Saturday, August 13, 2016

BMD Gaming

Though the majority of my posts have focused on social and political issues, gaming has always been at the heart of BMD. It's always been one of my favorite pass-times at least. To introduce that portion of BMD, I have a showcase of videos from the YouTube channel PrinceJamal89. I'm also streaming on Twitch under the same name. The clips, videos, and commentary are rough now, but as I continue to improve and expand you'll get a front row seat to watch the channel mature.

First up is Heroes & Generals:

 This was also my first attempt at streaming PC games. For those not familiar with the game, Heroes & Generals is a FPS set in WW2. The players can take on the ranks of 3 different militaries(US, Germany, Russia). You start out as a private soldier, but as you gain experience and money you can join other branches and use equipment like tanks, planes, and other vehicles. The highest rank is General for all teams. Once you reach that rank, you have access to the strategy platform for the game. As a General you manage resources, soldiers, and choose which cities to attack which sets the pace for the experience rank and file soldiers have on the FPS platform.

Next up is Deadliest Warrior:

This is one of my favorites since it has historic figures like Shaka Zulu and Hannibal. The game features figures covered in the show. In this clip, I was showing off the game's conquest mode. The game puts two legends on opposite ends of a map and both legends battle for control of the map.

The last game for this post - Fallout 4:

Fallout follows the player you survive the wilderness of what used to be the US 200+ years after nuclear fallout wiped out the modern world. The FPS/RPG combined with commerce and deep storylines, all in an open world got me from the first time I picked up Fallout New Vegas.
In this clip I show off the damage and fortification of one of my settlements following an attack.

Bullshit Busting: Dealing with Actual Facts

To start the bullshit busting section of "The System" where we will be reviewing memes, news, urban legends, rumors, and conspiracies to separate the facts from the fiction. We'll start by looking at some ways to do the knowledge to see how information and misinformation can help and hurt people looking to make a difference in their communities. First up is a tool kit organized by Carl Sagan he called the "Baloney Detection Kit". I'm summarizing the points here, but you can check out the links to find the full text(That's your first test).

Carl Sagan's Bullshit Detection Kit

1) Fact check(and double-check) the facts and evidence
2) Check the facts from different points of view
3) No expert or authority is too good to be questioned
4) Every story has more than one side. Look at all of them.
5) Check all the ways your point of view could be wrong. If you don't, somebody else will - and don't get in your feelings when that happens.
6) Numbers and video don't lie, not always. Use them.
7) Weak points weaken arguments(go back to #5)
8) Occam's Razor: The argument with less holes is best
9) Claims that can't be tested are worthless

With these tools we can take on whatever information we want and discern between fact, fiction, hoaxes, satire and handle it that way.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The System and Black Thought: Bridging the Gaps

Rube Goldberg Machine

The "system" that we live in as a people here in America, how it works, who the system was designed by and who it was designed for, who controls it, what needs to be done about it, and why, are usual points of debate. And there are about 64655465861567 different answers to those questions for every person that cares to put their two cents in. So as an introduction to the Political Education and Conspiracy Theory series that are coming up here at BMD, I'll put my two cents in and point out some of the bullshit that people add to black political thought, by accident or on purpose.

1) Giving white people so much credit
    As a computer scientist by trade and an independent student of politics, history, and philosophy, all of these fields basically built themselves around the study of systems and critical thinking. The basic way a system works is it takes input, does something with that input, and puts out a result, based on how the system was designed. Whether that system works for you or not depends on what you put into it and how you use what it returns, the same with life in general. If you let some people who claim to be "pro-black" tell the story of "the System" they make the "white man" out to look like an unstoppable force driven to destroy the world, and we're waiting on that unstoppable (enter figure, event, or group of  people here) to wake up and stop it - like something out of a comic book. It may SOUND pro-black, but it really gives white people credit where no credit is due. Quit while you're ahead(or behind) because that way of thinking hasn't worked, and it's probably not going to. If a system exists, it can be studied, controlled, changed, or taken apart. Black power is about controlling any system that affects the lives of black people and making it work for us.

2) Black Nationalism and its role in the system
   When you hear the term "pro-black" the meaning changes depending on who it is that's speaking. If you study the movements of Black people in America, you'll find that "Pro-Black" is a pretty broad name for a number of different philosophies, like the Liberal/Moderate/Conservative polarities in mainstream politics. On one end you have Black Nationalism and Black separatism on the other. They all have similar goals, but different views on how those goals should be reached, and who can(and can't) put in the work to make it happen. Instead of recognizing how deep the movement really is, people get fanatic to the point that anyone who disagrees with them is "part of the problem''. Black Nationalism can be broken down into subsets focusing on culture, politics, economics, etc. There are groups that focus on these specific fields, and others that address all of these fields at the same time. At the end of the day, Black Nationalism advocates the advancement of Black People and pursuing those opportunities however and whenever they are available. Advancing in any of these fields, both on the individual, and collective levels, is a step in the right direction towards power and self-determination.

3) By (almost) any means necessary
   The above quote by Malcolm X is probably one of the most popular and mis-represented quotes of this century. The full quote, which many people like to leave out is ''We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this Earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary." Taken on face value, it literally means to do whatever is necessary to make sure that Black people overcome oppression to become self-sufficient and respected as a people. But going back to point #2, that list of "anything" eventually gets cut to a predefined set of options that look and sound “pro-black”.

   This series is designed to bridge those gaps that prevent us from making progress as a people, pointing out the advantages and disadvantages of the parts of the machine that we live in, and airing out the bullshit that ends up getting in our way.