be ‘harmed’ by those ‘haterbigotracistnazipatriarchycishomobhobescum’ daring to say anything out of line.

Look at Antifa. Look at the media. Alternative media wouldn’t. couldn’t exist. We wouldn’t have anywhere safe to talk. Remember that we are not considered remotely human or worth protecting, that we are, in the view of the rabid, controlling Left, the Social Marxists, outside the protection of the law – and that the laws are supposed to be a weapon to keep us quiet and cowed and silent.

I can’t do anything but warn my friends in the US from here in Australia. DON’T LET THEM WIN.

==end of comment repost==

 

I’m not sure I’ll be able to write more about about SESTA (link goes to the US congress page on it), I can point to a few VERY helpful pages where they wrote about it.I really wanted to write about it and I know I said I would, but I’m sorry. I’ll have to put this down because I will not be able to write about this in any timely manner, and I hope you’ll forgive me. However, please do read about it.

This lovely Techdirt article, Why SESTA Is Such A Bad Bill covers most of the reasons why it’s bad, and manages to do so without swearing. It even comes up with examples that I wouldn’t have thought of. I encourage you to read it, especially my friends and readers in the US.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has more on how badly SESTA will damage freedoms and have catastrophic chilling effects on speech online, but does absolutely nothing in preventing sex trafficking at all.

The Housemate reckons that it will die at this point and I hope he’s right but, folks over in the US, don’t let up! Make sure it dies. I’m in Australia; I can’t do much except give that heads up. OvergrownHobbit wrote a very good and quick How You Can Help, and I hope ‘Hobbit doesn’t mind that I put it here too.

 

How to reach your elected representative: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
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Please don’t use the victims of sexual trafficking as an excuse to destroy American liberties.
Right now, all the services that we use for discussing, blogging, conversation have, for the most part, no responsibility for the content that is hosted on it. We are able to write about anything we want, discussing anything we want. The blog host (say, WordPress, or Blogger, or Tumblr) is not responsible or culpable for any of the content their users put out. Similarly, the bloggers, or original post writers are not responsible for the comments that result – legally or otherwise.
SESTA changes that. Platforms would be responsible for the content displayed, and blog owners would be responsible for what people say on their blogs, as if they had been the ones to write it themselves.
As a librarian, and a union employee, my freedom to speak up about controversial issues could be abrogated if a Trump “pizza-gate” activist decided to use law-fare to shut down the social media site. For those on the right, if the next president and congress are Democrats, they could face a similar shut down.
Please stop this bill.
And now, it’s time for me to lie down again, as the headaches and aches everywhere are back.

The Illusion of Memory

Recently I watched two sci-fi movies that I deeply enjoyed; Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, and the live action version of Ghost In The Shell starring Scarlett Johansson. Despite vastly differing source material, they touched on related themes. Memory – or what is perceived as memory, also played heavily in the movie The Arrival. All of these were excellent movies that I highly recommend watching, as they both entertain and, for me, are incredibly good science fiction stories, full stop. Speaking of stopping, if you haven’t seen these, you’d probably want to stop here.

(Spoilers abound, you’re forewarned.)

Continue reading

We are living in Sci-Fi realms

A friend of mine linked this to me via Skype, and Skype, weirdly enough chose not to let me know she’d messaged me. Bloody hell.

Become a citizen of Asgardia

I wonder how it’ll be determined who goes onto the space station, should it launch? By merit and need, or by who has the most connections? There’s also the matter of more …hah! Earthly concerns; such as recognition of the things which require statehood – I doubt, strongly that they’ll go with a Star Trek concept of ‘no money’ – a concept which, though I love the series, I always found rather implausible (because trade still existed, and there were mentions of things like credits.)

Now, personally, I think they’re looking ahead; but at the same time I wonder how many of the old ‘rules’ will still hold, like the Outer Space Treaty, which is ridiculously vague, and I wonder always who will determine ‘the use of the resources.’ Every country will want to say ‘I need that’ but I do not think that such would simply be ‘given away’ – determined by some uncaring Communist-replacement body that decides who benefits based off some arbitrary guideline.

That said, I think that it’s an eventual step in the future that humanity will expand to the stars, for things like mining, settlement, and so on. It’s all a question of when, and whom. Continue reading

Vote in the Dragon Awards!

Golden Dragon Bookworm

image source Google

 

First off, congratulations to the various authors who were nominated to, and are on the finalists for Dragoncon’s Dragon Awards! Larry Correia, who is a finalist, has a list of the other finalists on his blog.  Another finalist, Declan Finn, has made comments about the reactions; apparently already there is at least one author recusing himself from the ballot, for whatever reason.

However, there is a diverse range of books and authors, as well as games to vote for. Go vote for the ones you liked, enjoyed, the most, or find worthy for whatever reason you wish to use. Don’t let anyone else tell you what to pick or to vote for; this is your vote! And it’s free!

Vote for and support the thing you love! THIS is the award that is really and truly BY THE FANS. This has NOTHING to do with politics, nothing to do with the judgement of the gatekeepers. That’s evident from the finalists that ended up on the ballot!

So go forth, and vote. And most importantly, have fun!

 

 

 

When Rights Don’t Trump Individual Safety.

This post was originally meant to be a comment over at Nicki’s The Liberty Zone. It’s a response to how a state over in the US has ruled that bathrooms must be male or female only. The discussion is about rights and government over-reach, and for the most part I agree with Nicki’s post, that a business should be allowed to decide whether or not they will accommodate transgender people being allowed to go into the restroom as the gender they identify as. But as Nicki said, this is not a simple question at all, and from my own limited observations, it is slowly escalating outside of the seemingly innocuous question of bathroom access.
Continue reading

Dragoncon’s New Award

Because I’m not online as much as I used to, I guess I’m a little late to the party celebrating the establishment of the Dragon Awards, just very recently announced.

Welcome to the first annual Dragon Awards! As a part of our 30th Anniversary as the nation’s largest fan-run convention, we are introducing a new way to recognize excellence in all things Science Fiction and Fantasy. These awards will be by the fans, for the fans, and are your chance to reward those who have made real contributions to SF, books, games, comics, and shows. Not only can you nominate and vote, the Dragon Awards lets you share your support with others!

Read the rest at the site.

I think this is a good thing, quite honestly. As I don’t live in the US, I have only heard of DragonCon from friends, or read about it, over the years. It’s a pretty freaking huge con, with lots and lots of people going, and it always sounded like lots of fun to me.

I think it’s a wonderful thing that there is an award for Science Fiction and Fantasy at DragonCon, as it seems to be a natural outgrowth of the popularity of the convention.  I especially like how they didn’t attach a monetary value just for the privilege of nominating and voting for the year’s favorite works by fan vote. Anyone can participate, and I think in the long run that actually is more representative of the enjoyment of the fanbase.

I’m also rather happy that video games have a representation here, because there are lots of games now with very immersive storylines, well crafted multidimensional characters and absolutely engaging characters – and some of these games don’t have to have shiny graphics, although it helps a lot with some players with building the atmosphere itself. I’d like to think that for a really good game, you need to have more than just shiny graphics, but at least this way the stories that make part of the game would be recognised.

I’m rather hoping that English-translated manga and light novels will have some representation here, because I think it takes talent to be able to translate a foreign language work into English and still get the story across – after all, ‘Lost In Translation’ happens a lot and manages to butcher many a fine work that would otherwise be completely unappreciated.

I think that the categories could be further refined and expanded to include things such as shorter works but hey, it’s the first year. There are bound to be some rough edges, but I expect those to be smoothened out as the years go.

So, if you have a sci-fi or fantasy work in any of the listed categories that came out new in the last year and part of this year (you’ll have to look at the range of dates on the site) that you feel you enjoyed enough for an award recognition, do nominate or vote for it! Let’s join in an award for the works most enjoyed by the fans at this wonderfully popular convention!