New Lease On Life For Hubble

I’m heartened to see NASA announce plans to repair the Hubble telescope. Granted, it only extends the lifetime from 2009 to 2013, but since we have shuttle flights going up there anyway and we have the capability to fix it, I don’t see why we shouldn’t keep it running as long as possible. (Personally, I’d place a higher priority on the telescope than the space station, but that’s just me.)

Fyi, the James Webb Space Telescope (no relation to the Virginia democratic challenger) is scheduled to launch in 2013 and is designed to last just 5-10 years. Note to future telescope makers: How about making them so they run indefinitely?? I guess it’s a planned obsolescence thing to keep the lucrative government contracts flowing.

Thomas Krehbiel writes The Krehbiel Strikes Back, a moderate commentary on news, media, politics, and culture. — Virginians, Vote No.

To Groupers

I’d like to explain something to would-be groupers in World of Warcraft (that is, those people who obsessively invite other people into groups):

If you come across a solo hunter surrounded by the corpses of his enemies, there is a really good chance that he is doing just fine without you and doesn’t need or want help from a bunch of late-comers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been working over mobs and one or more people will come running up to ask me to join their group. I’m a freakin’ hunter! My class was made for solo play, you dopes! Take your inter-dependent mages, warriors, and priests somewhere else until I’m done.

Maybe I should just suck it up and start joining these groups. I get the impression that the higher level quests almost require them. But then, besides earning less loot and experience and having to deal with people who usually aren’t too bright, there’s the other inherent drawback to grouping: It forces you into a time commitment you may or may not be able to honor. Since I have a real life, I need the freedom to be able to login and logoff at any moment, even if (God forbid!) I’m in the middle of a battle. I can’t be hanging around waiting on other people or going on really long quests.

Rush And Ann On Fox

I saw somewhere that Rush and Ann were up in arms for being demonized over speaking up against Michael J. Fox’s commercial, because (according to them) part of the liberal strategy is to use people with disabilities to advance the liberal agenda so everyone will feel sorry for them and cave in.

I don’t know if that’s part of the liberal agenda or not, and admittedly I only heard this in sound bites, but I didn’t hear Rush or Ann saying anything about the pros and cons of stem cell research — they only bashed Michael J. Fox and “the liberals.” Maybe if they focused their arguments more on the message and not the messengers, they might make more progress with converting people. (But then they wouldn’t get as much publicity, so that’s probably not in their game plan.) As it is, they’re just pointing at Fox’s illness and whining, “that’s not fair!” That kind of logic doesn’t really inspire me to listen to them further on the subject.

Thomas Krehbiel writes The Krehbiel Strikes Back, a moderate commentary on news, media, politics, and culture. — Virginians, Vote No.

Week 8, Bye

Washington didn’t play this past weekend, but the Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants did. With the Giants win, they continue to hold first place and look like the team to beat. Their win also drops Washington to a full 3 games behind in the division with 9 games left to play. Which means we should probably start looking at the wildcard race, where the Redskins look to be 2 games behind.

Logo Week 8 Results
Washington bye week.
NFC East Standings
N.Y. Giants 5-2
Dallas 4-3
Philadelphia 4-4
Washington 2-5
NFC Wildcard Standings
New Orleans 5-2
Minnesota 4-2
St. Louis 4-3
Dallas 4-3
Philadelphia 4-4
Carolina 4-4
Green Bay 3-4
San Fransisco 2-5
Tampa Bay 2-5
Washington 2-5
Detroit 1-6
Arizona 1-7

On Webb’s Novels

My opinion about Allen’s people using Webb’s novels against him is the same as it was when it was just some silly blogs doing it. It’s borderline-fascist anti-art propaganda, but a predictable desperation smear tactic. (I’m sure if Allen wrote fiction, Webb’s people would be doing it too.)

Thomas Krehbiel writes The Krehbiel Strikes Back, a moderate commentary on news, media, politics, and culture. — Virginians, Vote No.

On New Jersey

On the recent New Jersey decision: My marriage doesn’t feel the slightest bit different. It’s very difficult for me to wrap my mind around how people can honestly believe the Republican line that marriage is “under attack,” especially from something as infrequent as gay marriage (as opposed to, say, rampant divorce). It seems like people with such beliefs would have trouble with basic motor coordination, let alone any kind of higher cognitive thoughts. I wish people would just be honest about it and say, “hey, I’m voting against gay marriage because I think gay sex is icky and I don’t want to bother dealing with my prejudices.”

But back to New Jersey. After scanning the court’s ruling, I don’t see any flaws in the logic. From a purely technical perspective, if the New Jersey constitution says everyone should be treated equally, then there shouldn’t be any laws that exclude people from equal treatment, and any laws like that should be changed. What’s the problem? How is that “activism” and not a textbook application of governmental checks and balances? If one wanted to deliberately disenfranchise certain people, then one should write that exception into the constitution, like folks are trying to do in Virginia, or strike the original equal-treatment text that the forefathers wrote.

P.S. Speaking of Virginia, From On High actually believes that four “activist” judges in New Jersey are capable of controlling everyone’s destinies. I’m not making that up. Hyperbole or retardness? You be the judge.

Thomas Krehbiel writes The Krehbiel Strikes Back, a moderate commentary on news, media, politics, and culture. — Virginians, Vote No.

On Michael J. Fox

I’ve been silent lately partly because of a newfound fascination with World of Warcraft, and partly because of a complete lack of interest in writing about campaign politics, which seems to be the dominant topic in the world lately. But here’s a few quick blurbs.

On Michael J. Fox, I essentially agree with what Lean Left wrote: If it makes you uncomfortable watching Michael J. Fox suffer, maybe you should rethink your opinion of stem cell research. If it doesn’t, fine. And sure, the commercial tugs at the emotions of voters. That’s the whole purpose of campaign ads, from what I’ve observed. How is that different from any number of other campaign ads? At least Fox is talking about an actual political issue and not, say, dating Playboy bunnies.

Thomas Krehbiel writes The Krehbiel Strikes Back, a moderate commentary on news, media, politics, and culture. — Virginians, Vote No.

The Economics Of MMORPGs

The entrepreneurial opportunities from exploiting MMORPGs have certainly changed since I last played Asheron’s Call. Back then, you usually just saw people auctioning in-game gold, items, and characters on eBay.

Now, in addition to that, I see there are businesses called “leveling services.” These are companies that will, for a fee, level your character all the way up to 60 as fast as humanly possible. They do this by paying people from India or Korea to sit at computers and play the game in shifts 24 hours a day. As the customer, you are literally paying somebody to play the game for you. One place I saw charged $185 for this service, and required 12-17 days — so assuming the minimum of 12 days, you’re paying 64 cents an hour. Of course we have to assume that the poor guys sitting at the computers don’t get more than a fraction of that. I can’t even imagine a moral justification for using what amounts to sweatshop labor to gain an advantage in an online role-playing game. But it doesn’t take long in WoW to imagine they get a lot of business.

You can also purchase in-game gold from these same types of businesses. Presumably, you give them your credit card number, and they’ll send a character to give your character a sack of gold. One has to assume that they use the same sweatshop labor from India and Korea to farm gold 24 hours a day on every possible realm. Kids in America would probably leap at a chance to play videogames for a living, but I wonder if kids in India feel the same way. (64 cents an hour isn’t much of a living, anyway — even in Bangaldore it’s not enough to pay the rent.)

There also seems to be a market for “get rich quick” schemes. That is, someone will figure out a way to make X amount of gold from some kind of quest or exploit (it is usually expressed as X gold per hour), then write up a little instruction book on how to do it, and sell the book.

Slight Change Of Direction

I know I said this the Crayola Clan news blog was going to be about Crayola Clan news, but that topic is hardly big enough to fill up a blog. :) Since I’ve been getting bored writing about news and politics, I’m going to amuse myself by writing some occasional blurbs about gaming.

Maybe in some way this will help my wife understand me better. For example: Right now I’m playing World of Warcraft, and she came in last night and pointed to my character and called him my “imaginary friend.” I had to explain to her that it was actually me in the game, and I’m not imaginary at all!

World of Warcraft Redux

Perhaps this was inevitable, but in the absence of anything better to play, I’m reversing my stance on World of Warcraft. It’s grown on me like an infectious fungus, so I paid the $20 activation fee so I could keep playing past the free trial period.

I got my original human warrior up to level 14, but I was having a lot of difficulty soloing in Westfall against the stupid Defias mages that shoot freakin 75 point fireballs at you, and against those stupid Murloc frog creatures at the coastline that gang up on you with their pet crabs. Soloing more than one monster near your own level is almost impossible in WoW, unless maybe you have a huge stash of healing potions, which being a new player I obviously don’t. Anyway, those obstacles brought my ability to complete quests to a screeching halt, so I started thinking about a new character template.

I did a little web research and found that hunters and warlocks are the most recommended classes for solo play, because of their ability to use combat pets. So I started a new floppy-eared night elf hunter.

In a nutshell, a hunter with a pet just plain rocks for solo adventuring. It’s a huge improvement over the warrior, and I can’t imagine life without a pet now. I send my pet owl to attack a monster, then stand back and fire arrows from a distance while the monster battles my owl, and I don’t get a scratch. It’s awesome. This is no wimpy owl, either — it can dish out some damage. Between the two of us, the poor monster is usually dead in seconds. Most of the time, the owl can handle itself just fine even without my help. If I end up fighting multiple monsters, I’ll direct the owl to fight (and distract) one monster while I fight the other, and the owl usually kills his monster before I finish mine.

Look for Teloiv and his killer owl Artlu in the Undermine realm!