Author Archives: Raizen

What is the Dunning-Kruger Effect?

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Decades ago, a man in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania robbed a bank while having lemon juice smeared on his face. His reasoning was that because lemon juice is an ingredient in invisible ink, the juice would make his face invisible. He was so sure of his plan, that he made a confident gesture towards a security camera on the way out. Later, after the man was apprehended, he reportedly exclaimed, “But I wore the juice!”

Taking note of the incident, a couple researchers decided to study just why people who were not very smart believe themselves to be brilliant. The phenomenon that the two studied would later come to be known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

So, what is the Dunning-Kruger effect? The Dunning-Kruger effect describes the tendency of people with insubstantial ability to think highly of their ability.

One example is with bad drivers. We know who the bad drivers are: they’re the ones that drive fast and weave through traffic, a recipe for collisions. Yet, they tend to believe that this behavior makes them good drivers, and that in the event that they get into (cause) an accident, they’d just be good drivers having a moment.

Another example is the tendency of people today to believe themselves to be scientifically-minded, for having benefited from the advancements that others have made. In reality, few such people have ever conducted a repeatable study in a controlled environment which was subsequently peer-reviewed. Using smartphones doesn’t make you a genius.

There are many, many other examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect that one can think of. It can be apparent in the following quips:

  • “My tech-savviness is expressed through the ownership of a smart watch.”
  • “I feel the course won’t be a major challenge, judging by the first few pages of the textbook.”
  • “I’d have this “parenting” thing down. University of YouTube FTW!”
  • “Who needs manscaping when you have plenty of Axe Body Spray?”

In many cases, the Dunning-Kruger effect is observed when a person who is inept lacks the introspection necessary to perceive their own ineptitude.

Conversely, as a person studies more in a field of knowledge, they tend to come to a better understanding of just how little they really know, which may have to do with the tendency of the more capable to sell themselves short.

Recently, the Dunning-Kruger effect has come to the awareness of many people who have afterwards attempted to use it as a clever way to explain to another person that they’re not as smart as they think they are. A person attempting this should take care to define the Dunning-Kruger effect properly, so as to avoid a certain irony that could otherwise result.

Nice publicity stunt, Blue Angels.

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In the year 2011, a huge earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, prompting people to take to their DeviantArt accounts to post tribute artwork and to express sympathy. Many Japanese people were out of homes, but at least they had plenty of art on DeviantArt to look at.

I bring this up because in light of the derp virus pandemic, stunt pilots found their own way to pay homage to first responders, with flyovers.

I’m not a doctor but I think I know how I’d find this gesture: Whoop-dee-doo, a flyover! How is this in any way supposed to help me?

If society decided that it appreciated what I do, I’d know how I’d want it to thank me: with money. I have bills to pay, I get hungry, and I want a house that’s not joined to other houses, among other things. As it turns out, a STEM major isn’t as esteemed in the USA as it’s made out to be, so unless society decides to properly thank its STEM grads with sufficient paychecks, I might look into other fields of study.

But last I checked, flyovers don’t accomplish JACK.

That brings us to the motivation for the flyovers, and it’s not hard to figure out: publicity. Doctors and first responders are in no way enriched by flyovers, especially when they are busy with plenty of work to do. It’s the stunt pilots themselves that benefit from the publicity that comes from expressing a platitude that is popular to begin with: that we’re appreciative to the people who are there for us when we need them. But do you know a better way to express appreciation to a working professional who underwent an education for the prospect of a decent paycheck? By bolstering their paychecks. You know, the general motivation for going professional at something.

But otherwise, nice publicity stunt, guys. Maybe you’ll be invited to do your routine at more air shows.

Socialists don’t actually care about human lives.

American states are getting to the point of opening the economy up again, which is just what working Americans have wanted all along. But not everyone is happy about the development, particularly fringe lunatics with a chique taste for socialism. Now they’re calling the rest of us out, calling us “right-wingers” putting profit ahead of human lives.

As if they’re legitimately concerned with human lives.

People seem to be forgetting that the idea behind the mass-shutdowns and “flattening the curve” wasn’t to eliminate the possibility of anyone dying from the derp virus, it was to prevent hospital emergency rooms from being overwhelmed.

To risk getting sick, and possibly dying, because of the derp virus is a risk intrinsic to going outside. You know what else can result in dying? Just about anything else. Bug bites, automobile accidents, angry Frenchmen with sharp, pointy objects, the list goes on and on. And yet, we still risk going outside. The justification for this is written in the nature of every healthy living being:

A life that’s worth living is worth taking risks to experience.

In my decades as a human being, what I’ve found to be consistently true is that humans can’t stand not having hope. We get up in the morning and will ourselves out of bed because we understand the possibility of contributing something meaningful to society, and because we find it rewarding to provide for our wives and children. A continual hope for a better future and a willingness to contribute something substantial to society is what keeps the working class going.

That’s where the Socialist types can’t relate to the normal, working human being. They don’t understand that people love having a sense of purpose, and love knowing that they’ve contributed to society. That’s the kind of thing that a person can’t experience by just playing games on the computer all day while accepting hand-outs from the government. It’s because of this that when the unemployment rate increases, the suicide rate increases proportionately.

But the Socialists don’t actually care about them. In fact, they’ve pretty much always valued their ideology more than human life. This past century was the century of atheistic socialism, and under their direct supervision, they made it the bloodiest century in all of human history.

The reason why Socialists want everything shut down is because when workers are put out of work, they’re placed on the same level as the Socialists that don’t contribute anything. Personally, I suspect that Socialists are glad when more people die from the derp virus, as it provides them with an ongoing pretext for continued shutdowns.

The following is a list of things that could occur as a consequence of going outside and living life:

  • Experiencing daylight,
  • Kissing someone,
  • Buying an Almond Joy, and those rule,
  • Destroying lawn gnomes with golf clubs,
  • Driving somewhere,
  • Laughing at someone’s ridiculous Jeep Wrangler,
  • Getting something to eat that isn’t pasta or ramen,
  • Meeting Socialists so you can laugh at them in person for being such abject failures that they believe that a bloody Marxist revolution would be easier than learning a skilled trade and turning in some resumes.

All of which would come with the risk, however remote, of dying. Yet, we still take the risks anyway, because the possibility of a life worth living is immensely superior to an insipid existence of government handouts. That’s not something that one would expect a Socialist to comprehend, because if they did, they’d come to comprehend their moribund ideology for the immense, steaming load that it is.

But now they’re pretending that they give a care about human life? They’re not fooling me.

The Fist-Cough Cult is still dangerous.

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In 2017, I posted this article about the Fist-Cough Cult. It’s very appropriate to share today, considering the current events about COVID-19, or the coronavirus.

Coughing on your fist has always been dangerously irresponsible, but the current coronavirus epidemic adds a whole new level to it. You might have already been treating the Fist-Cough Cult as the pariahs that they are, but now we all have a new reason, as their dangerous ideology can be firmly placed into a similar category to that of the anti-vaxxers.

Have you been seeing Fist-Cough cultists in your area?

The Horrifying Hysteria of the Coronavirus Apocalypse

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I took this one at a nearby grocery store. As you might have guessed, toilet paper was on these shelves. Interestingly, this was the only item there was a shortage of. There were plenty of facial wipes and paper towels.

You might be thinking, “Everyone bought up the toilet paper!” But in reality, it’s just a few guys buying into the hysteria, leaving the rest of us searching for just a couple rolls to last us a week.

One guy I saw bought three cases of toilet paper, and he left the store strutting as though he accomplished something extraordinary (though in a sense, he did).

The COVid-19 outbreak is one set of events where the way people are over-reacting is way scarier than the disease itself.

Review: Touhou Eiyashou: Imperishable Night

Th08cover.jpgCover art.

Can we agree at this point that making games easier doesn’t make them more fulfilling? I ask this because someone showed me his new copy of Mario Kart 8 that rewards him for playing a no-lose mode without input.

The Mario Kart in question isn’t the only offender in this regard. There was a recent Mario game that awarded the player with invincibility if they lost enough times on one level. I think that the best games to represent this generation of gamers would be the clicker games, which award players with prizes just for clicking, and sometimes even allows them to play without input.

Because of this, I’ve decided to write up this review of Touhou Eiyashou: Imperishable Night, the eighth entry in the Touhou series. It’s a game that harkens back to a time when men were men, women were women, and Burger King cashiers were who-knows-what.

Touhou 8 is a Danmaku Shooter, which means that you’re going to have screens full of bullets coming at you, and the real test is in your ability to avoid beautiful patterns of projectiles.

touhou 8 stars.pngDeal with it.

If you’re the kind of guy who thinks himself above games that look cute, you missed out on the masterpiece that is The Wind Waker. You’d probably also let your guard down because you’d think this game is easy just because of its art style, only to get whooped on the easiest setting. Let’s not kid ourselves here, Touhou is hard. Like, monumentally break-your-face hard. I wanted to get that out there before someone decides to give it a try only to discover that it’s actually challenging to win, and then complain to me because this game about anime girls that can fly and fight each other with fireworks made them feel bad.

When it comes down to it, that’s the great thing about Touhou. It’s challenging from beginning to end, and there’s no way to cheese your way through it. So if you want to beat the game, you actually have to be good at it. It’s not like the American education system that gives you credit just for showing up and reciting Marxist propaganda. So when you make it to the ending where these girls are celebrating with rice wine (Just how old are these girls?), it actually feels like an accomplishment in which you can take true pride. You’ll have earned the right to see the ending, and it’s more rewarding than just finding the results of a simple Google image search.

Touhou 8 has four difficulties:
Easy: The difficulty for newbies and those who want to chill, but is still hard,
Normal: Usually ignored.
Hard: A tertiary setting that’s usually ignored in favor of the next one.
Lunatic: Touhou at it’s most rewarding, most YouTube runs are probably on this setting.

Aside from multiple difficulty levels, Imperishable Night offers variety in gameplay in the form of having four teams to choose from, with one character being the lead, and the other swapping in when focusing. A playthrough has different possible bosses depending on characters selected and certain other conditions, such as the fact that the true final boss doesn’t show up unless you’ve beat the game already and didn’t use a continue on the current playthrough. It’s another way in which you don’t beat the game unless you actually get good at it. There’s also an extra stage which is harder than anything else the game throws at you, which is unlocked by beating the main game.

touhou 8 mokou.pngNot many players make it to this part.

For those who think that games like these are too hard, there’s a practice mode that allows players to take on stages or specific attacks, so that players can improve and play more consistently. It’s not about making it easier on the player, so, once again, if you want that rewarding thrill of having beaten the game, you actually have to get good at it. This isn’t one of those click-and-win travesties that’s passing for video games nowadays.

The main thing that Touhou 8 tests is the player’s focus. There is actually more to the gameplay than “the screen fills with bullets”. There are actually patterns to attacks, and each attack is unique. Not only that, the attacks are pretty well telegraphed, so that when the player loses a life, it feels like less of a cheap shot and more of a mistake on the part of the player. After all, Touhou is a game of skill, not of rote memorization. There is no being trapped in a no-win scenario, but if that does somehow happen, it should be pretty obvious to the player how they could have avoided it. As hard as the game is, if you lost, it’s pretty much your fault. There’s no excuses, and excuses don’t let you win, anyway.

Another great thing about this game is the music. The game’s soundtrack has a nostalgic oriental theme to it, and it’s very fast-paced and upbeat. I don’t know what the consensus is when it comes to video game music, but to me, it’s a valuable part of the experience. When I ask someone who has played a game what they think of a certain track, and they tell me that they had the sound off, they’re telling me that they missed out.

While the same general thing can be said for each of the Touhou games, I picked out Imperishable Night for this review. Why this one? It’s my personal favorite because of a combination of different factors, such as the theme of the game being more epic (Searching for a moon that goes missing and battling an immortal princess? Cool.), and this one introduced some of my favorite characters, such as Reisen, which is an interesting character on several levels, and her concept is very appealing to me. It shouldn’t be hard to understand why.

Th155Reisen.pngReisen – her gun has bunny ears.

So if you want to take a stand against the oversimplification of video games, a great place to start is by purchasing a copy of Touhou. And by that, I mean actually support the guy who makes these games by buying one. Touhou is one of those games which, like Cave Story, is genius even though the whole thing is made by only one guy. Yeah, this guy who goes by the moniker ZUN has written, composed, and programmed the Touhou games by himself. So if you want to play his games, go ahead and support him by buying them so it’s easier for him to buy beer.

Score: 9 / 10

If you think anime figurines are objectionable, what are you doing searching Amazon for them?

A few anime figures were recently removed from Amazon on the claims that they “promote child exploitation or depict children or characters resembling children in a sexually suggestive manner.” Because the figures in question do no such thing, there shouldn’t be an issue with showing you which ones were removed:

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This character is Hatsune Miku, one of the most recognizable Japanese characters. Personally, I assumed that she was an adult because she has adult characteristics (i.e. breasts, well-defined hips, etc.). But hey, I arrived at that determination using my brain and eyes. In Vocaloid lore, she’s a software character, so she wouldn’t actually have an age. Does Siri have an age, and would anyone object to finding Siri attractive?

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Notice just how much Tsumugi is expressing her sexuality by standing there, playing an electronic keyboard? She isn’t? Exactly.

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Miku again, and she looks very much grown-up in this one, too. She’s not even doing anything sexual, just dancing and singing. If you know of a place on earth that has a problem with these things, let me know about it in the comments below.

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While this one is child-like in appearance, she’s not doing anything suggestive. She doesn’t look like she’s doing anything. However, she appears to be totally down with standing there and staring with a judgemental look on her face, just like the last girlfriend I had.

This representation of the character is a “chibi”, which means she was arbitrarily made child-like, which is something the Japanese do because they like cute things. Westerners should understand this because we have Funco POPs.

Still, there might be something about this character that comes off as odd. The chained collar around the neck of this angelic character implies an intention to confine. Considering this, this particular character comes off as having the highest potential for objectionability of the bunch (speaking from a position of relative ignorance of the manga or anime that may depict her).

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So this one (grown-up) is dressed like a maid. And there are people who think about sex when they think about maid outfits. Does this make maid outfits sexual?

No, it doesn’t.

Sexuality is something that occurs in the mind. People arbitrarily find things sexual which actually don’t have anything to do with sex. For example, feet. Why feet? I don’t know, but some people see them as sexual. Also, certain food items, like ice cream and pizza. I don’t know why people sexualize those, but it’s something that happens in their minds.

It should be obvious that I’m not overly favorable toward the idea of finding a work of expression objectionable just because there exists the potential to view it a certain way. If someone did, there would be a slippery-slope effect where that person might come to the point of objecting to just about anything, regardless of what the intention of an artist may have been.

I admit that I don’t know much about the characters pictured above, aside from Miku. If the other works that these characters were featured in sexualized them in any way, it wasn’t made apparent in the figurines themselves. But even if the characters are portrayed expressing their sexuality at any point in a manga or anime they were featured in, why would that be a bad thing, provided they were expressing it in a healthy way? Sexuality is one of the most human of traits, and is a universal aspect of human life. I suspect that the real problem is that certain people have an unhealthy view of sex and sexuality.

One related problem that I can point out in fiction, including in western media, is the gender double-standard when it comes to infatuation. When it occurs with girls and women, people assume pureness of motives. But when it’s boys and men, they’re portrayed as though we should be suspicious of their intentions. In reality, the experience of limerence is equally valid for both sexes.

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As I’ve said before, if you don’t like a work of art, just don’t look at it. Not everyone has the same standard of what is objectionable, which is something that they can only decide for themselves. If you’re such a repressed person that when you see an adult anime woman singing you think “child exploitation”, what are you doing browsing anime figurines on Amazon?

By the way, I don’t actually know the ages of the characters depicted by the figurines. I went by characteristics, because that was how they were being unfairly judged by Amazon. I don’t really know much about these characters, aside from Miku. The characters were judged unfairly based on aesthetics, so I deemed their aesthetics as being what’s relevant to the discussion. If anyone wants to be nitpicky about it, fictional characters don’t actually have ages. Everything about them is arbitrarily made up, and whoever made them up can just make their ages whatever they want. That’s something to know about stuff that’s just made up.