Hilarity in Drug Education

First of all, read the article below or at this link

A User’s Guide to Speed brochure available to teens at anti-drug program in Toronto

By Bruce McDougall

The Daily Telegraph

November 24, 2008 01:46am

Controversy … a brochure displayed to up to 100 Year 8 students at a community information day contains “tips to avoid getting bad speed”.

* Drug brochure available to teens
* It advises users to get a good dealer
* Anti-drug advocates outraged

TEENAGE school students have been given access to a controversial brochure called A User’s Guide to Speed while attending a NSW Government-promoted anti-drug and alcohol program.

The 35-page booklet, included among drugs literature displayed to up to 100 Year 8 students and parents during a community information day, contains a section on “tips to avoid getting bad speed”.

In it, teenage readers are told: “If you don’t already have a reliable dealer, try to find one and stick with them.

“When you’re using a new batch, only try a little at first … you can always use the rest later if you need to.”

The booklet’s availability during workshops at the Toronto Courthouse near Newcastle – along with another on “Choosing to use” that was ordered to be pulped in June by former Health Minister Reba Meagher – has outraged anti-drugs campaigners.

Produced by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, the user’s guide tells teens amphetamine-related speed can suppress appetite and help in weight loss.

Users are urged to take breaks from using speed, allow time to “come down” so it doesn’t interfere with work or study and to carry the phone number of a legal aid solicitor with them.

One of the authors, drugs educator Paul Dillon, said yesterday the brochure’s presence at the community day was an “unfortunate mistake”.

Mr Dillon said the resource, produced to help amphetamine users cut down or quit the habit, was inappropriate for 14 and 15-year-old high school students.

“You have got to be very careful about the message you are delivering to young people,” he said.

Mr Dillon, who had no involvement in the community day, said the booklet probably was among a selection of material provided by an agency asked to exhibit.

In promoting the community day Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said high school students would learn about the damaging effects of alcohol and other drugs.

Last night a spokesman for Mr Hatzistergos said the Government did not condone the use of illegal drugs.

“The Attorney-General’s Department is looking into if, how and why this brochure turned up at a court open day,” he said.

No Way campaigner Darren Marton, one of the guest speakers at the education event, said the material should never have been seen by teenagers.

“Those who ran the community day are at no fault in this – it is material produced from harm minimisation (advocates) and put there by others,” he said.

“One lady who was helping out on the day was physically shaken and had to go outside in tears after reading the brochure.”

Opposition education spokesman Andrew Stoner said a drugs guide was the last thing parents and their children needed.

“Students would be better served being in the classroom rather than at a workshop on drugs,” Mr Stoner said yesterday.

Okay, so first… that is hilarious. I’m sure plenty of people think it is horrible, but I’m just tickled at the whole idea behind this. I mean, I doubt any of the students had never heard of speed before. Now they can use it safely. LOL… so awesome.

Also, added points for having a drug opposition spokesman named Mr. Stoner. w00t!

*THIS* is Why I Hate Americans Much of the Time

First, in case you don’t actually know me, let me say that I love America. I love my country. I’ve fought for my country. I vote! I love America. But lately, I’m not terribly fond of Americans. Political correctness, racial oversensitivity and the feeling that America must repent for its ways are no longer amusing anecdotes, but troublesome realities. Take for instance this article.

The basics of the story are as follows. A student at a high school in Florida was suspended for ten days because he showed off a knotted rope. Okay, I’ll bite. Apparently it was tied in a slip knot and potentially could have been a noose. While school officials stated that there are no racial tensions, they also mention another incident where police were called in because students were cheering the Obama win. Paranoid much? I’m pretty sure I learned how to tie a hangman’s noose when I was maybe ten years old. Boy Scouts didn’t fool around. You needed to know a LOT of knots. But I’d like to call into question the following items… Was it a rope, or a “rope”? Was it a hangman’s noose knot or a simple slip knot? Was he forming a noose, or a simple loop with a slip knot? Was he talking about hanging someone, harming someone or otherwise being racially or physically harmful to anyone? So far the answer appears to be “no” to the latter, so WTF is the big deal?

The quotes from the NAACP rep that was interviewed for the news item are priceless. I shall put them here:

For many, the display of a noose is symbolic of earlier times in the nation’s history when blacks were hanged and mutilated by mobs or hooded Ku Klux Klansmen across the South. Charles Favors, president of the South Brevard NAACP, said the school district must remain firm in meting out punishment in the case.

“It’s very serious. We lost so many lives behind the noose,” Favors said.

“It could start something that could get out of control. The real factor now should be that any disregard of race must be met with consequences,” Favors said.

God help us if a black man sees a white man docking his boat. The poor boater might go to jail. Seriously people… get over yourselves! I’m not racist, I hate everyone equally. And from that perspective I can firmly and positively say that if you are black, and everything is still colored by slavery to you, you are wrong. Likewise, if you are white, and everything seems worse since slavery ended, you are also wrong. I’m tired of the double standards. I’m tired of the racial oversensitivty. I’m tired of being made to feel bad because I’m a white American male. So, to those of you who think I’m an asshat right now, picture both of my middle fingers firmly raised and facing you.

Thank you!

Hey Pakistan…

…guess what? You can kiss my lily white American ass!

You want us to stop bombing your country? You feel that we are violating your sovereignty? Act like a damned sovereign nation, take control of the entirety of the land within your borders and the people that are there.

Sure, we might have some crazy Mormons in the desert building camps and practicing polygamy. Sure, we might have crazy hillbillies in the Apalachians sharing the family tooth. You know what we DON’T have? We don’t have those same people getting into plans and mangling shit in your country. The only reason the US military is there doing that is because you don’t have the balls, the smarts or the ability to do it your own damned selves.

So, grow a pair and be a real country, or prepare for things to get far worse than a few bombs being dropped on a few mud huts. Besides, India is just itching to have a reason to beat the hell out of your country. If we gave them the green light, you’d have Hindus and Elephants so far up your asses, you’d start praying for Vishnu to come to your aid.

Gun Control Advocates Rejoice!

Let me say up front for the record that I do NOT support gun control measures implemented by the government at large. I shall not be rejoicing with them in this news that surely will help make their case all the stronger with Americans-at-large who cannot critically think for themselves.

On 26. October 2008, an eight year-old boy fatally shot himself in the head with an Uzi while his father was nearby. This occurred at the Westfield Sportsmans’ Club in Westfield, MA. As of this writing, their website is down, likely due to traffic from morbidly interested folk. That was the boy’s first (and obviously last) time firing an Uzi and he was unable to control the recoil.

So, let’s look at some key words and phrases in the description of this event. Eight years old, shot himself in head, Uzi, father nearby. It’s hard not to blame the parent on this one, regardless of what policies the club “should” have had to prevent such a thing. With a responsible parent in the picture, why should the club be required to disallow a child from shooting an Uzi. Personally, I don’t believe there is any reason. if the parent thinks it’s a good idea, so be it. Now, not only am I anti-gun control, I also firmly believe that the best way to prevent gun-related accidents involving children is to teach them to respect weapons at an early age. Most of the fatal gunshot victims who are children are city-dwellers. In the rural areas, where many kids grow up hunting with their fathers from a ripe young age, you don’t often see such things occur.

Despite the above, I think common sense should kick in involving young children and machine guns. it’s one thing for junior to fire his .22 at a tin can, and wholly another for him to lock and load an Uzi and fire downrange.

Apparently, the local DA there is looking into filing criminal charges, probably negligence of some sort, in regards to this incident. What? I’m fairly certain stupidity is not illegal (though I’ll be damned if i don’t believe it should be). The family lost their child. I’d say that’s pretty much the punishment right there, wouldn’t you?

At any rate, I’m sure that Gun control advocates are just peeing their pants in anticipation of how this plays out in the courts if it does actually go to trial. That, boys and girls, is just sad!

Updates in the World of Xepherys

I think posting here more than once every quarter might be helpful to my head. Let’s see if I can stick with that plan. In light of that, here is the update on me!

I’m back to work, finally. Performing contract IT work for IBM, making a decent wage and enjoying my time there. I’m also back to school… full time no less! Working and edumacating myself, both full time, is quite a task I must say. I had originally changed my major to Physics before the semester started, but I have changed it again, for likely the last time, to Writing and Rhetoric. I think it’s a good fit!

Last weekend, TM and I went to Theatre Bizarre. The easiest thing I can say about it is that it is aptly named. Think about a very dark, devilish Moulin Rouge and you’ll be on the right track. For any of you in Southeast Michigan, I highly recommend buying tickets to next year’s event. It’s money well spent.

Well, I plan to start blogging here a bit more coming up. Let’s hope that works out.

Call For Donations…

As some of you may (or may not) know, I recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan.  During that time, I made many wonderful contacts in the computer and gaming sector via email and was able to bring in donations to our unit for gaming and computing (including consoles, components for three full gaming PCs and more games than I could shake a stick at… and I tried).  It really did make things more tolerable over there.  After a long week of fighting the good fight, it’s nice to be able to kick off your boots and frag your buddy in Halo 3.

Now, more on point, I am beginning a drive for donations to other units in Afghanistan that are related to ours.  For as much love as the troops do get these days, sadly troops deployed to Afghanistan are often overlooked due to some odd out of sight, out of mind mentality.  My mission now that I’m home is to drum up video game donations to send to these units in areas similar to the one I was in, meaning remote Afghanistan.  Currently, across these units I know of many laptops (PC Games, software), a couple of Xbox 360s, at least one PSP and one DS.  I’m not currently aware of any PS3s out there, but I’m sure there will be one.

What I’m looking for is your kind donations of new or used video games for the above mentioned systems or hardware that you think they may be willing to use (extra controllers, batteries, memory cards…  systems?  :p).  They don’t have to be in GREAT condition, just usable.  If anyone is interested, please email me  X E P H E R Y S(@)gmail(.)com for more information.  Thanks!

Penny Arcade: On the Rainslick Precipice of Darkness

So, for those of you who are fans of Penny Arcade, and also for those of you who are not, the first Penny Arcade video game has been released on Xbox Live Arcade, Windows, Mac and Linux (and demos are available for all, AFAIK). The game, called On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode I, is a comic-style 3D/2D Adventure RPG. It takes place in a 1920-esque town, replete with nasty enemies (most Fruit Fuckers and hobos to begin with). The game itself is in 3D, with fights running akin to Final Fantasy combat… except with the required d20 roll for initiative. Weapons vary greatly, with your character beginning his adventure armed only with his trusty rake. Of course, the FF robots have attacks such as leg-humping and “juicing” on your pantleg. The humor is pretty wild, the graphics interesting and not over-done. Cutscenes take place via animated comic strips (each cell of the strip animates for a bit, then goes to the next cell for further animation). I HIGHLY recommend the game to anyone looking for something a bit different. Of course, I recommend XBLA if you have it… you know, 200 Gamer Score plus support of XBLA. But that’s just me. Anyone else play the game yet? I give it a 8.5/10. After I finish the game, I may change my score, but I doubt it’ll go down. 🙂

Call for Pledges (Bike MS)

Hi Everyone!

As some of you may know my mother, Lisa, has Multiple Sclerosis. She constantly suffers from vision loss, muscle spasms, cramps, or even temporary paralyzation of whole limbs. Some days her fatigue is so extreme that she can’t even get out of bed. Jen and I are doing this bike ride for her and for everyone else that suffers from MS. We want to raise money for research that will hopefully lead to more effective treatments and perhaps even a cure for MS (currently there is none). We need your help! Plus, hey… the donations are all tax-deductible!

Please feel free to forward this email on to family, friends and coworkers that you think might be interested in helping this very important cause.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to creating a world free of MS but they can’t do it without our help. It’s faster and easier than ever to support this cause that is SO important to me. Simply click on the link at the bottom of this message, enter my name and complete the brief donation form. If you prefer, you can send your contribution to the National MS Society, Michigan Chapter at 21311 Civic Center Dr. Southfield, MI 48076. Please make sure you indicate my name so my account can be properly credited.

Any amount, great or small, helps to make a difference in the lives of people with MS. I appreciate your support and look forward to letting you know how I do.

(link to donate now button or to the donors Participant Center)

Thank You!!

Jesse Williams
Team Williams

P.S. If you would like more information about the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, how proceeds from Bike MS are used, or the other ways you can get involved in the fight against MS, please visit www.nationalmssociety.org.

***The bike ride is May 31, so please hurry!!***

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DRM, Copy Protection Schemes and the Evils of Business

This is a topic that has had me a bit upset for awhile due to several different major issues that have cropped up. However, recently reading about the “two install” scheme from 2K Games regarding Bioshock and the recently changed scheme of “5 by 5”, I have to throw my arms in the air and ask, “WTF?”

For those not in the know, the shipping version of Bioshock for the PC will allow the game to be installed on up to two PCs. This alone isn’t a horrible thing, however these schemes generally work using a hash from various parts of your computer. When you upgrade components, a lot of these schemes break, thinking you are installing on a new PC. As a geek, I upgrade my computer fairly regularly. I’ve been burned by this in the past, personally, and know other who have as well. Perhaps 2K Games does not care if you play Bioshock in two years, but that alone seems rather short-sighted.

The new “5 by 5” scheme allows installation to 5 PCs, and a reinstall up to 5 times on those PCs. That’ll kick my ass immediately! I tend to reinstall my OS and games about every three months. Why? Well, because thee’s nothing quite like a freshly installed OS, clean desktop and better running PC. It’s the gamer-geek equivalent to rolling around in sheets fresh out of the dryer with the Snuggle sheets just having been removed. It’s wonderful. But much less so if at some point you can no longer install games you paid for even on the same damned computer.

My only possible assumption is that someone on the business side felt that money could be made or lost by restricting use of a game. While this is perhaps partially true, it also brings with it the plague of unhappy users, feeling the bane of protection schemes.

Though I have not yet been able to try it first hand, I wonder if the 360 version of the game can only be played on a single 360, or two, or five? Legitimate reselling of console games has to account for as much profit loss to the developers and publishers as does copying and such. Besides, in the end, anyone that is a gamer or is in the gaming business knows that there has yet to be a type of DRM or protection scheme that some vigilant cracker has not overcome. In the long run, it’s the people who KNOW such things exist and where to get them that are more likely to download and play pirated games. The people who don’t understand such things are the ones who ultimately buy their own copy anyhow, and often get burned by such schemes. Does this really seem good for business to anyone who thinks about it for more than a few minutes?

What was the last game that had a single-disc multiplayer offering? I thought that was a fair compromise. You install the game on one PC and install a game clone on a second. You put the CD in the first machine and as long as it hosts the game, the second machine may play along. I don’t recall seeing it anytime recently, but it was a novel approach to copy-controlling.

Of course, there are always copy protection schemes that are outright horrible, such as Starforce. I don’t recall even Sony’s Rootkit/Unlawful Redistribution DRM getting quite as much bad press as Starforce has. Starforce, in at least some iterations, has been known to compromise Windows security to make sure you don’t copy and play pirated games. Except it still doesn’t work (or rather there are still workaround). That sounds like a great customer service move. Of course Ubisoft has dumped them twice. The aforementioned Sony Rootkit on certain BMG label music CDs caused quite a commotion, not ONLY for installing a rootkit on your PC to prevent copying the music, but also because they used licensed code improperly in doing so.

“Hey, I know, we can use this code, unlawfully, to protect people from listening to our music, unlawfully”… I wish I could say it was only at Sony that such thoughts occur.

In the end, I tend to watch for such things. Games and music CDs that use copy protection such as this that can actively affect my systems are not purchased by me, EVER! When I hear of a game that does not have any copy protection or DRM at all, I almost always buy it, even if I’m not terribly interested, to financially support my cause. DRM isn’t really all that great for the content producer, but it is all too often problematic for the end user. How many CD copy protection schemes have made music CDs unplayable in certain CD players? Ugh! I just don’t understand why business types think potentially alienating the consumer is ever a good option.

If you’re reading this and you are one of those business types, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t.