Friendly reminder: We are ALL affected by the Dunning Kruger effect. (Vaccines work)

Briefly, in case you didn’t get it from the title, this is a post about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and our confidence in them. Most of us (correctly) trust these vaccines, but some people, having fallen victim to their own overconfidence in knowledge they do not possess (but think they do), do not trust the vaccines. I’d like to remind you how the Dunning Kruger effect works and affects us all.

I’m writing this while on leave for a week. I’m mostly playing Diablo 2 Resurrected, which was recently released with enhanced modern graphics. I did go for my second vaccine jab on Tuesday though, and like most people, I experienced zero side effects. (All I got was a slightly sore shoulder that’s already completely healed two days later.) I’m writing this because I’m amazed that people are choosing not to trust science. [Full disclosure – I was directly exposed to COVID-19 in December 2020 at a work function, where I stayed indoors for a while and assisted someone who had it but didn’t know. Unfortunately I only found out months later. So in theory I may have been infected already but was asymptomatic. I guess I’ll never know.]

Let’s start with the simple definition of the Dunning Kruger effect as per Wikipedia:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a hypothetical cognitive bias stating that people with low ability at a task overestimate their own ability, and that people with high ability at a task underestimate their own ability.

Notice that it refers to everybody. That’s important. We all have limits to our own area or areas of expertise. As a software developer, I know quite a bit about software development – bot not so much (zero) about vaccines. So why do I say you must trust them? Simple: I recognize my own lack of knowledge about this subject, and thus I defer to experts. The best I can do is go with the broadly held scientific consensus. As it happens, I do a little more than that, and read widely about certain subjects, including science based medicine. But it remains an interest of mine, not something I am an expert on. I would never give you medical advice other than to go to relevant experts, and in general, trust in science, including vaccines. It’s as simple as that.

You defer to the relevant experts when you don’t know something. You do not refer to a bunch of idiots on YouTube who parrot widely debunked anti-science nonsense. That’s not how it works.

The Dunning Kruger effect also notes that when we are experts on a subject, we doubt ourselves. Since we doubt ourselves, we double check with other experts to make sure we’re right. That’s what clever people do. Doubling down and telling everybody about a subject we know fuck all about, and should not be talking about, is not what clever people do. That’s what stupid people do. Anti-vax is a position borne of ignorance. Don’t be stupid. Trust science.

Recently I tried to get through to an anti-vaxxer on Facebook, I tried for several days, until he unfriended me for “spreading vaccine misinformation” and “facilitating genocide”. I kid you not. But before he unfriended me, he shared an interesting (OK, I lie. It’s not interesting) rambling and mostly incoherent video on YouTube, which revealed the gist of his position… a conspiracy theory where his opposition to vaccines is really because he opposes “blind trust in authority”.

Here’s the thing: Nobody says you must blindly trust authority. Nobody. Trust the science. Trust the broadly held scientific consensus. Trust the experts – the same ones that multiple governments are relying on in the middle of a pandemic. It’s the obvious, correct, sensible position.

OK, I’m sorry… I’m not doing this to shame him. I’m not going to embed his video, but since it is public, here’s a link to it. I think it shows quite clearly what I mean. It’s rambling and barely coherent. It’s like the poor dude is talking off the top of his had about something he knows nothing about. It’s sad, but don’t forget, people like him are not only a danger to themselves… It’s easy to dismiss them and suggest “Darwin” takes care of them. The real danger they pose is to slow down or stop herd immunity, and I don’t mean the term as used by science deniers a while back… I mean real herd immunity that comes when most of us are immune and the disease is eradicated. Herd immunity is necessary to protect those whose immune systems are so compromised, they really can’t take the vaccine for valid medical reasons. I work with one such person – a guy in his early twenties with a heart condition. He was recently off work for a while because of an enlarged valve in his heart and he is in genuine danger from anti-vaxxers. Him and many others for valid medical reasons. They are the ones whose lives are placed in danger by these overconfident YouTube buffoons.

Nobody defines your recovery or your life, nobody other than yourself.

You don’t have to live up to anybody’s expectation of your life. Your life is yours and yours alone. And if, like me, you struggled with addiction and are now clean, you don’t have to listen to anybody who gaslights you if you don’t live life according to their expectation, whatever it may be.

Recently I’ve encountered two people with two very different impressions of me and my recovery, and it amused me…

In a Facebook group, some jerk wrote about how great 12 step programs are, and how they are the “only” way to recover – so I correctly pointed out how they are simply magical thinking and nothing more. The silly fucker called me a “dry drunk”, something I’ve heard before. A dry drunk according to 12 steppers, and I’m not going to look this up because it doesn’t really matter, is something to the effect of: Someone not following the program, who thus according to them is not “working the steps” and is thus still an addict but just one not using drugs. This is because, according to their dogmatic approach, if you don’t do exactly what they do and don’t believe in the magic they believe in, you’re not “truly” in recovery. Today I lack the energy to think of the words to explain just how fallacious that actually is. Yeah, cunts, I’m not a true Scotsman either.

Truth be told, these dogmatic cunts have gone and indoctrinated themselves into a cult. That’s what 12 step culture is. They’re not working on their recoveries as much as they think – in fact we could use their own terms against them and point out that they have just got addicted to something else, a program of magical thinking, one that doesn’t actually deserve credit for their sobriety, but does in fact cause harm when they impose this as the “only way” to be clean on others, and when they gaslight people like me.

But I don’t really care about the gaslighting. The thing is, I don’t treat addiction as a lifelong problem that needs constant work. I haven’t craved meth for years, and I never will use it again, or any other drug. I recognize that phase of my life is over and done with, and I’m living my life. No need to pay attention to their bullshit. I only care about it because of the harm it does to others.

The other new person is a new dev at work. He seems to be amazed and really impressed, and genuinely asks “How did you do it?” in relation to me quitting drugs, as if that was such a difficult, or near impossible task. But it wasn’t. If you’re anything like the way I was, and you use meth every day, you run out of it constantly too. So you have to choose, at least 3 times a day, to get more meth, or to have another hit. More like 10 times a day but let’s pretend it’s only 3. 3 times a day every day is 1 095 times a year. 1 095 times a year that you choose to use meth rather than not use meth. Do the math, not the meth. All you have to do is choose not to get more meth. Just pick a day and choose to stop. And then don’t make the choice to use. Next thing you know, eight years have passed and you don’t even remember the last time you wanted to use.

I’m still here

I should be writing my “eight years clean” post. I used to fuss over the milestone post every year, but this year I forgot about it after the Facebook share. Maybe I’ll still get to it, but I can’t think of what to say. Is that weird?

Anyway, I find myself awake and alone this evening, unusually so, because for once my son is not feeling well and can’t play games on my computer. I gave him some meds and he went to bed early. So for a change I can write something. It’s been a while.

I don’t really have anything much to say though, but what I can say is this… I’m tired. My car is once again not working – this time it was the clutch, but hopefully that will be fixed tomorrow. But mostly I’m tired.

I find myself in an unusual position at work. Two months ago, our (software) architect left the company. Last month, three other developers left the company. We have three large software systems there, two legacy systems and one newer one. The legacy systems are the ones that pull in most of the revenue. And me, once upon a time a terribly unreliable, disloyal and downright bad programmer, is suddenly the expert. The only expert on a number of things. It’s quite strange to suddenly become so important. Also tiring. But I think I like it.

A new developer started today, and in time, he will get to learn the systems, but I’m going to be the one everyone turns to for some time, and, this is the good part – I do have some ideas of improvements I can make to the software, and I finally have the freedom to do so. I just need to find the time to make the changes I need to make. It’s kind of fun though… I can focus on larger changes to the bigger picture, but I’ll be able to delegate the smaller things to the newbies. It’s reinvigorated my interest in programming, which is pretty cool. Unfortunately I don’t get much time to write here, and I may get even less in the next few months until we can finish making the stability changes needed and getting the new developers up to speed.

But I’ll try to find time to write here when possible…

Edit… For interest sake, my current clean time: (generated by an app I wrote, that I use for the FB share)

SmokeFree

Dinosaurs disprove god

Today I answered a question asked in a Facebook group, and I’d like to share my answer a little further by expanding on it here.

Firstly, I’ll start with the Facebook post and then go from there. Apologies for the messiness – the tool I used to use for screen grabs, where I then deleted the border colour so it matched the background here, is now broken on my machine, so this was made with the built-in Windows snipping tool.

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To put it into context, this somewhat silly group, Dinosaurs Against Christians Against Dinosaurs, is a parody/meme group, of the group Christians Against Dinosaurs, which itself is a parody of Christians who are against dinosaurs. So it’s a bit of a baffling group, an atheist group filled mostly with atheists who don’t realize that what they are parodying is already a parody. (Poe’s Law then.) At least that’s what it was, but at some point it became a pretty standard atheist group where atheists share atheist memes. And then it got funnier because it was infiltrated by hordes of Christians who constantly complain that the memes are mocking Christians rather than being about dinosaurs. To make things even more confusing, the last few days have seen posts by atheists mocking Christians complaining about the lack of dinosaurs as well as atheists writing posts that parody Christians mocking atheists – meanwhile the comments are filled with comments by other atheists who think they are responding to actual Christians, because presumably they don’t get sarcasm/parody/irony.

So imagine my surprise when I saw a question that, whether asked in good faith or not (it doesn’t matter) – can be answered seriously.

You see, the whole mess and all the parodies of it came about because at the root of all this, Biblical literalists are actually onto something. If the Bible were truly the word of “God”, who knows all things, and this god somehow wrote through the men who put pen to paper, it would certainly contain information about the dinosaurs. But it doesn’t. Further, the way Biblical literalists who call themselves Young Earth Creationists have calculated the age of the Earth, is more or less accurate if one assumes the Bible is literally true. Again, they’re onto something.

If the word of the Bible were truly inerrant, the planet should be about 6 000 years old. Dinosaurs, the last of which went extinct around 69 million years ago, thus prove two things:

  1. The Bible can’t be true. At least not literally.
  2. The Earth can’t be only 6 000 years old.

OK, maybe that’s not really two things. The main thing is, dinosaurs aren’t in the Bible because the men who wrote it didn’t know about them. And thus their imaginary god didn’t know about them either. But of course not. God doesn’t “know” anything because god isn’t real at all. But regardless, Biblical literalists are way smarter than most of us give them credit for… They’ve realized that dinosaurs being real proves their Bible isn’t literally true, and they are above what most Christians do with their cognitive dissonance… They know that once one bit of the Bible isn’t true, the narrative ball of string unravels, and the more you look at it, the more clear it becomes that all of the Bible is untrue. Therefore they invent their own “science” which makes leaps and bounds of ad hoc reasoning to claim that either dinosaurs aren’t real at all, or that they somehow existed less than 6 000 years ago and their god fakes the fossil record as some kind of test of their faith.

I find the whole thing quite hilarious. For an example of what Young Earth Creationists say about dinosaurs, you can head over to the page about it on the Answers in Genesis site. I must warn you though, their years of “study” don’t come close to the stuff I’ve written in a few minutes here off the top of my head.

Why do I mock religion?

Recently a creationist commenter posed some questions asking why I disbelieve in his god, questions which were hard to take seriously. I asked others for help on how to answer his comment without being sarcastic, but they were even more harsh than I was, calling it word salad, amongst other things. I did write a post in response to his lengthy comment, but it doesn’t feel right to me. Maybe I’ll still publish it, with his full comment text, but in the meantime, I’d much rather write about how I came to mock religion as I do now.

The idea for this one came to me via a memory, triggered by the way someone reacted to a Facebook post of mine yesterday, a post which led to me sharing this: (I don’t know why the FB embed is not displaying. It worked before publishing and now it isn’t, so I’m using an image instead.)

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Let’s wind back that clock, shall we? The year was 1985, my first year of high school. Standard six, or grade eight as they call it now. I’d had a fairly protected upbringing, by parents who were devout Roman Catholic, and my mother in particular was paranoid about other religions (their youth programs and so forth) being more fun than the Catholic Sunday school and youth programs we attended, which were very much old school.

That alone is ironic, come to think of it. In her own way, my mother recognized the harm of indoctrination, and was worried that my brother or I might be sucked into some other more modern church. (I highly doubt there was much of a chance of that happening to either of us, for different reasons. She should have given us more credit. Mind you, as a parent, I understand.) But getting back to the point, my protected upbringing meant my only exposure to Christianity was though the lens of our weekly attendance at Mass, and Sunday school. She didn’t even like the idea of us going to other Christian churches, which suited me fine because I didn’t much like the idea of that either.

So… imagine my surprise when some twat handed out Gideons Bibles at school and I actually read mine. It was the first time I didn’t get cherry picked Bible verses through the lens of the parish priest, and… wow! What a lot of bullshit! Fucking pages and pages and pages of lineages of men, such as Joseph. It’s like they just put random writings together. Sorry, I can’t refer to which chapter and verse because I’m not interested in looking that up, but clearly whoever made sure they showed that Joseph descended directly from David was unaware that he allegedly didn’t father Jesus. It’s blatantly obvious when reading that, that some writers were quite unaware of the daddy is god and mommy is a virgin claim, and at the time of that writing, Jesus was shown to be descended from David. (The same David who was mysteriously celebrated for taking a ranged weapon to hand to hand combat, and cheating, shooting his opponent before the man could even reach the battlefield. Kind of like taking a gun to a boxing match. That cunt.)

Further, it was blatantly obvious to me as a thirteen year old reading the Bible that it described all kinds of things that never happened. And I do mean never. Where does one go from this kind of revelation? Well, it seems most Christians just put that doubt out of their heads and find excuses to carry right on believing. I tried. I wanted to believe so I told myself that maybe some of the stuff was nonsense but the idea of god and Jesus and the creation and heaven were true. But I did also mock that stupid verse from Revelation. It struck me as hilarious that this was the source of the Beast, 666, and all that as used in various horror movies like The Omen. But actually read it and it’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo. So I wrote it all over the school desks (along with a couple of other things and drawings that I won’t mention here)… I wrote it along with the chapter and verse, and can you guess how other people responded? They didn’t believe those words actually came from the Bible. Because like me, they had never read it.

So you could say I had a crisis of faith, because I read the Bible. Because I saw it for what it really was. But I tried to hang on, force myself to keep believing, because to my father, being Catholic was very important. It was a strong part of his identity. I went through with my confirmation at age 14, and didn’t speak of my doubt to anyone. By the age of 15 my reasoning went like this: Why should I believe that other people, born into a different religion such as Islam, who believe just as sincerely as we do, will be punished for all eternity? Just because they were born to parents who taught them a different religion to me? Why? Even if I assume a god exists, why would he be so cruel? It’s a birth lottery; nothing more.

I’d lay awake at night wondering about such things. In some moments I did believe, and wonder why this god would punish those other innocent people. In other moments, theirs was the true religion, and I’d be the one to suffer in Hell because their god would punish me for being born into the wrong religion. And then like most people (I imagine), I’d put those thoughts away during the day and focus on other things that teenagers focused on.

I have mentioned before, a school acquaintance named Meri, from Finland, who prompted me to lose my faith. Perhaps I gave her too much credit, so this time, including the paragraphs before this one, I’m writing the whole story. That was my state of mind – extreme confusion, because I saw everything in the Bible as pure nonsense, and yet I believed, kind of. I clung to that belief with a thread. Then one day, I heard a girl crying. Her name was Meri, and she spoke with a funny accent. No one liked her because she was different. A group of boys were jeering and laughing at her and even my friend Dale, who I thought was a nice guy, was smirking at the absurdity of her not believing in god.

I approached her because I felt bad for her, because I was quiet and shy and different to most people, because I also isolated myself. So I asked her what this was about, and she asked me, “Do you believe in religion, and god?” I said “Yes, I do”, to which she responded, the tears barely dry in her eyes, “Why!? Why do you believe? It’s so stupid.” And just like that, seeing that it was acceptable to doubt, I stopped believing. Because I had no reason to believe. If I’d had the words to answer her in those few seconds before my belief vanished forever, I’d have said, “I believe because I’ve always believed, because I know that god is real. I know it in my heart.” But I didn’t know any such thing. That was the simple fact. The only words I could form were the sheepish, “I don’t know (why I believe)”, but the reality was, my mind was racing – I went from “knowing” god is real to knowing with absolute certainty that this god was made up by men.

I did at one stage believe that mocking religion, or scoffing at the absurdity of it, as she did, might trigger others to think, to have that moment of clarity and change their minds, as it did for me. But it’s never happened. Maybe I was naive to think it could? Most likely I think, it was inevitable that I’d end up atheist – the complete loss of faith was already cemented in my doubts and she just provided the final nail to crucify those beliefs. But regardless, that is only a small part of why I mock religion. At sixteen years old, I still thought that for the most part, religion was a good thing, that it taught useful virtues and values, and that religious people were good people. I was wrong.

I should have known from the way those good Christian boys treated Meri, but I didn’t see it. Not yet. But dear reader, doesn’t my story of her seem slightly familiar? And no, I don’t mean because I have written about her before. Others have made movies using a very similar plot. I’m thinking of Kevin Sorbo with his God’s Not Dead trash. It’s a familiar narrative, one shared by 1000001 edgy Facebook Christians who share their persecution narratives, except in their fiction, it’s atheists who condescend to them and bully them. Let me make this crystal fucking clear: We live in a credulous world where people, the majority are held together by blind faith and magical thinking, where most people are driven by apophenia and take comfort in their fictional everlasting life, where the atheists are the exceptions, and where we are very much at the receiving end of bullying and harassment. It’s been this way for hundreds of years.

Like it’s not bad enough that my parents were like two blind mice in their Catholicism and they made me spend all those Sunday morning wasting my fucking time in Mass and Sunday school, and all those months… actually years worrying about Hell and endless torment; like it’s not bad enough that my son had to be subjected to that bullshit too; we can’t even have Facebook groups especially for atheists without some willfully ignorant buffoons trying to proselytize to us and “save” us.

Your arguments are vapid, full of fallacies, ad hominem, appeals to irrelevant authority, argumentum ad populum, begging the question, and outright nonsense. And no, I don’t need expertise in fucking philosophy to reject your assumption that a creator exists. Philosophy isn’t about that – you’re simply equivocating, hiding behind words that you don’t understand to justify an assumption that makes no sense whatsoever, but is based on what you think you know with your brainwashed mind, not on evidence. And no, I do not need to know theology to understand that it is all nonsense when it is obvious from the outside that studying it is simply a matter of studying the innermost details of the made up shit. I don’t need to smear the shit on my nose to know that it stinks. And I certainly do not need to feel compelled to respond to such presumptuous passive aggressive statements masquerading as questions.

But by the way, there are many people who have studied theology and concluded that it is bullshit. And if you really want to play the argumentum ad populum game, then boy do I have bad news for you.

But getting back to my personal story, things took another turn when I was around 18. By then an atheist but not public about it, I spent a year in the old apartheid army, due to conscription. There I heard preachers preaching a strange brand of Christianity I hadn’t heard before, where they read “purity of races” right into their Bibles. I don’t remember what Bible verses once again, but it doesn’t matter. They were pretty convincing, to each other at least. So Christianity was used to justify racism and white supremacy, and a law known as the “Group Areas Act” back then which forced people of different colour to live in separate neighbourhoods. Since then I’ve heard of others with similar racism, people who claim that black people are the “sons of Nod”, the cursed descendants of Cain who murdered his brother Abel, and they use this to justify their belief that white people are superior.

You had to jump through some hoops for the racism to make sense just the same as you do for those who use the Bible to justify homophobia – where the righteous man, Lot, offered up his two daughters to be gang raped by a group of men who wanted to get to the two angels in his home. That verse is used to justify that the men were gay (because they wanted the angels). But it is OK that he offered them his daughters? Why offer his daughters to gay men? And why is it OK to offer women to be raped?

Speaking of Lot and family, his wife was allegedly turned to a pillar of salt for daring to turn her head. Who turned to witness this? But Lot one day got both his daughters pregnant and that’s not a problem. But by all means, don’t be gay. That’s wrong.

Right now, there are Americans spouting the same kind of rhetoric that the boneheads did in the old South Africa. In fact, they’re super popular among the right wing here. Racist scum, the lot of them!

Here’s a fact that too many people are blind to see: Extremism, while it may well exist only on the fringe, is the truest form of any ideology. Religion is all about elitism, the belief that you are right and everybody else is wrong. Taken to its natural extreme, it’s all about hate.

But just as many Christians are willingly blind and ignorant to the nonsense of their own religious texts, so are they blind to the hatred of their beliefs taken to the extreme. It’s not just that your beliefs are absurd, whether you’re like that commenter with his presumptuous Gish gallop of just asking questions, or you’re one of those edgy “I identify as black” white Christians attacking transgender people, or you’re an American politician hiding behind “traditional marriage” to justify homophobia, or you’re just a normal churchgoing person who turns a blind eye to all the harm that your religion does… I see through you. I mock you along with the subject of your belief, because you deserve it. By failing to open up your mind to reality, by not rejecting religion and all the harm that it does, even if you are not one of those vile evil people I have mentioned, you do enable them.

Another follow-up on Torchlight 3

Since I wrote about this game before here and here

There was a recent update to the game, and other than adding a new class, the Cursed Captain, they did fix most of the bugs I mentioned before, so I might as well update my review.

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That’s what my two multiplayer characters look like. I’ve now played through the game a few times, with three characters in single player, and then these two, the new one still in progress in multiplayer. So with the exception of Lucretia, all my characters have finished the campaign, and played all 251 levels of end game content. “Endless dungeons”  that end.

As mentioned, they have fixed bugs. The worst of which by far was the disappearing pet. Well, your pet no longer disappears. That’s a big one. My game also no longer hangs when my pet uses its skills. I just play, and had almost forgotten about the frequent freezes. The game is more or less stable now, but for connectivity issues and the occasional crash on my XBox One.
(I play both on XBox and PC. I hadn’t realized before, but since I purchased it on XBox via the store, I have the option of installing it on PC too. I just connect an Xbox controller via USB cable and the gameplay is identical.)

Level 251 of the “endless dungeons” was one where the pet almost always disappeared. That one involves Ordrak, the main boss of the game, but in a match that will land you with loot with +118% statistics. That and the previous level can be fun to grind if you’re looking for better items, but 251 especially is better with your pet, so Ordrak has another target.

One of my original complaints was having more skills than key bindings, but that was on me, at least for the dusk mage. I learned from that and chose a better relic for my multiplayer dusk mage, plus I only bother with a single relic skill, which in all my characters other than the cursed captain, is a finishing move. FYI, you can respec anything, but you can’t choose a different relic, which you do on character creation. So until you know which relic you prefer playing, you have to experiment.

The new character class is pretty cool – being a throwback to a pirate character you encounter in Torchlight 2. I really like my cursed captain, but it has one major problem that will affect me in end game play, and I’m not there yet. I’ll cover that in a bit…

The major problem with this game is lousy end game content. Only 251 levels and then, that’s it. You’re done. The story looks like it was left open for another act to be added, so maybe there will eventually be a 4th act, but who knows how long that will be? They really could have made more levels, something similar to Diablo 3 rifts. But they didn’t.

Of the many game attributes you get in the end game levels, there are two that are particularly annoying. Well, the first one here especially.

  1. Angered Ancestors. This one sucks. It isn’t difficult but it is extremely annoying. You get pursued by a spirit, with a maelstrom like swirling wind force “blowing” around it. You can’t kill it. It is indestructible. If it gets to you, you are slowed down, and quickly die. You have to run up and down on the various levels, getting it to follow you to a part of the map you already completed, then hurry to the other side of the map, kill one or two enemies before it catches you again. And so on.
  2. Shifting Shackles. This one is difficult, but how difficult depends on the character class. (Cursed Captain, you’re fucked.) One random skill is disabled every 3 minutes.

Here’s the thing: None of my characters, except for my cursed captain, use the basic attack. That is, they all rely on class specific attacks, and they all (Dusk Mage, Sharp Shooter, and Forged) have a decent backup skill. So if my main attack or favourite finishing move is disabled, I’m still fine. But not the Cursed Caption. I rely on basic attack with a gun or rifle, or cannon. In fact, it is the most powerful of all my attacks, combining two legendary skills that cause it to shoot poison and spirits with every attack. Lucretia is my most overpowered character of all. But when it gets to the end game, and I’m close to finishing act 3, I’m probably going to get stuck, or have to respec until I find a decent backup skill. Right now, I don’t have one.

So maybe it’s just me, but there doesn’t seem to be a good class-specific attack skill for the cursed captain to be able to use continuously. You have to rely on basic attack, which will be a problem at end game level with “shifting shackles”. Only a problem if you play to the end game content of course…

I have two bits of advice for Torchlight 3 players:

  1. Use the mapwork scrolls you find. Use them while you are still playing the campaign.
  2. Only make lifebound items if you have a backup item.

The reason for this is simple: The levels you play after campaign give you much better items than you can get from those mapwork scrolls. Thus the mapwork scroll levels are too easy for playing in end game play. But during campaign mode, they will typically give you levels the same as your character, which most likely will be more difficult levels than the story levels you’re playing. Grind them to get better gear so that campaign mode is more fun. The same goes for phase portals. Play them – if you see a phase beast, kill it and play the level through the portal. You get much better gear than from the campaign levels.

The reason for my second bit of advice is that if you grind mapworks levels and phase portals, you can die and if you have lifebound items, you lose them. Lifebound items are great when you, for example, find 2 similar weapons and use a lifebound scroll to add bonuses to one, knowing that if you die, you still have a good backup item.

Happy hacking and slashing…


Oh… one more thing.

The only other major bug still present in the game is the unfinishable levels. (The one I previously called “not enough spiders” or sarcastically “too many spiders”.)

Any level, via mapworks or the Fazeer Shah’s “endless” levels, where you have to collect a certain number of items, or fight a specific boss on the level, might spawn with less than the requisite items, or minus the boss. It’s really annoying but it happens, where you play the whole level, mapping it completely and killing every enemy, but you can’t finish it and progress. It happens mostly with collecting items, and it happens reasonably often at end game level.

And lastly… I need a new keyboard. Excuse me but I’m tired of looking for all the missing S characters. I think I found most of them, hopefully, but I can only read the same post back so many times.

Apparently accepting multiple bullshit magic dudes at face value is better than accepting only one?

I soooo wanna reply to her in two days when my ban gets lifted. I’ll probably get unfriended but still…

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I believe English is not her first language (she’s Polish), so “yet we the same time brush off…” is an error. She’s Jewish. It’s a slight error but I’m mentioning it just to clarify what she means.

I find this reasoning baffling. Believing in multiple people doing the impossible and defying the laws of physics and reality isn’t better than believing in just one magic dude. You might be tempted to think it’s even worse, but not me… I’d say it’s about the same. One magic man vs many magic men – same shit, different dogma.

I always find it weird when people claim their religions are better than others. It’s like saying “My magic is the real magic because my magic is real.” Except it isn’t real. It’s just that you’re indoctrinated to believe in your magic and not the other magic.

It’s all bullshit.

Edit: Hey, this meme makes the same point…


I do think she makes one point though, by accident. There is a lot more going on in the Old Testament. God speaks to Abraham, commands men to cut off part of their penises, kills some dude for pulling out rather than impregnating his dead brother’s wife, there are many prophets, god himself gets to commit genocide more than once… A lot.

In fact, the tone is so different, it seems like a different god, and once you get past the superficial bits that appear to follow on, it should be clear that this isn’t the same god at all. It’s just a bunch of people with a new religion who appropriated the culture of an old one that they stole bits from. They even went as far as retconning the purpose of Judaism to be all about Jesus. Of course the Muslims retcon Christianity in a similar manner. I find it all quite hilarious.

I’m reliable now and that feels strange when I think about it.

We’ve had a couple of emergencies at work lately. I can’t get into too much detail but what I can mention is that the main software I work on is responsible for large volumes of financial transactions.

So… things can go wrong, just like any system, and there is a lot of pressure, but depending on the service, not much time to fix things. For example, transactions have cut-off times, and if you miss them, the only way to fix things is to resubmit, but using a shorter lead-time service type not even implemented by the system. That’s all I can say without giving away anything that’s too confidential.

The point is, when things go wrong in a financial system, its a big deal. For example, you might end up in a situation where millions worth of revenue passing through the system might… not pass through the system. (Or imagine the other extreme – millions of revenue passed through but doubled, or a fault with some kind of floating point conversion means 100 times the amount. Fortunately that didn’t happen here. But just imagine.)

And on more than one occasion, the person to fix the problems, was me. Me! The same me who couldn’t be trusted to implement even simple code fixes to a far smaller system back in 2009. The same me who couldn’t be relied upon for anything for several years.

These kinds of problems can end with people losing their jobs. There’s not always much recognition when someone fixes these kinds of things (thank goodness because I don’t want too much of that, thank you), and these events will hopefully mostly be forgotten, certainly not how things would be if the disasters were not averted, but that’s not my focus here. My focus is me sitting here and reflecting on how weird it feels that people rely on me, and even if the details are forgotten, the positive effect on my reputation will remain.

I remember sitting in code reviews back in 2009, trying to act like I wasn’t confused. I was working for a company that produced software used by attorneys at the time – it generated documents and did some accounting, but nowhere near as complicated as what I’ve worked on the last few years. I couldn’t get anything right, and I could barely understand what I was doing wrong – because I was so messed up and confused… and so high on meth all the time.

And here I am, doing my part to save the day. There’s no way the old me could have done this. It feels good to be reliable. I mean, these people have no idea just how far I’ve come, but I am glad to be of use.