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The author is having some trouble getting everything set up with Amazon's back end right now but Empires of EVE was an incredible read. I backed it in the Kickstarter, never having played the game and it was incredibly fascinating. It was essentially written like a history book about this fictional universe, complete with interviews with players and forum posts/emails put up the way letters to home would have been. It does a great job of explaining all the jargon and making the stories accessible if you don't already know the history. Once he gets the back end Amazon stuff worked out I'd highly recommend giving it a read if you like these kinds of stories.

I thought this was a really interesting way to get people to do something good for them that they otherwise wouldn't do. Making it quick and easy to evaluate yourself through the app is a neat idea that I think might help people who otherwise wouldn't be able to be introspective and really figure out what they are thinking and going through. It seems really easy to just brush things off or get stressed and this might be something that could be helpful.

What is interesting to me about this case is that the Washington State rules actually have a religious exception in it, allowing an individual pharmacist who has a religious, moral, philosophical or personal objection to filling the prescription to refuse to fill it, as long as the pharmacy itself has some other way of filling the prescription (such as another pharmacist available via phone or in person).

This case seemed to hinge on the fact that the rules that were adopted seemed to say individual pharmacists could refuse to fill a prescription (as long as there was another way to have the prescription filled at the same location), but a pharmacy could not. The application of those rules was appropriate according to the court and didn't impede anyone's free exercise of religion.

The full opinion was a fairly interesting read for anyone who is into that kind of thing. There were some interesting arguments made and resolved by the court. I especially thought that the court's discussion of the plaintiff's alleged substantive Due Process right to "refrain from taking human life" and how they really drilled down to what was at issue was well done.

I think this was a case where the court clearly got it right and I'd agree with stefan about the last sentence of the article, especially since the exceptions already existing in the law could have covered the individual pharmacist plaintiffs. If their employer would make an accommodation for them it wouldn't be an issue. If the employer wouldn't, they either need to accept the fact that they are in a secular profession and fill the prescription or get a different job.

Gymna  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: The Pets of Hubski

I love that name and the tank background you got him is fantastic! I never realized that there were shelters that had reptiles. I always thought of them mostly as having cats and dogs. It's neat that you were able to find him and awesome that you were willing to give him a great home.

Gymna  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: The Pets of Hubski

Hubski, say hello to Dr. Watson.

We've taken to calling him Watson for short. He's some kind of Lhasa Apso mix and we think he's about 3 years old. We adopted him from a foster based rescue about 4 months ago and have been loving having him in our lives. The rescue thinks that he was abandoned by his previous owners because he was found on the street but had been neutered already when he was picked up.

When we got him he was named Mr. Watson, but we upgraded him to a Doctor because 1) my wife and I both really like Sherlock Holmes and 2) he reminded me (in the vaguest of ways based on his grumpy resting face) of the Dr. Watson character from Sherlock Hound, which I used to watch as a kid on an old video store VHS rental over and over again.

He has a sort of resting grumpy face normally so he always looks sorta sad, but that's just his face:

(When we first met him at the adoption event)

(his Fourth of July Outfit which he wore begrudgingly for this picture)

And he loves to rest in some of the oddest positions imaginable:

But he's our little cuddle bug and we absolutely love him. We are very happy with him but are probably good with just the one dog for now. He was a bit of a change in our lifestyle (needing to get up earlier than we usually do to take him out, needing to make sure we were home at appropriate times so he wouldn't have accidents, etc.) but absolutely worth it. He loves to come cuddle on our bed in the mornings while we get ready for work.

Sorry for the excessive number of pictures, but we find him too damn cute.


I think a feeling of helplessness is a major factor. In Alien: Isolation, while you do get more items to try and fend off the Xenomorph, you never get strong enough to actually kill it. The fact that you can only fend it off momentarily and not destroy it gives an extra level of terror, since you know you have a limited amount of time to find a hiding place before it comes back after you've scared it off. Add to that the scarcity of items for crafting these distractions/weapons and you have the issue of whether you use the item now or hold it for later and just try to hide quickly.

Atmosphere is another huge part of it. Building tension is a difficult thing and horror games that do it well can achieve incredibly results. I agree with you and TheVenerableCain that a broad daylight game would be difficult to implement, because when you can see everything it's less scary. Darkness is a primal fear and the fear of the unknown or what might be there can add a lot of tension. I know in Isolation there were a couple points where parts of the scenery looked somewhat like the Xenomorph when viewed in half light, which did a great job of spooking you.

For a broad daylight game to work I think you would need some mechanic that made seeing things scary. Maybe something like in the Slender games where looking at the enemy causes difficulty with your vision and damages your health or something like the Eternal Darkness sanity effects, although I don't know how effective those would be in pure daylight.

Sound effects do a great job of building the atmosphere as well. Sitting in a hidey-hole or walking through a hallway hearing the Xenomorph stomp around could be terrifying. Isolation did a great job with the sound effects, especially when you would hear something walking outside or crawling through vents. It made you concerned that you could be dropped on at any time.

I think that Perspective is important too. The First Person perspective of Isolation lends itself to better tension building and horror because you can only see what you would actually see in real life. You can't switch to Third Person and see something sneaking up behind you. You have to use your "senses" (vision and hearing) and the somewhat unreliable motion tracker to get an idea of where anything is located. The motion tracker especially gives you a false sense of security at times since it only tracks things that are moving and when enemies stand still they don't show up. This adds in to your feeling of helplessness, since you don't have complete information about what's around you.

There are few games that I can remember that were truly as terrifying as Alien: Isolation was. I think it did a great job with all of the disparate elements needed to make a good horror game.

Probably PCU. In college, some of my roommates and I would watch it almost every week. Even though it wasn't really anything like our college experience, and isn't even that great of a movie, there was something about it that made it an enjoyable film to watch over and over again. It's still something I'll throw on from time to time and it's still just as funny to me as when I first saw it.

Gymna  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Gaming's Best Ambient Tracks

The Galaxy Map song from Mass Effect was a great Ambient track. Fantastic soundtrack.

Gymna  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Gaming's Best Ambient Tracks

I thought almost everything from Journey was fantastic. It was beautiful and meshed perfectly with the game play without overpowering it.

That seems crazy that the last VHS movie was released 10 years ago. It feels so much longer. It will be interesting to see if/when DVD dies out but I think you're right that BluRay will stick around for a while longer since a lot of places can't get consistent internet speeds for streaming, which is a shame.


If you ever listened to the Penny Arcade/PVP D&D podcasts, in the third series starting here, the DM Chris Perkins ran a dungeon similar to the Tomb of Horrors but didn't spring any of the traps until the party was already deep inside the area and had collected the treasure they had gone in to find. They then had to go through everything on their way out. This gave them a false sense of security as they only had a few easy encounters on the way in that they fought through or snuck around but had incredibly difficulties after an enemy NPC activated all the traps.

This might be a good way to revitalize the Tomb of Horrors and make it fresh. Obviously YMMV depending on 1) how much knowledge your players have of the original Tomb of Horrors and it's layout (if you steal it directly), 2) whether they've listened to those podcasts before, and 3) whether your players would tolerate you trying to murder them after they thought they were safe.

As an aside, I would highly recommend listening to the Penny Arcade/PVP D&D podcasts. They don't always play by the official rules (they sometimes get rules wrong though generally not on purpose) and aren't the most serious of players but they always have a really fun time and they are very entertaining. Chris Perkins from WOTC who DMs most of their campaigns is a very entertaining and ingenious DM and you can steal a lot of good stuff for your campaigns from him. You can find all their podcasts here under the Acquisitions Incorporated heading. The very first one starts here

I think there is still a decent market going on at this point, although it's definitely gone down. Some people still like to own their movies, I'm sure. But this deal would allow for digital distribution along with the DVD sales at an earlier time frame than usual. So that aspect would change as well.

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