A Cynical Look On Gold and the United States Dollar

First, I would like to apologize for the lack of activity. Finals week is time consuming.

Second, I would like to draw your attention to this article, written by Antal E. Fekete. Antal E. Fekete is a renound professor of Mathematics and Statistics at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is a sought after expert in monetary science and gold. He currently resides in Romania.
Basically, this article spells out the collapse of our currency.

As we speak, you may still be able to trade gold for dollars. However, when gold goes into backwardation, as it has, this will become much more difficult.

This rampant deflation that is speculatively resulting from the housing crash is a bad "omen" This type of deflation often occurs right before hyperinflation- where a loaf of bread costs $600 and single dollar bills are best used as fuel for a fire.

Oil is below $50 a barrel. I remember that not long ago we were breaking $150 a barrel. Has demand for oil really gone down that much? Did "speculation" really have that much of an affect on the price? Well, no. And today, when the feds set the reserve rate at a mere .25% and prices are still low. When that happens, you know there is a problem.

A Cynical Look On Governor Rod Blagojevich

Aah, politics of the Windy City. In the words of the Feds: "Illinois is surely the most politically corrupt state in the USA"

As a resident of Illinois for 18 years, I have furiously and publicly commented on Blagojevich's corruption, but to no avail. Chicago votes almost entirely Democrat in every election. Blagojevich won re-election in the office even with ongoing corruption investigations by the Federal Government. All that he needed to do was run a few purely negative ads against his opponent, wining the office by a landslide. I wouldn't be surprised if Satan himself were elected into office in Illinois. All the devil himself would need is a (D) next to his name on the ballot and a negative ad campaign calling his opponents fat. And no, I do not intend to associate all Democrats with beings of the underworld, but I merely comment that the residents of Chicago are incapable of discerning truth from fiction.

"Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday, accused of seeking money or other favors to influence his choice in picking Obama's replacement. The governor has authority to appoint the replacement, but top Illinois lawmakers have said they are preparing to call the Legislature into session as early as next week to set a special election to choose Obama's successor."

Rod Blagojevich represents political corruption in its purest form. You do not sell a political office. He had the chance to put someone in office that catered to his every whim, but that wasn't enough. He needed to have a sizable bribe to go with it. That isn't even the worst part. This man has been getting away with this sort of blatant corruption for YEARS! Even with the entire population against him, which would make it impossible to properly govern a state, he refuses to relinquish his office. It is quite clear that this man never had the interest of the people in mind when he took the position.

None of these charges come as a surprise to me. However, what does come as a surprise to me is the pure STUPIDITY of the man. Why on earth would you so openly try to sell a position when you were under federal investigation. Not even a child is naive enough to sneak cookies from the cookie jar while his parents are in the room. Yet, this is the man that the general public of Illinois has chosen to support for two terms. A man who has run the state into more debt than it has ever been in history, to the point that is competing with California in terms of red marks. A man that introduced a bill to congress with intent to tax gross income instead of profit for businesses. At least near the end of his reign his approval dropped from 70% to 30% and most recently to 04%. I almost feel that if Satan was an option, he would have done a better job.

As for Rod: he is going to be in time out for a while.

Related Reading
Here - About Obama
Here - About Jesse Jackson
Rod telling everyone he didn't do anything wrong
Detailed Story

A Cynical Look On Chain Posts

While perusing Facebook, I happen across groups and walls that have given me an unfortunate, if not unexpected, revelation. The average internet user is a moron. While I could rant about how people are stupid for ages, instead I'll toss out some examples and analyze them. This will start with the most common element of horrible stupidity, the chain letter post.
The chain letter post, reviled by everyone with a working prefrontal lobe, is disgustingly common. I'll now analyze two of them. For the love of all that isn't terrible, please do not take these chain posts seriously. I beg of you, do not repost these abominations without adding something resembling analysis of the absurdity of them. If you see chain posts anywhere, please direct the poster to this article. Perhaps with some knowledge these forces of evil can be conquered.

Warning: Chain Posts Beyond This Poi
nt, Skip to the word "Banana" to avoid.


Now we'll analyze this post. The first thing a normal person will notice is that the entire post is in capital letters, a sure sign of a degenerate mind. Next, the first sentence says to not read. A second warning flag for anyone who doesn't skip posts written in all capitals because degenerate minds have nothing important to say. After ignoring this warning, we arrive at being kissed on Friday by the love of your life. That doesn't sound too bad. Of course, then there's the point where it warns if the post isn't reposted the reader will die in two days. That's nice and all, but what happens if Friday is more than two days away? Is the love of your life going to kiss your corpse? Does death void the contract? If not, should it bother you that the love of your life is a necrophile according to the chain letter? And wouldn't that make them the love of your death? Thus rendering the chain letter wrong? Next is the point where the letter "u" is substituted for the word "you," something acceptable if you are in a hurry on the internet. However, when someone has had time to write something, arbitrary word shortening is another sure sign of a degenerate mind. Another warning sign for even the dimmest bulbs to seek shelter outside of the overwhelming stench of stupidity emitted from a chain post. Next comes the arbitrary number and time limit, followed by bait. The point where this claims that if one presses F6 after following all the instructions, the person you have a crush on's name will appear in big letters on your screen is, of course, the point where this post is claiming that your computer can read your mind. If my computer can read my mind, I have much more to be scared of than a chain letter working.

The above paragraph is safe to read, and should make some semblance of sense even to those of you who would not read the chain letter.

Second Chain Letter Starts Here. Once more, "Banana" will get you safely past.

1. Say ur name 10x
2. Say ur mom's name 5x
3. Say ur crushes name 3x
4. then paste this to 4 other quizs, if you do this your crush will kiss you on the nearest friday! But if you read this and did not paste this, then you will have very bad luck

Once more, it starts with all capitals, a sign that has already been touched upon. Next comes a number, something that seems safe. Unfortunately, following the number is poor grammar, another thing that I've already touched upon. The creator of this obviously couldn't be bothered to run spellcheck either, for it not only misspells "quizzes," but also forgets to capitalize "Friday."
The content, however, is quite different. Now you're being instructed to repeat things for some reason, followed by a plea for reposting, a promise of a kiss, and then a threat of bad luck, if you have not already reposted it. Now that the content has been covered, a few hypothetical scenarios should be as well. If a child is an orphan and reads this, are they doomed to bad luck? What happens if you have no crush? If you have had your name changed, or go by a nickname, what name should you use? Also, what exactly is bad luck? If I'm deathly afraid of becoming rich, will I find a winning lotto ticket?

"Banana" Once more, the above paragraph is safe to read for those of you who for some reason are unable or unwilling to read chain posts.

As a whole, chain posts offer comedic value to those of us who don't take them seriously. However, as shown by the abundance of these things, some people do take them seriously. How so much can be attributed to the powers of a chain letter I will never understand. For instance, in the one where the computer somehow is able to read your mind, the chain letter has mystically granted it this ability. How and for what purpose was my computer designed to be able to read my mind? Unfortunately, these things have become far too common, and as such, are far too annoying to be mildly tolerated any more.

Chain posts in the comments will be deleted.

A Cynical Look at Speeding Tickets and Speed Limits

Ahh, the familiar flashing lights and irritating siren. What did you do this time?

-Reckless Driving?
-Armed Robbery?
-Possession of Illegal Materials?
-Throwing pennies at other moving vehicles?
-Fishing for Whales in Nebraska?
-Speaking English in Illinois? "The State recognized language is actually written as (American)"

How about driving ten in a five mile an hour zone?
Although it sounds ridiculous, it is perfectly legal for cops to issue tickets on charges like these, and they do all the time. I don't know about you, but I find it extremely difficult to get my car to travel at a constant five miles per hour.

Because people drive machines instead of machines driving people, it is not really possible or reasonable to impose a speed limit of five miles per hour. That is why in most cases you can get a ticket like this dismissed by the judge. There is one problem however, and it is a problem most cops issue tickets knowing full well: Time. (Opportunity Cost in Economic terms)

Alleged Speeder: "This ticket is unreasonable!"

Policeman: "Maybe, but is it really worth your time to do anything about it?"

Even though many are being charged an unreasonable amount, court cases are often scheduled while they are at work or out of town. Although the case can be rescheduled, in most cases it requires the defendant to appear before the judge just to petition for a different date. There is also the fact that they may be better off just working that day, because they make can make more working in the time it would take to get rid of the ticket than the ticket is actually worth. All for driving five miles over the speed limit!

The thing is, it costs the government more money to lower a speed limit. Especially in residential areas. In other words, it costs YOU more money whenever you see a speed limit sign lower than the default residential limit of Twenty-five, regardless of you adhering to these speed limits or not. The only thing that is physically changed are some numbers on a sheet of paper, and all the old signs are switched out for new ones. The problem is that there is so much legislation and bureaucracy involved in changing a speed limit, that the costs of actually doing it are enormous.

In this case a city paid $250 to re-post the couple of signs adjacent to a school from 25 to 20mph.

This problem presents itself not only in America. An example is be this case where citizens wanted to lower the speed limit from 50km/h to 40km/h and that it would cost $500,000. They later opted to simply "remove the old signs and not replace them" because that was a much cheaper alternative.

Some would argue that it is worth the cost, because it forces people to go slower and somehow overall saves money. However, this argument contains a logical fallacy: It assumes that all people will obey the posted speed limit to the letter. Studies show (this is a government site) that changing the speed limit not only does not affect the speed at which most people drive, but distances the legal speed from the speed that 85% of people travel. This causes more accidents because there is a greater variance in the speeds that people are traveling at.

In the endgame, whenever somebody lowers the speed limit the citizens not only get more tickets, but pay more to give out the tickets. This is at a theoretical gain with little evidence to support it.

I'm Sam, and I am not driving 5 miles per hour.

A Cynical Look at EA Games

Once upon a time games that were buggy, boring, generally unplayable, or just plain terrible had a short life expectancy. That was a golden time where a game that was reviewed well would actually be good. That time has been and gone. This time is dominated by giant publishers, some of which routinely produce good games. EA is not one of those publishers.

EA is a publishing company that actually can claim responsibility for the failures of the games it publishes. I remember when I was beta testing Hellgate: London. My first response was they had a terrific skeleton of a game, and with a little work, it could be great. We, the beta testers, clamored for a delay in the release of the game so that the problems could be ironed out and a game fit for play could be released. EA didn't see things that way, and Hellgate London has now failed. I can't help but believe many other games have the exact same dilemma of knowing what to fix, how to fix it, and having the publisher not allow them to in order to meet a schedule.

EA may produce sports games that don't suck. Honestly, however, name a single sports game that changes so much year to year a downloadable roster and a few mods couldn't do the same thing. Not even the sports games are truly above the line of sucking, however. If you've ever tried to play one made for the computer, you quickly realize how much a sports game can suck.

EA appears to aim for mediocrity and fall short. I can't see the sense in that. EA's tendency to do this has been commented by many before me, including "Yahtzee" Crokshaw, a game reviewer with a weekly video review. Apparently, however, one can become a gigantic publishing powerhouse by aiming to be meh. With the knowledge that EA actively hurts the quality of the games they produce, I cannot help but declare that they suck.

I've prepared a scale of things that suck, for those who may be visual people. Farther down the scale it is, the more it sucks.

EA has reported a net loss of over four hundred million dollars this year. I cannot help but wonder, if they would have produced more good games and fewer complete disasters, if that number may have been on the other side of the zero mark. As such, EA's failures as a publisher have done to EA exactly what this giant companies deserves.

A Cynical Look On Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir

Edit: About the Cartels: Google is telling me that a lot of people are ending up on this page searching for info about them. So here are your questions answered:
If you're wondering, the last level of the cartel does not offer any special reward. It sucks and seems unfinished because honestly, it never was.
The "merchant" the cartels send you is that guy they put near the entrance. He has nothing to sell you. The only benefit to signing up with them is that they add more items to the blacksmith for you to buy.
The only difference between the cartels are the types of items that get sent to the blacksmith for you to buy, your feat reward, and how people react to your decision.
Depressing, I know-- but that's it.

Storm of Zehir, the newest Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion pack, is one of the most recent DnD RPGs to roll off the rack. Its game dynamics, although similar to the unexpanded version, have been largely revamped. The expansion does make many changes to the game play that I applaud. The new traveling system is an improvement, and the game finally allows you to have up to 4 characters custom made instead of being forced to travel with characters that you find along the road. Also, no specific characters are required to continue the quest line and the options and affects of speech skills like diplomacy and bluff have been greatly elaborated on.

The game takes a different approach than most expansion packs. Instead of taking place after the previous expansion pack, Mask of the Betrayer, it starts as it's own game that takes place after the original game. It feels more like a mod than an expansion pack, given that there is no expanding on the original storyline done.

That being said, only buy Storm of Zehir if you like your games to feel unfinished. Storm of Zehir is so bugged that it is barely operational, it has poor itemization, and is a game that ends halfway through its story.

As typical with the Neverwinter Nights Series, the Camera is a nightmare to control, you will find yourself looking at a brick wall at the most crucial of moments and will therefore spend most of your time in battle with the game on pause, trying to find your characters. This may be a feature, however, given how everything else has since turned out. Something to make you quit before wasting hours of your life. The new expansion also introduces its own problems, from missing key NPCs to quests that you can not turn in, it makes you wonder if they even spent any time beta testing the game at all!

You had better hope that you are a Mage, Rogue, or nudist, because if not, this game doesn't have gear for you.

I found myself walking around with over Six Million gold and not having anything to spend it on, all the while using items that seemed to cap out at +3 enchantment levels. In the last battle one of the two bosses dropped a +3 tower shield as his reward. The game also only has two merchants that have any useful items to sell you.This game uses a new system that makes items much easier to make and enchant. The only problem is that there are no good enchants! I plundered practically every area in the game and personally found no better than a +2 enchant for a weapon or +3 for armor. You actually have to finish the game before you can go back and get a +4 armor and +3 weapon enchant. This is sad because the previous game went up to at least +5 and in mask of Betrayer it was common to see enchants upwards of +8. Even if you were fighting at a higher level, it seems odd that an expansion would end before the original version did.

The Story:
Storm of Zehir has so many problems with its story that at times it feels like someone has replaced your hamster wheel with a brick wall. Only at one point in the game did I feel like I was fighting some sort of boss, whereas usual Dungeons and Dragons games will have several. Don't count on conclusions to your storylines. The developers apparently found them unnecessary. For example, paying for and achieving the last rank in the merchant cartels offers no experience, no quests, and no recognition of any sort. You are also repeatedly told to ask certain mobs for quests when these mobs either don't exist, or never offer any sort of quest to begin with.

The biggest downfall in the story is the end of this game. After you kill the final boss you talk to the god Zehir who makes it seem like the fight was a preliminary fight to get to him and is only "one of his many schemes" Excited that you have more to do, you walk out the door to find that you can return to adventuring, only the main quest line is over, and the option to "retire from adventuring" becomes available. When you select this option the game ends and a person begins to tell a story that explains what happens to everything after the fact, all things that I could not help but feel I should have been able to play through.

This game took me about 28 hours to complete (including all side quests and wandering around aimlessly) Overall I rate the Storm of Zehir expansion pack a 65 out of 100. If you don't mind the lack of attention to detail and plot holes, this still makes for a fairly decent game. My suggestion is to wait, hopefully a patch will come out that fixes some of its numerous problems.

A Cynical Look on Twilight

Now I've never been a big fan of books where the entire plot can be summarized in three sentences, but apparently this Twilight thing is big. At least among the teenage girl horde. As such, my sister and her friends went to see it. I saw it as well, through dubiously legal means. I, as always, have an opinion. This movie was hilarious, albeit unintentionally so. I'm of conflicted mind about criticism of the plot of the movie, because a movie should follow a book. However, I will go ahead and criticize the plot anyway.

The movie centers around the idea of love at first sight. Or, in this case, smell. Now I might be cynical and jaded, but the idea of someone stalking me before I even spoke to them seems creepy. Not the least bit romantic, more like something normal people seek restraining orders for. Apparently, however, the main female protagonist finds this bit of creepy stalking romantic. Enough of strange psyches though, for there's plenty more to talk about and this post should probably be kept shorter than the Constitution.

Before anything else can be said, I must applaud the acting of the actor portraying Jasper. He personifies the vacant lost puppy that I've come to expect from the novels. Beyond him, however, the acting is approximately equal to that of your average high school production. With less enthusiasm, of course. Also, the leading man, who is supposed to run away in a particular scene, floats away instead. I can't recall that particular mistake being made before. Speaking of the leading actor, he's in that picture on the left of your screen. Look at the picture and stop writing me hate mail. Thank you.

The plot, of course, is that the superhuman vampires do a lot of infighting. Apparently, Bella is heroin for these vampires, so they are all naturally after her. Somehow, she falls in love with the one boy that nobody at the school likes. Feeling which are, of course, reciprocated, regardless of how out of character that would be. Most of the first hour of the movie was meaningless. After a long period of hilarious ignorance, Bella discovers her boyfriend is a vampire. He talks to her. A lot. It was boring. Then Bella meets his family, which seems to genuinely like her. Except for the blond, but everyone knows blonds are dumb. Then more meaningless scenes, which help even out the symmetry of worthlessness on both sides of the hour mark. Then comes a casual loop, a near death, poison-sucking from a venomous creature (a whole set of problems in and of itself), and a dance. Now these problems aren't really faults in the movie, because the book is equally dumb. They don't make for easy watching, though.

Of course, it would be remiss of me to not mention the entire conflict could have been avoided if the idiot boyfriend would simply have Turned Bella. So that makes the plot not only boring but idiotic as well. Coupled with the lack of action, adventure, romance, drama, mystery, or any other sort of remotely redeeming value, I am forced to give this movie a 35. Out of 100. If in the market for something to watch with your Twilight-obsessed girlfriend, it gets a 75. Else, avoid. Go watch C-Span. At least then you'll learn something while being bored to sleep.

Fear not, those of you who liked this movie. While I look down my nose at you, you have sequels, which will doubtless by more dreadful than this movie, to look forward to.