Author Archives: Raizen

Battle Tower RMT – Pokemon Sword Version

pokekid means business.pngThe Battle Tower: serious business.

The Battle Tower is a feature in Pokemon games that simulates competitive play against an AI, but it’s also a way to farm BP, a currency used to purchase some highly-desirable items.

Here is the team that I used to reach the highest rank:

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Dracovish @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Strong Jaw
6 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly nature (+Spe -SpA)
– Fishious Rend
– Crunch
– Ice Fang
– Earthquake

Dracovish looks like nature made a mistake, and hits like GameFreak made a mistake. Fishious Rend is a move that does enormous damage, but the catch is that the user has to go first, and Dracovish has a seemingly-inconvenient Speed stat. This set cranks up the power of Fishious Rend while going full-tilt to increase Dracovish’s Speed, enabling this monstrosity to sweep entire teams with ease. Fishious Rend benefits from Strong Jaw, giving a power boost to an already ridiculously strong move. The other moves are for coverage.

By the way, Dynamaxing allows a Choice item holder to temporarily choose a different move, which gives an answer to Shedinja and other pokemon that might be immune to Fishious Rend.

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Zacian @ Rusted Sword
Ability: Intrepid Sword
6 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly nature (+Spe -SpA)
– Iron Head (Behemoth Blade)
– Play Rough
– Close Combat
– Swords Dance

While using a massively OP super-legendary may seem unfair, remember that the idea of a Battle Tower team is to win. What’s great about Zacian isn’t just that it’s strong, but its typing compliments Dracovish just right. Both Dragon and Fairy types can potentially give Dracovish trouble, and Zacian has the typing and moves to come to the rescue. Zacian has to watch out for Ground and Fire types, which aren’t much problem for Dracovish. The two go together excellently well.

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Rotom (Wash) @ Choice Specs
Ability: Levitate
6 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid nature (+Spe -Atk)
– Hydro Pump
– Trick
– Thunderbolt
– Volt Switch

Rotom provides a more direct answer to the Water types that might resist this team’s power moves. If you wish, you can go with Rotom Mow, which would take down Gastrodon in a hurry, but this comes with the risk that Rotom might take significant damage from an Ice-type move from a pokemon like Lapras on the switch-in. While stall pokemon like the Toxic/Protect users don’t usually cause Dracovish much trouble, those strategies are ruined when a Choice Specs are Tricked onto them.

Can you think of a way to improve this team? Or do you have a different team of your own? Feedback is welcome.

My Beef With Santa Claus

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When I was growing up, I was told that Santa Claus “sees you while you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.” The idea is that he uses this information to make a determination as to whether to reward children for their behavior. But there’s something troubling about this. Deeply troubling.

For one thing, Santa’s surveillance system is in violation of the 4th amendment of the US Bill of Rights. While the NSA similarly runs afoul of this, Santa has long been a noteworthy offender. What’s especially creepy about this is that Santa’s surveillance is extended to areas where there would be an expectation of privacy, including bedrooms and restrooms.

What’s worse is that Santa has plenty of opportunity to use this system benevolently, but he simply chooses not to. If Santa’s global surveillance system allows him to see the location and activities of every single child at all times, why does he do nothing for the many children out there that are missing, abducted, exploited, trafficked, and abused? Santa possesses the means to assist these children, their families, and law enforcement in returning these children home, so why doesn’t he?

What does Santa use his global surveillance for? To make arbitrary decisions as to who should be rewarded for good behavior. But even then, his decision-making is horribly flawed. I’ve noticed that wealthy children are rewarded more than children in poverty. If Santa is fair, and possesses the means to reward each child proportionately for their benevolence, why is favoritism extended to children in wealthier families? And if Santa is benevolent, why does he overlook impoverished families who simply need more to eat?

Santa Claus, you’re one messed-up hombre. Don’t think I haven’t noticed. You may be watching us, Santa Claus, but we’re watching right back. I’m on to you.

An image to describe 2019

The Gregorian calendar is about to increment, and here is an image to describe this passing year. No need to photoshop this time, this one has been ready since January:

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Old media has demonstrated it’s efficacy by hastily concocting a story that defamed a young man for doing nothing more than smiling while wearing a hat that they didn’t like. That’s the current year for you.

The origins of Christmas are coming to light. What does this mean for you?

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There is an increasing number of people who are coming to the awareness that the celebration of Christmas is not what it appears to be. This has to do with the various trappings associated with Christmas that didn’t originate in the Bible, but instead with numerous solstice traditions observed throughout pagan Europe.

There are many elements of Christmas that are non-Biblical, and they can be surprising when one is presented with them. Here is a list of a few of these traditions:

  • December 25th was the birthday of Mithra, whose religion was the main religion of the Roman empire at the time of Christ’s ministry.
  • The evergreen tree as a religious symbol was favored throughout the ancient world because it remained green throughout the year. Druids offered child sacrifices to Thor until their tree was chopped down by a Christian who tried to end the custom.
  • Mistletoe was a religious symbol, too. If enemies were to meet under mistletoe during the winter solstice festivities, they were required to refrain from hostilities until the festivities were over. Druids used mistletoe as medicine. The joke’s on them, because mistletoe is poisonous.
  • Caroling had less to do with music and more to do with going door-to-door demanding things.

There’s more. Much more. In light of all this, it becomes clear that the observance that we call “Christmas” is not Christian, but a set of appropriated solstice traditions. But what effect does this awareness have on Christianity?

More to the point, what does this mean for you?

That really depends on how sincere you are when it comes to your faith. Is your faith something that you take seriously? Or is it a matter of cultural identity, and you’re just doing something because everyone else around you is doing it?

As one reads the Bible, they can see that the ancient Israelites made poor choices in that regard. Even though they had been given express commandment to not follow the customs of the peoples around them, they were enamored with solar worship, and had integrated some of the customs of the pagans into their own worship, and in some cases they even turned to false gods outright! This mistake was among those credited with their national captivity.

While one might think that the New Testament is more lenient when it comes to taking on pagan customs and giving them Christian-sounding themes, we have no indication in the New Testament that this is the case. Instead, the Apostle Paul warned that what the nations offered, they offered to demons!

The Pagan origins of Christmas are increasingly coming to light, and more people are becoming aware of them. What do you do with this information? That depends on how sincere you really are about your faith. The wishy-washy would continue observing Christmas as though they didn’t know any better. However, those who have strength of conviction would decide that commercialized pagan mysticism is no proper way to worship!

When it comes down to it, everyone decides for themselves what they do. But can a person really honor someone by observing their birthday when it’s actually the birthday of their enemy? And can anyone really put someone back into something that they were never a part of to begin with?

YouTube’s Real Beef With COPPA

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YouTube was recently found to have been in violation of COPPA, and was subsequently fined. Afterwards, in a public statement, YouTube suggested that they’d crack down on content creators who post content directed towards children without tagging their videos as child-appropriate. Content creators that run afoul of YouTube’s COPPA measures could end up fined $42,000 for each offending video.

Since learning of this, YouTube’s content creators are speaking up in outrage about both COPPA and YouTube, with some saying that this recent development could result in the end of their channels.

If you’re wondering what COPPA is, it’s the Child Online Privacy Protection Act, a law passed in 1998 that makes it illegal for website owners to collect data on children under the age of 13. Why 13 and not 18, which is the generally-agreed-upon age of adulthood, I don’t know. Website owners have largely responded by disallowing persons under the age of 13 from starting accounts. In light of this, it should be obvious that COPPA is a good thing, as it extends protections to children online that adults would love to have.

So then, why the outcry among YouTubers against it? The answer is simple: YouTube has turned the onus of compliance with COPPA to its content creators, complete with a disproportionately steep punishment for slipping up.

That being the case, it’s obvious why YouTubers would be upset with YouTube and COPPA. While this seems unfair on YouTube’s part, it would be just the right move if their aim was to present COPPA in an intensely negative light, turning public opinion against COPPA, and potentially stir up a movement that results in getting COPPA repealed.

Is that what’s motivating YouTube? It’s hard to discern motives for certain, but if turning people against COPPA wasn’t their plan, it’s hard to think of a reason for them to punish the community for their own failure to properly manage a website. But if we were to look for motives, it helps to understand how YouTube makes money.

YouTube is owned by Google, a tech company that offers many online services that are (apparently) free to those who want to use them. These services include Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, and the huge search engine that put them on the map. Because Google offers its services for free, many have wondered: How does Google make money?

Google makes money by collecting data. About you. And anyone else they can. Google then takes this information and sells it to a network of advertisers who then use it to serve targeted advertisements.

Make no mistake, the information collected about people is something that ad companies are willing to spend a lot of money on. On the internet, advertisements are big business. The more effective advertisements are the ones that succeed in convincing people to make purchases. If advertisers know what kind of things appeal to you, they can serve you advertisements specific to you that other visitors to the same page might not see.

As a person uses Google products, Google collects data on that person that’s used to construct a profile specific to them. While Google is who we’re talking about today, they’re far from the only tech company that collects data like this to sell to advertisers. Even social media outlets get in on this, and it’s on these platforms that people voluntarily surrender piles of information about their interests.

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To give an idea of how extensive an ad company’s profile could be on you, the algorithms that are used collect deeply personal data, including psychological information. An ad company is able to make determinations about a person’s internal tendencies, including sexual preferences, that the person themselves might not even know about. Even the federal government doesn’t collect this kind of data on the general population. If they wanted to, tech companies are capable of making a person’s life a living hell, and they have all they need to do so.

If that’s not scary enough for you, try this one: an advertising company was able to determine that a woman was pregnant based only on her purchasing history, then serve her targeted ads based on this information before the woman herself discovered that she was pregnant.

Considering this, think about what Google has to gain from having COPPA repealed: if COPPA no longer factored into their considerations, their dragnet of data collection could be cast without restraint. Children would then be included in Google’s data collection endeavors. As the shopping season comes full swing, consider what this would mean for the pocketbooks of millions of parents: children would be included in Google’s psychoanalytical scheme of subconscious desires, to be directed as their data purchasers wished.

Of course, indirectly encouraging parents to max out credit cards on Christmas toys is just one of many ways the data purchasers can use data from children. If the data purchasers had political motives, they could use this data to direct culture and political opinion in a manner and scale that has never been seen before.

If you want tech companies such as Google to collect data on your kids, then go right on ahead and play into YouTube’s hands: react with outrage about COPPA as though COPPA was to blame. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s about time that even more limits were placed on tech companies concerning the data that they can collect about us.

What is Sockpuppeting?

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Have you ever happened upon a network of bloggers with content, layout, or opinions that seem suspiciously similar, but they don’t seem to have much engagement from anyone else? If so, you might have just seen sockpuppeting at play.

What is sockpuppeting? On the internet, sockpuppeting is the act of making it appear as though there is more engagement than there actually is. This is usually accomplished when someone makes multiple accounts, then uses those accounts to engage their own content. This can be done by leaving comments, likes, linking posts, just to name a few examples.

But why would a person sockpuppet? There are a few reasons a person might. Perhaps they want to encourage discussion on their posts by making it appear as though a discussion is taking place. Perhaps they want to make it appear as though their ideas are well-supported by the community, in an effort to persuade people to accept their ideas. Perhaps they intend to make the appearance of multiple biases to dissuade people from arguing against them. In some cases, it’s a measure to ensure that the discussion heads in the direction that the puppeteer prefers, perhaps so that they can take on arguments that they’d prefer to, rather than the ones that would pose a significant challenge to their viewpoint.

Of course, it’s very possible that it’s a lonely and sad individual who isn’t getting a lot of real human attention.

Sockpuppeting isn’t as big as it used to be, largely due to the fact that it’s become harder to get away with. Admins on message boards and bloggers can see the IP addresses of individual comments, which contain location-based elements. If a blogger notices a couple commenters shooting it back and forth, and the discussion seems kind-of predictable, the shared IP address of the commenters is a red flag that something is up. And, in case you’re wondering, the FBI and NSA pretty much laugh at your silly VPN.

Have you seen sockpuppeting at play? Or do you have funny stories where sockpuppeting is involved?

Is Go from Pokemon secretly a girl?

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A long-running tradition in the Pokemon anime is that of the poke-girl, the female traveling companion in Ash’s party. It started with Misty, continued with May, and went up until the seventh gen which gave us a few poke-girls instead of the usual one (Lillie, Lana, and Mallow). It would appear that the newest step in Ash’s journey would take things in a different direction by teaming Ash up with a boy named “Go”, and that a girl might not be traveling with Ash for this part of his journey.

Or is that really the case?

Japanese viewers have noticed that Go has been blushing a lot, which tends to happen often with female characters in anime.

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I could also point out that Go has stylized eyelashes, a feature that is usually only seen in anime girls and women.

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Is Go’s character a play on gender politics in a similar way to Samus from Metroid? Or is he simply an expressive male?

There is another mystery here, and that’s that Go is blushing at all. Blushing, or turning flush, is a feature of Caucasians. Blushing occurs when there is a sudden rush of blood, which is a physical reaction to awkwardness. With darker-skinned individuals, it’s less apparent that this rush of blood is taking place. When you put Go side-by-side with Ash, it’s plain to see that he’s not Caucasian.

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As one could easily point out, Brock had darker skin too, and he was a legendary blusher. It would appear as though blushing in Pokemon was a stylistic choice, or perhaps was decided on by a team of Japanese animators who didn’t have access to many non-Japanese people to use as reference.

Also, what is up with those red clips in his hair? And those thin eyebrows? Were the writers of the Pokemon anime trying to pull one over on us?