Violent Video Games can be Good

Violent video games get attacked a lot. Media and news companies are quick to blame the influence video games have on youth to be the reason that youth commit acts of violence. This is not the case though. Every year there is more evidence that it’s not true that violent entertainment leads to real-world violence. In fact, it can be stingily argued that playing violent video games can be a good thing in your life.

First, an international research team from the USA and Canada found that by playing a game together we can change attitudes of players towards others. They had people kill zombies with someone who the player thought was from the States (and in the USA they thought they were playing with a Canadian).

The research concluded that having people play with someone they thought was from another country increased player’s opinion of people from said country.

Read more.

24 Goes Carbon Neutral

“Jack Bauer can do anything!” – Everyone

“Can he kick Global Warming’s butt?” – Me

“The show is going carbon neutral.” – Everyone

Well that might be a long way away from saving the planet from man made destruction, but the effort should be applauded none the less. And I mean, come one, he has his hand full with terrorists. In their final season, 24 plans to cut emmision by:

* Use biodiesel to power generators and production vehicles
* Run all on-stage production activities on green power
* Integrate fuel-saving and low-emission hybrid vehicles into the production fleet
* Rewire an entire stage to use electric power (which will be purchased green power), rather than diesel-generated power

The Grinch Strikes Hollywood

Gift baskets at the Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards will become a thing of the past, according to recent news reports.   Ceremony reps for both shows confirmed that, starting in 2007, presenters will not be given extravagant grab bags, which have totaled up to $100,000 (US).

A Golden Globes rep alleged that all attendees (even in the audience) would receive gifts “valued at less than $600.”  A rep for the Oscars stated that “the Academy would like to thank presenters in a way that doesn’t carry a tax burden.”

Taxes are one reason why gift baskets are being nixed.  Under U.S. income tax law, the baskets are seen as income, not gifts, and are subject to heavy taxes.  The IRS reached an agreement with the Academy for previous extravagant gifts, including sending tax forms to 2006 Oscar presenters.

Another reason why celebrities will take home less next year: Edward Norton.  The actor criticized the practise, describing it as a waste.  He is quoted in a future edition of New York magazine as saying: “I’m sick of this. It’s not who we are – it makes us look ridiculous and out of touch. If these evenings are going to be a celebration of our craft and what we express about what’s going on in the world, then picking through $35,000 gift baskets is disgusting and shameful.”

A Buzkashi Renaissance

Kabul is mad for buzkashi, a sport involving riders, fast horses … and a decapitated animal corpse.buzkashi.jpg

Imagine: groups of men dressed to ward off the chill, wearing heavy coats, woollen hats, and thick boots; impatient horses churning towards their goal: in this case, a decapitated calf corpse.  The crowd hunkers on an overlooking cliff, and gets up to cheer as a rider and his horse break free from the circle of players, dragging the heavy calf around a flagpole and into a white circle.  He’s scored a goal!

Prize money includes sums from local businessmen, ranging from $20 to $100 — a considerable amount by local standards.  Some games are modest, but some attract up to 800 riders.  More prestigious games involve warlords and politicians adding to the pot.  Foreigners are also beginning to join in the fun.

There is hope that the game of buzkashi will unify Afghans, as it did during the reign of King Zahir Shah from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Cloud Appreciation Society

20061106203238_img_1850marko.jpegI LOVE CLOUDS!

They are quite amazing and very often overlooked because we just see them day by day. And I looked into clouds and found there is something called the Cloud Appreciation Society and they have a great website full of amazing images of clouds, cloud art, cloud poetry and memorabilia!

Check it out!

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