Archive for March, 2010

Wait, Earth Hour?

I had contemplated simply reposting last years Earth Hour Article, as the sentiment that surrounded last years post is still relevant, as a whole the measure is simply an empty one to let people feel better about themselves, without actually doing anything. While I still might, there was something that I needed to point out; I had no idea Earth Hour was on.

Despite the media blitz that existed last year for this frivolous exercise, it did not seem that Australia followed through this year. In fact on the 27th, I ran my day as I normally did, and considering the number of lights still on in my region, so did a lot of people. This is despite the fact that the organisers and the World Wildlife Fund declaring that even more Australians participated than last year, this is despite the four major sporting games that took place during the time. But we’re also overlooking the power plants still chugging along producing all that wasted power…

Considering how much disdain I have for Earth Hour, and how much I loved my original article, I shall reproduce it here

 

Earth Hour: Only an hour to affect nothing

originally published March 28, 2009

This evening marked a time in that those with social consciences turned off their electronic devices in an attempt to save the world from global warming. At 8:30 AEDT, those that felt that their one act could save the world, turned off their lights, and turned on their torches, for one whole hour. News reports speculated that over a billion people turned their lights off, some had parties where they would celebrate their achievement by torch and candle light.

All the while, these people turned off their lights, the Powerplants still chuffed away, producing the same amount of emissions they did the hour before, and the hour later. Regardless what the masses had done, since simply killing the power in the home, does nothing towards the generation of said power in the powerplant, any action anyone did, would have simply been a cosmetic one.

Now I have been trawling the blogosphere, trying to gauge what the ‘official’ stance on Earth Hour is, and I am amazed, at just how naive a lot of people are. There are some bloggers who insist that this becomes an annual calendar event, while others are marvelling at how major cities look with some of their lights off, compared to them on. All the while, ignoring the fact that as long as things like Stadiums, and Shopping Centres, who consume more power than most city blocks, remain in operation during these times, no matter how many houses turn their lights off, nothing is going to happen.

I personally did not participate in Earth Hour, for abovementioned reasons, so I went out to Dinner, to a Steakhouse, that for the duration of Earth Hour, had its lights on, kitchen running, and showed Happy Feet on the TV, while another showed a local sporting event, that I wasn’t paying attention. This Steak House also happens to reside on the largest club in the Region, and it as well, chose its bottom line, over any so called attempt to save the planet.

There are a number of reasons as to why Earth Hour, as a whole is a pointless venture, namely, its our reliance on power generators to maintain a number of our vital systems, namely public transport, and hospitals, systems that if power is removed from the process, the whole system grinds to a halt. The other major issue, is the fact that there is no incentive to do it, other than a moral one to say that they did their bit to save the planet, before they get into their gas guzzling SUV and drive to McDonalds.

If anything Earth Hour, is and always will be, an environmental failure, propagated by the Greenies, in an attempt to guilt the masses into accepting that their misguided approaches to well just about everything, as the correct course of action.  If anything, all it did is raise some kind of awareness, that the individual might be able to affect an environmental issue, but if failed any real attempt to combat any form of climate change.

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Zombies! Hundreds Of them

On the 27th of March, the Zombie horde returned to Sydney, as the Second Australian Gamers United Zombie Walk brought over 500 zombies, and about 40 or so Zombie Hunters, together to protest against Australia’s absence of an Adults Rating for Video Games.

Our Business is to Muster Zombies

Now considering the departure of South Australian Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, personally I would have thought that a protest march for an Adults rating was a rather moot topic, considering that both the Ratings biggest opponent was now gone, and the fact that his replacement was actually in favour of the Rating. Thankfully, Australia has another electronic issue that sits hard with a number of the advocates for an R-18+ Rating; that would be of course, be the Mandatory Internet Filter.

Considering my history of covering both the Internet Filter, and the Ratings debate, I was given the choice to participate in any of the discussions that would come up in the course of the day, or simply participate in the march; naturally I chose to help out, also considering, I’m naturally loud person, apparently loud enough to be heard, even further than a loudspeaker, which when mustering over 500 people is apparently actually a good thing when the group kept getting separated.

Despite a small detour caused by an unknown bylaw, which didn’t seem to be an issue during the last march an some rather candid pictures with the police who informed us that we were unable to travel through Darling Harbour, the organisers had to change the route on the fly, but thankfully, it didn’t seem to slow the march down.

Roughly three and a half hours following the start of the march, the marchers pulled themselves back to the fountain that served as the initial meeting point, where everyone took the chance to sit and recover from the over 20,000 steps that they had just stumbled through; At the end of the March, I hung around the fountain, to chat with the organisers; and yes, it did take a lot out wearing all that black tactical gear; I also noticed that there was more than one Zombie that had passed out or had decided to fall asleep in the gardens.

In all, it was an amazing turnout, with at least four times the number of zombies than last time; hopefully, this act, will cause some ripples in the rest of the community.

Chatting with some Zombies

Oh Happy Day.

It had to take something big to bring me out of my writers block, and I must say, this is as big as it gets. Following the South Australian State Elections over the weekend, and despite still retaining his seat of Croydon; on the 21st of March 2010; South Australian Attorney General and bane of gamers nationwide, Michael Atkinson, has stood down from his post as Attorney General, thus issuing in a collective cheer, and/or fist pump from the gaming community.

Following a long list of widely anticipated that have fallen by the wayside, thanks in no part to Atkinson’s reluctance to allow an Adult’s rating for video games, notably including titles since allowed sale such as Left4Dead 2 and Aliens Vs Predator, it is unlikely that Atkinson’s contribution to the history of Australian gaming will be soon forgotten. But to the same end, the question has to be asked, in the wake of Atkinson, where do we go from here and what happens now?

There is currently a focus paper on the books, in relation to the R18+ rating, and many proponents where cringing at the notion that regardless of popular opinion, that Atkinson would object to it again, hopefully following his departure, some bloggers are issuing in a new age of gaming, where parents will be more properly informed about gaming content, and that adults will have access to the games that they have wanted for the last eight years; those games designed for them.
Unfortunately, I am a little more cynical, call it over zealous caution, or a simply distrust of politics, but I would be more wary of Atkinson’s replacement, as it is still early days before his stance can really be determined; ideally, his replacement, whoever it is, is more open to this notion of ratings, and open this ‘golden age’ of gaming, or he could be as some of my sources have been touting following rumour in previous months of Atkinson’s retirement, that his replacement is just another rendition of the former Attorney General.

However, it must be said, that while Atkinson has been a thorn in my side in relation to his stance on game ratings, credit has to be given where it is due on his stances on many of the other issues in South Australia, so to that, I tip my hat to a worthy adversary, even though the likelihood of our paths ever crossing is somewhat none-existent considering my personal reluctance to ever return to South Australia, though that is a story for a different time.

Whatever the outcome, it is still a long road that needs to be travelled before an R18+ rating for games becomes a reality, however, at the same end, the departure of Atkinson has simply paved that road. So I say this in passing, Gamers, celebrate this victory while you can. as the work has only just begun.