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MarkMonitor, AWS and site scanning abuse

April 22, 2017, 10:36:26 PM by kat

[image courtesy Amazon]

The last time MarkMonitor was mentioned here on KatsBits was back in 2011 when their aggressive BOT was discovered to be consuming a disproportionate amount of bandwidth to scour the entire server KatsBits ran from. Scrapers, snoopers and other types of BOT that intentionally ignore robots.txt whilst mooching around a website aren't normally a problem because they are often indexing content for custom built search engine products (the fact they do this is for another conversation). What's special about MarkMonitor's BOT however, is its offensive (meaning "preemptive", "active") aggressiveness; it simply does not care how much bandwidth is consumed as it move through a target website like a bull in a china shop, to the extent that bandwidth averages can be significantly different after their BOT has paid a visit. Especially troubling for image heavy websites.
Quote
Long story short, MarkMonitor are a "global leader in brand protection". Big brands task them to paparazzi their way around the internet looking for brand infringement ("paparazzi" because like that particular beast, they intentionally ignore common protocols to do what they do). They're not specifically looking for Copyright violations so much as broader 'brand' abuse they can take action against.

Back then MarkMonitor used to serve their brand tracking/investigation BOT from their own IP address making it relatively straightforward to block its bandwidth abuses. Now however, MarkMonitor uses Amazon Web Services as a third-party content distribution system to offset their own bandwidth use, and more importantly, obfuscate their presence in the scanning and network abuse the bot is engaged in. The nefarious nature of this latter point cannot be stressed enough regardless as to how it might be argued (justified).

What this now means for webmasters versus perhaps five or so years ago, is that abuse logs simply reference IP addresses associated with AWS server instances instead of MarkMonitors own domain name/IP (e.g., markmonitor.com/209.200.xxx.xxx). In other words, at face value it's slightly more difficult to trace the abuse back to the abuser, a fact that for them, reduces their liabilities.

What's more, whilst these abuse instances can be reported to Amazon using their EC2/AWS abuse reporting system (or directly mailing ec2-abuse@amazon.com), there is little assistance for those caught in Saurons MarkMonitors glare (their network abuse has been an ongoing problem for KatsBits for the better part of 10 years). Even then if abuse is found to have occurred, Amazon simply reiterates privacy policies prohibitions preventing the revelation of pertinent information about the abuser and what they were/are doing. Fortunately they don't need to as there are plenty of other ways to find this out. But that's by-the-by.

To get an idea of the extent of the abuse perpetrated by MarkMonitor, below is a list of the most recent instances of AWS abuse traced back to MarkMonitor, a few from a list of hundreds reported to Amazon this month (caveat: the nature of AWS means that whilst the addresses listed below currently resolve to MarkMonitor, they may be  dynamically reassigned to another entity at some point in the future - when in doubt perform a "reverse lookup" to see what's at the end of the rainbow before then reporting the suspicious activity to Amazon so a record exists);
  • ec2-34-209-69-182.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-34-209-175-241.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-54-70-139-144.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-52-39-89-248.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-34-209-98-91.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-54-148-122-132.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-52-35-141-43.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-54-68-155-195.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-54-154-207-210.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com
  • ec2-52-27-158-160.us-west-2.compute.amazonaws.com
Discovering all this is one thing. Knowing what to do with it is another. At the very least some pointed and pertinent questions need to be asked of MarkMonitor:
- Why do they ignore robots.txt  (beyond "bad people can block our bots").
- Why are they so aggressive in pursuit of protecting managed brands.
- Why do they persist when no evidence of brand infringement is discovered.
- Why do they not have an ABUSE policy in place.
- Why do they obfuscate their scraper/scanner/bot.
- and more...

YouTube (Google), demonetization and censorship

April 06, 2017, 07:09:51 PM by kat
YouTube demonetization isn't censorship

Googles latest video demonetizing and account safeguard updates to YouTube isn't censorship so much as the consequence of a long-standing, and arguably perhaps, poorly realised business decision to make the platform as secure (in the sense of being 'verified') and "advertiser friendly" as possible, especially in light of big money threatening the potential loss of billions of dollars. Google has to pay attention, whether the users like it or not, more so when some of the names associated with the projected loss are part of new services YouTube instigates, like YouTube TV.

YouTube has always reserved the right to demonetize content it deems inappropriate or simply just because the video is not a good fit for the advertisers using their platforms. This has always meant the more generic and 'harmless' the content, the better the monetization opportunity because a much broader spectrum of advertising can be run alongside or associated with the material. YouTube has more or less always operated this way, certainly since the Partner program was opened up; YouTube creators and publishers have always uploaded content with full knowledge their videos can be demonetized, and/or pulled in extreme cases. It says as much in the Creator/Uploader Agreement (§7 and 8).

With that said, damage control with regards to the demands of Big Brands in the short-term does make easy pickings of controversial content, actions that don't specifically mean YouTube itself is targeting 'right' (politically 'right') leaning content due to its directional bias, rather as a result of the contents nature, its subjective sensitivity, something YouTube has always been jittery about (KatsBits for example has a couple of demonetized videos dating back to 2008, almost ten years ago, because the videos didn't fit contextually the adverts being displayed at the time; annoying, yes; censorship, no).

This is not to say however, that a certain clique of busybodies aren't using the opportunity, scurrying around YouTube using and abusing the reporting system as a means to 'harass' ("it's not harassment when we do it") and 'deplatform' ("it's not censorship if its 'hate'")[1] people they don't like, the controversial nature of whom/which make this type of petty behaviour pretty much like shooting fish in a barrel.

To be clear, this cohort of malicious miscreants are politically motivated, are engaged in censorship[2], and often successful not because they are correct but as an indirect consequence of the controversial nature of content being flagged; as Content Creators have little recourse to dispute the claims or reports made against them in this context (notwithstanding Copyright claims), there's little they can do at present to counter the witch-hunters extraordinaire. And that only emboldens them further, winning, not through better arguments, but by being vociferously belligerent with their subjective claims (this is perhaps one area that YouTube could improve the system - if content is taken down the person making the claim has to verify their claim in some way, similar to the requirements of making Copyright Claims).

[Edit] It should be noted that in spite of the above, that YouTube aren't engaged in censorship, the consequences of demonetization are very real, many a popular YouTuber that's gained ground over the last few years is loosing significant income, often to the extent that it obligates a serious rethinking, or their having to shut their channels down. This fact further emboldens bad-faith actors abuse of YouTubes reporting system as a tool in their misguided political activism.

For YouTube Creators and Publishers there are, as yet, no comparably viable solutions to income generation from video publishing because few platforms have advertising in place let alone a monetary reward or sharing system (even where advertising is available, revenue share is not). For fans and viewers it becomes increasingly impractical to support all the authors previously engaged with on YouTube through crowd-funding outlets or directly through the likes of PayPal et al.

It is perhaps not without a good dose of irony that a move to help 'diversify' YouTube as a platform, one that makes it more 'open' and 'family friendly' is doing the opposite to some of the more popular channels.

Further Reading
- Illegal Hate Speech, the EU and Tech.
- Freedom of speech ends where threats abound.
- Developers and self, voluntary, censorship.
- Being ignored: silencing at SXSW.
- Twitters Trust & Safety Council and "free expression".
- Twitters "Ministry of Truth" Trust & Safety Council.
- Free Speech & Expectations of Privacy on Social Media


Footnotes:
[1] "deplatforming" (sometimes referred to as the lesser "disinvitation", or "no platforming" in the more grammatically correct UK) is a tactic often used by special-interest individuals and groups that denies those subject to such calls to action the ability to freely engage with others. As such it fundamentally interferes with the principles of freedom to speak, to freely pass unmolested, etc. It also denies others freely exercising their will (agency) to listen to someone else, even those with whom they may disagree. In this context "denying the right...", to listen, or the "right to not hear" have no bearing on the Individual Right to Freedom of Speech/Freedom of Expression; Individuals cannot deny someone their Right to speak/express simply because they don't like, or don't want to hear, what they might have to say. Furthermore, the "Right to Speak", the "Right to be heard" and the "right to listen" are not synonymous, they have different meanings and importance in Law, for example;

[1a] The "Right to Speak" is a protected Human, or 'great', Right (e.g. Article I Bill of Rights [info], Article 10 [alt] of European Convention on Human Rights [alt], UK Human Rights Act §12 etc.).

[1b] The "right to be heard" is generally considered either a "procedural guarantee" often associated with Government or Institutional service provision (e.g. Article 41 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights which might in practice mean a disabled person being heard with respect to services they receipt or are entitled to). Or a 'minor right' typically associated with the "UN Convention on the Rights of the Child" that guarantees minors the 'right' to express opinions and views on matters that affect them.

[1c] The "right to listen", or rather the "right not to listen" is a argument often cited by those in social science circles rather than Law professionals (where it is, its typically argued as a 'negative right'). In that sense it is a pseudo-intellectualism rather than a principle in law. As it is neither a capitalised 'Right', lower-case 'right', an entitlement or privilege in any sense, legally, legislatively or procedurally. It cannot be considered anything other than a 'thought exercise', one that perhaps seems based upon misinterpreting current Law, the Rights of Individuals, and the circumstances around which it might be used argumentatively - whilst the Individual is not obliged to listen when others speak, they cannot impinge the speakers Right whilst attempting not to listen. Conversely the speaker cannot force, coerce, obligate or otherwise compel others to listen unless that person does so voluntarily, and without infringing the listeners Right(s), ostensibly to be free from harm and able to freely go about their business unmolested (recognised typically as the right 'to peacefully assemble', to do otherwise risks infringing the Rights of others).

[2] In this context using YouTubes content flagging system constitutes the "deplatforming" ("de-platforming"), "no platforming", "disinvitation" et al of others and are all means though which a person may directly or indirectly behave or move against individuals using threats, abuse, harassment, intimidation of any kind etc., implied or otherwise, that interferes with their free expression as a Right. As recognised in Law our Rights do not grant us permission to act against others in any way that might impinge their "Life, Liberty and the[ir] pursuit of Happiness", to borrow from the Declaration of Independence.

Boom Headshot, perpetuating the 'murder-simulator' narrative through bad science

March 17, 2017, 11:23:12 PM by kat


The recent retraction of “Boom, Headshot!”: Effect of Video Game Play and Controller Type on Firing Aim and Accuracy[1] from the Journal of Communication Research ended a protracted five year controversy over the papers findings, not because they were wrong, but as a consequence of the data necessary to refute or verify such claims essentially going missing. This is significant given the studies purpose was to inform the debate on violent FPS 'shooter' style games being "murder simulators"[2], essentially asserting violent video games are effective tools to train people to kill through "opperant conditioning" (learning through rote or repetition), a claim that's not actually debunked by virtue of the paper having been retracted.

The situation is worthy of note for a number of reasons; it speaks to longstanding concerns over an apparent 'soft science' bias in academia[3]; the 'Jerry-mandered' of Journal Publishing[4]; the veracity of the results and their meaning relative to the approach used to test the papers hypothesis/assertions. It's this latter point that's particularly interesting given the narrative if feeds in to (see above) and the fundamentally flawed approach to discovery taken; in a nut-shell participants fired an airsoft pistol at a fixed (man-shaped) target after a 'conditioning' period playing specific video games using mouse/keyboard or 'gun' shaped controllers, but were not required to do so beforehand. Individual baselines were instead established though Q&A surveys that built a psychological profile of each persons general attitude towards firearms etc., not their raw live-fire ability[5].

In other words, the participants thoughts and feelings towards firearms and related usage were the initial gauge, that when added to the conditioning period, allowed a correlation to be established; the more favorable the attitude, and the greater the conditioning exposure, the greater and accuracy predicted and measured, the follow-through then being that first-person shooters do indeed 'train' people be be killers, an extraordinary extrapolation of implied cause and affect that has greater implications for society, not for any corollary aspects towards violence per se, but rather because the paper is actually an attempt to establish a universal psychological test that can determine a persons state of being based on a series of theoretical reference points, that 8 year old Charlotte's crude "L" shaped crayon sketch of a gun predicts her to be a killer[6].

The problem with this is that the leap to conclusion is so grossly over-compensatory (for want of a better word) it can be used as a predictive measure of just about any outcome plugged in to it; a person with a favorable attitude towards bassoons, who played hours of "Bassoon & You too", is predicted to be an "accurate" Bassoon player. Replace "firearm" with "baseball", "cricket", "bow and arrow", "tiddlywinks" and the formulas prediction is the same; [positive attitude] + [increased virtual/fictional exposure] = [increasing real-world outcome], not the hours and hours of hands-on live-fire (in this instance) instruction, training[7], practice and dedication.

That "Boom Headshot['s]" failings were not spotted or commented on at inception or any other point during research and publication[8], perhaps speaks just as much to the concerns mentioned in the opening paragraph as it does to simply poor science and the propensity towards 'celebrity publication bias' to court controversy as a means of garnering corporate/business/financial interest, problems not easily solved for subjects with such low efficacy/high output rates[9].

P.S. The articles full heading/title should be "Boom Headshot! Perpetuating the "violent video games are murder simulators" narrative through bad science" but it doesn't fit.


Footnote:
[1] “Boom, Headshot!”: Effect of Video Game Play and Controller Type on Firing Aim and Accuracy [researchgate]. "Abstract: Video games are excellent training tools. Some writers have called violent video games “murder simulators.” [Jack Thompson] Can violent games “train” a person to shoot a gun? There are theoretical reasons to believe they can. Participants (N = 151) played a violent shooting game with humanoid targets that rewarded headshots, a nonviolent shooting game with bull’s-eye targets, or a nonviolent nonshooting game. Those who played a shooting game used either a pistol-shaped or a standard controller. Next, participants shot a realistic gun at a mannequin. Participants who played a violent shooting game using a pistol-shaped controller had 99% more headshots and 33% more other shots than did other participants. These results remained significant even after controlling for firearm experience, gun attitudes, habitual exposure to violent shooting games, and trait aggressiveness. Habitual exposure to violent shooting games also predicted shooting accuracy. Thus, playing violent shooting video games can improve firing accuracy and can influence players to aim for the head." (emphasis added).

[2] Although the term "murder simulators" was popularised through Jack Thompson's efforts in the late 1990's to restrict the availability of video games to minors. it originates with author David Grossman who used the phrase to describe the overall effect he asserted playing violent video games had on players (minors in particular). It has since been used variously by other critics of violent video games.

[3] The soft science bias is essential a symptom of the publication of subjective topics of research that prove difficult to properly or reliably replicate or prove one way or the other. This raises further concerns over such research being given platforms and published because it essentially falls into the realms of being subjective op-ed and non-falsifiable in nature, a position more typical of advocacy, politicised or propaganda research conducted by a stake-holders or vested interests as a means to push a supportive or favourable narrative - 'soft' subjects like political science, gender studies, the arts & humanities generally, exhibit greater propensity to towards bias than hard sciences like physics, biology etc.
Search terms "publication bias soft sciences"
 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: "US studies may overestimate effect sizes in softer research".
 - Public Library of Science: "“Positive” Results Increase Down the Hierarchy of the Sciences".
 - Department of Education, University of Chicago: "How Hard Is Hard Science, How Soft Is Soft Science? The Empirical Cumulativeness of Research".
 - International Council for Science: "Advisory Note "Bias in science publishing"".
 - et cetera, et cetera.

[4] Gerrymandering research is not so much cherry picking but selective filtering, data that supports a predefined conclusion is allowed though the filter even though it may not be fully supportive of the goal, whereas cherry-picking deals exclusive with selective bias. The difference between the two is that the former can give a greater appearance of veracity because conclusions aren't quite so easily refuted. In addition to this, journals giving voice to such 'soft-science' research are notorious for courting controversy for sake of notoriety or interest in their publications, often publishing controversial subjects that may or may not be backed by thorough research and/or exhibit preference towards fashionable political topics of discussion. In other words "Boom, Headshot...", 1) should not have been published in the first place if the data was not available at the time, and what should have been a glaring problems with their approach, and 2) was published because the subject is politically topical (as are the papers authors) which brings in interest to the Journal, not because the topic had any greater 'truth' to tell or merit than other research in the field.

[5] The determining factor using this approach is 'exposure', the prediction being essentially the greater the exposure the better the persons transferable accuracy (they are predicted to be better with the real(ish) thing). This allows for the establishment of a non-falsifiable correlation because the baseline is theoretical predictive assertion, not contextually measured objective observation - control variable (the baseline) was established by having "[p]articipants ... [complete] a number of control variables, including the Aggression Questionnaire, the Attitudes Toward Guns Scale, and the Attitudes Toward Guns and Violence Questionnaire [that were] combined to form a composite measure of attitudes toward guns. [They were also asked] whether they had received firearms training and ... their three favorite video games ... used to measure habitual exposure to shooting video games. With the exception of a deer-hunting video game, all shooting games involved killing humanoid targets and all were rated “M” (for mature players 17 and older)".

[6] An interesting throw-away from the paper reveals there to have been no difference in outcome based on the individuals sex/gender, female participants were as likely to perform as males "[t]here were no main or interactive effects involving participant sex for headshots or other shots, so the data from men and women were combined.". In addition to this, the live-fire section of the research was conducted in a way that replicated the game environment, not real-world usage, i.e., the distance between shooter and target was sufficient to allow WYAIWYH (Where You Aim Is Where You Hit), rather than demanding the shooter involve more complex motor skills to compensate for ballistics etc., "... the firing distance selected for this experiment (20 ft; 6.1 m) was determined during pretesting to be an optimal distance for most successfully landing a hit where one aimed on the target". In other words the test was designed not to fail.

[7] It's important to note "[p]articipants were instructed in the use of the pistol and wore safety goggles while shooting. A post-test-only design was employed to eliminate pistol-firing practice effects" (the compensatory factors are not disclosed). This fact should have repudiated the papers central premise, that violent video games train people to use firearm, especially without any live-fire comparative baseline.

[8] The paper does not appear to have been peer-reviewed.

[9] Perhaps a more objective way to have conducted the test might have been to have a control group that were not asked any questions, were not conditioned and only shot at targets. This could be expanding to have been done several time at fixed intervals, or interval matching the start/end of each phase other participants were involved with. For example, baseline shoot, Q&A end shoot, conditioning end shoot, final shoot. Same for the other participants, a shoot after each phase. Without any of this there is no historical comparative test to be made, which makes the research not much more than vanity publishing and one more disingenuous step towards the litany of 'pre' tests to determine potential 'pre' crime as it were.

GDC "Teaching students to make games under Fascism"

March 05, 2017, 09:22:33 PM by kat
GDC 2017 - Teaching Students to Make Games Under Fascism
[image courtesy Twitter]

Video: GDC Vault Education Soapbox (relevant section starts 0:30:00 mins). Transcript below.

The image above is from the Education Soapbox session of the Game Developers Conference annual "GDC Education Summit". The slide, "Teaching Students to Make Games Under Fascism", is part of a broader presentation, "Teaching Students to Make Socially Aware Games", arguing the case that games and game development are 'political' (small "p" although vid. [1(b)]) and in being so can be used to convey politicised messages and ideas, especially those of marginalised or under-represented groups. To address these shortfalls educators are called to task through appeals to a greater social and moral imperative[1], that they are, for all intents and purposes, obligated and duty-bound to teach greater awareness and sensitivity towards these narratives in their students, especially given the current sociopolitical environment, that Trumps America is Fascist.

It's difficult to determine whether this 'fascist' threat narrative and barely disguised anti-Trump rhetoric is sensationalised and hyperbolic for the sake of drawing attention to the authors field of study, or for other reasons. Whatever the case may be its certainly not a reflection of, or a reasonable commentary on, reality as it stands; were Trumps Administration and United States actually fascist, GDC, let along the session and its speakers, would not be quite so public and open with their dissent and advocacy for 'resistance' and 'subversion' of what would then be 'The Parties' policies, no matter how 'just' ("J" and "j") the cause or 'brave' the speaker and others thought themselves to be for "speaking out". History paints a vivid picture on this point[2].

Aside from it being de rigueur, a cause célèbre, for cohorts of such to come together in oppositional solidarité to the new Trump Administration "SUM = [because] + [reasons(n)]", these discussions are not about games or game development, or even the issues on the table, themselves often poorly constructed facades. They are instead nothing more than recruitment drives, initiatives meant to bring new blood into class-based political agitation, a facsimile of '{rich} vs. {poor}', '{black} vs. {white}', now '{arbitrary attribute} vs. {privilege}', an ostensibly unfalsifiable self-justifying dialectic[3].

To this end these political activists and agitators, those cunningly disguised as 'educators' and 'thought-leaders', are teaching students argumentative slight-of-hand tricks that perpetuate and preserve the narrative, not solve the problems they may present, techniques useful in deconstructing the workplace and crippling business through polarising categorization and division under the guise of "civil rights" instead of building cohesion around difference, a far more valuable skill in highly competitive global marketplaces[4], and arguably what students actually pay for when studying, not just game design, and what they aught to be hearing when attending premiere development confabs like GDC.

Bluntly put, what these interlopers are doing is co-opting students futures with emotionally appealing faux injustices, half-baked conspiracy theories of little tangible benefit in the workplace. An outlook that will eventually have them looking back on lives lived with significant and longstanding unpaid dept, of being openly resentful at realising they were nothing more than child-sacrifices to a different demi-god, a fabricated pseudo-religious conflict[5], their bodies thrown on the barbed wire of disingenuous confabulations so the 'Clerics' and 'Architects' could walk their backs freely to the pots of government gold at the end of the rainbow, the sole beneficiaries of "The Struggle" and very institutions they spent so much energy opposing, with nary a thought of the students used to get there.

This isn't "education". Its not "teaching", game development or any one of the associated disciplines. Its not even "critical theory". Its simply a malicious and deliberate hijacking of students enthusiasm for all things gaming and game development at a time when their intellectual defenses are least resistant to abuse, and an "abuse" it is. Its a mendacious and open theft of the young's minds and futures for the agitation of falsehoods, self-perpetuating politicking intentionally structured to be unsolvable and unending.


Footnotes:
[1] GDC 2017 - "Teaching Students to Make Socially-Aware Games"
(a) "[sic] Video Games Are Expressions of Culture, Goddamn it, and It Is Ethically Irresponsible of Us as Educators and Human Being, Especially Given the Garbage Fire That Is Politics Today, to Send Our Students out into the World without Teaching Them to Think about the Fact that the Work They Produce Exists in a Broader Social Context - Like, to Seriously Think about That and Actually Care".
(b) "[sic] VIDEO GAMES ARE POLITICAL. THE WAY WE MAKE GAMES IS POLITICAL. THE WAY THAT WE TEACH OUR STUDENTS TO MAKE GAMES IS POLITICAL".

[2] Much of the historical literature that survives actual fascist and authoritarian regimes paint poignant portraits of daily life, and none of it is the Hollywood or cinematically glamourised fiction of "vive la résistance", "che G" t-shirt revisionism, its dirty, stinks of piss and vomit, of doing anything to eat and stay alive, of being anonymous so as to go unnoticed, of slinking through shadows, talking in whispers to avoid not just official political enforcers, but the more abundant and arguably more dangerous snitches and citizen spies ready to do a 'turn' over split milk. Being an 'enemy of the state', mildly political or oppositional were never prerequisites to persecution when a person could be beaten for walking on the correct side of the road.

[3] There's a fundamental difference between the historical "{black} vs. {white}" struggle of the 1950's and 60's Civil Rights movement and said same struggle under the newer millennial "{arbitrary attribute} vs. {privilege}" paradigm. For the former a persons 'value' as an individual, and to society at large, was largely determined by their actions and deeds, their "character" as exemplified in Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech. For the latter the opposite is the case, 'character' and 'value' are affectations, subordinate consideration to whatever arbitrary attributes a person may possess or claim, like skin colour. In this way the individuals successes and failures can be blamed on 'self' (former) or 'others' (latter), making the person responsible for their own mistakes (former), or the victim of others (latter).

The NET effect of this difference now is a self-justifying "hierarchy of privilege", the "Progressive Stack" as its more commonly know, 'white' being at the top ("white, CIS-gendered Male" to be precise) with every other 'attribute' ("marginalised" grouping) below. In this inversion lower staves of the stack have greater 'value' because they are considered to be more 'marginalised' in Society, so greater effort should be expended giving voice to those individuals than anyone above them, regardless as to merits of the claim (its not a 'meritocracy').

In other words a 'white' person is 'systemically privileged' because they are 'white' rather than as a consequence of their efforts, 'good' or 'bad'. In this way being 'white' means the individual must always be taking advantage of privilege systems and the underprivileged regardless of outcome or intent. Conversely a 'black' person (anyone that's 'non-white') is always a victim of someone regardless of their efforts to be 'good' or 'bad' because they are not subject to the same systemic privileges advantaging a 'white' person.

This manifestation of "intersectionality" as this is properly called, is an inescapable self-reinforcing victimology that enslaves adherents to a hierarchy of forced outcome instead of selective opportunity, a construction of arbitrary considerations that can be flipped and changed at the turn of a D20. Its a grand illusion that tricks people into bondage to those at the very top, not the 'evil white man', but the Stacks authors, the oft' soft-spoken, self-effacing 'intellectuals' and 'social critics' who perpetuate what is nothing more than an alternative system of control, a different form of the 'systemic oppression' supposedly being fought, the success of which is solely dependent upon continued appeals to individual and societal (in)justice and outrage.

In essence its a system that continues to victimise victims of oppression by recasting the means through which victimhood manifests itself whilst its high-priestesses and priests revel in the rewards of nonfalsifiable, unchallengeable and unaccountable positions of authority (criticism justifies the systems existence, not its veracity or efficacy).

[4] Bureau of Labor Statistics "Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations"
(a) Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015
 - Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations (Major Group)
 - Software Developers, Applications
 - Computer Programmers
 - Multimedia Artists and Animators
 - Political Scientists
(b) Work for play: Careers in video game development
(c) Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook
(d) American Political Science Association research and development
(e) Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering, Fall 2015
 - Table 9. Graduate students in science, engineering, and health in all institutions, by detailed field: 2010–15

[5] Student loans are often the most significant repayment obligation experienced by the individual other than a home mortgage, and depending on the type, value and severity of the repayment schedule, may cause the debtor significant stress. Poorly managed this can lead to any number of mental-health issues or increasingly risky coping behaviours including the possibility of depression or suicide. In this context being indebted for the sake of a "useless degree" is a significant co-factor to problems in later life rarely, if ever, openly contemplated or considered by 'political activists' as they chase new recruits for their cause instead of arming them with tools for success that should include their being able to repay loans taken against their education.
 - Student suicides in those aged 18 years and above, by sex and usual place of residence indicator, deaths registered in England and Wales between 2001 and 2015
 - CDC factsheet : Suicides (incl. students) facts at a glance 2015
 - Office of National Statistics - suicide rates (UK)
 - National Institute of Mental Health - suicide rates (US)
 - Royal College of Psychiatrists: CR166. The Mental health of students in higher education (pub. 2011)
(a) U.S. Department of Education, Student Loans, Forgiveness
 - National Student Loan Two-year Default Rates
 - Official Cohort Default Rates for Schools
 - - FY 2013 3-Year Official Cohort Default Rates by State/Territory-National Calculated August 6, 2016
(b) DEGREES OF DEBT: Funding and finance for undergraduates in Anglophone countries - a comparative investigation of student debt levels in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.

Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games is Wrong

March 02, 2017, 09:26:06 PM by kat
[image courtesy MobyGames]

A new book set to be published this month (March 2017), "Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games is Wrong" (Amzn), by psychologists Patrick M. Markey (@patmarkey) and Christopher J. Ferguson (@CJFerguson1111) sets out to dispel a number of persistent myths about video games and their relationship with real world aggression and violence, as well as providing some lesser publicised data on the benefits of gaming.

One interesting aspect of the research seeing daylight/media coverage[1] highlights a possible correlation(?) between rates of gaming and levels of societal violence; depending on the amount of time spent engaging with video games it appears that societies become/are less violent as an overall consequence. Interestingly looking at the names on the list nearly all high gaming, low violence Regions are classically Western in outlook, i.e., the USA, UK, Japan, Germany etc., for example.

For this assertion to be true however, video games would generally have to be equally available to have a deeper, dispersed effect on respective populations, which doesn't appear to be the case (even when weighted per [n] of population). Or looked at from a different perspective, the hours put into games themselves are not direct indicators of the degree to which a society may or may not be violent per se, rather its video games and gaming's broader availability.

In other words the degree to which video games, being almost universally non-essential luxury items (even in the West), are available, let alone played, more accurately indicates the degree to which individuals have the disposable income and leisure time to pursue such trivial and non-essential activities, the lack of which (disposable income/leisure time) are more succinct signals of poverty and its gross correlation with societal violence (notwithstanding the degree to which political and/or religious authoritarianism dictate conditions of oppression preventing or limiting the individuals upward mobility - its not surprising that such Regions strike low for gaming but high for violence).

In this context the prevalence of video-games, and gaming in general, are simply reflective of the Nations general socioeconomic well being, factors that have much greater influence of broader societal violence. Without reading through the book and research fully then (and going on what's presented in the media), there is a danger of misattributing causes and effect no matter how good the message or intention of the messenger(s), which in turn risks greater harm to the 'cause' than might otherwise be had.


Footnotes:
[1] press coverage is focusing on the assertion that increased video gaming equates to low societal violence. For example;
 - The Sun "CONSPIRACY OF VIOLENCE Nations where video games like Call of Duty, Halo, and Grand Theft Auto are hugely popular have FEWER murders and violent assaults"
 - Daily Mail "Countries that play more violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty have FEWER murders"
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