Wednesday, October 15, 2014

GamerGate BS

Most of the people reading this probably are not aware of GamerGate or what it means.  Let me summarize, it in its simplest form, how it started:

·       *  Someone wrote mean and untrue things about his ex-girlfriend on the Internet.

It really is that simple.  It is something that happens every day on the Internet, thousands of times over.  The details (which I’ll expound on below) would not be important if it ended there.  But it did not end there.  It escalated with speed and force that I find surprising. 

Briefly, here are some of the details:

Zoe Quinn is a game developer.  After she released a new game that was well regarded, her ex-boyfriend wrote a post claiming that she slept with a game reviewer to garner a good rating.  The claim was easily discounted.

The Internet troll community choose to jump on this and started a loosely organized harassment campaign against Quinn, which included stealing and distributing her personal information, calling and harassing anyone who knew her, calls for her to commit suicide and death threats.

All under the cover of preserving the integrity of gaming journalism.  People who spoke out against the harassment are themselves subjected to harassment, especially if they themselves are female.  All that was left was for someone with a big voice to side with the harassers to really get things moving.

That big voice was provided by Joss Whedon’s biggest casting mistake.  Once he waded in he brought a slew of GamerGate apologists, who dutifully repeated the journalism cover story, giving the trolls internal justification for their actions.

You know, like how a politician’s hyperbole spurs immigrant hate crimes.  Or a prominent evangelist spurs a women’s health clinic bombing.  Even if GamerGate originated in a true desire to protect gaming journalism (which it did not), all it is now is an increasingly organized campaign to harass and scare women out of gaming.

I don’t understand it. 

I’m going to go off the rails here a little bit, hopefully it will be worth it.  In most respects I am nothing like a GamerGater except in one important thing:  I’m a straight male.

There are no statistics on the GamerGate population, but I think it is pretty clear that nearly all of them are straight males.  Nearly all straight males, and I have lots of experience on this, like having women around.  Nothing keeps a woman around like having shared interests.  Love video games?  Let’s talk!  Love video games so much you write about them?  Let’s talk some more!  Love video games so much you make them?  Let’s never stop talking!

Chasing women away from something you love chases them away from you.  It dumbfounds me that GamerGaters work so violently against their own self-interest.

Getting myself back on the rails here, whatever twisted logic is driving them, nothing justifies the horrific behavior spurred on by GamerGate.  It is flat out wrong, morally reprehensible and in many cases criminal.

If you harass someone, you are not a gamer, you are a bully.

If you steal someone’s identity and spread it to the world, you are not a gamer, you are a petty thief.

If you threaten someone with violence, you are not a gamer, you are a felon.

It really is that simple.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Go Climb A Rock

Another long wait between posts.  Sorry (to myself as well as you).

This last weekend my daughter Rebecca came home from college for the weekend.  That gave the two of us the opportunity to make a goal that we've had nearly since we move here at the beginning of the summer.

Get to the top of Eldorado Canyon.

The may pictures in this post were taken by either Rebecca or myself.

Eldorado Canyon sits in the front range about half way between Golden and Boulder.  The canyon is beloved by climbers and hikers for the stunning rock formations and beautiful views.

It took us about half an hour to get to our real starting point, a steep boulder field next to the Rincon wall.

That picture was taken looking up at a 45 degree angle.  Having trouble visualizing it?  Here is Rebecca for scale:

This is the kind of hiking I really go for.  As close to climbing as you can without needing ropes.  "Vertical hiking".

We had already climbed 600 feet on the "improved" trail to get to the base of the rock field.  Another 600 feed of climbing brought us to the eastern edge of the canyon.  Here is what we saw.

Click to Embiggen (you really want to)

On the far left you can see Boulder and Longmont.  On the right, nestled between two trees you can see the Denver skyline.  In between is the vast expanse of the Colorado plains.  Kansas may be back there somewhere.

So, what do you need for this kind of hike?  Well, I am not an expert, but here is what I take:

You can see I have a climbing helmet, sticky bottomed hiking boots and my standard day pack.  In the day pack I have lots of water, a first aid kit, snacks and a light jacket.
Man, was that fun.  Here are some more pictures to finish up.

Bonus Track:
This was on my mind for reasons.