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No Alex Jones, Violent Video Games Don't Create Mass Shooters

November 23, 2022, 02:21:43 PM by kat
No Alex Jones, Violent Video Games Don't Create Mass Shooters

TL:DR - Hyperbole aside Mr Jones, it's far more likely that "mass-murder-suicide-pills", a turn-of-phrase you popularised, or being homed within an abusive, broken or absented family, 'creates' or 'causes' mass-shooters than their alleged fixation on "violent video games".

Every time there's a mass-shooting the usual suspects crawl from under the wet carpet to weaponize the event for their own ends; corporate media, agenda driven activists and academics, various politically motivated pundits, all in lock-step reinforcing the tone-deaf "sensible gun control" narrative that does nothing to address the problem at hand.

While these efforts rarely look to seriously investigate, never mind find solutions to, the variate causes of mass-shootings, they do work as intended to frame the persistent electoral chatter, the talking points TPTB [1] use to manage the public's perception of reality itself. For mass-shootings their casus belli is of course violent video games, despite more than 50% of the population (ne electorate) playing video (computer/console/device) games in one form or another.

Nor does it matter that until very recently violent crime had been down-trending significantly since a peak in early 1990's, (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/11/20/facts-about-crime-in-the-u-s/) an observation that, notwithstanding correlation =/= causation, questions the grand 'violent video games causes violence' narrative presented by the usual suspects.

With this in mind, why do so many gamers fall for such illiberal remedial action that only harms those who agree with it? Why is the games industry, the lobbying groups that lay claim to represent (chest-to-raised fist bump) utterly impotent; and/or/else wholly duplicitous when speaking on the topic in any meaningful way, or out against the deliberately toxic pollicisation of games, gaming and gamers.

Is it all just temporal optics, the aforementioned politicised electoral chatter that's only ever meant to be the strings that direct Pinocchio (gamers) where Giuseppe (stakeholders) wants without ever providing the opportunity to be a real boy?

Anywho... that's all slightly off-topic (but not really. Ed.).

# # #

As is probably not a surprise to anyone that's taken even a cursory look at the topic beyond the headlines, publicly available research on the topic of mass-shooters (https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=common+mass+shooters) tends to find perpetrators [2] have very long, storied, and troubled personal histories that all too often start in early childhood - unstable home life, abuse of various kinds, interpersonal issues and extreme difficulties relating to others (empathy), mental impairment and so on. Environments of unusual or abnormal uncertainty and instability [3] beyond what might be consider normal during adolescences and early adulthood.

As a consequence, perpetrators and their behaviours are rarely unknown to family, friends, or the authorities, and consequently, mass shootings themselves are rarely spontaneous, random events no-one could have foreseen; they are almost without exception, planned or at least calculated and intentional.

While a perpetrators motivations to commit a mass shooting varies [4], the pre-planning and remedial rationality used to justify such acts are nevertheless a direct consequence of the kinds of malformed minds that are conditioned to be intellectually, conceptually, emotionally stunted, all (by)products of a formative corrosive environment; mass-shooters often exhibit little or no genuine remorse for their behaviour because they literally don't have that capability, or are utterly detached from it because that part of their psyche, comparatively, doesn't exist or is woefully malformed or maladapted; when interviewed, surviving perpetrators often present as individuals fully cognisant of their actions while being completely disconnected from the events they've committed.

Knowing this then, just how do violent video games fit in to the discussion such that media, activists, academics and political pundits feel confident they can be used as argumentative leverage for whatever cause-celeb they might feel to push [5]?

The truth is they don't, there's barely anything in available research, if anything at all that's not subject to some questionable degree of research bias [6], that suggests a causative or demonstrable link between violent video games and mass shootings or shooting sprees.

Nothing.

So much so that to date, violent video games have never been cited by surviving perpetrators as 'a', never mind 'the', reason they went on their rampage [7].

With all of that said, one rarely mentioned aspect of this discussion on violent video games that might carry weight is the way violence more generally, and violent video games specifically, might contribute to the continuum of non-specific violence surround the types of highly troubled individuals that go on to perpetrate mass shootings.

In other words, while violent video games may not be strictly causative, or sufficiently triggering someone feels compelled to act, given what is known about positive and negative reinforcement [8], it's arguable that, for an exceptionally small number of disturbed individuals, constant exposure [9] to violence in certain types of video game might reinforce their already disturbed sensibilities, a miasmatical, self-reinforcing, death spiral that ends at a school and anyone in their way to death-by-cop.

If this were true to any degree, any remedial action tasked to prevent this type of behaviour can't be legislated, Government cannot fix broken families, pander to their victims with politicised platitudes, while simultaneously instituting liberty infringing legislation that hamstrings broader society from acting in their own defence.

Under such circumstance blaming violent videos games entirely misses the point, the discussion was never really about them but instead preventing or mitigating negative outcomes from unhealthy, unbalanced and underdeveloped individuals gratuitously exposing themselves to negative reinforcement, and political wonks, activists and academics alike, using violent video games as a means to further their own illiberal agendas at everyone else's expense.


Footnotes

[1] TPTB, The Powers That Be, the ruling class, elites etc.

[2] The term "mass-shooting" is essentially a colloquialism for "mass murder", what the FBI describes as an event where four or more people are killed (the term is used by the FBI to distinguish between "serial murder" and "mass murder" - the difference largely being one of time-frame "[g]enerally, mass murder was described as a number of murders (four or more) occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders. These events typically involved a single location, where the killer murdered a number of victims in an ongoing incident" [source (https://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/serial-murder)]). However, for reasons that are not clearly elucidated research on the subject of mass-shooting, academic or policy based, rarely if ever include mass causality events perpetrated by gangs, illegals or similar in their data which skews conclusions significantly.

[3] It's important to note that violence is not exclusively at play in the lives of those 'at risk'.

[4] Typical reasons for mass shootings include, but are not limited to; suicidal ideation, indifference to life, victimisation, need for attention, desire for (in)fame(y) [# (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00223891.2018.1436063)].

[5] e.g. 'sensible gun control', 'red flag' laws, wellness checks and so on.

[6] A fundamental failing of all 'grievance studies' research is the fact that checkbox accumulation (survey data) rarely if ever correlates to the real-world - sexism in video games causing sexism (https://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php/topic,1032.0.html) and violence in video games causing violence (https://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php/topic,923.0.html) being two of the most publicised and controversial assertions that simply do not bear fruit under real-life conditions, that instead require generous interpretation of broadly selective data, and that are nevertheless proselytised as 'problematic' enough to warrant legislative remedial action.

[7] Notwithstanding media and political sensationalism upon discovering copies of certain games in perpetrates homes or possessions, victims likely mention perpetrators seemingly shooting at people 'as though they were playing a video game' as a frame of reference to process events in a way they might be familiar with rather than as statement of fact; 'it felt like it was a video game, he just shot at people and moved on to the next person like he was playing [video game]' does not inculcate violent 'shooter' video games or the perpetrators propensity for playing them. This is also notwithstanding perpetrators legal counsel using 'violent video games' as a causative excuse that might mitigate responsibility.

[8] General results for "positive and negative reinforcement" (https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=positive+and+negative+reinforcement&oq=positive+and+negative+)

[9] In this context "constant exposure" should be contextualised to individuals that lack the ability to sort, filter and process information in ways that negatively impact their sensibilities resulting in the individual being hyper-focused on a subject to the detriment of others.

The Scourge of Plagiarism to Authors, Content Creators, and Makers

August 03, 2022, 10:53:47 AM by kat
Facebook plagiarism

Every now and then one of these pops up in the Blender community, an individual or entity that wholesale copy/pastes others work, making it look like their own, in the hope it garners them a following as some fountain of knowledge, in a manner of speaking they are, not of the own words and efforts, but those of others.

The technical word for this is "plagiarism", the individual doing that a "plagiarist". Others might think of more colourful terms and definitions.

Typically the errant plagiarist carries out their performative acts without any reference to the original authors, their materials, websites, socials or other sources though which people can view the content in its original setting, and/or completely strip any and all identifying marks (copyright or otherwise), which again feeds into the false impression the work is from the plagiarists efforts.

Unfortunately, there is such a dearth of singular sources where ever eager Blender users can find curated information the plagiarists efforts do not go unrewarded, quite the opposite, and often beyond the scope of the original authors reach - ordinarily creators don't mind people reposting content so long as they are acknowledged as being the authors of such duplicated work, the more people helped the better.

These duplicitous clowns however, don't care about 'helping' others, for sure they care about the perception they accrue off others backs. They will defend their actions in various ways, deleting objecting comments or those pointing out the fraud, the fans and followers gathered under false pretence, then going to bat on behalf of the plagiarist, not realising, understanding, or caring about the damage this type of misappropriation does to the broader communities level of trust.

So why do this? What's the point?

These days it's social cache, creating the appearance of being the aforementioned fountain of knowledge that, once a community develops around this type of activity gets large enough, can be monetised in some form, adverts being the simplest, or slightly more complicated, perhaps selling the plagiarised content in repackaged form (still) stripped of identifying marks.

What to do?

The Blender community is generally quite diligent about keeping an eye out this sort of theft, and it is 'theft' regardless as to what one might think of it, but the influx of new users looks to outweighing those able to keep up that diligent eye, those who know the history, and the more established but-not-Andrew-Price authors that hold the community together with (often freely) available resources, so plagiarism periodically flairs up like a bad case of medieval boils.

If you see this kind of plagiarism going on somewhere let the community know - exercise due-diligence just in case they do have permission. And while you can report it, it's best to notify the original author of the misappropriated material so they can respond one way or the other as they have firmer standing to do so [1].


Footnotes
[1] although the original content author has greater Standing to issue a copyright claim, the process of doing, at least on Facebook where the above described misappropriation occurred, requires they potentially expose Personally Identifying Information to the individual or entity infringing their copyright. Given the nature of this type of theft it obviously goes without saying this can expose the Rights holder to bigger problems.

Oculus, VR and the loss of childhood innocence

February 25, 2022, 04:35:46 PM by kat

Being old enough to remember "The Before Times", and knowing the authors background, a subscriber got in touch the other day to ask for a second opinion about a nephew playing a first-person game using an Oculus headset and controllers. The just-turned-six-year-old, yes six, was playing a 'shooter', a PEGI 12 rated game, that used featureless dummies for 'bad guys' and 'oil' for blood. It wasn't expressly graphic, at least by 18+ Triple-A standards. So, no problem there per se, yet.

Whilst screen-casting a session the youngling could be heard saying things like "you just have to rip his arm off" and "just kill it using his arm" (the aforementioned arm having to be ripped off first, character then beaten with it to death). Okay, that is a little weird, at least for a just-turned-six-year-old to be explaining to their new audience member quite so enthusiastically.

As play progressed they had difficulty coordinating themselves while attempting more difficult tasks, as most six-year-olds do, so the relative took over to continue. And this is where things got... interesting, for want of a better word, not because of who was playing the game, or even what was being done, rather how, the actions the player had to perform to drive the game onwards.

In the game mechanics tutorial, and subsequently game-proper, the player learns weapons handling, loading, unloading, readying and so on. While not specifically an issue in of itself, within the context of a VR headset and accompanying hand controllers the problem this presents is immediate; the formation of reflexive bad habits and intuitions.

At face value this seems like a nothing burger so what gives?

The way we learn about the world as children is defined by play against, ultimately, the hard cold truths of reality; a child only need stick a folk in an electrical socket once for lesson to be learned (one would hope, cue attention-deficit over-compensatory mechanism feedback loop). Virtual reality may disrupt this reactive development because it presents to the user environments that are constructed from objects grounded in a still-being-learning-about reality almost wholly without consequence (vertigo, motion-sickness aside) - the same child sticking a virtual fork in a virtual socket may be rewarded with a colourful dopamine dripping lightshow that obviously, at least to cognisant adults, doesn't translate into reality [1].

Watching the games weapons training, a high-fidelity, high-resolution approximation of a semi-auto pistol and long-gun had to be loaded and unloaded with magazines similar to inRL, albeit in a much cruder, fumbling way, like trying to load a firearm with thick fingerless gloves. Seeing this it was immediately apparent that, while these processes might be considered completely harmless operations for the target audience (12+), or using a console controller or mouse and keyboard, in VR, using a headset and handhelds, the user has a much more visceral and proximate experience when performing these tasks, especially as they explicitly replicate reality; magazine picked up from the ground in one hand that has to motion and load the ammunition in to a firearm grasped in the other.

Although it was clumsy and downright instructor-takes-weapon-away-from-a-person dangerous activity to watch, it highlights an aspect of VR gaming that harbours the potential for negatively impacting a child's development. In other words, learning bad habits by rote so early in life may be consequential in later years, especially when picking up other skills that might use those same or similar actions. Imagine then, 5 or 10 years hence, when this youngling is given a lightsabre for the first time and simply can't reflexively help themselves, flashing, buzzy, choppy thing (where's the music)!. Turns out Darth Vader din do noffin after all.

Unlike PC and console gaming there never was any real risk of their being "murder simulators" because the user often interacts passively with a screen, watching from a fixed perspective and distance, and in circumstances that typically don't promote disassociation from the reality of the immediate surroundings, i.e. sitting on a couch, cheezits and dew close at by. VR on the other hand is different. It's immediate, visceral and replicatory in ways young minds, very young especially, may have difficulty delineating from reality - vertigo inducing experiences being an obvious example of this conflation, fake environments making the body reflexively behave as though they're real.

Just to be explicitly clear here, this isn't an bad-faith malformed, misleading or misrepresentative Jack Thompson or Anita Sarkeesain politicised argumentative fallacy that's anti-gaming, or anti-VR, rather a genuine question about young kids interacting with clumsy approximated alternative realities in ways that may misinform at best, malformed at worse, their developing understanding of the world and how things behave within it, themselves included.

And yes, where are the parents, the responsible adults in this story? Why does the child have access to this sort of hardware and/or content? Is it okay for young children to use this type of technology as they grow? And more broadly in doing so, does VR facilitate the formation of coherent and cogent pictures of the world they are growing in to, especially when play is often unattended and absent any authoritative parental direction or guidance? Is the possibility of a maladjusted future really worth five minutes of temporary peace [2]?

What can be done about this, pragmatically, realistically, in a fast-paced, technologically driven world where a social credit score (self, corporate or government imposed ) demands individuals participation and interaction or a price is paid - loss of services, ostracization etc.? How does one even ethically test for the potential of malformation in order to take preventative or remedial action? What strategies can be used to mitigate minds being enveloped by the unfeeling, unemotive, unloving embrace of the machine that consumes childhood innocence and the joy of just being silly.


Footnotes

[1] Outside a clinical setting (non-clinical) that assesses VR's usefulness as a means to treat various disorders, ADHD, Autism and other cognitive and emotive dysfunction (e.g. Google Scholar search "virtual reality child development"), very little research has been made into VR's influence on child development more generally, so the affects, if any, are unknown.

[2] Teen suicide in the US and globally has been on the rise since around 2008. Markedly since then there appears to have been a historically disproportionate increase in the number of girls committing suicide. "Key risk factors found were: mental disorders, previous suicide attempts, specific personality characteristics, genetic loading and family processes in combination with triggering psychosocial stressors, exposure to inspiring models and availability of means of committing suicide." - Suicide and Youth: Risk Factors. Similarly rates of anxiety, depression and other mental and cognitive disorders are on the rise (not necessarily accounted for by better diagnosis), young girls being particularly prone ... "The strongest risk factors for depression in adolescents are a family history of depression and exposure to psychosocial stress. Inherited risks, developmental factors, sex hormones, and psychosocial adversity interact to increase risk through hormonal factors and associated perturbed neural pathways." - Depression in adolescence.

GDPR & CCDA Data Phishing Scam

December 11, 2021, 03:02:07 PM by kat
UPDATE: see reply below.



Owning, running or being the admin of an online property that's openly accessible to the public means being answerable to a number of privacy regulations, notably the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), both essentially meant to give the User power to refuse or inspect what Personally Identifying Information and data might be collected while browsing the Internet. Under normal circumstance this isn't a issue as Users can be (re)directed to any available Privacy Policy or other 'terms' document that should inform as to what may or may not be being collected and who would be responsible for it.

However, scammers, phishers & 'hackers', always looking for inroads and avenues of attack, use the legislation to formulate boiler plate inquiries to 'process phish', that is gauge points of socially engineered attack that might be ascertained from any responses given. Fortunately, genuine enquiries tend not to be formulated with so much formal specificity and can be safely ignored (search email and contact information to verify sender).

Quote
From : Mary Clark <maryclark@potomacmail.com>
Subject : Questions About GDPR Data Access Process for [domain]

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Mary Clark, and I am a resident of Roanoke, Virginia. I have a few questions about your process for responding to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) data access requests:

1. Would you process a GDPR data access request from me even though I am not a resident of the European Union?
2. Do you process GDPR data access requests via email, a website, or telephone? If via a website, what is the URL I should go to?
3. What personal information do I have to submit for you to verify and process a GDPR data access request?
4. What information do you provide in response to a GDPR data access request?

To be clear, I am not submitting a data access request at this time. My questions are about your process for when I do submit a request.
Thank you in advance for your answers to these questions. If there is a better contact for processing GDPR requests regarding katsbits.com, I kindly ask that you forward my request to them.

I look forward to your reply without undue delay and at most within one month of this email, as required by Article 12 of GDPR.

Sincerely,

Mary Clark

Quote
From : Victor Coutand <victorcoutand@envoiemail.fr>
Subject : Questions About CCPA Data Access Process for [domain]

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Victor Coutand, and I am a resident of Nice, France. I have a few questions about your process for responding to California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) data access requests:

1. Would you process a CCPA data access request from me even though I am not a resident of California?
2. Do you process CCPA data access requests via email, a website, or telephone? If via a website, what is the URL I should go to?
3. What personal information do I have to submit for you to verify and process a CCPA data access request?
4. What information do you provide in response to a CCPA data access request?

To be clear, I am not submitting a data access request at this time. My questions are about your process for when I do submit a request.
Thank you in advance for your answers to these questions. If there is a better contact for processing CCPA requests regarding katsbits.com, I kindly ask that you forward my request to them.

I look forward to your reply without undue delay and at most within 45 days of this email, as required by Section 1798.130 of the California Civil Code.

Sincerely,

Victor Coutand

Minecraft themed 'Trominoes'

June 11, 2021, 08:05:28 AM by kat

Following on from the previous Minecraft themed game of dominoes is another papercraft game of sorts for parents, guardians or grownups otherwise responsible for those same kids who can't seem to drag themselves away from Minecraft sans 'episodes', especially when they should be doing something else, again (homework, chores, eating, sleeping etc.).

The below 'Minecraft themed 'Trominoes'' (tri + dominoes = trominoes) is another print-n-play table top game to help redirect and engage young minds with a simple Minecraft themed game that encourages real world participation through artwork they're familiar with. It's 'Minecraft' RL Trominoes!.

Quote
Instructions for use: download the Minecraft themed trominoes PDF (c. 4MB), print the sheets (A4, Letter or larger 'A' formatted page) and cut out along the outside of the black borders to create a set of 34 'Minecraft' tiles they can play InRL (34 tiles to keep printing and cutting to a minimum). For added durability, after printing stick the sheets to cardboard then cut out the tiles. Alternatively cover front and back with clear wrapping tape. For even greater versatility print on magnetic paper to create dominoes fridge magnets!



*the themed dominoes printout is based on material copyright Mojang and Microsoft and provided for personal use only. It is not endorsed by, or otherwise associated with, either entity. In-game assets have been recreated thematically to resemble artwork and to facilitate ease of printing (personal printer, facsimile, photo-copying etc.). NOT OFFICIAL MINECRAFT PRODUCT. NOT APPROVED BY OR ASSOCIATED WITH MOJANG.
^