Category Archives: First World Problems

Educational Institutions Pass Students Bad At English, Fail a Generation

The education system has long been infiltrated by the left-wing establishment. That’s not a secret.

Their infiltration of society and monopoly on the major institutions is such that they can do just about anything they want, and there isn’t much that the general population could do about it, regardless of how many of us are aware of it. But when I see what they are doing with the education system that they have uncontested control over, one question comes up:

Just what is it that they’re trying to do?

This question is especially relevant now, now that some institutions are doing away with bad marks for poor English. You know, the ability to properly express one’s ideas in a way that an English-language people will understand.

This development doesn’t mean that one can have poor English and still pass an English course, as one might interpret this story (not that that’s stopped many a graduate). This has more to do with whether an understanding of the English language is central to the subject studied, as the Daily Mail story points out:

Academics at Worcester University have also been told that if spelling, grammar and punctuation are not ‘central to the assessment criteria’, it is fairer to judge students only on their ideas and knowledge of the subject.

Sound fair? One might think, except there’s one major problem: an understanding of the English language is central to one’s success in any course taught in the English language. Saying that understanding the language in which a subject is taught should not be required for success in that subject is actually worse than saying that understanding calculus should not be required for success in advanced Physics.

When a student is being passed in spite of their ineptitude, it might seem like they’re being done a favor, but they’re actually not, and neither is anyone else. The purpose of college or university or any career-training program is to prepare students for careers in their fields by teaching them the skills needed to succeed in their respective fields.

No one wants co-workers or employees that are too inept for their jobs.

Like many stupid ideas, this one has it’s requisite good intentions:

The move comes as universities come under increasing pressure to boost the progress of ethnic minority, disabled and disadvantaged students, as well as ‘decolonise’ courses.

The implication that minority students are inherently deficient with spelling, grammar, and sentence structure is, in itself, insensitive. Ethnic minorities are certainly capable of learning English. In fact, one of the most famous English-language websites was written by a man whose first language was Armenian, and he has a page where he makes fun of bad English in the emails he receives.

If you’re a dean or professor at an English-language university, and a student is in danger of underperforming by reason of poor English, here is a step-by-step guide on how to handle this problem:

  1. Overcome the disbelief that such a student was somehow admitted into your institution.
  2. Offer this student tutoring on their language, so they’ll be in a better position to succeed in their courses. Any respectable English-language college or university should provide English workshops, tutors, or office-hours with English professors. If not, your college or university is garbage.
  3. If for any reason the above doesn’t work out, the student gets a failing grade. This signifies that the student is not ready to succeed in a competitive career world where basic language skills are essential for success.

It’s so straightforward that it’s hard to see how anyone could screw it up. If helping minorities is what you want to do, then actually help them to succeed. If you give anyone a passing grade in spite of their inability, you’re setting up that student for a future where their honest assessment would come from their employer, from whom it would be many times more devastating.

I don’t know what it is that those colleges and/or universities are actually trying to do. But whatever it is, they can have fun doing it. This is because employers actually make lists of colleges and universities that they actively avoid hiring from. If a school has a bad enough reputation for turning out poor-performing employees (or worse, activists), employers simply dumpster resumes that list that particular school. And thanks to the connected nature of today’s world, it doesn’t take long for a school’s bad reputation to get around, and there’s more at stake for schools to graduate students that actually know what they’re doing.

As for me, I’m taking more interest in targeted career programs. These respect students’ time by focusing on material that would be relevant to their career path, while eschewing gen-ed courses that do little more than add expenses to a student’s education, adding bloat to an over-swollen education system.

Aside from that, there’s still some value in two-year trade schools that focus on real-world skills and turning out students that are actually employable. It’s my understanding that these are huge in Japan, which would be another case in point about how Asians value practical skill over superfluous bloat.

Eventually, employers will have to recognize the value of targeted career training, as the diploma mills that continually turn out activists will leave them with little choice. And the sooner, the better.

2020 Digital Manga Sales 3X That of DC and Marvel Sales Combined

In times past, Americans were at least credited as being the world’s entertainers. It seems that role is shifting, if graphic novel sales are any indication.

Sales for graphic novels in 2020 are in, and they show the Japanese manga industry destroying American comics, eclipsing Marvel and DC comics combined by three to one.

The following shows the top ten sales for graphic novels in 2020:

1. My Hero Academia vol. 1 
2. My Hero Academia vol. 2 
3. Demon Slayer vol. 1 
4. My Hero Academia vol. 24 
5. My Hero Academia vol. 3 
6. My Hero Academia vol. 23 
7. Uzumaki hardcover 
8. My Hero Academia vol. 4 
9. Demon Slayer vol. 2 
10. My Hero Academia vol. 5

The list is dominated by Japan’s current most popular manga series, Boku no Hero Academia, as well as Demon Slayer and Uzumaki. What didn’t even place are western comics like Superman, Iron Man, or even Batman.

I remember a time in which Japanese manga was obscure. But times have changed, and Americans have taken a liking to the Japanese graphic novel format.

When one directly compares comics to manga, the reason for the preference by general audiences is easy to understand. While comics usually sees about thirty new pages each month, manga sees 15-20 new pages each week (granted, US comics usually have more color pages). While comics focus heavily on merchandising, in manga, the pages themselves are the focal products. While US comics lean heavily on iconic established characters, in manga, new series’ can thrive because the writers are great at getting us to care about new characters.

What’s more, American comics have recently focused heavily on virtue signaling through expressing activist causes. Natch, western readers viewed this as the cringe it is, which has a lot to do with why westerners are turning to Japanese manga and anime. What’s more, the influencers of western social media have no influence in Japan, and have even been spurned by Japanese content creators that take notice.

But comic companies do get the added perk of getting to blame their fans for their comics not selling well by attributing poor sales to sexism and racism on the part of the fans.

How’s that for a cynic’s quest? “What’s that, comic companies? The Japanese are handing your butts to you in sales? Here, have a soapbox, upon which you can feel a smug sense of superiority.”

Then there’s the big reason: Western audiences are reading more manga because manga tells better stories. As a matter of philosophy, the Japanese desire to produce superior products, and their entertainment is no exception. Readers take manga seriously because manga authors take them seriously.

Recently, I discovered a manga called Made in Abyss. It’s cute appearance is disarming, and it’s easy to be skeptical by reason of it. It really drives home the cuteness, with characters like the adorable Nanachi:

A character designed by someone who gives a care.

It reads like a Dungeons and Dragons story, as directed by a DM so sadistic you’d think he went to college for it. Not only are the heroes in danger of dying by monsters, there’s also danger of poison, parasites, and random mutation by influence of the environment. It’s to the point that fans have even expressed doubt that beloved characters like Nanachi might survive from one season of the anime to the next.

Suffice to say, Made in Abyss wasn’t made for kids. But it’s a great example of how manga has an edge that’s often missing from American comics.

As for what is made for kids, about ten years back, I decided to check out a random episode of the anime, Doremi Naisho, out of curiosity. The episode had to do with “indirect kissing”. That’s surprisingly mature. Yet, Japanese children are better at consuming media with more mature themes because Japanese parents know how to raise children that are better behaved.

Surprisingly mature.

In America, fad parenting takes on many forms, some of which with cultish adherents. You’d think that they’d be quick to figure out that their novel approaches don’t actually work, but noooooooo

Then there’s Dragonball Z, whose many heroes could give Superman a wedgie without breaking a sweat. But it’s more than a simple power fantasy. Involved stories are used to develop characters to the point that, when characters are in danger, there’s a sense of peril, and when they die, it actually comes off as a tragedy. And nearly every major character does, at some point.

Also, there’s Sailor Moon. I don’t get it, but some people like it. That’s cool for them.

Reading this, some might think I’m dead-set against American comics, but I’m not. I want to see them succeed. But right now, the writers of American comics aren’t doing what it takes to make that happen.

There is an Asian proverb that I’ve been using quite a bit lately. You could probably already guess what it is, especially since it’s so fitting, considering the topic. Confucius said, The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. When considering how manga is far outselling traditional western comics, it’s interesting that the groups who aren’t obsessed with profit are greatly overtaking those who are primarily driven by it.

If I’m not getting what I’m looking for from one party, I will receive it from those who are offering it.

Take your fake meat and shove it.

lina disappointed

I stood in place, neck craning at the illuminated menu. The contents of my stomach fought an uphill battle with my esophagus as I struggled to comprehend what I was beholding. As the seconds passed, my appetite decreased to the point that I could have simply walked out, requesting nothing of the distressed menu that was before me.

The problem? Submitted for your bemused disbelief, the Impossible Whopper:

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There is some honesty to be appreciated in the implication that it’s impossible for a Whopper with 0% beef to be considered a hamburger, but any good will that could have been fostered is offset by the fact that the Impossible Whopper is, at its core, an imitation product.

If there’s no beef present, then just what meat is being served? Is it pork? Some variety of browned poultry? No, it’s pretty much a veggie burger. Of course, if the Impossible Whopper were marketed as the fake that it is, it would find it’s way down fewer gullible throats. The imitation burger is instead a lie by omission.

Another trend that’s disturbing is that of lab-grown meat. When I sit down to a steak, I shouldn’t have to ponder whether some lab somewhere successfully synthesized the protein that supports muscle growth, or the B vitamins that upholds brain function. My expectation would be that the steak was once an animal with awareness. If this were not the case, the violation of my expectation would throw my trust in the server into serious jeopardy.

It’s obvious why they’re trying to trick us: if we knew that these imitation meat products were not the real deal, almost none of us would bother with them, except perhaps the vegans who are going so crazy by reason of their ascetic diets that they’re willing to accept look-alikes to fill the void caused by an absence of normal food. But even then, that group is so legalistic that they wouldn’t likely risk the cross-contamination that’s expected at fast-food joints. So what are these proponents of fake meat doing besides trying to trick us?

There are people out there willing to ironically consume something gross just to say they did, but it’s a limited market. Once they’ve tried it once, they’ll move onto pig rectum subs or whatever, then what? What benefit is it to Burger King to leave something on a menu that just a few people are going to try only once? I’m not hungry enough to eat some imitation meat, and if I was starving, I have the benefit of having to choose between a bunch of things I’d rather eat, including durian.

If you can’t out-compete a fruit that smells like farts, you’ve failed.

Why Meat-Eaters are More In-Touch With Reality

ccapp-theoutbackerburger-2x.pngSource: The Outback Steakhouse menu

While the rest of us live happy, healthy lifestyles, vegans go to-the-hilt trying to convince us that we aren’t really happy or healthy, and they attempt to make the meat-eating diet out to be the cause of our woes.

Their motives are not hard to understand. It’s obvious that their problem is with meat-eating, and they work hard to ensure that the choice that they’ve made for themselves is also the choice that they make for the rest of us.

To this end, they attempt to characterize meat eaters as callous and indifferent. As vegans see it, meat-eaters are low-IQ knuckle-draggers who couldn’t care whether our actions today burn the world to the ground tomorrow.

What vegans don’t comprehend is that meat-eaters are happier and healthier for some very good reasons. Among these reasons is that we understand our impact on the world, and the nature of the world that we live in, and these facts are something that we’ve come to peace with.

Among the fallacies common to vegans and to those obsessed with nature is the idea that nature is a personal entity concerned with balance and order. Such thinking is a clear projection of one’s own values onto a theoretical personal entity.

The fact is, nature is not a person. Nature is not a goddess, nor is it anyone’s mother. Because nature is not a personal entity, it is not concerned with regulation or with maintaining a balance. Nature is simply a broad term used to refer to the physical world around us. Nature puts no forward effort into replenishing what is excessively used, nor does it make a conscious effort to cull what has become too successful. Nature is a thing, and it’s a thing that we decide how to live in. When humanity makes a choice that impacts the natural world, that impact is weighed against the benefit to us, and we make the choice we deem to be more beneficial to us.

Most of us have come to peace with the reality of the world that we live in, and have accepted it. That acceptance is what enables us to live happily. As this happens, among the least happy among us are the outliers who stand in opposition to the choices agreed upon by the collective.

Another fact that we’ve come to peace with is the understanding that suffering is an intrinsic part of life. Livestock winces the moment it’s killed as it’s nerves send pain signals to its brain. Plants initiate defense mechanisms when we harvest from them. You feel upset when a motorist taunts you for deciding not to drive. The fact is, suffering is everywhere.

The way we experience the world can be positive or negative. A work of art can induce a positive emotion. To be spurned by a potential suitor can induce a negative reaction. A boxer receiving a left hook experiences a very obvious kind of suffering. To live is to experience, and that includes suffering.

While vegans are obsessed with limiting suffering any way they can, the rest of us have come to peace with the fact that living means sometimes experiencing suffering. While vegans worry themselves awake over the possibility that something they did caused a mouse they never saw to feel pain, the rest of us are aware of suffering as a part of life, and sleep well for having come to peace with that.

Our parents and grandparents have experienced suffering in one form or another, we’ve suffered, and our children will suffer after us.

A vegan might respond to this by asking whether you’d be okay with suffering if you or someone you care about is hit with a brick, this would lead pretty well to the next point: Meat-eaters are healthier and more mentally sound because they’re primarily concerned with the state of human lives, rather than animal lives.

Humans stick with human kind. Humans respond more sympathetically to the pains of our fellow human beings. Humans are inclined to dine with fellow humans. Humans seek sexual relations with other human beings. Humans socialize with human beings.

Animals are much the same way, with animals of one kind usually preferring the company of their own kind. When a wolf dines, they are likely to do so in the company of other wolves. A cat does not concern itself with whether it’s treating a fish humanely before it eats it. A rabbit that desires to copulate seeks out another rabbit as a partner.

While a vegan might seek out a rare outlier in an attempt to defeat this point, the fact is, it’s impossible to deny the tendency of most animals to stick to their own kind, and the efforts of the vegan would stand out as an obvious attempt to deny the reality of the natural world.

The fact is, meat-eaters understand the reality of the world we live in, and have come to peace with it. This makes meat-eaters happier and more sound-minded, as we’ve embraced reality for what it is, rather than what we prefer it to be.

If veganism were nothing more than a choice that one made for one’s self, I wouldn’t have any concern about it except for the nutritional deficiencies intrinsic to a meat-free diet. But because vegans are out to make veganism everyone else’s diet, and they’re willing to employ all manner of misinformation and deception to bring such an outcome about, there is a bit more urgency to respond to it.

Obviously, the belligerence with which vegans seek to change the world doesn’t lend itself the qualities of a peaceful mind that is better in touch with the world around it. It does just the opposite. At their best, these vegans maintain a veneer of serenity, even if only because they understand the value of maintaining such an image.

But the reality is, it’s meat-eaters that understand how things are, and as vegans have been climbing the mountain seeking wisdom, they’ll be surprised when they finally find meat-eaters waiting for them at the summit.

The Pokedex Meltdown from My Perspective

ash angry.jpg

A few weeks ago, during E3, the staff of GameFreak has revealed that not every pokemon from previous Pokemon games will be making it into the upcoming Pokemon Sword and Shield. Considering how entitled that people are becoming, it’s not hard to imagine that some of them would throw a fit when faced with the prospect of not getting everything they want.

What I didn’t anticipate was just how important it is to certain fans to collect over 800 of something, most of which won’t have any meaning to them outside of the act of collecting them. The sheer unreasonability of these interesting persons is exemplified pretty well in a reply that I got to an observation that I’ve made on this matter:

unreasonable reply.png

This self-professed overlord of lunatics is taking the news so poorly that he’s willing to destroy the game company that gave them the game that he enjoyed to begin with. If there are any geese out there that lay golden eggs, this news might just put them on edge.

Now that the temper tantrums are dying down and the mouths emitting them are finally tiring out, we can finally start hearing voices of reason on this matter.

When I heard that not every pokemon from previous games would be making it to Sword and Shield, it really didn’t bother me much at all. This has to do with my previous experience with Pokemon, and with similar games.

When I first got into Pokemon, it was when I watched the first episode of the anime in 1998, when it debuted in the States. Since then, I also played the video games and the trading card game.

The Pokemon Trading Card Game (Pokemon TCG) was and is similar to other trading card games in that a few new sets are released every year, and that it didn’t take long before the multitude of different available cards made it difficult for new players to emerge onto the competitive scene, and making it challenging for the game makers to maintain a balanced game that’s fun to play.

To cope with this, the game makers introduced the concept of a standard competitive format which saw older cards rotated out, usually on a yearly basis. Seasoned players had to adapt to a continually changing competitive game, but that wasn’t much of an issue for them, because they remained interested in the game enough to continue buying new cards, and new players had an easier time getting into the game without having to concern themselves with hundreds (possibly thousands) of old cards that were no longer competitively relevant.

It’s because of this concept of rotation that the idea of leaving some less-relevant or meta-breaking pokemon out of a new Pokemon game makes intuitive sense to me. I’ve been playing games long enough to see the same principle applied to numerous other games, including the Pokemon TCG.

What’s more, we saw a similar practice in the Pokemon anime. Ash and Pikachu have been recurring characters, but eventually Ash got in the habit of leaving his old pokemon with the professor and focusing on new pokemon as he traveled to different regions. Even human traveling companions such as Brock and Misty have long-since gone their separate ways, and Ash’s core circle of friends have changed with time.

1484032488-3214bb8e28a979d1e3e0fe9b6cab30f5Not pictured: Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle.

It’s a simple fact of life that as time goes on, the resources available to a person changes, and these changes can result in a different life experience. If a person leaves one job and finds a different one, they’re no longer doing what they previously did for a living, and they might be making a much different amount of money. Their last job is no longer a factor in their living. If a person moves to a different area, they may have a different climate to become accustomed to, what’s convenient to them might change, and they’ll have a different set of neighbors.

One of the challenges of playing games like Pokemon is that they test a person to make better judgements over the course of the game, even as the amount of resources available to the player during gameplay changes, usually increasing, but in some cases decreasing.

Another matter relating to this to consider is that sometimes a game maker faces challenges while making games alongside Nintendo. This is due to a long-held practice Nintendo has had where, when they notice that a game is stalling in development, they’ll throw out all the assets and restart development from scratch, with only the ideas behind the game to go on. Game makers have come to refer to this practice as “flipping the table”, and it conjures an image of an abusive Japanese father getting upset and flipping a table over, allowing everything on it to fall onto the floor.

While this sounds extreme, Nintendo is usually justified in doing it. Sometimes, during the course of development, a game gets to be bogged down with features and other elements that weigh down the experience, or don’t significantly contribute to it. Development on a game can seriously slow as game makers struggle to decide which elements they can justify keeping, and a lot of time can be wasted on endeavors that turn out to be counter-productive. Sometimes, flipping the table is just what it takes to get development more focused, and the prospect of it happening may be daunting enough to get game developers focused on their projects to begin with!

With this in mind, let’s consider a few things we know about Pokemon Sword and Shield:

  • Mega evolutions aren’t going to be included in the game.
  • Neither are Z-moves.
  • Some character models, such as Wingull, aren’t animated very well.
  • There are poor textures on certain models, such as the trees.
  • Not every pokemon from previous games will be present.
  • All this in spite of the fact that a Pokemon game for Switch has been hyped for a long time.

When you consider all this, it becomes evident that Pokemon Sword and Shield have been stalling in development as the game makers have been struggling to incorporate gameplay elements from previous installments while at the same time trying to maintain a balanced game with a competitive element.

To those who don’t know Nintendo very well, the Sword and Shield gameplay demo, along with the news that certain pokemon and features won’t make it into the game, is considered evidence of GameFreak being lazy. But to those of us more familiar with Nintendo, it appears more likely that GameFreak has been struggling to include characters and features from previous games while still making a balanced and coherent gameplay experience that is to Nintendo’s liking.

While it’s easy to blame Nintendo for (possibly) obstructing progress on Sword and Shield, Nintendo usually only steps in to flip the table when progress stalls. When it comes to games that Nintendo licenses, their reputation is on the line, so there’s something in it for them to ensure that a quality product is released in a reasonable amount of time.

While there’s more that can be said, I think that perspective provides plenty to consider when it comes to the Pokedex Meltdown, or the National Dex Fiasco, or Dexit, or whatever you call it. Obviously, not everyone is taking the news well. If you happen to be in the Barboach fan club, it might be a tough time for you.

Nintendo Stands Up to SJW Bullying

don't mess with nintendo.png

While SJWs claim victimhood all the time, it’s obvious at a glance that they’re the real bullies. They’re so boisterous that it’s difficult to stand up to them, and when they come in numbers, most people would prefer to look the other way and just let them wear themselves out to the point that they dismiss themselves to their mother’s basements.

Because of this, it’s refreshing to see a large media company decide to put their foot down and decide that they’re not going to put up with their horse-puckey. Today, the company that we have to thank for being brave is Nintendo.

I’ve always admired Nintendo. They’re one of my favorite companies, because they’re about the games and the entertainment, while other video game companies become obsessed with stuff like multimedia. Nintendo is one company that sticks to its guns, and that’s allowed it to stick around for a very long time.

Recently, someone decided that they’d use Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s Stage Builder to make a political statement, which would then be disseminated through Nintendo’s network services. The stage in question contained an LGBT flag. Nintendo saw it, and was like “Nope, we’re not going to have that.” They then put the kibosh on the stage, and not only that, they banned the stage’s creator from the game’s network features for nine hours.

Bravo, bravo. Now, it would be great if they could do more about the user-contributed content of Splatoon 2, since many of its users think little of using a game primarily aimed at children to peddle a sexual deviancy.

Many of us are well-aware that SJWs don’t see their causes as being about politics, but about basic human rights and decency. I have views that I see as a matter of basic human rights and decency, but some people view those as political opinions. For example, I view it as an outrageous offense against decency that children as young as three have experimental treatments performed on them that are designed to stunt puberty. Some people have an opinion different from my own.

Unlike SJWs, most of us are aware that there are venues that are entirely inappropriate for spreading certain viewpoints. This is because we possess the capability to comprehend why those venues are inappropriate for spreading those views, and how wrongly exploiting those venues in such a fashion can result in the general population becoming less sympathetic to a cause. When SJWs use a video game primarily targeting children to promote a sexual deviancy, they’re going to think that SJWs are predators.

Media companies, Nintendo has set an example for you to live up to. What is intended as escapism should remain escapism and not another tone-deaf reminder of the problems that we watch movies and play video games for temporary relief from. If we wanted Star Wars to remind us of our problems, there’d be more demand for games about Poe Dameron paying his bills, or Han Solo doing the dishes. We don’t like doing the dishes, and we don’t want Splatoon to remind us that perverts are bullying themselves into control over the establishment.

Why should we tolerate printers that lie to us?

This is the International Space Station:

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Its orbit far above earth’s surface is maintained by a pre-calculated velocity parallel to the tangent along earth’s surface. This creates free-fall conditions that simulate zero gravity, and allows the researchers on board to study the effects of zero gravity in physics and biology.

This is a web server:

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It is designed to handle client requests from devices located as far away as the other side of the globe via a connection to an information infrastructure that shares data between devices used by businesses and consumers of all ages. Odds are, one played a key role in you reading this.

This is a smart phone:

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It’s one of many devices like it on the market. It’s connected wirelessly to a cellular network that enables one to talk with people all over the world. It can also be used to browse the web, download and play games, purchase, download, and listen to music in surprisingly high-quality, watch movies on a display so fine that the naked eye couldn’t discern individual pixels, has a high-end camera built in, and can be used to make purchases by storing your credit and debit information. And there’s more. Lots more.

The model pictured has an octo-core processor, holds hundreds of gigabytes of data, is airtight to the point of being waterproof, and can recharge wirelessly.

Also, you can easily fit it in your pocket.

Finally, here is a printer. The thing about printers is…

flaming garbage.png

Oh, hold on. That’s not a printer. That’s flaming garbage. My mistake.

Here’s what a printer looks like:

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It runs using one of the most expensive liquids in the world, with a set of replacement cartridges in all four colors costing about $50. They only cost pennies to manufacture. The printer itself fails to operate properly within mere months of use, and in some cases, will actively lie to its user about its own ink status in an effort to encourage the consumer to buy even more expensive ink.

Think that’s a joke? I went to print an important document that I was to mail to the state government, but the print faded out on page two. So I checked the ink levels, which were kinda low, but there was still enough to finish the job. I tried printing the same documents as before. Page one printed just fine, but page two faded out in exactly the same manner as before.

I got desperate, as the documents were very important and time sensitive. So, seeing that page one printed just fine in both cases, I decided to print out page two by itself. The page faded out in exactly the same manner as before. My printer arbitrarily decided that it was going to fail on that page, and it was not going to allow any attempt to circumvent its planned failure.

I started searching my printer and its software for an option to make composite black using the color cartridges, knowing that some printers allowed this. Not finding it, I decided to keep trying. The documents were important. But the fading still occurred on page two, in the exact same way.

In case you’re wondering, the printer in question was an Epson Expression XP-446 (pictured above). Now you know not to buy Epson products.

The first page was printed enough times that the printer could have easily printed the entire document multiple times. Eventually, when the black ink was just about exhausted, I got a notification for an option to create composite black ink from the color cartridges (even though I couldn’t find that option before). I went for it, the document finally printed out in a kinda gross-looking brownish black, and I hurried and rushed the paperwork to the state government.

Shouldn’t it be illegal for printers to lie to us to try to get us to buy more ink?

For a while after that, the same printer didn’t give me problems. Not until just yesterday, when I tried doing my federal and state taxes. That’s when my printer decided to stop printing black ink, even though there was plenty left. The printer had no problem with wasting paper and color ink as I attempted in vain to get it to produce some important print-outs.

How come a printer that has no problem printing pictures of anime women wearing bikinis suddenly runs into issues when it comes to printing up important paperwork to send to the federal government of the United States?

nami one piece bikini.pngPriorities.

If we can suspend a huge piece of metal in the sky and make it habitable for research purposes, harness the power of electromagnetic waves for instantaneous communication with people all over the world, and make multimedia supercomputers that fit in one’s pocket, why is it so hard to make a printer that works dependably?

And if such a printer exists, please let me know where I can find it.

The Agony of Paper Towel Dispensers

This might seem at first blush to be yet another E/N post about something that doesn’t really make a difference. But when you’re in a public restroom, when the stakes are high over sanitary conditions, it matters more that paper towel dispensers work properly.

For some reason, it seems like I’m the only one for whom these dispensers will work. The ones I’m talking about look something like this:

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You see it, right? It says right on these machines that you’re supposed to pull down on the paper towel with both hands. When done right, the next one loads, and that’s one less surface in an unsanitary restroom that we have to come into contact with. But hold on, the one in the picture uses an illustration instead of words. So, there’s even less of an excuse to mess this up.

Yet, people still do. Oftentimes, some meathead will go in, do his business, then after washing his hands he’ll yank down on the towel with one wet hand, tearing away at the towel, and leaving the next guy with the onus to turning the knob to get the next towel to dispense.

We don’t want to turn the knob. It’s usually a moist germ farm which, upon contact with it, would necessitate washing one’s hands again.

Why even install mechanical paper towel dispensers in the first place? Why is so much mechanical complexity even necessary for something as simple as providing paper towels? You know what would be a lot more efficient? Just leaving a stack of paper towels on a shelf. It would be a snap to just take one, and it would be much easier for the janitorial staff to replace them. Sometimes, the best solution to a problem is the easiest one.

And no, I don’t want to dry my hands with those blow driers. You know which ones I mean, they’re the ones where you hit the button with your elbow to get it to run for a few seconds. They also have the motion activated driers, but you’d have to nearly touch your hand to the machine to get them to work. Then you’d have to rub your hands beneath them for about a minute-and-a-half, then maybe they’ll get dry, but not likely from the air supplied from the machine itself, but from the friction of rubbing your hands together.

The makers of those blow driers must know that they’re junk, because they went an made an “improved” version: the jet drier. Those ones blast your hands so hard that you can see an indentation from the air blowing from the machine as you put your hand under it. Is all that force really necessary? I don’t want to get stretch marks just from drying my hands.

If it’s really worth getting your hands dry, then sometimes it’s worth sacrificing a few trees. I know that the pretext is saving the environment, but when I’m in a public restroom and my hands are wet, it’s paper towels that get the job done right.

I know I’ve been doing a lot of complaining lately, so I think it’s about time I present a solution: to spread those paper towels around. It goes like this: If you see a public restroom that uses garbage mechanical dispensers or those smug air driers, make note of it. Then, next time you visit the establishment, take some paper towels with you and set them out. It might be somewhat inconvenient, but you’d be making public restrooms slightly more bearable for the rest of us.

An image to describe 2018

The year 2018 wasn’t all bad. It’s too bad that the misinformation media is stuck on Stormy Daniels, long after she issued a confession back in January saying that the affair with Trump never happened. But hey, why would the progressive news outlets let something like facts stand in the way of their ratings trips?

If you’re one of the few people who still bother with the corporate information media, then this image describes 2018 for you pretty well:

stormy daniels with unibrow.png

If you’re in the corporate media, you probably don’t read this blog, or anything that doesn’t conform to your worldview. But to the media outlet people reading this, please understand: The American public doesn’t really care about Stormy Daniels. The culture of yes-men and occupy-whatever demonstrators that you’ve surrounded yourselves with might tell you otherwise, but the American public at large, those of us who live on the surface, go to work, and live paycheck-to-paycheck, don’t care about Stormy Daniels. We don’t. It’s time to move on. It has been, for a very long time.

We’ll see what 2019 brings, but I suspect that it will be the “current year” yet again.

Let’s be honest about millennials.

For a while now, it seems as though the millennial generation has been the butt of many jokes, even among social commenters who fall into the millennial category. You’ve likely heard a few of these jokes yourself; that they are entitled or want a gold star just for participating.

However, I’ve yet to actually meet in person someone from the millennial generation who lives up to the stereotypes that surround them. To put this in perspective, I’ve recently graduated from college, where I was surrounded by millennials that had ample opportunity to live up to the stereotypes in question. The fact that the school I attended was a two-year trade school may have been a factor, but it remains that I didn’t meet there even one millennial that lived up to the stereotypes. I know that I’m speaking from my own experience, but I think the sample size was way more than sufficient to say that the stereotypes about millennials were highly over-exaggerated.

I think it’s about time to make some honest observations concerning millennials.

For one thing, the very designation of “millennial” is arbitrary, and not very well-defined. From what I can tell, a person is considered to be a millennial if they’ve been born from sometime in the early 1980’s to early 1990’s. The precise timing is not agreed upon, but that’s the general idea. However, the idea that a person who is born before a precise point in time would have different values than a person who was born after that point in time would ignore the fact that a society’s trends concerning values tends to shift gradually, often in response to slow changes in culture and other conditions, such as economy.

Even though the use of the term “millennial” is vague and can apply to a potentially wide group of people, I’ll continue to use this term in this analysis, as it can still be helpful in making observations concerning generalities.

When millennials are criticized, it’s often by baby-boomers that grew up in different economic conditions, and seem to have the expectation that if an approach similar to what worked for them once-upon-a-time were to be applied today, it would consistently yield identical results. Such a position would be entirely ignorant of the changing conditions of the economic climate, and is in stark denial of the challenges that millennials have to deal with.

For one thing, you’ve probably heard it said that “a college education doesn’t count for as much as it used to.” What baby boomers assume this to mean is that there isn’t much point to pursuing a college education. After all, they were able to get their careers started without the aid of a college degree. But what this really means is that those who choose to forgo a college education stand less of a chance.

Consider how much stricter the educational requirements are to start a successful career. My grandfather was able to get his life together, and he didn’t even need a high school education to do it. My father didn’t obtain a college degree, but he didn’t need one. A person today who is getting started usually requires a college education to get things going, and they’re expected to have one. What’s more, a college degree is no guarantee of success.

If anyone has spent a significant amount of time searching for a job lately, the following might just be a lot to take in. At one point, finding a job was easy. If a person really wanted a job, all they had to do was walk down into town to a few businesses and ask for work. It wasn’t unrealistic for a person to be hired by the end of the day. A person may be expected to present some personal information, but usually not much. A person might have to fill out a job application, but it was okay for them to not be filled out completely if you didn’t have all the information, and mistakes could be easily overlooked.

This was a few decades ago, but this was a pretty accurate description of the conditions that your parents and grandparents had to find work in.

Now, compare it to today. Nowadays, if you walked into a store and asked for an application, you’d get laughed at, because nearly every employer has you apply online. They’ll seldom have a paper application to give you, and if they did, your application might end up in a filing cabinet labelled “Only if the federal government makes us”. They expect you to apply online, and they’ll think you’re weird if you insist on writing on trees.

If you have a felony conviction, it’s pretty much an automatic bar to employment. I know that the applications say otherwise, but that doesn’t mean that the application is telling you the truth. You’re expected to tell the truth on the application, but that doesn’t mean the application will do the same for you. And if you trying leaving a felony conviction off your application, the company is likely to perform a background check, so they’d find out about it and reject your application. This is a one-strike-and-you’re-out system.

Not only that, you’re expected to have a resume. The resume is to be well-formatted and filled with buzz-words that are designed to catch the attention of the automatic filters when submitted electronically. Never heard of those filters? Then most of your online resume submissions were likely never even viewed by human eyes. Online resume submissions can be expected to pass through filters that seek out buzzwords and education credentials to ensure that the people applying for a position are actually qualified, and not just wishful thinkers who pad out their attempts at career changes with “hard working” and “willing to learn”.

I know that they do this from experience. I learned assembly programming in college, which means that I can program in assembly-level language for microcontrollers. Most employers in the field of electronics seem impressed by this. However, after adding this to my resume and uploading it to a couple job search websites, I started to get invited to interviews for the position of “Assembly Worker” at factories. This certainly isn’t the same thing as assembly programming, and I decided to let the recruiters know. I ended up in an email exchange between two recruiters for the same company, and was CCed an email that contained a copy of my resume. The occurrences of the word “assembly” in the resume were highlighted, indicating that they were a hit in their automated searches.

They didn’t read my resume to determine what I could actually do. The only reason they even saw my resume is because of a buzz word that made it through their filter. The sobering truth is, it’s getting to the point that resumes need to be deliberately optimized to game the system to give the applicant the best chance of landing a job.

And if the resume is actually seen by a human being, you’ve only cleared the first hurdle. One general manager at a store I used to work at was fond of telling his employees that there were over 200 applications for every available position.

All this for what? A position that pays either minimum wage or maybe a few dollars above it. That’s America today.

When you consider this, it’s easy to see why so many millennials seem gung-ho about a socialist revolution. They’d be wrong about it, but at least it’s understandable why they feel that way. Your grandfather may be happy to proclaim the benefits of capitalism, but that’s because capitalism actually worked for him, and benefited him well. If you’ve ever wondered why older people value hard work so heavily, it’s because they were brought up in a time when hard work had far move obvious and immediate benefits. In fact, in their day, if a person was able to get any full-time job, they had stability and were considered to be pretty well-off.

This contrasts pretty heavily with today, where two guys working full time might be able to hold down a rented apartment.

Speaking of housing, it’s assumed that millennials aren’t interested in buying houses. This isn’t because they don’t want houses, it’s because houses are pretty difficult for them to attain.

The millennials reading this might be shocked, but at one point, it was reasonable for a person to be able to buy a home. It wasn’t just “maybe a few people could do it”, but “reasonable for most”. And I don’t mean renting it, I actually mean buying it. As in, you own the home, and the land around it.

What changed is the housing market. People bought up properties with the intention of reselling them for a profit. While it’s not hard to blame them for doing this, the process repeated enough times that the prices for homes have gotten very high, well outside the finances of most millennials. Finances are what determines whether someone can buy a home, and we’ve already examined what a horrendous dumpster-fire the American job market is. In summary, the means are reduced, coming by them is more difficult, and homes are more expensive.

This is the kind of environment that millennials have come into. While they may be loathe to admit it, their parents have some blame to take. The parents of millennials have largely accepted fad parenting that is, for some reason, afraid to either discipline or instill realistic expectations in their children.

Many millennials have had parents that have told them that they can be anything that they want to be. Not only that, the frequent coddling and failure to discipline has set these children up to be poorly prepared for the real world. Worse yet, they quickly become depressed and disillusioned when they fail to live up to their parents lofty expectations. It certainly doesn’t help that they’re being incessantly mocked by various pundits and media outlets for failing to gain a foothold in a world with little in the way of opportunities.

The parents of millennials got while the getting was much easier, and seem to believe that their successes are easily repeatable, enabling them to be highly judgemental when the next generation doesn’t perform just as well, overlooking that conditions are much worse.

The responsibility for the upbringing of a child falls squarely on the child’s parents. This is an axiom that has held up throughout history, as it does today. Yet, baby boomers and their parents grew up in the world of rapidly-advancing convenience, and as a result have developed the mentality that many of life’s inconveniences will be alleviated. Tragically, they seemed to have included child-rearing as being among those inconveniences that they’ve left for others to tend to.

As too many people see it, the upbringing of a child can be left to the education system. The education system, on the other hand, saw the upbringing of children as the responsibility of their parents. For a while. Increasingly, the education system has taken the stance that if they’re going to be left to teach children values, the values being taught were going to be their own. This became increasingly tragic as the education system steadily became co-opted by those with left-wing viewpoints, who view traditional values as being “old-fashioned” and tending towards obsolescence.

Eventually, the millennial generation ended up being experimented on by being fed a slurry of ridiculous ideas that are pretty much insane. At the risk of facing academic consequences, students felt an obligation to either comply or keep their mouths shut. To the credit of millennials, more and more of them seem to be coming to recognize these ideas for the madness that they are.

While it’s sad that millennials have developed the way that they have, it’s more surprising still that they’re being relentlessly mocked for developing in the manner that they were brought up, and for failing when the odds are stacked against them. It’s great that many of them are starting to come to, picking up the tatters of their lives and getting things together.

What’s more, there seems to be high hopes for what’s called “gen Z”, the also-poorly-defined generational group that comes after millennials. This largely has to do with the fact that gen Z is apparently more values-oriented than their predecessors, seeing what’s wrong with their approach and deciding to avoid the same mistakes. It’s not necessarily a “values as a counter-culture” deal, either. Gen Z really seems to have an interest in doing better than those before them. In a sense, gen Z also has the odds stacked against them, as they’re actively resisting an establishment that teaches that sexual perversion and gender confusion are normal. But this makes their perseverance all the more commendable.

If we were to take an honest look at millennials, we’d see them as being the victims of a culture that was cultivated by their predecessors. The best thing that they can do is what many of them are coming around to, and that’s to realize that they’ve been led in the wrong direction, recognize that the values that they’ve been ridiculed for were not their own to begin with, and determine to do better going forward.

And if baby boomers start to get too arrogant, just remind them that they were the generation that gave us hippies.