Random Thoughts: 7/10/11

What do you call a group of turtles?

I’ve been wondering. Do you call them a school or turtles, as a school of fish? A pod, as a pod of dolphins? Turtles are in fact reptiles in reality, so perhaps a nest of turtles as a nest of snakes? Wikipedia is strangely silent on this matter, while a random Yahoo! Answers post claims that they are called a “bale” of turtles.
I’m not satisfied. Further research is necessary.
Universal Superlatives

It’s no real surprise that in America in this decade, self-esteem problems are quite widespread. Despite America’s expanding waistline, America’s idealized waistlines continue to shrink into nearly malnourished proportions. The result is a population with such little self-esteem that people have sunk to telling every child, every person even, that they are “special” or some other variant of unique.
Of course the “quick” witted among Americans (a disappointingly shrinking number, I might add) will point out that if everybody is special, then nobody is special. I don’t really follow this line of reasoning, mostly because the term special as used in the context defined above is really an empty word. It’s become as empty as the word “awful”, which has completely Face Heel Turned its meaning. Special in most contexts has done the same, once meaning something similar to unique, now usually meaning “differently abled”.
If special were meant in its original context and actually meant, not just used to bolster spirits, then perhaps I could follow the line of reasoning that devalues superlatives when used universally. But the way they are used in America (and likely all English-speaking countries), it’s a harmless continued devaluing of the word, not an invalidation of its superlative quality.
Brown v. EMA

There is no way I can avoid comment on this particular Supreme Court ruling. Though I welcome the fact that gaming is officially protected under free speech and has officially been granted self-regulatory powers by the Powers That Be, I fear the motives behind this decision. I do not believe that the justices voted the way they did out of a belief that games have artistic merit and that to censor them would genuinely violate free speech, as they should have, but that they voted the way they did because California’s law tried to restrict too much.
Any restriction is too much restriction, in all honesty, but I fear that the Court does not feel the same way. I think that the decision passed down is more a denial of California’s law specifically, and not censorship and restriction of gaming in general.
We haven’t heard the last of the legal battles, and we will see far more in the future. Though the old wives’ tale that gaming has led to an increase in violent crime among children has been proven false numerous times (in fact, violent crime rates today are the lowest ever recorded. Games apparently decrease violence!), there will always be people like Jack Thompson here to demonize us gamers for their own personal gain.

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