On Killing Book Review

On Killing

I finished Lt. Col Dave Grossman’s book On Killing recently. It’s about soldiers’ resistance to kill, how the military overcomes that instinct, and the larger reprecussions of that type of training on society. It is not a “how-to” book as I feared many people might’ve thought whenever I read it in public.

At the start I should say that Grossman presents a good case. He backs it up with hundreds of interviews with soldiers and his personal impressions from being in the service. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a lot of hard data to support his point. Why? Because for the most part there just haven’t been a lot of studies on how to get someone to kill another person. It ranges into the unethical territory of psychological studies. The data he does have is convincing. Continue reading

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Christmas Movies

With December comes the holidays and with the holidays comes Christmas music and Christmas movies.

I’ve got my favorite Christmas movies just like everyone else, drawing from the classics as well as some stuff that is seen less often.

I like the TV classics as much as anyone else. A Charlie Brown Christmas, Ruldoph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman are all films I like rewatching, I just don’t like them as much as my favorites.

And my favorites are: Continue reading

Mars One

I read about this project the other day called Mars One.

The project involves setting up a colony on Mars for four people to live on by 2025.

Getting to the moon is hard enough. It takes like a day and a half of travel, landing is hard, getting off again is hard, and landing safely on Earth is even harder.

NASA and other government space programs have always avoided going to Mars for two reasons.

#1 With our current rockets it would take about two months to get there. Spend a week there and two months back, you need four months of oxygen. It’s not possible to transport that much so you need to recycle your air and that gets complicated. Plus there’s all the extra food, water, and fuel you’d have to bring.

#2 With that two month journey its even harder to get back. We can land drones on Mars, but we can’t bring them back.

Mars One plans to get around the first problem by establishing a minor space colony first, while also working with robots to establish a little base camp on Mars.

The second problem is tackled by… not bringing the humans that are sent there back to Earth.

That’s right, Mars One is a one way trip. That’s where the name came from (I think).

There’s a lot of logistical problems with that. I’ve casually mentioned a few (sustainable food, water, air, fuel). I’m sure there are more.

Another problem is who would want to go on a mission like this? It’s almost certainly going to have problems that could kill you. Even if it doesn’t kill you, you’re stuck on Mars for the rest of your life. Maybe more people will come later, but that’s doubtful.

Well, Mars One asked people to apply for their one way trip to Mars and got thousands of responses. Those responses have been whittled down to one hundred people.

The next step is to whittle that one hundred down to four via, get this, a reality TV show.

This was the point where I stopped taking Mars One seriously.

I looked into it a little more. Mars One is a non-profit. The project is supposedly only for the advancement of space travel. And it will help with that at least through gaining public attention if not by developing equipment for Mars colonies.

There’s also a for-profit company attached to Mars One called the Interplanetary Media Group. That company is the one releasing a bunch of press and making the reality TV show. They’ll probably make a ton of money off of that.

Is that money going to go towards funding the Mars trip? Maybe. Is it going to fund the construction of beach house real estate for the owners of these two companies? Maybe.

And the weirdest thing about all of this? Even though the reality TV show seems like an awful interview process, I’m still interested in watching it.

A previous experiment for this, Mars-500, simulated people going into a spacecraft to Mars for 500 days. Cut off from the outside world the people in the mission pretended to do all of the things necessary for going to Mars to see how they held up mentally when they were forced to be in the same “spacecraft” for a year and a half.

Mars-500 was a success, but possibly only because it was fake. As a psychological study you have to give people the option to opt out at any time. That wouldn’t be the case in a real space flight.

My point is that the training process for Mars One has to be similar to Mars-500 and I’m excited to watch that. Plus I might get to vote people out the airlock or something!

-GoCorral

PS. And here’s what Neil deGrasse Tyson has to say about it.

My Cousins’s Wedding

Still got a little bit of snow in October.
Still got a little bit of snow in October.

Last weekend I flew to Portland, Oregon with my wife to attend my cousin’s wedding.

The flight there was a little unusual. I liked it, but my wife did not.

We flew on Alaska Airlines which apparently uses smaller planes.

Particularly they use propeller planes that you have to board from the tarmac instead of from the Jetway.

I thought this was pretty cool. I’ve always liked boarding from the tarmac and I’ve never been on a propeller airplane before.

My wife did not enjoy the novelty so much and instead focused on fear of the unknown.

There were some negatives. The plane didn’t have enough room for our carry-ons so we had to check them at the gate which I am always suspicious of. The plane smelled when we got on. The propeller engines were really loud compared to jet engines. The ceiling was lower than other planes I’ve been. You get the idea.

Good news though! The plane was smaller, so it flew lower. That’s how we got that pretty cool picture of Mount Shasta up there.

As for the wedding and seeing all of my cousins? Loads of fun!

I haven’t seen my youngest cousins in awhile so it was nice to see all of them and dance with them at the reception.

I liked catching up with all my older relatives as well. And now my wife has met nearly everyone in my family. There’s still a few holdouts, but we’ll get there!

Plus my cousin got married! Her husband is super cool and I’m glad he’s going to be part of our large family. Beautiful, short ceremony followed by a good dinner and an awesome live band for dancing!

My uncle lives in Portland and operates a pottery studio there. I liked going in to see where and how he makes all his stuff. If you’d like some amazing custom pottery you can check him out at Piatt Pottery.

We also did a little bit of Portland sight seeing. Specifically the Lloyd Center mall (The mall is cool! Don’t knock it!), a Mexican sports bar called Aztec Willie’s, and one of the Salt and Straw ice cream places.

I recommend all three places. The mall was well designed with a lot of natural lighting from a large central skylight. The sports bar had good service, good food, and what looked like a dance floor they were setting up when we had to leave to go meet relatives.

Salt and Straw was probably the most interesting of the places we went to. It has all sorts of weird custom-made ice cream flavors. Their recent batch of ice cream is all Halloween themed. My wife and I both got the Chocolate Graveyard flavor which is chocolate with Oreo “dirt” mixed in along with candy skeleton “bones.”

And there was a gift shop next door to Salt and Straw where I got this guy!

Time for Video Games!
Time for Video Games!

BMO is a character from one of my favorite cartoon shows, Adventure Time. BMO will be joining me for a video game stream in the future because that’s what BMO does. Play video games!

I’m sure there’s a lot more to do in Portland that I missed out on. It’s an amazing beautiful city. And a big thank you to my grandparents for funding all of us in getting to and staying in Portland!

-Mister Ed

Youtube Channel and Twitch

The first steps I've taken to creating a Youtube channel.
The first steps I’ve taken to creating a Youtube channel.

I started up a Youtube channel to connect to my Twitch channel. The Youtube channel is called GoCorralTV.

I’m also in the process of setting up a Facebook page for GoCorral. With that done I’ll have a unified presence for the website across multiple different sites.

I’ve also been toying with the idea of renaming my game and forum accounts to GoCorral. I think I’ll wait on that. If I get a ton more viewers it will make sense just to reduce confusion, but right now it would just cause confusion amongst my friends instead of removing it for other viewers/readers.

Back to that Youtube channel though.

I haven’t made it look pretty and amazing yet, but I did link it to my Twitch channel.

The link allows me to move the highlights that I create on Twitch over to the Youtube channel.

Twitch allows you to create highlights from saved broadcasts.

I’d thought I was saving my broadcasts, but apparently I was mistaken. My first two are now gone from Twitch.

I still have the recordings saved on my computer, but there’s no way to reupload them to Twitch.

Highlights are sections taken from a broadcast and turned into their own video. They’re meant to show off a cool play that you made.

I made one from each of the saved broadcasts I have up so far. One is a cool play and the other is a game where my cat sat on my lap looking cute while I played.

I showed the highlights to my wife this morning and she confirmed my suspicions that the audio quality is bad.

My headset mic broke a few months ago. The earpieces work fine and I still have a mic on my video camera for talking to my friends. The mic isn’t that great for recordings where I’m not directly interacting with people.

I’m going to do two things to fix this.

#1 Get a new headset. I ordered one this morning.

#2 Enunciate my words better. I have acting experience from high school. I should better at this!

So if you wanted to check out that Youtube channel you can go to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0KcigNbusgIY231nDigo1A to take a look.

Thanks for reading!

-Mister Ed

Jeopardy!

I’m a big fan of the Jeopardy show.

I don’t watch it every night, but when I have time I’ll turn it on.

I started watching Jeopardy as a kid with my mom.

We’d watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune back to back.

I liked Wheel of Fortune more than Jeopardy then. I think it was because Wheel of Fortune is flashier and has more enthusiastic people.

Now I like Jeopardy better, partially because I feel I can participate more in a Jeopardy episode than a Wheel of Fortune episode.

In Wheel of Fortune my only means of participation is to guess what the whole phrase is, I can’t guess individual letters.

But I can guess individual Jeopardy questions!

I’ve actually worked out a system where I can keep my own score along with the Jeopardy contestants on the show.

I watch with a calculator in my hand and keep track of my points as the game goes on.

I get points for answering a question before any of the contestants do. I lose points if my answer was wrong.

If I correctly answered the question before the Daily Double, then I get to participate along with the contestant who found it. I decide how many of my points to bet on a Daily Double in which I participate.

Final Jeopardy works the same as for me as it does for the other contestants. I see the category, bet my money, and guess after the commercial break.

The system isn’t perfect. I and another contestant can both get money from a question.

Also the betting on Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy isn’t ideal. The contestants can bet based on what the other two contestants have, but not what I have. I get to bet based on what all of them have.

I get first or second place most of the time. I feel like once I can reliably get first I’ll be ready to be on the show.

The show has tryouts online every year, but I haven’t made it through yet.

I just hope I can get on the show before Alex Trebek leaves.

-Mister Ed

Game of Thrones Spoilers

One of my friends hasn’t read the latest Game of Thrones books yet.

So whenever we try and talk about the books he’ll shout out, “No spoilers!” and then cover his ears.

I’ve heard about this sort of thing happening more and more since the TV show became popular.

People watch the show, but don’t read the books.

So you could be talking with someone about Game of Thrones stuff and then casually mention something from Dance with Dragons. The book came out three years ago right? You can’t say spoilers in response to a three year old plot twist can you?

Apparently you can.

I guess I’m a little surprised by that.

When I was reading Harry Potter this sort of thing didn’t happen.

If you were interested in talking about the series it was assumed that you’d read all of the books that were published.

The movies came out afterwards, but from my own experience very few people watched the movies that didn’t also read the books.

Why is Game of Thrones different?

At first I thought maybe book size, but both Harry Potter and Game of Thrones books are massive.

Adult content might be it, but why?

The TV show has more sexual content and violence than the book. That’s also the main reason why I don’t watch the show.

I already know what’s going to happen, so there’s no plot mystery.

But the added sexual content just makes me uncomfortable.

My opinion on sex in TV shows and movies comes from an early filmmaker named Ernst Lubitsch.

Sex couldn’t be shown on screen and you couldn’t show someone in their underwear either.

Lubitsch represented sex by holding the camera on a closed door.

That was all.

And it worked! People knew exactly what was happening on the other side of the door, but you didn’t need to show it.

Game of Thrones goes way too far on this for my taste. Many of the scenes seem like they’d fit in a porn movie better than a high fantasy TV show.

But maybe that’s what’s attracting people to the show, but not the books.

The show has more sex scenes and they’re obviously more visual than those in the book ever will be.

So maybe more people watch the Game of Thrones show than read the books because its a guilt free way to get some softcore porn.

Or maybe its some other reason, but I’ve run out of space.

-Mister Ed